Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Waxman vs. The Koch Brothers

The Koch Brothers, major oil executives based in Kansas, have piped a great deal of support to conservative causes and Republican candidates. They also sought to increase their influence in the Libertarian Cato Institute, yet were rebuffed at the last minute. Recently, the mainstream media focused on the Koch Brothers' growing interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Times, along with other newspapers in the Tribune Co. family. Like many current newspaper organs, their market share is declining. Yet barely a month ago, protesters outside the LA Times voiced their virulent opposition to the Koch Brothers acquisition of the paper.

Another more established foe of the Koch Brothers, Congressman Henry Waxman, has unloaded on the Koch Brothers before. During an early 2012 hearing on the Keystone Pipeline, the Congressman shared with the House Energy Committee his frequent requests by letter to have the Koch Brothers appear before them and explain their financial interest in the Keystone Pipeline. Summarily rebuffed by the acting chairman Ed Whitefield (R-Kentucky), Waxman and the chairman had a brief exchange.

"The Koch Brothers have nothing to do with this project," Whitefield countered.

Waxman digressed, offended that he was not permitted to share his full concern about the matter. When Whitfield moved for a ten minute recess, Waxman countered: "Are you going to call the Koch brothers?" Whitfield assertively retorted about the billions of dollars wasted on green tech companies like Solyndra, one for which the LA representative weakly apologized: "I'm sorry Solyndra happened."

These snide asides are hardly sincere, considering that liberal elements in Washington, including aggressive progressives like Congressman Henry Waxman, have long played up corporate entities, including oil refiners, as the "Bad Guys" which "Big Government" must beat down for the good of all. To this day, PBS journalist Bill Moyers looks for and links up conspiracy theories about Republicans, conservatives, reforms, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and (that's right), the Koch Brothers.

In a town hall meeting in January 2013, Waxman once again took a swipe at the Koch Brothers, claiming that they were pulling the strings to move the Republican Party advance a pro-oil executive, anti-environment agenda.

With all the shame and blame to defame the Koch Brothers, one has to wonder to what extent the Congressman for the West Side and South Bay Beach cities will go to pin all the problems of the world on two oil executives.

Is it the Koch Brothers' fault that to this day, there is no "Subway to the Sea" which will permit residents in East Los Angeles-Boyle Heights area to commute to West Los Angeles and find more work without spending time and energy commuting down Wilshire at a snail's pace or jumping from one Metro train to the other?

Is it the Koch Brothers' fault that Obamacare, the health insurance mandate pressured and promoted by Henry Waxman, has turned into a nightmare of frightfully ironic proportions, in which health care premiums have increased substantially, along with declining access to quality physicians, including the underreported yet unprecedented revelation that there will not be enough doctors to service patients who are added to health insurance rolls? And there is the matter of the tax, which Obamacare supposedly wasn't.

Is it the Koch Brothers' fault that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars which Congressman Henry Waxman voted to authorize, are homeless stateside with no adequate placement for treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration into the community? Waxman has represented the West Los Angeles region for nearly four decades, with political acumen which sponsored his rise to chairman sub-committees in the 1990's, followed by his sudden turn in the national media spotlight as chairman of the House Oversight and Governor Reform Committee. During his brief yet dramatic and controversial tenure investigating waste and fraud from the Bush Administration, not once did he investigate the poor and dilapidated conditions of the Brentwood VA, nor did he inquire into the disgraceful neglect of Los Angeles County veterans, of which tens of thousands remain homeless. His political skill reached new heights with his usurpation of the Energy Committee Chairmanship two years later, and still nothing was done for LA area veterans.

Is it the Koch Brothers' fault that after forty years in Washington, the Congressman's chief interests, health and energy, have not received  substantial expansion or support? The Clean Water Act remains unamended, in spite of two rulings from the Supreme Court striking down its overreaching provisions or criticizing its draconian sanctions and byzantine appellate remedies.

For all his protests and incriminations toward the Koch Brothers, Congressman Henry Waxman has more to explain regarding his own record of missed opportunities, mistakes, and misplaced priorities.

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