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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Money From Stalin Funds the Tea Party Today

Posted by on Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 11:11 AM

You must read this fantastic reporting by Yasha Levine (of

I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when Mark Ames and I were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing organizations and think tanks directly tied to the Kochs. We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity, both of which are closely linked to the Koch brothers.....

the family’s initial wealth was not created by the harsh, creative forces of unfettered capitalism, but by the grace of the centrally-planned economy of the Soviet Union. This deserves repeating: The Koch family, America’s biggest pushers of the free-market Tea Party revolution, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the whim of one of Stalin’s comrades.

The Exiled originally was an English-language alt-weekly based in Moscow. Putin threw them out of the country for their excellent reporting. They are a must-read, now that their attentions are focused on our crumbling empire.


Comments (19) RSS

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venomlash 1
The irony is terrific.
Posted by venomlash on April 17, 2010 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Vince 2
More ammo in the fight against tea party fraud!
Posted by Vince on April 17, 2010 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3
What? Political parties are controlled by big corporate interests?!? No way!
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM · Report this
doesurmindglow 4
Haha, this connection seems kinda far-fetched to me, but I'll read the whole article.

Nonetheless, I think the main lesson here is, again, that the Tea Party and its leaders are no different now than the Republican Party and Bush was then. The only major difference I see between Bush and Palin, in fact, was that Palin's a woman whose dad wasn't president. Other than that they're the same - supposedly charismatic according to the media, from big oil states that they whose governments they fucked up as governor, funded by corporate interests, totally unaware of the larger nuances of world geopolitics and market failures.

Just don't be fooled into expecting a Tea Party official to behave even the slightest bit differently than a Republican Party official. They're the same candidates, and they'll support the same failed and stupid policies if they win elections.
Posted by doesurmindglow on April 17, 2010 at 11:57 AM · Report this
One of my favorite Koch stories, although maybe not the same Kochs?, is the New Yorker article about an American scion who decided to collect wines like baseball cards and got taken for millions by a German wine counterfeiter.…;
Posted by Amelia on April 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM · Report this
the main point here is incoherent. the koch's are linked to stalin because putin threw them out of russie? wtf you trying to say?
Posted by incoherent, who cares? it's sensational! on April 17, 2010 at 12:18 PM · Report this
balderdash 7

You really need to learn to read before you decide to comment.
Posted by balderdash on April 17, 2010 at 12:20 PM · Report this
vooodooo84 8
@6 The newspaper the Exile was kicked out by Putin.
Posted by vooodooo84 on April 17, 2010 at 12:21 PM · Report this
doesurmindglow 9
@7: My thoughts exactly. That was a moment of blatant illiteracy.
Posted by doesurmindglow on April 17, 2010 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Original Monique 10
Great Article, thanks Golob!
Posted by Original Monique on April 17, 2010 at 4:21 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 11

Now it's Stalin?

What's next? Pol Pot? Saddam Hussein?

How many dictators as synecdoches are possible?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on April 17, 2010 at 4:52 PM · Report this
doesurmindglow 12
@11 sorta exemplifies why I don't like articles like the one Golob linked. It's excellent reporting, massive amounts of research, and in-depth fact-finding.

But I really don't think the people who support this astroturf Tea Party movement care. They're not supporting the movement because it's not connected to Stalin, and the sudden discovery that it is a corporatist enterprise, is funded by profiteering from Communism, or whatever else isn't going to change their mind.

In other words, we're deep in the era of post-truth politics in America, and investigative reporting, transparency, actual cold hard facts count for very little when all a Frank Luntz has to do is come up with some brilliant phrase like "[strengthening financial regulation] institutionalizes endless bailouts," or "[reforming health insurance to reduce fraud and waste] is a government takeover of medicine." Facts do still matter, but what people think are facts now matter much, much more.

Made-up information is easy to believe if it's phrased in a way that sounds convincing, and that is, in fact, scientifically designed to persuade people.
Posted by doesurmindglow on April 17, 2010 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Hey, I looked at the article, but I'm still confused about the link to Stalin. I don't get it. Certainly the excerpt you posted is conclusory and explains nothing.

Like it is possible to say that the Bush family made their money doing business with the Nazis, pretty clear link, if that is what one is saying.

If what you are saying is true then is shouldn't be too hard to summarize the actual direct financial link between Stalinist Russia and the founders of the John Birch society.
Posted by cracked on April 17, 2010 at 7:35 PM · Report this
What's the relationship between Koch and Stalin?

The relationship between Koch and teabagging is more clear.
Posted by AE on April 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM · Report this
yup, you folks dissing me are full of it. Here's the explanation as you seem incapable of reading yourselves:

"The Koch family, America’s biggest pushers of the free-market Tea Party revolution, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the whim of one of Stalin’s comrades."

What comrade of Stalin had anything to do with the Koch's or their newspaper? Their wealth dates back to Stalin times? This is not explained. I am happy to believe it if it is true, I expected to find out they had an ancestor high up in the communist party under Stalin who stole lots of money later the descendants came to America....or something. But no. Nothing. Zero zip nada, there's no connection to Stalin. Instead, just this:
"The Exiled originally was an English-language alt-weekly based in Moscow. Putin threw them out of the country for their excellent reporting. They are a must-read, now that their attentions are focused on our crumbling empire."

Ahhh, you see the link is "Stalin = Soverity Union = Russia = Putin. Aha! PUTIN IS THE COMRADE OF STALIN.

Excuse me but this is historical illiteracy and ignorance on about the same level as a tea partier. Putin is not a colelage of Stalin. For your information, since apparealy you didn't ever go to school, Stalin was an evil dictator who did bad things in the 30s and who helped beat the nazis but was like really bad, man, and I don't just mean with nationalized health care or forced taxes to pay for transit, I mean like with starving people, killilng all his subordinates, enslaving people in gulags. It's called a reign of terror. Putin, in contrast, is of a different time, and oh! by the way he was elected because the USSR isn't the democratic Russie we have today. didja know that?

so with all these like differences 'n' stuff it's about as stooopid to say Putin is a comrade of Stalin as it is for a tea bagger to say Obama is a communist.

It's pure sensationalism...tehe deliberately ignorant statement designed to get readers and attention.

Just like what the tea baggers do!

There, you're welcome.
Posted by A sharp "re-post" by Mr. doesn't know how to read on April 18, 2010 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Jonathan Golob 16
For those of you struggling through basic literacy challenges, a summary:
The patriarch of the Koch family fortune was a chemist who figured out a better way of chemically converting crude oil into valuable products. The oil barrons in the (libertarian paradise) 1920's viewed this more efficient process as a threat to their monopolies, and blocked his product from being used.

Koch then went to the 1930's Soviet Union, where his technique and company's products were widely used. Stalin himself promoted Koch industries.

Get it? There is irony here. It isn't even Alanis irony; this is the real deal. The biggest bankrollers of libertarian free-for-all made their fortunes because of the most planned economy ever devised--the only environment that allowed their family's better industrial technique to thrive.
Posted by Jonathan Golob on April 18, 2010 at 1:46 PM · Report this
@7 and 8: Why, because it is the same Kochs? I was trying not to seem like a know-it-all. Guess the responses I invited were yours.
Posted by Amelia on April 18, 2010 at 5:02 PM · Report this
@7 and 8: Sorry. Talk about irony. Perhaps I'll just go have a quiet beer and stay off the computer for a while.
Posted by Amelia on April 18, 2010 at 5:11 PM · Report this
doesurmindglow 19
@16: Ha, thanks Jonathan. I got that, but with regard to some of the people struggling with functional literacy (ie. @15), I'm just not very convinced that their support for the Tea Party or its values would be changed at all by this article - I mean, had their reading comprehension skills not been a issue.

But anyway, thanks again for the link. It certainly is interesting information.
Posted by doesurmindglow on April 18, 2010 at 6:07 PM · Report this

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