Friday, March 07, 2014

Groupthink and the Koch Brothers

Wikipedia defines groupthink as; “a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome.”

Of course, it makes evolutionary sense that members of a group would want to work together. Consequently, it makes sense that a beneficial form of assimilation might evolve. However, there is a potential for a catastrophically fatal flaw – groupthink. If the group is wrong; everybody in the group is wrong. The best the group can hope for to avert eventual catastrophe is that independent outliers might notice the fatal flaw.

I would like to cover two forms of groupthink in this post; political and economic.

Political Groupthink:

In a recent post of mine (Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive), I ended the article with a compliment to Senator Harry Reid.

...And as I expected, say anything nice about Senator Harry Reid, and I was bound to get trolled.

It's not very often you hear someone in political office speak the truth about corruption in Washington – not and name names too. What Senator Harry Reid said about the Koch brothers was not only true, but really needed to be said. Senator Harry Reid, in spite of all his faults; should be supported when he does the right thing. This should be true for everyone.

But a groupthink has developed that believes that Harry Reid can do no right. And if you know anything about politics, you know things like this don't just happen.

I live in Nevada. And I (vaguely) remember most of Harry Reid's career. But most importantly, I remember Nevadans' changing attitude about Harry Reid.

Years ago, there was no radical group of (Koch brothers financed / Fox “News” educated) haters who believed Harry Reid was the cause of everything evil. In fact, we all pretty much liked Harry Reid. That's why he got re-elected over and over again so many times I've lost count.

But now, those of us who still think Senator Harry Reid is a “keeper” (and the last election proves that it is most of us voters) don't often speak up in public. We know someone will attack us with a round of “how evil Harry Reid is for doing what almost all American politicians are doing.”

I'm not here to give a rousing praise of Senator Harry Reid's career. I'm here to point out the real reason the Koch brothers have already spent $14,500,000 on Senate races to oust anyone even like Senator Harry Reid.

...It's about money...
...It's about oil money...

But that's not what a recent Washington Post article said. The article; “Harry Reid really hates the Koch brothers. Here's why.” didn't even touch on why Harry Reid hates the Koch brothers. It just proclaimed essentially that this is all just politics and Harry Reid is just trying to counter all that money the Koch brothers are spending to influence American politics. They've trivialized what Reid said. They've trivialized what the Koch brothers have done. I think somebody put the wrong title on this article. It should have read; “Harry Reid really hates the Koch brothers. This is what we want you to think.”

Senator Harry Reid is the last of the old school politicians in power, and a lot of people want to take his power. And what do they want to replace it with? The Kochs want to replace it with “gas” power.

Nevada is a big state with lots of open range. California is right next to Nevada. There is a huge potential for solar power generation in Nevada, and obviously; the Koch brothers want to kill it. Apparently, they feel too many people will want to drive electric cars.

Harry Reid wants to support his home State, and obviously; the Koch brothers only want Nevadan's money (when we buy their gas). But somehow; the mass media (outside of Nevada) never mentions this. Could it be that it's because only the Koch brothers advertise with them?

In his last re-election, Reid ran against Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle. Though I don't know how much money they spent, the Koch brothers tried to oust Harry Reid by supporting a pathetically mediocre candidate. It appears that the Koch brothers didn't care at all about Nevada. They just wanted to kick Harry Reid out of office. (But there may be another reason they were willing to support such a mediocre candidate. She would have owed them big time.)

The Koch brothers wanted Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid's power.
And why? For the money, of course!
The Koch brothers want to force us to continue to buy their oil.
And with control of Congress, they could do it.

Examples of the oil industry's power in Congress:
Scotland already generates 40% of its power using renewables – and plans to have 100% by 2020. The United States, on the other hand only generates 9% of its power using renewables – and has no realistic plans for 100%. The difference; politics. Those with fossil fuel riches have manipulated our government to make it difficult for renewable energy to compete. “Our” government has given billions and billions in subsidies and tax breaks to fossil fuels – while ramping up and down subsides for renewables (which has repeatedly driven many renewable companies out of business.) In January of 2014, Congress did it again, when subsides for wind energy were not renewed. (Nonetheless, subsides for fossil fuel companies keep right on filling the bank accounts of the likes of the Koch brothers.) “Our” government allowed Texaco to purchase of the patent for the battery for the General Motors electric car, the EV1, and shut down all production of those batteries – setting back electric vehicles at least a decade. And “our” government has given the biggest polluters, the fossil fuel companies, exemptions to the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act (in the 2005 Energy bill).
This list could go on for pages.
And the Koch brothers want more.

On the other hand; Senator Harry Reid has represented Nevada in Washington since 1983. That means he still remembers when America was more like an actual democracy. Harry Reid remembers what Washington was like before the “Patriot” Act. Harry Reid remembers what Washington was like before the “Supreme” Court decision on Citizens United. Harry Reid remembers what Washington was like before so much of the Government was privatized. Harry Reid even remembers what Washington was like back when America wasn't in a perpetual state of war. What this means is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has seen a better Washington and a better America. But apparently; many within the Deep State don't want us, or our elected representatives, to remember.

The Deep State wants us to believe that America is just fine with them running it. In fact, the very basis of conservatism is; don't change a thing. This isn't a coincidence. Conservatism is Deep State groupthink. And deep pockets keep it relevant.

The Koch brothers have discovered something about the vulnerability of the American psyche. In American elections; the candidate who collects the most money usually wins.

Political groupthink.

Want to know who's pulling the strings? Follow the money.
And why?
I suspect they just consider it an investment...
If you can't beat them in the marketplace, cheat. Buy some politicians to give you an unfair advantage. And if the present politicians say no, then bring in some new ones.

For example; the Tea Party started out with legitimate concerns. But it wasn't long before the Koch brothers essentially bought it. And a few years later, the Tea Party has the power to literally shut down the Federal Government. Talk about power. The Koch brothers have the power to tell America to do things their way or they will literally shut us down. 

No wonder Senator Harry Reid is so upset.

And the Koch brothers never could have done it without political groupthink.

Economic Groupthink:

Once one has enough money to pay for basic needs, money ceases to be a necessity.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the groupthink.
We all started to believe that we had to have as much money as we could get.

We hoard money. We waste money.
Some people steal money. Others pay people to steal it for them.
Our economy has devolved into a massive game of collecting money – with no real insight of the consequences.

Pillaging is definitely not the highest form of human activity.
And when humanity destroys, displaces, poisons, and ignores the fate of whole ecosystems, the consequences are ultimately disastrous beyond our comprehension.

To feel that money is more important than life on Earth?
That's not just insane... it's collectively suicidal groupthink.

But if you're old, like the Koch brothers, you just might be able to get away with environmental murder and die before you have to pay the price. But their children won't get away with it. Is it that the Koch brothers don't even care about their own children? No amount of money will protect their children from a total Environmental collapse.

Scientists have already informed us that we are well under way into the Earth's sixth great extinction event. Our climate is already changing. Our air, soil, and water are loaded with toxins, carcinogens, and endocrine disrupters. And the Koch brothers' strategy is to stay the course? Obviously, they've spent too much time isolated on their expensive estates – and they simply don't understand the real world.

The Koch brothers are zealous believers of oligarchy economic groupthink – you know, “free trade” (for everyone else). But that may not work out well for the Koch brothers for much longer. Everyone else is starting to catch on.

The prevailing economic groupthink is; more money, more status. But that hasn't worked out for the Koch brothers either. A significant portion of the population see the Koch brothers as the lowest, sleaziest, most despicable form of human life – with enough money to force their sick concepts on the world.

The Koch brothers have taken the money that was given them (they inherited it) and used it to make the world a more miserable place. For brevity, I'll only focus on their (and other oil companies') oil interests. The oil industry has a long cutthroat history of not giving a damn about anything but money. Examples:

  • Lead in gasoline – the gasoline industry has known since the 1920's that lead in gasoline would drive people crazy and kill them. But the industry callously put lead in American gasoline until the 1970's, when they were forced, by law, to stop. By the 1990's, violent crime in America had dropped precipitously. And as other nations banned the use of lead in gasoline, their violent crime statistics repeated those of America – and dropped precipitously within 20 years. Lead also lowers IQ scores and can kill from lead induced heart disease.
  • Other toxins in gasoline – Air pollution is now on the top 10 list of disease risk factors. And particulate matter from auto emissions is the root cause.
  • Oil spills everywhere – Just in the year 2012, the sum of American oil spills exceeded the volume of the Exxon Valdez spill.

  • Toxins in fracking fluids – as a consequence of some bizarre legal precedent, oil company “trade secrets” have priority over public health... They can put anything they want in fracking fluid, and don't have to tell us. What that means is they can literally get away with putting toxic waste in fracking fluids. And guess what? Water samples taken near fracking sites have found elevated levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals – which have been known to cause infertility, birth defects, and cancer.
  • Climate change – even the biblically bad weather we have been experiencing lately hasn't been enough to convince the mass media that the oil company financed climate deniers are lying to us. The world's economy has already been effected, and it is only going to get worse if we burn more gas. Nonetheless, that's precisely what the oil industry wants.
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics – that's right, even petroleum plastics aren't actually safe. And what has the plastics industry done about this? They've hired exactly the same firms that the tobacco industry used to cover up the risks of second-hand smoke.

Scores of people have been (and will be) driven to illness and death because of burning of fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the fossil fuel industries continue to use their considerable political clout to hold back clean energy. Why?

Let's see... Koch Industries and affiliates stand to make as much as $100 billion on the Keystone XL pipeline. So it's no surprise the Koch brothers are so willing to spend millions on corrupting U.S. Politics.

The irony of all this is that if the Keystone XL pipeline can get Canadian oil to a world markets, they can charge higher world prices. In other words, the oil industry wants Americans to support the Keystone XL pipeline, so they can raise oil prices on us. (No wonder Senator Harry Reid called them unAmerican.)

The Koch brothers are worth billions. So why would they sully their reputations on such devious methods to make even more money? Economic groupthink? Rich American exceptionalism? A misplaced desire to keep their oil company afloat? Or just plain straight-up greed? My guess is that it is some combination of all of the above mixed with the unwillingness to accept the reality that they have done more harm in their lives than good. Like the oil they they want to force us to buy, the consequences of their existence are far worse than they would like to admit.

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