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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The CEO Who Built Himself America’s Largest House Just Threatened to Fire His Employees if Obama’s Elected

 

David Siegel is the founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, a huge national timeshare company and one of the largest resort developers in the world. In 2007 he was a billionaire, although he may be only a hundred-millionaire now. He and his wife Jackie were the subjects of the recent documentary "The Queen of Versailles," about their ongoing quest to build the largest house in America, a 90,000 square foot monument to excess. And yesterday, David Siegel sent an email to all of his thousands of employees, in which he—in a veiled way—insinuated that they would be fired of Barack Obama is reelected.

UPDATE: Shortly after we posted this letter, we found out, thanks to multiple readers, that it bore suspicious resemblances to a popular chain letter that was circulated just before the 2008 elections. Well, we just got off the phone with David Siegel, who told us the letter below is real, and that it was sent out to all of his employees yesterday. "I did use the letter that had circulated before as a guideline, but I changed it [to fit my circumstances]," he told us. "It speaks the truth and it gives [employees] something to think about when they go to the polls." He also said that its threats of possible layoffs are real, based on his assessment of the political and economic climate. He added that he "hasn't had any negative feedback" on the letter.

The Florida-based Westgate Resorts is not a public company. It is the domain of David Siegel, a staunch Republican. In fact, Siegel has publicly claimed credit for George W. Bush defeating Al Gore, saying "I had my managers do a survey on every employee [8,000 total]. If they liked Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore."
"The Queen of Versailles" depicts the dashing of Siegel's mansion dreams after the recession hit. But just months ago, he restarted construction on his personal Palace of Versailles (with the intention of selling it for $100 million) and told Reuters, "We're the most profitable we've ever been."
Huge mansion. Huge fortune. Profitable company. What could David Siegal have to complain about? Well, the demonization of the 1% by Barack Obama, for one thing. This truly amazing email went out to all Westgate employees yesterday. Bolding is ours.
Subject: Message from David Siegel
Date:Mon, 08 Oct 2012 13:58:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: [David Siegel]
To: [All employees]
         To All My Valued Employees,

As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can't tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn't interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.
However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.The current administration and members of the press have perpetuated an environment that casts employers against employees. They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. They label us the "1%" and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I'm building. I'm sure many people think that I live a privileged life. However, what you don't see or hear is the true story behind any success that I have achieved.
I started this company over 42 years ago. At that time, I lived in a very modest home. I converted my garage into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. We didn't eat in fancy restaurants or take expensive vacations because every dollar I made went back into this company. I drove an old used car, and often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, many of my friends got regular jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a nice income, and they spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into this business —-with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford to buy whatever I wanted. Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company. Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.
Just think about this – most of you arrive at work in the morning and leave that afternoon and the rest of your time is yours to do as you please. But not me- there is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have that freedom. I eat, live, and breathe this company every minute of the day, every day of the week. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. I know many of you work hard and do a great job, but I'm the one who has to sign every check, pay every expense, and make sure that this company continues to succeed. Unfortunately, what most people see is the nice house and the lavish lifestyle. What the press certainly does not want you to see, is the true story of the hard work and sacrifices I've made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and people like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits, but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the costs of running a business have gotten out of control, and let me tell you why: We are being taxed to death and the government thinks we don't pay enough. We pay state taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes and unemployment taxes. I even have to hire an entire department to manage all these taxes. The question I have is this: Who is really stimulating the economy? Is it the Government that wants to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not, or is it people like me who built a company out of his garage and directly employs over 7000 people and hosts over 3 million people per year with a great vacation?
Obviously, our present government believes that taking my money is the right economic stimulus for this country. The fact is, if I deducted 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, that's what happens to me.
Here is what most people don't understand and the press and our Government has chosen to ignore – to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Instead of raising my taxes and depositing that money into the Washington black-hole, let me spend it on growing the company, hire more employees, and generate substantial economic growth. My employees will enjoy the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But that is not what our current Government wants you to believe. They want you to believe that it somehow makes sense to take more from those who create wealth and give it to those who do not, and somehow our economy will improve. They don't want you to know that the "1%", as they like to label us, pay more than 31% of all the taxes in this country. Thomas Jefferson, the author of our great Constitution, once said, "democracy" will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate business, not kill it. However, the power brokers in Washington believe redistributing wealth is the essential driver of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change they want.
So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job. While the media wants to tell you to believe the "1 percenters" are bad, I'm telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the "1%"; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.
You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed, your boss,
David Siegel

Obama, Romney Campaigns Both Complain About Candy Crowley



Oh, boo hoo. My concern is not that Candy Crowley will be unfair to the candidates, but to the viewers. I'm concerned that she will either work to soften the questions (because when have you ever seen her conduct a truly interesting interview?) -- or that she will simply spit out the same fact-free conventional wisdom as Martha Raddatz did re: Social Security and Medicare, or Iran:.
In a rare show of unity, both the Obama and Romney campaigns have complained to the Commission on Presidential Debates about CNN's Candy Crowley, who will moderate Tuesday's town hall forum.
The reason, according to Time's Mark Halperin, is that Crowley has publicly said that she intends to play an active role in the debate, rather than just let the audience at the town hall ask questions.
Time's Halperin got his hands on the secret debate contract -- or "Memorandum of Understanding" -- hammered out by the two campaigns for every debate. Many groups have long demanded for these contracts to be made public as a matter of routine, but the Commission and the campaigns have resisted.
According to Halperin, the MOU, which he said Crowley is "not party to," calls for the moderator to play a relatively limited role in the town-hall debate:
"In managing the two-minute comment periods, the moderator will not rephrase the question or open a new topic ... The moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates during the debate or otherwise intervene in the debate except to acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invite candidate comments during the two-minute response period."
This does not dovetail in the least with Crowley's public statements about her intentions. She discussed what she feels her role will be in detail with The Huffington Post last week:
I want to hear less from the moderator than I do from the candidate. I think that, in some ways, people go into it expecting that you're going to mix it up with the candidates. And I'm not saying that at some point that won't happen or that that doesn't happen. I'm just saying that the idea is to get the candidates to mix it up with each other.
Huffington Post: So you see your ultimate role as being there to facilitate their conversation with each other?
Crowley: I think that's one of the roles. The expectations are enormous from people. My inbox is filled with questions from people. You're going to disappoint people, so I think the idea is to try to add to the body of knowledge that is out there in whatever way you can. I think it's always best when these guys engage with each other, but that doesn't mean I won't engage with them if that gets us closer to what we need.
I personally thought she did an excellent job, keep the conversation moving, and made sure that the candidates answered questions, and she tried to rope in Romney who was trying to take over again.  He was rude, crude, and sneering at our President.  I would never vote for him if he were the only person 20% capable of doing the job, and the only candidate. He thinks he owns the talking space.  He did that in both debates.

110073567 the 2012 Debates Memorandum of Understanding Between the Obama and Romney Campaigns

5 ways Obama can win the next debate

Mitt Romney turned the campaign upside down with his victory in the first presidential debate. Can President Obama turn the tables in the second one?

To win the next debate, President Obama will have to ramp up the energy.
To win the next debate, President Obama will have to ramp up the energy.Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesSEE ALL 170 PHOTOS
President Obama blew a significant polling lead with his widely panned, lackluster performance in the first debate. And after the bump Mitt Romney got in the polls from his clear win in the first clash, both candidates have hunkered down for intense preparations for the second debate, which takes place at Hofstra University in New York on Tuesday. Most of the pressure is on Obama, as political analysts generally agree that he has to nail this town-hall-style showdown to start regaining lost support. Obama has been working with top advisers in a three-day debate camp in Virginia. "It is going great," an optimistic Obama said Sunday. What will he have to do to win round two in the series of three debates? Here, five ways he can take back the momentum:

1. Obama has to avoid the many mistakes of his first debate
The president's first task is making sure he doesn't "repeat the mistakes he made at his first debate" a week and a half ago, says Helene Cooper at The New York Times. In that encounter, Obama "stood by passively as an aggressive Romney dominated him" and took over the momentum. Obama's aides are making sure he goes into the next clash with more practice — and energy. Vice President Joe Biden showed the way in his debate by forcefully countering the assertions of Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, by grinning in disbelief, and twice calling Ryan's claims "malarkey." Obama just has to figure out his own way "to accuse Romney of twisting the facts without seeming rude."

2. He should resist the temptation to renew his Bain attack
"Obama reportedly is also planning an assault on Romney's Bain background," says William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, "but I predict a backfire." Romney has had plenty of time to craft a response to the tired attacks of his career as a financier at Bain. The debate will offer Romney the chance to explain his side of the story "without media filter," allowing him to "frame the issue as one of the private sector versus 'trickle down government.'" That will give the Republican the added advantage of putting Solyndra, Obama's green-pork boondoggle, in focus. Yes, but Obama "knows through experience that Romney's weak spot with middle class voters is Bain," says Rick Moran at PJ Tattler. Romney is going to have to defend his business career, so Obama had "better come up with some zingers for Tuesday night."

3. He has to crank up the energy
Forget "No Drama Obama," says Julianna Goldman at Bloomberg. The president needs some serious drama this time. His "dispassionate first debate performance" did not look good next to Romney's "fresh burst of enthusiasm." Early voting has already started and the Nov. 6 election is just three weeks away. "Obama must go on the offensive," with a confident, enthusiastic performance "laying out clear contrasts with Romney and making the kind of personal connection with voters that helped him win four years ago."

4. He needs to learn from Biden's success
Obama can't "duplicate Uncle Joe," says Alec MacGillis at The New Republic, and he shouldn't try. He can, however, take pointers from his sidekick. He should forget about the size of the cuts in Romney's tax plan, and focus on its details — it curtails mortgage-interest deductions for the middle-class while protecting hedge-funder loopholes that give Romney such low tax rates. Also, Obama inexplicably said he and Romney have the same views on Social Security. He needs to point out, as Biden did, that Republicans, especially Ryan, have argued we should privatize it. Biden's biggest score came when he called out Ryan as a hypocrite, for criticizing the stimulus while writing letters requesting stimulus funds to create growth and jobs. "Ryan looked like he'd had the wind knocked out of him."

5. Obama needs to defend his record the way Bill Clinton did
The president's main job is "to offer the voters a narrative that is true, compelling and appealing about the successes" of his first term,  says Brent Budowsky at The Huffington Post. Unemployment has fallen below 8 percent, the housing industry is on the mend. One of the reasons Obama got such a bounce after the Democratic convention was "the brilliant and historically important speech of former President Clinton," who "made a powerful and credible case for the successes that Obama has achieved in first avoiding a new global depression after the disaster he inherited from his Republican predecessor," and then in "initiating the economic recovery that has begun to gather steam." Obama has to defend his record as Clinton did, with "confidence, optimism, and vigor." He also needs to "state that Republicans bear major responsibility for the problems he inherited." If he can do that, he can win this debate.

Koch Brothers' 'Pro-Romney' Letter To Staff: Is Koch PAC Non-Partisan, As They Claim?

10/15/2012 @ 2:49PM |5,566 views
David Koch, billionaire industrialist and one half of America's richest pair of brothers.


It hasn’t been the best week for the billionaire Koch brothers. The lesser known Koch, David’s twin brother Bill, stands accused of kidnapping and imprisoning an executive on his Colorado ranch. He denies all charges.
Bill’s more famous siblings Charles and David Koch are rarely out of the headlines, but Sunday’s news was more substantive than the usual speculation on where America’s richest brothers, worth $31 billion apiece, are secretly spending their cash this election.
Liberal political magazine In These Times obtained and published a packet of voting information sent to 45,000 employees of Koch Industries paper subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. The materials include a list of Koch-endorsed candidates — those who “have received support from a Koch company or Koch PAC”, the company’s political action committee. For Oregon staffers, that list is comprised solely of Republicans: 14 of them at state level, plus the Romney/Ryan presidential ticket.
The publication of this mailing comes on the heels of another highly publicized letter from a member of the one per cent. Timeshare mogul David Siegel wrote to his employees last week urging them to vote for Mitt Romney or risk losing their jobs. He told my colleague Luisa Kroll that if President Obama is reelected, he’ll consider closing up shop and laying off all 7,000 of his staff.
Koch Industries’ slick media operation was quick to respond to In These Times’ piece, noting that other corporations and unions provide similar information to employees and members. Georgia-Pacific’s spokesperson went a step further, denying the company’s endorsements are at all partisan:

“As we regularly point out, Koch companies and Koch PAC support candidates based on their support for market-based policies and economic freedom, which benefits society as a whole. Our support is not based on party affiliation, and we support both Republicans and Democrats who support market-based policies and solutions.”
Koch Industries’ Koch PAC has indeed supported Democrats this election, but only to the tune of $23,500, backing four Democrats in Congressional races (for the record: $10,000 to Georgia’s John Barrow, $2,000 to Oklahoma’s Dan Boren, $5,500 to Minnesota’s Collin Peterson and $6,000 to Arkansas’ Mike Ross).
By contrast, Koch PAC has spent $1.162 million on Republican candidates for the House, plus another $152,000 on GOP Senate hopefuls. FEC disclosures show that the Koch Industries group donated $25,000 to the the official Romney/Ryan fundraising committee in August, as well as $30,000 each to the National Republican Congressional Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee.
In fact, Koch PAC’s giving has become increasingly partisan over the years. Check out the chart below, courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics. The group’s donations to Democratic candidates make up 1.7% of their federal expenditure so far this election cycle, versus just over 15% in 2008 and just under 22% in 2004.
Credit: The Center For Reponsive Politics
Watch this space to see if this divide narrows at all with the next Koch PAC monthly report, due to the FEC on October 20.

Read more:
Billionaires Bashing Obama: The Most Scathing Rants, Tweets And Quotes From The 1%
Koch Brothers: Scott Walker Didn’t Get A Dime From Us
Want To Boycott Koch Brothers’ Products While Shopping? There’s An App For That


Anti-Obama Billionaires

AP Photo/Scott A. Miller David Siegel, Jackie Siegel

David Siegel, Jackie Siegel

Timeshare tycoon David Siegel (pictured with his wife Jackie at right) hit headlines after sending a letter to colleagues recommending they vote for Mitt Romney or risk losing their jobs. (AP Photo/Scott A. Miller)

Bill Maher to Right-Wing Christians: If You Do God's Work, Why Are You Always Wrong?

"Is the problem that you can't follow instructions, or is Jesus just dicking you around?" Maher asks.
On Friday's episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher," Maher wondered why conservative Christians who claim to do God's work always manage to screw up so badly. "If you're doing God's work and God is perfect, how come you're always wrong?" he wonders. "Is the problem that you can't follow instructions, or is Jesus just dicking you around?" 

Maher revisits a 2008 letter sent out by Focus on the Family detailing the horrors that would befall the nation if Barack Obama won the Presidency. As Maher points out, not a single one of the group's 34 dire predictions came to pass: school children still say the Pledge of Allegiance and the government has not seized everyone's guns.
Maher admits that Focus in the Family is in the business of scaring "rubes" into giving them money, so the truth is not their highest priority. "But 0 for 34?" he asks in disbelief. Watch Maher eviscerate the right-wing group below.  

video

A documented case of false prophecy: Four years later, ‘Letter from 2012′ makes Focus on the Family look ridiculous

Before the 2008 election, the religious right was predicting doom, gloom and the end of the world if Barack Obama were to win.
One of the most colorful and intense denunciations of Obama came from Focus on the Family, which produced a 16-page “Letter From 2012 in Obama’s America.” I had forgotten all about that dire “letter from the future.”

In 2008, Focus on the Family listed 34 predictions of what would happen if Barack Obama became president. They were wrong about all 34 of them.
Unfortunately for Focus, Libby Anne did not forget about it. Since this fictional “letter” was dated October 2012 — which is now — she dug out a copy to see how it’s many predictions have held up. The result is a devastating post titled “This is the most important election of all time! (again)
Focus on the Family made 34 specific, detailed predictions about what would happen in “Obama’s America.” They came up 0-for-34.
Well, let’s be generous — we’ll give them half credit for prediction No. 10. That one correctly foresaw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — but then also incorrectly predicted a host of disastrous consequences of that repeal. Obama did repeal DADT, but Christians have not been expelled from the military and the Pentagon isn’t paying “special bonuses” to LGBT recruits. But still, that one comes closer than the other 33 predictions, which are all utterly wrong, so let’s cut Focus some slack and say they’re 0.5-for-34.
The Boy Scouts and private Christian schools were not forced to disband by the Supreme Court; adoption agencies remain in business; religious broadcasters still broadcast; churches are not being compelled to host gay weddings or to hire lesbian clergy; Christian tribal gatherings are still permitted “at the pole” in public high schools; the Pledge of Allegiance and private gun ownership have not been outlawed.
Libby Anne’s post is long because it is impressively thorough and methodical. Here is what Focus on the Family said would happen. Here is what actually did happen instead. Over and over and over. Focus on the Family was wrong. Focus on the Family was wrong. Focus on the Family was wrong. … Thirty-four times over. Treat yourself to reading the whole thing.
Re-reading the Focus letter four years later, what strikes me most — besides how utterly wrong they are about everything — is how parochial their imagination is when attempting to envision a political dystopia. The horrors they predict are almost all narrowly targeted at and tailored toward them. I’ve read a ton of dystopian stories, good and bad, and this is the most cluelessly self-absorbed vision of its kind that I’ve ever seen.
Maybe my favorite part of the letter (here’s a .pdf version) is prediction No. 18: “Pornographic magazines are openly displayed in gas stations, grocery stores and on newsstands.” I can’t figure out which is more laughably wrong — that this is what they imagine is the real secret agenda of President Obama and his party, or that anyone in 2008 was looking ahead to 2012 and predicting boom times for print media.
Focus Letter

“This is the most important election of all time!” (again)

You’ve probably heard by now that if Obama wins a second term we will become a socialist nation, gun ownership will be made illegal, our country will be unrecognizable by the end of his term, and on and on. If you listen to leaders on the Right it sounds like this election is the most important election of all time and that all of America’s freedoms are staked Romney defeating Obama. There’s just one problem. I remember 2008.
In 2008 prominent Christian Right group Focus on the Family put out a sixteen page document called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” The document was in the form of a letter, a (fictional) letter from a Christian in 2012 writing back from the future about all the changes that had happened since Obama took office. Let’s take a look, shall we? The letter starts like this:
October 22, 2012
Dear friends,
I can hardly sing “The Star Spangled Banner” any more. When I hear the words,
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
I get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Now in October of 2012, after seeing what has happened in the last four years, I don’t think I can still answer, “Yes,” to that question. We are not “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, and hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more.
The 2008 election was closer than anybody expected, but Barack Obama still won. Many Christians voted for Obama – younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the farLeft policies that had marked his career.
They were wrong.
In other words, the purpose of this letter is to scare evangelicals – especially younger evangelicals – out of voting for Obama and convince them to vote for McCain. Here are some excerpts regarding the changes that were supposedly going to happen over the four years following 2008 if Barack Obama was elected (the things that will happen are numbered, and I have maintained that numbering):
(1) The Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization. They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.
That didn’t happen. The Boy Scouts still discriminate against gay people, and no one is stopping them. They also discriminate against atheists, which means my eagle scout husband will not be able to enroll our son Bobby in boy scouts.
(2) Elementary schools now include compulsory training in varieties of gender identity in Grade 1, including the goodness of homosexuality as one possible personal choice. Many parents tried to “opt out” their children from such sessions, but the courts have ruled they cannot do this, noting that education experts in the government have decided that such training is essential to children’s psychological health.
Nope, actually, schools are still generally unsafe places for LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ teens are still committing suicide because of the abuse they face, not just from other students but sometimes even from teachers.
(10) One change regarding the status of homosexuals did not wait for any Supreme Court decision. In the first week after his inauguration, President Obama invited homosexual rights leaders from around the United States to join him at the White House as he signed an executive order directing all branches of the military to abandon their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and to start actively recruiting homosexuals.
As a result, homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service (to attempt to compensate for past discrimination), and all new recruits, and all active-duty and reserve personnel, are compelled to take many hours of “sensitivity training” to ensure they demonstrate positive attitudes toward those with different sexual orientations and practices. Any one who seems hesitant or who objects is routinely passed over for promotion. In addition, any chaplain who holds to an interpretation of Scripture that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and therefore does not espouse “mainstream values,” is dismissed from the military.
This one comes closest to being true. Obama did repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (though it took him a while to do so!). But for some reason the author of this letter couldn’t stop there. Special bonuses for new recruits who are gay? Anyone who is not 100% pro gay rights is passed over for promotions? Um, no. That’s not happening. All that changed is that gay soldiers can now, like, tell people that they’re gay.
(11) High schools are no longer free to allow “See You at the Pole” meetings where students pray together, or any student Bible studies even before or after school.
What? Nope, no one is stopping kids from praying before school and no one is busting up Bible studies.
(15) Congress lost no time in solidifying abortion rights under President Obama. In fact, Obama had promised, “The first thing I’ll do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (July 17, 2007, speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund). This federal law immediately nullified hundreds of state laws that had created even the slightest barrier to abortion. States can no longer require parental involvement for minors who wish to have an abortion, waiting period, informed consent rules, restrictions on tax-payer funding or restrictions on late-term abortions. The act reversed the Hyde Amendment, so the government now funds Medicaid abortions for any reason. As a result, the number of abortions has increased dramatically. The Freedom of Choice Act also reversed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, so infants can be killed outright just seconds before they would be born. States whose laws were overturned challenged the law in court but it was upheld by the Obama Supreme Court.
Um, actually, the reality is the exact opposite of this. Between 2008 and 2012 abortion restrictions absolutely ballooned. And the Hyde amendment, prohibiting federal funding for abortion, is still firmly in place.
Also, I’m curious about the suggestion that lifting restrictions on abortions would cause the numbers of women having abortions to “increase dramatically.” If this suggestion is true, it would mean that there are significant numbers of women out there today who want abortions and end up being forced to carry their pregnancies to term and become mothers because they are unable to obtain abortions. I’m sure this is the reality for some women, but how many? Not for as many as the author of this letter things, I’m hoping. But regardless, this statement does make clear the goal of restrictions on abortions – preventing women from accessing constitutionally protected health care.
Alternatively, of course, the author may think that if abortion were as easy to get as a lolly pop, there would be lots of women who are actually okay with the idea of having a baby who would run out and get on at a moment’s notice because, I don’t know, they got annoyed at wearing maternity clothes or something. I remember hearing this attitude as a child, this idea that women were somehow so empty minded that if abortion was available in the local drug store, they’d just run in and get one, as if the decision to have an abortion was something women made lightly and without thought. On a lark, like.
(18) It’s almost impossible to keep children from seeing pornography. The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and television broadcasts.
Nope. Didn’t happen.
Also, how come the Christian Right is against regulations when they apply to how businesses operate, but all for regulations when it comes to how TV and radio stations operate? I mean, if the free market is so glorious, the “magic hand” and all that, why would it not work in the case of TV and radio? I mean, wouldn’t some channels bill themselves as obscenity-free just to get viewers, while others would go all whole hog obscenity to get a different set of viewers, and then everyone would be happy?
(19) It is illegal for private citizens to own guns for self-defense in eight states, and the number is growing with increasing Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships.
Believe it or not, no one has taken away your guns and no one will. I have yet to meet a single Democrat who wants to completely ban private ownership of guns. (Regulating is not banning. Requiring background checks is not banning. Requiring courses on gun safety, or whatever else, is not banning. Unless, that is, requiring drivers licenses = banning cars.) Also, believe it or not, Obama has not enacted any new gun regulations while in office. NOT ONE. So yeah, that didn’t happen.
(20) Parents’ freedom to teach their children at home has been severely restricted. … The Supreme Court declared that home schooling was a violation of state educational requirements except in cases where the parents (a) had an education certificate from an accredited state program., (b) agreed to use state-approved textbooks in all courses, and (c) agreed not to teach their children that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that Jesus is the only way to God, since these ideas have been found to hinder students’ social adjustment and acceptance of other lifestyles and beliefs, and to run counter to the state’s interest in educating its children to be good citizens. Parents found in violation of this ruling have been subject to prosecutions for truancy violation, resulting in heavy fines and eventual removal of their children from the home. Thousands of home schooling parents, seeing no alternative in the United States, have begun to emigrate to other countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand, where home schooling is still quite prevalent.
Didn’t happen.
Also, could someone from Australia or New Zealand please explain why your countries represent the wet dream of homeschoolers? Almost every time any homeschool advocate discusses the potential regulation of homeschooling in this country, they follow it with “let’s just all move to Australia/New Zealand.” Supposedly, there are already American homeschoolers doing just that. So spill. Do you guys not regulate homeschooling at all or something?
(21) President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise and began regular withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, completing it in the promised 16 months, by April 2010. All was peaceful during those months, but then in May 2010, Al-Qaida operatives from Syria and Iran poured into Iraq and completely overwhelmed the Iraqi security forces. A Taliban-like oppression has taken over in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of “American sympathizers” have been labeled as traitors, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. The number put to death may soon reach the millions.
Al-Qaida leaders have been emboldened by what they are calling the American “defeat” and their ranks are swelling in dozens of countries.
Didn’t happen. Instead, Obama had Osama Bin Ladin killed. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?
(22) President Obama directed U.S. intelligence services to cease all wiretapping of alleged terrorist phone calls unless they first obtained a warrant for each case. Terrorists captured overseas, instead of being tried in military tribunals, are given full trials in the U.S. court system, and they have to be allowed access to a number of government secrets to prepare their defense.
Since 2009, terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing hundreds, and the entire country is fearful, for no place seems safe.
I’m wracking my brain, and I’m not coming up with a single Islamic terrorist attack in this country in the last four years. Well, that one Muslim psychologist in the U.S. army killed several dozen soldiers on an army base, I suppose that counts – though it didn’t involve the “terrorist bombs” predicted. That guy out in Norway killed almost a hundred people, but he was a right wing extremist and that wasn’t the U.S. We’ve had plenty of shootings, from Gabrielle Giffords to the guy in Aurora to the guy who shot up a Sikh temple (because it looked Muslim, I guess), but those weren’t the Islamic terrorist attacks this letter suggests. So yeah. Didn’t happen.
(23) In early 2009, [Russia] followed the pattern they had begun in Georgia in 2008 and sent troops to occupy and re-take several Eastern European countries, starting with the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. President Obama appealed to the United Nations (UN), taking the same approach he had in his initial statements when Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008: “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war,” and “All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis,”
But Russia sits on the Security Council, and no U.N. action has yet been taken.
Then in the next three years, Russia occupied additional countries that had been previous Soviet satellite nations, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, with no military response from the U.S. or the U.N. NATO heads of state have severely condemned Russia’s actions each time but they could never reach consensus on military action.
Someone please remind the people at Focus on the Family that the Cold War is over?
Also, didn’t happen.
(25) In mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv, destroying much of that city. They then demanded that Israel cede huge amounts of territory to the Palestinians, and after an anguished all-night Cabinet meeting, Israel’s prime minister agreed. Israel is reduced to a much smaller country, hardly able to defend itself, and its future remains uncertain. President Obama said he abhorred what Iran had done and he hoped the U.N. would unanimously condemn this crime against humanity. He also declared that the U.S. would be part of any international peacekeeping force if authorized by the U.N., but the Muslim nations in the U.N. have so far prevented any action.
No, Iran has not nuked Israel. What confuses me about the above scenario is that while Iran is supposedly working on making nuclear weapons, Israel actually has them, and given historical precedent the idea that Israel would just stand down and cede away its land in this situation seems highly unlikely. (Someone who knows more about the Israel/Iran situation, feel free to offer more information.)
(26) The new Congress under President Obama passed a nationalized “single provider” health care system, in which the U.S. government is the provider of all health care in the United States, following the pattern of nationalized medicine in the United Kingdom and Canada. The great benefit is that medical care is now free for everyone — if you can get it. Now that health care is free, it seems everybody wants more of it. The waiting list for prostate cancer surgery is 3 years. The waiting list for ovarian cancer is 2 years. Just as the Canadian experience had shown prior to 2008 with its nationalized health care, so in the U.S. only a small number of MRIs are performed — down 90% from 2008 — because they are too expensive, and they discover more problems that need treatment, so they are almost never authorized.
(27) Because medical resources must be rationed carefully by the government, people older than 80 have essentially no access to hospitals or surgical procedures. Their “duty” is increasingly thought to be to go home to die, so they don’t drain scarce resources from the medical system. Euthanasia is becoming more and more common.
First, this didn’t happen. In fact, when Obama started working on health care reform he didn’t even pitch a single provider system, let alone pass such a thing. Instead, Obama passed the Republicans’ own health care plan. And then, bizarrely, the Republicans threw a fit.
Second, the person who wrote this clearly knows nothing about how the national health care systems in other western nations actually work. (If you live in such a country, feel free to explain the problems with these paragraphs.)
(28) Many Christians who voted for Obama did so because they thought his tax policies were fairer and his “middle-class tax cuts” would bring the economy out of its 2008 crisis. But once he took office, he followed the consistent pattern of the Democratic Party and his own record and asked Congress for a large tax increase. He explained the deficit had grown so large under President Bush, and the needs of the nation were so great, that we couldn’t afford to cut taxes.
Let’s have a quiz, shall we?
Obama did which of the following while in office:
A. Raise taxes
B. Cut taxes
Answer: B
There, that was fun.
(31) World demand for oil continues to climb, and prices keep going up, but President Obama for four years has refused to allow additional drilling for oil in the United States or offshore. Gas costs more than $7 per gallon, and many Democrats openly applaud this, since high prices reduce oil consumption and thus reduce carbon dioxide output. But working Americans are hit hard by these costs.
Yeah, that $7 a gallon gas is really hurting my pocketbook. Or not. I will say that $4 a gallon gas certainly isn’t fun, but $4 isn’t $7.
Also, Obama has opened additional drilling offshore. Yes, you read that right.
(31) As for coal, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to implement strict new carbon emission standards that drove many coal-powered electric plants out of business. The country has less total electric power available than in 2008, and periodic blackouts to conserve energy occur on a regular schedule throughout the nation. The price of electricity has tripled in places like California, which also faces rolling blackouts during peak energy periods. The impact on our economy, and our homes, has been devastating.
I’m sorry, rolling blackouts? What?
(32) By the summer of 2009, the five-member FCC was controlled by Democratic appointees – including a chairman appointed by President Obama. The “Fairness Doctrine” became a topic of FCC consideration following pressure from Democratic congressional leaders who initially did not have sufficient votes to pass the measure. The FCC quickly implemented the “Fairness Doctrine,” which requires that radio stations provide “equal time” for alternative views on political or policy issues.
As a result, all radio stations have to provide equal time to contrasting views for every political or policy-related program they broadcast by talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, Janet Parshall, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt, and broadcasters like Dr. James Dobson. Every conservative talk show is followed by an instant rebuttal to the program by a liberal “watchdog” group. Many listeners gave up in frustration, advertising (and donation) revenues dropped dramatically, and nearly all conservative stations have gone out of business or switched to alternative formats such as country or gospel or other music. Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010.
Hang on. I have to stop laughing before I can finish this post.
There. Okay.
How does the author finish this “letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”? Well, a letter like this wouldn’t be complete without talk of Christians in the United States being thrown in jail now, would it?
Many brave Christian men and women tried to resist these laws, and some Christian legal agencies tried to defend them, but they couldn’t resist the power of a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court. It seems many of the bravest ones went to jail or were driven to bankruptcy. And many of their reputations have been destroyed by a relentless press and the endless repetition of false accusations.
Let’s see. The Soviet Union rises again? Check. Christians being thrown in jail in the United States? Check. Just so we’re, you know, being thorough.
And of course, the letter ends with a call to action:
When did this all start? Christians share a lot of the blame. In 2008, many evangelicals thought Senator Obama was an opportunity for a “change,” and they voted for him. They did not realize Obama’s far-Left agenda would take away many of our freedoms, perhaps permanently (it is unlikely the Supreme Court can be changed for perhaps 30 years). Christians did not realize that by electing Barack Obama — rated the most liberal U.S. senator in 2007 — they would allow the law, in the hands of a liberal Congress and Supreme Court, to become a great instrument of oppression.
The whole purpose of this letter, like I said, was to scare evangelicals out of voting for Obama at any cost. And today, they’re doing the same thing. If you vote for Obama, they say, every manner of horrible awful no good very bad thing will happen. Your freedoms will disappear. They will take your guns, they will ban homeschooling, they will send your grandma to death panels.
But this is getting old. See, leaders on the Right do this every election year. Every election is “the most important election of all time,” and every election year they warn that our freedoms as Americans are on the line. Every election year they predict catastrophe if they lose the election. The day after Obama’s election, a friend facebooked me a simple question: “Are you ready for four years of hell?” He went on to talk about Christians being put in jail and socialism coming to America. Didn’t happen.
It’s like all those times Christian leaders have predicted Jesus’ return. You can only predict it and then have it not happen so many times before you lose all credibility whatsoever. It’s as if the Right is playing a game to see how many times they can predict the destruction of our freedoms before they get called on it. And seriously, it’s about time someone called them on it.
And don’t even get me started on the portrayal of liberals as anti-American.


The billionaire Koch brothers have become the poster children for corporate influence on politics in the post-Citizens United era.

Koch Sends Pro-Romney Mailing to 45,000 Employees While Stifling Workplace Political Speech (Update)

The billionaire Koch brothers have found a new way to influence the 2012 election: preaching to employees.
BY Mike Elk
No longer is it good enough for the Kochs to spend unlimited money influencing elections. They are also touting candidates to employees while creating policies that have a chilling effect on employees' freedom of speech.
Update: See Koch Industries' response to this story at bottom.
Much has been written about the owners of Koch Industries, brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, trying to control the political process through hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to right-wing causes and candidates. Now, an In These Times investigation reveals that the billionaires have broken out another tactic to influence the 2012 elections: attempting to control their workers’ votes.
In a voter information packet obtained by In These Times, the Koch Industries corporate leadership informed tens of thousands of employees at its subsidiary, Georgia Pacific, that their livelihood could depend on the 2012 election and that the company supports Mitt Romney for president. The guide was similar to one the company distributed before the 2010 midterm elections, which Mark Ames and I reported on in The Nation last year.
  The packet arrived in the mailboxes of all 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees earlier this month. The cover letter [PDF], by Koch Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson, read:
While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.
If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.
Enclosed with the letter was a flyer [PDF] listing Koch-endorsed candidates, beginning with Romney. Robertson’s letter explained: “At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.”
The packet also included an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch [PDF] and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch [PDF]. The letter went on to say, “We believe any decision about which candidates to support is—as always—yours and yours alone, based on the factors that are most important to you. Second, we do not support candidates based on their political affiliation.”
In the flyer sent to Oregon employees, all 14 Koch-backed state candidates were Republicans.
The Koch’s in-house campaigning for the GOP is part of a larger trend of corporations exercising new freedoms under Citizens United. The Supreme Court decision overturned previous FEC laws prohibiting employers from expressing electoral opinions directly to their employees.

A culture of fear
Ironically, while the Kochs have been taking advantage of Citizens United to expand political communications to employees, they have also capitalized on weak labor laws to limit the political speech of those employees.
In September, a number of unionized employees at Georgia Pacific’s Toledo, Ore. plant posed for a photo in front of their union hall with Democratic state Senate candidate Arnie Roblan. When the Koch Industries voter information packet arrived in the workers’ mailboxes a few weeks later, they saw that Roblan was not on the list of Koch-endorsed candidates in Oregon.
It was then, says Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) Vice President Greg Pallesen, that he started receiving some of the strangest phone calls from workers he’s fielded in his 30-plus years of union involvement. The unionized workers in the photo were worried that they might be fired from their jobs if the image got out on the Internet, because in the backdrop of the photo, the Georgia Pacific plant could be seen.
Their fear comes not only from the mailing, but also from a new Georgia Pacific social media policy [PDF] implemented earlier this year that warns, “Even if your social media conduct is outside of the workplace and/or non-work related, it must not reflect negatively on GP’s reputation, its products, or its brands.” Given the policy, the workers were scared to appear next to a candidate the Kochs do not support with the plant in the background.
Georgia Pacific workers say that in general, they are not sure where the boundaries of the social media policy lie. AWPPW Local 5 President Jim Pierce, who works at Georgia Pacific paper mill, in Camas, Washington, is wary of commenting online about the outspoken Koch Brothers’ political beliefs.
“Even if I was at my own home, I can’t put something up [on Facebook] against the Koch Brothers,” says Pierce. “I don’t post anything about the Koch Brothers. I could lose my job.”
AWPPW has filed two unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the Georgia Pacific social media policy. One alleges that the policy violates employees’ right to “mutual aid and protection,” which allows workers to join together to advocate better pay and working conditions. The other contends that the social media policy is a mandatory subject of bargaining that was not negotiated with the union, but imposed unilaterally, in violation of federal labor law.
While some of their political speech might be protected by these laws, few workers at Georgia Pacific’s Camas facility are willing to risk losing their jobs. The plant was downsized from 1,200 workers in 2005, when the Kochs took over Georgia Pacific, to a staff of 450 today. NLRB hearings and appeals can take over a year.
“It’s just they can intimidate people this way and they can make life miserable for you. The law would be strong enough to protect them probably, but you could be looking at being without your job for nearly a year,” says Pierce.
In August, Portland-based Georgia Pacific worker Travis McKinney, a member of the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (an affiliate of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union), learned about the social media policy the hard way during his yearly evaluation.
When McKinney applied for a foreman job at the plant in May, he says, his supervisor informed him that a higher-up said he wouldn’t get the job because he was “too political.” “They said I should be aware of what I am posting online,” says McKinney. A subsequent August evaluation of McKinney [PDF] noted that “supervisors feel Travis gets caught up in the politics of the day which can be distraction.”
McKinney says it wasn’t hard to deduce what they meant. He was quoted in the 2011 Nation article I wrote with Mark Ames, talking about how the Kochs pushed their libertarian “Market Based Management” principles on their workers to such an extent that the dictums were even printed on employee time cards. He had posted that article and other political articles about the Koch brothers online.
While Charles Koch has often referred to the Market Based Management system used to run Georgia Pacific as “the science of liberty,” many employees, such as McKinney, feel that their own liberties have been taken away by the company.
In addition to the social media policy, Georgia Pacific also demands that workers seek approval from supervisors before running for local elected office [PDF] or serving on the boards of nonprofits. Koch Industries claims such approval is necessary to prevent conflicts of interest. These policies could prohibit Georgia Pacific employees from running for local office in communities that seek to more strictly regulate the company.
“I was kind of disturbed that they would infringe on my personal right to run for office,” says Georgia Pacific employee Larry Wagoner of Washougal, Wash. “ I was in the running for City Council this year. I asked someone in the HR department, ‘What if I wanted to run for Congress?’ She said you would just have to stop working here.” Wagoner adds that he is pretty sure this was a misinterpretation of company policy. But it serves as an example of the fuzzy boundaries of the policies and their potential chilling effect.

Corporate free speech
In the new era ushered in by Citizens United, Koch Industries is not the only company seeking to control its employees’ political activities, including speech, lobbying efforts, donations and votes.
This week, Gawker obtained an email from the CEO of Westgate Resorts, Florida billionaire David Siegel, informing his 7,000 employees that a vote for Obama would endanger their jobs. Like Dave Robertson of Koch Industries, he couched this as an economic analysis rather than a threat.
Meanwhile, a new expose by Alec MacGillis of The New Republic reveals that the largest privately held coal company in the nation, Murray Energy, has routinely coerced its employees in to giving to GOP candidates. In the process, Murray Energy workers became the second largest block of donors to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s 2009-2010 campaign. “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts,” wrote company CEO Robert Murray in a March 2012 letter to employees obtained by The New Republic; attached was a list of employees who had not yet attended fundraisers.
And last year, Talking Points Memo reported that Delta offered free rides, even bumping paying customers, for its flight attendants to fly to Washington, D.C. to lobby for an FAA bill that would make it more difficult for airline workers to organize a union. “A lot of flight attendants told me that their supervisors would encourage them to book a flight to Washington to go lobby,” says Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) spokesperson Corey Caldwell.
The value of courage
The growing politicization of the workplace is yet another manifestation of increasing corporate power over politics in the United States. The Koch brothers are proudly leading this movement. As part of the packet that went out to employees, Charles Koch wrote a letter titled “The Value of Courage”:
One of my greatest frustrations in recent years stems from the lack of courage shown by many businesses. Rather than set a good example and stand on principle, far too many successful companies have decided to cave when faced with criticism from the media or the government. … For example, last March, left-wing publications and a cable “news” channel began spreading malicious lies about the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC]. … The bogus charges against ALEC were quickly echoed by various media outlets, bloggers, a labor leader, and other activists, none of whom seemed fully aware of the fact. As result of this ginned up outcry, a few high profile corporate members of ALEC either cancelled their memberships or announced they would let them expire.
(Ironically, many corporations abandoned ALEC, which crafts model legislation for right-wing state legislatures, over the group’s support of anti-gun control “Stand Your Ground” law. Yet many corporate policies, such as Georgia Pacific’s Code of Conduct, strictly prohibit employees from bringing guns onto company property).

“Several corporations couldn’t throw in the towel fast enough,” Koch continued. “Such lack of courage has become symptomatic”.

But Charles Koch reassures his audience that he is not of those weak-kneed corporate leaders.
“[Our opposition] figure that if they apply enough pressure, we will cave in,“ writes Koch. “I realize, as do my brother David, our board and other shareholders, that if we slink away, ultimately we won’t have a business. And neither will anyone else—at least one worth having”.
Georgia Pacific’s employees don’t find the Koch’s courage so inspiring.
“I don’t even put down on my Facebook that I work at Georgia Pacific. I put that I work for the Camas Paper mill. It’s embarrassing to let people know that you work for Georgia Pacific because of what the Koch brothers are doing,” says one employee who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being fired. “They are destroying the planet. They are trying to buy the votes. They think they are so high and mighty. They have their principles. They just think their way is the only way and they think everyone else is wrong.”
“If you don't believe in their philosophy, you can find a job somewhere else. I have worked there for 30-plus years. I have no training; I have worked in a factory. What am I going to do?”
UPDATE 10/14/12: Koch Industries issued a statement in response to the story:
Regarding the recent mailing to employees,
The mailing contained various pieces of information we believe are important for employees to know about, most importantly, our companywide employee newsletter that contained important information about our Guiding Principles.
Based on requests from many employees, the packet also contained information employees commonly ask about, such as voter registration deadlines and early voting options for their state of residence. And, also based on frequent requests, it provided a list of candidates in their state who are among those that have been supported by the Koch companies and KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.
As stated in the cover letter and in follow-up one-on-one conversations for employees who ask, the information is purely intended to be considered among all the other information employees may be reading or receiving as an informed voter. We make it clear that any decision about which candidates to support belongs solely to our employees based on the factors that are most important to them, and this is in no way an attempt to “intimidate” employees. Any such claim to the contrary is completely untrue.
It is also important to note that many companies, as well as organizations such as labor unions, also provide similar information to their members and fellow employees. Indeed, unions and newspapers go further than this and actually endorse candidates to their members and readers.
As we regularly point out, Koch companies and KOCHPAC support candidates based on their support for market-based policies and economic freedom, which benefits society as a whole. Our support is not based on party affiliation, and we support both Republicans and Democrats who support market-based policies and solutions.
Regarding the social media policy,
The policy exists to inform employees about their responsibilities for what they post on social media sites and the laws that govern any claims or endorsements made by employees. The policy encourages employees to make only truthful social media comments whether workplace and/or non-work related, and to follow Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules on disclosing that they work for the company when making any commentary about the company or its products.
Koch companies strive to create safe, respectful and discrimination-free workplaces, and do not allow any unlawful discrimination and discriminatory harassment (including verbal, visual displays, physical harassment) in our workplaces. We do not retaliate against any employee who voices their personal political opinions, and any claims to the contrary are totally untrue.
Greg Guest
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Georgia-Pacific
The company declined to comment on Travis McKinney's evaluation.
Late Sunday night (October 14), @kochfacts, the company's public-relations Twitter, posted the following:

Female Tea Party Leader Says Women Are Too 'Diabolical' to Vote

The remarks against women voting came from Janis Lane, the president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party.

Photo Credit: Sage Ross (Own work) 

A female Tea Party leader came out against women having the right to vote in an interview with the Jackson Free Press.
Journalist R.L. Nave decided to take a look at the Tea Party in Mississippi, given the movement’s influence on Republican politics. Nave interviewed Janis Lane, a former marketing manager who is now the Central Mississippi Tea Party president. Nave also sat down with Kim Wade, a Nation of Islam member-turned conservative radio talk host, and another Tea Party activist named Mark Mayfield.
Nave asked about men getting involved in the reproductive decisions of women. Part of Lane’s response was to say that “probably the biggest turn we ever made was when the women got the right to vote.”
Questioned by Nave on what exactly she means, the Tea Party leader doubled down.
“Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how [they] can skewer a person,” said Lane. “I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I'd much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them.”
While that quote was the headline-grabbing exchange, the interview ranged from discussions of reproductive rights to the Tea Party’s minority outreach.
Asked about what part of the Tea Party platform would appeal to minorities, Wade said, “Our position on charter schools is incoherent as black people. We're sitting up here watching our kids be destroyed because our leadership says we're supposed to dislike private schools because they were born out of segregation.”
Lane, the female Tea Party leader, came out strongly against reproductive rights as well.
 “I do not agree with the federal government supporting killing a preborn human. A child is a child from the moment of conception,” she said.