David and Charles Koch are going to spend a lot of money in the 2016 elections. $889 million is what they’ve pledged to back candidates who will further their agenda in the United States government, and almost all of the GOP candidates have made it a point to lick their boots in hopes of getting the cash infusion that will likely be the difference between winning and losing the Republican presidential nomination.
It’s not just presidential candidates either; political hopefuls around the country are looking to tap into the super PAC money that organizations like FreedomWorks can provide them. It’s no wonder why politicians flocked to Dana Point, CA last weekend to an event held by David and Charles Koch, along with hundreds of big money donors.
During the convention, Charles Koch gave a speech in which he declared that their conservative libertarian mission – which includes privatizing government functions like education and funding the Tea Party movement – could be compared to civil rights warriors like Martin Luther King Jr or the fight to end slavery.
“History demonstrates that when the American people get motivated by an issue of justice that they believe is just, extraordinary things can be accomplished,” Koch told 450 wealthy conservatives assembled in the ballroom of a lavish oceanfront resort here.
“Look at the American revolution, the anti-slavery movement, the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement,” he said. “All of these struck a moral chord with the American people. They all sought to overcome an injustice. And we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.” (Source)
Before I get into the details of how ridiculous this is, let me point out that despite all of their other wrongs, I do support David and Charles Koch when it comes to their efforts on criminal justice reform. While their stance on this matter is confusing to many liberals who completely mistrust them and often repeat the false story that they had an aunt who was a Nazi concentration camp overseer, it does go to show that every once in a while liberals and conservative libertarians can agree on some issues.
Charles and David Koch have billions of dollars at their disposal and they, along with billionaires on both the right and the left, intend to use this money to influence coming elections. The use of paid actors to portray Louisiana residents was one tactic the Koch brothers used in advertising meant to unseat Senator Mary Landrieu in 2014, a tactic that ultimately proved successful with the election of Bill Cassidy. They also have been found to be funding a scientist named Willie Soon who claims that climate change is caused by the sun instead of human activity, a position that contradicts the assertions of 97% of the experts in the climate change study community.
A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show.
Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show. (Source)
However, Charles Koch’s comparison of their work to ending slavery or Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights movement is the most outrageous, at least in my opinion as a union member. The civil rights leader was a firm supporter of unions and was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers when he was assassinated in 1968. Like many other conservatives, Charles Koch is trying to appropriate the memory of Martin Luther King Jr to justify their political fight to gut unions and worker protections, and he has the billions of dollars to do it.
It isn’t really that hard to spot conservative libertarians and the Koch message, especially online, if you know what clues to look for. The easiest way to find them is to look for the repeated use of the words “freedom” and “liberty,” or variants of the two terms, especially when it is part of a username or a website address. You can even look at comments left on our website and Facebook page and find people trying to convince you that both parties are the same. They’re there to create apathy and spread misinformation in order to convince you not to vote.
Money can’t buy elections – at least not yet – but it can be used to convince people not to vote, which is precisely what has helped to win the last few Congressional elections for Republican. Now with nearly $900 million committed for 2016, they’re hoping this time the White House can be taken back. The question is, will you let them?
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