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Wed, 2012-03-07 09:59Steve Horn
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Kochtopus Cato Institute Power Grab: A Historical Perspective

A new chapter is being added to the ongoing Kochtopus saga. On March 1 the Washington Post, in a story sure to fill the airwaves for the weeks and months to come, revealed the Kochtopus is suing the Cato Institute for control of the recently deceased and former Cato Chairman William Niskanen's ownership share in the think-tank.

The Koch Empire was recently outed by DeSmogBlog as a key seed funder of the climate change denier think-tank, the Heartland Institute. Heartland's internal documents were recently leaked to DeSmogBlog (see “Heartland Exposed”). 

Billionaire oil baron Charles Koch is now waging war against another entity that was created with Koch seed money decades ago: the Cato Institute.

The Post explained succinctly:

At the heart of the dispute is the fate of the shares owned by Niskanen, who died in October at age 78 of complications from a stroke. The Koch brothers believe that they have the option to buy Niskanen’s shares, while Cato officials believe that the shares belong to Niskanen’s widow, Kathryn Washburn, according to the complaint.

Cato's Pat Michaels is a key player in the world of climate change denial, “sowing the seeds of doubt” on human-caused climate change.

That said, Cato has also stood up for key libertarian principles in the past that do not fit a partisan framework. Among them: protection of civil liberties, opposition to imperialism, opposition to the war on drugs, opposition to the militarization of domestic law enforcement agencies, and support for gay rights, to name several.

A brief overview of the key movers and shakers behind Cato's ascendancy is important to understand the rise of the Koch Empire and the split between the faux-libertarians and the true libertarians.

Tue, 2011-03-22 21:39Brendan DeMelle
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PolluterWatch Memo to Koch PR Team: Ever Consider Making Your Astroturf A Little Less Obvious?

PolluterWatch is serving up a great tongue-in-cheek “memo to the Koch PR team” tonight, noting the obvious blunders from Koch Industries’ astroturfing and attack squad lately. The Kochtopus keeps revealing just how highly coordinated its media and blogger network is, mysteriously generating defensive and offensive pieces in quick succession at the drop of a billionaire’s hat.

If it weren’t so blatantly obvious in slinging the same mud and honey around the media Koch-o-sphere, perhaps Koch’s ever-ready defender squad might be worthy of compensation? Oh wait, New Media Strategies does get paid by Koch to blatantly and disastrously attempt to edit the Koch profile on Wikipedia. 

And even if Koch’s friends in media claim to rush to the company’s defense out of pure ideological zealotry and not for compensation, there are a few instances where that argument fails to impress.  As PolluterWatch points out, Koch’s PR team recently posted on the company’s Facebook page about a piece written by Steven Hayward that seemed to support Koch’s anti-science position on climate change and predictably tooted the old Climategate dud.

Fri, 2008-07-11 16:56Richard Littlemore
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Wiki-libel: Denier Solomon Tries to Shoot the Messenger

Lawrence Solomon - he of the imaginary legion of top scientists who deny climate change - has launched an attack on the credibility of Wikipedia, complaining especially that Wiki has the temerity to acknowledge climate change and to censor unfounded counter arguments.

Unfortunately, Solomon pegs his own case to the reputation of the notoriously unreliable Benny Peiser, leaving the Wiki editors looking admirably clever.

Thu, 2007-08-23 13:19Kevin Grandia
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Fun with Wiki Scanner! Senate and Congress wiki revisions

Last week I highlighted a brilliant piece of programming called Wiki Scanner, which cross-reference known IP addresses with revisions to Wikipedia entries.

For example, an astute Wiki Scanner found that someone using a computer with an ExxonMobil IP address revised the entry for the Valdez oil spill. Whoever was using the ExxonMobil IP address edited the Valdez entry in a way that downplayed the environmental devastation it caused.

So here's some interesting things we've been able to find so far using Wiki Scanner:

Fri, 2007-08-17 16:55Kevin Grandia
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Can Wiki Scanner help the DeSmogosphere?

Ever wonder who's behind some of the outrageous edits to Wikipedia? Has an underhanded auto manufacturer been editing the Wikipedia entry for global warming?

Check out Wikipedia Scanner, an amazing piece of programming that is rightfully getting the attention it deserves. The program can trace Wikipedia edits back to known IP addresses of corporations and organizations.

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