Saturday, August 27, 2011

David Koch: Philanthropist By Day, Batman Villain By Night.

I know I said that I would be talking about the Koch Brothers, but it's much easier to talk primarily about David Koch.  His brother, Charles, is like-minded when it comes to politics, and I figured a long post about two old white guys would start to sound dreadfully bland - "white," if you will.  Then again, most of my political posts are about white guys.

At any rate, as I was reading about David Koch, I found that he reminded me of Harvey Dent.  Hell, maybe they're related.  Harvey Dent is, of course, a purely fictional character that also goes by the name of "Two-Face."  Just ask Batman.  Reading through David's biography is like reading the journal of a schizophrenic.  On one day he's saving lives, and on the next day he's blowing up cities.   It created a bit of a conundrum for me because, unlike Roger Ailes and Pat Robertson, David Koch has actually done good things.  He gives millions to charities and organizations as well as to art and education programs.  You know that show Nova on PBS?  He donated $7 million to it!

If David Koch's history of giving stopped right there, I'd label him a bona-fide philanthropist and call this post finished.  Unfortunately, it doesn't.  You get the feeling after reading through the full list of his donations that he really only gives to charity in order to save face.  That sounds awful, I know, but hear me out.

He co-owns Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the country.  It brings in a whopping $100 billion a year in profits.  What does it do, you ask?  Why, it's an oil and chemical company!  I wonder what kind of platform this guy would run on if he were running for president...

In 1980, he did, in fact, run for president.  Well, vice-president.  But the Clark-Koch platform was based on the abolishment of Social Security, Welfare, minimum wage laws, corporate taxes, the Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, the Department of Energy, the CIA, the FBI, and the FEC.  For all you oil company owners out there, this would probably be your dream come true.

"Heads - I donate to charity. Tails - I punch a poor person."

Flipping back to his philanthropist side, David Koch is actually all for gay marriage and stem cell research!  Read that again, because it probably blew your mind.  Oh, it didn't?  Well, what if I told you that David Koch and his brother (FLIP... TAILS) played a very large role in forming the Tea Party?  

(FLIP... HEADS) But he's against the war in Iraq!

(FLIP... TAILS) Fuck, but he also thinks Obama is "the most radical president we've ever had" and a "hardcore socialist" who is "marvelous at pretending to be something other than that."
(FLIP... HEADS) David Koch had prostate cancer, and has donated lots of money to finding an actual cure.

(FLIP... TAILS) But his company produces, according to a New Yorker article, known cancer causing carcinogens...

Mayer’s article sheds light on many other ways in which the Koch family has intertwined its business interests with its investment in right-wing groups. She also exposes a serious conflict of interest with David Koch’s position as a board member to the National Cancer Institute, an honor granted to him by President Bush. Mayer notes that while David Koch has been “casting himself as a champion in the fight against cancer, Koch Industries has been lobbying to prevent the E.P.A. from classifying formaldehyde, which the company produces in great quantities, as a ‘known carcinogen’ in humans.”

The guy is clearly at war with himself.  I honestly don't know what else to call it.  He funds and does a lot of stupid shit, while funding and doing a lot of awesome shit.  It's hard to tell which side of the coin David Koch will land on next.  What's more, it's hard to tell which side is genuine.  You read things about him such as how he supports gay marriage and then you read about how he thinks global warming is a good thing, saying that, "The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food."  Faulty logic, if you ask me.  Someone should tell David Koch that land masses don't float on water.  As the oceans rise, we will actually lose land.

In the end, I'm biased.  If you're just now figuring that out, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.  I don't like David Koch.  Throwing money around does not make you a good person, and neither does simply believing in an idea.  By operating in the shadows and coming up with these elaborate plots such as, "I'll fund the tea party movement, but I'll also donate money to an art museum so I don't look like a dick," you're actually looking like a dick.  And an obvious one at that.  A dick with a party hat and a kazoo.

In order to properly brainwash you, my readers, into believing in the liberal agenda (a.k.a. common sense) that I've been peddling for almost a year now (holy shit!), I'm going to end on a lovely note provided by Think Progress of just a sampling of David Koch's tail-side-up coin tosses.  In all likelihood, you learn more from it than from whatever ramblings you got out of the top part of this post.

– In April 2009, ThinkProgress revealed that Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by David Koch, was helping to plan dozens of the first national Tea Party rallies. Americans for Prosperity staffers organized events, from making reservations, to providing talking points and signs, to calling activists to encourage them to participate.
– In August 2009, ThinkProgress obtained an exclusive memo from a Tea Party group supported by Koch’s Americans for Prosperity. The memo outlined various ways for Tea Party activists to intimidate Democratic lawmakers and disrupt their town hall meetings on health reform. ThinkProgress published half a dozen articles exposing the role of Koch-funded groups like “Patients United” in encouraging opposition to health reform. For instance, in Virginia, a Koch-funded operative Ben Marchi assisted a birther who followed Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) around, yelling at him at town hall meetings.
– In May 2009, the Wonk Room published a detailed history of Tim Phillips, an astroturf lobbyist Koch appointed to run his Americans for Prosperity front.Phillips had served as a business partner to Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed.
– Writing in the Boston Globe, ThinkProgress commented on the similarities between David and Charles’ Tea Party movement to their father’s efforts to attack President John Kennedy through the John Birch Society.
– The Wonk Room reported on thirty years of Koch Industry environmental front groups. The timeline showed how Koch tried desperately to smear the cap and trade system set up to address acid rain with a “grassroots” group without a single grassroots member.
– At Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) “House Call” rally, ThinkProgress produced a video report exposing Koch for paying for dozens of buses for anti-health reform activists to reach DC. We also captured the picture of a large banner comparing health reform to the Holocaust.
– The Wonk Room investigated Koch Industries’ role in the effort to repeal AB 32, the landmark California climate change clean energy law. The Wonk Room’s video report revealed how Koch Industries’ reliance on high-carbon Canadian crude would become less profitable if similar laws like AB 32 are enacted around the country.
– ThinkProgress reported how a variety of right-wing fronts supported by the Koch family and its political deputies not only helped overturn nearly a hundred years in campaign finance law in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, but also is lobbying aggressively against the DISCLOSE Act, which would provide transparency into the campaign spending for plutocrats like the Koch family.
– The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson reported extensively on the multiple climate-denying campaigns orchestrated by the Koch family. Johnson has lampoonedsome of the Koch family’s more ridiculous attempts at billionaire populism.
– ThinkProgress partnered with Climate Progress to investigate David Koch’s funding of the Smithsonian Institute. We spoke to the Smithsonian director, who continued to express gratitude to Koch, and whitewashed Koch’s role in distorting public knowledge of climate science. Similarly, we have long chronicled the “Swift Boat” style attack campaign conducted by Koch’s various anti-science fronts.
– The Wonk Room reported on how Koch-backed groups and media outlets spread the myth that the so-called “Climategate” e-mails showed that scientists had concealed climate data from the public.

For more on David Koch, check out his wikipedia page (I promise it's accurate), or watch The Dark Knight to see his alternate persona in action.  

Oh, yeah - P.S: He helped Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, demolish
the teacher's union... from the shadows.

No comments: