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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

by bert

In these tough times we’re in right now, I think it’s important to just stop and laugh once in a while.

Take what was going on yesterday. From what I could tell, there were a lot of folks in a bad mood. And the problem was poor people.

The most visible face of the day was this guy Rick Santelli on CNBC. The constantly replayed video clip showed him clearly upset and calling the people in financial trouble “losers.” Santelli led the commodity-trader guys standing around him to boo bitterly when he mentioned “the neighbors that can’t pay their bills.”

Charlie Sykes clearly relished this clip and ran it first thing on his radio show Friday. Like a bass plug at dusk, this clip lured callers to Charlie, people from places like Fox Point, who were audibly angry at those other people not paying their mortgages. Sykes, while himself using the term “deadbeats,” did something funny when he injected parenthetically like audio fine print that not everyone in financial trouble was to blame. And he mentioned unscrupulous lenders.

What’s funny is Sykes didn’t give examples of those unscrupulous lenders. God forbid he'd take calls on the topic. He could have mentioned Countrywide Financial for instance, which just this week settled a lawsuit brought by Wisconsin, one of many states suing the company for deceiving those customers who got mortgages through them.

What’s also funny is that Countrywide was not too long ago a heavy advertiser on Charlie’s WTMJ radio station. Remember hearing their commercials on the radio all the time? Countrywide used those WTMJ airwaves to promote refinancing and purchasing of homes.

Friday those same airwaves were deftly maneuvered by Charlie to paint a picture of a country, the United States, that sickens him and his callers, that is infested with losers and deadbeats. Rush Limbaugh likes to call them “human debris”. Jay Weber over on AM-WISN prefers “scumbags.”

Let's remember, the right wing has always been defined by the contempt and fear it feels toward poor people. They really like Ayn Rand. And now they really like Rick Santelli. But it is rich that they pick this precise moment to pull out and polish up this tired “hate-the-poor” thing and take it for yet another spin.

We all know which side plays for keeps when it comes to class warfare. They've got their Bernie Madoff, Allen Standford, and John Thane of Merrill Lynch with the $35,000 commode. If you heard about the shenanigans at World Bank on "60 Minutes" last Sunday, you know how these lenders were operating. Like Digby said, no one was holding a gun to these guys' heads to make loans.

But, isn't it absurd that in the midst of these salvos of cheating, robbing, deception, and greed that yesterday all their broadcasters were in effect bursting in to the other side's infirmary and wagging their finger at those on the gurneys?

The only proper response is just to stop, think about it, and laugh.

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