From MLK to Saheed Vassell- Fifty Years of Police Brutality.

#VOTETHEMOUT

Editor’s note- This is one of the most powerfully stated opinion editorial pieces ever published by Millennial Democrats. As always, the views of the writer are his own, and not necessarily reflective of the organization as a whole.

But people need a place to tell their stories from their side. Hosting that is what we do, and thus, the mic is handed over.

I was feeling fed up the other day when I wrote the Stephon Clark piece. That’s why I wrote it. But now tonight they gun down this guy Saheed Vassell on the streets of New York City, less than two weeks later?

On the 50 year anniversary of Dr King’s murder? Now, I am really, truly angry. And I am not alone.

How blatant can you get? How stupid can you be? How many actual people have to get ruined and butchered and slaughtered, before you people will say enough is enough? Somebody has to say it, even if you refuse.

WE ARE TIRED OF GETTING SHOT. PERIOD. Do something to protect us, or face the consequences that soon everyone will fully realize that you can’t.

The people who are supposed to be protecting us are becoming nothing more than the biggest, baddest gang of all. An American citizen has a duty to speak out against such a travesty.

This is so crazy, man. I’m just going to let the words flow through me as they see fit, today. The time for a massive public outcry has come.
How many more of these is it going to take?
I must know fifty guys like that guy Saheed Vassell. It might have been me, but for a few twists of fate.
Life is hard for them, and people are not always kind. People look at them as deserving of their fates somehow, as if a lifetime downtrodden by your own bad habits and mental illness is not enough. Nobody gets mad when they die. So I will. I will get mad enough for millions.
The police and correctional guards- They were left alone, by Scott Walker, when he came for the pensions of state workers in Wisconsin. Teachers were to be destroyed, schools ravaged, but the police were left alone. They almost always are. People are afraid of them. They’ve become a domestic army, and ultimately, they take their orders from themselves.
And they’re the ones who have got all the guns.
When Hitler came to power in Germany, one of the very first government institutions he was able to twist and corrupt was that of the police. Why? Because he knew that half of them were all thugs and hatchetmen already. That’s why they got the job. They had nothing to offer the world except muscle and bone.
Soon the worst started seizing key positions, the best lacked the conviction to stop them, and the rest was soon to follow. It could again. At any time.
Maybe corruption and a thirst for slaughter are inherent in the position, but maybe not. Going without them should at least be tried.
The trouble is that if we Democrats don’t want to end up like Social Democrats did back in Germany, we’ve got to be really careful. Because they know, that we know who they are. And that is very dangerous. It’s scary to even publish this. I know what the cost of freedom is.
This is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s murder. Today. No one will ever convince me that it wasn’t either set up that way or fate. Random is out, in my opinion.
The days of international police control are here, and guess what? There’s more chaos in the streets than ever, because of it! Nice!
How long is it going to take this time, before people get fed up? You can already see the makings of Nazis in half of your neighbors, right? They don’t want to hear about what the Russians are doing, they don’t want to hear about what Trump is doing, they just want to be left alone.
And jobs. Like Roseanne was saying. They want to be given jobs to do, where they can have all their needs taken care of, earn a scale of varied punishments or rewards, and have lots of less deserving others to abuse.
That is the promise that one Trump voter makes to another. If you go to work on time and you vote Republican, then it’s You beat your wife, I’ll beat mine, and neither one of us will judge the other(at least, not publicly.) It’s a part of his right, part of living as a successful man.
That is the nature of the Nazi. To acquiesce with a turned away glance, to refrain pointedly from speaking out. To condemn himself with silence and sleep.
May all of us root out the inner Nazi in ourselves and destroy him! Annihilate him! Drag him out into the light to die in shame!
At any rate, we had better do it to him, before he does it to us. 
You don’t want to be standing in the dock at Nuremberg.
This has been an ugly rant, I think to myself, as I am writing it. I don’t like to levy such mass criticisms unless the need is utterly dire. Police aren’t inherently evil, just the opposite. But the spirit of “To Protect and Serve” is long gone, and most likely never to return.
Vassell just hits close to home, for me, because I KNOW these guys, God damn it! I listen to their stories! I try and make sure they all eat lunch, I take care of them anytime that I am able.
The same was done for me when I was young and poor and crazy.
I got through it, though, and now I do my best to pass it forward and to be a good shepherd because that is what God commands us to be! Why is that so hard for others to understand?
The people who are wearing those uniforms are people, too. But they have entire colleges, entire levels of training, between their souls and anything you could reach. They are systematically built up and made into monsters! And then they are sicced on the public, which is told, in effect, Do what you are told because if you don’t the police will come, and those people will kill you!
Not all police are fascist pigs, of course, and the state of things obviously causes great dissonance to many officers. But the tendency for all too many, when things start to go bad, is to do what they’ve been taught and follow orders.
How do we remove their influence from our society without letting ourselves become just like them? It’s hard to say. A new system, a new indoctrination? It’s all been done before. Is it the people, or the uniforms that are causing this corruption?
Only one thing is certain- There’s no way to know if others can do better unless it is tried and the way things are now has become intolerable.
There are certainly such things as humane re-education processes. They put us in them all the time, right? They call it counseling, or rehab, or what have you, but what it really amounts to, is a bunch of hoops you’ve got to jump through in order to claim a reward that is yours by birthright! If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.
It’s all got to be tried. They’re people, there’s hope for the reform of anyone, but the American police today are all too often a bunch of good ol’ boys going deer hunting on the streets.
That state of affairs is a sickening atrocity. And until people get so fed up they are ready to purge their systems, it will remain so.

A Media Monopoly- Koch Network Funds Time Inc. Buyout.

Wicked adversaries

History has taught us that the media industry in Washington is capable of posing a considerable threat to our democracy. It stands to reason that a sound and empowered federal regulation ought to exist, one capable of holding media outlets accountable. There’s got to be a mechanism overseeing the news, to see it stays within the bounds of reason.

Hardly any such protections exist, however, and haven’t since the FCC disposed of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. President Bill Clinton observed this is not a topic frequently discussed by the media giants who govern our screens.

The world of American media is currently going through some fundamental changes. As part of this massive transformation, media companies have dramatically increased efforts to wield influence in Washington.

With a massive lobbying presence, and a steady dose of campaign donations to politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, big media has been pressuring the government to allow it more consolidation. A corollary goal involves privatizing and commodifying the internet.

The media controls the information flow. It has acquired an unparalleled power to reach into people’s lives. If consolidated and twisted to authoritarian purposes, it would turn into a weapon of terrifying strength. Any would-be dictator would naturally perceive this as well, and seek to acquire it.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see that the Koch Brothers are providing $500 million of the cash needed to buy out Time Magazine.

Meredith Corp., a magazine publisher and broadcast company, will acquire Time Inc. in a deal totalling $2.8 billion, the company announced Sunday.

The Koch brothers are the domestic source of most of the worst indignities we have suffered these last ten years. All of this is a part of their grand strategy to eliminate government interference from the business sector. Anti-monopoly laws, anti-pollution laws, anti-public aid laws. These things cost the likes of Koch Industries a lot of money every year. This is why they are willing to spend so much to get rid of them in the long run.

They are the money behind many Republicans like Scott Walker, for example, the governor of Wisconsin who used a lousy backdoor bill to cripple the school system there. It was a crucial step in breaking the backs of unions nationwide and in inciting conservatives to wickedness.

If the Koch Network comes to dominate the American media, it will probably come to dominate the American government shortly thereafter.

If that happens, all hope of turning humanity back from the road to ruin it has started down is lost.

Stephen Hawking warned in July that if we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

He also predicted that humanity’s natural greed would prevent us from properly addressing the problem.

None of this matters to the Koch brothers, however, whose fervent commitment to libertarianism- laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog capitalism- coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions.

Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock. And the only power strong enough to hold them accountable is the government.

However, there is one sure way they can succeed in tipping the balance against governmental regulation.

Seizing control of the government itself.

The Kochs have been planning this out for a long time. Their father, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the John Birch Society, which can fairly be considered the centre of neo-conservative politics.

The trademark tenets of its philosophy include liberalism being the root of all evil, mistrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change. It is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power. It carries within it the essence and spirit of fascism.

This is why they are paying so much money to take control of Time Magazine is one of the most highly recognizable and respected magazines in the world. To buy it out and fashion it into a vehicle of their propaganda would carry obvious strategic significance.

The tactic is to manipulate the national dialectic through their control of mouthpieces in the right-wing media. Recent shows like The Young Turks suggest their ideas have begun taking root on the left as well. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

In 1983, journalist and professor Ben Bagdikian published his groundbreaking book, The Media Monopoly, which revealed that just 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number has gradually dwindled over the years and eventually led us to our current crisis, where more than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies: Viacom, News Corporation, Comcast, CBS, Time Warner and Disney.

To take control of the media once and for all, they have only to conquer these six companies. Here, we can look to Russia for a model. Putin did it in the post-Yeltsin era within a couple of years, with a nearly identical strategy.

The concept of the media they share, however, is a far cry from the First Amendment. For Putin and the Kochs, it’s a simple equation. Whoever owns the media controls what it says.

Putin pursues a two-pronged media strategy. At home, his government clamps down on internal communications while at the same time positioning abroad by deploying RT, the international news agency formerly known as Russia Today to challenge Western ideas and warp the lines of truth.

However, there is one key difference. Putin controls Russia’s government so thoroughly that he basically is Russia’s government.

The Koch brothers do not yet hold such power here.

So that is what they’re after. By way of achieving this goal, they have targeted the center with a political pincer attack. Their plan is to employ both ends of the radical spectrum with candidates in line with their philosophies and take over from within.

2016 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed out during the cycle that “Interestingly enough, the candidate I most often side with, on 73% of the issues, is Bernie Sanders”.

Putin spoke highly of Bernie as well. And it seems an unlikely coincidence that the Justice Democrats, a Sanders-affiliated organization started by Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, have targeted Democrats nationwide in primary challenges.

“It is time for them to step aside and let us lead. If you want unity, we’re ready to lead,” Uygur said on his popular internet TV show, The Young Turks.

The sheer brazen insolence! How many Presidents have you helped get elected, Cenk? Worthless as can be. Good for nothing but hurting real Democrats.

Any reasonably intelligent person ought to see this is a time when every dollar should be focused on targeting the GOP and waking our country up from the nightmare we’ve been in since last November. We should be sticking together like the opposition is.

As we prepare to enter the New Year, we’re going to be seeing these themes arise time and again.These are all topics we’ve covered before. Media consolidation. Anti-union sentiment. Attacks of governmental regulation of all kinds. It all comes down to economic slavery gift-wrapped with a fancy word, libertarianism.

2018 is the year that we start taking back our country. The only way we’ve got a shot at cleaning all this up is to retake the Congress. All our energies will be given to keeping #TheBlueWave alive.

There is a reasonable alternative to the pandemonium created by conservative greed and the current administration. Please join us in the task of helping the concept evolve.

 

#HoldTheCenter- Far Left Attacks Franken, Distracts Us From Russiagate.

ABC News reported on Sunday that within the past month, special counsel Robert Mueller requested that the Justice Department turn over a wide array of documents as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

His team is said to be particularly interested in materials that relate to Trump’s notorious firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe earlier this year, a source who was told about the request informed ABC News.

This is a major step. The Justice Department is getting pretty close to the Oval Office. This will be Mueller’s first records request to the very agency that is overseeing the probe.

Also, Rob Goldstone, the British publicist who helped set up the infamous meeting between members of the Trump campaign Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Mueller’s office, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Since the indictment of Paul Manafort and the others, the news from Mueller’s office has been coming hot and heavy.

Its onrush has caused great panic and consternation among the Republicans. Most of those with consciences, like Jeff Flake from Arizona, are retiring next year. Flake was caught on a hot mic recently, speaking frankly about the Republican Party and its future. “If we become the party of Trump and Moore, we’re toast”. Well said.

It’s a promising sign that they’re throwing all their bones to us Democrats right away. Donna Brazile, Uranium One, Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All, etc. They have been really been desperate lately. Ordinarily, they would hold these things in reserve in a vain hope that we’ll avert our gaze long enough to pull something nasty. They’ve had some awful successes that way.

Lack of public expectation was how Scott Walker was able to ravage public schools. He broke the backs of the public worker unions in Wisconsin, using vaguely worded provisions on the infamous backdoor bill known as Act 10. People just were not ready for someone to be that vicious, that fast. It’s the way things are these days, though. Koch Industries has changed the game. We cannot let that happen again.

There’s no end to the challenges we’re up against, and the way it breaks down is very simple. If we keep our focus on the big things, like Russiagate and their evil tax plan, we’re going to take the #BlueWave we’ve been building and knock them flat with it. If we let their distractions take our eyes from the prize, though, it’ll be a different story, a really nasty one.

Right now, the world needs our power combined more than ever before. The stakes could not be higher, and most people know it. It is therefore both inexplicable and unfortunate that the so-called progressive wing of the left decided recently to release a report ripping Democrats up on every level, in a manner that once again reinstates the well-known complaints of Bernie Sanders and his followers from back in 2016.

We do not agree with the Free Press Online report in a number of key regards. We consider their interpretations of these key events to be monstrously distorted. In any case, their report, which they called an Autopsy, came complete with a dead donkey, legs up, on its cover. Not even a Republican could have done as nasty or insulting a job.

Why are Sanders followers so eager to hurt Democrats? They attack us with far more passion and frequency than they do the Republicans, even though we are people who agree with them in terms of the policies they say they hold so dear. It’s reminiscent of Ralph Nader. Perhaps the worst thing is that they’ve been completely silent on Russia. Bernie wouldn’t even vote to sanction Russia.

Excesses of radical leftist rage are what the alt-right is hoping to induce, every time they hack some emails and strategically release them. The Russians are said to have been speechless with joy when Debbie Wassermann-Schultz resigned her position as DNC chairman. To finance, encourage, and incite the radical portions of both sides of the political spectrum is the M.O. of Russian destabilization tactics all through the world.

A radicalized environment is a volatile, polarized environment. You can’t get anything done in it, and that is what the Russians need. They have very little money to work with. Materially they are far weaker. But, if they can tie us all up with inaction, using traitorous Trojan Horses to infect our body politic, they can hope to realign that. All Putin wants, is to make Russia great again. At our expense.

The hostile world power that is Russia has crafted a meticulous plan to realign the European order as subordinate to the interests of the Kremlin. Their biggest obstacle was America. So they hatched a plot to remove us from the playing board. Our nation has been victimized, it’s still going on, and the latest victim of it is Al Franken.

It’s a sad thing, to watch people jump on a bandwagon.

Two prominent progressive groups, Credo Action and Indivisible, called for Franken’s resignation Monday in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. This is so idiotic, so destructive to the Resistance, that it’s frankly hard to believe it’s unintentional.

If Democrats were to actually resign their offices every time they were slandered by Republicans, we’d have packed our bags and went home a hundred years ago.

Needless to say, these homegrown attacks are coming from organizations who show every sign of extreme bitterness about the primary defeat of Bernie Sanders in 2016, the election that seemingly never ends.

This type of cheap scandal stinks of Ken Starr and Monica Lewinsky. It’s unreal that it’s coming from our own backyard. For such attacks to be coming from people who share our values would once have been unthinkable.

Everyone remembered the Bush and Reagan years. The opposition had the country completely locked down. Bill Clinton was able to take it back by the slimmest of margins. In order to break that stranglehold, the utmost cooperation among the left was necessary. It still is.

When one section of the left starts making up imaginary purity tests to administer to the other, it is all too clear that many have forgotten the importance of the coalition concept. That is why we lost in 2016.

It’s put up or shut up time. The midterm elections are now less than a year away. It has become necessary to take a side. The only options are to stand with the Democrats or stand with Trump, and only one of those has any sanity or decency in it. Taking half measures will mean leaving the status quo intact.

The most important thing for any democracy is that its lines of communication remain healthy and open. When those break down, all that remains is tyranny. We have seen its face. It is eating dinner at the White House. We understand the necessity of cooperation and coalition, and we are willing to open a respectful dialogue with anyone who realizes that we’ve got to find a way out of this mess. We have got to find a way to move forward together. #WeWillEmbraceYou. All we are saying, is give peace a chance.

 

 

 

Great Education, No Segregation- Controlled Choice Policy.

Conservative America has never given up on segregating the country’s schools. Donald Trump has given them a free hand to do it.

Think tanks across the country have been working out a legal method to do so. It is proving effective. American schools are more segregated than they were in 1968.

The privatizing of education has been their long term goal for a number of different reasons. Some of these are financial, of course. Education is a market of tremendous value. The private sector is eager to gain a toehold.

Conservatives believe shrinking public education will further their goal of drastically reducing the public sector.

The school choice movement in America has a lot to do with racism, which does not express itself the same way it did in the Jim Crow era.

The Republicans used to support our public schools. Theodore Roosevelt was a great believer in it. But after the Civil Rights Act, everything changed.

A plan to win the votes of citizens who favored public aid for private schools because they opposed school integration began under Nixon. Lee Atwater’s infamous “Southern Strategy” to get Reagan reelected in 1984 was a natural continuation of that plan.

Privatization also undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party. We saw this all over the Midwest in 2010, most notably under Scott Walker. He used a scummy, lousy back door bill to cripple the school system there. Libraries stand dark and empty. Music rooms have fallen silent. Art rooms that serve no function save the collecting of dust and wistful memory.

Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education who is widely perceived as being Trump’s worst Cabinet pick, is from a family that has contributed millions of dollars to the cause of school choice and unregulated charter expansion throughout Michigan.

Millions of our nation’s public schoolchildren will be adversely affected by her policies at the Department of Education. Recent studies have shown us that they are likely to have disparate effects on public schools that serve a majority of black and Latino students.

Voucher schools end up sapping money from the public schools. This is because they must legally accept, but not keep, any student who doesn’t suit their often-arbitrary standards. They kick the unwanted kids out, and keep the money budgeted to the school for their accommodation. These funds do not follow the child to the public school they are reassigned to.

Their education is to be paid for at the expense of both parents and the public system. This is one of the ways in which voucher programs divert much-needed public funding and students from public schools to private institutions that do not have the same accountability guidelines and that do not serve as many children with special needs.

By the time the vouchers and the charters get done cashing their checks, there are few funds left for public schools.

DeVos, in particular, has championed vouchers — publicly funded credits parents can use to send their kids to the school of their choosing Many of those schools are charter schools, private schools, or magnet schools.

Schools in less affluent areas are getting increasingly short-changed by the states and localities that fund them. In March of 2015, the richest 25 percent of school districts were receiving 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, according to the federal Department of Education.

In Midwestern red states, particularly Wisconsin under Scott Walker, the entire public school system has been gutted. This has manifested constantly since 2010.

During the spring of 2013 the ACES Xavier Educational System rebranded as the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System, and was alloted Wisconsin taxpayer money. This marked the first time state funds were allowed to flow to private, predominantly religious schools.

This is a clear case of the Koch network goal to bring about the circumvention of the doctrine of separation of church and state.  Every time they are able to gain access to federal funds for religious organizations, they tacitly gain legal recognition.

Likewise, leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. As with school choice, it seems innocuous enough. But actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter. And they can get the people of the state to demand it on their behalf, through the guise of things like protecting their cherished offspring from dreaded “government schools”- and the inner-city kids who attend them.

Matt Kussow, executive director of the Wisconsin Council for Religious and Independent Schools, estimates that between 130 and 150 private schools are “seriously looking” at trying to join the statewide program.

In 2011, close to 80 percent of the nation’s African-American students were enrolled in public, mostly minority schools, according to a report released by The Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The percentage of students majoring in education has dropped to almost nothing. The idea of holding a job as a teacher these days is becoming increasingly unpalatable in the Midwest and elsewhere.

The teacher shortage has gotten progressively worse, particularly in rural areas. Things have descended to the point where anyone with a bachelor’s degree can get a job as a teacher in Wisconsin. Nothing like mandatory classroom time or training for special ed is required anymore. It’s easy to get a license for life without tough requirements. Competence standards have lowered tremendously.

Meanwhile, down South in Kentucky, Republicans have been trying to bring racial segregation back to schools by getting a bill designed to regulate education in places passed in the state’s House of Representatives.“It will rebuild our communities,” he wrote in an article for in the Courier Journal. “It will, after four lost decades, reconnect those two things that never should have been disconnected in the first place — neighborhoods and their schools.”

The effect this so-called “school choice” bill could have on students of color is of such concern that the NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives recently called for a moratorium on any participating school.

Historically black colleges and universities(HBCU’s) were formed in the face of just this type of systemic discrimination.  African-American students were excluded from many white institutions, particularly in the South.  Alternatives did not exist for the future of their education. Choice was not an option.

Betsy DeVos, however, thinks they are a great example of school choice. She recently released a statement praising the schools for their innovation.

“They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

The system” that wasn’t working at the time was Jim Crow-era segregation.

DeVos was pressed during her confirmation process on school desegregation policies.Her answer was “I do not support programs that would lead to increased segregation”. The record proves clearly that the opposite is true.

Even for students enrolled in schools of choice, it’s not much better. In Detroit, kids who depend on Detroit’s problematic public transit are too far away from the state’s top-performing school districts to make attendance there feasible. And most of those districts don’t participate in the schools of choice program anyway.

This is no accident. It was created by an ideological lobby that has fanatically promoted free-market education reform for decades. At the center of that lobby is the Koch network, and the DeVos family.

This trend of heading forward to a devoid educational wasteland is deeply dysfunctional. Failure is being rewarded among students, faculty, and system. Opportunities for expansion and “choice” have proven to mean the reverse for thousands of children.

Moving forward, we have to examine and adapt working models to other parts of the country, and draw public attention to a logical plan that makes sense. As it works, there’s a wonderful and scarcely-mentioned alternative gaining momentum and getting results.

The Controlled Choice Policy began in 1980 when the Cambridge School Committee voted to desegregate the schools by moving away from a neighborhood schools model.

San Francisco has a city-wide controlled choice model with no school boundaries and algorithmic school placement.   The resulting educational diversity has created one of the highest quality urban school systems in the country.

Controlled Choice is designed to create diverse, academically rigorous schools with equal access to educational resources.

Research has shown that a student body comprised of the whole spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds produces the best educational outcomes. Both overall and for students at every socioeconomic level.

It’s genius. And it’s been proven to work already. The answer to the education problem has already been solved. All we Democrats have to do now is to make sure the people notice it.

 

 

The Koch Network- Enemies of Democracy Revealed.

When examining American political life today, the discussion has to include the Koch network. This conglomerate of groups covers a wide range of recent and radically conservative organizations, such as the infamous Tea Party movement. They have been responsible for a great deal of trouble in recent history as a result. It is therefore worth taking a close look at who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing it.

Charles and David, the Koch brothers, are the sons of Frederick C. Koch, who co-founded Koch Industries. It has grown to be the second-largest privately held company in the United States, of which they own 84%. If their individual fortunes were combined in one place, they would likely represent the wealthiest person on earth.

They have used this gargantuan wealth to subjugate one of the two parties and subordinate it to an ultra-conservative and authoritarian agenda. They have spent a fortune on it. Most estimates show numbers of more than a billion dollars, every one of which proves the rise of the Tea Party movement was far from an accident. It was orchestrated, and it was well funded. It also had a deliberate aim: to destroy Washington’s ability to pay for its social programs, which would be to break Washington itself.

In this way, bothersome regulations passed down from the Teddy Roosevelt era could be smashed at last. Unions could have their backs broken, forever. The era of graft and corruption and big bosses could return with a police state to back it up. They tipped their hand when they used Wisconsin as a model, by creating the golem known as Scott Walker.

In short, the entire apparatus of American government itself, is to gradually be delivered, bound hand and foot, to the door of big capital, thereafter to act at its behest. Fascists are not against centralized authority per se, although they will make such a pretense if expedience requests it. They fight it because they are trying to gain control of it. It’s an exercise in reverse engineering. They want to strip it down to the core and reassemble it, to suit their laissez-faire agenda. The goal is as ugly as it is audacious.

Koch Industries was initially a company for refining crude oil, which has always played a big part in the Koch family fortune, dating back to the 1930’s. Fred Koch was one of its founding members. He was a founding member in another organization also- the John Birch Society.

The society was built on Fred Koch’s oil money in the 1950’s. It can fairly be considered the center of neo-conservative politics. Both the JBS and the Tea Party fit into this mold of liberalism being the root of all evil, mustrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change.

This value system, which is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power, is the essence and spirit of fascism. So the question begs asking: when did Fred Koch become so attached to the ideas he passed on to his sons? Foreign radicalism is generally not thought to have taken deep root over here. But evidence now suggests that may not be the case at all.

One book, “The Kochs, A Nazi Past, Oil & The Foundation of The Rights,” by Damien Crisp, claimed that Fred C. Koch was both related to and involved with Hitler-era Nazis. Crisp made the statement that “Koch Industries is the child of the violence of Buchenwald.”

Information concerning the family backgrounds of Buchenwald commandant Karl and Ilse Koch is hard to find, and it should be noted that this claim is unproven. While there are fragments of information that suggestively connect the American and German Kochs, and although it gives a clear image of the sentiment behind the Tea Party and conservative American politics since the 1950s, the connection between the Buchenwald Kochs and Fred Koch is tenuous at best and should probably be discounted.

Democrats fight with honor, and have no need to rely on disinformation. That’s what the German Kochs were doing back then, and that’s what the American Kochs do now. The significance of this claim, lies rather in the fact that it’s so easy to believe and that its belief is prevalent.

If you have embarked down a course of conduct that makes you resemble those two monsters(Karl was executed by other Nazis for corruption, whilst Ilse, known best for her plan to make lampshades of the skins of tattooed Jewish prisoners, was the only woman charged for war crimes during WW2), closely enough so that millions of people would suspect to ask this question and believe the accusation true, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that you ought to cut it out.

However, although there is no solid evidence the American Fred Koch was related to Ilse’s family, there are ties to other Nazis named Koch that are far more solid. Erich Koch was a Nazi official placed in charge of Prussia in the days of Nazi Germany, who invited Fred Koch to sell his oil there. After the Nazi fall, Erich and Fred Koch expanded their oil empire to the Soviet Union. Erich Koch had been in charge of Prussia for Hitler, so his ties to the neighboring Soviet Union ran deep. However, a few years later, the Soviets purged some of his colleagues and prosecuted Erich for war crimes.

Fred Koch returned to the US as the most fervent anti-communist crusader one could imagine, and was allowed to do business in the States again. He hated Communism and Communists so much that he even expressed public admiration of Mussolini’s tactics against it. When he embraced this sort of thinking, he started down a road that led him to become a staunch opponent of civil rights. He grew more rigid as he grew older, and he passed both his grudge and his empire to the sons who have carried on his causes.

Since then, the brothers have attempted to impose this secretive agenda on the rest of America. Significant financial contributions by the fascist Koch network have been made to conservative, Libertarian, and Republican causes by way of effecting these changes. They pledged to spend $889 million from 2009–2016, and although the Citizens United ruling makes it impossible to say exactly how close they came, most specialists agree that this estimate is very low. The political infrastructure they have built has been said by Politico to rival that of the Republican National Committee.

Conveniently, the Koch brothers’ fervent commitment to libertarianism coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions. Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock.

It is no accident that Scott Pruitt ended up heading the EPA. It was one of the concessions made by Trump’s team to reconcile themselves with the Koch brothers, who were opposed to him all the way up until when it became inevitable he’d be the Republican candidate.

Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, recently published a  book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, detailing the corrosive practices of the Koch network.

The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.”

But it didn’t take long for the apparatus of the “radical right”, or what we now have come to think of as the alt-right, to to prepare a counterattack. The attacks came from the same individuals and institutions that the Duke University history professor documents in her book.

At some point, the Libertarians, particularly people who are part of the apparatus in one way or another — either academics or the think-tanks — weighed in, and did the same thing with my work as they have done with climate science,” says MacLean.

MacLean’s book charts the “radical right’s stealth plan” through the fortunes and influence of the late James M Buchanan, a pioneer of so-called economic “public choice theory” who was awarded a Nobel memorial prize in economics in 1986. For a look at his thinking process, we can look to the explanation given by Buchanan himself in a famous essay. By helping the unlucky, we cushion them against the consequences of their bad choices.

Luckily for no one, the dutiful Kochs are busy as can be even now, making sure to seek out and destroy every such cushion they can find.

Their most visible front is Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded by David Koch. This branch comprises the ground forces of the Koch Network. They hold rallies in 34 states, they bus people into them, and they use them to exert pressure for their anti-government, anti-education Libertarian agenda. For example, Koch think tanks spend at least $19.4 million annually, to cripple the public school systems.

The Koch donor network has exploited Buchanan’s economic system to mutate the rules of American politics. This is exactly the sentiment voiced by Republicans of both branches of Congress who voted to strip away Obamacare.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Doug Deason, one of the few known donors in the Koch network’s fundraising rolodex, told GOP leaders recently. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done.”

Every new proposal the Republicans tried jamming through the Congress would have sorely punished people with preexisting medical conditions. They were perfectly aware of this, of course. Congressman Mo Brooks even touted it as a benefit in one CNN interview, stating that the new bill has the advantage of “reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives.” This is a pure application of James Buchanan. The term he used was “misguided Good Samaritanism”.

In the wake of America’s increasing disgust with Trump, the Koch brothers are currently enjoying a new level of ascendancy. The announcement last week by the Koch network that Vice President Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker at the brothers’ policy and political strategy meeting, set for October 12 and 13 in Manhattan, is a big sign.

Another sign was the placement of Americans for Prosperity president, Tim Phillips, just one seat from Trump at a White House dinner last week for conservative group leaders. Phillips has long been one of the Kochs’ top lieutenants. In announcing Pence’s appearance, top Koch aide James Davis crowed, “Pence truly understands how good policies can help all Americans improve their lives.”

Also notable was that the only Trump cabinet member at the dinner, seated across the long table from the president, was Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. Pruitt, the former Attorney General of Oklahoma, has literally spent his entire life fighting the agency that he is now the head of. This appointment in particular embodies the Trump administration’s desire to turn over crucial environment and energy policy decisions to the collective fossil fuel and chemical industries of which the Kochs are bedrock members.

This donor network has been tremendously successful in the spreading of self-serving misinformation to elected officials. They’re doing it for banal reasons like the rights to save money dumping waste in local rivers. This is why climate change is a reality the oil moguls do not want to face.

The consequences of that policy are so far reaching and brutal in their effects, that they require most of the populace to be kept in a disgraceful state of ignorance. They can’t let us learn, because what they’re up to is so obvious, and they don’t really bother to hide it. They just counterattack with viciousness and lies. A people softened up by decades of misinformation coming from the Koch Brothers and others were lambs to the slaughter for disinformation coming from the Russians.

It’s a liberal tendency to assume that Republicans and the right wing media can’t possibly really believe its message, but there’s too much evidence that the contrary might be true. At the level of the populace, those who deliver and receive the message are being manipulated by their fears, for a profit so large that it’s hard to imagine: global domination in total. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

The disastrous election of Donald Trump has had one good effect and one only- it has brought America’s people to the point where more and more people are recognizing the issue and acknowledging the problem. Women in particular are mobilizing like never before. We must all join their struggle, en masse and in dead earnest.

That is the only hope we have of taking back the reins of our democracy.

If the majority understood what they were doing, they would stop it. I think that’s a really powerful thing to know,” said MacLean.

They are doing all of this in the knowledge that they can’t win if they say openly what their end game is. If people work to patiently inform and activate the majority, then they could be stopped.”

Moving forward, our goal will be to do exactly that. We will spread the word every way we can. We will also be sure to avoid the past errors of excess and rage that awareness of these people and their garbage have caused in the past. It’s understandable to want to get back at people who are hurting you, but if in so doing, you strengthen their position, you are only making sure you get hurt some more.

We have learned from the lessons of Occupy. We won’t make those kinds of mistakes again. We will remain calm. We will acknowledge the existence of their propaganda tanks. We will drag them out into the light. We will refute both their pseudoscience and their petty lies.

We will learn to recognize their organizational structure and the techniques they have employed to subvert our democracy. They are like poison ivy, sucking life out of a grand old oak tree. The record shows that clearly. We will just have to highlight it. Most importantly of all, we will continue to provide better alternatives to their unkind and ungenerous schemes. America is strong, because America is kind. The strong are always kind. We can do better than Charles and David Koch.