How can Fox on-air “personalities” live with themselves?

Written by Scarabus


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The main value of using an allusion is that it allows one to convey a whole lot of very rich meaning in just a single phrase or two. For example, think what it means to call someone a “Judas” or to compare President Obama’s negotiating with the Republican House as like Charlie Brown’s trusting Lucy to hold the football.

In using an allusion, it’s important to remember that its meaning will depend on context and audience. For instance, either saying or hearing “9/11” will mean something quite different to a New York fire fighter than to a member of Al Qaeda, right? From that perspective, I know what the Fox News slogan “fair and balanced” means to anyone who lives outside the right wing echo chamber: a cynically hypocritical claim that means the exact opposite of what it asserts. But I can’t help wondering what it means to the on-air “personalities” and regular guests at Fox.


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I remember reading once that Sean Hannity joked about how his audience actually believed the on-air farce he provided. And I remember an incident involving Chris Wallace and Bill Clinton. Clinton had agreed to be interviewed on Wallace’s weekend show on condition that he be given some specified amount of time to talk about his foundation. He gave the interview, but was denied the time he’d been promised to promote the foundation.

Furious, Clinton asked Wallace why he’d violated their agreement. Wallace said he had planned to allot the time but been ordered from higher up not to do so. Then he asked Clinton for an autograph.

This suggests Hannity is fully aware that the crap he dishes out is neither fair nor balanced nor honest. And Chris Wallace clearly understands that whatever it is he’s doing, he’s definitely not being a strong, honest, legitimate journalism. What about the others? In the bit that follows below, John Cleese suggests they’re all just stupid. But think about it. Which performers in the Fox News clown show are as stupid as Cleese says? What shades of difference are there? (For the record, I personally think Bill O’Reilly is exactly the kind of guy Cleese is describing.)


Who would benefit from GOP tax plans, and who would suffer?

Written by Scarabus


OK. I confess. It was a trick question.


Immediately, it would seem the wealthy were benefiting, the least wealthy 90+% suffering. But realization is growing that that kind of inequality is destructive, not just to American democracy, but to America’s economy as well. In short, you’re not going to sell goods or services if no one can afford to buy.

Think about it. Why are so many small businesses forced to shut their doors and close for good soon after Walmart plops one of its “big boxes”  in town? It isn’t because of guv’mint regulations, and it isn’t because of guv’mint taxes. It’s because people abandon local shops and take their custom to the big box.

No money? No shopping. No shopping? No customers. No customers? No business.


On a less frustrating, but still not-funny note of irony…


How can you tell just from looking whether a person would be likely to get a tax reduction under Republican plans? Lots of ways, of course. One of them is to see which items a person buys when shopping. Here’s an example from an ad for Fahrney’s stationery chain I got in this morning’s email.

For which shoppers will Republicans reduce taxes? For which raise them? Hint: How much are these shoppers willing and able to spend on a fountain pen plus ink to fill it?


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The “screw-up” vs. the “screwed.”

Written by Scarabus


The incompetent C.E.O. luxuriates in a golden shower of parachutes … or something like that!

The competent, hardworking employees get shat upon.

Welcome to North America!


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THU JAN 22, 2015 AT 12:46 PM PST

Compensation for ousted CEO is roughly the same as the total compensation for 17,600 workers

Jen Hayden


Last week the Target Corporation announced it would be closing all 133 stores in Canada, laying off 17,600 employees in the process. Many thought the expansion was too much, too fast.

As a result of the failed Canadian experiment and a massive data breach, then CEO Gregg Steinhafel was fired.

Now we learn the compensation package for the 17,600 laid off employees is roughly equal to the golden parachute package given to failed CEO Gregg Steinhafel.


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Why is ever’body always picking’ on me?

Written by Scarabus


Watch and listen to this video. Every time you know the name “Charlie Brown” is coming, just substitute “Jamie Dimon.” Fit’s perfectly except  that it trivializes crimes for which Dimon and a lot of other banksters should be doing hard time in prison – and I mean hard-ass prison, not “Club Fed.”




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Jamie Dimon, [CEO] at JP Morgan Chase & Co., lashed out at U.S. regulators for putting his bank “under assault.”

“We have five or six regulators or people coming after us on every different issue,” Dimon, 58, said today on a call with reporters.

Gosh, that sounds terrible, doesn’t it. Poor Jamie! What sort of “trivial” stuff could these “[non-people] regulators or people” be using as a pretext for “assaulting” him?

  • So JP Morgan Chase did a little mortgage fraud. Who doesn’t, right?
  • ….And yes, there was the London Whale scandal, but what’s a few billion between friends?
  • And yes, they rigged energy prices in California and [the] midwest.
  • And of course, there [were] wrongful foreclosures on military members, and overcharging on military home loans.
  • $100 million to settle charges of bilking credit card holders with improper fees and interest rates.
  • $1.2 Billion to settle charges of conspiring with Visa and MasterCard to rig swipe fees.
  • $228 million to settle charges of rigging the municipal bond market.
  • Last week JP Morgan agreed to pay another $1 Billion in fines for rigging the currency markets.

Perhaps you’re right, Jamie. We really should let bygones be bygones.The take-away from all this is that government regulators are clearly over-reacting. Please accept our apologies, and with them this pack of 52 “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. 

A Tale of Two Appeals (re Keystone XL)

Written by Scarabus


Republicans have made it clear that their first order of business in the new congress will be to push their signature ideological issues. One of these is construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Predictably, my inbox has seen an influx of appeals and petitions regarding this topic. Serendipitously, two such appeals – calling for totally different action – popped up simultaneously today.


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Predictably, the Chamber of Commerce wants me to tell President Obama to withdraw his opposition. Note the arguments (marked in cyan) that Engstrom cites.


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According to Engstrom, why has the pipeline not yet been approved? (1) “Red tape.” (2) “Obama.” (3) “Environmental extremists.” In effect, he’s ringing the political equivalent of a Pavlovian bell, counting on arousing a pre-programed, sub-rational automatic response from his readers.

  1. Red tape? He’s talking about procedures established by law to protect the public interest. Why the delay? Essentially, public interest groups discovered that these procedures were being used to abuse the common good rather than protect it. Example? The firm hired to assess environmental impact depended on the oil industry to survive.
  2. Obama? Need I say more?
  3. “Extremists” are bad. All environmentalists are extremists. How do conservatives know that? Because Fox News and demagogues have told them so.

OK. What about the positive side? What’s good about Keystone XL? It will create “thousands of good paying jobs.”

  1. This is true. However!!! Always read the fine print. These will be temporary construction jobs, lasting only a couple of years. Permanent jobs? No more than 30 – or maybe 35.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞



All right. So what’s the argument offered by the o opposition?


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  1. “Complex issues.”
  2. “Serious security, safety, environmental, and other ramifications.”


WTF is this guy talking about?


The conservative says this: The issues are simple and easy to visualize. You already understand them.

  • Bad #1. Bureaucratic red tape.
  • Bad #2. Specific “bogeymen” (Obama and environmental extremists.)
  • Good. Thousands of good-paying jobs.


The liberal says this: The issues are complex. They could “bear on” U.S. national interests [but by rhetorical implication they might not].

  • Bad #1. Possible “security” ramifications. [Meaning what? Example?]
  • Bad #2. Possible “safety” ramifications. [Meaning what? Example?]
  • Bad #3. Possible “environmental” ramifications. [Meaning what? Example?]
  • Good. ????? None specified!


This is a perfect example of progressive weakness in debating with conservatives:

  • They are wrong on the issues, we are right. But!
  • They use framing and language expertly; we use them like putzes. Ergo?
  • They eat our lunch and walk off laughing; we stand around arguing about what the complex possible ramifications of one’s being forced by thieves to skip lunch might potentially turn out to be.

“The Stupid Party”

Written by Scarabus


Bobby Jindal: Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.”

Republicans: “Why, Bobby? The G.O.P. base and Dirty Energy donors love stupid politicians!”


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2011 vs. 2015

Written by Scarabus


Is the body language significant?


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