It looks like each e-mail I receive these days from a Democratic Senate candidate or Senator up for re-election this cycle includes a warning that the infamous Koch brothers will do something, irrespective of the associated fee, to take over the US Senate – and with it, our country. Their concern isn’t with out merit, for if we let the lunatics take over the Senate – as they have already got in the Tea Occasion-managed House – all will really be lost. A change of only six Democratic Senate seats to Republicans would make that grotesque actuality come true, and would encourage the Kochs and their ilk to have interaction in further mayhem in the 2016 election in an effort to elect a Conservative as President.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are flooding into Senate races across the nation from the Kochs and different wealthy right-wingers so as to influence these elections and continue to hold our country hostage. On the plus facet, many of these Democratic campaigns are additionally elevating more cash than anticipated, and several are even starting to maneuver forward of their Republican opponents within the polls. One sterling instance is Alison Lundergan Grimes, who’s difficult “Senator Gridlock” Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and is now polling at forty nine% to McConnell’s forty six%, in accordance with an e-mail I received just lately from Emily’s Record. Invoice Clinton has just announced a second trip to Kentucky in two weeks to marketing campaign with Alison, so clearly the Dems see a winner right here. That is on monitor to develop into the most costly Senate race ever, as Mitch’s billionaire pals are dumping big amounts of money into Kentucky to pay for advertisements smearing Mrs. Grimes. Even so, she has still managed to guide McConnell in fundraising in two of the final three quarters.
Different key Democratic Senate races are additionally raking in money, meeting and even surpassing their month-to-month campaign finance objectives. They are doing it mainly with small donations from hundreds of grassroots supporters, enabling them to get their message out and fight the Republican and Conservative PAC-funded attacks being waged towards them in their states. The important thing gamers in many of those assaults are the Koch brothers – Charles and David – who have now obtained single-title superstar status in the national political panorama. We all know they are multi-billionaires – indeed, they are tied for sixth among the many richest folks on the planet – and that Koch Industries is the second largest privately held firm within the US. But what extra do we actually learn about them, their wealth and the extent of their political activities? And simply how have they every acquired their respective $40+ billion in web worth?
It is, fairly frankly, astonishing to me that they’ve time to keep building their company empire, since a lot of their vitality and time goes into shopping for influence and affecting coverage in DC and beyond. In this election 12 months alone, they have dedicated to spending upwards of $290 million to put in their lackeys in public workplace across the country, and their slash-and-burn campaigns in opposition to Democrats are spreading and intensifying as the days dwindle before the 2014 election.
However the Kochs aren’t simply an election year phenomena, as additionally they present hefty funding to proper-wing suppose tanks like the Cato Institute and The Heritage Basis, in addition to their very own “social welfare” organizations like People for Prosperity, Freedom Partners and American Encore. They are additionally large players and funders of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”), which just had its annual meeting on July 30th in Dallas. Its agenda there, in response to Rebecca Wilce in PR Watch, was to consider laws that might, among different issues, severely restrict entry to Medicaid, expand charter faculties, develop US exports of “pure” fuel obtained by means of fracking – in addition to making it easier to frack – and undermine the EPA’s Clean Air and Clear Water Regulations. ALEC has also been having a profound effect in a number of states nationwide, creating so-known as “business-friendly” policies that destroy workers’ rights and throttle unions.
One other angle being performed by the Kochs is through the donations they’re spreading round to numerous universities throughout the nation, mainly in an effort to spread the Conservative message among our younger folks by way of “enterprise” programs that tout their free market ideology and advocate for such things as decrease taxes for the wealthy, vouchers for Medicare and chopping our different security nets like Social Safety and Medicaid – all within the title of what they view nearly as good enterprise practices and, actually, their desired purpose of a severely decreased position for our government in regulating company America.
And, leaving no stone unturned, the Kochs also fund cultural centers like New York Metropolis’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, in addition to serving as board members of PBS in both New York and Boston, the place they’ve contributed funding to PBS programs like Nova. It ought to also be noted that their cash and clout likely helped keep an unflattering documentary about them from being aired on PBS.
Lee Fang, writing within the Nation on March 7th, noted that the Kochs spent twice as a lot within the 2012 elections as the highest ten unions combined, with unions spending a complete of $153,473,251, while the Kochs’ contributions amounted to a whopping $412,670.666 – $four.9 million by means of their PAC’s, and roughly $407 million by means of undisclosed “darkish cash” contributions. Fang goes on to chronicle the Kochs’ contributions to the GOP since 1995-96, much of it via their shell company, Triad Management, which, as a corporate entity, was not required to report its donations, whereas unions – which are highly regulated by the FEC and Labor Department – must report all of theirs. Are there any clearer reasons for amending the Structure to overturn the Supreme Court docket’s horrible Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, and remove particular curiosity money from our politics and go to public funding of campaigns?
So just what are the sources of this nice wealth the Kochs use to fund their nefarious deeds? Koch-owned corporations are positioned in roughly sixty countries and have more than 100,000 employees, with about 60,000 of them within the US. A few of their products include transportation fuels, building and shopper merchandise, electronic connectors, fibers, fertilizers, and pollution filtration and control equipment. They’re additionally large in oil refining, with massive holdings in Texas particularly, where the newly opened leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is surely already bringing extra tens of millions to their coffers.
Another key holdings of the Kochs embody:
Flint Hills Sources – By way of its subsidiaries, Flint Hills operates refineries in Minnesota and Texas, with a combined crude oil processing capacity of greater than 600,000 barrels per day. The corporate also produces and markets petrochemicals, ethanol, biodiesel and asphalt, and owns a 50% interest in a lubricant base oil facility in Louisiana.
Georgia-Pacific – Primarily based in Atlanta, GP and its subsidiaries are among the many leading manufacturers of consumer merchandise, packaging, paper, cellulose and chemicals. They are additionally a number one provider of do-it-yourself warehouse retailers like Dwelling Depot with their broad number of building products. Some of their acquainted name brands in paper merchandise are Brawny Paper Towels, Quilted Northern and Tender and Gentle toilet paper, and Vanity Honest paper napkins.
Invista – This company and its subsidiaries are among the world’s largest built-in producers of chemical intermediates, polymers and fibers. Their applied sciences for creating mylar, spandex and polyester are used to produce clothes, carpets and plenty of different everyday merchandise.
Molex – Based mostly in Lisle, Illinois, Molex is a worldwide manufacturer of digital, electrical and fiber interconnection systems. It provides about 100,000 merchandise to a variety of markets, including cell gadgets, data-tech, client electronics, automotive, telecommunications, industrial, medical, army and aerospace. The corporate operates 45 manufacturing locations in 17 countries.
Koch Pipeline Company, L.P. – Koch Pipeline owns or operates greater than 4,000 miles of pipeline that transports crude oil, refined petroleum products, ethanol, natural gas liquids and chemicals. Synthetic Resin Equipment They even have four different firms and quite a few different subsidiaries that market and distribute thirteen million tons of fertilizer merchandise annually.
Koch Chemical Expertise Group – This is a collection of Koch companies that specialize in manufacturing pollution management gear, little doubt to fight the messes they create with their worldwide activities in extracting fossil fuels through traditional drilling and fracking – hey, if you realize you are going to make a problem, it makes sense to have an answer available for sale, too, no?
The Matador Cattle Company – This corporation operates three enormous ranches in Montana, Texas and Kansas, with a complete of 440,000 acres and 12,000 head of cattle on their books.
These corporations and the Kochs’ different holdings bring in an annual revenue of round $a hundred and fifteen billion – which sounds low to me, frankly. And one has to surprise how a lot they are paying in taxes, what with all of the breaks they absolutely get on this enterprise pleasant tax local weather?
With a lot cash tied up in the fossil gasoline enterprise, it is sensible that the Kochs are also the most important financiers of local weather science denial. In line with Polluter Watch, Koch Industries has spent tens of millions paying lobbyists to battle local weather and vitality legislation, and have labored at the side of ALEC’s Vitality and Setting Process Drive to distribute anti-environmental payments across the county that delay policy solutions to local weather change and forestall the EPA from regulating coal pollution and different dirty gas industries. In 2013, the Kochs had been even inducted into Corporate Accountability Worldwide’s Company Corridor of Shame for spending $50 million to fund local weather change denial and influencing the Supreme Court docket resolution to allow limitless company dollars to flow into federal elections.
A constructive word right here is that the world is beginning to see the Kochs for who they really are and reject their tarnished model, making them among essentially the most hated males on the planet – which they are destroying, by the way in which, with their fossil gas merchandise that we proceed to purchase, in turn giving them the sources to continue to purchase off our elected officials. As if in the Kochs’ honor, on September twenty first in New York Metropolis, the People’s Local weather March will carry thousands out for the largest public action so far on this challenge in our country. This march will happen at the identical time that world leaders are coming to the UN for a summit on the climate disaster. UN Secretary Common Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to assist an ambitious global settlement to dramatically scale back international warming-causing pollution. We might be watching this historic gathering and will eagerly anticipate the real solutions it delivers for a greater, healthier and more just world. The People get it, and are mobilizing on many fronts to combat the lies and destructive actions of the Kochs and their right-wing allies. Our time has come.
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