From the Daily Beast:

The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have moved to the center of the Republican establishment, donating to and guiding members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Koch Industries was the largest oil and gas donor to members of the committee—larger even than Exxon Mobil. Then the Koch brothers got the panel’s commitment in writing, with nine of the 12 new Republican members signing a pledge to oppose the Obama administration’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gases. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kans.) launched an aerospace company with investments from a Koch subsidiary, and his chief of staff is a former Koch Industries lawyer. Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation says the change on the committee is “like night and day.” “Now the committee treats the Clean Air Act and the EPA as if they are the enemy,” he says. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) says it’s just the reversal of when Former Chairman Henry Waxman “stacked the committee with liberal environmentalists.”

So is ‘stacking the deck with liberal environmentalists’ worse than billionaires pouring money into campaigns of those on a congressional committee?  Should the Koch brothers be determining our energy policies?  Koch Industries  has much to gain from their infusion of cash.  Koch Industries, based in Witchita  is a multifaceted company with many different products, from ranch products to roofing to energy resources. 

These folks bear watching.  According to the Los Angeles Times:

At the center of the new ground-level strategy is a beefed-up role for Americans for Prosperity. Along with other well-funded conservative groups, the group was very active in the congressional midterm election — in many cases taking on roles often performed by national and state parties.

Americans for Prosperity is the political arm of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which David Koch co-founded in the 1980s under the name Citizens for a Sound Economy. He is chairman of the board of the foundation, which says it aims to educate citizens on “a return of the federal government to its constitutional limits.”

Americans for Prosperity says it spent $40 million in the 2010 election cycle, organized rallies and phone banks, and canvassed door to door in nearly 100 races across the country. The organization found scores of energetic activists in the “tea party” movement to carry its message.

Throughout this effort, Americans for Prosperity kept a strong emphasis on promoting its views on climate change and energy regulation. In 2008, it began circulating a pledge asking politicians to denounce a Democratic-led effort to compel oil refineries and utilities to clean up emissions of greenhouse gases through a so-called cap-and-trade system. The organization said it amounted to a hidden tax increase.

It sounds like some folks might need to back off the Soros rant and start looking at who owns them.  I suppose everyone can be owned.  Some people just cost a little more.  Do the Constitutional limits include a corporation dumping $40 million bucks into a mid-term election?  If the Koch Bros. say there is no climate change, then I guess there isn’t.  After all, money talks and we know that BS walks.  Americans for Prosperity sounds so darn good on paper.  How can anyone be against prosperity?  I guess we need to look at whose prosperity is being enhanced.  

Some  of us speak of our children and grand children’s future being jeopardized by debt.  Some of us speak of our children and grand children’s future being jeopardized by the unknowns of climate change.  Both are unknowns and both can create life-altering changes for our posterity.  Smart people need to work together towards change rather than trying to outdo each other in some silly political game. 

36 Thoughts to “Beware of Those Rascally Koch Brothers”

  1. Wolverine

    But why back off Soros? There are people to watch closely all over the spectrum — both sides, everywhere. Samo, samo since the Republic was born. Skeletons in every closet when you look hard enough. Just don’t let yourself be bought — by either side. And try to stay away from organizations. They all have an agenda by definition. Join Americans for Prosperity and you will find an agenda. Join ACORN and you will find an agenda. Hmm, always tripping over those agendas. Does “independent” and always ready to be skeptical sound o.k.? Does “check it out first” sound like the way to go?

  2. Back off Soros? Its probably a good example of people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    Who ever heard of ACORN before Pres. Obama was elected?

  3. Starryflights

    The Koch brothers are playing on the stupidity of the tea baggers and the tea baggers are too dumb to figure it out. The brothers are playing tea baggers llke violins.

    The conservatives on the Supreme Court said that corporations have constitutional rights just like persons do.

  4. Wolverine

    Good gosh, Starry Have you ever had a conversation in your entire life where you didn’t insult somebody who disagreed with you? Nice guy, you certainly are.

    Moon — I had to laugh out loud when that LA Times article quoted the guy from the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF). That parcel of preserved woods and fields called Claude Moore Park in Sterling — the only truly open space east of Rte 28? I’ve talked about its history before. Part of it is the old Vestal’s Gap Road, where Braddock’s troops and the Virginia colonial militia marched toward their unfortunate rendezvous in Pennsylvania. The old fellow who owned the place left it in his will to the NWF with the expectation that it would be preserved forever in its natural state for the enjoyment of all the people. Well, the NWF kept to the bargain for awhile. Then we all discovered that they were about to sell the whole thing to a developer in order to fill their organizational coffers. The “people” went down in a state of extreme anger and convinced the BOS to stop the sale and spend our tax dollars so we could keep the only slice of Mother Nature we had left. Can you imagine that? About to be sold out by none other than the NWF! That’s what I mean when I say: “Watch It!” — all over the place. You think your getting some screams about Silver Lake and your Rural Crescent. You should have heard us back then. All we had left was about to go into just another housing development.

    I live in a house of brick and siding. If I want to throw a figurative stone at George Soros, I will not hesitate.

  5. Wolverine

    Shoot. “National Wildlife Federation.” I still get so pissed off at that memory that I cannot even spell it right.

  6. Wolverine

    The pertinent quote was in the Daily Beast, too, instead of the LA Times. I am seeing red tonight. I was at that meeting with the BOS. About the only time in my life where I actually got involved physically in a protest.

    1. I believe the Beast got it from the LA Times. At least that is the track I followed.

      Stab away at Soros. I am tired of all the rich guys thinking they can buy their vision of America. The point is, those who keep bringing up Soros never mention the Koch bros. There are lots of people out there who will.

  7. Starryflights

    Nice story, Wolf, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the Koch bros.

  8. Wolverine

    The story wasn’t addressed to you, Starry, my friend, because I just know you have a problem with nuance.

  9. e

    didn’t one of the koch brothers used to be mayor of new york?

  10. George S. Harris

    Welcome back to the planet “e”. Edward I. Koch was mayor of New York–born and raised in the Bronx. Charles and David Koch are the infamous Koch brothers–born and raised in Wichita, KS.

  11. Morris Davis

    It concerns me when anyone or any group uses outsized wealth as a means to manipulate a government that is supposed to belong to all the people in equal measure. There are two distinctions between Soros and the Kochs, in my view. First, perhaps Soros is just a publicity hound, but he takes credit for the support he provides to various causes where the Koch’s do their best to avoid public notice for the most part and play an invisible hand role. Second, Soros supports some groups with views that are of no benefit to him personally or in some instances contrary to his personal interests where I’ve yet to see the Koch’s support anything that isn’t working towards goals that in the end advance their personal agenda and interests.

    In his farewell address President George Washington, having failed in his effort to by law ban the formation of political associations (groups formed to advance their own political agenda), said this about such groups: “They are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” His cautionary words are still prescient some 215 years later. He was concerned about people doing exactly what Starry refers to in #3 above. Here’s a link to Washington’s entire farewell address. Interesting how much of what he said then on this and other issues is still relevant today.

  12. Starryflights

    Very good post, Morris. We must also recall President Dwight D Eisenhaeur’s farewell speech warning us all of the dangers of the military-industrial complex. The Koch brothers are an excellent example of those dangers.

  13. George S. Harris

    @Morris Davis
    Thanks Moe. It’s too bad the SCOTUS didn’t read this before their Citizens United vote. Your distinction between the Kochs and Soros is a good one–the Kocks sneak around,slipping money under the door or over the transom to further their goals of world pollution by their petroleum industry and its subsets. As you noted, Soros is at least open about what he does.

  14. @Moon-howler
    Um….me. ACORN was a problem down in New Orleans for years with vote fraud allegations. People were being driven from poll to poll being paid 10 bucks a vote. And, no. No one was ever prosecuted or investigated. In New Orleans? Not gonna happen.

  15. Cato the Elder

    The only difference between the Koch Brothers and Soros is that Soros is a good deal more sophisticated in the way he executes his plan. The Koch Brothers want to drill in your swimming pool and cover your backyard in a sheen of oil, and they are fairly straightforward in how they pursue their interests. Soros plays a more complex game – he likes to speculate in currency exchange and bonds, particularly distressed debt.

    The way debt markets work can be a bit counter-intuitive. Let’s say I buy a 30 year note from the Treasury at the coupon rate of 4.7%. This means that the par value of the bond is 1000.00 and I get 47.00 every year for 30 years until I get my 1000.00 back at the end of the 30 year period. Now, let’s say that in year 5 it becomes somewhat less likely that the Treasury can make good on their obligation to me. Investors will demand a higher yield to purchase those bonds and the par value of what I purchased (originally 1000.00) will sink.

    In a nutshell, this is the Soros game (and the game of a whole lot of other people I could name). Drive rates higher, scoop up notes at less than par while going short the currency they’re denominated in. Then, you use your influence and pound the table for austerity, which drives rates back down and increases the par of the notes you bought. You cover the currency short and flip the notes for a profit. This is happening in Europe, and is about to happen in the municipal market.

    Just because one scam is more elegant and sophisticated than another doesn’t make it any less of a scam.

  16. Wolverine

    Actually, Morris, I have no quarrel with your expressed concern about the use of wealth to manipulate government. I also believe it is something about which we all should be concerned no matter our differing political viewpoints. So, when mentioning the Koch brothers and Soros, why not throw in a few other culprits? I could start with the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and others of their breed. As I see it, manipulation of government through wealth has been a dirty game for a long time, going at least as far back in our country as the robber barons of the Industrial Revolution and the greedy politicos like old Boss Tweed. Given the nature of our free system, I’m not sure we can ever escape from it completely. Loopholes will always be found it seems. But at the personal level the best any of us can do is simply be wary of organizational efforts where we have very limited personal knowledge of the people and the funding involved. As I tried to point out in those previous posts, I have developed an acute personal wariness in this regard and am not a “joiner.” I am even wary of those who say they are forming some kind of official “Tea Party.” A bit paranoid? Perhaps. But I must say that I have seen entire governments bought and sold in my particular career. And I have seen the money which bought them flow into bank accounts abroad and the people themselves living in the most abject and grinding poverty. Kind of gets to you after awhile — this “money trumps all” thing.

    But there is also something else which bothers me a great deal in the contemporary political landscape — something also witnessed far too frequently in my career abroad. It is the growing penchant to convict by inference rather than evidence. To be fair in this, it comes from all sides. I sometimes think that we as a people have somehow morphed mentally into junior versions of Joe McCarthy — or maybe the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland.” You know the drill. “First the sentence, and then the trial.” It does, indeed, get disgusting at times. We seem to prefer dealing in absolutes without evidence rather than be willing to take the time to seek real truth.





    Frankly, I am getting royally sick of those absolutes. Most Americans have never lived in a world of real absolutes and wouldn’t recognize one if they tripped over it. But we certainly have become adept at creating our own absolutes and beating each other up over them. And, somewhere along that road, too many of us have lost the ability to speak to each other with civility. We talk at each other, over each other, and past each other. When I go back and read about what the Founding Fathers went through to arrive at the final draft of the Constitution and then look again at the contemporary political scene, I wonder if we in the modern era would ever have been able to craft such a document without trying to cut each other’s throats in the process. To be rather blunt about it, what I am seeing now from my own past experience is the bitterness and lack of civility found so often in many Third World political battles. The “enemy” is not to be just beaten fairly and squarely on a level playing field. He is to be beaten into the dust and then stomped on. I almost always had to work in that kind of thing abroad, but I’ll be damned if I can accept seeing it my own back yard when I am home.

    Now, as to the orginal material for this thread. In my opinion, the Daily Beast and the LA Times appear to be engaging once again in this business of inference without evidence. The insinuation seems to be that nine congressmen signed a pledge against cap-and-trade because the Koch brothers bought them out and twisted their arms. Do me the courtesy of showing me the proof of that before you spread the insinuations. Just because you think it is so does not make it so. For instance, how many of those congressmen were absolutely opposed to cap-and-trade on their own initiative before Koch walked in the door? The articles make it sound like they were all bought outright from a position of having no position except when money was involved. Where is the proof? By God, we keep running this kind of stuff without evidence and someday we may find the finger of guilt pointing at us under the same faulty conditions. And then WE will scream about the injustice of it all.

  17. ACORN must not have come to the Old Dominion.
    Could it be they weren’t doing anything wrong? It sounds to me like the usual squawks political parties make when the other guy wins. Now that does happen here.

  18. Starryflights

    I said at the start of this thread that the Koch brothers are manipulating tea baggers, and the tea baggers are too stupid to realize it. And the posts I’ve read since just proves my point.

  19. Cato the Elder

    Frankly I love the Koch Brothers. They piss off all the right people (see above).

  20. marinm

    I personally enjoy it when a person like Starry tells people they are stupid. My more centrist friends that voted for hope and change see the name calling, see the race baiting comments, they see what many on the fringe left are doing and don’t like it. They’re moving thier votes over to our side.

    So, keep it up Starry. I doubt I’ll ever really change someone’s mind on this blog but the hate that you spread can bring us 1, 10 or 100 supporters.. That’s change I can believe in.

    1. @Marin, No one should be calling anyone stupid. However, other people have called him names.

      I suggest ignoring comments you don’t like. I am treating it like the sand box. As long as guys are throwing sand on each other, I will ignore. If they start throwing bricks, then I will call a time out.

  21. marinm

    I’m not asking him to stop. I’m actually encouraging him to keep doing it. He’s winning the hearts and minds of people FOR us.

    Sorta wish he was on the payroll but I don’t want to pay govt taxes to do so. 😉

  22. @marin, I don’t think he is doing anything to rope people in or out on this blog.

    I will say this. Some of you all have pushed me further left. I have not been pulled right.

  23. Disgusted

    I’m afraid I am jaded, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the fat cats from both sides (actually everything in between as well) get their people in the legislature to commence introducing legislation favoring their causes. Its the American way! As much as I object to their policies, I do admire the Tea Party for organizing a grass roots reaction. But like John Anderson’s supporters, Ross Perot’s supporters, and Jesse Ventura’s supporters, the Tea Party will be a trivia question by 2016 and the Republicans/Democrats will reign free once more.

    Rejoice! The reason America is great is because we are open for business. Our country is second to none in creating an atmosphere for businesses (and wealth) to be created. Everything is secondary and supportive to that one true principle. Life, liberty, and property…er…pursuit of happiness is relevant because they embody the freedom it takes to create wealth. Where else could legal immigrants come and create huge empires? It is not a surprise that fat cats throw money at politicians to get legislation to support their businesses. It’s the basis. That’s why communism and socialism fails.

  24. If Starry has been called names, it in reaction to his insults. But Marinm is right.

    Sorry that you’ve moved farther to the dark, um….left side. We can’t help that. And we didn’t expect you, really, to move right, due to the expressed hostility towards the “religious right.” However, we do like putting out our difference of opinion on the blog since your blog seems to be unique in the liberal blogosphere for allowing reasoned discussion. Maybe we’ve moved some of your readers to the right? Who knows?

  25. marinm

    Moon-howler :@marin, I don’t think he is doing anything to rope people in or out on this blog.
    I will say this. Some of you all have pushed me further left. I have not been pulled right.

    True enough but I’m really talking about the centrists and independants. Maybe they might be on this blog or maybe they’re just watching CNN listening in on how anyone that disagrees with the administration is a racist, or stupid, or heartless, or whatever.

    If a person like Starry can walk into a Starbucks and say an off hand comment about Ms. Palin.. That may just get us 1 or 2 more votes on our side. Little by little the hatred on the left is bringing the center to us..

    While I don’t have faith in the 2012 Presidential election I have a lot of faith in how the Senate will go. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    keep it up Starry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a FAN

  26. Part of me wants Palin to win just to watch heads implode. Then again, Palin couldn’t do WORSE than the current president……at least she wouldn’t have an agenda to fundamentally transform America, bankrupt the energy industry, further gov’t control over other parts of our economy, and insult our allies. She may not be perfect, but then, who is?

    1. Surely you don’t really mean that, Cargo? I hope you are trying to be funny.

      Not perfect? I don’t know how much further we could get from presidential material than Sarah Palin.

  27. Oh, I know that you will never be a Palin fan.

    And, yes. At Palin’s worst, she still could screw things up this badly.

  28. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Just noticed the Freudian slip as I hit “submit. :0

    “she still could screw things up this badly.” was SUPPOSED to read “couldn’t screw things….”

  29. marinm

    @Cargo, I hear you on the Palin thing. 🙂 Sudden head explosions..ha ha.

    BTW, check out too funny.

    Palin won’t run. Too much money in not running, being a king maker, and doing what she does best — pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

  30. Marinm,

    That’s what I think too. Why would she put herself through that meat grinder?

    Now, if she’s NOT running, who do you want?

    I like Herman Cain.

  31. marinm

    That is a question I’ve been debating with many a person.. Who can not only run but have a chance of winning against mr. hopeychangey.

    And, it’s even tougher when you look at the VP bench because I think we have better VP material than we do POTUS.

    My reflex says Mr. Paul. But, I’m pretty sure the GOP is scared to death of the man and liberals probably see him as the man that would tell the nation that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

    I know I’m deadset against Romney. No way no how.

    Giuliani is a no. Fairly moderate (somewhat neocon’ish) that hasn’t really done anything in awhile.

    Huckabee wouldn’t be so bad but would have an upward climb over his pardons and some people may be scared off by his religion.

    I think containment will work better. Lose the POTUS slot and toss peanuts from the now -R controlled House and Senate. Whenever he tries to do manage by fiat the Congress could block..assuming they have the rocks.

    Personally, I think less effort should be expanded on POTUS and more on Senate elections in 12.

  32. hello

    I find this statement kind of odd:

    “Some of us speak of our children and grand children’s future being jeopardized by debt. Some of us speak of our children and grand children’s future being jeopardized by the unknowns of climate change. Both are unknowns and both can create life-altering changes for our posterity.”

    Climate change is unknown but debt? How exactly is debt unknown? Debt is right there in black and white for all to see, it is probably the only non-unknown thing in politics. I suppose the only ‘unknown’ thing about our debt is are we even going to be able to make our interest payments in the future? Forget about paying back principal, I’m just talking about interest.

    Meanwhile, back in la la land, Biden is talking about spending $53,000,000,000.00 on high speed rail?

  33. Not Me, Bubba

    Moon-howler :I believe the Beast got it from the LA Times. At least that is the track I followed.
    Stab away at Soros. I am tired of all the rich guys thinking they can buy their vision of America. The point is, those who keep bringing up Soros never mention the Koch bros. There are lots of people out there who will.

    YOu are a day late and a dollar short. This country has been bought and paid for. People all around are just too effing dumb to realize it. Democrat, Republican – what is the difference?

    When the old paradigm seems to be in danger of extinction, it is already too late. The old paradigm is dead and a new one has already taken its place – hence the “growing pains” of people adapting to it. YOu have your teabaggers backed by bilionaires, as you have your lefties baced by other ones. The Presidential “Election” is nothing more than a pageant put on for our entertainment. Do any of the mainstream candidates have anything to offer? MOrals? Religion? Good Looks? Old Age?

    When will people wake up and see NEITHER party is working for their best interest? Sure you have yipping lap dogs out there barking about gay marriage, abortion, “family values”, burning the flag, etc. But do these things really matter in the long run? No. So while people bitch and “debate” over nonsense, they’re getting it from behind by the very “parties” they vote for as the people are pushed deeper into debt, our environment poisoned, and our rights slip away.

    So please, continue on with this “debate” about “evil” billionaires corrupting our government. It’s already happened, is happening and nothing is going to change it unless the people, as a whole, toss aside our petty non-issue issues and take the government back from these asshats. As one can see, even those militant flag-saluting Teabaggers couldn’t force change considering everything the candidates promised they have already begun to back away from. Earmarks? LOL….did you honestly think those would go away? PLEASE.

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