Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 24, 2009
POLITICS: Your Democratic Majority At Work

Most of us have had the experience at one point or another in our lives of getting stuck in a conversation with someone who is irrational and full of conspiracy theories. If you are particularly unfortunate, that person is a member of your family, your boss, a judge, or otherwise someone you can't afford to just blow off. But pity poor Tim Geithner as it dawns on him that he has to answer questions from such a person - in this case, Congresswoman Maxine Waters - under oath, on camera, knowing that she is a powerful political ally of his boss (Geithner is not the first to have this experience):

I could take a pretty good guess as to why Goldman Sachs in particular is the subject of Waters' conspiracy theories about the secret power of financiers, and I'm guessing it's not because of Henry Paulson. Of course, Waters may just be assuming everyone else does business with bank regulators the way she does. Anyway, Geithner's facial expressions in this video are just priceless.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:09 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

19 months to the mid terms-methinks it will be a target rich environment indeed.

Posted by: dch at March 24, 2009 4:33 PM

Yup. This country needs more rational people, like those who think raising taxes by 3% on the rich is leading the country into Communism. (or who thought Saddam Hussein was a serious threat to overthrow the United States).

Posted by: Berto at March 24, 2009 9:53 PM

Ouch. Listening to her (and some others in that esteemed body) can lead to brain damage.

For Berto,

Not that I think you're are likely to acknowledge the fallacy of your non-sequitur, but it (besides being irrelevant to this post) was ridiculous. No one ever said that Saddam Hussein was a threat to overthrow our government. Likewise, I have not heard anyone claim that a particular percentage increase in taxes is tantamount to Communism. People (from both parties) correctly claimed that Hussein had repeatedly violated the surrender terms from the first Gulf War and that he had supported terrorism in the Middle East and that he was pursuing WMD and that it would be irresponsible to ignore the threat that he might provide WMD to terrorists if he were able to obtain or develop same. The worry wasn't that Hussein or his friends would overthrow our country, but rather that they would commit a major terrorist attack on the U.S. Terrorist attacks are not designed to overthrow governments but are instead methods to create enough fear to influence decisions made by a government. As far as the silly claim that folks think that a 3% rise in taxes would lead to Communism, I have no idea where you came up with that idea. Many people have correctly said that in a recession raising taxes would be an awful idea and would lead to a longer and deeper recession. Aside from the particular tax question, many have decried the slide towards more socialism that will result from some of the crap stuffed in the massive earmark bill (or "stimulous" bill). While socialism is a flawed economic idea it is not the same as the evil of communism.

Posted by: largebill at March 25, 2009 10:36 AM

largebill,
You cavalierly throw around the word "correctly" like you have a clue what it means.
Here's a better way to look at it (especially now that the facts are in).
Many dirty fucking hippies (A.K.A the group which is 100% right about everything) correctly felt the invasion of Iraq was a way to move the US Treasury into the hands of those well-connected to the Bush Administration. In order to get some of the population of the country to support such a boondoggle, they used their friends in the corporate media (such as NBC, which is wholly owned by General Electric--one of the nations leading defense contractors) to repeat such blatant lies as Hussein was threatening to attack the country, was involved with the 9/11 attacks, and had chemical and nuclear weapons at the ready to carry out his attacks on the American public (all since proven to be false---or what we laymen call blatant lies).
It wasn't even that hard to see, if one had an iota of common sense. On the one hand, they railed about how Saddam had violated UN treaties (just like Israel and a li'l ole country like the United States of America had). The fainting couch horror they used was laughable, since on the other hand they dismissed the UN as a joke when UN weapons inspectors said there was absolutely no proof Saddam had WMDs.
In other words, I ain't buying your re-write of history no matter how hard you try to push it.

I have heard of that earmark bill you mention. That's a funny name for a bill that contains LESS THAN 2% EARMARKS. But I understand your arguments wouldn't have leg to stand on if we're going to let things like facts and truth into the debate.
BTW, there is absolutely no proof that giving tax breaks to the rich helps the general public in any way. So bringing back Reagan-era tax rates to the richest 1% of society is a good way of recouping money that needs to be spent to stimulate the economy.
Has your statement that "While socialism is a flawed economic idea it is not the same as the evil of communism", been approved by the leaders (Rove, Rush, Hewitt) of your movement?
One thing I do agree with you on: Soviet-style socialism is a flawed economic idea. Almost as flawed as conservatism--hereby known as the failed ideology of the late 20th and early 21st century. (Of that, there is NO doubt).

Posted by: Berto at March 25, 2009 11:09 AM

Berto, in your opinion, what ideology is the proper one, most likely to succeed? I'm really just asking because I'm curious. No oblique intentions.

But I do have to point out, Obama proposes increasing taxes on the "rich" by more than 3%. An increase from 35 to 39.6 is really about a 13% increase. That's not an insignificant increase.

Posted by: per14 at March 25, 2009 11:22 AM

Berto,
You state:

"Many . . . correctly felt the invasion of Iraq was a way to move the US Treasury into the hands of those well-connected to the Bush Administration. In order to get some of the population of the country to support such a boondoggle, they used their friends in the corporate media (such as NBC, which is wholly owned by General Electric--one of the nations leading defense contractors) to repeat such blatant lies as Hussein was threatening to attack the country, was involved with the 9/11 attacks, and had chemical and nuclear weapons at the ready to carry out his attacks on the American public (all since proven to be false---or what we laymen call blatant lies)."

Let me paraphrase that: the Iraq war was a conspiracy by Republicans to gain control of the US treasury, and their co-conspirators were (of all people) the mainstream media who you allege to be in league with defense contractors.

Do you realize how crazy that sounds?? It's hard to know where to start with that one. The funniest part, I think, is the alliance between republicans and the mainstream media, overlooking the rather obvious fact that the republicans loathe the mainstream media and particularly its coverage of the war.

Let me guess - it's part of the cover-up, right? The Republicans only *pretend* to hate the mainstream media to hide their joint conspiracy to control the US treasury.

Be a socialist if you want to, but don't subscribe to outlandish conspiracy theories to make your case.

Posted by: MVH at March 25, 2009 11:41 AM

Berto,

You nailed it! I hope you are using a public access computer anonymously, otherwise the evil Republicans and their stooges in the media are going to get you. I'll bet Dick Cheney and Chris Matthews are preparing themselves for the raid right now.

Posted by: Tom at March 25, 2009 12:44 PM

The MSM is corporate media. If you all want to pretend that conservatives are at odds with corporations, go right ahead. It's your delusion after all.

Posted by: Berto at March 25, 2009 1:56 PM

Berto,

So why do conservatives bash the mainstream media on a daily basis if they are so enamored with corporate media?

Posted by: MVH at March 25, 2009 2:18 PM

What MVH aptly observed about the relationship between the mainstream media and Republicans also works in reverse. The mainstream media only likes Republicans who act like liberals otherwise they paint them negatively. Seriously, Berto if you honestly believe the stuff you spout you may want to get some professional assistance. It is one thing to be opposed to the decision to deal with the Iraq problem or to disagree with other policy decisions made by any administration, but it is another thing altogether to toss out ridiculous accusations about conspiracy theories over profit motives. You've gone way around the bend whether you are capable of realizing it or not.

Posted by: largebill at March 25, 2009 3:33 PM

MVH,
Because it's a game. It's like the whole "liberal media" meme. It's a ruse to throw the rubes off the track. Really, what kind of moron would possibly think corporate-owned entities would be against those who rule in their interests?

Don't worry. The fact that you've been played and haven't figured it out yet doesn't make you a rube at all. (As far as you know).
If only Costco sold common sense in bulk like they do toilet paper.

Posted by: Berto at March 25, 2009 3:42 PM

largebill,
Which MSM corporation has no financial ties to the US Defense Department (including large financial investments in defense contractors)?

I look forward to your response about how only kooky conspiracy theorists think corporations are in business for financial gain.

Posted by: Berto at March 25, 2009 3:52 PM

You guys are wasting pixels debating Berto because he doesn't accept the basic premises of American politics or its commonly used terminology. Most of us can readily identify a set of policy positions on issues like foreign policy, taxes, spending, social issues, etc. that are known as "liberal" and, if taken all together by the same person, find their exclusive home in the left wing of the Democratic party. It is incontestible that, by that definition, there are entities (we can debate how many) in the mainstream corporate-owned media, like the New York Times, that are institutionally supportive of the triumph of those positions and the candidates who promote them over their conservative Republican opposite numbers - supportive as a matter of editorial policy, selection of op-ed writers, and presentation of the news.

Because such media organs are not avowedly favorable to formal state socialism, Berto classifies them as conservative. You can argue until you are blue in the mouse and won't penetrate that divide.

Posted by: Crank at March 25, 2009 3:58 PM

I surprised anybody responds to Berto at all. I have to assume their facial expressions as they type are much like Geithners in the video.

Posted by: spongeworthy at March 25, 2009 4:19 PM

"I surprised anybody responds to Berto at all."

I'm not interested so much in refuting what he believes. It's more that I am simply *amazed* that he actually believes what he believes, and I curious as to how he can hold such opinions. I met a few socialists in Europe, and even they wouldn't argue what Berto just did.

But Berto confirmed what I suspected his answer would be: the conservative outrage at the media is just a cover-up in some vast conspiracy. I guess I'll have to settle for being a rube. :)

Posted by: MVH at March 25, 2009 5:42 PM

Well, this entire comment thread has been about Berto. Nice job, Berto.

In other news, I just watched the entire Geithner video and it is truly hilarious. Not a great poker face.

Posted by: per14 at March 25, 2009 5:49 PM

MVH, the fun thing about berto is that he gets to be the face of liberalism to guys like me. Or the voice, anyway.

See, not one of Crank's site-lefties ever steps up to say, "Geez, berto, that's pretty much lunacy there." It's like they never want to alienate even the most wacked-out dissenter as long as he's behind the same barricade.

It makes it easy for guys like me to dismiss them all as bertos--every lefty is either berto or is secretly harboring berto-lunacy but cannot come out as berto until they leave their parents home.

I like it when people make things easy for me, make it so I don't have to consider their opinions. I can dismiss them as fools or children. I think it's the price the loony left pay for solidarity but they seem okay with that.

Guys like you, who don't agree with me every single time, are a trial. Please stop.

Posted by: spongeworthy at March 25, 2009 6:50 PM

"See, not one of Crank's site-lefties ever steps up to say, "Geez, berto, that's pretty much lunacy there."

It's disappointing, really, and it's impossible to sort out their individual beliefs because they rarely make a principled argument. I've decided most of the left-wingers that come on here aren't really interested in having a debate, they just want to be pains in the rear end. Which is fine - we all make cracks from time to time - but it would be nice to see a post with a logical argument attached to it, or god forbid, even a link with some information in it.

The typical, knee-jerk reactions on here - "it must be wrong because a conservative said it"," or "Bush was so much worse" - is pretty lazy.

Posted by: MVH at March 25, 2009 10:45 PM

Berto's irrational opinions can be explained as generated by a mild case of schizophrenia, a malady often leading to theories of conspiracy—that is, a form of paranoia—the belief that, "They are out to me."

I'm not suggesting he has a serious form of the disease, or has been medically diagnosed with it, but only that his mistaken beliefs might be explained in this fashion. Of course, he could also be simply an ingenious troll, content with gaining attention by making bizarre statements.

It would be useful in a diagnostic sense to know whether he also suffers from hallucinations.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at March 25, 2009 11:02 PM

Maxine Waters is an idiot, but idiocy is the exclusive property of neither party.

The GOP has had the blowhard JD Hayworth, the yutz who shot a watermelon is his back yard to investigate Vince Foster's suicide and, ladies and gentlemen, The Wasilla Fantasist, Princess Sarah. At least the Boy Wonder has had the sense to stay out of sight lately.

Posted by: Magrooder at March 25, 2009 11:50 PM

"It's disappointing, really, and it's impossible to sort out their individual beliefs because they rarely make a principled argument. I've decided most of the left-wingers that come on here aren't really interested in having a debate, they just want to be pains in the rear end. Which is fine - we all make cracks from time to time - but it would be nice to see a post with a logical argument attached to it, or god forbid, even a link with some information in it."

Not really - Crank's site isn't set up for reasonable debate, and I've seen nothing that leads me to believe he wants it. Really, when's the last time the righties have stepped up and said "wow, that's real crazy there xxx." It's his soap box, but the political links aren't exactly geared for having an honest debate. They are clubs aimed at what displeases him, often Democrats.
This, for better or for worse, gives the comments the flavor you'd expect, following the tone of the posts - hyper partisian, unwilling to criticize those that agree (see the Vitter post), and often short on information.
I'll pop in with comments when I see something wrong, but if I'm looking for a political conversation among adults, this is not the community where I find it. And if I'd rather spend my time there, I will rather than arguing in comments here. Crank, hope I didn't offend you with those comments, but it's the way I see it.
http://xkcd.com/386/

And Magrooder has it right, each party has a good dose of the crazy, thanks in part to gerrymandering at the state level.

""They are out to me.""
Dai, it's interesting since the posts above this include a link to Gov. Palin saying this exact same thing. The victimhood that both parties rely on is pretty much integral to message - both parties do have the ability to do without it, but this isn't likely to happen.

Posted by: Dave at March 26, 2009 2:38 AM

"It's his soap box, but the political links aren't exactly geared for having an honest debate. They are clubs aimed at what displeases him, often Democrats."

Sure, this is a partisan site, no doubt about it. I'm not sure what you mean by the links not leading to an honest debate. They are sources - and it least I know where he is getting his information. I don't dismiss the links because they might be partisan too. If the links are wrong or misinformed, then they should be easy to refute.

Basically, I don't mind the partisan stuff because I don't follow politics nearly as much as they do, and I like the see the strongest argument made on the issues. If I know, for example, that the best that the right can come up with against Geithner at the moment is in the link from Pejman, then I really haven't missed anything in my own reading. So I post what I think, and maybe someone has some more information than I do.

Posted by: MVH at March 26, 2009 7:49 AM

"...they just want to be pains in the rear end."
Pointing out ridiculously blatant hypocrisies (i.e. The GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility) and the parroting of people who have been consistently wrong in their beliefs (Kristol, Rove, Rush, Wolfowitz, etc).

Posted by: Berto at March 27, 2009 1:44 AM

Yes, I do enjoy the sputtering that follows after "afflicting the comfortable."

Posted by: Magrooder at March 27, 2009 9:56 PM
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