April 25th's Letters to the Editor
Yesterday two Republican County Commissioners and our Republican State Rep told me oil and gas men pass out money at meetings with legislators and the ODNR. One result is eliminating a requirement that they clean up/repair any damage oil drillers and their vehicles do. They can just say they’ll try in “good faith” in order to get a permit.
The Koch Brothers are paying officials over much of the country to pass legislation to allow gas and oil industries to make money and not clean up after themselves. Do we value profits more than ethics and the environment and democracy?
Jill Grubb, Bennington Twp.
A LOOK AT THE KOCH BROTHERS
Voices for Morrow County, the recently-formed citizens’ group, watched and discussed the documentary KOCH BROTHERS EXPOSED at a meeting April 17. Charles and David Koch, of Koch Industries, inherited an oil company from their father, Fred Koch. He made his millions selling oil expertise to Stalin back in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Later he supported the John Birch Society, called Eisenhower a communist, and said the civil rights movement was communist.
Koch Industries are now involved in oil, gas, paper, forestry, plastics, and ranching, among other things, and have subsidiaries worldwide. According to Bloomberg News, they have been supplying petrochemical equipment to Iran, getting around the US ban on trading with Iran by using their subsidiaries.
A third Koch brother, Bill, blew the whistle on his brothers, claiming they put money ahead of everything else. They are among the top ten polluters in America. In an effort to remove any regulations that would keep them from polluting, they meet semiannually to discuss strategies and create a script for the offensive. Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas have attended these meetings, as has U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor.
Repeating the word “socialism” over and over (and you can hear legislators and talk show hosts doing this) is one of their strategies.
Another repetition is “raise the retirement age,” claiming Social Security is “actuarially bankrupt.” It is not. It has 32 years of full funding left and could be extended if they raised the cap on taxable income. The documentary makes the point that many workers are physically worn out by 65, if not before, and should not be forced to work until they are 70.
The Koch brothers help fund many right-wing groups, including the CATO Institute, Mercatus, and Heritage Foundation; in 34 states they’ve given over $5 million to Americans for Prosperity (AFP). This group is opposed to public education and supported school board candidates in North Carolina, where their goal was to resegregate schools. In Wake County, NC, citizens were so appalled at the move backward and effort to limit opportunity for all that they protested and practiced civil disobedience, were arrested, and eventually voted out the AFP school board members, thus saving their thriving schools.
Dozens of universities are now having programs bought for them by Koch Brothers, who then influence the professors, what they teach, and what materials they use. There’s also a push to put climate change deniers in public schools. Their purpose? To be allowed to continue polluting and raking in profits. Too bad about our air, water and land. Even EPA is compromised. Understaffed and under funded, it cannot keep up with all the cases brought to its attention. Furthermore, governors and legislators who receive contributions from Koch-funded PACs have staffed EPA with oil industry people.
These two men and their billions are behind the attempts to destroy unions (they can pay workers less if that happens and not worry about working conditions) and curtail voting rights (shut out the poor, the disadvantaged, the handicapped, the elderly) by new ID laws, limited early voting, and reduced opportunities for voter registration.
They are brilliant and can afford expensive lawyers and legislators. Their assault on our nation is many-pointed and insidious, cloaked in feel-good words that have little to do with their actual intent.
In the discussion following the movie, attendees discussed how many of these things were happening in Ohio. We also addressed the Koch’s “debunking” of the documentary, a “debunking” that did not address most of the issues raised and misrepresented what people had said about the pollution from the Georgia Pacific Plant in Crossett, Alabama. In that area, toxic effluvia from the plant is channeled in open ditches where poorer people live. The jump in deaths and illnesses in the area might just be a coincidence, but the pollution floating down the ditches and sending up fumes was definitely real.
We all know of good businesses that have managed to do well without unleashing devastating environmental impacts. This documentary confronts the perennial problem of how to balance job creation with pollution-promoting corporate profits. Would the jobs go away if the companies were not allowed to pump pollutants into our air and water? Submitted by Jill Grubb.