Most John Birch Society scoundrels are buried deep in the recesses of American history, known only to politics junkies, history wonks and me, a Birch kid.
There is one exception however, a Birch name that echoes across today’s political landscape: Fred C. Koch, founding member and national council member.
Koch supervised the refinery installations, traveling extensively across the country over three years. He claimed that his hatred for Communism grew out of his Russian experiences, but he had pocketed $500,000 (his part of the company’s profits) before his outrage set in. That money, $8,000,000 in today’s dollars made Fred Koch a very rich man.
Ironically, the wealth of the Koch family came from a brutal Communist dictatorship. Hardly the image of “free enterprise” the Kochs invoke so passionately.
In 1960, thirty years after he took Communist money and parleyed it into an even bigger fortune, Koch wrote his book, A Businessman Looks at Communism, in which he rails against labor unions and civil rights efforts as part of the Communist plot to take over America.
“Labor Unions have long been a Communist goal,” Koch wrote. “The effort is frequently made to have the worker do as little as possible for the money he receives. This practice alone can destroy our country.” (p. 16)My father, who served on the John Birch Society National Council with Fred Koch, had identical views on labor unions.
“As long as there is breath in my body,” Dad vowed, “there will never be a union in my company. I’ll board it up first. Fred (Koch) sees it like I do, one hundred percent.”Koch had equally damning views of civil rights. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he said (p. 25) and “it will use the colored people by getting a vicious race war started.”
Koch’s views on civil rights were identical to those of the John Birch Society. Early in the civil rights movement, the Birch founder labeled Dr. Martin Luther King a Communist and marshaled the Birch leadership to fight every piece of civil rights legislation.
The Koch brothers have enormous personal fortunes, somewhere around $40 billion dollars each in net worth. They are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their favorite causes, right-wing, libertarian, anti-government ones.
David identified himself as the wallet behind Americans for Prosperity, the big umbrella for Freedom Works and the Tea Party. Charles founded the Cato Institute, a powerful think-tank specializing in selling right-wing policies on everything from taxes to entitlements.
Their father must be proud. They’re re-shaping the United States into the kind of country Fred wanted―a country with a pint-sized federal government and none of the expense of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or any other social program.
If my father were still alive, he’d be crowing at the momentum of the Koch machine. I can hear him.
They are taking the country back. It’s about time.”The ultimate irony of the Koch Brothers is this: they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to subvert the country that helped make them so fabulously wealthy.
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
A new report from the non-partisan OpenSecrets blog shows that political giving by the Koch Brothers is as strong as ever.
OpenSecrets determined that the Kochs are outpacing all other groups in giving to so-called “dark money” groups that aren’t required to disclose their donors.
In fact, at least one in every four dark-money dollars had links to the Kochs who control the Wichita-based Koch Industries, the country’s second-largest privately own company.
OpenSecrets’ bottom line:
“With most of the annual tax filings for nondisclosing nonprofits now in, it's clear that no other conservative or liberal dark money network matched, in combined size and complexity, the constellation of Koch-linked groups that churned hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country last year.”
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