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Join the Resistance Against the Right-Wing Multi-Billionaire Koch Brothers

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- The multibillionaire Koch brothers are used to running their nefarious network of political front groups from behind closed doors, keeping their identities and self-serving involvement secret from the media and us hoi polloi.

For more than three decades, Charles and David Koch have been quietly funneling tens of millions of dollars from their industrial fortune into the Cato Institute, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and dozens of other right-wing organizations set up to push their extremist laissez-faire agenda of plutocratic rule. From behind their plush curtain, they've operated as the right wing's Wizard of Oz -- only Ozzier.

But now, the curtain is being pulled back, and there they are -- buck naked and butt ugly -- for all to see.

What an unpleasant surprise it must have been for the brothers last Sunday to find ordinary folks peering at them and their fellow Republican billionaires. About 200 of the wealthy elite were comfortably sequestered behind the gated walls of the Rancho Las Palmas Resort, presumably untouchable in the Southern California desert.

They had been invited to this lair of luxury to participate in an exclusive four-day political retreat that Charles periodically organizes to plot strategy with his peers and get money commitments from them for the next national election.

In the past, these have been totally clandestine pow-wows. They allow the Kochs and their corporate cohorts to huddle privately with such top GOP officials as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and to hob-knob with such right-wing sparklies as Karl Rove and Glenn Beck.

This year, however, the letter of invitation from Koch Industries was leaked to researcher Lee Fang at the Center for American Progress. In it, Charles bragged that "we will assemble an exceptional group of leaders" at Rancho Las Palmas. And he did -- but not the kind of leaders he intended to bring together!

Instead, he found some 1,500 grass-roots leaders gathered at the resort to greet the elites. Accompanied by national media, these uninvited guests succeeded in uncloaking the Kochs, turning the family's name into a four-letter word -- as in, "to Koch" democracy.

I was among the "rabble" intruding into this corporate getaway, having been invited by the political reform group Common Cause to speak and emcee the people's Las Palmas rally. I can testify that the Koch crowd was not happy to see us -- indeed, photographer Michael Cline snapped a wonderful picture of an exasperated David and Julia Koch glumly watching us from their resort's balcony (see it at www.commonblog.com/2011/02/01/we-got-their-attention/).

The purpose of our public protest was not merely to expose the handful of wealthy interests who are using front groups and secret corporate cash to gain political supremacy -- we "outsiders" were also there to organize support for repealing last year's infamous anti-democracy edict by the Supreme Court. A five-man cabal of corporatados on the Court ruled that a corporation is a "person" entitled to use unlimited sums of corporate funds to elect or defeat any candidate of its choosing -- thus enthroning special-interest business money over all other interests in our society.

Unfortunately, to reverse the Kafkaesque hubris of the five Supremes who're trying to play God, we need to pass a constitutional amendment that explicitly makes the obvious point that, to be a person, you have to have a navel. While passing any amendment to our nation's basic governing document is difficult, it can -- and must -- be done if America is even to pretend to be a government of and by the people.

The good news is that Americans are up for it. A nationwide poll in January found that four out of five of our people support the passage of just such an amendment -- including 68 percent of Republicans.

Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, Paul Revere rallied the American public's resistance to the democratic repression with the cry, "The British are coming!" Today, the rallying cry is, "The Kochs are coming!" To join the resistance, go to www.freespeechforpeople.org.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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But how much do you know about the Koch brothers and their public policy engineering?

Actually we know them well down here. Koch industries hires a lot of people and produces a lot of revenue for the state. And yes we have known they are very politically active and have known for a long time. They are offsetting the very rich Socialist funders. So what?whistling.gif

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I read the whole thing and could find nothing objectionable nor unique here.

Wealthy people on the Left also "secretly" gather to plot strategy, they also donate to causes they believe in.

I have noticed a "hard left" push to do everything they can to stifle peoples right to assemble, speech, conduct perfectly legal activities.

Seriously, what are the Kooch Bro. doing that the wealthy Left does not do and please itemize their crimes.

Edited by Danno

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"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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Actually we know them well down here. Koch industries hires a lot of people and produces a lot of revenue for the state. And yes we have known they are very politically active and have known for a long time. They are offsetting the very rich Socialist funders. So what?whistling.gif

It is good that you know something about them. How much do you stand to gain from adopting their public policy? More than the profit they make by influencing public policy? Those are the kind of questions people should be asking whether they are libertarian billionaires or leftist billionaires.

Edited by Nina~

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It is good that you know something about them. How much do you stand to gain from adopting their public policy? More than the profit they make by influencing public policy? Those are the kind of questions people should be asking whether they are libertarian billionaires or leftist billionaires.

Whether I stand to gain myself or not is not important. They are allowed to use and spend their money in this way. I don't begrudge Soros for doing the same thing for Socialists. There are rich politically active on all sides. No one ever complains that the Kennedy's have been doing this for many decades, or the Rockefellers, and so on. The only ones complaining are the ones who don't have the same politics as they do.

Edited by luckytxn

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Whether I stand to gain myself or not is not important. They are allowed to use and spend their money in this way. I don't begrudge Soros for doing the same thing for Socialists. There are rich politically active on all sides. No one ever complains that the Kennedy's have been doing this for many decades, or the Rockefellers, and so on. The only ones complaining are the ones who don't have the same politics as they do.

Of course it is important! You need to ask those questions before you drink their cool-aid. Rich people are not out there advocating public policy out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it to keep their existing money and to make more. Everyone needs to question how they will personally be affected before adopting any public policy advocated by a billionaire.

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Whether I stand to gain myself or not is not important. They are allowed to use and spend their money in this way. I don't begrudge Soros for doing the same thing for Socialists. There are rich politically active on all sides. No one ever complains that the Kennedy's have been doing this for many decades, or the Rockefellers, and so on. The only ones complaining are the ones who don't have the same politics as they do.

So, as a conservative are you OK that your supremes have seen fit to confer person-hood on corporations but not on fetuses? When will you realize you are being played to keep the likes of these Koch plutocrats in a position to gain ever more wealth and power?

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Of course it is important! You need to ask those questions before you drink their cool-aid. Rich people are not out there advocating public policy out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it to keep their existing money and to make more. Everyone needs to question how they will personally be affected before adopting any public policy advocated by a billionaire.

I will only support policies I like and not because some rich Conservative or Socialist says that it is good. I know what I support on my own and need no rich person telling me. They can make all the tries they want and are allowed to spend the money as they see fit.

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So, as a conservative are you OK that your supremes have seen fit to confer person-hood on corporations but not on fetuses? When will you realize you are being played to keep the likes of these Koch plutocrats in a position to gain ever more wealth and power?

I am OK with corporations being allowed to have the same freedoms that we all have as citizens. There is a freedom of speech in this country and that is what the surpreme court ruled it as. I think corporations should be allowed to spend money to defend themselves to the public. As you want it, then a group of citizens can band together and pool their money to demonize a corporation as they deem fit and can say anything whether it is wrong or not. The corporation is not allowed to then spend their money to refute what is said. Now in politics a politician can run for office saying he is going to tax a certain corporation and demonize the same. He can say anything no matter how outrageous. The potential voters will hear all this demonizing and with no advocate on the other side and tend to believe and vote against the interests of that corporation. I think that corporation should be allowed to then spend money to refute the charges being made against them. On a further note they also limit the campaign contributions that can be made by corporations and citizens. I don't want limits on what I want to contribute to any campaign but if I don't want limits on mine own then I also don't want limits on any entity.

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Why are the American people such sheep for the rich?

Because far too many people are under the illusion that they still can become very wealthy. That is why someone who makes $40K per year habitually votes republican, despite their own self interests.

I am OK with corporations being allowed to have the same freedoms that we all have as citizens. There is a freedom of speech in this country and that is what the surpreme court ruled it as. I think corporations should be allowed to spend money to defend themselves to the public. As you want it, then a group of citizens can band together and pool their money to demonize a corporation as they deem fit and can say anything whether it is wrong or not. The corporation is not allowed to then spend their money to refute what is said. Now in politics a politician can run for office saying he is going to tax a certain corporation and demonize the same. He can say anything no matter how outrageous. The potential voters will hear all this demonizing and with no advocate on the other side and tend to believe and vote against the interests of that corporation. I think that corporation should be allowed to then spend money to refute the charges being made against them. On a further note they also limit the campaign contributions that can be made by corporations and citizens. I don't want limits on what I want to contribute to any campaign but if I don't want limits on mine own then I also don't want limits on any entity.

Yes, people are going to pool their money together to slander corporations. Are you sane? Seriously.

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Why are the American people such sheep for the rich?

They're not sheep for the rich, they for the most part just hate the poor. It's a deep seated cultural phenomenon, where a grown man who only makes $40,000 a year resents paying his taxes (and he doesn't pay much at that salary) because he imagines the money going to shiftless and lazy poor people on welfare and food stamps. It's not so much a love for the wealthy as it is an imagined 'common cause' with the wealthy against the poor.

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