Originally posted November 5, 2013 – 11:27 am, RH Reality Check
In the dog days of summer, the “war on women” erupted into a full-fledged conflagration, as heated battles to roll back reproductive rights in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures across the nation were met with protests from women’s rights groups and grassroots uprisings. While the religious right had, over the years, used its influence to restrict access to abortion and contraception and push for feticide and personhood laws, nothing quite like the anti-choice legislative frenzy seen this past summer had taken place before the Koch brothers entered the war, bringing reinforcements from their legion of wealthy associates.
In North Carolina, thousands of activists gathered weekly, throughout the legislative session, at the state capitol in Raleigh for Moral Monday protests of a host of right-wing measures ranging from voter ID laws to rollbacks of reproductive rights. Many were arrested for trying to enter the capitol building.
And in Texas, the state capitol building in Austin was crammed with protesters as state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) earned her place in Lone Star history with her 11-hour filibuster of a draconian anti-choice bill, SB 5, which, after being stopped by Davis and her pro-choice allies with a dramatic run-down of the clock, ultimately passed into law as HB 2 in a subsequent special session called by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
Back in Washington, D.C., the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed HR 1797, a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks post-conception.
To the untrained eye, it seemed that a sudden wildfire of anti-choice bills had engulfed the legislative agenda, but in truth the assault had been years, even decades, in the making. It wasn’t until three years ago, however, that conditions became so hospitable for the arsonists who trained their flame-throwers on these fundamental freedoms.
In 2010, three key events created the incendiary political landscape that fueled this summer’s inferno: the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down campaign finance restrictions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, elections at the state and federal levels that rode the winds of backlash against the 2008 election of Barack Obama, and the subsequent census-year victories of right-wing Republicans whose gains in state legislatures and governors’ mansions gave them control of the process for drawing legislative and congressional districts.
There is little doubt that the rash of anti-choice measures that flooded the legislative dockets in state capitols in 2013 was a coordinated effort by anti-choice groups and major right-wing donors lurking anonymously behind the facades of the non-profit “social welfare” organizations unleashed to tear up the political landscape, thanks to the high court’s decision in Citizens United.
While similarly classified groups exist in progressive circles, they have nowhere near the funding provided to right-wing groups by wealthy, business-focused donors. Of the top-ten outside spending “social welfare” groups engaged in the 2012 elections, all but one were either right-wing or conservative.
Helping to drive the right-wing offensive in the states and in Congress is a network of deep-pocketed business titans convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, principals in Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in the United States. Like the Kochs themselves, many of the donors in the brothers’ networks signal disinterest in fighting against women’s rights or LGBTQ rights, yet anti-choice groups have seen their coffers swell with millions of the network’s dollars.
“If you want to promote a pro-corporate agenda, you’re only going to get so far,” Sue Sturgis, the Durham, North Carolina-based editorial director of the progressive website Facing South, told RH Reality Check. “But when you start weaving in these social issues like abortion and other reproductive rights issues, then you’re gonna appeal to a broader range of people, and a very motivated voting bloc. They will turn out. So it serves your larger cause.”
– See more at: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/11/05/anatomy-of-the-war-on-women-how-the-koch-brothers-are-funding-the-anti-choice-agenda/#sthash.2IvVm5ZF.dpuf
MONDAY, MARCH 3, 6-9PM
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA 94705
(two blocks from Ashby BART)
Suggested Donation $10-$25… No one turned away for lack of funds.
Honor the Earth
Native American author/activist will show a new short film of the Lakota and Anishinaabe peoples’ horse rides
along routes of proposed pipelines that would cross North American prairies to carry Canadian crude oil/tar sands.
Pittsburg Ethics Council/Pittsburg Defense Council
Co-founder of local community coalitions will talk about the proposed WesPac project in Pittsburg, CA, a massive
crude oil storage and transfer facility to feed ultra-dirty oil to Bay Area’s five refineries and export across the Pacific.
International Forum on Globalization
IFG Executive Director will share visualized data from the recent report, Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline, plus interactive mapping of the Kochs’ influence network, known the Kochtopus.
Building Keystone XL Pipeline Will Mean $100 Billion in Profits for the Koch Brothers, New Report Reveals.
San Francisco, CA — On October 20th, progressive think tank International Forum on Globalization (IFG) released a report investigating how owners of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, will benefit should President Obama allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. The report, entitled Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline, reveals Koch Industries substantial interest in the controversial pipeline. Staggering numbers punctuate the report; the Kochs hold up to 2 million acres in Alberta, could earn $100 billion in profits from the project, and have spent upwards of $50 million on congress and think tanks that heavily push for the pipeline.
The Kochs have long been one of the largest players in the tar sands region of Alberta, Canada. The report connects the Kochs’ 50 year history and large footprint in the Canadian tar sands to the current debate about the pipeline. Since the Kochs are big players, they will be big winners when the pipeline gets built. IFG crunched the numbers and found a frightening answer to why the Kochs have used their influence networks to push for fast-tracking of pipeline – $100 billion in potential profits.
The Kochs have long been one of the largest players in the tar sands region of Alberta, Canada. The report connects the Kochs’ 50 year history and large footprint in the Canadian tar sands to the current debate about the pipeline. Since the Kochs are big players, it stands to reason they will be big winners when the pipeline gets built. IFG crunched the numbers and puts forth a compelling answer to why the Kochs have used their influence networks to push for fast-tracking of pipeline – $100 billion in potential profits.
Other Findings in the report include:
“The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy , a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.” Nathalie continued, “We all know they will use that money to fund and expand their influence network, subvert democracy, crush unions like in Wisconsin, and get more extremists elected to congress.
“The past two weeks of the government shutdown brought to light the irresponsible influence of Koch-funded groups,” said Bold Nebraska Director, Jane Kleeb. “Rewarding the Koch Brothers with Keystone XL, who at every turn fund campaigns to mislead Americans on everything from climate to gas prices, is like the President advocating for Sen. Cruz to be the Majority Leader. It makes no sense. Farmers and ranchers in Nebraska are depending on Pres. Obama to see our national interest is not served with a pipeline that lines the pockets of climate deniers and foreign oil.”
It is still anybody’s guess if President Obama will approve the northern leg of KXL. He has hinted that he has issues with the project, though he has not denied the permit. It is clear that IFG — and a growing number of other organizations — think the pipeline is in the interest of oil billionaires, not the American public.
Acclaimed U.S. film director, Oliver Stone, visited Korea and Japan in August 2013 to lend support to citizens opposed to base-building in their nations, as well as the use of nuclear weapons. He visited Jeju Island, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo and Okinawa.
While on Jeju Island, where the South Korean and U.S. governments are building a huge, state-of-the-art navy base that will house aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines, Stone made the most of his brief, two-day visit. He met former film critic Yang Yoon-mo at Jeju prison. Yang, a Jeju native, is serving time for “obstruction of government business,” after having put his body in the path of construction trucks entering the base construction site.
Stone also marched alongside Gangjeong village mayor Kang Dong-kyun and hundreds of other villagers in the Grand March for Life and Peace, an annual week-long protest trek around the circumference of the island. Mayor Kang had, several weeks earlier, spoken at Moana Nui 2013, an IFG Asia-Pacific event which took place in Berkeley, California in June.
On the last day of the Grand March, Stone spoke at a large rally about the dangers of militarizing Jeju Island.
Though Stone’s activities violate the South Korean law that prohibits foreigners from engaging in political activity, in this case, the government turned a blind eye. National news media outlets in both Korean and English reported on the visit, giving the base controversy exposure that would have been ignored had it not been for Stone’s presence.
Click below for two reports from the Korean English-language media, as well as a Korean-language video news segment on Oliver Stone’s visit to Jeju island.
The individuals most-involved (measured in money and ideas) have direct commercial interests that indeed benefit from weaker scientific monitoring of weather, less regulation of pollution, and stopping the shift in subsidies from fossil fuels to clean energy. All of the above are expected under sequestration (see links below), and each has its own injurious impact on our global climate crisis.
The Members of Congress who are advancing today’sunprecedented fiscal austerity are primarily Tea Party ideologues put in power by the world’s two wealthiest men, Charles and David Koch. The Kochs’ dark and dirty money has helped more anti-government extremists get into elected office than any other campaign contributor, outspending even Exxon. Some say their record spending in the 2012 elections by didn’t buy them much, but Congress’ ongoing obsession with self-contrived budget crises makes clear that the Kochs are more than ever defining the debate in Washington, and keeping their opponents on the defensive, even as Republicans remain deeply divided.
“Shrink government” is central to the “economic freedom” ideology that the Kochs espouse, and it is the inspiration for a critical mass of
Congressmen who went to Washington to enact ultra-libertarian laws. It’s also an idea that’s key to the Kochs’ keeping their carbon-based wealth, as “less government” means more freedom for businesses to produce whatever they please, as they please. That principle is pretty important if your business plan is based on pumping carbon from underground and dumping it up in our atmosphere.
Sequestration’s across-the-board approach to less government perfectly embodies the Kochs’ big ideas and specific policy prescriptions, particularly by:
But it could all backfire. If hardline conservatives don’t cave and serious economic and political pain ensues, then most Americans appear to be ready to blame the extremist conservatives. Until today’s ultra-free market ideologues are isolated, and reasonable Republicans are allowed to step out in support of balanced approaches to budgeting and urgent, ambitious actions to curb carbon, it is hard to see what will end America’s Koch problem.
See more at www.kochcash.org.