Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wisconsin: know who the Koch brothers are - this is crucial to our future

Hey, Wisconsin friends and advocates: there's been a lot of talk lately, protest, and more, about Koch Industries, and the Koch brothers, David and Charles, who helped bankroll the Walker campaign, then opened a lobbying office in downtown Madison when he took office in January.

Photo: Margaret Swedish
We know this about them so far: their economic interests in the state include the oil pipeline from Alberta and the planned extension, called Keystone XL, down to the Gulf of Mexico; the interests of their polluting paper and pulp manufacturing company, Georgia Pacific (see below); a governor and legislature willing to crush unions, lower wage scales and benefits, create a 'right to work' state and lax regulatory environment (for example, read about a new threat to the Fox River near Green Bay and more info on GP's polluting corporate practices in our state and elsewhere), a new state government willing to cut corporate taxes even more, allow more freedom to pollute, and privatize whatever they can manage to privatize.

But the more I learn about them, the scarier this gets. For instance, how many of us know that the roots of the family's wealth is in Stalin's Soviet Union, that after whatever break happened there, the patriarch Fred became a rabid anti-communist, leader of the rightist John Birch Society back in the 50s and 60s, known for their hatred of Jews, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, labor unions, etc?  How many of us know that a third brother, William, broke with his siblings back in 2000 to publicly accuse them of making a fortune through stealing and cheating?

Here's what you need to know, my friends, about these powerful corporate actors who operate in our state with intentions to destroy so much of what we love about our Wisconsin.

The Roots of Stalin in the Tea Party Movement

It is crucial that we get this. We are confronting a major threat to our democracy, not only in this state but nationally. These guys also want to bring down President Obama and purchase our government for their interests. Friends, their interests are not your interests, not the interests of your children, or the health of our communities, or representative and accountable government - which just gets in their way.

Friends of Wisconsin, understand who these power players are. Understand who represents their interests in our state government.  Follow this money - all around the nation - because it will help us not only understand what is really going on, but how to counter it by our advocacy, our community work, our votes, and our sharing of this info with neighbors, families, friends.

The only way I know to counter grave threats to our democracy is by way of our democracy. Democracy fails when citizens are not well-informed and engaged. So this challenge now lies in the laps of all of us. Are we up to it?

From Wikipedia: "Based on year 2000 data, researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts named Georgia-Pacific as the fifteenth-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States. In that year, Georgia-Pacific facilities released more than 22,000,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. Georgia-Pacific has also been linked to some of the United States' worst toxic waste sites."

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