Surfing the news sites seeking attention for my seemingly near-insatiable, up-to-the-second addiction for current events, apparently life seemingly has flat-lined as we crawl out from under the hideous holiday season — from Thanksgiving (maybe even since Hal-loo-ween) and onto New Years Day, a quick-blast of counterfeit emotions — and suddenly the same impending topsy-turviness so-well slated for 2013.
Noted fatal irony: The bat-shit crazy are operating the asylum.
(Illustration found here).
Tragedy continues, of course. A shooting in Aurora, Colo., again, this time a slaughter in private. And another rape case is getting creepy and bizarre, no, not in IndiaÂ or Pakistan, but in freakin’ Steubenville, Ohio. A bit north of here this morning, a 7.5 measured earthquake with a few aftershocks, one a 5.1 itself — the shaker located about 60 miles from Craig, Alaska, just a bit more than 200 miles south of Juneau, along the coast.
In digesting all the Internet-provided news outlets (The Journalist’s Toolbox, a most-handy site), I did come across a couple of background items of interest, both inundated with the horrendous financial bullshit of late.
The first came from the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, who laments the total-fallacious debacle of the debt ceiling/fiscal cliff experience — Congress should put up or shut the fuck up.
He cites an e-mail from Walter Dellinger, the former solicitor general under Bill Clinton:
I understand why the debt ceiling is a problem.
What I donâ€™t understand it why itâ€™s Obamaâ€™s problem.
The debts that will come due are the debts of the United States, not the debts of Obama family and not even the debts of the executive branchâ€¦
If the U.S. defaults on loan obligations because of failure to increase the debt ceiling, every single American would be made somewhat poorer by the dead weight loss to the American economy that this would cause.
I donâ€™t see why either political party or either branch of government should gain any leverage by threatening economic harm to the United States of America whose financial management is the mutual responsibility of each of them.
The whole thing reminds me of the great moment in â€œBlazing Saddlesâ€ when Sheriff Bart takes himself hostage by pointing a gun at his own head.
The simple townsfolk of Rock Ridge were dumb enough to fall for it.
Sargent sadly answers:
Yes, apparently we are.
You can read through reams of reporting about the debt ceiling and not find anything that explains the most basic facts about the situation.
It is widely being reported on as a conventional Washington standoff, in which Dems want a debt ceiling hike, Republicans want spending cuts, and weâ€™re now going to see a game of chicken in which the two will meet somewhere in the middle.
This bears no relationship to the reality of the situation, in which Republicans are pretending that in refusing to hike the debt ceiling, they are withholding a concession for which they should ultimately be rewarded.
In reality they are demanding that Dems give them something in exchange for agreeing not to do immense damage to the whole country.
As Dellingerâ€™s email neatly demonstrates, the situation is profoundly absurd and unbalanced — yet this is completely lost in the business-as-usual coverage.
Uneasiness comes from the fact this whole pile of bullshit was manufactured by DC assholes.
And aided by assholes — the Wall Street Journal (via Mediaite) claims the upcoming March debt ceiling dust-up can be won by the GOP by taking the whole country hostage, and they should be serious about it: You canâ€™t take a hostage you arenâ€™t prepared to shoot.
This ‘hostage‘ word, remember, is life and livelihood of us the people — we get shot.
The other worthy news stand-out was from Matt Taibbi’s long piece in this issue of Rolling Stone detailing the inside shit on the big “BAILOUT” four years ago — all bogus smoke-and-mirrors:
It was all a lie â€“ one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people.
We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in — only temporarily, mind you — to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe.
What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it.
The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences.
We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.
But the most appalling part is the lying.
The public has been lied to so shamelessly and so often in the course of the past four years that the failure to tell the truth to the general populace has become a kind of baked-in, official feature of the financial rescue.
Money wasn’t the only thing the government gave Wall Street — it also conferred the right to hide the truth from the rest of us.
And it was all done in the name of helping regular people and creating jobs.
“It is,” says former bailout Inspector General Neil Barofsky, “the ultimate bait-and-switch.”
The bailout deceptions came early, late and in between.
There were lies told in the first moments of their inception, and others still being told four years later.
The lies, in fact, were the most important mechanisms of the bailout.
The only reason investors haven’t run screaming from an obviously corrupt financial marketplace is because the government has gone to such extraordinary lengths to sell the narrative that the problems of 2008 have been fixed.
Investors may not actually believe the lie, but they are impressed by how totally committed the government has been, from the very beginning, to selling it.
The bailout ended up being much bigger than anyone expected, expanded far beyond TARP to include more obscure (and in some cases far larger) programs with names like TALF, TAF, PPIP and TLGP.
What’s more, some parts of the bailout were designed to extend far into the future.
Companies like AIG, GM and Citigroup, for instance, were given tens of billions of deferred tax assets — allowing them to carry losses from 2008 forward to offset future profits and keep future tax bills down.
Official estimates of the bailout’s costs do not include such ongoing giveaways.
“This is stuff that’s never going to appear on any report,” says Barofsky.
Read the whole piece, fairly lengthy, but well worth it. Taibbi is by far-and-away one of the better journalists nowadays, especially in the financial/Wall Street arena, and writes in such a fashion even a dumb-ass can easily understand.
An example of bat-shit crazy in public office — gun-nuts claim if you need to outlaw dangerous instruments, why not fucking hammers?
According to the FBI, in 2010, there were 8,775 people who were murdered with guns, compared to 540 people who were killed with blunt objects, a small minority of which were people armed with hammers.
The exponentially-higher number of people killed by guns also includes many innocent people killed by indiscriminate gunfire, such as drive-by shootings.
After all, there are no â€œdrive-by hammerings.â€
Still, hammers are not the only â€œweaponâ€ that conservatives are equating with firearms in an attempt to undermine any gun control legislation.
A state representative in New Hampshire, warned of another deadly weapon: credit cards. â€œAnything can be used as a deadly weapon, said Rep. Dan Dumaine (R).
â€œA credit card can be used to cut somebodyâ€™s throat.â€
Credit cards have been cutting people’s throats for years — not just in that bat-shit crazy way.
Sheriff “Black” Bart of ‘Blazing Saddles‘ also received guidance from his drunken, quick-draw deputy: “What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny?’ ‘Make yourself at home?’ ‘Marry my daughter?’ You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”
Being us ain’t pretty.