Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

Santorum endorses Obama

Posted by Charles II on March 23, 2012

It’s very hard to read this comment any differently. And I think it makes sense. As Rachel has been showing very effectively, Romney is a pathological liar. Whatever one’s political ideology, better the devil one knows.\

Will Weissert, Huffington Post:

“You win by giving people a choice,” Santorum said during a campaign stop in Texas. “You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there.”

Santorum added: “If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.” (emphasis added)

Somehow I don’t think Santorum has a future in the Republican Party. Telling the truth is not regarded favorably.

Posted in Republicans | 5 Comments »

Maybe Joe Arpaio should break up this Kochfight

Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2012

Via Avedon.

Matt Pearce, LAT:

…Charles and David Koch are taking to the courts to solve an ownership dispute involving the Cato Institute.

The president of the institute, a longtime pillar of free-market thinking in Washington — calls the move an attempt “to transform Cato from an independent, nonpartisan research organization into a political entity” with a “partisan agenda.”…

…the Kochs’ lawsuit …plunges into an internal battle over who owns 25% of the institute’s shares. The Kochs hold 50% of the shares and possibly stand to hold more if they win the suit.

The current Cato Institute was founded in, ironically enough, San Francisco in 1977, and the original began three years earlier as a Kansas nonprofit named the Charles Koch Foundation Inc.

It was recently chaired by William Niskanen, who retired in 2008 and died in October; his 25% ownership share transferred to his wife, which the Koch brothers believe under shareholders’ agreements must be sold back to the institute.

According to its latest tax filing for 2010, the Cato Institute’s four shareholders each had 25% stakes in the $52 million, 200-employee nonprofit organization.

Shares? Huh? Matt Yglesias says:

Something that was confusing me about the lawsuit between the Koch Brothers and the Cato Institute that Dave Weigel’s excellent backgrounder didn’t really explain was how is it that a 501(c)3 nonprofit like the Cato Institute has “shares” for people to be arguing over in the first place? After all, one of the rules of the game is that nobody owns nonprofits. The answer seems to be that Cato is formally organized as a membership institution that just happens to have a very small number of members. A more standard form of 501(c) organization seen in most DC think tanks is that you have no members and the board is a self-perpetuating governance body. But if you think of the “shares” at issue in the Koch/Cato lawsuit as memberships, then you can see why the legal issue arises about whether the late William Niskanen’s shares can be inhereted by his wife.

Dave Weigel, WaPo:

Eight years later [in 1985], as it relocated to Washington, a new agreement was drawn up that split the ownership of the think tank four ways: Crane, Koch, George Pearson, and William Niskanen. Each had 16 shares of the Cato Institute, $1 per share. But in 1991, as his brother David joined Cato and grabbed his own 16 shares, Charles Koch walked away.

Crane kept building Cato. Contact was severed; in a 2010 interview, Crane told me that he never quite understood why Koch bolted.

In the past, Charles Koch and his allies have criticized Cato for lacking real, provable results. Since then, David has found tremendous success with Americans for Prosperity, which in the Tea Party era evolved into one of the most powerful conservative organizations in electoral politics. (It has spent seven figures so far this year on TV ads against Barack Obama.) Draw your conclusions.

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker:

As I wrote in my New Yorker piece about the Kochs, “Though David remains on the board at Cato, Charles Koch has fallen out with Crane. Associates suggested to me that Crane had been insufficiently respectful of Charles‘s management philosophy, which he distilled into a book called “The Science of Success,’ and trademarked under the name Market-Based Management, or M.B.M.… A top Cato Institute official told me that Charles ‘thinks he’s a genius. He’s the emperor, and he’s convinced he’s wearing clothes.’ ”

Forbes has obtained the court documents here.

Posted in koch brothers, libertoonians, political purges | Comments Off on Maybe Joe Arpaio should break up this Kochfight

Shorter State of the Union and Response: a Duet

Posted by Charles II on January 25, 2012

Obama: Everyone should join the Army to learn what it means to be an American.

Mitch: Private enterprise blew up the American economy, so it should be given all power to fix it.

Everything else is commentary.

Posted in Barack Obama, Republicans | Comments Off on Shorter State of the Union and Response: a Duet

Which side are you on, Ron? Part 1

Posted by Charles II on January 19, 2012

An interesting debate began, initiated by a recent troll graduate of our School on Manners. With a national machine of committed supporters, Ron Paul could be the GOP nominee for the presidency as Santorum’s deficiencies become more obvious and the attacks on Romney continue to chip away. So, understanding who Ron Paul is in the dextro universe is starting to look like a worthwhile question to ask. Is he a populist crackpot libertarian, or is he part of the corporate-funded reactionary network exemplified by David and Charles Koch?

What seems unambiguous is that Paul is fundamentally part of what is called the paranoid right, a movement that spans from the Freemen of Montana and the Michigan Militia to the John Birch Society to Pat Robertson and on and on. The basic theme of the paranoid right is that there is a gigantic conspiracy, often dominated by shadowy forces like the Bilderbergers, the Freemasons, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations or the Communists to take away American freedoms. The completely open conspiracies, such as that of corporations to dominate speech and of Republicans to deny people the right to vote are overlooked in the quest to find a conspiracy so immense that it doesn’t quite fit into the human universe.

The evidence connecting Paul to the paranoid right is pretty straightforward.
* The content of his survivalist newsletters, such as the militant rhetoric offering to fight a war with the feds here (also notice the reference to the Trilateral Commission; see also here) or this gem about the conspiracy between USAID/OPIC/the Ex-Im Bank and “Marxist” Panamanian president Torrijos, or the claim that the US government created AIDS, or that the the Interfaith alliance is a “hit squad” with “more friends in high places than the Christian Coalition can hope for”, that NPR is a socialist enterprise. There’s a big invisible conspiracy that only Ron Paul can see, but it requires being ready to fight a war against the US government. [TNR has released more and in some ways juicier newsletters here]
* His speeches to the John Birch Society (see, for example, here).
* His early support by David Koch. David Koch’s father was a founding member of the John Birch Society, but I haven’t yet found direct connections between David Koch and the JBS; Jane Mayer presents some evidence against this, although clearly both the JBS and the Koch brothers share many ideological roots. Charles Pierce does connect the younger Kochs, but supplies no evidence.
* The involvement of Paul aides like Stewart Rhodes in second wave Patriot militias, espousing extreme anti-government rhetoric.

So, here are some resources on the Kochs, the John Birch Society, and Ron Paul.

Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute clearly thinks that there’s no link at all between the Kochs and Paul:

Ron Paul is holding one of his first monetary policy hearings today and he hasn’t sold out. Ron Paul is from the school of libertarians that hates D.C. libertarians, which is weird since he is one of the most well-known libertarians in D.C. How does that work?

The term Kochtopus was originally used as a slur by some libertarians to describe the Koch brothers’ funded wing of the libertarian movement (Cato, Reason, etc.). There’s a lot of fighting over ideology, purity, funding and intellectual legacies between two groups of libertarians that splintered in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and Paul is on the other side of that divide.

Daniela Perdomo, Alternet on the Tea Party attempt to bring down Ron Paul; this could be consistent with Koch influence on the Tea Party:

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas’ Gulf Coast, faces three Republican challengers this year — more than in his six past primaries combined. All three opponents are affiliated with the Tea Party movement. What makes this so fascinating is the fact that the Tea Partiers got their unofficial start through Paul himself.

Ed Pilkington, Common Dreams comments on how the Kochs plan to flood the 2012 election with enough money to control the outcome:

The secretive oil billionaires the Koch brothers are close to launching a nationwide database connecting millions of Americans who share their anti-government and libertarian views

The voter file was set up by the Kochs 18 months ago with $2.5m of their seed money, and is being developed by a hand-picked team of the brothers’ advisers. It has been given the name Themis, after the Greek goddess who imposes divine order on human affairs.

Though the Kochs have already stamped their influence on the American right, their impact to date looks like small beer compared with their ambitious plans for 2012. According to Kenneth Vogel of Politico, the brothers intend to use their leverage among billionaire conservatives to pump more than $200m into the proceedings

Richard Matthews, Green Conduct News, however, puts Ron Paul at a Koch-sponsored event, so perhaps the animosity isn’t too extreme:

The Koch brothers have a long history of influence peddling through front groups like Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which had a role in the formation of the Tea Party. Many Republican presidential hopefuls have been in attendance at AFP events like the annual Defending the American Dream Summit. These Summits focus on issues like reversing environmental protections, preventing new environmental laws and promoting policies that benefit big oil. At the October 5, 2007 Summit, the GOP Presidential candidates who attended included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. The speakers that day included Herman Cain and AFP founder David Koch.

Yasha Levine, Texas Observer on the Koch brothers’ grandfather, Harry:

Little has been written about Harry Koch. He’s the least-known member of the Koch family, which has been marching under the same laissez-faire banner for the past three generations. Harry Koch emigrated to America in 1888, settled in a North Texas railroad town and became a newspaper publisher and aggressive corporate booster. He advocated for railroad and banking interests, amassing wealth and helping big business fight organized labor and squelch reforms.

Much of the Koch brothers’ ideology can be found in [their grandfather] Harry Koch’s newspaper editorials of nearly a century ago. Take, for instance, the Kochs’ current fight against Social Security. Harry Koch took part in a multi-year right-wing propaganda campaign to shoot down New Deal programs. Grandfather and grandsons employ eerily familiar talking points to bash government pension and welfare programs.

This is where the research stood two weeks ago, when other duties imposed. I’ll try to pick it up, since understanding where in the dextro universe Ron Paul stands is important to understanding the derangement that America is going through. In many ways, the current Republican candidates (Romney, Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, and Paul) clearly illustrate what the Republican party is:

* The financial corporate right (Romney) is in the driver’s seat.
* The domestic corporate right (Gingrich) is unhappy with American decline, and is therefore willing to bloody Romney
* The religious right (Santorum) and the populist/racist/xenophobic right (Perry) are in a weak position
* The paranoid right (Paul), which includes a lot of military people presumably alienated by the wars, is attracted to the corporate libertarian views of Paul.

More as I am able.

Posted in false prophets, libertoonians | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The Kochrupt Governor of Wisconsin

Posted by Charles II on January 5, 2012

Ideology is for the little people. The big people in politics are focused on the money, and on power. And so it’s no surprise to discover that the newly-elected (and, one may hope, imminently removed) Governor of Wisconsin has a lot of shady friends. Mary Spicuzza, Clay Barbour, and Dee J. Hall Wisconsin State Journal:

Two men, including a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker, were arrested Thursday and charged with embezzling from veterans groups, the latest break in the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker’s current and former staff.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said former Walker aide Tim Russell and Kevin Kavanaugh, the former treasurer of a Milwaukee-area veterans group, are accused of taking money meant for veterans, wounded soldiers and families of those killed in action to spend on expensive trips and personal items.

Another Walker staffer reported the missing money, sparking the John Doe investigation in May 2010, a court document shows.

A third man, Brian Pierick, Russell’s longtime partner, was also arrested Thursday as part of the probe and faces charges of felony child enticement and causing a child to expose his genitals.

Walker said Thursday that he was “very disappointed” by the alleged actions.

Also snared:

Andrew P. Jensen… Milwaukee-area commercial real estate broker …

William Gardner: The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad CEO pleaded guilty last April to funneling $62,800 in illegal campaign contributions to Scott Walker’s campaigns

May 2010 meant this was all going on while Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. I guess he know nottin.

And in breaking media news, The Journal Sentinel actually reported the story.

Posted in koch brothers, Media machine, Republicans | 1 Comment »


Posted by Charles II on December 22, 2011

Scott Walker has an admirer.

Image from Baraboo News Republic

Posted in Republicans, speaking truth to power | 1 Comment »

Ayn Randians to create free market paradise in Honduras

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2011

Don’t say you weren’t warned. All of the worst ideas of the right are being tried out on hapless Third World nations like Honduras. And they’re scheduled for reimportation to a community very near you. Like your own.

Via Adrienne, an article from The Economist:

Now, for the first time, libertarians have a real chance to implement their ideas. In addition to a big special development region, the Honduran government intends to approve two smaller zones. And two libertarian-leaning start-ups have already signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding with the Honduran government to develop them.

One firm goes by the name of Future Cities Development Corporation. It was co-founded by Patri Friedman, a grandson of Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate in economics, and until recently executive director of the Seasteading Institute, a group producing research on how to build ocean-based communes. The other is called Grupo Ciudades Libres (Free Cities Group) and is the brainchild of Michael Strong and Kevin Lyons, two entrepreneurs and libertarian activists.

Mr Strong is close to John Mackey, the co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods…

Mr Friedman’s contacts seem more promising: the Seasteading Institute received lots of cash from Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who founded the internet payment service PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook…

Honduras has already created zones wherein Honduran law, such as it is, does not operate. Something like Michigan, with its takeovers of municipalities.

Posted in Honduras, libertoonians | 4 Comments »

You’re being too kind

Posted by Charles II on December 6, 2011

Chris Britt

(image from

Via Scott Horton, Der Spiegel’s Mark Pitzke:

Africa is a country. In Libya, the Taliban reigns. Muslims are terrorists; most immigrants are criminal; all Occupy protesters are dirty. And women who feel sexually harassed — well, they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the US Republicans. Or rather, to the twisted world of what they call their presidential campaigns.

They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They’ve shown such stark lack of knowledge — political, economic, geographic, historical — that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.

And so the farce continues. The more mind-boggling its incarnations, the happier the US media are to cheer first one clown and then the next,

Then there’s Newt Gingrich…the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.

Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington. At least the man’s got chutzpah.
Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing.

Rick Perry’s blunders are legendary.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann … [is] still tolerated as if she’s a serious contender. Ron Paul’s fan club gets the more excited, the more puzzling his comments get. Jon Huntsman, the only one who occasionally makes some sort of sense, has been relegated to the poll doldrums ever since he showed sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

Which leaves Mitt Romney, the eternal flip-flopper and runner-up…

What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses.

Pitzke misses the point. These are the sorts of personal characteristics that Republicans admire, at least as long as the person in question has lots of money. How can the party who impeached Bill Clinton for adultery a little over 10 years ago have as its frontrunner a man who was engaging in adultery at the same time that he was impeaching Bill Clinton? It only makes sense if Bill Clinton’s sins were not big enough to gain him a place in the Republican pantheon.

I predict that what will happen in the end is a deadlocked convention, and an exciting, new candidate will materialize. Someone relatively unknown. Someone whose secrets are well enough hidden that they won’t emerge before the election. Probably a military man.

And someone worse than all of the rest of the liars club that is the Republican primary.

Posted in 2012, hypocrites, liars, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 7 Comments »

Ayn Rand Fan Tyler Cowen Doesn’t Like The Results Of Decades Of Randism On Conservatives

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 13, 2011

This just cracked me up.

Tyler Cowen, Ayn-Rand-worshiping product of and coddled hothouse flower in the conservative ideology factory and Koch Brothers plaything known as George Mason University, is all bummed out at how lazy and amoral conservatives and libertarian producers are letting themselves be outshone by liberal moochers in the intellectual and other departments:

The first problem is that higher status for the wealthy can easily lead to crony capitalism. In public discourse social status judgments are often crude. Critical differences are lost, like the distinction between earning money through production for consumers, as Apple has done, and earning money through the manipulation of government, which heavily subsidized agribusinesses have done. The relevant question, in my view, is not about how much you have earned but about how you have earned it. To further confuse matters, many right-wing Republican politicians supported corporate bailouts and corporate welfare far beyond what was necessary to stabilize the economy, in doing so further muddying the difference between productive and predatory capitalism.

The second problem is that many conservatives have become so attached to their cultural vision that they have ceded sound, technocratic reasoning to the left and center. For instance there is a common willingness among conservatives to defend the Bush tax cuts, even though the evidence does not show much of an economic payoff.


…today’s elites are so wedded to permissive values — in part for their own pleasure and convenience — that a new conservative cultural revolution may have little chance of succeeding.

Well, boo hoo hoo.

The spoiled-brat Cons Cowen rails about are precisely what you get when you rear three generations of conservatives on Ayn Rand’s mid-20th-century Social-Darwinist gloss on the Calvinistic idea that they are the Elect and everyone else is the Preterite.

Of course the modern Cons are lazy, stupid, greedy, and amoral — and it’s because they are Randians, even the self-alleged Christians among them like Mark Sanford.

They have been trained to think of themselves as the embodiment of her perfect elite, the studly producers and “makers” whose every action per Rand (including rape and murder) is self-justified, and to have nothing but contempt for the 99% — or as they call us, the “moochers”, “parasites” (a term adopted by rabid Randian Alan Greenspan (aka Mr. Andrea Mitchell) when he was a young man: “Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”), “looters”, and “takers” (which math-challenged Rand worshiper Paul Ryan favors).

So when Cowen says that everyone needs to behave like “the hero from an Ayn Rand novel”, what he doesn’t mention is that the very conservatives and Republicans he’s allegedly complaining about are the ones who have taken Rand’s words most strongly to what passes for their self-interested, self-centered, other-ignoring, empathy-shunning hearts. Quelle surprise — not.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, libertoonians, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

(What Passes For) GOP Wisdom: Obama’s Gay, Kenyan, Backed By A Jewish Billionaire

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 7, 2011

This really has to be seen to be believed:

It’s all of the Bircher/Turner-Diaries/Limbaugh/Tea-Party right-wing craziness distilled into one person and regurgitated in concentrated form. And she’s a Republican primary voter, folks.

If you wonder why even movement Republicans like Dan Riehl are finally starting to admit that the GOP’s gone insane, look no further.

Posted in libertoonians, Republicans, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: