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How two rich Libertarians orchestrated a modern day myth and a movement to bring down a President

August 29, 2010

The Koch brothers, the men Jane Mayer claims are really pulling the strings behind the scenes in the Tea Party movement. CLICK TO ENLARGE
(NATIONAL) -- In what may be viewed with time as a tour de force of modern investigating reporting, investigative journalist Jane Mayer appears to have laid naked an apparent modern day myth: the myth that the “Tea Party” movement is a bottom-up, spontaneous creation of blue collar working stiffs, a “grass roots” movement of little guys and gals – Democrats, Republicans and independents – who are simply angry at government at all levels.

Mayer, a staff reporter for the New Yorker magazine for the past fifteen years who has broken major stories for that publication that were then picked up and expanded upon by “mainstream” media, has gone deep behind the scenes to produce a groundbreaking straight-shot, no chaser piece called “Covert Operations: The Billionaire brothers who are waging war against Obama.”

The piece details – by following the money trails - how two billionaire brothers, oil men who were born to a wealthy family and who have strong Libertarian views about who should be running the country and how, carefully crafted over the past few years - by virtue of their power, connections and money - an entire movement designed to make Americans believe “little guys” were behind what is actually a strong, well financed power play to bring down a Presidency and take America back to a different time.

That would be a time, says the report, of few if any regulations for industry and a wide open, free for all “free market” brand of capitalism – that amply rewards the top 2% of Americans already at the top of the food chain and has little if any use for government oversight at any level or safety nets or socials programs for the lower classes or unions.

Mayer’s report brings to the glare of the spotlight the Koch brothers – two wealthy men that most people in the country have never heard of.


The Koch brothers, reports Mayer, are two billionaire right wing Libertarians who have dedicated much time, money and energy into being secret players behind the scenes; shadow funders and manipulators of the Tea Party movement, and other groups, that in essence are using unsuspecting ground level foot soldiers in the Tea Party movement to do their bidding all under the pretext of patriotism and preventing America from becoming a “socialist” country run by a socialist government.

And the Koch brothers, says the report, have gone to great lengths to keep themselves and their money in the shadows so as to perpetuate the myth and grow the movement.

Mayer writes:

“The Koch’s have long depended on the public’s not knowing all the details about them. They have been content to operate what David Koch has called “the largest company that you’ve never heard of.”

At the center of Mayer’s report is the efforts the Koch brothers have undertaken to create and fund numerous organizations and thinks tanks – such as Americans For Prosperity, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which later was merged into a group now called FreedomWorks – along with donating to certain political candidates and causes to advance their personal and political desires, while taking all appropriate steps to keep their power in those groups hidden from both the media and low level players in the Tea Party movement -- players who have bought into the carefully crafted 4th Of July, mom-God-country-apple pie aspects of the movement.

Mayer’s New Yorker report can be read HERE


FreedomWorks, as it turned out, was largely the shadow player behind the efforts to bring in loud disruptors and angry sounding demonstrators into health care debates a year ago in order to get those disruptions on TV’s nightly news and in newspapers so as to perpetuate the myth that the movement was “grass roots” and not a construct of two billionaire brothers.

Freedom Works - according to sourcewatch.org which tracks front groups claiming to be “grass roots” citizen organizations - was one of the lobbying groups involved in orchestrating those not so spontaneous anti-Obama "tea parties" on April 15, 2009.

According to Sourcewatch, in the summer of 2009 FreedomWorks began pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an “image in the media” of what would appear, to the casual observer to be mass, angry public opposition to health care reform and clean energy reform at Congress members' town-hall meetings in their districts.

But a leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website "Tea Party Patriots," described how members should infiltrate town hall meetings and harass and intimidate Democratic members of Congress:

“Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up ... You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation. Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses -- call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow-up with a shout-out ... The goal is to rattle him..."


On the public radio broadcast of the program On the Media in August 2009, FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Graham – in a conversation taped in April by On the Media - freely admitted his group was using as a blue print for their town hall disruption demonstrations, radical left wing literature from the 1960’s and 70’s which, among other things, taught left wing radicals how to disrupt, sometimes violently, meetings and other gatherings and intimidate other Americans and political leaders.

Graham said on the program, “when we get our jobs and our organization, the first thing to do is ya sit down with some of Saul Alinksy’s books “Rules For Radicals.” We read that book and we study that book. Everything we’ve been trying to do here comes straight out of those pages.”

Saul D. Alinksy (1909-1972), often called the "father of modern American radicalism," developed tactics some would call “brutish” in efforts to grab power for the far left. These are the tactics the radical left used successfully in the 1960’s and 1970’s and are now in use by the radical right.

Eventually factions of the radical left wing stepped up their aggressive Alinksy-inspired playbook to include bombings.

Graham, in that radio interview, tacitly admitted FreedomWorks wanted to promote the same general type of radical behavior to bring about the same kind of media coverage and tactical success of the left wing radicals of the 1960’s who deployed Alinksy’s tactics to get what they wanted.

In March of this year, David B. Stone Sr. and his wife, Tina of Clayton Michigan, who had made no secret about the fact that they were part of a right wing militia movement, were in green prison garb in a federal courthouse in Detroit as two of nine defendants facing sedition and weapons charges in connection with what Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called an “insidious plan.”

In an indictment against the nine, the U,S, Justice Department said they were part of a group of apocalyptic right-wing Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of “inciting an antigovernment uprising,” the latest in a recent surge in right-wing militia activity.

The court filing said the group, which called itself the Hutaree, planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then bomb the funeral caravan using improvised explosive devices based on designs used against American troops by insurgents in Iraq.


This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, the F.B.I. special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a statement. “The F.B.I. takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.”

A report in the New York Times quoted a law enforcement official as sayng the plot appeared to be unconnected to the then recent threats against Democratic lawmakers who voted for legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system.

In May of this year President Obama gave the commencement address at the University of Michigan and spoke about the loss of civility in political debate:

“It makes it nearly impossible for people who have legitimate but bridgeable differences to sit down at the same table and hash things out. It robs us of a rational and serious debate, the one we need to have about the very real and very big challenges facing this nation. It coarsens our culture, and at its worst, it can send signals to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is a justifiable response.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate groups writes:

“The anger seething across the American political landscape over racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites…goes beyond the radical right. The "tea parties"…are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism.”

“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year.

"We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety…the signs of growing radicalization are everywhere. Armed men have come to Obama speeches bearing signs suggesting that the "tree of liberty" needs to be "watered" with "the blood of tyrants." The Conservative Political Action Conference held this February was co-sponsored by groups like the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a Communist agent, and Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps.”

In an August report titled “The Second Wave: Return of the Militias," the SPLC noted a “dramatic resurgence in the Patriot movement and its paramilitary wing, the militias. Now, the latest SPLC count finds that an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) — a 244% jump.”

The SPLC calls that 244% jump a cause for grave concern noting that individuals associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead.

Since the installation of Barack Obama as President, right-wing extremists have murdered six law enforcement officers.

Mayer’s New Yorker story can be found HERE



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