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Tilting at Windmills

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February 2, 2011

WHEN THE KOCH BROTHERS GET A LITTLE CREEPY.... We talked over the weekend about the David and Charles Koch's latest meeting, held at a posh resort near Palm Springs, where the billionaire conservatives gathered with powerful far-right officials to raise money and plot strategy. If you didn't hear much about it, that's not an accident -- the discussions are held behind well-protected closed doors, and journalists are strictly prohibited from attending sessions.

Kenneth Vogel reported today on the Koch Bros' larger media strategy. It apparently involves an aggressive public-relations effort, reaching out to reporters to "shape their Koch coverage," while using a "private security detail" to play "hard ball with critics and suspected foes."

In particular, Vogel noted the events in California over the weekend, with Koch-paid guards tracking resort guests deemed "suspicious," and erecting a blockade to prevent cameras from filming arriving guests.

Inside the resort at the beginning of the conference, "there was an atmosphere almost of paranoia," said Gary Ferdman, a Common Cause official.

Ferdman had reservations at the resort and stayed there Thursday and Friday night. He said he was told Saturday that his lunch reservations at the resort restaurant had been canceled and was urged to check out and leave promptly by a member of Koch's large security detail.

Security manned every doorway and stairwell near the ballrooms where Koch events were held, and threatened to jail this POLITICO reporter while he waited in line at the resort's cafe, after he stopped by a Koch conference registration table.

The resort grounds were "closed for a private function," the resort's head of security, James Foster told POLITICO, ushering the reporter outside, where private security guards, wearing gold lapel pins bearing Koch's "K" logo, threatened "a citizen's arrest" and a "night in the Riverside County jail" if the reporter continued asking questions and taking photographs.

The Kochs already have a reputation for being overly-secretive and heavy-handed in their tactics. I don't imagine threatening a journalist while he waited in line at a hotel cafe is going to help.

As Jon Chait joked, "If those hired goons don't dispel the image of the Kochs as sinister moguls, I don't know what will."

Steve Benen 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

Ah, the delight of our American democracy! Any filthy rich guy can buy a security detail and pretend to be the ruler of a banana resort for a weekend!

No doubt as self-described monarchs, the Koch brothers may nonetheless be divorced by their queens who no doubt believed every ruler should be at least 12 inches! Not even the honest intellects of said brothers measure well, as these two have been living in the shadow of their father - a true American villian, unlike his offspring!

Koch senior gave us the Birchers. His sons have only given us banal evil! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 2, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

"private security detail" to play "hard ball with critics and suspected foes."

-same guys who worked for Alaska's failed senate candidate?

Posted by: DAY on February 2, 2011 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Do you suppose Issa went to this meeting and was infected (see previous post)?

Posted by: -syzygy- on February 2, 2011 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't David Koch sponsor "Nature" or "Nova" on PBS? Not sure which show but I do see a David Koch listed in the sponsorship. Is there another wealthy David Koch?

Posted by: vagodin on February 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Kochs already have a reputation for being overly-secretive and heavy-handed in their tactics.

Most criminals are.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on February 2, 2011 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Koch company bought a pipeline company originally named Magnolia Gas Company with a pumping station near my home. The company was broken into parts and parts were resold to other companies. It was once a community known as Magasco, (a shortened version of Magnolia Gas Company) and it supported many people and families. There were homes there at one time and a gas pumping station. It was/is on Texas Farm Road 1. The importance of the pipeline and the station there was probably the reason the road was named Texas Farm Road 1. The company that now owns the station site has two employees. I was not aware of the political involvement of the Koch family until the last few years however this is just one small example of the impact of what they do to make money.

Posted by: Kenneth D.Franks on February 2, 2011 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

@ Vagodin: There are four Koch brothers. David and Charles are the evil ones, the other two, William and Frederick, are as different from those two as daylight and dark, even though William is David's twin.

I don't have time to go dig up links right now, but if you go to the Wichita Eagle website (Kansas.com) and search for Koch v Koch, they printed all that families dirty secrets back in the 90s when the two philanthropists who underwrite museums and the like sued their evil brothers.

Local lore holds that they still haven't spoken, 16 or 17 years later.

As an interesting aside, their libertarianism is phony as hell. Twenty years ago, I had a friend who worked for a computer company in Wichita who handled the Matador account -- until she was caught on video smoking a cigarette in her car as she drove onto the property. She was met by security and her company had to send another sales rep out to the campus until she had completed a smoking cessation program. So much for personal freedom.

Posted by: Blue Girl on February 2, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the Kochs are forced to protect their right to "peaceably assemble," dontcha know!

http://agonyin8fits.blogspot.com/2011/01/constitution-was-written-to-protect.html

Posted by: karen marie on February 2, 2011 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Vagodin: There is a third bother, Bill. The three spent a lot of time suing each other until the first two bought Bill out. Maybe Bill is the sponsor.

Posted by: Tigershark on February 2, 2011 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's the evil one:

From Wiki

David Hamilton Koch (pronounced "coke",[5] born May 3, 1940) is an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist and chemical engineer. He is a co-owner, (with older brother Charles), and an executive vice president of Koch Industries, a conglomerate that is the second largest privately held company in the U.S.[7] Koch is the richest resident of New York City, as of 2010.[3][4] He is a major patron of the arts and funder of conservative and libertarian political causes, and has been linked to the American Tea Party movement, although he denies any connection.[2][3][8] Among other charities, he has contributed to Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering, a fertility clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the American Museum of Natural History's David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.[9] The home of the New York City Opera and New York City Ballet was renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008. Condé Nast Portfolio describes him as "one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America."[10]

Posted by: arkie on February 2, 2011 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's time to start boycotting products that make money for the 2 evil Koch brothers. I have heard/read that Bounty paper towels are a Koch product. Is this true? Does anybody know of other consumer products that would be easy to boycott?

Posted by: MuddyLee on February 2, 2011 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Last I checked, simply asking questions isn't illegal. So if it was me, I'd have kept asking them and, if arrested, sued the Koch brothers into oblivion for false arrest.

Sorry, but they simply cannot arrest anyone for doing their jobs. Period.

I guess the Politico reporters are gutless in addition to hacks.

Posted by: Mark D on February 2, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

@MudddyLee: The Koch brothers own Georgia Pacific. Here's a list of products for you.

I'll never by "Brawny" again.

Posted by: AK Liberal on February 2, 2011 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we should all google "Koch" brothers' products and boycott any. It may not make a dent in their sales as they are super rich.
One can only try. As regards to being told to check out early at a hotel, that is ridiculous. They knew of the weekend event, so why did they book customers leading up to and including that weekend. I would sue the hotel's management for "lack of service, a personal discrimination charge as well."

Posted by: Mary on February 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how special interest people rationalize they are somehow pro-democracy.

Posted by: Kill Bill on February 2, 2011 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

American Museum of Natural History's David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.

How fitting.

Posted by: dr. bloor on February 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Article: "In particular, Vogel noted the events in California over the weekend, with Koch-paid guards tracking resort guests deemed "suspicious," and erecting a blockade to prevent cameras from filming arriving guests."

And they said all the Blackwater freaks wouldn't find jobs. Maybe Ricky Gervais can be the MC. Ricky can introduce Darrell Issa as keynote speaker and Darrell can enter waving a Confederate flag from his sedan chair. Goose bumps.

Posted by: max on February 2, 2011 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

@ AK Liberal

Thanks for the list! Damn, they *would* have my favorite toilet paper, and my economy backup on that list.

Goodbye Quilted Northern Plush, and Angel Soft.

Posted by: knightphoenix2 on February 2, 2011 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

I was relieved to see that I hadn't been using anything of theirs; boycotting favourite products usually feels like cutting my nose off to spite my face :)

Kinghtphoenix 2,
Try Charmin Ultra Soft; I've been using it when it was still White Cloud. Very absorbent, but also strong (I used it, instead of special wipes, when my son was a baby -- 33yrs ago). Damned expensive now but, if you wait for a sale and have a coupon besides, you can stock up, if you have room; toilet paper doesn't spoil.

And I use Bounty pick-a-size (which allows you to tear off just half) for paper towels. Tried Browny once, and it was way too much pick-up power; I'm a klutz, but not *that much* of one.

Posted by: exlibra on February 2, 2011 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Do you suppose Issa went to this meeting and was infected (see previous post)?

Posted by: -syzygy- at 4:59 PM

Issa is/has been a dishonest creep without any help or guidance from the Kochroaches. They are all fellow travelers in the cause of self aggrandizement and arrogant influence peddling. Issa was instrumental in bringing down CA governor Grey Davis which accomplished nothing, but put a notch on Issa's belt.

Dave, Chuck and Darrell are three of a kind. Issa doesn't have their kind of cash, but otherwise he'll meet them in the gutter as an equal.

Posted by: burro on February 2, 2011 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Koch's were just worried that Frank Gaffney would sneak in and expose their secret confab with The Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted by: Rip on February 2, 2011 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, exlibra!

Funny thing is, I *had* been using Charmin - until it started giving me a rash. Must've changed something ... Well, I'll try again - as soon as I dispose of the new Kroger enviromentally friendly store-brand "home sense" (which was on sale - and didn't have made by Georgia Pacific on the package).

As far as Brawny goes, I'm just now starting on my last roll - and have an entire package of Bounty towels in wait. :)

Posted by: knightphoenix2 on February 2, 2011 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

So if it was me, I'd have kept asking them and, if arrested, sued the Koch brothers into oblivion for false arrest.

Good luck with that. I'm sure that the Kochs have an army of lawyers who would keep you tied up in legal red tape for years, bleeding you dry, with the ultimate aim of wearing you out until you just gave up the suit.

And, yes, David Koch is the "philanthropist". Like a lot of wealthy, venal douche bags throughout history, he has been trying to buy his way to a Nice Guy image. Pay no attention to the devil spawn behind the curtain.

It would be interesting to know what our shadow government discussed last weekend. Are there no leakers? Were all of the attendees under an omerta?

Posted by: josef on February 2, 2011 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

"If those hired goons don't dispel the image of the Kochs as sinister moguls, I don't know what will."

Pictures and videos of the hired goons being goons.

Posted by: a on February 3, 2011 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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