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Opinion

Opinion

Reader disputes view of Kochs

April 7, 2012

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While reading Dolph Simons Jr.’s Saturday Column supporting the Koch family (March 31) I couldn’t help but think how much the Journal-World parrots Koch industry guidelines. You say the Kochs are a tremendous asset for our state. I contend they are not, by any means.

You decry the fact that the Kochs are maligned (especially in Kansas) and that “the name Koch, particularly here in Lawrence and Kansas, seems to trigger such angry, passionate and negative responses from a certain segment of the community, particularly among some at Kansas University?”

Among other things, from what I’ve read, the Kochs do not support education at any level unless it’s the “right” kind of education and in the “right” locations. You mention Koch support of cancer research at many locations, but not at KU Medical Center. Why do you list locations elsewhere but not here? If the Kochs are so good for Kansas, why aren’t they using their billions to make KUMC’s classification as a National Cancer Research Center much easier.

You don’t mention the CATO Institute, where you mention Astroturf organizations (groups that appear to be grass-roots but are funded by large corporations). Granted the CATO Institute leans libertarian, but it also supports same-sex marriage (http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/moral-constitutional-case-right-gay-marriage) and guest immigrant-worker programs (http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/us-needs-let-more-workers). The CATO Institute opposes sweeping Patriot Act counterterrorism powers, the aggressive use of American military intervention, and the criminalization of drugs. The March 6, 2012, New York Times has an interesting article citing the many of these things; articles and op-eds are also available at www.cato.org.

On March 1, the Journal-World reprinted an AP article outlining the Koch brothers’ attempted takeover of the CATO Institute. The article reads as if the Kochs were the oppressed — “pity the billionaire” — when in fact they are not. The attempted takeover is a thinly veiled attempt to control the CATO Institute and its research; in essence they want to buy CATO.

As a note, Koch donations to CATO dwindled to zero this past year. If they did in fact support CATO as you say, wouldn’t their donations increase rather than dwindle to nothing?

You say the Kochs support Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Freedom Works (FW). CSE was not just Koch-supported; it was Koch-founded and industry-supported (85 percent of their money) supporting deregulation. Some of their “citizens” are huge conglomerates, some “too big to fail:” Amoco, GE, GM, Citibank, and so on. They’re citizens simply because of the “Citizens United” ruling; a ruling, by the way, which makes it rather useless for a true citizen (one person) to donate for a political cause. CSE is now FW because of an internal rift dissolving CSE and creating FW.

AFP is an Astroturf front group started David Koch and Richard Fink. As with any other Koch Astroturf organization, AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, cap-and-trade legislation (making industries pay for the air pollution they create) and international climate talks.

The AFP, CSE and FW are just some of the front groups funded by the Kochs. Jane Mayer indicated in the Aug. 30, 2010, New Yorker that it’s difficult to know just how much the Kochs have their hand in politics because they’re so slippery and leave no tracks; they dispersed their money, “creating slippery organizations with generic-sounding names.” Sounds like a good, honest, trustworthy family, doesn’t it?

You say Koch Industries follows a list of principles: integrity, confidence, value creation, principled entrepreneurship, customer focus, knowledge, change, humility, respect and fulfillment. The principles you mention are outlined in part of the Koch Market Based Management® philosophy, which you don’t cite. I agree with most of them, however. You say confidence where they use compliance, “100 percent of employees fully complying 100 percent of the time.” There is a distinct difference between the two. Confidence is the internal fortitude to do and fight for what is right; compliance presents a “yes, sir, thank you, sir, may I have another,” attitude. The trademarked “Principled Entrepreneurship” is little more than a self-serving title to make what they do more palatable.

As a note, I see you use the principles as a nice dig against education. This indicates to me you don’t support the public education system in Lawrence, nor do you support having the state fund schools the way they are constitutionally required to. I can only assume you support the ongoing attempts of Gov. Brownback and Speaker O’Neal to grind education (as many other things) under the heal of an autocratic, theocentric plutocracy.

— Ralph Reed is a long-time Lawrence resident.

Comments

prairiemermaid 2 years, 5 months ago

Great comment! Thanks for the informed evaluation of the Koch family business. We need watchdogs like you, especially now...

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Frank Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

The worst thing that the Kochs do is to fund initiatives to keep millions of Americans from voting. These are those voting blocs most likely to vote against their anti-tax, theocratic agenda. They include minorities, students, the working class, union members, students, etc. Their agenda is fundamentally anti-Democratic.

They feel that by reducing the numbers of those voters it will be much less expensive to buy all those tools and stooges who have supported their various agendas.

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

Good sound letter. I think the naming of the special Koch "citizens grass root" industry funded fronts should have been mentioned in the rather bizarre editorial lauding them. I am really sick of Koch words coming out of a "concerned mother's mouth". It is insulting to moms.

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Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 5 months ago

citizens grass root = monoculture = crabgrass

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

This piece of tripe is the most lame attempt at analysis that the J-W has published in some time.

Dolph Simons, Jr. doesn't "...support the public education system in Lawrence?" Are you kidding? If the author of this piece of drivel is really a "long-time Lawrence resident," then he's been living under a rock.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

You are soooo libertarian. I'm sure you have read your hero, Rand. In the book, who is the one who buys the government, so he can control things? Not the brave, libertarian innovator. The Kochs would suppress any innovation that might lose them money, and you know it. They are controlling the government, so that they can eliminate competition and pollute when and where they want. Very libertarian of them.

I could see your ideal libertarian world now. Those workers living in the trash heaps left by all the people who were born to the right family. Pollution spewing from factories. Fighting over water that is potable. Dog eat dog is what you want, and you think you'll come out on top, but in the end everyone loses, just because your rich heroes want to make even more money.

I've read "Pity the Billionaire". Why should I feel sorry for a family who has lots of money, being forced to comply with rules that keep them from polluting my water and air? They have enough money to keep that from happening. In true libertarian speak "What's in it for me".

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

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

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

I used to actually be a registered libertarian. Even voted for Ron Paul in 1980. I know the whole philosophy of property rights. If someone pollutes your air or water, you can sue them. But the air and water has already been polluted. And how do you sue them if your livelihood has be destroyed? Who is going to handle the disputes? Private courts? There to make a profit? Whoever pays the most wins?
In the unregulated times workers were treated like slaves. Company houses, and if the worker died in the mines, the family was thrown out. Company stores that charged too much, so the workers were always in debt to the store. Workers locked into a factory, so they could burn to death if there was a fire. Child workers who were destined to die early and never get an education. It wasn't your hero business men who changed all this. They were making a profit. Why would they want to change. They were forced to change by the unions and by the government. And you want to eliminate both. And you applaud the Kochs for trying to buy their way into the government, so it will stop trying to protect people from greedy corporations. Not very libertarian. I call the Koch's out as phonies. And if you truly believed in libertarian principles , you would call them out too.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

I applaud your ability to believe in this fairy land world that the Libertarians think they can create.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

Would you like to tell me where? And on what scale?

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

You mean you would agree that the Wright brothers had no right to make profit from their property rights? Not very libertarian of you.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

The assertion by the author of this bilge that Dolph Simons, Jr. doesn't "...support the public education system in Lawrence" is a ridiculous, utterly ignorant statement. Mr. Simons is a graduate of Lawrence public schools, is a member of the Lawrence Lions Alumni Association's Hall of Honor, had children matriculate through the Lawrence public school system and has had at least two grandchildren at Lawrence High School. He has been a strong supporter of effective public education in Lawrence for many years.

Don't cry, fretster. Just keep on demonstrating your ignorance.

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Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

And so you say that he is a supporter of public education, and Ralph says he isn't. That means your argument is stronger because.............?

You are a great one to call others' statements ridiculous, ignorant or any of a number of derogatory terms, but come back with nothing but assertions of your own.

So do you have any evidence that proves your point, or is it your position that your superior intellect and moral imperative trump anything that anybody says?

Thought so.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

Do you care to dispute any of the evidence I've provided?

Thought so.

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Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Cato, citing Dolph's educational history does nothing to show that he is a supporter of public education. Many, many people have been publicly educated and are NOT friends of public education. For example, those who espouse vouchers are certainly not friendly to public education. Further, many of Mr. Simons's comments against the University of Kansas and its administration show absolutely no friendliness to public education.

Again, your assertions are not proof of anything but your hard-headed opinions. Again I ask for proof. Again you tender nothing.

Just as I thought.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

Your naive equation of "public education" with "higher education" demonstrates that you know little about either.

Your assertion that Dolph's comments regarding the University of Kansas, which is part of our state's system of higher education, evince "no friendliness to public education" prove your naivete. Moreover, that's simply your opinion. Mr. Simons has made many, many positive observations about KU and those associated with the university over the years. That's an established truth. The fact that you apparently can't abide his occasional criticisms shows how thin-skinned you are.

Have you never criticized anything about the University of Kansas?

Just as I thought.

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Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Precisely what I've been pointing out all along. Cato, I think, is quite intelligent, but has no ability to confront direct questions, or provide facts. He seems to believe that his assertions are fact and that the "burden of disproof" is on the listener.

Sorry, cato, but you fail in so many of your arguments simply because you fail to relate to your listeners. Come with rational, proveable facts and your point of view will make more sense, and might even sway swing voters, like me. Otherwise, you come off sounding exactly like the "right wingers" you so revere.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

Looks like you can't read either.

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BACHMANNNIE 2 years, 5 months ago

AGREED. This is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill, Lawrence-Libertarian jab at a conservative business flourishing in Kansas.

If you want to throw out the support of public education card, look first to your beloved school on the hill who would rather throw scholarship money at a kid from Chicago than support Kansas students who will likely remain in and contribute to the future Kansas economy. All in attempt to raise KU's published national rankings--pathetic.

Despite all of this, Koch Industries STILL recruits from and offers intership/job opportunities to hoards of KU grads who prefer to overlook this lack of support in public education in Kansas. And who can blame them for the oversight? Afterall, it's easy to love a school that is always winning--at least in one sport...

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ihatelv 2 years, 5 months ago

"AFP is an Astroturf front group started David Koch and Richard Fink. As with any other Koch Astroturf organization, AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, cap-and-trade legislation (making industries pay for the air pollution they create) and international climate talks."

Those are all great reasons why you should SUPPORT them.............

I hate you hippies in Lawrence more and more every day!

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

Sounds a lot like class envy to me. Ralph, if you would spend as much time trying to do something to better yourself instead of whining, you too, might aspire to something more than cleaning porta potties.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Hmm, what do you suppose the result would be if everyone thought themselves too good to clean porta-potties (and stationary ones, for that matter,) as you apparently believe about yourself?

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Liberty275 2 years, 5 months ago

I'll clean portapotties for $40/hr. Where do I fill out the app?

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Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 5 months ago

It's called the majority or should be if the majority knew what was good for them.

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 5 months ago

Koch Brothers Behind Efforts to Overturn Health Reform Do all roads lead to Koch?

Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group financed by industrialists Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers provided the seed money to get this organization off the ground and have donated at least $5 million overall (possibly a lot more) to its operations. David Koch still serves as the group’s chairman.

These facts belie the image that Americans for Prosperity would like to present as a humble grassroots organization. The stories we see today about regular Americans coming to D.C. to protest evil health reform are directly attributable to the corporate interests that the Koch brothers represent.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/872895/koch_brothers_behind_efforts_to_overturn_health_reform/

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 5 months ago

Business lobby, aided by $36,000 from Koch Industries, targets eight Republican incumbents in state Senate for defeat

The Chamber said a majority of Republicans in the Kansas House and Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, support a pro-business agenda.

The Chamber PAC’s campaign finance report filed Tuesday illustrates the effort by Brownback’s supporters to wrest control of the Senate from so-called moderate Republicans. The Chamber PAC collected $163,000 in contributions last year with the biggest donors being Koch Industries, which contributed more than $36,000. Among other large contributors was The Lawrence Paper Co., $15,000; and Murfin Drilling Co., $10,000.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jan/10/business-lobby-targets-eight-republican-incumbents/?utm_campaign=ljpgtweet&utm_source=ljpgtweet&utm_medium=ljpgtweet

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 5 months ago

                         How The Kochs Are Fracking America

The October 2011 issue of Discovery, the in-house Koch Industries newsletter, explains how the Koch Industries empire is profiting from the “really exciting” fracking boom:

– 1. Koch Pipeline is partnering with NuStar Energy to develop a dormant pipeline from Pettus, TX to refineries in Corpus Christi. The pipeline will transport natural gas from fracking sites in southern Texas. Koch Pipeline is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

– 2. Flint Hills Resources recently purchased a small craft pier and wharf in Ingleside, TX to store shipments of natural gas from fracking operations in the Eagle Ford shale formation. Flint Hills Resources is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

– 3. Koch Supply & Trading, a Koch Industries company that deals with commodity trading and financial products, is “already trading Eagle Ford crude” to help supply Koch companies and other customers, according to a Koch Industries newsletter.

– 4. Koch Chemical Technology Group is designing a processing facility near Yoakum, TX to help process natural gas fracked in southern Texas. Koch Chemical is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

– 5. John Zink, a Koch Industries company, is providing flares for a natural gas processing plant in Helena to service the fracking industry.

– 6. Georgia Pacific produces resins used for chemicals used to prop open micro-fractures, an important process for fracking to occur. GP is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

– 7. Koch Fertilizer, a Koch Industries company, has tapped into increased natural gas production from fracking to develop fertilizer.

http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/03/02/436669/how-the-kochs-are-fracking-america/

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 5 months ago

         The Koch brothers…fund the Tea Party, make billions, lay off workers.

As Tea Party Koch Brothers Earned An Extra $11 Billion In Recent Years, They Laid Off Thousands

However, at a time when the Koch brothers were enjoying spectacular financial gains, Koch Industries laid off well over 2,000 people. Using the same approximate “jobs multiplier” Koch Industries used in its study last week, that means Koch Industries extinguished nearly 8,000 jobs in recent years:

http://www.dirtandseeds.com/the-koch-brothers-fund-the-tea-party-make-billions-lay-of-workers/

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Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 5 months ago

No! These are the "job creators" to whom we are to bow down and obey! This can't be!

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 5 months ago

                               ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection

Hundreds of ALEC’s model bills and resolutions bear traces of Koch DNA: raw ideas that were once at the fringes but that have been carved into “mainstream” policy through the wealth and will of Charles and David Koch. Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding. http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/koch-connection

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Bushloather1 2 years, 5 months ago

About time someone mentioned ALEC. That is the biggest threat to our democracy IMHO. "Corporations are people my friend" - Mitt Romney

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Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 5 months ago

You've heard the joke: Since Romney can't find anyone to run with him as VP, he should make GE his VP because "corpoations are people."

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brewmaster 2 years, 5 months ago

I despise the Kochs. They are manipulative, sociopathic, modern day robber barons.

However, I must extend a tip-of-the-hat to Mr. Simons and the LJW for publishing Mr. Reed's opposing response to Mr. Simons' own article. That act shows journalistic class.

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Windemere 2 years, 5 months ago

Not sure if publishing it shows class, but it does show a lack of quality control. It's an unfocused, meandering rant. I would have rather seen a cogent argument in its place. As for the Kochs, I've never seen anything alleging that they do anything illegal. Seen no evidence that they engage in "hate speech." They seem to be rather extreme libertarians. They make people who want big government angry. Let free speech flourish.

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jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

You must have missed the numerous cases that have been cited in which the Koch family have paid massive amounts in fines then.

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Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

If "unfocused, meandering rant" means taking a point-by-point look at, and disputation of, the points made by Mr. Simons, then this qualifies. However, I believe you were referring to the original editorial by Mr. Simons, in which case you are completely correct.

Congratulations.

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CrimsonBlossom 2 years, 5 months ago

Feel free to leave, then. Don't let the door hit you where the Lord split you.

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CrimsonBlossom 2 years, 5 months ago

This was intended as a reply to ihatelv's hatred of Lawrence hippies, not the article writer! The article is brilliant.

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ihatelv 2 years, 5 months ago

I left 8 years ago. I still pay attention to see how more F'ed up you've become.........

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Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow, that's just what Sam would say: if you don't like my ideas, move.

Of all the wrong things to say, this is the "wrongest". What ever happened to civil discourse, where each party made a point and allowed the other to debate its merit? Good grief, CB, what would you think and how would you react if I said to you, "If you don't like my world, leave"?

Your attitude mirrors that of the Republican party today.

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Jean Robart 2 years, 5 months ago

I think it should be "If you don't like what Sam says, vote him out of office."

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Windemere 2 years, 5 months ago

Good point -- if they or /their businesses are held accountable if they do something illegal, great -- as it should be. Lots of liberals and people of all political stripes have done something against the law. Hold them accountable. I don't think that leads to the conclusion that any group they found or support is evil or should automatically be condemned. Or their speech stifled.

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jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

"I've never seen anything alleging that they do anything illegal"

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

It is a matter of public record they have been caught in violations of environmental and safety standards. Those are considered illegal acts. If you mean have they been caught boosting car radios, no.

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jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

Did you miss the quotes? I was quoting Windermere's post above.

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

yes, you are correct. I was responding to the comment you quoted.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

Can someone tell me how all these government rules and regulations that have picked on the poor, oppressed Koch family have held the family back? I mean haven't they prospered enough? And how much of that money spent on buying our government could have provided real jobs, or at least raises for the people who already work for them? Just more money invested in unproductive work. Try producing something. I'm sick of people who don't produce anything.

The Koch industries produce, but instead of taking their profit and producing more, they waste it on buying the government. I guess they produce BS. And "Can't" (always negative, those conservatives), it sounds like cleaning portapotties are going to be needed with the likes of the Kochs running this country. And your stupid class envy parry is getting old. Try addressing the issues for a change. Or are you really clueless about the issues?

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Armstrong 2 years, 5 months ago

Ahhh, another weekend of 3rd grade rants.

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Armstrong 2 years, 5 months ago

Nope, don't dispute a thing Dolph had to say. I just enjoy watching liberals cry and do nothing - as usual

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Armstrong 2 years, 5 months ago

Koch's businesses, Koch's money. Seems like they can do with their assets as they wish. You are the ones with the problem(s), not Koch

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booyalab 2 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. They have a problem with them spending money as they wish. That pretty much sums up progressive issues.

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

So you have nothing, nada. Got it. You just have faith, gosh that is great.

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Armstrong 2 years, 5 months ago

See my above post and try to komprhend it

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

You can't refute the facts in Mr. Reed's letter because they are accurate. You simply denigrate the discussion. Then you pretend you meant you were discussing the editorial. Which I interpret to mean you have nothing of substance to offer, only irrelevant remarks of support for the editorial. Nada.

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jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow.

Thank you for that distinction - I don't think I've ever seen you use it before.

I'd offer the same in reverse - there are thinking conservatives who have common sense as well, and aren't part of the far-right contingent.

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Thomas Kurata 2 years, 5 months ago

Hi Ralph,

It's been a long time since we last delivered pizzas together at the Green Pepper in the spring of 1974 when we were both at KU. I very much enjoyed reading your response to Dolph Simon's Saturday Column concerning the Koch brothers. Kudos to both you and the Journal-World to air opinions about the Kochs. For the space allotted to you, your views were expressed concisely and, I believe, hit the nail on many heads. I don't know if you have heard about the university donations the Koch brothers have been making but I attach the following link for your interest: http://www.bravenewfoundation.org/topics/college-donations/ It seems now there is push back from those universities that accepted donations from the Koch brothers due to infringements on academic freedom. It appears a lot of the Koch donations come with strings attached, i.e. the Kochs wish to influence faculty hiring decisions to support the Koch's philosophies. Having been in Florida recently, I learned that Florida State University is suffering severe buyer's remorse for having accepted Koch donations. I recently contacted KU about this and was informed that none of the Koch donations to KU had strings attached concerning faculty hiring. Controversy is one of the greatest spices of life, and I thank and salute you for having the courage of your convictions to express your views out in the open, and not from behind the cloak of anonymity. Well done!

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brewmaster 2 years, 5 months ago

Kutura,

Check out the KU Center for Applied Economics.

...of Koch, by Koch and for Koch...

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Jean Robart 2 years, 5 months ago

amen--very well said to both of you

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booyalab 2 years, 5 months ago

For those who didn't feel like reading the whole article.....highlights include: he read something, he only likes to provide sources for things that don't advance his argument like Cato Institute views on same sex marriage and the opinions of New Yorker columnists, his best argument against their business philosophy is that they use nice-sounding buzzwords to make people feel good, he likes concluding sentences that state assumptions, he's a long time resident of Lawrence

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dlkrm 2 years, 5 months ago

Lots of hate directed at a family using its money to influence. Okay for the far left, not for the right. Hmmm.

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jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

Not ok with me for anybody to do that, regardless of political affiliation.

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booyalab 2 years, 5 months ago

This response is probably too late, so I'll ask it below.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 5 months ago

Okay for the far left......................For sure. It's always for the children, or the weak and impoverished.

There are some of us who see this agenda. There are some of us who know the difference between tax funded jobs and private industry. There are some of us watching this nation self destruct. There are some of us who shudder hearing President Obama whisper his intentions to Russian journalists. There are some of us who realize we did a pretty good job of educating American youth for decades until the feds decided to take over. There are some of us who now see the same ideals taking over our private medical needs. There are some of us who wonder why a city of 100 K can't afford to turn the lights on or put out a fire. There are some of us who do not wish to bail our liberal wacko California........again.

Yet, here we go at break neck speed into everybody deserves everything.

Socialism does not work, ask a tax paying German citizen how he or she feels paying for the Greek and soon to be Spanish lazy gimme more style socialists. Ireland and Portugal next. Maybe France soon enough.

Thanks American liberals.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 5 months ago

Watching a great program on KCPT the other night and upon it's conclusion the name of the main sponsor "The David Koch Foundation" appeared on the screen. I like Rick Santorum almost had a case of "projectile vomiting" at the sighting! Needless to say, that is the only Santorum revelation that I have in common with him. This is a case where Koch gets to appear to be a patron of the arts and a friend of the common man while still sticking us in the back!! Kinda like the premise in Thomas Franks "What's the Matter With Kansas".

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Frank Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

David Koch's head should explode. He funds research into DNA and paleontology and funds museums.

He funds politicians like Governor Sam who don't believe in evolution and would like Kansas and the US to be theocracies. He funds the anti-abortion crazies when they run for office.

He funds universities, though much of that is with strings attached, such as George Mason's Mercatus Center.

He attacks K-12 education, a twofer, actually. He figures he'll pay less in property taxes if schools collapse and he'll get rid of those pesky teacher's associations that enable teachers to collectively express political views. He supports politicians who want to do away with sex education and fund "Christian" madrassas.

He funds medical research having been giving that focus from suffering from prostate cancer. He fights regulation that would otherwise keep carcinogens from our air and water. He takes federal money to subsidize his employees' health care. He's the biggest non-medical or pharmaceutical funder of attacks on the affordable care act, and would put every dime he had to stop single payer health care.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 5 months ago

BTW..........the Germans have some socialist leanings. They also do not shoot themselves in the foot with massive anti business regs. Germans understand business is the lifeblood of a healthy economy.

They laugh at what we do to companies like Honeywell, of our auto industry. They cheer when we write silly law after silly law. For instance want a vehicle bigger than a shoe and get a bit of power as well. Don't look here, but try a clean diesel turbo charged German/Italian made vehicle 55mpg........in Europe. Why not hear? Against the law.

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Frank Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

My wife has one of those German clean diesels, a 2009 Jetta. It was made in Mexico.

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seriouscat 2 years, 5 months ago

Responsible corporations -- or, at the very least, corporations that do not want to lose market share in the face of consumer boycotts -- are exiting ALEC.

But the group's most extreme backers are doubling down. A representative of the Koch Companies announced that, "Yes, we plan to continue our membership in and support of ALEC."

Since the Center for Media and Democracy's "ALEC Exposed" project was developed last summer in cooperation with The Nation, millions of Americans have become aware that ALEC uses corporate money to craft one-size-fits-all "model legislation" that its member legislators then propose and pass in the states.

The "ALEC Exposed" project revealed the backstory of how this 40-year-old group uses an elaborate system of corporate-guided "task forces" to promote:

  • Restrictive Voter ID laws and array of related initiatives that threaten to suppress voting by residents of rural regions, students, senior citizens and people of color.

  • Anti-labor laws designed to limit the ability of Americans to organize and have a voice in their workplaces and the public life of their communities, states and nation.

  • Tort "reform," deregulation and corporate tax-slashing schemes that eliminate tools to assure multinational corporations act responsibly and contribute to the communities and states where they operate.

  • Money-in-politics initiatives that seek to remove barriers to domination of elections by corporations and billionaire right-wing donors -- such as longtime ALEC supporters Charles and David Koch.

  • Privatization schemes that undermine public education and public services, posing particular threats to rural communities and urban neighborhoods that rely on strong public institutions.

  • Kill-at-Will laws that prevent police and prosecutors from effectively investigating shootings such as that of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Bo Morrison in Wisconsin and others who have been killed since states began to enact so-called "Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" laws.

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booyalab 2 years, 5 months ago

For the people who can't stand the thought of someone using their money to influence: Why? Do you think any sort of political donation should be illegal? Or just the donations to political groups you dislike? If every politically charged donation should be illegal, where do you draw the line? If I buy a tote bag that says "Save the disadvantaged squirrels" and a portion of the profits go to a group that lobbies for the rights of squirrels in rough neighborhoods, is that a type of donation that shouldn't be allowed? What if I'm rich and I donate to the squirrel rights group? What if I'm rich and I donate to NAMBLA? We probably all agree that the last type of person is distasteful, but should there be a law against rich people donating to NAMBLA? I would say no. In fact, hearing about said person would not even inspire the level of vitriol I see about the Koch brothers who haven't even done anything that most people would consider immoral. So I'm curious if there are any objective principles at the heart of the views on the Kochs. I haven't seen any yet.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 5 months ago

as i skim over the comments, i didn't see two words: george soros.

he has his hands in everything.

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Frank Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

If you think George is the problem here, I would direct you to consider "the beam in your own eye."

Soros has never tried to take votes from eligible citizens. The Kochs and ALEC are working to disenfranchise millions through fake voter protection measures authored by scoundrels like racist-for-hire Kris Kobach, one of the prime recipients of their dough.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

Actually wissmo Germans have a partitioned government in the Bundestag with representation divied out in proportion to the amount of seats held in the Bundestag by each party involved. Kind of like the the representation that took place in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy with each tribe having representation according to the size of the tribe (Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida, Onandaga, and Tuscarora). Benjamin Franklin observed it's function in the 1750's and admitted it as an influence when authoring the US Constitution in the 1780's. Furthermore what you say about laws and cars isn't correct. The Green Party in Germany lobbied and got all German auto manufacturers to adhere to a governed top speed of 155 mph for German cars even if they're capable of more like the BMW M series and the Mercedes Benz AMG series of performance cars. Germans enact laws to reinforce intelligence in their society. Amerikuns do away with laws to reinforce the ignorance of this society. Read much????

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 5 months ago

Amerikuns do away with laws to reinforce the ignorance of this society. Read much????

Actually I do read a great deal. Anybody including libs realize our government, local, state, and federal is in business to make laws. Tweak here, help a group there, much done without thought of the effect it can have. Think Detroit. Think California a state in which new business start ups are nearly impossible. Over regulation is strangling our economy.

The result, the state is broke and L.A. (money) has moved to Arizona.

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