Criminal Justice

Is the Kochs' Support for Criminal Justice Reform a P.R. Move?

Jane Mayer implies their interest in the issue is new while conceding it is not.

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Libertarian Party

Last week I noted that a New York Times review of Jane Mayer's new book about the Koch brothers included a highly selective description of the Libertarian Party platform on which David Koch (a Reason Foundation trustee) ran for vice president in 1980. That gloss seemed designed to elide any overlap between libertarian and progressive positions. In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Mayer herself does something similar.

The main thesis of Mayer's article is that the Kochs' support for criminal justice reform is part of a public relations campaign aimed at improving their reputation among moderates who view them as polluting plutocrats with no sympathy for the common man. Mayer undermines that thesis at several points, including these comments from environmentalist and criminal justice activist Van Jones:

In an interview, Jones defended his partnership with the Kochs on sentencing reform. "Everyone has his eyes wide open about the Kochs' politics and their ultimate agenda," he said. "But if you're sitting in prison right now you're not praying that the Koch brothers won't help." Jones believes that the Kochs' embrace of the issue is driven by their strong libertarian convictions. "It's not part of presenting the company in a new light," he told me. "It doesn't make sense to mix their criminal-justice-reform work with their corporate advertising. The Koch brothers have a despicable record on everything under the sun, from campaign finance to poisoning the planet, but they have been on this issue for years. Mass incarceration is the opposite of liberty and justice. There are very deeply held principles for both sides."

Mayer concedes that "Charles Koch has supported criminal-justice reform for decades," but she says that interest grew mainly out of his company's experience with pollution-related federal charges and was largely limited to white-collar crime until recently:

It is true that, at least as far back as 1980, when Charles Koch enlisted David, then a company executive, to run for Vice-President of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket, the brothers have publicly supported radical reform of America's criminal-justice system. The platform of the Libertarian Party in 1980 called for an end to all prosecutions of tax evaders and the abolition of a number of federal agencies whose regulations Koch Industries and other businesses have chafed at, including the E.P.A., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Federal Election Commission, whose campaign-spending limits the brothers opposed. But the Kochs, as hard-line libertarians, have had goals quite different from those of many of their liberal allies. Their distaste for the American criminal-justice system is bound up in distrust of government and a preference for private enterprise. Until recently, the criminal-justice victims the Kochs focussed on were businessmen who had run afoul of the modern regulatory state—that is, people like them.

Even when Mayer is describing the Kochs' longstanding support for "radical reform of America's criminal-justice system," she omits details of the 1980 L.P. platform that fit that description but don't fit her portrait of the brothers as sympathetic only to "people like them." In addition to the planks Mayer chooses to mention, the L.P. in 1980 (as now) opposed "all laws prohibiting the production, sale, possession, or use of drugs"; "all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation"; and "all forms of government censorship, including anti-pornography laws." It championed "safeguards for the criminally accused" and decried the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights. The party also supported open borders and opposed crackdowns on unauthorized immigrants. Contrary to Mayer's spin, the primary beneficiaries of those positions are not rich white guys.

Mayer also notes that the Kochs' support for including a mens rea requirement in the definition of regulatory offenses that carry criminal penalties (a goal they say they are willing to drop if it endangers sentencing reform) has upset some of their allies on the left. But treating unintentional legal violations as crimes is unjust regardless of the defendant's race, occupation, or socioeconomic status. On this issue it is progressives who are being inconsistent because they have trouble sympathizing with people who are not like them.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Bernie's Radical Past, Eagles' Glenn Frey Dead at 67, GOP Primary Heats Up

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  1. Koch = Satan according to the proggies, which means there is a pretty good chance that the Kochs are good guys.

    I looked into it a bit. I was not surprised at what I found.

    The Koch brothers are sterling human beings, a real credit to our country.

    1. Absolutely, and that’s why the progs are so hellbent on character assassination.

      When Jane Mayer encountered a situation of cognitive dissonance, namely:

      1. The Kochs support criminal justice reform
      2. The Kochs are evil incarnate and must be stopped

      The belief that must give way is not her previously held one (#2), but the newly acquired information.
      I wouldn’t credit very good critical thinking skills to someone incapable of evaluating their long-held beliefs.

      1. I think Mayer is a perfectly capable critical thinker and it just being mendacious in this case. But I tend to be cynical when it comes to politics and the media.

        1. Like for getting hits you mean so she can make money? As if they aren’t as crazy as they appear

    2. It’s hard for me to find anything to dislike about them. That is probably why progressives have to make stuff up about them in order to attack them.

    3. I don’t care is Flanders is the nicest guy in the world. He’s a jerk. End of story.

    4. Both my aunt and uncle have worked for the local Koch refinery in Minnesoda. My uncle for more than 30 years.

      They both thought that the company was great. My uncle said that the Koch brothers were both extremely tough bosses, but were very, very fair. They pushed hard, but rewarded those who performed and were always clear on what they were asking for.

      Both are pretty liberal, but thought the Koch bros were great.

      1. “They both thought that the company was great. My uncle said that the Koch brothers were both extremely tough bosses, but were very, very fair. They pushed hard, but rewarded those who performed and were always clear on what they were asking for.”

        Which seems pretty characteristic of wealthy people that work for a living, from my experience. If you find somebody deviating considerably from that model, likely it’ll turn out he’s some kind of peculator. The other component which seems to be part of it is uncommon generosity, but coupled with exacting justice and a real concern for how a given act of generosity will impact somebody. They’re generally aware, for instance, that simple charity rarely enriches people’s lives and tends to lead to resentment and obnoxiousness, that people do better if they work for themselves. There are also na?ve bufoons with money who got it through some lucky accident and hired the right people to invest it for them, who may be generally decent but really cause more harm than not through their generosity.

    5. The Koch Bros generously give to organizations trying to end Obama’s racist war on drugs.

      Thank you Bros !!!

    6. Not only are the evil conspiracies attributed to them generally false allegations, but they are also generally so vague and unspecific that no one even need bother to investigate.

  2. I read as much of the review as I could the other day, and I am glad you responded to this aspect of it. The Koch madness is just getting started. Related: I read a few comments on the gawker story about Koch-father-Nazi oil, and apparently Fred Koch and Prescott Bush were both big supporters of both Stalin and Hitler.

    1. Any mention of Joseph Kennedy in that respect, I wonder? I’m sure there was, right?

      1. That was where my mind went, too.

        1. And then to Marilyn Monroe and then to….

          1. No. It went Joe Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Robert Kennedy Jr, the private school he RFK Jr attended that I drove past last week, Jr’s sex journal his wife found that contributed to her suicide, and how after that he still ended up with the wife from Curb.

            Yeah, aren’t you glad you brought that up?

            1. 😉

              Depth, dude. You have depth.

      2. As long as you leave Lucky Lindy out of the discussion, I’m fine. We can’t have our great native son of Minnesoda tarnished because he was a loon who loved him some naziism.

    2. He made money building refineries, and ended up not being able to stand the stench; never went back.
      Lefties who have no problem at all with support for Stalin spin it as dishonestly as you’d expect:

      “In 1929, Winkler-Koch signed a $5 million contract with Stalin to build refineries, the beginnings of the Koch fortune. He continued to work with the Soviets well into the 1950s, but is alleged to have become disillusioned. So after making an immense income from a totalitarian Communist State, going out of his way to please them with his work, he had some kind of epiphany and suddenly became a fierce anti-Communist, bankrolling the John Birch Society, which saw Commies under every rock and carpet.”
      http://www.newstimes.com/opini…..436601.php

      Shame on him for figuring out that commies are thugs! And he should have done it first, besides! Like the NYT:
      ” In 1932 Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of reports about the Soviet Union. Duranty was criticized then and later for his denial of widespread famine (1932?33) in the USSR, most particularly the Ukraine mass starvation. Years later, there were calls to revoke his Pulitzer; The New York Times, which had submitted his work for the prize in 1932, now acknowledged that his articles constituted “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper.”[1]”
      Wiki

      1. The New York Times, which had submitted his work for the prize in 1932, now acknowledged that his articles constituted “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper.”

        Huh… I guess there was a time when the NYT maybe actually gave a shit about integrity, or at least cared enough about their reputation to admit when they’d screwed up. Compare that to their reaction to the debunking of Nir’s nail salon hit pieces. It’d be interesting to see how fiercely they’d circle the wagons around Duranty’s bullshit today.

        1. The NYT only came clean in the post-Cold War Era. I want to say after 9-11. So yeah, they circled the wagons until the proof that Duranty must have lied was irrefutable. And all the key players were long dead or retired.

      2. Wasn’t it trying to work with the soviets that drove the Nobels off the deep end?

  3. improving their reputation among moderates who view them as polluting plutocrats with no sympathy for the common man

    Progs believe that. I doubt many moderates do, because moderates spend little time reading proggy smear jobs.

  4. “environmentalist and criminal justice activist Van Jones”

    It’s hilarious that Mayer asks Jones to justify his alliance with the Kochs – a sane person would ask the Kochs to justify their alliance with Jones:

    “”I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th,” he said. “By August, I was a communist.”

    “In 1994, the young activists formed a socialist collective, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, which held study groups on the theories of Marx and Lenin and dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia.”

    1. Jones became a communist in 1992, after the Rodney King verdict. Of course, he says he stopped being a communist. So that means Mayer wouldn’t want to dig up his past, because that would be wrong. /sarc

  5. A mischaracterization of the Koch’s in the New York Times? Well, this is unexpected!

    1. The New Yorker.

      It’s like the Times, only with cartoons.

      1. The fist paragraph notes both.

        1. Yeah, but the post discusses the New Yorker piece.

  6. Dishonesty from the lefty media? Wish I could say it is surprising.

  7. Heard a piece about the evil Koch brothers on NPR this morning. Apparently the libertarian wing of the Republican party is as far radical-right as you can get (implication being Nazi). The Koch brothers agenda is especially evil because they want people to be allowed to keep what they earn, and they want people to be allowed to do things without asking permission and obeying orders. That is completely offensive to liberals because, well, I dunno. She wouldn’t really elaborate except to say the Koch brothers are rich and the policies they support would result in them getting richer. So of course that means they’re evil.

    1. Libertarians believe in free markets even more than Republicans. That makes us, literally, no different than Nazis.

      1. Sorry, that comment might make it seem like libertarians and Republicans are different. Of course, we are all Republicans, just more extreme and evil. No one is more conservative than a libertarian.

      2. Don’t you understand? There is no such thing as a “free market.” Markets only exist because of government. Government makes and enforces rules, and markets then emerge from these rules made by government. Government funds research, and from this research we get new products. Government makes infrastructure that is used to move products. It’s a joke to say that the government shouldn’t be involved in the economy because without government there wouldn’t be an economy. Stupid libertarians. Just like teenagers who want the benefits of living with their parents, but don’t want to pay their share or abide by the rules.

        1. Without government we’d still trade sex slaves and ears we cut from our vanquished foes as war trophies. That’s a type of economy….

          1. Without government we’d be slaves to the corporations. Each corporation would be its own fiefdom with its own serfs, complete with a castle and a moat. And we would be their slaves. That’s the logical conclusion of “free markets.” Duh.

            1. +1 Merchant’s War.

            2. I used to think Charles Stross had some particular insight that made him good at portraying libertarianish/ancap possible futures, like Earth in the Eschaton stories. According to his blog, though, this is what he literally believes about libertarianism.

          2. I was at a gathering at a friend’s house last weekend and someone there actually made the inane comment about Somalia being the embodiment of “free markets.”

            1. Did you slap them? Tell me you slapped them.

            2. I do not have enough faces to palm to reflect the degree of idiocy in that statement.

    2. It’s envy. The only people that are allowed to be rich are proggie celebs. And only if they tow the lion (global warming, ‘I’m all for free speech, but’, guns ‘r bad, blah blah blah).

      The Koch brothers have done more to advance the cause of the ‘common man’ than the entire pantheon of proggie gods.

    3. the Koch brothers are rich and the policies they support would result in them getting richer. So of course that means they’re evil.

      Their thinking on the subject of money doesn’t go any deeper than “money is the root of all evil*, therefore rich people are evil. Rich people who want to get even richer and use their money to advocate on behalf of policies that would make them (and lots of other people!) richer are literally the spawns of Satan.”

      *Why do you think they want to tax the rich until they’re no longer rich? Because they’re trying to save those people from themselves. It’s a moral crusade to them. Any rich person who chafes at the idea of paying more in taxes is too far gone to be saved, while rich proggies who support higher taxes on “the rich” are OK because they’re still redeemable in their eyes.

  8. Jane Mayer implies their interest in the issue is new while conceding it is not.

    The ability of progtards to simultaneously hold two or more conflicting views never ceases to amaze.

    I suspect that the purpose of Mayer’s article is to reassure her proggie readers that the Koch brothers are still “EVUL RICH WHITE DUDES ZOMG!!!!11!!11!!!!!!” even if they do support some common goals.

  9. “a New York Times review of Jane Mayer’s new book about the Koch brothers included a highly selective description of the Libertarian Party platform”

    New York Times? Mendaciously mis-characterizes a libertarian view? SHOCKED FACE SEARCH COMMENCE

    1. I see there are at least 3 other identical reactions above.

      never mind

  10. Progressives are perfectly consistent in opposing mens rea requirements if you bear in mind that they were never especially concerned about justice or legal philosophy in the first place. On the blue-collar side it helps them burnish their compassion credentials and on the white-collar side it lets them punish political enemies.

    1. You can’t have a perfectly nice police-state if the State concerns itself only with those whose actions are by themselves criminal.

  11. It’s always just a trick to seduce leftists and make them lose faith in their convictions. All good people must take care not to be swayed by the siren song of the Kochs, or Rand Paul, or Paul Ryan and his “interest” in “addressing” poverty. They really just want your vote and your money, so even if they do produce meaningful reform, it is done for duplicitous reasons, which makes the whole endeavor pointless. Would an imprisoned black man really want to be set free if he knew it advanced the Kochs’ interests? Would his freedom truly have any value? I think we all know the answer.

    The intentions must be pure, comrades.

    1. Good point.

    2. The projection is exceptionally strong among the “BUT *WE* REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU, BLACKIES IN JAIL”-white-liberal-urban-elites.

      “Those other rich whities don’t have your best interests in mind!! I have all the Fugees records!! I had a ‘Free Mumia’ bumper-sticker on my Volvo when I was at Vassar!! IM TOTALLY ONE OF YOU!!”

      1. “Those other rich whities don’t have your best interests in mind!! I have all the Fugees records!! I had a ‘Free Mumia’ bumper-sticker on my Volvo when I was at Vassar!! IM TOTALLY ONE OF YOU!!”

        Gilmore I was at a party this past summer and I was talking with a friend about selling my condo in Chicago when my girlfriend and I have children because the schools in the city are awful. One of the hosts’ boyfriend came over to me and said I should stop talking about how bad CPS is because there where some teachers at the party. Of course I kept on going and then he in a snotty manner asked me where was I from. I told that I was from the Southside of Chicago. He then asked which school I went to and I told him the one on 103rd and Elizabeth (which is in a shitty neighborhood). He had this stupid look on his face because he assumed that since I acted and dressed a certain way, I was bred in the burbs and thus didn’t know anything about poverty.

        After he got his foot from his fucking mouth, he retorted that he’s been to the Southside…to play ultimate frisbee with the poor black kids.

          1. the world today needs a band like that more than ever.

            sanctimonious, self-congratulating liberal bullshit deserves to be mocked at high-volume.

        1. “he retorted that he’s been to the Southside…to play ultimate frisbee with the poor black kids.’

          THUG LIFE

          20-something-suburbanites migrate back into cities after college, in waves of gentrifying-good-intentions, and immediately begin speaking on behalf of the “urban poor” in the pages of Salon and Gawker…

          …and their voice seems mainly directed at spitting venom at the culture of Mom and Dad, rather than actually pursuing any real practical political issue that would actually benefit the urban poor… like *school choice*, or trying to increase youth employment.

      2. IM TOTALLY ONE OF YOU!!

        …as long as you don’t move in next door to me after you get out of jail.

        1. A lot of them love black people….from afar.

          1. It’s more like “zoos are evil but we should totes have publicly funded wildlife preserves that I can smugly visit at my leisure.”

            1. Well, they’re more likely to be eaten there, so there’s that.

      3. The projection is exceptionally strong among the “BUT *WE* REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU, BLACKIES IN JAIL”-white-liberal-urban-elites.

        More to the point:

        “Those bastards only care about liberty for everybody. We care about you because you’ve been repressed by whitey and deserve compensation.”

  12. Their [the Koch brothers] distaste for the American criminal-justice system is bound up in distrust of government and a preference for private enterprise.

    For which they should be horse-whipped, because we all know government is beautiful.

    Until recently, the criminal-justice victims the Kochs focussed [sic] on were businessmen who had run afoul of the modern regulatory state?that is, people like them.

    Really? So we should take that to mean the Koch brothers are not really sincere in their beliefs because they would benefit primarily people like them? Should we extrapolate that criticism over the Black Lives Matter movement which exists because of apparent abuses by the police (i.e. the government) against black men, that is people like them?

    1. This is the result of the personal being the political. When they see people like the Koch’s who they believe are evil doing something great as criminal justice reform, instead of joining forces with them, they must be shunned and condemned because we all know that their intentions aren’t pure.

  13. Further proof of how absurd the “liberaltarian” myth really is. Criminal justice reform is something that every hipster Libertarian knows is an area where Libertarians can work with Progs to defeat the evil conservatives. Ah, not exactly. As MJ Green says above, if your intentions are not pure and you are not a member in good standing in the Prog hive, your help is not welcome and your efforts on the issue completely discounted.

    1. Re: John,

      As MJ Green says above, if your intentions are not pure and you are not a member in good standing in the Prog hive, your help is not welcome and your efforts on the issue completely discounted.

      That’s one possible explanation. The other is that the Progs are simply not being sincere in their claim that they’re for Criminal Justice reform. I am applying Occam’s Razor here, not being cynical or anything like that.

      1. I think they are sincere in that they sincerely believe that anyone who is not a Prog must be evil and have a cynical reason for doing even the right thing.

        1. they sincerely believe that anyone who is not a Prog must be evil and have a cynical reason for doing even the right thing.

          I’m surprised that the progtards have written hit pieces* claiming that the Kochs only want criminal justice reform so that poor minorities will be released from prison thereby increasing the supply of “low skill labor” and driving down the price of low skilled labor. And then segue into a call for a $15/hr federal minimum wage, so that those dastardly Kochs can’t benefit from cheap low skilled labor. Of course that would require them to have some inkling that there’s such a thing as supply vs. demand and that labor follows the same economic laws as any other commodity (vs. Marxist labor theory of value nonsense).

          They would kill 3 birds with one stone: 1) smear the EVUL Koch bro’s, 2) reveal their racist attitudes towards blacks and other minorities while simultaneously claiming to have their “best interests” at heart, and 3) advocate for a higher minimum wage.

          *Maybe they have and I just haven’t seen them

          1. I don’t know if there are articles to that effect, but I’ve certainly seen that in Internet comments. And not Yahoo or some cesspool like that.

            1. You know what other website has comments?

      2. “Progs are simply not being sincere in their claim that they’re for Criminal Justice reform.”

        Union campaign dollars greater than justice

    2. I like the distinction made around these parts between liberal and progressive. There are still American liberals who are serious about these issues. As the piece says, Van Jones thinks (or is willing to say, which may be more impressive) that the Kochs are sincere, and he’s a moron. I think some ‘alliance’ on certain issues could bear fruit, according to the idealized version of politics many people subscribe to.

      The problem is that politics, especially American politics, is way more fucked up than many people think, even some libertarians who should already be cynical about the process. Some marginal improvements may be made, but it ultimately depends on people like Paul, Amash, and Wyden and Van Jones and others crafting actual legislation. It won’t happen because of any pledges to support one party or another, especially in national elections.

      1. (and, of course, libertarians subverting the state and the criminal justice system whenever possible, and there are some liberal and leftist hippies out there who are down with that course of action)

      2. I think the root of the problem is the leftist idea, that sadly more and more people on the right are buying into, that politics is the personal and your personal identity is derived from your politics. If you view politics as a necessary evil and nothing to do with who you are as a person, compromise with the other side is easy. If you view it as your personal idenity, compromise is admitting you are a failure.

  14. I was at a small get together last week and someone went on a tirade about the Koch’s. I pointed out that their companies employs thousands of people, they give millions to cancer research and public television along with fighting for criminal justice reform way before John Oliver or Jon Stewart dared to care about such things.

    It’s downright comical that they have cast these men as boogiemen but I think what makes a lot of Progressives hate them is that they are stupid rich and can’t be cowed into changing their beliefs.

    1. The whole point of being a Prog for most people is to feel superior to other white people. If they have to admit that white people on the other side are well meaning and do good things, they no longer are able to feel morally superior. The personal is political for them. Since their politics determine their self worth, your politics determine your worth in their eyes. If it becomes apparent that people with the wrong politics are so much as well meaning much less right about something, the entire thing falls apart.

    2. and can’t be cowed into changing their beliefs.

      They’re ideologues, and that makes them bad people. They have a set of principles that they follow, and they will not deviate from them.

      On the other hand, open-minded liberals are open-minded and not constrained by any stupid principles. Their adherence to fairness and equality doesn’t make them ideologues. Neither does their contempt for anyone who doesn’t totally agree with them. That makes them open-minded and tolerant.

      See?

      1. Their principles changed when Obama got into office. The guy was like G.W. Bush but yet made every excuse in the book for him. They have no integrity whatsoever.

        1. The total hypocrisy and double standards bother me the most. Obama ordered the assassination of an American citizen and went to war in Libya in violation of international and domestic law. And those assholes never said a word about it after 8 years of “Bush is a warmonger” and “stop this illegal war”.

        2. Guys you are getting this wrong.

          Remember they don’t have principles (unless it is a desire to control others which they are fairly consistent on).

          They have principals, not principles for everything else

    3. When the DNC started feeling threatened by Libertarianism (for 5 minutes), the Koch’s became boogie men.

  15. “Mayer…omits details of the 1980 L.P. platform that fit that description but don’t fit her portrait of the brothers as sympathetic only to “people like them.”

    To reiterate a point I made before, if progs wanted to, they could spin the remaining planks as right-wing extremism.

    Let me show you how.

    “all laws prohibiting the production, sale, possession, or use of drugs””

    Turning addicts loose on the streets without treatment.

    “all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation”

    Enabling sex-traffickers.

    “all forms of government censorship, including anti-pornography laws.”

    Promoting pornography like the misogynists they are.

    “safeguards for the criminally accused”

    Corporations getting off on technicalities

    “decried the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights”

    Wanted corporations to be able to hide their pollution from environmental inspectors.

    “The party also supported open borders and opposed crackdowns on unauthorized immigrants.”

    Importing low-wage foreign workers to bust unions.

    “Contrary to Mayer’s spin, the primary beneficiaries of those positions are not rich white guys.”

    Only white sexist cexploiters could gain from abandoning drug addicts, enslaving women, promoting porn and rape culture, shielding corporate wrondgoing, and union-busting.

    See how easy that was?

    1. “safeguards for the criminally accused”

      Corporations getting off on technicalities

      I saw an article a while back on the reason the Kochs are getting into criminal justice reform was because they had been charged criminally a few years ago.

  16. Its funny how all of a sudden the mid 30s was late to discover the Nazis weren’t good guys and the mid-50s was late to split with our Soviet “allies”. Especially when the organs printing these stories were celebrating Chamberlain in 1938,and pro-Soviet until about 1998.

    1. Hell, all of the real true-believer progs were rah-rah about (or at least tolerant of) the Nazis until precisely June 22, 1941, when they broke the Nazi-Soviet pact by invading the Soviet Union. Just more rewritten history, sweepings under the rug, etc.

  17. Crusty Juggler|1.19.16 @ 9:58AM|#
    “…Related: I read a few comments on the gawker story about Koch-father-Nazi oil, and apparently Fred Koch and Prescott Bush were both big supporters of both Stalin and Hitler.”

    Dunno about Bush, but Fred Koch did do business with the USSR and with pre-war Germany, as did most every US business that could make money doing so (Fred designed a refinery that was used to make gas for the Nazis!!!!!!!!!). Wanna bet the people whining about this are the same people claiming that Cuba is a shit-hole because no US companies do business there?

    1. The fact that the Kochs’ father did business in Germany in 1933 is a big deal and disqualifies the entire family from participation in politics now and forever. The fact that George Soros actively collaborated with the Nazis and helped them round up other Jews to be sent to the death camps is just a youthful indiscretion.

      1. I can’t think of a better symbol for the progressive movement than a Jewish Nazi.

  18. Unlike progressives who are true of heart.

  19. Many on the left are startlingly ignorant about what drives the beliefs of those on the right, and the various factions that comprise (roughly speaking) right-of-center politics. Naomi Klein wrote an entire book wherein she displayed her ignorance on the subject.

    1. I’m pretty sure everything Naomi Klein has ever written displays her ignorance on every subject she writes about.

    2. Many on the left are startlingly ignorant about what drives the beliefs of those on the right, and the various factions that comprise (roughly speaking) right-of-center politics.

      I’m a little confused myself. Are you implying that libertarians are part of the right?

      1. Certainly in a world in which the likes of Naomi Klein are doing the grouping.

  20. Don’t you people get it? Progressives CARE MORE about the downtrodden!

    With temperatures in Birmingham expected to dropped to 20 overnight Monday — the lowest temperature thus far in 2016 — the place where the city’s homeless usually go to seek shelter from the cold was unavailable.

    Boutwell Auditorium, typically used as a warming station in such situations, was not available Monday night because presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd of thousands.

    http://www.al.com/news/birming…..bb911883fd

    1. Now, I ask you:
      Isn’t Bernie’s message of hope far more important than the life of a bum?

    2. Those homeless folks can be warmed by the knowledge that Comrade Sanders has their backs, and will not rest until all of them have a free college education.

    3. That’s absolutely the sort of thing that would be a scandal if it was a Republican instead of Sanders. But it’s bullshit regardless, the guy probably had no idea about any of it.

  21. They’re just very in tune with he logical capabilities of their base.

    Hey can’t let the Kochs obtain innocence by association.

  22. Can someone point to the origin of the insane obsession with the Koch Brothers?

    All of a sudden, they became these Evil Doers almost overnight…

    1. I think it was probably either Jon Stewart or Harry Reid, but I can’t point to anything specific.

    2. Rich, successful, embrace liberty…what’s not to hate?

    3. Read Mayer’s book. You’ll understand the obsession.

  23. I nominate Jane Meyer for the Walter Duranty Prize in Journalistic Integrity.

  24. It’s pretty depressing that this sad little pair of wet-noodle slaps at Mayer’s book is the best Reason is willing to do. Mayer’s book is one of the most important pieces of political journalism in recent years; it directly engages the role of the magazine’s patron in our present democracy; and you guys cannot even pull off a serious review?

    I was a longtime reader of Reason. I gradually lost interest as the editorial line became more and more strict and inflexible. I still pop in now and then. But this is a real disappointment.

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