Type to search

Inside Charles Koch’s Plot To Hijack Universities Across America And Spread His Radical ‘Free-Market’ Propaganda

Education Featured Post Money National News Top News

Inside Charles Koch’s Plot To Hijack Universities Across America And Spread His Radical ‘Free-Market’ Propaganda

Share
Businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating the opening of "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" in Upper Manhattan, New York in this May 5, 2014 file photo. The billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, the most powerful conservative mega donors in the United States, will not use their $400 million political arsenal to block Republican front-runner Donald Trump's path to the presidential nomination, a spokesman told Reuters on March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Files

Published with permission from Alternet.

The public is starting to catch up with the reality that Charles Koch is not only a major spender on building his own ideological institutions. Over the past decade, Koch has funded colleges and universities to bend them in his direction, often funding “free-market” academic centers. Mostly through his personal foundation, Koch gave $108 million to 366 colleges and universities from 2005 to 2014 and still more since then: for example, $10 million for George Mason University’s School of Law, which will be renamed after late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; $2 million to Western Carolina University to establish a free-market center; and over $4.1 million approved for future payment to several schools according to the foundation’s 2014 990 tax form.

Some of these grants come with strings attached. At Florida State University, the initial memorandum of understanding between the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and the school’s economics department gave the foundation control over hiring decisions and the curriculum.

With his grants, Koch is installing libertarian-minded economics professors at hundreds of universities, so how do these professors coordinate their free-market agenda?

In April, activist group UnKoch My Campus attended the latest conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE), self-described as “an association of teachers and scholars from colleges and universities, public policy institutes, and industry with a common interest in studying and supporting the system of private enterprise.” Left out of this description are details about who these figures really are: Koch-funded academics, “experts” from Koch-funded think tanks and big business representatives.

The Koch academic network has “nearly 5,000 scholars,” according to Ryan Stowers, Vice President of CKF. Hundreds flock to the APEE conference very year.

The group heralds its ability to facilitate “communication and cooperation between university and business communities,” encourage “the creation of chairs and centers of private enterprise in colleges and universities” and “serve in advisory capacities to governmental bodies dealing with economic policy, taxation, and other issues on national, state, and local levels.”

APEE is based out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, overseen by J.R. Clark, the school’s Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise and APEE’s secretary and treasurer. The university received a $27,000 grant from CKF in 2012.

What we know from conference recordings — #Kochileaks — by UnKoch senior researcher Ralph Wilson and UnKoch collaborator Jerry Funt is striking: This network of Koch-funded, laissez-faire-minded professors, think tank researchers and big-business representatives meet every year and share how to take over university departments, establish free-market centers and divert university and state resources into free-market programs.

“Basically, to run a center or to be a person on a campus that has impact, you have to be viewed as, kind of, a version of a gorilla,” said Peter Boettke, a deeply embedded Koch-funded academic at George Mason University, on a panel called “Being a Liberty-Advancing Academic,” moderated by Debi Ghate, director of academic investments in higher education at CKF. “Either from a tiny gorilla to, like, the big eight hundred pound gorilla. And the more you’re the eight hundred pound gorilla the more you’re able to, like, get your way.”

A Tangled Web of Money: Billionaires, Cash Funnels, National Policy Groups and State-Based Think Tanks

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, CKF gave APEE almost $260,000 from 2006 to 2013. Five employees of CKF or the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) participated in the 2016 conference as moderators, presenters or panelists. Other major funders include the John Templeton Foundation, the Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation and the Earhart Foundation.

A smaller donor is the John William Pope Foundation (JWPF), led by North Carolina-based Art Pope, a conservative mega-donor and close ally of Koch and his brother, David. JWPF gave APEE $15,000 from 2007 to 2009, according to tax documents. Jane Shaw, the former president of the JWPF-funded John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, was president of APEE from 2003 to 2004. Her husband, Richard Stroup, has taught at multiple Koch-funded universities and is co-author of a K-16 economics teacher-training program, pushed by Koch-funded schools, that advocates “sacrificing lives for profits.”

The conference program, provided by Wilson, lists one of conference’s two “supporting organizations” as the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University, which has received funding from the CKF. Florida State has received over $2.3 million from CKF since 2007. Offering “program support” was CKF, and participating organizations include CKF, CKI and many other free-market think tanks, academic centers and national policy networks, which receive consistent funding from one or more of the various Koch foundations. These groups include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Ayn Rand Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Independent Institute, the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University (GMU), Learn Liberty (a project of IHS), the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Mercatus Center at GMU and the State Policy Network. CKI, another “charitable” nonprofit focused on education, has also donated to many of these organizations including the Cato Institute and the Ayn Rand Institute. CKI’s partner organizations are many of these same groups as well.

Other major sources of funding for these groups are the linked DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, which constitute an important money funnel for the Kochs as well as for other conservative billionaire families such as the DeVoses and the Bradleys. The Knowledge and Progress Fund, for which Charles Koch, his wife Elizabeth and son Chase are directors, was the biggest funder of the linked Donors groups ($13.6 million from 2005 to 2013, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, and CKF has pitched in as well). With huge annual revenues on account of the Kochs and their wealthy friends, the two Donor groups dish out millions of dollars to many of the same organizations to which the Kochs personally donate through their foundations and which participated in the 2016 APEE conference: ALEC, the Heartland Institute, the Independent Institute, the Mackinac Center, the Mercatus Center, and the State Policy Network, among others.

CKF’s most recent available tax return, from 2014, lists $4.1 million in approved future payments. As it turns out, conference participants from many of these schools and a think tank were well represented at the 2016 APEE conference. CKF reported this approved future spending:

  • $2.3 million to West Virginia University (on top of $239,000 paid that year), which sent 14 participants to the conference
  • $832,000 to Arizona State University (on top of $231,000 paid that year), which sent two participants
  • $500,000 to the Cato Institute (on top of over $1.1 million paid that year), which sent three participants
  • $266,000 to Florida State University (on top of $626,000 paid that year), which sent 11 participants
  • $78,000 to George Mason University (on top of $11.8 million paid that year), which sent 58 participants
  • $75,000 to Texas A&M University (on top of $84,000), which sent three participants
  • $29,000 to Troy University (on top of almost $300,000 paid that year), which sent five participants

Just these six universities and think tank (Cato Institute), among many others that Koch is actively funding, sent 98 students, professors and “fellows” to the conference, nearly one-quarter of the 423 total participants. Five of these universities host free-market centers funded by Koch, who founded the Cato Institute.

The vast majority of domestic colleges and universities and think tanks represented at this year’s APEE conference have received Koch funding.

A Professor Network Just as Entangled as the Money Flow

Many of the same academic characters who spoke at APEE have positions at other participants’ Koch-funded free-market centers. Some hold leadership roles at their own centers while serving on the “network of scholars” or the “academic advisory council” of others.

Take Boettke, who earned his doctorate in economics from George Mason University, the school that’s raked in by far the most money from CKF. As a student in the 1980s, he received a research fellowship from one of the Koch family foundations, the Claude R. Lambe Foundation. He’s received additional grants and fellowships from other major funders of APEE: the Earhart Foundation and the Templeton Foundation. And there’s more: He received a “Charles Koch Distinguished Alumnus” award from IHS, which is also heavily funded by CKF, and multiple awards from APEE. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from Guatemala’s Universidad Francisco Marroquin, the president of which is current APEE Vice President Gabriel Calzada.

Now vice president of the Mercatus Center, housed at George Mason, director of the center’s F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and a BB&T Professor of Economics, Boettke serves on the academic advisory board of Troy University’s Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy, founded in part with at least $720,000 from CKF and more from Johnson and the BB&T Foundation. Boettke is an academic advisory council member of Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, founded with $3.5 million from CKF in 2014 and now receiving direct annual funding from the state of Arizona. He’s also on the board of the Bastiat Society, a participating organization at the 2016 APEE conference and recipient of CKF funding.

A whopping 58 students, professors, and researchers from George Mason University—14 percent of the 423 participants—took part in the conference, including 26 from the Mercatus Center. In all, Koch foundations have given GMU at least $87.7 million since 2005.

Five Troy University academics participated in the 2016 conference, including George Crowley, who was a Charles G. Koch doctoral fellow at West Virginia University, which has received at least $1.3 million from CKF since 2005, before joining the faculty at Alabama-based Troy, where he helped establish the Johnson Center. Troy has received over $1.1 million from CKF since 2010.

Two academics from Arizona State University participated. Two members of the Bastiat Society participated.

Boettke was president of APEE from 2013 to 2014 and has been on its board of academic advisors since 2000. At the 2016 APEE conference, Boettke participated in numerous panels.

This is the web surrounding just one Koch-funded academic. With Boettke so entrenched in the Koch academic network, and 423 people taking part in the 2016 conference, just imagine the thousands of overlapping connections between Koch-funded academics, Koch-funded think tank researchers and big business.

Wilson of UnKoch, who’s been studying Koch’s influence in higher ed since CKF’s contract with Florida State University became public in 2011, told Alternet, “After spending so long studying how professors work with the Koch foundation, the State Policy Network and ALEC to further the Koch network’s political agenda, it was surreal to simply walk into a room and hear our findings—and fears—explicitly confirmed and exceeded.”

The Troy Takeover

Free-market centers typically come to life through the work of academics who owe their career to Koch money. Here’s one example.

In addition to studying at West Virginia University and teaching at Troy, Crowley has been a faculty lecturer IHS seminars numerous times, published at the Mercatus Center and has participated in DeVoe Moore Center events. All five of the references on his CV teach at Koch-funded schools, and three participated in the 2016 APEE conference.

Remarkably, the Johnson Center’s nine faculty members earned their doctorates, many fairly recently, at just four universities, all of which have received Koch funding. Four on the faculty studied at George Mason University; two at West Virginia University; two at Suffolk University (which recently split with CKF); and one at Mississippi State University. The center’s academic advisory council is a who’s-who of Koch-funded academics.

At an APEE panel called “Being an Intellectual Entrepreneur,” Crowley discussed how he and Scott Beaulier established a popular economics program at Troy’s Johnson Center. After establishing economics majors at both the business school and the college, “We actually at a later point were able to kind of take over the finance major as well,” said Crowley.

In answer to a question from panel moderator Brennan Brown, a program officer for education at CKF and an adjunct economics professor at Northwood University, to which CKF has donated at least $88,000, Crowley said, “We’ve been very lucky at Troy. We had a big gift that let us hire a whole bunch of people all at once, and we kind of were able to take over, for lack of a better term … ”

Once established, centers collaborate with other Koch-funded centers, often trying to influence government policy.

Crowley has worked on numerous Mercatus-funded research projects. In the panel, he described how Troy professors have collaborated with the Mercatus Center to impact state policy. Crowley references his new study extolling the virtues of lowering state tax rates and raising rates and enacting new taxes on goods and services (effectively shifting the tax burden to lower-income people) and a “state diagnostic” on Alabama written by Profs. John Dove and Dan Smith (who both presented at this year’s APEE conference) and published at Mercatus. “… Smith and Dove—when their policy study got released—they went to [Alabama state capital] Montgomery and actually briefed the Governor’s staff on it.”

“Dan Smith has kind of taken it upon himself to try to bring down the state pension system,” Crowley said to a laughing audience.

And a Troy professor has also entered into federal policy: Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R) appointed Thomas Hogan, who got his PhD from George Mason, as chief economist for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee; he’s currently on a leave of absence from Troy. Other “scholars” in the Koch network, often from Mercatus, have earned government appointments or have been nominated for such posts.

The Master Plan

Koch and right-hand man Richard Fink devised the “Structure of Social Change” in the late 1970s, a plot to turn America into a libertarian utopia free from taxes and regulation. The first step in this plan was to fund higher education to conform it to their ideology. But was it more about libertarian principles or higher profits?

With his ever-growing, dedicated squadron of academics and think tank “scholars,” the billionaire industrialist has helped found or fund dozens of free-market academic centers that publish peer-reviewed work supporting the business interests of his family company. As Koch Industries polluted the environmentcommitted corporate crime, and evaded taxes, Koch created this giant network of interconnected libertarian academics who collaborate, shuffle between centers, promote each other’s work and make policy recommendations to lawmakers, surely to many from the ranks of Koch-backed politicians at the local, state and national level.

The tax-slashing and regulation-killing policies that become law may align with libertarianism. But, conveniently, they boost Koch Industries’ profits, leading to the combined $87 billion possessed by Charles and David Koch.

This article is part one of a two-part investigative series on the Association of Private Enterprise Education. Stay tuned for part two, which will take a deep dive into these closely connected characters’ strategy for founding free-market centers at universities across the country.

Photo: Businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating the opening of “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” in Upper Manhattan, New York in this May 5, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Files

Tags:

37 Comments

  1. Otto T. Goat June 28, 2016

    It’s outrageous and offensive how they have donated money to universities and how they support non-communist views.

    Reply
    1. alfred montestruc June 28, 2016

      I agree it is a total outrage that Koch is donating his millions to non-socialist and even (horrors) anti-progressive causes.

      It is like Charles Koch thinks he has a right of freedom of speech!!

      How shocking!

      1. Otto T. Goat June 28, 2016

        Liberals believe universities should be 100% left wing, and instead of private philanthropy liberal run governments should be in charge of redistribution.

        1. alfred montestruc June 28, 2016

          No they don’t!!!

          Charles Koch is a liberal, I am a liberal, the author of this reactionary sludge is a progressive or a socialist. Do not insult Liberals by calling those bozos liberal.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

          “Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with representative democracy under the rule of law and emphasizes economic freedom.”

          Anyone who has a problem with a private individual donating money to an educational institution with strings attached such that they shall only teach things he finds morally acceptable, is not a liberal.

          1. Sand_Cat June 28, 2016

            Another clueless zealot.
            Teaching political propaganda as fact in a university or college setting is not about “freedom of speech.”
            And please don’t bore us by repeating the right-wing fantasy that teaching valid science in science classes and historically established facts in history classes are “liberal propaganda,” just because those facts don’t fit in your little mind.

          2. alfred montestruc June 28, 2016

            On the contrary, freedom of speech very definitly includes teaching of “political propaganda”.

            One persons “political propaganda” is another person’s cherished firmly held opinion.

            You have no right to stop the teaching of values and ideas you don’t agree with. What you advocate idls the epitome of totalitarianism.

          3. Sand_Cat June 30, 2016

            Education should be teaching people how to think for themselves and to be familiar with clearly established factual matter. Learning ABOUT “cherished firmly held opinion[s]” is educational; learning them as fact is indoctrination. No surprise you use “freedom of speech” as an excuse for the latter. Also no surprise you favor the teaching of what some one “finds morally acceptable”; problem is, the Kochs – and you, apparently – find unpleasant facts which make a mockery of your “cherished opinions” to be morally unacceptable.

          4. alfred montestruc June 30, 2016

            Indeed we agree that most fundamentally education should be in teaching a person how to learn on their own. Most specifically to use reason, the scientific method, mathematics, and critical thinking.

            An honestly educated person would reject any clearly false premise on the nature of humanity. As an example any argument for a system that refuses to consider that persons in authority may not always be honest or altruistic in their behavior is deeply flawed.

          5. Sand_Cat July 1, 2016

            We are unlikely to agree about the Kochs, and perhaps a lot of other things, but I have no quarrel with your last post.
            I am aware of the other meaning of “liberal,” though I’m surprised that today’s “conservatives” have not banished the word from their vocabularies.
            The discussion of the word here deals with the more common version, which is related to the other, but has been successfully turned into a dirty word by people like the goat, and those are the people I’m used to dealing with here.
            My point is that “cherished opinions” should in matters of government or those having real affects on other people who do not share those opinions, rarely or never overrule well-established facts and science – which is, of course always tentative and subject to new and better evidence, but such evidence is extremely unlikely to come from those who deny the current theories (I use the word in the scientific sense, not in the common-speech meaning) regardless of actual evidence on the basis of “evidence” from religious or political beliefs (that is my opinion, but I believe it is firmly based in reality, which may not be the case with all of my opinions). One should be free to think and say as he or she wishes, but I should hope there will always be a pause to seriously reconsider when the matter of compulsion of others is at stake.

          6. alfred montestruc July 1, 2016

            I think the fundamental difference between us is that you are far more trusting of government than I am.

            Much too trusting in my opinion.

            You say that you respect facts so I shall gather some for you.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

            Per the site the world-wide average murder rate per 100,000 population (the standard measure) as of 2004 was 7.6.

            That is actually I think wrong as it only includes private murders, as in killings by private individuals and gangs. Governments generally don’t report their own murders, as governments tend to be the ones keeping such records.

            Much as the US Government downplays the killings (murders) of people by US Armed forces in the middle east currently.

            What I am trying to do is calculate a comparison of private murders by private individuals, vs murder by government.

            To get that I need a hopefully reasonably accurate estimate of murders by government over a specific period of time on a specific known population.

            I will use the following site on democide.

            https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

            Per the research reported on this site during the 20th century, specifically from 1900 through 1999, the total number of murders by government was 262 million. This includes all known mass murders by government, the Nazi Holocaust, the colonialist mass murders by various western nations, the mass murders of the soviet union, the Japanese, both communist and nationalist Chinese, the Khmer Rouge, and so on.

            This total is probably off, probably too low.

            Next to calculate a murder rate we need a population figure. As we are talking murders over a whole century we either going to get a year by year breakdown or we assume the average population for the period. As I am not trying to get an exact number, but get a reasonable order of magnitude. Then,

            http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762181.html

            1950 (mid century population) is 2.556 e+9 (2.556 billion).

            Then: we take the total number of people killed by government, divide by 100 (years), and then divide that number by the population 2.556E+9. Then to get rate per 100,000 we multiply by 100,000.

            The number is 102.5 per 100,000 compare that to the world average private murder rate of 7.6 per 100,000.

            The average human being (by these numbers) is 13.48 times as likely to be murdered by a government as by a fellow citizen acting on his own behalf.

            I state, based on solid facts and evidence, that the AVERAGE government is much, much less trustworthy than your average neighbor.

            Keep that in mind when arguing for gun control of private individuals, and not even mentioning gun control for governments.

            Again this is that an average person on earth is 13.48 times more likely to be murdered by a government, than by a private citizen.

            All government policies should be viewed with suspicion and mistrust, not based on paranoia, based on facts and evidence.

            Including the suspicion that the long (or short) term intent of a government policy might be homicidal.

          7. Sand_Cat July 2, 2016

            All I can say is that what you say about government is why we have a representative system, at least in name. I like to think that I am trying to do what little I can to make it a reality.
            Murder by other governments is not something over which we have much control.
            Murder – and other abuses – by the US government is our concern, and I agree with you for the most part.
            Abuse of the poor and racial and political minorities is pretty much a bi-partisan thing, but one party in particular seems – to me – to absolutely glory in it and strives endlessly to increase and extend it – even to the endangered middle class in this country – while the other seems more interested in limiting it mainly to foreigners, and then not so frequently and brutally as the other. I fully realize that both parties are firmly in the grip of anti-democratic, anti-human, anti-life corporate zealots like the Kochs, but the court decisions that made that open and official were made by those appointed by that one party. I might add that the response of members of that party and their supporters is to simply deny all of the wrongs done – except those by the other party, and then only when it is politically advantageous to do so – while the other at least acknowledges many of them, to the point that the first party accuses them of “apology tours,” “weakness,” and support for “terrorists” and other real or purported enemies of the United States.
            Thus we have a president who has expanded the drone program and taken other actions (internationally and domestically) characteristic of “conservative” governments – in my opinion – who is, nevertheless, called a “liberal” or representative of the “far left.” We have a candidate for president who is far too “conservative” and internationally belligerent for my taste – but still called “Stalin [or Lenin?] in a pantsuit,” “liberal,” “far left” – facing off against a candidate who promises to dramatically increase international bullying, torture, and various other crimes, who knows nothing of actual governing and has made it clear he has no intention of learning. My point is that we have no good choices that are likely to become reality, so I choose the one who has at least shown some reluctance and restraint, and who is unlikely to appoint judges who favor totalitarianism quite so much as the other. What is your plan?
            I personally favor the views of Derrick Jensen (A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe) that our entire culture of “civilization,” especially the “industrial” part of it, is irreversibly “omnicidal” to its core but it seems to me unlikely that this can be changed without massive genocide or some other HUGE die-off of people and the overthrow of all of those in power worldwide, which is not likely to happen, and which I could not support in any case (the genocide part, I mean).
            While I disagree strongly with many of his policies, I firmly believe the current despised and denigrated president is a better president, and far more trustworthy than all his recent predecessors except Jimmy Carter (who, unfortunately, wasn’t a very effective president), but your point is certainly valid.
            So what shall we do? Shall I purchase an assault rifle and join the other biologically “adult” men and women playing soldier boy in the woods in the delusion they are going to thereby fight government “tyranny”? Frankly, most of them – in my opinion – appear to favor far more government tyranny, just not any affecting them personally.
            REALLY, what is your plan? The so-called “private sector” is – if anything – far more rapacious and heedless of human rights and all life than most governments, and is indeed the reason for much of the evil they commit. What are we to do?
            I vent my frustration on sites like this, occasionally write my Congress people – I used to do the latter much more often when I was under the delusion that it might affect the actions of my Republican – or even Democratic – representatives and Senators, occasionally demonstrate, etc. So what has it accomplished? Things are worse than ever, and both parties claim what we need is more of what they’re selling, but even when we have managed to elect people from the party I “favor,” not much really gets done, while the other party goes full speed ahead and does enormous damage, having the advantage of foolish and ill-informed certainty in a very uncertain reality – in my opinion – over those who recognize at least some of the complexity and moral ambiguity (and who want and actually need those checks from the NRA, and lots of other evil organizations like the Kochs because we – they – have allowed our campaign spending to spin out of control).
            I ask again: WHAT IS IT YOU WANT FROM US “LIBERALS” and LIBERALS that you think will make things better?

          8. alfred montestruc July 2, 2016

            “WHAT IS IT YOU WANT FROM US “LIBERALS” and LIBERALS that you think will make things better.”

            I thought I was clear but will try harder. What I would want to see from anyone I could accept as making an honest effort to serve the public interest.

            1. Caution — carefully, publicly, thinking through ALL the consiquences of any policy change, that policy makers must address all concerns and be on record as to their responses to concerns. That records must be kept as to such responses, that where history later shows the concerns valid, and the incorrect response by the policy maker should be a legitimate issue in elections. That refusal to answer concerns by itself should be grounds for removal from office.

            A specific really obnoxious example of doing it wrong was the passage of the Affordable Care Act. I am not going to argue about the act itself, but rather the way it was passed.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/pelosi-defends-her-infamous-health-care-remark/2012/06/20/gJQAqch6qV_blog.html

            Quote —
            “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”

            For Republicans and conservatives, nothing exemplifies government overreach and arrogance more than those 16 words, uttered by then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties in March 2010.
            —- end quote

            And traditional Liberals and Libertarians.

            That is the epitome of irresponsible legislation, again I am not arguing the specifics of the legislation, but on the legislative process. Responsible legislation takes time, goes over the details, and questions things, and respects the right to question things in the legislation. If that means your bill does not pass, then it should not have passed. It means taking the time to do the job right.

            2. That the all too common arbitrary rejection or dismissal of concerns about a policy change should not be acceptable from a person in a decision making group. Nancy Pelosi as an example, is the poster child of a person who has no business whatever being in a position of authority.

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f0AADDovxvk

            3. That moral concerns are legitimate. Such as what gives you the right to tell a private individual what plants he can grow or consume on his own land. What right do you have to tell me I have to buy X. What moral right do you have to confiscate property without due process, and without compensation. The moral problem with police seizure of cash without any proof that a crime took place is enormous.

            4. That the legal basis of a new law or regulation must be made explicit. As in, in the USA all federal laws must be based on a legitimate basis of authority from the constitution. All laws or regulations should cite the basis of authority for this law to exist. Likewise state laws should cite basis for the law in the state constitution. That the legislation being passed without a clear statement of the basis of authority is reason in and of itself to hold the legislation unconstitutional.

            5. Rule of law, and stability of law matters enormously. If you don’t like restrictions on government in the constitution you need to amend it. The constitution provides means by which it can be amended. You have redress by which you can do any damn thing you want, but in order to make fundamental structural changes to the legal system you need a broad consensus, not just a 50% +1 majority once.

            We have gotten such broad consensus on numerous issues over the years.

            In one case (prohibition) it was pretty obviously a very bad mistake. In that case they broke pretty much all the rules I outlined about thinking the consequences of a law through, and being slow methodical and careful, the law did not work, crime rates, including murder rates, soared.

            Others, such as the right to vote for women, the outlawing of slavery, the 14th amendment, the reduction of the age to vote to 18, seem well crafted.

            I think that trying to argue around the explicit and obvious meaning in the constitution is totally unacceptable. It is an assault on the rule of law.

            ——-

            Separately on your attacks on the Koch brothers, as anti-democratic, anti-life and anti-human — why?

            I have watch one of them speaking to a reporter acknowledging that big money people have way too much power and that is why he is so politically active against it.

            Yes they are wealthy, based on doing legal things that help people, that people pay for with no proverbial gun to their heads. Over the past 40 + years they have been doing business with no criminal convictions, and as far as I know have never even been charged with a crime, where numerous mostly democratic district attorneys might make a big name for themselves by doing so. Based on that I think they have been squeaky clean legally.

            Environmental damage? They have a pretty clean record compared to other people in the oil industry, that is based on me looking in online EPA records on fines and violations.

            Because they fund universities with strings attached? I would argue that the economics they fund being taught (has a much sounder scientific basis than Keynesian economics) hell Keynes pretty much agreed his theories were not appropriate for general use and were tailored for the great depression era by the end of his life.

            http://www.columbia.edu/~esp2/CapitalismAndKeynes2007June22.pdf

            “Keynes’s General Theory as having laid Britain’s depression from 1926 to the mid-1930s to a near-cessation of innovation, owing to some appreciable
            drying up of entrepreneurial visions. (Yet Keynes said toward the end of his life that his theory in the 1930s was not “forever” and that he wanted after the second world war was over to develop another theory. )” end of page 2 in the ref.

            My point is I do not think your hostility toward the Koch brothers is fact based. I think it is because they disagree with you on politics and other progressives demonize them.

            If it is facts — what facts?

            Facts, not accusations, facts that are them doing something that you would say was wrong if some progressive hero of yours did it.

          9. Sand_Cat July 3, 2016

            Well, I’ll try again.
            1) I can agree with that. If you want to cite the ACF as a “really obnoxious example,” I’m not a huge fan of using parliamentary maneuvers to defeat the will of the majority. Some REALLY obnoxious examples are all of the bills passed by the House and supported by the majority in the Senate that were defeated by the minority party, mostly on the basis of the vow to ruin Obama’s presidency as the NUMBER ONE priority of the party: as it turned out, practically their ONLY priority. And this in the midst of a major national and international disaster brought on, at least in part, by the previous administration: loss of over 800,000 jobs per month and increasing monthly. The frosting on the cake was the whining about the “slow recovery” by those obstructing every effort to improve the pace. And if you want to complain about Nancy Pelosi, I could write you a book about the underhanded maneuvers of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, Dennis Hastert, and a host of other “conservative” operatives. Another really obnoxious example is delaying approval of judges and others for the “next president” to appoint; both parties have done some of this, but the GOP has carried the practice to new depths for the entire Obama Administration.
            2) The Republicans are the epitome of dismissal of legitimate concerns about a policy THEY SUPPORT. You seem to have a problem with Nancy Pelosi that goes beyond political opposition. Is it fact-based?
            3) Yes, moral concerns are legitimate, except when promoted for purely political reasons by hypocrites whose personal and political morality is in the toilet. To your specific example, the individual you mention got “his” land by genocide of the original inhabitants. What he does on “his” land can have profound effects on his neighbors. To cite a trivial example, one farmer’s GMO corn’s pollen polluted the corn of his neighbors who did not care to use the stuff. When they tried to save a portion of their crop for seed as was their custom, Monsanto successfully sued them for “stealing” its product. We’re all in this together, and I believe there must be limits on what someone can do to “his” land, just as there are on what he can do to “his” children. I’m not sure to what specific laws or policies you refer, but local zoning laws are equally an imposition on private property rights, and I agree that some are too restrictive and guided by arrogance and selfishness, I don’t recall anyone complaining about government “overreach” there.
            4) Unfortunately, selective, or even abusive, use of the Constitution seems to be a bi-partisan failing, likely caused in part by the fact that the Constitution was written by 18th century men dealing with what 18th century men could imagine. They appear to have intended to allow flexibility – the reason for the vagueness of some provisions, and the reason some were opposed to even recording the proceedings in the fear that people would attempt to parse what they wanted out of off-the-cuff remarks made by participants. This is what the last few lines of the original document and the 10th (?) amendment leaving rights to the states and the people are about. This has not worked out well because A) they were under the illusion that states were less likely to be tyrannical than the Feds, a claim repeatedly belied by 19th, 20th, and 21st century abuses by states, but probably necessary to get approval of the Constitution, and B) Many of those claiming to desire “original intent” – only when it supports their positions, of course – often seem to want our 21st century government run according to 18th century science and prejudice. C) Some – Robert Bork was an example – do precisely what those who opposed the Bill of Rights feared: they maintain that those rights specifically enumerated, and interpreted as narrowly as possible, are the ONLY ones protected, allowing for massive government overreach. The 14th Amendment – whatever its supposedly “original intent” – says that no state may abuse the rights of US citizens, which covers a fair amount of alleged “overreach.”
            5) The Kochs are opposed to influence of the wealthy, and are politically active against it? Are you joking? Can you cite one example?
            To be serious, yes, the rule of law is important: a good reason not to entangle it in criminalizing private activity forbidden by the Bible or objected to by self-righteous busybodies who are all too often engaged in similar or even far-more destructive activities. And I think we are far beyond the point where “a pretty clean record compared to other people in the oil industry” is even close to acceptable. Their lobbying is for changes to law and regulation that will allow “the other oil companies” and the chemical industry, and pretty much every other destructive industry, to go way beyond the abuses they commit now, regardless of what the Kochs do. I also believe your basis for claiming the Koch brothers have a clean record is dubious at best, and – as for having the “squeaky clean” legal record – the existing corruption in our legal system and the increase in it they are funding pretty much assures that, plus the first defense of every thug and downright evil person is ALWAYS “I broke no laws.”
            As I said, I suspect we’ll never agree on these points. As I also said, my position is that both parties are accelerating the speed at which the US is circling the drain: I choose the one that appears to me to accelerate the coming disaster a little less and occasionally applies the brakes, however timidly. I presume you do the same; we just seem to have very different ideas about what the threats that face us are, or the relative seriousness of them.

          10. biscuitpoisoning June 29, 2016

            “Valid science”? Like the last IPCC report that, unable to explain the lengthy “pause” in the rise of global surface ocean temperatures theorized that the energy (aka warmer water) was somehow magically trapped at lower depths. Aside from the fact that there was no evidence to support said,theory, it also runs counter to established scientific fact (you know, heat rises … Temperatures drop as you descend in the ocean… But don’t let that “valid science” get in the way of a good story…).

            The average “progressive” knows precious little of actual science or economics. Most either dropped out of school and collect a government check, or if they did attend college their coursework consisted of such drivel as “gender studies”, “art history”, or any of the other Leftist-dominated silliness that has permeated the pseudo-academic world. Sure a few penetrated the worlds of economics (thank you Keynes for introducing the “free lunch theory” into a previously fact-based realm of academia). I hold degrees in both engineering and business, and in my experience I found progressives to be rather scarce in courses that required actual intellectual engagement, original thought, or significant effort. Similarly, you would be hard pressed to find a libertarian in a “Queer Studies” class.

            Feel free to insult me from the safety of your litter box, Sand Cat. Your ilk are not good for much else. But know that someday the productive classes will cut off the flow of free teet milk, and you will either need to adapt (i.e. Become self-sufficient) or perish. Libertarians and economic conservatives are more than willing to assist the infirm or disabled, but the chronically lazy and stupid are going to have to get off of their collectivist asses and find gainful employment (sitting in mom’s basement playing video games, writing leftist blogs/comments, and eating Hot Pockets does not count…sorry …).

          11. Sand_Cat June 30, 2016

            Idiot.

          12. Sand_Cat June 30, 2016

            No need to give your biography or brag about how noble you are, or quote “science” from those who ignore or change inconvenient facts. Your first two sentences are more than enough to establish your lack of intelligence and knowledge, and the fact that you are proud of it.

        2. Sand_Cat June 28, 2016

          You haven’t the vaguest clue what “liberals” want or believe, so why don’t you stop making a fool of yourself (though I fear that job was done long ago).
          I doubt if you’ve ever met a real liberal.

          1. alfred montestruc June 28, 2016

            Possibly so, but by the internet he has met me. I am a real liberal, you are not.

          2. Sand_Cat June 30, 2016

            I gather that – as the goat says – you “believe universities should be 100% left wing, and instead of private
            philanthropy liberal run governments should be in charge of
            redistribution.”
            Yes, you can play games by using terms in contexts other than where they apply; in fact, it’s a “conservative” specialty.

          3. alfred montestruc June 30, 2016

            Oh Sand_Cat, you remembered me! Smoochy kisses for you.

            He was speaking not of liberals but rather of progressives who often pretend to be liberal.

          4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 17, 2016

            Playing footsie with yourself. Alfred? “Smoochy kisses”—puhleeze!

          5. alfred montestruc July 17, 2016

            She respoonded!

        3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 17, 2016

          Otto, clearly you’re out of your league, especially when you feel moved to write a cogent sentence with more than 5 words.

          Are you tiring of those foolish visuals? What a pity.

      2. Sand_Cat June 28, 2016

        Yes it truly is shocking how ignorant some are: for example, YOU.

        1. alfred montestruc June 28, 2016

          Hi Sand_Cat, so elucidate. Please do explain what I am so “ignorant” of.

    2. JoAnnCu July 12, 2016

      Yeah pretty shocking how much “free speech” hundreds of millions of dollars can buy.
      Millions of dollars drown out the voices of those with less.. to ensure it stays that way.

  2. Dominick Vila June 28, 2016

    The Koch siblings should have a closed door conversation with Donald Trump on the issue of free trade. The Donald just delivered a scathing rebuke of free trade, and everything the GOP has supported in the past, and continues to support today. From NAFTA to the TPP, Trump promised to either change those agreement and, if that is not possible, unilaterally withdraw from them. The funniest part of his speech, besides the fact that he moved to the left of Hillary on trade to attract blue collar workers in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, is that he used the AFL-CIO as an arbiter to support his proposals! Reagan must be turning in his grave. Trump blamed Bill Clinton, the president under whose watch 23 million jobs were created, for the USA losing jobs, allegedly because of trade agreements that favor our trading partners and hurt us. I guess the solution is to stop selling American cars and Boeing planes to Guatemala and Chile, and import Chiquita bananas and grapes from some other country. He conveniently forgot that the NAFTA agreement was written and negotiated by the George H.W. Bush administration, that tried to have it passed and signed before leaving office.
    In usual Trump fashion, he credited himself for pushing Hillary to the left on issues of trade. Only those who have not heard Bernie Sanders speeches the last several months can believe that.
    To his credit, his speech was a departure from the hate speeches we have become accustomed to hear from him, and regardless of whether or not his statements were accurate, and his proposals logical, he conducted himself in a manner more in line with what we should all expect from a person running for president. Republicans must be breathing a lot easier now. I can’t help wonder how those who support Trump’s insults and threats are going to react, now that they are faced with a political figure acting the way other politicians do.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 17, 2016

      A crisp and measured response. Well done!

  3. Buford2k11 June 28, 2016

    The Koch Brothers are a clear and present danger to our Democracy…

    Reply
  4. Connor Gibson June 28, 2016

    Shouldn’t there be a picture of Charles Koch, instead of his brother David, who is barely mentioned?

    Reply
    1. Lucillechanna3 June 29, 2016

      <.
      ★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹:★✹::::::!w412nh:….,….k.

  5. MaureentSanders July 7, 2016

    I make around $6.000-$8.000 /a month doing an online job. For those of you who are prepared to complete simple at home work for 2-5 hours /day at your home and earn good income for doing it… Then this work opportunity is for you… http://self97.com

    Reply
  6. JoAnnCu July 12, 2016

    As residents of Alabama, we have to SUFFER through the interference of this Koch-controlled mentality of the Troy University academics who HAVE taken over the Business Dept. at the school. One after another, these “tainted” teachers spew out ultra-conservative BS in articles and position papers and INTERFERE with our state by regurgitating the policies of the Koch Brothers. They are able to use their BILLIONS to fund the BRAINWASHING of our youth with their destructive politics.

    It has gotten SO BAD, that it caused the Chancellor to issue a STAND DOWN order to Johnson Center faculty to seize issuing political policy papers for at least 90 days. Among the issues they have stuck their nose into is Medicaid expansion, promoting a more regressive tax system and attacking the state retirement system. Thisis definitely a pro-business, pro-1%, anti-people philosophy.

    Reply
  7. Phil Christensen July 16, 2016

    Free Markets are how the unconnected generate wealth. One would think that Progs would be on board.

    Reply
  8. Short-Fingered Vulgarian August 1, 2016

    For the Cocks and their acolytes, money = free speech; the more money you have the more free speech you can buy. If you don’t have money, you’re SOL. Are the Cocks advocating that only white property owners can vote?

    Reply
  9. marian-jones August 17, 2016

    I currently make in the range of $6.000-$8.000 /month working from home online. For those of you who are willing to do simple at home work for 2-5 hours a day from your living room and earn solid profit in the same time… This is a gig for you… http://fave.co/1Pj8Mpr

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.