Applying for Wingnut Welfare

Much and more has been said about Niall Ferguson’s post-reality Obama rant masquerading as a cover story for Newsweek. It is been debunked and fact checked, as have Ferguson’s weak ass attempts to defend his word salad. But trying to hold the former historian to a reality based world is a fool’s errand. He doesn’t care. He has bigger fish to fry.

Stephen Marche over at Esquire gets to the heart of the matter:

Ferguson’s critics have simply misunderstood for whom Ferguson was writing that piece. They imagine that he is working as a professor or as a journalist, and that his standards slipped below those of academia or the media. Neither is right. Look at his speaking agent’s Web site. The fee: 50 to 75 grand per appearance. That number means that the entire economics of Ferguson’s writing career, and many other writing careers, has been permanently altered. Nonfiction writers can and do make vastly more, and more easily, than they could ever make any other way, including by writing bestselling books or being a Harvard professor. Articles and ideas are only as good as the fees you can get for talking about them. They are merely billboards for the messengers.

That number means that Ferguson doesn’t have to please his publishers; he doesn’t have to please his editors; he sure as hell doesn’t have to please scholars. He has to please corporations and high-net-worth individuals, the people who can pay 50 to 75K to hear him talk. That incredibly sloppy article was a way of communicating to them: I am one of you. I can give a great rousing talk about Obama’s failures at any event you want to have me at.

His Newsweek word salad was an application for Wingnut Welfare. His response to criticism is to play the victim of liberal bias–another sure fire way to increase his speaking fees from his Galtian overlords.

Ferguson used to be a historian–and a decent one at that. He has given that up.  Now he chases the Lords of crazytown and tells them what they want to hear in exchange for cash. He joins many other people who used to be good at something before they decide to live the rest of their lives on the wingnut dole.

Perhaps our society needs Wingnut Welfare Reform to force some of these grifters to work for a living.

Cheers






59 replies
  1. 1
    eldorado says:

    And that’s what Daddy does. He passes somebody else’s cake around and picks up the crumbs. But you have to imagine a lot of crumbs. And a great golden cake. And a lot of golden crumbs. And you have to imagine Daddy running around picking up every little golden crumb he can get his hands on.

    That’s what Daddy does.

  2. 2
    Maude says:

    By this reasoning, Ferguson is going to hit the jackpot.

  3. 3

    Sorry to go OT so soon but this site is hilarious “Shaming Dogs”. I am sure John could come up with one for Rosie. My favorite of the bunch over there that made me LOL “I bark at my arse when I fart”. (it must be an English dog)

  4. 4
    rlrr says:

    The fee: 50 to 75 grand per appearance.

    I’ll spout unadulterated bullshit for 45 grand per appearance…

  5. 5
    Comrade Jake says:

    I don’t know, I think it’s gotta hurt a little when people point out that you’ve confused the stimulus with the census.

  6. 6
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    This is the lede graph of a post on my favorite wingnut blog. I fucking love it:

    Bill O’Reilly was a guest on Glenn Beck’s radio show this morning, and in response to Beck’s question of who he thought was going to win the election, O’Reilly said, according to confidential sources of his, internal polls in BOTH campaigns indicate that, if the election were tomorrow, Romney would win. One of the main reasons for that could well be Niall Ferguson’s article in Newsweek, which is raising a lot of eyebrows this week. As Ronald Kessler noted at NewsMax yesterday, Ferguson’s devastating article could be the turning point in the campaign.

    They’ve spent so long in the wingnut bubble that they have lost any ability to recognize bullshit as bullshit.

  7. 7
    karen marie says:

    @Comrade Jake: $50,000-$75,000 is a fine anesthetic.

    Especially with frequent applications.

  8. 8
    schrodinger's cat says:

    He is nothing but an intellectual whore, selling his integrity for money.

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: Oh boy. Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck talking about Niall Ferguson. Now I have to go wash off my keyboard.

  10. 10
    catclub says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: “if the election were tomorrow, Romney would win.”

    Probably a true statement, since all the early voting apparatus that Obama worked in 2008, and is probably working again, would not apply.

  11. 11
    piratedan says:

    maybe if da Gubbermint was actually collecting taxes from these CEO’s and Corporate peeples, they would reconsider whether it makes sense to politcize their bidness by payin 50k to hear some tart verbally fellate them for an hour.

  12. 12
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Ferguson used to be a historian—and a decent one at that.

    Is is true? I’ve only ever seen or heard of him as some sort of strange alterna-historian with a hard-on for colonialism.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    You’d think that MoU types would recognize the danger that lies in only listening to people who tell you what you want to hear. Leaders who only surround themselves with yes-men and lackeys tend to be horribly unprepared and vulnerable when confronted with genuine threats. It is only a matter of time before this weakness is exploited.

  14. 14
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @catclub: Of all the stupid sentences in politics, any one that begins with “if the election were held tomorrow …” have to be the stupidest. Unless it’s the day before an actual, you know, election.

  15. 15
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @beltane:

    “No one could have anticipated that terrorists would fly commandeered jetliners into the World Trade Canter.”

  16. 16
  17. 17
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    OT, but finally we have a sane Republican who’s willing to go on the record and say we need to raise taxes. From Fox 34 Lubbock (via DKos):

    Lubbock County Judge Tom Head and Commissioner Mark Heinrich went into great detail Monday night on FOX 34 News @ Nine about why it is necessary to raise the tax rate by 1.7 cents the next fiscal year.

    See? We keep trash-talking Republicans, and I admit I’m one of the worst in that regard, but there really are some sane Republicans. Judge Head continues, explaining why we need to raise taxes:

    Judge Head said he and the county must be prepared for many contingencies, one that he particularly fears, is if President Obama is reelected.
    __
    “He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?,” Head asked.
    __
    “I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe … we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.
    __
    “Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say ‘you’re not coming in here’.
    __
    “And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him, I said ‘you gonna back me’ he said, ‘yeah, I’ll back you’. Well, I don’t want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.”

    __
    Oh.

    (A look of dismay on JGabriel’s face.)

    That’ll teach me to believe me in sane Republicans.

    .

  18. 18
    Napoleon says:

    O’Reilly said, according to confidential sources of his, internal polls in BOTH campaigns indicate that, if the election were tomorrow, Romney would win

    Yeah, right:

    1) does anyone really believe that an Obama source would leak to ANYONE at Fox?

    2) are we to believe that both internal polls happen to contridict the vast majority of polls which are publically available?

  19. 19
    Brachiator says:

    That incredibly sloppy article was a way of communicating to them: I am one of you. I can give a great rousing talk about Obama’s failures at any event you want to have me at.

    Curiously, by his biography, he is not one of them. He comes from a modest, Scottish background, and his big speaking fees won’t make him more than a lickspittle to the one percenters.

    But as an historian, he has made his bones by telling a soothing lie to calm the troubled brows of the upper classes: that Britain might have maintained its empire had they not fought the Germans in World War I, and that imperialism was really beneficial to all those ungrateful wretches who insisted on overthrowing it.

    It is not a coincidence that people like Ferguson and Dinesh D’Souza have been scaped out from under the pavement to unleash attacks on Obama. They are peddling a false cautionary tale to Real White America(tm), that Obama is not trying to govern or to help all Americans, but he is carrying out a secret agenda to dismantle the great American Empire, and to neuter the heirs of Britain’s Anglo Saxon glory.

    The Village is getting nervous. And Newsweek editor Tina Brown desperately wants to attend some Mitt Romney inaugural balls with Sally Quinn.

  20. 20
    Lost in America says:

    This blog post hits precisely what I first thought when I saw his article.

  21. 21
    Seanly says:

    Wow, where do I sign up to make $50k a talk? I could very easily give just 3 or 4 talks a year and have the rest of my days available to play video games and leave nasty FB posts to my poor schlub friends who still have to work. I would need to take 10 or 20 showers a day in the false hope it would cleanse my soul…

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    @beltane:

    You’d think that MoU types would recognize the danger that lies in only listening to people who tell you what you want to hear.

    The ones who built the companies might understand that. Our current crop of masters hasn’t competed for anything since they raced the other sperm to the egg.

  23. 23
    ShadeTail says:

    Dennis G:

    But trying to hold the former historian to a reality based world is a fool’s errand. He doesn’t care. He has bigger fish to fry.

    OK, so we shouldn’t bother to debunk his bullshit? We should just let it stand unchallenged? Because that’s the logical conclusion of pointing out how he wants the attention and doesn’t really care about being debunked.

    If that’s not the point you’re trying to make, then so what? Who gives even one damn that he’s just an attention whore trying to make cash off of the attention? The important point is that he lied, and we need to take steps to ensure that the people who can be convinced of his lies don’t become convinced.

  24. 24

    @Napoleon: He didn’t say where the sources who described “internal polls” by both parties were from. Sure GOP sources are gonna tell him that – it’s a means to spread the gospel of their fever dreams.

  25. 25
    jl says:

    Money Makes the World Go Around

    http://youtu.be/I8P80A8vy9I

    Does that count as going Godwin?

  26. 26
    karen marie says:

    @JGabriel: Also, too, isn’t that a (regressive) sales tax?

  27. 27
    jl says:

    Ernst Busch – Moritat

    http://youtu.be/a-q69tSAjJs

    There is a little bit of this in the case of NF, too.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    Ernst Busch – Moritat

    http://youtu.be/a-q69tSAjJs

    There is a little bit of this in the case of NF, too.

  29. 29
    kindness says:

    Yes but how is it that Harvard continues to employ a tenured professor that makes Harvard look like fools. The tenure? I doubt that. There has to be some sort of clause in his contract that breaks tenure.

  30. 30
    kindness says:

    Yes but how is it that Harvard continues to employ a tenured professor that makes Harvard look like fools. The tenure? I doubt that. There has to be some sort of clause in his contract that breaks tenure.

  31. 31

    I’ll sell out for $20,000 per appearance.

    “Obambi’s done gonna git all our guns! Agenda 21! Demonrats want to turn your son all gay in their liberal schools! If you convert the letters of Barrack Hussein Obama’s name into their numerical equivalent, multiply by pi, then divide by the number of days he’s been in office, then add in the letters of Joe Biden’s name in Sanskrit, it adds up to 666.”

    I’ll be waiting to hear from you, Fox News.

  32. 32
    Culture of Truth says:

    I need to get me some of that

  33. 33
    Culture of Truth says:

    I need to get me some of that

  34. 34
    Redshift says:

    @ShadeTail:

    OK, so we shouldn’t bother to debunk his bullshit? We should just let it stand unchallenged? Because that’s the logical conclusion of pointing out how he wants the attention and doesn’t really care about being debunked.

    I think the point was more that trying to shame him as a historian will be useless, since he isn’t acting as one. Debunk him, sure, but approach it the same way as with any other pundit, and expect the same results.

  35. 35
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @JGabriel: Yes, and what he means is raising the sales tax in Texas, so the poor will pay more to keep the government from helping them.

  36. 36

    The Republicans are dedicating Tuesday night of the convention to a “we built it theme” in a stadium built with government money. The irony it burns.

    http://wonkette.com/481699/gop.....ment-built

  37. 37
    Culture of Truth says:

    I need to get me some of that

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @JGabriel: Yes, and what he means is raising the sales tax in Texas, so the poor will pay more to keep the government from helping them.

  39. 39
    Culture of Truth says:

    I need to get me some of that

  40. 40
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Seanly:
    Try something different, like auditioning as a conservative, pro-life Democrat.

    You can use that as an excuse while you’re fine-tuning the BS launcher, and have cover for veering away from Akin-esque levels of unmitigated stupidity.

    And right-wingers love the “even Democrats don’t approve of…” contrarian nonsense.

  41. 41
    Chris T. says:

    @ShadeTail: The “so what” is that effective countering of the BS should be cheaper and/or more effective if you know what the other guy is doing.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    Sorry for double post. FYWP. Browser crashed when I submitted. Maybe FY Chrome bumper?

  43. 43

    Did you guys see this story? In 31 States rapists are allowed to apply for custody and visitation if a child results from the rape.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/.....sf_twitter

    It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states — 31 — men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.

    WTF?

  44. 44
    xian says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: the paid wingnut trolls on TPM and politicalwire have recently been touting “seekrit internal” polls that all show romney winning.

    Thanks, I’ll take Nate Silver and Sam Wang (both of which do show some worrisome trends but also both of which have Obama winning today/Nov with upwards of 2 times out of 3… not good enough!)

  45. 45
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    It is not a coincidence that people like Ferguson and Dinesh D’Souza have been scaped out from under the pavement to unleash attacks on Obama. They are peddling a false cautionary tale to Real White America™, that Obama is not trying to govern or to help all Americans, but he is carrying out a secret agenda to dismantle the great American Empire, and to neuter the heirs of Britain’s Anglo Saxon glory.

    I fucking love the fact that they defend property rights and local government uber alles while warning against the dangers of “social engineering”… but have an absolute boner for the era of colonialism.

    As with everything else, there are no moral absolutes. Social engineering is good when it’s a matter of telling those silly little darkies what’s best for them rather than letting them figure it out for themselves, but it’s fucking awful when you’re telling clean white Southerners not to own slaves or disenfranchise blacks. Property rights and self-governance are good for white Christian Westerners who deserve it, but everyone else is too stupid to know what’s best for them. Etc etc etc.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    jl says:

    @xian: I heard a guy say he heard a guy say that the country has an automatic mechanism that kicks in when under threat from Kenyan soshulism. Liberal polls that use numbers and regular math can’t pick that up.

  48. 48
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    karen marie:

    Also, too, isn’t that a (regressive) sales tax?

    True, it’s a sales tax, and they are regressive.

    On the other hand, I’m of a mixed mind on sales taxes. I dislike the regressiveness, but Krugman makes a convincing case that sales taxes and/or VATs tend to lead to more progressive social welfare systems:

    … there’s a substantial literature suggesting that this is no accident: that in the United States, because we don’t have a national sales tax, politics ends up being about tax brackets, which in the end can’t do much to reduce inequality, while in Europe you have broad-based taxes, and politics ends up being about who gets helped, which matters much more, especially for the less fortunate. There’s even argument that American exceptionalism, our uniquely weak welfare state, reflects not so much culture and racial division as the happenstance that we don’t have national consumption taxes.
    __
    All of which says that if I can trade a somewhat regressive VAT for guarantees of decent retirement and universal health care, I’ll take it.

    ETA: None of which is intended to imply, of course, thatJudge Head is anything but a crazy racist Tea Bagger.

    .

  49. 49
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m going to start a career as a speaker who used to work the UN agency about to take over America – divulging secrets from teh INSIDE !!1!11!

  50. 50
    Mike E says:

    @beltane: Though I can picture Thomas Friedman, stroking his mustache, and gently nodding his head while pursing his lips, before saying, “Oh, how I do like the cut of that man’s jib!”

  51. 51
    kd bart says:

    @Bubblegum Tate:

    Dick Morris is not a confidential source.

  52. 52
    kuvasz says:

    Call him a Koch-sucking whore and be done with it.

  53. 53
    1badbaba3 says:

    Well at least Obama is good for someone’s economy. Don’t get me wrong, I like O-dog. Imma vote for him again. But daaaayum, fiddyK?!?! Just to talk some shit. I mean, if it’s like that let me give it a try:

    Mr. President, you throw like a little girl.

    Thanks. I’ll take it in small, unmarked bills.

  54. 54
    👽 Martin says:

    @JGabriel:

    True, it’s a sales tax, and they are regressive.
    On the other hand, I’m of a mixed mind on sales taxes. I dislike the regressiveness, but Krugman makes a convincing case that sales taxes and/or VATs tend to lead to more progressive social welfare systems:

    The counter-element to the consumption taxes are taxes on unearned income, which tend to be much higher than in the US – usually north of 25%.

    The risk of consumption taxes is that the wealth simply withhold much of their consumption, invest it instead, and use gains on investment to offset their tax liability. So unless you have a corresponding tax on capital gains, dividends, etc. taken as an alternate form of consumption then you won’t see those benefits above.

    And those opposed to consumption taxes, they need not apply to all consumption. In most countries, unprocessed food doesn’t carry VAT. Consumption taxes can be shaped to exclude anything that we would classify a necessity, which isn’t necessarily that hard given that many things we classify as necessities already qualify for either corporate tax breaks or subsidies. You trade those things out for a VAT exemption.

  55. 55

    […] get the argument that DennisG channels from Stephen Marche that Ferguson makes much more as a monkey-boy for hedge fund MOTUs, […]

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @1badbaba3:

    Mr. President, you throw like a little girl.

    Yeah, but he can surf like a bad muthafucka.

  57. 57
    ET says:

    What’s depressing is that he is right. There are aspects to modern America that make me want to vomit.

  58. 58
    LosGatosCA says:

    @piratedan:

    $50,000 to talk to 500 people is just $100 each to get a woodie from someone telling you that you’re even greater and even more essential than Ayn Rand ever conceived.

    While $100 would be an outrage to pay in taxes for your dividend check or the payout on your carried interest, it’s barely tipping money in the continual search for constant reinforcement of God’s validation of your personal superiority in all things by His blessing of more money than one person has the right to steal.

    Plus I think most of those on wingnut welfare are not whores, that gives them too much credit. They actually believe the crapitude they dispense. That’s what makes them authentic and valued in their roles.

    “You really are the biggest. You are the best ever. Nobody has ever done it better. Yes, Yes, Yes.”

  59. 59
    sherparick says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: This is all quite true. Several trends reached critical mass over the last ten years. The .1% and corporations have beeen firehosed with huge amounts of money (during the oughts, all the increase in GDP in the U.S. went to the 1%). They have money to burn, hence speaking fees of $50,000 to $75,000 a year. And, as economists know, we all respond to incentives like these. Further, the tribal breakdown of the country, particularly the movement of large numbers of boomers and generation Xers into politicalized, pseudo-Christian, mega-Church Evangelical movement, means that large number of people, feeling the emotional incentive to identify with their group, are swallowing huge amounts ob bull shit and suspending all critical thought.

    This is not good for the country.

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