Koch Brothers Tell Their Employees How to Vote

Apr 22 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Our New Founding Fathers?

The Nation reveals that “On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.”

I wonder if they cleared these with their local religious authorities first?

Lincoln’s fabled “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is becoming more fabled with each passing minute in America of the present. The Koch Oligarchy is ensuring that it is replaced by a “government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations” as the Supreme Court (Citizens United) has ordained.

The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State —which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.

Not surprisingly, as the Nation observes, the Koch brothers were backers of the Citizens United case, Astroturf organizers of the Tea Party and also funded the war against healthcare reform (Obamacare). And we all know about how the Koch brothers went about establishing their corporate oligarchy over Wisconsin and Michigan.

Inside the election packet is a letter from Robertson saying, “As Koch company employees, we have a lot at stake in the upcoming election. Each of us is likely to be affected by the outcome on Nov. 2. That is why, for the first time ever, we are mailing our newest edition of Discovery and several other helpful items to the home address of every U.S. employee” [emphasis added].

Another page, called “Elect to Prosper” tells Koch employees, “The following candidates in your state are supported by Koch companies and KOCHPAC, the political action committee for Koch companies. We believe these candidates will best advance policies supporting economic freedom.”

Like I said, I don’t know what you are supposed to do if this list doesn’t square with the list your local church has issues. You might need to tell your economic and religious authorities to get together and talk it out before you screw up.

The newsletter inside reads, as The Nation points out, like a John Birch Society pamphlet:

For more than 40 years, Koch Industries has openly and consistently supported the principles of economic freedom and market-based policies. Unfortunately, these values and principled point of view are now being strongly opposed by many politicians (and their media allies) who favor ever-increasing government…. Even worse, recent government actions are threatening to bankrupt the country…. And the facts are that the overwhelming majority of the American people will be much worse off if government overspending is allowed to bankrupt the country.

In a Göbbels-esque piece called “What’s a Business to Do?” the Koch oligarchs portrays portray themselves as freedom-fighting underdogs: “Citizens who are openly critical of the European Union bureaucracy in Brussels or the out-of-control government of the United States are being shouted down by politicians, government officials and their media and other allies.”

And here is where we see the low-wage Tea Party mantra assert itself:

If the government insists that someone should be paid $50 per hour in wages and benefits, but that person only creates $30 worth of value, no one will prosper for long…. Anything that undermines the mobility of labor, such as policies that make it more expensive and difficult to change where people are employed, also increases unemployment…. Similar policies that distort the labor market—such as minimum wage laws and mandated benefits—contribute to unemployment.

The Koch boys also provide a little revisionist history for their employees. We all know how much conservatives love revised history. The real thing, as I’ve noted before, doesn’t serve their purposes so they have to make it say something more religious- or corporate-friendly. For the Koch brothers, the presidents most responsible for the Great Depression, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, are heroes.

It is hard to find fault with The Nation’s summation: “With Citizens United, it seems, the country is heading back to the days of court-enforced corporatocracy.”

I worked my entire life without being told who to vote for. I belonged to a union for a few years. They never told me who to vote for. No employer ever told me who to vote for. Fortunately, I became a Heathen before any church could tell me who to vote for. I bet people like me are going to become a rarity.

As the Nation reveals:

Already, workers at a Koch subsidiary in Portland, Oregon, are complaining about being subjected to political and ideological propaganda. Employees at Georgia-Pacific warehouses in Portland say the company encourages them to read Charles Koch’s The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company and to attend ideological seminars in which Koch management preaches their bosses’ “market-based management” philosophy.

Travis McKinney, an employee at a Portland Georgia-Pacific distribution center, says, “They drill into your head things like ‘The 10 Guiding Principles of Koch Industries.’ They even stamp the ten principles on your time card.”

Some folks won’t like me saying this, but I have am duty-bound to give it to you straight: this is exactly what the Nazis did – Mein Kampfs and other assorted propaganda items everywhere; constant reminders of who owns your soul – and upon whom you depend for your very life.

And that’s sad…and frightening.  Because what the Koch brothers want is not what the Founding Fathers intended. They did intend a country that was “of the people, by the people, for the people” – not a corporate welfare state or a theocracy or any nightmare combination of the two. I want an America where my children will have the choices I had, not the lack of choices being pressed upon people like Travis McKinney. If you’re like me, you’ll circle Election Day 2012 on your calendar as one day you won’t want to miss.

The vision of our Founding Fathers for a land of liberty for all is becoming increasingly dependent upon your vote.

10 responses so far