Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
~ John F. Kennedy
Over at The Grio.com, my conservative colleague Sophia Nelson is ripping the NAACP for their newly created Tea Party Tracker website. She believes the nation’s oldest civil rights organization is wasting its time picking a fight with the Tea Party and should be expending its energy on addressing the real problems of the Black community such as high unemployment and children being born out-of-wedlock.
I agree with her. To an extent.
I know Fox News spends every day of its existence trying to destroy President Obama. I know there are wealthy and entrenched groups and people whom want to undo civil rights and the progress Black people have made. I know the Republicans have chosen a strategy to confound, obstruct, and defeat everything and anything the President and his allies are trying to do.
We got a reminder of the value of investigative journalism when The New Yorker published a nearly 10,000 word article by reporter Jane Mayer entitled “Covert Operations” which goes in-depth into the agenda advanced by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch through a shadowy and complex network of think tanks, phony grassroots organizations and now the Tea Party.
I don’t blame Republican, conservatives and right-wingers for everything that’s wrong with Black folks, but I won’t ignore the part they have played in what’s wrong with us. And yes, that includes the Kochs, Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife. President Obama’s enemies are separate from those of Blacks as a whole, but guys like the Kochs are nostalgic for a time when things were a lot better for wealthy White men and not uppity Black folks.
Since no one has effectively debunked the facts in Mayer’s article, the default fallback has been to dredge up George Soros, the left-wing billionaire who funds liberal organizations such as Move On.org and the Center for American Progress. Mayer said in an interview on NPR, Soros is completely open about what causes and organizations he supports with his money. Mayer added she wrote an article on Soros and he cooperated with her.
The Kochs, however, pony up the money for many organizations, think tanks and phony “grass-roots” organizations such as Americans for Prosperity, while remaining anonymous. They don’t grant interviews and they don’t disclose their involvement in promoting and funding groups that front for their conservative agenda. They have been directly involved in the funding and training of Tea Party participants and Americans for Prosperity is providing buses to bring people to Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” gathering in Washington.
The brothers own oil refineries and were named this year among the top 10 corporate polluters. They funnel much of their funds into anti-environmental activities such as fighting against government policies to limit and end environmental oversight and are global warming deniers.
On the 1980 Libertarian Presidential ticket, David Koch ran as the vice-president running mate to presidential candidate Ed Clark. They got almost a million votes and 1 percent of the popular vote, the best showing of any Libertarian presidential candidate including Ron Paul.
Incidentally, their father was Fred Koch, one of the founders of the John Birch Society.
The Kochs aren’t breaking any laws by secretly scratching checks for front organizations advancing their right-wing Libertarian agenda. They seriously believe the best government is the government that completely gets out of the way of the free market.
Those disgruntled citizens who make up the Tea Party have some legitimate grievances and there is nothing wrong with them marching, organizing and running candidates that support their viewpoint. That’s democracy and they are free to participate in it. They should know though there are rich people who don’t give a damn about their problems. They want to hijack their activism and utilize it to perpetuate their agenda. The puppet masters are trying to make the Tea Party their puppets.
Maybe what we really need is a website tracking the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Mellon Scaife and the other wealthy right-wingers underwriting the organized opposition to Obama.