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Koch Brothers

NYPD Detains Activists for Anti-Koch Light Graffiti at the Met

By Ben Davis - ArtNet News, September 11, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

On Tuesday, three activists were detained by NYPD officers outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art after disrupting a gala honoring David H. Koch. The controversial billionaire was being fêted for his $65 million contribution to the newly reopened museum plaza, which prominently bears his name (see “Protesters Crash Koch Plaza Opening at the Met“). The three activists, Kyle Depew, Grayson Earle, and Yates McKee, were caught projecting images from a customized art truck onto the museum’s façade that read “The Met: Brought to you by the Tea Party” and “Koch = Climate Chaos”—references to Koch’s well-known role in funding right-wing and climate change denying groups.

The incident followed a protest earlier in the day by the tenacious Occupy Wall Street spin-off Occupy Museums, which by all accounts brought a good-spirited group of art activists to the newly opened David H. Koch Plaza to stage anti-Koch performances. Early in the evening, the activists unexpectedly had a chance to confront Koch himself on the steps of the museum, chanting “Shame on climate change denier” as he passed by on the way to his car.

After darkness had fallen, the NYC Light Brigade, known for spelling out activist slogans in illuminated lettering, moved into formation with signs that spelled out the phrase “Koch = Climate Chaos.”

Utility Trade Group Funds ALEC Attack on Americans Using Solar

By Nick Surgey - PR Watch, July 30, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

As the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) prepares to meet in Dallas this week, the Center for Media and Democracy has uncovered new evidence that Edison Electric Institute (EEI) -- the trade association for the U.S. utility industry -- has been funding ALEC's legislative assault on solar energy.

Although ALEC recently proclaimed that it was being falsely portrayed as "anti-clean energy," these latest revelations confirm that ALEC continues to pursue a polluters' wish list, despite its PR pronouncements.

"Solar Is Dumb," says ALEC Legislator

As documented by Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington in The Guardian late last year, ALEC has been peddling legislation designed to increase costs for Americans who have invested in solar panels for their homes and businesses, which ALEC's rep attempted to label as “freeriders.” Through ALEC's bill and campaign, the group has been pushing changes to state laws that would increase costs for homeowners with solar who sell excess energy back to the grid, known as “net metering.”

The CMD documents underscore what Gabe Elsner of the Energy & Policy Institute has uncovered, which is that EEI is a prime player in ALEC -- footing the bill and calling the shots on the anti-renewable agenda. This shows that some powerful utilities -- which include public and private entities -- are backing ALEC's extreme agenda, not just global coal and oil corporations.

Koch Brothers Unveil New Strategy at Big Donor Retreat

By Peter Stone - Daily Beast, June 13, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The Koch brothers’ financial network is planning on spending almost $300 million in the 2014 election, including a new anti-environment effort.

In the face of expanding energy regulations, stepped-up Democratic attacks and the ongoing fight over Obamacare, the billionaire Koch brothers and scores of wealthy allies have set an initial 2014 fundraising target of $290 million which should boost GOP candidates and support dozens of conservative groups—including a new energy initiative with what looks like a deregulatory, pro-consumer spin, The Daily Beast has learned.

This weekend, at a posh California resort near Laguna Beach, energy is expected to be among the topics as Charles and David Koch and their extensive donor network hold a semiannual fundraising and policy seminar. Political allies including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and libertarian political scientist Charles Murray are slated to speak, according to conservatives familiar with the Koch network.

The energy initiative is being created under the umbrella of the largest Koch network nonprofit in apparent response to a number of developments: the commitment by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer to steer $100 million into ads in several states to make climate change a priority issue in the elections; numerous setbacks at the state level where Koch network backed advocacy groups have been fighting against renewable energy standards; and the new EPA regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Who Is Behind the National Right to Work Committee and Its Anti-Union Crusade?

By Jay Riestenberg and Mary Bottari - PR Watch, June 3, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

As the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 session comes to a close, one of the major cases left for a decision is Harris vs. Quinn,which could effect millions of public sector workers in the United States.

The case originates in Illinois, where home health care workers have been successfully organized by public sector unions. Now, a small group of these workers, represented by lawyers from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, have sued and their lawyers contend that the agency fees, or the fair share dues that even non-union members of a bargaining unit are required to pay to unions that bargain for higher wages on their behalf, violate the First Amendment. Agency fees are barred in so-called "right to work" states, which have much less unionization and lower wages and benefits.

Joel Rogers, a professor of law and sociology at the University of Wisconsin, calls it "the most important labor law case the court has considered in decades." This is because when the Supreme Court decided to take on the case, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation dramatically expanded the scope of the case beyond the home health care workers to include all public sector workers, from teachers and firefighters to sanitation workers to librarians. If the court follows National Right to Work's lead, every state in the country would essentially turn into an anti-union "right to work" state, which would be a significant blow to public sector unions' collective bargaining efforts and also complicate thousands of existing contracts between organized workers and municipalities, cities, counties, and states across the country.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) is the 501(c)(3) arm of the National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC), a 501(c)(4) organization. Additionally, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research is an affiliated anti-union research shop. Founded nearly 60 years ago, the NRTWC has been a national leader in the effort to destroy public and private sector unions. The groups have increased their funding and staffing in recent years. In 2012, the three groups combined reported over $25 million in revenue, making them a powerful instrument of the corporate and ideological interests that want to keep wages low and silence the voice of organized labor in the political arena.

In Chicago, Nurses Take Up Fight Against Petcoke Piles

Story and image by Kari Lydersen - Midwest Energy News, May 14, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s. IWW member Tom Morello took part in this event!

“Stunning, just stunning, just stunning,” said Sheilah Garland, shaking her head as she stared out the window of the bus rolling along a dirt road next to towering black piles of petroleum coke on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

As an organizer of National Nurses United, a labor union representing about 6,000 nurses in Chicago and 185,000 nationwide, Garland has seen a lot. She represents nurses working in grueling and traumatic situations on a daily basis. And the union has picked fights with powerful politicians, including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

But Garland was shocked by the piles of petcoke, about six stories high, located across the street from homes. She was also perturbed to see employees walking onsite without respiratory masks.

The nurses union has joined local residents’ fight to get petcoke transportation and storage banned in Chicago. They see it as a serious public health issue and part of their larger social justice advocacy mission.

Rallying At Koch-Owned Facility, Nurses Experience Petcoke Pollution Firsthand

By Emily Atkin - Think Progress, May 12, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Standing on South Burley avenue in southeast Chicago on Monday morning, Rolanda Watson-Clark began to feel droplets of moisture forming on her arms. But it wasn’t raining. The fluid being sprayed on nearby piles of petroleum coke was blowing on to her skin.

“It’s so scary,” Watson-Clark told ThinkProgress. “We were just standing there for a press conference taking pictures with our signs close to the plant, and we’re saying ‘Oh my God! Did you feel that?’ We’re feeling it dropping on us and we’re like — can we go now?”

Watson-Clark, a nurse at the Illinois-based Robbins Health Clinic, was part of a Monday rally demanding Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel put an immediate stop to petcoke — a dusty byproduct of tar sands oil refining — which is stored in large piles along the Calumet river on Chicago’s southeast side. The nurses and activists attending claim that, on windy days, the uncovered piles coat primarily low-income areas of Chicago with thick, black, oily dust that harms children’s respiratory systems and otherwise threatens public health.

“One of the women here is a mother with children, and when the wind blows her house is covered with this soot,” Watson-Clark said. “Her 5-year-old even knows that when it’s windy, she can’t go out and play.”

As part of the rally, members of National Nurses United, the Southeast Side Environmental Task Force, Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, and Progressive Democrats of America, took a bus tour of oil refineries that produce petcoke, and sites that store petcoke piles in the area. This included the controversial KCBX Terminals Company storage site on South Burley avenue, owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The brothers were recently threatened with a lawsuit over air pollution from the piles, some of which Watson-Clark said were six stories high.

Arriving at May Day: Lockdowns, Throwdowns, and Direct Action

By the Earth First! Journal Staff - Earth First! Journal, May 1, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

When the Global Climate Convergence announced the Earth Day to May Day series of events and actions, it revealed a gap between daily reality and Hallmark posturing. More than 100 actions—such as the occupation of the DEQ in Portland, Oregon, by Rising Tide—have taken place in dozens of cities as part of the Climate Convergence.

Over the last few days, IWW fellow workers in California have protested the Koch Bros PetCoke Facility in Pittsburg, the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, and Crude by Rail at the Union Pacific’s Ozal Train Yard in Martinez.

One Wob organizer named Elliot Hughes U-locked himself to the gate of the Koch Brothers facility to halt business as usual. “Our goal is the liberation of the people on the planet that is our home. With the increasing amount of industrial disasters, we cannot wait any longer because the health and safety of all workers of the world is on the line.”

EF! shares numerous crucial membranes with the IWW and the labor movement, dating back to Judi Bari’s founding of the IWW timber workers local #1 in Northern California in the late 1980s. The goal of uniting loggers against Maxxam’s junk bond dealing, land grabbing, and clear cutting was to restore timber lands to the public interest. While some hardcore EF!ers were repulsed by the notion of chatting up loggers, let alone working to move timber lands into the hands of communities that would take part in “sustainable logging,” most agreed that the terms were vastly superior to clear cutting old growth.

Indeed, growth from the Redwood Summer movement at the turn of the 1990s fed the entire radical movement, developing critical understandings that would be cultivated and emerge in Seattle 1999 and again during Occupy. According to stories passed down to us over the years, activists being shot at in Northern California’s redwood forest by the same loggers they were trying to organize later on that night in the barroom would, ten years down the line, take part in the free states of Cascadia, and the No Borders Camp of the Sonoran desert five years later.

In the words of Buenaventura Durutti, “The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing in this minute.” The inter-generational movement of Earth First! grows in the interstices of stories and ideologies, yet we often lag behind when it comes to social analysis.

Capital Blight - Bull$#@+!

By x344543 - May 1, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Now the Bureau of Land Management is part of the U.S.,
And they manage the Earth much better than anyone else I guess,
They know about the forest and the mountains high above,
And they know what each damn tree is worth 'cause trees are what they love.

Now they lease our land for cattle 'cause they love the wildlife so,
And keeping all the trees cut down helps the grass population grow,
But our land is reaping fortunes so the U.S. can survive,
Each acre stomped by cattle earns a dollar thirty five.

Hey BLM you ain't the friend of the eagle and the bear,
But the corporations love you 'cause they get the lion's share,
Could it be you're jealous of the world you're tearing down?,
'Cause if you was one tenth of a eagle, You'd be see better than you see now.

--Lyrics Excerpted from The Ballad of the BLM, by Darryl Cherney, from the album, I Had to Be Born This Century, 1986

By now many people have heard news from the western US state of Nevada about rancher Cliven Bundy's standoff with the United States Government--specifically the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)--ostensibly over grazing rights and land use fees. Between April 5 and 12, 2014 federally contracted wranglers had impounded approximately 400 head of cattle from federal land near Bundy's ranch in the southern part of the state, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas. However, on April 13, they ceased doing so, and the BLM released all of the cattle they had coralled.

The US government declares that they had been removing Bundy’s cattle and impounding them in a corral in nearby Mesquite, NV, because the rancher has kept his more than 900 head of cattle on a piece of 600,000-acre federal land for the past two decades and has refused to pay taxes since 1993, when the federal government increased the grazing fees in order to save critical habitat for the endangered Mojave Desert tortoise.

Bundy, a self-described "self-made" rancher, disputes the government's claims. He insists that his Mormon family has owned the land in question since the 1800s--before the creation of the Department of the Interior and before the government tried to save endangered species, which he says should make him immune from having to pay these federal taxes. He is also a staunch advocate of "states' rights", and as such, he challenges the US federal government's ability to charge grazing fees at all. Failing that, he claims that his faith also gives him special privileges to do as he pleases.

Bundy may claim that the BLM's sudden reversal was due to his claims having merit, but it's much more likely that the BLM backed down because the rancher received support from several hundred armed right wing "militia" and tea party zealots from various states including Utah, Virginia, Texas, Montana, Idaho and Wisconsin, all of whom were more than willing to come to the supposedly embattled rancher's aid, and the local government officials backed down hoping to prevent a violent stand off.

As a result, Bundy became an overnight sensation and a capitalist media darling, at least for the far right

Environmentalists have--with much justification--reacted disdainfully to this turn of events, opining that the results will be further degradation to the embattled desert environment (certainly due to Bundy's continued grazing activities, not to mention the further abuses that the BLM's capitulation will no doubt enable from others of like mind).

Meanwhile, crypto fascist ideologues, fake "libertarians", and other assorted right wing talking heads are spinning this as a "victory" against the "guv'mint", "communism", and "heathen environmentalists". No siree-bob, these "law abiding Americuns" aren't gonna be bullied by agencies being controlled by a secret cabal of "granola eating, Prius driving, commie loving, latte sipping, liberal elitist unwashed-out-of-town-jobless-hippies-on-drugs."

Predictably, the Capitalist Media has been spinning this squabble as a case of an (overzealous, perhaps) land owner and an equally overzealous and over reaching government agency. It certainly hasn't helped matters that the television "news" outlets have shown images of one of the Bundy supporters being tazed by law enforcement agents, though, of course, this is an image taken out of context. The capitalist state has been, in general, far more violent towards peaceful unarmed demonstrators on the left.

Unfortunately, even some self-described anarchists who should know better have expressed sympathy for Bundy, "because"--they argue--"he's anti-government, taking direct action against the state, and fighting against (sic!) enclosures", and what's more, "he's no different that indigenous people being told they cannot engage in subsistence grazing on wilderness lands by privileged, white environmentalists"!

In truth, this series of events goes far deeper than a mere land dispute or a battle between those who support individual property rights versus those who desire a bureaucratic state and "burdensome" environmental regulations.

Bullshit!!!

So many inaccuracies, untruths, and utter falsehoods have been uttered in the wake of this incident, it's difficult to tell who is producing more manure: Bundy's cows or Bundy's supporters, the naive and gullible "radicals" who actually believe Bundy is a closeted fellow traveler, and the all-too-compliant capitalist media.

(Members of the) IWW Environmental Unionist Caucus protests Koch Bros, Chevron, and Crude by Rail

By Karen Hansen - SF Environmental News Examiner, April 28, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The Environmental Unionist Caucus announced they will protest the Koch Bros PetCoke Facility today Monday, April 28 in Pittsburg; the Chevron Refinery tomorrow Tuesday, April 29 in Richmond; and Crude by Rail at the Union Pacific’s Ozal Train Yard in St. April 30 Martinez, Calif.

Union organizer and environmental activist Elliot Hughes released a statement this morning that his organization would be taking several direct actions over the next 3 days to orchestrate a general strike of the poor, the unemployed, and the working class. “Our goal is the liberation of the people on the planet that is our home. With the increasing amount of industrial disasters, we cannot wait any longer because the health and safety of all workers of the world is on the line.”

Capital Blight - A Visit from the New Flat Earth Society

By x344543 - September 25, 2013

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

We post a lot of class struggle environmentalist relevant news on our Facebook page, an average of over 75 stories a day. Naturally, we expect them to incite comments and occasional disagreements from any number of directions. Having just surpassed 750 "likes", however, we're just getting started at this point, so we don't expect a lot of the big discussions or debates you might find on the Facebook pages of, say, the Sierra Club, 350.org, or Occupy. Considering that, it was quite a shock to see a contrarian response to this story (shared from DeSmog Blog) from a user named Tom Harris, reading (in part):

It is revealing that almost none of the above piece even addresses the science of the new report. Instead they employ logical fallacy attacks: guilt by association, ad hominem, motive intent, etc. Smart people are not swayed by such rhetorical tricks.

It is humorous that the writer calls the report just issued "the International Climate Science Coalition's report" when it was no such thing. I wish it were. It is a massive, heavily referenced and impressive document - see http://climatechangereconsidered.org/. We are simply helping the publishers (there are three, of which one is Heartland) of this fine book to promote the publication. And no, the funding for the book did not come from industry.

No one involved in this report is a climate change denier. They, the publishers and ICSC know that climate changes all the time and so we must prepare for these changes. We simply question the causes of climate change and do not agree with the politically correct version boosted by the UN IPCC, etc. So we deny that we deny climate change. We are denial deniers, if you want a label.

...Happily for society, especially those of us who want to use the best in science to engage in fact-based environmental protection, the press is indeed paying attention to the NIPCC report—see some of the coverage at the top of our Web site.

The full quote can be read here.

"Just what exactly is going on here and why is any of this relevant?" one might ask. Here is my answer: as Harris states, the ICSC has just published a document called "Climate Change Reconsidered", in a preemptive attempt by the NIPCC to undermine the AR5 report that has just been published by the IPCC.

If you are confused, that's precisely the result that Harris and his ilk have desired by spreading their misinformation. Fortunately there are folks like myself who will try and clear up that confusion and steer you in the right direction.

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