The Meaning of the Koch Brothers Tapes: “I Don’t Know Where We’d Be Without You”

One of the classic strategies for politicians caught saying embarrassing things is to use the old “there’s nothing to see here, keep moving” ploy. Republicans tried that at first when Romney was caught on the 47% tape, but it didn’t work for them because it wasn’t only what Romney said that was so offensive, it was the context: speaking to a bunch of wealthy donors about all those greedy seniors and poor people. Sounds familiar. The spectacle of Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton, the head of the Republican Governors Association (and other politicians who were on the agenda or in attendance) kowtowing to Charles and David Koch and other billionaires gathered at the lux

Politicians and Billionaires: Pledging Allegiance to Each Other in Secret

What happens when billionaire businessmen bent on reducing the taxes, regulations, and wages they pay gather with the politicians most closely aligned with their agenda? Because of Lauren Windsor’s groundbreaking investigative journalism on The Undercurrent and The Nation, into the Koch brothers’ secret conference at an Orange County California luxury resort, we now know. The revelations today about Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, and Cory Gardner flying to a luxury resort in California and pledging loyalty to the Koch agenda are breath-taking, especially the detailed information about the Koch brother front groups’ electoral strategies. It confirms all of your most cynical fears ab

Money in Politics: Rising in Intensity as a 2014 Election Issue

There is more and more evidence that Democrats and progressives are discovering the power of taking on big money in politics as a central issue in their campaign strategies. In the House, Nancy Pelosi has gotten most of her colleagues in the Democratic caucus (160 of them) to co-sponsor a major clean money campaign finance initiative, John Sarbanes’ Government By The People Act. In the Senate, Harry Reid is leading the charge against the Koch brothers, and for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Meanwhile Netroots icon Larry Lessig, with the help of a wide array of progressive movement organizations, was able to rapidly raise more than $5,000,000 in small donations for hi

Subsidies for Big Business: Why Are We Doing This Again?

One area where a lot of us populist progressives agree with at least the rhetoric of the Tea Party is the issue of subsidies to big business. Case in point: the Export-Import Bank. A recent Chicago Tribune piece touched on this topic. Reporter Gregory Karp asks this critical question: “Do high-end foreign airlines get unfair advantage in U.S.?” He goes on to describe the expanding services foreign airlines such as Emirates and Qatar are offering in the US. He writes that domestic airlines “...operate at a disadvantage because some foreign airlines receive government subsidies, have lower labor costs and don’t deal with U.S. regulations, some of which hamstring the growth of domestic airlines

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