Monday, November 01, 2010

The Koch Brothers - Sociopathic Lying Murderers

The Koch brothers have been in the news lately for...
  1. Being discovered as a major source of funding for tea party activist groups who had been portraying themselves as independent grassroots organizations.
  2. In March of this year, Greenpeace published a report on Koch Industries and the significant and secretive financial role that they have had in the conspiratorial disinformation campaign and industry-exclusive denial of anthropogenic climate change.
A spokesperson for Koch Industries responded to the Greenpeace report. The Koch Industries response includes claims that the Greenpeace report "distorts the environmental record of [their] companies" and that they "have put tremendous energy into achieving sound environmental stewardship".

Here are just two examples that damningly contradict such statements. The safety and environmental record of Koch Industries could not be more clear.

From a January, 2000 report:
Koch Industries, Inc. unlawfully allowed some 3 million gallons of crude oil and related products to leak from its pipelines into ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, or onto adjacent shorelines, from 1990 to 1997.

Koch will pay the largest civil fine ever imposed on a company under any federal environmental law to resolve claims related to more than 300 oil spills from its pipelines and oil facilities in six states, the Justice Department and the U.S. EPA announced.

Source: The US Department of Justice
Koch Industries has also been found responsible for the deaths of two Texas residents.
In 1996, a pipeline managed by Koch Pipeline Company, LP (Koch) ruptured and leaked a butane vapor cloud into the surrounding residential area in the city of Lively, Texas. A teen-age boy and girl driving through in their pickup trunk were burned to death when the cloud ignited.

Source: The National Transportation Safety Board
Source: Serasota Herald-Tribune
On April 14, 2010 a spokesperson for Koch Companies Public Sector sent out an e-mail to a number of news organizations that preemptively and specifically denied any link to tea party activists, or foundations that provide them funding:
Because you have covered tea parties in the past and we imagine you will cover tomorrow's Tax Day Tea Party in DC, we want to reiterate some important facts.

Koch companies value free speech and believe it is good to have more Americans engaged in key policy issues. That said, Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch and David Koch have no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks. In addition, no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties.

Thanks for your consideration.

Source: Talking Points Memo
On July 25, 2010, New York Magazine published this article about the Koch brothers that completely contradicts such denials. In the New York Magazine article David Koch is quoted as saying, "I’ve never been to a tea-party event." And yet here he is speaking at a fundraiser event for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation that was attended primarily by the members of tea party activist groups. The video clip is from a recent documentary called (Astro) Turf Wars that exposes how supposedly "grassroots" political organizations have over the years been funded by big-business billionaires such as Charles and David Koch.

Then, on August 30, 2010, the New Yorker printed this article detailing how the Koch brothers have directly supported and bankrolled tea party activists through a chain of foundations and institutions. The Americans for Prosperity Foundation has been created by the Koch brothers for the sole purpose of secretly providing funding for the promotion of their self-professed Libertarian political agenda through the Heartland Institute which directly funds tea party activists.

The Heartland Institute insists that it is independent, and is not affiliated with any political party or business. And yet, on the very same website on which they make such denials, the Heartland Institute has a web page dedicated to talking points specifically for Republican tea party activists.

In the past, the Heartland Institute has worked with Big Tobacco to conduct disinformation campaigns about the damaging health effects of smoking. In the 1990s the group worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question the science linking secondhand smoke to health risks. Of course the official response from the Heartland Institute is to deny this too, in a patently similar fashion to the "set the record straight"-style of Koch Industries. Obviously, they are fully aware that the court of public opinion has ruled against Big Tobacco.

Koch Industries official website has a page dedicated to "setting the record straight" and combating the inevitable public perception that they are a criminal corporate citizen. There you will find paragraphs of double-talk and a narrative that makes no mention of the people it has injured and killed. It lists legitimate environmental organizations with whom it has affiliated itself and contributed to, but neglects to mention that such contribution was a court-ordered $15 million compensation stipulation as part of their settlement with the Justice Department.

Charles and David Koch are killing people, lying about it; destroying the environment, lying about it; and funding political organizations that promote legislation that allows them to do so, and lying about it. All while keeping a straight aristocratic face.

This behavior can only be described as sociopathy.

The Koch brothers will tell you that they have worked hard for their station in life. Perhaps. They inherited their wealth and ownership of their company from their father. Still, they must have worked very hard at staying out of prison, being the sociopathic, lying murderers that they are.

No comments: