Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hubris of The Herd

The US Government has done it again. It has totally fucked all of the responsible taxpayers. And I'm up in the middle of the night writing about it. It won't do any good, but maybe I'll be able to sleep.

You know the first part of the story. Government deregulates banks and other lenders. Government make credit cheap. Banks try to cash in by making as many loans as possible. Wannabe homeowners take advantage of cheap credit to buy homes they can't afford. Homeowners take advantage of cheap credit to refinance usury rated credit cards into whopping big mortgages--bigger than their houses. Banks indulge in an orgy of lending: to homeowners, to businesses, to each other so that they can go on lending. The housing market finally stabilizes and then drops as Fed Chairman lowers interest rates (too late, of course). Homeowners get hit with nasty clauses in variable rate mortgages. Homeowners start to default on credit cards--then house payments. Banks stop lending. Housing market plummets. Banks fail. Investment banks fail. Panic ensues.

Now, to avert a depression (that's right, I said the d word), the Bush administration and Henry Paulson (He developed bitch tits because his testosterone was too high and his body upped the estrogen) have a plan to save the day. The have proposed that the taxpayers--that's right, you and I--pony up Seven Motherfucking Hundred Motherfucking Billion Fucking Dollars. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, each person in the US will have to pay $2,300 to clean up this mess. If all of the people in the world coughed up $100, it still wouldn't be enough.

Perhaps it's better than the alternative. The alternative would be a downward spiral in home prices, massive bank failures, foreclosures on a massive scale, mass homelessness. Layoffs, squatting. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

That's fine. We should avoid those things. But I say this. Those who are irresponsible should pay. I want a D branded on the head of every banker whose bank needs to be rescued and each homeowner who can't pay his mortgage should be stripped naked and forced to fellate Richard Simmons.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin, Lehman Brothers, The McRib Sandwich--Who's Smarter?

My money's on the sandwich.

Today the markets came crashing down. Today I went to McDonald's for the first time in... Today I had to hear about that Hockey Whore again. I don't know which item was worse. Okay, yes I do. Even I can't joke about what a horrific event for the economy of the US and the world the bankruptcy filing by Lehman was. Very bad. Very very bad. I guess I should say more than that--this is a blog, right?

I didn't get my McRib. I'm starting with this one because it has the most immediate impact on my life. I don't like McDonald's. I NEVER go there. Except when they have the McRib. I'm not going to say that it's great cuisine or anything. McRibs complete garbage, but they are delicious. I order mine without pickles. Who ever heard of pickles on barbecue? I'm pretty barbecue deprived. I'm from St. Louis and grew up eating delicious barbecue. Now I live in the so-called city of Seattle. I saw the McRib advertised yesterday, so I drove to McDonald's and ordered one. The lady at the drive through didn't know what I was talking about. This is the second time that it has happened to me in a year. Seattleites must have no concept of barbecue (not that I'm claiming that the McRib is barbecue), so McD's doesn't carry the McRib here. Seattle sucks. I feel very strongly about barbecue. I'll get back to politics now. That's why we are all here.

Lehman Brother's collapse, yea the collapse of the modern financial system itself can be laid in some measure at the feet of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Alan Greenspan will get most of the blame, but I think it's only fair that old W. and Slick Willie assume a fair share. Why? Well, first and most obviously, George Bush fucked the finances of the country to the point that the government's hands are somewhat tied. The Iraq War, the medicare drug bill and other disgusting government handouts (BTW, I don't begrudge seniors healthcare, but that bill was a handout to drug companies and private insurors), and huge tax cuts have left this country unable to cope with an economic downturn.

Bill Clinton Slick Willie Bill Clinton on the other hand is responsible for some serious errors in banking regulation:

  • 1994 Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act helped to reduce predatory lending practices on low income home owners but also relaxed capital requirements and other regulations to encourage the private sector secondary market for small business loans and contained more than 50 provisions to reduce bank regulatory burden and paperwork requirements.

  • 1994 Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act permitted adequately capitalized and managed bank holding companies to acquire banks in any state one year after enactment.

  • 1996 The Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act reduced the record keeping requirements on banks and amended the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 to streamline the mortgage lending process.

  • 1999 The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act modified portions of the Bank Holding Company Act to allow affiliations between banks and insurance underwriters. While [it] preserv[ed the] authority of states to regulate insurance, the act prohibit[ed] state actions that have the effect of preventing bank-affiliated firms from selling insurance on an equal basis with other insurance agents.ref

I guess a Republican congress can share the blame as well.

As to the Palin, I despise her. She epitomizes what is wrong with this country. She is completely unqualified to be Vice President. As governor, she hired her brother-in-law as a state trooper and then fired him when he divorced her sister. She is pro-life and does not believe in evolution. 'Nuf said.

But even worse than Sarah Palin is the fact that she is accepted as a candidate for VP. If Americans weren't so stupid (this is becoming a theme here, hmmm) she would have been laughed off the stage at the Republican National Convention. The 'every man syndrome' is at work here. Americans would rather vote for the super soccer mom than a brilliant editor of the Yale Law Review (for those who don't know, Yale Law is one of the toughest programs to be admitted to). They value familiarity over accomplishment. That's perfectly fine choosing a friend or lover, but this is the Presidency of the United States of America, the MOST POWERFUL JOB IN THE WORLD. ARRGH!!! Even worse, they didn't learn from their mistake. They chose George Bush. The stupidest, laziest, president that reminded them of their favorite drinking buddy and they got fucked over for eight years. You want more, voters? Feel free. I'm moving to Vanuatu.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick on a Democracy

Let's just list this here for a second. John McCain says he's about change, too. So I guess his whole angle is "Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, healthcare policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change. That's just calling the same thing something different. You know, you can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.

Did Barack Obama mean this literally? Was he trying to insinuate that John McCain was some kind of crossdressing pig? A J. Edgar Hoover for the 21st century? That seems ridiculous. Maybe he meant that McCain's policies were just the disgusting lipstick that your 300 lb. Aunt Selma got on that delicious pork chop that you had been going to eat until she took a big bite out of it. Or maybe he meant that the true way to save this country is to go out into the fields where the cute little pigs are frolicking and put lipstick on them so that they can have the self-confidence to rise up from their slop and make a star in reality TV. Maybe he meant that hardworking software developers should pretty themselves up more before coming to work. Maybe he meant that we can defeat Islamic terrorists by disguising pigs so that they will eat them and feel so ashamed of themselves that they will give up their violent attacks. No. I don't think that he meant any of those things at all. What he really was referring to is the highest truth. This truth has been shared with very few, but I will now share it with you, my loyal, non-existent readers.

I think I can explain how the pigs' lipstick works.
Well, this should be interesting.
Remember that they make lipstick with a very dense policy.
Yeah, OK.
And remember about the campaign standing still and how they really get uptight when you try to move the campaign, right?
Right, yeah.
I think the lipstick in that dense policy is probably what makes the campaign stand still. As soon as the pony's mane starts to get good in the back of any sort of motion, especially of the campaign or gas, begins to make the ends split.
Well don't the splitting ends change the density of the ponies' lipstick so it affects the density of the pigs' lipstick, which makes the campaign move which upsets the pigs?
No, it isn't like that.
Well, how does it work?
Well, what it does is when it strikes any sort of energy field or solid object or even something as ephemeral as the campaign, the first thing it does is begins to inactivate the molecular motion so that it slows down and finally stops. That's why the campaign stops. And also have you ever noticed how the the campaign ads shrink up? That's because the molecules come closer together. The cold policy makes it get so small, this is a really brittle campaign.
And that's why the pigs don't want you to touch it.
See, when the campaign gets that brittle what happens when you try to move it is it disintegrates. And the pigs get uptight 'cause you know they, they worship that campaign. They salute it every day. You know we've got something here.
And, and, and, and that's the basis of all their nationalism. Like if they can't salute the campaign every morning when they get up . . .
Yeah, it's a vicious circle. You got it.

And there. Now you know the true meaning of Barack Obama's pig-lipstick reference with all of the subtexts, supertexts, intexts, outtexts, amphitexts, intratexts, contexts, sanstexts, and smstexts.

No question now what had happened to the face of Sarah Palin. The creatures outside looked from Sarah Palin to man, and from man to Sarah Palin, and from Sarah Palin to man again; but it was impossible to say which was which.

-Except from Political Campaign by George Orwell.

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.

Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
Always have clean shirts to play around in.

In their sties with all their backing
They don't care what goes on around
In their eyes there's something lacking
What they need's a damn good whacking.

Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

-Piggies by George Harrison

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Me? Harass Governtment Officials?

Note: I do NOT harass government officials. I do however call them up to chat. This will likely be the first such friendly conversation that I share with you, my loyal, non-existent readers.

Today I spoke with a very nice man from the FBI. It was hilarious actually. I was very upset over the raids by the Ramsey County Minnesota Sheriff's Office

cops are pigs

and the FBI on several groups protesting the Republic National Convention.

I started an email campaign (with little success) to call the sheriff's office's internal affairs department with complaints. Not only did my emails fall on deaf inboxes, but the internal affairs department was not taking calls due to the convention. (Or did they stop taking calls because my email campaign succeeded? I'll imagine that was the case.) Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to call the FBI's Minnesota office to nip this bad behavior in the bud. What follows is a brief recreation (i.e. inaccurate down to the very syllable).

FBI Receptionist: FBI. How may I help you?

Me: I would like to report corruption.

FBI Receptionist: Thank you. Hold please.

Poor Confused FBI Agent (henceforth referred to as Waldo): Hello. What can I do for you?

Me:I'd like to report corruption.

Waldo:You're going to have to be more specific.

Me:Well a couple of days ago, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office raided some protesters of the Republican Convention. They arrested the leaders and seized some laptops. I have it on good authority that Karl Rove ordered the raids because the protesters had pictures of his son having sex with a donkey.

Waldo: Excuse me?

Me:And I won't stand these politically motivate raids. I want an investigation. Someone isn't playing it straight at the FBI. Don't just sit there with your finger in your ass while Gargamel eats all of our boys in blue. This is Amnerika!

Waldo:Sir, this is the FBI. Our law enforcement is not politically motivated.

Me:If I marched into Rupaul's bedroom and charged it with a firecode violation for hosting the cast of Oz, that wouldn't be politically motivated?

Waldo:It is part of the FBI's mandate to help local law enforcement enforce laws.

Me:And yet you did nothing to stop Denkinger?

Waldo: You sonofabitch! How did you know? I told him to stop ... that ... that he shouldn't touch where my swimsuit covered, but Denkinger would have none of it [sobbing] my ass still hurts ... I'll get you you dirty motherfucker...

At this point, I considered it judicious to end the call...

Later, I looked up details about the raids. It turns out the the raiders seized various items (including buckets of
tall delicious lemonade
urine) that could be used for riotous mischief. I still think that the raids were politically motivated, but I still had to call and complain--if only to meet my special friend Waldo.