Jane Mayer, one of America's best political reporters, and one who contributes frequently to the New Yorker, has written what is perhaps the most important political story of the past decade, and possibly of the decade to come as well.
"Covert Operations," in this week's (August 30) New Yorker tells the story of the shadowy Texas oil billionaires the Koch brothers, Charles and David, who are nearly single-handedly responsible for the rise of the Tea Party movement. An astroturf, or fake grass-roots movement dedicated to undermining "big government" in general and Obama in particular, the Tea Parties are almost wholly funded by the brothers, who also provide the organizational framework for the movement. That, combined with Fox News's publicity for all things tea party-ish, has given the movement traction and momentum.
That the present-day American fascist movement seriously aims at seizing control of the government isn't really news. It has been attacking the status quo with steadily growing volume and vigor in recent years, and now seems poised on the verge of accomplishing its objective. That this movement is the work of a very few people, primarily Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers, has not been apprehended by the public at all until now. Mayer's article remedies that.
Murdoch's work and ideology require no exposé, since his is a media empire, which by necessity and definition operates in public. The Koch brothers, however, have managed to hide under a cloak of anonymity, provided by the multitude of foundations, think tanks, and agitprop organizations they founded and pay for, and by channeling their voices through platoons of their paid tools, hired stooges who are unjustifiably honored with titles like "journalist" or "analyst."
I'll leave you with a sample from the first page of Mayer's article, and you'll no doubt want to follow up by absorbing the whole thing.
Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. Though (David) Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials “have a socialist vision for this country.”
Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.” The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders. The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”