ATTN Conservatives: People in Power – The Koch Brothers


Aloha to my Friends and Conservative readers!

 

Please take time to watch this very important short documentary on the radicalization of the Republican and Libertarian right wing. This should help people better understand the 30 year plan being implemented behind the scenes since Reagan took office and a plan that’s now coming to fruition. A small group of billionaires are all tied in with the same group that also owns mass media – our messenger – so that the right-wing conservatives have been controlling the message for so long that most Americans are like a frog in a boiling pot and haven’t been aware of the slow insidious shift to the far right end of the political spectrum.

 

Funny thing, while conservatives yell and scream about socialism and communism taking root under Obama,  why don’t they recognize the fascism that already has a stranglehold on our democracy from the right wing.  Ahhh maybe they haven’t been taught that fascism is when corporations have control of the reigns of power in government. This time it’s been bought and it’s exactly what’s been going on for 30 years with the Koch brothers cabal, as fascism has taken firm hold of the GOP and Republican right wing of American politics.

 

Honestly, the venomous hatred toward Obama isn’t unprecedented in the modern era American politics. They called Clinton a rapist, a murderer and all kinds of things.  Right now all of the hatred toward Obama is a product of Koch brothers money and their grab for power, it’s probably also fueled with racism too. Yes, Obama has been a disappointment in many respects but our democracy and the government that represents is broke. The right wing has promised to destroy him by destroying America, by preventing anything good from happening that would turn the economy in the right direction. Like a JOBS BILL!!! For Gods sake people need to wake up to the manipulation from the Republicons and the fact they haven’t done one good thing for this country in 30 years!! They play politics real good, but the right wing doesn’t have a clue how to govern while representing the best interests of the people, the party #1 in betraying the public trust. Hell each time they leave office they leave the country in a deficit, but democrats leave it in a surplus.

 

Factually speaking 100% of Republicans and about 40% of Democrats are completely sold out to corporate interests, all they care about is your vote and you as an individual can go to hell for all they’re concerned. Oh and if they can find a way to shake you or you’re dying grandmother down for money, they’ll stand in line for that.

 

Waking up means educating yourself with facts, this isn’t about anything personal or “us vs them”. We’re all going through are own paradigm shift right now, a process that’s re-orienting our point of perspective so that we may all move forward together in unity – as opposed to the division that was forced on us long ago.  It’s about understanding and taking the side of the truth whether we like it or not, because it’s the right thing to do.

 

Also take time to learn about ALEC how they’re selling your public service job to the highest bidder and have designed cookie cutter legislation, made state politicians sign oaths to abide by them – and if they don’t abide they will be primaried and voted out in the next election.  And you can even research out these personal threats from Grover Norquist to do so.

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Al Jazeera English narrator: Money has always played a key role in American politics. But is it now distorting the democractic process? That is the charge made against Charles and David Koch. With a year to go until the presidential election, could the koch brother’s fortune put a radical right [winger] into the white house?


http://www.nationofchange.org/people-and-power-koch-brothers-1319908875

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Al Jazeera English narrator: Money has always played a key role in American politics. But is it now distorting the democractic process? That is the charge made against Charles and David Koch. With a year to go until the presidential election, could the koch brother’s fortune put a radical right [winger] into the white house?
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2 comments on “ATTN Conservatives: People in Power – The Koch Brothers

  1. “Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona non grata from the (Koch-funded ALEC) conference (management).”

    Toronto Star
    Olivia Ward
    Dec. 18, 2011

    SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There’s something rotten in the air. A muggy,
    oniony, chemical smell that wafts over the lines of uniformed riot
    police, paddy wagons and metal barriers that are holding back a
    straggle of protesters waving slapdash placards reading “Shut Down
    ALEC.”

    “Get back ma’am, for your own safety,” a courteous voice warns me.
    “They’re gonna start pepper spraying.”

    Pepper spray?

    It’s a surreal touch at the lush, sprawling Westin Kierland Resort,
    where the air is scented with fragrant flowering bushes and the
    aromatic lotions of the spa.

    But the protesters are at the gate, and inside, hundreds of state
    legislators from all over the U.S., their wives and entourages are
    meeting with corporate leaders for a three-day annual policy summit.
    Or, to their banner-bearing foes, a cradle of “corporate profiteering
    at the expense of our communities.”

    “Today only,” blazons a sign hoisted by a silver-haired protester,
    “Buy One Senator Get One Free!”

    The target of this anger is the American Legislative Exchange Council,
    or ALEC — a benign, user-friendly acronym that fits the friendly turf
    of Scottsdale, where the grass is always greener and everything is for
    your comfort and safety.

    I’m here to learn more about this increasingly muscular organization,
    formally an educational non-profit — and one that shuns the “L” word,
    lobbyist. It puts state lawmakers together with representatives from
    some of the country’s most powerful corporations to advance their
    legislative agendas. And it’s the most influential organization the
    majority of Americans have never heard of.

    As the coming federal election sucks all the oxygen out of America’s
    political room, it’s easy to ignore the power of the states, and the
    changes that are quietly taking place across the country independent
    of — and often hostile to — the federal government. But, for
    understanding grassroots America, ALEC, here in God’s golf country, is
    a good place to start.

    In the words of its manifesto, “ALEC provides its public- and
    private-sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to
    develop policies and programs that effectively promote the
    Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government,
    federalism and individual liberty.”

    And the success of its efforts is in little doubt.

    By its own record, it has created an arsenal of about 800 “model”
    bills, templates or blueprints for future laws. They are tabled about
    1,000 times a year across the country; about one in five are passed.

    Some 2,000 state legislators belong to the organization, the vast
    majority of them Republican, in spite of its avowed non-partisan
    membership. And with Republicans now controlling half of all state
    governments, they pack an added punch.

    To the protesters, and the growing number of media and
    non-governmental organizations who study it closely, ALEC is a factory
    for legislative bills that replicate across the 50 states, with the
    aim of undercutting the public sector and the role of government and
    promoting free-market policy at state level, where it often counts the
    most.

    ALEC-backed provisions have opposed climate change legislation and
    environmental regulation, stoked the effort to privatize prisons and
    schools, pushed for rollbacks of workers’ rights, for limited voting
    rights and tax breaks for the wealthy. The results, critics say, line
    the pockets of corporations — a charge ALEC and its defenders insist
    is misrepresenting its operating style.

    “The benefits of ALEC are that you don’t have to walk through 50
    different legislatures,” says Jeff Reed, an Indiana “school choice”
    advocate who campaigns for developing alternatives to the public
    school system. “You can share ideas with everyone in the same room.
    But the people in the room are not in lockstep.”

    But ALEC’s very success in advancing its policies has sparked a
    backlash in states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, where police and
    firefighters joined protests against anti-union legislation.

    Recall campaigns have been launched to end the terms of conservative
    lawmakers in several states. And the National Association for the
    Advancement of Colored People petitioned the UN to protest restrictive
    voting laws in 14 states, inspired, they say, by ALEC’s model
    legislation.

    “When a company needs a state bill passed,” writes the
    far-from-radical Bloomberg Businessweek, “the American Legislative
    Exchange Council can get it done.”

    ALEC officials routinely deny it, insisting that in this “laboratory
    of democracy” lawmakers, not corporations, have the final word on the
    bills that emerge for approval: if companies have a hand on the
    legislative tiller, it is not the upper hand.

    The group’s 300-strong corporate members include some of the most
    high-profile in America: among them AT&T, Wal-Mart, GlaxoSmithKline,
    UPS, Pfizer, Bayer, Verizon, and Koch Industries — headed by the
    Kansas-based billionaire brothers nicknamed “the Kochtopus” for their
    wide-ranging financial and ideological influence.

    Outside the wire, the protesters are growing weary, and police have
    peeled off their sci-fi gas masks.

    “We’ve arrested five,” mutters a close-cropped plainclothes man to his
    phone, as I’m warned again not to venture beyond the barrier. Earlier,
    an Arizona reporter narrowly escaped arrest for disobeying orders.

    As the protesters begin to disperse, a stocky dark-skinned man stays
    behind to harangue the police: “You and me, bro, we’re all part of the
    99 per cent. ALEC is the 1 per cent. D’you get it, bro? Who are you
    protecting here?” The front line cops glance at each other uneasily,
    not moving.

    “I was taking pictures and I stepped into a line between the police
    and protesters,” Ezra Kaplan, a 23-year-old student activist, tells me
    later. “The police moved in and I was trapped.”

    Seventeen hours after he was thrown to the ground and arrested, Kaplan
    says, he was released and his knapsack returned — “but not my camera,
    which was worth $1,000.”

    Like many of the protesters, he was drawn to this site by a conviction
    that the political system is broken, and ALEC part of the wrecking
    crew.

    “You know that painting The Scream?” asks 51-year-old Diane D’Angelo,
    another activist and protester. “That’s what it’s like for me most
    days.

    “I work, but I’m here for my friends who don’t have proper jobs or
    health insurance. I know of some who have committed suicide in this
    recession, but there’s no interest in people like them. Members of
    ALEC seem to have forgotten what the Constitution means. They make
    their own legislation.”

    Inside the hotel’s vast conference wing all is calm and bright, in
    spite of the numerous vigilant security guards. Here, in a parallel
    universe of bonhomie, the men and women in suits who are liaising over
    morning lattes are the 99 per cent, and the Occupiers, out of sight
    and mind, the 1 per cent. It’s not the percentages, but the placement
    that counts here.

    Conference tables are strewn with soberly titled reports by right-wing
    think tanks allied with ALEC: the Heritage Foundation, the Goldwater
    Institute, the Franklin Center, the Tax Foundation and more.

    They explain how poor states can become richer by cutting taxes, how
    retiree health benefits can be reined in, how “school choice” can
    create private alternatives to education. The evils of “Obamacare” are
    laid out, along with articles inveighing against federal waste. An
    anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life, hands out a model
    legislation guide to “changing laws to protect human life, state by
    state.”

    “I heard there was some kind of protest out there,” says a portly man
    with a jovial smile, who lines up alongside me to pick up ALEC
    credentials, handily strung on an Arizona Association of Realtors
    lanyard. “I guess those guys just don’t have anything better to do.
    They’d be further ahead if they’d go out and get a job.”

    The conversation ends abruptly as I’m handed my badge with the
    radioactive label “Media.”

    But in spite of reports of the group’s secrecy and antipathy to the
    media, my application has been rapidly processed, and response to my
    interview requests from its diligent young communications director,
    Kaitlyn Buss, prompt and polite. And although some critics were
    refused entry, a reporter from a Phoenix paper, who has written
    sharply unflattering stories on ALEC, was admitted without question.

    “There’s a big disconnect between what (the protesters) think happens
    here and what’s outlined in our publications,” maintains Jonathan
    Williams, one of ALEC’s senior strategists. “They think we’re a
    secretive organization — but how do they know that? How do they know
    we’re here?

    “We have it on our website, very clearly, where our meetings are, what
    our publications are. I write op-eds in the national press that are
    open to everybody.”

    Williams, an affable, articulate tax wizard who calls himself a
    “centre-right kind of guy,” says ALEC’s agenda is much misunderstood.

    Far from being a cheek-by-jowl elite of lawmakers and lobbyists —
    “crusaders” who aim to shrink government to the size where they can
    drown it in the bathtub — it creates “the best agenda for taxpayers at
    large to create jobs and increase the overall standard of living
    throughout the United States regardless of income group. At the end of
    the day the best form of welfare is giving everybody a job.”

    At a price.

    The price includes doing away with the “ever-increasing federal
    environmental and energy regulations” that are in ALEC’s crosshairs.
    So are obtrusive unions, workers’ rights, and public pensions and
    retiree benefits that are threatening states with “generational
    theft.”

    Taxing the rich is no solution to the economic dilemma, Williams
    assures me. It’s a lose-lose to “demonize business.” Slap on the taxes
    and “they’ll only move somewhere else” and take the jobs with them. In
    a globalized world, nobody is safe. Competitiveness is the key.
    Keeping jobs in America is vital — but China is just around the
    corner.

    Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and the Constitution. As lunch is
    served in the cavernous ballroom, homage is paid to ALEC’s holy
    trinity by an enthusiastic audience that is predominantly white and
    over 40. Darker-skinned people carry the trays, an echo of 1787.

    “Our patron saint, Thomas Jefferson, said that ‘my reading of history
    convinces me that most (bad) government results from too much
    government,’” intones a host, to resounding applause. “How true that
    is.”

    The Founding Fathers are dear to ALEC because they speak of a simpler
    time when the federal government didn’t get in the way of the states,
    or taxation and regulation in the way of progress. A time when “these”
    United States took precedence over “this” U.S. of today.

    “We’d like to see a shift of power,” William Howell, the gentlemanly,
    silver-haired speaker of the house in Virginia, explains to me later:
    “It would restore the states’ powers that (the federal government) has
    usurped.”

    Howell is ALEC’s federalism expert and a prominent backer of a
    constitutional amendment to repeal federal laws to which two-thirds of
    states object. Federal health-care legislation, for instance, should
    be barred because “if the federal government can require you to buy a
    product (i.e. health insurance) it can do anything.”

    Howell’s vision for America is “50 thriving states. A much more
    limited federal and state government.” A vision devoutly wished by
    many of the legislative and corporate members here.

    That is the Constitutional way, says Howell, the sort of favourite
    uncle you would invite to a family dinner. “The Constitution was
    authored by Virginians and we take great pride in it. It’s flexible
    enough for 300 million people as it was for 13 million.”

    Born in 1973, to a group of conservative state lawmakers and policy
    wonks, ALEC can’t claim the provenance of the Founding Fathers. But
    after a modest beginning during President Richard Nixon’s term, and a
    slow ascendancy, it became a resounding hit in recent years, backed by
    corporate heft.

    Now thousands of the elect and the elected head for its conferences,
    the latter assisted by ALEC’s “scholarship” funds. Some join the nine
    task forces and legislative boards that create template bills,
    alongside similar bodies set up for their corporate counterparts. The
    final vote, ALEC says, has no input from the corporations. (Critics,
    unsurprisingly, say otherwise. “Through ALEC, behind closed doors,
    corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire
    that directly benefit their bottom line,” says the watchdog Center for
    Media and Democracy.)

    For Howell, and other lawmakers here, belonging to ALEC is a shortcut
    to effective, winnable legislation.

    “If I flew to Las Vegas I wouldn’t know anybody,” he explains. “We
    have 50 laboratories to find out what they’ve all been doing. ALEC
    provides a meeting point, and the distinguishing feature is they’re
    very interested in liberty and the free market.”

    The air of Scottsdale is free too, of pepper spray. I stroll back to
    my room in the nearby Westin Kierland Villas complex, along the
    manicured golf course and the limpid pond on which float a family of
    ducks.

    Overhead three helicopters hover. One breaks away and seems to shadow
    my path. After the years I have spent in conflict zones helicopters
    are not a good omen. I squint into the dazzling blue sky and wave. The
    chopper wheels back and lazily retreats. Later, that night I fall into
    a fitful sleep, pursued by a dark helicopter that always outflanks me.

    There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. . .

    Back at the conference, a workshop on pension reform is winding up a
    lengthy discussion of a proposed Public Pension Accounting
    Responsibility Act. The act would force legislators to “tell the
    truth” about state pensions, which ALEC supporters claim are
    undermining (if not collapsing) state finances.

    As the audience files out for a coffee break, I stay behind and wait
    for the Fiscal Policy Reform Working Group to begin. It will drill
    down on one the hottest issues in Washington, tax reform, and review a
    model bill on opposing state bailouts by the federal government.

    A friendly voice greets me: Kaitlyn Buss.

    “I hope you’re enjoying the conference,” she says. “But I’m afraid
    you’ll have to leave the room.”

    “But I’ve just sat through another working group. Why is this one different?”

    “Some are open, others aren’t. It’s just the rules.”

    Night falls, and the tiny sports bar in the hotel basement is crowded.
    A ruddy-faced man jumps to his feet, sweating, as touchdowns are
    scored on the big screen. He volleys the results at a huddle of young
    women who seem barely aware of the action.

    Nor am I. I’m talking to a fellow hotel guest, Beau Hodai, a
    journalist from the left-wing magazine In These Times who has written
    probing articles on ALEC. Unlike me, he hasn’t enjoyed its
    co-operation and credentials. His calls have gone unanswered, and he
    has been turned back by the police and guards who firewall the
    meeting.

    The noise level in the bar rises and so do I. As I say goodnight, Beau
    is summoned by hotel security and herded away toward the elevator by
    uniformed police. Why? In Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia, I was evicted
    from my hotel by machine-gun-toting militias as the Kosovo war began.
    But in America. . . ?

    As I stand staring, two cops flank me: Do I know this man? Who is he?

    Beau has disappeared now. Will anything I say be used against him? I
    square my shoulders and think of my British mother: “How dare you ask
    me such a question? Is this a morality charge? Are hotel guests of the
    opposite sex forbidden to speak in a bar? Is this Iran or the land of
    the free?”

    We face off, not blinking. The questions continue. At last the
    inquisitors give in. “Ma’am, you’re free to go.”

    They are pointing me toward the lobby, and the front door. On cue, the
    helpful young man at the bell desk calls the hotel shuttle to convey
    me to the Villas.

    At 11 p.m., some 45 minutes later, I call Beau’s number. He is now in
    another hotel, his stay at the Westin Kierland terminated abruptly.

    “They said they were throwing me out and that they would escort me to
    the room to get my belongings,” he tells me. “I had to leave right
    then and there — or be arrested.” Off-duty police, it appears, were
    moonlighting as security for the conference, but no less determined to
    do their duty as they saw it.

    (Back in Toronto I reach the hotel’s managing director, Bruce Lang, by
    phone and am told, “Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona non grata
    from the conference.” But he adds, “not by the hotel, not by the
    police. . . He clearly presented a threat to the conference, based on
    his history.”) That would be the threat of investigative journalism?

    In the Phoenix airport I move through the tanned, jostling holiday
    crowd toward the Air Canada gate.

    What just happened here? I board the plane and settle back to watch
    the Arizona landscape disappear. The dry, dusty beige and the achingly
    lush green. The baronial resorts and the desert shacks. The conference
    too has dispersed, and the hotel resumed the even tenor of its ways.
    Business as usual. And I think of ALEC and the Constitution it
    reveres.

    The First Amendment.

    “Congress shall make no law. . . abridging the freedom of speech, or
    of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
    petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

    The 99 per cent, and the 1 per cent. A nation divided under God.

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