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The New York Times looks at the Democratic strategy to expose the influence the Koch brothers have over our elections and politics:
Democrats have for too long been passive in the face of the vast amounts of corporate money, most of it secret, that are being spent to evict them from office and dismantle their policies. By far the largest voice in many of this year’s political races, for example, has been that of the Koch brothers, who have spent tens of millions of dollars peddling phony stories about the impact of health care reform, all in order to put Republicans in control of the Senate after the November elections.

Now Democrats are starting to fight back, deciding they should at least try to counter the tycoons with some low-cost speech of their own. Democrats may never have the same resources at their disposal — no party should — but they can use their political pulpits to stand up for a few basic principles, including the importance of widespread health-insurance coverage, environmental protection and safety-net programs.

The leader of this effort has been Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, who has delivered a series of blistering attacks against the Kochs and their ads on the Senate floor over the last few weeks. In addition, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has set up a website, www.kochaddiction.com, to remind voters of just what the Kochs stand for, and why they raised $407 million in the 2012 election.

The Hill brings us a great quote from yesterday's climate change speeches in the Senate:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used an all-night climate change campaign in the Senate to once again bash Charles and David Koch.

“It's time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis — the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress — have a valid point of view,” Reid said Monday evening. “But despite overwhelming scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion, climate change deniers still exist. They exist in this country and in this Congress.”

Much more on the day's top stories below the fold.

Leslie Sullivan at The Nation:

Reid said he doesn’t begrudge the Kochs their wealth, but “what is un-American is when shadow billionaires pour unlimited money into our democracy to rig the system and benefit themselves and the wealthiest 1 percent.”

That might sound hyperbolic unless you have followed the long list of ways the Kochs are indeed buying America. For starters, while their Koch Industries is the one of the nation’s largest air polluters, their money is a huge factor in blocking climate change progress and spreading know-nothing denialism; they fund ALEC and its stand-your-ground political agenda; and they’re waging a multimillion-dollar war against the Affordable Care Act, trying to convince young people, through ads like the one with the creepy Uncle Sam gynecologist, that they should be afraid, very afraid of Obamacare. Through innumerable think tanks, PACs, nonprofits and dark-money trap doors, Koch money has formed a veritable “Kochopus” that reaches deep into academia, industry, state legislatures and Congress.

Tom Keane on how the Republican Party may be finding its extreme-right identity but is turning off voters in the process:
The big problem with the GOP is that its ideologies profoundly alienate vast swaths of the electorate. Gay rights and same-sex marriage — overwhelmingly supported by the young — are as thoroughly owned by Democrats as were civil rights two generations ago. Republicans’ harsh rhetoric on immigration puts off the rapidly growing Hispanic population. Democratic stances on choice and workplace equality attract women. And GOP opposition to a higher minimum wage drives working-class voters into Democratic arms.

Thus, the crying need for a Republican makeover. If the GOP wants to capture the presidency in 2016, it needs to shed its preachy moralizing and divisive rhetoric and come up with something new and all-encompassing. The old ideas just don’t sell anymore.

Greg Sargent on why the GOP should embrace immigration reform:
A new analysis performed at my request by political scientist Michael McDonald, who heads the United States Elections Project and studies voting patterns, underscores once again the perils [an anti-immigration reform position] holds for the GOP. The analysis finds that the share of the eligible voting population that is Latino will rise by two percentage points from 2012-2016 in three critical presidential swing states: Florida, Colorado, and Nevada. It will rise by two percentage points in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. And it will rise by one percentage point in Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. While that last finding may seem negligible, it is a sign demographics in those three states — one purple swing state that’s key in presidential elections; the others long reliably red — are trending in a favorable direction for Dems:
Speaking of immigration reform, Oscar Chacon and Amy Shannon at The Nation:
If we really want to create good public policy on immigration, we need to look beyond all the current proposals in Washington and dig deeper into the structural problems with our outdated, isolationist and fundamentally inhumane policy regime around immigrants and immigration. In the short term, we simply must put a stop to the rampant detentions and deportations that are causing so much pain in immigrant communities.
Turning to the topic of health insurance, surprise, surprise, another "victim" of Obamacare really isn't:
A Dexter cancer patient featured in a conservative group’s TV ad campaign denouncing her new health care coverage as “unaffordable” will save more than $1,000 this year.

Julie Boonstra, 49, starred last month in an emotional television ad sponsored by Americans for Prosperity that implied Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters’ vote for the Affordable Care Act made her medication so “unaffordable” she could die. Peters of Bloomfield Township is running for an open U.S. Senate seat against Republican Terri Lynn Land.

The Detroit News and fact checkers last month cast doubt on the accuracy of the TV ad. On Monday, Boonstra acknowledged which health plan she chose, offering the first evidence of cost savings.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What is a good meme worth ? (21+ / 0-)

    For instance -How much money will the GOPers need to spend to counter Ried's "Addicted to Koch" comment?
     Viral messages through  social media are spread every day for free by unpaid democratic activists that shred the Fox News talking points.
    While even on so-called "left leaning" TV News, progressive pundits are less likely to "go there," on the web, brutally funny comments about the Koch whores in congress, the anti-science GOPers and the religious wrong are disseminated by people who just want to spread the message.
    Just like the cost of producing film or music has bottomed out, political advertising is becoming ubiquitous because of it's low expense.

  •  "climate change deniers still exist" (11+ / 0-)

    and/or "ride 'em pony!"

    Punxsutawney Phil has been unfriended.

    by jwinIL14 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:58:25 AM PDT

  •  Koch brothers - living proof that money can't buy (17+ / 0-)

    love.

    Only lies.

    And they do the big George Soros counter-meme. They've been spinning Bircher stuff from the get-go in the '50's, they have tentacles everywhere, and so many beholdin' to them.

    Starting with a mere $350 million, they've amassed $100 billion or so. And I guess the liberal, regulated economy that got them there just isn't fair. I guess they feel cheated that they couldn't get richer, faster.

    Incredible.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:00:51 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the terrific roundup, Georgia! (10+ / 0-)

    How encouraging it is to hear that at long last the Democrats are exposing the Kochs!  When the citizens learn that things don't go better with Koch, we can start getting things done.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:01:28 AM PDT

  •  Is there one.....only ONE......gooper who believes (7+ / 0-)

    climate change is real?

  •  Why did it take so long? (4+ / 0-)

    More old, uber-rich, white, assholes dictating how America should vote against their interests - in favor of the Koch brothers interests.  We should highlight who they are and every political expenditure they make.  At some point, if we haven't reached it, they will become a political liability to the conservative movement.  The fact that the Koch Brothers enabled the Tea-Party Movement, shows just how bad their calculations were.

    I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

    by mHainds on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:08:37 AM PDT

    •  Daylight... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      Put their names and pictures on billboards.

      And have a way we can know where they are, compounds, armored limo or whatever.

      They are not invulnerable.

      And, especially the Kochs, they will die soon. And their progeny will be as exposed as a chick that fell from the next.

      Now's the time. Let the 99% see who's been yincing them.

      Ugh. --UB.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by unclebucky on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:37:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Koch Bros = Global Warming Denial Enablers (5+ / 0-)

    I've said it before; these 2 dolts have bought their way to becoming the target of remorse once global warming fall-out becomes more prominent. Victims will be looking for a scapegoat and these guys have spent hundreds of millions setting themselves up just for that. Baahhaahhaa.

    "One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, sourpusses." ― Pope Francis

    by GoodGod on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:44:36 AM PDT

  •  Tom Keane calls Rand Paul "fiery"? (4+ / 0-)
    The highlight of the conference was its straw poll of candidates, and the fiery Rand Paul won it decisively, with a plurality of 31 percent. His words were a clarion call for reform: “Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom. The new GOP, the GOP that will win again, will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.”
    This is turning into a conflict between the evangelicals struggling to stay relevant as the world moves on, and other Republicans who are less attached to the theocratic  model.
    The Tea Party seems more inclined to support the evangelicals and the purists, but at the same time they're giving up electability, which means they lose.

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:48:40 AM PDT

  •  Paranoid delusional on kochs power. (0+ / 0-)

    So, rich guys spend money and they know other rich guys who spend money.

    Fine.

    But...there's an awful lot of money being spent.

    So the Kochs knew enough people to put $400 million into play during the 2012 elections? Impressive, but -- what fraction of total campaign (direct and indirect) spending did that come to?

    The Obama campaign itself raised more than $700 million dollars in 2012. When you add in party funds, Super PACs and the whole aresenal of outside spending,  The Obama campaign and its supporters spent $1.43 billion  to Romney and friends $1.51 billion. Hardley an earth-shattering difference. AND --- hmmm. So the Koch boys and their friends were able to raise $407 million dollars in 2012? That's an impressive piece of the pie when you look at the spending on the Presidential campaign: nearly 14% of the total.  And still not enough to swing the election.

    If any of that $407 million went to non-presidential races, the influence is diluted even further.

    The Koch brothers are rich and influential, but, by themselves, not able to buy an election at the national level.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:53:32 AM PDT

    •  I would suggest (0+ / 0-)

      that without the PAC money, you would not have seen the embarrassing Republican primary drag on and on, with debate after debate.
      I mean, who on the right, besides Sheldon Adelson, was really interested in seeing Newt Gingrich elected? Herman Cain could not stop talking about his book, Perry ran while taking (obviously powerful) pain killers. Maybe the primary voters were taking that primary seriously, but certainly the candidates weren't.
      Imagine how much cheaper the elections would be if we could eliminate the "free speech" of PAC spending?

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:06:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine, but so what? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude

        If the kochs want to throw their money away, more power to them.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:15:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because it distorts the will (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac

          of the voters. Money is not speech.

          A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.
          -Justice Stevens, dissenting opinion to majority decision on Citizen's United.

          Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

          by skohayes on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:29:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It does no such thing. (0+ / 0-)

            As you point out, money is not  speech. Neither is it votes.

            Now, if the Koches are actually paying people for their votes, that's a different matter, but  people still have to make up their minds and cast their votes.

            If your concern is that the Koches influence people, that's a different matter.  But they have every right to influence people, just as office-holders influence people with their actions in office and their public appearances.

            When I hear this sort of koch-paranoia, it sounds to me like people are upset that they can't control the thought processes of voters, that we can't simply limit everybody to reading an American Pravda.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:49:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  To read this roundup, one would think (10+ / 0-)

    that the voting population has caught on to the fact that the GOP is on the losing side of history on a variety of issues, and as a result are fleeing into the arms of Democrats.  Would it were so.  Why is it, then, that we stand in danger of losing the Senate and have barely a prayer of retaking the House?

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:04:54 AM PDT

    •  Sane question here. nt (0+ / 0-)

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:41:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tough one (0+ / 0-)

      We are ecstatic when the public wakes up to reality and votes with us in big years like 2008.  Then our voters return to their slumber, and the GOP makes huge gains in 2010.  
      Is it a case of nationwide narcolepsy?  

      I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

      by mHainds on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 09:48:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You know, I bet that births... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoghead99, hlsmlane, offgrid

    outstrip people walking over the borders...

    So, what we need to do now is to:

    1. Reconsider the borders more or less... That's not the problem. The illegal immigration problems are two: a) Employers, large and small that pay in cash or that do not use secure documents, and b) Invaders, either for illicit business (see a) or for terrorism. It's not the borders that are our problem, repeat, it's employers. Fine them. Imprison them.

    2. Fix some Latin American problems. People are coming here because over there, things are bad, very bad, in fact, worse than any "bad neighbourhood" in US cities. It's safer for people to live in our worst nightmare than to live down there. Reasons? NAFTA dumping cheap goods and putting small business people out of business down there. Anti-marijuana laws here that are out of balance with the true threat. Shipping jobs to CHINA instead of to Latin America (OR keeping them in the USA). Latin America needs manufacturing, processing, tech, and service jobs THERE, not in China. Look at Perú, which turned from a disaster under Fujimori and has now more construction cranes than gas stations, it seems... Lima is getting mass transit better than many US cities. The same can happen in places that Latin Americans are leaving...

    3. Register everyone here in the USA. We need a National ID card, not states' drivers licenses or ID cards. Together with that, the Green Card system can be extended to "illegal residents" (undocumented is a better word), not to give them amnesty, but to try to register those who are here working, not working or getting into trouble. Everyone not a citizen, a legal resident, a special worker, or a current tourist must register. Those that do register can stay temporarily, but would be assessed and then assigned a pay-back plan on taxes if that applies. Those who do not register will not be able to work, make purchases, get health care, pay rent, get services, etc. For those who do not register, deportation is mandatory, and if the case, imprisonment.

    4. Change the economy of the USA through taxes, regulation and especially pay structures. Equal pay for women. No discrimination for any reason. Language is up to those who use it, and minority languages, as now, will be supported. English is not the majority language of the world, so tough cheese. Tax the income-rich, corporate persons and politically-active religious organizations until their leaders' eyes bulge out.

    5. Return manufacturing, tech, service and food production to the USA. Let there be a balance of trade again on every product, not just on dollars expended.

    6. Local production, local business, local retail. Get to know your neighbours. Speak their language. Attend services together and attend pot-lucks. Stop the separatism and racism.

    Yes, my rant does mean a complete cultural change. Yes. But, boys and girls, 2050 is coming. 2075 is not far behind that. If we don't settle down and recognize the trend-lines now, no amount of scrabbling then will correct the inertia of what we have been doing to ourselves since the early 19th century.

    Ugh. --UB.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by unclebucky on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:31:51 AM PDT

    •  Your point #2 (0+ / 0-)

      is really important.

      As long as the US is exponentially wealthier than Mexico and other L.A. countries, people will want to come here to get a piece of the huge pie (did I say "pie"? mmmm...pie...)

      Raising the standard of living there will reduce the vacuum-like draw to come here.

      Ending the crazy War on Drugs would be a great place to start. It would reduce the amount of corruption and violence in places like Mexico. Mexico is rich in natural resources and labor force. There is no reason why it couldn't have a healthy economy.

      "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

      by offgrid on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 11:25:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh. And to hell with... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    Birchers, Neo-Confederates, Neocons and theocons...

    THEY have made all the bad stuff happen.

    The reason we can't have nice things anymore.

    Ugh. --UB.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by unclebucky on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:33:56 AM PDT

  •  Neil deGrasse Tyson on media & climate change (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rg611, offgrid

    He was on CNN talking about Cosmos and he was asked about the media and climate change.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson tells CNN: Stop giving ‘equal time to the flat Earthers’

    “What responsibility do you think the members of the media have to portray science correctly,” the CNN host wondered.

    “The media has to sort of come out of this ethos that I think was in principle a good one, but it doesn’t really apply in science,” Tyson explained. “The principle was, whatever story you give, you have to give the opposing view. And then you can be viewed as balanced.”

    “You don’t talk about the spherical Earth with NASA, and then say let’s give equal time to the flat Earthers,” he added. “Plus, science is not there for you to cherry pick.”

    Tyson recalled that he once said that “the good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

    “You can decide whether or not to believe in it, but that doesn’t change the reality of an emergent scientific truth,” he noted.

  •  Congress Hooked On Koch. Koch Hooked on Oil (0+ / 0-)

    Don't Lose sight of the fact , that the brothers lost on their investment in IRAQ.

    Plans that were in place before 9/11.

    They gladly took the BUSH Tax cuts but now refuse to pay the COST of the WAR.

    Republicans, (in particular) but not exclusively, are speaking for those "Americans". The only way to recoup their investments? Take it from those who don't or can't vote.

    Democracy is the ultimate regulator of Capitalism.
    When democracy is gone , you have another type of economic system. ( Look at Russia)

    Keep It Real Folks

  •  Julie Bufoonstra. (0+ / 0-)

    She personally does not believe it can be true. Heh.

    "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

    by surfermom on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:42:49 AM PDT

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