Category Archives: Ben Stein

Free Speech Or Free Hand?

I don’t know why conservatives are always confusing the two. Yet they do. Here’s Ben Stein, suing Kyocera for not signing him as a pitchman because they didn’t want to be represented by an idiot:

According to the complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Kyocera approached Stein in December 2010 to inquire as to his availability to appear in TV advertisements for Kyocera printers. Stein agreed and they began negotiating a contract. Three months later, before the contract was executed, Kyocera learned that Ben Stein is an idiot who denies the reality of global climate change. So they changed their mind and withdrew the offer, because they didn’t want to be represented by an idiot. That’s how capitalism works, right? Companies make decisions based on their interests, and contracts are the law of the land.

No! Capitalism works by suing people when you don’t get your way. To hear Stein tell it, even though they didn’t sign a contract, they still had a contract since Stein really, really, wanted the $300,000 Kyocera had offered contingent on signing the contract, which never happened.

Also, according to Stein, he has a right to the $300,000 under the Constitution, which guarantees him freedom of religion. See, Stein believes that global warming isn’t real because “God, and not man, control[s] the weather.” When Kyocera declined to pay Stein $300,000 to represent the corporation in part because it doesn’t want to be associated with that belief, it violated Stein’s constitutional right to $300,000. He also accuses Kyocera of violating his “freedom of speech” and “political freedom.” Stein has no political freedom, because Kyocera robbed him of the freedom when it refused to pay him $300,000.

No, you do not have a constitutional right to be a Kyocera pitchman.

News flash: Kyocera Corp. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels and other PV systems. While Stein would not have been hawking its solar products, I can see how having a vocal climate change denier pitching any of the company’s product lines would be a little awkward, to put it mildly. So a big boo to whatever genius suggested Ben Stein for this gig in the first place: advertising agency Seiter & Miller, I’m going to assume. That was just a dumbass move all around.

And I’m sorry, but Ben Stein? Hello? Try reading your own damn columns and books about the free hand of the market. Also, I haven’t had a chance to dig into the memory hole, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t find something in there from him decrying the burden of frivolous lawsuits and advocating tort reform and all that.

Pfft.

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Filed under advertising, Ben Stein, free hand of the market, free speech

How Dare Those Uppity Plebes Forget Their Place

When I first read Felix Salmon’s “Ben Stein’s Top 10 Lines About DSK” I thought these were humorous “summaries” of Steins’ column defending Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

They were not. They were direct quotes.

And oh my God. Without further ado:

Was Riker’s Island really the place to put him on the allegations of one human being? Hadn’t he earned slightly better treatment than that?

No, he has not. Justice wears a blindfold.

If he is such a womanizer and violent guy with women, why didn’t he ever get charged until now?

I dunno, maybe because we have douchebags like Ben Stein telling mere “hotel maids” that they should keep their lips buttoned when the powerful elite assert their dominance in unpleasant ways?

The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn “forced” the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He’s a short fat old man.

I have nothing to say to this except that Ben Stein is a horrible toad of a man. That comment alone should get him banned from the networks forever. Go talk to some rape victims, you asshole. Then you might learn something about how a woman can be forced.

People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid?

Ah yes. A mere hotel maid. That’s the crux of it. If the accuser were Countess Lady Gotsalot that would make all the difference, wouldn’t it?

You know, didn’t we fight a revolution to rid ourselves of attitudes like this? Wake up and smell the class warfare, people. Yesterday we read that Newt Gingrich ran up a $500,000 tab on his Tiffany’s credit card (in other news, Tiffany’s offers credit cards?) Well good for him, with three wives and Lord knows how many girlfriends he probably needs it. But don’t for a minute try to label my side of the political aisle “limousine liberals” and “out of touch” and “elites” and all the rest.

It’s really hard to present yourself as some kind of budget-conscious populist when you’re racking up the big debt on your Tiffany’s credit card. And it’s really hard to present your ideas as some kind of rational, pragmatic conservatism when you rally to the defense of a powerful French banker by attacking the victim.

Asshole.

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Filed under Ben Stein, Newt Gingrich

>Ben Stein Is An Idiot

>It shouldn’t take a little ol’ blogger from Nashville, Tennessee to explain the obvious to a great, big, important person like Ben Stein. But in yesterday’s New York Times column, Stein said something about the Jon Stewart-Jim Cramer contretemps that was so stunningly stupid, so obviously missing the point, and that same stupidity was repeated by Chris at TV Newser, so I guess I’ll have to point out the obvious.

Stein wrote this:

During the colloquy, Mr. Stewart lambasted Mr. Cramer as failing to anticipate events and inform his audience about those events.

No.

No, no no. Jon Stewart was not criticizing Jim Cramer for failing to anticipate events. He was criticizing Jim Cramer and the rest of the business press for knowing the system is gamed, and not informing the public. For being willing participants in a fraudulent scheme that stacks the deck against average investors–people who have far more at stake and far more to lose than Wall Street bigwigs who basically gamble with other people’s money.

I shouldn’t be shocked that Ben Stein doesn’t get that. He’s part of that gamed system, after all.

Still, we aren’t stupid, Mr. Stein. You, on the other hand, obviously think we are.

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Filed under Ben Stein, CNBC, Jim Cramer, Jon Stewart, Wall Street

Sign Of The Apocalypse #52

Ben Stein and I actually agree on something:

The sad truth of the last two two-term Republican presidents is that their economic premise, the key part of their economic game plan, simply has not done what it’s supposed to do.

That is, cutting taxes, especially on upper-income Americans, does not generate so much economic activity that it replaces all the lost I.R.S. take and then some. At least those have been the results so far.

Trickle-down is an enduring conservative fantasy but it doesn’t exist. Tax-cuts are a dishonest economic policy because conservatives are also all about increasing defense spending and growing the government, despite what they will tell you. As Stein notes, you can’t have both:

Mr. McCain wants to extend many of President Bush’s income tax cuts and to reduce taxes on corporations. But the facts of life are that we have a large budget deficit, even though some other nations have even larger deficits as percentages of gross domestic product. We have to pay interest on it. As a people and a nation, we owe this money in large part to foreigners — and that can have political implications. The facts of life are that federal spending is almost all untouchable: the military, Social Security, Medicare, interest on the debt, pensions. The discretionary part is tiny.

Every category of federal spending is likely to grow. This means that if we don’t raise taxes, if we keep doing what we’re doing, the immense deficits and debt will not go away — and will probably grow.

The question is simply this: Do we want to step up to the plate like responsible people — I hate to say this, but the last responsible people who actually did this were named Bill and Bob (Clinton and Rubin) — and shoulder our responsibilities? Or do we just kick the can down the road a bit and leave the mess for our children and their children?

And if we do raise taxes, should people who are barely getting by pay them or should people who are getting by very nicely pay them?

Good question.

It’s nice to see someone from the conservative world step up and be an adult, doing some honest truth-talking instead of telling us what we want to hear.

Ben Stein is right. You cannot “starve the beast.” All you can do is pass the bill along to the next generation. That’s been the policy of Bush II. But it is neither sound economic policy nor responsible.

And now McCain is touting more of the same?

Stupid.

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Filed under Ben Stein, taxes