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Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and Brave New Films founder and president.

October 3rd, 2011 2:16 PM

There Are Many More Koch Brother Secret Sins (VIDEO)

The Bloomberg news investigation into Charles and David Koch has uncovered unlawful and unpatriotic environmental crimes, political donations and business decisions benefiting Iran. There are so many secret sins committed by the Koch brothers no one story can cover it all.

But this is the story everyone will be talking about. We've documented many of the Koch brothers' attacks on middle class families, and detailed their commitment to ending public education and resegregating communities.

The Koch brothers have smeared us and journalists who investigate their misdeeds. But the totality of evidence is clear: through our Koch Brothers Exposed film series, as well as reports in the New Yorker and now Bloomberg Markets magazine, there exists beyond a shadow of a doubt the Koch brothers' culpability for the onslaught against Social Security, the environment, our public education system and much more.

The Koch brothers use their $50 billion personal wealth to distort and shape policy to grow their corporate profits. The Koch brothers hate public service, and work to deny the government and public sector any chance at success and social good. So when a Southern school board began blazing a trail by growing academic achievement in a diverse community, the brothers acted to reverse the community's gains.

The video is about a school district that sets the agenda for communities across the nation. Wake County, NC was unique for its ability to grow successful outcomes for students with varying ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The achievement gap between race and class continued shrinking, and educators everywhere attributed the success to how the school board assigned students to school.

The Koch brothers are keen to let their think tanks and front groups do their dirty work for them. They have donated more than $5 million to Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party group that allied with like-minded organizations in North Carolina. The Koch brothers put their money to work, and the result was external groups laying the groundwork for a long, subtle campaign to elect a new school board majority.

The Koch-supported candidates won and promptly began reversing the student assignment plan. They favored one that would lead to segregated schools. The Koch brothers' plan to resegregate schools hit a roadblock when students, parents, teachers, and civil rights leaders united to stop the return to Jim Crow.

Bloomberg's findings about the Kochs' approving sales to anti-American agents in Iran, bribing African officials and the Koch way of stealing oil from Native Americans and lying to regulators is truly disturbing, but there's so much more to the Koch legacy of sin.

The Koch-supported school board members in North Carolina face an election this month. An anonymous campaign flier, which could come back to Koch-supported groups, accuses the NAACP of indoctrinating local anti-resegregation candidates. It's drawn scrutiny from state officials. The Kochs' wealth has been behind similar smear campaigns and stunts in Michigan and Wisconsin.

In the aggregate, the Koch brothers are the personification of what's driving hundreds of people to occupy Boston, Los Angeles and elsewhere, and the thousands of protesters and sitting-in outside Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. The Koch brothers have been chipping away at the American social contract and grand bargain: that people who want to work can have a decent standard of living. That promise is in tatters, and that's why so many people, young and old, find it necessary to make their voices heard in our cities.

Before the Bloomberg report was published, the Koch brothers were playing defense through friendly media outlets. They attacked Bloomberg loudly and routinely, often questioning the integrity of the Fourth Estate and attempting to chill a free press. The Koch brothers are the subject of press and activist scrutiny because they embody a generation of excess. Whether it's chartering a vacation yacht for $500,000 per week or donating $28.4 million to think tanks that attack Social Security, the Koch brothers are leading the corporate charge to put profits before people.

The Koch brothers' defenders in friendly media outlets lump the brothers in with the excess of dozens of corporations that regularly violate laws and skirt punishments. This is simply more grist and motivation propelling the protestors who are occupying our cities.

May it be the first step toward our own Arab Spring, or in other words, a path toward ending the Koch Winter.

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