A few months ago, the Washington Post looked inside the Koch brothers political empire[i]. The Post said, “The money flows through a complex maze of tax-exempt groups and limited liability corporations, creating multiple barriers that shield the identities of the donors.” Over twenty organizations are shown, but probably the biggest influence is Americans for Prosperity (AFP), masquerading as Tea Party connected.
Every week media sources document what AFP is doing to sever voter connection with democracy. The Koch brother-sponsored organization seems to be everywhere supporting events or issues which will advance their combined fortune of $50 billion. Their oil company alone has estimated revenues of $100 billion. Supposedly, their motto is that you can never have too much money or too much control of others.
Their activities, not too effectively hidden behind so-called non-profit organizations, the most active perhaps, Americans for Prosperity, are everywhere. Perhaps they like to think of themselves as omniscient, the new gods of geographic girth.
This week AFP is sponsoring the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, which it named “the cattle call.” I’m not sure if that is complimentary or demeaning for the participants. Anyway, with podiums labeled “Americans for Prosperity” and “Citizens United” – two front Koch groups, messages which used to be called unpatriotic, demagogic, disrespectful, mudslinging, or lacking in substance, are now so common the media reports them without a rasp let alone a gasp. Besides Fox, in effect, sponsors the vitriol, as well as reporting it. Mainstream, corporate media revels in the wake of GOP-base misinformation and rancor.
Mike Huckabee, oft running for president and a regular host on Fox News, said that there was “more freedom in North Korea” than the United States has under President Barack Obama. Huckabee continued, as about 700 GOP-based supporters cheered, “threats of affronts to our freedom today are so incredibly frightening.” So common is the disrespect to our president, no one – the gathering of supporters or media – blinked in reaction to the denigrating hyperbole.
Donald Trump’s turn involved continued rancor. He still slung mud, though ACA is more and more successful, “The single greatest lie I’ve ever witnessed.” Such statements have become meaningless but are red meat for this audience. More red meat – “[Putin’s] outsmarted our country every step of the way!”
Trump also got his hacks on Jeb Bush’s too-empathetic comments about immigrants, when Bush had mentioned that their illegal immigration was “an act of love.” He mocked Bush’s words to cheers from the audience, and went on to deride “Common Core,” an education program that Jeb Bush supports. He went on, “I’ve heard that immigrants come here for money and sex, not love.”
All mocking messages echoed the sentiments of the $50 billion men, the Koch brothers, whose tax-free organizations supported the event.
Several thousand miles away in Mesquite, Nevada, AFP was also taking anti-government, anti-Obama stands with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who over decades bilked American taxpayers out of $1 million in cattle grazing fees on federal land. In the media, AFP joined armed militiamen and the Bundy family which demanded that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) return the cattle that were confiscated. Rather than promote bloodshed, the BLM did this for now.
Funded by Koch deep pockets, AFP seems to be active in all states pushing radical and libertarian causes that benefit the Koch Empire. In West Virginia, it supports Wendy McCuskey, WV State Director, who parrots more vitriol: “Government spending is bankrupting our children’s future,” In California AFP propaganda criticizes government conservation policy with “wolves in government clothing.” TV ads still air in various states with continuing attacks of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
But the AFP is active in a myriad of right-wing causes, including drug testing for welfare recipients and denigration of government over regulation of dirty coal ash in North Carolina.
The issues are Koch brother issues that increase their profits and further their causes. You can bet that their stands are not good for democracy or our economic well-being.
This you can count on.