Rumblings of Boycotts are Not Boycotts

As I suspected would happen, the Koch boycott idea is gaining traction fast. That's why I hacked together this primer last week, hoping to encourage and/or report on more formalized embodiments of the idea as they emerged. I still haven't learned of one worth repeating, but I expect to any day now.

The Koch Industries Empire is Vast

Koch Industries is one of the two largest privately owned companies in America, with holdings in almost every industry sector, but energy and paper are two very big interests.

I am leery of tossing around the B-word casually, but as @Stopbeck proved, there are many kinds of boycott-type consumer actions, and when properly conceived and executed, they can be and have been effective.  And while it's certainly easier to bring pressure on public companies, even private empires hate losing money.

While coal and electricity are tough to boycott, Koch has many other revenue streams. Some associates and I have been working on a robust database of products and brands that would be useful for a real boycott against Koch. In the meantime, this list, by Daily Kos write Geebeebee, provides a pretty good glimpse of the big products in this empire of evil:

As always, your Retweets help a lot. See the button below.

The Products of Koch Industries

Georgia-Pacific
Consumer products
Georgia Pacific
Building products
Invista®
Products
Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelop
Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
ToughArmor Gypsum board
Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
Flexrock
Densglass sheathing
G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)
   Agricultural Plaster
   Arts & Crafts Plaster
   Dental Plaster
   General Purpose Plaster
   Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG)
   Industrial Tooling Plaster
   Investment Casting Plaster
   Medical Plaster
   Metal Casting Plaster
   Pottery Plaster

FibreStrong Rim board
G/P Lam board
Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing
Blue Ribbon Sub-floor
DryGuard Enhanced OSB
Nautilus Wall Sheathing
Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Broadspan Engineered Wood Products
XJ 85 I-Joists
FireDefender Banded Cores
FireDefender FS
FireDefender Mineral Core
Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard,
Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF
Wood Fiberboard –
Commercial Roof Fiberboard
Hushboard Sound Deadening Board
Regular Fiberboard Sheathing
Structural Fiberboard Sheathing

COMFOREL® fiberfill
COOLMAX® fabric
CORDURA® fabric
DACRON® fiber
POLYSHIELD® resin
SOLARMAX® fabric
SOMERELLE® bedding products
STAINMASTER® carpet
SUPPLEX® fabric
TACTEL® fiber
TACTESSE® carpet fiber
TERATE® polyols
TERATHANE® polyether glycol
THERMOLITE® fabric
PHENREZ® resin
POLARGUARD® fiber and
LYCRA® fiber

The Koch Brand Logos To Watch For (And Avoid)

Boycotts and Strikes Are Never Easy Projects

Again, I suspected the Koch boycott idea would pick up speed as the Wisconsin protests continued to grow. But until I see a real (organized and funded) project that can make do a sustained effort, I'm going to refrain from saying there's a real boycott under way. And while I think one would be important, I would much rather spend my energies with the general strike idea, something I have been advocating for many years.  It's our best available tool if we are to ever really get serious about challenging the plutocratic regime that has seized the United States, while everyone was busy working for it.

I created this short URL (http://j.mp/genstrike) to give folks some background about general strikes. I plan to write a full-blown primer soon.

About Koch Industries

Koch Industries, (pronounced "coke"), is the largest privately owned company in the United States with 70,000 employees and annual sales of $100 billion in the fiscal year ending December of 2008. [1] Cargill comes in second for privately owned companies. Operations include refining, chemicals, process and pollution control equipment, technologies, fibers and polymers, commodity and financial trading and consumer products. The company operates crude gathering systems and pipelines across North America. One subsidiary processes 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily in its three refineries.
 — SourceWatch

About Boycotts

"The consumer boycott is the only open door in the dark corridor of nothingness down which farm workers have had to walk for many years. It is a gate of hope through which they expect to find the sunlight of a better life for themselves and their families."  Cesar Chavez

Related

My new BFF, Jasiri X, whose last hit, "What If The Teaparty Was Black," was one of my most popular links this year, isn't a household name yet. But I sure want to do my part to help him get there.  So I asked him for reprint permission on the lyrics to this, his latest video, which zeros right in on what these Wisconsin protests are really all about: It's we the people versus the billionaires.  And it's a war we must win. Well done, JX. And as always, thank you for your service.  I hope you all hit that Tweet button below and help me get this one out there too. Thanks.

The Lyrics

Scott Walker works for multi billionaires
John Boehner works for multi billionaires
while corporations get billions in welfare
and millions in this country been out of work for years

Sarah Palin works for multi billionaires
American workers vs multi billionaires
they wanna end social security and medicare
while millions in this country don't have a dime to spare

Can main street get a bailout
Tell the president our checks weren't mailed out
Tell the house of representatives and senate
And whatever business got the stimulus and spent it
Now they getting record profit that's tripling with no limits
But they cutting jobs and unemployment benefits have ended
How we gone live with no income coming in
And the little help we get is cut from the budget then
What's the role of government
Do workers stand a chance if multi billionaires are running it
Oh now you worried bout the deficit and cutting it
But when them banks needed billions you had enough for them.
Them car companies you had bucks for them
2 wars rebuilding 2 countries guess we stuck with them
the average citizen just ain't lucky then
cause we be getting pimped so I guess we getting fucked again

Rush Limbaugh works for multi billionaires
Bill O'Reilly works for multi billionaires
while corporations get billions in welfare
and millions in this country been out of work for years

Sean Hannity works for multi billionaires
Crazy Glenn Beck works for multi billionaires
they wanna end social security and medicare
while millions in this country don't have a dime to spare

When did the American worker become the enemy
Why is wanting a living wage such a penalty
What happened to justice and liberty
These billionaire haters wanna crush us literally
On the box is Murdoch and his foxes
And if you watch it you might as well be an ostrich
They terrorists cause they hold facts hostage
24 hours straight of we hate what Barack did
If you want to unionize your a communist
But if you buy a congressman they just call you a lobbyist
It's so obvious but here's where the problem is
they act like regular Americans but they sloppy rich
Why you think they wanna cut taxes
cause every single one of them in the higher brackets
This ain't white or black it's class warfare time for action
Just look at wide the gap is

American workers vs multi billionaires
The middle class vs multi billionaires
while corporations get billions in welfare
and millions in this country been out of work for years

Rupert Murdoch is multi billionaires
the Koch brothers are multi Billionaire
they wanna end social security and medicare
while millions in this country don't have a dime to spare

Copyright 2011 by Jasiri X (Reprinted by Permission)

Related

When my friend Karoli at Crooks and Liars broke the the Mark Williams story by tweeting his "let's all infiltrate the SEIU, and do to them what they do to us" page, I immediately smelled a stunt and told her that I felt we should ignore it.  Great reporter that she is, she basically agreed, but would still casually denounce it, and  watch it for further developments. 

Why would I say to ignore it? Because disgraced Teaparty blowhards like Williams are always looking to be heros on the right, and they come up with overly ambitious battle plans, or more often, these "punk the left" stunts all the time. While they're rarely very well executed, these ploys capture the narrative for many news cycles, often denying the left its own message traction when it needs some the most. (There are few events in modern times that have so awakened and galvanized the left (and Obama's base)  as the Wisconsin budget crisis. And just in time.)

The relative success of James O'keefe and his ACORN stunt has brought forth a small battalion of these political pranksters and assorted opportunists, most of them incompetent, but all looking for a few minutes of fame, and any power they can squeak out over some Tea Party faction, if they can get it.  To succeed at all, they rely mostly on luck, a very slow news cycle, a sloppy, but sympathetic corporate media, and an irrationally excitable left blogosphere and Twitterville.

Without those ingredients, most of their evil seedlings would sprout like a weed for about 15 seconds, and then whither and die from lack of planning, strategic coherence, or competent execution.  When they do succeed, it's almost always the left giving them far more traction than they deserved. And of course, there are often cranks who do these things on the left, as well. And that fact, as it turns out, was more than relevant to what happened here. But more on this later.

Because as it also turns out, my instincts had nailed this one to a very wall that I suspected from the start.  Today, Williams updated his new post, and gloated that it was a stunt. In typical uppercase stylelessness, he brags that:

"TWO PUNCH LINES TO THIS STUNT, ONE LINKED BELOW (LATE UPDATE) THE OTHER HERE"

Williams had merely taken some lefty flake's website from last year, and changed a few words around.  He figured he could embarrass the left by getting them all worked up and spewing threats and profanity over what he would later reveal to be one of their very own tactics. And lookee here! He had the website printout to prove it!

At the same time, he fantasized, he'd drive all the organizers into a paranoid frenzy of distrust of one another, no doubt relying on the well established and entirely predictable left echo chamber to run wild with the story once he had planted his demon seed. 

While he certainly did make a lot of noise, and rattle a few union people on email lists, it's arguable whether he embarrassed anyone on the left in any operationally meaningful way.  But for his self-promotional purposes, and the sycophantic,  lightweight drones he so often appeals to, it was an overwhelming success.  More than a few channels on Twitter, and around the right-o-sphere are buzzing about Williams as the tri-cornered general he insists he is; an excommunicated Tea Party big dog who has delivered a wealth of new empty rhetoric and talking points to throw around when they need some.  Any time the left brings up misspellings, violence, racism, holocaust references, or a wide number of other common outrages heard on the left about the Tea Parties, the freedom lovin', god fearin', constitooshunalist brothers and their 50 state spin machine will be armed and ready for 'em… you betcha. They will, almost in unison, blither forth with their usual conventional wisdom kibble like, "Oh, c'mon… Everyone knows the left does this stuff all the time. Hell, Mark Williams exposed that one, right?"

So fine, Williams's little ploy was marginally effective. It wasn't very hard—but he knew that it wouldn't be. All he had to do was lure a few noisy blogs with a fair Twitter following into his trap, and he knew they'd lose their shit and go batshit crazy as they so often do. In the 4 hours since Karoli tweeted it (but never blogged it), William's site had 127 retweets. Perhaps other bloggers felt Karoli had just missed the importance, rather than choosing to deliberately underplay it.

All it took was a few dozen well connected retweets using the #seiu and other Wisconsin related twitter hashtags, and Mother Jones, Huffpo, and a few other major league left blogs were all off to the races with the "SEIU being infiltrated by Tea Party" meme.  An hour later, Mark Williams's page had over 1,000 retweets, and he was basking in the warmth of his own flowing semen. He had tossed a little chum in the water, and the link-baiting lefty sharks wolfed the bait and ran with it as one of the big stories of the day. By 9pm, it seemed like everyone but me was convinced it was the biggest story since James O'keefe broke into a phone closet. Ho hum.

The moral of this story for the Left? Stop the knee jerk reactions to predictably contrived set-ups and focus on our own message. Unless we do, we will never have nice things.

Note: I am not faulting anyone for retweeting what they see that they think is important. It's natural to punch the button when our friends pass things along. It's the bloggers and publications prone to link baiting who pass them along initially I have issues with. All too often they run around with their hair on fire without much regard for details or proportionality, nor care to pause long enough to let the facts of a story unfold. They just run with it because its in their interests to run with it.

And for the right? Step on the cockroaches like Williams—swiftly and forcefully. While they may get a lot of high-fives from the primitives who like to dress up in colonial outfits and scream 10th amendment clauses at passing cars, they also come up with really stupid stunts like this one that present a double-edged blade that can cut them to pieces. This stunt has already backfired on the national Tea Party. Why? Because any future "outrage" at progressive events will be easily dismissed as a set-up by one of the Mark Williams-type Poser Brigades. It will be such a common undercurrent of future narratives, it's easy to imagine the Tea Party Federation bosses once again hoping Mr. Williams will be texting while staring at his face in a hand mirror as he steps off a busy curb.

Well done, Mr. Williams. On second thought, don't consider this a morality tale that can be of any use to your contemptible efforts to ruin America for present and future generations.

Just consider it a splendid chance to present foot.

Ready!

Aim!

Fire!

UPDATE/NOTE:  Twitter has a very poorly-timed bug. If you're having trouble changing your avatar, see note below.


 

I so rarely do this, but as I wrote in a post last week, and detailed in my primer on the crisis, what is happening in Wisconsin is too important to not do everything that we can to show support for the demonstrators there; locally, regionally, nationally, and globally, and on Twitter, Facebook, or the back of your damned car.  

Last night, filmmaker Michael Moore asked everyone to wear red to show our solidarity. And this morning, my old friend @hankronan messaged me and suggested Wisconsin Badger Red for our Twitter dress, also known as our avatars.

Now given Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's faux-fixation with communism lately, the color red might not have been the best idea, but screw 'em all. Wingnuts don't own the color wheel, eh?

Look my progressive/liberal friends and neighbors: this is our Stonewall, Waterloo, and <historical name your battle of choice>.

But win or lose, it cannot be our Last Stand.  So please don't just sit on your ass and watch. Do something; anything. Send yourself, your money, some pizza, or call a union and ask what you can do. If nothing else, just make a Tributar like mine shown at upper right. (I've provided some tools to help you make one below.) 

If you want to be subtle, just stick a red square or dot in the corner of  your avatar. As with much in life (except some of my posts), it just doesn't have to be complicated to be effective.

It's the least you can do. The very least. You only have one country, and you may not have it for much longer. So fight for what you have, and fight as hard as you are able, while you still have a country to fight for.

As always, please use the Tweet button to distribute this post to anyone that should care. Thanks. (Note: When you use the button, you increase the #tally, and that encourages others to do the same. This has greater impact than simply retweeting the message that brought you here.)

Tributar Tools

Avatars with some special image, color or text signifying some event or cause are often called "twibbons." I never like terms that are twitter-centric, or for that matter, dedicated to any one social media service, unless they are only applicable to that service. So last year, I coined the term "tributar" at Urbandictionary,com, after seeing Keith Olbermann make one to honor his late-father last year.

Tributar Editors

  • Twibbon.com — is probably your fastest and easiest option. It's very easy, and the site has instructions. Or if you enjoy tutorials, here are some video guides.
  • Photobucket.com — is very easy to use, according to @angryBlackLady.
  • I really never use these tools — because I really don't do many Tributars, personally, so if you know a better tool, please tweet it to me at: @shoq. I will post here.

Image Editors

If you're not a Photoshop wizard and you want to do it yourself, here are some web-based tools you can use. While it may seem like a lot of work to learn the basics of image editing, it won't take more than 15 minutes to change a color the first time if you have no experience whatsoever. And then you'll know how to do it for the next big thing.

Human Editors

  • Just look for someone with a cool red avatar, and ask them how they made it, or if they will make one for you.
  • If you want to volunteer to make them for others, I will be happy to post your twitter handle here. Just tweet me at: @shoq.

Computer Code For "Badger Red"

One of the code(s) below will render a shade of red in your editor:

The PRECISE WISCONSIN BADGER color is: (Hat Tip to @gaborger)

  • RGB: R 191 G 0 B 0 …or
  • Hexidecimal: BF0000

My Tributar above uses a slightly brighter value, for contrast with a darker image like the @Shoq panther:

  • RGB:  R 254 G 0 B 0 …or
  • Hexidecimal: FE0000

If you don't know what these codes mean, it doesn't matter. You can probably figure out where to put them in your editor. If not, just pick a nice red from the editor's palette and move on :)

Twitter Avatar Bug

UPDATE/NOTE:  With their usual perfect timing, Twitter has a bug and it's not displaying the "Change Profile Image" button on Settings/profile screen.  They claim it's resolved, but it's not.  To work around this, just hold down SHIFT key and press your browser's reload button. After a few times, the button should appear. If it doesn't, try clearing your browser cache first  (Google-it for your browser) and try again.

Related

 

"Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected." Samuel Gompers

About

The Wisconsin budget showdown might be the Stonewall moment of this generation. A time when the middle class finally wakes up and decides to take action, trying to save their jobs, their lives, and their nation.  This primer will try to provide key resources that I discover as the story unfolds. If you have things to contribute, please tweet them to @shoq (using hashtag #wiPrimer). As always, using the Tweet button below will help get this where it needs to go: to the people.

Be SURE to show solidarity. Wear red. Sport a red tributar. Details at: http://bit.ly/tributarWI

Latest News

 Thursday, March 3rd

  Previous

Continuing Coverage

Local & National Event Info

Key Issues

Debunkers

Importance and Impact

Photos From Demonstration Sites

  Recent

   America, February 26th

  Madison, Week of February 21st

History and Background

  Labor Movement History

The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.

  Right Wing Strategy and Tactics

Related


This video will tell you just about everything you need to know about what Wisconsin is all about.

If the left doesn't rise to this challenge, this nation is a lost cause. Just book a flight to Australia, New Zealand, or some other nation where there is still a shred of decency left in their cultural plasma.

"If you break the public unions in Wisconsin you can break them everywhere." — Rachel Maddow

 

 

Related

BREAKING: Julian Assange Parachutes Into Wisconsin Union Protests

Wisconsin Is a Battleground Against the Billionaire Kochs' Plan to Break Labor's Back

"If you break the public unions in Wisconsin you can break them everywhere." — Rachel Maddow

Ok, maybe Julian Assange didn't exactly parachute into Wisconsin. But he might have! And the pathetic fact is, that link-baiting baloney is what got you here. And that was my mission.

Why? Because with Gov. Scott Walker's outrageous effort to crush collective bargaining for state workers, the right wing has effectively declared war against unions, progressivism, and the American middle class, while most of the left is still sitting on the side of the road, like a brooding Rent-A-Wreck, with its ass stuck in neutral.

My good friend @karoli can bring you quickly up to speed.

With her usual knack for cutting through all the clutter, via Crooks and Liars:

Conservatives Declare War on Unions While National Media Snores

But my mission here….

Is to point out that while this issue has been building for well over a week, the American left has been mostly asleep until yesterday.  Naturally, the mainstream media did its best to help it snooze for as long as possible.  Only yesterday did CNN even show up in Wisconsin. And until last night, Twitter and Facebook were mostly abuzz with the usual updates about Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, Glenn Beck, a dwindling bit of Egypt, the Chris Christie Minstrels, and the usual celebrity cacophony of moronic blither-blather.

No one was expecting this Battle of the Bulge for the Democratic party and our fading unions to come up in this way, or this suddenly. But here it is. And now, the big question is, will progressives finally fight hard, or just die quickly?  If you can't see what the GOP is doing with this issue, you simply don't get anything that's happened to  this nation over the past 30 years in general, and certainly in the past five years since Fox News became the steering gear for the Republican Party's ship to nowhere. So just shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

But if you do get it, then you realize that this can and should be a magic moment in our history. A moment where we can rise up and show this fetid teaparty army and their plutocratic puppet masters like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson that there is still a strong majority of sensible people in this country who know that a fair society is the only one that will ever survive long term.  And this generation of wrecking crew Republicans won't just delay that fair and just society. They will crush out any possibility of there ever being one. At least in this country.

And that would be a sad fail of unparalleled dimension. An easy win will have passed us right by due to our own apathetic lethargy and a mass delusion that all the horrible things happening to us were never quite as bad as they seemed. Our collective will to resist an obvious insurrection of selfishness will have failed to come alive at the very moment that it must, and the American experiment will probably die right here in the lab.

So maybe we needed a Julian Assange to land in Wisconsin. We shouldn't have needed anything that dramatic to smack us out of our cynical slumber. But now something even better is on the ground our there in cheesehead country. Something very big and very beautiful. We only have to get behind this moment and push it with all our might… and we can win.

We really can win.

Yes we can.

Vital View

Rachel Maddow: Wisconsin Is About The Survival of The Democratic Party

Vital Read

Labor's Last Stand, By John Nichols (The Nation)

Related Reading

Angry Wisconsin workers occupy Capitol (Peoplesworld.org)

DNC Expands Role In Labor Protests To Ohio, Indiana, by Amanda Terkel (Huffington Post)

George Carlin on the American Dream (with transcript)

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle