Big Brother is watching

 “Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the room…But what was strange was that although the Kochs were hated and despised by everybody, although every day, and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, their theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were—in spite of all this, their influence never seemed to grow less.  Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by them.  A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under their directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police.  They were the commanders of a vast shadow army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the cause of Truth, Justice, and The Affordable Care Act.”

This is a paraphrase of one of the best known passages in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’ 

In his nightmarish vision of a totalitarian future, the author describes a mandatory indoctrination session where the hero and his co-workers at “The Ministry of Truth” (i.e. the propaganda ministry) are forced to take part in a daily “Two Minute Hate.”  They have to watch a video broadcast designed to get them stirred up against whoever is the villain “du jour,” i.e. whoever is the foremost enemy of the regime at the moment.

In “1984” this character, called ‘Goldstein,’ was based on Stalin’s rival, Leon Trotsky.  The frenzy of blind hatred whipped up against him reflected the way Stalin and his followers used Trotsky as a scapegoat for all the failures of the Soviet regime in the 1930’s.  Ultimately Trotsky/Goldstein’s utility for that purpose stopped and Stalin had him murdered by the NKVD (the precursor of the KGB) in Mexico in 1940.

NY: AMERICAN BALLET WINTER BALLCharles and David Koch serve the same purpose for the Obama Administration and its ideological comrades-in-arms, like the Kansas City Star, acting like Orwell’s ‘Thought Police’ to silence and discredit opponents of the regime.

Recently stories were floated in the press that the Keystone Pipeline project was being pushed by the Kochs in order to benefit themselves financially by serving oil fields that they owned.  The Kochs were simultaneously served with a demand for the production of documents by two Democratic Senators, Sheldon Whitehouse and Charles Schumer, trying to get proof of these allegations.

It turns out that Koch Industries had no interest in any oil or gas production that would be served by the pipeline, that the production would actually benefit its competitors at its expense, and that the Kochs, neither individually nor corporately, had taken any position on the issue.  When this was established to be the case, they asked for a retraction, which was ignored by the news sources which published the reports.

No captionWhen Charles Koch wrote an op-ed piece to protest this kind of treatment, which was published in the Wall Street Journal on April 3rd, the Star ridiculed him in its April 13th Sunday edition lead editorial, “Charles G Koch’s public message represents rhetorical spin at its flimsiest.”  Not only did the Star mock Koch for being upset for being falsely accused (“You could almost hear him weep”), it added more reckless falsehoods of its own to the mix.

For example, the Kochs were attacked for opposing gay rights.  The Star apparently didn’t know or care that David and Charles Koch have spoken consistently (no “evolving” position there!)  in favor of gay marriage, which is consistent with their libertarian beliefs.

The Star blamed the Kochs for defeating an extension of federal unemployment benefits, when the matter has yet to even be decided by the Congress.  As far as I can tell they’ve never even taken a position on what is a complex issue, still a work in progress as the ultimate ‘inside baseball’ policy.  It’s clear that the Star’s editorial writers simply went down the current progressive wish list, blaming the Kochs for bills they wanted passed being blocked, as well as blaming the Kochs for the passage of bills they wanted blocked.  No logical or causal relation was necessary.

john-edwards-chargesYou’d also never know from the Star’s exaggerated caricature of the Kochs as stereotype right wing extremists that they:  1) opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the beginning, unlike John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, et al.; 2) favored repeal of drug laws as creating victimless crimes; 3) favored abortion rights.

In fact, they have taken consistently libertarian positions on social issues which should not be surprising since David Koch was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice-president in 1980.  Charles and David Koch are actually what so many people claim to be, but so few actually are—socially liberal but fiscally conservative.

Not only is the Star’s statement about these two’s position on the first of the two tests (social issues) outright false, their take on the second test (fiscal issues) is misleading and wildly exaggerated.

Because the Kochs are concerned about what they see as excessive taxation and excessive regulation, the Star would have its readers believe they want to do away with all taxes and all regulations.  (Not only is there no basis for this but it was the Libertarian Party’s adoption of a radical no-tax platform that caused David Koch to leave the Libertarian Party!)

js4_1None of this matters to the Star, not withstanding its mission statement committing it to providing “honest, independent, and verified information.”  Its editorial writers are proponents of what the poet Ezra Pound called, “old lies and new infamy…liars in public places.” Remember, there is no such thing as objective truth.  A factual statement is only true when considered in its context in the dialectic—does it advance the ‘Progressive’ Cause?  To the extent it does, it’s true.  To the extent it hinders the cause, it’s false.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating by equating the KC Star to a Stalinist publication, consider the following comment in a response online to the Koch editorial from a lumpen intellectual named Jane Martin, who claims to be affiliated with the University of Nebraska at Omaha:

“The Kochs are both sociopaths.  As an old experienced psychotherapist, I can tell you it is rare to have 2 siblings be full-out sociopaths.”

There are so many things wrong with this statement it’s hard to know where to begin.

No responsible professional would diagnose anyone with a serious mental illness just to make a political point.  The late pornographer Ralph Ginzberg, publisher of Eros magazine, learned this, much to his regret, when he similarly defamed Barry Goldwater in 1964, by publishing an equally bogus assessment of the GOP candidate’s mental stability.  (This led the American Psychiatric Association to pass a rule forbidding its members from commenting on patients that any individual psychiatrist has not personally examined.)

I also am bothered by a Soviet style desire to label political dissidents as “insane” and that their views are a form of “mental illness.”  What next?  Confinement and “treatment” in mental hospitals for those who challenge the regime?

Ironically, by the quality of their response to Charles Koch’s op-ed piece, the Star and its supporters, like “Doc” Martin, offer resounding proof of his complaints of character assassination.  Reread the Martin post which concludes; “But stranger things have happened like millions of people being so gullible at the same time (sic), actually feeling happy about these two working on their demise.”

That conclusion eerily echoes Orwell’s “Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by them,” from the earlier paraphrase of ‘The Two Minute Hate.’

Sixty-five years ago, an Englishman dying in a crofter’s cottage on a remote island off the Scottish coast saw all too clearly the ugliness of the modern will to power.  It’s still just as ugly in Kansas and Missouri (and apparently in Nebraska too) all these years later.

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18 Responses to Sutherland: THE ‘MINISTRY OF TRUTH’ REVISITED

  1. Elf says:

    Is this just because Derek won’t take your calls anymore because he (correctly) thinks you’re Looney Tunes? It is, isn’t it?

    Also, people at The Star are entitled to their opinions. Your You Kids Get Off My Lawn! attitude isn’t going to make them go away suddenly.

    • Dwight Sutherland says:

      The people at the Star are entitled to their own opinions,they just aren’t entitled to their own facts. You can’t criticize some one for taking a position that it turns out they didn’t take. This is especially true if their actual positions are totally opposite of what you represented them to be(as I demonstrated to be the case as far as the Kochs’ views on gay rights,drug laws,and other social issue go) and your paper prides itself on painstaking accuracy.You also should hold off on labeling someone as mentally ill because they happen to have different beliefs. It’s not a very persuasive position,plus it has unpleasant associations. Ask anyone who survived the Gulag.

    • John Altevogt says:

      So you’re the “guy” who bought the last copy of Women of The Star with Derek on the cover! I wondered. Tell me, what do they do to keep him from going bonkers inside the paper the way he went bonkers with some of the readers a while back?

      And why is it that no one ever tries to meet any critique of Der Sturmer with a rational, logical argument instead of the kind of drivel you just posted. Is it because you’re too stupid, or is there just no rational counter argument to the critiques.

      Elf my ass, more like a gigantic fairy.

      • John Altevogt says:

        Just looked up Derek’s last two columns. One was about “Language too informal for story on sexual assault program” and the other was about Swedish language that accidentally appeared in the paper. Yeah, those are the kinds of major issues that really gripe readers . If those don’t reach out and grab readers where they live I don’t know what would. So you can see why people would be dying to get him on the phone. Yeah baby, big celebrity there right down to the hysterical rantings just who you’d want to have a chat with about meaningful problems at Der Sturmer.

  2. the dude says:

    Dammit Dwight, you are making me start to think these Koch brothers are actual human beings and not reptiles hatched from eggs like most political creatures. Damn you!

  3. Mysterious J says:

    Happy Teabagger Wednesday, Y’all!

  4. Curtis Blow says:

    The Kochs have never been wealthier. And the only time period where there wealth increased more than it has under Obama’s presidency was the time when their father’s wealth passed to them. Now they spend that wealth to make themselves more money while other rich dudes suck them off – at length – on local blogs.

    What a country!

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      Which begs the question,why don’t they just kick back and enjoy? Could it possibly be that they want to see others have the same opportunities they had to build a business? Thirty plus years ago I first heard of the Koch family when a friend told me of an open house David Koch would have for everyone from Kansas who happened to be in New York during the holidays. People from all walks of life who were working,going to school,or just living in New York were more than welcome to come to his home for food and drinks. I don’t know of too many other centi-billionaires who answer their own phones,who appear in public places without a phalanx of security ,and are as accessible as much as anyone can be in the face of such controversy.Yeah,I think of them as my friends and I don’t like to see my friends unfairly attacked,especially by people who have so often done the same to me.

  5. chuck says:

    The Kochs have pocket money compared to the ever growing number of Kleptocrats who, with the help of the 4th Estate and Pravda like publications like the KC Star, run our lives.

    “Because the Kochs are concerned about what they see as excessive taxation and excessive regulation, ……”

    ● Corporate and business income taxes. These tax your income because producers raise consumer prices to offset their business income taxes;

    ● Capital gains taxes. The income you use to buy capital assets has already been taxed once, but yet any asset gain is again taxed;

    ● Sales taxes. Likewise, the income you use to buy stuff has already been taxed once, but yet it’s taxed again when you buy the stuff;

    ● Property taxes. These are also additional taxes on goods you’ve bought with already taxed income;

    ● Excise taxes (e.g., fuel, telephone, hotel, etc). These too are additional taxes on stuff you buy with already taxed income;

    ● Tariff taxes. Same as above, but only for imported stuff you buy;

    ● Inheritance taxes. The dead already paid taxes on the income which was the source of whatever they leave to the living;

    ● Payroll taxes. These still tax your income — even if you might have someday gotten something back were your government not robbing the Social Security Trust Fund to blow your retirement “safety net” on things like paying people not to work, bailing out big banks, sending Michelle and the kids to Riverdance, buying booze for the State Department, and making lobbyists multimillionaires;

    ● Licenses, permits, tolls, transfer taxes, and all other user fees. These also reduce your income — and for services you might have expected our government to have otherwise funded from the income taxes you’ve already paid;

    ● Regulatory tax. Regulation increases the cost of all goods and service you buy with income government has already taxed. Indeed, this increases the cost of the stuff we buy by about $1.9 trillion annually (or about $15,000 a year for each household); and

    ● Inflation tax. This reduces the purchasing power of any past income — already taxed in the serial ways above — which any of us might ever have managed to save. It’s a consequence of the fiat money which allows government (let alone banks) to increase the means of exchanging production faster than production itself increases. Simplistically, you may regard governmental deficit spending (now close to $1 trillion in the Federal Government) as functionally taxing the purchasing power of all your past, present, and future income. This makes, for example, the stuff you could have bought for $100 in 1980 cost you almost $300 when you buy it now. And the cumulative inflation rate since 1913 (when the Federal Reserve System began) now approaches 2,300%.

    Federal, State and City governments are wildly out of control. We are pushing an 11% tax rate here in KC, on money we have already been taxed on numerous times. It is a brutal and onerous burden that kills productivity and, as it weakens the middle class, makes us all the more susceptible to the power of a Facist state.

    • chuck says:

      Enforcing these rules, for our ‘benefit’, is, the IRS.

      “Between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, more than 2,800 IRS employees with recent bad conduct in their record received more than $2.8 million in cash awards, more than 27,000 hours in time-off awards, and 175 quality step increases in their IRS employment. Among these awards, more than 1,100 IRS employees with substantiated Federal tax compliance problems received more than $1 million in cash awards, more than 10,000 hours in time-off awards, and 69 quality step increases within a year after the IRS substantiated their tax compliance problem.”

      When the IRS isn’t busy, judiciously scanning 1024 Forms to ferret out the evil that folks like the Koch brothers are nefariously plotting with the conservative Illuminati and the rest of the “Vast Right Wing” conspirators, their employees and leaders keep their noses to the grindstone, making the world a better place.

      Absolute power, corrupts, absolutely.

    • Curtis Blow says:

      Another white dude sucking off the Kochs on a blog can’t be bothered to note that taxes have fallen to their lowest levels in 30 years.

      • chuck says:

        “White Dude”?

        Well, on that note, with reference to your 30 year stat on taxes, I have some great news!

        I read that usually, African Americans kill each other to the tune of around 10,000 per year and this year the number is projected to only hit 9,000 (Must be the weather.).

        Congratulations Curtis!

        I’ll send ya a 1099.

        • Stomper says:

          Chuck, I’m guessing you have already nominated Cliven Bundy for sainthood. Did his recent comments on slavery cause you any concern?

      • Hearne says:

        Please, Curtis…

        You act as tho it’s breaking news that the 70 and 90 percent tax brackets went the way of the dinosaur. Like KCC needs to point this out?

        But hey, we certainly provided you the forum to note the above

  6. The Pitch says:

    Hey guys, we’re gonna have to dig out that old “Curtis Got Slapped” article and run it again!

  7. Stevo says:

    Koch Industries provides a product that business, manufacturing, and consumers demand. They pay living wages, healthcare and retirement to their employees. Unlike their fellow billionaires residing in Silicon Valley, they employ union workers. They pay their taxes, and their product pays taxes from the ground, through the pipelines, to the refinery, and at the pump.

    What happened to the 60’s? Since when did advocating for limiting the Federal government become uncool?

    Very nice article.

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