Robert Greenwald Vs. The Koch Brothers

Robert Greenwald, the leading activist documentary director, has his sights firmly lined up on the increasingly controversial brothers Koch. The first of a series of short films from Greenwald’s Brave New Foundation appears below, and he explains why this is top priority in a blog at Huffington Post:

Today Brave New Foundation announces our latest campaign. A campaign where we will take on one of the single greatest threats to our democracy: The Koch Brothers.

With Outfoxed, we exposed the unbalanced propaganda that is Fox News.

With Wal-Mart we uncovered the damage done to our country by the high cost of low prices.

We exposed the war profiteering in Iraq For Sale, and we were on the frontline of questioning what we are doing, and doing wrong, in Rethink Afghanistan.

We fought against insurance company greed in the battle for health care with Sick for Profit.

We halted the history channel from smearing President Kennedy.

And now we aim our focus at the Koch brothers.

With a net worth of 43 Billion the Kochs have already spent decades of their lives and over 324 Million of their wealth exerting their influence. The Kochs accomplish their goals by funding a massive array of right wing front groups, think tanks and tea party efforts. They largely operate outside of the public eye, and target their funding to infiltrate public opinion, the media, judicial decisions and legislation. Over three dozen organizations are funded by the brothers, and they spend additional money lobbying and backing conservative candidates. Everything the Kochs do is to fight for a country free from protections and any degree of a social safety net for working Americans.

You might recognize names of some of the organizations that the Koch brothers fund. Americans for Prosperity is their Tea Party effort. They fund the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, the Institute for Justice, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and many many more. Through their massive funding efforts, they have fought against health care and are fighting against protecting social security, as well as fighting efforts to halt climate change, and fighting against LGBT rights, Immigration rights, unemployment insurance, environmental protections, the rights of unions to organize and educational opportunity, just to name a few areas they focus on.

When we started our research four months ago – inspired by Jane Mayer’s brilliant New Yorker article and Lee Fang’s great investigative work at ThinkProgress – we thought that a big part of our job was to bring attention to the Koch brothers. Boy have things changed over those months!

With their secret meeting in Palm Springs, brought into the light, and with their involvement in the atrocious happenings in Wisconsin, the Koch brothers have worked their way into the attention of a concerned public.

Now, as we get set to launch our investigative campaign, we circle back to the reason we began this project. As with the best of our work at Brave New Foundation, The Koch Brothers Exposed allows us to connect the dots. To understand how the system works. And how the system doesn’t work. To understand that there is a different set of rules for those with power and access than the rules faced by those without money and access. The Koch brothers play this game by using their wealth and foundations to fund efforts that will increase their wealth at the expense of others.

The Koch brothers are using their BILLIONS to make more money, and to advance their right wing agenda on the backs of those who have less; a lot less. They are not alone in this effort. Their size, wealth and scope makes them noteworthy (as was Wal-Mart), but it is important, even as we call attention to so many of the horrific groups and issues they are behind, to realize that they don’t exist in a vacuum.

The Koch Brothers represent the latest reality in our country. A reality where the wealthy use the system to get wealthier. A world where the powerful game the system so as to access even more power.

Brave New Foundation will work tirelessly to expose the Koch brothers. This new campaign will be like none ever done before. The film will be broken down into issue-focused chapters, each released individually with a flurry of action around them. This campaign will live in film, online actions, grassroots efforts, community gatherings, ground actions, multi-media coverage, artistic components and collaboration with the larger community that is ready to take action. We have the wonderfully talented AgitPop onboard to help expose the Koch brothers, and will be working with many other progressive organizations to increase the shared impact of this effort.

As we begin to investigate, expose and connect the dots, we’ll need all the help we can get. We have a number of surprises in store for the Koch brothers. At this point, it’s those of us who care about the future of our country verses those who believe they can buy that future for their own profit.

Join us in this fight.

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  • Neena

    This is such an important issue. Thanks for posting!

  • Neena

    This is such an important issue. Thanks for posting!

  • B_VonScribble

    Ye-Ha! Looking forward to this project. Tired of billionaires money being worth more than my vote. Grr-Arg.

  • B_VonScribble

    Ye-Ha! Looking forward to this project. Tired of billionaires money being worth more than my vote. Grr-Arg.

  • Derrick Crowe

    The Koch Brothers’ political operations are like something out of a James Bond movie. They’re everywhere, and their influence is tainting so much of our political debate. Sunlight is the best disinfectant….I can’t wait to see where this activism goes.

  • Derrick Crowe

    The Koch Brothers’ political operations are like something out of a James Bond movie. They’re everywhere, and their influence is tainting so much of our political debate. Sunlight is the best disinfectant….I can’t wait to see where this activism goes.

  • happysnark

    the most frustrating thing about the Koch Brothers is that they have these attitudes like, what? Us? Yeah, you! They’re involved in almost every controversy and they have duped their entire base to vote against every that that would benefit them. It’s not about rich or poor, it’s a class issue.

  • happysnark

    the most frustrating thing about the Koch Brothers is that they have these attitudes like, what? Us? Yeah, you! They’re involved in almost every controversy and they have duped their entire base to vote against every that that would benefit them. It’s not about rich or poor, it’s a class issue.

  • whatever

    Oh god, here we go with this movie and the fake “left” movement that sits around decrying these guys. Are you going to do anything about the Goldman Sachs stooge and War Criminal Obama? Huh? No? While I fucking hate the Kock Brothers, the supposed “other side” doesn’t really offer up real solutions other than sitting around bitching about rich people and creating just as many demonstrative policies all swept under the carpet because a “democrat” is office. How about a documentary on the false left/right paradigm? How about making a documentary that isn’t supporting Banksters? No? Instead we get this lowest common denominator shit who tell us that we should embrace a benevolent dictator and embrace more “socially” based ideals. Goldman Sachs, WTO, Kock Brothers, what’s the difference? Their all for whatever special brand of special asshole is going to keep people asleep and give them the most cake.

    Like Bill Hicks said: I believe the puppet on the right supports my values. I believe the puppet on the left is for me. Wake up.

  • whatever

    Oh god, here we go with this movie and the fake “left” movement that sits around decrying these guys. Are you going to do anything about the Goldman Sachs stooge and War Criminal Obama? Huh? No? While I fucking hate the Kock Brothers, the supposed “other side” doesn’t really offer up real solutions other than sitting around bitching about rich people and creating just as many demonstrative policies all swept under the carpet because a “democrat” is office. How about a documentary on the false left/right paradigm? How about making a documentary that isn’t supporting Banksters? No? Instead we get this lowest common denominator shit who tell us that we should embrace a benevolent dictator and embrace more “socially” based ideals. Goldman Sachs, WTO, Kock Brothers, what’s the difference? Their all for whatever special brand of special asshole is going to keep people asleep and give them the most cake.

    Like Bill Hicks said: I believe the puppet on the right supports my values. I believe the puppet on the left is for me. Wake up.

    • 5by5

      Here’s a thought — rather than bitching about how one side isn’t different than the other side, how about you get off the fucking bench, get in the game, and MAKE one of those sides different and better?

      I’m so thoroughly unimpressed by people who whine about how the left isn’t any different from the right, when the truth is there are VAST differences (see Wisconsin). Are these differences enough, when many of the people “leading” on the left on the national level have less courage than their constituents? No.

      But there are also many reps on the left who are fucking EXTRAORDINARY, like Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, or Anthony Weiner, and even more that have slipped away because you and people LIKE you sat on the sidelines and pouted like 3-year olds because you didn’t get everything you wanted in the first five seconds. People like Russ Feingold (one of the few people who stood up against the Patriot Act) and Alan Grayson (who stood up against both the banksters and for universal health care) are gone because while they fought for you, you didn’t fight for them.

      Basically, my response to you is put up, or shut up.

      • whatever

        Wow, generalize much? Did I strike a chord because I hit the nail on the head? Yes, I think so judging by your reaction. I actually encouraged a lot of my friends in Wisconsin and Florida to vote for Feingold and Grayson, both individuals I liked a great deal so you’re totally off base on that front. There are NOT vast differences and I say seriously shut your face when you bring up Wisconsin. Many, many state workers across this country do not have collective bargaining power. The Wisconsin thing is not anything new and you should seriously sit down and look at the history of Unions and their relationships under State and Federal guidelines. Federal workers have very limited collective bargaining rights—and Obama has not been shy about exploiting that weakness. He’s using the budget process to push a two-year freeze on federal workers’ pay, without any buy-in from the unions. If he were governor of Wisconsin, he’d have to get union heads in a room and plead with them to allow the freeze. It’s amazing how Obama and the left will get out there under Wisconsin while selling out to their corporate masters behind closed doors. Imagine what would happen if those Union bosses were really behind the people who pay their dues? How about taking a cut in pay and removing campaign money and putting that cash to pay those workers on strike? Pay their pensions? Has the head of the AFL-CIO grown the testicular fortitude to call for a general strike? No. Why? Because they love their cash, that’s why.

        Y Barbara Boxer? Anthony Weiner? THEY BOTH VOTED FOR THE IRAQ WAR. Seriously? Those are the examples you cite? And now we have Obama wanting to get the neo-con feet wet with action in Libya? When will you and the other apologists for these malthusian thugs stop calling yourselves liberals and pull your head out of your ass?

        I’m so thoroughly unimpressed with the doublethink moronic ideals that you typify that are now within the confines of our so called “liberal choice” of the democrats in America. Please. I’ll be working with the Green Party or anyone other than the two party monarchy in the hopes of changing this country for the better. Real Change, not chump change. Why don’t you take your own advice and put up and shut up and leave those idiots out in the cold?

  • Anonymous

    All our problems can be solved by simply eating the rich.

  • Investinourftre

    All our problems can be solved by simply eating the rich.

    • 5by5

      I concur. :-)

  • B_rie

    How about a documentary about what we can actually do about it? on a day to day, real-life way? I believe a right world is possible I just don’t know how to get there.

  • B_rie

    How about a documentary about what we can actually do about it? on a day to day, real-life way? I believe a right world is possible I just don’t know how to get there.

  • 5by5

    Here’s a thought — rather than bitching about how one side isn’t different than the other side, how about you get off the fucking bench, get in the game, and MAKE one of those sides different and better?

    I’m so thoroughly unimpressed by people who whine about how the left isn’t any different from the right, when the truth is there are VAST differences (see Wisconsin). Are these differences enough, when many of the people “leading” on the left on the national level have less courage than their constituents? No.

    But there are also many reps on the left who are fucking EXTRAORDINARY, like Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, or Anthony Weiner, and even more that have slipped away because you and people LIKE you sat on the sidelines and pouted like 3-year olds because you didn’t get everything you wanted in the first five seconds. People like Russ Feingold (one of the few people who stood up against the Patriot Act) and Alan Grayson (who stood up against both the banksters and for universal health care) are gone because while they fought for you, you didn’t fight for them.

    Basically, my response to you is put up, or shut up.

  • 5by5

    I concur. :-)

  • whatever

    Wow, generalize much? Did I strike a chord because I hit the nail on the head? Yes, I think so judging by your reaction. I actually encouraged a lot of my friends in Wisconsin and Florida to vote for Feingold and Grayson, both individuals I liked a great deal so you’re totally off base on that front. There are NOT vast differences and I say seriously shut your face when you bring up Wisconsin. Many, many state workers across this country do not have collective bargaining power. The Wisconsin thing is not anything new and you should seriously sit down and look at the history of Unions and their relationships under State and Federal guidelines. Federal workers have very limited collective bargaining rights—and Obama has not been shy about exploiting that weakness. He’s using the budget process to push a two-year freeze on federal workers’ pay, without any buy-in from the unions. If he were governor of Wisconsin, he’d have to get union heads in a room and plead with them to allow the freeze. It’s amazing how Obama and the left will get out there under Wisconsin while selling out to their corporate masters behind closed doors. Imagine what would happen if those Union bosses were really behind the people who pay their dues? How about taking a cut in pay and removing campaign money and putting that cash to pay those workers on strike? Pay their pensions? Has the head of the AFL-CIO grown the testicular fortitude to call for a general strike? No. Why? Because they love their cash, that’s why.

    Y Barbara Boxer? Anthony Weiner? THEY BOTH VOTED FOR THE IRAQ WAR. Seriously? Those are the examples you cite? And now we have Obama wanting to get the neo-con feet wet with action in Libya? When will you and the other apologists for these malthusian thugs stop calling yourselves liberals and pull your head out of your ass?

    I’m so thoroughly unimpressed with the doublethink moronic ideals that you typify that are now within the confines of our so called “liberal choice” of the democrats in America. Please. I’ll be working with the Green Party or anyone other than the two party monarchy in the hopes of changing this country for the better. Real Change, not chump change. Why don’t you take your own advice and put up and shut up and leave those idiots out in the cold?

  • Uncle B

    Sadly, the war was lost long ago; when the unions died, the Smoke Stack Industries faded, manufacturing emigrated to the newly financed factories in Asia. American cars were swapped out for Asian designs even by Americans themselves. Keep in mind, the tacitly understood, new, Currency of World Trade is the Chinese Yuan, and the money-moguls are all heavily invested in the Beijing, Shanghai, and Hang Seng stock markets – with capital earned by American arm-pits, then converted to safer, more stable Yuan in Asia, then invested in super-modern factories, in Asia, factories far beyond the wildest imaginings of the American worker. These factories are nuclear/electric powered, include electric bullet train networks and the associated social infrastructures, all nuclear/electric, free from the parasite oil barons and their hungry, do nothing, people. America was sold out! now, without the heavy industry, without the manufacturing base, the services sector will suffer. Wisconsin is just the tip of the ice burg! Fact is: America is so broke! the government that is. not the banksters, not the money-moguls, not the corporations – just the government and the proletariat, and it only took decades, Goddammit!

  • Uncle B

    Sadly, the war was lost long ago; when the unions died, the Smoke Stack Industries faded, manufacturing emigrated to the newly financed factories in Asia. American cars were swapped out for Asian designs even by Americans themselves. Keep in mind, the tacitly understood, new, Currency of World Trade is the Chinese Yuan, and the money-moguls are all heavily invested in the Beijing, Shanghai, and Hang Seng stock markets – with capital earned by American arm-pits, then converted to safer, more stable Yuan in Asia, then invested in super-modern factories, in Asia, factories far beyond the wildest imaginings of the American worker. These factories are nuclear/electric powered, include electric bullet train networks and the associated social infrastructures, all nuclear/electric, free from the parasite oil barons and their hungry, do nothing, people. America was sold out! now, without the heavy industry, without the manufacturing base, the services sector will suffer. Wisconsin is just the tip of the ice burg! Fact is: America is so broke! the government that is. not the banksters, not the money-moguls, not the corporations – just the government and the proletariat, and it only took decades, Goddammit!

  • http://profiles.google.com/micheal.john.price Michael Price

    So are you guys going to take back your accusation that they funded resegregation, which is not only not true, but isn’t even true if everything you say about them in your vido is true? 

  • Mick Price

    So are you guys going to take back your accusation that they funded resegregation, which is not only not true, but isn’t even true if everything you say about them in your vido is true?