United States Koch brothers making dissent illegal

This video from the USA says about itself:

Kochs and ALEC Behind Criminalization of Dissent Bills in Five States

17 March 2018

Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Minnesota and Louisiana have introduced or passed legislation to criminalize environmental dissent. There is evidence that bill mill organizations such as ALEC and the bipartisan group Council of State Governments (CSG) had their hand in shaping these bills says investigative journalist Steve Horne.

17 thoughts on “United States Koch brothers making dissent illegal

  1. Now, the bad news. Late last month, the Koch Brothers and their network committed to spend up to $400 million on the 2018 election as a thank you for the Republican Party’s tax cuts for the rich, and “to change the trajectory of this country.”

    Given this news, I thought it was an appropriate time to ask the question that the media and most politicians won’t ask: Who are the Koch brothers, what do they want and what are some actions we can take to stop them?

    As you may know, the Koch brothers are the extreme right-wing “libertarian” family. They are the third wealthiest family in the country – worth some $120 billion. They also, unbelievably, have more political power than either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. As this country slides into oligarchy and, as a result of Citizens United, we see one family not only making huge campaign contributions, but establishing think tanks, appointing university chairs and creating a number of organizations in almost every sphere of American political life. Their goal: make the very rich richer at the expense of everyone else.

    Not only did they help pass the Republican tax bill – which will provide them with about a billion dollars a year in tax breaks – they are also working aggressively to move toward the privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare and public education. In fact, they want to repeal virtually every piece of major legislation passed since the 1930s designed to protect the elderly, the children, the sick, the poor and the environment.

    Now, it’s hard for me to understand how you could have almost $100 billion and feel the desperate need to lower your taxes, or to take from those who are struggling, so you can have even more. I would think that with that much money you just might be able to get by. But given the news of their projected campaign spending, it doesn’t appear that they are satisfied. Their greed demands more, more and more. They never stop.

    What the Koch brothers and their friends want is to spread their unique vision of “freedom” in America. They want to dismember government so as to give Americans the “freedom” to live in poverty working for $3 or $4 an hour without health care, without child care, without a pension, without the ability to afford to send their kids to college and without any hope that their children will have a higher standard of living than they do.

    They also want to end – not cut – but end, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. One of the Koch brothers even once ran for president on a platform of “the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

    Now, this isn’t personal for me. I don’t know the Koch brothers, but I do know this: the Koch brothers and billionaires like them have bought up the private sector and are now well on their way to buying up the government. And I can assure you, sisters and brothers, they aren’t spending that money with the interests of working families, women and seniors in mind – they are doing it to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.

    Let’s be clear: Money dominates everything that goes on in Congress. Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the coal and oil companies, agribusiness and the rest of corporate America spend billions every year not just on campaign contributions, but also on lobbying. That is why we have a government that represents the 1 percent, and ignores the needs of almost everyone else.

    Do you want to know why we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and why there are no regulations preventing the drug companies from selling their products for any price they want? It might have something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most politically powerful industries in the country and spends endless amounts of money on lobbying and campaign contributions.

    In Washington, you get what you pay for, and the result is that the desires of the rich and powerful are well-attended to. The pain of working families is ignored.

    This is the rigged economy held in place by a corrupt system of campaign finance that we talked about on our campaign. And it is just as important to take it on today as it was in 2015 and 2016.

    If we are serious about creating jobs, gun safety, about climate change and the needs of our children and the elderly, we must be deadly serious about campaign finance reform. And Congress must know you are committed to this fight:

    Sign my petition to say you support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Congress needs to know that the American people want representatives in office who oppose the outsized influence millionaires and billionaires have on our elections.

    The Koch brothers understand the importance of politics. Meanwhile, people who work for low wages, have no health insurance and live in inadequate housing don’t see a connection between the reality of their lives and what government does or does not do.

    Showing people that connection is a very big part of what a true progressive movement has to do, because it is impossible to bring about real social change in this country if people are not involved in the political process.

    Our vision for American democracy should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.

    Our job is not to think small in this pivotal moment in American history.

    We must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. We need legislation that requires wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. And more importantly, we need to move towards the public funding of elections.

    The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans – regardless of their political point of view – who wish to preserve the essence of the longest-standing democracy in the world, a government that is supposed to represent all of the people and not just a handful of powerful special interests.

    And that starts with overturning the disastrous Citizens United decision:

    Sign my petition to say you support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    What we showed in our presidential campaign – in a way that can change politics in America forever – is that you can run a competitive national grassroots campaign without begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions.

    That is what we must demand of our elected leaders: a complete rejection of their influence on campaigns. And that starts with making your voice heard.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


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  3. Sign My Petition: Tell the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs unless he pledges to support strengthening the VA and opposes privatization. The Senate cannot approve any nominee who prioritizes the profits of a handful of health care executives over the health of our veterans.


    Linda –

    What is the most important issue that the corporate media refuses to seriously discuss? Well, take your pick.

    It could be climate change, and the fact that the fossil fuel industry believes that their short-term profits are more important than the future of our planet.

    It could be health care, and why it is that the United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all as a right.

    It could be the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that we experience, and the rather remarkable reality that three people in our country now own more wealth than the bottom 160,000,000 people.

    It could be _ _ _ _. Well, your guess is as good as mine.

    But let me tell you what I think. I believe the major issue not being discussed by the corporate media is the power of the Koch brothers and the movement in this country toward oligarchy – a nation where our economic and political life is increasingly controlled by a handful of billionaires. Seen any good programs about that lately on CBS, NBC, ABC or anywhere else? I haven’t.

    In case you didn’t know, the Koch brothers, Charles and David, are the second-wealthiest family in the country, worth over $120 billion. This year, according to various media sources, the Koch brothers network plans to spend some $400 million in the midterm elections. Yes. $400 million. That is on top of the $750 million they pledged to spend in 2016, $290 million in 2014 and over $400 million in 2012.

    That’s a lot of money, but that’s probably only part of the story. Given the existence of super PACs and the opaque nature of campaign funding, it is quite possible that they spend much more. Further, and importantly, their political spending goes far beyond election campaigns. They make enormous investments in right-wing think tanks and in universities – pushing students and the general population toward their extreme right-wing ideology.

    They also fund numerous organizations such as Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), FreedomWorks, Generation Opportunity, 60 Plus Association, Institute for Energy Research, Concerned Veterans of America and many more.

    What do the Koch brothers want? What is their ideology? What is their legislative agenda?

    Simply stated, they want to repeal virtually every major piece of legislation passed since the 1930s that protects working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. They believe that government should play virtually no role in protecting those in need, and that almost all services now provided by government should be privatized and handed over to large corporations.

    Let me give you an example of what is happening right now with President Trump and the Koch brothers’ plan to privatize health care for millions of our nation’s veterans, and then I am going to ask you to make your voice heard to stop them.

    Let’s start with something that we should all be able to agree on:

    While serious people can have legitimate differences of opinion about when our country should go to war, there should never be a debate as to whether we fulfill the promises made to the men and women who served this country in the military. Planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, but so is taking care of the men and women we send to fight them.

    Now, last week President Trump made the decision to fire the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin. And what I would strongly suspect is that he made that decision because Dr. Shulkin was not moving fast enough toward privatizing veterans’ health care in this country.

    Here is the truth: the VA is the largest integrated health care system in this country. And if you actually listen to the veterans of this country who rely on the VA, what most of them will tell you is that they are quite pleased with the care they receive.

    Now, of course we must continually work to improve the VA, but what almost every single major veterans organization in this country says is that we must strengthen the VA, not privatize it.

    That is because privatizing the VA would severely underfund the department and leave many veterans without easy access to quality care — oftentimes specialized care required for service-connected injuries that VA centers are better equipped to handle than a local doctor or hospital.

    On the other side, you have the Koch brothers, the second-wealthiest family in the United States, who are going to spend $400 million in the coming elections. They have enormous power because of that and what they believe is that we must privatize not just the VA, but Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Not coincidentally, privatizing the VA would also significantly enrich some of the nation’s wealthiest health care executives.

    So here is where I ask you to act:

    President Trump has nominated his personal physician Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson to replace former Secretary Shulkin. And while he has not said as much, I would strongly suspect that Rear Admiral Jackson’s mission is to carry out the wishes of the Koch brothers, and to oversee the privatization of the VA.

    So today, I want to send a message to my colleagues who must give their consent to this nomination, and I need your help to do it:

    Sign My Petition: Tell the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs unless he pledges to support strengthening the VA and opposes privatization. The Senate cannot approve any nominee who prioritizes the profits of a handful of health care executives over the health of our veterans.

    The drive to privatize veterans’ health care is part of a broader approach by the Trump administration, fulfilling the agenda of the Koch brothers.

    We have a Secretary of Education who doesn’t support public education.

    We have an EPA Administrator who doesn’t believe in environmental protection and is pursuing a massive deregulation effort.

    We have a Treasury Secretary from Goldman Sachs who worked overtime to pass a massive redistribution of wealth and income from the working class to some of the richest and most powerful people in this country.

    We have a Secretary of Health and Human Services who President Trump pulled from the pharmaceutical industry at a time when the United States pays the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, by far.

    Now it is likely the president is nominating someone to head the Department of Veterans Affairs whose mission will be to privatize veterans’ health care.

    Right now, our job is to improve and strengthen VA health care on what already works reasonably well, and not to dismember it. That is a fear that many veterans service organizations have, and it is one that I share.

    If you do as well, I hope that you will make your voice heard:

    Sign My Petition: Tell the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs unless he pledges to support strengthening the VA and opposes privatization. The Senate cannot approve any nominee who prioritizes the profits of a handful of health care executives over the health of our veterans.

    How can it be that we have enough money to give tax breaks to billionaires and spend more on defense than the next twelve countries combined, but we don’t have enough to make sure that every veteran who went to war and served this country has the quality health care they need here at home?

    Privatizing the VA would be a moral abomination, and one that I will fight to stop. Thanks for lending your name to the fight.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


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