About the time I think I've heard the worst of what anyone can say or do, Charles Koch ratchets it up a notch. This recording was made in June at a secret meeting in Vail, Colorado with right-wing donors. Here's the relevant transcript [Full transcript available at The Brad Blog]:
KOCH: But we've been talking about --- we have Saddam Hussein, this is the Mother of All Wars we've got in the next 18 months. For the life or death of this country. So, I'm not going to do this to put any pressure on anyone here, mind you. This is not pressure. But if this makes your heart feel glad and you want to be more forthcoming, then so be it.
He goes on to recognize a list of donors who have given a million dollars or more to right wing causes, which largely squares with the list published by ThinkProgress last year, but includes a few new names like Charles Schwab, Paul Singer (the hedge fund mega-giver), and John Templeton, Jr.
Perhaps one of the other more remarkable laments on the part of the billionaire Koch family was this one, made later on, in response to Fox News' Judge Napolitano's remarks about how the government fears fear, but they should really be fearful. In response, Charles Koch says 99.9 percent of the media is against them (meaning the right wing, I assume), but that Napolitano is one of the "bright stars."
JUDGE ANTHONY NAPOLITANO: ... So what does the government fear the most? I think the government fears fear. I'm afraid the government is going to take the property and the freedom of everybody in this room. The government should fear that we will take its power away from it and put it into the hands of worthy custodians of our freedom.
Jefferson articulated this when he said, "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Thank you and God bless you, my friends. [applause]
CHARLES KOCH: You know, Judge, I wish I had said that. [laughter]
I'm workin' on it. But, you know, we've talked about our competitive disadvantage, how we're overwhelmed in a number of areas, but we have --- and one of those areas, of course, is the media --- and we're overwhelmed. The media's ninety-plus percent against us. But we have a few bright stars and Judge here is one of 'em. So we thank you so much. [applause] Not only for being with us tonight but what you do every day in defending our free society. [full transcript]
This is what we're fighting right here: U.S. billionaire oligarchs who think the elected President of this country is Saddam Hussein. Oligarchs who buy their media yet whine that the media is against them. Oligarchs who view elections as the "mother of all battles." I, too, view 2012 as the mother of all battles, but I wouldn't dare call Charles Koch a deceased terrorist despot, would I?
I'm digging more into the names Koch mentioned and will have more on that shortly. In the meantime, will someone please tell Fox News to ratchet down their whining over "hate speech?"
Of course, it wouldn't be a true Koch megameeting without some high-profile governors in attendance. Brad Friedman reports via Mother Jones:
Several GOP governors made it to the Vail seminar in June, among them Florida's Rick Scott, Virginia's Robert McDonnell, and White House hopeful Rick Perry of Texas. News of the event slipped out after McDonnell put the trip on his weekend schedule; neither Perry nor Scott initially disclosed the trip to their constituents. A Perry spokesman acknowledged his attendance only after the Austin American-Statesman tracked the tail number of a plane belonging to one of the governor's top donors from Texas to Colorado. He described the summit as a "private gathering of business leaders."
I wonder where Scott Walker was. Perhaps he thought it would be bad form to be linked up with his benefactors publicly.
Charles Koch is right about one thing: 2012 is a pivotal election. It's about the Supreme Court and the heart of this nation. It will either belong to the oligarchs or the people, depending.