Saturday, October 9, 2010

Last Call

And Glenn Beck loses it.  Completely.  Digby:

The last 24 hours as I've been thinking about the doctors saying we're looking for toxins, we're looking for poisons in your body, I know what they are. For four years I have tried to understand the mind of what I believe are monsters. It started with Walter Lippmann. The first book that I closed and said I can't read this anymore was Walter Lippmann. And it was about how they can breed better people and how there are undesirables. I never finished the book. That was the first one. And for four years I have been trying to understand the minds of people that I think are so misled, and they are the exact opposite of what I have tried to be, what I want to be, what I strive for. But I have done it because I have to, I have to understand it, I have to see what's try to understand to explain what's coming, what's happening. And not for you but for my children.

I believe we can be better people. I believe in the American experiment. But I also believe there are very misguided people, and I have been drinking that poison, which others may not find poison, but I do because it is exact opposite of me. And I have been "That which you gaze upon, you become."

Yeah.  That's right.  Glenn Beck, or as Elvis over at Bob Cesca's place keeps saying, "the character than Glenn Beck plays in the media" like a dark mirror of Stephen Colbert, is now blaming liberalism and Democrats for making him physically ill.

You know, the guy that openly compared liberalism itself to cancer, as actually being a malignant tumor in the body politic, you know, one that has to be cut out, is now claiming that liberalism has robbed him of his health, that it has poisoned him.

So of course, these "plague carrier" liberals have to be excised from America. before they make you sick too.  Unbelievable. At what point will Beck again warn people not to take up violence because he knows his words are inflammatory to the point of being dangerous?

Hell of an act until somebody gets hurt.

The Uptight Citizens' Grenade

Over at Zero Hedge, Gonzalo Lira recounts the story of Brian and Ilsa, a retired couple in their 60's who played by the rules the whole time, qualified for HAMP assistance to save their underwater mortgage bought at the top of the bubble in 2005...and then got screwed by everyone  The lower mortgage rate that HAMP was supposed to get them vanished after three months and then they owed the penalties.  It's folks like these, Lira argues, who will revolt quietly...and that will mean the end of the housing market shell game

They haven’t defaulted—not yet. They’re paying the lower mortgage rate. That they’re making payments is because of Brian: He is insisting that they pay something—Ilsa is of the opinion that they should forget about paying the mortgage at all.
“We follow the rules, and look where that’s gotten us?” she says, furious and depressed. “Nowhere. They run us around, like lab rats in a cage. This HAMP business was supposed to help us. I bet the bank went along with the program for three months, so that they could tell the government that they had complied—and when the government got off their backs, they turned around and raised the mortgage back up again!”
“And charged us a penalty,” Brian chimes in. The non-payment penalty was only $84—but it might as well been $84 million, for all the outrage they feel. “A penalty for non-payment!”
Nevertheless, Brian is insisting that they continue paying the mortgage—albeit the lower monthly payment—because he’s still under the atavistic sway of his law-abiding-ness.
But Ilsa is quietly, constantly insisting that they stop paying the mortgage altogether: “Everybody else is doing it—so why shouldn’t we?”
A terrible sentence, when a law-abiding citizen speaks it: Everybody else is doing it—so why don’t we

In a sense, that's exactly how this situation started.  The banks saw the mortgage refinance bonanza and realized they needed more fuel for the fire, so they began fudging on the loans.  And of course, everybody else was doing it, so why don't we?  And now, ironically, that's exactly the attitude millions of Americans are going to take when they walk away from their homes, or sue the banksters for playing fast and loose with the foreclosure paperwork, or both.

And when the mortgages stop getting paid, either by people walking away or by the foreclosure freeze locking up the housing market like an engine with no lubrication, the whole infernal contraption collapses like a cartoon Rube Goldberg machine or a Mythbusters experiment gone horribly right.

And when it does, it takes us all with it.  Because when this Uptight Citizens' Grenade goes off, it will blow out the supports holding up the stage, and the show will finally stop.

And something much more dangerous will begin.

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right...

The Tea Party is beginning to approach some sort of event horizon where it starts collapsing in on itself.  Behold two excellent House Teabagger candidates, Oregon's Art Robinson, who crossed swords with Rachel Maddow and stabbed himself in the face...

We do not think we took the candidate's words out of context nor do we think we were unfair in our line of questioning. We stand by tonight's show. Below are those statements written and edited by Art Robinson. You be the judge.

1. AIDS is a myth: "[T]he arguments presented against the HIV hypothesis are sound... "LINK

2. Just being gay causes AIDS: " ...median age at death for homosexual men dying of AIDS is 39 years and... for homosexual men who do not die of AIDS is 42. By comparison, the value for heterosexual married men is 75. This is evidence in support of the hypothesis that AIDS may be little more than a general classification of deaths resulting from exposure to homosexual behavior." LINK

3. AIDS is a government conspiracy: "Only government reclassification of more and more disease types as AIDS cases has kept the numbers of victims at politically necessary levels." LINK

4. Low-level radiation is good for us: "All we need do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean - or even over America after hor-mesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases." LINK

...and Ohio's Rich Iott, who has some interesting extra-curricular activities.

An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio's 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments. 

Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott's participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign's website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.

But as Rachel Maddow points out, if you feed the Tea Party enough unlimited campaign cash to prevent a collapse, they may just swallow our country instead.

Is Art Robinson likely to win this race? No. What if it were $500,000? What if it were $1 million? What if it were $150 million?

There's probably a direct relationship between the kookiness of any given candidate and the amount of money you need to make that candidate seem viable in a congressional election. As the kookiness of the candidate goes up, the amount of money you need to keep that candidate viable goes up, too.

The idea that a candidate is too kooky to be elected is only true in an environment in which there is not unlimited money to be spent to make that person seem less than kooky. But when the money is quite literally unlimited either by actual dollar ceilings or by the shame associated with being seen to donate that money, there is no ceiling on how kooky a candidate can be and still seem electable. As long as the money can go to infinity, so can the kook factor. The chart goes on to infinity and beyond.

Case in point:  Sarah Palin.  Think about her with unlimited campaign donations running for President.  Scared yet?  You should be.  And give the Tea Party another year or so to find even crazier people to run for office in 2012 in House and Senate races, and you get the idea.

Fun times, huh?

A Supreme Conflict Of Interest

Given how much damage the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is already doing to our political system where unlimited campaign cash can be poured into any race by anonymous donors at any time, I'm glad somebody is finally beginning to notice the level of influence the Supreme Court has over our political system now, and why the wife of a Supreme Court justice becoming more and more of a player in that system should be sending up red flags across the political spectrum.

As one of the keynote speakers here Friday at a state convention billed as the largest Tea Party event ever, Virginia Thomas gave the throng of more than 2,000 activists a full-throated call to arms for conservative principles.

For three decades, Mrs. Thomas has been a familiar figure among conservative activists in Washington — since before she met her husband of 23 years, Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court. But this year she has emerged in her most politically prominent role yet: Mrs. Thomas is the founder and head of a new nonprofit group, Liberty Central, dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist “tyranny” of President Obama and Democrats in Congress and to “protecting the core founding principles” of the nation.

It is the most partisan role ever for a spouse of a justice on the nation’s highest court, and Mrs. Thomas is just getting started. “Liberty Central will be bigger than the Tea Party movement,” she told Fox News in April, at a Tea Party rally in Atlanta.

But to some people who study judicial ethics, Mrs. Thomas’s activism is raising knotty questions, in particular about her acceptance of large, unidentified contributions for Liberty Central. She began the group in late 2009 with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000, and because it is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, named for the applicable section of the federal tax code, she does not have to publicly disclose any contributors. Such tax-exempt groups are supposed to make sure that less than half of their activities are political.

Mrs. Thomas, known as Ginni, declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed without an agreement not to discuss her husband. In written responses to questions, Sarah Field, Liberty Central’s chief operating officer and general counsel, said that Mrs. Thomas is paid by Liberty Central, with the compensation set by the group’s board, and that the group has “internal reviews and protections to ensure that no donor causes a conflict of interest for either Ginni or her husband.” 

Right.  Her husband is one of the Justices that decided that unlimited,anonymous campaign donations are free speech, and now she is receiving unlimited, anonymous campaign donations so she can widely influence American elections with her Super-PAC.  Liberal or conservative, this is outright scandalous.  Ginny Thomas's political organization is profiting directly from her husband's decisions on the Supreme Court.

You're telling me nobody finds this outrageous or unethical in any way?

But let's be honest here:  this is all about corporate buying of elections, turning Tea Party votes bought with unlimited campaign cash into more power for the moneyed interests...the 20% of America that owns 84% of our country's wealth want even more and now they can buy it through groups like Liberty Central.

Mrs. Thomas’s supporters said she plays an important role as a bridge between grass-roots Tea Party activists and establishment Republicans in Washington. Ryan Hecker, a lawyer in Houston and a prominent Tea Party activist, said he had heard that Liberty Central was “doing a big get-out-the-vote effort” in some Congressional races. Despite the suspicion of many in the Tea Party that Republicans in Washington are trying to co-opt the movement, Mr. Hecker said the “charismatic and very genuine” Mrs. Thomas is not seen that way among activists.

“She’s been there for a long time, but she hasn’t been corrupted by it,” Mr. Hecker said. So she can be “a medium” to get the grass-roots’ views “to the people that matter.”

Nope.  Nothing corrupt about this at all.

What Does It Take To Get El Rushbo Fired?

Hell, what does it take to get the universe just to admit he's a racist asshole?  All men are created equal?  Not in this jagoff's world.

This is a tough thing to say, because a lot of people don't want to hear this, because it goes against everybody's desire that we all be the same, that there be no pain in life and that there be no suffering and that everybody do well and that everybody have what they want and so forth.
But there is no equality. You cannot guarantee that any two people will end up the same. And you can't legislate it, and you can't make it happen. You can try, under the guise of fairness and so forth, but some people are self-starters, and some people are born lazy. Some people are born victims. Some people are just born to be slaves. Some people are born to put up with somebody else making every decision for them.

"Some people are just born to be slaves".  Still.

In 2010, this is socially acceptable.  Still.

But there are no racists in the Tea Party.  Still.

And if you question that, you're the racist.  Still.

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter, Part 15

The Washington Post this morning takes up the "growing momentum" for a national moratorium on foreclosure proceedings in today's signal that the foreclosure nightmare is coming to a head.

Senior Obama administration officials said Friday that a nationwide moratorium on foreclosure sales may be inevitable, despite their grave reservations about the impact a broad freeze would have on the nation's housing market and economic recovery.

Their remarks were made as pressure for a nationwide moratorium mounted Friday when Bank of America, the nation's largest bank, halted evictions in all 50 states. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who is locked in a tight reelection campaign, called on other major lenders to follow suit. 

So what would that entail?

A freeze would also strike at the financial sector, just two years after it suffered one of the worst crises in its history. One government official who has been in discussions with several big financial firms said the banks are bracing themselves for a wave of lawsuits from homeowners who are fighting to keep their homes and from investors who had bought mortgage loans on Wall Street. On Friday, while the Dow Jones industrial average crossed 11,000, most major bank stocks fell. 

Little hard to feel sorry for them then they did this to themselves. 

In addition to a national moratorium, some lawmakers are discussing reviving a bill that would give bankruptcy judges the power to modify loans and reduce principal to market value. The bill passed in the House but did not make it through the Senate.

As the House Financial Services Committee convened a foreclosure-fraud working group to begin discussing ideas for other legislative remedies, the banking industry began to fight back against the notion that the paperwork problem was more than a technicality.

The Mortgage Bankers of America and the Financial Services Roundtable circulated a letter Friday on Capitol Hill to "set the record straight." It said that banks are reviewing their foreclosure paperwork but that in nearly all cases, the foreclosures are justified. 

Could it be the return of cramdown?  With this disaster breaking just months after the new Wall Street regs have gone into law and this all happening around Election Day, it's going to be extremely difficult for the mortgage banks to just snap their fingers and make this go away.

"Calls for a blanket national moratorium on all foreclosures are a bad idea and would cause significant harm to communities at risk, the unstable housing market and the fragile economy," the industry letter said.

Suspending foreclosures could end up forcing banks, which act as service companies for the loans, to spend billions of dollars to compensate investors who own the pools of mortgages they manage. And it could add to the losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-owned mortgage financiers. 

And not dredging the loan pool of these bad mortgages will create even larger losses for America.  Sorry banksters, you're in deep feces now.  The jig's up.  That moratorium is coming, and so are the lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Mike at Rortybomb has an excellent article on how the three-card mortgage monte worked.

The Tea Party Tips Their Hand

At the Virginia Tea Party Patriots convention this weekend, the state's Republican Governor, Bob McDonnell, has just unveiled the newest weapon on the "tyranny of the majority" front.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said this afternoon that he would support a federal constitutional amendment that would allow two-thirds of the states to collectively repeal a federal enactment.

He committed to the action during a panel discussion on government reform at the Virginia Tea Party Patriots convention. The amendment is being promoted by the tea party and, in Virginia, Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford.

Panel moderator Robert D. Holsworth asked McDonnell if he would support the amendment, and if he would commit to help getting it through the next legislative session.

"Yes, I support it," McDonnell said. "A supermajority like that helps to strike that balance between state and federal authority and I think would help to breathe new life into the system of federalism that our Virginia forefathers fought so valiantly for 200 years ago." 

Right, and our forefathers were smart enough to know the difference between a representative republic and a populist mob calling itself democracy, too.

Guess what's the first thing on the list to be repealed?  Sure, these guys could use it to take out health care reform, but that's thinking too small.  If you're going to give the American people the power to dismantle decades of federal improvements by whipping up a mob with the power to decimate its own self-interests, why stop at health care?

Why not roll back civil rights, eliminate Social Security and Medicare, take out all the executive agencies that you don't like, like the Department of Education or the EPA?  The Teabaggers are shooting for the whole wad here because they know repealing all the different Amendments they want to get rid of is going to be time-consuming and may fail.  Put everything into one big huge superveto amendment and use it to rip up the federal government via a mob powered by unlimited campaign donations!

Absolutely count on hearing about this amendment proposal going forward, folks.  It's the ultimate in tyranny of the majority.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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