Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

‘The Old Firm’?

I find I must begin by apologizing: It seems I have once again become muddled and got the “brothers” Croup and Vandemar (characters in Neil Gaiman’s superlative novel Neverwhere) confused with the brothers Charles and David Koch. Given the respective moral health of the two pairs, I realize that this may be an actionable libel, and I therefore explicitly assure the former pair that the defamation will not be repeated.

Croup and Vandemar, 'The Old Firm'

Vandemar and Croup: “the Old Firm. Obstacles obliterated, nuisances eradicated, bothersome limbs removed
and tutelary dentistry.”
[ Image Source ]

This is a picture of Charles and David, the brothers Koch — although here you see them when they were rather younger than they are in most current media portrayals. You may decide for yourself which image is more disturbing.

Charles and David Koch

Charles and David Koch: another old firm. Regulations obliterated, consumer protections eradicated,
bothersome congressmen removed and
tutelary flammable tapwater.
[ Image Source ]

Humor aside, it would be folly to trivialize the danger inherent in this pair of plutocrats. Among the U.S.’ richest people with over $21 billion each, the brothers have pooled their wealth and spent hundreds of millions in what has been described as the murder in slow motion of America’s democratic institutions. To accomplish this, they have funded the Tea Party and set it in pursuit of an antiregulatory agenda, deceived millions of voters with propaganda professing concern for the U.S.’ prosperity as a pretext for further increasing their own, declared war on the Obama administration, lobbied relentlessly to abolish environmental and workplace-safety protections, and been instrumental in electing “libertarian” candidates whose purpose is to remove all oversight from the activities of such corporations as BP. And in other current news, they are behind Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his union-busting legislative agenda.

However, such iniquity cannot forever pass unperceived: This page details some of the different forms the national backlash against the pathocratic pair has so far taken, and invites us to participate.

The main public weapon now being deployed against the Kochs is a boycott of the company, Koch Industries, that they inherited from father Fred Koch, and from which they draw the bulk of their funds. Be warned, however: Koch Industries is the second-largest privately held company in the U.S., and its product list is daunting. Incorporating classes of products ranging from paper goods to construction materials to synthetic fibers and fabrics to carpets and mattresses, the list alone fills half of this two-page article.

But if you’re finding it a struggle to avoid all the Koch wares, don’t despair; you have allies. Anonymous, the internet “hacktivist” group best known for attacking several corporate websites in retaliation for their cessation of services to WikiLeaks, has now taken aim at the Kochs for what it calls their attempts “to usurp American democracy.” And never discount the power of ridicule: A progressive blogger successfully hoodwinked Scott Walker into thinking he was on the phone with David Koch, with entertaining results.

The Kochs are gobsmackingly rich and employ legions of minions, each of whom commands phalanxes of lesser minions; they own corporations, political organizations and astroturf “movements” that can elect governors and legislators; they can rely on five votes in the Supreme Court for friendly decisions virtually every time; they have access to media, beyond that assured by their capacity to buy advertising time, by which they can always spread their perverse gospel to the eyes and ears of the nation; all this, and they have managed until quite recently to hide their machinations from public attention (manipulating people and events from the shadows in characteristic psychopathic style).

From their station near the center of the web of the ruling elite of a global neoliberal empire, the Kochs lay sticky snares for the unwary and sit secure behind an army of defenders enthralled by their moral venom: To defeat them will be the work of a popular movement to restore America’s ethical and economic balance; ultimately, it may require a revolution like the one now being waged in Egypt. But what we lack in money and power, we make up in numbers, in resolve, in fortitude, and in the invincible courage of deeply held moral convictions.

La yaja'u an-nasr al-akhir il az-zalima: Final victory cometh not to the unjust.

Originally published as a review of an article on the Kochs and how to boycott them.

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