The Real World Montgomery Burns (and his brother)

Here’s a telling paragraph.

In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.” In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”

This article is a very telling examination of the two billionaires currently funding the Tea Party (and most of the right-wing libertarian think thanks).  They needed an army of dupes to turn their paranoid fantasies into political realities, and the Tea Party is working just dandy for that purpose.  The excerpt above is about their father, who no doubt, they now see as prescient.
This model (a couple of people providing the funding for millions of “activists”) is pretty standard is politics.   Right-wing media has made a field day of George Soros’ activities.  Karl Rove is now doing the same thing with a group of three Dallas oil tycoons.

[UPDATED]Virtually all of the $4.7 million raised by Karl Rove’s new conservative outfit was contributed by just four billionaires, three of whom are based in Dallas, Texas, and two of whom made their fortune in the oil and gas industry.

The IRS filing of American Crossroads, an outside 527 group that was conceived by Rove and ex-RNC chair Ed Gillespie, gives a good taste of who is funding the GOP effort to make big gains in the House and Senate come the fall. The group has already burned through $600,000 on ads attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is facing a reelection contest against Republican Sharron Angle (see one of the spots below). Chaired by another ex-RNC chair, Mike Duncan, American Crossroads has pledged to raise $50 million to beat Democrats in the midterms and has been seen by some as a competitor to the Republican National Committee itself.

And despite the group’s description of itself as “grassroots,” Salon’s review of its IRS filings show that four billionaires have contributed 97 percent of the $4.7 million it has raised to date. There are no limits on how much corporations, unions, and individuals can donate to 527 groups. Here’s a guide to American Crossroads’ four donors:

[click here to read about ’em]

I do have to say this is an improvement.  Back in the “good” old days, people would randomly speculate about 4 or 5 guys that secretly controlled the political agenda in our country.  Nowadays, with the decades long push for transparency in funding, the FOIA, and our levely interwebs, we get to know the names of the people doing so (and can tags posts with them), we know their backgrounds and still have the ability to publicly remark on the curious coincidence about how so many of the these billionaires made their billions on extracting and selling carbon-based fuel and every single one of them now funds groups that attack climate science as a myth.

This is the not-so-invisible hand at work, smacking a bitch up.   A bitch, in this case, being climate science, sound environmental policy, and sustainable energy policy…all of which tend to get in the way of that *next* billion Benjamins.