Monday, October 10, 2011

Notes From The Fringe: Krugman, Fat Cats, Hitler, et al ...

The other day I stopped by my bank and while doing my banking asked my friendly banker whether they would raise fees for the "privilege" of using their money machines. He was evasive, said he didn't "hear" or "know" of anything (which usually means the opposite in such situations), then said "blame the government" for Bank of America charging five bucks a pop at the ATM machine. Thankfully, I'm not a BofA customer but once something sets me off in the realm of politics and its offspring, Fairness and Justice, it's hard to shut off the spigot.

So I checked my politics at the door, talked nice weather with my nice banker and took my leave. It never ceases to amaze me how liberals manage to exist, happily, in a state like Oklahoma. I couldn't do it. I have a hard time as it is living in a Blue state.

I remember going off on a political dissertation with my insurance agent, a single mom who should by rights be a Democratic voter but all she kept bringing up was anecdotal hearsay about poor people gaming the system. Divide and conquer. Our cultural and political conversation is so skewed to right wing nostrums that the truth — just the truth and the facts, ma'am — has an almost impossible time punching through. It takes time to knock down, to debunk, sound bite sophistries repeated as lies with buzz words like "class warfare" and "hard left" — where did Matthews come up with this bullshit? Then it hit me, of course, he watches Bill O'Reilly. Here's Bill-O The Clown browbeating, or rather, bullying the president of the AARP charging, idiotically, that it's a "left wing" organization.

Chris Matthews reminds me of the elder pundit who is revered for having 40 years' "experience" in politics when it seems, as Damon Runyon famously said in another context, it's one bad year's experience forty times over. The Michael "they keep pulling me back in" Corleone of political punditry deserves points at least for trying hard. Even as Bill O'Reilly keeps pulling him back, keeps him stupid. It's not easy being a liberal, a progressive, having history on our side. There is something to be said for ignorant bliss. Although the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression should be able to focus even the dimmest minds ... there are still so many of Lincoln's fools in this country. And they're mostly in the Republican/Tea Party ... and in MSNBC studios.

But at least we've got Paul Krugman on our side. Paul has been on a tear of late, for a political commentator, that is. Here's one more reason why he's the best of the best, in this observer's opinion — on the Wall Street/right wing/Fox propagandists hysteria over the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Isn't it amusing how these ratbastards embrace their gun-toting, racist Teabagger hordes as "patriotic Americans" but when a true grassroots movement of the left (which is really the middle and really progressive) emerges with its clarion call to Occupy Wall Street it's a "mob" that's "pitting American against American" (yeah, Cantor you scumbag, the 1% against the 99ners) and "class warfare" (of the rich plutocrats against the rest of us) and a sinister Democratic conspiracy, according to the Pizzaman, who was fine and dandy sitting at the back of the bus as civil rights history passed him by right under his nose:
What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.

So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.
 Kudos to Chris Hayes for slamming CNN's alpha-bitch Erin Burnett, another idiotic woman who uncovers her ignorance of everything political with a Fox blondie 'tude and lotsa cleavage:

Is it just me, or did the obnoxious libertarian sophist, liar, dissembler, neurotic politico Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC outlier from the CNBC wingnut stable —whose talking heads said the OWS protesters “let their freak flags fly” and are “aligned with Lenin” — dodge a left hook to the jaw from Big Eddie because they were at different locations for color commentary on the President's recent presser? It's too bad, because Ratigan used his MSNBC platform to promote the Tea Party and convince low information voters (can you blame them, given the crap they're fed daily?) to bring to power one of the most right wing reactionary Congresses in history, with all the attendant misery for the 99ners. Now he's trying to glom onto OWS with his hidden agenda, which includes 100,000+ signatures for a constitutional amendment to "get the money out of politics."

That's something all progressives support, in principle, except Ratigan wants to use it as a springboard to a third party, libertarian. Hosting his hero Ron Paul — another reactionary who was the original Tea Party creator/Kock money fundee — Ratigan tried to get him to sign on, musing that it's somehow related to small government. How public funding of campaigns, which progressives fully support, and is the way elections are run in social democratic European countries, amounts to "small government" escapes rationality. It isn't "big government" either; it's good government. But that's just another example of how much the asshole who hisses under his breath about the "lefty agenda" (whatever that means) is secretly committed to his own weird libertarian "agenda." You are what you are, pal. Spell it out instead of trying to make nice with liberals and progressives, whom you obviously loathe.

Remember that football coach who stood on the sidelines and tripped an opposing player as he was streaking down the playing side of the line toward a sure touchdown? That's Ratigan and his brand of destructive politics. Libertarians are sideline court jesters and trippers who acidly criticize those who are trying to move this country forward, but have nothing to show for it, because government is "the enemy." As I've said before, the reason they hate liberals is because we have a great pedigree. We built this country. We established the ground rules which allowed them to prosper. There are enduring monuments to this country — of good, inspired government and brick and mortar too — built in our name that they will never have, except in novels. Or in comedic entertainment, or less talented political agitation, like Ratigan's and Paul's. They hate liberals because we've achieved great things and they haven't. And they know it. Their irrational ideology continues to tread water, so they project. Such are the burdens of arrogant elitists.

Are you ready for some racism!?!!? Not on Monday Night Football anymore, now that ESPN (with a reluctant Fox, I suppose) made its firing of MNF racist intro songster Hank Williams Jr., has-been country third-rater and Tea Party devoteƩ, permanent. One, two, three (like a typical Teabagger, Williams can't count) you're outta there! Good guy Michael Smerconish is an honest independent who eloquently expresses the view of the great majority of decent Americans:

Proving there are always basement "class" acts in America, this unfortunate talentless dim son will be trying to make hay out of Hitler on The View and maybe, if he's lucky — FOR HIRE: Racists, religious fundamentalists, wingnuts in general - Rick Perry campaign — he lands this new "official" political gig:

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