Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Youtube Challenge

My belated submission for Mickey's video contest here.

Today's The Day!

Today, California gets its chance to actually fire Mickey Kaus.

I'm so jealous.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Okay Maybe It's Not All Boring

Mickey for the Non-Union Equivalent of California 2010:

Fred Barnes raises the possibility of a "mad duck" Congress, in which Democrats lose their majorities and their soon-to-be-ex Congressmen reconvene in December to pass all the most controversial parts of the Democratic agenda

Oh, no! Those monsters! What diabolical parts of their agenda will they seek to pass? Mickey suggests the immigration bill -- quelle surprise! -- and ... a value added tax. Huh?

Apparently, the idea of a VAT has become yet another of the right wing noise machine's terror-and-outrage objects, after Paul Volcker (an actual golem created to haunt Larry Summers) idly suggested a VAT was "not as toxic" as it used to be and a handful of Democrats didn't rule out a VAT at some point in the future. The Senate then passed a resolution against the VAT 85-13, which puts its chances for immediate passage somewhere on the level of the Amended Springfield/Pervert Bill. [But Obama said it was "on the table"!!! -- ed. Yes, presumably somewhere between the butter, the napkin holder, and the nuclear strike on Iran].

Honestly, I'm just surprised that Mickey didn't add the revival of the fairness doctrine, the banning of salt, the outlawing of hunting, and the general confiscation of all firearms to his list.

Anyway, nothing ever happens during a lame duck session -- remember 2006, when they sneakily passed every single item on the Republican agenda? -- but nothing's too scary for Mickey when Democrats are in power! They'll use every trick in the book to advance their horrible agenda of sensible financial and environmental regulation!

Alert reader J. suggests "an all-out filibuster" would stop a mad-duck legislating binge. Not if the legislation can be put in the form of "reconciliation" bills--and I would think a VAT would qualify because of its obvious budgetary impact. ...

Except that reconciliation can only be used once a year, has already been used this year, and the new Congressional term begins on January 3rd, 2011 -- information which I acquired at this incredibly obscure research database.


A Democratic-gadfly persona, that's who! Kaus 2010!

Saturday, May 8, 2010



I'll be debating unionism today, Friday, May 7, from 3 to 3:30 P.M. on KPFK, 90.7 FM in Los Angeles.

And then again from 3:30 P.M. until Judgment Day.

Apologies for the lack of posting, but following Mickey as he repeats the same four things he's ever said while pretending to be speaking to a completely new audience -- "God, can you believe Eugene Robinson's latest column? It ... it ... reminds me of, uh, why Barbara Boxer needs to go!" -- on a blog that's even more sporadic than Kausfiles is, well, pretty boring.

The only bright spots are Mickey's press releases. Even though it's mostly just him reprinting his blog in quotation marks, the bits where he pretends he's his own communications director and talks about himself in the third person are just classic.

I presume the drafting sessions go something like this:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mickey Wins The Lou Dobbs Primary

Holy cow, Mickey finally approves of unions acting in their own self-interest!

... you know, so long as it hurts Mexicans, somehow ...

And then Mickey wonders why he isn't more popular at the California Democratic Convention.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Which Tom Friedman Becomes His Own Sassy Black Friend

Tom Friedman's latest ode to America's suspiciously Tom-Friedman-esque "independents and centrists" has been rightly mocked, mostly for lines like this:

That is why I want my own Tea Party. I want a Tea Party of the radical center.

As valid as those criticisms are -- and I mean, here's Tom Friedman wishing aloud for a political movement that simultaneously represented the majority of the American public and also wanted to enact all of Tom's policy preferences, which is just about the saddest bout of narcissism committed to page ... and poor Tom can't even describe his fantasy majority party without being completely incoherent -- I submit that the line is even more spectacular in context:

That is why I want my own Tea Party. I want a Tea Party of the radical center.

Say what?

That's right, Tom Friedman just imagined you, the reader, as an ethnic supporting character on a mid-90's sitcom who was just BLOWN AWAY by the off-the-wall craziness of Friedman's vision.

"What's that, Tom Friedman? A party for extremist moderates? You better chiggity-check yourself before you wreck yourself!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Doomed To Fail

Not that I don't agree with the sentiment behind Gawker's Mickey Kaus oppo research project, but I just can't see it going anywhere, for three reasons:

(1) Mickey is the Boring Kind of Weird. Here's a man who has been making literally the same three or four points -- illegal immigrants bad, welfare bad, unions bad, and sometimes health care good -- using the same arguments written the same way in the same forum for what feels like an eternity. That's a different kind of weird than "screwing a member of your staff and then having a creepy fundamentalist organization encourage you to bribe your way out of it"-weird.

(2) Nobody Cares. Oppo research is valuable for finding embarrassing information or proving that someone is a hypocrite. I doubt Mickey is actually capable of embarrassment (how would he write what he writes otherwise?) and in any event he's likely to be too boring to have done anything particularly embarrassing (see #1). As for hypocrisy, Mickey's political leanings are so wildly incoherent that it's pretty much impossible to tar him as a hypocrite. Only one thing would really get to Mickey's reputation: evidence that he knowingly hired illegal immigrants. [What about buying a Chris Bangle BMW? -- ed. Okay, two things.] Everything else is either common knowledge (he's an idiot) or representative of his acknowledged past as an actual liberal. Even if he committed a Kardinal Sin and once *joined a union* [The Harvard Law School Local 402? -- ed. I know, I know, bear with me], he can just claim that doing so helped him see the light and turn into the blog version of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

(3) You Don't Need Oppo Research for a Crackpot. There's a reason why the phrase "Hey, Lehane, what do we have on Dennis Kucinich?" has never been uttered. I mean, look at Mickey's greatest hits:

- Referring to waterboarding as "semi-torture" and believing that the issue was an electoral winner for the GOP.

- Screaming about how health care reform will be incredibly expensive, obliquely referring to death panels and then endorsing health care reform anyway.

- Tinfoil hat speculation involving Obama encouraging a flood of illegal immigration in advance of the 2010 Census.

- His hilariously habit of linking to the kind of websites that are on Southern Poverty Law Center watch lists.

- His fervent desire to drastically cut social security benefits for current recipients. (Remember, he's a Democrat!)

- Displaying foreign policy chops that Tom Friedman would find woefully naive.

- Opposing help for the unemployed in the midst of high unemployment because it represents an nefarious, secret attempt to repeal his precious welfare reform, and citing to wingnut think tanks for proof.

- Having literally no idea how Washington works.

- Having literally no idea how Wall Street works.

- Seriously believing that dire predictions about the housing bubble and its effect on the U.S. economy were just ploys by liberal do-gooders to expand the welfare state, and that the housing bust was "no big deal".

And that's just random stuff I managed to write about when I was bored! His archives are a veritable treasure trove of offensive and wrong.


That's really Mickey's advantage here: if you get one thing wrong, you'll hear about it forever ("And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion", etc.); but if you live wrong, then there's too much to work with -- it'd be like criticizing Christopher Hitchens for making inflammatory statements or Lady GaGa for dressing like a MegaMan boss ... where do you even start?

Good luck, Gawker. You're gonna need it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Leave The Record Alone Mickey

Kandidate Kaus, just two short months ago:

Let the record show that, in the crunch, it was the "progressive" left that bailed on health care reform.

Well, I'm going to assume without looking it up that those 34 'nay' votes are all members of the progressive left who have totally bailed on health care reform for the reasons Mickey said. Not even going to look at the roll call. Nope.

And I'm also going to assume that the progressives were the ones who went down to the wire engaging in pointless political theater while the Blue Dogs successfully negotiated key changes to the Senate bill to ensure passage. And that the progressives wanted to scrap the process and start over with a smaller bill while centrist Democrats supported the ultimately successful effort to pass the comprehensive bill establishing universal health care for the first time in America. I mean, there's no way Nancy Pelosi wanted to see this thing pass, right? Must have happened in spite of her, and not because of her ... what with her and her kind being deluded, angry outsiders afraid to pass health care reform because it just might work.

Look, if there's one thing that I've learned from studying at the feet of Mickey Kaus, it's that progressive politicians are always stupid, corrupt, shameless panderers overwhelmed by their emotions and incapable of either political or policy success -- and there's simply no way that recent events could have proven that thesis wrong.

After all, that's the reason why we need people like Mickey in the Senate: to keep progressives from screwing everything up, just like they always do.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Does Mickey Really Look Like A Guy With A Plan?


Mickey's just a dog chasing cars. He wouldn't know what to do with one if he caught it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mickey's New Friends

Apologies for the lack of posting, but February's been pretty rough. [You've just been watching the Olympics, haven't you? -- ed. Only to double check Nate Silver's medal predictions! Snot-nosed little punk always using his "numbers" and his "math" to make predictions ... that's not the Mickey Kaus way!]

Anyway, after spending the week rattling off several "organized labor will ruin America" posts notable only for their redundancy, Mickey decided to finish off a pretty lousy month with a pretty lousy pep talk for Congressional Democrats:

The Real Reason Cynical Dem Pols Should Vote for the Health Care Bill

Good start there. I would have gone with "Listen Up, Jerkwads" for the headline, but that's why Mickey's the pro. The gist of the post is that Republicans might be actually -- gasp! -- lying about the horrible things that health care reform does, and that the best thing for Democrats would be to pass the bill and show the public that the Republicans might have been exaggerating about "socialized medicine" and "death panels" and the like. [Which Republicans, exactly? -- ed. You know, the ones that say things about Obama supporting "a panel of independent experts making end-of-life recommendations in order to save costs that have an effect at an individual level" ... you know, those Republicans.]

So Mickey makes this pitch, the most pathetically tepid endorsement of health care reform to date -- "Democrats should pass health care reform because it doesn't suck as much as Republicans say it sucks" -- and his commenters respond with the enlightened discourse that we've come to expect from Mickey's readers:

Request an explanation why you don't seem to give a hoot about what this monstrosity costs.

Annihilate what remains of the public fisc? Or become France? Thanks, no.

How many deaths and needlessly limited and painful lives will the "lack of innovation" cause, which, Mickey cynically hopes will not happen for a few years?

Got that, Mickey? You're cynically supporting the deaths of thousands of people by half-assedly throwing your support behind passage of health care reform. Maybe Bizarro Charles Lane will come to your defense.

In case you haven't gotten the word, socialism never works for anything under any circumstances, anywhere, anytime. But the dreamers keep dreaming for some reason only they understand.

That second sentence is almost a Joni Mitchell lyric.

Note that for the first time in eight solid months, Mickey (a) admits that the Democrats' plans for health care reform won't lead to outright disaster, and (b) acknowledges that the Republican attacks are wildly hyperbolic. For this affront, his audience -- his real audience, not the wide-eyed-liberals-in-need-of-some-hard-truths that he pretends he's addressing -- calls him a communist, and not a soul defends him.

But, uh, well ... hey, aren't unions a bunch of ridiculous jerks? Right? Guys?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Comment

Have they finally done it? Enabled comments on Mickey's precious blog? I never thought I'd live to see the day ... mostly because I hoped that he'd be fired first.

Finally, Mickey gets to really see what his readers think -- no doubt they are the kind of discerning neoliberals who understand the basic necessity of government services yet resent the influence that entrenched interests have in shaping the distribution of resources ... you know, the sort of old new leftists who see tension and perhaps hypocrisy in a political philosophy devoted to a just and equal society that is dependent on groups formed around fragmentation and selfishness for its electoral success.

Let us hear their wisdom:

this seems to be a new discuss facility; how secure is the external log in service? are they able to capture my yahoo password?

Hey, look! It's me. Hi, everyone.

Okay, okay, rough start, that's to be expected. Technical difficulties and whatnot.

Mickey, this quote from Obama made me realize what is so jarring about his mode of communicating with the public. He speaks as if he is one of the guys, letting us in on hoiw things really are. It is informal and personal. He says "you can't go blow a lot of money in Vegas" and similar riffs. But more and more of the public know from other news sources that he is distorting and covering up what is actually going on in Washington.

Oh, hey, someone lamely complaining about Obama's wildly successful rhetorical style, and then complaining that NOBAMA LIES. Well, you know, they can't all be gems. How about you, kind sir:

Has anyone ever sat down with this man and told him that if he has to say this, and "Let me be perfectly clear..." and "As I already told you ..." and all the other permutations of those statements that there might be something wrong with his communication style? No. Probably not. Because I think it is one of those verbal tricks used by sales and con men and propagandists to frame whatever follows as something very obvious that the message RECEIVER has (ostensibly) failed to comprehend. The trick is, of course, that in this case, the speaker has often communicated the very opposite, but this statement of certainty raises uncertainty in the RECEIVER's mind. It's therefore the RECEIVER's fault for not 'getting' it.

And then it's right after this he tries to hook you up to an e-meter.

Nobody has yet shared their secrets about where you can meet wealthy men online, but maybe they're just biding their time.


Official Fire Mickey Kaus prediction for Mickey's comment section: lots and lots of CAPS LOCK.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bills To Pay The Skills

In arguing against unspecified attempts to expand the social safety net during a recession -- it's for their own good, you see! -- Mickey links to this piece by Kaus heartthrob Heather MacDonald:

Championing Dependency
The poverty industry renews its attack on welfare reform.

Poverty industry! Even Mickey prefers to insinuate that evil politicians and dumb Money Liberals are profiting off of the very conditions they purport to eradicate -- not actively manufacturing poverty like it's some sort of consumer good. Oh, this is awesome.

(Wealthy Banker: "Shit, what I am doing in finance, when I could be raking in that sweet poverty cash? Poor people have tons of money!")

In that spirit, the author describes her foes thusly:

poverty advocates

I'm sure she meant "anti-poverty advocates" there. It's not like she actually believes that these advocates who have dedicated their lives to low-paying work on behalf of the least fortunate are purposefully working to keep them poor. Oh, wait ...

dependency-promoting bills

The Live Off Welfare Forever Act of 2009 was totally misunderstood.

Albany dependency brigades

Hey, the Albany dependency brigades fought valiantly at Antietam before falling into their current disreputable state.

Here's the article's thesis, in case you couldn't guess:

Powerful political forces are trying to make dependency acceptable again.

If by "powerful political forces" she means banking industry, and by "dependency" she means "depending on the federal government's bailout of AIG, cheap money from the Fed, and an implicit guarantee to step in in the case of failure", she'd make a ton of sense, and actually be speaking truth to power. The reality-- that she's using the phrase to describe anti-poverty advocates in the very same piece where she gamely tries to spin a 26.5% child poverty rate as a success -- is just ugly.

[I do hate to turn every criticism of Mickey & co.'s anti-anti-poverty idiocy into GOLDMAN SACHS GOLDMAN SACHS GOLDMAN SACHS ... but still, any use of the phrase "powerful political forces" that doesn't refer specifically to the banking industry is now, by definition, histrionic.]

The gem of the piece:

[T]he best way for an unskilled worker to enter the workforce is actually to start working, rather than spend years in often fruitless “education and training” programs.

Really? The best way to enter the workforce is to start working? Isn't that the only way?

Even assuming she meant "escape poverty" or "break the cycle of dependency" or some other such blather -- and ignoring that her "just go work" prescription is being offered at a time of 10% unemployment -- why put "education and training" in scare quotes? Are those dependency advocates in the Obama administration sending the unemployed to the University of Phoenix?

Are they going to business school?

Oh, and how precisely are unskilled workers supposed to get skilled without education and training? Mickey and his ilk are always deploying that vaguely insulting term to suggest that those people could have gone out and gotten some skills if they wanted to, and since they didn't they deserve their fate. [Hey, Mickey has a Harvard Law degree, and he's still fucking useless -- ed. Good point!] Yet every damn time someone proposes something that could conceivably skill-ify the downtrodden -- encouraging enrollment in a four-year college, say -- these same anti-anti-poverty-advocacy advocates declare that such efforts are "fruitless" and these slovenly types should just go work at Wal-Mart or something.

It's almost as though they possess a "fundamentally inegalitarian and elitist" belief that only certain people are capable of being skilled workers -- and it just so happens that those with "educational credentials and yuppie resumes" fit the bill ... oh, wait, Mickey's says it's feminists who think like that. My bad!

The Pro-Poverty-and-Dependency Lobby must have gotten to me, too!


Hey, remember that scene in Hoop Dreams when Arthur Agee's mother gets her certification to be a nurse's assistant and weeps openly at the school's graduation ceremony, knowing that she can now provide for her family?

That was when Mickey Kaus left the theater in disgust.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Disqualifying Statements?

Does this Kausfiles Klassic from September 2006 count?

RT partner "R" emails to give the upshot ... Only 1 of 5 Democrats look to be in any trouble at all, so the magic number for the D's remains 15 or 16 at the worst.

Doesn't sound like a baked cake, does it? ... And if the Dems aren't convincingly ahead in enough of those races now to pick up 15 seats, doesn't it seem like the GOPs have a chance?

That was the mid-term election in 2006. You know, the election when Democrats won thirty-one seats?

In Mickey's universe, a cake is not fully baked until it is fired from a cannon into the sun.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kausfiles Recycles!

Note that before there was this, all the Napolitano news was tagged with this.

I'm not sure what precisely this Napolitano business has to do with Mickey's prior wrongness regarding Bill Richardson [They're governors ... in the southwest ... do I need to draw you a picture? -- ed. Yes, and try to work Jim Gibbons in, too -- the next time Mickey mentions him will be the first ...] and I'm still not sure why Napolitano's role in the Anita Hill affair would result in bipartisan protection [Because the Anita Hill hearings roughly coincide with the last time Mickey had any relevance in Washington? - ed. Hey, that's not right ... Mickey *never* had any relevance in Washington ...], but it's clear that when we think of Janet Napolitano, Mickey thinks we should be thinking of whoever the hell it is that Mickey thinks Bill Richardson had sex with.

A normal person would ask "why?" But a normal person does not read Mickey Kaus.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nobody Could Have Seen This Coming

From the New York Times article on taxing the banks:

The most likely alternatives would be a tax based on the size and riskiness of an institution’s loans and other financial holdings, or a tax on profits.

Lobbyists for bankers, taken by surprise, immediately objected to any new tax.

Suggested follow-up questions:

- Taken by surprise meaning that you've seen it coming for ages and have been desperately spinning to try to forestall the inevitable ("the housing bubble took us by surprise!")?

- Taken by surprise meaning you totally knew it would happen and you're just trying to act as though it's so inconceivably crass that you never saw it coming ("the furor over bonuses took us by surprise!")?

- Or taken by surprise like you're all bunch of know-nothing, backwards idiots getting high on your own supply ("financial deregulation leading to complete collapse took us by surprise!")?

Then again, when a lobbyist for bankers tells you he's shocked -- shocked! -- by something, I'm sure it's totally genuine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gotta Beat Life

Mickey, in the midst of explaining his inexplicable contrarianism:

[T]he purpose of the health care system is to keep people alive--it's enemy is, in effect, death, which will never be defeated.

You mean we're MORTAL? Oh, man, I'm glad Mickey's around to help us out.


Actually, you know the best part of this help-me-help-you-understand-my-ridiculousness post?

He lists as a "contradiction" something that was never a contradiction in the first place (he wants to spend more money on health care and less money on the military; this approach endorsed by a noted neoliberal contrarian here), yet his explanation as to why it's not a contradiction is also wrong. (Who thinks that the rational purpose of a nation's military is not to "keep people alive"? Genghis Khan?).

Mickey then declares failure, and asks for help from his readers:

None of these answers is completely satisfying. Suggestions welcomed.

Suggestion: you're an idiot.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

All I Know

We know three things:

1) Mickey is king of the undernews.

2) Mickey hates Peter Orszag, for attempting to murder Mickey by personally mandating how many hospital beds are available in North Dakota. [No, seriously ... -- ed. No, seriously!]

3) "[T]he fact that Mr. Orszag’s ex — Claire Milonas, a 39-year-old venture capitalist — was pregnant with his daughter was well known among Beltway swells." Link.

So, um, Mickey ... if you can't deliver on #1, even in service of #2, what exactly is your purpose here?

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Theory Goes Right Out The Window

The Washington Post, showing off their economic chops:

Employers, the theory goes, would put the savings into higher wages.

When this theory is the underpinning of your outlook on life, you should really give up on your theory, and probably give up on life. This theory, my theory goes, is completely idiotic.