Cola Wars and the Campaign to Sell Wall Street Status Quo

In the past hundred years Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola have spent billions in advertising and employed millions of people to get you to think this caffeinated bubbly sugar water is different/better/worse than that caffeinated bubbly sugar water. People are fiercely loyal and opinionated on the subject. All this marketing and bloviating ignores the fact that two very similar cola products do not equal actual choice. It boils down to an epic campaign for a product void of nutritional substance; a “refreshment” rather than a food. In the end, save the hype – it’s all a bunch of bubbles, sugar and water.

Mitch McConnell Wall Street Reform

Cartoon by Dave Granlund - (click to purchase)

For us veterans of the Cola Wars it’s easy to see that conflict can be manufactured, passions misdirected and sometimes what we fight about is intentionally vague.

We saw this during the health care debate when House Minority Leader John Boehner and others called the then-bill “a government takeover of health care.” The only way the statement was true is if you were an insurance company not wanting to be told you have to cover sick people. If “regulations” equal a government takeover of health care then stoplights are a government takeover of traffic.

Health care reform is a far cry from government taking over anything. In the town halls over the summer people were upset by the idea, so with some encouragement and coaching by interest groups they came out to make that known. As the saying goes, feelings are not facts and in the health care debate the latter beat the snot out of the former. In the end we’re a sick nation that pays more than any other country for health care and we still rate low in quality of care. The bill that passed is an improvement not a cure-all, and certainly not enough to trigger the end of the world or even cause an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano to erupt.

The next smoke and mirror campaign is pointed at the financial regulatory reform bill. It’s not an easy task to sell that criminalizing the mass fleecing of the middle class, resulting in the unprecedented cratering of the world’s economy can somehow be bad for working Americans. Senator Mitch McConnell has tried by saying the reform bill will lead to an endless taxpayer-funded bailout. This was widely panned as being straight from pollster Frank Luntz’s Word Doctors leaked report on how to stop the bill. Number 17, under Language reads, “It’s not “˜reform.’ ““ This is not a reform bill. It is the “˜Stop the Big Bank Bailout bill.'” It’s also widely noted that the status quo is the actual endless taxpayer-funded bailout.

Like saying, “Don’t outlaw grift ““ private industry theft creates jobs. No socialism!”
Whose side are these guys on?

One would think this financial cataclysm would tone down the canard chorus for some safeguard installments. But hey, people think the uniform burger chain Burger King is an alternative to the uniform burger chain McDonalds. Mounds of money can make even the goofiest of conclusions suddenly make sense.

It’s not going to be comfortable to convince the millions of victims that the shady, immoral and unethical practices on Wall Street that put them out on the street, crippled their neighborhood and wiped-out their retirement shouldn’t be zapped by sunlight because of “American values.” It’d be a nice trick, though.

One is the argument to leave well enough alone, Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel said on This Week, “The fact that the SEC has a civil complaint against this [Goldman Sachs], their argument is that this is about misrepresentation of marketing a security, a law that has been on the books forever.” So because there is a suit brought up by the SEC against Goldman, it is proof we don’t need any more regulations for the banking industry? The suit is civil so if Goldman loses because of their sneaky and super complicated shorting which made them billions, they’ll have to pay a fine. Unfortunately (pun intended), a lot of the stuff they did was legal, that’s the real issue.

Usually being criminally injurious is a crime. But, we can talk it out over a Coke”¦or a Pepsi, whichever you prefer.

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer , a columnist for Cagle Cartoons and the editor of Follow Tina on Twitter @TinaDupuy.

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Trust in the GOP’s Dearth of Experience

When Republicans warn that a policy is a job-killer – Americans should listen. If any group of lawmakers and thinkers know about killing jobs it’s the Grand Old Party. In 2008, the final year of the Bush Administration, after two terms of careless deregulation implemented with bastardized pseudo-free market battle cries, the economy lost 2.6 million jobs. An annual job loss not equaled since 1945. When it comes to job extermination the GOP’s display case has a full assortment of trophies. So, of course Republicans are now the best authority on how not to kill jobs. Basically, don’t do what they did.

Mitt Romney RomneyCare GOP hypocrisy

Cartoon by Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune (click to purchase)

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is plotting a new massive job-killer that the American people can’t afford,” cautioned House Republican Leader John Boehner last week. He knows this because he was arguably privy to the “old” massive job-killer that Americans couldn’t afford.

Like the tobacco critic “Debbie” a life-long smoker who infamously took a drag off a cigarette through a hole in her neck for an anti-smoking PSA in the 1990’s — it’s not hypocrisy for the GOP to talk about what will or won’t tank the economy ““ it comes from their experience tanking the economy.

The GOP is solidly against everything in President Barack Obama’s agenda. Coincidence? No, it’s based on their record of being solidly for everything in President Bush’s agenda. They’re simply learning from their mistakes and gaining from their life lessons. That’s why they now are deficit hawks, because they’re trying to make up for their previous mistakes. That’s why they now want smaller government since they grew it. That’s why they now want to work on decreasing the debt since they increased it.

We need to start listening to the GOP and their leaders. They have a unique familiarity with the things they deplore. And that’s important in deploring things:

When RNC Chairman Michael Steele dismisses the Democrats for big spending, this isn’t his first prom. Steele can recognize a bulging budget by having doubled his predecessors’. He has studied the issue at length as the par-taying party chairman. He’s thought about the wasteful spending from his private jets and limousines. He can see the pork people who fly commercial would completely miss.

Chairman Steele has simply been doing research into fiscal conservatism from the opposite side of the spectrum. This way he gains the necessary perspective.

Recently Rush Limbaugh thankfully pointed out that the Obama administration is guilty of “character assassination.” Only a person who publicly accused Parkinsons patient/stem cell research spokesperson Michael J. Fox of faking his symptoms would have such an expertise on slander. You don’t just pick on the then 13-year-old daughter of the President, Chelsea Clinton, for her looks and not know how to spot cheap shots. If you spend years comparing everything Obama does with Nazis you of course are going to be more sensitive to the assassination of other people’s character.

Were the convicts in Scared Straight discounted because of their crimes? No. They were the best people to tell troubled youths what not to do because they did it. Just like today’s GOP.

Who knows more about the inside than an insider? Who knows more about sin than a sinner? Who knows more about real Americans than the politically ambitious who overuse the phrase “real Americans?” No one, that’s who.

And who knows more about “socialized” medicine and its devastating implications than former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He passed “socialized” medicine in his state four years ago this month. He told the Associated Press at a book signing near his current home in La Jolla, California that passing health care reform will cost Obama a second term. Is it because the nearly identical legislation passed in his state and he didn’t seek a second term? Yes. Romney knows about health care reform and re-elections. Or really just about health care reform and opting out of re-election.

How can we fault those who know the most about the hen houses just because happen to be foxes? Do we want to live in an America that does?


Follow the author on Twitter @tinadupuy. Copyright 2010

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