Politifact left the house without their pants on

Liar liar pants on fire…or are they?

The folks over at PolitiFact’s PunditFact have rated a claim I made on a recent episode of The Big Picture as “Pants on Fire,” but they’ve totally missed the point of what I was really saying. Talking about the Keystone Pipeline and the Koch Brothers earlier this month, I said that, “The Kochs stand to make around $100 billion if the government approves the Keystone XL pipeline.”

That claim comes from a study released last year by the International Forum on Globalization, which argued that the Koch Brothers’ stand to make around $100 billion if the Keystone project is ever approved, because of their massive holdings in millions of acres of oil-bearing Canadian tar sands.

Now, as they do with all of their fact-checks, the folks over at PolitiFact’s PunditFact methodically broke down that study, pointed out what they said were its many flaws, and came up with the conclusion that the $100 billion number was absurd.

They even went straight to the source, and asked Koch Industries about the claim, which a spokesman obviously said was false. What else was a mouthpiece for the Koch Brothers going to say?

But that’s besides the point.

In all of their fact-checking and flaw detection, PunditFact missed the point that I was trying to make. So, let’s try again.

The most profitable investment in America right now is to buy politicians, and there’s no one better at that than the Koch Brothers. For the 2014 midterms alone, the Koch Brothers and their massive political network spent AT LEAST $100 million that we know of. And other estimates say that number could be closer to $200 or $300 million. That money was used to buy tens of thousands of ads across the country, in an effort to put Koch-friendly lawmakers into power.

And, let’s not forget what the Koch Brothers are all about. They’re about increasing pollution, doing away with environmental regulations, gutting the EPA, and getting their massive oil reserves in Canada into the US so that they can sell them off and get even richer.

So, with all that in mind, let’s say that the Koch Brothers don’t stand to make $100 billion from the Keystone. After all, that was just one estimate from one group. Instead, let’s say that will only make $1 billion from the pipeline project.

Still, wouldn’t they invest $100 million or $200 million in buying politicians to make that $1 billion in profits from Keystone? Obviously they would, and obviously they did.
Just hours after the final midterm results were in, both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - both big beneficiaries of Koch money and the Koch machine - said that the Keystone XL pipeline would be at the top of their priorities list when the new Republican-controlled Congress is sworn in in January. The Koch Brothers’ plan worked.

By focusing on a number, which was just one estimate by one group, PunditFact completely missed what I was saying.

The money the Koch Brothers spent in the 2014 midterms was all about buying Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and enough Republicans in Congress so that the Keystone XL pipeline would eventually get passed, and so that the Kochs’ Canadian tar sands oil turn into profits - among other things.

So PunditFact, you may have rated me “Pants on Fire,” but for completely missing the point that I was trying to make, and also for thinking that the Koch Brothers themselves would tell you the truth, I'm rating you as “Having Left the House Without Your Pants On.”


mahwah's picture
mahwah 8 years 18 weeks ago

Just wanted to ans your Q re DebWaSch.

She should send an open card+email to all the voters she knows that says: "Please, Ask your friends, neighbors family & college students: did you know the 26th–29th words of our Constitution “promote the general welfare" all your elected officials took an oath to do?

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 18 weeks ago

Well said Mahesh. According to the constitution, the supreme court's citizen united ruling is unconstitutional because it goes against one of the purposes of the constitution, "to promote the general welfare", because citizens united only promotes the welfare of the wealthy and does not promote the welfare of the general population. This ruling is from is from those who are supposed to be the supreme interpreters of the constitution?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 18 weeks ago

I thought 100 billion sounded low..... probably more like 150! Is that what the Kochs admitted to?

How about this lie...."climate change is not man-made!"

That's the one Carbon Barons like the Kochs and their bought and paid for Teapublican Party are pushing!......lots of pants on fire all over the world, just ask folks in California, Washington State, Australia.........

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 18 weeks ago

I wonder how much of a role the Kochs have had (if any) in the "re-education" of the public/liberals in particular. Do Americans even grasp the absurdity of a "left" that calls for us to "Stand in Solidarity to protect the status quo of the bourgeoisie," the advantages of the middle class alone? What can we say about a left that so strongly believes in the superiority of our hyper-capitalist system that they think everyone is able to work, and there are jobs for all who need one, therefore no need for poverty relief? Who would want to change a system like that? Wouldn't it take a Koch-financed, long-term political and media effort to retrain otherwise-decent people to believe that those who aren't of current use to employers are undeserving of the most basic human rights of food and shelter? The inexplicable contempt of the middle class, liberals and Democrats toward our surplus population -- those who can't work (health, etc.) and those for whom no jobs are available -- is a complete revereasal of American values. This reversal could only be achieved by a well-financed political/media campaign against the poor.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 18 weeks ago

The catch: Who agrees on what actually serves to promote "the general welfare"? In the 1980s, Americans decided that this meant redistributing massive amounts of taxpayer dollars upward, largely to corporations, on the theory that they would use it to create that mass of "good, family-supporting jobs." Results: We now have a fraction of the jobs needed, at wages (for most) that have fallen well behind the cost of living. In the 1990s, we decided that it would serve the general welfare to end poverty relief for our jobless poor and many of the unemployable. The theory was that the people would quickly tire of "the poverty lifestyle," get a job and all would be swell. That, too, turned out quite disastrously. By the turn of the century, we decided that serving the general welfare could be achieved by simply removing our long-term jobless from both the statistics and the public discussion. Throughout this time, we simultaneously embraced a range of policies (mostly, against the poor) that have been working very well to phase out the middle class. Does anyone have any ideas of what sort of agenda would be needed to actually "promote the general welfare"? Face it, even today's liberals support promoting the welfare only of the better-off, the middle class, and have helped to deeply pit Americans against each other by class. This does promise to turn out very badly for this country.

clh100's picture
clh100 8 years 18 weeks ago

I heard the show this morning - I'm a new listener. As an Independent, I'll add my comments, and you can ignore what you don't like.

1) Your complaints about high meal costs and higher minimum wage seem self-contradictory. Those jobs will always pay at the same rate compared to jobs that require skills. Why don't you think that those costs will always be passed on as higher menu prices so that restaurants can maintain the same profit rate? If you bump up the minimum wage by 25%, then I'll expect menu prices to go up by 30%, and everyone's back where they started.

2) I share your cynicism about "buying politicians." Sure, the Kochs will profit big time if the pipeline increases the value of their land, so that's how they want to lobby. But I don't think you're cynical enough. This isn't new. Throughout the last century -- even the century before that -- people contributed to and promoted the politicians that would benefit them the most. And I think it's also short-sighted not to recognize that just like the Republicans have their billionnaires that fund their party, the Democrats have their billionnaires that fund their party. I really don't see much difference between the parties. Obama's doing the same things that he criticized Bush for doing as president. The Republicans criticized the Democratic Congressional leaders for making rule changes to support the party in power, but I bet the Republicans don't change the rules back. To me, both of the parties are evil, and that's why I've got to vote based on issues and not based on parties. Along that thread, with the risk of being accused of changing the topic too much, I resent politicians who think they can get a position because their parents or spouse had an office. This US doesn't have royalty. I never want to see another Bush or Clinton on a ballot.

dianhow 8 years 18 weeks ago

I am a former GOP voter but . NO more. GOP favors corps - billionaireas tax cuts- loopholes, sibsides.. Long Useless wars - war profiteers- policies that helped lead to global crash -. Then in a panic TARP scam was passed. aka Gift horse to Wall St - banks. Bush Cheney Rice 8 yrs was a horrible disaster. Needless maiming- deatrh- wasting trillions Trillions more to carefor our Vets . Wages are lower- pensions rare. Our pension was slashed after wo0rking long and hard for it. GOP fights any reasonable regs to protect our air and water from toxins. . GOP wants NO raise in min wage- wants to privatize & defund education- privatize SS -so Wall St can gamble it away- charge high fees. I am 71 so I will not have to live long with these anti middle class- pro corp Robber Barons for long . My offspting will . Years living with Reaganomics Bush trickle down - 1986 total amnesty - Iran cntra - huge war debt- bad foreign policy has left US with massive problems. Reagan & Alan Greenspan ' borrowed' from our SS trust fund and left IOU 's - in part to hide their enormous debt . 12 yrs of Bush's was too much NO more Clintons either

Warren Grayson Sanders

loganonenation's picture
loganonenation 8 years 18 weeks ago

Poltifact is one of the worst truth-detetectors in the business. They should generally be ignored.

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