By Jack Jodell, June 21, 2011
They are seemingly everywhere: ultra-conservatives who hate government and want to turn it into a tool to serve only the wealthy and privileged. They have subtlely gained a slim majority on the Supreme Court which they are deftly using to implement their pro-wealthy, anti-middle class and anti-worker agenda (AND THAT IS WHY NO CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN MUST WIN THE WHITE HOUSE FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT 12 YEARS). They have also managed to foul and neutralize the mainstream media by framing most stories and debates in their favor; and they are conspiring to limit women’s rights and everyone’s civil and economic rights as well. They want to negate important concessions workers have obtained, and now wish to gain total control of government by using corporate money to buy elections. THESE PEOPLE ARE YOUR ENEMIES, and among the very WORST of them are:
THE KOCH BROTHERS. These filthy-rich Texas oil billionaires were originally from Kansas. They are very secretive and sneaky and don’t hesitate to throw their money around for ultra far-right candidates and causes. Sociologist C. Wright Mills once wisely said, “Nobody talks more of free enterprise and competition and of the best man winning than the man who inherited his father’s store or farm.” In the case of the Koch Brothers, it wasn’t a store or farm they inherited. Rather, it was their daddy Fred’s vast oil fortune, which was modest to start but has since mushroomed. And, just like the type of man described by Mr. Mills, both of these pampered inheritors have never hesitated to extol what they believe to be the virtues of dog-eat-dog, “free market” capitalism, where wealthy large business owners are king and labor must forever be kept in check. In their minds, why shouldn’t they operate this way? Neither has ever known a hungry night; both are billionaires many times over; and life is oh so very secure and good for them. To hell with everyone else!
CHARLES KOCH (1935- ) is the second-eldest brother and the CEO of powerful Koch Industries, Inc., the parent company. This company, incidentally, is the second-largest privately-held company by revenue in the United States, according to Forbes Magazine. Like most wealthy, manipulative big businessmen, this 75 year old prefers to stay out of the limelight and do his dirty work invisibly behind the scenes. He arrogantly refuses to give media interviews. It must be nice to come and go as one wants and do whatever one damn well pleases whenever and wherever. For his brand of dirty work consists partly of donating heavily to libertarian causes (he HATES taxes and government regulation, just like his kindred spirit Grover Norquist). He also helped co-found right-wing think tank the Cato Institute, the Bill of Rights Institute (which ensures that teachers and students receive all the educational materials they need to become properly grounded in free market philosophy and revisionist history), and the Market-Based Management Institute (which brainwashes its students into believing that Adam Smith, Grover Cleveland, and Calvin Coolidge were great men of exceptional vosion). In a rare interview given to the National Journal, he said his,””overall concept is to minimize the role of government and to maximize the role of private economy and to maximize personal freedoms.” (Of course, what he REALLY means by “personal freedom” is the ability of wealthy individuals like him to do whatever they want without restriction). On another occasion, Koch was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros, whose ideologies differ substantially from that of his, “simply haven’t been sufficiently exposed to the ideas of liberty”. How utterly insane!
It would appear that Charles Koch’s peculiar concept of “liberty” means that only wealthy capitalists are entitled to any economic rights at all, and that they must not be hampered in any way by any government regulation at all. In essence, he is a strong proponent of laissez faire economics, the very same type of economics which caused the Great Depression and our current Great Recession. He thinks the Obama administration has “prosperity under attack” and cautions against policies that ‘threaten to erode our economic freedom and transfer vast sums of money to the state'”. Ever an opponent of ANY economic restrictions on ANYBODY, he has written, “We could be facing the greatest loss of liberty and prosperity since the 1930s.” Oddly enough, as history has shown us, the only ones who lost any economic liberty in the 1930s were those who abused it by bringing about the Great Depression, and it was right and fair for everybody else that they DID lose those “freedoms”! This elder Koch certainly has a twisted notion of liberty, doesn’t he? In short, unless you, too, are a wealthy business owner like he is, THIS MAN IS CLEARLY YOUR ENEMY!
Younger brother DAVID KOCH (1940- ) shares his older brother’s libertarian economic philosophy. In fact, he was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice President in 1980. To give you an idea of what an extreme crackpot THIS particular Koch is, he and running mate Ed Clark’s platform threatened to end Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum wage laws, corporate taxes, agricultural price supports, and Federal agencies such as OSHA, the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Energy! In other words, just like his older brother, David wanted to rip up our economic system and replace it with anything goes, laissez-faire capitalism. His party’s 1984 platform also proposed legislation eradicating penalties for prostitution, recreational drugs, and suicide. In other words, ANYTHING GOES WITH DAVID KOCH! (Except government regulation, income taxes, or anything restraining the excesses of big business, I guess). He left the Libertarian Party in the mid 1980s, and now sides with and backs Republicans.The 71 year-old Executive vice president David Koch is unsure about global warming being caused by humans. He thinks a warmer planet would be good because “the Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food.” I have no idea where that ridiculous belief came from, as many scientific studies have said exavtly the opposite. I guess he sees increased hurricanes and tornadoes as useful things. Naturally, he opposes 2009’s health care legislation as well as any attempt being made to reform Wall Street. He strongly opposes President Obama, saying “He’s the most radical president we’ve ever had as a nation… and has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we’ve ever had.” Evidently he overlooks the fact that Obama saved GM and Chrysler from extinction, and helped rescue a lot of his (Koch’s) precious Wall Street bankers from going under too. Koch believes the President is a “hardcore socialist” who is “marvelous at pretending to be something other than that.” That’s very curious logic, David. The President shores up the very largest pillars of our American banking and automotive systems, forces them for a time to operate more sensibly and profitably, bails them all out, and that makes him a closet socialist? What about the “socialism” that provides tax subsidies to an already enormously profitable oil industry that has been gouging the public for many years? Have you or your other oilmen turned down any of those? Is that so evil, too, David? I guess there’s just no pleasing a greedy, profit-obsessed 71 year old capitalist like David Koch—they just want more, and MORE, and MORE, and MORE, and they won’t be satisfied until it’s all theirs! And to hell with ANYBODY who stands in their way! The vast array of businesses they own or have controlling interest in includes, but is not limited to, Invista (a huge producer of polymers and fibers used to produce nylon and spandex), Koch Fertilizer (the world’s 3rd largest supplier of nitrogen fertilizer, with ownership or interest in fertilizer plants across the U.S., Canada, Trinidad and Tobago), Koch Carbon (which trades and transports petroleum coke, coal, pulp, paper, sulphur, and other commodities), Koch Minerals (handling bulk commodities), Koch Pipeline Company (with 4.000 miles of pipeline to transport crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas liquids and chemicals), Koch Alaska Pipeline Company (owner of 3% of the Trans-Alaska pipeline), Flint Hills Resources (which has oil refineries in Alaska, Minnesota, and Texas, operates ethanol plants in Iowa, and petrochemical plants in Illinois, Michigan, and Texas), GEORGIA-PACIFIC RAILROAD, Koch Agriculture Company (subsidiaries of which operate cattle ranches across Montana, Kansas, and Texas), Koch Supply and Trading (which provides risk management and services in crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas and gas liquids, gas, power, and emissions, industrial metals and other commodities), and the Koch Exploration Company, which acquires, develops, and trades petroleum and natural gas properties in the U.S., CANADA, and BRAZIL. The reach of these companies ectends all across the U.S., Canada, and the WORLD.
In recent years, the Kochs have become much bolder in their political advocacy. In 1984, busy bee David founded, donated to, and served as board chairman of the free-market advocacy group Citizens for a Sound Economy. In 2004, two splinter groups emerged from this group: Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works, both of which were heavily instrumental in founding and funding the astroturf Tea Party groups which plague and are doing their best to destroy good governance today. David has been called “the tea party’s wallet” by New York magazine. As their profits grew, both brothers have become the underwriters of hard-line libertarian, “free market” politics in this country. Time magazine has included both of them among the 100 most influential people of 2011. The magazine’s list includes “activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry.” At the federal level, in 2010 they donated directly to 62 of the 87 House GOP “freshmen class”, the vast majority of whom overwhelmingly support their political positions. At the state level, they have given $5.2 MILLION to candidates and ballot initiatives since 2003 They donated directly to 13 different governors who won election in 2010, including $40,000 to the campaign of the notorious Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign. He was victorious and immediately set upon an agenda of tax breaks for corporations and attacks on labor unions. They are pledging to raise $88 MILLION for the 2012 elections, and have already begun scheduling events for possible GOP presidential candidates.
There have been other reports of shawdowy attempts by the brothers to cause obfuscation and put them and their activities in a more favorable light. There have been claims that attempts to modify their listing in Wikipedia have been made. Think Progress has uncovered evidence that the Kochs hired a PR firm to infest a number of websites with favorable information on them. As libertarians, both brothers strongly oppose environmental protection legislation. Their company has been listed as one of the top ten air polluters in the United States in a study released by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Greenpeace has issued a report calling their company “the kingpin of climate science denial”, showing that from 2005-2008, Koch Industries had vastly outspent even ExxonMobil in donations to organizations and front groups fighting climate change legislation. They have also sponsored conservative events where Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were sheltered and in attendance.
While being increasingly active politically, the Koch brothers have also donated hundreds of millions of dollars to a wide array of causes, from support for the arts to education to medical research. Not all of their giving has been of a political nature. But the political stances they have consistantly taken as well as the way they have employed shadowy front groups to distort and mislead in the media to further their particular cause of the moment eclipses whatever “good” giving they have done. It also represents a very real threat to the economic well-being of the vast majority of our population.
The Koch vrothers are now actively trying to:
1). Repeal the health care reform bill.
2). Oppose climate change legislation.
3). Oppose Wall Street reform.
4). Oppose carbon emmissions restrictions.
5). Oppose internet neutrality legislation.
6). DISMANTLE THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS OF WORKERS!
Further, between 2006 and 2009, the brothers spent $37.9 MILLION on direct lobbying for oil and energy issues. Only ExxonMobil and Chevron outspent them during this time. They also have spent $5.74 MILLION in political action committee money since the 2006 elections. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) received $10,000 from them in 2010, and then promptly introduced a bill to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. TALK ABOUT BUYING GOVERNMENT FAVORS! And this is only a PARTIAL list of the dirty behind-the-scenes work they have attempted! Sounds to me like these billionaires just don’t have enough to do!
THIS, readers, is the natural end-result of libertarian politics as practiced by the Koch Brothers, with corporate involvement in federal, state, and local races WHERE THESE OUTSIDE CORPORATIONS DON’T BELONG! It is an all-out war on working people designed to keep workers in economic bondage as their corporate masters grow ever more wealthy, powerful, self-serving, and utterly destructive every day. THAT IS WHY THESE KOCH BROTHERS ARE YOUR MORTAL, TRUE ENEMIES AND THEIR EFFORTS MUST BE RESISTED AT ALL COSTS! Things do NOT go better with Koch! Their success means YOUR economic downfall, and it would be well for you to remember that when you are in the voting booth next time. Do NOT cast your vote for any conservative Republicans!