Apparently the old ad man in me still works in my sleep because after watching the President's speech at the Democratic Convention last night, I woke up with my own campaign slogan for Barack that succinctly nails the fundamental difference between the two camps in just two words … "OBAMA CARES". The Republicans tried to turn the Affordable Health Care Act into something negative by derisively coining it "Obama Care." All the President’s people have to do is add one simple 'S' to turn it back into a positive and powerful umbrella campaign. I can see it as a bumper sticker or as a call and response in a speech. It would go something like this:
"The difference between the President and the Republicans when it comes to affordable healthcare for all is … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to the environment … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to protecting women's rights … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to your right to love whom you choose … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to protecting senior's entitlements … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to our veterans … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to improving students' education … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to protecting the middle class … OBAMA CARES!
When it comes to you … OBAMA CARES!"
Does my slogan imply that the Republicans don't care as much? Yes, but it's subtle. More subtle than their own party platform which reduces the rights and increases the burdens of the majority in no uncertain terms.
So, Obama campaign manager listen to me. It's time for a quick change. Start printing the posters and bumper stickers. I hope you are listening … because I care.
The nation, along with many states and local municipalities are burdened with overwhelming debt. Like a company that's about to file for bankruptcy, they can't afford to honor their contractual obligations and make payroll. How did this happen? Who's responsible? I'm told it's the government workers. They 're bleeding us dry so let's bust the unions and do away with collective bargaining. Let's take away their pensions! After all, why should my hard earned tax money go to give them better benefits than my boss is giving me these days?
While the anger is understandable, it is somewhat misdirected. I can assure you that the governments' seemingly insurmountable fiscal deficits have been caused more by politicians corrupted by the corporate elite, than the common folk who educate your children, put out your fires and keep you safe. A teacher's average salary is many times less than the average bonus for a Wall Street trader. Don’t believe me? If you can get past the gates of the richest neighborhood you can find, check out the teacher to Wall Street fat cat ratio. And let's not forget, a teacher greatly shapes your child's development, whereas a broker dumps dubious derivatives and toxic assets on unsuspecting clients. "Yeah, well" you say, "I don't pay the broker, but my taxes go to that teacher's salary." I was hoping you'd say that. I have one word for you – bailouts. That’s right, much of the eight hundred billion dollars worth of your tax money went to bonuses for the very people who got us into this financial mess we are trying to deal with. Instead the government should have put them in prison or confiscated their assets. Their assets would cover a lot of debt, but instead our government chose to cover their asse(t)s. So if you want to get angry, direct it at those people. If you work for a large corporation and your retirement package has been greatly reduced or taken away completely, be angry at them. They are in breach of contract. When you agreed to sign up with them all those years ago, it was with the understanding that after a certain amount of years of you paying into your retirement fund, you would be paid certain benefits. If they can't give you back the last 30 years of your life, they should be legally and morally bound to honor their original agreement. It should make you even madder to know that the bigwig who made the decision to cut your benefits was given a big bonus for saving the company money by screwing you and your co-workers.
Now you want to go and do the same thing to the government workers who serve you everyday. Don’t do onto others as was done onto you. Two wrongs don't make a right. Instead, let's start reducing the deficits by first making those at the top who have profited by manipulating the system pay back into it what they have taken from us.
That is the question a number of people are asking since he has not as yet given equal time to the progressive leaning artist Michael D'Antuono after devoting over five minutes of air time to conservative artist Jon McNaughton on The Colbert Report. Okay, full disclosure, the progressive leaning artist is me and the people asking are mainly family members.
The artist's (me) campaign demanding equal time was kicked off with an entertaining YouTube video goo.gl/fLiLV featuring an eclectic mix of characters calling on Colbert to be fair.
You can better serve Democracy (and take the "starving" out of starving artist) by posting the video on Colbert's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thecolbertreport or Tweet him @ColbertReport to demand Colbert give D'Antuono (again, me) equal time. Do it for the children (my children).
JPMorgan Chase acknowledges $2 billion trading loss
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, said Thursday that it lost $2 billion in the past six weeks in a trading portfolio designed to hedge against risks the company takes with its own money. The exotic financial investments got the world in trouble in 2008. The question a lot of people are asking now, did JPMorgan Chase learn nothing?
I know the answer to that one. JP Morgan Chase learned a lot from the 2008 debacle. They learned that unlike the rest of us, if they gamble on irresponsible investments, the rest of us (taxpayers) will give them trillions of interest free dollars. They learnt that they can pull off the biggest heist in history and not go to jail. They may even be given a top position guarding our financial henhouse. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, currently sits on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Ironically, that's the very organization that is supposed to oversee his bank’s financial practices, the organization that is supposed to issue all sorts of regulations that control what his bank can do. nothing has It's also the very organization he has been lobbying to relax the rules about the bets he wants to make. What do you do with a guy like Dimon? In 2008 when high rollers like him nearly collapsed the economy, we were told we had to "keep the talent." Yet we insist on cutbacks and performance based pay for teachers. Apparently, those greedy characters who educate our children and brown bag it everyday are the real drag on our economy. It seems to me that two billion dollars could hire quite a few teachers. Dimon called the trades his bank made "flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored", but hey that's the kind of talent we just can't afford to lose.
This episode should be a red flag that four years after the 2008 meltdown the problem has not been fixed. As a matter of fact the problem has become worse. Remember "Too Big To Fail"? Well, the surviving mega banks are much bigger. Instead of breaking them up into smaller institutions, we have accomplished the opposite. The five largest banks, which controlled $6.1 trillion in assets before the collapse, by the end of 2011 had assets worth $8.5 trillion — equal to more than half of U.S. economic output.
The Justice Department is going to launch an investigation on the JPMorgan Chase fiasco. I doubt that Dimon and his colleagues are shaking in their boots considering it's the same government that failed to enact much of the Dodd-Frank bill over the last three and a half years.
I'm just an artist not a economist, but it seems simple enough to me that if the banks were to big to fail before, we might want to try breaking them up into smaller banks. And maybe while we're at it we could reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. But at the top of the Big Banks' asset sheets are our politicians, so we won't be doing that. That means the recent JPMorgan thing is just a miniscule pre-bearer of what is to come.
So we know what the Wall Street fat cats learned from the 2008 meltdown. The rest of should learn to pay close attention to which politicians are doing what and let them know if they don't start working to protect our bottom line, there's going to be a very hostile take-over.
My new painting inspired by the Trayvon Martin tragedy called "A Tale Of Two Hoodies", has created somewhat of a stir. A popular subject of blogs, it has been noted more than 17,000 times over the weekend. Most enlightening were the many disturbing responses on my site revealing a nation that sadly hasn't come as far as I had thought.
The piece was meant to illuminate the travesty of racially profiling innocent children and call into question any role of racism in the interpretation of policy. Like all my art, the painting was meant to create a civil public discourse. The opportunity to share views could and should enlighten and open minds.
Reminiscent of the reaction to my painting of President Obama titled "The Truth" in 2009, the reaction revealed a very fractured nation with great disdain for other points of view. The piece depicts a KKK hooded police officer drawing his weapon on a small black child in a hoodie who is merely offering the policeman some generic candy. The people who were so enraged, never were able to quite understand that the painting while inspired by the Trayvon case, was not meant as a literal depiction of the incident , but representative of a broader problem. If the painting pondered the degree of racism in the country today, the reaction to it certainly answered the question. I was personally taken aback by the unashamedly racist comments made by so many.
Based on the response I have received, (and this may not scientifically prove anything) the hatred and racism seems linked to party affiliation. My findings beg the question: Are conservatives more racist than progressives? And if so, why? Perhaps it is because they feel they are being forced by socialist entitlements to share their money with minorities who are on the dole. Maybe they think that minorities don't work as hard and want something for nothing … from them. That kind of thinking might make sense to some educated, fiscal conservative sitting in his cushy office who doesn't want to part with his "hard earned millions." But the socially conservative, beer drinking redneck enjoys the same entitlements. That guy is just ignorant enough to let the fiscal conservative use his racial prejudice against his own best interests. Incredulously, many of these hostile people feel like they are the victims.