The rise of the Tea Party cannot be properly understood without knowing who pulls the strings behind the scenes and provides funding. The Koch brothers came into the spotlight after the publication of a groundbreaking investigative article in the "New Yorker" in August.
Through their organization "Americans For Prosperity (AFP)", the Koch brothers have a huge influence on the Tea Party movement.
"The AFP is the third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations, behind the Cato Institute and the George Mason University Foundation. Before 2003, when the AFP was still named the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, it received $18,460,912 in funding. 84% of that funding came from the Koch Family Foundations ($12,906,712) and the Scaife Family Foundations ($2,510,000). Koch Family Foundations is funded by Koch Industries. According to Forbes, Koch Industries is the second largest privately-held company, and the largest privately owned energy company, in the United States. Koch industries has made its money in the oil business, primarily oil refining. Presently, it holds stakes in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, forest products, and chemical technology. Americans for Prosperity is also connected to oil giant ExxonMobil. According to ExxonSecrets, between the years 1998-2001, Citizens for A Sound Economy and Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation received $380,250 from ExxonMobil."
I planned to write about the Koch brothers for a while, but the publication of excellent new footage by the Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham gave me a new idea: Make my own short documentary about the activities of the Koch brothers.
Taki Oldham recently published the documentary "(Astro) Turf Wars" (see the website www.astroturfwars.com here and a PDF-document with further info here) . He obtained unique footage for example of the annual meeting of "Americans For Prosperity", at which the 25 state chapters report to chairman (and oil billionaire) David Koch. One attendee after the other boasts about their achievements of massively supporting the Tea Party movement and organizing events, thus firmly establishing the direct link between the Tea Party movement and "Americans For Prosperity."
This is important, because the Koch brothers previously strictly denied to finance the Tea Party movement. The available evidence, however, seems to prove conclusively the opposite. It is simply disgusting how these billionaires shamelessly exploit the dissatisfaction of US citizens in order to push their anti-regulation, anti-tax agenda. The interests of Koch Industries are clearly NOT the interests of the ordinary teabagger.
Confronted with the new footage in the documentary "(Astro) Turf Wars", the Koch brothers were now forced to change their language regarding the support of the Tea Party, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
You will find this important footage by Taki Oldham at the end of my clip. The clip contains examples of how Americans for Prosperity try to manipulate US voters, through adverts and propaganda at events. Furthermore, the clip contains excellent commentary by the investigative journalist Charles Lewis.
I am very happy that the short clip I created yesterday with Sarah Palin's remarks during her speech in San Jose about Pat Tillman and Michelle Obama found a wide audience. Geoffrey Dunn used the clip for his excellent post in Huffington Post about Sarah's distasteful remarks, and our friend GottaLaff from "The Political Carnival" posted it as well.
From Sarah Jones at politicususa:
"The problem is, Pat Tillman did not believe in God and nor does his family. His brother, Richard, expressed his disgust for people talking about God at Pat’s funeral on Bill Maher’s show just weeks ago. And Pat Tillman did not want to be used as a political weapon and most certainly not as war propaganda. His death was covered up by our military and made to look like Tillman had died “fighting for our country,” when in fact he had been killed by friendly fire. (...)
And Palin shouldn’t go to San Jose and think that just because she’s in the city where Pat lived, she can or should co-opt his death for her pro-war propaganda. Is there nothing sacred in Palin’s mind or heart? Palin thinks her religion trumps everything and everyone else, so much so that she would rather use Pat Tillman’s memory for her own purpose than to be respectful of him and his family.
Furthermore, as she should know (I realize she doesn’t read, but The Tillman Story is in theaters around the country) the Tillmans have a rather large issue with the military for the way they were lied to about their son’s death. They were originally told he died “fighting for his country” but he didn’t. He died by friendly fire.
Why would Sarah Palin go on about how he gave his life for our “freedom”? No, he didn’t Sarah. His life was stolen from him and while we do not know the circumstances, we do know that ‘blue-on-blue’ fatalities account for a significant percentage of all battlefield deaths – a tragedy, a reason to AVOID war if at all possible, not glorify it. Pat himself had decided that he would not have a military burial as he didn’t want his death to be used as a publicity tool."
Richard Tillman talking to Bill Maher - a must-see clip:
In addition, here is Pat's mother Mary Tillman talking to Keith Olbermann in 2008: