Why is it important to know who the Koch Bros are? Ask Bernie Sanders the Senator from Vermont who stood on the floor of the Senate for most of a whole day to deliver a good, old fashioned filibuster, which has become known as “The Amazing Speech”, to stop the action that would extend tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. His speech opens with “There is a war in America” and goes on to tell us that 1% of the people in this country now earn close to 25% of the dollars spent on any given day.( You can click here to watch his amazing speech) So, what is this war all about and why should we be concerned about it? The battle between rich and poor is as old as money itself, why is it any different today? Isn’t it a bit alarmist to call this age old imbalance a war, Mr. Sanders?
The answer is “no”. In fact, the class war has been waging behind the scenes for some time. An ambush has been carefully planned and financed without much notice or defense from the sleeping giant. Until, somewhere around last Valentines day, when the giant was rudely awakened in the middle of a Wisconsin Winter.
Since the ironic turn of events on a Valentines Day in 2011 we not only have awakened to an ambush, but have come to recognize the Generals of the battle as the Koch Bros.; David H. Koch and his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes. Read more New Yorker article
They are the the Generals in this war. They are the ultra wealthy pair who are troubled by the bargaining rights of workers, teachers, and firemen. It is their hands that have carefully stacked the deck and left Wisconsin to draw Scott Walker as their trump against working families in Wisconsin. But Scott is small fry when compared to the other larger fish in the net.
I wish this were some crazy conspiracy theory, but no. This is who the REAL Koch Bros. are:
Did you get an invitation?
The invitation says you will, “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity.
Who attends the conferences at swank locations like the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa? (pictured below) Who are the recipients of these invites by the Generals Koch?
Last year, for example, some of the guests included just about every heavyweight conservative figure we have come to recognize as Majors and Captains in the war including:
• Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas
• Govs. Haley Barbour (R-MS) and Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
• Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK)
• Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Paul Ryan (R-WI)
• Media figures Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck
• Major Republican donor Fred Malek, a founder of the American Action Network
These top-shelf conservative leaders mingled with Koch Industries executives as
well as oil industry executives from Aspect Energy, LLC; Murfin Drilling Co., Inc.;
Anschutz Company; and GeoPark Holdings Ltd.; alongside several members of
Koch’s various subsidiaries.
You can read much more about the Generals Koch tentacles of influence from the American Progress Action Report
What are the strategies being discussed “to counter the most severe threats facing our free society”?
Fighting collective bargaining
The Koch brothers have participated in the fight over collective bargaining taking
place across the country. The Koch network donated $1.2 million to help elect
conservative Republican governors last year, including Wisconsin’s Scott Walker
and Ohio’s John Kasich, both of whom are trying to take away collective bargaining
rights. During the fight in Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity ran an ad and
orchestrated protests to support Gov. Walker’s union busting and orchestrated
pro-Walker protests. Americans for Prosperity also started a website urging people
to “Stand with Governor Kasich.”
What are the tactics?
The tentacles of the Koch war machine are many, but some of the more secretive and clandestine activities are orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has come to light recently with the attempt to gag a University of Wisconsin history; Professor Conan. They received one of the more generous contributions from the War Generals to the tune of $668,858.
ALEC became nervous with an entry Professor Conan made in his blog in order to better understand the actions in various states with new Republican governors whose radical legislative proposals are remarkably similar to those developed and shared by ALEC. Since “the lady doth protest to strongly” to this seemingly harmless posting, it might be worthwhile paying attention to the secretive machinations of the Koch Generals supported, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
For nearly forty years the American Legislative Exchange Council has been providing conservative legislators with the tools to undo the New Deal piece by piece.
Interestingly, as of May 2010, Wisconsin’s long-serving Republican Sen. Scott L. Fitzgerald, now the state’s Senate Majority Leader, the man who has led the charge in the Wisconsin state senate against the state’s workers on behalf of Governor Scott Walker, was listed as an ALEC State Chairman. This year, ALEC lists Assembly Rep. Robin J. Vos as its Wisconsin State Chairman. Vos is the co-chair of the Wisconsin budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.
Why was Cronon seen as a threat to ALEC?
Cronon pointed out that despite the enormous contributions – financial and ideological – the Koch brothers have made to the conservative movement, he didn’t “find it plausible that two brothers from Wichita, Kansas, no matter how wealthy, can be responsible for this explosion of radical conservative legislation.”
He went on to note that he is “pretty sure” that “the most important group” behind the current spate of anti-labor legislation is ALEC. “If you’re as impressed by [its legislative successes] as I am, I’m hoping you’ll agree with me that it may be time to start paying more attention to ALEC and the bills its seeks to promote.”
Read the full article about ALEC here