Let Them Die

You said 700 BILLION?

An alien observing this whole financial mess from orbit would find it all very interesting.

I do as well, on one level. Fascinating stuff. Learning more and more about the innards of the US financial system.

On another level, it terrifies the crap out of me. Someone’s writing a check in MY name to the tune of $10k or so to cover this ($700 billion total)? WHAT?

I’ve got a kid on the way and am scrimping and saving. I turned off cable TV! Hell, I started drinking the crappy free coffee at work instead of buying good stuff, and starting bringing peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. I’m saving my ass off and some pin striped suit wearing sonofabitch is sticking his hands out to the tune of 700 BILLION DOLLARS?

Screw that noise, let them die! Let every bank fail; fuck ’em. So my next mortgage will be drawn against a Chinese bank? Fine. They probably at least know what they’re doing better than the US bankers.

The Infamous Brad has a good point about when it will end… as of December 31, 2009, 97% of all of the teaser rate mortgages will have reset… so the dipshits who bought a house way bigger they could afford will have been foreclosed upon, and the banks holding those mortgage securities will stop seeing losses on them.

How Did We Get Here?

And as to how this all happened, I’ve not seen an explanation from the asshats on Wall Street and the SEC and the Fed. They just want our money.

However, the Good Math, Bad Math guy has a series of articles that sum it up pretty well:

Economic Disasters and Stupid Evil People

How "safe" was a lie

How it turned into a trillion dollar disaster

So that’s how we got here. Right now as I write this Congress is arguing about what in the hell to do about it. And for you partisans, just put a sock in it. Plenty of blame to go around for the deregulation to allow this… a Republican Congress got it signed by a Democratic President.

The Freakonomics guys have blogged a bit about this, too.

A guest blogger justifies the bailout of Bear Stearns and AIG. I guess I don’t have a huge problem with those. At least they let Lehman Brothers fail appropriately.

A response came saying Paulson is wrong about this… essentially it means that the profits are private (them Wall Street types were rolling in it the past decade), but when it comes time for the losses, somehow that gets socialized.

Or Else… What?

I’m a bit more concerned about this $700 billion dollar war chest they’re asking for. To my understanding, this is the issue:

– Credit is the lifeblood of the financial system.
– The system is chock full of bad mortgage-backed securities (see the Good Math Bad Math links above on this).
– Banks won’t lend to each other because they KNOW they all have bad debt and don’t believe they’ll get paid if they do give credit.
– FAIL

This is all very esoteric from my perspective. I’ve got car repair bills (my wife crashed her car). I’ve got a mortgage to pay (fixed rate, dammit!), and mouths to feed. I need to pay for gas, and food, and my health care costs just DOUBLED. I don’t give a flying fuck if UBS can’t get a loan from Citibank.

I want someone to tell me… WHY DO I CARE?

Why can’t we just wait for the dust to settle? Okay, for a while the credit market will dry up, many investors will be screwed over as stock drops… but then, after a while, the bad debt will be excised from the books, and we’re all good again, right?

It apparently would be pretty dire… but what would such a situation actually look like on the ground if we just allow the failing institutions to fail?

Isn’t that supposed to be how the free market works? If a bunch of idiots bet a bunch of money on stupid investments, they should LOSE THEIR MONEY, not take MINE.

So anyway, all of these articles say that the credit market has to stay liquid, OR ELSE.

Well, can someone please explain the "or else" part?

If not, then let’s please just let them die.

P.S.

Also, if anyone henceforth explains to me that they are an investment banker, derivatives broker, or Wall Street executive, I am going to put my foot so far up their ass that my toes are going to come out of their face. Then I’m going to drive off in their Mercedes.

Not that I didn’t hate this type of weasel before… but now there’s no jury in the country that would convict me for doing bodily harm!

P.P.S.

The above section is hyperbole, and is no way intended to actually constitute a threat, no matter how expensive the asshat’s suit.

P.P.P.S.

My letter to Congress

Guantanamo inmates “have rights”

Thank fucking god*. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but at least they’re still turning.

Some of these poor sods have been holed up there for more than six years. And while I’m certain that some of them are evil motherfuckers, I think we all know that there are very, very likely some that were probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It is better that ten guilty escape than one innocent suffer." – William Blackstone

BBC News:

Foreign suspects held in Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detention in US civilian courts, the US Supreme Court has ruled.

It overturned by five to four a ruling that upheld a 2006 law that took away the rights of suspects to seek full judicial review of their detention.

So in a world in which justice and peace seem farther and farther removed from us in the United States of GeorgeBushIca, it’s nice to see a little light of hope shine through. All is not (yet) lost.

* god in the poetic sense, not the God of intervention as told in the Bible, Torah, and Koran… because only the former actually exists.

From an Angry Soldier


This from Craigslist.

I did not write this; I am just another dumbass who doesn’t really have the foggiest idea of what it is really like to be a soldier.

I’m mirroring this here in case it disappears from the Intarweb; it deserves to be read.

From an Angry Soldier
Date: 2007-04-10, 1:00PM PDT

I’m having the worst damn week of my whole damn life so I’m going to write this while I’m pissed off enough to do it right.

I am SICK of all this bullshit people are writing about the Iraq war. I am abso-fucking-lutely sick to death of it. What the fuck do most of you know about it? You watch it on TV and read the commentaries in the newspaper or Newsweek or whatever god damn yuppie news rag you subscribe to and think you’re all such fucking experts that you can scream at each other like five year old about whether you’re right or not. Let me tell you something: unless you’ve been there, you don’t know a god damn thing about it. It you haven’t been shot at in that fucking hell hole, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

How do I dare say this to you moronic war supporters who are "Supporting our Troops" and waving the flag and all that happy horse shit? I’ll tell you why. I’m a Marine and I served my tour in Iraq. My husband, also a Marine, served several. I left the service six months ago because I got pregnant while he was home on leave and three days ago I get a visit from two men in uniform who hand me a letter and tell me my husband died in that fucking festering sand-pit. He should have been home a month ago but they extended his tour and now he’s coming home in a box.

You fuckers and that god-damn lying sack of shit they call a president are the reason my husband will never see his baby and my kid will never meet his dad.

And you know what the most fucked up thing about this Iraq shit is? They don’t want us there. They’re not happy we came and they want us out NOW. We fucked up their lives even worse than they already were and they’re pissed off. We didn’t help them and we’re not helping them now. That’s what our soldiers are dying for.

Oh while I’m good and worked up, the government doesn’t even have the decency to help out the soldiers whos lives they ruined. If you really believe the military and the government had no idea the veterans’ hospitals were so fucked up, you are a god-damn retard. They don’t care about us. We’re disposable. We’re numbers on a page and they’d rather forget we exist so they don’t have to be reminded about the families and lives they ruined while they’re sipping their cocktails at another fund raiser dinner. If they were really concerned about supporting the troops, they’d bring them home so their families wouldn’t have to cry at a graveside and explain to their children why mommy or daddy isn’t coming home. Because you can’t explain it. We’re not fighting for our country, we’re not fighting for the good of Iraq’s people, we’re fighting for Bush’s personal agenda. Patriotism my ass. You know what? My dad served in Vietnam and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

So I’m pissed. I’m beyond pissed. And I’m going to go to my husband funeral and recieve that flag and hang it up on the wall for my baby to see when he’s older. But I’m not going to tell him that his father died for the stupidty of the American government. I’m going to tell him that his father was a hero and the best man I ever met and that he loved his country enough to die for it, because that’s all true and nothing will be solved by telling my son that his father was sent to die by people who didn’t care about him at all.

Fuck you, war supporters, George W. Bush, and all the god damn mother fuckers who made the war possible. I hope you burn in hell.

There is No Deeper Meaning

There is no sense in it. There is no deeper meaning.

All those who talk of and to the grieving (including the chimp in the Oval Office) can’t help themselves but to speak of god and his greater purpose for the 32 slain.

Dudes, there is no higher purpose. That anyone would claim that somehow this is all part of a master plan from a higher being who knows better… it’s all just nonsense. If there is a god, he is not a benevolent one. No such god would allow this.

And yes, Virginia, there are still atheists in foxholes and bloodied classrooms, including this Virginia Tech professor:

We atheists do not believe in gods, or angels, or demons, or souls that endure, or a meeting place after all is said and done where more can be said and done and the point of it all revealed. We don’t believe in the possibility of redemption after our lives, but the necessity of compassion in our lives. We believe in people, in their joys and pains, in their good ideas and their wit and wisdom. We believe in human rights and dignity, and we know what it is for those to be trampled on by brutes and vandals. We may believe that the universe is pitilessly indifferent but we know that friends and strangers alike most certainly are not. We despise atrocity, not because a god tells us that it is wrong, but because if not massacre then nothing could be wrong.

Good and evil don’t need a god to be.

Appalachian School of Law Shooting

I’m sure the anti-gun crowd is immediately started blaming this week’s tragic massacre on the US gun culture. Already asshats like Dr. Phil (and of course, Jack Thompson) are blaming it on video games.

So was the US gun culture responsible? No, it turns out… the fuckwad who did this was from South Korea.

I fully support background checks for gun purchases, but unfortunately it sounds like that didn’t help in this case. Fuckwad had no prior record, and legally purchased the handguns. The only way to have prevented this crime would be to ban guns (and, of course, make all existing guns magically disappear).

Take a gander at this. The last time a student opened fire at a school in Virginia (the Appalachian School of Law), he was subdued by other armed students:

When Odighizuwa exited the building where the shooting took place, he was approached by two students with personal firearms.

At the first sound of gunfire, fellow students Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, unbeknownst to each other, ran to their vehicles to fetch their personally owned firearms. Gross, a police officer with the Grifton Police Department in his home state of North Carolina, retrieved a bulletproof vest and a 9 mm pistol. Bridges pulled his .357 Magnum pistol from beneath the driver’s seat of his Chevy Tahoe. As Bridges later told the Richmond Times Dispatch, he was prepared to shoot to kill.

Bridges and Gross approached Odighizuwa from different angles, with Bridges yelling at Odighizuwa to drop his gun. Odighizuwa then dropped his firearm and was subdued by a third student, Ted Besen, who was unarmed. Once Odighizuwa was securely held down, Gross went back to his vehicle and retrieved handcuffs to detain Odighizuwa until police could arrive.

Only three people were killed that day, thanks to the bravery of these bystanders who happened to be armed.

Virginia Tech has a rule against allowing possession or storage of guns on campus. Did this stop Fuckwad?

Nope.

It did stop any students or teachers from having the ability to defend themselves.

You Stupid Fucking Hicks

Nice job, Wisconsin. You overwhelmingly voted for the amendment to ban gay marriage (and civil unions).

In 1895, South Carolina amended its state constitution to prohibit the "marriage of a white person with a Negro or mulatto or a person who shall have one-eighth or more of Negro blood."

In one hundered years history will look back at this moment and recognize that what was just done in Wisconsin was just as abhorrent as what South Carolina did in 1895 (and didn’t fix until 1998).

You are a stupid fucking hick if you voted for this ban. You probably also think we shouldn’t let the niggers marry our pure white folk.

Shame on you.

Shame on the small minded, dogmatic, hateful religion which inspired your vote.

I’ll bet it was Christianity.

Today’s Vote in Wisconsin

(This is an email I recently sent out to just about everyone I could think of.)

Hello. I am sending this email out to a very wide range of folks I know. Some of you I have known for many years, yet we have not ever discussed politics. Some of you I don’t yet know very well at all… and with some of you I’ve already discussed these issues ad nauseum. =)

You may disagree entirely with my politics, and vice versa. Certainly I do apologize if any offense is taken by what I say here, and I thank you for your time to read this.

While I do generally vote (and when I do, I have in the past had no particular leaning to either major party), I have never canvassed for any candidate or cause before, nor ever sent out an email such as this (and I do not do so lightly).

However, today there is an issue on our ballot which I believe is much more important than which career politician is going to be our congressman, attorney general, or state coroner.

It is being pitched by the Republicans as the Gay Marriage Amendment, but it goes much further than that. The entire text of the amendment to the state constitution is:

"Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?"

What I would like to point out about this:

– Gay marriage is already illegal in Wisconsin; it will still be illegal even without this amendment (and with conservative control of both houses of the state legislature, this is not likely to change any time soon). Do we need to write discrimination into our constitution?

– This will also affect STRAIGHT couples NOW – unmarried couples will lose health care benefits, death and dying rights, and even domestic violence protections.

– This means that civil unions will never be possible. Even of those folks who think gay marriage shouldn’t be legal, most don’t have a problem with civil unions of some sort… this prevents that entirely!

– Marriage as an institution is not under attack. No church would ever be forced to allow gay marriage under their purview. A couple forming a civil union does not invalidate or threaten straight couples’ marriages. It does not make marriage as an institution any less real or important in our society. A civil union is only to allow those families who love each other have the ability to take care of each other. Passing this amendment will prevent that, most likely forever, in Wisconsin (no amendment has been overturned in WI).

This is a chance for your vote to make a real difference. This will be a close one, and even in places (like Dane County) where there is heavy opposition to the amendment, a vote against it still helps since the vote is statewide.

Please vote NO!

Secondly, this is perhaps less urgent, but also be aware there is a non-binding referendum on the ballot to bring back the death penalty.

While it is non-binding, I think it would be a real shame if we in Wisconsin allowed this to pass. Only one man has ever been executed by the state, and that was in 1851. We banned the death penalty in 1858 (only 10 years after we became a state!), a time in which the death penalty was commonplace elsewhere in the country, and in the world.

While certainly I want murderers, rapists, and molesters to pay for their crimes, even with DNA evidence, we can never be 100% sure of someone’s guilt. Eye witnesses are not infallible… neither is DNA evidence, and neither are juries.

Illinois to our south has shown what can happen. There is no doubt that many innocent people have been put to death there in punishment for horrible crimes… but they sent the wrong man to die, and no matter how much technology advances, we can never be completely certain.

By sentencing someone to life in prison, we can always correct the problem if an innocent man is convicted. When we execute someone, we have no way to correct the injustice.

Let’s not go back to 1857. Think about our country then.

Slavery was legal.
Women could not vote.
The death penalty existed.

All three of these are barbaric and shouldn’t be a part of the modern world, least of all here in Wisconsin.

Please vote against the death penalty.

If you have any questions or comments about what I have said, I am more than willing to discuss this matter with you. I do believe all I have said here is true… and I think many who are in favor of the marriage amendment have been misrepresenting the facts.

Also note that in most places, these issues are on the BACK of the ballot, so don’t forget to turn it over when you vote.

Thank you for your time.

johnS