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Letters to the Editor

Scary Kochs

September 5, 2010

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To the editor:

I just read and re-read the Aug. 30 New Yorker article about Charles and David Koch. The article is titled “Covert Operations” and was written by the respected reporter Jane Mayer. It discussed the Kochs’ philanthropies and sponsorship of conservative think tanks and political action groups, using their billions from Koch Industries. The article pointed out how they use their vast wealth to promote “lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry — especially environmental regulation.”

The example of how the Kochs have been lobbying to prevent the EPA from classifying formaldehyde, which their company, Georgia Pacific, produces in great quantities, as a “known carcinogen” in humans, is too close for comfort. I urge concerned citizens to find and read this article. It is frightening to think that the Kochs could use their influence to risk future generations’ health and climate.

I also urge people to either read Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,” or attend her lecture for the Hall Center for the Humanities at the Kansas Union on Sept. 13. She has researched and witnessed what global warming is and will do to the Earth in the near future.

Both of these writings should scare all of us to do what we can at the local, state and national level to save our world for now and future generations.

Comments

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

It took me a little while to get that.

That's funny - :-))

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

There is intelligent discussion available:

Unchecked climate change could saddle taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars in damages—from flooding and storm damage in coastal communities to health care costs and agricultural losses in our heartland. Learn about costs in your region, and the Senate bill aimed at limiting our climate impact

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

The Kochs make money in business. Soros, who the left worships as their money machine gets his from shorting currency and driving economies into the ground.

The left and their hero soros aren't scary as we can counter their idiocy in America, but they are scum.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

There is something different about George Soros that was noted in a recent article about major political funders.

Soros champions issues that which do not benefit himself necessarily and in fact may increase his taxes.

Koch funds the Tea bagging republicans. There is no true difference between Tea baggers and republicans. It's all about distracting the voters from the fact that Bush/Cheney wrecked the economy,jobs,retirement plans and medical insurance for about 11 million families. Then again this was a repeat performance of the Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan theft..... the largest theft in the nations history at the time.

monkeyhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

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no_thanks 4 years, 3 months ago

Additional thefts include the Barney Frank led Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing for all plan and the Obama Stimulus Handout. Point being, Republicans and Democrats alike have failed the American populace by putting their districts or parties ahead of what is truly in the best interest of the US citizenry. Its time to talk solutions, which will include sacrifices from all (higher taxes, lower social security payments, higher retirement age, major medical health care coverage for all, less spending on international affairs, etc...)

independant1 4 years, 3 months ago

Elizabeth Kolbert, journalist. 'nuff said.

christy kennedy 4 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm. A thoughtful letter and comments from merrill with pertinent content followed each time by a stupid, off-point attempt at humor dismissing the topic all together. Kind of represents society in general where some people know what they're talking about and work very hard on behalf of all of us despite the uphill battle and stumbling blocks created by the masses of uninformed / ignorant who don't even recognize what's in their own best interest. Interesting.

grammaddy 4 years, 3 months ago

Well said! Merrill always catches a lot of flack for his posts. I think of him as the ONE kid in class who actually read the assignmet and did the work expected.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Me too. He deserves our thanks (which we don't always remember to give.)

Thanks Merrill. Rage on against the machine.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

Ditto you and scott 3460.

Merrill provides a lot of info...I don't follow his links because I've already seen most. It would be an amazing world if those who ridicule would just take the time to think around an issue in an intelligent process.

pz5g1 4 years, 3 months ago

The Kochs do recognize what's in their own best interest and yet they're being criticized. Is it okay to look after your own interests or not? Or for just some people to do so?

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

It is, but when a self interest conflicts with the greater good, you can expect those being harmed by the self interested actor to bring him back in line with the overall good.

imastinker 4 years, 3 months ago

Like when I complain about high taxes and the welfare state?

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

Christy, snark is their only weapon. It is so unfortunate, and so terrifying that we are held in the grip of the ignorant and fearful who don't realize that it is their ignorance and fear that is causing a good deal of our problems.

pittstatebb 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom - here is one repuclican that wishes the Koch's were better corporate citizens. Maybe I am just reading the wrong research (like wikipedia) but they have a long list of devious practices that often are outright illegal.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

"And those scary Kochs, how many people do they provide with a good paying job and bennies?"

Far, far fewer than the number they kill with their monopolistic practices.

I, by the way, am in the "killed by " group, as opposed to the "employed by" group, so I have a bit of a beef with what they are doing.

monkeyhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

"A thoughtful letter and comments from merrill with pertinent content..." - how is a disparaging, disgusting phrase that some find amusing in any way remotely pertinent?

"...some people know what they're talking about and work very hard on behalf of all of us despite the uphill battle and stumbling blocks created by the masses of uninformed / ignorant who don't even recognize what's in their own best interest."

Would you be referring to these people?

Expert: Discovery Gunman far from First Eco-Terrorist http://www.globalclimatescam.com/

or:

Meltdown of the Climate ‘Consensus’

"If this keeps up, no one’s going to trust any scientists.

The global-warming establishment took a body blow this week, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a stunning rebuke from a top-notch independent investigation." http://www.globalclimatescam.com/category/mythical-consensus/

or:

Filmmaker James Cameron Backs Out of Global Warming Debate HE Organized http://www.globalclimatescam.com/2010/08/filmmaker-james-cameron-backs-out-of-global-warming-debate-he-organized/

What might be in your own best interest is to suspend the bias - you are a little behind the times.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

Its the only way of thinking Tom has scott. Project his own ignorance onto an imagined 'far left'. It is a sociological illness these days. It comes from being a closed loop of information that is not questioned at all.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, funny how these folks are always talking up individuality and independent thinking, but can't run fast enough to a group like the tea baggers and exercise their own independent thought in the form of offering that incredibly independent thought: "ditto Rush!"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

"The global-warming establishment took a body blow this week, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a stunning rebuke from a top-notch independent investigation."

No, they didn't. They were essentially told that they are understaffed and need a full-time director. They generally praised the science. And you forgot to mention that the study was done at the request of the IPCC and the UN.

"Filmmaker James Cameron Backs Out of Global Warming Debate HE Organized"

Who cares? Cllimate science is something to be debated by movie directors and wacko shills on Koch's and Exxon's payrolls.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom's obsession with Obama/moderates is asinine. Just asinine.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Well, let's take the health care issue.

A truly "far-left" plan would be something like socialized health care. Moving a bit right, we'd get socialized health insurance (Medicare for all). A bit more to the right, we'd get at least a "public option" to compete with the private insurance companies. Next, we'd at least have some sort of regulations on private insurers regarding how much they can charge for premiums.

And finally, we get to what we have - which is the mandate to buy insurance from private insurers, with no public option or premium regulations.

It's nowhere near "far-left".

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Silly rabbit, baggers are immune to facts.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Any substantive response to my post?

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

But "progressive" is usually just a synonym for "far-left", isn't it?

Again, the existing health care legislation is hardly progressive as well - if it were, it wouldn't be being criticized by progressives.

One problem is that neither liberals nor conservatives are happy with what's going on - my father-in-law says that's because he's governing from the "center".

I say if that's true, then he should have campaigned on a more "centrist" platform. He seems more accepting of the idea that campaign promises aren't kept - I think that just leads to distrust of politicians and apathy.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Because it is a giveaway to corporate interests, just like the Wall Street bailout and just like most of the government policy of the last 30 years. Majorities of Americans favored a public option and got none of it because a public option would run counter the interests of the insurance conglomerates. THAT is what Americans do not like about the current health care reform effort.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

So cite your agreement with 6/10 Americans and then criticize others for a lack of individuality. Hmmmm.

staff04 4 years, 3 months ago

I do hope that at some time in Tom's life we can elect a truly liberal president...

Mari Aubuchon 4 years, 3 months ago

He would be considered center-right in most of the industrialized western world.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

Obama's Nuclear Arms Treaty = Reagan's. To the letter. Health Care Reform = Republican think tank plan from 2007 (would have to check dates) . To the letter. Time lines of withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan = GWBush. To the letter.

Tom. You have stated that you only watch Fox news. If you had any idea how incredibly distorted your perspective is you would be furious!!

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 3 months ago

Your practice of labeling everyone with a more moderate view of anything than yours as a "loonie lib" is extraordinarily, super-duper, over the top, outrageous, wrong, and just plain juvenile, noxious, and idiotic.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom's an ideal tool of the Kochs. Just like that Palin woman. Has absolutely no idea what they are using him for but loves every minute of it. He will be one of those screaming the loudest when he finds that he is owned by them, Blackwater, and the Saudis.

Poor Tom. It's gonna hurt.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

I wish he'd post more. There is benefit to his point of view seeing the light of day and the scrutiny of fellow citizens. Let the sun shine on the winger philosophy. The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

There is NO socialism. Period.

Wanna talk fascism? Read up on it and you'll see your idols fitting perfectly into the socio/politacal mold...and you are their little itty bitty pawn.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Do you think that you're a moderate?

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

So you are certain to be in step with most of America, but are not a moderate. Interesting. My mind boggles at contemplating this absurdity.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Maybe he thinks that most Americans are in fact rather conservative.

I think that's not the case - in fact, from our recent elections I'd conclude that the country is almost 1/2 and 1/2 - the elections have been won or lost by very small margins, and the higher the turnout, the smaller the margins.

One interesting experiment would be to split the country into two parts - one conservative and one liberal - and let them pursue their policies without the influence of the other. I wonder what would happen.

Surely somebody could do some sort of computer simulation, don't you think?

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

I've always favored the name "Idabama" for one of the states of such a Tea Bag nation.

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

guess_again 4 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like Tom has bought into those libby IQ tests. Ha!

guess_again 4 years, 3 months ago

Americans for Prosperity, Kansas Policy Institute, Kansas Chamber of Commerce

Can you spell "sock-puppets?"

pittstatebb 4 years, 3 months ago

Bib business that gives big business a bad name is bad. Big business that you never read of in the news is good big business. I bet you can guess which group Koch Industries belongs to.

Ralph Reed 4 years, 3 months ago

hmmm. Been reading your posts for a while H&C and your style seems startlingly familiar. You wouldn't be another incarnation of KG, would you?

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

I think that nut got stuck in your craw. ACORN is dead, thanks to completely untrue fear mongering promoted by fox news. You'll have to get another fish to fry.

I guess helping people find housing, healthcare, legal aid and all of the other services readily available to the entitled classes is just a really dirty awful thing. Shame on you. You have no decency nor compassion for anyone other than your own big important self.

Jimo 4 years, 3 months ago

Unfortunately, while Tea Partiers correctly sense that something is wrong, their lack of understanding of what that something is leads them to support charlatans being funded by those same wealthy persons to vote against their own interests.

Test: do you believe that low taxes on the wealthy benefit you? Test: do you believe government can't do anything right? If either/both answers are 'yes' then you've drunk the Kool-aid, you've been fooled, and you're not going to get better until you figure out that one group of politicians not only doesn't have your interests at heart but see you as the turnip to be squeezed for the benefit of their fatcat bosses, fools to be oh so easily manipulated with a vast propaganda network - here, the Koch family.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

Got it nailed, Jimo.

The control of the media by the charlatans is the harbinger of a world none of us are going to like living in....

Jimo 4 years, 3 months ago

To be fair, I would note that the Democrats have done a lousy job of reaching out to Tea Party voters (by which I do NOT mean hypocritical Republicans ashamed to call themselves Republicans).

For example, not everyone is going to join a labor union so what is the non-union labor message and policies the Democratic Party represents? Answer: there's not much of anything other than 'join a labor union.' Where's the demand been when handing out state bailout money to mandate reforms for those states whose main problem isn't the economic downturn but political and economic structural incontinence (I'm talking, inter alia, about you California)? How is it that the Party of the Common Man spends 99% of its time talking about income tax rates and only 1% of its time about how to lift the burden of payroll taxes from the working poor? Or why the parents of children in a failed school have no choice to see that their kids - today! - go to a successful school.

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

Test: do you believe that low taxes on the wealthy benefit you?

The guy I work for is fairly wealthy. When the government takes less of his money he buys better equipment for me. Since I work on commission, better equipment means better efficiency and means more money in my paycheck. It might also mean he increases the top commission percentage paid which would allow me to move beyond the current maximum commission he pays which is already 20% higher than what the competition pays.

Test: One person/evil coporation gives me money every week for doing things. Two governments take money in the form of income tax from me every week and give me nothing in return but more laws that reduce my rights and more nanny-agents to pump their coffers with my money because I might not wear my seat belt or smoke some plant they don't approve of. Test: guess which of the two I will side with.

Test it.

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

I pay additional taxes on gasoline, car registration and property taxes. I pay in gas taxes alone to cover any road construction and maintenance made necessary by my cars Nevemind the auto registration and property taxes.

I literally have a problem with any law that tells what I can and can't do with my body. That include forcing me to wear a seat belt. Now before you go off whining about having to cover the cost of what a wreck might do to my body, in addition to the usual PIP coverage I have two other insurance policies that will pay for my treatment in case of a wreck.

You are the typical loser that doesn't mind the state being your babysitter because you don't have the intellectual capacity to make decisions to protect yourself. Bow down to the state, you've sold yourself to them for the luxury of sheer stupidity.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Have to agree with you here. Seatbelt laws are nothing more than the captured government doing the bidding of its corporate master.

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't smoke anything, actually. OTOH, I don't think it's anybody's business what consenting adults do to or with their bodies. I especially don't think it's any of the state's business.

The code word for that is "liberty".

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm glad that your boss responds that way to more profit.

The problem is that nothing requires him (or any other wealthy person) to do so - he might just as easily simply pocket the extra money.

That's why the "trickle down" idea is flawed.

Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

The problem is that nothing requires him (or any other wealthy person) to do so

This does: http://secure.adpay.com/searchresults.aspx?p=2139&region=2139&catid=Employment

For example, law enforcement and the criminal justice system exist in order to keep us safe.

In 13 years living in Lawrence, I've called the police once... because a girl from a foster home walked by my house crying and asked if I had anything she could use to cut her wrists. I spent more time talking to her about her problems than the cop did I figure the cost of that was offset by the speeding ticket I got 13 years ago when I was new to Lawrence and got popped in a speed trap.

Oh, an it isn't the job of the police to keep you safe. They don't care if you live or die.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

The job of the police if to keep order. "Keep" being the operative word.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I assume you mean that because there are jobs available, that bosses need to keep their employees happy?

Given the massive unemployment right now, and the fact that many businesses are simply laying people off, I think you're mistaken.

In fact, I read recently that businesses are laying people off and increasing their profits that way.

Also, it depends on what kind of job you do, and what kinds of jobs are available - there may always be minimum wage jobs available. But that wouldn't put much pressure on employers.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

And, obviously, governments, both state and federal, do more than that.

For example, law enforcement and the criminal justice system exist in order to keep us safe.

I'm not saying I think government is perfect.

Mari Aubuchon 4 years, 3 months ago

@Judy Grant

Thanks for the heads up. I found and read the New Yorker article and found it quite educational.

brewmaster 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom,

Get off the computer and finish your chores. You know that you're suppose to have dinner cooked and the house cleaned by the time your wife gets home from work. Come on now, be a good little boy and stay on task or you won't get your allowance.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Koch Industries is habitually identified as one of the worst polluters in the country. If you are a bad person, you tend to bend over backwards justifying yourself.

Godot 4 years, 3 months ago

The Koch's are choir boys compared to Obama's mentor, the criminal, George Soros.

Jimo 4 years, 3 months ago

Of course not only does the link NOT even hint of "financial terrorism" but actually points to a crime that laissez faire conservatives not only loudly claim should never be a crime but insist actually serves the interest of society (by which they mean the market).

I really hate people who post links that don't support their claims and assume everyone else is stupid and lazy and won't check their references. Godot - you're a liar and fraud.

Godot 4 years, 3 months ago

don't bother to look it up, scott, unless you can read French.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

I thought French was outlawed in the United States of Tea Bagging America. Are the views of the French and their laws now important to you righties?

And how does the few million he was fined for insider trading make him a bigger criminal than the Koch Industries entities that (all information from the internet and in good old English:)

-pled guilty to charges that it had negligently allowed aviation fuel to leak into waters near the Mississippi River from its refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, and that it had illegally dumped a million gallons of high-ammonia wastewater onto the ground and into the Mississippi River. Koch Petroleum paid the Dakota County Park System a $6 million fine and $2 million in remediation costs, and was ordered to serve three years of probation.

and

  • agreed to a $35 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and the State of Texas. This settlement, including a $30 million civil fine, was incurred for the firm's multiple oil spills in Texas and five other states going back to 1990.[28] The spills resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters.

and

  • reached a $20 million settlement in exchange for admitting to covering up environmental violations at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.

and

  • paid $25 million to the federal government to settle a federal lawsuit that found the company had improperly taken more oil than it had paid for from federal and Indian land.

and

  • paid a $200,000 settlement of charges that the company exported crude petroleum from the US to Canada without proper US government authorization.

and

  • was fined nearly $16,000 by the EPA for 10 separate violations of the Clean Air Act at its Alaska oil refinery facilities, and required to spend another $60,000 on safety equipment needed to help prevent future violations

and

  • agreed to pay a $1.7 million civil penalty and spend up to $500 million to correct self-reported environmental violations at its facilities in seven states. Prior to the settlement, the company had disclosed to the EPA more than 680 violations after auditing 12 facilities acquired from DuPont in 2004.

Godot 4 years, 3 months ago

I got the impression you did not know about Soros' criminal background. Now it appears that you simply dismiss it. Typical of the "relative" thinking of the Obamabots.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

You're the one who claimed the Koch's were "choirboys" compared to Soros.

If it's more the other way around, then you're simply wrong.

The "relative" thinking was started by your post.

scott3460 4 years, 3 months ago

Exactly.

Only someone with a Fauxed up world view would compare the two and find Koch Industries to be more choirboy like.

So, Godot, will you explain your "relative" thinking? We're waiting on you.

overthemoon 4 years, 3 months ago

It is not in french. easy to read

"in a case dating back nearly 20 years, leaving the first blemish on his five-decade investing career"

I thought you guys were all about makin' money by the fistful in any way possible...I guess that its only the swift boater billionaire and his cronies that are ok. Anyone supporting liberal causes is just Hawribble.

Mike Ford 4 years, 3 months ago

late to the comment but I remember being censored by the LJW some time ago when the Dole Center at KU was dedicated and I found an article on a CBS "60 Minutes" segment entitled "What Wouldn't Bob Dole do for Big Oil?. It was about Bob Dole speaking on behalf of the Koch Brothers after a number of environmental offenses took place and it was discovered that the Koch Brothers subsidiary that was working on the Osage Indian Reservation in Oklahoma was intentionally underestimating the oil produced on the tribe's oil wells and it was found that the Koch Brothers owed the Osages underpayed royalites. Stuff like this is never reported so I though I'd put in my two cents about them.

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