Charles and David Koch (left to right, above) are rich, powerful men who are using their money and power to change America. They seem to represent some dark spirit, some evil force intent on reversing centuries of civilization and reinstating the law of the jungle. While they are often described as Libertarian, they seem determined to deny the rest of us the freedom to pursue our lives in peace.
It is this sinister duo that is making Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” the template for Wild West legislation around the country.
Media Matters reports that after teaming with the NRA to get Florida’s deadly law enacted in April 2005, the Kochs’ American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been promoting the law as a model for other states through their nationwide network of conservative legislators.
It is just one of many oppressive legislative templates being circulated by the Kochs. Others include harsh immigration laws, intrusive anti-choice laws and radical union busting laws.
This powerful pair have also provided much of the funds for the crusade against health care reform and for other Tea Party activities that are wreaking havoc in American politics.
The two brothers inherited Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kansas-based company from their father Fred. The $100 billion-dollar-a-year company’s subsidiaries include Georgia Pacific and the maker of Lycra and Stainmaster carpets, as well as various oil and coal enterprises. They have used the proceeds from their empire to fund a multitude of conservative propaganda organizations (click on chart above for details).
I can understand their hostility to the government’s environmental laws – not condone it or identify with it but at least understand it. I can even understand why they are virulently anti-union. They want to be free to plunder the earth’s resources and exploit the labor of their fellow-citizens unimpeded by pesky regulations. But that’s just part of the story.
You know, of course, that it is their Stand Your Ground Law that police cited in letting Trayvon Martin’s killer go free. (Martin is the 17-year-old unarmed black youth who died at the hands of a neighborhood-watch guard a month ago.)
So what do the Koch brothers have to gain from such a horror?
And what would they have to gain from shredding the nation’s social safety net, inflicting misery on the old, the sick, impoverished children and other vulnerable Americans?
Appararently nothing. They seem to do this kind of thing out of pure malice.
According to Bloomberg Markets magazine, the billionaire brothers are driven by relentless hostility to any kind of regulation. In an article on the brothers’ “secret sins,” the magazine reports:
A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.
Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.
It seems to me as if these men feel above the law, above the government, so much above everyone else that they furiously refuse to be told what to do by anyone.
I see them as the incarnation of Lucifer, possessed by an unholy hubris.
But they are mortal. And they are both in their seventies – in the twilight of their lives. Their sinister influence cannot prevail much longer.