Robert Greenwald: just a tad biased, eh?

The Koch brothers fund everything that\’s naughty, not nice, in American politics.

The investigation revealed Koch-supported policy fixes, and specific language repeated across each document, such as raising the retirement age….

Brad DeLong is now funded and directed by the Kochs? Wow, I never knew: although I did know that DeLong has been saying that the only real fix for Social Security is to raise the retirement age along with increasing lifespans.

The frequency and repetition of the arguments supplant more popular policy recommendations like scrapping the social security tax cap, which would free individuals earning more than $106,800 annually to pay taxes on all of their wages, like everyone else.

It\’s only a few years ago that Social Security contributions weren\’t taxes to hte progressives. They were contributions to an inter-generational compact. A social insurance scheme. One that, because benefits were capped, had a cap on contributions.

And what can you say about this phrase?

And they\’ve diversified their donations to a slew of Republican opinion leaders – and strategic Democrats who oppose revenue increases

Revenue increases? Why not spit it out and say tax increases?

Finally, yes, there has been a large rise in Koch lobbying expenditure. What do you expect?

They run a large business and the US now has a government interested in extending the regulatory state. Whether you think that\’s a good idea or a bad one, it\’s really terribly naive to think that those being regulated won\’t spend money to affect the regulations being imposed.

Unions do it, corporations do it, just as birds and bees do the other thing.

13 thoughts on “Robert Greenwald: just a tad biased, eh?”

  1. But the Koch brothers have bad intentions whereas the unions and government of course have good intentions…

  2. Tim Worstall,

    You say:

    “Finally, yes, there has been a large rise in Koch lobbying expenditure. What do you expect?”

    “They run a large business and the US now has a government interested in extending the regulatory state. Whether you think that’s a good idea or a bad one, it’s really terribly naive to think that those being regulated won’t spend money to affect the regulations being imposed.”

    What absurd nonsense.

    I am not certain if your statements are based upon your lack of knowledge of the unsavoury legacy of the Koch family or your glowing admiration of extreme right wing movements.

    Let us start with Fred Koch: Jane Mayer provides an interesting overview of his background in her article in the New Yorker.

    “In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.” In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer#ixzz1Q5MiKyRD

    Tim, I fully understand that you may be unable to make the distinction between government regulation and a Global Conspiracy, but many others, mainly those with a sound mind may differ.

    As Mayer also points out, David and Charles Koch carried this dubious approach forward through their funding which has earned them the title of “the billionaires behind the hate.”

    Furthermore, Mayer points out that rather than acting in response to regulation, as you suggest, that fundamental conflict of interests is more characteristic of Koch’s lobbying efforts.

    “Koch’s corporate and political roles, however, may pose conflicts of interest. For example, at the same time that David Koch has been casting himself as a champion in the fight against cancer, Koch Industries has been lobbying to prevent the E.P.A. from classifying formaldehyde, which the company produces in great quantities, as a “known carcinogen” in humans. “…

    “James Huff, an associate director at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the N.I.H., told me that it was “disgusting” for Koch to be serving on the National Cancer Advisory Board: “It’s just not good for public health. Vested interests should not be on the board.” He went on, “Those boards are very important. They’re very influential as to whether N.C.I. goes into formaldehyde or not. Billions of dollars are involved in formaldehyde.”

    Mayer notes that the conflict of interest, between the company’s fossil fuel enterprise and climate change, also has been criticized in the instance of the Koch family funded Smithsonian exhibits.
    “Joseph Romm, a physicist who runs the Web site ClimateProgress.org, is infuriated by the Smithsonian’s presentation. “The whole exhibit whitewashes the modern climate issue,” he said. “I think the Kochs wanted to be seen as some sort of high-minded company, associated with the greatest natural-history and science museum in the country. But the truth is, the exhibit is underwritten by big-time polluters, who are underground funders of action to stop efforts to deal with this threat to humanity. I think the Smithsonian should have drawn the line.”

    It seems to me that after even a cursory reading of Mayer’s well researched article, the Activity of the Koch family in American politics is hardly the stuff of the birds and bees.

  3. Surreptitious Evil

    It seems to me that after even a cursory reading of Mayer’s well researched article, the Activity of the Koch family in American politics is hardly the stuff of the birds and bees.

    You and Mayer seem to think the Kochs are out to fuck your country. What exactly do you think the birds and the bees are doing?

  4. scandalousbill

    I think you missed the point which is that of course the Koch brothers have vested interests, as do everyone else.

  5. @scandalousbill: some of Obama’s former (or indeed current) friends and acquaintances have similarly interesting CVs. Care to enlighten us about them too?

    If you dug into the US unions and their leaders I suspect you’d find far worse as well. But don’t dig too far, you might end up with a concrete overcoat………………….

  6. Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” The commies would have been derelict of duty if they hadn’t.

    “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. And since some Commies were quite explicit about that, you might as well accuse him of being something of a fellow traveller.

  7. “Joseph Romm, a physicist who runs the Web site ClimateProgress.org, is infuriated by the Smithsonian’s presentation. ”

    Hahahaha. Good, I hope he wets the bed over it 500 times.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    scandalousbill – “Let us start with Fred Koch: Jane Mayer provides an interesting overview of his background in her article in the New Yorker.”

    In what sense is it interesting or background? You mean that the sins of the Father fall on to the sons, even unto the seventh generation? Well you do know that Obama Senior was a Communist don’t you? Well done, son, you have joined the Birthers in the degree of your stupidity.

    “In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. ”

    So a jolly good egg by and large? Why is it that membership of a pro-democracy group like the JBS is something you think is shameful but membership of a totalitarian genocidal party like the Communists is not?

    “Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent.”

    Members. Kock Senior per chance? Oh what? You have no evidence? So go with the smear by association. It worked for McCarthy.

    “In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.””

    Which is true. The Communists infiltrated almost every one.

    “He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy”

    What’s not to admire? Although the key is when he did so.

    “and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned.”

    Which is also true.

    “Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.””

    I doubt there was any evidence for it but in retrospect he doesn’t seem entirely wrong does he?

    “In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.””

    I am sure that was their plan.

    “Tim, I fully understand that you may be unable to make the distinction between government regulation and a Global Conspiracy, but many others, mainly those with a sound mind may differ.”

    So …. you condemn Koch Senior for his odd belief in conspiracies, but you engage in one yourself? The vast tentacles of Jewish^H^H I mean Koch power spreading into the heart of American democracy?

  9. Koch’s production of formaldehyde by acquring Georgia Pacific IIRC post-dates Koch’s tenure on the NCAB by several years. amazing vision on his part.

  10. So Much for Subtlety.

    You ask:

    “In what sense is it interesting or background? You mean that the sins of the Father fall on to the sons, even unto the seventh generation?…”
    “So a jolly good egg by and large? Why is it that membership of a pro-democracy group like the JBS is something you think is shameful but membership of a totalitarian genocidal party like the Communists is not?”
    “Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent.”
    “Members. Kock Senior per chance? Oh what? You have no evidence? So go with the smear by association. It worked for McCarthy.”

    It is not a smear at all, the man’s own words make this allegation explicitly the most telling evidence comes from Koch’s own writing, primarily the self published bile in “A Businessman Looks At Communism”

    http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/manu&CISOPTR=1420&CISOSHOW=1401

    While there are many references to espionage in his polemic, it is made abundantly clear that his focus is rather to make allegations of Collusion of “certain treasonous Americans…working for the Communists” (pg 11), Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon are the named proponents by Koch of “The Communist Conspiracy operating in the United States” who are “striving to deprive us of our defences item by item.” For Koch, “The truth of the matter is that the U.S. Government put Fidel Castro in power” Koch adds to his list of “certain treasonous Americans”, FDR, General Marshall, the US supreme court, plus the UN and each and any individual or organization, secular and non secular, that differs from the true way of salvation he espouses. Similarly, the Guardians of “order, tranquillity and prosperity” are Himself, Eugene McCarthy, Robert Welch, J. Edgar Hoover, the Committee on Un-American Activities domestically, and internationally, a selection of fun loving despots.

    It i8s not by chance that Koch makes these statements while defending the “friends of America” whom he identifies as Batista and Trujillo, whom he defines as “typical Latin Americans” (pg 11). The smearing of these “jolly good eggs” for Koch was a deliberate communist plot carried out by the “slick paper magazines”. Koch asks, “How long will it be before the International Communist conspiracy gets Trujillo?” (Pg 11 &12) You should note that at the time of Koch’s writing, 1960, Trujillo was still at his bloody butchering prime.
    Koch virulently condemns “the smearing” of Batista and Trujillo in particular, endorsing as his basis the “fact” that while “Many people believe that democracy will work among primitive people-nothing can be further from the truth. Primitive countries are going to have Dictators- on the Communist side or on ours. Which do you prefer?” (pg 12)

    To put these statements in context, let us view the summary of the Trujillo regime, provided by that obviously evil Stalinist organization, Encyclopaedia Britannica.

    “The dictatorship of Trujillo (1930–61) was one of the longest, cruelest, and most absolute in modern times. Trujillo maintained complete control of the military, appointed family members to key offices, strictly enforced censorship and conformity laws, and ordered the murder of political opponents and the massacre of thousands of Haitian immigrants. Trujillo also dominated the church hierarchy, educational system, entertainment industry, and virtually every other element of Dominican society. He had Santo Domingo renamed Ciudad Trujillo, and he amassed a vast fortune for himself by taking ownership of virtually everything he touched—land, airlines, trading monopolies, manufacturers…”

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/168728/Dominican-Republic/54454/The-Trujillo-regime

    No doubt you will be offended by the “stupidity” of these left leaning liars in “smearing “the reputation of such “a jolly good egg”. You and Koch undoubtedly would concur that “the Communist smear is a standard weapon”, Right? After all, as you so lovingly say regarding “jolly good” Benito: “What’s not to admire?”

    Koch adds the admirable Benito Mussolini, the Shahs of Iran and Iraq, and then vents his spleen attacking those who publish articles critical of the Nazi regime. On page 18, Koch notes that the publications of the holocaust and other Nazi brutalities were merely an nauseous ruse to deflect attention away from the ravages of the red peril and, somehow, as an attack on then Chancellor Adenuaer, who curiously enough was imprisoned under Hitler as an opponent of the regime, and whose life was saved, according to Adenauer himself at that time, by a German Communist, Eugene Zander. But then again, why let facts get in the way of righteous bigotry.

    However, when prejudice divides the world and nations into those of” primitive people”, living in “primitive nations”, as opposed to us more advanced types, you embark upon an unabashed racist bigotry. Using their “primitive” nature as the justification for their oppression by a Totalitarian regime, is as totalitarian, .i.e., as much a “menace” as the conspiracy Koch rails against. It has nothing to do with liberty or democracy, and neither does the position of Koch or the JBS he helped found.

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