It seems like every e-mail I receive these days from a Democratic Senate candidate or Senator up for re-election this cycle includes a warning that the notorious Koch brothers will do something, regardless of the price, to take over the US Senate – and with it, our nation. Their fear just isn’t without benefit, for if we let the lunatics take over the Senate – as they have already got within the Tea Social gathering-controlled Home – all will actually be lost. A change of only six Democratic Senate seats to Republicans would make that ugly reality come true, and would encourage the Kochs and their ilk to have interaction in additional mayhem in the 2016 election to be able to elect a Conservative as President.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are flooding into Senate races throughout the nation from the Kochs and different rich right-wingers to be able to influence these elections and continue to hold our nation hostage. On the plus side, many of these Democratic campaigns are additionally elevating more cash than expected, and several are even beginning to maneuver forward of their Republican opponents in the polls. One sterling example is Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is difficult “Senator Gridlock” Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and is now polling at 49% to McConnell’s 46%, based on an e-mail I acquired just lately from Emily’s Checklist. Bill Clinton has just announced a second journey to Kentucky in two weeks to marketing campaign with Alison, so clearly the Dems see a winner right here. This is on monitor to develop into the most costly Senate race ever, as Mitch’s billionaire associates are dumping huge quantities of cash into Kentucky to pay for advertisements smearing Mrs. Grimes. Even so, she has nonetheless managed to steer McConnell in fundraising in two of the final three quarters.
Other key Democratic Senate races are additionally raking in money, meeting and even surpassing their monthly marketing campaign finance targets. They’re doing it primarily with small donations from thousands of grassroots supporters, enabling them to get their message out and combat the Republican and Conservative PAC-funded attacks being waged against them of their states. The important thing gamers in many of these assaults are the Koch brothers – Charles and David – who have now obtained single-identify celeb status in the nationwide political landscape. We know they’re multi-billionaires – indeed, they are tied for sixth among the many richest individuals on the earth – and that Koch Industries is the second largest privately held firm in the US. However what extra do we actually find out about them, their wealth and the extent of their political actions? And simply how have they each acquired their respective $forty+ billion in web worth?
It is, quite frankly, astonishing to me that they have time to maintain constructing their company empire, since a lot of their vitality and time goes into shopping for affect and affecting policy in DC Tube Heat Exchange and beyond. On this election year alone, they’ve dedicated to spending upwards of $290 million to put in their lackeys in public office throughout the country, and their slash-and-burn campaigns against Democrats are spreading and intensifying as the times dwindle before the 2014 election.
However the Kochs aren’t just an election yr phenomena, as in addition they provide hefty funding to proper-wing assume tanks just like the Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation, in addition to their own “social welfare” organizations like Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners and American Encore. They are additionally huge players and funders of the best-wing American Legislative Change Council (“ALEC”), which just had its annual meeting on July 30th in Dallas. Its agenda there, in line with Rebecca Wilce in PR Watch, was to think about laws that will, among other issues, severely limit access to Medicaid, increase charter schools, expand US exports of “pure” fuel obtained through fracking – in addition to making it simpler to frack – and undermine the EPA’s Clean Air and Clean Water Rules. ALEC has additionally been having a profound effect in several states nationwide, creating so-called “enterprise-pleasant” policies that destroy workers’ rights and throttle unions.
Another angle being played by the Kochs is thru the donations they’re spreading round to numerous universities throughout the country, primarily 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 lower taxes for the wealthy, vouchers for Medicare and chopping our other safety nets like Social Security and Medicaid – all in the identify of what they view nearly as good enterprise practices and, actually, their desired objective of a severely decreased position for our government in regulating corporate America.
And, leaving no stone unturned, the Kochs also fund cultural centers like New York City’s Lincoln Middle and Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, as well as serving as board members of PBS in each New York and Boston, where they have contributed funding to PBS applications like Nova. It should also be famous that their money and clout possible helped keep an unflattering documentary about them from being aired on PBS.
Lee Fang, writing in the Nation on March seventh, famous that the Kochs spent twice as much within the 2012 elections as the highest ten unions mixed, with unions spending a complete of $153,473,251, whereas the Kochs’ contributions amounted to a whopping $412,670.666 – $4.9 million through their PAC’s, and roughly $407 million by undisclosed “darkish money” contributions. Fang goes on to chronicle the Kochs’ contributions to the GOP since 1995-96, much of it by means of their shell firm, Triad Administration, which, as a corporate entity, was not required to report its donations, while unions – which are highly regulated by the FEC and Labor Department – must report all of theirs. Are there any clearer reasons for amending the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s horrible Residents United and McCutcheon choices, and take away 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 firms are positioned in roughly sixty nations and have more than 100,000 staff, with about 60,000 of them within the US. A few of their merchandise include transportation fuels, constructing and client merchandise, digital connectors, fibers, fertilizers, and pollution filtration and control tools. They’re also huge in oil refining, with giant holdings in Texas in particular, the place the newly opened leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is surely already bringing extra millions to their coffers.
Another key holdings of the Kochs embrace:
Flint Hills Assets – Through its subsidiaries, Flint Hills operates refineries in Minnesota and Texas, with a combined crude oil processing capability of greater than 600,000 barrels per day. The company also produces and markets petrochemicals, ethanol, biodiesel and asphalt, and owns a 50% curiosity in a lubricant base oil facility in Louisiana.
Georgia-Pacific – Primarily based in Atlanta, GP and its subsidiaries are among the main manufacturers of consumer merchandise, packaging, paper, cellulose and chemicals. They are additionally a leading provider of do-it-your self warehouse retailers like Home Depot with their large number of constructing merchandise. Some of their familiar title manufacturers in paper merchandise are Brawny Paper Towels, Quilted Northern and Mushy and Gentle rest room paper, and Vanity Truthful paper napkins.
Invista – This firm and its subsidiaries are among the world’s largest integrated producers of chemical intermediates, polymers and fibers. Their applied sciences for creating mylar, spandex and polyester are used to produce clothes, carpets and lots of different everyday products.
Molex – Primarily based in Lisle, Illinois, Molex is a worldwide producer of digital, electrical and fiber interconnection techniques. It gives about 100,000 products to numerous markets, including mobile gadgets, data-tech, client electronics, automotive, telecommunications, industrial, medical, military and aerospace. The company operates forty five manufacturing areas in 17 international locations.
Koch Pipeline Company, L.P. – Koch Pipeline owns or operates more than 4,000 miles of pipeline that transports crude oil, refined petroleum products, ethanol, pure gas liquids and chemicals. They also have four other companies and numerous different subsidiaries that market and distribute 13 million tons of fertilizer merchandise annually.
Koch Chemical Technology Group – That is a set of Koch corporations that specialize in manufacturing pollution management tools, no doubt to combat the messes they create with their worldwide actions in extracting fossil fuels by means of conventional drilling and fracking – hey, if you know you are going to make a problem, it is smart to have a solution accessible on the market, too, no?
The Matador Cattle Firm – This corporation operates three huge ranches in Montana, Texas and Kansas, with a complete of 440,000 acres and 12,000 head of cattle on their books.
These companies and the Kochs’ different holdings usher in an annual revenue of around $115 billion – which sounds low to me, frankly. And one has to wonder how a lot they’re paying in taxes, what with all the breaks they surely get in this business pleasant tax climate?
With so much money tied up in the fossil fuel enterprise, it makes sense that the Kochs are additionally the most important financiers of climate science denial. In line with Polluter Watch, Koch Industries has spent thousands and thousands paying lobbyists to fight local weather and vitality legislation, and have labored along with ALEC’s Energy and Atmosphere Task Pressure to distribute anti-environmental bills across the county that delay coverage solutions to local weather change and forestall the EPA from regulating coal pollution and different soiled gas industries. In 2013, the Kochs had been even inducted into Company Accountability Worldwide’s Corporate Hall of Disgrace for spending $50 million to fund climate change denial and influencing the Supreme Court docket choice to permit limitless corporate dollars to flow into federal elections.
A constructive be aware here is that the world is starting to see the Kochs for who they really are and reject their tarnished model, making them amongst essentially the most hated males on the planet – which they are destroying, by the best way, with their fossil fuel products that we proceed to purchase, in flip giving them the resources to continue to buy off our elected officials. As if in the Kochs’ honor, on September 21st in New York City, the People’s Local weather March will carry 1000’s out for the most important public motion up to now on this challenge in our nation. This march will occur at the identical time that world leaders are coming to the UN for a summit on the local weather crisis. UN Secretary Common Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to assist an ambitious world settlement to dramatically cut back global warming-causing pollution. We shall be watching this historic gathering and can eagerly anticipate the actual solutions it delivers for a greater, healthier and extra simply world. The People get it, and are mobilizing on many fronts to fight the lies and destructive actions of the Kochs and their proper-wing allies. Our time has come.
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