Sunday, April 6, 2014

Charles Koch Screams to be Understood on the pages of the WSJ

But we do understand.  That, Charles is your problem.  Below is my response to Charles' letter in the Wall Street Journal, published April 2nd 2014. 

Dear Charles,
Your recent opinion piece appearing in the Wall Street Journal on April 2, titled Koch: I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society – Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination” raised some interesting questions.

I'm sure you do not remember meeting me but in 1980, just after the finale for Alternative '80, the fiasco held in place of the annual Libertarian National Convention that year, my friend Janice Vargo and I shared an elevator ride with you and Ed Crane. One of the reasons I am sure you do not remember is that you kept talking continuously, taking Crane to task for managing to lose money on what had, evidently, been presented to you as a fundraiser. 
One of the things which stuck in my mind was the horror you expressed over your brother David, who was then the LP nominee for Vice President, having actually spent 'capital' and not just the interest on his income on his race. His place on the ticket had been sold to members of the LP, reluctant to have him, with the idea he would spend enough to actually make a difference in the vote total. 
You were still talking when the elevator opened and Janice and I made our escape. I don't think I have ever seen Ed look less happy. That was nice. I was one of the people who did not want David on the ticket and certainly did not want Crane associated with the LP in any way.
This opinion had been strengthened by the previous year, as we struggled to do local organizing against the continuous interferences and ugly manipulations for which Crane, and you, were responsible.  We still had not confronted the shock of watching our ideas for freedom emerging from the mouth of Ronnie Reagan. Ronnie was never a Conservative and he certainly was not a Libertarian, through many wanted to believe so. 
In the elevator you acted like you had bought the LP with the money David promised to spend. Actually, using Crane, you stole the LP from the activists who had capitalized its existence with time, sweat, and their own money. 
Along with believing you are justified in instructing your employees to lie, cheat, and steal, you view your wealth as proof you are right. I don't agree with you. 
And now, with an income of billions you want us to believe you are intimidated by people writing about what you have, provably, done? It is time to grow up and stop whining about Saul Alinsky when you obviously studied him and began using his techniques yourself, along with those of Edward Bernays and others. 
You have been hoisted on the petard of a false dichotomy. You, are the collectivist. Your attempts to collectivize the Libertarian Party failed, you realized, by 1983, so you started on the project of taking over the GOP. This was carried out covertly with lies, cheating, and the continued theft of the energies and resources of activists, like myself, using such men as Ed Crane. 
Your efforts to control the world by inserting your ideas into a place created by others continues to this day. When you talk about your 'principles' you mean the Koch Method, which you also apply in business. 
To quote you,I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself. “

You have a lot of gall, you know. You lie, cheat, and steal the resources of others and justify this by telling us how rich you are, this qualifying you, in your mind, to think for us. And you use rhetoric which you, clearly, do not believe, in a continuing attempt to re-spin yourself. 
And family? That is enough to make me laugh. Your grandfather came to the US, not for freedom, but to be a part of the gilded age.  He wanted to get rich and saw ordinary Americans as marks to be picked dry. That, is your real heritage. 
Men like, him, and you, have destroyed the freedoms won by people who fought the Revolution, living out a direct and often harsh understanding of the will for freedom which drew them to the New World. They died to make us free, paying for their own guns, powder and balls. These are some of my people and we remember. Do not pretend this is your heritage.
Business is something people do, a way to improve the time and be productive – as long as no one is harmed by our actions. 
Your father, Fred, was a self-made man. You are not. Your father was a far better man than you will ever be. 
Your life choices have destroyed our freedom. You miss the enormous distinction between living the principles and a rhetoric intended to deceive. 
If I had not been subjected to these same lies while active in the Libertarian Party it is possible I could be brought to believe your vehement protestations. But I was there, experiencing the frustration of seeing the work we had done destroyed by your paid flunkey, Ed Crane, who you placed as an employee at CATO, and who worked for you as an agent for centralizing control of our movement. Your arrogance is both unseemly and vile. 
What you and Crane put us through was bewildering, anguishing, demeaning. And we did not know then it would only get worse. 
Today Americans are losing their homes to a corrupt system of banks and financial institutions which follow the principles for deceit you lived. People, real people, are dying and in danger of life-altering diseases because of the 'Koch Methods,' used to run Koch Industries. 
There is no dignity or moral credit here for you to hide behind. Our rights and freedom are under constant attack because of the real principles you have lived. Those are – More for you, more for you, more for you. And some for David, too. 
Rhetorical maundering mean nothing if you are not making the words real through action.
Growing numbers of Americans every day are becoming more desperate and willing to follow in the steps of our Founders, standing up for their rights and freedom against such men as yourself.
A free society is based on the internally held power of the individual, knowing they can care for themselves, families, and others in communities where they live. All of us need to look inward for strength, not to government or a corporation for charity. 
Also required is a secure confidence in courts which deliver justice, accountability for everyone, not just those who lawyer up and use their political connections to evade the corrective impact of a real justice. 
You are, yourself, a big government, a wealthy nation of Greed with 60,000 subjects. Evading every attempt to exact accountability has been your own, personal, goal all of your life. 
Remember Danielle Dawn Smalley and Jason Stone? Their families will never forget you. 
Thomas Jefferson said too, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”

Equal rights are the ground on which all of us stand when we hold our own power inside.
When you neglected the upkeep of your pipelines you consigned Danielle and Jason to a hideous death. Was the sting of punitive damages a violation of your rights? No, it was simple justice you used political connections to evade. 
Don't bother to deny how you have worked like a little beaver, employing so many to assist you, in rigging the system. We know. 
I suspect we only know of a few of your deceits, manipulations, and ugly thefts of the health of ordinary Americans. Our knowledge is imperfect, but soon you will stand before one who knows everything. 
When I first started researching you and your former employee, Ed Crane, years ago, I fast discovered most people are terrified of crossing you because of the 'consequences' you exact. Would you like to tell us about the cost plus contracts you have gotten from government? The man who told me would not let me use his name, but he obviously needed to talk about your 'methods.' He was not as explicit as those cited in the Bloomberg article, but I recognized the strategy, experienced personally as a Libertarian, when I read the article. 
As the son of a multimillionaire and now a billionaire yourself, you have always been able to immunize yourself both from criticism and avoid confronting the reality of your own actions. That has now ended, I hope in time for you to get right between yourself and God. There are some reckonings which will come, no matter how much money you pile up on Earth. 
Americans could have clean energy today if you and your friends had not worked so diligently to stop us from climbing off your grid, one of so many. Don't think no one noticed. 
I'll let my partner in Green Field's Renewal, Dave Lincoln, comment on your safety record. Dave is a geoengineer who left the petroleum industry, disgusted at what he saw as standard practices for all the majors in your industry in 1996.

Dave's Safety Report on Koch Industries -
You flunked, despite the awards you give yourself.

And you said - “Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.”

Careful, your nose is growing. 
Let me explain something to you, in your gilded tower in Wichita, Kansas. Perhaps you have been so busy with Dorothy, Toto and the Ruby Red Slippers some relevant facts have evaded your notice. 
Freedom Matters
What Americans have lost is confidence in themselves, the knowledge they can take care of their families and communities. Once, they had it built through lifetimes which proved this to be true. This is what we were trying to accomplish with the Libertarian Party when you decided it would make a great tool for your own plans. 
Did you think Crane cared about freedom? Crane is not a libertarian, he is just a libertine. He has used his position as your flunky to become wealthy, not work for freedom. 
If you want to grow an oak tree you must start with an acorn. A free people must free themselves and for this to happen the power must be re-established and renewed, by the people, at the most local level. 
I knew we had to rebuild America from the roots by getting people to do it locally. Your money washed all thoughts of real change out of the equation, focusing attention on how to make a living selling services you wanted. Money can also be toxic. 
And your money was carefully directed to the use of Ed Crane, wasn't it? They got big salaries and developed even bigger egos, which they still have today. 
Privatizing is not the word which was accurate or appropriate. The right word is 'corporatizing.' This different way of looking at our rights shaved off tiny pieces of them, to be commodified by government. Again, this is just making money by incrementally making people less free. 
How did you expect people to govern themselves, if they did not learn by re-establishing their own rights and power locally? I heard Crane and his cronies talk about 'fooling people into being free.” but I can see you all shared this same bizarre idea.

You said,Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people's lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.”

Your money was used to establish a sinecure for Crane and his Toadies. You financed this in 1980 and again against the Ron Paul Revolution, using a genuine movement to build your faux Tea Parties. I call them, “after-school program, with tee-shirt.” 
We need to learn, once again, how to govern ourselves, relearning the skills by doing. This must happen from the small towns and large cities, by living together and building communities where we care for each other. This is never easy, never without problems. But we grow spiritually as we work. We are human and problems will always accompany our humanity. 
But when people have the truth they can take corrective action, accomplishing wonders you have never imagined. 
At each point there must be honesty, transparency, and caring for each other.
In this there is a role for you and Koch Industries. 
Take the log out of your own eye. Clean up your own business, stop destroying the land, water and air which embraces all of us. Down size so you can responsibly oversee your own business. Make whole those you have harmed. Go to them, personally, and ask for forgiveness. 
As you divest, invest in Deep Green technologies, knowing these will create a richness for humanity which will last past what we can presently even imagine possible. This is the best investment you will ever make, and an honest one.

For Liberty,  

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

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