For some conservatives, Bill Maher is surely a mixed bag.
The outspoken pundit makes no bones about his liberal Democratic ways, and those doubtlessly define him; but from time to time, he hits on realities not too often recognized by the far left wing.
Apropos, Bill’s none too much for partisanship at the cost of terrorism. And he’s a repeated champion of free and offensive speech.
To that end, Maher delved into the deeply offensive Friday night when discussing the death of libertarian billionaire and philanthropist David Koch.
Who was David? Here’s part of a bio released by Koch Industries:
On February 1, 1991, David was aboard a USAir flight when it collided with a SkyWest plane upon landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Altogether, 35 people died and 29 were injured. David survived. Surrounded by smoke and fire, he barely escaped the burning cabin through a galley door at the front of the plane.
“I was amazed that I had survived this accident. Thinking back on it later,
I felt that the good Lord was sitting on my shoulder and that He helped save my life because He wanted me to do good works and become a good citizen,” David told Barbara Walters in 2014. “Following that revelation, I became tremendously philanthropic, and I intend to continue being very philanthropic the rest of my life.”
In total, David has pledged or contributed more than $1.295 billion to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, arts and cultural centers, and public policy organizations.
David’s largest donations have been to create medical research centers and patient facilities, many of which bear his name, including MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which has helped launch approximately 80 companies to date, saving many lives today and in the future, as well as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Other major recipients included Johns Hopkins, Stanford University Hospital, the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and the Hospital for Special Surgery.
It was this legacy of helping others that mattered most to David. During his interview with Barbara Walters, the accomplished businessman, engineer, and philanthropist summed up what he hoped might appear on his epitaph: “I’d like it to say that David Koch did his best to make the world a better place and that he hopes his wealth will help people long after he has passed away.”
But here’s The Daily Beast’s take:
Koch Industries began as an oil company, and while the brothers expanded their portfolio to include everything from Georgia-Pacific to Dixie cups to Stainmaster carpets to Lycra, they stuck pretty closely to their father’s vision. Indeed, for people in the energy business, they seemed remarkably uninterested in renewables, sticking with oil and coal mining long after oil and coal mining ceased to be cool.
In that respect, they were merely off-the-rack villains in the minds of their environmentalist critics, not much different from any other big energy company.
What put the Kochs in a class by themselves was their political spending. Starting in the ’70s, the brothers began pouring millions into conservative causes, and they did it on a scale and with zeal and acumen never seen before. Like a lot of conservative tycoons, they gave money to candidates. But they did not stop there. They also created and funded think tanks, university-sponsored policy centers, advocacy groups, and lobbying arms. And they did it all quietly, which simply added to their sinister reputation as the puppet masters of the far right.
David might disingenuously disavow any direct connection with the Tea Party (“I’ve never been to a Tea Party event. No one representing the Tea Party has ever even approached me.”), but Koch money seeded that populist revolution and helped it flourish. And while the Kochs detested Donald Trump (Charles Koch compared the choice of Trump or Hillary Clinton to a choice between cancer and a heart attack), their influence on some of the most highly placed figures in his administration was enormous. Among those who were either friends of the Kochs or who owed their political careers to Koch money were Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos, Mike Pompeo, Scott Pruitt, and particularly many of the apparatchiks who helped dismantle the environmental protections so despised by the brothers from Wichita.
And now Bill, who had nothing good to say (Language Warning):
“Yesterday, David Koch of the zillionaire Koch brothers died … of prostate cancer. I guess I’m going to have to re-evaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer. … Condolences poured in from all the politicians he owned, and mourners are being asked — in lieu of flowers — to just leave their car engine running. … As for his remains, he has asked to be cremated and have his ashes to be blown into a child’s lungs. … I’m sure I will be condemned for [these words] on Fox News, which will portray Mr. Koch as a principled libertarian who believed in the free market. He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades, so f*** him. The Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”
Witness a bit of conservative response:
so @billmaher said he's glad david koch died, and his audience applauded. evidence of a needy phony and a gleeful mob uniting. Koch was a generous libertarian, whose millions went to fight disease. he did more for the world in a day, than Maher will do in his lifetime
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) August 24, 2019
Wait until Bill finds out the dude didn’t like and refused to endorse Trump, then he’ll love him https://t.co/CdvxztBVOH
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 24, 2019
— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) August 24, 2019
Wow. This is low. Even for Bill.
— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) August 24, 2019
What are your views of David?
The man’s politics aside, our society has become increasingly uncivil and words of cruelty abound. Such a change, in my view, is good for no one. Regardless of their political persuasion.
If we can’t respectfully disagree — enough to avoid wishing painful death on our ideological adversaries — then we need to learn some new tricks.
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