Saturday, March 12, 2011

Defeating the Koch Empire Will Require Waking a Sleeping Giant

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By Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Boycott Koch Products! Or Not… Not a bad idea right? But first we need to know what not to buy. Somebody asked the other day what products to avoid, a question that had been in my mind as well. I decided to do some digging and found that others had done quite a bit of digging already.

I’d like to say we could boycott the Koch Brothers by not buying their products as has elsewhere and previously been suggested (a more recent effort is underway here), but easier said than done. As people found out this past year with regards to BP, these oil companies have their hands in a lot of pies. It’s almost impossible to escape.

If you want to understand the magnitude of the problem, go to your local grocery store or Walmart, Target, Meijer, or its equivalent and take a look around you. There you go. That’s what you can’t buy. Then go to your local Lowes or Home Depot and do the same. Now you appreciate the extent of the Koch Empire, and the extent of the public’s problem.

How do you put an economic dent in such a rich and diverse empire? Their products are almost impossible to escape. It’s no wonder they’re so wealthy that they can buy the United States of America with their pocket change.

Here are just a few of the more common items you’ll have to go without:

Toilet Paper

Paper Towels

Plates, Bowls, Napkins, Cups

Napkins, Paper Towels

Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper



Yeah…George Pacific covers a lot of ground all on its own:

•paper towels;
•soap dispensing systems used in commerical settings;
•ink and office paper under the GP label;
•Spectrum® family of office paper products;
•Plywood including Plytanium Plywood ®, DryPly® plywood, Ply-Bead®;
•Corrugated boxes and containers
•ToughRock®, Fireguard®, DensArmor and DensShield® gypsum board.
Invista Products

One of the ways INVISTA carries out its commitment to innovation and industry leadership is through a large portfolio of well established brands and more than 4,400 trademark registrations worldwide. INVISTA’s brands span across an array of products: fibers, fabrics, polymers, resins, chemical intermediates and specialty chemicals. INVISTA’s diverse collection of brands offers relevant solutions in various industries.

See the full list of Invista brands here

It includes such well-known products like Dacron, Lycra, Stainmaster.

I’m not saying we can’t do without Koch products. I live in a townhouse. I don’t need building materials. I use Charmin, I use Kleenex and Puff and most often generic napkins. Most of the things in my home are, by my reckoning, not Koch products at all. But others will find it less difficult. I am fortunate perhaps in growing up with products that by chance happened to not be Koch.

The point of all this is that it’s no easy task to financially cripple an empire that has so well saturated the consumer market and the construction market. And we’re not even going to talk about the refineries that Koch subsidiaries operate in Alaska, Minnesota, and Texas which process in excess of 800,000 barrels per day, or their 4,000 miles of pipeline that transports crude oil and other products, or the ten million tons of nitrogen fertilizer produced each year, or all the paving and roofing asphalt they manufacture. Most people will probably not know, unless they make a serious study before they buy anything, whether or not they are supporting the destruction of American democracy with their purchase. Look at the Koch site itself to get a hint as to the extent of the problem.

Oh, and they also have European brands and they are making money overseas as well, no matter what patriotic Americans might choose to do without in order to save their way of life:

•Kitten Soft®
That’s not to say we cannot defeat the Koch Brothers, or that we cannot hurt them in their pocket books. I am saying it will be very difficult, and will probably have to rely on means other than financial. These people spend tens of millions influencing the government, not only to pursue a right-wing political agenda and to fund the Tea Party movement, but to enable them to continue polluting the environment. A lot is at stake here. The question for America is, who wants it more? Who has the will to prevail? These plutocrats or freedom-loving Americans?

Remember, the Koch Brothers have another plutocrat on their side: Rupert Murdoch, who is more than happy to lie, cheat, and steal, in order to complete the destruction of American democracy. At that point, the Constitution itself will merely be another brand of Koch toilet paper. All the rest of us have on our side is…right…and justice. It will have to be enough

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