Ever since I first started hearing about the now infamous Koch brothers, I have been reminded of the movie Trading Places from 1983. In the movie, the Duke brothers conspire to drastically alter the lives of two people. The two brothers in the movie, Randolph and Mortimer Duke, portrayed by Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, remind me of the two Koch brothers, David and Charles Koch of Kansas.
The first person in the “trading places experiment” is an upper-class white commodities broker named Louis Winthorpe III, played by Dan Aykroyd. The second person in the experiment is a homeless drifter and hustler named Billy Ray Valentine, who is portrayed by Eddie Murphy. As a comedy, it was hilarious.
The cast was superbly chosen and had a magical chemistry when working together. I’ve included a short clip below in case you’ve forgotten the scene, didn’t see the movie, or just want to watch it for the laugh value.
As a comparison of real-life possibilities, it is a frightening look at how money and power can literally remove the soul of a person. The sum total of the bet between the Duke brothers was one dollar. They had so much money that it meant virtually nothing to them – they wanted the satisfaction of winning the bet and nothing more.
In the end of the movie, Valentine and Winthorpe end up working together to bankrupt the Duke brothers by outsmarting them on the stock market floor. Unfortunately for us, I don’t see that end for the Koch brothers.
“The film even inspired a real-life law dealing with insider trading, which used to be known as the ‘Eddie Murphy Rule.'”
If you’re not familiar with the Koch brothers, you should remedy that. They are dangerous, and they are attempting to purchase our government, one elected official at a time.
In 1980, David Koch was a candidate for Vice President on a Libertarian ticket. You might recognize some of his campaign platform points;
“. . . repeal of federal campaign finance laws . . .”
“. . .the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
“. . .any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services . . .”
“. . .the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
“. . .the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.”
There is more to this list, which was provided by current presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders in a blog post. Most of the items on the platform should be very familiar to most Americans, as they are even now being forced upon us by the legislators that are owned, wholly and completely, by the Koch brothers. The entirety of our political landscape has been increasingly ruled by the Koch brothers since the 80s.
We are pawns in their game and we are being knocked off the board with regularity. Voter apathy and low-information voters have allowed corrupted politicians to be elected and re-elected, maintaining control of our government.
Through a vast network of think tanks, policy centers, non-profit foundations, news programs that deliver no news and high volumes of propaganda, and super PACs, the Koch brothers have created a political machine that is so convoluted that it may never get untangled. Until we take a stand we will be under their control and they will continue to decimate our middle class and work toward the oligarchy that they seek. To quote Senator Sanders:
“It doesn’t appear that they will be satisfied until they are able to control the entire political process.”
The Koch brothers have succeeded in instilling such a high degree of cognitive dissonance, particularly within the groups of people that identify as Republican or Tea Party, that it will take mental health professionals a long time to right the thought processes of those affected. They have, in effect, brainwashed millions of people into thinking that the government is too large and that social welfare programs are for lazy people.
They have gas-lighted so many people in this country and they have managed to create a political unrest that has not been seen since the Civil War or before. Neighbors are attacking each other. Ammosexuals are insisting that President Obama will be knocking on their door any second to steal their guns.
The only way to put a stop to this is to exercise your rights as a voter, before those rights are taken away (which is on the horizon). If the current trend toward apathy continues, we will see changes in our laws that will remove many of the rights that so many Americans take for granted.
Am I trying to scare the hell out of people? No, Fox News does enough of that. I’m just trying to paint a picture of our future fueled by the Koch machine – it is not a pretty picture. Please vote.
A short clip of the Duke brothers discussing their bet and laughing about the damage they have caused.