Published: Tuesday 15 January 2013
The law that Rep. Mike Hager is targeting (2007 SB3) was created with input from Duke Energy, and Duke explicitly opposes ALEC’s “Electricity Freedom Act,” the model law to repeal state Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (REPS).

Corporate polluters are taking aim this year at states with renewable energy laws, starting with an attack on North Carolina’s clean energy economy by a corporate front group known as ALEC with support from Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries.

North Carolina state Representative Mike Hager says he is confident that he has the votes needed to weaken or undo his state’s clean energy requirements during his second term. Rep. Hager is a former Duke Energy engineer and a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Duke and Progress Energy (now legally merged) have given Rep. Hager  READ FULL POST 4 COMMENTS

Published: Sunday 16 December 2012
“The DGA and RGA have devised national strategies for collecting unlimited funds from unions, corporations, and wealthy individuals, and funneling the money into state races.”

Despite outraising its Democratic counterpart by a 2-to-1 margin, the Republican Governors Association won only four of 11 races in the 2012 election, a far cry from the success it enjoyed two years ago.

The Washington D.C.-based political organization raised almost $100 million, according to recently released Internal Revenue Service data. The group targeted six states it considered winnable, losing five of them. Overall, Democrats won seven of this year's 11 contests, but the GOP still managed to pick up one seat in North Carolina, long held by Democrats.

The top donors to the so-called “527” organization, which can accept unlimited contributions from billionaires, corporations and unions, are familiar Republican Party patrons — No. 1 is Bob Perry, a Texas homebuilder and perennial RGA supporter, who gave $3.25 million. That’s a little more than half of what he gave in 2010.

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is No. 2, with $3 million in donations between him and his wife. According to the ...

Published: Tuesday 6 November 2012
Published: Sunday 4 November 2012
“Not only has Koch Industries dumped billions of tons of carbon into the air, David Koch has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting climate deniers and Tea Party ideologues who fight regulation of carbon pollution.”

Koch Industries billionaire David H. Koch is the wealthiest man in New York City, with a net worth of $31 billion. His fortune is built on polluting the climate system, from refining, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer, cattle, and forestry operations. The rising seas and superheated oceans made Hurricane Sandy into a monster that has caused upwards of $50 billion of damage to the greater New York area, by early estimates. Constructing a sea barrier to defend against future sea level rise will cost another $10 billion.

Not only has Koch Industries dumped billions of tons of carbon into the air, David Koch has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting climate deniers and Tea Party ideologues who fight regulation of carbon pollution.

In 2010, Koch told New York Magazine that global warming should be welcomed, even as coastlines dwindle from the rising seas:

Koch says he’s not sure if global warming is caused by human activities, and at any rate, he sees the heating up of the planet as good news. Lengthened growing seasons in the northern hemisphere, he says, will make up for any trauma caused by the slow migration of people away from disappearing coastlines. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he says.

In January 2011, ThinkProgress reporter Lee Fang confronted Koch as he left the swearing-in ceremony for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Fang questioned why Koch’s Tea Party front group, Americans for Prosperity supported climate denial and what his own position on climate science was:

FANG: Why does Americans for Prosperity focus so much on the science of climate change? I’m just curious why ...

Published: Thursday 25 October 2012
The House of Representatives is the most anti-environment in Congressional history, averaging at least one anti-environment vote per day to eliminate or undermine pollution protections, many benefiting Big Oil.

Starting tomorrow, the world’s largest oil companies — ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips — will begin to announce their third-quarter profits for 2012. In the first half of 2012, these companies — all ranked in the top 10 of Fortune 500 Global — earned over $60 billion.

The oil industry reinvests tens of millions of these dollars for political purposes, including nearly all political contributions to Republicans, lobbying, and campaign ads. Through its enormous spending, these five and other Big Oil companies have fought to maintain $4 billion of their annual subsidies, while seeking to undermine clean energy investments:

$105 Million On Lobbying Since 2011, 90 Percent Of Campaign Contributions To GOP:  The big five companies have spent over $105 million on lobbying Congress since 2011, according to lobbying disclosures through the third quarter. The biggest spenders were Shell ($25.7 million), Exxon ($25.4 million), and ConocoPhillips ($22.9 million). The five companies’ oil PACs have donated over $2.16 million to mostly Republican candidates this election cycle. Koch Industries also spends big money to pressure Congress, with $16.2 million on lobbying and more than $1.3 million from its PAC (the top oil and gas spender). In total, the oil and gas industry sends 

Published: Tuesday 23 October 2012
With climate change already contributing to 400,000 deaths each year and costing $1.2 trillion to economies worldwide, such dubious doubt-peddling should be considered criminal.

The octopus has a remarkable ability - it can blend seamlessly with its surroundings changing its appearance to mimic plants, rocks or even other animals.

Similarly deceptive is an upcoming junk study from a Koch-funded think tank that has taken on the format and appearance of a truly scientific report from the US Government, but is loaded with lies and misrepresentation of actual climate change science. The false report is a tentacle of the Kochtopus - with oil and industrial billionaires Charles and David Koch at the head.

The report’s disgraced author, Patrick Michaels, has made his largely undistinguished career shilling for fossil fuel interestes, including his stay at the Cato Institute, which published the counterfeit report. After 

Published: Sunday 21 October 2012
Corporations like Koch are legally allowed to pressure their workers to adopt their political views at the ballot box because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

 

A new exposé raises alarming questions about the ability of corporations to influence the voting decisions of their employees. In an article published by "In These Times" magazine, labor journalist Mike Elk examines the contents of a voter information packet that Koch Industries sent to tens of thousands of employees at its subsidiary, Georgia Pacific. The packet advised the employees on whom to vote for and warned them of the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country, should they choose to vote otherwise. Koch Industries is run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Corporations like Koch are legally allowed to pressure their workers to adopt their political views at the ballot box because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Elk joins us to discuss his In These Times article, "Koch Sends Pro-Romney Mailing to 45,000 Employees While Stifling Workplace Political Speech."

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: We’re continuing our 100-city tour, back in New York. We’ll be covering the presidential debate tomorrow night at Hofstra and expanding the debate Wednesday morning on Democracy Now!, bringing third-party candidates in to respond to the very same questions that are put to the major-party candidates.

With about three weeks to go before the November election, we’re turning now to a new exposé that raises alarming questions about the ability of corporations to influence the voting decisions of their employees. In an article published by In These Times magazine, labor journalist Mike Elk examines the contents of a voter information packet that Koch Industries sent to tens of thousands of employees at its ...

Published: Tuesday 16 October 2012
Published: Tuesday 16 October 2012
The Koch mailer is one of several recent examples of executives warning that employees may lose their jobs if Republicans do not win in November.

The Koch brothers’ $60 million pledge to defeat President Obama — along with their political network’s $400 million spending — make them two of the most influential conservatives this election.

Not content with their unprecedented influence in politics, the Kochs have also taken to influencing the votes of their employees. According to In These Times, Koch Industries sent 45,000 mailers to employees at Koch subsidiary Georgia Pacific, urging votes for Romney and other conservative candidates. The letter warns ominously of “consequences” for the workers if Republicans lose. 

The Koch mailer is one of several recent examples of executives warning that employees may lose their jobs if Republicans do not win in November. Here is an excerpt ...

Published: Thursday 11 October 2012
To paraphrase the Occupy movement chant, “This is NOT what democracy looks like.”

Mitt Romney helped design a debate environment that would accommodate dishonesty. He exploited it by escalating a campaign strategy of false accusations and outright lies, knowing he was unlikely to be caught. For those who see American politics as sports entertainment, Romney crafted the rules and called off the refs, before cheating. Romney “won” the debate like Lance Armstrong “won” seven Tour de France races or the Cincinnati Reds “won” the 1919 World Series. But more than a gilded trophy is at stake. Now it’s America’s future.

The presidential debates weren’t always a ridiculous spectacle of “mini-speeches” and zingers. For several debates prior to 1988, the League of Women Voters invited and grilled two or three candidates. Then the major party candidates presented the League with stifling new rules, prompting League President Nancy M. Neuman to refuse to “perpetrate a fraud on the American voter” by adding debates to the list of “campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions.” Thus the Commission on Presidential Debates was born. It uses secret rules to hamstring the moderator, making calling candidates on their lies more difficult, and the questions easier. Third party candidates could play an important role in fact-checking and promoting alternate strategies like relying more on taxes and debt. Yet these parties are banned unless they poll over 15 percent in five national polls.

Thus Romney was left with only one fully capable presidential candidate or moderator. So he predicted President Obama would lie, implying he himself would personify integrity and the two should take the moral high ...
Published: Monday 1 October 2012
“According to a report released Monday, ALEC has even made inroads in Democratic-leaning New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie (R) and other New Jersey lawmakers have apparently introduced 22 bills since 2010 based on ALEC model legislation.”

 

In the past year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has lost over 40 member companies because of its role in crafting voter suppression laws, anti-immigration laws like Arizona’s SB 1070, and other conservative causes. Still, the group continues to be popular among lawmakers in Republican-controlled states. According to a report released Monday, ALEC has even made inroads in Democratic-leaning New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie (R) and other New Jersey lawmakers have apparently introduced 22 bills since 2010 based on ALEC model legislation. Christie denied the connection in April, when another report found many similarities between his legislation and ALEC bills. However, records found Christie’s advisers and conservative lawmakers in New Jersey consulted ALEC on key legislation, including:

The New Jersey Jobs Protection Act (S240) and a similar bill (S164), which would require all employers to verify whether their workers are legally qualified to work in the United States. The report said they were “taken nearly word for word from ALEC’s Fair and Legal Employment Act, which is also incorporated in ALEC’s longer and more thorough No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act— the infamous model legislation that was introduced in Arizona … and led to protests across the country and a showdown at the Supreme Court.”

ACR103, which would allow a two-thirds majority in the state Legislature to nullify any federal law or regulation. It’s sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris), co-chairman of ALEC’s state chapter. Handlin, who has said she is not an ALEC ...

Published: Friday 31 August 2012
“A woman identified as Adelson’s daughter grabbed our video camera, tried to take it into a private suite and then threw the camera to the ground.”

When Democracy Now! senior producer Mike Burke attempted to interview billionaire casino magnate and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson inside the Republican National Convention, a woman identified as Adelson’s daughter grabbed our video camera, tried to take it into a private suite and then threw the camera to the ground. While Adelson’s daughter first accused Burke of hitting her, she later came out of the suite to apologize. The incident was caught on tape, shortly after Burke questioned another billionaire GOP donor, David Koch, as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele. Burke files a report and joins us to describe what happened.

 

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, "Breaking With Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency." We’re broadcasting from PBSstation WEDU here in Tampa, Florida, as we cover ...

Published: Friday 10 August 2012
“Why was Heartland - a 'free-market' think tank most well-known for its role in peddling climate change denial - so invested in supporting Walker in the recall election?”

 

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker will keynote the Heartland Institute's 28th Anniversary Benefit Dinner this evening at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL

Walker recently won the Kochtopus-funded Americans for Prosperity George Washington Award. Now, two months after his recall election steamrolling of Democrat Tom Barrett, the climate change denying group famous for its Unabomber billboard will embrace Walker with much fanfare

Heartland, whose internal documents were published this past spring by DeSmogBlog, sings praises for Walker's union-busting agenda and his recent recall victory in promoting the event

This year’s keynote speaker, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is the nation’s most influential and successful governor. Elected in 2010 ...

Published: Wednesday 25 July 2012
“In 60 seconds, these five companies earned $261,000 — more than 96 percent of American households make in one year.”

The Big Five oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell – are slated to announce their 2012 second-quarter profits later this week.

We can expect these companies, all of which rank in the top 10 of the “Fortune 500 Global Ranking,” to reveal billions of dollars more in profits, after earning $375 million in profits per day in 2011 ($261,000 per minute), and $368 million per day in the first three-months of 2012 — bringing their combined profits to $1 trillion from 2001 through 2011.

Below is a quick look at just how much these Big Oil companies are making, and where they are spending their billions in profits.

Big Oil’s Big Profits, In 24 Hours

  • In 60 seconds, these five companies earned $261,000 — more than 96 percent of American households make in one year.
  • These five oil companies received $6.6 million in federal tax breaks every day.
Published: Wednesday 11 July 2012
“The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts ranks Koch Industries as America’s 10th worst air polluter.”

The weekend's memorable photo is of Mitt Romney driving his massive powerboat past a privately built castle, not unlike his own, on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee. On Sunday, he moseyed across the Long Island Sound to the beachy pleasure dome of billionaire conservative David Koch, in Southampton, N.Y. — for a $75,000-a-couple dinner to raise money from like-minded Republicans. Not far away, Koch's brother Bill, a fellow funder of conservative causes, holds court in the exclusive waterfront enclave of Osterville, on Cape Cod.

The brothers' family business, based far away in Wichita, Kan., is a notoriously careless emitter of toxic wastes. The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts ranks Koch Industries as America's 10th worst air polluter. Thus, not a few eyes roll as Bill continues to lead the long fight against a planned wind farm off Osterville's shore. You understand, it would mar the alleged environmental perfection of the waters in which he sails.

The region's choice corners are chock-a-block with rich Democrats, too, but it is politically their natural habitat. Why do conservatives from elsewhere hang out in places that tax and regulate and do all kinds of other mean things to rich people like themselves? The reason is that these are nice places, and they are that way precisely because they tax and regulate. And these guys know it. If cooler summers were all they craved, they'd be partying in Upper Wisconsin.

A libertarian friend, a journalist from Texas, once told me she'd like to live in a nice, preserved New England village, but no one there would buy her politics. I told her that if the region bought her politics, the village wouldn't be nice and preserved. Google the words "McDonald's" and "Osterville," and the first link is "Places for ...

Published: Wednesday 16 May 2012
As Reuters reports, the food and beverage industry has been relentless in Washington lately, more than doubling their spending in Washington during the past three years, completely outpacing public interest groups looking out for children’s health.

Nearly half of all Americans will be obese by 2030, researchers reported at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Weight of the Nation conference in Washington earlier this month. 42 percent of us are projected to be obese, placing a huge strain on our already compromised health care system. Brian Fung at The Atlantic points out that the healthcare costs of obesity — $550 billion over the next two decades — is more than the U.S. Department of Defense asked for in its fiscal year 2013 budget.

There are a lot of reasons — chemical, psychological, environmental — for why people are obese. But explaining societal obesity means looking at what the food system is providing for us to eat — and how government policies might promote certain foods over others.

“In the political arena, one side is winning the war on child obesity,” a new Reuters report on the food lobby begins. “The side with the fattest wallets.”

That’s entirely true. As Reuters reports, the food and beverage industry has been relentless in Washington lately, more than doubling their spending in Washington during the past three years, completely outpacing public interest groups looking out for children’s health:

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, widely regarded as the lead lobbying force for healthier food, spent about $70,000 lobbying last year — roughly what those opposing the stricter guidelines spent every 13 hours, ...

Published: Monday 14 May 2012
“Koch Industries has produced its own video claiming it doesn’t deserve the label of a secretive Big Oil corporation.”

The Obama campaign and the super PAC Priorities USA recently fired back at Americans for Prosperity, highlighting Mitt Romney’s ties to a funding source of $18.5 million in energy attack ads: Koch Industries.

Koch Industries has produced its own video claiming it doesn’t deserve the label of a secretive Big Oil corporation.

Shockingly, Factcheck.org and the Washington Post have taken up Koch’s argument.  Factcheck.org wrote that despite Koch’s $100 billion revenue, the corporation’s diverse holdings mean “it is hardly in the league of the truly ‘big oil’companies.” The Washington Post Fact checker took the same angle.

While it’s true the most profitable U.S. corporations — ExxonMobil and Chevron — are larger than Koch, using this standard to claim the company isn’t Big Oil is incorrect. Let’s take a look at some key facts:

·       The Koch brothers’ net worth tops $50 billion and they have pledged to spend $60 million to defeat President Barack Obama, according to the Huffington Post.

·       The Koch PAC is the largest oil and gas contributor — donating more than even ExxonMobil — spending over $1 million in each of the last two cycles. This cycle, it has spent 

Published: Monday 7 May 2012
“ALEC’s agenda includes crafting legislation that kills carbon pricing and renewable energy targets, turns over public lands, and prevents fracking disclosure laws, among other harmful laws.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s anti-environment agenda is fueled by none other than Big Oil companies, which sit on ALEC’s “task forces.”

The watchdog group Common Cause published ALEC’s full member list, revealing four of the five major oil companies behind the group’s anti-environment legislation. These four oil companies — Shell, BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil — are also the four most profitable, taking a combined $30.6 billion profits in just three months this year.

Koch Industries, ubiquitous in funding right-wing causes, is also one of ALEC’s corporate members, while ConocoPhillips has its own history of funding the group.

ALEC’s agenda includes crafting legislation that kills carbon pricing and renewable energy targets, turns over public lands, and prevents fracking disclosure laws, among other harmful laws.

The latest chapter of Big Oil shaping local and state laws occurs later this week, where state legislators from 15 oil and gas states will meet with oil and gas companies presenting a fossil-fueled vision for the future.

Published: Friday 4 May 2012
“Back in October, a German state minister explained that the country could decarbonize with renewables because “We Don’t Have the … Koch Brothers.”

 

Billionaire energy investor T. Boone Pickens has a bone to pick with the country’s leading pollutocrats.

Pickens said in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo’s Daily Ticker that Koch Industries, the company owned by Charles and David Koch, is the major stumbling block to a coherent U.S. energy policy:

“The biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America is Koch Industries,” the BP Capital founder tells Yahoo’s Aaron Task. “They do not want an energy plan for America because they have the cheapest natural gas price they’ve ever had, and they’re in the fertilizer business and they’re in the chemical business. So their margins are huge. And they do not want you to have an energy plan, because if you had a plan, then natural gas prices would come up.”

Back in October, a German state minister explained that the country could decarbonize with renewables because 

Published: Wednesday 4 April 2012
ALEC is behind many controversial state legislative efforts, including, “stand your ground” gun laws, and teaching children climate denial.

In the last few months, Republican presidential candidates from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum have shown their ignorance about the value of public lands. And recently a handful of states have joined the fray, with state legislators introducing bills that demand Congress turn over millions of acres of public lands to the states or face a lawsuit. Utah has taken this idea the furthest, where two weeks ago Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed a bill into law demanding that Congress give 30 million acres of federal land located in Utah to the state by 2015 or it will sue.

But buried under the headlines is the fact these bills are being quietly drafted and promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing corporate front group that provides draft legislation to state lawmakers and is funded by some of America’s biggest corporations including Koch Industries, BP, Exxon Mobil, and

Published: Sunday 25 March 2012
For years, corporations have been peddling myths to rally us behind their interests. Here are three things everyone “knows,” and why they’re wrong.

Winston Churchill reportedly said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” That was before corporations had perfected the art of public relations, investing millions of dollars in PR campaigns to advance their commercial and political interests.

The fact is, there are a number of things most people know are true—except they’re not. That’s the result of well-planned, well-funded, long-term propaganda campaigns designed to make people believe things that are against their own best interests.

One relatively new example is the climate denial industry, which is funded by some of the richest corporations and CEOs on the planet to protect their profits from regulations that would address climate change. Although it’s one of the biggest threats we have ever faced, an increasing number of Americans believe there is widespread disagreement in the scientific community about climate change.

But that’s not true—there is actually widespread scientific agreement on climate, and a few dissenters, most paid in some way by the oil industry. Millions of dollars have been spent to create the appearance of disagreement, including deployment of so-called experts and even TV meteorologists to repeat talking points favored by big oil.

In the past year, the Internet and social media have brought together social movements across the globe, and there are signs that, in this new information age, people are breaking through the fog of corporate disinformation. But some of the “facts” have been repeated for so many years that a lot of people still think they are true.

“Social Security is Broke”

The Cass City Chronicle (Jan. 22, 1976)

For more than 30 years, opponents of Social Security have peddled this lie.

The roots of the efforts to attack Social Security run deep in the far ...

Published: Friday 9 March 2012
“This is an effort by the Kochs to turn the Cato Institute into some sort of auxiliary for the G.O.P.,” said Edward H. Crane, who is president of Cato and co-founded it with Charles Koch. “What he is doing now is detrimental to Cato, it’s detrimental to Koch Industries, it’s detrimental to the libertarian movement.”

A new chapter is being added to the ongoing Kochtopus saga. On March 1 the Washington Post, in a story sure to fill the airwaves for the weeks and months to come, revealed the Kochtopus is suing the Cato Institute for control of the recently deceased and former Cato Chairman William Niskanen's ownership share in the think-tank.

The Koch Empire was recently outed by DeSmogBlog as a key seed funder of the climate change denier think-tank, the Heartland Institute. Heartland's internal documents were recently leaked to DeSmogBlog (see "Heartland Exposed"). 

Billionaire oil baron Charles Koch is now waging war against another entity that was created with Koch seed money decades ago: the Cato Institute.

The Post 

Published: Friday 2 March 2012
“Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the origins of the Heartland Institute — whose internal documents were recently leaked to DeSmogBlog — have a direct historical link to the rise of the Kochtopus’s wide-reaching climate change denial machine.”

It is nearly impossible to discuss the vast climate change denial echo chamber and not mention the Koch BrothersKoch Industries, and what some have called the Koch Empire READ FULL POST 5 COMMENTS

Published: Monday 20 February 2012
“Governor Walker’s defenders[...] will surely suggest that the billionaire is merely expressing his right to fund independent activities that just happen to be ‘helping’ Walker.”

 

Billionaire campaign donor David Koch, heir to a fortune and a political legacy created by one of the driving forces behind the John Birch Society, makes no secret of his enthusiasm for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

“What Scott Walker is doing with the public unions in Wisconsin is critically important. He’s an impressive guy and he’s very courageous,” Koch explained in a recent conversation reported by the Palm Beach Post. “If the unions win the recall, there will be no stopping union power.”

That’s no surprise. What is surprising is that Koch is now appears to be bragging about how he and his brother Charles are using their vast fortune to fund an independent campaign aimed at “helping” Walker. Even in an era when billionaires such as the Kochs are emerging as key financiers of Super PACS and other campaigning vehicles Koch’s admission will raise ...

Published: Tuesday 31 January 2012
“The disaster of the Gulf was only a matter of time. Now, we are being told to trust government officials once again, when they knowingly allow nonscientific personnel to make scientific decisions.”

This is a recycled piece that is still pertinent.  IN light of the situation described below there is no time to write a new piece. 

In a provocative demonstration against the tar sands, clean energy advocates poured “oil” onto a female model draped with the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill. Those pouring the oil were dressed as executives of TransCanada, the company proposing to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will run from the Alberta tar sands to the US Gulf Coast.

 

TransCanada, the Keystone XL Pipeline and Koch Industries

As the race to develop domestically produced fuels hits a fevered pitch, especially as a reaction to the tensions in the Middle East, politicians from the president on down are seeking a “magic pill” that will solve our energy problems. President Obama promised a “green revolution,” with hints at promising wind and solar energy sources during the campaign, but has now done one of his famous backtracks as he pushes the idea of “clean coal.” One of the alleged “clean coal” sources his administration has placed under serious consideration is “bituminous coal” (aka “unconventional petroleum deposit’), or simply put … “tar sands.” Tar sands are plentiful in the US and Canada, but environmentally treacherous to mine and transport – yet, this is the “green energy” the Obama administration has leaned toward – with heavy prodding from its most threatening political enemy, Koch Industries – disputed founders of the Tea Party movement.

 

TransCanada and Koch Industries 

Project developer TransCanada seeks approval from US government agencies to ...

Published: Saturday 10 December 2011
“For decades, the Koch brothers and their foundation have funded ALEC and other groups that are now driving the attack on voting rights in states across the country.”

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch finally got their way in 2011. After their decades of funding the American Legislative Exchange Council, the collaboration between multinational corporations and conservative state legislators, the project began finally to yield the intended result.

For the first time in decades, the United States saw a steady dismantling of the laws, regulations, programs and practices put in place to make real the promise of American democracy.

That is why, on Saturday, civil rights groups and their allies will rally outside the New York headquarters of the Koch brothers to begin a march for the renewal of voting rights in America.

For the Koch brothers and their kind, less democracy is better. They fund campaigns with millions of dollars in checks that have helped elect the likes of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich. And ALEC has made it clear, through its ambitious “ READ FULL POST 24 COMMENTS

Published: Wednesday 30 November 2011
“Congress is sensing these political tremblers — and beginning to move.”

In the Nov. 8 elections, the national media gave extensive coverage to a proposed "personhood amendment" to Mississippi's state constitution. This was an extremist anti-abortion ballot initiative to declare that a person's life begins not at birth, but at the very instant that a sperm meets the egg. However, extending full personhood to two-cell zygotes was too far out even for many of Mississippi's zealous antagonists against woman's right to control her own fertility, so the proposition was voted down.

Meanwhile, the national media paid practically zero attention to another "personhood" vote that took place on that same day over a thousand miles from Mississippi. This was a referendum in Missoula, Mont., on a concept even more bizarre than declaring zygotes to be persons with full citizenship rights.

It was a vote on overturning last year's democracy-killing decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the now-infamous Citizens United case. A narrow five-man majority had decreed that — abracadabra! — lifeless, soulless corporations are henceforth persons with human political rights. Moreover, said the five, these tongueless artificial entities must be allowed to "speak" by dumping unlimited sums of their corporate cash into our election campaigns, thus giving them a far bigger voice than us real-life persons.

Missoulians, of ...

Published: Sunday 20 November 2011
“Among the biggest PAC donors to the tea party freshmen are familiar Washington faces, including Honeywell International, which led the way both in number of donations and overall money given.”

On her website, Rep. Diane Black asks constituents to join advisory panels in her Tennessee district. “I believe the best ideas to solve our nation’s problems will come from people like you,” Black writes, “not Washington bureaucrats and special interest groups.”

Black is one of the new Republicans who rode a wave of anti-Washington sentiment into town in 2011, a self-identified member of the tea party wing that has been cast as a new kind of conservative— fiery, unwilling to compromise and determined to downsize the government. But while many say Black and her companions have created a split in the Republican Party, it is not visible among the companies and interest groups that are donating to members of Congress.

A joint analysis by iWatch News and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that the 15 freshmen members of the Tea Party Caucus have embraced many of the same special interests that have supported Republicans for years. The fifteen combined have received over $3,450,000 during the first three quarters of this year from almost 700 different PACs.

It’s an impressive haul for a group of newly elected House members. But it shouldn’t be surprising that these fresh faces found new friends in ...

Published: Thursday 3 November 2011
“We cannot allow the Koch brothers’ so-called ‘American dream’ to continue to be our national nightmare.”

The very name of a Washington conservative conference this weekend is the height of subterfuge. It's called the "Defending the American Dream" conference, which is not about defending the actual American dreams of most Americans (the focus of our own "Take Back the American Dream" conference), sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, which is not an organization that promotes what is needed for broad American prosperity.

This actually is the latest effort by the billionaire Koch brothers, founders and key funders of Americans for Prosperity, and their corporate and political allies to hijack our democracy and pillage our economy. It's their attempt to perpetuate an American nightmare of continued income inequality and a government held hostage to the whims of elites. It is thus a perfect target for the latest Occupy-style protest.

The Other 98% and Health Care for America Now are sponsoring a "Koch Brothers Guerrilla Drive-In" Friday evening at the Washington Convention Center, where the conference is being held. ...

Published: Tuesday 4 October 2011
According to Bloomberg's analysis of French court documents, Koch failed to hold higher-level officials accountable for the bribery payments.

Bloomberg has published an in-depth investigation into business practices at Koch Industries, run by politically influential brothers Charles and David Koch. The story lays out what it suggests is a decades-long pattern of illegal and unethical behavior at Koch.

Both Bloomberg's story and Koch's official response are long and full of complicated details, and it's not easy to untangle it all. Here's our guide to what seem to be the newest, most significant allegations.

Undisputed: Koch's subsidiaries in Europe got contracts through bribes in at least six countries.

In 2008, in the wake of a $1.6 billion settlement by the German engineering giant Siemens for bribing officials around the world, Koch conducted an internal investigation of its own payment practices. The company found that its France-based affiliate, Koch-Glitsch, had paid illegal bribes to secure contracts in India, Africa and the Middle East, including bribes to government officials, a practice banned by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In response, Koch fired several employees and sales agents, including the business director of Koch-Glitsch France.

Disputed: Was Koch's response sufficient?

According to Bloomberg's analysis of French court ...

Published: Saturday 27 August 2011
Published: Saturday 27 August 2011
“Plants that use chemicals must file plans with the EPA for worst-case scenarios”

Koch Industries is lobbying to prevent tougher counter-terrorism standards for its facilities that use hazardous toxic chemicals. A terrorist attack or accident at Koch’s oil, chemical, paper and fertilizer plants, an iWatch News investigation revealed, could put tens of thousands of people and their homes, schools, hospitals, day care centers, factories and offices at risk.

Koch maintains that existing federal and state regulations are adequate to protect nearby residents.

Here is a list of the 10 Koch facilities, and the toxic chemicals they use, that put the most Americans in potential danger in the event of an accident or attack:

  1. The INVISTA plant in La Porte, Texas , is one of several facilities in Texas where Koch manufactures some 4 billion pounds of nylon intermediate chemicals a year, for use in the production of INVISTA products like Stainmaster carpet, Antron carpet fiber, Cordura fabric and Lycra spandex. Formaldehyde is stored at the site, in the Houston suburbs, and a spill and vaporization could threaten almost 1.9 million people who live nearby.
  2. Koch’s Georgia-Pacific paper plant in Camas, Wash. , stands across the Columbia River from the Portland, Ore., airport. Because of its proximity to Portland, the plant puts 840,648 people in potential danger from a spill of chlorine dioxide, which is used at the facility to bleach pulp for paper towels and office paper.
  3. The aging Flint Hills Resources oil ...
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