There are many reasons to pay no attention to any political ads and candidates financed by the Koch Brothers.
One reason is enough: the Koch machine lies.
I know, it’s not usual to call people liars head-on. But since it was done to president Obama, why not to the Koch Brothers?
Unfortunately, people tend to believe self-confident, manipulative lying billionaires.
Thanks to five of its current “immortals,” the U.S. Supreme Court decreed in the Citizens United case that corporations (and unions and non-profits, but we all know who has the big money) can basically use their riches to corrupt our democratic processes, as long as they don’t contribute directly to candidates.
With that little limitation (and big money would rather run its own show anyhow, to be sure their candidates don’t feel the lure of thinking for themselves), the Koch Brothers can use their myriad companies’ corporate funds, collect from others, and use all the money they want for political purposes while concealing where the money comes from and where it goes.
The January 26 New York Times editorial “The Koch Party” succinctly points out why the Koch machine is against democracy as we have known it, and truth as one would like to know it.
We’re talking about real money here, now probably well over the $400 million dollars the Koch Party invested in its own welfare two years ago. For one of the Times’ sources, see “Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012,” Washington Post, 1/5/14.
The Koch organization zealously guards its secrets. But a few days ago, a leaked list revealed some of the companies whose corporate magnates have contributed enough to the Koch Party to earn one-on-one strategy chats with Charles and David.
For details, see Andy Kroll and Daniel Schulman, “The Koch Brothers Left a Confidential Document at Their Last Donor Conference,” Mother Jones, Feb. 5, 2014.
I wouldn’t feel good about patronizing those companies, like Comcast, Gold’s Gym, Jockey, Omni Hotels, or Papa John’s pizzas, would you?
Of course, many consumers are already trying to avoid products of the Kovch’s own empire; see Lauren Kelly, “How You Can Boycott the Kochs,” AlterNet, 2/28/11 and the whole lsite Boycott the Koch Brothers.
You might say: didn’t the billionaires earn their money fair and square and shouldn’t they be able to do what they want with it?
No and no.
They earned more money than anyone could possibly use by:
Leveraging the infrastructure that we taxpayers built in this country: highways, air control, police and military protection, stock market, internet, educated work force…. The rest of us paid for and use those things to go about our lives and be productive members of our society; the Kochs use them to make money off the rest of us.
Inducing public officials to install a ridiculously liberal trade policy that has outsourced millions of American jobs, driven down wages at home, and multiplied corporate profits.
Breaking American labor unions, which fight for fair working conditions and pay.
Profiting from the lowered wage structure that they themselves got created.
Charging customers more than necessary, since the Kochs and their friends have so much profit left over to play with.
Shamelessly exploiting a desperate labor force abroad, which in many countries is in constant danger of dying in unsafe working conditions (think Bangladesh…).
Getting the tax system adapted to their needs, so that the richer people, and those who can hire the fanciest accountants, pay a lower percentage of taxes to the government than many of the rest of us (remember Mitt Romney, his sub-secretary personal tax rate, and his untaxed 8-figure IRA?).
They operate politically by:
Keeping their network and donors secret, as much as humanly possible. What are they and their allies ashamed of anyhow? Isn’t sunlight the best disinfectant?
Buying up Congress. There is no other word for it. Big contributions buy votes.
Directing hostile fire against any candidate who won’t toe their line.
Financing right-wing news programs that make no pretense of factuality.
Operating increasingly on the state level, where money buys even more influence.
I won’t belabor the point. Please just remember: Any ad, press release, campaign contribution, or public statement from an organization contributing to or financed by the Koch Brothers should be indelibly stamped “We lie.”
In 2008 and 2012 the top 1% couldn’t quite buy the presidency or a majority of US Senate. But if people (as opposed to corporations) don’t rally to defend themselves now, 2014 and 2016 could be very different. No one can take anything for granted when they’re up against big corporate money.
Let’s end with the clear lesson of this chart from Annie Lowrey, “Even Among the Richest of the Rich, Fortunes Diverge,” New York Times, 2/10/14: