Koch Brothers

Here’s How Much Fox News Hosts Are Intertwined With The Koch Brothers

FOX KOCH

Fox News

The Huffington Post

More than a dozen Fox News personalities have made appearances at events for groups funded by the Koch brothers, even as many of them were also defending the controversial billionaires on the network’s airwaves, according to a new study from Media Matters.

Charles and David Koch, founders of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), have called on at least 15 Fox News hosts and contributors to publicly promote upcoming AFP and AFPF events, Media Matters said. These hosts include Tucker Carlson, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, Guy Benson, Dana Perino and Andrew Napolitano.

A recent Politico report showed that AFP “intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives.” Since 2012, a growing number of hosts have become the faces of these Koch-funded events in an effort to increase the attendance.

Moreover, many of these hosts have also loudly backed the Koch brothers on Fox News shows, Media Matters noted. Just weeks before Tucker Carlson was set to be the lead speaker at an AFPF in May, for instance, he criticized opponents of the Koch brothers during an edition of “Special Report.” Hosts of “Fox & Friends” and “The Five” have also come to the brothers’ aid and used their shows to promote AFP and AFPF material.

Networks have often frowned upon hosts when they’ve veered from normal opinionating into more explicit party politics. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann were both briefly suspended in 2010 for making donations to political candidates. Ed Schultz was also pulled from speaking at a Florida Democratic fundraiser when it seemed he might too be crossing a line. Fox News itself has clamped down on hosts, ordering Sean Hannity to return to New York in 2010 after the network found out he was set to lead a Tea Party fundraiser.

11 things the Koch brothers don’t want you to know

11 things the Koch brothers don't want you to know

Screenshot from the “Koch Brothers Exposed” trailer

Salon

Robert Greenwald’s updated documentary reveals the poster boys for the 1 percent are even worse than you thought

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

The mega-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch, stand apart in the world of Republicans.

In 2012, their network of hardcore libertarian political donors spent $400 million on negative campaign ads intended to destroy government safety nets and defeat Democrats. They want to repeal Obamacare, dismantle labor unions, repeal any environmental law protecting clean water and air, roll back voting rights, privatize Social Security, stop a minimum wage increase and more. They don’t care about destroying the checks and balances in American democracy to get their way.

In an updated documentary by Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films, Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition, we learn many things the Kochs don’t want you to know, from the origin of their radical agenda to other issues they’ve championed that haven’t made the national news, such as resegregating public schools.

Here are 11 things the Kochs don’t want you to know about them.

1. The family’s $100 billion fortune comes mostly from a massive network of oil and gas pipelines, and investments in other polluting industries like paper and plastics. The brothers inherited the seed money for their holdings from their father Fred Koch, who made his first fortune building oil pipelines for the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. Back in the states, Fred Koch supported racial segregation and white supremacist groups like the John Birch Society.

2. Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in America, worth upwards of $80 billion. It is one of the country’s top 15 polluters, responsible for more than 300 oil spills. It has paid over $100 million in fines and been found guilty by a federal jury of stealing oil from Native American lands.

3. The Kochs have invested multi-millions in more than 85 right-wing organizations over the years to push an anti-government, libertarian agenda. Many local Tea Party chapters were fronts for Americans for Prosperity, one of their groups. Another big recipient, ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, drafts bills and talking points that Republican officials cite again and again. In the 2012 presidential election cycle, the Koch’s right-wing donor network spent $400 million on electioneering.



4. The brothers work to create legal decisions to empower their efforts. They brought two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, to give speeches at their invitation-only gatherings for libertarian industrialists. That was before the Court issued itsCitizens Unitedruling, gutting federal laws that restricted the kinds of outside campaigns they bankroll. They funded groups that filed thousands of pages of legal briefs to attack those election laws. After the Court threw out federal campaign restrictions in 2010—a ruling they help to write—the Kochs began to spend unprecedented sums to sway elections.

5. Americans for Prosperity led a successful takeover of the school board in Wake County, North Carolina in 2009, which then ended student busing to resegregate high schools. They resurrected the coded rhetoric of the old South, using terms like “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools.” After hundreds of students were sent to other schools, the uproar was so great the AFP slate was voted out two years later, but not before the kids experienced racism and prejudice.

6. As donors to higher education, the Kochs have designed grant agreements with more than 150 colleges and universities where they restrict academic freedom by exerting control over who gets hired. The programs they fund present only their views in class, curricula and in their research. They promote pro-business, libertarian inquiry, which does not allow the facts and results to lead to their own conclusions. Faculties at many universities have protested these donations and threats to academic freedom.

7. AFP was one of the lead groups in Wisconsin, encouraging Republican Gov. Scott Walker to revoke collective bargaining agreements with public employees—except for police and firefighters, who tend to support the GOP and law-and-order politicians. Through national legal advocacy groups like ALEC, they have introduced scores of reactionary anti-union bills in dozens of states.

8. Other Koch-funded efforts include the Republican national effort to unduly police the voting process to discourage young people, minorities and senior from casting ballots. The reactionary voting rights bills they have introduced in dozens of states impose stricter voter ID requirements, which do not prevent people from registering to vote but will keep them from getting a ballot if they cannot present specific paperwork. AFP and other Koch-funded groups, such as True The Vote, have recruited and trained mostly white poll watchers to challenge the credentials of mostly non-white voters, creating a climate of fear and intimidation around voting.

9. The Koch brothers make $13 million a day from their investments, but they want to eliminate minimum wage laws and oppose any increases. People earning the federal minimum wage earn about $60 a day. A minimum wage worker would have to work almost 700 years to earn what the Kochs make in a day. (Koch-funded politicians have proposed 67 bills in 25 states to reduce the minimum wage.)

10. The Koch brothers want to destroy the most popular government program of all, Social Security, by funding right-wing think tanks that spread misinformation about Social Security’s long-term financial health, claiming it will not survive. They want people to invest their retirement savings on Wall Street, which is riskier and would earn billions in fees for investment firms. They want to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70, which would especially penalize blue-collar workers who do manual labor, as their bodies wear out more quickly than white-collar workers.

11. The Koch brothers’ massive investments and holdings are literally killing the planet, because their primary business is transporting gas and oil. That includes the Canadian oil tar sands, which is the dirtiest source of fossil fuel on earth. If these sands are developed for the U.S. or Chinese markets, it would be the biggest carbon bomb in decades, hastening the progress of global climate change.

Koch Brothers’ Secrets Revealed In New Book

The Huffington Post

Charles and David Koch are the unofficial standard-bearers of a new generation of billionaires, willing to spend immense sums to influence politics. Best known for bankrolling the tea party movement, the fiercely private Koch family has achieved a quasi-mythical status in political circles. Yet they remain an enigma to most Americans.

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty aims to change that. Written by Mother Jones senior editor Daniel Schulman, the biography, set to be released Tuesday, draws on hundreds of interviews with Koch family and friends, as well as thousands of pages of legal documents. The Huffington Post received a copy of the book on Friday.

Schulman examines the roots of Charles and David Koch’s libertarian worldview through the lens of their family, including the formative relationship that all four Koch brothers had with their father, the cold, ambitious Fred Koch. Schulman also traces the bitter and litigious history of Charles and David Koch’s relationships with their lesser-known brothers: Frederick, the eldest, and Bill, David’s twin brother.

At the center of the saga is patriarch Fred Koch, a staunch anti-communist who drilled his political ideology into his sons from a young age. In 1938, then sympathetic to the fascist regimes ruling Germany, Italy and Japan, Fred wrote that he hoped one day the United States would resemble these nations, which had “overcome” the vices of “idleness, feeding at the public trough, [and] dependence on government.”

Elsewhere, Fred warned of a future “vicious race war” in which communists would pit black Americans against white. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he wrote.

In private, Fred Koch “ruled the house with an iron fist” and faith in social Darwinism. Schulman recounts how the former boxer encouraged his sons to fight each other, sometimes with horrifying results. “During one bout, Bill bashed his twin over the head with a polo mallet,” Schulman writes. And “David still bears a scar from the time Bill pierced him in the back with a ceremonial sword.” Those early lessons left a deep imprint on the brothers.

Frederick, the oldest, was an outsider in the rough-and-tumble boys club of the Koch house. “Freddie was a sophisticate, a man of the world, in addition to the fact that he was gay, [which] wasn’t easily accepted in those days,” said a family friend.

Instead, it was Charles, the middle child, who became the vehicle for his father’s ambitions. According to a friend, the father worried that he had been “too kind to Freddie, and that’s why he turned out to be so effeminate. When Charles came along, the old man wasn’t going to make that mistake. So he was really, really tough on Charles.”

The result was a serious, extremely disciplined man, who along with his younger brother David, would transform their father’s medium-sized oil refining business, Koch Industries, into one of the largest privately held corporations in the world. But their success came at a high price.

Schulman describes how Charles, unable to convince brother Frederick to sell his stake in Koch Industries, allegedly resorted to “a homosexual blackmail attempt to force Frederick to sell his shares.” And when the youngest twin, Bill, launched a bid to wrest control of Koch Industries from his older brothers, Charles’ legal team responded by releasing a dossier of opposition research on Bill, filled with sordid details of his personal life.

In 2000, Bill’s then-wife Angela, the mother of two of his children, called the police to accuse Bill of punching her in the stomach and threatening “to beat his whole family to death with his belt.” Bill was charged with domestic assault and threatening to commit murder. Angela later recanted parts of her account, shortly before receiving a divorce settlement worth $16 million.

Nonetheless, Bill spent decades waging vicious legal battles against Charles and David, which cost the family tens of millions of dollars. Much of the book revolves around Bill’s failed attempts to gain control of Koch Industries.

As Schulman recounts, Bill hired private investigators to bug his brothers’ offices and pick through the garbage cans at their homes. He planted false memos aimed at rooting out spies in his own company, Oxbow, who he suspected were secretly working for his brothers.

While Bill’s anger may have been rooted in childhood rivalries, according to Schulman, it was exacerbated by Charles’ ultra-libertarian business philosophy, which Bill considered bad for business. Schulman describes how Charles, and by extension Koch Industries, regularly ignored environmental regulations on principle, believing them to be a hallmark of “Big Brother” government.

After losing a string of huge regulatory battles in the 1990s and paying heavy fines, Charles softened his stance somewhat. Still, the company remains a libertarian venture to this day. Schulman writes that Charles believes the role of government should be “only to keep a check on those who might attempt to interfere with the laws of supply and demand.”

Charles still lives in their hometown of Wichita, Kansas, with his wife, Liz, and generally avoids drawing attention to himself or his family.

By comparison, his brothers can seem like dilettantes, despite Schulman’s exceptionally fair treatment.

As a bachelor, David was known for hosting hundreds of people at champagne-soaked, all-night parties at his homes in Aspen, Colorado, and Southampton, New York. He once boasted that at least a third of his guests were “beautiful, wild, single women.” A guest told Schulman, “A lot of the crowd were these L.A. chicks who had just bought a new pair of tits and wanted to make sure that they did not go unnoticed — those parties got pretty wild.”

In 1996, Bill went to court to evict his former girlfriend from the Boston apartment he had set her up in. Included in the court records were faxes the couple exchanged, some of them sexually explicit. One of the notes was signed “Hot Love From Your X-Rated Protestant Princess.” In another, the woman described herself as “a wet orchid,” writing, “every inch of my body misses you.” Bill succeeded in having her evicted.

For his part, Frederick lives an intensely private life and apparently has little contact with his three brothers. He maintains a collection of historic houses around the world, as well as smaller homes in which he actually lives. The historic houses, which Frederick fills with priceless art, essentially serve as his own private museums.

Sons of Wichita hits bookstores on May 20.

Seen on the Internet 4-26-2014

H/t: DB…

Hey guys… this is HUGE.

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Dem senator defends the Koch brothers

Politico

Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday strongly defended the Koch brothers from attacks by fellow Democrats, saying the wealthy and politically active businessmen are taxpaying Americans who are creating jobs.

“People want jobs. You don’t beat up people. I mean, I don’t agree with their politics or philosophically, but, you know, they’re Americans, they’re doing— paying their taxes,” Manchin said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”

“They’re not breaking the law. They’re providing jobs,” he added.

When asked whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attacks on the Koch brothers “helps or hurts the cause for the country and the Congress,” the West Virginia senator said it’s people in the middle that need to be reached.

“If you’re trying to rally the base, the bases have already been rallied. The right and left bases have been rallied,” Manchin said. “It’s us in the middle that have to start making something happen here in Washington to move this country forward.”

Machin, who also served as governor of West Virginia, said harsh rhetoric from either side does little to help the country.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, whether you like the politicians, or not. There’s people who don’t like the extreme Democrat politics or extreme Republican politics, we got to start being Americans again,” the senator said.

A spokesman for Koch Industries said Manchin’s comments likely reflect what others, on both side of the aisle, are thinking and that “it’s about time” somebody spoke out.

“My guess is that Sen. Manchin has expressed a point of view that a lot other senators — Democrats, Republicans — have probably wanted to say and haven’t,” Steve Lombardo said.

A request for comment from Reid’s office was not immediately returned.

Charles Koch Is Sick Of ‘Collectivists’ Calling Him ‘Un-American’

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries

Koch needs to stop whining.  “If the shoe fits...”

It’s ironic how he uses the derogatory term collectivists while decrying people calling him the equally derogatory term “un-American“.  It appears his premise is simply “I can call you names but how dare you call me names.”

The Huffington Post

Charles Koch has apparently had enough of “collectivists” criticizing his “un-American” ways.

In an opinion piece published online Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the billionaire backer of conservative candidates and causes came to his own defense, claiming he only seeks to uphold the principles of “dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom,” which he said he believes “are under attack by the nation’s own government.” He defined collectivists as “those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives.”

Koch and his brother, David Koch, are under increasing attack by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and others have taken to the Senate floor and other platforms to accuse the brothers of trying to “buy America.”

Koch claimed his critics “strive to discredit and intimidate opponents.”

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.”

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

The Koch brothers have backed multi-million dollar attack blitzes slamming Democratic candidates and President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation. In the wake of Reid’s recent criticism, the brothers are funding a group in Nevada to run attack ads against the Senate majority leader.

Reid and his backers show no signs of retreat.

“There have been times in my life I’ve been a little afraid,” Reid said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “But I’m not afraid of them.”

Read the full op-ed at The Wall Street Journal.

Charles Koch Says The Poor Have It Really Good So They Need to Stop Complaining

Charles Koch

A severe case of myopia and lack of empathy encompasses “the rich” when it comes to “the other”?   I’m reminded of parable verse I first heard in the Lutheran elementary school I attended way back when:

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  Matthew 19:24 (KJV)

PoliticusUSA

Poverty is a condition that refers to the general dearth of material possessions or money that prevents people from having access to basic human needs such as food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. It is a sad fact of life that in the richest nation in the history of the world, an inordinately high number of Americans live in abject poverty and do not have the means to provide their families with fundamentally basic needs of food, shelter, or healthcare. It is little surprise that Republicans are planning to increase the number of Americans living in poverty according to their intent to eliminate the nation’s anti-poverty programs, and it is not because the country is broke as Republicans are wont to claim.  It is more likely due, in part, to one of the two richest men in the country who claims the tens-of-millions of Americans living below the poverty line need to shut up, stop complaining, and start celebrating their good fortune as members of the richest one-percent in the world.

First, it is important to note that poverty, at least relative poverty, is generally defined by reputable economists contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live, and in that context, it is likely that more than half of the American population is living in poverty. Charles Koch completely disagrees and last year his foundation produced a commercial stating that a family earning $34,000 annually are part of the richest one-percent in the world; especially when compared to developing third world nations and countries such as China and India where the majority of the population lives in absolute squalor.

It is not just Charles Koch, another wealthy CEO, Bud Konheim,said just last month that “We’ve got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99% of the rest of the world, so we’re talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this. The guy that’s making, oh my God, he’s making $35,000 a year, why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy.” Except Americans living in poverty do not live in China or India, or third world nations; they live in America where according to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of three would have to earn at least $48,000 annually just to afford the basic necessities to survive such as food, housing, and healthcare. Another organization, the Working Poor Families Project, estimates that the required income to meet the most basic survival needs is $45,000 annually; America’s median household income is approximately $51,000.

If the measure of poverty in America was not based on economic necessities for living standards during the 1950s and 1960s and applied to living costs today, the federal poverty level would exceed three times the current levels meaning that over half the nation is living below poverty. Simple arithmetic informs that if the current measure for a family of three earning 100% of the federal poverty level is $19,790 annually and exactly three times that figure is $59,370, then well over half the American population is, undoubtedly, living in poverty if the median income is $51,000.

It is astounding, but poverty measures are still based on food costs of the 1950s that have at least doubled, housing that has more than tripled, and healthcare costs that are six times higher than they were in the late 1970sAccording to the Congressional Research Service, “The poverty line reflects a measure of economic need based on living standards that prevailed in the mid-1950s…It is not adjusted to reflect changes in needs associated with improved standards of living that have occurred over the decades since the measure was first developed. If the same basic methodology developed in the early 1960s was applied today, the poverty thresholds would be over three times higher than the current thresholds.” According to Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau calculations, a median family income of $51,000 willbarely cover food, housing, health care, transportation, taxes, and other household expenditures in America; not China, India, or any sub-Saharan developing country. Between 2000 and 2011, the “official” poverty rate increased 25% with children and senior citizens being impacted the most drastically. Using the official poverty rate, 55% of seniors and 60% of children are considered very poor using “relative poverty” as a measure. For elderly women the figures are worse with Wider Opportunities for Women reporting that “60% of women age 65 and older who live alone or live with a spouse have incomes insufficient to cover basic, daily expenses,” but according to Charles Koch they are members of the richest 1% in the world.      [Ed.: Emphasis is mine]

Continue reading here…

After Getting Pummelled By Fact Checkers Koch Brothers Dump Obamacare Horror Story Ads

Koch-fail

PoliticusUSA

The Koch brothers spent millions of dollars on ads that focused on bogus ACA horror stories, but after being eviscerated by fact checkers, the Koch boys have changed their course.

The infamous cancer Obamacare victim ad that Sarah Jones described as, “An ad so misleading that even conservatives won’t back its Obamacare claims. In the Americans for Prosperity ad aimed at destroying Michigan Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters, Julie Boonstra inaccurately claims that Obamacare is threatening her cancer treatment and that it “jeopardized my health.”

It turns out that Boonstra was a Republican through and through, and her story of ACA victimization was widely debunked by fact checkers everywhere because it failed to mention that Boonstra would save $1,200 on her health insurance premiums under Obamacare.

The Koch funded ad completely backfired in Michigan, and has helped its target, Democrat Gary Peters, to lead the U.S. Senate race.

These completely fabricated tales of Obamacare woe have been turning up in states all across the country, and they have been called out for being false at every turn.

Because of the negative backlash, it appears that the Koch brothers are trying a new approach. Instead of claiming that the ACA will literally kill you, Koch money is now being spent on ads that argue that the law doesn’t work.

Here is the latest ad:

Notice the difference? The new ads have retreated back to the same widely debunked lies about millions of people losing their health insurance. The Kochs have been reduced to treading over the same old tired ground that Republicans have been working for the past four years.

The dramatic tales of Obamacare killing granny are out, and in comes the same batch of lies that almost destroyed the Republican Party during the government shutdown last fall.

Koch front group, Americans For Prosperity, denied to TPM that they were changing tactics, “We are currently on-air with many different types of ads, including personal testimony of Obamacare impact. This is the same strategy we’ve been using for 6 months. This does not represent a shift in strategy.”

The Koch strategy of claiming that Obamacare will kill you has completely failed. Judging by the millions who are still flocking to sign up for the ACA, people don’t believe what the Kochs are selling.

One of the biggest signs of their defeat is the desperate manner in which the right is flailing about trying to find that one Obamacare lie that will carry them to victory.

The Koch brothers had their lies called out, so they changed tactics. Like copies of copies, each new tactic is weaker than the previous attempt. It all appears to be a futile effort. Not even the Koch billions can stop the Obamacare lies from slowing fading away.

The truth is that the stench of defeat has once again consumed both the Republican Party and their billionaire puppeteers.

The Koch Brothers’ ‘Obamacare Victim’ Owns Property with the County GOP Party Chair

julie boonstra

Julie Boonstra

Is anyone really surprised at this news?  This is how the Koch Brothers and the GOP operate…

PoliticusUSA

It’s an ad so misleading that even conservatives won’t back its Obamacare claims. In the Americans for Prosperity ad aimed at destroying Michigan Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters, Julie Boonstra inaccurately claims that Obamacare is threatening her cancer treatment and that it “jeopardized my health.”

She said her life was on the line due to Obamacare, “Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die.” That’s a really strong accusation, so it drew a lot of attention, and it turned out to be more Koch brothers baloney.

When called out on the facts, the Koch Brothers SuperPAC, Americans for Prosperity, and the GOP claimed people were picking on a cancer victim, as if they couldn’t tell the difference between personal attacks and fact-checking.

But Chris Savage, publisher of EclectaBlog, revealed that the alleged “Obamacare victim” from the Koch Brothers ad shares property in Dexter, Michigan with former Washtenaw County GOP chair, Mark Boonstra.

Savage wrote on his site EclectaBlog that it seems like more than just the AFP are taking advantage of Julie Boonstra:

As far as Julie Boonstra being taken advantage of, I don’t think it’s just AFP that’s involved. She owns a home property with the former chair of the Washtenaw County Republican Party Mark Boonstra, a vacant lot next to Mr. Boonstra’s Dexter home.

Dexter is a very small town outside of Ann Arbor.

Mr. Boonstra is no political novice. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in applied economics and a law degree from the University of Michigan.

And he’s no non-partisan. Mr. Boonstra is a member of the self described conservative and libertarian Federalists Society. In 2012, Mr. Boonstra was appointed by Republican Governor Rick Synder to serve on the Michigan Court of Appeals. This makes sense, since Boonstra is from the Ann Arbor area, as is Rick Synder. Boonstra resides in Dexter, which is just outside of Ann Arbor, and is also the location of the property he shares with the “Obamacare victim”.

Boonstra was also the Washtenaw County GOP Chair.

From his bio, “Boonstra has served as senior principal for the Miller Canfield law firm, located on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor, since 1985. He previously worked as a law clerk for Judge Ralph B. Guy Jr. of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.”

The law prohibits coordination between a political party or candidate’s campaign and a PAC. This is exactly what got True the Vote in trouble, when the tea party group was ruled by a judge to have engaged in illegal activities by supporting Republicans in Texas. This same group then presented themselves as “victims” of the IRS, and the media sold that to the people as proof of the IRS targeting conservatives. This lie has since been thoroughly debunked.

Mr. Boonstra’s close association with the debunked ‘Obamacare victim’ in the ad brings up the question of whether or not the Republican Party is coordinating their ads with Americans for Prosperity. If they are, that’s a violation of the law. And it also suggests that it’s not that easy to find someone to star in their ads full of lies.

In this case, it’s tough not to feel for Julie Boonstra, who is already in a fight with cancer. To add insult to injury, she was then used in a commercial notorious for being deceptive.  Most likely she had no idea of the facts, and is just another misled victim of the corporate campaign to steal healthcare from the people. The people who used her thusly owe her a public apology. She got it wrong, but she was scared. People who knew better exploited her.

The attention should be on Boonstra’s association with the GOP party chair, and whether or not he coordinated with Julie Boonstra or AFP or the Koch Brothers or their associates in any way in order to create this ad.

Note: EclectaBlog has a screengrab of the property records in which they redacted personal info, which I verified directly. I am not linking to those records directly for privacy reasons.

H/t: DB

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Watch The Daily Show mock the Kochs’ meddling in small-town politics

“From Funding Climate Deniers to Shadowy Groups, Koch Brothers Network Spent $400 Million in 2012″ | Democracy Now

The Week

Jon Stewart talks about the mess in Syria, but Jason Jones steals the show from Coralville, Iowa

Jon Stewart started out Wednesday night’s Daily Show with an update on the situation in Syria — the spinach the audience had to sit through, he quipped, before they got their dessert, guest George Clooney. Things aren’t going well in Syria, he noted, with the recent United Nations–supported Geneva II peace talks ending in failure, leaving no end to the bombings, starvation, disappearances, and other assaults on Syria’s civilian population. (Watch below)

Things are so bad in Syria, Stewart noted, that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had to disown the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a brutally violent al Qaeda–affiliated group trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This schism in the terrorist group is a major challenge to Zawahiri’s authority — a fact that doesn’t exactly win sympathy points from Stewart.

For more on the situation in Syria, Stewart turned to Senior Foreign Correspondent Samantha Bee, live from “Beirut.” She coined a phrase — TINOs (terrorists in name only) — saying that’s what ISIL is calling al Qaeda’s central management. She then ended the segment with al Qaeda’s response to this inter-operational challenge: A recruitment video, eerily similar to a famous Apple add, for terrorists who respect “a well-established chain of command.” Watch:

The highlight of Wednesday’s show, however, was Jason Jones’ excursion to Coralville, Iowa, a town of 20,000 that had a nasty mayoral race last cycle. (Watch above) Jones talks to Mayor John Lundell, who was the recipient of a sleazy direct-mail campaign. It’s a classic Jones interview, ending with the mayor laughing and uttering a mild explicative.

Jones moved on to a city council candidate, Chris Turner, who was supposed to benefit from the mailings. Turner had nothing but nice things to say about the incumbents who beat him, including Lundell. Only then did Jones unveil the source of the attack ads: brothers David and Charles Koch and their deep-pocketed super-PAC, Americans for Prosperity. “Tired of losing in big national elections,” Jones explained, “they’re embracing a new strategy of buying wins in local races, using national-style cutthroat tactics.”

The tactic didn’t work in Coralville, or anywhere else it turns out. Turner says that when Americans For Prosperity entered the race, it was “kind of like being endorsed by Charles Manson.” He tied for last place. To find out why these “yokels” didn’t “embrace the future of small-town attack-ad politics,” Jones interviewed “big city super-PAC sympathizer Matthew Vadum,” a conservative author and polemicist.

At this point in the interview you have to wonder why conservatives agree to appear on camera with The Daily Show. Vadum, though, took to his assigned role with relish. He called (presumably) the residents of Coralville “small-minded” for rejecting attack politics, and defended the misleading mailers by arguing that private organizations have the right to try and influence elections. That takes a bit of showmanship, Vadum added.

So Jones confused everyone at a Coralville town hall meeting by doing a song-and-dance number, a la Harold Hill in The Music Man. Yeah, I don’t know what to make of it either. He then confronted Vadum with Turner’s statement that he’s happy he lost, since it might help shoo the Koch brothers away from Coralville. Vadum said Turner took the wrong lesson from the election.

When Jones asked what the right lesson would be, Vadum was stumped for a comically long time, then finally offered this: “There’s nothing he can do about another group coming in.” That’s probably bad for small-town America, but promising fodder for Daily Show writers down the road.