How did that kooky, insidious, false Dinesh D’Souza piece end up on the cover of Forbes? Take a look at the boss man.

Not content to smear the president for supposedly being an anti-American beholden to the “dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s” and a “philandering, inebriated African socialist,” Forbes editor-in-chief and former GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes uses his front-of-the-book column to compare Obama unfavorably to Vladimir Lenin.

I kid you not. They even Photoshopped Obama sitting next to old Vlad.

Here’s the dictator rhetoric (emphasis mine):

In his mind the President probably figures he has miraculously achieved a big chunk of his agenda: The federal government will, in effect, be in charge of the health care and financial industries. Through regulatory decrees Obama can continue to extend the power of unions in the workplace. He may get some sort of cap-and-trade legislation passed in the lame-duck session of Congress after the election, which would also make the energy industry a de facto vassal of the federal government.

If reelected, Obama can go back to his power-grabbing ways by having the federal government intrusively dominate higher education via programs that will make college “free” to virtually everyone. Student loans are already under his thumb.

And look out, America!

Rigid ideologists have long known how to make tactical maneuvers to further their ultimate goals. The most famous case was Vladimir Lenin in the early 1920s. While the Communists had won the civil war, the Soviet Union’s economy was moribund, threatening the Red regime’s survival. Entrepreneurs did not fear taxes and regulations; they feared for their very lives. Lenin knew the economic paralysis had to be broken. With great fanfare he introduced the New Economic Policy. Small, privately held businesses would be permitted and would be allowed to pocket their profits. Peasants could keep and till their land. This liberalizing had the desired effect of bringing the Soviet economy back to life—allowing Lenin and his confederates to consolidate their power. Once that was achieved, the New Economic Policy was murderously reversed.

My mouth is agape. The crazy is really getting bad, folks.

(h/t to commenter Benedict@Large)

— Ever watched the Fox Business Network?

I’m guessing not. Okay, steel your stomach and watch this clip Mediaite pulled last night from a Republican roundtable on whether to shut down the post office.

Former GOP Senator Al D’Amato calls out Republican consultant Jack Burkman for his “racist bullshit” for saying “most of these guys working in the Post Office should be driving cabs, and I think we should stop importing labor from Nigeria and Ethiopia. That’s the skill level.”

— Let’s head to the weekend with a little dose of sanity. Okay, a lot. You can thank Jonathan Weil of Bloomberg who writes that “Zombie Banks Have Us Right Where They Want Us.”

How long will it take before we see some semblance of robust free-market capitalism return, where the value of an asset is based on what bona fide market participants will pay for it, the cost to borrow money is based on a company’s fundamental financial strength rather than its ability to access a government safety net, and corporations are free to fail no matter what their size?

And

Meanwhile, executives who lie about their companies’ financial condition still have little to fear. Criminal prosecutions for such transgressions are rare. On those few occasions when the Securities and Exchange Commission sues a large company for fraud, chances are that its bosses will get off scot-free or, if they’re unlucky, with a wrist-slap.

It’s no wonder many investors now conclude the whole game is rigged. It would be easy to limit the blame to government and crony capitalists. Ultimately, though, we are responsible for the leaders we choose. As long as the American people remain unwilling to bear the full economic consequences of the last financial crisis, there will be no end to the bailout culture. The lords of finance still have us right where they want us.

Happy weekend, folks!


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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.