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Koch Juice: More JBS and Libertarian Obfuscation

May 13, 2011 3 comments

Let me poke one big hole in JBS and Libertarian rhetoric. You cannot say you are for personal freedom and then be anti-civil rights. That is as contrary a position as one can get in the art of manipulation.

I have run across several sites recently while researching the extent of the reach of the John Birch Society and Libertarian party… their so-called, grass roots movement. I have come across several sites that claim they do not support any party or candidate. Hmm, I think we need to evaluate that statement a little further. And let me say this. Just because you are on the Web, does not mean you are open and honest. I think most people know that, but some people seem to think that putting up a website somehow is making a statement of openness and presumed honesty. That is a false presumption.

First off, there is the John Birch Society “Meet Ups”: http://jbs.meetup.com/ AND http://www.meetup.com/jbs-111/

Ron Paul specifically backs these “meet ups” with his own meet up site. I also found a site called, JBS Freedom Campaign Pages, with this theme: ~~ LET’S TAKE AMERICA BACK! ~~ “Major goals of this Meetup are blocking the North American Union (NAU), repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), improving border security, stopping illegal immigration, rejecting amnesty, opposing Senate ratification of the UN’s Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), and supporting Ron Paul’s American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007. Organizational guidance and campaign tools are provided for the JBS.org Freedom Campaign Meetups by the John Birch Society at http://www.JBS.org/freedom.

So, the theme here is “Let’s take America back” and the question is from whom? And also, when we take it back, what is being implemented in its place? These elements of their argument are implied through their well-constructed rhetoric. We are going to take it back and do what? Let’s take another look at who is involved and what their agenda is and what “taking it back” might look like.

Libertarian Ron Paul who just announced his 2012 candidacy for President is a John Bircher. The John Birch Society has a history of being racist and anti-civil rights. The core principle is to squash anything that resembles collectivism: welfare, Medicare, public education, etc. They also want to do away with the Federal Reserve and restore the gold standard. That would strip the U.S. of its monetary authority, among other things.

The [JBS] society opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying it was in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and overstepped the rights of individual states to enact laws regarding civil rights. Source: Wikipedia

Over at RTR.orgwe find the Social Network of the Revolution. Wow. “The revolution”? What revolution? Is there a revolution declared on our federal government? If so, that is an act of sedition. But, that’s what Gary Franchi states in the video posted on their site and on YouTube. It is the new social network of THE revolution. He also says: This site is powered by you, not special interests groups….

Uh, Libertarians are a special interest group. They are heavily backed political party group backed by wealthy elitists and the Koch brothers, the 3rd richest in the United States. $25 billion each at last count. They back 59 think tanks, front groups, astroturf groups, and the Tea Party who are Libertarians.

Check out the post by one of its members, a self-professed Libertarian called Libertarian Pledge to America – click here. You will see he is actively promoting the dismantling of most of the Departments of our federal government, the Federal Reserve, NPR, FTC, TSA, NASA, National School Lunch Program, and on and on the list goes. It is a lengthy list but my readers will now see that this is in fact what I have been saying about Libertarians they are radical and want to shrink government and basically concentrate power in the hands of the few. A very dangerous proposition. Here are some more exceprts:

# I promise to cease funding Planned Parenthood.
# I promise to abolish the Department of Health and Human Services.
# I promise to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
# I promise to end Medicare and Medicaid.
# I promise to end all federal funding and control of medicine and medical research.
# I promise to abolish the FDA.
# I promise to abolish NPR.
# I promise to abolish the Department of Labor.
# I promise to cease funding any scientific research on climate change.
# I promise to end the FED.

Now,Gary Franchi also runs Restore the Republic which was originally founded by Aaron Russo (February 14, 1943 – August 24, 2007), an American entertainment businessman, filmmaker, libertarian political activist, and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

Aaron Russo died of bladder cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on August 24, 2007, at age 64. Shortly before his passing, in 2007, Russo founded RestoreTheRepublic.com to fulfill the political ambitions laid out in his final film. He publicly passed the torch to Gary S. Franchi Jr., founder of the Lone Lantern Society of America to lead the new organization and carry on his fight. Russo said his goal was to “try and get the word out to the public about what’s happening to America — and give them an opportunity to try to change things”. Source: Wikipedia

So, we see that Gary Franchi is a Libertarian with a mission to fulfill. In and of itself, there is no crime here, save the ethical one of obfuscation, of deceit, or pretending to be one thing (unbiased social network), but in fact another (promoting a very specific Libertarian agenda). The question begs to be asked? Why hide what you are doing? Why not just straight out say, I am a Libertarian and want to have a social network for like minded people? Why indeed. People like Franchi, Ron Paul, Fred Koch and sons Charles and David, think they are on a mission, a noble mission, to remake America. But, their ideology is very distasteful stuff. They cloak their agenda in false rhetoric and fancy patriotic names. The Kochs are experts at this marketing game: Freedom Works. That’s strong. Americans for Prosperity. Who doesn’t like a little prosperity. But, it was both of these front groups working against collective bargaining in Wisconsin and Michigan and Indiana and Ohio. Shall I go on? These folks are shysters. They are trying to capitalize — literally — on American patriotism, yet are kicking working Americans in the teeth.

What the Libertarians and JBS fail to see is America is a very diverse country made up of many political viewpoints, credos, religions, and cultural beliefs. The beauty of American Constitutional thinking is its great flexibility, its ability to embrace a wide range of views and cultures. These extreme right wingers are constantly banging the fear drum. We are to be fearful. Fearful of the new world order, the tentacles of government, the size of government. Oh my God, the Federal Reserve is not written into our Constitution!

This is all based in the paranoia of politics. Fred Koch’s legacy is one based on very negative experiences while working as an engineer in the Soviet Union. He saw the brutality of Stalin’s totalitarian methods of governing. Upon his return he hooked up with Robert Welch and the two fed off each other’s paranoia about how collectivism was the root evil of communism and communism in the 50s was literally the red hot issue of the day. Better Dead Than Red was a well-know slogan.

The great irony about Soviet communism is two-fold: (i) it was not communism. It was a perverted form of communist theory that enabled a totalitarian state; (ii) the USSR bankrupt itself by spending 45% of its national budget on their military; they never recovered after their venture into Afghanistan. Of course, Reagan lovers all praise him for taking down the red threat.

Certainly, we should as free citizens be on guard for would be usurpers of our freedom, our sense of equality, our rights to live as free citizens. But, it would seem the very people who state we need to retake our government are trying to destroy it and implement corporatism and privatization. That is not democracy. That is an oligarchy.

If you are not sure as to whether RTR.org and Gary Franchi is unbiased, please view this obvious political video backing Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul. BTW: Ron Paul IS running for the 2012 Presidential election.

READ THIS GREAT BACKGROUND PIECE ON THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY: Public Eye, click here

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Koch Juice: MacIver Newservice Affiliated with Kochs and John Birchers

May 11, 2011 Comments off

Misrepresentation in the legitimate news media is what I call a full on abuse of the First Amendment especially where it is being used to attack everyday working Americans and public education. McIver Newservice is a front group for the Kochs, John Birch Society, and Libertarian ideologues who push free market principles, corporatism, anti-collectivism (unions, Medicare, Medicaid, etc), and privatization of public services and public education via vouchers to cover the cost. Corporations would run education for our nation’s children. They would set the curriculum. To be sure, I am firmly 100% against privatization.

I have a few sources lined up to expose the underpinnings of McIver Newservice.

SourceWatch reports:

The MacIver Institute claims to be a news service, but it actually gathers– and in some cases seems to create– “news” footage designed to advance a conservative, anti-worker agenda.

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy is a Wisconsin-based think tank that, according to its web site, promotes free markets, individual freedom, personal responsibility and limited government. According to One Wisconsin Now, the MacIver Institute is:

“a pro-corporate organization founded in 2009 to advance conservative ideas and values…Its top staff is long-time Republican campaign strategists and its board of directors includes leading Republicans, most notably Mark Block, the head of Americans for Prosperity-WI, Fred Lubar, deep-pocketed Republican donor and Jim Troupis, lawyer to leading Republicans such as Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen and ethically-challenged Supreme Court Justices Mike Gableman and Annette Ziegler.

The Institute operates the web site WisconsinOpenGov.org, which it says “provides you with one location for data on Wisconsin public employee salaries, benefits and labor contracts. We have worked hard to not just allow ‘access’ the way many government information sites do, but to give you all of the data in a format that allows you to select and sort the information as you see fit.”

Institute representatives claim to have caught doctors in white coats in February, 2011 directing Madison, Wisconsin protesters to places where they could obtain absentee excuses for the time they were out of work marching in protest of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill. However, irregularities were found in the report. The absentee letters listed the doctor as “Kathy Orton,” but no Kathy Orton was found to be listed as a Wisconsin doctor. Also, the contact listed on the doctors notes was “Badgerdoctors@gmail.com,” but there was no listing for “Badgerdoctors” which would presume would be the name of the medical group or association that the “doctors” were from.

ThinkProgress reports that the MacIver Institute has numerous ties to the billionaire Koch Brothers, billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries, which has numerous business interests in Wisconsin. ThinkProgress writes,

Mark Block, the Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin state director and a key figure in the alleged voter suppression plot, sits on MacIver’s board of directors. MacIver and AFP Wisconsin also share two other board members, David Fettig and Fred Luber. MacIver also works closely with AFP Wisconsin as part of the Wisconsin Prosperity Network, along with another group with ties to Koch funding, American Majority. The think tank also participates in the Koch-funded Institute for Humane Studies’ Koch Summer Fellows Program and is a member of the Koch-funded State Policy Network.

Scott Jensen Background
Cory Liebmann of the Eye on Wisconsin web site discovered that former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen writes press releases for the MacIver Institute, even though his name is not on the releases and the Institute has denied Jensen is formally involved with the organization. Jensen’s authorship of the releases, Liebmann instructs, can be discovered by accessing one of the organization’s press releases, right-clicking on it and observing the document properties (e.g. “Author:Scott Jensen”). Jensen also authored a PowerPoint presentation on the Institute’s web site.

Jensen is controversial because he was the subject of an eight-year criminal case for misconduct while he was in office in Wisconsin. The case concluded in December, 2010 after Jensen agreed to pay a $5,000 civil forfeiture fine and reimburse the state of Wisconsin $67,174 in legal fees initially borne by taxpayers, according to a plea deal. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick L. Snyder found Jensen guilty of an ethics code violation related to his using his government position for illegal gain. Felony charges against Jensen were dropped under the deal. Jensen also has a 2006 misdemeanor conviction in Dane County for violating the public trust. In 2002, Jensen (along with other GOP leaders in the State Assembly) was charged with using taxpayer dollars to run a secret, illegal campaign machine out of the Capitol.

The Institute’s Educational Policy Analyst, Christian D’Andrea, was formerly a Policy Analyst and State Program Director with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which was named after free market economist Milton Friedman. That organization, which has since changed its name to the Foundation for Educational Choice, advocates the use of voucher systems for education, a system that allows taxpayer funds to flow to private schools.

Related from PR Watch: Consider the Source

The MacIver Institute, also known as the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, is a Wisconsin-based, free-market think tank formed in 2009 which also acts as a “news service,” supplying videos and reports to media outlets, like newspapers and television broadcasters. But just who is the MacIver Institute?

In the last three years, the MacIver Institute has gotten at least $300,000 in funding from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which advocates eliminating labor unions under the guise of “restoring worker rights” and “modernizing labor laws.” Harry Bradley, after whom the Foundation is named, was one of the original charter members of the 1960s right-wing extremist group, the John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries’ billionaire brother-owners, Charles and David Koch.

The MacIver Institute’s treasurer, Mark Block, was State Director of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity. As part of a settlement of charges of violating election laws, Block was exiled from political campaigns and fined $15,000 for allegations arising out of an illegal scheme in the campaign of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox. Block, who served as Wilcox’s campaign manager, was charged by the election board with illegally coordinated $200,000 worth of campaign activity with a group that pretended to be operating independently. The person who ran the purported “independent” group was fined $35,000 and banned from Wisconsin state politics for five years. Justice Wilcox — who, astonishingly, was running for the state’s Supreme Court — also paid a $10,000 fine. The fines were the largest ever assessed against a campaign in Wisconsin’s history.

The Institute’s Director of Communications is Brian Fraley, who served as the Senior Vice President for State Affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans in Washington, D.C., a lobbying group that represents big insurance companies. Fraley was also the national Health and Human Services Task Force Private Sector Chairman for the American Legislative Exchange Council, an industry-funded front group that helps advance the legislative agenda of global corporations.

Read entire PR Watch article, click here

Related: Americans for Prosperity is a Koch funded front group.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries). AFP has been accused of funding astroturf operations but also has been fueling the “Tea Party” efforts. Read more, click here

The Curious Case of NOVA and David H. Koch

May 1, 2011 1 comment

I hate to burst people’s bubble, but for months I have been quiet about the fact that one of the major sponsors of NOVA, a very well produced and popular PBS program, is David H. Koch. Yes, that Koch, of Koch Industries. Quite frankly, at first I was not sure what to make of it. He is interested in science – so am I. He donates money to a program he likes – so do I. Of course, I donate a couple hundred a year. I am sure his sponsorship is significantly more.

Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.

Now, I am wondering if the Koch effort to strip funding from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, via one of his front groups who works with House Republicans is an effort to be LAST MAN STANDING. To be the primary sponsor and therefore in the position to directly influence content, like on climate change. Knowing what I know about the Koch family and how ruthlessly ambitious David Koch is, I think this is a serious question that must be asked – and answered: Is David Koch’s interest in backing NOVA about greenwashing?

Greenwashing (a portmanteau of “green” and “whitewash”) is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

Both David Koch and his brother Charles, back front groups, lobbying groups, think tanks and astro-turf groups to promote their causes and interests. One of their pet projects is to counter scientific research about global warming and its causes: carbon pollution.

The Koch Industries Carbon Footprint Is About 300 Million Tons. With the assumption that Koch has a carbon intensity on the order of oil majors such as Chevron and ExxonMobil, each billion dollars of revenue corresponds to 2 to 4 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases. Therefore, each year, Koch Industries is likely responsible for about 300 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution every year. Flint Hills Resources, Koch’s refining subsidiary, processes 300 million barrels of oil a year. This one company — with its refining, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer, cattle, and forestry operations — is involved in up to five percent of the entire United States 7-gigaton carbon footprint. (Source: Think Progress)

The Greenpeace 2011 Update on Koch Industries
Billionaire oilman David Koch used to joke that Koch Industries was “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” Now the shroud of secrecy has thankfully been lifted, revealing the $55 million that he and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming.

A lot can happen in a year. Today, the Kochs are being watched as a prime example of the corporate takeover of government. Their funding and co-opting of the Tea Party movement is now well documented.

Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s timely that more people are now aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to. A growing awareness of these oil billionaires’ destructive agenda has led to increased scrutiny and resistance from people and organizations all over the United States.

READ THE REPORT DOWNLOAD HERE Koch-Report-2-FINAL

ASHEHAM PRESS – WATCHDOG PROGRESSIVE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED COPYRIGHT 2011

Koch Juice: ALG and Other Right-Wing Front Groups Abound

April 27, 2011 Comments off

“What State Policy Network has done to promote and help build these state-focused think tanks has been one of the great initiatives of the Free Market Movement.”

-Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal

They have multiplied by the hundreds. Blogs supported by the State Policy Network and the Kochs and the Libertarian right-wing. They are paying bloggers through award programs like the Sam Adams Alliance award called the Sammies, to spread the word of their vision for America.

Here is their link, click here

And who sponsors Sam Adams Alliance? None other than Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (Changing the Nation, One State at a Time)

Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/national-site#ixzz1KlUcCXUu
Go to this page and see for yourself.

Here’s another: Americans for Limited Government — GetLiberty.org

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) is a conservative, libertarian think tank. Its primary concerns are tax and spending reform, property rights restoration, school choice, limiting the size of government, and political term limits. (Wikipedia)

ALG supported campaigns in 12 states for the November 2006 election.

ALG promotes a free-market approach to the American public school system based on vouchers or charter schools, arguing that competition among schools will increase both the quality and the economic efficiency of public education. (Wikipedia)

The organization claims that privatizing American schools will decrease education spending, promote accountability in school administration, and permit parents a greater degree of control over the schools their children attend.

Opponents claim that ever since Milton Friedman suggested the concept during the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education, vouchers have functioned to increase racial and economic discrimination in schools, beginning in the late 1950s with the appearance of segregation academies. Critics also contend that since approximately four out of five US private schools are religious, voucher and charter systems violate the Constitution. (Wikipedia)

From their web site:

What does Americans for Limited Government do?
ALG is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. We work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

The time is ripe for an independent, nonpartisan political movement that fights for hardworking taxpayers against the special interests that continually push for big government nationwide. *end quote

That’s a lie. They are very much partisan and back specific people like Ron Paul, a John Bircher Libertarian. They do not work for everyday Americans. They work for the Kochs and other industrialists. So, that’s a fabrication – another lie. They want to privatize public education, do away with what they see as welfare: Medicare, Medicaid, and unions.

Here is the spin from The State Policy Network: Fueling the New Revolution

Free enterprise is under attack from a well-funded and motivated political establishment. With a historically high national debt, significant political turmoil and a critical series of public policy milestones approaching, we will decide in short order whether we continue down the path of European-style social democracy or whether we return to our Constitutional roots as a free-market Republic.

Free enterprise is not our government. Free enterprise is a function of our economy. The political turmoil is coming from the right-wing who wants to dismantle the remnants of the New Deal coalition and legacy of the Great Society legislation passed in 1965 by President Johnson.

Please share and make your friends aware.

COPYRIGHT 2011 FAIR USE LAW APPLIES TO ORIGINAL CONTENT AND ALL EXCERPTED MATERIAL ON THIS SITE.

Exposed! State Policy Network

April 27, 2011 Comments off

You want to know why Democrats are so woefully ill equipped to deal with Republican Libertarian party? Don’t fool yourself, that IS the Republican party – Libertarians in the style of the late Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater. Whenever I see the Cato Institute in any reporting, I know we are talking hard core Libertarians. Who backs the Cato Institute? The Koch brothers, the Coors Foundation, and the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation. Libertarians have taken over the Republican party.

Andy Kroll should be awarded a Pulitzer prize for this story. It rips the cover right off the conservative-Libertarian-Republican movement.

According to a April 25th article in Mother Jones: Conceived by the same conservative ideologues who helped found the Heritage Foundation, the State Policy Network (SPN) is a little-known umbrella group with deep ties to the national conservative movement. Its mission is simple: to back a constellation of state-level think tanks loosely modeled after Heritage that promote free-market principles and rail against unions, regulation, and tax increases. By blasting out policy recommendations and shaping lawmakers’ positions through briefings and private meetings, these think tanks cultivate cozy relationships with GOP politicians. And there’s a long tradition of revolving door relationships between SPN staffers and state governments. While they bill themselves as independent think tanks, SPN’s members frequently gather to swap ideas. “We’re all comrades in arms,” the network’s board chairman told the National Review in 2007.

Founded in 1992 by businessman and Reagan administration insider Thomas Roe—who also served on the Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees for two decades—the group has grown to include 59 “freedom centers,” or affiliated think tanks, in all 50 states. SPN’s board includes officials from Heritage and right-wing charities such as the Adolph Coors and Jacqueline Hume foundations. Likewise, its deep-pocketed donors include all the usual heavy-hitting conservative benefactors: the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, which funds the Cato Institute and Heritage; the Castle Rock Foundation, a charity started with money from the conservative Coors Foundation; and the Bradley Foundation, a $540 million charity devoted to funding conservative causes. SPN uses their contributions to dole out annual grants to member groups, ranging from a few thousand dollars to $260,000, according to 2009 records.

Read entire article, click here

See list of the 59 organizations, click here

Sourcewatch.org: The State Policy Network is a professional service organization for the “state-based free market think tank movement.” Its founding chairman was Thomas A. Roe, who died in 2000. He was succeeded by Gaylord K. Swim, who died in 2005. The current board members are listed below.

Check out State Policy Network for yourself, click here

COPYRIGHT 2011 FAIR USE LAW APPLIES TO ORIGINAL CONTENT AND ALL EXCERPTED MATERIAL ON THIS SITE.

Wisconsin: Walker Proposes to Eliminate County Government

April 21, 2011 Comments off

Governor Scott Walker is being recalled. Why? This man is out of control. He is promoting ideology that is dangerous and counter to fundamental representative democracy. He is foisting his ideas upon the good people of Wisconsin. He wants to privatize government.

Think Progress reports: This week, a Michigan citizens group filed a petition to recall Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who has been radically restructuring his state after being empowered by a new law that allowed him to unilaterally abrogate contracts made by local governments. Snyder has been using this form of “financial martial law” to do things like dispatch an “emergency financial manager” to Detroit who promptly laid off every single one of the city’s teachers.

Now, Forbes’s Rick Ungar has been reporting that he has a well-placed source in Wisconsin who believes that Gov. Scott Walker (R) is planning a similar form of financial martial law. Walker denied the rumor, telling a local radio show that “nobody on his staff or administration is working on such a plan.”

Yet in a new video of Walker addressing the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) in 2009, it appears that Walker, who was then a county executive, may have been insinuating that he supports such a plan under which the state would radically restructure local government finances. He told the GMC that if county boards do not “act on major reforms,” then it’s worth looking into “the possibility of eliminating county government”:

Walker’s Communications Director, Chris Schrimpf, e-mailed Ungar and said that Walker was talking about “finding efficiencies in a local government that is one hundred percent incorporated.” Yet it is unclear how this would necessarily underlie the premise that there has to be “an alternative for county government,” as Walker says in his speech. Either way, if Walker does not support declaring Synder-style financial martial law in Wisconsin, then he should not only say his staff is not working on such a plan but that he disavows such an idea.

Source: Think Progress click here

COPYRIGHT 2011 FAIR USE LAW APPLIES TO ORIGINAL CONTENT AND ALL EXCERPTED MATERIAL ON THIS SITE.

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