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Bill Maher Has No Tears For David Koch:
Deadline – U.S.
Bill Maher Has No Tears For David Koch: “I’m glad he’s dead & I hope the end was painful.”
Geoff Boucher, Deadline August 23, 2019
The proverb “Don’t speak ill of the dead” is credited to Chilon the Wise, the same Greek sage from 500 B.C. who said “Do not laugh at a person in misfortune.” Chilon, no surprise, has never been a fan of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher most likely due to philosophical differences with the show’s host.
On Friday night’s show Maher had his audience cringing with the post-mortem zingers he aimed at two recently deceased (and widely reviled) news figures, wealthy sex predator Jeffrey Epstein and billionaire conservative activist David Koch.
“And now, some funeral news to report [from] yesterday: David Koch, of the zillionaire Koch brothers, died of prostate cancer,” Maher said early in his monologue. “I guess I’m going to have to re-evaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer. He was 79, but his family says they wish he could live longer, but at least he lived long enough to see the Amazon catch fire. Condolences poured in from all the politicians he owned, and mourners have been asked in lieu of flowers to just leave their car engines running. As for his remains, he’s been asked to be cremated and have his ashes blown into a child’s lungs.”
The laughter from the audience was tinged with an audible discomfort so Maher acknowledged their reaction by doubling down.
“Now, I know these may seem like harsh words and harsh jokes, and I’m sure I will be condemned for them on Fox News, which will portray Mr. Koch as a principled Libertarian who believed in the free market. He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate-science deniers for decades, so f— him. The Amazon is burning. I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful.”
Wow. You don’t hear that kind of commentary very often from major television talk show hosts — well, unless you’re watching Maher. Other comedians may be too conservative, timid, or cautious to take a dig at someone six feet under but Maher reaches for that shovel all the time.
Last week, for instance, his target was Epstein, whose death by hanging in a New York jail cell prevented his trial on sex crimes: “Well, did you see what happened in the stock market this week? I spent more time gasping for breath than Jeffrey Epstein…yes, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell. And they say America can’t do anything anymore.”
On Friday, Maher circled back to the disgraced financier for another round of stiff insults. It was during Maher’s exasperated riff on the limited mental capacities of President Donald J. Trump, “I don’t want to say he has the mind of a child but today Jeffrey Epstein’s ghost tried to f— him.”
Some in the audience howled, some likely winced, but Maher definitely stirs up a different energy when he treads past the vague line that usually separates corpse wisecracks from socially comfortable topics. Maher clearly recognized and enjoyed the subversive moment. “Gentle good humor, that’s what we do here, gentle good humor…”
David Koch, billionaire donor to Republican causes, dies age 79
Washington (AFP) – David Koch, a billionaire American libertarian and influential donor to conservative causes, has died at age 79 after a long battle with cancer, his brother Charles said Friday.
Koch retired last year as executive vice president of Koch Industries, the conglomerate he co-owned with his older brother and built into the second largest family-owned company in the United States.
“We wish for all to celebrate the life and impact of this most generous and kind man,” Charles Koch said in a statement.
“He believed he had a responsibility to a world that had given him so many opportunities to succeed.”
Both brothers were a force behind the scenes in Republican politics, donating heavily to candidates and causes that reflected their conservative economic positions.
But David was socially liberal — a supporter of abortion rights and same-sex marriage as well as a non-interventionist foreign policy.
Both brothers were recognized in 2015 for bipartisan work on prison reform in the United States.
Among those offering condolences was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who, like the Koch brothers, is from Kansas.
David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate in 1980, but later broke with it and swung to the Republicans.
He joined his brother Charles in financing a network of conservative organizations, in particular Americans for Prosperity, centered on demands for low taxes and deregulation with the aim of influencing US elections.
Those organizations helped fuel the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2010, mounting a frontal Republican challenge to former Democratic president Barack Obama.
The Kochs’ power was such that in the next presidential elections, Republican candidates vied for their endorsement, attending exclusive conferences the brothers organized.
Donald Trump, whose conservative credentials the brothers viewed with suspicion and who in turn often mocked them, was the exception.
Of the two, Charles has been most involved in the political networks while David had been more active in philanthropic endeavors, mainly in New York.
He was remembered as an important financial contributor to cultural organizations and medical research.
He was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer 27 years ago but through “a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay,” Charles said.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Koch studied chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining Koch Industries.
Forbes estimated his wealth at the end of his life at $42.4 billion, making him one of the world’s richest people.
David Koch’s legacy wasn’t perfect – but it was far more positive than you’ve been led to believe
Caleb Franz, The Independent August 23, 2019
David Koch, the political philanthropist who nearly everyone has an opinion on, has passed away at the age of 79. Many remember him as a cartoon villain of modern politics; however, the truth of his legacy is that, along with his brother, he championed many positive and noble causes that tend to be supported across the political aisle.
David was philosophically a libertarian, and even once, in 1980, ran as the VP candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket.
When he stepped down from his position at Koch Industries due to his failing health during June of last year, the LP reflected on all he and his brother gave to the movement: “The Kochs have teamed with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation to reduce incarceration and promote criminal justice reform. It’s informative that Koch political activism and charitable activities are motivated by classical liberal idealism, not by crony capitalist self-interest. They have changed the political atmosphere in a way that both conservatives and liberals can comfortably move in a more libertarian direction.”
Of course, since then it is well known that David and his brother, Charles, have supported candidates who didn’t always reflect libertarian ideology. It is not uncommon for people of any ideology to support the “lesser evil” candidate in their eyes. Much like how many liberals in 2016 only voted for Hillary Clinton to try to keep Trump out of the White House, so too did David Koch support candidates who were the closest aligned to his belief in liberty.
But even that rationality has its limitations, as neither David nor Charles supported President Trump in 2016. While many may understandably be frustrated by his choice of candidates to support, when it came to the issues themselves, David was a titan for several worthy causes.
Criminal justice reform is perhaps the one issue that is universally supported, more or less, by all political persuasions. Indeed, it is currently enjoying its moment in the sun due to the recent passage of the First STEP Act, as well as several State initiatives sweeping the country. The wide-reaching support the issue is currently receiving is thanks in large part to the Koch Brothers being early supporters. Through Koch-backed groups such as American’s for Prosperity, thousands of conservative activists who may otherwise have been “tough-on-crime” as a default have heard and now advocate for smart and effective reform measures. Even individuals such as Van Jones and President Obama have applauded both David and Charles for the positive work they did where justice reform was concerned.
Likewise, David was just as strong in his convictions towards issues such as privacy, a more sober foreign policy, a more open immigration system, and tolerance for other people. In some ways, David was actually better on “left-wing issues” than even a lot of prominent Democrats have been. In 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders went after the Koch Brothers for essentially being too pro-open borders. In an interview with Vox, Sanders specifically called open borders “a Koch Brothers proposal… which essentially says there is no United States.”
For many, this may come as a shock, but for those who understand libertarian ideology, and how closely associated David Koch was to it, it is of no surprise. One could easily make that argument that because of the work that David has done on many of these issues that are commonly thought of as “left of center,” the GOP has become a better version of itself as a result.
Certainly, David was not a perfect man, and he didn’t leave the world a perfect place, but it is better than when he entered it, and he made a significant contribution to make that happen.
For many of the right, David was far too liberal, and for many on the left, he was way too conservative. Both sides, however, should look back on his legacy and acknowledge the positive reforms he pushed for and helped enact. While it certainly may not feel like it at times, we understand our fellow countrymen a lot better because of the work David Koch has done.
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And during a time when there are those in power who seek to divide us, he left a positive legacy that unified thousands around noble causes.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.
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