Tag Archives: Koch brothers

Still believe in The Heritage Foundation?

Will the apologists for our emerging American oligarchy try to talk their way around even this?

According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States has an economic freedom score of 76.3, which makes the United States rank tenth out of one hundred seventy-nine ranked countries. Hong Kong ranks first, with an economic freedom score of 89.9.

For those who don’t know, here‘s who they are:

Heritage’s stated mission is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”.

They think we’re not doing so well.  And in case you didn’t know, here’s who they are:

Heritage is primarily funded through donations from private individuals and charitable foundations. Businessman Joseph Coors contributed the first $250,000 to start The Heritage Foundation in 1973. Other significant contributors have included the conservative Olin, Scaife, DeVos and Bradley foundations.

In 2007, Heritage reported an operating revenue of $75.0 million dollars. As of February 2011, Heritage reported 710,000 supporters.[28] Heritage Foundation is also a part of the Koch Foundation Associate Program.[29]

Those are family foundations, very very conservative family foundations that provided much of the funding for the anti-Clinton crusade of the 90’s: the eternal Paula Jones lawsuit, the fake Whitewater ‘scandal’ – even personal financial support for the public accusers around the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

They are also drivers of a new American oligarchy.  Putin would love them.

The Koch brothers systemic criminality

Bloomberg just published a bombshell story about the Kochs and Koch Industries and how they do business –  apparently, they do it their own way and the law be damned. It’s a lengthy story and it confirms that these enormously rich and very secretive brothers really do see themselves as sovereigns, occupying a higher plane than mere mortals. With all this criminality, I don’t know how they ever found the time to hire Dick Armey so he could create FreedomWorks, the group that stands behind the Tea Party.  (These guys work ‘freedom’ into everything. They need some new writers.)

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism . . . [Moe asks: Remember when Halliburton did that?]

Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.

. . . . In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mis-measuring the amount of crude it was extracting. . .

Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the Koch Method.

Same as the unions. Exact. Same. Thing.

There can only be one king

There’s a lot of talk these days about The Fabulous Koch Brothers Boys – so much money, so committed to their own Randian libertarian principles. It never rang true with me – all I ever saw in their political activity was a committment to their own bottom line, their own personal wealth. Which is fine, but when that greedy instinct affects the lives of 400 million other people, how can we see it as anything other than base. And yet, and yet . . .

This one is as blatant a dismissal of the public good as I have ever seen. Our national tragedy is that this is possible and that Americans aren’t taking to the streets in the face of such an insult. (Don’t count on much media attention.)

Via The Washington Monthly  ( featured also on The Rachel Maddow Show last night – link above), here are the boys showing true colors.

“In 2007, following a series of scandalous incidents, federal officials created on online consumer-product-safety database, allowing Americans to go online and access free information about the safety records of household products. It passed the House unanimously, sailed through the Senate, and was signed into law by George W. Bush.”

But that was so 2007.

“Why would even the most unhinged Republican reject giving Americans free access to such materials?  (Guess)

“For very little money, the government created an online resource to help families make more informed choices, and create a new incentive for manufacturers to put safe products on the market.

” . . . the Kochs don’t care for the consumer product safety database, so . . .as the Kansas City Star explained, their Congressman, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) of Kansas, “pushed a measure to delay and weaken it. As the Star explained, Pompeo wanted to push off implementation ‘to give Congress a chance to make changes that both he and the business community would prefer’.'”

Because a unanimous Congressional vote and a presidential signature isn’t ‘a chance’.

 ” ‘One would think it hard to find a politician who opposes reducing preventable dangers to children. [Pompeo] has stepped up to this challenge’.”  Pompeo’s proposal, an amendment to the House spending-cut bill, was approved with 227 Republican votes,

Hey,  getting elected is tougher every year. Public be damned. The Howard Rourke twins triumphant.

Scott Walker vs. Wisconsin

POSTED BY ORHAN

On the topic of Wisconsin’s Budget Repair Bill – this came from ginandtacos by way of Democratic Underground, HuffPo, and Rortybomb. Ginandtacos, whose analysis is excellent, read the entire 144-page bill and found this:

“16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state-owned heating, cooling, and power plants….the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state… no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project…”

Sounds like the state will be able to sell off or contract out the operation of its energy plants with zero accountability and zero public debate. As to who’ll end up benefiting the most from this, right now the bets are on Koch Industries.

I’ll bet FOX News thinks these guys are patriots

From the LA Times yesterday:

Koch Brothers now at heart of GOP

The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington’s political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

(They pretty much own the committee and played a major role in electing and reelecting its members. Business, after all, is business. If the health of the US doesn’t align with the Koch goals for their energy companies, that’s just unfortunate.)

Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. . .

Koch Industries is the country’s second-largest privately run company, a conglomerate of refining, pipeline, chemical and paper businesses. . . .  Last year, Forbes magazine listed the brothers as the nation’s fifth-richest people, each worth $21.5 billion.

This is bad for America and bad for American.

People like the Kochs live behind walls with bodyguards; they don’t live in the same country as us.  The class divide in the US is now greater than that of Egypt. We should be paying closer attention to what’s happening in this increasingly corpratized country. (I’d say ‘our country’ but I’m not so sure of that anymore.)

I really like this part:

When the 85 freshman GOP lawmakers marched into the Capitol on Jan. 5 as part of the new Republican House majority, David Koch was there too.

The 70-year-old had an appointment with a staff member of the new speaker, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). At the same time, the head of Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips, had an appointment with Upton [Chair: Energy Committee]. They used the opportunity to introduce themselves to some of the new legislators and invited them to a welcome party at the Capitol Hill Club, a favorite wine-and-cheese venue for Republican power players in Washington.

Wasting no time. Wish I could have been there. I have opinions too.