Can the Kochs Deliver the Mail Better than Florida Man?

kochrepAs I mentioned in comments on a thread yesterday, the Florida mailman who landed a gyrocopter at the US Capitol to draw attention to the corrupting influence of money in politics lives in the same media market I do and had informed a local paper of his plans prior to taking off. His stunt is therefore receiving more attention and in-depth coverage here than elsewhere.

The mailman is disappointed that the national corporate media outlets are focusing almost exclusively on the security vulnerabilities his flight revealed rather than the two-page campaign finance document he prepared for each congresscritter. The local outlets, having access to the mailman and greater interest due to the regional angle, are covering the campaign finance aspect. Not in sufficient depth, but at least they aren’t ignoring it altogether. The mailman won’t let them.

That’s been interesting because Republicans and their paid shills have to address it now, and they tend to recoil from the topic like slugs confronted with a salt shaker. I suspect it’s because they know people intuitively understand that fat cat donors expect ROI. So the party that benefits from wealthy donors the most tries to obfuscate the issue with conspiracy theories and lies.

Garden-variety wingnuts in the local paper comment sections are muttering darkly about the mailman’s union ties. Paid GOP shills like Tampa Tribune columnist Tom Jackson just flat-out lie and hope no one notices:

For every couple of Koch brothers attempting to influence an election, there’s an opposite and equal Tom Steyer and George Soros.

That claim is, of course, demonstrably false. The top 10 super PAC donors in 2012 (including one of the Koch brothers) contributed four times as much to Romney as they spent on Obama:

super pac donors

In overall contributions, unions and tens of thousands of small donors managed to balance and even tip the scales for Obama, which is why the Kochs back union-destroying candidates like Scott Walker and plan to devote even more of their inherited wealth toward buying elections in 2016. But does anyone really think that someone who contributes millions of dollars doesn’t have exponentially more influence on policy than someone who kicks in $150? It is to laugh.

In the 2012 presidential race — the most expensive in history — the Obama campaign, the DNC and the Obama super PACs spent a total of $985.7M. The Koch brothers have announced that they plan to spend $889M in the 2016 election cycle.

That’s two Americans, the Koch brothers, who are going to spend an amount approaching the entire sum spent by President Obama’s successful 2012 reelection campaign.

The Florida mailman is upset for the right reasons. Cash is doing more to subvert our democracy than al Qaeda and ISIS combined and squared. But the cash-driven corporate media have little interest in exploring that aspect of the story, and they have a shiny object — security issues — to pursue instead. So the mailman’s manifesto ended up in the dead letter file.

Maybe the simple fact that TWO PEOPLE are openly planning to spend damn near a billion dollars in a hostile takeover bid for the Oval Office can send that message more effectively than the mailman on his flying bicycle could. But I’m not optimistic.

131 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    Will Chief Justice John Roberts reputation go down in history much like the Dred Scott decision? God I hope so. I don’t think he will think it a bad marker on his name even if he does.

  2. 2
    Bobby B. says:

    “Well, don’t that prove that little money”s power to buy certain things is zero? If it had any at all, thousands and thousands times it would make those people the kings of the state, but the actual fact is they can’t do a thing- thousands time nothing is still nothing.”
    Gene Wolfe, “Forlesen”

  3. 3
    Botsplainer says:

    George Soros doesn’t try to limit the franchise or participation by little people.

  4. 4

    Shorter: Big donors’ advertizing money also buys media silence about campaign finance reform.

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    Damn straight, and a great summary. Would love to see the donor list updated in real time, as the new money rolls in; of course Freedom(tm) means hiding as much of that money exchange as possible because delicate billionaire feelings are hurt as easily as a butterfly’s wing.

    I’ve been in the “they’re going to push Walker on us” camp for over a year, and now the Kochs are basically saying, “This is our boy, the establishment boy.”

    We shall see.

  6. 6
    the Conster says:

    @Betty Cracker – Where is a link to the letter he delivered? Did I miss it in the links you provided? I’d like to read it.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    So, one could expect the R nominee, whosoever it might be, to be quiet on the subject of fat-cat money. Maybe even a bit… touchy. And yet, at the same time, the right-wing chorus is gearing up to attack Clinton on that subject. How does that work?

  8. 8
    germy shoemangler says:

    @Roger Moore: exactly. Because as I said before, when I saw the florida mailman story on the teevee nooz, there was NO mention of his petition. They gave him a few brief words to say and suggested his actions were a tribute to his son, who had committed suicide by driving head-on into another car. The implication was that he was crazed by grief; irrational.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    @kindness:
    To be fair, he just called “strike” on a pitch that sailed to the broadcast booth. Anybody could make the same mistake.

  10. 10
    Cervantes says:

    @the Conster:

    Here it is at Democracy Now.

  11. 11
    srv says:

    While everyone gets the happy America is the best democracy ever, the reality is that we have always been a Republic, and a very weak democracy at that.

    Our Founders were wise men, and smart enough to properly balance the the veneer of free choice for the masses (or mob, as they called it) towards elite rule.

    Today, we are just swinging back from an era of overly influential masses (how’s that worked out for you?) back to what our Founders truly wanted. Justice Roberts knows his proper place in returning to that path.

  12. 12
    Cervantes says:

    @srv:

    overly influential masses

    Do tell.

  13. 13
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @Botsplainer:

    I keep missing you in other threads. WereBear uses, or used to use, a ChromeBook for heavy word processing and maintaining her blog. Ask her for her recommendations.

  14. 14
    WereBear says:

    I love the gyrocopter mailman. He’s right.

    Maybe if someone started a Fund Drive for HIM? I’m sure he’ll need it, and I’d kick in some.

  15. 15

    @MattF:

    How does that work?

    IOKIYAR. That’s the simple answer to almost all Republican hypocrisy.

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet): I do have a lot of Chromebook experience! Botsplainer, ask away.

    I found it awesome for blogging. Had everything I needed in the Chrome Web store, free. Photo editing, text editor, word counts, access to analytics, etc.

    The thing that it couldn’t do was run Scrivener, and I had a complicated book to write. But I was so impressed that when the Chromebook battery reached the short end of its life, we plugged it in, gave it to the cats to watch videos on, and I got a new faster, prettier Chromebook to use when I needed a laptop that could leave the house.

    Cheaper than insurance on the Mac Air laptop!

  17. 17
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    The mailman is disappointed that the national corporate media outlets are focusing almost exclusively on the security vulnerabilities his flight revealed rather than the two-page campaign finance document he prepared for each congresscritter.

    I hate to be like this, as his heart is most DEFINITELY in the right place, but what the fuck did he think would happen?

    He did exploit a security vulnerability, and this media would rather run 24/7 dead air than discuss income inequality in America.

  18. 18
    mai naem mobile says:

    What blows my mind is that these people spend more on one election cycle than several extended families will see in their lifetime of earnings. There was some massive Powerball lottery around the time of the 2012 election and I remember thinking this megalottery winner will take home less money than what Mittens has and Mitt is not even considered that rich in his crowd.

  19. 19
    blueskies says:

    @Botsplainer: And this point should be made over and over.

    It’s bad enough that millionaires are allowed to spend any amount of money on buying politicians. It’s even worse that MOST of those assholes buy politicians in order to become billionaires and then, so help me, trillionaires.

    The fact that this directly hurts the 99.999% just doesn’t matter.

  20. 20
    Peale says:

    @MattF: Oh, we’ve seen this before. “Foreign donors = influence peddling”. Walker is very open about who has bought him, and since those men are true ‘Mericans I guess they win.

  21. 21
    Elizabelle says:

    Thanks for the links, Ms. Cracker. Will read up on the intrepid mailman, Douglas Hughes.

  22. 22
    Betty Cracker says:

    @the Conster: The Tampa Bay Times reproduced it at the bottom of this article.

  23. 23
    germy shoemangler says:

    @mai naem mobile: They’ll happily spend millions to buy an election so they don’t have to pay millions in taxes? Is it a spite thing?

  24. 24
    germy shoemangler says:

    Here are just a few excerpts of the platform that David Koch ran on in 1980:

    • “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”

    • “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

    • “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”

    • “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”

    • “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”

    • “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”

    • “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”

    • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

    • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”

    • “We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”

    • “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”

    • “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”

    • “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”

    • “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

    • “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”

    • “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”

    • “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”

    • “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”

    • “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”

    • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”

    • “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”

    • “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”

    • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”

    • “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

    • “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

    • “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”

  25. 25
    the Conster says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Wow, totally righteous with the added benefit of being right.

  26. 26
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @germy shoemangler: Ah, but taxes are every year. With the powers of incumbency, you only have to buy a Senator or Representative once.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    @germy shoemangler: My sense is the Kochs are true believers. And since their dad left them so well fixed, they can shell out hundreds of millions without even having to switch to a discount brand of toilet paper,* so it’s all good!

    *Kidding there — it’s actually difficult to wipe your ass in America without enriching the Kochs because they own Georgia Pacific, makers of Brawny, Angel Soft, etc.

  28. 28
    Waspuppet says:

    But does anyone really think that someone who contributes millions of dollars doesn’t have exponentially more influence on policy than someone who kicks in $150?

    Yes. Anthony Kennedy, living proof that you don’t need to be able to tie your own shoes to be appointed to the Supreme Court, really thinks that.

    I hope I live to see the day that “independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption” takes its place in the history books next to “separate but equal” and “no rights the white man is bound to respect.” Better yet, I hope that stupid, stupid motherfucker lives to see the day.

  29. 29
    trollhattan says:

    @germy shoemangler:
    Wowie zowie, he’s only missing “We demand tearing down the Area 51 fences and killing off the squirrels that are eating all my damn pecans before the help can pick them”

  30. 30
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @trollhattan: I know. When I see that platform, I have to stand back and stare in awe.

    They really are maniacs.

    And they have more money than God

  31. 31
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    OT but it is about numbers. Can you see this math problem? What’s the answer?

    https://www.facebook.com/Wave105/photos/a.109253155777505.5816.105547176148103/814761405226673/?type=1&fref=nf

  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    @WereBear:

    I do have a lot of Chromebook experience! Botsplainer, ask away.

    I’d like to ask a few questions as well. What Chromebook do you use? Do you have 4GB of RAM or only 2? What size storage (16 or 32GB). Do you use it mainly at one place (home, for example) or take it out and about?

    You mention that you have written a book. How’s the keyboard on the Chromebook. And what app did you use for writing? Did you transfer your files to another device for later or final work?

    You also mention Scrivener. Are you also a Mac person?

    I’m looking for a portable device with a good keyboard and good battery life that I can use for some moderate to heavy word processing.

    Also, I presume that the Chromebook is suitable for reading and posting on Balloon Juice.

    And apologies to others for interrupting the flow of the main thread topic.

  33. 33
    Elizabelle says:

    @the Conster: Pertinent parts of Mr. Hughes’ letter to congresscritters, from the Tampa Bay Times. I like his style!

    Dear ________:

    … According to Gallup, public faith in Congress is at a 41-year record low, 7%. (June 2014) [John] Kerry is correct. The popular perception outside the DC beltway is that the federal government is corrupt and the US Congress is the major problem. As a voter, I’m a member of the only political body with authority over Congress. I’m demanding reform and declaring a voter’s rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson’s description of rights in the Declaration of Independence. As a member of Congress, you have three options.

    1. You may pretend corruption does not exist.

    2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform.

    3. You may actively participate in real reform.

    …. As I see it, campaign finance reform is the cornerstone of building an honest Congress. Erect a wall of separation between our elected officials and big money. This you must do — or your replacement will do. A corporation is not ‘people’ and no individual should be allowed to spend hundreds of millions to ‘influence’ an election. That much money is a megaphone which drowns out the voices of ‘We the People.’ Next, a retired member of Congress has a lifelong obligation to avoid the appearance of impropriety. That almost half the retired members of Congress work as lobbyists and make millions of dollars per year smells like bribery, however legal. It must end. Pass real campaign finance reform and prohibit even the appearance of payola after retirement and you will be part of a Congress I can respect.

    The question is where YOU individually stand. You have three options and you must choose.

    Sincerely,

    Douglas M. Hughes

    http://www.TheDemocracyClub.org

  34. 34

    OT: Question for Betty.
    The MSM bots are pimping Rubio as the GOP smart cookie, your thoughts? I have yet to see any evidence of either his charisma or intellect.

  35. 35
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Betty Cracker: I wish all these donations would be accompanied by a comparable percentage of the average American’s income. Because what blows me away is that these staggering sums are pocket change.

  36. 36

    @germy shoemangler:

    • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

    Why don’t they just say they’re in favor of abolishing the government and save themselves some money on ink? It’s not like the government is going to survive in any meaningful form on fees and donations.

  37. 37
    ruemara says:

    @srv: you need a refill of shut the fuck up.

    I got into a protracted discussion on this very subject with a vehemently anti-Hillz liberal for whom the writing was on the wall that Hillz would lose to Walker because KochKash. My final point was that if Hillary has no game compared to Walker with a billion dollars behind him, that goes near triple for any perfect liberal daydream candidate.

    I just don’t see money winning just because. If they’re not paying you for your vote, you don’t have to vote for their candidate. So voting is what matters. But the Hillary hate seems to matter more.

  38. 38
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    @germy shoemangler: Wow, a complete return to the fifties.

    The 1550s.

  39. 39
    Scotius says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:
    12. The order of precedence means that 1 X 0 is performed first and then the individual additions.

  40. 40
    Calouste says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    • “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”

    • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

    • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”

    Ok, so… where does the government gets its money from, considering that there is still the best part of a trillion $$ that needs to go to the military?

    I can see three scenarios:
    1) The US resorts to what it knows well, invading neighboring territories for fun and profit.
    2) Put the money presses into hyperdrive.
    3) Don’t pay the military, which historically led in almost all cases to a military coup.

  41. 41
    Cervantes says:

    @Scotius:

    You may be seeing operations that are not there.

  42. 42
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Scotius: You multiply first even when it’s not in brackets or anything? I so want to do it linearly, but I’ll take your word for it.

  43. 43
    rikyrah says:

    BOth sides do NOT do it.

    They simply don’t.

  44. 44
    germy shoemangler says:

    @Calouste: I’m guessing they envision a private army employed by them (and their heirs and/or friends), and a private police force.

  45. 45

    @Iowa Old Lady: There are no operators connecting line 1 to line 2 and line to line 3, it is an incomplete mathematical expression as written.

    If the operators between lines 1 and 2 and 2 and 3 are all + then the answer is 12

  46. 46
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Cervantes: At the end of lines, you mean.

  47. 47
    shell says:

    and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.

    Help, help, Social Security is oppressing me!

  48. 48

    @Iowa Old Lady: The order of mathematical operations is as follows:

    1. Parenthesis
    2. Exponents
    3. Division/multiplication
    4. Addition/subtraction

  49. 49
    Calouste says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Ah, no, it’s not about numbers, it’s about typography. And it definitely isn’t a math problem outside primary school.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Calouste says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Absolute monarchs in the 1550’s weren’t so stupid as not to tax their subjects.

  52. 52
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Now, now. No need to be insulting.

  53. 53

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    What’s the answer?

    I agree with the people who say it’s badly formatted and doesn’t have a clear answer. But the key is that you have to do the 0x1 before any of the addition.

  54. 54

    @Calouste:

    I’m pretty sure that the Kochs are convinced they’re going to be the monarchs, so of course they won’t have to pay taxes. All of their subjects, on the other hand …

  55. 55
    srv says:

    Don’t say they didn’t tell you so:

    NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Apr 20, 2015) – For the first time in history a judge has granted an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a nonhuman animal. This afternoon, in a case brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe issued an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, who are being used for biomedical experimentation at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York.

    Under the law of New York State, only a “legal person” may have an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus issued in his or her behalf. The Court has therefore implicitly determined that Hercules and Leo are “persons.”

    Next up, inter-species marriage certificates.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @germy shoemangler:

    Here are just a few excerpts of the platform that David Koch ran on in 1980

    Holy shit. This reads like a libertarian wet dream. Or the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

  57. 57
    Calouste says:

    @germy shoemangler: Charles Koch is worth about $36 billion. That will allow him to run the US military for about 3 weeks and 3 days.

  58. 58
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I love the phrase “nonhuman animals.” It’s fun to use in crowds and see who flinches.

  59. 59
    Calouste says:

    @srv:

    Next up, inter-species marriage certificates.

    Don’t tell Rick Santorum!

  60. 60
    germy shoemangler says:

    @Brachiator: I think the klingons ran a similar platform.

    @Calouste: I’m guessing they would eliminate all foreign entanglements and concentrate their troops on the control of balloon-juicers.

  61. 61
    Cervantes says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    The first two lines are disconnected, yes.

    You can make an obvious assumption about how they connect — and obtain 12 (as above).

    You can make some other assumption about how they connect — and obtain some other number.

    Or you can focus on the last line, with its “=” sign — and obtain 2.

  62. 62
    gene108 says:

    @Waspuppet:

    “independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption”

    Technically it is not “quid pro quo” because there is nothing directly being done for the Kochs, Adelson, et. al.

    Hey, if a they along with a few million other Americans benefit from the repeal of the estate tax, it is not like their millions directly and exclusively benefited them.

    It may create the appearance of appropriate, but it is not actual direct bribery, where I give you $100,000,000 and you get me $1,000,000,000 worth of business from the government.

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    @germy shoemangler:

    I think the klingons ran a similar platform.

    The Klingons were all about honor and empire. The Ferengi only care about profit.

    “Never cheat a Klingon… unless you’re sure you can get away with it.”

  64. 64

    @srv:

    Next up, inter-species marriage certificates.

    I’m pretty sure an appeal and reversal will come long before then.

  65. 65
    opiejeanne says:

    @srv: Jerry Was a Man. Robert A. . Heinlein.

  66. 66
    germy shoemangler says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Ah, but taxes are every year. With the powers of incumbency, you only have to buy a Senator or Representative once.

    They could declare senators or representatives as business expense tax write-offs, except there would be no taxes.

  67. 67
    Cervantes says:

    @srv:

    Next up, inter-species marriage certificates.

    Can a corporation marry a human being or vice versa?

  68. 68

    @gene108:

    It may create the appearance of appropriate, but it is not actual direct bribery, where I give you $100,000,000 and you get me $1,000,000,000 worth of business from the government.

    I don’t buy that. If I give you money to do something that benefits me, that can be bribery even if I’m not the only person who benefits.

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    @Calouste:
    “Wake up, actual sheeple!”

  70. 70
    ThresherK says:

    @Roger Moore: Certainly you have the hierarchy right, but I am close to calling “shenanigans” on the problem, because it is very, very different if one prints it out on paper. Not math to me, more a brain teaser.

  71. 71
    trollhattan says:

    @Calouste:
    “Wake up, actual sheeeple!”

  72. 72

    The local outlets, having access to the mailman and greater interest due to the regional angle, are covering the campaign finance aspect.

    The local outlets are not staffed by people attending DC cocktail parties. That’s pretty much it. It’s not like local news is fantastic, but it sure beats the Hell out of national.

    @Bobby B.:
    This, at least, is not true. Big money is powerful, but Obama won, not Romney. Won big, by presidential election standards. The democracy still exists, thankfully, despite the bludgeoning.

    @trollhattan:

    “This is our boy, the establishment boy.”

    Of course, he’s not the establishment. The Kochs are precisely the people Karl Rove tried to put PACs together to combat. But you’re right, he’s their establishment. The whole bickering billionaires/shadow GOP thing going on is weird.

    @germy shoemangler:
    Notice the abolition of the post office. This is a tell most people won’t recognize, because it seems to blend in with the rest of the ‘end the government’ extremity. It’s a Sovereign Citizen thing, the belief that the Post Office is the center of a conspiracy that took over the US government, and thus they don’t have to pay taxes. Also note their wanting to end public education. Again, super big with the hardcore racists, religious right, and conspiracy theorists. That list is Bircherism in a nutshell, although I’m surprised they didn’t mention the Admiralty Act.

    Also, yes, it’s a spite thing. Only crazy people are willing to spend that much money on politics, so you should expect crazy.

  73. 73
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: The alarming thing is, it was crazy in 1980, but now it is creeping into “acceptable” territory. They are incrementalists. They are playing a long game.

    I’m spouting clichés now. I’m trying to say that with the rise of Ailes and Murdoch, yesterday’s crazee is tomorrow’s reasonable conservative.

  74. 74
    trollhattan says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:
    Overton’s window has migrated off the house, down the street and out of the neighborhood where it’s being installed on a McMansion. I don’t believe it can travel back anywhere close to what it was in, say, Nixon’s day and probably not even Reagan’s. But if we get lulled into the current situation as the “new normal” we’re basically screwed.

  75. 75

    @Germy Shoemangler:
    I don’t see them as playing a long game. They are the crest of a wave that has been moving itself, the ever-increasing radicalization of racist America. We don’t see the demographic clock ticking, but they are constantly, terrifyingly aware of it. They have gotten more and more nervous, less and less reasonable, and when a black man became president they lost their shit. To us, it looks like they’re trying to burn the country down. To them, it’s already a post-apocalyptic dystopia and this is basically cauterization.

    Nobody had to create this situation. It happened all by itself.

  76. 76
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: The “long game” for Charles and David now involves pushing up daisies. The former is 79, the latter 74.

  77. 77
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That’s middle-aged for wealthy people.

  78. 78
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Rubio is marginally more intelligent and significantly more articulate than Sarah Palin. That sounds like faint praise — and it is. But for the GOP, it represents a Great Leap Forward.

  79. 79
    Mike in NC says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Daddy Koch was a Bircher, so it should surprise nobody that his apples didn’t fall far from the tree. These guys aren’t “Libertarians”, they’re obscenely wealthy anarchists.

  80. 80
    Calouste says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    They better hurry a bit with the long game. The Kochs are 80 and 75, Ailes is 74, Murdoch is 84.

    At least we won’t have to worry to much about Murdoch’s empire after he is gone. 6 children from 3 wives will take care of that.

  81. 81

    @Calouste:
    And the family is already pissed that Rupert runs the business as a political party.

  82. 82
    the Conster says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Obama was truly change personified. When people scoff at Hope and Change, I’m like lolwut? You don’t think Obama’s election represents Change? Before him it was hard to imagine how and when the barrier of only white males as president would fall – and no matter how much money the Kochs have, they can’t buy away the fact that Obama was elected TWICE. I think it was his second election that really flipped all the old white guys’ shit. Obama’s election and his actions in office really started the ratchet moving in the other direction, because good luck getting people to give up the nice things they have, like Social Security, Medicare, access to health care and civil rights.

  83. 83
    Tenar Darell says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I don’t even “get” the post office. It was established in the flinking constitution! Seriously, WTF?

  84. 84
    trollhattan says:

    @Calouste:
    I suspect Dick Cheney is the test mule for their plan to continue swapping in new organs in the pursuit of eternal earthly life. If it’s good enough for Dick….

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The “long game” for Charles and David now involves pushing up daisies. The former is 79, the latter 74.

    Do they have kids to inherit their mantle?

  86. 86

    @Tenar Darell:
    Basically, they think the Post Office launched a coup way back just before the 13th amendment and supplanted the real federal government with a fake, unconstitutional version. So, everything that happened after that is illegal and the Post Office is evil and must be destroyed. Look, these people are nuts. NUTS. Sovereign Citizens are crazyballs.

  87. 87
    germy shoemangler says:

    @Tenar Darell: David Koch ran for VP in 1980 on that platform. Obama was still a teenager at that time. That’s why I said they’re playing a long game. Many of the news reporters, journalists and politicians were kids back then and see 1980 as ancient history. The Kochs are old, but they’re still busy. Their latest jab at the republic is buying Scott Walker, who will do whatever they tell him to do if he wins.

  88. 88
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Brachiator: The family is very divided, even at the Charles and David generation. David’s twin brother Bill has sued the family company more than once, IIRC.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I forget, does a gold fringe on the flag mean legitimate or illegitimate?

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    @Tenar Darell:
    Libertarians are bothered that the stamp that takes a letter across town can also take one to Molokai or Fairbanks. For one price!–takers are gettin’ a free ride, donchano. Congress’ poison pill forcing the Postal Service to fund the next, what was it, 70 years of their pension fund was a big step towards their dream of killing the hated FedEx competitor.

  91. 91
    gene108 says:

    @trollhattan:

    Overton’s window has migrated off the house, down the street and out of the neighborhood where it’s being installed on a McMansion. I don’t believe it can travel back anywhere close to what it was in, say, Nixon’s day and probably not even Reagan’s. But if we get lulled into the current situation as the “new normal” we’re basically screwed.

    On social issues the political Window is far to the Left of what it was in Nixon’s day and even Reagan’s day.

    On economic and political issues the problem is not that people think tax cuts are the bestest thing ever and all the time, but rather they are discouraged and frustrated, which allows a focused minority to impose themselves on the rest of us.

    I think there is substantive push back against the people on the Right beginning to form and it will continue to gain momentum over the next few years. The Overton Window will be moving back to the Left soon.

    Also, part of the problem is most folks, who are busy with day-to-day life, do not realize how fucking radical right-wingers are. They think the basic protections that have been around for 2-3 generations, like Medicare and Social Security and the minimum wage, are safe from being destroyed. They do not realize the “true Conservative” would gut these in a second, behind smooth words like “an opportunity society”.

  92. 92
    germy shoemangler says:

    @gene108: part of the problem is most folks, who are busy with day-to-day life, do not realize how fucking radical right-wingers are.

    Which is why people like Rand Paul get so pissed off when interviewers press them for details: “Are you crazy? If I reveal my agenda, who the fuck will vote for me?”

    Elise Stefanik actually ran away from a reporter when he pressed her for details on how she planned to “save” medicare and social security.

  93. 93
    Mike in NC says:

    @gene108: Dubya (or more likely a minion) coined the term Ownership Society as a fig leaf for his goal of privatizing Social Security and handcuffing it to the stock market.

  94. 94
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Tenar Darell: Jon Stewart once said he didn’t get this either. For 43 cents, they’ll come to your house, pick up your stuff, and take it to Montana.

  95. 95
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator:

    Do they have kids to inherit their mantle?

    I don’t know either, but any kids are likely to be well over 30, I bet they would have strong opinions. Or more notably, already listed on the board(s) of directors of various Koch Industries.

  96. 96
    D58826 says:

    @germy shoemangler: Funny how he doesn’t mention the 12 million in farm subsidies that his ranch in Montana gets from the government.

    But they do support the arts:

    In another surprise, a top Koch aide revealed to POLITICO that Jeb Bush will be given a chance to audition for the brothers’ support, despite initial skepticism about him at the top of the Kochs’ growing political behemoth.’

    What does Bush do – sing, dance, magic tricks, a** kissing?

  97. 97
    catclub says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Big money is powerful, but Obama won, not Romney.

    This. Once Obama is the national candidate, and hasa similar amount of money (and easy access to the media), money does not matter until they have 7 times as much or more ( Like in downticket races on off-years!).

    Apparently this is one of those things students of political science want the rest of the world to know. ‘After a certain point, money has very little effect.’

  98. 98
    karen marie says:

    @srv: What era was that? Despite my advancing age, I remember no such era.

  99. 99
    D58826 says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m sure the kids and grandkids will carry the banner far into the 21st century

  100. 100
    Peale says:

    @germy shoemangler: A good list to start reading down whenever you meet the dumb ass at the party who nonchalantly proclaims that he is “basically a Libertarian”.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    catclub says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    cauterization.

    lol. Well put.

  103. 103
    Mandalay says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Only crazy people are willing to spend that much money on politics

    I’m pretty sure they see it as investing in their future rather than spending.

    And the money they actually donate is miniscule in terms of their wealth. If Sheldon Adelson donates a hundred million dollars in this election it will be less than 0.3% of his net worth. He probably makes more than that if he has a good week on the stock market.

  104. 104
    Betty Cracker says:

    @catclub: The point is, now with CU, etc., and people like the Kochs willing to spend nearly as much as the entire Obama campaign spent in 2012 — two dudes! $889M! One election cycle! — the playing field is about to get even more tilted.

  105. 105
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @catclub: You could tell me anything and I’d accept it. I’m an English major.

  106. 106
    Tenar Darell says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: @germy shoemangler: @trollhattan: Wait, what? I don’t like James Carville, but this really makes me realize that the Kochs are puke funnelers. Holy cow, this makes my head hurt.

  107. 107
    Tenar Darell says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: There are times when John Stewart’s “pose of wonder” (for humor!) just makes me want to kick him in the shins or something.

    The post office is like a utility to enable communication. It has to charge “flat rates” to fulfill its mission, dagnabit! /grr mutter

  108. 108
    Schlemazel says:

    @trollhattan:
    Their plan is a bit more complex than just destroying USPS. The want to sell off profitable regions (large metropolitan areas) to FedEx/UPS or the like. That would leave the money losers in the hands of the American people who could pay dearly to maintain rural service or cut them off. Oh, and that 60-70 billion dollars in retirement money? well, USPS won’t be needing that any more so it needs to be given to the 0.1%

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    WHAT? Seriously? I had never heard this one, do you knw of some links. I’d love to read about it.

  109. 109
    sparrow says:

    @mai naem mobile: As an astronomer I just think of everything in Hubble units (2.5 B). Equivalently, the entire NASA Astrophysics research program (685 M), which supports thousands of telescope operators, engineers, astronomers and students.

  110. 110
    Brachiator says:

    @Schlemazel:

    Their plan is a bit more complex than just destroying USPS.

    Where have we seen this before? The privatization of the UK Royal Mail Service

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-.....WEML6619I2

    Taxpayers lost out on £1bn because the government and its City advisers underpriced the privatisation of Royal Mail, a committee of MPs says today.

    In a highly critical report, the Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) committee said the government worried too much about pushing the privatisation through at the expense of getting the best price for taxpayers.

  111. 111
    Cervantes says:

    @Schlemazel:

    I had never heard this one

    Read up on libertarian hero Lysander Spooner. You can start here.

  112. 112
    Cervantes says:

    @Brachiator:

    Do they have kids to inherit their mantle?

    The two Koch brothers mentioned above have five kids between them.

  113. 113

    @Schlemazel:

    Oh, and that 60-70 billion dollars in retirement money? well, USPS won’t be needing that any more so it needs to be given to the 0.1%

    I’ve assumed that the pension fund shenanigans are a big part of their privatization plans. Not only does the need to fund it so outrageously and so quickly make their bottom line look terrible- thus justifying privatization- it also provides a nice fund for the private buyers to loot. They’re just waiting to be in complete charge so they can make sure that their cronies are the ones who get to do the looting.

  114. 114
    bemused says:

    USPS has 200,000 union represented employees and retirees which would be another motivation to take the post office down.

  115. 115
    Schlemazel says:

    @Cervantes:
    OY! my head hurts. When you think they just can’t get any stupider

  116. 116
    WereBear says:

    @Brachiator: Glad to answer:

    What Chromebook do you use? Do you have 4GB of RAM or only 2? What size storage (16 or 32GB). Do you use it mainly at one place (home, for example) or take it out and about? My most recent is a Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-111-C670 (11.6-inch HD, 2GB, 16GB). I started with the Acer AC700-1090. I used to use it simply as my portable computer, using my husband’s desktop iMac for the times I needed certain software. Now that I have my own laptop again, it’s my “outside” machine for when I want to write in a coffeeshop, library, or even out front of my own house.

    I don’t really pay attention to the ram or the storage, because it’s plenty fast… until I have a large Google Doc. One of the book writing problems with it. I could not find a web-based application that was as good as Scrivener. But then, nothing is :)

    You have to train yourself away from the way you are used to thinking of a computer. EVERYTHING is online. Stored there, operates there, you use some short term internal storage for stuff you download for to work on temporarily, like picture editing. But that’s it. It’s a web-based operating system all the way down.

    You mention that you have written a book. How’s the keyboard on the Chromebook. And what app did you use for writing? Did you transfer your files to another device for later or final work? The keyboard is actually very good, both on the Acer I first got and the new one I got for Christmas. I draft on Google Docs, which also works offline. There are Google Apps that work offline and so you aren’t as dependent on available WiFi as you might think. Writing is one of those things the Chromebook lets you do anywhere.

    The stuff from the Google Docs was simply copied and pasted into Scrivener.

    You also mention Scrivener. Are you also a Mac person? Yes.

    It is fine for BJ — it is, in all ways, a Chrome browser in a laptop case. And quite the nifty little machine. That’s why, as I mentioned, I got another one instead of replacing the battery after three years. The new one has a better screen, lighter weight, and better battery life. And now my Mac Air won’t leave the apartment.

  117. 117
    Schlemazel says:

    @Roger Moore:
    the good news is this is the last year for the $5.5 BILLION payments so their plan failed. I can hardly wait to see what stupid shit they pull next & which Dems support them in it.

  118. 118
    Cervantes says:

    @Schlemazel:

    Well, here is perhaps the gist of Spooner’s original argument:

    If Congress cannot carry the letters of individuals as cheaply as individuals would do it, there is no propriety in their carrying them at all. The correspondence of private individuals, which is now sent through the public mails, could probably, on an average, be sent through private mails, for one third of the present expense. The overplus, demanded by the government, is an extortion for which there is no justification.

    That was his argument in a nutshell.

    Note also that he was a principled abolitionist and criticized all accommodation with slavery and all hypocritical profiting from its existence.

    As for getting “stupider,” allow me to quote Alexandre Dumas, fils:

    I am deeply humbled whenever I recall that genius has its limits while stupidity does not.

    (My translation, and not a very gracious one at that.)

  119. 119
    Brachiator says:

    @WereBear: Thank you so much for all the info!

  120. 120
    Ryan says:

    I for one have been disappointed that I am the only one I see making reference to Cliff Clavin.

  121. 121

    @germy shoemangler: Holy hell, that dude is NUTS. AND EVAR!

  122. 122
  123. 123
    Kay says:

    I love this post, Betty.

    Nothing is an issue until it’s an issue.

    The mailman is just one straw on a really big camel’s back, and you never know what will be the last straw.

    By this time next year corruption and capture could be what we’re all talking about. You never know :)

  124. 124

    @Kay:
    Speaking of issues that can suddenly come to the forefront, the California legislature is now taking a look at worker scheduling. There’s a bill in the Assembly to require businesses to schedule workers at least 2 weeks in advance, with some reasonable exceptions for calling people in to cover for sick coworkers, force majeur, etc. It’s even getting some support from the media; I found out about it from a supportive editorial in the LA Times.

  125. 125
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Calouste: Sounds like David Koch needs to be sent a bill based on the percentage of his wealth that our government spends to protect his wealth. Actually, that ought to be applied to all squillionaires.

  126. 126
    Tree With Water says:

    The stunt may well have been a suicide attempt. Witness his understanding it would be perceived as a threat, as his post-incident explanation made clear. No one in a balanced state of mind could have deluded themselves a few modifications to a machine would diminish the perception of a copter in the skies above D.C. as a (potential) mortal threat to human life. His ‘Mr. Whirlybird Goes To Washington’ to straighten out congress doesn’t strike me as a very plausible explanation of why he did such a stupid thing.

  127. 127
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That was particulalry brutal, because there’s this social work type-theory about “chaotic” households- poor people have “chaotic” households. It never went further than that- it was just like “oh, they’re disorganized and they won’t PLAN”. The theory is it’s bad for children and that’ s probably true- children like reliability and predictability.

    Of course it’s chaotic. Their work schedule changes every week. No one could manage that well.

  128. 128
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @Kay:

    Of course it’s chaotic. Their work schedule changes every week. No one could manage that well.

    That is one of the many aspects of how poor/working class are treated in this country that totally makes me see red, partially because of all the assbutts who then have the gall to blame them for what is inflicted on them!
    People like me, who have jobs that easily accommodate appointments and whatnot (I have never gotten a whiff of complaint about all the times I leave early to take Chucky to her oncological veterinarian!) have no god damn business judging how the poor manage the many obstacles that the more well-off do not have to deal with.

  129. 129
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: What does it even mean? The first two lines don’t even end in the symbol for an operation.

  130. 130
    Gus says:

    does anyone really think that someone who contributes millions of dollars doesn’t have exponentially more influence on policy than someone who kicks in $150?

    Anthony Kennedy purportedly believes that.

  131. 131
    Gus says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Looks like the Republican platform 2015.

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