Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why The Super Bowl Doesn't Matter....

For far too long in our society, the managers (the real people who own this country) have been keeping you asleep with popular culture. Formulaic music, movies, and sports, they are all sort of the owners' way of hoping that you do not pay attention. More importantly, sports, especially, has served as an acceptable alternative of collective expression, collective will and expression that will not cost the upper 1% income tax bracket a dime (if anything, it will make them money off the backs of people who waste their lives worrying about the outcomes of the games).

It is a harsh judgment, but why do you think the most overtly right-wing media outlets in this country (like Fox) allot so much space for trivial stories and events? Because they are more honest and understand the value of triviality. And before you accuse me of being an embittered geek, I am an ex-athlete. I lettered in three sports in high school and tried to pursue one of them professionally. Until a year or so ago, I still followed one of those sports, that was until I could no longer stomach the thought of liking a game populated by degenerate steroid abusers.

At some point, we need to confront reality for what it is, and stop dreaming. We are living a nightmare in this country, and it was a nightmare caused by the very same people who will be advertising their products to you at tonight's game. Most odiously, it includes a culture of thievery and swindling that has cost us trillions of dollars in the last six months, in savings, in jobs, in loans, foreclosures, and thanks in no small part to the criminality of our friends in high finance.

The corruption of those banks encompass behavior like taking hundreds of billions of dollars of your money as a taxpayer, while precipitously increasing your APRs, decreasing your line on credit, spending millions of dollars (of our money) on corporate jets, office improvements for CEOs, and extra bonuses for these unconvicted felons. The response? In most countries, we would be lining these people up for the guillotine. Here, we still have politicians who defend these practices as being good for our economy (with the expectation that they will say it without losing their lives). That is what happens when you have a population whose concept of political awareness is restricted to voting and watching an Inaugural ball.

Until you wake up, we (you know, the people who are awake) should be demanding our elected officials to take action. In this case, thankfully, there actually is at least one person in elected office who at least pretends to care, and responded to the recent pay raises from corporate executives in kind.


Angry senator wants pay cap on Wall Street 'idiots'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after President Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.

An angry U.S. senator introduced legislation Friday to cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money.

Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States.

Obama's current annual salary is $400,000.

"We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses." Video Watch McCaskill's heated words »

McCaskill's proposed compensation limit would cover salaries, bonuses and stock options.

On Thursday, Obama said the prospect that some of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout could end up paying for bonuses to managers of struggling financial institutions was "shameful."

The president said it was the "height of irresponsibility" for executives to pay bonuses when their companies were asking for help from Washington.

"The American people understand we've got a big hole that we've got to dig ourselves out of, but they don't like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they're being asked to fill it up," Obama added.

McCaskill's proposal comes three days after struggling banking giant Citigroup--which has taken about $45 billion from the government's Troubles Asset Relief Program--reversed plans to accept delivery of a $42 million corporate jet. The company changed its mind under Treasury Department prodding.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended corporate bonuses Friday, saying that cutting them also means slashing jobs in the Big Apple.

"If you somehow take that bonus out of the economy, it really will create unemployment," he said on CNN's "American Morning." "It means spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores, so everything has an impact."


Senator McCaskill's bill is Senate Bill 360. I would encourage everyone to put down the chip and dip, read this bill, it was just submitted, and to get in contact with your state's two Senators and highly encourage them to support it. Maybe this will make its way to the House, possibly joint committee, and become law, but it will not as long the apologists for these executives like Giuliani and Bloomberg have their way. We cannot decapitate them, but we can at least hit these crooks where it hurts, their bank accounts. It is the least they deserve, and since they are living on our dollar we are well within our rights to demand it.


Anonymous said...

Get over yourself. This blog is little more than sanctimonious posturing.

TA said...

The day you're willing to pick up my tax bill and subsidize the swindling thieves who stole mine and used it to give themselves billions in bonuses, while living off my dollar, I will sit around and be as trivial, pop culture-addicted, and anonymously useless as yourself.

Anonymous said...

Useless? People in glass houses …

Tell me, what have you done to remediate all of the problems you bemoan? Worked for any political campaigns? Written any of your Congressional representatives? Voted, even? Saying you’re too good or ideologically too pure for any of these is a cop-out.

Yes, I’ve done all of these. I also earned my doctorate without incurring any debt, and when I moved out, three suitcases held all of my worldly possessions (aside from books)—-and that continues to be the case. (I’m not asking you to congratulate me for any of this, but I do want to preempt the baseless epithets you will inevitably attempt.)

The reason I write is that I’m sick of pompous blowhards like yourself polluting public discourse and, more important for my sake, poisoning scholarly debates. You claim selfless motives, but you’re mostly interested in hearing yourselves talk. You reiterate the same, tired arguments, so you have nothing to say. Your minds are closed, so you have no intellectual integrity.

I’ve always wished for a chance to tell this to one of you directly, and I’m glad to have the opportunity. (And I’m doing it anonymously because I don’t want your intemperate rants to clog my inbox.)

Ad-hominems are not arguments, and verbal incontinence does not make you more persuasive. Go find something useful to do with yourself—-like drive a cab. That’s honest work.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: I've always worked for liberal candidates, so don't try to smear me as a conservative or a Republican.

TA said...

Right, and your pal Rudy Giuliani is still a liberal too. You’re not fooling anyone. The fact you’re posting anonymously only illustrates your lack of honesty.

What is even more telling is that you are whining about my just complaining and not offering any solutions on a post in which I not only list a valid complaint about your friends who stole billions in tax money (our money, assuming you are not one of those closeted “libertarian” part-time adjuncts in the social sciences taking out your frustrations on anyone who is not a rhetorical case for the upper 1% income tax bracket), and I then even bothered to post a remedy with a contact site for your Senator to encourage them to legislatively do something about it. To you, that is blowhardism. I mean, to take offense at public theft and advocate a legislative remedy. You obviously are not reading anything on this site, but transposing your own experiences elsewhere on this board, never mind the ideological toxin of the presence of a person who makes contradictory complaints about my not doing something that was the focus of the very post you are commenting on.

And yes, I have been politically involved my whole life. I came from a union family, which includes my own involvement in assisting workers in several strikes (from my own family members to local workers in my hometown and cities I have lived and worked in throughout my life), politically active in almost two dozen local, state, and federal campaigns. And most of this was well before my academic career, coming from a family of non-academics, so spare me the sanctimonious oh-liberal-academic, while feigning to be one yourself. You see, that is selfishness to you, ‘complaining’ about people who steal my money, and then offer to do something about it. Being a labor activist and working in unions for over two decades is your idea of leftist blowhardism. On the one hand, I do nothing but complain (even when offering an active solution), but even if I do work and apply myself, and involve myself politically, it is all about hearing my own voice. Well, you are on my site. You volunteered yourself on someone else’s abode. It is the height of hypocrisy to go into someone else’s site and complain about their voice, when by definition that’s what it is. I do not pretend to think the way you do and could care less if you like it. You don’t see me coming into your life and telling everyone you know what a selfish jerk you are for anonymously whining about someone else not thinking the way you do. You need to get over yourself and show some maturity that correlates with your level of education.

And oh, yes, dear Horatio, congratulations on getting a doctorate. Unfortunately, it did not come with a personality transplant.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so wedded to baseless ad-hominems and verbal incontinence? Do they make you feel powerful?

TA said...

The truth is never an ad hominem, and positing an ad ignorantiam as a self-serving rant against selfishness by coming onto someone else's site and contradictorily claiming they are not doing what the very post you're commenting on actually does, I feel less powerful than amazed that someone like you actually has a doctorate. Frankly, I think you're a hoax, which probably explains your preference for anonymity.