GOP cowards in the lege won’t come clean on $5 million for ‘Kochtopus’ indoctrination centers


Screenshot-19“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers

This Libertarian bullshit has also produced the “trickle down” Tea-Publican zombies in our state government, and this blog’s most infamous blog troll, the disgraced John Huppenthal aka “Thucky.” If there is a reason why this Libertarian bullshit should not be taught in public schools to infect the minds of impressionable youth, it is this blog troll. He is the poster boy.

The Arizona Republic reports, Legislators want millions for schools with Koch brother ties:

The Arizona Legislature, which has slashed university funding in recent years, could soon vote on a budget that would give the state’s higher-education system an additional $32 million.

But $5 million of it would come with strings attached. The budget would earmark that amount for so-called “freedom schools” [i.e., indoctrination centers] aimed at advancing free-enterprise ideals at Arizona State University and University of Arizona.

The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s university system, has not advocated for that earmark. A spokeswoman said the regents are prioritizing funding that is not tied to specific programs so it can be used to mitigate tuition costs for in-state students.

KochClownsThe billionaire Koch brothers, whose network of “dark money” supported Doug Ducey’s 2014 campaign for governor, have provided funding for the freedom centers. ASU has two and UA has one.

* * *

Democrats strongly oppose the schools, while Republicans support or have mixed sentiments about the proposed spending.

Cartoon_07Ducey supports the earmark, his spokesman said, because it promotes specialized and innovative programs that shape students’ viewpoints long after college.

“The governor … believes it’s important that students in our university system are exposed to a broad range of viewpoints and academic views on a number of issues, including economics,” spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said. “So this fits in with that priority.”

* * *

Jonathan “Payday” Paton, who is lobbying for the dollars on behalf of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, said he has contacted representatives of a Koch charitable foundation to see if they would support the spending plan, but they have not been involved in the efforts. The Arizona Free Enterprise Club describes itself as a “free market, pro-growth advocacy group,” and as a non-profit, it is not required to disclose its donors.

* * *

The $5 million plan for the schools has been included in at least two versions of budget spreadsheets that illustrate negotiations by House and Senate Republicans. ASU would receive $3 million, while $2 million would go to UA.

* * *

ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty is an academic unit of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University [now known as “Koch Brothers University”] and is [laughably] described as “nonpartisan” [only because of its 501c tax status.]

The center features recent work on public education titled “The Demise of Government Schools” and on the state’s land trust fund. The trust-fund report – the cornerstone of the May 17 education-funding measure Proposition 123 crafted by Ducey – determined state leaders could be “more aggressive” in withdrawing from the fund.

The center has also published a policy report that examined a “road map” to how state leaders could eliminate the income tax, which is another key Ducey promise. The paper concluded that as state government enters a new era of economic growth “and the tax competition between states that has been occurring in earnest for decades, waiting longer may result in losing a golden opportunity.”

laughingASU’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership focuses on the “principles of good government, civic involvement, free markets and political liberty.”

UA’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom’s website says it works to advance the “ideals of freedom” through research, education and community outreach.

* * *

Democratic Minority Leader Eric Meyer of Paradise Valley ripped the earmark for the schools, saying even Republicans are questioning why it has been added to the budget deal agreed upon by GOP leaders and Ducey.

These freedom schools advocate for things that will help to abolish public education as we know it,” Meyer said. “We have all these needs, and they’re talking about $5 million for a think tank that spews out propaganda.”

Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, wants to know who specifically has requested the funding be included in the budget. No one appears to know who is advocating for the funding, she said. Some lawmakers suggest Ducey and Senate President Andy Biggs are pushing hard for the funding.

I don’t think something should be in the state budget that doesn’t have a member willing to stand up and take responsibility for it,” she said, noting one center professor’s emphasis on private schools.

Just like they do with their “dark money” PACs, these cowards hide in the shadows and don’t want to be exposed or to take a stand in public for what they claim they believe in.

Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said Monday that the centers perform valuable research and are a “modest but very important part of these institutions.”

Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, said the spending plan represents “a wonderful opportunity” to fund conservative viewpoints, which he says are lacking at the schools. He said a freedom school should be established at Northern Arizona State University, as well.

“The universities in Arizona – two of them – have an education and professors who do not adhere to conservative thoughts and rules or the conservative attitude toward government,” he said. “I want to see more of that taught in our universities and it will never lessen the way they’re being taught now.”

So now the Arizona legislature wants to mandate political course content? So much for academic freedom and First Amendment freedom of speech and association. Soon they will be mandating that college students must attend these “kochtopus” indoctrination centers.

The Republic’s E.J. Montini adds, Montini: Millions for Koch Bros. University branch campuses – ASU and UA:

Funding foe the state’s universities don’t usually include “earmarks” for specific programs favored by right-wing billionaires.

That kind of blatant politicizing of academic integrity doesn’t happen in state-run, state-owned institutions of higher learning.

Except here.

(And several other universities around the country.)

koch-brosIn a cleverly subversive but legal way Arizona State University and the University of Arizona are now owned – in part – by billionaires Charles and David Koch, the dark knights of the “dark money” who helped Gov. Doug Ducey get elected.

* * *

The Charles Koch Foundation gave $3.5 million in ASU’s new Center for the Study of Economic Liberty in order to spread the brothers political and economic philosophy in the guise of academic scholarship. In addition, ASU accepted more than $1 million in Koch money for a history professor’s position in the Center for Political Thought and Leadership, a job right out of the public relations department of billionaires.

Then there is the UA Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and, likewise, with lectures that should be titled Koch 101, Koch 102, etc.

According to Ducey’s spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, “The governor … believes it’s important that students in our university system are exposed to a broad range of viewpoints and academic views on a number of issues, including economics. So this fits in with that priority.”

In other words, we’re spending tax dollars for Koch brothers’ propaganda. In this case, $3 million for ASU’s center and $2 million for UA’s.

It’s a form of ivy-covered brainwashing.

* * *

On the bright side, Koch Brothers University only has branch campuses at UA and ASU. For now. If Ducey and his friends in the Legislature persist, it someday will be the other way around.

At least then the devil mascot will be appropriate.

UPDATE: More from E.J. Montini:

We now find out that [University of Arizona President Ann Weaver] Hart’s oily connection to DeVry University is nothing compared to the Legislature’s soul-selling union with the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David.

The dark money dons who helped get Gov. Doug Ducey get elected are now being allowed to buy their way into our kids’ brains.

The universities have established three “think tanks” (Read: propaganda centers) with money from the Kochs and their affiliates, and the Legislature wants to earmark $5 million a year in public money for them to dispense their dystopian disinformation at ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, ASU’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership and UA’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom.

It’s an academic embarrassment and an education travesty.

And it makes Hart’s DeVry connection look like a visiting professorship at Oxford.

Although given our Koch connection, I wouldn’t be surprised if the DeVry people forced her to resign from their board.

And The Republic‘s Laurie Roberts writes Dot by dot, Koch takeover of Arizona is happening.

Of course our Ayn Rand acolytes who troll in the comments argue, “nothing to see here, go back to sleep” as the “Kochtopus” completes its hostile takeover of Arizona.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t need the freedom centers to do more research, my intellectual guns are fully loaded. However, I do have an open mind and will look at what they produce and what role they are playing. Your sneering, mocking and screech should be reserved for the massive load of crap research and value consumed by University culture.

    1. 50% of all students show no cognitive gains after 2 years of college.
    2. The national reading panel ($10 million effort) found that 96% of all reading studies weren’t worth the paper they were written on and even the remaining 4% had substantial issues.
    3. Analysis of all the billions of expanded university research from 2000 to 2008 found that almost all of that expanded research was never cited by other research meaning that it also wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
    4. Just my own personal observation after attending Board of Regents meetings for 4 years: University internal organization completely lacks the characteristics of high performance organizations.

    However, having said that, we had some damn fine leadership at ASU and NAU for the last decade. It was just a shame that they had to operate on the one cylinder of personal leadership. The Board of Regents just couldn’t muster up the ???? to put the whole picture together. That includes me, I could never find a way to communicate to them what they needed to do in compelling enough language. It was invisible to them. If I ever see that spider graph of graduation rates again, I think I am going to vomit.

  2. I don’t think the Freedom Centers amount to much, if anything. Good scholarship is good scholarship and there is already plenty of it out there. I think there should be a search for the truth. It is easy to see why people are so disgusted with University quality in general: 50% of all students show no cognitive gains after two years in college, all of the extra billions going into research in the 2000 to 2008 was wasted – it produced a huge dump truck of published research that was overwhelmingly never cited by another paper meaning that obscured knowledge instead of enlightening it. Far be it from you morons to look at what is being produced by these new centers to determine as whether it can stand scrutiny, you just do your mock, sneer and screech routine.

    Consider this: on campus at ASU is a Nobel Prize winner. His name is Edward Prescott. One of highest rated economists of all time.

    His cross sectional analysis between the United States and Europe revealed that higher taxes cause people to start work later, retire earlier, work with less intensity, get fired more often, prefer more vacation days, take more sick leave, prefer part time jobs to full time jobs and to be less intelligent.

    In technical terms, most of these factors roll into something call the Frisch elasticity along the extensive margin. Prescott found a value of 3.0 meaning that tax cuts yield more revenue, a lot more, not less.

    Is this work used by the Republican Congressional House for Budget purposes? Nope. They use a collective of work that has a defective

    The Freedom Center doesn’t even appear to be aware of Prescott’s work, whose office in the CPCom building is a short 2 minute walk from the Freedom office. Plus, you have to be an absolute genius to understand Prescott who speaks in a language far removed from earthly beings.

    But, Prescott’s work means that freedom is in our future, that prosperity for poor people doesn’t mean you have to enslave anyone, in fact prosperity for poor people requires freedom.

    Unless of course, the morons of the world bottle it up the way they bottled up Menger’s amazing work.

  3. “Freedom” in the context of the Koch Brothers (aka the Ducey administration) means, the freedom to pollute, the freedom to store massive piles of coal waste, the freedom to buy politicians without revealing the source, the freedom to destroy alternative energy industries, the freedom to store deadly chemicals without regulation (the anti regulatory fetish), the freedom to destroy “government schools”, the freedom to subsidize private religious schools with public money, the freedom to use State trust lands and BLM lands for resource extraction without consequence. Freedom, so wonderful. And in John H’s case, the freedom to fracture the English language.

  4. $192 million, that’s your number? That’s your case? Are you kidding? For real? That doesn’t qualify as rounding error on rounding error on a fortune of $100 billion.

    Let’s restate the case.
    1. Koch industries have created companies that are great place to work, very high job satisfaction.

    2. That job satisfaction has create a great company that is the second largest privately held company in the US and would rank 17th on the Fortune 500.

    3. Their father worked in Russia for ten years as a petroleum engineer, seeing first hand the murder, the terror and the misery of the collective vision you all have for our country.

    “The only necessary condition for centralizing public power in a democratic society is to love equality or to make a show of loving it. Thus the science of despotism,” Tocqueville despairingly concluded, “can be reduced . . . to a single principle.”

    • You are in deep denial. Deep, deep denial.

      Who knows how to post Soundcloud audio?

      Today we’re releasing exclusive audio recorded during the annual meeting of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) earlier this month in Las Vegas. In the recordings, professors from Koch-funded schools share strategies to help their peers spread the Koch gospel on their own campuses. They speak frankly about attempts to dodge transparency requests by their students and faculty, mention their cozy relationships with high-level university administrators, mock journalists and portray anything other than their own free market teachings – including humanities, social sciences, gender studies and diversity initiatives – as laughable.

      It’s damning evidence of the lengths to which the Charles Koch Foundation is going to turn both public and private universities into incubators for its free market ideology, and destroying academic freedom in the process.

    • Rounding error in their favor, subsidies the rest of us are required to make up, because the ugly truth about the Makers vs. Takers philosophy you espouse is that the Makers are the real takers, every time you look closely.

      I have a friend who’s well paid and loves her job, but she’s still concerned that her employer is Too Big Too Fail and just paid a 1.2 billion dollar fine. Happy employees work for bad companies, it’s not a sign of ethics.

      The Koch’s are criminals and cowards who hide behind dark money, and now that I think about it, it makes sense that Racist and Disgraced former Arizona Politician John Huppenthal supports them.

      As I recall, Racist and Disgraced former Arizona Politician John Huppenthal has some campaign law violations in his past.

      And didn’t you lose to Diane Douglas? Because of flip flopping on Common Core?

  5. I am glad that I am causing you so much intellectual pain that you have to demonize me. Do I feel disgraced? Not in the slightest. Did I feel beat up by a mob of morons for a couple of months? Yes, but I am over that.

    And, you are just so full of it. The left wing billionaires rake it in from their government connections. Warren Buffett hasn’t paid 1% in taxes on the money he has made in his lifetime. His whole empire is built around tax evasion and he knows that as long as he trumpets the left wing spiel he will be protected.

    It is the Koch’s who have a corporate structure that exposes them to the taxation system and who have opposed all the special goodies that Buffett uses to move ahead. It is the Koch’s who banned the box and give ex-convicts equal consideration with other job applicants.

    On this blog, you don’t pursue truth, you pursue and try to retail untruth.

    • Oppose all the special goodies? Really? You going with that?

      How much the Koch’s have taken in government subsidies?


      Funny how the tax breaks and incentives they usually lobby to end are for competitors, like solar energy.

      The Koch’s are a complicated story, they do some good, but then they also deal with Iran, illegally, or spend the 80’s stealing from tax payers.

      They criminals, raised by a Nazi nanny, hiding behind free market nonsense.

      I’m a recovering Libertarian, one day I realized, hey, these guys are just making up crap and calling it a “study”, and their “think” tanks are just PR machines.

      It shouldn’t be too hard to tell the difference, assuming you’re not a racist chatbot.

    • You are so “over it” that you are back here trolling at this blog. Liar.

      Riddle me this Thucky: if the “Kochtopus” indoctrination centers are promoting “free enterprise” and Libertarian rugged individualism, then why do they have their hand out begging for a taxpayer subsidy? Shouldn’t they be paying for these indoctrination centers out of their own pocket 100%? (especially since this is not a degree program at the university). Why should Arizona taxpayers be forced to subsidize a propaganda mill with which the vast majority of Arizonans disagree?

      By the way, this is the same argument that the forced birthers make about taxpayer funding to Planed Parenthood women’s health centers. They claim that any taxpayer funding is a a subsidy to Planned Parenthood because it frees up its private donations for separately providing for abortion services, something which they oppose.

      And yet your GOP colleagues are simultaneously defunding Planned Parenthood (the largest provider of women’s heath care services) while doling out $5 million to “Kochtopus” indoctrination centers, which do more harm than good. (A true Libertarian would support a woman’s individual right to make health care decisions about her own body without government interference.)

      It seems to me that this $5 million taxpayer subsidy is just political payback for all that “Dark Money” that the “Kochtpus” network money launders into GOP candidates’ campaigns in Arizona.

  6. “If there is a reason why this Libertarian bullshit should not be taught in public schools to infect the minds of impressionable youth, it is this blog troll. He is the poster boy.”

    That says it all about Blue! Don’t win the argument, silence the competition! It is exactly the same with the money in politics. Koch money BAD, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Steyer, and Union money GOOD. You would have to be a total MORON not to see the hypocrisy!

    But keep it up Blue! That is why I read the blog. For the entertainment!

    • It would take 20 George Soros’ to equal one Koch brother. And you pretty much just named all the left wing billionaires, there are a few hundred on the right.

      It’s not even close.

      Not to mention that Soros and Steyer’s money goes to causes that would harm them financially, while the Koch’s. Sheldon Adelson, and the rest, are all about themselves.

      Now, if you’re saying we should have public funding of elections and take the money out, I’m with you.

      But you’re not saying that, are you, you’re just deflecting.

Comments are closed.