Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Progressive: A Bigger, Darker Rightwing Funder

-By Ruth Conniff

April 30, 2013- It's "the most powerful organization in America that no one seems to know about."

That's how Scot Ross, executive director of the progressive think tank One Wisconsin Institute, describes the Bradley Foundation.

Unlike David Koch of the Koch Brothers, whose cover was blown when a gonzo blogger named Ian Murphy (editor of the Buffalo Beast and a frequent contributor to The Progressive), impersonated him in a prank call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The Milwaukee based Bradley Foundation operates off the mainstream media radar. Yet the group has made more than $530 million in grants and awards since 1985, making it a much, much bigger giver to rightwing causes than the Koch brothers. With more than $290 million in assets, Bradley is one of the biggest foundations in the United States.

Huffington Post: If Koch Brothers Buy LA Times, Half of Staff May Quit

-By Kathleen Miles

April 30, 2013- At a Los Angeles Times in-house awards ceremony a week ago, columnist Steve Lopez addressed the elephant in the room.

Speaking to the entire staff, he said, "Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Austin Beutner's group." No one raised their hands.

"Raise you hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch." A few people raised their hands.

Facing the elephant trunk-on, "Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers." About half the staff raised their hands.

Recent owner of the LA Times, Sam Zell, has been painted as the devil incarnate for slashing the editorial staff and for his vulgar demeanor.

Claire Connor: Wrapped in the Flag

1. Why Did I Write This Book?


2. I Never Hear About The Birchers, Aren't They All Dead?


3. What About The Koch Family And Why Do They Matter?

Media Matters: Tribune Company Scribes: Koch Brothers Purchase Could Turn Papers Into “Conservative Mouthpiece”

Hard-Right Ideology, Lack Of Experience Drives Reporters' Fear Of Koch Takeover

-By Joe Strupp

April 23, 2013- New reports that the politically conservative Koch brothers are interested in buying the Tribune Company's eight regional newspapers — which include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — are sparking concerns from newspaper staff members that attempts to influence the editorial process in favor of their far-right political views may follow.

Among those concerned is Clarence Page, a top Chicago Tribune columnist, who said he would oppose a takeover of the paper by David and Charles Koch because of "the fact that they seem to be coming in upfront with the idea of using a major news media as a vehicle for their political voice."

Mother Jones: EXCLUSIVE: Read the Koch Brothers’ Plans for Their Upcoming GOP Donor Retreat

Mother Jones has obtained a copy of the billionaires' agenda for their next confab.

-By Andy Kroll

April 23, 2013- Next week, hundreds of business executives and wealthy conservative donors will arrive in Palm Springs, California, at the behest of Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and older half of the Koch brothers duo. The occasion is the latest Koch donor retreat, dubbed the "billionaires caucus" by some, an exclusive, two-day confab with a speaker list that features governors, senators, and members of the House Republican leadership. It is the first Koch retreat since the 2012 elections.

Mother Jones: Here’s Why the Koch Brothers Would Buy the LA Times and Chicago Tribune

-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:

NY Times: Conservative Koch Brothers Turning Focus to Newspapers

-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.

Reuters: Billionaire William Koch wins $12 million in wine dispute

-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.

Politicus USA: Gov. Snyder’s Emergency Manager Law May Violate Equal Protection Rights

-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:

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