Jimmy Zuma

Jimmy Zuma
Washington, District of Columbia,
August 01
After ten years haunting online political forums and much longer as a disability rights advocate, Jimmy Zuma started the online political journal, Smart v. Stupid. Since then, he has emerged as one of the left’s most direct new voices. Almost immediately, Jimmy was offered the opportunity to join the political team at Technorati where he writes DC Water Cooler, a weekly feature on what the politicians and pundits are talking about. Most recently, his columns began appearing in the Tucson Sentinel in Tucson Arizona. He is also an occasional contributor to OpEd News. Jimmy's goal is to return vetting to the marketplace of ideas, by elevating the status of smart ideas and debunking dumb ones.

Jimmy Zuma's Links

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 31, 2011 9:48PM

The Koch brothers are getting nervous

Rate: 21 Flag

Charles and David Koch seem less confident these days. The brothers – who inherited money from their dad and grew it into America’s largest collection of dirty industries – have decided they need to fight back. That’s not surprising. Since Koch-sponsored secret meetings were revealed, secret planning with Supreme Court Justices was exposed, and secret funding of right wing groups became apparent, Americans have begun to wonder just how much influence these guys have purchased.  kochfacts graphic

America has now heard of the Koch Brothers.

But that’s not all. A Google search of “Boycott Koch” reveals “about 907,000” pages. Many of these sites include a list of brands owned by the Kochs. Just type the word “boycott” into a Facebook search and Koch Industries pops up first. There appears to be a growing interest shunning Koch brands.

This week, Koch Industries opened a counteroffensive. But you may not have noticed. In a style harking back to the early 1900s, these puppet masters of public opinion began their counter-offensive indirectly. They placed an ad in a media-insider newsletter, FishbowlDC, published by Mediabistro. FishbowlDC is a daily in-boxer advertised as “Where the DC media masses go for dish about their coworkers and competitors.” It’s an entertaining gossip rag aimed at journalists, bloggers and pundits. (Yes, it’s my guilty pleasure.) Until now, the typical sponsor was a writer’s workshop, a search engine optimizer or a writer’s services provider.

The ad teases “WASHINGTON POST STORY ON KOCH MISLEADS READERS” and the tagline is “Open discussion. Competing ideas. A stronger nation.” Koch Industries is trying to gain media traction without anyone noticing they pitched their own patriotism story. Clever. The ad links to KochFacts.com.

So what sort of information is at KochFacts? It’s a word-heavy site consisting of flamboyant headlines and red text rebuttals of whatever Koch finds unflattering. It’s also deftly search-optimized. Here’s an example of a rebuttal to a Washington Post story about Congressman Mike Pompeo hiring a Koch-affiliated staffer.

“[Washington Post Quote] Now liberal groups have begun turning their ire toward Pompeo, who hired a former Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff and proposed legislation in his first weeks in office that could benefit many of Koch's business interests.”

“[KochFacts Response]Translation: Rather than engage in a constructive debate and allow the American public to decide what positions to support, liberal groups have targeted an individual and launched a character assassination campaign.”

That tone is fairly typical for the site. News reports and calls for disclosure are reframed as attempts to stifle free speech,

“Koch encourages and honest and open debate of these important values. Sadly, many opposed to these views have deployed partisan smear tactics for the purpose of silencing open and honest discourse.”

The company represents itself in a reverential tone almost as if it were a person of great patriotism, fighting for America – the Thomas Jefferson of privately-held polluters, if you will. The seminal assertion seems to be that secret funding is the same as “open and honest discourse.” Is this a critical misunderstanding of “open and honest?” Or is it simply an attempt to change the subject?

The public is now demanding to know more about Koch’s shadowy funding of advocacy groups. Consumers are showing an increasing willingness to boycott companies that don’t disclose their issue-advocacy spending. Is this is the beginning of a new wave of citizen-driven corporate oversight? Is there a voter-driven rush to fill the void left by a corrupted Supreme Court?

During the last two decades, almost every large company developed a “corporate responsibility” program to assure consumers that they were environmentally sensitive. Perhaps healthy government policies – including the full disclosure of advocacy and political contributions – are the next great wave of corporate responsibility.

I’m sure the Koch brothers hope not.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I hope they rot in hell ASAP.
Great article as usual, and I do not wish to quibble. There is, however, an obvious problem with "corporate responsibility" public relations campaigns. Corporations, who are now wealthy citizens thanks to the Supreme Court, are citizens that lie.
So how about you get a bumper-sticker campaign to counter them:

Things go bitter with Koch
They wanted to secretly turn America into a Kochistocracy. I just hope we got wise to them in time.

I say keep those two bastards under a high-powered microscope. They'd rather operate in secret like koch-roaches under your refrigerator.

Yes, keep the Koch brothers out in the open. I would like to know what to boycott. It is all so powerful and secret that I lose hope. But there is always hope especially when there are posts like this one. Thanks.
People say that Hitler was behind fascism in Germany but he was the tool of the Krups and the Thyssen's. International business figures industrialists and bankers were fond of the way that they could "own" the government while escaping the responsibility for it's excesses. What is going on is what Sinclair Lewis told us so long ago; “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
Great article! And Shiral suggests another great bumper sticker, Tom: Kill the Koch-roaches.
"Is this is the beginning of a new wave of citizen-driven corporate oversight?"

I certainly hope so.
Articles like this will help to raise awareness, so thanks Zuma.
Thanks for this. I was beginning to lose hope that those who have the resources would step up and shine some light on those two.

There is an alarming disconnect between the law and those who want to make the law over in their own selfish interest, and these two scare the heck out of me.
This is certainly good news....and the first re-call of a WI senator. Yea!!!
Just to keep things accurate, this statement is not correct: 'A Google search of “Boycott Koch” reveals “about 907,000” pages'. WITHOUT QUOTES the search of "Boycott Koch" does return >900k pages, however most of those do not have that actual phrase and many will contain either one or the other term. The search must be performed using quotes as part of the google search to ensure you are getting that exact phrase. The result is actually 22700, at the moment. Still a significant number.
Try the search "Koch+boycott" (omitting the quotes.) Putting the term in quotes gives you only the pages that have the two words in the exact order. Just now, the plus search returned 926,000 results.

It would be fair to confess, though, that I only looked at the first 50 pages of search results when I wrote the piece.
"America has now heard of the Koch Brothers."

We won't forget the Koch Suckers either... smile :-)
Why does “open and honest" remind me so much of "fair and balanced"?

Good piece. Rated.
I think I would have seen you writing a story about GE. How they cozied up to Obama and received stimulus money, then made billions off it and paid no taxes. I guess this is ok because they are Liberal. What a bunch of crap. If you hate corporate fraud so much you have to hate all corporate fraud. What about the government subsidies to Planned Parenthood and NPR. They are private business receiving tons of government cash. I guess thats ok too. Their is so much corporate welfare and corruption on the left it is preposterous. I forgot about Fanny and Freddie. The leaders of those companies make millions and then go serve in the presidents cabinet. If your going to spout off be consistent.
thoreau said something like: "there are a thousand who hack at the branches of evil, for every one who attacks the root." so do i, but thoreau may have more cred.

it is pointless to rail against the rich, if you accept the rules which create and defend the rich. sooner complain about hyenas who keep eating baby gazelles, they are more likely to become vegetarian than the rich to forsake greed.

as i see no one suggesting democracy and socialism, no cries for revolution, no demands for a constitution which empowers the people, (always excepting myself, of course) i conclude that americans are content with the status quo, or intensely stupid. hmmm.

in fact, most americans are content with the world around them. they don't worry about what is not actively threatening them because daily life is insecure and demands all their concern.

so they complain about the koch brothers, and don't attack the root of the problem: the disenfranchisement of the people from the management of their society.
thank-you so much for speaking about boycotts. I have wanted to write about this possible action in WI, but haven't had the time to get around to it. We've been doing the "big 3" here at least - Kwik Trip (easy b/c there are a ton of other gas stations), Menards (I grew up near the first store and know John Menard), and Walmart (the most difficult one b/c it is the only department store in many rural areas/small cities.

Yesterday we had a recall booth for one of our republican senators stationed on the edge of Walmart's property! That was really satisfying....Keep getting the word out on the Kock brothers. They are funding the state supreme court race election here on Tuesday.

This helps us!!
I'm sorry - this got me so excited that I didn't comment on your stellar writing and your suberb analysis. Thank-you...