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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/17/16

Koch Brothers' Dark Dirty Wizards Behind the Trump Curtain

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~by Dr. Lance Moore, author of Class Crucifixion: Money, Power, Religion and the Death of the Middle Class

The Wizard of Oz famously begged: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" Once fully exposed, Emerald City's Wizard admitted he was "a humbug," a bad-haired conman. In Frank Baum's original book, Emerald City was made merely of cheap glass, not emeralds, but with citizens conned into wearing green-tinted glasses. Similarly, Trump hands out rose-colored glasses, CONvincing folks that he will make their lives "great again." It's a cruel con, because the puppeteers behind Trump's thin curtain of populism are the very billionaires and corporations who rob the prosperity of The Donald's devotees (working class voters). What a bitter irony that Trump's advisors came to him via the perversely-titled "Americans For Prosperity." AFP is a right-wing PAC (founded and funded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, the owners of Koch Industries) with a jaded record of attacking unions, pollution controls, equitable taxation and healthcare reform, all for the purpose of increasing the "Prosperity" of the infamous "1%" of Americans. Everything AFP does is calculated to enrich billionaires and corporations at the expense of the rest of us. And AFP's latest puppet is fellow-billionaire, Donald Trump.

The curtain veiling this is indeed thin. A quick peek at Trump's behind-the-scenes campaign advisors reveals:

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" Trump's Campaign Manager and Advisor, Corey Lewandowski, spent years working as a director for Koch's Americans For Prosperity, where he was known for his quick temper and heavy-handed leadership, according to POLITICO. Those rumors continued as he masterminded Trump's campaign. Reports of inappropriate, harassing and volatile behavior seem confirmed after Lewandowski was accused of physically attacking a female reporter at a Trump rally, as widely reported. But personal morality aside, we already knew enough about his amoral political agenda; his career has shown little concern with the "family values" wing of the Republican Party, but instead focused on promoting laissez-faire deregulation to enrich the already rich.

" Matt Cipielowski is another AFP veteran on Trump's team. Having also worked for Rand Paul, Cipielowski is a dedicated Libertarian--a belief system in conflict with Trump's interventionist military boasts. He does not seem troubled by Trump's double-speak.

" Yet another AFP alumna, Nancy Pfotenhauer, was no less than President of Americans For Prosperity. After working in the George H. W. Bush administration, Pfotenhauer leapfrogged to a high-paying Washington Lobbyist job for Koch Industries, arguing for reductions in safety and pollution standards for the oil and coal industries. Speaking on PBS' Newshour in 2008, Pfotenhaur lied as she assured us of the safety of offshore oil drilling: "And we had evidence, because we had survived some really fairly horrific storms, with Katrina and Rita, and seen that the technology was pretty remarkable and that there were no significant spills during that period of time."[http://www.pbs.org/newshour, August 4, 2008] However, a Houston Chronicle review of the hundreds of spills in the wake of the two hurricanes concluded, "The quantity and cumulative magnitude of the 595 spills, which were spread across four states and struck offshore and inland, rank these two hurricanes among the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history." [http://www.chron.com/news/hurricanes/article/Spills-from-hurricanes-stain-coast-With-gallery-1915858.php] The reported spills were from "oil and chemicals stored at massive industrial facilities, in pipelines and on platforms." Those spills were downplayed, but there was no hiding the catastrophic BP oil spill, just two years later, that blackened my native coastline. I've had the filthy BP crude stuck to my toes while walking the Gulf beach, so when I call Trump's handler's "dark and dirty," I'm speaking literally and personally.

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" And of course, behind all these are the Koch brothers themselves, so notorious we need not waste space here retelling what is widely known. They are enriching themselves by trampling on all that is good for Americans: equitable wages, clean air and water, and access to reasonably-priced healthcare. The New Yorker, not a magazine known for exaggeration, described David and Charles Koch as "longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry--especially environmental regulation." [Jane Mayer, "Covert Operations," The New Yorker, August 30, 2010] The Washington Post explained how the Kochs and their like-minded associates backed a "network of politically active nonprofit groups" that was "carefully constructed with extensive legal barriers to shield [conceal!] its donors," raising hundreds of millions to manipulate U.S. elections. Forbes lists the brothers as two of the Top Five wealthiest Americans, with a combined wealth of nearly $100 billion. Never has the phrase "filthy rich" been so apt as for these coal and oil barons.

If the plutocrats had put forward a velvet-tongued marionette with a working-class background as their Chosen One for President, that would not have surprised me. But if you had told me a year ago that their puppet would be a dim-witted megalomaniac BILLIONAIRE, I would have laughed and said, "The American people are not gullible enough to fall for that!" Turns out I was the dimwit. I failed to foresee the uncanny similarity between the humbug carnival barker who conned his way into ruling Oz and the humbug carnival billionaire, Donald Trump" but if Toto the dog could pull aside the Wizard's curtain, even a dimwit could do the same for Trump's.

 

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The Reverend Doctor Lance Moore is an ordained Methodist minister, holds a doctorate from Emory University, and is author of seven books. He was a repeat panelist on "Naomi's New Morning" (Naomi Judd's television talkshow); six-time contributor (more...)
 

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