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For a long time their email seemed to favor the GOP. But yesterday they unloaded on the Koch brothers.
FactCheck.org calls itself A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
http://www.factcheck.org/
I’ve been on their email list a long time.  I think I remember being irritated by the way they seemed to strive for false equivalency in how hard they critiqued what Democrats and Republicans said in election campaigns, going back as far as 2004.  In fact, that’s been my chronic peeve with them – they seem to give as much attention and ink to minor exaggerations by Democrats as they do to flaming lies by Republicans.  But on the nagging fear that some of that impression was due to my own take on politics, I’ve kept reading their emails.

Well, yesterday they took off the gloves and came out swinging.  They ran an article titled “Obamacare for the Mortgatge Industry?” that you should read.  http://www.factcheck.org/...
It starts out

A slate of new ads from the 60 Plus Association evoke a well-worn conservative punching bag — “Obamacare” — to attack seven senators for supporting a lesser-known plan to overhaul the housing finance market. But the group stretches the analogy to absurd lengths to make the case that a Senate proposal amounts to a “takeover of the mortgage industry.” [Emphasis added]
[snip]
The $1.6 million TV and radio ad campaign from the 60 Plus Association, a self-styled conservative alternative to the AARP that has received millions in funding from organizations connected to the Koch brothers, targets Democrats and Republicans alike who supported a Senate bill that would wind down mortgage finance giants Fannie and Freddie. The targeted senators: Democrats Joe Manchin, Mark Warner and Kay Hagan, and Republicans Mike Crapo, Dean Heller, Jerry Moran and Mark Kirk.[Emphasis added]
Maybe the fact that the ad campaign takes on as many Republicans as Democrats (more, actually) finally made FactCheck feel free to use terms like “stretches the analogy to absurd lengths,” and “overplay an emotional appeal.”  But what made my day was seeing the Koch brothers singled out for being behind the campaign.  The conservative folks I work with hadn’t heard of the Koch brothers until I mentioned them a few months ago, even though they were very familiar with George Soros.  Now the Kochs are getting bad press from an organization that tries hard to be factual and that can’t reasonably be accused of a slant against them.  And unlike Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers have been camera shy.  

From what I gather from the whole article, it sounds as if the campaign is an attempt to reap a windfall for speculators who bought up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack stock after they tanked.  They paid pennies on the dollar for them, and now they seem to want to convince Congress to pay them back at a rate of dimes or quarters for those pennies.  FactCheck’s story doesn’t follow the money to see who would profit from such an outcome, but I’ll bet the Koch brothers were among those speculators.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Naming each of those who would not only (7+ / 0-)

    flood the politics of the nation with money but who would simultaneously work to disenfranchise or suppress citizens' rights to votes must be loud and ongoing.  It is too bad that, at least in the case of the Kochs, taxpayer oil subsidy money is turned around and used to mess over most of the taxpayers.  
    And it's too bad the Kochs bought oil tankers to hold oil off the west coast to drive the price up, moved salvaged aluminum around Detroit in trucks in order to drive aluminum prices up, and are probably going to try to buy the Great Lakes to horde the water supply that is and will be needed by the nation's droughtridden areas.  We have handed them the means of control of so many things that used to be part of the free market.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 03:41:20 PM PDT

    •  If they really did this, they're complete morons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david78209, Cadillac64
      And it's too bad the Kochs bought oil tankers to hold oil off the west coast to drive the price up
      which leads me to think that that's probably just an urban legend . . ..
      •  Matt Taibbi: (5+ / 0-)

        http://www.rollingstone.com/...

        Read this entire article, but the Koch note about the parked oil tankers is in paragraph 4 on page 3.

        Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

        by judyms9 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 04:19:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, for one thing, that article said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david78209

          they rented, not bought the oil tankers.

          I imagine that there's at least a 100-fold price differential right there . . .. .

          Plus, a supertanker holds 2 million barrels, they'd have to have 45 of these to disrupt even one day's supply . ..

          And then, with all that crude just sitting there, waiting to be delivered, I'd suspect that that would * depress * - not drive up - the price.   Kinda like the strategic petroleum reserve held by the US government.

        •  On the other hand, having assets and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david78209, myboo

          resources designated in dollars makes them easy to track. Indeed, most of what Taibbi is writing about is known to him because law enforcers had complaints they could validate and on which they could act.
          Monopoly has always been a desideratum in the U.S. and there never was a time when agents of government weren't designated to provide support to the merchant class. Let's not forget that the slave trade was legal and run-aways were retrieved by the sheriff.
          That governments should be constrained to dealing with injurious acts is a novel concept. Most have focused on making some do what others wanted them to. Moreover, they've also always argued that it's for the peons' own good.

          The intermediation of money, a public utility, has the potential of tracking and restricting behavior that went largely unnoticed in previous decades. For example, when coal miners were paid in credits they could only trade in the company store, there was no way to track how much profit the coal barons were hauling away.

          But, government by the people can only function if/when the people participate and that means more than just casting a ballot.

          http://hannah.smith-family.com

          by hannah on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 04:47:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Remember the "energy crisis" which hit (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david78209, myboo, Cadillac64

        the West Coast during the dark days of Dubya?

        We know that was not only exploited, but almost entirely manufactured to drive up prices.

        Few of us who have heard the tapes of gloating functionaries mocking their customers while they were stealing from them will have forgotten.

        While that "energy crisis" was false it wasn't much more or less smarmy than the Koch's scheme. I don't even know for a fact that they used oil tankers to create a fake shortage. It doesn't seem that far fetched to me though.

        Worth looking into deeper? Yeah, I think it merits a close examination by the Justice Department.

        It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

        by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 04:32:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That was an incredibly different situation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Had Enough Right Wing BS

          based on the really dumb way that pricing was set (e.g., the supply was monitored at pre-determined times, such that the suppliers could ramp down electricity generation at those very times making it appear that there was a shortage and thus driving up the spot prices by orders of magnitude, quite literally at times) thereby giving companies an actual ability to manipulate the system (something that the global oil market is just a tad more resilient to)..

          •  There are many differences. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            david78209

            I was thinking less about the function of the mechanism than about the greedy effort at self enrichment, which doesn't seem all that different.

            If (and as I said, I don't know one way or the other) the Koch brothers tried to do this it was especially stupid, because there is a bit of a glut--depending on location, and many other factors--of oil at present.

            I still think if they want this to "go away" they should welcome and cooperate with a full investigation.

            It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

            by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 05:09:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suspect if they were doing that (2+ / 0-)

              i.e., sequestering oil in supertankers, which - as this Wikipedia information shows  can be done for literally 3 or 4 cents a barrel per day in a slow shipping market - they were doing entirely for speculation purposes.

              for example, let's say they buy 2 million barrels, put it in a supertanker, and hope if price goes up by $10/barrel in the next hundred days or so they'd make $5 or 6 million for their efforts.  If they do that every day, that'd be close to $2 billion a year - or enough to make each (of the most notorious) of the Koch Brothers a billionaire.  Again.

              Of course, the price could go down and they'd lose that much or more . . . . .(ha ha).

  •  I lost thousands on FNM (0+ / 0-)

    not by buying it after it tanked, for pennies, but for buying it when it was considered a healthy and prudent investment and then not realizing it was about to get taken over by the government, without any compensation. (I lost thousands on AIG too for the same reason.)

    So while I have no sympathy for the Kochs and their billionaire cronies, what the government did bothers me a great deal -- basically nationalized companies with no compensation, which appears to violate the 5th Amendment.

  •  Good news. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cadillac64

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:44:32 PM PDT

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