Christian Patriots? Or Billionaires' Right Arm?
(Last revised 5-23-2014)
Those who began the modern “Tea Party” movement chose its name trying to identify themselves with the protesters who created the original “Boston Tea Party” of 1773. However, that reference is not applicable today and it is especially not applicable to the founders of the modern Tea Party movement.
That will become clear when you discover who its founders were, and when you discover that the modern Tea Party’s name is just as phony as its ostensible mission.
Their real mission was not generally known during the movement’s formative years, and even after the election of Barack Obama it was cloaked in deceptive propaganda. You probably saw many scenes on television showing protesters purported to be "Patriots" and even “Christian Patriots,” slandering and labeling President Obama as a socialist, communist, fascist, etc.
That was very reminiscent of the tactics used by McCarthyism during the “red baiting” of the 1950s -- and in fact that was when the roots of the Tea Party movement actually started to grow, as you will see.
However, few Americans know that most of the Tea Party protests and demonstrations between 2009 and 2012 were funded and orchestrated by the Billionaire oil barons, David Koch and Charles Koch, operating through their organization called the "Americans for Prosperity Foundation,” which they had founded in 2005.
You see, the Koch brothers were well prepared for the election of a liberal progressive Democrat, since the preceding Bush administration had created such disasters. So, having more than $100 Billion between them to work with, they had been working hard behind the scenes since 2005 to create a network of right-wing politicians and political operatives, and the Tea Party demonstrations we saw were the result. For it was not a “grass roots” movement, but one that was carefully concocted and incited by misleading, deceptive, right-wing corporate propaganda designed to assassinate the character of a progressive president and wound him politically.
Part of the truth was revealed by film-maker Taki Oldham who went undercover for a month, traveling over 5000 miles through six states and right to the hubs of Tea Party activity. His investigation uncovered evidence that the Tea Party movement’s formation had been guided by and funded by billionaires and big businesses - in particular the oil barons Charles and David Koch.
Oldman’s videos, Astro Turf Wars and The Billionaires’ Tea Party, were the result of his journey, exploration and good investigative journalism. Consequently, in 2010 the film inspired George Monbiot to write an article in The Guardian titled The Tea Party Movement: Deluded and Inspired by Billionaires, in which Monbiot stated that the movement was “one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen – and the biggest Astroturf operation in history.”
Monbiot also stated that: "We now have powerful evidence that the movement was established and has been guided with the help of money from billionaires and big business. Much of this money, as well as much of the strategy and staffing, were provided by two brothers who run what they call 'the biggest company you've never heard of,' David and Charles Koch.”
In 2010 Robert Greenwald produced a documentary titled The Koch Brothers Exposed and more recently The Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition. And all the video documentaries mentioned can be seen on YouTube (and Greenwald's can be seen at the end of this article).
However, Oldman, Monbiot and Greenwald were certainly not the first to learn that the Koch brothers were behind it all, and it was revealed some time ago that it was the elder Fred Koch and Robert Welch who actually started the movement back in the 1950s.
That was when McCarthyism and the “second red scare” was in full swing as Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon (along with then-Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan) “black listed” good progressives and ruined a lot of their lives, simply because they had spoken up against corporate greed and advocated for the working poor.
The Tea Party, like the “Libertarian” movement, really had its origins in the late 1950s with the radical right-wing John Birch Society. And its main founders were Robert Welch and rich oil man Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries and the father of David Koch and Charles Koch.
Today most Americans now know little or nothing about the John Birch Society (JBS), it. But there is good evidence from an insider who has revealed that the Libertarian Party and today's Tea Party are both just a repackaging of the John Birch Society.
The insider is Claire Connor, a 68 year old daughter of an early national John Birch Society operative who also sat on its executive council in the 1950s and '60s. Ms. Connor is one of many insiders to effectively blow the whistle on the JBS and its modern offshoot, the Tea Party. She has written a book that connects the dots from 1934 right up to the present regarding right-wing extremism in America, and she confirmed that Fred Koch was one of the founders. The book is Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right. (And there has since been an article in The Nation titled Growing Up in the John Birch Society, but the article isn't as revealing as the book.)
What is also revealing is that many of the book's reviews were written by recovering adults who as children were raised within the JBS culture, and they too clearly state and warn us that both the Libertarian Party and the Tea Party closely resemble the John Birch Society teachings that were imposed on them as children by their parents.
Those who have researched the JBS and its impact during the last 60 years have learned that in the late 1960s and early 1970s very wealthy JBS leaders went to “Plan B” because the JBS had become synonymous with ultra-right extremism and even white supremacy. Their Plan B first became the Libertarian Party (and then later, during the last years of the Bush Regime and especially after Barack Obama became president, they used the name “Tea Party,” obviously to make it seem as if they were patriots staging a righteous rebellion against a "tyrannical" government.)
Fortunately, the JBS was discredited from 1955 through the 1970s by moderate conservatives like the influential William F. Buckley Jr. who managed to diminish the status of the John Birch Society, and it remained as a radical right-wing extremist fringe group for a good while. However, when Ronald Reagan gained the presidency in 1981 it didn’t take long for former Birch Society members and Libertarians to jump on the Reaganite bandwagon.
In 1984, David Koch and Charles Koch of Koch Industries founded "Citizens for a Sound Economy" (CSE) claiming that their mission was "to fight for less government, lower taxes, and less regulation." And Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul was appointed as the first chairman of the organization.
Ronald Reagan was their hero because he parroted the corporate mantras. After all, he acted as if government is not supposed to promote the general welfare. He was adamantly against Roosevelt’s New Deal. He was against human services programs. He was against labor unions. And he was against government regulation of banks and corporations.
In fact when leaving office Reagan made this amazingly misleading, corporate-generated statement: “There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts." And "Through more and more rules and regulations and confiscatory taxes, the government was taking more of our money, more of our options, and more of our freedom."
In parroting such corporate propaganda, Ronald Reagan simply ignored or denied the fact that Roosevelt’s New Deal had saved the country from the terrible impact of the greed and corruption that had been enabled by Laissez Faire government and its lack of proper government regulations. Instead, Ronald Reagan spewed the propaganda of private banks and corporations and claimed that “government is the problem.”
That same deceptive corporate propaganda has been spread by Koch brothers and other like-minded right-wing ideologues (and by corporate lobbyists paid by them), and it is what still drives the Tea Party today. But the Tea Party wouldn’t have existed as it is if the Koch brothers had not brought it back to life in 2002. In fact, they put it on steroids in 2005 when Charles and David Koch founded the “Americans for Prosperity Foundation,” which along with their “Citizens for a Sound Economy” became the key funders of and players in the Tea Party movement.
Having inherited a fortune from his father Fred, Charles Koch has managed to rake in a personal fortune of about $34 Billion, and to understand him it is important that we understand how he reflects the Reaganite mentality.
As is explained in the article on Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy, Reagan wanted to appear, and perhaps even believed, that he was serving the best interests of the American people. In fact, he had to appear as if he did in order to get elected, and perhaps he even thought he did because no one can be really successful for very long unless they believe they are doing the right thing.
Charles Koch may also believe he is doing the right thing. In fact, he has even tried to sound as if he cares about the poor. He has even said: "We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country," because government officials "keep throwing obstacles in their way."
The problem with that is that Koch ignores or denies that the real obstacles to working poor Americans are caused by outsourcing and the offshoring of jobs, by union busting, and especially by insufficient wages doled out by unfair employers who exploit vulnerable and powerless workers. And of course Koch does not even consider that the working poor are also impacted by poorly funded schools, unaffordable health care, the lack of affordable housing, and the lack of affordable child care.
None of those things are obstacles or problems or obstacles to Koch. To him the obstacle is "the minimum wage," because he claims it “reduces the mobility of labor."
What does that mean? Well, the “mobility of labor” is a code word the Reaganites, Libertarians and Tea Party have come up with, and its purpose is to disguise their attempt to destroy President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs (like Social Security) and all other human services provided by government -- all in an effort to lower their taxes even more (as if they can't afford to pay their fair share of taxes).
According to Koch, if disadvantaged poor people were to have no protections in the workplace, and if they were to have no government human services programs to help them, they would then have to try harder just to live, and they would then be “freed from reliance on government handouts.” Koch says they could then be “free” to become successful and prosperous.
In using that twisted logic, Koch simply ignores the actual plight of the working poor, and he ignores the real problem which is that the working poor are not paid fair living wages. He ignores or denies that while the highest incomes of the rich few keep increasing, the median (average) household income keeps falling. (In fact, the incomes of the richest 20 percent of the population grew by 30 percent during the last two decades while the incomes of the lowest paid 20 percent of us declined by more than 20 percent in the same time period, and the buying power of the minimum wage has declined significantly.)
The biggest obstacle to social justice and prosperity for all is that Americans have been led to believe that the American Dream is about making it to the "top of the financial ladder" or grabbing the "brass ring" of fame and fortune. Too many people have become tempted and corrupted and think they can make it to the top even if it's by hook or by crook, because they think the end justifies the means. And people like Reagan and Koch have been and are responsible for perpetrating that hoax.
Because of that hoax and that propaganda, the American Dream has been twisted, distorted, and perverted, because it's not about the individual rising above everyone else. The real American Dream is actually about equality and prosperity and happiness for all -- not just a privileged wealthy few who think they are entitled to rule.
We should hold this truth to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, and we are equally deserving to be successful in our pursuit of happiness. We should all be able to be fairly rewarded for our labor and enjoy a reasonable and fair level of prosperity. We all deserve that.
But, we have been going backwards, away from that, because right-wing conservative Reaganites, Libertarians, Bushites and the Tea Party have claimed that the poor simply deserve their lot because they are "lazy." They claim that the poor merely have to work harder and lift themselves up by their own "bootstraps."
In other words, right-wing conservatives blame the victims.
But, they are not merely wrong. They are ignorant of all the facts that they would see if they didn’t just look the other way.
They ignore that it’s not like it was in the past, when it was not terribly difficult for an unskilled high school graduate with little or no means to get ahead. It used to be that they could get a minimum wage job that would pay enough so that they could afford some skills training or even higher education, if they worked very hard and were willing to do their home work, etc. But now it is terribly difficult, especially for those who are not highly intelligent or highly talented, and it’s been getting harder and harder, especially as the minimum wage has had increasingly less and less buying power and stopped being a living wage some time ago.
When you learn the truth, you wonder how the Reaganites have gotten away with claiming that the working poor simply need to work harder or get a better education to get better jobs to improve their financial situation, because the fact is that someone has to do the jobs they are now doing!
The fact is that someone will always be doing those jobs, and they should not be paid less than a living wage, as so many of the working poor are now. Therefore the Reaganite, Libertarian, Tea Party claim is utterly false and misleading.
Furthermore, while most Reaganite Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Party members claim to be “Christian Patriots,” they conveniently ignore the following scriptures that clearly state the Judeo-Christian and Universal Divine Imperative to care for the poor:
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to remove the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; and when you see the naked, to cover them?" -- Isaiah 58:3-24
“Defend the poor and fatherless. Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: take them out of the hands of the wicked.” – Psalm 82:3-4
“He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he that honors the Lord has mercy on the poor.” – Proverbs 14:31
“The righteous consider the cause of the poor, but the wicked care not to know it.” – Proverbs 29:7
“Judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” -- Proverbs 31:9
“If a brother or sister is naked and hungry, and one of you who are warmed and filled says to them, ‘Depart’ and do not give them those things which the body needs; what does it profit you? Therefore, faith without works is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, you have faith, and I have works, but show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” -- James 2:14-18
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common. They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed proceeds to everyone as they had need.” -- Acts 2:44-45
“None among them lacked, for those that owned lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds from the things that were sold, and distributed them to everyone according to their need.” -- Acts 4:34-35
“Then [Jesus] said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.’” -- Luke 6:20-21
“[Jesus] went to the synagogue and stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.'” -- Luke 4:18:
“Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’" -- Mark 10:21-22:
“When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or relatives or rich neighbors, so they may invite you in return to be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid [by God].’" -- Luke 14:12-14
"None among them can be found richer than another. It is their law that all who enter the sect must divide their property among the members of the society, with the result that there is never seen among them either abject poverty nor great wealth, for, since every man's possessions are put into the common treasury, they all have, like brothers, one inheritance.” -- Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian writing of the Essenes ( the Jewish sect to which Mary, Joseph, Jesus and James belonged, which is why the disciples of Jesus did the same thing according to the Christian book of Acts).
Those quote speak of the Judeo-Christian traditions regarding the poor, of course, but in fact all religions offer similar advice (see What The Most Influential Religions Say Regarding Treatment of the Poor).
In spite of the political economic realities and in spite of the spiritual truths, Charles Koch ignores the fact that America’s Founders wanted government to promote the general welfare, and he blatantly parrots the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan, who said "Government is the problem" and that the poor are "just lazy and dependent."
Obviously he ignores how many millions of senior citizens have been and are being lifted out of poverty by Medicare and Social Security. He ignores the generations of middle-class Americans who have prospered because New Deal Democrats and other conscientious, compassionate American leaders invested in their nation, in the infrastructure, and in the people.
The truth is that Koch’s Libertarian, Reaganite, Tea Party self-delusion and attempt to deceive us is typical of right-wing multi-millionaires and billionaires who are greedy and selfish -- unlike many very wealthy but liberal and progressive people who are very deserving of their wealth due to their talents, skills and hard work, and use their for the benefit of the earth and all humanity.
Gullible Tea Party demonstrators feel "righteous" because they have been misled by demagogues who have distorted and twisted the Constitution and the intent of America’s Founders. They have also twisted and distorted the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, and they simply ignore the Golden Rule and the Universal Divine Imperative common to all religions.
They claim James Madison as their champion, but they misinterpret Madison and the Constitution, and they attempt to rewrite history. They ignore the fact that Madison was a leading advocate of the Commerce Clause, which gave the federal government broad powers to regulate interstate commerce. And they ignore or deny that such programs as diverse as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Dwight Eisenhower's federal highway system and Barack Obama's health-care reform are in line with Madison’s thinking.
In spite of that, the right-wing Reaganite Neo-Conservatives, the Libertarians and the “Tea Party” politicians berate, slander and denigrate liberal progressives and the federal government --- all while many of them themselves are, or seek to be, federal bureaucrats and part of the government.
They claim that certain federal programs are "unconstitutional," and they claim that Madison would agree with their argument. They even claim that “states rights” trump federal authority, even though in the Constitution its Framers established specific powers of the federal government over the states, as was reasonable and necessary to prevent any state from violating universal human rights and moral codes of justice and fairness that are to the benefit of all the people in the nation.
Consequently, because of Tea Party leadership’s distortion and misinformation, the gullible, misinformed Tea Party activists have gone so far as to dress up in Revolutionary War costumes claiming that the Founders were hostile toward a strong federal government. And they repeat the Reagan mantra that claims "As government expands, liberty contracts."
The truth, however, is that America's Founders and Framers of the U.S. Constitution intended for the federal government to have the power to keep the peace and ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, provide for the common defense, establish justice for all the people, and ensure the blessings of liberty for all Americans.
The truth is as George Washington wrote to James Madison: "The [commerce] proposition in my opinion is so self evident that I confess I am at a loss to discover wherein lies the weight of the objection to the measure. We are either a united people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of a general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending it to be."
Both Washington and Madison, like Jefferson and most of the other Founders, acknowledged the need for a strong federal government to keep the peace, promote the general welfare, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and ensure peace and justice for all the people of the nation and union.
Furthermore, Abraham Lincoln later praised the principles of Jefferson, saying that they are “the axioms of a free society.” Lincoln echoed the ideals of the Founders as he fought against the Southern forces of greed, self-interest, racism and injustice who claimed they were merely demanding “state’s rights” as they insisted on extending the institution of slavery Westward on "religious" grounds.
Lincoln knew that Madison wrote: "If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of new powers to the Union, than in the invigoration of its original powers.” "The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them."
Therefore, it is the height of hypocrisy for Reaganites, Libertarians and the Tea Party to condemn the bureaucracy of the federal government on one hand, and on the other hand fight to be in control of the federal bureaucracy as well as our public schools, institutions, facilities, etc.
If you examine the actual writings and intent of the Founders, it is only reasonable to conclude that the political agenda of modern right-wing Reaganite Republicans is simply hypocritical and wrong.
In fact, the present state of the Union reflects just how wrong they have been. The American people are deeply divided, polarized and in conflict. 95 percent of the nation’s wealth is now held by the wealthiest few while the middle class has shrunk, the working poor population has increased, and poverty, hunger and homelessness have increased. And no politician, whether Republican, Libertarian or Democrat, is doing much about it.
On the contrary, most politicians in Washington, D.C. have been corrupted by Reaganism and they are against any really significant reform. Many persist in fighting any kind of reform and refuse to balance the budget in a fair, equitable and reasonable manner, preferring to keep enabling and entitling the wealthiest few at our expense.
While the most obvious examples of deceptive Tea Party propaganda were demonstrated in the protests against President Obama, you should be aware of another example which is typical.
On May 23, 2014, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz deceptively accused Senate Democrats of trying to “repeal the First Amendment.”
Cruz was speaking at a gathering of leaders of the “Christian Right” sponsored by James Dobson’s “Family Research Council” when he said:
“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does. This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment.”
Cruz said, “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced the Senate Democrats are scheduling a vote on a constitutional amendment to give Congress the authority to regulate political speech, because elected officials have decided they don’t like it when the citizenry has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done.” And further, Cruz said: “They don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”
The truth, however, was that Cruz was very misleading and deceptive, because he was referring to Senate Joint Resolution 19 which of course has nothing to do with repealing the First Amendment free speech rights.
In fact, the Resolution would simply undo the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the highly partisan political 5-4 decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, which reversed precedents regarding campaign financing laws and enabled the rich to spend as much as they want to try to buy elections. To counter that, the Resolution calls for a Constitutional Amendment that would grant Congress and the states the power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal and state elections, respectively.
Senate Joint Resolution 19 is badly needed, because as the good Justice Breyer in his dissent in the McCutcheon case wrote: “Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U. S. 310 (2010), today’s decision [on McCucheon] eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”
At a recent (2014) secret political action retreat attended by key Republican, Libertarian and Tea Party politicians, Charles Koch and his political strategists presented their agenda for government and society. That agenda includes ending the minimum wage, ending human services programs, ending Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid insurance, ending public education, ending student loans, ending environmental protections including clean air and water regulations, ending national and state parks, ending regulation of the food production industry, ending regulation of business, corporations, banks and financial institutions, etc.
Leaders of the Republican Party at this retreat expressed their gratitude to the Koch brothers for their financial support and their great investment in Republican politicians (in buying TV ads attacking Democrats all over the country), and it was made very clear that Republican and Tea Party politicians are very aware that they are in office right now largely because of the campaign funding activity paid for by the Billionaire Kochs for many years, especially since the right-wing Supreme Court’s ruling in “Citizens United” v. FEC which enabled corporations and the wealthiest few to essentially buy elections.
However, what is even more important to realize is that much of the Koch agenda has already been fulfilled. In 1980 David Koch ran for Vice President on a Libertarian agenda, and that agenda has already been fulfilled in many ways, and is well on the way to being fulfilled completely, unless we the people do something about it.
For example, they wanted a “repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the Federal Election Commission.” And the direct result of that was the Citizens' United ruling.
They wanted the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs, and the result has been a constant effort by Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Party politicians to either privatize or get rid of those programs.
They opposed any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, and the result has been the watering down of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to make it more profitable for health insurance companies. But they weren’t satisfied with that, and there has been a constant attack on “Obamacare” to get rid of any role for government regarding health care whatsoever.
They oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes, and the result has been that many multi-national corporations pay nothing in taxes, and even get millions of dollars in government subsidies.
Those are just a few of the many Libertarian agenda items in 1980, which Ronald Reagan and following Reaganites, Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Party politicians have been fulfilling and are still working on fulfilling – all of which are to the benefit of the wealthiest few and detrimental to the vast majority of Americans.
When will the American people realize what has been and is still being done to them?
Poverty: America’s Greatest Shame
What the Most Influential Religions Say Regarding Treatment of the Poor
Partisan Politics: A Corrupt, Failed System
The Actual Vast Right Wing ConspiracyJeffersonian DemocracyThe American Economy
Also watch this video documentary, The Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition:
Also, please read the following article for a young man who recognizes the Koch brothers' most current agenda:
17 September 2014
ight-wing oligarchs dominating our political process, like the Koch Brothers, are wealthy beyond measure. Combined, Charles and David Koch are worth over $100 billion, and make $6 million per hour. That translates to over $1600 per second, which is enough to feed someone on food stamps for an entire year. Compare that figure to the $13 million that former Kroger CEO David Dillon earned in his last year with the company, which he called “ludicrous.” Their only problem is their age – David Koch is 74, Charles Koch is 78. For their class to maintain power over American politics and government, they have to make investments in future generations to ensure their ideology will live on beyond them.
It’s been well-documented by now how the Koch Brothers are sponsoring economic programs at colleges and universities around the country. By itself, this could be interpreted as philanthropy. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a billionaire donating some of his wealth to education. But the greater strategy in the Kochs’ chess game isn’t just to make themselves wealthier, but a far more sinister one. That strategy can be broken down into three steps:
1. Defund Public Schools
America’s public schools and universities are all being deprived of state tax dollars slowly but surely. This is not an accident. Model bills written by the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (an innocuous-sounding merger of right-wing state legislators and corporate lobbyists) accomplish this goal threefold. First, model legislation aimed at giving corporations huge tax breaks gets passed. Then, model resolutions stating that balancing the budget must take priority over funding public institutions are passed. Finally, ALEC legislators use those resolutions as justification to slash public services, like schools, to the bone in order to plug the gaping budget hole made by corporate tax breaks.
Florida governor Rick Scott has slashed school funding while simultaneously advocating for over $140 million in new corporate tax breaks. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett has given out $3 billion in corporate tax breaks during his tenure, and has cut education funding by $1 billion. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker cut schools by $1.2 billion and has given out $570 million in corporate tax breaks. On its own, this could be seen as, at best, a radical gamble in economic growth with schools on the line. But when this tactic is repeated in multiple states in different geographical regions, it’s apparent there’s a strategy at play.
2. Make Schools Dependent on Private Entities for Money
At Florida State University, emails from an economics professor in 2008 show that the Koch Brothers were willing to donate millions to the university through their foundation, but only if they had a say in the curriculum that was taught and in the hiring of professors to teach the curriculum. FSU took the donation, and consulted with the Koch Foundation on who would be hired to teach courses that largely vilified government services and promoted the Kochs’ unique brand of libertarian free market ideology. At the time, Florida’s public universities had seen their funding levels fall by 41 percent over the previous five years.
Public universities traditionally depend on state government funding for 53 percent of their operational budgets. But without a dependable key funding source like state governments, colleges and universities are forced to raise tuition, which results in only a privileged class of students able to attend college. Public universities are also forced to come crawling to private interests like Koch-funded foundations for funding, which always comes with strings attached.
3. Ingrain students with Greed-Based Ideology
To be blunt, the Kochs’ economic philosophy is essentially, ["I've got mine. It's every man for himself."] In 1980, David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket. Some of his proposals included killing Medicare and Medicaid, eliminating federal campaign finance laws, doing away with all environmental protections, abolishing the minimum wage, and privatizing water systems, railways, and the post office. Koch also called for eliminating laws that prevent creditors from gouging debtors with high interest rates, deregulating private health insurance companies, and killing the food stamp program.
In the college and high school courses on Libertarian thought offered by the Institute for Humane Studies, a Koch-funded think tank, many of these ideas are taught to unsuspecting and impressionable young students. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, students are taught about how sweat shop workers in third world countries don’t have it so bad, how the federal minimum wage kills jobs, and how the Environmental Protection Agency is bad for the environment.
With this strategy, students attending college would mistakenly interpret such greed-inspired drivel as scholarly research to be taken as gospel. Upon graduation, it can be assumed they would start families and impress their ideologies upon their children. Colleges themselves would be transformed from institutions that cherish and develop critical thinkers into additional cogs of the corporate machine, with corporate-approved professors churning out obedient workers instead of independent-minded leaders.
This strategy is nothing short of generational conquest. It is only by insisting that our public schools be properly funded by our tax dollars, instead of by oligarchs with their own agendas, that we can stop the corporate brainwashing of our kids.
Carl Gibson, 27, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nonviolent grassroots movement that mobilized thousands to protest corporate tax dodging and budget cuts. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary We're Not Broke, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Carl is also the author of How to Oust a Congressman, an instructional manual on getting rid of corrupt members of Congress and state legislatures based on his experience in the 2012 elections in New Hampshire.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.