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Who are the Koch brothers and what do they want?

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The following editorial came to me as a supporter of Bernie Sanders.  Although the news probably broke too late for Senator Sanders to include it in this editorial, today the Koch Brothers' fortune soared past $100 Billion

Charles and David Koch hit a milestone on Wednesday, as a $1.3 billion boost to their collective fortune sent their net worth above $100 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

The brothers are majority stakeholders in Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in the U.S., after Cargill Inc. They are now the fifth- and sixth-wealthiest people in the world.

As Sanders' colleague in the House, Alan Grayson, delineates, the Koch Brothers have political tentacles in nearly every possible political contest and agenda.  See:

The Public vs. the Kochtopus

-- Scott Baker, Senior Editor, Opednews

Friends of Bernie Sanders
(image by Bernie Sanders)

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear.  In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors' mansions and the presidency of the United States.  These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough.  Now, they want to own the United States government as well.
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Four years ago, the Supreme Court passed Citizens United.  A few weeks ago, they passed the equally horrendous McCutcheon campaign finance decision which gives even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further.  In the name of "free speech," they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending -- a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon -- and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.  Not surprisingly, as it will give them the opportunity to buy politicians at will, this has always been the position of the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry.  According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion.  In other words, under the "anti-business", "socialist" and "oppressive" Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year.

In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion.  For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined  in an election would be a drop in the bucket.  They would hardly miss the few billion spent.

Given the reality that the Koch brothers are now the most important and powerful players in American politics, it is important to know what they want and what their agenda is.

Interestingly and not widely known, David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate in 1980.  He believed that Ronald Reagan was much too liberal.  Despite Mr. Koch putting a substantial sum of money into the campaign, his ticket only received one percent of the vote.  Most Americans thought the Libertarian Party's platform of 1980 was extremist and way out of touch with what the American people wanted and needed.
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Fast-forward 34 years and the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right.  Amazingly, much of what was considered "extremist" and "kooky" in 1980 has become part of today's mainstream Republican thinking.    

Let me give you just a few examples:

In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage.  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.

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Bernie Sanders is the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. He is a member of the Senate's Budget, Veterans, Environment, Energy, and H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, (more...)

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Of course we must fight them, and everybody who su... by Bryna Hellmann on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 12:56:24 PM
Yes, Bernie Sanders is considering a run.  Se... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 3:07:53 PM
I certainly hope all other 3rd parties will stand ... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:21:05 AM
Who is George Soros and Michael Bloomberg and what... by Xman2 on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 1:27:21 PM
This is the kind of person (Bernie Sanders) I woul... by Nancy Leys on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 2:10:58 PM
In the coming months and years the Koch brother... by Doc McCoy on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 7:31:23 PM
Things <em>are</em> reversed. The Koch... by Phil Weingart on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 8:30:29 PM
Things really would be more fair if we had as many... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:24:04 AM
Oh, my gosh... Some Democratic party operative... by Phil Weingart on Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 8:26:59 PM
I would like to see someone refute this effectivel... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:27:58 AM
It's not so.  Alan Grayson did a good job of ... by Scott Baker on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 12:02:01 PM
Are 50% of Americans stupid or what??  So ea... by Xman2 on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 7:15:41 PM
Like the Bible is interpreted so many different wa... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:41:49 PM
David Koch's platform in 1980 - http://notseeamer... by Dennis Kaiser on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 6:43:42 AM
Yes, and they try to make the public think they ar... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:38:58 AM
Oh the poor Kock brothers, they do need to be lib... by Royallynn Allen on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 9:32:43 AM
The Kochs are not stupid; but very shrewd in manip... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:44:54 PM
The place we find ourselves in was a foregone conc... by intotheabyss on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 9:51:46 AM
It's time to ban billionaires. We need a cap on ne... by tim mcghie on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:38:52 AM
Yes Tim, cap Gore, Clintons, Obamas, Kerry, Harry... by Xman2 on Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 7:18:05 AM
When a man has enough money to rule the world, we ... by Pal Palsimon on Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 11:26:07 AM
I also suspect they are trying to start a Civil Wa... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:18:29 AM
Some of the pages with Op Ed articles have a lot o... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 12:48:30 AM
This is really more of a tech support issue, but ... by Scott Baker on Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 12:27:54 PM
Before I got your message I downloaded Grime from... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 5:29:48 PM
The Op-Ed Web pages are loaded with threatening a... by Pal Palsimon on Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 11:22:55 AM
Only if you are so weak that you cannot resist and... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 2:12:08 PM
I can resist it, but - unfortunately - my computer... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 8:02:58 AM
Yes - there are plenty of ads.  Of course, th... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 10:05:21 AM
This info contains a lot of information I was not ... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 11:03:28 AM
I just downloaded adblock for Firefox, which may ... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 8:37:53 AM