The Koch Brothers, who recently have been exposed of being one of the main financial backers of the Tea Party movement, are in the headlines again. They had another of their “secret meetings” last Sunday at a luxury resort in California. The content of such “top secret” meetings of the Koch Brothers are “not so secret” any more after a few months ago explosive documents from previous “secret meetings” were leaked – proving beyond any doubt that the billionaire Koch Brothers use their vast resources to achieve a libertarian corporate domination in American politics. It became apparent that one of their main goals is to get rid of environmental regulations, using “Americans for Prosperity” as their “propaganda teams.”
Watch the Koch Brothers gloating over their success in funding the Tea Party movement earlier in 2010:
It was revealed that not only several mainstream journalists, but also for example the Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have also secretly taken part in previous Koch Brothers secret meetings as well.
This in itself is not enough to start a revolution, but many people woke up after these recent revelations – they are not silent any more. Curiously it seems that the law enforcement authorities regard peaceful protestors as a real threat, and apparently expected the protestors to storm the “Rancho Las Palmas Resort” just like the angry citizens of France once stormed the Bastille. The law enforcers were out in force on Sunday.
Riot police were on the scene, and 25 protestors were arrested, out of at least 1000 – for “trespassing.” David Dayen wrote on Firedoglake about the protests on Sunday:
The Koch Brothers, billionaires who have generously funded conservative and libertarian causes for over a generation – including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity – put together an annual meeting, typically held in the California desert, with fellow corporate CEOs and conservative operatives, to plan the year ahead. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain were reputed to attend the gathering at the sprawling Rancho Las Palmas resort. The Kochs bought out the entire resort for Saturday and Sunday. Some activists who stayed at the resort Friday night and booked dinners at their restaurants on Saturday had their reservations canceled by the resort, and were given $150 each for their trouble.
Common Cause organized the protest weeks ago, and set up a stage in the parking lot across the street from the Rancho Las Palmas resort. But from the beginning, activists were far more interested in the resort site, and they massed themselves across the street and then eventually in the driveway of the resort. The police, in their riot gear, came out very early to guard the resort, only letting in authorized personnel. Hotel guests, presumably attendees to the Koch Brothers meeting, looked on, holding smart phone cameras and taking pictures of the display. In addition, conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart, resplendent in shorts and roller skates, mulled around the crowd with a couple lackeys and a small video camera, talking to (and arguing with) attendees. I asked Breitbart exactly who necessitated the riot police, the lady with the papier-maché puppet or the Code Pink lady’s umbrella, and he claimed to have seen unspecified “internal emails” proving the potential for violence and the need for security. Surely that will come out in the next few days. I didn’t want to keep him from his workout, so I wrapped up the interview.
Politicalgates was very lucky, because our reader Kasha Knish was “at the scene” on Sunday as well!
Kasha Knish made lots of pictures for politicalgates and also wrote a report. Therefore we have the chance to get a much better impression of what happened; we are always very grateful when our readers take the initative!
Kasha Knish left before the arrests happened, but nevertheless managed to take great pictures and also sent us a very detailed report.
All the following pictures were taken by Kasha Knish (click to enlarge).
Several weeks ago I became aware of the “Secretive Billionaire’s Caucus” (Koch Brothers) that was to be held in my area. At the time I did not realize that this was to be 8th time this gathering has occurred only miles from my home. (Thank you, Caligirl!)
So, it was that I found myself leaving my home early on Sunday morning to begin a political adventure of sorts.
I decided to record this experience for posterity and Politicalgates, of course… along the way I met some very nice people…had my camera battery die (aren’t cell phone cameras a great back-up?) …and ultimately realized that sending photos without context would not really work well. So, along with the photos I have now penned (well, typed out) my experience.
Here we go….
It was 9:29 a.m. when I passed the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage which is where the Koch Caucus was being held. Two sheriffs’ officers were already ensconced across the street at the resort. The resort is located across the street from The River (an upscale outdoor shopping area).
Later in the day the parking area of The River was to be used for a protest rally, music, entertainment, personal testimonies, etc. I suppose the yellow caution tape everywhere provided a clue that something was up.
Ultimately, I found myself going to the theatre at The River. This is where the program prior to the rally was going to be held.
Before going in I decided to take a photo of “the river” at The River (it is actually man-made and very small), but was told by a security guard that photos of the common areas were not allowed unless a person was in the photo. Really? I thought it odd, but just continued on into theatre.
As soon as I entered the lobby, I spotted a group of people with signs. Yeah! Finally, signs. We chatted a bit. I told them what had just happened and asked if they would come outside, so, I could take a photo of them.
I just couldn’t resist telling the security guard that I found some people as they held their signs high for several photos. (grin)
Folks began arriving about the time I did – some had come as a group via bus. As we entered one of the theatres, we were given a Common Cause T-shirt and some information on Common Cause. Slowly, the theatre seats began filling up.
The front row seats were being saved for media. At one point, I explained that I was taking photos for a blog and asked if I would be considered media. She answered in the affirmative, but I had just been curious.
In the course of the brief conversation, I told her about the blog(s) and she said she was familiar with the site due to information on Trig.
The program began, but I had taken so many photos at that point that I decided to go home to send them off to Patrick/Kathleen.
My adventure continued about an hour later… By this time all the folks were at the cordoned off area and things got a bit more interesting.
The first thing I heard when I got out of my car was a helicopter. I don’t know if it was law enforcement or perhaps, a news station. Most likely law enforcement, though, as it circled in a continuous loop the entire time I was there.
It was a very pleasant and mellow crowd although those seeing photos might wonder when they see the large police presence.
Folks stood at The River facing the Las Palmas Resort – both locations are on Bob Hope Drive.
Lots of people beeped their car horns in support of the protestors. I was a bit surprised. This is a somewhat conservative area – most likely why the meeting has been held here in the first place.
At one point protestors began to cross the street in large groups, but continued to follow traffic rules. I noticed that more officers were now across the street and they had their truncheons out and ready.
A Sheriff’s bus appeared behind the wall of the resort and disappeared. Hmmm, was this to transport the officers or perhaps, protestors or maybe both??? Who knows…. All the while the helicopter circled above.
It was about this time that my camera battery went dead and I began to go back to my car in defeat. But, all of a sudden I remembered that my cell phone had a camera on it.
A few more photos were taken with my cell phone, but all of a sudden I noticed the sky looking quite ominous.