Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald
Location
Culver City, California,
Birthday
August 28
Company
Brave New Foundation, Brave New Films
Bio
Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and the Brave New Films + Brave New Foundation founder and president. He is currently focused on the WAR COSTS (WarCosts.com) investigative campaign to challenge runaway, wasteful war spending – particularly in relation to job creation; KOCH BROTHERS EXPOSED (KochBrothersExposed.com) to illustrate the Kochs’ effort to buy democracy and control public policy from every direction; and CUENTAME (MyCuentame.org), which is at the forefront of investigating corruption at private prisons. He has also produced and distributed short viral videos and campaigns like RETHINK AFHANISTAN (2009, RethinkAfghanistan.com), SICK FOR PROFIT (SickForProfit.com), FOX ATTACKS (FoxAttacks.com) and THE REAL MCCAIN (TheRealMcCain.com), which were seen by almost a million people in a matter of days. Greenwald is also the director/producer of IRAQ FOR SALE: THE WAR PROFITEERS (2006), a documentary that exposes what happens when corporations go to war and WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE (2005), a documentary that uncovers the retail giant's assault on families and American values and OUTFOXED: RUPERT MURDOCH'S WAR ON JOURNALISM (2004). Follow Robert Greenwald on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/robertgreenwald

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 26, 2012 3:41PM

Koch Brothers v. Health Reform

Rate: 15 Flag

By Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava

Do all roads lead to Koch?

Conservative activists will rally at the Supreme Court tomorrow to encourage the overturn of the Affordable Care Act. The “Hands Off My Health Care” protest—which will feature the likes of Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul—is being organized by Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group financed by industrialists Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers provided the seed money to get this organization off the ground and have donated at least $5 million overall (possibly a lot more) to its operations. David Koch still serves as the group’s chairman.

These facts belie the image that Americans for Prosperity would like to present as a humble grassroots organization. The stories we see today about regular Americans coming to D.C. to protest evil health reform are directly attributable to the corporate interests that the Koch brothers represent.

Yet the Kochs’ impact on the current court battle doesn’t end there. Group after group participating in the lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act is a beneficiary of the Koch brothers’ largess—reflecting the outsized influence that these guys wield in our political debate. Indeed, one wonders whether this effort would be happening at all if not for these two billionaires with a direct interest in avoiding government regulation.

One of the most important groups in this case is the National Federation of Independent Business, which is bringing one of the lawsuits now before the Supreme Court. This group has received $88,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is controlled by none other than Charles Koch.

Several organizations that have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court have received substantial donations from the Koch family as well. These groups include:

In addition, a Court-appointed attorney used a study by the Rand Corporation to show the impact of the individual mandate in the health care bill—even though Rand has received $100,000 from none other than the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Given this set of facts, the sheer reach of the Koch brothers in the movement to overturn health care reform is staggering. They have seeded and cultivated the very network of organizations that’s now threatening to undo the most significant progressive reform in a generation. As shown in Brave New Foundation’s new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Charles and David Koch are, in effect, holding up the conservative sky.

So this week as we watch the rallies and press conferences and legal wrangling—not to mention the media pundits lavishing attention to the hubbub—let’s remember that this spectacle is not the result of some organic, grassroots outpouring of opposition to the idea that all Americans should have health insurance. It’s rooted in concentrated wealth belonging to men aiming to bend our democracy to their will.

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Thank you for this post. In Wisconsin, we have been keenly aware for over a year now about the Koch brothers, how they can purchase an entire government, and what happens when they do. My stomach turns at each new set of details that reveal the reach and strength of their tentacles.
makes me livid
Not that I can do anything since I'm not ready to wield a pitchfork quite yet.
My patients (mentally ill, all ages, in a nursing home) cannot survive without funding from the government. The funding stops and they will be homeless. They haven't worked (most of them) a real job in ages and have no ability to organize themselves to do so. That is not me infantilizing them either, it's just plain facts. The funding drops, they live on the street. Their family is already tapped out, that's why they live in a home.
What is the Koch brother's plan for my patients? Wait...let me guess...
Interesting way to frame it, Greenwald. Interesting Boogeyman rhetoric you've trotted out. Fuck the Koch brothers. That's not the issue. The issue is that Obama failed in the first place.

Single-payer. That's the only answer. How fucking craven of you to come out against your boogeyman. Grow a spine. Obama failed all of us. Single payer. He didn't even try.
“As shown in Brave New Foundation’s new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Charles and David Koch are, in effect, holding up the conservative sky.”
Nice plug for your film, Robert, and I am certain that the virtue you imply to men such as George Soros by not mentioning them is well earned. Your criticism is damned by its own bias.
Money is speech. There is little doubt about that these days; and no side in any debate as divisive as Obamacare is breaking the law with its advocacy or its expenditures. In fact, Robert, this is all a lungful of the free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Now, I suspect your small corner of the world fears that it is not as well endowed with funds as you might wish it should be. Don’t worry. The last time I checked you guys were well represented. Therefore, you aren’t going to lose Obamacare simply because you couldn’t match Charles and David dollar-for-dollar.

Go find another excuse.
Jason, you're correct that America is being led by an ineffective elected official. And on top of that, Americans' self-government is going down the drain, being sucked into a cesspool of private wealth, swept away by the massively concentrated power of people like the Koch brothers. You can say, "Fuck the Koch brothers; I'm really pissed at Obama," but that's neither going to slow the Koch brothers down nor make Obama grow a spine.

Our rage is best directed at the strong enemy who is actually attacking rather than the weak friend who is failing to defend.
Those of us who have been up against John Birch for decades are hardly surprised, but may finally have reached a critical mass of awareness ... time for sunlight on all the "think tanks" with paid lackeys who will write anything for a dollar and some false praise.
Robert, this is illuminating. You have brought out the very salient point of how we are allowing the open bidding for Congressional votes, quite as though this were a an exotic piece of memorabilia at
Sotheby's. Very daunting. You bring essential points to light that we must deal with, sooner more than later. It is very hard for me accept that we are letting these interests buy whatever they desire.
Please bring this to a wider audience: you have the ability to piece that could go viral and reach the people that need to know these matters. What lies in the balance could well determine how we live. Thanks for you well appreciated post. I hope that you build on this.
Now would you like to take a shot at what Soros has put into his left leaning groups?
Well from my point of view you've got Jason's Boogeyman exactly right! I have no need to attack you, the messenger. But then again, Jason got the Single-Payer thing right. The problem with most people is their inability to understand that the Boogeyman's power is so pervasive, the puppet strings are attached to most politicians, regardless of party. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Democrats and Republicans are the same. I'm saying corporate power is evil. This reincarnation of the 1993 Republican healthcare plan lacks the Single-Payer option because without it the Mandate becomes a poison pill! When the corporate masters fight a Mandate that gives them a windfall, you can be sure that the larger package threatens their total control of their profitable "sickcare" industry. And as usual, the debate becomes a collection of smoke and mirrors!
As my teacher Joseph Campbell said, if you want the truth ask "what is the motive." And once again we see the argument that all points of view are exactly the same. Hurting people for profit is the same as working for the commonwealth. Giving money to help save people in need is the same as giving money to protect a corporate empire that destroys the environment, communities and individual lives. Money is God!
LOL. A little dramatic but the point is well taken. I get a kick out of all these Soros-hating mutts. (I'd love to see one of them put up a piece on George Soros, just once, with some detail - some facts. "Wanted on three continents..." Laughable. ) It's a wonder they have any teeth left, for all the gnashing they do.

Of course, it's the same old strategy of not addressing what you present here squarely; rather, to point out that "They do it, too!" Which, of course "they" don't.
@Jason Wester
"Single-payer. That's the only answer. How fucking craven of you to come out against your boogeyman. Grow a spine. Obama failed all of us. Single payer. He didn't even try."

I agree S.P is the way to go, but Christ, get real, man! What chance did S.P. have in the political climate of putting Obamacare together? What he DID get done was friggin' historic.

Give credit where's it's due.
Bad headline. The Brothers Koch are not v. health care or health reform. They, and a majority of unpaid Americans, are against Obama's blatent power grab.
It stands to reason that big money is involved in this debate, because the healthcare industry is big money. I don't even like the term Obamacare because it shifts away from the actual issue of healthcare reform. Obama made a stab at it, some of the plan is good, but a lot of the problems with healthcare is the cost and that was not really addressed.

When I hear people should be free to purchase the healthcare they want, it makes me wonder are they even living in the United States. It is not the level of care people are worried about, it is the cost which for anyone other than the rich requires healthcare insurance. And if you can't afford healthcare insurance you are out of luck.

I am for a national healthcare plan for two reasons. One the healthcare industry has been build and paid for by the tax payer already in the forms of grants, tax exemptions, and out right funding. The only difference is it has made a few very rich at the expense of millions who have no access to the system their taxes paid for. The second reason is a national healthcare plan will cost the American people less in GNP, while providing better and healthier citizens and lower pain an suffering. It is not socialism to pool together as citizens to fund programs that are for the common good. That is why we have public roads, highways, schools, universities, utilities and the list goes on and on. Why shouldn't a system that is consuming 6% of our GNP be considered something for the common good. Of course the losers will be the few that have been reaping billions from tax payers. I think that is a far trade.
@M Todd. I agree! As the Preamble to the constitution says: promote the general welfare! But as soon as I say that, there are those who will argue that the preamble does not assign powers to the government. I guess that is for "we the people" to decide. What I find missing in the America I was taught to believe in is a "HEART."
Spiritman: I find it interesting that those who are so against the idea of national healthcare. A: Either have someone paying their healthcare in the form of tax free benefits or B: Are on a government programs like medicare already. My dear mother who mimics the talking points of FOX and her fellow republicans is herself a retired government employee with better healthcare insurance than me who is still working and paying. I pointed this out over dinner one night and I could almost see the rusty wheels turning when she realized she was part of the socialistic government healthcare plan she was told to fear.

If you want healthcare reform, Remove all tax exempt status for healthcare. Remove all medicare and other SS healthcare benefits, and stop subsidizing non profit hospitals and you will have national healthcare in about 60 days. Because when people have to actually pay the real cost of healthcare they will realize just how out of reach it is 90% of the people who have someone else paying for them now.
What I find missing in the America I was taught to believe in is a "HEART."

Voluntary, individual charitable contributions are HEART. My telling you to contribute your money is PLUNDER.
It seems that, since the Koch Bros are like a mold, that air and light would make them go away.
America is such a great country. I'm proud of the fact that the one dollar bill I give to a political cause is the equal of a one dollar bill that the K*ch brothers give. But, since they give more $$$ than I do, I guess that means they're much more democratic and free than I am. And isn't that what liberty is all about?
sour grapes. this post is bullshit. the facts and numbers may be correct, but if things were going the way you wanted you would be singing a different tune. i wonder if you will be making the same sort of post once all those corporate dollars start rolling into the obama presidential campaign. in all likelihood portions of the ACA already enacted will stay intact.
M Todd has it right here. Pay as you go! Pay for what you need. Take the middle man out of the equation and what have you got...
@The Flylooper gets it exactly right.
Tg it would be great if we could pay as we go, but the financial reality is even a simple healthcare visit could end up costing thousands. Part is the inflated cost of healthcare and the other is the majority do not care because those inflated costs are covered by insurance. And since most do not pay for their own insurance they have the luxury of not caring.

My point was that if the majority had to pay, either for the insurance or the tax on the non-taxed benefit they would wake up to the reality the few who pay for their own insurance or have to pay their own medical bills all ready know. Healthcare cost and insurance are totally out of control. I find it hard to believe something that consumes 6% of our GNP is hurting for money and has the balls to cry poverty. Fact is the tax payer and citizens through charitable donations built the healthcare infrastructure in this country.

I agree TG we should cut the middle man out and consider the need for healthcare as important for the public good as roads and bridges. In the long run it would save the country trillions, provide coverage for everyone, reduce the burden on business which would allow them to expand and create jobs. Instead of given a very few billions and billions of dollars in profits while millions die or live substandard lives because of inadequate healthcare the tax payer should be getting their monies worth.
Ever so glad you're doing this Mr. Greenwald. I trust you're aware of a confab the Koch brothers and their followers had in Palm Springs last year. When protesters showed up the Kochs called the police to have them arrested -- which they did immediately.

IOW, we live in a Corporate Run Police State.

Note to "Spirit Man": Joseph Campbell was quoting Julius Caesar, who famously asked of any signal event "Cui bono?" -- "Who profits?"
Reminds me of the sheiks and dictators in the Middle East. And we know what has been happening to them. Greed will eat them alive.
Sir, I take my proverbial hat off to you, looking at your bio. You look like a ...journalist. The kind who actually reported the truth instead of the spin on everything. Thank you. And keep your head down. Only one match per cig...okay? We need you and other brave souls around to bring the truth to light.
As power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so it is with money. Every wise man from the dawn of civilization has understood this, even those desert nomads who long ago instituted Jubilee as a way of mitigating against excessive wealth.

Certainly, the teachings of Jesus warn against the evil of excessive wealth. To wit: "It is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle."

Republican Teddy Roosevelt, himself quite wealthy, understand that wealth without conscience was evil, and thus he turned to trust-busting. Republican Dwight Eisenhower warned against the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the Military-Industrial Complex.

But, alas, the greed is good philosophy of the Aynally Retentive won the battle for hearts and minds of the American voter -- not that it was much of a battle, given American's belief in the fairy-tale of rugged individualism. The Founders knew better, that's why they stated the purpose of government was to "provide for the common defense" AND "promote the general welfare".

Instead, government has become a tool to provide for the defense industry and promote the general welfare of banksters, oilmen, corporatists, hedge fund operators, and trust-fund twits like the Koch Bros and that pathetic worm Grover Norquist.
Tom I agree, the founders of this country understood that no matter how well meaning we if given absolute power leaders will drift into self interest. If someone stays in Washington for two long, they act like rulers not leaders or public servants.