You will love this.
Written by Mike Carlton from the Sydney morning herald.
One of my new year's resolutions was to ignore the Republican primaries in the United States, but I have broken it already.
They have a horrible, irresistible fascination, not unlike watching a funnel web spider crawling across your lounge-room carpet. All those spray-on tans, those spray-on first names - Mitt, Newt, Rick, Ron - and worse, those spray-on opinions confected out there on the lunar right. These people have spun so far off any rational policy axis that they make George W. Bush look like a Roosevelt liberal.
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is the most worrying, if only because he's likely to be the winner to go up against Barack Obama. He made his multimillions as a rip'n'gouge venture capitalist, or whatever the buzz phrase is these days, preying on the carcasses of struggling companies and turning fat profits by the traditional method of sacking half the workforce and flogging off the bare bones of what was left.
The American ABC television network and The Washington Post newspaper reported this week that Romney has an estimated $US33 million stashed in the notorious tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Pushed by his Republican rivals to reveal his financial dealings, he has admitted only to paying "close to 15 per cent" tax. All perfectly legal, of course, but morally bankrupt in a nation where the thieves of Wall Street have destroyed the savings of the middle class.
The rest of the field looks even nastier. Newt Gingrich, the ultimate Washington insider, postures as an advocate of small government and "family values", but is a thrice-married serial adulterer who, bizarrely, was forced to make a public pledge last month "to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others''.
Then you have Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania and religious hardliner who frets incessantly about Darwinian evolution, abortion, sexual morality and euthanasia. Infamously, he once compared gay sex to "man on child, man on dog". Google his surname and you'll find the algorithm directs you, first up, to a hilariously sleazy neologism that has no place in a family newspaper.
But even Santorum pales against the maddest of the lot, the Texas congressman Ron Paul, who wants to chainsaw half the government in Washington and return the US dollar to the gold standard, and who believes the United Nations is a vast global conspiracy to deprive America of God and guns.
Commonly but inexplicably described as a "libertarian", he is, in fact, another wacko moraliser infamous for pronouncing that "homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities".
On the economic troubles besetting the US, Paul thinks only that "it's amazing that people don't understand that the more the market is involved and the smaller the government, the lower the price, the better the distribution, and the higher the quality." Apparently he has never heard of Lehman Brothers.
Yes, it's true that Obama has been a disappointing President, but any one of this Republican lot in the White House would be a disaster.
WHILE we're on about matters American, it would be helpful if they could let us know where our new war is going to be.
With Iraq turning into such a wonderful success, and an equally convincing triumph for democracy undoubtedly on the way in Afghanistan, it is high time to decide who we will take on next. I say "we" because, as ever, Australia will tag along as the dutiful ally.
North Korea looked possible for a while. It would have been the moment to strike when the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il , dropped off the twig and was replaced by his fat, pasty and apparently catatonic youngest son, Kim Jong-un. But nuking Pyongyang might have upset the Chinese who, while no doubt as baffled by the North Koreans as the rest of us, would nonetheless have to stick up for them.
(For those of you who miss the elder Kim, there is a wonderful reminder of his immortal genius for leadership at a website named "Kim Jong-il Looking At Things".)
With the Kim family out of the equation, then, the obvious candidate for our next war has got to be Iran. Nobody likes the Iranians at all, not even the Russians, who have been supplying their nuclear know-how.
They are barking mad, which always helps when you need a casus belli and, as an added plus, the Israelis have already made a splendid start against them by assassinating a nuclear scientist in Tehran every month or so.
As the aforementioned Rick Santorum said just the other day, it is "a wonderful thing" to hear of another dead Iranian nuclear expert.
More needs to be done, though. Air strikes to begin with, I would suggest, and then a full-scale land invasion in due course. Even with the Obama cutbacks, this year's US defence budget runs out to about $US700 billion. You can't have all that money sitting there doing nothing.
ANOTHER new year's resolution of mine is to collect the predictions of our noisy public economists to see how they stack up against what actually happens down the track.
My guess is that they'll be wildly inaccurate, as usual. For example, if the economists assure us the bottom will fall out of commodity prices in the next six months, you can pretty much bet they'll go through the roof.
The current fashion in the trade is to predict that unemployment will blow out this year. This is accompanied by loud cries for "flexibility" in the workplace, which is code for making it easier to sack people.
On Thursday, the omnipresent Chris Richardson, of Deloitte Access Economics, was warning that Australia should brace for the "ugliest" of times if Europe can't sort out its financial woes.
"A GFC Mark II," he suggested.
Ho hum. Been there, done that. Two years ago, Richardson told us the federal budget was "buggered", that the economy would "unwind scarily fast" and that a recession was inevitable. Oh, and unemployment would hit 7 per cent last year.
Wrong, wrong and wrong. Let the good times roll.
Re: You will love this.
Wait until people learn about Romney's accounts in the Cayman Islands. 100% legal of course....If you have enough money, you too can lower your taxes, considerably. I guess Obama made him do it........
Re: You will love this.
Romney gives at least 10% of his income to charity. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and many other members of congress have made 100s of million from trading inside information. All legal......thanks to congress.
Re: You will love this.
True, they are all pretty much leagally corrupt, party aside. I can tell you that when someone runs for President, all sorts of things can become examined. Even one's birth cirtificate or tax return.
Re: You will love this.
That link leads to Sarasota Memorial Hospital's site. In the first place it is customary and respectful of copywrites to link to the source you are stealing from.
You remind me of an interesting question. Bear in mind, this could apply to any president/candidate, so try and broaden your mind beyind Obama:
Question: Is there a line or area that we shouldn't go into a candidate's history? And is there a limit for how far back to go?
I hope also that the answer is not something like "It's just the media" because we are the consumers of the media and the people who love to hear what they dig up.