Koch brothers ‘the Standard Oil of our times’
April 11, 2014 12:00 AM | 2237 views | 10 10 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government.”

— Theodore Roosevelt.

Charles Koch lives in a world of wealth and privilege you cannot imagine. His every desire is fulfilled instantly by the fawning personal staff that surrounds him.

His fortune is inherited, so it has always been thus for Charles, whose net worth exceeds $40 billion.

It would be impossible for Charles to spend all his money even if he succeeds in purchasing our political system, a goal made more attainable after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority dutifully paved the way for him by striking down limits on political campaign giving.

Yet, at an age when many wealthy people seek to benefit America’s greater good when they’re gone, 78-year-old Charles is another embittered conservative billionaire who feels America has let him down.

“I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives,” Charles wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last week. “It is those principles … that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.”

Revealing isn’t it? His very first word is “I.” America comes last.

“Unfortunately,” continues Charles, “the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. ... It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to … engage in the political process.”

Charles presents no examples but I would love to know how the “nation’s own government” has robbed him or anyone else of their “dignity” or “personal freedom.”

His engagement with politics happens to coincide with the rise of authentic American democratic principles, the ones that put President Obama in office after eight ruinous years of Koch-supported conservative rule that begat a disastrous economic recession.

I’ll give Charles this: He puts his money where his mouth is. He spent $122 million in 2012 trying to defeat Obama.

Just free me from taxation and regulation, whines Charles, and all will be well with you hoi polloi; the conservative trickle-down myth — again.

“Big government and collectivism,” he goes on, sounding like Sean Hannity’s cranky grandpa. “Health care debacle … character assassination … Saul Alinsky … despots …” Yada, yada, yada.

Evidently vast wealth buys no originality.

Until they were smoked out by watchdog groups, Charles and his brother David attempted to anonymously manipulate the American political system through front groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, two of the many propaganda outfits they fund to promote their agenda with help from tea party dupes and the right wing media.

And if you know what Charles’ agenda is, you’ll understand why he’d prefer to stay hidden. It is dangerously undemocratic, one in which Koch and his fellow one per centers are the ruling aristocracy.

Everyone else eats cake.

“(The) Koch brothers seek broad ideological change,” noted the New York Times, “knowing that reducing the overall power of government will give their widely scattered industries more freedom and higher profits, unburdened by pesky environmental and financial regulations.”

Charles has good reason to abhor regulators. His company is one of the biggest polluters in America, annually discharging 200,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which explains why he spent $50 million pushing global warming denial.

Meantime, he paid the EPA a $1.7 million fine and promised another $500 million to repair the environmental damage his companies caused in seven states.

“The political network spearheaded by (the Kochs) has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity,” reported the Washington Post.

“There’s no one else who has spent this much money,” adds Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity. “(The Kochs have) a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. … They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 17, 2014
Money in politics? KF, you'd be well advised to give careful consideration to your topics.

Michael Bloomberg has pledged $50 million to set up a grass roots effort to take on gun control issues.

Note that his prior effort - Mayors Against Illegal Guns - was a total flop.

Ben Twomey
April 16, 2014
Oh, my word. with all the rear kicking Kevin is getting on this one, I guess we can look for another "pity party" column this week.

How about it, Kevin? Are you feeling picked on because nobody takes your ranting seriously?
April 13, 2014
Krazy on Koch...

April 11, 2014
"Charles Koch lives in a world of wealth and privilege you cannot imagine. His every desire is fulfilled instantly by the fawning personal staff that surrounds him."

Where in the world did this come from? Have you been a guest in his home? KF, your wealth envy is very unattractive.

"His company is one of the biggest polluters in America, annually discharging 200,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere..."


Notwithstanding the EPA's proclamation that carbon dioxide is a "pollutant", conservatives and thinking people know that carbon dioxide is necessary to sustain life.

"...which explains why he spent $50 million pushing global warming denial."

Liberal-billionaire-activist-climate change-disciple Tom Steyer has pledged to spend $100M in the 2014 election cycle.

Also, you are aware that Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and others, accepted Koch money, right?

Not your best work, KF; but, we understand. Since things aren't going well for the Democrats, an attack such as this is all you've got.

How about a quick tally?

The gender pay gap tripe is going nowhere. The religion of climate change is unraveling and losing membership. Evidence of collusion between Rep. Cummings' staff and the IRS is beginning to surface. Teachers unions hate the idea of charter schools; however, minority parents LIKE 'em. The unions want Keystone built, but not the Owl Gore congregation. Oh, the unions also don't like O'care. The UAW made no headway into the VW plant in Chattanooga. If Hillary doesn't run, who will? Can you imagine the in-fighting this will create? Sebelius retired so we have another confirmation to endure. Obama's candidate will be confirmed but it will be a public forum to air the dirty laundry of O'care...again. The Dems up for reelection are running away from Obama.

See, KF? There are many...ISSUES...to discuss.

So, spare us the Cheet-ohs jokes and let's "argue the substance." Remember, these were your words, not mine.
on balance
April 12, 2014
Outstanding rebuttal CobbCoGuy. Foley will have to resort to his many aliases to try to rebut your excellent comments.
Unbelievable Now
April 11, 2014
One of the greatest pieces of hypocritical writing you have ever produced Mr Foley. The elitist secular progressive crowd has poured billions into Democrat coffers. In the middle of the Benghazi crisis, Obama ran off to a fund raiser in Hollywood to ensure that bunch of elitist leftists kept pouring money into Democrat coffers. Then there is the Oprah, George Soros, Bill Gates, and host of other far left secular progressives who are pouring their millions into creating a secular socialist America. Kevin, I think you enjoy the attention you get by writing these hilarious pieces. Do you really believe the junk you write?
April 11, 2014
Duh, whut about George Soros and "Babs"?
Kenneth D. Parrott
April 11, 2014
Waa waa waa..

I feel your pain Kevin. It sure would be nice if those mean old Kochs were as sweet and wonderful as that nice Mr. Soros. I am sure you will agree that if they were more like him, everything would be all right; wouldn't it?

Standard Of What
April 11, 2014
The definition of Hypocrisy is Kevin Foley whining about the Koch brothers, while ignoring the fact that George Soros owns the Democrat party.
Ben Twomey
April 11, 2014
Funny how you liberals love to attack the Koch Brothers because they have money. You are ashamed to mention George Soros, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and a half hundred Hollywood elites and professional athletes who are also obscenely wealthy and who bought the Presidency for a community organizer who sold his soul to become a puppet. Through him, they are fostering the One World Government concept. A vile,and evil concept which flies in the face of the very principles upon which this country was founded. The Koch Brothers, in their wildest dreams, could never hope to do as much damage to this country as the liberal wealthy elite have done and are plotting to continue, provided they can figure out how to keep Obama in office, or how to get their other puppet, Hillary Clinton, into the White House.

So take your smoke screen about the Koch Brothers and go play in the traffic on 285 during rush hour.
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