David Koch RIP

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John F
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David Koch RIP

Post by John F » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:30 am

He's gone, and his philanthropy (if nothing else) will be missed. Charles Koch lingers on.

David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79
By Robert D. McFadden
Aug. 23, 2019

David H. Koch, an industrialist who amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune with his brother Charles and then joined him in pouring their riches into a powerful right-wing libertarian movement that helped reshape American politics, died on Friday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 79.

Charles G. Koch announced the death in a statement, which noted that David Koch had been treated for prostate cancer in the past. “Twenty-seven years ago,” the statement said, “David was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given a grim prognosis of a few years to live. David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state of the art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay.”

Hitching his star to the soaring ambitions of Charles, his older brother, David Koch (pronounced coke) became one of the world’s richest people, with assets of $42.2 billion in 2019 and a 42 percent stake in the family enterprise, Koch Industries, a Kansas-based energy and chemicals conglomerate. He also became a nationally known philanthropist and the early public face of the Koch political ascendancy, as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president in 1980.

Three decades after David Koch’s public steps into politics, analysts say, the Koch brothers’ money-fueled brand of libertarianism helped give rise to the Tea Party movement and strengthened the far-right wing of a resurgent Republican Party.

A gregarious, socially prominent New Yorker who loved the ballet, Mr. Koch saw his name emblazoned on cornices at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the American Museum of Natural History and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital — the Manhattan institutions on which some of his $1.2 billion in charitable gifts were bestowed.

He was a familiar figure at society galas, a 6-foot-5 former college basketball star who long held the single-game scoring record — 41 points — for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology team, the Engineers. He also had what New York magazine called a “seemingly limitless storehouse of Elks club-inflected jokes, which are often followed by his loud, wheezy honk of a laugh.”

In addition to Southampton, Mr. Koch had palatial homes on Park Avenue in Manhattan, in Aspen, Colo., and in Palm Beach, Fla. He kept a yacht in the Mediterranean for summer getaways and rented it out for $500,000 a week. His friends and acquaintances included Bill and Melinda Gates, Prince Charles and Winston Churchill’s grandson Winston Spencer Churchill.

He had both bad experiences and good luck. He survived a 1991 plane crash that killed 34 people at Los Angeles International Airport. He broke down in tears on a witness stand in Kansas during a civil trial that nearly tore his family apart over money. And for years, he and Charles faced, and denied, accusations of having exploited libertarian principles for self-serving purposes.

They insisted that they adhered to a traditional belief in the liberty of the individual, and in free trade, free markets and freedom from what they called government “intrusions,” including taxes, military drafts, compulsory education, business regulations, welfare programs and laws that criminalized homosexuality, prostitution and drug use.

Since the 1970s, the Kochs have spent at least $100 million — some estimates put it at much more — to transform a fringe movement into a formidable political force aimed at moving America to the far right by influencing the outcome of elections, undoing limits on campaign contributions and promoting conservative candidacies, think tanks and policies.

But they said they had not given money to any Tea Party candidates. “I’ve never been to a Tea Party event,” David Koch told New York magazine in 2010. “No one representing the Tea Party has ever even approached me.”

Still, he and his brother acknowledged roles in founding and contributing money to Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing advocacy group that was widely reported to have provided logistical backing for the Tea Party and other organizations in election campaigns and the promotion of conservative causes.

Among the groups they supported was the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of conservative state legislators and corporate lobbyists. Alec, as the group is known, drafts model state legislation that members may customize for introduction as proposed laws to cut taxes, combat illegal immigration, loosen environmental regulations, weaken labor unions and oppose gun laws.

As part of their longstanding crusade for lower taxes and smaller government, the Koch brothers in recent years opposed dozens of transit-related initiatives in cities and counties across the country, a review by The New York Times found. Campaigns coordinated and financed by Americans for Prosperity fought state legislation to fund transportation projects, mounted ad campaigns and public forums to defeat transit plans, and organized phone banks to convince citizens that public transit was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

By early 2017, Charles and David Koch, with a combined net worth of more than $100 billion, had become the leaders of a libertarian juggernaut loosely allied with the Republican Party, which, after eight years in the wings, again controlled the White House, both houses of Congress and many state legislatures.

Under the administration of Donald J. Trump, the Koch brothers’ prospects in Washington seemed improved, at least superficially. But beneath the surface lay substantive political and personal differences between the Kochs and Mr. Trump. While the Kochs did not endorse him, David Koch attended his election night victory party and later met with the president-elect at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The Kochs contributed heavily to Vice President Mike Pence’s two campaigns for governor of Indiana, and counted a half-dozen close allies among the president’s cabinet choices and Republican advisers.

“The Kochs will be key figures in any discussion about what direction the party takes after 2016,” The Times reported in September that year, “and they are determined to steer it toward their free-market vision.”..

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/us/d ... -dead.html
John Francis

Ricordanza
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:54 am

John F wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:30 am
He's gone, and his philanthropy (if nothing else) will be missed. Charles Koch lingers on.
While his philanthropic contributions were substantial, they do not outweigh the enormous adverse impact he and his brother had on the political environment. Let's put it this way: what good is a contribution to a hospital that treats cancer when, with the other hand, the contributor does everything he can to defeat efforts by government regulators to stop the flow of carcinogenic chemicals into the environment?

John F
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by John F » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:19 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:54 am
what good is a contribution to a hospital that treats cancer when, with the other hand, the contributor does everything he can to defeat efforts by government regulators to stop the flow of carcinogenic chemicals into the environment?
Two completely different issues, I'd say. Building and supporting hospitals is socially a good and essential thing, regardless of where the funding comes from. And if there are carcinogenic chemicals in the environment, regardless of how they got there, hospitals are all the more needed to treat those exposed to them.

Also, David Koch's philanthropy extended to other things for which there is no downside. He made the largest contribution to the renovation of Lincoln Center's (former) New York State Theater, which is why it's named for him - and he specified that naming rights would revert to Lincoln Center 50 years after his death, contrasting with the more self-centered history of Philharmonic/Avery Fisher/David Geffen Hall. He is also one of the leading supporters of PBS television, particularly relating to its science programs and NOVA:
Michael Getler wrote:The David H. Koch Fund for Science is a major funder of NOVA. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of WGBH in Boston, NOVA’s presenting station and top PBS producer, since 1997 and has been a supporter of the station since 1982. According to a report last year in Current, the public broadcasting news organization, he has donated $18.6 million to the station, more than half of which has gone to NOVA.
http://www.pbs.org/publiceditor/blogs/o ... -and-nova/

Anti-Koch people are keen to find a malign influence of Koch and his politics on NOVA etc., but there's no evidence of this, and I'd say it's just anti-Koch paranoia. Blame the man for his political activities, I do, but give credit where it's due.

Bad people can nonetheless do good things - c.f. Richard Wagner. It's proper to criticize them, of course, but the good they do should be recognized, as it's usually for this that we remember them at all.
John Francis

barney
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by barney » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:23 pm

That's a very interesting claim John, and puts you at odds with Shakespeare:
"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
Some people are remembered for good, some for ill, and the better known the person the more we understand that in all of us it's a mixture.

John F
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by John F » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:51 pm

Mark Anthony says that as a rhetorical ploy, together with "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him," to set up a long list of good things Caesar has allegedly done. He clearly does not mean it as a general rule of life, and while we can't know Shakespeare's intention, I don't believe he meant it that way either.

With artists we have the works of art before us, while we would have to read biographies to find out their transgressions. Philanthropists likewise, when the objects of their philanthropy bear their names - Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, David Geffen Hall, David H. Koch Theater. Who knows the life story of Andrew Carnegie, and who really cares? But music lovers care about Carnegie Hall, a lot.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by lennygoran » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:52 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:51 pm
David H. Koch Theater.
We've been there over the years to a lot of works-still what he's done to the political scene is horrible imo--I'd give up all he's done for the arts to have his political influences erased-let's start with Citizens United. Okay we love the Metropolitan Museum of Art-those fountains are nice. Regards, Len :(

"The Koch brothers and other wealthy donors were able to expand their influence on elections following the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that paved the way for unbridled spending, both directly and indirectly, by outside groups."

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Belle
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by Belle » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:15 am

John F wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:51 pm
Mark Anthony says that as a rhetorical ploy, together with "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him," to set up a long list of good things Caesar has allegedly done. He clearly does not mean it as a general rule of life, and while we can't know Shakespeare's intention, I don't believe he meant it that way either.

With artists we have the works of art before us, while we would have to read biographies to find out their transgressions. Philanthropists likewise, when the objects of their philanthropy bear their names - Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, David Geffen Hall, David H. Koch Theater. Who knows the life story of Andrew Carnegie, and who really cares? But music lovers care about Carnegie Hall, a lot.
Bravo, John.

Well roared, Lion.

jserraglio
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by jserraglio » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:40 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:51 pm
Mark Anthony ... as a rhetorical ploy ... set up a long list of good things Caesar has allegedly done. He clearly does not mean it as a general rule of life, and while we can't know Shakespeare's intention, I don't believe he meant it that way either.
I agree.
Plutarch wrote:Now, it happened that when Caesar's body was carried forth for burial, Antony pronounced the customary eulogy over it in the forum. And when he saw that the people were mightily swayed and charmed by his words, he mingled with his praises sorrow and indignation over the dreadful deed, and at the close of his speech shook on high the garments of the dead, all bloody and tattered by the swords as they were, called those who had wrought such work villains and murderers, and inspired his hearers with such rage that they heaped together benches and tables and burned Caesar's body in the forum, and then, snatching the blazing faggots from the pyre, ran to the houses of the assassins and assaulted them. On account of these things Brutus and his associates left the city . . . .

barney
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by barney » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:38 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:15 am
John F wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:51 pm
Mark Anthony says that as a rhetorical ploy, together with "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him," to set up a long list of good things Caesar has allegedly done. He clearly does not mean it as a general rule of life, and while we can't know Shakespeare's intention, I don't believe he meant it that way either.

With artists we have the works of art before us, while we would have to read biographies to find out their transgressions. Philanthropists likewise, when the objects of their philanthropy bear their names - Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, David Geffen Hall, David H. Koch Theater. Who knows the life story of Andrew Carnegie, and who really cares? But music lovers care about Carnegie Hall, a lot.
Bravo, John.

Well roared, Lion.
Indeed. :D
And Carnegie Hall is clearly one of the world's treasures. But I thought Andrew Carnegie was absolutely the quintessential American dream, proof that with a bit of hard work and a little luck anyone can achieve anything?

Ricordanza
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:44 am

John F wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:51 pm
Who knows the life story of Andrew Carnegie, and who really cares? But music lovers care about Carnegie Hall, a lot.
Carnegie's philanthropy extended well beyond Carnegie Hall. His contributions to libraries and universities (e.g., Carnegie-Mellon University, formerly the Carnegie Institute of Technology) were enormous. One estimate put his total philanthropy at $65 billion in today's dollars. As for his life story, there are certainly black marks such as the Homestead Strike, as described by Wikipedia:
The Homestead Strike was a bloody labor confrontation lasting 143 days in 1892, one of the most serious in U.S. history. The conflict was centered on Carnegie Steel's main plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and grew out of a labor dispute between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) and the Carnegie Steel Company.

Carnegie left on a trip to Scotland before the unrest peaked.[77] In doing so, Carnegie left mediation of the dispute in the hands of his associate and partner Henry Clay Frick. Frick was well known in industrial circles for maintaining staunch anti-union sentiment. With the collective bargaining agreement between the union and company expiring at the end of June, Frick and the leaders of the local AA union entered into negotiations in February. With the steel industry doing well and prices higher, the AA asked for a wage increase; the AA represented about 800 of the 3,800 workers at the plant. Frick immediately countered with an average 22% wage decrease that would affect nearly half the union's membership and remove a number of positions from the bargaining unit.[78]

The union and company failed to come to an agreement, and management locked the union out. Workers considered the stoppage a "lockout" by management and not a "strike" by workers. As such, the workers would have been well within their rights to protest, and subsequent government action would have been a set of criminal procedures designed to crush what was seen as a pivotal demonstration of the growing labor rights movement, strongly opposed by management. Frick brought in thousands of strikebreakers to work the steel mills and Pinkerton agents to safeguard them.

On July 6, the arrival of a force of 300 Pinkerton agents from New York City and Chicago resulted in a fight in which 10 men — seven strikers and three Pinkertons — were killed and hundreds were injured. Pennsylvania Governor Robert Pattison ordered two brigades of state militia to the strike site. Then allegedly in response to the fight between the striking workers and the Pinkertons, anarchist Alexander Berkman shot at Frick in an attempted assassination, wounding him. While not directly connected to the strike, Berkman was tied in for the assassination attempt. According to Berkman, "... with the elimination of Frick, responsibility for Homestead conditions would rest with Carnegie."[79] Afterwards, the company successfully resumed operations with non-union immigrant employees in place of the Homestead plant workers, and Carnegie returned to the United States.[77] However, Carnegie's reputation was permanently damaged by the Homestead events. [emphasis added]
Does Carnegie's philanthropy outweigh his business misdeeds? Perhaps so, but I can't reach the same conclusion when it comes to David Koch. In Koch's case, he has devoted millions of dollars and decades of efforts to defeat liberal progress in the United States.

lennygoran
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Re: David Koch RIP

Post by lennygoran » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:58 am

Hank we were at the Met Museum yesterday for the blockbuster art/clothing design show named CAMP and there was his fountain! Len

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