10 things you need to know today: June 11, 2015

AP Photo/Seth Wenig


1.EPA moves toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions from planes
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday took the first step toward limiting carbon emissions from airliners and other commercial planes. The EPA proposed an “endangerment finding” stating that greenhouse gas emissions from plane engines contribute to climate change, and calling for regulations to reduce them. The agency launched 60 days of public comment on the proposal ahead of an Aug. 11 hearing. The rules would not take effect until 2018 at the earliest.

Source: USA Today

2.Hunt for New York escaped murderers widens
Law enforcement officials expanded the hunt for two escaped murderers to Vermont on Wednesday. The inmates, David Sweat and Richard Matt, escaped from a maximum-security prison in New York, where guards noticed they were missing on Saturday. Investigators have interviewed several corrections officers and contract employees at the prison. One of them, training supervisor Joyce Mitchell, is suspected of helping the inmates and possibly planning to drive their getaway car, before having a panic attack and backing out.

Source: ABC News

3.Florida governor signs abortion waiting-period bill
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Wednesday signed a bill requiring women to make two clinic visits and wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. Opponents said the bill would unnecessarily burden women with added stress and expense. The bill’s Republican sponsor, state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan said it is “just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision.” The bill was amended to let doctors waive the wait for victims of rape, incest, domestic violence, or human trafficking.

Source: Reuters

4.Pope Francis creates tribunal on bishops’ handling of sexual abuse
Pope Francis has created a tribunal to address accusations against bishops for failing to protect children from sexual abuse, the Vatican announced Wednesday. The tribunal will hear cases in which bishops have been accused of covering up or otherwise mishandling allegations of abuse against Catholic clerics. The church already has “judicial procedures” for judging accused priests, but the tribunal will be the first to hold bishops accountable for abuse committed by people under their control.

Source: The New York Times

5.Ex-cop’s attorney says stress, not race, was behind Texas pool party response
An attorney for Eric Casebolt said Wednesday that the former McKinney, Texas, police officer was not targeting minorities when he threw a black teenage girl to the ground and drew his gun outside a pool party. The lawyer, Jane Bishkin, said Casebolt “allowed his emotions to get the better of him” after responding to two suicide calls earlier in the day, and that he was sorry. An attorney for the 15-year-old Casebolt subdued said she appreciated the apology but that stress was no excuse for Casebolt’s actions.

Source: The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times

6.American killed in Syria fighting with Kurds against ISIS
An American man, Keith Broomfield, has been killed in Syria while fighting with Kurdish forces against ISIS. Broomfield’s mother, Donna, said he had “turned his life over to the Lord” and decided it was “God’s will” that he join the battle. “I didn’t want him to go but I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” she said. The State Department confirmed the 36-year-old’s death. Numerous Americans reportedly have joined the Kurdish forces, but Broomfield was the first to die.

Source: NBC News

7.FIFA puts off 2026 World Cup bidding 
Soccer’s global governing body, FIFA, put the selection of a host for the 2026 World Cup on hold Wednesday. The move came as FIFA prepares to elect a new president after its longtime leader, Sepp Blatter, announced his resignation after the eruption of a corruption scandal. “Today there is no leadership at FIFA, so it’s normal that it’s been suspended,” said European soccer federation head Michel Platini, a potential candidate to replace Blatter.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

8.Phone records show Amtrak engineer was not using cellphone ahead of crash
Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was not using his cellphone ahead of a May 12 crash in Philadelphia that left eight people dead and more than 200 injured, the National Transportation Safety Board saidWednesday. Phone records helped investigators rule out the theory that Bostian might have been distracted by his phone when the train went into a curve at more than twice the speed limit. Bostian suffered a concussion and “has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events.” his lawyer, Robert Goggin, has said.

Source: The Associated Press

9. Herrera named next U.S. poet laureate
The Library of Congress on Wednesday named Juan Felipe Herrera as the nation’s next poet laureate. Herrera, professor emeritus of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside, will be the first Latino to receive the honor. Herrera, 66, is Mexican-American, the son of migrant farm workers. “Yes, I am the first Latino poet laureate in the United States,” he said, “but I’m also here for everyone and from everyone. My voice is made by everyone’s voices.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed, Fox News Latino

10.Blackhawks beat Lightning to even up Stanley Cup Final
The Chicago Blackhawks tied the Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blackhawks’ Brandon Saad backhanded the go-ahead goal through the legs of rookie Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in the third period. The first four games in the best-of-seven series all have been decided by one goal. The last time that happened in the finals was in 1968. Game 4 was played in Chicago, but the series now moves to Tampa for Game 5 on Saturday.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Harold Maass

EPA: ‘Coal Rolling’ Is Illegal


You Tube

TPM LiveWire

Purchia pointed to two paragraphs on the air enforcement page of the EPA’s website. One paragraph said:

It is a violation of the [Clean Air Act] to manufacture, sell, or install a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device. For example, computer software that alters diesel fuel injection timing is a defeat device. Defeat devices, which are often sold to enhance engine performance, work by disabling a vehicle’s emission controls, causing air pollution. As a result of EPA enforcement, some of the largest manufacturers of defeat devices have agreed to pay penalties and stop the sale of defeat devices.

The other paragraph said:

The CAA prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer. A vehicle’s emission control system is designed to limit emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles or engines. EPA works with manufacturers to ensure that they design their components with tamper-proofing, addresses trade groups to educate mechanics about the importance of maintaining the emission control systems, and prosecutes cases where significant or imminent harm is occurring.

(Photo credit: Youtube)

7 crazy right wing statements from just last week

7 crazy right wing statements from just last week

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Yes, this happened last week…


1. Ted Cruz: We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the Senate.

Ted Cruz gave a huge shout-out to North Carolina’s late unrepentant racist senator, Jesse Helms. Granted, it was at the Heritage Foundation’s annual Helms lecture, so he wasn’t the only person in the room who worshipped Helms. But he did give a somewhat strange reason for being so fond of the bigot, and wishing there were “100 more” like him in the U.S. Senate.

Apparently the actor John Wayne had praised Helms for being willing to say “Crazy things,” Cruz told the audience. “The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic in this town, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then.”

For those who don’t remember, here are some of the fun-filled, wacky things Helms said and did:

  • He sang the confederate anthem “Dixie” in an elevator with Carol Moseley-Braun, the African-American senator from Illinois, and told Sen. Orrin Hatch in front of her that he was trying to make her cry.
  • He opposed integration, or “mixing of the races,” and called the University of North Carolina the “University of Negroes and Communists” because it was integrated.
  • He led a one-man, 16-day filibuster opposing the designation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday, and threatened to lead one to save South African apartheid.
  • More comically, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he seemed unable to absorb the fact that the North Korean president’s name was Kim Jong Il, not Kim Jong 2.
  • Unlike other like-minded Southern politicians Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, Helms never disavowed his racist, segregationist views even on his deathbed in 2008.

One hundred more.

2. Glenn Beck: War is a progressive idea so I am now against it.

Does the radio host and one of the far-right’s most hilarious nut-jobs have any core principles? Does he attach real meaning to actual words? Or does he just make it all up as he goes along? Rhetorical questions, yes, but he may have outdone himself this week when he injected some real seriousness into the deadly serious Syria debate. He just up and changed the meaning of the terms. Singlehandedly. He can do that, you know. He’s Glenn Beck.

So war is now a progressive idea, Beck says, because, of course, a Democratic president has proposed it. Apparently, the rest of the progressive community was not informed, since most of them, and most Americans oppose military intervention in Syria, but never mind. In other news, up is down and black is white. And good conservatives, like Beck are anti-war. It’s a sad day for Beck because he used to thoroughly enjoy how the U.S. would topple dictators and “spread democracy” by doing so, but that was before he realized that this is actually a form of the dreaded progressive thinking.

Sometimes, such mental gymnastics can lead to close encounters with shades of truth, as when the former Fox News personality explained he was against a Syrian invasion because it would be about oil, and that Obama is similar to Dick Cheney in this way.

3. Alex Jones: Globalist cyborgs are coming.

If there is anyone who can outweigh Beck on the looniness scale, that distinction would have to go to conspiracy theorist, fringe conservative radio host Alex Jones. His theory? The effort to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria with diplomacy was actually a United Nations plot for the extinction of the human race, which would be replaced by “globalists” like President Barack Obama who would become cyborgs by using “life-extension technologies.”

Hard to argue with that logic, seeing as it is neither logical, nor based in any sort of shared reality. It may be worth noting that Beck seems much more worried about a zombie invasion than one led by cyborgs.

Jones went on to explain that the proposal to bring Syria’s chemical weapons under the control of the international community was a way for the U.N. to “come into any country they want, that has any type of weapons systems—and call them WMDs, and then dismantle that country’s infrastructure.”

That’s because the U.N. is at the very head of the globalist conspiracy, he explains. The globalists are “the biggest, most organized, eugenics-based, scientific dictatorship, trans-humanists at the top that plan the extinction of almost everybody and a new species to rise up or humans merged with machines.”

“That’s their religion, and no one’s discussing that,” Jones added. “Everyone is going to be deindustrialized, everyone is going to be put back into the Stone Age and controlled. And Obama and the globalists and the robber barons, they’re going to fly around in their jetcopters and their Air Forces Ones and their red carpets, like gods above us. And they’re going to get the life-extension technologies.”

Any questions?

4. Stuart Varney and Monica Crowley: EPA is trying to suffocate children.

Fox News’ Monica Crowley and Stuart Varney were appalled, appalled I tell you, when they revealed the shocking news this week that the EPA, the evil government’s evil Environmental Protection Agency, is providing free lesson plans for “teachers looking to educate their students on climate change.”

“The EPA — the EPA,” said Varney. And they’re aiming this “propaganda” directly at innocent middle-school children. Of course, these plans have been openly available online for months, but Crowley suspects there is a hidden agenda to this oh-so-sneaky plan. “Are they going to tell these kids to not exhale? Because every time you exhale, that’s carbon dioxide.”

And, carbon dioxide causes global warming, right? So learn to hold your breath, kids.

Well, no, not exactly. The good news is that very soon, kids will know a good deal more than Fox News does about climate change, although that is not saying much. The EPA materials do explain what carbon is and how it plays an important role in sustaining life on the planet. And how the burning of fossil fuels has led to a surplus of life-supporting gases like carbon dioxide, which has made the planet hotter. And other science-type things that no one at Fox News will ever be caught dead, reading or learning, in their indefatigable drive toward making America, hands-down, the dumbest hot country on the planet.

5. Minnesota archbishop: Satan is behind gay marriage.

Satan has been a very busy guy lately. No, that wasn’t him sawing heads off Syrian rebels in the public square or visiting plagues upon the beleaguered New Jersey shore. He had nothing to do with that creep who brands women’s vaginas to show he owns them. Mostly, he’s been concerning himself with spreading love, same-sex love. Love so strong it wants to get married. Apparently, Satan has not fully read his job description.

Lately, Lucifer has been spending time in Minnesota, where the archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul has announced that the devil is responsible for the legalization of marriage equality.

“Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilisation,” Rev. John Nienstedt said in a recent speech to the Napa Institute Conference, and posted to the conference’s website Tuesday. “The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.”

Despite Nienstedt’s efforts, and because of Satan’s, Minnesota has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses since August.

Mwah hah ha ha ha. Isn’t that how the devil laughs?

6. Texas GOP gov. candidate tweets that Wendy Davis is “too stupid to be governor.”

From the totally ridiculous to the merely very offensive, the top political advisor to Texas Attorney General/would-be successor to Rick Perry, Greg Abbott has attacked Democratic opponent Wendy Davis’ intelligence in a tweet. This follows on the heels of Abbott’s tweeting thanks to a supporter for a sexist attack on Davis, which referred to her as “Retard Barbie” so, clearly a very nuanced, high-minded Republican campaign is evolving in the Lone Star state.

Dave Carney is the enlightened strategist in question, and he took the opportunity not just to call Davis stupid, but also to cheer the results of Tuesday’s Colorado recall elections. His tweet linked to an article in a conservative Texas blog slamming Davis’ gun views, calling her “Abortion Barbie,” and dismissing her as “even dumber than her fake blonde hair would imply,” Think Progress reported.

7. Internet advice from a nobody who wants to ruin perfect strangers’ lives: Dads, don’t educate your daughters!

A Louisiana-based certified public accountant cares deeply about the purity of America’s young women, and he has figured out a solution to it. Keep them ignorant. In his spare time, the guy generously makes Internet videos filled with unwanted, unasked for and basically awful advice on how to raise your daughters.

First step in saving the family: Don’t send your daughters to college. Why? Because she is very likely to have sex there. “This is no small matter we’re dealing with here,” he implores fathers. “Is a degree worth the loss of your daughter’s purity, dignity, and soul?”

If they really want to learn, girls can go to the library or use the Internet, since neither of those can lead to genital contact, he allows.

But why bother getting educated, anyway? Jobs for women are not important, this wise sage continues: “My personal impression is that the day-to-day grind of a job is below the dignity of women. In a way, it is like being a hired hand, as a result of the fall and the penalty for original sin.”


GOP will filibuster just about anything

GOP will filibuster just about anything

Ted Cruz (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.


Now the party’s targeting Obama’s choices for three D.C. Circuit Court nominees — and there’s no end in sight

Before January 2009, the filibuster was used only for measures and nominations on which the minority party in the Senate had their strongest objections. Since then, Senate Republicans have filibustered almost everything, betting that voters will blame Democrats for the dysfunction in Congress as much as they blame the GOP.

So far the bet is paying off because the press has failed to call out the GOP – which is now preventing votes on the President’s choices for three D.C. Circuit Court nominees, the Labor Department and the EPA, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and the National Labor Relations Board. (The GOP has blocked all labor board nominees, some to whom the President gave recess appointments, but he’s now asking approval for all.)

The GOP has already violated hundreds of years of Senate precedent by filibustering the nomination of a Cabinet secretary, Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, and using the filibuster to delay John Brennan’s nomination as CIA Director.

Harry Reid may now be able to summon 51 votes to abolish the filibuster, at least for cabinet officials and other high-level policy makers. But that shouldn’t be considered a victory. It’s a sad commentary on where we’ve come to.

When I was in the cabinet I worked closely with several great Republican senators, such as Mark Hatfield of Oregon and Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, who were willing to compromise, and who cared more about preserving the institutions of government than getting their way. Even Orren Hatch and John McCain in those days were more concerned about the institutional integrity of the U.S. government than about any particular policy difference they may have had with the other side.

But the new breed – Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Sam Brownback, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter, to name a few – don’t give a rat’s ass about how or whether our government functions. In fact, they give every indication that they’d rather it didn’t.

I can’t help wondering why is it that Republicans who do want our governing institutions and processes to remain strong don’t stand up to the fanatics? What happened to Hatch and McCain, or to Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, and Lindsay Graham? Are they so frightened of losing to a fanatic in the next primary that they’ve been silenced into submission? Why don’t former Republican senators who lost to the fanatics, such as Indiana’s Richard Lugar, speak up?

As has been noted many times in history, it is not so much the viciousness or carelessness of the bad people but the silence of the good people that brings societies to the brink, or beyond.


ALEC Deems Kids Eating Rat Poison An ‘Acceptable Risk’

First they want to have poor kids clean bathrooms and mop the halls of the schools they attend, forgetting about the stigma and  havoc on one’s self-esteem.  They want to get rid of child protective laws so that the aforementioned and other draconian proposals can be implemented.

Now this…


As ThinkProgress has been reporting for some time, the corporate front group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been colluding with the billionaire Koch brothers to privatize government and eliminate environmental regulations that interfere with profits.

GOP legislators in many states have given ALEC free reign to write anti-health care reform and anti-environment legislation. Now, ALEC is fighting to kill Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules limiting the sale of rat poisons that pose a serious health threat to children and the ecosystem.

A top representative for the ultra-conservative group said kids eating rat poison is an “acceptable risk” that does not justify government intervention:

“There are certain levels of acceptable risk in society,” says Todd M. Wynn, director of the ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force, in an interview about the EPA rules with the Heartland Institute’s Heartlander website. “And parents play an important role by weighing the potential risks and benefits of using a product.”

Unfortunately, EPA expands its reach into the American economy more and more each and every year,” Wynn said. “This year it will be d-Con, but next year another useful product will be burdened by additional regulations or banned outright from the market.” […]

Aaron Colangelo, an attorney for the NRDC…told the Center for Media and Democracy that “there is not an undue economic burden associated with reformulating these products,” pointing out that the rest of the industry had complied with the new rules without adverse economic impact. Additionally, he said, “the health care costs for treating these kids certainly outweigh the economic costs of reformulation.”


Perry Reveals Plan For Total U.S. Anarchy: ‘Put A Moratorium On All Regulations’

The proposal by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now officially a GOP presidential candidate, for President Obama to “put a moratorium on all regulations” seems like pure, unadulterated insanity.

That would mean no food inspections; no clean air; Wall Street repeating the same horrible things that nearly brought us to the brink of an economic disaster which was averted by a bail out.  Perry wants to try no regulations at all…for a while!

This kind of talk is insanity!

Think Progress

Today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) issued the first policy position of his presidential campaign by asking the White House to issue a “moratorium on regulations across this country”:

 We’re calling today on the president of the United States to put a moratorium on regulations across this country, because his regulations, his EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America.

Watch it:

“We’re sending out a request today asking President Obama to put a moratorium on all regulations,” Perry said on WHO radio in Iowa, recorded live by ThinkProgress.

Under such a moratorium, the Food and Drug Administration would stop approving new drugsand preventing human experimentation; the USDA would stop checking for food safety; the EPA would stop monitoring for poisons in drinking water; the Library of Congress would stoploaning materials to blind people; the NTSB would stop investigating airplane accidents; HHS would end Medicare payments; no more patents, copyrights, or trademarks would be issued; DHS would stop protecting chemical facilities from terrorist attacks; the Treasury would stopprinting currency; financial sanctions on hostile nations like North Korea and Iran would end; and the Federal Reserve System would shut down.

Perry’s “moratorium on regulations” would mean a literal end to the rules of law in the United States. At least it would also mean that all of President George W. Bush’s midnight regulationsfavoring polluters and industry abuses would also be lifted.

Related articles

The last-minute budget deal: What gets cut?

I have no doubt that the Republicans won their standoff with Obama on Friday night.  I also have no doubt that the POTUS’ re-election efforts will not be as easy as it was nearly four years ago.

Rachel Maddow illustrates an excellent point in this video.  Please view it if at all possible.

(Starting at 5:04 you can view the section I’m talking about, but the entire segment is worth watching!)

The Week

Congress settled on $38.5 billion in spending reductions late Friday, mere hours before the government would have shut down. Endangered wolves are on the chopping block. What else?


High-speed rail
President Obama agreed to a $1.5 billion cut on a policy close to his heart, says Sam Stein at The Huffington Post: The planned national high-speed rail system. This represents a “major hit to one of the president’s favorite transportation priorities,” and only strengthens critics’ suspicion that high speed rail is a “pie-in-the-sky policy.”

Endangered wolves 
Wolves in Idaho and Montana will be removed from the endangered species list as part of the budget deal on the environment. While that’s “bad news for the northern Rockies,” says Glenn Hurowitz at The Huffington Post, the Democrats fared slightly better on environmental funding as a whole. The EPA’s funding was cut by $1.49 billion, not the $3 billion originally proposed by Republicans, and the agency will continue to regulate carbon emissions.

The United Nations
The bill cuts $377 million from the U.S. contribution to the United Nations. That may not seem like a significant number in the big picture, says Howard LaFranchi at The Christian Science Monitor, but it will have a marked effect on the U.N. The U.S. contributes nearly a quarter of the U.N.’s total budget, and Obama is requesting $3.5 billion for the U.N. in his 2012 budget. A “wall of Republican resistance” is likely to spur further cuts to U.N. spending.

Abortions in Washington, D.C.
Planned Parenthood may have been spared, but the GOP did manage to end taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia. The Mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent Gray, was arrested Monday on the streets of the capitol during a protest against the provision.

Summer school Pell Grants
On education, the president’s “Race to the Top” initiative was left unscathed, but the Pell Grant program will be trimmed. Scrapping summer school grants and preventing students from using two Pell grant awards simultaneously will save $493 million this year, and more than $35 billion over the next decade.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program
The government will save $3.5 billion by scrapping bonus payments to states that successfully enroll large numbers of previously-ininsured children in Medicaid. Republicans were unsuccessful in pushing for an end to all funding for President Obama’s signature health care reform law.

The Joint Strike Fighter jet
The Pentagon is one of the few government departments that did not see an overall funding reduction — in fact, it will receive a $5 billion increase — but the bill does slash $4.2 billion in military earmarks, including funds for the Joint Strike Fighter jet engine that would have been built in John Boehner’s Ohio district.


Behind the Story: Koch Industries Lobbying (Video)

Huffington Post


Charles and David Koch, the owners of the country’s second-largest private corporation, are libertarians of long standing, who contend that government regulations, taxes and subsidies stifle individual initiative and hamper American competitiveness. In recent years, the Kochs have played an increasingly public role as financial angels for conservative causes, politicians and foundations.

What’s not so well-known is the activity of Koch Industries in the trenches in Washington, where a Center for Public Integrity examination of lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records reveals a lobbying steamroller for the company’s interests, at times in conflict with its public pose.

The money that Koch (pronounced “coke”) has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.       Continue reading here…

Frank Rich Takes On The Billionaire ‘Sugar Daddies’ Backing The Tea Party

Huffington Post

New York Times:

ANOTHER weekend, another grass-roots demonstration starring Real Americans who are mad as hell and want to take back their country from you-know-who. Last Sunday the site was Lower Manhattan, where they jeered the “ground zero mosque.” This weekend, the scene shifted to Washington, where the avatars of oppressed white Tea Party America, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, were slated to “reclaim the civil rights movement” (Beck’s words) on the same spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream exactly 47 years earlier.

Vive la révolution!

There’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans.  But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.

Read the whole story: New York Times

The Billionaire Brothers Who Are Waging A War Against The President

The New Yorker

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry–especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies–from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program–that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.