The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Charles Koch Schools Us on How to Keep His Family the Second Richest In The Country

    The gazillionaire Charles Koch, the Right Wing benefactor whose father was a co-founder of the John Birch Society,  the same Charles Koch who, along with his brother, David, works tirelessly against any sign of government interference when it comes to health care, public education, infrastructure, climate change, or  aiding the pitifully down and out, and who most generously funds any person, politician or party promising to fight along with them on the Kill the Government Before They Kill Us battleground--that very same Charles Koch has just written a whopper of an op-ed in USA Today extolling the virtues of "real work" and "real values" (surprise!) and decrying the existence of anti-business government regulations. (Double-surprise!)

    Every now and then--as if we don't get enough of him second hand--he comes out of the shadows and into the light and says publicly what he and his brother, through their various foundations, including the anti-government, pro-them organization, Americans for Prosperity, have been pressing their free-market screw-the-poor minions to go along with for many dozens of years. 

    A sampling of his USA Today piece:

    "When I was growing up, my father had me spend my free time working at unpleasant jobs. Most Americans understand that taking a job and sticking with it, no matter how unpleasant or low-paying, is a vital step toward the American dream. We are in for more trouble if young people don't find that all-important first job, which is critical to beginning their climb up the ladder.

    Finally, we need greater incentives to work. Costly programs, such as paying able-bodied people not to work, are addictive disincentives. By undermining people's will to work, our government has created a culture of dependency and hopelessness. This is most unfair to vulnerable citizens who suffer even as we say they are receiving 'benefits.'

    I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King. There are no dead-end jobs. Every job deserves our best. 'If a man is called to be a street sweeper," King said, ' he should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"

     Dibs on the throw-up pot.  And let me just sit a spell; I'm feeling pissed faint. 

    This from a man who has advocated his entire adult life for the total destruction of a system of government purportedly hindering the ability of any citizen to make his or her fortune.  Never mind that his family is ranked the second richest in the entire country.  Their net worth is $89 billion

    Wage inequality has become so lopsided the top one percent owns 40 percent of our wealth.  Our once-vibrant middle class has dwindled to a precious few, with the union-starved working poor making up the majority of our work force now. 

    But beyond that, Charles Koch, in his phony bid to convince Americans that the poor are simply lazy and the free market will work for everybody no matter what we've heard, cites Martin Luther King, of all people, as an example of a person who understood how these things work.

    This same Charles Koch:

    "Charles Koch was not simply a rank and file member of the John Birch Society in name only who paid nominal dues. He purchased and held a "lifetime membership" until he resigned in 1968. He also lent his name and his wealth to the operations of the John Birch Society in Wichita, aiding its "American Opinion" bookstore -- which was stocked with attacks on the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, and Earl Warren as elements of the communist conspiracy. He funded the John Birch Society's promotional campaigns, bought advertising in its magazine, and supported its distribution of right-wing radio shows.

     Charles and David Koch came by their Bircherish notions naturally.  In Claire Conner's chilling memoir, Wrapped In A Flag (a recounting of Conner's life as the daughter of founding members of the John Birch Society growing up in a house where her parents' every waking moment was devoted to the destruction of Communism and the government that was in cahoots), she had this to say about the Koch brothers' father, Fred Koch, whose fortunes began while traveling across Russia overseeing the installation of 15 oil refineries for the Soviets:

    "In 1960, a little over a year after he became a founding member of the John Birch Society, Fred published A Businessman Looks at Communism, a harsh critique of the Communist system.  The book became a hit in the growing anti-Communist movement . . . . .Koch's book outlined the steps the Communists planned to take over America:  'Step One:  Infiltration of high office of government and political parties until the president of the U.S is a Communist. . .even the Vice presidency would do, as it could be easily arranged for the president to commit suicide.'
    Step Two was a general strike, which 'could bring our country to its knees.'  Wrote Koch, 'Labor unions have long been a Communist goal. . .the effort is frequently to make the worker do as little as possible for the money he receives.  This practice alone could destroy the country.'"

     I doubt if any newspaper in the country would turn down an op-ed submission from someone like Charles Koch (I wonder if they had to pay him?), and USA Today is no exception.  This had to be the catch of the year for them, and it's paying off big time in exposure.  But where was the rebuttal for such an obvious propaganda piece?  USA Today often publishes "the other side", giving someone else the chance to take the opposite view.  (Say, from Bernie Sanders?)  Not this time.

    From now until November we'll be seeing Koch-inspired disinformation with a vengeance.  They've even found us up here in the north woods, where hardly anybody lives.  (Though the ones who do, I'm sorry to say, are mainly Republicans.  Many, many, many of them are on unemployment, are underemployed, are on food stamps, and rely on Medicaid for their health care, but they've bought into the lie about the government coming to take away their rights.  I don't know how to explain it, and I don't even try.)

    This is an example of the primary election materials that came to our mailbox just this last month.  All endorsed and paid for by The Americans for Prosperity.  This is just the beginning.  They have more money than dozens of small countries across the globe and they're willing to spend it to get what they want in November.

    Charles Koch and those like him will go to any lengths to create the oligarchy they've always dreamed of.  We have the knowledge and the wits to stop them but there is no question that they can outspend us.  They can use their power to buy airtime (and stations), to have open access to op-ed pages (and buy newspapers), to get their message across in a million different ways while working, in ways that are staggeringly effective, to suppress ours.

    If money can buy anything, we're in trouble.   Our job now is to prove that it'll take more than huge semi-loads of cash to get us to give up on a country we've worked so hard to build.  They don't own us.  Not yet.  There's still time.



    I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King. There are no dead-end jobs. Every job deserves our best. 'If a man is called to be a street sweeper," King said, ' he should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"

    That King ever said this and that it is now being repeated by the Kochs is why Nietzsche struggled so mightily to warn us against this kind of thinking. The truth is that nobody will ever celebrate the great street sweeper, though they may celebrate the man or woman who sweeps the streets for many other reasons.  There are small jobs, just no small people.

    I listened to this speech by MLK.

    To me it was a celebration of the ordinary man.

    The problem is that an aristocrat can take these words to heart; hoping that the minimum wagers will take pride in cleaning up the aristocrat's streets and sewage systems and the other various and sundry jobs that salute the aristocrat.

    It is a clever argument when you think about it.

    Hi Richard, I remember that MLK said it, too, and I remember it as you do--as a tribute to every worker, no matter their station.  I think that's what made me so mad about Koch usurping it and making it into something that might vindicate his phony, self-serving appeal to people his own actions have very nearly destroyed.  I hope they'll catch on soon.  If they don't, they'll take all of us down with them.

    Are there really Republicans who are on food stamps and/or unemployment? Cuz they're always complaining about people who are on food stamps or unemployment.

    Oh, yes!  Multitudes!  They're NRA members and libertarians and "No Tax" folks.  They're also pro-life and/or fundamentalists.  They hate unions and do-gooders and they studiously ignore the connections when they're accepting Medicaid or unemployment benefits or food stamps.

    Koch's view of King's speech is limited/limiting

    Here is the beauty of King's speech to a group of high school students in its entirety. The speech is about being the best that you can be. King notes that many doors would be opening for these students. Doors that were not available to their parents. The speech is about attaining excellence in one's work and not being made to feel ashamed by one's job. Placing the focus on the street sweeper portion misses the context of the  speech. The message is about new opportunities.

    Thanks, rmrd.  That does change the whole tone, doesn't it? 

    He is not a inspirational writer of OpEd articles.  It was rather flat with far right talking points with no solutions and very out of touch with society.  Without his zillion dollars to buy him love and marketing he really isn't much of a deep thinker. It is really a dumb thing to write that ACA is causing increase in part time jobs.  It is an insult to those who just received access to health care through ACA that work part time jobs.  The part time job came first with out ACA.

    He fails to give real facts and solutions.  He blames the government and cronyism when he is the biggest crony of all. 

    He writes like the trust fund baby that he really is.  He needs to get out of our way.

    Momoe, I think what makes him and his kind so dangerous is that they know which words to use to reach the people who will react without thinking.  They've already set their memes in stone and all they have to do is keep repeating them:  Obamacare is bad, global warming isn't real, poor people are lazy, unions are bad, social programs are socialism, public schools are cesspools, etc.

    Charles Koch isn't trying to reach us, he's trying to gain legitimacy by pretending to be concerned for ordinary people.  Those of us who know he's full of shit will never have a chance to debate him on his level.  Money is God in this country and he knows he's so far above us whatever we have to say is meaningless.

    If you scroll down to the comments for his op-ed you'll see that his supporters are right out there on the attack.  The Right Wing has power.  We don't.  We either have to live with it or we have to do something about it.  The question is, what can we do?

    USA Today is a retailer of news. The fastest growing paper in the  country and the largest now in the state of Florida is a non profit, Tampa Bay Times, and the conservatives complain that it is too liberal.  People are starved for real news and Charles Koch is not real news. I started buying when I could the paper because I wanted to support the non profit part.  I have found I like the product they are producing.  It is one of my daily go to places on the internet. 

    A lot of people have no idea who Koch is and I am sure they still don't know who he is even after this OpEd.  It just turns people off who do know about him.  The people who do know about him are big consumers of news. 

    I have the power to not click on USA Today or buy it. Clicks and dollars are where it is at. Comments are just a side show. 

    Most of us are out here googling about the bombing in the middle east.  I would not have read the piece had you not pointed it out. 

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