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Koch Brothers Donation Brings Attention To Inadequacies Of Indigent Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense Attorney In Court

The Koch Brothers are putting their money behind an effort to revamp and improve the public defender system throughout the country:

The Koch brothers have been pouring tens of millions of dollars into efforts to elect Republicans next month. Now they are directing money to a more obscure cause.

Koch Industries, in partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is financing a program to provide scholarships and training for public defenders. The grant will also pay for a review of indigent defense programs to see what works in providing legal representation to those who can’t afford it.

Charles G. Koch, the chairman of Koch Industries, said in a statement that the grant was a way “to make the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to counsel a reality for all Americans, especially those who are the most disadvantaged in our society.”

The company’s interest grew out of its own experience during a criminal case in Texas and underscores a growing area of common ground between conservatives and progressives on criminal justice issues like sentencing reform.

Officials with Koch Industries and the lawyers association would not disclose how much was being spent, but said it was in the six figures.

By and large, the men and women who work every day in public defenders offices across the nation are good attorneys who are doing their best to try to ensure that people who are accused of crimes are getting the best defense, and the best legal advice, possible. Having spent some time many years ago dabbling in criminal law as a private attorney, I can attest to the fact that it is often difficult, thankless work and that many of the clients you run across are, shall  we say less than desirable. Desirable or not, however, the Sixth Amendment, and the court cases that have interpreted over the years, provides that they are entitled to be defended when accused of a crime that, under the law, they are considered to be innocent of until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Quite often, representing a criminal defendant means raising the kinds of defenses that could end up freeing someone who may have actually committed a crime, or getting them a deal that greatly reduces the charges against them and the time that they might spend incarcerated. This happens most often, though, when there is insufficient evidence to convict, or when there has been misconduct by the police or prosecutors that constitutes a violation of the Defendant’s rights. Because of that, these criminal defense attorneys quite often earn the scorn of the public because of their role in freeing a “guilty” person when, in reality, they are performing an essential Constitutional function.

All that being said, the state of America’s public defender system is, in a word, pathetic. In most major cities the offices, while staffed by able and competent attorneys, including many who go on to have stellar legal careers in the private and public sectors, are generally understaffed and overworked. In less populated areas of the country, the offices are even more over-worked or they don’t exist at all, meaning that the job of providing a defense to people who are accused of a crime but can’t afford an attorney falls on local lawyers who agree to service either pro bono or at fees that are greatly reduced from what they normally charged. They operate in an environment where the state has virtually unlimited resources for forensic analysis, DNA experts, psychologists, and a whole host of other experts. By contrast, depending on the state public defenders and pro bono defenders have to beg the court for approval for the funding to hire even a single expert on their client’s behalf, even one that could be crucial to their defense. This, along with the fact that, unfortunately, some of the people who end up defending indigent criminal defendants don’t measure up to the appropriate levels of competence even when they aren’t overworked, is one of the reasons why we see so many stories about people who have been held in prison. and even on Death Row, even though subsequent analysis of the evidence in their case makes clear that there’s no way they could have been guilty of the crime. It’s also a problem that cuts across partisan boundaries; it is as much of a problem in deep blue New York and Illinois as it is in purple Virginia and deep red Texas.

Unfortunately, reforming the indigent criminal defense is not exactly a political priority. Politicians are more interested in being tough on crime than allocating money for the people who defend the criminals that their ever expanding network of criminal statutes bring before the courts, and who wants to be known as the guy who gave more money to lawyers who “defend criminals”? In some states, this is resulted in public defenders going on temporary work stoppages in order to bring public attention to the issues they face, and in some cases, to courts stepping in and ordering that the states provide better funding for a program that is essential to the functioning of the criminal justice system. That’s why its good to see programs like the ones that the Koch Brothers are donating to here. The money they put into it won’t solve all the problems, of course, but it’s a start and, maybe, it will help draw attention to an issue that most people ignore.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Crusty Dem says:

    9 figures for GOP candidates, 6 figures for public defenders. 0.1% humanitarians…

    I suspect that Koch Industries has spent at least 100x as much on ads to improve their standing in public opinion, given the frequency of ads on my TV (almost as saturating as political ads).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

  2. C. Clavin says:

    The Koch’s are a fascinating study in dichotomy…or perhaps even Tao. They do both good and evil. I truly appreciate that they contribute to the Arts…and to the Sciences. The Lincoln Center, and Cold Spring Harbor Labs are two organizations that I know benefit from their generosity.

    Officials with Koch Industries and the lawyers association would not disclose how much was being spent, but said it was in the six figures.

    Unfortunately for our Nation…they are far more miscreant than moral beacon….six-figures is bubkis. Eliminating the welfare they collect…in the form of direct and indirect subsidies…would extend well into 10-figures.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

  3. John D'Geek says:

    What we need to do is get the Koch Brothers and Hillary Clinton on SNL — agreeing on the issue. I’m sure the writers could come up with something awesome …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. al-Ameda says:

    I guess this is an even-up for supporting vote suppression?

    No matter, this is a good cause to work on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. Davebo says:

    Complaining that while they give to a worthy cause yet don’t, in your opinion, give enough is a little silly.

    Why not just say Kudos on them and leave it at that.

    Kudos Koch Bros!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  6. Franklin says:

    Good for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @Davebo:
    Sorry…gotta call BS on that.
    They are the biggest polluter of the air and water that we breathe and we drink in the United States….and they reap billions of dollars in direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies for their trouble.
    Anything they do needs to be noted in that context.

    “Well sure we are destroying the planet and making a handsome profit for doing so, but we gave a couple hundred thousand dollars to the public defenders.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Noblesse oblige. They’re just trying to be good overlords. After all, tossing the occasional scrap from your table is good form. Makes the other overlords nod approvingly and invite you to parties.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3

  9. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: The very reason they stole millions in oil from native american lands: to spare benighted savages the burden of dealing with all that wealth. That’s the Kochs, always thinking of what’s best for little people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Crusty Dem: 9 figures for GOP candidates, 6 figures for public defenders. 0.1% humanitarians…

    Here’s over a quarter of a billion dollars that says you’re full of crap.

    The last time I checked, $295 million had nine figures.

    $295,000,000.00 — yup, nine figures. And that’s just four donations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Here’s another link that should blow a few very small minds here. A fun quote:

    “Koch Industries, Inc. takes a leadership role in the promotion of biodiversity, wildlife habitat enhancement, land restoration and conservation education,” according to Wildlife Habitat Council president Robert Johnson. “Koch and its subsidiaries maintain Council-certified programs at 10 facilities throughout the United States,” including Montana’s 300,000-acre Matador Cattle Company Beaverhead Ranch.

    Flint Hills Resources (a Koch company) helps Ducks Unlimited maintain 36,000 acres of waterfowl habitat on 116 Minnesota lakes. Thus, Ducks Unlimited gave the company its Emerald Teal Award.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Any attempt to do what you are doing is also called lying.
    You have no idea what their donations are because of SCOTUS decisions that enable their anonymity.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 6

  13. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: The Wildlife Habitat Council is a public relations greenwashing program for corporate malefactors to burnish a cleaner image.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  14. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Ducks Unlimited maintain 36,000 acres of waterfowl habitat on 116 Minnesota lakes. Thus, Ducks Unlimited gave the company its Emerald Teal Award.

    Ducks Unlimited is basically a hunting group. They preserve wetlands so that there will be ducks for people to kill

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Yup, you’re still a dumbass.

    Those were four public donations that added up to almost $300 million dollars. The inference given was “9 figures for GOP candidates, 6 figures for public defenders. 0.1% humanitarians…”

    Let’s do a bit of math. (I know that’ll confuse you, but let’s play along.) Let’s say that that $295 million was their total donations for humanitarian causes. It hardly is, but we’ll say it is. If that represents 0.1% of their donations, then they have given $294,705,000,000.00 to non-humanitarian causes. That’s $295 BILLION dollars.

    And as noted, that was assuming that the four donations cited in that article are their ONLY donations, which is certainly not the case. So that number is almost certainly way too low.

    I know it sucks when the guys you want to demonize turn out to not be as demonic as you wish, but suck it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Ducks Unlimited is basically a hunting group. They preserve wetlands so that there will be ducks for people to kill

    And hunters are very interested in preserving wildlife. They want to keep hunting.

    When was the last time we wiped out a USEFUL species? We kill millions of cows and chickens and pigs every year. Why aren’t they endangered?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 14

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Quit lying.
    You have no idea what they have donated to who.
    To pretend otherwise is to lie…which of course you do pathologically.
    Just stop.
    Or maybe you aren’t lying and are just another foolish dupe.
    In either case whatever they give or who they give it to not ever going to negate the fact that they are the countries biggest polluter of air and water.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    And of course the Koch’s kill their employees…in true gilded-age tradition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  19. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san: Is this a bad or impure motive for preserving the environment?

    Don’t get me wrong, no one loves pure motives more than me, but I’ll take the impure motive if it gets the same result and there aren’t any upstanding billionaires throwing money around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    When was the last time we wiped out a USEFUL species?

    Every species is useful. Just because they are useful and important in ways that are far beyond you comprehension does not make them expendable.

    And hunters are very interested in preserving wildlife.

    Yes, they want ducks to bear young so they they can kill a creature that weighs three pound with a shotgun. Thank you Mr. Orwell

    Seriously dude, don’t bother responding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  21. anjin-san says:

    @Tillman:

    Is this a bad or impure motive for preserving the environment?

    It’s something of a devils bargain. Preserve wetlands so that we can kill the things that live there. It would make more sense if people in 21st century America needed to hunt to eat. But they don’t. As it is, its killing living things for fun, and of course, entertainment. We don’t value life, and then we wonder why children are gunned down in our country on a regular basis.

    A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

    Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

    Albert Einstein

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @Tillman:
    Ducks Unlimited is a conservation group…not a preservation group.
    Although they receive a lot of funding from fossil fuel groups…I believe they have fought against fracking as it reduces water resources.
    They are fairly benign I think.
    And duck is delicious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  23. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:

    in ways that are far beyond you comprehension

    Leapin’ lizards…that opens some territory, doesn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  24. Anonne says:

    It only came about because of self interest.

    The company’s interest grew out of its own experience during a criminal case in Texas

    Anything altruistic they do is because something bad happened to them or someone that they know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  25. stonetools says:

    Do you know who was a bad actor, but was also a vegetarian who abhorred hunting and loved dogs and small children?
    OK, more seriously, the Kochs are to be commended to contributing to one good cause as well as contributions generally to the arts and sciences. I’ll leave it at that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  26. Moosebreath says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “When was the last time we wiped out a USEFUL species? We kill millions of cows and chickens and pigs every year. Why aren’t they endangered?”

    Among lots of other examples, the passenger pigeon was a food source:

    “The extinction of the passenger pigeon had two major causes: commercial exploitation of pigeon meat on a massive scale and loss of habitat.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  27. anjin-san says:

    We kill millions of cows and chickens and pigs every year. Why aren’t they endangered?”

    Because we have no problem using factory farming/systematic cruelly/environment destruction so that we can have an endless supply of unhealthy food, thus ensuring corporate profits?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  28. Crusty Dem says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I don’t think I stated, at any point, that they never gave any money to any charities. They’ve been quite generous with MIT for cancer research (after one developed cancer) and the NYC ballet. But still, if you want to compare donations to net worth, we could compare their $300 million in charitable donations to their $100 billion net worth.

    So they’re 0.3% humanitarians.

    I regret the error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  29. Ben Wolf says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    They’ve been quite generous with MIT for cancer research. . .

    I wouldn’t call it generous, given their donation was a couple percent of the billions they lobbied to have cut from the National Institutes of Health.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  30. Davebo says:

    Seriously, you’re going to deride Ducks Unlimited because it’s supported by duck hunters?

    Is the Coastal Conservation Association to be derided because it’s supported by fisherman?

    Get real. In many states in America were it not for revenue generated from hunting and fishing licenses there would be no state sponsored conservation efforts.

    The hunter and fisherman are not only among the most active environmentalists but they are all environmentalists best friends.

    As opposed to those who just piss and moan about issue like the loss of wetlands or lousy game management from their computers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  31. anjin-san says:

    @Davebo:

    As opposed to those who just piss and moan about issue like the loss of wetlands or lousy game management from their computers.

    Since you don’t have any idea about the efforts my wife and I have made in regards to conservation, I will just write this off as someone not knowing that they are talking about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  32. James Pearce says:

    I just can’t join in on the Koch-hate. I may disagree with their politics, but I think they provide a template for wealthy people to engage in worldly affairs.

    It’s their brother I can’t stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. wr says:

    If they actually cared about this issue, instead of paying peanuts for a “study,” they could call a few of the Republican office holders they own and suggest they stop defunding the public defender’s office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  34. Mikey says:

    David Koch’s philanthropy is extensive. According to Wikipedia:

    Since 2000, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation has pledged or contributed more than $750 million to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, arts, cultural institutions, and public policy studies.

    About 15 years ago, I was doing some tech work installing business telephone systems. I did one in Koch’s office in Manhattan. Nice office, never saw the man. I was basically there by myself most of the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. john says:

    @anjin-san:

    Ducks Unlimited is basically a hunting group. They preserve wetlands so that there will be ducks for people to kill

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  36. Davebo says:

    @anjin-san:

    I don’t believe I pointed the comment at you. As a matter of fact, I know I didn’t.

    So I guess I do know “that” I’m talking about.

    I get it. You are against hunting. You may refuse to order Chilean Sea Bass (as if they still existed) or Mahi Mahi when out to dinner. And that’s fine if you do.

    I don’t duck hunt. But I enjoy catching and eating the occasional Red Snapper, Spring Chinook Salmoon, Halibut and yes Mahi Mahi. And I really don’t feel guilty at all about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  37. Davebo says:

    Damn, now I feel like a fishing trip! Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder…. MMMMmmmm…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. Franklin says:

    @anjin-san:

    Every species is useful. Just because they are useful and important in ways that are far beyond you comprehension does not make them expendable.

    Thank you for responding to the single dumbest thing Jenos has ever said. Maybe he said it in jest. But for some reason I don’t think he understands the word ecosystem. Nor does he understand that the world wasn’t made for humans alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  39. anjin-san says:

    @Davebo:

    Your comment about “People who bitch and moan” was in a reply to something I said, so I kinda assumed it was pointed at me. Anyway, no harm, no foul.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  40. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Pearce: I don’t hate the Kochs, I feel great compassion for them as a family of obsessive-compulsive psychopaths, deeply damaged by a deranged father. No healthy person devotes their lives to the accumulation of wealth and power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  41. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Crusty Dem: Even so, it is appropriated to recognize people when they do the right thing–especially in cases where the right thing is what they pick infrequently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Moosebreath: I asked when the last time we wiped out a useful species. You cited the passenger pigeon — the last of which died just barely over 100 years ago.

    I think we’ve gotten a lot better in the last century about that sort of thing, and that it’s been a century since your example would be a point in my favor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Do you even have a source for your frothings, or do you just imagine the worst things possible and assign them to the Koch brothers?

    And no, Democratic Underground doesn’t count.

    I just did a quick Googling, and one seemingly credible source (at least, “credible” to the left) puts them at the 14th worst polluter in the US. The same source talks about their political expenditures: $22 million for federal candidates, $79 million in lobbying, and $1 million opposing California’s Proposition 23.

    On the other hand, it talks about Keystone XL, which would actually cost the Koch Brothers a little money. Not as much as Warren Buffett would lose, of course, nowhere near as much, but it would cost them a bit in the long term.

    As for you, Cliffy, I’d invest in rags and squeegees. I can only imagine how much spittle must be covering your monitor whenever the Koch Brothers come up.

    But yeah, Cliffy. Your diseased ravings aren’t even entertaining.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  44. Tillman says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    No healthy person devotes their lives to the accumulation of wealth and power.

    Nah, that’s not what a shockingly large amount of the population does every day of their lives. No sir. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  45. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    useful species

    I would think that the importance of biodiversity is an easy concept to grasp. Apparently not, at least in your case.

    Rates of extinction

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Oh, look, a busted link for a worthless diversion. How… symbolic.

    Hey, why don’t you haul yourself back from the SQUIRREL!!! moment and join Cliffy in his Koch psychosis?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  47. Hal_10000 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I wouldn’t call it generous, given their donation was a couple percent of the billions they lobbied to have cut from the National Institutes of Health.

    Wrong. The Kochs are on record — numerous times — as opposing cuts to NIH.

    I am amazed — although I shouldn’t be — by the anti-Koch dementia that grips much of the Left Wing these days. The Koch Brothers have vocally supported gay rights and abortions rights (although not with the same weight they bring to economic issues). They funded the BEST study, which produced the most comprehensive temperature record to date and put the last nail in the “the globe’s not warming” nonsense (although I don’t think that’s what they intended, it’s what happened). And this isn’t the first time they’ve been active in the arena of criminal defense. They’ve been on this subject for years.

    I’m not here to laud them. They are way too into crony capitalism for me and I don’t care for their funding of anti-AGW idiots or their opposition to environmental regulation. But is the depiction of these guys as the quintessence of evil is so ingrained into Democratic thinking, that they can only get grudging pillorying acknowledgment when they’re doing the right thing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  48. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    busted link

    Mass extinction

    Extinction rate worse than thought

    Here you go. Something to take you away from your name calling and sarcasm fails for a few minutes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  49. anjin-san says:

    @Franklin:

    the single dumbest thing Jenos has ever said

    That’s a bold statement. His body of work is astonishing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I think we’re into a third-order or fourth-order diversion here, but…

    “Useful: that which has a use.”

    So, what I said was that we tend to not wipe out species for which we find uses, and the example cited was a pigeon that died out a century ago. How that got mutated into “extinctions don’t happen any more” takes more dishonesty than any rational being can conceive.

    Which is why I’m surprised anjin got there before Cliffy or wr.

    But back to the topic at hand… those darned Koch brothers! How dare they do something decent and nice every now and then! Why, it just RUINS all the time and effort put into making them seem like Satan on earth! (Not that liberals believe in Satan, but if they did, he’d definitely be a conservative.)

    And all this outrage over “dishonesty,” yet no one else feels inclined to call out Cliffy’s and Crusty Dem’s lies that I highlighted…

    I’m so… again, what’s the opposite of flabbergasted?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  51. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Not that liberals believe in Satan, but if they did, he’d definitely be a conservative.

    Nah. Like the man said, Old Nick was the first Whig.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  52. Guarneri says:

    70- something comments and no one thought to present the massive contributions to public defenders, cancer research, wildlife preservation……by the Heinz family, thr Rockefellers, Matt Damon, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Michael Moore. …………..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  53. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Useful: that which has a use.”

    The biosphere that we had, say in the year 1850 was pretty useful. In fact, if it is degraded enough, we will cease to exist.

    A poll by the American Museum of Natural History finds that seven in 10 biologists believe that mass extinction poses a colossal threat to human existence, a more serious environmental problem than even its contributor, global warming; and that the dangers of mass extinction are woefully underestimated by almost everyone outside science.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/animal-extinction–the-greatest-threat-to-mankind-397939.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  54. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, what I said was that we tend to not wipe out species for which we find uses

    If your definition of useful only extends to domesticated animals used for making food and textiles then you are right. If ecosystem maintenance matters to you, then we are pretty good at wiping out species. We are also pretty good at overfishing stocks to the brink of collapse or over. California and Chile used to have teaming anchovetta fisheries. The Gulf has nearly destroyed it’s shrimp fishery. The Northeast has nearly collapsed their fisheries. Bluefin tuna is almost gone as are several species of cetaceans and sharks. We are in the midst of the 6th great global extinction and humans are the primary cause.
    http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/28/the-sixth-great-extinction-a-silent-extermination/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  55. Tillman says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The Koch Brothers have vocally supported gay rights and abortions rights (although not with the same weight they bring to economic issues).

    Well there’s the point of contention right there. Why couldn’t they support the issues I care about more? says the average partisan. They fund the expansion of anti-global warming science more than they fund environmental conservation, says another. Anything to keep the black in our white-vs-black-morality from turning grayer, even if just by a smidge.

    It’s easy to function in a binary world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Eric Florack says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Indeed…the obvious message is, if you are not in favor of socialism, as is Clavin, youre evil.
    There is very little to set Clavins mouth to foam like capitalists being cast in a good light.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  57. Ben Wolf says:

    @Hal_10000: David Koch publicly stated his opposition to cutting NIH funding while funding the the campaigns of the Tea Party caucus that led the charge in cutting it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  58. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tillman: Most don’t devote themselves to getting wealthier. They want enough to have some security, put their children through school and a nice vacation each year, and that’s it. The Kochs are no different than a person compulsively hoarding old shoe-boxes.

    It’s sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  59. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: If your definition of useful only extends to domesticated animals used for making food and textiles then you are right. If ecosystem maintenance matters to you, then we are pretty good at wiping out species.

    Oh, sheesh. Don’t go haring off down anjin’s diversion.

    What I said, and what I meant, was: we — Americans — tend not to wipe out species for which we have a use. And note that that was part of a chain of connections: Koch Brothers making non-political donations — including Ducks Unlimited — which work to preserve the species — which are also hunters. Which is a good four steps from the original topic.

    Which anjin wants to make as some kind of blanket statement about biodiversity and bringing up how things were 164 years ago.

    That’s somehow more important and relevant here than Cliffy’s deranged, diseased hate-mongering and Crusty Dem’s bullcrap numbers? I thought you better than that.

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  60. Mikey says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    The Kochs are no different than a person compulsively hoarding old shoe-boxes.

    That’s not an accurate analogy at all, considering the Kochs’ extensive philanthropic efforts. As I posted above, David Koch alone–not the “brothers,” just the one–has contributed three-quarters of a billion dollars to philanthropic causes in just the past 14 years.

    I probably disagree with their political opinions and activities as much as you do, but they are not compulsively hoarding their wealth. And David Koch is giving in no small part to the American people through his work with the Smithsonian–the Human Origins hall he funded at the National Museum of Natural History is a wonderful thing to behold, and he’s funding the $35 million upgrade currently underway to the dinosaur wing at that same Museum.

    Whether all that “makes up for” their political stuff is up to you to determine for yourself, of course–I’m not here to change your mind, just to point out the picture isn’t so black-and-white as some portray.

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  61. Blue Galangal says:

    @Guarneri: Here’s a guy actually making a difference with his millions:

    http://www.tangeloparkprogram.com/about/harris-rosen/

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  62. Nikki says:

    @Mikey: Never heard of surveillance cameras, have you?

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  63. Nikki says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: The population of tigers left in the world would disagree with your comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  64. Eric Florack says:

    @Nikki: The fact iis, that the earth loses something on the order of 60 species every 24 hours, regardless of our doing or not doing, anything.
    Thats what nature does, didnt you know?

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  65. Mikey says:

    @Nikki: I must admit I am at a loss to figure out what you’re referring to.

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  66. Nikki says:

    @Eric Florack: No, Eric, that’s what humans cause.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  67. Nikki says:

    @Mikey:

    About 15 years ago, I was doing some tech work installing business telephone systems. I did one in Koch’s office in Manhattan. Nice office, never saw the man. I was basically there by myself most of the time.

    You were never left alone.

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  68. Mikey says:

    @Nikki: LOL…I am a derp today.

    Honestly I can’t remember if the security stuff was already done when I was there–generally, it goes in at the same time as telecoms because it shares wiring closets and they haven’t been locked up yet.

    I just figured since they hadn’t taken occupancy of the office yet, they didn’t really care if the contractors were there alone.

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  69. Tillman says:

    @Ben Wolf: I’ve never met or read about anyone who turned down raises or promotions on the reasoning that they’re getting by just fine, or anyone who stopped pursuing better-paying work once they hit their comfortable level of wealth. That’s definitely the minority of people.

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  70. anjin-san says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Thats what nature does

    Barnosky calculates that humans are now creating a mass extinction on the same scale – the planet’s sixth one – through a combination of habitat encroachment and fragmentation, hunting, climate change, pollution, and the spread of disease and introduced species. As many as 30% of all species may be lost over the next four decades, conservationists estimate.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121101-a-looming-mass-extinction

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  71. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What I said, and what I meant, was: we — Americans — tend not to wipe out species for which we have a use.

    We Americans tend not to wipe out species for which we readily see a use, but we are damn good at not seeing uses for species that don’t end up as food clothing unless they happen to be fuzzy and adorable. Even then we are pretty good at wiping out local stocks and even species if they are hidden under the water. You are wrong about this.

    I know it’s not on topic but, it’s a pet topic of mine and I don’t like the common misconception on it that you are pushing. I’ve no idea what the two you mentioned said. It’s a long thread, but I’ve called out people on ”my side” when it struck me they went over the line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  72. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    We are in the midst of the largest extinction event in over 60 million years. That is more than 60 times as long as we humans in near our modern form have been on this planet. You have less than no idea what nature does.

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  73. Hal_10000 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    The contention that the GOP cut NIH funding was rated by WaPo as four pinocchios.

    But please, keep trying.

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  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: We Americans tend not to wipe out species for which we readily see a use, but we are damn good at not seeing uses for species that don’t end up as food clothing unless they happen to be fuzzy and adorable. Even then we are pretty good at wiping out local stocks and even species if they are hidden under the water. You are wrong about this.

    So… we agree to some point. And the point I was making was that duck hunters are interested in preserving ducks as a species, so it’s no great surprise that an organization of duck hunters would be active in preserving the species. The rest of your point is even more of a tangent to the topic at hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  75. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Hal_10000: Even more entertaining: the most promising research into fighting Ebola was started about a decade ago… and was strongly championed by Dick Cheney.

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  76. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The rest of your point is even more of a tangent to the topic at hand.

    Why don’t you let James and his crew worry about posts wandering off topic? If they are concerned, I am sure they will let us know.

    For a self styled champion of personal freedom, you spend an awful lot of time trying to tell people what they should be writing. If you don’t dig what someone is saying, feel free to ignore it.

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  77. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: For a self styled champion of personal freedom, you spend an awful lot of time trying to tell people what they should be writing. If you don’t dig what someone is saying, feel free to ignore it.

    I didn’t tell you to not say it, dumbass. I merely noted its total irrelevancy. If you don’t like my saying you’re going off on yet another SQUIRREL!!!! chase, perhaps you shouldn’t go off on them.

    And I noted with a total lack of astonishment your choosing to ignore the… inaccuracies perpetuated by Crusty Dem and Cliffy. Why, it’s almost like you give a total pass to people who lie as long as they’re on your side.

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  78. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So you have yet more name calling, and yet more complaints that I am not writing what you think I should write. I suppose I should thank you for proving my point :)

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  79. John425 says:

    This whole thread shows the hypocrisy of the Left. The only opinion allowed is the one they have. The Kennedy fortune is (or was) kept overseas. The Heinz fortune is being spent promoting ultra-left politics and policies by the leftist heiress and her husband, Clueless Kerry, is known for penny-pinching and was caught dodging taxes on his fancy boat. Biden is a notorious miser, and I don’t see the Clintons giving away massive amounts either.

    It has been assumed, for decades, that the left was more compassionate, but…

    Ronald Reagan donated a higher percentage of his income to charitable activities than did either Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ted Kennedy. Being willing to donate the taxpayers’ money is not the same as being willing to put your own money where your mouth is.

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  80. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You should write whatever the hell you feel like — and you do.

    That you don’t choose to offer comments of substance or to demonstrate your integrity is entirely your choice. Just as it’s my choice to note how you exercise that choice.

    So since you are, once again, to avoid saying anything of substance, I don’t feel overly inclined to treat you as if you were actually interested or capable of having a substantive discussion. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a quota of 1,389 species to render extinct today, and I’m dreadfully behind…

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  81. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @John425: Being willing to donate the taxpayers’ money is not the same as being willing to put your own money where your mouth is.

    Are you kidding? Being generous with other people’s property is the left’s definition of generosity!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  82. al-Ameda says:

    @John425:

    The Heinz fortune is being spent promoting ultra-left politics and policies by the leftist heiress

    Of course you can identify some of those “ultra-left politics and policies” that are supported by the Heinz fortune?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  83. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Of course you can identify some of those “ultra-left politics and policies” that are supported by the Heinz fortune?

    Glad to oblige!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  84. John425 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Thanks for saving me the trouble of deflating that windbag.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  85. anjin-san says:

    @al-Ameda:

    ultra-left politics and policies

    Like “not destroying the environment is a good thing”?

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  86. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Through her various foundations, Mrs. Heinz Kerry has given millions of dollars to a host of far-left groups, with a special focus on environmentalist causes. Key recipients of her funding include the Tides Foundation; the Tides Center; the Environmental Defense Fund; Earth Action Network; Global Exchange; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Environmental Media Association; the Brookings Institution; the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund; the Earth Island Institute; Oxfam America; Physicians for Social Responsibility; the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Nature Conservancy; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Feminist Majority Foundation; the Union of Concerned Scientists; the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition; the Sierra Club; the Waterkeeper Alliance; ACORN; the National Urban League; and the Izaak Walton League of America.

    LOL!
    NRDC? Oxfam America? NAACP Legal Defense? Tides Foundation? Union of Concerned Scientists? National Urban League? LOL!
    Yeah, that’s a group that’s about as “Ultra Left” as a six-pak of Bud-Lite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  87. anjin-san says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Ironically, Oxfam America has a big push on to fund the fight against ebola in West Africa. So they are fighting against something that produces abject terror among wingers – at least when they are not busy genuflecting before busts of Lenin & Marx.

    There is no need to head to the local comedy club when we have our friends on the right commenting…

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  88. John425 says:

    @al-Ameda: Anybody can cherry pick, Alameda, e.g.

    David, who lives in New York, gave $20 million to the Darwin-friendly Museum of Natural History in New York for the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. He also gave $65 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, $100 million to Lincoln Center, and $100 million to the New York Public Library.

    But alas, KDS (Koch Derangement Syndrome) is the Ebola fever of social New York. In 2011, when David took to the stage to introduce a production of the Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a production he chipped in $2.5 million to sponsor, someone muttered loud enough to be heard, “He’s an evil man.”

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  89. wr says:

    @John425: He is an evil man. Not everything he does is evil.

    Is even that too hard a concept for a right-winger to grasp?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  90. Mikey says:

    @John425: The Koch Hall of Human Origins is at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D. C., not the one in New York.

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  91. al-Ameda says:

    @John425:

    Anybody can cherry pick, Alameda, e.g.

    I enumerated a few of the “Ultra Left” examples that you pointed me to. I was not aware that I should have re-enumerated all of the organizations that Heinz has supported. My apology.

    Koch Derangement Syndrome? I can tell you that neither I, nor any other progressive, has ever demanded the Koch brothers prove their national origin. I’m glad that the Koch’s support some very good projects. Their political preferences – not so much.

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  92. John425 says:

    @wr: Obama is a foolish man. Not everything he does is foolish. Is even that too hard a concept for a left-winger to grasp?

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  93. Eric Florack says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I noticeI note the usual number of negative vote on your response. Not hard to guess where they came from. Facts cause such interesting reactions from lefties, eh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  94. Eric Florack says:

    @al-Ameda: yes, Rick.
    Ultra left. damn near off the scale, leftist.?
    Fact.

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  95. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: The Tides Foundation is a legal money-laundering front for scads of left-wing groups. The list also included ACORN directly.

    So… yeah.

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  96. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The Tides Foundation is a legal money-laundering front for scads of left-wing groups. The list also included ACORN directly.

    Radical, far left organizations like: the California Wildlands Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace. The GOP considers ANY traditional environmentalist group to be radical. The GOP idea of a non-partisan environmental group is the American Petroleum Association or maybe the West Virginia or Kentucky Coal Associations.

    ACORN? Scary ACORN? ABC ran this back in 2008:

    “Acorn, whose registration efforts generally target poor neighborhoods, “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy,” McCain claimed last night, citing Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to the group.”

    Reminiscent of our current fear-mongering of Ebola, right?

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  97. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    @al-Ameda: yes, Rick.
    Ultra left. damn near off the scale, leftist.?
    Fact.

    No, not fact, your opinion, there is a substantial difference.
    Examples:
    Me: “Sarah Palin may or may not be an airhead” – X Opinion __ Fact
    Me: “Sarah Palin is a money making machine” – __ Opinion X Fact
    Me: “Sarah Palin is a grifter – X Opinion __ Fact
    Me: “Sarah Palin was ambushed by Katie Couric – X Opinion X Fact

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