American Dream? More like “Rude Awakening”

A modern-day nightmare: the story of a foreclosure

Watched a video this morning where a commentator said, “money is ruining America.”  Specifically he meant Big Money — you know, the Koch Brothers variety.  Of course, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know where I stand on that issue.  I think a large majority of people in the U.S. probably agree with me, and the rest are teabaggers — or else, they just haven’t been paying attention.

Later I started to think about an immigrant family who allegedly came here chasing the “American Dream,” as pro-mass immigration politicians and media pundits so love to put it, usually with accompanying dewy eyes.

Well folks, here’s this family’s idea of the American Dream.  It has to do with Big Money, but these people are not the Koch Brothers.  They are eastern European immigrants who came to this country only in the last 20 years or so.  Where I live there are lots of them, and let me tell you — a lot of them are currently bailing out and going back to their homelands while they still can live well on whatever is left of their “American Dream.”

This particular family moved into a relative’s neighborhood about 7 years ago, when a homeowner there, (a credit junkie who was about to face an enormous hike in his mortgage payment — he had an ARM — at the same time he started paying a hefty mortgage on a dream farmette he’d built far in the boonies), charged this family almost half a million dollars for a house in an area where even at the height of the bubble, houses were only about $375,000.00.  May sound like a lot now, but a few years ago it could be considered a bargain, even if you were only getting a 2-bedroom 1950’s tract house for that amount of money.  And what these people bought was that and only that, even if an unfinished room had been added onto the back of the house (which supposedly accounted for the extra-high asking price).

They moved in with an army of relatives helping them.  The formerly wide, quiet suburban street was transformed into a congested urban nightmare with rows of BMW’s, Lexus’s and other luxury cars parked along both curbs, often sitting idle for days.  At times it was so jammed that getting down the street was impossible.  Then they started blocking driveways, and as I remember, at one point my relatives couldn’t back out of their driveway (even when it wasn’t blocked) because there was no room to maneuver the car once it was out in the street.

The unanswered question in all this — which remains unanswered to this day — is how these poor, hard-working immigrants who came here with nothing, came upon all this money (or at least enough to get a half-million dollar mortgage plus loans on a caravan of luxury vehicles).  As I said, there was and is no answer.  We still don’t know what this family did for a living.  We do know that they were culturally ill-adjusted to the point where they were astounded and furious if you asked them to kindly NOT sit in your driveway making cell phone calls (I’m not even talking about sitting in a car making a call, I’m talking about parking one’s designer-jeans-clad ass on the driveway and making a call), or not to dispense with their endless cigarette butts, beer and Coke cans on your lawn.  May sound petty, but this is life in suburbia, and they were continually breaking the unwritten rules.

As the years went by, the hordes of relatives dropped away and it was possible to traverse the street again.  The family started to behave somewhat more civilly, even though they maintained a haughty distance from their neighbors.

This past year the remaining fancy cars and SUVs have pretty much disappeared, and the house has looked almost abandoned, and lately brightly-colored notices have been appearing on the front door, often hanging there for weeks.  Someone said they saw a sheriff’s deputy deliver one of these.

An obvious conclusion: the money well has dried up and they are facing foreclosure.  It’s even possible that the are making plans to flee the country.

This is not the first such story I’ve heard in recent times.  And somehow, such stories almost always involve immigrants.  And so I ask, as I have before, “what is this American dream?”

Is it merely about stuff?  Is it about owning, however temporarily, an overpriced house and fancy cars?  Is it nothing more substantial than that?

Judging from comments I’ve heard from some immigrants in the past decade, for a portion of them, that’s all it ever was.  And that is not enough.  But I guess to people like the Kochs, on whom we can partially blame the present state of things, it was enough to help set up an immigrant industry that dumped an unsupportable bumper crop of immigrants in the U.S., the sheer bulk of which was unlike anything ever seen before, helping to throw our salaries, housing market and finally our standard of living into an unstoppable tailspin.  In the end, it has benefited no one except those who weren’t affected by it.  People like the Kochs, for instance.  And it is people like them I hold responsible for bullshit like this.

Yes, I’ve seen immigrants come here and work their asses off.  They deserve all the best, and our help.  But people like the ones I’ve just mentioned?  The Just Here for the Stuff crowd?  Forget it.  No sense in coming here merely to get mountains of junk that you couldn’t get at home.  In the end, it only drives you broke and if you’re smart, you’ll realize you were better off without it.

If this sounds teabaggery to you, go stuff it.  Think about what I am saying.  This country was never solely about things, and anyone coming here solely for things is in for a rude awakening.  Kinda like that family I just told you about.

Time to rethink it all, Hoss.

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Bachmann errs again

This morning she made a guess that out of control government spending caused Hurricane Irene.  No.  The answer is HERE.

How could she have missed it?  Think about it: she had a chance to pray it away and SHE DIDN’T DO IT.

Stupid of the Day Award goes to Michele Bachmann!

P.S. – Michele darling, pray tell what is causing the drought in Texas and all them naders in the upper midwest (including Minnesota)?

I predict

As yet another crazy has thrown his hair into the net (Rick Perry, that is), I now have a prediction for the 2012 Presidential election: President Perry.

It all came clear to me the moment he decided to deny his previous denials that he was even thinking about the office, decided to ignore his previous desire for Texas to leave the U.S. (okay!  when?), and decided to take credit, much like Walker in Wisconsin, for tons of new (low-wage, no benefits)  jobs in his state that had little or nothing to do with him being governor.

What was clear?  This guy is going to be President.  Yes, he of the insufferable corn-sucking accent, hideous boots and faux-cowboy hat perched on a perfectly-coiffed, brainless noggin; he of the stuffed suit and cheap plastic mannerisms, all neatly packaged to sell like a steaming pile of horse-shit to the country music god and country set.  You know, just like George Bush.  Only dumber.

Now let’s get real:  Palin is never going to run; Perry’s her man.  Or at least, she will say that when it becomes apparent that his billionaire supporters have already rigged the election for him.  Saves face for her, after all.  It’s clear to most of us that her political ambitions are dead; however, the too-large portion of the U.S. media still determined to pay her some mind has already declared that she will be the “king maker” in the upcoming primary season (based on what is something they never say).  She’d probably sooner tear her wig off in public than support Michele Bachmann — remember, this is the set that is entertained by cat fights.  So Perry is the perfect way out for her.  Gotta grift while you can! *wink*

She’s getting help from the rest of the field.  Romney is a large, handsome cloud of nebulous gases.  Bachmann is too overtly crazy to get the nomination.  Crazy may be okay for a man, but for a woman?  Pfft.

However, as Bush Jr. and Reagan have proven, stupid is no barrier to being President.  Enter Perry, the dumbest of them all.

But the majority of citizens would NEVER vote for this rhinestone cowboy! you protest.  And I say it’s no matter.  Why?  Because he will do what Bush did twice: steal the office.

It’s already in the works.  Mark my words, kiddies.

Yet another WTF moment

Once again, the WTF moment comes from what someone on Facebook called “The Batshit Twins.”  You get two guesses as to who the twins are and the first two don’t count if you’re a regular reader here.

Anyway, read this and think long and hard about two terms: “retard” and “gay.”  Then join me in marveling at the similarities between Palin and Bachmann — now including their reactions to imagined insults, which from both parties sound something like: “that just shows how inappropriate and immature liberals are, this doesn’t hurt my feelings because I’m getting used to it (but I’m reacting violently anyway), he’s so MEEEEEAN to me, I’m just a politician speaking her mind that’s in the Constitution and the American people who love freedom, and that’s what he’s mad about, and…blah, blah, blah.”   Never mind that it usually turns out that the object of their ire never uttered any such word, or if s/he did, it wasn’t aimed anywhere near the Batshit Twins.   Everything, after all, is about them.

I am reminded of a quote from Gone With the Wind which went something like, “Scarlett knew that the way to hold a man’s attention was to talk about him and then slowly turn the conversation to the subject of yourself and keep it there.”  That’s exactly what these two nutjobs are doing.

Or, at least, it’s what they’re trying to do.

Reality has crept so close to Sarah Palin at this point that even she must sense its cold breath just behind her.  The success of her first book can be questioned; the second just plain failed.  Her movie failed.  Her bus tour failed.  Come to think of it, quitting the governor’s job in Alaska — lauded as a brilliant move by some on the right — was the biggest failure of all.

Since Bachmann has gone ahead and tossed her mane into the Presidential ring, only Fox News and a few blogs are really paying Palin any mind these days.  One  may wonder what will happen if she actually does announce her own candidacy at this point, and come up with the distinct possibility that it will be nothing much.  (Of course, someone, somewhere will try to paint it as being an unqualified success.  All I can say is, “unqualified” is the only correct word in that sentence.)

Everyone else is trying to make Bachmann look like she is coherent and has ideas (or even some notion of reality), and it’s keeping them very busy — far too busy to bother much with yesterday’s Palin.

Nasty books are being written about Palin, but at this point even they aren’t of much interest to many people.  It’s official:  Bachman is the new mind-rape of the right.  It’s rather like trading in a red  tomato for a pink one: the difference in flavor is slight.  But both go splat real good when they’re rotten, and it  just so happens that Palin is the tomato that is closer to being rotten at the moment.

But I digress.  The real issue is that, like I just said, these two are nearly identical.  Both are controlled by their husbands, for instance, but neither will allow any access to the spouse even as they declare that someone like Michelle Obama is fair game for their own brand of nastiness.  Catfight?  Yes, these two understand that concept well, even as they appear to understand little else.

Both are physically attractive.  Both seem to think that being President is no more challenging than being Miss America.  And so they yammer and whine like they are doing a backstage scene in some reality show about beauty pageants.  (The real fun will begin when they inevitably start whining about each other, which has already begun to an extent.)

It’s all very cute, but what bothers me is that either of them is being taken seriously for even one second.  It went on for more than 2 years with Palin, and now we’re being hammered almost every day with new and improved…but somehow acceptable…idiocy from Bachmann.  It seems there is nothing she can do or say that is so stupid that she is sidelined, as she should be, instantly.  This is where Palin was in the latter half of 2008.  Let’s just hope that the story ends the same way for Bachmann.

In the meantime I have only one request for the both of them: turn down the whine.  Your idiocy is badly affecting the careers of actual intelligent female politicians who do NOT confuse Miss America with the Presidency.  And you’re driving most of the rest of us insane.  So please, please STFU, won’t you?

BTW, a note for Palin/Bachmann defenders and the media who are trying so hard to make Bachmann look legit: a Teabagger relative of mine shuddered when I mentioned Palin’s name (“she’s crazy!” the person said), and didn’t even know who Bachmann is.   You’ve got some work to do, Hoss.

Collision with Reality

Yesterday two elderly relatives, who are spending their retirement listening to right-wing radio shouters, came face-to-face with the fact that those shouters, whose every word they imbibe like a poisoned martini, are the same people who want to destroy them in order to save the wealthy from taxes.  But they still didn’t quite get it.

Why not?  Because the shouters are shouting louder than ever, blaming everything on Obama.  Remember, the louder you shout, the truther you are, even if you are spewing nonsense.  It’s the first law of the propagandist.  And because of the screaming propagandists, there is a contingent of about 30 million people in the U.S. who have absolutely no idea what is really going on.  The rest have a sort-of half idea of what’s going on, and it’s all because of the rest of the media.  (No, there is no mainstream “liberal media.”)

I did try to tell one of my relatives that if it weren’t for Obama, whatever Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits they are already getting would have been completely erased by Republican/Teabagger hands.  She sorta got it, but only after I lectured for about 10 minutes.  The other one remains hopelessly marooned in his easy chair next to the radio, swaddled in an inescapable cocoon of anger over the fact that there is a half-black man in the White House.

I gather that one message has reached through the loudly vibrating  cocoon, however: the message that Social Security, at least, has never been the cause of the government’s financial problems.  That much even these two folks get.  Apparently, however, the right-wing flapjaws have been concentrating their attacks on Medicare/Medicaid.   “But there’s so much fraud in Medicare!” protested my reluctant student.  I told her if she wanted to see fraud, she need look no further than your average private health insurer.  She agreed, but I believe it was only to keep from being forced to have to think.

(One upside: if Medicare/Medicaid are cut, it will only serve to demonstrate how badly a national health insurance plan is needed.  And maybe this message will come so loud and clear that the army of flapjaws will not be able to shout it down, quite as they were unable to shout Social Security down.)

Meantime I’ve gotten a few private e-mails from Teabaggers who are chortling that “this is the end of Obama” and “he’ll never be re-elected now!”  I usually don’t take the bait but this time I did write back to one of them and only asked the following: “and who will be blamed the next time?  Bachmann?”

In true Teabagger fashion, he hasn’t replied.