Wednesday, January 31, 2018

¶ ‘Sons of Wichita’ by Daniel Schulman, Koch bio - 2014

Daniel Schulman wrote a biography that’s been given a lot of credit for humanizing the Koch brothers.  The highlight is his argument that the Koch’s aren’t in it for the money, they are true ideological warriors for fundamental “Libertarian” ideals.  Not sure why that should have me trusting them or their intentions.

Merging libertarianism with being nearly the richest and most politically engaged bullying master of the universe - seems profoundly incongruous.  Bullying?  Well over a billion dollars spend on power political strategy and political campaigns, campaigns that are founded on deception and lies.  I’ll classify that as bullying.

Below is an excerpt from a Washington Post opinion piece on the book and links to three different YouTube events featuring author Daniel Schulman discussing his book to three very different groups of listeners.

Following that I include a few references towards defining what the elusive “libertarian ideal” is.  Actually, to my eyes, that’s one of it’s biggest problems, it’s all idealized thinking.  That's followed by a list of articles reporting on the Koch CATO connection.

Libertarians must ignore huge aspects of reality, be it about our geophysical Earth, or our modern complex crowded society.  

Libertarianism seems akin to nostalgic thinking, where we idealize a time and place that never was and never could have been.

Review of Koch brothers biography, ‘Sons of Wichita,’ by Daniel Schulman
By Matea Gold  |  May 23, 2014

"… Schulman hails from liberal-minded Mother Jones magazine, where he works as a senior editor in the Washington bureau. But he sidesteps the two-dimensional caricature pushed by many on the left of the Kochs as malevolent puppet-masters. Instead, his deeply researched book offers an insightful portrait of the brothers, illuminating the personal and political forces that have molded them.

The most dominant influence, in Schulman’s telling, is that of the family patriarch, Fred Koch, an early leader of the red-baiting John Birch Society. Hard-charging and emotionally remote, Fred became a zealous anti-communist after doing business in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. His ideology filtered into the next generation in the form of staunch libertarianism. …"


Mother Jones senior editor Schulman delivers provocative reportage on the Koch alpha-family legacy.

"… Free from conjecture or personal criticism, Schulman’s astute account is buttressed by concrete research, legal documents, and verbatim interviews with family members and friends. 
 A straightforward, evenhanded and often riveting assessment."


Sons of Wichita: Q&A with Daniel Schulman About the Koch Brothers
Published by ReasonTV on Jun 6, 2014  |  14:45 min

"President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have called them out by name. On the broadly defined left, they are accused of controlling every aspect of the country's politics and business climate. They have been lampooned in bad movies and worse songs.

They are David and Charles Koch, the libertarian-leaning billionaires who are the subject of the new book Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty, by Daniel Schulman.

"I think the one misconception that people have about [the Kochs] is that they are merely out there to line their pockets," says Schulman, a senior editor at Mother Jones."
(Nope they are true believers in 'survival of the richest philosophy' - with an absolutist's disregard for contra-evidence, and a totalitarian’s intolerance for the concerns of anyone outside their tribe.)


BookTV: Daniel Schulman, "Sons of Witchita"
Published by BookTV on Dec 1, 2014  |  9:20 min

Daniel Schulman takes a critical look at billionaires David and Charles Koch and their impact on American politics.  This event was hosted by the Woman's National Democratic Club in Washington, DC.


Behind the Koch Brothers New Book Spills the Secrets of Nation's Most Powerful Private Dynasty
Published by ResistPrivatization on Jul 9, 2014  |  58:56

Charles and David Koch have funneled millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the last four decades while working tirelessly to open the floodgates for money in politics. The Koch brothers' net worth tops $100 billion, currently tying for fourth on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Their rise to becoming two of the nation's most powerful political figures is explored in the new book, "Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty." The story is based on hundreds of interviews with Koch family and friends, as well as thousands of pages of legal documents. We are joined by the book's author, Daniel Schulman, a senior editor at Mother Jones magazine.


This comes from Koch’s first “think tank” the CATO institute.  It’s beautifully, even dreamily written.  Libertarianism in its best light, sans all the complexities our real world modern times throw at it.  Here I only list a few excerpts along with some observations.

Key Concepts of Libertarianism
By David Boaz  |  January 1, 1999  |  CATO

Individual Rights. Because individuals are moral agents, they have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property (Yeah but, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, seems Kochs and pals firmly believe some are created more equal than others. ). These rights are not granted by government or by society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings. It is intuitively right that individuals enjoy the security of such rights; the burden of explanation should lie with those who would take rights away. (What's that even claiming?  It's all vapid wordsmithing, appeals to emotion with no substance.  

You'll not find any pragmatic fact based reviews of situations where all sides are considered on a level playing field coming from AFP - if I'm wrong please do share a civil explanatory comment and link to supporting information.

The burden of governing a great nation requires pragmatic realism - not dogmatic tunnel vision! )

Spontaneous Order. … The great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes. …(Oh please!  This great insight acts as though our great government which enabled our great nation to evolve, was some act of spontaneity.  Utter nonsense.  

America is the product a long difficult process that required men of vastly different perspectives to come together to share their collective knowledge, learn from each other and hammer out an effective sustainable compromise. )

The Rule of Law. . . .   The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules.(Let’s see sounds great when trappers are exploring an unknown land, and first outposts become settlements, and they become small towns.  

But, you know we are living in 2018 with 323 million people rubbing elbows.  Spontaneous legal rules.  Seriously?)

not by arbitrary commands (Right.  That’s why our Forefathers developed our government with its checks and balances, which the Koch brothers have totally plowed through.  Don’t you find that frightening?  

That one small entity with bottomless bank accounts can force their own personal ideology and powerlust upon the entire nation. )

and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome (So this means we don’t need to care about others health and wellbeing?  Perhaps we don’t even need to worry about protecting the health of our waterways and landscapes, farms, forests and paster lands?  

“Not aim at any particular result” sure we desire love anarchy.  Why not?  Ever think about it?).

Limited Government. To protect rights, individuals form governments. But government is a dangerous institution (What about the dangers of Koch’s and their oligarch pals becoming more powerful than our governments?  Seems threatening to ‘libertarian values’ in the extreme)

Libertarians have a great antipathy to concentrated power, for as Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Thus they (What about the corruption a personal wealth in the billions of dollars breeds?  Not to mention possessing one of the largest companies in the world.  Why no fear of that?) want to divide and limit power, and that means especially to limit government, generally through a written constitution enumerating and limiting the powers that the people delegate to government. 

Limited government is (is easy for Koch and pals to dominate) the basic political implication of libertarianism, and libertarians point to the historical fact that it was the dispersion of power in Europe — more than other parts of the world — that led to individual liberty and sustained economic growth.

(click on image for better view)

also see:'s report on Koch Industries

Americans for Prosperity Lobbing Report

Somehow a music break seems called for at this point, enjoy: 


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2012 was quite the year for CATO and Koch, this is but a sampling of the stories written over a span of a few months.                                                     Then like the latest fad, we got over it and moved on.

Why would the Koch brothers want to refine Cato Institute?
Ezra Klein  |  March 9, 2012

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The Cato Institute and the Koch brothers …
BY Ronald Goldfarb  |  March 12, 2012 

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The Kochs Aren't the Only Funders of Cato
Laurie Bennett  |  March 13, 2012
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Cato Goes to War
By David Weigel  |  March 13, 2012

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Independent and Principled? Behind the Cato Myth
By Mark Ames  |  April 20, 2012

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