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'Citizens United' And The Koch Brothers

“Citizen Koch.” A new documentary goes hard on the Koch Brothers and their imprint on American politics.

In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla.  (AP)

In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla. (AP)

Everyone knows the story of big money blowing up in American politics.  It’s happening again right now, for mid-term elections and the 2016 vote ahead.  Filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin went out to show how it really works, on the ground.  Not just big money.  Super-sized money.  They named their documentary “Citizen Koch” – as in the billionaire Koch brothers.  Then things really got hairy.  Funding pulled.  Kickstarter to the rescue.  The push for a constitutional amendment on campaign spending.  This hour On Point:  giant money in our politics and “Citizen Koch.”

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Carl Deal, documentary filmmaker. Co-director and co-producer of the new documentary “Citizen Koch.” Also director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Trouble the Water.”

Tia Lessin, documentary filmmaker. Co-director and co-producer of the new documentary “Citizen Koch.” Also director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Trouble the Water.”

Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. (@HvonSpakovsky)

Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation. Co-author of “The Cheating of America” and “The Buying of the President 2004.” (@bill_allison)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: An amazing map of the Koch brothers massive political network – The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents. The filings show that the network of politically active nonprofit groups backed by the Kochs and fellow donors in the 2012 elections financially outpaced other independent groups on the right and, on its own, matched the long-established national coalition of labor unions that serves as one of the biggest sources of support for Democrats.”

New Yorker: Covert Operations – “The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a ‘kingpin of climate science denial.’”

The Wall Street Journal: Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society – “A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.”

Watch A Trailer For “Citizen Koch”

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  • X Y & Z

    Oh I get it, this is a hit-piece pretending to be a ‘documentary’.

    Who put up the funding for this, George Soros?

    • JGC

      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1308051207/citizen-koch

      For a $10,000 donation, xy&z, the filmmakers Deal and Lessin will do a private screening of Citizen Koch in your home, and even cook you dinner. Don’t forget to invite your friends. By the way, what are we having for supper?

      • X Y & Z

        No thanks.

    • jimino

      Why do you hate the first amendment as defined by your ilk?

      Don’t you know that you have no right to know the answer to your question?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Was Harry Reid unavailable?

    • X Y & Z

      I’m sure his name will pop in the film credits.

      • OnPointComments

        And he’s also busy trying to amend the constitution so that he decides how much free speech American citizens are entitled to.

        • X Y & Z

          Unfortunately, that is the case. Dictatorships loathe free speech.

          • Jill122

            We love free speech. We *would* like to know who’s speaking.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course they need to keep that secret. For liberty and such.

  • RolloMartins

    The Koch brothers are the single greatest threat to democracy in the USA. But the far right loves them as champions of capitalism, as if they know the meaning of the word. They would just as soon grind their supporters into the ground under their patent leather shoes. Afterwards, they would spit on them.

    • X Y & Z

      Did the Koch brothers intentionally try to crash the British Pound like George Soros did?

      George Soros is estimated to have made approximately one billion pounds in that speculative deal. Not a bad way to make money, if you have no morals.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        And the untenable linkage of the Brithish pound to the German mark by the Britts despite a gross difference in inflation rates of the two currencies was a denfensible moral position and a sound one?

        And did George Soros hold the US economy hostage and risk world economic collapse like The koch’s Tea Party has done for years now because their idea of negotiation is to say no to everything except what they want?

        • X Y & Z

          So you see nothing wrong in the fact that George Soros attempted to crash the British Pound for his own financial gain?

          • RolloMartins

            I am now assuming that you are an extreme leftist (I had thought otherwise). Well, good for you. Some see absolutely nothing wrong with Soros’ achievement as it was typical of market economics and thus he should be viewed as the darling of the Right…Hmmm, wonder why he isn’t?

          • X Y & Z

            The Koch brothers made their money legally, not by manipulating markets or currencies.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed. Their family made much money doing work for Stalin, and they have reaped many benefits from some dishonest dealings with Native American tribes, possibly dealing with Iran and fighting hard to keep the known carcinogens that they produce unregulated by the federal government.

          • Jill122

            They inherited millions. Very few have ever wasted their entire inheritances. These two paid off two other brothers who couldn’t stomach them, and then made plenty — lots of it by getting great tax breaks because they are in the fossil fuel business.

          • RolloMartins

            You’re suggesting the playing of markets re currencies was illegal?

          • RolloMartins

            To my knowledge, Soros did nothing illegal. That the Koch bros. use their corrupting influence to make their corruption legal does not make it easier to stomach. The worst kind of corruption is the legal kind.

      • jimino

        Read “The Big Short” and get back to us.

    • William

      The very radical Liberal Billionaire Tom Steyer pledged 100 million dollars to be used in the 2014 elections. Yet, Tom/NPR is not doing a story on him or his dark money. Why?

      • Ray in VT

        I would content that it is likely in part because he hasn’t undertaken the sort of super secrecy regarding his spending that obscures what money he is spending, where it goes and to whom, as the Koch’s have done with their many tentacles. Take for instance “Freedom Partners”, which managed to raise and distribute perhaps $250 million in the 2012 cycle without much of anyone knowing about it. In addition to that, I think that his role merely tips the scales back towards level.

        I am realistic about not being able to get money out of politics. I would settle for full disclosure of who is giving what and where that money is going.

        Also, what makes Mr. Steyer a “very radical Liberal”? His environmental and energy stances?

        • William

          Will Tom/NPR even mention Steyer? Nope. It is obvious that the left have targeted the Koch brothers and Tom/NPR are piling on.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe he will. We’ll see. The Kochs should be targeted for how they are secretly attempting to steer the political process in this country to meet their own business and ideological goals. Their actions deserve public scrutiny.

          • Jill122

            repetition indicates a closed mind. I’ve noticed that a lot from the Soon-to-be-Big Tent Folks.

          • hennorama

            Jill122 — Is this what the “Young Guns Network” were refer(3)ring to as “Room to Grow,” and what On Point was refer(3)ring to as a “Bigger Tent”?

            http://immaturityfailedme.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/circus.jpg

          • William

            Targeted? Really? Why not target the Silicon Valley crowd that only gives to Left Wing causes and political leaders? Don’t they deserve public look too?

          • Ray in VT

            Sure they do. Let’s shed some light on all of it. I think that the Kochs are just the biggest and likely most influential players, and they seem pretty committed to keeping it all under wraps.

          • William

            Tom mentioned Steyer! Ha!….I think he saw our discussion.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that unlikely.

      • John_in_Amherst

        “radical” = being willing to spend on causes that don’t enrich him?

      • RolloMartins

        Steyer is on record as stating this is because of the fossil fuel dark money, ie there needs to be a balancing billionaire in the elections. Presumably he wouldn’t need to spend his millions on elections if the Koch money was not being spent. But that being said, all billionaires of all stripes should have limits. The peons like us have no voice otherwise; we are not now represented in Congress, therefore we have no representative democracy in America at present.

  • OnPointComments

    As someone said in the hearing yesterday about amending the Constitution to give politicians the right to limit the free speech of American citizens, let’s wait and see if the word “unions” is mentioned in the hearing. Unions are by far the biggest spenders in elections.

    • Ray in VT

      “Unions are by far the biggest spenders in elections.” I don’t think that that statement lines up with the facts:

      https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/summ.php?cycle=2012&chrt=V&disp=O&type=A

      I also disagree with the position that regulating campaign spending is a limiting “the free speech of American citizens”.

      • OnPointComments

        Let’s use the circumstances of the Citizens United case as an example. If I make a movie to express my political point of view, and the government says that I can’t air the movie, has my right to freedom of speech been abridged?

        As Ted Cruz said in yesterday’s hearing, if Thomas Paine had been told that he did not have the right to publish “Common Sense,” would his freedom of speech have been abridged?

        • John Cedar

          I agree that limiting funds is not a limit on free speech. It is in fact a limit on freedom of the press.
          The money in Citizens United is being spent to buy a “press”. By limiting that money they are basically saying only the owners of the existing presses, have this enumerated freedom.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that they are a press.

          • John Cedar

            You don’t think WHO is a press?

            All media has been deemed to have the same protection that the Constitution guarantees to the press. Putting restrictions on the money that can be spent to purchase media content is the same as putting a restriction on the freedom of the press.

          • Ray in VT

            Citizens United.

        • Ray in VT

          The long-standing role of money as a corrupting influence is politics is quite recognized, although ignored by the present Court. Many rules exist regarding elections and electioneering, so if one wants to contend that any limits on such are a limitation of freedom of speech, then one can, although I do not agree with that interpretation. You can say whatever you want, although you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater or campaign, often, within a certain distance from a polling place. Those are legal and long standing limitations.

          I find the Common Sense analogy to be ill-fitting and a lame attempt to rile up the base.

    • John Cedar

      The lame stream media is by far the biggest spenders.
      Take Oprah as an example. A day before Obama announced he was running for POTUS she dedicated a show to him as a guest because her rule was that she would not do so for announced candidates.

      Then once this multimillion dollar infomercial was made, they simply replayed it over and over after he announced. It would cost the poor Koch brothers tens of millions to buy just this one outlet worth of political speech.

      Can you imagine how much it would cost you to get the Fonze, Mattlock and Opie to endorse a product? Or to get Jay Leno to repeat the phrase “war on womyn” every night on national television?

      • Ray in VT

        You forgot Faux “News” and their GOP promotion.

    • RolloMartins

      This is an often reported error. Because dark money does not make its way into the usual channels, union spending always appears inflated compared to other spending. As reported in The Republic Report (http://www.republicreport.org/2014/unions-koch/), “Republic Report broke down the figures for the last election and found that Koch groups alone spent more than double the combined political spending (including to undisclosed group) for the top ten unions combined.”

    • MrNutso

      You mean this spending as cited in the Republic Report

      • MrNutso
        • Jeff

          Here’s a list of all political spending from 1989-2014…notice the top 3 are heavy left wing groups and 2 of them are unions! And yet on this list the Koch brothers are #59:

          https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

          • Ray in VT

            Notice that that does not include the dark money and outside spending that has been flooding the system lately. American Crossroads spent $176 million in the 2012 cycle alone.

          • Jeff

            Sure but it doesn’t include liberal groups either…don’t assume you know who donated to them because you cannot verify it.

          • Ray in VT

            And Crossroads outspent the highest spending liberal group by more than 2:1 in 2012. Even the second place conservative group did that. Let’s not pretend that unions are the big dogs in this fight.

  • John Cedar

    “documentary”… “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    • 1Brett1

      I realize that you are trying make a point here (you know, something along the lines of this documentary is a distortion and is propagandist, etc.); that notwithstanding, I did laugh at the Inigo Montoya reference.

  • andrewgarrett

    The “Citizens United is the end of the world” (or at least the end of democracy) narrative always assumes a democratic golden age. When was it? During slavery times, when women couldn’t vote, during the Jim Crow ear? When was that golden age? During the civil rights era, or the Vietnam War? It had to have been after Vietnam and the civil rights struggles, so let’s say the golden age began in 1975. Then it had to have ended by the Reagan Era, or at the very latest Bush vs Gore. So there you have it: a golden age that lasted at most a few decades, and perhaps only a few years.

    We still have one person one vote. My fellow liberals get upset when people vote for conservative candidates that nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court, but nobody forces roughly half the country to vote conservatively – they were doing that long before Citizens United.

    • SteveTheTeacher

      “We still have one person one vote.”

      Why just one person one vote? Warren Buffet, George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, . . . The amount of time they spend with people in political power and the media coverage they get is clearly indicative of the fact that they are much more valuable human beings than the masses of lumpen proletariat. Shouldn’t the weight of your vote be equivalent to your value as a human being i.e. your wealth?

      By the way, corporations are people too, right?

      Why don’t they get the right to vote?

  • Yar

    When Jesus said show me a coin, and asked whose picture was on it, he was saying his kingdom was not built on money. We can make the same shift today, social media offers the opportunity to spread a new political message outside the bought media.Politics will change when money no longer works, you can be the change you desire.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    The US political system is not democratic (Page and Gilens, 2014 – link below). The federal government should stop dissembling and allow the buying and selling of votes. At least then more people would have something to look forward to around election day.

    http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

  • creaker

    The real war in America – plutocracy and oligarchy battle it out to get the biggest share from carving up America like a roast. And us peasant are supposed to be happy and content with whatever scraps might be left over.

    • Charles

      As long as they keep pacifying me with football and beer…

  • toc1234

    the Kochs must be comforting bogeymen for the slackers who majored in gender studies and now can’t find a good-paying job and therefore can’t pay back 100k in college loans and end up on the corner chanting something about 99%.

  • http://www.wimowe.com/ Wimowe

    A more general constitutional amendment revoking corporate personhood would fix Citizens United and a lot of other dysfunction currently afflicting our political system. A campaign finance reform amendment is too specific.

  • William

    The massive federal government with it’s 3 trillion dollar budget and massive control of the economy and our lives what do we expect? If you don’t like the massive amount of money going into politics then shrink the size, scope and spending done by the federal government.

  • Scott B

    The thing that strikes me hardest is that the Koch bros are libertarians, and while their aim is to get lawmakers in where it can benefit their businesses, such as advancing ALEC’s (the American Legislative Exchange Council) agenda, such as limiting voting rights of those that would vote against their agenda (social safety nets, fair taxation of the 1%, having minimum wage, carbon reduction, etc), their money flows to Far-Right Republican & Tea Party candidates that are against their own liberation and personal beliefs.
    The Kochs, David in particular, are big believers in science yet lots of money flows to supposedly well educated candidates (MDs, PhDs) that believe the earth is only 6000 years old, believe in creationism, and deny climate change (something that the scientist the Kochs hand-picked to disprove it said was real and influenced by humans).

  • OnPointComments

    Senator Ted Cruz has offerred two bills that address Democrats’ concerns about dark money, and also ensure that freedom of speech and freedom of the press retain the equal importance they are given in the Bill of Rights.

    SUPERPAC ELIMINATION ACT OF 2014: eliminates the caps on direct contributions to candidates from individuals and would also require all donations over $200 to be disclosed within 24 hours.

    FREE ALL SPEECH ACT: requires that all restrictions on political speech that apply to individuals also apply to media corporations. At the same time, the bill would ensure that if legislation is found to be unconstitutional as applied to the media, it may not be forced on individuals.

  • X Y & Z

    I understand, this is a hit-piece pretending to be a documentary.

    • Jill122

      It may turn out to be a hit piece, but I believe they didn’t start that way. They went to Wisconsin to see what was happening, and they ran into the Kochs. Or, it’s the conspiracy theory you’ve proffered.

      • X Y & Z

        Are you still standing by the blog you posted yesterday claiming that Bergdahl was “kidnapped’?

        • Jill122

          I’m going to wait to see what the Army does. Right now, I have no facts. I’m glad he was brought back home. It was the right thing to do.

          Clearly the men who were with him know something. But like the men who were with Kerry in Vietnam, those closest to Kerry knew a lot more than the Swiftboaters. But the Swiftboaters had more money.

          Men now say he walked off the base. Yesterday, there was talk that he may have lagged behind during a march. I don’t know how much credence to give anyone at this point.

  • Scott B

    Many of the laws the Kochs try to enact through state legislatures they helped load with ALEC members (many of which had their campaigns financed by Koch bros backed PACS) such as drug testing for those on social safety net programs , have been declared unconstitutional in state after state; yet, they continue to try to get the same laws passed in other states. They’re literally trying to paint those in most need (Ayn Rand’s “savages”) as bad people that need tight control, and to disenfranchise them politically, socially, and economically.

  • Jeff

    Here’s a list of all political spending from 1989-2014…notice the top 3 are heavy left wing groups and 2 of them are unions! And yet on this list the Koch brothers are #59:

    https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

    Yep, but the Republicans are the only ones that do this…hypocrites!

    • Jill122

      You went back far enough to make your side look good. How very fair. The last two election cycles please. We’re talking about now — we’re talking about Citizens United and McCutcheon.

      • Jeff

        Citizens United simply leveled rules so that unions don’t play by different rules than individuals or corporations do.

        • Jill122

          Geez — unions represent 4% of the working people in this country. I only wish that unions were as important as you folks imply. Looking for balance??? The balance is individuals who put in less than $100 versus Koch Bros & Friends.

          What’s hurt in the process is democracy. When big money IS the government, I suspect you’ll be just as sorry as I already am.

          We don’t always understand their goals. We don’t know why they choose the politicians they do (whether is tea party or republican). We don’t have a free market so we can’t turn our backs on corporations that are working against my interests. And in this power struggle, they have already won.

          • OnPointComments

            Would your opinion change if we count up all of the people who are shareholders and employees of corporations? Do these people have the same rights as union members?

          • Jill122

            Would my opinion change if what? Do you work for a company where the shareholders and every employee agree with the party receiving campaign contributions?

            Some people can work for those with whom they disagree politically. Some people have no choice. That’s the free market working for you.

            The difference with unions, is that whether you agree with the contributions they make or not, you still get the benefit of everything they are able to do for you as an employee. And we both know that those who work under that umbrella do better in every way than than those who don’t. Again one of the bennies of “free market.” Your individual voice gets louder when you have more PEOPLE. Whereas their voice gets louder when they have more money. Why do you think the money folks don’t like unions?

            The scammers are those who get the benefits and don’t pay the union dues. And the scammers are those who make money off of companies that are killing people.

            I’m never going to hate the unions. They’ve done some shady stuff, they’ve been bad with the money. But who hasn’t and in the end which group has helped more people? That’s where we are — which group does the least harm for the greatest number of people.

            All hail money.

          • OnPointComments

            Capitalism has done more to lift people from poverty than all of the government programs, charities, and unions combined.

          • Ray in VT

            How did capitalism provide income security to the elderly, access to medical care to the poor and aged or improve dangerous working conditions in this country?

          • red_donn

            This may depend on what one means by “capitalism.” If we take it to mean the existence of markets and ownership of private property, then really the only counterargument might be WWII America.

            However, if we consider the monopolies, robber barons, and the industrialists of much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the spiritual descendenants of the landed gentry, and now the modern transnational corporations, we may be less sanguine.

            If workers’ movements and so forth are considered part of a democratized capitalism, where all people take part in rational and well-informed economic activity, then capitalism is all well and good. You don’t seem to think so, and consider the wages handed down to child coal miners to have been a fine thing.

            When unions are not considered part of capitalism and corporations are, I think we can paint the exact picture of exploitation suggested by the name. Aggregated capital is fine, but aggregated labor is an alien and evil force. If productivity is defined by inputs of capital and labor, but only capital is thought of as the benchmark of success, then there is something wrong.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Respect for neither the role of free capital movement nor elemental labor standards should be thrown out with any bathwater.

            But go to far with the statism and labor demands…..

            “The absolute misery and horror of the ultimate stage (and a fortiori of the beyond-ultimate stage) of communism should now be all too apparent. The eradication of the division of labor would quickly bring starvation and economic misery to all. The abolition of all structures of human interrelation would bring enormous social and spiritual deprivation to every person. And, even the alleged “artistic” intellectual and creative development of all man’s faculties in all directions would be totally crippled by the ban on all specialization. How can true intellectual development or creation come without concentrated effort? In short, the terrible economic suffering of mankind under communism would be fully matched by its intellectual and spiritual deprivation. Considering the nature and consequences of communism, to call this horrific dystopia a noble and “humanist” ideal can at best be considered a grisly joke, in questionable taste. The prevalent notion, for example, that Marxian communism is a glorious ideal for man perverted by the later Engels or by Lenin or Stalin, can now be put into proper perspective. None of the horrors committed by Lenin, Stalin, or other Marxist-Leninist regimes can match the monstrousness of Marx’s communist “ideal.” Perhaps the closest approximation was the short-lived communist regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia which, in attempting to abolish the division of labor, managed to enforce the outlawry of money — so that for their tiny rations the populace was totally dependent upon the niggardly largesse of the communist cadre. Moreover, they attempted to eliminate the “contradictions between town and country,” by following the Engels goal of destroying large cities, and by coercively depopulating the capital, Phnom Penh, overnight. In a few short years, the Pol Pot group managed to exterminate one-third of the Cambodian population, perhaps a record in genocide.[4]”

            http://mises.org/daily/6045/the-dialectic-of-destruction

          • Jill122

            No one says any different. Unions are a part of capitalism. And American capitalism worked best when 1) unions were strong; 2) taxes were progressive (Eisenhower); 3) the minimum wage meant you could work 40 hours a week, w/2 weeks vacation and support your family.

            Today’s version where the banksters are to a man, liars and cheats; the stock market is a fools’ game; 401(k)s are just another scam; republican governors can steal a lifetime pension because you got it through a public-employee union, you may call it capitalism or “free market”, I call it an oligarchy that declared war approximately 30 years ago and they won. They won the minute we bailed them out and they laughed and turned their backs on the American people.

            They laughed again when they used phony paper to foreclose, paid off judges went along with them (See, Florida, M. Taibbi) and then sold the homes for cash (not caring where it came from) or hold it now waiting for the market to go up while watching as the former homeowners collect food stamps. Either we change Capitalism or it destroys democracy.

    • Ray in VT

      And where is the $176 million spent by American Crossroads in the 2012 cycle alone?

      • Jeff

        Those groups do the spending, that list only includes people who have been verified as DONORS. Some groups do not share donor lists so those donations cannot be verified.

        • Ray in VT

          So because we don’t know who their donors are then they don’t get to be on the list? Excellent.

          So the Kochs can’t really be accurately placed at #59, given that the organizations that they back are pushing hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process? If we want to break it out to individuals, then I wonder how many union members individually could make it onto that list.

  • William

    Good challenge Tom!

  • John_in_Amherst

    No need to manipulate markets when you can manipulate the political
    process, which the Kochs have been doing since Charles’s unsuccessful
    bid for the vice-presidency in 1980. The Koch boys then established
    ALEC and began a grass roots campaign to distort politics at the local
    and state levels where their influence garners less scrutiny from the
    media. They have had phenomenal success, culminating in widespread
    gerrymandering that heavily favors the GOP and
    widespread manipulation of state (and now federal) regulations governing
    labor and the environment which have allowed Koch Industries to reap
    huge profits at the expense of people and the environment.
    Soros and
    Steyer make no bones about their being involved in politics, unlike the
    Kochs, who have preferred staying in the shadows.
    If the Kochs want
    to exercise “free speech”, why don’t THEY speak, instead of engaging in covert campaigns and hiring
    proxies and scrambling to remain anonymous?

  • OnPointComments

    There is an abundance of evidence that when the names of donors are known, there will be government retaliation.

  • Ray in VT

    Nobody is going to try to murder the people donating to American Crossroads in the way that the NAACP and its supporters feared for their lives and the safety of their families should such information have gotten into the hands of the Klansmen connected to the levers of power as existed in the pre-Civil Rights Era South.

    • William

      Well, what about the CEO for Firefox that got canned once it was revealed he donated money to favor traditional marriage in CA. Not just him, but black churches, and other business were threatened by pro-gay marriage groups based on donation lists.

      • Ray in VT

        Oh, so did the Gay Mafia blow up his car or something? Threaten his family, and I don’t mean mean Tweets, perhaps? I might be afraid of a backlash too if I was giving money to support discrimination against a group of people.

      • J__o__h__n

        He was fired by the marketplace not the government.

    • J__o__h__n

      Remember how for years the Republicans said they were for abolishing spending limits as long as there was disclosure. Now that they got that, suddenly disclosure is a problem too.

      • Ray in VT

        Funny how that works.

  • Scott B

    Spakovsky doesn’t seem to understand that Hillary was running for office (and courts have ruled on how and when candidates’ movies can be shown), whereas the Kochs are not running for office. One more prime example of the Right’s constant conscious denial of fact, history, and experience. (science gets to take a break this time)
    I can’t be the only one that understands that when Spakovsky says “More speech” he means “more money”.

  • Scott B

    When a corporation can step into a voting booth, then I’ll believe they’re a person, and entitled to the same rights as a living, breathing human being.

    • Ray in VT

      Or when Texas executes one.

    • creaker

      Or go to jail – individuals get convicted – corporations never get more than fined.

    • Scott B

      Note:I don’t vote up for myself. Windows 8 oftentimes makes my mouse click on things I’m just passing my cursor over on my laptop.

      • hennorama

        Scott — your [Vote up] is not permanent. Just click it again to change it.

      • Jill122

        I took my vote away — I’ll let your vote count for me.

  • creaker

    The scary part of being able to accumulate fortunes politically – ethics question: would you be willing to destroy billions in other people’s wealth to be able to walk away with a few million you would not otherwise had made? Being “successful” is not always a positive thing in the larger picture.

  • OnPointComments

    Is there a difference in the first amendment rights of individuals and the press? Would anyone argue that if the same limits were placed on the press that liberals want on individuals that freedom of the press hasn’t been abridged?

  • James

    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/hot-koch-brothers-ignore-ron-paul-give.html

    Koch brothers ignore Ron Paul, gave to Bachmann.

    Ron Paul and his son Rand are at the heart of a major political transformation.in America, Michelle Bachmann is irrelevant. Anybody ask President Newt Gingrich about Shelton Addleson influence lately….oh yeah that’s right. All he could do is keep him in the race longer.

    Stop blaming your political failures on a lack of a Koch brothers blessing, they are not needed for political success nor does their support guarantee success.

    • Jill122

      When people hear a message and don’t know where it comes from or whether it’s the truth or not, it’s easy to get influenced and confused.

      Or perhaps you live in a place where your right to vote has been restricted because of some made up statistics about voter fraud (there *are* more liberals in the US than not).

      And here we are. Corporations, that live forever, have zero community responsibility are now just the same as you and I. Inalienable rights to free speech. Only I have to take responsibility for mine and they don’t.

      Yes we need to be better informed. Yes, media should stand up for us to help us with that information. You notice this is happening in a time when Media demands that the news must make money, Infotainment they call it. And when news organizations are owned by people who are in it for the bucks, and have no, I mean zero, understanding of their historical place in our society (one guy became an American because he saw $$$$). How would he know? Why would he care? Why not mix things up and show how stupid (or confused) many of us are?

      Freedom (without responsibility)! That’s the new motto.

  • OnPointComments

    Why all the discussion about who spends the most? If big money is bad, why not go after all big money?

    I have never heard a Democrat or liberal complain about anything other than conservative money.

    • J__o__h__n

      I’m not thrilled with Bloomberg interfering in senate races. I fear he will hurt Democrats with his single issue agenda and its short sighted goal as more Republicans won’t help him on gun control.

    • Ray in VT

      Perhaps your hearing is just selective.

  • creaker

    People like the Koch’s want the freedom of living their own lives in an anarchy – while having a police state to deal with the peasants who might actively oppose that.

  • Scott B

    If the Kochs were so above-board in all their intent, they wouldn’t be using so much dark money to fund all the PACs ,nor the many conservative and libertarian foundations they support, if not established. At least Soros and Bloomberg are forthcoming about who they finance and their agendas.

    So many times we’ll hear how this foundation, and that group, and that committee all support some position, candidate, or politician, and that’s because they’re all Koch organizations.

  • X Y & Z

    Why is it that On Point is never even slightly critical of international speculator George Soros who funds left-wing propaganda outlets such as Media Matters, Move On, Center for American Progress?

    Perhaps that $1.8 million donation that Soros made to NPR has something to with it.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      You forget that benevolent dictatorship CAN really work if we just insure the “good” people are in power.

  • PeterRodes

    The answer is to ban political advertising on television. Equal time allocated to candidates. Large donors can spend all the money they want on political speech but not on TV.

    • James

      Not sure if serious……
      Isn’t money spent on TV for a political cause, political speech?

      • PeterRodes

        Yes, but the government owns the airwaves. It has the power to set rules for how the public airwaves are used. E.G. ban on tobacco ads.

        • James

          But isn’t there an inherent conflict of interest? Government having a monopoly over the airways and then controlling how criticism of the government is used over the airways?

    • RolloMartins

      I’ve long advocated such. TV ads are not informative; they are merely exploitative. Just ban them entirely. There is still print media.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Don’t forget to ban NY Times Op Ed pieces.

      • PeterRodes

        Does the government own the NYT?

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Does the government own the Koch Bros?

          • PeterRodes

            Does the government own your brain? Somebody does.

      • Jeff

        Yep, and let’s ban Fox, MSNBC and CNN from reporting anything political within a few months of an election. Oh news papers and public radio cannot report on any political events…and of course we have to ban talk radio. That’s where this whole agenda is going…ban everything that speaks out against liberals…while their selected form of media is protected as the “press”.

        • Ray in VT

          Obviously that is where it is going. Obviously.

          • Jeff

            You don’t think “fair use doctrine” was moving down that path?

          • Ray in VT

            I think that fair use is a very important part of copyright law, but I do not see how it applies here.

          • Jeff
          • Ray in VT

            The fairness doctrine is different from fair use, but I don’t regard that as moving down the path of banning Faux or talk radio.

  • OnPointComments

    I wonder if the Koch brothers changed the votes of Carl Deal and Tia Lessin. If they think that they’re immune to the Koch brothers, why do they think that everyone else is so easily swayed?

    • RolloMartins

      Every individual case must needs be looked at on a case by case basis. That doesn’t mean that in general big money does not sway politicians in the usual and customary way. No person experienced with politicians would make that argument.

      • OnPointComments

        When was the last time you heard of a specific individual case, with names, places, and dates, of big money swaying a member of Congress? Or buying a specific individual vote in a national election?

        • J__o__h__n

          Doing so for a specific vote is a bribe. But a constant stream of money buys access and influence.

          • Jill122

            100 up votes!

        • Jill122

          And you believe that’s readily available information that we should just be able to look up on a website somewhere?

          In fact, I wish we had that. I wish there were no dark money. Then we actually could track the votes v. the money and we could begin to ask intelligent questions.

          As it is, they have all the money AND all the information.

        • Ray in VT

          Obviously corruption and influence peddling only goes on when briefcases of money are exchanged and such, and a list of money for position changes are always worked out in writing.

          • John Cedar

            Blagojevich just vaguely dictated his agreements.

        • John Cedar

          Umm…what time is it now?

        • RolloMartins

          You must be extremely naive.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      They are smarter and better people. The unwashed serfs cannot think and act for themselves. And if they did, what would all the do-gooders do with their time?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    I’d just like to interrupt this Koch bashing session and thank the Koch’s for Nova.

    • Ray in VT

      I might if it were not for critiques that climate change coverage has suffered with them on board.

      • Jill122

        It’s against their corporate interests. Fossil Fuel kings.

        And that’s just the kind of thing we ALL should be worrying about. People don’t know who the donor is, don ‘t understand the agenda, and are happy to support the part they like. These guys are responsible for hurting people, and likely will be responsible for very shortened lives in the places where they are destroying aquifers and putting carcinogens in the water and the land and the air.

        We should (if we knew) avoid everything they have a part of only we can’t cause we don’t know anything. And that’s our lesson in a “Free Market.” (But we got our guns!!!)

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Ah, that is news to me. Hopefully they insisted that Nova sticks to the science instead of alarmist propaganda.

        • Ray in VT

          Yeah. Alarmist propaganda, like that spouted by non “skeptic” scientists. It’s a real bummer when the media go with them and not some “independent” researcher or a think tank with secret funding.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Sigh! Not this again.

          • Ray in VT

            Hey, I’m not the one promoting groups with ties to the fossil fuel companies, “experts” with no apparent college degree who has promoted the notion of NOAA either being incompetent or intentionally distorting the temperature record, and others promoting religious objections to the idea of AGW.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ah, more straw men I see. Don’t light any matches.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. Nothing to see there. Just move along. No reason to question the motives or conclusions of such people, especially when they are so highly at odds with almost all of the rest of the scientific community. Obviously such folks have the “real” science.

          • J__o__h__n

            You are the king of creating straw men!

        • Cutler Hamilton

          Pumping out billions of tons of CO2 from their plants and facilities is fueling Global Warming. Look it up. Neil Degrasse Tyson.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Global warming? .8C since 1880. Look it up. Freeman Dyson.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m sure that that earlier warming had nothing to do with the ballparkish 10% increase in atmospheric CO2 from the late 19th and into the early 20th centuries.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            What caused the .9C warming from 1663-1762? Certainly this was prior to the industrial revolution and the burning of “fossil fuels”.

          • Ray in VT

            Let’s see. Is that a “Friends of Science” based question? I see a reference to a change in local temperatures in England for that period of time, as rebutted here:

            http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~gang/eprints/eprintLovejoy/esubmissions/Question.Answers.update.23.4.14.pdf

            Local variability and global change is, of course, different, as the Medieval Warm Period does not seem to have been a global occurrence.

    • Art Toegemann

      It’s NOVA; stay on the Shift key.
      PBS content now suspect.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Harry Reid and knee-jerk bleeding heart liberal soldiers like the last caller have no shame.

    Harry’s buddy’s ideology backed by billions is just peachy, but backing the Koch ideology, as quoted above in the On Point intro blurb is outrageous?

    Harry Reid. The “good” kind of corruption.

    Priceless.

    • Potter

      The difference is as Reid said, at least Adelson is out front. That does not make the undue influence of money issue go away, but it is a distinction. Koch influence goes one notch further down by being DARK and working to get rid of candidates with views they oppose. That said Adelson is in the casino business and Reid is from a state famous for it’s casinos.That is an example of how money influences and corrupts. The court decision based on the reasoning that more money does not invite corruption was wrong.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        You never heard of the Koch brothers before today? Oh that’s right, you are likely one of the “smarter” people… YOU knew about the Kochs, but all the “dumb” people couldn’t possibly have.

        Quiz:

        1) Name a few Conservative/Republican/Libertarian big Donors.

        2) Name a few Democratic Party/Progressive big Donors.

        Why do I think that for most people, question 2 will be a shorter list, a Darker list.

        • Potter

          To Even Smarter Guy ( above): The Kochs are in a league of their own.

        • Potter

          Regarding the question after your set-up quiz “why do I think that?” Answer: your bias is why you think that. In other words, according to you, “most people” (scientific right?) can name more Republican big donors than Democratic big donors because there are more Democratic dark donors. No wonder I think I am smarter than you- it’s not hard to be.

  • Scott B

    The PBS stations that pulled their support should be ashamed of themselves. The PBS stations should not be afraid to hold up them up to the light of day, eve if one is on the board, and they write checks. If facts presented by the makers of the film are proven to be true (other than expressed opinions expressed by those interviewed), then they should have let the film go forward, and to be aired as intended.

    The Kochs shouldn’t be afraid to be criticized, and they decline to be interviewed and present their side, so they have no room to complain, nor punish.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Anyone with half an open mind should read before getting in a Koch frothing frenzy.

    Koch and a smile.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/30/charles-and-david-koch-the-minds-behind-libertarianism-3-0.html

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Does the Koch brand of Libertarianism jibe with Citizens United?

    It’s really quite simple: Citizens United fails the undue influence test. They literally can vote twice.

    • Jeff

      They literally cannot vote twice, I wonder if you support voter ID to prevent illegal votes? Or do you literally hold a hypocritical stance?

      • Cutler Hamilton

        I wouldn’t say literally vote twice. They can influence the general population to vote for their ideals without using a single figurehead or politician. That’s what Citizens United does. Basically unlimited advertising for billionaires and their political ideals.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          How have they changed your mind? Or are you smarter than the unwashed masses?

        • Jeff

          Just like they could before about anything else besides politics…if they got their way how could any Democrat get elected? Oh, that’s right it’s still 1 person 1 vote. Are you suggesting that some people should have limits on their free speech when it comes to politics because they have money?

          • Cutler Hamilton

            I’m saying that the influence should be held to the highest standards of slander, libel, and truth. Much of what both sides contribute either distorts information or makes up lies on the fly. Need standards that will perform like Politifact. Otherwise free speech derived from money and power is just noise drowning out everything.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Who votes twice? I guess they are twins, so in that sense…

      • TheDailyBuzzherd

        … corporate entities also act under political associations, so in a sense, they get three chances to sway the electorate.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          You can hear a message once, twice, a hundred times, at .05 dB or at 200dB. You still get one vote.

          Try term limits at least before trying to micromanage free speech…..

          • TheDailyBuzzherd

            Remove the fat from the argument, you still come up with the same result: intentional or not, Citizens United results in undue influence on the electorate.

    • hoopingandscooping

      My analogy. I’m in the public square using my voice to express my opinions. The Kochs show up and stand next to me drowning me out with the bullhorn they can afford.

      What test of fairness does that meet? How is that free speech when my voice can’t be heard?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Ban Bullhorns, and Soapboxes for that matter!

        • hoopingandscooping

          I think a parliamentarian would not allow one side to have a loudspeaker but not the other.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            nor a Communist. Except for the one big Politburo Horn.

            Ban horns or embrace more horns. Thinking we can “manage” some strange middle ground is naive and a waste of time.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            nobody is “not allowing” the other side to have a loud speaker.

            This as most thing is coming down to “Give me a loudspeaker” vs. “Go out and get a loudspeaker”

  • Jeff

    Citizens United is a great decision…it allows people to have free speech once again. If you disagree then I await your demand for limits on all kinds of speech…where’s your limit on commercials? Where’s your limit on newspapers and where’s your limit on religious speech? Oh that’s right, you’re going to argue that political speech is different…no it’s not, you’re picking and choosing…like hypocrites always do.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Yep- The NY Times probably has the largest readership of the papers. Accordingly, all those Krugman et al Op Eds should be banned, or at least reduced to one a year.

      Also, we should consider a Dept of Blogs, which is well funded and guarantees that all of us can spout of and be heard to equal levels as that of the Times.

      • hoopingandscooping

        The Times doesn’t take over the airwaves with commercials before an election.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Actually, since even a fiscally-challenged liberal would likely admit we can’t afford to make all of us full time bloggers, lets just ban all blogging!

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          No they don’t. 365 is more effective.

    • J__o__h__n

      The people didn’t lack free speech. Corporations shouldn’t be considered people. Money should not be considered speech. Commercial speech has long been regulated. Companies can’t air fraudulent advertisements. When was the last time you saw a cigarette ad on TV? Who is proposing limiting religious speech? They can say whatever they want they just can’t remain tax free if they make endorsements.

      • Jeff

        Are unions people? Before Citizen’s United the unions played by different rules than individuals and corporations…now they all play by the same rules…seems fair to me.

        • J__o__h__n

          There were restrictions on union spending.

          • Jeff

            Different ones than we had on corporations.

          • Jeff

            They didn’t have to follow the same spending limits that individuals and corporations did.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    At least its nice to hear that the Dem types here are assured that both money=access=results=bad for people, and that the Democratic Party is funded by billionaires as much as the Repubs.

    To know that being intellectually honest and consistent people, they will no longer vote for Democrats, just as they don’t vote for Republicans, for those good reasons, is a ray of sunshine.

    Now the caller who wants to ban the grass roots Tea Party folks, just because big donors eventually got involved, and the Repubs have been trying to hijack the support may not be so honest, but…… at least most here will have the honesty and integrity to admit they can no longer support their favorite progressive cause because billionaires do to.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.” C. Koch

    Run for the hills! Burn him, hang him! AAAAAARRGGGGHHHHHH!

    • hoopingandscooping

      Lots of trolling from people who in another life call for the defunding of Big Bird.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        trolling?

        I like Big Bird. I would donate for non-ideological educational programming. Reading, Spelling, Math….

        All Things Considered and fluff like Marketplace-establishment drivel? Not so much.

    • red_donn

      That’s a nicely worded quote, ending in a serious fallacy and overlying a warped sense of reality. Some day I will have to assemble a collection of the similar quotations used in defense of landed aristocracy, slavery, intense child labor, Standard Oil, and other acknowledged evils.

      A sense of the historical arguments in defense of privilege put forward by the eco-political elite of each era clears the head marvelously. If the same arguments used to defend keeping children in coal mines for 80 hours a week are used to defend transnational corporations today, and are read as such, then they are treated with appropriate skepticism.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Don’t forget the nicely worded defenses of Stalin and Mao etc…… We don’t want to be hypocritical cherry pickers here….

        • red_donn

          Quite true. The critique on their position needs to go back to Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” every bit as much as Madison’s and Hamilton’s defense of the “opulent minority.”

          Amongst some of my very liberal friends, I do have to drop reminders that they are taking the side of Marx, as opposed to Bakunin, and the same failures to account for society’s nature will undercut their positions. However, I find that their thoughts, fallacious or otherwise, are very seldom encountered in newspapers or message boards, and when they do appear they are met with a semi-historical critique.
          If you speak of workers’ control of production, you will no doubt be asked (aggressively interrogated may be more accurate) to differentiate yourself from the Stalinist and Maoist economies. This forces some sort of historical accounting that truisms remain exempt from. A Randian defense of big business, backed by a shallow neoclassical model, is thought to be not only a modern position, but by many it is believed to be the essential endgame. A connection to previous fallacies is never addressed, or dismissed by the belief we have somehow entered a modernity wherein the old conflicts are resolving themselves. No doubt Fukuyama and company will be proven as correct as Hegel was when he asserted the rough terminus of social advance was the Weimar Republic.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            “Bakunin prophetically warned that a minority ruling class will once again, after the Marxian revolution, rule the majority:

            But the Marxists say, this minority will consist of the workers. Yes, no doubt … of former workers, who, as soon as they become governors or representatives of the people, cease to be workers and start looking down on the working masses from the heights of state authority, so that they represent not the people but themselves and their own claim to rule over others. Anyone who can doubt this knows nothing of human nature … The terms “scientific socialist” and “scientific socialism,” which we meet incessantly in the works and speeches of the … Marxists, are sufficient to prove that the so-called people’s state will be nothing but a despotism over the masses, exercised by a new and quite small aristocracy of real or bogus “scientists.”… They [the Marxists] claim that only dictatorship, their own of course, can bring the people freedom; we reply that a dictatorship can have no other aim than to perpetuate itself, and that it can engender and foster nothing but slavery in the people subjected to it. Freedom can be created only by freedom.[7]

            Indeed, only a believer in the preposterous necromancy of the “dialectic” could believe otherwise, that is, could believe that a totalitarian state can inevitably and virtually instantly be transformed into its opposite, and that therefore the way to get rid of the state is to work as hard as possible to maximize its power.”

            http://mises.org/daily/6045/the-dialectic-of-destruction

          • red_donn

            Always good to see Bakunin getting an acknowledgment. Indeed, it bothers me greatly that the far more popular anti-state left has been largely forgotten. I find anarchist Spain, Rosa Luxemborg, and Bakunin a far more promising field of study than the totalitarian and brutal system that swiftly arose in Russia.

            I’m sure we agree that the government is not to be trusted, being neither representative of “the people” by the nature of society, nor properly incentivized to act on their behalf. However, I very rarely meet people who truly do hold to this position, with the notable and disturbing exception of defaulting support to military action and various “culture” issues. Most calls for economic involvement arise when markets are believed to either have failed or been overly skewed, suggesting the government is viewed as a secondary option. We’d find common ground, though, in critiquing methods which tend towards quotas and other ham-handed, authoritarian measures.

            I should say that a complete dismissal of the dialectic method demonstrates a failure to understand the entirety of the philosophy. The problem is that dialectic analysis borders on infinitely complex, as seen in Taoism, so no solution to any issue can be determined along a single dynamic.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Appreciate the thoughtful responses. Look forward to reading you perspectives further on this site. I hope others consider the State-skeptical common ground concept and try to apply it to future topics.

      • whoo123

        Speaking of children working in coal mines, are you aware that child labor laws do not apply to agriculture? There are are children working in tobacco fields for 70+ hours a week, suffering from pesticide and nicotine poisoning….their mortality rate is several times higher than that of other children . Lobbyists have spent miiions per year to ensure that ‘anti-business’ reforms are not enacted.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    If the Democratic party renamed itself to the Hypocritic Party, that would be more honest….but then we couldn’t really call them the Hypocritic party in fairness… hmmm.

  • hoopingandscooping

    I’m a lifetime donor to PBS–a very small donor relative to the Kochs. After PBS decided not to air Citizen Koch, I contacted the two PBS stations available to me–one of which is WNET-NY, the originator of the movie–to inform them that I’m disinclined to donate any more money. What’s the point if the collective feelings of small donors is disregarded next to the big pulpit of the Kochs? Neither station replied to my concerns, which is evidence to my not having a voice. The PBS kowtowing to the Kochs replicates the political situation of individuals not having an effective point. (I think that the recent weakening of net neutrality is part of the same anti-democratic trend.)

    Anti-democratic decisions such as PBS censorship should have consequences, fellow public media supporters.

    I still continue to support NPR, in part, because of shows like today’s On Point giving voice to the producers of Citizen Koch.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Did you complain when PBS decided not to air “2016: Obama’s America”?

      Why would you expect PBS to air tripe like “Citizen Koch”? Propaganda isn’t their schtick. Try HBO. They appear to have no problem airing propaganda.

  • X Y & Z

    It’s a sad indictment of how far this country has fallen when hard work, creating new companies that employ Americans, success, philanthropy, and American values are smeared.

    What did the ‘community organizer’ ever create?

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Perhaps a temporary buffer against the next great crash?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    When the bulk of the comments here start beginning with “I know I’m being hypocritical, but……” or, “I know that historically this approach has led to problematic unintended consequences, which I have considered, but…..”

    ……we’ll be getting somewhere.

  • Adrian_from_RI

    Tom, when will you have a show that investigates why so many people spend millions of dollars on politicians? Could it be that Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) hit the nail on the head when he wisecracked: Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.

    The French classical liberal Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) wrote in his booklet “The Law” that the purpose of the law is to be an instrument of justice. However, now the law has been turned into an instrument of legalized plunder.

    Now elections have turned into a frenzy of plunder. Our present day politicians are nothing more than mudfarmers and shakedown artists. People pay politician to either protect themselves from being the victim of plunder or to use the political system to partake in the plunder. A businessman must buy himself a seat at the dinner table; otherwise he will be on the menu. Is it not about time that we go back to a constitutional government where the purpose of the law is to protects my Inalienable Rights?

    The “documentary” makers, Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, of the movie “Citizen Koch” seem upset that not everyone bows and kisses the ring of our statist masters in Washington. “Citizen Koch” would receive high praise from Wesley Mouch.

    My take from this Onpoint show is that the Koch brothers are a bunch of remarkable self-made and successful Americans and I will support them by sending a check to their “Americans for Prosperity” organization.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Cmon Adrian. Classical Rule of Law is so……..1600′s!

      We can trust statists today!

    • hoopingandscooping

      Mencken also said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

      (BTW, the Kochs did not build it nor are they remarkably self-made. They inherited millions, as did a majority of those on the top most rich list. And what’s remarkable about all the deaths from their pollution which they guarantee with their millions donated to craven politicians?http://www.polluterwatch.com/koch-industries )

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        “Brennan in his comments suggests a reborn Mencken:

        Voters not only are systematically mistaken about basic economics, but they cannot figure out which candidates know more than they do … in democracy incompetent leaders with false beliefs win. Libertarians say: If the candidates seem clueless, it is because the system works. (p. 72)”

        If Brennan rejects democracy, what has he to put in its place? It will come as no surprise that his answer is libertarianism, but it is a different sort of libertarianism from that which the term will suggest to many of my readers…….”

        http://mises.org/daily/6216/What-Is-Neoclassical-Liberalism

        • Ray in VT

          I often find it funny in what high esteem libertarians seem to hold themselves relative to non-libertarians.

  • Art Toegemann

    This is the documentary produced by Bill Gates that PBS refused to broadcast.
    The Koch brothers are FDR’s evil twins.

    • X Y & Z

      The Koch brothers didn’t put 150,000 Japanese-Americans in ‘internment camps’ (concentration camps) like FDR did.

      • John Cedar

        That was part of the war on terra ®

      • Ray in VT

        But their old man did build stuff for Stalin, they have allegedly done deals with Iran, their company has repeatedly violated environmental laws, cheated Native American tribes, and they have fought to keep carcinogens in our products. They sound like real sweethearts.

        • X Y & Z

          Your liberal icon FDR, built internment camps to cruelly incarcerate innocent Japanese-Americans against their will.

          • Ray in VT

            “Your liberal icon”. Care to provide some of my pro-FDR comments?

          • Art Toegemann

            There are comparisons far more cruel than how JAs were treated then.

          • X Y & Z

            So you’re saying that because other world leaders built internment camps, it was OK for FDR to do likewise?

      • Art Toegemann

        That was during a world war.
        You must be too young to experience a just war.

        • Ray in VT

          Extreme times can often or easily produce some very bad results, such as internment.

          • pete18

            Bad results are only blamed on extreme times during democratic administrations.

          • Ray in VT

            Considering how some GOP members of Congress invited witnesses to testify during the war who openly advocated that America align with Nazi Germany, then I think that the extreme times could have been much worse than Japanese internment.

          • pete18

            One could make the same argument in support of waterboarding during the Bush administration, but my guess is that you would not give that a pass based on “extreme times.”

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. I’m not a fan of torture, and seeing as how we have managed to move away from other social evils, such as segregation, I expect us to behave better today. I think that there is also an issue regarding a difference in that we were actually in a declared state of war in the 1940s, which has historically allowed for the government to take extraordinary measures. I think that the doubts regarding Japanese loyalty was misguided and likely at least somewhat racially based, and I think that it took far too long for us to admit that it was wrong and attempt to make amends.

          • pete18

            As I said, the democrat gets the benefit of doubt for “extreme times” the republican does not.

        • X Y & Z

          Make all the excuses you want, it doesn’t excuse FDR’s cruel, inhumane, and racist treatment of Japanese Americans.

          • Art Toegemann

            Really?! As Hitler was conducting industrial scale human extermination? Get some perspective.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Art, are you really justifying the interment camps in the US? It was a dark stain on American history.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Interesting that Japanese Nationalists with guns and ships deemed scarier than Caliphate-seeking Muslim Extremists in the WMD era. Liberals calling for their internment now?

          • X Y & Z

            Please don’t give them any ideas. Obama is one Supreme Court Justice away from having a majority.

        • X Y & Z

          I don’t rationalize cruel and inhumane treatment against 150,000 Japanese-Americans like you obviously do.

      • Art Toegemann

        Really?! As Hitler was conducting industrial scale human extermination? Get some perspective.

        • X Y & Z

          Your reasoning is that because Hitler built concentration camps, it was OK for FDR to do the same since the suffering wasn’t as bad?

      • J__o__h__n

        FDR didn’t own slaves like George Washington did. This form of, for lack of a better term, reasoning isn’t useful.

        • X Y & Z

          Even in Washington’s time, a slave had the hope of earning their freedom. The 150,000 Japanese-Americans that FDR put in internment camps, didn’t get their freedom until FDR was dead.

          • J__o__h__n

            I’m sure the fact that the war was still going on was the reason not FDR’s personal desire to keep them in the camps forever.

          • Ray in VT

            Care to provide some evidence that FDR meant for internment to be permanent? If so, then why were there Japanese-American fighting units? Were they to go back when fighting was done?

          • J__o__h__n

            I think this is the dumbest argument I let myself get sucked into since the silly one claiming that liberals hated slaves because of the 3/5 compromise.

          • Ray in VT

            That was a good one.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          FDR was the first racial profiler.

          • J__o__h__n

            The slaves and the Native Americans must not have been aware of that.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            What were the Natives who killed other natives called? Ecology?

      • Art Toegemann

        The Koch brothers are the power of oligarchy, not the democratic republic.
        The camps were used during a period the US/FDR were at war with an Axis that exterminated millions of humans on an industrial level. Show some perspective.
        Show some respect. Do not exploit the suffering of others because you have no argument.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The Koch’s didn’t extend the length of the Great Depression with failed policies. Does that make them “evil twins” — I don’t think so.

      http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Man-Graphic-History-Depression/dp/0061967645/ref=sr_1_1_ha?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401902384&sr=1-1&keywords=the+forgotten+man

      • Ray in VT

        Feh. Selectively sourced revisionist history by someone with a lit degree. Pass. Freedom From Fear by Kennedy is far better.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Gee Ray, I haven’t read “Reading From Fear” so I’m not qualified to comment. I did read “The Forgotten Man” and found it well sourced and a good read.

          However, I did find a reviewer who read both books at the same time and was surprised that some leftist reviewers were critical of Schlaes work because he found very few inconsistencies between the two books in their treatment of the depression.

          Also, I heard Schlaes recently on a book tour and she was touting recent economic analysis of the GD that further backs up her work.

          • Ray in VT

            I read a historian reviewer who called her work “nothing new” who just ran out the same criticisms such as Jim Powell, while using no primary sources and only selective secondary sources. Upon what basis it do you consider it to be “well sourced”? How thorough is your knowledge of the relevant sources? I am not inclined to consider it to be high.

            And where did the analysis that she was touting come from and who was it by. Certainly a number of economists and historians have criticized her standard revisionist interpretation.

      • TFRX

        Hahahaha.

        Peddle yer plop somewhere else.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      At least we have “On Point” that broadcasts through the cracks, right?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    The mob mentality of “Evil Kochs” is quite disturbing. Great parroting and towing the progressive meme line, but I bet 95% of Evil Koch mutterers couldn’t describe an accurate example of their “evil”, without being hypocritical regarding similar issues at play on “their” side.

    I can seriously see the progressive theists getting riled up enough to hurt “evil” people and the “evil by association” people who dare defend their views.

    And you wonder why the freedom or liberty folks want their guns…. last resort against the next socialist revolution.

    Dark times ahead.

    Libertarian/Progressive Alliances can’t come soon enough. The party die hards are nuts.

    Enact the the things that a Nader and a Paul can agree on. Whether anti-big banking/Wall St, anti-corruption, anti-too big to fail, pro-small investor etc etc. Those results alone would bring more “progressive” change than we have seen in decades.

    Its time for the little people to get together on core basic issues, and dump the corrupt 2-party establishment.

    Walk before run.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/30/charles-and-david-koch-the-minds-behind-libertarianism-3-0.html

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      The “dark times” you allude to is when liberals as us finally get it through our thick skulls that our brand of liberalism had its last time over 200 years ago. We now live in a time when people are spending their last dime of the Earth’s currency. It’s just stupid to think we all can live as these people try to convince us. The name of their PAC screams stupid in the extreme: Americans for Prosperity. You’ll see. In a few years we’re going to have major crop and water problems. You can’t continue to build a civilization when the basics aren’t sustainable. This is problem that technology simply cannot fix. The only fix is less people … referably people who don’t live so piggish.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        And you can make it happen, at the point of a sword.

        If we had the Classical Liberalism of 200 years ago, we would be in much better shape. The “Big” whatevers- Government, Business, Wall St. would not be so big, with real competition, real Rule of Law and real consequences.

        • TheDailyBuzzherd

          In theory. But we’re past that, right?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            If you are a libertarian, yes. If you are a statist, no, its inevitable.

          • TheDailyBuzzherd

            Well, when only certain persons control the destiny of a country, things are inevitable.

        • red_donn

          It is a sad mark on the country that a return to a document explicitly designed to be led by the “responsible men” of the “opulent minority,” and for the protection of the same, would indeed be a sign of progress for our nation.

          Being most closely aligned to some variant of the anti-state left, the original libertarians prior to the Mises Institute, I gladly second the call for American Progressives and Libertarians to stand together. The creation of an actual second party with an agenda apart from the neoliberal/neoconservative corruption that is the current system, might reintroduce politics to the American system.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Please make that case often around here as it relates to the On Point issues of the day. I would only say that also identifying/maintaining as much common ground between Mises types and Chomsky types, while challenging, is important. I think the fault line is similar to the Dem/Repub gut fault lines, and reflects some very binary perspectives on the nature of humans/societies and issues of freedom vs collectivism. The point is that such a fault line will likely always be with us, except when one crushes the other with violent force.

            So I would rather live in a world of common ground between Mises and Chomsky than the common ground between the DNC and RNC.

            http://mises.org/daily/1132

  • Sy2502

    I find it really funny that the Liberal media insists in demonizing the Koch brothers when in fact there are groups and entities that funnel much, much more money into politics than they do. And the top contributors give money to the Democratic party no less. I guess once a media stereotype has been planted, it’s practically impossible to uproot it.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      The Kochs simply are the current poster boys of excess. It’s less them as people than their ideology and tactics that are being examined and scrutinized. This is a problem that exists across political bases.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        We will put the red pen in your hand to deem the levels that are deemed excess. Then give you a squad to go out achieve some much needed equity. That’s a lot of red…. but I guess some think its worth it. Mao? Stalin? Bueller?

        • TheDailyBuzzherd

          All out of pens here, will a pencil do? I think my sharpener is on the fritz again, though.

      • Sy2502

        Exactly, what I am saying is precisely this, that the problem is across the board, and it involves both parties equally. So this demonization of the Koch is ridiculous. Yes of course they give much in political contributions, but given they are I believe number 56 in the top contributors, shouldn’t we be concentrating on, oh I don’t know, the top 5 maybe?

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          but “Evil Koch Brothers” has a more satisfying ring than those chart-toppers…..

    • andic_epipedon

      Which groups are you referring to? True, our politicians are bought off by corporations, but most of the other contributors are well known and out in the open, like the telecommunications industry, the natural gas industry and the pharmaceuticals. The over arching point of the documentary is to point out the corporate influence over our politicians.

      • Sy2502

        The list of the top political donors can be easily found online.

        1) ActBlue – 99% of its money went to Democrats

        2)AFSCME – 80% of its money to Democrats

        3) NEA – Money split half and half

        4) AT & T – Money split half and half

        5) National Association of Realtors – Money split half and half

        Well look at that, the top 2 donors give to Dems. So which is the money grabbing, corrupt, listens to big money and big corporations party? And why do we always and only hear about the Koch and not the top 5?

        • Ray in VT

          American Crossroads spent more in the 2012 cycle than Actblue did in some 25 years. It spent more than the top two combined.

          • Sy2502

            Can you link where you got that information please?

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed I can. Here you go:

            https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/summ.php?cycle=2012&chrt=V&disp=O&type=A

            Americans For Prosperity, Koch founded and funded group, spent some $36 million in the 2012 cycle. Plus there is Freedom Partners, which is described here: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/behind-the-curtain-exclusive-the-koch-brothers-secret-bank-96669.html

          • Sy2502

            Thank you very much for the link, I appreciate.
            From the same website, it seems that in 2014 the money has practically evened out between Right and Left. The top spending group seems to be the Senate Majority PAC, which is Democrat.
            In other words, why demonize the Koch when both parties are getting tons of money from many high spenders?

          • pete18

            Because, as so clearly demonstrated by the filmmakers and the comments on this board, the anti Koch brigade isn’t really against money in politics, it’s against money in politics that supports conservative causes. They don’t think conservatives have a different view of the world from them, they think conservatives are evil.

          • Ray in VT

            You’re welcome. I think that it is far too early to judge what is going to happen in 2014. Certainly it is going to be less overall than it will be in 2016.

            Why demonize the Kochs? Whereas I dislike big money spending in politics in general, I think that the secretive tactics in which they, as well as some other outside spenders, engage makes it worse. With these “dark money” groups one can’t tell where the money is coming from, so one can’t tell who is really behind what. I would settle for full financial disclosure, but I don’t really have hope for that.

            Ultimately I want to know who is pushing various candidates and measures, which is one of the things that really bothers me about ALEC. You have politicians and business groups getting together and writing this “model legislation” that gets moved out to the states, and for a while people noticed these nearly identical bills appearing in various states, but they couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. That sort of going outside of the legislative committee/hearing process to write laws concerns me.

          • Sy2502

            Believe me when I say I am the first one to be frustrated by how money controls politics. I believe the fundamental principle of Democracy is that all votes count equally, yet if I petition my representative, I have less chance to be heard than some big buck donor. Having said that, the current laws are set up to allow this. And there can be groups that don’t need to disclose the donors which are perfectly legal. I am not so deluded as to think Democrats don’t have their own too, and if they don’t get as much money this way as the Republicans is not for lack of trying, nor because they follow higher principles. If they could get more money, they would. So why go after the Koch brothers? Because they are envious they can’t raise as much money as they do? That’s a silly reason but I fear that’s what it boils down to.

          • Ray in VT

            I agree with pretty much everything that you said, except that those going after the Koch brothers are envious.

          • Sy2502

            My choice of words wasn’t the best. Let’s see if I can rephrase. Would the same people raise so much stink if that money went to their own political side instead?

          • Ray in VT

            I think that some would and some would not.

        • andic_epipedon

          I have heard about AT & T all the time in the last year, especially in relation to net neutrality issues. As a side note, it is disquieting that the NEA spends that much money and our schools are still going downhill. The first two on the list are SuperPacs. It’s the only thing the Dems can do to combat the fact that rich people are able to influence government. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/01/us-usa-politics-donors-idUSBRE9900GI20131001 Your figures are from the time period 1989 to present. I would be interested in figures that only include the last 5 years.

          • Sy2502

            Spot on with your comment on how much the NEA spends for political reasons instead of helping the educations system. A real shame.

  • Art Toegemann

    If the Koch brothers are the pretty boys some think they are, they must switch from oil, fracking, gas, and coal to solar panels; or they are dinosaurs.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Art, do you honestly believe solar panels will heat and feed the world?

      And when you admit the answer is no, will you admit that those who are in the business of doing what solar can’t are not “evil” simply because we are disappointed when our dreams don’t come true?

      • Art Toegemann

        GBS(“honestly”?), solar panels, at 16% efficient, are already supplying all the electricity needs in many communities. Newer panels, not yet on the market, are 43% efficient.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          You are arguing that we are going to clothe, feed, and warm the world of Billions, using solar panels, anytime soon?

          By all means get them in the mix, but please don’t knee-cap us.

          • TheDailyBuzzherd

            Quite right – Us first, then the womens and the chillens.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          “already supplying all the electricity needs in many communities”
          Which ones? In the US? What is the cost — expressed in levelized cost/kwh? What do they use for storage when the sun doesn’t shine?

          I’m not against solar but it is really only a marginal peak source of power at present.

          At least it is better than Cape Wind (per their contract with National Grid:
          - .$0.20/kwh wholesale year 1 vs. $.036/kwh average wholesale regional NE grid costs in 2012.
          -$0.36/kwh in year 15 after mandatory 3.5% mandatory increases.

          • whoo123

            I haven’t read the whole thread yet, but I know that United Parcel Service has been building solar facilities since 2004. It seems to be working out for them.

          • Art Toegemann

            I Liked several solar energy pages at facebook. Very informative.
            Towns in Germany are independent by solar. There is a town in southern California that has mandated SPs on their buildings. SPs are the energy industry with the most growth.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Steven Chu says we shouldn’t deploy new technologies unless they are cheaper than coal. I agree.

        • Art Toegemann

          Pick it up, people. Even Rhode Island is gearing up for net metering.

          • Ray in VT

            Renewables show some promise. Perhaps that is why ALEC and its corporate members are going after them and the people who use them.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Who is against renewables?

            I suspect they are only against the subsidies.

          • X Y & Z

            It’s all part of the Koch brothers conspiracy, didn’t you get the memo?

          • Ray in VT

            Their money does seem to pop up in every de-regulation, anti-regulation and climate denial group. That’s probably just a coincidence though.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, I’m sure that they are against the green energy subsidies, although I don’t know if ALEC is out there fighting against fossil fuel subsidies. They also appear to be tackling “freeloaders” who produce their own power on site, i.e. residential solar, wind or biomass. They recently pushed a monthly fee of $50-$100 for net metering producers, which is likely more than those people will produce, thereby discouraging such activities.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The net metering, subsidies and tax credit schemes are typically a transfer payment from lower income rate payers to the wealthy. Not much different than the tax credit to Tesla owners.

          • Ray in VT

            I question that, especially considering that people who can and do take advantage of net metering generally only get a negligible amount for what they contribute to the system. Moves against it seem to me to be an attempt by industry to squash a threat to their profits.

            My wife’s uncle is an electrician, and he does wind and solar as a part of his business. He tells me that some states require such high levels of liability insurance for doing some sort of domestic renewables that the insurance costs are more expensive than what they generate, and he said that he thinks that such moves are pushed by the coal industry.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Now that is a conspiracy theory. I thought the insurance industry is highly regulated. I doubt ‘green’ blue state regulators are under the control of “big” coal.

            Net metering (in most states) credits the full retail value of the solar power produced to the producer even if the power is not needed. Other power producers are paid wholesale prices and are paid NOTHING when the power isn’t needed. This is all paid for by EVERYONE who consumes grid-sourced power. There is ‘renewable’ charge on you bill — per kwh.

            This is why Wall Street and Goldman-Sachs are getting heavily into the solar power business. It is the ultimate transfer from the unwashed to the 1%.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that he was talking about requirements that were being mandated by the state governments. I haven’t looked into it, but he is a pretty straight shooter who has been in the business for a long time.

            I haven’t looked at how most states do net metering. The way that it works here, as best I understand it, is that people get only a fraction of what the power sells for.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m not doubting that liability costs are high. I am doubting a conspiracy by big coal. High insurance costs might be related to the cost of the equipment and the hazard of working on roofs in a relatively new field.

            In MA you get ‘credits’ for the power produced that can be used against usage from the grid. If you are a net producer of power then you don’t receive cash but ‘credits’ for future billing cycles.

          • Ray in VT

            I would not be surprised to see the power companies pushing measures that discourage people from moving away from their product.

          • Art Toegemann

            If net metering fails, it will necessitate better storage for freeloaders.

          • TFRX

            While keeping all the extractive subsidies.

            You really have passed from fool to knave.

      • Art Toegemann
    • X Y & Z

      “They are dinosaurs” ?

      In a earlier post of yours, you claimed “The Koch brothers are FDR’s evil twins”

      So which one is it?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Evil Dynotwins

        • X Y & Z

          Sounds like a future On Point Program.

      • Art Toegemann

        Speaking of which: as an alias, you should reveal you are Koch brothers PR.

        • X Y & Z

          It’s still better than condoning FDR’s cruel, racist, and inhumane treatment of 150,000 Japanese-Americans, which you are only to happy and willing to do.

        • JS

          The Koch brothers are smarter than that

      • Art Toegemann

        Brace yourself: they’re both true.

        • X Y & Z

          Say adios to your credibility as well.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      I’m very cautiously optimistic. If we can’t figure it out in time, Natural Law will take over. We call it a Bottleneck.

    • X Y & Z

      As a point of reference, when you make a ridiculous and hateful statement such as, “The Koch brothers are FDR’s evil twins”, you just flushed your credibility down the toilet.

  • tbphkm33

    The Koch brothers are a disgrace to the United States and to humanity as a whole.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Not a NOVA fan I see.

      • TFRX

        Not a fan of the self-censorship that people are prone to if they want to keep Koch “donations”.

    • pete18

      You’re sipping, you forgot to compare them to Nazis and Al Qaeda.

  • X Y & Z

    The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/obama-drone-program-anniversary_n_4654825.html

    That’s Obama 2,400 – Koch brothers 0

    • Ray in VT

      How many people has Koch formaldehyde given cancer to? How many people are going to die because Koch-funded groups have fought the expansion of Medicare?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Probably less than have died at the VA.

        • Ray in VT

          How about that private sector medical care? It’s doing a real bang-up job, right?

          • X Y & Z

            Let me guess, you would prefer a Cuban or North Korean style health care system instead.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously, because that is the only other choice, right?

          • X Y & Z

            That’s what the left is turning this country into, a socialist paradise.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course. We will soon be Cuba, North Korea or maybe Greece or Zimbabwe, because surely every other decent industrialized nation hasn’t taken some sort of national health care or insurance measures that haven’t turned into some sort of communist dictatorship.

          • whoo123

            The last time I looked, we were ranked just above Slovenia and below Costa Rica when it comes to healthcare.

          • JS

            Why can’t we ever be Germany?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Germany is building new coal plants because their clean energy dreams have failed.

          • whoo123

            Not exactly. From what I read, they are mining some coal to supplement renewables as they phase out nuclear power plants over the next five years.

            They acknowledge that it will contribute 200+ million tons of carbon dioxide to the global atmosphere.

      • X Y & Z

        How many millions of Americans have received notifications of the cancellation of their health care plan due to Obamacare?

        • Ray in VT

          Some. Hard to tell. How many people routinely got cancellation notices from their insurers because insurers were dropping the plans or those individuals?

          The uninsured rate among adults has fallen by something like 1/3 over the past 6-9 months, so it certainly looks like millions more people are able to access health care now.

          • X Y & Z

            The correct answer is that millions have lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare.

          • Ray in VT

            Millions more people have health insurance coverage now than they did last fall.

          • X Y & Z

            Approximately 5 million Americans have lost heir health insurance due to Obamacare.

          • Ray in VT

            Have a source showing that more people today lack health insurance than they did a year ago, let’s say?

          • X Y & Z

            Obamacare’s biggest impacts: Americans losing hours, losing coverage

            http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/03/obamacares-biggest-impacts-americans-losing-hours-losing-coverage/

          • Ray in VT

            The yucks just keep on coming.

            Uninsured adults decline from 18% in 3Q 2013 to 13.4% in May:
            http://www.gallup.com/poll/168821/uninsured-rate-drops.aspx

            CBO finds “no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA.”
            http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/04/news/economy/obamacare-work/

          • X Y & Z

            Part time employment has increased as a result of Obamacare primarily beacause millions of Americans are having their hours cut.

            Let the truth be told, Obamacare is a jobs-killer.

          • Ray in VT

            That is not what people researching it have found.

          • X Y & Z

            The one million Americans who lost their jobs in April, the shrinking economy, none of that is real either, right?

          • Ray in VT

            More than one million Americans did not lose their jobs in April, and the changes to the labor force in April did not cause a shrinking of the economy in the first quarter.

          • X Y & Z

            The facts say otherwise.

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. Employment grew in April. Thems the facts.

          • TELew

            Thanks Ray for keeping up the good fight!

          • Ray in VT

            You’re welcome The facts should be able to speak for themselves.

          • TELew

            They should, but . . .

            There are too many people who don’t want to hear what the facts say!

          • JGC

            Remember, the Weekly Standard reported that 5 out of 6 young men are working… And the others are wasting their time commenting on this thread.

          • X Y & Z

            Sorry jgc to burst your bubble, here’s the truth

            1 in 6 American Men Between Ages 25-54 Are Not working

            http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/1-8-american-men-between-ages-25-54-are-not-working_793938.html

            You got caught in a lie jgc!

      • whoo123

        The Kochs want to do away with the minimum wage…as if anyone can live on $7+ anyway…

        • Ray in VT

          I don’t know of any specific statements or moves, but, ideologically speaking, it would not surprise me.

    • Art Toegemann

      That has everything to do with the fact neither of the Koch brothers will be President of the United States.
      The Koch brothers run an oligarchy, not a democratic republic.

      • X Y & Z

        Add to that, the Koch brothers will never become war criminals, as Obama has.

        • Art Toegemann

          This you do not know. Both Kochs could easily be indicted as promoters and profiteers of this military industrial complex.

          • X Y & Z

            Obama is a war criminal. His illegal drone strikes which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, affirm it.

  • StilllHere

    I’m for spending more money on elections. Get that money into the economy!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “[Libertarians] do not regard democratic participation and deliberation as the highest form of life.… Many nonlibertarians have an almost religious reverence for democracy. They love democracy so much that they wish to see democracy in every aspect of life. They want democracy to be a way of living. They want everything open to democratic deliberation and decision making. Libertarians instead want to insulate people from political control. They do not want every decision to be subject to discussion. They believe one of the greatest freedoms of all is not having to justify yourself to others. If your entire life resembles a committee meeting, you are not free.”

    (p. 69), [Jason Brennan • Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know • Oxford, 2012 • xvi + 213 pages]

    • J__o__h__n

      What does this manifesto have to do with the topic?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Kochs are evil libertarians.

        • Ray in VT

          They just want to have the liberty to pollute without the gub’ment hassling them, the freedom for us to have formaldehyde in our products and the right for us to live in a country with tens of millions of uninsured people. Who can blame them for that?

  • andic_epipedon

    I would welcome more films related to liberal high end donors.

    • harverdphd

      Those films would therefore be pornographic and therefore useless.

      • andic_epipedon

        Please? I’m being serious here. Your comment is useless. I remember a Congressman loosing his job because he repressed his sexual preference and was caught having sex in a public restroom.

  • andic_epipedon

    Hans von whatever his name is, is a tool. Just look at the “von” part of the name. He is an elitist.

    • harverdphd

      You have “pipe” in your name. You’re probably on drugs.

  • andic_epipedon

    If the Sierra Club had as much power as the Koch brothers, we would have a lot fewer environmental problems than we do.

    • harverdphd

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

  • harverdphd

    Here’s the takeaway. The Kochs acquired their wealth legally. They are allowed to spend it legally. Everything else is irrelevant.

    • whoo123

      Yeah, too bad it’s now legal to buy elections…

      • StilllHere

        Name one election bought.

        • red_donn

          JFK, West Virginia comes to mind…

          Oh, I’m sure we could dispute that, and so very many others, on the grounds that there were debates and votes. Yes, elections follow the money, with the exception of ultra-rich figures whose ostentatious self-financing plays poorly with the voting public, but what of it? Surely the following legislation that serves the moneyed interests that put the figure in office is what the voting public desired. After all, the Supreme Court is under the impression that only explicit bribes count as buying a politician – so why shouldn’t we all be just as trusting?

          Make no mistake, actual power players know what they’re about, though cognitive dissonance, self-serving assumptions, and euphemisms tend to keep the explicit nature of the game off their conscious minds. It was said of Theodore Roosevelt by the figures in New York, “We bought him, but he wouldn’t stay bought.”

          That’s about as clean as a great politican can afford to be, and remain viable for election. All the rest must remain, to some degree, bought.

    • Art Toegemann

      The buying of Wisconsin is an example unbecoming.

      • OnPointComments

        If the Koch brothers have the power to buy elections, did they buy your vote?

        • Art Toegemann

          ? rephrase.

  • anne sweeney

    I believe they will perceive in the end, Cori Lewis and Patricia Kaufman know that better than anyone. We’ve had eight years of hope and change.
    Now, Public TV and Radio will have to re-evaluate their future as to what side their bread is buttered on. In politics, when you feel the winds of change, you go with it. The people have had enough of more of the same.

  • anne sweeney

    Tyranny has already permeated our government, taxation without representation, the courts rule and the citizens drool. Referendum after referendum overturned by the state, federal and supreme court. When the voter is sidelined, how can you not wonder that citizens do not want to participate. A person with no money, has no chance unless funded by well healed billionaires, like Gates, Buffet or Soros.

  • Marc G

    It is not just the political landscape that the Koch brothers and others are controlling with their wealth. The Kochs, the Gates foundation, Eli Broad and several other conservative and liberal billionaires want to effectively privatize and introduce a caste system to replace public education in the US. Our film Teach, Teachers are talking. Is the nation Listening?(www.teachdocumentary.com) documents this process. We would love to discuss this on the air with Tom.

    • Kevin Burber

      A comparison between the Koch’s and the Gates Foundation…really? I realize that their education programs have received criticism and honestly, I don’t know enough about it to give a thoughtful opinion. Still, to compare one division of a charity that has indisputably has done more good than bad no matter your opinion on charter schools with the Koch brothers whose sole purpose is to subvert democracy by using its vast assets to purchase our elected leaders is really not a fair comparison.

      • pete18

        “whose sole purpose is to subvert democracy by using its vast assets to purchase our elected leaders is really not a fair comparison.”

        Yeah, that’s an objective comparison.

        • Marc G

          The point is the influence of money on politics, education, etc. Because the Gates foundation supports some programs you like, does not reduce the contradiction between wealth and democracy.

          • pete18

            If you are against both right and left wing money in politics, your position is a principled one and I have no objection to it. I disagree with it, I think Citizen’s United was decided correctly but I think there is a legitimate and principled case that can be made from the other side. However, bashing the Koch brothers isn’t one of those arguments.

      • StilllHere

        You should have stopped at I don’t know enough, because the rest just made that clear.

  • EdTheMexican

    These people want to believe and act like they are independent, they are
    not. These people are far left thinkers who express their ideas in film STOP
    THE ACT!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nj_v2

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/three-new-ways-the-koch-brothers-are-screwing-america-20140604

    Three New Ways the Koch Brothers Are Screwing America
    The fourth-richest men in America target low-wage workers, minority voters and unions

    By Elisabeth Garber-Paul

    June 4, 2014 10:00 AM ET

    “They are truly cowards in the worst way,” says filmmaker Robert Greenwald, of the notorious billionaires Charles and David Koch. And he should know. After he released his 2012 documentary, “The Koch Brothers Exposed,” Koch-funded organizations took out ads trying to discredit Greenwald and his work, yet the brothers still declined his repeated offers to debate the topics covered in the film, like the re-segregation of schools and the defanging of the EPA. “I wanted to engage in a policy debate,” he says. “But they won’t engage.”

    For most people, an attack from the fourth-richest (and perhaps most politically conniving) men in America would slow them down. But instead Greenwald, who became interested in the powerful duo when he read Jane Mayer’s 2010 New Yorker profile, decided to double down, and began work on “The Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition.” The update, which is now available free online, is centered on their influence in (and outpouring of money since) the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. While researching and producing it with his small staff at Brave New Films, Greenwald says he was “surprised by not just the sheer numbers, but the extraordinary lengths they go to legally to hide the amounts they’re giving.” Here, three of the fights to which these undocumented millions flow:…

    (snipped)

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/three-new-ways-the-koch-brothers-are-screwing-america-20140604#ixzz33jzmfQRd
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

    • whoo123

      That article also details how the brothers, who each make $1.8 million hour, want to do away with the minimum wage which they claim creates a ‘ culture of dependency’ and is ‘an obstacle to economic growth’.

      “Since the early 1990s, they’ve given at least $23.3 million to think tanks that have published over 4,000 articles, papers, studies, and media projects targeting the minimum wage. ”

      Well, kudos to them….when they get the monthly wage down to $38 a month, American companies won’t have to outsource to Bangladesh.

      • Ray in VT

        Well, they just want every American to have the “liberty” to work for as absolutely little as prevailing economic conditions will allow.

      • pete18

        Right, because there’s no valid argument against the minimum wage.

        • whoo123

          I can’t think of any but please enlighten me. By a huge margin, minimum wage workers are out of their teens…so you can skip that one.

          Do your remember last fall that one Ohio Walmart had an in-store food drive for its employees who couldn’t afford thanksgiving dinner?

          Walmart also routinely hands out applications for public assistance to their new-hires. More than $2.5 BILLION a year in taxpayer money goes to Walmart workers in the form of food stamps, Medicaid, school lunches, etc. but yeah, let’s cut their wages…clearly $7.25 is more than they need.

          • pete18

            Please consider yourself enlightened,

            Here’s the line related to Walmart,

            “If you do not care that there are more poor people whose poverty derives from being unemployed than from poor wages. True, some of the working poor earn so little they are eligible for welfare. But an increase in the minimum wage will cause some of these to become unemployed and on welfare.”

            http://cjonline.com/opinion/2013-12-17/george-will-case-against-higher-minimum-wage

          • whoo123

            I see that the word ‘opinion’ is in that link you provided. Like Todd Akin’s opinion on ‘legitimate rape, this one is not grounded in reality.

            In states where. The minimum wage has been raised, mass job loss has not occurred:

            “Experts say that a higher minimum wage will increase spending, which will increase profit, which will increase investment, which will increase jobs, which will increase production…. and the cycle continues to be positive.”
            -
            In addition to all that money flooding back into the economy, some folks who are too poor to pay taxes now would finally be able to contribute….large numbers of them would come off public assistance rolls…and maybe the current rate of 1 in 5 American children going hungry at times, would become a thing of the past.

      • notafeminista

        There was an article in the New Yorker describing how the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was pressured to not show the documentary.
        In the article’s description of said documentary, I especially enjoyed their doorman’s automatic expectation that because the residents of his building were extraordinary wealthy, that he would get significantly better tips. Tad arrogant, that.

        • whoo123

          I saw the documentary (Park Avenue) by the same filmmaker who made the Enron documentary. It’s about the building where David Koch lives and its residents. What the doorman said was that despite extra services that he provided for Koch on a regular basis — like loading up 2 vans every weekend for a trip to the Hamptons, he was *never* tipped except for a $50 check at Christmas.

          I don’t think it was ‘arrogant’ of the doorman to find that unusual. I find it flat-out astonishing. Trickle-down economics…

          • notafeminista

            It wasn’t arrogant of the doorman to be astonished. it was arrogant of him to expect a tip, especially a large one, simplybased on the fact that those he served were/are wealthy. Is there a sliding scale for rewarding good service based on one’s tax bracket?

          • whoo123

            The rule of thumb is, if you can’t afford the tip, don’t use the service. Do you tip the server when you dine out? Of course…and bigger tips for excellent service. Even hotel doormen receive tips for handling baggage or hailing a taxi.

            Have you even seen the film? The [ex] doorman came up with that information in response to the camera man’s question about tipping…he said he never got as much as a smile from David Koch. Smiles cost the same from rich or poor.

  • X Y & Z

    The Koch brothers don’t sell guns to Mexican drug cartels, as the Obama Administration did.

    • Art Toegemann

      2 problems: the Koch brothers are not the President of the United States. FYI XYZ; the Koch brothers, to my knowledge, probably own and/or invest in the arms industry.

      • X Y & Z

        President Obama’s Administration broke the law when it sold guns to Mexican drug cartels.

        Why else would this Administration be stone-walling the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, if it did nothing wrong?

        • Art Toegemann

          So you’re calling for a forensic audit of the Koch estate to search for investments in the military industrial complex.

          • X Y & Z

            The Obama Administration needs to release all the files on its illegal gun running activities to Mexican drug cartels, and stop claiming Executive Privilege.

          • Art Toegemann

            Obama has the right to claim EP. The Koch brothers do not.

        • Ray in VT

          The Obama administration, to the best of my knowledge, did not sell guns to Mexican drug cartels. Perhaps you have some information showing that it did conduct such sales.

  • eat_swim_read

    Rig public debate?
    This is the film’s premise?
    Really?
    Will Geo. Soros get this treatment? His money is donated while the Koch’s is “funneled.”
    All point of view are good. Glad WI was freed of thuggish unions. Taxes there are lower for better services, better teacher health plans….

    • eat_swim_read

      Tia is defensive and erroneous about the amount of union donations in WI – dead wrong. Union money and union volunteer hours flooded the state, shut down the statehouse and was national news for weeks.
      Glad Kochs helped fund an opposing side. Which voters wisely selected. Good for them.
      Liberal hack filmmakers, given a 60 minute free ad on WUR. Very old-school NPR, where any Dem is celebrated and GOP is demonized.
      Meh.
      Disturbing.
      Hiding behind Buddy Romer as representing the GOP is nonsense. Making a fool of him and showing the filmmaker’s heavy hand.
      Tom – you got snookered…..not typical of you.

  • VarshaMoretoniss

    ­my classmate’s aunt makes $68 every hour on the
    computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was
    $15495 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M

  • CAYdenberg

    Everyone involved in this discussion, from the guests to the callers to Tom to the commentors on this page, reverts to the same old arguments: But the Democrats do it, too! But the Republicans do it more! The Kochs aren’t any worse than Sheldon Adelson. Who cares?
    As long as the current structure persists the only individuals who have any chance of being elected are the ones who know how to play the fundraising game. They have to win a 2-way election where all Americans get to vote, but they first must do very well in another election, where only the wealthy get to vote. American voters have been so busy participating in this partisan mud-slinging that they are complicit players, regurgitating their party’s talking points up until election day, and then complaining that all politicians are corrupt and Washington is broken.

    • Potter

      Would that American voters participate even in this mudslinging. Who cares? Indeed.

  • Art Toegemann

    What has always fascinated me about the showing of this documentary is the notion that the Koch brothers could quash a Gates production. Clash of titans.

    • notafeminista

      It seems more accurate to say it indicates of what the suits at the Corporation of Public Broadcasting are exactly made.

  • Ray in VT

    Well, facts do have a well known liberal bias, so I’ll keep it in mind that you don’t like them.

    Oh, so it wasn’t his fault that he took a bunch of money from Stalin. Awesome. That’s some personal responsibility for ya.

    The allegations of deals with Iran were less than 10 years ago, and they were made by one of their own compliance officers, and it appears that the company’s own researchers backed it up: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-02/koch-brothers-flout-law-getting-richer-with-secret-iran-sales.html

    I am familiar with their claims that they are a model company, but I don’t think that that rings true, and sure, companies get caught doing stuff all of the time, but they seem to be uniquely engaging in a long standing and organized effort to undermine the ability of agencies like the EPA to go after such activities.

    Their companies produce formaldehyde, and their companies have been a part of the Formaldehyde Council, which has sought to downplay the risks of the product http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-grandia/koch-industries-funds-att_b_707616.html.

    Obviously criticizing such people for attempting, via their secret funding schemes, to influence the outcomes of elections and push industry written legislation, as well as wanting to know where all of their dark money is going and for what ends is some horrible act of repression.

  • Arkuy The Great

    That’s right, boys and girls. All this handwringing about the Citizens United decision is all about de-beaking the Kochtopus and cutting its tentacles. Tom Steyer’s outright purchase of Democratic Congressional and Senate candidates for $100 million gets nary a mention at NPR/WBUR. No, we absolutely must get [the other side's] filthy, dirty money out of politics.

    • kenrubenstein

      This is not a partisan issue, but it’s vitally important nonetheless. You can’t argue it into nonexistence.

      • Arkuy The Great

        I beg to differ. Whenever the alleged menace of the CU decision is brought up in public discussion the evil most in need of exorcism is the Kochs. I have yet to hear George Soros or Tom Steyer mentioned in the same vein. And it is little short of fanciful and deluded to think their money is any less “corrupting” than the Kochs’.

        It is a purely partisan issue.

        • kenrubenstein

          Okay. Both sides of the debate in our time (where media corporations profit mightily from polarizing every issue imaginable) contribute to the problem. If it’s not obvious to you that unlimited money in politics to buy influence for a very small minority of superwealthy Americans is problematic, then we have nothing more to discuss.

          • Arkuy The Great

            “superwealthy Americans” != media corporations. Nor any other corporations for that matter.

            Yes, we have nothing more to discuss.

  • kenrubenstein

    The most chilling thing I heard on this broadcast is that the Kochs used their economic clout to control public broadcasting, which they did in keeping this film off the air. Left, right, whatever, money has polluted politics and needs to be rebalanced with the power of the individual.

    It’s disingenuous to say that we’re grownups and free to make up our own minds. Think tanks and advertising agencies are highly effective in propagandizing a great many people out of their free will. If you believe otherwise, read Daniel Kahneman.

    • Glennfollower07

      Doesn’t Soros control more of the media than the Kochs?

  • Michele Briere

    This is just a dirty situation all the way around.

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