The First Amendment, the Cato Institute and the Koch Bros

The Cato Institute, founded by the Koch Bros, just issued a report “on the state of free speech in the United States.”

Actually, since the report was produced by Cato, I should wrap it in “”. Sort of like, “report.” Because that’s how I feel about Cato. This “report” convinces me only that these numbers promote Cato’s purpose.

Here’s the item from today’s 538 Significant Digits:

63 percent

The Cato Institute is out with a staggering new report on the state of free speech in the United States. One disconcerting trend: 11 percent of Democrats, 38 percent of independents and 63 percent of Republicans said they believed that journalists today are an enemy of the American people. Yeesh. [Cato]

Hm. Journalists like Jane Mayer?

Here’s Cato’s credo, or mission statement:

To originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

Note: Sounds all flower-childy, doesn’t it? Who could conceivably object? I mean, get  your government hands off my…Medicare.

Well, here’s Wikipedia’s section on Cato’s specific domestic policies, with the crucial items bolded. By me. Take a deep breath:

Cato scholars have consistently called for the privatization of many government services and institutions, including NASA, Social Security, the United States Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, public schooling, public transportation systems, and public broadcasting. The institute opposes minimum wage laws, saying that they violate the freedom of contract and thus private property rights, and increase unemployment.It is opposed to expanding overtime regulations, arguing that it will benefit some employees in the short term, while costing jobs or lowering wages of others, and have no meaningful long-term impact. It opposes child labor prohibitions. It opposes public sector unions and supports right-to-work laws. It opposes universal health care, arguing that it is harmful to patients and an intrusion onto individual liberty. It is against affirmative action. It has also called for total abolition of the welfare state, and has argued that it should be replaced with reduced business regulations to create more jobs, and argues that private charities are fully capable of replacing it. Cato has also opposed antitrust laws.

Cato is an opponent of campaign finance reform, arguing that government is the ultimate form of potential corruption and that such laws undermine democracy by undermining competitive elections. Cato also supports the repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Cato has published strong criticisms of the 1998 settlement which many U.S. states signed with the tobacco industry. In 2004, Cato scholar Daniel Griswold wrote in support of President George W. Bush’s failed proposal to grant temporary work visas to otherwise undocumented laborers which would have granted limited residency for the purpose of employment in the U.S.

The Cato Institute published a study proposing a Balanced Budget Veto Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In 2003, Cato filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the remaining state laws that made private, non-commercial homosexual relations between consenting adults illegal. Cato cited the 14th Amendment, among other things, as the source of their support for the ruling. The amicus brief was cited in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion for the Court.

In 2006, Cato published a Policy Analysis criticising the Federal Marriage Amendment as unnecessary, anti-federalist, and anti-democratic. The amendment would have changed the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage; the amendment failed in both houses of Congress.

Cato scholars have been sharp critics of current U.S. drug policy and the perceived growing militarization of U.S. law enforcement. Additionally, the Cato Institute opposes smoking bans and mandatory use of safety belts.

Do please notice Cato is a champion of gay relationships, immigrants (for temporary employment only) and smokers.

What do all of these fors and againsts have in common? They do not infringe or impinge upon or regulate or restrict the Koch Bros’s businesses, i.e., fossil fuel production, or oligarchic lives. And they don’t require the Kochs to contribute equitably to our civilization.

In short, the Kochs and Cato notion of liberty and tolerance for all is: they don’t care what we do or what we smoke or ingest or how we die or who we are or what we say or write–as long as they don’t have to pay for it, and we don’t do it in the streets and frighten their horses.

In another short, the actual enemies of the people are the Kochs and their Cato Institute.


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