Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Hero Of Janesville, The Man They Call Ayn

For all my fellow Joss Whedon fans.
The Man they call Ayn!
He robbed for the rich and he stole from the poor,
He stood up for The Man and he'd give him much more
Our love for him now, aint hard to explain,
The hero of Janesville, the man they call Ayn!
Our Ayn saw Wall Streeters' backs breakin'
He saw the lawyers' lament
And he saw the lice and scum takin'
Every dollar and leavin' five cents
So he said, "You can't do that to my people"
"You can't crush them under your heel"
Ayn strapped on his lies
And before the ink dries
Steals everything the Boomers had to steal
He robbed for the rich and he stole from the poor,
He stood up for The Man and he'd give him much more
Our love for him now, aint hard to explain,
The hero of Janesville, the man they call Ayn!
Now here is what separates producers
From moochers like you and I
The man they call Ayn
He turned 'round his train
And let all his lies hit sky
He dropped lies onto conventions
He dropped lies into tv sets
And the man they call Ayn
He just rode that damned train
'Til he became a GOP star

He robbed for the rich and he stole from the poor,
He stood up for The Man and he'd give him much more
Our love for him now, aint hard to explain,
The hero of Janesville, the man they call Ayn!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Attention Must Be Paid

Wow. What did Willard Romney ever do (or not do) to David Brooks?

After his mission, he attended Harvard, studying business, law, classics and philosophy, though intellectually his first love was always tax avoidance. After Harvard, he took his jawline to Bain Consulting, a firm with very smart people with excessive personal hygiene. While at Bain, he helped rescue many outstanding companies, like Pan Am, Eastern Airlines, Atari and DeLorean.

And that's just a tiny sample. When the world's biggest authoritarian ass-kisser mocks the right's biggest authority, you know that nobody except for some tea-baggers and Ann Romney expect Romney to win. When you add on Maureen Dowd's evisceration, it's clear that Team Romney has neglected a very important aspect of political life: flattering the egos of the Villagers. He had better start holding press picnics and handing out free booze immediately or he's going to find himself in the same boat as the Clintons.

Added: And his arrogance is pissing off the tea-baggers and Ron Paul followers as well. Well done, Mr. Romney! He could not make it more clear that the only people he cares about are the 1%.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Great. The Republicans want seniors to have voucher-based medical care.

Paul Krugman:

So there it is: the draft Republican platform says of Medicare and Medicaid,
The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model.
That means that instead of Medicare as we know it, which pays your medical bills, you’d get a lump sum which you can apply to private insurance — they’ll yell when we call it a voucher, but that’s what it is....

Bear in mind that health expenses will still have to be mainly paid for by some kind of insurance; that’s in the nature of medical care, with its high but unpredictable cost. So what we’re doing here is replacing government insurance with a program that gives people money to buy private insurance — that is, adding an extra layer of middlemen. Why would this save money? I guess the answer is supposed to be the magic of the marketplace — but we have the experience of Medicare Advantage, plus studies of Medicaid versus private insurance, plus the raw fact that America relies more on private insurance than any other nation and also has by far the highest costs. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in the record suggests that this will do anything other than make health care less efficient.
We are assured that any seniors who vote for Richie Rich/Ayn Rand this time won't lose his or her Medicare, just the rest of us. Of course some seniors have wives young enough to lose out on this deal, but they must be poor if they need Medicare so they don't count.

You'll Thank Me Later

There are two types of mighty soldiers who man the Vagina Watch, that perpetual duty to preserve and protect the nation's Fetus-Americans by policing vaginas. The first type is genuinely religious, and is fully embodied by Miss Kathryn Jean Lopez, who believes that abortion is evil and must be stopped because only God can take a life. As we can see by this post, Miss Lopez sees pregnancy from rape as a blessing, and her anti-abortion beliefs are consistent in this narrow instance.

Miss Lopez also believes that there should be no separation between church and state, no premarital sex, no birth control, and that the role of women is to serve God and men by bearing their children and taking care of their home, and live through men by supporting their endeavors. She is as nutty as a Megan McArdle nut cake, but she lives her beliefs.

The second type is the opportunist, who demands that everyone else live by his beliefs while holding different standards for himself. He is the leader while the Miss Lopezes are the followers, in his own eyes if nobody else's. Ross Douthat believes that pregnancies from rape are "exceptional circumstances" that produce "unique agony" and anyway forcing women to carry their rapist's baby to term is probably a "political impossibility." Despite his own political compromises, Douthat goes on to criticize Obama's, calling Obama an extremist for supporting his own party's platform.

Douthat's entire post is a work of art, as he attempts to convince Democrats that capitalizing on the Republicans' extremism is a terrible political mistake. He does not discuss the constitutional right to privacy, which is hard and boring and the only thing that counts. He tries to sway his audience emotionally, which is a mistake because not many people can empathize with an emotionally stunted misanthrope. Watching Douthat at work is like watching Monk, as Douthat tries to convince everyone else to live with his own personal quirks, foibles and compulsions. Just because Douthat wants to live in a narrow little world of arbitrary rules doesn't mean that we do.

Especially when those arbitrary rules are designed to preserve Douthat's personal power and career and their consequences are designed to affect only women.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Rats are In The Corn

Reading about Willard "Mitt" Romney's little birther joke and the lack of respect he and his followers show towards women and minorities, I have to wonder why anyone on the left calls him anything but Willard. (Preferably while humming "Ben," the theme music to the movie "Willard."* There's no reason why we shouldn't try to enjoy this potential sexually repressed plutocratic nightmare a little.)

Remember, the Villagers and their minions want to be cool more than anything else on Earth. They have money and power but they can't buy what they want most of all--self esteem. Obviously the only way they could be cool is if they created their own reality in which they are cool, forcing everyone else to live in that fantasy as well. Destroy the fantasy and you destroy the authority.

Willard dresses up as an authority, plays leader and cop and bishop. While he was play acting, real men were being shipped off to war. Willard mugs for the camera, he does not lead. He can live in a fantasy world in which he is cool but nobody else has to play along.

From wonkette:

from The Raw Story:

There is something slightly creepy about Willard. It's not important compared to what he wants to do to the country but it affects his electability and makes him very uncool.

*See Correction in comments

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Authoritarian Worship And Manliness

Oh, my. The Republicans are falling all over each other to prove that their entire self-image is based on living vicariously through their leaders. From The Corner's Kevin Williamson, via what will soon be everyone on the internet:

Elections are not about public policy. They aren’t even about the economy. Elections are tribal, and tribes are — Occupy types, cover your delicate ears — ruthlessly hierarchical. Somebody has to be the top dog.
Authoritarians are very happy to think about how rich their leaders are, how much power they have over their women conquests, the size of their property, their bank account, their car collections, their physical attributes. They think that worshipping another man makes them more manly, that watching another man consume makes them richer, that hearing about another man's exercise habits make them more virtuous. Let's take a little look at Mr. Williamson.

This is not the face of a man who will ever be top dog. This is the face of a man who depended on the wide and welcoming arm of the Kochtopus to make a living. A man who first worked for a conservative paper that folded, then conducted college seminars on journalism for the Koches' Institute for Humane Studies, the same illustrious organization that incubated Megan McArdle, transforming her from failed Wall Street consultant to elite journalist. Finally Williamson came to rest at National Review, capping a career as conservative propaganda-fed veal, gavage courtesy of those super-rich, super-endowed, super-superior Ubermenschen that he is now so eager to praise.
Reassuring arch-patriarch — maybe one with enough sons and grandsons to form a pillaging band of marauders? Hillary Rodham Clinton told us that it takes a village, and Mitt Romney showed us how to populate a village with thriving offspring. Newsweek, which as of this writing is still in business, recently ran a cover photo of Romney with the headline: “The Wimp Factor: Is He Just Too Insecure to Be President?” Look at his fat stacks. Look at that mess of sons and grandchildren. Look at a picture of Ann Romney on her wedding day and that cocky smirk on his face. What exactly has Mitt Romney got to be insecure about? That he’s not as prodigious a patriarch as Ramses II or as rich as >Lakshmi Mittal? I bet he sleeps at night and never worries about that. He has done everything right in life, and he should own it. And by own it, I mean put it on the black card and stow it in the G6 — or at least in first class, for Pete’s sake.
Yes, Mr. Williamson is telling Romney to throw his money and power in the faces of the shrinking middle class and flaunt his large Mormon family, which should be polygamous because Romney's just that fabulous. But, to be fair, this terrible advice would work just fine if all the other authoritarians are just as blindly worshipful of Mittens' masculinity as Mr. Williamson.

In a manly way, of course. He's a Republican!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Smartest Girl In The Dorm

Poor Megan McArdle tries to pull her "Smartest Girl In The Dorm" act but flops miserably. And her "Wide-Eyed Innocent" act isn't working anymore either.

Bless her heart.

From the comments on a post at Outside The Beltway:

Megan McArdle says:
I think the attempt to draw a distinction between “legitimate rape” and illegitimate rape is loony, but IIRC, there was a study a few years ago that showed lower-than-expected conceptions from rape, indicating that women’s bodies might have some mechanism for shutting down unwanted conceptions. HOWEVER, even if I’m remembering right, it was one study, and it certainly didn’t show that no woman ever conceived after rape–just that they conceived at somewhat lower rates than you’d expect.

By offering "facts" that appear to support Todd Akin's stupidity, McArdle is supporting Todd Akin's stupidity. She does not seem to realize this; McArdle seems to think she is being an intellectual leader and is just correcting those silly liberals' criticisms of Akin. It's leadership like this that brought her to the attention of that bastion of excellence we call Newsweek.

Doug Mataconis says:
@Megan McArdle:
There may be any number of reasons for that, including the possibility that the perpetrator doesn’t necessarily, umm, finish the job. A friend who is an MD saw this today and told me there’s simple no medical evidence to support what he said notwithstanding the statistical oddity.
And, then there’s the question of what the heck he means by “legitimate rape”

rudderpedals says:
@Megan McArdle:
IIRC, there was a study
Link please or I’m calling shenanigans on the study.

McArdle's reputation precedes her.

Rick Almeida says:
@Megan McArdle:
Megan McArdle – on hiatus, but still making things up.

Kathy Kattenburg says:
And another face palm for Megan McArdle!

DRS says:
Please tell me this isn’t the “real” Atlantic Monthly Megan McArdle. That one is bad enough but she can’t be this bad, surely?

Oh ye of little faith.

Commonist says:
@Megan McArdle:


A discussion ensues in which a commenter states that (s)he doesn't understand the animus against McArdle. "Are we liberals supposed to run away from science if it shows things that might require an extra sentence or two of explanation when we have an argument?" he or she wonders, the better to help his or her fellow liberals overcome their ideological biases and embrace science, which we all know is factual and therefore liberal, even when it is, um, hypothetical. Mr. Mataconis steps in to call the commenters to order, the commenters ask why Mr. Mataconis seems to have Megan-Only rules for internet conduct, and a good time is had by all except Mr. Mataconis. And the commentariat remains unconvinced.

Commonist says:
Because absolutely every single thing McMegan has ever written signals an absolutely fascinating contempt for facts, coupled with an unfailing disdain for the weak and admiration of the exploiters of the weak that is impressive even for a libertarian? She’s the urtype of the sort of bourgeois, self-compassionate, politically uncommitted yet consistently biased “commentator” that manages to be even worse than the republicans they refuse to call out for what they are. She is a nullity.
Whatever you do, don’t assume she is showing good faith or actually have read up on what she’s talking about.

Of course, when one is discussing a McFact one should always check that fact first.

MM says:
Megan McArdle is wrong. In fact it is more likely that a woman will get pregnant from a rape than from consensual sex.

legion says:
Well, when I go to all the trouble of typing “rapist pregnancy study” into the finely-honed journalistic tool known as “The Google”, the first result is now about Akin, but the very next result is a 1996 study on rape-related pregnancies, which ends with this:
Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.
rather directly contradicting Akin’s disgraceful idiocy. Although I suspect Megan is thinking specifically of a study I too recall from maybe a year ago (which I have had more trouble searching for) that specifically studied rapists and found that some significant percentage of them, when actually engaging in “the act” became physically unable to continue to orgasm; hypothetically because the reality of the rape was rather less satisfying than the fantasy in the rapist’s head. However, this has exactly nothing to do with the victim’s desires in the matter of rape and/or pregnancy…

Does she still feel smarter than both liberals and conservatives now?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Little Lord Bootstraps

Let's see what Little Lord Bootstraps, the man who managed to give birth to himself, educate himself, and rise to power purely on courage and pluck without any help whatsoever, is up to.

Paul Krugman:
Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Mr. [Paul] Ryan joined the ticket.


...[I]f we add up Mr. Ryan’s specific proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts — with the tax cuts, surprise, disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Over all, the effect would be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.  
Yet Mr. Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk. What’s the basis for that claim?
Well, he says that he would offset his tax cuts by “base broadening,” eliminating enough tax deductions to make up the lost revenue. Which deductions would he eliminate? He refuses to say — and realistically, revenue gain on the scale he claims would be virtually impossible.         
At the same time, he asserts that he would make huge further cuts in spending. What would he cut? He refuses to say.
What Mr. Ryan actually offers, then, are specific proposals that would sharply increase the deficit, plus an assertion that he has secret tax and spending plans that he refuses to share with us, but which will turn his overall plan into deficit reduction.
If this sounds like a joke, that’s because it is.

Lyin' Ryan is like every other libertarian, long on theory and lies about the wonder of removing government assistance to the lower classes while increasing government assistance to the upper classes. It's their world and we just live in it. Why should the little people get something for free when the rich have worked so long and hard for everything they have?

For instance, we all know how young Paul Ryan worked at menial jobs to support himself after his father died suddenly. This is admirable, of course, but Ryan's entire professional career has been political, concentrating on fantasy-based supply-side economics and developing close ties with the Koches and their allies.

Betty Ryan reportedly urged her son to accept a congressional position as a staff economist attached to Kasten's office, which he did after graduating in 1992.[26][39] In his early years working on Capitol Hill, Ryan supplemented his income by working as a waiter, as a fitness trainer and at various other side jobs.[16][28]

A few months after Kasten was defeated by Democrat Russ Feingold in the 1992 election, Ryan became a speechwriter for Empower America (now FreedomWorks), a conservative advocacy group founded by Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and William Bennett.[16][40][41]

And that was the end of menial jobs for Ryan. He worked for Kemp and Sam Brownback, and when those jobs ended he fell back on his large and successful family for assistance, who gave him a job in marketing. In 1992 1998 he was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time. While there he developed "close ties" with libertarians and the Koches.

When Mr. Romney announced that Mr. Ryan would be his running mate, his campaign emphasized the congressman’s detailed knowledge of the federal budget and his chemistry with Mr. Romney. Less well-known are Mr. Ryan’s close ties to the donors and activists who have channeled Tea Party anger into a $400 million political machine, financed by a network of conservative and libertarian donors that now rivals, and occasionally challenges, the Republican establishment behind Mr. Romney.
Mr. Ryan is one of a very few elected officials who have attended the Kochs’ biannual conferences, where wealthy donors sit in on seminars on runaway government spending and the myths of climate change.
He is on first-name terms with prominent libertarians in the financial world, including hedge fund billionaires like Cliff Asness and Paul Singer, and spent his formative years immersed in the Republican Party’s supply-side wing, working for lawmakers and conservative policy advocates like Jack Kemp.
He has appeared for years at rallies, town hall meetings, and donor briefings for groups like the Club for Growth, which spends millions to defeat Republicans deemed squishy on taxes and spending, and Americans for Prosperity, a grass-roots group focused on economic and budget issues that is now trying to channel Tea Party energy into a permanent electoral force. Its fourth chapter was founded in Mr. Ryan’s home state, Wisconsin.

Now Mr. Ryan could provide Mr. Romney with a critical political and intellectual bridge to the rising conservative counterestablishment represented by the Kochs and their allies, who are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and deploy thousands of volunteers to defeat Mr. Obama. Should Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan win in November, a constituency that has for years fulminated against the failure of Republicans to live up to their own principles could soon have a close — and powerful — friend in the White House.

No wonder Megan McArdle favors Ryan. They both support obscenely wealthy libertarian sugar daddies who try to eliminate government regulation and taxes by lying about economics.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Libertarian Rex

Image from here.

ABC tells us:

After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.

[Ryan] “Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.”

What does that remind me of...?

This is all technically true, and collectively nonsense. [re Matt Taibbi's article on Goldman, Sachs]

Or perhaps a better way to say it is that the facts are right, but the mini narratives are ludicrously wrong, which makes the meta narrative suspect.

Paul Ryan and Megan McArdle: sisters under the skin. Both so deep in denial to protect their fantasy world in which they are leaders and intellectuals that reality and truth don't even make them pause, and both seeming to expect everyone else to join along willingly.

But the right needs a a comforting Daddy-figure in these dangerous and impoverished times, not the political equivalent of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute in The Oval Office.

ADDED: From the Washington Post:

Mitt Romney’s advisers are orchestrating a four-day Republican National Convention that is not so much designed to make Americans fall in love with the nominee, but rather to fall in like with the idea of him as the nation’s leader and a uniquely qualified businessman who can fix the economy.

The decision to focus heavily on Romney’s career background and economic policies is a departure from most conventions, which tend to mainly try to build a personal connection between the candidate and voters, especially for first-time nominees. It is also a tacit acknowledgment that Romney cannot win over enough swing voters by highlighting his personality and telling his life story alone.

Republicans are  going to demand that everyone obey their authorities and vote for the Mormon stiff and the Catholic brown-noser. Their followers will do it but their pain will be amusing palpable.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You Have To Be Kidding Me

You can try to stay away from Megan McArdle, for your own mental health if nothing else, but fate conspires against you constantly. She is absolutely incredible. She has utterly no sense of self-awareness and no shame.

Paul Ryan and Megan McArdle: Separated At Birth?

After much research and deep, deep philosophical thinking on the Republicans' new vice-presidential candidate, I have finally come to a conclusion about the contradiction that is Paul Ryan.

Mitt Romney just chose Megan McArdle to be his running mate.

Let's break this down a bit.

A person who is so ideologically blinkered that s(he) opposes the very policies that enabled his/her success, working feverishly to deny anyone else that assistance and vehemently denying that the assistance is beneficial.

A person who publicly denies allegiance to that ideology while basing his/her entire self-image on that ideology.

A person whose actions are and always have been coolly calculated for personal benefit and self-glorification while claiming to work for the public good.

A career greased by constant brown-nosing, a calculating, emotionally manipulative, and callous view of other people as something that exists only to be used for one's own advancement.

Ryan is a pretend economist, just as McArdle is a pretend journalist. They are both adept at disguising personal benefit and irrational ideology with numbers and charts and simply do not care about the effect of their actions on others when pursing their own course. 

But Mitt Romney is a pretend presidential candidate as well; he is pretending to be an authority--a fake leader at prep school who persecutes the vulnerable, a fake cop who can arbitrarily force others to do his will, a fake civic and business leader who guts businesses, a fake patriot who hides income abroad, a fake bishop who demonstrates a hollow ethical core. He does not engage with people because they are the audience, and their role is to pay their entrance fee, show up, and applaud. And Ryan is more of the same, a fake leader, fake businessman, and fake intellect.

We might be entering the Age of Libertarians, in which the DC blogging set finally reaches their inevitable seats of power and commence destroying everything they touch. But they are all emotional need, delicate nerves, and thinly-veiled hysteria, and it should be easy to take them down.  Nothing they do can bear close inspection, it is all patter and no substance. Yet they continue to gain power and control over the rest of us.

Future generations will find this utterly inexplicable. They will probably decide that we self-immolated because of something in the water, like the Romans' lead pipes.