Streams

Billionaire Brothers

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer discusses Charles and David Koch, billionaire brothers who are waging a war against President Barack Obama. They have donated more than $100 million to right-wing causes; including the Tea Party. Her article “Covert Operations” appears in the August 30 issue of the New Yorker.

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Jane Mayer
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Comments [19]

g.e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY

Also, I am wondering whether WNYC listeners will ever get disclosure of how much Mayor Blumberg and the City Council (of embezzlers) [individually and as a group] contribute to WNYC as a way of shaping the "look-the-other-way" coverage that these felons receive?

Sep. 03 2010 01:28 PM
g.e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY

errors-in-jane-mayers-new-yorker-article-attacking-the-kochs

http://volokh.com/2010/09/02/errors-in-jane-mayers-new-yorker-article-attacking-the-kochs/

Sep. 03 2010 01:13 PM

@Alexander, thanks for sharing your feelings! I am not a person who is repulsed to hear from people who disagree with me, though I do wish you made substantive comments on topic. However, your emotional state is also important.

I didn't feel I was attacking anybody, simply pointing out what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and I'm guessing most WNYC listeners would consider Leonard Lopate's salary to be a princely sum, while they scrounge nickels to contribute to it. While he does not earn on anywhere near the scale of the Kochs, I did just listen to a long one sided harangue about money and secrets and bias and supposed non-bias, so I thought I'd ask questions that were of interest to me about one sidedness and secrets and bias and money... questions that nobody wants to answer.

Sorry if I don't school with all the other fish here, but at least I don't play the disingenuous "little old me doesn't have a P.O.V." card. What makes dictators like Fidel Castro and Lenin lock up, torture, and murder so many people is that complete conviction they have that everything they believe is all there is to believe, and that's what I hear here.

There are anonymous donors to public broadcasting, public broadcasting has their names, let's expose them. Oh no, we only make a big deal out of it when it's the Kochs.

Aug. 31 2010 04:08 PM
Alexander

@SBlock It is grotesque to read the attacks on Jane Mayer and Leonard Lopate. In fact it is pretty repulsive.

@Sasha Wiki has the list of the Koch products. It is easier to avoid buying them than has been suggested.

Aug. 31 2010 03:12 PM

SuzanneNYC, I didn't express any paranoia, I asked why public broadcasters WNYC don't put their media in the public domain, a question you ignored, and I suggested it would be a good topic for discussion on a show.

Please point me to Leonard Lopate's salary, or just post it here. I looked where you suggested and found nothing. WNYC can feel free to chime in.

The paranoia that HAS been expressed lately is this big "expose" of the billionaire Kochs, and I was simply exposing you to some ideas, that money equals speech as WNYC should well know as they are engaged in it all the time, and to the idea that anonymous free speech is a civil liberty, and nothing particularly interesting is being exposed here. And one more idea, that people who tell you they don't have an agenda often have an agenda.

Another example of an absurd "tinfoil hat moment" from the show was when she suggested that there is a conflict of interest in owning a chemical company that produces carcinogens, and giving money to cancer research. It does not demand explanation. Does she realize that we need to use carcinogenic chemicals to produce all sorts of life saving medications; that gasoline pollutes, yet it saves lives when we use it to drive ambulances or deliver food to people?

Did we listen to the same show?

Aug. 31 2010 02:16 PM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

@SBlock Your paranoia is misplaced. Salaries, expenses, budgets at non-profits are a matter of public record. Financial information is available in tax filings and other reporting to state and federal agencies which non-profits must do by law. You can look it up online or at the Foundation Center. It's privately owned companies that are allowed to be secretive. Which is undoubtedly why Koch Industries isn't a public company.

Aug. 31 2010 01:28 PM
Friedrich von Marxes from Vienna,Austria

A good Marxist should bear these folks no enmity: they are merely acting out of their own interests...much as one should not hate a tiger for being a predator, one may even find it glorious as it acts therefor---but this does in no way preclude knowing that under some circumstances a tiger should be caged or otherwise restrained.

Aug. 31 2010 12:57 PM

What a load of crap "I'm not on a side, I'm just a reporter". We know what side you are on, we can hear it.

Anonymous free speech is enshrined in our Constitiution and reinforced by the Supreme Court. So the Koch's are rich, politicially interested and involved, and they like to keep quiet.

There is plenty of rich money on the other side of the political discourse, these conspiracy theories are looney.

Yes, you are "on a side", and lying to yourself about it makes me suspicious about the rest of what you write.

Could WNYC please do a piece about how they are all listener supported but they don't put our media that they tell us we paid for into the public domain? Also, are the salaries paid to the major public radio figures in the public record? I'm not on a side, I just want to hear about the money flying around.

Aug. 31 2010 12:46 PM
John Olsen from New York, NY

Frederick was NOT named for his father who was christened, Fred.

Bill and Frederick were not forced out. Bill was fired but still owned 25% of the company, as did Frederick who never worked for the company but was left an equal ownership stake by the father.

Frederick owns one "castle" in Austria, and has dedicated his life to restoring historic houses in America, Britain and Europe. His art collection is focused not on "baroque" works but English and American works of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is a significant benefactor to the Morgan Library, the Frick Collection, Harvard University and to the Beinecke Library at Yale whose then president described Koch's gift of musical manuscripts and related literature as one of the most important deposits since the university's inception.

Aug. 31 2010 12:41 PM
suze from manhattan

Did Jane Mayer ask the powers at Lincoln Center why they took money from such terrible people, whose instincts and politics are antithetical to public entertainment, and now have a hall named after one of them? I wondered why the name change occurred--obviously tons of money, but it is infuriating to attend a performance there, esp. now.

Aug. 31 2010 12:34 PM
Ted

So are these guys second or third generation millionares?

Aug. 31 2010 12:29 PM
BigMax from NY

"Most" tea party members don't wuestion evolution. What kind of broadbrush statement is that Leonard? Fundamentalist Christians don't believe in evolution. Assuming that the majority of tea party folks are fundamentaists is equally irresponsible..

Aug. 31 2010 12:12 PM
Jack

Not to sound cynical, but how does someone get their hands on this Koch money? I mean I an out of work. I was thinking of starting my own organization and getting some of this money.

Aug. 31 2010 12:12 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Isn't David Koch a contributor to PBS shows like Nova?

Aug. 31 2010 12:09 PM
Mike

Raimondo's article continues...

"Crane and Koch walked out of the Libertarian Party because the party refused to moderate its radicalism – which makes it more than somewhat ironic that Mayer and Rich are attributing the LP’s radicalism (long since dissipated, by the way) to the Koch brothers. And when a truly radical libertarian current did emerge, out of the Ron Paul campaign, with a real mass following, the Cato-ites disdained it, telling Chris Hayes of The Nation magazine that Paul was too populist and plebeian for their aristocratic oh-so-high-minded selves. He wasn’t, they averred, cosmopolitan enough. "

"The Kochs, and Cato, have been staunch opponents of the Af-Pak war, as well as the escalation of the war on our civil liberties that George W. Bush started and Obama has continued.......If allowed to take off, such a movement would appeal to the Obama-ite’s base, which, you’ll recall, came together initially due to Obama’s supposed “antiwar” credentials."

"Now that his administration is handing out trillions to the banksters, the left-wing of the Democratic party is beginning to grumble, and there’s a rebellion brewing in the ranks – which Obama’s wars, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, could ignite into a prairie fire."

"God knows, I am no fan of the Kochtopus: I’ve often pointed out their shortcomings, from a libertarian perspective, in this space. They betrayed their founding principles time and time again....."

"This underscores the paucity and one-dimensionality of the Rich-Mayer conspiracy theory, which posits that everything is about money: yes, money can help create a movement, but it cannot sustain it, or ensure its success. The Ron Paul campaign was pathetically underfunded, in the beginning, until the Ron Paul for President “money bomb” taught the rest of the political world how online fundraising is really done. It’s passion – ideological passion – that energizes political movements: money is an afterthought."

Aug. 31 2010 12:02 PM
Mike

Raimondo's article continues...

"Crane and Koch walked out of the Libertarian Party because the party refused to moderate its radicalism – which makes it more than somewhat ironic that Mayer and Rich are attributing the LP’s radicalism (long since dissipated, by the way) to the Koch brothers. And when a truly radical libertarian current did emerge, out of the Ron Paul campaign, with a real mass following, the Cato-ites disdained it, telling Chris Hayes of The Nation magazine that Paul was too populist and plebeian for their aristocratic oh-so-high-minded selves. He wasn’t, they averred, cosmopolitan enough. "

"The Kochs, and Cato, have been staunch opponents of the Af-Pak war, as well as the escalation of the war on our civil liberties that George W. Bush started and Obama has continued.......If allowed to take off, such a movement would appeal to the Obama-ite’s base, which, you’ll recall, came together initially due to Obama’s supposed “antiwar” credentials."

"Now that his administration is handing out trillions to the banksters, the left-wing of the Democratic party is beginning to grumble, and there’s a rebellion brewing in the ranks – which Obama’s wars, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, could ignite into a prairie fire."

"God knows, I am no fan of the Kochtopus: I’ve often pointed out their shortcomings, from a libertarian perspective, in this space. They betrayed their founding principles time and time again....."

"This underscores the paucity and one-dimensionality of the Rich-Mayer conspiracy theory, which posits that everything is about money: yes, money can help create a movement, but it cannot sustain it, or ensure its success. The Ron Paul campaign was pathetically underfunded, in the beginning, until the Ron Paul for President “money bomb” taught the rest of the political world how online fundraising is really done. It’s passion – ideological passion – that energizes political movements: money is an afterthought."

Aug. 31 2010 11:57 AM
Mike

What does Ms. Mayer think about the recent article by Justin Raimondo in Antiwar.com that is in response to Mayer's and Frank Rich's article called:

"In Defense of the Kochtopus"
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/08/29/in-defense-of-the-kochtopus/

Some of the points he makes is:

"the one factor that sets the Kochs apart from post-cold war conservatives (and liberals), and that is their untrammeled anti-militarism. The Cato Institute, which was started with Koch money, stood almost alone in Washington against the first Iraq war [.pdf], and staunchly opposed the more recent invasion – just as they oppose Obama’s wars in Afghanistan [.pdf] and beyond. Cato has also stood up for our civil liberties, opposing the PATRIOT Act, and the whole panoply of post-9/11 repressive measures initiated by the Bush administration and expanded by Obama."

"Right after 9/11, the Koch brothers gave the ACLU $20 million to fight off the Bushies’ assault on the Constitution (George Soros gave half as much). "

"The first tea parties were organized by supporters of Ron Paul, who, on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, in December 2007, held rallies across the country and held a “money bomb” for Paul’s campaign raising the all-time record for a single day’s political fund-raising. The organizations affiliated with the Kochs have long kept their distance from Rep. Paul: they view him as an unbridled radical, and one who – worse, from their perspective – can’t be controlled or reined in."

"This is typical of the methods of the Koch organizations, which rarely initiate anything: instead, they glom on to an existing movement, “entryist”-style, and bore from within. One example: when the independent campaign of John Anderson for President took off, and stole the thunder of the Libertarian Party’s 1980 presidential campaign, they joined Anderson’s briefly-existing “National Unity Party” in the hopes of taking it over. Like most of their entryist tactics, this one flopped spectacularly, with the Andersonites rejecting their wise counsel and opting to go their own way."

"Rupert Murdoch isn’t funding the Tea Parties, as much as Fox News is promoting them: he is funding the Weekly Standard, the chief organ of yet another rightist groupuscule, the neoconservatives, which is seeking to hitch a ride on the Tea Party bandwagon. These are the mosque-bashers, who seek to scapegoat Muslim Americans the way [FRANK] Rich’s hero, Roosevelt, scapegoated Japanese-Americans. Yet the Cato crowd has not joined that particular lynch mob, and it is totally unfair to group the Kochs with Murdoch and the neocons."

Aug. 31 2010 11:56 AM
BOBnMike from The Core of the Earth

good luck, sasha. you quest is impossible. everytime you wipe your ass in the restroom at your favorite restaurant Koch Industries makes money. go live in a cave in Nepal, even them I'm not sure how successful you'll be.

Aug. 31 2010 10:45 AM
sasha from lic

so which products do their companies make, and which other companies use their products get used by? anyone have a (complete) list? i want to know where/what not to spend my money on.

Aug. 31 2010 12:38 AM

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