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:

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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    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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