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Rachel Maddow dissected the Koch brothers’ relationship to the Tea Party over a year ago…so this is nothing new. It’s simply inadvertently out in the open.
This morning, blogger Brad Friedman, writing in Mother Jones and BradBlog, revealed a set of audio tapes from the last major donor meeting convened by the billionaire Koch brothers. There are a number of startling revelations from the scoop — but the opening remarks from Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries executive at the firm’s DC lobbying office, blow the cover off the many Tea Party efforts underwritten by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors.
Gentry, who doubles as the official responsible for doling out Koch charitable grants, admits privately what ThinkProgress and others have noted for years: Americans for Prosperity, the front group founded by David Koch, orchestrates Tea Party events simply to elect more Republicans. Gentry said he met with Fred Young, a Wisconsin owner of engine manufacturing plants, at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event “designed to help in the Congressional races” during one of their “get out the vote tours”:
KEVIN GENTRY: I’m going to turn it over to a dear friend, Fred Young, for the purposes of an introduction. Fred is a long-time fighter, freedom fighter, in this movement, from Racine, Wisconsin. Former owner of Young Radiator. As part of our efforts last year, in 2010, I was on the road for [TN?] in Wisconsin, here at one of Americans for Prosperity’s last minute kind of get out the vote tours. And I went to an event in Racine, Wisconsin, and met up with Fred. It was sort of a Tea Party AFP event designed to help in the Congressional races. And Fred was kind enough to lend me a sweatshirt because I wasn’t actually prepared for Racine, Wisconsin in November. So Fred, let’s take it away, please.
Too many in the media ignored the Koch network’s transparently partisan agenda last year. A few outlets, like the Washington Post, took the group to task for spending $45 million in attack ads against Democrats using an unaccountable, secret money wing of Americans for Prosperity. However, most failed to report on the millions more spent on four different bus tours designed to promote Republicans. These rallies, which required great resources in terms of staff and logistics, were never reported to the Federal Elections Committee as campaign spending, thus evading the few watchdog groups and reporters interested in serious election coverage.
As ThinkProgress revealed last year, in documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from Tea Party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like “Public Notice.” Unfortunately, many still report on Tea Party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations.
These people are dangerous…being rich and powerful with malignant intent to destroy the middle class in America is extremely harmful to our Democracy.
At a conference in June, Charles Koch encouraged wealthy conservative donors to help defeat Obama.
“But we’ve been talking about — we have Saddam Hussein, this is the Mother of All Wars we’ve got in the next 18 months,” Koch said, referring to Obama and the 2012 presidential election. “For the life or death of this country. So, I’m not going to do this to put any pressure on anyone here, mind you. This is not pressure. But if this makes your heart feel glad and you want to be more forthcoming, then so be it.”
“What I want to do is recognize not all of our great partners, but those partners who have given more than a billion – a mill-, no, billion,” the billionaire said before correcting himself.
“Well, I was thinking of Obama and his billion dollar campaign, so I thought we gotta do better than that… No, I’m not, I’m gonna go easy on you. More than a million over the last 12 months. If you want to kick in a billion, believe me, we’ll have a special seminar just for you.”
Mother Jones’ Gavin Aronsen has published a list of many of the donors in Koch’s so-called “Million-Dollar Club.”
Charles and his brother David, who are thought to be worth about $22 billion each, have themselves reportedly spent $100 million supporting conservative causes.
This audio is from The Brad Blog, recorded June 26, 2011.
Don’t miss Gavin Aronsen’s breakdown of the Kochs’ million-dollar donor club.
It’s apparent to me that the GOP and in particular the Tea Party know the power of words. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lie. The fact that the words are ‘out there’ is enough. They understand that a substantial amount of the populous believe what they say, even if they “correct” themselves later.
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today is unveiling a jobs plan in Nevada, which he previewed in a USA Today op-ed. “We must once again unleash the tremendous economic potential of the American people. The contrast between what the Obama administration has done and what I would do as president could not be starker,” Romney claims.
For the most part, the op-ed revives Romney’s stump speech, which focuses on his career at Bain Capital (a buyout firm) and a critique of the Obama administration’s tax and budget policies. But he also levels several factually challenged charges, while promoting many of the tired supply-side policy ideas that have been a staple of Republican policy for years. Here is a fact-check of Romney’s piece:
ROMNEY: “Marginal income tax rates and tax rates on savings and investment must be kept low. Further, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated.”
REALITY: Taxes are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years, far lower than underseveral Republican presidents. Taxes on dividends and capital gains are far below the level at which they were under President Reagan. Furthermore, 68.3 percent of the capital gains tax is paid by the richest 1 percent of Americans, while the bottom 95 percent of Americans pay just 10 percent of them, so it is unclear how Romney thinks a capital gains tax cut can be fashioned as a middle class tax break.
ROMNEY: “Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense.”
REALITY: While the U.S. corporate tax rate is high on paper, once all the credits, deductions, and loopholes are accounted for, the U.S. has the second-lowest corporate taxes in the developed world.
ROMNEY: “President Obama has vastly expanded the regulatory reach of government. The federal government has estimated the price tag for its regulations at $1.75 trillion.”
REALITY: This is a bogus number favored by the big business lobby, and widely cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It comes from a study that, according to John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, “contains basic conceptual mistakes and relies on extraordinarily poor data.” “Its results should neither be used as a valid measure of the economic costs of regulation nor as a guide for policy,” he said.
ROMNEY: “I will not tolerate federal intrusions of the kind that the National Labor Relations Board initiated when it filed suit against Boeing for opening a plant in a right-to-work state.”
REALITY: The NLRB suit against Boeing has nothing to do with the company opening a plant in a so-called “right-to-work” state, but that the company, by its own admission, shifted production from Washington state to South Carolina in retaliation against workers for striking, which is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
ROMNEY: “Tellingly, while the private sector shed 1.8 million jobs since Barack Obama took office, the federal workforce grew by 142,500, or almost 7%. A rollback is urgently required.”
REALITY: This is a favorite stat for conservatives, but it isn’t true. The GOP engineers the stat by leaving out all of the jobs lost by the U.S. Postal Service. As Politifact noted, “If the postal workers cuts were included, the overall increase in employees under Obama would be about 40,000, or a modest 1.4 percent increase in the workforce.” The federal workforce is also smaller than it was 20 years ago. Overall, the public sector has lost 600,000 during the Great Recession.
Mission accomplished, indeed. Now it’s up to Obama and his economic team to wrestle us out of this mess in the next 12 months.
It may have taken a few months for Republican economic policies to take effect, but when they finally did, SPLAT:
Gee, it feels like Bush all over again. Thanks for nothing, tea party!
Update: I added timeline labels to the chart. You can see the original chart here
For unclear reasons, the Minnesota State Fair found last-minute space for a booth for the coalition supporting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (Minnesota For Marriage), but not for the pro-equality coalition opposing the amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families.
There’s definitely more than five, but I’ll settle, for now…
1. “Not all cultures are equal. . .” When she was first running for office in 2005, Bachmann said this line during a candidate debate in efforts to convey she believed Muslims had an inferior culture to the western world.
2. “If we took away the minimum wage – if conceivably it was gone – we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” Bachmann 2005
3. “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful but there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” Bachmann said on the floor of Congress in 2009.
4. “Gay marriage is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, thirty years. I’m not understating that.” See the video above.
5. “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.” –Rep. Michele Bachmann, suggesting at a presidential campaign event in Florida that the 2011 East Coast earthquake and hurricane was a message from God (Aug. 2011)
So, let me get this straight: It’s ok when Fox News does the scary black man thing, and the scary “moos- lum” thing, not to mention the scary organizations that help people to vote like ACORN…forget about all that because a “librul” said something
truthful “bad” about Republicans!
Fox News contributor Brad Blakeman Monday rebuked Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa Jr. for using “hate speech” at a Labor Day rally in Detroit prior to remarks from President Barack Obama.
After presenting an edited video of Hoffa referring to Republicans by saying, “let’s take these sons of bitches out,” Fox News host Megyn Kelly gave Blakeman a chance to respond.
“I think it’s thuggery at it’s best,” Blakeman replied. “It’s what unions are good at. It’s what we’ve seen in Wisconsin and other places, intimidation… This is the touchy feely act before President Obama arrives? I mean, these are the kind of remarks you’d expect out of Tony Soprano, not a union president. Well, I take that back. Hoffa presidency is the type of person you’d hear this type of rhetoric.”
“When a union president says, ‘let’s take these sons of bitches out,’ it usually means somebody’s legs are going to get broken, somebody is going to disappear. Tea party people don’t use that kind of rhetoric.”
But Hoffa was clearly talking about voting Republicans out of office. His full quote said: “Everybody here has a vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize. Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ America Live, broadcast Sept. 5, 2011
Edit: Compare and contrast Fox News’ edited version of the Hoffa speech and the 2.30 minutes of the full speech: