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Reply #2: Pappy Koch was a Bircher who had made his money helping Stalin build Russian [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-24-13 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Pappy Koch was a Bircher who had made his money helping Stalin build Russian
Edited on Sun Nov-24-13 07:51 AM by No Elephants

Given the history of Koch Industries, perhaps the strife was inevitable. The company was practically born into hostility and litigation. Old Fred, the son of a Texas newspaperman, developed an oil-refining process in the 1920s that greatly increased the yield of gasoline from crude oil. But a consortium of big oil companies, which owned similar patents, sued him for patent infringement and prevented him from selling his process in the U.S. To make a living, Fred spent the Depression years in Russia, helping Stalin expand his petroleum industry. He also spent a lot of time in U.S. courts fighting the oil companies; in 1952 he finally won a $1.5 million settlement after it came out that the companies had bribed the judge handling his case.

Fred returned from Russia shaken by what he saw. Many of the Soviet engineers he had befriended were killed in Stalin's purges. He bought some ranches and refineries, and started a company making refinery equipment. But he devoted much of his considerable energy to supporting the newly formed John Birch Society and thundering against "godless communism." /

When I was a freshman in college, a devoted socialist student pointed out to me that the US had deliberately conflated dictatorship, which is a form of government, with socialism, which is an economic system. True. However, I am not sure how you get socialism started without something of an iron fist. Most of wealthy don't simply step up and contribute their property for the common good. I am not even sure how you keep it going without an iron fist. Still, the analysis at least should keep the two separate.

On the other hand, the further to the right America goes, the more it becomes like a dictatorship. True, we don't yet have people being sent to prison for criticizing government, but our allegedly anti-terrorism laws did try to make librarians snitch on us. (Good for that normally quiet group for standing up and speaking out.) And Chelsea Manning's sentence was much harsher than comparable cases. And our media gets more like a propaganda arm all the time. (Or so it seems to me.)

Those things are very reminiscent of the abuses of Communist Russia in the 1950s, IMO. So was J. Edgar Hoover, IMO.
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