Op Art in Prose…
Posted July 27, 2012on:
Good morning Widdershin friends — here’s hoping a magical Unicorn fertilizes your world with a little wonderment.
There’s so much to talk about and so little time. Let’s get at it.
An unspeakable tragedy that has occasioned untold suffering on scores of families makes me alternatively sad and angry. Here’s an anger making moment from last Sunday morning.
Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI and Lackey-NRA, was on Fox News Sunday. The topic of this particular anger making moment was the shooter arming himself with an AR-15, the civilian equivalent of a military M16, that has the ability to fire 50-60 rounds a minute. The shooter had acquired a mega “drum clip” containing 100 rounds that thankfully jammed. When asked about limiting these mass murdering, extended killing mega-clips, Sen. Johnson replied, “To limit the size of clips is really to limit our freedom.”
I want to make sure I get this right — to insure the constitutional right of Sen. Johnson and his ilk the extra minute of orgasmic bliss before reloading their civilian M-16’s, we are to say to a dozen families and countless scores of other families to come, “Sorry about your luck, but it’s my constitutional right to have not one, but two solid minutes before I have to reload my automatic weapon.”
And what is gut-wrenchingly grotesque is that there are engineers and public relations people working right now to make and sell a new and improved 100-round clip that won’t jam the next time. Oh, and by the way, did you know Wayne LaPierre, spokesthug and full-time arse for the NRA makes $970,300 a year — just thought you should know since he‘s the one who comes up with these “freedom“ arguments.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D- NY, a widow courtesy of a mass killing with an enlarged ammo clip has been one of the few lonely courageous voices for sensible gun control and has long been an advocate of limiting these mega clips — she is a profile in courage.
Banking Scandals Update
For those keeping tabs, the JPMorgan losses from its gambling in the great Craps game of derivatives has now grown from $2.0 Billion to just under $6.0 Billion. Not to worry, we, the taxpayers, are helping out with a $1.7 Billion tax write-off in this quarter alone, but when JPMorgan is making $20.0 Billion a year in profits, who’s counting?
Turning to the LIBOR scandal — before you tune out, if you have a credit card or any variable rate loan, it affects you — it has gotten much more press in Europe than here in the U.S. since Barclays has already pled guilty and paid a half Billion dollars in fines. Here’s all you need to know — LIBOR is the rate banks charge one another for lending one another money and it is the benchmark for virtually every variable rate consumer loan in the industrialized world. The LIBOR rate was kept artificially low through an ongoing banking conspiracy so as to not set off any alarms as to the true economic condition of faltering banks. The LIBOR investigation is just getting underway here in the U.S. — it has all the potential for being really big or being quietly swept under the Wall Street rug.
Finally, the biggest scandal no one has heard about has culminated in the conviction of three big time bid riggers in N.Y. Federal District Court. I know you haven’t heard a thing about it, but it involves some names you might have heard like GE Capital, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia, and too many more to name. The scheme was simple, but the apparatus was complicated — it was an ongoing conspiracy to divvy up the winning banks on the proceeds from bond sale auctions.
The scheme was about stealing from cities, states, and bonding authorities on the construction of everything from roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, nursing facilities — essentially if your city issued a bond for the construction of something, these guys were stealing money off the top. In many cases it was just a percentage point or two, but when you are talking
about $3.7 Trillion annually in bonding, it adds up. Oh, and by the way, this has been going on for the last ten to fifteen years. Matt Taibbi likens it to the mafia in a wonderfully written piece detailing how Wall Street “was stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, and turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It’s the equivalent of robbing a charity or a church fund to pay for lap dances.”
These scandals are not going to be on the evening news in any great way — they won’t be covered by Entertainment Tonight since there are Kardashians still breathing — but they are important because of one clear unmistakable point — unregulated Wall Street deems itself the ultimate arbiter of what’s best and fair for everyone beginning first, of course, with themselves — not unlike the feudal lords who determined what gristle to share with the serfs.
Odds and Ends
Don’t you wish that there was a Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein network?
Isn’t it funny that the one thing in Mitt Romney’s entire career that is not negotiable and upon which he has taken an unalterable stand is the release of his tax returns — abortion meh, gay rights meh, Vietnam service meh, but the release of tax returns — no way. That fact tells me more than his tax returns ever could.
Isn’t it amazing that so many people, who came to fame and fortune working for an institution ostensibly dedicated to the education of young people, were able to turn their backs on the raping of young boys because it might have been bad for a game played on Saturday afternoon with a ball that costs $9.99 on e-Bay?
Paranoia is the ultimate self-help remedy for irrelevance — case in point, Michele Bachmann braying about Huma Abedin being a sleeper agent for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Did you know the Senate Republicans have introduced a “Tax Hike Prevention Act?” It doesn’t exactly live up to its name. You see, it does take care of the 1% wage earners by making sure they get a tax cut of over $130,000 a year, but for a single mother in the lowest tax bracket “not so much.” Her taxes would be going up about $843 a year since there is no provision for the continuation of tax cuts for working families. So to be entirely accurate, a more appropriate name of the bill would be, “No Tax Hike if you are a One Percenter, but if you are a Single Mother making less than $18,000 a year — sorry about your luck Act.”
This is an “all skate” open thread.
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