Koch Brothers take to the editorial pages

Trying to defend the indefensible:

In January 2009, just days after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Charles and David Koch met in their company headquarters in Wichita with their longtime political strategist, Rich Fink. The country was headed toward bankruptcy, they agreed.

Any critical reader would already be shaking his/her head, even with no previous knowledge about the Koch Brothers. Too early for any evidence for such fears, the agreement had to be based on political ideology or thinly-veiled racism. Or both. But don't expect any musings about that in this (Wichita) article. It might be a McClatchy paper, but it's also ground zero in the Koch empire.

The Kochs aren’t finished. Win or lose in November, they plan to start a new fight. They are organizing dozens of business and grassroots groups to build support for eliminating all corporate and agricultural subsidies.

The country must deal with corporate welfare, which they say exceeds $350 billion a year, before it can rein in spending on Social Security and Medicare, Fink said.

“How is any American going to feel good about reforming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security when there is so much cronyism going on with these companies, and businessmen are making off with so many tax dollars?” Fink asked.

Proving (once and for all) that the manipulation of facts and the misdirection of focus practiced by Koch's many astroturf operations and pseudo-scientific bullshit-spewing think-tanks originates from the money-men themselves. You'd be hard-pressed to find a corporation that sucks more blood from the taxpayer than Koch:

As Yasha Levine has reported, Koch exploits a number of government programs for profit. For instance, Georgia Pacific, a timber company subsidiary of Koch Industries, uses taxpayer money provided by the U.S. Forestry Service to provide their loggers with taxpayer-funded roads and access to virgin growth forests. “Logging companies such as Georgia-Pacific strip lands bare, destroy vast acreages and pay only a small fee to the federal government in proportion to what they take from the public,” according to the Institute for Public Accuracy. Levine also notes that Koch’s cattle ranching company, Matador Cattle Company, uses a New Deal program to profit off federal land for free.

Making Koch a double-edged sword in the assault on our atmosphere. Not only are they one of the biggest carbon emitters, they're raking the land clean of carbon-absorbing, oxygen-producing trees.

Koch Industries won massive government contracts using their close relationship with the Bush administration. The Bush administration, in a deal even conservatives alleged was a quid pro quo because of Koch’s campaign donations, handed Koch Industries a lucrative contract to supply the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve with 8 million barrels of crude oil. The SPR deal, done initially in 2002, was renewed in 2004 by Bush administration officials. During the occupation of Iraq, Koch won significant contracts to buy Iraqi crude oil.

Which is a hell of a lot better explanation of their dismay at a Democratic victory in 2008, as opposed to some meme-laced alleged fear of national bankruptcy or expanding bureaucracy, or whatever the hell package they're trying to sell in the Wichita article.

SolveClimate recently reported that Koch Industries will reap huge profits from the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which runs from Koch-owned tar sands mining centers in Canada to Koch-owned refineries in Texas. To build the pipeline, politicians throughout the Midwest, many of whom have received large Koch campaign donations, have used eminent domain — government seizures of private land. In Kansas, where Koch-funded officials advise Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and the Republican legislature, the Keystone XL Pipeline is likely to receive a property tax exemption of ten years, a special loophole that will cost Kansas taxpayers about $50 million.

– Koch Industries has been the recipient of about $85 million in federal government contracts mostly from the Department of Defense. Koch also benefits directly from billions in taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and ethanol production.

Note to the Charlotte Observer: If you're going to reprint a blatantly one-sided view of these corporate giants who, by the way, are playing such a messy game on our own turf, you need to also supply your readers with information (like the above) to put things in perspective. In the absence of that, you're part of the problem.


For you Tea-Partiers who might be reading

Here's a little history you won't get from not-the-bus-driver Dallas:

Here is a better historical fact, one that the Kochs don’t like to repeat in public: the family’s initial wealth was not created by the harsh, creative forces of unfettered capitalism, but by the grace of the centrally-planned economy of the Soviet Union. This deserves repeating: The Koch family, America’s biggest pushers of the free-market Tea Party revolution, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the whim of one of Stalin’s comrades.

Stalin’s first Five Year Plan was just kicking into action a nation-wide industrialization effort, and the Soviet planners needed smart, industrious college grads like Fred Koch. The Soviet Union was desperately trying to increase its oil refining capacity, so oil engineers were especially in high demand—and well paid, too.

In 1929, after hosting a delegation of Soviet planners in Wichita, Kansas, Winkler and Koch signed a $5 million contract to build 15 refineries in the Soviet Union. According to Oil of Russia, a Russian oil industry trade magazine, the deal made Winkler–Koch into Comrade Stalin’s Number One refinery builder. It provided equipment and oversaw construction:

By the time he got out in 1933, Koch earned $500,000, which was a ton of money for a kid fresh out of college. This nut of money served as the foundation for the family’s future wealth, which Koch no doubt started acquiring at rock-bottom prices. After all, 1933 was one of the two worst years of the Great Depression—all assets were priced to go at 90% off. In the end, the capitalist-hating socialists ended up treating Koch fairly, way better than the monopolistic thrashing he got from his native land.

Between 1929 and 1933, the persecution of the Kulaks became an obsession with Stalin, and by the time Fred Koch came home, over five million farmers and their families were either disappeared into Siberia or dead.

One especially irksome

One especially irksome quality of the conservative approach to governing is their willingness to compromise principle for political gain. Over the years I've watched people on Art Pope's short leash (Dallas Woodhouse, John Hood, Fran Deluca, Jack Hawke) twist themselves into pretzels trying to reconcile their libertarian instincts with Republicans corporatists slopping at the public trough.

From Fred "The Ashphalt King" Smith to Pat "The Unregistered Lobbyist" McCrory, the GOP leadership pipeline is nothing but a sewer of self-interest and greed.

The bottom line, they want to cut

government programs that actually help people, but keep the corporate gravy train running.

And why half the voters out there can't see that is one of the biggest head-scratchers of all.