Pay close enough attention to commercials, and you can learn everything you need to know about anyone. Commercials can allow us to look into our web of ties to Corporate America, put its spiders on a single string and understand the loops they weave to catch the greediest of flies.
Lately, the Koch brothers (manifesting as Americans for Prosperity) have been tapping the sweet, retired, conservative oldness of the History Channel’s daytime demographics. During any particular episode of Pawn Stars, you might see an ad like this:
Yes, that’s one of the many ads that the History (and Military History) Channel play during daytime hours, and the web address given takes you here, to a page talking about the risk factors involved with the implementation of Obamacare. While claiming to “answer” questions about Obamacare (no “Affordable Care Act” crap here), the Koch Bros. website reads like a list of things that Bill “Harlem Jazz” Clinton would laugh at. Watch his defense of Obamacare here:
But give the Koch Brothers’ marketing people credit; its reach into the brains of History viewers is more deeply multilayered than you might think. In an epic example of political crossover, Pawn Stars Rick Harrison has become the latest darling adopted by the Corporatist Right; on June 21st, he popped his slightly bulbous head into Glen Beck’s holy of holies :
During the course of the interview, Harrison took the opportunity to go on recored complaining about Nevada’s zoning laws, and the fact that it would have cost him $400,000 to tear down a wall to expand his showroom into the warehouse. See, the Pawn Shop is in a Vegas historic district, which probably means that Frank Sinatra buried a hooker there. Like most places in historic districts, permits for demolition (particularly on load-bearing walls) are very difficult to obtain because they affect the resale value of the building. For someone who buys and sells history for a living, you’d think Rick Harrison would be a little more understanding.
Harrison also went off on a tear about a sexual predator who hadn’t been convicted in Utah. Though he might have mentioned that Utah’s violent crime and sexual assault rates per capita suddenly spiked by nearly a third higher in the ten years after private prison company MTC set up shop in 1980. But, where there’s money to be made, the spiders will spin webs.
And money is what it really comes down to, doesn’t it? You could take the cynical, ad hominem route and point out that of course, a person who bargains for the highest price, sells and resells other peoples’ valuables for a living, is naturally prone to centering his life around money. Then, there’s the “Vegas Effect” of greed and gambling. But, it takes more than location and predisposition to turn a businessman into a corporatist drone.
Rick Harrison has the same problem that most small business owners and medium-high income earners do in this country: small businesses and the kind-of wealthy do bear the greatest burden of taxes in this country: smaller companies can’t hire accountants to squeeze the company through every loophole in the book, so they wind up paying most of the full 39 percent ALL companies are supposed to pay.
And small business owners in Harrison’s range get hit twice as hard, because from $50,000 to $250,000 a year, between 26% and 27% of all income goes to taxes. For those making over $250,000, the percentage drops to 11 to 12 percent. Meanwhile, from 2008 to 2010, about 30 companies making upward of $160 Billion a year paid no taxes at all. These included General Electric, DuPont, Boeing, Verizon, Wells Fargo and several energy companies. Many more paid less than 4% in taxes.
So, what does all this have to do with an “Obamacare” terror commercial on the History Channel? It’s an interesting insight into the information loop that the Koch Brothers use to brainwash people who really ARE getting screwed into serving those who aren’t. What people who watch the History Channel SHOULD be doing is supporting small businesses like Rick Harrison’s, and what Harrison SHOULD be doing is supporting a government that protects small businesses and owners like him from spiders like the Koch Brothers. But sometimes flies get greedy, fancy themselves as spiders in potentia, and end up caught in the web themselves.
Feel like telling the History Channel how you feel about their advertisers, just as you did with Rush Limbaugh? Here’s your chance: