Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fear and Loathing on CNBC

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:10

Recently it has taken a lot to get me riled up with the number of self absorbed idiots with god-like delusions of grandeur that permeate our society. The circuit breaker in my head popped a long time ago leaving me with little in the way of surprise at their actions or the energy to get upset. Just about everyone with major access to the media has some crusade they personally champion with truth, justice, and the American way hanging in the balance. These telegenic saviors always believe some evil boogiemen are hovering just on the other side of the abyss waiting for their chance to pounce and destroy all that is good.

For me personally no matter which side of the political spectrum the latest threat to all that is holy supposedly comes from the incessant whining gets shrill after a while and I tune it out, of course that prevents me from watching the 24/7 news channels for any real length of time. Unless some form of the Apocalypse is about to happen, so they can pump up their ratings, they have a hard time justifying their existence. Now one of the news channels is far guiltier of this sin than others, to the point that they long ago crossed the line from simple hype to a form of propaganda that would curl the toes of Joseph Goebbels with orgasmic glee. However, there are television personalities on the other cable networks that aspire to meet the same level of propaganda and fearmongering seen on the “Fair and Balanced” channel.

This is where the latest blowhard out to save the world from the evils of nasty socialism come into play but this time he involved his daughter. The guy is Joe Kernen and he is the leader of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” crew with his cohorts being an unemotional Vulcan-like woman and a token Hispanic guy, just to add a little color to the set I guess.

Now Kernen, along with the other two on the show, revels in the utter worship and unquestioned obedience to free market capitalism. I watch a portion of the show every morning to try to understand both their fervent protection of their chosen faith and their point of view but I always come away a little flustered with their obvious disdain for anyone not drinking their brand of Kool-Aid.

With the Hispanic dude I can relate a little on how he presents things, he seems human and at least a little open to the idea that the love of money is not the sum total of existence. The Vulcan chick is a nonentity who does not say much but the camera does find her often where she gives curious sideways glances at her cohorts then offers some nice sound bite agreeing with them. If she is suppose to be eye candy for early rising capitalist struggling to wake up and go defeat the forces of socialism some lessons in cleavage exposure is needed from the bimbos on the Fair and Balanced channel. 

Kernen on the other hand is the epitome of the pompous ass who knows everything and reigns over the show like some thug. Looking up his profile, I was surprised to discover he has a degree in cellular and developmental biology and has published works in some serious scientific journals, but somehow he fell out of science and moved into the financial realm, then into “business journalism,” an oxymoron if there ever was one.

God help the individual appearing on Squawk Box that does not share his Ayn Rand-like viewpoint that everything is acceptable as long as it makes money. Over the year or so that I have watched the show I have seen Kernen insult several of his NBC family coworkers showing obvious contempt, bordering on anger, for their different views along with questioning their intelligence. However, Joe Kernan finally said something so outrageous last Thursday that it penetrated my cynical force field inducing me to go on a political rant.

He and his daughter appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” promoting their book, “Your Teacher Said What?” Simply put, Kernan was prompted to write a book defending helpless Free Market Capitalism because his daughter received a few assignments in school daring to question the authority of his religion. Kernan really blew a gasket when one questioned the proper course or action if a hypothetical factory was polluting the environment. Kernan believes there is some sort of libel assault on his Free Market religion, that American Exceptionalism is being disrespected, and that Hollywood is leading the way.

Of course Kernan can feel this way, he is protected by a huge salary, big money friends who he knows so well he probably can vouch for the conditions inside their large intestines, and the fact that these friends have already has bought and paid for every member of Congress at least a dozen times. It is beyond simple paranoid delusions that he should somehow fear questions from a mere public school teacher.

I have no idea if Kernan ever gets around us working folks, my assumption is that even if he does he is so caught up in his blind faith that he can ignore the fact that even when some people do everything like the ridiculous American Exceptionlism bullshits says the financial forces he believes in still grinds them to dust. It does not take an advanced economics degree to know that the big money capitalists that regularly appear on his show and others on CNBC totally fucked the country forcing Bush to bail them out of their trillion dollar misadventures then leaving Obama to deal with the shrill calls of “socialism.”

Throw in how the gap between rich and poor that is growing wider every year with many in the middle class only holding onto that status by maxing out the credit cards. I wish Kernan could explain to me why the poor are suppose to bear the major burden of slashing the federal deficit while his buddies get even more tax breaks. The predictable response will be that the big money players carry the “burden” and “risk” of “growing” the American economy. But dammit, the only economy I really see growing with power and good jobs that were once the backbone of the American working class allowing them put kids through college, by a house, and retire is the fucking Chinese economy because the big money types love the near slave labor there.

Of course Kernan’s religion will force him to say its nasty union thugs that are making the nice business people flee the country. I know union leaders and government types are not without sin in all this but right now, I would not piss on any free market capitalist if he or she were on fire.

Take all the copies of your book Kernan and shove them up your ass.

I have no doubt that capitalism has brought about positive changes in civilization allowing the people with a great idea or invention to lift up all of humanity but for the most it is not capitalism as a principle that I and railing against. Like any other human concept it can be and is being abused these days to the detriment of poorer folks and the environment.

Kernan's belief that capitalism is the absolute best is as misguided as the Catholic Church burning people at the stake during the Inquisition and the Muslim Radicals that give Islam a bad name now. Here are some facts that more properly color my contempt for the Free Market Capitalism religion.

• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.

• 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

• 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.

• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.

• 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.

• Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.

• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.

• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

• In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

• More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.

• or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.

• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.

• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.


Windsmoke. said...

Most people in the media have hidden agendas so most of the time i take there stories with a grain of salt or totally ignore them if they don't sound right :-).

Lowandslow said...

I believe in free-market capitalism, but with a level playing field and a heavy does of conscience. I applaud someone who invents a better mouse trap and then sells it honestly, paying a fair wage to those that make it, and who honors his word to his consumers. In other words, the end does NOT justify the means. There is a right way and a wrong way to do business.

Business learned years...decades...ago how to bribe our legislators at every level. And since it is these same legislators who get to define "legal" and "illegal", they of course always give a wink and a nod to those who are feathering their "campaign contribution" nest. Our system has become throughly corrupt. I keep hoping We The People will some day get fed up enough to DEMAND change. I'm still waiting.


Randal Graves said...

You purposely watch these shows so you can practice your bullseye beer bottle tossing, don't you.

All systems involving humans are doomed to fuckery because they involve humans. Down with isms, up with booze.

Ranch Chimp said...

Bum! ... Good Morning Guy! I had to read this over two dayz in part's, what an excellent piece, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh. And I'm thrilled that you got the "love of money" thing out of the Bible correct .. I hear so many self proclaimed christian's say "money is the root of all evil" leaving out "love" :)

In a world so full of shit (a quote I love and got from Brian Warner aka Marilyn Manson) it is remarkable that most of the population still function's as balanced as they do! :) It is a job enough for me keeping up to try to maintain a comfortable living these dayz, than having to keep up with alot of these garbage distributing mouth piece's, however ... I myself point out the BS from time to time ... I do it for the kid's and especially my 5 grandkid's Jerome, Justin, Jason, Jeremy, and Sharmain ... of course in a more simple, entertaining, and humorous manner that kid's can enjoy ... and they love listening to grandpa heh, heh, heh, heh, heh :) ... of course my 3 daughter's heard plenty as well over the year's.

What really get's me Bum is all the twisted definition's we have these dayz of what "elite" folk's are and who is what, "integrity" and so forth. Many of the top dog's are more like blood sucking vampyre's with a tad of welfare recipient trait's. The whining out of such powerful wealthy icon's asking for help is nauseating, no shit, it really is, I dont think many of them had any real challenge's in life at time's ... and the word "integrity" ... heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, .... or even "fair" or "balance" ... we must be kidding or high!

This cyberspace is new to me, so I cant really get angry ... other than try to savor a certain amount of it, I'm more of an in person type Guy, like to express my emotion's and anger physically and publicly, I almost feel like I cant even truely get angry anymore online after 3 year's on here, because I feel like I'm pissing in the wind, not being able to confront these piece's of shit face to face as I so much enjoy doing in the flesh, even if I got my ass kicked, I still loved the physical battle of word's and conflict's, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... call me an ole redneck SOB, that's fine, I am ... I didnt jump into the mosh pit at metal and punk show's because I worried my clothes would get dirty ... it was therapuetic for me, psychologically and physically :) But these parasite's of today are truely a breed of their own, and kissing up to their BS is nauseating whether it's religious or political, social or whatever.

Ranch Chimp said...

Another thing Bum ... believe it or not, I truely am a fan of capitalism and free market, but this nonsense psuedo crap of today is everything but free and capitalistic in any stretch of the word's, it's more like a neo type monopoly, cleverly rigged to look like something it isnt, even the so called personal investment plan's that hard working, truely elite people like on your level are offered to play the game are awful. I understand as a working class man the on hand's feeling of what it's like to gamble on the table's small and come up $1000 buck's ahead and knowing to make that decision to walk or gamble, and also losing $1000 buck's just as quick, and feeling actual heartache, and never looking back twice to whine to other's if they can bail me out of the situation I got myself into, as many American's and small business people have to do. I am not anti corporation either, even though I use "corporate icon" alot in what I write, I will give break's and incentive's to anyone that ACTUALLY deserve's it, but these whiner's dont deserve much of anything frankly, beside's to actually feel the repercussion's of their ill action's for a change.

And I also am in agreement with "LOWANDSLOW" 110% ... he is right on the money also!

Ranch Chimp said...

BTW Bum ... also ... I dont know WTF is up(?), but the link's highlighted you have posted dont come up with anything but "Not Found Error 404" (similar wording) ... am I missing something here?

Ranch Chimp said...

Perhap's you just highlighted them and they were not meant to link to any article's or anything.

Nance said...

I need to print out that list of points at the end and carry them with me at all times so I can whip it out and bludgeon one of the local Ayn Rand acolytes at the (inevitable) soonest opportunity. And, buddy, do we have them here? Like Palmetto bugs in a locked up beach house, they act like they own the place!

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

Well, your first problem is that you watch CNBC. ;p

I get overwhelmed and fear I will stroke out at all the political fuckery too, so I just turn on an MLB game so I can scream and holler and then the game is over and I got to relieve all my stress. It's great I tell ya!

Ya know they have capitalism in Cuba now, but they don't call it capitalism. Its some long-assed phrase which MEANS capitalism.

Liberality said...

“business journalism,” an oxymoron if there ever was one

lol, BB when you get to ranting about politics and economics in general I could not agree more!

Sherry said...

Being friendly, saying Hi and one other thing. RANT ON!

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Just as the Castro brothers are finally realizing that their ideal society isn't so ideal, so, too, those on the far right in this country need to realize similarly. No economy can exist forever as a construct. Ah, though, finding that damned perfect synthesis. That is where the rubber truly hits the road. I clearly don't have the magic answer. I wish that I did.

okjimm said...

Dear Bum... I couldn't watch all the way through the video..... the self righteous attitude blew me away.... I can't even comment......

Pixel Peeper said...

What a great summary of what is wrong these days! I believe if election campaigns were financed by public funds and not by corporate or private contributions, quite a bit of this BS of politicians being in somebody's pockets and voting accordingly would be eliminated. Like lowandslow said - level playing field.

Mr. Charleston said...

Would like to engage you in this conversation BB, but I'm just too damned weary of all of the crap. Talking heads drive me crazy, particularly now that they are totally infused with names like Trump and the Newt. FUCK!

Back at you my friend: I'm past the point of caring. No, make that simply, I just don't give a shit.

Suzan said...

Love ya, baby.

I had to quit watching Joe after the dot-com crash.

Just too much BS.

And my circuit breaker was entirely blown away.


Beach Bum said...

A warning to everyone, had the spicy bean dip, chips, and beer as a snack around 1:00am Saturday morning. Long story short it was a wild intestinal ride.

Windsmoke: Absolutely, in fact someone found my post by searching for," Joe Kernan and fake acting daughter." I didn't mention anything but that was the thought that went through my mind watching the video. As for Kernan I still believe he is an utter assshole.

LowandSlow: "I believe in free-market capitalism, but with a level playing field and a heavy does of conscience. I applaud someone who invents a better mouse trap and then sells it honestly, paying a fair wage to those that make it..."

Absolutely, I believe that as well but my major problem is that in many ways real capitalism has been corrupted making it more a Plutocracy with the major Elites playing us all for puppets.

I find it funny that people like Kernan, Tom Friedman, and others types can so easily dismiss the fears of common workers as they are discarded by the Elites looking to squeeze that extra few cents of profits from the bottom line.

Randal: That's why I'm making my plans to find my own "undisclosed location" and hide when we get close to the 2012 deadline. I will have plenty of beer on hand.

Ranch: " is remarkable that most of the population still function's as balanced as they do!"


On a more sober note, I agree with you as well, I don't believe many of these suits ever worked in the trenchs with the common folks. The few mid-level suits I have worked with who did bust their knuckles once or twice in their life do seem to understand the world of shit the world has become.

I finally fixed the link on the bullet points, not quite sure what went wrong.

Nance: Its eye opening stuff, the country needs to serious re-evaluated its lifestyle and the price it is costing us. The middle class is leaving on the house of cards called credit cards and the working folks are just trying to stay above water.

Dusty: For me, the problem is not some dude or dudette making a buck off their invention or idea but the assholes that play and gamble with money and people lives not caring about the results. Like Jimmy says, a little pocket change is nice but it ain't the main point of existence.

Liberality: Like I mentioned, I tend to avoid rants these days, it doesn't pay and I end up spilling my beer. Plus, I don't really believe any group in the United States really wants answers to the problems we face, we are a very spoiled bunch who only see our point of view. In short I believe in the coming years we are in for a world of shit as the Universe, God, or Karma gives us a major attitude adjustment.

Sherry: Welcome! Dropped by your place yesterday for a few second yesterday, until I had to run back to the bathroom. See the announcement above for that one. Will visit you place again today.

Will: That's just it, we need to find that middle ground balancing will economic concerns and the rights of the workers. But since Congress is a subsidiary of Corporate Amerika it will not happen anytime soon. And time is running out, while Fox Noise and that asshole Kernan would never admit it there is a growing number of the underclass getting pissed off at the excesses of the rich, its just a matter of time before someone or something lights the fuse.

Jim: Yeah, I'd easily feed that bastard to sharks.

Pixel: Absolutely, the corporations own the politicians and we are screwed. It also hurts that the middle class largely doesn't give a man unless it involves them. When the credit cards finally drive them underwater they may wake up.

Mr. Charleston: Like I mentioned at first on the post I feel very much the same way. We are in trouble but with the bread and circuses still in full distraction nothing will change. And I blame liberals for this just as much as conservatives.

Suzan: Yeah, BS fills the airwaves, its just the degree of stink that changes.

Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for the link's repair Bum, I have to come back to read some more, a real nice selection though as far as relating to the reality of the condition!

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

BB, I agree that Free Market Capitalism isn't free. Poor and now the middle class pay the price for that fuckery, not the hedge fund guys or other Wall Streeters.

Its pure greed, and nothing less that drives those folks.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I have a few suggestions, double b. They range from the modest to the radical. A) We need to get the top rates back up to 39.6%. My main motivation here is the deficit. But if we can also reduce the income disparity and possibly defuse revolution, that would be awesome, too. B) We also need some really meaningful education reforms (ideas from the right AND the left) to produce a more competitive work force (the rest of the world is catching up to us and that is a huge part of the problem). C) I would immediately institute a public financing of all elections. Yeah, it'll cost us some billions, but it will also keep the dirty stinking money outside. And D) I would focus big time on sex education (including providing to kids as many free condoms as they require). We just have too many young uneducated people having kids these days. Gotta slow that down somehow.

Ranch Chimp said...

I just wanted to add ... what a great set of link's Guy!

Cloudia said...


Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral




goatman said...

May be time to begin sharpening those guillotines.