Daily Archives: October 3, 2011

Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales

From Bloomberg News comes the story Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales. My interest in the Koch brothers stems from their leading role in the right-wing politics of class warfare. They are mentioned numerous times on this blog. You can search for “Koch brothers” in the search bar above.

There is some good news about the Koch brothers, sort of.

Integrity and Compliance

Koch Industries’ political action committee, KochPAC, donated $50,000 to Texans for Rick Perry last year for his gubernatorial campaign, according to the Texas Ethics Commission. It has also donated to support Bachmann’s congressional campaigns, Federal Election Commission records show.

The company tells all of its employees around the world that its top two values, which it calls Guiding Principles, are integrity and compliance. Koch Industries and its subsidiaries have won 436 awards for safety, environmental excellence, community and customer service and innovation since January 2009, Cohlmia says.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recognized several of the company’s units for their commitment to the workplace, the company says. Koch Industries has also supported charitable causes in Wichita and beyond, including the Kansas Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The company has also helped enlistees in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Koch Industries has donated millions of dollars to the Nature Conservancy, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Reputation is Critical

David Koch has contributed more than $135 million to cultural institutions, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Koch Industries zealously guards its public image.

“A company’s reputation is critical to how it will be treated by others and to its long-term success,” Charles Koch wrote in “The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company” (Wiley, 2007). “We must build a positive reputation based on reality, or others will create one for us based on speculation or animus and we won’t like what they create.”

The illicit payments uncovered by Ludmila Egorova-Farines raised the specter of a new blow to the company’s effort to improve its reputation following criminal convictions and civil penalties.

Then there is lots of bad news. One item that I found striking was the following:

Twin Brother

The Senate held hearings in May 1989 after Bill Koch, David Koch’s twin brother, told a U.S. Senate special committee on investigations that Koch Industries was stealing oil on American Indian reservations, cheating the federal government of royalties.

Bill Koch had a long-standing feud with his brothers after his failed attempt to take over the company in the early 1980s. He sold his shares in June 1983 and later lost a lawsuit claiming he’d been shortchanged.

The Senate committee sent investigators to Oklahoma to secretly observe oil companies, including Koch, buying crude on Indian land. The federal agents hid in ditches, crouched behind scrub cedars and ducked behind cows to avoid detection by Koch Oil’s purchasers, FBI agent Richard Elroy testified to the committee in May 1989.


Economic protest gains steam

The Boston Globe has the article Economic protest gains steam: Aims to highlight plight of struggling Americans by Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff.  Unfortunately, The Boston Globe has seen fit to put their news behind a subscription paywall instead of using micropayments as I have suggested.

As seen by the following quotes from the article, even The Boston Globe is able to figure out what the protest is about.

But the demonstration, largely fueled by social media, has generally been a peaceful attempt to call attention to what protesters call the “bottom 99 percent’’ of Americans, who are strapped by rising costs for education, housing, and health care.

Susan Chivvis, 61, an accountant from Concord, said she jumped in her minivan with a sleeping bag and a rubber mat and rushed to the protest Friday, after she read about it on the Internet. The self-described former hippie is a long way from her days at Wellesley College, when she was tear-gassed at a march on Washington to protest the invasion of Cambodia.

Now, decades later, she has an MBA and a sincere appreciation for corporations that create jobs. But she is troubled that so many families slip into poverty, and the nation does not pull them out.

“I like to be a citizen in an orderly democracy and I like the government to handle certain social issues,’’ she said.

“We are sick of the growing disparities and the contempt for people’s needs.’’


Wall Street protesters dress as zombies in NYC

The news has even reached Forbes by way of the Associated Press in Wall Street protesters dress as zombies in NYC.

Protesters speaking out against corporate greed and other issues in New York City are dressing as corporate zombies and greeting Wall Street workers as they head into the office.

Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for the group, says Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are being urged to dress in business wear with white faces and blood, and will march while eating monopoly money. He says financial workers should see them “reflecting the metaphor of their actions.”

There seems to be a problem with high rates of long-term unemployment that politicians didn’t count on.  With so many people unable to find jobs and knowing that their long search for jobs seems to be fruitless, they suddenly realize they have plenty of time to take to the streets.  The best way to end these protests would be to put many of these people to work.  An outcome that I am sure they would love.  Of course, it might require solving some of the problems they are protesting about.

If some politicians have trouble seeing the connection, then we can also work to elect politicians that don’t have that vision problem.