Charles and David Koch

The bizarro world of the Koch family

If you're curious about the two men trying to buy NC politicians, you might want to pick up a new book by a reporter for Mother Jones who used interviews and court documents to pull back the veil behind the Koch family.

From an ultra-libertarian father who had fascist sympathies, feared a "race war" that would be started by Communists, and feared his gay son turned out "effiminate" because he didn't engage him in vicious physical altercations with his brothers to the battles that included office bugs and rifling through trash cans for one brother's bid for control of Koch Industries, it sounds like an Ayn Rand novel gone horribly wrong.

How does a democracy survive two psychologically scarred school-yard bullies that can buy anything they want?

Koch Brothers attack renewable energy in NC

Trying to sever residential Solar from the grid:

The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation's largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.

The institute has warned power companies that profits could erode catastrophically if current policies and market trends continue. If electricity companies delay in taking political action, the group warned in a report, "it may be too late to repair the utility business model." The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a membership group for conservative state lawmakers, recently drafted model legislation that targeted net metering. The group also helped launch efforts by conservative lawmakers in more than half a dozen states to repeal green energy mandates.

The "utility business model" is in no danger from renewable energy. Companies like Duke Energy have seen a vast increase in the amount of power generated from these sources, and their profits are healthier than ever. And for Conservatives to fight net-metering makes no sense at all. It is (by far) the most efficient means of handling Solar PV, as any excess power generated is used by somebody else on the grid. Then again, their claims of "efficiency" may just be another of the masks they wear to fool voters.

Koch Brothers defend Fannie and Freddie

No, this is not an April Fools joke:

A conservative seniors group with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers on Monday announced $1.5 million in ads against seven members of the Senate Banking Committee in the hopes of derailing a proposal that would effectively scrap mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

"First it was Obamacare. Millions of Americans saw their health plans canceled," says one ad running against Sen. Kay Hagan, the North Carolina Democrat facing a tough re-election bid. "Now, Kay Hagan is teaming up with Barack Obama to take over the mortgage industry," the ad continues, trying to build voters' frustration with the national health care law.

And before you say it, you're right: this has nothing to do with "saving" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and everything to do with compounding the Koch Brothers' attacks on Kay Hagan and other Senators. In reality, the right-wing opposition to this bill is based on the idea that Fannie and Freddie should be destroyed completely and not replaced by something else:

Art Pope & Koch Brothers wealthy political bullies

The rumors of their influence are greatly underestimated:

We saw this with the 19th century robber barons and in the 1930’s with the liberty league. Each generation has had to deal with these bullies. In the modern era, they are the Koch brothers and their wealthy allies, including North Carolina’s Art Pope. Spending millions of dollars, America’s 21st century bullies have reshaped the Republican Party and are threatening representative democracy.

Since 2010, in North Carolina, conservative businessman Art Pope has spent millions moving the state government to the right. Now, for the first time since reconstruction, Republicans control the governorship and the legislature. One observer noted, “Democrats running for office in North Carolina are running against Art Pope.”

This is one big reason why Democrats (both elected and activists) need to support campaign finance reform, instead of trying to "play the game" of big money with their Republican opposition. Aside from a handful of progressive businessmen, most of the wealthy would prefer to continue the shift of the nation's wealth upwards and preserve their dominance of our public policy debates, and the GOP gives them exactly that. The longer we put that off, the more influential these modern-day robber barons become:

Koch Americans for Prosperity makes $1.4 million anti-Hagan ad buy

Politico has the scoop. The ad campaign includes television, radio, digital ads and "grassroots actions". (Funny - how can something be a "grassroots action" when it's funded by a couple of billionaires?

“We want to make sure Obamacare and all the pain it’s causing is the number one issue on everyone’s mind,” said AFP president Tim Phillips. “Kay Hagan is being held accountable for a law that is causing cancelled insurance plans, lost access to doctors and rising costs.”

Backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, this is just the latest onslaught of ads the group has launched in North Carolina. In 2013, AFP spent millions targeting Hagan and has already engaged in a major television ad buy in January.

Koch brothers raising funds this weekend

Politico gives a tip that the Koch brothers are holding a major fundraiser with the country's richest Republican donors in Palm Springs this weekend.

Will Art Pope show up?

Many of the right’s most generous benefactors – folks like Minnesota media mogul Stan Hubbard, Wall Street investor Ken Langone and Wyoming mutual fund guru Foster Friess – are regulars. The gatherings, which attendees call “seminars” and are typically held at tony resorts, routinely attract some of the top operatives and biggest names in Republican politics, as well as rising stars tapped by the Kochs’ operatives.

The last seminar, held in August outside Albuquerque, N.M., drew Rep. Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Iowa state legislator Joni Ernst, who is running in a crowded GOP Senate primary.

Koch Brothers subverting Florida State University Economics research

Hat-tip to Martha Brock for bringing this video to our attention.

FreedomWorks helps Koch Brothers manage North Carolina

Another astroturf tour headed this way:

FreedomWorks, a conservative group, will hold a series of town hall meetings, protests and discussions to urge Congress to defund the Affordable Care Act. The group plans to hold a lunch in Hendersonville Monday with Rep. Mark Meadows, a protest at the office of Sen. Richard Burr's office in Winston-Salem. FreedomWorks originated from a conservative political group called Citizens for a Sound Economy, which was set up by businessman David Koch. The group has been involved in the Tea Party movement.

It's no surprise that FreedomWorks is becoming (desperately) active again. They have several embarrassing issues that are in dire need of distractions:

Koch brothers in NC classrooms?

Creating a whole new generation of paranoid Tea-Partiers:

A Senate Education Committee presentation last week from N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson included proposals for curriculum resources in "American History I: The Founding Principles," a mandatory high school course. Among the 12 resources Atkinson listed is the Bill of Rights Institute, a Virginia-based nonprofit launched by Koch's charitable foundation that distributes teaching materials such as weekly lesson plans, videos, interactive games, seminars and webinars for history students.

Click the link, read the story. And pay close attention to the graphic at the top, with the ominous "Are They Watching You?" heading. This is straight-up political propaganda, something you'd expect to see from a totalitarian regime. Which, ironically, is what they are trying to imply is the danger. Such contradictory behavior is indicative of a hidden agenda, in this case being Koch's desire to strip away government regulations simply to enhance their profit margins. And we're going to let them teach our kids?

The Koch Brothers' dirty attack on clean energy

Aided and abetted by ALEC, of course:

ALEC's Electricity Freedom Act model bill was written by the Heartland Institute, a shill group made infamous for comparing those who recognize climate science to terrorists like Ted Kaczynski. Todd Wynn, a corporate influence peddler who heads ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force, named North Carolina as one of several states ALEC will focus its clean energy attacks

I sincerely hope this bad idea gets stopped in its tracks. But if it doesn't, everybody needs to remember the original (bad) deal: in order to get SB3 passed, utilities were allowed to reinstate the previously disallowed process known as Construction Work In Progress (CWIP). If SB3 goes, CWIP needs to go too.

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