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American Politics: The Koch Brother's Integrated Donor Network Alumni' Hall of Shame

Updated on March 10, 2019
My Esoteric profile image

ME has spent most of his retirement from service to the United States studying, thinking, and writing about the country he served.

The Cast of Characters

THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO ATTEND THE KOCH BROTHERS SUMMITS is intended to be secret, so it is hard to determine who the men are who are behind the Dark Money in politics. Fortunately for the long, hard work of journalist Jane Meyer, as well as several people who were willing to "leak" the information, she was able to identity a host of characters in her new book Dark Money.

There is another hub I am writing that discusses the book directly, and another hub titled American Politics: The Criminal (?) World of the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries where I cover the immoral, unethical, and outright criminal behavior of this second largest, privately held empire.

In Dark Money, Jane Meyer exposes as many of the men and woman who are part of the Koch Integrated Donor Network as she could find; she could not find an analogous large set of donors or organizations on the Left, by the way. Below is just a partial list and those with an * are ones covered in this hub,

  1. Stephen Schwarzman - Blackstone Group (private equity fund) - $12.9 billion
  2. Paul Elliott Singer - Elliott Management Corp (hedge fund) - $2.1 billion *
  3. Richard Strong
  4. Robert Mercer - Renaissance Technologies (hedge fund) - $23 billion *
  5. Steven A. Cohen - SAC Capitol Advisors (hedge fund) - $10.8 billion *
  6. Philip Anschutz
  7. Sheldon Adelson
  8. Oliver Grace Jr.
  9. Richard Farmer
  10. Stephen Betchel Jr,
  11. Thomas Steward,
  12. Kenneth G. Langone, Co-founder of Home Depot - $2.7 billion *
  13. Richard DeVos,
  14. James Pope (the man behind the conservative take-over of the NC gov't),
  15. Corbin Robertson Jr.,
  16. Richard Gilliam,
  17. Harold Hamm,
  18. J. Larry Nichols,
  19. Kevin Crutchfield
  20. Richard Mellon Schaife (not a direct member of the KIDN, but coordinates with them; he died in 2014)) - $1.4 billion

Like the Koch's, most of these people have a very colored history in the business world. Let's get started.

Steven A. Cohen


Steven A. Cohen (1956 - )

FORBES, AT ONE POINT, PUT COHEN'S FORTUNE AT $10.8 Billion. Much of it was derived from his enormously successful hedge fund "SAC Capital Advisors" who, in 2012, was facing criminal charges for insider trading. While Cohen wasn't found personally criminal, because the Feds couldn't prove he, the fund's manager, didn't know what his employee's were doing, the employee and the company were found guilty.

Cohen is one of the known Koch Brother's biggest donors who, along with Paul Singer and Stephen Schwarzman, met with other like-minded billionaires during the June 2010 Koch Seminar, a year after President Obama took office. The point of the "summit" was to 1) "educate" the members on how President Obama may adversely affect their fortunes (none ever were, of course, PBO was good to them), 2) strategize about what to do about it, and 3) collect donations to carry out their plans.

The Right-wing propaganda machine puts the Left-wing attempt at the same thing to shame, and Steven Cohen is one of the major sources of money to grease the machine. But, like many of his fellow billionaires, it is tainted money.

As mentioned earlier, SAC Capital Advisors, the company controlled by Cohen, and one of its employees, were found guilty in 2014; SAC was fined $1.8 billion. Oh, by the way, the employee, Mathew Martoma, was the eighth such SAC employee to be indicted and found guilty of the same charge over the life of the company ... and Cohen knew nothing about any of it ... yeah right.

When there is smoke, there is fire; that wasn't Cohen's only legal problems. Cohen's ex-wife came up to the plate as well and filed charges of insider trading as well as racketeering. It was initially dismissed in 2011, but was revived in 2013 by an appeals court. Presumably it is still under litigation.

Paul Elliott Singer


Paul Elliott Singer (1944 - )

PAUL SINGER IS ANOTHER BILLIONAIRE MANAGER OF WHAT SOME say is a ruthless hedge fund, Elliott Management Corporation. He also owned NML Capital Limited in the Cayman Islands. His specialty is "distressed debt acquisition". That means buying debt from failing entities with the view of suing them to recovering their investment plus profit.

Singer is worth around $2.1 billion and, like Steven Cohen, gave a lot of it to the Koch Brothers in the summits they sponsor and is part of the Koch Integrated Donor Network. Singer also funds the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, formerly known as the International Center for Economic Policy Studies, a conservative think tank. The Institute spawned several other think tanks, one for each of the major policy areas. It also created the Veritas Fund to pay for conservative-oriented college courses or individual professors to teach specific subjects to further the conservative cause.

While Paul Singer has not been convicted of anything yet, his moral compass seems to be seriously flawed and he has lost some suits by violating the New York "Champerty" law. These violations lead to the reason his companies are commonly known as "vulture funds", a term Singer rejects. "Champerty" is a brand new concept to me but it has been around since Medieval England times, but, in simple terms it means a violation occurs when an entity acquires a financial interest in another party for the "sole purpose" to litigate in such a way as to make a profit from the investment. In Singer's case, it is buying bad debt at a deep discount with the intent to sue to collect the principal plus interest. Each of the following are examples of this immoral, illegal, and unethical subterfuge:

-- General Motors, the U.S. Treasury, and Delphi: Paul Signer, and some co-investors bought up bankrupt Delphi (this is 2009) debt for 15 cents on the dollar in order to control the bankruptcy proceedings. Without getting into details I will go with the consensus and say that Signer used unscrupulous (but totally legal) financial machinations and litigation to force newly saved GM and the U.S. gov't to pay off the debt they bought at a substantial profit. If the U.S. and GM didn't play ball, Singer would simply liquidate Delphi and drive GM, Chrysler, Ford, AND the country into crisis once more.
-- Peru: In 1996, Elliott bought defaulted Peruvian debt for $11.4 million; it was worth $20.7 million. He then aggressively pursued recovery through New York court asking for judgement that would pay them the $20.7 million plus accumulated interest and other costs. The proceedings showed that Peru had virtually completed final negotiations with creditors in order to qualify a world bank loan when Elliott swooped in to purchase this part of debt from Peruvian banks to whom Peru was the guarantor. Elliott wouldn't play ball and stopped the train. He went to court in New York.
To Elliott's dismay, in 1998, the court ruled that Peru, and some associated banks, were the victims of Paul Singer's Champerty and that the deal was illegal, consequently Singer lost this battle. But, Paul Singer and Elliott Management weren't finished yet. They proceeded to file other suits and restraining orders with U.S. Banks, effectively tying up Peru's ability to deal on the world markets.
He then took advantage from the fact that the former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, was attempting to flee the country due to facing legal proceedings over human rights abuses and corruption, Singer ordered the confiscation of his jet and offered to let him leave the country in exchange for the $58 million payment they thought they were due from the Peruvian treasury, an offer which Fujimori accepted.
-- Argentina: NEWS FLASH dateline 4/13/16 - 15 years after Paul Singer and a group of other vulture investors threw Argentina's economy into a tailspin, Argentina wins a crucial U.S. court case whose effect was to force Singer to settle. In 2001, in the middle of its worst economic crises ever, Argentina defaulted on $95 billion in debt ... not good. In 2002, NML Capital bought $630 million of Argentine debt (face value) for $48 million. Singer calculates that with accrued interest, the package was worth $2.3 billion, and he wanted every dime of it.
Argentina settled with most of its other creditors for about 30 cents on the dollar and a swap for new bonds in 2001 - 2002. Paul Elliott would have none of it for his purpose for buying the debt in the first place was to force Argentina to cough up the $2.3 billion; nothing less would do. And, for that kind of profit, he could afford to wait.
For a whole host of reasons, let alone national pride in not letting this American corporation bully its way into obscene profits from Argentina's misery, they told Singer to stuff it, they weren't paying and Paul Singer & company began their decades long battle with a sovereign nation. Once again, through numerous U.S. court proceedings, they tied Argentina's international and domestic economic activities up in knots; they even seized an Argentinian navel vessel ... but had to give it back for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea declared NML Capitals actions illegal.
In March 2013, Argentina offered up a new plan to settle NML's claim but was rejected by a U.S. Court of Appeals and, in June 2014, U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld the Appeals Court's ruling effectively allows an American company to successfully bring a sovereign nation to its economic knees. As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, Argentina was forced to default on its again in July 2014, the second time in 13 years.
February 2016 saw Singer finally settling for about 75% of what he wanted or an astounding, historic $2.4 billion. But, in typical "Vulture" fashion, Singer filed suit to block Argentina from selling bonds to pay the debt; some think in order to get even more money out of the struggling country.
In March 2016, President Obama traveled to Cuba and then Argentina. While in Argentina, he was apparently persuaded to help end this litigation nightmare for Argentina. Subsequent to his return, the Department of Justice filed an " amicus curiae" brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Second District calling for "a swift resolution of this long-running litigation;" a move that, according to the New York Times, increased "the pressure on a group of holdout bondholders"—including Singer's NML Capital—"that refused to take part in two debt restructurings."
Today, April 14, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld its original decision allowing Argentina to sell its bonds to finally pay off its debt, something they have been trying to do for 16 years. Poor Paul Singer and NML Capital were forced to accept their $2.4 billion settlement.

There are many more examples of this despicable behavior, but I will move on to the next money man behind the Koch Integrated Donor Network.

Robert "Math Whiz" Mercer


Robert Mercer (1946 - )

ROBERT MERCER IS A "MATH WHIZ" WHO IS WORTH AROUND $23 BILLION. He began with IBM and was hired by, and now runs, Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund which specialized in ... you guessed it ... math based stock trading - high frequency trading which has been frequently criticized for destabilizing the stock market. But like Paul Singer's penchant for driving countries into recessions via buying distressed debt, Mercer doesn't mind, and in fact challenges the idea that through the questionable trading methodologies his company uses. other people's fortunes, large and small, are unjustly diminished. Nor will he accept that his trading system introduces artificial, unexpected shocks into market which, in turn, may temporarily destabilize the economy.

Although looked at with a jaundiced eye, what he does is legal under today's stock trading rules. Nevertheless, the stock exchanges have implemented rules, like stopping trading if the market falls or rises to quickly, to mitigate the damage computerized trading may do. What isn't legal, at least according to the IRS, is manipulating trading such that a lower tax rate can be claimed, just for Renaissance Technologies' employees. The IRS has been conducting a six-year investigation into certain of Mercer's trading practices in order to recover $6 BILLION in additional taxes owed. That astounding number is big enough to make a small dent in the national deficit and would even register as a 1.0 earthquake in reducing the national debt.

Oh, by the way, Robert Mercer, through his family's foundation is on this list because of the mind-boggling amount of money they spend to influence national and local politics. I count no less than ten tax deductible, non-profit PACs which he provides substantial sums to whose purposes are to 1) Defeat climate change legislation, 2) Elect Ted Cruz, and 3) Advocate for the return of the Gold Standard among their many causes.

Kenneth G. Lagone


Kenneth G. Langone (1935 - )

"IF IT WASN'T FOR US FAT CATS AND THE ENDOWMENTS WE FUND, every university in the country would be f**ked", so says Ken Langone. Langone co-founded both Home Depot, where he amassed much of his fortune, and ChoicePoint, another successful venture; he is currently an investment banker. He also attempted to buy the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2005; to which there is more to the story.

Unlike many of his fellow billionaires, Langone had a philanthropic streak that benefited real, non-political charities. Charities such Langone has contributed towards charities which fund medical research and treatment and provide education and services to the disadvantaged. These charities have included the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Children's Oncology Society(Ronald McDonald House), Tomorrow's Hope Foundation, the Promise Academy (a New York charter school), Harlem Children's Zone, and the Robin Hood Foundation. Unlike the others, the Robin Hood Foundation does have a libertarian motive behind it, that being ... pushing a totally free-market agenda behind a very worthy charity/educational organization.

But, that aside all of that, it does appear Langone used his money, power, and position to illegally compensate someone who had regulatory authority over him. So, back to the NYSE. Ken Langone, as I suppose many rich men and women do, make a career of being on the boards of many powerful corporations and, in Langone's case, on the board of the non-profit NYSE. If fact, he was chairman of its compensation committee.

In early 2003, Dick Grasso, Chairman and CEO of the NYSE, who is credited with bringing this institution back to health after the terrorist attack on Sept 11, 2001, received a deferred compensation pay package of $140 million; what most outside observers thought was an excessive amount f money. What made it all the more suspect is that the members of the compensation committee who approved it all are senior executives of the very NYSE-listed companies that Grasso regulates, each one hand-picked by Grasso!!

And guess who the NY State's Attorney General was? Mr. Elliott Spitzer! Once the story broke in August 2003, Spitzer would soon pick up the ball and ran with it.

© 2016 Scott Belford


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    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I sent you this earlier

      "In the opinion of those who rank these things, PBO is 17th out of 43 (only two of these organizations included him, even though his term isn't over; the rest will wait until his term is over); 17th is clearly not last (or the most divisive). Nothing changed, We have millions of refugees from the Middle East because G W Bush needlessly and dangerously invaded Iraq and then did a terrible job because he didn't understand who he was fighting or what needed to be done. Then he leaves the makings of ISIS by not securing a Status of Forces Agreement that left large amounts of American troops in Iraq (that was Bush, not PBO) to influence the sectarian Moliki gov't he helped put in place. BTW, 13 rating organizations have an average rating of 34 out of 42 for G W Bush, well

      below PBO."

      Reagan has an average ranking of 15 out of 43, in the same set of observers. (PBO was 17 (so far), go figure)

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, I guess we will have to agree to disagree and let the American public and history decide. The truth usually wins in the end regardless who is spinning. I use Ronald Reagan as my proof. He was demonized by the left while in office, now 25 years later he is respected as one of our best president in modern history. Since you are a big data guy, check out for yourselves. His ranking is right up their and this is rated by historians and the people, not the pundits in media.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      As to what you think is the truth regarding the attack at Benghazi, please read:


      As to whether and how the administration characterized the attacks as terror, keep in mind, the administration must report only what they KNOW, not what they assume to be true. Everybody else, on the other hand, can say what they damn well please regardless of the actual facts known at the time it is said.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      1. Worse, but is that because of PBO or an increasingly vitriolic Right-wing?

      2. Much more respected than it was in 2008

      3. Much better economy, especially when compared to Bush's Great Recession. But, in terms of growth 2001 - 2008, much better. Unemployment, the same, GDP - much higher in real terms, uninterrupted job growth - much longer, and so on and so on

      4. Let me ask you this, would the debt have been anywhere this high had not the GOP caused the Great Recession? The recession has driven about 75% of the debt increase. Also, the debt was increasing dramatically before the recession due to Bush's tax cut's, Iraq war, and poor growth 2005 - 2008

      5. Not as safe because of the Bush caused ISIS. ISIS exists for three reasons, and only three reasons: 1) the Bush invasion of Iraq, 2) Bush's incompetence in prosecuting the war once he started it (because he never took the time to figure out who he chose to fight and how they tick), and 3) signing a status of forces agreement that didn't call for leaving large quantities of troops after we pulled out. Like the recession before it, Obama was handed ISIS by the previous president.

      You are quite correct that his promise of hope and change did not materialize, but look at why ... the Conservative's promise, which they kept, to stop it from happening. It is much easier to stop something than to make it happen. It is harder still to make it happen when someone is actively trying to stop you.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esotreric,

      Let's be honest and answer the following questions.

      1. Is race relations better or worst in 2016 compared to 2008?

      2. Is America's standing in the world more respected or less respected?

      3. Is American economy better today than 2008 and prior?

      4. Is America's debt higher or stayed the same or lower than 2008?

      5. Is the world safer today than 2008 with the rise of ISIS?

      You don't have to take my word. My prediction is that Obama will be ranked one of the worst president in modern times. History will not be kind to him. I am truly regret for the missed opportunities. He could have done so much. His promise of hope and change did not materialize in the positive.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Wow, we are on completely different page on this. I must apologize for breaking my own rule on commenting. I usually suggest to all to make no more then 3 back and forth comments.

      Your simple response to what happened in Benghazi is telling. At least you didn't blame it on the youtube video. The first hand account of those on the ground tell a very different story. The attack carried on for 9 hours. We had plenty of time to send help but someone at the State Department and White House gave a stand down order that lead to the death of the Ambassador. I know you think these are right wing talking points but these are the words of CIA officials on the ground in Benghazi a few miles away. I trust their statements more than our official government lies.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Let's see, terrorists attacked the compound they were at and killed them; people seem to forget that in their hatred for Clinton.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Yes, Yes. Yes. Yes. No, Sometimes, Most of the time. Yes.

      Everybody is biased to one degree or another. But, when a source always takes an extreme side and espouses stupid things like birther and the other off-the-wall myths and fabrications such as Bertel and his associates promote, then they become irrelevant as an information source on any topic. None of those organizations and people you mention, even Fox News, MSNBC and Huffington Post don't. But, you know who does:

      Rush Limbaugh

      Glen Beck




      National Review

      Washington Free Beacon

      Sean Hannity

      Ann Coulter

      and a host of other Right-wing and Left-wing blogs and screeds.

      There aren't any Left-wing examples is because, frankly, don't pay any attention to them and very few are popular enough to have made it to my radar. I only name those is because they are all over the news and make me shudder.

      Who do I pay attention to as news sources?


      POTUS (Sirius/XM)

      and occasionally the Washington Post.

      When somebody makes extreme claims, like global warming is a myth, I rarely, if ever, believe it until I check it out, and that includes the three sources I just mentioned.

      While will use anecdotes to highlight a point, I don't use them as proof of anything; if there are several of them, then that MIGHT indicate a trend. Only masses of properly analyzed data or mounds of believable circumstantial evidence from relatively neutral sources (such as Dark Money).

      Statements like "President Obama has been the most divisive president in modern American politics ..."; which is patently false on its extreme face.

      - PBO is not responsible for 10,000 dead Native Americans like President Jackson is (read about Trail of Tears).

      - PBO is not responsible for dragging America into major economic downturns like Presidents W. Bush, Herbert Hoover, Grant, and several others

      - PBO didn't lead America into stupid, needless wars like President W. Bush did

      - PBO didn't oversee Dredd Scott; President Buchannan did

      - PBO did pull America out of a depression and kept it at a major recession

      - PBO did kill Osama bin Ladin

      - PBO did decimate al Qaeda with drone strikes (Bush did not)

      - PBO, more than any other President except Lincoln and Johnson presided over the largest leap forward in human rights than any other Presidents.

      - In the opinion of those who rank these things, PBO is 17th out of 43 (only two of these organizations included him, even though his term isn't over; the rest will wait until his term is over); 17th is clearly not last (or the most divisive). Nothing changed, We have millions of refugees from the Middle East because G W Bush needlessly and dangerously invaded Iraq and then did a terrible job because he didn't understand who he was fighting or what needed to be done. Then he leaves the makings of ISIS by not securing a Status of Forces Agreement that left large amounts of American troops in Iraq (that was Bush, not PBO) to influence the sectarian Moliki gov't he helped put in place. BTW, 13 rating organizations have an average rating of 34 out of 42 for G W Bush, well below PBO.

      That is "provable" history and not the myth the Right-wing wants us to believe.

      Here is how effective Right-wing propaganda is:

      29% of Louisiana Republicans believe it was Obama who was slow to respond to ... KATRINA! (Only 28% blame Bush)

      30% of Republicans in general and 34% of conservatives think Obama is a Muslim

      An astounding 43% of Republicans (in 2011) thought that Obama was born in a foreign country.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Who do you consider a credible source? The FBI, the IRS, the VA and the EPA? or MSNBC, Huffington Post, The NYT and George Stepanopolus?

      Bias in in the eye of the beholder. We all have bias. It is what you choose not to see that is most revealing.

      President Obama has been the most divisive president in modern American politics. this latest forage into transgender use of bathroom in public schools is just another over the top example. Why is this a top issue now in 2016?

      I do believe Obama helped ISIS expand to what it is today. His withdraw from Iraq was the genesis. His failure to bomb them in the initial phase of ISIS expansion let to their expansion into cities... Now it is much harder to deal with from a military stand point. His incompetency had real consequences. Even today, not having a real strategy to deal with ISIS just exposes his incompetency.

      So let me ask you this question. Why do you suppose we have millions refugees leaving the middle east and is this a good thing for Western Europe? why did we not have this problem under GW Bush? What changed?

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Yes, they made same argument about the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Why should we spend millions... He did more damage to this country single handed and it is the Democrats that protected him. If you care to investigate, go read the Senate report which by the way few Senators actually read. There was much more wrong doing by the Clintons than Monica. The whole was started to decieve the America people and obfuscate a corrupt clinton machine. You can choose to ignore them and even be part of the defense. But don't tell us you are fair minded.

      Let say I buy into your argument that 7 investigations into Bengazi has proven nothing. Let me ask you this simple question. What happened there to cause the death of 4 Americans?

      The telling sign about those investigations are that no one that was in Bengazhi were called to testify. They were silenced under the cloak of national security... The story of Bengazi were documented by film and books written by people that were on the ground.

      I can lead you to water but can't make you drink.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Further, Charles Bartel (from you article) is not credible. He believes PBO is not an American, that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the White House, and that PBO personally started ISIL. Please find a source that is neutral.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      You are falling in the political extremist trap, presuming guilt before it is proven, aren't you. (I phrase it that way because the far end of the political spectrum on either end exhibit that characteristic).

      Petraeus pled guilty, didn't he.

      Exactly how many Republican investigations do you need clearing Clinton on Benghazi to convince you she had nothing to do with it? So far there have been 7, count them 7 investigations led by your brother conservatives which have cleared Clinton. But, for reasons known only to you and God, you won't believe them and insist on spending millions more tax payers dollars trying to find something that is simply not there.

      This kind of conduct is why it is very hard to take conservative claims seriously. You really need to throw away your script, bumper stickers, and sound bites and begin thinking for yourself; you are clearly an intelligent guy, use it, do the independent research.

      Where do you fall on my RWA survey, by the way?

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      A new article on the Clinton Foundation -

      Why am I not surprised?

      Your comment on Petrarus is only more proof how biased you are on this issue. I don't recall over 100 FBI agents investigating Petrarus. His indiscresion caused him his job and reputation... Meanwhile Clinton's arrogance and entitlement and abuse of power and lies on Benghazi lead to her running for the highest office. Yes, there is no comparison.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Actually, no I don't, so long as it was vetted by someone in the State Dept responsible for making sure there are no shenanigans.

      The critical sentence in the link, which supports the claim that Bill got lots of money making speeches, is -

      "State Department ethics officials had to sign off on these speaking engagements, but rarely did they say Clinton could not accept payment for a particular speech."

      Note the the word 'rarely' was used which implies that at least on one occasion, the ethics watchdog found a problem and would let Clinton accept the money.

      Next is the complete refutation of the Uranium One link. The two key parts of this story are:

      1. Even if Clinton had wanted to make sure the sale was approved, it wouldn’t have been possible for her to do it on her own.

      2. "What’s the evidence in Clinton’s favor? Even if Clinton had wanted to make sure the sale was approved, it wouldn’t have been possible for her to do it on her own. CFIUS [the committee that needs to approve the sale] is made up of not only the Secretary of State, but also the secretaries of Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, and Energy, as well as the heads of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. "

      I am not a Clinton apologist, far from it. Instead, I am a pragmatic realist who does a ton of research and knows most of the facts. I am guessing however, any Clinton supporter is a Clinton apologist. While there may be some of those, I am not one of them.

      Her making the decision to use a personal server is clearly not part of the vast Right-wing conspiracy; nor was the single GOP investigation into it part of that conspiracy. In fact, so far I haven't seen any evidence yet that the conspiracy (which does exist) is taking advantage of that mistake.

      I'll need to find it again, but in her book, Jane Meyer quoted 'and this is where my memory fails me' one of the main players freely and publically admitted that they were the right-wing conspiracy HRC is afraid of.

      You say "he and her aides and her friend Sidney Blumenthal miss handled classified documents over her 4 years at the State Department. ".

      Where are your sources to verify the accusation the Right so causally tosses out. So far, no mishandling has been uncovered yet; although I imagine there is an investigation as to how what ended up to, after the fact, be on HRC's server. So far, she is telling the truth that no information that was marked Classified was sent to or from her.

      As many have observed before, Petraeus "knowingly" provided classified data to his mistress who was not authorized to have it - that is a world of difference and it is a big red-herring to use it.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, so you don't see anything wrong legal or otherwise with Bill Clinton receiving 700k for a speech in Russia and then the State Department approval for sale of Uranium company?

      The Clinton foundation has collected hundreds of million and yet has given very little to charity organizations. Such that Charity watchdog Charity Navigator cannot rate the organization for lack of transparency.

      You are a Clinton apologist and I get it. They can do no wrong in your eyes. You are entitled to your bias. But don't tell us you are going by the book. Just because they have not been indicted yet, does not mean they are guiltless. I suppose you think the email is a vast right wing conspiracy to bring done Mrs. Clinton. Yet, she brought this on herself. She chose to create a personal server. No right wing fanatic forced her... She and her aides and her friend Sidney Blumenthal miss handled classified documents over her 4 years at the State Department. I suppose that is no big deal either. What did you think about General Petrous's indiscretions? It is funny how the Obama Administration is selective in their prosecutions. I guess that is the right wing's fault.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      So cleaning up Dead Lake Erie was a bad thing. Lessening considerably the smog in Los Angeles is a bad thing, is that what you are saying?

      If you can prove to me that the books and documentaries are produced by truly unbiased authors, then I will pay attention to them, otherwise, they aren't worth pursuing.

      I still believe in innocent until proven guilty, sorry.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      The EPA is one of the worst agency. The military on the hand is one of the few arms of government that was numerated by the Constitution and necessary for national defense.

      The Clinton Foundation is a private slush fund used by the Clinton's to enrich their family and froends. There has been numerous books written on this topic and a new film is about to be released exposing the Clinton Cash. If you want legal documents, they don't exist yet because they are still being investigated by the FBI, another failed agency in my opinion.

      The term limited government is not a right wing term but from the Constitution. Anyone who knows the Constitution should know that.

      A few of my hubs that may explain things in more detail...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      IBM -

      Also, I was one of IBM's guinea pigs who helped perfect PL1 because it didn't work right when initially released, a habit IBM was known for.

      That said, I really don't hold IBM up as an example of a bad company, it isn't really; there are way too many others who are far worse.

      Reread points 14, 15, and 16 regarding.

      Since I am retired Army and retired AF civil service, I can tell you first hand that your comment about motivation is WAY off the mark. As with any organization, including my own company, they are a mixture of motivated, not motivated, and super motivated. I know many more examples of the former and latter; and very few of the middle (unfortunately one of them worked for me; she was ultimately fired)

      You are simply buying into the Right-wing propaganda.

      Federal organizations which properly perform their missions?



      Air Force







      Dept of Agriculture

      Dept of Labor

      Dept of Interior

      Small Business Administration

      and so on and so on.

      Each and every one of those has accomplished "much more good" than bad.

      As to "limited". Since that is an illusive term with many meanings all I am left with is that there has not been a government since Washington that met the Right-wings apparent definition of "limited".

      But point in fact; "limited" to the Framers meant "limited" powers. There were certain broad powers the central gov't was to have, certain broad powers the States were to have, certain broad powers the national and State governments would share. Both the States and the Federal government have tried to overstep those boundaries and it is the job of the courts to figure it out.

      "The private foundations like the Clinton foundation (a Democrat) as recently exposed is corrupt and in fact broke the law " - more Right-wing propaganda. Please provide me the court citations that found this foundation guilty of breaking the law (or are you one of those Americans who doesn't believe in the Constitutions provision that people (and organizations) are innocent until proven guilty?

      I don't claim about the 501 (c) (x), I know because I do the research. You will get a picture of it when I publish a hub that I am working on about them.

      Any bias I have is the result of research and philosophical belief. Have I been wrong in some of my preconceived ideas before I researched, yep, a few times; but then I admit it when I do.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, you claim to look at the numbers and yet you proceed to make generalities. I worked for a large private organization, IBM, and they abide by 3 beliefs that have served them well. It is a responsible corp. that took care of their customers and their employees very well. They also have a corp. office that deals with community relations that donated lots of money for good causes... Your observation does not hold true. As to government agencies, you did not answer my question. The reason is, you can't find one agency that has done a great job. We conservatives believes in limited government, NOT no government, as the Constitution dictates. The reason many government agencies fail is because of lack of motivation. The people that work there have little motivation to improve (prime example is the VA). What I prefer is private organizations and charities that will do a much better job because they are motivated by their good intentions.

      The private foundations like the Clinton foundation (a Democrat) as recently exposed is corrupt and in fact broke the law and yet no consequences because people like you are so blinded by your bias that by your own words claim Republicans are 10 times worse, which I don't buy. There are probably equal miss deeds on both sides. That is why we are in such dire straights now. I much prefer a conservative in power that follows the Constitution. Perhaps, one day, we will get there and see how things should be run in government.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      How am I trying to convince you that the "source of all evil ..."? My beliefs are far from that. What I have come to believe is colored by a lot research, 55 years of observation, and a modicum of understanding of human nature.

      Here is what I have observed:

      1. Small businesses "tend" to be customer, employee friendly, and somewhat environmentally conscience

      2. Medium sized businesses and small corporations tend to be customer friendly, employee neutral, and somewhat environmentally conscience

      3 Large and mega-corporations tend to be unfriendly to all three sectors, as well as very susceptible to corruption at the executive level.

      4. Unlike the smaller businesses, the motto of large and mega-corporations tends to be "to sell a product (service) of the lowest quality, at the highest price, and with the worst customer service possible that still generates an acceptable profit"

      5. Large and mega-corporations tend toward doing "what ever it takes" to eliminate competition, regardless of the ethics and legality.

      6. Large and mega-corporations tend toward illegal lobbying and funding donor networks with hundreds of millions in Dark Money

      7 Neither 3, 4, 5, and 6 are particularly true of smaller private enterprises

      8. Only government, at all levels, is in a position and has the power to mitigate the human and environmental devastation 3, 4, 5, and 6 causes to society and individuals

      9. Yes, politicians tend to be susceptible to corruption.

      10. The lower in the level of government, the more corruptible they become.

      11. The larger the legislature, the less likely individual member corruption will influence the outcome

      12. The People are responsible for their own government and all of the good and bad that flows from it.

      13. At the end of the day, it is the People who are responsible for the divisive government we have today

      14. The use of the word "tend(s)" is purposeful and means "not 100% but some lesser number"; it does not mean "All".

      15. Anecdotal evidence does not prove anything

      16. One, two, or a few bad apples does not mean the whole barrel is bad or not worthwhile.

      17. The more a person tends toward political extremes, the more likely they are to want to bring down the whole because they are unwilling to compromise on ANY part of their personal philosophy; e.g. "throw the baby out with the bath water" or "to cut off your nose to spite your face" syndrome.

      Your questions about government agencies falls into the last category. Every one of those agencies you mentioned (save the IRS) have done far more good than they have done bad. Yet because they have done some bad things, you want to throw away all of the good. The IRS deserves special notice as their purpose is not to regulate, just collect your money and follow the law as best they can.

      If you are thinking about charitable organization thing, after reading Dark Money, I understand why they were so cautious in awarding tax exempt status to sham charities that front for political organizations as well as why it was "mostly" conservative groups that were scrutinized. For every 1 Left-leaning sham charity there were 10 Right-leaning ones. To pick 20% (2) of the Left-leaning ones and 80% (8) of the Right-leaning ones would be to unfairly pick on the Left. Consequently, the correct number sham charities to investigate would be 10 conservative ones for each liberal ones; which was what the IRS was doing.

      Can I demonstrate my 10 to 1 ratio? Yes I can, the more I look into it, the higher that ratio becomes.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, you make some good points and we do share some common grounds on regulation but you can't convince me that the source of all evil is the private sector and big government is the only savior. Just look at all the screw up of government agencies from the EPA to the VA to the NSA to the IRS... I could go on and on but let me put that as a challenge to you. Name one government agency that has done such a great job that you would want it to do more?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      When you say "There are limits to what government can do and should do. That's where we disagree."; actually we don't. What we disagree on is on what those limits are. For example, should the gov't limit the amount of money a CEO can earn when it goes well beyond the value of the CEO? No, I don't, its none of the gov'ts business.

      But, to your EPA example. No, the government doesn't have the right to regulate the coal industry "with the purpose" of driving it out of business. The government "does" have the right to regulate the pollution caused by burning coal. As it happens, coal is such a detriment to the health of the earth, if the coal industry can't adapt and find a way to reduce the harmful emission down to a livable level, then we don't need dirty coal; the earth can't afford dirty coal.

      But, to support you a bit, coal is clearly in a class by itself in terms of harm it can do if they can't find a "clean coal" alternative. But, incandescent light bulbs are not. Do they waste bunches of electricity yes, but does it rise to the level of a threat to the environment? I don't think so and the regulation banning their production was wrong.

      Many people's livelihoods depended on the horse and buggy as well, but times change and people adapt. The problem is too many people fight against inevitable change and end up leaving themselves in the dust of progress.

      The "winners and losers" catchphrase sounds nice, but is essentially meaningless. The government has always been in that business, from the first time in the early 1800s when industry wanted the gov't to step in on their side vs labor. It wasn't until the Great Depression when the time came, government moved to give labor a fair shake.

      It is in the governments interest to look ahead at the needs of the country and plan for them. That is why there is a huge R&D budget whose purpose is to do the basic research large corporations stopped doing in the early 1900s (if I remember right). Corporations began looking at basic research only in terms of immediate benefit to the bottom line, instead of the long-term view.

      The world is far down the road of having to minimize its dependence on fossil fuel. The problem is the Right and major corporations refuse to accept that fact and plan for a future with much reduced oil available. In the face of such staunch opposition, it is incumbent on a good government to do those things needed to prepare for the future and investing in alternative energy sources. That includes funding start-ups in new technology (something the major corps should be doing themselves, but short-term thinking prevents them from doing so) which time has finally shown was very successful, in spite of such notorious failures of Solyndra; which turned out to be a rare failure of all the projects Bush and Obama funded.

      The free-market will not react to global warming until Florida sinks below the waves; it isn't built that way. For the short time a free-market actually works (before the winners use there newly found power to subvert the free-market), it is concerned only with the short-term bottom line. The so-called free market simply does not work in planning for the future. If left to the free-market, the world would have to almost run out of oil before any real innovation takes hold. Before that happens, the barriers to entry in such markets are too high for anybody but established major corporations, and as we have seen, they have no interest in doing anything.

      That is why gov't MUST fill that role and "prime the pump" so to speak.

      Conservative economic theory, btw, has never worked throughout the history of America. Conservative economics is responsible for some type of financial recession once every 5 years, on average, and a major recession every 8 or 9 years for the period 1815 - 1933. Since 1937, when we changed to Keynesian-based system, we haven't had even ONE major recession. It going back to conservative economics to produce another one in 2008.

      I know that is hard to swallow for a conservative, it is nevertheless true. See

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, You are jumping to conclusions. As a conservative, I am not saying to do nothing. Government has a role to play by keeping the playing field fair and keeping things like monopoly from running the show. It is also there to keep the criminal element in check whether it is the mafia or insider trading and a slew of other white collar crimes. There are limits to what government can do and should do. That's where we disagree. For example, I do not think the EPA should regulate the coal industry out of business just because of climate change. Many people's livelifood depends on that industry. It is not the job of the government to pick winners and losers. Why should they give loans and tax credits to solar and wind industry so they can waste out tax dollars. It is better to let the free market decide which energy is most efficient and most economical.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      So all of the things things that the above crooks and the Koch industries destroying the economy just goes with the territory; that you must accept all of the bad without trying to correct it for the good that corporations admittedly do.

      Jack, you seem stuck with the idea that because I think that individual large corporations are, by and large, have proven to be corrupt that corporations are, per se. bad. I don't. A corporate entity is a thing, an idea to further earning a profit. Nothing wrong with that, it is one of the things that lead to economic growth.

      But, and it is a big but, corporations are run by fallible human beings. And the bigger the organization they run, the more probable it is that they will become corrupt and abusive ... because they can and there is nobody to stop them. This dynamic has been proven time and again throughout the centuries.

      The adage "Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely"

      Consequently, since one wants the advantages of a corporation, one must do something that will minimize the disadvantages ... and that means government regulation.

      But then, you oppose regulating business to reduce corruption, dishonesty, and unethical behavior. So, where does that leave us? In a world where you have a few haves and a massive amount of don't haves with little in between, and where you have a few massive corporations (because there are no regulations preventing them from forcing competitors out of business or simply buying them up) and a plethora of local cottage industries destined to support only their owners. Without proper government regulations, that is what the free-market quickly devolves into ... it's a mathematical certainty.

      That my friend is the world you are arguing to have, and this world actually existed back in the days just after feudalism and the heyday of industrialization before gov't regulation finally kicked in.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My personal opinion is that Corp. entities is part of the free enterprise system and capitalism. They go hand in hand. Without these Corp., where do you think jobs and wealth creation and innovation and competition and investments comes from? It is easy to bash large successful companies and blame them for greed and so on but I rather have that than poor economic growth where everyone is equally poor as in Cuba and Venezuela and a host of socialist and communist governments.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      In that article, it says

      “As the Kochs are confirming, Fred Koch was integrally involved in the creation of a German refinery that Adolf Hitler personally greenlighted. Splitting-hairs by disaggregating which parts of the equipment Fred Koch provided is a distraction,” she said in a statement. “Without the cracking unit, which Fred Koch designed, there would be no refinery.”

      Fred Koch met with Hitler on many occasions prior to WW II, I can't remember if Mayer reported meetings during the beginning of WW II. Hitler was not a nice guy, the persecution of the Jews was well under way and Koch purposefully enabled him.

      Are you seriously comparing "people counting equipment" with bomber and fighter fueling oil cracking equipment. Did the IBM execs sidle up with Hitler and his minions on a regular basis. Did IBM execs publicly endorse Hitler? Fred Koch did, even during WW II.

      In any case, your IBM example only reinforces my dim view of corporate ethics, meaning the lack there of.

      However, IBM did not go on to create a new, behind-the-scenes political party like the Koch's have.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, I came across this article where the company deny the charges made in the book -

      Some times, there are two sides to the story. I am reminded years ago, when IBM was charged with helping the Nazi with their census equipment. The story is similar because that was before the war and IBM as with many international companies did do business with pre-war Germany. After the war started, IBM supported the war efforts and converted their factories to help make armament for the Defense department. It also created a whole division FSD Federal Systems Division to fulfill defense contracts with computers and such. Similar charges were made against the Vatican during the war which later were proven false...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      While not particularly pertinent to the point of this up, but yes, I am suggesting that. What I asserted concerning Hitler and Stalin (who he later repudiated, Stalin, not Hitler) is documented; he did help Hitler's war effort with full knowledge of what his refined oil was going to be used for. It did, in fact, assist in Hitler killing many European citizens as well as Allied forces.

      Having said that, what was just as unethical, but completely in line with who they are, was the established oil company's wrongly contesting his patent and freezing him out of the U.S. market. Fred Koch never gave up his love of Hitler.

      That was Fred Koch, the father. The same is very true of Charles and David Koch. The details are in a hub dedicated to just the Kochs ...

      Of course Koch's book paints a different picture, he is being self-serving. What I have offered is from an unbiased source.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      4 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Your hub is very interesting. You seem to imply that the Koch brothers got their wealth unethically but I fail to see the evidence. In my reading of the book by Charles Koch, "Good Profits", it paints a very different picture.

      You may not agree with their political views but if you have a problem with their business ethics, please specify in detail.


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