A few days ago Sachs was sued by the SEC, ostensibly out of nowhere (they weren't even given the customary prior-notice to prepare). This is an unquantifiable mountain of horse-shit. I'm not saying they haven't done anything wrong, I'm saying that everybody knows it's a show-trial and nothing will come of it... well, everybody but the average American, that is.
The average American will see this as a fresh reminder of why we "need" financial reform. When Obama gets up on stage and finally signs this shit into law, most Americans will be watching it live on TV--clapping their sausage-digitted mits together, resulting an enormous orange plume of Dorito-dust which will likely be the 3rd of man's creations that will be visible from space.
Make no mistake: This isn't being done to penalize Goldman Sachs. This fact is so obvious that even the GOP is calling them out on it.
It's not just about the financial reform bill, either. What makes this particular moment in time the most strategic for distraction is that the SEC was finally forced to acknowledge 13 years of epic failure. Long story short: A guy ran a $7 billion ponzi scheme, was investigated by the SEC for 13 years and found to be extremely dirty. Four Times. They never prosecuted--that is, until now. This whole Goldman Shit-fit is almost certainly related. (216,910)
Two whole years of harshness, volatility, and gripping content that is simply not to be found elsewhere. And that's for good reason. When we started the Latewire, a multi-author, pan-topic, uncensored stream-of-unconsciousness antiblog seemed like a pretty bad idea. We did it anyway. Two years later, it seems unconscionable, but you're still reading it -- in fact, more of you get lit up by the Wire every month, your strange legion now well in the thousands.
"The truth is mixing with the lies to create some potent new reality." - Josh Kornbluth in "Haiku Tunnel"
Latewire has been on top of some pretty vital issues, earlystyles. This is nearly incredible for a totally unorganized collective of deeply bizzarre posthumans. Organizing against bank bailouts? LW was there first. Emo capri pants on males? LW enthographers spotted them in the field. Exclusive interview with Ken Lunde? Only on Latewire. Realization that not all reggae music sucks? That epiphany brought to you right here.
Different readers use Latewire in different ways. To some, it's the place to go for Austrian-style economics analysis infused with black humor. To others, it's a reliable source of morose comedown prose and doomed poetry. Still others look to LW for an image reservoir and original* graphic art that bests the most popular imageboards on the intarweebs. Some come to Latewire for radical and reasoned thinking on eating and growing food. And some look forward to articles by particular writers : the terrifying clarity of Dr Roe; certifiable voice-of-the-damned 1m1w; the graphic arts genius of DeadcowX; the stark insight of Bill. See, LW is like a jar of mayonnaise. What you do with it is your business. We don't want to know**. Just keep coming back and we'll keep serving it up, even with the end of the world coming up and all.
Latewire. Fortunately for everyone, there's nothing else like it.
"Mens insana in corpore sano"
*Provided that your definition of "original" includes stealing images from other sites, messing with them, and then writing "LATEWIRE" across them
**Actually, we kind of do want to know. In fact, send me an email to Hank [at] Latewire (diddot) com about why you Latewire in 500 words or less. Please include aphorisms. The author of the one we like best wins a free Latewire Latewear T-shirt of their choice (see link at sidebar). (74,344)
For those of you who don't know, Glenn Beck is a "conservative" commentator who has apparently recently discovered libertarianism. He gets on the air 5 days a week on Fox News and rants about the 'classical liberals' who we call the founding fathers. Whenever I see his show (not often), I think that it's too bad he wasn't ham-fistedly proselytizing about these things when Bush was in office, he might have actually earned himself some credibility. Beck is well-known for finding and airing buried footage of people in the administration and upper echelon of the democratic party making communist / socialist / fascist / racist / statist / scary-as-hell statements. He then spins these soundbytes into vast conspiracy theories and cries about it. With real tears. On the air.
Devil's advocate: According to Beck, he criticizes republicans too... But only if their names rhyme with Teddy Roosevelt (Seriously??) or John McCain
I've seen a few of these soundbytes made by Obama's various "czars" as well as some of the more central voices of the administration. What strikes me is not that these people exist or that their statements are so unapologetic, it's that the rest of the media aren't airing some of these clips. I'm left thinking "Are these people too insignificant to report or are these ideas just so innocuous to the press that they're not worth noting?"
The press historically gives a free ride to its favored politicians. The American public were denied critical information about FDR and Kennedy--particularly the juicy personal tidbits that would've ruined them. Even Bush was allowed to get away with a heck of a lot until the 9/11 fever broke and the press went rabid once again.
It would seem, however, that even the new liberal messiah can't walk on water forever. Left wingers around the country are waking up to the fact that their former lover and nobel laureate is actually a fraud and a danger to freedom--even as they (the left) narrowly define it. Obama has broken key campaign promises that have driven all but the most vapid party hacks from strong approval to apathy or disillusionment if not outright rage ($5 says they'll vote for him in 2012 regardless; but we're talking politics here, not reality).
With all this, Glenn Beck's muckraking over Obama's appointees is starting to bubble up from the depths of the journalistic septic tank that is "Fixed News" into the liberal press.
One of my favorite examples is a Salon article about Cass Sunstein ("one of Barack Obama's closest confidants"). It talks about 'his' idea to use government funds to pay agents to infiltrate internet chat-rooms and forums to spread the word of the state and to bolster confidence in the government. This isn't a new idea, of course, but it certainly should hit a nerve with the same groups that were upset about Bush's "propaganda" (which the article also goes into at length almost out of nowhere, proving once again that "leftwing" reporters can't say bad things about democrats without scrambling to assert "... But Bush was worse!!").
Interesting historical note: The first official propaganda ministry in the western world wasn't in Fascist Germany or Italy, it was in the United States under the progressive President Woodrow Wilson.
The Salon article goes on to point out the hypocrisy of certain liberal pundits in not jumping on this and other scaryisms drizzling out of the mouths of the Obama administration along side the drool and edamame particulates. They pass over these omens of statism while at the same time dubbing those who don't "Purveyors of Becksh*t-nuts Conspiracy Garbage."
To keep an even keel about politics (if that's even possible), I think it's necessary to look to people who actually endorse the person/group in question to see if your concerns are valid. Obviously most people just assume they're on the "right" side until the evidence piles up to the point of suffocation. However, when you see these 'sheeple' start to defy their shepherds and say the same incendiary stuff you've been saying, that's when you know you're not crazy--at least if you go by George Orwell's definition of insanity as being "a minority of one" ... although in politics it's usually the majority that's crazy, so who knows. (158,383)
I've wanted to rant about Social Security for a long time, so I'm just going to get right into it. Here's a couple of things you believe:
- Without social security, many old people would be destitute.
- The gov't "owes" you social security.
- SS is a trust fund and you're guaranteed a check when you reach retirement age.
- SS was designed from the beginning as a way for all elderly to retire.
The above statements are misleading, naive, and/or flat out false.
Things You Know
First off, let me tell you some things you already knew but are unwilling to apply to this situation. If you give people money, they're not going to need/want to work more. The more you give, the less drive they have to make their own money.
Put simply: Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Don't give a man a fish, he'll get off his ass, and get a fucking job so he can buy his own damn fish.
I know I'm making it sound like people are generally lazy... Well, aren't they?
Social Security makes the assumption that people are going to first and foremost have kids, work hard all their lives, and make good financial decisions. The problem is, with this financial safety net, people end up doing less of all those things--with less thought to the consequences of their actions or inaction, because they know that somebody will take care of them.
The self-defeating nature of SS comes from the fact that people only work as hard as they have to. Retirement is incredibly expensive, and with that already paid for, people are much less productive. The economy relies on growth, hard work, skilled labor, and risk. If Jimmy works at Burger Shack and chooses to flip burgers instead of work hard and become manager, it hurts the economy as a whole since he is creating less wealth. There's the inherent loss of labor or skills due to apathy, slowing the rise in wages and standard of living, hurting the impoverished even more so.
It may seem silly that Jimmy could do all that, but imagine taking that incentive away from 100 million people. That's what SS does.
So to say that SS is important to keeping the elderly from being destitute is misleading, because it actually contributes to poverty in the first place by altering human behavior. Social Security is the most expensive program of the most expensive government of the wealthiest nation in history. It has a profound effect on the way people in the US live their lives and it's insane to think otherwise.
Things You Don't Believe
The government doesn't "owe" you shit. That's not just my opinion, it's actually law.
In the 1960's, President Johnson was spending boatloads of money on social programs and war. He called it "The Great Society." Economists called it "bat-shit nuts". He expanded the nat'l debt to new heights (sound familiar?) and that wasn't even enough to pay for all of it, so he busted into Social Security.
This raised some eyebrows, because everyone was so sure SS was untouchable--some 'lockbox' that couldn't be molested. Well it went to the Supreme Court, and they decided that any money the government takes is the property of the government, and that they have no need to pay it back if they don't feel like it.
What does this mean? Well we all know SS is a failing program, it's slated for bankruptcy within the next 30 years or so. When it goes away, this decision means that there wont be any repercussions--the gov't is not required to cut pork spending or retract troops from Botswana to divert to SS in order to save it. Nothing will happen, apart from all those old people who were banking on their gov'mint checks coming next month (and I'll probably be one of them) will be totally fucked. Oh, and somebody's not going to get reelected... or they'll blame it on their rival political party and they wont get reelected.
The government isn't responsible for jack shit in your life. Nobody in government is responsible or even thinks they're responsible for anything that happens to you. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you'll stop entrusting your future to them.
Things You Don't Know
Most people believe SS was designed so that every elderly person could live a life after 65, and have a decade or two of moderate dignity until they kick it.
Where did this age of 65 come from? Do you know?
Well back in 1935, when SS was created, age 65 was *drumroll* the LIFE EXPECTANCY. I guess back in those days, 'retirement' referred to 'retirement from your corporeal state'.
In essence, they were expecting a huge portion of people to actually have died before they get the chance of receiving benefits. You work until the day you're supposed to die, and if you beat the averages, you get a prize.
SS was never meant to be on this kind of scale--not that I credit the people who conceived this idea in the first place to have an over-abundance of forethought.
If we were to keep SS within the spirit of its original design, we'd raise the 'retirement' age to 78--the current average US life expectancy. Amazingly, this would correct the solvency issue and drastically cut the size of the program at the same time. With a few tweaks to other government programs, we could balance the budget, start paying off the nat'l debt, and stop passing on our mistakes to our children/grandchildren like a bunch of assholes... but that's an article for another day.
Closing Libertarian Love-Fest
Growth in the economy has done more for the poor than any government program ever could. It's an outright lie that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rich get richer, obviously, but the poor have NOT gotten poorer in this country. Take ANY twenty year period (and almost all 10 year periods) and chart the median wage. Poverty is progressively being eliminated on its own, and through no act of government. The poor in this country are the richest in the world, and it's due to our economy, not wealth redistribution through government. It boggles the mind to think that anyone would hinder the ultimate cure for poverty (economic growth) in favor of temporary alleviation of the symptoms of poverty through government intervention.
The war on poverty, to steal a term from the royal prick LBJ, is a journey, not a destination. Poverty can't directly be attacked through government, and it likely wont ever go away completely. Taxing and giving to the poor, especially on the scale of social security, is like building a roof on a house by taking material from the foundation. To help the poor on this kind of scale, new wealth must be created, and robing the economy via taxation is contrary to this goal. (65,801)