Don’t sell out to the Koch brothers / Don’t let the brothers in the door / We don’t want them taking over / That is what we’re marching for!
That was the message, as sung by acclaimed musician Ry Cooder, carried by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who marched and rallied Tuesday to urge Oaktree Capital Management not to sell the respected Los Angeles Times to right-wing extremists David and Charles Koch. The “No Koch Hate in L.A.” rally was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and community allies.
Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund a number of extreme right-wing organizations and are major contributors to the tea party and bankrollers for a host of anti-worker state ballot initiatives and legislation, now have their sights set on building a major media empire.
Last week, after Michigan became the latest state to pass "right to work" for less legislation, many began to dig into the history of such laws and discovered that one of the earliest pushes for "right to work" came from an extreme right-wing activist Vance Muse, who was staunchly anti-communist, anti-integration and anti-union. Muse was the leader of the Christian American Association, an organization that fought to pass "right to work" in more than a dozen states in the 1940s.
Michigan is poised to become the latest state to pass "right to work" for less legislation, a mislabeled policy that is designed to weaken the rights and wages of working families. As is often the case in recent years, extreme anti-worker legislation, like the law in Michigan, can be traced back to Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the group's founders Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund a host of extreme right-wing organizations.
When billionaire CEOs ask a politician to jump, apparently the proper response is—if Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is any indication—“how high?” Earlier this year, Snyder told the U.S. House education and Workforce Committee (see the video in this blog post):
Right-to-work is an issue that is a very divisive issue… we have many problems in Michigan that are much more pressing… I don't believe it is appropriate in Michigan during 2012.
The Michigan State Senate just passed the “right to work” for less bill. The House passed a similar bill earlier today and Gov. Rick Snyder (R) says he will sign the legislation that rolls back workers’ rights.
For the third time in the past 14 years, California voters rejected an attempt—fueled by millions of out-of-state dollars—to shut working people out of the political process when they soundly defeated Proposition 32. California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said working families:
Rejected a blatant power play by corporate special interests to silence the voice of working people. Despite weeks of misleading advertisements backing Prop. 32 paid for by billionaires and out-of-state super PACs, the margin of defeat was decisive. Prop. 32 backers spent more than $50 million in an effort to fool voters.
Menards, the third-largest home improvement chain in the United States, encourages its employees to take a so-called "economics" course online that contains staunchly anti-Obama content and, while it doesn't endorse Mitt Romney, it talks in positive terms of policies similar to those the Republican presidential candidate has proposed.
I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.
Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch could be the poster boys for the big money special interests that are dumping hundreds of millions of dollars in this year’s elections on the national and state levels. Last week, it was reported that the American Future Fund (AFF), a front group for corporate special interests that’s linked to the Kochs, dropped $4 million into the effort to pass California’s Prop. 32.