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Intro: "The billionaire brothers' influence is most visible in the makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where members have vowed to undo restrictions on greenhouse gases."

Demonstrators rally in Rancho Mirage, Arizona, during a retreat organized by the Koch Brothers, 01/30/11. (photo: Crystal Chatham/Desert Sun)
Demonstrators rally in Rancho Mirage, Arizona, during a retreat organized by the Koch Brothers, 01/30/11. (photo: Crystal Chatham/Desert Sun) your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+31 # X Dane 2011-02-07 02:42
HEAVEN HELP US. The fox is now RULING the hen house.
We can expect a lot more pulmonary diseases.
Expect a big upswing in asthma, many sick people and all else that is caused by dirty air. California will be under heavy fire from these nasty Koch brothers, because we are always in the forefront of clean air regulations.

Of course our health system will also be severely burdened by the influx of the added sick people.


More to thank the Supreme Court for.
+25 # PhilO 2011-02-07 09:40
It's not an accident that the Koch's organization is named "Americans for Prosperity", not "Americans for Equality". Apparently they have no problem with concentrating wealth in those people who already have it... robbing from the poor and giving to the rich.

The Koch bothers are 'robbing hood(lum)s'!!
+26 # Marco 2011-02-07 05:59
The U.S. is putting Russia to shame, the oligarchs are running the country. With the help of the five conservatives on the Supreme Court, the oligarchs have turned the U.S. into Russia West!
-33 # TommD1of11 2011-02-07 08:54
Under the American system of free enterprize, the Koch's brother's power pales in comparision to the power of the consumer. No corporation in America can long ignore the wishes of the American consumer. The almight IBM learned this in the 1980's. The 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average are mostly new companies over the past 30 years or so.
Government programs, on the other hand, do not have to answer to the consumer, nor, even, for the most part, to the voter. In fact, those that work for the ogvernment have learned well the importance of throwing around their electorial voting power, so much so in fact that few politicians today have the courage to stand up to public employee unions. So, in effect, these unions answer to no one but their own self greed.
+14 # X Dane 2011-02-07 13:34
YOU FOOLS You don't even realize that the Koch brothers BOUGHT YOU. LOCK STOCK AND BARREL.
Who do you think paid for your buses, signs etc. etc. at all your big rallies????? DUH!

Now you got a bunch of wild eyed people into Congress. They want to cut social security and medi[care, which a lot of you will need soon from the looks of you.

+30 # granny 2011-02-07 08:44
One has to wonder how long Americans will put up with this tyranny by the rich. The tea Partiers can't claim to want to give power back to "the People," because billionaires who act like tin-pot dictators are NOT "the People." The Supreme Five must be very stupid to think their Citizens United decision was either constitutionall y or ethically correct.

God help the United States of Amerca - and ite PEOPLE!!
-35 # TommD1of11 2011-02-07 08:59
Being a Tea Partiers, I can tell you that the vast majority of us do NOT inherently trust big corporations much much more than we trust big government. Nor do we trust small business. What we do trust is the discline of free markets and the ultimate power of the consumer. We least trust big government because big government has few if any constraints. And, unlike corporations, big government can force us at gun point to buy products (i.e health care insurance) they decide we should buy.
+9 # Mike K 2011-02-07 17:37
And yet people like you have consistantly worked or supported to cripple goverments ability to keep big business under control and keep them from putting toxins into our food, water and air. Consistantly worked or supported those working to weaken the ability of goverment to protect Americans from things like the Savings and loan crisis, Bernie Madeoff's Ponzi scheme, Predatory lenders and Liars Loans.
-16 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 20:18
Not true. I think corporate polluters should be criminally charged. That said, I do not believe in G-Warming or that CO2, which plants need to survive, is a pollutant.

A stronger argument can be made that gov't contributed greatly to the ‘90’s S&L Crisis.

As for the mortgage meltdown of ‘08, Fannie, Freddie, FHA, the Fed and CRA are the real culprits. Bankers have always been greedy, but the market kept them in check by periodically slapping them silly whenever they got too foolish. But then the gov’t said “go ahead, write trillions in bad mortgages, we’ve got you covered and if you don’t we’ll fine you”. Nope. It wasn’t too little gov’t, it was too much … way too much.

Madoff was a slim ball who is getting everything he deserves and will rot in hell.

"Predatory Lenders" is a term that makes me laugh. You must be naive to believe the vast majority of their "victims" didn't know full well what they were doing. The whole concept would make a great skit for Saturday Night Live. Let's dress up a bunch of bankers like Hells Angels then have them "mug" some poor unsuspecting victim by pummeling him/her with wads of hundred dollar bills. The skit would end with CSI investigators drawing chalk marks around the money bags shaking their heads in disgust over the latest predatory lending mugging. Maybe we’d call it, CSI–PL Unit.
+8 # Ken Hall 2011-02-08 10:38
The mortgage meltdown was not the result of policies at Freddie and Fannie, much as conservatives try to pin it on them. The subprimes were created by Wall St. and marketed vigorously there. Freddie and Fannie were out of the picture when bundled mortgages, called derivatives, could be sold on the market. While their decision to go after the subprime market was ill-informed, they did so to try to save their eroding market share. The cause of the mortgage meltdown was the deregulation of banks, pushed through by the "free market" crowd. William Black's recent article "A Small Number of Sub-primes, a Large Financial Crises" does mention Freddie and Fannie but only once, as repositories of record that may help economists figure out how much bad debt the TBTFail banks are sitting on. The idea the Freddie and Fannie brought down the world economy is laughable and not supported by facts.
+5 # AML 2011-02-08 14:40
The latest investigations have found that FNMA and FHLMC had little to do with the financial meltdown; maybe 5%. The loan officers, appraisers, and underwriters all took part in manipulating figures and approving mortgages that should never have passed, but the after market sales of these toxic loans exacerbated the bad souffle effect.
+5 # Mike K 2011-02-07 17:45
As for the "free market" no one wants it even those calling for it because it would mean a end to government subsidies and other policies that favor various businesses. When business advocates "Free Market" they mean free for them to do what they want.
-11 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 21:00
Mike, you're half right. Businessmen don't want free markets; they want profits.

But, it's not their job to "believe". Their job is to deliver products consumers want at a price the market will bear while making a profit. If they're successful innovators, they'll make extraordinary profits. Otherwise, competitors will drive down prices to normal levels.

This is how efficient markets function. Like a well balanced eco-system, scarce resources are allocated in an efficient manner reflecting consumer desires. No gov’t will ever match such beautiful efficiency or brutal market honesty.

Conservatives want to end gov’t subsidies for oil, ethanol, cars, green jobs, farming, education, etc. and let the market find its equilibrium. Businesses that should survive, will. Consumers will pay the true cost for products and make allocations accordingly.

Tea Partiers despise crony capitalism and seek a wall of separation between gov’t and the economy with gov’t there only to enforce the Rule of Law.

Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al are all about crony capitalism and for that Wall Street loves them. Tea Partiers revile such a toxic mix of gov’t and markets. We’re dumbfounded and disgusted at how Libs somehow declare our love of free markets to be racist!

When Conservatives advocate “Free Markets” we mean it.
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 10:18
"Conservatives want to end gov’t subsidies for oil"??? what? "Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al...Wall Street loves them"??? What are you smoking? BTW, Education is not a business per se. It is a necessary service, one that has to be paid for [and is not adequately funded because we are embroiled in every conflict on the face of the earth] Idem healthcare. We are #37 in the world.(World Health Organization source) It is a SERVICE (as opposed to a business, which creates a product that is sold by supply & demand): it costs and keeps on costing. Every civilized country takes care of its indigents and its crippled. The lowly French, as socialist as they are, have the #1 Healthcare system in the *world* (same source)
"Libs declare our love of free markets to be racist" again: What??? No: Racism has nothing to do with free market. It is a disrespect of another human being, and as such, portraying the President, who was properly ELECTED by a majority of us as a monkey to disparage his Democratic view is RACIST, whether you like it or not!and we will keep on stating the obvious every time it happens.
+2 # DaveW. 2011-02-08 23:01
TommD1of11, Newsflash! Big government IS big business. Big business IS big government. When, where and what were the circumstances when "big government forced" you into buying something at gunpoint? Got some crayons or an etch-a-sketch in the house? You "draw" such silly pictures.
+2 # bk 2011-02-09 16:41
please read some real economical history! it is not rocket science as to what happens when there is NO regulation of the markets. having loose or no regulation of markets allows for monopolies to thrive without bounds and no one, be it the mid to small business owner or the consumer can change this by simply where and how they choose to spend their far smaller amount of dollars. please truly educate yourself.
-40 # TommD1of11 2011-02-07 09:05
What's interesting about this discussion is that Libs claim they are defending democarcy from the undue influence of big corporations, yet, have absolutely no problems with the hugely disportionate power of unions which far out influence politics in America.
Let me pre-empt those who say "well, unions represent the working man". They don't. They only represent the special interests of those workers in their union. The vast majority of America's workers do not belong to unions. Giving disportionate influence to unions therefore effectively disenfrancises the all the rest of America's workers.
But, I'll go even further, the union's don't really represent their own workers. Ultimately, who they represent is the union bosses.
Where is the indiginent outcry by Libs against the undue influence of unions?
+28 # L. Graves 2011-02-07 10:38
During the middle of the 1900's, over 50% of American workers belonged to a union, and the middle class of this country was thriving! Beginning with the Reagan era in the '80's, the conservative Right began their long strategy of destroying the unions and their bargaining power with employers for better working conditions and livable wages.
In the decades since, as the influence of unions has declined, so has our middle class declined also. Income disparity is now the greatest in our history! At last report, only 8% of American workers belong to a union,----hardl y a monolithic political force! But, the GOP is determined to push that MYTH in order to destroy what little remains of effective advocacy for American workers!
-24 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 13:46
You're making my point. Unions only represent 8% of workers, yet their political power is massive. They give hundreds of $ millions to Dems plus soft money.

The major reason for the decline in unions is the loss of manufacturing jobs. Contrary to popular belief, this is not due to outsourcing, though that has had some impact. The major factor is technology. Today, America manufactures more than ever; double 1970’s levels. However; we’re doing it with far fewer workers.

As for the decline in the middle class, you are quick to blame it on the decline of unions. Yet, the far greater change in America over the past 50 years has been the massive expansion of government, regulations and socialization of our economy. This sucks the life out of an economy and ultimately creates a two class society. We’re starting to see that today with crony capitalists (whom Tea Partiers despise) and government elites. Neither group would last long in truly free markets. Government would shrink and crony capitalists would fail.

If America returns to true free market capitalism, then America will once again be the land of opportunity where dreams are made.

Graves, you lament the decline of the middle class and prescribe even more government programs. Yet, wasn’t the middle class larger back when government was smaller?
+9 # Mike K 2011-02-07 18:29
Again if Unions were nearly as powerful as you seem to think than there wouldn't be free trade agreements like NAFTA, no one would dare talk abour eliminateing the minimum wage, EPA or Federal Child Labor Laws. Also while Technology is a large part of decline of unions outsourceing is a major problem as very little is truely made in America any more, much of what is labled made in America is either assembled in America from part made overseas or only parts of it are made in america.
-13 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 18:58
Nobody wins them all all the time. With O, Reid and Pelosi running the country, union dollars go a lot farther.

On the state and local level, just look at all the public pensions that a bankrupting communities and states across the land.

Check your facts about manufacturing. America's industrial output is double what it was in 1970 and continues to increase almost every year (current recession excepted). Low technology products like toys, clothing etc are often made overseas. These are the labels we see most often.

But, aggregate stat's tell otherwise. Massively complex things like planes, trains, ships, heavy machinary, are made here.
+2 # Jane Gilgun 2011-02-09 14:00
You don't understand that democracy is about the participation of everyone. It is our patriotic duty to get as many people as possible involved in decision-making and to make sure that the information they have is true. You have listened to lies and distortions. Get your own facts. Don't parrot what demagogues say.
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 10:41
"public pensions are bankrupting communities"??? my pension was built up from monies that were substracted from my salary during my 26 yrs as a teacher. Educate yourself, why don't you. From every CEO who gets paid over 400 times what I was paid, there are 400 Americans who don't have a job. That is just math.
0 # MSWyatt 2011-03-08 16:39
You state public pensions are bankrupting states, now how does that work, those public workers paid into their pension plans and the gov't was supposed to match it, those funds shouldn't even be an issue, they should be solvent but the problem was that local, state and federal paper pushers were putting off submitting the funds into the pension plans.

Even big business' have been found to have been deducting pension costs from employees pay and not putting it into it funds like they should have.

Anyone can put down on a piece of paper that x amount of dollars was deducted for a pension, but w/o proof that the funds deducted were placed into the company's pension plan/portfolio for the employee, it's just numbers on paper.
+11 # Mike K 2011-02-07 18:31
As for returning to true free market capitalism, we tried that it was called the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties, every one knows how the roaring twenties ended. Also it would mean eliminateing the EPA which was created because many of Americas Lakes and rivers were so polluted that not only were they all but impossible for animals to live in but going for a swim in them would probably cost you your life.
-16 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 19:04

Most Conservatives, myself included, support reasonable environmental laws. However; we think global warming is based on 'baked' numbers. We don't think that every species on earth needs to be protected. And, we're willing to take reasonable environmental risks (BTW - did you notice how quickly the Gulf is recoverying from that truly massive spill; that's no thanks to BP, thouse guys are a bunch of schmucks). But, we'd reinstitute drilling in the Gulf and in ANWAR. We love our planet, but as a place to live, not a deity. We don't worship mother earth.

Clean water, yes. Clean soil, yes. Clean air, yes (though CO2 is not a pollutant, it's what plants inhale and then piss out oxygen).
+4 # DaveW. 2011-02-08 23:30
TommyD10f11, "We don't worship mother earth." What if God does Tommy? Your statement is the PERFECT epitaph for rapacious, self-aggrandizi ng mankind. By the way, what "species" are you and your followers willing to spare? How about we start with the elimination of ecological neanderthals who are willing to take upon themselves something that took millions of years to evolve into. And by the way, I wouldn't start crowing about the gulf and its restoration just yet. You are WAY premature.
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 11:04
"We don't think that every species on earth needs to be protected".But. ..How about you, Tomm?
By the way, for all your ranting against the EPA, the EPA at least gets the sanction of laws. Much more surreptitious and dangerous is the DNR (Department of Natural Resources): They make "rulings" that have force of Law without going through the Legislature. I hate to bring water to your mill, blow in your sails and the like, but that is a serious problem, in my humble opinion. The EPA, at least, has to go through channels. The DNR does not. The Constitution does not give them the powers they have.
About "global Warming":Global Warming is just a buzz word. Climate IS cyclical, and we ARE in a warming phase, that cannot be denied. What is harder to PROVE is that homosapiens ALONE is responsible for the change, or that when this change will be CATACLYSMIC an SUDDEN in nature. (My weather forecaster has a tough time predicting a sunny/ not so sunny weekend so it seems that predictions of Global Warming in the next century are greatly exagerated). If they are not cataclysmic and sudden, then we will stop production of Oranges in California and Florida, and who knows, I may be able to grow some here in Wisconsin. A change in climate is not automatically a bad thing.(Heating may be cheaper, for example)
+4 # DaveW. 2011-02-08 23:20
TommyD1of11, "If America returns to true free market capitalism, the America will once again be the land of opportunity where dreams are made." lol Why not just say it and be done. You're a "Social Darwinist" pining for the days of the robber barons and the gilded age of 100 plus years ago. Was life better, in terms of middle class buying power in the 1950's and 60's than it is now? Was union membership much higher then? Were CEO's of Fortune 500 companies making 500 times the salary of their average employee? Were banking regulations such as Glass/Stegall still in effect? Was this country spending more than the rest of the world COMBINED on Defense related expenditures? Were U.S manufacturers scouring the globe looking for cheap labor? In 1920 over 100 companies made cars in the U.S. How many do now? In 1967, 27 companies made a color TV that said proudly made in the USA. How many do now? Income inequality is at it's greatest level since 1928. What came next? You're basically advocating that people, in your case "the free market" will police itself. History has shown time and again this DOESN'T work. And government was smaller (pre-Reagan, who TRIPLED the size of government and the deficit) because there were a lot less people. Savvy?
+15 # X Dane 2011-02-07 13:52
TommD 1 of 11

Unions are not perfect but without them workers would never have had any rights. We would still be in the dark ages.

Tea baggers love to say that unions pour so much money into supporting their champions.

-16 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 16:27
X Dane,
Back when my girlfriend's grandfather was heading one of America's largest unions (think of On The Waterfrond time period), unions did address a somewhat uneven playing field. But those days are long since gone. Union-free auto mfr jobs in S.C. are highly sought after jobs. And the companies like BMW are in S.C. so that they can avoid the myriad of ridiculus, cumbersome work rules and inability to fire incompetent workers. BMW doesn't mind paying well and treating their workers well, but it's those union work rules that kill 'em.
As far as union vs corporate contributions, you need to recheck your numbers. Unions give $ hundreds of millions.
+1 # CECILE 2011-02-12 11:14
A "somewhat uneven playing field"? child labor, women who got fired whan they got pregnant,who had to sleep with their boss to keep their job, workers fired without due cause or due process. Your is the understatement of the 19th Century!. As Unions got more powerful, large corporations sought cheaper labor and outsourced as fast as their greedy little $$$ grabbing paws could, and we now have the same inequity and pollution in China and underdevelopped nations(Malaysi a, Bangladesh, India, Mexico Et al.) Go to Walmart and see what clothes are made in the USA, what food is produced in the USA? It was done with the purpose of killing the Unions and the American Worker and the middleclass.
+11 # Mike K 2011-02-07 18:04
Actually while Unions officially only represent there members they usually end up representing every one who does the same sort of job as there members.
Also if unions were nearly as powerful as you say there would be far more union members, the Virginia mine disaster wouldn't have happened, Card check legislation would have passed, Wage theft wouldn't happen, the minimum wage would be higher, Wallmart wouldn't be doing nearly as well and CEO's would be making several hundred times more than there average employee not to mention there would be no golden parachutes, especially for CEO who fail.
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 10:30
"Let me pre-empt those who say "well, unions represent the working man". They don't. They only represent the special interests of those workers in their union." What "special interests" OF THOSE IN THEIR UNION?Hmmm so they don't represent the working man who have paid their dues, they represent... those who have paid their dues... did anyone else make sense of that? On the other hand, when I buy my mayonnaise at Walmart, I make *them* rich, and they use MY money to influence politicians who will make it harder for the small businesses to compete, further reducing MY choice to buy AMERICAN.Do you grasp the difference, Tomm?
-34 # TommD1of11 2011-02-07 09:24

Nothing for nothing, dudes, but has anyone noticed how Obama is granting Obamacare waivers to millions of unionized workers?

What's all that about?

I thought the unions loved Obamacare? How come they're all now getting waivers from it?

And, I thought we were all going to love Obamacare? So how come Obama is giving waivers to all his political allies.

And, I thought the Dem controlled Senate under Reid and Congress under Pelosi said Obamacare was a "gift to the American people"? So how come Congress exempted itself from Obamacare?

I am soooo confused.

Maybe one of you smarty pants, genius type Libs can educate me as to why so many powerful Dem party loyalists and government elites don't want this gift to the American people. Isn’t it good enough for them? They sure think its good enough for us.

Please, help me to understand. Your powerful minds must be able to discern nuances that are impossible for my Conservative mind to see. My reality based mind must be stuck on the cold hard facts.

PS – in case you missed the relevancy to this Koch story, my point is that any power the Koch brothers have pales in comparison to big labor, in particularly, public service union.s
+26 # Willard Wheelock 2011-02-07 09:46
Who the hell are youn trying to fool? You are obviously so anti-union you have to be in the pocket of the corporastions! Have you ever had to work at a minimum wage job or ever had to work for that matter? If you had you could not look at things as you do.
-11 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 19:28
Willard, I'm not trying to fool anyone. My sarcasm was obvious. How did you miss it?

I had my first job at age 10. I was a newspaper delivery boy. At 14 I worked after school at a ski bus tour to ski for free. At 16 I was a busboy and a waitor at 18 throough college. Most of my career I've worked in commercial real estate on 100% commission without any guaranteed pay. I've served my community for 8 years as a volunteer firefighter/EMT . About 10 years ago, I was between careers. The job market sucked in finance so I took the opportunity to serve my community working full time as a firefighter/EMT doing 24 hour shifts on an ambulance getting paid 8 bucks an hour. When not on shift, I responded from home to fires, wrecks, medical calls and other emergencies. In that 2 yr period I responded to 35 working structure fires, 21 fatalities from a 95 y/o woman to a dead baby hanging upside down in a flipped over car, 5 saves and 2 babies born out of the hospital. It was a service I will always be proud of performing.

I believe in hard work and in serving my community. I've had hard years and good years. In my late 40's I restarted my career and earned almost nothing for 2 yrs. Finally, 7 yrs into my new career, I'm making the highest income I've ever earned and hope to double my income next year.
+24 # kevinmm 2011-02-07 11:18
So TommyD, as a TP, is a member of a group that in his words is "better educated" than most Americans. Yet he doesn't know (with reference to LGraves comment) about the dramatic in union membership or about the decreasing concentrations of wealth in this country. He does, however, know when to change the subject, when he switches to the right's favorite boogeyman, so-called ObamaCare.
+3 # DaveW. 2011-02-08 23:32
TommyD1of11, "I am soooo confused." Finally, you got something right!
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 11:18
And did you notice that all the Tea-Partiers except for 3 are such hypocrites they deny us the public option... while enjoying its benefits themselves?
+10 # X Dane 2011-02-07 13:45
granny, we should NOT wait. I urge you and the rest of the people commenting here to read the article Feb. 4th by Johann Hari.
It is GREAT and shows how regular English people took action and organized to make big tax dead beat pay up, when poor people were forced out of their homes because of cuts. It was done Egyptian style: Twitter, face book and the likes

+34 # larry 3690 2011-02-07 09:15
History will see that the Tea Partiers were the most duped bunch of sheep to ever follow a political movement. It was not, and never will be, a grass-roots movement. It was an organized, well-orchestrat ed move to the right by the filthy-rich. Using corporate mouthpieces like Beck and Palin, they tricked a bunch of rednecks in shopping carts to vote against their own economic interests. When are working people ever going to realize that capitalism exploits them at every level? Whether it's a government job or a private sector career, they're merely a spoke on the wheel that can be replaced at a moments notice. When are working-class and middle-class Americans going to stop voting against their own economic interest?
-27 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 10:35
Study after study have shown that on average, Tea Partiers are better educated and earn more income that the aveaerage American. Hardly the redneck shopping cart bunch you imagine.
I live in NY and have been active in the very early days of the NYC Tea Party group. It would certainly make any of us New Yorker laugh to hear us called rednecks. As for corporate $$$ backing, there was none, zippo, nadda. We scraped together fundraising $1 at a time and operated on a shoestring budget. The same is true for all the other TP groups I've met.
What you fail to usnderstand is that a lot of working-class and middle-class Americans have realized that big government hurts job creation and sucks the life out of the eoconomy.
The TP is a self-reliant, vibrant bunch that is driven by principal. You have every right to disagree with us, but you're a fool to dismiss us a force in reshaping American politics.
+4 # Ken Hall 2011-02-09 01:35
"Study after study has shown..." Here is a study, by a well respected research group, that says the opposite. "The latest Quinnipiac poll found the opposite: "The Tea Party movement is mostly made up of people who consider themselves Republicans," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "They are less educated but more interested in politics than the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack and are not in a traditional sense swing voters." Sorry, D11, like many conservatives and (my opinion) most TPers, you don't do your homework. I have seen interviews of TPers and they, for instance, say things about the Constitution that are demonstrably false, and I'm not talking interpretation. Study after study? Sorry, it's not quite as clear cut as you would like us to believe. I unearthed the Quinnipiac study in a few seconds and could probably dig up many more, given my penchant for getting to the bottom of things.
+27 # genierae 2011-02-07 09:27
For all their earthly riches, the Koch brothers are barren of any real treasure. Spiritually impoverished beggars, they strut about doing their malicious deeds with seeming impunity. But by refusing to use their billions to contribute to the common good, they stagnate in their immense corruption, and will soon have to face up to those fateful words: "They have their reward."
+11 # X Dane 2011-02-07 13:56

+25 # DPM 2011-02-07 09:27
Don't worry about the possible increase in pulmonary diseases. Remember what the conservatives say...we have the best health care in the world! I'm sure the Koch's would agree.
The Koch's own Brawny Towels. There's an easy target. Don't buy them and tell everyone you know not to buy them and why. Let's get started.
+18 # Willard Wheelock 2011-02-07 09:50
Thanks for the heads up. I will never use this product again. May the Koches burn in hell where they have front row seats reserved alongside the Bush crime family. When I saw who was sitting in the box at the Super Bowl (W, etc.) I changed channels.
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 11:34
They are dead wrong on that: the World Health Organization, which doesn't have an ax to grind or doesn't get elected by Americans says that we are #37 in the world. In contrast, the French are #1, with a satisfaction rate of 84%. They also pay about half of what we pay. That surprised me:I thought that being socialistic, they would have a socialized health care. Well, they do and don't. You choose your own doctor (who makes house calls, incidentally), and if you want more than the regular 2-beds-room, you may elect to have your own. You just will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. They have a highly centralized and efficient system, as opposed to ours, which is so wasteful and hodgepodege. In the US, you get either first-class first-rate treatment...or you all between the cracks.
+6 # BUCKLES 2011-02-07 10:29
It's going to be a loosing battle as long as the people don't get off their buts and vote em out. If this were happening back in the fortys, some gopirs would be injail.
+8 # SadiesSister 2011-02-07 12:40
Brings new meaning to the saying all coked up. The problem with so many Republicans is they are all Koched up. Koch is pronounced coke.
+5 # robhood 2011-02-07 12:40
The article makes it seem as though the Koch brothers are the "be all, end all", of corporate power in the GOP; not even close! The GOP has been the party of big business since its inception; without the banks' and the railroads' money, there would never have been a GOP. There are dozens of corporate elite who are "at the heart" of the GOP; Rockefellers, Hunts, Morgans, Harrimans, Scaithes, Clarks, just to name a few. And, a lot of them have at least as much influence over their primary party, the GOP.
-21 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 13:57
Au contraire mon frair,
Take a look at who Wall St gives to ... its Dem's by a 3:1 margin. Same with lots of other industries. And, let's not forget about George Soros, Hollywood, trial lawyers, etc. The Dem's feed at the trove of crony capitalizsts.
The Tea Party is the new energy behind the GOP and TP'ers despise crony capitalists.
We seek truly free markets where businesses fail or thrive based on their ability to produce a product that consumers want at a price that makes sense and earns a profit.
We would not have bailed out the big banks, confident in the fact that new banks would fill the void. We would not have bailed out GM, confident in the fact that if left on their own; creditors, vendors, unions and managment would have struck a deal to survive. We would not have bailed out California, forcing the state to balance its budget. We would not be attempting to re-inflate the housing market, but would let prices seek equilibrium and function naturally.
+13 # X Dane 2011-02-07 16:06
All the corporations give to,--- make that BUY-- both parties; but by a wide margin the GOP get the greatest amount.

As I have mentioned a number of times. Our system is totally corrupt, since NO politician can run for office without money.

And when you TAKE you have to GIVE. So as long as our system is corrupt we will never have a government, that works for US, meaning the PEOPLE
-11 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 18:20
X, we'll just have to disagree on whether Dems or GOP's get more cash olla and from whom.

But, if you're so convinced that government is inherently corrupt, then why give them so much power? Why give them more and more control over our economy? More control over your life, and the lives of your children and grandchildren?

At least with capitalism, your "bribe" is above board. I'll pay you this much money if you give me the product that I want. If you won't give it to me, you'll not get my money. Your “vote” wins every time you do decide to buy or not buy. You're a guaranteed winner (i.e., the candidate you just voted for won). You get to vote thousands of times a year. You get to vote (or not vote) on any product or service that suite your fancy. And, you can change your mind anytime you want and immediately vote for another product or service.

No so with politicians.

With politicians, you vote only once in 2, 4 or 6 years and are stuck with whomever the majority voted for. And, your 1 vote has to count for all issues from health care to education to defense. And your vote is only 1 in 700,0000 (Congress), 18,000,000 (NY Senate), 300,000,0000 (US President).

When politicians take control, we the people loose our freedoms. I’ll gladly be subject to the free markets.
+4 # Ken Hall 2011-02-08 20:58
We don't have to disagree, we just need to consult campaign finance records. I went to the Open Secrets website and did a little research. I looked at the spending of unions, insurance corps, oil corps, and bank corps since 1990. Unions during that period contributed $667 million to election campaigns, mostly to Dems. In that same period insurance donated $347 million, oil contributed $263 million, banking contributed $233 million. That's merely three of the heavy hitting corp donors and they've already outspent unions by a large margin. The donations of these three corporate groups: insurance to Dems $128 million, to Repubs $216 million. Oil to Dems $63 million, to Repubs $198 million. Banking to Dems $98 million, to Repubs $138 million. Your suppositions and delusions are quite wrong, D11. Unions have little clout compared to corporations, Dems get less money than Repubs. You're entitled to your opinions, but they should be backed up by facts, otherwise it's just so much hot air.
+11 # X Dane 2011-02-07 14:02
That may be right but the COKE brothers are the wealthiest PRIVATE COMPANY. Each of the brothers are worth 21 billion.

-11 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 16:39
There are campaign laws that limit how much they can give. The #45 million they gave to lots and lots of different candidates, still pales in comparision to what Sores gives.

BTW - Obama is planning to raise $1 Billion for his personal re-election campaign. He'll be sucking up to a lot of fat cats to get that kind of money.
+5 # X Dane 2011-02-07 23:39
Youv'e got to be kidding Tommy.

That is precisely what the Supremes UNDID, Where have you been this whole year??????

Because of their (UNITED) ruling January 2010 the big corporations can now spend as much money as they want.

So your vote and mine will not count diddly squat, if we vote against the Khoces, for they can throw so much money AGAINST a candidate, who will not do their bidding, that regular voters don't stand a chance.
Soros is wealthy, but he does not have nearly the billions the Koch's do, and he does not spend as much as they do.


Maybe you LIKE dirty air?? if you do, they are your guys
+3 # AML 2011-02-08 14:49
The danger of the Koch bros. is that they anonymously contribute $millions to political campaigns, large and small. On the state or county level, they take a campaign that should cost less than a $million and put up heavy funding for endless ads that malign the liberal candidate. They also fund Michele Bachmann so Mitt Romney looks good.
+10 # wfalco 2011-02-07 15:43
The ultra conservative Koch brothers are libertarian Birchers who see communism in any government program that regulates. This is so even if the "evil regulation" is intended to protect us from pollution. The libertarian Tea Partiers (such as the one gentleman who enjoys getting under our progressive skin here at this site) will never see or admit to the actual good that some government regulations have for our country.A regulation is, in my view, almost always intended to provide some protection for the common good. Oops...there I go again, always talking about what's good for the majority and not just me. And that is where we will never get our message across to the Tea Party type, who I do not believe is necessarily more educated. Many of that ilk are likely struggling business people who may have had some financial success in the past (or not). They may be the "Joe the Alleged Plumber" who some day hopes to strike it rich. An ignorant wanna-be who worries about tax brackets that he is not close to being in. These same business people want to cut costs where ever possible and always see government as an evil intruder. Truth be told- these folks probably don't even think they should pay taxes. Isn't that right Mr "Nuttin fa nuttin" New Yawka ?
-13 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 17:43
First, thank you for your civil tone.

I and most Tea Parties are not against all regulations, just most of them. Fire Codes, reasonable Air Quality, etc are good. Global Warming, however, is a shame based on 'baked' numbers.

I'm strongly against forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. I reject 'cross-subsidie s' in which government forces one group of consumers to subsidize another. Politicians of both parties love this trick. They give benefits to one group by effectively taxing another without their knowledge. Then, when the second group gets the higher insurance rates, politicians announce they’ll fight those terrible greedy insurance companies. They caused the problem then says they’re here to save the day. What a racket. The government is taxing good behavior (i.e. deferring consumption today to buy insurance) and subsidizing bad behavior (foolishly not carrying insurance). It’s taxation without representation (or at least awareness) and is inherently dishonest.

A more honest approach would be, “We have fellow citizens who through their own negligence or bad luck, have no insurance and need expensive medical care. We therefore propose to levy additional taxes to care for our fellow citizens.”

That would be an honest approach which I would support.
+2 # Bourbaki 2011-02-07 22:40
and the horse you rode in on.
+4 # Mike K 2011-02-07 18:39
Thank you for bringing up the John Birch society since the Koch Brothers father was a founding member of that group which holds that President Eisenhower was a willing agenst of a international communist conspiricy and that Flouride in Americas drinking water is part of a communist mind control plot.
-4 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 21:06
Wfalco, you’re ‘always talking about what’s good for the majority”, but what if that’s done at the expense of the minority? Does benefitting the majority justify taking from a minority. The whole purpose of a rigid (some might say non-living) constitution is to protect the minority from a tyranny of the majority.

BTW, you sound like you’re a Trust Fund Baby. You seem to know a lot about upper income tax brackets while exhibiting a certain disdain for those struggling to achieve success. You also look down upon people being cost conscious, another sign of someone who has never had to earn a living. It must be nice being a member of the Lucky Sperm Club.

Personally, I believe in paying taxes, especially to support a fair and reasonable sized government. I hate paying taxes to support a welfare state that merely provides for short term physical well being at the expense of destroying one’s pride and self esteem.

As for ‘getting under our progressive skin’ I am only able to do so by raising troubling questions. No doubt you know that a percentage of readers here are truly open minded and do not blindly buy into your Progressive (i.e. Communist) utopia.
+2 # wfalco 2011-02-08 10:51
[quote name="TommyD1of 11"]Wfalco,

BTW, you sound like you’re a Trust Fund Baby. You seem to know a lot about upper income tax brackets while exhibiting a certain disdain for those struggling to achieve success. You also look down upon people being cost conscious, another sign of someone who has never had to earn a living. It must be nice being a member of the Lucky Sperm Club.

No, Mr. T., I am a Pell Grant baby, and have achieved some meager success as a result of my college education. This would not have been likely without government largesse in the form of Pell Grants and low interest student loans(which I paid back in 5 years.) I am the product of "unlucky sperm"-having been born of lower working class parents.(Two of the hardest working people I ever saw-so actually it was "lucky".)
So, based on personal experience, I will always believe in a strong social safety net-particularl y concerning job training and education.It seems the "minority" you are so worried about are the upper 1% income earners. My old college roommate played the corporate ladder game and he retired at age 50 with millions.And he is the most liberal person I know and is certain he does not pay enough in taxes. Go figure..
+6 # angelfish 2011-02-07 18:51
I am grateful to God that I won't be subjected to the continued poisoning of our air and water courtesy of the Koch Brothers and their ilk. Having almost attained my "three score and ten", I hope to leave this mortal coil before I choke on the toxins they spew into our atmosphere. I suppose they think that because they are rich, none of the poison will affect them or theirs. They should realize that they can run but they can't hide. It will get them too. As for the Congressmen who support them, the same goes for them. Once they've killed the planet where will they go? Frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn. Sadly, it's the innocent who will suffer, as they always do. I take comfort in the fact that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven. Amen!
+4 # banichi 2011-02-07 20:13
The overriding characteristic of Mr. "11" is his confidence that he has all the answers. It isn't worth answering him since he isn't here for a discussion but only to spew poison. Let him be. He can't be convinced of anything but what he already believes, and appears to be pathologically determined to stir up and upset anyone who doesn't agree with him. He is typical of what John Dean described in his book "Broken Government" as an authoritarian follower, one of those who were the reason that "W" still had 15% support in the polls even after admitting to an impeachable offense. Not that he would admit to anything that hints of any weakness or possible mistakes in his past. Like "W", I bet he never made any...
-6 # TommyD1of11 2011-02-07 21:56

Yes, I am confident in the superiority of free markets over centralized gov’t planning. This is a "debate" the world has essentially engaged in throughout most of the 20th century with much blood split in the process. The Nazis (Socialists), Stalinists, Maoists, Castro, Pol Pot etc provide amble reason to prefer free markets.

I do not think of myself as infallible. Nor do I believe that free markets operate perfectly.

Free markets provide freedom and efficiency. They decentralize power and diminish the power of tyrants.

I welcome challenges to my arguments and seek to learn from them. I feel comfortable responding to such challenges at RSN because I am generally the lone alternative viewpoint. Occasionally, someone will point out valid challenges to free markets. These are the most interesting to me. One challenge here tonight I thought was very good. He challenged me to consider his points, which I do. Again, capitalism does not always function perfectly, but I still feel it is by far the best for society.

Hopefully, some RSN readers also enjoy having their ideas challenged.
+3 # X Dane 2011-02-08 04:00
tommy, you said earlier that it's OK for insurance companies to deny covering preexisting conditions.

Did you know that having delivered a baby IS A PREEXISTING CONDITION??? YOU WILL BE DENIED. Not only is that insanity. It will also leave that child without insurance.
+3 # X Dane 2011-02-08 04:16
The whole health care insurance mess is again a case of greed.

Health care insurance companies should not have stock holders. They should be straight companies, where people make a decent wage.

Think about it tommy. I have stocks in company C, which insures you. You need a life-saving operation. It is to my advantage to deny you, for it cuts into my profit?????


It seems to me tea partiers claim to be Christian. That sure as hell is not Christian behavior. Jesus would NEVER approve of that. Your turn tommy??
0 # CECILE 2011-02-12 12:22
Yes, I am confident in the superiority of free markets over centralized gov’t planning.[I believe too, that production of *material goods* is better under capitalism, but *services* are better dealt with using a more centralized system to make sure that all share equally in the wealth of the nation (Education, Healthcare,Well fare etc.).
The Nazis (Socialists)[ Hmmm. Nazis repressed socialism and communism and jews and gays, so equating nazis with socialism is inaccurate.],
Stalinists, Maoists, Castro, Pol Pot etc provide amble reason to prefer free markets [Are these shining examples of "Free Market" that you espouse?].
"Free markets provide freedom and efficiency"[No. Neither when wealth becomes so concentrated that the wealthy can write their own laws and undo anti-trust laws, become "too big to fail"and take from the poor (our taxes) to give to the rich]].
"They decentralize power and diminish the power of tyrants".[There is such a thing as "tyranny by wealth", though.
"Again, capitalism does not always function perfectly, but I still feel it is by far the best for society. [I concur, though it benefits from being 'tweaked' with anti-trust laws]
Hopefully, some RSN readers also enjoy having their ideas challenged.[ Yes, unless you only wish to be a "provocateur".T hat is less admirable.
+3 # Bourbaki 2011-02-07 22:54
Tommy boy is all over this Koch article.

Not a lot of comments on the "Mass Tree Deaths Prompt Fears of Amazon 'Climate Tipping Point' " article listed in the same mailing, but then he doesn't seem to interested in the climate change issue.

Most Koch Brother, water carriers are not.

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