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April 03, 2014

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RIP? Keating? I hope he burns (as in Christianity) or is reincarnated as a tick (as in Buddhism) until the world ends. Hopefully his death is the foretell of Adelson's, the Koch brothers, and every other octogenarian billionaire obstructing the future and stealing the present.

. . . . electric, . . . including Soros.

Teri, Soros lavishes most his billions on something called the Open Society project, such as creating and nurturing civil societies in the former totalitarian nations of Eastern Europe. Yes, he also contributes freely to Democrats, who are also in favor of open societies (the commies). The Koch brothers, by contrast spend their billions in order to exacerbate income inequality in America, and to make sure science is held in disrepute by your tribe. Sheldon Adelson appears to be motivated mostly by his fervent pro-Israel opinions, and checking the menace of online gaming. This is not to defend Soros' career as a currency speculator. The man is clearly a financial genius, however, and a profound thinker who actually studied under Karl Popper in London.

We on the left are supposed to hate billionaires, and for the most part I really do. But I want to draw a sharp distinction when it comes to those few on the left, like Soros, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jr, Nick Hanauer, et al. Personally, I don't hate rich people. I don't spit on Mercedes. I do occasionally laugh at the horrifying architecture of their mansions. What I most abhor is plutocracy, in which the rich fund a politics that is entirely self-dealing. It's designed to co-opt the political system and weaken democracy. Where they really succeed is in the messaging arena, particularly in the rude 'n crude media markets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh where bamboozling the rubes is the whole point.

We have to go back 25 years to remember when Charles Keating spent freely to get political protection for his rackets. Keating might have been archetypically right-wing but the Senate was controlled by Dems (after 1987), so that's where he spent his bribe money (bribery is a crime, I understand, and none of the Keating Five were ever charged with it. But it's the appropriate word).

The worst were Dennis DeConcini, Don Riegel, and Alan Cranston. John McCain was the only personal friend of Keating's but he was also the most concerned about his reputation, so he wasn't as aggressive as the others. John Glenn, never the sharpest knife in the drawer, was mostly just scenery.

I used to be involved in the Democratic Party back in the 1980s. I was at a state convention in 1989 when I ran into DeConcini. Because I was a nobody, I gave him a look of studied contempt as I passed him. I thought he was going to punch me. There are few I have despised more than that shark, even today. And it wasn't just that Keating advocacy. He was a real-estate player who got inside information from the Feds where the CAP canal was going. He conveniently bought land in its path and then sold it to the Feds at a huge mark-up. What's he doing today? Serving on the board of a private prisons corporation and on whose behalf he lobbies for stiffer drug penalties.

McCain was the most personally involved of the senators, and he eventually had to reimburse Keating for more than a few private jet flights to the Bahamas with Cindy. Cindy was involved with Keating in some shopping center venture, which always puzzled me since the last thing she really needed was more money. Maybe it was just a bonding exercise. At any rate, McCain's Big Misadventure actually worked to his advantage. His 1992 re-election campaign was expected to be tough. But his opponent was the Southern grande dame, Claire Sargent (wife of the APS chairman), and he won easily. Then McCain began working on his image. He cut back on his favorite activity (bullying people), cultivated the media, and then took on the Theodore Roosevelt mantle of National Greatness. Worked like a charm. Except for one thing: by 2000, the Republican Party was even more invested in redressing the countless slights, grievances and resentments it had about liberals. McCain outfoxed himself. Bush crushed him in South Carolina and then went on to lose to Al Gore in November before the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency for for his hurt feelings.

Keating had his champions (I once joked to a local homebuilder about him at the gym and it cost me his friendship). But he was not a nice guy. Yeah, he bankrolled Mother Teresa, but you could see what he was really after - publicity, power, and the money that always flows from it. He was Donald Trump minus the comb-over and humility. He ran roughshod over the rules and restraints that civilized toffs think undergird society. Well, he had a good run of 20 years before it all caught up to him. And what remains? Ask the dust.

There will always be a _________(insert name of current perpetrator)who will be glad to step in and reap the profits from stepping over the line.The problem today is,they have learned how to write and pass laws so that looting the public treasury isn't even punishable.

Re: “the Keating Five, the senators the kingpin had given some $1.3 million.” Vote buying and influence peddling much more expensive now – see – “Heavy Hitters: Top All-Time
Donors, 1989-2014” at

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

Can't wait to go shit on his grave.

In light of the Supreme Court decision and Keatings passing, he once said to the press,"One question, among many raised in recent weeks, had to do with wether my financial support in any way influenced several political figures to take up my cause. I want to say in the most forceful way I can: I certainly hope so. "

A pox on both their houses.

Had no idea that Alan Greenspan was an advocate and facilitator for Keating until I read John Dougherty's piece in the New Times. Figures, though.

Pat, I think Greenspan just hired himself out. It was a twofer, in a way. Make money helping out a fellow plutocrat, and advance the day of complete domination in the political sphere of concentrated wealth. Too bad about 2008 and all that, although it was a minor speed bump on a road that now looks like a 12-lane expressway.

Ayn Rand Paul Ryan, you're close to match point.

I will quote Bette Davis, remarking on Joan Crawford's passing:

"We're told to speak only good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good."

For all his antiporn fervor, Keating embraced craziness behind closed doors. His secretary, a best friend of my then-girlfriend, told me stories of women coming out of birthday cakes and champagne soakings . . . (full disclosure, I'm a former Dobson Ranch homeowner. Too bad my less-unsustainable patio home that came with solar water heater and other energy-saving features was no thanks to Charlie: Continental built it after buying the land. Interest rate? About 12 percent, with a builder buydown from the going rate of around 20 percent engendered by Paul Volker. Those insane rates made Lincoln worth less than negative $100 million when Keating paid $51 million for it. No wonder he turned to fraud.)

Well Folks at the next stop I am going get of this “shit on the grave” train. Even though I have been a militant agnostic since a young age I guess my super religious mom (that’s why I am Calvin) did instill some stuff that still hangs around. She would have been outraged by the suggestion that you could shit on anybody’s grave, no matter how bad they had been. In my 73 years I have known a lot of bad folks.
I have known tent evangelists that came to town on gods horse and left with the farmers mule and wife after he molested children and passed his religious plate for “donations.” I have known attorneys that stolen clients’ money and gambled it away in Vegas. I have known poor broke down heroin addicts that transported a drug dealer’s dope in their vagina. The list goes on. Just think of a “criminal” whether it’s the thief hanging on a cross or crooked politician that would provide protection for the merchants of fraudulent activity.
I would not take the time to visit a crooks grave any more than I would take the time to shake Bill Clinton’s hand if I passed him on the sidewalk. One way of stealing is to have great intelligence and the opportunity to do good works for your fellow humans and waste that chance. Besides Keating and Clinton there are many more very capable folks out there that seem to be (wasting)unable to apply their extraordinary abilities in what I see as humane. LBJ had to be one of the most ruthless and crooked politicians that lived in last 100 years and I find it interesting had he seemed to work both sides, Good and Evil at the same time. Is that the mark of a sociopath? Ah the labels. I wonder if we examined the physical brains of Mother Teresa and Hitler, we would find one stamped Saint and the other Satan.
So I have nothing more to say about Charlie Keating, except the press has said he is dead.
Elvis

As a Christian (sorry to offend, dear readers), I have no doubt that Charlie is in heaven and all his tears are dried by a loving God.

I also see merit to the Latin phrase, De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, which roughly translates to, "concerning the dead, only the good."

However, Charlie Keating was a public figure of much importance to the prime subject of this blog, Phoenix. He must be assessed, his legacy examined and argued over.

An edited comment by a friend of mine:
"I am tired of the outrage over Keating.
He is a creation of our greed. As is John Mccain with his seven houses and Bill Clinton with his fifty to one hundred and fifty million (estimates vary). He was your basic blue sky finance guy, his activity was sanctioned by Reagan and his habits--jets, big parties--would never have been mentioned if the S & L deregulation had not been a debacle. So he is the poster child and Reagan is an airport."

Cal, I hear you although I'll disagree with you about LBJ being a sociopath. An asshole, definitely. But he accomplished some great things before he ran into the dark briar patch of the American psyche, Manichaeanism. Bill Clinton? Hmmm. Not a big fan - he got very cozy with Wall Street during his presidency - but given the drift of our times, it was probably inevitable. I'll half agree with the zealots that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was awful, but only because it prevented Al Gore from succeeding him in a way the Republicans couldn't steal in broad daylight. You want a sociopath? Look who won but only after you count the dead, the tortured, and ruined lives. Gore's would-be presidency is a counterfactual too painful to contemplate. If 9/11 happened on his watch, I assume Republicans would have tried to impeach him but only because they love America so much. But he might have galvanized the nation around science instead of denialism. Again, that loss is just a bit too painful given everything we know.

Keating was a flawed human being, as are we all, but with this chilling difference: power and wealth and an unbridled appetite for more. A republic understands this. It means that we look over each other's shoulders. It means we have institutions that check one another's power. It means that we put the public good above the private gain. As you might have noticed, this republic is living on borrowed time.

Keating lived out his days in luxury, which is neither here nor there. He was luckier than the thousands of people whose lives he ruined, of course. This is our perpetual Noah Cross problem. We will never hold the rich to account the same way we do a pot smoker or a shoplifter. The flaw, such as it is, appears fixed in our hearts.

Keating was a sociopath, but so are the Kochs, Adelson, the Waltons, Blankfein, Dimon, et al, and all the other playerz running wild through our financial vaults and political offices. Keating doesn't matter except as an example, which isn't entirely bad. He did go to jail, after all. If there's a heaven, I'm sure he's sitting at Mother Teresa's knee.

Just kidding.

Our problem is not Keating. It's much, much worse. Today's sociopaths will not go to jail. Indeed, they will not even be ruined. They will prosper at our expense while hollowing out society and ruining our future. They will parade as "job creators" while shipping our jobs overseas. They will set themselves up as examples of virtue while they plunder the planet and insure that human life may well end within a hundred years. Republicans love them in the way an abused wife loves her alcoholic husband. Too much to know any better.

We should honor the dead with the prayer of self-remembrance. Any of us would, under similar circunstances, behave the same way another person would. We are not unique or special or wonderful or, finally, evil. We are simply human. That is today's cautionary tale.

Appreciate this information and the comments ahead of me. I was 20 when this all came out and was disgusted by the financial ruin Keating brought to retirees.

Good riddance to the prick.

Soleri, I dont think LBJ was a sociopath. I was just referring to my problem with labels. I agree LBJ was an asshole, a crooked asshole that had the ability to make things happen, good or bad, his way.
And I agree, we cant get the murderous financial plunderers to criminal court, let alone those responsible for the deaths of American soldiers and thousands of others in the illegal war on Iraq.
Time to declare war on the worst criminals, The GRU, CIA,MAD,NSA, MOSSAD, DEA, HLS and on and on these political driven government agencies that have installed the Brave New World on our backs and minds.

I remember frequently seeing Keating eating a light breakfast in the Caf Casino bistro on Camelback Rd. He always had two or three people with him, taking notes as he gave instructions. This was a man who got 20 things done before I'd finished my coffee. We also heard he had a security detail-- a collection of large Samoan men who acted as bodyguards and provided resort security.

Keating's hands-on control of the construction of the Phoenician created many stories about obsessive, excessive and extravagant choices in architecture and furnishings. I worked in the hotel industry across town at the time and we heard stories about items installed and then ripped out and replaced only to be pulled out and replaced a second or third time-- because Charlie didn't like them.

How Keating was involved with even the smallest details. Keating liked only the best--and sometimes the best wasn't good enough. Consider the the Phoenician’s “Mother of Pearl” pool inlaid with mother of pearl tiles. Or think about the stools waiters brought to women to set their purses on while dining at Mary Elaine's. The resort has much in common with the Hearst Castle--both are testaments to excess.

Well said, Soleri, but we aren't all the same. Sure, all humans suck to varying degrees or we would, failing to change things (or even try to), at least bang on the bars of our collective insane asylum. But some folks are capable of more evil than others. Neither Mother Teresa nor everyone else would do what Charlie did in similar circumstances.

A conservative has weighed in on the Keep Out The Vote column.

"Nor anyone else"?
need look no further than the Arizona North borderfor a truly evil insane child raping, "sociopath".
I give you Warren Jeffs!

Just as an FYI to any Keating defenders who may be lurking: Telling me he gave Mother Teresa money does not help your cause. She was a terrible person.

Gregory Smith, which is why I said under similar circumstances. That is, grind any human infant through the same tube of environment and nature, you'll get pretty much the same sausage on the other side. There may be minor genetic differences, but there is not some mystical "me" that is somehow better than an evil "you". We call human tendencies right and wrong not because of their intrinsic character but because that's what the human mind does. Buddha called it our essential disease.

We cling to this idea, a fantasy construct, of one's own specialness because consciousness itself is a kind of optical illusion. Instincts, desires, memories, and aversions make up one's "me". But what if you were to watch a perfectly darling baby being raised in a household in late 19th century Linz? If it's last name were Hitler, shudder.

I say all this not to exculpate Keating but to validate Cal's feeling that we not be too quick to damn him. We're more complex than we know but not nearly the moral free agents we would imagine ourselves to be. Mother Teresa, on the other side of this equation, was someone who demanded the poor and dying in her Calcutta hospital experience their deaths without painkillers. Christopher Hitchens called her a monster.

If we're ever going to grow up in this nation, it would help if we cut through these judgments in order to get to our basic, interdependent reality. The reason we're still angry at Keating is that he's a proxy for our epic disappointment with one another - why do we treat one another so badly? But what if we stopped taking it so personally and actually just created a society where there were specific laws preventing abuses like his?

After all the pain and misery Charles Keating caused, what was the outcome? Remember? A few watered-down rules in the US Senate preventing appearances of impropriety, and some financial regulations that were quickly rendered obsolete by the go-go 90s. Amnesia, it seems, is a rather basic human feature. After the 2008 crash, did we send any Wall Street malefactors to jail? Did we close the loopholes they exploited? Did we ban all those "financial instruments of mass destruction"?

Well?

It's so much more fun to think we're victims, isn't it? And here are the Kochs, Blankfeins, Dimons, et al, doing it right before our hypnotized eyes. And is there even a single person reading this comment who think they'll be held to some legal standard? If so, which ones? Most Americans prefer some stock-character villains, maybe a black kid in pants hanging on his hips, or a Mexican woman in Phoenix walking her four kids under the age of five down some hot sidewalk.

The last thing we want to do is grow up. Instead of tackling climate change, we'll laugh at Al Gore's waistline. And before we tackle income inequality, we'll jeer at Obama for being an affirmative action hire.

Please, if you're human and halfway sentient, cry.

Charlie owned Phoenix for a number of years when he was riding high. The Council and City Managers jumped on any request Charlie had. My main memory of Charlie is watching the development of the Phoenix Swim Club Pool at 30th Street and Campbell. He bought the closed school and converted it into an Olympic venue for his grandson Gary Hall. The entire building process was done by people from Continental Homes. I talked to a few of them who said their time was charged to various subdivisions that Continental was building around the valley. They could not understand why they were building a swimming pool far away from where their normal jobs were. Of course, if the boss wanted it, the boss got it.

Jon i could not think of an intelligent comment for Tim and boo-ums over on keep out the vote.

Mother Theresa has come up to many times here as a default go-to for "good." I'm with Donna Gratehouse on this (though "terrible person" might be a bit strong.) I've never been able to shake off Chris Hitchens' indictment of her trope to power.

cal, I dropped an "asnide" over at "Keep Out The Vote."

1600 boxes of American Continental Corp records are preserved at ASU Libraries' Arizona Collection including a large quantity of trial records and deposition videos and transcripts. Placed there by order of the late Hon. Richard M. Bilby. All open for research but guides to the materials are paper and cumbersome.

Rob thanks for the info however at 74 years of age I would probably be 148 by the time I went thru the stuff. Instead I
think I will just drive to Mexico and research Blue Agave plant substances.
Maybe I will see a Blue Sajuaro?

@Soleri: re "That is, grind any human infant through the same tube of environment and nature, you'll get pretty much the same sausage on the other side."

I don'tknow. I've run into people that are just, as we'd say in the South "bad to the bone".

@Soleri re; "He was Donald Trump minus the comb-over and humility." Still LOL

Before I go to sleep.
The good news:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/04/wind-power-emissions_n_5087308.html

The bad news:You're too late. Indiana's Pence is taxing Hoosiers an additional $100 to their utility bill if they use wind or solar because - and I quote him - those who use renewable energy are free riders.

Do you know who I am? :)

Thought there was a pretty low bar here for the term “sociopath”. As a sanity check, I went to Wiki to see just what the term means. Sociopath = “…the defining feature is violation of social norms, or antisocial behavior….”. and “…defines psychopathy as not having a sense of empathy or morality, but sociopathy as only differing in sense of right and wrong from the average person”

Further: “sociopathy is preferred by those that see the causes as due to social factors and early environment, and the term psychopathy preferred by those who believe that there are psychological, biological, and genetic factors involved in addition to environmental factors”

Please disregard comment earlier. I didn’t know what I was talking about. I had the terms sociopath and psychopath meant, more or less, the same thing.

Labels, labels. WKG using the above definition given the social norms it appears Keating was not a sociopath but just a normal every day smart guy playing loose and fancy with the rules about speeding.
But everyone speeds.
Or is it every one greeds

Which reminds me that hard as they tried the Crooked Baptist Foundation couldnt get my super religious very frugal Scottish mother to give them a dime, as she thought they were crooks before Terry Greene Sterling exposed them for the crooks they were. (See New Times)

Jon and Soleri wasnt there another guy before Keating in Phoenix that finally got rolled out of town by the financial power structure in the 60's maybe early 70"s?

Cal, I assume you're thinking of Ned Warren. My memory is no longer sharp, so I'm really struggling with that Arizona Savings guy from the 1960s. I want to say Fendler, but it's probably a mash-up of some kind.

Soleri, yes we failed to push for regulations and laws to fix the problems. Stupid, but our govts do what Wall Street and other ultrawealthy want. Every so often, Wall Street seems able to concoct a new method of theft. I agree we are the problem. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't make judgments or consider ourselves victims. In fact, both are helpful in focusing our attention on problems. (We sure don't care about OTHER people's problems.) That focus is so lacking that most folks today are afraid to discuss problems (you're labeled a whiner if they complain about even horrific problems.) Fewer still take action. But back to your point: humans are interchangeable and will all do the same thing if cast in the same life story. Fascinating concept. Agreed we possess no special brain assets making us predetermined good or evil. Not so sure we won't respond differently due to the way our brains are wired. Some folks are left-handed, some are left-brained or right-brained, some seem smarter. Neanderthals are believed to have been less agressive, hence extinct. It's doubtful traits are 100 percent learned behavior. But I wasn't refering to us not doing what Keating did if our life story were identical to his. I meant most of us, as we evolved during our own different lives, wouldn't do what he did. We all make mistakes, but rarely of that magnitude, hurting that many victims.

ah yes Fendler!!
later gotta go to the mountain.

Soleri, yes we failed to prosecute bankers and fix the problems. Why? Because our plutocracy does what Wall Street bankers want. Congress won't take on the big banks. Why? Americans don't care; few even read about these issues. Up to one of eight Americans lost homes, and even those people didn't riot. I'm amazed by recent traction for the HFT inequities. Maybe it doesn't matter: Wall Street bankers are adept at concocting new theft MO's. I agree we are the problem. But wouldn't help to ban judgments about others or stop considering ourselves victims. In fact, both are helpful in focusing our attention on problems. Focus is so lacking, most folks are afraid to discuss problems (you're labeled a whiner if you mention problems.) Fewer still take action. You suggest human sausages are interchangeable and will act alike if given the same script. Fascinating concept. Agreed nobody is special or good. But we might respond differently to the script, depending how our brains are wired. Some folks are left-handed, some are left-brained or right-brained, some seem smarter. Neanderthals are believed to have been less aggressive, hence extinct. It's doubtful traits are 100 percent learned behavior. I'll keep labeling Keating a jerk. I doubt many folks would do what he did. We all make mistakes, but rarely of that magnitude, hurting that many victims.

I thought I could replace my hastily written comment with an edited version, but can't find a way. Hence the dupe.

i wonder what honest Jack Swilling would think of Phoenix today?
cal lash on the road, cruising up Rose Mofford blvd, Miami, AZ.

Gregory, we're pretty much on the same page here in our attitudes about malefactors of great wealth. The point I was trying to make, which was probably too subtle to be worth anything, is that we don't have to really add any extra layer of "dislike" here. As humans, we often do that at the expense of our own effectiveness. Rich people, of course, have great power but we don't have to invest them with superhuman powers as well. They can't make us vote against our own self-interests, for example. Yet we do anyway. Why? One reason is that is that we waste so much energy disliking them - or anybody, for that matter - that we deprive ourselves of simple clarity. People do bad things all the time. Why waste your time taking it personally? Why not simply mitigate the damage people can do with their bad behavior? Instead, we devise endless melodramas about how evil they are and what kinds of metaphysical punishments they deserve. This is why people believe in God - we're not content to think that love makes the world go round. We also want the bad guys punished for all eternity. The moment you check out of his world for the "next one", you're no longer in reality, however. You're living in a daydream, and probably voting Republican.

Keating's example could have caused us to really get serious about the clever ways financopaths have of gaming the system and bringing ruin on to ordinary people and society. But what happened, instead? We went back to sleep immediately. Given the epic collapse in 2008, you might think people would really want some harsh laws to deal with financial grifters. Nope! What did people settle for instead? A lot of bullshit how they themselves were to blame for buying more house than they could afford (see: Rick Santelli). Or black people for getting mortgages through the Community Re-Investment Act. Or liberals for practicing class envy. And why did these deflections work? Because our politics has been burlesqued to a morality fable where good people work hard but "others" (blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, et al) were "takers"

What if instead of falling for that con, Americans simply demanded that we fix the system so it wouldn't happen again? Well, that would demand that we be emotionally mature enough not to fall for the con in the first place. But as you can see, we weren't.

I would be happy if people were smart enough to understand that a rich sharpie is probably a greater criminal threat than a black kid on a stolen bicycle. But Republicans figured out that it's really easy to get voters riled up about low-grade but vivid threats as opposed to the much-greater threats to society that monied special interests pose on an ongoing basis.

If you really want to shit on Keating's grave, do this: stop falling for the delusion that Keating ever had any power you didn't give him in the first place. Tell yourself, yeah, given the system of incentives in place, I can understand why Keating did what did. And you know what? Rather than conning myself with self-flattery about what a noble victim I am, I'll go directly to the system and fix it so it won't happen again (repeat as necessary ad infinitum). Sadly, there is no hell for Keating to suffer eternal torment. But there is this heaven: the moment you wake up.

@ Greg Smith: “Why? Americans don't care; few even read about these issues.” We Tea Party types – and it’s move of an affinity group than a party – are enraged by the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, the crony capitalism, the “too big to fail”, the lack of prosecution of felonious actions.

I know the Occupy kids downtown certainly were. I used to talk them whenever I could. They were mad as hell.

People here sure seem to care.
I think an enormous degree of extreme discontent regarding these issues. It’s just never been able to coalesce into a block that’s given any credibility. I think a lot of this has to do with big journalism being in bed with big government. WSJ/Fox, etc. to the GOP and WSJ/CNN etc. to the Dems. Anybody else is either ignored or slandered.

Here’s a racket I hope we get to sometime: The “Higher Education” racket.

analyze this lazy americans!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/05/afghanistan-presidential-election_n_5096299.html

Despite the Taliban threat, turnout was seven million out of 12 million eligible voters, or about 58 percent, according to preliminary estimates, election commission chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said. That was well above the 4.5 million who voted at the last election in 2009, as voters refused to be cowed by the militants.

Soleri, as I was enjoying a cup of black substance in old downtown Globe today it sprang upon me that this was not Chinatown anymore. Top of the World and the Keystone Hotel are gone, the bricks from the hotel sold and the bucks going to the boy scouts.
U almost got that one passed me but I have watched Jack in Chinatown enough times that it suddenly came to me as I stared into that black coffee I saw Charlie Keating and Noah Cross.

Noah Cross

On the surface, Noah Cross appears to be a pleasant, jovial man. His speech is easy and untroubled, and his facial expressions remain open and friendly no matter what he’s saying. He has a knowing, faintly chauvinistic charm and a ready smile that manages to avoid any trace of psychosis or cruelty. As we discover, however, this harmless, appealing exterior renders the inner, sociopathic nature that it hides all the more frightening. Cross feels that neither society’s laws nor the basic laws of human decency should apply to him, and he treats human life with contempt. When asked about the rape of his daughter, he blames his actions on the depths of depravity people are capable of sinking to, but he gives the explanation with such utter calmness that it’s clear he doesn’t feel that he’s lowered himself at all. If Cross has a basic drive beyond self-interest, it is his need to control everything around him. From the town’s water supply to the profitable valley land to Evelyn’s and Katherine’s innocence, anything he feels might have value must be firmly in his possession.

Excellent doing Soleri

Mulwray Drive
time changes things
like the fruit stand that turns into a filling station
but the foot prints and the signs from the past are everywhere.
they have been fighting over this land ever since the first Spanish missionary showed the indians the benefit of religon, horses and a few years of forced labor.
the indians had it right all along, they respected ghosts
you cant forget the past anymore than you can change it
Jake.

@Cal: Wow. Powerful stuff. Any comparison to Rouge and Jack's character (Jake?)?

sure, its Chinatown!

I'm going to go with the "shit on his grave" dude. At this point, it 's the least we can do.

Keating behaved badly as a human being and our soft hearted society let him get away with it.

Had he tried the same thing in Territorial Arizona, he would have ended up at the end of a rope.

Times change. We're too soft. Bad people take advantage of that.

Reb U will be happy to note that the web has posted 26 photos of
"Notable People we Lost"
Keating is number one while
Pete Seeger is number 17.

Since you R into defecation a quote from a guy I know about a guy he hates,
"If he was on fire I would not piss on him."

And I do not agree with your assessment of the OLD WEST (a myth for sure and mostly fabricated bullshit). Cattle and land barons, rail road and mining moguls were murdering folks with little or no recourse and hiring assassins (read Tom Horn and they are still hiring the Hornes) to kill a staving man that stole a cow

Which do U think was the greater of criminal acts, Keating Fraud or the erection of the Glenn Canyon Dam?

http://harpers.org/archive/2014/04/razing-arizona/

I'm curious what the reasons would be for hating Keating if you're on the right. I thought we were supposed to unleash capitalists and let them do their thing. Government was supposed to be bad precisely because it interfered with their magical wealth creation. Now, it turns out government was right? Don't get me wrong. I can understand why the right loves to punish people, particularly if they're poor and unattractive (read: brown). But Keating was behaving according to your precepts and you're angry?

We went through an epic struggle after the 2008 crash to get the financial sector re-regulated and guess what happened? Not much. The right watered down Dodd-Frank to very weak tea, and it's done pretty much everything it could to stymie the implementation of those parts that did make it through the sausage factory. It tried to kill the Consumer Protection Office, and then denied its chief advocate, Elizabeth Warren, its chairmanship.

Any of you folks on the right upset with that?

Or, were you more upset with Obama for being "born in Kenya"? Or trying to save the economy with a too-modest stimulus package? Or stifling the "producers" by coddling the "moochers" with things like unemployment compensation and food stamps?

I'm all in favor of having this debate and over and over and over until we clarify our positions. I just want to say I remember the '80s fairly well, and who deregulated the S&Ls, and who voted for it (mostly Republicans, but with a predictably large swath of blue dogs Dems), and what the end result was. Oddly, even though this fit your ideology then and still does today, you want to punish Keating some more by shitting on his grave

Why?

So these women were just more of Charlies victims?
Oh Charlie, "you are going to do it to me, arent you?
Oh U r going to do it to me arent U?
Oh god do it to me.
Shut up, get on your knees and stick your ass up in the air"

Pay roll, give K a raise to 100000 a year and a unlimited clothing allowance.

ok i will agree with Reb and Soleri Keating was a"BAD" guy. But there are at least 5000 more folks just like him.
They belive the rest of us are commodities.
Translation Keating was a "bad " guy but he was never anyones whore.

Here is the deal Soleri. We have Fred Ward make a movie around Keating and his womans financial army and we call it (not Miami Blues) but Phoenix Red Hots

I've never been a John Hughes fan but I decided to watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off last night. It had been languishing in my Netflix queue for a couple of years but I finally relented. I'll have a '80s time capsule experience and relive the golden years of Ronald Reagan's America!

Yccch.

First off, apologies to anyone I might have offended through the decades for laughing at your anti-Ted Kennedy tirades. I finally get it. A teenage sociopath-in-training fakes illness and skips high school one day. He also bullies his best friend into joining him on an escapade in downtown Chicago. He spends his well-heeled parents' money freely, wreaks all sorts of chaos, causes his best friend significant psychological pain, never suffers any parental, let alone legal, consequences, endures no learning curve, and ends the movie as he began it, smirking at his own cleverness. It was the most popular movie of 1986 and acclaimed by critics. It's Rotten Tomatoes rating is 84%. It was Dan Quayle's all-time favorite movie.

And you wonder this nation is having a crisis.

Okay, I do understand the movie. It's supposed to be a cartoon where we laugh at the Roadrunner character sticking it to Wile E Coyote at every juncture. Relax! It's meant to be fun!

Still, I had to take a shower afterwards.

All the tropes of America's exuberant love affair with capitalism are on display. Never apologize. Laugh at the authorities. Get away with what you can. Dazzle people with charm and personality. And never take responsibility. It's like the Iran-Contra scandal acted out by teenagers.

Think how we just went through the worst financial crises in modern American history, how none of the playerz were held to any legal account, how we still envy them for their brazenly opulent lifestyles, how indeed, they consider themselves to be victims because some people think unkind thoughts about them. It's not a John Hughes movie. It's real life. But it's hard to tell the difference nowadays.

I'm one of those killjoys who loses at life because I think the rich should pay much higher taxes and held to stricter standards than common low-lifes. Republicans have my number. Chances are, they have yours too. But at least 40% of this nation would still vote for a Rand Paul, the closest real-life analog to Ferris Bueller I can think of. 48% voted for Mitt Romney, who cloaked his sociopathy in gauzy tones of family togetherness. And then there was Ted Kennedy, who actually did appear to learn something. We still hate him.


The talk upthread about excreting on Keating's grave reminds me of monkeys who hurl their feces at zoo strollers.

Old world thinking by new world monkeys doesn't get it done. Surely you are better than apemen.

The deeper thinking about Keating goes like this:

How it is that someone with Keating's physiology (pencil-necked) was able to get to the top of the tree? Given the law of the jungle, for every man Keating could physically outcompete there were 20 that could break him in half.

Still he got to the top of tree.

How?

The answer Keating, republicans, libertarians, and teabaggers would give is: Rugged Individualism.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. As noted above (pay attention again to this): for every man Keating could best there were 20 that could beat him like they owned him.

So really, Keating got to the top of the tree because of cooperation. That's the only way. It is all cooperation: from the agreement on fiat currency to the agreement on laws and ethics and government regs.

Without cooperation Keating is a pencil-necked nobody having the sand kicked in his eyes by nearly everyone.

With cooperation, and only with cooperation, Keating gets to the top of tree, and beats his chests and screams "rugged-individualism".

Meanwhile the apemen down below hear Keating and the Kochs thumping their chest in the top of the trees.

Half the apemen want to throw their feces in frustration, the other half, actually believe the nonsense that Keating and Koch got to the top because of some super-physiology that normal apemen lack. And that just as the those at the top earned their place, so they themselves have earned their place below.

Very few of these creatures realize that without cooperation they are nothing more than a tribe of chimps chattering about the virtues of competition.

Well said anonymous.
A question? How do we get enough cooperation to stop the wall street, the white collar criminals from continuing their fraudulent ways while parading their drama about NRA rugged individualism. More time in prison (or just time in prison).
And maybe free up a cell bunk for them by not locking up marijuana users and mothers trying to find work and not have anymore children.

And anonymous: Political corruption made near impossible to prosecute.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/?flv=1

no time or money to go after white collar criminals as we are busy deporting dishwashers.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/us/more-deportations-follow-minor-crimes-data-shows.html?hp&_r=1

Did the Anonymous web site say Rothschild is a sociopath?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKwXDL7loLc

Expr, excellent article

@Soleri: “I'm curious what the reasons would be for hating Keating if you're on the right.” I’m righty more than anything else. Although I can be pretty lefty of certain things. He engaged in fraudulent activity – that’s a good reason to hate anybody. Like the whole gang at Enron. As Rouge noted, he was convicted and should have done some serious jail time. Conviction overturned! BS conviction for something else.

Then “I thought we were supposed to unleash capitalists and let them do their thing.” Exactly; and if things go right and you make a lot of money – good for you. If things go wrong and you lose your ass; tough. No bailouts. No “too big to fail”. I took a bath of bank stocks. Where’s my bailout?

Re “magical wealth creation”: well some of it seems almost magical; social media comes to mind. But most of it is very mundane; Koch Industries come to mind. A collection of very boring businesses.

With regard to bank regulation, I certainly think Glass-Stiegel Act should be reinstated.

I’m not going to come to the defense of the banking industry or Wall Street for the 2008 debacle. If anything, I like to pile on. But there is more to the story. This was across the board greed. Every shady loan originator, crooked appraiser, liar loan applicant, homeowners with 2nd and 3rd mortgages, property flippers, etc. Greed was pervasive. Probably still is.

Just ran into this tidbit:

The Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America has been published annually since 1982.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/list/

wkg, I think it's true greed is pervasive. Which is why I stated that we probably shouldn't make take people like Keating too personally. He is, after all, just another all-too typical human manifestation of an age-old problem. Still, it's one thing to be a small-time player pretending to be a master of the universe, and something else entirely to have the power and wealth of a Keating. One can disturb our sense of right and wrong but the other can potentially destroy the economy overall.

The rules we relaxed so the Keatings of this world could run amok constitute a lesson we need to relearn over and over and over. We had 50+ years of economic boredom and prosperity. What was wrong with that? Apparently, the New Deal came with a huge psychic toll, our animal spirits burdened with onerous regulations. Cut all that red tape! Let the good times roll! Which we did. And to quote Ronald Reagan, "we hit the jackpot!".

Our current situation is, if anything, much worse. We have been whistling past a graveyard of untold toxic debt that are still on ledger books. If we did the emotionally-satisfying thing of letting the banks holding that debt collapse, we would also collapse our economy. Too Big To Fail could easily be solved, of course, by setting strict limits on the size of banks. But our titans would scream bloody murder, and I suspect you folks on the right would agree with them. Too Big is a sacred right in a free economy, blah, blah, blah.

Not all economies fared as badly as ours in this global crisis. Canada, for example, maintained their system of banking regulations. Boring! And effective. Once again, we don't have to be moralists about the greed of others, which is a human feature we'll never be rid of. But we can be effective because we have been effective in the past. It's not a mystery! We know how! Whether it's the Kochs externalizing all the environmental costs of their toxic industries, or Goldman Sachs inventing new ways to plunder and pillage investor wealth, strict regulations coupled with effective enforcement would do the trick. Would you stand up to your right-wing thought police who want to neuter the SEC? Please say yes! Then spread the word. The fairy tale of an untrammeled free market is too childish and insane to survive inspection.


Canadian banking rules and they have health care too.
Soleri, Reagan deregulated, savings and loans and Keating bought one and then legally made direct investments in Hotels, etc. Then the government re-regulated and Keating using all kinds of devices tried to stay afloat by breaking the law 100's of times and by back dating to avoid regulation.
His story was he believed in the investments. and its obvious a number of them paid out well.

Side-note: Why the Australian and Chinese navies are "all wet" in their search for the missing Malaysian airliner in the Indian Ocean; will sonar-ous jellyfish have the last laugh? Also, the latest claims from the Malaysian government on the plane's flight path debunked; just posted to the comments section, here:

http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2014/03/when-push-comes-to-shove.html

Mr. Soleri, almost too many issues on the table. Let me talk about just one or two. I find the concentration of wealth to be very troubling. But I find the concentration of Federal Power to be equally as troubling. The combo of private wealth and Federal Power is, what’s the word, a nightmare I guess. Reminds one or Nazi Germany.

soleri -

Very perceptive on Ferris Bueller. I, too, enjoyed the "slob vs. snob" humour - without spotting its wider implications.

If you haven't seen it, you'll enjoy this article (also an eye-opener for me):

Baby boomer humor’s big lie: “Ghostbusters” and “Caddyshack” really liberated Reagan and Wall Street

Off topic a slight bit: I don’t want to sound paranoid. But let’s face the facts. The NSA is recording every word that’s being posted here. Yes I’m wkg in bham, but if they care to find out, they know exactly who I am. The only solace I can take is that I’m too small a fry to go after. I’m not too happy about the concentrated power of the Koch brothers, but as far as I know they cannot authorize a no-knock raid on my apartment. The DEA, they can come in, trash the entire place, and go “sorry, wrong address”.

Petro, thanks for that piece. I'm not sure I would have picked up on the class dynamics in those movies, although of the ones cited, I only really enjoyed Animal House, the earliest (and only pre-Reagan) movie. I used to think the genius of the magazine National Lampoon was Doug Kenney, who not long after the movie fell to his death from a cliff in Hawaii. Suicide? No one knows for sure. He had a small role in the movie as the nerd with the packed pocket protector. One of the all-time great National Lampoon project was the 1964 High School Yearbook, which Kenney masterminded. A true comic genius.

Ferris Bueller stands out as a character in that he's clearly a winner. There's no revenge of the nerd dynamic here. He's upper-middle class, blessed with money, good looks, a hot girl friend, and a nice future. Most importantly, he knows it. So, where does the humor come from? Well, the high school prinicpal/nemesis who tries to hold him to account. Ferris easily beats him with his cleverness and coolness. Ferris is like splashy advertising copy for some alcoholic drink geared to young men.

A liberal blogger I read wrote a couple of months ago that he was happy to see Jay Leno retire because his humor was "punching down". That is, he usually found some "loser" to mock. In a more ways than I can count, humor has usually been a subtle means of redressing power imbalances between people and classes (the Frank piece in Salon is very explicit in addressing that). There's something a little wrong about right-wing humor for that reason, and it explains why there have been so few successful right-wing comedians. The ones we've seen, Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay, Dennis Miller, and the boring PJ O'Rourke always "punch down", and they're hardly funny except in the way Ann Coulter is funny for being such a dick.

Liberalism's great advantage is that it notices the ways people have of protecting their worst features for no discernible reason. You could define these features as "psychological obtuseness". Stephen Colbert gets how funny Bill O'Reilly is because of his obliviousness. Bill Maher's impatience with right-wing excuses and evasions is pretty much his whole shtick. One of my hopes is that as people become less defensive about their status, that they'll see the humor in our common frailty as humans. We don't have to be trapped by defensiveness if we are simply alert to the ways we try to puff ourselves up with self-importance. It's one of the greatest releases in life.

wkg, I'm not sure how I would assuage your qualms about government power except to say it has to be big enough to be an effective counterbalance to private power. The reason anarcho-capitalists/libertarians fear government is that they assume, rightly I think, that government can check the worst abuses of con men, monopolists, investment bankers, and plutocrats. So, their project is to demonize government at every turn, starve it, and reduce it in size to the point it can fit inside some woman's chastity belt.

Seriously, it's an odd inversion of the proper role of government to worry more about the private parts of ladies than the grotesque abuses of financopaths.

Okay, let's go to fascism, which many on the right interpret to mean Michelle Obama hectoring people to eat better. Or her husband adopting the Republican health-care plan as his own. My own fear about fascism is more basic where large corporations interweave with government power to the point you don't know where one ends and the other begins. Examples abound like Big Oil, Big Ag, defense contractors, Big Pharma, the Deep State of surveillance snoops and private security companies.

I'm always impressed how right-wingers find the greatest dangers in their own most obvious tendencies. Like using governmental agencies to harass people, or to threaten people. Remember Richard Nixon and his enemies list, using the FBI to find Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, and the IRS to audit Hollywood celebrities? Remember how right-wingers like to threaten Muslims for opening a mosque? How they tried to get government power to prevent one form opening near Ground Zero?

I suppose you can be an authoritarian of the left although it really seems to be much more characteristic of the right. I was amazed how right-wingers fell seemingly in love with Vladimir Putin's manliness. Suddenly, Obama went from being this Marxist thug who wanted to use Sharia law to force Christians into gay marriages to a kind of Mr Rogers with erectile dysfunction.

Quick test: who do you think loves civil liberties more? The left or the right? Who was more interested in protecting the Snowden/Manning/Assange crowd from government retribution? Who wants to hold the police to account? Who takes seriously the civil rights of minorities, even unpopular ones? Who thinks atheists have as much right to live in this country as fundamentalists?

We have met the enemy and he looks an awful lot like Pat Buchanan in a Confederate uniform patrolling the border for illegal brown skin. Just sayin'.

Great comment Soleri
"We have met the enemy and he looks an awful lot like Pat Buchanan in a Confederate uniform patrolling the border for illegal brown skin. Just sayin'."

WKG, the feds knew who U were a few seconds after you first signed on. AKA's are as worthless as (you fill in the words)

Cal Lash
Hal's pal (of course U know Hal and David have a son, that knows all things. Susan Calvins dream has come true and Orwells too)

@Mr.Soleri: Let me try this again. I am very troubled about private and Federal power. My problem is not with trying to match the two. I would like to limit both. They’re both too powerful.

I’ve got to say, where did immigration policy, atheism, abortion, gay marriage..…come from? Each is a separate topic by itself. While “opinions”, for lack of a better word-because that’s about as much as you can expect from most people, cluster for the most part, they are at most tangential to the topic at hand.

wkg, if you're worried about fascism, you have to specify your social context. You just don't elect a government, you empower your tribe, your social attitudes, your values, and your fears. That's why I'm a liberal. I want a government that not only honors the broad sweep of American life but protects it. Freedom, in my view, is meaningless otherwise. Yet the right tends to define it not individually but culturally. "Christian nation" for example. Or as father of Charles and David Koch defined it, a white nation (Fred Koch was co-founder of The John Birch Society).

When fascism arose in Europe, it had some characteristics that almost completely overlap with what we see on on the American right today. Such as heightened racial consciousness, nationalism, militarism, corporatism, scapegoating, and marked hostility to left-wing political movements.

If you're worried about the American government spying on you, or oppressing you, or using its powers against you in some arbitrary and capricisous way, join the American Civil Liberties Union. Protect every American's right to be free in their conscience and their person. Don't empower the government to abuse other people just because they're unpopular. Don't let the government become an extension of corporate power where it facilitates the expropriation of resources for private gain.

The difference between right and left may not be a gulf so much as hedge between neighbors. If so, I welcome you to our common project.

@Mr. Soleri: "You just don't elect a government, you empower your tribe, your social attitudes, your values, and your fears. That's why I'm a liberal. I want a government that not only honors the broad sweep of American life but protects it. Freedom, in my view, is meaningless otherwise." I couldn't agree more.

John Birch is alive and living in a condo at Central and Camelback. His army is busy killing wolves in Idaho. I heard he is selling the condo and moving back to a house in the wilderness supplied by the NRA. The reason he is moving; those liberals at Changing Hands are opening a book store at 300 W Camelback and also John found out that Jon may secretly be living very near him.

WKG, dont convert due to proselytizing of liberal philosophers. Just hang in there with your thoughts. Its good for this blog to hear what you have to say.

OK Emil, where is the plane?
Reminds me of an old tv show set on an island and one of the characters at the beginning of the show said, "here comes the plane" a couple of times. I have lost the name of the show.

Jon good post on Front Pages
Call climate change what it is, Violence.

here U go John: a 300 million dollar athletic center? how about a 300 million dollar center for brain development as opposed to reducing the brain to a piece of mush.
Just obscene.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/05/pat-fitzgerald-union_n_5097986.html

Jon not John

Cal, don't worry about me "converting" wkg. I've been at this game for decades and I've never converted anyone. Maybe I've nudged a few people in my direction, although even here, I suspect, I've probably nudged an equal number further away from my positions. Persuasion is not only hard, it's virtually impossible.

So, why even try? I think the point is to clarify your thoughts and eventually purify them of their dross. We all get stuck, needless to say, believing things that aren't effective, and therefore untrue. I used to think, for example, that it was important to consolidate the working class as a political movement. I must have thought I was Joe Hill. Now, I get that the economic landscape for such romantic thinking no longer exists. I was living in a dead dream.

This does point out something, however. All the various energies that we put out there in the ethers are not completely lost. The "hive mind" has a life of its own, although it's too mysterious to really understand. We know it exists, however. People change their opinions in unexpected ways. Gay marriage is an epic shift. But so is the shotgun marriage of billionaires and wage slaves in the heartland.

At any rate, typing is pretty much a hypnotic induction in which thoughts appear on a screen and enchant the bot at the keyboard into thinking they're real. We really don't know, in other words, if there's are sufficient sparks to connect one firefly to another, only that the sparks themselves are often pretty enough to enjoy on their own terms.

Soleri well said,
poetic,
great undulating cadence
I want to go to your church
Reminds me of when I stopped in Vicksburg while walking across america in 95 and went to Mens Day at the all Black Southern Baptist Church. Great rhythm and good sincere and honest folks.

cal,
I agree with you about Soleri. I hope he keeps sending sparks for us to enjoy.

Cal Lash wrote:

"OK Emil, where is the plane?"

I said where I think the plane is back on March 17 and March 19th, and on numerous occasions since then: in the jungles of Thailand or, possibly, in the rainforests of Java:

http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2014/03/when-push-comes-to-shove.html

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