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“Can The Kochs Hold Back History?”: You Can Buy A Lie, But You Can’t Make That Lie The Truth

For a time, the press lord William Randolph Hearst did everything in his vast powers to keep the film “Citizen Kane” from finding an audience. He intimidated theater owners, refused to let ads run in his newspapers, and even pressured studio sycophants to destroy the negative.

At first, the titan of San Simeon had his way: the film faded from view after a splashy initial release. But over the years, “Citizen Kane” came to be recognized for the masterpiece it is, and now regularly tops lists as the greatest film ever made.

The modern equivalent of Hearst is the Koch Brothers, David and Charles — known without affection as the Kochtopus. On certain days, depending on the stock market, their combined worth is more than any single American’s, somewhere around $80 billion.

They have used a big part of this fortune to attack the indisputable science on climate change, to buy junk scholars, to promote harmful legislation at the state level, to go after clean, renewable energy like solar, and to try to kill the greatest expansion of health care in decades. Money can’t buy love, but it certainly can cause a lot of havoc.

Yet, while these billionaire industrialists may win in the short term — the Republican Party, their toady, is likely to pick up seats in the House and may take control of the Senate as well — in the larger fight against progress and modernity the Kochs have already lost. Clean energy is here to stay, and no sane political party would try to take away the health care of eight million fellow Americans.

Check that — they’ll try in both instances. According to one study, the Kochs have already spent $61 million on various front groups dedicated to the flat-earth proposition that the globe is not warming. But so far, the only return on that investment is a cohort of people flopping around in the waters of stupidity. About 44 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Tea Party-leaning voters believe there is no solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer, according to the Pew Research Center.

Now, this is not 70 percent who think Donald Duck is really a platypus, though in a way it is. This is 70 percent who have been convinced that the actual hard numbers, that 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred in this century, are a hoax. It’s like saying, No, it was not 75 degrees in Atlanta yesterday — that’s just your view.

What this shows is that you can buy a lie, but you can’t make that lie the truth. Over the last nine months, three exhaustive studies have shown that climate change is happening now, and will continue to unfold in real time, with record droughts in the American West, rising seas along the Atlantic coast, and global megastorms so catastrophic they will divert CNN from the missing plane. The climate experts in these studies are the gold standard — from places like the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. They are not political hacks looking to spin something.

So, the real Sisyphean struggle for the Kochs is against science itself. With the fight against solar — and other alternatives to the carbon-based source of the brothers’ wealth — the Kochs are up against market forces and the inevitability of an idea whose time has come. Across the nation, homeowners with solar have taken advantage of incentives that allow them to sell power they don’t need back to the grid. They get the citizen satisfaction of doing their own small part to reduce emissions, but they also get to tell a big corporate or government entity to stuff it. Once you’ve shown people they can be their own electrical utility, you’ve unleashed something that will be very hard to take away.

The Kochs, whose industries are among the nation’s biggest corporate polluters, are currently funding stealth campaigns to roll back incentives for clean energy. What they’re running up against are American do-it-yourselfers. The future of solar is now, with every homeowner tinkering on a roof, every company looking for tomorrow technology, every market improvement that brings the cost down and effectiveness up.

With their fight against health care, the Kochs are bumping into another wall of inconvenient truths. Not only has Obamacare exceeded expectations for sign-ups in the first year, but it’s projected now to cover more people over 10 years — 25 million — and cost $104 billion less than previously forecast, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

A study by the Annals of Internal Medicine found, in looking at the Massachusetts model for Obamacare, that expanding health insurance appeared to save many lives. Duh. But extrapolated from this report for the nation as a whole, you can make a case that the Affordable Care Act will prevent 24,000 deaths a year. Put another way, about 6,000 people a year will die in red states that refuse to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. There are your death panels.

The Kochs also had funding ties to a campaign to persuade young people not to sign up for health care, hoping to sabotage it with beer parties and scare ads of a creepy Uncle Sam looking at a woman in an examining room. No surprise, the kids saw through it. More than enough millennials got coverage — so many, that premiums may fall in the coming sign-up period.

Next year, the Kochs will have a Congress loaded with crackpots ready to serve their agenda. There will be show hearings, bills will be introduced, meaningless votes will be taken. In the end, health care and clean energy will march on. The Kochs, to close with another film reference, will be like Harold Lloyd in one of the great scenes from the silent movie era — hanging from the hands of a giant clock. It may cost them half a billion dollars to learn that they can’t stop time.

 

By: Timothy Egan, Contributing O-Ed Writer, The New York Times, May 8, 2014

May 11, 2014 - Posted by | Clean Energy, Climate Change, Koch Brothers | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Rockin’ Good Piece raemd95 .

    I want you to know that your site has become an absolute “must read” for me. You are providing an excellent service in gathering these articles and presenting them as part of a “Whole Philosophy”.

    I; for one; would never have the time to find them all. I often find inspiration for my own articles on your site and of course sometimes feel compelled to reblog your posts.

    Just as an aside and an admission of my looming senility; LOL; when I first found you; through Jueseppi over at The Obamacrat. He is a righteously angry dude and I read his stuff daily as well. Even when we don’t completely agree; I have no choice but to respect his point of view.

    But I digress. Often, I will fail to fully read names of sites until I give a shit about them so; when I first found you; I read the name as “Mikey Strokes”. Even when I felt that I must address comments to you, I was tempted to use “Mikey” to address you.

    These Koch brothers; I believe; are classic examples of “positive”; read that “not serial killer” Sociopaths. I am not sure what the chances of having two Sociopathic children but all signs say Mrs. Koch hit the “jackpotty”; so to speak.

    If there is “Evil” or “Satan”; these brothers and others like them are the perfect subjects to be influenced by it.

    Like

    Comment by angrymanspeaks | May 12, 2014 | Reply

    • Damn, you’re good…You never miss a beat!!!

      Signed: MiKey

      Like

      Comment by raemd95 | May 12, 2014 | Reply


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