Tag Archives: Koch Brothers

Buying Political Influence – Who Should Scare Us More, The Koch Brothers or George Soros?

obama-puppet-teleprompter-george-soros-junkie-sad-hill-news

Judging from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s nearly daily diatribes on the floor of the U.S. Senate, George W. Bush has been retired as the most despised villain, and the cause of all the evils that plague the world. Bush has been replaced by the Koch (a Dutch name, pronounced “Coke”) brothers who are often maligned by the left for their pecuniary influence in politics. Since those on the left are not equally malevolent toward George Soros, who does the same thing, it’s clearly not the money in politics that bothers them — it’s the ideology.

The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning Fact Check granted a “Four Pinocchio” rating to Reid’s latest round of attacks. The Post says Reid is “setting a high standard for deceptive speech,” and concludes that Reid’s party is “reaching blindly” for someone to cast the blame of their own failures on. The paper, critical of the falsity of Reid’s claim, chides him with, “If you want to join a gun fight, don’t fire blanks.”

charles-and-david-kochDavid and Charles Koch are brothers who run Koch Industries, an oil refinery business that is the second largest private firm in the country. The brothers are tied at number 6 on Forbes top billionaires list with personal net worth of about $41 billion each. They’ve expanded and maintained their fortunes by successfully providing the refined product that keeps America moving – oil.

George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management, a hedge fund company. Soros is number 27 on Forbes list with a net worth of $23 billion. He’s made his fortune in large part by selling short against international currencies and collapsing financial institutions. In 1997 he was dubbed “the man who broke the Bank of England,” and he was blamed by the Malaysian Prime Minister for collapsing their currency during the Asian financial crisis. He was also convicted of illegal financial dealings in France. His big bet now is collapsing the U.S. dollar and the free enterprise system.

Economist Paul Krugman has been critical of Soros, and others like him, “who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.”

The Koch brothers and Soros spend lavishly in politics. They support individual candidates, contribute to political party campaign funds, lobby politicians, bankroll political action committees, and have established foundations and think tanks to influence politics.

george-soros-economic-terrorist-obama-politics-1344236489The Kochs spend by far the most, but the bulk of it goes to lobbying. The Open Society Institute is one of George Soros’ organizations, and they provide part of the funding of OpenSecrets.org, so even realizing that their data may be skewed toward a more pejorative coverage of the Kochs, I’m going to rely on their data. According to Open Secrets, the Koch brothers have spent, or as liberals typically describe it, “invested” over $50 million in lobbying from 1998-2010. During that same time, Soros and his primary Lobbying organization, Open Society Policy Center, spent about $13 million.

Donations to federal candidates, parties, and political action committees give a smaller advantage to the Kochs. They invested $2.58 million vs. Soros’ $1.74 million from 1989 to 2010. When extended to include the past four years, the Koch brothers have contributed $18 million in political donations. This sounds like a great number, until we look at the 58 organizations ahead of them, including 18 different unions, according to Open Secrets. Those unions political contributions total over $638 million, almost all of whose funds go to liberal candidates, and is more than 35 times more than the Kochs donate. Among those are the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees $60,667,379, the National Education Association $53,594,488, the United Auto Workers $41,667,858, and the Service Employees International Union $38,395,690

But from here the money for political influence gets a little more shady. From 2001 to 2010, the Koch brothers invested $1.5 million in other political groups, called 527 organizations, compared to Soros’ whopping $32.5 million.

The proliferation and expanded influence of 527s was made possible by the problematic McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform of 2002, so named because of the tax code, Section 527, that they fall under. As described by Benjamin Dangl, the groups “operate as shadow political campaigns working indirectly for or against a particular candidate.” Once contributed funds get to these groups, they can go anywhere, and the audit trail is virtually non-existent. Some are run totally above board and are very straightforward in their objectives. Many others are not. As Dangl says, “Prominent think tanks and campaign finance reform lobbyists say 527s are ‘illegal loopholes’ that enable the privatization of political campaigns.”

The groups that these men contribute to tell an even more significant tale than the sheer dollar volume they pump into our dysfunctional crony-capitalist, or corporatist political system. Since the Koch brothers are ideological libertarians, they’re driven by the classical-liberal Jeffersonian philosophy that America was founded on. Perhaps nothing defines this self-defined mission for the brothers better than the mission statement on the Cato Institute website, which states, “The mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.”

The Cato Institute, the Koch’s crown jewel, was established 40 years ago with seed money from Charles Koch, and his brother David still serves on the Board of the organization. Cato is recognized as the sixth most influential think tank in the nation, and number 14 internationally, with its scholarly and empirically documented research.

They also have contributed significantly to the Reason Foundation, publisher of Reason Magazine, applying reason and logic to economic and personal liberty issues. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman strongly supported the Foundation. And with a grant of $30 million, the Koch brothers were instrumental in the establishment of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, with similar objectives.

obama-puppet-teleprompter-george-soros-junkie-sad-hill-newsGeorge Soros runs the Open Society Institute and the Soros.org website, and contributes heavily to many organizations that ideologically are aligned with leftist causes, including Moveon.org. He is reviled abroad for his shady efforts to foment revolution and collapse currencies. His “foundations have been accused of shielding spies and breaking currency laws, and he’s invested over $400 million in institutions of higher education to promulgate and teach his extremist ideology.

In short, the Kochs and Soros are heavily invested in politics and are, by all standards, prototypical “one percenters” in income, net worth, and political influence. And it would appear, at least ostensibly, that all three are playing the influence-for-money game according to the rules established by congress. There is near universal contempt for the crony capitalism and corrupt corporatism that has tainted our political institutions, and politicians, and adulterated our free-market system. But congress has created the rules these players play by. Blaming the Kochs and Soros for using their resources to buy influence is like blaming collegiate athletes for the rules established by the NCAA.

Since most of the Koch’s political money goes into lobbying, their funds are well documented, as required by congressional accounting rules. With most of Soros’ political “investments” going into 527s, the funds are less traceable, and has earned Soros the dubious honor of being dubbed the “Godfather to the left.”

The classical-liberal principles of individual freedom and free markets that are so fully embraced and advanced by Charles and David Koch are the very principles the nation was founded upon. They are the principles that made America great. The progressive socialistic agenda advanced by Soros is antithetical to America’s founding precepts, and is heavily invested in the failure of not only the U.S. dollar, but the collapse of the U.S. economic system.

As distasteful as the pay-for-influence system is, the ideological objectives and uses of that influence should be of even greater concern. Should we fear those who support the ideals that made America great, or the one who seeks to destroy and fundamentally transform the country?

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration.  He can be reached at [email protected].

Progressive rag applauds journalists threatening to quit if Conservatives take over

Marion Doss (CC)

Ahh the Daily KOS, socialist propaganda at best and naive tripe at worst, are giving kudos to  journalists working at newspapers currently owned by The Tribune Company for offering to quit if Conservatives take over their publications.

Amidst news that the Koch brothers are considering purchasing at least five major Tribune Company newspapers — including the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant — the staff at these organizations are starting to fight back.

Here is a case in point. Last week, at an in-house awards ceremony for Los Angeles Times staff, columnist Steve Lopez asked everyone in attendance, “Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers.” Fully half of the staff raised their hands.

What DailyKOS is unwilling to report in their naive release is that Tribune just emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December of 2012. Under the management of companies that care not about content, the papers are ripe for purchase from someone actually willing to run them. It would also seem that liberal-heavy content is not doing as well as say… the Wall Street Journal. Air America and Newsweek anyone?

The 50% of newspaper journalists that would leave those papers solely on ideology should absolutely do so. They are, by their own admission, biased – not a shock to the rest of the country.

MoveOn Attacks Ryan With Lies

Here is the latest from MoveOn.org in the lie filled institutionalized “progressive” left’s smear campaign against Rep. Paul Ryan.  How does MoveOn expect anyone outside their ever shrinking “progressive” echo chamber think-alike tank to take them seriously? Not only are the assertions about Paul Ryan based on misrepresentations, distortions and outright falsehoods, the only “supportive evidence” provided are links to MoveOn.org and other “progressive” sites like Center for American Progress (funded by George Soros), Think Progress, Daily Kos, Huffington Post and The Advocate.  There is no question that the link sites are clearly biased in favor of “progressives” and are heartily devoted to spreading “progressive” propaganda.

If this is not a clear cut case of “I’m right because I said so” vapidity then 2 + 2 does not equal 4.

MoveOn even lies to its own people by saying MoveOn gets no big checks from CEOs.  Apparently they count on membership from uninformed people who have never heard of the huge donations MoveOn has received over the years from billionaire George Soros.

Below is the text as sent out in an email by MoveOn:

Dear MoveOn member,

Paul Ryan is bad for America. He’s anti-choice, and would give big tax cuts for millionaires, while raising taxes on the middle-class. He’s a Tea Party favorite who takes donations from the billionaire Koch brothers, and he introduced one of harshest and most inhumane budgets in recent history. His ideological hero for many years called selfishness a virtue and charity an abomination.

But most people don’t know just how bad Paul Ryan is. So we made this list of 10 things to know about Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential pick, Paul Ryan. Read it, then click here to share this list as an image on social media, or just forward this email! The future of America is on the line—from a woman’s right to choose to our economy.

10 Things to know about Paul Ryan

1. His economic plan would cost America 1 million jobs in the first year. Ryan’s proposed budget would cripple the economy. He’d slash spending deeply, which would not only slow job growth, but shock the economy and cost 1 million of us our jobs in 2013 alone and kill more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2014.1

2. He’d kill Medicare. He’d replace Medicare with vouchers for retirees to purchase insurance, eliminating the guarantee of health care for seniors and putting them at the mercy of the private insurance industry. That could amount to a cost increase of more than $5,900 by 2050, leaving many seniors broke or without the health care they need. He’d also raise the age of eligibility to 67.2

3. He’d pickpocket the middle class to line the pockets of the rich. His tax plan is Robin Hood in reverse. He wants to cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over the next decade, but only for corporations and the rich, like giving families earning more than $1 million a year a $300,000 tax cut. And to pay for them, he’d raise taxes on middle- and lower-income households and butcher social service programs that help middle- and working-class Americans.3

4. He’s an anti-choice extremist. Ryan co-sponsored an extremist anti-choice bill, nicknamed the ‘Let Women Die Act,’ that would have allowed hospitals to deny women emergency abortion care even if their lives were at risk. And he co-sponsored another bill that would criminalize some forms of birth control, all abortions, and in vitro fertilization.4

5. He’d dismantle Social Security. Ironically, Ryan used the Social Security Survivors benefit to help pay for college, but he wants to take that possibility away from future generations. He agrees with Rick Perry’s view that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and he supported George W. Bush’s disastrous proposal to privatize Social Security.5

6. He’d eliminate Pell grants for more than 1 million low-income students. His budget plan cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could mean a loss of educational funding for 1 million low-income students.6

7. He’d give $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil. His budget includes oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.”7

8. He’s another Koch-head politician. Not surprisingly, the billionaire oil-baron Koch brothers are some of Ryan’s biggest political contributors. And their company, Koch industries, is Ryan’s biggest energy-related donor. The company’s PAC and affiliated individuals have given him $65,500 in donations.8

9. He opposes gay rights. Ryan has an abysmal voting record on gay rights. He’s voted to ban adoption by gay couples, against same-sex marriage, and against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He also voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.9

10. He thinks an “I got mine, who cares if you’re okay” philosophy is admirable. For many years, Paul Ryan devoted himself to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness as a virtue. It has shaped his entire ethic about whom he serves in public office. He even went as far as making his interns read her work.10

If there was ever any doubt that Mitt Romney’s got a disastrous plan for America—he made himself 100% clear when he picked right-wing extremist Paul Ryan as his running mate. Paul Ryan is bad for America, but we can’t beat him if Americans don’t know everything he stands for. Share this list with all your friends by clicking here, or simply forward this email.

Thanks for all you do.

–Justin, Carrie, Steven, Stephen, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. “Ryan’s Budget, Robin Hood in reverse,” Economic Policy Institute
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278939&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=4

2. “12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan,” Think Progress, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278662&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=5

3.”Ryan Budget Would Raise Some Taxes; Guess Who Gets Hit?,” Off the Charts, April 12, 2012 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278692&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=6

“Middle class could face higher taxes under Republican plan, analysis finds,” The Washington Post, June 19, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278693&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=7

4. “Statement on Mitt Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan for His Vice-Presidential Running Mate,” NARAL, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278694&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=8

“Paul Ryan’s Extreme Abortion Views,” The Daily Beast, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278695&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=10

“Paul Ryan Sponsored Fetal Personhood Bill, Opposes Family Planning Funds,” Huffington Post, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278852&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=12

5. “12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan,” Think Progress, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278662&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=13

“Ayn Rand would have HATED Paul Ryan,” Daily Kos, August 12, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278853&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=14

6. “Pell Grants For Poor Students Lose $170 Billion In Ryan Budget,” Huffington Post, March 27, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278696&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=15

7. “Ryan Budget Pads Big Oil’s Pockets with Senseless Subsidies,” Center for American Progress, March 20, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278697&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=16

8. “Koch brothers have Paul Ryan’s back,” Politico, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278940&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=17

9. “Paul Ryan as VP Matches Mitt Romney on Homophobia,” The Advocate, August 11, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278698&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=18

10.”Paul Ryan And Ayn Rand”, The New Republic, December 28, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278699&id=48819-18317182-fpqNWbx&t=19

Want to support our work? We’re entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.


PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/moveon-attacks-ryan-with-lies/

Americans for Prosperity ad: A One Term President

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According to the New York Times: Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization backed by the Koch brothers, is set to begin a $25 million advertising assault aimed at President Obama, its largest effort to date.

The Times article uses the Koch brother funding as a negative example of how independent political groups funded by a small number of wealthy donors are shaping the presidential campaign in key swing states. Apparently, NYT writers forgot about the millions given to Super PACs by Democratic ally George Soros.

The following is one of the first ads that will be played in key battleground states over a three week period.

Many conservatives will be thinking it’s about time for Republicans to start responding to the many negative recent campaign ads by Team Obama.

 
Updated 8/9–Ad has been updated to the AFP site after the other was closed.