I had an entirely different plan for today’s article then I read Dana Milbank’s opinion piece in Wednesday morning’s Washington Post entitled, Koch Industries’ valentine to Vladimir Putin. The title of today’s post is a question; its last paragraph is the answer.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld’s team at Yale’s School of Management has maintained a listing of American firms and their actions regarding doing business in Russia in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine. Often it has been the public shaming needed for several American businesses to cease operations in Russia. (The war in Ukraine is costing me and my readers at the pump and the store so why can’t major businesses pay a price for democracy along with us?) Among the few still going full steam ahead is Koch Industries. Koch is no stranger to any American progressive who followed American politics, especially since 2009. With the 2019 passing of David Koch this privately held mega-business is solely in the hands of right wing extremist and mega donor Charles Koch.
It was the then-Koch brothers who largely funded the “grassroots” Tea Party movement. Over the past decade or so the brothers/Charles have funded ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council). ALEC basically prepares the boilerplate bills that Republican state legislators (sometimes unsuccessfully – hey, we all need a chuckle and nobody legitimate accused these people of being geniuses) – fill in the blanks of and sponsor.
Charles Koch has been a major Trump backer; that is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Koch will always support oligarchy enabling autocrats and wannabe autocrats. That is why he continues to support Putin. Plain and simple he is anti-democracy even though it makes him richer every year. Like Trump he inherited his daddy’s business. Unlike Trump he grew it and is much, much wealthier.
Some of you are probably thinking, “That’s all well and good, but what can I do about it?”. The answer is somewhat simple in that all people like Charles Koch care about is money -their money. It is difficult to totally boycott Koch goods because many of them are not direct to consumer products. Here are a few that are and Milbank put them in his article which I urge you to read: Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, Dixie paper cups and plates, Mardi Gras napkins, Sparkle paper towels, Quilted Northern toilet paper, Vanity Fair napkins and anything with the Georgia-Pacific name on it. In short inspired by past economic boycotts, most notably the Birmingham Bus Boycott of 1955 and 1956, you can simply not feed the beast by reading and reacting. An educated consumer is a wannabe oligarch’s worse nightmare!
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