Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Power And Money

Power begets money and money begets power. If you have enough money you can buy power, rewriting laws  to your advantage that will make you richer. If you have enough power you can stifle dissent, or at the very least drown it out in a cacophony of attacks. All you have to do is pay out a few million to make billions, for there is always an eager horde who will gladly obey anyone with power. Authoritarian followers are most comfortable in a hierarchy, in which they know whom to obey and whom to force to obey them. They want clearly defined lines, detailed laws and rigid rules. They live to obey their authority; follow his commands, fight his enemies, and sacrifice for his good to prove their devotion.

Naturally, authoritarian leaders enjoy this arrangement very much as well. They believe that laws are for the followers, that they are innately superior to the followers, and that their rightful place is in the lead, reaping their rightful awards. Authoritarian followers who are born to a high position in their hierarchy sometimes think that they are actually authoritarian leaders. We call these people libertarians. Deep inside they realize their proper position on the totem pole but they have enough power and wealth to separate themselves physically above the rabble and they have the full force and power of the real leaders behind their backs. Just as long as they continue to support their leaders, the elite followers can wield an inordinate amount of power against the lower castes.

The elite followers are also highly motivated to wield it in an arbitrary and petty manner, since they must constantly be given proof that they are, indeed, leaders and not lowly followers. One way to do that is through petty power plays, such as jerking around women's health care. Another way is to blandly lie to the lower orders, knowing full well that there is nothing they can do about it. If the looters and moochers complain they can be drowned out by the employees and devotees of the rich. If they start to become dangerous they can be forced to back down by the legal and security systems, which are under the ultimate control of the elite. There is nothing the 99% can do to these liars, and they know it.

In fact, they find it highly amusing to watch the rabble struggle against their betters. They gather on balconies, manicured fingers wrapped around glasses of expensive wine, and laugh at the sheep as they bleat their despair. And they mock the feeble attempts of the poor to hold them accountable for their lies, to be so very pathetic as to think the truth matters, instead of power and wealth.

Which brings us, yet again, to Megan McArdle. As I noted before, Megan McArdle has been on a tear lately, attacking a man who had made himself an enemy of her elite. She has written six posts, a couple of them incredibly long, in the defense of Heartland Institute and the Koch brothers, despite the fact that she says she has no interests in common with either. But they are her elite, and when they are attacked she leaps to defend them, a trait that has made her happy and wealthy. She does not need to be told to obey. Obedience in the service of the elites is a way of life for authoritarian followers. She enjoys it. Her critics make her laugh.

Megan McArdle capped her support of the Koch brothers and the Heartland Institute with a very sarcastic post about an Obama fundraising letter capitalizing on the unpopularity of the Koches.

I just received a new mailer from Even before the primaries are finished, Obama is apparently kicking off the campaign against his now-inevitable opponent: the Koch brothers.
Obama - Biden
Friend --

In just about 24 hours, Mitt Romney is headed to a hotel ballroom to give a speech sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group founded and funded by the Koch brothers.

Those are the same Koch brothers whose business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump, and who have bankrolled Tea Party extremism and committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama before Election Day.
Obviously, the campaign is not yet fully fleshed out. How will Obama distinguish himself from the Kochs on important issues like the Iranian missile program, gay marriage, and national education standards? How will he counter the favorability boost that the Kochs are expected to get from the fact that their name sounds like a popular soft drink (and will people get confused when pollsters ask them if they prefer "Coke, or Obama")? Will he be courting the paleolibertarians whose hatred of the Kochs is second only to that of the Center for American Progress? How will he counter if the Kochs promise to lower gas prices in exchange for the presidency?

I know it's customary to whine about the permanent election, but I confess, I'm excited to see this one unfold. Sure, it was historic to have our first black president--not to mention the first president who was a professor at my alma mater--and I don't mean to take anything away from that. But it would also be a pretty big landmark to have our first joint presidency.

Not that that will influence my vote, mind you. I vote the issues. Which is why I'm not proffering an endorsement until I know how the Kochs feel about soda taxes and those videos of animals being killed. 

Full disclosure: my husband once had a fellowship with the Charles G. Koch foundation.

 I reproduce the entire post so the reader can see the full context and the extent of McArdle's amusement at the presumption of the lower orders to criticize their betters. McArdle, however, did not want to see her amusement  dimmed by any whining and complaining from what she refers to as the "peanut gallery." She did not want to have to fight all those old, embarrassing arguments about her connections to power. She prefers to to think of her self as a witty, intrepid girl reporter, a Hildy Johnson, or perhaps a Dorothy Parker, the feminine shining star of the Algonquin Atlantic Round Table, or a film noir femme fatale, deadly yet seductive. She does not like to think of herself as the willing and sycophantic tool of the elite. So she lied, claiming that "my husband once had a fellowship with the Charles G. Koch foundation" was a full disclosure. Sure, it might piss off a few people to repeat this ellipses twice in one week while excoriating Peter Gleick for lying to the Heartland Institute to trick them into sending him some of their propaganda. But who cares? If they do she'll just go on the attack, if she can stop laughing long enough, and there is nothing they can do about it.

susanoftexas 1 day ago
Full disclosure: my husband once had a fellowship with the Charles G. Koch foundation.

At Reason magazine, where he still works as associate editor.

From Sourcewatch:

The Reason Foundation is a self-described "libertarian" [1] think tank. The Reason Foundation's projects include and, as well as Reason Magazine[2] It is part of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation network.
The Reason Foundation is funded, in part, by what are known as the "Koch Family Foundations,"[3] and David Koch serves as a Reason trustee. [4]

[From the list of Reason funders]
Between 1985 and 2009, the Reason Foundation received funding from the following sources, in the following amounts: [13]
Koch Family Foundations:
Charles G. Koch Foundation $57,000Claude R. Lambe Foundation $857,000David H. Koch Foundation $1,522,212

[Why does anyone care what the Koches do?]

Koch Industries is also a major polluter. During the 1990s, its faulty pipelines were responsible for more than 300 oil spills in five states, prompting a landmark penalty of $35 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Minnesota, it was fined an additional $8 million for discharging oil into streams. During the months leading up to the 2000 presidential elections, the company faced even more liability, in the form of a 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Koch Industries was ranked number 10 on the list of Toxic 100 Air Polluters by the Political Economy Research Institute in March, 2010. [1][2]
In a study released in the spring of 2010, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the United States’ top ten air polluters. [15]
Republican TiesIf convicted, the company faced fines of up to $352 million, plus possible jail time for company executives. After George W. Bush became president, however, the U.S. Justice Department dropped 88 of the charges. Two days before the trial, John Ashcroft settled for a plea bargain, in which Koch pled guilty to falsifying documents. All major charges were dropped, and Koch and Ashcroft settled the lawsuit for a fraction of that amount.
Koch had contributed $800,000 to the Bush election campaign and other Republican candidates.
Alex Beehler, assistant deputy under secretary of defense for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, previously served at Koch as director of environmental and regulatory affairs and concurrently served at the Charles G. Koch Foundation as vice president for environmental projects. [16] Beehler was later nominated and re-nominated by the Bush White House, to become the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General. [17]

Ms. McArdle also donated her time to the Koch's IHS [Institute For Humane Studies] 50th Anniversary Dinner; Charles Koch is its chairman.

There is no shame in being closely aligned with billionaires, as Ms. McArdle has noted. Everyone has to be paid by someone. Journalists should all be as open as possible when it comes to their actions, as Ms. McArdle has noted repeatedly in reference to Mr. Gleick.
35 people liked this.

McMegan 1 day agoin reply to susanoftexas
I am curious to know what you think that this little section has to do with my decision to donate my time to the Institute for Humane Studies, or how that constitutes my being "paid by someone".
19 people liked this.

susanoftexas 1 day agoin reply to McMegan
You want to know what your donation of your time to the Koch brothers has to do with your ties to the Koch brothers? Do you also want to know what your husband's continuing employment at Reason has to do with his ties to Reason?
13 people liked this.

McMegan 1 day agoin reply to susanoftexas
I didn't donate my time to "the Kochs"; I donated it to the Institute for Humane Studies, an organization whose goals I support. Is anyone who donates time or money to an organization to which George Soros donates also "tied to Soros"? Does that donation somehow constitute getting "paid by" George Soros?
36 people liked this.

Money is fungible on the left, but not on the right, as I pointed out in the comments one of her posts. Any time or money donated to or received from the Koches frees up money to spend on Republican candidates and destroying environmental regulation, or paying fines for wrongful deaths and oil spills.

susanoftexas 1 day agoin reply to McMegan
So you deny that you are affiliated in any way with the Koch brothers.
7 people liked this.

McMegan1 day agoin reply to susanoftexas
I have met Charles Koch twice, for about a minute each time. I don't think I have never met David Koch. I receive no personal income from the Kochs, nor, to my knowledge, from any institution with which they are affiliated. I believe that David Koch is still a donor to the Reason Foundation, but I do not know that to be the case, and what I write is certainly not affected by that--except to the extent that the tedious disclosures mean that I spend somewhat less time making fun of the hilarious conspiracy-mongering than I otherwise would. The Kochs had nothing to do with my support of IHS, which predates my learning of their existence.

I'm curious, Susan: who's paying you to troll my blog? Could it be . . . SOROS??? Surely you wouldn't waste all this time to so little effect unless someone was paying you, would you?
43 people liked this. Like Reply

susanoftexas1 day agoin reply to McMegan
Like you, I donate my time.
11 people liked this.

Again, McArdle avoids the truth. DC is a community property "state" and half of her husband's income at Reason magazine is hers. For the purposes of her response she pretends that she receives no personal income from the Koches. She easily convinces herself that a magazine supported in part by the Koches, which pays her husband, is a far enough connection to deny it altogether. McArdle also pretends that people do not donate their time or effort and must be paid to do anything. In her youth she had volunteered for various organizations and of course she donated her time to the Koches for their annual Institute of Humane Studies dinner.

When I wrote that comment I did not realize that her involvement with the IHS was far greater than I knew or she led us to believe. McArdle is an alumni alumnus of the IHS Journalism Internship Program and was on the 2011 faculty for their summer seminar program. For which, I am guessing, she did not donate her time.

Shortly after my comments McArdle changed her disclosure, without noting her changes. The new disclosure:

Full disclosure: my husband once had a fellowship with the Charles G. Koch foundation, and works for Reason Magazine, which has been a recipient of funds from Koch charitable organizations. We also sometimes use Vanity Fair paper napkins and Dixie brand paper products, which are owned by the Kochs.

Tee-hee! There's nothing funnier than the yapping of the little people and their silly demands for accountability and the truth.


Smut Clyde said...

Full disclosure

I am SHOCKED that what had previously been described as a "Full disclosure" was in fact 90% empty.
Perhaps she could call it a "Contents-may-settle-after-packaging Disclosure".

Anonymous said...

McArdle is an alumni of the IHS Journalism Internship Program and was on the 2011 faculty for their summer seminar program.
What a bucket of fail that must be.


Smut Clyde said...

McArdle is an alumni

Plural? Are you implying that because she contradicts herself, she contains multitudes?

Susan of Texas said...

Heh, I'm implying I forgot to use the singular.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Susan, I cussed at Scott Walker on my blog today. Can you tell Soros to expedite my check?

Also, I think Smut's first postulate is most likely correct.

It'll just go to his head, of course.

Susan of Texas said...

McArdle does indeed contain multitudes.

Sadly I don't think we will be offered any money any time soon.

Lurking Canadian said...

Somewhere in the world, there is a young graduate student in psychology, still looking for a research topic, who will go on to fame and stature by writing a thesis that explains the many deep-seated pathologies of Megan McArdle.

She's like a paranoiac wrapped around a delusional with a side order of narcissism and just a soupçon of pathological liar.

Kathy said...

...Full disclosure: my husband once had a fellowship with the Charles G. Koch foundation, and works for Reason Magazine, which has been a recipient of funds from Koch charitable organizations. We also sometimes use Vanity Fair paper napkins and Dixie brand paper products, which are owned by the Kochs.

The bolded witticism is much too clever for ArgleBargle to have thought up. Husband seems a bit of a Dullard... I wonder where she read/heard it before?

Kathy said...

BTW: Susan, you are on quite a roll yourself these days. Yay! Keep 'em coming.

Clever Pseudonym said...

The Kochs own their napkins and Dixie cups?

Leave it to Megan to find ethical disclosures of possible conflicts of interest "tedious."

Downpuppy said...

You did a good job, but my Gawd, the connections are endless.

Who funds the Atlantic? (David Bradley & rich reactionaries) What are Megan's favorite causes? (Drug companies, banks, stomping on peasants, fancy kitchen equipment) What has Peter's entire career been? (Astroturfing & wingnut welfare)

Does she not realize how bleeding obvious this all is?

Susan of Texas said...

Oh, I could have gone on and on. The connections between The Atlantic and Pete Peterson, The Atlantic and the New America Foundation, the Koches and the think tank nexus that supports so many of their friends....

Susan of Texas said...

She doesn't care how obvious it is. She genuinely seems to believe that only the little people have to follow the rules.

cynic said...

Just for kicks, I waded thru the staff at the IHS here.

It is extraordinarily illuminating: practically everyone there is either a Koch summer intern, Koch Associate Program Alum, or from soemthing called the Koch institute.

That Mcmegan can claim that the association between IHS and Koch is 'incidental' is simply laugh out loud funny.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

She's like a paranoiac wrapped around a delusional with a side order of narcissism and just a soupçon of pathological liar.

A Paradelusionarciliar! The Turducken of the DSM-V.

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

I've trolled her blog a time or three, but never in any sort of substantive way.

This was like a work of art.

Tommykey said...

Power begets money and money begets power. If you have enough money you can buy power, rewriting laws to your advantage that will make you richer.

But when you point this out, they cry "Why, you're engaging in class warfare!"

commie atheist said...

Smut's first postulate

I think I failed a quiz on that in college. Or maybe I was high or on mushrooms at the time, I forget.


Susan, you are a national treasure. If there is any way to replace McArdle with you at the Atlantic (short of, you know, actually paying anybody, which I am incapable of doing at the present time), let me know.

Batocchio said...

I believe that David Koch is still a donor to the Reason Foundation, but I do not know that to be the case...

If only there were some way to find out! If only there was some place to look this up – or if she knew someone who worked there!

I really have to marvel at her consistent disingenuousness and blatant double standards. In McMegan world, the truth about Goldman Sachs, the Kochs, and all plutocrats is impossible to discern, and we should assume they are good; meanwhile, the truth about policies, such as various health care systems, are unknowable to mortal beings, so we should assume they are all bad. Also: We can't probe Wall Street malfeasance, but we must probe women's vaginas. (Hmm, I think I've found the Republican Party slogan for 2012.)

The Kochs have always been involved with Reason. According to SourceWatch, David Koch is still a trustee of the Reason Foundation, and the Koch Family Foundations have given the Reason Foundation $2,436,212 between 1985 and 2009. Also, like many conservative rags, it's a loss leader: "According to the Reason Foundation's 2009 Internal Revenue Source 990 return form, it took in $6 million in donation income against $6.7 million in expenses, with only $639,236 in subscription revenue and $113,575 in ad revenue." A stirring testament to the power of the free market. And nice work if you can get it! Of course, you'd have to have no conscience or soul.

Cole said...

the fact that their name sounds like a popular soft drink

Well...she has done the Koches at least one favor when it comes to me and mine. Not having television and actively avoiding any talk radio, including the gone-to-shit NPR, I have been pronouncing their surname as if it rhymed with Crotch, not Coke.

I think I will continue to do so. Fuck 'em.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Cole, this works too.

Anonymous said...

So, Batocchio, the Kochs have given Reason a sum equivalent to their ad revenue each year for the past 25 years. But oh no they are not a significant part of their fundraising operation perish the thought.

Also, "Get government out of my healthcare and into my sister's vagina" is going to be a great rallying cry when the election starts heating up.

Substance McGravitas said...

Good work Susan.

Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, you guys.

Anonymous said...

She enrages me, so very much. (McArdle, I mean.)

- spencer

fish said...

It will be surprising to millions of employees across the country that they must know their boss personally for their paychecks to count.

Ken Houghton said...

Latin quibble: alumnae, no? (Female, singular)

Full disclosure: I know a couple of people who have worked at IHS, and have met one or two of the leaders. I like them, but that's because liberals are cruelly nice to people, unlike conservatives who know better than to socialise with Those Who Are Not Already Indoctrinated (link h/t Skippy).

nate said...

To me, the most damning indictment of Megan's intellect is that she doesn't immediately ban you, Susan, or at least ignore you.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it depends on Megan's mood or if she can justify it by claiming one of her comment rules has broken.

Also, Megan knows this blog exists. You can count on that.

Kathy said...

I wonder how it feels to live (high on the hog) on the crumbs of cash tossed to you for your servile sucking up by the likes of the Kock Bros? Ick.

Anonymous said...

Watch Amadeus and you can see what Megan is.

She's Salieri. She knows how mediocre she is and money does nothing to salve that pain.

Not even perfect bechamel can.

bulbul said...

Latin quibble: alumnae, no? (Female, singular)
Female, singular AND Nominative, hence alumna. "alumnae" would be either Genitive/Dative singular or Nominative plural.
This Latin grammar moment has been brought to you by George Soros.

She's Salieri.
I object to this vicious slander.

atat said...

I'm not very good at reading the twitters, but it looks like she's on there claiming that her silently amended "full disclosure" is the same one she published from the start.

Susan of Texas said...

Yes, she lied to DougJ. Why not? It's not like anyone cares and it enabled her to sharpen her snark claws on him.

Anonymous said...

Money is fungible in the case of Planned Parenthood, but in one of those same posts, she argues that money earmarked away from overhead isn't fungible and she's heard of heads of charities complaining that not enough money is allowed to be used for overhead.

Susan of Texas said...

If you ever think, "The only way I can understand this Megan McArdle statement is to assume she is lying," than you are probably thinking correctly.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I just hope she undertakes another home 'improvement' project soon.

Downpuppy said...

Megan's warming post finally ended my blog vacation.-

keatssycamore said...

McMegan took the Dixie Cups and paper plates thing out of her disclosures. Now the disclosure reads:

"My husband once had a fellowship with the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and works for Reason Magazine, which has been a recipient of funds from Koch charitable organizations."

Having trouble keeping up, is that two, three, or four undisclosed alterations McMeg's has made to what should have been a simple statement alerting readers to a potential conflict of interest?

Susan of Texas said...

I think she's just messing with us now.

keatssycamore said...


Her latest post "Are the Rich Completely Undeserving of Sympathy" proves it. She's messing with us.

Susan of Texas said...

I just saw that. The girl can't help it.