Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help Me Help You, Or, Show Me The Money

Dear Suddenly Impassioned Political Neophyte Blowhard Who Keeps Interrupting My Lunch With Breathless Tirades Of Lunacy,

I appreciate your recent concern for our country and the state of the world in general. However, after much consideration, I've concluded your daily bouts of crap mongering are not unintentionally funny attempts at saving my political soul, so much as they are desperate pleas for validating yours. While I must regretfully decline participation in such endeavors, by no means am I requesting you discontinue your idiotic rants, as they are extremely entertaining. Especially when you and that other guy, the one who supports the other candidate, engage in a lunchtime huffy puffy spittle-slinging battle royal. Like, you’ll misquote something Keith Olbermann told you to say, and then he’ll retaliate with an inaccurate compilation of what Bill O'Reilly told him to say. Oh, ho ho! Good times.

Unfortunately, despite your protestations to the contrary, you and your counterpart are not making a difference. You’re making a sum. Huge sums. For the FoxNewses, for the MSNBCs, and for all the other political ESPNs out there that grow richer and more powerful by telling you which team to root for, and by filling your head with bullshit. You get enough of that already from your respective candidates.

I’m truly going to miss the quasi-intellectual lunchtime debates once the election’s over. However, I sleep well knowing that, should the other candidate win, you will immediately declare him the Antichrist. You will spend the next four years ignoring the few things he gets right, and instead focus on, embellish, or completely fabricate the colossal fuckups that are sure to dominate his administration. Conversely, should YOUR candidate win, you will spend the next four years making highly suspect arguments for why the country should excuse, forget, or forgive his equally colossal—possibly monumental—fuckups, which he will have perpetrated on the American public solely because he is, some will say, the Antichrist.

The good news is your political nemesis from Accounting is going to do exactly the same thing! This means unending lunchtime entertainment for me! For the next four years! Or at least until you lose interest, so… maybe January. But I’m sure you’ll be ready for the 2012 election. And with that three and a half year rest, you’ll be even more amped about the same hot button issues you don’t fully understand. The same irresolvable issues upon which the President has no constitutional authority to act. In fact, the only real change four years from now will be your hair style and the capabilities of your cell phone.

In the meantime:

The Federal government will continue to grow;

Members of Congress will continue to fail in their duties, while continuing to convince their constituents that term limits are a bad idea, all the while chuckling to themselves because as long as they bring home the pork and refrain from making unseemly foot gestures in airport bathrooms, they’ll be reelected;

The Federal Reserve will continue to fiddle with a house-of-cards monetary system while discreetly wondering if sneezing is a valid option;

And human beings will continue to fight wars, because that’s what human beings do.

All of this will continue because real change—no matter the ideological flavor—is never as politically or financially lucrative as the appearance of change.

And I’m sorry to say that the ills of this country are not George Bush’s fault. They’re not Bill Clinton’s fault, and they won’t be John McCain’s or Barack Obama’s fault. They’re your fault, for being continually fooled by deceptive language. And they’re my fault, for not giving a shit anymore. They should probably put that on our tombstone: They were fooled by deceptive language, but they didn't give a shit.

But hey, don’t let my cynicism spoil your fun. Go ahead. Don your blue “Obama’s #1” foam hand, or your red McCain version, swill your beverage of choice, and shout your hackneyed insults from the cheap seats. The Super Bowl of politics is underway, complete with expensive-much-hyped-yet-meaningless commercials. I hope, for all our sake, that your guy doesn’t experience a full-scale wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show. But if he did, would you tell him he has no clothes?

All the best,

Your Mildly Amused Co-worker

P.S. If you use my stapler again without asking, I’m gonna kick your ass.


Okay, my original plan was to just let that post fly and see what happened. It was meant to break the ice and possibly make you angry, though it pretty accurately conveys my current thinking. I know a lot of people avoid talking politics on their blogs for the sake of not offending anyone, but I think that's a mistake. All these smart people around, surely we can learn something from each other.

I've been down the rabid partisan political junkie path, and as odd as it sounds, that's actually much easier than calling bullshit on everything and everyone. I would like nothing more than to concede the wrong-headedness of my thinking, but every time I try, I run up against the immovable wall of insidious, deceptive bullshit language. From the politicians, from the talking heads, from news articles, from candidates' websites, from uninformed co-workers… and I get pissed off all over again. So please, convince me there’s more to it than that. Doesn’t matter if you have no stake in American politics. Bullshit affects us all®. Help me help you help me.

If you're interested, here's what we'll do. I won't insult or personally attack you in the comments, but if the need to lash out overcomes you, feel free to direct your venom at me. I only ask that you be creative in your name calling, otherwise what's the point? However, you cannot take pot shots at other participants expressing their political views. I have no way to enforce that, and I won't delete anyone's comments, but the confrontational neener-neenering—while great for TV ratings—is boring and trite, and if you try it we’ll all know you’re a lame unthinking stupidhead and you probably still suck your thumb and wet your bed crib. Neener neener.

If you're not interested, that's cool too. I won't take you off my Christmas card list or anything. Unless you don't celebrate Christmas. Or you're offended by the mere mention of the word Christmas. Or you—okay, I don't have a Christmas card list. It was just an expression.

47 comments:

Aerin said...

Hmm. I can't think of any really creative names to call you quite yet, but I raise my hand as one of those "you made angry" with your post.

"Made angry" is too strong since, after all, I don't really know you or work with you and have my very own stapler anyway.

I think it's the apathy I am ticked off about. I agree, trying to talk to an uninformed zealot is like letting flies lay larvae on each of your eyelashes, but to just dismiss the whole election altogether doesn't make sense either.

No, the economy is not Bush's fault, or Clinton's, but likewise one did things that helped the fall along while the other did some pretty decent things. And maybe vice versa.

The most long-lasting effects a president can have are who he (so far, they've all been "he") appoints to the Supreme Court, so I don't fool myself into thinking we're choosing the Deity of the United States - just the President.

And now I don't have the foggiest idea what the hell I was saying. Huh. I'll be back when I get some alcohol in me....

Kiersten said...

I posted a pretty similar, but entirely profanity-free item the other day. However, our points differ slightly: I don't care who you are voting for, as long as you have a *legitimate* reason to be doing so. Obama will kill your tax bracket? Okay, arguably selfish, but it works for me. McCain's Vice President is TERRIFYINGLY uninformed about international relations and current events? Works for me, too.

Just vote, have a reason other than blind party loyalty or fear, and then get over it.

blogless troll said...

Aerin,

I'm really not apathetic. I'm disillusioned and cynical, but I wouldn't bother with this if I didn't care. I will vote, but if I vote for Obama or McCain or Bob Barr or Samuel L. Jackson (who I actually have voted for) what's the difference? To me it's like a sailboat beating a course--we go left for a while then we go right for a while, but we're heading in the same general direction which is away from the Constitution.

I agree about the Supreme Court Justices. I would also add the precedents they (presidents) set for skirting the Constitution. The unitary executive theory being the most recently effective.

And thanks for the fly larvae image. Gross, but accurate.

Kiersten,

If I could get over it, I would.

Irrational fear may not be a good basis for casting your vote, but well-reasoned fear probably is. If you think it matters who gets elected.

McKoala said...

Bring it on!

Sorry. I can't really jump into this discussion, but I'll come back to see how it shakes down...

Ello said...

I had some really good names to call you, but I like you, so I'll save them for a different kind of troll.

I avoid politics, but I do not avoid issues. I very much believe that you should vote on the issues that are important to you and not party line affiliations. I fear tax cuts, but I fear global warming more.

Kiersten said...

Whoops--Blogless, my "get over it" wasn't directed to you specifically. It was directed to people like your office entertainers.

blogless troll said...

Aw, c'mon McK. I'd love to know how the rest of the world views this craziness.

Ello,

I guess my question would be, if the politicians don't do what they say they're gonna do, how do you cast a vote based on the issues? I know a lot of people who were excited about the 110th Congress, but then they didn't do what they said they were going to do, so these people I know got mad. But now they've convinced themselves that THIS TIME it'll be different.

Kiersten,

I know. I was messing with you. But my lunchtime entertainers would probably say the same thing.

blogless troll said...

Just found this, which is pretty interesting. Not very practical or helpful, but interesting.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I was just saying to my Mom this morning - You know how to tell if politicians are lying? Their lips are moving.

I was going to just post that I don't give a shit, but I can't. I do care. I don't know if the best people are in the running, but I also don't want the person 'in charge' telling me I have to be straight and Christian in order to be worth a damn.

pjd said...

That article about software telling us who is lying and who is telling the truth is terrifying to me. We can't even trust basic voting software. The stuff people are putting out for voting can't even distinguish between A, B, C, or None of the Above. How will it be able to tell when someone skilled in the art of lying is being "nuanced"?

Personally, I think the software that detects "spin" actually is an inverse stupidity detector. Sounds to me that the rules go something like this:
1. If you use any big words, you're spinning.
2. If you use emotionally charged words like "hate," no matter in what context (such as defending yourself from attacks and quoting others), you're spinning.
3. If you are interesting to listen to, you're spinning.

Oh, snap! Obama is therefore a spin master while McCain is a straight talker.

And we all know that software doesn't lie, right? (WRONG. Software does what its makers tell it to do. That is all. If the makers tell it to lie, it lies. Do you trust the software's makers? Do you even know who they are?)

I have come to care very much who wins the presidential race. Not because of the real issues, which are the pending depression, health care costs, energy independence, and our flailing educational system. (Half of all Hispanic and black children will drop out of school before graduating high school. This is not a failure of blacks and Hispanics. This is a failure of our society.)

I care about this election because we have spent a trillion dollars on making sure Saddam Houssein was killed and his entire country turned into a shithole terrorist factory. Meanwhile, we had a handful of national guardsmen available to rescue New Orleans. I care for the same reason that Sarah mentioned. While I happen to be a straight, white, upper middle class, college educated male--and therefore a member of the most equal class of all in our great country--I feel like retching every time I hear one of our bigoted, small-minded, fear-encased citizens claiming that God hates gays. Or anything similar.

I think the 2000 election had a huge impact on this country. Al Gore would not have trumped up WMD "evidence" to invade Iraq. He would have pushed for investing in alternative energy. Think where we'd be today if seven years ago we started investing heavily in alternative energy instead of spending our time trying to make sure certain people never get married to each other.

Yes, all politicians use the same techniques to get elected. They want the power, they enjoy the office. They spin. Some lie. When they get elected, they find they can't be as effective as they had hoped. And then they spend all their time trying to get reelected.

But they are not all the same, and it does make a difference.

Aerin said...

I was just saying to my Mom this morning - You know how to tell if politicians are lying?

Sarah, my answer is - their LIPSTICK is moving!!!

Bwahahahahahahahahaha.

Laugh, people. I'm funny, dammit.

Oh shut up.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm laughing, aerin!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Have you seen that new show True Blood? In the beginning footage, there's a church sign that says God hates fangs. Just add a letter and you've got a whole new class of 'people' to oppress. Too perfect!

Scott from Oregon said...

I say give it all the etch-a-sketch shake and let's draw it all over again...

Robin S. said...

And I’m sorry to say that the ills of this country are not George Bush’s fault. They’re not Bill Clinton’s fault, and they won’t be John McCain’s or Barack Obama’s fault. They’re your fault, for being continually fooled by deceptive language. And they’re my fault, for not giving a shit anymore. They should probably put that on our tombstone: They were fooled by deceptive language, but they didn't give a shit.

Go, baby. I couldn't possibly have said it better myself.

You are one of those refreshing people who keep me from hating humanity. Please never go PC on me. I'd be fucking depressed.

Whirlochre said...

From where I'm sitting (on the Queen's knee), it looks like you have a fairly stark choice to make in November — a stark choice muddied by all the usual shit-flinging nonsense.

What can I say?

Since Bush was elected, the anti-American feeling in the UK has become palpable in some quarters — and positively hostile elsewhere. Most people I know are willing you to elect Obama, especially now Palin has been lined up alongside McCain as part of the conduit between the American people and the world.

Here's the best UK POV article I've read so far...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/10/uselections2008.barackobama

blogless troll said...

Sarah, I agree 100%.

Pete, yeah that software's pretty spooky. I stopped reading the article about halfway through because my bullshit alarm was giving me a headache.

We'll have to agree to disagree about Al Gore. It's impossible to say what he would or wouldn't have done, or where we would be today.

The other thing I disagree with (though I'm not completely sure this is what you meant) is that spin is not the same as lies. It is and this is kind of my point. We're outraged when politicians flat out lie to us, but we accept spin without a second thought. It's just politicians being politicians. Even the name is deceptive. Spin. It sounds so fun. All right we get to spin! Whee! I'm going to say A, which may be technically accurate though not the whole story, but I'm going to say it in a manner that suggests B, and if people want to believe B hey it's not my fault.

And the more emotionally invested a person is in a particular candidate, the more difficult the spin is to detect. And if the whole thing can be spun into a sporting event of blue vs. red instead of the people vs. the bastards who abuse power on both sides of the aisle, then the bastards win every time, no matter what color jersey they're wearing.

I would like to agree with you. I would like to think there is a meaningful difference. I think Obama will be elected so maybe we'll get to find out. If he is any different I'll gladly admit I was wrong.

I guess we could debate issues here, but I doubt we'll be very far apart.

blogless troll said...

Aerin, I laughed too.

Scott, best idea so far.

Robin, thanks. I'd be fucking depressed too.

Whirl, going to read that article right now...

pjd said...

I'll concede your position on Gore--no way to know for sure what he'd have done in office. But we've seen what he's done since the election, and it has jibed pretty well with the positions he espoused during his campaign. Technology, environmentalism, globalism.

Who takes the White House does in fact matter. Not necessarily that one person, but the machine they bring with them. They say who takes the jobs and who doesn't in Washington. Who are the ambassadors. Who are the heads of the EPA, the SBA, the other TLAs. The President sets a policy course, and the President has the power to hire and fire a darn lot of people to implement that policy.

Regarding spin: Not all spin is lies, and not all spin is cynical in its root. People (not just politicians) have been using words for persuasion ever since words were invented. You can't do that without loading your phrases with spin. Impossible. (Ooh! There's spin now! Impossible is one of those hyperbolic words. Look, it has more than two syllables, too, so it counts double in the software's scorecard.)

I think it's dangerous to equate spin and lies. Spin has been part of reasonable debate and discourse since before the time of the Greek philosophers. Simply using the word "ally" instead of "friend," or "crusade" instead of "mission" is spin.

When we start equating that kind of spin to lying, then either we conclude that reasonable debate is impossible or that baldfaced lying is just as acceptable as persuasive argument. In that case, we might as well start tossing around lies.

The problem is not in politicians--they have not changed for millennia. What has changed in the past ten years is that "news" media no longer see their role as sifting fact from spin; they now see their role as adding more spin. So now, the people have no one reliable to turn to in order to help them make sense of what the two sides are saying.

And that's why McCain's campaign manager says the campaign is not about the issues. That one statement is probably the only thing I've heard from either campaign that isn't either spin or lies.

I do agree 100% with your comments about the "ESPNs of politics" and it becoming a team sport. That's because it's not about the issues. Just watch the campaign reporting. It has nothing to do with health care plans. It has to do with polling numbers and what candidate X has to do to bump them up or knock the other guy's down. We could take the presidential election away from the electoral college and give it to the BCS and it would be as legitimate in terms of the issues. So on that we agree.

But I think who wins this election is incredibly important. Who wins reflects what we as a country think of ourselves. Are we the rugged individualist cowboys saying "fuck you" to the rest of the world's opinions and shooting first and asking questions later? Or are we the affable neighbors who just want everyone to get along and give handouts to everyone and trust in the goodness of human nature?

Oh, shit, there's some spin again, isn't there? But seriously, that's the question. We are a nation struggling with our identity as we fade from Ronald Reagan's undeniable superpower status to one of several regional economic powers. As our education system fails and we find ourselves no longer thought leaders in technology and innovation. As our manufacturing jobs move overseas, leaving a huge swath of nothingness where there used to be a pretty good shot at a good life on just a high school diploma. As foreclosures jump from being 4% of housing sales to 40% in one year. As the government is forced to bail out major financial institutions because of reckless management and a failing economy.

The world is changing around us. We're no longer as big as we used to be. We're in our adolescence as a country, and we need to decide who we're going to be when we finally grow up.

I think what happened in Detroit to auto manufacturers is an apt analogy. When Toyota and Datsun started making smaller, higher quality cars, Detroit said, "Fuck them," and retreated into isolationism backed by federal protectionism. They have been dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Right now, I think the Republican voting populace think that if we just get the right "maverick" in the White House, we'll return to the heyday of Ronald Reagan. But the rest of the world is getting fed up with our petulant arrogance. And we can no longer afford to alienate the rest of the world, lest we become marginalized in the same way so many other world powers have through the past five hundred years.

ChrisEldin said...

Finally.

Someone willing to talk about what cell phones will be able to do in the next four years.

Thank you.

blogless troll said...

Pete,

As far as the machine the president brings to Washington, I go back to the sailboat. We go left, we go right, but we zigzag forward toward the horizon of greater centralized government power, away from the Constitution. That's where I see no difference. That's what troubles me, not the policies of a particular president that will either be continued or dismantled by the next ten presidents.

I do agree that the media's role has changed and it adds to the problem. Maybe politicians haven’t changed so much as they have adapted very quickly to using the media's new role/attitude to pursue their ends. Especially compared to the public’s ability to 1) perceive the change, and 2) filter out the crap. But that goes back to our failing education system which has been sliding downhill for a long, long time.

I guess it’s also possible that nothing has changed. Politicians are politicians. A majority of people prefer gossip to thinking. And the media sells it to them. Maybe the only difference is the volume, it’s just more amplified now. I don’t know.

All right. Spin. Maybe we’re talking about two different things here, or possibly some third thing. Maybe what I’m referring to is not spin but lies of omission. As long as we agree that the distortion of fact does not equal persuasive argument.

Let’s use an example:

Here’s a great idea. Let’s ignore a problem five or six years in the making until the whole thing implodes and the only solution remaining is surrendering more power to the Federal government. Then, get this, we’ll dress it up like it’s entirely the fault of shady mortgage brokers who tricked innocent informed people into signing their lives away. No one will care that the problems with MBSs and the secondary mortgage market have been steadily growing for decades. And certainly no one will care that the housing bubble, which exposed and exacerbated these problems, was primarily caused by a huge expansion of the money supply brought about by the FED to stave off recession after 9-11 (the result of ignoring yet another huge problem for years whose solution was, coincidentally, also surrendering more power to the government), which the FED had to do because the markets and the economy were already on shaky ground pre 9-11 due to the tech stock bubble bursting which was… what? Oh yeah. Another artificially inflated market caused primarily by a huge expansion of the money supply brought about by the FED because… Who can remember that far back?

Is that spin? Lies? Or just lunacy?

ChrisEldin said...

will come back later...

ChrisEldin said...

BT, in all seriousness, I feel exactly the same in many regards.

When we live in Dubai, we get our news from the BBC. And man, I will tell you it is the opposite of what we get here ....discussions on what to wear when you're forty, what sauce goes with that chicken, etc. And Britney. Let's not forget the stars in rehab. Etc.

People in the U.S. (may I make a sweeping generalization?) have no freaking idea what they are missing. For example, every day on the BBC, there was an international focus story. The one that stuck with me was about a dry-flush toilet. Doesn't mean anything to us over here, but to millions in India who defecate in the same water source as their drinking water, it's a revolutionary idea. Stuff like that.

We are fed nonsense, and it's no wonder most people walk around in a daze. I really really cannot fathom how Sarah Palin is gaining popularity. The chick went to 4 colleges in 6 years. Does that say nothing about her commitment to achievement? Her intelligence? I shudder.

While I am cynical, I personally feel that Obama brings a fresh, authentic energy that has been lacking. Who knows how long it will be before it's sucked out of him.

This is an excellent post, BT. I'll probably reread it a few times..

writtenwyrdd said...

This is pretty much how I feel about political disagreements at the office. *eye roll* What really bugs me is when people latch onto one single point and convince themselves that their pet issue is THE problem and to fix that one thing will solve every problem.

pjd said...

As far as the machine the president brings to Washington, I go back to the sailboat. We go left, we go right, but we zigzag forward toward the horizon of greater centralized government power, away from the Constitution. That's where I see no difference.

Seems to me, then, that any middle of the road thinker would be invested in ensuring that we don't stay on one tack for too long.

I am not 100% convinced that a strong federal government is "away from the constitution." The federal government was founded by very smart people, some of whom were in favor of strong central government and some of whom strongly favored states' rights.

I think perhaps what you're talking about is not necessarily strong federal government but rather the consolidation of power among a ruling elite class. The Bush dynasty is a classic symptom: father and son both serve as president (though it could be noted that a similar thing happened within the first few American presidents). Perhaps this is why Obama appeals so broadly--he ran against the Democratic counterpart to the Bush dynasty in the primaries. And why people voted for George Bush instead of Gore or Kerry. They perceived Gore and Kerry as part of a ruling elite class, the Clinton dynasty extended. Meanwhile, they thought they could have a beer with George Bush.

Turns out Bush is every bit as elitist ruling class as either of those guys.

So, in the interest of ensuring one set of ruling elite class does not get too much control, we should force a change of tack and elect the other side's ruling elite class.

McKoala said...

We are fed nonsense, and it's no wonder most people walk around in a daze.

I've lived in several countries now, and the US' idea of 'news' absolutely horrified me. There is so little perception that there is a bit wide world out there.

I've got to say that most people here seem to think that you have a fairly easy decision to make. However, I heard an interesting discussion on radio here which lined up some of the thoughts on Obama vs McCain. It was a fascinating, opinionated discussion, by the end of which the commentators had decided that you (collectively, as in the US) would be insane not to elect Obama.

However, they then regretfully added that in all probability the vast majority of undecideds, will see the names 'Obama' vs 'McCain' on the ballot, and vote for McCain, even those who have no idea who either of the candidates are, simply because it's an anglo-style name.

Horrifying.

Robin S. said...

A majority of people prefer gossip to thinking. And the media sells it to them. Maybe the only difference is the volume, it’s just more amplified now. I don’t know.

Actually, I think you're right. People blieve reality TV is real.

I think both tickts are about as suspect as reality TV. I hate spin and pseudo-reality.

Without doublespeak, I want to see, laid side by side in easy to read format - the voting records, the number of abstentions from dfficult choices, specific background that would give these people the backbone and reasoning ability to be able to 'rule over me'.

Frankly, I find the personalities of people who feel strongly that they should be the leader already a big minus.

blogless troll said...

Chris, dry flush toilets you say? Hmmmm.

Like I said before, I think Obama will probably win the election. Whether he's any different only time will tell. I'll believe it when I see it. I will also gladly admit I was wrong.

WW, I know exactly what you mean about the one pet issue.

Pete,

Seems to me, then, that any middle of the road thinker would be invested in ensuring that we don't stay on one tack for too long.

My point is it doesn't matter which tack we're on because we're going the wrong way.

No, I'm not talking about the consolidation of power among a ruling elite class. Some ruling class has been ruling since the dawn of time. Doesn't matter if their last name is Bush, or Gore, or Clinton, or Jefferson. Doesn't matter if they were born into it or if they clawed their way up the ladder. Once you're there, you're there. Anyone who thought Bush was not part of the ruling class probably also thinks McCain is a maverick. I don't place much value on either term--elitist or maverick, or any of these labels people throw around. Labels are coat racks for your brain. Stick someone with a label, you don't have to think about them anymore. They are what the label says. So I guess ideally you'd want to get yourself stuck with a positive label like "reformer" or "bringer of change."

The ones who argued for a stronger central government were afraid of the tyranny of the majority, the tyranny of the people, which is just as dangerous as tyranny of the government. And they set the whole thing up so that no one--not even the people--had all the power. My point was, the more power Congress legislates to the executive branch, the worse off we are. Not that it's a new phenomenon. It's just seems to be accelerating.

McK,

There is so little perception that there is a bit wide world out there.

What? You mean, like, Hawaii?

However, they then regretfully added that in all probability the vast majority of undecideds, will see the names 'Obama' vs 'McCain' on the ballot, and vote for McCain, even those who have no idea who either of the candidates are, simply because it's an anglo-style name.

BUT, they'll incorrectly operate the voting machine and in casting their vote for McCain they will have actually voted for Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews. It's just as horrifying watching it from here.

Robin, there's a quote by Douglas Adams about that. The personality thing. I don't remember what it is.

Robin S. said...

Hey, BT. Thanks. I just lookd around and found it...

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


I second that emotion. Opinion. Whatever.

ril said...

Me, I don't get a vote. I'm officially disenfranchised. I don't get a vote in my "home" country because I don't live there any more and so don't qualify. I don't get a vote in my "host" country, where I've lived and paid taxes for the past 10 years, because I'm just a visitor, passing through, and they really don't want The Help having a say in things. And of course, I don't get a vote in "The Leader of the Free World", because I'm not one of you, so I just get to watch, filtered through CNN and Fox News, where it's all just entertainment.

Really, I envy you guys your choice. Use it. If nothing else, it gives you the right to complain when the wrong person gets in; and statistically, it's always going to be the wrong person for half of you...

pjd said...

My point was, the more power Congress legislates to the executive branch, the worse off we are.

I concede. Perhaps it should become illegal for a former Congressperson to become President. I bet Congress will vote this in right after they agree to term limits.

blogless troll said...

Ril, that sucks. On the other hand, it's possible you have exactly the same influence as we do here without the hassle of large crowds at the polls.

And not to nitpick or anything, but after this weekend I think the correct punctuation is The "Leader" of the "Free" World.

blogless troll said...

I would like to thank everyone for their comments, especially Pete who made me think about things I normally wouldn't have. That, to me, is the real benefit of debate. Not whether you can sway the other person, but whether you can be honest with yourself and learn something in the process. Feel free to keep discussing amongst yourselves, but I think after the events the past week I'm done with it. It's like dreaming about how great the Star Wars prequels could've been if only a self-absorbed megalomaniac hadn't been in charge.

This financial crisis is only beginning. 700 billion (which does not include the billions already pledged to Fannie and Freddie and AIG, etc.) won't even begin to cover it. It's not just bad mortgages. It's credit default swaps and interest rate swaps and derivatives of derivatives all intertwined and wrapped up in each other, and as those positions unwind it will be very bad. No matter how many points the Dow rallies. Many commercial banks will fail. The Treasury's gonna bail out foreign banks? Sure. Why not?

Whatever is done, whatever is said about this financial crisis, always remember: it was allowed to happen. It didn't spring up and catch everyone by surprise in the past three weeks. People have been talking about this kind of scenario for several years. There are plenty of people to blame, including Alan Greenspan, but paying attention to what happens from here on out is much more important than pointing fingers. This is a huge consolidation of financial power. Plus, I don't know what you call it, all out corporatism? Economic fascism? I don't know. Pick your own term for it. Just don't listen to the excuses: protecting homeowners, protecting the American people. Yeah, that's the only option now. But it was allowed to get to the point where it imploded. For whatever reason. Incompetence could be a legitimate reason. But I'm getting tired of "incompetence" resulting in "sweeping new powers" for the government. And if it really is innocent incompetence on the government's part, watch out. They're the one's trying to fix it. Our entire monetary system is a house of cards built with invisible cards and mortared with the confidence of the people which we bought from confidence men. It runs on faith. And I've lost mine.

Anyway, thanks again. I'm sure I'll post something in the not too distant future. Maybe a dolphin will do something funny.

ChrisEldin said...

Hi BT,

I won't talk about the bailout, though I'm tempted too. I just want to re-read "We" or "1984" again....

Anyway, the purpose of this comment is to make a blogger love-connection. I'd like to introduce you to Ve, who has a similar sense of humor and political bent as you do. Here's his blog:
http://vehow.blogspot.com/

I've left a message on his blog to visit you as well.

I have a high success rate at these blogger love-connections. The other two connections are still going strong...

:-)

VE said...

I can't believe you mentioned Christmas already. The only important thing between now and the end of the year is that I get all the really important hard-to-get cool consumer goods and you don't. I'm sure Macy's will write me an interest only loan so that when I move to a non-extradite country they can have you pay for it. Or...were you just talking politics?

pacatrue said...

I just want to know why you hate Christmas.

(Sorry, I could participate productively, but 35 comments later, I'll just go for asinine.)

blogless troll said...

Thanks Mrs. Chuck Woolery.

Ve, welcome to you too. I've actually been reading your blog for a while, so I guess that makes me a peeping tom. You should really run a background check before the first date. Safety first.

Paca, asinine is always appreciated here.


Here's a nice companion piece to that spin detecting software article I linked to earlier. No need to worry. There will be no reduction in the chocolate ration this year...

blogless troll said...

Posse Comiwhatsit? Oh yeah, I forgot. That was repealed.

Aerin said...

hum.

blogless troll said...

There's gonna be a lot more of this. But I guess that's what those nonlethal packages are for.

Robin S. said...

Here's what seems obvious to me: If we don't do something to shore up the financial system holding each and every one of us together, keeping us employed, keeping us in our homes, keeping the trappings of society hummikng along around us, then we are one and all in big and just about insurmountable trouble.

At this point, it doesn't fucking matter who did what (and that history has, again, repeated itself in the pattern of young-asswipes-with-so-sense-of-history-overextend-their-nuts-over-their-IQs-to-the detriment-of-the-whole-group, a la the 1980s bailouts and fuckups).

These tattle-tale types who whine and whine and blame, aren't FIXING anything, because they don't know how to do so. Neither do I. But I know I don't know, and therein lies the difference.

First, get the system back on shaky but decently firm ground. THEN, indict and imprison.

And by the way, Wall Street as it was known, no longer exists. I'm good with that - but I wonder how many people actually get it- Wall Street no longer exists, in the traditional sense, other than on a street map.

Scott from Oregon said...

""Here's what seems obvious to me: If we don't do something to shore up the financial system holding each and every one of us together, keeping us employed, keeping us in our homes, keeping the trappings of society hummikng along around us, then we are one and all in big and just about insurmountable trouble.""

Actually, you've bought the spin on this. The system will survive and you'll be fine. It will all just readjust. Instead of borrowing money from a central bank, people will borrow from each other. Those with savings will find themselves in the enviable position of getting a good return in interest of their money.

Housing prices will fall and rentals will cheapen. People will lower their monthly by moving out of their 3500 dollar mortgage and into 1200 rent...

Saving will be rewarded and debt will be punished.

All this bailout does is add heroin to the arm of an addict...

Don't buy the hype.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsC2k9opOP0&eurl=http://aeleope.blogspot.com/

blogless troll said...

Robin, I agree the blame game is pretty useless from a practical standpoint. What you'll get is the person who poured the gasoline pointing a finger at the person who poured the kerosene, who's pointing a finger at the person who lit the match, who's pointing a finger at the person who refused to call 911, who's pointing a finger at the person who beat up the firefighters, etc. I would guess there will probably be a few high profile indictments eventually--and those people will deserve to be indicted--but they'll serve as scapegoats for the rest. I doubt Congress will place itself under arrest. The affordable housing/sub prime lending shenanigans is just a portion of it all.

The bailout will maybe buy some time. It will definitely, as Scott said, make the overall problem worse. But the world has changed in a big way, and like you said, most people don't realize it yet. It might take the destruction of the dollar to get them to look at the big picture. Either way, I still don't think it matters if we elect the right wing stooge or the left wing stooge.

Robin S. said...

Yep. I agree with you about the elections.

And, what we haven't faced yet is, our time as number one in the spotlight on the world stage has passed, to everyone but us.

Apparently I forget it sometimes, too. Case in point:

I was talking to JB the other night
and he said something about how Europeans perceive the candidates, and I said something like "Who gives a rolling fuck what they think? This is not their country!"
and he looked at me over his reading glasses and smiled a smile of sympathy, basically.

Wall Street is gone, guys. Wall Street as a concept is in London and Dubai and a few other places.

I'm not saying we're third tier or anything, but we ain't on top of the heap, either. Not any more.

And I agree, after having worked in this town for a while now, it just about doesn't matter who's elected. Maybe I feel that way because I can't get behind either set of candidates without a silent snicker that this whole process has gone the way of the dodo, or the sound bite machine.

Take your pick.

Robin S. said...

So the House of Representatives musta gotten tons of calls from Everyman, huh?

Yeah.

Go check your 401Ks.

blogless troll said...

Yeah, but bailout or no bailout there was going to be pain.

I've had some experience with government at a state level gobbling up the private market in order to protect the citizens. Watching them try to run a company would be hilarious if we weren't all paying for it, but it's downright scary. I guess it's possible there's less incompetence and corruption at the federal level, but I kinda doubt it.

Robin S. said...

YOu've got a point. Kinda scary, isn't it?