August 7, 2014 4:17 pm -

Charles Koch, the gazillionaire right-wing benefactor whose father was a co-founder of the John Birch Society,  the same Charles Koch who, along 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.

(Cross-posted at Ramona’s Voices)

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

25 responses to Charles Koch Schools Us On How to Keep His Family The Second Richest In The Country

  1. Obewon August 7th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    These two Koch brothers were born crazy and raised on their Soviet Dictator Stalin paid for fortune -“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:”

    Only you can end big oil disease.

  2. tiredoftea August 7th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    There’s nothing more American than being born with silver turds in your mouth!

  3. RustyCannon August 7th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Can you imagine Charles Koch working at any minimum wage job for years hoping for a promotion, trying to keep his head above water? I can’t. In fact, I can’t imagine him, even as a young man, spending an entire week of 50-60 hours working at any form of labor.

  4. Hirightnow August 7th, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    “When I was growing up, my father had me spend my free time working at unpleasant jobs.”
    I had to count all the small bills in Mater’s money vault, and tell one of the negro servants to iron the wrinkled ones! Actually TALK to them! Can you imagine? And Pater was mad at me one time for not firing the stableboy quickly enough, and he made ME go down and actually LOOK at the horse manure that the boy had waited too long to clean up! I mean, this pile had to be at least 15 minutes old, and it had taken me 10 to fire that lazy oaf (he may have been Mexican but I couldn’t tell as the servants weren’t actually allowed to speak to us,,,)

  5. Always Right August 7th, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I did a little research on the Koch brothers who are hated by the left comparing them to George Soros, who the right hate. Koch brothers won the ethics contest hands down.

    Soros vs. Koch Brothers

    David and Charles Koch are brothers who run Koch Industries, an oil refinery business that is the second largest private firm in the country. They’ve expanded and
    maintained their fortunes by successfully providing the refined product that keeps America moving – oil.

    George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management, a hedge fund company. Soros is number 27 on Forbes list with a net worth of $23 billion. He’s made his fortune in large part by selling short against international currencies and collapsing financial institutions.
    In 1997, he was dubbed “the man who broke the Bank of England”;and he was blamed by the Malaysian Prime Minister for collapsing their currency during the Asian financial crisis. He was also convicted of illegal financial dealings in France. His big bet now is
    collapsing the U.S. dollar and the free enterprise system.

    Economist Paul Krugman has been critical of Soros and others like him, “who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.”

    The past four years, the Koch brothers have contributed $18 million in political donations. This sounds like a great number, until we look at the 58 organizations ahead of them, including 18 different unions, according to Open Secrets. Those unions political contributions total over $638 million, almost all of whose funds go to liberal candidates, and is more than 35 times more than the Kochs donate.

    From 2001 to 2010, the Koch brothers invested $1.5 million in other political groups, called 527 organizations, compared to Soros’ whopping $32.5 million.

    “The Koch brothers are ideological libertarians, they’re driven by the classical-liberal Jeffersonian philosophy that America was founded on. Perhaps nothing defines this
    self-defined mission for the brothers better than the mission statement on the
    Cato Institute website, which states, “The mission of the Cato Institute is to
    originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on
    the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and

    George Soros runs the Open Society Institute and the website, and contributes heavily to many organizations that ideologically are aligned with leftist causes, including He is reviled abroad for his shady efforts to foment revolution and collapse currencies. His “foundations have been accused of shielding spies and breaking currency laws, and he’s invested over $400 million in institutions of higher education to promulgate and teach his extremist ideology.

    Since most of the Koch’s political money goes into lobbying, their funds are well documented, as required by congressional accounting rules. With most of Soros’ political “investments” going into 527s, the funds are less traceable, and has earned Soros the dubious honor of being dubbed the “Godfather to the left.”

    The classical-liberal principles of individual freedom and free markets that are so fully embraced and advanced by Charles and David Koch are the very principles the nation was founded upon. They are the principles that made America great. The progressive socialistic agenda advanced by Soros is antithetical to America’s founding precepts, and is heavily invested in the failure of not only the U.S. dollar, but the collapse of the
    U.S. economic system.

    • Obewon August 7th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      The Koch Bros $300 M, Plus Rove’s $300 M, etc spent in the 2012 election cycle pale by comparison to the meager campaign donations of George Soros.
      George Soros: you’re no Koch Brother!

      • Always Right August 7th, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        As of July 22, 2014 Forbes listed Soros, at 83, as the 27nd richest person in the world, the world’s richest hedge-fund manager, and number 7 on its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a net worth estimated at$23 billion.

        • Obewon August 8th, 2014 at 12:42 am

          And why would you believe Steve Forbes? WTF!

          Debunked retread: “From 2001 to 2010, the Koch brothers invested $1.5 M in other political groups”-Always Right?-Lol!

          • Always Right August 8th, 2014 at 7:42 pm

            I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. What I read into your posts is those who support Democrats are good and those who support Republicans are not only bad, but they are outright awful unpatriotic people. Doesn’t make any sense to me, but I guess you’re comfortable with your own definition of what is right.

          • Obewon August 8th, 2014 at 10:30 pm

            The point everyone made is you’re well proven full of crap e.g. “From 2001 to 2010, the Koch brothers invested $1.5 M in other political groups”-Always Right?-Lol Vs Koch’s $10M+ And Koch’s $125 M+ spent in the 2012 election cycle!

    • Ramona Grigg August 7th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      So they’re our friends then? Who knew? I had no idea the Koch brothers were just like our founders and had the best interests of those beneath them at heart. Real humanitarians they are. How could I have been so wrong?

      I actually feel sorry for you, All Right. It must take some real nearsightedness to be able to write the things you wrote here and pretend we have nothing to fear from people like the Koch brothers.

      I’ve looked at what they’ve done in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and believe me, pal, they aren’t there to make life better for anyone but themselves and their own cronies. Unless you’re one of their cronies, I have to wonder why you would waste time defending them.

      I’ll never understand how anyone can watch what is happening in this country today and not be able to figure out who the culprits are. We are as near to being a third world country as we’ve ever been in our entire history, yet the top 1% (that includes the Kochs) rule us as if they were royalty. They own the Republican party and the Republican party is hellbent on keeping us down so the oligarchs can profit even more. What is it you think is going to happen if they win? Have you thought that far ahead? Do you really think a country like ours can be run by the elite corporatists without any form of government to keep them in check? Have you seen what they’ve done already?

      • Always Right August 8th, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        I really don’t see how the Koch brothers rule us. I also don’t see the Republican party trying to keep me down. I see them wanting to create opportunities so we can be self reliant.

        As for our country being run by elitists, we are now, so I think you’ve made your point. However, being rich is not a sin, nor is it a bad thing. In fact it is part of the American dream and it is one of the biggest advantages of living in America. You can achieve what you want if you work hard enough and make the sacrifices and take the risks to succeed. Or, you can just work in a field of interest and provide for your family with less risk and sacrifice. You do have a choice.

        This was an interesting article. If you think all rich people inherited their wealth, this stat rebukes that notion.

        “The 1% look a lot more like “regular folk” than most of us really realize. According to the survey:”

        – 67% grew up in a middle class or poorer household.
        – 85% made their wealth in their lifetime.
        – 76% describe themselves as “Middle Class” at heart.
        – 3% is the sum total of their assets that they inherited.

        • Obewon August 8th, 2014 at 11:01 pm

          These Billionaire Koch’s aren’t in the 1%. You’re a sucker! “The 1% look a lot more like “regular folk”-$394,000 last year = $196/hr. And the top 10% had income exceeding $114,000 $50/hr

    • tiredoftea August 7th, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Well, if you’re hoping to get a job with the Koch family for doing their dirty work, be very disappointed as they have lots of other hacks doing it for free. But, you did spend a lot of time on Koch funded websites to smear Soros, so I’m sure their grateful for your using their facty references.

      So, let’s recap; the Koch’s are the second generation of founding, funding and advocating for extreme right wing fringe positions, starting with the John Birch Society. Their money comes from their father who made his money helping Stalin to build his oil infrastructure. His company used gulag prisoners and was complicit in the murder of millions of Russian citizens.

      But, hey they’re capitalists in the finest traditions right? Not like George who built his fortune from scratch and, while hedge funds are leeches on the growth of capitalist economies, doesn’t have blood on his hands from enslaving millions of forced workers.

      That wasn’t on any of the Koch’s websites, was it?

      • Always Right August 7th, 2014 at 11:48 pm

        Remember, I said the left hates the Koch brothers and the right hates Soros. I was just pointing out the behavior that makes each side happy with the one they embrace.

        You analogy of where they got their money doesn’t make sense.

        John Kerry got his money by gift and marriage
        The Kennedy’s got theirs from their father
        Does this put them in the same category as the Koch brothers.

        Romney made his money the same way as Soros and the left hate him, so what is the difference? Soros is also a convicted felon in France for insider trading; which brings into question how he made his money.

        • KG August 8th, 2014 at 1:04 am

          The difference is that the Kennedys, Kerry and Soros have offered their time and resources to promote policies that benefit the whole, even if those policies don’t benefit them personally.

          • Always Right August 8th, 2014 at 9:47 am

            I get it, the left hate the Koch brothers and don’t want any facts to get in the way of their beliefs about them. You praise Soros and vilified Romney who were both in the same business; except Romney didn’t get convicted of any crimes. You vilified Romney for being rich and worked for it, and glorify Kerry who is richer and he didn’t earn it. You see, it doesn’t matter to you what a liberal does or doesn’t do as it doesn’t change your perspective of them no matter what.

            I look at all people and make a determination on their character, not their political leanings.



          • Ramona Grigg August 8th, 2014 at 11:02 am

            I don’t hate the Koch brothers, I fear and detest them. The Right always pretends that the Left hates rich people. That’s just silly. What we fight against are the rich greedy bastards who are ruining our country.

            The Koch Foundation does some good, and I was happy to see the donation to the hospital, but there is no arguing that the Koch brothers, Charles and David, through Americans for Prosperity and other Right Wing groups, have done and continue to do great damage by funding and supporting candidates likely to work against the best interests of most Americans.

            There is no getting around the income disparity since the Right has been so generously funded by the Koch brothers and others like them. There is no doubt that they want to privatize most public entities in this country. They make no bones about it. That is their mission.

            You cite Soros and Kerry as examples of rich men who put their money into causes, but there is no getting around the fact that their causes benefit lower and middle class Americans in need.

            You really need to look more thoroughly into the leaders you’re willing to shill for. You might just find that you don’t know them as well as you think you do.

            By the way, it’s probably not a good idea to comment on a liberal site with a link that is headlined, “Loopy Liberals. . . etc.” Any notion of a serious discussion goes right out the window,

          • Always Right August 8th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

            I didn’t cite Soros and Kerry as philanthropist, it was one post above mine.

            I’m not a shill for anyone, I’m trying to understand why all the vitriol against the Koch brothers and all the praise for Soros and it all came down to one basic issue; which party they support. Soros’s contributions are for liberal progressive issues.

            “Among the many David Koch gifts to NY city alone are a previous $15 million to New York-Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell Medical Center, $30 million to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, $25 million to the Hospital for Special Surgery, $20 million to a dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, $65 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and $100 million to the Lincoln Center theater that is home to the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera.”

            Liberals look at other liberals with rose colored glasses, but those who preach to be generous are not very generous with their own money. Here is a list of the giving practices and you’ll see that Kerry didn’t give of his own money, but now gives from the Heinz fortune.

            My whole point was to show that too much credit is given to some only because they are supportive of the Democrats and not that they actually do anything good for America or their people.

          • Obewon August 9th, 2014 at 4:48 am

            Koch BOOED as he made an appearance to talk about his NYC Ballet donation! The Financial Times’ John Gapper was in the audience and witnessed a crowd erupted in boos at the sight of the Tea Party billionaire!

            ‘Always Right’-? Lol you’re a misinformed tea Party schill in servitude to your Koch’s: “David Koch masks his role as one of the top financiers of the Tea Party movement and pro-polluter front groups by loudly tacking his name to more laudable charities, like the New York city ballet” He’s a disgusting piece of crap and everybody knows it but you.

          • Jmacgowan8 August 10th, 2014 at 11:01 am

            Yes soros’ money has not benefitted him. Again look to his business practices which ruined economies. I see George Soros always stays in the background. As for the Kenedys you do know how they meade their millions right, running booze during prohibition.

  6. darbal August 7th, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    f**k him.