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Van Jones slams Koch Industries role in Prop 23

By Climate Guest Contributor on September 26, 2010 at 8:57 am

"Van Jones slams Koch Industries role in Prop 23"

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Calls for progressives to stand up to extremists in November: “I don’t think you want the Tea Party running your community, running your family, running your government.”

Lee Fang of Wonk Room has the story and the video.

Well before the conglomerate Koch Industries plunged $1 million into Prop 23 “” a ballot initiative in California to essentially repeal the state’s revolutionary clean energy climate change law AB 32 “” the Wonk Room revealed that front groups controlled by Koch had been working to promote Prop 23. Americans for Prosperity, the front group founded and financed by Koch Industries’ executive David Koch, had organized Tea Party rallies in favor of Prop 23 and produced online ads distorting California clean energy. The Pacific Research Foundation, also funded by Koch-run foundations, produced junk studies promoting Prop 23.

Today, Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Van Jones spoke to ThinkProgress about Prop 23 and the oil interests polluting the energy debate. Asked about the influence of Koch in supporting Prop 23, Jones slammed the company for “trying to shove” its politics on California. To respond to the Tea Parties and other radical right groups, many of which have been organized by Koch and big business fronts, Jones encouraged the public to “stay involved and to get involved,” because otherwise the people “screaming and yelling at these Tea Party events” will win control of government. He added, “I don’t think you want the Tea Party running your community, running your family, running your government”:

JONES: Koch Industries has promoted awful environmental policies. They’ve been literally poisoning rivers, poisoning streams, and making money off of that. They’ve promoted now this awful economic idea that if you grow new industries in California you somehow hurt the economy. That’s nuts. And now they’re promoting bad politics by backing I think extreme movements in the United States. Here you have a bad actor, three strikes and you’re out. They’re bad on the environment in terms of their practices, they’re bad in terms of their economic philosophy they’re trying to shove down the throats of California, and they’re bad in their politics in terms of their supporting extreme political ideas in America. I think if you start connecting those dots, California voters are very sophisticated, and I don’t think any of them think the people who run Koch Industries wake up in the morning thinking how can Californians have better jobs? [...]

JONES: If you think things are bad now, what will happen when the people are screaming and yelling at these Tea Party events are actually in charge of your government, and in charge of your life, and in charge of your kids’ future? That is, maybe you have some hope fatigue, but you got a lot of reason to be fearful enough I think to stay involved and to get involved. I don’t think you want the Tea Party running your community, running your family, running your government.

Watch it:

As Jones states, Koch is not only corrosive to our politics because of its funding of angry and paranoid Tea Parties, but the company also manipulates the political system to pad its profits. For instance, Business Week reported on how Koch Industries used then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) to try to suppress an investigation into Koch Industries’ massive theft of oil from Indian reservations. In another case, Koch Industries faced a $55 million civil suit for causing more than 300 oil spills over a five-year period. Again, Dole, a major recipient of Koch money and support, sponsored a bill that would allow Koch to easily defend itself from the oil spill charges. After Koch helped to elect George Bush in 2000, the Bush Justice Department abruptly settled a criminal case with $350 million in penalties Koch faced for discharging toxic chemicals from a refinery in Corpus Cristi, Texas.

Why is the “Kochtopus” flexing its muscle of campaign donations, Tea Parties, and front groups to enact the clean energy-killing Prop 23? In its corporate newsletter, Koch Industries explicitly states that the low carbon fuel standard California is set to adopt to comply with AB 32 carbon emissions regulations would harm its bottom line because Koch imports mostly high-carbon crude oil from Canada. Another Koch newsletter warns that its Pine Bend Refinery in Minnesota specializing in high-carbon Canadian crude would become much less profitable for Koch if low fuel standards mirroring AB 32 are adopted around the country.

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7 Responses to Van Jones slams Koch Industries role in Prop 23

  1. Tim L. says:

    Keep putting the harsh glare of sunlight on those Kochroaches!

  2. mike roddy says:

    Thanks to Van Jones, who has retained his cool in spite of lying, slanderous attacks from the Far Right. We need him, and I hope Obama reinstates him in a top government post.

  3. DreamQuestor says:

    It’s doubtless a pipe dream, but I wonder if the Koch brothers could be charged with treason. They must know that their activities are effectively a threat to the existence of our nation. They just do not care as long as they do not have to suffer the consequences.

  4. Edward says:

    Koch HQ is in Wichita KS but their refineries are not in Wichita. Refineries leak BENZENE, which is a strong carcinogen, and a lot of bad smelling stuff.

  5. MoDans55 says:

    @mike roddy….Van Jones’ resignation from Obama’s staff was the WORST thing to happen to the Republican Tea Party. Glenn Beck took it as a victory, but I said at the time that Beck would rue the day because NOW Van Jones doesn’t have the restrictions of governmental ties. He is now able to speak his mind and expose the Reich Wing for what it is: in favor of Big Business and the rich.

  6. The Kochs are traitors to their country. They call themselves libertarians but they are nothing short of anarchists who want to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Their tactics smack of fascism. Lord only knows what they would do if their Tea Party candidates win in November. They already apparently think they have no limits to what they can get away with. They are a huge danger to our democracy.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I’m afraid the Koch’s are a symptom, an end-stage symptom like cachexia, of a more fundamental disease. The Kochs are simply the currently most extreme manifestation of really existing market capitalism in action. All the propaganda factories, all the greenwash, ‘Astroturf’, ‘Wise Use’ or rankly deranged movements like the Tea Party, that they finance, are also financed by scores of other elite pathocrats. The sudden burst of limelight seems to me to, in fact, be a little suspicious, as it draws attention to two brothers as scape-goats for a tendency that is supported and promoted by the great majority of the parasite class as a whole.
    What happens when one class dominates society is that its ethos,its ideology and its psychology is projected onto that society,both as a reflection of that elite’s control of the indoctrination apparatus of the mass media, and as a deliberate project of social engineering to make society more amenable to the ruling elite. Thus, I think many would agree, Western societies, the Anglosphere countries in particular,have become demonstrably more unequal over the last forty years, but also more socially vicious, punitive, dogmatic and homogenised. The range of acceptable opinion in the mass media has been narrowed to a Rightwing,’pro-market’, neo-liberal consensus, with all talk of socialism or any form of collectivism outlawed, or punished by vilification and derision. The mass entertainment media has been similarly homogenised and reduced to a lowest common denominator of violent, horrific or brainless films and video-games, let alone the nether world of sexual and violent pornography, and the outer limits, but still not inconsequential as both symptom and influence,of paedophilia and death pornography as peddled from Iraq. Popular cultures is kept strictly brainless and exploitative, and the fruits of civilization in the visual arts, music and literature, reduced to elite hobbies, venues for conspicuous display and pompous delusions of superiority, and another ‘asset class’ good for nothing but endless speculation and bubble-blowing.
    Add all this to stagnant wages, widespread alcoholism and drug addiction, growing levels of chronic ill-health and premature mortality due to poisonous, but cheap, diets, radical inequality in wealth and opportunity and the deletirious psychological effects of generations of increasingly omnipresent and inescapable advertising, a type spiritual molestation with its incessant fomenting of greed, envy and feelings of inadequacy, and you have societies set to explode. Rationally, the underclass and the hangers-on of the squeezed middle ought to target the authors of their plight, the rapacious parasite elites. To avert that dire outcome, those elites relentlessly brainwash the ‘losers’ in hatred and fear,not of their exploiters, but of the race, class, cultural, ideological and religious enemies. In recent times there have been new efforts to demonise environmentalists and even efforts to foster inter-generational antipathy.
    Clearly, humanity has its last,pitifully meagre,hope of surviving the unfolding collapse,if we all hang together. But the elites, whose oldest trick of all is ‘divide and rule’, will have none of that, so, I suspect and fear, we will all hang separately.