Absurdities

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Strange Arguments from the Rachel Maddow Show

Last week on the Rachel Maddow blog, writer Laura Conaway criticized Koch for announcing that we are looking to hire more than 1,240 people around the country.  At least, we think it was a criticism.  Conaway’s point appears to be that, unless we offer enough job openings to everyone that is unemployed, any number of openings is objectionable.  But if that’s the case, couldn’t the same argument be made against MSNBC itself? We took a look at the job listings that MSNBC posts for editorial staff and it appears that, currently, they have ten openings in three states.  Here’s a chart comparing the jobs that Koch is trying to fill and those at MSNBC.

Of course, if the government adopted more sensible economic policies many more businesses would be investing in this country and adding jobs as well.  Even though that hasn’t happened yet, Koch is still doing what it can to provide opportunities in manufacturing here in the US.  Too many on the Left would rather attack companies that are creating jobs in this country — the very companies that generate the type of growth our economy needs.  Maddow and her team are a sad example of this misguided thinking.

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Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Koch Responds to Misleading Editorial by the Washington Post

On June 10, the Washington Post published a misleading editorial (“Dulles rail awaits a thumbs up”) that singled out Charles and David Koch for their supposed involvement  in opposing Loudoun County’s Silver Line.  Koch has taken no position on the matter and was merely inserted into the discussion for political gain.  Missy Cohlmia, director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector, wrote the following Letter to the Editor, which was published by the Washington Post on June 15.

Koch’s concern with the Dulles rail editorial


Click Here For Full Post »

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Statement by Philip Ellender, President & COO, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC Response to T. Boone Pickens Statement Regarding Koch Industries

news item released yesterday quotes oil and natural gas investor T. Boone Pickens saying, “The biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America is Koch Industries.” His reasoning? That we support market prices for natural gas.

Mr. Pickens has stated that he is standing up for the American people by lobbying Congress for the passage of the NAT GAS Act. However, as The Atlantic reported, the NAT GAS Act is a scheme to get tax breaks from the government – in the form of another government subsidy – in order to increase the number of natural gas-powered tractor-trailers and heavy trucks on U.S. roads. What’s less well-known is that Mr. Pickens is the major shareholder in BAF Technologies, self-described as “the leading provider of natural gas vehicle systems and conversions in the U.S.”

Click Here For Full Post »

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Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Fringe Video Maker Upset That Koch Defends Itself by Revealing the Serial Dishonesty in his Latest Attacks on the Company

From Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc.

Robert Greenwald continues to be dishonest about Koch in an effort to raise money for and draw attention to his latest attack video.  In a March 31st blog posting, Mr. Greenwald again repeated many of the false story lines that have been refuted over the past year hereherehere, and here.

He claims his new video is the result of a “year-long investigation” and that Koch is trying to intimidate him.  From what we understand about this re-packaged video, it, like his prior videos about us, is not factual or original.  It consists of the derivative rehashing of distortions and fabrications made by far-left bloggers, diatribes based on the most attenuated of relationships between Koch and some third-party group’s real or alleged activities, or outright smears.

His “investigation” consisted of having his employees harass us with multiple, staged phone calls that were not intended to get our point of view, but instead to create material for his new video. (Unfortunately, many of Mr. Greenwald’s employees have not mastered the art of hanging up the telephone, and their motivations and false intentions were revealed, as we have shown here and here).

At the same time that we have been the target of death threats, as well as threats of physical violence and attacks on our facilities, Mr. Greenwald’s employees attempted to conduct ambush interviews of one of our owners to ask him how many homes he owns. Mr. Greenwald himself has never acknowledged the many homes he apparently owns in the LA-area alone. In addition, he had film crews show up at our owners’ residences to videotape and ask questions – a tactic we understand he plans to employ again as he has tried to hire a camera crew to stalk our employees in Wichita over the next couple of weeks.

Compared to Mr. Greenwald’s and his employees’ stalking and harassing behavior, what we have done is point out that Mr. Greenwald’s assertions are false, baseless, distorted, and/or misleading.  We also pointed out his history of making extremely biased, false, and misleading videos about other entities that he and the far-left do not like.  Mr. Greenwald, like many of the groups he is aligned with politically, does not like it when the targets of his attacks defend themselves by relying on the truth to show the falsity of the attacks.

In his most recent post he has offered to debate us.  After Mr. Greenwald’s March 30 appearance on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir show, however, we are confused about what there is to debate.   During his appearance, Mr. Greenwald, in a rare moment of honesty about Koch, stated that “what they do is legal.”  While he later reverted to his dishonest ways and tried to retract this truthful statement, he apparently reviewed the tape of his statement and realized even he could not lie his way out of it, deleting his tweet in the process.

Below we again address his false claims about us.  In so doing, we deal solely with the facts:

1.  With regard to the Crossett facility, we have explained that Georgia-Pacific operates in compliance with its government-issued and regulated permits and the law; that the individuals in Mr. Greenwald’s video have undisclosed, ulterior financial or other motives in attacking us; and that the allegations about us have been reviewed and dismissed by the regulators in the past.

In his post, he attempts to denigrate Koch’s exemplary environmental performance by referring to a study prepared by a member of the Union for Radical Political Economics that has nothing to with compliance with EPA-issued permits, and lists many major US-based manufacturers, given that the study is based on outputs from facilities in the U.S.  We work hard to comply with our permits and work cooperatively and innovatively with federal and state regulators to ensure compliance. We have been recognized by the EPA for doing so  — see here and here.  Koch’s commitment to compliance with environmental, health, and safety laws is shown by the more than 450 awards we have received since President Obama took office.

With regard to formaldehyde, Koch companies comply with all laws and regulations.  Along with many other individuals, environmental groups, NGOs, government agencies, and companies, we provided comments on the EPA’s proposed regulations, as is provided for under the law.

Mr. Greenwald’s insinuation that we are responsible for any cancer that any individual is unfortunately suffering from is maliciously false and irresponsible.  We, of course, have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer.  We are sickened by his attempt to exploit someone else’s suffering in a dishonest way so that he can line his own pocket and garner publicity for himself, as well his gratuitous and disgraceful reference to Koch employees who have battled this disease.

2.  Mr. Greenwald falsely ties us to laws designed to combat voter fraud based solely on our membership in ALEC.  As we have explained, we are not involved with these initiatives.  Consistent with our  longstanding support for the Bill of Rights and individual liberty, we support voter education and voter registration efforts.   ALEC is a non-partisan association for state legislators who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, and individual liberty — ideals that Koch has long supported.  Many hundreds of other individuals, organizations, and companies also support ALEC, including General Electric and Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s corporate parent.  This includes Democrats and Republicans alike, representing all various demographic groups across the social and political spectrum.  However, membership in an organization does not mean that Koch is actively involved with or interested in everything done by the organization.

3.   As we have explained, Koch was not involved in any way in the decisions made by a Wake County, North Carolina school board.  Mr. Greenwald doesn’t even try to suggest that Koch was somehow directing what this local school board and the parents decided concerning their children’s education.   Typical of his other allegations, he bases this one on alleged actions by an AFP chapter.  He rehashes facts we have long acknowledged: that David Koch is the chairman of AFP Foundation, and that some Koch employees are among the more than 2 million members and 90,000-plus individuals who contribute to AFP and AFP Foundation.  He complains that AFP doesn’t disclose its donors (it is not required to do so under the law).  He fails to note, however, that it appears his own organization, Brave New Foundation, and his former funder, Democracy Alliance, don’t reveal their donors.  Mr. Greenwald’s other false allegations and irresponsible race-baiting concerning AFP’s alleged involvement in Wake County are largely based on false allegations by the far-left ThinkProgress, which were refuted in January 2011 by Newsweek and the Washington Post.  The Post decried ThinkProgress’ misrepresentations of fact and irresponsible race-baiting, which Mr. Greenwald continues to repeat.

4.   Mr. Greenwald falsely claims Koch is undermining worker rights.  He bases this on allegations that Koch was behind Wisconsin’s budget repair bill — allegations that have been debunked here and here.  Koch, in fact, has productive, respectful, and longstanding relationships with the unions that represent thousands of our employees.  In fact, last year a senior union official praised Koch for providing “among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America,” and stating that Koch “in practice and in general has positive and productive . . . relationships with its unions.”  In contrast, Mr. Greenwald’s past relationships with his workers and unions have not been as positive or productive.  In 1992, Teamsters drivers at a North Carolina movie production site staged a strike when Robert Greenwald Productions paid them only $100-a-day ($152-a-day, or $39,520 annually in 2009 dollars), 33% below the union’s $150-a-day minimum requirement. ($228-a-day, or $59,280 in 2009 dollars).  “It was a case where they were trying to make a low-budget movie and pay low salaries,” said R.V. Durham, president of Teamsters Local 392. “We fixed it.”  (The News & Observer (Raleigh), 4/16/92 and 4/18/92).  Mr. Greenwald also continues to be dishonest about the false representations he made in his Wal-Mart attack video concerning a Wal-Mart store in Middlefield, Ohio.   As one third party commentator put it“The High Cost Of Low Price” is a hatchet job on the big China seller. So here is the “$64,000 Question”:  WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL IS H&H HARDWARE DOING IN A MOVIE WHICH FEATURES BUSINESSES THAT WERE PUT UNDER BY WAL-MARTS? Good question, because H&H was hemorrhaging for four or five years before it went out of business and actually sold all of its remaining inventory and went lights out THREE MONTHS BEFORE WAL-MART EVER OPENED! . . . So now do you smell a rat? This Greenwald is very, very deceptive. You’ve just got to see this film to believe it.”

In sum, Mr. Greenwald is the one “hiding” and “distorting the truth.”  Koch has been and will continue to be truthful and direct concerning Mr. Greenwald and his false allegations.  We hope that Mr. Greenwald’s recent video is seen for what it is: a desperate attempt by an obscure video maker to make money off of the orchestrated partisan political attacks against Koch that have been going on for the past few years.  We recommend that people read www.kochfacts.com for the truth.  While it appears unlikely that reasonable people will watch Mr. Greenwald’s video, we hope that those who do will make the same decision about Mr. Greenwald and his work that the Democracy Alliance did.

 

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Friday, March 30th, 2012

Greenwald Exposed on MSNBC

In a rare moment of honesty, Mr. Greenwald conceded that what we do is legal. His words are captured at the conclusion of the video above. Greenwald then tried to retract his remarks and failing that attempted to corrupt the record by posting the following message on Twitter:

 

Caught in yet another lie, Greenwald deleted that deliberately misleading tweet. We post it here as further evidence of his serial dishonesty.

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Friday, March 30th, 2012

Statement Regarding Robert Greenwald

UPDATE Please be aware that MSNBC would neither present our full statement on air nor link to it on their website despite our requests, and instead misled viewers about what we said in it and read only a portion of it on air.


Robert Greenwald is a fringe, left-wing video maker who was recently de-funded by the George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance.  Perhaps due to the fact that he lost his source of funding, Mr. Greenwald is desperately seeking attention for a new video that attacks Koch Industries, Charles Koch, and David Koch.  If Mr. Greenwald’s past works are any indication, this current effort will be a partisan hatchet job that has no credibility.

Mr. Greenwald has made other shoddy videos that falsely attacked Wal-Mart and Fox News, and were filled with lies, distortions, and misleading assertions.  For example, in his Wal-Mart video, he falsely claimed that the opening of a Wal-Mart store in Middlefield, Ohio led to the closure of a locally owned hardware store, even though the hardware store had closed three months before Wal-Mart opened.  While one can argue whether these pieces are fatally flawed due to Mr. Greenwald’s obvious extreme bias or to abjectly sloppy research and journalism, the end result is that he consistently produces videos riddled with false statements and inaccuracies, and no semblance of objectivity or credibility.

Given Mr. Greenwald’s pattern of dishonesty and the childish antics of his employees who have been harassing us by phone, we are certain his video about Koch will contain outright lies, distortions of our true record, and misstatements of fact.  For example, Mr. Greenwald has falsely claimed that Koch is behind various voter ID laws passed by state legislatures (it isn’t) and that Koch was the impetus for some Wake County, North Carolina school board decisions (it wasn’t).

Explore KochFacts to find the truth concerning these issues, as well as information concerning the Koch companies’ exemplary environmental performance record.

Mr. Greenwald’s dishonesty on these issues is troubling.  However, he reached a new low even for him with a video last fall concerning Georgia-Pacific’s Crossett, Arkansas mill that contains false statements and misrepresentations of fact, which we understand he has included in his latest video.

As we have explained on this site, Mr. Greenwald relies on testimonials of individuals who have previously sued the company (and subsequently settled their claims), an environmental activist who has repeatedly misrepresented the company’s performance, and others who ignore or distort the true facts and environmental performance of the mill.  Most egregious is Mr. Greenwald’s baseless claim that the mill is linked to cancer.  While we are, of course, sympathetic to those who are suffering from cancer, there is no evidence that Georgia-Pacific’s operations are linked to any of these ailments.

Mr. Greenwald’ statements are maliciously false and misleading, and we urge the news media not to republish them.  That Mr. Greenwald would use other people’s ailments as a means to falsely attack Koch is irresponsible and disgraceful, but not surprising, given his track record.

All one really needs to know about Mr. Greenwald is revealed by a statement he made several years ago:  “There is a great quote: ‘The truth is too important to let the facts get in the way.’”  In his latest project, he has lived up to those words.

– Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc.

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Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
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Friday, February 24th, 2012

A Letter to the Obama Campaign

Mr. Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Dear Mr. Messina:

Because every American has the right to take part in the public discourse on matters that affect the future of our country, I feel compelled to respond directly about a fundraising letter you sent out on February 24 denouncing Koch. It is both surprising and disappointing that the President would allow his re-election team to send such an irresponsible and misleading letter to his supporters.

For example, it is false that our “business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump.” Our business vision begins and ends with value creation — real, long-term value for customers and for society. We own no gasoline stations and the part of our business you allude to, oil and gas refining, actually lowers the price of gasoline by increasing supply. Either you simply misunderstand the way commodities markets work or you are misleading your supporters and the rest of the American people.

Contrary to your assertion that we have “committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama,” we have stated publicly and repeatedly since last November that we have never made any such claim or pledge. It is hard to imagine that the campaign is unaware of our publicly stated position on that point. Similarly, Americans for Prosperity is not simply “funded by the Koch brothers,” as you state — rather it has tens of thousands of members and contributors from across the country and from all walks of life. Further, our opposition to this President’s policies is not based on partisan politics but on principles. Charles Koch and David Koch have been outspoken advocates of the free-market for over 50 years and they have consistently opposed policies that frustrate or subvert free markets, regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican was President.

If the President’s campaign has some principled disagreement with the arguments we are making publicly about the staggering debt the President and previous administrations have imposed on the country, the regulations that are stifling business growth and innovation, the increasing intrusion of government into nearly every aspect of American life, we would be eager to hear them. But it is an abuse of the President’s position and does a disservice to our nation for the President and his campaign to criticize private citizens simply for the act of engaging in their constitutional right of free speech about important matters of public policy. The implication in that sort of attack is obvious: dare to criticize the President’s policies and you will be singled out and personally maligned by the President and his campaign in an effort to chill free speech and squelch dissent.

This is not the first time that the President and his Administration have engaged in this sort of disturbing behavior. As far back as August, 2010, Austan Goolsbee, then the President’s chief economic advisor, made public comments concerning Koch’s tax status and falsely stated that the company did not pay income tax, which triggered a federal investigation into Mr. Goolsbee’s conduct that potentially implicated federal law against improper disclosure of taxpayer information. Last June, your colleagues sent fundraising letters disparaging us as “plotting oil men” bent on “misleading people” with “disinformation” in order to “smear” the President’s record. Those accusations were baseless and were made at the very same time the president was publicly calling for a more “civil conversation” in the country.

It is understandable that the President and his campaign may be “tired of hearing” that many Americans would rather not see the president re-elected. However, the inference is that you would prefer that citizens who disagree with the President and his policies refrain from voicing their own viewpoint. Clearly, that’s not the way a free society should operate.

We agree with the President that civil discourse is an American strength. That is why it is troubling to see a national political campaign apparently target individual citizens and private companies for some perceived political advantage. I also hope the President will reflect on how the approach the campaign is using is at odds with our national values and the constitutional right to free speech.

Sincerely,

Philip Ellender
President, Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Falsehoods, Distortions, Dishonesty in Book by Bill Press

Bill Press, a liberal media figure, has a new book that contains a rehash of numerous false statements and distortions about Koch Industries, Charles Koch, and David Koch that have been made by partisan, fringe activists and bloggers over the past few years.  A clue to the type of sloppy and dishonest smear that appears in Mr. Press’ book is found in the introduction where he thanks his “good friends” at the Obama Administration front group, ThinkProgress, and laughably describes them as “one of the country’s most dependable sources of information on public policy.”  Mr. Press also lauds former Center for American Progress staffer Lee Fang, whose own shoddy reporting has been derided by observers from the left, right, and center.

Below is just an initial sample of of the distortions, false statements, and dishonesty in Mr. Press’ new book.
Click Here For Full Post »

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

UPDATE New Yorker tries to resist correction despite demonstrable facts.

Pamela McCarthy, Deputy Editor
The New Yorker

Pamela – thank you for your note. We are surprised that your apparent understanding of the word “preemptive” does not match the dictionary definition, which is this:

pre·emp·tive : taken as a measure against something possible, anticipated, or feared; preventive; deterrent.

All the best,

Melissa Cohlmia
Director, Corporate Communication
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

Click Here For Full Post »

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Friday, January 6th, 2012

Correcting Falsehoods at Forbes (Yet Again)

Once again, Forbes has published outright falsehoods about Koch. This week one of their contributors wrote that Charles Koch and David Koch are “professed Catholics…who operate many coal burning [power] plants.” Although private about their religious beliefs, neither Charles Koch nor David Koch are members of the Catholic church, let alone “profess” it. Also, Koch Industries is not in the business of power generation and neither operates nor has ownership in any power facilities, coal-burning or otherwise.
Click Here For Full Post »

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Refuting Political Conspiracy Theories in South Carolina

A blog in South Carolina that, by its own admission is driven by “an insatiable lust for attention,” has published a false accusation that Koch is somehow influencing state and federal efforts to deepen the port of Savannah, Georgia. The project which would allow Savannah to accommodate modern container ships has been underway for many years.  A separate and unrelated plan in Jasper County, South Carolina is still only a proposal. In addition, the blog’s suggestion that South Carolina jobs are in jeopardy is false and disingenuous.

Like countless other private and public entities, our subsidiary company, Georgia-Pacific, a major American employer, manufacturer and exporter, uses the port commercially.  But the implication in the blog — that because we use the port we are somehow manipulating the political process that builds it — is so inaccurate that it demands response.
Click Here For Full Post »

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Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Responding to False Assumptions

A false and disparaging statement on the website Jezebel is the latest example of activist agenda-driven bloggers making up false allegations about Koch.

Speculating about the sources of funding for the group, National Organization for Marriage, writer Erin Gloria Ryan wrongly and maliciously states, “Who are these anonymous bigots?  My money’s on the Koch brothers.”

The reality is that neither Charles Koch nor David Koch are bigots.  Neither has funded any opposition to same-sex marriage issues, nor have they voiced any opposition to same-sex marriage. The Kochs and Koch Industries are not involved with National Organization for Marriage in any way and there is no factual basis for any such assertion.

Obviously, Ms. Ryan never called us before printing her slur against the Kochs.  In this case, it seems that unfounded, irresponsible smears are more convenient than honesty and fact checking.

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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Debunking Conspiracy Theories in Wisconsin

Earlier this year, Koch became the object of considerable misinformation and mischaracterization in Wisconsin as news media and liberal bloggers attempted to link us to the state’s budget repair bill. We stated at the time that these assertions were false and ultimately even the media that had spread this misleading story were forced to recognize that it was false.  We see a similar ploy emerging today as an obscure, secretive blog in Wisconsin makes a conspiratorial claim that Koch is involved in a “covert…expressway of influence” in Wisconsin to advance mining legislation in the state.  Koch would “profit greatly,” so this blogger’s theory goes, “through materials and systems for [Koch's] mining operations.”

Before another lie gains traction, these are the facts: Koch has no mining operations in Wisconsin, no plans for any such operation, no financial interest in the proposed iron mine in the state, and has taken no position on any Wisconsin legislation related to mining.  Koch companies have never been involved in lobbying for this bill, either directly or through any other party.  Any suggestion that Koch companies or any of our 3,000 Wisconsin employees are secretly pursuing this project is flat out false.

The blog, by the way, is written by anonymous authors.  Readers would be right to question why the bloggers are so worried about alleged ”shadowy” participants in Wisconsin public discourse, yet conceal their own identities from the public.

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Monday, November 14th, 2011

Confronting Mike Lupica on the Facts

Mike Lupica’s hyperbolic style, well suited for the sports pages, falls flat when he discusses public affairs in his column on November 6. That’s because, despite his loud denouncement of Herman Cain, Lupica is flat wrong when he asserts that Cain is “nothing more than the tool of David and Charles Koch.” How he imagines this is so, Lupica never explains. We have stated publicly on numerous occasions that we have not formally committed to supporting any presidential candidate. Cain’s views on fiscal responsibility and growth are certainly impressive and Lupica would do well to take a closer look at the connection between economic freedom and the renewed prosperity our country so badly needs. No matter how many adjectives he uses to support his opinion, Lupica would do better by sticking with the facts.

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Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Exposing the Dishonest Methods of Brave New Foundation

In recent days, we have received numerous voicemails from staffers at Brave New Films, a fringe, left-wing activist video production group associated with the Brave New Foundation. The callers variously demand that we “defend ourselves” from points made in recent videos of theirs.  But the videos in question are intellectually dishonest and our positions are well known, including these facts that are detailed publicly here.
Our positions on these issues have been ignored by BNF because their videos are agenda-driven propaganda.  As Robert Greenwald from BNF once explained at a public conference, “I don’t believe that truth-telling means giving equal
time to all points of view.”  Accordingly, we are posting here several examples
of BNF’s attempts, through their phone calls (and their unsuccessful efforts to hang up the phone), to gather material for another, apparently upcoming, propaganda video.

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