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Archive for the ‘koch brothers’ Category

Koch Fib Files: The TV Ad’s Apolitical Cancer Patient

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 11, 2014

Remember the anti-Obamacare ad created by Karl Rove’s Koch-funded group “Americans for Prosperity” that featured a lady cancer patient who tried to make it sound like her health care costs were going up?

Well, it turns out that she’s actually going to save over $1000 a year because of Obamacare:

Before her plan was canceled, [Julie] Boonstra was paying a $1,100 monthly premium. That’s $13,200 a year, without adding out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and prescription drugs. But under her new plan, the Blue Cross Premier Gold, Boonstra’s premiums are down to $571 a month, and out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100. That’s a maximum annual expense of $11,952 a year.

Oh, and here’s something else that won’t surprise anyone at all who’s been paying attention over the last four decades:

Boonstra told The Detroit News she had never been politically active before joining the anti-Obamacare campaign. The newspaper reported her ex-husband, Mark Boonstra, had served as chair of the Washtenaw County GOP, and was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2012.

What was that about being apolitical again, Ma’am?

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

Posted in Karl Rove, koch brothers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Koch’s coke

Posted by Charles II on May 17, 2013

A belated tip of the hat to Quentin Compson at Eschaton.

What is wrong with this picture? A major American city is becoming a dumping ground for toxic waste. Ian Austen, NYT:

WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

While there is high demand from both those industries, the small grains and high sulfur content of this petroleum coke make it largely unusable for those purposes, said Kerry Satterthwaite, a petroleum coke analyst at Roskill Information Services, a commodities analysis company based in London.

“It is worse than a byproduct,” Ms. Satterthwaite said.“It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.”

and coincidentally, Detroit has been deprived of its municipal government by the emergency manager.

Posted in environment, koch brothers, Michigan, Oil | 4 Comments »

Scoring the Media on Coverage of the West Fertilizer Explosion

Posted by Charles II on April 28, 2013

All roads lead to Charles and David.

Hugh Kaufman of the EPA in an interview with FAIR

HK: I think the worst [coverage] was the New York Times. The New York Times claimed that the company notified EPA that they had 270 tons of this explosive ammonium nitrate, but they did not notify EPA of that. In fact, they told EPA that the facility posed no fire or explosion hazard. The New York Times did not say that, and I think that’s probably the biggest problem.

Interestingly, Texas is a Republican state — a red state — and in fact, many of the leaders want to secede from the union, and they despise EPA — they want the EPA abolished. And yet the Republican newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, has probably has the best environmental coverage of the case, which makes it very ironic to me.

CS: You also pointed to Reuters.

HK: Reuters did a piece where they implied and stated that EPA and OSHA do not have authority to regulate the facility or this ammonium nitrate, and that’s totally false. Again, you have the Reuters and the New York Times taking the public off the scent. Of course, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox — none of the cable channels are covering the details. The only cable channel I’ve seen that mentioned the fact that this is law-breaking and they lied to EPA was on the Young Turks on YouTube.

CS: I think it’s still on Current TV too.

HK: Is it still on Current, yeah? And the Wall Street Journal has done very good coverage too. So you’ve got the Wall Street Journal on the right, Dallas Morning News on the right and Current on the left, doing the good coverage, and everybody in the middle doing no coverage or bad coverage. By the way, MSNBC did one good thing. They put on their website the sheet the company gave to the state of Texas that identified they did have 270 tons of the explosive material, so that was a good thing.

HK: Reuters did a piece where they implied and stated that EPA and OSHA do not have authority to regulate the facility or this ammonium nitrate, and that’s totally false. Again, you have the Reuters and the New York Times taking the public off the scent. Of course, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox — none of the cable channels are covering the details. The only cable channel I’ve seen that mentioned the fact that this is law-breaking and they lied to EPA was on the Young Turks on YouTube.

CS: I think it’s still on Current TV too.

HK: … You know who the largest owner of fertilizer business in the world is?

CS: I think you’re going to tell me.

HK: The Koch brothers.

These are the guys who want to buy the LAT and the Chicago Trib, so that their voice can be heard.

Posted in corruption, environment, impunity, koch brothers | 1 Comment »

American journalism to be saved from Rupert Murdoch by…Charles and David Koch?

Posted by Charles II on April 1, 2013

No, not April Fool’s. Connor Simpson, The Atlantic Wire (via FAIR):

This could get very ugly, very fast. The Koch brothers are reportedly [by the LA Weekly] considering a bid for the Tribune Company newspapers — focusing on the crown jewels of the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune, or at least what jewels of power are left in the flailing newspaper industry — but they may face stiff competition in the form of a debt-free, full pocketed media power player named Rupert Murdoch.

If the notoriously free-spending political heavyweights and brothers in industry choose to go for the whole company — and, importantly, if their offer is taken seriously and ends up bailing out the papers — their purchase would also include 20 television stations along with the eight papers.

Simpson thinks the report is unlikely. What seems beyond doubt is that the LA Times and the Chicago Trib–and six other papers and 20 television stations–are going from being owned by reactionaries to being owned by delusionaries.

Posted in koch brothers, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 3 Comments »

Donors Trust Exposed as Billionaire Puppet Show to Create State Climate-Denial Astroturf

Posted by Charles II on February 19, 2013

[Posted in different form at DK]

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, in partnership with Mother Jones and Center for Public Integrity (via DemocracyNow):

Conservatives used a pair of secretive trusts to fund a media campaign against windfarms and solar projects, and to block state agencies from planning for future sea-level rise, the Guardian has learned.

The trusts, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, served as the bankers of the conservative movement over the past decade. Promising anonymity to their conservative billionaire patrons, the trusts between them channelled nearly $120m to contrarian thinktanks and activists, wrecking the chances of getting Congress to act on climate change.

Now the Guardian can reveal the latest project of the secretive funding network: a campaign to stop state governments moving towards renewable energy.

From Paul Abowd at Center for Public Integrity, a useful graphic


As Suzanne Goldenberg said, what distinguishes the recipients of these trusts from left-wing or centrist foundations that similarly collect money from donors to distribute to projects is that the function of Donors Trust is to promulgate lies and distortions. In some cases at least, they are the primary donor to state-level puppets. Here’s an example of the kind of in-your-face lying that they engage in (from Abowd):

One report from a New Mexico affiliate [New Mexico Watchdog run by the Rio Grande Foundation, which gets most of its money from Donors Capital Fund, a partner of Donors Trust] housed at a free-market think tank also funded by Donors Trust garnered national attention when it reported that millions of dollars in federal stimulus money had been allocated to non-existent congressional districts.

The government database on stimulus spending had indeed listed non-existent districts as receiving funds, but the Associated Press reported that the problem was due to data errors and that “’phantom congressional districts’ are being used as a phantom issue to suggest that stimulus money has been misspent.”

When asked to comment on the criticism, Franklin Center spokesman Moroney said: “Franklin Center adheres to the highest degree of journalistic integrity and we stand by our reporting 100 percent. In this case, the Associated Press had it wrong.”

FOX Noise turned it into a big pseudo-scandal. Other news organizations looked at it and found that the money was spent appropriately. The “phantom districts” were just mislabeled.

Now, in a sense, this is an old story. We’ve known that there are state-level foundations like Heartland that are being run by billionaire money. But John Mashey of DeSmog has a full list. In Minnesota, they funded the Minnesota Freedom Fund and the Minnesota Family Institute. And the fact that this is a coordinated effort and that it specializes in political hit jobs suggests to me that Donors Trust and Donors Capital are not 501(c)3s but money laundering fronts for lobbying organizations.

Anyone know a lawyer who could sort that out for us?

Posted in astroturf, corruption, koch brothers | 2 Comments »

Wikis go Astroturf: Ballotopedia, Judgepedia, WikiFOIA are Koch funded

Posted by Charles II on December 3, 2012

Sara Jerving, PR Watch via t/o:

The Lucy Burns Institute (LBI) is a Madison-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2006 and named after a significant leader of the women’s suffrage movement. The organization sponsors three websites: Ballotpedia, which tracks elections and ballot measures at the state level; WikiFOIA, which provides Information on how to use Freedom of information laws at the state and local level; and Judgepedia, which provides information on the nation’s judges and court systems.

Lucy Burns is what one could call a front group for or subsidiary of the Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams receives its funding from a cut-out organization that is funded by Charles Koch, and in turn, it funds the Tea Party Patriots and other conservative groups. Lucy Burns took over the wikis from Sam Adams and receives funding from them. So the money flow goes:

Charles Koch → Claude R. Lambe Foundation → State Policy Network → Sam Adams Alliance → Lucy Burns Institute.

Why a non-profit should be able to fund another non-profit is beyond me. It becomes impossible to determine whether contributions which received a tax exemption for being charitable are used for charitable purposes. But such is the state of our tax law.

There are many other ties to the Kochs. For example:

LBI’s board of directors also includes right-wing and Koch ties. LBI’s secretary, Jack McHugh, is a senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The Mackinac Center is a right-wing think tank, which has received some funding from the Kochs and is also a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Also, interesting to those of us who follow the blogosphere:

Erick Erickson, the Chairman of the Board and Managing Editor of Redstate, is a board member of LBI. Redstate is the “leading conservative news blog for right of center online activists.” Breitbart TV describes Erickson as a “right wing hero.”

The Kochs apparently think they can buy the truth. They have created an immense and difficult to detect propaganda apparatus that influences journalists too busy or too sloppy to do primary source research. One has to be careful to believe only what one can independently confirm, because they have well and truly polluted the well.

Posted in koch brothers, Media machine, propaganda | 1 Comment »

Why, hello there, Megan McArdle!

Posted by Charles II on September 21, 2012

Via Ritholtz, and Yves a review of the career of Atlantic/Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist Megan McArdle by Yasha Levine and Mark Ames of Project S.H.A.M.E. .

The part I found most interesting:

* McArdle received journalism training from the right-wing Institute for Humane Studies, headed by Charles Koch since the 1960s. According to the IHS, its journalism program “places talented writers and communicators—who support individual liberty, free markets, and peace—at media companies and non-profit newsrooms”...
* In 2011, McArdle returned to her Koch alma mater as a guest lecturer and instructor at the Institute for Humane Studies’ “Journalism & the Free Society” summer internship program. The program tackled such topics as “Is an ‘objective’ press possible — or even desirable?” Other faculty members joining McArdle that year included Radley Balko, then-editor at the Kochs’ Reason magazine
* In a sign of just how close and trusted McArdle is to the Kochs, in October 2011, she was chosen to emcee Charles Koch’s 50th Anniversary gala celebration of his flagship libertarian think-tank, the Institute for Humane Studies, featuring Charles Koch as the keynote speaker and guest of honor. McArdle and Koch were joined by hundreds of leading GOP donors and activists….The IHS attempted to hide McArdle’s involvement, scrubbing her name from the dinner announcement page. (emphases added)

There’s more on McArdle’s comic career, her dishonesty and hypocrisy, but the point is that she’s paid, trained, and placed by the true heirs of Lenin, Charles and David Koch for the purpose of inserting propaganda into public discourse. She is an apparatchik. And The Atlantic, The Economist, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast have all been used as tools of dissemination.

Project S.H.A.M.E. describes itself as follows:

The S.H.A.M.E. Media Transparency Project takes the war against corporate trolls and media shills to a new and more effective level. Its goal is to expose corrupt media figures, document journalistic fraud and make life a little harder for covert propagandists who manipulate the public, degrade our democracy and help perpetuate oligarchy power.

S.H.A.M.E. was inspired by our readers and donors, who are tired of the rampant media fraud and deception, and want some way to fight back and reclaim our democracy.

The purpose of S.H.A.M.E. is not to merely document media crimes, nor simply to humiliate or call out hypocrisy. The project is about providing useful, fun and effective tools the public can use to protect itself from being manipulated by sophisticated public relations con-artistry.

Think of S.H.A.M.E. as a kind of roach trap for media shills and corporate lackeys.

Posted in koch brothers, Media machine, mediawhores, propaganda, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on Why, hello there, Megan McArdle!

Maybe Joe Arpaio should break up this Kochfight

Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2012

Via Avedon.

Matt Pearce, LAT:

…Charles and David Koch are taking to the courts to solve an ownership dispute involving the Cato Institute.

The president of the institute, a longtime pillar of free-market thinking in Washington — calls the move an attempt “to transform Cato from an independent, nonpartisan research organization into a political entity” with a “partisan agenda.”…

…the Kochs’ lawsuit …plunges into an internal battle over who owns 25% of the institute’s shares. The Kochs hold 50% of the shares and possibly stand to hold more if they win the suit.

The current Cato Institute was founded in, ironically enough, San Francisco in 1977, and the original began three years earlier as a Kansas nonprofit named the Charles Koch Foundation Inc.

It was recently chaired by William Niskanen, who retired in 2008 and died in October; his 25% ownership share transferred to his wife, which the Koch brothers believe under shareholders’ agreements must be sold back to the institute.

According to its latest tax filing for 2010, the Cato Institute’s four shareholders each had 25% stakes in the $52 million, 200-employee nonprofit organization.

Shares? Huh? Matt Yglesias says:

Something that was confusing me about the lawsuit between the Koch Brothers and the Cato Institute that Dave Weigel’s excellent backgrounder didn’t really explain was how is it that a 501(c)3 nonprofit like the Cato Institute has “shares” for people to be arguing over in the first place? After all, one of the rules of the game is that nobody owns nonprofits. The answer seems to be that Cato is formally organized as a membership institution that just happens to have a very small number of members. A more standard form of 501(c) organization seen in most DC think tanks is that you have no members and the board is a self-perpetuating governance body. But if you think of the “shares” at issue in the Koch/Cato lawsuit as memberships, then you can see why the legal issue arises about whether the late William Niskanen’s shares can be inhereted by his wife.

Dave Weigel, WaPo:

Eight years later [in 1985], as it relocated to Washington, a new agreement was drawn up that split the ownership of the think tank four ways: Crane, Koch, George Pearson, and William Niskanen. Each had 16 shares of the Cato Institute, $1 per share. But in 1991, as his brother David joined Cato and grabbed his own 16 shares, Charles Koch walked away.

Crane kept building Cato. Contact was severed; in a 2010 interview, Crane told me that he never quite understood why Koch bolted.

In the past, Charles Koch and his allies have criticized Cato for lacking real, provable results. Since then, David has found tremendous success with Americans for Prosperity, which in the Tea Party era evolved into one of the most powerful conservative organizations in electoral politics. (It has spent seven figures so far this year on TV ads against Barack Obama.) Draw your conclusions.

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker:

As I wrote in my New Yorker piece about the Kochs, “Though David remains on the board at Cato, Charles Koch has fallen out with Crane. Associates suggested to me that Crane had been insufficiently respectful of Charles‘s management philosophy, which he distilled into a book called “The Science of Success,’ and trademarked under the name Market-Based Management, or M.B.M.… A top Cato Institute official told me that Charles ‘thinks he’s a genius. He’s the emperor, and he’s convinced he’s wearing clothes.’ ”

Forbes has obtained the court documents here.

Posted in koch brothers, libertoonians, political purges | Comments Off on Maybe Joe Arpaio should break up this Kochfight

The Kochrupt Governor of Wisconsin

Posted by Charles II on January 5, 2012

Ideology is for the little people. The big people in politics are focused on the money, and on power. And so it’s no surprise to discover that the newly-elected (and, one may hope, imminently removed) Governor of Wisconsin has a lot of shady friends. Mary Spicuzza, Clay Barbour, and Dee J. Hall Wisconsin State Journal:

Two men, including a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker, were arrested Thursday and charged with embezzling from veterans groups, the latest break in the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker’s current and former staff.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said former Walker aide Tim Russell and Kevin Kavanaugh, the former treasurer of a Milwaukee-area veterans group, are accused of taking money meant for veterans, wounded soldiers and families of those killed in action to spend on expensive trips and personal items.

Another Walker staffer reported the missing money, sparking the John Doe investigation in May 2010, a court document shows.

A third man, Brian Pierick, Russell’s longtime partner, was also arrested Thursday as part of the probe and faces charges of felony child enticement and causing a child to expose his genitals.

Walker said Thursday that he was “very disappointed” by the alleged actions.

Also snared:

Andrew P. Jensen… Milwaukee-area commercial real estate broker …

William Gardner: The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad CEO pleaded guilty last April to funneling $62,800 in illegal campaign contributions to Scott Walker’s campaigns

May 2010 meant this was all going on while Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. I guess he know nottin.

And in breaking media news, The Journal Sentinel actually reported the story.

Posted in koch brothers, Media machine, Republicans | 1 Comment »

FrackQuake-Wracked Oklahoma In Keystone XL’s Path

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 6, 2011

Life’s little ironies:

The Keystone XL pipeline, the one that TransCanada really, really wants and climate experts like NASA’s James Hansen really, really fear would trigger runaway, irreversible warming and a “game over” scenario for humanity, runs through the part of Oklahoma most heavily visited by earthquakes of late.

And (drum roll, please) the USGS has linked these quakes to the use of a mining and oil and natural gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. (In fact, Cuadrilla Resources, the company doing shale fracking in Blackpool, England, has admitted that its fracking caused the earthquakes that rocked that part of England.)

Oh, and did I mention that the pipeline sits right on top of the Ogallala Aquifer, which sits under the soil in places like Oklahoma and Nebraska?

Of course, there will those oil-company execs that will claim that we really don’t what’s causing the fracking. But that makes it even worse: If fracking’s to blame, we stop the the fracking and thus the quakes. But if fracking’s not to blame, and we don’t know what really is to blame, then how can we risk a pipeline running over the water supply of the nation’s farmers when there are earthquakes we can’t predict, much less prevent, in the area?

If Big Energy actually consistently admits that fracking’s triggering the quakes, it’s going to set up one hell of a Hobson’s Choice for them: stop fracking, or stop the pipeline. Take yer pick.
Added by Charles as a technical visualization aid for our Transcanada spokesman:

NYT photo of ruptured pipeline

(Image from NYT of Silvertip pipeline rupture in the Yellowstone River). Recent news:

Exxon crews spent three months cleaning thousands of acres of land along the river. The rupture happened while the Yellowstone was in flood stage and deposited globs of oil in fields hundreds of feet from the riverbank and left a bathtub ring of oily grime around buildings caught in the flooding.

Posted in koch brothers, Occam's Razor, Oil | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

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