09-18-08 5:11Greedy Republican Fucks

Republicans are Greedy Fucks!

Deregulation, anyone?

If you are a Republican, frankly, I don't see how you can live with yourself.

The greedy Republican fucks have played you for a fool. They dangled that little fetus in front of your face just to distract you while they looted your entire economy.

Here's a description of why this has occured:

"It's about taking on too much leverage and borrowing to take on the risk and borrowing again and borrowing again, 25 to 30 times the amount of capital. ... They had to basically back the borrowing that they were doing. ... There was no transparency to the Fed, to the SEC, to the Treasury, to anyone who would have even bothered to look as to how much of a catastrophe was being created, so that when anything fell, whether it was the subprime mortgage or whether it was a credit complex security, it was all below a pile of immense interlocked, incestuous borrowing, and that's what is bringing down the entire banking system."

As these high-rolling gamblers are losing all their banks' money, it comes to the taxpayer to bail them out. A better use of the money, says Michael Hudson, professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and an economic adviser to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, would be to "save these 4 million homeowners from defaulting and being kicked out of their houses. Now they're going to be kicked out of the houses. The houses will be vacant. The cities are going to [lose] property taxes, they're going to have to cut back local expenditures, local infrastructure. The economy is being sacrificed to pay the gamblers."

Read more here: Wall Street Socialists

And the really sad thing is, they didn't save the fetus either.

Nice job, anti-choicers! Are you happy? Planning to vote for four more years of looting?

Don't think about it too much...here's a pretty little governor! Fetch! Good boy.

09-18-08 5:11Evolution

Ashley: I've only heard twice in my life people saying that they don't believe in evolution. But evolution is a fact. We are not the same as we were millions of years ago. There is scentific proof of evolution, so how can people still say that thats not true? How can people say we are still exactly the same as God made us?

Most people do not have trouble with evolution until you say the whole thing: Evolution by natural selection. People will accept the first part and give God the credit. It's really the second part - natural selection, i.e., not God - that most people have trouble with.

Ashley: Being that Evolution is natural selection...what part of evolution are they okay with?

Some people seem to be okay with "change over time" as long as they can say God did it.

I have seen many people say, "How do we know that evolution wasn't God's way of making us what we are today?" But the whole point of natural selection is that it occurs naturally and does not require guidance by an external supernatural intelligence.

Ashley: oooo...I understand now! Thanks!

Avamommy: So God's design would not allow for natural selection?

Seems to me creating a self sufficient universe that keeps what it needs and purges what is not needed is a genius design. Exactly what I would expect from a higher being. :)

See what I mean? People will always try to shoehorn God in there somewhere.

Avamommy: You only quoted my first line! My whole statement did not suit your spin?

Consisting as it does entirely of speculation, your whole statement proves my point. Of course the "higher being" you posit conforms to your expectations. Since it's all your speculation, you can imagine it to be whatever you need to backfill the justification.

When people did not know where life came from, God got the credit for creating it exactly as is. When life is shown to have changed over time, God gets the credit for causing the changes. When the changes are accounted for naturally, God gets pushed back to merely having created the natural system. It's called "God of the gaps." It's handy for allowing you to insert God back into the equation after understanding pushes Him out.

Ellie: Another great post by Raverlady.

09-18-08 3:11Iraq - WTF

WTF are we doing in Iraq?

I have heard so many different reasons why we have our troops in Iraq. None of them stand up to the slightest scrutiny. Here are some of the big ones:

1) "The troops are defending our freedom!"

No way. There is just no way that Iraqis (or terrorists, or Islamo-facists, etc.) could "take away" our freedom. In order for our freedom to be gone, the "enemies of freedom" would have to come here and take over our entire country and abolish our government and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

This can't happen. They don't have the numbers - or the skills, or the weaponry - to occupy the United States and enforce their will here. Even with the world's most powerful military, we can't enforce our will over there. Why should we think they can do it to us if we can't do it to them?

They are no threat to our freedom. In fact we are a much bigger threat to our own freedom than they are.

2) "We're fighting them over there so we won't have to fight them here!"

This is completely ridiculous. If there are terrorists in Iraq who want to attack America, they don't have to stay in Iraq and wait to be hunted down and killed by us. If they really want to attack here, all they have to do is leave Iraq and plan the attack from somewhere else.

There is no reason to think that any terrorist who means us harm can simply be killed in Iraq.

3) "Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11 and he had WMDs!"

No, and no. Next.

4) "We are freeing the Iraqis!"

I don't know why the Iraqis deserved to be "freed" any more than any other populace subjected to oppression by a tyrant. But if bringing down Saddam was the goal, we did that years ago. The Iraqis are now "free". What are we still doing there?

5) "Our troops are building schools!"

They had schools. We blew them up. If we wanted them to have schools maybe we shouldn't have destroyed the schools to begin with.

6) "We're fighting for women's rights!"

Before the invasion, Iraq was the most secular nation in the Mid East. Under Saddam, women were encouraged to get an education and enter the workforce. Since the invasion, women have been relegated to second class citizenry and have been required to wear the abaya, be accompanied by a male in public, and renounce their careers in the face of death threats and kidnappings.

6) "We needed the oil!"

Oil prices have recently reached all-time highs. The Iraqi oil infrastructure is subject to continuous attacks and production is way down from pre-war levels. If that was the plan, it failed.

7) "We must support the troops!"

Supporting the troops is saving their lives from being wasted over nothing. Keeping them in Iraq is not supporting them. It's killing them.

Kettle Kelly: My husband could tell you several reasons why we're over there, but it would be a violation of OPSEC.

But I will say you are right, we're not over there fighting for our freedom. That's why it's called Operation IRAQI Freedom.

Why should WE be fighting for THEIR freedom? And if we are fighting for their freedom, why are they fighting us for their freedom from us?

Kettle Kelly: Uh...Hell if I know.

09-18-08 3:34Looking Out

Mabel: What's with welfare?! I just think that everyone starts needs to start looking out for themselves and stop expecting others to do it for them :)

Humans have always looked out for each other. That's one of the main behaviors that sets our species apart. Sharing with and caring for others are some of the greatest joys in life.

I'm sick of every-man-for-himself-ism. It's selfish and greedy and utterly lacking in human compassion. I could understand leaving people in the dust as you claw your way ahead of them if there wasn't enough to go around. Well...maybe.

But when there is plenty enough for everyone, why should some hoard it all for themselves? Do they like watching others suffer? It's sickening.

Ellie: BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bravo. I *was* going to say something similar but sometimes this list really beats my spirit down. BRAVO for you and i COMPLETELY agree with this sentiment.


09-14-08 9:20Real vs. Unreal

Frogbender: Have you seen the footage of Sarah Palin at church? She says, "Pray our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," Palin said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

This worries me. Should she being using God as a guide to foreign policy?

If God wants us to pursue this foreign policy or that foreign policy, He needs to come down here and get His own interview with Charlie Gibson and explain the game plan.

I do not believe any person who claims that they know what "God wants" us to do.

Wood Babe: She just means that we need to be on His side opposed to Him being on our side.

Whatever. Nobody knows what "His" side is.

Wood Babe: Well, maybe we need to quit asking Palin about religion.

Asking Palin about religion is a valid way to determine if she will respect the seperation of church and state or if she will make public policy for everyone based on her own religion's narrow interpretation of "what God wants."

Wood Babe: You can learn about what his side is if you just read your bible!

That's really funny, because I have a Hindu friend who told me I could learn about what "His side" is by reading the Upanishads, a Muslim aquaintance who insists that "His side" is clearly laid out in the Q'uran, and a Buddhist friend who says, if I were to read the sutras, I would realize that "He" has no side because "He" is just an illusion.

The fact is that "my bible" was written by people, just like you and me. There is no reason to think that they knew what "His side" is any more than you or I do.

Wood Babe: THere's a huge difference in praying that whatever is going on is the Lord's Plan..."

If "the Lord" wants us to follow His current "plan" He should just come down here right now and tell us what the fuck the plan is. I don't see how we're supposed to surmise what "His plan" is for 21st century American foreign policy by interpreting translated scribblings of bronze-age sheep herders. Especially since I'm sure that the Islamic Extremists, or whoever it is we're trying to kill over there, would likely insist that they are actually the ones who are really following "His plan."

Wood Babe: ...vs "Lets pray that the Lord with do XXX for us".

Wow, I didn't realize He did hardcore XXX. "The Lord" just got more interesting. :-)

Wood Babe: I have a feeling God could come down from heaven, yell His will in your face and you would say it was just remnants of Ike passing through.

When that happens we'll see.

CBAs: Wood Babe rocks! She showed you. You wouldn't know God if he came on you like a storm.

Why should I accept anything less?

Wood Babe: If Obama is allowed to distance himself from the negativity of his religion, why can't Palin do the same?

Obama's "religion problem" was about what his preacher thinks about actual things that everyone knows exist, like black people and white people.

Palin's problem is about what she thinks about unreal things that no one can prove exist, like "God" and "what God wants."

Wood Babe: Can YOU prove to me without a doubt that he DOESN'T exist?

I can prove to you without a doubt that white people and black people exist and that race relations have not always been easy. Rev. Wright was not talking about stuff that could be imaginary.

Wood Babe: How can you say the concept is UNREAL unless you can prove otherwise?

Not being able to show that it exists is what unreal means. Real things exist and you can show it.

What if I told you that I know that the God of the Bible - Yahweh - is gone, replaced by a New God who took over the rule of all creation? Can YOU prove to me without a doubt that the New God DOESN'T exist?

09-10-08 9:10Common Ground

Blue-J: Atheists are not helping with all their naysaying. If you want to bring people together, i recommend reaching out for common ground, not telling people their deepest held ideas are total shit and they are idiots.

Blue-j, I really appreciate the spirit of camaraderie and mutual understanding with which you present this suggestion. But, what is an intelligent non-theist to do? Just pretend to go along? Why are the non-theists the ones who have to compromise well-reasoned and evidentially supported explanations to find "common ground" with people whose ideas are supported only by the "deepness" with which they are held?

When people believed the earth was flat, it wasn't because there was some "deep underlying truth" to the flatness idea. They were just wrong.

Are theists "just wrong"? Well, it looks that way. If the theists think otherwise, maybe *they* should be the ones trying to reach for "common ground" and give me one reason, anything, why I should see it their way.

So far, every theist I ask just says, "Stop asking."

Blue-J: I think the key is to talk about direct experience and validate experiences and find common ground there.

How, exactly? In a recent discussion, a theist used his "direct experience" of the beauty of the sunrise as evidence that Allah sets the Kreb's cycle in motion. *He's* not sticking to discussion of direct experience. He's drawing conclusions, and pretty elaborate ones at that.

And how does "validating the direct experience" help? Yes, I can validate that the sunrise is indeed a beautiful thing of wonder. Am I then supposed to agree that it is beyond all understanding, or what? Acknowledging the beauty and wonder is not good enough; I still get a lecture about how I'm just blind to the God part, I'm just refusing to see, and it would just not be worth it to them to explain.

Blue-J: Religion gives so much! Community, volunteerism, ritual, shared singing, sincere gestures of appreciation for being alive and the astonishment we feel at being sentient. Bash religion, and the faithful feel you are also taking these things away from them.

Why should they? I have had plenty of all those things in a lifetime of total secularism. I got craploads of that just from joining Toastmasters. Those things can be created in any context.

Blue-J: atheists offer no replacements...

Why should they? Is it really the job of the atheist to provide ritual and meaning for the floundering theist?

Blue-J: You need to connect with the truths in religion...

Name one and maybe I will.

Blue-J: Name one? You have go to be kidding me!

People can mean any number of different things when they say "the truths in religion." What kind of "religious truth" are you referring to? I would need to know specifically what it is before I could agree to "connect" with it.

Blue-J:the work you are asking me to do was the work i am asking you to do.

I'm talking to you. I'm asking you give me an example of a "religious truth." Is it too much "work" for you to do that?

Blue-J:yes, it is. the project bores me.

I see. As usual, when I ask for specifics, we always, ALWAYS come back to the "and it would just not be worth it to explain" point.

Blue-J: Well, if you insist, i like much of the dhammapada (wait, you can't count that as a reli... whatever!). tao te ching. i actually think the whole tree of knowledge bit is interesting. the sermon on the mount has some cool sentiments.

Yeah, and so does that one Viagra commercial, or so I've heard. But "cool sentiments" does not equal "religious truths."

Three posts ago you threw out a "you've got to be kidding me!" like the "religious truths" were so obvious that I would have to be blind not to see them already. Yet you cannot name *one*.

I'm glad you "like" the dhammapada and think the "tree of knowledge bit is interesting" but that tells me nothing about what part of them are both "religious" and "truth." In fact you admit that some of it doesn't even count as religious. Surely if "religious truth" is the big blinking banner of obviousness you imply it to be, you ought to be able to pull one religious truth out and write it down.

But, of course, it's "boring," and it's too much "work." Well, I find it hard to believe that if a "religious truth" existed it would be boring, and too much work to share. But perhaps now you can understand why I asked you to name one. I cannot "connect" with ideas that no one has ever been able to overcome their boredom and fatigue long enough to tell me about.

09-07-08 1:59Blame the Bank

When we decided to buy a home, the first thing we did, before we even looked at houses, was to go to the bank. We presented them with our income information. The agent did some calculations and then told us how much of a home loan we qualified for. We based our home selection on those figures and never had a problem with our mortgage.

I don't see why everyone is dumping on the borrowers in the mortgage crisis. If the bank told them that they qualified for X amount of home loan, why should they think the bank was wrong? The bank people are supposed to be the money experts. Are ordinary people supposed to know more about money than the bank?

When the bank loans you money, it's not their money. It's the money deposited by their customers in saving and investment accounts. The bank has a sacred trust to protect the money of their customers and NOT loan it to people who can't pay it back.

Anyone can apply for a loan. The banks are supposed to vet the applicants and reject the ones who don't qualify. I don't see how we can blame people who applied for loans and had their applications approved by a lender. The lender could have told them "No." Or "Less."

What do you think?

BJ: I disagree, the crisis was caused by people making bad financial decisions. They are trying to live outside their means.

Sure they are. But most ordinary people can't just sit down and do the intricate calculations to figure out how much mortgage they can get. I don't blame people for thinking they could afford a loan if the bank told them they could.

It's up to the bank to lend responsibly to people who can afford the loan. If the amount was outside their means, the financial experts at the bank should have spotted that a mile away and not given them a loan they couldn't afford.

MysticFerret: If you don't understand that you are signing a morgage for a ARM that is going to go up in 3-5 years and increase every 3-5 years after that, whose fault is that?

It is the fault of the bank for telling them that this was the right loan for them. If they couldn't afford it the bank should not have told them that they qualified.

Ellie: The bank told us that we could afford a house that was insane. I dont think that the banks are honest at all.

That definitely puts them at fault. They should not be dishonest.

Ellie: Banks make money hand over fist when they forclose on property and dont let them tell you otherwise.

So, they are shilling people for their own gain. Totally unethical.

Ellie: People need to stop being foolish about believing big business monopolies.

If you hire an accountant to do your taxes, are you supposed to do them again yourself when he's done to check on his work? Of course not. If you had the time and the expertise to figure out your own shit then you wouldn't have hired an accountant in the first place. He's supposed to be the expert and know what he is doing.

The banks are the financial experts. If they are tricking people into loans they can't afford by lying to them about how much mortgage they qualify for, they certainly can't blame the borrower for their own dishonesty and greed.

MysticFerret: I disagree, this is where personal responsibility comes in. No one put a gun to their head & made them purchase that home...

The bank should not have lied to them and told them they qualified for that loan when they didn't.

Ellie: Agreed - banks will LIE. They will try to talk you into BAD decisions when it comes to loans. In this crisis, BOTH the buyer AND/OR the bank can take the blame at times. It depends on the situation.

Well, I agree somewhat. In most situations, everyone involved shares some of the responsibility.

However the party which is acting unethically bears more of the responsibility.

You can't just walk into a bank and tell them how much you think you qualify for and expect them to agree. They are the ones who do the math. They are the ones who examine your tax returns, your credit, your income, etc. and then tell you what they think you can afford. That's their job. They have no business telling you that, according to their calculations, you qualify for X number of dollars if you don't.

If you provide the bank with false documents which dishonestly inflate your income, then that's one thing. But if they are the ones lying and cheating, then they deserve most of the blame when their underhanded little scheme blows up in their faces.

BJ: you cant blame anyone but yourself for bad financial decisions. a bank cannot dupe an informed consumer.

They should not be trying to dupe consumers in the first place. I can't believe people defend the banks for lying and cheating to trick people into loans they can't afford and then blame the poor slob who falls for it. His eyes may be bigger than his wallet but he's not the one being dishonest.

MysticFerret: Unfortunately, it's a grim reality that businesses are in the business of making money...

Does that mean it's okay if their schemes are dishonest and immoral? If "anything goes" when the bank is trying to get more money than they deserve, then how come "anything goes" doesn't apply to a borrower trying to get more house than he deserves?

MysticFerret: ..I'm just encouraging consumers to be well-informed when they go to make a purchase on something like a home.

It's a grim reality that people like nice houses. I'm just encouraging banks to be well-informed when they go to make a loan on something like a home.

BJ: you are the one going to the bank and while they should help you the best they can, it's not their job to hold your hand.

Honestly assessing what kind of risk you pose to their customer's money is not hand holding. They have a responsibility to their savings and investment account holders not to gamble their money away on loans they know will not be repaid.

MetalMom: It's sad that many American's choose to blame other's instead of taking personal accountability.

If accountability is important, then why does the bank get off scott-free? Should the bank not be held to professional accountability?

MetalMom: They bank doesn't look at anything but how much you make and your major expenses. That's the borrowers job to know how much money they can pay back and to take a look at what your personal expenses are and will be.

There is more to it than that. If you are a loan officer, your entire career is about sizing people up and figuring out how much of a loan they are good for. If you can't do that then you shouldn't be a loan officer, because you are risking the solubility of your entire institution if you fuck up too often.

MetalMom: Does the bank be told that the borrower wants to have 2 kids in the next 5years? Does the bank know...

Let's be clear about this. The sub-prime mortgage crisis is not about a bank thinking that you are good for the money and then finding out later that you aren't. It's about them knowing that you are not good for the money and loaning it to you anyway.

I really don't see why everyone has turned into apologists for the banking industry. They are a bunch of greedy fucks who gambled other people's money on loans they knew would not work, and now we have to bail them out or risk tanking our entire economy. Everyone just shrugs and says, well, that's a bank for you, and never questions whether the bank should have done that or not. Well, they shouldn't have.

Each individual borrower who bit off more than he could chew, at least only screwed up himself and his family. The banking industry knowingly gambled on millions of these loans and have screwed up the entire global economy. When you have millions of problems and billions of dollars involved, you can't dismiss it all as the fault of careless individuals. It is a systemic problem.

Careless borrowers who want to bite off more than they can chew have always existed, that's nothing new in the banking world. So what is the new factor that has precipitated this crisis? An unregulated financial market, and the monetary sleight-of-hand underpinning the entire "sub-prime" industry. They gambled, and we lost. I don't see why we should now pretend they had nothing to do with it.

09-07-08 12:21Opion

Mary Ann: Ladies, I want your opion on this.

Kerry: My OPINION is that you should use a spell checker. What the fuck is an opion?

It's a cross between an opiate and an onion. It treats your depression but you still cry.

Autym: LOL!

Aurora: I really appreciate good wit...I may not always agree wtih what you say, Raver, but I always appreciate your thoughtfulness and humor.

Ellie: LMFAO!!!!!!!!

09-07-08 1:45Social Strata

BJ: Why do people get jealous when I talk about how rich I am? Your life is how you make it. Some people are in a better position than others and it really has to do with life choices. You didn't choose as good as me so it's your own damn fault.

Sorry, but this just is not true. Studies have been done which clearly demonstrate that the biggest indicator of where you will end up in the social strata is NOT how hard you work, how smart you are, or how you manage your money. The most consistent indicator is the financial status of your parents. That is, where you were born in the strata - something that you had nothing to do with - is the most influential factor in determining where you end up as an adult.

BJ: Don't blame me. It's just because most people choose to live like their parents live instead of aiming higher.

That's incorrect. The one thing it isn't about is where people choose to aim.

Regardless of where you aim, where you are shooting from is a much more influential factor in determining where you hit. The studies show that the people most likely to have financial success are those who started much higher in the financial strata than people who started at the bottom. Not those who aim higher; those who are higher. What's more, this is not a naturally occurring precondition, it is maintained and reinforced by social policy.

BJ: i have reasons for believing that we have a choice in becoming who we are, and i stand by them.

Choice is a factor. It's not the only one.

Read more in the Archives.