Wednesday, September 24, 2008

“Don't Mess With My Money”

“It's Stupid's Economy”—More Than Ever.

In the midst of last week's Depends™-bursting eruption in the economy and the financial markets, you had the typical spectacles—the obligatory shots of blue-jacketed floor-traders with hand to head, moaning “Damn! Damn! Damn!” alá Good Times' Florida Evans, dark jokes (that no longer get so much as a titter in a post 9-11 downtown) about high-flyers jumping out of windows in despair, and of course, the Monday-morning quarterbacking from the same idiots who championed every excess that led us into the abyss.

But there was one particular spectacle that got my attention...namely the video of Hardball's Chris Mattthews' ass-kicking / vivisectioning / ripping off the head and shitting down the neck of Bush and GOP shill, Rep, Eric Cantor (R-VA) for his and his party's craven complicity in the financial implosion through willful deed and benign neglect over the last eight years.

Now let me be blunt—I seriously dislike Chris Matthews. For a lot of reasons, but mainly for his sloppy willingness to take the scrotal imprint to his chin from too many avaricious Beltway shysters he calls friends and his pathological tendency to treat politics like it's fucking Pokemon and he just got his very first set of trading cards. If I went into his sexism and silly-ass, overinflated sense of importance too, it'd be an all day diss-fest. With all of that said about him, when he does decide to turn his rhetorical blunderbuss on someone he's playing Robin Hood against,'s like watching a mixed martial arts fighter pounding a blindfolded rook from the audience around the ring. He's done it a few times before in this campaign season, but this particular little pas de deux was just brutal.


Here's the clip. And get thee behind the blast doors.

Note that Matthews' other guest opposite him, Florida Rep. Robert Wexler (of the DNC's Rules and By-Laws committee fame) didn't have to say a word. In fact, he couldn't say a word as Matthews was a one-man-gang against the talking-point drowning victim Cantor. Matthews' venom and indignation with the GOP and its unfortunate shill / abbatoir lamb that day was enough for two. Hell, it was enough for ten. But the thing you should really note here is that Tweety's outrage didn't seem manufactured.

He was genuinely, royally pissed-off.

He verbally beat Cantor like he'd stolen something. And I'm guessing in a way, Cantor probably did.

Matthews' anger seemed that of a guy who happens to look down and see some shifty-ass goniiff clumsily picking his pocket, and then when he looks the thief in the face, said thief is all like “What?”

Chris or somebody really close to Chris probably lost a boatload of dough last week. His animus was so deep and personal—unlike his typical “Devil's Advocate” game-playing—that there seems no other conclusion to draw from it. A friend of mine noted Matthews' rant smacked of Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold's losing his cookies in National Lampoon's “Christmas Vacation” when the big bonus he was counting on is arbitrarily withheld.

“Hallelujah! Holy Shit! Where's The Tylenol?!”

Good as that was, a better pop-culture brother to Tweety's call-out is one from sixty years ago. And yes, it's sports related.

In the halcyon days of 1950's New York baseball, the Yankees were in the World Series every year it seemed. (Unlike recent years including this one) But in those pre-free agency days, if a ballplayer made $30,000 a year, he was a superstar. So many players came to pray for a chance at the post-season, not just for the opportunity to go for the brass ring of a championship title, but to scoop up some of that extra dough—those World Series “shares” the top two teams got for making into the fall classic. That wasn't Cadillac money. It was buy a farm / put the kids through school / seed a post-career business money. That money mattered big time to the non-superstar players who ground it out every day and “left it on the field”. One such non-superstar player was the Yankees' rough-and-tumble left-fielder Hank Bauer. Bauer, a tough former Marine (11 campaign ribbons, 2 bronze stars and 2 purple hearts in addition to several bouts of malaria) was described as having a face “like a clenched fist”, and didn't suffer fools gladly.

He was a workaday, grind-it-out kind of player. Not a star, but not a marginal schmoe either. Bauer didn't make what Mantle, and Berra and DiMaggio made per year, so he valued those World Series shares (he would end up with nine of 'em for his career) in a big way, and didn't at all shy away from putting anyone who “didn't do right” in their place if their screwing about was going to cost him those dollars. For as much a good teammate as he was...

Bauer could be unforgiving, though, if he felt his teammates’ off-the-field activities were hurting the Yankees’ on-the-field performance. Pitcher Whitey Ford remembered how Bauer reacted when he thought players like Ford and Mantle were overindulging themselves after hours: “He pinned me to the wall of the dugout one day and said, 'Don’t mess with my money.’ ”

“Don't mess with my money.”

I get the distinct feeling that Chris Matthews' boiling rage was the result of someone “messing with his money”.

I don't think last week busted him to where he's doing commercials for predatory paycheck lenders, but his reaction was that of someone for whom too many zeroes disappeared from a financial statement for him to hold his tongue about.

But for all his indignation—fun as it was to see projectiled all over a Bush / GOP shill, there is a hollowness in its “ring”. And that hollowness is born of people like Mattthews turning a blind eye to Bush and his party's enabling corporate kleptocracy and encouraging the short-sighted policies that have no-lube buggered this economy.

Atrios warned us all about the “big shitpile” for months. And we said the following this past April...

It Burns. The Stupid And God Knows, The Money.

For the first six-and-a-half years of the delusional Bush presidency, in the face of a sea of blunders—The War in Iraq, Katrina/FEMA, The destruction of confidence in the Justice Department, to name but a few—the one thing he was able to point a poop aroma-ed finger at with a modicum of feel good-ism was “the economy”.

Now, saying the economy was “doing great” was always a dervish-necessary job. Regular folks' financial states have long been a red-headed stepchild to Wall Street performance numbers. They've also been eminently taffy-like when projected against often subjective pulse-taking through prisms like consumer confidence levels and the like. That said, there were just enough numericals out there to spout that could gloss over the pains that “Johnny Lunchpail” and “Susie Run-in-her-stocking” were experiencing while trying to make ends meet from month to month.

Bush himself was saying that the economy was “robust” as recently as five months ago, when it was evident to anyone with eyes and a wallet (which when opened, moths would fly from sickly) that our collective money situation was not “funny”.

(AFP) — US President George W. Bush predicted in an interview Tuesday that the battered US dollar will get stronger because the US economy is robust.

“If people would look at the strength of our economy, they'd realize why, you know, I believe that the dollar will be stronger,” Bush told the Fox Business Network.

Yes, Mr, President. If, if, if. And if your mother had wheels? Ma-a-a-a-a-a-a-nnnnnn, she'd be a bitchin' locomotive, too.

I'm no economic expert. I'm just a person like everyone not in the “Pioneer” rolodex who has felt the pinch for the last year or so, unlike those shielded from the reality of the price of a quart of milk's having gone up. This president would fail that test worse than his spiral-eyed father did when confronted with a question on it during his fateful re-election run. Ask Dubya the price of a “quart” and he'd probably say “Who cares? It's worth whatever you pay 'em when they hand you the presidency! (Insert all-too-familiar, wheedling “Muttley”-esque laugh here)

It's the little things you see, and have to live with—that hammer our country's financial health and then send it swirling turd-like down the “Trainspotting” toilet of insolvency. (NSFW)

Matthews and his ilk let this clown-in-chief and the rest of his buddies crammed into their silly little car of financial stupid ride around and mock everybody who called them on their injurious ways.

At least...they did until they checked the status of their personal shit last week. And now, “It is on like Donkey Kong”, and everybody's looking for someone to slap upside the head with a tree limb.

What was so damned telling in that “exchange” (and that word is loosely used here) was Cantor's palpable fear of mentioning the miserable failure that is President Bush by name and even moreso his inability to identify the party he's “affiliated with”. It was shame. Not the timid shame of mild mortification, but rather, the tail-turned, mincing book-up of someone who shit themselves publicly, and noisily as the earthy stink cloud wafts up and expands. The same shame pushing many Republicans to abandon Bush's leaky bailout ship of fools. Ouch!

Now, you speak up. Now, you grasp the depth of things. Now, you flaunt your integrity.

Day late and a dollar short, brother.

But I'll laugh along as you fulminate, Chris. That's grown people talk for “spazzing the fuck out”, at the people who wiped the asses of Wall Street's most powerful with taxpayers' money, and then threw the used Charmin™ in our faces. Hell, Tweety...the way you went off on Cantor, I think they got a little bit of that tossed poop on your nose, too. Or was that already there thanks to previous behavior?


All I know is that it's kind of fun to see a wingnut get taken apart—no. not taken apart...basket-cased like poor Rep. Cantor was. It was a bellwether for what we're seeing this week, as spines form where there were none, (“Evolution” as “Re-election Desperation”) and sharp voices ring where there was once deafening silence.

Because this thing is finally hitting home a little for the people who pooh-poohed this nightmare, oh like...forever

The Champion New York Giants' Michael Strahan said this last year about the supposedly unstoppable New England Patriots' shock when his squad smashed them in the Super Bowl.

“Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth”.