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For weeks now, incredible buzz has been building across the country surrounding the secret meeting hosted by the oil billionaires Charles and David Koch for their right-wing, billionaire allies in Rancho Mirage, CA. From health care to the environment to corporate responsibility, the Kochs are becoming increasingly notorious around the world for pouring their billions of polluting profits into undermining the most basic well being of people worldwide.
The Kochs’ semi-annual secret conclave is widely regarded as corporate America’s national political strategy meeting, with past participants including Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia, media personalities like Glenn Beck, and right-wing members of Congress. The event has taken on even greater importance in light of the Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision, which enabled the Kochs and their allies to inject unlimited corporate cash into the 2010 elections. New York Magazine recently referred to David Koch as the “Tea Party’s wallet.”
The afternoon kicked off with a rally hosting close to 2,000 people who came from across California and the US to hear speakers representing all walks of life who have fallen victim to the Koch’s poisonous influence over their lives. The crowd was addressed by a cancer survivor describing her trials with the complexities of the American healthcare system, a student challenging the Kochs to an open debate, and an investigative journalist who’s been uncovering the depths of the Koch’s corruption.
At the rally’s close, activist Jim Hightower deputized the entire crowd as members of the People’s Center for Disease Control, and attendees moved down the street towards the Rancho Las Palmas Resort to quarantine the area to prevent the spread of the Kochs’s dirty money and influence. The sight of a thousand people marching straight across Bob Hope Drive and boldly up to the front entrance of the resort was an incredible display of solidarity amongst the diverse crowd. Agents of the People’s Center for Disease Control cheered on several dozen activists in hazmat suits that crossed into the resort’s driveway and across police lines to send their message directly to the Kochs (we hear the brothers were on the roof watching the whole thing!). They were peacefully detained while the crowd blocked the intersection and chanted “arrest the Kochs, not the people!”.
Americans have an incredible fight ahead of us to protect the future of our country from wealthy elites like the Kochs and their allies who wish to diminish the very democratic values on which our country was founded. While the access enjoyed by these powerful forces will continue to push back on the fundamental rights of everyday citizens, actions like ours today send a powerful message: people are more powerful than dirty money, and when we come together as a movement, we build something far stronger than the Kochs’s empire. If we are vigilant and determined, we will continue to seek the truth and break through the lies and corruption orchestrated by the Kochs.