Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Brothers Koch--Again...

Last Tuesday the NYTimes’s splendid national reporter, Kate Zernike, wrote an article [Here] that has put a public spotlight on the secretive funding of a very conservative Republican agenda.  Titled “Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead,” the piece described an invitation extended by the Brothers Koch of the Koch Industries to a meeting next January at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to discuss future strategies.  Zernike quotes one invitation that says it is a meeting to:  [Here]
...develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity. 
The invitation included a personal letter from Charles Koch which, according to Zernike, began with this familiar call to action:  [Here]
If not now, when?  If not us, who?  
The letter continued with this:
to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it. 
And what public policies are Charles Koch worried about that are so “threatening”?  Koch goes on to talk about “climate change alarmism and the move to socialized health care” and “regulatory assault on energy.”  Of course, Charles Koch of Koch Industries, distributor of petroleum, chemicals, energy, natural gas, plastics, and so on, would be concerned about governmental regulations.  The Koch brothers have been leaders of the conservative pushback against environmentalists’ concerns about global warming and the green movement's activities.
This current invitation, quoted by Zernike, was sent out to their usual very affluent attendees.  These twice annual meetings, by invitation only, are also secret.  We would presume that they would prefer to call them “discreet.”  Zernike writes: [Here]
The Kochs insist on strict confidentiality surrounding the California meetings, which are entitled “Understanding and Addressing Threats to American Free Enterprise and Prosperity.” The letter advises participants that it is closed to the public, including the news media, and admonishes them not to post updates or information about the meeting on the Web, blogs, social media or traditional media, and to “be mindful of the security and confidentiality of your meeting notes and materials.”
The invitation included a brochure from the Koch’s last meeting in Aspen, Colorado last June.  Among the speakers at that Aspen meeting was Glenn Beck whose lecture was titled “Is America on the Road to Serfdom?”    
Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Remember Milton Friedman and his influence on the rightwing coup in Chile under Pinochet?  Remember the “Chicago Boys”?  Remember Friedrich Hayek at the University of Chicago and his influence on libertarian thought? [HereRemember that the Koch brothers funded the Cato Institute and that the lower level auditorium in their building is named after Hayek? [HereRemember that Hayek preferred to call his philosophy neoliberalism. [Here]  Finally, remember that Friedrich Hayek’s most widely read book is The Road to Serfdom. [Here] 
Need I go on?
I’m sorry to say that all of this is coming together, isn’t it?  
One last thought:  In his invitational letter, Charles Koch mentions the names of participants in previous events.  Among the Koch’s previous guests were Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.
More tomorrow, I promise...

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