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Koch Brothers Handing out Free Pizza and Pro-Corporate Propaganda in Aberdeen Thursday

Logo for "Grassroots" AFP event in Florida 2017.05.31.
Logo for “Grassroots” AFP event in Florida 2017.05.31.

The Koch Brothers are lying to us again. My morning paper tells me that Americans for Prosperity South Dakota director Ben Lee is coming to Aberdeen Thursday evening to give people free pizza and tell them that capitalism is the greatest economic system in the world.

First, there’s a contradiction between “capitalism” and “free pizza.”

Hey, where's the pizza?! Stock photo included on every "Making the Moral Case for Capitalism" event post on AFP Foundation website, retrieved 2017.05.29.
Hey, where’s the pizza?! Stock photo included on every “Making the Moral Case for Capitalism” event post on AFP Foundation website, retrieved 2017.05.29.

Second, the newspaper article lets Ben Lee claim that Americans for Prosperity is a “grassroots” organization. No, no, no. Americans for Prosperity was founded by David and Charles Koch. It has received big money from the Kochs. David Koch is the AFP Foundation chairman. Americans for Prosperity is a leading organization in the nationwide political network the Kochs use to push for pro-billionaire tax policy and campaign finance opacity.

Third, identical grassroots events don’t spring up in SturgisLas VegasNewport News, Amherst, Ohio; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Jacksonville, Florida. This event, like other AFP “Grassroots” Leadership Academy events, is pure astroturf.

Fourth, grassroots organizations don’t conduct top-down meetings like this:

This program explains how and why capitalism is the fairest, most just and most moral economic system in the history of the world, and gives participant’s [sic] ideas for sharing that message with their friends and neighbors [AFP Foundation SD: “Insight to Action Forum—Making the Moral Case for Capitalism—Aberdeen,” retrieved 2017.05.29].

In a real grassroots organization, participants share their ideas, define their own agenda, and compose their own messages. AFP is coming to Aberdeen to stuff the gullible with pizza (and Pizza Ranch chicken and mashed potatoes, I hope!) and prefab, focus-grouped talking points from Koch corporate HQ that will keep them from realizing that they are advocating for billionaires instead of themselves.

There’s a chance Ben Lee’s program won’t be as odious as the other arch-conservative rabble-rousing that has plagued our fair city over the past year. According to the Aberdeen American News, “Americans for Prosperity does not focus on immigration or social issues, Lee said.” Whew! That’s a relief. At least we’re getting some variety in Breitbartian bugaboos, some corporate fascism along with our anti-immigrant fascism. (Ah, maybe that’s the Republican inclusiveness Dan Lederman was talking about.)

So hey, far be it for me to stand between any American and free pizza. Register here for AFP’s dog-and-pony show, and be at Pizza Ranch Thursday at 6 for free pizza!


  1. Joe Nelson 2017-05-29 15:45

    Meh, I support this. I would be interested from an philosophical standpoint as to how they argue capitalism as “the fairest, most just and most moral economic system in the history of the world”. If it was not such a drive for us, and I was not working that day, we would come up just to fact check an catch fallacies. Plus, if they have Q&A, I could give’em the old didactic treatment à la Socrates. And eat sweet delicious pizza (FUN tip: make a root beer float with their soft serve and soda fountain!)

    Even though AFP is not grassroots, their program teaches individuals how to organize grassroots movements effectively. Perhaps Divisible 605 could take some lessons ;)?

    Anyway you can edit your post to show a screen shot of the article? Hard to fully appreciate your critiques if we cannot see the article in question.

    Also, free pizza is perfectly in keeping with capitalism. It increases business to Pizza Ranch, people who eat there on Thursday will likely come back for more visits. Heck, if enough people show up, Pizza Ranch might actively seek groups to come talk (not sure how much AFP is paying for this, but I imagine Pizza Ranch is still going to make a profit.) Likewise, with the science of sociology and persuasion, AFP is placing a obligation on attendees to hear their talk and be more perceptive and open to what they have to say. Same reason supermarkets hand out free samples, and free coffee and cookies are available at car dealerships. Huzzah for social exchange theory!

    I would be curious, as Pizza Ranch is a private business, if they fully support and endorse the AFP.

  2. Porter Lansing 2017-05-29 16:05

    That’s a WHOPPER sized lie. Koch Bros absolutely, positively and without a doubt support anti-immigration and socially repressive ideas.
    ~ The Kochs’ secretive tax-exempt organization that serves as the ATM for their anti-government activism, show they continued to help distribute millions of dollars to anti-choice and anti-gay organizations in 2014. They gave $5,745,000 to Evangchr4 Trust, a Koch-tied Evangelical Christian pastoral outreach organization that itself gave more than $1.3 million in 2013 to Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink and $375,000 to the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council Action.

  3. grudznick 2017-05-29 18:43

    Are you going, Mr. H? Free mashed potatoes and gravy and pizza as much as you can stomach is a rare thing. They are prosperous indeed to offer that to the whole town.

  4. Roughrider 2017-05-29 20:02

    Last week, I had a person ring my door bell asking me to support the South Dakota Americans for Prosperity. He said they are a South Dakota organization and were not funded by the Koch brothers. I said no thanks and closed the door.

    Google South Dakota Americans For Prosperity and this is what your get: . It does not seem to be local, as they boast there are over 3,200,000 of us, and we’re active in your neighborhood.

    Check out
    Americans for Prosperity
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In the 2014 mid-term election cycle, AFP led all groups, other than political action committees (PACs), in spending on political television advertising. AFP’s scope of operations has drawn comparisons to political parties. AFP, an educational social welfare organization, and the associated Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a public charity, are tax-exempt nonprofits. As a tax-exempt nonprofit, AFP is not legally required to disclose its donors to the general public. The extent of AFP’s political activities while operating as a tax-exempt entity has raised concerns among some campaign finance watchdogs regarding the transparency of its funding.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-29 21:20

    Joe, we Dems host a monthly lunch at Pizza Ranch. Eaters pay for their own meals. Who says Dems are the ones who believe in free stuff?

    I think your attendance would be highly instructive to all in attendance. Perhaps Ben Lee will decide to host an astroturf event at the Madison Pizza Ranch. Click here for his AFP contact page, or drop Ben a line at / (605) 370-2778.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-29 21:21

    I probably won’t dine with them, but I might stand outside on 6th Ave. with a big sign that says “FREE PIZZA”, just to help “capitalism” along.

  7. Rich 2017-05-29 22:01

    If AFP is offering free pizza, expect quite a few Republicans to show up. And Joe, the correct name of “Divisible 605” is Indivisible 605. ;)

  8. Don Coyote 2017-05-30 13:24

    @cah: “First, there’s a contradiction between “capitalism” and “free pizza.””

    No there isn’t. In fact market prices, free or otherwise, in a capitalist economy would be impossible to establish without an evaluation of the “opportunity costs” of a resource. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (TANSTAAFL) is a reference to “opportunity costs” paid to make this decision since the decision to consume one resource (free pizza) comes with the trade-off of giving up consumption of another resource (time).

  9. Porter Lansing 2017-05-30 13:55

    There’s more than a contradiction. Capitalism as defined by the Koch’s means unregulated greed in business. Free pizza means “vote buying”.
    Depending on how the practice of “vote buying” (sometimes referred to as vote “bribery”) is defined in law, there are numerous obstacles to bringing action against perpetrators. Some of the issues include:
    -[Did the perpetrator give a gift in order (or, with the “specific intent”) to influence voters to cast their votes in favor of a particular candidate or political party?
    -[Was the giver the candidate, an agent or a third party with an interest in the result?
    -[Was the value of the gift sufficient to influence the voter(s), and would they have felt a sufficient inducement to give their vote in return?
    -[Was the gift given to voters directly, or to others (such as their family or community) close to the voters?
    – Was the giver in a position to pressure the voters to give their vote, such as by withholding their future bribes until after they voted?
    – Would the voters themselves be liable if they were found to have been influenced in this manner?

  10. jerry 2017-05-30 14:53

    Want a little pizza with a topping of russian corruption? Koch brothers, still dirty dealing with the devil. They show they can completely sell America out for more looting.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 16:24

    Coyote plays word games while ignoring practical fact again. If capitalism and free pizza were consistent, I could walk down the capitalist streets of Aberdeen and get free pizza every day. The Kochs are luring their marks with free handouts.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with dropping one’s capitalist moneymaking urges and making sure people who take the time to listen to your propaganda are well-fed. But let’s just call it what it is… and it aint’ grassroots or capitalism.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2017-05-30 17:16

    Every Democrat in the Aberdeen area should attend this Klan rally and eat every piece of free pizza they can handle.

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