Saturday, May 05, 2018

The Koch brothers own the American Right

The Koch brothers have devoted themselves to making the United States a tax-free haven for the wealthy and a pit of despair for the non-wealthy. And they are not afraid to use stealth to get their way.

The group, Transparent GMU, had sued the university and its fund-raising foundation last year after it was denied requests for documents that it suspected showed how deep-pocket donors were given undue influence over academic affairs. After a recent court hearing in the case, the university released those documents, some of which appeared to affirm the group’s suspicions.
So it turns out that what the Kochs and other right-wing zanies were doing was this:
As early as 1990, entities controlled by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch were given a seat on a committee to pick candidates for a professorship that they funded, the records show. Similar arrangements that continued through 2009 gave donors decision-making roles in selecting candidates for key economics appointments at the Mercatus Center, a Koch-funded think tank on campus that studies markets and regulation. The appointments, which also created faculty lines at George Mason, were steered to professors who, like the Kochs, embraced unconstrained free markets.
It is stealth moves like this that makes me suspect media outlets like Quillette get money from the Koch brothers too. Quillette already has a mutual-admiration society with one of the Koch's biggest hacks, Christina Hoff Sommers. And then there is Quillette's far-right leaning content. Here's someone named Nicholas Phillips attacking Krugman. He also defended Kevin "let's make abortion a hanging offense" Williamson.

So who is Nicholas Phillips? According to his Quillette bio:
Nicholas Phillips is a research associate at Heterodox Academy and president of the NYU School of Law Federalist Society.
Yep. It seems that all right-wing and libertarian public intellectuals in the US are connected, one way or another, to the Koch brothers. Phillips is the president of the NYU School of Law Federalist Society and on its web site is a link to The Federalist Society as one of its "partners." The Federalist Society, according to its Wiki is supported by:
Donors to the Federalist Society include Google, Chevron, Charles G. and David H. Koch; the family foundation of Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Mercer family.[12]
Wow, the three top right-wing politicos - the Kochs, the Mercers and Richard Mellon Scaife. 

Meanwhile, Trump's Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin A. Hassett is also attacking Krugman. So what was Hassett up to before he joined the Trump administration? He was working for the Kochs at the American Enterprise Institute

David H. Koch is on the American Enterprise Institute's National Council, whose members "serve as ambassadors for AEI, providing AEI with advice, insight, and guidance as [it] looks to reach out to new friends across the country."[17] Between 2002 and 2013, the American Enterprise Institute received a total of $867,289 in funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation.[18]
No surprise, given that he's working for the Trump administration, that Hassett is an oafish asshole. Per Krugman:
I’m still thinking about Kevin Hassett’s appearance at the Tax Policy Center, where he repaid his hosts’ graciousness by gratuitously impugning their integrity. But insults aside, he offered a new analysis of corporate tax incidence – an approach that is novel, innovative, and completely boneheaded. Oh, and it just happens to say what his political masters want to hear.
But back to the Federalist Society - they're part of the George Mason corruption as mentioned in the NYTimes article:
More recently, in 2016, executives of the Federalist Society, a conservative national organization of lawyers, served as agents for a $20 million gift from an anonymous donor, and were given the right to terminate installments of the gift at their discretion. Emails disclosed by the university show that Federalist Society officials were also involved in hiring discussions and had suggested a student for admission. In turn, a professor at the law school wrote the society asking for help securing recommendations for prestigious federal judicial clerkships for students active in the society.
 If you're working for a right-leaning media outlet or a right-leaning university, chances are you're working for the Koch brothers.