Monday, June 24, 2013

Syria: Part One - The Problem

Syria: The Dark Room Filled With Mousetraps

Even when we sift out the "talking points," the incessant story line offered by the domestic corporate media is not particularly promising.  Predictably, the tale being injected into the low information psyche of the American voter presents the grim hopelessness of a complex ballet conducted by intransigent international interests, notably, some of the scariest players ever invented for a single scene by our now notoriously unbelievable, corporately infamous "Fourth Estate."

The list of the larger, potential combatant players who have "pitched tents" in the war arena includes:

a well equipped Mediterranean naval fortress long coveted and finally realized by the ideologically eager, although  somewhat ambiguous, Russian Federation;

a literal Iranian Grey Hound bus and U-Haul truck route running across the destroyed remnants of George W. Bush's "imaginary ally," the now pissed off and utterly uncontrollable Iraq;

perhaps a hundred different "militias" comprised of pissed off Syrians -- each one of which is "always right" -- who want to be rid of their country's genetic dictator;

the trigger happy Israeli reactionaries sitting on a pile of h-bombs that is currently much shinier than than their rather frayed carte blanche US domestic political cover;

more than a few cautious Chinese oligarchs with big time Syrian investments, big time ambitions hosted by an opportunistic occidental business ethic and big time connections in the PRC's notoriously pragmatic, cash heavy, State Council; and 

the blood thirsty, religion crazed Lebanese Hezbollah completely inebriated by their latest local cleric with indulgent fantasies of renewing a Dark Ages Shi'a caliphate at any cost.

Of course there are additional faces here and there such as the now refugee saturated neighbors of Turkey and Jordan, what's left of the secular Lebanese government and military, the generous Arabian royal oligarchs -- Middle Eastern equivalents to our own craven banksters -- with their tantalizing but carefully limited arms shipments and, finally, the Europeans and other Westerners with their puzzled, uncertain, opinion poll rattled governments and media cultivated, nervous populations frantically trying to simultaneously remember and forget the last time they were here.

Rehashing all this chaos here on the blog, while tempting, would amount to little more than singing yet another dirgeful repetition of The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner to an already thoroughly terrified, comatose, painfully inured, unwilling congregation.  [MeanMesa has previously published several posts on this topic: Syria and Russia, Syria in September - The Perfect Mousetrap,  Russia, China, Syria: Disgracing Great and Noble Revolutions and, After the Arab Spring: National Unity Teams ]

This is a rough, perhaps overly optimistic, picture of what is currently sitting on Barack Obama's policy desk in the Oval Office. Whatever decisions he may take in terms of the path ahead will be ruthlessly eviscerated by the "bought and paid for" Republican controlled Congress and the corporate domestic media -- both chortling out streams of poison for an audience of nodding, mindless, quivering psychological wrecks.

Happily, MeanMesa suspects that the President will, once again, more than live up to his formidable reputation as an effective mix of both a South Chicago pragmatist and a savvy, realistic political strategist.  For this round with the racists and reactionaries, he will also probably be showing both us and the world the thickness of his second term skin.

So, if we intend to propose an outline for American intervention in Syria, we will  find it necessary to consider all the elements:

the war fare strategy if there is to be some, 

the multi-sided, international diplomatic maneuvers, 

the structure in Syria of an American supported, post-Assad outcome and 

the labyrinthine domestic politics which will be required for Obama to do his job.

Because the fickle oligarch class in Congress can mount the mask of outraged isolationist in a heartbeat, the real story here can definitely not be entirely about the possible approach of the international war making circus at all.  The real story will be much more concerned with foreign policy and domestic politics than bullets and bombs.

Let's have a look at one disadvantage from the past that is still firmly "bolted" to our country today.  A big one.  A really big one.

Mending The Unending Damage of George W. Bush
Did anyone notice the difference between Afghanistan or Iraq and Libya?

Clearly, one major element in resolving Syria will arrive automatically from our own recent past.  Quite independent of all the other considerations for this current problem -- or, in fact, for any current problem -- will be the deathly foreign policy legacy of George W. Bush.  Of course, the Bush disasters were dismal, heartbreaking national failures, but they now penetrate the situation in Syria accompanied by the world's inevitable, pervasive mistrust, fear and hatred of a decade of violent incompetence.

Great suffering and injustice imposed at the hand of the US military.

When MeanMesa mentions Libya, we are talking about the "real" Libya and not Sean Hannity's gaseous, morbid comedy "scandal" about Benghazi.  This is relevant here because all the "cultural nightmare memory" of the Bush W. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq still settles like 1960's Los Angeles smog over ever instance of possible US intervention anywhere.  We saw this oozing out of the "mouth junk" boys when the Administration committed to the Libyan war to depose Gaddafi.

Of course the danger rests with the common presumption that the United States cannot intervene successfully -- anywhere, ever.  The same presumption also includes the idea that the United States cannot win a war -- anywhere, ever.  Perhaps even worse, now, more than a decade after the autocrat's military adventures began, a surprising number of Americans have been convinced that they cannot trust their government.

All of this is not an unfortunate coincidence.  The media injection of these carefully crafted divisive toxins was made possible and executed by oligarchs whose looting could benefit from the resulting cynicism.  Millions or billions of corporate dollars have resourced the scheme to provoke the American population's blind, constant march to this destructive credulity.

All this could be easily labelled as simply yet another little blog's woeful lament about George W. Bush's reign of disaster, but -- examined in the light of today's challenges -- that old President is here.  Still here.  The Bush damage remains a material, active and durable disadvantage, a correspondent from the past which now makes our impending involvement in Syria even more complex and difficult, and which still demands even more compensating labor and resources today.

 The 2013 MeanMesa Syria Series

MeanMesa is drawn to the task of formulating possible solutions to what confronts us.  As citizen-participants in our representative democracy we have responsibilities in times like these.

We must educate ourselves as well as possible about the facts -- not easily digestible pundit hyperbole -- before we form our conclusions about the President's decision to intervene.

Beyond this, we must also consider the situation to prepare our own thoughts about what role our nation should play in these events which now approach us.  There is absolutely no possible, conceivable reason justifying an attitude of "This doesn't really concern me, so I'll just let the government do it and then complain."

That admonition is directed at both the liberal visitors to Short Current Essays and "other minded" conservative citizens who are still more intent on domestic political advantages than they are on their responsibilities for our country.  The mesmerizing,  playful interlude of "nothing is real" has clearly passed.

Like it or not, this one is going to be real -- not just for Syria and its international players -- it's also going to be real for us.

MeanMesa will offer a post on each of the four individual focus points:

  • the war fare strategy if there is to be some, 
  • the multi-sided, international diplomatic maneuvers, 
  • the structure in Syria of an American supported, post-Assad outcome and 
  • the labyrinthine domestic politics which will be required for Obama to do his job.

during the next few days.  Please visit often.

War in Syria

A Closer Look at the Combatants' Warehouses

While a great deal has been postulated about the inventory of US arms to be supplied to the opposition force, a growing "opinion" of domestic "news" estimates remain focused on primarily small arms, ammunition, anti-tank weapons and possibly anti-air craft weapons.  Arms beyond this scope would not be particularly useful to the opposition at this point.  Later in the conflict, that is, if the conflict matures to a state where the opposition could actually use more destructive fire power effectively and the should the Assad military provide suitable targets, supplying heavier weapons might make sense.

Assad's side has no problem with access to weapons -- either small arms or heavy arms.  The Syrian military has plenty of tanks, transport equipment, howitzer style field guns and unchallenged air superiority with both attack helicopters and jets.  Interestingly, even if additional supplies were denied the Syrian government forces, it would, most likely, be quite a long time before there were shortages severe enough to influence field tactics.

Attempts to blockade Syria to prevent additional forces from moving into the combat territory would present the greatest problem to the Syrian regime by limiting additional troops, not material supplies.  There are presently three primary routes of inflowing support, each one in heavy use. 

  • From Iran through Iraq -- heavy shipments of Iranian troops and supplies by truck.
  • Across the Lebanese border -- primarily Hezbollah troops, but not usually troops equipped with heavy weapons or supplies.
  • By sea -- open shipments of all types to off loading areas in established harbors protected by the well fortified Russian anti-ship installation at Tartus.
Tartus Naval Base, Syria (image source)

The Assad government has, apparently, used Sarin gas in limited engagements at various places.  The tactical employment of such use would typically be as an advantage in specific combat scenarios where other choices were unworkable -- for example, in an assault on a well fortified enclave which could not be approached by a conventional force of field artillery or tanks.

However, although there may well be such conditions are various places in the combat arena, MeanMesa suspects that these gas attacks were intended to intimidate the opposition troops more than solve troublesome, specific resistance.  Remember, the gas kills indiscriminately, combatants and non-combatants, including civilians hiding in reinforced bunkers and basements.

Such a gas attack would, most likely, have been directed more to inducing terror than in causing large numbers of casualties or resolving a localized resistance.  The opposition forces have adopted the predictable strategy of constant movement and dispersion to counter the fire power advantages of the government forces.

The Assad regime's military planners know that it is extremely unlikely that increasing the use of Sarin can be expected to turn the tide of the war.  The scope of a strategically effective gas attack and the number of casualties -- factors always accompanied by the somewhat ambiguous US position -- preclude this expanded use.

Syria Crosses The "Red Line" With Sarin Gas

President Obama's statement about what use of the gas would mean as a "tipping" factor in the US position was clear enough, even if the Syrian military chose to disregard it.  Administration detractors, desperately searching for their next avenue of attack in their relentless hope of sabotaging Administration policy, predictably salivated over these events with their jaundiced reinterpretation of them, creating more "red meat" for their already abused domestic audiences.

An easily anticipated "third column" emerged from the Washington Post at this point.  Because the Syrian dictator has prevented UN inspectors from collecting direct evidence of the nerve agent's use and subsequently maintaining a "chain of custody" prior to the laboratory investigation of the samples, the already less than credible US domestic media [Read the Post reporting here.] has eagerly committed itself, once again, to embellishing the "uncertainty" angle.

The American public, already suffering from war exhaustion after the Bush Administration's recklessly incompetent military adventures, is understandably nervous about such claims.  The small but vocal Republican minority, languishing in a perpetual state of distrust for the President thanks to the media projects with that aim, are apoplectic. 

While presenting a temporary "news item" right now, none of this will continue to mean much once the action begins.  The exploitive "fear generation" schemes are apparently not complicated by the unavoidable fact that the Obama Administration would have far less incentive to mislead the American public than any in recent history after watching the self-inflicted damage the previous outfit suffered from its deceptions justifying Iraq.

The Administration said at the outset that the evidence, while convincing, would not meet UN standards as "hard proof."  In response, the reporting by detractors doesn't argue that the evidence is false, but only that it is uncertain.  The domestic information starved followers of the story, indulging our now famous, grotesquely risk averse, cultural codependent insistence on guaranteed outcomes, impossibly credible intelligence and specific targets for blame in case anything might go wrong, are still bruised and quite understandably "gun shy" after the drubbing Bush and Cheney gave them.

It has been reported that the Syrian government has "repositioned" the Sarin stockpiles, but, as usual, the intention of that repositioning is unknown. It may have been moved to storage sites with better security, or the relocation may have been strategic to place the gas stock in position for quick deployment and use should conditions warrant it.

It is a mistake to presume that the Assads have any significant moral reluctance at mass murder of Syrian civilians.  The current dictator's father wiped out more than 40,000 Syrians while he was dictator.  At the time of this post the UN is currently estimating around 70,000 dead in the current conflict. If the parts of the intelligence which have been made public by the Administration are accurate, there have been slightly more than 100 cases where death resulted from the use of the nerve agent.

The Armies

As mentioned before, troop reinforcement is probably the highest priority for the Syrian government's side of this conflict.  The largely unorganized opposition forces have managed to inflict more casualties than they have suffered, although the recent escalation of violence by the government forces indicates a new determination to "tough their way through this."  Further, problematic rates of defection are still rising in the Syrian government forces.

Prior to the recent upsurges in Iranian and Hezbollah troops, the Syrian army was beginning to feel the shortage of man power, but with these reinforcements now streaming into the country, that reluctance has been replaced by a new willingness to widen the bombing and shelling targets.  The tactical artillery and air bombardment of Aleppo, Syria's largest metropolitan city, is no longer anything which could even generously be described as "surgical." 

Northern Syria, notably the city of Hama halfway between Damascus and Aleppo, was the site of some of the heaviest killing during the war of suppression conducted by the current dictator's father, Hafez al Assad.  Estimates of fatal casualties vary, but apparently around 25,000 to 30,000 Syrians were killed.  There were unverifiable reports of the use of hydrogen cyanide gas by the Syrian army in the Hama attacks in 1982.

The father, an Alawite with a Ba'athist political stance, died in 2000, leaving the country's "Presidency" to his son.  While espousing Ba'athist political ideas, the father was antagonistic toward the Iraqi Ba'athist, Sadam Hussein, and sympathetic with the Iranian side of the incredibly destructive Iran-Iraq war.  The son, current dictator Bashar al Assad, has downplayed this enmity with the old Iraq while clearly embracing the resupply route opportunities from Iran now possible through the Northern deserts of"new Iraq."

The conflict is drifting along toward the classic profile of a Shi'a versus Sunni sectarian split similar to what occurred in Iraq mid-way through the US invasion.  Both sectarian sides are contributing troops to their corresponding combatant parties at this point.

The Conflict

The typical model for Arab Spring uprisings has been faster paced than the conflict in Syria.  One way to interpret this is to consider the Syrian civil war as a response to the remarkably quick transfers of social and political power in other cases.  The international forces which have suffered the greatest losses in power from the "lightening" insurgencies in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have drawn their own "line in the sand" with respect to Syria, determined to stop the rush toward "overnight" changes in ossified power structures established in the past.

The recent escalation in indiscriminate killing with the bombardment of civilian areas is the clear result of this.  The Syrian government would very much like to become an example of old power, emboldened with resources from sympathetic sponsors, decisively terrorizing and demoralizing its opposition.  This was the outcome in the 1982 war of suppression, and the current Syrian government is obviously convinced that such a Draconian victory can be repeated now.

al-Qusyar, Syria after "liberation" (image source)
At the time of this post the Syrian opposition forces are losing ground to the government.  The fall -- or, better described, the destruction -- of the southern city of al Qusayr opened a land route for Lebanese Hezbollah troops, consolidating the government's hold on much more of the country's South and freeing up regular Syrian army units for the attacks to the north on Aleppo.
The injection of additional arms to opposition forces will, very likely, reverse this trend in the near future.  It is reported that US CIA agents have already been training opposition fighters to use  anti-tank arms.  MeanMesa would assume that this training also included some sorts of anti-aircraft weapons, but such a development, if it is occurring, has been done very quietly.  News being released by the US Administration has been managed much more effectively than it was during the Libyan conflict.

In any successful insurrection outside aid can be inserted during times of opposition defeats, but outside geopolitical strategies must, necessarily, wait for opposition successes.  The Syrian opposition must begin winning territory and other field victories before decisive international political power can be effectively asserted against the regime. 

What We Can Expect

We might begin with what we can probably not expect.

First on this list will be any strategic moves which would place the US and the Russian Federation forces in direct conflict.  The US or NATO imposition of a "no fly" zone could, either by design or accident, include Russian Federation aircraft flying in and out of Tartus.  The Russians are re-supplying their base there in a manner similar to our own re-supply of NATO forces in Afghanistan after the Pakistan government closed the roads following the drone slaughter of a government check point.

The possibility of a Syrian opposition fighter firing a US supplied anti-aircraft missile at a Russian Federation cargo flight cannot be dismissed.  If the command and control structure of the rebels were more credible, this might be avoidable, but in the present state of the opposition outside insistence on such conditions would be frankly unrealistic.

We can expect that the Russians will continue to refrain from actively supporting the Syrian government by, for example, flying sorties against opposition strongholds in Russian Federation jets with Russian pilots.  However, we can expect the Russian Federation to defend its national facilities in Syria -- such as the naval station at Tartus -- quite aggressively.

We can expect the US State Department to grow rather harsh in its efforts to
encourage the Iraqi closing of the land corridor between Iran and Syria, shutting down the flow of Iranian troops and supplies.  The Syrian government may have grown so reliant on this Iranian assistance that it can convince the Russians to replace the route across Northern Iraq with naval transport through its Black Sea fleet.  Iran could, in this event, use its Caspian Sea access.

Unlike the eager cooperation from our Iraqi "allies," there is little prospect for unimpeded Iranian shipments of troops and supplies across Eastern Turkey.

Likewise, we can expect the US State Department to become even harsher in its effort to discourage Iran from continuing or increasing its intervention in Syria.  In this same manner, we probably can expect the UN to step up its pressure to discourage Lebanon's heretofore quite passive effort to exert its own sovereignty with respect to allowing Hezbollah to more or less determine the nation's policy autonomously.

We can expect the US State Department to encourage the Israeli government to stay out of the fray.  Even the most modest Israeli insertion of force would be detrimental given the prevailing attitudes toward that country by essentially all the other residents of the region.

We can expect additional troops gradually migrating into the war zone in support of both sides of the conflict.  There are already reports of Libyan soldiers -- with arms from both the Gaddafi regime and left over from the insurrection there -- joining in support with the opposition fighters.  There doesn't appear to be any reasonable possibility of altering this development much.

We can expect various governments in the region to increase the amount and fire power of the arms they are already providing the opposition forces.  A trend of opposition victories could reasonably "open the flood gates" for increased aid from the neighbors.

When we consider the prospect in its traditional definition, we cannot expect a "political solution" to emerge from "negotiations."  Such "solutions" may be possible below a certain level of blood letting and outrages, but that stage has permanently passed out of reach in this conflict.  Even looking at the scene from only one side, there is no prospect for the father whose children's throats were cut in his living room by some government militia to simply "let by gones be by gones."

Finally, we can expect continually increasing casualties, atrocities and refugees.  This conflict is not going to end quickly, and it is not going to somehow drift back to more genteel conduct.  However savage it has shown itself to be already, we can assume that conditions will grow significantly worse from here.

In the further posts in this continuing series, we can seek out some optimistic possibilities -- obscured from our sight right now by the complex, intractable nature of the present dilemma. Please visit MeanMesa for more posts on other aspects of the Syria conflict.

John McCain in Syria

John McCain in Syria: How Much Damage?
The Americans sent this old guy to give us the guns?

Now, meddling in foreign affairs for fun and profit is nothing new on the American scene, but Grampy's meddling supersedes even the most outlandish previous cases.  While it may be attractive to simply gloss over this latest embarrassing escapade with a jaundiced eye lubricated by some comforting political stoicism, making every effort to forget it as quickly as possible, that approach may lead us to take things too lightly.

The Senator's "visit to the war zone" is neither the innocent meandering of a man already far too long in the tooth for such things decades ago nor is it some arcane, yet rational, speck of a larger foreign policy picture.  The old war bird's fantasy of the fame and fortune from "cutting through the red tape" probably did some serious damage to our nation's long term strategy.

The Senator with ACTUAL Syrian rebels (image source)

We have to try to put ourselves in the minds of the Free Syrian Army rebels he met there.  

"If this US Senator doesn't take the US Secretary of State's efforts seriously, why should we?  Further, although John McCain met with us, what exactly does that mean?  In fact, does it mean anything?"

The domestic corporate media has been relentlessly repeating the old line from their criticism of the Libyan strategy.  Clearly, once again, the media has been ordered to plunge the American public opinion into a permanent "no exit" quandary about whom it is we're getting ready to help with our military intervention.

After all, when interpreted from the manipulative view of information challenged, isolationist nut rights, the US has "backed the wrong horse" in every interventionist military adventure since President Reagan funnelled ship loads of Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles to the Afghan mujadiheen fighting the Soviets in 1992.  The short term policy worked out well enough, but as an historic aside -- unanticipated consequence-wise, of course -- we wound up with Osama bin Laden and the Al Qeada armed with high tech rockets which could shoot down an air liner.

Since then we've been "officially worried" about just where all those leftover missiles went after the Soviets left.

In their unending effort to sabotage and undercut the Obama Administration with every tool possible, the "mouth junk" pundits and the media have transformed that old Reagan error into an perpetual source of threat on every possible occasion since then. We are now accustomed to always hearing the same lament.  "Who are we helping?  Does anyone really know?  Are they like us?  Will they be our friends after this is done, or will they become enemies, using the weapons we gave them against us? And, do they happen to have any oil?"

In a failed media climate rife with such synthetic -- "two sides to everything, I'm afraid we'll have to leave it there" -- heavily manipulated artificialities and where network reporting credibility is already, quite deservedly, at a disastrous all time low, the predictable onslaught of the same fear grinding, overly simplified, uncertainty provoking bias is inevitable.  As US educational outcomes have plummeted, the task of cranking out mindless narcotic media propaganda has grown easier and easier.

If you break a sweat terrorizing a third grader, you're doing it wrong.

All this would be little more than "waxing philosophically" if we actually had any real reporting or real information about which Syrians are fighting Assad, but, of course, we don't.  We're "flying blind."  As usual.

This is exactly what makes Syria dangerous for us.  This is exactly what makes John McCain's bloodthirsty, maverick "foreign policy habits" such a problem.

MeanMesa is convinced that American intervention in Syria is both quite probably inevitable, quite probably necessary and also quite probably "doable." [There will be a follow up MeanMesa post of this side of the story in a few days.] There will no part of such a solution which legitimately serves personal aggrandizement such as the "temptation served" with McCain's reckless visit. There will be no part illegitimately providing more mindless "cannon fodder" for further inflaming the fickle GOP base. There will be no part resembling the comic book imaginings of the uninterested, uninformed and indulgently angry Republican Party House and Senate tea bags.

In other words, the nation will have to set aside its induced appetite for "red meat terror" and try to actually think.  The stakes are high.

While notably oily tea bag Republican opportunists in bad ties fight for imaginary advances in their now corpse-like poll ratings, the rest of the world -- including all the parties to the Syrian violence -- are up to their necks in the "real."

John McCain in Syria: The Geriatric War Starter
Oh Grampy...Not Again

McCain has been perpetually plagued by an unsettling combination of a decades old, gnawing failure to meet [the "daddy" Admiral's and the "grandaddy" Admiral's] fatherly expectations,  a thoroughly road weary claim of some sort of still unrecognized 1950's military strategic expertise and a heartbreaking, embarrassing panic with the prospect of finally being sent out to pasture with the other bald, irrelevant, aging Republican war mongers. 

Eternally ensconced in a political party which has yet to acknowledge a string of lost elections, the Senator continues to insist that the entire Obama Administration can be painlessly dispatched -- "out of hand" -- as nothing more than trailer park interlopers while he continues to represent the "real thing." Meanwhile, aside from his constant media companion, "Southern Belle" Lindsay Graham, Senate Republicans -- always far more interested in money than fame -- simply wish that he would quietly go away.

MeanMesa has posted about John McCain before.  He graduated 898th out of 900 from his class at Annapolis, wrecked four Navy jets during his training, was suspected of involvement in the fire aboard air craft carrier Forrestal, flew a 32 minute combat bombing sorty [For which he received 28 Navy citations -- just under one per minuteIn the Navy being "connected" helps.] over Viet Nam before he was shot down and imprisoned as a POW for 5 1/2 years.  In case you've managed to forget the painful Presidential election flop, review McCain's record here..

However, on a more serious note, the man has an unusually dangerous infatuation with the prospect being labelled a "maverick," and we're not talking Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Gosh.  Were promises being made? (image source)

The Senator's ineffective, yet dramatic visit to the Syrian opposition casts a dismal shadow in its similarity to his "visit" with Georgian President Saakashvilli mere days prior to that little country's initiation of a disastrous military clash with the Russian Federation over Issetia.  While on these little amateur excursions into grown up land, the Senator is quite close mouthed about the details of promises made, but the rest of us "little people" get to see, later on, the wildly coincidental, yet sickeningly suspicious, mayhem which follows.

MeanMesa is afraid that Grampy has done it again.

McCain was sabre rattling at an even higher volume than usual for US military involvement in Syria immediately before and after the trip.  McCain's war mongering is still a favorite for Americans who are certain that, somehow, he defeated Obama in the 2008 election.  The old Senator can be counted on to "spice up" the otherwise moribund network talk shows and "news specials" along with the other painfully repetitive, mundane media products bellowing out of our televisions.

In fact, because the domestic media is controlled by the same corporate  interests which control the Republican Party, the Senator is exposed to so much air time that MeanMesa wonders when he has time for the little boys' room.

The grand pitch was that McCain's expertise in "handling" the Syrian rebels might have paved the way for Senate approval of the expected Administration decision to start providing arms.  However, we all know enough to assume that should the Senate ever have even a small chance to muddy such a decision, the Republican Senators will almost certainly filibuster faster than a heifer's tail shoos away a gnat.

This is a tough one for them.  The possibility of another money making war for their billionaire sponsors is tugging at their hearts from one direction while their phobic, pathological terror at participating, no matter how innocuously, in any successful policy originating with the President sends them screaming in the opposite direction.  They are still sulking over Obama's success with American involvement in Libya.

Of course, a rational American foreign policy now lays like a flayed corpse in the Senate chamber, unattended, forlorn, disgraced and pointedly avoided.  

A very loud but dwindling minority of American voters dares to presume that this nonsense can go on forever.  Their House Representatives are, at this moment, passing another one of their famous "no choice" anti-abortion bills while Syria burns.

Visit MeanMesa for more posts about Syria very soon.

Fresh and Alarming -- Revisiting the "IRS Scandal"

Credit Where Credit's Due

MeanMesa first heard this take on the "IRS Scandal" from Hall Sparks on the Stephanie Miller Show, June 19, 2013. [The Stephanie Miller Show, AM 1350, KABQ Albuquerque, 7 AM to 10 AM daily on weekdaysMeanMesa has posted before on the cheap, puzzling elements of the artificial "scandal blitz" the GOPCons cooked up in their desperate hopes of future election victories. (Links to the MeanMesa "scandal posts:" Flaming, Red Hot Crisis at the GOP Scandal Factory Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

Naturally, any such tale stuck in the sleazy, synthetic PR world of Darrell Issa's Oversight Committee "hearings" must be told from the parts which are missing rather than from the parts that are present, but when just a few of those "missing parts" are laid out in the light, this one is fascinating.

What if -- instead of the Obama White House -- the evil doers behind the IRS's suspicious targeting of  tea bag 501C-4's were actually GOP Party operatives?

Immediately embracing the total validity of the old saying: "some old, something blue, something borrowed and something new," MeanMesa will quite happily "turn over the wheel" to an article by Mark Segal from  (Visit the site and read the whole thing here. All links in the original article are left enabled in this post.)

Are Karl Rove & GOP behind IRS scandal?

If President Obama, the White House and Democrats had nothing to do with something that seems so political, what about the Republicans?
No, it's not from the "10 Most Wanted" poster (image source)

Last updated: Monday, June 3, 2013, 11:40 AM
Posted: Tue Jun 18 00:01:00 PDT 2013

We know the Republican Congress is in a tizzy about the IRS looking into requests for IRS Tax exemptions for organizations named "Tea Party" and other conservative labels. They even had some hearings on them, attempting to tie the White House and President Obama to the scene. But as hard as they try, they simply cannot, since the White House had no knowledge of the incidents until told by the Inspector General. But wait. If President Obama, the White House and Democrats had nothing to do with something that seems so political, what about the Republicans?

Rather than the guessing game that the Republican Congress wants to play,let's take a look at the facts, firstly from the hearings themselves. Democrats were not allowed to have any information gathered by the committee's staff or the list of witnesses in advance. That is highly unusual in a Congressional hearing. Why all the Republican control? To further the point, last week an eye opening report revealed that Congressman Darrell Issa, the House Oversight Committee chairman who made all the charges against the White House, actually knew about the Inspector General's report before them, the people he was accusing. Remember that this is the same committee that falsified White House emails during the hearings on Benghazi.

Second, let's take a look at the questions asked during those hearings, specifically the questions that were not asked. While they searched for a White House link, the committee never asked about any connections to Republican operatives. Not one question. Why?

The man in charge of the IRS when this took place was a Bush appointee, Douglas Shulman, at the same time that Karl Rove worked in the White House and Dick Cheney was Vice President. These guys know a thing or two about appointments. And take note that several Liberal organizations and churches were targeted during those Bush days. Most famously All Saints Episcopal, in Pasadena, California. Their crime? A sermon about the ills of the Iraq war. A subject so close to the Bush administration's hearts that they sent an American hero, Colin Powell, to lie before the United Nations. So rather than the Obama administration contacting the IRS, it is more likely that a Republican like Rove would give orders to the man that he helped appoint. But still, why would they target their allies the Tea Party?

The formal Republican party was frustrated with the Tea Party, who won primaries with candidates like one who believed in "legitimate rape," but lost general elections along the way. Rove and his gang realized that as long as the right wing elements of the Tea party were around, they would not win the Senate, much less the White House. And it was Rove who was the most outspoken about the Tea Party at that time. Heck, that Tea Party made Romney, the candidate of choice for Rove, go so far right in order to win the primaries, he never really had a shot. On the flipside, Democrats loved the Tea Party, who campaigned against women, gays, and immigration. The Tea Party was helping the Democrats win elections, why would they want to stop them?

Step in Rove, a man who would step on your grandmother's grave to win an election. He knows all the IRS players, he helped appoint some of them in his days in Bush's White House. In fact, many in formal Republican circles did, too. Isn't it time to summon those phone and email logs from those Bush-era IRS appointees? Unless, of course, they have something to hide.

Mark Segal is one of Philadelphia's most awarded opinion writers and has been recognized by the National Newspaper Association, Pennsylvania News-media Association, Suburban Newspapers of America and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others. He can be reached on facebook or on twitter

Now, all these typically myopic, high level [Karl "Death to the Tea Bags!" Rove] Republican political machinations left poor, incompetent, House Oversight Committee Chairman, Darrel Issa, in way over his head.  Darrel must have been having wet dreams of the good old days when he was just a simple, hard working car thief.  Inundated by the necessity of building a case from all the chaotic, contradicting details, his soiled career as a professional GOP fact bender was already rapidly showing its age.

Good, Old Fashioned GOP "Up is Down"
And, of course, war is peace -- if you're a private contractor.

The notable thread which runs through this story is the amazingly arrogant willingness of the Republican-tea bag Party to stridently accuse their political opposition of precisely what they, themselves, have just been convicted. Granted, the owners of the Republican Party have long ago realized that their base of illiterate hill billies is totally unable to comprehend such obvious contradictions, but their eagerness to trot out the same insults for consumption by the larger base of voters is evidence of a "Hail Mary" panic.

Not even the permanently confused denizens of their savagely gerrymandered districts could be expected to find this stuff all that palatable.  While the Republican base is famous for its unusually stubborn invulnerability to nuance, the masses of more rational voters is not. 

Rove is no dummy.  The carefully crafted IRS scandal was a progeny of the think tanks simply performing as ordered by their check writing bosses.  After the scheme had flopped during the Romney catastrophe, Rove probably assuaged his wounds with a presumption that it was just too complicated to possibly cost the GOP any actual votes among its base.  His expected cover did, in fact, materialize, but only in a temporary way.

Someone else in the Party renown for its zombie-like unanimity in all things ideological must have picked up the possibility that Issa could embarrass the President with a half-baked, "patchwork investigation" and, from that realization, simply run with it.  The structural failure of the GOP to consolidate lies before going public is not particularly news worthy, but these gaffs generally occur between the classic old school oligarchs and the rambunctious, policy-free tea bags.

In this case, MeanMesa sees an unusual and refreshing departure from this GOP norm -- one creating an even more hysterical anomaly than usual.  For this "shoot out" both sides were comprised of servants to the constantly scheming oligarchs -- this time just servants from different GOP think tanks and perhaps different oligarchs.

MeanMesa has mentioned this in previous posts.  The Republicans are allergic to leadership because they think that everyone else in their Party is just like they are -- and they are generally right.  Naturally, in such a fear driven political culture this shattering lack of trust is predictable, but now it has obliterated every potential leader in the entire gang.  Not even their old favorite, mistake plagued Rush Limbaugh, has emerged with his "character" -- or his ratings -- in tact.

Historically, even after losing an election the rejected Republican candidate would have continued to be the face of the Party until someone with a brighter visage slaughtered his way to the top to replace him. However, after his drumming Mitt Romney has been officially vaporized from the political scene leaving in his absence the "empty chair" which made such a hit at the Convention.

The talk shows are not yet ready to resurrect George W. Bush, so they have settled for a thousand remakes of John McCain, the loser from just before the last loser and the loser after the last loser. This Rovian flummox was supposed to help, but the odor drifted into the nest before the egg hatched.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Part 1: Flaming Red Hot Crisis at the GOP Scandal Factory

[MeanMesa wanted to spend a little time with the current "media festival" treatment of the "burning questions of the day"  -- the desperate, over worked, GOP scandals.

The post got a little long, so it's going to be split into three pieces. Please visit all three posts!]
Part One
of three parts

Think Tank Terror

Just imagine what it might feel like to be an over paid Republican strategist nervously lounging in one of the over stuffed leather chairs deep in the bunker with FOX News grumbling in the background -- reminiscing over the past, particularly the halcyon days of the Romney campaign. Everything seems so different now.

Newscorpse (Image source)
Only months ago the billionaires would just smile and chortle confidently, full to the gunwales with the latest media fantasy of a vast Romney election victory, while they passed out the big checks to the geniuses here at the think tank.  The money was flowing like the Noatak River after the spring ice break up.  That same field which had seemed so hopeful was now painfully over seasoned with inescapable realities that not even the most obedient press could return to an edible state.

You know, "edible" like Mitt Romney's expectations on election eve.

That new beach front bungalow in Key West you bought from the real estate guy,  the big Romney supporter, has been languishing in a dead housing market since November, waiting for foreclosure.  The dealer who sold you the new Porsche has repeatedly warned you not to drive it until you pay the delinquent insurance policy, and even the buxom "Romneyette" who took such a sudden, exciting and unexpected interest in you at one of the high end cocktail parties has, apparently, found an as of then undiscovered appetite for caviar breakfasts, pudgy, middle aged Russian oligarchs, flashy yachts and the Black Sea in summer.

A Delightfully Dismal Start of 2013

The think tank strategic committee had told all the workers to prepare a final media onslaught for the economy which would, according to their ambitious fantasies, be a carefully constructed, artificial catastrophe eclipsing even the horrors of 2008.  In January this approach seemed quite reasonable.  By then the obedient House Republicans had managed to add three quarters of a million new jobless to the statistics of the already over full unemployment numbers by terminating a massive, irrational hodge podge of federal jobs.

The hastily negotiated hostage ransom called "sequester" had successfully channelled several hundred billion more from the general fund to the protection of the oligarchs' tax loop holes while the nation's citizens were crouching in their corners in anticipation of the blood letting to come.  For "icing on the cake" the  vaporizing European economy was providing fresh fright in daily doses, the President's "jobs bill" was being drawn and quartered by Congress, the Senate was stubbornly remaining in comatose paralysis and unmaintained bridges were collapsing without warning all across the states.

The thinking there at the think tank was that this would represent the ultimate "crown of thorns" to be permanently attached to the black man's head.  All it would take was just a bit of clever re-imaging and the low information Americans would "gobble it up" like a free doughnut on a morning hangover.

Unlike the rank and file of grotesque tea bag Congressmen, the brains of the think tank consistently demonstrated a formidable tactical awareness of how the country would appear to their base after each new outrage was manicured, properly teased and inserted in the right wing "news" stream.  However, a silent, nearly invisible weakness was also at play.

Further, this "strategic weakness" was not only in the "trained guns" roaming around in the think tanks, but it was also very much saturated in  the minds of that small bunch of plutocrats who were directing the GOP's every move and enforcing their unlikely authority with legions of Washington lobbyists bearing checks.

In a grisly symmetry the "thing" recirculated on its own momentum back and forth between the oligarchs and the think tank teams, growing not only more enticingly rancid but also obsessively stronger with each transit.  

There's no way to tell at this point if the think tank tacticians first persuaded the oligarchs to adopt such a self-destructive mind set by tempting them with the narcotic allure of even more illicit wealth redistribution, or if the oligarchs had, themselves, already been infected during their childhood with such a soul crushing impediment organically, that is, they had learned this horrible habit while still mere toothless infants suckling at their oligarchic mothers' breasts.

When The Obsession With Total Cynicism
 Loses Its Glamor

The oligarchs who now operate the tragic remnant of the Republican Party for their own interests have made a gradual, yet historic, miscalculation -- at least hopefully, it is a historic miscalculation.  For what it's worth, make strong your heart -- MeanMesa is convinced that it is, in fact, a miscalculation.

In their most ambitious ideological fantasies the oligarchs have dreamed that Americans were just as cynical as they are.

This mind numbing cynicism has led the "masters of the think tanks" to
Believe us.  We're rich. (Image source)
base all their scheming on the premise that policy would mean nothing to the average voter, but -- with enough biased media --  that politics and imaging would mean everything.
The destructive nature of this misinterpreted fundamental has led them utterly disregard the reality now appearing clearly in the sight of the exact voters they had previously blinded with their exploitive manipulation and deceptions.

In this sad tale Rupert Murdoch plays the drug dealer. He detected a malleable voter base some time ago, one which would be easy enough prey to the incendiary products of his propaganda network.  Temporarily, we watched all sorts of depressing manifestations of his development of this relatively gaseous base, but these early successes were only possible when the reality of the nation's condition remained mortally wounded after Bush W., that is, while that condition remained usefully morose because it could be embellished to appear  threateningly precarious.

Murdoch's "candy" predictably became the "bright shiny object" when viewed through the oligarchs' blinding cynicism.  At first everything suggested that simply maintaining a chaotic hopelessness among voters would usher in a ground swell of obedient, oligarchic political candidates, surfing on a massive wave of hatred, bigotry and despair.  The misery of the economy's injuries was to be the fodder for these guns.

Amplifying all these weaknesses, another element of the oligarchs' grander strategy came into play.  The six corporations controlling the US commercial networks -- including PBS now -- were "suddenly" assigned an even greater role in consummating the fraud.  It may be convenient to single out the FOX News Corp as the leader of this advancing media barrage, but believe MeanMesa on this one, the remainder of the "alphabet networks" had also been ordered to assist with the "heavy lifting."

Final Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory

What we see in the prevailing despondency of their "think tank strategists"  is also revealing.  Panic.  The reality of national conditions continues to improve while they continue to issue precisely the same crushingly despondent talking points through their "spokesmen."

Not surprisingly this last desperate gambit of scandals -- when coolly considered -- reveals more panic than scandal.  The denizens of the ethereal "FOX world" are now -- and will remain for the foreseeable future --  terminally inebriated with their own propaganda, but the immense remainder of Americans, although once fairly well persuaded by it, are now beginning to stray.  

The scandals, while deliciously inflammatory to the remnants of the tea bag base, were not exclusively targeting that periphery of manipulated opinion.  Instead, the scandals were one last, glorious attempt to recapture the more rational public of the center, a last glorious attempt to rekindle the useful suspicions the oligarchs had spent so many of their "hard earned dollars" to nurture and foster with their "wholly owned" media.

While the cynical public opinion investment is interesting on the surface, the manipulative ambitions which lie just below paint a grim picture of billionaires attempting to recover some of their -- now clearly ill advised -- vast investment in their failing coup d'etat.  It turns out that, while the oligarchs' initial take over attempt seemed to be gaining ground for the first several years of the Obama Administration, it is now foundering -- not because of any formidable resistance from the other side -- but simply because the rhetoric has failed to keep up with the changing, improving conditions which the rhetoric continues to present as horrible.

These days the comedy quips on MeanMesa's favorite radio are no longer snarky, imaginary fictional scripts designed to amuse.  They are now directly quoted audio taken straight from position statements as the right wing, worn out, sold out pundits, politicians and political hacks obediently parrot the now irrelevant think tank talking points.  The profound credibility problem arises from the obvious contradiction between what is being so vibrantly proclaimed and what is being so clearly seen.
Next, visit Part Two of this series:  "the scandals."

Part 2: Flaming, Red Hot Crisis at the GOP Scandal Factory

[This is Part Two of this post series.]

Part Two
of three parts 

No, wait...we LOST the election??

Gosh.  How much will it cost to turn THAT around?

Of course, these shabby scandals really are both a tragic eye sore and a pathetic revelation of oligarchic panic.  However, it will be a bit more substantial if we examine three of the most "road weary" cases in a little depth.  While these have been the "red meat" leads for countless, bone crushing, relentless days of "breathless media scandal reporting," the underlying incentives driving such a bold and risky gambit remain largely unreported.  Some are obvious; some are devious. All of them lead directly back to the check books funding the wing nut think tanks, and those checks bear the signatures of the rapacious oligarchs.

Tracking Security Leaks with AP phone records
Benghazi as a domestic Muslim conspiracy
Targeting 501C-4 "social welfare" non-profits for exemption compliance

1. Plugging Security Leaks In The Government

Some highly classified information about exactly how it was possible to thwart a terrorist jet liner bombing appeared in the press.  What was made public did not include all the details of the affair, but it contained enough information to allow an investigative reporter or two to "rough out" the missing links.

The damage was quite material.  CIA under cover operatives had penetrated this Yemeni terror cell, and the revelations appearing the AP more or less directly identified them -- more than closely enough for the bat shit crazy jihadists in charge.  Afterwards, the value of this valuable intelligence asset as represented by these in-place operatives evaporated.  Further, the lives of these valuable men and their families were immediately placed in grave jeopardy.

The Administration was not only troubled by the security leak, but also compelled -- by law -- to discover the source of the leak.  Standard policy requires that a list of people who know about such matters be maintained for exactly this reason.  Someone on that list called someone in the AP.  Naturally, it was necessary to know where the leak was to protect national security.

The FBI did not monitor the content of AP phone calls, but instead -- quite legally with a warrant from a court with jurisdiction -- investigated the list of phone numbers called from the AP phones which very reasonably might have included the specific call which constituted the leak.  If your hair is on fire over the prospect of illegal wire tapping, that would be the W. Bush Administration.  They monitored the content of phone conversations without warrant, not the Obama Administration.

The motivation for "amplifying the outrage" over the legal monitoring of these phone lines is obvious when we recall that the media is owned by and controlled by the corporate interests of the oligarchs [6 US media corporations own the domestic network giants - Read more.].  The "low hanging fruit" was another possible opportunity to inflame the information devoid hill billies with specious claims that the President was acting dictatorially, but the play also included opportunities for promoting distrust of the government to the larger base while offering "covering excuses and explanations" for the continuing deterioration of media credibility.

2. The Unending Benghazi Story

The "feet of clay" for this "scandal" were unavoidably exposed in the constantly less believable flip flops of ABC news.  The "scandal" was supposed to be based on revelations of press release manipulation to obscure an undefined Administration scheme to shield the President after he "ordered" American forces to "stand down" instead of defending the Ambassador to Libya from the attack in Benghazi.

As the "elephant in the living room" with respect to things that evoke the GOP's sheer terror, the corporatists eagerly ordered their media to attach this particular fabricated scandal -- no matter how tenuously -- to Hillary Clinton as a conspiring protagonist in this comical hodge podge.  The increasing likelihood of her campaign for President in 2016 sends spine freezing, electrifying panic through the blood of the oligarchs, hopefully with good reason.

Keep listening.  It's...uh...Hillary's "Benghazi problem." (Image)
While the geopolitical details of the implied conspiracy were never clearly presented, the tale's potential for inciting more distrust in public opinion was simply too appealing to refuse.  However, the "scandal" suffered a mortal wound when the specific email containing these "Administration cover up instructions" turned out to be utterly falsified.  That email never existed.  Initially, ABC News reported that their reporter had seen this email.

The "had seen" part of that claim, once the facts were exposed, was quickly modified to "had access to a source purportedly sharing of the contents of that email," but the thing was, by this point, wallowing in its "scandal" death throes on the floor of ABC's city desk room.  The affair had officially transformed itself from a "deliciously deceptive fly by" to a monumental embarrassment of quickly clotting ratings blood.

When the Obama Administration -- under the pressure of ABC's faux news "reporting" -- had released all the actual emails, the foundation of the manufactured "scandal" fractured and collapsed.

Obviously, if this had worked better, a public opinion reaction would have served to pre-emptively soil the very likely Hillary Clinton campaign for President in 2016, but right here MeanMesa must add a "little something" about ABC's media reputation.  To consider this corporate monster as an innocent victim of one or two rogue reporters in this matter would be a mistake.

A few weeks after the 9/11 attack in New York ABC broadcast a two hour long "documentary" intended to concretely insinuate that the previous President, Bill Clinton, was actually responsible for allowing the tragedy.  The "documentary" was aired without commercials.  ABC "absorbed" the broad cast's estimated $2.5 Mn cost without any compensation from commercial sponsorship.

We were supposed to forget this outrageous editorial exposure and start, once again, to believe that there was something materially objective in ABC's thoroughly biased "reporting" policy and, hence, the corporation's claim for membership in a noble "fourth estate."  We would have been fools to believe ABC in 2001, and we would need to be fools to believe ABC in 2013.

The reporting of the arrogant, duplicitous fabrication of this non-existent email should not come as a surprise.

3. The Heartbreaking IRS Search
for 501C-4's "Social Welfare"

We should begin with just a bit of history, in this case of course, history of the notorious 501C-4exemption clause.  MeanMesa will turn the task over to a nice summary provided by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. (Please note:  The Wall Street Journal is currently owned by [FOX] Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Read more.)

The Surprisingly Muddled History of the 501(c)(4) Exemption

Sen. Oscar Underwood (D-Al) source
As the IRS scandal grips the capital, Law Blog wondered about the history behind the section of the tax code at the center of the controversy.

It turns out that the origins of section 501(c)(4), providing exemptions for “social welfare” groups, are surprisingly foggy.

“There’s almost no history on it,” said New Mexico tax attorney Robert J. Desiderio, a former dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, in an interview with Law Blog.

Here’s what we know.

The roots trace back a century ago to when Congress enacted the Revenue Act of 1913, also known as the “Underwood Tariff Act,” according to Mr. Desiderio and other tax

“The legislative history of the Tariff Act contains no reason or explanation for the exemption. The general belief is that [the] United States Chamber of Commerce pushed for the enactment of exemptions for both civic and commercial nonprofit organizations,” wrote Mr. Desiderio in a book about tax-exempt groups.

The statute, described as a precursor to section 501(c)(4), aimed to patch up a gap in the law and carve out exemptions for “organizations which could not qualify as charitable, educational, or religious, but whose activities somehow benefited the general public,” wrote Case Western Reserve University law professor Laura B. Chisolm in a 1988 article for the Indiana Law Journal.

Over the years, the IRS expanded the exemption into more political territory, allowing 501(c)(4) groups to engage in lobbying and other political activity.

The “notion that the section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization category is an appropriate classification for politically active charitable organizations seems to have originated with the IRS in the 1950′s,” wrote Ms. Chisolm.

She cited a 1955 IRS revenue ruling that was spurred by questions over the tax-exempt status of an unnamed group whose stated missions involved encouraging government to “practice wise economy in public spending.”

The IRS stated that one of its “principal means of accomplishing these purposes is the printing and dissemination of literature devoted to advocating the principles which it supports. Occasionally, the literature may advocate or oppose pending legislation.”

The agency ruled:

It is deemed that the above method is an indirect means of subsidizing the dissemination of the literature produced by the M organization and constitutes in effect a contribution to the latter organization in support of its own purposes rather than a contribution to the recipients of the literature.

Four years later, the federal government codified that policy, assigning the label of “action organization” to any legislatively active organization and issuing regulations stating that an action organization can qualify as a social welfare organization under section 501(c)(4), wrote Ms. Chisolm.

The IRS then loosened the rules on political campaign activity in 1981 with another ruling, which stated:

[An] organization may carry on lawful political activities and remain exempt under section 501(c)(4) as long as it is primarily engaged in activities that promote social welfare.

As Law Blog discussed earlier, exactly when a 501(c)(4) crosses the line has never really been sorted out. “It’s always been a tough question,” said Mr. Desiderio.

While the actual bill may be somewhat dated, the purpose of the 501C-4 exemption clause has been a quietly utilized, ill defined "legislative gizmo" from the outset.  Now that this decade's clutch of "Citizen United eggs" have hatched under the warm rear ends of a notably oligarchic Supreme Court majority, the current paranoid tax collection maelstrom was not only predictable but inevitable.

The aspects of the 501C-4 exemption criteria which are almost narcotically attractive to these modern anti-democracy wealth redistribution experts are two fold:

First, after a carefully manipulated "re-definition" of the already cloudy language in the clause, massive political activity, massive political media purchases and equally stinky "black money" -- frequently from other 501C-4s or thinly veiled PAC check books -- channelled over to obediently sympathetic political candidates have all become "entirely consistent" with the "newly interpreted" intention of the exemption. 

Very much strangers to those "social welfare" interests, these dollars, in the wink of an oligarch's eye, became officially free to purchase the most outrageous, sordid advertisements -- advertisements characterized by MeanMesa as "campaign assistances."  The messages they carry are typically issue of outright racism, incendiary ideology, incomprehensible, arcane and grotesque false accounts of history, perverse religionist "pitches" implying divine or biblical approval of one candidate over the other and so on, but in every case these were such rancid messages that not even the most reckless wing nut tea bag candidate would even consider personally associating them with his campaign.

Second, the identities of the "donating parties" remains undisclosed and legally nonymous even though it turns out that most of the "anonymous donating parties" which contributed to the 501C-4s in question have, in their own turn, still freely deducted their contributions as altruistic, tax exempt "social welfare" contributions on their own tax returns.  If you see a picture in which the average tax payer pays twice, you are "seeing clearly."

The 501C-4 clause acts as a very well Congressionally lubricated, ravenous "black box" into which all these heavily soiled, tax deductible, mean spirited billionaire dollars flow, and from which they emerge as bright, shiny, tax exempt, "wholesome social altruism" dollars literally sparkling with an almost ethereal, virginal, "free market innocence."  Moments after this glacier of cash enters one of these full service "Citizens United laundromats," five hundred wing nut radio shows are proclaiming that the President is an Islamic terrorist and someone other than George W. Bush had looted the economy into its current comatose state.

Heh, heh.  Thanks to the think tanks the talking points on every one of those five hundred "independent" radio shows are astonishingly identical. Don't underestimate the advantage of owning the media.

Meanwhile, the 501C-4 managers are gleefully checking the box on their tax exemption form giving forth a solemn promise that they will not engage in any sort of direct political action.  Why would anyone at the IRS possibly suspect otherwise?  The utterly cynical, tax deductible, anonymously donated, "social welfare"  is, of course, rushing out the 501C-4's door to conveniently invisible boxes to equally conveniently invisible trucks, an allegedly striking example of a generous, albeit invisible and immaterial, "safety net" to those who in need.

Naturally, if you are an oligarch with coup d'etat fantasies of a total economic take over, all this is absolutely nothing less than an irresistible "heroin and cheap sex sandwich" dangling in front of your plutocratic nose.  Actually, however, it is no more than a cheap cover for the oligarchs' real skull duggery lurking just out of sight.

The remaining post in this series has everything to do with skull duggery.

Please visit Part Three, the final post of this MeanMesa series.