Saturday Night Shortcuts

T minus three days and counting until I rejoin the machine and become a productive member of society once more.  In the meantime…

Decisive decisionmaking:  Alberto “I don’t recall” Gonzales, aka George W. Bush’s consigliere, is writing a book, which he may or may not finish, and which may or may not get published, but if it does, it will probably say things about his tenure as Attorney General, or it may not:  it depends on whether or not he can remember what he did, or whether or not he can come to any conclusion about anything other than what George W. Bush’s ass tasted like.

His book, if it ever gets published, will probably contain this kind of dazzling insight:

“What I see in the book is what I saw in person, in that President Bush is a person who believed very much that the presidency is about making decisions. He was deliberative and contemplative when he had to be but when he made a decision, he was decisive. Then he moved on,” Gonzales said. “He knew the next big decision was waiting outside the Oval Office door.”

Well played, sir.  Similarly, every morning I have to make a decision about whether or not to take a dump, and once I make that decision, it has been decided, and I move on.

I dreamed I saw Albert Pujols last night:  Rob Neyer at ESPN’s Sweet Spot blog explains to baseball commissioner Bud Selig why he may be exaggerating just a tad about the history of baseball labor disputes.  Selig:

    Both sides will be very intense and have things that they want, but when you think about what went on for years nobody could have ever dreamed that we’d have 16 years of labor peace, given that we had work stoppages in 1972, ’76, ’80, ’81, ’85, ’90 and ’94. In American labor history it’s probably as bad a relationship as ever existed.

Neyer:

Call me when someone actually gets killed. Or hurt badly. Or sprains a finger during a shoving match. Or when most of the best players break away and form their own league (which actually happened in 1890). I mean, something beyond a few frivolous arguments between millionaires. 

I’m sort of a history buff, and I probably get more worked up about this stuff than I should. I love baseball, though, and more specifically I love Major League Baseball in all its glorious history and pageantry and artistry. So I would like to see Major League Baseball run by someone who seems serious, and treats us like we’re adults.

When this Commissioner says eight teams is fair but so is 10, and Abner Doubleday invented the sport, and suggests that a few relatively minor battles between rich owners and rich players is worse than coal miners and their families terrorized and killed by management’s goons … Well, I’m sorry. I just can’t let it go. And I just can’t help looking forward to the next Commissioner.

This seems like an appropriate to spot to park the quintessential Bud Selig image:

Actually, we have the money, we just don’t want to spend it unless it helps rich people:  I am about to leave the ranks of the unemployed, just as my current extension was about to run out, with further extensions seemingly beyond the scope of even the current Democrat-dominated Congress.  Lucky me.  As for the next, Republican-controlled Congress…well, here’s a sample of what to expect:

Q: But what do you tell those folks hanging on by a thread who really need those benefits?

KLINE: Well, they, heh, the best thing to do for them is to get the economy back on track and get businesses hiring so that they have a job that they can go to. We simply don’t have the money to keep extending unemployment benefits indefinitely. We just don’t have the money.

Well, they, heh…

In the last forty years, the U.S. has never allowed extended benefits to expire with the unemployment rate above 7.2 percent, far below today’s rate of 9.6 percent. Plus, there are currently five unemployed persons for every job opening in the country. In fact, there are so few job openings, that even if every open position in the country were filled, four out of five unemployed workers would still be out of work. But for Kline and the other House Republicans, extending tax cuts for the rich is much higher on the priority list then ensuring that these households have an adequate safety net.

But it’s more than having an “adequate safety net” in place – it’s been proven that tax cuts for rich people don’t do shit to stimulate the economy, while unemployment benefits stimulate the fuck out of it, notwithstanding what Fox News morons like Neil Cavuto want you to believe.  It gets so tiring to have to keep pushing back against the up-is-down, black-is-white bullshit.  Hell, it’s exhausting, since no one seems to care about the distinction between truth and lies.

I hate these sorry motherfuckers with every ounce of my being.  But the American people, in their great wisdom, have decided to acquiesce to the desire of the GOP to bring down the Negro president by any means necessary.  But to hand back power to the corrupt assholes who started a war based on lies, then tanked the economy and nearly caused another depression only two years after the fact is just too insane for any rational explanations.  Hope they got what they wanted.

I find it stunning that you’re such an obtuse asshole:  TBogg points out this odd three-way between Matt Taibbi, Sensible Centrist Whore David Gergen, and some other oligarch fellator I’ve never heard of.  Gergen simultaneously tries to come off as a Tea-Party-appreciating man of the people while supporting the policies of corporatist Democratic hacks like Bob Rubin; Taibbi, meanwhile, is his usual blunt, plain-spoken self, and he causes the other two to clutch their pearls in horror.  TBogg has a good excerpt, but here’s an extended portion of my favorite part:

Taibbi: I have to disagree. The notion that the business community is disappointed with Obama because of what he’s done in the past two years, I just don’t see that. They’re sitting on a lot of money, but they’re sitting on it because he gave it to them.

Gergen: You don’t think they’re disappointed?

Taibbi: I’m sure they would have preferred the Republican agenda, where they would get 100 percent of what they want. Under Obama, they only got 90 percent. He bailed out the banks and didn’t put anybody in jail. He gave $13 billion to Goldman Sachs under the AIG bailout alone and then did nothing when Goldman turned around and gave themselves $16 billion in bonuses. He passed a financial-reform bill that contains no significant reforms and doesn’t really address the issue of “too big to fail.” FDR, in the same position, passed radical reforms that really put Wall Street and the business community under his heel.

Gergen: If you talk to many CEOs, you’ll find that they’re very hostile toward Obama.

Taibbi: Who cares what these CEOs think? I don’t care — they’re 1/1,000th of a percent of the electorate. They’re the problem. Obama needs to get other people’s votes, not their votes.

Gergen: It’s not their votes he needs to get — it’s their investments and jobs.

Hart: There’s a fascinating point from the exit polls that supports part of what Matt is saying. When you ask voters who is most to blame for the current economic crisis, 35 percent say it’s Wall Street bankers, 29 percent say it’s George W. Bush and 23 percent say it’s Barack Obama. However, among those who say it’s Wall Street bankers, 56 percent voted for the Republicans in this election. So go figure.

That said, I worry that if the president and the Democrats were to follow Matt’s advice, they would be appealing to the smallest segment of the electorate. Right now Obama has the support of 85 percent of Democrats. If you want to get America back to work, you don’t want to put the people who have the ability to invest on the other side of their fence.

Taibbi: So if we put people in jail for committing fraud during the mortgage bubble, we’re endangering our ability to win over the CEOs? Obama should have made sure that there are consequences for people who committed crimes. Instead, he pursued a policy of nonaction, and that left him vulnerable with ordinary people who wanted an explanation for why the economy went off the cliff.

Gergen: I don’t think his problem is he hasn’t put enough people in jail. I agree that when people commit fraud, they ought to spend some time in the slammer. But there’s a tendency in today’s Democratic Party to turn away from someone like Bob Rubin because of his time at Citigroup. I served with him during the Clinton administration, when the country added 22 million new jobs, and Bob Rubin was right at the center of that. He was an invaluable adviser to the president, and he is now arguing that one of the reasons this economy is not coming back is that the business community is sitting on money because of the hostility they feel coming from Washington.

Taibbi: I’m sorry, but Bob Rubin is exactly what I’m talking about. Under Clinton, he pushed this enormous remaking of the rules for Wall Street specifically so the Citigroup merger could go through, then he went to work for Citigroup and made $120 million over the next 10 years. He helped push through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which deregulated the derivatives market and created the mortgage bubble. Then Obama brings him back into the government during the transition and surrounds himself with people who are close to Bob Rubin. That’s exactly the wrong message to be sending to ordinary voters: that we’re bringing back this same crew of Wall Street-friendly guys who screwed up and got us in this mess in the first place.

Gergen: That sentiment is exactly what the business community objects to.

Taibbi: Fuck the business community!

Gergen: Fuck the business community? That’s what you said? That’s the very attitude the business community feels is coming from many Democrats in Washington, including some in the White House. There’s a good reason why they feel many Democrats are hostile — because they are.

Taibbi: It’s hard to see how this administration is hostile to business when the guy it turns to for economic advice is the same guy who pushed through a merger and then went right off and made $120 million from a decision that helped wreck the entire economy.

Then there’s this one tidbit, which tells you all you need to know about Gergen:

Speaking of 2012, which of the Republican presidential hopefuls benefited the most from this election?
Gergen: There’s no question that Sarah Palin has gained more from this as a Republican kingmaker. But I imagine there’s going to be a search for someone else to serve as the bridge-builder I mentioned earlier. To me, the leading possibility, if he can overcome the brand-name problem, is Jeb Bush. Two years ago, you would have said, “Impossible.” Today, quite possible. He’s a much more viable candidate today than he was two years ago, and he’s one of the few people I know who could bridge the various factions within the party and hold people together. So I’m putting my money on Jeb Bush as a potential star who might emerge and unite the party.

Taibbi: Whew. I was already depressed this morning, but thinking about another Bush as the better-case scenario in an either/or political future makes me want to douse myself with kerosene and jump into a blast furnace.

Thank the non-existent deity for people like Taibbi.  Without him, we might have nothing but the eternal recurrence of the Bush Dynasty to look forward to.

Give me amnesia or give me death!

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3 Responses to Saturday Night Shortcuts

  1. Sharon Brown says:

    So you’re now a member of the workforce? Terrific!

    ME TOO!!! Somehow or other the stars aligned for me and rather than fax my application, I hand-delivered it with the explanation that I really wanted to work for this company. And that was not b/s, by the way.

    So how did your adventure unfold, if I may ask?

    • Congratulations, Sharon! My story is that someone I used to work with saw my profile on Linked In, emailed me and asked for my resume on a Friday; I interviewed the following Monday; and a week later, I am gainfully employed once again. Sort of fell out of the sky when I was least expecting it, and it happened a day after I received a letter from a company I had interviewed with and really wanted to work for telling me they weren’t going to hire anyone full time after all. Funny how these things happen.

  2. StringonaStick says:

    Congrats on the new job!

    As for the ‘Murikan Pepple’s deciding to give the wheel back to the party that drove us into the ditch, well, the sad thing is that if the economy’s down, historically the party in power always gets the blame. So, a pretty typical outcome though it was really helped along by tons of corporate/wingnut spending on lying ads (thanks, Citizens United!) and the corporate-owned media having such a crush on the Tea Baggers.

    Obama certainly could have done better with a few things before the midterm election, like (1) a little more hopey and changey, (2) better PR on what his team actually did accomplish, and (3) not being such political neophytes that they let themselves get badgered into a far too small of a stimulus bill and one designed to have the punch wearing off just in time for the midterm elections (seriously, does the WH think the rethugs didn’t know exactly what they were doing on this one?).

    Oh, and Obama needs to really come to grips with the idea that the whole goal of the rethugs is to make sure that within the next 2 years not a goddamn thing happens that benefits dems in any fucking way, even if it crashes the US/world economy. With the former, they can claim “dems are do-nothings” and the press will both buy it and trumpet it on an endless loop; with the latter the rethugs will blame it on Obama since afterall he is Prez, and the press will both buy it and trumpet it on an endless loop; so you know, lose-lose either way. The single biggest change to our political life was when St. Ronnie killed the Fairness Doctrine, from that point on all that has happened was exactly what the rethug/corporatocracy wanted.

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