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The dagbuzz for 3/17/09: Zombie Banks and Executive Suicides

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Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley yesterday went on the radio and suggested AIG executives do what their Japanese peers often do when the proverbial shit hits the fan and either "resign or go commit suicide."

Easy to dismiss the senator's remark as loony-toony and disturbing, but hell, we're basically following the Japanese blueprint to dealing ineffectively with economic crises anyway. I obviously don't think suggesting suicide is a helpful plan, but wouldn't it be nice for once to see American executives demonstrate a little bit of shame and take some personal responsibility for the destruction they've wrought?

Image: Sen. Grassley: AIG Execs Should 'Resign or Go Commit Suicide'

The populist outrage appears to be reaching a boiling point.  Just a couple of weeks ago, Bill Maher advocated taking a few finance industry CEOs and making an example of them by putting them at the fifty-yard line and blowing them up at the next Superbowl.  You throw in a half-time beer special and you've got a show that Joe Sixpacks of every political stripe would stop to watch.

I think you've hit on the key disconnect.  It's embodied in a quote by Harry Tuttle, from one of my favorite films, Brazil: "We're all in this together."  When I look at the rift between left and right in this country, I see the right's wholesale rejection of any form of collectivism to be the core issue.  Thus "socialism" becomes synonymous with the top marginal tax rates of the 1990s.  George Lakoff offers a very interesting pair of narratives regarding this disparity from a neurolinguistic perspective in this video.

To put a finer point on it, there's the recent revival of Ayn Rand and the call for the wealthy to "go Galt."  If you didn't catch it, Colbert got into this last week (sorry, for some reason I can't get the embed code to copy).

Indeed, Google Trends seems to show a renewed interest in Rand's mythical hero.  Searching for "going galt" will take you straight to the recent commentary on the subject.  Here's a sample:

Do you ever wonder after dealing with all that is going on with the economy and the upcoming election if it's getting to be time to "go John Galt." For those of you who have never read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the basic theme is that John Galt and his allies take actions that include withdrawing their talents, 'stopping the motor of the world', and leading the 'strikers' (those who refuse to be exploited) against the 'looters' (the exploiters, backed by the government).

How's that for waging class warfare?  Fun stuff.

I read Atlas Shrugged and another Rand book about 10 years ago.  I should probably reread them but one of the few things that have stuck with me is that all the women got to service the powerful men.  There seemed to be only one strong female character and all the rest were just too pitiful.  I thought at the time Rand was pissed she was born a woman. 

I think it would be a wonderful idea if a group of wealthy people got together and did what John Galt did.  Build those houses, construct those power plants, and dig those gardens.  They had a wonderful shangri la didn't they.  And they got dirty, nearly everyday, real dirt.  Hmm.  Is this the next reality show? 

I despise Randism. It's not even the argument itself that bothers me most. It's that Randies often seem to think their thought is in some way profound and that objectivism is a coherent philosophy. If you want a deep, nuanced approach to the philosophy of the strong, read Nietzsche, who was 100 times the thinker, not to mention the writer, that Rand ever was.

Sorry, pet peeve.

Here's the Colbert vid:

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The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

If you want a deep, nuanced approach to the philosophy of the strong, read Nietzsche, who was 100 times the thinker, not to mention the writer, that Rand ever was.

Couldn't have said it better.

Sorry I didn't comment on your vlog first Deadman.  I couldn't complete your buzz.  I think what Grassley said was really really really ugly.  And for a senator, just stupid.   I just want them to stop working at what they messed up. 

I watched the Colbert clip.  Do those people on the cable programs just say what they are  told or do they think that stuff up themselves? 

you couldn't complete because you were bored or ran out of time or both? i've been trying to make them shorter and more polished, but it's tuf for me to take the time necessary to make them just how i want it. even this half-assed job ended up taking me way too long.

Oh Deadman, toughen up!  You videos are GREAT!! I am on whose ever wireless I can pick up (I am surrounded by college students).  That makes it free for the last 3 years but sometimes frustrating.  Right now I have a really weak connection.  I am moving back to Delaware to my parents farm next week and will have no connection for a while.  My brother in law says the only way to go is wireless through the Verizon.  I'll have to do the whole cancel the T-mobile and get a new phone and net connection thing. I have been so spoiled - he said dial-up would only make me insane. 

Anyway, you are so much fun to watch.  I've been a little miffed that DF is beating me to first comment now!  The length is perfect.  Don't worry about polishing up, please.  If you start looking like someone from MSNBC we'll stop watching.

Sorry, didn't mean to scoop you.  In regards to you 'net situation, I have a suggestion.  Build yourself a cantenna.  They're cheap and effective.  You can buy commercial products that are very similar in construction, but they're more expensive and don't come with chips.  In combintion with a tool like NetStumbler (assuming you're running Windows, try KisMac if you have a Mac), you can greatly increase your chances of getting a decent signal.  Of course, this won't help so much if you're in a rural setting and there aren't any APs around, but it will help you find any that are and improve your signal at that.

Thanks DF. I was looking for something like this for a while.  Everyone I asked had no idea what I was  talking about.   For the next 5 days AM and late PM access is fine.  The nearest neighbor is 2/3 mile away and I know they don't even have a computer (it's my cousins).  I know it sounds like Appalachia but it isn't, it is just farmland.

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