23 November, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Those of you who have been with me for a while remember the glorious fun we had beating up Ben Stein over his Expelled fuckery. He proved himself a complete raging IDiot, said about 10,000 things per day that were outrageously stupid, and generally earned himself the enthusiastic bashings he received from the Smack-o-Matic 3000.

So you'll understand why this dropped my jaw:

Neil Cavuto and Ben Stein got into a screaming match over the state of the economy after the bailout Saturday morning on Fox's Cavuto for Business. I've never seen them go at it like that before. It started immediately when Cavuto opened up the segment by saying we've spent 2 trillion dollars so far to fix the problem, which is patently false, and Stein called him out on it. (rough transcript.)

Stein: The $2 trillion dollar number you cited at the beginning is a completely made up number, I don't know where you got it from.

We asked, no, no no Ben.,..

Cavuto: What do you think it is?

Stein: Closer to $300 billion...

Cavuto: Oh, no, no, no, Ben I gotta stop you there...

Stein: Could I answer your question?

Cavuto: When you are supporting one institution after the other ...

Stein: You are doing the classic post hoc ergo prop drop fallacy. You may as well say because there was a World Series, the market dropped 4000 points. The Federal government has to stabilize this economy.

Cavuto: No it doesn't, Ben. No, no, and by the way, we were pre-hocking on this ...

Stein: The Federal government is the only one that can stabilize this economy.

Cavuto: It is a slippery slope Ben...

Stein: Then otherwise we fall into a great depression. Maybe not a problem for you, but a problem for everybody else.

Cavuto: Oh, stop the nonsense.

Stein: It isn't nonsense.

Cavuto: Where do you draw the nonsensical line.

Stein: We go in for as much Federal stimulus as it takes keep us out of a great depression. That is basic common sense ... We need to bail out the auto companies, we need to have a massive stimulus package. This economy is about to fall off a cliff. We need major stimulus.

I cannot fucking believe I'm actually agreeing with Ben Fucking Stein. I can't believe I'm listening to the words coming out of his mouth, applauding their good sense, and cheering him on. Watching him spank Cavuto was a thing of beauty.

As Digby said, "That is so disorienting I think I need to go have a drink."

I think I need two.

Ben wasn't a good attack dog against evolution, but he's proved himself enough of an economic hound that I'm wanting to set him on George Will next:

Economists on both the left and right broadly agree that the need for stimulative government spending is necessary to prevent a further collapse of the global economic system — just as the New Deal and the deficit spending of World War II restored the health of the global economy in the last century.

This morning on ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will echoed the false right-wing meme that FDR’s New Deal policies made the Depression worse:

Before we go into a new New Deal, can we just acknowledge that the first New Deal didn’t work?


As Nobel-laureate Paul Krugman wrote recently in the New York Times, “There’s a whole intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse. So it’s important to know that most of what you hear along those lines is based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. The New Deal brought real relief to most Americans.”Krugman observed that the true short-comings of the New Deal policies resulted from the fact that they were not bold enough over the short-term...

I'd dearly love to see Krugman and Stein tag-team to beat up Will. The man's been descending into unremitting fuckwittery - someone needs to slap some sense into him.

Sympathy for Eric Holder, Obama's pick for Attorney General, has been noticably lacking around Firedoglake, but most bloggers seem to think he's a good choice. The thing is, it might be best for the poor man if the folks at FDL got their way and he didn't get the job. Look at the catastrophe he's expected to solve:

Dahlia Lithwick has a new piece exploring the mess Eric Holder is walking into as the next Attorney General. In the process, she summarizes the extent to which the "loyal Bushies" who've run the Justice Department over the last eight years have just trashed the place.

What Holder stands to inherit from Michael Mukasey and his predecessor Alberto Gonzales is not a Justice Department that was slightly confused about where the law began and politics ended. If confirmed, he will take over an institution where, at least in recent years, politics sometimes had no end. The department became fodder for late-night TV monologues in 2007 when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his staff flimflammed their way through congressional hearings about the partisan firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Those independent prosecutors were let go for failing to be -- in the parlance of Gonzales' underage underlings -- "loyal Bushies." More than a dozen officials resigned in the wake of that scandal.

Things at Justice worsened with internal reports finding the department had hired career civil servants, law student interns, assistant U.S. attorneys, and even immigration judges based on their loyalty to the GOP. Secret memos produced by the department's Office of Legal Counsel authorized brutal interrogation techniques and warrantless government eavesdropping. The subordination of law enforcement to politics led to the flight of career attorneys in the department's Civil Rights Division and especially the Voting Section, where by 2007 reportedly between 55 percent to 60 percent had transferred or left the DoJ.

If the rot at Justice could have been cured by simply replacing Gonzales, the appointment of Michael Mukasey, a respected retired federal judge in 2007, might have been enough. It wasn't. To be sure, Mukasey said noble things about the evils of torture and made moves toward disentangling the department from the White House. But more often than not, Mukasey declined to lance the boil. He refused to call water-boarding torture. He insisted no crimes were committed when department officials violated civil service laws. And he criticized those seeking accountability for the architects of the administration's torture policy as "relentless," "hostile," and "unforgiving." Mukasey collapsed while giving a speech this past week, but thankfully the incident seems not to have been serious.

It's fair to say there isn't a single cabinet agency that's better now than when Bush took office -- better managed, better organized, more efficient, more competent -- but to see what the Bush gang has done to the Justice Department is practically a crime in and of itself.

No kidding. The fact that Holder's apparently willing to take this one and clean up the debris is impressive.

Finally, no day would be complete without the highly enjoyable Chambliss-bashing. He's certainly providing ample material:

Since 2005, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who is currently locked in a tough run-off election battle against Democrat Jim Martin, has been in charge of the Republican Majority Fund. The PAC, established in the 1970s, was set up to help fund GOP candidates. However, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today, Chambliss has instead used it as a personal fund to ingratiate himself to lobbyists, reward his political contributors, and fund his golfing habit:

Under Chambliss, however, 68 percent of the Majority Fund’s spending – about $1 million – has gone for travel, golf events, meals and administrative costs, reports to the Federal Election Commission show. Political contributions comprised just 32 percent of the committee’s spending, or $472,500.

In 2007 and 2008, the Majority Fund’s political donations accounted for 26 percent of its spending, the second-lowest among the 25 largest leadership groups. […]

[O]f the top 10 recipients of the Majority Fund’s money since 2007, only one was a political organization.

Five were golf resorts.

Fantastic. He's a Con, all right. Treating the funds of the organizations he's responsible for as his own private piggy bank certainly gives him creds among the in-this-for-themselves crowd. It's just that most of them aren't quite so... obvious... about it.

I hope Georgians have the great good sense to boot this fucker out of D.C. come December 2.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

This is what I found surprising about Stein's appearance on Expelled - he's actually not a buffoon. Unfortunately, not being a buffoon isn't any guarantee that you can't be spectacularly and utterly wrong.