Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dark Money and the Koch Brothers

If you don't have time to read the new book about the Koch Brothers, Dark Money, this Guardian article gives the high points.

The father of these famous right wing billionaires was Fred Koch, who started his fortune with $500,000 received from Stalin for his assistance constructing 15 oil refineries in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. A couple of years later, his company, Winkler-Koch, helped the Nazis complete their third-largest oil refinery. The facility produced hundreds of thousands of gallons of high-octane fuel for the Luftwaffe, until it was destroyed by Allied bombs in 1944.

In 1938, the patriarch wrote that “the only sound countries in the world are Germany, Italy and Japan”. To make sure his children got the right ideas, he hired a German nanny. The nanny was such a fervent Nazi that when France fell in 1940, she resigned and returned to Germany. After that, Fred became the main disciplinarian, whipping his children with belts and tree branches.
Nazi nannies and being beaten with tree's almost enough to make you feel sorry for Charles and David, but nah. Dad went on to help found the John Birch Society. He wrote in 1960, "The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America."

After dad's death, Koch's sons turned their attention away from anti-communism to protecting the rights of corporate America to do whatever it wants. Following the advice of the Powell memo of 1971, they and other billionaires have funded a conservative infrastructure of think tanks and foundations, started the Tea Party, and worked tirelessly to prove climate change is not real.

It sounds like New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer has added some useful knowledge about the Kochs and their work to remake America.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

Those of us without the Kochs’ resources can at least make sure we don’t give them a penny more. Our house is free of Dixie products, Georgia-Pacific paper, and Vanity Fair napkins. Other brands to avoid: Angel Soft Toilet Paper, Brawny Towels, Dacron Fiber, Lycra Fiber, Mardi Gras Products, Quilted Northern Toilet Paper, Soft ’n Gentle Toilet Paper, Sparkle Paper Napkins, Stainmaster Carpet, Zee Paper Napkins.

I am still trying to get our nearby indie theater (which showed Citizen Koch) to stop serving coffee in Dixie-made cups.