Saturday, November 5, 2011

Defeating David Koch in Palm Beach

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By Robert Greenwald

David Koch does not own Palm Beach, it turns out.

Our film crew exposed the hypocrisy of the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and the public policies they fund and support. We wanted the Koch brothers to be honest about how their attacks on Social Security would benefit their corporate bottom line.

In response, David Koch tried to build a wall around his home. But through a simple matter of law and order, David Koch was defeated.

Let me explain. To personify income inequality, we filmed three Florida seniors picnicking outside David Koch’s home and asking David’s security guards if they could talk to David one-on-one about why he wants to cut their minimal Social Security income. These seniors couldn’t understand why, with $42 billion and seven homes, the Koch brothers wanted to dismember Social Security and their fixed incomes.

David’s staff didn’t merely say “no” to the seniors’ request, they called the cops on them. And, we would find out after we left Florida in March, that David began unlawfully building a fence around his home– the $27 million, 25,000 square-foot landmark Villa el Sarmiento.

David Koch thinks he can flout laws barring trade with Iran and he can violate property laws in Palm Beach. He can’t change his landmark property without applying for the necessary permits. He is the wealthiest resident of Palm Beach and the second most wealthy New Yorker. Despite his best efforts, David Koch can’t break laws on a whim.

Throughout our Koch Brothers Exposed series, viewers have been taken aback by the inequality– in income, ideology and opportunity- between the top 1% and the other 99%. Narratives need villains, and the Koch brothers personify the inequality, turbulent economic events that have led to the sale of democracy, which has stained much of the last 30 years.

All the while, the economy they bemoan has made them richer at the expense of thousands of people who’ve been laid off.

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