Kochs v. Soros: A Partial Backstory

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The pugnacious populist Jim Hightower has his Texas tit in a wringer about the billionaire brothers Kochs’ latest confab with purchasable pols and pliant pundits.

He was there at Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Palm Springs on the barricades with mindless drones from Common Cause, an outfit exposed as a super-rich elitist front in Inquiry magazine (March 5, 1979) then published by the Kochs’ Cato Institute. The seething animosity between these two rival blocs of the ruling class goes back decades.

Inquiry was Cato’s vehicle aimed at progressives and left-liberals opposed to the warfare state and defenders of civil liberties, the very audience which Hightower’s philippic is targeted. Its initial editor was Williamson M. Evers.

This all brings back sad memories. I was with Bill Evers on the day Inquiry died. We were both working on the national staff of the Libertarian Party’s 1984 presidential campaign of David Bergland, Bill as campaign director and myself initially as national ballot drive coordinator and later campaign researcher.

Evers was the first editor of Inquiry which was initially published by the Cato Institute. He was abruptly fired in a nasty internal power dispute with Cato president Ed Crane.

Bill at the time was very close to economist Murray Rothbard, one of the founders of Cato. (Rothbard came up with the idea of naming this libertarian think tank after Cato’s Letters, a powerful series of British newspaper essays by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon which played a decisive influence upon America’s Founding Fathers in fomenting the Revolution.)

Rothbard and Crane became bitter rivals after disputes emerging from the 1980 LP presidential campaign of Ed Clark carried over to strategic direction and management of Cato. Rothbard was on Cato’s board and a stockholder in the organization. He ran up against Cato’s chief financial backer Charles Koch and his tool Ed Crane.

After the Cato debacle, in 1982 Rothbard worked closely with Lew Rockwell (joined later by his long time friend Burt Blumert) in nurturing the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the publication, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report (which after Rothbard’s 1995 death evolved into the popular website, LewRockwell.com). I got to briefly know the legendary Burt Blumert when he and Rothbard served on Bergland’s 1984 campaign board. What a good and noble soul!

Stephen Chapman’s marvelous Inquiry piece, “In not-so Common Cause,” revealed in detail this phony baloney outfit as a lobbying device created by the elites to preserve the status quo and nurture the Corporate State.

Funders of this hoi polloi scam included such proletarian “average Joes” as David Rockefeller (Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations and Chase Manhattan Bank), John D. Rockefeller III, John D. Rockefeller IV, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Jr., Mary C. Rockefeller, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, Sandra F. Rockefeller, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, Steven Rockefeller, William Hewlett (Cofounder, CEO, Hewlett-Packard, also director, Chase Manhattan Bank), Thomas J. Watson (Chairman, IBM), Sol Linowitz (Chairman, Xerox), Stanley Marcus (Chairman, Neiman-Marcus), Andre Meyer (Senior Partner, Lazard Freres & Co.), Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger (wife of Arthur Sulzberger, president and publisher, New York Times), (Andrew Haskel (Chairman, Time, Inc.), William S. Paley (Chairman, CBS), on and on, etc., etc. You get the idea.

Now billionaire establishment insider George Soros has picked up the bill for Common Cause. Former Cato Institute board member (and consorter with the brothers Kochs) billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch (Chairman, CEO of News Corporation) has unleashed his Fox News sock puppet Glenn Beck to conduct a one-man (err, one rodeo clown) crusade against corporatist rival Soros.

6:52 pm on February 4, 2011