Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 31, 2010

CHUTZPAH WATCH -- KOCH EDITION.... There's been a fair amount of attention lately focused on David and Charles Koch, right-wing billionaires going to great lengths, mainly through their "Americans for Prosperity" outfit, to bolster Republicans in 2010.

With that in mind, this report from Igor Volsky is pretty striking.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the "first round of applicants accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program," a $5 billion program established by the new health care law to help employers and states "maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare." According to the agency, "nearly 2,000 employers, representing large and small businesses, State and local governments, educational institutions, non-profits, and unions" applied and have been accepted into the program and "will begin to receive reimbursements for employee claims this fall."

Ironically, one of those employers is the oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries, which as Lee Fang has reported, has also spent millions of dollars opposing reform.

Indeed, a year ago this month, Americans for Prosperity organized crazed rallies in opposition to health care reform, in one instance going so far as to compare the Democratic plan to the Nazi Holocaust.

This is the same group that invested $1.7 million in attack ads, blatantly lying to the American public about the reform proposal, falsely telling the country that Democrats were publishing a socialized, Canadian-style system.

And now the Koch Brothers want in on receiving grants through the same law they fought like crazy to kill.

The right's capacity for shamelessness continues to impress.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Posted by: fourlegsgood on August 31, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The right's capacity for shamelessness continues to impress.


Right. And yet they still go to their churches and cross themselves and pretend to be 'god fearing peoples' ........ shameless indeed .......and of course forgetting one of Jesus's strongest commands against 'bearing false witness' .......

Posted by: stormskies on August 31, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, it's fine. Let's just deduct the amount they spent agitating against the law from any benefit handed out under it.

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on August 31, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ho do ypu think the rich get and stay rich?

Taking advantage of all available government programs is one way.

Posted by: Mimikatz on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I wish Obama had the balls, but he really should personally go and inform the Koch brothers that they have been accepted into the program...complete with secret service, and an army of reporters and camera in tow. I would love to see that on every news station.

Posted by: SaintZak on August 31, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Just f'in wow. If you aren't a blatant, rank hypocrite, then NO membership in the Reich Wing. where's the justice? Where's the decency? Where is the sense of principle? THIS is the moral, ethical right wing? Guess they will take all the money they can while screaming at the Dems for being entirely to blame for the horrible deficit. I think a nice warm spot in hell is being reserved at this very moment.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on August 31, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Above the gilded doors of Koch Industries---where the money rolls in, and the corpses roll out---one can find these words, wrought in iron:

Meine Schreiende Unehrlichkeit Macht Frei.

Posted by: S. Waybright on August 31, 2010 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

You want to write about a real hypocrite. Look up http://www.healthtransformation.net/, Newt Gingrich's company.

Companies are paying $40,000 a year for memberships to have his company explain how to implement the new reforms.

This ass is slamming the new legislation while profiting off it at the same time.

I don't think anyone has covered it yet. Worth looking into.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on August 31, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want to suggest that I support the Kochs in any way. They are everything, on the Right, that the wingnuts accuse George Soros of being. In reality, Soros is a relatively moderate guy who skews a little left and just wants to promote liberalism in a very general sense. He isn't secretly funneling millions to Alan Grayson and Cenk Uygur.

The Kochs, OTOH, are an evil empire.

That being said, there is nothing inherently hypocritical about participating in government programs, or complying with government policies, that you object to. I do it all the time.

For example, I think that the income tax code should be far simpler, with most of the loopholes, credits, and deductions stipped out. But until my fantasy tax code is enacted, I will comply with the existing laws and maximize my return, including claiming deductions that I would gladly eliminate.

The fact that Koch industries is taking advantage of a law that they opposed is not evidence, per se, of some hypocrisye.

Posted by: square1 on August 31, 2010 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

And where ELSE will we hear about this? MSM? Time? WaPo/NYT?

-crickets. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 31, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I love Saint Zak's idea! Perhaps a heads up to Rachel Maddow would get her and her cameras over to the Koch headquarters for comment.

Posted by: Diane Rodriguez on August 31, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Koch Brothers are an affront to a free and liberty-minded people for it is their intent to enslave all who can't measure up to their idea of a good citizen.

Citizens who can actually accummulate wealth are the only ones these rich clowns recognize!

A society that witnesses the births of people like the Kochs, and then provides them the means to acquire great wealth, ironically, is the very society they wish to dismantle! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 31, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Jane Mayer's New Yorker piece on the Kochtopus is necessary reading. Essentially, these guys are oligarchs (assholes in plain English) who want to establish a version of a Randian anarcho-capitalist regime in this nation. Charles, in particular, seems almost evil in his obsession. They love money, power, and the subverson of any countervailing force in public life.

Posted by: walt on August 31, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to believe it would be hypocritical of right-wingers not to be hypocritical.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on August 31, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

In the Koch brothers' defense, keep in mind that they are filthy stinking rich and don't give a fuck about anything but tax cuts for the filthy stinking rich.

Posted by: chrenson on August 31, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

You just misunderstood Koch. You heard the words "Nazi Holocaust" and, understandably, you assumed they were against it. In truth, they were advocating it. So of course they're the first in line.

Posted by: Jon on August 31, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the moderators have noticed the continuing sales spam. I know it's only been up a few minutes (1:12 pm), unlike the usual day or more. Please be more vigilant.

Posted by: emjayay on August 31, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh wait - the 1:12 pm spam is gone. Way to go! Now how about the 1:19 pm!

[we get to it as fast as we can. when it comes through it comes in waves across all the threads. thanks -- mod.]

Posted by: emjayay on August 31, 2010 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I would imagine the Koch brothers also have substantial monetary interests in health care insurance companies. Why wouldn't they?

Their calculation was probably that they stand to make a lot of money by maintaining the status quo, but that they will make money anyway via HCR. They just will make less money with HCR than they would if it weren't enacted.

As usual with these MOU, it's heads they win tails we lose.

Posted by: terraformer on August 31, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

There's probably a compromise somewhere in the Koch headquarters. The adults who actually run the company and make the money flow are free to do what they need to do. The Koch brothers leave them alone as long as the money to play John Galt keeps rolling in.

It's a bit like the Wall Street Journal. People buy it for the accurate financial news and analysis. That the editorial writers don't seem to read the news, or understand it, is not a problem.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 31, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

The right's capacity for shamelessness is indeed impressive. So there's no need to grasp at any and every piece of chutzpah that comes along. Far more serious stuff than hypocrisy is going on by the Kochs--so why noodle around the edges?

Concentrate on and go deeper with the substance and structural context; lighten up on the feel-good pleasures of irony.

I'd argue that people with my income should be taxed at a higher rate. But that doesn't mean that I'm giving back my under-taxed income. And that's probably one of my lesser hypocrisies.

Posted by: MartinOne on August 31, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Can the Koches prove that their ancestors were not illegal immigrants? If not, deport them immediately without their health care benefits.

Posted by: G.Kerby on August 31, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

This is really just a privatized version Repubs opposing earmarks and the stimulus bill, but still grabbing all they can for their constituents. Or the blue states that bitch about taxes, but get more back from the feds than they put in.

Never let your ideology get in the way of making a buck.

Posted by: martin on August 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK


Which blue states, exactly, would you be referring to? New Mexico? Maryland, maybe?

I see far more red states getting more back then they pay in than blue ones...


Posted by: Bob on August 31, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with the take in this post. Sure, they're hypocrites, but they're also a great advertisement for the health care reform. If even health care reform's worst enemies are now lining up to get in on its benefits, the that would help convince the millions of Americans still wary of reform that this legislation will benefit them too.

Posted by: Scott on August 31, 2010 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK



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