Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 20, 2010

KOCH BROTHERS PLAN AHEAD.... I realize there are plenty of liberal Americans who genuinely fear a right-wing conspiracy, featuring right-wing zillionaires who meet in private resorts to plot, scheme, and shape agendas to undermine the public and boost their own profits.

But what's that old joke? You're not paranoid if they really are out to get you?

A secretive network of Republican donors is heading to the Palm Springs area for a long weekend in January, but it will not be to relax after a hard-fought election -- it will be to plan for the next one.

Koch Industries, the longtime underwriter of libertarian causes from the Cato Institute in Washington to the ballot initiative that would suspend California's landmark law capping greenhouse gases, is planning a confidential meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to, as an invitation says, "develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity."

The invitation, sent to potential new participants, offers a rare peek at the Koch network of the ultrawealthy and the politically well-connected, its far-reaching agenda to enlist ordinary Americans to its cause, and its desire for the utmost secrecy.

Though the story only touches on this briefly, these are the same Koch Brothers who are helping buy the midterms for Republicans this year, and who are apparently so pleased with themselves that they're ready to plot future successes.

Also note, this isn't just about partisan politics, though it's obvious the Kochs and the cohorts are intent on boosting the GOP. It's also about, as the invitation to the confab puts it, "review[ing] strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it."

Yes, these nutjobs actually use language like this, even when they think no one will see it.

And what are these policies that must be crushed? Addressing climate change, repairing our dysfunctional health care system, and a regulatory system that looks out for workers and consumers.

It sounds a bit like a Dickensian cliche -- powerful fat-cats will huddle in secret at a posh resort, dining on fine cuisine while being waited on hand and foot, to complain bitterly about how rough they have it, and while plotting on how best to destroy those who might interfere with their already-huge profits. Indeed, Charles Koch says in his invitation that "prosperity is under attack" by the Obama administration. Of course, Charles Koch is worth more than $21 billion, and given Wall Street's returns last year, he's probably seen his wealth grow considerably since the president was sworn in.

In fairness, I should note that it's not especially surprising that these events happen. For that matter, wealthy liberals get together on occasion to bounce around ideas, too.

But I do care that the Kochs' gatherings include powerful far-right officials, including Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Paul Waldman noted, "[I]magine if it were discovered that among the participants at the Democracy Alliance meetings were Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer -- that two sitting Supreme Court justices were getting together with top liberal donors to plot political strategy. To say there would be outrage would be an understatement. Forget about all the fulminating about 'activist judges' on Fox News and conservative talk radio that would ensue. Republicans would almost certainly propose impeaching the two justices, arguing, with some justification, that it is grossly improper for members of the Supreme Court to be participating in such plainly political activities."

And yet, here we are.

Postcript: ThinkProgress has much more on the Koch Brothers' efforts, including their work in shaping the 2010 cycle.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Let the war begin

I hate to say it, but the only way these devils are going to be whipped is with a counter insurgency of money. That means funds from enlightened Fortune 500s like Apple and Intel. And maybe even the chicken-shit Soros. But most definitely it means money from me and you in the next election.

Start budgeting now. Prepare thee to join the battle...
Think of your dollars as a way to get your hands on the necks of the Koch Brothers...
And that together, $25 dollars at a time, we can send these pricks back to hell.

Posted by: koreyel on October 20, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Founders had the right idea -- confiscate ALL wealth at a person's death, as the only way to prevent the growth of an hereditary moneyed aristocracy.

Alas, it's too late now.

Posted by: Gummo on October 20, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Koch bros remind me of Molly Ivan's remark about Texas: "Too much is not enough."

Posted by: DAY on October 20, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Koch: Because Lower Wages and High Pollution is What the Founders Intended

Posted by: mikefromArlington on October 20, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Just heard a radio ad for a local state senate race, the first I've ever heard. The democrat in the race can't afford to run the ads. It was run by, of course, Club for Growth. Stealing our elections and democracy I say.

Posted by: buckyblue on October 20, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

...and the tea baggers will cheer them on.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 20, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

WTF are you complaining about? Our great country was intended to be ruled by and for our wealthy and powerful elites!

Thank god for Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Alito, and Roberts!!! God bless them for their seeing the light in their Citizens United Not Timid vs FEC ruling. God bless our country, the United Corporations of Amerikkka!

Day @ 1:47 was close, but no cigar...

Our wealthy republicans mottos are:
- More is never enough!
- I've got mine, fuck you!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on October 20, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

But I do care that the Kochs' gatherings include powerful far-right officials, including Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

That is just grossly improper.

Posted by: kc on October 20, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

We Democrats will continue to get our clocks cleaned as long as we allow the party to be lead by politically incompetent clowns.

Republicans are politically smart. They identify their opponents' strengths and they attack them. MoveOn was an asset and it was targeted. ACORN was an asset and it was targeted. Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod were assets and they were targeted. And, of course, George Soros was an asset and he was targeted.

There is nothing that prevents the Democrats from going after Koch with a blowtorch. They just choose not to. I saw David Axelrod on TV last night. He was asked about outside spending in the midterms. Did he mention Koch by name? No.

This is why George Soros is a household name and the Koch brothers aren't. It isn't because of a lack of opportunity or resources. It is because establishment Democrats simply can't be bothered to do the heavy lifting of attacking GOP assets or defending Democratic assets.

If the Democratic equivalent of James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart had brought down the conservative equivalent of ACORN, the GOP would have been all over their asses, until Democrats deserted them.

Incidentally, going after Scalia and Thomas is a no-lose prospect. The most valuable asset that a Judge possesses, even a conservative judge, is credibility. There is nothing wrong with looking conservative. There is something wrong with looking like a political hack. I have little doubt that if establishment Dems made even a modest effort at criticizing the ties, Scalia and Thomas would not attend such functions (not that that would alter their odious world-views).

It is no-lose because if you raise awareness of the ties between Scalia and Thomas and the Kochs and the justices distance themselves then you have scored a victory. But if the justices don't distance themselves their future decisions will be viewed as intellectually suspect.

Posted by: square1 on October 20, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

In addition to the Koch Bros./January meeting story yesterday, there were two others which I think may be related.

The first is:

The second:

Putting them together provides a possible motive for why these people do what they do, and will be planning in Palm Springs.

Posted by: Jack Gibson on October 20, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

No, these aren't "ACTIVIST JUDGES!" Why, nothing could be further from the truth.
"Nothing to look at here, folks. Just go on..."

Posted by: c u n d gulag on October 20, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe larger media outlets (like, say, MSNBC) should be encouraged to talk up impeachment of Scalia and Thomas for this grossly inappropriate and shamelessly unethical behavior?


Posted by: truth=freedom on October 20, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Our wealthy republicans mottos are:
- More is never enough!
- I've got mine, fuck you!"

And Kerry, Rangel, Waters, Obama, etc...Might as well change that letter behind their names...

Posted by: D or R on October 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

The Daddy Warbucks syndrome kills the GOP in normal times. As it stands, these aren't normal times so the GOP has great prospects at the moment. Still, let the easy work commence. The Koch Brothers are what's wrong with this country: rich people buying elections in order to distort policy and loot the national wealth. The script of any Batman movie couldn't be simpler. We know in our guts who the bad guys are. It's not the poor black thug. It's the old, white rich guy. Movies are interesting for this reason. Real life is replicating Hollywood. This is too easy. Throw in a couple of hellaciously smug and unattractive Supreme Court justices and it's really showtime.

Posted by: walt on October 20, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

OK repeat after me! The GOP does not care what you think. THE.GOP.DOES.NOT.CARE.WHAT.YOU.THINK. They have been having these secret meetings for DECADES. The Tri-lateral commission. The Grove. The MASONS for goodness sake. Hell, AA meetings have been co-opted by the GOP. They do NOT care what you think. They believe! They BELIEVE! They believe they are smart, educated and what is good for this country. They target a group of people, take over their slogans/titles (ie ELITISTS,LIBERALS) and make them a dirty word. Think ACORN. They do not care what you think.

Posted by: SYSPROG on October 20, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Are the Democrats the real conservatives trying to maintain a system that everyone knows is broken while others plan for the future?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on October 20, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Thomas and Scalia have attended these meetings, and that they are also responsible for Citizens United would seem to me to be an impeachable offense.How does someone (or a group start those proceedings)?

Posted by: js on October 20, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Business Plot yet.

Posted by: Gregory on October 20, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kochsuckers, nutjobs, and tea baggers.

There is a theme here, somewhere.

Posted by: terraformer on October 20, 2010 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The amount of sanitizing sunlight that has already hit the Koch brothers is surprising, and there needs to be much more - not only on them, but on the Scaifes, Olins, and others who use their fortunes to make new fortunes. A complete and overt takeover of government by corporate interests is well underway. The perfect integration of large business interests and government is called fascism, and we are getting ever closer to a neo-fascist regime here, while still masquerading as the world's premier 'democracy'.

It's been a charade for a long time, but the reactionary mood of the country in light of the poor economy and the failure of the Dimocrats to effectively counter populist rage has emboldened the likes of the Kochs, and their ilk, to be more open. What have they to fear? Nothing. The media is in their pocket. The Dims are feckless and spineless, and there are fortunes to be made.

We're back in the days of William McKinley. Where is the new Teddy Roosevelt to lead the progressives?

Posted by: rrk1 on October 20, 2010 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Since Supreme court justices have been invited there is now more reason to IMPEACH the supreme court 5

Posted by: ML Johnston on October 20, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's time for another French Revolution, no?

Posted by: Vivalafrance on October 20, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Where is the new Teddy Roosevelt to lead the progressives?"

He got bought. Not for much either...

Posted by: Bought and Sold on October 20, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

When is an important Senator such as Pat Leahy going to call out these guys. It is time for someone to put his political career on the line and say in public what is obvious to any paying attention.

Posted by: hornblower on October 20, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thomm Hartman made the point that when conservatives throw out the name George Sorros and other liberal donors that their donations go to groups that are contrary to their economic interests as compared to the Koch brothers and other con donors who donate only to groups that will increase their economic interests...that will allow them to profiteer without regulations or taxes.

They are out solely for their own greedy selfish personal gain without giving a damn about the good of the nation. They want a plutocracy...government by and for the rich...and they always have been, trying to do it by force with Smedley Butler and FDR...but now by buying elections and candidates.

This is their story:
The Frog and the Scorpion

The scorpion lived on an island that had been polluted and plundered so badly that there was no food left to survive. 1/2 mile across the water was an island full of food. A frog was swimming by the polluted island when the scorpion shouted out to him asking for a ride on his back to the island full of food so he could eat and not starve to which the frog replied, "No way. You're a scorpion. You'll sting and kill me." The scorpion replied, "Don't be stupid. If I did that we'd both drown." "Oh, you're right" said the frog. So the frog got close enough to shore for the scorpion to jump on his back and began swimming across the water toward the fruitful island when suddenly he felt a sharp sting in his belly. "What have you done?" said the frog. "Now we'll both drown". "Well, you knew I was a scorpion before you put me on your back. What else could you expect?"

This is the nature of the Koch brothers and the rest of their self serving billionaire friends. Expect nothing else. Just consider the Gulf and the dead miners.

Posted by: bjobotts on October 20, 2010 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

PS...wasn't there a similar meeting just before Kennedy was assassinated.

Posted by: bjobotts on October 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, it's unlikely that you or I will be able to affect any change in the next election. Corporations and big money have all the influence throught the lobbyists who are the only ones who can afford to bankroll candidates. They also set the agenda - right down to essentially writing the legislation. Given that candidates spend between 30 and 40% of their time fundraising and campaigning, it hardly leaves them time for much else....

Posted by: Julie on October 21, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a communist web site?

Posted by: mfirebrand1 on October 24, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

i think what you said is very true, i totally agree with it. Just a sidenote, you site is very well designed and clean. Did you do it yourself or who did it for you ?

Posted by: Send SMS Worldwide on December 7, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I found this site from ask while doing my assignment. The infomation provided here are very useful and i would like to use this chance to thank the owner of this site. You have helped me so much ! Thanks !

Posted by: SMS on December 7, 2010 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Boycotting works. Especially in the compettitive world of today. THREE percent loss is great in todays market. Ten pecent will destroy a product.
These Koch brothers sell many paper product in america as well as wood products. Along with other things we all use. We must find out and stop buying them. That they understand. That will make them hurt where it counts. That will stop them from supporting causes that they now support. Brawny paper towels is one, Dixie cup another. there are more i will confirm and post.

Posted by: Jay on January 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK



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