Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014: Koch World America

Not What We Might Have Been Expecting
Making this movie wasn't supposed to be that hard...

When the Koch brothers dropped their $100,000,000 "rig the election" check [Read more here - NATIONAL JOURNAL] on the American electorate 59 days before the mid-term [One part of the election laws left after the Supremes massacred them was the legal duty to disclose contributors within 60 days.] MeanMesa's doddering geriatric brain immediately launched into "writing the script" for the nightmare super spectacular extravaganza "block buster" which would have its Grand Opening in January.  

"Writing the script?"  Just think of it as desperately grasping some arcane, literary catharsis  in hopes of buffering the tangible pain when the thing began to unfold in reality.

The "cast of characters" for this seedy cinema was to be anything but exciting. In the castle were the dour brothers, a geminal duo of Citizen Kanes, but in the world -- particularly in the Congress -- the faces would be sinister unknowns. MeanMesa's fantasy had populated those halls with strangely threatening types who had been ruthless, blood drenched, racketeering hedge fund managers only hours earlier.

These "lower minions" among the brothers' "ground troops" would be able to wrangle, finagle and re-sculpt the most innocent looking legislation to their bosses' advantage so slyly and smoothly that no one would ever suspect a thing. They would be the terrifyingly competent "men in black," the "fixers" so clever and diabolical that no one could ever so much as touch them, much less interfere in their "plans."

Think of the quiet, well dressed fellows -- always standing in the shadows -- who were the accountants for the Mafia.

Of course, each of these faceless, dark characters would arrive in Washington innocuously resplendent, obscured by opaque black sunglasses and sporting a thin black tie. All the wicked technology representing the "evil gizmos" from the movie would be hidden below cheap looking black suit coats -- including, importantly, the "special gun" that caused complete memory failure in an unsuspecting victim.

After all, inducing a massive -- and, apparently permanent -- "memory loss" in the brains of the electorate had always been a central requirement for the brothers' coup d'etat plans.

Fact Stranger Than Fiction
Probably even stranger than fantasy...

Now that MeanMesa's fantastical expectations concerning the nature of this dark conspiracy have been accounted, reality -- as usual these days -- has "stepped in" to roust the tale with the chaotic disregard of an angry wife wielding a fry pan. In fact, given the headlines [and the article above] hardly any of the exquisite original nightmare remains. Perhaps the dark foreboding of that first effort has survived this violent "re-write," but just about every other detail of the earlier script has landed on the editing room floor.

So far as the Koch's oligarchic coup d'etat goes, our view of this mess now, officially, presents a picture as confusing as the one the Germans saw after the Munich Beer Hall Putsch when the smoke cleared in 1923. The cadre of super efficient plutocratic "looting teams" entering the Congress which populated MeanMesa's dark imaginings bears no resemblance whatsoever to the collection of gasping derelicts actually dispatched from the clown car after the mid-term.

For a "tea bag sampler" we can turn to the following DailyKOS article. [Note: links are left enabled. Read the original article here - DailyKOS]

Daily KOS

Meet Your Craziest New Republicans
November 5, 2014

Rep. Jody Hice, the face of New Republicanism. He'll be defending his Georgia district from the Gays, Muslims, and women who enter politics without their husbands' permission.

Tuesday's elections brought both a rout of Democrats and a new standard for just who can be a national Republican these days. That's not good, but let's have a quick look at the new House and Senate conservatives most likely to rise to (unintended) prominence in the next two years. It's time for Meet Your New Craziest Republicans.

Glenn Grothman, WI-06: Any list has to start with new Wisconsin Representative Glenn Grothman. Grothman is a finely tuned gaffe machine, if by "gaffe" we mean "saying the things Republicans are not supposed to say out loud." He is a fervent believer in stopping The Gay Agenda, which he believes exists in our nation's classrooms, but it's the full scope of Grothman's bizarre statements that have led us to predict that he will quickly rise to challenge Texas Republican Louie Gohmert for the title of America's Dumbest Congressman. Does he have the stuff? We'll soon know.

Jody Hice, GA-10: Another beneficiary of a hard-right conservative district, Georgia's Jody Hice can't be considered a gaffe machine. He's just plain mean. A tea party Republican right out of central casting, Hice is a preacher, a conservative radio host, a gun-toter, and the district's replacement for Paul "Evolution and embryology and the big bang theory are lies from the pit of Hell" Broun. Hice's most recent hit has been the assertion that Muslim-Americans are not protected by the First Amendment because Islam is not a true religion; he also is frothingly anti-gay and is for women entering politics only if it is "within the authority of her husband." Look for Hice to be a loudmouth Steve King type; not dumb, but meaner than a bag of rattlesnakes and a whole lot louder.

Mark Walker, NC-06: An also-ran compared to the more reliably soon-to-be-infamous Grothman and Rice, Mark Walker will nonetheless make a solid addition to the members of Congress that you will shudder to think have actual power. His highlight reel is topped by the time he proposed "we go laser or blitz" Mexico in order to teach them a lesson about immigrants crossing our southern border. He's yet another tea partier that sallied into Congress while Republicans were proudly proclaiming they had tamped down on all that nonsense this time around. He also says he'd vote to impeach Obama.

Honorable Mention: Mia Love, UT-04: A female black Republican, Love has been a party darling groomed for success. She'll go to Congress this year to prove that she's got what it takes to move on to even higher office. She sports the endorsement of ultra-right anti-abortion extremists, but her unimpressive win even amidst an otherwise-solid Republican wave may have given her GOP poster child status a bit of a hit. Like Bobby Jindal, she's an ambitious state Republican who will either make a big splash in the party or look very silly trying.

Joni Ernst, IA-Sen: When it comes to the Senate, all connoisseurs of train wrecks in the making are expecting great things from the Sarah Palinesque Joni Ernst. A far-right conspiracy theorist who coasted through the election on reporter fluff pieces and stories of pig castration, Ernst will join—and perhaps top—the Senate contingent of Republican believers in all things conspiratorial and insane. Think Michele Bachmann, but in the Senate. Think your crazy grandpa and his forwarded chain letters, but in the Senate. Think that person who accosts you at lunch one day with their theories of how Agenda 21 will be allowing cows to vote and forcing humans into tent cities—but in the actual Senate. Think Ted Cruz, but—well, think Ted Cruz. Ernst's campaign showed two and only two settings, either ducking the press like a hunted submarine or engaging in word salads that rival the best Palinisms. We expect great things from her.

Honorable Mention: Tom Cotton, AR-Sen: He won't be a Joni Ernst, primarily because Ernst has squirrelled away too much crazy for anyone but Ted Cruz himself to challenge, but Tom Cotton will prove a reliable Craven Liar Republican in the tradition of our finest intentionally insincere leaders. Why the Craven Liar title, as opposed to challenging in either the Sweet Jesus this guy is dumb or the Mean Bastard categories? Because Cotton's campaign showed a level of straight-up bullshit and pandering that had previously been seen only in satire bits about what Republicans might think, as when he supposed that ISIS and Mexican drug cartels would be teaming up to attack us across our border, a conservative wet-yer-pants claim seemingly hand crafted in the belief that Tom Cotton supporters were among the dumbest people on the planet. Unfortunately for Arkansas Republicans, he had them pegged. Cotton was also the most notable user of ISIS-produced terrorism films in his own ads, a move both meant to invoke terror in Americans so they would vote his way and one that likely earned the gratitude of the terrorist group for boosting publicity of their snuff films as they had intended. Perhaps we'll call him the ISIS senator, as it's a good bet ISIS already does.

On the Republican crazy beat, those are the top faces to watch. They'll all be appearing very, very often on the satire shows, and probably more than a few times on the Sunday shows (but I repeat myself). We'll also have the usual Steve Kings and Louie Gohmerts and, always, Ted Cruz, but if you're looking for the next national leader who will either make a total fool of his or herself, make a fool out of his or her whole state, or accidentally shoot someone in the face during a hunting trip, here are the names that should feature on your new bingo cards.

What Were the Koch Brothers
 Buying, Anyway?
Did they really want these crazies in Congress?

First impressions can be deceptive.

The Koch's $100,000,000 certainly went to promote insinuations based on the prevailing mythology and it certainly went to further inflame the incendiary rhetoric already in play thanks to the media. The Koch check picked up the tab for endlessly broadcasting false dichotomies such as "the makers and the takers," rancid sermons bemoaning "entitlements" and bitter wing nut pundits obediently decrying "regulations stifling innovation and investment."

However, none of these issues matter a bit to the Kochs. All of this was no more than a carefully choreographed 2014 version of a video taped, made for television  "Oberammergau Passion Play." Every one of these outlying "topics" held only a single importance to the Kochs -- "Would one of these 'hot button' items spur a Republican voter to the mid term polls?"
The answer was, clearly, "yes."  As we listen to the oft repeated lament "How did all these voters cast ballots against their own interests?" -- this is the answer.

These are the losers the Koch brothers so carefully "hand selected" to suddenly snatch control of the country?

Are we to suspect that all the nonsense about a "return to that dark, cultural, medieval orthodoxy" which emerged in the heavily financed campaigns is really the priority which compelled the brothers to write that half a billion dollar check? And -- if so -- these are the drooling toadies the brothers picked to "lead us back to the path?"

MeanMesa is calling that proposition a "non-starter." Instead, we are looking at a somewhat bleaker picture of what's planned for this time.
Looting has never been a practice subject to the normal criticism of "efficiency" once it's been completed. For example, the during the Bush autocracy the "free range" oligarchs drained around $6-$7 Tn dollars from the economy -- a good deal directly from the General Fund, yet, should one laboriously thread through the "income" increases of the top one percent during those eight years, the amounts would "add up" to only a fraction of the "missing" six trillion.

Sure, as Senator Sanders said, the "top 400 income earners" pocketed $600,000,000,000 [$600 billion] during that period, and their eagerly complicit underlings -- clinging to the rush of stolen booty -- no doubt "absorbed" billions more, but the visible total would not amount to much more than $2-$3 Trillion.

The rest would be waste -- evaporated away, here and there, as the clumsy pillaging and larceny progressed in the rampaging Maelstrom's barbarity. Reducing the "life equity" of hundreds of millions of Americans by 40% in a period of a few months left such a mountain of "cash on the table" that even the sloppiest looters did, well, just fine.

A Shocking Revelation
After the onslaught, have these Visigoths ignored the gold?
No. They don't care about the coins and trinkets 
-- they want the mine.

When we mention "waste" in the section above, we may need to temporarily "leave" our usual contemplative mental process to fully understand how this works. Visitors to this blog would never consider pulling a multi-trillion dollar heist, stealing enough to fill our truck and simply setting fire to the remainder, leaving trillions smouldering into ashes behind in the wreckage of the bank vault.

However, such common sense logic is not necessarily so "common sensible" when we realize that, even after leaving trillions "un-stolen," we would still be leaving with our own pile of money so huge as to be, frankly, unimaginable.
The Kochs don't care a bit about the country of the United States. They probably don't even particularly care about raiding the General Fund [which they now control after the election...]. They don't care about how righteous or faithful American citizens might become thanks to the empowerment of a few dozen, drawling Southern "politics church" Dominionists. They don't care about poverty, racism, veterans, wars or anything else that almost all the rest of us care about.
In fact, the Kochs are probably laughing at the catastrophe they have embedded into the democracy by purchasing the election. None of that catastrophe will ever penetrate the gates protecting their mansions -- or the assets column on the bulging chart of accounts listing their inheritance. More than likely, not even this would have mattered much to them even if had happened.
The reason?
None of these things or issues was included in the loot that had caught their eye in a way so alluring that it made the $100,000,000 look like a good investment.

But -- quite clearly something caught their eye and fired their appetites.

A Wee Bit More About "Waste"
We should probably include "short sightedness"

First, let's spend just a minute "sizing up" what $100 Mn dollars actually looks like if you are starting with $80 Bn, the rough estimate of the current Koch fortune. We'll picture this is terms of "pocket change."

Amount in pocket = $80
Amount of "investment" = 10 cents.

From the view of the brothers, the "ante" for "purchasing the election" was a gamble in the neighborhood of 50 cents, leaving them with $79.90 -- in real life, $79 Bn, $900 Mn. Further, we must remember that all the wide ranging "veins" of the Koch Industrial Dynasty are, more or less automatically, constantly "refilling" the McDuck money bin, anyway.

Estimates for the amount of profit the Koch brothers might reasonably expect from selling all the tar sands crude they own in Canada range from a modest $40 Bn to as high as $100 Bn. Given the brothers' estimated $80 Bn wealth as they roll their dynastic ambition into this "enterprise," their $80 Bn could expand to between $120 Bn and $180 Bn over the ten years petroleum experts anticipate the shale crude reserve will sustain enough production to keep Keystone slowly gurgling.

So, averaging the estimates between a high and low return on the Canadian shale oil reserves, we see a fairly credible pile of about $70 Bn on the poker table, waiting for the brothers.

Now, to the "wasting" part.

Wasting the Democracy

History shows us that democracies can fail for all sorts of reasons. There can be military take-overs in coup d'etats, invasions by neighbors, revolutions - domestic or imported and so on. Apparently, once thoroughly spoiled by a long period of economic luxury and made adequately cynical by propaganda aimed at poor governance, democracies can terminally falter as a result of simple disregard.

In the case of super powers such as this one, the agonizingly slow demise of the democracy may as well be simply attributed to a well crafted sense of hopeless ennui. The Kochs, along with their fellow travellers, obviously crafted a strategy which would result in the extraction of the Keystone pipeline and a few other favors -- primarily deregulation of banking and environmental issues along with tax reductions probably best described as "loop holes" -- at the expense of the democracy.

There is no telling whether or not these "masters of the universe" accepted the possibility of a permanent destruction of the Republic as any sort of particular problem. Their current positions of power and wealth would only be amplified in the wreckage of whatever might replace the United States if their scheme were to fully obliterate its remaining fundamentals.

A review of the newly elected miscreants described in the article above reveals precisely how much concern for the democracy is flowing in the brothers' blood. The country will not -- and probably cannot -- operate with this toxin perched in the Congress. These little creatures have been "given life" for one purpose -- to deliver wealth to their sponsors.

Once that task is completed, the oligarchs will have little interest in whatever else they might do. Afterwards, it will resemble a Capital inhabited by Sarah Palin clones.

Wasting the Republican Party

The mid-term ruthlessly demonstrated what the Kochs have planned for what's left of the Grand Old Party.  

Not much.

The GOP's entire usefulness as a "mechanism" for the oligarchic take over has pretty much been exhausted. The Kochs, somewhat surprisingly, weren't all that interested in micro-managing the entire country into suffocating compliance with the toxic ideology of their father, after all. [Daddy Koch set up the fascist John Birch Society in his own hey day during the darkest hours of the Cold War.]

Now that the brothers have begun to think that they can actually take possession of their pipeline, MeanMesa predicts that their strange, obsessive interest in other right wing trinkets such as the Heritage Foundation and the like will gradually fade like a shiny toy a week after Christmas.

Amazingly, this growing lack of interest leaves an awkward constituency in its wake. The tea party heavies will still retain their blindly committed base while the actual GOP's last tatters of credibility are being "cashed out" -- gutted by the lesser billionaires [the banksters, coal mine magnates, hedgies and fellow travellers] who will -- even in the absence of the brothers' creepy obsessions -- be left owning every political office holder, hack and hanger-on, lock stock and barrel.

The lumbering, drooling tea bag "movement" is about to be missing its head and not as the result of a well deserved "date with a guillotine." Instead, David and Charles will simply be ignoring the wretched spawn they invested so heavily to create, fecklessly shifting their "ten digit" attention to their next extractive adventure somewhere in the world.

Even lifelong Republican Chris Ladd sees this eerie new neglect rapidly approaching the GOP in 2016 -- accompanying a vengeful electoral pogrom. He expresses his own concerns in this article, posted on MeanMesa. [This is very good reading. Spend a minute with it, then come back here.]

Wasting the American Economy

The US economy was never designed to simply funnel tens of billions into an oligarch's "nest egg."  The idea here was that American wealth would flow throughout the system rather than disappear "down the gullet" of super powerful economic parasites -- and stay there.

We can hardly expect someone like the brothers to even think about what they were doing to the overall economy. They never worked a day in their lives, never received a pay check an never had to figure out how to make a pay check last for an entire month. These concepts are alien to them.

Further, there's also the quite unpleasant prospect of more oil wars. Even with Keystone firmly in hand, the Koch brothers' profits depend on high oil prices. If the prices drop below the "profit level," the brothers can "inspire" the square dancing bumpkins they installed into the Congress to jack prices back up again.

Measure your son's boot size so he'll be ready to go.

How could this be done? A little bombing would probably turn the trick -- especially if the bombs are landing on Iran. Driven by the desperately frantic Chinese, per barrel prices would sky rocket in a week. MeanMesa also suspects that this particular crowd of addle minded Congressional hill billies could pretty easily be goaded into doing something really stupid with the Russians.

"Wah'll Ah'll be durned. Wea'h shore din't figger thet wuz gonna happen..."

2014: Exploiting the Opportunity of the Moment
They worked very hard to instil enough hopeless disgust

The Kochs' think tank managers did some very respectable analysis as they looked over the probable election statistics for the 2014 mid-term. The predictions for a low voter turn out looked very credible. The right wing had invested heavily and maintained the constant flow of rhetoric for years. Attacks on the President came daily, and "innuendo-style" agitation of primitive fears regarding every minority were a continuing, incendiary goal for the scheme.

When November finally arrived, 38% of the registered voters emerged for the election. The Kochs' $100,000,000 contributions "produced" a block of Republican loyalists representing 19% of the electorate, but this was sufficient to place all the crazies [mentioned above] into the position of controlling the Congress.

Interestingly, both Boehner and McConnell have, since then, continuously indulged the somewhat disingenuous phrase "representatives of the people" -- something like "...once the representatives of the people arrive to take over in January.." -- as they describe their respective plans to exploit the unconvincing "19% mandate." Naturally, both speak of the Keystone approval as an "immediate Congressional priority."

Well, the drooling crazies in the DailyKOS article are, now, the representatives of the people.

We're in for a tough couple of years.

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