(CBS) This is the story of a blood feud, a battle between brothers. As we told you when we first reported this story last November, the Koch family of Wichita, Kansas is among the richest in the United States, worth billions of dollars. Their oil company, Koch Industries, is bigger than Intel, Dupont or Prudential Insurance, and they own it lock stock and barrel. The trouble is a former employee says the brother who controls the company grew rich through fraud and theft, stealing from the taxpayers of the United States.
Unfortunately, for Koch Industries, that disgruntled former employee was Bill Koch, one of the Koch brothers. Blood and oil has destroyed more than one American family. The question is: Was Bill Koch a renegade out to ruin his brother, or did Koch industries really operate the way he says? Scott Pelley reports.
Koch says that Koch Industries engaged in “(o)rganized crime. And management driven from the top down.”
“It was – was my family company. I was out of it,” he says. “But that’s what appalled me so much… I did not want my family, my legacy, my father’s legacy to be based upon organized crime.” Continue Reading »
I know many readers will be happy to get this news — assuming you’re one of the 60 million people who have access to Current TV through your cable system. (I’m pretty sure you can get it on one of Roku’s channels, though.):
Keith Olbermann, the former top-rated host of “Countdown” on the news channel MSNBC, will announce his next television home on Tuesday, and people familiar with his plans pointed Monday to a possible deal with the public affairs channel Current TV.
Neither Mr. Olbermann, his representatives, or executives from Current TV would comment on the move, but they did not deny that the channel, which counts former Vice President Al Gore as one of its founders, will become at least one partner in Mr. Olbermann’s future media plans.
One of the people with knowledge of the plans said Mr. Olbermann would have an equity stake in Current TV. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized by their employers to comment in advance of the official announcement.
On Monday a public relations agency hired by Mr. Olbermann scheduled a Tuesday morning conference call for an announcement about his next job. “He and his new partners will make an exciting announcement regarding the next chapter in his remarkable career,” the agency wrote in an e-mail.
Current TV has set up a presentation with advertisers for Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan to announce its future plans. The channel may be betting on Mr. Olbermann to put it on the cable map. The low-rated five-year-old channel needs the help. Targeting young people, it originally subsisted on YouTube-style submissions and video journalists. More recently it started producing and acquiring traditional television series, like repeats of “This American Life.”
So it seems that Israel and the U.S. decided in 2008 that Egypt’s torture chief is the man they’ve selected to replace Mubarak. Yes, I know there’s such a thing as balancing competing interests, but why is our political establishment so very comfortable with dictators and torturers? Am I supposed to be less morally outraged because it’s a Democratic administration moving the chess pieces?
On Saturday, Mr Suleiman won the backing of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to lead the “transition” to democracy after two weeks of demonstrations calling for President Mubarak to resign.David Cameron, the Prime Minister, spoke to Mr Suleiman yesterday and urged him to take “bold and credible steps” to show the world that Egypt is embarking on an “irreversible, urgent and real” transition.
Leaked cables from American embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv disclose the close co-operation between Mr Suleiman and the US and Israeli governments as well as diplomats’ intense interest in likely successors to the ageing President Mubarak, 83.
The documents highlight the delicate position which the Egyptian government seeks to maintain in Middle East politics, as a leading Arab nation with a strong relationship with the US and Israel. By 2008, Mr Suleiman, who was head of the foreign intelligence service, had become Israel’s main point of contact in the Egyptian government.
Let’s put this into perspective: There are some very serious allegations against Suleiman and they deserve more attention than they’re getting. I posted this yesterday from Dave Bry at The Awl:
“The extraordinary rendition program landed some people in CIA black sites—and others were turned over for torture-by-proxy to other regimes. Egypt figured large as a torture destination of choice, as did Suleiman as Egypt’s torturer-in-chief. At least one person extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt — Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib — was reportedly tortured by Suleiman himself.
… In October 2001, Habib was seized from a bus by Pakistani security forces. While detained in Pakistan, at the behest of American agents, he was suspended from a hook and electrocuted repeatedly. He was then turned over to the CIA, and in the process of transporting him to Egypt he endured the usual treatment: his clothes were cut off, a suppository was stuffed in his anus, he was put into a diaper—and ‘wrapped up like a spring roll’. In Egypt, as Habib recounts in his memoir, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t, he was repeatedly subjected to electric shocks, immersed in water up to his nostrils and beaten. His fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman.”
Basically, it’s the idea that a relative handful of patients generate a massive amount of costs because they don’t have coordinated care. I can tell you that as a new consumer of the public health care system, it’s almost designed to fail — not because people don’t care, but because the system’s designed so poorly.
What data zealots need to do is leave their hermetically sealed rooms and step outside, take a walk among the millions of Americans who are hurting to the bone. They should talk with families that are suffering, losing their homes, doubling up, checking into homeless shelters.
We behave as though the numbers are an end in themselves — just get the G.D.P. up or the jobless rate down — and we’ll be on our way to fat city. But the numbers are just tools, abstractions to help guide us, orient us. They aren’t the be-all and end-all. They don’t tell us squat about the flesh-and-blood reality of the mom or dad lying awake in the dark of night, worrying about the repo man coming for the family van or the foreclosure notice that’s sure to materialize any day now.
The policy makers who rely on the data zealots are just as detached from the real world of real people. They’re always promising in the most earnest tones imaginable to do something about employment, to ease the awful squeeze on the middle class (policy makers never talk about the poor), to reform education, and so on.
They say those things because they have to. But they are far more obsessed with the numbers than they are with the struggles and suffering of real people. You won’t hear policy makers acknowledging that the unemployment numbers would be much worse if not for the millions of people who have left the work force over the past few years. What happened to those folks? How are they and their families faring?
The policy makers don’t tell us that most of the new jobs being created in such meager numbers are, in fact, poor ones, with lousy pay and few or no benefits. What we hear is what the data zealots pump out week after week, that the market is up, retail sales are strong, Wall Street salaries and bonuses are streaking, as always, to the moon, and that businesses are sitting on mountains of cash. So all must be right with the world. Continue Reading »