Who Are Charles and David Koch: True Libertarians? Billionaire Hypocrites? Crony Capitalists? Con Artists Looking to Rip You Off?

Charles and David Koch

Charles and David Koch

By Elaine Magliaro

On Monday, officials for the Koch brothers’ political organization announced that the group had budgeted a “whopping $889 million” for the 2016 presidential campaign. Nancy Benac of the Associated Press reported that that amount was “more than double the approximately $400 million it spent in 2012.”

Why do the Koch brothers spend so much money on political elections? Who are they…and what do they want? Senator Bernie Sanders explains:


Back in March of 2011, Andy Kroll wrote an article for Mother Jones titled Hypocrisy Alert: Charles Koch Blasts “Crony Capitalism.” In his piece, Kroll reacted to an op-ed that Charles Koch had penned for the Wall Street Journal titled Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out. Kroll said that in his op-ed Koch decried the years of “overspending” that have “brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis.” Koch blamed the crisis on both Democrats and Republicans who had “done a poor job managing our finances.” Koch explained “how he, his family, and his multi-billion-dollar company, Koch Industries, have tried to support politicians like Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker who were ‘working to solve these problems.’”

Kroll said that Koch’s op-ed got interesting when the billionaire businessman railed against businesses that had “successfully lobbied for special favors and treatment” like government subsidies and regulations.

From Kroll regarding the “hypocrisy alert”:

For starters, Koch Industries has benefited plenty from government subsidies in the past. As the New York Observer reported, Koch companies have received subsidies from the Venezuelan government as part of a deal to sell Venezuelan-made fertilizer in the US; used US land subsidies for its Matador Cattle Company; and profited from private logging of US forests that wouldn’t have been possible if the US Forestry Service hadn’t built new roads with taxpayer money to un-logged lands, among other examples.

Later in his article, Kroll went on to say the following:

And while Charles Koch criticizes “crony capitalism,” his company is one of the biggest players in the nation when it comes to lobbying and political donations. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Koch Industries has spent more than $40 million lobbying the federal government in the past three years alone. Koch Industries, company executives, and the company’s political action committee have doled out $11 million since 1989 to federal candidates, political parties, and political committees; Charles and David Koch and their wives contributed $2.8 million of that, a mere $1,500 of which went to Democrats, according to the Public Campaign Action Fund (PCAF). Much of that spending has gone toward fighting new regulations of the oil and gas industry, which would hurt Koch Industries’ profits. Not surprisingly, then, lawmakers on the influential House energy and commerce committee have pocketed $630,950 in Koch-connected donations.

Koch’s concerns about the fiscal health of the US, as voiced in his op-ed, are not unfounded. But his criticism of lobbying and “crony capitalism” flies in the face of his own actions and those of companies, critics say. “Koch Industries is the perfect example of absolutely everything Charles claims to hate about our current political system,” David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund, said in a statement. “The hypocrisy is palpable.”

Last year, David Sirota wrote about the Koch brothers in an article for In These Times titled The Real Welfare Queens:

Consider Charles and David Koch. Their company, Koch Industries, has relied on $88 million worth of government handouts. Yet, as the major financiers of the anti-government right, the Kochs are still billed as libertarian free-market activists.

In September of 2010, Yasha Levine wrote an article for The Exile about the billionaire brothers. In it, he listed seven ways in which the Kochs had benefited from “corporate welfare.” Levine posed a question early is his article about the Kochs: “How libertarian are they?” Levine replied to his own question: “The short answer…not very.”

Here are two of the reasons why Levine thinks the Koch brothers aren’t as libertarian as they claim to be:


For the past fifty years, through its Matador Cattle Company subsidiary, Koch Industries has been quietly milking a New Deal program that allows ranchers to use federal land basically for free. Matador, one of the ten biggest domestic cattle ranching operations, has something in the neighborhood of 300,000 acres of grazing land for its cows—two-thirds of which belong to American taxpayers, who will never see a penny of profit.


Although highly diversified, Koch Industries’ vast network of oil and gas pipelines remains the company’s core business and main source of revenue. The exact size of their pipeline network is not known, but some estimate that Koch Industries operates anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 miles of pipelines between Texas and Canada—enough plumbing to wrap around the globe twice or zigzag between New York and Los Angeles 15 times. How did the Kochs manage to build up a pipeline network of this magnitude? By getting the government to use its tyrannical powers of eminent domain to forcibly seize private property on Koch Industries’ behalf.

As far as libertarians are concerned, eminent domain is a socialist tyranny straight out of the Leninist playbook, as it recognizes the government as the real owner of all land and vests it with the power to expropriate private property for alleged public good. At the most fundamental level, libertarians believe that eminent domain invalidates the notion of private property rights, threatening not just prosperity, but freedom. Charles Koch is clear on this. “Countries that clearly define and protect individual private property rights stimulate investment and grow,” he writes in his book The Science of Success. “Those that threaten and confiscate private property lose capital and decline.”

But not all property rights are created equal. A Koch Industries oil pipeline recently built in Minnesota shows that Charles Koch does not see an is anything wrong with the government confiscating private property, as long as he stands to make a profit.
Completed in 2008, the 304-mile line now carries crude oil from the Canadian border to a Koch Industries refinery near the Twin Cities area via a two-foot-wide pipe. Company PR execs pitched the pipeline as a public benefit project, as it would increase Minnesota’s gasoline supply. But the 1,000-plus landowners who were forced to handover their private property so that Koch Industries could run its pipeline didn’t quite see it that way. “People’s rights were violated, and they never got their due process,” a farmer whose fields were going to be cut in two by the pipeline told a newspaper in 2007. “It’s wrong. People’s property is one of the most important things to their livelihood.”

In Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire, Tim Dickinson wrote the following:

But in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms – including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution – needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.

In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.

The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”

Yasha Levine warned that when you hear a shill from the Cato Institute—a think tank founded by Charles Koch in 1977—“on Meet the Press layout a case for why you should support the privatization of social security, remember: they aren’t hypocrites, they’re cons looking to rip you off.”

Are Charles and David Koch true libertarians? Are they crony capitalists? Hypocrites? Con artists? Who do you think the Koch brothers are?


The Real Welfare Queens: A new report shows corporations like Koch Industries have gotten billions in government subsidies. (In These Times)

7 Ways the Koch Bros. Benefit from Corporate Welfare (The Exiled)

Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. (The New Yorker)

Hypocrisy Alert: Charles Koch Blasts “Crony Capitalism” (Mother Jones)

Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire (Rolling Stone)

Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out: Crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepreneurs from producing the products and services that make people’s lives better. (Wall Street Journal)

Who are the Koch brothers? (PBS Newshour/AP)

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69 Responses to Who Are Charles and David Koch: True Libertarians? Billionaire Hypocrites? Crony Capitalists? Con Artists Looking to Rip You Off?

  1. buckaroo says:

    Regardless of the Koch Brothers in the months and years to come we’re going to see more and more of these “capital controls” placed on our personal savings… We’re going to have a massive inflation—when the trillions and trillions of newly printed dollars begin making their way into the economy. Roughly 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, with essentially zero savings, according to a recent study by Bankrate. The “labor force participation rate” (basically the percentage of able-bodied people who are actually working) has fallen every year since 2007 and is at its lowest level since the 1970s. (Source: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  2. rafflaw says:

    The Koch Brothers are the apple of their Father’s John Birch founder eyes!

  3. Elaine M. says:


    You got that right!

  4. Julie says:

    “Who do you think the Koch brothers are?” Dangerous, power-hungry authoritarians.

  5. bigfatmike says:

    “Who do you think the Koch brothers are?”


  6. bigfatmike says:

    “we’re going to see more and more of these “capital controls” placed on our personal savings… ”

    Exactly what capital controls are those place on our personal savings?

    “We’re going to have a massive inflation—when the trillions and trillions of newly printed dollars begin making their way into the economy. ”

    News flash, they are already in the economy.

    “The “labor force participation rate” (basically the percentage of able-bodied people who are actually working) has fallen every year since 2007 and is at its lowest level since the 1970s.”

    The LFPR is down, in part, because baby boomers are beginning to retire.

    Some of the decline in LFPR is more troubling. Part of the decline is in younger portions of the population – people at an age that we would expect them to keep working. That decline is likely do to the fact that the economy has not recovered from the recession and there are simply not enough jobs for those who want jobs – those people have, likely, been discourage by the job market.

    There are not enough jobs for workers who want to work because demand is down. There are several ways we could increase demand. We could devalue the dollar making our goods cheaper and changing the balance of international trade. We could be more thoughtful when we make free trade agreements and not place our workers in direct competition with foreign workers with much lower standards of living. We could use fiscal policy and increase government spending.

    Considering all the infrastructure maintenance that has been deferred and current interest rates, spending to repair infrastructure would be an outstanding strategy that would save future generations literally billions of dollars.

    Of course anyone of those reasonable alternatives are like an electrified political third rail.

    Members of both parties have times taken irrational actions against workers and our economy. But is the Koch owned GOP that has been absolutely intransigent on matters to help workers and the middle class. One of these days workers and middle class will realize who has been pocketing their wage increases and eating their lunch.

  7. They are guys with short memories and no sense of history. It will come back to bite them (and those like them) eventually. They forgot the lessons Henry Ford taught. Ford elected to pay his employees an actual living wage. Five dollars a day, during a time when a job paying about half that was the norm. What did they do with the money? Bought Ford cars and trucks.

    I recall reading about Walter Reuther visiting a new General Motors plant and getting the VIP tour by a high ranking GM executive. He was shown the highly automated the Buick assembly line, with all the new robotic tools. Mr. Reuther turned and asked the executive, “How many Buick automobiles are those robots going to buy?”

  8. blouise says:

    The tax and spend boys.

    The Koch brothers and their conservative allies in state government have found a new tax they can support. It’s a tax on something the country needs: solar energy panels.

    The Kochs and other big polluters have been spending heavily to fight incentives for renewable energy, which have been adopted by most states. They particularly dislike state laws that allow homeowners with solar panels to sell power they don’t need back to electric utilities. So they’ve been pushing legislatures to impose a surtax on this increasingly popular practice, hoping to make installing solar panels on houses less attractive.

    Oklahoma lawmakers recently approved such a surcharge at the behest of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative group that often dictates bills to Republican statehouses and receives financing from the utility industry and fossil-fuel producers, including the Kochs. As The Los Angeles Times reported recently, the Kochs and ALEC have made similar efforts in other states, though they were beaten back by solar advocates in Kansas and the surtax was reduced to $5 a month in Arizona. [New York Times, 4/27/14]


  9. Mike Spindell says:


    You have never once made a comment referring to the actual piece initiating the thread………Why is that?

  10. Bob Kauten says:

    What’s the difference between buckaroo and a spambot?

    No answer. buckaroo never acknowledges responses to his posts. Like a spambot.
    I guess that means there’s no difference.

  11. bigfatmike says:

    “The Kochs and other big polluters have been spending heavily to fight incentives for renewable energy, which have been adopted by most states. They particularly dislike state laws that allow homeowners with solar panels to sell power they don’t need back to electric utilities.”

    Which suggest a new strategy for renewable energy. Maybe we should start a Kickstarter program to endow the Kock brothers with shares in solar panel manufacturing company.

    Once they have a financial interest in the success of solar panels I am pretty sure we will get legislation supporting research for improvement and use by home owners. And if we give the manufacture of the panel a small cut in the energy sold back to utilities I am sure we will have legislation to support that too.

    Renewable energy is a challenge that requires innovative solutions. Help save the planet by making a charitable contribution to the Koch brothers.

  12. Elaine M. says:

    Koch Brothers Are The Largest Land Owners Of Canada’s Tar Sands
    POSTED ON MARCH 20, 2014 AT 5:15 PM UPDATED: APRIL 8, 2014 AT 3:50 PM

    In their recent report The Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb about the Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL pipeline, the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) contends that Koch Exploration Canada, the Koch Industries subsidiary that buys and sells land for energy development, could profit by up to $100 billion with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While this number is up for debate, it is clearly not a losing investment. And at the very least the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would lower transportation costs of getting the oil to refineries, increasing the production margins of those refineries, whether Koch-owned or not.

    “The biggest way Koch could benefit from Keystone is by the pipeline’s acting as the ‘keystone’ of oil industry strategy to increase the ‘takeaway’ capacity for producers of Canadian crude, whereby getting more oil to more lucrative markets, and ending the deep discounts on Canadian crude currently glutting markets,” IFG’s Victor Menotti told the Washington Post.

  13. bron98 says:

    I am all for money out of politics, get rid of union money as well. Make the maximum donation $500.00 per person or a maximum of $2,000 per family or company or union. End pacs and all money must come from citizens of the US.

    I would love that.

  14. bron98 says:

    The Kochs arent saying to do away with helping the poor, they are saying there is a better way to do it. They are right. All welfare and aid to the poor does is create democrats. Basically the democrats use tax payer money to buy votes and to establish a permanent base of voters.

    What the Kochs want to do is end poverty and create republican/libertarian voters out of former welfare recipients.

    • bigfatmike says:

      “What the Kochs want to do is end poverty”

      So what are some of the Koch proposals and legislative initiatives that are designed to reduce or end poverty?

  15. bron98 says:

    they want to end minimum wage laws, end welfare, social security and medicare/medicaid. That is just for starters but would probably be a good start.

    Transfer the recipients to private charities and end social security taxes. Most people who get it dont need it anyway and would have had more had they not had to give 15% per year to the federal government. If you work for 43 years [22-65] and make an average of 40k you would have saved $904,00 putting aside $500/month [6000 per year which is 15% of 40,000].

    So by age 65 you have close to a million dollars in your account, which is yours to pass on. And by the way you could live off of the interest say %4 which would be $36,000.00/year or $3,000 per month. Taxes really screw the middle class and they just believe the bull shit about how the democrats want to help us. If they really wanted to help us they would help put in place an environment in which that can be done. Which is exactly what the Kochs are trying to do.


  16. “they want to end minimum wage laws,”

    And guarantee that people won’t have a living wage.

    “end welfare, social security”

    Plans instituted because “their way” left millions destitute during the Depression.

    “and medicare/medicaid.”

    Plans instituted in the ’60’s to remedy a health care shortage for the elderly.

    “That is just for starters but would probably be a good start.”

    A good start on the road to Libertarian hell, a soaring crime rate, a flailing economy, civil unrest, rebellion and/or revolution where people like the Koch’s get killed and eaten in their kitchen.

    I know this because history tells me so.

    Cake anyone?

  17. bron98 says:

    my history tells me that when people are free and government is restrained, real wages double and people rise out of poverty.

    You are mistaking two entirely different revolutions and on top of that our government is more like Louis XVI than the Kochs or any rich person for that matter.

    History tells me that people who pay too many taxes and are treated poorly by government usually rise up.

  18. Democrats want to buy votes? Do some simple math. The Koch syndicate says it plans to spend $889 million on the 2016 elections. That is more than double the $407 million the two brothers spent on the 2012 elections. Dividing the number of eligible voters (206 million) into that sum of money means they will spend about $4.35 on each eligible voter.

    But wait!

    Not all those eligible to vote are actually registered to vote. According to latest data from 2014, there are about 146 million Americans that are actually registered to vote.

    But wait!

    Not all registered voters vote. No one can recall a general election with 100% turnout. Turnout varies widely from election to election, but if it is a good year for voting, we may get as much as a 65% turnout. Do the math. 65% of 146 million is 95 million.

    Divide that $889 million by 95 million. Looks like the Koch brothers are prepared to spend roughly $9.37 on each and every voter in the 2016 elections. I don’t have any numbers on how much Art Pope, the Waltons, Bushes and other super rich families will contribute, but I daresay the favorite right wing scapegoat, George Soros, won’t be able to match it. Not even close.

  19. The mistake you are making is thinking I’m talking about just one revolution, B. Haven’t you figured out by now that I think in terms of patterns and complex systems? I know, I know, you don’t believe in complexity, but that doesn’t stop it from being real. Also, if you want to use France as your example, you betray your own lack of substantive knowledge about history. The French Monarchy under Louis XVI was a effectively plutoracy where the poor and middle class were marginalized, denied rights, and exploited by the wealthy aristocracy. Even when the commoners did make money, the newly minted Bourgeoisie came into political conflict with the aristocracy. True, Louis did raise taxes but then as now those hikes hit the poor and the middle class (the Bourgeoisie) disproportionately to compared to the aristocracy who were immune to such taxes. He also clamped down on citizen’s rights at the same time. His deregulation of the grain markets led to high bread prices (hence the infamous apocryphal cake comment). When that was combined with bad harvests, mass starvation in the lower and middle classes became a problem. He also had political resistance to his generally pro-aristocracy reforms. Add to this the burgeoning Enlightenment and the widespread realization that no, there are no “superior people”, just people and the greater mass of just people was suffering while the wealthy aristocracy partied like it was 1999, er, 1789.

    Sounds a lot like the world the Kochs want to me except of course they are simply arrogant enough to think they can trash society without suffering any consequences for their actions. Oh, wait, that’s what the aristocracy thought then too. Hmmm. I see patterns.

    Louis ended up about a foot shorter for his efforts.

    I wish them and their ilk all the success he had.

  20. Gene,
    We should not forget that little unpleasantness in 1917.

    Or how the people of the Germanic states reacted in 1934, as a direct result of the economic disaster imposed on them by the Armistice of 1918.

  21. I can also find parallels in the Russian Revolution, the English Civil War, the close of the Warring States period in Japanese history, and interwar period Germany. I’m sure I could think of more if I felt like it.

  22. Bob Kauten says:

    Your history is lying to you. That’s been apparent for several years, now.

  23. bron98 says:

    The Kochs dont take about 50% of a persons income, the Kochs arent sending our young to die in far away lands, the Kochs arent bailing out inefficient banks and billing the tax payer. The Kochs arent using the NSA and the IRS to spy on citizens. The Kochs arent auditing people with different political views.

    I am simply amazed that you blame the rich for all the problems created by government, it is simply fascinating. But understandable. You cant seem to dissasociate the monarchies from the government. So you think the rich in this country are the same as the governments in France, Russia, England or Japan at the time of the revolutions.

    I got news for you, Robin Hood took from the unproductive rich and gave back to the productive poor. Many of the wealthy in this country started out in the bottom 50% of earners. Government takes from the productive and gives to the unproductive.

  24. bron98 says:

    how much money do tax payers have to turn over to the government every year and how much of that goes to social welfare programs? Something on the order of $25,0000 per individual and you are making a big deal out of $10.00? Of a persons private money?

    Oh, I also wonder how much tax money went to orgs like ACORN to get out the vote by giving the people $10.00 to vote?

  25. Elaine M. says:


    Who has blamed the rich for all the problems created by government? We criticize politicians too. Evidently, you think all this money being flooded into the political process is fine. We disagree about that. Plenty of money has gone to Democrats too–especially from Wall Street. How many banksters have gone to jail? How much taxpayer money goes to subsidize oil/fossil fuel companies and agri-business? Consider all the taxpayer money that has gone to defense contractors. Do campaign contributions factor into that?

  26. Fallacy of false equivalence, B.

    The Kochs are not government although their apparent goal is indeed control of the government.

    But let’s look at those statements, shall we?

    “The Kochs dont take about 50% of a persons income,”

    Although they do not have the power to tax, they do indeed take others income by various market methods. Sometimes 100% of their income.

    “the Kochs arent sending our young to die in far away lands,”

    They don’t have the power to declare war (yet) but they sure have bought a lot of pols who do.

    “the Kochs arent bailing out inefficient banks and billing the tax payer.”

    No, but they do rely heavily upon government contracts and private contracts that require government support like the Keystone Pipline.

    “The Kochs arent using the NSA and the IRS to spy on citizens.”

    No, like government often does, they rely upon unregulated private contractors.

    “The Kochs arent auditing people with different political views.”

    No, they just spend hundreds of millions of dollars to oppress any dissent to their own views.

    “I am simply amazed that you blame the rich for all the problems created by government, it is simply fascinating.”

    Straw man, B. I blame the meddlesome rich for some problems created by government, but the malfunction of government is not rooted in a simple single cause.

    “But understandable. You cant seem to dissasociate the monarchies from the government.”

    Really. You’re going to go with that, oh he who cannot properly define fascism?

    “So you think the rich in this country are the same as the governments in France, Russia, England or Japan at the time of the revolutions.”

    Patterns are patterns. Don’t shoot the messenger because you don’t like the news.

    “I got news for you, Robin Hood took from the unproductive rich and gave back to the productive poor.”

    I got news for you. Robin Hood is a fictional character that may or may not have been based on a historical figure.

    “Many of the wealthy in this country started out in the bottom 50% of earners.”

    That is Libertarian myth writ large. Most of the wealthy in this country started off wealthy.

    “Government takes from the productive and gives to the unproductive.”

    Dogma and opinion. Social programs are not designed to fuel unproductive behavior but rather to ensure a minimum level of standard of living necessary to maintain society. Welfare fraud is at a rate so low it is practically non-existent.

    Come on. You can do better than this. Or maybe not. Your thinking is predicated upon Randian gibberish and false foundations build weak argument.

  27. Elaine M. says:

    David Brooks: So The Kochs Want To Spend Nearly One Billion? Big Deal!

    Not only is it the week for the press to sing Scott Walker’s praises, it’s also the week where everyone from MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew to the Fox talkers talked up the Kochs and their network. Because Billionaire Bucks are not to be trifled with, right?

    David Brooks wants us to pay no attention to that billion-dollar elephant in the center of the room. Speaking to Judy Woodruff, he waved away the entire investment, saying, “in these big national campaigns, whether they devote it to Senate races or presidential or even House races, the money is vastly overvalued. There’s just a ton of political science on this, that you can dump in a ton — once people reach a threshold, you can dump in a ton of money and have very little effect.”

    What is this political science you speak of, Bobo? And what makes you think they spend it all on ads?

    In fact, more Kochtopus funds are invested in think tanks and civic organizations intended to build the ground game Republicans consistently failed at.

    But Brooks got more specific about the effect of an independent investment of $1 billion into the 2016 campaign, suggesting that the impact is more on candidates than it is on voters.

    Well of course it is, David. The idea here is to present voters with Koch A and Koch B, and let them decide between carbon copies of one another. Meanwhile, their policy shops grind out fake papers and pressure their newly-bought Senators and Representatives to do the will of the Billionaires who bought them.

  28. bigfatmike says:

    “my history tells me that when people are free and government is restrained, real wages double and people rise out of poverty.”

    Now you have my curiosity up. What nations and what periods are you thinking of where real wages doubled and the poverty rate dropped?

    I would just like to see a cite to that data first. But the follow up questions would include what is meant by restrained government and what evidence supports the belief that increased economic performance is due to restrained government?

    Part of my curiosity has to do with restrained government. Sometimes restrained government seems to be little more than a euphemism for deregulation of business. There are examples where deregulation has lead to increased economic efficiency. But there are also examples where deregulation has contributed to economic problems. Deregulation is no panacea. So it will be interesting to see the characteristics of a restrained government.

  29. Elaine M. says:

    Marco Rubio Wins The Kochstakes!

    Because of all the wingnut parades last weekend, we overlooked the Kochstakes in Palm Springs, California. It’s time to make that right.

    After the conference (featuring appearances by ABC’s Jon Karl and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski), the Kochs and some of their rich donors held an informal straw poll to see who their Anointed One will be.

    And the winner is….MARCO RUBIO!

    In an informal straw poll of some conference donors, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida came out ahead of four other would-be GOP presidential candidates who had been invited, according to an attendee familiar with the results. The poll was conducted by Frank Luntz, a veteran GOP pollster, during a break-out session of the conference, which wrapped up Tuesday after a long weekend of presentations and discussions at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

  30. Bob Kauten says:

    Yah, bron, I been to Sherwood Forest and Nottingham. No Robin Hood. Apparently, no Robin Hood, ever. Even the folks in that area don’t believe the story.
    None of that Ayn Rand bullshit ever happened, either.
    Sorry to break all this to you.
    No I’m not.

  31. bron98 says:

    “The Kochs are not government although their apparent goal is indeed control of the government.”

    how do you know that? Are you inside their heads or can read minds? They dont have a standing army, they havent yet had much impact on the electorate. Although they did help Scott Walker get elected. I am guessing that due to his success with the budget, the people of Wisconsin arent all that upset about Walker. Their lives are better off because of libertarian ideas.

  32. bron98 says:

    Policy Forum
    Thursday, February 5, 2015 4:00PM

    Featuring C. Bradley Thompson Executive Director, Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, Clemson University; Christopher Hill, Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization; John A. Allison, President and CEO, Cato Institute, and former Chairman and CEO, BB&T Corporation; and Jay Schalin, Director of Policy Analysis, John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Moderated by Neal P. McCluskey, Associate Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute.

    Colleges often seem hostile to, or at least uninterested in, Western civilization, free markets, and other “conservative” or “libertarian” subjects. This has left a void that is increasingly being filled by privately funded academic centers founded in or near colleges and universities. But how objective are such centers? Do their donors call all the shots? Can they significantly widen inquiry in academia? Please join Cato and the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy for an in-depth discussion of this growing phenomenon.

  33. “how do you know that?”

    Because I know how campaign finance and lobbying works and I understand that no one makes a billion dollar investment out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect a return. The return on that kind of spending is access and control.

    Logic and observation! It’s not just for breakfast anymore, B.

  34. bron98 says:

    you dont understand the libertarian mind. you think we operate on the same premises as the left and to a lesser degree, the right. We do not, we actually believe in free minds and free markets and that is what we are working toward. We do not want power over others.

  35. bron98 says:


    About the Institute

    The Charles Koch Institute is an educational organization focused on the importance of free societies and how they increase well-being for the overwhelming majority of people. Through the Institute’s professional education, research, and training programs, we work to prepare professionals for careers that improve well-being by advancing free societies.

    For more than two decades, Charles G. Koch has given professionals and students the opportunity to turn their passion for liberty into careers through professional education programs. These opportunities have expanded to include the Koch Associate Program, Koch Internship Program, the Koch Summer Fellow Program, and Liberty@Work®. During 2013, more than 200 people completed our programs and there are currently more than 2,000 alumni.

    In conjunction with the professional education programs, the Institute has launched a new educational project focused on well-being. The Well-Being Initiative aims to encourage dialogue on the definition, drivers, and measures of well-being. Through research, events, and a broader dialogue, we hope to inspire people to improve their own communities. Educational program participants have the opportunity to contribute to this discussion on how best to improve well-being through reading discussions, speakers, and more.

    The Institute is an educational organization described in sections 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    Oh shit, a statists worst nightmare, people who are working for limited government and free markets.

  36. You don’t understand that the Kochs aren’t actual small “L” libertarians, B. Gary T is an actual small “L” libertarian. They’re authoritarians. Specifically corporatists hiding behind the Libertarian Party and the baggers, preaching a freedom they don’t want you to have. They want to be free to screw over whomever they wish without consequence. That is as far as their love of and understanding of freedom goes. You? Seem to be much closer to them with the faux big “L” than Gary T is from what I’ve gathered from his posts here and elsewhere. You, my friend, are highly susceptible to propaganda if you think the Kochs are anything other than would be oligarchs.

  37. bron98 says:

    About Charles G. Koch

    Charles G. Koch is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries, Inc., a position he has held since 1967. Since then, the company has been transformed into a dynamic and diverse group of companies employing more than 100,000 people worldwide, with about 60,000 of those in the United States, and a presence in about 60 countries. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested approximately $65 billion in acquisitions and other capital expenditures. Based in Wichita, Kan., Koch Industries is involved in refining, chemicals and biofuels; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; electronic components; commodity trading; minerals; energy; ranching; glass; and investments. Familiar Koch companies’ brands include STAINMASTER® carpet, LYCRA® fiber, Quilted Northern® tissue, and the Dixie® brand of cups, plates, and cutlery.

    Much of Koch Industries’ success can be traced to Mr. Koch’s interest in and commitment to scientific and social progress, which led to the development and implementation of Market-Based Management® business philosophy. The concepts and practice of MBM® are described in Mr. Koch’s book, The Science of Success, published in February 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Mr. Koch is further developing the theories and expanding the practice of the MBM philosophy, as well as other applications of the science of human action, not only throughout Koch Industries, but also with scholars, non-profit leaders, government officials and other business leaders.

    He has continuously supported academic and public policy research (including a number of Nobel Prize winners) for 50 years, with a special focus on developing voluntary, market-based solutions to social problems. This interest led Mr. Koch to found or help build a number of organizations, including the Institute for Humane Studies, Cato Institute, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Bill of Rights Institute, and Market-Based Management Institute.

    Mr. Koch received a bachelor’s degree in general engineering (1957) and two master’s degrees in nuclear and chemical engineering (1958 and 1959, respectively) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    His employment has been as an engineer, Arthur D. Little, Inc. 1959-61; vice president, Koch Engineering Company, Inc. 1961-63, president, 1963-71; president, Koch Industries, Inc. 1966-74; chairman and chief executive officer, 1967- present.

    He was born in Wichita, Kansas. Mr. Koch and his wife of 41 years, Liz, have two children.

  38. bron98 says:

    better a big L than a big S.

    I have to admit, I am a sucker for anyone who says they believe in limited government and free and open markets.

    They are spending a good deal of money to try and get the limited government message out there. For now I believe them.

  39. How very dogmatic of you, B.

  40. Elaine M. says:

    David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Is Fighting a Tax Perk He Once Exploited
    —By Andy Kroll | Fri Jan. 30, 2015

    Americans for Prosperity, the free-market advocacy group established by the Koch brothers, mounts battles around the country on issues big and small via its nationwide network of chapters. Right now in North Carolina, AFP is vigorously opposing the revival of a state tax credit for renovating historic properties. The credit, which can be claimed by a company or a person, expired at the end of 2014, and the state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, is pushing to renew it. AFP is working hard to thwart him. But the group’s lobbying on this issue might be a tad awkward for one of its main benefactors: David Koch, who cofounded AFP and currently serves as chairman of the AFP Foundation. He used a near-identical tax credit when he renovated his historic Palm Beach villa—and saved money at local taxpayers’ expense.

    Donald Bryson, the director of AFP-North Carolina, recently told the Fayetteville Observer that the restoration perk was “another one of those tax credits that complicates the tax code.” Bryson went on, “We’re all for historic preservation, we have no problems with that. But if people are going to do it, they need to do it within the private market. I don’t know why that requires a state tax credit.”

    What Bryson probably didn’t know was that David Koch relied on the same type of tax credit when he spruced up Villa el Sarmiento, his 25,000-square-foot historic oceanfront mansion on Palm Beach’s swanky South Ocean Boulevard, a decade ago.


    If Charles Koch is so rich, why did he feel the need to use a tax credit to spruce up his mansion in Palm Beach? He’s just another right-wing hypocrite sucking money off of the taxpayers.

  41. Bob Kauten says:

    Please, bron, regale us with more Koch-sucking propaganda. We love it!

  42. Elaine M. says:

    How the Koch Brothers and Other Family Capitalists Are Ruining America
    Why are multibillionaires dictating how America teaches its youth, provides healthcare and collects taxes?

    George Baer was a railroad and coal mining magnate at the turn of the twentieth century. Amid a violent and protracted strike that shut down much of the country’s anthracite coal industry, Baer defied President Teddy Roosevelt’s appeal to arbitrate the issues at stake, saying, “The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for…not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country.” To the Anthracite Coal Commission investigating the uproar, Baer insisted, “These men don’t suffer. Why hell, half of them don’t even speak English.”

    We might call that adopting the imperial position. Titans of industry and finance back then often assumed that they had the right to supersede the law and tutor the rest of America on how best to order its affairs. They liked to play God. It’s a habit that’s returned with a vengeance in our own time.

    The Koch brothers are only the most conspicuous among a whole tribe of “self-made” billionaires who imagine themselves architects or master builders of a revamped, rehabilitated America. The resurgence of what might be called dynastic or family capitalism, as opposed to the more impersonal managerial capitalism many of us grew up with, is changing the nation’s political chemistry.

    Our own masters of the universe, like the “robber barons” of old, are inordinately impressed with their ascendancy to the summit of economic power. Add their personal triumphs to American culture’s perennial love affair with business—President Calvin Coolidge, for instance, is remembered today only for proclaiming that “the business of America is business”—and you have a formula for megalomania.

    Take Jeff Greene, otherwise known as the “Meltdown Mogul.” Back in 2010, he had the chutzpah to campaign in the Democratic primary for a Florida senate seat in a Miami neighborhood ravaged by the subprime mortgage debacle—precisely the arena in which he had grown fabulously rich. In the process, he rallied locals against Washington insiders and regaled them with stories of his life as a busboy at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. Protected from the Florida sun by his Prada shades, he alluded to his wealth as evidence that, as a maestro of collateralized debt obligations, no one knew better than he how to run the economy he had helped to pulverize. He put an exclamation point on his campaign by flying off in his private jet only after securely strapping himself in with his gold-plated seat buckles.

    Olympian entrepreneurs like Greene regularly end up seeing themselves as tycoons-cum-savants. When they run for office, they do so as if they were trying to get elected to the board of directors of America, Inc. Some will brook no interference with their will. Property, lots of it, in a society given over to its worship, becomes a blank check: everything is permitted to those who have it…


    Instead dynasts of yesteryear and today have created family businesses or, as in the case of the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, taken over ones launched by their fathers to which they are fiercely devoted. They guard their business sanctuaries by keeping them private, wary of becoming dependent on outside capital resources that might interfere with their freedom to do what they please with what they’ve amassed.

    And they think of what they’ve built up not so much as a pile of cash, but as a patrimony to which they are bound by ties of blood, religion, region and race. These attachments turn ordinary business into something more transcendent. They represent the tissues of a way of life, even a philosophy of life. Its moral precepts about work, individual freedom, family relations, sexual correctness, meritocracy, equality and social responsibility are formed out of the same process of self-invention that gave birth to the family business. Habits of methodical self-discipline and the nurturing and prudential stewardship that occasionally turns a modest competency into a propertied goliath encourage the instinct to instruct and command.

    There is no Tycoon Party in the United States imposing ideological uniformity on a group of billionaires who, by their very nature as übermensch, march to their own drummers and differ on many matters. Some are philanthropically minded, others parsimonious; some are pietistic, others indifferent. Wall Street hedge fund creators may donate to Obama and be card-carrying social liberals on matters of love and marriage, while heartland types like the Koch brothers obviously take another tack politically. But all of them subscribe to one thing: a belief in their own omniscience and irresistible will.

  43. bigfatmike says:

    ” We do not, we actually believe in free minds and free markets and that is what we are working toward. We do not want power over others.”

    I admit that I have not taken the time to give sufficient consideration to all the points you have raised.

    But I think there is one tangent that we ought to discuss. I realize this is an over simplification of you position, yet you seem to suggest that we can choose freedom along the libertarian pattern or we can choose slavery under an unconstrained government.

    I would argue that is a false dichotomy. I see no alternative to living in a modern technological society. In that form of social and political organization there are decisions that will be made one way or another. Some of those decisions relate to jobs and employment. Others relate to welfare, how we organize health care, education, and the distribution of necessities such as food and shelter.

    For 99.9% of the population the choice is not freedom or slavery. The choice is will we allow those decisions to be made by oligarchs or will we required that those decisions be made by government officials that we choose through some kind of democratic process.

    As a matter of principle I think there is more freedom in having those choices made by democratically chosen officials rather than oligarchs. In addition as a practical matter I think the vast majority of us stand a much better chance of living with the results of reasonable decisions if we support democratically elected government officials rather than the power of oligarchs to shape the conditions of our lives.

    I am going to guess you disagree.

  44. Bob Kauten says:

    bron will never agree with anything reasonable if you give him advance notice.
    He glorifies assholes because he wants us to think that he’s one of them.
    bron’s actually a sweet old progressive/socialist/fascist, like the rest of us.

    • bigfatmike says:

      Bron and I have been arguing for a couple of years now.

      I don’t have any expectation that I am going to convince him of anything, not anytime soon, anyway.

      But on a good day I might keep him up past his bedtime trying to figure how to respond.

  45. bron98 says:


    I think our government as originally constituted was a good model. Representative democracy with a constitution and bill of rights to provide protection of the individual from the crowd. Our Republic used to do just that.

    I have no right to another man’s work. It is pretty simple, it is what the enlightenment was all about. Whether it be a king taking money from a subject or a government taking money from a citizen, it is wrong. I do not believe in anarchy and I hope the Kochs dont, I would not support them if they did. Government is or should only be to protect the rights of individuals. Off all individuals, rich or poor.

    No man has a right to trample on the rights of others. No man has a right to another man’s labor, life or property. That is what our revolution was about. Our Declaration says that we are endowed with rights not with obligations. Now we are obligated to provide for others food, housing, health care, college education [if Obama gets his way]; cradle to grave support. It isnt right, it isnt just and it is against nature. No other animal in nature does no work for its existence.

    Since we are rational, we should look out for those who truly cannot work but those are few in number. There is no good reason to provide a mentally and physically healthy individual with anything but an opportunity.

    I personally resent my taxes going to support people who are competent to work. It isnt justice, it is bull shit.

    It is also bull shit for a rich man to think he is going to tell me how to live my life. To hell with any man or woman for that matter who thinks they know more about what I need to live my life. It is mine, not theirs. Let them live for themselves and let me live as I see fit, with the simple caveat that I do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Government should protect people from those who would not follow that rule.

  46. bron98 says:

    Environmentalists demonize human industry and accomplishment as evil because they worship nature. Humanity spoils the unspoiled natural environment. It kills the mosquitoes, destroys malaria and turns lovely swamps into ugly parks full of hideous children enjoying themselves.


  47. “Environmentalists demonize human industry and accomplishment as evil because they worship nature.”

    Really. So wanting clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and clean soil to grow crops in is demoninzing. I’d have never guessed it.

  48. bron98 says:

    Did you read the article?

    Everyone wants those things.

    Technology and progress has done more for human life than almost anything else.

    People used to live until 35, when the air was clean and the water was pure and the soil was free from fertlizer and pesticides. Now we are living into our 80’s. Because of better nutrition, hygeine and crop production. So I would say that people who want to eliminate those life saving products are demonizing the cause.

  49. B.,

    As you are often prone to do, you are arguing from extremes. Also your belief that technology can solve any problem is misguided at best.

  50. bron98 says:

    actually technology is only a tool of humanity. I imagine the monks of AD 1100 said much the same thing as you did above.

    It may not be able to solve every problem but traveling faster than the speed of light isnt high on our priority list at this point in time.

  51. bron98 says:

    “We have spent the prime of our lives in procuring them the precious blessing of liberty. Let them spend theirs in shewing that it is the great parent of science and of virtue; and that a nation will be great in both always in proportion as it is free.”

    Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Willard, March 24, 1789

  52. No, B., your faith in technology is like faith in anything else: a belief not always supported by empirical evidence. Also, FTL travel would necessitate a huge number of ancillary technologies not the least of which would be fusion power or some kind of zero-point generator so that alone would solve a huge problem for the species. Technology can also fail us in spectacular ways too. If you don’t think so?

    Lead paint.
    Radium as a curative.
    Trawling nets.
    The Sharps Buffalo Gun.

    Just because you can do something doesn’t make it wise to do it or that it won’t have an associated cost that may be too high for the benefit. We as a species often don’t display an appropriate level of forethought before deploying a technology. And even when we do there is the X of the unforeseen to deal with. Technology is a tool. Like any tool, it can be abused or misused to bad effect. It isn’t a panacea. It most certainly isn’t a guarantee of survival.

  53. Bob Kauten says:

    The “Free F. Market” produced, and will solve, all of those problems.
    Ain’t nothin’ freer than dead folks.
    Ol’ bron wants to start a fight by babbling stupid shit to educated people.
    People who actually read history stuff.
    Good luck with that.
    Devil’s advocate.
    Endlessly repetitive.

  54. Elaine M. says:

    Libertarians hijacked the right: How free-market zealots doomed American conservatism
    There used to be conservative economists in America. How libertarian donors and Southern voters changed everything

    In today’s debate about the economy, populist liberals, centrist neoliberals and libertarians are represented. One group is missing from the American economic debate: economic conservatives.

    The economists and economic pundits who are usually described as “conservatives” in the U.S. are really libertarians, or, if they are more moderate, right-neoliberals. While genuine conservatives are anti-utopian in temperament, most right-wing economists in the U.S. share the utopian belief that many if not most public services and publicly regulated utilities can be replaced with competitive private markets. Libertarian policy thinkers sometimes favor a minor degree of income redistribution, but only if it takes the form of means-tested vouchers for those otherwise unable to pay for goods and services in the yet-to-be-created markets, which, they believe, can replace much of the public sector.

    The intellectual heroes of economic libertarianism—Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek and, for some, Ayn Rand—did not consider themselves conservatives. On the contrary, they all rejected conservatism and tended to describe themselves as nineteenth-century classical liberals. In the 19th century, by the way, classical liberals like the young J.S. Mill tended to be known as “Radicals,” and called their movement “philosophical radicalism,” which underlines how un-conservative the libertarian right really is. To compound the irony, the American Social Security system that these 19th-century radicals abominate is modeled on the public pension policy of Wilhelmine Germany’s conservative chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

    How did libertarians come to dominate economic thinking on the right side of the political spectrum in America? In other English-speaking nations and Western Europe, non-libertarian traditions contest or dominate the center-right to this day. Britain’s Conservative Party has its “Tory wet” wing, hostile to radical free-marketeers. French Gaullists are not libertarians. Neither are Christian Democrats in Germany, where libertarians tend to cluster in the relatively unsuccessful Free Democrat party. Japan? Forget it…


    The monopolization of economic thought on the right by libertarians benefits the American center-left. Of all potential opponents to the right of center that progressives might face, libertarians are the feeblest in terms of public appeal.

    In other industrial democracies, the right can play the cards of economic patriotism and economic family values. But not in America. Today’s American right can’t combine its fervent national-security militarism with economic nationalism as a corollary, as long as “conservative” economists and pundits take the libertarian line that the offshoring of U.S. industry to foreign countries, including mercantilist nations like China that cheat, is good for everybody.

    At the same time, the marginalization of the family-values paleoconservative school means that progressive proposals for family leave and day-care will not be answered by intelligent conservative proposals that emphasize homemakers and home-schoolers rather than working parents. Instead, the American right will simply echo the claims of callous employers that universal paid family leave or public subsidies for childcare of any kind will cripple the American economy, even though similar programs have been compatible with economic success elsewhere. Reactionaries in the business community made similar cold, utilitarian, Scrooge-like arguments against child labor bans, the minimum wage and maximum hours legislation—and eventually lost, in each case.

    Instead of denouncing the Koch brothers, the Club for Growth, Paul Ryan and other free-market zealots on the right, American progressives should thank them for hijacking American conservatism and compelling it to push a libertarian agenda of privatizing Social Security, voucherizing Medicare and abolishing the minimum wage that has zero political appeal.

  55. bron98 says:


    WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Congressman Lee Zeldin, R-NY-1, today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for information regarding media reports that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund efforts to influence upcoming elections in Israel.

  56. bron98 says:


    You dont really write much of anything, your idea of thinking is to agree with Gene.

  57. bron98 says:


    And what exactly took care of those things? A better understanding made possible by technology.

    People are not perfect, to move forward there will be mistakes. A free and open society corrects those mistakes.

    I never figured you for a Luddite, learn something new every day.

  58. Bron,

    Some of those problems haven’t been “taken care of”. Also, I’m not a Luddite. Far from it. Let’s just say I have a nuanced understanding of applied science.

  59. bron98 says:

    You seem to be to me.

    Political science maybe.

    how many types of asbestos are there? Which ones cause cancer and which ones dont? Or do all forms cause cancer.

  60. The Koch Agenda and Objectivism seems like good ideas to you, so pardon me if I use a different yardstick as to my understanding of science and applied science, B. The bottom line is you are placing faith – a belief – in technology that is exactly counter to fundamental precepts of the scientific method – empirical observation, hypothesis, verification (or falsification) via repeatable experimentation. Science isn’t a religion although a shocking number of people treat it as one. To think technology can solve all our problems at all let alone in a timely manner is whistling past the graveyard and most unwise.

  61. Bob Kauten says:

    Only when Gene’s right.

  62. bron98 says:

    Sure it can, all in due time. We still have a good deal of science still to do.

  63. Tell that to the animal species that are dying off at a record rate, B. If you can find one. Our technological innovation sure as Hell isn’t helping preserve biodiversity. Which wouldn’t be a big deal except that biodiversity is a if not the key indicator of the health of an ecosystem which in turn wouldn’t be a big deal except that humans – despite a commonly held mistaken belief to the contrary – are part of the ecosystem. You do realize at the present rate, your grandchildren are likely to remember actual seafood, but their kids? Not so much. Do you know what the various extinction events thorough out history have in common? They all tell us that in the food web, the most disposable and ergo replaceable component of that system are apex predators. Guess what humans are? Apex predators, probably the apex predator on Earth.

    But here comes technology . . .

    That very same technology that is allowing us to despoil the environment faster than we can fix it.


    You and your laissez-faire brethren should take up the fiddle.

    I hear Nero gives good lessons.

    Technology is a tool. It could help us mitigate and even reverse some (but certainly not all) of the damage we’ve done collectively as a species. Whether it will or not? Is not only uncertain but given our propensity for short-sightedness as a species, but highly unlikely.

    Sleep tight.

  64. bron98 says:

    how many species have died off over earths history? the answer is most of them.

    Animals are killed for food in poverty stricken countries.

    Look what John D. did, he saved the whales from extinction. Capitalism saved the whales. Free people working in their own interest saved the whales.

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