September 15th, 2008

GOP Elephant

From My Brother joeatlarge:

Wall Street Meltdown Reveals Conservative Hypocrisy
Wall Street is having a full-on meltdown, the kind you see once in a hundred years. Merrill Lynch has been sold, Lehman Brothers has filed for one of the biggest bankruptcies in history. AIG is next, and other banks from Wachovia on down are having very serious problems. The Feds had to step in and take over Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac last week, Communist-style.

The root of all the evil going on right now is the housing market. People sold houses to each other for way too much money they could not afford, and then all these Wall Street companies sliced and diced these mortgages and sold them to each other while claiming everything was "safe."

While pushing for a less and less regulated environment, screaming the conservative philosophy that government had to stay out of their businesses so they could fully thrive, they invented and re-invented all kinds of financial hocus pocus and pretended they were actually contributing to the economy while paying themselves outrageous dividends.

Sooner or later the Ponzi scheme had to stop, and now that it has you hear a whole hell of a lot of screaming on Wall Street, but for something entirely different. Now the screaming is directed at the Fed and its taxpayer money, BEGGING and PLEADING and CRYING and GNASHING for a bailout, so that all those bonuses and six figure incomes and stock options and fancy yachts won't be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Therein lies the hypocrisy: the Republicans that infest Wall Street insist that the government keep its hands off their finance businesses during the good times.....but when times go bad, they come running and screaming behind Mommy Government's apron strings.

You can't have it both ways, sister. If you're going to push for unlimited freedom from regulation, then you HAVE to take the bitter medicine when all of your plans go awry instead of begging for a taxpayer bailout. Conversely, if you want to have a taxpayer bailout, then you're going to have to submit your business, especially one so essential to the economy, to reasonable government regulations that require telling the truth and being transparent.

After putting the taxpayer on the hook for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in losses from toxic mortgages from Fannie, Freddie, and Bear Sterns--a cost similar to another Iraq war in magnitude--the Treasury finally came to its senses over the weekend and said enough was enough, letting Lehman Brothers slide into bankruptcy. Seeing the writing on the wall and that no White Knight would come to the rescue, Merrill Lynch slaughtered its bull mascot and sold itself to Bank of America at firesale prices. Meanwhile, Treasury sharpens its pencil as it prepares to draft a whole slew of regulations that the financial industry now has no choice but to accept.

"He who lives by the sword dies by the sword." Matthew 26:52. That's exactly the way it should be, and conservatives should stop caterwauling when they're forced to face the butt end of their "hands-off," "leave it entirely to the market" philosophy.
All credit goes to joeatlarge for writing this post. If you appreciate his points, tell him so and read his blog Centerblue.org.

I love you, J!


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Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

First Syd Barrett...

Pink Floyd founder Richard Wright dies at 65.
"It's hard to say but it just happens to be the album for me that from the moment it starts 'til it finishes, it flows, the songs flow into each other and it just has a wonderful feeling in it".

– Richard Wright, March 1994, US World Premiere of The Division Bell with Redbeard and In the Studio with Redbeard for The Making of Wish You Were Here (first aired in September of 1995).
Right you are, Mr. Wright. Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell are my two favorite Pink Floyd albums, and I thank you for them.

Here, have a cigar: Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here - my favorite Pink Floyd song.

I am a very sad panda.
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    Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Martian Child

There's nothing you could do that will change the way I feel about you.

"Dennis, can I just say one last thing about Mars? - which may be strange coming from a Science-Fiction writer - But right now, you and me here, put together entirely of atoms, sitting on this round rock with a core of liquid iron, held down by this force that seems to trouble you, called gravity, all the while spinning around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour and whizzing through the milkyway at 600,000 miles an hour in a universe that very well may be chasing its own tail at the speed of light; And admist all this frantic activity, fully cognisant of our own eminent demise - which is our own pretty way of saying we all know we're gonna die - We reach out to one another. Sometimes for the sake of entity, sometimes for reasons you're not old enough to understand yet, but a lot of the time we just reach out and expect nothing in return. Isn't that strange? Isn't that weird? Isn't that weird enough? The heck do ya need to be from Mars for?"

[...]

Sometimes we forget that children have just arrived on the earth. They are a little like aliens, coming into beings as bundles of energy and pure potential, here on some exploratory mission and they are just trying to learn what it means to be human. For some reason Dennis and I reached out into the universe and found each other, we'll never really know how or why. And discovered that I can love an alien and he can love a creature. And thats weird enough for both of us.


- John Cusack to/about his adopted son in Martian Child
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    ELO - Mr. Blue Sky/Guster - Satellite
CRACKA!

(no subject)

White Privilege, White Entitlement and the 2008 Election
SOURCE: Tim Wise
For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin’ redneck," like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it, a "light" burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.