Connor Gibson wrote a new diary post: #UnKoch Campus! Students Coordinate National Protest against Corporate InfluenceAs students in Michigan, Kansas and Virginia attempt to pin down evasive administrators to review grant contracts cut between billionaire Charles Koch and their universities, one campus is working to tie these regional movements together. Photos from across the U.S. are posted below. Florida State University (FSU) students affiliated with the group FSU Progress coordinated various student groups at 20 [...]
Connor Gibson wrote a new diary post: Video: Republican Climate Deniers in 2014 Election
Crossposted from Greenpeace’s blog, the EnvironmentaLIST: VIDEO: Quotes from Climate Denial Candidates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1kx39GNbcc Midterms 2014: Candidates dodge & deny threat of climate change This video is a mixture of painfully-awkward, hilarious, and infuriating at the reality of the political system in which we are supposedly represented. Courtesy of Lee Fang, for Republic Report and Huffington Post . And there’s more out there, [...]
Connor Gibson commented on the diary post Jeff Holmstead dismissed as expert witness by Federal Judge – Coal Lobbyist Defending Ameren by Connor Gibson.
Perhaps. He’s a lawyer with a history of political appointments, serving in both Bush administrations, so he’s very, very careful. But some news did come out during his George W. Bush EPA years that indicated a disregard for science, peoples’ health, and perhaps the law.
More on PolluterWatch: Jeff Holmstead
Lobbyist Jeff Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Air and Radiation Jeff Holmstead , perhaps the nation’s prime example of a revolving door lobbyist, was dismissed by a federal judge as an expert witness in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against Ameren Missouri, a coal burning utility. In an [...]
Connor Gibson wrote a new diary post: Man Who Defrauded EPA Calls EPA “Fraudulent” on FOX
Crossposted from PolluterWatch. If you’re John Stossel and you want to host a segment to rail against the US Environmental Protection Agency, who ought you call? It turns out, a man who was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding the EPA! Stossel’s guest last night, Jay Lehr, was sentenced to six months–serving three–in [...]
Connor Gibson wrote a new diary post: ALEC has “No Comment” on Free Markets Contradiction
http://youtu.be/CaeWpStBcaA Crossposted from Greenpeace’s blog, the EnvironmentaLIST. The American Legislative Exchange Council doesn’t like clean energy. And ALEC doesn’t care about free markets . Like most of its operations, ALEC won’t talk about these realities in an open way. I tried at ALEC’s recent Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, but ALEC staffer John Eick stood by his organization’s reputation for secrecy and [...]
Connor Gibson wrote a new diary post: Chat with Koch Bros Biographer, the Koch-Kansas Crisis & the IRS’ Duty
In case you missed yesterday’s chat with Daniel Schulman, author of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty , check out the question and answer archive from two hours of engaging with FireDogLake Book Salon users. Some concluding thoughts on my part, as someone who has closely followed the Kochtopus for [...]
Thanks to everyone for engaging, and to Daniel for taking the time on a Sunday afternoon to discuss his book!
For those who haven’t picked up a copy, I recommend that you do as it offers numerous insights and details not previously disclosed, or at least easily accessible, to the public. Charles and David Koch will remain influential for the foreseeable future and as long as they are properly contextualized–as two particularly politically active business executives among a pool of similar millionaires and billionaires interested in exercising financial influence–we can use their story to better understand how politics in this country work.
I thought one of the most interesting things in your book were the numerous examples of corporate and personal espionage – Koch Industries hired people to dog government investigators looking into various environmental violations. This was new information for the public, correct? How did you react to documents & interviews detailing the various spy tactics that took place?
Distinctly, your detailed how Bill Koch also hired various private investigators to spy on David and Charles during their litigious battles, and vice versa. Bill even spied on competitors for America’s Cup, showing he has a particular flair for the tactic.
Gotcha, I misread your question. I don’t think any financial ties to Germany at that time.
However, did you see they were caught in 2011 trading with Iran, among other questionable business blown open in a hard-hitting Bloomberg Markets article?
Asjylyn Loder and David Evans: Koch Brothers Flout Law Getting Richer With Secret Iran Sales
Daniel – reporter Lee Fang has been a pain in Koch’s neck for several years due to a barrage of stories that reveal what their political operations are doing behind the scenes, or hinting at inappropriate business activities.
Lee posted a challening piece in response to your book, citing examples where Koch-funded groups undermine social issues that the Koch brothers claim not to support – anti-homosexual campaigning (in ‘defense’ of marraige…), limiting access to abortion care, etc.
Here’s Lee’s post on VICE with examples cited – any thoughts?
I always hesitate to bring Nazi-anything into these conversations as its the most extreme example/comparison/reference possible and is way overused by people to slander one another.
One fact is this, from Schulman’s book. In 1938, father Fred Koch said that Germany, Italy and Japan were “the only sound countries in the world.” Make of that what you will, remembering that’s Fred Koch Sr., not any of his four sons.
As an activist, I’m very skeptical of boycotts. You have to have mass consumer rage for them to be effective, and the bulk of Koch businesses aren’t public-facing. They are logistical and trading specialists–piping and refining our oil, trading and shipping petrochemical byproducts, engaging in derivatives and commodities trading (often on the commodities they physically own, which raises speculation questions), making industrial-scale glass and building supplies and electronics…most of this isn’t in the aisles of the stores we visit.
If you’ve never read about these (not knowing you), check out Lee Fang’s breaking story from 2010, which led to a large protest at the Rancho Las Palmas resort in January 2011.
Which reminds me, thanks to Daniel for using a photo of Greenpeace’s airship with the “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money” banner. We were both on the ground and in the air for the Jan. 2011 protests – 25 activists were arrested, mostly affiliates of Greenpeace and the Ruckus Society.
Here you go:
Comment response from Daniel:
Comment response from myself:
Hey Peterr – I wrote a bit relating to the Sunflower coal plant, which was put on the table as part of the bargain for Kansas’ renewable portfolio standard law.
Koch-funded front groups coordinated through the State Policy Network have attacked the clean energy law en masse–Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, Kansas Policy Institute, Chicago’s Heartland Institute, DC’s Americans for Tax Reform (Grover Norquist), the Boston-based Beacon Hill Institute….these are all affiliated under the banner of the State Policy Network. Read more on what SPN is on Greenpeace and PR Watch–very important to understand!
Hello! Use Control + F (or Command + F if you’re on a mac) to search this page for “Soviet Union” – you’ll see answers to similar questions!
Daniel, another question from me, if I may:
You have downplayed the notion that the Koch’s don’t just act in the interest of Koch Industries profits – what do you think about the current budget disaster in Kansas?
My thinking being – the income tax cuts implemented by Gov. Sam Brownback comes from Koch-funded reports by Art Laffer & Stephen Moore, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council called “Rich States, Poor States.” Suggestions from ALEC’s Moore/Laffer reports are heavily criticized for their methodologies, and supported other Koch-tied groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Policy Institute.
You’re referring to these Koch Industries commercials, right? Koch has hired at least one PR firm to help with its image since Jane Mayer’s 2010 article cemented them in the limelight of the politically conscious.
What I love is they don’t mention how their “60,000″ jobs is actually down from 80,000 in recent years, a time when the combined wealth of Charles and David ballooned by an estimated $48 billion. Details on Greenpeace – citations are near the graphic borrow from the Rachel Maddow Show.
I’ll note that Koch’s global employment did increase during that time, but not here in the states. They have made some major national and international business acquisitions and mergers in recent years.
Freddie Koch lives in New York City, Daniel actually spoke with him. Here’s a teaser that Vanity Fair ran on Freddie Koch, from the book itself.
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