Koch adds life

The Weekly Standard has a McArdle-length article about the persecution of the Koch brothers by liberal extremists. By all means, click through, the more hits this stuff gets, the more right-wing media will feature the Koch brothers.

Conservatives have gotten a lot of mileage out of demonizing George Soros, but at least Soros had the sense to stay out of the spotlight for the most part.

If the Koch brothers go Charlie Sheen on us, it’s a win for Democrats. I think Obama beats whatever aw-shucks cornfed motherfucker the Republicans put up in 2012, but I’m more certain that he wins if he can run against the Koch brothers.



Sticks and carrots

That history professor being attacked by Scott Walker says they won’t find anything in his work email:

Cronon says the Wisconsin GOP will not find evidence of what they’re looking for. “It’s not there,” he says.

The next logical step is for Walker to try to get google or yahoo or whoever to hand over any email exchanges involving a work computer. In the meantime, cue the Stanley Fish blog piece about the limits of academic freedom, about how Cronon should have fucking better known better.

This all needs to be seen from a broader perspective. It’s similar to what the Virginia Attorney General dd to a climate science professor in Virginia, it’s similar to what James O’Keefe does to NPR and ACORN. If you constantly harass anyone for being openly liberal and constantly reward anyone for being openly conservative (BALANCE!), you create a system of punishments and rewards.

It’s why the “left-leaning” columnists at the Washington Post mostly take conservative positions, it’s why some scientists recommend their own profession be subjected to McCarthy-style hearings, it’s why Joe Klein wears his paranoia about hippies and black panthers so proudly, it’s why newspaper ombudsmen say James O’Keefe should be given a Pulitzer.

People, especially professionally ambitious people, are, for the most part, cowards and careerists. If they know they get slapped down for taking liberal positions and raised up for taking conservative ones, you can guess what they’ll do most of the time.



Open Thread: It’s Hard Out There for the Pimps

Speaking of the rigors of health insurance reform, Mitt Romney, Mormon pseudocyborg, has been having himself one h-e-double-hockey-sticks of a time trying to explain why he now hates, hates, hates the Massachusetts insurance-mandate law he signed into law. The one with a favorability rating among us Massholes of approximately 83%, which you’d think would be something a presidential candidate might want to brag about — except that the dread “Obamacare” was supposedly based on the Commonwealth’s little experiment (for better or worse), and therefore, anathema to those committed Republican primary voters, a/k/a ‘the 27-Percenters’. Willard’s latest dodge is to assert that “If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states”. Jonathan Chait at the New Republic has “A Better Idea“:

…So [Romney’s] argument here is that health care policy, like real estate, comes down to three things: location, location, location. Some states will choose health care systems that promote freedom, and other states will choose health care systems that destroy it, like, um, Massachusetts.
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Hmm. I don’t think this argument is going to hold up. I think Romney needs to try another tack. He should say that he destroyed the freedom of the people of Massachusetts because the people of Massachusetts do not deserve to live in freedom. This would be in keeping with the long-standing Republican position that Massachusetts is not part of America. Indeed, he destroyed freedom in Massachusetts as a warning to the rest of America that it should cherish its freedom to show up the the emergency room without health insurance and pay for their life-saving treatment by handing over their entire net worth, as the Founders intended.

And speaking of shameless Republicant liars, Jim Newell at Gawker reports on James O’Keefe’s latest scam:

Conservative prankster James O’Keefe, the artless cad behind heavily edited video “stings” on NPR, ACORN, and other enemies of the state, has been paying for all of his work on his and his buddies’ credit cards. Apparently it costs a lot of money to carry a camera and act like a jackass — $50,000, as it happens! So won’t you be a peach and give him $50,000, or perhaps even $1 million? This is James O’Keefe’s plea in an email to supporters.
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O’Keefe explains that he and his friends have “hit a wall” after “running up major credit card debt” to finance their projects. He writes that it “cost us about $50,000 when all is said and done to produce the NPR video,” which is incredible, and “If you help us raise over $50,000, it will go toward our next video — after we pay off our credits cards, of course.” What other information could you possibly want from this notorious liar?
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And then he asks for a million dollars: “If you help us pass $100,000 — we can do two new videos… And if by some chance, we raise $1,000,000 — we could expose 20 disturbing cases of government abuse and corruption. But, all I’m worried about is $50,000 right now.”
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Checkbooks out, people. James O’Keefe needs to meet his 29% APR minimums on several credit card accounts.

I guess O’Keefe’s loudest promoter, Andrew Breitbart, wasn’t smart enough to demand his HuffPo earnings up front, or surely he’d be ‘networking’ for Jimmy the Weasel. Which leaves just one time-tested solution for a penniless cad. After all, Christine O’Donnell is still on the market, and she’s got all sorts of money-soliciting tricks to share with the right (Right) catch…



Elizabeth Warren & the Power of Rhetoric

Kay’s post on sloganeering for the media made me take another look at a couple recent articles about Elizabeth Warren’s latest appearance before the House. Paul Krugman summarizes the War on Warren:

Last week, at a House hearing on financial institutions and consumer credit, Republicans lined up to grill and attack Elizabeth Warren, the law professor and bankruptcy expert who is in charge of setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ostensibly, they believed that Ms. Warren had overstepped her legal authority by helping state attorneys general put together a proposed settlement with mortgage servicers, which are charged with a number of abuses.
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But the accusations made no sense. Since when is it illegal for a federal official to talk with state officials, giving them the benefit of her expertise? Anyway, everyone knew that the real purpose of the attack on Ms. Warren was to ensure that neither she nor anyone with similar views ends up actually protecting consumers.
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And Republicans were clearly also hoping that if they threw enough mud, some of it would stick. For people like Ms. Warren — people who warned that we were heading for a debt crisis before it happened — threaten, by their very existence, attempts by conservatives to sustain their antiregulation dogma. Such people must therefore be demonized, using whatever tools are at hand…

Andy Kroll at Mother Jones points out that Warren has all the right enemies in the business world as well — the Wall Street Journal‘s slogan-intensive attacks on Warren are being written by a former Goldman Sachs banker.

But it was Dana Milbank, semi-reformed Media Village Insider, who picked up the Useful Catchphrase:

It seems everybody is afraid of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor charged by President Obama with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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The Wall Street Journal editorial page called her “President Warren” and a “czar” in command of an “empire.” Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate banking committee, thinks she’s orchestrating a “regulatory shakedown” of mortgage companies. And Spencer Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told Warren on Wednesday that she is “probably directing the most powerful agency that’s ever been created in Washington.” That will come as news to the Pentagon.
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But in the tradition of Chief Justice John Roberts, who described himself to lawmakers as a lowly “umpire,” Warren declared herself to be a mere sheriff’s deputy.
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“If there had been a cop on the beat with the authority to hold mortgage services accountable a half-dozen years ago,” she announced, “the problems in mortgage servicing would have been exposed . . . long before they became a national scandal.”
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Warren added: “We need a cop on the beat that American families can count on. It is critical that we get this right – a real cop on the beat.”
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“You kept saying ‘cop on the beat, cop on the beat,’ ” complained Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who chaired the day’s hearing.
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Warren could not dispute this. In reply, she said that banks must know “there will be a cop on the beat” and that her agency will need “enough money to put enough cops on the beat.” Before completing her testimony, Officer Warren made four more references to cops-on-beats – possibly putting her in violation of public-nuisance statutes.
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But it was a useful metaphor: If she’s the cop, then banks are the robbers, and members of the Republican majority on the committee sounded like lawyers for the accused.

I’ve been on Team Warren for quite some time, and the fact that she’s driving the Repubs (even more) bonkers using their favorite rhetorical weapons is just one more vindication, yes?



Nobody Appreciates All the Grey Lady’s Hard Work!!!

From guess what publication, “Times’s Online Pay Model Was Years in the Making“:

The Times announced its new subscription plan last week to widespread debate. Many readers and bloggers said they were happy to be able to finally pay for their frequent use of the Web sites, while many others — joined by some industry analysts and pundits — said that The Times was dangerously out of step with the digital age and that the approach was doomed to fail.
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The same debate raged inside The Times, with executives and senior editors sometimes heatedly taking sides. In the middle was Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of the company, who grew to embrace the idea of a pay model. But he was opposed by several senior executives, especially those who had worked to build NYTimes.com into the most visited newspaper site in the world.
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The risks were manifold. The company might jeopardize its huge online reach, and no one could predict what would happen to digital advertising, which had gone from being a drop in the bucket to more than a quarter of The New York Times Company’s overall advertising revenue…
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Executives studied a variety of online business models including those used by Weight Watchers, which charges $17.95 a month plus a $29.95 initiation fee for weight loss guidance, and Apple’s iTunes service, which popularized the micropayment with the 99-cent song download. They even looked at a donation model and at creating a digital newsstand where people could buy The Times as part of a bundle with subscriptions to local papers and national papers like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post…
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“I believe that our journalism is very worth paying for,” said Jill Abramson, The Times’s managing editor for news. “In terms of ensuring our future success, it was important to put that to the test.”

So… I guess this is the Big Media equivalent of that sitcom episode where Mom gets the idea into her head that the family needs more variety / sophistication / nutrition, so she works and plans and slaves over a hot stove for hours to put together a complicated menu involving ingredients that she can barely pronounce (complete with hilarious misunderstandings-at-the-local-supermarket segment). When she finally serves up the results, still smoking slightly from the kooky burnt-potholder sight gags, everybody just stares at it… until Hapless Dad or the Middle-Kid Straight Man says something dubious like “What are the little green bits?” or “Is it supposed to quiver like that?” And then there is a Big Comic Explosion, and door-slammings, and if there’s still an extra few minutes to fill, hijinks involving either burnt toaster waffles or a bollixed pizza delivery.

I hope the Times will be offering a “smart app” for “multiple platforms” of Artie Jr. storming off to the corner office, followed by the sound of gusty sobs leaking around the edges of its hand-crafted zebrawood door. Because it is always a good marketing decision to give the customers what they really want.



Krugman Remains Shrill

The Forgotten Millions“:

More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed.
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Jobs do get mentioned now and then — and a few political figures, notably Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, are still trying to get some kind of action. But no jobs bills have been introduced in Congress, no job-creation plans have been advanced by the White House and all the policy focus seems to be on spending cuts.
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So one-sixth of America’s workers — all those who can’t find any job or are stuck with part-time work when they want a full-time job — have, in effect, been abandoned.
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It might not be so bad if the jobless could expect to find new employment fairly soon. But unemployment has become a trap, one that’s very difficult to escape. There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record.
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In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care?…

I’ll take “Because those guys have jobs, at least for the next 18 months, and they can’t think any further ahead” for $1,000, Alex! Of course, since Krugman herewith specifically mentions “young workers” as liable to suffer longest as the result of the current Economic Unpleasantness, perhaps we should be grateful that new opportunities for the sufficiently fit and desperate are opening up in Libya even as we read…



The science of liberty

From Think Tanked a few days ago:

 

The deadline for the Koch Associate Program is rapidly approaching on March 15th. The program, a project of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, partners with numerous think tanks and assists young professionals who are “passionate about free-market ideas, and want to become more effective at advancing liberty throughout their careers.”

The accompanying video is pure win.