Comments: In Shocking Twist No One Could Have Foreseen, Kochs' Family Empire Founded on Government Handouts

hairy cock

just sayin'

Posted by Dongo at November 10, 2011 08:37 PM

Shocked! I tell ya, absolutely shocked! to find welfare queening going on in here!

"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows"
-L. Cohen

Posted by Some guy on the innernet at November 10, 2011 10:27 PM

Back when some glibertarian idiot was telling Americans how much better everyone, even women, were in the late 19th century because it was all - like - deregulated n' shit, I was glad to discover that I wasn't the only person to point out that the so-called free-market Gilded Age (for one) was not so much a period of government disengagement as plutocratic state capture, up to the business friendly use of federal troops. The difficulty is the pro-government / anti-government dichotomy is about as meaningless as the liberal/conservative one, but try telling the partisans of the two party model that. The truth is all states are welfare states. The only question is who is getting the welfare.

Oh, and people like the Kochs and their cheerleaders have no interest in liberty. They want to privatise tyranny. Their preferred model would be feudalism, just so long as they get to be lords.

Posted by weaver at November 10, 2011 10:30 PM

Oh, it gets even better...

Posted by mtraven at November 11, 2011 01:01 AM

If the Koch brothers were not the evil bastards that they are, would this story really matter? Just about anywhere west of the Mississippi you will find this ugly history in the building of the railroads.

I'd urge everyone to read the account you quote from. Harry Koch was no better than his descendants. He wasn't somebody who got lucky in the railroad boom. He actively promoted the real-estate bubble which founded the family fortune. And, as the bubble burst, he was pushing the same ugly policies as his grandsons do.

And there are a few hints that, like so many other ancestors of those on the ugly side of US politics, his inclinations were to support Fascism.

Posted by Wolf Baginski at November 11, 2011 04:10 AM

I would love to be named 'Wolf'. 'Harry Koch' not so much.

Yes, obviously all that invisible hand talk is ideology, both ahistorical and unempirical. About as real as religion. That's why secular ideologies and religion tend to collide when taken seriously. You can't serve both God and mammon, as they say.

The comparison of the development of the US West after the Civil War to the 'Lebensraum' goal of fascism is interesting. Rhodes was emulating the taming of the US west in South Africa, and the Nazis pretty much too a few decades later with their grandiose plans for conquering Slavic Europe, but it turned out there were too many Slavs and by 1940 those slavs had the ability to build big factories to make many tanks east of the Urals (partly thanks to the monstruously murderous Josef Stalin, who saw where that "Lebensraum" talk was headed). Maybe just as importantly, when Hitler revealed that he wasn't going to be a team player even after Neville Chamberlain let him have the Sudetenland, US business--and notably the US banks led by the House of Morgan--decided to hold their noses and let FDR help not just the Brits but all those commie Slavs so that Wall Street could profit from Luce's American century. But for that temporary alliance, even those tank factories east of the Urals might not have been enough to save the USSR, because it got to be a pretty close call there in 1941-42, though frankly the Nazis ultimately didn't have much of a chance against the US from an industrial production standpoint, which a real Marxian materialist would say is the perspective that really matters.

And yes, what was done to the Indians wasn't a kinder, gentler genocide--it was horrific. There just weren't as many Indians, so they didn't get killed in the same numbers. One thing that isn't widely realized is the enormous ecological transformation that accompanied the destruction of the West. The replacement of 50 million wild bison by 50 million fenced cows is a big deal. The replacement of the native prairie by imported grasses was a big deal. No part of the US has been as ecologically transformed as the Great Plains, and yet because it didn't involve deforestation, it doesn't grab people's attention.

But nobody should get naive and nostalgic about Indians. Everyone likes to quote Chief Josef, but they were often basically just as savage as the Europeans, even if not as racist or numerous and generally not INVADERS. And some of them were invaders too. So it goes.

Posted by N E at November 11, 2011 09:17 AM

The beloved 49ers used to murder Indians for sport. You didn't even have to pay these heroes of a bygone age! Is this country great or what?

Posted by rob payne at November 11, 2011 11:26 AM

Speaking of the development of the American West after the Civil War, there's an illuminating discussion of Winslow Homer's 1865 painting "The Veteran in a New Field" at http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/Resource_Guide_Chapters/PictAmer_Resource_Book_Chapter_9A.pdf

N E, your comment reminded me that I want to read Charles C. Mann's books 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Turning to Amazon, I see that there is an adaptation of the first book aimed at younger readers, Grade 6 and up, titled Before Columbus: The Americas of 1941. The publisher says:

In this beautifully illustrated and concise adaptation, Mann paints a superb picture of pre-Columbian America. In the process, he overturns the misconceived image of Natives as simple, widely scattered savages with minimal impact on their surroundings. Well-chosen, vividly colored graphics and photographs of mummies, pyramids, artifacts, and landscapes as well as the author's skillful storytelling will command the attention of even the most reluctant readers....Mann constructs the narrative around three crucial questions that continue to confound historians today: Was the New World really new? Why were the Europeans successful? What ecological impact did Natives have on their surroundings? From the pre-Columbian genetic engineering of maize to the existence of pyramids older than the Egyptian variety, Mann's lucid answers to these questions represent current scholarly opinion and point the way toward future exploration and discovery. Students and teachers will benefit greatly from this engaging exploration of America's most overlooked and misunderstood historical periods.


Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at November 11, 2011 11:36 AM

Speaking of the development of the American West after the Civil War, there's an illuminating discussion of Winslow Homer's 1865 painting "The Veteran in a New Field" at http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/Resource_Guide_Chapters/PictAmer_Resource_Book_Chapter_9A.pdf

N E, your comment reminded me that I want to read Charles C. Mann's books 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Turning to Amazon, I see that there is an adaptation of the first book aimed at younger readers, Grade 6 and up, titled Before Columbus: The Americas of 1941. The publisher says:

In this beautifully illustrated and concise adaptation, Mann paints a superb picture of pre-Columbian America. In the process, he overturns the misconceived image of Natives as simple, widely scattered savages with minimal impact on their surroundings. Well-chosen, vividly colored graphics and photographs of mummies, pyramids, artifacts, and landscapes as well as the author's skillful storytelling will command the attention of even the most reluctant readers....Mann constructs the narrative around three crucial questions that continue to confound historians today: Was the New World really new? Why were the Europeans successful? What ecological impact did Natives have on their surroundings? From the pre-Columbian genetic engineering of maize to the existence of pyramids older than the Egyptian variety, Mann's lucid answers to these questions represent current scholarly opinion and point the way toward future exploration and discovery. Students and teachers will benefit greatly from this engaging exploration of America's most overlooked and misunderstood historical periods.


Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at November 11, 2011 11:36 AM

N.E.
You leave out something essential. The Indians never saw themselves as one people. There were confederacies and attempts at confederacies (e.g., see Tecumseh), but by and large they saw themselves as separate tribes of people. The Africans and Slavs were pretty much the same way. Being viewed by their conquerors as One People (and inferior at that) is the standard in which mass genocide is instituted.

Posted by Paul Avery at November 11, 2011 11:42 AM

It's Native Americans, not Indians. Though, since America is a Spanish word, it's not really correct either, but it is not as ridiculous as Indians. I wonder what word the natives, of, uh, that place, collectively used to call their home and themselves, if anything. Before they were all murdered, that is.

Posted by Faheem at November 11, 2011 01:14 PM

Faheem

Puh-leeze, there is a 'native American' publication named "Indian Country." There is not a publication anywhere named "Native American Country." The term 'redskin', as in the named of the Washington Redskins, is offensive, even though not understood that way by Joe Gibbs fans, but the term "Indian" is just unfortunate because it reflects some stupid European confusion. American Indians call themselves Indians plenty, and without intending to disparage themselves.

mistah charley

Mann's book 1491 is in my opinion a great book, probably in my top 100 list if i ever complete it. And your reference to it reminds me that the American Indians (sorry Faheem, that's as far as I'll go) were probably for the most part both better off and better in the 15th century than in the 19th century, after a few hundred years of European influence and the devastation of epidemics, slavery, and conquest (yes, lots of Indians were slaves before the slave trade from Africa picked up). I remember reading somewhere once that archeologists had determined that 15th century Central American Indians had a higher caloric intake than modern Central American peasants.

What I presently remember most about Mann's book most was that American Indian societies were comparatively very egalitarian, and that the egalitarianism influenced early American colonial political thinking.

Paul Avery--good point. That racist thinking really took off in the 19th century. Indians of certain tribes used to and often still do have Indians of other tribes. The Sioux and the Crow used to hate each other more than they hated wasichus. Same for the Sioux and the Pawnees. Then again, the English and the Irish and the French and the Germans weren't all so crazy about each other either. So it goes.

Posted by N E at November 11, 2011 01:42 PM

'hate Indians of other tribes' not 'have Indians of other tribes'. Sorry.

Posted by N E at November 11, 2011 01:45 PM

Self-made (adj.): Having made up the history of oneself.

Posted by antonello at November 11, 2011 01:50 PM

NE, my point is not that "Indian" in this context is offensive terminology, but that it is nonsensical. There are actual Indians. They live in India. The unfortunate remnants of the natives in North America have no relationship to them. To be clear, I don't think either Native Americans or American Indians are good terminology, but the former is definitely preferable to the latter.

Posted by Faheem at November 11, 2011 03:38 PM

Faheem, you want to reserve the term "Indian" to those things pertaining to India. When you're talking, you can do that.*

In the speech of others, however, a commonly accepted meaning is "Of or relating to any of the Native American peoples except the Eskimos, Aleuts, and Inuits" - it goes back hundreds of years and, as our friend N E has pointed out, is even used by Native American peoples themselves (when speaking English, of course).


*An analogous situation, in my own verbal behavior - I almost always the word "physician", when most people would say sloppily say "doctor".

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at November 11, 2011 05:23 PM
I wonder what word the natives, of, uh, that place, collectively used to call their home...

"For the non-Native American to become at home on this continent, he or she must be born again in this hemisphere, on this continent, properly called Turtle Island." - Gary Snyder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Island_North_America

All the way down...

Posted by BenP at November 11, 2011 06:37 PM

There's a ongoing debate raging about the use of the term "Indians." It's been pointed out that India in the time of Columbus (which wasn't HIS correct name either) that India was know as Cathay, not India. So Columbus was writing "In Deus" in his journal, meaning in God, i.e. "people." The native referred to themselves by the own tribal names. But even these have been corrupted with translations. For instance, "Cherokee" in the native tongue is closer to "Tsa-La-Gee" and so forth.
However, I think the natives were mostly offended by being put to death in mass numbers more than what others called them.

Posted by Paul Avery at November 11, 2011 10:53 PM

That very amazing and interesting news.

Posted by call center at November 12, 2011 12:40 AM

paul avery

Did you know that the yucatan penninsula got its name because a couple of invading conquistadores asked through their interpreter what the area was called, and the interrogated native answered "Yuc atan" meaning "What did you say?"

Meanwhile, the word "Sioux" comes from a bastardization in French of the Algonquin "nadawiesou" (sic?) meaning "snakes" or "enemies", which the Sioux, known by themselves as "the Dakota" (meaning "friends" or "allies") didn't like much. The Dakota moved west onto the plains just as the horse arrived, having escaped from spanish camps a thousand or so miles to the southwest a couple of centuries earlier. and so the Spanish horses and Dakota thrived in the West, where the Dakota started speaking a little differently and became the Lakota. So French guns given to the Algonquins in exchange for furs drove the Dakota west onto the plains, which had previously been overwhelmingly vast, just as Spanish mestengos, stray horses, aka mustangs, had reached the eastern plains to greet the Dakota and make the vastness traversible and survivable, which the Dakota then did as the fiercer Lakota. So the European invasion first made the great Sioux empire and then destroyed it, though that didn't happen until a hundred years later. A hundred years is more than our lives, but in history it is nothing, just as in history the American Century is really nothing.

What's in a name? Tens of thousands of men and women were Dakota, and tens of thousands more were Lakota. They occupied a space of land bigger than New England for more than a century, and now they have a great piece of desert, poverty, and a few casinos. The European invaders who took their land are mostly fat and work at Walmart now, and a host of new arrivals from other parts of the world always threaten to replace them.

Our host suggested that Granville Dodge bore significant responsibility for the Powder River Expedition, and I suppose he did, as much as such men do, but the forces that started the colonization of the West, and before it the New World (as our host's grandpa knew too well) were driven by the quest for wealth--tesoro o oro, no importa. And so I remember that once upon a time in the era of Granville Doge, when the transcontinental railroad was becoming a reality and the plains tribes were being destroyed, a great Wall Street railroad baron named Jay Gould famously said: "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

That sort of thing impedes progress quite well. Divide and conquer has always been the game, and in a real sense the whole world is Indian country, and we are all Indians.

People of the world, unite.

Posted by N E at November 12, 2011 01:04 AM

The story of the Koch family, from the massacre of Indians to the vast enrichment of a few people, by governments, is a great and straightforward example of the evil of governments. That the Kochs are hypocrites doesn't change that, or make any criticism they have of government wrong, any more than being a rapist who condemns rape makes rape right, or a smoker who says tobacco causes cancer means tobacco doesn't cause cancer. Hasn't Dean Baker even said that rather than trying to tax and regulate the rich more it's better to take away their privileges, the ways in which the government channels money to them?

Posted by marcus at November 12, 2011 01:34 AM

N.E.

I enjoyed your post, especially about the Yucatan. It would be a funny story except for Diego de Landa, who was so evil that even the Spanish crown put him on trial for crimes against humanity, if you can imagine.

Posted by Paul Avery at November 12, 2011 08:18 AM

Paul Avery wrote:

"However, I think the natives were mostly offended by being put to death in mass numbers more than what others called them."

Paul, I was slightly horrified to discover that according to Wikipedia, the native were mostly killed by disease. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

Quote:

"Nearly all scholars now believe that widespread epidemic disease, to which the natives had no prior exposure or resistance, was the overwhelming cause of the massive population decline of the Native Americans."

Gosh, so the colonists didn't actually murder the Native Americans. I'm so relieved.

Actually, the people on the talk page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Population_history_of_indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas) do have some different views about this. I could say plenty too, but this isn't really the place for that.

Posted by Faheem at November 12, 2011 02:23 PM

One could ALWAYS make a deep commitment to JUSTICE and give the land back. ANY takers?

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 12, 2011 10:31 PM

Faheem, perhaps you should quit while you're behind. How many among the pre-Columbian peoples (my personal preferred term) died of diseases that piggybacked on the European invaders will probably be debated for a long time, and never known for sure. However, it in no way indicates that the European invaders didn't also slaughter large numbers of them, or work them to death, or a combination of crimes. It ain't either/or, you know?

Someone -- I think it was Francis Jennings, whose book The European Invasion of America taught me a lot, but I haven't been able to find the passage again -- said that the Indians were not less civilized than the Europeans, but that wasn't saying much.

Lately I've been hearing some disturbing claims of patriotism by contemporary Native Americans, going so far as to talk about Native American troops "defending our country" against the Iraqis. A Navajo singer called Radmilla Cody recorded a thoroughly creepy song about Lori Piestewa, who died in the same ambush in which Jessica Lynch was wounded, lauding her as "the first Native American woman warrior to die in battle protecting the freedom of her people and the United States of America" (though she was in fact just support personnel). Bonus: Cody bills herself as an "anti-domestic violence activist." Foreign violence is okay with her, though.

Posted by Duncan at November 13, 2011 12:37 AM

Indians are, like everybody else, just people, with their own unique bundles of dumb and obnoxious and violent and wonderful and smart and generous and all sorts of other stuff. Same for American Indians, Native Americans, and pre Columbian people, though I think all the pre Columbian peoples everywhere are now pretty much dead peoples.

I don't think you'll find a lot of people of any ethnicity who want to go back to a 14th or 17th or 19th century way of life, though the traditions of any group's past are of course another matter. Being part of an ultra-macho, warring nomadic culture like the Plains tribes definitely brought some bad with the good. Those same eco-friendly, hospitable, generous, egalitarian cultures had some customs like chopping off limbs and digits and gouging out the eyes of enemies, which was not terribly compassionate. Then again, at Sand Creek the drunken Colorado militia led by a preacher took target practice on Cheyenne toddlers for sport while killing and raping pretty much everybody else. Such is our history.

In light of these human behaviors, here's a quote for discussion:

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god -- the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!”

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Posted by biografie at November 13, 2011 08:20 PM

N E, there are large indigenous communities in, e.g., Central America, where native languages are often retained alongside Spanish. Wikipedia estimates there are around seven million Mayans.

They might not like to hear they are dead people.

Posted by Save the Oocytes at November 14, 2011 05:51 PM

Save the Oocytes

I'm just too funny for you to get my joke. The literally pre-Columbian Mayans are all dead. Those alive now are post-Columbian peoples.

hahahahahahahaha! Get it!

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You have a nice poster.

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