I have never before encountered a more evil force in American politics than the Kochs and their ilk. Never.
Since March 2009 I have been researching the funding patterns of the right wing and their activity with regard to the tea party movements, how they move money through Republican establishment organizations, and the impact of their investment in organizations and publications intended to legitimize ideas that work against the interests of 99% of the citizens of this country. I'm not alone. Many others are also digging deep. AlterNet. Think Progress.
My reasons for searching and paying attention go beyond ideology. Regardless of what their views are, emergency sirens sound when I consider exactly how much control two people and one corporation have over right-wing politics. It transcends ideology. It's anti-democracy. In my travels I've found the same information that many others have found but which always seems to languish in the shadows of the Internet.
Influence is held in the hands of the very few, and right now the Koch brothers hold the reins. Consider this list, created in 2004. It lists every organization that has received funding from the Koch Family Foundations. Then it was $120 million. Fast forward to 2010, where they spent millions we know about, and more millions we don't. For 2012, they've pledged $49 million toward a goal of $88 million.
All of this to say one thing: The Koch threat isn't just to liberal politics. It is a threat to the very democracy we treasure in this country. And like Glenn Greenwald, I view them as the most dangerous type of ideologue: the True Believer. True Believers are dangerous because they don't have any goal other than to make all of us True Believers. They proselytize free markets the way evangelicals preach Jesus. And when those same free markets fail? They facepalm and admit shock that perhaps there is a flaw in their flawless philosophy, then go right back to preaching and selling the free market gospel like it's God's word in the flesh.
News flash for the Koch devotees: Markets are not people. Not yet. They don't breathe, eat, cry, love, hate. They do, however, determine the future of people who are at their mercy. It's one thing to control markets like Koch and a few others do. It's entirely another to be at their mercy.
I would still have a job that I adored, but for capricious markets and their puppetmasters. Which is why when I read nonsense like this Weekly Standard Koch Brothers Rehab Piece by Matthew Continetti, I get angry. Really angry. And when I read self-pitying, whinging comments like the one I'm about to quote from a man who wouldn't know what it's like to have your livelihood and your self-respect ripped away in ten minutes' time, I get angrier.
Forget the facts, folks. Charles and David Koch are just bewildered and overwhelmed rich men who cannot for the life of them understand how the left can be so oblivious to the good free markets can do for the world and every individual in the United States who has a set of bootstraps and a pair of arms to use to yank on them.
The left’s inability to understand where the Kochs were coming from puzzled Charles and David. Wasn’t it obvious that small government and free markets resulted in a better world? “Why don’t we teach in schools things that make society more prosperous, and more peaceful, and people will respect each other more? It’s a strange thing, isn’t it?” said Charles. “It’s unbelievable how they distort what your message is!” said David. The Kochs thought their aim was to increase the standard of living for everyone. The way to do this, they believed, was by applying to society the same methods that had grown their company.
Small governments and free markets resulted in a better world? Really? Was it big government that allowed Wall Street to run amok and gamble away people's retirement savings in markets they knew were doomed to fail? What society does David Koch mean when he says "teach in schools things that make society more prosperous"? Surely he doesn't mean this one, because the facts speak otherwise. This society is NOT more prosperous, though Mr. Koch certainly has prospered. What the Kochs do is corrupt government, then blame it for screwing the rest of us.
This world is not better because Koch pollutes it while denying there might be even an iota of truth in climate change science.
This world is not better because our children's educations are being raped and sold to the "free markets" so we can create yet another "market" which will put "prosperity" ahead of education.
This world is not better because Koch Industries put millions into propaganda campaigns to convince people to act against their own interests in order to further Charles and David's "prosperity".
This world is not better because the faith in "free markets" brought the entire world economy to the brink of ruin.
This world is not better because David and Charles Koch think it's better for people to die after losing everything because they were unfortunate enough to be uninsured and sick at the same time.
So what "better world" is it that Mr. Koch sees? I want to see that world too. Instead what I see are people like me, who are educated, motivated, intelligent and have a strong work ethic unable to find work. Why can't we find work? Well, the 'markets' are flooded right now with lots of young people looking for work, and when the markets write the rules, they're written to maximize profits. That means people like me won't find a job until the "market" has eaten its fill of the younger generation.
Commentary like this makes my head explode:
The raw emotions and mindless smears left employees of Koch Industries hurt and befuddled. They kept searching for an answer. It was as if the universe had turned upside down. “All of us are given something, some more than others, and it’s up to us to build on it,” said Koch Minerals executive Steve Tatum. “Charles and David did. They built on what they inherited from their family. Hopefully, I have too. And I inherited nothing but a little help with college.
“What doesn’t seem right is when a person works to get through college, gets a degree, works for 25 years to become successful—and now you’re the bad guy,” Tatum said. “And I think, that’s the American dream, isn’t it?”
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