Fancy tea.
August 23, 2010 2:59 PM   Subscribe

'They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.' 'The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.''Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.''The brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.'

'In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups.'

'Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. Though Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials “have a socialist vision for this country.'

'Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.” The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders. The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”'
posted by VikingSword (90 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I first came here and had no job, fresh from my master's degree program, I was going to apply to this.
posted by anniecat at 3:02 PM on August 23, 2010


He was also at the centre of a scandal involving fake wine, albeit as the victim of the crime rather than the perpetrator. See the story here; Self link.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:05 PM on August 23, 2010


What a bunch of Kochs
posted by Mick at 3:10 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the heck is a...
(Coke-tuh-puss?)
(Cawtch-tuh-puss?)
(Cock-tuh-puss? Really?)
posted by iamkimiam at 3:13 PM on August 23, 2010


Keep on concentrating that wealth, boys.
posted by No Robots at 3:15 PM on August 23, 2010


So they're like the George Soros of the right? Except there are other guys just like this, maybe without quite so many billions of dollars.
posted by delmoi at 3:17 PM on August 23, 2010


The Exile also recently wrote an in-depth piece on the Koch family and its political operations.
posted by indubitable at 3:18 PM on August 23, 2010


What a bunch of Kochs.

"Bucket" is the collective noun, I believe.
posted by The Bellman at 3:20 PM on August 23, 2010 [24 favorites]


So they're like the George Soros of the right? Except there are other guys just like this, maybe without quite so many billions of dollars.

Except that they really are what WorldNetDaily fantasizes about Soros being.

That was always the frustrating thing with Soros- he's hardly a liberal, he's just a rich dude who wants the money to keep coming. But because he opposed Bush in 2004 (after all, a blown-up world isn't a profitable one), he became the central figure in right-wing conspiracy theories until ACORN came around. The fucked-up thing about the Kochs is that they are, in fact, people who do the sort of shit conspiracy theories form around, using their vast wealth to set policies and unduly sway elections.

But, of course, since they're on the right, it's perfectly fine.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:22 PM on August 23, 2010 [34 favorites]


The FUD brothers.
posted by telstar at 3:23 PM on August 23, 2010


Kochtopus

Perhaps a wordplay on The Octopus (1901) by Frank Norris about Gilded Age railroad companies that control everything.
posted by stbalbach at 3:26 PM on August 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Octopus was also the word used by Danny Casolaro for the network of corruption and influence peddling surrounding the Reagan Justice Department's theft of the PROMIS software from Inslaw.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:31 PM on August 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


"The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in... minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation... the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States."

And this is exactly the problems with the idea of reduced government oversight; it presumes that people will not pay money to industries that do things like pollute, and eventually the market will force those businesses to close in favor of ones that engage in cleaner practices.

But people don't have time for that. People are trying to live their lives, and don't have time to research every single corporation they do business with, and dig through all the obfuscations on how that business is practiced.. This means that companies who engage in dirty (literally) practices aren't actually impacted by the Free Market.

So their idea of a perfect world is one that has minimal social services, and a population being directly impacted by unregulated environmental damage.

That's why I hate this kind of thing; it sounds bad on the surface, but it sounds horrific if you really think about it. Sure, it's good for the industry, but it does good trade at the expense of the people's health and safety. It's irresponsible and represent the very worst parts of the "fuck you, got mine!" mentality.
posted by quin at 3:32 PM on August 23, 2010 [50 favorites]


There's nothing like wealthy sociopaths to bring down a country.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:43 PM on August 23, 2010 [18 favorites]


But people don't have time for that. People are trying to live their lives, and don't have time to research every single corporation they do business with, and dig through all the obfuscations on how that business is practiced.

That and they don't give a shit.
posted by biffa at 3:45 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're Texas oilmen, right? So the bunch of them aren't a bucket of Kochs. They're a Texas-sized barrel of Kochs.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:46 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you reveal the puppeteers, you totally ruin the puppet show for the audience.

Fortunately for the puppeteers, the puppets will steadfastly refuse to acknowledge their strings.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:48 PM on August 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”

Well, why aren't you saying it LOUDER, nimrod?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:49 PM on August 23, 2010 [24 favorites]


this is rather insightful:

An advertisement for the Texas Defending the American Dream summit cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.”

which is exactly how the koches are being painted, right? as lobbyists with special interests?
posted by msconduct at 3:51 PM on August 23, 2010


And if only they weren't shackled by such crushing regulation, they'd be rich and successful!
posted by zsazsa at 3:52 PM on August 23, 2010 [23 favorites]


They could say that all they like, nobody would report it. Not in any way that would do anybody any good, anyhow.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if their organization has anything to do with the Digg Patriots scandal that flared up a few weeks ago. One of the people who tried to join their group, the same one who proposed the false-flag sexual harassment stuff, has been spamming the site recently with sexist and racist comments posted by an assortment of sleeper accounts. You can tell it's the same person because these accounts remain dormant for months or years and then start posting hundreds of comments and votes as soon as the most recent incarnation is banned. One of the ones I saw first joined in 2007 and contributed nothing until today.

Anyway, in addition to bragging about the ease with which they bypass permabans, one of the accounts just recently posted this:
Where we come from is not for you to decide, but we can tell you that its lucrative, and the people who pay have strong feelings.
Followed by:
It helps that we are 6 people in different places. It makes IP bans a lot harder to enforce.
Bluff? Or a mouthy astroturf operative tipping their hand? It's depressing that the latter is even a possibility.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:53 PM on August 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice.

Perhaps they could deal with Koch the way the Russians have dealt with their upstart post-Soviet oligarchs: have him arrested on trumped up charges, confiscate his property, gun him down on the street. That will teach him to oppose the establishment.
posted by Faze at 3:58 PM on August 23, 2010


Heh, this just occurred to me... can we now refer to Tea Baggers as Koch Suckers?
posted by Xoebe at 4:09 PM on August 23, 2010 [46 favorites]


Faze, buddy, you gotta stop reading Alex Jones.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:09 PM on August 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


> They're Texas oilmen, right?

They are from Wichita, Kansas.
posted by bukvich at 4:20 PM on August 23, 2010


“The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” Fred Koch warned in 1958.
And 50 years later it's almost exactly the same line -- only now the same nutcase contingency can say which colored man, and they are calling him a socialist instead. And Fred Koch's sons seem to have no problem starting with inherited wealth and then accepting government contracts and subsidies, but bristle at taxes or regulation or any notion of paying external costs. Apparently this is called libertarianism, and there are non-billionaires who don't have a problem with the underlying logic.
posted by Killick at 4:24 PM on August 23, 2010 [23 favorites]


ha !
posted by Substrata at 4:32 PM on August 23, 2010


The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes...

Lower than negative? Dayum.
posted by DU at 4:48 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Perhaps they could deal with Koch the way the Russians have dealt with their upstart post-Soviet oligarchs: have him arrested on trumped up charges, confiscate his property, gun him down on the street. That will teach him to oppose the establishment.

Hahah, whaaaaaat?
posted by 235w103 at 4:59 PM on August 23, 2010


Lower than negative? Dayum.

Haven't you heard? If you object to the extension of corporate power, the subversion of our democracy by monied interests, and the enrichment of plutocrats from the public purse, that's class warfare!!!!!
posted by felix betachat at 5:01 PM on August 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


These guys need those tax cuts extended so they can save the economy!
posted by Max Power at 5:28 PM on August 23, 2010


Note this part of the article:

Oddly enough, the fiercely capitalist Koch family owes part of its fortune to Joseph Stalin. Fred Koch .... In 1927, he invented a more efficient process for converting oil into gasoline, but, according to family lore, America’s major oil companies regarded him as a threat and shut him out of the industry. Unable to succeed at home, Koch found work in the Soviet Union. In the nineteen-thirties, his company trained Bolshevik engineers and helped Stalin’s regime set up fifteen modern oil refineries

I mean, I'm not sayin'... I'm just sayin'. You know what I mean?
posted by Rashomon at 5:47 PM on August 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Defeating Hitler is their biggest regret!
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have often wondered how libertarianism, an ahistoric form of anarchism rooted exclusively in selfishness, in which man is not just wolf to man but such lupine savagery is actually encouraged as being the best way to do business, has managed to find an audience in America -- especially when it is, at it's core, so fundamentally opposed to so many of our cherished American values.

I should have known the answer was simple: It is underwritten by billionaires because it serves their interests.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:03 PM on August 23, 2010 [21 favorites]


"Bucket" is the collective noun, I believe.

Its pronounced 'boo-kay'.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:09 PM on August 23, 2010 [18 favorites]


Industrialists like this are fundamentally dishonest about their ideology. They hate government for imposing taxes and regulations but love government for building infrastructures they benefit from and giving tax breaks and subsidies that ease their road to obscene wealth. It's the old "privatize profits and socialize costs" scam. As for their so-called philanthropy towards opera, museums and other high-status accessories, they only have the money to "give away" because the government cleans up their shit using taxes from Joe public. Their "gifts" are a tax write-off and their name on the opera house/museum wing is advertizing. Their claims to have earned their wealth purely through their own smarts without government assistance are bogus.
posted by binturong at 6:14 PM on August 23, 2010 [15 favorites]


On Kochs ultimately being behind this, digitalprimate made a sourceless claim back on the Digg Patriots story that a person interested in getting to the bottom of this should start looking there.
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on August 23, 2010


(This being the Digg Patriots story. Argh.)
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on August 23, 2010


delmoi So they're like the George Soros of the right?

Gamist mirrorism (for want of a better term) is one of the more annoying political fallacies of our time. The "left" and the "right" (or for that matter "good" and "evil") are not balanced teams with equivalent capabilities and resources. Because the "left" have a ground-based unit that shoots fire, the "right" does not automatically have to have a caster unit that can stealth. If you see a behaviour pattern or resource on one side, you should not assume that the other side is somehow engaged in some morally-equivalent dirty tricks or has been for some reason granted an equally effective resource to balance it with.

There is no "Soros of the right", there are a whole lot of rich bastards who each individually support right-wing agendas. Because they are rapaciously evil does not imply that Soros is the same.

I think that to some extent this fallacy, the error of thought that leads people to commit it, derives from the apparent fact that the "win condition" of democracy is approximately 55% of the vote. A political party doesn't really need any more than this, indeed to gain more than this can actually be bad for it as it promotes factionalism. So the Game of Same and Different ensues, and that makes people expect that like any game, it was set up with fair chances to win.

Not so. The Kochs are the Kochs of the right, Soros is the Soros of the left, and while there are certainly some qualities these people have in common, the natural human tendency to look for patterns can prompt the drawing of false equivalencies far beyond what commonalities might actually exist.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:26 PM on August 23, 2010 [42 favorites]


Why the Soros comparison isn't apt is in the article, you should read it, it's a good piece, well researched and constructed. It's interesting to see the inner workings of the apparatus that is going to destroy the world.
posted by The Straightener at 6:32 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, why aren't you saying it LOUDER, nimrod?

Because Cool Papa Bell when Hillary Clinton brought up the fact that there was a cast rightwing conspiracy funded by wealthy people and their money to bring down her Bill Clinton through something called the Arkansas project the media spent days talking about how crazy she was, even though it was true.s
posted by humanfont at 6:39 PM on August 23, 2010 [15 favorites]


It's really frustrating to see people who should know better accepting the right-wing conspiracy fantasies about George Soros.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:07 PM on August 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Funnily enough, my favorite book about the Clintons was titled A Vast Conspiracy, by Jeffrey Toobin. And from that book ... Yes, it was clear there really was a vast conspiracy.

What draws my ire is the seeming inability or unwillingness to call a spade a spade, whether out of cowardice or laziness or willfully trying to play both sides.

Frank Rich had an awesome column in the Times the other day about how the whoo-hah over the Ground Zero mosque initially had no legs until it was crafted into just the right kind of dog whistle message.

So, where's the capability among Democrats to use loud voices and dog whistles? You know, there's a reason it is called a BULLY pulpit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:08 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Because Cool Papa Bell when Hillary Clinton brought up the fact that there was a cast rightwing conspiracy funded by wealthy people and their money to bring down her Bill Clinton through something called the Arkansas project the media spent days talking about how crazy she was, even though it was true.

Hell, one of the people who took money to smear the Clintons wrote a book about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:08 PM on August 23, 2010


I have often wondered how libertarianism, an ahistoric form of anarchism rooted exclusively in selfishness, in which man is not just wolf to man but such lupine savagery is actually encouraged as being the best way to do business, has managed to find an audience in America...... I should have known the answer was simple: It is underwritten by billionaires because it serves their interests.

The answer doesn't seem simple to me. Does libertarianism really service the interests of billionaires? If so, why aren't Warren Buffet or Bill Gates libertarians?
posted by storybored at 7:10 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The answer doesn't seem simple to me. Does libertarianism really service the interests of billionaires? If so, why aren't Warren Buffet or Bill Gates libertarians?

A good question--and of course, any ideology that threatens to wipe out mankind is not going to spare billionaires either. Buffet and Gates seem to grasp this.

What libertarianism actually does is stroke the egos and inflate the importance of billionaires. Given that having lots of money already means people treat you like a king, for weak-minded types, libertarianism shows you that all your unearned wealth is actually The Market's reward for your (or your ancestors', which of course you inherited) genius.

It's not an economic theory or even a philosophy. It's a religion. Take the Divine Right of Kings, substitute the Market for God and money for blood (though money usually flows along bloodlines) and there you go.

Bless the Squire and his relations, and keep us in our proper stations.
posted by emjaybee at 7:20 PM on August 23, 2010 [15 favorites]


I've always been partial to the Koch curve.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:25 PM on August 23, 2010


I want to come up with extraordinary words that are adequate to the task of conveying the colossal blinding raging frustration I feel when people like these guys are such flagrant selfish small-minded cancerous dickhead assholes, so blithely willing to fuck over everyone else for their own pathetic needs; who do so much active, deliberate damage to the efforts of those who strive toward the potential of what humanity could be. I want to write words that leap out of the Internet to confront all humanity, gigantic fierce white-hot words that rear up in front of people and get their attention, urge them into dedicated action, words that burn an inescapable message of possibility into the forefront our collective consciousness: "WHY DO WE LET THEM DO THESE THINGS?? WE CAN DO BETTER, WE DON'T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS SHIT!"

But the words never come, and we continue to let them do these things, and nothing changes. Spiritual leaders and philosophers have tried for millennia and failed to find such words; what hope do I have? If people were going to change they would have by now.

So I have a couple of drinks to blunt the rage, or go for a walk and take a few deep breaths, and try to come to terms with my pointless and thoroughly trampled idealism (that yet refuses to just die already, for some reason). Tomorrow I'll get back on the Internet, make a few more snide jokes, and do my best to avoid being crushed by the despair the next appalling news item generates.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:40 PM on August 23, 2010 [30 favorites]



What a bunch of Kochs.

"Bucket" is the collective noun, I believe.

They're Texas oilmen, right? So the bunch of them aren't a bucket of Kochs. They're a Texas-sized barrel of Kochs.


Focusing on mocking the homophone that is their surname really does a dishonor to a thing I hold dear.

So I'm just going to go with asswipes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:51 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Focusing on mocking the homophone that is their surname really does a dishonor to a thing I hold dear.

So I'm just going to go with asswipes.


You know, those are pretty useful if you need them.

I know of no time or arena where I would need one of the Koches.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:53 PM on August 23, 2010


Did you ever stop to consider that the Democrats simply don't have the kind of money it takes to run these enormous operations. Try your pulpit plan and after you've been covered for a hundred straight days on Democracy Now! watch you candidates poll numbers crater after the whole chattering class of DC picks you over. The headlines would be about the Obama team whining, or Obama turning into Putin, or being lead astray by radicals and conspiracy theorists when he doesn't understand that his agenda is unpopular.

There is no point in fighting this part of the battle you can't win. Hold the house or senate, let the tax cuts expire. Hope we can make some progress on instituting a tax on these super rich guys. Why does the guy making a billion dollars pay the same marginal rate as the guy making 1 million. Anyone fortunate enough to make a billion dollars a year should pay 60-70% tax rates and get no capital gains breaks. They will still be stinking filthy rich when it is all over, but the USA won't be broke paying for their wars and subsidies.
posted by humanfont at 8:23 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is a reason why Russia called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist States, and the German fascists called themselves the National Socialists.

It's the same reason the People's Democratic Republic of North Korea calls itself a Democratic Republic. It was a gigantic lie.

Back in the 30's, everyone knew socialism was absolutely the best way to run a country, so anti-socialists from the far left and the far right did their damndest to hitch their star to that wagon, and cause confusion among ill-informed voters and political activists.

So, now, the home-grown fascists... no, that's incorrect, they're not fascists, they're neo-fuedalists... try to tar the term "socialism" with both Nazi and Commie brushes.

I refuse to play along. Socialism is the best fucking way a democratic society can run itself, offering protections and requiring obligations from both businesses and individuals. Anyone who deliberately confuses Socialism with Communism needs to be mocked into a coma.

Words. Fucking. Mean. Something.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:27 PM on August 23, 2010 [19 favorites]


Socialism is the best fucking way a democratic society can run itself, offering protections and requiring obligations from both businesses and individuals.

What kind of socialism do you subscribe to in which there are private businesses?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:29 PM on August 23, 2010


After reading the article, the Koch family comes across as losers.

I find the author's attempt to portray these guys as master manipulators as lame and even dangerous.

First a sanity check on power at hand. These guys have $30 billion between them which in the giant trillion dollar pool of US GDP is less than a peanut fart.

The Kochs spent $130 million on political causes over ten years leading up to Obama's election. Obama raised $750 million in under two years.

The Kochs can stir it up, but they're allowed to do it just as anyone else can. That's the system.

Painting the Kochs as the Villains Against Obama strikes me as dangerously counterproductive. If the democrats want to keep their lead from being blown away, they'd best look at why Tea Partiers are listening to these asinine fratboys in the first place.

The road to irrelevance begins with the embrace of conspiracy theories. It's a complete waste of time to play these "what Dark Power is to blame?" games.
posted by storybored at 8:48 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


So basically, Daniel Plainview
posted by windbox at 8:50 PM on August 23, 2010


Did you ever stop to consider that the Democrats simply don't have the kind of money it takes to run these enormous operations.

Billionaires are billionaires because (usually) they're smart enough not to spend your own money. These are fund-raisers they're sponsoring.

Democrats could do this, too, if only they were organized. Lots of money and fame in Hollywood, for example. But they're too dumb, too fractionalized and seemingly incapable of crafting a message that doesn't make smart people in red states push away from the table, feeling condescended to.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2010



This is evil.
posted by craniac at 9:18 PM on August 23, 2010


What kind of socialism do you subscribe to in which there are private businesses?


One where private businesses are subject to government scrutiny and regulation?

Serious. Marxism isn't Socialism, and Communism isn't Socialism. There are a lot of ways to balance business against society, and one of the appeals of socialism is that it was not absolutist.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:24 PM on August 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


Democrats could do this, too, if only they were organized. Lots of money and fame in Hollywood, for example. But they're too dumb, too fractionalized and seemingly incapable of crafting a message that doesn't make smart people in red states push away from the table, feeling condescended to.

That message you hear from/about democrats is actually filtered through a right wing media machine. Democrats are a political coalition, like the Republicans. They raise lots of mpney from hollywood and others, it just isn't enough. The two guys in this article have a private corporation that genarates billions on free cash every year. They own major consumer brands that buy tons of tv advertising. It isn't just about the direct contributions, it is about the people who want to curry favor with them and fear them. The fact that democrats ever win elections or get anything passed in the face of such opposition is actually a sign pf how smart they are.
posted by humanfont at 9:43 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Perhaps a wordplay on The Octopus (1901) by Frank Norris about Gilded Age railroad companies that control everything.

Which is on Google Books, btw.
posted by homunculus at 10:07 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


As substrata indicated upthread we did this not so long ago. A lot of useful information was posted in the ensuing discussion including this snippet about how the ultra libertarians get their message into the public domain.
posted by adamvasco at 11:10 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's amazing, but in these modern times, sometimes the greatest wisdom can be found in something as vulgar as marketing phrase from an unimportant TV commercial:
"Get a rope".
posted by Goofyy at 11:28 PM on August 23, 2010


Greg_Ace: ""WHY DO WE LET THEM DO THESE THINGS?? WE CAN DO BETTER, WE DON'T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS SHIT!""

The answer is pretty simple really, TV. Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses before TV came along. TV is much more effective than religion. Most people don't pray for 4 or 5 hours every day. I don't expect there to be much of a revolution in affairs as long as people can afford digital cable (now in 3D!). Have you ever really watched people watching TV? You can practically wipe the drool of their chins with a hanky.

And I say this as someone who likes TV as much as the next American. Especially during the upcoming football season. Arrrrgh, they got me.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:16 AM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


i can't wait until the koch brothers sign up for an account & give us their side of the story!
posted by msconduct at 5:58 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


David Koch joked about his good fortune in a 2003 speech to alumni at Deerfield, where, after pledging twenty-five million dollars, he was made the school’s sole “lifetime trustee.” He said, “You might ask: How does David Koch happen to have the wealth to be so generous? Well, let me tell you a story. It all started when I was a little boy. One day, my father gave me an apple. I soon sold it for five dollars and bought two apples and sold them for ten. Then I bought four apples and sold them for twenty. Well, this went on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, until my father died and left me three hundred million dollars!”

There is so much truth in this.
posted by Houstonian at 6:05 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses before TV came along. TV is much more effective than religion. Most people don't pray for 4 or 5 hours every day. I don't expect there to be much of a revolution in affairs as long as people can afford digital cable (now in 3D!).

Probably once every 2-3 months I fantasize I'm Sideshow Bob except that even determining how much would would be required to figure out how to permanently jam TV would itself be too much work for me.

But seriously, kill (the broadcast portion of) your television. As a display device for items of your own choosing it is good, as a method for The Man to cram frames into your head it is pure evil.
posted by DU at 6:13 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It strikes me that the Kock brothers "operations" are not very "covert" if you can read about them in a national magazine.
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:35 AM on August 24, 2010


One where private businesses are subject to government scrutiny and regulation?

Serious. Marxism isn't Socialism, and Communism isn't Socialism. There are a lot of ways to balance business against society, and one of the appeals of socialism is that it was not absolutist.


Socialism is a political/economic structure in which the workers are in control of the circumstances and outputs of their labor. You are thinking of liberal capitalism, in which taxation and regulation are used to minimize the damage to society caused by capitalism. By calling it socialism, you appropriate legitimacy and moral authority you don't have a right to and make it impossible to actually discuss socialism. You can't have socialism and capitalism. They are wholly opposed ideologies. Embrace your economics and your politics instead of shamefully trying to steal the names of others.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:21 AM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


You are thinking of liberal capitalism, in which taxation and regulation are used to minimize the damage to society caused by capitalism.

To be fair, he may have been thinking more along the lines of social democracy than liberal capitalism. Or maybe specifically the social market economy.

You can't have socialism and capitalism. They are wholly opposed ideologies.

"The chief goal of modern social democracy is to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social democracy while maintaining the capitalist mode of production, rather than creating an alternative socialist economic system."

Doesn't sound wholly opposed to me.
posted by jedicus at 7:38 AM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


While I would probably sign myself under "liberal capitalism", I do agree with Pope Guilty that what many people consider socialism is not what the turn of the century or modern socialist had in mind. Most of the European countries we think of as socialist are more "Capitalism with Socialist characteristics" than real socialism. This is not to say it isn't good or bad, but rather that socialism (as has capitalism) has become a huge umbrella that can have both stuff you love and stuff you hate whether you consider yourself a socialist or a capitalist.

And I distrust people who say they have the holy grail for any reason.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:51 AM on August 24, 2010


Gamist mirrorism (for want of a better term) is one of the more annoying political fallacies of our time. The "left" and the "right" (or for that matter "good" and "evil") are not balanced teams with equivalent capabilities and resources.

Exactly. When the Right rolls out Immortals, Soros had damn well better have some marines in reserve, because that shit's gonna shred his siege tanks.

I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
posted by Mayor West at 7:53 AM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Exactly. When the Right rolls out Immortals, Soros had damn well better have some marines in reserve, because that shit's gonna shred his siege tanks.

I was just previewing a zerg/terran version of this same joke. Beaten by your rush!
posted by sparkletone at 8:02 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


These Kochs seem to be Khunts.
posted by longbaugh at 8:10 AM on August 24, 2010


Sadly, this article could have just as easily been written about the Olin family, or the Mellon-Scaife family.
It strikes me that the Kock brothers "operations" are not very "covert" if you can read about them in a national magazine.
If a story is later shown to be a lie, that doesn't undo the harm that it caused, or the impression that it has left in the mind of the public. Think about James O'Keefe, the undercover videographer that filmed a Planned Parenthood employee encouraging an (apparently) underage girl to lie about her age to get an abortion. This same person also filmed ACORN employees under false pretenses as well, and both organizations have had funding withdrawn in part or completely. If a grassroots movement is later shown to be engineered by self-interested puppeteers, that will not change the way that the willing participants feel about having participated in it. It doesn't matter who knows what-- it matters how the story breaks.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 8:29 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


True stories of bloggers who secretly feed on partisan cash

It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on August 24, 2010


Which is on Google Books, btw.

Thanks, but GB sucks :) The links are unstable, the scans are crappy, the company is a for-profit corporation and not a library or archive, it's an entirely closed system, the metadata is worse than unreliable, the search results are spotty and unreliable.

The Octopus at Internet Archive.
posted by stbalbach at 1:48 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”

Dammit! People get paid to pretend to be human beings now? Any liberals out there want to sponsor me? I can pass for human with a little trick lighting.

Seriously though, anyone who thinks what these guys, Murdoch and Mellon-Scaife have been doing is just the same old, same old really needs to rub the sleep from their eyes. It's as close to a hostile takeover of our entire system as has ever been seen and it's breathtaking in scope. These people literally have no sense of allegiance to their countrymen or nation--they are not only corrupt, but relentlessly so, with no moral compunctions whatsoever but to themselves.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:10 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a shame we can't leave the planet and allow them to suffer the inevitable consequences of the rotten world they so greatly desire. If they were only fucking things up for themselves, and themselves alone, I wouldn't feel so angry at them.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:33 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell: Well, why aren't you saying it LOUDER, nimrod?

Obama has been responding, much to the apparent chagrin of the Koch-puppet Americans for Prosperity.
Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country. And they don't have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don't know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don't know if it’s a big oil company, or a big bank. You don't know if it’s a insurance company that wants to see some of the provisions in health reform repealed because it’s good for their bottom line, even if it’s not good for the American people.

A Supreme Court decision allowed this to happen. And we tried to fix it, just by saying disclose what’s going on, and making sure that foreign companies can’t influence our elections. Seemed pretty straightforward. The other side said no.

They don't want you to know who the Americans for Prosperity are, because they're thinking about the next election. But we’ve got to think about future generations. We’ve got to make sure that we’re fighting for reform. We’ve got to make sure that we don't have a corporate takeover of our democracy.
Remarks by the President at a DNC Finance Event in Austin, Texas, August 9, 2010.
posted by dilettanti at 3:59 PM on August 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Glenn Beck’s ‘Non-Political’ Rally — Sponsored By The Right Wing
posted by homunculus at 6:06 PM on August 24, 2010


Company Owned By Cancer Research Donor Lobbied Against Designation of Formaldehyde as Carcinogen
posted by homunculus at 9:01 AM on August 25, 2010


Danger! Bus Parking For Beck’s 8/28 Rally Is Outside The Recommended ‘Safe Zone’
posted by homunculus at 9:25 AM on August 25, 2010


Tea Party Rocks Primaries
posted by homunculus at 1:38 PM on August 27, 2010


So, um, these roles the Tea parties are going to be filling - obviously they have the crazy grandstanding covered, but do they have to be competent in any other way? What happens if they are not?
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on August 27, 2010


Conservative Groups Gearing Up To Spend $400 Million On Midterm Election
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on August 28, 2010


Frank Rich agrees and he draws an interesting parallel to the DuPonts and the Liberty League.

Where is Smedley Butler when you need him? It sure as hell isn't Colin Powell.
posted by warbaby at 9:11 AM on August 29, 2010


Koch Industries Applies For Federal Funds From Health Care Law It Opposes
posted by homunculus at 2:12 PM on August 31, 2010


Koch firm donates $1 million to campaign to suspend climate change law
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on September 5, 2010


"Koch responds to recent media attacks"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 AM on September 16, 2010


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