Sunday Roast: Robert Greenwald’s “Koch Brothers Exposed”

I know it’s an hour long, but please watch this video.  It’s only ONE HOUR of your life.

It’s important for all of us to know how the despicable Koch brothers have woven their tentacles throughout this country, like a deadly cancer.

They have a very specific ideology, and they don’t give a shit if you subscribe to it or not.  Given their way, we will all feel the toxic Koch boot on our necks, sooner or later, and we can’t fight them if we don’t know what they’re about.

This is our daily open thread — Are we ready to give the Koch brothers the boot?

The Watering Hole; Thursday April 17 2014; GOP’s Task: To Meld Ends – with Beginnings

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
(Winston Churchill, 9 November 1942)


Every now and then I stumble across a random parcel of tidbits that invariably brings to mind, for whatever reason, a line from the 1950’s WWII movie South Pacific, words spoken by ‘the Frenchman’ character and plantation owner Emile de Becque to the island’s American military commander, Navy Captain George Brackett: “I know what you are against,” de Becque begins, but what are you FOR?”

The following is courtesy of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and includes, in Bernie’s words, just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform that David Koch ran on [as VP candidate] in 1980.” Note there’s not a word in all that Sanders quotes that would be in any way alien to this day’s Republican/Tea Party docket, and note too that it still, this day, most ably summarizes at least the bulk of the agenda of David Koch and his  Brother Charles, not to mention that of numerous other radical right billionaire financiers. The underlined highlights are mine, but everything else is exactly as originally published some 34 years ago. 

• “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”

• “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

• “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”

• “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”

• “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”

• “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”

• “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”

• “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

• “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”

• “We support repeal of all law which impedes the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”

• “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”

• “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”

• “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”

• “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

• “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”

• “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”

• “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”

• “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”

• “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.” • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”

• “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”

• “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”

• “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”

• “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

• “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

• “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”

Makes one think Paul Ryan had a copy of that in front of him when he wrote his recent Federal budget proposition. On the other hand and as per Emile de Becque, we do now indeed know what they are AGAINST, and that includes ANY government support of any kind in any way of: fair elections and voting rights; granting medical care assistance of any kind to anyone in need; Social Security; the US Postal Service; ALL taxation, no exceptions; public education (read: “indoctrination”) subsidies at any level, including Kindergarten-College; “compulsory education laws”; environmental protection (EPA); energy regulation (DOE); all public transportation including trains, buses, also publicly owned and maintained rails, roads and highways, even inland waterways; safety mandates of any kind, including those implicit in seat belts & helmets; the FAA; the FDA; “all government welfare, relief projects, and aid to the poor programs;” OSHA; Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A pair of unmentioned hate- and fear-based issues which are particularly popular today are gun control and gay marriage. It’s probably fair to note that, esp. on the gun control issues, the cited document dates back to 1980, BEFORE John Hinkley Jr. shot President Reagan and BEFORE the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act became the law of the land, so perhaps their silence is understandable. The question of allowing/legalizing gay marriage was not, as far as I can recall, much of a vocal issue back then, and certainly NOT the product of our ‘runaway anti-Christian tyrannical government’ as many on the right claim to view the matter today.

On the other hand, today’s version of de Becque’s question still stands: what are they FOR? In their words they are for only the concepts (and consequences) embedded in their words: “repeal, abolish/abolition, dissolution, deregulate, terminate, condemn, privatization, and, why not, state usury,” along with, of course, the power and wealth acquisition implicit in ALL the above. To anyone who’s been watching the evolution of the American political scene over the last three-plus decades, the “points” as spelled out above are totally familiar; many of them have, in fact, either been advanced by the Republican/Tea Party congressionals or, if not formally introduced, they are all-too-frequently talked about and encouraged publicly, and often even demanded . . . with all due vitriol.

In summation, the above-cited 1980 Libertarian Party platform has IN FACT become today’s RADICAL RIGHT WING formula for, at the very least, preparing the “legal” means of turning the country and virtually ALL of its resources over to special interests, to the (mostly white, of course) power-hungry wealthy, and in the process relieving the once vast middle class — along with the ever-increasing numbers of working poor and unemployed — of any chance at ever living a productive life, much less of accumulating anything of lasting value to pass on to their progeny. And though said platform doesn’t even mention, much less address the concept “provide for the common defense,” it does implicitly suggest the repeal of (at least) the US Constitution’s Preamble propositions including “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, . . . promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” — in other words, to effectively dismiss the words “We the people” and substitute, instead, ‘we the proud, the lust-filled, greedy, slothful, envious and wrath possessed gluttonous rich and powerful’ — etc. Senator Sanders put it this way:

“The agenda of the Koch brothers is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country” and that “It is clear that the Koch brothers and other right wing billionaires are calling the shots and are pulling the strings of the Republican Party.”

It is, I suppose, fair to note that nowhere in the cited 1980 Libertarian (read: conservative) platform does it mention the privilege implicit in MONEY, nor does it demand that MONEY be THE yardstick when it comes to the grant of privilege (including even, strangely enough, the right to vote). Suffice to note, however, that in recent years the SCOTUS has amply addressed those issues by (1) their decisions in Citizens United and McCutcheon, and (2) in their dismissal of a major portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The collective result of those three (5-4) decisions has (a) nearly completely overturned all Campaign Finance legislation designed to minimize the impact the influence on elections of ‘Big Money’ and preserve the Democratic privilege of ‘one person one vote’, even as it has allowed the various states to legislatively impose the means of DENYING that ‘one vote’ to factions of those people who tend to vote for other than radical right candidates.

A close-up review of the above-mentioned policy proclamations as ‘platform’ does, however, reveal the absence of one ultimately necessary tidbit: nowhere (perhaps for obvious reasons), is that one missing detail either (yet) spoken of or insisted upon. The late Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, described “it” — its whats, its whys, and its hows — in a March, 2005 speech on the US Senate floor when he said (underlines/highlights mine):

“But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that “Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.” And he succeeded.

“Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.

FINALLY!! — and after all these 80 long and desolate years of progressive-liberal-socialist-Marxist-caring-for-others nonsense, there it is: the means to Meld Ends — With Beginnings!! And the process is SO SIMPLE!! Revolt WITH the Power of the State!! Use “the cloak of legality” to make “illegality legal”!!! — and then go for it! Return to 1980!! LIBERTY!! And then, LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN! 

For current informational details on right wing progress, feel free to contact (to name but a small handful of radical right celebs) Reince Priebus, or Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Steve King, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, Rick Scott, Scott Brown, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Paul LePage, Mike Lee, Darrell Issa, Cory Gardner, Ron Johnson, or even Nevada wingnut “welfare” rancher Cliven Bundy . . . et al. et al. et al. Take your pick; ask for details from any one or all rabid right wingers whose sole goal in life appears to be nothing more than to “Make illegality legal”!!! 

So. Where are we? We have obviously traversed and passed the end of the beginning and are now clearly standing at the rear portal that defines the beginning of the end. Just the other day, in fact, Think Progress reported that Wisconsin Republican Committee Voted To Uphold ‘Wisconsin’s Right …To Secede’, and included in said report was one very telling statement, one which brusquely points to the fact that “Though there is no shortage of irony to the Party of Lincoln now morphing into the Party of Secession, this Wisconsin resolution is part of a larger pattern of conservatives questioning the legitimacy of the United States as a nation. Indeed. And a day or two ago, Nevada welfare rancher Cliven Bundy restated that same premise with near perfection when he said, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” And right wing radicals everywhere, including those on Fox news, cheered him; many anti-government ‘militiamen’ even showed up on his ranch bearing fully loaded assault weapons, apparently ready to fight that ‘final battle’ against the tyrannical government of the United States, against We the people.

Stated another way,

The “end of the beginning”
now become
“the beginning of the end”

Final question for the Kochs and for Republicans, Teabaggers, and radical right wing neo-Fascists everywhere: I know what you are against, but what are you REALLY for? When you question the legitimacy of the United States as a nation, does that mean that each and all of your attacks on the Constitution and on each and every policy that benefits We the people are solid pieces of evidence that your ultimate goal is to destroy the United States as it currently exists?

I think the technical term for that is Sedition.

Another sip of KOCH, anyone?