Posts Tagged ‘koch’

KOCHTOPUS

October 28, 2010

“Kochtopus” Matt Taibbi Joins Keith Olbermann, Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann

VIDEO:  http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/10/21-0

Koch: Even More Powerful and Well-Connected Than You Thought

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch don’t just underwrite a huge right-wing infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also work with corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber to oil and insurance companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here. –Abby Zimet  More…

MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups. Recently, fronts funded by Charles and his brother David have received scrutiny because they have played a pivotal role in the organizing of the anti-Obama Tea Parties and the promotion of virulent far right lawmakers like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). (David Koch praised DeMint and gave him a “Washington Award” shortly after the senator promised to “break” Obama by making health reform his “Waterloo.”)

KOCH TEASERS

Right-wing brothers Charles and David Koch, each worth over $21 billion, don’t just underwrite a huge conservative infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also strengthen a “culture of prosperity” through meetings with like-minded corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with big moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber of Commerce to oil, health insurance, Wall Street and real estate companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here.

KOCH CONNECTIONS

10 Reasons Not to Tax the Rich. And Why They’re All Bad by Paul Buchheit, Wednesday, October 20, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

We hear them all the time, the reasons for unrestricted capitalism, minimal government, lower taxes for the rich. But the facts reveal good reasons NOT to NOT tax the rich.

(1) The rich deserve what they earn because of hard work and initiative.  They use other people’s money to create assets that don’t exist and then bet on them to fail [in] the murky world of derivatives and credit default swaps. Those who make the most money avoid taxes by calling their income “carried interest” instead.  Others not directly involved in financial chicanery still make out well. The stock market has grown 7 times faster than America’s GDP since 1981, and two-thirds of the country’s stocks are owned by the wealthiest 1% of Americans. That’s not enough for some; many backdate their stock options to a time when the price was higher.

(2) It’s not fair to “soak the rich.” It’s been just the opposite for the past 30 years. In 1980 the richest 1% got one out of every fifteen income dollars. Thanks to tax cuts and deregulation, they now get THREE out of every fifteen dollars. Meanwhile, every U.S. taxpayer contributes about $600 a year to pay for the tax cuts that give $34,000 a year to each of the wealthiest 1% of Americans. And now a trillion dollars of public money is bailing out the failing banking system.

(3) “Spreading the wealth” and “redistribution” are other names for socialism. Not socialism, but social responsibility. Taxes support public infrastructure, including research and development for science and technology. Much of the tax burden disproportionately benefits the rich: laws protect private property and capital investment; trade pacts and national defense policies protect wealth. Bill Gates, Sr. explains, “The government…protects their business activities…that’s what creates capital and enables net worth to increase.”

(4) The great wealth of the rich stimulates the economy. Low-income earners have a higher “Marginal Propensity to Consume,” which means that they spend a greater percentage of their overall income on consumption. High-income earners save more; the very rich buy mansions, yachts, jewels, and art. [T]he Congressional Budget Service ranked 11 strategies to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Cutting taxes for the rich was lowest. The top 500 non-financial companies currently hold $2 trillion in cash that could be used to create jobs and stimulate new business.

(5) Large incomes provide incentive for success. Some hedge fund managers ‘earned’ enough money in one year to pay the salaries of every police officer, firefighter, and public school teacher in Chicago. A system that allows one man to divert the salaries of 50,000 public workers to his own pockets has gone well beyond “incentive-based.”

(6) The very rich pay it back through taxes. They pay less than 23% of their incomes in federal income tax. [T]he lowest-earning half of America pays 24% as much as the richest 1%. The top tax rate has gone from 90% in 1960, to 35% in 2008. But much of billionaires’ earnings is subject to only a 15% tax because of a loophole that allows hedge fund income not to be called income. Furthermore, about 500 people a year renounce their U.S. citizenship and repatriate themselves in Belize, the Cayman Islands, or elsewhere to avoid taxes entirely.

(7) The very rich lost massive parts of their fortunes in the recession. They lost no more money, percentage-wise, than average mid-level earners. Wealth data from the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve show that the richest households have INCREASED their median incomes relative to other earners since 2006.

(8) “Income mobility” shows that the poor can get rich, and vice versa. This argument relies on a 2007 U.S. Treasury Department report that states “Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005.” But nearly 9 out of 10 of those in the top 1% remained in the top quintile of earners over those ten years. They may have dropped out of the most elite 1% group, but they remained close. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

(9) The rich support worthwhile causes. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the wealthy “give their biggest donations” to colleges, hospitals, and cultural organizations and “rarely make large gifts to social-service groups, grass-roots organizations, or nonprofit groups that focus on the poor or minorities.” Hundreds of millions of dollars are flooding into congressional and state election races. Especially since the Supreme Court ruled against limits on corporate contributions.

(10) Inequality is necessary to sustain a healthy and productive society. This [is] the worst reason of all. Not only is it unnecessary, but dangerous: Numerous studies correlate inequality with shorter life expectancies, increased disease and health problems, and ever higher crime and murder rates. Rates of illness in an unequal society are higher at all levels of income, even for the very wealthy.

Paul Buchheit is a faculty member in the School for New Learning at DePaul University. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/20-1

Say Goodbye!

davidbfraftr

After a two year loan to the United States, Michelangelo’s David is being returned to Italy.

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PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2

December 9, 2009

BILLIONAIRE BASTARDS:

Meet the Billionaire Brothers Funding the Right-Wing War on Obama, Think Progress. by Faiz Shakir, et al.

They’re the 9th richest people in America and they’re pushing hard to upend President Obama’s progressive agenda.

Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are the wealthiest, and perhaps most effective, opponents of President Obama’s progressive agenda. They loom in the background of every major domestic policy dispute this year. Ranked as the 9th richest men in America, the Koch brothers sit at the helm of Koch Industries, a massive privately owned conglomerate of manufacturing, oil, gas, and timber interests. David and Charles are also responsible for a vicious attack campaign aimed directly at obstructing and killing progressive reform. Over the years, millions of dollars in Koch money has flowed to various right-wing think tanks, front groups, and publications. At the dawn of the Obama presidency, Koch groups launched television and radio ads deriding the recovery stimulus package as simply “pork” spending. The Cato Institute — founded by Charles — as well as other Koch-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, produced a blizzard of reports distorting the stimulus and calling for a return to Bush-style tax cuts to combat the recession. David’s Americans for Prosperity (AFP) placed calls and helped organize the very first “tea party” protests. AFP, founded in 1984 by David and managed by astroturf lobbyist Tim Phillips, mobilized “tea party” opposition to health reform, clean energy legislation, and financial regulations.

STOPPING CLEAN ENERGY: David Koch presents himself as a champion of science. Nevertheless, Koch has done more to undermine the public’s understanding of climate change science than any other person in America. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, funded by Koch, wages an underhanded campaign to falsely charge that a set of hacked e-mails unravels the scientific consensus that global warming is real. Despite the brothers’ extravagant wealth, Koch’s Americans for Prosperity has run populist ads mocking environmentalists as spoiled brats. Koch Industries has spent nearly $9 million dollars so far to misinform the public on climate change legislation. Koch-funded operatives attempted to crash the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this week, and may succeed in scuttling any prospect for addressing climate change.

STOPPING HEALTH REFORM: Much of the fierce opposition to health reform can be credited to the Kochs. Their Patients United has blanketed the country with ads distorting provisions of the health reform legislation, particularly the public option. Koch groups foster extremism. A speaker with the Patients United bus tour compared health reform to the Holocaust while an eight-by-five foot banner at AFP health care rallies read, “National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany” superimposed over corpses from a concentration camp. AFP channeled anger into Democratic healthcare town halls in August. It wasn’t the first time Koch groups helped hijack the health reform debate. In 1994, Americans for Prosperity, then known as Citizens for a Sound Economy, worked closely with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich to bring mobs of angry men to health reform rallies [to intimidate] then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.

A LONG HISTORY OF STOPPING PROGRESS: The Koch brothers clearly have a financial stake in blocking reform. Koch Industry oil refineries are major carbon dioxide polluters, and Georgia-Pacific, a Koch Industries timber subsidiary, is one of the largest contributors to the loss of carbon-sink capacity. According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the U.S. and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right. Fred Koch, father of Charles and David helped to found the John Burch Society in the late 1950s. The John Burch Society harnessed Cold War fears into hate against progressives, warning that President Kennedy, Civil Rights activists, and organized labor were in league with communists. His sons continue to galvanize hundreds of thousands of middle class people into supporting the Kochs’ narrow agenda of cutting corporate taxes and avoiding consumer regulations [to the ruin of our equality and democracy]. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144455/meet_the_billionaire_brothers_funding_the_right-wing_war_on_obama

Obama Far Outdoes Bush in Escalating War — The Numbers Will Surprise You By David DeGraw, Amped Status.

Increasing numbers of deployed soldiers, mercenaries and drones all add up to Obama being more of a war president than Bush, in terms of hard numbers. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/world/144449/obama_far_outdoes_bush_in_escalating_war_–_the_numbers_will_surprise_you

Copenhagen Won’t Be Enough — Only a ‘Human Movement’ Can Save Civilization from the Climate Crisis By Fred Branfman, Sacramento News & Review.

A strange cloud envelops human civilization as its leaders fail to take the measures to protect it in Copenhagen that they themselves endorsed just five months ago.

To be or not to be, that is the question.–William Shakespeare, Hamlet. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144451/copenhagen_won%27t_be_enough_–_only_a_%27human_movement%27_can_save_civilization_from_the_climate_crisis

The Public Option That Isn’t Public At All By James Ridgeway, Mother Jones Online.

As the Senate negotiates its health-care reform bill, liberals appear ready to throw in the towel on a real public option. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144446/the_public_option_that_isn%27t_public_at_all