The annual Bohemian Club Hijinx encampment at Bohemian Grove for 2015 will run July 10 through July 26. No demonstration is being planned by BGAN, but if there is desire to hold rallies or protests, please suggest on BGAN’s Facebook page.
Don Eichelberger, Bohemian Grove Action Network Research Collective
We are always vigilant, looking for lessons on what we believe is the pivotal role played by the Bohemian Club and its annual party at the Grove encampment: to keep the controlling shares of the world’s economic and political wealth in the hands of a group of men able to fit easily in to its outdoor dining circle. Here is another exhibit. Can mere proximity breed conspiracy? You decide.
A recent issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspective reports that since hydraulic fracturing (fracking) began in Pennsylvania around 2005, “the same areas of the state as the fracking operations generally showed higher readings of radon” (Washington Post, 4/9/15). Radon is a colorless, odorless gas, known to be carcinogenic that exists naturally in hard rock formations just like many being fracked to get at their natural gas. The study was quickly rebuked by the non-profit Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) through their front group, Energy in Depth.
A follow-up report by the watchdog group PR Watch looked at IPAA’s supporters and turned up some interesting bedfellows from Bohemia. Of the eleven corporate sponsors of IPAA named in the article, five of them had seven Bohemian connections, among them an Iraqi Oil Ministry advisor and a notorious set of brothers, can you guess who? Supporters of IPAA connected to Bohemian Club membership include Shell Oil, Chevron, XTO Energy, Halliburton and, yes, Koch Industries.
First is one of the largest fracking companies in the country, XTO Energy. A subsidiary of ExxonMobil they are a gas driller and developer in Texas with major developments in the Rockies and New England. William H. Adams III, Meyerling Camp, has been a director of XTO Energy since 2001. He is Executive Regional President of Texas Bank in Fort Worth and previously worked at Frost Bank in Texas as President of the South Arlington branch in charge of Commercial/Energy Lending. His banking experience has been centered primarily in the oil and gas industry with significant experience in risk management (Equilar, Bloomberg).
Another Bohemian oil insider is Philip J. Carroll, Jr., Wild Oats camp. He has been CEO of Shell Oil, Fluor Corp., BAE Systems and is an American Petroleum Institute Lifetime Member. Mr. Carroll joined Shell as a petroleum engineer and over 37 years worked his way to the top. He participated in meetings in 2002-2003 where US State Department and former oil executives planned for Iraq’s post-invasion oil industry. He served two years at the pleasure of fellow Bohemian, George W. Bush, as the first Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Oil at the United States Department of Defense starting in 2003 (Harper’s, 4/2005).
Chevron Corp is also a big player in fracking, boasts four Bohemians, starting with the many connections of Samuel Armacost. Armacost has held lead positions for Chevron Corporation, BankAmerica Corporation Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, and Weiss, Peck & Greer L.L.C.(corporate buy-outs). From 1998 to 2010 he was the chairman of SRI International, formerly Stanford Research Institute, an independent research, technology development and commercialization organization, a member of the board of directors since 1981 (Bloomberg).
In 2009 Armacost was sued by a coalition of Amazon groups for conflict of interest after it was revealed that while heading Chevron, he was the majority shareholder in Exponent Inc., “a pro-industry scientific consulting firm that was paid by Chevron to perform the study of cancer rates in Ecuador’s Amazon region where Texaco (now Chevron) was the exclusive operator of an oil concession from 1964 to 1990” (Reuters). Chevron lost the suit and it is still under appeal (Huffington Post).
Kenneth T. Derr, a member of the prestigious Mandalay camp, joined the Chevron Corporation in 1960 and served a number of executive positions, including President, until 1999. Derr also served until 2008 as the Chief Executive Officer of Calpine Corp, the largest natural gas fueled power producer in North America (calpine.com), and is or has been a director of AT&T Corp., Citigroup Inc., Citigroup Finance Canada Inc. and CitiCorp (Bloomberg Business).
Derr served as Director of Halliburton Company, another fracking profiteer, from 2001 to May, 2009. Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company, renamed Halliburton Company in 1961, patented a fracking process in 1949 that earned Halliburton an exclusive license for the process in Texas and Oklahoma (Montgomery, et al). Mr. Derr has been in a position to effectively promote the fracking technology during its recent spike, both as a producer and one of the largest gas consumers.
Succeeding Derr in 2000 as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Chevron, then Chevron/Texaco after their 2001 merger was David O´Reilly also, conveniently, a Mandalay campmate.
Before taking over as CEO, O’Reilly held a number of executive positions, culminating in Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Chevron Chemical Company. He retired from Chevron end of 2009 (Bloomberg).
Besides Bohemian Club, Derr and O’Reilly both serve as Directors of the American Petroleum Institute, and between them hold membership in some fourteen business associations, including The Business Council, The Business Roundtable, Council on Foreign Relations, Hoover Institution, Institute for International Economics, JPMorgan International Council, World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, and the Trilateral Commission.
J. Dennis Bonney, a Caveman, “served Chevron Corporation in various capacities from 1960 to 1987, including Vice President with responsibilities for worldwide logistics and trading, international production, corporate planning, European refining and marketing, Indonesian oil exploration and production and diversified investments. Mr. Bonney retired from Chevron Corporation in 1995” (Bloomberg).
The Koch brothers, Charles and David of Midway camp are major frackmasters. The brothers made their billions after inheriting a great deal from their industrialist father, who used his patented oil processing method to set up Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union oil infrastructure. According to a recent family biography, Sons of Wichita by Daniel Schulman, Koch, Sr., struggled to make his sons “real men”, not pampered trust fund babies; favored the use of boxing to inflame his sons’ competitiveness.
The brothers, led by second born Charles, increased their inherited wealth 2000 fold maximizing profits from drilling and refining oil and gas, tar-sands development, fracking, pipeline development, chemicals production, ranching, chemical fertilizer production, forest products, commodity speculations and oil derivatives.
The Kochs have built a formidable empire of private oil, gas and chemical companies that help fund a network of right-wing think tanks, institutions of higher learning, political action committees, and non-profit front organizations to support their political take over (Schulman, Kochtopus).
Fracking for dollars has skyrocketed since George W. Bush exempted it from the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005 (EEC Environment). How Bohemian Club or other individual members also aided the growth of fracking, uncluttered by regulatory roadblocks is, of course, speculation. Ten years ago, fracking and tar sands development were mere gleams in the eyes of men like Chuck and Dave Koch, Bill Adams, Ken Derr or Sam Armacost. While sociologist Dr. G. William Domhoff wonders in his “Study of Ruling Class Cohesiveness” if “Texas oilmen and Wall Street bankers might well need a little fraternizing to come to trust each other”, he concludes that accusations of the Grove being used to seal deals are overblown (Domhoff).
We can only surmise a cohesion among the ruling elite, already bonded in their pursuit of profit above all else, by the ever widening gap between haves and have-nots, and the plight of the natural world in the current epoch. Such a cohesive culture of rulers comes closest to being realized at Bohemian Grove’s annual secretive encampment. Sonoma State University Sociology professor, Dr. Peter Phillips concludes in his 1995 doctoral dissertation, “A Relative Advantage: Sociology of the San Francisco Bohemian Club” that, while general parameters of major policy “can and have evolved”, the process is not deliberate, but “occurs through normal social intercourse”.
The upper class in this country can, in other words, build general consensus around important public policies as an incidental consequence of spending time together. The richest patriarchs get to get drunk and play together, off-the-record, year after year for over 100 years for two weeks in cabins and tents, around the campfires, beneath the redwood grove’s protective canopy. At minimum, it is hard to believe more calls don’t get returned once outside. And among men of this power and wealth, a phone call returned by someone who can help solve a problem is gold.
Bloomberg Business bio of J. Dennis Bonney, 5/5/15 http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=783513&ticker=CBI&previousCapId=330169&previousTitle=Alumax%252C%2520Inc.
Bloomberg Business bio of Kenneth Derr. Web. 5/5/15
Bloomberg Business bio of Philip J. Carroll, Jr. Web. 5/5/15
Bloomberg Business, Weiss, Peck and Greer LLP. Website. 5/5/15
Domhoff, G. William, The Bohemian Grove and other retreats—a Study of Ruling-class Cohesiveness. Harper and Rowe Publishers. New York. Print. 1974.
Domhoff, G. William, “Who Rules America?” Website. 5/5/15
EEC Environment, history of fracking. Web. 5/18/15
Energy In Depth radon critique, 5/5/15.
Equilar Atlas, William H. Adams III bio. Website. 5/11/15. http://people.equilar.com/bio/william-adams-xto-energy/salary/47126#.VVFxmpOTVX8
Forbes Magazine, “(Armacost) Breaking Up a Great Bank”. Web. 5/11/15 http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1988/06/06/70620/index.htm
History Commons, Iraq post invasion oil ministry. Web. 5/11/15
Huffington Post, Chevron vs. Ecuador Lawsuit. Web. 5/8/15
Kochtopus, http://kochcash.org/the-kochtopus/. Web. 4/25/15
Montgomery, Carl T.; Smith, Michael B. (December 2010). “Hydraulic fracturing. History of an enduring technology” (PDF). JPT Online (Society of Petroleum Engineers): 26–41. Web. 5/11/15
Phillips, Peter, “A Relative Advantage—Sociology of the San Francisco Bohemian Club”. http://library.sonoma.edu/specialcollections/bohemianclub/. Web. 5/25/15
PR Watch EID critique, 5/5/15
Reuters, “Amazon Defense Coalition: Chevron Board Member Armacost Tied to Conflict of Interest over Cancer Study in Ecuador`s Amazon”. 5/19/09. Web. 5/5/15
Schulman, Daniel, Sons if Wichita. Grand Central Publishing. New York. 2014. Print
Washington Post, “Rise of Deadly Radon Gas in Pennsylvania”, 4/9/15. Web
XTO Energy. Web. 5/6/15
KOCH BROTHERS EMPIRE
Money is all that matters as the Koch brothers put 21st Century politics up for sale
Charles and David Koch recently hit the milestone $100 Billion in combined net worth, making them the richest person in the world.
In the over 17 years since the brothers added Bohemian Grove to their expanding network of power players, money has been protected as free speech and hidden from political view. Their wealth joined with the considerable Bohemian billions boggles the mind with the prospects as money increasingly dominates politics.
Is that a coincidence?
Not just for the Koch Brothers, but financial gain by the men at the top of the financial pyramid has exploded since Bohemian Ronald Reagan’s presidency gutted the social safety net and boosted the rich with Reaganomics and “trickle down”. Look at any graph of economic activity in the US and the early ‘80’s shows as the beginning of incredible growth. In 1982, the DOW stood at 759; by 2000 it sat above 11,000. At the same time, the income of the average middle class wage earner decreased slightly, when adjusted for inflation.
The Kochs made their billions after inheriting a great deal from their industrialist father, who struggled to make them “real men”, not pampered trust fund babies. The brothers, led by second born Charles, then increased their wealth 2000 fold with their laser focus on the bottom line, maximizing profits from drilling and refining oil and gas, tar-sands development, fracking, pipeline development, chemicals production, ranching, chemical fertilizer production, forest products, commodity speculations and oil derivatives.
The Kochs have built a formidable network of private oil, gas and chemical companies, think tanks, institutions of higher learning, political action committees, and non-profit front organizations to fund and support their political take over.
What help they get from other Bohos remains conjecture. One Club member did note to Sociologist Peter Phillips during his doctorate research, “If a person were so inclined, it would be quite possible to build a personal network of corporate America in a matter of a few days at the Grove.”
The Kochs have had more than 17 years.
Below is an overview of where Koch money comes from and goes to. Thanks to International Forum on Globalization for collecting and sharing this information and to Greenpeace and Center for Responsive Politics and the Bohemian Grove Action Network research collective for supplementing it.
Where the money comes from:
Georgia-Pacific- The paper and pulp company produces household goods. Boycottable products: “Brawny” paper towels, “Angel Soft” toilet paper, “Mardi Gras” napkins and towels, “Quilted Northern” toilet paper and paper towels, “Dixie” paper plates, bowls, napkins and cups, “Sparkle” paper towels, and “Vanity Fair” paper napkins, bowls, plates and tablecloths.
INVISTA– Acquired from DuPont, INVISTA is a polymer and fibers company. Boycottable products: “Stainmaster” carpet, and “Lycra” fiber, among other products.
Koch Pipeline Company LP
Koch Pipeline Company LP owns and operates 4,000 miles (6,400 km) of pipeline used to transport crude oil and refined products, as well as natural gas, natural gas liquids and anhydrous ammonia (for fertilizer). Its pipelines are located across the Central and Western US and Canada. The firm operates offices in Wichita, Kansas, St. Paul, Minnesota and Corpus Christi, Texas. Boycottable products: oil, natural gas, chemical fertilizers.
Flint Hills Resources LP
Flint Hills Resources LP, originally called Koch Petroleum Group, is a major refining and chemicals company based in Wichita, Kansas, selling products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, polymers, intermediate chemicals, base oils and asphalt. It operates oil refineries in six states, chemical plants in three others. The firm also operates four fuel terminals in Wisconsin, 13 asphalt terminals located in six states, manages the purchasing of domestic crude oil from Texas and Colorado offices, has four ethanol plants across the US, and one Minnesota refinery can process 320,000 barrels (51,000 m3) of crude a day, most of which comes from Alberta, Canada. It handles one quarter of all Canadian oil sands crude entering the U.S.
Koch Fertilizer, LLC
Koch Fertilizer, LLC, one of the world’s largest makers of nitrogen fertilizers, and Koch Nitrogen Company were formed in 1988 when the Koch companies purchased the Gulf Central Pipeline and ammonia terminals connected to the pipeline. Koch Fertilizer owns or has interests in fertilizer plants the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Italy, among others.
Koch Agricultural Company
The Matador Land and Cattle Company was founded in 1882 by Scottish investors. In 1952 Charles and David’s father, Fred Koch, formed Matador Cattle Company, and bought some of the Matador land in Texas and brought it together with other Koch ranches in Montana and Kansas. The division’s three ranches total 425,000 acres (1,720 km2) and more than 15,000 head of cattle are raised on them.
Koch’s Matador Ranch in Texas earned the Lone Star Land Steward award, an award sponsored by Chevron, Toyota and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association for outstanding natural resource management in 2010.
History of Ignoring the Rules
Koch businesses have a history of negligence resulting in environmental degradation and loss of life, including (Source: Greenpeace):
• In 2009, the US Justice Department and EPA announced that Koch Industries’ Invista subsidiary would pay a $1.7 million penalty and spend $500 million to fix environmental violations at facilities in seven states, in an agreement with the US EPA and Department of Justice.
• In May 2001, Koch Industries paid $25 million to settle with the US Government over a long-standing suit brought by Bill Koch – one of the brothers bought out in 1983 – for the company’s long-standing practice of illegally removing oil from federal and Indian lands.
• In late 2000, the company was charged with covering up the illegal releases of 91 tons of the known carcinogen benzene from its refinery in Corpus Christi. Initially facing a 97-count indictment and potential fines of $350 million, Koch cut a deal with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to drop all major charges in exchange for a guilty plea for falsifying documents, and a $20 million settlement.
• In 2000, the EPA fined Koch Industries $30 million for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters.
• In 1999 a Koch subsidiary pleaded guilty to charges that it had negligently allowed aviation fuel to leak into waters near the Mississippi River from its refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, and that it had illegally dumped a million gallons of high-ammonia wastewater onto the ground and into the Mississippi.
• Koch’s negligence toward environmental safety has led to tragic losses of life. In 1996, a rusty Koch pipeline leaked flammable butane near a Texas residential neighborhood. Warned by the smell of gas, two teenagers drove their truck toward the nearest payphone to call for help, but they never made it. Sparks from their truck ignited the gas cloud and the two burned alive. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that “the probable cause of this accident was the failure of Koch to adequately protect its pipeline from corrosion” and the ineffectiveness of Koch’s program to educate local residents about how to respond during a pipeline leak.
KochPolitical Activities – follow the money trail
Koch Industries describes itself as being committed to free societies and free market principles.
KochPAC is a political action committee that is funded by employees of Koch Industries and its affiliates. KochPAC is said to support candidates “based on their support for market-based policies and economic freedom”.
A 2013 study by the Center for Responsive Politics said that nonprofit groups backed by a donor network organized by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch raised more than $400 million in the 2011 – 2012 election cycle.
KochPAC received $1,746,950 with donations of at least $200 from 3,096 individual donors.
In the 2012 House of Representatives elections, KochPAC contributed $28,000 to 4 Democratic candidates and $1,500,000 to 207 Republican candidates.
In the 2012 Senate elections, KochPAC contributed $10,000 to 1 Democratic candidate and $185,000 to 23 Republican candidates. During the 2012 election year, KochPAC contributed $24,000 to Democrat-affiliated organizations, $802,000 to Republican-affiliated organizations, and $10,000 to other organizations.
Where the Other Money Goes
Besides buying candidates, the Koch brothers find ways to buy their way in to the news, present a green façade, buy legislation, stack courts and buy collegiate minds to help disprove Climate Change and push libertarianism.
Congressional Collaborators, Campaign Contributions enable like-minded candidates to get elected and pass laws favorable to Koch profits: Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, The Redistricting Majority Project, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and dozens of others.
Media Manipulators, offer favorable coverage for the Koch’s. Besides cocktails at the Grove, secretive strategy meetings held have included Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Markin and Steven Moore. Other Koch Propagandists include Sean Hannity, John Stossel and Mark Tapscott. The Kochs have threatened to withdraw millions in grants to PBS news and science programming for running stories critical of them.
Astroturf Agents, fake ‘grassroots’ groups, project the appearance of popular support for ideas and policies that benefit big corporations: The Frontiers of Freedom, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, Wayne LaPierre/National Rifle Association, Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, Center for Independent Thought, 60plus, National Center for Policy Analysis, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, American Future Fund, National Right to Life Political Action Committee, John Locke Foundation, National Taxpayers Union, Media Research Center and others.
Wealth Warriors, legions of lobbyists, armies of accountants and tax attorneys mobilized to take away government troughs (except for the troughs most profitable to them): KochPac, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Courtroom Collaborators, friendly elected officials appoint judges to rule in Koch’s favor; Foundation for Research on Free Economics & the Environment sponsors “trainings” for federal judges that have been criticized for creating judicial conflicts of interest; Project on Fair Representation bankrolled the 2013 Supreme Court lawsuit that successfully repealed key provisions of the 1965 voting rights act; Pacific Legal Foundation, which sued the Abalone Alliance for inconveniencing PG&E with protest actions at Diablo Canyon Nuke in 1981 and 1984, claims to fight for ‘economic freedom’, limited government, and property rights; Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke at Bohemian Grove in 1997 on “Church, State and the Constitution”; and Clarence Thomas is always a sure vote, his wife, Gini, a power player in conservative circles, like Heritage Foundation, funded by Koch cash.
Academic Agents, Universities are funded to hire like-minded faculty to teach their ideologies. Over $14 million was granted- with strings- to more than 17 major universities. It was announced recently that the brothers donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund, to focus on studies in economics and entrepreneurship, as well as building a new base among black Americans.
Think tanks and political organizations, Charles and David Koch have been involved in, and have provided funding to a number of think tanks and advocacy organizations to promote policy proposals favoring less government protection for people and the planet and more rights for corporations and investors. They provided the initial funding for the Libertarian Cato Institute; they are key donors to the Federalist Society, the Mercatus Center, Heritage Foundation, and thirteen others.
Revolving non-profits, Citizens for a Sound Economy was co-founded by David Koch in the 1980s. In 1990, the brothers created the spinoff group Citizens for the Environment. In 2004, Citizens for a Sound Economy was renamed FreedomWorks, while its affiliated Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation became Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Since then the Koch brothers have given more than one million dollars to AFP.
Americans for Prosperity, At an AFP rally in 2009, David Koch said “Five years ago, my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity, and it’s beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organization.” AFP is the political arm of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, for which David Koch serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees. Americans for Prosperity created Patients United Now, which advocated against a single-payer health care system during the 2009-2010 healthcare reform debate. Both FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have provided support for the Tea Party movement.
Cato Institute, The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch. Following a 2011 court fight to gain control of the institute, the Koch’s efforts were criticized by some at the institute, including the institute’s president Ed Crane. In an email to staff he stated that the Kochs were “in the process of trying to take over the Cato Institute and, in my opinion, reduce it to a partisan adjunct to Americans for Prosperity, the activist GOP group they control.” The suit was eventually dropped.
Freedom Partners, An organization with ties to the Koch Brothers, Freedom Partners, gave grants worth a total of $236 million to conservative organizations, including Tea Party groups like the Tea Party Patriots and organizations which opposed The Affordable Care Act prior to the 2012 election. A majority of Freedom Partners board of directors is made up of long-time employees of the Koch brothers, and has been called “the Koch brothers’ secret bank” for its function as a vehicle to provide large donations to external organizations that advance causes supported by the Kochs.
Competitive Enterprise Institute, The Kochs donated more than $17 million between 1997 and 2008 to various groups including the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The group has been accused of opposing unions. It describes itself as offering information on issues including, among others, energy, environment, biotechnology, pharmaceutical regulation, chemical risk, telecommunications, etc.
Generation Opportunity, To secure the commitment of future generations to the cause, the Koch’s have supported Paul T. Conway’s Generation Opportunity, a youth mobilization effort.
The Koch brothers learned early on the importance of owning the means of production. That philosophy has carried over to the “politics industry”, which they have helped enrich over many years with secret donations; millions from large donors, thanks to a Supreme Court made friendly over many years of conscious effort to protect property rights, and money as political free speech.
The brothers learned the importance, also, through their father’s promotion of the John Birch Society, of organizing at the grassroots, real and created: house parties, film showings, letter writing campaigns, mobilizing protests, along with strategic thinking by well-financed elites to direct and fund the efforts.
Those efforts have led directly to the current turmoil on Capitol Hill. The soul of Justice, bowed down at the altar of big finance strains to stand and raise her sword in defense of her scales made too heavy with the weight of gold. Justice will raise her sword only when “We, the People”, act to strengthen her.
Get involved. End the attack of Big Money on Justice: