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This is a repost of a blog entry I wrote back in 2016 before the damaging term of the 45th President kicked in. The only alterations are in the layout  due to some of the images no longer existing at their internet address, and an upsize in the font for readability. Dark Money gave a very good heads up as to where the politics of greed was heading, but sadly it was ignored, and even today the Republican party are still struggling with how Democracy should operate. They could see every election losing them seats under Trump, but they decided to double down and hope for the best.


This post is based heavily on the book Dark Money by Jane Mayer. An investigative reporter for the New Yorker. The intention of this blog post is to draw the comparison between the US system and the Aussie Conservatives in a two part post. The first describes how US Democracy has been corrupted and part two will join the dots on the Australian end of this fellowship and the damage it has caused the Liberal party to this point in time.


Since the rise of Barack Obama in the US and the perceived threat to the super wealthy, the Koch brothers decided to make a concerted effort to gain influence over future policy making in America. Things were getting out of hand in their view, with environmental rules being strengthened, companies being held to account for their behaviour, and a general feeling growing in the population that the wealthy should not be getting a free ride. Indeed, folk were beginning to think it was okay for the super rich to kick in a bit more than others for the good of the country.

You can imagine how delighted this made the super wealthy feel.

It seemed like an impossible task to reverse the unhappiness mood set against the “greed is good” set, but the brothers had plenty of cash to splash and much See the source imagepreferred to be spending it on politics than paying their fines for environmental breaches or health and safety misdeeds. They also realised they had plenty of friends who would be prepared to kick in a few bucks to help protect their wealth too.

A couple of things needed to be in place to get up and running, not the least being a pliable political party and an unhappy bunch of Voters. Luckily both were at hand.

The Republican party were in despair over the popularity of President Obama and were looking for a solution. Instead of moving more towards the centre where the Voters are, they went for the desperate fringe where enthusiasm is high but also the zealotry. Unfortunately for them that zeal comes with an unshakable confidence which makes it very difficult for common sense to have any impact.

On the Voter side, things were ripe for the picking. The Tea Party movement was starting up and although they were suffering at the hands of the greedy through job loses and very low wages, they were also a very gullible crowd who could possibly be steered away from realising where the problems were stemming from and serve as the foot soldiers in the bid to put a more agreeable candidate in the Oval Office.

Just one more ingredient was required to get things really moving but it was a serious limitation. Rules on how much money could be spent on Election campaigns limited how much influence could be bought with a pile of money. This was solved by rule changes made by the Supreme Court that make it very easy to hide political donations these days.

The end result was big bucks being used to create a lot of innocent sounding groups and Think Tanks with names that often suggested the exact opposite to their real purpose. Then add the “flexible” Republican pollies into the mix and eject any that decided the People or the Environment were more important than the Party line. This was incredibly effective with those not prepared to gift tax cuts to the wealthy finding themselves opposed from within their own Party come preselection time and generally defeated. The hardliners even sunk to the depths of running false stories in the Media that was greedily feeding on the dollars provided by the super wealthy.

Traditional Republicans were aghast as their party was hijacked by the hardliners but they were easily subdued and have never been able to defeat the tsunami of money provided by the Koch brothers.

The bodies formed by the Brothers covered an impressive range of groups, from supposed Voters who wanted to pay less taxes, to College programs that supported ‘greed is good’ Economics and the suppression of Economic courses that supported the opposite view.

The tragic downside, of course, is the quality of the Candidates now running for President. The knowledge base is severely weakened especially when it comesSee the source image to Economics, but luckily the Media have done a fair job of not tackling the issues so simple motherhood statements can generally get a candidate through the preselection trials. The only real opposition they face is coming from fellow candidates and they don’t have the Economic smarts to pin down their opponents.

Can the Koch system actually get a candidate into the White House?

Not in a fair fight based on issues but it’s highly unlikely that a fair fight is going to happen. Why stop mud slinging now when it has worked so well at weeding out dissenting voices within their Party? Ordinarily, standing for reducing women’s rights and attacking minority groups is just a public display of self harming, but if you can tug the heart strings and bring anger into the mix, you can even up the chances.

A note on Dark Money.

This is an extraordinary book that gives great detail on the secretive dealings behind the scenes in US Politics. It is heavily referenced with about the last quarter of it devoted to references used to compile the story. It also details the inept attempts to discredit the Author, which is a good indication that the facts are solid. In a litigious country like the US, you really need to have the details sewn up or you are going to spend a lot of time with lawyers.


End of part one. The second part will show the close links between the current version of the Republican party, and the remnants of the same attitude in the Australian Liberal party which is struggling to recover without the massive financial assistance enjoyed by their US counterparts.


Amazon link to Dark Money by Jane Mayer

Up until this point in time Scott Morrison has liked to play the knockabout chap before the cameras. He canSee the source image access his inner ocker when he feels the need (as in his pre lockdown rugby performance) or flick on his Daggy Dad persona when folk are wondering if corruption levels are getting out of hand.

And so far it has worked.

But as the storm clouds gather over his government, suddenly it seems actual Leadership may be required. A role that he can’t perform while pretending to be everybody’s mate.

The fact that this is a façade has never been more See the source imagepointed than at this point in time where he seems outraged that a member of his team should actually be held accountable. An attitude he shares with others in the Liberal hierarchy including his troubled AG.

The problem is highlighted with the treatment of the High Court Judge Dyson Heydon where the normalSee the source image process of investigating the allegations was undertaken, and as Christian Porter was the chap pushing those investigations, he knows exactly how the system usually operates.

This is where that sense of privilege kicks in. For some strange reason, rather than wish to have an investigation and clear his name, both Morrison and Porter think it’s better to ignore the problem and let the rumours stand.

That is not how the Voters view the matter.

Why exactly should Christian Porter be given special See the source imagetreatment? Is there something in their elite club that gives them more advantages than a High Court Judge?

As more survivors come forward, it’s only going to get worse for the PM if the MeToo movement is any guide. People not in the Blokes club are over the special treatment for pollies and their friends and it’s going to take more than a few stage managed photo ops to deal with the fallout.

Incoming!!! Spin Doctor alert.

With Zuckerberg able to afford the best pollies money can buy we should expect many more apologists.Nick Clegg, right, with Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, last year.

It’s patently clear that Big conpanies like FB have Democracy by the short and curlys, and if we don’t address the matter the world will be flooded with Trump wannabees spreading chaos around the globe.

We have always feared AI would bring the end of times but the most likely danger is simple human greed.

To view the full article on Guardian Australia, click here.

Suspected message from Scott Morrison’s office to the hapless Angus Taylor.Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry

Mop and bucket to aisle 5 please. And send in another gross of Spin Doctors. Biden has seen through your façade, and if this keeps up Aussie Voters will notice too.

Looks like all those chickens/problems that Morrison thought he could push further down the road are all coming home to roost at the same time. That’s the problem with knee jerk decisions, you don’t get to manage the timing of their return.

imageThere may be an interesting outcome from his internal party problems though. He might decide to turn his back of his LNP colleagues and face towards the Opposition instead of disrespecting the House.

To read the full Guardian Australia article click here.

In other world shattering news, the sky is often blue.

I thought it was obvious that those who struggle to see shades of grey are the most vulnerable to fanaticism? It’s been a hallmark of religiousHead jigsaw puzzle fanatics for centuries and though we like to kid ourselves we are smarter than those living in earlier times, we look just as gullible as ever.

To wit

  • a person like Trump declaring “I’m not a real politician” and folk unable to see the snake oil.
  • blokes in beanies doing YouTube clips from their car declaring “I will tell you the real Truth”.
  • shysters getting followers simply by declaring “if you don’t believe me you belong with the Sheeple”.
  • antivaxxers who claim you should “do the research” (which you should), but which they don’t do themselves.

FaceBook’s parting gift has been to show us just how expert we have become at being gullible.

To read the Guardian’s report on the research. Click here. 

An interesting tactic from Google as they attempt to deal with their diversity problem. Sack the two women heading up the research.Google has fired top AI researcher Margaret Mitchell.

Wow. They have just managed to draw even more attention to their problem.

For a company that’s supposed to have some of the best brains in technology, they sure look dopey.

Click here to read the full post on Guardian Australia.

Some interesting data from RenewEconomy who have also been taken hostage by FaceBook.Victoria big battery Neoen Tesla

I have no idea if and when they will be released as FB tries to figure out who it will  punish and who gets a free pass.

You would like to think they would only target the big players but unfortunately the big guys can tough it out better than the smaller players and FB looks to be seeking maximum grief.

By the way, if FB are hoping to play the innocent victim card here in Oz against the big bad government, it’s been a total fail.

Click here to read the article.

Can’t even share from US State newspapers.

Ohio continues to expose the corruption which seems to be dogging the US these days. If you want dirt on your opponent, check if they have links to the Energy industry.

Read the full article here.

Apparently Reuters is banned as well.

In this article, we see the Chinese plan to reach their Climate Target. (Yes. They have one.)

The challenge is if they can get through the red tape.

To read the article click here.

A detailed report into Craig Kelly’s Office Manager who looks like he follows the pattern of misogyny that keeps cropping up in Liberal party ranks. They don’t even accept it’s out of line these days unless someoneCraig Kelly’s office manager, Professor Frank Zumbo, is the subject of multiple allegations of inappropriate behaviour by young women. He denies the allegations. gets caught.

This is not an isolated incident. As much as Scott Morrison likes to play the “You too” card on Labor, there has been a steady stream of information that shows Morrison is happy to turn a blind eye to serious misconduct. If misdirection doesn’t work then it’s time for a mate to run a secret inquiry, and failing that, flip it to some agreeable folk at the AFP. Just don’t ask for real action.

When he intervened to give Craig Kelly a seat, he would have been well aware of the shortcomings of Kelly’s style, yet fear of immediate repercussions had him doing his usual knee jerk responses.

Those problems keep mounting up and at this rate the shine might finally fall away from the public perception of him being Mr Nice Guy. He has even pushed hard for a chap who even Donald Trump thought was too toxic for a White House party.

Clearly he has to be aware of these affairs especially when there are internal fights between the Liberal party factions where the to and fro can be pretty brutal.

To read the sordid details of this latest exposure, click here or on the photo above.

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