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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Catholics dislike St. Ricky. Plus: Another bank robbery!

It's well-known that the Republican base has doubts about Romney, but they also can't quite cotton to Rick Santorum.
But 41 percent of Romney voters and 44 percent of Santorum voters say they have concerns about their choice. Another one in ten supporters of each candidate say they dislike the other candidates.
Romney has won Illinois handily, and looks to have a mortal lock on New York and California. He's also ahead in Texas, though he'd probably lose to Santorum if both Ron Paul and Newt dropped out -- which won't happen. Texas, California, NY, Illinois -- with those four states in Mitt's mitts, I just don't see a way that Romney can lose this thing. Heck, if his rendition of the Davy Crockett theme song didn't ruin his campaign, nothing will.

Since we may not have Rick Santorum to kick around much longer, let's do that important job while we can.

Recently, St. Ricky said that he doesn't care about unemployment -- he cares about "freedom." That's code: "Freedom" means libertarianism.

Libertarians love to pretend that their system works, even though it has failed again and again: Iraq, Chile, post-communist Russia, post-Reagan America. But deep down, libertarians don't really care about what works. They say they do, but they don't. All they care about is ideological correctness.

They are fundamentalists. Theirs is the beatific vision.

Which brings us to the topic of religion.

Quite a few pundits have noted that Santorum, who is so ueber-Catlick he probably bleeds on Easter Sunday, is not liked by Catholic voters. He appeals to Protestant evangelicals and Southern Baptists -- to the pious paranoids who take Jack Chick comics seriously and who love to spread fear-stories about evil Jesuits and Vatican diabolists.

How did this happen?

First and foremost, most Catholics are to Santorum's left politically. Once you stop talking about below-the-waist issues (which is, admittedly, the only thing that some people ever want to discuss) and start looking at matters of social justice, economic opportunity, the death penalty and so forth, you'll find that the Catholic voting base and the Santorum voting base inhabit two different planets.

Santorum's other religion is libertarianism, which simply has very little appeal to most Catholics. Even the ultra-ultra-traditionalists (the ones who think everything started to go wrong during the Renaissance) don't cotton much to that Ayn Rand stuff.

There's a difference between Normal-Catholic and Crazy-Catholic. As I've noted in an earlier essay, the Crazy-Catholics have the church hierarchy in a constant state of blackmail: "Do as we say or we'll turn sedevacantist so fast your head will do the Linda Blair swivel." Of course, the Crazy-Catholics will never admit that they are blackmailers, and they will act affronted by the suggestion that they would ever go the Mel Gibson route.

Nevertheless...yeah. That's the way it is.

A lot of people have the idea that the Crazy-Catholics are the guys running the Church, but that stereotype doesn't reflect reality. Many ranking clerics would love to see the Church change its position on (say) birth control or the ordination of women. But that is not possible right now. The Crazy-Catholic blackmail hold is too strong.

Santorum comes from the Crazy-Catholic wing of the church. The Normal-Catholics know all about that wing, and they don't trust it. Santorum embodies a stereotype they've fought for decades: He's a Catholic politician who wants to force those outside the faith to live according to RC religious dictates.

Hence Santorum's appeal to the evangelicals: They too want to impose faith on the faithless. Granted, the average Southern Baptist would no doubt prefer to vote for a candidate who hails from a more closely-aligned denomination. In their eyes, Santorum stands for a dubious theology but a useful theocracy.

It seems, however, that this nation's many southern-fried fundamentalists were unable to produce any candidates smart enough to survive the primary process. Let's face it: Most fundies are so dumb they wouldn't know how to pick their own noses without first seeing an instructional video on YouTube.

Bank robbery: Taibbi has a great one up. The banks want to steal your home -- again.
This is from the WSJ this morning:
Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are lining up to become landlords to cash-strapped Americans by bidding on pools of foreclosed properties being sold by Fannie Mae...

While the current approach of selling homes one-by-one has its own high costs and is sometimes inefficient, selling properties in bulk to large investors could require Fannie Mae to sell at a big discount, leading to larger initial costs.
In con artistry parlance, they call this the "reload." That's when you hit the same mark twice – typically with a second scam designed to "fix" the damage caused by the first scam.
I've long wondered why the Wall Streeters have resisted all suggestions to renegotiate mortgages, since banks have traditionally disliked owning foreclosed homes. Obama, who has often acted as Wall Street's puppet, has never made any serious moves to help distressed homeowners.

In previous posts, I've suggested that the Streeters have been playing out a long-run scheme. Their ultimate goal is to snatch up most of the property in America and turn the middle class into renters.

The concentration of wealth and the destruction of the middle class. That's libertarianism for you. When guys like Rick Santorum blather on about "freedom," what they really mean is that Mr. Big should be free to rape you black and blue.
I've long wondered why the Wall Streeters have resisted all suggestions to renegotiate mortgages, since banks have traditionally disliked owning foreclosed homes. Obama, who has often acted as Wall Street's puppet, has never made any serious moves to help distressed homeowners.

A lot of that is simply due to the way the securitized mortgage market works. Since the banks are servicers and don't actually hold the note, it's in their best interest to drag things out as long as possible, collecting more fees. They're not really risking anything, since they're not holding the debt itself - the risk has all been dispersed among the buyers of the MBSes. Banks used to hate sitting on properties or on nonperforming loans because they were all risk and no reward. That's been reversed in the current world of finance. There's essentially no risk for the banks - it's all been transferred. On the other hand, there's great opportunity to extract fees. The rental deal is icing on the cake. It's just another way to extract income from the misfortune of others.
It's brutal out there....brutal. Thanks for posting this. Occupy Boston posted it, too. I've been dealing with this for 3 months now. I managed to sell my house and thought I could relocate closer to my family. It is not a buyer's market. It's an investor's market. Every single bid results in the same response: "there are multiple offers so put forth your best and final offer." Banks will pull their vacant homes from the market if they don't get over asking price. They don't care if you will be an owner-occupant reinvesting in the community. The investors are not only buying up the few places on the market, but REITs are back...they're using other people's money. Unbelievable. Yep, still milking people and there's an incredible shortage of rentals because no one can buy and yet people still need to live somewhere. What a racket. I just lost another bid today, and I've been choosing plain-jane places in OK shape, trying not to compete with flippers. :(
On Santorum and Catholics -- most recent polls have Catholic vote split down the middle -- in three ways. Roughly 40 R, 40 D and 20 Ind. But Catholic indies r pretty liberal on pocketbook issues and have voted consistently D in national elections, in the NE, west coast, and the Midwest. Can't see that constituency going with either MItt or Rick.
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