Tag Archives: greed

Lack of Focus

Or, perhaps, the title of this post should be “The Wrong Focus.”

Some of the most fervent people pursue their missions from entirely the wrong standpoint, and so it is with many conservative, fundamentalist Christians, because they aren’t really as focused on the fundamentals as their descriptor would suggest.

See, my problem with the “fundies” isn’t so much that they want to promote biblical ideals and Bible-based behavior as it is that they put at the top of their agenda subjects on which Jesus didn’t really focus and/or that are only hinted at vaguely in the Bible…while also putting at the bottom of their priority list those things on which Jesus spoke most clearly and directly.

So, on the one hand, they’ll pick out a Bible passage about ancient punishments for hitting a pregnant woman in the belly and killing her unborn child, along with God’s words in the Book of Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and say, “See! God hates abortion! Let’s go have a huge campaign against women controlling their own bodies and hijack freedom of choice and science while ignoring more pertinent issues that affect more people.”

Never mind that causing the death of a woman’s fetus in an act of violence or irresponsibility was a crime because it assumed the woman wanted to give birth and you took that away from her (i.e. took the life that she had charge of). Also never mind that the quote from Jeremiah is about foreknowledge and foreplanning on God’s part, not about when life begins. Never mind that Jesus never once mentioned anything about fetuses, and his words are the ones Christians should focus on most.

And then, on the other hand, with poverty rising, kids and adults going without food, healthcare becoming increasingly inaccessible and the rich hoarding more and more of the money just because they can (even though they don’t need that much), you’ll see fundies cringe at any notion that even hints at socialism or talks about fairness and sharing, even though Jesus spent huge gobs of his time talking about economic fairness and taking care of the less fortunate.

Not to mention the fact the early Christian church essentially practiced communism, or something very close to it.

But they’ll ignore that and point to his parable of the talents and claim Jesus was a free market capitalist even though the parable is talking about spiritual growth and responsibility, not wealth creation.

Shaking my damn head…

Screw You, Arianna Huffington!

So, I heard yesterday that a lawyer is suing on behalf of the some 9,000 people who produced content, largely for free, for The Huffington Post, to get some recompense subsequent to Arianna Huffington selling the site to AOL for $315 million.

Now, many would say (and many actually have) that the writers knew they were writing for free and were doing it for the exposure and shouldn’t expect any kind of payment.

Well, as much as I respect Huffington’s efforts to balance out increasingly insane conservative nonsense with somewhat less crazed ideological shouting from the leftward end of the spectrum, they do deserve something and she’s a greedy wench if she doesn’t give up some money.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m slamming a liberal. I’m not lock-step when it comes to that. I may lean left but I’m not a brain-dead zombie-like follower.

The fact is, Huffington would have had nothing to sell if not for the content produced by those writers.


She built her site on their backs, which was fine when she did it, but when she decided to cash in, they should have gotten consideration as well.

I mean, would it kill her to take $10 million or $20 million out her windfall (less than 10% of the total take) just to hand out $1,000 to $2,000 (on average) to each writer, based on how much he or she contributed?

The notion that she’s going to just walk away with the money and give no regard to those who did the bulk of the work is shameless. Simply shameless.

Not to mention an example of how shallow, self-centered and greedy people can be whether they are right-wing or left-wing (or in between).

Health Care Deform by Miz Pink

So, I’m just wondering, as Barack Obama seems to get a little wimpy on the health care reform thang…and as all those folks who aren’t rich talk about socialized medicine being the final step toward a socialist dictatorship…how many of those yahoos that are mouthing off right now either have relatives who get Medicare or are bitter old twits on Medicare themselves?

And I wonder, what if the President just yanked Medicare away and told all those folks that they or their relatives would have to pay out of pocket now?

I figure they’d either be begging to have their “socialized medicine” back or they would be carrying even more guns around to shoot the Prez for taking away their “right” to healthcare in old age.

Either way, it would kinda prove the point wouldn’t it?

The government has been running Medicare for a long time. It ain’t perfect but it’s done a lot for the elderly to get care. It’s a system with flaws but one that works. So why is it so hard to think that getting the government involved in everyone’s health is such an evil idea?

Oh yeah…because they’re ignorant boobs who do whatever ole Rush or Glen or Annie “Get your guns” Coulter tell ’em to do…why use logic or have an idea of your own in your head when you can just follow the right-wing rulebook straight to the end of your life.

Don’t worry though. Without health care reform, you can all die in your 40s or 50s like your grand-daddies did so it wont be  a LONG life.

Pity that the rest of us who know better will be dying just as early.

Screw you.

The Fast and the Spurious by Miz Pink

Like the headline? Tryin’ to compete with Deke for the wordplay.

Anyhoo…remember the good ole days when the folks on Wall Street and in the banks and at the tops of big ole companies just plain lied to us’all?

Ya know when they used to let us think they had everything under control and that life would be okay for all of us and our 401 K accounts?

I’m thinking I liked that better than them getting bailout money now and just blowing it on themselves or just plain refusing to tell anyone…even the gubment who handed them the cashola…how they are spending it. It’s like they aren’t even pretending anymore. It’s give us money so we don’t have to be homeless and forget about the rest of ya.

Maybe it’s a throwback to my younger days of worse judgement in men but I find myself long for the fast-talking, fast-moving hustlers who at least made us feel good while they did us wrong. Now they aren’t even trying to make a pretense. *Sigh*

Glorifying Greedy Bastards

So, yesterday saw Bernie Madoff plead guilty for his more than $60 billion fraud scheme. I didn’t see any of the footage, but Mrs. Blue tells me that it didn’t seem like ole Bernie thought he would enter his plea and go directly to jail. I guess he figured he’d get some time to settle up affairs, screw his wife and/or mistress one more time, and perhaps commit suicide or flee the country.

Judge decided that a 70-year-old rich guy was a potential flight risk and revoked bail, sending him directly to jail. Good call, because let’s face it, if  a guy named Leroy Jenkins had bilked a bunch of old ladies out of just $60,000 in money (much less $60 billion), he’d go straight to jail out of concern he might flee.

I haven’t yet seen anyone claim that Madoff’s treatment in this way was unfair, but I’m sure that somewhere out there is a commenter at a newspaper Web site or at some blog who has done that or will at some point. I’m sure there will be someone who in print or in conversation will say, “He’s an old guy who fucked up. Why throw the book at him like that?”

On the lesser end of the scale, I’ve have seen one person argue that he’s probably a victim of abuse as a child, and abused kids often grow up to be abusers, and he simply abused people’s money instead of their bodies. (Honestly, someone said that, as if we should blame some previous generation for Madoff’s personal misbehavior.) I’ve seen a person who blamed poor regulation, and actually claimed that Madoff wasn’t to blame for this gigantic Ponzi scheme, but rather the inept regulators—who by definition always will be incompetent because if they had any real skills they’d be in the private realm where they could make lots more money instead of being in civil service. (Yes, that argument really was put forth.)

So, you can see why I’m waiting for someone to say, “It was only a white collar crime. Why so harsh on him?”

Because even in this troubled economic climate, where our nation and perhaps our world hovers at the edge of a financial abyss, people still glorify the folks at the top. Even after letting them shit on us from up high for so long, we still want to be them. We envy them. We revere them.

And that’s why rich people who swindle us don’t earn our ire in the same way that a “Leroy Jenkins” at the street level would. They don’t get punishments that truly equal the scope and depth of their crimes. If you’re simply a thief or a hustler, you’re scum. But if you’re white collar, you just let yourself go a little too far and really, no one gets hurt in the long run because everything will correct itself. Deal drugs and you’re killing people and should be treated accordingly. Run off with their investments, thereby driving some to kill themselves and some to die early from stress or lack of money to take care of themselves (while also ruining the lives of their families), and somehow you’re not a killer or a destroyer. You’re simply a little too greedy.

You even get to have neat little terms attached to what you did, like “Ponzi scheme.”

Instead of just saying you were an evil, selfish prick of a crook who ruined lives on a scale that no mere street-level hustler could ever hope to match.

Misplaced Priorities

buying-onlineSo, Mrs. Blue tells me today about some woman she sees on a discussion thread today who’s commenting about how times are so tough she doesn’t mind standing in a long line to get some fancy, high-tech, 30-something-inch television for $400.

Look, I understand the desire to have things, and even the “need” to some electronic entertainment options. But if we are honest with ourselves, how many of us really do truly need a TV bigger than a 24-inch screen and do we really need some bells-and-whistles, thin as hell, plasma HD flat screen or whatever the hell is out these days?


And making like it’s some big sacrifice to stand in line for a “deal” like this on Black Friday (the big post-Thanksgiving Day shopping blitz that traditionally occurs, for those who don’t know) is insulting to people who can’t even afford a new no-name bulky TV. You tell me you’re standing in line for a decent DVD player that is being sold for $30, and you’ll get more respect from me.

Our priorities are skewed, and even with the economy tanking, we’re still trying to figure out how to buy stuff we don’t really need. It’s just that now, because the economy has been tanking, those things cost less. But most of us don’t have as much money, so the fact the unnecessary shit costs less just means that you’re spending what little you have—something you should probably be keeping around for an emergency—just to have something that, in the current economy, you need even less than you did before.

Drive-by Scripture, Luke 12:15

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verse 15

Remember the old saying (and maybe it came from the Bible too, I forget): Naked you came and naked you go?

Sure, they don’t actually bury you naked, but that other lovely phrase also tells us: You can’t take it with you.

So, as our economy continues to tank, with Lehman Brothers latest on the list of failing financial institutions and unemployment much higher than it should be, I ask you this:

When we get out of our current economic pickle, God willing, and we are back on track, what is it that we will shoot for? Will it be back to buy, buy, buy? Run up the credit cards and buy bigger (and more) vehicles than we need? Will we go back to purchasing and hoarding stuff, or will we have learned anything?

Yes, a certain amount of consumerism is neceassary to keep businesses thriving, but we need to know when we have enough and when we’re starting to stockpile more than we really need.

When we do that, we’ll not only be more in line with biblical values but we’ll have a hardier and stronger economy, too, I think.

Green Is the Color of Evil

People often say that “Money is the root of all evil.”

They are wrong.

Because that isn’t what the Bible tells us.

What it tells us is:

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”

The love of.

Paul, in his first letter to Timothy (chapter 6, verse 10 of 1st Timothy, if you’re curious), tells us:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (King James version)

A slightly more clear meaning might be gotten from International Standard Version though:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.

An important thing to note here is that the audience for this message consists of the Christian believers. The warning is that pursuit of wealth can lead to failures in our faith walk. That’s not to say that the message isn’t applicable to non-Christians, too; it is. After all, much of the evil in the world by people of any religion, or lack of religion for that matter, can be traced to the quest for wealth or economic power of some sort. Also, this passage shouldn’t be construed as saying that Christians cannot be wealthy.

But it is a warning. And a good one.

How many times have we seen major televangelists with huge audiences and wealth end up going into all sorts of excesses, whether financial, sexual, behavioral or otherwise? Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Oral Roberts, Robert Tilton and many more in the 1980s through the early 2000s alone, and now Joel Osteen, via his wife Victoria’s alleged violent and abusive misbehavior on a flight.

In the gospel of Luke, chapter 16, verse 13 (and in Matthew chapter 6, verse 24 as well) we are told:

No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

(Mammon, by the way, is a term that was used to describe riches, avarice, and worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament.)

If you make your focus the pursuit of wealth, you cannot focus on God. Plain and simple. I don’t believe someone like Donald Trump is born again. I just don’t. He is so about the money and nothing but the money that I cannot imagine how there could be room for God in him anywhere.

We can gain wealth; we can even become truly wealthy. But we cannot do it by wanting to be rich or desiring to have riches or we will lose sight of what really matters: The things of heaven and of the spirit. And when we have wealth, we don’t have to give it all away but we do need to use it wisely, give generously and use what we have to help others and not simply enrich ourselves.

Money is not in and of itself evil. But we need to get over the idea that white is good and black is evil. The fact is that all too often, evil is green, because money is often involved somehow. (Well, green in the United States, anyway; evil is a bit more colorful in most other nations with their pretty, pretty cash denominations)

Too Much Stuff by Miz Pink

One of my standard tactics for some time now with child #2 is that when she gets out of pocket I tell her that I will take away her favorite snack from the freezer or give one of her toys to the first child I see. There are plenty of parents out there in the land of attachment parenting that would probly stone me for that. They’d say I’m being mean, abusive or negative.

Me? I mainly like the fact that it prevents any temptation to spank her.

Fact is that Mini Pink Model 2 loves her stuff. Nothing gets her attention faster than the threat that something that is hers will be taken away. Doesn’t matter that she has a ton of stuff already. Doesn’t even matter if it’s something she’s forgotten she ever owned and hasn’t played with in months. it’s hers, and she doesn’t want it taken away.

This is a very common attitude among humans. I know it’s a particularly problem her in the U.S. of A. where we have to spend, spend spend and own, own, own. Not so much now with gas prices having whipped our behinds and the economy goin in the direction of recession, but still, we are a shallow and petty people. But still, other developed nations also like their stuff…and developing nations are developing a growing taste for their own stuff. Everyone wants to be overflowing with things.

And preferably shiny and/or expensive things. Doesn’t matter if we need them or use them. We just want them.

I’m guilty as anyone else on this one. I’ve wanted an emerald ring (a real emerald none of this manufactured crapola) from Sir Pink for a long time. I may never seen it. And if I do, I may be afraid to wear it. But I want it. And I give him crap every anniversary, asking him if I’ll finally get it by the 50th anniversary when my joints are all swollen from arthritis or something.

Fact is, I won’t shed many tears if I never get it. Because I know its absurdly pricey and I know I don’t need it. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting it. And I realize how messed up this is. It’s messed up that I want to keep filling up my home with stuff when there are plenty of people in this country (a lot of them from New Orlean for example thjanks to Katrina and FEMA) who don’t have homes.

The early Christian church called upon its member to sell a lot of the stuff they didn’t really need so that the money could go to the widows, the orphans, the crippled. I know we built this American economy on greed, credit and buying lots of stuff but what has it gotten us? Are we better for it? Maybe if we bought less for ourselves and more for others…maybe if our governments at city, state and fed level invested in our roads and helping the sick and homeless instead of in lining their pockets and those of a lot of CEOs…well, maybe we’d be better. Maybe we wouldn’t be such a bigshot country but do we need to be? Wouldn’t it be better to be able to say we have a better quality of life here?

Instead of just being able to say we have bigger crap that a lot of the rest of you?