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Christine O’Donnell is Bewitched by Wichita Billionaires

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By now everybody in the blogosphere has surely seen the clip from Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect show in which Christine O’Donnell, the Republican, aka Tea Party, senate candidate from Delaware admits that she “dabbled in witchcraft” when she was younger. You’d think that that would be enough to sink the candidacy of someone who pays the rent on her apartment with campaign contributions. Indeed, in one recent poll, her opponent, Chris Coons, was leading by 54% to 39%, with a margin of error of 3%. If she does lose by a double-digit margin, her defeat will have major implications in 2012 for Republicans in general, and her mentor Sarah Palin in particular.

But to talk about Christine O’Donnell and the other Tea Partiers as symptoms of voter anger, as a matter of philosophical differences between left and right in American politics, is to refuse to see the big picture. It is to do what O’Donnell herself did when she canceled appearances on the national talk shows. She did so because, she said, her focus was “on Delaware,” as though Delaware and the Senate to which she aspires were not connected to big-time politics.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do any research to understand the big picture, to make the connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Journalist Jane Mayer has done that for us in her recent New Yorker article, “Covert Operations,” subheaded “The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.” In it she shows in compelling detail that two billionaire brothers from Wichita, David and Charles Koch, are funding many of the Tea Party’s organizations and candidates. Mayer describes the situation with irrefutable documentation, and what she says is beyond serious dispute. The question is, what does the subsidizing of the Tea Party by a couple of billionaires mean? How can we make what seems like an unlikely connection between Christine O’Donnell’s alleged “focus on Delaware” and the Koch brothers’ enormous fortunes?

We will never answer this question in any satisfactory way if we take political ideology seriously, whether it’s the ideology of O’Donnell (if any), or that of the Koch brothers (libertarian). It’s all much, much simpler than that.

At this critical moment, when the future of American politics could tip either way, we would do well to take Deep Throat’s advice. Remember that great scene in the creepy parking garage from All the President’s Men? In it, Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat confronts Robert Redford as Bob Woodward. Deep Throat stands behind a concrete pillar and says, “Follow the money.” Woodward and Bernstein took Deep Throat’s advice; they followed the money, and the rest is history. After all, this is America, and money talks. So what new understanding do we get when we take Deep Throat’s advice and follow the money in 2010?

We get a new understanding of coded phrases, that’s what we get. In the past, Republicans used phrases like “law and order” to appeal to their constituents by covert means. Today the phrase that’s the equivalent of law and order is “small government.” Republicans in general, and Tea Partiers in particular, proclaim to all and sundry that they are against “big government.”

An indicative example of this, which gave the game away, was the objection of some Republicans to the health care reform bill; they said it was “too long.” As though this immensely complicated matter could be presented as a page or two of bullet points. The real objection of people who said this was that the bill was a boring read. What they were saying is that the health care reform bill lacked drama, the drama of sporting events and movies, the drama that pits good guys against bad guys.
When the Tea Partiers object to “big government,” what they are really objecting to is the inevitably tedious process of government: the position papers, the committee meetings, the political horse-trading, and all the rest of the humdrum business that fills up politicians’ time. They believe that political relationships should be like the relationships that they are most familiar with, the relationships among friends and families. These are the relationships that make sense to them, yet the media keep reminding them that the world outside those relationships remains complicated, puzzling, and threatening. No wonder that the Tea Partiers are so unhappy.  Enter the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers believe in small government, too, so it’s in their interests to subsidize groups and candidates who also advocate small government.  Only, for the Koch brothers, small government doesn’t mean cozy relationships among those near and dear to them. For the Koch brothers, small government means tax breaks and the easing of regulations on their various polluting companies. If you were a greedy, amoral billionaire, you’d be for small government, too.

The big picture, then, is that the phrase small government means radically different things to the Tea Partiers on one hand, and their patrons, the Koch brothers, on the other. This unnoticed difference has allowed the Koch brothers to bewitch even Tea Partiers who have never dabbled into other forms of witchcraft besides libertarianism to do their bidding. For Christine O’Donnell, the transition from witchcraft to Tea Partyism must have been an easy and natural one.

If we look at the even bigger picture, we notice that this specific dynamic has happened before in American politics. Sociologist Todd Gitlin’s 1980 book, The Whole World Is Watching provides a key example. Gitlin shows how media coverage of the New Left in the sixties made the movement understandable to middle class Americans by casting its leaders as celebrities. The media coverage that turned the leaders of the New Left into celebrities also estranged them from their followers, and thereby greatly weakened the movement as a whole. Sarah Palin’s rise to fame and fortune offers an instructive contemporary analogy.

Unlike the Tea Partiers, the New Left had no sugar daddies like the Koch brothers; still, the similarities are striking and instructive. In the case of both the New Left and the Tea Partiers, a group of people with no political experience who are agitated about social issues create a movement based on shared ideals and personal relationships. The movement attracts media coverage as it gains supporters, and that media coverage fundamentally transforms it. Of course, the history of the Tea Party differs from that of the New Left in that the Koch brothers’ subsidy system preceded the movement as such, but the pervasive similarities remain.

And there’s another, more general analogy, because Christine O’Donnell and the other Tea Partiers who are serving as willing tools for the Koch brothers are more the norm than the exception. As a matter of fact, if we consider the political history of the world over the last hundred years, without regard to slogans and ideologies, we find that this same process occurs over and over again.  For a long time now, powerful men (Sarah Palin is a rare exception) have been seizing upon the fears and anxieties of ordinary people. They have been offering them comforting solutions to complicated problems in the form of marketing slogans. These marketing slogans have made people feel so good that they have willingly given their time and energy to work for the cause. Yet no matter what phrases or code words are employed, their ultimate purpose is, and always has been, to make rich men richer and powerful men more powerful.

The thing to remember in this political season is that money and power are addictive, more addictive than crack cocaine. The Koch brothers have an enormous amount of money, and they have the power that enormous amounts of money give you in America. But just as cocaine addicts will never have enough cocaine, the Koch brothers will never have enough money and power. So their willing tools, the Tea Partiers, are doing their best to provide them with more of both. Unfortunately for the Koch brothers, a political train wreck like Christine O’Donnell may not deliver for them.

But there’s always another election cycle, and there are always more frightened, confused people for the Kochs to take advantage of.

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About jcurtis

  • Wildflower

    I cannot believe the singlemindedness of this article. You are the propagator of fear. The Tea Party are people with real fear based on the numbers. They are looking a their taxes going up. They are looking at their properties values going down. They are looking at their freedoms being taken away. They are real citizens. The only thing that the Obama adminstration came up with was “throw money at it and maybe it will go away” I personally don’t like any of the politicians much. I’d like to know (you with your obviously very narrow view) where you got your information about the Kotch/Teaparty conspiracy theory?

  • Doug Hunter

    *** This message brought to you by George Soros ***

  • JerseyGhost

    I was pleased to see someone else make the connection between ordinary Tea Party people and big time industrial polluters.

    Tea Party people believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished because it is not expressly mandated in the Constitution (instead by an act of Congress).

    The corporate industrial polluters (such as Koch Industries) want to abolish the EPA so that they would benefit financially from being able to freely pollute our air and water maximizing their profit.

    Under ordinary circumstance the two would be considered independent viewpoints, unless the polluters are in fact underwriting the Tea Party Movement, which they are. Taken together one has to believe that the Tea Party is being exploited by those that fund them, to willingly or unwillingly do their bidding.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Doug is partly right: the left does have “sugar daddies,” but for the most part they don’t personally profit from a win by the Dems.

    The Koch brothers’ ‘political philosophy’ is comprised mostly of self-interest: protecting the energy business from regulation, and protecting their own wealth from taxation.

  • Doug Hunter

    Handy, it’s standard to ascribe good motives to those we agree with and bad ones with those whom we oppose. As a general rule, I believe most people are good and have fairly decent intentions. It’s likely that both Soros and Koch actually believe their respective ideologies.

    You probably think it’s noble and principled that Soros goes against what is considered the wealthy position, yet when lower class people vote Republican you might assume it is ignorance, fear, or stupidity rather than the former. You probably view Koch’s anti government stance as selfish and reckless, people over here view the democrat base voting themselves new programs and expanding government while the country is crashing in a $multitrillion hole in the same light.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The stealth nature of the Koch efforts is very creepy. Soros is not nearly no secretive. All the fake-o “nonprofits” and “grass roots citizens organizations” are Orwellian.

    Phrases like “the democrat base voting themselves new programs” are offensive on so many levels, beginning with accuracy. Pure propagandistic rhetoric that lumps all social programs in one pile and pisses on them along with the poor and the middle class. Ugly, ugly stuff. Cut it out.

    And the adjective form is Democratic, capitalized, and don’t leave off the “-ic” just to be obnoxious, thanks.

  • Doug Hunter

    So touchy. While we’re handing out friendly advice maybe you should not take yourself so seriously. You missed the entire point ( granted your were evidently fixated on an uncapitalized d).

    You really wanna get your panties in a wad over that comment? Let’s see what someone on the right deals with on a daily basis. We start with the Sophomoric teabagger taunts and being called racist. After that we’re told we’re hateful, want the planet to be polluted and destroyed for future generations, are tools (we are “fake” grassroots you know), and basically the only thing standing between you and the government run democrat utopia. Nevermind that it’s pure propagandistic rhetoric that lumps us all in a big straw pile and pisses on us… I don’t see you giving a flying fuck when it’s us getting pissed on, but make one phrase indicating that maybe some people vote democrat in hopes that they will be the beneficiary of the ‘spreading the wealth’ (which is undoubtedly the case for some percentage) and your wittle feelings get hurt. Sad, sad stuff. Cut it out.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I try not to make those kind of gross generalizations on here [though I’m certainly not perfect]. And I do try to point it out when others do it.

    I do not vote Democratic [it’s the missing “-ic” I objected to, a deliberately contemptuous tic that is done just to annoy] to obtain government checks. I believe the government is us and we are the government and helping each other with basic needs is a worthy goal.

    [And for someone who was saying just a couple comments back that people are good and have noble intentions, that’s a deeply cynical interpretation of Democratic voters. If you can prove it, do so; otherwise it just sounds like facile sliming.]

    I appreciate that many of your comments take a liberal shibboleth and twist it around, sometimes with interesting results. But then again, sometimes twisted logic is just warped, not insightful.

  • Clavos

    It’s pretty obvious that union members certainly do vote democrat out of pure self interest.

  • zingzing

    self interest, clavos? isn’t that ok by you?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    It’s a rare voter who doesn’t cast their ballot out of self-interest. It’s kind of the whole point.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    This article does do an excellent job of reformulating the current Democratic Party talking point on the Koch brothers and regurgitating it in a slightly different context. It’s canned propaganda, but fairly well done.

    Of course, the Koch brothers do have a dark and terrible agenda. They want Americans to enjoy the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. How despicable.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    yeah, dave, that’s what they want.

    the koch brothers want what’s good for the koch brothers, nothing more. what’s good for oil is good for them. fair enough. but they don’t give a shit about how the bill of rights applies to you. they only care how it applies to them. you’re just a piece of shit to scrape off their shoes. don’t forget it.

  • Clavos

    …they don’t give a shit about how the bill of rights applies to you. they only care how it applies to them. you’re just a piece of shit to scrape off their shoes. don’t forget it.

    Just like union members and all the voters, right? They’re looking out for their self interest — “self interest, [zing]? isn’t that ok by you?”

    Between union workers and the Koch brothers, my own self interests lie more with the latter — far more…

  • Doug Hunter

    #8 Good, that’s how alot of us feel. I’m for cutting spending and moderate tax increases, not sure how that helps anyone in the most direct way. I think we make the most sensible laws when the president and congress are split between the parties as each checks the others excesses. An R congress and a D president was the model during the 90’s which are accepted as pretty good times and hopefully we’ll return to that soon.

    #11 That’s reasonable. Everyone has an interest in our shared future we just disagree on how to best get there.

    #13 Wow zing, you sound like you know them personally. What source do you have for this information regarding what they think?

  • Mark

    Between union workers and the Koch brothers, my own self interests lie more with the latter — far more…

    NAILS: CLASS WARRIOR — coming to a theater near you

    …or maybe direct release to netflix?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    jcurtis,

    comforting solutions to complicated problems in the form of marketing slogans.

    We know there are a lot of people drinking this, poison, now we now what type of Tea it is.

    You say, follow the money? I watched Maddow last-night.

    They are effectively and legally(thanks to SCOTUS) LAUNDERING MONEY, from god-knows-where and O’Donnell is receiving money from EUROPE!

    We all need to vote, even the fools.

    The GOP/Tea along with SCOTUS, sold this country to the highest payer…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    It’s pretty obvious that union members certainly do vote democrat

    As apposed to all you, idiots, that vote to cut-your-own-throats…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I’ve stretched my little wings lately and I have to say how good it feels to find, other like-minds. There are like-minds here, but, this place is a circus.

    Yesterday, was a great example…What really, ticks me off? I was banned for far less!

    Joe the blogger, deserves far more support from all of you-gools that are sitting quiet and watching the show, punks.

    Cyber-bullies abound!

    :( :( :( :( :( :D :( :9 :(;( ; B ;B 8)

  • Doug Hunter

    Wow jeannie, call people idiots in one post then play victim the next. Oh, if you could just see the irony… but you can’t.

    Personally, I find it much more interesting to interact within a diverse range of opinions as we have here, than to participate in an echo chamber.

  • Cannonshop

    #9 Clav, I still find it hard to see how that’s “Self Interest” when they’re voting for the party that wants to dismantle industries (*and has done a bangup job of that in Michigan) and put them out of work, while bailing out their bosses, eliminate their rights, and raise their taxes by translating UNION negotiated benefits into “Income”(Obamacare) that is then taxed at the higher rate, while retaining the exemptions for the NON working class.

    If anything, the current situation is a suicide pact, not an alliance, wrt to Unions and the Democratic Party.

    To have a Union Job, first you gotta have a JOB.

  • Baronius

    Cannon – How about, people vote for what they think is in their own interest?

    Actually, though, I don’t believe that’s true. I think that most people vote based on what they think is in the nation’s (or state’s or locality’s, depending on the office) best interest. Clavos and I probably disagree on that. People may be a little bit like Sam Gamgee and spread a little more wealth around their hometown, but generally they want what’s best for everyone.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    What the hell are you talking about, doug? You, in my opinion, had the decency to interject on that other-thread. I wasn’t calling you a punk.
    and I’m not a victim.

  • Doug Hunter

    Perhaps I misread your statement. I thought you called people idiots in one post then complained about the level of discourse in the next. I may not have been reading it the way you intended.

    Anyway, I like it here sometimes. I get alot more from the occasional philosophical exchange with someone very different like Les or Mark or even you than I do hammering out the more minor points with people like Clav and Nalle. It’s not to say we agree on everything. Nalle doesn’t believe in estate tax while I think that’s the perfect time to tax people and has social benefits including a move towards meritocracy and increased social mobility. To get to those exchanges you’ve often got to go through alot of BS though. Their ideas are direct threats to your ideas so there’s alot of defensiveness. Get through that, and you find out we’re not so different after all.

    #22 That’s much how I feel, although you wouldn’t know it by how I sometimes characterize people. You get frustrated, you paint the other as bad people.

  • Doug Hunter

    *** While I’m in the mood, I’d like to lead us in a quick verse of Cumbayah.

  • Baronius

    You may lead, Doug, but we will not follow.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Doug,

    We would, all, go for a meritocracy and increased social mobility!

    But, that wont happen anytime soon, with money and corporations being treated like people. Except, people, if they get caught laundering money, usually go to jail.

    And my little bitch up stream went to who it was supposed to. Not you! :D cumbayah.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Didn’t want you to

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    This might interest some who consider themselves, the middle.

    :D

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    and for all of our union-bashers: Here is a little education for your lack of knowledge concerning the unions.

    :D

  • Cannonshop

    #27 Occasionally, Jeannie hits the right note here- Corporations are CONSTRUCTS, they absolutely should not have the same rights as people, esp. as they do not (for instance) face imprisonment for committing crimes, (Nor can they-a Corporate is just a contract, putting a piece of paper into prison makes no sense!)

    Collective Rights runs directly counter to teh concept of INDIVIDUAL rights-whether you’re talking about General Motors, the RNC, GOP, Democracy NOW! or even (yeah) your HMO HOA or Union.

    Some of these do have inherent benefits (Collective Bargaining, in the case of non-governmental workers, certainly has improved the ability of both worker and employer to function at times-roughly about as much as it impedes that same relationship. for a Large, complex, private organization it’s a benefit to have the ability to generate a one-size-fits-most contract for the labour side.)

    Most of the problems with Big Business are present in Big Government FOR A REASON, however. IMHO, honestly, accepting a position at a government agency really is NOT the same as getting a real job.

    I think it’s notable that unlike other, highly-educated professionals (Lawyers, Doctors and such), Teachers have chosen the wrong model for their collective bargaining method. an ATA (American Teachers’ Association) formulated like the ABA (American Bar Association) or AMA (American Medical Association) would be both more flexible, and more powerful than the NEA and its affiliates as an instrument in assuring quality of output, as well as protecting good teachers while getting rid of the bad ones.

    They did not go that route, of course-instead we have a national (with affiliates) that protects BAD teachers at teh expense of good ones, can’t negotiate a labour contract with (Frankly) amatuer local elected officials and pads its ranks with unskilled and uneducated labour (how much school does it TAKE to drive a bus, mop a floor, or sling hash in the lunchroom?) while fighting AGAINST higher standards every step and every time they’re brought up (instead of, like Doctors and Lawyers, insisting on higher standards even when it’s a big pain in the ass- 150 years ago, you went to the barber or the carpenter to get your leg fixed, think about that.)

    Wow, I digress wayyy off topic…

    back to the origin of my comment: Sometimes, Jeannie hits it right… which of course means that now that I’ve said so, she’s going to recant her comment!

    (that was supposed to be funny. Laugh damn you!)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Well it wasn’t and frankly, I have never even cracked a smile reading anything you have ever said here.
    AMA and ABA are unions!

    I was curious to what you bitch about at home. Public utilities, just the government getting in your way? You like all those socialist services, huh?

  • zingzing

    “Between union workers and the Koch brothers, my own self interests lie more with the latter — far more…”

    i sincerely doubt that, clavos. you’re nothing like them. not even close.

    doug: “What source do you have for this information regarding what they think?”

    common sense. they want less corporate tax (they are the 2nd largest private company in the us) and less social programs for the needy (fuck the needy). they want less regulation over the environment (a good thing, as they’re one of the top 10 polluters in america). they spend money to make money. whatever they promote or seek to destroy, you can bet it’s their wallet that’s driving them.

  • Baronius

    Like I was saying earlier, Zing, I think we all want what we see as best for the country. In the case of economic policy, we probably have the same vision of what we’d like to see happen; we just disagree on the way to accomplish it. So why do you have to make the simplistic “f— the poor” assumption about people who disagree with you? I hope you think I’m mistaken, not lying, when I talk about helping the country and its poor by cutting government. Why not extend the same benefit of the doubt to the Kochs?

  • zingzing

    “I think we all want what we see as best for the country.”

    that’s naive at best.

    “So why do you have to make the simplistic “f— the poor” assumption about people who disagree with you?”

    because it’s not in the kochs’ interest.

    “Why not extend the same benefit of the doubt to the Kochs?”

    because they don’t deserve it. they manipulate people (like tea partiers) with lies (such as claiming that “the voice of the average american has been drowned out by special interests” without telling them that the kochs are the special interest behind the quote). the kochs didn’t create the tea party (although they’ve been funding it since the beginning), but they’ve been happy to manipulate it to their own ends. at the heart of their beliefs is a bank account, not the well-being of the country.

  • Baronius

    OK, what about me? Do you think I’m being truthful or manipulative? How do you make the distinction? Do you base it on wealth, assuming that the rich are different from the rest of us?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s not either/or, Baronius. One can be sincerely manipulative, or buy into the manipulation because the end justifies the means.

    Still, as far as we know, you haven’t funded numerous misleadingly named “grassroots citizens organizations” [with no, or few, members] as limitless propaganda machines. And then tried to hide your paw prints.

    That’s the Koch style, and it fits zing’s scenario better than Dave’s hilarious non-credible depiction of them as “just folks” who humbly work to make their country better.

  • zingzing

    no, i base it on deviousness. and the fact that they’ve been they’ve been doing this for years and their motives are obvious. why on earth you’d back the things you back is beyond me… it’s insanity. not that you’re insane… but i can’t fathom why you believe the things you believe.

  • Doug Hunter

    I can explain how zing thinks. He has a plan fed by his masters in the democrat party. Demonize big energy, demonize insurance, demonize Walmart/big box/retail, demonize manufacturing, demonize finance, demonize wall street, demonize big pharma, demonize healthcare, demonize media, and demonize businessmen. Once you get rid of all those then we can all take our places as community organizers with ACORN (I hear that looks great on a resume) or as a drone for the government figuring out how to redistrubute the last remaining IOU’s that constitute our national wealth.

    ** That’s last part’s not entirely true, there will still be a couple jobs available at Government Motors. Bankrupted by unions and bought out by the government, it’s a democrat success story in the making.

    What the peopel zing mentions need are opportunities and a future, not a handout to go burn at Walmart in a bankrupt, jobless nation.

    Zing wants to give a man a fish, we want to make sure it’s legal to own a pole and get near the water while showing him by example how catching a fish is done.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Dave Nale #12- I have something for you, proof, once and for all, the tea is not so grassy-rooty. :D

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    zing – Look @ link in #40, Koch brothers and others.

    You made some great comments, I hope they don’t fall on deaf ears…

  • zingzing

    yep, doug has it completely correct. 100%. that’s how i think. not one bit of hyperbolic nonsense in there. i do, in fact, want all business and our nation as a whole to fail completely. at which point, i will take my rightful place as the king of all serfs.

    he forgot, however, that his fish will have 3 eyes and tastes like gasoline. and that it says nothing in the constitution about fishing.

  • Baronius

    So, they’re devious and their motives are obvious. How can you be devious and obvious at the same time? They co-founded the Cato Institute, and one of them ran for VP on the Libertarian ticket in 1980. They haven’t been keeping a low profile. Maybe they seem like shadowy figures because you hadn’t noticed them before, but they’ve been standing out in the sunlight shouting against government for decades.

  • Doug Hunter

    #42 Yes, and ‘fuck the poor’ is ‘common sense’ of course, not hyperbole. Post a nonsense comment where you use your clairvoyance to divine the motives (which play quite handily to into a stawman for political purposes), get a nonsense response. See how that works.

  • Baronius

    I don’t have a problem fathoming why you believe what you do, Zing. You want what’s best for society. Economically, we want the same thing (ends), but one of us is completely wrong about how to achieve it (means). Socially, I imagine we have different visions, but probably not incompatible.

  • zingzing

    “How can you be devious and obvious at the same time?”

    easily… what’s the problem here? why they do what they do is obvious. just what they do is something they try to hide.

    “They co-founded the Cato Institute, and one of them ran for VP on the Libertarian ticket in 1980.”

    and after that fiasco, they went a bit underground for a long while. it’s only the recent scrutiny that has brought a lot of their more clandestine activities into a more public light. shit, even the tea party seems to think they’re some grass roots by the people for the people thing. it’s nonsense.

  • zingzing

    doug: “See how that works.”

    convenient, isn’t it? they want to drastically cut social programs for the needy. why? more money in their pocket. what other reason do you think they have?

    baronius: “I don’t have a problem fathoming why you believe what you do, Zing. You want what’s best for society.”

    well, when you put it down to simply that, sure. but i’m flabbergasted by so many conservative positions.

  • Baronius

    (re: 46) And the Left thinks it’s not being programmed by George Soros. And you know what? They’re right. They’re willing to believe that Moveon.org and Media Matters are neutral observers. They’re willing to buy into the interpretation of events that the Institutional Left posts online. Just like the tea partiers and every other political movement, they bear responsibility for what they repeat.

    Never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity. The “devious” money men behind the Left, Right, and Center only have influence because people believe what they’re saying.

  • Clavos

    The “devious” money men behind the Left, Right, and Center only have influence because people believe what they’re saying.

    Quoted for Truth.

    I think I’ve just discovered (for myself) one big difference between lefties and righties: the lefties actually think their guys (Obama, e.g.) are selfless white hat good guys…

  • Clavos

    And you’re wrong, zing. The Koch brothers and others of their ilk ARE where my SELF interests lie; the bigger the population of really rich people, the bigger the market is for what I peddle. The poor can’t afford my wares, nor can most of the middle class.

  • zingzing

    they aren’t trying to make other people rich, clavos. only themselves. if your interests and theirs cross, you’re out on your ass.

  • zingzing

    “I think I’ve just discovered (for myself) one big difference between lefties and righties: the lefties actually think their guys (Obama, e.g.) are selfless white hat good guys…”

    on a relative scale of selflessness, sure. but that’s kind of the idea, isn’t it? y’all are all about individual achievement, looking out for #1, etc, etc. the individual is king. we are all about social betterment, looking out for your fellow man, etc, etc. the common good is king.

    we’re just as suspicious of politicians as you are. we just expect better of ours.

  • Clavos

    I know that, zing, but I want them to stay rich. They, and people like Paul Allen and Larry Ellison, plus tens of thousands of guys like my long-haired Tennessee hillbilly customer who makes a LOT of money selling used bearings, are my market. Without them, I’d have to work for a living. Thus, self interest.

  • zingzing

    “I know that, zing, but I want them to stay rich.”

    don’t worry, they will. no problems there.

    “Without them, I’d have to work for a living. Thus, self interest.”

    heh. interesting way of putting it…

  • Clavos

    on a relative scale of selflessness, sure. but that’s kind of the idea, isn’t it? y’all are all about individual achievement, looking out for #1, etc, etc. the individual is king. we are all about social betterment, looking out for your fellow man, etc, etc. the common good is king.

    Except that, in reality, your guys aren’t any better — the difference is you folks’ willing suspension of disbelief.

  • zingzing

    that’s too simplistic to be 100% true. and our guys are better. sorry.

  • Clavos

    No they’re not, zing…

  • zingzing

    heh. well, at least they don’t want to teach creationism in school or give ridiculous tax breaks to their rich friends or cut off funding for stem cell research or “protect marriage” or build a berlin wall on our southern border or a host of other stupid shit.

  • Doug Hunter

    I do see zing’s point, they are better. Better is in this case defined as the state of being willing to selflessly give no strings attached handouts of other people’s money to any individual, group, or organization whom a community organizer has properly coached to believe they are needy/entitled/underpriviledged and completely incapable succeeding or achieving anything on their own without government assistance.

    *** Note: People who attempt to create an environment where there is opportunity for people not to be poor in the first place, empower people to control their own destiny’s, attach strings to said handouts or try and shape handouts to better reward positive steps rather than failure are of course hateful poor-fuckers.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    I don’t have a problem fathoming why you believe what you do, Zing. You want what’s best for society. Economically, we want the same thing (ends), but one of us is completely wrong about how to achieve it (means). Socially, I imagine we have different visions, but probably not incompatible.

    That’s very true. One side believes that some sacrifice by all for the greater good will work to the benefit of all, and the other side believes that any sacrifice for the greater good is not conducive to the greater good at all.

    One side believes “many hands make light work”…and the other side’s philosophy was summed up nicely in the first Wall Street movie: “Greed is good!”

    Really, is it not thus?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And btw – did anyone see the headline on Glenn Beck?

    “Coons in Africa”

    Of course this concerned a Democratic candidate who went to Africa…but the race-baiting is painfully obvious. If this had happened on ANY other network (except perhaps the “Stormfront Network”), Beck would’ve been fired in a heartbeat.

    But Fox – along with the GOP and the Tea Party – have no problem whatsoever with race-baiting. Otherwise, Fox ‘News’ could never get away with this crap.

  • Baronius

    Of course not, Glenn. Don’t be childish.

  • zingzing

    i was just informed that mo tucker (drummer for the velvet underground) is a tea partier. oh dear lord. i still love her. but damn…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    When I say ‘sacrifice’, that can perhaps be better understood by you as ‘taxes’.

    But perhaps I’m making the mistake of lumping Republicans and other conservatives in with the “let’s go Galt” lunatics among the libertarians.

  • Clavos

    One side believes that some sacrifice by all for the greater good will work to the benefit of all…

    Sacrifice from all except for the politicians, of course. The politicians (both sides of the aisle) who vote themselves Cadillac, exclusive health plans, who travel in taxpayer-paid luxury aircraft, whose children attend exclusive private schools, who pay themselves far more than the middle class makes, and who constantly exhort us to “sacrifice for the greater good for the benefit of all,” all the while sacrificing nothing themselves.

    They are the Ruling Class. They are scum — parasitic scum.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Sacrifice from all except for the politicians, of course.

    The increase in taxes would apply to them, too, Clavos…even to Obama himself. He’d pay the same increased share of his income that the CEO of United Health Care would…but of course said CEO would still have twenty million or so of his yearly salary left to spend.

    Clavos – if you want to be ticked about something, how about the fact that our tax laws are structured so that we wind up PAYING for our companies to ship jobs overseas, and that our billionaires pay LESS in income taxes than their secretaries (just like Warren Buffet pointed out).

    But isn’t it interesting that this past week the GOP and the Chamber of Commerce were both adamantly opposed to (and successfully blocked) a measure that rewarded companies (with tax credits) for bringing jobs BACK to America from overseas?

    Really, Clavos, don’t you see a problem there?

  • zingzing

    “They are the Ruling Class.”

    that does kind of go hand-in-hand with getting voted in to represent people and make laws and such… that’s kind of like telling prince not to wear purple. he’s prince. he wears purple.

  • Baronius

    So, saying the name of a white guy is racist now?

  • zingzing

    hmm?

  • Clavos

    The increase in taxes would apply to them, too, Clavos…

    What’s that have to do with all the perks and privileges I mentioned which they give themselves at our expense???

    Do they have to submit to Obamacare? NO.

    Do they deign to send their kids to public schools? Hell NO.

    Etc., Etc.

    Nice diversionary attempt, Glenn, but unfortunately, I wasn’t talking about taxes, was I?

  • Clavos

    that does kind of go hand-in-hand with getting voted in to represent people and make laws and such…

    Not in a truly democratic nation it shouldn’t, no.

    But unfortunately, they DON’T represent us, and they have arrogated all that privilege to THEMSELVES — we, the taxpayers never thrust it upon them, they took it.

    You lefties rail incessantly about highly paid business executives (who ostly are taking the money from their stockholders, not the taxpayers), yet give those assholes in washington a pass on exactly the same kind of behavior.

    meh.

  • Clavos

    our billionaires pay LESS in income taxes than their secretaries (just like Warren Buffet pointed out).

    That’s a canard, Glenn, and you know it. What Buffett actually said was that he pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than his secretary does.

    Buffett (and any billionaire) pays millions a year in taxes; it’s unlikely his secretary pays millions.

  • zingzing

    “Not in a truly democratic nation it shouldn’t, no.”

    but in a republic…

    “But unfortunately, they DON’T represent us, and they have arrogated all that privilege to THEMSELVES — we, the taxpayers never thrust it upon them, they took it.”

    are you really bashing them for acting like they’re rich?

    “You lefties rail incessantly about highly paid business executives (who ostly are taking the money from their stockholders, not the taxpayers), yet give those assholes in washington a pass on exactly the same kind of behavior.”

    and yet you give a pass to the highly paid business execs and rail incessantly on the assholes in washington. shrug.

    and i’m not “giving them a pass” so much as asking “are you surprised?”

    of course they’re the ruling class. who else do you want to be the ruling class? you could say “the people,” but you know that’s a pipe dream. what do you want? socialism?

  • Arch Conservative

    “You lefties rail incessantly about highly paid business executives (who ostly are taking the money from their stockholders, not the taxpayers), yet give those assholes in washington a pass on exactly the same kind of behavior.”

    Quoted for truth Clavos.

    The moonbats will rail about the evil CEO
    for making a buck off the services and products his company provides but then defend the likes of someone like John Kerry who votes to raise taxes on citizens every chance he gets but then does all he can to avoid paying his own taxes.

    Why don’t you grow the fuck up Glenn and smell the roses. 95% of the politicians in Washington, Dem and Repub could care less if you or I dropped dead tomorrow. You’re a liberal moonbat and I’m a conservative. Big f-ing deal. To Washington career politicians we’re both just cattle to be placated every two or six years.

    Washington is FUBAR and both parties share the blame.

  • zingzing

    archie, 99.99% of the world could care less if you or i dropped dead tomorrow.

  • Arch Conservative

    I wouldn’t say that Zing.

    Most people, if they didn’t know you and learned of your passing may not care so much that they’d shed tears but they may think to themselves how sad it was that youd had passed and maybe how your family must be hurting. If only fleeting, I think many would have these thoughts.

    Politicians are a different breed altogether. Almost subhuman if you will. The average politician is an ego driven, power hungry narcissist whose ambition has done away with any true ability to empathize or even sympathize with others that they may once have had. If you’re not willing to sell your soul piece by piece you don’t last very long in Washington. It’s just that simple zing.

    They’re different from you and I. Can’t you see that?

  • zingzing

    “Most people, if they didn’t know you and learned of your passing…”

    well, they wouldn’t learn of it. it’s a hard world that way.

    “They’re different from you and I. Can’t you see that?”

    maybe, but they aren’t inhuman. or subhuman. i can assure you that they’re human.

  • Clavos

    are you really bashing them for acting like they’re rich?

    I’m not bashing them for acting rich; that’s not what I described. I’m bashing them for thinking (and acting like) they’re royalty, which they most decidedly are not, since most of them come from European peasant stock just a few generations ago, and not a few of them are arrogant, condescending, small-minded, selfish and self-centered crooks and liars who are totally bereft of social graces.

  • Arch Conservative

    John Kerry is a prime example of what you’re referring to Clavos.

    The guy married into money and thinks that gives him the right to treat everyone who isn’t a Washington colleague like absolute shit. He’s the poster boy for arrogant, ignorant, elisit riff raff. He’s white trash with money. All the yachts and Heinz ketchup money in the world can’t save his ugly soul.

  • Clavos

    and yet you give a pass to the highly paid business execs and rail incessantly on the assholes in washington.

    I do, because the assholes in washington work for me, and are paid with my taxes; the business execs do not.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “I’m not bashing them for acting rich; that’s not what I described. I’m bashing them for thinking (and acting like) they’re royalty…”

    they act like they are better, that’s for sure. then again, we’re the ones who gave them license to do that. not that that’s a good thing, but it’s what we get.

    “the assholes in washington work for me, and are paid with my taxes; the business execs do not.”

    no, they just rape other people. good on them!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Yes,the lefties actually think their guys (Obama, e.g.) are selfless white hat good guys…”

    After what, we, have watched the right do to this country, hell yes!

    quoted for truth!

  • Cannonshop

    #82 And Jeannie demonstrates how the Cult of Personality works on the left, the unblinking, unthinking loyalty to The Leader, who will solve all your problems (with money taken from other poeple), so long as you don’t look closely at the product of his works OR at how he treats himself and those close to him differently.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    This advice from a man who worships money?

    Furthermore, his loyalty to that pursuit leaves him, unblinking, unthinking, and loyal to only himself.

    I don’t want to be a little cold soul, wandering on top of the crust, miserable.:(

    Listen to the hippies, cannon, lust of money is baaaaad.

  • Arch Conservative

    “After what, we, have watched the right do to this country, hell yes!”

    Horseshit!

    First of all, the Democrats have controlled Congress since 2006 despite the tired schtick regurgitated by lefties about 8 years of the right controlling everything.

    Second, neither George Bush nor the Republican Congress from 2000-2006 represented anything close to true traditional conservative values. They were “the right” by default in the fact that they were to the right of you jeannie which isn’t saying much given that Fidel Castro thinks you’re a leftist mental case.

    The word real conservatives, like Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, etc use to describe people like George W. Bush and John McCain is neocon.

    LAstly……you use the same tired faulty logic that because Bush was a bad president Obama must be a good one.

    Again. Horseshit. W’s performance has absolutely nothing to do with Barry’s. If you seek to compare and contrast them it’s not very difficult. They both suck and are/were bad for this nation. Not much else to be said there.

  • Baronius

    For a few minutes there, we were talking to each other. Now we’re back to reciting our positions. Great.

  • Arch Conservative

    It is what it is Baronius.

    People are angry.

    Mock the tea party all you want but there’s a very real and broad undercurrent of anti-government snetiment otu there.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    That’s a canard, Glenn, and you know it. What Buffett actually said was that he pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than his secretary does.

    Ah. A smaller percentage. Well, THAT must mean that it’s okay, then, huh?

    ?Just like it’s okay for Exxon and General Electric to have paid NO federal taxes in 2009…but, multinational corporations that they are, they DID pay taxes in foreign countries that know that it makes sense to charge multinational corporations taxes for doing business there.

    And what happened when Obama wanted to pay for the health care for the 9/11 heroes? “GOP critics branded the bill as yet another big-government “massive new entitlement program” that would have increased taxes and possibly kill jobs. To pay the bill’s estimated $7.4 billion cost over 10 years, the legislation would have prevented foreign multinational corporations incorporated in tax haven countries from avoiding tax on income earned in the U.S. Bill supporters said that would close a tax loophole. Republicans branded it a corporate tax increase.”

    That’s right, Clavos – your Republicans opposed paying for the health care of the 9/11 heroes because they didn’t want Obama to close the loopholes that allow multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes in the U.S. despite the fact that said multinational corporations ALL use taxpayer-funded services in America.

    Is this right, Clavos? Is this just? Is it good that we spend our taxpayer dollars to support multinational corporations here in America and expect NO recompense in return?

    But this is the America that YOUR Republicans want, Clavos.

  • Clavos

    Ah. A smaller percentage. Well, THAT must mean that it’s okay, then, huh?

    Yes, it is. The man pays tens of millions in taxes, and through his investments, provides employment for tens of thousands of people, who in turn, collectively pay millions more in taxes. Keep squeezing the capitalists, and not only will they be driven away, as actually happened recently in Maryland, but as did Maryland, the country will experience a DROP in tax revenues, not a gain.

    But this is the America that YOUR Republicans want, Clavos.

    I’m not a Republican, Glenn. They are too much like Democrats, too liberal, and too wimpy for me.

    And your corporate tax whine is also a canard, as well as another attempt at distraction from the topic being discussed. Corporations don’t pay taxes — they merely collect them for the government, passing them through in their pricing as overhead to their customers.

    The ONLY taxpayers in America are the PEOPLE — US!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Really Arch? You have the answer? Who is it that we can look to for anything but no?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Don’t give me this horse-shit that we want our country back, Arch. You never had it by yourself anyway. What you have missing from your party is empathy.

    Reaganomics has failed this country miserably!

    It looks like a black and white picture because it is.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos,

    Who the hell is behind the Tea Party?

    the assholes in washington work for me, and are paid with my taxes; the business execs do not.

    So, replace them with plug-ins paid for by laundered money from here and off-shore?

    You’re afraid of Teachers unions?

  • Clavos

    You’re afraid of Teachers unions?

    Afraid? No. Contemptuous? Yes.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes the teachers unions are a vile bunch. They proceeded to piss, moan, and throw all manner of temper tantrums in New Jersey when the governor suggested not a pay cut but a pay freeze on raises while the private sector employees that pay for teachers salaries via taxes were losing their jobs. The icing on the cake was when the teachers unions claimed it was “all for the children.”

    Typical leftist rhetoric. Business management is ont he whole a vile, corrupt, ammoral group while unions are nothing but altruistic, good samaritans whose only concern is protecting the middle class.

    Give me an f-ing break.

    I feel sorry that you’re mind has become enslved by the two party paradigm jeannie. There is more than ample evidence to show how BOTH parties have done damage to this nation but you go on insisiting that if we just allowed the Democrats to enact the policy they want we’d all be living in the land of milk and honey. Well the Democrats have had the White House and super majorities in both Houses of Congress for the last two years and there are a lot of people out there who, while they weren’t expecting miracles in only two years, believe things have actually gotten worse.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    jeannie, go see the doc Waiting for Superman when it comes out. I don’t think you’ll hold the teachers union in such high esteem afterward.

  • Clavos

    Have you seen Waiting for Superman, EB? It hasn’t opened in Florida yet, but the charity I work for (a reading program for disadvantaged kids) is having a private screening of it on Wednesday, so I’ll be there for sure.

    Were you impressed? I’ve heard really good commentary on it.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I have. Caught it at LA Film Festival earlier in the year. It’s very good and much better than director’s “Inconvenient Truth” because different POVs are presented.

    Hopefully, it will help lead to a serious discussion about how to better schools.

  • Clavos

    We could certainly benefit from a general discussion.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I look forward to review of it.

  • Viceroy

    Tea Partiers, just fed up with paying the bills and getting none of the benefits. Why is that so loathed by the left? Believe it or not, some well-to-do leftists are also paying the freight and getting nothing in return, not even a thanks.All see the Emperor is bare-assed; some just close their eyes.

  • jcurtis

    It has been both gratifying and humbling to learn that my article has generated 100 comments.
    It has been gratifying to know that so many people read what I wrote. It has been humblinb to know that so many peeople read what I wrote and then ignored it.
    So far as I can tell, no one is interested in my analogy between the Tea Partiers and the New Left. So far as I can tell, no one is interested in something that the Internet has made mostly irrelevant: evidence.
    The Internet has made it possible for an unprecedented number of people to express their opinions, and hardly any of those people find it worthwhile to cite evidence to back up their opinions. After all, everybody has a right to an opinion–right?
    So–to cite just one example of the relevance of evidence. If evidence were relevant–and for most people it isn’t when it comes to politics–it would be obvious that there’s no significance comparions between Georgoe Soros and the Koch brothers. The overwhelming evidence tells us that Soros openly uses his billions to fund non-profit, non-plitical organizations in Eastern Europe–organizations that he can’t possible make money from. The overwhelming evidence tells us that the Koch brothers secretly use their billions to fund thinktanks and political organziations dedicated to promoting policies that will make them richer. Soros has no interest in attacking or denigrating individual politicians. The Koch brothers are deeply, passionately committed to promoting personal attacks on President Obama.
    But none of these this matter because evidence doesn’t matter. What matters is everyone’s right to express an opinion. Right?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Clavos, “Waiting for ‘Superman'” is a great movie, but you should be warned that it is a bit liberal/lefty in tone. [Same director as “An Inconvenient Truth,” after all.]

    Its main [only?] beef with the teachers’ unions is their stubbornness about automatic tenure: far more common for a doctor or lawyer to lose their license than for a teacher to be fired.

    It’s also a very upsetting movie: tears and sniffles all around me in the theater during the last 30 minutes. It shows parents, faced with poor local public schools, who then try to get their kids into highly acclaimed charter schools, and have to enter lotteries for the remote chance of admission. Most, of course, don’t win, and it’s back to the failing school.

    But not nearly every charter school is as great as the ones lionized in the movie. Great teachers and great schools are in short supply, and that’s the root of the problem.

    Anyhow, it’s extremely well made, and should be widely seen and discussed.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    jcurtis, both Frank Rich yesterday and Paul Krugman today wrote their columns on more or less the same topic as this article. You got there first!

    Here are links and choice quotes:

    Paul Krugman, Fear and Favor

    Krugman points out how many Republican presidential hopefuls are on the Fox News payroll as “contributors”: Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Santorum, etc.

    Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system.

    Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.

    Frank Rich, The Very Useful Idiocy of Christine O’Donnell

    …along comes this marvelous gift out of nowhere, Christine O’Donnell, Tea Party everywoman, who just may be the final ingredient needed to camouflage a billionaires’ coup as a populist surge. She gives populist cover to the corporate interests that have been steadily annexing the Tea Party movement and busily plotting to cash in their chips if the G.O.P. prevails.

    Last week the same Tea Party Patriots leader who bragged to the National Journal about all those small donations [“75 percent of the group’s funding comes from small donations, $20 or less”] announced a $1 million gift from a man she would identify only as an entrepreneur. The donor’s hidden identity speaks even louder than the size of the check. As long as we don’t know who he is, we won’t know what orders he’s giving either.

  • Clavos

    Thanks, handy, I realized the movie’s orientation; in fact, the charity for which I work (we teach kids from poor areas/poorly performing schools to read and/or improve their reading/comprehension skills), and which is sponsoring the Miami screening of the film, is about 99.9999999999999999% staffed by lefties (I’m their token Neanderthal).

    One reason I’ve gotten on this whole issue of the government school problem is precisely because I’ve found it’s one of the few really important political issues in which reasonable people (and yes, occasionally I can be reasonable, though I try not to make a habit of it) on both the right and the left are mostly in agreement — not only in recognizing that we have a problem, but even in many of the potential solutions which have been proposed. The one major element of the populace that seems to be least reasonable on the issue is precisely the teacher unions, and, as you point out, principally on the issue of tenure, which aggravates the problem of incompetent teachers, and all the other sh_t that rolls downhill from the tenure thing.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    EL,

    Did you know that one of the charters shown in that movie were from a socialist style model with a strongly unionized teaching staff?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Education Nation, if it had included the teachers and their unions would have been better than this obvious attempt to privatize the whole system.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Can’t remember. I do know that the union does themselves no favors keeping crap teachers around. Have you seen the movie?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    “Waiting for ‘Superman'” is certainly not about privatizing. It’s about the consequences of bad teachers and bad schools, and how desperate and futile this makes some parents, especially low-income parents, feel when they can’t get their child into one of the few available spots in a successful school. They have no choice but to send their kids back to the bad school, and this drives them, and the audience, to tears.

    Certainly not all public schools are bad, and not all charter schools are good. But we can’t pretend there’s not a problem.

  • Clavos

    Here’s my review of the movie.