Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kochs heart Wisco gov

Gov. Scott Walker isn't Wisconsin's only paid stooge for the union-busting billionaire Koch brothers. Mother Jones is reporting that 16 Republican state senators received $6,500 from the Koch Industries political action committee. (You'll recall that Walker received $43,000 from the Kochs, in addition to $5 million from the Republican Governor's Association, which received $1 million from the brothers.)

That the Kochs want to destroy unions isn't in doubt. Reports Mother Jones, 
Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited (PDF) Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado; Mix said in a recent interview that he supports Governor Walker's collective-bargaining bill.
It was Walker's union-busting budget proposal that set into motion the massive protests in Madison. Now the billionaire Koch brothers are coming to his rescue, busing in Tea Partiers for a counterdemonstration today.

ThinkProgress has more on the Kochs' presence in Wisconsin:
Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:

Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers at its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. [...] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant...
(We hear there are two Koch plants in Green Bay; one union, one non-union. If that's true, we can guess which one is laying off workers.)

And ThinkProgress offers another example of Walker paying back his corporate overlords:
According to the EPA, Koch businesses are huge polluters, emitting thousands of pounds of toxic pollutants. As soon as he got into office Walker started cutting environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. In addition, Walker has stated his opposition to clean energy jobs policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned interests.
The Kochs, by the way, call themselves "libertarians" but they're really corporate predators. They don't stand for smaller government, they stand for a government they can control for their own purposes. The Observer posted a great slide show recently that shows the Kochs in their true light of corporate welfare queens. Georgia-Pacific, for example, logs on federally owned lands. As the Observer points out:
Not only can companies like Georgia-Pacific, which is the world's leading manufacturer of paper products, exploit a publicly-shared resource without sharing the profits, but the U.S. Forestry Service subsidizes them to do it by forcing taxpayers to fund the construction of new logging roads that provide loggers with access to virgin growth—a nice welfare arrangement for the industry that costs taxpayers over $1 billion a year.
Lovely, isn't it?