Persona Ficta

January 8, 2012

Unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool plutocrat all you have to know about Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate is that he’s a Republican —that should immediately disqualify him.  If that doesn’t do it for you his record as ping-pong champion of policy would be a good back-up rationale for dismissing him — in his political life Romney has advocated more positions than a sex manual. If you’re still on the fence check out the details of his record as full-time job destructor/hatchet-man for Bain Capital —if you are a poor or middle class worker Mitt Romney is not your friend. And finally (unless you believe corporations have hearts and souls), Romney’s declaration that corporations really are persons ought to cherry your no-Mitt sundae.

One thing that should not disqualify Romney, however, is his religion.  If that kind of irrationality is cause for disqualification anyone who expresses belief in any religion ought to be disqualified as presidential material. Though some are wackier than others all religions share a thread of looniness that has the potential for making people do strange things.

Any fundamental religious belief is inconsistent with the rationality required to oversee government, but since in the United States, there is no way a candidate can ever come out as an atheist and hope to be president, if we disqualified candidacies on the basis of religion we’d kill the circus of election seasons. We’d have no candidates at all!  And no TV news viewer could endure months of talking heads going on an on about what this non-existent Democrat had to say about that non-existent Republican.

But wait, Fox, MSNBC and CNN could probably do it! They have the magical means to beat a dead horse and still keep their ratings up. It’s bad enough having to listen to Fox, MSNBC and CNN hammering us 24/7 with no really new news when candidates exist; but continuous coverage of phantoms would be suicide-making,

But I digress.

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On Romney’s disqualification for being a Republican:

For average folks this should be a no-brainer.

Republicans are all about “getting  government off our backs”.  The reason they’re so hot about this is that they want to replace government on our backs with corporations on our backs (government ostensibly belongs to us, but the Republican Party a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations); but given the huge bulk of corporate persons the small backs of working Americans are not spacious enough to accomodate both. To make room on our backs for corporations government has to go.

The goal of the GOP is to load as many corporate persons into backpacks slung from the necks of the working poor and middle class to render them semi-conscious enough by strangulation to be oblivious to their load —or maybe (by erotic asphixiation) bring them to a climax maximized by the pleasure of being throttled by CEOs rather than senators and reps. Republicans want to give us the free-market experience of being screwed by corporations rather than government.

But wait! Republicans, though amazingly shameless, still like their fig leafs.  Their downsizing would keep a small place for government just north of a plumber’s cleavage with enough room to write more laws intended to direct most of the nation’s wealth into the reservoirs of the rich.  Of course, given the limited space provided by our small backs congress would have to share offices with the Koch Brothers and Exxon —a space with a desk just large enough to scribble appreciative checks; but this wouldn’t be much of a change.

Romney is running as a Republican. Enough said.

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On Romney’s Ping-Pongs:

To start with his most recent instant reversal delivered during Sunday’s debate Romney, responding to Newt Gingrich’s demand that Romney set his PAC straight on Gingrich’s record, said he couldn’t legally direct a PAC to alter its ad, then added that he hadn’t seen any PAC adds. Not two or three minutes later he said he had seen an add after all, then detailed it’s contents.

The guy doesn’t even wait for short term memory to expire —doesn’t even wait for its funeral. Mitt launches right into a contradiction before rigor sets in on his original remark. This is not unusual behavior for a politician, but Romney, a well-schooled wind-bag, is constantly pushing the envelope.

Tell Romney what you’d like to hear and, presto! regardless of any previous remark (if you tip him with a vote) he’ll spout whatever you want.

It’s like talking to a robot.  A job-killing Mittbot.

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On Romney as a Job-killing Mittbot.

After making millions by slashing jobs for Bain Capital it’s breath-taking how the man can claim with a straight face that he’s a job creator. As DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, sees it Mitt Romney is not a job creator, he’s a job cremator.

“He was a corporate buyout specialist at Bain Capital,” Wasserman says, “He dismantled companies. He cut jobs. He forced companies into bankruptcy and he outsourced jobs and sent jobs overseas. That’s not a record to write home about, that’s not a record to be proud of, and it’s something voters need to know.”

A corporate buyout specialist’s job is to oversee leveraged buyouts. Leveraged buyouts often involve making a company profitable by slashing jobs. In the USA (especially) labor is one of the very expendible assets of a company and the easiest to get rid of or rob of a living wage. Romney’s success as a buyout specialist made him a fortune at the expense of labor, which consists of natural people who are not corporate persons, but real flesh and blood folks who make a living, not as Romney does, but by being productive.

Real people don’t make their living by destroying jobs. Romney’s specialty at Bain, meanwhile, was to be one of it’s top ghouls; nosing around for near-dead businesses, snatching them from the brink of internment, sucking out whatever life was left in them, chucking aside what was worthless (like labor) and building a mountain of fresh cash that he and the company could feast on into the future.

Ghoulishness is one of the dark sides of modern American capitalism.

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Mitt as Advocate of a Persona Ficta (the Corporate Person)

Corporations are people, my friend,” says Romney. I don’t know if he believes this or if it’s just one of the things he believes needs to be said to win the Republican nomination.  Of course he’s not unique in this, it’s just that he clearly has no shame about it. Nada. His vast wealth renders him clueless that there may actually be a chasm between his life and that of average people, and oblivious that it might even matter. His cluelessness about wealth disparity and it’s effect on real people is what makes him such a bumbler on the campaign trail (pink slips, I’m also unemployed, $10,000 bet).

The absurdity of corporate personhood is something that could only be dreamed up by the most cynical minds. The idea was created to give corporations the same rights as individuals to influence the political course of the nation. It became codified by the Supreme Court in the late 19th century and has been used ever since to direct national policy in such a way that corporations could amass such great wealth and influence that they could co-opt the will of real people.

A corporate person is a legal fiction perpetrated on average Americans to benefit the rich. To make matters worse, in 2010, the Supreme Court doubled-down on its cynicism and ruled that a corporate person’s right to free “speech” could not be limited by law, thereby giving corporate “persons” a huge advantage over natural persons to influence political discourse and policy —and Mitt Romney really like this idea.

Romney, in fact takes the ruse of corporate personhood even further in his answer to questions of wealth disparity. His definition of a corporate person suggests that corporate persons are the people employed by corporations, specifically its management.  But this is such a cynical deflection of the truth the guy should be driven of the stump by rolled up pink slips flung by smart permit-no-BS audiences.

Romney asks, “Where does all that money that corporations rake in go?”  To the people in corporations, he says. But that’s not the legal definition of a corporate person and Romney knows it. A corporate person is the corporation itself: a legal entity, concocted to protect the people who operate corporation from personal responsibility. A corporate person is a phantom, but one with huge clout —a lumbering ghost in the machine.

And Romney is no ghost-buster, he’s a conjuror of specters, a corporate shill, a persona ficta himself for businesses that cobble together sinister “persons” from cash and chutzpa to stomp out the little breathing persons who work for a living.

In short Romney’s so- called success is a figment of his twisted morality.

by Jim Culleny
1/10/12

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