“He had been building a political network with a reach and influence that was arguably stronger than any other in corporate America. only the CEO of Koch industries could call upon a massive lobbying operation, an army of grassroots activists, a donor network with contributions in the billions of dollars, and a universe of political front groups and donor vehicles nearly impossible for outsiders to map.”
it’s about time. along with Rupert Murdoch & the Murdoch empire, it is difficult to think of another company that has contributed so much damage, negativity & adversity to our current emergency. for the worse, Koch Industry has been a chief contaminant in politicized corporate strangulation & executive replacement shadow government. our bedraggled world suffers extraordinary harm & jeopardy because of the long & laboured interventions & erosion from this fell, usurper parasite behemoth that has bent the US government to its own will & advantage via money & chicanery.
how did this happen? what is the history? why were they not stopped? how has this been tolerated?
highly secretive & entirely private, Koch Industry would like nothing more than to overshadow undetected & unidentified, with all but the vaguest of cursory acknowledgment.
the author, Christopher Leonard, is a veteran “business reporter”. thanks & praise that he decided to attempt to redress just a little of the grotesque power imbalance & decades of abuse, & use his honed skills to go for the notoriously secretive & shady bane of Koch, bringing some desperately needed exposure to this virulent supervillain who has subjugated & overpowered the political process in America beyond belief.
the first chapter “Under Surveillance” is just that. Koch was almost taken out in the late 80’s for falsifying quotas & illegally & routinely skimming oil from wells on Native American land. the FBI were sent in to run covert surveillance on Koch extraction operations in the area & gather evidence, led by special agent James Elroy who excelled in cracking “large, complicated fraud schemes” (a Koch specialty, the more complex the better). he soon became convinced that Koch was running a “corporate-directed criminal enterprise“.
even fellow oil companies with activity in the area were – rather reluctantly, & off the record – willing to confirm Koch’s criminal propensity –
“Everyone operating in Indian territory told us one thing and one thing only: ‘We’re not stealing oil, but we’ll tell you who is: Koch Industries,'”.
Koch was a hardcore free-market Libertarian and zealot of the Austrian economic terrorists Friedric Hayek & Ludwig von Mises. as Leonard so aptly describes such extremism “Hayek was almost religious when it came to describing what the market could do when left to its own devices. he believed that the market was more important, and more beneficial than the institution of democracy itself.”
complexity conceals crime. – “It’s a very gray area. And i think Koch saw this.” “They saw where they could manipulate this, because it’s such a gray area. And they took advantage of it.”
in a grave calamity of tremendous misfortune that would leave serious consequences right up to this besieged day, Koch managed to get away with it & his empire survived (despite a major criminal investigation for “deliberate mismeasurement and fraudulent reporting“. we are now living with the result.
“I know that if i had stayed, Charles and David would be in jail now” – ex FBI agent James Elroy
“Charles Koch built a political action network that he operated in tandem with Koch Industries’ business, creating a public influence operation“
such major machinations would go on to supplant & exceed government itself, as Koch corrupted, bribed, brought off, infiltrated, over-rode, neutralized, deregulated & “re-wrote” pretty much whatever suited him & his conspiracy.
Koch conspired that big business needed to “fight back” & go on the offensive, “long-term“. four power points were designated – Education, Media outreach, Litigation, Political influence.
“For education, Charles Koch said that business leaders needed to populate public universities with academics who would advocate for free enterprise and do research to support it.”
lobbying, overt & “vigorous” defiance & non-compliance with government & regulating bodies “beyond the legally compelled minimum“, astroturfing, front groups, pressure groups, think tanks & endless interdictions, interventions & meddling at every turn & on every aspect of how decisions are made & handled. this is all backed by the astronomic liquidity that Koch could summon to smother any target it saw fit. likewise, it could fund or salary any start-up, plant, shill, front, or whatever else was required to corrupt, subdue or destroy the process.
if you are feeling a bit raped, it only gets worse, as they secure more undue influence, normalize more chicanery & penetrate & repeal all obstacles to more profit & less accountability.
Koch Industries is really everything that a company should never be allowed to become.
we can thank Koch for The John Birch Society, Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislation Exchange Council, the demonic Citizens United court ruling (infinite dark money campaign contributions), the Tea Party, the Law & Economics Center, the Corporate Development Board, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Mercatus Center & a catastrophic flood of world-altering hell-waste that has corroded government & protective infrastructure right down to its very foundations.
Koch Industries also committed serious environmental crimes by frequently violating pollution laws & dumping harmful substances. this criminal malpractice would eventually catch up with them, & in 1998, Koch was fined $6.9 million by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (the largest amercement of its ilk in the state’s history). Koch had pled guilty, thus avoiding more serious consequences. this is part of the problem, the fines do not match the crimes, & multinationals can just throw some cash from their takings on the rare occasion they are prosecuted & it all just goes away. there is seldom ever penalties beside a fine & possibly “representational damage”, so they just resume business. the system is utterly flawed, grossly inefficient & unfit for purpose…. we are in serious & present danger.
Koch was fixated with growth & expansion with almost no, addition, avenue of mutation & splaying considered off the table. products, by-products, materials, supply chains, an obsession with acquisitions of rival businesses & commercial infrastructure. food, clothing, utensils, fertilizer, paper, derivatives & trading…..”What resulted was a kind of perpetual motion machine: a company that grew and then cited that growth as justification to grow even faster.” completely out of control, less & less accountable, obscene revenues, outrageous, untoward, unelected & democratically antithetical power that could & would gobble-up the last gaurdings of government from unfettered corporate anarchy.
un-democratic. anti-democratic. it is easy to sneer & be underwhelmed by the term “democratic” & associate it with some bromide platitude from a well-primped suit. but taken in its true context, democracy stands for ‘fundamental choice’. the right to refuse somebody or something forcing you to do something terrible or receive something terrible & unwanted against your will. a rape for example, is completely undemocratic. Charles Koch clearly considers choice/democracy/proportionate-representation complete & utter anathema. he hates it. its like some kind of mythical enemy to him. & the man has done so much to savage it, to mangle it, to kill it off & to sterilize it.
Charles & his brother also decimated the unions. long, bitter & protracted conflicts where waged. living standards were smashed, safety was stripped (resulting in much more deaths, amputations & serious injuries), wages were in no way raised in tandem with real standards, perks were lopped or curtailed. the working man was vanquished & the lowered standard was set & secured. business as usual.
the company also entered significantly into fertilizer production. fossil fuel derived of course. using his “political influence” machine, Koch Industry would help to expand & embed petroleum fertilizer ever deeper & with greater preponderance & dependency to the industrial farming & food production model which is wreaking so much havoc today. “Modern US farmers were a lot like modern motorists: they had become utterly dependent on fossil fuels.” making your product “indispensable” to the supply chain captured never-ending dividends & made sure our planet was being continually poisoned.
two later chapters that run concurrent – “Warming” & “Hotter -” deliver the full conspiratorial heist & derailing of Koch’s major thwarting of environmental action on climate catastrophe & global heating. it is not impossible -that you can attribute the failure of US governments to address this incomparable threat – to Koch Industries alone. their effort, their affliction, their intervention & their sabotage is without peer…& they essentially succeeded. with the help of Rupert Murdoch & his media hex – millions will burn & the world may never recover. it is this reason that determines Charles & David Koch’s rightful place in the same strata that houses Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot & the worst our species has ever birthed.
“Since at least 1974, Charles Koch had envisioned a political influence machine that was multifaceted, including think tanks, university research institutes, industry trade associations, and a parade of philanthropic institutions to support it financially. the machine was a reality now.” “The political machine consisted of at least a dozen shell groups funded by anonymous donors, some of them staffed by current and former Koch Industries employees.”
“The Republicans were the primary targes for a reason. Koch’s long term plan was to reshape the Republican party, and these members would be made an example of. the strategy wasn’t necessarily new, but the means that Koch used to pursue it were unprecedented.”
“It was as if the protestors had been coached and handed a script.”
“On this energy thing,” one protestor said, “CO2 emissions have nothing to do -and the greenhouse effect has nothing to do -with global warming. it’s all a hoax! personally, for the life of me, i can’t understand how you could of been one of the eight Republican traitors.”
it was of course Koch that rammed through the Citizens United atrocity in 2010 – “which lifted restrictions on campaign donations to independent political groups. This opened the gates for unlimited cash to be poured into the third-party groups that Koch became masterful at employing. It appeared that there were no constraints on the political power that billionaires could wield.”
you can also thank Koch for helping pioneer the fracking industry as well. the “involuntary flaring” of methane gas concomitant of the industry (methane being over x50 times as potent as CO2) alone is having an exorbitantly serious effect on global heating.
by the time Trump’s “surprise win” materialized, Koch was so well ensconced in the political machinery that he was essentially viewed as part of “the establishment”. both bodies seemed destined to clash, but mutual corruption & the colour of money resulted in a tacit unison & “business as usual” format. in fact, Trump’s “anything goes” free-fall would prove uniquely advantageous for the Hayek extremist’s ambitions for an even more contorted political landscape. as equally awful as they are, the men are actually very different in many ways. Trump is a short-term, impetuous, vulgarian idiot & is not a businessman but a conman who requires the crucial assistance of others for his survival. Charles Koch is a long-term, calculated, outwardly-civil business entrepreneur that relies more on his own faculties than those that support his colossus.
the almost complete destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is given considerable attention in the late chapter “Burning“. it is unbelievable. the extremism, the totalitarianism, the absolute extermination of any protective limitation ….. they are a death cult, in the very literal sense. – “You have to come up with a plan to get rid of it” -“And i said: ‘You can’t do that. there are laws and all, you know. [EPA] can’t just go away’,” -“They went: ‘Read my lips. You have to come up with a plan to get rid of it.” death squads. the implications are unthinkable. Scott Pruitt & the scorched earth apocalypse advocates have secured die-off, extinction & insurmountable crisis courtesy of Trump, Koch & Murdoch. you only have to look at the astounding indifference as the West of the country burns & chokes. evil. very literally.
Koch needs to be in the cross-hairs of every single human being. because every single human being is in the cross-hairs of Koch.
Christopher Leonard, 2019, Simon & Schuster, 574 pages