Archive | Asshole

Near-As-No-Matter Feudalism

One of the US’ founding laws is a prohibition on creating a titled aristocracy. A couple centuries on, this seems quaint. But considering that our nation is violating the crap out of it in spirit, which I will illustrate below, it’s worth revisiting.

Setting aside a long list of unjust aristocratic perks and abuses, the worst thing about feudal systems was their everyday suckitude. Most people lived in hopeless misery, were held to harsh standards by authorities and had no protection from injury by their superiors in wealth or power. Following the invention of epidemiological studies, it was discovered that chronic poverty and mistreatment causes illness and shortened lifespans, to no one’s very great surprise.

While we can’t ask them, I’m pretty sure that most of the misery in feudal societies wasn’t caused by philosophical disagreements with Divine Right of Kings theory.
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I Like It When People Get What They Want, Only to Learn They Didn’t Actually Want It After All.

To read this post, you need to open this link in another tab, but don’t read it yet (I’ll blockquote below anyway for you lazier readers).

Once it’s open, please play this audio track (there’s no animation to watch) while you read.

[A]merica has the stupidest goddamn investors on the planet. For months they sat around cheering on the tea partiers and declaring solemnly that the federal budget was just like a household budget and we needed “real action” on the debt in order to build confidence in the economy. Then, suddenly, when they got it, they realized that what they really wanted wasn’t dumb slogans but actual policies that would help spur the recovery. And that means looser monetary policy and fiscal stimulus.

The Dow plummeted Wednesday, but rallied late in the day. Today the markets shit the bed.

Dow Jones: 11,383.68; -512.76 (-4.31%)

S&P500: 1,200.07; -60.27(-4.78%)

Nasdaq: 2,556.39; -136.68(-5.08%)

I’m writing this at 10:42 EST: three hours ago CNBC posted “Asia Dives as Growth Fears Hurt Risk Appetite”. As atrios likes to say, “Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!” I suspect the roller coaster that only goes down is not over yet. Checking back at google finance, all global markets are down. Double “Wheeeeeee!!!!!”

Of course, this would be a lot funnier if the butt of the joke was only the wealthy. Instead, we’re all going to take it in the can, and not in the nice consensual way either.

Ah well. At least we will have the bitter, taunting laughter of Nelson Muntz, a cartoon character, to keep us warm in our cardboard boxes under the bridge. Provided we have wi-fi.

Whatever Grover wants

Grover gets to pick the Super Committee!

Norquist said he has already been assured by “the right people” that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not choose anyone willing to give ground on raising taxes, and he is confident enough to leave town on Wednesday for August vacation.

Norquist said he would like Boehner to name House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

He said he would be “fine” with leadership using the opportunity to give a conservative freshman the chance to shine, mentioning Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.).

Similarly, with respect to the Senate, Norquist can see McConnell appointing a young gun like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to the panel to give him a bigger platform. He said he would like to see Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) appointed.

Norquist does not want to see former Gang of Six Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) or Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on board because they made “troubling” statements in support of revenue increases during the deficit negotiations this spring. He said that if Gang of Six Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) made stronger commitments to oppose taxes, he could be OK with that appointment.

The little tin god who spends his life in the closet… all hail Caesar!

PA Republican Senator Pat Toomey on the Consequences of Default

Pat Toomey, May 18th, 2011:

Pulling all that money out of the economy during a downturn is not a desirable outcome, Toomey said, but ultimately not all that bad.

“It is very disruptive, I don’t think it’s going to have an adverse impact on the economy for the days or weeks or perhaps even months that this would continue,” he said. “I doubt it would be that long. I doubt that it would be disruptive to the economy per se. But it would be disruptive, certainly, to the people who are accustomed to and relying on the programs that would necessarily be cut.”

The Financial Post, July 29, 2011:

Global markets recoiled on Friday after U.S. lawmakers failed to break their debt-ceiling deadlock, raising concerns that the world’s largest economy could heading for a default, and both Canada and U.S. posted disappointing economic data.

In Toronto, the benchmark S&P/TSX composite index plunged 153.64, or 1.18 per cent, to 12,894.14.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average sank 141.52 points, or 1.16 per cent, to 12,098.59 while the Nasdaq composite index dropped 40.54 points, or 1.47 per cent, to 2,725.71.
[…]
Overseas markets were also lower on Friday. London’s FTSE 100 index was down 89.52 points, or 1.52 per cent, to 5,783 at midday. Frankfurt’s DAX had lost 107.71 points, or 1.50 per cent, to 7,082 and the Paris CAC was down 76.38 points, or 2.06 per cent, to 3,636/28.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei stock average finished down 68.32 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 9,833.03 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 130.49 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 22,440.25.

So when you’re watching your retirement savings take a nosedive over the next few days, keep in mind that Senator Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, says it’s no big deal.

People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones. Or Teabags.

This is RICH:

Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.

“I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!” Walsh says directly into the camera in his viral video lecturing Obama on the need to get the nation’s finances in order.

The whole article is a hoot. While steadfastly avoiding his child support obligations candidate Walsh, the very model of financial rectitude and responsibility, was able to loan his own campaign $35,000. Seriously!

court documents examined this week by the Chicago Sun-Times during research for a profile on the increasingly visible congressman showed his financial issues also included a nine-year child support battle with his ex-wife.

Before getting elected, he had told Laura Walsh that because he was out of work or between jobs, he could not make child support payments. So she was surprised to read in his congressional campaign disclosures that he was earning enough money to loan his campaign $35,000.

“Joe personally loaned his campaign $35,000, which, given that he failed to make any child support payments to Laura because he ‘had no money’ is surprising,” Laura Walsh’s attorneys wrote in a motion filed in December seeking $117,437 in back child support and interest. “Joe has paid himself back at least $14,200 for the loans he gave himself.”

He also found time to go on vacation with his girlfriend. In Mexico.

In 2004, Laura Walsh complained in a motion that despite her ex-husband’s claims of poverty, he took a vacation to Mexico with his girlfriend and another to Italy. The following year, he complained in a court filing that his ex-wife mailed him a motion while she knew he was in Nicaragua doing charitable work with one of their children.

In her December filing, Laura Walsh’s attorneys wrote, “The apparent availability of large sums of money from either his employment, his family or his campaign has allowed him to live quite a comfortable lifestyle, while at the same time, due to his failure to pay child support or any of his share of the education costs or medical expenses, Laura and his children were denied any of these advantages.”

I’d LOVE to go to Mexico, Italy, and Nicaragua with my girlfriend too, but not if it means stiffing my kid on the child support.

And that’s kind of what’s fascinating to me about this whole story. Yeah, the hypocrisy of the tea bag “get out financial affairs in order” politician is funny. But really gets me is that Walsh seems to think that refusing to pay is a way to fuck with his ex-wife: you can see it in the letters that go back and forth, the claims of poverty, the one-time attempt to claim his wife was mentally ill, etc.

But that’s not who’s on the receiving end of his fuckery: it’s his KIDS who take the hit. They not only suffer from less money in the primary household, they get to watch their father act like a complete and royal jackass to their mother. And yeah, maybe she’s a bitch,, but you know what? You put away your hatred for your ex, because your love for the kids means a lot more than petty vengeance.

And there you have a tea bagger, in a nutshell: driven by nothing more than petty vengeance. That’s what you’ve been seeing play out for the past three years on the right. Petty vengeance and temper tantrums.

Roller Coaster

I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of this in the coming week:

U.S. stock futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will drop after rallying within 1.4 percent of a three-year high, as President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach an agreement on raising the federal debt limit, intensifying concern the nation will default.

S&P 500 futures expiring in September declined 1 percent to 1,327.20 at 2:31 p.m. in Tokyo. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 127 points, or 1 percent, to 12,494.
[…]
The impasse has boosted the chance S&P will cut the U.S. credit rating from AAA within three months to 50 percent, the company said July 21.

“It’s a major disappointment that they can’t come to a compromise of some sort,” James Dunigan, chief investment officer in Philadelphia for PNC Wealth Management, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees $109 billion. “We came down to the 11th hour. There’s an increasing likelihood that without a significant deal the chances of a debt downgrade will rise. If you re-rate the safest security in the world, everything else gets re-rated against that.”

And all of this, I will remind you, is because Republicans see their pledge to Grover Norquist as more important than their oath of office.

There’s a word for people like that: Benedict Arnold.

Testing, 1-2-4, I mean 3

I’ll be doing some guest posting for Susie in the week ahead, so I figured I’d just do a quick test post to make sure I have the formatting right. But first, a blockquote:

Tom Corbett is a soulless piece of human garbage

Woops, did I say THAT? Here’s a link.

The following has been a test of the Brendan Broadcast System. See you next week!

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