The Wrong Dog and Pony Show
Six years ago, I found a group of Koch intimates running stealth initiative campaigns in a dozen states and more. They poured millions of anonymous dollars — seemingly coming from just three anonymous contributors — into pushing their Frankenstein legislation on the unwitting citizens of said states. When the story came to light, the national media ignored it. (The New York Times, at best, rather condescendingly noted that Manhattanite Howie Rich was being accused of some things.)
The state media wasn’t much better, devoting an article or two on a “exposé” and then right back to debating pig effluvium and its pros and cons. The blogosphere picked up the story, and when the voters found out, they overwhelmingly rejected these measures in states in which they were exposed, and passed them in states in which they were not.
This year is the SAME THING. On steroids.
And if we don’t pay attention, and if the media do not pay attention, then we are guilty of electoral treason. Period.
Let me give you a case in point, and then I’ll tell you WHY we need to pay attention to what the REAL election is, and why it’s important.
Foster “Aspirin Knees” Friess.
Koch Dominionists for Santorum 6 January 2012
Slow as it was, the dinosaur media found out that Foster was financing Rick Santorum’s superpac. And, he was standing behind Santorum cheering in Iowa. A couple Wyoming blogs and I found it almost immediately. (I give them full credit for spotting Foster first, but my observation wasn’t influenced by theirs.)
Articles were written. Pundits pontificated. But nobody dug.
It remained obscure in news reports that Foster financed and just ponied up another seven figures for The Daily Caller, run by his Jackson Hole, Wyoming neighbor and Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Neil Patel. Cheney is another neighbor in Millionaire Gulch, outside of Jackson. The only face noted by media is the media face, Tucker Carlson, and even that isn’t much talked about.
We know, for instance, that Andrew Breitbart and Tucker Carlson staged a stealth maneuver to “interview” Bill Ayers.
[* A "benefit" lunch with Ayers was auctioned off at a fundraiser, not for his past, but for his present involvement in the community and education; an operative purchased the auction, and then Breitbart dot com and The Daily Caller dot com showed up. You can hear Bill Ayers public radio interview "My dinner with Andrew Breitbart and Tucker Carlson," March 15, 2012 HERE.]
The spirit animating Breitbart dot com
Breitbart dot com and The Daily Caller have become prominent for taking down persons, bullying media and getting people fired (e.g. Shirley Sherrod in the former case, and David Weigel in the latter. There are many more instances.)
But, during the entire phony “presidential” primaries race and media circus, amidst torrents, floods and seas of blather, nobody had any spare time to note the bizarre connection between The Daily Caller and Foster Friess as a meaningful avenue of inquiry?
This is the same media that provided their OWN tour bus for the fake “Tea Party Express” tours (CNN) thus giving the imprimateur of imperial media legitimacy, even though it’s the same bus show that started out as the “You Don’t Speak for Me, Cindy” tour, to promote the War and silence Cindy Sheehan’s increasingly effective (at the time) protest against the unlawful war of aggression against the wrong opponent.
The “public’s right to know” 2010
When Foster made his “aspirin between the knees” joke to Andrea Mitchell, he claimed a special “wedding anniversary” getaway and existed the media spotlight to hide out like the drunken younger brother of a legislator up for state re-election in a Motel 6, with plenty of booze, cable TV and a baby-sitter.
The media stopped asking any questions, even though it is known that Foster Friess was one of those singled out for praise by Charles Koch at the Palm Springs get-together last year for having given their zillionaires’ slush fund a million dollars before. I’ve gone into this at length, so I won’t repeat myself here.
The Aspen Koch Get-together. Click pic for details
The point is that when somebody gives the Kochs a million bucks to launder however they may, almost single-handedly underwrites the presidential campaign of the last man standing, who was given absolutely zero chance of surviving past Iowa by those self-same know-it-alls, isn’t that worth cutting a couple slices of BS blather out of the columns and paying some investigative attention?
When he underwrites a prominent new “attack media” Right Wing blog in collusion with the fading Breitbart dot com empire that gave us James “Pimp” O’Keefe, with the instantly recognizable mask of Tucker Carlson in front of the snarling face of the Cheney Veepiness, isn’t that worthy of paying SOME DAMNED ATTENTION TO?!??
Because this election isn’t expected to involve us. This election is for rats. This election will take place at the state and local levels as the Friesses and the Kochs finance a Pavlovian election machine that they tested out in 2010.
Let me show you how pernicious this is. AAMCO Transmissions. (You ought to hear their jingle “Double A, Em Cee Oh. AAAMCO.)
Those jingles, ubiquitous in American life since the early days of radio, have a very specific purpose: they condition you to associate the tune with the name, so that you will think of the name when you think of the product.
Well and good. But that’s conditioning. That’s not choice. Bill Maher was paneling last night and ranting about fast food, that it was a choice and his split on the issue. But it isn’t a choice. If you’ve watched any TV, you might notice that the food commercials come on just at those points they think you might be hungry. Dinnertime. Breakfast.
Even my favorite recent commercial, where a “phantom bong” is in the middle of a table surrounded by Jack in the Box taco wrappers, always run late at night (with Late Night logo), and showing the reverse angle that no, it’s ACTUALLY a ceramic mug and was a trick of the light. The two stoner dudes are saying how great their surcease of munchies was. The initial impression is clear: stoned? Jack tacos would be AWESOME right now, and hey! We’re open right now.
Or the current Applebees commercial, (which you should just listen to, without looking; THEN go back and look): The soundtrack emphasizes the sizzle sound. And they even cop to it. “And what gets your juices flowing.” Anton Pavlov must be chuckling. Now, they ring the bell, and WE drool.
Frank Luntz became the indispensable man in Republican Rhetoric long ago, not for his eloquence, but for his Pavlovian research into WHAT words will imprint, will create the proper emotional response, will cause the dog to drool.
And now, it’s a simple game of pick your candidate, turn on your secret SuperPac machine, and carpet-bomb with conditioning.
Candidate A? Unicorns and rainbows and butterflies.
Candidate B? Dark Satanic rites, prowling wolves, spiders.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
What happened in 2006 was a national legislative agenda, drafted by unseen hands for shadowy plutocratic masters. And we STILL don’t actually know who financed it. (Although the implications are clear enough that anyone but a journalist or lawyer could see it.)
What happened in 2010 was a shift to playing a national game at a state level. Having a slate of candidates. Taking out unwary incumbents in poorly-covered primaries. Overwhelming the state parties and organizations with CONDITIONING and taking over governorships and legislatures across the land.
The real, untold story of 2010 was how the “Tea Party” meme was created and conditioned, supported and financed, successfully, to grab massive power across the land, and the same machinery is clanking underway this year as well.
The Republican party is being taken over by another force, the pie on whose crust Mitt Romney merely is a top flake upon. Here’s a little factotum: The Republican governor of New Mexico, elected in 2010 was aided by a $300,000 donation from Foster Friess, the largest donation in her campaign.
In Wisconsin, Foster Friess is (or was, as of last month) among the top contributors to Scott Walker’s “Don’t Recall Me, Bro!” campaign, to the tune of six figures. (And the bastard has the gall to whine that he’s not NEARLY as rich as some of the other players. “I may be richer than Croesus, but I’m an underdog, because so many gazillionaires have more than I. I’m not even a lousy BILLIONAIRE.” Awww. We weep.)
When you’re worth several hundred
million dollars, you get to pretend
you’re a cowboy and nobody
will say a word. Money talks.
THAT is this year’s election. The shadowy masters, and those trying to make us drool, utterly without any but the slightest nod to the higher cognitive faculties, like … choice.
All they are trying to do is to get the rats to press the proper lever, using conditioning and reinforcement techniques.
And if that doesn’t scare the piss out of you, there’s no point in going on.
This is a NATIONAL campaign being waged on a state level.
Used to be that it was a contest of self-limiting size. It used to be here in Eugene, Oregon, a state senator’s campaign rarely went above five figures spent (and a low five figures at that) and often less than five figures. Now, it is a six-figure race. Each election ramps up the costs of running for statewide offices geometrically. Money becomes the determinant.
And, increasingly, as in Wisconsin, the money has nothing whatsoever to do with the state. Somewhere in Valhalla, over a marble chessboard, played with bejeweled pieces made of precious metals and lovingly hand-crafted by Norns, the Great Bears and Bulls play a money game this year, picking and choosing the candidates that they have no moral entitlement to support or deny, since they do not live on the ground with we, poor ants, nor share our toils and travails.
Political parties used to be different, state by state. The “national party” was a creature of the state parties. Today, the GOP is a franchise operation, and the local and state parties merely retail outlets, where, mostly, “involved” citizens are allowed to play kabuki politics that have no effect on the candidates, the issues or the legislation that ensues. They are valuable more for their bodies in getting the rats out to press the proper lever than they are for their modest contributions. Their money is meaningless, as is your money.
Sorry lady. You’re off the board and out of the game.
But we pretend that it is still like Idaho was in 2006. When you look through the patiently chronicled contributions it is easy to spot the out of state “Club for Growth” bundles. The average donation that year was five and ten, and sometimes fifty dollars. Those were the in-state donations. The out-of-state donations ran to four and even five figures. How is granny going to compete, politically, with her widow’s mite against the plutocrats’ might?
Local fundraising and local donations (and support) have become mere window-dressing. The real action is in the money that can now sluice in, smoking and steaming, from every piggy bank in hell.
THAT is the real election. THAT would actually employ reporters covering a presidential contest more notable for its gaffes than for its substance. One candidate actually HAS no substance.
But he DOES have a massive “independent” conditioning machine behind him, as Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and all other pretenders found out to their chagrin. No candidate ever approached 1:1 parity. Usually they were outspent twenty and forty to one.
We are enslaved by our conditioning. Multiple generations of Americans will instantly hear a jingle when the magic words are spoken.
I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener.
The Faux Nooz crowd are so conditioned that they truly believe that President Obama was born in Kenya, is a Muslim, is a “socialist” (whatever THAT means, but it’s BAD, right?), is a Marxist (see previous parenthetical), a radical, the “most divisive president in modern American history” (as I actually heard spoken with a straight face this week, thinking, true, if by “modern” you mean the past three years) and is a “celebrity.”
Jack = yum
Which is hilarious, since being a celebrity has become the lingua franca of American discourse AND the chiefest thing to be ardently hoped and dreamed for its magical acquisition. cf. “Kardassian.” cf. every author in America, who must now become a “celebrity” interview to sell books. cf. everyone on TeeVee. cf. every journalist, who requires the cachet of BEING on TV to lend “celebrity” status to his/her journalism. “I been on TeeVee. I’s a REAL journalist.”
Or in the words of Faux Nooz (local edition):
The Fauxmobile screeches to a halt (You can tell, because it’s got the logo emblazoned on its otherwise white exterior). Reporter, sound/boom guy and cameraman emerge, along with another couple of guys holding portable lights, which they aim at an unshaven, fedora’d fellow leading a pack mule out of the Sonoran desert.
HEAD JOURNO: We are reporters. You know, journalistos.
F.C. DOBBS: If you’re journalistos, where are your facts?
HEAD JOURNO: Facts? FACTS?? We don’ got to show you no steenking facts!
(With apologies to John Huston.)
The “reporting” isn’t as important as the conditioning.
Bong: Jack in the Box.
Phantom bong reinforcement
(The later message that it was a trick of the light, even though J.P. Morgan’s ‘phantom dagger’ is literally in the center of the frame doesn’t undo the conditioning. FIRST impressions are almost always the only impressions that matter. How else do you explain the still prevalent idiocy that AIDS has something to do with homosexuality? It’s a disease that shows up according to the chain of transmitters, not the method of transmission. In Haiti and Africa, it’s a disease of heterosexuals. But the INITIAL conditioning was that it’s “God’s Vengeance on Homos” and that conditioning remains stuck fast in the glottis of American small-mindedness to this very day.)
Famous Edward Steichen portrait of
J.P. Morgan with “phantom dagger”
Let me give you an example (from “Truth Is Whatever I Say It Is” ):
As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief [sic] would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film “that’s the call I would have made.” For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are…
Setting aside for a moment Mr. Rove’s qualifications as a film critic (they are slightly fewer than his qualifications as a creature with a soul or a conscience), one asks one’s self: When was the last time that you ever heard ANY Republican admit that Bill Clinton could possibly be right about ANYthing? And yet, here, Karl Rove is marking up the merchandise right in front of our eyes.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has “corrected” the lie that Karl Rove told:
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this column included an incomplete quote from Bill Clinton in the last paragraph.
Now, it reads: Even President Bill Clinton says in the film ”I hope that’s the call I would have made.“
Which completely changes the meaning of Rove’s oily assertion.
The correction doesn’t matter. The first impression has produced the desired imprinting, GIGO as they used to say in the punch card days of computing, “Garbage In: Garbage Out.”
YouTube “click to turn off” Romney ad that appears on videos right now
Here is some conditioniong today from John Hinderaker, new Koch appointee to the CATO Institute board, former vice-taker-downer of Dan Rather:
John Hinderaker / Power Line:Is Romney Pulling Away? — It is, of course, way too early to get cocky. But Republicans have to be happy with the way current polling is going. In this morning’s tracking poll at Rasmussen Reports, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by a stunning 50%-42%. Rasmussen’s matchup is a rolling three …Discussion:Gregg Re / The Daily Caller: Obama ignores gay marriage issue on Saturday as Romney surges aheadScared Monkeys: Rasmussen: Mitt Romney 50% – Barack Obama 42% … Hardly Good Polling Numbers for an Incumbent PresidentMcPartland / nation.foxnews.com: Rasmussen Poll: Romney 50%, Obama 42%Weasel Zippers: Rasmussen: Romney 50%, Obama 42%
You see the talking points, which are about conditioning. And it has been successful. You can see how much if you follow threads in discussion groups. A made up example:
Someone is making a point about campaign cash, and uses an analogy about tacos.
Someone else says: “Tacos! Tacos? I LOVES me some tacos!’
And someone else says ‘But not those tacos at Hyper-Taco. They’re using evil chemical additives!’
And then someone else says, yes, it’s all a conspiracy of the FritoBandito Supremacy, who have taken control of every bubble-gum manufacturing facility on the planet!”
And someone else says “Bubble-gum! Bubble-gum? I LOVES me some bubble-gum!”
And so forth.
Jack tacos yum – from same commercial
The logical train of thought is not rational, it is associative: it is dream logic, the logic of the subconscious (or the soul-in-drag) of teddy bears remind you of childhood and that reminds you of your childhood and that reminds you of your bed where the teddy bear used to sit and that hole in the mattress that your brother burned in it playing with matches and how much you used to like matches and free matchbooks that said “Can you draw the Pirate?” and how much you liked Pirates of the Caribbean, and so on.
Can YOU draw the pirate?
The links are by association, but not logical. The constant and unending conditioning that we’ve undergone has programmed an unending and endlessly annoying series of conditionings that have trapped us as surely as the Lilliputians trapped Gulliver with gossamer threads.
So: secret gazillionaires are paying Frank Luntzes and filmmakers to condition you via carpet-bombing all the way down to the local level. And you’ve been neatly finessed right off the game board.
Because your thoughtful vote only counts as one against a sea of rats trained to press the proper lever.
All the way down to your hometown.
That’s this election and that’s the national story that we need to be talking about, no matter whose face ultimately graces the marquee.
All that matters is that the conditioning proceeds, bypassing rational thought and producing the proper results for our chess masters.
But that’s not newsworthy.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog