You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

January 15, 2012

I Paid Gingrich

The world's billionaires clearly plan to rerun the 20th century and see if it turns out differently. Given that, during a brutal economic downturn we should be on the lookout for what happened in the 20th century's most brutal economic downturn—i.e., right-wing businessmen funding crazy right-wing politicians so they can attack the "bad" kind of capitalists. These turn out not to be regular financiers, but "parasitic" financiers. The goal is to divert anger away from the "good" capitalists (who usually do exactly the same things as the "bad" ones), while gaining power to go on the attack against any left-wing alternatives.

And right on schedule, Sheldon Adelson is forking over millions so a Newt Gingrich-supporting PAC can attack Mitt Romney for his parasitic financier ways. Traditionally, the inherently-foreign-cosmopolitan-minorities-controlling-all-via-parasitic-finance would be Jewish. (And of course that's the undertone of the right's attacks on George Soros.) However, Adelson himself is Jewish, so 'King of Bain' had to look elsewhere. It's actually pretty funny to see them groping around for villains that will work for their audience. In the end, the puppeteers ruining the fatherland turn out to be from Massachusetts and/or Latin America and/or speak French.

Anyway, while I don't think Newt Gingrich is Hitler or Sheldon Adelson is Fritz Thyssen, it is unnerving to see this phenomenon cropping up again, even on a small scale.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at January 15, 2012 08:41 AM

Well, a least the issue of capitalism as some form of evil is being challenged on the Republican side.
As Robert Scheer points out, "There is NO [my emphasis] comparable dissent among leading Democrats, who have been loath to take on Barack Obama’s embrace of crony capitalism—"

Posted by: Paul Avery at January 15, 2012 10:21 AM

But it's not about capitalism as some form of evil. The first words are "Capitalism made America great." I guess you could say it's about some form of capitalism as being evil, but fascism said exactly the same thing.

Posted by: Jon Schwarz at January 15, 2012 10:47 AM

THE REDMAN'S LAND and all the wealth with in it IS what America great, make no mistake. The present managers are indescreetly squandorous of said wealth. There's Capitalism and then there's HONEST businest practices. Make theiving legal and YOU have today's headlines.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 15, 2012 12:58 PM

Thank you Mr Schwarz for the link to 'King of Bain'.
It just made me very sad and VERY ANGRY.
These UNSCRUPULOUS CAPITALISTS are disgusting and make me sick. And what little I know about them is just the tip of the iceberg...

Posted by: Rupa Shah at January 15, 2012 05:20 PM

"I guess you could say it's about some form of capitalism as being evil, but fascism said exactly the same thing."

Republicans see a political advantage in putting capitalism on the table. "Good capitalism vs. bad capitalism," is still a step away from the Reganesque "all capitalism is good," in which Obama is still mired.

"THE REDMAN'S LAND and all the wealth with in it IS what America great, make no mistake."

I suppose we could throw slavery and indentured servitude into the mix. But I'm always cautious about the meaning of the "America Is Great" claim--as if great=good. America wasn't all that great prior to WWI and WWII. Does this mean America was less good back then? If so, the Tea Party/Ron Paul romantic idea of reverting to the 19th century will actually make us less great, and therefore, less good! Someone ought to alert them to this fact.

Posted by: Paul Avery at January 15, 2012 05:21 PM

The other day, a wise man told me, "Capitalism has swallowed our democracy". I did not need to say anymore.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at January 15, 2012 05:39 PM

IMHO Newt would love to be Hitler and he'd make a damn fine Hitler too.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 16, 2012 12:02 AM

I thing it's all pretty academic at this point. Romney is likely to take South Carolina, Florida and then the super-Tuesday primaries. The selling point in this election cycle is "Beat Obama," not "I'm the most conservative." And the Republican voters seem to think Mitt is more likely to beat Obama. I mean, he looks like he can. I've seen his identical twin brother model for Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs for ever since I can remember.

But, I agree with Alex Cockburn. If Romney locks it up too early, his campaign, like McCain's, will lose momentum

Posted by: Paul Avery at January 16, 2012 07:42 AM

As regards "Beat Obama,", there are other campaigns going on....


Posted by: Rupa Shah at January 16, 2012 09:30 AM

I believe Richard Viguerie, who at least until recently was one of those grand planners on the Right, once said that sometimes losing an election can be good. Not everybody is short-sighted, and obviously not everybody making policy believes all that rhetoric about Obama that is used to keep him on the defensive. A Dem President on the defensive afraid and/or unable to do anything has been pretty useful for a long time.

The debate about finance and capitalism among the Republicans is interesting, with all those embittered social conservatives without jobs lining up behind Newt and all the Ayn Rand types lining up behind "I like to fire people" Romney. I think folks are right that this split has always existed but at times like these becomes very pronounced. Back in the 20s, when he was the richest guy around not named Rockefellor, Henry Ford used to complain about Jewish bankers all the time, and so well that Hitler had a picture of Henry Ford on his office wall in the 20s, maybe even later. I don't know that Henry Ford thought the Rockefellors were Jews, though it's hard to put anything past someone who circulated the Protocols of the Eleders of Zion, but plenty of people thought or assumed the Rockefellors were Jewish since they had all that money and all those banks. Politics and ideology have always been fact free. Not all 'capitalists' get along or want the same things, and hypocrisy is a human identifier, so don't assume crazy right-wing types won't tear each other's throats out even though they're united by some common hatreds. (They will probably kill us first though.)

Here we go again: The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocense is drowned.

Posted by: N E at January 16, 2012 09:44 AM


Posted by: Mang at January 16, 2012 10:09 AM

It's "Rockyfellow." But I didn't know Hitler had a picture of Henry Ford on his wall. I wonder if it was signed? "To Dolphie, from from your pal,Hank."

Posted by: Paul Avery at January 16, 2012 10:43 AM

Rupa Shah: Yes, but Bibi himself is not without opposition. IDF General Gantz is opposed to attacking Iran and a former Mossad chief calls it "“the most stupid idea I ever heard of.”

The basic question is is Obama insane enough to think blocking the 2 mile wide major oil-tanker sea lane with a full-scale war is worth a dubious regime change in Iran. W. wouldn't hesitate. Obama, I'm not so sure.

Posted by: Paul Avery at January 16, 2012 11:21 AM

Probably should finish conquering Afghanistan and Iraq before invading Iran. Newt would jump on it though, but then children will play. Invading 3 countries at once is sooo Hitlerlike. I'd be shouting "copycat, copycat".

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 16, 2012 01:19 PM

Rockefeller--sorry, i can't spell fershit.

By the way, Andrew Carnegie called Rockefeller 'reckafella.'

Baptists can do the blood-drinking banker thing too. It's ecumenical.

Posted by: N E at January 16, 2012 03:08 PM

A Dem President on the defensive afraid and/or unable to do anything has been pretty useful for a long time.

There you go again, N E. Let me remind you of the famous dictum of Stalin's secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria: You can observe a lot just by watching. Specifically, one can observe what an ostensibly Dem President has done, the persons he has put in positions of power, etc. If there is a gap between what that president has done and what someone imagines that president wishes he could have done, this would be a chance to apply lex parsimoniae, a.k.a. Occam's Razor, to cut the throat of one's fantasy - it would, however, be the loss of a comforting illusion, and as they said about the brother-in-law who thought he was a chicken - "We need the eggs."

Posted by: m at January 17, 2012 08:13 AM

When certain of the capital and assets of the military are substantially near the civilian counterpart, one staunch republican conservative says it will destroy us in order to save us.

Rerun the century indeed.

Good Post.

Posted by: Dredd at January 17, 2012 08:44 AM


I have to admit that turning a Yogi Berra quote into a Lavrentiy Beria quote is pretty darn witty, and I do like eggs, but the fact that someone is afraid and/or on the defensive doesn't mean they're any good or necessarily mean anything except that they're on the defensive and afraid. Yogi's boss the man of steel (the one other than superman) was always on the defensive and afraid, and he wasn't such a swell guy. What you did was make an assumption, and you must know, given your proficiency in latin and the history of antiquity, that when you make assumptions, you make an ass out of u and mptions.

Posted by: N E at January 17, 2012 11:03 AM

Yogi wouldn't run around his cell, squeaking like a mouse, while trying to avoid his destiny.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 17, 2012 01:52 PM

1) It was a slip of the fingers that resulted in my previous message being signed as "m"

2) I was joking about the Berra/Beria confusion - just making a play on the similarity of their names. I was NOT joking about my main point. My main point is that you, N E, are claiming once again "Obama is not doing what he really wants to do because he can't or is afraid to."

3) I, on the other hand - either by assuming or perhaps by observing - reach a different conclusion: Obama is not particularly afraid or defensive, and IS doing the job he wants to do, as spokesmodel for the MICFiC, in a way that gets done what his bosses want to be done.

That is all.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 17, 2012 04:31 PM

mistah slippery fingers charley, ph.d.

I did not claim what you claim I claim, and I stick to my point about mptions. Joseph "the man of Russian steel" Stalin was always defensive and afraid (but he was Beria's boss, ya know, not Yogi's), and people who wanted to manipulate him found that useful, sometimes, unless they ended up getting killed, which is a problem with that system. Same for Hitler, who came to power in substantial part because powerful people like Thyssen thought they could use him, and did, though sometimes it didn't work out so well for them either. That system did have risks even for benefactors.

The fact that people are kept on the defensive, manipulated, threatened, frightened, etc., really doesn't mean they aren't doing what they want to do. In many ways, all involved in politics and statecraft are playing a game, and the fact that they might really rather be playing a different game (or might not, hell, they might love it as is) doesn't mean much.

In our system, as shown recently by Obama's fundraising record, the game seems to be like Monopoly and you have to accumulate as much money as possible, which means pleasing corporations and their majority shareholders. So I'd agree those are the bosses and Obama is trying to please them, because they have spoken to that with their bank drafts.

In our system, any President has to be playing that game, though occasionally they are pressured into a place where the game comes second, or they find a little room to escape the rules. Seems to happen less and less though. But don't think pressure and intimidation and such unseemly behavior aren't part of the game--that's part of it too.

Posted by: N E at January 17, 2012 05:41 PM

mistah charley, ph.d. NE has a point, and not too far fetched concidering Obama is a Blackman and OUR overt&Constitutional racism. (Article I sec.2, US Constitution) Why YOUR OWN statements of listening to his bosses canotes the soft racism of ownership by another. What with the Teabaggers in Congress, they alone give NE the legs to his arguement. Listen to Newt and NE's arguement starts to look good.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 17, 2012 05:42 PM

Newt - video and commentary about

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at January 17, 2012 09:13 PM

Newt - what wife #2 said about him in 2010

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 19, 2012 09:46 AM

MM: "... not too far fetched concidering Obama is a Blackman and OUR overt&Constitutional racism." Given what Obama has been able to achieve in the service of his corporate donors, including waging bloody war against people of color in other countries, I have to say that I can't see it as an entirely bad thing if racism and other structural forces have kept him from doing everything he'd like to do. I don't assume that what he'd like to do would necessarily be benign, given his record. (As Glenn Greenwald pointed out recently, it's people of color in the US and abroad who will suffer most from his assault on civil liberties and his embrace of State surveillance.) Obama has benefited from race as much as he's benefited from being a Democrat: both issues have hobbled criticism of his policies from non-Republicans, as he's carried out policies that got Dubya lots of criticism from Dems and "progressives."

Posted by: Duncan at January 19, 2012 12:11 PM

Duncan: PLEASE, I'm defending NE not Obama. I'm all for the Illinois model of governance, arrest and trial of the chief executive as soon as they are out of office.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 19, 2012 12:37 PM

Why YOUR OWN statements of listening to his bosses canotes the soft racism of ownership by another.

The notion of politicians having bosses they listen to doesn't suddenly become "soft racism" just because the militaristic corporate stooge in the White House happens to be black (and it's more than a little ironic to claim otherwise, since it implies that we should alter the use of straightforward and well-understood metaphors depending on the president's color).

Posted by: John Caruso at January 19, 2012 06:33 PM

John Caruso: Obama seems equal to GWB in most of the important ways. YOU would'nt find it ironic if GWB were pandering for MICFIC.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 19, 2012 08:40 PM

I think you may have missed my point, but I'll leave it there.

Posted by: John Caruso at January 21, 2012 01:09 PM

John Caruso: Changing metaphorical meaning according to race is EXACTLY what I'm saying. OUR RACISM is so deeply ingrained in American Culture that it is how such metaphors work. In conciderations of RACE&GENDER WE all answer to dogwhistles. Its automatic and inheirent, one cannot avoid it even through conscious effort.
A Whiteman is PAID by the bosses, a Blackman is OWNED by the bosses. Both may be doing the exact same thing as to service but in OUR society that's how things are percieved. Hey, just watch Newt, he's a pro at this game. He lives it & loves it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 22, 2012 02:23 PM

Mike, mistah charley said Obama is "doing the job he wants to a way that gets done what his bosses want to be done". I don't think most slaves were doing the jobs they wanted to do, and you're the only one who's said anything at all about "ownership".

It's unfortunate to see someone on here resorting to baseless charges of racism (soft or otherwise), but I guess given what Obama's giving people to work with it's to be expected.

Posted by: John Caruso at January 22, 2012 10:32 PM