From the end of 1999 until the spring of 2002, I worked for Aames Home Loans as a Loan Origination Officer. I started my mortgage career during an interesting period for the mortgage industry. Bill Clinton and his economic team poured millions of dollars into the tech industry, creating a situation reminiscent of the Dutch Tulip craze. Worthless tech stocks and stock options were publicly traded on Wall St. All financial regulations were relaxed, including the regulations for the buying and selling of subprime mortgages. Alan Greenspan kept interest rates high to keep domestic wages low. Money was invested because of the high returns in CD’s, annuities, and even money market accounts. Of course, there was a huge amount of money invested in the stock market. There was virtually no investment in domestic production, but hundred of millions of dollars were spent on outsourced industry.
Displaced workers found themselves either living in the black market or homeless. Homelessness grew as rents rose to match the interest rates, and as more and more people sought housing. As the demand rose so did rents. The demand for housing also began to raise property values. High rents caused salaries to pay for less. People began to miss bill payments to keep up with the rent. The less a dollar could buy, the more profit there was in Wall St. People began using their credit cards more. This tied even more dollars into high interest rates. The richer the few became, the poorer the rest of us became, and that created a new market for subprime mortgages.
A simple definition of a subprime mortgage is a mortgage for people with less than perfect credit. What less than perfect credit means in this case, is people whose credit scores dropped due to the economic conditions created by the White House. People who could afford their prime mortgages when they were working in an American factory were suddenly unemployed or underemployed due to outsourcing. Other homeowners had variable rate mortgages because they thought the moderate interest rates of the Papa Doc Bush years would last forever. They watched their 3.7% mortgage grow into a 17% mortgage or even a 27% mortgage. Credit cards were overused, so homeowners needed help with their monthly credit card payments as well as their mortgage payments. The demand for subprime mortgages, combined with the fact that mortgage companies don’t risk their own money, made the subprime industry look very good to Wall St.
The money that is used to purchase homes and properties does not come out of the pockets of the banks and mortgage companies who sell the loans. They come out of what are known as “Mortgage Banks”. A mortgage bank can be anything from a group of individuals who pool their money into long term, high return investments to major international banks. Subprime was very attractive to many investors because subprime has a higher interest than prime. Subprime is considered riskier than prime because the customers have a history of missing bill payments. This is why subprime loans have even more restrictions on them than prime loans. Prime loans are sold to people with excellent credit. They have a lower interest rate and a higher commission for the salesman. It takes about two and a half subprime loans to equal the commission on a prime loan.
This brings us to the underwriter. Underwriters are the guardians of the mortgage banker’s money. The mortgage bankers pool their money and they divide it up into different amounts. These amounts are anywhere from 10K-100K for second mortgages to 10K-500K for firsts and refinances. They decide what interest rate they want for it, whether or not it is to be prime or subprime, and the conditions of the loan. The money belongs to the mortgage bankers. They can impose any darned condition they want as long as it does not conflict with State and Federal laws. That’s where the underwriter comes in. The underwriter’s job is to examine each mortgage to make sure it conforms to his principle’s conditions. The underwriter can demand any proof from the customer that he wants. He can ask for pay stubs, character references, profit and loss statements, or anything else he needs to make a decision. The only thing that he cannot factor into his decisions is race, creed, or national origin.
Subprime from the Inside
Unprecedented demand for subprime mortgages attracted Wall St. Wall St. corporations began buying up private mortgage companies and turned them into publicly traded companies. Aames Home Loans had been a family owned company until two years before I signed on. It had been a much respected institution by the minority home owners who made up most of its customers. The office manager was loved by the people she served. The processor, who also served as receptionist, knew everybody by sight. This changed after Wall St. took over.
Aames’s cash reserves were exhausted by the time I started in the Oakland office. Customers could no longer pay their mortgages at the office, because the loans were sold to other companies before they were even funded. New rules and regulations were instituted that made no sense and were ignored. It didn’t take long to realize that the only rule that mattered was the eleventh commandment: Thou Shalt Not Get Caught.
This was my introduction to the mortgage industry. My job, loan origination officer, was one of the innovations brought in by the new Wall St. management. We were replacing the old call center in Irvine, California. Wall St. thought the old call center was too expensive and the long term employees made too much money. Instead they put one or two L.O.O.s in each office. The people in the old call center knew their jobs. I knew nothing about selling mortgages and my new bosses were not going to teach me. They thought they could chase me out and return things to the way they used to be. More fool they. I survived Aames for two and a half years, outlasting five managers, four regional managers and more salesmen than I can remember. I had no experience in subprime mortgages at all, but within six months I was running that office between managers.
Aames was my introduction to the financial industry. I share it with you in hopes that you will truly begin to understand why things went wrong and the changes that we have to make to make them right again.
It’s Raining Soup!
Twenty eight years of steady neocon rule have placed this country right into the sewer. It wasn’t just Bush. It was Bush’s dad, the Reagan Administration and Bill Clinton. Now we have Barack Obama promising change and giving us the Son of the Clinton Administration. The same people who caused this economic disaster are back and making the same mistakes. We have no infrastructure left. Our manufacturing is overseas. Our GNP, which supports our currency, is entirely through oil production and refining.
While America has its collective attention riveted on Ponzi scams and other symptoms of a capitalist economy, the Obama administration is getting away with an even bigger scam. I am talking about the bailout. The most aggravating thing about it is that the criminals from the Clinton Administration who caused this mess are back with Barack Obama. We are only now coming into the full extent of the damage that Clinton and his Whitewater cohorts did to the economy. We have not even begun to feel the damage that Bush caused to the economy. Not to worry, Bush’s disasters are just around the corner.
The Clinton Years
Make no mistake about it, Bill Clinton was a neocon. His rise to superstardom was very much like Barack Obama’s. After eight years of Reagan and four of Papa Doc Bush, America needed a change. Twelve years of tax breaks and deregulation had already sucked the nation dry. In comes Clinton as the Democrat’s “great white broom” that was going to sweep away the evils of the
Republicans. Instead, Clinton followed the neocon agenda. He pushed NAFTA through Congress,and joined with Newt Gingrich to destroy the social safety net. Like Reagan and Bush, Clinton cut taxes for the rich and continued with the rash of deregulation which began in the Reagan years. This created an interesting challenge for Bill Clinton. He had to create the illusion that his policies were working without threatening corporate profits.
Along came Mrs. Geithner’s darling baby boy, Timothy, with the perfect plan. Take all of the money that should have been spent on health care, rent subsidy and education and pour it into the Internet. Pour enough money into the private sector and it would look as if the economy is healthy. While American jobs were being sent overseas and American citizens were forced into poverty and homelessness, Clinton was pouring billions of dollars into the computer industry. Like everything else that has happened in the financial industry these last twenty years, the money was poured without any regard to where it was splashing. For every piece of genuine research that was financed, there were four Internet start-ups which were not producing anything of value.
Eventually money accumulated to the point where it was spilling out of the computer industry and into other industries. All the shiny new Internet millionaires needed credit cards, right? Otherwise they would not be able to buy skateboards and groceries. Landlords had to raise the rents to account for the new prosperity and high interest mortgages had to be sold. New businesses had to be opened to support the new tech industries. Office equipment had to be sold to the new start up companies. This caused a temporary rise in the employment rate. Geithner’s house of cards was supported by the stock market, which was buying and selling junk Internet stocks as if they were actually worth something.
In the meantime, e-commerce companies like Amazon were selling their goods at a loss and making up the loss through the stock market. This forced traditional “bricks and mortar” businesses into bankruptcy. Bill Clinton signed the Financial Reform Act into law. In other words, Clinton legalized theft. Enron happened and the biggest corporate criminal of them all later became President. I think the most amazing thing that happened during the Internet bubble was AOL taking over Time Warner. AOL was an Internet company like any other, and they managed to buy one of the largest media giants with Internet money. That’s like buying a kingdom with faerie gold. Speaking of faerie gold, that was the Clinton surplus. All the extra money that was supposed to be in the treasury was actually Internet stock. It was faerie gold that vanished after the crash of 2000.
The crash happened when people woke up and realized that most of the Internet start-ups were not producing anything of value. The stock market crashed. The tech industry went belly up. The major corporations bought up everything worth buying and outsourced the work. Blend this in with the sub-prime mortgage boondoggle, financial deregulation and the death of the social safety net and you have the mess we are in today.
The Jig Was Up!
Fast forward to the summer of 2008. The mortgage industry finally melted down. The stock market crashed like it was 1929. European banks were ready to take over American institutions which had been badly run for decades. American financiers were looking at the end of their gravy train. The European banks are strict and conservative. There would be no more buying and selling of inflated stocks, no more selling of bad mortgages, and no more Ponzi scams. American financiers were panicking. The Europeans would impose law and order. What was Wall St. going to do?
Once again it was Timothy Geithner into the breach. He got in front of Baby Doc Bush and proposed a 75 billion dollar bail-out. The idea behind the bailout is exactly the same idea as the Internet bubble. If you pour enough money into the private sector it will look as if the economy is healthy. Baby Doc Bush and his tame Congress poured 75 billion dollars down the rat hole and the stock market is still in the toilet.
The Son of the Clinton Administration
Along comes President Barack Obama who promised us change and commences to give us a rerun of Clinton. Obama not only supported the first bailout but is now championing another bailout. Guess what? The second bailout is not going to work any better than the first one did. Still, Obama inherited Baby Doc Bush’s trained Congress, so this bailout is going through anyway.
Despite all the libertarian delusions that are bandied about the Web, America does not exist in its own private little capitalist bubble and never did. The United States has been a part of the world economy since Thomas Jefferson made paying the Revolutionary War debt a priority. Most of the mortgage banks that U.S banks borrowed from were European conglomerates. The Europeans pulled out their money when they discovered how many US mortgages were defaulting. That left a monster hole in American finances. That hole got bigger after Europe called in their debts and the U.S mortgage companies had to pay off all the mortgages sold. Thus billions of bailout dollars went to satisfy the European debt, which is still not paid off. Very little of this money is going to stay in the U.S
It’s not as if we really have that much money. Between Clinton and his junk stocks and Bush’s uncontrolled spending, there is not that much money left. Baby Doc cut so many taxes for the rich that more money is flying out of the Treasury than is coming in. The Bush Administration sold off federal investments and government-owned property to pay its debts. Baby Doc Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan with money borrowed from the Chinese and the Saudi Arabians. That’s right, folks, we owe the people who control our manufacturing and oil production big time and who’s idea was outsourcing all our factory production to China? I’ll give you a hint. He’s Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury.
The last time the American public took such a fall, we had the labor movement there to make sure we got a new deal. Who do we have looking after our interests today? If we are going to have the changes we need to restore our economy, we need to organize. We cannot sit back and expect a corporately-chosen President to do it for us. We need to rebuild our infrastructure, reimpose reasonable limits on our financial institutions and bring our jobs back home where they belong. If Obama won’t do it, we’ll just have to do it despite him.
People claim George W. Bush is the most stupid man ever to be elected president. My response is,”define stupid.“ True, Bush must have the lowest I.Q of anybody who has infested the Oval Office, but having a high I.Q doesn’t make one smart. Bill Clinton could do the New York Times crossword puzzle in a minute and a half flat, but he wasn’t as smart as Warren G. Harding. Harding was bright enough to take his mistresses into the Oval Office closet.
In honor of eight years of utterly unenlightened leadership, let’s take a trip back in time and visit other stupid presidents.
John Adams was both a Royalist and a Puritan at heart. Adams wanted the President to have the same pomp and trappings as the king of England. We can blame him for the imperial presidencies. Adams wrote extensively on how American Constitutional law fit into Puritan predestination. We can blame Adams for the Puritan Work Ethic finding its way into our legal system as well as the President’s unconstitutional role as religious leader. It was John Adams who first realized that capitalism was a dandy way for God to show us who was going to heaven. If God granted you wealth, you were heaven bound.
Of all the Founders, Adams had the strangest twist on American Independence. He did not wish to be free of the King, he simply wanted to be free of Parliament. His argument was that since America was a crown colony, Parliament had no authority to tax Americans. That one stood as the weirdest argument in American jurisprudence until Bill Clinton tried to prove that fellatio wasn’t sex.
Adams was a Royalist through and through. As Vice President he was determined to make the Senate a hereditary position. Loathing the title Mr. President, he tried to change it to “His Majesty the President”, or (my favorite) “His High and Mightiness, The President”. By all accounts, Adams made himself such a pain that the Senate called him “Your Rotundity”.
Adams believed that God showed the world who was the true aristocracy by willing people to become rich. He called it the natural aristocracy. Taking a look at Barbara Bush’s most stupid kid, we can only presume that the natural aristocracy has become as inbred as the European species.
Ulysses S. Grant
I don’t know what to make of U.S. Grant. The man wasn’t a leader; he was a born follower. His parents named him Hiram Ulysses Grant, but he was renamed Ulysses S. Grant through a bureaucratic mistake that he didn’t bother to correct. Then everybody started calling him Sam. Grant was never a big smoker until the Civil War, when he felt he had to smoke all the cigars admirers kept sending him. His wife kept him away from booze until he was stationed away from her. Then he just sort of drifted into alcoholism. Grant sort of drifted through life with very little effort of his own.
Some believe Grant had Asperger’s Syndrome or some other autism spectrum disorder because of his uncanny talent for tactics. He retreated when other generals would attack and attacked when other generals would retreat. He either pressed his advantage in hopeless situations and exploited a hole in the South’s strategy nobody else saw, or he inexplicably retreated and saved his forces from a trap nobody else could see coming. It was this talent that made him a successful general, even if he did faint at the sight of blood.
Too bad his talent didn’t warn him away from The White House. As a President, Grant was a disaster. Unable to choose competent people for his cabinet or staff, he couldn’t even hire a decent chef. Every member of his cabinet got caught taking bribes, influence peddling, and embezzling. His own personal secretary was arrested for embezzling thousands of dollars. While this went on, foreign dignitaries were treated to army cooking. Grant set a precedent by pardoning everybody including the cook, who also embezzled.
Thanks to the corruption in his Cabinet, Reconstruction became a criminal’s wonderland. Gold speculation led to the US’s first bank failure and stock market crash. To give the man credit, Grant did try to provide justice for the freed slaves. However, he utterly failed in his attempt to provide justice to the conquered Native Americans. Grant handed the Bureau of Indian Affairs over to the Quaker Church, and their attempt to convert the Native Americans led to bloody revolts and fueled the Ghost Dance.
Grant died penniless from throat cancer. His own son conned him out of his life savings. In those days before Presidential pensions, Gen. and Mrs. Grant would have died in the streets had it not been for Mark Twain. He took them in, fed them, and paid Grant’s doctor’s bill in return for publishing rights to Grant’s memoirs. Grant died days after he finished the project. Twain gave the widow Grant 75% of the profits and only took 25%. Fortunately for Twain, the book became immensely popular. Twain retired to Europe on the proceeds.
Warren G. Harding
““He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.”
So said journalist H.L. Mencken about President Warren G. Harding. He was President after the first World War. His slogan “Return to Normalcy” must have made poor Mencken cringe every time he heard it. Normalcy was not a word until Harding made it up. He claimed that he liked the sound of it better than Normality. Harding has gone down in history as the first President to alter words for a campaign slogan.
Harding was the son of a newspaper publisher, and attempted to follow in his father’s footsteps. I am sure that Harding’s father did his best. Young Warren was simply born to fail. He kept one of his newspapers going by having a spirited war of words against a rival publisher, Amos Hall Kling. The stress of managing a newspaper was too much for young Harding. By the time he was 24, he had checked himself into sanitariums three or four times for nervous disorders.
Success came unexpectedly to young Harding when Kling’s daughter, Florence Kling Dewolf decided to marry him and chased him until he relented. Warren G. Harding could be compared to the fool in the Irish faerie tale who married his brains. Mrs. Harding was also the child of a newspaper publisher, but unlike her husband, she had the ability to understand the business. Within a year, Harding was a successful newspaper publisher. This was not enough for Mrs. Harding. She wanted to be the power behind the throne in Washington DC.
In earlier posts I credited John F. Kennedy with running the first modern campaign. I was wrong. The real credit goes to Florence Kling Dewolf Harding. Florence Harding was the first to employ the full media in a political campaign. She had movie cameras accompany her husband during campaigns. Harding may have so dumb he had to take off his pants to count to eleven, but he looked like a President. Florence made full use of that. Before Harding, a president could walk into any barber shop for a shave without being known. Harding was the first President who was easily recognized by the public. He was fabulously popular.
If Harding was content to simply let his wife handle things while he looked pretty for the cameras, he may have had one of the most successful presidencies in history. His wife’s philosophy was to back away from foreign political entanglements that were coming out of the end of the first World War. She was in favor of the League of Nations, but was more intent on rebuilding the war economy into a national prosperity economy.
Harding let his ego get in the way of his good sense and actually tried to become the President. He insisted on writing his own speeches which encouraged H.L Mencken to say that love was blind, but in Mrs. Harding’s case it was deaf as well. Harding also made the same mistake that Grant made by inviting the guys he partied with into his cabinet and staff. His administration became just as crooked Grant’s. However, Harding’s biggest mistake was that he was a womanizer. He had at least one child out of wedlock and at least one mistress blackmailing him since the time he was a senator. Warren G. Harding died before the end of his first term. There are many who suspect that a jealous Florence poisoned him.
There are many who would object to my placing Coolidge on a list of dumb presidents, and they do have a point. Coolidge was a bright fellow with a great sense of humor. When Dorothy Parker told Coolidge that she bet she could get him to say more than three words, Coolidge replied, “you lose” and refused to say another word for the rest of the dinner.
Then again, there are those who claim that old Cal was just barely smart enough to keep his mouth shut. That kept him from looking like the idiot he was. Those people also have a point. As president, Coolidge refused to take action to prevent the Depression of 1929. Coolidge refused to support labor, even though he was a champion of labor as the Governor of Massachusetts. Coolidge claimed that labor was a state by state problem. Coolidge refused to help the American farmer, claiming that it was a fact that farmers don’t make much money. He also refused to take action against corporate crime. So when the disaster of 1929 hit, the government was totally unable to handle the crash. By then, Coolidge was retired and it was Herbert Hoover’s problem.
Calvin Coolidge’s stupidity stemmed from a lack of vision. Coolidge was unable to realize that the world had changed from the 19th Century. The American frontier was officially closed, and the national economy had changed. There was a new interdependency amongst the states that the federal government had to make some changes to meet. In stubbornly holding on to the values of the nineteenth century, Coolidge created the Great Depression of 1929. By adopting the values of the Coolidge era, Ronald Reagan created the conditions that led to the great depression of 2008. How long is this going to go on before we learn our lessons?
Richard M. Nixon
There are many who felt that Nixon won the debates with Kennedy. Nixon argued with facts and Kennedy replied with slogans. Alas, Nixon in 1968 was not the man he was in 1960. By 1968 a fine mind had been destroyed by alcohol. By the time Nixon was elected, he was far into alcoholic paranoia. The secret service had to watch him or he’d escape and go on a bender. Nixon was once missing for three days and the nation never noticed. The President of the United States was found in a greasy spoon in the worst neighborhood in DC. He looked and smelled just as bad as the rest of the derelicts.
That was the birth of the modern presidency. Bob Haldeman and John Erlichman had the easiest three days of their lives. The government actually worked better without Nixon getting in the way. So when the Republicans regrouped after the Carter victory, they decided to select a president who would sit quietly in front of the TV until they needed him to make a speech. Ronald Reagan was the obvious choice.
There is something intrinsically dirty about the Reagan presidency. The poor man was steadily losing his faculties. He was not competent to do the job. He once said on camera that he just read his scripts. That a sick person was so blatantly exploited represents the worst of modern politics. A cabal that could do that is capable of doing anything.
George W. Bush
If I were George Herbert Walker Bush, I would blame little Georgie W on the milkman. The abysmal stupidity of the man is makes him the watermark for stupid presidents. His administration was as religiously warped as John Adams, as corrupt as Grant or Harding’s, and as destructive as Nixon’s. It was also as disastrous as Coolidge’s. I think they ran him for President because he would be another Reagan. They just hoped he would spend his time in the Oval Office farting in front of the interns. Unfortunately for the nation, Dubya let his ego get in the way, and he actually tried to do the job for which he was elected. There is some amusement in thinking over the consternation he caused amongst his handlers when he refused to sign the Financial Ethics Bill or insisted that infernal and forgettable woman be appointed to the Supreme Court. Then again, who says that his handlers were any smarter?
Despite my distrust of Barrack Obama and his connection to Chicago machine politics, it will be a distinct pleasure to have a President who speaks English. The economy may fall deeper into a depression, American jobs may continue to find their way to the Mysterious East, American troops may rock and roll through Iran, but at least our new President can pronounce nuclear. That in itself is a blessing. During times when homelessness is a bigger national disgrace than it was during the Depression of 1929, we have to take what blessings we can find.
When is criticizing a politician racism? When the politician is Barrack Obama, of course. Obama can back away every one of his promises regarding taxation, and anyone who points it out is accused of bigotry. Obama can turn all his promises regarding the economy into a lie by appointing Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury, and I am called a horrible person for mentioning Geithner’s part in NAFTA and outsourcing. Obama can also appoint that war criminal Gates to continue the job he has mishandled for Bush, but Barrack Obama can do no wrong. Apparently I am wrong for pointing out that appointing Gates is a sign that the war is going to continue. The right wing pundits have done their job. Obama can continue the same failed policies of his predecessors, but nobody dares to point this out without being accused of racism.
As a marketing and sales professional, I have to admire the right wing pundits as well as the people who write their scripts. They are brilliant. By carefully mixing truth and psychotic racism, they have made Obama invincible. When one mentions the incestuous relationship between Hillary Clinton and Wal-Mart, one automatically becomes a KKK member. Obama can ask John Yoo to be a member of his national security staff, and I allegedly become Sean Hannity for pointing out that Yoo was the person who advocated the torture of Guantanamo inmates. John Brenner is the CIA executive who oversees torture, and Obama wanted him to head the CIA. Ask how this means change, and cries of racism echo from the hills.
This does not mean that racism does not exist. On the contrary. Hannity’s script writers depend on racism. When Buster Beer-Belly redneck hears Hannity’s rants, all he is going to hear is that the Black President’s middle name is Hussein, and that the good white Republicans are protecting his interests by continuing Bush’s policies. All Mr. Cardboard Liberal is going to hear is the racism, and will associate any criticism of Obama with the racism. Thus, when Obama continues the failed economic policies of his predecessors, it’s all going to be somebody else’s fault. The rednecks will blame the Muslim-loving liberals and the liberals will blame the redneck Republicans.
The amazing thing is that anybody even listens to Hannity, Limbaugh, or the rest of the troupe of right-wing howler monkeys. It’s not as if they have anything worth listening to. I spent my entire life not even knowing what Sean Hannity looked like until I lifted his picture off Google. I could pass him on the street without even recognizing him. I watched some of his stuff from YouTube when I was accused of being him. What person in his right mind would even listen to his shit? Maybe I have been in the business too long, but Hannity is the worst salesman I ever experienced. Yet people on both sides of the political spectrum listen to him as if he even matters.
All Hannity has to do is pick on Nancy Pelosi, and that godless neocon becomes Ms. Super Liberal. Pelosi, who continues to vote in favor of the Iraq war and illegal wiretapping, is a champion of the downtrodden because Hannity says something bad about her. Jesus H. Christ on a crutch! The woman is a bald-faced liar. Check our her voting record. Project Vote Smart records the voting record of every politician in Washington DC. There is no excuse for anybody to fall for Hannity’s tactics. The truth is out there for anybody with enough brains to look for themselves.
Hannity and the rest of the right wing pundits have successfully applied a peer pressure element into American politics. You are now either for Hannity or against him. If Hannity labels somebody a bleeding heart liberal, you have to either condemn him or support him as a bleeding heart liberal. It’s an us or them attitude where truth does not matter a whit. The fact that Pelosi has been an ardent behind-the-scenes Bush supporter seems to be irrelevant in the light of Hannity’s mighty rhetoric.
Perhaps familiarity breeds contempt, so I should not be too terribly surprised that people are falling for the Hannity smoke and mirrors show. How many people in California lost their homes because some stranger called them up during dinner time and offered them a “free, no obligation, assessment of their present mortgage”? Sounds pretty dumb, doesn’t it? There are just some things that people have become conditioned to respond to. The words “free” and “no obligation” are guaranteed to catch one out of every five prospects. This holds true in politics as well. Say the right words and you get people’s money. Say other right words and you get people’s votes. Say other magic words and a politician becomes god or the devil depending on the audience you are aiming for. Sometimes you can accomplish both with the same sentence.
The liberal who has the nerve to criticize Obama becomes the eternal outsider. Even though Obama has already gone back on many of his promises, and made frightening choices for his cabinet, I am called a bigot for daring to mention it. That’s cool. I can live with it. I have received some really nasty email, I have been called a pig on my own blog, and even my wife has been slighted over this. I do not take any of this personally. The unconditional Obama supporters have a hard lesson coming to them. Many of them can see it coming. Really, how smart do you have to be, to know that Rahm Emmanuel is bad news for any sort of positive change? They pick on me for pointing out the obvious.
What bothers me is the opportunity that is being lost. Why is everybody dropping the ball? Why is putting a Likkudnik in as chief-of-staff acceptable? Why is Gates acceptable? Why is pointing out that they are not acceptable labeled racist? Because Sean Hannity opened his mouth? Cut me a break. If Obama’s supporters want actual change, they are going to have to react to what Obama does and not what Sean Hannity says. Hannity is just hot air. Geithner is a danger to our homes, our jobs, and our savings. Don’t fall for the Hannity con game. Get on the web, get on Obama’s site, and remind him that you voted him in for change.
What is a President? A President is a corporate talking head. He does funny tricks for the public while his staff does all the work. The staff doesn’t work for the President. The staff works for the party and is selected by the party. Since it is the staff who really run the office of the president, the party makes certain that the staff will work for the interests of the corporate sponsors. As there are only two significant parties in the United States, it has been very easy for the corporations to dominate both parties. This is why Bill Clinton’s administration was a continuation of the Reagan-Bush administrations, and was the perfect set up for the current trained monkey.
Jimmy Carter was the last President to actually try to do the job. We all saw what happened to him. Carter’s own party ignored him. The Democrats left Jimmy Carter slowly twisting in the wind over the Iran Hostage Crisis. Of course the Democrats knew that the Republicans were dealing with Iran to make Carter look bad, but nobody stood up to defend their President. Then the Reagan Republicans took credit for all the hard work and hard decisions Carter made to repair the economy. After Reagan’s election, the Democrats showed the world they were not going to stand for any more human rights nonsense. They joined with the Republicans to send our jobs overseas and to assure corporate profits. Liberal became as bad a word amongst the Democrats as with the Republicans, and the nation watched 50 years of social progress go down the toilet.
Television and the media have made it more important to look like a President than to be a President. Giving the devil his due, Richard M. Nixon tried to be a President during the 1960 campaign. Nixon ran an old fashioned campaign based on the issues, while Jack Kennedy ran the first modern campaign based on appearances. Kennedy posed for the cameras. Kennedy wore make-up during the debates. Kennedy was young and pretty, while even in 1960, Nixon looked like a blood hound who just smelled a skunk. Kennedy won on appearances. In 1968 Nixon was washed up and fallen so far into alcoholism that he was hopeless after twelve noon.
Quite often it is neccessary to tell the public what they want to hear in order to get a candidate elected. After eight years of Reagan and four years of Papa-Doc Bush, America was burned out on deregulation. The voters were scared of NAFTA and wanted the government do something for them. Clinton came along and promised national health. That’s what the public wanted to hear and that’s what got Clinton elected. We are still waiting for our national health. Clinton set us up for our present financial crises instead.
After Clinton’s outright lies and open collusion with the Republicans, I cannot understand why anybody would believe anything any Democrat would tell them. Yet there are still people who make excuses for Clinton. They forget that the “prosperity” under the Clinton years was simply a stock market bubble that would have been illegal before the deregulation of the Eighties. They seem to forget that Alan Greenspan started under Reagan and continued through the Clinton years until Greenspan himself chose to retire under Baby-Doc Bush. They ignore the fact that Clinton turned homelessness into a national crisis by signing NAFTA into law and then cutting the social safety net. Clinton created his paper surplus budget surplus through his treasury department investing in valueless tech stocks.
There are customs about the Presidency that have to be followed. One such custom is that the incumbent Vice President gets to run for President at the end of the two terms. Al Gore, the last of the presidentially viable, pro-ecology Democrats ran for president, but the Republicans cheated to keep him out of the White House. Gore’s own party made no great effort to challenge the obvious chicanery. Having Gore in the White House would have been an embarrassment. It would have been like Carter. The president would have said one thing while the party was busy colluding with the oil, mining, and lumber companies. Gore was also pro-labor and depended on the auto industry for his support base. As we see today, the auto industry was another American industry due for outsourcing.
The parties no longer even compete for the Presidency. Both parties get together with their PR and marketing people to see who the voters are most likely to accept. When the public got tired of Republican rhetoric, Clinton got into the White House for eight years with no real changes in policy from the Republicans.
Obama is surrounding himself with Clinton’s criminal family. Obama has already come out in favor of illegal wiretapping, promised to continue and expand the faith based initiatives, and backed away from ending the Bush tax giveaways to the rich. If Robert “The Surge” Gates is selected, that will be a pretty good indication that we can expect a continuation of the last 28 years. If you, like me, find this totally unacceptable, it is time to act. We can start by getting on Obama’s website and letting the president elect know that we are not pleased. http://change.gov/ It might not make any difference but at least we will not be silent accomplices to our own abuse.
I am making myself very unpopular by criticizing Barack Obama. I have been called a racist for criticizing him. I have been called an alarmist. I have even been compared to Sean Hannity, which really hurts. A neighbor told me that I am not being fair. After all, Obama has not even been sworn in yet. He has not even had the chance to screw things up yet. From my point of view that’s like telling me not to run away from the guy with the open buckets of gasoline and a lit cigarette.
Obama is not only surrounding himself with the worst of the Clinton Administration, he is surrounding himself with the worst of the Bush war criminals as well. He wants Robert “The Surge” Gates to continue as the Secretary of Defense. How is this change? They are popping the champagne in Beijing with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. That is a pretty good indication that jobs are not going to return to American soil under Obama. Rahm “NAFTA” Emanuel, Lockheed’s trained monkey, is going to be Obama’s chief of staff. This does not look like change to me. This looks like a rerun to the bad old days of the Clinton Administration, when homelessness flourished while public money was invested in junk stocks. Yet when I point this out, I am accused of being Sean Hannity.
The problem here is that Sean Hannity is telling the absolute truth. In this age of universal deceit, there is no better way to lie than to tell the truth. If Hannity lied, he would be lumped in with the Sept. 11th conspiracy nuts, and the legions of other rumor mongers. By telling the truth, Hannity is standing out from the rest of the crowd. He is singling himself out for national attention. Any imbecile can claim that Obama turned in a false birth certificate, but it establishes credibility to point out that Obama is crewing the ship of state with the same band of cutthroats who brought us the Tech Bubble and the disastrous Financial Reform Bill. Then, after capturing our attention with the truth, Hannity follows up with a real whopper. He makes the idiotic claim that the Republicans are better than the Democrats.
Those of you, like myself, who prefer to exist in consensual reality, are probably already aware that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is the difference between AIDS and lung cancer. Both are an eventual death sentence; the only real difference is the pain you experience as you waste away in misery. Yet Sean Hannity will tear down the Democrats, and point out every mistake made by the Democrats, while ignoring the fact that the Republicans made the same damned mistakes. Hannity will tear Nancy Pelosi to ribbons, while ignoring the fact that Pelosi voted for everything Baby-Doc Bush ever asked for. Hannity will accuse the Democrats of spending money on “wasteful” public programs, and will forget that Bill Clinton joined with Newt Gingrich to rip the social safety net to shreds. Since 1980, the Democrats and the Republicans have been working together for the benefit of the multinational corporations, and it seems that nobody really notices thanks to Sean Hannity.
The Democrats became the party of the poor and the downtrodden back during the early part of the twentieth century. As the labor movement grew in strength and popularity, the unions sought a political party to represent their interests. The G.O.P would have nothing to do with either labor or the immigrants who comprised the labor movement. By the time FDR was elected, unions were strong enough to influence the New Deal and made economic recovery possible. However, years of prosperity weakened the unions, and labor influence in the Democratic Party waned until Reagan entirely broke union influence in the early Eighties. Still, people insist on believing that the Democrats support labor and working people, even after Bill Clinton signed the original legislation that send our jobs out of the country and killed labor in the United States.
So there is Sean Hannity telling the truth about the Democratic Party, and Democrats arguing with him despite the evidence of the last 28 years. The Democrats are arguing that they are different from the Republicans even after Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table. Republicans are arguing with Democrats even after Bill Clinton showed his true colors and openly joined with the Republicans. This is why I say that we can expect the exact same disasters from Obama that we could expect with McCain.
Barack Obama was the perfect Democratic presidential candidate. He is a dark skinned man who was given the kind of upbringing that is usually reserved for very privileged European Americans. He grew up with middle class values. Despite his books, I cannot see him really identifying with his supporters. Poverty is too far out of his experience. When he went to school abroad, he was home schooled or went to English language schools. He grew up in his mother’s white American social class The fact that the Democrats and their corporate sponsors were forced to support a candidate of African descent is a good indication that the power balance is shifting. The powers that be are on the verge of total economic collapse. They need us to keep listening to Sean Hannity and pointlessly arguing with each other over two parties which are now exactly the same. That’s the only thing that is keeping them in power.
Hannity’s purpose is to deflect objective criticism on the Democratic party and to maintain the illusion that there is an actual difference between Democrats and Republicans. Hannity encourages us to support or oppose a president who has promised us change without outlining what the changes are going to be or how change is going to be implemented. Hannity prevents us from giving negative feedback on the terrible choices that Obama is making for his staff and his cabinet. The left is being distracted by arguing with Republicans over the non-virtues of Democrats. We cannot afford to wait and hope that Barrack Obama comes riding out of Washington on his white horse to rescue us all. It is up to us to rescue ourselves and the first thing on our agenda is to tell Obama that Gates, Clinton, and that rabid weasel Emanuel are not acceptable choices. We, the people, are the bosses here and its damned all time that we acted like it. Barack Obama works for us. We need to remind him of that, even if we find ourselves agreeing with Sean Hannity.
I should know. I spent 30 years on the dark side, selling everything from newspapers to 412(i) retirement accounts. It was easier to sell the 412(i)s. Newspapers are real. They are solid. They take up space. When you are done with them you have to put them out for recycling. A 412(i) is an idea you will never hold in your hand. You will never see it. It takes up no space in your home. Assuming that you make enough money for a 412(i), you will never write out a check for it. The money is taken out of your business account before taxes. Every month you receive a statement in the mail telling you how much your account has grown. You do not own an object called a 412(i), you own an idea called a 412(i).
Another strange thing about sales is that it is easier to sell to lots of people than it is to sell to individuals. I noticed this years ago when telemarketing for Thermo-Guard windows. When I said, “Hi, this is Bill calling from Thermo-Guard Windows,” I got hung up on four out of five times. When I said, “Hi, this is Bill calling from Thermo-Guard Windows which are recommended by Dick Van Patton,” I got hung up on two out of five times. The more appealing the advertising, the easier it is to sell. A two year old would be happy to get a rag doll for her birthday, but spend enough money on the advertising and parents will kill each other over Tickle Me Elmo dolls.
People tend to underestimate the power of advertising. There are many people who feel as if they have freed themselves from the power of advertising by getting rid of their televisions. All the TV haters have accomplished is to rid themselves of the visible part of the iceberg. Even people without television are subject to Madison Ave-induced fads through peer pressure. One person gets a bug up his butt about Tickle Me Elmo, then his neighbor just has to have it. Next thing you know, there are riots in the toy stores. Internet advertising is even more subtle and insidious than many people realize. Right now, there are paid advertisers posing as bloggers, children, average people on the message boards, or simply anonymous posters. They are all out to sell something. It could be as simple as the newest pop album, or an elaborate smoke screen for Bush. Regardless of the product, enough people fall for it to make the effort worth while.
Modern advertising was created by Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew. Bernays was an elitist bastard who thought that the masses needed a means of controlling them. He was the first to apply the principle of the subconscious to create needs or beliefs. Bernays created the need for new cars when the old cars were running just fine. He created a burning desire to be cool by smoking Pall Mall cigarettes, and he created the belief that the Russians were a danger to America. Advertising has become a science unto itself. Marketing and Public Relations are part of the social sciences and billions of dollars are spent every year to discover new ways to convince us that the newest band is cool, or that all Muslims are out to destroy America.
John F. Kennedy was the first president to run his campaign fully on Bernays techniques. Kennedy did not even try to run on the issues. Kennedy made mighty speeches appealing to postwar optimism and patriotism. His lovely wife and darling children were constantly featured in the media. Poor Richard M. Nixon tried to run on the issues. Many say that Nixon debated on facts while Kennedy avoided the questions. Eight years later, Nixon ran the same campaign as Kennedy and won. Today machine politics have reached their ultimate form through Public Relations. The American public does not select a President according to the issues but to the image that the candidates project. In 1960, Nixon was much better informed on the issues than Kennedy. By 1968 Nixon had been reduced to a hopeless lush and won anyway. Democrat Hubert Humphrey tried to run an honest campaign while Nixon’s team pulled out all the stops.
Ever since Kennedy, American politics have become a matter of the best PR firm winning the election instead of the best candidate. Right after Watergate and while still reeling from the Nixon pardons, Jimmy Carter was presented as a liberal and won. In fact he was a Christianoid conservative. Four years later Ronald Reagan was presented as a great statesman. Actually he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The coming of Reagan spelled the end of liberalism in America and Americans just ate it up. It is truly amazing what advertising can accomplish. Bill Clinton was elected President by lying to us about national health, and there are still people who make excuses for him.
For the past 28 years, Democrats and Republicans have been working in tangent for the benefit of the Multinational Corporations. Yet people still see the Democrats as the friends of the poor and the downtrodden, because that’s what the PR tells us. Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table, and is known to have voted for everything Bush ever asked for. Convinced she is a liberal, voters still reelect her. With the economy tanking and the wars going strong in the Middle East, Americans wanted hope for things to get better. So that’s what the Democrats sold us, hope. It’s easier to sell an idea than it is to sell an object, and it’s easier to sell to crowds than it is to individuals. The question is, what will happen when American finally catches on?
Every time Obama announces a new team member, I feel like I am reading the Onion. My hand flies to my forehead, creating a hollow thumping noise and a big purple spot on my forehead. I face-palm so much that I’m scaring my wife. I knew we were in trouble when Obama selected Rahm Emmanuel to be his chief of staff. Most of the other names proposed for cabinet posts are as bad as, or worse than, Emmanuel. Some of the contenders should not be washing White House toilets. Let’s take a look at some of Obama’s first draft picks.
Chief of Staff
A long time political consultant and lobbyist, Emanuel was known as Clinton’s hatchet man. Emanuel worked tirelessly to force Congress to accept NAFTA. Emanuel was also the power behind the Welfare Reform Act, which sent thousands of displaced workers into homelessness. Emanuel spent so much time in Newt Gingrich’s office during the Welfare Reform hearings that people were wondering who he worked for, Clinton or Gingrich.
National Security Advisor
Another veteran of Bill Clinton’s disastrous eight years in the White House, Rice is a name that I cannot hear without feeling my skin crawl. Unlike Condi, who was a full time professor, Susan is a former political consultant and lobbyist,a position she holds in common with most of Bill Clinton’s staff. Rice is African American, yet she is a stout opponent of affirmative action. I cannot see her sympathizing with oppressed Arabs. In fact, as Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State, Rice was behind many of Clinton’s blunders that led to the death and misery in Somalia.
Head of Homeland Security
In keeping with the neocon scapegoating of undocumented workers, Arizona’s Governor Janet Napolitano is up for Homeland Security Czar. Napolitano has a long history of cooperating with Bush by blaming everything on the Mexicans. My question is: if Obama represents change, why the hell hasn’t he eliminated Homeland Security-Bush’s Brownshirts?
Head of CIA
John Brennan is responsible for the torture of political prisoners in both Gitmo and Iraq. Why doesn’t Obama just bring Hermann Goering back to life and make him the head of the CIA? John Brennan is a war criminal who belongs in jail. Obama’s choice of Brennan is proof that Obama is only going to change the political rhetoric while maintaining the same neoconservative policies supported by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Secretary of State
No matter how you slice it, this is a blatant conflict of interest. Senator Clinton was the original counsel for Wal-Mart and a long term member of of Wal-Mart’s board of directors. Wal-Mart made a name for itself by selling under priced Chinese imports to drive the competition out of business. I cannot believe that Obama would put the Senator from Wal-Mart in a position where she could do even more favors for Wal-Mart and China. Putting Clinton in charge of Health Education and Welfare is like putting a fox in charge of a hen house. Her husband turned Medicaid into welfare for the HMOs. Bill Clinton did more damage to public education than both Bushes and Reagan put together, and Bill Clinton joined with Newt Gingrich to destroy the social safety net. I can only imagine the damage his wife could do as head of HEW.
Alternate Choice for Secretary of State
Lugar is living proof that good people can be found amongst the Republicans as well as the Democrats, and are equally as rare. Despite supporting corporate welfare, Lugar has worked hard to end nuclear proliferation. This is an interest he shares with Obama. Making Lugar Secretary of State will put a peacemaker in the cabinet while sparing the American population from still another “fiscal conservative”. It is unlikely that Lugar will get the post. Lockheed would not tolerate him, and Lugar doesn’t want the job.
For those of you who actually expected change in the national financial picture, your hopes have been dashed to the rocks with the selection of Timothy Geithner to the secretary of the Treasury. Geithner prevented the Europeans from taking over American financial institutions by masterminding the bail-out. Geithner also convinced Congress to bail-out AIG, despite AIG’s blatantly criminal actions.
In selecting this war criminal for Secretary of Defense, Obama killed what little credibility he had with me. Robert Gates should be wearing international orange and scrubbing out prison toilets. He should not remain in the position he so badly mishandled for Bush.
Those of you who were hoping that the Obama Administration would see a change in the federal marijuana policy are in for a big disappointment. Not only is Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel a big proponent of the drug war, but attorney general-to-be Eric Holder is also a big hawk when it comes to the war on drugs. So that’s another Obama myth up in smoke. Holder is such a loyal Clinton insider that his wife is Mrs. Emmanuel’s obstetrician. Eric Holder was also assistant to Janet Reno. We can depend on a continuation of the neocon Justice department. By the way, Holder was one of the Clinton team who helped Enron get away with murder
Well that’s it, folks, Obama’s Legion of Doom. This is the team that will be leading us further down the road to hell as more people become homeless and more billionaires enjoy even more corporate profits. Meanwhile the nation will continue to fall apart around our ears. I have not named all the cabinet posts for lack of time. I will look at the rest of them in later posts. We can only hope that the Senate will turn down some of these neocon criminals. Alas, hope has become a bad word around me. Every time somebody says hope, I face-palm.
The other night, I dreamed died and went to hell. Since I had accepted an executive position, Satan himself was showing me around the place. We came to an endless lake of fire where millions of naked men and women were screaming out their agony as imps with pitchforks were doing what imps with pitchforks are said to do. Overhead was the gaudiest and most enormous disco ball in the entire universe. On tiered balconies, same sex couples were dancing up a storm to the strains of the Village People. Every now and then a group of gays and lesbians came to the railing and poured a bucket of coal into the lake of fire. The flames would shoot up to the cheers of the partiers. A whistle would sound and the DJ started up the music again.
“This is Mormon hell,” Satan explained. “It’s our most profitable operation. Mormons suffer the usual tortures reserved for liars, but they have the added anguish of getting to watch the people whose Constitutional rights were denied due to the Mormons running a misleading campaign against same-sex marriages. Gays and Lesbians are consoled for losing their rights by being able to come down here and party in front of the Mormons. We charge them ten bucks a bucket for the coal. It’s all profit and no overhead.”
I woke up in a cold sweat and with a clear idea of what has to be done. We must save the Mormons from the torments that wait for them in the afterlife. Considering the number of Commandments the Mormons broke in preventing same sex marriages, I really doubt they have much hope in getting into heaven. Their only hope is to have their souls consecrated to Satan. As the Mormons dwell under the delusion that they are doing God’s work by denying their fellow citizens their civil rights, it is unlikely that they will consecrate themselves into hell’s service while they are still alive. The only chance they have to escape the eternal torment waiting for them, is if we take the initiative and posthumously consecrate their souls to Satan. Every Mormon soul that we consecrate to eternal darkness shall be taken out of the lake of fire and shall be placed on the right side of the Dark One Himself.
It is our sacred duty to study the genealogical records and find every endangered soul who has died in the Mormon faith. Then somebody must stand in as proxy for the poor Mormon soul screaming in the lake of fire. The proxy, acting as the Mormon being admitted into the legions of Satan, shall denounce the Mormon faith. He will then symbolically divest the Mormon of his magic underwear while desecrating the Book of Mormon. The proxy will then, in the Mormon’s name, swear eternal loyalty to the Lord of Hell. The ceremony will end in a good old fashioned Black Mass.
Should the Mormons object to this, we will simply point out that the Mormons have been doing the same thing for years. They baptize dead Jews into the Mormon faith. They posthumously baptize Holocaust victims. They even had the balls to posthumously baptize Simon Wiesenthal and Anne Frank. It’s bad enough that these lunatics knock on people’s door with their religious idiocy. Now they are harassing people in the grave. It’s not only Holocaust victims getting posthumously baptized. Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, and Groucho Marx have all had the dubious honor of being welcomed into Mormon heaven. The Mormons argue that the souls of the deceased have the right to refuse the baptism. Well, the souls of the dead Mormons have the right to refuse service to the Lord of Hell and remain in the lake of fire with gays pouring coal down on their heads.
Fair is fair. The Mormons signed an agreement to stop the posthumous baptisms and to remove the names of Holocaust victims and other Jews from the Mormon membership lists. The Mormons immediately refused to honor the agreement, stating that posthumous baptism is one of their fundamental beliefs. Well, guys, the First Amendment protects us, too. Consecrating the souls of dead Mormons to hell is one of my fundamental beliefs. I’m doing the first posthumous consecration at the next full moon, and I’m standing as proxy for Brigham Young. Don’t worry, though. Brigham has the right to refuse the consecration.
I am surprised and appalled at the media pundits who are blaming African Americans for the passing of Proposition 8. I simply cannot believe some of the crap that I am reading. It seems to me that all the blame for 8’s success is being laid at the feet of the African American voter and nobody is blaming the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church joined with the Catholics and the Pentecostals in a Commandment-breaking smear campaign that was all lies, half-truths and fear-mongering. The Proposition 8 initiative was a symptom of some very sick minds who were acting out their own sexual paranoia. I think the funniest accusation was the one that stated all churches would be required to perform Gay weddings. That sounds like the block-busting ruse of the Seventies. Home owners were afraid that if one Black family moved into the neighborhood more Black families would move into the neighborhood and property values would drop. Are Mormons afraid that if one Gay couple gets married in their church, more Gay couples would get married in their Church, and the Book of Mormon would lose it’s value? What makes these jackasses think that a Gay couple would want to be married in a Mormon church? Besides, the law allows for ministers to refuse to perform a marriage for any reason. The sickest accusation was the forced sex ed for kindergarteners. What kind of demented minds think up this crap?
Speaking of crap, that leads us right back to accusing African Americans of 8’s so-called victory. I think that shows a tremendous amount of cowardice on the parts of the so-called liberal pundits. The Mormons are more than just a church, they are a major economic force with financial and voting interests in newspapers, radio, and television. If a reporter messes with the Mormons he risks his job. The Mormons are not above blacklisting reporters and commentators who stand up to them. So it is simply easier and safer to pick on African Americans, who are still relatively disenfranchised in this society. Also remember that we now have an African American president-elect. I would not put it past the Mormon Church to start a divide and conquer campaign over the gay marriage issue. It would certainly fit into the Mormon racist agenda to have the left in a race battle over Proposition 8, instead of concentrating on the actual malefactors in this debacle.
Mormons were not the only ones behind the campaign of lies for Proposition 8. The Catholics and the Pentecostals joined in with the Mormons in breaking the Commandment against bearing false witness. There is some comfort in the thought that these hypocrites are going to hell for pushing 8 through. After all the lies that were spread by these churches, it’s a wonder that their angry and jealous God hadn’t destroyed Rome and Salt Lake City like he did with Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s almost heartening to see two churches like the Mormon and the Catholic getting along so well. Both Churches have accused each other of heresy, apostasy, and halitosis for decades, but they managed to close ranks and behave like long lost brothers when it comes to denying a minority their civil rights. Then the Pentecostals come along and join with the Catholics and the Mormons just as if all three have gotten along for years. It seems that religious differences takes a back seat to the true purpose of the Christianoid Churches, which is to maintain their political power at any cost.
The doughty followers of Joseph Smith have been the backbone of the religious movement to send America back to the 19th Century. Pat Robertson and the Catholic Church would have not been able to do the social damage they have accomplished if they did not have the Mormon financial empire behind them. Mormons have spent billions of dollars in campaigns against women’s rights, teaching science in the classrooms, and most recently in pushing through Proposition 8 in California. The Mormons spent over 20 million dollars in influencing an election in California, and they blatantly broke election laws to do it. They organized phone banks in Utah and Nevada and sent bulk mail from Salt Lake City to push through a Proposition in California. That is as illegal as registering dead people to vote. Most aggravating of all, some of our religious initiative money went to fund this, and the Mormon Church still enjoys federal and state tax-free status.
Needless to say, interfering in the electoral process is a direct violation of the current tax codes. Jerry Falwell and his Old Time Gospel Hour lost their tax free status for pulling the same dirty tricks that the Mormons pulled during the 8 campaign. So why do the Mormons still enjoy their tax free status? For that matter, why do the Catholics or the Pentecostals? It seems to me that if Churches want to participate in the electoral process and impose their degraded superstitions on the rest of us, then they should be required to pay taxes just like everybody else. They play, they pay. I think that’s only fair.