4 Sale Best Offer

After Baltimore officials made the wrenching decision to close three fire companies later this summer, the City Council initially sought to avert the cuts with a new money-raising strategy: it passed a resolution this month urging the administration to explore selling ads on the city’s fire trucks.

But in exploring the option, Baltimore is joining dozens of other financially struggling cities, transit systems and school districts around the country that are trying to weather the economic downturn by selling advertisements, naming rights and sponsorships to raise money. — NYTimes

Boy is this the wrong approach. But not in the way you might think.

Millions of Americans think this is wrong on principle. They worry that certain public institutions — police, fireman, libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. — must be kept “pure;” isolated from the taint, let alone influence, of private underwriting that (they fear) might impact the services those agencies and representatives provide.

What a giggle.

There is a principle here: This is America, and Everything Is For Sale. Everything. There is a measurable value for which a price can be set on EVERYTHING, from justice, life and death, education, and freedom to personal safety, pussy, and illegal drugs.

Ads on fire trucks? Lame. That’s classic small-ball thinking.  Band-Aids on cancer. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. What’s this going to raise, and how much difference can it make?

What you want to do is sell the rights to the elected officials themselves. In Baltimore, for example, there should be an open auction at which the Mayor, City Council and school board are sold to the highest bidder, and obligated to wear the winners’ logo prominently on their outerwear. Instead of referring to the “District 4 Representative,” he or she should be known as “Councilman AT&T “ or “Mayor BankAmerica.”

Ultimately, aren’t these the whores whose asses are for sale anyway?  Doesn’t it begin and end with what they get out of any deal that comes along?

And we need to talk about real money, here. None of this stingy five-figures over two years bullshit. We’re selling whole cities — let’s see the real money needed to zero out the metropolitan deficit and balance the budget.

Elevate this sound American principle to the county, state, and Federal level, and you’ve resolved the nation’s budgetary woes in one fell swoop.

I suspect this honest appraisal will make many people uncomfortable, especially in an election year. So send me your hate mail, and for $100 I will email you an individualized reply, complete with my personal logo.

This entry was posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to 4 Sale Best Offer

  1. Ya' Gotta' Guessit says:

    Baltimore for sale, huh?
    You haven’t watched “The Wire”, have you?

    “The Bunk don’t swim – don’t float good, neither.”

  2. Beardsley says:

    On the one hand, I don’t see a problem with advertising like this. On the other hand, it’s a clear demonstration that our civic institutions have broken down — these kinds of services are necessary, and should be provided by government and paid for by taxes.

  3. Will B. Donne says:

    What’s the issue here? There have been ads on busees since the horseless carriage took over. Inside and out, last I looked.

  4. 60s Radical says:

    This is all so pointless. Public officials have always been for sale. The problem is they keep the money personally.
    Ads on fire trucks…? Chump change. We need to sell naming rights to the cities.
    Bal’more could become Verizonville… for the right price.

    New York City could be Trump City! Cha-ching$ But, he’d probably only pay for Manhattan.
    However, that would still not generate enough revenue for the big spenders in government.
    Auction naming rights to counties and, yup, states! Those sonofabitch 1%ers would spend dearly to satisfy their egos. California, New York, Washington could generate huge revenue. Look at the list of potential bidders! http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/list/

    But, don’t mess with Texas! It won’t be there. It could become Walton and the whole family could move there and make it the largest Wal-Mart IN THE WORLD!
    I could go on… The United States of Apple could get more money for our federal government but, the Fed just creates money with computer key strokes.

    If we really wanted to solve our governments’ debt problems we would get to the root of it…, nip it in the bud… prune the waste, fraud and abuse. We need to find out who hires our public officials, who puts them into office and allows them to lord over and plunder us.
    Once we find those people we have to make them accountable, because self government is not a spectator sport.

    • Merkin Way says:

      Too, remember that Baltimore (just for example) is already named after a person — its founder, Lord Baltimore. “Pennsylvania” is “Penn’s Woods,” as in William Penn. They spent the money, they got the name. We’re already there. We just need some re-branding to flush additional cash into the system in place..

    • Key Liam says:

      Gross. If I still lived in New York and the name changed to Trump City, I’d move to Jersey or Connecticut so fast I’d leave skid marks on his bald fucking head.

  5. Mr. Mirth says:

    You are correct, sir!
    Let the auctions begin!


  6. mkhall says:

    Florida has a great head-start on this, what with changing their state motto to “We Will Not Be Undersold!”

    • Mr. Mirth says:

      I guess I misheard. I thought Flori-duh was standing on principal with the motto:
      “We Cannot Be Sold… At Any Price!”

      • mkhall says:

        If Florida cannot be sold it’s only because they’re having trouble finding a sufficiently gullible buyer.

  7. Mr. Mirth says:

    You are correct, sir! (or madam)

  8. Dawgbowl says:

    All laffs aside, does anybody else find it disturbing that because the people we elect to run our government can’t balance a budget worth a damn, we end up with less police protection, fewer libraries and other public facilities, short-handed fire departments, and darkened streets?

    And then we hear dickwads running for national office talking about “American exceptionalism.”

    • Mr. Mirth says:

      All politics is LOCAL.
      YOU elect or allow to be elected, your school board, city officials, state representative, state senator, U.S. Senator.and Representative in Congress
      (Don’t cal them Congressman, Congresswoman or Congress person. You elect YOUR REPRESENTATIVE.They are supposed to REPRESENT YOU and YOUR DISTRICT.)
      We all focus on the executive, the governor and the President. It’s the legislature that has the power, they control the money.
      No governor or President can spend a cent without a legislative appropriation..
      No governor or President can raise or lower your taxes no matter what they promise.
      A participatory democracy can only succeed with participation. If you don’t keep your eye on your officials consistently they will steal everything you care about and say it’s your fault.
      It really is that simple.
      Every election is important and every vote counts.
      Vote fore what you want or take what you get.
      You’ll get the government they deserve.

      Pardon my rant… I warned you….

  9. mkhall says:

    American exceptionalism is our unprecedented willingness to hand over our lives to anyone with more money than us. There’s no place on earth where it’s easier to buy power than the US. Instead of government existing to protect the citizens from forces beyond our individual control — direct or indirect international interference, natural disasters, simple rotten luck — in its current form it exists to ensure that the powerful have plenty, and that the powerless stay pacified.

    • Mr. Mirth says:


      We have become the Roman Empire… with electricity.
      The Romans pacified the people with Bread & Circuses.
      The people we have put in charge of us learned from that.
      They give us EBT cards, Superbowls and American Idol.
      The Roman Empire collapsed from gross corruption and moral decadence.
      Do you see any corruption in your government.
      The Barbarians simply walked into Rome and looted the remains.
      Look to our borders. The Barbarian hordes are being invited in by our corrupt government.

      Pardon my rant.

  10. Hugh Bris says:

    It’s hard not to notice that as more and more Americans have less and less money, money becomes even more important when it comes to obtaining very basic commodities like police protection and decent schools. Which is okay for people with more money, who can purchase security, private schools, etc. The principle even works on the highways: pay a toll for a ride in the express lane, or wait in a jam with the hoi poloi. Class warfare, anyone?

    • mkhall says:

      It’s not warfare when one side has automatic weapons and the other has pebbles and green twigs: it’s a slaughter.

      • Mr. Mirth says:

        Get thee to a gun store.
        Get a gun or few.

      • mkhall says:

        Even if I were of a mind to be violent — which I am not, though some people sorely tempt me — when one side of the class war rents out the NYPD for an afternoon, it makes it hard to catch up. And that’s without even counting the corporate armies which have become so popular the last ten years or so. Oh, sorry: private security firms and military contractors.

      • Mr. Mirth says:

        We rabble defeated the most powerful military of the time, the British Crown, to create this nation.
        Life is a daily battle.
        You either engage or acquiesce, whichever suits your conscience.

      • mkhall says:

        I”m certainly not acquiescing, but I’m choosing to fight in different arenas than the traditional field of battle. After all, the “rabble” has been somehow convinced that being lick-spittle lackeys of the 1% grants them special consideration from their corporatist masters.

      • Mr. Mirth says:

        “…the “rabble” has been somehow convinced that being lick-spittle lackeys of the 1% grants them special consideration from their corporatist masters.”

        Then, let’s abolish and outlaw all corporations and steal all the assets for redistribution.
        Any “lick-spittle lackey” employed by any corporation is part of the conspiracy of corporate evil.

        Then, we should murder all of the 1% and steal all of their wealth for redistribution!.

      • Piles says:

        Admirable plan, Mister Mirth. Eat the rich and all that. After all, the only reasonable solution to a genuine problem is extreme idiocy, right?

      • Mr. Mirth says:

        If “…the “rabble” has been somehow convinced that being lick-spittle lackeys of the 1% grants them special consideration from their corporatist masters.” Then, corporate lackies must be too stupid to think for themselves and corporations must be evil. If corporations are evil then they must be destroyed.
        If accumulating great wealth by honest, hard work, personal talent and ability is evil then, there is only one way to deal with evil.

        If successful individuals and highly profitable corporations have become so honestly and legally then they should be lauded for their success.

        If an individual or corporation has made ill-gotten gains through theft, fraud or other criminal activity then they should be prosecuted beyond the full extent of the law.

        The “extreme idiocy” is the clueless, Occupy morons who attack everyone who is successful like a bigoted mob.

      • mkhall says:

        Fortunately, Mr M, the clueless Occupy protesters you describe are largely a conservative boogeyman, and extraordinarily rare in the real world. Most are simply looking for the corporate “people” created by the Supreme Court to be held morally and criminally accountable for their illicit and/or immoral actions, and for the rest of America to turn off the TV and use their brains for a change.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh, oh… I guess we agree on some things.

      • Piles says:

        I’m guessing that Mister Mirth carefully maps out his logical arguments in crayons before reproducing them here.

      • 60s Radical says:

        That’s right. Don’t debate the points of the argument, attack the crayons.
        That’s a mature and intellegent debate tactic.
        I like crayons. Crayons are good.

      • mkhall says:

        Crayons are very good, particularly in a nice Peach Nehi reduction.

      • Piles says:

        Nothing against crayons, mkhall and Mr Mirth. But when I read exchanges like this:

        If “…the “rabble” has been somehow convinced that being lick-spittle lackeys of the 1% grants them special consideration from their corporatist masters.”

        Then, corporate lackies must be too stupid to think for themselves and corporations must be evil. If corporations are evil then they must be destroyed.

        ….. all I can think of is Alice in Wonderland, as sung by the Jefferson Airplane. I miss those days.

    • Living Will says:

      This stands out, Mr Mirth:
      “If successful individuals and highly profitable corporations have become so honestly and legally then they should be lauded for their success.”
      Would YOU describe the activities of Goldman Sachs and their peers as honest and legal? It seems like they were — after all, who has been accused of a crime and punished? But even if that came about, the billions they pocketed for themselves and their principals prove that they were highly successful, and so what if a middle manager or two goes to jail, and the company pays a relatively small fine. That’s collateral damage and pocket change.

      Laudable? I think not. Neither is Occupy, but at the very least, they’re on the right side of ther argument.

  11. Red White & Blue says:

    Why do you all hate America?

    • mkhall says:

      I don’t hate America; I hate an awful lot of Americans, though.

    • Lois Terms says:

      @RW&B: I don’t hate America, not even a little bit. I hate what is happening to it, and what I hate isn’t happening by accident, and I hate the ones who make it happen. Clear enough for you?

  12. 'Nonymous says:

    Red White & Blue:
    Here’s wisdom and love of America from one of their heroes:

    “God bless America? God BLESS America? God DAMN America!”
    — Rev. Jeremiah White, Barack Obama’s favorite pastor

  13. You May Call Me Pierre says:

    This system you propose here is already in place, and has been so since Day One. My insightful countryman, Alexander de Tocqueville, observed 150 years ago that America has the best Congress money can buy — a principle that works its way down to the most basic units of government. ‘T’was ever so, ‘t’will always be.

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