Thursday, November 29, 2012

Doing God's Work

What is an asshole?

Medically speaking, it’s a colloquial term for the anus, which plays a critical role in maintaining our body’s health by providing an outlet for the waste material which would otherwise poison us.

But there is another meaning to the word. One which identifies a person of unusual cruelty or someone who is mean-spirited.

To wit, Lloyd Blankfein is a Wall Street banker and head of the most feral economic entity in the United States—Goldman Sachs. He has knowingly and willingly participated in the economic rape of the very country which went to war to stop the genocide being carried out on his fellow Jews in World War II.

How’s that for gratitude?

Furthermore, the title of this post is a quote of Blankfein's. It is how he describes his work on Wall Street. If you need further proof as to the depth of Wall Street’s arrogance or their jaw-dropping contempt for anyone not in their tax bracket, read Blankfein’s thoughts on entitlements:

BLANKFEIN: You’re going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people’s expectations — the entitlements and what people think that they’re going to get, because it’s not going to — they’re not going to get it.

PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?

BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn’t devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. … So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.

PELLEY: Because we can’t afford them going forward?

BLANKFEIN: Because we can’t afford them.

What is so curious about Blankfein’s reasoning is that we can apparently afford the lavish corporate entitlements the United States of America routinely offers its largest and wealthiest companies. Ditto the extravagant tax reductions and loopholes we have gifted our economic elite with.

We’ve all heard how General Electric paid no income taxes on income of fourteen-billion dollars, and how Warren Buffet’s secretary had a higher percentage of her income subjected to income tax than did her boss, the renowned investor.

Yet we’re the parasites receiving the free ride which is bankrupting the country.

Let me tell you something Mr. Blankfein. Social Security isn't free. People like me get up at 6 AM, endure vein-popping congestion, heinous co-workers and venal bosses to contribute to it. In other words, we work for it.

You’re not paying for it, Mr. Blankfein. And neither are your Wall Street pals. Your great-great-great grandchildren won’t have to do without new BMWs because I receive Social Security.

Are we clear?

It’s funny how people like Lloyd Blankfein view entitlements; they are any and all monies and/or services they don't receive a majority of.

I wonder what Blankfein considers the handing over of four-billion dollars annually to Exxon and other oil companies merely to look for oil. Or the awarding of tax breaks to businesses which export jobs. And the official wink given tax-dodging, off-shore corporate headquarters.

Examples of a socialist president punishing success? Or big, fat, fucking entitlements?

It is nothing less than ironic that while one kind of asshole removes waste and potential poisons, another creates them. Methinks society would be better served by grinding the likes of Lloyd Blankfein into pig feed.

Call it a case of garbage in, garbage out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Who Knew?

A remarkable confluence has recently passed practically unnoticed, save for the watchful, observant eye of La Piazza Gancio.

Great Lakes water levels have fallen markedly, with Lake Michigan currently at a record-low first established in 1964. Other Great Lakes have likewise experienced significant drops, which are partially the result of a brutally hot summer and prolonged drought.

But a little more than twenty-years after the 1964 low, Lake Michigan hit record highs in the mid-eighties, indicating that perhaps a regular cycle of high and low is at work.

In a seemingly unrelated event, Friday kicked-off the Christmas shopping season, which cynics like me refer to as DroolFest. It is purely speculative, but I have to wonder if there might be an ecological benefit to our chain stores edging ever-closer to obliterating Thanksgiving in their attempts to open our wallets ever-earlier.

Not to be forgotten is consumer’s enthusiasm for packing their homes with crap made in China, to the point of trampling each other in an attempt to snag an electronic appliance (quantities limited) offered at or below cost by a smirking, misanthropic merchant.

The cumulative drool produced by retailer and consumer could, conceivably, elevate water levels sufficiently to improve conditions for aquatic life, since a greater volume of water would offer both increased feeding opportunities and the dilution of any chemicals and poisons in the lake via run-off and direct discharge.

This emerging symbiotic relationship represents a remarkable—if unplanned—synchronicity between commerce and the custodial care of one of Earth’s great resources.

You must excuse me now—I’ve got to grab a $17 fiberglass stepladder (250 pound load capacity) in aisle eight to get over the fact that seven-dollar Snuggies and the health of Great Lakes marine life could ever be related.