Saturday, October 13, 2012

Last Call

Mitt Romney's Bain Capital outfit is back in the political news in a big way this week, with stories of Bain closing down factories and moving jobs to China, while Romney would directly profit from the tax breaks that offshoring those jobs would create.

The tale of Asimco Technologies, an auto parts manufacturer whose plants dot eastern China, would seem to underscore Mitt Romney’s campaign-trail complaint that China’s manufacturing juggernaut is costing America jobs. 

Nine years ago, the company bought two camshaft factories that employed about 500 people in Michigan. By 2007 both were shut down. Now Asimco manufactures the same components in China on government-donated land in a coastal region that China has designated an export base, where companies are eligible for the sort of subsidies Mr. Romney says create an unfair trade imbalance. 

But there is a twist to the Asimco story that would not fit neatly into a Romney stump speech: Since 2010, it has been owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mr. Romney, who has as much as $2.25 million invested in three Bain funds with large stakes in Asimco and at least seven other Chinese businesses, according to his 2012 candidate financial disclosure and other documents. 

Oh, and it gets worse. Asimco is not the only company slated to be sacrificed on the altar of global profits.

Sensata Technologies is a healthy manufacturing company that employs nearly 200 workers at a factory in northern Illinois. The company has become the focus of national attention because it has been taken over by Bain Capital, which plans to shut the factory down, lay off the workers, and outsource the production to China before the end of the year

The workers have pleaded with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the founder of Bain Capital, to exert his considerable influence to save their jobs. Romney still makes millions each year in income from Bain. So far, he has declined to weigh in, and the factory is scheduled to close by the end of the year.

The best part?  Romney stands to personally make a couple hundred thousand off the deal in tax savings.  The Sensata Technologies story is especially awful.

This is Mitt Romney running his businesses like a business.  Now he wants to run the country like a business.

This story is going to be huge, folks.

Race And The Obama Presidency

Jelani Cobb's piece in the New Yorker is a long overdue and frank look at the myth that President Obama's election in 2008 was going to result in post-racial anything.  Where we're at in 2012 should have put that to rest, but it's good to have the topic finally being discussed.

The post-racial myth is the logical outgrowth of an older mythology that the black struggle for freedom was anchored in a moral crusade to redeem America at large. The truth of the matter is that Martin Luther King, Jr., was more of a backroom operator than that. The idea of redemption stemmed from a moral sales pitch proffered by King, a transaction in which whites would confront the awful contours of American history and be granted exemption from its implications. Black people had a more tangible yield in mind: removing the dusty boot of Jim Crow from our necks. If fashioning spiritual redemption as a form of higher patriotism was enough to end abominations like the waterlogged obscenity that was Emmett Till’s body, then so be it. But the deeper truth is that black people were more concerned with saving our own necks than saving America’s soul.

For this reason, white claims to have “marched with Dr. King” eventually became an unintentional punch-line, a disclaimer for whatever racially obtuse commentary followed that preface. The joke, however, was on us. Few could conceive that forty years after King’s death, the nation would elect a black President—an event deeply rooted in the civil-rights ethos, a bolder redemption, a stronger immunization against the claims of history. And, as with the claims to have marched with Dr. King, the very fact of Obama’s election has been a disclaimer against the racism that came after it.

Do read the entire article, it's fascinating and informative.  I touched on it briefly in today's podcast too.

Podcast Versus The Stupid!

Episode 17 this weekend, Unleash The Biden now up for your listening pleasure.  Ian Boudreau hangs out with us again for the hour as we talk the VP debate, the tightening race for President, Todd Akin's awful views on evolution, and the scary part of the campaign season as the nutjobs come out of the woodwork.

Listen to internet radio with Zandar Versus The Stupid on Blog Talk Radio

As always, you can right click and download the episode here or subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.

Legend Gary Collins Dies At 74

It's been a tough month for older celebrities.  Today Gary Collins joins the list of people I grew up with and will miss terribly.

Breaking from TMZ:

Gary Collins, a legendary TV actor and host, died early this morning in Biloxi, MS at the age of 74.
Harrison County Deputy Coroner Brian Switzer tells TMZ he passed of natural causes just before 1:00 AM at Biloxi Regional Medical Center.
Collins' resumé is a mile long ... having appeared on episodes of such hit shows as "Fantasy Island," "Charlie's Angels," "Alice," "The Love Boat," "Police Story" ... the list goes on. 
Collins was also known for hosting the talk show "Hour Magazine" and from 1980-1988 and hosted the Miss America Pageant from 1985-1989.
Every show we watched eventually had Collins as a guest, it seemed.  He was always known as a happy go lucky man who liked to laugh.

All About The Missing Benjamins

Somehow I'm thinking that the list of possible suspects in this little heist was known to the cops well ahead of time.

Unknown thieves stole a "large amount" of newly-designed $100 bills bound for a Federal Reserve facility in New Jersey on Thursday, the FBI said.

Frank Burton, Jr., spokesman for the FBI's Philadelphia division, said the theft occurred at some point between when the shipment of bills landed at the Philadelphia airport on a commercial flight from Dallas at 10:20 Thursday morning, and when the shipment reached its New Jersey destination around 2:00 p.m., when the courier service transporting the bills reported some missing.

Burton declined to comment on the amount taken, but said it was substantial. 

I'm betting our crooks aren't going to be spending the money here in the states anytime soon, either, for one important reason:

The missing bills carry a design that is not slated to reach circulation until 2013. They feature a large gold "100" graphic on the back, and an orange box on the front with a faint image of the Liberty Bell.

The second any US bank sees $100 bills like these, the game is over.   Our crooks get to sit on these bills for six months, or head overseas to launder them.  Either way, I'm betting there's a bust soon.  Couldn't be a huge list of people with access to those bills.

We'll see.

It's Nobody's Business But The Turks

It seems our Turkish friends aren't really buying the whole "we have an election season going on right now" excuse as to why the US and the UN aren't doing anything about Syria shelling Turkish border positions, and PM Erdogan is being somewhat vocal about his level of annoyance.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan rebuked the U.N. Security Council for inaction over Syria on Saturday as war intensified across the country, saying the world body of superpowers was repeating mistakes that led to massacres in Bosnia in the 1990s.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces used air strikes and artillery to bombard insurgents on several fronts in the 19-month-old conflict, which risks dragging in regional powers with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough.

Turkey - increasingly entangled after having intercepted a Syrian airliner carrying what it said were Russian-made munitions for the Syrian army, infuriating Moscow and Damascus - has led calls for intervention, including no-fly zones enforced by foreign aircraft to stop deadly air raids by Assad's forces.

But there is little chance of U.N. support for robust action. China insists any solution to Syria's crisis must come from within while Russia has said many Syrians still support Assad. Western nations meanwhile are loath to commit to any military action that could touch off a regional sectarian war.

"The U.N. Security Council has not intervened in the human tragedy that has been going on in Syria for 20 months, despite all our efforts," Erdogan told a conference in Istanbul attended by dignitaries including Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby. "There's an attitude that encourages, gives the green light to Assad to kill tens or hundreds of people every day."

And yes, Erdogan's comparison to Bosnia is rather apt.  China and Russia aren't going to allow anything to happen on a UN front until things are already too late, because al-Assad is A) a pretty good customer of theirs and B) the last thing either one of them wants is the UN poking around in his books.

Eventually something's going to have to give.  Sadly, it's not looking like diplomacy.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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