Archive for the ‘Consumer Action’ Category

Boycott and Defeat Koch Industries

March 3, 2011 15 comments


Buying Freeze has got a full blown campaign going, click here

Two can play this game: it is called capital starvation. The Kochs and their political lapdogs (Tea Partyists and Republicans) are trying to starve public workers, unions, and public education. Boycotting their products is one way to have an affect on their income. It must be en masse, so erase these well known products from your shopping list.

Boycott and Defeat Koch Industries — go to this Facebook page for more information:

My own beef with corporate titans like the Kochs is their John Birch Society ideology. They are against collectivism in any, shape, or form: Social Security, unions, public schools, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, and even public roads or public funded institutions. They wish to privatize everything. The JBT — co-founded by their father, Fred Koch — has re-emerged more powerful than ever and are making a full court press attack on all fronts. The GOP has been heavily influenced by them. The Kochs back the Tea Party and Ron Paul who is for returning the country to the gold standard and stripping the Federal Reserve of its authority. Meanwhile Koch sponsored Mercatus Center and FreedomWorks are going after the EPA. This is what everyday Americans are up against. So, boycott their products, starting with Angel Soft toilet paper and Vanity Fair Napkins – products up until today I bought. No more.

We may have to go much further: As Vanity Fair magazine pointed out, boycotting Koch Industries would also mean boycotting technology, polymers, chemicals, ranching, forest products, fertilizers, pollution control substances, refining and fiber and textiles.

A list of Koch Industry/Georgia-Pacific Products:
Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins

Other KOCH brand names under their Invista division:
Dacron 41782_155879361093898_1669_n

Report on Koch Industries click below

PLUS, the Kochs’ anti-climate propaganda is disseminated and echoed throughout its vast network of front groups. You can read those online as well:

* The Koch-funded “ClimateGate” Echo Chamber
* Polar Bear Junk Science and Koch Industries
* The “Spanish Study” on Green Jobs and Koch Industries
* The “Danish Study” on Wind Power and Koch Industries
* Koch Organizations Instrumental in Dissemination of ACCF/NAM Claims

Related blogs with Koch information:


Please Urge Ohio Attorney General to Investigate Fraud to Halt the Ohio Vote

March 1, 2011 Comments off

Please urge Ohio’s Attorney General to investigate Lehman Brothers fraud which is the real reason behind the state’s budget crisis. If he opens an investigation he could halt the vote to strip the unions of collective bargaining. Do it today as the vote will come down this week.

I contacted Mike DeWine’s office today and submitted a request.

Here is the contact form link:

The Big Con: Elimination of Public Education Real Goal of Union Busting

February 27, 2011 2 comments


Here is the complete interview with Matt Taibbi from which we played an excerpt on our Feb. 22 show. Taibbi explains how the American people have been defrauded by Wall Street investors and how the financial crisis is connected to the situations in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio. Let me read a sentence from a recent paper by Dean Baker, who concludes, “Most of the pension shortfall using the current methodology is attributable to the plunge in the stock market in the years 2007-2009. If pension funds had earned returns just equal to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury bonds in the three years since 2007, their assets would be more than $850 billion greater than they are today.”

Source:Democracy Now


Privately educated in grammar schools, the College of William and Mary, and primarily the world of books, Thomas Jefferson was an ardent advocate of public education as a cornerstone of a free republican society. Throughout his life Jefferson promoted reform in public education as a prerequisite for an enduring republican nation. The founding of the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819) was the capstone of Jefferson’s educational advocacy, and he devoted most of the last decade of his life to its establishment and well-being.

Education has been one of the principal tenets of American Democracy encouraged by the Jeffersonian vision. So important is it that in 1979 the Department of Education was established by President Carter, then called the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).

The Big Con
Why are Republican Governors going after their own state’s public employees, and especially teachers? Is it because public employees have overburdened their states with unreasonable and unsustainable pension burdens? NO-NO-AND-NO! That is a convenient lie conservatives and Tea Partyists would like people to believe. A January 2011 study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states otherwise. Read the report for yourself, click here. The purpose of this nefarious lie is conservatives, whether Republican or Tea Partyist, wish to eliminate public education. Yes indeed. The recent spate of attacks on public employees, unions, and collective bargaining is a means to a long wished for end. The key word here is, “collective”. Read on.

History of Attacks on the Department of Education
The Washington Times reported in October 2010: Past attempts to shutter the Cabinet department have fallen short, and the GOP effort largely lapsed under President George W. Bush. President Reagan promised to defund the department – formerly part of the Health, Education and Welfare Department – in his 1982 State of the Union address, and the GOP platform in 1996 backed elimination, but the department has survived.

Current Attacks
The new wave of attacks is centered in states where there are Republican governors and where Republicans hold majorities in the state legislatures. But it is no surprise that they started in Wisconsin for it is the home of the John Birch Society of which the billionaire Koch brothers father was a co-founder. Furthermore, we come to find out this past week that the billionaire industry giants, and also the founders of the Cato Institute, were also involved in bankrolling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s election campaign. But the Koch brothers are not Republicans – they are at their core, John Birchers marauding as Tea Partyists. Never heard of the John Birch Society?

The John Birch Society
From their web site: For more than 50 years, the Society has educated and informed its members and others, who have worked together to bring about major changes in national policy. Direction of our volunteer leaders — and our paid field staff — in pursuing the action agenda campaigns of The John Birch Society is provided from our headquarters based in Appleton, Wisconsin. One of the co-founders was Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries and father to David and Charles Koch. Koch Industries is valued at close to $100 billion. The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America.

The main founder of JBS was Robert Welch. According to Source Watch, ” Welch saw “collectivism” as the main threat to western civilization, and liberals as secret communist traitors who provide the cover for the gradual process of collectivism, with the ultimate goal of replacing the nations of western civilization with one-world socialist government. “There are many stages of welfarism, socialism, and collectivism in general,” he wrote, “but communism is the ultimate state of them all, and they all lead inevitably in that direction.”

And unions are part of the “collectivism”. Public education too. Thus, we find the Koch Brothers carrying out the mandate of the JBS: to eliminate any hint of collectivism in the United States of America.

Republicans and JBS
Republican mainstream unhappiness with the Birchers intensified after Welch circulated a letter calling President Dwight D. Eisenhower a “conscious, dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy.” Welch went further in a book titled The Politician, written in 1956 and published by the JBS in 1963, which declared that Eisenhower’s brother Milton was Ike’s superior within the Communist apparatus and alleging that other top government officials were also communist tools, including “ex president Truman and Roosevelt, and the last Sec. Of State John Foster Dulles and former CIA Director Allan W. Dulles.” Conservative writer William F. Buckley, Jr., an early friend and admirer of Welch, regarded his accusations against Eisenhower as “paranoid and idiotic libels” and attempted unsuccessfully to purge Welch from the JBS. Welch responded by attempting to take over Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative youth organization founded with assistance from Buckley.

Familiar Tactics
In October 1964, the Idaho Statesman newspaper expressed concern about what it called an “ominous” increase in JBS-led “ultra right” radio and television broadcasts, which it said then numbered 7,000 weekly and cost an estimated $10 million annually. “By virtue of saturation tactics used, radical, reactionary propaganda is producing an impact even on large numbers of people who, themselves, are in no sense extremists or sympathetic to extremists views,” declared a Statesman editorial. “When day after day they hear distortions of fact and sinister charges against persons or groups, often emanating from organizations with conspicuously respectable sounding names, it is no wonder that the result is: Confusion on some important public issues; stimulation of latent prejudices; creation of suspicion, fear and mistrust in relation not only to their representatives in government, but even in relation to their neighbors.”

But things have changed, and with the rise of the conservative right, the JBS has re-emerged bigger and bolder. They are back to saturation messaging using Talk Radio, pundits, and repetitive rhetoric to convince Americans of their message of the dangers of collectivism. In 2008, the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch made a calculated move when they helped back the “progressive” Tea Party. The NY Times reported:

All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. You can draw a straight line from the Liberty League’s crusade against the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws to the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare to the Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our “socialist” president.

Collectivism vs Corporatism
Collectivism is any philosophic, political, economic or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human in some collective group and the priority of group goals over individual goals. Collectivists usually focus on community, society or nation. Collectivism has been widely used to refer to a number of different political and economic philosophies, ranging from communalism and democracy to totalitarian nationalism.

Corporatism refers to a form of collectivism that views the whole as being greater than the sum of its individual parts, and gives priority to group rights over individual rights. The philosophic underpinnings of this type of collectivism is related to holism and organicism. Specifically, a society as a whole can be seen as having more meaning or value than the separate individuals that make up that society. Collectivism is widely seen as being opposed to individualism; however most philosophies, political and economic systems have a degree of both collectivist and individualist aspects. Source: Wikipedia

Koch Industries
Koch Industries, Inc. /ˈkoʊk/) is an American private energy conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas, with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments. Koch also owns Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Minerals and Matador Cattle Company.

Koch companies are involved in core industries such as the manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, as well as other ventures and investments.

Koch Pollution Record
In 2010, Koch Industries was ranked 10th on the list of top US corporate air polluters, the “Toxic 100 Air Polluters,” by the Political Economic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Power and Politics
In recent years, the Koch Brothers have given tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates. Millions more of their dollars have been given to think tanks such as the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and lobbying organisations like the US Chamber of Commerce. They have also helped bankroll dozens of cleverly-named pressure groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the Institute for Justice. Americans for Prosperity is a powerful business lobbying group.

Koch Industries and its subsidiaries spent more than $20 million on lobbying in 2008 and $12.3 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.

Koch Industries record of filthy polluting, click here

SourceWatch, John Birch Society:

Independent UK, Power and Politics source:

Thomas Jefferson on public education:

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List of Koch Affiliations and Organizations

February 24, 2011 Comments off

• FreedomWorks, whose Koch-founded precursor, Citizens for a Sound Economy, received some $5.7 million from Koch foundations.
• Americans for Prosperity, which received at least $5.1 million from Koch Foundations from 2005-2008 and is an offshoot of the Koch-founded Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, which itself received more than $6 million from Koch foundations.
• The American Highway Users Alliance, of which Koch Industries is a member.
• Americans for Tax Reform, which received $60,000 from Koch Foundations from 1997-2008.
• The Institute for Policy Innovation, which received $35,000 from Koch foundations.
• The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, of which Koch Industries is a member.
• The National Taxpayers Union, which has received $20,000 from Koch foundations.
• The Natural Gas Supply Association, of which Koch Industries appears to be a member.
• The Texas Prosperity Project, on whose board of directors sits Bill Oswald, Government & Regulatory Affairs Director at Koch Industries.
• The Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, which recently held an event sponsored by Flint Hills Resources, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries.

Thanks to our friends at Climate Progress for the list.

American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization counts Koch Industries as a Private Enterprise Board member, and which practically hand-writes legislation for Republican legislators to submit, including Governor Walker’s. Source: The Awl

From the Koch Industries web site:

Based in Wichita, Kan., Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America according to Forbes magazine. It owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining and chemicals; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; minerals; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; commodity trading and services; forest and consumer products; and ranching. Koch companies have a presence in nearly 60 countries and employ about 70,000 people. Since 2003, Koch companies have completed more than $32 billion in acquisitions and investments, and nearly $11 billion in capital expenditures.

With about 2,300 employees in Kansas, the company’s Wichita headquarters, a 1.2 million-square-foot office complex houses specialized capabilities such as human resources; environmental, health and safety; information technology; public affairs; risk management; legal services; tax and audit services; and business development.

Bernanke: Four More Years of High Unemployment, Perhaps Ten

February 10, 2011 Comments off

WSJ reports: The Fed chairman’s forecasts suggest he isn’t likely to shift his stance anytime soon. Though the recovery has strengthened, he dismissed worries about inflation. “Inflation made here in the U.S. is very, very low,” he said, even though it is picking up abroad. The unemployment rate isn’t likely to fall back to desirable levels between 5% and 6% for four years at the earliest, he added, and could take as long as 10 years given present economic growth rates.

Got that folks? 10 years, 2021 until we arrive at 5-6% employment levels. Can you make it for 10 years? Where will the unemployment benefits come from to keep people from falling into poverty? To be sure, IF we have high unemployment for ten years, tax revenues will be constrained and social programs will be under tremendous pressure.

The sooner Americans accept the facts of our predicament, the sooner we can get to reinventing ourselves through innovation, invention, and applying our intellectual capital and the sooner we will create jobs and get back on the track to prosperity. We simply cannot rely on big business or big banks to help us out. We need to embrace localization. We need to encourage our local small businesses to work with community banks or credit unions and forget about the large banks as they helped create the sh#@!hole we are in and they are not interested in helping everyday Americans. Globalization is their game. They are borrowing close to zero percent money from the Federal Reserve and investing it overseas. So, if it is us or them, I choose us. I choose localization. I choose local small businesses. We can make the clothes. We can forge the steel. We can create mini-economies that will serve local communities and revitalize neighborhoods. We can and we must.

I will continue to post resources on how we can embrace localization. Send Path to Well-being your resources and I will get them posted. I have been working at this for one year and I am looking for input. If you are a small business, contact me so we can get your story out. Once this little venture makes some money, we will expand its format. But I need you to help me so we can help each other.

Too Much Stuff Equals Too Much Trash

February 10, 2011 Comments off

San Diego Coast Keepers reports: The average American accumulates 4.4 pounds of garbage per day and less than one quarter of it is recycled. Estimates show that 80% of marine debris starts on land.

Attend Signs of the Tide on Wednesday, March 9 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. to learn how much of San Diego’s litter originates inland and what travels to our beaches, understand the history and future of trash regulations in our region and get the low down on how to end this epidemic.

Here are the highlights from the 2010 data overview:

· Six of the top ten items collected at our cleanups are composed of plastic. This is a concern because plastic pollution does not biodegrade in the ocean environment and can persist for many years.
· All of the plastic items counted have increased in number since 2007.
· Styrofoam pieces have doubled in number from 12,000 pieces in 2009 to 25,000 pieces in 2010.
· Volunteers collected over 42,000 butts from beaches and boardwalks in 2010. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually a decrease from 2009 and halted the increasing trend of the previous three years (hey – some good news!)

Ideas for Going Local

February 9, 2011 Comments off

I am hitched to the idea of localization. I have said for many years that taxes should go to the local community sector first, then the state, then the federal. Having blind faith in state and federal government to use our tax dollars wisely – meaning for the best benefit of the taxpaying citizen – is naive. Local control over tax monies is the way to go because accountability is more immediate and accessible. What is lacking at state and federal levels is accountability as evidenced by the municipal bond mess and Wall Street fiasco where government regulators failed to do their job. My ideas are not radical, in fact in today’s Yes magazine on the Five Ways to Help Your Community Go Local, tax money accountability is number two.

Five Ways to Help Your Community Go Local

1. As a consumer, look at the big stuff first.
Our choices for bank accounts, groceries, and energy consumption, for example, can play a big role in helping promote local self-sufficiency. Some groups ask residents to shift 10 percent of their spending from outside entities or chains to local businesses.

2. As a citizen, exercise your right to participate in spending decisions.
Learn where your tax money is spent. Can your city or town source more office supplies from local dealers? More school lunches from local ranchers and farmers? Are local governments using local insurers, banks, and suppliers? Learn about the current situation from purchasing officials (including their opinions) and available tools, such as local purchasing preferences and farm to school programs to inform suggestions.

3. Utilize the power of anchor institutions.
Just as with government entities, shifting the spending of hospitals, prisons, museums and other community-rooted institutions can create huge positive impacts and new opportunities. These institutions often have public service as part of their mission, and often are open to citizen input. provides a vast array of tools to help you get started.

Also if you support local civic groups, youth sports teams, etc., learn where they’re going for their needs. It’s stunning how often local non-profit groups will solicit independent businesses for donations, yet buy their food, supplies, printing, etc. from chain competitors.

4. Help provoke a pro-local business alliance.
The key word is provoke! Most of us don’t have time to create new organizations, but as the success of local businesses and community alliances grows, arranging an effective public meeting often will ignite ongoing organizing.

5. Differentiate our roles as citizens vs. consumers.
While shifting consumer decisions is a core goal of any educational efforts, the most influential community campaigns inspire residents to recognize their power and responsibility to guide the community’s future.

This last one is very important. I frequently hear about consumer issues and not so much about citizens issues. I just wrote an article talking about Capitalism and Democracy. The former is an economic system that does not protect your rights, while the latter is based in Constitutional law whose very function is to guarantee our rights as free individuals. I find too often politicians getting the two confused. I hear businesses extol no regulation, no taxes, no interference with their capitalistic enterprises, then go off and exploit workers, foul the environment, and cheat the IRS. There are laws and regulations on business to keep the honest, keep them operating in an ethical fashion, and to keep them from exploiting citizens who work for them as employees, and stop them from polluting America’s shared air, land, and waterways.

Read the entire article, click here

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