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For decades the Koch brothers have employed their enormous wealth to fiercely and relentlessly promote their extreme version of libertarian ideology—meaning, as little government as possible and every citizen pretty much fending for him or herself.
Now they may have “Time” — as in the venerable Time magazine—playing a role in their influence peddling.
With mega media company Meredith Corp’s recent agreement to purchase the 95-year-old magazine's publisher, Time Inc., for $2.8 billion also came the news that It plans to sell a sizable chunk of the combined business -- $650 million worth -- to a company, which, according to CNN Money, is owned by Charles and David Koch.
Executives at Meredith say no one from Koch Equity Development, which supplied the funding, will have a seat on the company’s board and there will be “no influence” exerted by the billionaire brothers on the magazine’s future editorial content.
Good luck with that!
It’s difficult to believe, given their long history and rabid desire to influence politics in America, that the Koch Brothers are investing literally hundreds of millions of dollars in a publishing enterprise for altruistic reasons.
Especially in light of documents filed with the IRS that a large charity -- Donors Trust, associated with the Koch’s and several other of their deep-pocketed friends -- donated nearly $1.7 million to Project Veritas.
Project Veritas is an activist, tax-exempt “public charity” that has mounted several undercover video sting operations targeting liberals and mainstream news media.
This included a 2010 sting on ACORN (a social services group), Planned Parenthood, NPR, an educational publishing house, and the leaders of a teachers’ union.
Its latest scam entailed a female operative falsely claiming to The Washington Post reporters that U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager -- a claim which The Washington Post wisely did not report and under closer scrutiny collapsed. (This is not “fake news,” as you can watch the video of the conversation with the woman and the reporter on the web.)
Project Veritas’ mission? To discredit and basically “kill” the credibility of mainstream media, according to James O’Keefe, who runs the organization.
Now the Kochs and their billionaire allies will also have Time Inc.—which, in addition to Time magazine, includes such other magazine titles as Fortune, Sports Illustrated and People—to do their surreptitious bidding.
In her extraordinarily well-documented and researched book, Dark Money, author Jane Mayer tells the tale of how big money over the last 70-plus years has pushed the political landscape further and further to the right on this nation’s political spectrum.
Mayer also paints a grim picture of the direction this country is heading when it comes to plutocrats running the show.
Under the guise of words like “individual freedom” and “greater personal choice”, these wealthy plutocrats have succeeded in lowering taxes, rolling back regulations on corporations and financial institutions, slashing the welfare state and obliterating the limits of campaign financing “which might or might not have helped others but they most certainly strengthened the hand of extreme donors with extreme wealth,” writes Mayer.
Dark money, which refers to money that is difficult if not impossible to trace, also has its fingerprints all over the support for political gerrymandering, making contributions to “charities” that are nothing more than political front organizations, as well as moving the conservative agenda into our places of worship, think tanks, corporate board rooms, even our educational institutions.
“In nearly every state,” according to The Washington Post, “the Charles Koch Foundation funds generally conservative-leaning scholars and programs in politics, economics, law and other subjects.”
The foundation’s director of university relations, John Hardin, said its giving has tripled from about $14 million in 2011 to $44 million in 2015 as the foundation aims to “diversify the conversation” on campus.
That sum pales in light of the hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars that family foundations like those of the Kochs, DeVos (as in U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos), Mercer, Mellon-Scaifes, Olins, Bradley, and numerous others have poured into our political system over the past several decades, now with the blessing of Citizens United—only to serve their own benefit.
If you really believe the current tax reform bill that is slowly but surely making its way through the Congress is to benefit the working class, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like you to bid on.
The tax reform bill is nothing less than Congress, most notably Republican Congress folk, paying back their already filthy rich donors.
As for protecting programs that support the poor and working class, the GOP is already hinting at cuts to welfare, Medicare and Social Security once the tax reform bill is passed.
We, as citizens, need to be more vigilant and start connecting the dots as to how our government works—or doesn’t work—for us all. Or we will continue to be led down a road paved with dark money and sinister consequences.
After all is said and done, we may no longer even have Time on our side.
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