Mittonomics, Smarmy Brad, MIAs and Other Irritants


As regular Calbuzzers know, we are normally a model of probity and rectitude. But today we’re feeling the urge to vent about some of the things that have, frankly, pissed us off, including:

— Mitt Romney’s infuriating assertion that a) government has grown under Barack Obama and b) reinstating the Bushonomics that crashed the system will restore it.
— U.S. Brad Sherman’s smarmy attempt to take credit for stuff he never did.
— California university officials who are finally advocating for a tax hike after blowing a chance to help get a measure on the ballot last year.
— Gov. Jerry Brown’s secret disappearances.

Romney’s Big Lie: In a recent op-ed, Romney  asked: “Where are the jobs?”

“Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt. But when it comes to economic affairs, you’re out of your depth. Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I’ve spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you’ve done will be a daunting challenge. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation, and I have a plan to get government out of the way.”

This is such deep horse manure, starting with “I am not a career politician” from a man who after running for the U.S. Senate and serving a term as governor of Massachusetts has been running for president continuously.

Even worse is the utter distortion of the economic facts as reported by the New York Times:

For the first time in 40 years, the government sector of the American economy has shrunk during the first three years of a presidential administration…

The private sector grew faster in the first three years of the Obama administration than it did in three of the previous five administrations – the exception being Bill Clinton’s administrations, when private sector growth was more rapid.

Here’s a nifty chart the New York Times published, showing the change in GDP over the first three years of each presidential term that, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:


What drives us crazy is that the BIG LIE – told by Fox News, the Romney campaign and the armies of Republicans seeking to advance the 1-percent agenda – is so widespread that average folk are utterly confused about how we got into the mess we’re just now getting out of.

The truth is, had Obama used his electoral capital to press for a bigger stimulus and had the Republicans in Congress not made defeating Obama their top priority (and thus throttled virtually every economic proposal he has advanced), the economy likely would be doing even better and we might have avoided decimating federal support for cops, firefighters, schools and other state and local services.

For a well-argued, balanced analysis of Romney’s assertions versus Obama’s record, check out Paul Krugman. If swing voters ever catch on, in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and other battleground states, they’ll realize what a smarm Romney really is.

Sleaze Knows No Party: Speaking of oleaginous individuals, we were delighted to see Congressman Brad Sherman get pantsed on his claim that “without my effort, we wouldn’t have that additional lane on the 405 freeway.”

In actual fact, it was the other Democrat seeking to represent the new 30th CD, Howard Berman, who was crucial to getting that additional freeway lane built. HT to BuzzFeed for exposing Sherman’s weasely lie.

BuzzFeed turned to the expert: former Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar, who was the ranking member and then chairman of the House Appropriations Committee during the period in question.

Oberstar’s verdict: It was Berman.

“Howard Berman was the driving force behind this issue,” he said. “He talked to me at least once a week and for a while I said, ‘Howard, look, we’re going to help you, but don’t be a pain in the ass.”

Sherman, less so:

“We invited members to testify on projects of importance and significance to them or their state and a number of members of the California delegation came in a group, testified together. Brad Sherman was among them,” he said. “It was one shot.”

Sherman is “right to say he supported it, and that’s fine, but the real driving force behind this project was Howard Berman,” Oberstar said. Berman “had the strategy to move ahead with it, he had the persistence and heart in the mix , and so I made the commitment of $100 million.”

“These are the facts, this is the reality, and happily the project is nearing completion,” Oberstar said.

BTW, if you haven’t caught Berman’s cable TV spot with Betty White, Wendie Malick and an adorable puppy, don’t miss it.

Cowards Finally Come Forward: And speaking of missing an opportunity, we found it maddening when Dick Blum of the UC Board of Regents, Mark Yudof of the University of California, Charlie Reed of the California State Universities and Jack Scott of the California Community Colleges finally got off their sluggish butts and came out for Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise income and sales taxes.

Seems they finally understand that unless Brown’s measure passes, further debilitating cuts will have to be made to California universities and colleges, reducing faculty, staff and resources and driving up tuitions even further. As we noted back then, these gutless characters should have been pushing Republicans in the Legislature for a few votes last year when a measure to extend taxes that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had passed could have been placed on the ballot.

Instead, they were missing in action. So it’s about time they made themselves useful.

Gandalf Disappears in a Puff of Smoke: One more missing in action item that infuriates us off: Jerry Brown once again took off out of state without telling people where he was going. Back in November, the only reason anyone figured out where Jerry and First Lady Anne Gust Brown had gone was because Calbuzz tracked them down at Rancho La Puerta near Tecate, Mexico.

Hey Jerry, you’re governor of California – not some private citizen. It’s time for the Legislature to pass a bill (and override Brown’s veto if necessary) requiring that the governor must make public his travel plans when he leaves the state – whether or not public funds are involved in his travel. (Don’t tell us his security detail didn’t go on the taxpayers’ nickel.)

Some Republicans might even vote for that one.

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There are 7 comments for this post

  1. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    You forgot the other big Romney lie: that he was “starting new businesses and turning around failing ones.” What he actually did at Bain Capital was to buy profitable businesses, borrow money against them until they were no longer able to sustain the borrowing costs, break them up into parts and sell them off. This usually involved the loss of thousands of jobs–and I would imagine a loss for the lenders–each time they did it. But it earned big profits for Romney and Bain investors as they used the borrowed money to buy out other companies and repeat the process. A couple of times they put together smaller companies to create a larger one. But that’s hardly what I’d call starting new businesses.

    However, since governor Romney rarely opens his mouth without saying something dumb, offensive, or outright untrue, it’s hardly surprising that the big guns of American journalism have caught him at it. The only question is whether the American people will catch on to his lies. The well-known student of humanity, PT Barnum, famously opined that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. I fear he was right.

    • avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

      Your description of how Romney and Bain Capital worked is like you describing yourself from a photo of your rear view. It would simply be incorrect. You see, people trust those political descriptions that describe economics the way people people understand them, the frontal view. Staples and other Romney companies are successful as was Romney personally. A real win / win for Romney and America.

      Pretending that terrific successes like Romney are failures is simply a misleading lie. You should be praising the Governor for all the good he did for our country.

  2. avatar Moravecglobal says:

    UC Chancellors shout, charge more instste tuition to Californians. University of California Berkeley Chancellor makes Cal. farther and farther out of reach for the sons and daughters of Californians. UCB Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau is outspoken on why elite public universities, like Cal, should charge Californians more. With Birgeneau’s leadership UCB is more expensive (on an all-in-cost) than private Harvard and Yale. Chancellor Birgeneau’s ‘charge more’ tuition make Cal. the most expensive public higher education in our country!

    Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) blames the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar expected. The Chancellor’s ‘charge more’ instate tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic year. If Birgeneau had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Increasing funding is not Cal’s solution.

    As a public university UCB is to maximize access to the widest number of instate students at a reasonable cost with a mission of diversity and equality of opportunity. Unfortunately Birgeneau’s ‘charge more’ instate tuition diminishes the equality and inclusion principles which underlie our state and country. Birgeneau’s and Provost George Breslauer’s ($306,000 salary) ‘charge more’ instate tuition denies middle income Californians the transformative value of Cal’s education.

    Chancellor Birgeneau’s tenure is a sad unacceptable legacy.
    Opinion to: UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu and Calif. State Senators and Assembly members.

  3. avatar marcdanziger says:

    You might notice, guys, that in your own numbers, the growth in non-military Federal spending is – um – positive. So how are you ‘shrinking’ government , exactly?

    Look, I’m a Democrat, but let’s at least stop pretending that reducing the rate of growth is equal to shrinking. Credibility matters, and we really don’t have a lot to piss away.

  4. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    Hi Ernie,
    Give me one example of an “accomplishment” by governor Romney besides the MA universal health care plan, and I’ll be happy to consider giving him credit for it. And please don’t insult my intelligence as he does by citing the auto bailout or job increases when he was governor. Unlike die-hard Republican voters, I know how to read and my memory is still intact. Jobs went down when he was governor. And he said in print that we should let Detroit fail.

  5. avatar GeoHagop says:

    Dick Blum is a sick bum. As bohemian.com has it,

    “Feinstein supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, financier Richard C. Blum, benefited from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee.

    “Each year, MILCON’s members decide which military construction projects will be funded from a roster proposed by the Department of Defense. Contracts to build these specific projects are subsequently awarded to such major defense contractors as Halliburton, Fluor, Parsons, Louis Berger, URS Corporation, and Perini Corporation. From 1997 through the end of 2005, with Feinstein’s knowledge, Blum was a majority owner of both URS Corp. and Perini Corp.”

    That’s the same Richard Blum who uses his positions as UC Regent and investment banker to enslave UC students with debt peonage.

  6. avatar ValleyNative says:

    It is easy for people to know when Brad Sherman is lying: Whenever he opens up his mouth. At the last debate, he added the I-5 project to his list of “accomplishments”. Pretty soon, he will mention the 101 and 118 freeways as well. He even has the temerity to show a SHERMAN WAY sign from an intersection in his cable TV ad. He must really think voters are dumb, ignorant and gullible enough to think SHERMAN WAY is named for him! And is any well-informed voter in the new 30th district going to take VICA’s word that BS is responsible for the 405 over the former Chairman of the House Transportation Committee? VICA endorsed BS, so of course he will parrot their…”BS.” Methinks most people hearing BS tell them that VICA says he is the one responsible for the 405 will wonder, “What the hell is VICA?” Did he leave out the “din”?

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