The Koch Brothers

Reply Thu 16 Jan, 2014 04:29 pm
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 1,037 • Replies: 9
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Reply Thu 16 Jan, 2014 04:32 pm
If the Koch brothers didn't exist, the left would have to invent them. They're the plutocrats from central casting – oil-and-gas billionaires ready to buy any congressman, fund any lie, fight any law, bust any union, despoil any landscape, or shirk any (tax) burden to push their free-market religion and pump up their profits.

But no need to invent – Charles and David Koch are the real deal. Over the past 30-some years, they've poured more than 100 million dollars into a sprawling network of foundations, think tanks, front groups, advocacy organizations, lobbyists and GOP lawmakers, all to the glory of their hard-core libertarian agenda. They don't oppose big government so much as government – taxes, environmental protections, safety-net programs, public education: the whole bit. (By all accounts, the Kochs are true believers; they really buy that road-to-serfdom stuff about the the holiness of free markets. Still, you can't help but notice how neatly their philosophy lines up with their business interests.) They like to think of elected politicians as merely "actors playing out a script," and themselves as supplying "the themes and words for the scripts." Imagine Karl Rove’s strategic cunning, crossed with Ron Paul’s screw-the-poor ideology, and hooked up to Warren Buffett's checking account, and you’re halfway there.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/the-koch-brothers-exposed-20120420#ixzz2qbTQGNxd
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Thu 16 Jan, 2014 04:47 pm
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Reply Thu 16 Jan, 2014 05:00 pm
Old Man Bickford - W. S. Burroughs

Old man Bickford, cattle, oil, real estate

He's one of the poker-playin', whiskey-drinkin' evil old men who run the United States of America.

To these backstage operators, presidents, cabinet ministers and ambassadors
and his jokes and errand boys...

they do what they are told to do or else.

His subordinates never know why they have fallen from favor.

That is for them to figure out when his displeasure falls heavy and cold.

Jess Sanford knows he's in trouble when the Old Man steers him into a little side room with one chair.

The Old Man sits down and smiles.

"Yunno, Jess. I have an intuition about you. I think you'd make a mighty fine President."

Jess turns pale. He was hearing his death warrant.

"Oh no, Mr. Bickford. I don't have the qualifications!"

"I disagree with you. I think you do have the qualifications. You've got a good front and a fuckin' big mouth."

Now Jess knows he talked too much in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Please, Mr. Bickford. I have a bad heart and the job would kill me!"

Bickford's smile widens.

"Think about it, Jess, just think about it...

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Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 10:02 am
Robert Reich
People ask me all the time why we don't have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society -- given that middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, and almost all the economic gains are going to the top. The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out: (1) The working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has, and its major vehicle for organizing itself -- labor unions -- have been decimated; (2) students (who have been in years past a force for social change) are laden with debt and face a lousy jobs market, and don't want to rock the boat; and (3) the American public has become so cynical about government (in large part due to Republican tactics) that many no longer believe reform is possible. Have I left anything out? Has the right been so clever as to target unions, ensure high employment, pile on student debt, and seed cynicism precisely to prevent such a movement for fundamental reform? How will this end?
Frank Apisa
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 10:12 am
Don't know about those last questions, Edgar...but I watch a lot of public television...and I am always amazed at how much funding David Koch puts into it.

It makes no sense that I can see. PBS is regularly scorned by the right as a tool of the left. And it doesn't seem to be influenced by doners.

Do you (anybody) have any ideas for why Koch puts so much money into public television?
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Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 10:23 am
Public TV is not as openly liberal as when it first began. I am pretty sure they are working on the same divide and concur strategy they use elsewhere.
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Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 11:43 am
I use to have a list on my old computer of Koch brother items so I made sure I would not buy them while out shopping.

New App Buycott Lets Users Protest Koch Brothers, Monsanto And More

In her keynote speech at last year’s annual Netroots Nation gathering, Darcy Burner pitched a seemingly simple idea to the thousands of bloggers and web developers in the audience. The former Microsoft programmer and congressional candidate proposed a smartphone app allowing shoppers to swipe barcodes to check whether conservative billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch were behind a product on the shelves.

Burner figured the average supermarket shopper had no idea that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups meant contributing cash to Koch Industries through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. Similarly, purchasing a pair of yoga pants containing Lycra or a Stainmaster carpet meant indirectly handing the Kochs your money (Koch Industries bought Invista, the world’s largest fiber and textiles company, in 2004 from DuPont).

At the time, Burner created a mock interface for her app, but that’s as far as she got. She was waiting to find the right team to build out the back end, which could be complicated given often murky corporate ownership structures.

She wasn’t aware that as she delivered her Netroots speech, a group of developers was hard at work on Buycott, an even more sophisticated version of the app she proposed.

“I remember reading Forbes’ story on the proposed app to help boycott Koch Industries and wishing that we were ready to launch our product,” said Buycott’s marketing director Maceo Martinez.

Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 12:07 pm
That's great to know. But it has to touch the public imagination and go viral, as they say, to really be effective. I hope they can figure how to achieve it.
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 07:48 pm
There's only one part of that Robert Reich quote that I disagree with. The labor unions haven't been "decimated," as Reich says. They have been thoroughly suborned. They might as well be part of the management team.
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