My Kochtopus teacher – Charles Koch offers partial regrets for his partisan ways | United States

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Charles Koch: Partisan politics don’t work. It’s time for a new way

Our republic now seems more divided than at any point in my lifetime. I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory. With the presidential campaign over, now begins the work of addressing the urgent crises that are holding our country back. Each of us must ask what role we can play to solve these problems. I stand with millions of Americans, ready to do my part.

This starts with putting the us-versus-them mentality of partisan politics behind us. These post-election days are an important part of that transition. Historically, now is when the winners are gracious, the losers concede, and all Americans acknowledge the outcome and turn their attention to the challenges of everyday life. 

Far from being mere gestures, these rituals help ensure the vitality of our democratic republic. America is a place where hard-fought campaigns are designed to give way to a deeper feeling of unity. Americans have long known that while we may vote differently, we’re in this together, and we must work together to rise together. Politics do not define us.

What does define us is our ability to look past our differences to solve problems. This happens every day in businesses, communities, and classrooms across the country. In these trying times, instead of doubling down on the contest for who will have power over others, we must unite to help empower every person from the bottom up so they can contribute and help others lead better lives. We must not see each other as Republicans or Democrats, but for who we truly are: mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, neighbors, teachers, doctors, nurses, business and community leaders. 

While government policy plays an important role, our constitutional order ensures it is a limited one. The more we look to partisan politics, the harder it is to find the common ground required to do the work it takes to overcome the coronavirus, create an economic recovery, eliminate racial injustice, or address the other barriers holding people back today. But if we work together civilly, we will find a path forward. It’s time to expect less of politics and more of ourselves and one another.

Take the current pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and many of those jobs will not be coming back. While temporary government support provides some relief, it takes much more to help those who’ve lost jobs obtain new work in a rapidly changing landscape. We need to transform how people acquire skills and how businesses evaluate and hire employees. I’ve been inspired by the SkillUp coalition (supported in part by the Charles Koch Foundation), which brings together companies and educators to train laid-off workers for better positions. It’s just getting started and already helping more than 1,000 people per day. Solutions like these, which must be discovered and expanded, require no divisive partisan bickering.

The pandemic has also radically changed the education landscape for more than 60 million students. Families are proactively responding, forming learning pods and seeking out new opportunities for their kids. Teachers are becoming educational entrepreneurs and developing personalized education options once reserved only for wealthy families. Sal Khan, the innovator behind Khan Academy, has a new project (which the Charles Koch Institute has supported) that provides these options at no cost to students.

For students who have never had access to these opportunities, such programs could begin to erase decades of injustice in the education system. But it will take tremendous commitment by people who once thought of themselves as being on opposite sides. The disputes between charters, public, or private should give way to a discussion about a quality education for every student.

Making progress on these issues—as well as many others—doesn’t come from following any particular political party in lockstep. It comes from searching for common ground. As someone who has tested whether partisan politics works, I’ve found it doesn’t. Most people intuitively know this: Research by More in Common—a partner of the Stand Together philanthropy, which I foundedshows that about two-thirds of Americans are tired of partisanship. They’re an “exhausted majority” that wants a better way.

If we can work together to find one, we can even motivate politicians to follow suit. One of the most remarkable achievements of the past four years was federal criminal justice reform, which passed with overwhelming support from politicians in both parties. It happened because Americans from all walks of life united to support it—liberals and conservatives, prosecutors and public defenders, police officers and people with criminal records. They put partisanship aside and made progress possible, all because everyday Americans showed the way. Imagine if we tried the same approach on issues like poverty, education, and equal justice. 

Though I did not support either candidate in this year’s presidential election, I wish the President-elect well. But let’s not ask him to do more than any President possibly can. The hard work of solving the country’s biggest problems falls to all of us. We each have a role, based on our unique talents, and we all have a responsibility to work together toward solutions. 

When Americans have done so, they have moved our country forward, even when they vote for different people. If we do so now, we’ll be surprised at what’s possible, and instead of endangering our republic, we’ll keep it and even improve it.

Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries. With Brian Hooks, he is the author of the new book Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World.

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Christopher Koch: a Biography – Tasmanian Times


Everyone has a favourite author. Mine is Christopher Koch.

He’s my favourite because he wrote with great purity. His writing is never flamboyant, and he never showed off. In a 2007 radio interview, he said:

“I think that, in the novel, you should say what you have to say as clearly as you can. Saying it clearly may not always be simple, but generally it should be.”

I discovered him when my grandmother lent me her copy of his last novel, Lost Voices, in 2013. I’ve since read all his books.

His life
Christopher Koch

Koch during the 1980s.

Christopher Koch was born in 1932, and grew up in New Town. He attended Clemes College, St. Virgil’s College, Hobart High School, and the University of Tasmania. When he was young, he aspired to become a comic strip artist. He was eventually employed by The Mercury as a caricaturist.

But he soon realised that the novel was ‘the supreme comic strip’. He started writing his first novel, The Boys in the Island, while he was studying at the University of Tasmania.

After graduating from university in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, Koch travelled through south Asia and Europe. He ended up in London, where he worked as a waiter and a teacher for a period of time before returning to Australia.

While in London, he finished writing The Boys in the Island, and he sent it to a publisher. It was published in 1958, shortly after he returned to Australia.

Koch married in 1959, and he and his wife had a son in 1962.

After winning a writing fellowship in the early-1960s, Koch worked on and eventually published his second novel, Across the Sea Wall, at Stanford University in the United States. It was at Stanford that he met fellow authors Ken Kesey and Frank O’Connor, among others.

After Across the Sea Wall was published, Koch returned to Australia and took up a job as a radio producer at the ABC in Sydney. Because of the demands of raising a family and being a full-time radio producer, he had no time to write, which was his passion.

In the late-1970s, Koch took a gamble and decided to become a full-time writer. He left the ABC and came to live in Tasmania to write the novel that became The Year of Living Dangerously. In order to financially support himself until the novel’s publication, he lived off the rent of a set of terraces which he’d bought cheaply and renovated before leaving the ABC.

The Year of Living Dangerously became a bestseller after it was published, and was adapted into a film starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver in 1982. Koch subsequently enjoyed a successful career as a writer.

Koch was a perfectionist, often re-writing, re-writing, and re-writing his work again to ensure that readers were going to get novels of the highest quality. For example, Highways to a War, along with its companion novel Out of Ireland, took him seven years to write.

He divorced during the 1980s, but remarried in the 1990s.

Koch died from cancer in 2013. He was 81-years-old.

Christopher Koch legacy

Koch has a huge reputation in the literary world, and is considered by his fans as Australia’s best writer of prose ever.

All his books (eight novels and two books of non-fiction), especially The Year of Living Dangerously, have sold well. Two of his novels (The Doubleman and Highways to a War) won Australia’s top literary award, the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

In 1990, Koch received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Tasmania. Then, in 1995, he was then made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to Australian literature.


I’ve picked up quite a few things about the craft of writing from reading Koch’s books. I believe my fellow writers will be able to pick up a thing or two as well, so I strongly encourage them to read his books. I’d personally recommend starting with Highways to a War, which is about the search for a war photographer who, in 1976, disappears inside Khmer Rouge Cambodia.

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The trailer for the film adaptation of The Year of Living Dangerously:

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent=”no” parentcategory=”writers” show = “category” hyperlink=”yes”]

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David Koch hits back at Eddie McGuire over Power’s prison bar guernsey push

Port Adelaide Football Club president David Koch has hit back at comments by Eddie McGuire that Collingwood would go to court to stop the Power regularly wearing its black-and-white “prison bar” guernsey.

Port Adelaide has been given permission to wear its historic colours at next Saturday’s AFL Showdown against the Adelaide Crows to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The Power is now seeking permission to wear the same design for all Showdowns going forward.

Collingwood Football Club president Eddie McGuire last night said, on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified program, that his club would take the AFL to court if it allowed the Power to infringe its magpie trademark.

Port Adelaide president David Koch and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.(AAP: Julian Smith / David Mariuz)

Koch today said Port Adelaide — whose SANFL side has been historically known as the Magpies — did not plan to wear a magpie on its uniform during Showdowns, only the prison bar pattern.

“We are simply asking the AFL to approve Port Adelaide to wear our iconic guernsey in South Australia against our local rivals, the Adelaide Crows.

“We aren’t asking to wear it every week, or every home game, or against Collingwood.”

A rack of clothes in a shop
The Power has previously worn a prison bar jumper at AFL level.(Supplied: Port Adelaide Football Club)

The June 13 Showdown could be the Power’s only game at Adelaide Oval this year, with the South Australian Government refusing to give local AFL teams permission to travel interstate and return without quarantining for 14 days.

Port going back on contract: McGuire

The latest debate is far from the first time the issue of the Power’s prison bar guernsey had come up since the club entered the AFL.

McGuire said that Port Adelaide had signed contracts prior to entering the AFL about not wearing black-and-white stripes or its magpie emblem.

“You’ll have to roll the contract up and whack them over the head with it,” McGuire said on Footy Classified.

He said the AFL Commission needed to protect clubs and their trademarks and prevent the Power wearing the uniform regularly.

McGuire accused Koch of bringing up the issue ahead of big matches.

“The magpie is the Collingwood magpie and that’s that.

“David doesn’t have the guts to tell his supporters that it’s finished.”

Two Australian rules football teams play on a field
Port Adelaide Magpie Peter Ladham is tackled in last year’s SANFL grand final.(Supplied: SANFL)

The Power last wore its prison bars jumper in a final against Richmond in 2014.

Koch said it was clear the members wanted to see the guernsey and considered it appropriate for the Showdown.

“In a year like no other when we’ve seen the importance of family, community and heritage, we believe any decision not to allow us to wear this guernsey in Showdowns would be nothing short of mean-spirited,” Koch said.

“One of the charters of the AFL is to protect and celebrate the heritage of our great game. We think wearing our black-and-white prison bar guernsey in Showdowns does just that.”

The Port Adelaide Magpies will not play in this year’s SANFL season after the club withdrew the team when the AFL announced that listed players would not be allowed to compete in state leagues across the country.

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AFL and COVID-19 | War of words erupts between David Koch and Mick Malthouse over games in China

Port Adelaide chairman David Koch has attacked former AFL coach Mick Malthouse for suggesting during the week that the league should no longer play games in China.

Koch said the opinion of the coaching games record holder on whether football should be played in China was irrelevant, and accused him of being out of touch.

“Remember why we did China. China is aimed at making sure this club has the final resources to have a fully funded football program. The business running an AFL club is about having a whole different income streams not based on the results of the football club,” Koch told Fox Footy.

David Koch.

David Koch.Credit:screen grab

“Using football as a way to build a bridge with China has been very important … Mick Malthouse doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If it was up to Mick Malthouse, he’d bring back the White Australia policy in the ’50s.”

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