Wednesday, September 10, 2014

(Frauds, Fakes and Koch Liars - Oh My!) Charles Koch Founded Anti-Environment Group to Protect Big Oil Industry Handouts (Diaper Vitter's Children's Crusade) Leading Civil Rights Groups Just Sold Out on Net Neutrality (Thank You, K Street!) Big Buckers Are In Total Control (At Last!)

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Though the report scolds the nonprofits as untrustworthy and elite, there’s virtually no information in the report that details anything they have done wrong. Rather, Vitter and his staff appear to disagree with the shared policy goals of these nonprofits, which include combatting global warming as well (as) reducing cancer-causing pollutants from the air and water.

If there is a conspiracy afoot, as eluded to in “Chain of Environmental Command,” perhaps Vitter himself is involved.

It seems pretty obvious these days that if you can convince enough ignorant know-nothings to run for office in the U.S. under some false flag terror banner like "immigrants taking your job," "gay marriage leads to Hell" or "fear brown people!" you can also (upon their installation) easily get them to back giving nonprofit status (and pretensions) to your wholly-owned institutions and/or foundations that churn out scholarly papers glorifying how they operate in the public interest (without telling how they enrich your secreted entities), but can ultimately only be read seriously by other ignoramuses.

Or to put a different face on it:  the American public.

You gotta love that American education they've been getting since the 80's.

It stupifies.

And it's hardly the teachers' fault.

(Ask the school budget cutters!)

You'll need to refresh your beverage for this one.

Charles Koch Founded Anti-Environment Group to Protect Big Oil Industry Handouts

New documents reveal the mega-rich libertarian is the mastermind behind the Institute for Energy Research

Lee Fang
This piece originally appeared on Republic Report.

"Lifestyles of the Rich Environmentalists," produced by a group called the Institute for Energy Research (IER), is a slick web video campaign designed to lampoon Leonardo Dicaprio and as hypocrites for supporting action on climate change.

The claim is that wealthy celebrities who oppose industrial-scale pollution supposedly shouldn’t fly in airplanes that use fossil fuels.

The group, along with its subsidiary, the American Energy Alliance, churns out a steady stream of related content, from Facebook memes criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency, to commercials demanding approval of new oil projects like the Keystone XL, to a series of television campaign advertisements this year attacking Democratic candidates in West Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Alaska. On Capitol Hill, IER aggressively opposes any effort to repeal tax breaks afforded to the oil and gas industry.

Documents obtained by Republic Report reveal for the first time that the group was actually founded by none other than Charles Koch, the petrochemical, manufacturing, and oil refining tycoon worth an estimated $52 billion.

IER has no information about its founding members on its website
, and only lists a board composed of seemingly independent conservative scholars and businessmen. Earlier reports revealed that IER/AEA has received grants from Koch-funded foundations, and its leadership includes several individuals who have at times worked for Koch or Koch-related interests. But this is the first time it has been revealed that Charles personally founded the organization.

In October of 1984, Charles, then using a Menlo Park, California address founded a nonprofit called the Institute for Humane Studies of Texas. That organization briefly lost its charter in 1989 for failure to pay the Texas state franchise tax. Four years later, incorporation documents reveal, the group rebranded as the Institute for Energy Research, or IER, which later formed a subsidiary called the American Energy Alliance.

IER/AEA’s advocacy contrasts sharply with Charles’ personal brand as a selfless libertarian activist. The industrialist has argued that he is resolutely against special government hand-outs, such as tax credits or subsidies that benefit one industry over another. “Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them,” Charles wrote in a column for the Wall Street Journal this year.

But Charles’ group, IER/AEA, has fought to protect special tax breaks that benefit fossil fuel producers. Along with issuing press releases against various federal efforts to eliminate oil and gas industry tax credits, IER/AEA commissioned a study claiming that such tax reforms would have an adverse effect on jobs and on oil production.

Charles and his brother David are personally responsible for founding and funding much of the modern conservative infrastructure.

The popular libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, was in fact first named the Charles Koch Foundation, Inc before rebranding. The largest political organization in America outside the Democratic and Republican parties is Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-organizing foundation also founded by the Kochs.

The latest organs in the Koch political network have carefully guarded the sources of their funding and direction
. There is the new youth group, Generation Opportunity, along with the new veterans-related campaign organization, Concerned Veterans for America. But IER/AEA’s true origin casts new light on its motivations.

Lee Fang is an investigative journalist in the Bay Area.

Frauds and fakes as far as the eye can see (or ear hear)?

Welcome to the Age of Legitimate Fraud!


It’s a Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake World

By Chris Kanthan
Have you noticed how people seem to use the words really and honestly a lot? As when one person says, “Honestly, I didn’t like that movie.” And the listener responds, “Really?” But why? I hope people are honest about everything they say and the listeners don’t have to keep questioning the veracity of the speaker. I am half joking, but this made me wonder if it is because people realize, maybe subconsciously, that there is so much fakeness around us. I have ranted about fake food before, but the more I thought about what’s around us, the more I saw the presence of deception and duplicity. Based on the altered title of a funny movie, this is a not-so-funny series on some of the major fake institutions and concepts that have been foisted on us. In this article, we start with Fake Economy and Fake Capitalism.
Fake Economy
I have already written an article (Zombie Economy - Living Bubble) that shows how the middle class is crumbling and Americans are becoming poorer in spite of the booming stock market and real estate that are bound to come down soon. To summarize, the Federal Reserve Bank has created a massive bubble by printing/creating trillions of dollars, buying mortgages, and keeping the interest rates close to zero. Thus, the S&P 500 stock index has tripled since 2009, not because the corporate revenues or profits have tripled, but simply because corporations have borrowed trillions of dollars to buy back their own shares. However, the corporate media claps and cheers this amazing fake performance of the stock market when the fact is that the net worth of the average American household has gone down 36% since 2003. How can the stock market be a reflection of the health of the economy when the top 1% gets 75% of the capital gains from stocks?
But if you read the mainstream media, their favorite word is Recovery, and they tout all kinds of numbers to show what an amazing comeback we are experiencing.
The truth is that almost every statistic you hear about the health of a corporation or our economy is either partially or outright fake. To give an analogy, imagine this conversation between you and a friend who is trying to lose weight:
You: So you weigh 200 lbs. and you are trying to lose 30 lbs., right?
Friend: Well, I should really start with W1 which is my weight without any clothes. So I weigh 194 lbs. However, W2 is even better since it doesn’t take into account temporary one-time weight gains like what happens around Christmas time. Or around Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Memorial Day or Labor Day. So my W2 is 180 lbs. But W3 is the forward-looking weight and the most relevant. Thus, based on my gym schedule for the next year and the strict diet I plan to follow, my W3 is 160 lbs. Wow, that’s actually 10 lbs. less than my desired goal. Let’s go get some cheesecakes!
Corporations use the same tactics under pompous jargons such as non-GAAP, EBITDA, one-time charges, forward P/E etc.
Our government also masks the truth using various similar shenanigans.

For example, the unemployment number is conveniently small because they drop those people who gave up looking for jobs. If you are not looking for a job, the government assumes you won the lottery! Similarly, the jobs number is faked every month when nobody cares about the difference between full-time and part-time jobs. Thus if 100 full-time jobs are replaced by 150 part-time/temp jobs, everyone pops open a champagne bottle to celebrate the creation of 50
net new jobs. Never mind that 100 people just lost all kinds of benefits like health insurance, sick days, vacation and 401-K; and 150 people just got pushed into the ranks of (the) working poor.

The reality is that the labor participation rate is at 36-year low, and 20% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 - the prime working age group - are unemployed. The fake unemployment number? About 6%.
The inflation number has been fudged since the early 1980s. The wizards in Washington D.C. got rid of many items from the calculations of inflation. That’s why Janet Yellen can now go before the Congress and say, without failing the lie detector test, that the inflation rate is 2%. Yeah, it’s 2% if you don’t have to buy food or gas; pay rent, utilities, health insurance premiums, medical bills or college tuition.

Otherwise, in the non-billionaire world, the inflation rate is close to 10%. Inflation really matters since it’s a hideous, hidden tax. Every year, the dollar is worth less and less. For example, even based on the official, fake numbers, a dollar in 1988 is worth only 50 cents today. The fake inflation rate also helps corporations keep the wages down since they can give you a 3% raise and tell you that you should be happy since it’s more than the inflation.
GDP is another fake number that’s thrown around to show that countries are prospering under the able guidance of central banks and politicians. First of all, GDP is an average number, so it doesn’t take into account any inequality or the creation of money out of thin air. So the 99% can get poorer every year, and yet the GDP can be glowingly positive.
Moreover, the GDP does not take into account what’s good for the society. Thus, you can spend $50 billion manufacturing deadly missiles, bomb a country, and then spend another $50 billion rebuilding what you just destroyed, and guess what, the GDP will go up by $100 billion. If people get sick from eating GMOs and spend billions on treatments for diabetes and cancer, guess what, the GDP growth will be commendable. In Europe - which has been wrecked by the same banksters who run America - they are now going to add the economic contributions of prostitution and drugs to boost the GDP number.
It’s also clear that the financial gurus who are running the country have no clue about what’s happening. They have an uncontrollable tendency to make rosy predictions so that we all feel confident in their policies. For example, the official forecast for the U.S. GDP growth for Q1 of 2014 was about 3%. Then at the end of Q1, we were told that there was no growth at all – basically 0%. And when we were wondering how they could be so wrong, the number was revised to -2.9% in June. From +3% to -2.9%!
So the financial elites in charge of our nation don’t know what will happen or what is happening or even what just happened.

Unfortunately, the fake it till you make it strategy hasn’t worked and we are just being led to the economic slaughterhouse.
Fake Capitalism
Capitalism is a wonderful concept that has morphed into three different fake variations:  Crony Capitalism, Casino Capitalism, and Cruel Capitalism.

Crony Capitalism is a fabulous version that is unfortunately available to only the top 0.1% of Americans. It’s a little bit like Calvinball where the gifted few get to write their own rules and change them whenever they want. Oligarchs, plutocrats, Wall Street bankers, large corporations, and powerful lobbying groups are some of the chosen ones who get to play this game. They control both parties so that they always win.
Wall Street/banking cartel is the king of crony capitalism since they get to print money and make up jargons that nobody understands:  derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and so on. When Wall Street shysters caused the Great Depression in the 1930s, banking was prohibited from speculative conduct, and the stock market was made more transparent. However, the barriers were slowly brought down one brick at a time, and by the 1990s, the go-go days of deregulations were back.
Now, the top four U.S. banks hold more than $200 trillion of unregulated, opaque derivatives. Consider how crazy that is when the total GDP of the entire world is $70 trillion. In the wild wild west of banking, everything is rigged – gold prices, LIBOR (the interest rate that affects the prices of just about everything), oil price(s) and the entire stock market. There is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to various ways in which stock prices are manipulated, if you are curious.
The big banks often do get caught, but they don’t get shut down, and nor does anyone go to jail. The banks merely get slapped on the wrist with a settlement - a nice, innocuous word - that represents a few days worth of that bank’s profit.
Above all, the banks enjoy socialism - when they cheat and fail, the public bails them out. Yes, the same public that has to live by do-or-die capitalism.
Then you have hedge funds who are the John Waynes of the banking cabal. People like Steve Cohen make billions through insider trading. They have also changed the laws through the puppet politicians so that hedge fund billionaires could slash their own taxes by 50%.
For more sophisticated swindling, you have High frequency Trading (“HFT”) companies that cheat on a regular basis just because they have computers physically right next to the trading systems. They see what orders are coming in, and buy/sell accordingly. How advantageous is this system, you ask? An HFT firm called Virtu lost money on only one day in more than 1200 days of trading! Of course, the SEC and other ethical guardians of our financial system saw nothing wrong with this until someone wrote a book, spelling out the fraud. Then it was like that scene from Casablanca when the captain says, “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”
But don’t hold your breath over anything changing on Wall Street.
At the top of the food chain of banking cartel are the central banks of various nations which are all in turn controlled by the Bank of International Settlements. In the U.S., the central bank is called the “Federal Reserve Bank” and is as Federal as the package-delivering FedEx. Just like Monsanto uses GMA or other nonprofits as the front group, the bankers use the Fed to increase their own wealth and power.
Regardless of the superficial appearances of Presidential appointments, it’s the Fed that is the ultimate ruler of America. As Rothschild once said, “Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws.”
The Fed creates money out of thin air and sets the interest rates – both actions that are expected in a highly centralized, socialist/communist economy. They also create a society of financial apartheid where money is cheap and abundantly available for the uber-rich but not for the rest. Billionaires, banksters and their friends get to borrow money at close to 0% while the average credit card for Joe Schmoe charges him 18% or more.
People like Carl Icahn, Paul Singer and Daniel Loeb are great examples of how easy it is multiply your money when you have access to a few billions. It can be (as) simple as A-B-C. Identify a company with a lot of cash, buy enough shares of that company to get a seat at the board of directors, and demand increased payout in dividends. It’s an easy way to make hundreds of millions of dollars in a couple of months. These crony capitalists are called activists – an Orwellian distortion of language.
Just like the ultimate interests of a credit card company is in getting people into debt, the ultimate interests of central banks is to get sovereign nations into debt. That’s why the first two central banks were abolished twenty years after they were founded (1791-1811 and 1816-1836). The third time was the charm when the current Fed was founded in 1913. There was no federal income tax at that time and the national debt was $1 billion. Fast forward 100 years, the middle class is crushed by taxes and our national debt has ballooned 17,000 times.
Wall Street and the banking cartel accumulate wealth by constantly skimming wealth off others. They are like the tapeworms which sit in the intestines of humans and simply eat some of the food that passes by. A successful parasite never kills the host, but the current banking system has gotten so greedy and arrogant that they threaten the entire American and the global economy.
Just below the banksters are the big corporations that enjoy crony capitalism through tax credits, refunds, subsidies and loopholes. The word lawmakers has no meaning anymore since most of the laws are actually written by big corporations. At the state level, front group ALEC - run by the infamous Koch brothers - holds enormous power, writes bills and hands them over to the politicians who sign on the dotted line.
The revolving door between politics and the corporate world also means that government officials are guaranteed a life of luxury in the future if they cater to corporate interests. Federal officials and politicians jump on Monsanto’s payroll, Julie Gerberding becomes the president of Merck’s vaccine division after promoting Merck’s HPV vaccine as the Director of CDC, former chief of NSA - Keith Alexander – is becoming filthy rich consulting banks on cybersecurity, Dick Cheney became the CEO of Halliburton – an impressive feat since it was his very first job in the corporate world, and on and on.

Half of all retiring senators and congressmen - it used to be 3% in 1974 - become lobbyists to earn millions of dollars per year
(link). Corporations also pay huge bounty bonuses to their executives who are willing to be placed into politics to manipulate the system (link). Politicians getting cushy jobs in boards of directors is also very common and mutually beneficial (link).
Another feature of crony capitalism is the consolidation of corporations which result in destruction of competition and a true free market. In the world of financial engineering and access to limitless money for the insiders, corporations don’t have to invent or be creative. They can just simply buy any potential competitor.
Facebook, for example, is really a one-time wonder that has had nothing but failures in all the big features and products they have tried to launch (link). Thankfully, CEO Zuckerberg and CFO Sandberg have deep connections in Wall Street. First, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. Instagram was a simple photo-sharing application developed by fewer than ten people. From a programming point of view, Instagram was no rocket science. But if that was bad, earlier in 2014, Facebook decided to buy WhatsApp - with just 55 employees - for a whopping, mind-numbing $19 billion. Oh yeah, WhatsApp does something that nobody had ever thought of before – sending text and SMS messages on your smartphone.
The easy way of buying out competitors is seen in all industries – banking, airlines, media, telecom, pharmaceutical, food, you-name-it.
Thus, thanks to crony capitalism, we have an uncompetitive economy with fewer jobs, shrinking wages, growing inequality, enormous concentration of power and wealth, and a declining economy. However, the corporate media will tell you how free market is making your life wonderful every day.
Casino Capitalism is for the middle class and the upper middle class who see just enough probability that they would make it big some day. It’s like Las Vegas where there are just enough urban legends of rags-to-riches to make the smart, hardworking people put their noses to the grindstone. However, in the end, the house always wins.
Many work so hard that they don’t have the time or the desire to learn the truth. Some are just high on hopium – maybe the 401-K will do well, maybe the house will appreciate in value and maybe their small business - or startup, for the techie crowd - will take off. And others are just buried in debt – student loans, car loans, credit card debt and mortgages – and too scared to challenge the status quo.
Over the last 30 years, the truly middle class bought into the promises of the elites hook, line and sinker. They were told that 401-K retirement plans were much better than corporate-sponsored pension plans; they were told that labor unions were bad; they were told that free trade agreements will bring in new jobs; they were told that tax cuts for the rich will benefit everybody when the billions trickled down; they were told that deregulation meant more prosperity. The ironic fact is that every fake capitalist idea was sold on socialistic ideals – “it’s good for everybody.
Cruel Capitalism is the fate that awaits those in the bottom of the food chain of fake capitalism. These men, women and children are indispensable to the functioning of the modern world, yet they are the least rewarded and the most abused. They are the farmers in Central America who work 10-12 hours a day in banana farms, factory workers in China who assemble $600 iPhones, girls and women in Bangladesh who make clothes, handbags and shoes that will be sold in Neiman Marcus, or men in Africa who work in dangerous gold and diamond mines. These are the people who live the “hunger games” of capitalism.
There is nothing wrong with inequality per se, but the system is broken when 1) hundreds of millions of people work their entire lives and die broke, leaving their kids to start from square one, and 2) a few elites benefit enormously from the work of these powerless people, and horde enough wealth to last hundreds of generations.
Thus, when the CEO of Nike comes on CNBC and talks about how great capitalism is, he is merely bragging about the crony capitalism for him while conveniently ignoring the cruel capitalism for the sweatshop employees of Nike.
The division between these two extreme versions of capitalism is reflected in the fact that 85 super-rich people have the same amount of wealth as 3.5 billion people.
Cruel capitalism is slowly creeping into the American social fabric as well. The millions of people stuck in minimum wage jobs are the first-world version of sweatshop workers. The median income of the bottom 20% of Americans is about $15,000 and their median wealth is -$6,000. Yeah, they don’t have any wealth, just debt. There are also tens of millions of people on food stamps, housing subsidies, disability benefits and other welfare programs that are growing with no end in sight.
The elites don’t care about this for many reasons: 1) It’s the middle class that is subsidizing the welfare programs 2) Poverty also ensures that there will always be enough people to work for low wages at big corporations such as Walmart, Starbucks etc., and 3) An America that looks superficially wealthy allows the elites to sell their economic snake oil to the rest of the world.
They don’t have much time, since America will soon hit the debt ceiling when the rest of the world starts to balk at subsidizing the Ponzi scheme of limitless debt. At that point, the welfare system will be cut sharply, taxes will be raised steeply and the failure of the system will be revealed.
Perhaps that’s why American corporations have changed the laws so they could move their headquarters elsewhere – Burger King, is an example of this tax scam – and have amassed $2 trillion in offshore accounts. The uber-rich individuals also have hoarded more than $32 trillion in exotic islands, safely avoiding U.S. taxes.
The combination of Crony Capitalism, Casino Capitalism and Cruel Capitalism gives us Crapitalism. Crapitalism is a modern version of Feudalism that is based on exploitation, fake prosperity, and real damage to the entire humanity. It’s based on an addiction to endless growth which is impossible in the real world; it’s based on shallow consumerism redefined as prosperity; it’s based on an inherent, built-in 1%-99% divide; it’s based on hyper-centralized power and control, with a handful of entities trying to rule the world; it’s based on fake, fiat money that is backed only by drones and missiles; it’s based on utter disregard to environment, health, spirituality, consciousness and life itself; and finally, it’s based on extensive propaganda that has taken George Orwell’s warnings as the building blocks of a New World Order.
In Part II of this series, we will explore Fake Politics, Fake Media and Fake Healthcare.
Until then, here are a couple of videos with perspectives that challenge some mainstream paradigms:
(Chris Kanthan is the author of the e-book Deconstructing Monsanto. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to more than 30 countries, and deeply cares about (and writes about) politics, finance and food. His Twitter account is @GMOChannel and his YouTube channel is

Liar, Liar - Heart's On Fire!
- The Castaways

Leading Civil Rights Groups Just Sold Out on Net Neutrality

Comcast chief executive Neil Smit (left) and LULAC executive director Brent Wilkes (center). Smit has been tapped to lead the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Comcast chief executive Neil Smit (left) and LULAC executive director Brent Wilkes (center).
By Lee Fang

Last Friday, just before the Federal Communication Commission closed its comment period for its upcoming rule on “network neutrality,” a massive coalition of Asian, Latino and Black civil rights group filed letters arguing that regulators should lay off of Internet Service Providers regarding Title II reclassification and accept FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s original plan. In other words, something close to half of the entire civil rights establishment just sold out the Internet.

The civil rights group letters argue that Title II reclassification of broadband services as a public utility — the only path forward for real net neutrality after a federal court ruling in January — would somehow “harm communities of color.” The groups wrote to the FCC to tell them that “we do not believe that the door to Title II should be opened.” Simply put, these groups, many of which claim to carry the mantle of Martin Luther King Jr., are saying that Comcast and Verizon should be able to create Internet slow lanes and fast lanes, and such a change would magically improve the lives of non-white Americans.

The filings reveal a who’s who of civil rights groups willing to shill on behalf of the telecom industry. One filing lists prominent civil rights groups NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Urban League, the National Council on Black Civil Participation and the National Action Network. The other features the Council of Korean Americans, the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Black Farmers Association, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Coalition, and many more.

Of course, the groups listed on these filings do not speak for all communities of color on telecom policy, and there are civil rights groups out there that actually support net neutrality, including Color of Change and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Joseph Torres with Free Press told VICE that communities of color believe a free and open Internet; is essential in the digital age, especially when most non-whites do not own radio stations, broadcast outlets or other forms of mass media. “Protecting real net neutrality is critical for people of color because an open Internet gives us the opportunity to speak for ourselves without having to ask corporate gatekeepers for permission,” Torres says.

A number of K Street consultants have helped make this epic sell-out possible.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) coordinated many of the participants in the anti-net neutrality filings sent to the FCC last week. Last year, the Center for Public Integrity published an investigation ;of MMTC, showing that the group has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from Verizon, Comcast, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and other telecom sources while reliably peddling the pro-telecom industry positions. For instance, the group attacked the Obama administration’s first attempt at net neutrality, while celebrating the proposed (and eventually successful) merger between Comcast and NBC.

Martin Chavez, the former Mayor of Albuquerque, now works with a group called the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) to corral Latino civil rights groups into opposing net neutrality. Last month, Chavez hosted a net neutrality event on Capitol Hill to call on legislators to oppose Title II reclassification. As TIME recently reported, Chavez is on staff with one of Verizon’s lobbying firms, the Ibarra Strategy Group.

“HTTP is nothing more than an industry front-group that is at best misinformed and at worst intentionally distorting facts as it actively opposes efforts to better serve the communications needs of Latinos,” says Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which strongly supports net neutrality. His group has filed its own letter to the FCC.

Still, telecom cash has become a vital source of funding for cash-starved nonprofits. OCA, the Asian American civil rights nonprofit formerly known as the Organization of Chinese Americans, counts Comcast as a major donor and sponsor for its events and galas. Not only did OCA go on to sign the anti-net neutrality letter last Friday, the group wrote a similar filing to the FCC in 2010, claiming absurdly that Asian American entrepreneurs would benefit from having ISPs able to discriminate based on content.

Similarly, League of United Latin American Citizens, better known simply as LULAC, has been a dependable ally of the telecom industry while partnering with Comcast for a $5 million civic engagement campaign. Here’s a picture of LULAC proudly accepting a jumbo-sized check from AT&T.

As VICE first reported, telecoms are desperate for third-party approval, and have even resorted to fabricating community support for their anti-net neutrality lobbying campaign.

Perhaps the bigger picture here is how so many of the old civil rights establishment have become comfortable with trading endorsements for cash. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and other telecom companies have donated, either directly or through a company foundation, to nearly every group listed on the anti-net neutrality letters filed last week.

We saw a similar dynamic play out with Wal-Mart when the retailer handed out cash to civil rights groups in order to buy support for opening stores in urban areas.

Times have changed. Just as Martin Luther King Jr.’s children have embarrassingly descended into fighting bitterly over what’s left of his estate, the civil rights groups formed to advance Dr. King’s legacy seem willing to sell out their own members for a buck.

And the didee-wearing buckers are playing faster and looser with the facts and our money as we move closer to the next election.

Senator Vitter Report Claims Cancer Prevention, Wildlife Nonprofits Are Part of Nefarious Cabal

Louisiana Senator David Vitter made headlines with conservative websites in the last few days by releasing a report called Chain of Environmental Command:  How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.

Below the lengthy title is a report that claims breathlessly that environmental and public health foundations are part of a cabal of “a close knit network of likeminded funders, environmental activists, and government bureaucrats” responsible for spreading “bogus propaganda disguised as science and news to spread an anti-fossil energy message to the unknowing public.”

The report goes on to list groups such as the American Lung Association and the Union of Concerned Scientists as “agenda-driven far-left elites” obsessed with using “secretive backroom deals and transfers” to hide their agenda from the public. To shine a light on these organizations, the Vitter report details annual budget numbers and board membership lists scrubbed from annual tax forms that these nonprofits, like any nonprofit, are required to publish.

Though the report scolds the nonprofits as untrustworthy and elite, there’s virtually no information in the report that details anything they have done wrong. Rather, Vitter and his staff appear to disagree with the shared policy goals of these nonprofits, which include combatting global warming as well (as) reducing cancer-causing pollutants from the air and water.

If there is a conspiracy afoot, as eluded to in “Chain of Environmental Command,” perhaps Vitter himself is involved

In 2009, Vitter co-sponsored the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, legislation to require several federal agencies to work together on a comprehensive plan for reducing lung cancer mortality. The American Lung Association, one of the groups targeted by the Vitter report as a purveyor of “bogus propaganda,” helped pass the legislation, which was signed into law last year.

Or what about the RESTORE Act, which funds coastal restoration and economic recovery projects along the Gulf Coast using fines generated from the 2010 BP oil spill? The legislation was supported by the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, and the National Wildlife Federation. All four groups were named in Vitter’s report as members of the pernicious “Club of Billionaires.” Vitter regularly boasts that he was a champion of this environmental group-backed legislation, which was signed into law in 2012.

A request a comment from Vitter’s office was not returned.

The change in tone from Vitter corresponds closely to his new perch as the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, a position he secured last year. Since 2013, Vitter has positioned himself as a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, attempting to block the confirmation of the Environmental Protection Agency administrator and going so far as to proclaim, “God bless the Koch brothers.”

Fossil fuel companies have leaned on congressional Republicans to block new environmental regulations. But with little influence within the Obama administration and without control of the Senate, lawmakers close to industry have lashed out at public health advocates and scientists. Just as Vitter is now targetting NGOs, the GOP on the House Science Committee has begun subpoenaing scientists that have researched air pollutants, a move widely condemned by observers.

And it's always good to be reminded of whom the truly big buckers were and still are.

And they do it so willingly.

We'll never catch on.

They think.

Jeb Bush To Address Convention of Predatory For-Profit Colleges


George W. Bush To Speak At Vegas Convention Of For-Profit College Industry Enriched By His Administration

Romney’s ‘Policy Fundraiser’ Reveals Reliance On Ed Advisor Who Set Stage for For-Profit College Abuses

Mitt Romney, who has declared his admiration for for-profit colleges while receiving donations from for-profit education executives, boasts as a top education advisor a former George Bush official whose decisions in government helped unleash a decade of waste, fraud, and abuse by the for-profit college industry.

Politico posted this invitation to a “POLICY ROUNDTABLE MEETING AND EVENING RECEPTION WITH GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY” set for tomorrow in Washington, DC. The invite lists a series of “Industry Finance Chairs” and “Policy Roundtable Leaders” who will attend. The only person who makes both lists — both offering policy expertise and rounding up donations — is Bill Hansen, who served as Deputy Secretary of Education under George W. Bush.

In that capacity, Hansen helped lay the groundwork for well-documented recruiting abuses by for-profit colleges, who receive most of their revenue from taxpayer dollars.

Under Hansen, the Bush Education Department, ignoring the advice of university leaders and student advocates, made it easier for for-profit schools to pay recruiters based on the number of students they signed up, despite the fact that such practices were illegal. Hansen sent a memo declaring that the Administration would go easy on violators of the incentive compensation ban, fining offenders rather than ending their eligibility for federal aid.

Coercive and deceptive recruiting has helped fuel revenues in the for-profit education industry, but has left many students deep in debt and without useful training or degrees.
Watch Mitt Romney endorse Full Sail University without telling you that Full Sail executives fund his campaign:

For-Profit College Group APSCU Has Consistently Harbored Fraudulent Schools

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