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Kochs rent a former senator

Published: Wed, July 16, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Jim Hightower


The beauty of our country’s present system of government is that anyone is perfectly free to buy a member of Congress. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

Take the Koch brothers. Of course, these multibillionaire industrialists prefer to buy everything in bulk, and they’ve spent millions of dollars to purchase a whole flock of Republican Congress critters.

In fact, they’ve spent so much on so many elections (from Congress all the way down to school board races) that they’ve made themselves the poster boys of Big Money corruption. By huge margins, polls indicate that the public wants Congress to terminate the infestation of our democratic system by the Kochs and other plutocrats.

How have the brothers responded? By buying another senator.

Don Nickles, an Oklahoma Republican, became a powerhouse Washington lobbyist shortly after he left the Senate in 2005. His lobby shop pulls in some $8 million a year to run favor-seeking chores for the likes of AT&T, ExxonMobil, FedEx, General Motors, and Walmart.

Now, Nickles is pulling the Koch’s plow. He’s using his Capitol Hill contacts to try to defeat reforms that would shut off the gusher of secret, unlimited amounts of corporate cash that the Koch network funnels into our elections.

Huge checks

What we have here is a perfect example of Big Money looping full circle to strangle the people’s right to self-govern. The Koch boys write huge checks to candidates and front groups to elect lawmakers who serve their interests. Some of those lawmakers, like Nickles, later slide into lucrative lobbying slots, getting paid a bundle by Koch & Co. to fend off anti-corruption reforms.

Thus, the Kochs can keep making bulk purchases of lawmakers ... and the circle is drawn ever-tighter around democracy’s neck. To help pass a Constitutional amendment to ban this corrupt money, go to www.united4thepeople.org.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.


1steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Do you have a problem with multi-billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer buying Senators too, or is it just conservative billionaires?

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2tnmartin(463 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

this is beyond ridiculous. Hightower is a FAR-lefty loon and has been for quite a long time. Did the Vindy get his column cheap from cashing in a coupon to Creator's Syndicate, or something?

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3lajoci(648 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Here we go with the "George Soros" again.

Ad Nauseum.

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4borylie(923 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Here we go with the "Koch brothers" again'

Ad nauseam. ( I believe this is the proper spelling).

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5lajoci(648 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Hightower linked the Kochs to SPECIFIC politicians and SPECIFIC front groups, which the Kochs funded not in service to a broad segment of the population, but in service to the plutocrats, the upper 1/10th of 1%, who benefit from the policies these purchased politicians push.

Please SPECIFY the politicians and front groups that Soros (or any one of the other dozens and dozens and dozens of left-wing billionaires) has bankrolled for personal gain, i.e., to sponsor legislation that protects the interests of the donor.

You can't, because the two are not equivalent.

Which is why you simply repeat "George Soros" ad nauseUm.

In other words, ad infinitam, as if the repeated assertion were proof in itself.

(Except that simply saying over and over, ad nauseUm, doesn't make it so.)

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6borylie(923 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

lajoci, You remind me of another poster here, Cambridge. You guys use the red herring method to get out in the weeds. Here's a quick answer for you, Harry Reid. You know exactly how Soros and Steyer own lib/democrats, you just can't bring yourself to admit it. Goodbye.

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7lajoci(648 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Irregardless of who I remind you of, your answers are always the same -- throw out a name, in a kind of coded short-hand, so you don't have to actually think OF A LEGIT RESPONSE.

You need to do a careful self-assessment of yourself and ask yourself some hard questions about what your ideas are and where you get them.

Otherwise, you'll be embarrassing yourself by reflexively throwing out names in your lazy attempt to participate in the discussion. It's just laziness -- no other word for it.

Hightower lays out specific connections between right-wing politicians and the plutocrats who fund them, spells out how the funds are channeled through front groups, explains how the SCOTUS's Citizens United decision made all this graft possible (to the point of legitimizing pay-o-la), and all you right-wingnut baggers know how to do is throw out names.


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8steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

WOW what a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Translation: Billionaires who don't agree with me are bad, but billionaires who agree with me are good.

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9steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The epic hypocrisy of Tom Steyer: NY Times edition

This past April, with the help of a knowledgeable reader, we took a deep dive into the fossil fuel investments of Democratic money man and environmental poseur Tom Steyer in “The epic hypocrisy of Tom Steyer.” Introducing our reader’s report, John wrote regarding Steyer: “Today, he is a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. That fits with his current economic interests: banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. But it was not always thus. In fact, Steyer owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financers of coal projects. Tom Steyer was for coal before he was against it.”

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10lajoci(648 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The history of progressivism is the story of people growing up and getting smart about a lot important issues.

Hardly anybody thought the puny business of little old mankind could have any effect on the environment, until the Cuyahoga caught fire, or the salmon disappeared from the Columbia, or desertification overwhelmed what had been forested land, or acid rain rendered lakes lifeless, or any of the other dozens of environmental disasters.


"Hypocrisy" is denying the reality all around you for personal, political, or economic gain.

"Hypocrisy" is self-justifying yourself by cynically accusing your opponents of hypocrisy.

"Hypocrisy" is sitting on your computer 24/7 and calling that a life.

"Hypocrisy" is being you, Steivo.

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