Thursday, October 09, 2008

An American Apocolypse

Gene Lyons wrote this about the radical right excuse making. You know it's always somebody elses fault. The party of personal responsibility never bears any at all. They are perfect and pure.

If the economic situation weren’t so grim, it’d be darkly amusing watching conservatives hunting for a scapegoat other than Bush administration True Believers. Hey, they’re all Brownies now. Heckuva job. For a generation, devotees of the very bad novelist Ayn Rand have assured us that greed is a virtue and government oversight of financial institutions an impediment to genius. In the “ownership society,” financial regulations were for pantywaists. In GOP-think, governments exist purely to drop bombs and monitor other people’s sex lives. Financial deregulation has been the Republican miracle elixir since Ronald Reagan. Back in March, Sen. John McCain reassured The Wall Street Journal that despite being “aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight” in debacles like the sub-prime lending crisis, “I am fundamentally a deregulator.” In between winks and shout-outs to “Joe Sixpack” during the vice-presidential debate, Sarah Palin also wanted it both ways. She praised McCain for “pushing for even harder and tougher regulations.” Then she said patriotism means saying, “Government, you know, you’re not always the solution. In fact, too often you’re the problem, so government... get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper.” 

These people hate the government but jingoistically deny any one else the right to criticize their morally superior country.  And make no mistake it is THEIR country, everyone else is out to intentionally destroy it. They should just leave so the rightists can create the utopia that you..yes you  you liberal...oops new word this SOCIALIST, are ruining for all the GOOD people!

Meanwhile, naïve, otherworldly progressives argued that mortgage lenders needed regulators in the back room for the same reason they needed locks on the front door. You’d think that any adult who’d ever bought real estate, avoided losing his life savings to Nigerian e-mail scams or even spent rainy afternoons playing Monopoly as a child would understand this fundamental fact of human nature: If you make it easy for people to steal, they’ll steal everything, including the silverware and Grandma’s dentures. 

Remember too that  Haliburton and all the other contractors that are getting loads of the 10 billion a month spent in Iraq are doing Gods work. They would never dare rob you blind.

Alas, too many heeded pie-in-the-sky GOP theology. The miracle-working market absolved us all from sin; hence, from the Reagan-created savings-and-loan crisis onward, corporate financial scandals have grown steadily larger and more dangerous. But abandon dogma ? Never. 

Now come GOP apologists to identify the real perps of the Wall Street meltdown: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, feckless black folks, Mexican Americans and U. S. Rep. Barney Frank, who’s evidently been covertly running Wall Street all this time. 

It couldn't possibly be Lazzie Faire, trickle..into the richs' pockets economics. That, although we have been doing it for years, is not the problem. It is somebody elses fault. Not the policies in place for years now.(yes some dems voted for and signed some of this and are partially responsible, most particularly Clinton, but to say that the party out of power was setting the agenda denotes that the party in power for most of the last 25 years in every branch of government was totally unable to exercise their power over the minority or to serve their constituents. That would make them less than worthless.)

See, while you fretted over Bush screwups in Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans, a sinister, dusky cabal built a speculative bubble in ghetto real estate. Overpriced luxury condos were constructed with borrowed money in fashionable Harlem, Watts and the south side of Chicago; also, downtown Atlanta, Newark, St. Louis, Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia. In Monopoly terms, the entire U. S. economy drained into a black hole of defaulted loans on Baltic and Mediterranean. 

So how come you haven’t heard this before ? Maybe because you don’t spend enough time watching FOX News or listening to GOP talk radio. In those precincts, the real cause of the national (and world ) financial debacle turns out to be an obscure 1977 law known as the Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA. 

Intended to end the practice of “redlining,” i. e., refusing to make creditworthy loans in “bad” neighborhoods, the CRA was enacted under President Carter. To conservative pundits such as Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby and Laura Ingraham, that’s where all the trouble started. 

Supposedly, left-wing activists intimidated bankers into making risky loans to improvident minorities, which caused the whole debacle. Supposedly, too, President Clinton made things worse by revising the rules back in 1995. 

Wow, for all the howling on how ineffective and do nothing and spineless and bumper sticker, bumper sticker, bumper sticker the socialists are the sure know how to wield the power when a wingnut wants to blame someone don't they!?

Leave it to Ann Coulter to spell things out most clearly. Thanks to Democratic interference with free markets, see, sound methods of appraising mortgage applicants’ ability to repay loans were replaced by “nontraditional measures of creditworthiness, such as having a good jump shot or having a missing child named ‘Caylee.’” As a result, she recently wrote, “Middleclass taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats’ two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients.” 

Yep, rich wall street bankers just naturally gravitate to those who aid the poor huh?  Two peas in a pod those groups are.  Does lil Orphan Anne think the rest of the country is as in observant and stupid as she is or is this a comedy routine?  I often wonder.

The brutality of this argument is matched only by its stupidity. An alert child would wonder why a 31-year-old law suddenly started causing trouble in 2008. Wouldn’t a lot of those loans already be paid off ? Wouldn’t the same apply to actions that Clinton supposedly took 13 years ago ? Besides, with Republicans controlling the government for the past eight years, how come they didn’t fix it ? 

Mainly because it’s utter nonsense. CRA regulations apply only to FDICinsured banks, not the mortgage companies and investment banks, which made 83. 4 percent of sub-prime loans responsible for the crisis. The 1977 law also has nothing whatsoever to do with fraudulent packages of “securitized” mortgage debt taking down investors worldwide. Those are a Bush-era innovation. 

Rick Pearlstein, author of the brilliant history “Nixonland,” calls this ugly fable “a modern-day equivalent of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ a Big Lie narrative that blames a despised, outcast social group for problems they had nothing to do with.” A naïve person might imagine that these people would have some shame. 

If you saw the howling crowd in Wisconsin today asking for blood you know the wheels are coming of the garbage wagon. Many of the republicans can't remember a time before Reagan and have had it drilled into their heads their entire lives from Rush Limbaugh et al that what is about to happen, Dems running the show in the numbers the right ran it with for decades, is equivalent to the American Apocalypse. They have no idea they are living through it right now and that is the reason for their demise.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron, was thinking about the same things today. The shouters and angry people at McCain/Palin rallies, if they are real and not plants, reflect the whole talk-radio ideology: ignore reality, blame some "other", buy into the "free market" nonsense and make a killing at the top of the heap while your at it. Then as the dogma comes apart their reactions become more irrational, especially
as they realize the neocon and free-marketeer hucksters did them in. This will get worse as they continue to believe we are all on our own in the "ownership" society and hubris won't let them believe that They were taken in and failed at obtaining McMansion millionaire status. They and the ones they support will continue with the accusations (usually false) of others of the very things they themselves are and do.

Keep the humanity which insures that we Humans survive, ideology never will.

Larry in New Mexico

12:37 AM, October 10, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Larry, when you realize that anyone under 40 has never lived(at least at a time they were paying attention to world events) under a government that was anything more than center right and sometimes far right then it is easier to understand their fear. This bullshit has been drilled into their heads all their lives and we all fear the unknown. That gives no pass to the old geezer that started the fire. I laughed at and then cryed at him. It's sad we are so divided and for a country that is suppose to allow freedom of thought and ideas we have all gotten far off the track.

11:31 AM, October 10, 2008  

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