Eulogizing Corporate Polluter David Koch
Writing on his passing, the NYT featured his philanthropy, ignoring his dark side. More on this below.
An earlier article called Charles and David Koch modern-day robber barons.
Koch Industries (KI) is a fossil fuel conglomerate, involved in other industries. It’s the second largest US private company, its estimated annual revenue around $110 billion.
In August, Forbes estimated Charles’ net worth at $42.5 billion, David’s at $50.5 billion, the brothers ranking 11th and 12th on the publication’s “richest people in the world” list last March.
David died from advanced prostate cancer on August 23. His toxic legacy lives.
Brother Charles runs the conglomerate — founded by their father Fred, co-founder of the far-right John Birch Society.
Charles was quoted earlier saying: “Most power is power to coerce somebody. We don’t have the power to coerce anybody.”
KI’s deep pockets specialize in coercing by buying influence, seeking unfettered market freedom, plundering for profit, free-wheeling capitalism at the expense of the public welfare — economist Milton Freedom its prominent guru, arguing the following earlier:
Government’s sole function is “to protect our freedom both from (outside) enemies…and from our fellow-citizens.”
It’s to “preserve law and order…enforce private contracts, (and) foster competitive markets.” Anything else in public hands is socialism — blasphemy for “free market” ideologues like Friedman.
His Chicago School (SC) ideology was called “shock treatment,” now known as “shock therapy” — the economic version of raping and destroying countries to save them.
SC’s central tenets include mass-privatizations, government deregulation, unrestricted free market access for corporate interests, deep cuts in social spending, and harsh crackdowns on nonbelievers.
It’s all about creating have and have-not/ruler-serf societies worldwide, nothing interfering with US-led/Western corporate profit-making.
Inside the bubble is paradise, outside dystopian hell, including police state rule, Big Brother surveillance, mass incarceration, eliminating human and civil rights, along with mass impoverishment, unemployment and underemployment — societies unsafe and unfit to live in.
Like other corporate predators, Koch Industries (KI) buys politicians like toothpaste.
It finances far-right political action groups, think tanks, and right-wing politicians, seeking unregulated market freedom, weakened trade unionism, and social justice eliminated.
It notably opposes universal healthcare, financial fairness, public education, and ecosanity.
The Koch brothers partnered with other corporate interests in founding the far-right Tea Party, aiming to take over the GOP.
Its mission statement calls for fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets.
Promoted as grassroots activism, it’s controlled by right-wing extremists — though far-right GOP members largely shed the label.
Right-wing think tanks and likeminded politicians on both sides of the aisle are pro-business, pro-war, pro-privilege, pro-super-wealth, anti-dissent, anti-peace, equity and justice.
The NYT eulogized David Koch as a “philanthropist…arts patron,” ignoring his dark side.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) slammed the Times, headlining: “NYT Remembers David Koch More as ‘Philanthropist’ Than Polluter,” saying:
He “may be dead, but his legacy of support for far-right politics and climate change denial lives on. The New York Times, however, chose to focus more on his love for the ballet than on his pollution and profiteering,” adding:
Focusing on his philanthropy “ignor(ed) the less glamorous mark his company’s pollution has left on other parts of the country” and abroad.
Many of his donations were unrelated to philanthropy, countless millions of dollars directed toward buying political influence.
“The word ‘toxic’ doesn’t appear in the New York Times’ obituary for David Koch—nor does the word ‘carcinogenic,’ ” said FAIR.
In 2014, Rolling Stone addressed KI’s “toxic empire,” calling Charles and David “homegrown oligarchs…nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House.”
They “don’t want you to know…how they made all that money.” KI is one of the worst US air, water and soil polluters.
FAIR explained that the company “paid nearly $750 million for 314 recorded instances of environmental violations.”
How much more did they get away with? How many billions of dollars did KI make polluting the earth?
“While Koch suffered from prostate cancer and donated millions to cancer research, Koch subsidiary Georgia-Pacific worked to downplay the well-known carcinogenic effects of formaldehyde,” FAIR explained.
Residents living near KI’s Corpus Christi, Texas oil refinery experience high rates of what’s called carcinogen butadiene.
Polluter Watch.org (PW) explained the following:
“The inability of Koch companies to avoid pollution incidents stands in contrast with Charles Koch’s ‘Guiding Principles’…which state:
“Strive for 10,000% compliance with all laws and regulations, which requires 100% of employees fully complying 100% of the time.”
PW: “This…excludes from consideration the ways in which Koch is permitted to legally pollute.”
KI “was the 2011 inductee for Corporate Accountability International’s Corporate Hall of Shame…(It’s) the sixth member…after Monsanto, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Blackwater and Halliburton.”
FAIR: “Rather than detailing the toxic legacy Koch left behind, the (NYT’s) obituary quickly went back to describing Koch’s extroverted personality, his reputation as ‘a playboy whose penthouse parties were attended by models,’ and his relative success running for president as a Libertarian candidate in 1980,” adding:
“An obituary should memorialize a person, but some people’s legacies are darker than dinosaur exhibits, donations to the arts and appearances at parties for the rich and famous.”
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”