The Koch Brothers and Their Influence on American Politicians
This is a look at Koch Industries, which is the second largest privately held corporation in the United States. It is owned by two (2) brothers who are winning the influence of our politicians.
As a nation, we have always had idealists and zealots. There are varying degrees of political views and philosophies. After all, it is the differences of our people that helped shape and mold our country, along with our government. However, within recent history we have seen changes to our political landscape that are not only shocking, but frightening as well. For me, one of my greatest fears is the influence wielded by the Koch brothers.
David and Charles Koch are reported to be the fifth wealthiest families in the U. S. with annual incomes of $21.5 billion each and Koch Industries represents the second largest privately held corporation operating on American soil. Okay. So far that’s good news because no one ever accused us Americans of not being the land of opportunity. Fortunes have been made and lost like the ebb and flow of ocean’s tides. What becomes disturbing is when the mega rich, with an agenda strictly for their own benefit, attempt to buy favor with the political machines which run this country. This is exactly what the Koch brothers have done and continue to do. They have become extremely adept with the sphere of power they control. As you may or may not know, Koch Industries own too many companies to mention by name. A few of these businesses are Georgia-Pacific, Brawny paper towels, fertilizer, energy, cattle, minerals, finance, commodities trading, oil refining and distribution companies gives us a mere glimpse of their diversity. It just seems to be an endless list.
Companies operating under the Koch Industries umbrella have less than a stellar record when it comes to the environment. A few of these violations include the death of two teenage boys in Texas when a butane gas pipeline exploded and burned. Then Koch Petroleum pleaded guilty to dumping thousands of gallons of aviation fuel into wetlands near the Mississippi River, along with dumping millions of gallons of ammonia waste-water on the ground and into the Mississippi River. Koch Industries lied more than 24,000 times about the theft of oil from American Indian lands and the government. Due to more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into streams, ponds, lakes and coastal waters in Texas and five other states, Koch Industries paid a $35 million settlement to the U. S. Justice Department and the state of Texas. Other fines and penalties levied against Koch for polluting and thumbing their noses at the environment include $1.7 million, $25 million, $20 million, $60,00, $16,00 and $200,000.
David and Charles Koch who present themselves as christian conservatives and were the financial founders of the Tea Party movement, seem to be a contradiction in moral and ethical values. Some of the wads of cash they have thrown around, in a well orchestrated move for favoritism involve $20 million and $12.3 million in lobbying during 2008 and 2009, respectively. According to Greenpeace, during an eleven year span, Koch donated more than $48 million to causes and groups that create a smoke screen of doubt regarding climate change. In a three year period from 2005 to 2008 they tossed into the well $37 million lobbying for fossil fuel industries and another $5.7 million on political campaigns.
So, now what is the latest endeavor of these good willed environmentalists? The billionaire brothers are, quite frankly, buying favor with the Republican Party. If you doubt my sincerity, all you need do is look at the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Nine of the twelve GOP members signed a Koch founded pledge to oppose any and all Obama administration attempts to control greenhouse gases. One Republican congressman on this committee even hired a former Koch Industries lawyer to act as his Chief of Staff. The final straw for me is when the Republican Chairman of this fraudulent committee avowed to put an end to the Environmental Protection Agency’s choke hold on business.
In conclusion, as a consumer, voter, environmentalist and person who enjoys drinking and swimming in clean water, I refuse to buy Brawny paper towels, Mardi Gras napkins, Quilted Northern or Angel Soft toilet paper and I will not buy carpeting that contains Lycra fiber, made by Stain-master. Of course, if you believe that polluting our air and waterways is great for business, then continue to support the hypocritical Koch family. Everyone seems to boast about what this country is going to be like for our grandchildren. Well, they can wipe off the sores of pollution, as they don their gas masks and try to tread water from the melting ice caps…thanks to a political system that lines their own pockets with money that will hopefully be enough to get all of them the hell out of here, after following the Christian conservative movements values, as dictated by the masters holding the purse strings. At least, that is my take on these two brothers. Now it is your turn to decide.
WRITTEN BY: DENNIS L. PAGE
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