Do you ever wonder what the Brothers Koch do for fun? Pin the Plutonium on the Environmentalists? Guess how many of the politicians they own will fit in a Humvee? Bobbing for Billions?
Their latest front group, based in Virginia, calls itself the "State Policy Network," or SPN, and it has planned a veritable bloodletting festival for the new year with a full frontal assault targeting health care, education, the environment, and worker's compensation. And that's just for starters. According to their webiste SPN is "an alliance of "free-market think tanks" in all 50 states that develops and coordinates strategies "to limit government and advance market-friendly public policy at the state and local levels."
As The Guardian reported Friday, SPN has an $83 million budget drawn largely from individual and corporate donors and foundations. And such donors! It's like a list of arch villains from a James Bond movie: Charles G. and David H. Koch top the list and are joined by tobacco giant Philip Morris USA, grocery conglomerate czar Kraft Foods, International Big Pharma drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, and the "Searle Freedom Trust" (Pfizer/Nutra-Sweet) which (allegedly) supports "a more just, free and prosperous society."
Free to become a billionaire if you are at the tippy top of the corporate food chain, free to fend for food stamps if you are among the 99%. Ask yourself, Truthseeker, does that list of uber-capitalists sound like they have the best interest of the American citizen at heart? The Guardian described their evil plan this way:
"The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as "free-market thinktanks," includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
"The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.- Advertisement -
"The documents contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states, providing a blueprint for the conservative agenda in 2014. In partnership with the Texas Observer and the Portland Press Herald in Maine, the Guardian is publishing SPN's summary of all the proposals to give readers and news outlets full and fair access to state-by-state conservative plans that could have significant impact throughout the US, and to allow the public to reach its own conclusions about whether these activities comply with the spirit of non-profit tax-exempt charities.
"Watchdogs that monitor the work of SPN and other conservative networks in the US said that the centralised coordination of state-level campaigns showed a significant attempt to build local activism into a nationwide movement. Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which issued a recent report on SPN, said that the local identity of the network's members belied a larger purpose. 'They appear to be advocating purely local interests but what they are promoting is part of a larger national template to radically remake our government in a way that undermines public institutions and the rights of workers,' she said.
"The SPN said that its co-ordinating role was justified because local and state issues were increasingly impinging on national politics. 'There's no mystery here,' Sharp said. 'The whole idea of a state policy network is that individual thinktanks can be in communication, share best practices and analysis, and combine their efforts when they see a benefit from doing so.'
"The proposals in the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents go beyond a commitment to free enterprise, however. They include:
" -- 'reforms' to public employee pensions raised by SPN thinktanks in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
" -- tax elimination or reduction schemes in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska and New York;- Advertisement -
" -- an education voucher system to promote private and home schooling in Florida;
" -- campaigns against worker and union rights in Delaware and Nevada;
" -- opposition to Medicaid in Georgia, North Carolina and Utah.
"SPN's president, Tracie Sharp, told the Guardian that 'as a pro-freedom network of thinktanks, we focus on issues like workplace freedom, education reform, and individual choice in healthcare: backbone issues of a free people and a free society.'"
Which "free people" do these corporate criminals believe will benefit from reduced education benefits, unfunded pensions, cuts to Medicaid, or compromised worker's rights? It's another compassionate conservative oxymoronic mystery we can never comprehend.