- An earlier article on America's Tea Party discussed its
backers, including David and Charles Koch, billionaire owners of Koch Industries,
a privately owned energy conglomerate with interests in manufacturing,
ranching, forestry, finance, and numerous other ventures in 60 countries
and 45 states.
- In 2009, Forbes called it America's second largest private
company after Cargill with annual revenues of $100 billion. Donating generously
to recruit, educate, fund, and organize Tea Party protests, they helped
turn their private agenda into a mass movement of working Americans backing
policies oppositie their own self-interest, added proof of the power of
persuasion to deceive and betray.
- On April 4, Center for American Progress (CAP) Action
Fund contributor Tony Carrk published a report headlined, "The Koch
Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right,"
- They use their vast wealth to bankroll "right-wing
political action groups, think tanks, and individual politicians"
to advance extremist notions of limited government, deregulation, privatization
of state enterprises, assets and resources, low corporate and personal
taxes, minimal social services, anti-unionism, and overall business friendly
- They strongly oppose healthcare and financial reform,
collective bargaining rights, and environmental sanity, among other issues.
Since the mid-to-late 1990s, they donated over $85 million to dozens of
right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups, including Americans for Prosperity,
an anti-labor group for unrestricted free enterprise, limited government,
tax cuts for the rich, job-killing trade agreements, and right to offshore
jobs freely to low-wage countries.
- The Kochs also donated directly to 62 of the 87 House
Republican freshmen and participate actively in state politics, spending
$5.2 million on candidates and ballot measures in 34 states since 2003,
besides direct donations to 13 governors last year.
- According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings alone,
Koch Industries PAC contributed $43,000 to Republican Scott Walker's governatorial
campaign, second only to the $43,125 given by state housing and realtor
groups. Moreover, Koch PAC helped Walker and other Republicans by contributing
$1 million to the Republican Governors Association. RGA then spent $65,000
supporting Walker and $3.4 million on television attack ads and mailings
against his opponent, Milwaukee Democrat Mayor Tom Barrett.
- It made the difference between victory and defeat, and
let Walker advance anti-labor, pro-business legislation favoring Koch and
other corporate predators, including a provision to let Walker use no-bid
contacts to sell state assets. Among them - dozens of small power plants
Koch may covet and be able to buy cheap.
- Moreover, with 2012 elections ahead, the Kochs plan to
raise $88 million for potential Republican presidential candidates, besides
millions more for House and Senate ones, as well as state and local officials.
- Access the full CAP report through the following link:
- It details vast Koch holdings and interests, as well
as its web of political influence that let Charles and David amass an estimated
combined $44 billion personal net worth.
- On April 7, the Center for Public Integrity's (CPI) John
Farrell headlined, "Koch's web of influence," saying:
- "Koch spends tens of millions trying to shape federal
policies that affect their global business empire," CPI explaining
that its lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records show
"a lobbying steamroller for the company's interests...."
- In recent years, its spending soared from $857,000 in
2004 to $20 million in 2008, then another $20.8 million through 2010 "to
mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations."
- CPI founder, Charles Lewis says:
- "The Kochs are on a whole different level. There's
no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is
what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation,
and obfuscation. I've been in Washington since Watergate, and I've never
seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times."
- According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Koch's
lobbying expenses ranked in the top five among oil and gas companies alone,
using 30 well-connected firms in 2010 to assure its interests are well-served.
- Another key Koch issue is controlling the message, the
topic of Nation magazine contributors Mark Ames and Mike Elk in their April
20 article headlined, "Big Brothers: Thought Control at Koch,"
- Ahead of last November's elections, Koch pressured its
employees to support company choices, "warning them about the dire
consequences to their families, their jobs and their country" for
- Last year's Citizens United Supreme Court decision, granting
corporations unlimited free speech, lets them politick brazenly within
the law, including intimidating employees to back company choices and spread
- "Legal experts say that this kind of corporate-sponsored
propagandizing has been almost unheard-of (since) New Dear-era laws,"
restricting workplace political activism and pressure.
- Moreover, Citizens United lets companies prohibit unions
from similar practices because of infringing on private property. The decision
literally legitimizes "court-enforced corporatocracy." As a result,
"workers across the country should start preparing for a future workplace
environment in which political proselytizing is the new normal," at
the same time prohibiting opposition views.
- A Final Comment
- On April 19, Ralph Nader's article headlined, "Waiting
for the Spark," speculating about "(w)hat could start a popular
resurgence in this country against the abuses of concentrated, avaricious
corporatism" that aroused Nader once to call Washington "corporate
- Today, in fact, it's a wholly owned subsidiary, doing
whatever corporate interests want because bipartisan complicity serves
them at the expense of peace, democratic values, and public needs.
- As a result, growing inequality, poverty, hunger, homelessness,
unemployment, injustice, and despair affect millions of Americans, on their
own and out of luck because politicians don't care.
- What will ignite them, asks Nader, suggesting that "(h)istory
teaches us that the spark usually is smaller than expected (and) wholly
unpredictable or unimaginable."
- Dry tinder, in fact, proliferates everywhere. What better
time than now for a clean sweep "Jeffersonian revolution." It
can't come a moment too soon to rid America of noxious influences like
Koch and corrupt politicians, hired hands serving them at the expense of
vital popular needs gone begging.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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