The Predictability of Robotic Behavior

The New York Times planted a wet, slurpy kiss on the posterior of David Koch yesterday, which is too low a hanging fruit not to tempt an almost scatological blog posting. (I even had the title: “The Gray Lady Fellates David Koch,” or “New York Times Sucks Koch” or something equally juvenile.)

Cuddly David Koch from the New York Times article, March 5, 2011

But that would be to miss the point: First, that the Koch Machine has sprung into “damage control” mode and conned the New York Times into yet ANOTHER journalistically criminal piece of faux-apologia for Kochian skullduggery. Consider the thesis, unquestioned by the pathetic excuse for a reporter at the Times, Michael Cooper (may his name ever be invoked as a shame of journalism):

Michael Cooper / New York Times:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — More than a thousand miles from the labor tumult in Wisconsin — where his name shows up on the signs of protesters and a liberal blogger impersonating him got through to the governor on the phone and said “gotta crush that union!” …

Poor David Koch, since he gives more money to cancer research than to underhanded attempts to impose his Ayn Rand/John Birch Society views on the world without honesty or transparency, running below the radar with his paid minions blatantly attempting to trick voters with negative campaigning, ballot measures and initiatives and an endlessly-replicating plague of “policy institutes,” THEREFORE, what he is doing isn’t bad.

Seriously?  We are expected to accept the argument that because more money is spent on “good” than “bad,” that the “bad” doesn’t count? That’s good enough for Michael Cooper, I guess. Listen [emphasis added]:

And in a brief, and rare, interview, Mr. Koch, 70, spoke of his hopes for the new center, his prostate cancer and the prank call heard around the world.

“It’s a case of identity theft,” Mr. Koch said of the call in which the liberal blogger got through to Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, drew him out about his plans to weaken unions and posted a recording of the call on the Internet, making news and embarrassing the governor. Mr. Koch, whose company, Koch Industries, had given major campaign support to Governor Walker, among other conservative candidates and causes, added, “I didn’t even know his name before this brouhaha erupted.”

Mr. Koch joked that the call could cause him problems. “I was thinking to myself, ‘My God, if I called up a senator or a congressman to discuss something with them, and they heard ‘David Koch is on the line,’ they’d immediately say, ‘That’s that fraud again — tell him to get lost!’ ” he said with a laugh

Mr. Koch said that only a relatively small portion of his giving goes to politics and public policy — most, he said, goes to cancer research, followed by cultural and educational institutions.

But he said that he felt he had been vilified for his support of conservative causes, which have ranged from opposition to the health care bill and pushing for small government and low taxes, to questioning whether climate change is caused by humans. He and his brother Charles are known, on the left, as the billionaires who bankrolled the public policy and citizen action groups that helped cultivate the Tea Party.

“I read stuff about me and I say, ‘God, I’m a terrible guy,’ ” he said. “And then I come here and everybody treats me like I’m a wonderful fellow, and I say, ‘Well, maybe I’m not so bad after all.’ ”

No tonic is as invigorating as self-exoneration. (Ask any alcoholic.)

But that would cast Cooper of the Times as an enabler. (Yeah, it would, wouldn’t it?)

Pity the poor misunderstood billionaire. And all this crap is presented without any real rebuttal in the classical lame-ass, slothful and lazy excuse for “journalism”: the “he said/she said.”

The argument ITSELF is specious. Suppose Khaddafi said “I spend much more money on public works projects than on torture.” Would that then, prima facie, excuse the torture? Of course not. But I guess if you get a “rare” interview, you’re expected to check your brains at the door. Cooper certainly did.

The mighty New York Times hath provided cover for a billionaire under deserved scrutiny. And were the Gray Lady a physician, she’d have broken the first rule of medicine: “First, do no harm.” But they HAVE made it worse, and opprobrium deservedly splatters on her oft-raised skirts.

Perhaps this is more shameful when you realize that this is EXACTLY what the New York Times did in 2006, when the blogosphere and the state newspapers were closing in on Howard Rich. The Gray Lady sent a reporter to talk to Howie and he sniffed about how he was just a really, really nice guy and what were all those peasants doing waving pitchforks and torches outside his Castle Frankenstein? Don’t believe me?

Misguided souls, according to the New York Times

Here’s a quote from their equivalent pre-election article in 2006:

Anger Drives Property Rights Measures

Published: October 8, 2006

… The more far-reaching proposals in the West — in Idaho, Arizona, California and Washington State — are citizens’ initiatives supported by signature petitions, and they are often supported financially and logistically by national libertarian groups.

This House Is My Home, a group based in Boise that is sponsoring the Idaho measure, Proposition 2, is among groups in several states that have received strong financial help from Fund for Democracy, headed by Howard S. Rich, the New York real estate investor who is chairman of the libertarian group Americans for Limited Government. As of late June, Fund for Democracy had given at least $237,000 to This House Is My Home, about two-thirds of the money raised by the group. The next filing deadline is Oct. 10.

“We are essentially a ‘networking station’ that brings together grass-roots activists, donors and community leaders who share a common interest,” John Tillman, president of Americans for Limited Government, said in an e-mail message. “In this case, that common interest is in restoring property rights for the average citizen.” [...]

Aww. Within weeks, the Chairman of Americans for Limited Government, Eric O’Keefe, and “President” John Tillman would bail out from ALG and form the Sam Adams Alliance, without (as I have reported from their tax return) moving their Wacker Drive office, furniture or even their phone number:

©2006 Americans for Limited Government Foundation

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Americans for Limited Government | 20 N. Wacker Drive | Suite 3330 | Chicago | IL | 60606

Now, compare it to THIS 2006 tax return:

Sam Adams 2006 address 20 N. Wacker Drive Suite 3330

Here’s ALL that the New York Times wrote on the multi-state scam, the hidden money, the anonymous donors and the rest of it after the election:

November 8, 2006, 4:24 PM
Taking (and Rejecting) the Initiative


Voters in some states weighed in on a bevy of social and regulatory issues, some of which stemmed from dissatisfaction with court rulings, including those related to abortion, affirmative action, gay marriage and eminent domain.


“Takings” or Eminent Domain
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo vs. City of New London that private property may be confiscated by the government for private interests, citizens in nine of 11 states approved ballot measures that would restrict government’s ability to do that, whether by actually preventing seizures or mandating that the government compensate owners for any action that decreases the value of the property. The degree to which these movements are popular, grassroots efforts is unclear. The Takings Initiatives Accountability Project, run by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan investigative journalism group, found that in a set of western states, campaigns for these measures have been largely bankrolled by Howard Rich, a New York real estate investor. The measures failed in California and Idaho.

There’s your evidence for brain-death. (Call the coroner.)

And, the Gray Lady would remain comatose, even after all those newspapers NOT in New York cast grave doubts on ALG. Listen to them in 2009:

A Critic Finds Obama Policies a Perfect Target

Bill Wilson leads a conservative group that vociferously fights President Obama’s proposals.

Published: September 25, 2009

FAIRFAX, Va. — It is the weekly research meeting at Americans for Limited Government, and Bill Wilson is presiding with gusto. The Obama administration is serving up so many rich targets that Mr. Wilson and his crew of young conservatives hardly know where to begin.


A longtime Boy Scout leader with a broad light bulb of a forehead, Mr. Wilson, 56, seems to take avuncular pleasure in mentoring his young staff members at Americans for Limited Government, a nonprofit advocacy group with a $4 million budget. In person, he is no obvious firebrand.

But for more than 30 years, migrating through groups pushing right-to-work laws, term limits and school choice, he has been a member of Washington’s permanent class of ideological activists. Appointed to no government post, elected to no office, they populate research and advocacy groups with names that often seem to include the word “American,” laboring to steer the ship of state to the left or right.

A look at Mr. Wilson and his 18 staff members — one modest island in the sprawling archipelago of conservative groups based in and around Washington — shows how valuable it is proving to have a well-defined enemy.

“Obama has so heightened the debate over the proper role of government that it’s inspired a lot of people to get involved,” Mr. Wilson said.

“It isn’t one issue — health care, or cap and trade, or one or another appointee,” he said. “It’s that government consumes more and more of what we call personal liberty.”

Mr. Wilson’s fight is not primarily partisan. … Now, however, with Mr. Obama in the White House, Mr. Wilson has a fully satisfying target. “We face,” he wrote shortly after Mr. Obama took office, “what I personally believe is the greatest threat ever to individual freedom and democratic rule.”

Since then, Americans for Limited Government has slammed the president, his programs, his aides, his allies and his nominees without restraint. After getting lessons from his Web-savvy son and daughter in 2007, Mr. Wilson has worked to build the group’s presence on the Internet.

Today, the group says, its daily barrage of e-mail messages go to more than 90,000 conservative advocates and appear on its main site, Its site allows handy access to thousands of local conservative blogs, sorted by state and issue. Together, they feed a ferociously negative view of the administration to talk radio hosts, Web pundits, Congressional aides and small-town newspaper columnists.

Americans for Limited Government does not specialize in nuance. A recent e-mail message labeled Mr. Obama “the biggest liar of all,” and a piece on Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm for the national volunteer service agency AmeriCorps suggested a parallel with Hitler Youth.


In 1992, he was contacted by Howard Rich, a New York real estate magnate who has poured much of his fortune into conservative causes.

William (Bill) Wilson, New York Times photo from article

Seriously? A three-second Google search would have turned up the 2006 fiasco. But this is beyond the ken of the New York Times fluffer, evidently. Listen to the slurping sounds from the Gray Lady (as the article continues):

The relationship has lasted, and Mr. Rich has been a crucial financer of Mr. Wilson’s efforts at a series of organizations: U.S. Term Limits, Parents in Charge and Americans for Limited Government.

The antigovernment causes Mr. Wilson has championed are often labeled libertarian. But he shuns the term, saying the Libertarian Party’s electoral support is barely detectable. His goal of “rolling back the government,” he said, is not the cause of a few cranks.

“I was raised to believe and have always believed that small government is best,” he said. “And that is the majority view of the American people.”

Here’s the U.S. Term Limits return address from 2005:

US Term Limits 2005 address: 20 N Wacker Drive Suite 3330

“Journalistic malpractice” is the term we’re looking for here.

But, as long as the Koch Brothers spend LESS on Howie Rich’s and Eric O’Keefe’s and Bill Wilson’s shenanigans than on cancer research, it’s OK, right?

Good lord. From Saturday’s Times article:

“Our main interest is not participating in campaigns, the presidential campaign or the Congressional or senatorial campaigns in 2012,” [David Koch] said. “Our main interest is in policy — in particular, seeing the federal government spending reduced, hopefully in a sustained way, so that our country does not go bankrupt.

So cuddly. All right then.

Nothing to see here. Move along. Just like Howard Rich in 2006, if it’s a Manhattan millionaire or billionaire, what does it MATTER what happens in that trans-Hudsonian wasteland so aptly noted in the infamous Saul Steinberg New Yorker cover?

Brava! Gray Lady. Those people in Madison, Wisconsin are all just stupid.

Not perceptive like the New York Times.


But a little note of advice?

The next time you send a reporter to interview Bill Wilson, or David Koch or Howie Rich, make sure they take along a soft towel.

That way they’ll have something comfortable to wipe their face off with, afterwards.



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2 responses to “The Predictability of Robotic Behavior

  1. Sue Cohen

    For the record–I wrote both a scathing letter to Michael Cooper the author of the Koch PUFF piece and a letter to the Times which naturally will never see the light of day!

    • I hope you’re wrong, Sue. Sadly, I think you’re probably right. But kudos on you for making the effort.

      It’s the apathy that’s killing democracy in America.