You get what they pay for

Sunday August 19, 2012


While Supreme Court Justice Antonin Sca lia rambles around the nation pish-tushing and tush-pishing the validity of the court's allowing anonymous billionaires and millionaires and corporations to dump fortunes on TV advertising that pish-tushes and tush-pishes President Obama, we can see the results in action.

There are too many people who can be susceptible to lies if they hear them often enough. That is why television plays such a large part in our political campaigns. These are viewers who probably do not spend time studying the techniques of the two parties in order to decide who is telling more truth and who is blowing more smoke.

But now that the super wealthy can use their almost limitless funds to pay for these false television ads, the game has become not quite one-sided but too close for comfort.

There is a tea party group called Americans for Pro sperity that is basically funded by the Koch brothers, who control Koch Industries, the second-largest private business in the United States, reportedly grossing $100 billion a year. This is not small change no matter how you count it.

There are four Koch brothers who fought it out in the courts in the 1980s and 1990s and there were winners and losers, but the losers did all right when it comes to un speakable amounts of money. It is all because their father, the late Fred, invented new cracking methods for the refinement of heavy oil into gasoline. Charles Koch is the head guy at Koch Industries, David Koch the assistant boss. The losing brothers, Fred and Bill, now confine themselves to doing whatever the heck they want. And you can play plenty of heck with their financial bonanza.

Americans for Prosperity was formed in 2004 with the financial backing of Charles and David Koch, and its 35 state chapters now have approximately 1.9 million members. Its philosophy is simple: cut taxes and government spending, let entrepreneurs make their own rules, and bring "fairness" back to the judicial system. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is simple. Simple enough to get several tea party candidates elected to Congress.


And now the Americans for Prosperity have taken off their gloves and are about to duke it out in the coming presidential election. The Koch brothers have given them $25 million to defeat Barack Obama and make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America. The money will be spent in the so-called "swing states" where most of the votes are still up for grabs.

The TV campaign has started and will continue through Labor Day weekend when the $25 million will have been spent. The first TV commercial will focus on Obama and the ever-growing national debt. Obama in his winning campaign for his first term promised he was going to cut that debt to smithereens.

The debt already had good legs from what had been perpetrated by George W. Bush during his profligate eight years in the White House. And whenever Obama tried to get it into better shape by raising taxes and closing loopholes, the Republicans blocked him at every turn. We must admit that the Republicans have done a heck of a job of blocking most of Obama's key moves by voting on straight party lines each and every time they came to bat. There has been no pro gress on national issues while one party has just bunched up and said "No" to everything.

Since we are not a swing state, we do not get the benefit of the TV ads concocted by the Americans for Prosperity. Their key attack is one showing the national debt clock ticking higher and higher with each little tick.

And for the kicker, there is an Obama quote where he said "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."

And what will the Repub licans get out of this -- less taxes; a government so lean you won't be able to see it when it is standing sideways; rules and regulations out the window; judges in people's pockets. Not bad for a measly $25 million.

Milton Bass is a regular Eagle


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