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Guest column: Nebraska billionaire behind assault on Nunn
by Kevin Foley
Neighbor Newspapers Guest Columnist
August 07, 2014 11:15 AM | 11874 views | 7 7 comments | 126 126 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kevin Foley
Kevin Foley
With a net worth today of $1 billion, Joe Ricketts, 73, the founder of TD Ameritrade, is fretting over the crumbs falling from his table. It galls Joe that some of those crumbs might be used to help poor people in the country that facilitated his company’s phenomenal success.

Along with industrialist Charles Koch, investor Tom Perkins and gambler Sheldon Adelstein, Ricketts is another aging billionaire who believes America has let him down.

These well-heeled gents and others like them seek to purchase a government that will promote their self-serving agenda if it can’t be achieved through free and fair democratic elections.

These 1 percenters have a simple formula: tap ignorance and anger to convince the 99 percent to vote against their own best economic interests.

With the help of the right-wing media, these unhappy billionaires have achieved at least part of their objective. Try to name any meaningful legislation passed into law since Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives nearly four years ago.

Inertia and government shutdowns serve Ricketts, Koch, Perkins and Adelstein as well as anything else.

Conservatism, as I’ve noted, is a political system founded on deception. It cannot survive in a true democracy unless it is supported by distortions, half-truths and lies. There’s no way, for example, billionaires can say, “Americans need to coddle people like us because …”

Like the others, Ricketts cowers behind front groups, pumping millions of dollars into right-wing propaganda campaigns to support the conservative candidates most likely to bend to his will.

Joe has to be careful. TD Ameritrade’s many customers who disagree with his extreme politics might take their business elsewhere.

Meantime, quaint notions of decency and honor have no place in Mr. Ricketts’ playbook. In 2012 he planned a racist advertising campaign against Barack Obama that stereotyped the president as a “metrosexual black Abe Lincoln.”

After the campaign was exposed, the ads never saw the light of day. Ricketts said he didn’t know anything about it.

Michelle Nunn is a thoroughly decent and honorable human being, born in Georgia and and bred in Georgia (before moving to Bethesda, Md.) to one of our state’s most celebrated families; a wife and mother of two who decided to run for the U.S. Senate because — get this — she wants to help Georgians.

Before that, Nunn led the volunteer service organization Hands on Atlanta, which later merged with President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation.

“She is visionary, creative and a magnet for great people passionate about service,” said Neil Bush, the elder Bush’s son and chairman of the foundation.

Nunn comes by these attributes naturally. Her dad, Sam, is one of our nation’s most revered statesmen, a former U.S. senator who brought great credit on Georgia.

If she gets to Washington, Nunn will no doubt distinguish herself, too, working with the Senate’s bipartisan women to get things done for middle class, working and poor Georgians.

Voters are going to be inundated with all kinds of bogus GOP commercials this election cycle. You folks need to make darned sure your B.S. antennae are finely tuned.

There are Rickettses around every corner.

Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.

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