tagged w/ Koch Brothers
In her keynote speech at last year’s annual Netroots Nation gathering, Darcy Burner pitched a seemingly simple idea to the thousands of bloggers and web developers in the audience. The former Microsoft MSFT +0.94% programmer and congressional candidate proposed a smartphone app allowing shoppers to swipe barcodes to check whether conservative billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch were behind a product on the shelves.
Burner figured the average supermarket shopper had no idea that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups meant contributing cash to Koch Industries through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. Similarly, purchasing a pair of yoga pants containing Lycra or a Stainmaster carpet meant indirectly handing the Kochs your money (Koch Industries bought Invista, one of the world’s largest fiber and textiles companies, in 2004 from DuPont).
At the time, Burner created a mock interface for her app, but that’s as far as she got. She was waiting to find the right team to build out the back end, which could be complicated given often murky corporate ownership structures.
She wasn’t aware that as she delivered her Netroots speech, a group of developers was hard at work on Buycott, an even more sophisticated version of the app she proposed.
“I remember reading Forbes’ story on the proposed app to help boycott Koch Industries and wishing that we were ready to launch our product,” said Buycott’s marketing director Maceo Martinez.
The app itself is the work of one Los Angeles-based 26-year-old freelance programmer, Ivan Pardo, who has devoted the last 16 months to Buycott. “It’s been completely bootstrapped up to this point,” he said. Martinez and another friend have pitched in to promote the app.
Pardo’s handiwork is available for download on iPhone or Android, making its debut in iTunes and Google GOOG +3.26% Play in early May. You can scan the barcode on any product and the free app will trace its ownership all the way to its top corporate parent company, including conglomerates like Koch Industries.
Once you’ve scanned an item, Buycott will show you its corporate family tree on your phone screen. Scan a box of Splenda sweetener, for instance, and you’ll see its parent, McNeil Nutritionals, is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson JNJ +0.77%.
Even more impressively, you can join user-created campaigns to boycott business practices that violate your principles rather than single companies. One of these campaigns, Demand GMO Labeling, will scan your box of cereal and tell you if it was made by one of the 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.
Deciding to add that campaign to your Buycott app might make buying your breakfast nearly impossible, as that list includes not just headline grabbers like agricultural giant Monsanto but just about every big consumer company with a presence in the supermarket aisle: Coca-Cola, Nestle, Kraft, Heinz, Kellogg’s, Unilever and more.
Buycott is still working on adding new data to its back end and fine-tuning its information on corporate ownership structures. Most companies in the current database actually own more brands than Buycott has on record. The developers are asking shoppers to help improve their technology by inputting names of products they scan that the app doesn’t already recognize.
And if this all sounds worthy but depressing, be assured that your next trip to the supermarket needn’t be all doom and gloom. There are Buycott campaigns encouraging shoppers to support brands that have, say, openly backed LGBT rights. You can scan a bottle of Absolut vodka or a bag of Starbucks coffee beans and learn that both companies have come out for equal marriage.
“I don’t want to push any single point of view with the app,” said Pardo. “For me, it was critical to allow users to create campaigns because I don’t think it’s Buycott’s role to tell people what to buy. We simply want to provide a platform that empowers consumers to make well-informed purchasing decisions.”
Forbes reached out to Koch Industries and Monsanto for comment and will update this story with any responses.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/05/14/new-app-lets-you-boycott-koch-brothers-monsanto-and-more-by-scanning-your-shopping-cart/In her keynote speech at last year’s annual Netroots Nation gathering, Darcy... more
“Bill Gates is wrong. American education is not “broken.”Federal education policy is broken.Testing children until they cry is a bad idea. It is educational malpractice.“Bill Gates is wrong. American education is not “broken.”Federal... more
A Cinderella Story? How the Koch Brothers Use Florida Gulf Coast University to Promote Their Agenda
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Friday 29 March 2013
As of February 2013, 129 colleges and universities around the country were receiving Koch Family Foundations support.
It’s a great story: the virtually unknown, 15th seeded Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), has made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. But there’s something you might not know about FGCU: its economics department is, as a consequence of grants from Randian businessman John Allison and the Charles G. Koch Foundation, a haven for Ayn-Rand Style thinking:
At Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, every student who majors in economics and finance gets a copy of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged…FGCU now has a core group of a half dozen economists whose research supports the ideas of free-market capitalism, still an unpopular subject in most faculty lounges. They teach this material to more than 250 economics and finance students (one class is titled “The Moral Foundations of Capitalism”), organize lectures by leading thinkers, publish their research in well-respected journals and hold influential positions in groups that promote free markets.
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The ideological transformation of FGCU economics began in 2009, when Allison, a famous devotee of Ayn Rand’s who was then the president of banking giant BB&T, donated $600,000 to FGCU to create the endowed “BB&T Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise.” Allison now runs the libertarian Cato Institute, a position he gained with the support of Charles and David Koch after some controversy.
The Kochs also supported Allison’s efforts at FGCU, a largely local school with about 11,000 undergradutes. A ThinkProgress review of Charles G. Koch Foundation donations from 2008-2011 found $87,000 in donations to Florida Gulf Coast University. According to an internal BB&T professorship report, the Koch money “provide[s] operational seed funding for the yearly activities and the local BB&T Charitable Foundation sponsors our premier annual event — The BB&T Free Enterprise Lecture Series.” The internal report also included metrics on the program’s operations such as “Atlas Shrugged Distribution — Number of students reached: approximately 120.”
Strange as it may seem that private ideological organizations can support academic departments, it’s not uncommon. A massive Koch donation to Florida State University’s economics program generated significant controversy in 2011 when it came to light that the donation was accompanied by de facto Koch control over some hiring decisions and the ability to review the scholarship generated. As of February 2013, 129 colleges and universities around the country were receiving Koch Family Foundations support.
Whether or not you think these sorts of donations are threats to academic freedom, they do lay bare the somewhat surprising disadvantage progressives face when it comes to getting funding for work on their intellectual traditions. In addition to the Koch direct-donations, organizations like the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute and libertarian Institute for Humane Studies help promote their ideas on campus and connect their students with likeminded colleagues and employers. Progressives conspicuously lack any equivalent organizations that connect students with a broader intellectual network, providing a potentially interesting explanation for why conservative ideas seem to have a direct pipeline to Washington while progressive alternatives stay at the margins of the debate.A Cinderella Story? How the Koch Brothers Use Florida Gulf Coast University to Promote... more
AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR is a Reason Foundation film about the extraordinary costs of the US government's 40-year war on drugs. AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR will be released in 2013.
http://youtu.be/ok48ebjgOPMAMERICA'S LONGEST WAR is a Reason Foundation film about the extraordinary costs... more
The film, " Greedy Lying Bastards," emphasizes the Koch brothers’ efforts to buy public opinion and influence policy by disputing the science behind climate change in order to further their corporate agenda. This explosive new documentary reveals facts pertaining to the efforts of Koch Industries and Exxon --using right-wing media for propaganda-- to dispel and dispute the science supporting climate change, as well as their role in the implementation of the controversial Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. WATCH the trailer...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=49414The film, " Greedy Lying Bastards," emphasizes the Koch brothers’... more
Yes, America has a psychopath problem: the Koch Brothers, Mitt Romney, Jamie Dimon, and Robert Murray to name a few.
"...these people almost never think they have enough. The Koch brothers are in their seventies, with $44 billion dollars, and yet spend all day, every day, scheming ways to get their hands on your social security ... we should view them the same as the people on the TV show Hoarders."
http://veracitystew.com/?p=49120Yes, America has a psychopath problem: the Koch Brothers, Mitt Romney, Jamie Dimon,... more
The billionaire Koch brothers and their American Energy Alliance and Americans for Prosperity interest groups have been conducting a campaign against the PTC with strong republican support in Congress. Republicans are choosing to cut this tax credit but are in support of ones that favor the oil industry and cost several billion more in tax credits each year. If the tax credit is done away with, with an estimated 37,000 jobs will be lost over the course of the next year. If we recall correctly, that big election thing we had last month focused pretty heavily on jobs and job creation, so how can Congress even be thinking about cutting this program when so much will be lost?
http://veracitystew.com/?p=46673The billionaire Koch brothers and their American Energy Alliance and Americans for... more
The legislation, approved by both houses of the state legislature last Friday, has now been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, who signed the legislation behind closed doors on Tuesday night, despite massive protests at the State Capitol. The legislation contains language pulled directly from model legislation drafted by the Koch brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=46622The legislation, approved by both houses of the state legislature last Friday, has now... more
WATCH - Truly Inspiring! -- A year and a half ago, we never would have thought that the Koch brothers' ALEC legislative group would become a household name of sorts, but now their every move is on the radars of activists around the country, including one Sabrina Joy Stevens, a former Denver-area teacher who managed to sneak her way into ALEC’s Education Taskforce Meeting on November 30, 2012. Informed voters suck, don’t they, ALEC?
http://veracitystew.com/?p=46402WATCH - Truly Inspiring! -- A year and a half ago, we never would have thought that... more
The fascist five activist Republican Injustices on the Supreme Court are the willing Pawns of plutocratic billionaires like the Koch Brothers, as evidenced by the worst decision since Dred Scott, Citizens United. Here we have an opportunity to see just how twisted their rationale for misinterpreting the Constitution has become.The fascist five activist Republican Injustices on the Supreme Court are the willing... more
When the fascist five trashed the Constitution in an attempt to hand our electoral process to the 1%, they said that there were rules that would prevent Citizens United from corrupting the system. I strongly suspect that, even when they said it, they knew it was not true, because the Republican Party cares nothing whatsoever for rules. To understand this, let’s examine what is happening to a state with a history of clean elections.When the fascist five trashed the Constitution in an attempt to hand our electoral... more
The Latest and Most Obscene Examples of Corporate Voter Intimidation:
it’s the institutionalization of a feudal state, where the “benign overlords” or “job creators,” who control all of the wealth and all of the influence, can now assert their authority over the peasant citizenry (employees) and dictate their behavior to them through fear of reprisals and misery via economic ruin and disaster as punishment for going against the wishes of the lords who own, rule and control all. They believe their wealth and influence entitles them to this sort of behavior.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=44473The Latest and Most Obscene Examples of Corporate Voter Intimidation: it’s the... more
(some of) The Rich really are different. Evidently, some think employees are property and they can kidnap them" (CN) - Billionaire William Koch imprisoned and interrogated one of his executives at a secluded Aspen ranch, under a sheriff's guard, because the executive suspected Koch's companies of tax evasion, the employee claims in Federal Court.
Kirby Martensen, of Berkeley, Calif., says he was an executive for several companies owned and controlled by William Koch, including Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Inc. (OCM) and Oxbow Carbon & Minerals International (OCM International), until March, when he says he was suddenly fired.
OCM and OCM International are part of the Oxbow Group, an energy development holding company based in West Palm Beach, Fla. Koch founded the Oxbow Group in the 1980s after leaving his family's oil-refining conglomerate, Koch Industries.
Oxbow Carbon is the largest distributor of petroleum coke in the world, with annual shipments of nearly 11 million metric tons to U.S., Asian, European, Latin American and Pacific Rim markets, according to the company's website.
Martensen says OCM International promoted him to senior vice president, Asia, in 2011, and he relocated to the company's Singapore office with promises that his family's expenses and his children's education would be covered.
"Martensen understood that the goal of this assignment was to help legitimize OCM's Bahamian shell company," according to the complaint in the Northern District of California. "This included, but was not limited to, discussions and negotiations concerning the sourcing of pet-coke and sales to Asian customers. Plaintiff was informed that the move to Asia was for tax purposes. More than 75 percent of Oxbow's fuel-grade petroleum coke export profits were derived from its Asian trading business. Plaintiff has information and believes this relocation was part of a plan being implemented to evade paying taxes to the United States on profits in excess of $200,000,000 per year.
"In 2011, William Koch was notified of an anonymous letter alleging that Martensen and another employee Larry Black had been engaging in theft, breaches of fiduciary duty, fraud, and self-dealing against the Oxbow companies. Based on this information William Koch directed a lengthy comprehensive forensic review of thousands of documents, including the written corporate communications files (letters, memoranda, electronic corporate communications, etc) of several employees, including Martensen.
"Based on this surreptitious review of plaintiff's emails and voice communications Koch learned that Martensen and others expressed concern of the legality of what they were doing on behalf of Oxbow and their distrust of upper management. As a result, William Koch promoted and implemented a plan to intimidate and discredit plaintiff for the purpose of chilling his speech and damaging his credibility." (Parentheses in complaint).
Koch is the only defendant named in the lawsuit.
The billionaire allegedly used "false pretenses" to lure Martensen and other executives to Bear Ranch, his property near Aspen, in March.
Martensen says the property was secluded, accessible only through a private road, and had no cellphone reception or other connections with the outside world.
After Martensen flew in from San Francisco, Koch drove him and other employees to Bear Ranch to spend the night, according to the complaint.
Martensen describes the ensuing odyssey in the complaint:
"Martensen and other guests had breakfast at the ranch the next morning followed by a business meeting. Martensen and others were then invited by Mr. Koch to tour his Western town nearby - a collection of approximately 50 buildings designed to appear like an authentic late 19th century western town. This was followed by a helicopter tour of the ranch and a lunch hosted by Mr. Koch in one of the town meeting rooms.
"Following lunch Martensen and others were told by Mr. Koch that they would be interviewed by a compensation specialist as part of a 360 degree peer review. Martensen was then escorted to a small room and interviewed by two agents of Koch. The interview turned into an interrogation that lasted several hours. Martensen was accused of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud Oxbow and Koch of millions of dollars, accepting bribes from competitors and 'diverting freight to a known competitor.'
"Following the interrogation Martensen was escorted to a SUV and directed to sit in [the] back. It was now approximately 5:00 p.m. Just outside of town the vehicle stopped, windows were rolled down, and Martensen was served with his termination papers and a lawsuit. As the vehicle returned to the ranch, Martensen asked where he was being taken. He was told by the driver that he would be taken to Aspen. Martensen then was driven to the main house on the ranch to collect his belongings.
"When collecting his belongings an agent of William Koch searched his suitcase and toiletries. Martensen then was escorted to a SUV and driven to a nearby cabin on the ranch. The driver then ordered Martensen to get out of the vehicle and escorted him to a cabin. While escorting Martensen the driver told Martensen, 'A sheriff is here to make sure you don't wander off.' Martensen observed a marked police vehicle parked nearby with a man in uniform behind the wheel. The police vehicle was clearly visible from the window of the room in which Martensen was imprisoned.
"After three hours of captivity Martensen was told to collect his things and that he would be taken to an airport. Martensen was directed to get in a SUV with a former co-worker, Charlie Zahn, and two agents of William Koch (driver and escort). Martensen asked to be driven to Aspen because he had a scheduled flight from Aspen to San Francisco the next morning. This request was denied. Martensen was told that he was being taken to Denver. Martensen then was kidnapped and kept captive in the vehicle during the trip to Denver.
"Martensen was driven to a small airport in the Denver area and escorted to a private plane. It was now approximately 2:00 a.m. on March 23, 2012. Martensen and Zahn were ordered to get into the plane. The private jet was manned by a pilot, co-pilot and escort Martensen believed was armed. The plane landed in Oakland, Calif. At approximately 4:00 a.m. On arrival Martensen was told that a car was waiting to take him to a nearby Marriot Courtyard Hotel. Martensen refused the request and asked an airport employee to call a cab. A cab arrived and Martensen left." (Parentheses in complaint).
Martensen says he suffered great anxiety, fear, humiliation and emotional distress.
He seeks compensatory and punitive damages for false imprisonment and civil conspiracy.
Martensen is represented by John Houston Scott in San Francisco. "
Now, I am not saying companies should not have recourse to address possible skimming, and other malfeasance by employees, but, shouldn't that recourse be administered in a more public manner? Possibly just firing, maybe suing in court, where everybody gets a look at how things went down? Guess if you have enough money, you can whisk people away and do what ever you want.
This should serve as a cautionary tale to management types who think kissing billionaire butt is the road to security. Some billionaires might just toss you on a company plane against your will. Maybe you will just be interrogated. Who knows what sort of plane ride you might get if answers are not pleasing to the masters.
Perhaps corporate executive employee types should consider unionizing for their own protection? Maybe they should all stop being total tools for greedy bastards who think they own people?
Wakey wakey management tools. Unregulated capitalism and raw power of the uber rich might not be such a good thing." (CN) - Billionaire William Koch imprisoned and interrogated one of his... more
Twenty-one years after I first wrote about her in a column for the Chicago Tribune, I listened to Anita Hill, author and law professor, author, advocate and whistle-blowing dragon-slayer, speak to a ballroom of 1,500 women and some men about standing up and speaking the truth.Twenty-one years after I first wrote about her in a column for the Chicago Tribune, I... more
Koch Groups Kick Off Massive Voter Mobilization Effort; Summons Tea Party To Country Club, Outsourcing Centerts "National Prosperity Action Day." Tea Partiers, Republican volunteers, and conservative activists are being summoned by Americans for Prosperity -- the group founded and financed by several large corporations, and led by the billionaire Koch brothers -- to begin mobilizing to defeat President Obama and congressional Democrats.
They're gathering in newly set up offices in critical swing states. Some of the locations have a tinge of irony for a supposedly grassroots, ordinary citizens-led organization: In Saddlebrook, Arizona, they'll be meeting in a country club; in Clearwater, Florida, the local AFP field director rented space from an outsourcing company called TAC Worldwide. But the work the AFP machine is doing is no laughing matter for liberals. The Koch network has a sophisticated targeting system; as well as an army of experienced Republican campaign hands to guide the effort. The volunteers even receive Samsung Galaxy tablets to quickly log information and move on to the next potential Romney voter.
Its the beginning of an extremely well-planned get-out-the-vote effort that duplicates what an entire national party would attempt. And its been four years in the making.
In 2009, the Koch network created a model called the Wisconsin Prosperity Project to move the state to the far right. After witnessing the Democrats' stunning 2008 ground game, the operatives in Wisconsin were determined to out-organize liberals. They hired Tea Party organizers, invested heavily in front groups (like the MacIver Center), ran constant advertising, and coordinated with employers to hold propaganda meetings with workers. Tea Party bus tours in the state, fully financed by AFP, were "designed" to help elect Republicans.
And in 2010, Wisconsin turned harder to the right than almost any other state in the nation during the midterm elections. At least from the Koch perspective, the investments worked. (The Koch theory of change was also reinforced by the savvy Scott Walker recall campaign, in which Koch operatives bused 75 canvassers to the state to out-perform the unions.)
Koch's unique, outside-the-GOP voter mobilizing system is called Themis, named after the Greek god of divine order. It carries a similar name to the Themis project by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's partners exposed for planning to hack and sabatoge liberals and some union groups, but it is not related.
Rather, Themis is a master database built with information purchased by the Koch brothers, as well as survey information gathered through its network of paid organizers. During the Republican primaries, as Mother Jones reported, AFP paid Florida residents to survey Republican activists as they voted for the various candidates. Tim Phillips, the Koch political deputy, explained Themis this way to USA Today's Fredreka Schouten: "Our geo-targeting looks at everything from voting data to Census data to consumer-purchasing information." Phillips also said, "We know their magazine subscriptions. In some cases, we know the websites they prefer to surf."
Koch is now financing over 200 organizers and paid political staff in 31 states. Its likely much of the money Koch now donates to the NRA and groups like the Faith and Freedom Coalition (run by Tim Phillip's longtime business partner, Ralph Reed), will also be spent on organizers on the ground. Using the Wisconsin model, Koch hopes to partner with local conservative groups to build a rapid mobilization system that can compete on Election Day, in every critical state.
Too much attention is given to the television ads. The Koch network, which is actively training Tea Partiers, via a partnership with True the Vote, to harass and intimidate voters, may tip the scales in this election. And you won't see their work on television, or through FEC disclosures (they refuse to register their grassroots electioneering as independent expenditures). Like Wisconsin, liberals might see the ground shifting beneath them, and wonder what happened.
http://www.civicmediacenter.org/sites/default/files/Koch%20Brothers%20Exposed.png?1341956276ts "National Prosperity Action Day." Tea Partiers, Republican volunteers,... more
CNN Soledad O'brien goes in on Tea Party Spokesperson for coded racism.
Karl Rove’s Super PAC, Crossroads GPS, and the Koch Brother’s Americans for Prosperity have given up the ghost in the Keystone State and pulled their advertising dollars, conceding victory to President Obama.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=41835Karl Rove’s Super PAC, Crossroads GPS, and the Koch Brother’s Americans... more
WAKE UP AMRICAN WOMEN! Here is where the attack on Women's Rights is coming from .....Other WOMEN! They want Sharia Law in US.
Join w Activists and FIGHT or LOSE! "Today, CWA claims more than 500,000 members organized into state chapters, a radio program that reaches more than 1 million listeners, and a cadre of attorneys and researchers devoted to the group’s mission of promoting biblical values."
WHICH REJECT EQUALITY FOR WOMEN in ANY ARENA or FORM… Work, Marriage and Rights.
http://tinyurl.com/d539wgbWAKE UP AMRICAN WOMEN! Here is where the attack on Women's Rights is coming from... more
Who woulda’ thunk it? Paul Ryan loves Rage Against the Machine. I would have pegged him as a Randy Ayn and the Fountainheads fan or a sucker for Sweet Georgie and the Romneylans. And, all he got for his trouble was a little requited rage from the band and a head scratch from Mittens who is more of a Lawrence Welk Head who occasionally likes to rock out to the Osmonds.Who woulda’ thunk it? Paul Ryan loves Rage Against the Machine. I would have... more