Bring in the full orchestral section of tiny violins, as Charles (Happy in Baronial Kansas) Koch explains his woes to USAToday:
WICHITA — Charles Koch and his industrial empire are mounting an aggressive new defense of his company and his political advocacy, with the billionaire insisting his work to help elect Republicans is rooted in his decades-long quest to “increase well-being in society.”
“We are doing all of this to make more money?” Koch said of charges that his drive to limit government’s power will increase his bottom line. “I mean, that is so ludicrous.”…
His comments came during an interview with USA TODAY in his office at Koch Industries, where he discussed a wide range of topics — from the nearly daily death threats against him to what he termed the “hysteria” in some quarters about global warming.
(For the record, Koch says this of climate change: “You can plausibly say that CO2 has contributed” to the planet’s warming, but he sees “no evidence” to support “this theory that it’s going to be catastrophic.”)
The publicity-averse CEO is stepping into the spotlight as Koch Industries launched a new advertising campaign this week that shows the company’s reach into into all corners of Americans’ daily lives — from the Lycra in their workout clothes and the gas in their tanks. A new “We are Koch” website tells uplifting stories about employees and beneficiaries of Koch philanthropy.
The company also is advertising in professional sports arenas and earlier this year inked a multi-year sponsorship deal to promote Koch Industries during college basketball and football games at 15 universities. It’s all part of a 10-year marketing campaign to introduce Koch to the American public in new ways, said Steve Lombardo, a veteran Washington marketing and crisis communications expert hired last year as the company’s chief communications and marketing officer…
Malcolm Harris, a professor of finance at Friends University in Wichita, said Koch’s political activity may be hurting his ability to retain and recruit talent to his ever-expanding business empire. In the last two years or so, Koch Industries has acquired all or parts of more than two dozen companies, including Molex, an Illinois-based firm that makes electronic components for products such as iPhones, that Koch purchased for $7.2 billion in late 2013.
“When you acquire companies, you acquire a lot of employees,” Harris said. “You want them to become part of your team, and it may be hard if they are thinking, ‘Oh gee. Aren’t those the guys that eat babies in the morning?’ “…
To hear Koch tell it, he’s a reluctant political warrior — drawn into elections as a last resort because the ideas he’s been promoting for 50 years about curtailing the government’s power haven’t gotten enough traction.
(He doesn’t consider himself a Republican, by the way, although he’s registered as one because in deep-red “Kansas, that’s the game.”)…
Yeah, he’s not a Republican, he figures he & his brother have bought up enough of the GOP infrastructure and membership that they’ve all become Kochtopians. Wonder when during the “10-year marketing campaign to introduce Koch to the American public in new ways” they’ll introduce the official rebranding?
Apart from the sorry acknowledgement that the corrosive rich will do what corrosives gotta do, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?
Solution: wealth tax. In addition to standard taxes, all assets over $10 million taxed at 1% every year. Over $50 million, 2%. Over $100 million, 3%. Over $1 billion, 4%. Move the assets out of the U.S.? They’re taxed anyway. Estate taxes similarly progressive to 99% (for the billionaires).
You can still get fabulously wealthy, but your descendants can’t stay that way. Bootstraps, you would-be Heirs of Fortune: Grow some.
Tree With Water
The fact the rich bastards have been flushed from their lair bodes well. Harry Reid knew what he was doing when he introduced millions to The Brothers over the last few years. Now for round two: to enlighten millions more, to the point where association with the Koch’s will be tantamount to political suicide.
Watching the new Tony Bourdain episode from Tehran, where people do the same things we do! He just made the point that just about everyone remembers clearly and still suffers from the Iraq Iran war, where we supplied Saddam with the gasses that gassed their countrymen, but want Americans to see that they are living breathing humans who want to live their lives. Clearly they need to be nuked.
@Tree With Water:
but… but… Soros!
I’d actually be more sympathetic if they were doing all of this to make more money. That’s better than being a supervillian just for the hell of it.
Wife is at a conference so I am planning meals for the week. When I say planning meals I really mean figuring out which restaurants to hit.
If only someone would push that big red button in their volcano lair.
Howard Beale IV
Since both Koch’s are cancer survivors, it seems somewhat ironic that both of them have ACA in their crosshairs, ¿no?
Problem is today we don’t have an entity who could effectively sit down and do a real true knock-down drag-out adversarial interview with them.
Death threats? Like Soros doesn’t get them? GMAFB.
@the Conster: Saw an episode of Rick Steves where he visited Iran and spoke to young people on the street. I wish McCain could see that episode.
Do tell. It might just be that the Brothers Koch just haven’t spent enough money ‘splainin’ themselves up to now.
And pigs might have wings.
More likely it’s because people think the ideas truly suck and Charles and David Koch are rich shitheads straight out of a bad novel.
Mike in NC
The articles on the vile Koch brothers were standard “both sides do it” crap, at which USA Today excels. It’s a shame they’ll get to die in bed, obscenely rich old men who resent paying a penny in taxes.
I think we’ve all known those people who identify as “independent” and “vote the person, not the party” but somehow always vote Republican.
I think it’s fascinating that the guy who is, as we speak, choosing the next GOP presidential nominee, is one of those people.
No, I don’t think you want money, at this point I think you’re shooting for the power. I think money at your level of society, and particularly for a born-and-raised royal princeling like yourself who’s never even had to work for it or known anything else, is such an abstraction you don’t even understand what “wanting money” would look like. But controlling everyone around you, that, you’re still striving for.
Though of course one could also fall back on the old cliche that money and power operate on people like you like a narcotic on an addict; the more you have, the more you want.
@Howard Beale IV:
You mean someone who makes less than seven figures a year who doesn’t work for them? Like sharing the air in a room and having an actual discussion with such a subhuman?.
Past a certain point, money is just a way of keeping score. Think Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar…
“What do you want?”
Wonder why Koch feels the need to say anything at all. Doesn’t matter what we think about him and his brother anyways. Our opinions are irrelevant to whether or not he’ll spend billions of dollars trying desperately to buy the White House for the Republicans.
because the ideas he’s been promoting for 50 years about curtailing the government’s power haven’t gotten enough traction.
I’m confused. I thought their ideas have been gaining traction since 1980?
I saw that too. Rick Steves will be on a watchlist under the new Republican administration. There’s no bigger threat to the security state than a travel writer who talks to the locals.
They got cocky and now they’ve been flushed out into the open where the rules are different. They seem to understand something about light being a disinfectant, but they’re not sure what it means to them yet.
I can only guess now that he’s achieved “stroke-at-any-moment-now” age he’s longing for that most elusive desire of the rich–the need to be loved. Reacharounds from Willard evidently aren’t doing it for him anymore.
Pity it won’t work.
The solution is beyond simple.
Cease eating babies.
The libertarian bunch like the Kochs, always say they’re not Republican, it’s just a mad coincidence they happen to vote that way, plus FREE THE FOOD TRUCKS!
@danielx: Actually, that was Edward G. Robinson (as Johnny Rocco) in “Key Largo.”
Major Major Major Major
Anybody got an update on Sooner or Holocene?
Howard Beale IV
True. Besdies, they’ll say one thing and do another. If anyone from CFG comes knocking at my door, I’ll cherfully insult them starting off by saying: “Oh, I see you couldn’t get a real job and are willing to destroy your life and the life of your family. Have Fun!”
Because he’s offended. It really sticks in his craw that peons that he thinks are unworthy of wiping shit from his shoes are actually presuming to comment on the way he spends his money, as if it were their place, with anything other than love and admiration.
The entire Republican Party suffers from a massive case of Gul Dukat Syndrome, where no matter how much they may get off on inflicting suffering on their victims, they also still, somehow, crave the approval and love and thanks of their victims; sincerely believe that they deserve it; and on some level are sincerely bewildered, and hurt, that they don’t get it. (I’ve never been under an abusive parent or spouse, but I understand that “this is for your own good” and “one day you’ll thank me for this” are common catchphrases from that kind of asshole).
That’s why we regularly get so many whiny rich and powerful people venting about why the peons don’t love them. It’s not enough to be cold unfeeling puppetmasters ruling the universe from behind the curtain; something in their psychology requires them to go out and blurt “but why won’t you respect me? Why won’t you love me?” and try to justify to the world that they’re not the bad guy. Angry injured pride and self-righteousness, unrequited love, you name it.
Howard Beale IV
Now who will be the GOP’s Elim Garak?
(The Koch’s are the Founders? Cardassia is the Deep South? The Federation is the non-insane rest of the US? Hmmmm….)
Not all that much, believe it or not. The Kochs are NUTS. Only since Obama was elected has more than the tiniest sliver of their platform been mainstream acceptable. And people tell me that it’s not racism because the Clinton years were just as bad. Ha!
Really, the Kochs are fruit loops. They want all regulations of all kinds removed. No public education. No post office. No IRS. No FDA. The whole government, gone. Not as a vague ideal, but as specific bullet points.
Baron Harkonnen felt misunderstood, too.
Mike in NC
@germy shoemangler: Some of their ideas have gotten plenty of traction, like more and more tax breaks for the wealthy (AKA “job creators”) at the expense of everybody else. Their ideas about eliminating public schools, the post office, labor unions, etc. just need a little more focus.
For all the money their dad made from Uncle Joe, you would think that they could at least put a statue of Stalin in front of their Wichita offices.
I think they’re definitely fruit loops.
I think it might help that as a family business, they go all the way back to the FDR era and beyond, and they’ve been politically active in the John Bircher type fringe since just about that long. I bet the current Kochs grew up hearing all about the Socialist Traitor To His Class FDR, and how he and the mob of unruly workers who voted for him destroyed the beautiful merit-based America of before and nearly ruined the Koch family, and how the Kochs have been fighting the good fight to preserve their due and bring back that old America ever since.
Embellished for accuracy.
As both of the brothers are getting to be about the age of dirt, I’m wondering what will happen to their vast money and holdings when they reach that age and consistency.
@RaflW: That’s what bugs me — Koch’s got kids, even though he doesn’t seem to have treated them any better than his father treated him. You’d think he’d want the planet to last for at least another generation or two, if only to give his vaunted FREEDOM UBER ALLES philosophy a chance to conquer the marketplace…
Villago Delenda Est
Those who think they have the “right” to fuck over people they don’t know simply because they fell out of of the right uterus need to be restricted by government…heavily, because it’s very obvious they have not the slightest respect for the rights or lives of others.
Howard Beale IV
@Ruckus: Personally, I’m in favor of a 100% tax upon death-if you haven’t disbured your wealth upon natural death, the government gets it. Accidental death? Uh, yeah…..
@Ruckus: Yeah, I wondered myself, this is what came up near the top of my googling:
It may just be the old man took a look at his progeny, decided he’d better finish destroying the American economy before the family became just another example under the “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” rule…
I understand why the Kochs wouldn’t consider themselves Republican.
As it stands, the Republican party is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.
He probably figures that even if global warming brings about the apocalypse, the kids will have the money and connections to ride it out. They’ll be the ones living on Elysium, or wherever.
Villago Delenda Est
@Frankensteinbeck: They want to bring back feudalism. They imagine themselves to be the feudal lords. Charles Koch has been quoted as saying that his problem with Obama is that Obama is an “egalitarian”. Charles Koch was born a millennium too late to fulfill his obvious destiny to be King of Westeros.
Howard Beale IV
(A repeat from a previous thread, tweaked for the thread topic….)
Ted Cruz, The Brothers Koch and Rand Paul walk into a bar and buy drinks.
They get poisoned and die, because the saloon owner served them tainted booze, because no BATF due to the fact that the Koch’s succeeded in getting President Walker elected and he eliminated them.
Reporters are asking them the wrong question. It should be this:
Why do you believe that your voice matters more than that of any other American?
Why do you think that having $900 million (or whatever it actually is) to spend makes you more qualified to choose the candidate than any other American?
How comfortable would you be with the idea that a single well-meaning person who happened to be 10,000,000 times richer than you could choose the president unilaterally?
@hitchhiker: They have a different understanding of “E pluribus unum”?
I can see you’re not an elite journalist.
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
@Chris: @Howard Beale IV: Nicely done.
He’s just a soul whose intentions are good…
Howard Beale IV
@Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): ST:DS9 got good when you got the beard.
@Anne Laurie: do you NOT understand what’s possible for those privileged jack holes with inherited wealth and no estate tax, which is what these Fuckers are pushing?
They’ll be able to build their own spaceships and terraforming engines with the money they’re lootong with the help of their GOP cronies.
Howard Beale IV
How the once high and mighty have fallen: for-profit Corinthinan College collapses completely, closes all remaining campuses, tossing 18,000 students out.
DeVry closing 14 campuses just a few days ago.
One dead, one reeling.
The cleansing is beginning.
I like this idea, but leaving aside we can’t even raise the income tax rate a few percentage points – let alone the gift and estate tax to reasonable levels – a wealth tax almost certainly runs afoul of the Fifth Amendment.
@Howard Beale IV
That was Benjamin Sisko.
But then, Network‘s Howard Beale – by his own admission in the film – had no children.
This. I know someone who works for a company that was bought out by Koch. The corporate culture is mean, control for control’s sake, even if it loses the company money. They treat their employees like serfs – their entry into politics is because they want all of us as serfs.
Has there been a thread on George W Bush and his comments on Obama?
The article at Bloomberg View about it has 1893 comments.
Oops, now it has 2269 comments.
Although the article seemed generally unfavorable to Obama, it did end with this line:
@PeakVT: Really? If property taxes are legal, why not wealth taxes? It’s basically the same thing, isn’t it?
We are Kochs. Fixed that for you
Given that folks like the Koch brothers doubtless believe in the Iron Lady’s “there’s no such thing as society”, I’m going to assume that “society” here is actually a euphemism for “the Koch cocks”.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Chris: Henry Ford would bemoan why his employes didn’t love him while he would have his private security guards assault them.
This ought to go over as well as the “We’re Beatrice” campaign did.
that could only be true if in his mind, “society” is limited to the 1%.
I think a much better slogan would be, “We are Koch, suckers!”