Tag Archives: Junior Bush

The Tattlesnake – Clueless Wall Street Indulges in the Self-Delusion of the Wealthy Edition

… and it’s nothing new.

As 2011 settles in, some things haven’t changed, such as the investment bank aristocracy of Wall Street, already wallowing in obscenely large salaries, apparently believing they deserve bonuses for continuing to peddle worthless paper and hoodwinking their own customers. This addled belief, however, is nothing new.

Having misspent a part of my youth as an advertising director for a publishing company, I once had an opportunity to encounter some wealthy people at business lunches and dinners, and noticed a few habits of hypocritical thinking they had in common:

— To a man — and they were all men — they believed, even the silver-spoon-born trust fund scions and coddled bosses sons, that they were ‘self-made’ and everything they had was attained by their own hard work, even if their wealth was derived mostly from dividend income, the result of a long-dead relative picking the right investments or starting a successful business.

— Speaking of hard work, when these VIPs came in at 10:am to check the mail and sign a few letters, left for a two-hour lunch at 12:30, and then went golfing for the rest of the afternoon, leaving their overworked and underpaid secretaries to run the place, they would still insist that they had ‘worked hard’ that day.

— Whatever their educational institution, Yale or Harvard or a state university, they all thought they graduated because they ‘studied hard’ and ‘put their noses to the grindstone’ even though some would laughingly brag, after a few too many martinis, about how they had hired poor ‘scholarship brainiacs’ or ‘eggheads’ to teach them how to cheat on their tests.

— While every one of them abhorred any publicly-funded program that enabled poor kids to get a higher education, and especially affirmative action, they were blind to their own advantages, beyond just being born white. If Uncle Joe picked up the phone to make sure they got into the ‘right’ college, or Daddy was once a student and fast-tracked their ‘legacy’ acceptance into a university, that was fine — just the way the world worked. Of course, left unsaid was how they would have been able to make their way through college if such financially-strapped ‘scholarship brainiacs’ were not there to help them cheat, just one of many mental cul-de-sacs that these sons of privilege passed by quickly, lest they get hung on their own conundrum.

— Although all of them supported the war in Vietnam, none of them came close to serving in it. They either received school draft deferments like Dick Cheney; or, like Rush Limbaugh, had a note from the family doctor describing some dread condition that made them militarily unfit, but somehow didn’t interfere with their golf game; or had a family-friend Congressman intervene to keep them out; or, like Junior Bush, had Daddy pull a few strings to get them easy ‘Weekend Warrior’ duty in the National Guard. Privately, they had little regard or compassion for the troops in the field; in fact, they believed them stupid and that the grunts should show gratitude for the opportunity that military service provided to raise their lowly selves out of the ghetto or trailer park. Should they die or be maimed for life during this process of elevation – well, that’s just the price they pay for not having the foresight to be born in better circumstances.

— They all hated paying taxes, the hatred much more intense than that of those lower on the income ladder. Like Leona Helmsley, they thought taxes were fine — for the ‘little people.’ A couple of them were said to spend more money on lawyers and accountants to avoid paying taxes than the amount they owed in taxes. But they didn’t mind one bit freeloading off poorer folks by using roads, highways, airports, parks, and other public facilities paid for by the taxes of the non-rich; and they took it for granted their class would receive preferential treatment from cops and firefighters they didn’t want to pay taxes to support. I won’t even get into the courts, prosecutors, and military all arrayed to protect their precious property that they also didn’t want to pay for — suffice it to say that they didn’t believe in any taxes for themselves, even for those things that benefited them greatly. It would be a mistake to take this as any sort of reasonable consideration on the subject of taxes; it is not – it’s a nearly-hysterical emotional reaction born of mindless greed.

That’s all I can recall at the moment, but the one thread running through all of it is the massive degree of self-delusion practiced by those with wealth. It’s scary enough when they know they’re lying to make a buck; it’s pathologically dangerous when they buy into their own fantasies about themselves as have, it seems, the current crop of Wall Street scoundrels. In this particular case, it won’t end until Richie Rich, ensconced in an office at Goldman Sachs, dreaming up the next fraudulent financial instrument for his firm to foist on the gullible public, hits bottom – an inevitability since they refuse to learn from their mistakes — and seeks another ‘loan’ from the contemptible ‘little people’ taxpayers via the federal Big Daddy and, to mix metaphors, the cupboard is bare.

Then these Masters of the Universe will learn the tough lesson the cosseted Junior Bush as president had to endure: there are times when even Big Daddy can’t save you from the hard consequences of acting like a spoiled brat.

© 2011 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

The Tattlesnake – Things That You’re Liable to Read in the Bible, Part Huh? Edition

“And thou shalt eat it [as] barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.”
— Ezekiel 4:12

Drop another log on the fire, so to speak.

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”
— Deuteronomy 22:22

And yet those pious C Street gentlemen John Ensign and Mark Sanford still walk among us. (I forgot; Old Testament rules only apply to gays.)

“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.”
— Proverbs 6:16-19

Has anyone told Fox News?

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
— Matthew 6:25

Has anyone told Sarah Palin?

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
— Matthew 5:36-37

Has anyone told Bush – or his ghostwriter?

Read more

The Tattlesnake Who’s Watching the Watchers? Edition

Or, in the Maxine Waters case, investigating the investigators.

Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) three ethics charges, so far as I’ve read, involved talking to Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in 2008, asking him to try and make sure a bank that helps poor people and women, OneUnited, got its fair share of the bailout money. True, her husband was previously on the bank’s board, and he retained stock at the time, but she didn’t threaten or in any way coerce Paulson improperly she just asked. If this is the hoary ethics violations the Big Media is getting so hot-and-bothered about, then they’d better start charging nearly every member of Congress with a similar lapse of ethics, because a whole passel of Republicans and Dems did the same thing. Waters herself has stated: “The record will clearly show that in advocating on behalf of minority banks, neither my office nor I benefited in any way, engaged in improper action or influenced anyone.”

It’s worth noting that progressive Democrat Waters sits on the House Financial Services Committee that drafted get-tough legislation on banks and pushed for strong consumer protection from these miscreants. At least we know the Big Banksters would definitely not be sorry to see her go.

It’s interesting that of eight investigations or charges made by the House ‘independent’ ethics committee, all of them are against members of the Democratic Black Caucus. As Eugene Robinson said the other night, the notion that only black Democrats would be involved in unethical conduct is statistically astronomical.

It’s also interesting that one of the senior members of this ‘independent’ House ethics committee is co-chair Porter J. Goss, former rabid in-the-tank Bushite Congressman and, in Congress and as head of the CIA, a man who had considerable ethics problems himself.

Some of Porter Goss’ ‘greatest hits’:

— As head of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA employee Goss said he could find no wrongdoing in leaking covert CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name to the media that warranted a Congressional investigation. He ‘joked’ if you could find him a “blue dress with some DNA” he’d open an investigation into who in the Bush Administration leaked her name; short of that, he apparently didn’t care.

— On illegal torture: “March 18, 2005, Reuters reported that Porter Goss ‘defended his spy agency’s current interrogation practices but could not say all methods used as recently as last December conformed to U.S. law.'” And then did nothing to ensure future conduct conformed to U.S. law.

— When Bush-appointee Goss took over the CIA in September 2004, bringing with him his partisan Bush team from Congress, veteran CIA employees with a combined 300 years of intelligence experience resigned or were forced out after his installation. The weakened CIA under Goss then went into “free fall” according to senior House Intelligence Committee Democrat Jane Harman. In other words, Goss was willing to sacrifice the CIA’s mission of non-partisan collection and processing of intelligence to protect America to serve his Republican political agenda.

— On May 5, 2006, Goss resigned under a cloud as Director of the CIA after his handpicked man Kyle “Dusty” Foggo’s Hookergate scandal came to light. Through Foggo, Goss was also connected to disgraced Republican Congressman Randy Cunningham who admitted to and apologized for taking bribes from defense contractors.

“‘Something happened,’ neo-conservative magazine editor William Kristol said on Fox News this afternoon. ‘It’s going to be a bad few days. We’re going to discover something … It will be something not good for the Bush Administration.’ Fox News actually got a phone call from a ‘top White House official’ during Kristol’s damning comments, and Kristol was cut off so Bush mouthpiece Chris Wallace could say the Goss resignation is just a harmless part of the ‘White House shakeup.'”
— Sploid, by way of MediaCynic.com, commenting the day Goss resigned.

Also let’s keep in mind that Goss’ honesty was vouchsafed by no less than Bush confabulator and White House flack Dan Bartlett: “This man has impeccable integrity.” If Bartlett says it, we can pretty much conclude the exact opposite is true it’s like having one’s veracity on the Iraq invasion endorsed by Dick Cheney.

Gee, I wonder if Maxine Waters had refused to investigate evidence of treason in the White House, turned a blind eye to illegal torture, degraded the CIA’s intelligence-gathering capabilities due to political partisanship, and was connected to a major bribery scandal which caused a Congressman to quit in disgrace along with senior CIA officials she’d hired, if she would be eligible to sit on any future House ethics committees?

As Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Democratic DC delegate to Congress, told Ed Schultz on Tuesday, these are allegations, not convictions, and Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel and anyone else charged with ethics violations have the right to defend themselves in a public hearing rather than resign and appear guilty.

In the meantime, the questions remain: Who would appoint a flagrant Bush hack like Goss to a supposedly independent ethics panel and, most importantly, who’s watching the watchers here?

2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

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