americans for prosperity

americans for prosperity: Page 1

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Amnesty fans cheer GOP, Teaparty mostly ignoring immigration to oppose Obamacare (NumbersUSA, Tea Party "Patriots") - 08/20/13

Jim Avila and Serena Marshall of ABC News enthusiastically offer "Obamacare Backlash Leaves Room for Immigration Reform to Breathe" ( peekURL.com/zbj9LXn ). It covers how those who should be opposing amnesty are either AWOL yet again, or aren't doing things correctly.

Proof Tea Party is astroturf: Koch group tried to start Teaparties in 2002 - 02/12/13

If you trust their defenders, the Tea Parties were a spontaneously formed grassroots group initiated by Rick Santelli's 2009 rant or a slightly earlier anti-tax rally organized by Keli Carender. Those same defenders will deny that the Koch family has anything to do with the Teaparties.

Americans for Prosperity suppresses Teaparty discussing immigration, Agenda 21 - 10/14/12

For years, I've been discussing how the supposed-patriots in the Tea Parties have largely ignored immigration in favor of much less important issues. A major part of that is because they're led by those who support loose immigration, such as Grover Norquist, Dick Armey, and the Koch brothers.

Texas 2012 GOP platform goes "liberal" on immigration (IRCOT, Koch) - 06/09/12

The Texas GOP has passed their 2012 platform, and it includes an immigration plank that some will present as somewhat "liberal" or "lenient".

Occupy DC helps the Koch brothers, shows what democracy actually looks like: a mob - 11/06/11

The Washington DC branch of Occupy Wall Street appears to be the dimmest and least emotionally-controlled of their various chapters. And, that's really saying something.

For examples, see the videos below. In the first, they block a woman in a wheelchair from leaving a building. In the second, they use little kids as human shields.

Get Equal, Rachel Lang unclear on fundamental American concepts (Bachmann, Kochs, glitter, Robert Erickson, Minneapolis) - 06/19/11

The video below shows attorney Rachel Lang of the LGBT group GetEqual dumping glitter on Michelle Bachmann after her speech at the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis. Another video (from Erickson, see #2 below) is at peekURL.com/v8U7dHP and their press release is at [1].

Some points:

Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Limbaugh, Hannity paid to promote FreedomWorks, AFP, Heritage (Koch, immigration) - 06/18/11

Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity are paid large amounts of money to promote groups like FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and the Heritage Foundation.

Tea Party used to push corporate agenda (Institute for Liberty, Monsanto, Asian paper company) - 03/31/11

If you've been following our extensive tea parties coverage, you'll know where this is going (and if you're a teapartier, you'll have no clue):

Last fall, [Institute for Liberty's] president, Andrew Langer, had himself videotaped [ peekURL.com/vM87wLC ] on Long Wharf in Boston holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence as he compared Washington’s proposed tariff on paper from Indonesia and China to Britain's colonial trade policies in 1776.

That's from "Odd Alliance: Business Lobby and Tea Party" by Mike McIntyre of the New York Times (link) about how the Institute for Liberty and similar groups piggyback on the Teaparties in order to push a corporate agenda. It's not clear how successful they've been; the video has just about 150 views. However, if they haven't been as successful as Dick Armey has been it's not because the teaparties have seen through him: in my two years' of experience with them I've never known anyone in the teaparties to be able to see through anything.

In the article, McIntyre states that the Tea Party is "as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government", but the former does not appear to be true (see also this). The teapartiers are hand-made to be used to push a corporate agenda, usually by using a cleaned-up variant of something like "Nancy Pelosi hates your guts, so be a Patriot and help this corporation I'm being paid by ease pollution restrictions".

In the case above, Langer was serving (unpaid per him) the interests of a paper company from Indonesia that had concurrently - and no doubt completely coincidentally - mounted a PR campaign against tariffs on their products. And:

Mr. Langer had arrived the previous year from the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobbying group. An enthusiastic, talkative man of 40 who dabbles in Republican politics in Maryland, he quickly saw potential in the Tea Party phenomenon. Working with FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, the institute co-sponsored early Tea Party events in Washington and published a guide called “How to Brew a Tea Party.”

Mr. Langer can seem disarmingly candid when discussing his work. In a recent interview, he explained how the institute pitched its services to opponents of the Obama health care plan, resulting in a $1 million advertising blitz.

Both Freedomworks and AFP are part of the general Kochtopus (groups funded by or linked to the Koch family) and both have been very deeply involved in organizing the teaparties. And:

He said he had sometimes chosen issues suggested by colleagues from an earlier job, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market group heavily financed by business interests. The two institutes are involved in a campaign advocating a realignment of NASA’s budget that would benefit commercial spaceflight entrepreneurs. The Institute of Liberty’s contribution was a Web page called “No Space Pork!”

Last year, the two groups also supported the effort by the agribusiness giant Monsanto to ease federal restrictions on its pesticide-resistant alfalfa. (In February, regulators agreed to do so.) Mr. Langer said he decided “to try out our grass-roots method on that, and frame it as a dairy issue and access to affordable food.”

CEI is also part of the Kochtopus, and that page embeds the video at peekURL.com/vKTxvzK from blogging stalwart Bill Whittle. Any links between him and the Institute for Liberty aren't known.

Yet another example of Teaparty being useful idiots for the Koch brothers? (Madison union protests) - 02/19/11

Are the tea parties useful idiots for an attempt by the billionaire Koch family to fight unionization in order to increase their profits? The latest example of the Koch family pushing an agenda that helps their bottom line and getting help from the teapartiers in that endeavor comes from the protests between public sector unions and Republican governor Scott Walker in Madison, Wisconsin. I haven't been closely following the issue, but at the very least it's clear that the Kochs are attempting to take advantage of the issue to push their agenda. And, pushing that agenda would help the bottom line of their energy and resources empire.

The Kochs helped elect Walker [1], and their Americans for Prosperity has now created a site to support him and opposing at the least collective bargaining by public sector unions. However, it might also be an attempt to oppose collective bargaining in general [2]. Meanwhile, the Kochs have a financial interest in reducing labor costs in Wisconsin (as they do in other states) [3].

Today, the tea parties held a counter-protest featuring luminaries such as Andrew Breitbart ( National Review interview: peekurl.com/v9LhdhK ), Gateway Pundit, and Herman Cain ( peekURL.com/vhZ64cs ). Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds is going all out (instapundit.com/115329, instapundit.com/115324, instapundit.com/115278 and probably more).

On the one hand, unions are somewhat of a negative force in the U.S. because most of them support illegal immigration, with groups like the Service Employees International Union getting a good part of their dues from money that was earned illegally. The SEIU even paid someone linked to the Mexican government to organize immigration marches inside the U.S. And, allies of the unions also support mass/illegal immigration. And, excessive demands by public sector unions might in fact lead to budget shortfalls.

On the other hand, the billionaire Koch brothers are at the least taking advantage of this issue to push an agenda that would help their bottom line. And, the teapartiers are being useful idiots for them. And, the same types of people who harp on public sector unions in regards to California's problems (while ignoring the impact of the massive immigration they support on the state) are now involved in the Madison counterprotests.

So, there doesn't appear to be a good way out on this issue. The last thing we should want is a victory for the teaparties and their Koch stringpullers. But, another last thing we should want is for a victory by Barack Obama and groups that support illegal immigration.

UPDATE: Via this, part of gov. Walker's "Budget Repair Bill" (PDF link, excerpt at [4]) would allow Wisconsin state energy assets ("heating, cooling, and power plants") to be sold to private companies or their operations transfered to private companies. Surely it's a coincidence that the Koch family is in the energy business and that the sales would be done "with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state".

UPDATE 2: Yet another questionable, possibly Koch-friendly action by Walker happened last month (link):

A plan to spend $100 million on a boiler that would burn plant-based fuels at UW-Madison's Charter Street power plant was axed Thursday by Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch... Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, said Huebsch halted spending on the boiler based on Walker's wishes... According to a 2008 university study, converting the plant to burn biofuel was the most expensive of the options considered and would be about twice as expensive as using other coal-burning technologies or natural gas... University officials credited the strong support of former Gov. Jim Doyle for the plan to burn biofuels. Doyle and state environmentalists praised the switch to biofuels because such fuels can be grown in Wisconsin and would, in the long run, be more reliable and less expensive than natural gas, which must be purchased and piped in from out of state.

The source for the claim that biofuels would save money long-term isn't given, but at least from that article it doesn't sound like Walker was taking exception to that claim. Instead, it at least sounds like he was being penny wise and pound foolish. And, coincidence or not, the Kochs are in the natural gas business and even have a pipeline network in Wisconsin. Hopefully someone will ask him for an explanation.

UPDATE 3: Instead of pressing Walker for an explanation, dim Democrat/union supporters are doing what they tend to do: play games. The latest example is Ian Murphy from the Buffalo Beast (free weekly) calling Walker and pretending to be David Koch from the Koch family (link). On the call, Walker says nothing in any way incriminating; the call (unless Walker was waiting for the "secret code" or knew it was a prank) makes clear that Walker had not been previously coordinating with the Kochs. And, the idea that a politician would rush to take a call from a major donor is only shocking to those who are completely naive.

The stupidity highlight of the call is this:

[A Walker assistant] was eager to help. “I was really hoping to talk directly to Scott,” I said. He said that could be arranged and that I should just leave my number. I explained to Gilkes, “My goddamn maid, Maria, put my phone in the washer. I’d have her deported, but she works for next to nothing.” Gilkes found this amusing. “I’m calling from the VOID—with the VOID, or whatever it’s called. You know, the Snype!”

If I said that, it would be with the recognition that the Kochs fund loose borders groups and support mass immigration. However, Ian Murphy doesn't have that excuse: it's doubtful whether he knows that the Dems/far-left/unions and the Kochs support the same basic immigration policy.

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[1] Per this:

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin... The [Koch] PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett...

...Walker's plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees is right out of the Koch brothers' playbook. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation (see Reason Magazine) have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited (PDF) Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado; Mix said in a recent interview that he supports Governor Walker's collective-bargaining bill. In Wisconsin, this conservative, anti-union view is being placed into action by lawmakers in sync with the deep-pocketed donors who helped them obtain power. (Walker also opposes the state's Clean Energy Job Act, which would compel the state to increase its use of alternative energy.) At this moment - even with the Wisconsin uprising unresolved - the Koch brothers' investment in Walker appears to be paying off.

[2] AFP created standwithwalker.com, which just redirects to americansforprosperity.org/walker. The petition there says:

Union dues should be voluntary, and the state should not be in the business of collecting them. Union certification should require a secret ballot. Collective bargaining should not be used to force extravagant pension and health benefits that cripple state budgets... These common-sense reforms have made the union bosses desperate to disrupt Wisconsin government and overturn an election. They must not be allowed to succeed. In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker's common sense reforms.

[3] From this, quoting ThinkProgress:

Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant

[4]

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Koch family, U.S. Chamber, businesses met to plan strategy (+Glenn Beck, tea parties, "mobilize citizens for November") - 10/20/10

Twice each year, the Koch family conducts strategy meetings with corporate and thought leaders to plan how to advance their "free market" ideology. ThinkProgress has the guest list and program for their June 2010 meeting (in Aspen), and, while immigration isn't mentioned, many of the known attendees are on the wrong side.

I don't normally recommend anything at ThinkProgress, but in this case I'll suggest taking a look at their post and downloading the PDF.

The New York Times has a related report here; from that:

The participants in Aspen dined under the stars at the top of the gondola run on Aspen Mountain, and listened to Glenn Beck of Fox News in a session titled, “Is America on the Road to Serfdom?” (The title refers to a classic of Austrian economic thought that informs libertarian ideology, popularized by Mr. Beck on his show.)The participants included some of the nation’s wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot... The group also included longtime Republican donors and officials, including Foster Friess, Fred Malek and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III... Participants listened to presentations from the (US Chamber of Commerce), as well as people who played leading roles in John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, like Nancy Pfotenhauer and Annie Dickerson, who also runs a foundation for Paul Singer, a hedge fund executive who like the Kochs is active in promoting libertarian causes.

Malek currently raises funds for Karl Rove.

There's also a tea parties link: one of the June sessions was called "Mobilizing Citizens for November" ("Is there a chance this fall to elect leaders who are more strongly committed to liberty and prosperity? This session will further assess the landscape and offer a strategic plan to educate voters on the importance of economic freedom.") The hosts were Sean Noble (@snoble37), Karl Crow of Themis, Mark Mix of National Right to Work, and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity. AFP has been a very active "facilitator" of the teaparty movement.

Those who spoke at the June meeting include Peter Schiff (bad on immigration), Stephen Moore (ditto}, and Michael Barone (ditto). Others are: Ramesh Ponnuru; Phil Kerpen and Jeff Crank of AFP; Peter Wallison and Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, Russ Roberts and Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center (associated with George Mason University; see the link); Gretchen Hamel; Charles Krauthammer; and Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner.

Those listed as attending past meetings include Haley Barbour (bad on immigration), John Stossel (ditto), Mike Pence (ditto), Bobby Jindal, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, and Tom Price.

Obviously, there's nothing wrong or that sinister about the Kochs holding meetings like these. And, George Soros and associates no doubt hold similar meetings with those on their side. However, just as Soros' loose borders policies no doubt "informs" the immigration policies that those who receive his money offer, the same is probably true of the Kochs' loose borders policies. Aside from DeMint, there are few above who might be considered "border hawks", and some of those listed are quite bad on that issue.

And, of course, this provides yet more evidence of how those in the supposedly grassroots tea parties movement are doing the bidding of the very rich, even if the teapartiers have been bamboozled into thinking otherwise.

Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally linked to Dick Armey (Koch too?) - 08/28/10

Earlier today, Glenn Beck held a "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington DC which was attended by somewhere around a few hundred thousand people; certainly an impressive turnout (UPDATE: see below). Thankfully I didn't watch it, but Part 1 of Beck's speech is at peekURL.com/vqlzrtm and Part 1 of Sarah Palin's speech is at peekURL.com/vyn3lcr

Any response to the borderline lunacy offered by Beck would become novel-length; for the novella version, see the dozens of tea parties posts.

A few quick notes:

1. Apparently Beck unveiled or was planning on unveiling something called a "Black-Robed Regiment", a reference to religious leaders prior to the Revolutionary War. It's also a class at Glenn Beck University (link).

2. The original Washington Post story on the event featured a photo showing a very small crowd and referred to the "thousands" of attendees and also highlighted that most were white. Part and parcel of their fringe ideology is that the tea party types - to be frank - aren't smart and sane enough to take effective action against those like the WaPo. The picture in question is here, and that's also an example of how the tea party types are ineffective: that post isn't going to change how the WaPo does things in the least. (That post also helps the WaPo in a way that I won't describe). I've actually described here on a few occasions how to do things in more effective ways, but long experience shows that the teaparty types aren't capable of or interested in learning.

3. Beck and Dick Armey of FreedomWorks are working together (link), and Beck paid a visit to a FreedomWorks event last night:

The Washington-based FreedomWorks planned a large event Friday evening to raise money for candidates such as Mike Lee, a tea-party favorite who defeated the incumbent Utah Sen. Republican Bob Bennett in a May primary election vote. FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey, a former Republican House Majority leader, said the group is working with Mr. Beck to promote shared causes."We've got a complementary relationship," Mr. Armey said. "Glenn Beck is the instructional arm, and we are the action arm."

Armey will also be sticking up for Beck on a future NewsHour show (link).

4. There may be an even more direct link between Beck's rally and the Koch family. Americans for Prosperity - a tea party organizer and key part of the Koch apparatus - bused people into the rally as AFP volunteers discuss at the end of peekURL.com/vk5mabz

If you oppose illegal immigration, the teaparty/Beck follower types are either standing in your way or are consorting with those who aren't on your side.

UPDATE: CBS News hired a company to estimate the crowd (link), and they came up with 87,000.

The Americans for Prosperity, Al Gore "Third Way" - 05/20/10

Americans for Prosperity offers the video "The Most Depressing Graduation Speech Ever" featuring an edited graduation speech Al Gore gave at the University of Tennessee: peekURL.com/va2vz9t

Tea partiers reach final stage, get their own blimp (Americans for Prosperity balloon) - 08/19/09

Aside from conducting parades dressed in Colonial garb, one of the cheap stunts that glassy-eyed Ron Paul fans pulled was flying their own blimp. Hey, it beats trying to make an argument.

Starting earlier this year, the tea parties-promoting "grassroots" group Americans for Prosperity (linked to the Koch family [1], which is in the energy business) skipped the dress-up game stage and went straight for the gold: they've been conducting their own "2009 Nationwide Hot Air Tour" featuring a "70-foot-tall hot air balloon" (hotairtour.org, [2]):

"This cap-and-trade scheme is nothing more than a tax on energy- plain and simple," said AFP President Tim Phillips. "We think American families need to know what these proposals will cost them - lost jobs, even higher energy prices, and less freedom."