I have massive potential for growth

So dumb (via).

Careless people

I’m not sure anyone has made this analogy before, but in any case, it’s spot on:

I think Republicans see themselves the way Wall Streeters see themselves — as people to whom nothing really bad could possibly happen, no matter how dire America’s problems are. If they get in, push more tax cuts that increase debt, and make spending cuts that worsen unemployment and leave more infrastructure to crumble, they’ll just find some scapegoat, sexting or illegal immigrants or Dodd-Frank, to blame everything bad in America on. If that doesn’t work, they’ll start a war, and make it just controversial enough that Democrats will hesitate to support it, then treason-bait those Democrats for their hesitancy.

I think this is true for America in any state of decay short of civil war. And perhaps even that qualification doesn’t apply.

This approach will work for years. It worked for George W. Bush for six years, didn’t it? (I think that’s what Cheney meant when he said his crew had proved that deficits don’t matter — if you can gull the voters with distractions like Saddam, you can get away with anything.)

That’s the central political reality of our time: the establishment will never, ever be held accountable for anything. Sometimes they deliberately fuck things up in order to advance their own interests or those of their patrons (“starve the beast”, “drown it in the bath-tub”). Sometimes they fuck things up because they’re stupid and careless. It doesn’t matter, either way they’re rewarded with corporate board positions, think tank sinecures, tv “news” gigs for their family.

I usually leave the pretentious art stuff to others, but I can’t get this passage from Great Gatsby out of my mind:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…

Back To The Middle And Around Again

As the Occupy movement struggles to stay in place with winter and multiple pepper spray fronts lashing the countryside, the Right screams that the dirty, criminal hippies deserve to be kicked out of “private property” unlike the law-abiding owners of Zuccotti Park.  Oh wait.

It turns out that the owners of Zuccotti Park — the historic site of Occupy Wall Street — have been engaged in some of the very same tax-dodging that many of the protesters were enraged about. The “city Finance Department says park owner Brookfield Properties and its parent company, Brookfield US Corp., currently owe the city more than $139,000 in unpaid business taxes from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.”

Never you mind that unpaid tax bill thing and dating the Mayor.  Them hippies need a-punchin’, so a-punchin’s gonna git done.

Policing Our Discourse

DougJ, Atrios, and Glenzilla have already said a lot about the sad spectacle of our establishment media rushing for the fainting couches when someone says fuck or is rude to someone in a position of power, but not batting an eye when someone like Tom Friedman says one of the reasons we went to Iraq was to basically kill brown people so the rest of the region would know who is the fucking boss. I could go on and on and on with examples about how this always seems to conveniently happen to only left-wing voices, as could you, but here’s a crystal clear one- Marcy Wheeler has been basically banned from cable tv because she dared to say the words “blow job” when talking about the Clinton/Lewinsky never-ending saga. On the other hand, Ann Coulter, with a history of saying vulgar and offensive things, was on MSNBC yesterday morning as a guest where she called people douche bags and spit on the corpse of Ted Kennedy. Rather than being shunned by the media, here was CNN’s response to Coulter’s behavior on MSNBC (via an email sent by one of their marketing flacks:

Ann Coulter tells HLN’s Joy Behar what she said about John McCain that caused censors at MSNBC’s Morning Joe to censor her.


Please source: “HLN The Joy Behar Show”

The Joy Behar Show airs on HLN at 10 p.m. (ET) weeknights.

For press inquiries please contact Alison Rudnick 212/275-7987 or Karen Reynolds 212/275-8253

Follow Joy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/JoyBeharHLN?ref=ts

Follow Joy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JoyVBehar

Video of these interviews will be posted on http://joybehar.blogs.cnn.com/ after the show.

Karen Reynolds
HLN Public Relations
One Time Warner Center, 4th fl.
NYC 10019

Rather than shunning Coulter like Wheeler was treated by all the networks, CNN’s response was “LET ME IN ON THAT ACTION, BITCHES” and then blasted out a spam email to make sure everyone knew Coulter would be on headline news talking about douchebags. Rock on, media.

On top of this bias, our media elites have decided that anything to the left of Susan Collins is just too controversial to even have the opinion aired. How many serious discussions of nationalizing the banks during the crisis do you remember? How many serious discussions about single-payer did we have during the health care debate? How many serious discussions have there been about just ending the drug war? When was the last time you remember someone on tv arguing “To hell with it, let’s just GTFO of Afghanistan?” And on and on. And on top of it all, you have stuff like this:

I’m not a regular reader of Andrew Sullivan, so I’m not familiar with all of his traditions, but it seems that Moore Award voting happens at the end of December. For those who are regular readers of Sullivan, please help me keep an eye out for when the Moore Award voting begins. You may recall that I was nominated in May, and I am in it to win it. Any idiot can shoot his mouth off on the internet, but it takes a special kind of idiot to win an award for it, and mama always said I’m special.

The offending statement that generated the nomination was made on the date of bin Laden’s death, and was the following:

So many awful things have happened in the battles to find this man, so many awful things have been “justified” in the name of responding to his attacks, that killing him won’t fix a damn thing. There is no justice here. He started it, but our leaders have continued it, and it will not stop.

Anything less than a victory dance on bin Laden’s corpse is just too vulgar to even enter into the public discourse. While Sullivan is babbling about political correctness and getting the vapors because a bunch of racist assholes are being called out for being racist assholes doing shitty research, he’s shunning people for having the audacity to reflect on all that has transpired since 9/11 rather than breaking out the foam fingers because we killed a terrorist.

I’d say this second aspect of the policing our discourse is even worse than the “OH MY GOD A BLOGGER SAID FUCK PUSSY SHIT COCK.”

Get ouf of jail Freeh card

I have read various accounts of Freeh’s tenure at the FBI and they were almost surreal in the level of incompetence they described. This is probably the best way to ensure that not many people at PSU get prosecuted get exposed for their negligence. Bieber knows Freeh has swept bigger screw-ups under the rug before.

Former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh was named today to lead Pennsylvania State University’s investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

Megan McArdle is Always Wrong™: Occupy Wall St./Income Inequality division

I have neither the patience nor the time to wade through the divine Ms. MM’s effusion on the class snobbery at the heart of the Occupy Wall St. movement. (Via Edoroso)

It’s the usual McArdle — self regarding (I was a crappy student who went into the punditing racket because I loved it! And I’m better than you because of that!*); chock full of unsourced or supported claims that, as ever with this writer, are too-good-to-check;** and, frankly too wearisome a barge-load of flabby writing to want to wallow in long enough to do the full fisking that it probably deserves.

So to keep it short (as long as you ignore the footnotes)…let’s just look at one exemplary bit of McArdle drawing on her deep knowledge of the data making sh*t up:

Similarly, in the 1990s, when I worked with a lot of mostly blue-collar and first-generation college grads (with a fair sprinkling of Ivy Leaguers, to be sure), I didn’t hear nearly so much about the rich and how greedy they were–even though in the late 1990s, income inequality was almost certainly worse than it is right now.
That would be this income inequality.  Here is a handy chart:
My 53 year old eyes may not be all that acute, but from where I squint at the screen, it sure looks like the share of US income going to the top one percent is higher now than it was in the late nineties.
(Update: Commenter Downpuppy reminds me that McArdle has seized on data from the worst of the financial downturn to show that the unbelievably rich are getting slightly less so in relation to the rest of us.  Given the decades of data on this question showing just such jagged deviations from the upward slope of the plot, this is, as Downpuppy says, a leaf out of the climate denialist’s play book.  Grab just the right slice of a data set and you can prove, for example that Houston is actually habitable (see March and April).)
 If you want to see the data in tabular form, mouse on over here.
In other words — income inequality was piss poor in the 1990s, but it is in fact worse now.
Which means, as ever, recall the Levenson corollary to DeLong’s law:
1.  Megan McArdle is always wrong.
2.  If your analysis leads you to conclude Megan McArdle is right, refer to rule 1.
*Really.  In her own words:
“here’s the difference between me and the outraged lower-upper-middle-class: I chose it.  I decided to have terrible grades and major in English, and then job hop in New York before settling down as an IT consultant. “

**Here’s McCardle on the profile of the archetypal OWS supporter, and the thought process that led him/her to camp out in a manner calculated to offend his/her betters:

Probably they should not have sunk tens of thousands of dollars into acquiring a BFA.¹  But these mistakes didn’t usually used to be crippling.  They were a drag, as you paid off those huge student loans with your tiny little income…²
Unfortunately their choices became utterly, horrifyingly disastrous just at the moment when we had a terrible financial crisis that spiked our unemployment rate up to 10%.  We can argue about exactly who is at fault and to what extent, and how much longer our public sector spending would have been sustainable without the financial crisis.   But whether or not you think their reaction is empirically correct, it certainly isn’t surprising.  To them it looks like a bunch of greedy, stupid bankers stole the jobs that they were entitled to. [Italics added.]
Well, isn’t that special. Read more

Confessions of an Obot

I’m an Obot. I think he’s a better president than Hillary or (the candidate I initially supported) Edwards would have been, and much better than whoever Cornell West and Ralph Nader would support. But this post gets to my concerns about the upper echelons of the Democratic party, more broadly:

This belief that New Deal liberalism is obsolete is combined with a belief that good policy-making is inconsistent with democratic institutions—that you need to rely on policy experts operating in good faith in the best interests of the country, without elbows being joggled by cranky neo-populists or nutty movement conservtives. And those experts, who can be found at the highest reaches of successful corporations should be brought into government, because they understand how this new global economy works. These leaders need to be brought into partnership with the US government, and hard-headed, realistic policy crafted, so that the US can continue to be the dominant world power.

Note that a central theme here is that it is above partisanship—that the experts, left alone, will best do their work. When you use that frame, then the health care negotiation makes sense. These negotiations took place not with politicians, but with the large service providers, because those stakeholders are the real experts and will keep us out of distracting, distorting partisanship. It makes sense that we turn to the money center banks as the mechanism for minimizing the contraction—they’re the pros who have risen, through merit and diligence, to their positions.

It’s not about Obama per se. It’s about a political philosophy, an ideology that rejects core Democratic values about the government’s role in protecting the citizenry from powerful private interests.

Our society faces two grave threats, the outright insanity of conservatism and the ostensible reasonableness of “centrist” corporatism. There’s a lot of overlap, obviously, but they aren’t the same thing. I’ve reached the point where the corporatism scares me more, because it apparently has the power to seduce many Democrats.

I also have a bit of a darker view than jayackroyd, I think that industry could have killed a health care bill that was less corporate-friendly. So maybe health care is not the best example here. Yes, a bill with a public option would have been better and more popular. But I don’t think it ever would have been possible to pass one.