Home / General / The only way to make that argument convincing is not to.

The only way to make that argument convincing is not to.


Scott’s already addressed this nonsense, but since I’m the visual rhetoric guy, I thought I’d take a whack at the Erick Erickson’s contribution to We Are The 53%:

First and foremost, Erickson’s point is that he works three jobs, and then something, something, something, and something else.  Whatever his point is, he doesn’t particularly care whether or not he communicates it.  An illegible image of some scribbles isn’t likely to inspire a movement.  It’s akin to a child screaming for attention for attention’s sake, because without legible words the only message Erickson can communicate is that he wants to communicate a message.  His incompetence has rendered his point beside itself—because his point is that he is making a point, damn it, and he is making it on the Internet.

He actually states his argument over at Red State, but I think he had a better chance garnering sympathy with his non-message:

[A critic] wants you to fixate on the new house and ignore the old house. My wife and I bought it for $110,000.00 in March of 2001. It is appraised, for taxes, at $119,000.00. We’re having a tough time selling it. My student loans payments are more each month than the mortgage. But with the new house? It was originally for sale for over $600,000.00 and we benefited from the misery of others in the market downturn. It was tasty misery at that.

The man owns two homes—one of which is worth upward of half a million dollars—and clearly enjoys exploiting the market conditions he and his fellow-travelers created.  Revels in it.  Hence the significance of the non-message he communicates: when he tells people what he truly believes, they’ll understand that Erickson is as odious as the policies he supports.  Your average human being tends to be better than the worst consequences of his or her political beliefs.  For example, most conservatives champion the free market, but when they meet someone who lost everything when the housing bubble burst, they respond sympathetically because, for them, the consequences of their belief are systemic.  They take no personal joy in someone else’s homelessness.

Erick Erickson, however, is not an average human being.  He’s a spoiled man-child devoted to an ideology so despicable not even he can bring himself to communicate it directly.  Yet he feels compelled to because he knows there are other terrible people out there who share the-sentiments-that-shall-not-shared and genuinely seeks their approval.  So what does he do?

He artfully arranges some books on the desk behind him, takes off his shirt and scribbles his foul screed.  He performs the very act (“whining”) he condemns in blissful ignorance of his unintentionally ironic statement.  The man can do nothing but whine—and he proves as much by whining an unintelligible criticism of whining.  If there’s a market for shirtless men who loudly say nothing, I suppose we ought to thank Erickson for cornering it for us.  Somebody had to, and far better him than us.

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  • SP

    What exactly are those three jobs? Blogger, CNN commentator, and maybe consultant for some other wingnut welfare outfit? Most people would consider those to be multiple aspects of one job, pundit, since I doubt each of those jobs is full time. When you have 3 10-hour/week jobs you don’t get to complain about “working 3 jobs” the way most people understand that phrase.

    • brandon

      Yeah, by that definition I frequently “work three jobs” and I’m an underemployed freelancer.

      It seems the only win they’re going to get out of this counter-campaign is to make the “here I am in front of a webcam with a list of my woes” into the most widely derided genre of picture on the internet. Which seems to be happening instantly.

    • The third job is professional douchebag which sadly, can sometimes pay very well.

      • c u n d gulag

        Dammit, I knew I should have tried to turn pro!

        • brandon

          As they say, when the going gets douchey…

          • Bill Murray

            you pass the douchey on the left hand side

  • What I see in that picture is a sucker.

    • mark f

      That’s really all there is to it.

    • Spokane Moderate

      I see the 27 percent.

      • LOL.

        “I’m on 100% disability for a psychiatric disorder.

        I live in a house that everyone except my immediate neighbors thinks is abandoned because of the vines growing on the siding.

        I want the socialists to keep their dirty, Muslim hands off my Medicare.

        I KNOW the President was born in Kenya, or possibly Indonesia.

        Every night, I ask the Lord to bless President Bush for being wise enough to invade Iraq.

        I am the 27%.”

        • c u n d gulag

          Love it!

    • rea

      a bloodsucker

  • Some Guy

    Corporations and their Executives are blameless, holy creatures.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      They’re job-, wealth-, and democracy-creators, donchaknow!

  • wiley

    Wingnut welfare makes its own w(h)ine. And it’s always okay when they do it. But really, 3 “jobs”? Does he get payed and hourly wage?


    I am waiting with baited breath to see if Hayek collected the Social Security he contributed to and took of the Medicare.

    • Since this blog is a temple for the pedantic, I have to say “bated breath.”

      • wiley

        Rats—I know that. “Bated” like a falcon on a leash. I play Scrabble. It’s foggy up here today.

      • DocAmazing

        You never know. He may have been eating bait.

        • wiley

          Oh. There went that moment of clarity. I’m confuZed again.


          That would be “bated bait breath.”

      • Njorl

        Perhaps his breath smells strongly of cheese.

  • Malaclypse

    There are too many states; please eliminate three. I am not a kook. You can tell, because I at least know to shave and put on a clean shirt before appearing in public.

    • wiley

      Yeah. I was talking about that with the s.o. just today. There being four senators to represent North and South Dakota is wrong for so many reasons.

    • wiley

      And what’s with the red face? Does he fall asleep in the tanning bed? Drink liberally all day every day? Or both? If it weren’t for wingnut welfare, this guy would be laying in a puddle of his own piss, in gutter, somewhere, screaming at the “bitches” who wouldn’t give him the time of day.

      • Jay B.

        It matches the neck.

  • sleepyirv

    I see a stereo system in the background… How DARE someone who works three jobs and probably gets all sorts of money off the government dole buy a fancy music system! He could buy 4 or 5 meals for his family off of that.

    • wiley

      Granite counter-tops could be the smoking gun. If he’s eating off one of those, he’s clearly not hungry enough.

    • All that time he spends listening to “music” is time he could be working a FOURTH JOB!

  • Marx(1848) weighs in on the current political set-up:

    “Since the finance aristocracy made the laws, was at the head of the administration of the state, had command of all the organised public authorities, dominated public opinion through the actual state of affairs and through the press, the same prostitution, the same shameless cheating, the same mania to get rich was repeated in every sphere, from the court to the Café Borgne to get rich not by production, but by pocketing the already available wealth of others. Clashing every moment with the bourgeois laws themselves, an unbridled assertion of unhealthy and dissolute appetites manifested itself, particularly at the top of bourgeois society—lusts wherein wealth derived from gambling naturally seeks its satisfaction, where pleasure becomes crapuleux [debauched], where money, filth, and blood commingle. The finance aristocracy, in its mode of acquisition as well as in its pleasures, is nothing but the rebirth of the lumpenproletariat on the heights of bourgeois society.”

    • DrDick

      And people wonder why I am a Marxist. 8-)

      • Bill Murray

        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. and that still exceeds zEriksen’s mental age

  • StevenAttewell

    Just to pick up on something that no one’s commented on:

    Erickson, like most conservatives, still dwells within a mental image of the welfare state as it existed in the 1960s in which there were people actually getting subsidized by taxpayers without contributions. Other than food stamps and TANF, that no longer exists.

    I would bet that, as far as statistical significance goes, the people occupying Wall Street are either employed, accessing insurance benefits they contributed to, or unemployed and not subsidized.

    But god does Erickson need to believe that’s not the case.

    • BigHank53

      Have you noticed that the right wing still doesn’t believe that excess Social Security payments help fund the government? But somehow that’s a surplus that didn’t belong back in your pocket…

    • mark f

      I’d say this is spot on. And even as a 30-year-old from a working class New England city, I see lots of Facebook posts from friends complaining that OWS people, in particular the ones complaining about unemployment and student loan debt, are making “our generation” look spoiled. It doesn’t matter that incomes have been flat for a generation while tuition has exploded: Suck it up.

      • Yes to this. It’s a huge internalization / personification of a systematic problem. It becomes your fault, no matter how stacked the deck is against you. And it’s an emotional identification as much as or more that a problem of “false consciousness.”

        To get philosophical for a minute, Deleuze cites Spinoza all the time: “why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation”?

        • gmack

          Just to amplify this, one of the interesting findings among recipients of TANF and food stamps (i.e., “welfare recipients”), is that there is a very strong tendency to identify distinguish between their receipt of benefits and other people on the program. “I am receiving these benefits because I lost my job/hit a patch of bad luck/got disabled, etc., etc, unlike those other people who are just lazy and taking advantage of things.”

          So part of what’s going on here is that there is an internalization of and identification with the core concepts and perceptions of the existing order of things. And this, it seems to me, is the potential value of the OWS movement: they are trying to–and might even be successful–dis-identify with these perceptions, to call them into question, to transform beliefs that were taken as “natural” and “given” into something that is understood as contingent and an expression of power. I don’t know whether this will work–I don’t know whether OWS will induce Mark f’s friends will end up calling the naturalness of income structures and school tuition rates into question–but these activities are the stuff of politics.

          • Yes, thanks, gmack, I’m on board with this as long as we stress the emotional / affective side as well as the cognitive (or redefine “cognitive” to include “affective”). It’s the shame attached to receiving public aid that drives things here. So just to be extra-picky, I wouldn’t want to say “beliefs” and “perceptions” w/o specifying the emotional as well as semantic content of those mental acts. But I completely agree that OWS is working against the shame: hence the importance of showing your face in the “We are the 99%” Tumblr site.

            • wiley

              I’ve heard a prostitute say, “At least I’m not on welfare!

            • BradP

              I’m going to ruin the good vibes here by expressing a minor disagreement.

              There should be some sense of shame about free-riding, and as such I don’t buy into this “working against shame”. In fact, there are a LOT of people in this nation who should feel a bit of shame at what they have be given by the government.

              In that sense, I think OWS is shame neutral of sorts, and the movement is about honest and open accounting of who really should be ashamed.

              • Here we will have to disagree vehemently, but I’m going to try to keep snark out of it.

                Basically, I reject completely the notion of “free riding,” which is way too individualistic. Society is not a collection of individuals the contributions of each of which can be calculated to see who is “pulling their weight.”

                And no one is “given” anything by “the government.” That reifies solidarity into payments, and “the government” into something other than the instrument of the community.

                • BradP

                  Here we will have to disagree vehemently

                  I am not so sure of that.

                  Basically, I reject completely the notion of “free riding,” which is way too individualistic. Society is not a collection of individuals the contributions of each of which can be calculated to see who is “pulling their weight.”

                  I can understand taking a nuanced view, but I don’t understand the complete rejection. While you are correct that it there is no objective manner for saying this individual is contributing and this one is not. But I don’t think you can deny that the opposite is true. Even if society is collective, people gain and suffer, act and react, etc. as individuals, and social structures tend to break down when there isn’t some sort of mechanism that prevents individuals from being parasitical.

                  And no one is “given” anything by “the government.” That reifies solidarity into payments, and “the government” into something other than the instrument of the community.

                  This is the part that makes me think our differences aren’t that great.

                  I think we would both like to see government as a democratic proxy for the will of the people. We may disagree how far that general will would go into the lives of an individual and what moral obligations exist between the individual and the general will, but as for the form government should take when it does act, I think we agree.

                  When you refer to “given” and “government” in disagreement with me, I think you are dealing with government in abstract, while I am focusing on the realities of a state that places power in the hands of officials. This, of course, is a root of a lot of our disagreement, as my libertarianism rests largely in the preferences and discretions of the officials.

                  Getting away from that disagreement, I agree with your critique of my use of those terms. A government proper should not “give” and it should certainly not be an expression of the will of the official. Unfortunately, the government in question here, and the political climate that the Occupy movement exists in, is very much dependent upon a goverment that is not an “instrument of the community” and its officials are very keen on “giving”.

                  So I am not arguing that people should be ashamed of receiving help. More in tune with our discussion, people should not be ashamed to benefit from the just activity of government.

                • Hi Brad, I do think we are getting somewhere. But I can’t go along with this:

                  Even if society is collective, people gain and suffer, act and react, etc. as individuals, and social structures tend to break down when there isn’t some sort of mechanism that prevents individuals from being parasitical.

                  I’m not going to go all “no man is an island” on you, but we gain and suffer as members of groups (families, networks of friends, neighborhoods…). And that gain and suffering spreads and is diluted or intensifies throughout those groups. Wasn’t there a study not long ago about increased risk of depression even when it’s only a friend of a friend who is depressed (ie, someone you don’t even know)?

                  I think we are bio-social creatures whose minimal ontological level is the group. In our society we belong to multiple and shifting groups, but still we feel, live, experience as members of groups. I use this formula: our being is the pattern of social and somatic relations we maintain. It doesn’t begin or end at the limits of the skin. That way of thinking of us is a reification of an abstraction. It’s reified because it makes a thing out of a process, and it’s an abstraction because the concrete reality is the ever-shifting processe by which that pattern of relations change; the node or nexus of those relations is a path or trajectory through a social phase space (to use a little dynamic systems jargon).

                • BradP

                  John, before we continue I must note that you are the philosopher and we are getting into some pretty abstract stuff that rarely goes from my brain to paper. I’m going to try to incorporate my thoughts into your argument, so please forgive me for what may be some jumbled thoughts or misapplied concepts.

                  So your principle point is this:

                  I think we are bio-social creatures whose minimal ontological level is the group.

                  and I don’t completely disagree. I have also heard of studies that show similar effects, bridging the gap between between people.

                  However, I have some points/questions:

                  1. Your discription of the individual as “a reification of an abstraction” brings you to a roadblock, at least it seems to me. Our political, moral, and ethical systems all require a unit of an account. For example, even if someone may be influenced by “bio-social” effects, she still votes as an individual, still behaves outwardly as an individual, and there is simply no way for us to somehow weigh those actions as a part of a group.

                  2. I broadly align myself with a sort of Stirner type egoism and a system of discourse ethics. Briefly put, there is no objective morality, only a concept of morality between people, and a fairly strong guide for morality can be determined through the rules of logic and discourse that we possess by way of being human. And even if those rules are shared or influenced through processes outside the skin, they manifest and are experienced within.

                  3. Our legal and political system do not deal with groups. We don’t offer welfare out to this group or that group and let them sort it out according to their “bio-social” proclivities. Policy deals with individuals, and to the degree that our political system deals with natural groups, I feel my decentralized libertarianism (shirism, if you will) is far more suited than the typical progressivism.

                  4. Under a valid system of ethics, does it really matter what our lowest ontological level really is? Wouldn’t that group dynamic be represented in the behavior of the individual? Returning to Stirner, when he makes his ultimate statement at the end of his intro:

                  Away, then, with every concern that is not altogether my concern! You think at least the “good cause” must be my concern? What’s good, what’s bad? Why, I myself am my concern, and I am neither good nor bad. Neither has meaning for me. The divine is God’s concern; the human, man’s. My concern is neither the divine nor the human, not the true, good, just, free, etc., but solely what is mine [das Meinige] , and it is not a general one, but is – unique [einzig], as I am unique.

                  Nothing is more to me than myself!

                  he is not declaring himself some sort of Randian ubermensch, but setting the bedrock for what he calls a “union of egoists”.


                  I know that’s all a mess, and it’s clarity certainly doesn’t satisfy me, but it is what I could manage.

          • mark f

            I wouldn’t count on it. They’re kind of stupid. I actually had an argument with a cousin yesterday who admits he gets all his news from drive time morning zoo type shit. The modern rawk station he likes, WAAF in Boston, is Ed Hardy-shirt sexism, local sports boosterism and Republican talking points du jour. My cousin doesn’t understand why I respond to his comments about Elizabeth Warren or OWS by “getting overly political,” which is to say that he thinks his daily bovine digestion of rightwing spin is somehow apolitical. His info page, in fact, lists his Political Views as “Middle Man.”

            He’s not the only one who’s like this; another friend, a military guy, told me he doesn’t follow politics but gets the news from the Dennis & Callahan show on the sports station, the politics of which is pervasive and Limbaugh-lite. He doesn’t know the ins and outs of anything, but he knows Obama is the worst president ever because of NCAA brackets and vacations. You’re imagined quote about welfare is something he said to me almost word for word.

            I’m trying to make fun of people I know or gripe about conversations I’ve had. I just find it interesting both interesting and frustrating that not only do horrible political views get reinforced on an everyday basis, but at least some of their adherents think they’re not actually political views at all. My examples are anecdotes, obviously, but it seems worth considering that a central strategy of Scott Brown’s campaign was to regularly call in to these shows and others to shoot the shit about sports and bringing common sense to Washington. Last I saw, he’s the most popular politician in the state.

            • mark f

              “Youre imagined quote,” of course. Ugh.

            • gmack

              I know just the kinds of arguments you are describing, and they are part of the reason I started thinking about these issues in the first place. The most interesting aspect, to my mind, is the idea that you highlight, namely, that they do not see their positions as political at all. This is part of the reason why I’m attracted to the idea that politics always entails a kind of “re-partitioning of the sensible,” to get all academicky and quote Ranciere. Politics lifts things out of their naturalness of place, as it were, transforming “the way things are” into matters of a disagreement. I’ll add that I haven’t thought about the affective/emotional dimensions of this process all that much, but I’m inclined to agree with John Protevi above. As theorists, we have to emphasize emotional and affective dimensions, both of the original perceptions and beliefs and of the activities that twist and transform those (affectively laden) beliefs.

              • mark f

                I have nothing intelligent to add to that, but do want to thank you for responding to my half-formed musings with something to further them along.

            • mpowell

              but at least some of their adherents think they’re not actually political views at all.

              This is a damn interesting insight that I had never considered. Thanks for sharing.

              • jeer9

                When everything is political, it often seems the case to some that nothing is political.

                • dave

                  That is the essence of a time-honoured distinction between conservatism and radicalism, between the tendency to naturalise the status quo and to artificialise and undermine it.

              • mark f

                Thanks! It was kinda handed right to me.

  • We know that one of those three jobs is not member of the Macon City Council:

    Erickson was an elected Republican member of Macon’s city council, but resigned partway through his first term to pursue a job with WSB radio in Atlanta .

    He and Sarah Palin, quitters of elected office in order to grasp the main chance.

    • rea

      Inauthentic–too legible

      • Sorry, didn’t have time to break out the Wacom tablet. Consider it a proof-of-concept.

  • rea

    “Don’t blame Wall Street–my finances are in a mess, and I did it all by myself”

    This is a basis for a political movement?

    • mark f

      You have to remember that the Republican Party spent two years explaining that Barney Frank caused the entire crisis by saying a thing about Fannie Mae.

      • Boudleaux

        Yes, and that Jimmy Carter collapsed the housing market by making banks lend to black people who couldn’t afford it, thereby planting a mine that would explode 30 years subsequently.

        It occurs to me that there is a common theme among “welfare queen,” these greedy home-buying blacks, and the current wingnut talking poing that Michelle is taking elaborate vacations, wearing $40,000 jewelry, etc. That this is coming from the same Tory wannabes that supported Bush’s enthronement only highlights the point.

  • c u n d gulag

    Erick Erickson is the perfect example of a child, given more things, like consonants, than he needs, never being satisfied with anything, and always wanting more, more, more of everything.

    • Carl Jungenhung

      Don’t hate him because he works three jobs to your zero, c u n d gulag. I don’t think he was just given those.

      • c u n d gulag

        I didn’t say he was. It was a play on words.
        Though in fact, his CNN gig wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have a form of affirmative action for right-wingers.

        And thanks for the low blow.
        I’m assuming that made your morning.

        • Carl Jungenhung

          It wasn’t a low blow. It was a reaction to your blow. It doesn’t make sense to say he was given everything, or given more than he needs, and only wants ‘more, more, more’ when he’s working three jobs.

          Seems to me that you’re the one being ugly here with the low blows.

          • c u n d gulag

            Enjoy your day.

            • Don’t you recognize the comedic stylings of “Dennis”, C U?

              You may recall he was recently banned at Sadly, No.

              • c u n d gulag

                I should have known. This yutz shows up at Steve M’s blog once in awhile.

              • c u n d gulag

                Oh yeah, and ‘Jungenhung’ is clearly a case of wishful thinking.

                But if he told the truth – Carl JungAndCouldn’tGetLaidWithAFistfulOfPardonsInAWomen’sPrison, he’d get much attention, do you?

                • No, it’s not wistful thinking…well, I mean, it may be…its a dig at my Cafe Press store.

                  He has this….creepy….faascination with the term, for some reason.

                • Malaclypse

                  He has this….creepy….faascination with the term, for some reason.

                  A conservatroll with sexuality issues? Why, I am indeed shocked.

                • He masks it with concern over me. Weird. I just thought it was a cool T shirt idea for men of all persuasions.

                  And the ladies who love them, of course.

                • Carl Jungenhung

                  Oh come on, I just cannot stop laughing at the thought of a non-gay actor trying to make money selling thongs to gay guys by trade-marking that saying.

                  It’s like, how could you be angry at Erick Erickson because he’s made money being a blogger and parlaying it into a couple other paying gigs when apparently there’s no depths to which you would stoop yourself for extra cash.

                • Dennis, that doesn’t bother me. It’s the American way.

                  What bothers me is you seem to be about ready to order them.

                  They are ladies thongs…oh.

                  Nevermind! NTTAWWT!

          • BradP

            Working three jobs? Splitting time being the same old douchebag through three different outlets is working three jobs. He makes what seems to be a considerable income for doing very little else than expressing poorly thought out/informed opinions.

            Erick Erickson could never be considered fortunate.

            • We agree on something, Brad! Well said.

              (You know I love you, and I hope you don’t take the snarky comments by my evil twin too badly. In fact, I’m sure you don’t take anything I say too seriously…)

              • BradP

                Thanks, John.

                And no worries, if I ever took the snark to be personal rather than directed at my opinions then I would just leave.

                And I would go so far as to say that there isn’t a single regular commenter or contributer on this blog that I wouldn’t love to discuss these issues with over a beer.

      • soullite

        Oh look, a SPED kid showed up. How fucking wonderful.

        • Carl Jungenhung

          Seriously, soullite? I’m the special ed kid because I’m wondering why a guy who is not working and contributing tax revenues is spiteful and jealous of a guy who’s working three jobs and is contributing to tax revenues along with donating money to charity.

          c u n d is saying, dude, you were given so much and now all you want is more, more, more. However odious you think Erickson’s views are, the fact is, he’s contributing far more than c u n d is. Cund is telling him to STFU and GIVE more, more, more.

          So I’m looking at c u n d and I’m wondering ‘WTF?’ One guy working 3 jobs telling people to quit whining and suck it up, another guy not working and robo-commenting on every lib blog out there saying what assholes conservatives are all day long for not understanding what the OWSers are saying.

          Doesn’t make sense.

          • John

            Let’s be really simple here: Erick Erickson is not working three jobs.

            • Carl Jungenhung

              Fine, John. Not working three separate and distinct full-time jobs. Three what, then, that bring him income to pay his bills and donate to charity? What would you call them exactly? Versus someone hating on him who is not working a job at all and spends his days blasting people like him for having the audacity to wonder why kids are in the streets protesting instead of out looking for work and not doing anything to bring in income.

              The one guy you think is a worthless asshole, the other guy you think is pretty cool. I’m saying I don’t get that reasoning.

              • Malaclypse

                Three what, then, that bring him income to pay his bills and donate to charity?

                Three nothing. One job – being a conservative toady – that has three aspects, none of which sum to a single full-time job.

                • Carl Jungenhung

                  Why not become a liberal pundit that one could parlay into three aspects, none of which sum to a single full-time job, but which pay you enough money that you’re contributing US tax revenues and charity organizations?

                  You wouldn’t have to be a toady, necessarily. You could just be a nice guy with an opinion that people would pay you for to hear you other advertisers would pay you to write them.

                  Are there barriers to entry for these sorts of ‘aspects’ or something?

                • Why not become a liberal pundit that one could parlay into three aspects, none of which sum to a single full-time job, but which pay you enough money that you’re contributing US tax revenues and charity organizations?

                  Why not indeed? What is stopping all of us from soaking up the vast amount of wingnutliberal welfare pundit jobs? Lack of willpower, amirite?

                • Malaclypse

                  You wouldn’t have to be a toady, necessarily.

                  And yet you are.

                • Carl Jungenhung

                  And yet you are.

                  Yeah, well, I suppose in some ways we all are, Malaclypse.

                  What would be your point beside the gratuitous ad hominem that wins you points amongst a group of folks who would cheer you for saying it, if not to be a toady?

                • DocAmazing

                  Why not become a liberal pundit that one could parlay into three aspects, none of which sum to a single full-time job

                  Corporate sponsors don’t pay for that. Making the argument that the rich should be exempt from all responsibility is something rich people will pay you to do. Making the argument that rich people should shoulder their burden and cease to be a destructive force in our society is the kind of thing rich people will pay others to stop you from doing.

                  Guess who pays Erickson?

              • Donalde, Donalde, Donalde…tsk tsk tsk.

          • c u n d gulag

            1. Don’t speak for me – you’re not smart enough. I see that you still don’t understand that line about extra consonants. Maybe someone can explain it to you.
            2. I have been working since I was 14 years old, and spent summers working full-time in a machine shop where my father worked. Not pleasant work, let me tell you.
            3. I went to college full-time on a partial scholarship and, yes, had 2 or 3 jobs at all times so that I walked out with almost no debt.
            4. I’m 53, and up until a few years ago have never been unemployed for longer than 3 weeks since college.
            5. I don’t appreciate your insinuation that I’m lazy. You don’t know me, schmuck.
            Between corporate jobs I have worked as a bartender, a bouncer, a waiter, an actor, and a dockworker, among other jobs. And yes, again, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. Imagine!
            I am now partially disabled, so I can’t take those jobs anymore, otherwise I’d be working. I have applied for hundreds of jobs over the last years, but between my age and corporate management experience, am finding no takers. Just like millions of other people my age.

            Thanks for your empathy.
            If you’re fortunate enough to be working, then be thankful. There but for ‘the grace of God go you.’

            And you may wonder about me, but I don’t wonder at all about you.

            I can see you’re going to be a first ballot inductee into the “Asshole Hall of Fame.”

            Now, in your spare time, since I assume you’re not working 3 jobs like poor Erick, why don’t you try doing something anatomically impossible to yourself?

            It may not be impossible after all, and think of the result – you can finally be with the one you love, and love the one you’re with.

            Maybe you can understand THA!
            If not, I’ll be happy to translate for you. And I think some others here might enjoy explaining it to you themselves.

            Now, have a nice day, asshole.

            • wiley

              Right on! Ten years ago I had the experience of not being able to find a job in three days for the first time. I finally took a job as a caregiver and have been employed as one since. I have been working part time as an in- home caregiver for the last three years and even though I was struck by MS last November, I am still able to do my job. I just have to break it down into smaller bites of work and rest in between (most of my life I didn’t sit down until a job or school required it or I was eating or it was one hour til bedtime). It’s the only job I could do anymore, I’m very grateful to have it and will do it as long as I possibly can.

              Already people I have never seen in my life are tittering in public about how I’m not old enough or fat enough to ride one of those carts, and I can obviously walk. Yeah—but not for long before I’m unable to walk and shot to hell for the rest of the day. I get up and walk once in a while because sitting on those hard seats makes my ass hurt as if my hipbones were abscessed and the longer I sit, the more it hurts. So I get up and walk a little, then when I sit down, it hurts less then grows increasingly painful until I have to get up again. I am always in pain. Always.

              All these people who know how disabled I am by looking at me can kiss my rosy red hurting ass.

              Too many people think they can glance at you, and then tell you who you are, what your problem is, and what you should do about it because they saw something on Oprah or Fox or whatever their poison is. It’s a socially and politically damaging delusion.

            • BradP

              Just so you know c u n d, I am not a libertarian because I blame you for your situation or because I think you deserve it.

              You do have my sympathy, and I really do believe that libertarian policy would help you avoid or rectify such an unfortunate position.

            • xaaronx

              Well said. I’m just a lurker for the most part around here, but I always appreciate your viewpoint and contributions. Don’t let some ignorant hater get you down.

              • BradP

                Thank you, xaaronx.

                • xaaronx

                  Errr, just to clarify that was a reply to c u n d, in case it wasn’t clear.

                  Just because he was the one the troll was trying to get at. I appreciate you too Brad, in all your glorious, but friendly and good-natured, wrongness.

                • BradP

                  Awwww, c’mon. You really didn’t need to clarify.

          • BradP

            This “Three jobs” is a red herring. You call it three jobs, I call it one, it doesn’t matter.

            What this is about is his claim to be a part of the 53%, and that is all about taxes, not jobs. The fact of the matter is this: The problem is not a matter of who is paying taxes (honestly, that’s probably going to even out regardless of rate), but who is benefitting from the net tax scheme.

            If Erickson is going to proudly proclaim his membership in the 53% and call 99% whiners, he would do well to not blatantly show himself to be a net beneficiary of our tax system.

            After reading his tale of woe, I would be very surprised to find out that he doesn’t claim enough exemptions to pay a lower tax rate than a great many of 99%.

            • gmack

              I agree, more or less. Why should anyone give a flying fuck how many jobs Erickson is working? The only thing that matters is that he has declared his position on the political disagreement that OWS has inaugurated: according to Erickson, everyone is already in their proper place and getting precisely what they deserve. The only thing he would do differently is to create policies that would reinforce and increase existing hierarchies and increase the poverty of the poorest. The point, in any case, is that I don’t really care all that much how many jobs he or anyone else is working, how moral or immoral someone is, or what the marginal tax rate of this or that group ought to be. The question is what kind of a society we want to live in, and the related question of whether we support the politicization of those forces that are increasing economic inequality. Erickson has declared his position on both of these matters; I find his position to be odious and worth ridiculing, but not because he falsely declares that he’s working three jobs, but because the ridicule is a way of illustrating the fundamental hollowness of his claim that the protesters are only “whining,” or that he deserves his privileges.

              • Bill Murray

                isn’t the 3 jobs thing a call back to Bush’s comment on working 3 jobs being uniquely American?

              • piny

                I’m pretty sure that by the same logic I have…lessee…hang on….one, two, three, four, five, I know I’m–yes, six jobs. When I have time and expertise to really make this freelancing thing work, I will probably claim many more jobs, if by jobs you mean “regular” employment by various companies.

                The problem is that “job” means something very different to wage earners and freelancers, and that Mr. Erickson is pretending that it doesn’t. Most writers, pundits, and professional wonks are independent. It is fair, I think, to say that it sucks to have to piece together an income, but I’m not moonlighting. Bill O’Reilly hosts a TV show and a radio show, writes books, attends conferences, appears on other TV and probably radio shows, and other stuff besides, but he also doesn’t get to say that he works more than one job. Neither do Dan Savage or Suze Ormond.

                They also don’t get to refer to themselves as economically disadvantaged.

      • Boudleaux

        Ah yes. The inference that anyone who has something must deserve it. Where would the right be without that non-sequitur?

        The point is that claiming to have “three jobs” is an outright lie. It’s not just obfuscation. It is an attempt to mislead by creating the impression that he must work every waking hour just to get by. Which is before we get to the “53%” outright bullshit in service of which this lightweight tells said outright lie.

        The guy’s lack of intellectual honesty, and rigor, has been amply demonstrated. Which brings us back to your foolish point that he “deserves” his “three jobs.” That you made this point via an insult to someone who actually appears to be unemployed just confirms that you and Erick son of Erick have a lot in common.

  • That photo just SCREAMS for a photoshop job.

    I’m thinking “ransom note”.

  • BradP

    C’mon, there are a lot of smart people who hate Erickson. It should be really, really easy for someone to come up with just how much of his $750,000 he has “spent” on houses was subsidized by tax payers. With all of the exemptions and cheap credit he has probably gotten on that, he probably received more in government assistance than I make in a year.

    • NonyNony

      You know how that works Brad. The money that Erick Son Of Erick gets isn’t government assistance because mumble mumble my own money mumble mumble SHUT UP THAT’S WHY!!!!!

      Con artists like Erickson – and yeah he’s a con artist making money off the backs of conservatives – don’t even have to justify their hypocrisy – it’s all just part of the con.

      Like the fact that he works three jobs. He doesn’t work three jobs – I know people who work 3 jobs. Two 30 hour a week shifts at shitty retail jobs (one morning, one evening – just enough hours so they won’t be considered “full time” and be eligible for benefits) and another 10-20 hours on weekends at another shitty part-time job. Erick Son of Erick runs a website and appears on CNN. That is not the mark of a man who is working “three jobs”. It’s just utterly shameless for him to make that kind of claim at all. But he’s a con artist, and con artists with shame aren’t nearly as successful as Erick Son Of Erick has been.

      • prufrock

        Number of jobs is a lousy metric for work load. I have a lot of friends who spent time in restaurant management (before they left due to burnout) and a fifty five hour week was considered an easy one. Sixty to seventy hour weeks were commonplace.

        I seriously doubt that Erick son of Erick is putting in even forty hours. As for the hours he does put in, I believe that “make a fool out of yourself on the net and on TV” is a lot easier than dealing with a irate senior citizen who thought the server wasn’t submissive enough.

  • MadRuth

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this:”My student loans payments are more each month than the mortgage.” It really is disgusting to think that this fool was educated with the help of the dreaded gummint.

    • NonyNony

      What the hell is he even trying to say there anyway? That his mortgage isn’t that expensive? I can’t understand his point with that line.

    • Boudleaux

      Given the indicators of credibility present . . .

      The mortgage has to be well north of $3,000 a month. Your student loan payments are more than that? I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure student loan balances in excess of $500,000 are limited to doctors, and that figure should be about what is mortgage balance is.

      I say that that is an outright lie.

      • Bill Murray

        Paul Campos would probably include lawyers too

      • djw

        It’s not at all clear what’s going on, but I thought he was referring to the mortgage on his 110K house (which he can’t sell, at least at the price he’d like to get), not his new fancy 600K house.

      • Not necessarily, he _could_ be trying to pay off the student loans early, and be paying more than he strictly has to each month. I agree he’s probably lying though.

        • He was born in 1975, which would make him nearly 40. He graduated from Mercer Law in 2000, after matriculating from Mercer undergrad in 1997. He was only a practicing attorney until 2005 (presumably when whatever ambulance chaser he was working for told him he wasn’t “on that track”).

          So he gave up a legal career and now is deeply in debt.

          Poor bubbeh.

    • It really is disgusting to think that this fool was educated with the help of the dreaded gummint.

      Thank you for this. A lot of the 53 percenters, at least from when I looked at their site a few days ago, talk about student loans in almost the same sentence claiming they never got any handouts.

      There are problems with student loans, the perverse incentives they give to university’s to raise tuition, and huge debt loads. But still, loans at easy credit, often subsidized by taxpayers during one’s enrollment at a university, are help from the federal government.

  • BradP

    I’m starting up my own 99% movement of people who are better than Erick Erickson at Erick Erickson’s three jobs but don’t get paid for it.

    • Bill Murray

      In his defense Brad, no one calls a Supreme Court justice a goat f*cker like Erick

      • BradP

        I guess there’s a niche for everyone.

    • Hogan

      When you get to Philadelphia I’m buying you two beers.

      • BradP

        Since you are one of my favorites on here, I hope to someday take you up on that.

  • Halloween Jack

    I wonder if Erickson cribbed his scribble off of the one held up by this guy. It’s possible that the “I work n jobs” and “suck it up you whiners” lines are just common memes to the 53%ers, like their tendency to list every single job they’ve ever had, as if anyone and everyone who’s down at OWS has never worked in their life. (And missing the point that things are much, much worse for people now than they were in the past. Hey, I worked my way through college, too, and took some crappy jobs, but that was at a time when college financial aid was relatively easy to get and tuition reasonable; I ended up graduating with zero debt. And I don’t give a shit how many years you spent in the armed forces if it was during a time when your chances of being deployed in a combat zone were essentially none.)

    Anyway, no matter how factually incorrect Erickson’s sign is, it perfectly captures the core belief of the aggrieved middle-class white teabagger: that they’re the oppressed ones, and really scraping to get by, no matter how much money they’re actually making. Compare with more than one Tea Party congressperson who complains about trying to get by on six figures a year. “Suck it up you whiners” is pure and simple projection.

  • Njorl

    It’s hard to understand how he makes as much money as he does. It’s not just a knock on him, either. Ostensibly, his earnings are derived from advertising on his radio show, his blog and CNN, plus some contribution from fees CNN collects from cable carriers. I don’t see how anyone earns that much, regardless of political persuasion, doing what he does. He is not generating that much in revenue for his employers.

    Rush Limbaugh, with a popular nationally syndicated radio show, generates revenue for his employers. Pundits who appear on network yap shows (as opposed to cable) generate revenue.

    I assume that a significant portion of his earnings are essentially payments in exchang efor spouting ideology. That’s a fine way to earn a living, but it undercuts the message he’s trying to send:

    “Stop whining about rich people because I work hard saying what rich people want me to say.”

    • Bill Murray

      The guy he replaced on radio made more than $150K/year saying what other rich people wanted him to say, so it can pay reasonably well

  • Jeffrey Kramer

    An old New Yorker cartoon had a yuppie trying his hand at the blues: “Got this big house in Scarsdale, and it makes me feel so bad; got this big house in Scarsdale, and Lord it’s got me sad; ’cause the taxes are so high, Lord, they’re the highest Scarsdale’s ever done had.”

  • Joshua


    So, “I have a house I can’t sell” = “I own two houses, one of which I can’t get rid of for the inflated price I expect.”

    Fuck Erick Son of Erick. Fuck him forever. Asshole.

  • He could always show us the amount owing box on his tax return.

    Mortgages on his two houses would come out to what? Half a million? At 5% that’s $25K of deductions right there. I imagine his itemized deduction list doesn’t fit on two pages.

    I call Shenanigans on Irky Irksome. If his CNN contract and radio gig really are as modest as he’s pretending (whilst sitting on two houses one of which is worth half a million) then there’s now way he’s part of teh 53. So Erick, since paying federal income tax is such a badge of honour for you, how much did you pay?

    • Malaclypse

      You only get to deduct the first, and the deduction phases out at some AGI that I don’t remember. And I suspect that alt-min actually affects him (as it should), which makes the deduction irrelevant.

      • You get to deduct on two houses and given that one house was only $110,000, odds are pretty good that even with AMT he gets both interest deductions.

      • As a Canuckistani, I don’t understand your convoluted Alt. Min. stuff, but I do know that IRS Publication 936 states that Qualified Home “means your main home or your second home“. Even if he rents out teh second house, so long as he lived there for two weeks in 2010 it still qualifies.

        • If he didn’t live there at all, it would be a rental property. Mortgage interest wouldn’t be subject to the AMT, it would be classified on his Schedule E, and he could basically write off every single expenditure he made to the place, including mowing the lawn.

  • curious

    i agree with all you say SEK, except the photo you use doesn’t show scribble, scribble, scribble. why do you say it is illegible? it’s readable. it’s not a good image, not a striking way of communicating, but it’s not unreadable scribble. am i looking at a different image than you were? if not, why your rhetorical “scribble.”

  • tsam

    He’s got that “just pumped the neighbor’s cat” look all up on his grill. I don’t like it.

    • Really? It looks more like “Aw, shit, the babysitter’s pregnant?”

  • Carl Jungenhung

    He has this….creepy….faascination with the term, for some reason.

    Hey, you can say you have more jobs than Erick Son of Erick, actor. CRE geek, actor, blogger and now gay-for-pay thong salesman. Four jobs.

    • c u n d gulag

      For a “hard” working corporation-lovin’ man, Carl JungAndHungLikeAnOvercookedLimpElbowNoodle, you sure do have a lot of free time on your hands.

      What happened, the Men’s room at the Greyhound Station was closed for renovation so you have no customers to pleasure and some time on your hands, or did the Navy reroute their Sailors to different town?

      I know your mouth’s not full for a change, so speak, boy speak!

      • c u n d gulag

        Oh, HungLikeAFlea’sDick,
        NTTAWWT if you’re a legitimate sex worker blowing your way to some “hard-earned” cash.

        I’m sorry if I cast any aspersions on your chosen profession.

        And I’m sure that on your way to service our fine men in the Navy, you go to work with a song in your heart, and a ‘hard-on in your thong.’

        Good night, sweet Princess, I’m off to read a novel.
        That’s fiction, btw. Like your impression of yourself, asshole!

    • You neglected “professional troll ass-kicker,” Dennis. ;-)

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