Monday, August 15, 2011

The Pinch of Politics and Finance

Now they’ve done it! Now we know the legacy Republicans are leaving their children—and, indifferently, ours: the triple-A downgrading of America. So, while everyone (but other Republicans) is pointing a finger at them, I’d like to point a fist. Fie on them!

Up with the rest of us. You can’t keep a good country down, and while we don’t look, or feel, so good right now, we remain the best there is. It’s not the U.S. that’s on its way to being debased, it’s the Republicans who are already there.

I don’t know about you, but if John Boehner calls, I’m not in. An elected public servant entrusted with one of the highest offices in the land snubbing the President of the United States, ignoring the president’s calls during a crisis! Who does he think he is? A man who couldn’t keep his eyes dry during a roll call shedding nary a tear over endless weeks of events that plausibly had half of the Capitol wearing Depends! I think I know who he is, a shit in sheepish clothing—but who does he think he is?!

And wetting the pants she apparently wears in her family, glee-stricken Michele Bachmann gushed this about Uncle Sam’s shiner: “We just heard from Standard and Poors. When they dropped our credit rating. What they said is we don’t have an ability to repay our debt. That’s what the final word was from them. I was proved right in my position—we should not have raised the debt ceiling and instead we should cut government spending, which was not done, and then we needed to get our spending priorities in order.” Other than “and” and “the,” there is not a correct word in the Bachmanspeak logorrhea.

I have been asked, in “Comments” on my previous blog piece, “The Capitol Hill Compromise”: “Does this blog represent the ‘civility’ that the president asked for?” My straight-from-the-heart answer is that this blog represents the "civility" the President asked for and has never received—certainly not from the opposition, reference to whom, by any name, was omitted by the commenter. Do I have to point out again that the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives not returning his president’s phone calls was at one and the same time an egregious and a tiresomely typical example of one party’s incivility?

Civility reigns as far as I’m concerned—in my private life as well as on this blog—in all things except when it comes to the hostile politics of The Grand Obstreperous Party. My commenter continues and so will I—but civility dictates I let the commenter go first: “We are ALL Americans, my dear Ray, and if we don't all work together to seek peaceful solutions to our common goals we will be driven to civil unrest by the lunatic fringes of both parties. ( See Greece, London)” (Here, my civility obliges me to acknowledge having respectfully corrected the commenter’s misspellings. But…) I heartily agree with the observation. Well, almost heartily—I’m not sure about the streets being occupied solely by “the lunatic fringes of both parties.” Public protests and demonstrations are contagious. The Brits got the inspiration from the Arab Spring, and—“lunatic fringes” or just plain angry folks—our frightened and frustrated working class and jobless citizens, catching the fever from once-merry England, will do their damndest as well as their best to make themselves heard.

Inevitably, looting will follow, and as appalling as that prospect is, is it any worse than the looting that goes on within the walls of Wall Street? The wild market swings of the past six to eight business days were not haphazard events, nor will the predictable ones to follow be. A lot of wealthy people are getting a lot wealthier by the day, buying on the up and selling on the down, driving prices in the direction they want them to go for sport and capital gains. I don’t hear them griping about a downgrade or see signs of them stuffing money under their mattresses. The call of the wild is “To market, to market!” where they’re having a field day, every day. Mindful of a rainy day, they, along with prudent or panicked moneyed interests—and China!—are putting the “mattress money” into, of all things, S&P AA+rated U.S. Treasuries.

An investment adviser described it as “a very emotional market right now.” Brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it?


  1. The GOP and its sick love affair with blind hatred owns every single problem facing this nation right now. To disagree is American, but to hate is the stuff of civil wars.

    Instead of asking voters if they are better off than they were four years ago, every voter in America should be asked if they are better off than they were two years ago. I am sick of this nation being held hostage by the darker angels of our nature.

    Our offices are worth more than the hatred of one man for another.

  2. Hi Ray,
    Great and honest posting, Ray.
    With a 14% approval rating for the House of Rep., you have to ask "what has the GOP done to improve our economy and any other worthwhile contributions for our Country, other than, just being antagonist towards progress".
    BTW--with Ron Paul and his son in office, look how close this Country is becoming another Nazi Germany. Keep in mind, Ron Paul is now running for President and came in 2nd place in the straw pool in Iowa. The more informed you become with Ron Paul's view, the more aware you become of his position, including, cutting off all aid and support to Israel.

  3. Hilarious!!!! Wonderfully Comedic!!! I especially enjoyed the "up the rest of us" metaphor ( actually you said up FOR the rest of us...but my line is funnier)

    I love how progressive liberals dance around the truth with wild inaccuracies like " Boehner ignored his President's calls". In truth the Speaker threw up his hands in frustration at the Presidents inability to grasp the reality of the precipice on which he and the party of Pelosi and Reid have left this Great Country.

    Speaking of inacuracies, what I clearly said was "we will be driven to Civil unrest by the lunatic fringes of both parties" which you turned into the "streets being occupied "SOLELY by the lunatic fringes". You do see the difference between the lunatics LEADING the mob as opposed to them being the entire mob, do you not my dear Ray?

    A lesson in civility if youy will: name calling against the opposition is the tactic of a child. It's what happens to progressives when civil reality and common sense prove them wrong. Progressives are never wrong -- at leat that is what they scream at you to believe. Ive never been able to have a conversation with a progressive that didn't end with them screaming epithets at me while I calmly walked away shaking my head in disbelief. I don't quite understand why they feel the need to question my parental lineage but I don;t get too concerned with it either.

    Move aside now kids.It's time for the gown-ups to clean house. Your annointed Prophet will be a one termer, the people will speak as loudly as in Wisconsn and Arizona, and we can get this country away from the lunatics and out of their asylum.

    Shalom Alechem!

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    I won’t quibble with your point of view—I respect intelligent debate, and I know you’re trying to have one; please keep trying—but I will take issue with your accuracy and comprehension as evidenced in the comment above. You misread, hence misunderstood and misquoted me twice. Try reading both segments slower, and, I dare suggest, less angrily, this time. I’ll try to take one or more of your recommendations for how progressives should behave if you’ll take just one of mine: perhaps you should look into reading rehabilitation.

    Civilly yours,


  5. Dear Anonymous,

    If I may inquire, how exactly is someone supposed to respond to your comments? I ask this because the United States you depict is clearly the product of your imagination, your civility is misdirected, your adherence to facts is nonexistent, your blessings are condescending, and judging from your spelling and punctuation you are clearly in no rush to reform the public school system.

    I ask this in all sincerity and love for my fellow citizenry because I want nothing more than to deliver you from this morass of madness with as few barks and bites and kicks and screams as possible.

    You need help.

  6. My Dear Sirs,

    I understand it when your Prsident distracts by blaming others for his incompetence, but seriously you guys need to take ownership of what you say. Using cut and paste I quoted your exact comment and you say I misunderstood you? I didn't go to Harvard or Yale ( Duke Actually) but I did learn the difference between "solely" ( you meant "only them", and not the fish right?) and what I said.

    "Try reading both segments slower, and, I dare suggest, less angrily, this time". Making it personal doesn't prove your point Ray. You think I'm angry but lead your visceral piece with "So, while everyone (but other Republicans) is pointing a finger at them, I’d like to point a fist. Fie on them!" This is civility? Didn't your Mom teach you about sticks and stones? I was taught to turn the other cheek and have learned that the kind of anger you and your friend display by making it a personal issue causes more pain to you than me.

    Reading rehabilitation? I need help? More comical material. You are better than condescention Ray. But condescention is all one is left with when one is faced with unacceptable ideas. I don't seek to make any of this personal. I leave this conversation better than that.

    I personally don't care how you reply to my comments as long as it is factual and truthful and not full of meaningless insults. I imagine a better United States so perhaps it is a product of my imagination. I imagine there is a God who loves me. Again a product of my imagination. I imagine that I can pursue an existence without any help from my government. I imagine that people who hate this country but choose to live off the freedoms it provides would leave and go to a place they can love. I have a vivid imagination. Similar to that of a playright or documentary producer.

    Thank you for the rest of the comic relief! Civility that is misdirected is an hilarious idea. Progressives love to froth at the mouth about the civility of others don't you? I'm insane because I'm treating you civilly? Perhaps you are right. I will leave you to be be the judge of that. A misdirected blessing is another knee slapper. hilaraous!! I offer a Barucha and you make it a k'ayn ayin hara ( this is the correct Hebrew phrase for what Yiddush turned into kneina hura.

    Really fellows, you need to brainstorm. If all you have are invectives you don't have much of anything. It's kind of like progressive politics, great speeches, all fluff, no substance. My spelling and punctuation are the product of nimble fingers and no use of spell checker. I will, however, do my best to meet your grammatical approval since it seems to be he only real thing you gentlemen care about.

    Time to line the parrots perch with this weeks Paul Krugman. He is a brilliant collector of avian feces.

    Adieu mes amis! (a blessing meaning to go wth God, please don't be insulted by either the blessing or the deity).

  7. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and beliefs, but that does not entitle you--or anyone, for that matter--to present them as facts. Facts, to quote Adams, are stubborn things, whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

    You should subscribe to that some time. It's called accepting reality.

    For example, you "imagine" you can pursue an existence without any help from the government. That is nice, but I will be the first to challenge you to put that thought to the test. I imagine you depend on many socialized institutions this great country has to offer, such as the US legal system, the US Postal Service, state and local police, your local fire department, your passport, public roads and bridges, the US Military, public parks, libraries, etc., etc. Now, I could be wrong. This is merely my suspicion, but I am convinced that you are so wrong in your claims that I am willing to confront you on this issue and test both our realities.

    If you want whatever comments you receive to be factual and truthful, it makes you look like less of a hypocrite if you hold yourself to the same level. However, since I am happy to give you what you ask, please accept the following dose of reality while I will spell out in words that even you can understand:

    No matter what you say, think, or do, at present a Democrat named Barack H. Obama is "your Prsident" too.

  8. I usually don't read a blog's comments, as I prefer reading what the blogger has to say. But I did read these, and I must ask: Who is this "Anonymous" asshole? S/he uses the word "Precipice," by which I assume s/he means the debt crisis, since that is what Boner (sorry, Boehner) is all up in arms over. Well, it was the last Republican Prez who deepened our debt three times what Obama has done -- and mostly by cutting taxes for the rich, so that, now, the secretary of a hedge fund manager pays a much larger percentage of her/his income into taxes than does her/his boss. Crazy/nasty/stupid, this. And our leaders will surely pay for it in the end.

  9. Dear Anonymous,

    I go away for a weekend and all hell breaks loose! Your views, no matter how dissenting, are welcome here. They may not make the world a better place, but from my point of view they make sonofthecucumberking a better one. I hope to continue to hear your voice.

  10. Thank you Ray. It's nice to know there is someone with differing views that is open to hearing differing views from others.
    Galileo said "Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty" He also said "I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him". Thank you for you most valuable lessons Mr. Van Maanen and Jacopo.
    Mr. VanMaanen's intellectual response to my writing is to call me an asshole. Another marvelous lesson in civility for me. Mr. Jacopo confuses imagination with facts, another lesson in elitist intellectual deprivation.
    Perhaps a class in the U.S. Constitution is called for here. That brilliant document set up three branches of government for good reason--so that one did not have excessive power over the people it governed. It also divided responsibilities to the three branches. I refer you to Article I section 8 and article 2 section 2 for the powers granted to Congress and the President. I will give you a few moments to read those passages.
    Ok done? Good. Now, where in the powers granted to the President is he given the responsibility to propose budgets. Those powers are granted to the Congress in Article I section 8. See? THESE are facts. Bush had Powell lie to Congress to get a War Powers Act granted in Iraq. Obama, who seems to believe his powers are granted him as though he were King, took Libya into his own hands and NEVER requested War Powers authority. Bush approved a budget passed by a Deomcratic majority in Congress. Obama had a SUPER majority and couldn't get them to agree on any budget but still managed to somehow increase the debt incurred under Bush by an additional 3 fold. I was never crazy about Bush but I don't understand why people become apopleptic when any criticism of Obama is raised.
    Obama is a Chicago street thug in a suit and tie. Bush came to power by hanging chads; Obama by falsifying primary documents and having Black Panther types threatening voters. So how are they different? Obama speaks better than any one has in years, and says absolutely nothing in doing so.
    I accept Mr. Obamas presidency but I do not accept him as my president. I can give you three dozen reasons but Im sure they will all be recieved with the same "racist bastard" retort you blind followers have. Perhaps since you can't see me you may want to change that from racist bastard to Uncle Tom.

  11. "We are ready to march. Let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong." James Hoffa Jr

    The Republicans sure is a scary group isn't they!?!??!