Fear and loathing…….and greed

Greed permeates everything.  It informs our day to day decisions, who we vote for, whether we know it or not, and even how we see ourselves.  It has infected our bathroom mirrors.  Greed is envy.  It is lust.  It is a cancer, insidious and consuming like the very worst drug ever.  Eventually, everything collapses under the weight of greed.  As a country, as a people, as a species, we’ve never been more threatened by greed than we are now.  Right now.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Right now.

More and more and more the weight of greed defines us.  It is heavy on our society, our politics and our religion.  Our peace and our war.  Our self image and therefore self confidence.  Our peace of mind.  Although greed has pushed our faces inward with chronic narcissism, so many of us are fat and very ugly.  Yet we are implacable.  Inexorable.  Insatiable.  What matters is not what we do have, what we care about almost exclusively, is what we don’t have yet.

We are sick fucks.

We are not a Democracy.  We are not a Republic.  We are a plutocracy that flirts ,albeit disingenuously, with theocracy because they have money and power.  The defining characteristic of a plutocrat is of course, greed.  The religious zealots are power brokers because they are adept at whipping the stupid and afraid into a frenzy profound enough to compel them to vote against their bests interests and donate to those that would forsake them in a heartbeat for more money and power, as they inevitably do.  Over and over.

Christianity in America endeavors to make you ignore the theory of evolution.  Science keeps coming up with million year old skulls.  And clavicles.  Contemporary Christianity does not even want such an empirically fastidious discipline to be taught in our schools.  Instead, it implores you to view the existence of fossils and the carbon dating thereof as some sort of test of your faith.  It really wants you to believe some woman bit an apple a few thousand years ago and a serpent emerged and well, we may all be fucked because of it, unless we submit to bigotry, homophobia and narrow minded bullshit dogma.

Santa Claus for adults.

For what it’s worth, the greedy could not give less of a mad fuck about any of it.  They chuckle and sneer at the ease of manipulating the zealots while the zealots manipulate their own.  Because all of them are really fucking stupid.

Got off on a tangent there.  Let me brush the crumbs from my frilly liberal blouse.  Oops!  Looks like I spilled some champagne and caviar on it too.  Need to have the suspension checked on the limo.

Still, greed was the catalyst and now enjoys the momentum.  We serve at it’s pleasure and succumb to it without knowing it.  We are are consistently beseeched to rail against unfair taxation without bothering to realize that under the Obama administration, most of us are being asked for far less than we have been in nearly four decades.  And this same administration seeks to restore tax rates to the wealthiest two percent that were disastrously reduced on the notion that they would create jobs.  Guess what?  No jobs and another $trillion added to the deficit.

The pisser is the fight to restore tax rates to the richest, and maintain or even cut them further to the middle class and small businesses may already be lost.  Republicans are staking their campaigns on defeating it, despite the overwhelming empirical evidence that it will add $3 trillion to the deficit and without a doubt have a broad and devastatingly deleterious effect on the economy in general.

Yet they’ve successfully sold the lie that somehow such counterintuitive, “voodoo”, “trickle down”, economic policy will somehow benefit the average American.  That the administration seeks to only let the cuts on the wealthiest expire, and indeed to extend them to anyone and everyone making less than a $quarter million a year is another absolute fact that Republicans are actively, knowingly, lying about every day.  Just like “Death Panels” and the government “takeover” of the banks or the auto industry.  Keep the government out of my health care but don’t you dare touch my Medicare.  Lies,  Goddamn despicable lies and they know it.  Despite the glaringly irrefutable proof of the very recent past, wherein we were led through the gates of hell, to shake hands with he of the cloven hooves and bifurcated tail, and in exchange for our souls, we got fucked.


People choose to believe it didn’t happen that way, because they really want just a little more money.

Good show.  Greed 1, Americans 0.

Why would they do such a thing?  Greed.  Not just for money.  Power.  Greed and power are no less incestuous and licentious than greed and money.  Greed begets them both and they return to suckle at the tit of it in a lascivious symbiotic spectacle.  A greasy orgy of lucre and lies.  Clicking and sucking and slurping and smelling of rotting fruit.

Every single thing Sarah Palin does is motivated by greed.  You don’t quit halfway through being governor of an American state, immediately release a book and go on an incredibly lucrative speaking tour unless your impetus is the filthy lucre.

Because of unmitigated greed, many of us believe that one of the richest corporations in the history of humankind has been demonized and unfairly persecuted for recklessly destroying an as yet untold amount of our environment, including ecologically irreplaceable wetlands, an entire regional economy and a historied way of life for generations.  The media has backed off.  America has shifted her attentions.  But if you think 60,000 barrels (2.6 million gallons) a day for over three months is just gonna disappear, you’re an idiot.  You think this whole clusterfuck is even close to resolved, you’re just dumb.  So surface oil slicks are hard to come by.  Dispersants just as toxic as the Texas Tea itself distributed in gallons by the million.  Do the math, that much oil went somewhere.

Decades, this pollution will rear it’s ugly head for decades.  Cancer rates will spike.  Entire populations of sea creatures will go extinct.  This gift will keep on giving because of reckless, unchecked greed.

This ain’t over because of, you know, greed.  We subsidize the industry you know.  Some $35 billion a year.  About the same amount Republicans refused to pony up week after week for the unemployed.  How sick is that?  We subsidize the richest business ever, every year for the same money that would allow our own victims of greed to eat.  Whenever the Democrats try to end that “entitlement”, the Republicans piss, moan and then filibuster.

It’s fucking ridiculous and they’re about to do it all again.

Illegal immigration exists and has become the problem it is because of greed.  If there were no demand, there would be no supply.  They persist in demonizing the undocumented worker, falsely inflating the crime statistics, which have been falling for a handful of years.  Portraying all of them as violent drug dealers.  Drugs are another ugly American story.  Fomenting the rhetoric that the dirty Mexicans are stealing our jobs.  Just this weekend Senator Jon Kyl lied about it all on national television.  Claiming that Phoenix was the kidnapping capital of the world second only to Mexico City.  McCain has lied about it over and over as does the Governor, Brewer and the sheriff of the only county where crime is up, Arpaio.  The aggregate is a HUGE filthy lie.  They want immigration reform because they want to control the borders.  Not to keep them from coming in but to keep the ones they have and be able to get more of the same kind.  What they really want is to better screen and control their pool of slave labor.


Commercials and infomercials devoted to making me bigger and hornier and more of a stud.  Over a billion capsules sold.  With all due respect.  That’s greed merely because it’s bullshit.  How do they assume I need that?  Free lunches everywhere, lose fifty pounds without ever getting out of bed or off the toilet  I could literally make $70 grand next month in real estate if I just sign up for this seminar.  Them that buy in are just as guilty of greed because they’re looking for something for nothing with an even cruder zeal.

Greed prevents us from acting on global warming and therefore a chance to save our planet.

Greed keeps us from actually helping impoverished countries plagued with disease and famine because they have resources we covet and empowering them in any way would just make it harder to keep raping them.

Greed stood in the way of efficacious health care reform.

Greed stood in the way of meaningful financial reform.

Greed is why we are beholding to and and at the utter mercy of, big energy, big pharma, big corporations, the military industrial complex, banks, credit card companies and even our own government …….

Avarice is an evil lonely bitch, but not for lack of company.

Greed kills.

I think I’m done here.

Drinks for my friends.

38 Responses to “Fear and loathing…….and greed”

  • Is your social security number the mark of the beast? Is Ronald Wilson Reagan the 666 we were warned of? Is the Abomination of Desolation the Obamanation John saw in New Jerusalem? Is the Star of Bethlehem, New Jerusalem? Is America the beast? Stay tuned because when Israel gets attacked by the Muslims, will that be the end of man? Keep the faith, sure there are million year old skulls, Jesus has the ultimate time/space machine called New Jerusalem which is bigger that the moon. Einstein said, “Go the speed of light, time stands still.” Jesus has those keys to death and hell because He is faster than a speeding light beam! Blessed Mother appears around the world to warn the churches! Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! He’s watching you…

  • …you should post this directly on R&R. I’m tempted to do so myself, although wouldn’t claim authorship. I’ve noticed your posts before, and have always meant to mention my admiration. Anyway, thanks for sharing this…it puts many things better than most ever could, especially me…

  • Michael Douglass:

    Thanks 🙂
    What’s R&R?

  • miri:

    Greed is inflicted upon us; it is not a natural state. Bathe a neonate in physical nutrition and emotional love, and you will create a toddler who tries to comfort another toddler in distress.

    Theism and evolution need not be mutually exclusive; anyone who has gone slow-motion in an accident, or who has had anesthesia, or has even slept 8 hours and thought it was 2, knows the difference between “God’s time,” and “man’s.”

    • Michael Douglass:

      I agree that greed is inflicted but I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about otherwise.

    • kathryn hopping:

      “Theism and evolution need not be mutually exclusive; anyone who has gone slow-motion in an accident, or who has had anesthesia, or has even slept 8 hours and thought it was 2, knows the difference between “God’s time,” and “man’s.””

      well-said. time is partly an imposed perception: different cultures walk within time in different ways. time is also, perhaps, a cognitive construct, an organizational tool, which can be condensed, drawn out, reversed, revved up. That said (and certainly more could be said, but i’m out of time ;)i think that the openness of time, its perfect relativity to perception and experience, allows us to consider the possibility of mysterious truth….

      • Michael Douglass:

        I’ve always thought that evolution and creationism need not be mutually exclusive.

        Time really is intangible. Humankind seeks to measure at as a matter of order, and it does lend perspective, but in the context of the universe, it’s breadth and length of existence, it’s unimaginable to the average mind and therefore somewhat meaningless.

    • tommy:

      There is a natural desire in all children to own and possess. Put 2 rattlers in front of 4 children. It is a natural instinct. Boy have an inate desire to collect and organize. Greed has been around since the Bible and Dinosaurs rulled the earth…yes they can coexist in history. Competition makes things better and cheaper and usually weeds out the bad and weak product. Watch BP or Enron.

  • crystalwolfakacaligrl:

    Micheal, thanks for sharing with me. I always appreciate your insight and have shared this with many…
    Thanks again ?

  • Jaime Garnica:

    Great article. Well written. Bold and provocative.

  • Teresa:

    If you’re not going to eat that cookie…can I have it? 😉

    Alot to stomach my dear friend, but very well written.

  • reiya:

    WOW…you’ve outdone yourself. Excellent

  • Red Five:

    Mike, I’ve been catching up on my brainspankings. Little bummed the option to comment goes away the further back in the archives you go. It wasn’t always like that was it?

    Anyhow, I digress.. Response to “American Primer”. Great plan! An idealistic strategy after my own heart. The point that resonated with me the most was the Israeli aid. Disgusting how a people so oppressed and persecuted throughout history so blatantly and unapologetically oppress and persecute others. It does make one wonder…

    Rush Limbaugh.. a Hit Piece: I, no shit, laughed out loud at work reading that piece! I also remember, when he first arrived on the scene, thinking he was funny as hell. Remember that little 30 minute show he had on the Fox network channels? Hilarious! How benign he seemed back then, only to metastasize and spread. Little clone copies like Hannity popping up and infecting the airwaves with their bullshit. My grandmother started watching Fox News back when they were just starting out, and somehow (like a frog in a pot of water slowly brought to boil) has swallowed the BS hook, line and sinker. She’s a great lady, and I love her, but it’s scary and sad to hear Fox Newsbabble come out of her mouth like it was gospel.. Eek.

    I love the comment wars that go down here! Sometimes I wish you and I didn’t agree so closely on the issues. You’d be a formidable debate adversary, so much more so than the ignorant conservative people I run into on a daily basis.

    Oh! And your customer confrontation in Costco? Been there, done that, loved reading it. I’m also in sales. Assholes abound, and rarely am I given the opportunity to vent my frustration and disgust. I need to renegotiate my contract to include full right of retaliation!

    be well!

    • Michael Douglass:

      Thanks very much. I didn’t know that had changed. I have no control over these things.

      I’m rather fond of the American Primer piece myself.

      I still listen to Limbaugh and continue to be in awe of the shit that comes out of his mouth. I’m not sure how much credit to give to a serial liar but he’s brilliant at it.

      I kinda feel compelled to engage in the comment wars so that people understand who is out there and maybe, just maybe catch a glimpse of themselves.

      My gig at Costco sucks but I’m taking it back to LA soon and that should at least be more interesting.

      Thanks for being a loyal reader 🙂 Really!

  • Debbie Lawson:

    Obvioulsy you’re a very unhappy person. I also learned about evolution in grade school in the late 1960’s. I’m glad I believe differently.
    I do believe that Greed corrupts.
    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
    John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902).
    I wonder if any of our elected politicians have it in their hearts to do “good”.

  • Michael Douglass:

    There’s a difference between angry and unhappy. Balancing the two can be a trick but I sleep well. I can’t imagine how anyone could choose blind faith over evolution but whatever gets you through the night. Keep it out of my face and my politics and we don’t have a problem.

  • Tony B:

    Interesting. I tend to agree that many of the problems we face are due to greed. However, it seems (and maybe I’m a bit biased) is that you come down harder on one group compared to another.

    Greed is not just a rich conservative issue. Greed infects all strata of the social, political and economic realms. Folks who simply want a hand-out without work have the same heart condition as those who want to amass thousands, millions or billions at the expense of others.

    I, being close to Libertarian than Republican want everyone out of my wallet. At least with business, I can pick and choose. With government, I really don’t get the choice. I can choose to drive a small hatchback with a 1.8L engine if I don’t want to give big oil a chunk of my income. What do I do if I don’t want the Federal Government just taking from my paycheck so they can buy the votes of the citizens?

    Was it greed that had a Democratic congress pass budgets during the last two years of Bush and the first two years of Obama that made the budgets the first six years look like fiscal responsiblity?

    Was it greed that blames Bush or Obama for budgets when any student of Federal Government can easily learn that it’s Congress that allocates money, so no president can spend a dime not provided by the congress? I contend it is the greed of congress who wants to buy their seats from the very taxpayers who pay the bills.

    Slick talk, saying health care is a right. Sure it’s a right. But it’s not a right to demand others to pay for it. I can CHOOSE to buy insurance. That’s different than passing a law that says others will pay for the health care of certain populations.

    Is it greed that has the “social contract” going one way. I keep hearing how the rich have to hold up their end of the social contract and provide for the poor. OK, it would be a lot easier to buy that if we were also holding those who make poor decisions equally responsible for their part of the social contract. If someone chooses to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, (the last time I checked, AB-Inbev and others were not putting guns to peoples heads and forcing them to drink 24 beers a day, or to knock out a bottle of gin or whiskey. Ditto for dropping out of school. If someone makes such a decision which is almost certain economic suicide, then what is their social responsibility? Ditto for those who either father a dozen kids or have a dozen different children with a dozen different “baby daddies.”

    In most cases it’s greed. Like I read on the side, it’s not that people are stupid, it’s that they don’t pay attention. They don’t pay attention to the warning about getting hooked on crack or meth. They don’t pay attention to the warnings about becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, or choosing too much debt,or anything else.

    It’s greed that says it’s a good idea to finance a TV or furniture for 29.99% instead of saving your cash and buying the TV or car, or whatever for cash instead of credit.

    It’s greed that says one can have sex with no possible complications with dozens of different folks. I’m not saying that folks can’t do that, as I can’t impose my morals on others. I simply ask the courtesy that when folks make those decisions, that they stop asking guys like me to fund the consequences.

    Is that greed? I’d like to think no. I simply want to enjoy the fruits of my labors. When someone asks me for money on the street, for food or for gas, I don’t hand out cash. Sometimes I have restaurant gift cards that I’ll hand out, or I’ll offer to take them to lunch, or buy gas, etc.

    About 10-20% actually want the food or the gas. The other 80-90% don’t. They are trying to support a habit, or are just hustling the tax free income panhandling offers.

    But since I worked for the money, I’d like to say where it goes instead of some bureaucrat (who is motivated by keeping his/her job, not getting a poor person to a permanent solution) is part of a system that takes from one and gives to another without any examination regarding what the recipients are doing to improve their circumstance.

    Is it greed to want my taxes used more wisely? Is it greed to want more folks to pay their own way, rather than depend on the roughly 50% who are still paying taxes in support of the other 50% who are not? Is it greed to want a smaller federal government so the states can do their jobs and if there is corruption, at least it’s local, so we can get a better look at it, compared to corruption that efficiently centralized in DC?

    I’d like to think no, but I’m sure someone will say I’m privileged or something like that. That would be odd. I grew up in a single parent home, was on aid programs as a kid, got free lunches from time to time, food stamps, etc. Still I managed to earn a scholarship to go to Washington University and get a couple of degrees.

    Was I fortunate, or did I just work hard and not remain a victim?

    I like the quote on the side, folks are not stupid, they just don’t pay attention. I for one think it’s time to pay attention. What we are becoming is NOT sustainable. Greed at all levels will destroy the nation. Greed at the top, greed at the bottom and greed in the middle will destroy us all.

    So I’m with you on the greed. Just don’t be so narrow. The greed at the bottom and the middle has far more destructive potential due to the sheer numbers in those populations. So don’t forget them and their potential destruction.

    It’s time to return to what JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That question is valid at every level in society. From the poorest public aid recipients asking that very government for handouts to banks and car companies asking for corporate welfare, and everyone in between. Stop asking your government for more and more, because the bill they give you or your children will grow even faster than all those programs.

    • Michael Douglass:

      I’m looking to be narrow. We’re all infected but their are groups among us that are far worse than others. To not recognize that is folly. You spend a lot of time making your point and I appreciate that but there are people in this world that are worse than others and part of my object is to single them out. It’s what I do.

      • Tony B:

        Why be narrow? I thought the liberal/progressive/democratic way was all inclusive? To be intellectually honest, you can’t just be all inclusive when you want support, you have to be just as “big tent” when it comes to criticism.

        You can’t say that some arbitrary income or wealth level is the biggest part of the problem because they have crossed that threshold of funds. To be totally honest, it’s not having things, or not having things, but ones attitude that makes the greedy. So folks can be billionaires and not be greedy. Folks can be on dole, and be the most greedy person known.

        In this missive, I think you are fighting the wrong battle. The battle isn’t about how much (or how little) money or power they have, but how they choose to use it.

        For someone who identifies with the political party that says it’s all inclusive, that is about being progressive and everyone has value and deserves equal treatment, etc, you seem to call for discrimination based on income. Those with more money should be singled out for more criticism in your political calculus, while those who’ve made bad decisions are not held accountable, or worse, they are treated as victims. Victims of folks who in reality had nothing to do with their decisions.

        I’ve not looked at the numbers, but I’m pretty sure there are 100’s if not thousands of greedy non-rich folks for every greedy rich person. To dismiss that is to ignore the impact of that greed. I disagree with your assertion that their contribution is minimal.

        At the very least, it drives poor decisions by the leadership, in both parties, who seek to buy our votes with our own money.

        Until we recognize the power of greed in large numbers, things will get worse, not better. The parties and the people will continue to divide. Folks at all levels will have an ever growing sense of entitlement, and we’ll follow the path of the Roman Empire, which crumbed from the inside. The collapse was largely due to the politicians buying the votes of the citizens through patronage.

        We currently have a system of patronage. Practically every government program has morphed from the intent of the founders into a patronage system. Even the three primary functions of the federal government, which are national defense (a lot of patronage there in the form of government contracts) foreign policy (patronage there in many forms) and the judiciary (maybe the least impacted so far, but I have faith they’ll find a way to buy the favor of the voters as well.)

        Not to mention all the things that have been added in the name of the commerce clause. I have no illusions the states would be less corrupt. However, as I said before, I want my corruption local, so we can examine it and take action close to home. I want social programs close to home. What works in MO may not work in Washington state or Washington D.C. So I believe we have a moral imperative to help others. I equally believe we have a moral imperative to be self sufficient. The social contract goes both ways.

        But I also believe it’s a social contract, which means people in community solving the issues. I believe the federal government is the wrong tool, much as the military is often the wrong tool for foreign policy. It’s like using a sledge hammer to fix a decayed tooth. It’s the wrong tool and it will hurt more than it helps.

        If one looks at the tables of the costs of federal entitlements, one can quickly see that at the current rates of economic growth (and I’m talking about post WWII) what we’ve set up is not sustainable.

        Some will say, more taxes. The problem with that is if someone can’t manage $X/year, the solution is not to give them more money to mis-manage. The taxpayer should resist any additional taxation until the federal government proves it can REALLY balance the budget.

        We cam close during the Clinton administration. (And contrary to what you’ve said in other places, the budget is produced by the Congress not the White House so any balanced budgets (or what is passed off as a balanced budget) is more the result of Congressional action than it is Executive. Even the balanced budgets of the 90’s used money borrowed from Social Security. So what happens when there is no money to borrow from Social Security because the outlays are greater than the income?

        Since the Social Security “lock box” is full of federal IOU’s, the deficit, and ultimately the national debt grows larger.

        We have a problem, I agree with that. I simply disagree with giving the clowns who thought is was a good idea to deficit spend even more money to mis-manage. Until they balance the budget, and really balance it using the same standards they require business to use, such as listing the costs of entitlements on the balance sheet, the inside the beltway crowd is not to be trusted with any more money, regardless who it comes from.

        It’s the snake eating itself. The people want DC to provide more and more goodies, and DC takes more and more tax money. More folks are working for the federal government and fewer are actually making things, or providing services such as medical care, or fixing your car or computer, etc. Business get taxed because they are the greedy boogie man, and they simply move more jobs overseas and build things in places where they don’t have to pay for health care in any form. No taxes to support government provided health care, not penalties for not covering workers, and so forth. They simply move to places where it’s not offered and the folks are not expecting the government or anyone else to provide for them. When the business moves, folks want to raise taxes, and of course, once again, they turn to the business and it moves even more off shore, or whatever it does.

        Certainly nothing being done invites the business to invest more domestically, so the problem gets worse.

        But to say it’s the greed of the business owner, or the rich, is missing half or more of the problem.

        The ever expanding federal government demonstrates the largest rock in the greed jar, and their budget dwarfs that of XOM.

        So if sheer dollars are the metric for greed, then the federal government wins as the largest spender and the largest wielder of power in the US.

        I don’t think that greed can safely be ignored.

  • w00t!!! You’re hot, hot, hot!! Posting to Facebook!

  • Zed:

    I agree with you one hundred percent, Michael. I’ve been saying this for years, but I haven’t been able to express myself as well as you have. I am not quite as eloquent but I am just as committed to being self-aware and not doing things that are motivated by greed. People think I’m weird, but I don’t care. Thanks for putting it into words, way better than I could.
    I’m so tired of it all. And I make little more than minimum wage so that someone (my boss) can drive a Dodge Hemi and a Harley. Power to the sheeple!

    • Michael Douglass:

      Keep working on it and pay attention to opportunities, they always come and not always at the expense of others.

  • Bud Fox:

    But wait, I thought you said greed was GOOD! Oh I get it, this is some sort of bid for an early parole. Good idea and very much outside the box thinking…greed is bad, quite so, indeed sir, thank you for bringing this to our attention, wink wink.

  • Michael Douglass:

    I said greed was good? Did you want to make a point?

  • Brian:

    I barely read that incoherent rant, because I was too distracted by the irony of it. You loathe greed – whatever that is – yet the impetus for your anger is that your political chosens have thus far been unable to manipulate the tax code to slake your greed for other people’s justly earned money.

    Oh no, it’s not that. You’re angry about the *deficits*. That must be it.

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