Friday, March 28, 2014


The basic theme of Jonah Goldberg's latest is "a Democrat Congressman is maybe a hypocrite, stop talking about the Koch Brothers." To save you time and effort, here is the stupidest part:
Here’s the problem. The profit motives of the Koch brothers are by far the least interesting thing about them. Charles and David Koch are worth about $40 billion — apiece! Could they make even more money in a more libertarian America? Who knows? But let’s say yes. The idea that they are going to all of this bother just to be worth $50 billion instead of $40 billion is pretty silly when you think about it.
I guess they feel that at a certain point they've made enough money.
And profit lust probably has little to do with why Charles Koch co-founded the nonprofit libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, either.
Is it possible that Goldberg doesn't know what the Cato Institute is paid to do for the rich? Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't know what he's paid to do for them.


  1. bourbaki10:16 AM

    Well to give Jonah some credit. The Koch Brothers probably don't want more money (though I'm sure they wouldn't turn more down). They want more power.

  2. Ok then, why didn't they stop at 30 billiion? Clearly that's enough money. They could leave the business and allow for less advantages millionaires to get a piece of the pie thus saving the economy.

  3. Saint Timonious10:21 AM

    What part of "“I want my fair share, and that’s all of it” are you paid to not understand, Pantload?

  4. So a man paid to write about politics and the economy is
    explaining why the obsession of two of the wealthiest men in the country with
    lowering tax rates on the rich through the support of malleable politicians is
    proof that they care not a whit about money.

    If Goldberg were paid to write about the NFL today’s column
    would be an argument that Mickey Mantle was the best goalie in the history of
    pro football.

  5. coozledad10:28 AM

    They want the colleges, too.

  6. Daniel Björkman10:29 AM

    It's true. At a certain point, money stops mattering.

    So at that point, you have to switch your goals to turning your entire civilisation into gigantic ego-boosting apparatus that exists for the sole purpose of adoring you, your personality, your values and the very ground you walk on. I do not believe that the Koch brothers are scheming for more money, except insofar as that is part of their nature. I believe they are scheming for a world where everyone either agrees that constantly scheming for money is a sign of high virtue or else gets thoroughly punished for their low virtue.

  7. Ellis_Weiner10:47 AM

    Shorter Doughy: Both sides do it, so the press should say so, except for my side, because why bother?

  8. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps11:00 AM

    Young Jonah explains to Lucianne that his hand in the cookie jar probably has little to do with why he's got chocolate smeared around his mouth.

  9. SteveM at NoMoreMrNiceBlog has a nice post up today about how Sheldon Adelson is the perfect example of what Jonah denies exists--lets call it the Will To Mammon or Apres les Kochs, le deluge.

  10. tigrismus11:25 AM

    And yet, so far no reporter has raised the possibility that Yee
    supported tighter restrictions on guns in order to keep gun prices high
    and his own services in demand. ...
    Now I
    sincerely doubt that Yee was that clever. The more likely explanation is
    that he believes in gun control and he’s a greedy hypocrite (and maybe
    not too bright either). The fact that gun-control policies are to his
    advantage is just a happy coincidence.

    "Reporters are hypocrites because they don't bring up this idea even I think is obviously wrong."

  11. dstatton11:40 AM

    In today's environment, 30 billion becomes 40 billion without any effort at all. It's the inevitability of the concentration of wealth in the absence of constraints. Are the Koch brothers a million times smarter and hardworking than nearly everyone else?

  12. DocAmazing12:07 PM

    I live in Yee's district. Take it from me: any theory that credits him with an excess of cunning is erroneous.

  13. mortimer200012:13 PM

    Good grief. Is there anyone else out there writing professionally who always so carelessly undermines whatever point he is trying to make with such care?

    For instance, the Washington Post recently ran a shockingly shabby story* insinuating that the Kochs have a lot to gain from the Keystone pipeline... (The Kochs have no stake in the pipeline, and even if they did, so what?)

    Yeah. Pinochet wasn't a murdering dictator, that's ridiculous. But even if he was, so what?

    *BTW, the "shockingly shabby" story is anything but. In fact, it's ridiculously straight-forward and thorough, which is no doubt why Goldberg didn't link to it.

  14. The prospect of $10 billion can buy a lot of bother from a lot of bothersome Koch-heads without much time and effort sacrificed on the part of the Kochs themselves.

  15. They're only a few thousand times smarter and hardworking than me, but they keep getting smarter and more hardworking without doing anything.

  16. Where do you live? In the new 8th District or the old one?

  17. "Shockingly shabby" is such a McMeganGoldbergian weasel word. What's the implication? That its embarrassingly pas comme il faut for an ink stained wretch to presume to touch the hem of a (ugh) "story" about his betters? What's next in social solecisms? Editorial cartoons? Public comment????

  18. Indeed, that is central to his point. It is a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care. To the dismay of some on the left.

  19. The prospect of them having any more power is what I find troublesome.

  20. You liberals don't seem to realize what *you* are doing for the rich. Well, edroso does, but the gullible useful idiots he recruits obviously don't.

    Hence the term "useful idiots". You are not yet at the stage where you can "look from man to pig and from pig to man, but cannot tell the difference".

    Roy's a 100% certified pig in what he is paid to do for the rich. Of course rich people like big government. It allows them to crush small businesses by lobbying for idiotic regulations while exempting themselves, since they wind up on the government committees that oversee these things.

    Wake up and smell the ... similarity to the corruption you claim to hate.

    Conservatism doesn't promise Utopia, but at least it's not a transparent con like what is being peddled here by this idiot who just spews rhetorical non-sequiturs like a moron and NEVER interacts with real concerns with his claims.

  21. edroso2:17 PM

    Hi again, Rob! Still think my jokes are "non-sequiturs," huh? Well, to each his own.

    Also, the bit where you insult your subject and then complain that he "NEVER interacts" -- what kind of reaction does this get elsewhere?

  22. Shakezula3:10 PM

    Good thing JBerg has hired help. He'd wear himself to a frazzle if he had to produce such insightful commentary without assistance.

  23. I CTRL+F'd "pollution" and didn't find any mention on Goldberg's article.

    It's a simple fact that the Koch Industries has a terrible environmental & safety record and their support for gutting the EPA, while in line with the rest of their libertarian "true believer" ideology, does appear to benefit their bottom line in various ways.

  24. Halloween_Jack3:33 PM

    To these people, money is just a way of keeping score.

  25. Well, he was, you know. Mantle swallowed up a lot of shots.

  26. Bethany Spencer4:42 PM

    Koch-hate really gets under their skin, doesn't it?

  27. KatWillow4:42 PM

    It seems that to so many wealthy people, wealth is never enough: they want everyone else to be desperately poor. The world of the "Hunger Games" or "Divergent" is their ideal.

  28. KatWillow4:43 PM

    He didn't read past the headline.

  29. KatWillow4:45 PM

    That's too stupid an "argument" to even downrate. I guess you're paid by the number of postings rather than the content.

  30. KatWillow4:46 PM

    Trolls, even paid ones, yearn for recognition and admiration from those they claim to despise.

  31. KatWillow4:50 PM

    I like to imagine they're surrounded by sycophants, thousands of sycophants showered in the millions that to the Kocks are like loose change, promising the patrons that SOON, any day now, they will RULE TEH WORLD!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  32. Mitch5:30 PM

    Koch is unAmerican, and anyone who defends them is also UnAmerican.

  33. So, did you kick this guy out of a band or something?

  34. Pseudonym7:20 PM

    The problem with conservatism (well, a problem) is that it has a good chance of delivering on the shitopia it promises. Dodd-Frank and the CFPB and Yellen may not be utopia by any measure, but they're a damn sight better than defaulting on the debt while lowering the top marginal tax rates and subsidizing the Walton aristocracy.

  35. Pseudonym7:21 PM

    I think it was Papa Koch who made his fortune from the commies.

  36. cleter7:35 PM

    Actually, dude, conservatism IS a transparent con. Have you been in an enchanted slumber for the past 15 years or so?

  37. montag27:46 PM

    Each of them, by their calculations, are 330 million times smarter and hard-working than a poor guy with no assets.

    That's what each of them inherited from their looney dad, Fred.

  38. montag27:49 PM

    These are, after all, people who cheered when Gordon Gecko said, "greed is good."

  39. montag27:55 PM

    Thus, yet another illustration of libertarian notions that reality is eminently fungible.

  40. montag27:56 PM

    Same as those he's defending.

  41. ken_lov8:24 PM

    Funniest line in Goldberg's post: "The story was utterly debunked by John Hinderaker of the website Powerline." (I've noticed recently that NRO has even started sourcing stories to that cesspit of the 'Tubes, 'Weasel Zippers'. Surely a merger with WND must be on the cards?)

    Somebody should explain to Jonah that money and power are inextricably linked. The more you have of one, the more you get of the other. But since this is impossible to reconcile with the Tea Party's "We the People" nonsense, it's conveniently ignored.

  42. montag28:27 PM

    If money doesn't matter to them, why, exactly, are they on so many bandwagons that would increase their wealth, regardless of a host of attendant ills fostered by the businesses they run?

    I was noodling around with a little back-of-the-napkin math, as they refer to it in Laffer's circle, and since we're supposedly at war, and everything is so dependent on our success in the "war on terror," what would be the impact on the brothers Koch if we were to reinstitute the 94% wartime top nominal tax rate. In WWII, that rate applied to all earned income over about $200K, roughly $3 million in today's dollars, The Kochs would probably pay very little on their actual annual wealth, because so much of it is either profit or investment income (their net worth has been climbing in recent years at a rate of about $4 billion a year each, due not only to their companies' profits, but also because they've been playing around in the interest rate-swap markets), but, just for drill, what if everything they made was subject to that 94% top rate?

    Glorioski! 6% of $4 billion is the wholly ungenerous annual income after taxes of... wait for it... $240 million. Each.

    In fact, in WWII, the highest wage earner in the country actually only paid 66% of his income in taxes, not 94%. If we use that as the model, each of the downtrodden, misunderstood Kochs would have a mere $1.36 billion to spend. Each. Per year.

    And yet, because they aren't being taxed at anywhere near either of those rates, they have a lot of money to spend to elect politicians who will give them lower corporate taxes, lower estate taxes, lower income taxes, fewer (or no) environmental regulations, not to mention the freedom to steal from their customers and suppliers (and the Treasury) at will, all of which would accelerate their accumulation of wealth and power.

    Somehow, I just don't think Der Loadpants has actually thought this business through. Maybe he genuinely believes that these are not a couple of out-of-their minds, whacked-out greedy fucks determined to rape most of North America and substantial parts of the world for their own self-aggrandizement, as seems painfully obvious to most casual observers, and is inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    He'd still be wrong.

  43. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person10:26 PM

    It's true. At a certain point, money stops mattering.

    And when they reach that point, I'm sure they'll let us know. Probably throw one hell of a party...

  44. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person10:37 PM

    Probably right. He read somewhere that it was a bad story, so he repeated that, with embellishment.

  45. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person10:48 PM

    OK, I unhushed ol' Rob to see what the excitement was about--usually a dumb move--and....what was this about? Semi-random insults strung together with to nail down the point? What point? This is 37 adjectives in search of a noun...

  46. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person10:51 PM

    Future historians are gonna argue endlessly about early 21st century American politics, and the utter idiocy not only espoused, but actually enacted by Republicans. They'll also argue endlessly about WTF was wrong with the Democrats that they mostly sat on their hands while it all happened...

  47. William Miller11:32 PM

    I've often wondered how much money a person really needs in this life. I mean, "Hey, I need new tires! I've got a billion dollars so that's not a problem!" I'm guessing the Kochs don't look at things that way. More like, "Hey, I need a Congressman. I've got a billion dollars so that's no problem!" Which is funny because if you look at the chump change it takes to buy a Congressman, you'd think, "Damn, I would definitely hold out for more than that."

  48. Daniel Björkman2:55 AM

    ... did you read anything I wrote after that point?

  49. montag24:26 AM

    Oh, I think most of the politicians to whom they're contributing would say, "come on down! Get a free set of tires for every SuperPac contribution!"

  50. William Miller6:57 AM

    Speaking from experience, I think Rob's distaste for your "jokes as non-sequiturs" is code for "I didn't get them."

  51. William Miller7:08 AM

    You are correct, sir/madam.

  52. No Rob, THIS is what a transparent con looks like:

  53. It's on the sort of level I've come to expect on sites like attracts a lot of trolls too, for some reason.

  54. StringOnAStick10:32 AM

    It could also be that they just think they are correct in their world view, and anyone who doesn't agree is lucky to have an overpass to live under (until they start charging rent on that too).
    The religiously righteous and politically righteous have a similar value system as far as knowing they are the arbiters of who not only will be punished, but who damned well deserves it too. Rich and politically active people like the Kochs look at us folks and see cockroaches, not humans.

  55. philadelphialawyer1:01 PM

    "...the Washington Post recently ran a shockingly shabby story insinuating that the Kochs have a lot to gain from the Keystone pipeline. The story was utterly debunked by John Hinderaker of the website Powerline. (The Kochs have no stake in the pipeline, and even if they did, so what?)"
    Wait, which is it? Do the Kochs have a stake in the pipeline or not? Because, if they do, that kinda undercuts the notion that the WaPo story was wrong and has been "utterly debunked." "...and even if they did, so what?" just doesn't cut it, in this context. Same old Jonah, asked to do so little, and yet can't manage to do even that. If the Kochs really have no stake, doofus, then just stick with that. Or, if you think it doesn't matter that they have a stake, go that route. But don't try to combine them because it makes no sense. Don't tell me a newspaper is wrong for saying they do have a stake, but it doesn't matter if they do or not. You might not think it matters, but that hardly makes the newspaper wrong. Duh.
    "But the Post’s piece was typical of the media’s fascination with the idea that the Kochs’ political activities are simply cover for their desire to maximize profits."
    Um, that's not the "ideal." "Cover" has nothing to do with it. The "idea" is that the Kochs' political activities DO maximize their profits. That that is their effect. That, the more successful the political activities, the more profit maximization for the brothers. Whether that is the sole or even most important reason or motive for their political engagement is another, less important story, but it is a fact that the greater the extent the politics and policies they support succeed and are enacted into law, the more they profit. The more their chosen candidates win, the more CATO-approved laws are passed, the more money they make.
    Why is this even controversial? It is not exactly a revelation that many, perhaps most, folks support politics that are in line with their economic interests, is it? Commercial fisherman, let's say, don't usually support politics that would make commercial fishing less profitable, do they? At a minimum, it is not considered conspiracy theorizing to expect the opposite as the norm.
    In the Kochs' case, the fear is that their vast wealth gives them an inordinate influence over politics and policies. Objective factors dominate throughout: the amount of money, the extent of the influence, the effect on politics and policy. Not subjective ones.
    On the Democratic State legislator, meh, even the hypocrisy angle seems overblown. More likely, he's just a crook. Not only are his anti gun politics not related to some kind of "Baptists and Bootleggers" attempt to keep the price of guns high, but they are not really related to his corruption at all, most likely. He's just a bribe taker, and the bribes happened to involve shoulder fired missiles, hardly the kind of weapons that State gun control legislation would be concerned with, and it is hardly controversial if they are banned, either. A real hypocrite, in this context, would be for banning assault rifles but have one or more in his home. A real Baptist and Bootlegger situation would be one in which he then sells assault rifles too.
    The connection to the Koch brothers is completely imaginary. Maybe that's why the "liberal" media hasn't made it.

  56. redoubtagain3:00 PM

    Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't know what he's paid to do for them.

    The absence of Dorito Mountain or Diet Pepsi Pipeline means that he doesn't really care to know anyway.

  57. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person8:16 PM

    The story was utterly debunked by John Hinderaker of the website Powerline.

    Leaving aside the particular wingnut and site, "Conservative debunking" has to be an award winning oxymoron. You can't debunk without facts, and even allowing for "fucking politicians", the Right's disdain for facts is freakin' legendary.

  58. I think so many of them are trying to discredit it (Jennifer Rubin recently wrote a slightly more sophisticated version of Jonah's post) because it makes them, or their paymasters, a bit worried. Good grief, when I visited my parents a couple of weeks ago, my father was spewing about "those Koch brothers" ... and he's an avid Fox Newsican who voted for Romney. Going after the Kochs is pure political manna.

  59. ChrisV8210:58 AM

    "The idea that they are going to all of this bother just to be worth $50 billion instead of $40 billion is pretty silly when you think about it."

    Jonah: clueless:

    But in the end, it was actually my absurdly wealthy bosses who helped me see the limitations of unlimited wealth. I was in a meeting with one of them, and a few other traders, and they were talking about the new hedge-fund regulations. Most everyone on Wall Street thought they were a bad idea. “But isn’t it better for the system as a whole?” I asked. The room went quiet, and my boss shot me a withering look. I remember his saying, “I don’t have the brain capacity to think about the system as a whole. All I’m concerned with is how this affects our company.”

    I felt as if I’d been punched in the gut. He was afraid of losing money, despite all that he had.

    From that moment on, I started to see Wall Street with new eyes. I noticed the vitriol that traders directed at the government for limiting bonuses after the crash. I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. Ever see what a drug addict is like when he’s used up his junk? He’ll do anything — walk 20 miles in the snow, rob a grandma — to get a fix. Wall Street was like that. In the months before bonuses were handed out, the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in “The Wire” when the heroin runs out.


  60. Captain Ambiguity4:44 PM

    "Whoops! Page Not Found!"

    Well, that settles it. Thanks to this dead link, now I know that Roy is on the take from Obama!

  61. M. Krebs10:08 PM

    I wonder (because I'm to lazy to do the research) whether the robber barons of old had their smarmy sycophants in the media. I'm guessing that they did, because nothing new under the sun, etc. But back then, being a smarmy sycophant probably didn't pay quite as well.

  62. geraldfnord8:35 PM

    As the target of a 'You're paid to sipport that.' non-argument from a conservative (November 2004, the man finally seemed to be willing to admit that maybe we were all volunteering for Kerry), I'd prefer we object to his arguments (as many here have done) rather than the notion that he's paid to post them, unless someone has reasonable proof (say grand-jury level, not criminal court).

    Saying that someone else must have been paid for posting seems too simple a way of saying 'No-one could really believe that.' when it seems clear that you-name-it, someone believes it, and not necessarily someone insane or stupid or evil...that line of thinking leads to being too complacent about one's own opinions, in the absence of believing oneself evil, stupid, insane, or paid.

    It's a lot like believing that your opponents only get elected by fraud, it's a way of avoiding thinking whilst bolstering your own weak belief by assuming that voting adults must on the whole agree with you; democracy is not believing that the majority are always right, as sure as you should be able to hold a position without having to believe that anyone who doesn't is (as B/4) corrupted or evil or insane or stupid.

    (Sorry to go on; I just dislike seeing my side do anything that annoys me when the other side does it.)