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Sat Oct 20, 2018, 03:22 PM

Hello lurking Trump and Randian dupes, here's some reading material for you

The Devastating Story Of How The Kochs’ Business Practices Hurt Real People

An excerpt from Dark Money by Jane Mayer, Chapter 4: The Koch Method: Free-Market Mayhem (120-123):

FOR TWENTY- ONE YEARS, WHILE THE KOCHS WERE FINANCING AN ideological war aimed at freeing American business from the grip of government, Donald Carlson was cleaning up the dregs their industry left behind. Stitched to the jacket he wore to work at Koch Refining Company, the booming Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, was the name Bull. His colleagues called him this because of his brawn and his willingness to shoulder the tasks no one else wanted to touch. “He wasn’t always the greatest guy or dad, but he got up every morning and went to work. He stepped up to the plate every day,” recalls his widow, Doreen Carlson. “If a job was too hard, they gave it to him.”

Beginning in 1974, when he was hired, Carlson worked twelve and sometimes sixteen- hour shifts at the refinery. Its profitability had proven the Kochs’ purchase of Pine Bend prophetic. It had become the largest refinery north of Louisiana with the capacity to process 330,000 barrels of crude a day, a quarter of what Canada exported to the United States. It provided over half of the gas used in Minnesota and 40 percent of that used by Wisconsin. Carlson’s job was demanding, but he enjoyed it. He cleaned out huge tanks that contained leaded gasoline, scraping them down by hand. He took samples from storage tanks whose vapors escaped with such force they sometimes blew his helmet off. He hoisted heavy loads and vacuumed up fuel spills deep enough to cause burns to his legs. Like many of the one thousand employees at the refinery, Carlson was often exposed to toxic substances. “He was practically swimming in those tanks,” his wife recalled. But Carlson never thought twice about the hazards.

“I was a young guy,” he explained later. “They didn’t tell me anything, I didn’t know anything.”

In particular, Carlson said, no one warned him about benzene, a colorless liquid chemical compound refined from crude oil. In 1928, two Italian doctors first detected a connection between it and cancer. Afterward, numerous scientific studies linked chronic benzene exposure to greatly increased risks of leukemia. Four federal agencies— the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control—have all declared benzene a human carcinogen. Asked under oath if he’d been warned about the harm it posed to his hemoglobin, Carlson replied, “I didn’t even know what hemoglobin was.”

In 1995, Carlson became too sick to work any longer at the refinery. When he obtained his company medical records, he and his wife were shocked by what they read. In the late 1970s, OSHA had issued regulations requiring companies whose workers were exposed to benzene to offer annual blood tests, and to retest, and notify workers if any abnormalities were found. Companies were also required to refer employees with abnormal results to medical specialists. Koch Refining Company had offered the annual blood tests as legally required, and Carlson had dutifully taken advantage of the regular screening. But what he discovered was that even though his tests had shown increasingly serious, abnormal blood cell counts beginning in 1990, as well as in 1992 and 1993, the company had not mentioned it to him until 1994.

Charles Koch had disparaged government regulations as “socialistic.” From his standpoint, the regulatory state that had grown out of the Progressive Era was an illegitimate encroachment on free enterprise and a roadblock to initiative and profitability. But while such theories might appeal to the company’s owners, the reality was quite different for many of their tens of thousands of employees.

Carlson continued working for another year but grew weaker, needing transfusions of three to five pints of blood a week. Finally, in the summer of 1995, he grew too sick to work at all.. At that point, his wife recalls, “they let him go. Six-months’ pay is what they gave him. It was basically his accumulated sick pay.” Carlson argued that his illness was job related, but Koch Refining denied this claim, refusing to pay him workers’ compensation, which would have covered his medical bills and continued dependency benefits for his wife and their teenage daughter. “The doctor couldn’t believe he was never put on workmen’s comp,” she added. “We were just naive. We didn’t think people would let you die. We thought, ‘They help you, don’t they?’”

In February 1997, twenty- three years after he joined Koch Industries, Donald Carlson died of leukemia. He was fifty-three. He and his wife had been married thirty- one years. “Almost the worst part,” she said, was that “he died thinking he’d let us down financially.” She added, “My husband was the sort of man who truly believed that if you worked hard and did a good job, you would be rewarded.”

Furious at the company, Doreen waged a one- woman battle to get Koch Industries to acknowledge some responsibility for her husband’s death and apologize. “I’m looking for some accountability,” she told Tom Meersman, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. For three years, Carlson pressed her legal claim. The company offered her some money but refused to call it compensation for a work-related death. It resisted until minutes before the case was about to be heard by a judge. And when it did finally agree to her terms, it did so only if she would sign a confidentiality agreement, keeping the matter private. “They never admitted it. They avoided court. There was no written record. They just gave me those little crumbs and told me to keep my mouth shut,” she recalled.

More than a dozen years later, Carlson’s confidentiality agreement had expired, and she could speak out. “I don’t think you could write what I think of Koch. You’re just collateral damage. It’s just money for them, and they never have enough.” Pressed about whether it was fair to pin the blame on the Kochs themselves, rather than on lower- level executives she dealt with, she retorted, “Charles Koch owns the refinery.” She went on, “And they want less regulations? Can you imagine? What they want is things that benefit them. They never cut into their profits. I hear they’re backing a lot of people politically, and I bet it’s all about getting rid of regulations,” she said. “But those regulations are for safety. It’s not to make your workers rich; it’s so they don’t die.”

http://realkochfacts.com/snowzilla-reading-the-devastating-story-of-how-the-kochs-business-practices-hurt-real-people/

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Reply Hello lurking Trump and Randian dupes, here's some reading material for you (Original post)
BeyondGeography Oct 2018 OP
Achilleaze Oct 2018 #1
DinahMoeHum Oct 2018 #6
JHan Oct 2018 #2
lunatica Oct 2018 #3
KT2000 Oct 2018 #4
tecelote Oct 2018 #5
smirkymonkey Oct 2018 #7
Jimvanhise Oct 2018 #8
Aristus Oct 2018 #9
CentralMass Oct 2018 #10

Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 03:29 PM

1. "No no no no no. We don't want no stinkin truth." - Dupes (R)

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Response to Achilleaze (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 05:32 PM

6. Dear Dupes: You get what you pay for. . .

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 03:39 PM

2. Yup. A must-read from Mayer (along with Nancy Macclean's "Democracy in Chains" )

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 03:44 PM

3. Kick

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 04:20 PM

4. A lesson learned

always too late. These industries own the workers comp programs - either through the state or private insurers. They are too big to pay so this is how many end up in poverty and on Medicaid. This is subsidizing industries.

Unions can play a role by insisting health concerns are public knowledge but so many are playing into the hands of industry by abandoning unions. Workers have to wake up and realize when they are actually paving the way to their own demise. In truth though, when fighting for better health protections, the workers are sent out to be the wall that stops it - and often they do. It is only the sick and dying workers who are fighting for justice.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 04:42 PM

5. Nobody likes "Regulations".

We need to start calling them "Protections".

That's what they're for. Not for holding back business but for making sure Americans are protected from corporate greed.

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Response to tecelote (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 05:40 PM

7. +1000

This. Right wing voters parrot the words of politicians and talk about "regulations" like they are always a bad thing. They don't know the meaning of the word. They are such sheep. They automatically assume because their masters are against them and Democrats are for them then they must be done away with. They don't realize that regulations are there for the protection of the worker and the consumer.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 05:43 PM

8. ADDICTED TO CASH

I don't get it. The Kochs have more money than God. The have more money than they could spend if they lived 200 years, but to them it isn't enough so they buy politicians (Hi, Donald!) to roll back regulations so they can squeeze the last penny out of their industries. It's like they really believe that they can take it with them.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 05:46 PM

9. You think they actually have the ability to read.

That's so cute...

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2018, 05:55 PM

10. There has to be a special place waiting in Hell for those two.

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