Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Jane Mayer, The New Yorker
Submitted by: Editor

Original Corporate Terrorism: The Billionaire Koch Brothers’ War Against Government

“The billionaires behind the hate.” This long and revealing article by Jane Mayer for the New Yorker details the ongoing onslaught against the Obama administration and the U.S. government being waged by the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, whose combined fortune of $35 billion dollars is only exceeded by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Let's begin by explaining what Koch Industries encompasses

Koch Industries is a massive industrial conglomerate headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars.

  • operates oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota
  • controls approximately four thousand miles of oil pipeline

Among many other products, Koch Industries owns: 

  • Brawny paper towels
  • Dixie cups
  • Georgia-Pacific lumber
  • Stainmaster carpet
  • Lycra

Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch among the richest men in America.

Who are the Kochs?

Charles and David Koch 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 father, Fred Koch, made his fortune in the Soviet Union working with the communist regime of Joseph Stalin where he implemented his patented oil refining process in several modern oil refineries. His work helped lay the foundation for the Soviet military industrial complex.  Upon returning from Russia, Fred Koch initiated his sons into the paranoid world of the arch-conservative John Birch Society.

The Koch brothers' radical views perfectly correlate with the vested interests of their company. A recent study by 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 outspent ExxonMobil in funding organizations fighting climate change legislation, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. In fact, 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 statement, Koch Industries said that the Greenpeace report “distorts the environmental record of our companies.” And David Koch, in a recent, admiring article about him in New York, protested that the “radical press” had turned his family into “whipping boys,” and had exaggerated its influence on American politics.

But Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. 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 New Yorker]

Koch Philanthropy

The Kochs are also known for generous giving. David Koch, in particular, has donated millions to the American Ballet Theatre, New York State Theatre, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Of course, his name has been "generously" attached to buildings, wings, and endowed chairs to live on in perpetuity.

The Billionaire Pattern of Philanthropic Obfuscation

The pattern here is unmistakable. Philanthropic excess that is meant to do nothing more than cover up the subversive and illegal activities of their money-making enterprise. Whatever benefit arts and medical organizations have received as a result of the Koch's "generosity" has been completely offset by the avarice that causes them to use their money and power to undermine the government and country that has made them unimaginably wealthy. 

The Kochtopus - "Tearing the government out at the roots"

In Washington, David Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular. The Koch family has, for decades, funded think tanks, political organizations, campaigns, and other hard-core conservative interests to the tune of many hundreds of millions of dollars. The Kochs have also generously funded radical elements within The Tea Party movement in an effort "to shape and control and channel the populist uprising into their own policies." 

According to the New Yorker article, a former Koch adviser said, “They’re smart. This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves.” 

Please read the rest of this fascinating article by clicking the button below -The Koch family history of arch-conservative lunacy on page 3 is especially interesting.

Posted by Editor on 09/01/10 at 11:02 AM •  (0) Comments

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