[mgj-discuss] Fwd: Occupy The Koch Brothers—And Stop The American Nightmare

nadine bloch nbloch at igc.org
Thu Nov 3 11:30:34 EDT 2011


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: nadine bloch <nbloch at igc.org>
Date: Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Occupy The Koch Brothers—And Stop The American Nightmare
To: mgj-discuss at lists.mutualaid.org, dcpeacemusic at googlegroups.com, DC
Rising Tide <dcrisingtide at riseup.net>, dawn-dc <dawn-dc at yahoogroups.com>,
dc-cluster <dc-cluster at lists.riseup.net>, RhythmWorkersUnion at yahoogroups.com,
transition-takoma at googlegroups.com


   *Arm yourself with the info below, and Join us at the OccupytheKochs
Guerilla Drive-In *

*Friday, Nov 4th, 6pm; Meet at 1025 7th St NW...... see attached flyer! *

*or http://www.guerrilla-drive-in.com/*

*
************************************************************************************
*

*
*

*CAF’s blogger Isaiah Poole and intern Sean McMartin wrote this piece.
Please share…*

*Occupy The Koch Brothers—And Stop The American Nightmare*

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011114402/occupy-koch-brothers-and-stop-american-nightmare
****

The very name of a Washington conservative conference this weekend is the
height of subterfuge. It's called the "Defending the American
Dream"<http://site.defendingthedream.org/> conference,
which is not about defending the actual American dreams of most Americans
(the focus of our own"Take Back the American
Dream"<http://ourfuture.org/takeback> conference),
sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, which is not an organization that
promotes what is needed for broad American prosperity.****

This actually is the latest effort by the billionaire Koch brothers,
founders and key funders of Americans for Prosperity, and their corporate
and political allies to hijack our democracy and pillage our economy. It's
their attempt to perpetuate an American nightmare of continued income
inequality and a government held hostage to the whims of elites. It is thus
a perfect target for the latest Occupy-style protest.****

The Other 98% and Health Care for America Now are sponsoring a "Koch
Brothers Guerrilla Drive-In" <http://www.guerrilla-drive-in.com/> Friday
evening at the Washington Convention Center, where the conference is being
held. The plan is to have an outdoor showing of a documentary on how the
Kochs are using their fortune to pursue their grotesque mangling of
American democracy.****

The conference itself brings together many of the players in and elements
of their grand scheme. For example, there is James O'Keefe, the person who
dressed up as a pimp in a scheme to get damaging video footage for his
scurrilous slander of the group ACORN, doing a lecture on "investigative
journalism." There's Grover Norquist on a panel on "pro-growth tax reform."
(He's lately been championing Texas Gov. Rick Perry's "flat tax"
plan<http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/is-a-flat-tax-a-good-idea/flat-tax-unites-americans>,
which would allow the wealthy to slash their tax payments and would explode
the federal deficit, forcing Norquist's longtime
shrink-government-and-drown-it-in-the-bathtub objective.) There's Kansas
Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, a member of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, on a panel on the Environmental Protection Agency's
"job-crushing regulatory assault"; he will be speaking on behalf of the
Koch brothers, his leading campaign contributor, and the oil and gas
industry, his biggest source of campaign
cash<http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00030744>.
At least two Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Herman
Cain, are also scheduled to appear.****

No conservative conference is complete without the deification of Ronald
Reagan, and there will be plenty of that going on at the Friday night
"Tribute to Ronald Reagan" dinner, which will be followed by a screening of
"Atlas Shrugged." (No, I am not making this up.)****

But what makes this conference significant is not the tired repetition of
right-wing bumper-sticker slogans, the over-the-top characterizations of
Obama administration policy or the pathetic preening of presidential
candidates to show off how extreme they can be. It is the very real damage
that the Koch brothers and the forces that this conference is assembling
are doing to our economy and to the 99 percent of us for whom the American
dream of economic security is becoming increasingly out of reach.****

Consider what the Koch brothers have actually been "defending":****

**·         ***Their $45 million effort to buy control of Congress.* That's
the amount of money Forbes magazine
says<http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2011/07/15/koch-brothers-back-their-first-2012-presidential-candidate-and-it-isnt-romney/>
Americans
for Prosperity spent in the 2010 elections. That money helped Republicans
control the House with the most extreme group of conservatives elected in
modern history. With this group firmly in control, every effort by the
Obama administration to move legislation to revive the economy has been
thwarted and previous successes in health care and financial reform have
come under unrelenting attack. The stream of anti-regulation, anti-labor
legislation passed by the Tea Party-besotted House is pretty much lifted
straight from the Koch brothers legislative
agenda<http://americansforprosperity.org/issues>
.****

**·         ***The destructive efforts of the American Legislative Exchange
Council to co-opt state and local governments.*Rather than promoting state
and local governments as entities that are particularly equipped to respond
to the public interest because of their proximity to the people, ALEC
mounts campaigns that leave state and local governments facilitating
private greed rather than serving the public good. In August The Nation's
Lisa Graves <http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/koch-connection> explained
that "of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC
provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their
brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding." Examples include
legislation that allows energy companies to avoid fines for polluting, that
push privatization of public education, and that prevent states and
localities from regulating the rogue behavior of financial institutions.****

**·         ***ALEC's efforts to suppress voter turnout.* The Koch
brothers' fingerprints are all over the efforts by various Republican
governors and legislatures to pass voter ID laws that use trumped-up
allegations of voter fraud to deliberately disenfranchise voters most
likely to oppose their agenda. "It was ALEC’s draft legislation that
inspired a spate of recently passed voter ID laws that, if allowed to
stand, are expected to marginalize the impact of students and people of
color at the polls in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee and
Kansas," Adele Stan reported for the AFL-CIO
blog<http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/10/17/block-the-vote-how-the-koch-backed-american-legislative-exchange-council-aims-to-keep-you-from-voting/>
. Patrick Caldwell at the American Prospect
wrote<http://prospect.org/article/who-stole-election-0> that
"the rules are often configured specifically to favor the Republican base
at the expense of excluding likely Democrats."****

**·         ***Their assault on public workers.* Scott Walker won the
governorship of Wisconsin and the ability to execute his attack on public
workers there with the
help<http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers>
of
$43,000 in direct contributions from the Koch Industries political action
committee and indirectly through the $1 million that Koch's PAC gave to the
Republican Governors Association. The Kochs are also major supporters of
Ohio Gov. John Kasich<http://www.progressohio.org/blog/2011/06/in-secret-video-gov-kasich-thanks-koch-brothers-union-busting-front-group-americans-for-prosperity-f.html>,
who earlier this year credited "the strong support" of Americans for
Prosperity for his now faltering attempt to strip Ohio state workers of
their bargaining rights.****

**·         ***The dominance of extremist candidates in the 2012
presidential race.* Koch bothers money can be found in the pockets of at
least three of the most extreme Republican presidential candidates: Minnesota
congresswoman Michele
Bachmann<http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2011/07/15/koch-brothers-back-their-first-2012-presidential-candidate-and-it-isnt-romney/>
, Texas Gov. Rick
Perry<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/28/989152/-Rick-Perry-Meets-With-Koch-Brothers>
and,
especially, Herman Cain. Rachel Maddow
reported<http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/25/8479624-koch-brothers-pop-up-candidate-herman-cain>
that
the Cain connections include a campaign manager from the Wisconsin chapter
of Americans for Prosperity, a now ex-spokesperson from another Americans
for Prosperity affiliate, and the economic advisor who came up with Cain's
infamous "9-9-9" tax plan, who was a member of Americans for Prosperity's
advisory board. This is no surprise, because, as the Associated Press has
reported, Cain has historically been a shill for the Americans for
Prosperity legislative agenda. The Kochs have said they will pour at least
$200,000 into the 2012 presidential campaign. "At least" is the operative
phrase; expect the Kochs to funnel millions of dollars into the 2012
campaign through a variety of channels, most of which—thanks in part to the
Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling—will be unrestricted and largely
untraceable.****

**·         ***Their ability to violate the law with impunity, and to
punish those who hold them accountable.* A Bloomberg Markets magazine
investigation<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-02/koch-brothers-flout-law-getting-richer-with-secret-iran-sales.html>
published
in October calls it "the Koch method," in which employees of the brothers'
oil and gas companies "were shown by their managers how to steal and
cheat." The stealing and cheating, according to Bloomberg, ranged from not
paying royalties for oil extracted from federal land to bribing foreign
officials to win contracts—and firing the company compliance officer who
discovered the bribes and called them to the attention of top corporate
officials. "For six decades around the world, Koch Industries has blazed a
path to riches -- in part, by making illicit payments to win contracts,
trading with a terrorist state, fixing prices, neglecting safety and
ignoring environmental regulations. At the same time, Charles and David
Koch have promoted a form of government that interferes less with company
actions," the magazine wrote.****

Unregulated, unaccountable corporations. Extremist elected officials who
disdain the concept of a government serving the common good. Workers
stripped of the ability to negotiate collectively for fair pay, working
conditions and benefits. Hundreds of millions of corporate dollars drowning
out the voices of working-class and middle-class people. Voters forced to
jump over ever-higher obstacles to vote for candidates who represent them,
assuming those candidates can even get on ballots. This is the Koch
brothers' dystopia. What they are defending is indefensible.****

For at least a few hours on Friday evening, the Washington Convention
Center should be the focus of Occupy movement and its allies, for the Koch
brothers embody just about everything the Occupy movement is
against—members of the 1 percent who act as if our economy and our
democracy should be their personal servant, and that the 99 percent should
feel satisfied with the crumbs off their table.****

It is time for us to declare that we are the real Americans for prosperity,
those of us who believe that workers should receive a fair wage for a fair
day's work and be treated with dignity; that companies should be
accountable for the harm that they do to people and the environment; that
health care is a basic right for every person; that the education of our
children shouldn't be turned into yet another corporate profit center; that
government can and should work for all of the people, not the privileged
few; that our democracy is the property of the people and cannot be owned
by those with the most money.****

We cannot allow the Koch brothers' so-called "American dream" to continue
to be our national nightmare.****
------------------------------

*Sean McMartin contributed to this article.*****

**
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