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Outing the Kochs

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  • The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. 
  • Part 1: Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire
  • Part 2: The Kochs: the greatest American criminals of the last century
  • 4 ways Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing local economies

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire

Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world's largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. But what they don't want you to know is how they made all that money

Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

Koch%20Brothers-%20Spewing%20Their%20Garbage%20Against%20Us.jpgSeptember 24, 2014 | The enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they've cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today's GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers' fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America's second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company's stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don't disclose this information."

Tim Dickinson is an American political correspondent. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. 

Full story ...



Part 2: The Kochs: the greatest American criminals of the last century

Stencil.jpg/image_largeThey are not conservatives. They just use the ideology as a shell, the activists as useful idiots to fill their own pockets. They are moral cretins beyond the breadth or our imagination.

wilbur, Daily Kos

Mon Sep 29, 2014I am not fan of the Koch brothers but I have to admit that this article in Rolling Stone floored me.  It is stunning what Charles and David Koch have done over the last half century, stealing from everybody who had a dime in their pocket, including their own family.  I have tried to think of a criminal enterprise that has engaged in such disreputable behavior and even the famed vampire squids seem to pale in comparison.  They are evil incarnate.  There is no way to identify with who these two men are, what they have let themselves become.  They seem to have absolutely no redeeming values.

I begin to think letting these men buy our government is like letting the Sopranos buy our government.  Except even a thug like Tony Soprano had some redeeming values - he protected his neighborhood, he protected his family.  Not so the Koch brothers.  They care about their money and nothing else.  You could not sell a script about what the Kochs have done because you need to have something that the audience can feel a connections for.  There is nothing in the world of Charles and David Koch. They are moral cretins beyond the breadth or our imagination.

wilbur is a member of Daily Kos 

Full story … 

Related:

4 ways Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing local economies, Jim Hightower, AlterNet

  • The price of Amazon's success is worker exploitation, the destruction of local enterprise, and the creation of a corporate oligarch.
  • The Morning Call’s Amazon Sweatshop Probe

 

 

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4 ways Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing local economies

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  • The price of Amazon's success is worker exploitation, the destruction of local enterprise, and the creation of a corporate oligarch.
  • The Morning Call’s Amazon Sweatshop Probe

Jim Hightower, AlterNet

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Saturday, September 27, 2014 | Even by the anything-goes ethical code of the corporate jungle, Amazon.com’s alpha male, Jeff Bezos, is considered a ruthless predator by businesses that deal with him. As overlord of Amazon, by far the largest online marketer in the world (with more sales than the next nine US online retailers combined), Bezos has the monopoly power to stalk, weaken, and even kill off retail competitors—going after such giants as Barnes & Noble and Walmart and draining the lifeblood from hundreds of smaller Main Street shops. He also goes for the throats of both large and small businesses that supply the millions of products his online behemoth sells. They’re lured into Amazon by its unparalleled database of some 200 million customers, but once in, they face unrelenting pressure to lower what they charge Amazon for their products, compelled by the company to give it much better deals than other retailers can extract.

Lest you think predator is too harsh a term, consider the metaphor Bezos himself chose when explaining how to get small book publishers to cough up deep discounts as the price for getting their titles listed on the Amazon website. As related by Businessweek reporter Brad Stone, Bezos instructed his negotiators to stalk them “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.” Bezos’ PR machine tried to claim this sneering comment was just a little “Jeff joke,” but they couldn’t laugh it off, for a unit dubbed the “Gazelle Project” had actually been set up inside Amazon.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly "Hightower Lowdown," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.

Full story … 

Related:

The Morning Call’s Amazon Sweatshop Probe, Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review

  • What’s going on with labor in Pennsylvania?
  • It was just last month that foreign students working at Hershey’s for the summer went on strike over poor labor conditions.
  • Now, a huge investigation in the Allentown (PA) Morning Call shows Amazon treating its local warehouse workers like dirt—and endangering their health.

Special Project | The Business of Sport: Week Ending September 28, 2014

  • “Sports fans eat shit.” ― George Carlin, Brain Droppings
  • 9 New items including:
    • Roger Goodell must go
    • Vikings stadium funding plan should be formally reviewed
    • Vikings Stadium: It’s a question of priorities
    • Are mega events in the Twin Cities worth it?
    • Here's How The NFL Makes A Killing Off Of Taxpayers
    • The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners
    • Bill Moyers | Stadium Funding Deals Only Enrich the Plutocrats
    • Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part One: the NFL gameplan
    • The Super Bowl of Subsidie

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

Gary Markstein

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Roger Goodell must go, Joan Walsh, Salon 

  • In a rambling, self-indulgent press conference the NFL commissioner shows he still doesn’t get what he did wrong.
  • Contrast Goodell’s performance with that of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
  • Why today’s press conference is too little, too late
  • CBS Sportscaster James Brown Nails Message of Ray Rice Affair: 'This Is a Call to Men to Take Responsibility'

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Vikings stadium funding plan should be formally reviewed, Arne Carlson and Paul Ostrow, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune  

  • Clearly, it will take political courage, but isn’t that the real test of public leadership?
  • Can we make lemonade out of a lemon?
  • Vikings Stadium: It’s a question of priorities

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Vikings Stadium: It’s a question of priorities, Arne Carlson, The Governor Arne Carlson Blog

  • To this day, we still do not know the full details of how the funding of bonds, costs, etc. for the new Vikings Stadium will be handled.
  • The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners
  • Bill Moyers | Stadium Funding Deals Only Enrich the Plutocrats

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Are mega events in the Twin Cities worth it? Louis D. Johnston, MinnPost

  • Economists — at least those not associated with host committees — find that economic impact studies overestimate the benefits of events like the All-Star Game or the Super Bowl. 
  • Here's How The NFL Makes A Killing Off Of Taxpayers

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Here's How The NFL Makes A Killing Off Of Taxpayers, Alissa Scheller, Huffington Post

  • The NFL may be generating money faster than Peyton Manning can rack up touchdowns but the league's owners have a history of looking for handouts when it comes time to pay for new stadiums. Here is a look at the staggering amount of public funds used to build the homes for NFL teams as well as a few of the NFL's other staggering fiscal stats.
  • Bill Moyers | Stadium Funding Deals Only Enrich the Plutocrats

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John Darkow

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The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners, Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

  • The Nation’s sports editor questions whether taxpayer money should be spent to build new arenas in cities where public infrastructure dollars are scarce.
  • Triple Play: Sports, Politics & Greed

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Bill Moyers | Stadium Funding Deals Only Enrich the Plutocrats, Staff, BillMoyers.com 

  • The 3,400 stadium jobs (the Yankees promised) paid a median wage of $10.50 an hour for non-managerial positions. The Yankees, meanwhile, had grabbed $50 million in tax breaks, $326 million in capital improvements, $1.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds and 24 acres of parks that had been owned by the public
  • The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners
  • Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part One: the NFL gameplan

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Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part One: the NFL gameplan, Jason Novak and Mike Duncan, Gurardian

  • The first installment in a four-part series 
  • The Super Bowl of Subsidies

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The Super Bowl of Subsidies, Kristen Steele, The Economics of Happiness Blog

  • As one journalist wrote: “(Having a pro sports team) is about the intangibles of identity and pride, which are far harder to value.”  I, for one, think that’s a useful metric for more than just the NFL. Are we prouder of ravaged landscapes and emptied oceans than we are of clean air and waters full of life?  Do we want to identify with a society that puts people and livelihoods first or one that idolizes corporate profits?
  • The NFL and other corporate subsidies

 

Robert Reich: Harvard Business School is complicit in America’s widening inequality

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  • It would seem worthwhile for the faculty and students of Harvard Business School, as well as those at every other major business school in America, to … ask whether maximizing shareholder value … continues to be the proper goal for the modern corporation.
  • The former secretary of labor calls out the famed university for the way it's educating our country's future CEOs.
  • What's Wrong With the American University System

Robert B. Reich, RobertReich.org

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No institution is more responsible for educating the CEOs of American corporations than Harvard Business School – inculcating in them a set of ideas and principles that have resulted in a pay gap between CEOs and ordinary workers that’s gone from 20-to-1 fifty years ago to almost 300-to-1 today.

survey, released on September 6, of 1,947 Harvard Business School alumni showed them far more hopeful about the future competitiveness of American firms than about the future of American workers.

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. 

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/End%20Corporate%20Greed%20Occupy.jpgFull story … 

Related:

What's Wrong With the American University System, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, TheAtlantic.com

  • The Best and the Brightest Led America Off a Cliff
  • Higher ed should aspire to higher purpose
  • Teaching to Student's, Not Industry's, Needs

Q&A: What Federal Ruling Against BP Means for Oil Drilling's Future

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  • More than four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew, killing 11 workers and causing the devastating Gulf oil spill—the worst in U.S. history—a federal judge has placed the blame squarely on BP.
  • The judge's ruling in the 2010 Gulf oil spill could have widespread consequences.
  • BP Pipeline Sprays Oil-Gas Mixture on 33 Acres of Alaskan Tundra

Christine Dell'Amore, National Geographic

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bp-ruling-deepwater-spill-1_83370_990x742.jpgA large plume of smoke rises from BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010. Photography by Gerald Herbert, AP

September 5, 2014 | On Thursday, a judge for the U.S. District Court of Eastern Louisiana issued a ruling that BP exhibited "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct" in the lead-up to the April 2010 explosion and spill.

The ruling holds that BP is subject to "enhanced civil penalties" under the Clean Water Act, which could add up to $18 billion more in fines to the $28 billion that BP has already spent on cleanup efforts and damage claims in the Gulf. The explosion spewed more than 200 million gallons (750 million liters) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (Related: "Gulf Oil Spill 'Not Over': Dolphins, Turtles Dying in Record Numbers.")

Christine Dell'Amore, environment writer/editor for National Geographic News, has reported from six continents, including Antarctica. She has also written for Smithsonian magazine and the Washington Post. Christine holds a masters degree in journalism with a specialty in environmental reporting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her book, South Pole, was published in 2012.

Full story … 

Related:

BP Pipeline Sprays Oil-Gas Mixture on 33 Acres of Alaskan Tundra, Brandon Baker, EcoWatch

  • The volume of the spill remains unknown and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing its investigation.
  • A recent report states that the U.S. oil industry is nowhere near prepared for large oil spills.

Lee Camp | One Group of Looters Is Not Like the Other

August 21 | Which kind of looting do you prefer? (I'll give you a hint - one of these groups of people steal 1,000 times more from you.)

 

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Claudine Harrington for this contribution. 

 

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Our Economy Wants You to Be In Debt—5 Things You Can Do to Take Charge

We pored through a debt-resistance manual created by former Occupiers to bring you these practical tips.

Liz Pleasant, Yes! Magazine

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bigbadwolf_555.gif/imagePhoto by Justin Hogue / Flickr.

May 21, 2014 | Last month PM Press published the Debt Resisters' Operations Manual —also known as “the DROM.” But don’t let that menacing-sounding acronym fool you: this is a book written in plain English and filled with tips and tactics for dealing with debt.

The book has been available online since September 2012, but this publishing marks the first time the manual has been printed, bound, and sold. Don't worry, you can still find a free copy online. But, hopefully, getting this book into stores will help its message reach more people—however ironic it might seem to buy one with a credit card.

Liz Pleasant wrote this article for Yes! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Liz is a graduate of the University of Washington's program in Anthropology, and an online editorial intern at Yes!

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