Theater audience boos Tea Party pollutocrat David Koch

Money can buy you weaker regulations, an unlivable climate, extremists running Congress, and bad science (see “New Yorker exposes Koch brothers along with their greenwashing and whitewashing Smithsonian exhibit“).  But it can’t buy you love.

Lee Fang of ThinkProgress has the story of greenwashing gone awry:

David Koch masks his role as one of the top financiers of the Tea Party movement and pro-polluter front groups by loudly tacking his name to more laudable charities, like the New York city ballet. Koch, who has professed his devotion to “The Nutcracker” ballet performance by Alexei Ratmansky, made a matching grant of $2.5 million so that it could go on this season. At a special opening of the performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music shortly before Christmas, Koch made an appearance to talk about his donation. The Financial Times’ John Gapper was in the audience and witnessed a crowd of “harried Brooklyn moms and salivating balletomanes” erupting in boos at the sight of the Tea Party billionaire:

“The excitement started even before the show when David H. Koch, the co-owner of Koch Industries, the largest privately-own industrial conglomerate in the US, came out on stage to talk about his $2.5m sponsorship of the production. Most people applauded but there were also boos from near where I sat in the balcony, followed by an angry debate in the row in front of me, with one of the booers declaring “he’s an evil man” and a couple next to her telling her to “shut up” and to leave the theatre. […] Once Mr Koch had left the stage, the booing stopped and the ballet started.”

David and his brother Charles are among the top ten richest men in America through their co-ownership of Koch Industries, the sprawling private conglomerate that includes oil refineries and pipelines, consumer goods, a financial derivatives practice, chemical interests, timber, shipping, and coal. Koch Industries, one of the worst air polluters in America, has lobbied to eviscerate the EPA, repeal health reform, and Koch front groups fight every day to cut government spending on programs for the poor and middle class. However, Koch says he “welcome[s]” taxpayer money for his ballet performances.

Cheers to the jeerers!

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46 Responses to Theater audience boos Tea Party pollutocrat David Koch

  1. catman306 says:

    “He’s an evil man!”

    Reality 1 Koch Kool Aide 0

    But the Brooklyn Academy of Music probably won’t be getting as much support next year.

    You think?

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Charles and David Koch have probably done more to damage the environment and our chance of a liveable future than any two people in the world. They are pure psychopaths. Nice to see that the people of New York weren’t fooled by David’s largesse, or his trophy wife.

    He’d get a better reception in Dallas or Phoenix. Maybe he should move there, and get a preview of what it’s like to fry your ass off- though in his case, it will happen only between the limo and the entrance.

  3. Nell says:

    Finding the Fingerprints of Climate Change in Storm Damage — a Very Long Detective Story

    Hundreds of years before we can blame weather on climate change?

    [JR: No, hundreds of years before that article makes any sense.]

  4. toby says:

    The Kochs, sad b*stards. Pity they have done so much damage.

  5. Alex 77 says:

    Bravo! Low vermin like the Koch brothers should be shouted down and hounded out of any public venues forevermore. They have done so much to debase our once-functioning democracy, and to derail efforts to save ourselves from the climate crisis we’ve created. Terms like “evil” and “psychopath” were invented to describe men just like this.

    Here’s a related video that should be seen by all – David Koch’s first lieutenant at Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips, getting beaten like a rented mule on the Rachel Maddow show-

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Scientists find ‘drastic’ weather-related Atlantic shifts

    Scientists have found evidence of a “drastic” shift since the 1970s in north Atlantic Ocean currents that usually influence weather in the northern hemisphere, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    “Now the southern current has taken over, it’s really a drastic change,” Schubert told AFP, pointing to the evidence of the shift towards warmer water in the northwest Atlantic.

    This explains these Greenland temps we’ve been seeing all winter.

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    The google news search shows only one other site reporting this story . The Times of India, 8 hours ago. A word for word reprint of the Terra Daily report.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I was recently in Florence, in the Uffizi, and there was a little sign declaring that ‘Koch’ something or other had given money to the gallery. When the Koch’s core business, that of ensuring that anthropogenic climate change will proceed unhindered (delivering them billions in profits in the process)has reached its apotheosis, and the climate is in violent disruption, perhaps the Arno will flood again. Judging by recent floods around the planet, and extrapolating a little from rising atmospheric water vapour levels, perhaps it will be vastly greater than that of 1966, and the Uffizi will be really devastated along with much of Florence. In the end, of course, when climate disruption has ended human civilization on this planet, there will be, not just the billions of deaths of living people, but the second, and total, obliteration of all those that lived before and contributed to the rise of human civilization. No more Beethoven, Shakespeare, Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo etc, all consigned forever to the dark of total obliteration, unless some passing alien archeologist digs something up, perhaps from the layers of mud and other sediment overlaying the area where Florence once stood. I wonder if the Kochtopus has any nice plaques in Venice?

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    Brian Todd of the University of California, Davis and colleagues set up a net around a wetland in South Carolina starting 30 years ago, and trapped the animals that came and went.

    “We analyzed 30 years of data on the reproductive timing of 10 amphibian species … and found the first evidence of delayed breeding associated with climate change,” they wrote in their report.

    “We also found earlier breeding in two species. The rates of change in reproductive timing in our study are among the fastest reported for any ecological events,” they added.

    The changes coincided with a 1.2 degree C (2.16 degrees F) warming in average overnight temperatures at the site.

  11. steve says:

    Does anyone have a list of Kock Industries products? brand names? I’ve heard through the grapevine that they make bounty paper towels. If I had a list, I’d share it with my friends and we would avoid buying from these enviro-creeps. If it’s a populous uprising they want then we (the reality based community) should give them one.

  12. Mike Roddy says:

    Steve, #11:

    Koch owns Georgia Pacific, and here are some of their products:

    Bounty paper towels
    Dixie cups
    GP Oriented Strand Board
    GP Truss joists

    Georgia Pacific is a perfect fit for Koch, since they are one of the most destructive wood products companies ever. GP came to the Northwest in the 50’s, clearcut everything they could get their hands on, and then relocated back to the South. Their engineered wood products are laced with formaldehyde, and all of their consumer products are dubiously sourced and laced with nasty chemicals.

    I floated the GP boycott with a few Big Green groups about 6 months ago, but they wimped out, as usual. A grassroots boycott, even a local one, is just fine with me and my friends.

  13. WVhybrid says:

    Actually, Lycra and Stainmaster are trademarks owned by Invista, which was purchased from DuPont by Koch Industries in 2004.


  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Crimes Against Humanity
    Billionaires Behaving Badly: The Koch Brothers

    Perhaps, if you were interested in fringe US politics and had a positively elephantine memory, you may have been aware that David
    Koch, 70, the brother with the largest public profile, once ran as a candidate for vice-president on the Libertarian ticket back in 1980,
    or that Charles Koch, 74, the quiet, Wichita-living brother who actually ran things, founded the prominent Libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. If you were involved with global warming activism you may have known that Koch Industries, the 100 billion-dollars-a-year-in-revenue oil refinery business that the two brothers inherited from their father Fred Koch (a founding member of the paranoid anti-Communist organization the John Birch Society), was responsible for funding much of the most vigorous climate change denial efforts at home and abroad.

    Or if you were Charles Lewis, the MacArthur Fellowship-winning investigative journalist who founded the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity in 1989 and is currently executive editor of the Investigative Journalism Workshop at the American University, you first ran into the Koch Brothers in 1995, while in the course of preparing your best-selling 1996 book, The Buying of The President. “We had noticed that Koch Industries was one of then-Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole’s top ‘career patrons’ in terms of campaign cash over the years,” Lewis tells Minyanville. “The company had attempted to thwart a federal prosecution for its 300 oil spills, by having Dole introduce ‘regulatory reform’ legislation that rendered null and void any such civil action by the government.”

  15. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks, WVhybrid, I knew it was Koch owned stuff, but had wrongly assumed those were GP brands.

  16. WVhybrid says:

    Regarding Invista, fiber products were always extremely sensitive to consumer economics. When times are good, folks bought lots of expensive clothing made of Lycra and other synthetics. But when times are bad, no one bought Nylon or Lycra or carpeting, and that tail always controlled DuPont stock price in the short-term eyes of Wall Street. So DuPont spun off their economic cycle dependent fiber products into a subsidiary, Invista, and sold it to Koch. Koch doesn’t have stockholders, so they can take a long-term perspective.

    I’d say their investment in John Birch politics has had the same long term perspective, and, after 50 years of investment, has paid off in spades. I think that environmental and progressive forces need to take the same sort of long term perspective, and invest in institutions like the Center for American Progress (hat tip to Joe) if there is ever going to be a chance to swing the pendulum back toward the center.

    I also think that efforts by folks like John Abrahams at St. Thomas and John Cook at Skeptical Science to debunk the AGW deniers need long term support if the AGW agenda is ever going to be taken away from the likes of Lindzen, Singer, and the Marshall Institute.

    Chevy Volt order status = 1102

  17. Jeffrey Davis says:

    re: 16

    WVhybrid says:

    “I’d say their investment in John Birch politics has had the same long term perspective, and, after 50 years of investment, has paid off in spades. I think that environmental and progressive forces need to take the same sort of long term perspective”

    Ah, 50 years.

    You’re kidding, right?

  18. PeterW says:

    At first I thought, wow someone actually booed Koch, but then I thought about the death and destruction these two genocidal maniacs are going to be responsible for. It’s truly pathetic how little resistance they’ve had to their buying and trashing of America.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    In 1984, Koch founded, served as Chairman of the board of directors of, and donated to the free-market Citizens for a Sound Economy. In 2004, this organization separated into Americans for Prosperity Foundation and FreedomWorks. Koch continues as Chairman of the Board and gives money to Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity.

    Both FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have been providing funding and training to the US Tea Party movement, which opposes much of U.S. President Barack Obama’s policies and legislative agenda.[2] In addition, Koch sits on the board and gives money to the libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Foundation.[2][3][16] In the late summer and early fall of 2010, Koch’s contributions to political campaigns, free-market think tanks and other advocacy organizations came under increased scrutiny. A number of writers assert Koch supports the Tea Party movement and Republican candidates, and California Proposition 23 (2010). In July 2010, New York Magazine profiled him, calling him the “tea party’s wallet”.[3] In August 2010, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker wrote on the political spending of David and Charles Koch.[17] White House political advisor David Axelrod wrote in The Washington Post, calling them “campaigners we can’t see.”

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Mike Roddy#12, I’ve seen the same gutlessness from Big Green groups here as well. They prefer ‘negotiating’ with Big Business, which is like negotiating with a white pointer that figures that you’re a seal. But the top jobs are well paid, and if they are ‘co-operative’ and definitely never, ever, ‘radical’ or ‘extreme’ (ie principled and incorruptible)they will be allowed to appear on TV or on radio. Massaging the hypertrophied egos of the type that inevitably rise to the top in this type of bureaucracy is child’s play for the masters. They’ve been doing it for centuries. Many of these ‘Green’ leaders even migrate to the other side after they leave the environment movement, earning big bucks as ‘advisors’ or ‘environmental entrepreneurs’ a delightful oxymoron. And as astroturfing shows, the masters are not bad at manipulating the proles as well.

  21. WVhybrid says:

    According to Wikipedia, the John Birch Society was founded in 1958. 2011 – 1958 = 53.

    Sorry, I was a couple years short.

    What was extremist during the Eisenhower administration is main stream today…..

  22. Colorado Bob says:

    This bares repeating –

    “Now the southern current has taken over, it’s really a drastic change,” Schubert told AFP, pointing to the evidence of the shift towards warmer water in the northwest Atlantic.

    This explains these Greenland temps we’ve been seeing all winter.

    The link at #6

  23. Michael H. says:

    Actually, GP and Koch own Brawny, not Bounty. Bounty is a Procter and Gamble product. Confuses me, too.

  24. Colorado Bob says:

    This jump is clearly happening at speeds we have never dreamed of . These storms on the east coast of Canada this winter. Fall right into what warm water replacing cold would do. It explains why Washington broke it’s snow records, and heat records.

    The system is trying to balance. It is pumping heat to the poles. Heat seeks cold.

  25. Colorado Bob says:

    The pop phrase comes to mind.
    “We know more about outer space than the oceans” ………. the largest heat sink in the system.

    Silly humans

  26. Mike Roddy says:

    Jeffrey Davis:

    WVhybrid’s 50 year figure includes John Birch Society activity by Edward Koch, father of Charles and David.

  27. Russell says:

    Anyone hooted by “harried Brooklyn moms and salivating balletomanes” can come and sit by me if the bring along that ballerina,

    Still, there’s no denying the world would be a better place if David dropped CEI in favor of baroque opera.

  28. Pythagoras says:

    It is also sad to see that my alma mater (and Joe’s) MIT has accepted funds from David Koch for funding a cancer research center.

    “David H. Koch gives $100 million to MIT for cancer research MIT to establish an integrative research institute to develop new paradigms in cancer research

    With a $100 million gift from David H. Koch (S.B. 1962, S.M. 1963), one of the largest gifts in Institute history, MIT plans to build a new cancer research center that will bring together scientists and engineers under one roof to develop new and powerful ways to detect, diagnose, treat and manage cancer.

    I guess that this serves to validate Upton Sinclairs’ observation:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    Link to Koch Institute –

  29. A face in the clouds says:

    Bircher pays two million bucks to attend his own booing, eh? Come on, David, there are people here willing to boo you for half that much.

    Naw, David doesn’t have thick skin, just a thick head. He may not get it, but judging from what happened at the ballet, a lot of people are starting to get it. At this rate, David won’t be able to buy his way into Jerry Jones’ box next season. Guess he’ll have to go on Fox News to try and repair his image.

    Still, getting booed at a ballet you gave $2.5 mil? Wish Don Meredith had been alive to see that.

  30. fj3 says:

    Kochs’ name is all over the place for funding major New York City institutions.

    SNL Church Lady: Hi folks. This program is brought to you by . . . Satan!

  31. Lionel A says:

    I guess we can describe all those denier and delayer type obfuscating slicksters who have suckled at the financial teats provided by the Kochs Kochheads.

  32. Roger B. says:

    With respect to the comments by Colorado Bob concerning warming of the western north Atlantic Ocean, here are two images of the ice cover for Jan. 4, 2011 and Jan. 4, 2008. The difference is quite noticeable on the lower right-hand side.

    Roger Blanchard
    Sault Ste. Marie, MI

  33. Wit's End says:

    Pythagoras, the entire cancer industry perfectly exemplifies the sickness of our economic and social system. We are willing to accept a certain percentage of collateral damage in order to extend the party that is fueled by cheap energy and manufacturing, transport and waste disposal – with no accounting for the dirty byproducts and what they do. Even David Koch, who had cancer himself, would prefer to donate to funding treatment rather than examine the source.

    When my daughter was being treated at Sloan Kettering I asked her oncologist if he had any idea why she would get cancer at such a young age, and he looked at me like I was an idiot. “What difference does it make?” he asked. “I am going to treat it the same way.”

    Most doctors couldn’t care less about the cause (pollution), because there’s no fast money in it. But the treatment? The diagnosis, the surgery, radiation, pharmaceuticals, hospitalization, the glory of research and clinical trials…there are huge amounts of money in that.

    I wish the lawyers would get together a good case against coal and oil producers about ozone. It’s a universally recognized fact that ozone causes cancer, emphysema, asthma, allergies and even diabetes. Every government agency even tangentially involved has it on their website. It’s documented by NASA that ozone causes billions in crop losses annually. Why don’t the farmers sue? Especially the organic farmers, who cannot combat the stunted growth and increased insects from ozone exposure by increased us of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.

    I thought America was supposed to be overly litigious! Where are the lawyers?

  34. Dorothy says:

    Evil, yes – and yes again. While I was on Face Book, I made a post with links to all the Koch enterprises to help people boycott.

    Can’t get it for you. I quit Face Book yesterday with the comment “I despise and distrust Goldman Sachs.”

    Bless the booers for making the sounds – of outrage, pain and dismay – so many of us feel today about corporate corruption and those who profit from it.

  35. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Most doctors couldn’t care less about the cause (pollution), because there’s no fast money in it.

    I will respectfully (and sympathetically) disagree, Wit’s End. Doctor’s have families and loved ones too. They’re very interested in knowing the cause so they can help their family and patients avoid it. There is a great deal of research being done on causes of cancer from the environmental aspects to the genetic aspects. We need researchers who look for causes but we also need researchers who can treat the disease itself. Specializing in one of the two doesn’t mean you don’t care about the other.

    May I also point out that your comment is very similar to those who say climate scientists are only supporting AGW because that is where the money is. I know you don’t believe that. Is it any less a fallacy when applied to another branch of science and scientists?

    I do hope your daughter has recovered fully. And I understand.

  36. P. G. Dudda says:

    #32 Roger B. — Thanks for those images. I couldn’t remember for sure the timing of Hudson Bay ice-up, so it’s a good confirmation of my suspicions that its current status is extremely unusual. It will be interesting to see what happens as we move into the coldest days of the year over the next 3 weeks. Is there any historical precedent for Hudson Bay failing to completely ice-up in the winter, or is this an unprecedented low in winter ice coverage for the area?

  37. Mike Roddy says:


    I agree that Cook and Abraham need long term support, and I would add Peter Sinclair and Eli Rabett and a few others to that list. A few days ago I suggested that someone either buy or start a climate/environment cable TV channel.

    Any ideas from you or other commenters on where to get serious backing?

  38. Russell says:

    Who is this ‘Jerry Jones’ person ?

  39. Mitch says:

    There’s also a Koch room at the Museum of Natural History, filled with the bones of extinct animals. Maybe the Koch’s have a thing for extinct animals.

  40. Steve Bloom says:

    Colorado Bob, The Terra Daily article was from AFP, and it got reprinted in a number of places. It’s a little incoherent IMHO. The EAWAG release with various useful links is here.

    This raises a question (which I’ll try to get answered elsewhere): What’s the connection between this change and the observed leakage of the Agulhas Current into the South Atlantic? You’ll recall I posted informatiuon on the latter a few weeks ago. The long-term effect we should be looking for is a stronger Atlantic meridional flow, which to my knowledge is not being seen. Some change in it would seem to be implied by these observations, but perhaps they’re relatively small enough as to not be measurable so far.

  41. Peter Sergienko says:

    @ Wit’s End’s where are the lawyers question, the Exxon Valdez litigation is the prime, current example of the resources needed and the risks plaintiff’s lawyers assume in taking on the largest of corporations in tort cases.

    In the Exxon case, plaintiff’s lawyers were able to work on a contingency basis (i.e., the lawyers don’t get paid unless they collect a judgment) because the prospect of a large punitive damages award and the relative ease of proving negligence and even gross negligence made it worth the risk. After 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars in legal costs, the Supreme Court basically reduced the original punitive damages award by an order of magnitude (from $5 billion to approximately $500 million). Supreme Court caselaw on punitive damage awards, which raise constitutional questions, has been moving in favor of large corporations for decades and is now very favorable to large corporations. Thus, a litigation strategy based on recovering a large punitive damages award is no longer attractive.

    Additionally, in contrast to the Exxon case where proof of negligence and gross negligence supporting a punitive damages award was relatively straightforward, proof of causation (liability) and actual damages in ozone pollution and greenhouse gas pollution cases is far more complex and uncertain. Additionally, although actual damages may be high enough and the likelihood of success may ultimately be great enough to make these cases worth pursuing on a contingency basis, in light of cases like Exxon, private sector lawyers/law firms have to decide whether or not a decades long investment is worth the potential reward. Few lawyers/firms have the financial capacity and business model to absorb litigation costs in this manner.

    As with the tobacco cases and some other types of high profile/high stakes litigation in the public interest (securities litigation in New York, for example), state attorney’s general or nonprofits effectively acting in the same capacity may initially pursue these cases using salaried lawyers and seeking recovery of damages on behalf of their citizens or the general public. Once there is favorable law, private lawyers will start filing private damages cases because the litigation risks will be greatly reduced. While litigation and the threat of litigation has a role to play in reducing ozone and greenhouse gas pollution, it seems unlikely to serve as an effective substitute for comprehensive legislation, especially because of the time frames within which actions to reduce ozone and greenhouse gas pollution are required.

  42. Steve Bloom says:

    Colorado Bob (and others), see also this interesting report on the early Pliocene (~4 mya) Bering Sea. Note the inference of much greater windiness. I expect this implies that those latitudes will be generally subject to such windiness under those climate conditions (what we will get with present CO2 levels if the climate is given time to equilibriate to them). I’m guessing a bit, but I think those winds in turn imply a considerable increase in storminess. Hell and high water (25 meters+) indeed.

  43. Leland Palmer says:

    The statistic that keeps sticking in my mind is that the cumulative greenhouse heating produced by a gallon of Koch gasoline is roughly one hundred thousand times its heat of combustion.

    So, the side effects are thousands of times greater than the intended benefit of using Koch fossil fuels, even within our lifetimes.

    What could you call this other than sociopathic, callous, evil behavior?

  44. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Wits End#33, I too hope that your daughter has recovered, but I know from years of experience that the oncologist you encountered is sadly all too familiar a type. A good many medical personnel, in my experience, have no human empathy and are in it for the bucks and prestige. In this country obstetricians are actively undermining midwives, particularly home birth midwives, while caesarian rates go through the roof. We are kidded that palliative care has banished intractable pain, when that is bulldust. Euthanasia is supported by 75% of the population, but viscerally opposed by doctors’ groups, not unconnected, I imagine, to the vast moneys to be made from the last few months of peoples’ lives. Disinterest in the causes of cancer or metabolic disease or cardiac disease is easily explained. There is no real money to be made, for doctors, drug companies, private hospitals and private insurance, in prevention, but billions in treatment.

  45. Wit's End says:

    Thanks Mulga. She has been in remission for 4 years. If I got the same diagnosis and had to go through what she did, at my age, I would rather swallow some lethal pills.

    You are right. The doctors are in it for the money and the glory. The vast majority of money spent on health care is in the last few weeks of life.

    I have instructed my kids, if and when I become a useless, miserable, incommunicative idiot – don’t bother, take me out into the woods and shoot me.


  46. A face in the clouds says:

    @ Russell #38 — Jerry Jones is the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Among other notables, he likes to entertain Saudi oilmen in his suite at the stadium. Even though David Koch probably throws a football like George Will, he reportedly likes to hang with Jones.