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RIP David Koch

Written By: - Date published: 7:54 am, August 24th, 2019 - 54 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, science, uncategorized, us politics - Tags:

US Billionaire David Koch, the man possibly most responsible for the growth of climate change denialism, the tea party, the war on poor people and the election of Donald Trump, has died.

The internet is responding appropriately as comment after comment about the real accomplishments of his life flood in.  Like this from Emily Atkin at the New Republic who in very simple terms describes the effects of his life’s work:

When billionaire libertarian David Koch died this week following a decades-long battle with prostate cancer, the Arctic was rapidly melting. The Amazon rainforest was on fire. And the Earth had just experienced its hottest month in recorded human history.

These planetary conditions mimicked closely what scientists had tried to warn the public about 30 years ago, when they first sounded the alarm on climate change. They were also the warnings Koch worked most of his career to make sure the American public never accepted, nor did anything about.

At the time of his death, David Koch was one of the richest men in the world, having amassed a fortune of approximately $49 billion through his part-ownership of his oil tycoon father’s business, Koch Industries. Along with his brother Charles Koch, he used that fortune to fund a powerful yet secretive right-wing libertarian movement, known by its critics as the Koch network.

And she quotes Christopher Leonard on the effectiveness of Koch’s activity:

There’s no question that the Koch political network has played a vital and even unparalleled role in delaying government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Now, they would claim they have done the world a favor, by reducing the power of the federal government. But critics would definitely say that, due to the lack of action, it is undeniable that the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has increased over the last eight years. We’ve passed thresholds that people said were extremely risky ten years ago.

Twitter has been having fun.  This is Emily Atkin’s slightly less careful tweet about her article:

There were also these:

https://twitter.com/perlmutations/status/1164916244270612480

That last tweet was particularly appropriate.  I think I might do the same and donate $79 to Greenpeace.

54 comments on “RIP David Koch ”

  1. lprent 1

    The person who did more to damage our future than anyone else on the planet.

    • Andre 1.1

      I reckon that might be giving him too much credit. He had plenty of collaborators in that particular evil, that are still alive and active. Starting with his brother. His death won't bring any kind of respite to the fight that needs to be ramped way up from where it is now.

    • gsays 1.2

      He may not have been flash but it is still us that turn up to the supermarkets day in day out, that waste up to 25% of food purchased, that drive 3 litre diesels as commuter vehicles and live the lifestyle of the top 10%.

      • Molly 1.2.1

        Making this about personal choices when systems and regulations are set up to support and encourage fossil fuel usage, is part of the misdirection that the Koch brothers contributed to.

        Personal choices that align with values is a less stressful way to live your own life, but the effect is mostly limited to your circles of influence, your friends and family.

        Climate change responses need to be first and foremost at regulatory and policy levels, by authorities at international, national and local levels. There have been deliberate campaigns to persuade the public at large that personal choices will have an impact, and this has diverted a lot of energy away from the required regulatory controls.

        • gsays 1.2.1.1

          To be honest, my comment was more of a confession than an accusation.

          Yes to regulatory/policy controls.

          To my mind, these things happen quicker when the populace is moving in that direction. We are well and truly doomed if the pollies in the beehive or our local council building are to be the saviours. (No disrespect Robert. I love your work.)

        • Pat 1.2.1.2

          While Koch and co have campaigned such the fact remains that regulation and policy are only effective with substantial public support and that is still missing as election results all over show.

          • Molly 1.2.1.2.1

            I haven't seen any election campaigns yet run on a climate change platform. The influence of the Kochs and others is disruptive at grassroots level, making it hard to gather the movement, but that seems to be changing and despite it all, becoming part of an ongoing public discussion.

            As an example, my sister-in-law, in her 70's dismissed any climate change concerns as "science not settled" as recently as three months ago. Today, she related a conversation she had yesterday with an

            I would like to see a climate change platform being delivered for our next election, as it is important be upfront that the impact will require changes across the board. Even if they are not elected, that Overton window for the necessary changes gets opened wider by having that as part of the election discussions.

    • infused 1.3

      Surely you must mean the Chinese? No? Oh ok then.

    • fustercluck 1.4

      "Arctic melts" Ha!

  2. marty mars 2

    I hope all the deniers and their backers take note – they too will have everything they worked for and against measured and they too will be shown as an enemy of people and nature – their names and reputations are shit, today, and tomorrow – tick tock…

    • Anne 2.1

      … and that their grandchildren, great grand children, great great etc. (if the human race gets that far) will revile and disown them.

      Btw, I saw that photo and thought: oh dear what’s Wayne done? Gosh, he’s put on weight…

      Yeah, my eyesight is not the best.

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        Nothing will be gained by reviling individuals. If any are to be remembered, it should be in cautionary tales. The human race can't disown one of their number.

        • phillip ure 2.1.1.1

          i think there is a clear distinction between resiling from (superstition/cultural-based?) unease at reviling the dead..

          and detailing what a total p.o.s. they and their lifes' work are/were..

        • KJT 2.1.1.2

          I thought Koch's, Trumps, Bolsanaro, Bridges, Key, and the like, were Alien Lizards, ensuring humanity is removed before they invade earth.

  3. Cinny 3

    Maybe, just maybe, with him gone change will come for the better. Trying to be optimistic.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    Will he be cremated?

  5. Puckish Rogue 5

    Planning on getting toasted?

    • Puckish Rogue 5.1

      Dammit that was supposed to be in reply to Robert at 4

      • Robert Guyton 5.1.1

        Koch dies and the Amazon burns. I grieve for the Amazon.

        • Sabine 5.1.1.1

          the forest will return eventually, however we will be truly toast and not coming back from the misery we cause.

          as for the dead guy? Good riddance.

  6. Peter 1 6

    Oh dear how sad never mind.

    • cleangreen 6.1

      smiley My eyes are dry today folks.

      And my 75th Birthday is tomorrow, – so I will have a drink to David Koch's passing folks; – and to all your good health and wellbeing…

  7. John Clover 7

    Whatever his sins it is disgusting that he is reviled in his death.

    Typical human reaction which makes me question the validity of the human race.

    Better such folk be ignored in their passing.

    • weka 7.1

      that might work if his influence didn't live on, and if he wasn't being lauded by people with a lot more power than TS authors and commenters.

    • df 7.2

      Well said

    • Molly 7.3

      Yes. It is probably enough that people speak honestly about his contributions during his lifetime. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be the case in any news articles or obituaries published by most established media.

      It is fair enough if others address the balance, by providing that honesty. To truly honour the dead, you speak truthfully of their lives and don't pay homage to a fictitious character on their passage.

      • In Vino 7.3.1

        Yes – I liken this 'One must not speak ill of the Dead' argument to those who would not have wanted to celebrate the recent death of Hitler at the end of WW2.

        Sorry John Clover, but there are still those who merit immediate condemnation.

    • Stuart Munro. 7.4

  8. As me dear old mum used to say: "If ya can't write anything nice, don't write anything at all"

    And yay, so it has come to pass.

    Mr dear dear Koch has gone to join the Great handbag in the skoi, along with the dear dear [bewildered] Ronnie (and Mrs Ronnie) and a cast of many.

    There'll be a few more in the not too distant – even from as far afield as that little ole nayshun that punches above its weight – a Jenny (Mr Jenny), even a Wayne (and Mrs Wayne), or even a Chris or two – though there's a bit of life in the old gurl yet.

    I wish them all well as they make each other cups of tea and reminisce in that great rest home in the sky and hope there are still one or two dedicated Filipino workers willing to keep on wiping their spiritual arses.

  9. joe90 9

    Too soon?

    Nah.

    Recently deceased billionaire and libertarian political donor David H. Koch was reportedly still camped on the edge of the river Styx this morning, unable to reach the afterlife after refusing to pay the required one-cent fee to access the ferry.

    “I don’t see why there needs to be a blanket fee for everybody when we could simply allow the market to determine a fair price,” said Koch, shivering over a small fire at the edge of the ancient river that separates the mortal world from the realm in which all human souls rest together in eternity, free from pain and worry. “I see a lot of profit to be made here.”

    Koch also voiced his displeasure at the state of the boat itself, a flat wooden ferry pushed along by Charon, the boatman whose sole purpose is to guide humans through the transition.

    “This is what you get when you let the government in,” Koch said, pointing at the old boat where Charon waited to reunite Koch’s spirit with those of his beloved friends and family. “Open this market up, you’re going to get some investors down here and turn this whole operation around. I would be happy to pay a million or two for a nice yacht ride.”

    https://thehardtimes.net/harddrive/david-koch-still-on-wrong-side-of-river-styx-after-refusing-to-pay-one-cent-ferry-tax/?

    • It IS too soon @Joe. Wait till Monday at least!!!!! Where's your sense of decorum??!!!! FFS!

      I'm hanging out to hear Mark Richardson's take – if he's not too busy dropping his turds from a Jetski. And then the moderate voice of Mandy doing her bestest to reign him in.

      It'll be something we'll all be able to gather a few learnings from won't it? I've already put it in me dia….dia…dia… diaRY

    • heh..!..that is very funny…

  10. joe90 11

    Says it all, really.

    • joe90 11.1

      Senior was a founding member of the John Birch Society, too.

      While Mayer does not call Fred Koch a "Nazi sympathizer" himself, readers may disagree when reading Fred Koch's public praise for Germany under Hitler, as well as the other Axis powers, Japan and Italy.

      Fred Koch, who had busied himself in Hitler's Germany, apparently found much to praise in the economies of the Axis powers, while denigrating the work ethic of his fellow Americans and the Democratic legislation responding to the extreme hunger and poverty millions of Americans were facing as a result of the Great Depression.

      As Mayer notes, in 1938 Fred Koch said "Although nobody agrees with me, I am of the opinion that the only sound countries in the world are Germany, Italy, and Japan, simply because they are all working and working hard."

      As she notes, he added "The laboring people in those countries are proportionately much better off than they are any place else in the world. When you contrast the state of mind of Germany today with what it was in 1925 you begin to think that perhaps this course of idleness, feeding at the public trough, dependence on government, etc., with which we are afflicted is not permanent and can be overcome."

      Any student of the Kochs can hear the echo of their father in the Koch brothers' hydra of organizations attacking public programs that aid Americans struggling to survive.

      https://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/01/13014/koch-daddy-and-nazis-revealing-timeline

  11. David Mac 12

    Mistakes are resources. We can learn more from when we get it wrong than when we get it right. I think we should embrace and learn from Mr Koch's enlightening lesson in how not to do it….but jump on the end of the queue to spit on the casket?..I'll wait for you guys in the cafe.

    • A 12.1

      Beautiful way of thinking. Thanks.

      In his lifetime he gave over a billion USD to charity.

      Quote from Simon Black, "People love to celebrate ‘diversity’, as long as that diversity doesn’t include intellectual or ideological diversity." How true.

      Mr Black also says about Koch, "Although his politics could be described more as libertarian– he favored sensible spending and limited government, was pro for gay rights, in favor of ending the war on drugs, and against foreign intervention."

      I don't understand the problems he had in life but I can relate to wanting to do some good for the world even when others disagree with my strategy or opinion. RIP.

  12. dv 13

    Interesting it was prostrate cancer. Eminently treatable usually if got early enough.

    All his wealth and the US medical system couldn't save him.

  13. WeTheBleeple 14

    So the world only has to take half the Koch it used to. Good news.

  14. infused 15

    you guys can do better than this.

    well maybe you can't.

  15. Jum 16

    Koch dead – oh dear, how sad, never mind. Now what about the other kochup?

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