A quick way to tell if you’re in a bad country is to see if they have a law against “slandering the state.” If America had such a law, this column would get me 30 days in the electric chair.
The August 1937 issue of Reader’s Digest (page 11) tells us the Nazi Party instructed all nurses in German hospitals to make a point of staying close by the bedside of patients with high fever and reporting any incoherent mutterings against Hitler.
During the Cold War, Westerners who posed any sort of threat or problem to Soviet countries had to be warned against Communist Trick 001. When the Westerner walked out of a restaurant, an old lady with a shawl around her head would run up and thrust papers into his hand, babbling about “mailing this for me when you get to a free country.” While the Westerner was trying to collect his wits and staring at what was in his hands, secret policemen would converge on him, catching him red-handed with “the goods,” proof that he was in possession of “material inimical to the interests of the People’s Republic.”
We’ve now arrived at the point where we can tell all the disgusting stories we want, all born right here in the USA. And the best ones are right there on Page 1!
Has it yet sunk in that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has accused Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 whole years? His proof? A former investor in Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, told him. And that informer’s name? Harry’s not telling. Isn’t that using an anonymous source to defame? Exactly. And is that the sort of thing Americans do, condone or allow? Well, it wasn’t, or at least it didn’t used to be. But that was then, and this is now.
The challenge to Harry Reid was far from unanimous. It was also far from audible. So, Romney is unfairly thrown back on defense with no chance to face his accuser. Valuable campaign time drips away with Romney flailing to erase this unjust stench, and, when Reid got tired of being asked to name the accuser, he ordered one of his spokesmen to stand before the reporters and, with the arrogance of a Libyan camel, announce, “The Senate majority leader will provide no further information on this matter.”
At moments like this, columnist Pete Hamill used to jump in with the one-word high-explosive, “Beautiful!”
What’s the lowest political act of the political season so far? The next TV commercial might be lower still, but the Democratic needlepoint on the Joe Soptic story is going to be hard to get in underneath. Joe worked for GST Steel in Kansas City in 1999 at a time when a lot of American steel mills were failing. I’ve read different attempts to get this story across, and they all suffer because of unfamiliar names and esoteric detail. I’m going to try a different approach. I’m going to paint the portrait we were supposed to take home from the video produced by Bill Burton, former Obama White House staffer now with “Priorities USA Action,” a super-PAC supporting Obama. I will then squirt toxic doses of inconvenient truth upon the vermin squirming in what they wanted us to believe.
And that is … Joe Soptic was covered by health insurance at GST. Bain closed down the plant, causing Joe’s wife to lose her health coverage. She died. Romney was virtually accused of her murder.
In football, they call this “piling on,” but I’m sorry; there’s just too much truth screaming to be told.
Joe’s wife never was on Joe’s GST health insurance. She had her own. Joe was offered a buyout but refused. Has anybody yet commented on the curious way Soptic “confesses” he was offered a buyout? He said, “They tried to buy our jobs out from under us!” Hey, folks. America’s steel industry was failing. Shouldn’t a buyout offer, rather than a “You’re fired!” get at least a slightly better rhetorical recollection? Romney was beyond Bain at that point and running the Olympics. He had nothing to do with any of this.
Joe’s wife died five years later. We offer Joe condolences. We offer America accuracy.
Did you hear the defense of those who made the ad, when the truth came out? I said their defense! They said, “We knew nothing about Joe or his family!” Then the conference call emerged, ending with the ad-makers thanking Joe for all his information. People like that are low enough to steal flies from a blind spider.
Doesn’t this remind you of the speaker introduced to the San Francisco Rotary Club simply as “… a man who made a million dollars in the oil business in California”? The speaker thanked his introducer and said, “Before I begin, let me straighten out an item or two. It wasn’t California; it was Pennsylvania. And it wasn’t oil; it was coal. And it was nowhere near a million dollars; it was closer to a hundred thousand.
“And it wasn’t me; it was my brother.
And he didn’t make it; he lost it!”