As fundraising efforts for the 2012 presidential election kick into high gear, activists are ramping up actions to disrupt those efforts and are targeting donors directly. The latest front involves a protest scheduled for tomorrow at the private residence of David Koch, co-owner and executive vice president of Koch Industries, a well-known donor to libertarian and right-leaning causes and candidates.
CBS News reported last night:
MoveOn.org, a liberal non-profit advocacy group, is protesting a July 8 fundraiser for Mitt Romney being held at the house of billionaire Republican donor David Koch, it announced on Friday.
In addition to organizing what it's calling a "Koch Party" outside Koch's Southampton, N.Y., estate during the Sunday fundraiser, MoveOn will be flying an airline banner in the area reading "Romney has a Koch problem" and driving what it calls a "Romneymobile Cadillac, with corporate decals on the side and Seamus the dog on top," outside the dinner, according to a press release from MoveOn.
The group is touting the participation of a number of liberal activist groups, including Occupy Wall Street, The Long Island Progressive Coalition, Greenpeace, Strong For All, and United New York, and says activists will stake out Koch's property with signs, "peacefully demonstrating against the unprecedented flood of money the Koch brothers and their wealthy friends are using to try to buy the election for the 1%."
The Huffington Post also touted the event at its website yesterday, while pushing the meme that Mitt Romney is a “vulture capitalist.”
No, Mitt Romney's Koch problem isn't what the Koch brothers are doing for him -- it's what he'll do for them, and the possibility that voters will find out.
Romney's approach to the economy boils down to this: the ultra rich deserve even more advantages, and the poor and middle class should foot the bill. It's how he approached his job as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital, buying up companies, laying off their workers, outsourcing their jobs, and saddling them with debt, all so he could extract wealth for his rich investors.
The Koch brothers have long been the ire of the left, and a persistent boogeyman for some of the left’s most persistent conspiracy theories.
Also key in organizing this private property invasion masquerading as a protest is Andy Stepanian of Sparrow Media. Stepanian himself is also a Huffington Post writer and is no stranger to Breitbart News.
Stepanian is one of a group of seven animal rights activists, infamously known as the SHAC 7 (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty), six of whose members, including himself, were convicted of terrorism and Internet stalking in 2006, according to the NY Times. The jury in that case ruled that the group’s activity was not protected under the legal standard of Brandenburg v. Ohio.
SHAC has been listed by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the groups considered to be associated with Extremism in the Animal Rights and Environmentalist Movements. The Southern Poverty Law Center also described SHAC as a group that has been pushing the far extreme of typical animal rights and environmental activist organizations.
This British-born group, now firmly established in the United States, is waging war on anyone involved with Huntingdon Life Sciences, which tests drugs on approximately 70,000 rats, dogs, monkeys and other animals each year. In the process, SHAC is rewriting the rules by which even the most radical eco-activists have traditionally operated.
Stepanian has since been heralded as a hero by the left for his activism and for being a seemingly tortured “political prisoner” of a “secretive” Communications Management Unit (CMU) of a federal penitentiary in Indiana.
A representative from Koch Companies Public Sector responded to CBS News with the following statement via email:
We have seen media reports about the protest being organized by a convicted terrorist and a number of fringe organizations.
We respect the protestors' rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble. These rights apply not only to the protestors, but to those who are hosting and attending the fundraiser.
It is ironic that the pretext for the protest is supposed "outrage" at the role of money in politics. Considering the record-setting fundraising by President Obama reported here, here, here, here, here, and here, the hypocrisy of the Left and their attempts to mislead the public are obvious. There is a double-standard at work and the message from the Left is that fundraising for their preferred candidates is fine, but donations to those with differing points of view are somehow immoral. The left's outrage is selective and hollow.
While protesters certainly have every right to exercise free speech and stage actions to support and oppose causes they deem important, there is a fine line between legitimate public protest and targeting the personal residences of donors and corporation owners. These are tactics that are clearly intended to intimidate, and such actions are becoming entirely too prevalent in today’s political activism scene.