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Documents Reveal Boehner Is A Shill For Tobacco And The Kochs

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In the first document posted here below, Beverly McKitrick, the Philip Morris (now Altria) Corp. Director of Federal Policy, outlined her strategy against the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). She wrote the memo on 2 October 1995, for her presentation in an executive meeting at the company. It was extremely revealing about the company's total reliance upon the Republican Party and its financial backers (companies and foundations that like themselves are controlled by America's most far-right aristocratic families) in order to deceive the general public to think that tobacco is safe and that government regulation is, itself, intrinsically wrong and bad, if not un-American.

Her first-listed of the four-listed "Third-Party Groups," in this battle against the FDA, was "Citizens for a Sound Economy," the "nonprofit" that the Koch brothers had set up and financed, which later split into FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity - it became the foundation-stone for the so-called "tea party grassroots movement," which recently shut down the Government. All three of the other listed "Third-Party Groups" that she lists in her memo were heavily funded by the Kochs, but not (as CSE was) created by them.

In a different (and undated) 1995 document, David P. Nicoli, of Philip Morris's Washington Relations Office, wrote to his home office, saying that, "The WRO also continues to work with outside groups like Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Competitiveness Enterprise Institute, and the Progress and Freedom Foundation, who all have significant and very high-profile FDA reform activities underway. The work of these groups has put FDA on the defensive, with media stories featuring their efforts appearing recently in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the National Journal, Business Week, and the FDA trade press."

Even as recently as 2002, CSE received more money from Philip Morris Corporation than from any other company, but also received large donations from the Coors family (Castle Rock Foundation), the Earhart family, the Milbank family (JM Foundation), and the Koch Family Foundations - these foundations are core propagandists for far-right positions in the U.S. (The other foundations that also supported CSE were other leading far-right aristocratic families.)

The two co-Chairmen of CSE (and that link fails in Firefox) were C. Boyden Gray, who was the heir to the Reynolds Tobacco fortune (so, this Reynolds scion was now working also for his competitor Philip Morris); and Dick Armey, who was the retiring Republican House Majority Leader under Speaker Newt Gingrich. As for RJR Reynolds Tobacco itself, an email (which will be the second document posted below) was sent, on 22 May 1995, by Tommy J. Payne, RJR's V.P. for Federal Government Affairs, to Amy L. Liker, RJR's Legislative Representative for Federal Government Affairs, telling her what type of lie he especially needed to get (so as to be able to cite to conservative suckers as being objective authorities) "from a think tank," and suggesting four foundations especially for her to check with to provide these needed lies: he recommended Progress and Freedom Foundation, Washington Legal Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and Heritage Foundation. (All of them were heavy recipients of cash from the foundations of the Kochs, the Coors, the Earharts, the Milbanks, and Richard Mellon-Scaife.)

As for the second-listed of McKitrick's four "Third-Party Groups," the Washington Legal Foundation, Philip Morris donated $250,000 to them in 1995, and their chief funders included the Claude R. Lambe Foundation of the Koch brothers, and two foundations controlled by Richard Mellon-Scaife: the Carthage Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

The third-listed, Competitive Enterprise Institute, received over $200,000 from Philip Morris in 1995, and was also heavily funded by the Coors, Koch, Earhart, and Scaife Foundations; and, "In March 1996, CEI's Michelle Malkin and Michael Fumento published 'Rachel's Folly,' which claims that dioxin is good for you."

The fourth-listed, Progress and Freedom Foundation, was started by Newt Gingrich, and the Foundation was praised by a Philip Morris V.P., who said, "Philip Morris is pleased with the exciting work you have done, especially in the area of deregulation." Another of its major financial backers was Cancer Treatment Centers of America. That company was founded and is controlled by Richard J. Stephenson, who was one of the earliest backers of the Kochs' Citizens for a Sound Economy, and who also secretly donated $12 million to the Kochs' FreedomWorks in 2012. However, PFF's main source of financial backing has become conservative aristocrats who own or control the major media companies, telecommunications companies, and high-technology firms.

McKitrick's memo went on to discuss "4. House Republican Conference - CSE [the Kochs] sits at table with Boehner concerning Republican priorities. Look for opportunities here for CSE in moving with other groups to FDA." So: the tobacco industry relied crucially on help from Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and the current Republican House Speaker John Boehner, all of whom shill shamelessly for the most corrupt and harmful corporations.

There even is a section in McKitrick's memo that discusses separately "Paid Media" and "Earned Media," meaning advertisements on the one hand, and free "news" plugs by fooled or else corrupt major "news" media, on the other. And, she even says: "CSE has creative ideas for earned media," which means that, even back in 1995, the most dangerous corporations, and the families that controlled them, knew and virtually took for granted that the Kochs were the masters in the arts of public deception.

Here is McKitrick's revealing memo:

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Here is the internal email within the RJR Reynolds Tobacco company:

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And so, this is how aristocratic psychopaths hire people of easy morals, who are masters at the craft of turning masses of mere fools into political suckers - conservatives - who end up voting into office the people (Republicans) who forced the government shutdown and who continue to threaten the United States while calling themselves "patriots" and defenders of "freedom" (for those aristocrats, that is). The suckers who vote for them don't even recognize the contradiction: they are voting against their own interests. That's why they vote the way they do: they are suckers for the aristocracy. In Britain, the Party of those people are even called "Tories." Of course, the American Revolution was actually waged against the "Tories," not for them.

And, of course, these types of people (both types of Tories, both the conservative aristocrats, and their suckers) have always been around; America's own great Founding Fathers waged the Revolutionary War against them, and defeated them. But for how much longer will the Republicans' modern counter-American-Revolution, which started at around 1980, when Reagan won the White House, continue to take over this country? We call it the "Tea Party," but it actually got its start when Reagan's backers, such as Joseph Coors, Richard Mellon-Scaife, and the Kochs, first won control over the U.S. Government, and took this country as far to the right as the Koch brothers' father, Fred Koch, had hoped when he co-founded the John Birch Society.

However, the Kochs also operate outside of the direct network that they have established during the past decades. For example, on 24 October 2013, Huffington Post headlined "California Settles 'Dark Money' Case," and Paul Blumenthal reported that the ultimate source of a certain $11 million donation to a far-right "dark money" funnel was a "political money network operated by the billionaire Koch brothers." From there, it was laundered through Americans for Job Security, to Center to Protect Patients Rights, to Americans for Responsible Leadership, which spent it on ads against California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. "The Fair Political Practices Commission called the money 'the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money-laundering in California history.'" However, the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court are now considering whether to make "unconstitutional" any effective limits on political-campaign expenditures; and, so, public revelations such as in that California case could soon become purely past history.

As for John Boehner: he's merely a servant of the aristocracy, representing the interests of the plutocrats who have placed a choke-hold on democracy: on the Federal Government of the U.S.A. They don't like democracy; so, they do everything they can to block it from functioning. That's what it's all about.

Boehner's top 20 donors in the 2013-14 political season include Reynolds Tobacco (Reynolds American) at #4, Philip Morris (Altria Group) at #10, and Koch Industries at #17; but the other 17 are energy, mining, and Wall Street firms. Boehner's top 20 career donors also include both of the tobacco giants, but not Koch. That donor-list, too, is dominated by energy, mining, and Wall Street.

The conservatives' campaign has always been against "big government," their code-phrase for democracy itself, which is something they clearly hate. As Reagan's own Grover Norquist famously said, 25 May 2001, on NPR's "Morning Edition": "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." That's our democracy they are drowning. And they are slowly doing it. Plutocrats and their followers hate democracy and so are drowning it - first in red ink (think of the Bush tax cuts, and of the invasion of Iraq), and then by slashing the government programs that the public needs. Fascism they don't object to; it's instead their actual goal.

However, this is only partly a class-war that they are waging. They are waging it on behalf of the aristocracy, but a minority of aristocrats (around 30% by the most generous estimates) don't consider themselves conservatives. It really is an ideological war, even more than it's a class-war. While only very few aristocrats might be considered progressives, perhaps as many as a quarter of them are liberals - not in the European sense, but simply in the amorphous sense that they reject conservatism but have no conception of an alternative to it that they are willing to support with their money. The really big political money has always been on the conservative side, even within the Democratic Party (where conservative Democrats tend to attract the biggest support among the big-money donors who might be satisfied with liberal Democrats, but certainly not with progressive ones).

A lot of people are disappointed with Barack Obama. He's now secretly battling to get the European Union to remove its anti-global-warming policies that might make the Koch brothers' massive investment in Canadian tar sands uneconomic to exploit, which would mean that the Kochs' current $80 billion net worth might decline about $30 billion instead of increase about $100 billion as it probably would if the competitive disadvantage of such dirty oil is removed and if the Keystone XL Pipeline gets approved by Obama. So, behind closed doors, Obama is fighting hard for the Kochs, even though he has dragged out his decision on whether to let the XL go forward. He knows that the arguments for it are all based on lies; his own Administration (especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when she oversaw the production of the State Department's scandalous Environmental Impact evaluations of it) has shamelessly hidden those lies. As of yet, Obama still isn't conservative enough to satisfy those aristocrats; his fight for their interests hasn't won him their support. But he keeps trying to win it. Maybe finally he'll just give up the effort. Two things are for certain: he knows how corrupt things are, and his Presidency has been one long sad story of his catering to the corruption, not prosecuting it. His actions speak louder than any of his hypocritical words can or do.

One might wonder: Is Barack Obama trying to compete against John Boehner, and not merely to negotiate with him? If so, his real audience isn't the U.S. public. But could he ever win the support from the Kochs? It's a weird world.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.