koch family

The Koch family (Charles, David, Koch Industries, "The Kochtopus")

The billionaire Koch brothers (Charles and David) own Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S. They (and their father Fred before them) have been involved with rightwing politics for decades and have been involved in funding or controlling a wide variety of libertarian-oriented groups. The network of groups and people funded by or controlled by the Kochs is referred to as "The Kochtpus".

There are at least two main reasons to strongly oppose most everything connected to the Kochs:

1. Their support for "free trade" agreements; for instance, they were one of the major forces behind passing NAFTA (see this).

2. Groups in the Kochtopus advocate for loose and even open borders; see Reason Magazine, Cato Institute, Institute for Humane Studies, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Other Kochtopus groups (such as Americans for Prosperity and Heartland Institute) are involved in promoting or organizing tea parties. Thus, the self-styled patriots in the Teaparty movement are led in part by a network that advocates for loose borders.

Leftwing opponents of the Kochs would be very wise to point out to the teapartiers that they're being led around by loose borders advocates, but that's difficult for those opponents since the Koch immigration policy tends to help the leftwing and the Democratic Party.

Leftwing opponents should also point out to the teapartiers that David Koch joined with George Soros to give the Mexican government linked ACLU millions of dollars. That too is difficult for those opponents; why point out yet another way in which the Kochs help the leftwing?

Last modified Jun 28, 2011
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

"The Kronies": slick libertarian propaganda linked to Koch, and who doesn't reveal that - 01/24/14

[SEE 6/17/14 UPDATE BELOW]

"The Kronies" is a series of slick, live action videos that promote a libertarian message. The effort comes complete with not only its own site, but a fake site for the "company" behind the figures, a "Chimera Global Holdings Inc.".

No, AllahPundit, worries about the Koch brothers aren't just for liberals - 09/19/13

The Koch brothers continue their crusade against Obamacare with a new pair of ads funded by one of their front groups (watch the ads here: imref.com/XnuQh ).

At HotAir, AllahPundit discusses the ads and says ( peekURL.com/zWvnqa7 ):

Pro-amnety LIBRE Initiative got $3 million from Koch-led Freedom Partners - 09/12/13

The LIBRE Initiative is a group that runs putatively free market, pro-GOP outreach campaigns to Hispanics [1]. They're also in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty.

Paul Farhi, shocked to see the Koch brothers defend themselves, helps the Kochs (WaPo, Koch Facts) - 07/15/13

Paul Farhi of the Washington Post offers "Billionaire Koch brothers use Web to take on media reports they dispute" (link), an example of why dislike of the MSM never goes out of style.

The hilarious, delusional way to keep Koch from buying the L.A. Times, by Steve Pearlstein - 04/26/13

Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post offers "How the L.A. Times can stop the Kochs" (link).

This is his advice for how Los Angeles Times staffers can prevent their paper from being bought by the Koch brothers. It had me rolling on the floor, laughing:

Freedom in the 50 States: freedom has a big cost (Koch, Mercatus Center, GMU) - 03/28/13

The Koch family-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University has released their "Freedom in the 50 States" report [1].

According to them, the freest state is North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the least free state is New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.

Ludicrous: Sen. Ron Johnson launches "Victims of Government" (regulations, Koch) - 03/26/13

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has launched a ludicrous anti-regulations effort called "Victims of Government". The first video in the series is below, with many more promised.

2010 donors to Marco Rubio: Club for Growth, Koch brothers, finance, Goldman Sachs... - 02/24/13

For a possible clue to why Marco Rubio does what he does, these were the top 10 donors to his 2010 senatorial campaign (link):

Proof Tea Party is astroturf: Koch group tried to start Teaparties in 2002 - 02/12/13

If you trust their defenders, the Tea Parties were a spontaneously formed grassroots group initiated by Rick Santelli's 2009 rant or a slightly earlier anti-tax rally organized by Keli Carender. Those same defenders will deny that the Koch family has anything to do with the Teaparties.

Americans for Prosperity suppresses Teaparty discussing immigration, Agenda 21 - 10/14/12

For years, I've been discussing how the supposed-patriots in the Tea Parties have largely ignored immigration in favor of much less important issues. A major part of that is because they're led by those who support loose immigration, such as Grover Norquist, Dick Armey, and the Koch brothers.

Occupy DC helps the Koch brothers, shows what democracy actually looks like: a mob - 11/06/11

The Washington DC branch of Occupy Wall Street appears to be the dimmest and least emotionally-controlled of their various chapters. And, that's really saying something.

For examples, see the videos below. In the first, they block a woman in a wheelchair from leaving a building. In the second, they use little kids as human shields.

Chris Christie backers: David Koch, Kenneth Langone (Home Depot), Charles Schwab, hedge fund managers,... - 09/27/11

The "Draft Christie committee" is a group of very wealthy backers who want Chris Christie to run for president.

Charles Koch Foundation deletes comment about David Koch donating to ACLU - 06/29/11

The Charles Koch Foundation (see Koch family) deleted a comment I left on their Youtube video in which I pointed out that David Koch joined with George Soros and gave the American Civil Liberties Union $10 million.

Rick Perry, Bob McDonnell speak at Koch brothers Vail summit (loose borders advocates) (Chris Christie too) - 06/27/11

The billionaire Koch family are holding a secret four-day summit in Vail, Colorado and two of those jetting in to speak are Texas governor Rick Perry and Virginia governor

Get Equal, Rachel Lang unclear on fundamental American concepts (Bachmann, Kochs, glitter, Robert Erickson, Minneapolis) - 06/19/11

The video below shows attorney Rachel Lang of the LGBT group GetEqual dumping glitter on Michelle Bachmann after her speech at the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis. Another video (from Erickson, see #2 below) is at peekURL.com/v8U7dHP and their press release is at [1].

Some points:

Delusional John Hinderaker thinks only left engages in "personal intimidation" - 05/12/11

John Hinderaker of Powerline offers "The Politics of Personal Intimidation" [1] in which he's yet again delusional:

A disturbing new element has crept into our political life: organized efforts to intimidate private citizens who choose to support certain political causes or otherwise participate in civic affairs... [examples of leftists swarming houses of their opponents and much more deleted] ...Conservatives are decent people and don't engage in such repugnant tactics.

The last sentence of the excerpt [2] would only make sense if Hinderaker had never heard of the tea parties. Since he's clearly heard of them, is he either delusional, or is he trying to mislead?

One of the reasons why I oppose the teapartiers is because they act just as badly as vile leftists. Certainly, no teapartiers have as far as I know swarmed the houses of their opponents. However, they have thrown dollar bills at a Parkinson's sufferer (see the last link). And, about the only arguments they can ever present are vile ad hominens, as I well know. For just one example, see this. For more, see some of the posts at the tea parties link above, or Glenn Reynolds trying and failing to whitewash how the teapartiers have acted, or some other posts on the Glenn Reynolds page. For even more, see some of the replies I've received from teapartiers are various sites, such as Ann Althouse (as "LonewackoDotCom").

I even coined a term for how the teapartiers make an argument: the Jump, Smear, and Lie Technique. And, because of that technique, I have to point out that this post is not in any way supportive of leftists swarming the houses of their opponents. (And, because I know full well how teapartiers operate, I know they won't bother clicking those links.)

The point of this post isn't to support Leftists Behaving Badly, it's to point out that self-styled conservatives are now acting almost as bad. And, all of that was done with the silent (or not so silent) assent of their leaders.

------------
[1] powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/05/029018.php

[2] In the full post, Hinderaker mentions a supposed plan by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films to film the houses of the Koch family. I oppose both parties: Greenwald for supporting illegal immigration, and the Kochs for funding loose borders groups. Hinderaker can only rise to opposing one of those parties. Hinderaker also mentions Katrina vanden Heuvel, just not in the way that I do (see the link).

Tea Party used to push corporate agenda (Institute for Liberty, Monsanto, Asian paper company) - 03/31/11

If you've been following our extensive tea parties coverage, you'll know where this is going (and if you're a teapartier, you'll have no clue):

Last fall, [Institute for Liberty's] president, Andrew Langer, had himself videotaped [ peekURL.com/vM87wLC ] on Long Wharf in Boston holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence as he compared Washington’s proposed tariff on paper from Indonesia and China to Britain's colonial trade policies in 1776.

That's from "Odd Alliance: Business Lobby and Tea Party" by Mike McIntyre of the New York Times (link) about how the Institute for Liberty and similar groups piggyback on the Teaparties in order to push a corporate agenda. It's not clear how successful they've been; the video has just about 150 views. However, if they haven't been as successful as Dick Armey has been it's not because the teaparties have seen through him: in my two years' of experience with them I've never known anyone in the teaparties to be able to see through anything.

In the article, McIntyre states that the Tea Party is "as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government", but the former does not appear to be true (see also this). The teapartiers are hand-made to be used to push a corporate agenda, usually by using a cleaned-up variant of something like "Nancy Pelosi hates your guts, so be a Patriot and help this corporation I'm being paid by ease pollution restrictions".

In the case above, Langer was serving (unpaid per him) the interests of a paper company from Indonesia that had concurrently - and no doubt completely coincidentally - mounted a PR campaign against tariffs on their products. And:

Mr. Langer had arrived the previous year from the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobbying group. An enthusiastic, talkative man of 40 who dabbles in Republican politics in Maryland, he quickly saw potential in the Tea Party phenomenon. Working with FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, the institute co-sponsored early Tea Party events in Washington and published a guide called “How to Brew a Tea Party.”

Mr. Langer can seem disarmingly candid when discussing his work. In a recent interview, he explained how the institute pitched its services to opponents of the Obama health care plan, resulting in a $1 million advertising blitz.

Both Freedomworks and AFP are part of the general Kochtopus (groups funded by or linked to the Koch family) and both have been very deeply involved in organizing the teaparties. And:

He said he had sometimes chosen issues suggested by colleagues from an earlier job, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market group heavily financed by business interests. The two institutes are involved in a campaign advocating a realignment of NASA’s budget that would benefit commercial spaceflight entrepreneurs. The Institute of Liberty’s contribution was a Web page called “No Space Pork!”

Last year, the two groups also supported the effort by the agribusiness giant Monsanto to ease federal restrictions on its pesticide-resistant alfalfa. (In February, regulators agreed to do so.) Mr. Langer said he decided “to try out our grass-roots method on that, and frame it as a dairy issue and access to affordable food.”

CEI is also part of the Kochtopus, and that page embeds the video at peekURL.com/vKTxvzK from blogging stalwart Bill Whittle. Any links between him and the Institute for Liberty aren't known.

Koch Industries' sockpuppets edited Wikipedia and post comments on blogs too - 03/09/11

Public relations firms employed by the billionaire Koch family have been caught using "sockpuppets" to edit Wikipedia pages about the Kochs. And, one of those firms admits that they use people to promote the Kochs on blogs and news sites.

Unfortunately, ThinkProgress [1] doesn't discuss what the latter consists of, but I would not be surprised at all to discover that the vile and idiotic replies I receive to my anti-tea parties comments around the web (a recent example here) are coming from sockpuppets for Koch, FreedomWorks, and similar groups.

From [1]:

Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles). Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account as a “sock puppet” — one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media sites — a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees like Jeff Taylor...

Soren Dayton, a GOP operative and executive at New Media Strategies, is reported to be the contact for Koch Industries at NMS. Reached by phone yesterday by ThinkProgress, Dayton exclaimed, “I’m not going to talk about this, thanks,” before hanging up. Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of blogs and news websites.

[1] thinkprogress.org/2011/03/09/koch-wikipedia-sock-puppet

John Hinderaker presents: "David Koch, Friend to Mankind" (formaldehyde, ineffectiveness) - 03/05/11

'Hi! My name is John Hinderaker from Powerline. You might remember me from such filmstrips as "Asbestos: America's Ever-Vigilant Fireman" and "Ladybugs: America's Least-Recognized Pest". Well, today I'm here to present "A Philanthropist Advances the Cause of Science, the New York Times Doesn't" (link) about David Koch of the Koch family. But, first I want to tell you about a wonderful substance called formaldehyde...'

But, seriously:

1. At the link, John Hinderaker says, "David Koch is one of the world's great philanthropists". That's almost as funny as Hinderaker's 2005 Bush quote [1]. While Koch has certainly spent a large amount of money on various forms of giving, but on balance the picture becomes a bit more murky. Koch Industries provides valuable products and services to millions of people and keeps large numbers of people gainfully employed. At the same time, they also contribute to the pollution problem in the U.S. and the "free market principles" those linked to them advocate make things worse in the U.S. Whether what he does is on balance better for society than, for instance, George Soros isn't clear.

2. In an article criticizing a New York Times article by Michael Cooper ("Cancer Research Before Activism, Billionaire Conservative Donor Says", link), Hinderaker only mentions the reporter's name twice. Compare what I concentrate on. And, in a hidden way that I won't specify, Hinderaker also helps the NYT in a way that I don't. And, that follows Hinderaker having some slight success by concentrating on the reporter (see the "principles" link above). Critiquing individual reporters is a good way to encourage better coverage. It's mostly a good thing that Hinderaker isn't willing to do that for the most part, because whether we want a liberal bias to be replaced by a doctrinaire GOP bias isn't clear.

3. Hinderaker says:

A commenter on one of my posts said he was disappointed to see me spending my time rebutting the uninformed kids at Think Progress. I was sympathetic to his point, and it isn't something we usually do.

Compare that to how I do things: I've got 58 posts about ThinkProgress going back to 2006. I've got 19 posts about Andrea Nill alone, and 78 posts about the Center for American Progress stretching back to 2005. And, there might be even more posts about them that haven't been tagged yet. As much as Hinderaker would like to pretend that they're beneath such an elevated personage as he, they have far more influence than he does. And, he might not need to stoop to criticizing them if he had retailed my past discussions of them in an attempt to force them to provide better coverage.

4. Hinderaker discusses the debate over whether formaldehyde is a carcinogen and comes out in favor of making decisions based on real science. However, even that discussion is slanted towards what's good for corporations rather than for society as a whole and he also says this:

If the EPA over-regulates any chemical based on faulty science, with the effect that the cost of products that include that substance increases, those increased costs are not borne primarily by companies like Georgia-Pacific. Rather, they are passed on to consumers.

Of course, what Hinderaker misses is the fact that many corporations greatly enjoy to "socialize the costs and privatize the profits". In this case, that would consist of profiting from a chemical and at the same time as passing the costs of that chemical - such as later remediation or the costs of cancer treatment - on to others or on to the U.S. as a whole. As with the question of whether Koch is a "great philanthropist", Hinderaker isn't factoring everything involved into the equation.

-------------
[1] From powerlineblog.com/archives/2005/07/011024.php

It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

Hyperbolic? Well, maybe. But consider Bush's latest master stroke: the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate...

David Koch gave far-left, Mex. gov't collaborators ACLU $10 million - 02/25/11

Billionaire David Koch (see Koch family) joined with George Soros, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation to each give the American Civil Liberties Union $10 million to fight the PATRIOT Act [1]. Reasonable people can disagree on the PATRIOT Act, but fighting it or trying to reform it was probably the correct thing to do.

Whatever the merits of opposing the PATRIOT Act, giving money to the ACLU is never the correct thing to do.

The ACLU is a far-left group that strongly supports and enables illegal immigration and that's even collaborating with the Mexican government in furtherance of illegal activity. Giving the ACLU money to fight the PATRIOT Act frees up resources for other areas, such as litigation designed to enable illegal immigration. Reasonable people can disagree with various other issues the ACLU involves themselves in, but there really should be no debate about them joining with a foreign government in order to enable illegal activity inside the U.S.

And, it's not like David Koch didn't have other options: there are groups like the ACLU on his side of the fence. Instead, he gave money to a far-left group that's collaborating with the Mexican government, joining with Soros, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefellers. Someone has to fill the gap left by David Gelbaum, right?

------------------
[1] Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine - part of the "Kochtopus" - highlights the $10 million as if it's a good thing:
reason . com/blog/2011/02/25/
the-koch-brothers-right-wing-c

That links to the undated lasocialdiary.com/node/125921 which says:

I think [David Koch has] committed more than $440 million to various philanthropies and projects asides from high culture. He’s politically conservative. He and his brother Charles, along with George Soros, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation each contributed $10 million to the ACLU to defeat parts of the USA Patriot Act.

That's undated but it also says "Last Tuesday night the New York City Ballet launched its 2008-2009 season".

Gillespie's post also links to a post at "Faces of Philanthropy" (facesofphilanthropy.com/david-h-koch; their site is down at post time) dated April 1, 2010 containing this:

David Koch has remained an advocate of libertarian ideology of minimizing government role and maximizing private involvement in the economy. He has contributed hefty sums to Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the Institute for Justice, the Reason Foundation, the Heartland Institute, the Libertarian Party, the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, and the George Mason University.
* David Koch has also contributed to the development of the arts and communications. He pledged over $100 million for the renovation of the New York State Theater. He is also one of the biggest corporate donors for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show Nova.
* David Koch has also contributed $10 million to the ACLU in relation to crushing Parts 15, 16 and 17 of the US Patriot Act.

What Koch defenders aren't telling you (Reddit, Reason, Glenn Reynolds, Powerline, Weigel) - 02/24/11

It used to be that only a small number of people had heard about the billionaire Koch family and the "Kochtopus" (those persons and groups funded by or otherwise linked to them). Now, because of the standoff between Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and public employee unions in that state, that's all changed and the Kochs are fast assuming the role that George W Bush played for the Left (and George Soros plays for the right).

Sure as night follows day, various sources are rushing to defend the Kochs. But, oddly enough, all those defenses fail to point out two key items on the Koch's agenda:

1. In the 90s, the Kochs were one of the major forces behind NAFTA (link), and today the Kochtopus advocates for other free trade agreements and for free trade in general. The base of the tea parties might not take too kindly to knowing about that.

2. If the Kochs supporting NAFTA wouldn't make the teaparty base happy, then make sure they never find out that various members of the Kochtopus support loose and even open borders. See the entries on the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and Dan Griswold (from CATO) pages for starters. In fact, Griswold was the "inspiration" (per Margaret Spellings) for George W Bush's anti- and un-American guest worker scheme.

Bush wanted to open the U.S. labor market to the world in a massive H1B-style scheme that would have sent formerly middle-class wages closer to world levels, and Spellings specifically named teachers and nurses as those who would have to compete against low-wage workers brought in from abroad.

Nowadays, the Kochtopus' support for loose/open borders no doubt plays a major role in why the teaparties have largely ignored the immigration issue despite how it's more vital and more fundamental than spending and most other issues.

Immigration is also the issue where the leaders of the Democratic Party, the far-left, and union leaders are weakest and could easiest be discredited. In fact, the Service Employees International Union even paid someone linked to the Mexican government to agitate illegal aliens inside the U.S. Yet, no doubt because of the Kochs and those like FreedomWorks (also part of the Kochtopus), the whole wider issue of immigration is off the table.

Here are some of the Koch defenders who've ignored those two issues:

1. Someone using the name "epistemicfail" posted "STOP THE KOCH BROTHERS. They are trying to end the War on Drugs and increase civil liberties" at Reddit (redd . it/frrth). Whether the author is a pothead or someone linked into the "Kochtopus" isn't clear, but I suspect the latter. It's a cute attempt at a bribe, like a lawyer trying to engender support for a criminal by highlighting how they like cats. It's probably just a coincidence, but a former Reason Magazine employee named Julian Sanchez used the phrase "epistemic closure" to refer to closed-minded rightwingers.

2. The Reddit post linked approvingly by Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine who says, "I don't know who epistemicfail is, but the whole thing is totally worth reading".
reason.com/blog/2011/02/24/evil-koch-bros-support

3. Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway links to both of the above, adding little:
outsidethebeltway.com/we-must-stop-those-
evil-koch-brothers-from-helping-expand-individual-liberty
For more on Doug Mataconis, see the link (vulgar language warning).

4. Glenn Reynolds links to Gillespie:
pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/115651

5. John Hinderaker of Powerline hasn't linked to the Reddit piece yet (there's still time). However, he offers several pro-Koch posts in his stock pompous-but-empty style:
powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028449.php
powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028450.php
powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028459.php

A day doesn't go by--hardly an hour goes by--without some new attack being launched against these two lonely libertarians... Why? Simply because they are rich--their company is one of the best-run and most successful in the world--and conservative. The Left is trying to drive them out of politics and, more important, to deter any other people of means from daring to support conservative politicians or causes.

He does have a point about the Left only liking the rich donating to political causes when they're on the liberal side, and he does have a point that people shouldn't be dissuaded from donating to political causes. However, he doesn't point out why everything isn't gravy and why some of his readers shouldn't be so fond of the Koch agenda.

6. Dave Weigel offers his own fan post to the Koch brothers:
slate.com/id/2286169
He fails to note that he used to work for the Kochtopus' own Reason Magazine, he pretends that concerns about Koch influence only started recently (rather than having existed for decades and involving both the brothers and their father), and, of course, he highlights only the liberal-friendly aspects of the Koch agenda:

They have, for decades, bankrolled libertarian think tanks and programs, and they help put on conferences where conservative ideas are spread. Among the ideas they end up spreading are drug legalization and opposition to the Patriot Act. The Tea Party was the first movement funded in part by the Kochs that really took off.

UPDATE: Powerline gets a reply from the New York Times' Eric Lipton: powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028470.php It boils down to how you define "showdown"; wouldn't trying to restrict union power necessarily involve a confrontation of some kind?

And, others defending the Kochs include:

* Mark Steyn: steynonline.com/content/view/3767

What's happening in Wisconsin is all about money: budgets, shortfalls, obligations, perks, pensions, privileges - and the burdens of the beleaguered productive class that pays for it. In a story awash with money, the Koch brothers are the least of it. They're certainly billionaires, and that's a lot of dough. Of it, what they inject into the political process is little more than a rounding error.

I don't know whether Steyn is part of the Kochtopus, but that "rounding error" certainly seems to have bought the Kochs a lot of friends.

* Sean Parnell (not the Alaska governor) from the Center for Competitive Politics offers a fan post at Washington Examiner (owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz):
washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/opinion-zone/2011/02/
political-philanthropy-koch-brothers-soros
Parnell's blub "Sean Parnell is the president of the Center for Competitive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group dedicated to protecting First Amendment political rights") fails to note that he used to work for the Heartland Institute which is part of, you guessed it, the Kochtopus. There's that rounding error again.

* David Harsanyi offers his own version of the "rounding error" (denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17476151):

The libertarian Kochs are super rich and gave less than $2 million to Republicans in the last election cycle, which mathematically speaking amounts to nothing.

Yet another example of Teaparty being useful idiots for the Koch brothers? (Madison union protests) - 02/19/11

Are the tea parties useful idiots for an attempt by the billionaire Koch family to fight unionization in order to increase their profits? The latest example of the Koch family pushing an agenda that helps their bottom line and getting help from the teapartiers in that endeavor comes from the protests between public sector unions and Republican governor Scott Walker in Madison, Wisconsin. I haven't been closely following the issue, but at the very least it's clear that the Kochs are attempting to take advantage of the issue to push their agenda. And, pushing that agenda would help the bottom line of their energy and resources empire.

The Kochs helped elect Walker [1], and their Americans for Prosperity has now created a site to support him and opposing at the least collective bargaining by public sector unions. However, it might also be an attempt to oppose collective bargaining in general [2]. Meanwhile, the Kochs have a financial interest in reducing labor costs in Wisconsin (as they do in other states) [3].

Today, the tea parties held a counter-protest featuring luminaries such as Andrew Breitbart ( National Review interview: peekurl.com/v9LhdhK ), Gateway Pundit, and Herman Cain ( peekURL.com/vhZ64cs ). Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds is going all out (instapundit.com/115329, instapundit.com/115324, instapundit.com/115278 and probably more).

On the one hand, unions are somewhat of a negative force in the U.S. because most of them support illegal immigration, with groups like the Service Employees International Union getting a good part of their dues from money that was earned illegally. The SEIU even paid someone linked to the Mexican government to organize immigration marches inside the U.S. And, allies of the unions also support mass/illegal immigration. And, excessive demands by public sector unions might in fact lead to budget shortfalls.

On the other hand, the billionaire Koch brothers are at the least taking advantage of this issue to push an agenda that would help their bottom line. And, the teapartiers are being useful idiots for them. And, the same types of people who harp on public sector unions in regards to California's problems (while ignoring the impact of the massive immigration they support on the state) are now involved in the Madison counterprotests.

So, there doesn't appear to be a good way out on this issue. The last thing we should want is a victory for the teaparties and their Koch stringpullers. But, another last thing we should want is for a victory by Barack Obama and groups that support illegal immigration.

UPDATE: Via this, part of gov. Walker's "Budget Repair Bill" (PDF link, excerpt at [4]) would allow Wisconsin state energy assets ("heating, cooling, and power plants") to be sold to private companies or their operations transfered to private companies. Surely it's a coincidence that the Koch family is in the energy business and that the sales would be done "with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state".

UPDATE 2: Yet another questionable, possibly Koch-friendly action by Walker happened last month (link):

A plan to spend $100 million on a boiler that would burn plant-based fuels at UW-Madison's Charter Street power plant was axed Thursday by Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch... Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, said Huebsch halted spending on the boiler based on Walker's wishes... According to a 2008 university study, converting the plant to burn biofuel was the most expensive of the options considered and would be about twice as expensive as using other coal-burning technologies or natural gas... University officials credited the strong support of former Gov. Jim Doyle for the plan to burn biofuels. Doyle and state environmentalists praised the switch to biofuels because such fuels can be grown in Wisconsin and would, in the long run, be more reliable and less expensive than natural gas, which must be purchased and piped in from out of state.

The source for the claim that biofuels would save money long-term isn't given, but at least from that article it doesn't sound like Walker was taking exception to that claim. Instead, it at least sounds like he was being penny wise and pound foolish. And, coincidence or not, the Kochs are in the natural gas business and even have a pipeline network in Wisconsin. Hopefully someone will ask him for an explanation.

UPDATE 3: Instead of pressing Walker for an explanation, dim Democrat/union supporters are doing what they tend to do: play games. The latest example is Ian Murphy from the Buffalo Beast (free weekly) calling Walker and pretending to be David Koch from the Koch family (link). On the call, Walker says nothing in any way incriminating; the call (unless Walker was waiting for the "secret code" or knew it was a prank) makes clear that Walker had not been previously coordinating with the Kochs. And, the idea that a politician would rush to take a call from a major donor is only shocking to those who are completely naive.

The stupidity highlight of the call is this:

[A Walker assistant] was eager to help. “I was really hoping to talk directly to Scott,” I said. He said that could be arranged and that I should just leave my number. I explained to Gilkes, “My goddamn maid, Maria, put my phone in the washer. I’d have her deported, but she works for next to nothing.” Gilkes found this amusing. “I’m calling from the VOID—with the VOID, or whatever it’s called. You know, the Snype!”

If I said that, it would be with the recognition that the Kochs fund loose borders groups and support mass immigration. However, Ian Murphy doesn't have that excuse: it's doubtful whether he knows that the Dems/far-left/unions and the Kochs support the same basic immigration policy.

--------------

[1] Per this:

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin... The [Koch] PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett...

...Walker's plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees is right out of the Koch brothers' playbook. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation (see Reason Magazine) have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited (PDF) Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado; Mix said in a recent interview that he supports Governor Walker's collective-bargaining bill. In Wisconsin, this conservative, anti-union view is being placed into action by lawmakers in sync with the deep-pocketed donors who helped them obtain power. (Walker also opposes the state's Clean Energy Job Act, which would compel the state to increase its use of alternative energy.) At this moment - even with the Wisconsin uprising unresolved - the Koch brothers' investment in Walker appears to be paying off.

[2] AFP created standwithwalker.com, which just redirects to americansforprosperity.org/walker. The petition there says:

Union dues should be voluntary, and the state should not be in the business of collecting them. Union certification should require a secret ballot. Collective bargaining should not be used to force extravagant pension and health benefits that cripple state budgets... These common-sense reforms have made the union bosses desperate to disrupt Wisconsin government and overturn an election. They must not be allowed to succeed. In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker's common sense reforms.

[3] From this, quoting ThinkProgress:

Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant

[4]

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), 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. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, 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 under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Koch family, U.S. Chamber, businesses met to plan strategy (+Glenn Beck, tea parties, "mobilize citizens for November") - 10/20/10

Twice each year, the Koch family conducts strategy meetings with corporate and thought leaders to plan how to advance their "free market" ideology. ThinkProgress has the guest list and program for their June 2010 meeting (in Aspen), and, while immigration isn't mentioned, many of the known attendees are on the wrong side.

I don't normally recommend anything at ThinkProgress, but in this case I'll suggest taking a look at their post and downloading the PDF.

The New York Times has a related report here; from that:

The participants in Aspen dined under the stars at the top of the gondola run on Aspen Mountain, and listened to Glenn Beck of Fox News in a session titled, “Is America on the Road to Serfdom?” (The title refers to a classic of Austrian economic thought that informs libertarian ideology, popularized by Mr. Beck on his show.)The participants included some of the nation’s wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot... The group also included longtime Republican donors and officials, including Foster Friess, Fred Malek and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III... Participants listened to presentations from the (US Chamber of Commerce), as well as people who played leading roles in John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, like Nancy Pfotenhauer and Annie Dickerson, who also runs a foundation for Paul Singer, a hedge fund executive who like the Kochs is active in promoting libertarian causes.

Malek currently raises funds for Karl Rove.

There's also a tea parties link: one of the June sessions was called "Mobilizing Citizens for November" ("Is there a chance this fall to elect leaders who are more strongly committed to liberty and prosperity? This session will further assess the landscape and offer a strategic plan to educate voters on the importance of economic freedom.") The hosts were Sean Noble (@snoble37), Karl Crow of Themis, Mark Mix of National Right to Work, and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity. AFP has been a very active "facilitator" of the teaparty movement.

Those who spoke at the June meeting include Peter Schiff (bad on immigration), Stephen Moore (ditto}, and Michael Barone (ditto). Others are: Ramesh Ponnuru; Phil Kerpen and Jeff Crank of AFP; Peter Wallison and Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, Russ Roberts and Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center (associated with George Mason University; see the link); Gretchen Hamel; Charles Krauthammer; and Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner.

Those listed as attending past meetings include Haley Barbour (bad on immigration), John Stossel (ditto), Mike Pence (ditto), Bobby Jindal, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, and Tom Price.

Obviously, there's nothing wrong or that sinister about the Kochs holding meetings like these. And, George Soros and associates no doubt hold similar meetings with those on their side. However, just as Soros' loose borders policies no doubt "informs" the immigration policies that those who receive his money offer, the same is probably true of the Kochs' loose borders policies. Aside from DeMint, there are few above who might be considered "border hawks", and some of those listed are quite bad on that issue.

And, of course, this provides yet more evidence of how those in the supposedly grassroots tea parties movement are doing the bidding of the very rich, even if the teapartiers have been bamboozled into thinking otherwise.

Koch Industries didn't pay any corporate income tax? ("moochers") - 09/20/10

The Koch family - owners of the private multi-billion dollar diversified energy company Koch Industries - are the money behind much of the right-wing movement, such as libertarians and tea parties. And, they might not have paid any corporate income tax. Bear in mind however: that claim is unverified and second-hand; it might not be true.

Per this, Koch Industries' general counsel Mark Holden heard that an August 27 meeting between "a senior Obama administration official" and reporters had the official saying this:

So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses. So that creates a narrower base because we've literally got something like 50 percent of the business income in the U.S. is going to businesses that don't pay any corporate income tax. They point out [in the report] you could review the boundary between corporate and non-corporate taxation as a way to broaden the base.

The linked article concentrates on valid concerns about how that official found out that information; per Holden it might be "unlawful" depending on how the information was obtained.

However, what the article doesn't at all concentrate on is the possibility that Koch Industries has been remarkably successful at "privatizing the profits and socializing the costs." According to their own fringe libertarian ideology, they might be "moochers."

Koch family distances from Tea Parties; says dogmatism isn't working ("Kochtopus") - 06/17/10

May 10 saw the appearance of the article "The Left’s Billion Dollar Tea Party Lie", an attempt by the billionaire Koch family to back away from the tea parties. The "Kochtopus" - those people and organizations funded by or linked to the Koch family - has been the main driving force behind organizing and promoting the tea parties.

Freedom Vigil: Beltway libertarians to restore U.S. liberty one glowstick at a time - 03/26/10

The latest hilariously stupid tea parties-style cheap stunt is a "Freedom Vigil" to be held in Washington DC tomorrow night. "Thousands" - make that more like a few dozen - will gather for a silent walk during which they'll raise glowsticks in the air in order to show their support for liberty (at least according to their definition). And, no, I'm not making that up.

9/12: Tea Party march on Washington DC live coverage (Glenn Beck, Freedomworks) - 09/12/09

Later today, one or two million (maybe less) extreme fiscal conservatives will be marching on Washington DC demanding that the government listens to them and their Randroid concerns. And, we'll be there - virtually speaking - offering coverage of this momentous event featuring millions of people throughout the day. Literally thousands of busloads of true patriots - as opposed to the other, non-patriotic Americans - will be bussed in (at their own expense) by FreedomWorks (run by the corporate lobbyist Dick Armey). Hopefully many will be wearing period costumes and playing fifes, since we know that playing dress-up games is in their DNA.

Will there be a blimp? Wait and see!

To prepare yourself for the Ron Pa Patriotic March By The Only True Patriots In The United States, watch this video of corporate lobbyist Dick Armey supporting illegal immigration, see our coverage of Citizen Journalist Glenn Reynolds, and make sure and see our extensive tea parties coverage. Also, ask yourself why your leaders encouraged you to go to townhall meetings unarmed (intellectually speaking). They just wanted you to act out in public and throw a tantrum; they didn't encourage you to ask questions like these despite how really pressing a politician on that could have quashed Obamacare.

UPDATE: OK, maybe the estimates were a bit high. You can see a traffic cam here and here. CNN has a live feed of the speakers at cnn.com/live, and a live feed looking at the crowd is here. For your dress-up games entertainment, see this.

UPDATE 2: This official page has a list of speakers: 912dc.org/agenda. They include at least three people from FreedomWorks (supports massive immigration), at least one from the Cato Institute (ditto), and Rep. Mike Pence (ditto). The "star" power is provided by a Baldwin brother: Stephen (apparently Mickey Dolenz wasn't available). And, from the libertarian side of things, they've got speakers from Ron Paul's "Campaign for Liberty", the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, and the Free State Project. They've also got speakers from two race-based groups: Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund and Hector Barreto of the Latino Coalition. The latter was a signatory to an infamous letter demanding amnesty for illegal aliens. That and all the rest illustrates the stupidity of these people: they're supporting race-based power and massive immigration and think that by doing that they're going to lower their taxes.

UPDATE 3: The Latino Coalition also signed an anti-HR4437 petition. See the long, long list of far-left groups who also signed that here.

UPDATE 4: Glenn Beck is now ranting about corruption and encouraging his audience to think of the country first instead of thinking of themselves as Democrats and Republicans. The latter I strongly support. Unfortunately, what he appears to want to fill the partisan gap is some pretty extreme libertarian concepts; see the first link in this post and note the speakers from libertarian groups. And, regarding corruption, who exactly does Glenn Beck think he's palling around with? Many of his fellow "patriots", as discussed above, support massive immigration and do so because they're paid off or because they want race-based power.

UPDATE 5: If you aren't sick of this already, Pajamas Media has pictures at pajamasmedia.com/vodkapundit/2009/09/12/they-will-be-heard. Meanwhile, from the George Soros-funded side of things, there are pictures here and here.

UPDATE 6: In a few days, Glenn Beck will be the dinner speaker at a Michigan Chamber of Commerce gathering: michamber.com/mx/futureforum. The opening speaker will be Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of Commerce. The latter group is such a strong supporter of amnesty and massive immigration of any kind that back in 2006, Rep. James Sensenbrenner suggested that they should register as a Registered Foreign Agent. If Beck wants to oppose corruption, the US CofC would be a great place to start.

UPDATE 7: In June, Mario Lopez - one of the speakers at today's event mentioned in the second update above - helped Helen Krieble kick off her "Red Card" massive "guest" worker scheme.

UPDATE 8: The page alan.com/2009/09/12/the-gop-corporate-push-behind-the-912-teabaggers reminds us that, in addition to several others who appear to have a "dog in the hunt" as they say, the "Bronze Co-Sponsors" of FreedomWorks' 912dc.com include the Club for Growth (doesn't care about or supports massive immigration), Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (whoa nelly: see this and this), and at least two groups linked to the Koch family (the "Kochtopus"): Heartland Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute. If you oppose corruption and support our immigration laws, few of the people and groups listed anywhere in this post are your friends.

UPDATE 9 (9/13/09): The video here shows a group supposedly from ACORN being ejected from the DC rally. They were selling "Don't tread on me flags" and if the description is accurate, they were told to leave by the police. They didn't and someone from the rally followed them and encouraged them to leave, with someone from the supposed ACORN group swiping the tea partier with a flag and pushing his wife. Obviously, they shouldn't have done that, but it would also be interesting to know whether there are rules against vending or what was the original reason they were asked to leave (if they were asked to leave).

And, the tea partiers have a message for the millions of Americans who are unemployed: FU. Glenn Reynolds approvingly links (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/85089) to chicagoboyz.net/archives/9188.html which is happy to point out that - unlike millions of those with whom they supposedly share citizenship - the tea partiers are employed:

Getting hundreds of thousands of kids, the professionally unemployed and government workers to show up isn’t that hard (especially if someone buys the bus tickets). Getting two million middle-class, middle-aged people with jobs, careers, children and businesses is way, way more impressive.

When it comes right down to it, the great majority of tea partiers seem to have little or no concern for their (fellow?) American citizens: they only care about themselves. If anyone disagrees, provide some evidence of tea partiers making proposals that acknowledge there are people other than themselves living here. Even easier: find a non-Southern California tea partier who gives a whoop that what Dick Armey and the rest want would make Southern California's situation even worse. Coming up with "comprehensive" solutions isn't something they're interested in, with the "going Galt" types thinking it's the height of patriotism to turn their backs on the U.S. and run away.

UPDATE 10: ABC News calls out FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe by name (link) for falsely saying on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance. I don't think even FreedomWorks would do something like that intentionally, and I don't think that ABC would have called a Dem-friendly organizer out by name, but that's now a bit of a story instead of the flowering of Randrian principles that the organizers would have wanted.

UPDATE 11: In reply to the ninth update, in comments Ann says:

This seems to be based on a simple assumption: if you care about other people, you must therefore believe that more government involvement is the best way to help... Most of the tea partiers do not believe in that premise, and would point to a lot of disasterous government programs to back up their point.

Let me put it this way. The Dem solution to U.S. problems would be massive government programs that would - just as a coincidence - give more power to the Dems. The GOP solution would be slightly smaller programs that would - just as a coincidence - give contracts to their contributors. The solution offered by the tea party followers - those who aren't in on the game - is some combination of "what, me worry?", "I've got mine, Jack", and "get bent".

We've got two wars going on, millions of Americans are out of work, millions of foreign citizens are squatting here contrary to our laws taking jobs that Americans could be doing, and the tea partiers are consorting with those who support amnesty and massive guest worker programs and - ultimately - whining about completely self-centered financial matters.

Tea partiers reach final stage, get their own blimp (Americans for Prosperity balloon) - 08/19/09

Aside from conducting parades dressed in Colonial garb, one of the cheap stunts that glassy-eyed Ron Paul fans pulled was flying their own blimp. Hey, it beats trying to make an argument.

Starting earlier this year, the tea parties-promoting "grassroots" group Americans for Prosperity (linked to the Koch family [1], which is in the energy business) skipped the dress-up game stage and went straight for the gold: they've been conducting their own "2009 Nationwide Hot Air Tour" featuring a "70-foot-tall hot air balloon" (hotairtour.org, [2]):

"This cap-and-trade scheme is nothing more than a tax on energy- plain and simple," said AFP President Tim Phillips. "We think American families need to know what these proposals will cost them - lost jobs, even higher energy prices, and less freedom."

Instapundit chats with tea party "facilitator" from Koch-linked group - 04/08/09

Over to Glenn Reynolds (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/75986) for the latest on the "grassroots" tea parties:

PJTV: I talk with PubliusPundit - and Tucson Tea Party organizer - Robert Mayer, and with Tea Party facilitators Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks and Chris Bond of Americans for Prosperity about tea parties and where they should go next.

Click their name's link for more on the AFP; at least as of November of last year the chairman of their foundation's board was David Koch of the Koch family and they'd received money from that foundation; do a search for Kochtopus if you aren't familiar with their good works.

It's just a popular movement, dontcha know.

"Tea Parties": an astroturfed Koch family movement (FreedomWorks, Instapundit, Rick Santelli) - 02/28/09

[SEE UPDATE 2 BELOW]

Now I know why Rick Santelli disgusts me: the "Tea Party" stimulus protests may be an astroturfed project of the wealthy Koch Family (called "the Kochtopus", see this).