Saturday, December 17, 2011

Koch Industries: We Really Like Black People. Really

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By Adele M. Stan

Koch Industries wants you to know that they really, really like black people. Well, Latinos, too -- but especially black people. And they want black people to exercise their "individual liberties" and vote -- really, they do. Just pay no mind to all those great bits of model legislation funded by Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch that are designed to pare the rolls of Democratic voters -- such as Latinos and black people.

Apparently smarting from criticism -- especially in the wake of Mississippi's draconian new voter ID law, which African American leaders say will disenfranchise black voters -- Koch Industries issued a statement last Friday on its Web site decrying what the company calls "cynical posturing" and "false claims" that "we are somehow trying to suppress the right to vote."

From the statement, titled "Standing Up For Fundamental Liberties":

For many years, we have directly contributed to Urban League, Andrew Young Foundation, Martin Luther King Center, Latin American Association, 100 Black Men, Morehouse College, United Negro College Fund, and dozens of other worthy organizations pursuing similar civic missions. We founded and continue to support Youth Entrepreneurs in schools throughout Kansas, Missouri and Atlanta. This year-long course teaches high school students from all walks of life the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to help them prosper and become contributing members of society.
Earlier this month, filmmaker Robert Greenwald and the Brave New Foundation released a video (see below) that introduced viewers to voters who stand to be disenfranchised by legislation modeled by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a think tank funded by the Koch brothers. And, in a blog post by The Nation's Ari Berman, NAACP President Ben Jealous is quoted, saying, "Folks like the Koch brothers are attempting to ensure that as few people of color and as few young people show up as possible.”

But what really seems to have gotten under the Kochs' skin is an upcoming event in New York that is co-sponsored by several labor and progressive groups. On December 10, union members and progressive activists will gather outside Koch Industries' New York City offices for a rally and march titled "Stand For Freedom."

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