Americans Have Given Up Without a Fight

I continue to be amazed at how Americans have become so apathetic with our political process and democracy in general. America was founded on a constitution that guarantees basic civil/human rights, religious liberty, political rights, independent courts of law, and fair and free elections. A true Government of the people, by the people, for the people. A democracy in which the ultimate power rests with the people and administered by people that are elected to represent them in the day-to-day business of the people’s government.

Our two political parties have always been opponents, but ultimately they would do what was best for the country and the people they represent. Now they are enemies, full of hatred for each other, with their own interests put ahead of the people’s needs. Their loyalty and focus has transitioned from the needs of the people to the demands of their overlords – their financiers.

In the past, those politicians that were “bought and paid for” by those with money, who obviously expected favors in return, were limited to just a few politicians. When exposed, these “bought and paid for” politicians would eventually get voted out of office.

Today, “bought and paid for” is the norm in politics. Not only politicians, but entire political parties, at all levels of government, are “bought and paid for” by ultra-rich billionaires. Even to the point of having their special interest “think tanks” writing the bills for the politicians to submit and pass.

As in the old Medieval Feudal System, these overlords are at the top of the pyramid and demand allegiance from their minions below. Of course, at the bottom of the pyramid rests the peasants and laborers.

A prime example of this was in the news recently. When running for Governor in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal had the backing of Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). However, to get Norquist’s backing, Jindal had to vow allegiance to Norquist and his “no tax increase” policy. Governor Jindal has continually insisted that the Louisiana budget be balanced without tax increases, despite the prospect of devastating cuts to higher education and health care. Because of his “no tax increase” allegiance, Louisiana is now suffering. Gone are $800 million from the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly and $450 million for providing development incentives, and the rainy day fund has dropped from $730 million to $460 million on his watch. As Louisiana’s legislature urgently tries to find a solution, the governor has threatened to veto any budget plan or tax bills that does not have his overlord’s, Grover Norquist, blessing.

So the economy and welfare of the State of Louisiana and it’s people are at the mercy of an anti-tax lobbying group, founded by Grover Norquist, a guy that was caught laundering money for Jack Abramofff and whom the New York Times has called “one of the Republican Party’s most influential policy strategists”. Of course, Norquist has his own overlords, the Koch brothers and other big industry giants.

We have sat on our hands while our democracy has slowly transitioned to an oligarchy. We have sat idly by while our basic civil/human rights are under attack and being relinquished, all in the name of security; our religious liberty has been taken over by in-your-face extremists that don’t accept other religions and demand politicians follow religious beliefs when passing laws; our political rights are being taken away from us by our politicians as they pass laws aimed at voter suppression; our fair and free elections are a thing of the past as our elections and representatives are bought and paid for by super rich billionaires; and our independent courts of law, including the Supreme Court, are totally politicized.

One of the primary goals of these ultra-rich overlords is the privatization of government services. In other words, they want to transition services that are currently provided by the government, funded by the people’s taxes, to services provided by for-profit corporations, which are owned by the overlords. The Center for Media and Democracy has called this privatization goal “a hostile takeover of our schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, and even government itself”.

An oligarchy is a form of government in which most of the political power effectively rests with a small segment of society, typically the people who have the most wealth, military strength, ruthlessness or political influence.

I would say this just about fits our current state of affairs, and we got here by giving up without a fight.

koch family and stalin

 

To understand how the Koch brothers have mastered this process, watch the following video on how the Koch brothers are attacking Social Security.

 

Bernie Sanders Exposes Koch Brothers War On Social Security

The anti-government Koch brothers are using their billion$ to wage war on Social Security. They want to destroy Social Security because it’s a huge Federal Government program that is successful. They want to privatize Social Security so they can cash in on it.

It’s hard to understand the big picture on the many ways the Koch brothers are attacking Social Security. The following video by Robert Greenwald and Brave New Foundation exposes their coordinated efforts for attacking Social Security.

The bad news is that Social Security is not their only target. They are anti-government and anti-regulations. All they want to do is make more money. More money so they can buy more politicians, at all levels of government.

This video does a great job of showing how they coordinate their attack on Social Security and other government programs.  This shows the power that the 1% has and how they use it to influence people. This is scary…

 

The Meaning of the Koch Brothers Tapes: “I Don’t Know Where We’d Be Without You”

US-MEDIA-NEWSPAPERS-LATIMES-PROTESTSo Mitch McConnell, the most powerful man in the Republican party as the Senate Minority Leader and lead naysayer to all things Obama and middle class, heeds the call to come worship at the altar of the Koch brothers and their other billionaire friends.

Kowtowing at their feet, McConnell and the other attending Republican cattle heap praise and thanks for all that the billionaires have done and promise to be true disciples of the Koch brothers agenda (translation: I have sold my soul to you, now please fund my campaign so I can keep my worthless job).

Re-Posted from Huffington Post | by Mike Lux

snip //

This is going to help define the national narrative for the 2014 campaign: these tapes make 100% clear that the modern Republican party is controlled by the Kochs and their billionaire friends. The Kochs invite the most powerful party leaders, the most important candidates, to their “seminars,” and they all come running. These politicians thank the Kochs and their billionaire friends profusely, talk about how they wouldn’t be where they are today without them, and then tell them how they will battle on their behalf if they win.

Read the whole article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/the-meaning-of-the-koch-b_b_5741530.html

 

Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want?

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors’ mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough. Now, they want to own the United States government as well.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court handed down the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission. A few weeks ago, they announced another horrendous campaign finance decision in McCutcheon vs. FEC giving even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further. In the name of “free speech,” they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending — a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon — and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Importantly, as a means of being able to exercise unprecedented power over the political process, this has been the position of the Koch brothers for at least the last 34 years.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion. In other words, under the “anti-business”, “socialist” and “oppressive” Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year.

In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion. For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined would be a drop in their bucket. They would hardly miss the few billion dollars.

Given the reality that the Koch brothers are now the most important and powerful players in American politics, it is important to know what they want and what their agenda is.

It is not widely known that David Koch was the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 1980. He believed that Ronald Reagan was much too liberal. Despite Mr. Koch putting a substantial sum of money into the campaign, his ticket only received 1 percent of the vote. Most Americans thought the Libertarian Party platform of 1980 was extremist and way out of touch with what the American people wanted and needed.

Fast-forward 34 years and the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right. Amazingly, much of what was considered “extremist” and “kooky” in 1980 has become part of today’s mainstream Republican thinking.

Let me give you just a few examples:

In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage. Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party favored “the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people — 1 in 8 Americans — would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes.”

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party called for “the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that “entitlement reform” is absolutely necessary. For some, this means major cuts in Social Security. For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.

In 1980, David Koch’s Libertarian Party platform stated “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes … We support the eventual repeal of all taxation … As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said “would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax.

Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about. The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party. And now with Citizens United (which is allowing them to pour unlimited sums of money into the political process) their power is greater than ever.

And let’s be very clear. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education. Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that. They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the most vulnerable in this country. Every piece of legislation!

The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.

Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.

For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back.

Re-posted from Huffingtonpost.com | by Bernie Sanders

 

 

 

 

Koch Brothers Connection To Shadowy State Policy Network Exposed

Koch Brothers 2Last Friday Jane Mayer, a journalist at the New Yorker, dropped a bomb on the Koch machine by exposing the State Policy Network (SPN). The SPN is a well oiled machine put together to ensure the Kochs’ – and other free market fundamentalists – political aspirations are achieved throughout the country at the state level. The original appeared online at the New Yorker Blog.

Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?

In every state in the country, there is at least one ostensibly independent “free-market” think tank that is part of something called the State Policy Network— there are sixty-four in all, ranging from the Pelican Institute, in Louisiana, to the Freedom Foundation, in Washington State. According to a new investigative report by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group, however, the think tanks are less free actors than a coordinated collection of corporate front groups—branch stores, so to speak—funded and steered by cash from undisclosed conservative and corporate players. Although the think tanks have largely operated under the radar, the cumulative enterprise is impressively large, according to the report. In 2011, the network funneled seventy-nine million dollars into promoting conservative policies at the state level.Tracie Sharp, the president of the S.P.N., promptly dismissed the report as “baseless allegations.” She told Politico, “There is no governing organization dictating what free market think tanks research or how they educate the public about good public policy.”

But notes provided to The New Yorker on what was said during the S.P.N.’s recent twenty-first-annual meeting raise doubts about Sharp’s insistence that each of the think tanks is, as she told me, “fiercely independent.” The notes show that, behind closed doors, meeting with some eight hundred people from the affiliated state think tanks, Sharp compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA.

At the annual meeting, which took place in Oklahoma City this past September 24th through 27th, Sharp explained what she called The IKEA Model. She said that it starts with what she described as a “catalogue” showing “what success would look like.” Instead of pictures of furniture arranged in rooms, she said, S.P.N.’s catalogue displays visions of state policy projects that align with the group’s agenda. That agenda includes opposing President Obama’s health-care program and climate-change regulations, reducing union protections and minimum wages, cutting taxes and business regulations, tightening voting restrictions, and privatizing education. “The success we show is you guys,” she told the assembled state members. “Here’s how we win in your state.”

Sharp went on to say that, like IKEA, the central organization would provide “the raw materials,” along with the “services” needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. “Pick what you need,” she said, “and customize it for what works best for you.”

During the meeting, Sharp also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization’s often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. “The grants are driven by donor intent,” she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, “the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.” She said that the donors also sometimes determined in which states their money would be spent.

The S.P.N. operates as a tax-exempt nonprofit, allowing it to take tax-deductible contributions that it does not have to publicly disclose. According to the study by the Center for Media and Democracy, the donations include more than a million dollars run through the organizations DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, which serve to erase the donors’ names, operating, as Mother Jones put it, like a “dark-money ATM for the conservative movement.” Numerous wealthy conservative individuals and foundations pass money through those two groups. In addition, according to the Center for Media and Democracy study, corporate donors to the S.P.N. have included many of America’s largest companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, A.T. & T., Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Philip Morris and Altria Client Services (both subsidiaries of Altria), GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft, and funds from various entities linked to the fossil-fuel billionaires Charles and David Koch. Melissa Cohlmia, the director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, told me, “We think State Policy Network is a worthy organization that is focused on creating more opportunity for everyone, thereby making people’s lives better.”

Asked about the IKEA model and her contention that each state’s think tank was an independent entity, free to pursue its own scholarly research, Sharp answered with a prepared statement. In it, she stressed that “State Policy Network is a 501(c)3 service organization dedicated to providing state-based, free-market think tanks with the academic and management resources required to run a non-profit institution. Because we are legally and practically organized as a service organization (not as a franchise), each of the 64 state-based think tanks is fiercely independent, choosing to manage their staff, pick their own research topics and educate the public on those issues they deem most appropriate for their state.”

The statement went on, “Every think tank, however, rallies around a common belief: the power of free markets and free people to create a healthy, prosperous society. They eschew a top-down DC-centric approach to running peoples’ lives.”

Lisa Graves is the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy (which discloses many of its own donors, including one grant from the Open Society Institute, funded by the liberal billionaire George Soros). “Perhaps surprisingly, I would agree with Sharp’s analogy that S.P.N. is like an IKEA catalogue, where its state affiliates reproduce the same bad policies across the country,” Graves said, when I reached her in Madison, Wisconsin. Many of these legislative measures “divert Americans’ tax dollars away from our state public institutions and into the coffers of out-of-state, and even out-of-country, for-profit corporations, enriching C.E.O.s and Wall Street speculators at the expense of working families,” she said.

Graves conceded that “Sharp’s claim that the states’ think tanks are independent is true as a legal matter.” Still, she said, “in practical terms, the Center for Media and Democracy has documented how these groups have promoted … carbon-copy claims, identical language, and distorted statistics, differing only through the state label placed at the top of a particular report.” Far from being independent, “they are intensely subservient to the wishes of the most powerful few.” But she did draw one distinction between S.P.N. and IKEA. Because, she contends, the bills that S.P.N. backs divert millions of taxpayer dollars from government to the private sector, “they are hardly cheap.”

 Reposted from kochcash.org

Keystone XL Pipeline – The Only Winner is the Koch Brothers

Keystone XL PipelineBuilding the Keystone XL Pipeline Could Mean 

$100 Billion in Profits for the Koch Brothers.

The owners of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, will benefit if President Obama allows the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. In recent years it has been reported that the Kochs hold up to 2 million acres in Alberta, could earn roughly $100 billion in profits from the project, and have spent more than $50 million on Congress and Think Tanks that heavily push for the pipeline.

Yet, the Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest

in the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Below is a map showing all the Koch Assets in the tar sands as well as interests all along the proposed pipeline itself.

Keystone XL Pipeline - Koch AssetsSource:  http://kochcash.org/just-released-billionaires-carbon-bomb/

Keystone -Billionaires Carbon Bomb

Koch Brothers Model for “Influencing and Corrupting Our Democratic Process”

kochtopusThe Koch Brothers are the single largest source of private money being used to push their personal, extreme ideology in American politics and policy. Their undeniable influence is paralyzing democratic decision-making in the US, and, in turn, around the world.

The problem is too much power in too few hands. The Koch’s combined net worth ($80.2 billion) now exceeds that of even the world’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim ($71.8 billion).  In less than three years after the controversial Supreme Court ruling that expanded the rights of private money in politics, known as Citizens United, the Kochs now exert their influence on a scale never before seen on the American political landscape, effectively buying blocking power in Congress through its radical faction of right wing ideologues.

The Kochtopus is a map of the money, structure, and scale of the Koch’s influence network, and how Koch Cash is damaging democracy.

Watch the video below and follow the chains of influence to learn more on how the Koch Brothers have corrupted our democratic process.

Sources: International Forum on Globalization, KochCash.org