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8394NEWS -- 2014.02.02.SuperBowlSunday

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  • James Martin
    Feb 2, 2014
      The Second Day of the Second Month
      Sunday 02 February 2014
      02/02/2014 (never omit the zeros or the 20 in 2014)
       
      1)  Pete Seeger
      2)  A response to the Republican response -- The Republican Clown Car
      3)  Bully Nation
      4)  NSA -- Beyond Orwell's Worst Nightmare
      5)  WATCH: Texas Christian Black Rapper Bizzle's Antigay Response to 'Same Love'
      6)  The opposite of Bizzle -- Faith in America -- Black History Month
      7)  from the FRC -- Bible Belt Won't Buckle on Marriage
      8)  Koch World 2014 -- What they've got planned for the next election
       
       
      Heavy Movie ---
      Love Is the Devil
      Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992)
      1998 NR 87 minutes
      Director John Maybury explores the life of British painter Francis Bacon in a film that's as disturbing as the artist's own work. The film focuses on Bacon's turbulent affair with George Dyer, a burglar who breaks into Bacon's apartment and stays on to become his lover. Bacon treats Dyer as a sex object, but Dyer falls in love anyway, trying desperately to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bacon.
       
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      1)
      Pete Seeger -- The Tuesday 28 January 2014 broadcast of Democracy Now! followed Pete Seeger's life.  Well worth a watch. http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/28/we_shall_overcome_remembering_folk_icon
      ---
      See also
      and
       
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      2)
      A response to the Republican response ---
      The Republican Clown Car

      By Charles Pierce, Esquire

      30 January 2014

      I'm going to miss Barack Obama's presidency, if only for the fact that his State of the Union address has become an occasion for Republicans to proudly let their freak flags fly. Let us see what we had last night. We had Randy Weber, tweeting about his fear of our tyrannical kommander-in-chef. We had Tim Huelskamp hearing the echoes of the jackboots in every syllable every uttered by kindly Doc Maddow. (Huelskamp had a nutty on the Twitter machine, too.) And then we had Michael Grimm's threatening to throw a reporter off the balcony and probably making Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks say, "What the fk, dude?" out loud in his hotel room.

      (By the way, I think I have it now. A signing statement that allows the United States torture people = good. An executive order that gets a Capitol janitor a raise = bad. Constitution, baby!)

      And then there was Cathy McMorris Rogers, who was not nutty, but who, I believe, was attempting to sell me a dinette set. Also, can I just say to the nice furniture lady that I'm happy that she and her retired Naval commander husband both had that sweet government health-care so that their newborn son's pre-existing condition wasn't the kind of hardship it is for parents who are only now, through the Affordable Care Act, able to stave off financial disaster in similar circumstances.

      (And, yes, Cathy, who really doesn't want "government" or "Washington" making your health-care decisions for you, voted for this nonsense a few hours before her big moment on the national stage.)

      But the real prize goes to our old friend Senator Huckleberry J. Butchmeup from South Cackalacky, who spent the hours before the speech hanging with the Duck frauds, one of whom, I believe, "ducked" (Ha!) out early because there was a sale on Dockers at the Old Navy store up on K Street. Afterwards, Huck pronounced himself shocked that a declaration of war was not tucked in there among all the other girly-man stuff.

      "The world is literally about to blow up," Graham said, saying he completely disagrees with Obama on Iran policy. Obama pledged to veto any additional sanctions legislation while negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program are ongoing. "The world as I know was not remotely described by the president. Syria is a contagion," Graham said. "Explain to me what happens if the Syrian conflict goes on another year and Assad continues to win," Graham said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "Iraq is disintegrating. The whole region is moving toward chaos, and we're doing nothing. We're talking about limiting drones?" said Graham, who brought "Duck Dynasty" co-star Korie Robertson to the speech as his guest.

      Quack.

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      From the comments posted at the URL ---
       
      As my wife and I were watching Rep. Rogers' "official Republican response" Annie blurted out "Who's she? Harriet Nelson, Donna Reed, or June Cleaver?"

      None of them. They were too sane and normal. She was more like a "Stepford" wife. I kept expecting her tape to run down or start skipping, showing her up for the Robot she appeared to be!
       
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      My comment ---
      Wasn't Staten Island Representative Michael Grimm behaving like a good Republican?
      According to former staffers "this is not the first time he's tried to intimidate a reporter".
       
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      3)

      Bully Nation

      Saturday, 01 February 2014 09:09 By Yale Magrass and Charles Derber, Truthout | Op-Ed
       
      New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has appropriately been called a bully. This has implications well beyond Christie. His calling out has the potential to shift the growing public conversation about bullying from a pyschological narrative about abusive individuals to a new discourse on institutionalized bullying, carried out by ruling institutions and elites.

      The current focus on bullying - like much of the discussion about guns and gun violence - has tended to focus on individuals and mental health. It is a therapeutic narrative. Bullying is seen primarily as a psychological problem of individuals. The victim needs therapy, better communication or adaptation skills. Bullies are characterologically flawed and need therapy or perhaps legal punishment.

      But there is little or no discussion of larger social or cultural forces in the United States and the American institutions or leaders who bully other countries or workers and citizens at home. Institutionalized bullying is endemic to a capitalist hegemonic nation like the United States and creates death and suffering on a far greater scale than personal, everyday bullying, as important and toxic as the latter might be.

      Moreover, much of the everyday bullying that is the current media focus must be understood as the inevitable consequence of a militarized corporate system that requires a popular mind-set of bullying to produce profit and power. The individual bully is the creation of the bully nation.

      The United States openly views itself as the world police force, a benign hegemon morally ordained to impose its interests and values on the rest of the world and justified in the name of freedom, human rights and antiterrorism to do to weaker countries what it wants. It spends more on weapons than its next 20 largest competitors combined. President Obama proclaimed "[S]o long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known." To peasants living in small countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia - where the United States has sent armed forces, used drones to bomb, and often overthrown the government - polls show that a majority of people see the United States as the greatest threat to their security, and fear it. Hegemony here seamlessly unfolds as morally sanctioned, institutionalized bullying.

      America makes heroes of bomber pilots like John McCain and offers them as role models for children and adolescents to emulate. They see the media applaud the bullying behavior of their own government that dispatches police, soldiers, FBI and CIA agents into foreign nations to kill and wreak havoc - from Afghanistan to Somalia to Columbia. If you kill enough, whether in a just war or not, you may win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

      If bullying brings esteem to a nation, then surely that is a behavior to strive for. Potential recruits for an aggressive military need to be immunized against scruples over violence and bullying. This becomes an implicit part of their education, whether or not it is ever publicly admitted. Accordingly, schools and adult authorities often turn a blind eye toward bullying. After two world wars, the Army lamented that a majority of combat soldiers never fired a weapon. They called for a change in the training of soldiers and the education and upbringing of children to correct that. By that measure, they have been successful. In Vietnam, Iraq and Afganistan, the majority of combat soldiers killed.

      Sports has played a vital part in preparing children for institutionalized aggression, bullying and combat. In football, the goal is to attack the opponent and knock them down, a hard hit that keeps the opponent dazed on the ground is sometimes encouraged by coaches and cheered by the crowd. In schools and campuses, the athletes are often the popular heroes and also the bullies, involved too often in sexual violence or drinking binges in bars that lead to fights or crimes.

      Only recently would they expect sanctions against bullying. Indeed, the more they bullied, the more popular they would be. Even before World War I, President Theodore Roosevelt insisted that elite universities like Harvard would have to enhance their football teams if America were to dominate the world. He declared: "We cannot afford to turn out college men who shrink from physical effort or a little physical pain." For the nation needed men with "the courage that will fight valiantly against the foes of the soul and the foes of the body."

      The aggression and competiveness of bullying pervades civilian life as well as military. As the beacon for the rest of the world to emulate, the culture the United States wishes to export is capitalism. Capitalism's staunchest defenders proclaim competition to be its fundamental operating principle. The monopolistic corporations and the wealthiest 1% have been the most aggressive, bullying anyone who stood in their way by outsourcing their jobs, lowering wages, stripping away benefits and firing those seeking to organize unions.

      The bully demonizes their victim. In American capitalism, elites have long defined the losers in the competitive struggle with the words used by Mitt Romney to defame the 47%: undeserving "moochers." They are weak and lazy and don't have the stuff to prevail. As victims, they deserve their fate and must submit to the triumphant. Those, like the wolves on Wall Street who bully their way to the top, should be there; those who couldn't or don't, belong where they are.

      Bullying is the means through which the corporate empires were built. Carnegie and Rockefeller intimidated and threatened their rival capitalists to cede them an ever-larger share of the market. They brought in Pinkerton goons to beat striking workers into submission. Workers were forced to either sign "yellow dog" contracts and pledge not to join unions, or be thrown into the street. Similar bullying practices continue today. Corporations warn entire communites they will shut down factories and undermine the local economy if they do not accept low wages and minimal regulations. Banks entice consumers to borrow through predatory loans and then raise interest rates and threaten foreclosure. The corporations are clear they have the power and will not tolerate challenges from weaklings who fail to know their place.

      Bullying enhances the ideology that the strong are strong and the weak are weak, and each deserves to be where they are. This attitude pervades America's culture, government, military, corporations, media, schools, entertainment, athletics and everyday life. The first step to a solution is shifting the conversation to institutional bullying, moving beyond simply a therapeutic narrative to a political one aiming toward transformative social change. As long as the United States embraces militarism and aggressive capitalism, systemic bullying and all its impacts - abroad and at home - will persist as a major crisis.

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      See also
      State of Conflict: Bill Moyers on North Carolina’s Right-Wing Takeover & the Citizens Fighting Back
       
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      4)
      TED Weekends -- The End of Privacy?
      NSA
      Beyond Orwell's Worst Nightmare
      01/31/2014
       
       
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      5)

      WATCH: Christian Rapper's Antigay Response to 'Same Love'

      Texas rapper Bizzle uses the instrumental hook from Macklemore's 'Same Love' to say that LGBT people are sinful, violent, and just like pedophiles.

      BY Sunnivie Brydum

      January 31 2014 12:16 PM ET

      A Christian rapper has penned a scathing antigay response to Macklemore's pro-equality anthem "Same Love," using the track's infectious instrumental underneath nearly six-minutes of vicious anti-LGBT rhetoric. 

      Houston-based rapper Bizzle is apparently no stranger to using his lyrics to call out what he believes is sinful — the Houston Chronicle notes that Bizzle's past tracks have slammed Jay-Z for his use of "dark imagery," and taken aim at the "media messages promoted by artists like Rick Ross, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj."

      In Bizzle's version of "Same Love," the rapper uses his religious opposition to marriage equality to justify his hatred, while also wholly rejecting comparisons between the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's with today's push for greater LGBT equality. 

      "You were never oppressed / the Devil is a liar," spits Bizzle. "The only thing oppressed was your sexual desire / keeping your desires oppressed is so lame to you / but when you get married, that's what you expect your mate to do."

      The rapper has reportedly made the song available for a free download at his website, GodOverMoney.com.

      Bizzle's version of "Same Love," which he bills as a response to Macklemore's hit song by the same name, dives into numerous tried-and-true antigay tropes.  

      "It angers you if I compare you to a pedophile / cause he's sick, right?" asks Bizzle. "And you're better how? / 'Man, I ain't choose this' / you think you chose that? / 'but I was born this way' / well, prove he wasn't born that / but you were never a girl / he was once nine / so at one time in his life it was just fine / what makes your laws right? / i'm not buying it / so put 'em in that same trash can you put that bible in." 

      Bizzle also contends that domestic partnerships gave same-sex couples equal rights "a long time ago," and notes that the "that rainbow you using is a gay pride symbol? / It represents a covenant with God if you didn't know."

      In the track's spoken-word section, Bizzle sounds off about the supposedly violent LGBT activists who he believes are disrupting church services with kiss-ins, and apparently beating elderly women:

      "And I never want to act like all gay people are the same, 'cause that's ignorant, but at the same time, what I won't allow you to do is paint this beautiful picture, like we don't have people from the LGBT community out here, running up in churches, disrupting services, kissing on the pulpit. Out here, attacking old ladies, throwing crosses down and stomping 'em, violently assaulting people. So don't take my most aggressive lines that you know are to that group and try to apply it to the friendliest, lovingest gay person. 'Cause that's not the case."

      Listen to the full track ---
       
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      My comment ---
      Southern Baptists love Black folks like Bizzle.  He is well trained.
       
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      6)
      Here is the opposite of Bizzle --->
      Faith in America -- Black History Month
      CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
      Those who have made history..
      Those who learn from history…
      And those making history today…
      To end religion-based bigotry's harm to LGBT youth and families.
       
       
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      7)
      The Southern Baptist "Family Research Council" is standing firm in their muck --->

      January 15, 2014 - Wednesday

      Bible Belt Won't Buckle on Marriage

      After watching from a distance as the marriage debate ignited out west, Oklahomans were horrified yesterday to see the battle march directly into their backyards. From Tulsa to Tipton, the news dropped like a bombshell, stunning the million-plus voters who'd exercised what they thought was their constitutional right to define marriage. Under the 68-page opinion of a single judge, that right no longer exists for Sooners. Like New Jersey, New Mexico, and Utah before them, Oklahomans are feeling the deep betrayal of a judicial system overrun by political activists. In a country where lawlessness is more contagious than the common cold, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern smothered the votes of 76% of the state and substituted his judgment for that of 1,075,216 Oklahomans.

      Kern, a Clinton-appointee, even stuck it to the U.S. Supreme Court in his ruling, implying that the justices dodged the hard questions in their June marriage decision. In reality, the Court couldn't have been clearer: "No one questions the power of the states to define marriage." Unfortunately, that didn't stop Kern from unleashing his warped ideology on one of the most conservative states in the country. The marriage amendment, he claims, is "an arbitrary, irrational, exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit... It is also insulting to same-sex couples, who are human beings capable of forming loving, committed, enduring relationships."

      No one questions homosexuals' ability to form loving relationships. What they question is whether Americans should be forced to finance, sanction, and elevate unions that not only obliterate free speech and religious liberty but also deny children a mom and a dad. Kern's opinion (which is exactly that -- his opinion), demands that "the majority view in Oklahoma give way" to a vocal and intolerant minority. After neutering the voters of an overwhelming number of Sooners, Kern did have sense enough to postpone any same-sex "weddings" until the state can appeal to the 10th Circuit Court (the same bench hearing Utah's case).

      And based on the flood of outraged press releases, state leaders are already gearing up for an epic battle. Governor Mary Fallin (R) was one of the first out of the gate, blasting the judge for exalting himself above the democratic process. "The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once against been ignored by the federal government." Attorney General Scott Pruitt wasn't far behind, warning Kern that his decision openly defied the Supreme Court. "This is why the American people are so frustrated with government and government officials," said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.). "The people speak clearly but elected officials and judges ignore them."

      For most Americans, these decisions have as much to do with preserving representative democracy as marriage. "Our Constitution protects the sovereignty of states," fumed Rep. Markwayne Mullin, "and with today's ruling, that right has clearly been violated." Unfortunately, these attacks are just the beginning of runaway courts -- thanks, in large part, to new Senate rules that are being used to ram these types of black-robed tyrants through the confirmation process. Under Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) Wild West confirmation process, the bench isn't big enough for all the judicial tyrants sailing through unopposed. With a new same-sex "marriage" lawsuit filed every week, the Senate's rules are already feeding the unrest across America.

      "The State Constitution overrides a federal judge's personal opinion," Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) said. But it will take a powerful reminder -- the likes of Rep. Randy Weber's State Marriage Defense Act -- to put these judges in their place. By driving these lawsuits into the deepest conservative states, the Left's biggest goal is demoralizing the heart of our movement. But if it's indifference liberals are counting on, they just picked a fight with the wrong voters. For more on how Weber's federal bill would keep outsiders from trespassing on your state's laws, click over to FRC's Cathy Ruse's new op-ed in the Washington Times. Then, contact your congressman and ask him to sign on to the State Marriage Defense Act -- and help put an end to Government of the courts, by the courts, and for the courts.

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      My opinion ---
      Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a Southern Baptist or an SB clone.
       
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      8)
      This year, the Kochs' close allies are rolling out a new, more integrated approach to politics. That includes wading into Republican primaries for the first time to ensure their ideal candidates end up on the ticket, and also centralizing control of their network to limit headache-inducing freelancing by affiliated operatives.
       

      Koch World 2014

      By Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico

      25 January 2014

      Of the Koch brothers' political operation seemed ambitious in 2010 or 2012, wait for what's in store for 2014 and beyond.

      The billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are convening some of the country's richest Republican donors on Sunday at a resort near Palm Springs, Calif., to raise millions of dollars for efforts to shape the political landscape for years to come.

      It's the cash that can possibly kick Democrats out of the Senate majority this fall and shape the philosophy and agenda of the GOP conference - not to mention the 2016 presidential field.

      The Koch political operation has become among the most dominant forces in American politics, rivaling even the official Republican Party in its ability to shape policy debates and elections. But it's mostly taken a piecemeal approach, sticking to its sweet spots, while leaving other tasks to outsiders, or ad hoc coalitions of allies.

      That's changing. This year, the Kochs' close allies are rolling out a new, more integrated approach to politics. That includes wading into Republican primaries for the first time to ensure their ideal candidates end up on the ticket, and also centralizing control of their network to limit headache-inducing freelancing by affiliated operatives.

      The shift is best illustrated in the expansion of three pieces of the Koch political network expected to be showcased or represented at the three-day meeting in Palm Springs, whose evolving roles were described to POLITICO by several sources.

      • Center for Shared Services: a nonprofit recruiter and administrative support team for other Koch-backed groups, which provides assistance with everything from scouting office space to accounting to furniture and security.
      • Freedom Partners: a nonprofit hub that doled out $236 million in 2012 to an array of conservative nonprofits that is now expanding its own operation so that it can fulfill many of the functions of past grantees.
      • Aegis Strategic: a political consulting firm started last year by Koch-allied operatives who will recruit, train and support candidates who espouse free-market philosophies like those beloved by the Kochs, and will also work with nonprofit groups in the Koch network, like Freedom Partners, with which it has a contract to provide policy analysis.

      The Koch network raised an astounding $400 million in the run-up to 2012, spending much of it assailing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. After the Election Day letdown, the Kochs did an in-depth analysis to find out what went wrong and what they could do better. Among the areas identified for improvement were greater investments in grassroots organizing, better use of voter data and more effective appeals to young and Hispanic voters, according to sources.

      Still, the big question was whether the donors who attend the conferences would keep stroking big checks or scale back their efforts. There's no way to measure that definitively, since most of the groups in the network don't disclose their finances regularly or reveal their donors. Early indications, though, suggest enthusiasm is high.

      Groups in the Koch network - led by the brothers' main political vehicle Americans for Prosperity - spent $25 million between the summer and early this month on ads bashing Democrats over Obamacare, which have been credited for hurting Democratic senators who are vulnerable in 2014.

      James Davis, an official at Freedom Partners told POLITICO that his group has expanded rapidly, "and we expect to continue to grow."

      The 2014 potential of AfP, Freedom Partners and the other groups in the network depends in large part on the reception they get at this weekend's [ January 25 ] gathering - the annual winter installment in the Kochs' long-running series of twice-a-year meetings. Koch Industries spokesman Rob Tappan declined to comment on the Palm Springs meeting, but the company's website includes a statement describing the events as bringing together "some of America's greatest philanthropists and most successful business leaders" to "discuss solutions to our most pressing issues and strategies to promote policies that will help grow our economy, foster free enterprise and create American jobs."

      Many of the right's most generous benefactors - folks like Minnesota media mogul Stan Hubbard, Wall Street investor Ken Langone and Wyoming mutual fund guru Foster Friess - are regulars. The gatherings, which attendees call "seminars" and are typically held at tony resorts, routinely attract some of the top operatives and biggest names in Republican politics, as well as rising stars tapped by the Kochs' operatives.

      The last seminar, held in August outside Albuquerque, N.M., drew Rep. Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Iowa state legislator Joni Ernst, who is running in a crowded GOP Senate primary.

      The seminars typically conclude with pledge sessions that can raise tens of millions of dollars. In 2012, that cash mostly went into a pair of non-profit conduits - Freedom Partners and the Center to Protect Patient Rights - whose operatives then doled it out to a range of nonprofits blessed by the Koch operation, including some groups asked to make presentations to donors at the seminars.

      But several sources suggested that Freedom Partners' growth and expansion into a more central strategic role within the network means that the roles - and possibly funding - of the Center to Protect Patient Rights and other groups in the network will diminish. In other words, Freedom Partners will bring in-house many Koch network functions that had been outsourced. That could reduce the chances of a repeat of situations like that which the Center to Protect Patient Rights and one of its beneficiary nonprofits found themselves in California, where they paid $1 million last year to settle an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations. The settlement stipulated that the violation "was inadvertent, or at worst negligent," but the investigation brought unwanted attention to the Kochs, who repeatedly stressed that they had no involvement in the matter and distanced themselves from the operative who ran the Center to Protect Patient Rights, Sean Noble, explaining that he was just a consultant.

      Freedom Partners, by contrast, is run by Marc Short, a former Koch employee, and staffed by other Koch loyalists, although Koch Industries issued a statement saying the group "operates independently of Koch Industries." The group, established in November 2011, is technically a business league, and its members pay at least $100,000 in annual dues. "Our membership has grown out of concern that the administration's policies are hurting Americans by crippling businesses and our economy," Davis said. The growth has continued since the 2012 election, he said, adding that the group is in the process of expanding its 50-employee staff.

      It appears to be looking to hire a creative director to make videos for both Freedom Partners and other groups, as well as an executive to work with the groups' donors and help raise money for it and other groups. Those postings are listed on the website of the Center for Shared Services, which sources say is filling an innovative niche recruiting talent for the entire Koch network.

      The network's ambitious plans are borne out in the Center's job board, which has an array of posts that hint at major 2014 expansions that seem to track areas of improvement identified in the Kochs' post-2012 analysis.

      The website doesn't actually list the groups for which it's hiring, but sources say the Center — which was founded in mid-2011 and received $2.7 million from Freedom Partners in 2012 — is primarily devoted to boosting Koch-backed nonprofits. All the services it provides are "free or substantially below cost," according to the group's tax filings, which show it spent only $1.2 million through mid-2012. Center officials did not respond to requests for comment, but the group's job board reads like a guide to Koch World.

      "The leading data and technology provider for the pro-free market public policy and advocacy community" is looking to hire about a dozen positions, including developers to "help build data driven web and mobile applications systems." The outfit is based in Alexandria, Va., where the Koch-backed voter data non-profit Themis and its for-profit arm i360 are headquartered.

      A "youth advocacy organization" is seeking directors, volunteer coordinators and event coordinators in multiple states who have worked on national political campaigns, and have voter identification and turnout experience. The Koch network's youth advocacy nonprofit is called Generation Opportunity and it, like the organization in the postings and many Koch-backed non-profits, is based in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Va. An organization dedicated to Hispanic voter outreach - much like the Koch-backed LIBRE Initiative - is hiring field directors in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

      Americans for Prosperity, The LIBRE Initiative and Generation Opportunity have focused their efforts primarily on beating up Democrats over Obamacare, but after 2013 conservative operatives had studied the Koch operation for signs that it might throw its weight into Republican primaries. AfP's president Tim Phillips had suggested that was a possibility for his group, which could have seriously altered the balance of power in the battle for the soul of the GOP. And, while POLITICO has learned that AfP ultimately decided against such a move, sources say that Aegis is envisioned as a way for Koch operatives to mix it up in primaries.

      "They are the candidate-support operation of the Koch network," said one GOP operative who has met with Aegis president Jeff Crank about his firm's plans. "They're looking at these races and looking to get involved in primaries."

      Crank, who ran twice unsuccessfully for congress in Colorado, was the director of that state's chapter of Americans for Prosperity, before serving a stint as the interim chief operating officer for the entire organization after a post-2012 election shakeup. Another Aegis staffer ran AfP's Nebraska chapter, while a third worked at Themis.

      Crank didn't respond to phone calls or emails for this story, but last week on the Saturday morning radio show he hosts on a Colorado station, he said one of the reasons he started Aegis was "because we're trying to end that kind of nonsense from political consultants, who just go out and get a candidate so they can get a job." On his show a week earlier, he praised the Koch brothers, calling them "some of the most philanthropic givers in the United States of America" — citing their donations to medical research, the Smithsonian and various arts programs in New York. "But they're vilified if they give any money to try and keep America free."

      Sources told POLITICO that Koch network donors invested in Aegis. Crank told the Denver Post that he had financial backers, though he didn't identify them, and said he also used his own money. He said his goal was avoiding GOP electoral meltdowns like Todd Akin, who won a Missouri Senate primary, only to implode in the general election campaign when he asserted that victims of "legitimate rape" very rarely get pregnant.

      "Our effort is to find good candidates who are committed to pulling America off the fiscal cliff, whether they are gubernatorial candidates or U.S. House or U.S. Senate candidates," he told the Denver Post. Mother Jones reported that Crank has touted his ties to the Kochs and their fundraising network and that its first client is a New Hampshire state lawmaker who has been an AfP ally.

      It's unclear if Aegis has signed any gubernatorial or congressional candidates yet, but POLITICO has learned that Aegis and i360 both made informal pitches to work for Ernst's Iowa Senate campaign around the time that she attended the August seminar in Albuquerque, for which her campaign reimbursed Koch Companies Public Sector $242 for "event registration fee," according to Federal Election Commission filings. They show the campaign also spent $884 on lodging at the Hyatt where the conference was held. Derek Flowers, an Ernst campaign staffer, told POLITICO that the payment to Koch was "to cover the cost of meals and expenses while at the retreat" which was paid for by the company, and said ultimately the campaign decided to go with firms other than Aegis and i360.

      Ernst, though, said she was grateful for the chance to appear before the Koch network donors in Albuquerque, where she talked her campaign and why she thought she would be a good senator. "I do think it gets my name out there," she said last year, in previously unreported comments. "Not everyone will jump on board and support just because of that, but it is good to get the name out, absolutely."

      ***