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Progressives to ‘uncloak’ the secret financers behind the Tea party

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Progressive and liberal activists are planning at the end of the month to confront the secretive billionaire family that finances the so-called Tea party movement and a host of other right-wing causes and institutions.

“Our government is supposed to be of, by and for the people. So are you ready to take it back?” an invitation for the “Uncloaking the Kochs” event asked.

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The Sunday, Jan. 30 event thrown by Common Cause, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization, aims to educate attendees in California on the Koch brothers who will be strategizing nearby with their mega-wealthy allies to win the 2012 elections. Afterwards, activists will rally in Rancho Mirage.

“We can’t sit back while a few billionaires destroy the fragile fabric of democracy and the protections that are so necessary for the health of our society,” Jodie Evans of CodePink told Alternet. “It is time for the progressive community to gather together and say no more, and what better place than where the Koch brothers are plotting their next moves.”

Panel discussions will feature Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary; Van Jones, founder of Green for All; Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Irvine Law Dean; Lee Fang, Center for American Progress blogger and Koch Brothers expert; and DeAnn McEwen, co-president of the California Nurses Association.

For the last 30 years, the Koch brothers, who inherited their wealth from their father’s oil interests, have funded a large portion of the conservative movement on issues that promote business over the environmental, labor, and public health concerns.

Recently, David and Charles Koch through their network of foundations and nonprofits outspent ExxonMobile on astroturf campaigns to misinform the American public about climate change legislation.

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“From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to organizations of the ‘climate denial machine,'” Greenpeace International reported.

Koch also donated funds to elect George W. Bush in 2000 as well as influence the results of the vote recount in Florida.

Among the top recipients of Koch funding are Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute, which was co-founded by Charles Koch in 1977. Lesser amounts have gone to such groups as Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Capital Research Center, which has been the primary source of ACORN-related conspiracy theories.

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Prominent members of Congress to whom Koch has donated generously include Republicans Eric Cantor (R-VA) and John Boehner (R-OH) and Democrat Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).

Koch Industries, the second largest private company in America, recently sued a group of pranksters who claimed that the company would adopt pro-environment policies from now on.

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“This is not a Koch Industries release,” a Koch spokesperson said in an advisory. “We remain committed to the principled positions we have taken on a wide variety of issues.”

Comedian Bill Maher on Friday lashed out at the followers of the Tea party movement whose activities are funded by Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group.

The Founding Fathers “were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit,” he said.

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With reporting by Murial Kane.


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Armed ‘sovereign citizen extremist’ arrested at Boston train station: report

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Authorities in Boston arrested an armed extremist at a train station on Thanksgiving.

"A Boston man was arrested last night and charged with illegally carrying a loaded pistol. The defendant, who allegedly purchased a firearm and body armor, and material that could be used to assemble explosives, adheres to the anti-government/anti-authority sovereign citizen extremist ideology," the Department of Justice announced Friday. "Pepo Herd El a/k/a Pepo Wamchawi Herd (El), 47, of Dorchester, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition."

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Texas Republican hasn’t even been sworn in yet and already a GOP congressman is publicly dunking on him

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There was some drama on Twitter on Friday when a four-term Republican congressman dunked on a Texas Republican who won a seat in Congress but has yet to be sworn in.

It started when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) urged President Donald Trump to pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

Rep.-elect Tony Gonzales (R-TX) called out Gabbard for being "full of more than just turkey."

Snowden and Assange are Russian agents who pose a direct threat to US National interests. Clearly @TulsiGabbard is full of more than just turkey. https://t.co/RI4XgdZRUy

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2020 Election

Biden’s lead in Milwaukee increases after Trump blew millions on Wisconsin recount: report

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President-elect Joe Biden's lead over Donald Trump in Wisconsin extended on Friday as Milwaukee finished their recount.

The Trump campaign had to pay $3 million for the recount in Wisconsin.

"Milwaukee County concludes its recount of the presidential election -- one of two counties where Trump sought a recount in Wisconsin. The results: Biden's lead, currently at about 20,000 statewide, grew by 132 votes," Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post reported Friday.

Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic did a quick, back-of-the-envelope economic analysis.

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