In Which We Lose Our Funding And Are Reduced To Eating Gravel

Law, Politics & Current Events

It's a well-known fact that all libertarian and libertarian-esque thought on this series of tubes is secretly funded by the Koch brothers through their various shadowy, malevolent enterprises. Every time I say something positive about the free market, I get a check for $100 and a hippie gets punched in the face. Every time Patrick criticizes the War on Drugs or police abuse (with, of course, the secret agenda of defunding Medicare and privatizing Social Security), the Kochs send him a bottle of freakishly expensive Scotch, and a union member loses his benefits. We're part of a foul dark army, like Juggalos, only better dressed and less angry at magnets. Serious Deep Thinkers like John Cole have long seen through the crass financial motives of glibertarians like us, and has painstakingly explained that we're all either rich or suffering from false consciousness.

So I want to make it clear that I'm throwing away my chances at a new summer home, and dashing Patrick's hopes of a lavish Fort Sumter theme park, by pointing out that the Koch brothers just got their censorious asses handed to them by Public Citizen in a marvelous First Amendment Ruling.

I've mentioned before how Public Citizen fights the good fight, and why you ought to support them. In this case, they took up the cause of a blogger who made a parody website suggesting that Koch Industries had suddenly gone green — green to the point of Al-Gore-craziness. It was an obvious parody — yet Koch retaliated with a frivolous lawsuit in which they threw a great double-handful of censorious shit against the wall to see what would stick: cyber-squatting, trademark infringement, unfair business practices, and other causes of action commonly used by thuggish businesses who don't want to admit that their true cause of action is "butthurt over being criticized in the first degree." Public Citizen made short work of them, and this week the federal court dismissed the complaint and quashed the Koch subpoenas seeking the identity of the anonymous bloggers who made the parody site. You can read all about it — and read the district court's thorough opinion — over at Public Citizen. Throw them a few shekels while you are there if you can.

The Koch brothers promote any number of causes that support individual freedom over government intrusion — including sorts of freedom not typically supported by Republicans and conservatives. But whether they do or not, this sort of censorious bullshit ought to be called and ridiculed out by everyone — even if it means that Patrick and I will no longer get our free passes for the special showing of Atlas Shrugged at the Paulville A is A Cinemas. Moreover, the sort of law firms and lawyers who bring such SLAPP suits ought to be called out and ridiculed. In this case, the censorious goon — strike that, entirely unsuccessful censorious goon — to be ridiculed is Juliette P. White and of Parsons Behle & Latimer.

This sort of suit is exactly why we should have a federal anti-SLAPP statute that, at a minimum, allows prevailing defendants in cases brought in federal court to recover attorney fees.

We now return you to your normally scheduled efforts to undermine the most important institutions of free America, like the tax system and the Department of Education, through crypto-fascism disguised as concern for individual rights.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

15 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Retardo  •  May 11, 2011 @9:30 am

    Agreed.

    But that Juliette P. White, I'd do her in a minute. No sense throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  2. Patrick  •  May 11, 2011 @9:39 am

    My closest brush with Public Citizen was an argument with its Twitter account over the Citizens United decision and…

    Well, I know the Twitter account is handled by some intern, but it is a primary internet voice for Public Citizen, and let's say on a whole range of issues relating to free speech ("hate speech", religious speech, political speech paid for by individuals out of their own pocket, political advertising) having nothing to do with whether corporations have rights similar to those of non-artificial people, I found Public Citizen wanting.

    Where money is concerned I'll stick with the ACLU, the NRA, FIRE, and CATO (which makes me a KOCH BROTHERS STOOGE!) thank you sir. At least their Twitter accounts don't want to prosecute me for what I write on Twitter.

  3. Ken  •  May 11, 2011 @9:42 am

    Patrick, I don't support their views on Citizens United, corporate speech, or similar issues either. But then, I don't agree with the ACLU or the NRA or CATO on everything either. Public Citizen does good work in this area.

  4. rmv  •  May 11, 2011 @9:42 am

    Wait a minute.

    How can I get some of those checks? I want to be a paid shill instead of suffering from that consciousness thing.

  5. SPQR  •  May 11, 2011 @10:00 am

    Pshaw, I get two hippies punched for each of my shill posts.

  6. PLW  •  May 11, 2011 @10:40 am

    Econ 101-As the sole buyer of Libertarian shillery, Koch Bros. can increase their consumer surplus by price discriminating. You must have a more elastic supply, SPQR.

  7. TehKochtopus  •  May 11, 2011 @12:22 pm

    WE ARE WATCHING.

  8. Patrick  •  May 11, 2011 @12:27 pm

    Patrick, I don’t support their views on Citizens United, corporate speech, or similar issues either. But then, I don’t agree with the ACLU or the NRA or CATO on everything either. Public Citizen does good work in this area.

    I'd have passed on comment but for this.

    Throw them a few shekels while you are there if you can.

    A recommendation with which I strongly disagree. Sure they've done good work, but they've done, and do, as much bad work as good, which is something I wouldn't (and I suspect you wouldn't) say about any of the other organizations I named.

    EXCEPT FOR DEFENDING CERTAIN FORMS OF (generally) UTTERLY CONVENTIONAL SPEECH OF THE SORT WHICH GETS BROADCAST ON JON STEWART AND COLBERT EVERY NIGHT BUT DOESN'T GET THEM SUED BECAUSE THEY HAVE LAWYERS ON RETAINER…

    Public Citizen has a rather lousy record on speech issues. Yeah, they've defended a few internet-buzzworthy claims against bloggers who wrote satire or serious commentary on their side of the aisle, SLAPPS one and all. Boo-yah!

    I'll give them money, and I'll recommend giving them money, when they defend Nazis marching on Skokie, or a Fred Phelps: when, like say the Institute for Justice, they take a case that wouldn't have their supporters yelling Boo-yah!

    Until then, I'll give to the ACLU or IOJ or any other number of other charities.

    It just seems misleading not to tell people who want to donate their "shekels" to a corporation that supports free speech that the corporation in question also argues that it's constitutional for the government to dictate the contents of restaurant menus.

    If I weren't an informed consumer, Public Citizen would fully support my right to sue you for failing to give that warning.

  9. Ken  •  May 11, 2011 @12:37 pm

    That's a fair criticism, Patrick. Concerned consumers can review their web site and see the sort of litigation they've been involved in and determine whether the good outweighs the bad.

  10. G Thompson  •  May 11, 2011 @8:59 pm

    I think America should get a Federal Anti-SLAPP statute if not for the obvious reason that until that happens all these censorious goons (as you so eloquently put it. me I would of been harsher) will continue to be publicly SLAPPED up the back of the head until they see sense or at the least lots of ridicule.

    Maybe Public Slapping should be included in any Anti-SLAPP statute for repeat offenders anyway ;)

  11. perlhaqr  •  May 11, 2011 @10:48 pm

    Pshaw, I get two hippies punched for each of my shill posts.

    How does one sign up for hippie punching duty? Can I simply volunteer? Is there a formal interview process?

  12. piperTom  •  May 12, 2011 @6:24 am

    From http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=496
    "Public Citizen's energy and climate program advocates for affordable, clean and sustainable energy. We safeguard families by promoting the strong regulation of energy markets,…"

    Uh, oh!

    /self-indictment enough?
    // also worthy of a "few shekles" : Reason foundation (reason.com)

  13. SPQR  •  May 12, 2011 @8:26 am

    perlhaqr, I don't know. I contract it out these days. Because of the self-importance, you know.

  14. Matt  •  May 14, 2011 @9:25 am

    As for me, the Koch brothers can keep their money. Or use it to pay more people to punch more hippies. Either way, the nation is better off. I'd just spend it on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. :)

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