Koch Brothers

They Hope You Won’t Wake Up

The Huffington Post

Here’s the bottom line. The Tea Party Republicans and their Big Business and Wall Street allies plan to grab what they want while ordinary people sleep through this election.

They want ordinary Americans to stay home on Election Day.

To them, high voter turnout is like daylight to a burglar — or for that matter to a vampire. It stops them cold.

The corporate CEO’s and Wall Street bankers together with Tea Party extremists control the Republican Party. They see this traditionally low-turnout mid-term election as the perfect opportunity to take over the United States Senate, Governors’ mansions and State Houses with politicians who represent their interests.

They don’t want Senators from Iowa, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alaska, South Dakota or Michigan. They want Senators from the Koch Brothers and their corporate and Wall Street allies — Senators who actually represent them and will do whatever they are told.

They want to know that when the chips are down they can count on government officials to continue rigging the economic game so they can continue to siphon off all of the economic growth for wealthiest one percent of the population.

That’s why, at the beginning of this cycle, the Koch Brothers’ network vowed to invest $300 million to smear Democratic candidates for office. That’s why Wall Street has redirected most of its giving to the GOP. And that’s why Republicans have spent the last two years passing laws to suppress voter turnout — especially among African Americans and Hispanic voters.

In order to continue taking our money, they need to take our votes. Where they can, they’ve passed “voter ID” laws that disenfranchise hundred of thousands — and impose what amounts to a poll tax — allegedly to stop the non-existent problem of voter identity fraud. Where they can, they’ve curtailed early voting periods and access to mail ballots.

In Georgia, the Republican Secretary of State has gone so far as to refuse to process 40,000 new voter registrations.

The smaller the turnout, the better for the plutocrats who want to continue to have unfettered access to virtually all of the economic growth generated by the American economy — just as they have for the last 30 years.

The fact is that over the last three decades our Gross Domestic Product per person has gone up by 80 percent. That means we all should be 80 percent better off than 30 years ago. But instead, wages have stagnated for most Americans because the rules of the game have allowed the CEO’s and Wall Street speculators to take all of that growth in income for themselves. They want to keep it that way.

But that requires that ordinary people stay away from the polls, because when most Americans vote, the electorate represents the whole population of the United States. And the fact is that most Americans support a progressive program that would change all of that.

Bottom line: they want to steal your family’s security while you sleep through the election.

There’s only one problem with this strategy: you don’t have to go along. Ordinary Americans can stop them by going to the polls.

It’s really up to us.

If you don’t have an ID, get one.

If they don’t have enough voting machines, camp there. Stand in line as long as it takes.

In 2012, thousands of people stood in line for hours – even after Barack Obama was declared the winner for President – because they were unwilling to allow the Republicans to steal their votes. If necessary, join them and do the same.

Don’t let them steal your vote.

Of course, in many places they can’t try these kind of overt voter intimidation tactics. Instead, they try to lull ordinary people to sleep by trying to convince us that the elections don’t matter anyway.

Tea Party extremists masquerade as moderates. Politicians who owe everything to rich plutocrats parade around in old cars and workshirts to look like they understand the “common man.”

They come out with mushy position papers on issues that are overwhelmingly popular — like raising the minimum wage. But they never mention that if you elect enough Republicans for them to control the House or Senate, the leadership in those bodies will simply refuse to call a minimum wage bill for a vote — just like John Boehner did this year.

Want to pass immigration reform? Then get out and vote against Republicans, who blocked an up or down vote in the House on comprehensive immigration reform — a bill that would have passed the House if the Republican leadership had simply called the bill to the floor.

Want to restore long-term unemployment compensation benefits? A bill passed the Senate that would have been signed by the president, but the House Republican leadership refused to call it for a vote.

Want to cut the cost of student loans? The Republican leadership in the House refused to take up the very popular measure sponsored in the Senate by Elizabeth Warren. If Mitch McConnell becomes Senate Majority Leader, the Senate won’t call it for a vote either.

Want to stop cuts in Social Security and Medicare? The House Republicans passed a budget that would end the Medicare guarantee and replace it with vouchers for private insurance that would raise out-of-pocket costs for retirees by thousands of dollars.

Want tax policies that shift the burden from ordinary working people to the one percent that has received all of the benefits of our growing economy? It won’t come from Republicans — ever.

In fact, elections matter enormously to the economic well-being of every American. And no one’s vote counts more than yours — unless you don’t vote. Because if you don’t vote, everyone’s vote counts more than yours. In political terms, if you don’t vote, you don’t count. And we know that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

If nothing else will convince you to vote, think about this. If millions of ordinary middle and working class Americans sit this election out and let the Koch Brothers of the world have their way, can’t you just imagine how they will yuck it up over drinks in their exclusive private clubs, or onboard their private jets?

They have no respect for working people — or the value of hard work. Many of them disdain ordinary working people. To them, it will just confirm their view that ordinary people can be sold a bill of goods if they just spend enough money and repeat enough lies.

In the end we will prove them dead wrong. The moral arc of the universe does in fact bend toward justice. But don’t give them the satisfaction — even for a few fleeting months at the end of 2014 — to think that their money can buy our democracy and there is nothing we are willing to do about it.

At Koch Retreat, Top GOP Senate Candidates Credited Koch Network For Their Rise

The Huffington Post

Three top Republican Senate candidates heaped praise on the political network built by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch during a secretive conference held by the brothers this past summer, according to audio of the event.

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton directly credited donors present at the June 16 retreat in Dana Point, California, for propelling them forward. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner told attendees that his race would likely be decided by the presence of “third party” money — an obvious pitch for generosity from the well-heeled crowd.

The presence of Gardner and Cotton was previously reported by The Nationmagazine, though it is unclear if Cotton ever confirmed his appearance. Ernst’s attendance had not previously been reported.

For all three, the association with the Koch brothers’ network is likely to provide kindling for their opponents, who have already argued that the Republicans are steered by deep-pocketed conservatives.

Audio of the event, held at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, was obtained by The Undercurrent and shared exclusively with The Huffington Post. In it, the three Republican candidates, appearing on a panel titled “The Senate: A Window of Policy Opportunity for Principled Leaders,” speak for several minutes each about the state of their respective races. Because the discussion took place in mid-June, some of the comments are dated. In addition, some of the audio was redacted to preserve the anonymity of the individual who provided it — “a source who was present at the event,” per an official with The Undercurrent — and to remove sections with too much cross-talk. A separate source, who helped organize the retreat, confirmed each candidate’s participation.

During their speeches, both Cotton and Ernst noted that this was actually the second Koch brothers’ retreat they had attended. Last year, the two had gone to the New Mexico event as politicians of less stature. The Koch network has since helped usher them to the doorsteps of the United States Senate.

“I was not known at that time,” Ernst said. “A little-known state senator from a very rural part of Iowa, known through my National Guard service and some circles in Iowa. But the exposure to this group and to this network and the opportunity to meet so many of you, that really started my trajectory.”

“We are going to paint some very clear differences in this general election,” she said earlier in her talk. “And this is the thing that we are going to take back — that it started right here with all of your folks, this wonderful network.”

Cotton went further, crediting Koch-funded groups for helping change the political landscape of Arkansas.

“Americans for Prosperity in Arkansas has played a critical role in turning our state from a one-party Democratic state [inaudible] building the kind of constant engagement to get people in the state involved in their communities,” he said.

Such discussion is franker than that offered during the daily grind of the campaign trail — for obvious reason. The talk was private. At one point, Cotton flatly claims that former Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his seat because he “endorsed immigration principles.” At a separate panel on congressional races, the audio of which was also sent to The Huffington Post, officials with two Koch-funded organizations — Americans for Prosperity’s president, Tim Phillips, and Freedom Partners’ president, Marc Short — also spoke more candidly about Senate races than they would have on a public panel.

“Michigan is a state that’s basically an uphill climb honestly,” said Short, mentioning the battle to replace Sen. Carl Levin (D).

“Minnesota, everyone’s favorite comedian, Al Franken. He, against all expectations, actually has kept his head down and not made stupid comments, and has been in decent shape in a relatively blue state,” said Phillips, referring to another Democratic senator, who is up for re-election this year.

Listen to highlights from both panels here…

Continued…

 

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.

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.

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.

Colbert Hammers Koch Brothers, Right-Wing Pundits Over Obamacare Alarm

The Huffington Post

On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert took aim at the Republicans as they continue to lose the media narrative on the government shutdown over Obamacare. Check out the clip above as he offers some tongue-in-cheek mockery of right-wing panic over the Obama administration’s attempts to sell the program to young people, and the Koch Brothers’ attempts to convince them they don’t need insurance.

The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm

As usual, Professor Robert Reich gets it right…

The Huffington Post

Who’s buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.

And they’re doing much of it in secret.

It’s a perfect storm:

The greatest concentration of wealth in more than a century — courtesy “trickle-down” economics, Reagan and Bush tax cuts, and the demise of organized labor.

Combined with…

Unlimited political contributions — courtesy of Republican-appointed Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy, in one of the dumbest decisions in Supreme Court history, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, along with lower-court rulings that have expanded it.

Combined with…

Complete secrecy about who’s contributing how much to whom — courtesy of a loophole in the tax laws that allows so-called non-profit “social welfare” organizations to accept the unlimited contributions for hard-hitting political ads.

Put them all together and our democracy is being sold down the drain.

With a more equitable and traditional distribution of wealth, far more Americans would have a fair chance of influencing politics. As the great jurist Louis Brandeis once said, “we can have a democracy or we can have great wealth in the hands of a comparative few, but we cannot have both.”

Alternatively, inequality wouldn’t be as much of a problem if we had strict laws limiting political spending or, at the very least, disclosing who was contributing what.

But we have an almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and unlimited political spending and secrecy.

I’m not letting Democrats off the hook. Democratic candidates are still too dependent on Wall Street casino moguls and real casino magnates (Steve Wynn has been a major contributor to Harry Reid, for example). George Soros and a few others have poured big bucks into Democratic coffers. So have a handful of trade unions.

But don’t be fooled. Compared to what the GOP is doing this year Democrats are conducting high-school bake sales. The mega-selling of American democracy is a Republican invention, and Romney and the GOP are its major beneficiaries.

And the losers aren’t just Democrats. They’re the American people.

You need to make a ruckus. Don’t fall into the seductive trap of cynicism. That’s what the sellers of American democracy are counting on. If you give up on our system of government, they win everything.

This coming Monday, for example, the Senate has scheduled a cloture vote on the DISCLOSE ACT, which would at least require that outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s “Crossroads GPS” disclose who’s contributing what. Contact your senators, and have your friends and relatives in other states — especially those with Republican senators (who have been united in their opposition to disclosure) — to contact theirs. If the DISCLOSE ACT is voted down, hold accountable those senators (and, when and if it gets to the House, those House members) who are selling out our democracy for the sake of their own personal ambitions.

THE $71 MILLION PLAN: Kochs, Rove & Casino Billionaire Team Up To Beat Dems

If these guys are looking for a repeat of the cash infused Wisconsin recall election, they need to know they have a much tougher opponent to deal with this time.  True Democracy cannot be purchased…and true Americans would not attempt to do so.

The Huffington Post

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth makes him one of the world’s richest men, is on a check-writing spree that will soon bring his total political contributions in this election cycle to at least $71 million, according to sources familiar with his spending. That money is spread across the spectrum of GOP super PACs, which are required to disclose donors, and nonprofits, which are not.

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, along with other family donations, have already reached $36 million, including $10 million to the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future that was reported this week. But two GOP fundraisers familiar with his plans say that Adelson has given or pledged at least $35 million more to three conservative nonprofit groups: the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS, another with ties to billionaires Charles and David Koch and a third with links to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Adelson, 78, is a staunch supporter of the Israeli right and a strong foe of American unions. In recent years, Adelson has been a major financier of GOP-allied groups, but has emerged this year as the consummate super donor in the wake of 2010 court rulings that permitted corporations, unions and individuals to supply unlimited amounts of money, sometimes anonymously, to independent groups that can advocate directly for candidates.

Adelson has told friends that he might give as much as $100 million in donations this year in support of GOP candidates and conservative issues. That target now seems easily within reach and could be surpassed, say the two GOP fundraisers with ties to the casino magnate.

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