A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies


Spontaneous National Destruction

1 April 2010. So you and I thought those demonstrations against improving the chances of millions of Americans getting health care were spontaneous responses to a citizenry that is on the verge of revolution over too much government interference in our lives? Our first clue should have been that these same folks who are shouting that they are going to "take back the nation" approve very heartily of government ruling over every aspect of their reproductive lives. They're not against too much government—hell, Ronald Reagan, who grew the federal government more than any other president in our history, is their patron saint! It turns out, they may not even be against the Democratic health care reform bill that passed recently without a single Republican vote. According to recent revelations about billionaire oilman Charles Koch, the "revolutionaries" may be shills for Koch and friends.

If you go to the website with the swell-sounding name of Americans for Prosperity, you might think there really is a grassroots movement against health care reform. (The very idea is absurd, when you think about it. Who could be against improving access to health care?) American for Prosperity is one of the Koch's many fronts for promoting his own personal agenda. His main interests are in oil, petroleum, and that kind of thing. Hence, his main fronts are aimed at making it look like there is strong opposition to climate change. I doubt if Koch believes the nation is heading toward Marxism or socialism, as many "revolutionaries" claim in YouTube videos and on Fox news. I doubt if Koch cares one way or the other about health care legislation, but he does care that Republicans are not in power. The reason is obvious: Republicans are easier to manipulate than Democrats when it comes to regulation of anything.

Rachel Maddow has the story on Koch and several others with deep pockets who are footing the bill for dozens of websites and "grassroots" organizations to promote their, shall we say, "conservative," agenda. Whatever you call it, it is clear that these folks are not against too much government intrusion in our lives: they want to control the government and intrude in not only our reproductive and sexual lives, but our economic lives as well. They don't mind intrusion as long as they are the ones doing the intruding. If they get their way, we'll all be taught that this is a Christian nation, always was and always will be. Our children will be required to utter "under God" whenever they say the pledge of allegiance. And evolution will be labeled "unsound science" along with all those studies claiming that tobacco is unhealthy and humans are contributing to global warming.

So, the next time you see one of those screaming, finger-pointing, sign-carrying yahoos dressed up like a normal person, you ought to wonder: who's paying for this? When the disrupters show up at town hall meetings, when the protestors march with their guns on display, when YouTube is flooded with anti-Democrat videos, when the next pretty website pops up with a swell-sounding name like Americans for America, wonder: who is behind this?

All of which makes me wonder: was John McCain a shill to get Sarah Palin into the national limelight by a cabal of billionaires interested in protecting their interests? No, that would be a conspiracy theory that even the greatest nutter couldn't take seriously, right?

It is impossible to think critically about important issues when the sources of the information available to us are nearly impossible to trace or check for accuracy. I suppose this is what the "public relations" tactic called creating an "echo chamber" is all about: prevention of critical thinking. The process is explained by James Hoggan, founder of a leading Canadian public relations firm. Since1997, the Koch Foundation has spent close to $50 million funding some "40 different organizations that are part of a network that we call an echo chamber of climate change denial." Having 40 different organizations sending the message that there is reason to doubt the climate science about global warming creates a unique situation where the message becomes believable. Phillip Morris did this in the early '90s with a group called the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition "to shift the issues around tobacco off of health issues and on to sound science issues."*

So, despite the appearances created by the manipulation of the media, our country is probably not about to spontaneously destroy itself. There's nothing spontaneous about it at all.


further reading

new Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute The Koch brothers are funding union-busting activities in Wisconsin, Ohio, and who knows where else. Why? Because unions are the major contributors to the Democratic Party. Bust the unions and you bust the money that feed the Democrats. Bust the Democrats and you eliminate the opposition. At least that's Rachel Madow's theory. Yes, Rachel has it in for the brothers. I love the swell-sounding names of the Kochs' front groups: Americans for Prosperity and Citizens for a Strong America.Some liberals think the Rethuglicans are hiring imposters to start riots.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Covert Operations by Jane Mayer, The New Yorker: The billionaire Koch brothers wage war against Obama

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.

Climate change denial, brought to you by Koch The Maddow Blog

Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine Billionaire oilman David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is “the biggest company you've never heard of.” But the nearly $50 million that David Koch and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter.

Case Study: The Koch-funded “ClimateGate” Echo Chamber

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