Koch brothers, Christian chicken-sellers besieged by thuggish liberal criticism

When corporations dabble in politics, the Constitution says you aren't allowed to boycott or protest them

Topics: First Amendment, Food Business, Republican Party, War Room,

Koch brothers, Christian chicken-sellers besieged by thuggish liberal criticismMichelle Malkin

As we all know, billionaires and huge successful corporations are afforded certain inalienable rights under the First Amendment, including the right to spend billions on rolling back regulations of their chosen industries and the right to not ever suffer any sort of popular backlash for their actions. (That second right is best explicated by noted legal scholar Sarah Palin, whose interpretation of the Bill of Rights is based on the extensive research performed by Usenet trolls and banned blog commenters.) But some people (liberals) don’t believe in freedom. These liberal bigots are trampling on the rights of some of America’s most vulnerable citizens: the Koch brothers and the fast-foot chain Chik-fil-A.

The Koch brothers, who use their vast fortunes to encourage the creation of political consensus around various government policies that allow them to pollute as much as they want in order to make as much of a profit while sacrificing as little of said fortunes to the tyrannical government as possible (they’d rather spend a million dollars on a libertarian think tank than see one cent of that hard-earned money go to a wasteful big government school lunch program), held their annual retreat in Rancho Mirage, Calif., last weekend. A bunch of liberals protested the event, in order to call attention to the obscene wealth of the brothers and the ways they use that wealth to quietly influence the political process in their favor.

That protest, across the street from the event, was “an open assault on the rights of association,” according to a lawyer who believes that restrictions on corporate campaign spending are violations of the right to free speech. (Not only is money speech, it is also apparently the only acceptable form of speech.) Various people were arrested.

Yesterday, Politico’s Kenneth Vogel published a very good piece on how the Kochs are “fighting back” against their significantly less rich and influential critics. In addition to aggressive P.R., legal threats and attempts to win the cooperation of reporters by doling out formerly unheard-of access, they have also, in the words of Jon Chait, hired goons.

It is so rude of liberals to dislike the Kochs and to write about what they do, and sometimes protest their secret enclaves. And that is why their goons are perfectly justified in threatening to lock up Politico reporters, in jail, for photographing things.

A perhaps even more egregious example of liberal intolerance is the fact that some blogs wrote some things about how the owners of Chick-fil-A are anti-gay Christians. Or, as Michelle Malkin put it in yesterday’s National Review Online, “several progressive-activist blogs have waged an ugly war against Chick-fil-A.”

So far the actions taken against this company include, in addition to blog posts, an online petition and some Facebook groups. That’s about it. Even excitable New York college students aren’t bothering to protest. There was a New York Times article about it, though. On the whole, a couple thousand people probably learned what many others already knew about the owners of Chick-fil-A, and many more people almost certainly “learned” that evil thug leftists were attacking Chick-fil-A for the crime of loving God, and marriage. Malkin, again:

This is not because they care about winning hearts and minds over gay rights or marriage policy, but because their core objective is to marginalize political opponents and chill Christian philanthropy and activism. The fearsome “muscle flexing” isn’t being done by innocent job-creators selling chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. It’s being done by the hysterical bullies trying to drive them off of college grounds and out of their neighborhoods in the name of “human rights.”

Did you know that I’m “flexing my muscles” by merely writing the words “if you are gay or support gay marriage you might want to reconsider eating at Chick-fil-A”? I am brutally marginalizing Christian activism, by pointing out its existence.

Ha, wait, this sentence about “the left-wing mob” that viciously intimidated Proposition 8 donors is the best thing in the whole Malkin piece: “Businesses that contributed money to the Prop 8 campaign were besieged by fist-wielding protesters.” Protesters besieging businesses with fists! Literally punching or maybe threatening to punch buildings!

The owners of Chick-fil-A are right-wing Southern Baptists. They will do things like donate lunches to meetings of religions anti-gay groups and put “Focus on the Family” materials in your kids’ meal. If this is not widely known, it is perfectly responsible to tell people about it, so that they can make informed decisions about where they spend their money. That is actually how capitalism is supposed to work.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>