The Conservative Oil Tycoon Billionaires, the Koch Brothers, are after our free press and the newspapers that could serve as a broader platform for their conservative ideology. Newspapers provide our country with information and coverage that is essential for democracy. This is not a business investment for the billionaire brothers. Their interest in buying the newspapers is for their self-serving conservative political strategy. If the Koch’s purchase the Tribune Company they will control the content of eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Hartford Courant, which includes more than 20 stations like WGN and KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles. We know how the Koch’s will run the newspapers because we’ve seen how they use their tremendous wealth to influence elections, buy politicians, and restrict academic freedom.
Brave New Foundation has the honor of releasing a video to accompany a seminal report by human rights law experts at Stanford and New York University law schools. The report, entitled Living Under Drones presents chilling first-hand testimony from Pakistani civilians on the humanitarian and security costs of escalating drone attacks by the United States. The report uncovers civilian deaths, and shocking psychological and social damage to whole families and communities – where people are literally scared to leave their homes because of drones flying overhead 24 hours a day.
The Koch brothers don't just have a gazillion luxury homes and boats. They've been using their wealth to shut out the voices of the 99% -- pledging to spend at least $100 million on the 2012 elections. The pro-corporate policies they favor are, of course, antithetical to the public interest. But the TV ads they're airing so far in this election make it seem like they're on the side of regular Americans. "Maybe your family is like most, struggling to make it by...The private sector is not doing fine," says Americans for Prosperity, an organization the Kochs founded and fund. Watch the video:
By Robert Greenwald
If any doubt was left about the power of big money in our politics, the Wisconsin election destroyed it. Charles and David Koch goosed Gov. Scott Walker's campaign with $10 million through their front group Americans for Prosperity, $1 million through the Republican Governors Association, and more from members of the "million-dollar donor club" of financial titans that meet regularly at Koch-hosted secret summits. Meanwhile, the official campaign of Democratic opponent Tom Barrett raised about $4 million. Is it any wonder that Walker climbed steadily in the polls and ultimately won?
Yet as my new film Koch Brothers Exposed illustrates, the Kochs' political influence goes beyond buying the public debate. The Kochs have also been investing in suppressing the vote -- providing a one-two punch to democracy. First they try to change your mind, and failing that, they try to take your vote.
When I was 17, my mother died of colon cancer. Lots of other members of my family have died of cancer too—and it’s partly as a result of this history that I have gone into a career of social justice advocacy, believing that we all need to care for one another instead of leaving people to fend for themselves.
Today, the organization where I work, Brave New Foundation, is hosting the world premiere of its new film Koch Brothers Exposed. This film shows how these two billionaire brothers have managed to maintain their wealth by exploiting others and corrupting the political process. One part of the film that especially resonates with me deals with cancer.
America just got rickrolled.
There we were last week, innocently partaking in the annual testosterone-fest that is the Super Bowl, when we were treated to an ad featuring a group of supposed auto mechanics lamenting that they never voted for the union they’re in. But look closely. One of these “mechanics” is sporting a gold watch, manicured hands, and a brand new shirt. That’s because he’s not a mechanic, or even an actor.
He’s Washington lobbyist Rick Berman.
Imagine Charles and David Koch testifying, under oath, in Congress.
Even though the billionaire oil industry brothers continue trying to dodge accountability, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) invited the Koch brothers to testify and answer a few simple questions about how the Kochs are positioned to gain financially by the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a 1,700-mile long boondoggle that would make the Koch brothers even richer.
There’s ample evidence linking the Kochs’ business to the Canadian tar sands, which is the dirtiest energy in North America. Indeed, the Koch brothers’ stand to be among the pipeline’s biggest beneficiaries. Even the Koch brothers’ website confesses to being a party to tar sands oil.
What’s happening to academia in Florida demands national attention. Billionaires Charles and David Koch are infringing on intellectual freedom and independence in colleges and universities. It’s an old fashioned quid pro quo where the Koch brothers get allied professors who’ll preach Ayn Rand, supply side economic policies and the values of the 19th century Guilded Age to students and the college gets some funding.
Every year, thousands of individuals move through the Koch-supported classes, lectures and fields of study, which in their totality amount to an ideological assembly line bought and paid for by the Koch brothers. There are Koch-funded agreements at more than 150 American colleges and universities.
“The Koch brothers have paid tens of millions of dollars to get their point of view instilled in classrooms, amongst faculty members and in students,” said Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors. “Programs they start tend to be one point of view only.”
Billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch were stopped today. The Keystone XL oil pipeline will meet its end today in a Washington DC press conference. The pipeline would’ve been one of the largest oil developments in American history. The pipeline would’ve destroyed American homes, farmlands and sensitive ecosystems along the nearly 2,000-mile path from Northwest Canada and through six U.S. states to the Gulf of Mexico.
But it also represented a win for brothers Koch, who’ve used their net worth to influence politicians and the media to support policies that would make them richer.
The Koch brothers helped fund and start the Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity. It’s Nebraska chapter has actively promoted and organized around the Keystone pipeline despite numerous concerns voiced by the Republican governor of Nebraska and thousands of Cornhusker residents. Many activists in our Koch Brothers Exposed network have said they’ve seen Americans for Prosperity commercials in their communities supporting the pipeline.
Billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch look like they’re easy graders. Their tea party group released its rankings this week of senators and congressman who tow the Koch line most, and it gave a total of 44 A+’s for the 112th Congress.
Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party group funded by the Kochs, based its grades on opposition to affordable health care, clean air, alternative energy and net neutrality. Scores were also boosted if the elected official signed the tea party group’s anti-revenue pledge.
In sum, the five senators who scored 100 percent on the Americans for Prosperity how-can-we-make-the-Kochs-richer test received $187,400 in campaign contributions from the Kochs and their allies.