Meet the Billionaire Brothers Funding the Right-Wing War on Obama, Think Progress. by Faiz Shakir, et al.
They’re the 9th richest people in America and they’re pushing hard to upend President Obama’s progressive agenda.
Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are the wealthiest, and perhaps most effective, opponents of President Obama’s progressive agenda. They loom in the background of every major domestic policy dispute this year. Ranked as the 9th richest men in America, the Koch brothers sit at the helm of Koch Industries, a massive privately owned conglomerate of manufacturing, oil, gas, and timber interests. David and Charles are also responsible for a vicious attack campaign aimed directly at obstructing and killing progressive reform. Over the years, millions of dollars in Koch money has flowed to various right-wing think tanks, front groups, and publications. At the dawn of the Obama presidency, Koch groups launched television and radio ads deriding the recovery stimulus package as simply “pork” spending. The Cato Institute — founded by Charles — as well as other Koch-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, produced a blizzard of reports distorting the stimulus and calling for a return to Bush-style tax cuts to combat the recession. David’s Americans for Prosperity (AFP) placed calls and helped organize the very first “tea party” protests. AFP, founded in 1984 by David and managed by astroturf lobbyist Tim Phillips, mobilized “tea party” opposition to health reform, clean energy legislation, and financial regulations.
STOPPING CLEAN ENERGY: David Koch presents himself as a champion of science. Nevertheless, Koch has done more to undermine the public’s understanding of climate change science than any other person in America. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, funded by Koch, wages an underhanded campaign to falsely charge that a set of hacked e-mails unravels the scientific consensus that global warming is real. Despite the brothers’ extravagant wealth, Koch’s Americans for Prosperity has run populist ads mocking environmentalists as spoiled brats. Koch Industries has spent nearly $9 million dollars so far to misinform the public on climate change legislation. Koch-funded operatives attempted to crash the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this week, and may succeed in scuttling any prospect for addressing climate change.
STOPPING HEALTH REFORM: Much of the fierce opposition to health reform can be credited to the Kochs. Their Patients United has blanketed the country with ads distorting provisions of the health reform legislation, particularly the public option. Koch groups foster extremism. A speaker with the Patients United bus tour compared health reform to the Holocaust while an eight-by-five foot banner at AFP health care rallies read, “National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany” superimposed over corpses from a concentration camp. AFP channeled anger into Democratic healthcare town halls in August. It wasn’t the first time Koch groups helped hijack the health reform debate. In 1994, Americans for Prosperity, then known as Citizens for a Sound Economy, worked closely with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich to bring mobs of angry men to health reform rallies [to intimidate] then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
A LONG HISTORY OF STOPPING PROGRESS: The Koch brothers clearly have a financial stake in blocking reform. Koch Industry oil refineries are major carbon dioxide polluters, and Georgia-Pacific, a Koch Industries timber subsidiary, is one of the largest contributors to the loss of carbon-sink capacity. According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the U.S. and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right. Fred Koch, father of Charles and David helped to found the John Burch Society in the late 1950s. The John Burch Society harnessed Cold War fears into hate against progressives, warning that President Kennedy, Civil Rights activists, and organized labor were in league with communists. His sons continue to galvanize hundreds of thousands of middle class people into supporting the Kochs’ narrow agenda of cutting corporate taxes and avoiding consumer regulations [to the ruin of our equality and democracy]. READ MORE:
Obama Far Outdoes Bush in Escalating War — The Numbers Will Surprise You By David DeGraw, Amped Status.
Increasing numbers of deployed soldiers, mercenaries and drones all add up to Obama being more of a war president than Bush, in terms of hard numbers. READ MORE:
Copenhagen Won’t Be Enough — Only a ‘Human Movement’ Can Save Civilization from the Climate Crisis By Fred Branfman, Sacramento News & Review.
A strange cloud envelops human civilization as its leaders fail to take the measures to protect it in Copenhagen that they themselves endorsed just five months ago.
To be or not to be, that is the question.–William Shakespeare, Hamlet. READ MORE:
The Public Option That Isn’t Public At All By James Ridgeway, Mother Jones Online.
As the Senate negotiates its health-care reform bill, liberals appear ready to throw in the towel on a real public option. READ MORE: