I think Sean Hannity must be looking over his shoulder at Glenn Beck these days and realizing that he really needs to start cranking up the Batmobile if he wants to keep up with that kind of crazy. So he did his best last night on his Fox show, with Dick "Suck On These" Morris doing the honors by schlepping the discussion right into Outer Wingnuttia.
You knew it was going to be surreal from the outset with Hannity sneering at Obama's handling of the auto-industry bailout as "commander and CEO," saying that Obama is "on a mission to hijack capitalism in favor of collectivism": "the Bolsheviks have already arrived."
Morris -- who these days is coming to resemble the Glowering Gnome who lives under the bridge -- predicted doom and gloom for the Obama presidency from here on out, because GM is going to become an economic deadweight around his neck. Hannity, meanwhile, was into Naked Fearmongering mode:
Hannity: The federal government -- and I don't think I overstate this for our audience -- is destroying our economic system as we currently know it. You have written that it is socialism, and that it's mismanaged socialism.
Morris: Well, what it is, is he's deliberately making it fail. When he gets up there -- Obama -- and he says in December of this year, Volcker is supposed to report on a sweeping overhaul of the tax code, and Geithner is proposing a sweeping overhaul of the regulatory structure, what businessman in his right mind is going to make an investment when he doesn't know the tax consequence and he doesn't know the regulatory consequence.
Hannity: Here's what's frightening. And I think Americans tonight should be frightened... Spending trillions of dollars -- even David Broder of the Washington Post realizes that the CBO says unemployment is going to hit 10 percent, that we are going to have a trillion dollars of debt a year here.
They went on to describe the hell into which Obama is taking us. Morris predicted that "he's going to absolutely fall apart". And then they both began channeling Michelle Bachmann:
Morris: But there is a big thing that's going to happen in London at this G-20 -- and they're hiding it, they're camouflaging it, they're not talking about it: Coordination of international regulation. What they are going to do is to put our Fed and our SEC under the control, in effect, of the IMF.
Hannity: Oh come on. You don't think they'll do this.
Morris: That's what was in the draft agenda. They call it coordination of regulation. What it really is, is putting the American economy under the control of international regulation. And those people who have been yelling, 'Oh, the U.N. is going to take over, global government -- '
Hannity: Conspiracy theorists.
Morris: They've been crazy. But now, they're right! It's happening!
Hannity: Well, when Geithner said last week he would be open to the idea of a global currency last week -- those conspiracy people had said -- have suggested that for years. You're not wrong.
Man. You'd think these geniuses -- or at least their genius producers, or somebody with a grounding in the real world -- could figure out what a reserve currency actually is.
Trotting this stuff out as portending a "one world currency" and a takeover of the American economy is just so crudely afactual that it almost transcends the intentional disinformation it otherwise is.
But when you start telling us that the John Bircher and anti-Semitic wings of the American Right -- both of whom have long touted these sorts of theories -- were actually right, well, it becomes clear just whose agenda Fox News is now in the service of.
[I]t seems that on Planet Wingnuttia, the proposal by China that the rest of the world go off the dollar as its chief unit of global exchange in fact actually means that the United States will have to go off the dollar too.
Now, down here on Planet Earth, China's proposal has nothing to do with what currency we use in the United States; it has to do with what kind of currency the rest of the world uses as its "reserve currency." We could pass Bachmann's law and throw a big fat national hissy fit if we wanted, and it wouldn't make a damned bit of difference. Because the proposal is one that would be decided by each and every other sovereign nation on the planet, choosing for themselves what kind of currency they choose to use.
A little history about reserve currency might help:
After World War II, the international financial system was governed by a formal agreement, the Bretton Woods System. Under this system the US dollar was placed deliberately at the centre of the system, with the US government guaranteeing other central banks that they could sell their US dollar reserves at a fixed rate for gold if they so desired. European countries and Japan deliberately devalued their currencies against the dollar in order to boost exports and development.
In the late 1960s and early 70s the system came apart under pressure from the rising prominence of the other countries, as well as growing deficits in the US. The US dollar remained central due to the lack of competitor currencies.
Recently, nations, especially in Asia, have been stockpiling reserves at levels previously unknown, especially in US dollars, in an effort to strengthen export competitiveness by weakening their own currencies, and also to contain quick and large inflows of capital and buffer against financial crisis such as the Asian financial crisis.
But truthfully, these people are beyond help.