Oligarch Open Thread: Koch Bros, Still Monsters

The Boston Globe:

“We’ve made more progress in the past five years than I had in the last 50,” declared Charles Koch, the 82-year old billionaire, addressing a group of about 550 donors who gathered in Indian Wells for the Kochs’ winter policy and politics weekend seminar.

But this era of gains, which brought them a massive tax cut, a queue of conservative federal judges, and an administration full of friendly regulators, could all be gone if Democrats claw back control of the government.

So the vast network has pledged to devote around $400 million toward politics and policy in the midterms to hold the GOP majorities in both chambers. That’s 60 percent more than the network spent in 2014, when Republicans picked up nine seats in the Senate and 13 seats in the House of Representatives.

The sum includes $20 million that Koch and his brother David plan to put behind efforts to popularize the $1.5 trillion tax cut. The network spent $20 million last year pushing the legislation.

“We have a ways to go,” said Koch, teeing up his Big Ask to the well-coiffed group of donors who contribute at least $100,000 a year to Koch-aligned groups. “So my challenge to all of us is to increase the scale and effectiveness of this network by an order of magnitude. By another 10-fold on top of all the growth and progress we’ve already made. Because if we do that, I’m convinced we can change the trajectory of this country.”…

Voters have been skeptical of the tax law in part because much of the benefit is focused on businesses like those run by the Kochs and their allies. The tax cuts directly benefit Koch Industries by $1 billion to $1.4 billion a year, according to a recent analysis from Americans for Tax Fairness, a liberal advocacy group.

“They stand to benefit by massive amounts more than what they’ve spent,” said TJ Helmstetter, a spokesman for Americans for Tax Fairness.

David Dziok, a spokesman for Koch Industries who attended the weekend events, said he is “skeptical” of the numbers but didn’t say they were wrong…

The Washington Post:

This weekend is the largest gathering of like-minded donors since Koch began holding the twice-a-year meetings in 2003. About 550 donors who contribute a minimum of $100,000 annually are in attendance, including 160 first-time attendees, said James Davis, a spokesman for the Seminar Network. About 700 donors contribute at that level, Davis said.

The network pointedly declined to endorse a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, but officials have worked closely with the administration. They said they have a lot to celebrate after President Trump’s first year, including deregulation and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court…

The Washington Post and other news outlets were invited to cover portions of the three-day seminar, on the condition that donors not be identified without their consent.

Several elected Republicans are attending the meeting: Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Sen. Todd C. Young of Indiana, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Rep. Marshal Blackburn of Tennessee, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

104 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Penetration at all levels.

    (With a tip o’ the topper to Adam.)

  2. 2
    Bruce K says:

    Y’know, this is the sort of thing that helped make the guillotine popular in France in the 1790’s.

  3. 3
    LAO says:

    Along these same lines — I thought Chait’s piece yesterday was interesting. Donald Trump’s presidency is the libertarian moment.

  4. 4
    NCSteve says:

    Never a goddamn meteorite when and where you need one.

  5. 5
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    But, Sorosbucks. And “her emails”.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    Treasury Sec. Mnuchin defends Trump admin over deferment of new Russia sanctions: “The intention was not to have sanctions by the delivery of the report last night. The intention was to do an extremely thorough analysis … There will be sanctions that come out of this report.”

    Bullshit. There will be sanctions the same day Trump releases his tax returns, which they also lied about.

    It’s humiliating how often they lie right to our faces.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Stalin took care of his Koch problem by tossing the bros’ dad out of the USSR.

    Perhaps we should look into tossing the Koch family in its entirety to Russia, minus all their assets.

  8. 8
    T S says:

    Brothers Koch, you are so fucking correct it could all go away, you decrepit, sick mf-ers. I wish you all the best health, though, because I want you to live long enough watch everything you’ve worked to accomplish slip away forever when your shitstain GOP is voted out of power.

  9. 9
    Spanky says:

    “We have a ways to go,” said Koch, teeing up his Big Ask to the well-coiffed group of donors who contribute at least $100,000 a year to Koch-aligned groups.

    A ways to go where? I guess he’s still not comfortable talking in public about total dominion over the masses.

  10. 10
    bemused says:

    I could swear I read that the Koch bros wanted to start a new criminal reform program, more rehabilitation/less punishment for people coming out of prison to reduce recidivism and save taxpayer money. Just did a quick search but didn’t find it. Maybe it was an onion. Even if true, there has to be a catch.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: Yep — it’s a big fat lie. And did you read that Mnuchin apparently cribbed the list of oligarchs from Forbes? He’s always promising some extensive study and then releasing a vague PowerPoint slide when pressed to deliver. Lazy mofo is a terrible hire.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    The Koch’s are pushing RTW in Ohio right now. I was pleased to see billboards going up opposing it, even out where I live. I don’t know who paid for the billboards but I imagine it’s labor groups.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    The Koch family is giving mulligans to Trump and his minions.

  14. 14
    sherparick says:

    @Jake the antisoshul soshulist: Somehow, the NYT political desk never mentions this as motivation for Republican politicians or Trump wining election in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2016 (Kochs poored money into Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to support Republican candidates and suppress Democratic turnout.

  15. 15

    Well, I’m off to start my big new project at work from scratch because google decided to bork their own product, wish me luck.

  16. 16
    comrade scotts agenda of rage says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He’s always promising some extensive study and then releasing a vague PowerPoint slide when pressed to deliver. Lazy mofo is a terrible hire.

    You’ve just described virtually every member of the Popular Vote Loser’s cabinet. Even the ones that are marginally competent, Chao is an example, are long-time party apparatchiks.

  17. 17
    Jamey says:

    @NCSteve: Or roving death squads.

  18. 18
    T S says:

    @bemused: Total privatization of the prison industry, probably

  19. 19
    LAO says:

    @bemused: They do. Here is there website. There is zero political will, however, to achieve any sort of reform of the criminal justice system.

    ETA: It’s a fairly libertarian goal — to decriminalize behavior.

  20. 20
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Lazy mofo is a terrible hire.

    Hah! It’s like they called the warehouse and said “send us a clueless rich person, just whatever’s laying around”

    One of my sisters calls DeVos “the rich lady”. She KNOWS her name but DeVos really does look like everyone’s mental picture of a rich lady, so it makes me laugh. Lay-DEE.

  21. 21
    ksmiami says:

    90 percent taxes on all wealth above 100 million… Or the guillotine… their choice

  22. 22
    MattF says:

    @comrade scotts agenda of rage: Trump gets his Cabinet to humiliate themselves every now and then. It’s apparent that anyone who might decline is disqualified on the spot.

  23. 23
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Kay: Trump’s job is to faithfully execute laws passed by Congress per Article II of the Constitution. I don’t understand how Trump gets away with this blatant disregard of the Constitution except that he is being supported by treasonous Republicans who are currently in control of Congress. Hoping that many of them will be finding new jobs come November.

  24. 24
    Peale says:

    @LAO: But it gives them something to point to if people should note that they are racist. After the Mercers, they are the number 2 example of billionaires who support the spread of white nationalism through their donations to fund groups, but get a pass on it because they are wealthy. You know, just using racist to advance their economic interests, but not themselves racist.

  25. 25
    cmorenc says:

    The Koch-financed thing to watch for in the runup to the 2018 elections is not their attempts to positively message and sell the tax cuts (and GOP congress-critters who voted for it) BUT INSTEAD: what kinds of SQUIRRELS OR SHINY OBJECTS they (and RW media) will set loose to distract the focus of the MSM and lower-information voters onto trivial or bogus tangents. Whatever they are, however shallow, misleading, or outright fraudulent the basis for the shiny objects (or squirrels) are – they will use that money to drive the narrative into public consciousness by sheer repetition, counting on saturation to flood out any effective refutation with facts or rational thought.

  26. 26
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    The Boston Globe ran a number of stories about Clinton’s email server.

    Fuck the fucking Boston Globe.

  27. 27
    The Moar You Know says:

    Where’s a rogue Air Force bomber crew when you need one?

  28. 28
    MikeEss says:

    @Spanky: What is best in life, Mr. Koch? To crush Democrats, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!…

    Evil Koch Brothers philosophy in a nutshell…

  29. 29
    Spanky says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    except that he is being supported by treasonous Republicans who are currently in control of Congress.

    That’s the Constitutional crisis. Bad enough that Trump thumbs his nose at the laws and the Constitution, but he does so knowing that the Republican-controlled Congress will let him get away with it.

    Yes, first step is taking back both houses. But even if we accomplish that in 2018 there’s this little problem of a well-established network of right-wing judges through the Federal system all the way up to John Roberts. Gonna be a long slog to bring the rule of law back.

  30. 30
    AliceBlue says:

    I’m hearing more and more great, bigly things about that Frederick Douglass fella.

  31. 31
    LAO says:

    @Peale: I wasn’t defending them — I think that their influence in American civil society, especially politics, has been malevolent — but they do believe in reforming the criminal justice system. It would be interesting to see what percentage of their political capital is spent on the issue of criminal justice reform versus the other more odious causes they support. My bet it, only a fraction is devoted to this issue.

  32. 32
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Kay:

    It’s like they called the warehouse and said “send us a clueless rich person, just whatever’s laying around”

    That’s perfect. He even looks like whatever clueless rich person was in a corner. And your sister has a point about the rich lady. She’s quite the stereotype, down to the condescending look on her face.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Chyron HR says:

    @Amaranthine RBG:

    Well, congratulations, dude. You demanded “Bernie or Bust” and by god, you finally got it.

  35. 35
    Ben Cisco says:

    I see at least one of my jackass senators (Tillis) showed up.
    I seriously hate all these “people.”

  36. 36
    Suffragette City says:

    Amazing Koch’s were not on that treasury list of RU oligarchs..ha they are doing Putin’s bidding by ruining our country.

  37. 37
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @MattF: The Koch Brothers are benefiting handsomely from Republicans’ tax cuts. They’ll give Republicans any dang thing they want. Not sure if their hundreds of millions are going to sway the majority of Americans who are nauseated and fed up with this administration though to vote Republican though. It won’t sway most of us who want to see Trump impeached and his minions in Congress perp walked out of the Capitol building.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    @Chyron HR:

    You know who said he was sick of hearing about Clinton’s damn emails?

    Sainted Bernie, that’s who.

  40. 40
    T S says:

    @LAO: Yeah, what’s nuts is the Koch bros probably truly believe they would make the world a better place. They probably really believe in their Libertarian utopia. It’s just…they are totally blind to the reality that not being at the bottom and being stuck at the bottom in shit conditions is mostly a matter of luck, not lack of effort…and they don’t realize how truly horribly shitty life is for most of the world’s population.

  41. 41
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Been there, done that, burned my bridges behind me after the last one… At least I didn’t actually murder the CEO, though I did do a little dance when they declared Chapter 7.

    Seriously, best of luck.

  42. 42
    Frank McCormick says:

    From now until November we need to work hard to get out the vote and prove that labor is, in fact, more powerful than capital.

  43. 43
    bemused says:

    @LAO:

    Thanks.

  44. 44
    sherparick says:

    @MikeEss: You forgot “get your minions to pass a tax bill that cuts your taxes by 1 billion to 1.5 billion a year and waive all environmental regulations that inhibit “profit!!!” There are about another 1,000 outside the Koch network (Mercers, Adelsons, Wynn, etc.), but this 1,000 to 2,000 people completely control the Republican Party. (Mercers and Kochs are on disagreement on immigration – Kochs want cheap labor and Mercers are White Racists who being in pure finance don’t care about labor costs).

  45. 45
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Spanky: Everything should stop once Democrats take over Congress. No more federal judges. No more appointments. Let’s play the game that McConnell and Republicans played when they stopped President Obama from replacing Scalia on the Supreme Court. The job of every Democrat in this country needs to be getting Trump out of the White House in 2020 and replaced with a Democratic President. That’s when we can start repairing the damage done by Trump and his sycophants.

    Can someone please explain to me how reading from a teleprompter (badly) equates to behaving presidential? I must be missing something. The bar is so low for Trump that it’s not visible. It’s below ground.

  46. 46
    patrick II says:

    Democrats should start naming names and running against big money people like the Kochs and treat their political opponent less as an individual and more of an apparatchik of big money. Pictures of the Kochs, campaigns against the Kochs. They are the real enemy of democracy, and I mean that literally not hyperbolically. They do not believe in government, especially egalitarian democratic government, and are every much the enemy of democracy as Putin.People should be informed, and the way to do that is to emphasize it in campaigns.

  47. 47
    Another Scott says:

    @bemused: LAO’s right that it is a long-term Libertarian goal – they don’t want government telling them that anything is illegal. Of course there’s a catch in the Koch-advocated “reforms”. Left-of-Atilla-the-Hun types are right to be suspicious, IMHO.

    PRWatch from 2016:

    Koch Criminal Justice Reform Trojan Horse: Special Report on Reentry and Following the Money

    Charles Koch and the Koch machine continue to press for changes to federal laws to make it harder to prosecute corporate crimes, as part of criminal justice “reforms,” but the Koch-connected network is already at the trough for public funds intended to help prisoners with “reentry” into society.

    That network is poised to take advantage of proposed federal reforms that expand reentry and early release in response to the dramatic, and unjust, racial disparities in prosecution, sentencing, and imprisonment, as illustrated by the case study below following the money in Florida.

    Today, the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch is also publishing an editorial comment to accompany the in-depth research and analysis below by Ralph Wilson who has done breakthrough work exposing the Koch cash distorting the public university system in Florida and who has also helped advance the work of UnKoch My Campus.

    — Lisa Graves, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of CMD

    By Ralph Wilson

    Charles Koch has taken a high-profile in pushing criminal justice reform. He recently likened1 his own devotion to that of Bernie Sanders.

    Koch even compared2 the work of his network to that of America’s civil rights movement, a movement he helped obstruct through his financial support for the John Birch Society and his leadership role in its Wichita operations at the height of its attacks on Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as CMD was the first to document.3

    In a 2015 interview with USA Today,4 Koch claimed that of the projected $889 million raised by his donor network, the “Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce,” only $300 million would be spent on direct electoral politics, whereas:

    “A good part of the rest is education and research,” Koch said, ticking off university grants and other projects he is supporting, including an overhaul of the criminal justice system.

    Among other spending, Koch recently announced5 a $3.5 million donation to Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, for a Criminal Justice Reform Center. Just this week, Florida State University (infamous for Koch’s corrupt academic influence), has announced an $800K agreement with the Koch foundation for programs including criminal justice reform.

    When one of the richest people in the world–with a seemingly unquenchable desire for political power6 and a documented anti-civil rights history–calls for overhauling the criminal justice system, who answers that call?

    Recent records requests at Florida State University shed light on the network of “reformers” poised to rise to the occasion of Koch’s criminal justice “overhaul.”

    […]

    It’s a long read with lots of embedded links.

    To be clear – I’m no expert on this stuff. But when it comes to the Kochs and anything even remotely to do with politics or public policy, I would be very, very suspicious of their “help”.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  48. 48

  49. 49
    sherparick says:

    @LAO: Not one iota of political capital will be spent on criminal justice reform. Expanding the tax cuts and gutting Social Security and Medicare are what they want Paul Ryan and McConnell to do and Trump to sign. They are fine with a one party authoritarian state run by a white nationalist party in a degrading environment.

  50. 50
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Kay: There are anti-RTW billboards in my end of Ohio too. They’ve been striking me as weird, they are almost in code.

    I am going to have to start snapping photos of them so that I can give examples the next time this comes up in a thread.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    JustRuss says:

    @T S: I don’t think that’s true. When they bought a factory near me, first thing they did was cut out little spiffs for the workers, like the company picnic. These things barely put a dent in the bottom line, they just cut them because they could. They’re hardcore Randian objectivists: the ubermensch Producers deserve everything they can get their hands on, and the rest of us Takers should be grateful for whatever crumbs they feel like leaving for us. Making life shitty for the masses is a goal, not a side effect.

  53. 53
    bemused says:

    @Another Scott:

    Exactly my thought on any of their “help”.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    MattF says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: It’s just weird that anyone even imagines that Trump is remotely capable of describing, much less implementing ‘a credible policy agenda’. ‘Credible’? ‘Policy’? I’ll allow that he’s got an agenda.

  56. 56
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: He’s got a point. This is how not normal this whole shit show is.

  57. 57
    bemused says:

    @Another Scott:

    I just remembered a great youtube from years ago, PSA for Extremist Libertarians. At the time I had sent this to a relative who replied quite negatively. That’s when I found out how far right she was.

  58. 58

    @MattF: I read an article on Slate that said something to the effect of, Trump won’t believe a word he says or remember it Wednesday morning, so why should we?

  59. 59
    patrick II says:

    @Another Scott:

    To be clear – I’m no expert on this stuff. But when it comes to the Kochs and anything even remotely to do with politics or public policy, I would be very, very suspicious of their “help”.

    And you are right to be suspicious. If you take away the “continue to press for changes to federal laws to make it harder to prosecute corporate crimes, as part of criminal justice “reforms,” away from the program their support would disappear. They don’t care about recidivism, they do care about making it easier to avoid prosecution for the types of crimes the already commit. Broader prison reform is just a cover.

  60. 60
    T S says:

    @JustRuss: Fair enough. Evidence is evidence.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @LAO:

    ETA: It’s a fairly libertarian goal — to decriminalize behavior.

    Like theft. And extortion. And slavery.

  62. 62
    BC in Illinois says:

    If you go to the website of Americans for the Prosperity of Charles and David Koch, you will find that

    We protect the American Dream by fighting each day for lower taxes, less government regulation and economic prosperity for all.

    All the work of 3,200,000 ordinary citizens fighting for their freedoms. It says so.

  63. 63
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    Do you really think RTW will go anywhere in Ohio? Could they be so stupid?

  64. 64
    gene108 says:

    @patrick II:

    treat their political opponent less as an individual and more of an apparatchik of big money.

    This was a theme of the early Republican primary debates, in 2015. Trump jumped in and said he’s paid politicians on the stage with him, in the debate, and he’s rich and therefore can’t be bought.

    This got forgotten because of e-mails, Benghazi, etc.

    I think people need to be reminded how much the GOP is in the pockets of their donors, and not working for the American people.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Venn diagram between libertarians and white supremacists has a huge overlap.

  66. 66
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t understand how Trump gets away with this blatant disregard of the Constitution

    @Patricia Kayden: What’s the corrective mechanism? If I speed, I get a ticket. If I rob a store, I go to jail. If Trump ignores all previous norms of behavior for the office (an understatement) or ignores or contravenes the Constitution, what is the specific crime that has been committed? What is the correction?

    (He has committed other, specific crimes, that have both a definition and a specified punishment, such as money laundering. That’s not what I’m discussing here.)

    I ask this not to be difficult, but because we must be absolutely clear that if we’re going after him for “disregarding the constitution”, that we be able to demonstrate exactly how that was done. And that we understand there is no specific penalty for doing so save impeachment.

  67. 67
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Patricia Kayden: It’s easy; Trump, the Kotch Brothers and the Freedumb cacuse are all a pack of useless rich twats all living out this fantasy crafted by grifters that they can redeem their useless lives by saving the Republic from the menace of Liberalism(tm)., or at lest the strawman they call liberalism.

    People say the racism was always there, just hidden by code talking. Well considering how dumb the argument that someone’s capability is tied to their skin color is, it should be also no surprise all these conservatives are believers in conspiracy theory and other nonsense.

  68. 68
    ruemara says:

    I detest these people. Them and the Mercers. I can only wish them good health and long life so that they’re put to death for sedition. I hope they get every thing they’ve earned for their evil.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JustRuss: The irony of this sort of shit is that it degrades employee morale, and thus productivity, and therefore DOES impact the bottom line, negatively. It’s just that these assholes are all spreadsheet commandos, not leaders. They don’t understand anything the can’t monetize or track on a chart.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ruemara:

    I will settle for them being diagnosed with ALS or another untreatable degenerative disease that their money can’t protect them from.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: “Liberalism” FOUNDED this republic. These vile creatures want to bring back feudalism.

  72. 72
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @Bruce K: The problem with revolutions is that they rarely ever reach people like the Koch Brothers. The worst that will ever happen to them is they’ll have to live in exile for a while and might possibly have some of their US properties confiscated while they’re gone.

  73. 73
    Fleeting Expletive says:

    I was looking around in the bottom of a desk drawer and found this index card I had written out on 10-2-09: Gore Vidal says–“We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realize how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is.”

    So sad.

  74. 74
    Cacti says:

    @debbie:

    Do you really think RTW will go anywhere in Ohio? Could they be so stupid?

    37% of union members, and 43% of union households voted Trump.

    More than enough to swing states like OH, MI, and PA.

    Solidarity in the labor movement is a myth.

  75. 75
    efgoldman says:

    I know this is way off topic, and I’ll post it again near the top of a later open thread, probably in the evening: My kid started her new job today. She’s the staff writer, mergers and acquisitions, here.
    She takes the same bus to the same stop, gets her coffee at the same place, just walks into a different building.
    Se didn’t want me to tell anybody and jinx it. Superstition.

  76. 76
    ruemara says:

    @Mnemosyne: No. I want a death sentence and their works destroyed. A degenerative disease is too kind.

    @Fleeting Expletive: Fuck Gore Vidal. Americans did know better. Enough of them still chose this to harm others.

    @efgoldman: Congrats to your daughter! And to you for recovering.

  77. 77
    The Moar You Know says:

    I was looking around in the bottom of a desk drawer and found this index card I had written out on 10-2-09: Gore Vidal says–“We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realize how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is.”

    So sad.

    @Fleeting Expletive: What’s sad is Vidal. Did he really think the people who needed this “education” were going to take it from a black man? Fucking get real. This society hates smart people, hates them more than anything else. They won’t take education from anyone. Especially not a college educated black man who acts like a decent human being and lives as such.

  78. 78
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I think they want less feudalism with all it’s social obligations (like military service and taxes) and more like the failed state warlordism were the strong crush the weak that libertarian really is.

  79. 79
    HAL says:

    So Ryan’s not running for reelection?

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....ase-2018-1

    “Let it all out, get it all out there. Cleanse the organization,” Ryan reportedly said in reference to the FBI.

  80. 80
    Fleeting Expletive says:

    Yes, I know. I’m not holding GV up as a prophet, and I don’t agree with him. I don’t remember why I wrote his words down back then, mostly that he along with the rest of the sane, knew that this was going to be a shitshow in Republican fuckery until the infestation is contained.

  81. 81
    Cacti says:

    @ruemara:

    Fuck Gore Vidal. Americans did know better. Enough of them still chose this to harm others.

    Hear, hear!

    A vote for the Dotard was a vote of malice, not of ignorance. It was all about putting “them” in their place.

    No benefit of the doubt is warranted.

  82. 82
    Jeffro says:

    @T S:

    Yeah, what’s nuts is the Koch bros probably truly believe they would make the world a better place.

    Isn’t it funny how their ideas about what will make the world better always seem to dovetail 110% with what will make them rich(er) and stay on top? Fascinating coincidence.

  83. 83
    Kristine says:

    Except for the shirt designer, I’ve not seen any sign of Koch progeny. Are they in line to continue this battle, or does it die with the old men? I’d have thought we’d have seen articles about them by now.

  84. 84
    ruemara says:

    The Kochs have a background of trying to overthrow democracy. I don’t believe in letting them have anymore chances, since this one is fucking close to succeeding. You would not want me in charge, because I take a dim view of leaving enemies on the field.

    @Kristine: They are lying low.

  85. 85
    The Moar You Know says:

    A vote for the Dotard was a vote of malice, not of ignorance. It was all about putting “them” in their place.

    @Cacti: The very few Trump voters I still have to talk to were very explicit about this from the primary on out. That the economy is doing well is just gravy, but that’s not why they voted for him. They were going to teach some people a lesson as to who was still in charge here.

  86. 86
    🌷 Martin says:

    Interesting development by Amazon and a few other firms.

    “The ballooning costs of (health care) act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Buffett said in a prepared statement. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

    The new company will be independent and “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.” The businesses said the new venture’s initial focus would be on technology.

    That’s more or less the attitude that Henry Kaiser had when he build his own health care group for his employees. Kaiser Shipbuilding didn’t last but Kaiser Permanente has. While I suspect most won’t welcome Amazon in this space, they are more than happy to run profitless companies and simply take their gains from not covering someone else’s profits. They are also absurdly good at building infrastructure.

    Should they make headway, I wonder which state will be the first to step up and ask them to build a single payer system for their state.

  87. 87
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Spanky:

    “We have a ways to go,” said Koch,

    These selfish douchecanoes are never satisfied with the wealth and power they accumulate. As long as the undeserving masses have anything, these miserable parasites will continue to push for more for themselves and less for anyone else. They will not be happy until we are back to a feudal state.

  88. 88
    🌷 Martin says:

    Would be fitting for the stock market to shit the bed the day that Trump plans on taking an economic victory lap pointing to the Dow as evidence.

  89. 89
    Gravenstone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: From several thousand feet, sans parachute.

  90. 90
    Calouste says:

    @HAL: Putting thousands of people with mortgages to pay and their hands on a lot of sensitive information in uncertainty about their employment sounds like a great plan.

  91. 91
    Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot says:

    The fascist/oligarch side has more money, always has had, with a smaller though more hardcore-committed rank and file.

    Our side has far fewer billionaires and millionaires, but significantly more people who subscribe to liberal governing policies, (though we’re notoriously inconsistent in getting a large enough subset of our majority out to, you know, actually vote).

    Their side has the media largely in their favor, from outright propaganda outlets like FoxNews and hate radio (for which there is no left/liberal analog) to the endemic “bothsiderism” of the majority of the rest who have been running scared for decades now of being labelled the dreaded pejorative “liberal” (liberal media, my ass).

    Our side has the facts, what with their well-known liberal bias (“reality-based”, as it were).

    Their side is all-in on American-style fascism, white ressentiment, and plutocracy.

    Our side seems to be really pissed off about these right-wing modalities becoming ascendant in our country.

    We’ll see which set of these items prevails in 2018 and (more importantly, I’d say) in 2020.

  92. 92
    Kristine says:

    @ruemara: I’m hoping for ‘shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in two generations’ instead of the usual three.

  93. 93
    ruemara says:

    @Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot: Let me help you out. I’m getting firearms training and permit. I think people who are waiting for November 2018 as if it won’t be fight to have it are not paying attention. Anyone saying 2020 is in a fantasy world. They aren’t kidding. They can be fools, but they are dangerous fools with no love for democracy.

  94. 94
    Ohio Mom says:

    @T S: The irony of the Koch empire is that it got its start working for the Soviet Union way back when. They were able to leverage the proceeds from that to keep growing in this country, but would not be who/where they are without, wait for it, a government contract.

  95. 95
    T S says:

    @Jeffro: Oh, don’t get me wrong…at best, it’s a case of swallowing their own bullshit. At worst, and very possibly, they’re just purely cynical assholes.

  96. 96
    Spanky says:

    It’s nice that the Dow has slid (so far) 377 points today just prior to Trump’s victory lap. It’s only a blip on the 6000+ runup since his inauguration, but will be fresh in everyone’s mind tonight.

  97. 97
    Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot says:

    @Kristine:

    Except for the shirt designer, I’ve not seen any sign of Koch progeny.

    You’re far too kind in your words here — I’d have had “shirt designer” in the scare quotes it so richly deserves, and progeny would have been spawn.

    I’ve thought for some time now that our feudal overlords should be made far less, well, “comfortable” in the positions they enjoy. Less comfortable in an extreme prejudice sense as often as necessary, in fact. A good start could be, for instance, this overfed, talentless, human tick of a “shirt designer”. That’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw the absurd video of that worthless asshole.

    But just a start.

    I know that means real violence, denigrated my most here for good reasons (“spiralling out of control” being just one of them). And revolutions almost never work out favorably. I understand and appreciate all that.

    But I’m sure we’re going to get there anyway — in massively horrible ways — once global climate change really hits the fan (a few decades away yet, if we’re lucky). The greedy, evil fucks most responsible for driving us inexorably toward that terrible end (and benefitting personally by doing so beyond the wildest dreams of any king) ought to pay the ultimate price for doing so. That they most likely won’t is proof #infinity+1 to me that there is no God (unless he’s Twain’s “malignant thug” — that’s a possibility, I guess).

    Yeah, I’m in a foul, foul mood right now.

  98. 98
    Millard Filmore says:

    @NorthLeft12:

    These selfish douchecanoes are never satisfied with the wealth and power they accumulate. As long as the undeserving masses have anything,

    That money in your bank account … that’s MY money. You have MY money.

    (from a PBS documentary a few decades ago about Reagan’s California policy of dumping the mentally ill on the streets. “That money in her purse, that’s my money. She has my money.”)

  99. 99
    Archon says:

    Assuming all libertarians aren’t evil can someone explain to me their endgame that even remotely matches what we know about human behavior?

    I honestly don’t see how libertarianism ends in anything other then a police state, revolution, or anarchy.

  100. 100
    agorabum says:

    Surely I think you mean that this is Trump shaking up the ‘establishment’, right?

  101. 101
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Which Google product was canceled and thus ruined your project? Development language? Hmmm no, that’s an Apple product. No clue here in the wilderness…

    No surprise either. Those guys will kill something because the sunrise was too red.

  102. 102
    Another Scott says:

    @Archon: Never read Atlas Shrugged, huh? ;-)

    They think they’re destined to win. That’s why they don’t think about things like the answer to the question, “Who cleans the toilets in Galt’s Gulch?”

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  103. 103
    J R in WV says:

    @Archon:

    Revolution followed by anarchy is just exactly what the Libertarians want… read Ayn Rand…

  104. 104
    Matt says:

    @Archon: In my experience, most libertarians are really hoping for #1. It’s why they’ve spent the last thirty+ years lovingly tonguing the ringpiece of law enforcement.

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