Saturday, October 29, 2016

The dishonesty and foolishness of (mo)Ron Johnson

With the November election approaching, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and his billionaire allies have grown exceeding desperate to try to hang on to their seat against Russ Feingold. As part of these escalating and whiny attacks, there has been a theme that Johnson is some kind of self-made business man that would still bring a fresh perspective to Washington as opposed to a more experienced, established politician like Feingold.

Yes, I know this theme makes little sense outside of Bubble World, given that Johnson is the incumbent and Feingold has been mostly living in and working in Wisconsin since the 2010 elections, but some dipshits still buy it I guess. But those dipshits are being lied to in more ways than one, and Joel McNally gave an excellent explanation why in a great commentary in this week’s Shepherd Express titled “Why We Should Elect Politicians.”

The whole thing is very good, but I especially like this segment where McNally talks about the childish inaction that has been Johnson’s act since he was elected to the Senate 6 years ago, causing the dysfunction that Johnson cynically tries to score political points with, when (mo)Ron bitches about “Washington insiders not listening to the people.”
All professional politicians want to do is solve the nation’s problems. Non-politicians like Johnson have more important concerns, such as cutting taxes for wealthy people like themselves.

Now Republicans have nominated a non-politician supported by Johnson who is clearly unfit to be president. As the Trump campaign goes down in flames, you’d never guess what Johnson and other Republicans promise to do if they’re re-elected to the Senate and House.

They’re promising to continue the gridlock in Washington by doing everything possible to block any accomplishments by the first woman president just as they tried to block the first African American president from accomplishing anything.

Republicans call that providing a check on President Hillary Clinton. It’s more like sabotaging the government of a democratically elected president. Republicans have extended their sabotage to the U.S. Supreme Court, refusing to even hold hearings on a highly qualified presidential appointee.

Washington gridlock is what disgusts citizens about politics. But not all politicians are at fault. The problem is politicians like Johnson who pretend not to be politicians at all while sabotaging government from within.

And the cynicism with Johnson goes beyond his role in helping to screw things up in D.C. When Johnson claims to be this “successful business man”, remember that this success is largely because of the billionaire family he married into. He didn’t just get the startup money for PACUR plastics from the Curlers, his FIL’s folks kept paying him as a key buyer of his services. Let’s hearken back to this national story from October 2010, as people were just starting to fill in the blanks on Ron Johnson’s career.
However, Johnson's usually mum about the fact that one of his largest clients is Bemis, a publicly traded company founded by his now-deceased father in law, and currently run by his brother in law, Jeffrey Curler….

Johnson joined PACUR in 1979, to help a different brother-in-law, Pat Curler, run what had -- until then -- been a Curler family business. In fact, the name PACUR is the hybrid of the names Pat and Curler.

According to proxy statements Bemis filed with the SEC, "During 2009, we and our subsidiaries purchased, at market competitive prices, approximately $9.5 million of polyester and polyester copolymer products from Pacur, Inc. Ronald Johnson, brother-in-law of Jeffrey H. Curler, is President of Pacur, Inc. Mr. Curler is Chairman of the Board of the Company and our Executive Chairman."

Bemis has made similar, major purchases every year going back years, ranging in size from $6.1 million (in 1998) to $12.6 million (in 2006).
Give any of us millions of dollars as a dowry and have that new family be the main one buying your products, and we’ll be pretty damn “successful,” too. And we’d thankful for the huge break we’d been given in life, instead of being a self-absorbed, science-denying jackass like (mo)Ron Johnson who thinks he’s entitled to his fortune.

This leads to my final point. Why do we think “businessmen” (gender intentional) are a special group? It seems to me that more often than not, the greed and cluelessness of these people have caused more pain to Americans than helped them, and they certainly don’t seem to understand much about life other than squeezing a few extra dollars of profit (through means legal and otherwise). We’ve seen in Wisconsin the disaster that has resulted with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce running our state’s economic policy over the last 5 years, with job growth consistently at or near the bottom of the Midwest, and talent leaving the state due to regressive social policy and de-investment in education.

Seriously, given that these guys live in such a narrow world where nothing and no one has a value other than numbers on a balance sheet, why trust them to do anything good for anyone other than themselves and their little cabal?

I want politicians who understand issues and know that people and resources have a value well beyond their profit-loss potential. I don’t want blank brains like Ron Johnson who only know “facts” from their narrow business interests, their corporate campaign contributors, and the Israel lobby.

That’s why I greatly resent (mo)Ron trying to imply Russ Feingold is somehow a “phony” and second-class citizen because Russ chose to study and teach law, and decided to serve the public for a career. And not only because of the implication that public service is somehow a lesser calling than being in business (although that’s a lot of it). But also because any examination of the two candidates’ resumes will show who is the real fraud running for U.S. Senator- “successful businessman/citizen legislator” Ron Johnson. And in his heart, even (mo)Ron knows it.

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