Robert Greenwald was at Harvard University at the premiere of “Koch Brothers: Exposed.” The one thing he made clear was that he knew that the Koch Brothers would be out gunning for him once the film was released. Greenwald told the audience that he absolutely wanted to be attacked only for releasing the movie, not because he was wrong about the facts. I believe he accomplished his goal.
The Koch Brothers are doing their best to discredit “Koch Brothers: Exposed.” They’ve even set up a website with their version of ‘the facts.’ I find it amusing that the billionaire boys refer to Greenwald as fringe. Fringe is Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, or Sean Hannity. You know, the people who are truly factually and intellectually challenged. Robert Greenwald is far from being the only one exposing the Koch Brothers. In fact, Greenwald told the audience the evening of the premiere, that he first learned about the brothers in Jane Mayer’s August 30, 2010 article in The New Yorker. (Mayer attended the Boston premiere.) He also credited Think Progress and AlterNet with his Koch Brothers education.
However, as I said in my review article, Robert Greenwald is the first person to put it all together. It’s one thing to read a series of articles spread out over several publications and web sites. You may get a flavor for what the Koch Brothers are all about. However, the magnitude of their multi-faceted evil is overwhelming when you see a film where all the dots are connected. That’s what scares the Koch Brothers. They like to operate under the radar where nobody sees what they’re up to, and Greenwald and Brave New Films has put the spotlight on them.
What facts are they disputing?
Their involvement in climate denial? The Koch Brothers have funneled $60 million into climate denial between 1997 and 2010.
Their involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? To be fair, there are hundreds of corporations and special-interest groups involved with ALEC. It isn’t just Koch Industries. However, to try to distance themselves from the “Stand Your Ground” laws when their involvement with ALEC has been so pronounced is absurd. And to position ALEC as a bi-partisan ‘legislative’ group when it’s funded by corporations and special interest groups is pure bullshit. There’s nothing that ALEC does that benefits the American people. Since the Trayvon Martin killing and the negative focus on the “Stand Your Ground” laws, Coke, Pepsi, Kraft and McDonald’s have jumped ship. Koch Industries remains steadfast in their support of ALEC.
How can the Koch Brothers possibly insist that they’re not involved in ALEC’s sweeping voter suppression effort when they fund ALEC, have sat on its board for more than a decade, and at one time chaired its board? In the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, “You’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.”
Their desire to eliminate Social Security? The Koch Brothers have invested about $28 million in this effort. Their ‘more for us’ attitude is tough to deny.\]
That Koch Industries is one of the top ten polluters in America? During the 1990s, faults in the Koch Industries pipelines were responsible for more than 300 oil and chemical spills, resulting in a $35 million penalty from the Environmental Protection Agency. Just prior to the 2000 election, Koch Industries was the subject of a 97-count federal indictment charging the company with concealing the illegal release of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen. Koch faced $350 million in fines and four of its employees faced 35 years in prison. After George W. Bush became president, his Department of Justice dropped 88 of the most serious charges, and a plea bargain with John Ashcroft resulted in Koch paying a fraction of the fine. That’s just how they roll. Koch is number 10 on the list of Top 100 Air Polluters. The Koch Brothers lobbied against the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, and the Clean Air Protection Act. And who do you think would most benefit from the Tar Sands XL Pipeline? The American people? Think again. The Koch Brothers.
It must be tough now that the Koch Brothers’ cover has been blown. They spend a hell of a lot of energy trying to stay under the radar. Now they’re in the defensive position, insisting that what they are doing is perfectly ‘legal.’ It is, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s ethical. The last thing the Koch Brothers want is for the people to be empowered with knowledge. The 99% just might get all pissed off at them and their corporate buddies and try to mess up a good thing. Rumor has it that the court is going to reconsider Citizen’s United. Don’t hold your breath, particularly since the majority of the justices are corporate owned and the two biggest asshats — Scalia and Thomas — have attended the Koch Brothers’ 1% summit in the past. If anything’s going to happen with the Citizen’s United decision, the people are going to have to force the issue.
For the most part, what the Koch Brothers attack Greenwald on are his methods of getting the facts. Lest anyone forget what it looks like, it’s called investigative journalism (also referred to as the Fourth Estate), something that is sorely lacking in America. It’s how we keep government honest. It’s how Woodward and Bernstein brought down the Nixon Empire. It’s barely recognizable today because the majority of the mainstream media is now corporate owned, which accounts for its compromised performance. Fortunately, Robert Greenwald and the Brave New Foundation doesn’t fall into that category.