Billionaire Koch Brothers — Jane Mayer in the New Yorker

[My purpose in reposting this article is not to repeat the already well-documented evidence about efforts to coagulate a fascist movement.  The fact, however, that the efforts center around Barack Obama and use such patently ridiculous claims as Obama is a socialist and  Muslim should warn us that things aren’t exactly as they seem.  I don’t mean to argue that leaders in the so-called Tea Party Movement actually don’t believe what they are saying — some of them anyway. But if the jobs and economy problem is a matter of an infidel African-American, then all class issues are unimportant.  Instead, I’d argue we need to look beyond Obama’s skin color and religion — or for that matter Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg’s same attributes (see the article below to see why this reference) — to understand what is the key allegiance of Libertarian, Democrat and Republican alike in these times of economic crisis.  While they have  some differences among them, their fundamental interest is corporate and capitalist. This is one reason I have for staying away from critiques that focus on Obama, the individual.  But another is important to state as well.  The history of our country is written in the blood of slavery and its aftermath.  Any movement toward fascism in this country is built on that historical legacy and whoever is in position to implement fascism’s rise will use every excuse to accomplish its aim.  Elements of the Republican and Democratic Parties are coalescing around that movement now, and the convenient symbol they have is obvious.  He and his family occupy the white house, and if anyone doubts the Obamas still have a mass base, he or she should reexamine the election of two years ago and their continuing popularity, especially in African American areas of this country.  Read this article and do not underestimate the dangers — Lew Rosenbaum]

Covert Operations

The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

by Jane Mayer August 30, 2010

David H. Koch in 1996. He and his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.

David H. Koch in 1996. He and his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small.

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

One dignitary was conspicuously absent from the gala: the event’s third honorary co-chair, Michelle Obama. Her office said that a scheduling conflict had prevented her from attending. Yet had the First Lady shared the stage with Koch it might have created an awkward tableau. In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular.

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, . . .  Read more of this article here.

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