Topic archive for "Koch Industries"

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir: Robert Greenwald on ‘Koch Brothers Exposed’

Robert Greenwald discusses his latest investigative documentary, “Koch Brothers Exposed” with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir. Greenwald responds to the latest personal attack by the Koch’s and invites them to come on national TV to debate. Buy your copy today at kochbrothersexposed.com!

Indiewire: Activist Filmmaker Robert Greenwald Attacks Koch Bros, “Worst of 1%”

by Anthony Kaufman at Indiewire

Robert Greenwald’s documentary resume now offers a near complete litany of right-wing scourges: He’s gone after, most famously, Fox News (“Outfoxed”), the Iraq War (“Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers”), and Wal-Mart (“The High Cost of Low Price”), and he’s just released his latest liberal piece of agit-prop: “Koch Brothers Exposed,” which according to Alternet.org, weaves together a series of short films that examines the principals of Koch Industries, one of the nation’s top polluters and infamous for their funding of think-tanks that aim to deregulate business and scale back government programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the new healthcare reform law. (The DVD is available here).

“The Kochs are breathing, human representatives of the worst of the 1 percent — it’s the way they use their money to advance their economic self-interest and their ideology,” Greenwald told Alternet. “It’s not just about having money; it’s the use of the money, the use of the power — it’s the use of the money and power to impress and take advantage of others. And it’s the fact that they are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that capitalism has absolutely no restraints on it. And capitalism without restraints is a very ugly beast.”

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Greenwald’s work, from an aesthetic perspective, but from an advocate’s point of view, the guy has become an undeniable force in the ways of social media and political cinema. After going up a week ago, the trailer (see below) has already received some 45,000 views on YouTube.

Greenwald’s “Kock Brothers Exposed” is not the only film to go after the Koch brothers. In November, I wrote about another film called “Greedy Lying Bastards,” which actress Darryl Hannah recently came on board as an executive producer, and follows the political influence of the Koch Brothers and their efforts to spin their way out of the facts of global warming and the environmental devasation of the fossil fuel industry.

It will be interesting to see whether these new docs can raise awareness for the evils of the Koch brothers and help bring about change.

The New York Observer: Robert Greenwald Screens His Anti-Koch Brothers Documentary

By Hunter Walker at The New York Observer

Documentarian Robert Greenwald screened a portion of his upcoming documentary, Koch Brothers Exposed, at a lunch in midtown hosted by The Common Good today. In the documentary, Mr. Greenwald, who previously directed exposés about Fox News and Walmart, makes the case billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch are having a “dire impact” on “core American values” through their political donations to conservative think tanks, activist groups and politicians.

“They fund ideas, which are think tanks, then they fund pundits who go out and talk about those ideas, then they fund grassroots groups,” Mr. Greenwald said at the screening adding that  these grassroots groups help give the impression there is popular support for these ideas. “And then and only then, they begin to fund the politicians who will impose their ideas from their scripts. It’s a very different model and a very important idea, I think, in terms of how they work. And to their credit, I don’t agree with them, but to their credit, very smart use of their dollars and a thoughtful use of their dollars that has resulted in significant impact.”

Mr. Greenwald says the Koch brothers, who own Koch Industries, Inc., a multinational conglomerate that has been ranked as one of America’s largest private companies, use this strategy to advance an agenda that favors corporations and attacks the poor on the local, state and national levels. The portion of the film he showed at the screening focused on the Koch brothers’ support for local school board members in Wake County, North Carolina who fought a busing program aimed at promoting diversity in 2010. Mr. Greenwald described the push to end the busing program as “resegregation.”

Read the rest here.

KPFK’s ‘Uprising Radio’: Koch Brothers Exposed, The 1% at its Very Worst

By Staff at Uprising Radio

When the Occupy Movement speaks about the 1 percent which has wreaked havoc on this country’s financial system, the billionaire Koch brothers immediately come to mind. Charles and David Koch have given almost a hundred million dollars to fund a conservative agenda which promotes the interests of the richest 1 percent of Americans. Now, in Robert Greenwald’s new documentary, “Koch Brothers Exposed: The 1% at its very Worst” we get an incisive look at the tentacles of the Kochs’ influence throughout the American political and cultural landscape.

After inheriting the family oil business from their father, Charles and David Koch amassed an estimated fortune of $60 billion dollars through Koch Industries. The company has become the 2nd largest privately held multi-national corporation in the world owning companies that range from Georgia-Pacific paper company to fertilizers, chemicals, ranching, manufacturing and oil pipelines. Veteran film maker Robert Greenwald, in his film, shows how the Koch Brothers have spent their money to wield enormous power and advance an extreme right wing political agenda through massive donations to think tanks, legislators and political groups like Americans for Prosperity.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

MoveOn.org Announces ‘Koch Brothers Exposed’ Documentary

By Staff at MoveOn.org

EXPOSED: The Billionaire Koch Brothers Who Are Buying American Democracy

The trailer for a film about those who would own everything . . . even our democracy. Watch:

Are the Koch brothers teaching you?

What’s happening to academia in Florida demands national attention. Billionaires Charles and David Koch are infringing on intellectual freedom and independence in colleges and universities. It’s an old fashioned quid pro quo where the Koch brothers get allied professors who’ll preach Ayn Rand, supply side economic policies and the values of the 19th century Guilded Age to students and the college gets some funding.

Every year, thousands of individuals move through the Koch-supported classes, lectures and fields of study, which in their totality amount to an ideological assembly line bought and paid for by the Koch brothers. There are Koch-funded agreements at more than 150 American colleges and universities.

“The Koch brothers have paid tens of millions of dollars to get their point of view instilled in classrooms, amongst faculty members and in students,” said Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors. “Programs they start tend to be one point of view only.”

Help us expose the Kochs by tweeting and asking our friend Ed Schultz to expose the Koch brothers’ psycho talk!

The Koch brothers’ business has annual revenue that are about 200 times the size ($100 billion) in one year than the entirety of Florida State University’s endowment ($423 million). At a time when governors like Florida Gov. Rick Scott are slashing spending on education, colleges and universities are virtually forced into restrictive and ideological funding agreements with questionable sources to meet students’ demands. Instead, they’re meeting the Koch brothers needs and the students are paying the intellectual price.

Enter the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation, which has given more than $14.39 million in grants to universities like Florida State, Auburn, Clemson, West Virginia and Utah State. All five campuses are in financial agreements with Koch-supported groups requiring the university to hire candidates who adhere to defined ideological guidelines. In some cases, the Koch-supported groups recommend candidates to the faculty or have sway over the college’s hiring committee.

Conflicts of interest of this magnitude cannot be ignored, and Florida State students and professors didn’t swallow the Koch agreement willingly. There was an uproar on campus when the Koch brothers began infringing on academic freedom.

A campaign to organize the campus against the Koch brothers and wealthy so-called “philanthropists” who seek to use their wealth to influence academia is under way. Student leaders are fanning out across Tallahassee to organize against the Koch brothers and their ilk who would infringe on academic independence if given the chance. If the students are successful, they’ll have earned enough support to take action against the Koch brothers’ influence.

Their work deserves national exposed. We can do our part if we all tweet @ Ed Schultz and ask expose the Koch brothers’ psycho talk.

I invite you to join the conversation at our Koch Brothers Exposed page on Facebook.

Are the Koch brothers denying your vote? (VIDEO)

Co-written by Robert Greenwald, President and founder of Brave New Foundation, and Judith Browne Dianis, co-Director of the Advancement Project.

If you live in one of 38 states, billionaire political operatives Charles and David Koch are trying to influence your and your neighbors’ constitutional right to vote. The Koch brothers and their allies have already succeeded in shepherding voter suppression bills through seven states, which amount to about one third of the 270 electoral votes to win the White House.

Through their web of think tanks, nonprofit organizations, family foundations and political donations, the Koch brothers have bought access to democracy’s lifeblood: elections. They’ve used their $42 billion in wealth to support state laws and legislators that erect barriers to the voting booth.

The Kochs’ victims are young people, senior citizens, disabled individuals and people of color– precisely the 99 percent of us who are opposed to the Koch brothers’ political agenda.

In 34 states, the Kochs have supported legislation that makes a photo ID a prerequisite to voting. It’s a Jim Crow poll tax of a different name, and the voter fraud it engenders the Kochs to silence whole communities. These Koch-supported voter suppression laws have the intended effect of transforming constitutional and civic obligations into an endless challenge for the elderly, disabled and young voters alike.

The Kochs enhanced their influence on state capitals through the American Legislative Exchange Council, a 30-year-old organization that brings lawmakers and corporations together to, literally, write model legislation together. The Koch Brothers even provided ALEC with a loan to help the organization start up.

ALEC is an exclusive corporate-legislative hybrid that costs members membership dues in order participate in their secretive meetings. It is estimated that the Kochs have paid over $1 million to the organization and have been board members for years. ALEC has institutionalized and codified the interests of the top 1 percent into laws at city halls, county boards of supervisors and state capitals.

For their investment in ALEC, the Kochs have funded efforts to thwart 21 million Americans from voting. Koch dollars helped write and propose voting suppression bills in Texas, Florida, California, Wisconsin and 34 other states. At the same time the brothers’ Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity, intents to spend $200 million on local political races with patently false advertisements.

The most decisive and unifying opportunity to deny the Kochs’ power grab at the ballot box is appealing directly to Attorney General Eric Holder. Under the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, Holder can deny states like Florida, South Carolina and others from imposing new voter restrictions.

Their history of Jim Crow sets them apart from other states’ voting rights. It’s the responsibility of the Department of Justice to live up to its name and enforce the law, which calls for one person, one vote, not two billionaires and no votes for 21 million American students, seniors, people of color and disabled citizens who could be electorally blacklisted.

These are citizens who could fall through the cracks in our system– cracks exploited by the Koch brothers for their benefit. Rather than supporting politicians who ensure every vote is counted fairly, the Koch brothers have paid more than $245,550 directly to elected officials who support voter suppression laws.

A prime example is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose largest out of state donors were the Koch brothers. In May, he signed a bill that requires voters present a photo ID before casting a ballot. Imposing restrictions on access does not build a more perfect union nor ensure the sanctity of everyone’s vote.

We can stop this by giving Attorney General Holder the support he needs to act. Stand up for democracy and tell him to protect one person, one vote.

Dear Koch brothers: will you be my guest in Arkansas?

2011-10-11-bouiecloseup.jpgI’d like to introduce David Bouie, who is fighting back against the Koch brothers as an important part of our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign.

I want Charles and David Koch to come visit me first hand and see how their factory and pollution have hurt my neighbors. I have heard from thousands of people all across the country, but I am still looking and listening for a RSVP from Charles and David themselves.

I told the Koch brothers I would take care of them as my guests. My wife and I would prepare pork chops or anything they wished. I simply wanted to walk with them around South Penn Road. Of 15 houses here, about 11 people have died from cancer.

I would tell Charles and David Koch that it would be a memorable experience for all of us. This is an opportunity for them to do something for good and the community here that made their factory prosper. They can stop this with a stroke of a pen.

I’m renewing my invitation to the Koch brothers. I want the Koch brothers to see the effects of their factory on our community. Their company donates to local schools and churches, but it’s poisoning our part of town.

The comments I saw, which responded to our community’s uphill appeal to the Koch brothers, were incredible. And I’m wondering what the Koch brothers themselves have to say about everything that’s happened since we on South Penn Road have gone public with our plight, as well as why they’re hiding from me.

2011-10-11-bouie1.jpgA fog hangs over our homes, and the smell is putrid. You can even smell it three miles away from our neighborhood. The stench comes from streams near my street, and the wind blows it over our homes. How can I describe the scent? It’s like a rotten egg, but a lot of times the smell changes between all four seasons and the hour of day.

My experience with friends, neighbors, strangers, what have you, everyone typically acknowledges an offer of hospitality. But the Koch brothers ignored my olive branch invitation and me.

Instead, I read about the Koch brothers’ website that smeared my integrity. All I wanted was for Charles and David Koch to see with their own eyes what I see everyday.

The Koch brothers need to experience this first hand. I continue to pray that my neighbors and I might convince the Koch brothers to rectify our plight and relocate us like their company, Georgia-Pacific, did for other communities like ours.

A few blocks from here, the neighborhood of Thurman Road was relocated years ago by Georgia-Pacific. Please be a good neighbor to us too. We cannot relocate without some help, and that’s a fact.

Charles and David, if you’re reading this, would you come be my guest in Crossett?

More Reports of Cancer Near Koch Brothers’ Factory (VIDEO)

Billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch aren’t the only ones who saw our latest investigative film. Thousands of people have posted comments on our Facebook page and have offered additional testimony about the Koch brothers’ pollution in their communities.

In a smear campaign orchestrated in response to our investigation, the Koch brothers attacked almost all of the residents featured in our film. These individuals say they’re suffering from cancer because they live too close to a Koch Industries factory, which pollutes rivers and creeks flowing near their rural homes.

This duality between the haves and have-nots in our society is a big driver of the rising tide of Occupy movement– and for good reason. The Koch brothers personify the top 1 percent and the avarice that’s allowed the richest Americans to profit at the expense of the other 99 percent and those of us who’re hardest hit by the jobs crisis and economic recession.

Thousands of people posted comments that both reflect the goals of the Occupy movement and aid the people of Crossett, Arkansas, who are part of the other 99 percent and have volunteered to hand-deliver these messages to the Kochs. Some viewers, like Lance Blann, reached us directly and shared their personal reactions.

Lance was one of the tens of thousands who saw our video, “EXPOSED: Koch Industries and Cancer Risks” and was activated to speak out against “Crossett Crud,” which is how local doctors describe the sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes and the many other ailments that affect Crossett residents.

Lance went to school in Crossett and spent much of his life. He and his friends nicknamed the brown waterways near their home “Stink Creek.” For as long as he could remember, the smell had stained the community, he said in an interview with Koch Brothers Exposed producers.

“It’s a sickening thought what’s going on in Crossett,” Lance said in an interview. “My parents could be next.”

Lance is an alumni of a school system that ranks in the top 1 percentile of exposure to cancer causing toxins.

For every one Lance, there’s many other individuals who’ve suffered, or continue suffering, so the Koch brothers could profit. But because the Koch Industries factory is the biggest employer in Crossett, many people are reluctant to speak out. The company donates just enough money to the schools, police department, local churches and the Chamber of Commerce that the company is untouchable, even though the company’s pollutants are odorous from the steps of City Hall.

Many of the comments we received from our video at Koch Brothers Exposed were aghast that government regulators allow the Koch brothers’ pollution to harm individuals.

But it’s permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Koch brothers’ billions affords them access to establish or influence politicians, think tanks, family foundations and front groups to weaken oversight and safety laws. The EPA, local agencies and Arkansas state officials are unable to enforce existing laws and precedent in the face of the Koch brothers and their $100 billion Koch Industries.

That’s why we’re trying to help the people of Crossett with comments they can use to confront the Koch brothers. See their stories and take action to fight back.

You might save lives in Arkansas.

Exposing the Koch brothers’ polluted response

Billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch were among the tens of thousands of viewers of our latest investigative film, and they didn’t like it.

Our film’s protagonists, one of whom is a local minister named David Bouie, made personal appeals for a visit by the Koch brothers. The Kochs do not acknowledge this honest request that David Koch, a cancer survivor himself, spend the night as a guest of Mr. Bouie’s in Crossett, Arkansas, a community harassed by a Koch factory’s pollution.

What are the Koch brothers hiding if they won’t visit one of their own factories and company towns?

The Kochs ignored the invitation, instead resorting to smear tactics and deception, this time attacking David Bouie, a 64-year-old retired factory worker, in an attempt to duck responsibility for their $100 billion multinational corporation.

The Kochs’ defensiveness belies the facts. Rather than relocating the residents whose stories we told, the Koch brothers’ reaction demonstrates they’ve bought the system and they prefer to blame the victims for their illnesses.

Blaming the victims for being victims
Mr. Bouie explained his personal history selling his rights years ago to the Koch brothers’ subsidiary company, Georgia-Pacific, for a few hundred dollars. In Mr. Bouie’s blog, he explained how his neighbors in adjacent communities were compensated by Georgia-Pacific at a higher rate than he and how the polluting factory paid for their relocation.

Mr. Bouie and his neighbors had no such luck reaching the Koch brothers person to person. Instead, the Koch brothers attack his credibility and integrity on a website.

In their smears, the Koch brothers’ message consultants turn their fire toward Cheryl Slavant, another protagonist in our film and the President of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. She’s rightfully aghast by the terrible conditions surrounding the interstate Ouachita River, which is what’s fouling Mr. Bouie’s neighborhood on Penn Road.

The Koch brothers spin cannot acknowledge what our investigation and countless other credible reports have proven to be true: that the Koch brothers persuade a system to permit and tolerate their practices. The Koch brothers’ nameless spokespeople claim the EPA has debunked all Slavant’s claims so, ergo, the pollution emitted by Koch Industries and Georgia Pacific is safe, harmless and legal.

An EPA influenced by Charles and David Koch
Armed with more than $40 billion each and a private company unaccountable to anyone that generates $100 billion revenue annually, the Koch brothers are able to donate to politicians, foundations, non-profits and think tanks. These Koch supported groups lay the groundwork for incremental policy changes that support the Koch brothers’ increasing corporate profits.

That the EPA is giving the green light to toxic pollution by the Koch brothers, or anyone else, is less a gold star for the Koch brothers than it is an indictment of our political system, which affords the wealthiest 1 percent a blank check at the expense of the bottom 99 percent.

The Koch brothers’ “fact checkers” say that air pollution control engineering expert William M. Auberle’s comments in our film describing GP’s pollution as “a ticking time bomb” is unrealistic. The government permits Koch Industries emissions.

That’s why we’re pleased to see some environmental groups confronting the EPA on these grounds. While the Kochs continue to donate heavily to Congress, there are groups appealing to the notion that we’re a nation of laws not men.

“The Clean Water Act does not allow our streams to be turned into industrial sewers,” says Barry Sulkin, the former Chief of Enforcement and Compliance for the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control and a director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Or perhaps you could post a comment that David Bouie and Cheryl Slavant can hand-deliver to the Koch brothers and that echoes Mr. Bouie’s direct appeal to David Koch.

As Mr. Bouie wrote:

David, if you’re reading this, I want to be your host at 401 South Penn Road. Come stay with me for one day, seven days, I don’t care. We can camp out, and you can smell what I smell. My wife and I will cook for you. I make great pork chops…

It’d be my hope we can have some time to go for a walk. You can see for yourself- the fog- and smell for yourself- the rotten air- that I live with every day.

And I pray that I might be able to convince you to clean up this mess and relocate us like Georgia-Pacific did for other communities like ours. Indeed, just as Georgia Pacific compensated Thurman Road residents for their relocation years ago, please be a good neighbor to us. We cannot relocate on our own.

We are ground zero.

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