Monday, August 20, 2012

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Larry Bailey 'Birther' Remarks: Former Navy SEAL Questions Obama's Birthplace

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted:  Updated: 08/19/2012 2:24 pm

Larry Bailey Birther
President Barack Obama campaigns Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, in Windham, N.H., at Windham High School. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A former Navy SEAL leading an anti-Obama group is the latest to question the president's birthplace, noting he thinks Obama "is not who he says he is."
"I have to admit that I'm a Birther," saidLarry Bailey, a retired veteran who founded Special Operations Speaks (SOS), a group that aims to portray Obama as anti-military.
"If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is," Bailey told Foreign Policy.
Bailey's theory is that Obama's true father is Frank Marshall Davis, "a member of Communist Party USA" who Bailey says was friends with Obama's mother.
"Barack Obama's a born red-diaper baby. He's a socialist," Bailey said. "His beliefs are the very antithesis of my beliefs. As far as I am concerned he is one of the most unlikeable and unprepared politicians we've ever had."
Despite the fact that the White House released Obama's "long-form" birth certificatein April 2011, many have continued to question the president's legitimacy to serve as the nation's commander in chief. Several high-profile figures have expressed "birther" doubts, including Donald Trump and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.
In July 2012, the Conservative Majority Fund PAC even released a "birther" adslamming Obama ahead of the 2012 election. HuffPost previously reported:
The Conservative Majority Fund PAC's spot looks like a cheaply produced infomercial, except instead of selling gadgets, it's pushing the notion that Obama is hiding something dark about his past. It includes all of the boilerplate fringe theories: Questions about Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, characters in the president's book, his college records, his social security number, and of course, his birth certificate, all make an appearance.
"No one -- I mean no one -- has seen an actual physical copy of Barack Obama's birth certificate," the narrator says, before directing viewers to call a number to "disqualify Obama before the Democratic National Convention." They'll need 10,000 signatures from every congressional district in the United States to do this.

Donald Trump Birther Hits

Donald J. Trump
I want to see 's college records to see how he listed his place of birth in the application.
I'm A Believer (The Monkees)
(May 30, 2012) -- Trump takes to Twitter, reinforcing his doubts about the validity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Romney slams Obama over Medicare, pledges more help for 'poor' and 'sick'

Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama Saturday over the future of Medicare in his first weekly podcast ahead of the November election.
In the address posted on his website, the GOP's presidential candidate said Obama’s healthcare law had taken $716 billion from the fund to finance “his takeover of the healthcare system.”
“Now if that wasn’t bad enough, his healthcare law also put in place a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats and gave them the power to make additional cuts to Medicare without even having to get approval from Congress,” he said.
“This means they could deny elderly Americans the care they’ve worked for their entire lives -- all because President Obama trusts bureaucrats more than he trusts seniors and their doctors,” he said.
“And here’s one more troubling aspect of all this: According to independent, non-partisan scorekeepers, these cuts the President’s people will take to Medicare won’t prevent it from going bankrupt: Experts estimate that Medicare’s trust funds will be exhausted just twelve short years from now,” Romney added.
The Democrats charge that Mitt Romney and Ryan would gut programs for older Americans such as Medicare and Social Security.
Obama plans to dig in on that point in New Hampshire on Saturday with stops in Windham and Rochester. Aides say he will cast voters' choice as one between two very different approaches to government, The Associated Press reported.
The Obama campaign has claimed Romney's running mate Paul Ryan was forced to "flip flop" on Medicare by the GOP candidate. And Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said the Romney-Ryan plan would "hasten the insolvency of the Medicare program by 8 years, that's according to the Medicare trustees."
On the campaign trail this week, Romney said the Romney-Ryan plan to transform Medicare was "very similar" to Medicare Advantage.
But Marsha Gold, a health-care expert at Mathematica Policy Research, said the big difference between the two is this: Medicare Advantage, like Medicare, is a defined benefit -- where the government guarantees a level of coverage -- while the Romney-Ryan plan transforms Medicare into a defined contribution -- where the government decides what it will pay.
In the podcast Saturday, Romney reiterated a pledge to repeal “Obamacare” – that he characterized as “threatening seniors” and “a maze of new federal mandates, and taxes, and penalties that’s hampering job creation” – and work on “real solutions to save Medicare.”
Romney added that the plan would not change Medicare for those who are retired or “near” retirement.
For “younger Americans,” he said future retirees would be provided with federal financial support and would be able to choose from a list of Medicare-approved coverage plans, including a traditional Medicare option.
“The amount of financial support that a person would get would be adjusted based on their income; more help would go to the poor or the sick -- and less help would go to those that are financially better off,” Romney added.
“It would be based on how much the plans cost so that seniors always have access to affordable, quality coverage. And no senior could ever be denied coverage for any reason,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Feeding humpback whales mesmerize onlookers

Bill Bouton
Boaters and kayakers waited with their cameras for a pod of humpbacks to breach the ocean's surface, an occasional sight around Port San Louis, according to amateur photographer Bill Bouton.
Bill Bouton, a retired high school biology teacher, was on an unsuccessful outing to photograph birds in San Luis Obispo, Calif. when he happened upon a breathtaking sight beneath the skyline: a pod of humpback whales feeding in shallow water.
The 69-year-old captured one of the enormous mammals breaching the surface while feeding on a “bait ball,” a dense mass of sardines that forms to ward off predators. But the defense mechanism just seemed to be attracting more hungry creatures, Bouton said, as hundreds of pelicans and seagulls were diving in the water and flying up again.

Bill Bouton
Despite federal guidelines that warn observers to stay at least 100 yards away from whales or risk being fined $50,000, onlookers hovered around the feeding site.

Scores of brave onlookers gathered around the whale as well, some daring to venture only a few feet away from the lunging giant.
“There’s a woman in what looked like a black party dress standing calmly on her paddle board and taking a photo with the whale,” Bouton told “It was priceless.”
Bouton spotted the rare scene on Saturday from his moving car and pulled over immediately. After rushing to set up his tripod, he took photos from the passenger’s seat for nearly an hour

Bill Bouton
Bouton said the humpbacks have been feeding for at least a couple of days in the shallow, sheltered waters, drawing crowds to the coast.

“I was really lucky,” he said.
In the 35 years that Bouton has been taking photos of animals, mostly birds, he’s never had a photo go this viral. He was surprised to find that in just 16 hours, the humpback pictures garnered over 200,000 views.
“It’s been absolutely crazy,” he said.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Incredible images taken by retired biology instructor Bill Bouton of a small pod of humpback whales lunge-feeding off the coast of California have gone viral

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Blowing the whistle on Obama's America

Do the threats facing whistleblowers under Obama's presidency mean Americans know less about what their government does?

 Last Modified: 09 Jun 2012 12:54

This week: A Listening Post special - Whistleblowing and the US media.

Four years ago, on the campaign trail, candidate Barack Obama shared his views on whistleblowers. He said: "Often the best source of information about waste, fraud and abuse in government is a government employee committed to public integrity, willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism ... should be encouraged rather than stifled."

As president, the reality has been very different. On his watch, six whistleblowers have been charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly mishandling classified information. That is twice as many as all past presidents combined.

The threat facing whistleblowers has implications in many areas, including defence, intelligence and national security. And then there is the impact it is having on the US media - as the sources dry up, so too do the stories and the American people are left knowing less and less about what their government is doing.

In the first half of this full edition special, we blow the whistle on President Obama's America.

Jesselyn Radack is a lawyer who worked as an ethics adviser for the US Department of Justice. In 2001, Radack revealed that the FBI questioned John Walker Lindh - 'the American Taliban' - illegally and that his so-called confession might not stand up in a court of law. Radack was heavily criticised and became the target of a Federal criminal 'leak investigation'. After a year she resigned.

In the second half of the show, Radack talks to us about the impact whistleblowing has had on US journalism and what news organisations are doing about it.
U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions
August 18, 2012

WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months, Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed on Tehran because of itsnuclear program.
The little-known bank singled out by the United States, the Elaf Islamic Bank, is only part of a network of financial institutions and oil-smuggling operations that, according to current and former American and Iraqi government officials and experts on the Iraqi banking sector, has provided Iran with a crucial flow of dollars at a time when sanctions are squeezing its economy.


The Obama administration is not eager for a public showdown with the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki over Iran just eight months after the last American troops withdrew from Baghdad.
Still, the administration has held private talks with Iraqi officials to complain about specific instances of financial and logistical ties between the countries, officials say, although they do not regard all trade between them as illegal or, as in the case of smuggling, as something completely new. In one recent instance, when American officials learned that the Iraqi government was aiding the Iranians by allowing them to use Iraqi airspace to ferry supplies to Syria, Mr. Obama called Mr. Maliki to complain. The Iranian planes flew another route.
In response to questions from The New York Times, David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, provided a written statement saying that Iran “may seek to escape the force of our financial sanctions through Iraqi financial institutions.” But he added that “we will pursue, and are actively pursuing, efforts to prevent Iran from evading U.S. or international financial sanctions, in Iraq or anywhere else.”
Some current and former American and Iraqi officials, along with banking and oil experts, say that Iraqi government officials are turning a blind eye to the large financial flows, smuggling and other trade with Iran. In some cases, they say, government officials, including some close to Mr. Maliki, are directly profiting from the activities.
“Maliki’s government is right in the middle of this,” said one former senior American intelligence official who now does business in Iraq.
In announcing that he was “cutting off” Elaf Islamic Bank, Mr. Obama said it had “facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars on behalf of Iranian banks that are subject to sanctions for their links to Iran’s illicit proliferation activities.”
But the treatment the bank has received in Baghdad since it was named by Mr. Obama suggests that the Iraqi government is not only allowing companies and individuals to circumvent the sanctions but also not enforcing penalties for noncompliance.
Iraqi banking experts said last week that the bank was still allowed to participate in the Iraq Central Bank’s daily auction at which commercial banks can sell Iraqi dinars and buy United States dollars. These auctions are a crucial pathway for Iranian access to the international financial system. Western officials say that Iran seeks to bolster its reserves of dollars to stabilize its exchange rates and pay for imports.
Iraqi and American officials with knowledge of Iraqi banking practices say Iranian customers are able to move large amounts of cash through the auction, and from there into banks in regional financial centers like Dubai, United Arab Emirates, or Amman, Jordan, and then into the international banking system.
Mudher Salih, the central bank governor, said in an interview that Elaf Islamic Bank was being allowed back into the auction because Elaf officials had denied any wrongdoing. “Elaf Bank is attending the auctions, and they are telling us that they didn’t violate the law, and saying that they didn’t deal with any Iranian institutes,” Mr. Salih said.
While Iraq has tried to impose more stringent reporting requirements that might pick up illegal transfers, officials with knowledge of the Iraqi banking industry say that banks, hawala houses, an unofficial global network of money-traders, and their Iranian customers are finding ways around them, often by forging documents that make it look as if the money transfers are to finance legitimate trade between Iraq and other countries.
Thanks to Iraq’s growing oil revenue, the Iraqi central bank has about $60 billion in foreign exchange reserves, held in accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, with which to meet the insatiable demand for dollars. But the new flight of dollars out of Iraq is prompting criticism of the central bank and of the Iraqi government.
The accusations of high-level Iraqi government involvement in sanctions-busting have roiled Iraqi politics and invariably reflect on Mr. Maliki, since many Iraqi officials now say that he has taken effective control of the Iraqi central bank, which is nominally independent.
“We want to question the central bank and the banks that are involved,” Ali al-Sachri, a member of Parliament, said in an interview. Mr. Salih acknowledged the huge dollar transfers and said that they threatened the economic stability of Iraq by depleting the country’s foreign reserves. He said that “in order to prevent the economy from collapsing, we should put an end to this illegal flow of dollars outside Iraq.”
He said the large-scale money laundering was probably being helped by “some corruption that requires the government to investigate,” but he defended the actions of the central bank, saying that it does “not have the capability to watch everything.”
Several American and Iraqi banking and government officials also say that Iranian organizations have gained effective control over at least four Iraqi commercial banks through Iraqi intermediaries. That gives Iran direct access to the international financial system, supposedly denied to Tehran by the economic sanctions. Even as the United States has moved to tighten the vise against Iran this summer, the Maliki government has openly sought to enhance its already deep economic and political ties with Iran. Trade between Iraq and Iran, which fought a costly war from 1980 to 1988, has been growing rapidly ever since the American-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and it is now estimated to be as high as $11 billion a year. Among other openly acknowledged forms of trade, Iraq has contracts to buy large amounts of electrical power from Iran.
Just last week, an Iraqi delegation that includes the deputy prime minister and top officials from the ministries of finance and trade and the central bank met in Tehran with their Iranian counterparts for talks about further increasing economic ties.
An Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said in a telephone interview that Iraq “is not intending to break any rules,” but added that “we also have good relations with Iran that we do not want to break.”
This year, Iraqi officials publicly expressed concerns that their large volume of trade with Iran might place them in violation of the sanctions on Iran, and they said they would seek a sanctions waiver. After those public statements, American officials privately told the Maliki government that Iraq would not be found to be in violation of the new Iran sanctions because of its publicly acknowledged cross-border trade, according to a former senior United States official.
Whatever help Iraq has given Iran, the sanctions have put considerable pressure on Tehran. Iran’s oil exports have dropped by about 40 percent because of the latest round of sanctions, while Iraq’s own oil production has been surging. American officials say that if aiding Iran was a priority of the Iraqi government, Baghdad would not be so eagerly ramping up oil production to fill the void left by Iran.
Still, clandestine trade, including large-scale smuggling of oil and oil products, has been increasing, and the Iraqi government has done little to stop a highly organized effort that frequently provides financial benefits to Iraqi political parties and powerful political leaders, according to American and Iraqi oil traders and experts.
Iraqi fuel oil, acquired by smuggling operations with close connections to political leaders at extremely low prices with the help of government subsidies, is being smuggled from Iraq through Kurdistan and into Iran. From Iran it is smuggled once again, with some going to Afghanistan, where the cheap fuel is resold at a large profit. American and Iraqi oil experts say they believe that at least some Iranian oil is finding its way to Iraqi ports for export.

James Risen reported from Washington, and Duraid Adnan from Baghdad.

Senate Candidate Provokes Ire With ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Representative Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, is running for the Senate.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press
Akin's comments drew a sharp rebuke from Senator Claire McCaskill.

Readers’ Comments

"It's unfortunate that his male body was unable to shut down his mouth."
Joan Binnings, Roanoke, VA
Asked in an interview on a St. Louis television station about his views on abortion, Mr. Akin, a six-term member of Congress who is backed byTea Party conservatives, made it clear that his opposition to the practice was nearly absolute, even in instances of rape.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
The comments, made during an interview with KTVI-TV that was posted on Sunday on the station’s Web site, provoked howls of outrage from Democrats and women’s rights organizations. Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democrat who will face Mr. Akin in the November election, immediately took to Twitter with a blunt response. “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,” she wrote, “I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM.”
Mr. Akin quickly backtracked from his taped comments, saying he “misspoke.”
“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview, and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Mr. Akin, who has a background in engineering and is a member of the House science committee, said in a statement. “I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life, and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”
The Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan was quick to distance itself from Mr. Akin’s remarks.
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement,” the campaign said. “A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
Ms. McCaskill, who is seeking a second term in the Senate, is seen as one of the most politically vulnerable Democratic incumbents on the ballot this fall, beset by her ties to President Obama and tens of millions in dollars spent against her by outside advocacy groups.
Mr. Akin, 65, won the Senate Republican primary this month with strong support from Missouri’s religious conservatives. But he was also helped by Ms. McCaskill, whose campaign spent nearly $2 million on ads portraying Mr. Akin as ultraconservative. It was a clear attempt to bolster his candidacy among more conservative primary voters while gambling that the independents and moderate Republicans needed to win the election would be turned off by his views on social issues.
Political observers have said Ms. McCaskill’s best chance of defending her seat, and perhaps the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, is to paint her opponent as extreme.
“Claire McCaskill will certainly amplify this remark, make sure everybody’s heard it,” said Dave Robertson, a professor of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Mike Talboy, the Democratic minority leader in the Missouri Legislature, said that he had spoken to members of both parties about Mr. Akin’s comments and had found uniform outrage.
“Nobody has defended him,” Mr. Talboy said. “That, I think, is pretty telling.”
Brian Walsh, the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, declined to address what impact Mr. Akin’s comments might have on the Senate race. But he wrote in an e-mail that “Congressman Akin did the right thing by quickly correcting the record and acknowledging that he misspoke.” He said the election would be a referendum on Ms. McCaskill’s voting record and support for the president’s agenda.
If this state is truly aligning itself with more conservative values, some believe that Mr. Akin’s comments might actually help him politically.
Jamie Tomek, president of the Missouri branch of the National Organization for Women, who lives in the county where Mr. Akin grew up and says she knows his parents, said she was not surprised by the statement and did not think it would cost him much ahead of the election.
“He is very far right and very likely to make those types of statements,” Ms. Tomek said.

John Eligon reported from Kansas City, and Michael Schwirtz from New York. Rebecca Berg contributed reporting from Washington.
The Koch Brothers
People & Power asks why the billionaire siblings are spending a fortune in support of a conservative political agenda.
 Last Modified: 29 Mar 2012 04:48

By People & Power reporter Bob Abeshouse

Charles and David Koch are each worth about $25bn, which makes them the fourth richest Americans. When you combine their fortunes, they are the third wealthiest people in the world. Radical libertarians who use their money to oppose government and virtually all regulation as interference with the free market, the Kochs are in a class of their own as players on the American political stage. Their web of influence in the US stretches from state capitals to the halls of congress in Washington DC.
The Koch brothers fueled the conservative Tea Party movement that vigorously opposes Barack Obama, the US president. They fund efforts to derail action on global warming, and support politicians who object to raising taxes on corporations or the wealthy to help fix America’s fiscal problems. According to New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, who wrote a groundbreaking exposé of the Kochs in 2010, they have built a top to bottom operation to shape public policy that has been "incredibly effective. They are so rich that their pockets are almost bottomless, and they can keep pouring money into this whole process".
Koch industries, the second largest privately-held company in the US, is an oil refining, chemical, paper products and financial services company with revenues of a $100bn a year. Virtually every American household has some Koch product - from paper towels and lumber, to Stainmaster carpet and Lycra in sports clothes, to gasoline for cars. The Koch’s political philosophy of rolling back environmental and financial regulations is also beneficial to their business interests.
The Kochs rarely talk to the press, and conduct their affairs behind closed doors. But at a secret meeting of conservative activists and funders the Kochs held in Vail, Colorado this past summer, someone made undercover recordings. One caught Charles Koch urging participants to dig deep into their pockets to defeat Obama. "This is the mother of all wars we've got in the next 18 months," he says, "for the life or death of this country." He called out the names of 31 people at the Vail meeting who each contributed more than $1m over the past 12 months.

In the 2010 congressional elections, the Kochs and their partners spent at least $40m, helping to swing the balance of power in the US House of Representatives towards right-wing Tea Party Republicans. It has been reported that the Kochs are planning to raise and spend more than $200m to defeat Obama in 2012. But the brothers could easily kick in more without anyone knowing due to loopholes in US law.

The Kochs founded and provide millions to Americans for Prosperity, a political organisation that builds grassroots support for conservative causes and candidates. Americans for Prosperity, which has 35 state chapters and claims to have about two million members, has close ties to Tea Party groups and played a key role in opposing Obama's health care initiative.
Last year, Americans for Prosperity spent at least half a million dollars supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's efforts to cut social spending and roll back collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. The legislation passed by Walker makes it more difficult for unions, which are major backers of Democratic candidates, to secure funds for political purposes. Americans for Prosperity is also very active in a battle against unions in Ohio, another important 2012 presidential state. Its president, Tim Phillips, says that the organisation is winning in Wisconsin and around the country "because on the policies of economic freedom, we're right". He refused to tell People & Powerreporter Bob Abeshouse how much the organisation is spending to combat the unions.
The Kochs have also poured millions into think tanks and academia to influence the battle over ideas. According to Kert Davies, the director of research for Greenpeace in the US, the Kochs have spent more than $50m since 1998 on "various front groups and think tanks who ... oppose the consensus view that climate change is real, urgent and we have to do something about it". As operators of oil pipelines and refineries, the Kochs have opposed all efforts to encourage alternative sources of energy by imposing a tax on fossil fuels.
Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the CATO Institute, often appears in the media to contest global warming science. CATO was founded by Charles Koch, and the Kochs and their foundations have contributed about $14m to CATO. Since 2009, there has been a sharp drop in the percentage of Americans who see global warming as a serious threat according to Gallup polls. Davies argues that the change can be attributed in large measure to the efforts of scientists like Michaels and others who are funded by the fossil fuel industry.
The Kochs have also promoted their free market ideology and business interests through aggressive lobbying in Washington DC, and financial support of political candidates. Greenpeace has tracked more than $50m that Koch Industries has spent on lobbyists since 2006, when Cap and Trade and other legislation to combat global warming was being considered. The Kochs have been the largest political spender since 2000 in the energy sector, exceeding Exxon, Chevron, and other major players. 
The Kochs contributed to 62 of the 87 new members of the US House of Representatives in 2010. Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the Kochs supported have taken the lead in opposing US Environmental Protection Agency efforts to reduce global warming emissions. Other members backed by the Kochs belong to the right-wing Tea Party bloc that took the US to the brink of default in July by refusing to consider a budget deal that would include tax increases.
Since People & Power’s report on the Kochs aired last fall, supporters of the Tea Party movement have complicated the Republican presidential primaries. Tea Party supporters have shifted from candidate to candidate and failed to coalesce around Mitt Romney. Given the divisions, the Kochs have not come out publically for any candidate. They are setting their sights instead on defeating Barack Obama and expanding their influence in the US House and Senate.
According to Ken Vogel of Politico, who appears in the Koch Brothers update, one of their more ambitious new projects is setting up a national voter database called Themis to expand their fundraising and mobilising machinery. Vogel says that the effort is unprecedented, and reveals the Kochs determination to develop capabilities reserved for the major political parties in the past.
Americans for Prosperity has already spent $6m on campaign ads attacking Obama for his support of renewable energy projects. Davies of Greenpeace says the Kochs influence on the campaign debate is clear. Republicans like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich who favored climate change legislation in the past now oppose it. President Obama, he says, is “even bragging about drilling more oil than Bush at this point.”
Americans for Prosperity is also laying the groundwork for reigniting the Tea Party to defeat Obama. In March, Americans for Prosperity and Tea Party groups are staging protests at the US Supreme Court while it considers the constitutionality of the health care law the Obama administration pushed through in 2010. The health care debate fueled the rise of the Tea Party in the first year of the Obama presidency.
Meanwhile, the Kochs are rounding up hundreds of millions of dollars for the 2012 elections. In January, they held another of their secret meetings with wealthy conservatives at a lush resort in Palm Springs, California. New attendees included the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who with his family has given $16.5m to the Super PAC backing Newt Gingrich, and Foster Friess, a wealthy financier supporting Rick Santorum in the Republican primaries.
Obama is doing his best to raise a billion dollars for the presidential race, and break all fundraising records. But Lee Fang, an investigator with the Republic Report, told reporter Bob Abeshouse that the “Kochs will have a tremendous impact. On a larger scale this election will come down to a few billionaires: a couple on the left supporting the Democrats, and a lot on the right supporting the Republicans. I think in 2013 people will look back on this election as the greatest one bought and sold.”