Why so Pissed, El? (2)

We live in a culture ruled not by a desire to meet everyone’s basic human needs, or even recognize them, but by an unreasoning competitive lust to acquire more than we can possibly use.   We all need food, shelter, clothing, exercise, love, sex, companionship.   We get tasty, cheaply produced toxic foodstuffs, overpriced shelter that is a burden, (if also a major investment), for many citizens, clothing made in countries where labor is cheapest and health and safety regulations least intrusive.  Instead of walking, most of us drive everywhere in fossil-powered cars whose pollution is destroying the planet.  

There is sadly little love in our society, for most people, in part because advertising creates impossible dreams as divorce rates soar.  Sex is often a commodity in our pay to play culture, pornography is readily available to every adolescent with a phone.   Companionship, in the sense of mutually respecting friends spending time together, having a few laughs, exchanging views, is more and more rare.    Look at me right now, I’m typing these words into a void instead of chatting with a friend.   More and more of our communication, as a society, is via what is grotesquely known as Social Media.   It isn’t hard to see why people become internet trolls in this kind of inhuman environment.   Why not take out your frustrations by shitting on your countrymen when nobody can look into your pathetic eyes?

Why so mad, El?  This sick shit is the only game in town, unless you make herculean exertions to get off the grid.   If you choose not to participate in what is euphemistically called the Rat Race, the competition for wealth, you find yourself a sucker betting against the house.   When I was young banks paid a substantial interest rate to hold your money.  If you had a sum you were saving, you could put it into a long-term, federally insured, bank account that paid 10% interest.  This way you could live on a budget and keep up with inflation without putting your savings on a crooked roulette wheel.  Today banks have merged with investment houses and insurance companies, the whole game is a casino.   Rather than FDIC insurance for your life savings in the bank, you have the federal government turning a willfully blind eye to the massive Ponzi Scheme that is our financial industry-driven economy.

In fairness to the ass-dicking architects of this system [1], I have heard there is nothing like taking a dump into a $35,000 toilet bowl.   It may be nice to own as many homes as you want, I suppose, although you have to wonder about why that might be.  In order to allow these masters of the universe to live such lavish lifestyles there are certain sacrifices the rest of us must make.   Not long ago they came up with a brilliant fraud to ensure that this sacrifice by the 95% would be perpetual.   I refer you to Matt Taibbi’s The Divide, pages 38 and 39, for a clear, concise description of the details [2].

You create a system where large sums of money are continually flowing in.  This is necessary for any Ponzi Scheme.  You need a steady flow of money coming in, to pay off people, to pique their greed, to make them invest more, to keep the shell game profitable.   Some unprincipled geniuses realized there was a huge reservoir of money in the housing market and came up with a scheme to defraud unsuspecting losers of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars.   For all of its intricateness, it is deceptively simple.  You package and sell misleadingly labeled debt.

You allow millions of people to take mortgages they can not possibly afford to keep paying.  Give them “liar’s loans”, it’s not a problem, the point is to create mountains of debt you can package and sell, the more the better.  Make the initial mortgage payments small, it doesn’t matter, you can always add a clause for balloon payments that nobody will read, or understand.   As long as housing prices are going up, these poor suckers can always sell or borrow more money against the rising price of their homes, to keep their nostrils above water.   Meantime, you package these debts into huge bundles you can sell as rock solid investments, sliced into tranches of collateralized debt obligations, or whatever you want to call them.  

To make these bad debts attractive to investors, you get the ratings agencies to assure buyers that the derivatives they are investing in are AAA-rated, nothing safer than a triple A-rated investment product.   You make the transfers and investment opportunities for these toxic assets insanely complicated for anyone outside of the financial sector to begin to understand.   It doesn’t matter as long as you keep paying high interest rates on these toxic investments in the short term.  You make this golden investment opportunities irresistible.  Then you sit back, skim off the vast profits, and wait for more foreclosures to bundle and sell.  

Since we live in a culture where winners are rewarded with obscene wealth, and losers can go fuck off and die, all this makes perfect sense.   Obama’s justice department, along with not holding John Yoo, Mitchell and Jessen, Cheney and the other creators of our torture program accountable (come on! you will say, that would have been politically impossible– and besides, Cheney would have killed everyone), prosecuted nobody for this massive systemic financial fraud against millions of Americans, a fraud that resulted in the loss of gazillions of dollars for pension funds, senior citizens’ life savings, etc.  Suckers walk, yo.

Why so fucking angry, El?  This has always been the way of the world.  You think the serfs had it any better under feudalism?   Why blame perfect presidential candidate Barack Obama for not seriously addressing the most horrific failures of the system? He was no bomb thrower, he was a pragmatist.  He joked about making some “serious Tubmans” when he was out of office.  I have confidence in his abilities, I’m certain he will be the first ex-president to monetize his talents and status to become a billionaire.  Why not dream huge in the land of the American Dream?  

While we have Obama on the waterboard, I understand that the deep hatred he inspired in much of the country, merely by being “biracial”, may have led him to be more cautious than he would have been in a more just, less racist, society.   He faced a racist lynch mob every day of his presidency.  The most vocal leaders of that lynch mob are literally running the Executive branch today.  OK, leave my man out of it, then.

Why am I so fucking mad?  Because of how little choice there is in how to live by merciful human values in a corrupt, morally bankrupt, insatiably appetitive society like ours.  It is nothing to turn children into charred chopped meat somewhere thousands of miles from here, if you spin it as done in the cause of freedom and democracy.  Collateral Damage.  Sanctions against Iraq over the years cost many thousands of Iraqi children their lives, long before “Shock and Awe”, a perpetual war of aggression for no moral or legal reason.  Nothing to see here.   Drones replace “boots on the ground”, American lives are saved.  It’s all good!  We torture… some folks… call us pisher, as my grandfather used to say.   The bottom line is the economy, stupid.  The Stock Market hums along, practices largely the same as they were right before the big transfer of wealth in 2008 that was disastrous to many millions of people worldwide.  

“Nothing to fucking see here, commie bastard.  You want humble people to be left alone?   Where does that ever fucking happen?  I thought you wanted everyone’s basic so-called human needs taken care of?   How does that happen if you want to be left alone?  Asshole.  Grow some balls, go compete, monetize something, instead of whining to nobody about the infernal unfairness of life among the wise apes.  Nobody cares, do you understand me, you stupid loser fuck?  More than that, nobody is even fucking listening.”

I sit here, sucking my teeth, petulant.  I’m mad, yo.  Get me to a laughing academy, eh?  

And, smartly on cue, the spotty but expensive internet service provided by a duopoly headed by the highest paid CEO in the world, winks out.   God bless.

 

 

[1] Apologies to any loving, consensual practitioners of anal intercourse out there.  I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s sexual preference, I just get tired of using “motherfucker” to describe these ruthless motherfuckers.  “Cocksucker” is subject to the same offensive limitations as ass-dicker.  What a fucked up world… I suppose men who behave like the genteel “Planters” of old who raped their slaves for fun and profit are best described as what they are, motherfuckers.  Keep it simple.

[2] On the second of those pages, Taibbi writes:

It was a modern take on the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale.  Big banks took great masses of straw (i.e., the risky home loans of the poor, undocumented and unemployed) and spun it, factory style, into gold (i.e., AAA-rated securities).   They used a technique called securitization that allowed banks and mortgage lenders to take vast pools of home loans belonging to underemployed janitors and immigrants and magically convert them into investments that were ostensibly as safe as Microsoft corporate bonds or the sovereign debt of Luxembourg, but more lucrative than either.

Then we have this “fun fact” about the robust federal investigation into the causes of this great fraud, from page 407.  Try to read it without clenching your jaws after the punchline:

Fun fact:  When the economy crashed in 2008, the federal government formed an investigatory group to look into the causes.  The Financial Crisis Inquiry Committee was given a budget of $9.8.  Committee chairman Phil Angelides acidly noted that this was “roughly one-seventh of the budget of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”

Meanwhile, that same year the federal drug enforcement budget leaped from $13.275 billion to $15.278 billion.  That meant that just the increase in the national drug enforcement budget for the year of the biggest financial crisis since the Depression was roughly two hundred times the size of the budget for the sole executive branch effort at formally investigating the causes of financial corruption.

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