Editor's Note - Though this came as a fund-raising plea from Senator Bernie Sanders, it also serves as an editorial on the state of our economy and culture. I have removed direct links to fund-raising pages because that is not Opednews' role. If, in the future, the Koch Brothers get the changes Sanders' talks about below, regarding the media, "they will move to influence public
opinion through direct media ownership" and the thin line between unbiased media and political ads will disappear, and progressive media will have to respond in kind, I believe.
Reprinted from click here
Thank you so much for the support that, over the years, you have given me. As Vermont's senator and the longest serving Independent in American congressional history I am helping to lead the fight in Congress to protect the middle class and working families of our country against the greed and recklessness of Big Money interests. In that struggle you have been with me step by step, battle after battle - and I appreciate all that you have done.
The unprecedented struggle that we're engaged in now against the Billionaire Class is not just about preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or whether we create the millions of jobs our economy desperately needs. It's not merely about whether we raise the minimum wage, make college affordable, protect women's rights or take the bold initiatives we need to reverse climate change and save our planet. It's not just about creating a health care system which guarantees health care to all as a right, or addressing the abysmally high rate of childhood poverty.
THE STRUGGLE THAT WE'RE ENGAGED IN RIGHT NOW IS MUCH MORE THAN ALL THAT. IT IS WHETHER WE CAN PREVENT THIS COUNTRY FROM MOVING TO AN OLIGARCHIC FORM OF SOCIETY IN WHICH VIRTUALLY ALL ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL POWER RESTS WITH A HANDFUL OF BILLIONAIRES.
In my view, there are now three major political forces in this country. The Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the Koch brothers led Billionaire Party. As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court ruling which regards corporations as people and allows the super-rich to spend as much as they want on elections, the Billionaire Party (aligned with the Republicans) is now the major political force in the country.
Please support our efforts today to counter the unlimited resources of the Koch brothers and their right-wing allies.
The Koch brothers, worth $80 billion dollars, are the second wealthiest family in America. Working with other billionaires like Sheldon Adelson, the Kochs are prepared to spend an UNLIMITED sum of money to create an America shaped by their right-wing views. And I mean UNLIMITED. Last year, according to Forbes Magazine, the Koch brothers' fortune INCREASED by $12 billion dollars, while the fortune of Sheldon Adelson INCREASED by $11 billion. In one year! In other words, a handful of self-serving right-wing multi-billionaires have the capability of spending more money on the political process than everyone else combined (the Obama campaign spent one billion in 2012) and they will still be far better off financially than the preceding year.
It is also important to understand the nature of their spending. While they are obviously putting huge sums of money into elections (much of it hidden from public scrutiny), political consultants and lobbyists, their influence goes far beyond political campaigns or congressional policy. Incredibly, and not widely known, is the reality that they have created or supported organizations active in almost every area of public life -- the law, education, health care, economics, academia, the environment and climate change, state legislative initiatives, media and veterans' needs. In other words, they are spending billions not only to win elections and legislative victories today, but to aggressively shape public consciousness to bring about the extreme right-wing society they wish to see. It is also likely that, in years to come, they will move to influence public opinion through direct media ownership. Last year, for example, the Koch brothers gave serious thought to buying the Chicago Tribune Media Company.
What is it that the Koch Brothers and these other billionaires want? What are their goals?
Short term, they want to repeal or eviscerate every major piece of legislation passed in the last 80 years which protects the interests of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. This means, among other programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, the right of workers to organize, worker safety, unemployment benefits, nutrition programs and the United States Postal Service. Incredibly, they not only oppose raising the minimum wage, they want to abolish the CONCEPT of the minimum wage so that employers can hire workers for $3 an hour. They also want to dismantle virtually all agencies of government which work to protect the environment and clean air, clean water and safe food. Needless to say, they also believe in a regressive tax system in which the wealthy and large corporations pay even less than they pay today.
Long term, their economic goal is to create a right-wing extremist "free" economy in which working people have virtually no rights or protections. It is not only ideology that motivates them. They want to make sure that more and more of our nation's wealth will come to rest in the hands of the richest 1/10th of 1% of Americans. They want to make certain that they keep their billions and increase those billions, so that the rich not only stay rich but become even richer. They want a radical redistribution of wealth away from the middle class, the elderly, children and working families -- and into the financial holdings of the Billionaire Class.
We must not let that happen!
Politically, they want an electoral system in which the super-rich buy elections while, at the same time, fewer low-income and working people are able to vote. For the Billionaire Class, "democracy" is simply an extension of their economic power. Today, they own much of the economy. Now, they want to own the government. Clearly, part of their insidious agenda is to make it harder for low-income and working families to vote and participate in the political process through the establishment of restrictive voting regulations.