Thursday, November 27, 2008

Two Blind Men. One Elephant.

No Waiting.

In the midst of blocking out my devastating and future-award-winning 17-part deconstruction of the works of Andrew Sullivan (tentatively entitled “Because Reigning in Hell Pays Waaaay Better than Serving in Heaven, That's Why.”) -- I noticed this quote from him today:
“…Why does the world owe us a soft landing after the insanity of the last decade? Haven't the excesses of the past shown that it is only through such market discipline that we will ever avoid the easy path of borrowing out of greed? Yes, innocents will suffer terribly, and many of the guilty will escape. But that is life: we can and should try to help the poorest, but avoiding our collective responsibility for this insanity seems a very bad signal to send to ourselves.

The truth is: we had this coming. We deserve it. And we deserve leaders who are able to tell us that.”
And as I read it, two terribly unworthy thoughts simultaneously occurred to me.

First, it is absolutely 10-on-the-irony-scale-of-10 priceless that when the most famous gay Conservative in Christendom talks about the implosion of the Great Conservative Ponzi Scheme, in both the tone of his remarks (Big, Biblical Language) and in their substance (collective-punishment-for-collective-guilt), the person Sullivan most epistemologically resembles is
Jerry Falwell talking about 9/11:
"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve" ... America's "secular and anti-Christian environment left us open to our Lord's [decision] not to protect. When a nation deserts God and expels God from the culture . . . the result is not good."
Jerry Falwell talking about AIDS:
“AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
And Jerry Falwell talking about Teh Gay:
"Homosexuality is Satan's diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America."
And, second, WTF do you mean “we”?

And then I thought no more about it until, while scampering though my reading, I tripped over this, from Lil’ Tommy Friedman, from the same day and on the same topic:
“…That’s how we got here — a near total breakdown of responsibility at every link in our financial chain, and now we either bail out the people who brought us here or risk a total systemic crash. These are the wages of our sins. I used to say our kids will pay dearly for this. But actually, it’s our problem.”
Thus is the wisdom the Moustache of Understanding has handed down from Mount Centrism; that the con man and the nice old lady he fleeced are somehow equally guilty, and certain New York Time writers who have made vast fortunes spinning happy tales of a Flat Earth running nekkid and free and unfettered by “regulations” and “worker protection” are no more at fault than the cab driver who believed his drivel and invested accordingly.

And then I thought how funny it is that Conservatives and their Centrism Uber Alles enablers are only able to shape their mouths to form the words "We" and "Our" after their foreign, domestic and economic policies blow up in their faces.

Before it all went horribly wrong, I believe the technical term for the people who were desperately waving the warning flags was "dirty America-hating Liberal".

But after it all goes bad, suddenly the “we’re all in this together” talk comes popping out of their pie-holes like it were spring-loaded.

Well, I for one am not in any way inclined to work together.

To be clear, in the great and ancient tradition of Fifth Beatitude of Christ – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” – I am powerfully disposed towards mercy and compassion to those who have acted mercifully and counseled compassion during good times and bad.

On the other hand, I am steeply inclined in the direction of meting out the swiftest, most merciless, Old Testament-caliber judgments possible on people who, when they were riding high, mocked or shrugged off as too-fucking-bad the plight of those who had fallen on hard times as the unfortunate-but-inevitable fate of the weak or the stupid or the otherwise unfit-to-survive in their bracing, brutal Randite Capitalist Utopia.

Steeply inclined towards using the stabby ends of very, very sharp sticks to hold people to their own rules and their own words.

Towards addressing the whole "many of the guilty will escape" problem by dropping a few hundred pikes off on Wall Street, at the New York Times and Wall Street Journal headquarters and at other suchlike locations with a note saying:
"We have made up a list of the journalists, politicians, lobbyists and money men most responsible for the financial meltdown. You will not be told who is or is not on the list, but your bailout checks will not start arriving until we see every one of their heads on public display.

So figure it out.


The American Taxpayer"
Of course, this will not happen because my President-Elect is not so inclined.

Because he is a better person than me.


Anonymous said...


Larry Hamelin said...

Of course, this will not happen because my President-Elect is not so inclined.

Because he is a better person than me.

No, he isn't. We must temper justice with mercy; we must not — as Obama counsels — replace justice with mercy.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Everybody's a 'better person' than am I.

I'd like to see some chinese 'justice.'

You know, what happens to those ho embarrass the People's State: Peremptory arrest, show trial, speedy conviction, death sentence. The convicted were escorted forthwith to an empty yard, given a shovel, and told to dig a hole. When finished, they were stripped to their tighty whiteys, told to kneel in the hole, and dispatched with two small-caliber slugs to the head. Whereupon the carcass was covered in quick-lime, covered with dirt, and forgotten.

But that's just me, I bet: a pretty poor, unmerciful person...

However, I'd bet, should such a fate befall a couple of the now-seemingly-repentant thieves, thugs and their apologists would exert significant deterrent effect.

Anonymous said...

All this conservative whining reminds of the following, illustrative exchange:

The Lone Ranger: "Tonto, we're surrounded by Indians!"

Tonto: "What you mean WE, white man?"

Regarding the current mess I'd prefer to see this handled DEA style- round up all the execs, politicians and journalists, jail them, seize their assets using RICO laws, then and only then begin discussions concerning an extended tenure in the big house.

The big house is crowded you say? Well then we'll have to let out all the pot smokers. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Lest you think me uncompassionate:


Especially you DG, for all you do through your writing, and in the real world too.

Rehctaw said...

Well played sir, well played. [polite applause]

Where is our sense of outrage? How in the wide, flat world of Tommy the Bank Engine does reconciling the books not become the Martha Stewart centerpiece of the Obama Justice Department?

After PROVING we are not hapless marks, rubes and suckers who deserve to be dismissed and marginalized, we're now supposed to be merciful?

Many of the guilty will be ALLOWED to escape? Will be free to keep their ill-gotten booty? Will be unfettered to retrench in their compounds and launch fetid screeds against truth and reconciliation?

I want our President-elect to be fully aware that HIS people, his army, his supporters have not had nearly ENOUGH! when it comes to equity and fairness. It's not payback, it's just settling up the bill.

He can borrow a line from his "good friend" John MeCain. "And you will KNOW THEIR NAMES!"

When your buoyancy was created by lashing the bodies of your victims together creating a flotation device. When your idea of change is to lay low until the heat's off.
When you continue to tell the big lie from your self-false-righteous perch?

After 30 years of demonizing and hamstringing the American worker and glorifying the profit-takers.
Our moral imperative is clear. Dissuade the perps from EVER planning another caper.

Stay indignant. Stay on message. Hound their asses into shame, exile and disgrace. And we will know their names.

Serving Patriot said...

Perhaps the pike poles will not be used.

But why, oh why, can we not take the income/wealth tax rates into the stratosphere for those "suffering" titans of "teh Street"??

Would that not help ease the pain on all the taxpayers by raising some revenues during a time of economic struggle?

Besides, the "pike pole" gambit was just played by the so-called Democratic-controlled Congress when it spanked the auto industry executives and sent them back to Detroit in their private jets to "think about what they are asking for" and "come up with a plan" (I mean, some celebratory suppuku). We'll know next week if the Auto MBA's of Detroit will be smart enough to figure out that heads go on the poles.

But using tax policy to help distribute justice? Well, probably NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

Too bad. It is, after all, the PATRIOTIC thing to do.


Anonymous said...


Fran / Blue Gal said...

Not a better person than you by a longshot. Just saying.

Happy Thanksgiving, you brilliant writer you.

Anonymous said...

guess that $TRILLION "we" spent in Iraq would come in real handy right now

where's a guillotine when you need one?

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer they do the traitor's dance after their fair trials (tie their arms but not their legs, and hoist 'em up nice and easy).

Anonymous said...

Serving Patriot, please read the afterword in Kevin Phillip's book "Wealth and Democracy", and perhaps the last chapter as well; you'll enjoy it. It is only at times when we have both serious economic hardship and a huge gap between the rich and poor that social pressure becomes sufficient to force some redistribution.

This may sound a bit odd, but the economic crash has made more hopeful than ever about national health care and higher taxes on the rich. It takes a disaster to make this stuff happen, and BushCo & Pals (the financial class) have set it up quite well. I guess for that bit of service to the ultimate cause I am prepared to offer a slight bit of mercy, a la Braveheart.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see me some heads roll...but that's a pipe dream. One thought keeps nagging at me though. If these financial companies are "too big to fail", yet managed to come so close to failing that they were able to extort trillions of dollars from the tax payer...

It's the flaw in the Free Market mantra (as it's been thrust upon us, it aint "really" free), companies that are too big to fail yet are never properly policed, will abuse that position of power.

Perhaps, policy should dictate that...No company should be allowed to grow...To Big To Fail

Mr. Natural said...

FUCK EM. Leave em dead and dying in the streets like they have left so many...

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mr. Natural. Bastille Day bitches. Give them a simple choice: Jump out the fucking window or get strung up on a lamp post.

darkblack said...

Cattle cars. Reeducation camps. Productive outdoor labor.

Or choose your God to be your judge.

El Degüello

fahrender said...

nothing Pol Pot couldn't fix. of course, he'd take care of me as well.

by the way, Woody, the part you left out was that the police then sent the bill for the bullets to the departed's family.

Cirze said...

I'm with you Bluesy, and I hear there are a few new Halliburton jails that need occupants. I've been working on a long list of the deserving for several years now. Let's get the process moving!

The problem with a return to an intelligent taxation policy, SP (back to before Raygun's minions started throwing up the tax-cuts-for-the rich clabber-nonsense and totally drowning it in the early 80's), is that a lot of the money is now out of the country (permanently - see who moved to Dubai, etc., for background) and will not be coming back anytime soon to be fairly taxed. Real money is actually almost never taxed anyway, you know. Only people with pay stubs pay taxes (ask Leona). What I'd support is the RICO-assets takeover idea in spades. I believe there are quite a few assets left in this country with questionable ownership. Now that's a law-enforcement effort I'd like to see funded well and led by someone like, oh, how about Eliot Spitzer? He needs a job and would love to do it I'll bet.

And Rkhctaw, I've heard this "booty" mentioned as though it were unclaimed pirate's treasure found undersea instead of the livelihoods/savings/retirement hopes and pure trust of the "worker bees" whose lives were based around it because they needed to think they lived in a fair system where sweat equity was a valid concept (for some sad reason).

And, please, let me say that I am super gratified once again to be able to read the thoughts of those who huddle around this gleaming driftglass for its fount of rationality and decency. This place is a true haven. Dg, you rock always (plus particular pike poles poetry partaken!). Never stop.

When your buoyancy was created by lashing the bodies of your victims together creating a flotation device. When your idea of change is to lay low until the heat's off.

When you continue to tell the big lie from your self-false-righteous perch?

After 30 years of demonizing and hamstringing the American worker and glorifying the profit-takers.
Our moral imperative is clear. Dissuade the perps from EVER planning another caper.

Stay indignant. Stay on message. Hound their asses into shame, exile and disgrace. And we will know their names.

Again, Rkhctaw, thank you for the wisdom. I will follow your lead.


Professional Left Podcast #608

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