Banks are bad neighbors

If you listen to the media, now is the time for people who had been shut out of the housing market not only to buy, but to get almost anything they want at a reasonable price.

Guess again, my gullible ones.  While that should be the case, the fact is that most of the vacant houses now peppering the suburbs of the Chicago area are owned by banks, and those banks are lousy neighbors.

First problem — the one that most people do know about — is that banks just aren’t lending.  But the question never seems to be asked: what happens to those foreclosed houses that no one can buy because they can’t get a mortgage?

Answer: they rot for years while the banks drag their heels on paperwork.  Once they are completely nonviable they are sold to people who have enough money to pay cash, tear the houses down, and build monstrous McMansions in their places.  In short, they are replacing the nonviable with the unsellable.  But nobody cares, because the taxes on those unsellable McMansions are stratospheric, and the builders pay the taxes sometimes for years without anyone actually living in the house…until they declare bankruptcy and the McMansions are foreclosed and the whole process starts all over again.

It’s the same thing that was going on during the housing bubble.  To put it simply, towns all over the area are slowly being bought by a few rich people instead of a lot of non-rich people who could have actually lived in them, cared for them, been part of the community for decades and paid taxes.

And what of the rest of the vacant houses — the ones that sit empty while the banks drag their heels for years on the paperwork?  Like I just said, they are rotting, attracting rodents and human vermin, causing eyesores and hazards and already-plunging property values to plunge even further.  And the town governments are doing nothing to stop it because heck, they’re enjoying the short-term reward of property taxes.

This is Bush’s bail-out at work, folks.  I guess a Teabagger would call it the “free market” and the “American way” — of course unless they had already called it “Obama’s bail-out,” (which they undoubtedly would do),  in which case it would be “socialism.”  Lovely, isn’t it.  Not very helpful, either.

I think a national discussion needs to be opened about who is benefiting from all these vacant houses, and who is not.  The media have dropped the ball on this one, so let’s start the talk ourselves.  It may be the only way to bring the truth out into the open and, perhaps, get some changes made.

Complete and Utter Cluelessness

I think Obama was right in trying to focus attention recently on the fact that the teabaggers stand for nothing but being against stuff — particularly if it is perceived to be HIS stuff.  It would be hugely entertaining to see one of them actually engage in a debate with an informed person, (that is, not a Fox News correspondent) on actual issues, and being required to provide actual, possible solutions.

After viewing the antics of the latest Crazy Lady, Christine O’Donnell, I’ll wager any such debate would be very, very short.  To wit: her remarks about “witchcraft.”  That is to say, “no wit.”  This chick hasn’t got a friggin’ clue.

Those who know, know this: witchcraft and satanism aren’t the same thing.  For starters, most witches aren’t Christian (some are, but that’s another matter).  All satanists are Christians whether they like it or not.  Reason?  Satan is a creation of the Christian church; Satan does not exist outside of Christian (and apparently Muslim) mythology.  Yes there are dark deities in other religions, but Satan is peculiar to the latter-day “people of the book.”

Come to think of it, one could argue that the entire concept of a “witch” is a Christian creation.  But that’s for another post, later.

Most satanists I have met are kids who are doing it to piss off their parents.  Oh yeah, there is a serious cult that involves actual adults (such as they are) but finding members of that cult isn’t an easy matter.

Yes, there is such a thing as “dark witchcraft,” but it rarely gets as bad as, say, shooting someone to death because they work in an abortion clinic.  Reason?  Well, most witches follow the maxim that you get back what you give out, sometimes three times over.  This is enough to stop them from being nasty.

And so we have this stupid bitch flapping her jaw about something she obviously knows nothing about.  And that’s just the surface of the deep well of stuff she obviously knows nothing about.  Unfortunately, somewhere in that well is a also a concept called “government.”

When you think about it, it’s very, very frightening.  What’s even more frightening, however, is that the teabaggers aren’t thinking at all, and they are being rewarded for it.

Who Let the Debt Rise?

It ain’t who right-wing radio, tv, and politicians would have you believe:

Inspire Political Discourse

“Authentically Dishonest”

I’ve noted this about wingnuts: when they hear something they don’t like, they instantly label either the source or the communicator “dishonest.”  Their proof is never more than their own conjecture, which is always so off-target as to be from another planet, and a wayward one at that.

On a very small scale, I had this done to me by a crazed Ann Coulter fan a few years back.  On a much larger scale, Newt Gingrich has just done the same to Barack Obama: called him “authentically dishonest” and hinted that Obama is just play-acting and has a deep, dark anti-American agenda.  You know, like so dark the guy’s skin is actually black.

Like the Crazy Ladies who pepper the Teabagger/Rebiblican party these days, it seems Newt can’t possibly go too far with his rhetoric.  He has a rapt media to report on his insanity and gosh, all those teabaggers out there in the populace who just soooo want this sort of thing to be true that they will believe anything, just anything but Obama’s birth certificate.  And so Newt walks away with his dignity intact no matter how crazy he gets — just like Sarah, Michelle, Sharon, and goodness knows how many other political Crazy Ladies these days.

And heck…the Fat Man has been doing it for years.  He may become known as the father of the Crazy movement that’s now sweeping the bowels of the U.S.

But let’s get back to Newt for a moment, since I can only handle one sickness at a time.

Let’s talk about “authentically dishonest” for a moment.

Newt Gingrich is apparently not his birth name, for starters; he owes it to a pet nickname from his mother and the last name of his stepfather.  Funny that we hear very little about his name, given the Birthers’ obsession with Obama’s origins.  Odd how that doesn’t apply equally to everyone in public life.  But it gets much, much better than that.

According to sources, Mr. God and Country started off life as a love child, then had an affair with a high-school teacher (while he was her student), married her, then deserted her and their children — telling her he was divorcing her while she was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment.

Here’s an excerpt from Salon about that marriage:

Jackie Gingrich raised the daughters, worked to put Newt through graduate school and was a loyal political wife during his two unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in 1974 and 1976. In his make-or-break 1978 race, Gingrich enlisted Jackie to attack his female opponent, who had announced that if elected she would commute to Washington and allow her family to remain in Georgia. At Gingrich’s instigation, Jackie wrote a campaign letter declaring that Newt was a fine husband and would take his family with him, although his top aides already knew Gingrich was having affairs and the marriage was falling apart

One affair with some woman along the way included oral sex, or was limited to it — therefore Gingrich claimed that it was not an affair.  Or something like that.

He’s been through one or two marriages since then.  Ah, the sanctity of marriage.

And then there was that whole Contract on America thing. You know, where the Rebiblicans were gonna set America on the straight and narrow by carving Ronald Reagan’s image into Mount Rushmore.  That was about the extent of their “plan,” as I remember.  And no, I don’t remember signing any contract.

Around this time Gingrich was threatening to remove government support of Public Television because they were too “left wing.”  Public Television responded by running a documentary on Gingrich, complete with photos of him striking heroic poses on the steps of the Capitol.  Gingrich was mollified and turned his attentions elsewhere for a bit (mind you this is all straight from memory and may contain some inaccuracies).

I’m only brushing the surface here.  There’s much more to tell, but Gingrich is patently not worth the effort.

To put it briefly, Newt Gingrich is no hero and he has no business blathering about anyone else’s honesty or lack of it.  He’s lying just by doing it.  He’d do us all a favor just by crawling back under his rock, which he already did once.  But now I guess the snake has sensed that it’s more than safe to come out and be, in his own words, “authentically dishonest.”

May the teabaggers find out that he has a Ph.D. and was a college professor, and hold it against him (cultural elite, anyone?).  That would be authentically delicious.  Sadly, I doubt they would believe it.  It’s too authentically real, after all; no doubt they’d drag out that “dishonest” tag again to fend it off, along with the rest of reality.

Three Strikes, You’re Out

..or at least, I hope so.

What am I  blabbering about this time, you ask?  Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, I answer.  As in: yesterday, September 11, was the 2nd important national anniversary these two have attempted to hijack, and it was the second failure.

I’m waiting for number 3, betting that it will knock Beck out of the game.  We can be thankful for that small favor if and when it occurs.

As for Palin?  Nothing will knock her out.  I saw pictures of old ladies who appeared as giddy at her appearance yesterday as they probably were over the Beatles in the mid-1960’s (before John Lennon said that awful thang ’bout Jesus, that is).  No, you cannot erase that sort of fandom.  They do and will luv her 4-ever.  The best we can do is minimize the idiocy.

How to do that?  In the moments before I looked in on the Alaskan blogs for the latest news, I briefly thought that Beck/Palin were a Presidential political ticket, and this had been announced at that expensive rally in Alaska where some miraculous news was to be made (quite like Stoopapalooza was supposed to be a historical event).  “Great,” I thought, believing that such a full-scale collision with reality would forever minimize any real impact this Teabagger dream team might have.

And that’s what’s needed here.  To minimize Palin, she needs to be forced to deal with reality.  Not the reality she tries to create (and it succeeds with a determined minority) in which she is the luminous Queen Esther destined to save the U.S. from a horrible fate.  No, I’m talking about the actual realities the whole country is experiencing. Can you imagine Palin finding enough platitudes to throw at all that?  No.  Not even she can — at least not to the satisfaction of her “lame-stream media,” let alone real Americans and not just her blinkered little gang of them.  Such an experience would hardly be the end of her, but it would show her for what she is: Mama-Grizzly Barbie for President.  That is: something that isn’t going to happen.

That said, I was completely prepared to announce my own dream team of Sponge Bob and Lucy Van Pelt if in fact Beck/Palin (or Palin/Beck) had actually been announced yesterday.  That is to say that I see no difference between a Palin/Beck ticket and and one with two cartoon characters.

Anyway, as for the traveling Beck/Palin “historical event” circus, I suspect they have one more chance to steal a national anniversary and make actual history before that game is over and almost all of us get back to the business of dealing with reality.

Stoopapalooza Revisited

This is a howl:

“A Panic Based on a Hoax”

Just overheard some braying that I thought to be the Fat Man shooting off his blobby mouth about global warming, calling it “a panic based on a hoax.”

How ironic.  Doesn’t that describe the entire Teabagger cult?  And the Fat Man himself?

Honestly, while I believe “global warming” is a horrendous misnomer for what’s going on with the weather, the fact is that something is going on, and it’s naive to an extreme to claim that 6 billion human beings are having no impact on the environment.

Oddly enough, some of these warming-deniers are the same ones who howl about illegal immigrants and mass immigration damaging our environment.  Why are they so concerned about the environment at the same time that they are so militant about ignoring the weather?

Think about that a while; if you do, it proves you can — which is more than I can say for the people who are saying these things, and much more than I can say for those who hang onto their every word.

Lost as a Republican on Labor Day

I’m sure by now some Republican and/or Teabagger has piped up about Jesus and Labor Day.  Or the Constitution on Labor Day.  Or guns and Labor Day.  Or (somewhat ironically) abortion and Labor Day.

Which is to say they just don’t get it.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Republicans/Teabaggers have set themselves up as the enemies of the worker.  Never mind that some of them are workers themselves; the “bad guys” are always “those other people.”  Who are those other people?  Nope, it’s not Suzy down the street who has been trying to support her 4 kids on a waitress’s salary since her husband lost his job, couldn’t find another one, and finally gave up.  Nope it’s not John who was diagnosed with cancer and was fired from his job of 3 months, which he was only able to find after 2 years of unemployment after being laid off from his previous job, and now can neither work nor pay his medical bills, as he is uninsured.  It’s not even Mike and Nancy who are about to lose their house because they have an under-water ARM for $300,000.00 and the payments just zoomed up above both their monthly salaries combined, and now their employers are talking about layoffs.

Nope.  It’s not any of them.  It’s “those other people.”

This kind of logic apparently has yet to work against the Rebiblicans/Teabaggers, as the Democrats haven’t been wise enough to leap on it.  I mean, too easy — like taking candy from a baby.  Yet they don’t see the opportunity, in a depressed economy with millions out of work and unable to find work, to point out the Republicans’, and the Teabaggers’, and of course Fox News’s (the mouthpiece for both) insistence that all these people are just lazy and looking for a government hand-out.

As one of the people who was forced to leave the skilled-labor sector of the workforce for a service job a few years ago (during the Bush administration), and is now doing one of “the jobs Americans won’t do,” let me give the Rebiblicans/Teabaggers/Fox News the finger that the Democrats won’t.

Mind you I am not a fan of the unions, for whose members this day was created.  I think that too often these days, unions are nothing but parasites.  But time was (just after the last Depression) that they served a purpose and actually created good for millions of workers.

Those times are gone, and so are the union-induced goodies enjoyed by previous generations.  It is not the fault of the current worker that s/he finds him or herself in an economy that does not want to pay anyone a living wage, or pay anyone at all.  That is not laziness; that’s just bad luck and the result of decades of union-busting Republican efforts.  And now they’re trying to bust the workers themselves for alleged laziness.  You know, we’re a bunch of friggin’ socialists who don’t want to pull our own weight.  Yep, we LIKE losing our homes and going on food stamps ‘cuz we’re starving, and doing without healthcare because of that WONDERFULLY EXPENSIVE and EXCLUSIVE private health-care system that hasn’t changed one whit since reform was passed — perhaps partially because of all those lovely Republican governors who are trying to sue reform out of existence at taxpayers’ expense.

Nice work if you can get it, darlings, but what goes around comes around.  If you’re a Rebiblican/Teabagger or are a rabid fan of Fox News, may it catch up with you faster than you can shout “hallelujah,” even if the Democrats never catch on — because many of the rest of us will.

Somehow we knew this

Fox News’s parent company is partly owned by a Saudi prince:

The Parent Company Trap

A reminder

Since it seems that too many of our memories are very, very short, Keith Olbermann gives us a reminder of the Bush years and how we got where we are now. Hint: Obama didn’t do it.