Late Night Open Thread: Have the Kochs Chickened Out?

Or — parsimonious businessmen that they are — do they just figure Trump’s doing their job this election cycle?

From the Reuters article:

… The decision by the billionaire industrialists is another setback to Republican establishment efforts to derail the New York real estate mogul’s bid for the White House, and follows speculation the Kochs would soon launch a “Trump Intervention.”…

Three sources close to the Kochs said the brothers made the decision because they were concerned that spending millions of dollars attacking Trump would be money wasted, since they had not yet seen any attack on Trump stick.

The Koch brothers are also smarting from the millions of dollars they pumped into the failed 2012 Republican presidential bids of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the sources said…

60 replies
  1. 1
    LuckyDucky says:

    They realized early on their boy Walker wasn’t going anywhere when the Trump carnival came to town. Better to bow out early, work on his whole “answering questions” thing and come back untarnished in 2020 to run against President Clinton. Plus, by staying out now, they won’t burn a bridge with Trump, who will certainly still be politically relevant in 2020.

  2. 2

    Random story. So I was reading Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, of the Dresden Files series. And I ran across this random-ish digression while a wizard is having a climactic fight with a werewolf:

    I hurt. I was weary. I felt as though I had betrayed myself, given myself over to the darkness I’d tried so hard to resist by donning the evilly enchanted wolf belt—because let there be no mistaking, that is evil. Anything with that much power and that little control, that utter lack of concern for anything but self is evil in the most effective sense of the word. There was nothing left inside of me.

    But I had to find it. I had to find enough magic to stop this bloodletting, once and forever.

    I searched inside of me, where everything was numb and empty and tired. Magic comes from the heart, from your feelings, your deepest expressions of desire. That’s why black magic is so easy—it comes from lust, from fear and anger, from things that are easy to feed and make grow. The sort I do is harder. It comes from something deeper than that, a truer and purer source—harder to tap, harder to keep, but ultimately more elegant, more powerful.

    My magic. That was at the heart of me. It was a manifestation of what I believed, what I lived. It came from my desire to see to it that someone stood between the darkness and the people it would devour. It came from my love of a good steak, from the way I would sometimes cry at a good movie or a moving symphony. From my life. From the hope that I could make things better for someone else, if not always for me.

    Somewhere, in all of that, I touched on something that wasn’t tapped out, in spite of how horrible the past days had been, something that hadn’t gone cold and numb inside of me. I grasped it, held it in my hand like a firefly, and willed its energy out.

    And I was like, somebody’s been to AA! So I looked it up and yep.

  3. 3
    Amir Khalid says:

    I don’t think the Kochs are holding their fire because the Donald is doing their job for them. That’s not how people like them operate. If they’re not the ones doing it, they reckon, they won’t be the ones to reap the benefits. They’re frustrated: Trump came in late, but now he’s beating them at their game. And they haven’t figured out how to fight him off.

  4. 4
    Ruckus says:

    Money can’t buy you love. Or at least it can’t always buy your agenda if you are the Kochsucker Bros. Is it possible that boycotting their products is having some affect, however small. They’ve wasted lots of money on buying politicians and elections and they have a bit of damage to show for it. But the ROI seems to be almost negative for them.

  5. 5
    Bobby Thomson says:

    OT: Kos gave all the anti-Democrats at the GOS notice that by March 15, if Sanders hasn’t started to climb out of the hole, they need to tone their rhetoric down or get banned. Hilarious butthurt ensues.

  6. 6
    Gravenstone says:

    They’ll use their money to try and maintain a compliant legislature. Because a President can only sign the bills that actually reach his desk, regardless of party affiliation.

  7. 7
    Luthe says:

    How long until our resident troll appears shouting about water cannons of cash?

    On the flip side, this is a scary development because every Koch-buck that isn’t used against Trump is one more that can be spent down-ticket…

  8. 8
    bluehill says:

    The Kochs see that the proles are getting wise to the con and are rising up against the plutocrats. I imagine that they don’t want Trump to win, but figure if he survives the onslaught they can buy him off later.

  9. 9
    🚸 Martin says:

    Nobody said a plutocracy was easy.

  10. 10
    reality-based (the original, not the troll) says:

    Competely off-topic question.

    Because I am still reeling from seeing clips of last night’s GOP cockfight, – I never can watch these things – and truly can’t even think about the depths of vulgarity and stupidity that our republic – and our electorate – have reached.

    So I am soliciting cat advice. I have a 17-year old charcoal tabby named Archie. Since his co-cat, my beloved 17 yr old Edith, was lost to kidney failure last June – he has been extremely restless, wakes me up 3 or 4 times a night for reassurance. curls around my head, purrs himself to sleep – then wakes up, goes to the living room looking for Edith, I think – and comes back to the bedroom yowling.

    Archie has always been an extremely social and vocal cat – but now I think he’s just so lonely, even with pretty much 24/7 doting from my mom and me. Given his advanced age, he’s in very good health – although the vet posits this could be some kitty mini-stroke or dementia behavior.

    So i want another cat., I was thinking some nice, calm, 5 year old neutered female rescue from the shelter to help fill the hole in my heart, and Archie’s – somebody who will snuggle him, and lick his ears.

    But I have never added a cat to a home which already had an aging feline king, (all other pairs of cats in my life arrived within weeks of each other, and passed within a few months of each other..)

    Have any fellow juicers ever done this? Did it work? Did the aging kitty accept/like the new cat/ Will the shelter let me adopt a cat with the proviso that if Archie was upset by the new kitty, I could bring her back?

    Most of our fellow citizens are hopeless. Let’s talk about cats

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Another O/T for another RIP. This time it is the great Southern writer Pat Conroy.

    This year, I dunno.

  12. 12
    Mike J says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): Our resident cat lady has spoken several times about bringing a new cat in. Have you checked her “way of cats” site?

  13. 13
    Steve in the ATL says:


    Another O/T for another RIP. This time it is the great Southern writer Pat Conroy.

    Oh man. One of the greats. Reminds me too of how much I miss the late Barry Hannah.

    And shouldn’t you be asleep?

  14. 14
    Walker says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll):

    In my experience, have to add two new cats, The younger cats play with each other, but keep the older cat from being lonely. If you add just one, it will always interact with the older cat and tire it out.

  15. 15
    reality-based (the original, not the troll) says:

    @Mike J: Mike – I did, but didn’t find any analogous situations – single lonely geriatric cat/middle-aged rescue. I’m hoping somebody here has successfully done it – so I can take the leap –

  16. 16
    GregB says:

    They can use some of that saved money finishing the construction of their evil lair built into the side of a coal mountain.

  17. 17
    reality-based (the original, not the troll) says:

    @Walker: that’s a good idea – unfortunately, our complex doesn’t allow more than 2 pets per unit. sigh. And reading “way of cats” – I don’t see how I’m going to be able to set upa a separate “new cat” space, as she advises. sigh.

  18. 18
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve had to deal with their main company, oil products and I have to say that everyone I talked to was an asshole. I also dealt with many other oi companies, large and small specialized and it wasn’t the industry. So I have a personal concept of what kind of assholes they must be to have people that many steps below them in the food chain act that way and it’s seemingly normal as I find most companies are run like the boss(es) want them to be run. I’ve also dealt with Clear Channel or whatever they call themselves now and the people in management were pretty much all assholes. We used to ask the people below them how they could work for such assholes and while I never got an answer the bowed heads said volumes.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I should be asleep. Opera tomorrow (well, today) so I really need to crash. Now.

  20. 20
    Tokyokie says:

    I think the Kochs recognize Donnie as the prep-school version of Wing Ding Weisenheimer, a loudmouth dolt whose fortune to be born into one has allowed him to skirt the consequences of his shallow understanding of most matters. They’ve also figured out that Trump, with all the free TV coverage he receives for being a junior high smartass, cannot be affected by opponents’ spending. If that were the case, Jeb! would be kicking his butt by now. Sure, the Kochs would have preferred Scooter Walker, a governor they personally housebroke, but when he proved to be a stiff as a candidate, they revoked his allowance and told him to mow neighborhood lawns if he wanted money to go see a movie. I’m sure the Kochs consider Trump to be gauche and boorish (They may be evil, but they’re not stupid), but they also recognize him as being more like them than not. He’s a right-winger born into extreme wealth, just like they were, and in the end, he’ll act more like they’d like than not. I don’t think the Kochs give a shit about marriage equality and those sort of issues any further than they can drive Republican voters to the polls. But when it comes to protecting upper-class privilege — which, at their core, is the only issue about which the Kochs care — their interests are perfectly aligned with Donnie’s.

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m sure you’re right; it just feels more intense this year, with the obits coming faster and with greater frequency than previously.

    No details on the itinerary yet, but the idea is to be in Watertown for Pesach (April 22) with a day or two on either side to take in a couple of nifty-sounding concerts. Will email you when I know more decisively, in hopes of seeing you and Mrs. efg.

  22. 22
    Ruckus says:

    Well many of us are getting to that age. SSA says the average life expectancy is just over 84 for men and 86 for women, while 25% will live over 90 and 10% will live over 95. Hard to discuss for some but the reality is that it happens and there were a lot of us born in the 40s and 50s. So we are getting to that age. Some things that brings this into focus for me is that both my parents are gone and I find that I’m spending a lot of time at the VA. This gives me ample looking around at people who are boomers or older and have health problems. I’d say the average age is around 65, with a few still around that served in WWII and even fewer younger than 45ish.

  23. 23
    benw says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): Hey r-b (to, ntt). We’ve done something a little similar: getting a younger cat to be a companion to an established, but not as old as your guy, housecat. It worked out for us. Here’s my suggestion: find a local no-kill shelter and adopt from there. A lot of times the volunteers at the no-kill shelters have gotten to know their cats. Is there an adult female at the shelter who is social with other cats and seems good with older ones? They’ll know. Also, no-kill shelters actually specify that if your adoption doesn’t work out, they want the cat returned to the shelter. That’s trying to keep people who’ve changed their minds from simply abandoning the pets. Plus, that frees up space for the shelter to take in another cat! Anyways, that’s what we did, and even though the shelter didn’t let us adopt the cat we thought we wanted, the cat they did adopt to us turned out to be perfect! A great kitty companion and a sweet, awesome cat. Good luck.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:


    It ain’t over ’til the fat lady snores.

    (No offense intended.)

  25. 25
    superpredators4hillary says:

    In your heart you know he’s right
    In your guts you know he’s nuts

  26. 26
    Suzanne says:

    I am in Rome with the family. I have been enjoying the European reaction to Trump.

    You know, tho, I am kinda pulling for Trump in the primary, over the assholes he’s up against. None of those fuckers can be bothered to actually put in the effort to beat him, and now the party is trying to figure out how to undo the will of the voters. And Rubio and Cruz are just as mendacious, racist, and horrible. I’m to the point that if we’re going to be a horrible society that we should just dispense with the veneer of respectability. And eff the Republican Party. One should be led by the people, not the douchey idle rich.

  27. 27
    slag says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): I had almost the exact same scenario, and decided to wait it out. Going on 19, my cat sleeps on us every chance she gets, but otherwise, she has chilled out considerably. It took a while, but once we realized all she needed was an unreasonably warm room of her own in which to nest, she did get over my other beloved cat’s passing (from kidney failure also). Though I do think she’s starting to lose her marbles generally, I’m chalking that up to inevitable age-related decline.

    Point is, there may be other options if you’re concerned about bringing in a fresh fluff ball.

  28. 28 says:

    OT I’ve been watching Larry Wilmore for a few months now and the show’s really turned out to be a good show. The show was a hot mess when he first took over from Colbert.
    As far as the Kochs, I think they get most of what they want from state government. Owning the presidency would just be the cherry on top. And the Dems ofcourse were asleep at the wheel when ALEC came in and took over. The DNC chair was too busy giving payday lenders a blowjob.

  29. 29 says:

    OT, we have payday lenders at every corner in Phoenix. I used to wonder how they paid rent on such large spaces in good locations – I’m guessing $5K/ mo rent. Anyhow, I noticed my credit union started putting up little signs near the tellers that they have payday loans as well. Not sure on the details but they charge a $25 admin fee. I was just taken aback when I saw the signs. WTF payday loans at a credit union??

  30. 30
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    Going out on a limb, I’ll say the Koch’s are scared of Trump’s “slash and burn, sophomore smart mouth bully” thing. They’re happy to accept criticism from the left, but aren’t aligned with Trump’s demagoguery from the right, as it is the policies that they’ve been pushing that fuels the white rage they’re tapping.

    I’ve been calling it neo-feudalism, and Trump presents an alternative, more benign warlord for RWNJs to follow….

  31. 31
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Bobby Thomson: I’ve always liked Kos. The Kossacks on the other hand…

  32. 32
    Eljai says:

    @Bobby Thomson: That was a good article by Kos. I didn’t look at the comments. Maybe another day…

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): poor Archie! The vet is correct according to their training. Most instances of cats pacing and wailing in the night are dementia.

    But they are often trained to ignore the fact that cats have feelings. I’m going with your diagnosis :)

    The five year old female sounds excellent. If you find any prospects, try the Smell Test.

    Does the new cat pass the smell test?

  34. 34
    Jack Canuck says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll):
    I’ve done it once and it was very successful. Cat #1, Markiss, was pushing 17 or 18 and we thought he was getting lonely at home all the time while we were at work (he was mostly indoors due to age and apartment life). So we adopted a kitten from a mum that a friend of ours was fostering; took her home at 8 weeks (in a bag on the train; her faint wailing earned her the name Banshee). Markiss was not thrilled to start with. Banshee worshipped the ground he walked on, wanted to be near him, with him, on him as much as possible. He’d tolerate it for a while, then step on her to make her stop and stalk away grumbling. But she followed his lead on everything – wouldn’t even eat something new until he started chowing down to show her it was okay.

    Long story short, he ended up going from tolerating her to loving her, and he did seem happy to have the company. And she adored him. When he died (at 21 and 1/2), she just lay near him all the time he was sick, and was at a total loss when he was gone. So we went and got her a young friend to keep her company, Faust. They lived long and happy lives (unfortunately for me, mostly with my ex-wife) until they both passed away a few years ago.

    Not sure any of that helps, but yes, I think you’re right to consider that maybe your cat is lonely and misses his companion. And you can introduce a new one and have it work. I just don’t know how to make that process less of a hit-and-miss luck proposition. Good luck.

  35. 35
    raven says:

    Damn, Pat Conroy. I was so blown away by “My Losing Season” that I wrote an email to him via his publishers email. He answered me!

  36. 36

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): This will work, especially if your cat already had experience living with and accepting another cat. I won’t try to write the book here, just google this phrase “how to introduce a new cat into household with other cats”.

    All of this reminds me, our beloved 18 year old Maine Coon died back in December. We are left with one remaining cat, which is loved, but I think he is somewhat autistic. I am missing a cat who loved me and anted to snuggle. Probably time to get past grief and give another cat a home.

  37. 37
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    Young Frankenstein is on TCM at noon.

  38. 38

    Allow me to paraphrase what Ben Franklin would have said: “A nice oligarchy you’ve got there, son… If you can keep it!”

  39. 39
    WereBear says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): The new cat space can be worked out. If you start with high compatibility. You can also email me through my site,, and use your BJ nym as the subject line.

  40. 40 I like Wilmore’s show. I get a perspective from him and his guests that’s missing anywhere else.

  41. 41
    SFAW says:


    Bud Collins, too. Not the far-reaching impact/value of Conroy, but still pretty good for his area (i.e., tennis).

  42. 42
    SFAW says:


    Opera tomorrow (well, today) so I really need to crash. Now

    Which one? Are you singing lead? .

  43. 43
    SFAW says:


    No details on the itinerary yet, but the idea is to be in Watertown for Pesach (April 22) with a day or two on either side to take in a couple of nifty-sounding concerts. Will email you when I know more decisively, in hopes of seeing you and Mrs. efg.

    Watertown, MA? Don’t forget to tell Anne Laurie (unless you’re planning to fly under the radar, of course.)

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yup, and she already knows. Hoping for a meet-up.


    Oh heavens no, nothing like that. I volunteer as the MET Opera Live in HD Ambassador in Atlanta and function as a kind of liaison between the Met, the local theatre, and the audience. Today’s opera is Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and I anticipate a pretty good-sized crowd so need to get there early to set up.

  45. 45
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yes, I mentioned his death earlier in a different thread. Always liked him very much.

  46. 46
    p.a. says:

    The paradox of constructing and relying on an increasingly wilfully ignorant political base is that the ignoramuses trickle up into the power structure and become the representatives of the movement. The puppet masters’ strings are still connected, but the puppets are defective, spastic. Exposed on the big stage. (Often sadly after some electoral success)

  47. 47
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The Kochs are just doing what most other Republicans are doing, figuring out that they’re actually perfectly OK with Trumpworld, and that Trump has no worse chance of winning the election than any other Republican and probably a better one.

  48. 48
    Joel says:

    The hired help are freaking out ’cause Trump is going to cost them their jobs.

    But the big boys’ agenda will get advanced, one way or another.

  49. 49
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    The Koch brothers are also smarting from the millions of dollars they pumped into the failed 2012 Republican presidential bids of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the sources said…

    Aww, they found they couldn’t just outright buy the Republic.

  50. 50
    Kay says:

    Oh, God, I wish they had “chickened out”. They’re wildly successful at the state level. They run rings around everyone else. They don’t need the President. They have Congress, the majority of governors and an even larger set of state legislative majorities.

    If this is “losing” I would hate to see “winning”. I think they conquer city councils and county commissioners next, but we’ll have the President! We got that going for us!

  51. 51
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Here is a thought; Trump doesn’t need Brinks trucks full of cash, the plutocrats are sitting this out, so what does that mean to the GOP grift machine? There is a whole media-consultant industry built on spending rich conservatives money for them, this election is their pay day and it looks like it isn’t happening.

  52. 52
    beltane says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: The grift machine is alive and well and will be used to expand Republican control of Congress, and state and local governments.

  53. 53
    SFAW says:


    OK. I didn’t see him in this thread, was too lazy to search others. Thanks.

  54. 54
    Karen says:


    Bingo. Obama proved that without Congress,,it really doesn’t matter who the President is.

  55. 55
    WaterGirl says:

    @reality-based (the original, not the troll): I am not WereBear or any other kind of cat expert. But I’d say that your kitty is really not happy the way things are, so if I were you I think I would try to bring in another cat. And if one more is all you can do, I would still try. If it is a mini stroke or dementia, I would guess that another cat (not a crazy kitty!) might be reassuring even then.

    I have two friends who (separately) have done something similar with a very old kitty and bringing in a new one. Maybe just dumb luck, but it worked out for both of them.

    I think a 5-year old sounds like a good idea, but I suggest that you check out WereBear’s info on the different kinds of cats – alpha, etc. because I imagine that would be especially important in deciding which cat to get since you’re trying to make a change that would help your older cat.

  56. 56
    RaflW says:

    Those fvkers have so much money to burn, I can’t imagine their lives being one iota different if they took $400M out in cash and had a burning man for billionaires on the KS prairie, with the cash pile as the fuel.

    So not wanting to ‘waste’ the money fighting Trump is just shit (though in fact they probably are also such parsimonious bastards).

  57. 57

    @Major Major Major Major:
    It took took me quite some time to see your point, until I realized that as an adult child of a recovered alcoholic, those experiences are background noise to me, assumed as normal.

    I can’t see how their ROI is anything but wildly negative. They’ve pumped, what, a billion dollars just that we know about into elections? And maybe gotten a few hundred million back from their successes?

    Remember, they have NOT had great down ticket success. The Koch backed Senate candidates were the lunatics like ‘I am not a witch’ lady who were too weird and crazy to make it. They’ve had some good wins, with the main effect of lighting the match for chaos.

    But to them, that’s a win greater than money. Look into their history, and their full position list when one ran for president. They’re greedy shits, and may not be stupid, but that’s backseat to their being completely, off the rails, True Believers fucking nuts. They seriously believe Stalinist style socialists have infiltrated the government in a massive plot. They believe the government, way beyond just the bits that limit them, should be burned to the ground. They hate everybody who isn’t white, claim to be libertarians but back the worst social conservatives, and… well, they’re crazy more than greedy.

  58. 58
    WaterGirl says:

    @Karen: Who the president is sure matters in foreign policy matters! And in judicial nominations, supreme court and otherwise. Who gets appointed head of the DOJ, for instance. Secretary of State. What happens to the Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild? And on and on and on.

    There are a million ways that it matters. But you’re right that the president can only sign bills that make it to his desk.

  59. 59
    Matt McIrvin says:


    but we’ll have the President! We got that going for us!

    With a maybe 55, 60 percent probability. Maybe.

  60. 60
    mclaren says:

    Anyhow, I noticed my credit union started putting up little signs near the tellers that they have payday loans as well. Not sure on the details but they charge a $25 admin fee. I was just taken aback when I saw the signs. WTF payday loans at a credit union??

    This is the new business model for Shithole America — legalized loansharking. The Supreme Court’s infamous 1978 Marquette decision eliminated the usury rate on bank credit cards, and since then it’s been open season. Interestingly enough, no presidential candidate has ever talked about this decision or promised to reverse it.

    Harvard economists Umair Haque has described America’s post-2000 economy as “the Ponziconomy,” since it’s based entirely on legalized scams and con jobs and outright thievery that were all once upon a time illegal in America.

    No other civilization in the history of the world has ever revoked usury limits on interest rates. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. (“Interesting” is a placeholder for terms too dire to invoke in a family-oriented blog.)

    Marquette Nat. Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp. (439 U.S. 299 (1978)), is a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that state anti-usury laws regulating interest rates cannot be enforced against nationally chartered banks based in other states.

    Source: Wikipedia article on Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp.

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