-By Andy Kroll
April 22, 2013- Not long after the November elections, I met with Charles Spies, a big-time Republican fundraiser who'd run the pro-Mitt Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future, to hear his take on why Romney lost. We sat across from each other at a long wooden table in a tenth-floor conference room overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. (Before his firm moved in, Spies says the conference room used to be Al Gore's office.) We talked about super-PACs and the hundreds of millions they spent, the clout (or not) of wealthy donors and how they could get the most bang for their buck in a political campaign. Then, unprompted, Spies told me, "If I had the resources and wanted to impact the policy debate, I'd buy a newspaper or a magazine."
"Even in today's media climate?" I asked.
"Oh, absolutely." He explained:
-By Amy Chozick
April 20, 2013- Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colo. They laid out a three-pronged, 10-year strategy to shift the country toward a smaller government with less regulation and taxes.
The first two pieces of the strategy — educating grass-roots activists and influencing politics — were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups. But the third one was: media.
Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.
-By Bernard Vaughan
April 12, 2013- A federal jury in New York on Friday awarded $12 million in punitive damages to U.S. billionaire William Koch in his dispute over the alleged misrepresentation of 24 bottles of wine he bought at auction.
Koch, 72, said he may use the proceeds to establish a fund to confront auction fraud and wine fraud.
The founder of Oxbow Group energy company, Koch had accused tech entrepreneur Eric Greenberg of knowingly selling him counterfeit bottles of wine at a 2005 Zachys auction.
"There's been a huge code of silence in this industry," Koch said after the jury decided on the damages in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. "My purpose is to shine a bright light on it."
Koch filed a federal lawsuit in 2007, accusing Greenberg, the San Francisco-based founder of several Internet companies, of fraud and misrepresentation and seeking $320,000, the amount he paid for the 24 bottles.
-By Black Liberal Boomer
April 7, 2013- The clock is ticking, and Detroit’s new Emergency Manager is listening.
Why? Because June 23 is the 50th anniversary of the date when Dr. Martin Luther King gave his first ‘I Have a Dream’ speech right here in Detroit. You think Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr wants to be the target of attention by the nation’s civil rights leaders and activists on that historic date as the hired black man helping a white governor steal the vote from the residents of the nation’s largest predominantly African American city? A right that was paid for in blood by Dr. King and so many thousands of others, both black and white?
Yeah. Me neither. No, I’m not suggesting this entire mess will be resolved by that time. But don’t think Orr isn’t feeling the pressure to watch his step on this new plantation of Michigan.
Listen to Dr. King when he spoke in Detroit:
-By Peter H Stone
March 24, 2013- California officials have widened an investigation into the source of $11 million that was mysteriously funneled by a few nonprofit groups in 2012 to sway two ballot measures in the state, The Huffington Post has learned.
The state’s election watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, which launched the inquiry last November, is working closely with the California attorney general’s office, according to a person familiar with the matter. They have issued about a dozen new subpoenas to individuals and organizations for financial records, according to the person, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the probe.
-By Igor Volsky
March 12, 2013- Right-wing funders and business industrialists David and Charles Koch may purchase the Tribune Company newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. The brothers are “interested in the clout they could gain through the Times’ editorial pages,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Koch told the website that the brothers are “constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors”:
Our kids are being prepared for passive obedience, not creative, independent lives.
-By Noam Chomsky
March 8, 2013- The following is Part II of the transcript of a speech Noam Chomsky delivered in February on "The Common Good." Click here to read Part I.
Let’s turn to the assault on education, one element of the general elite reaction to the civilizing effect of the ‘60s. On the right side of the political spectrum, one striking illustration is an influential memorandum written by Lewis Powell, a corporate lawyer working for the tobacco industry, later appointed to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon. At the other end of the narrow spectrum, there was an important study by the Trilateral Commission, liberal internationalists from the three major state capitalist industrial systems: the US, Europe and Japan. Both provide good insight into why the assault targets the educational system.
WXYZ (ABC News, Detroit): Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney candidate for Detroit's emergency financial manager?
-By: Jeff Vaughn
March 4, 2013- Since Governor Snyder proclaimed Detroit is in a financial emergency Friday, only one name has surfaced as a possible emergency financial manager.
Could a man that last ran for president be Detroit's EFM?
"I do have a top candidate and we do have additional people that could serve that role," said Governor Snyder. "The top candidate's outstanding," he continued about the mystery person.
At least two political commentators speculate former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney may be Detroit's EFM. Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane suggested Romeny would be a good choice after turning around a number of businesses and citing Romney's Detroit roots and his availability.
-by Virginia Anders-Ellmore
February 26, 2013- CLOSING THE INCOME GAP - Yes we have been here before.
Capitalism is an economic system that values the accumulation of wealth. In free-market economics, governmental regulation should be as little as possible. The combination of capitalism and the laissez faire, free-market economy has brought the United States to a major imbalance of wealth distribution.
Today, CEOs make more than 400 times the salaries of the average worker.
The bankers and corporate owners have worked hard to change laws and regulations that allow them to keep their wealth at levels not seen since the 1920s.
Matthew Fillipowicz: Tar Sands Blockade Plans Week Of Action To Protest Keystone XL Pipeline March 16-23
Firm planning oil pipeline from western Canada to Texas targets climate change protesters' arguments on emissions
-By Associated Press
February 20, 2013- The company that wants to build a controversial oil pipeline from western Canada to Texas said on Tuesday said that shutting down the oil sands at its source would have no measurable effect on global warming.
"You could shut down oil sands production tomorrow and it would have absolutely no measurable impact on climate change," he said.
Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president for energy and oil pipelines, said opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have grossly inflated the likely impact of the oil it would carry on emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
-By Elspeth Reeve
February 20, 2013- The massive amount of outside political spending unleashed by Citizens United did not, as feared, make it easier for rich people to buy an election. Instead, it showed that rich people are pretty dumb about politics. Take the billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch who are spending their 2013 figuring out why they the money they spent in 2012 was such a waste. They have already fired most of their 100 staffers at Americans for Prosperity, and they're now conducting an audit.
February 18, 2013- As tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. yesterday to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, more evidence emerged that the public isn’t getting the full story of the environmental impacts of tar sands.
Media yesterday reported on an internal government memo revealing a Canadian government study on a tar sands tailings pond that found that toxic liquid ponds do leak toxic chemicals into the environment—despite repeated denials of officials.
AlterNet: Playing Golf as the Planet Burns: Obama Meets With Oil-Man as Protesters Call for Halt to Keystone Pipeline
President Obama spent his Sunday swinging at little balls with Jim Crane, a Texas businessman in deep with Big Oil.
-By Medea Benjamin
February 18, 2013- In parallel universes, President Obama spent his Sunday playing golf at an exclusive Florida gated community while 50,000 Americans poured into Washington DC, calling on the absent president to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and stand up to Big Oil. In an inspiring rally, indigenous women from the United States and Canada told the crowd how the tar sands and its infrastructure—from Northern Alberta where the oil is extracted to Texas where the Keystone pipeline is under construction—are threatening communities across North America. Canadian indigenous activist Crystal Lameman described how fish in northeastern Alberta have cancerous tumors, moose have “puss bubbles under the skin” and babies are airlifted to the hospital for drinking contaminated water.