Early in November, thousands of angry protesters flocked to Capitol Hill to listen to House Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) rail against a supposed "government takeover" of health care. As they exited their buses, they were given coffee and doughnuts, protest signs and talking points to use to decry "socialized medicine." Few of them were aware that the event they were attending had been bankrolled by the nineteenth richest person in the world, oil and gas billionaire David Koch. Koch belongs to a wealthy family that has long supported ultra-conservative politics from behind the scenes. He is the funder behind Americans for Prosperity, (AFP) the fake "grassroots" group that organized the anti-government Tea Party protests and the raucous, disruptive town hall meetings during the August, 2009 Congressional recess. David Koch is the son of Fred C. Koch, who helped found the ultra right-wing John Birch Society, which in the 1960s, portrayed taxes as a Communist menace, President John F. Kennedy as a traitor who had to be impeached, and racial integration as a Kremlin plot. Like the John Birch Society, AFP hides information that it is funded by the super-rich. Rather, it portrays itself as a citizen-led group fighting for American ideals and freedoms. In the 1980s, Americans for Prosperity was known by another name -- Citizens for a Sound Economy -- a powerful, industry-funded think tank that was funded by, and had close ties to Philip Morris, and that promoted deregulation of industry.
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