Results tagged “greenwashing” from Six Hours A Week: Adventures in American Exile

North-American-Silva221.jpg[Update 5/24/10: Finally, ten days after being notified of he illegal cyber-harassing and threats, apparently in response to this post, Mr. McLaughlin offered a very tepid and unconvincing response.]

What is with "progressive" companies like Whole Foods, TreeHugger, and now Organic Bouquet  using weird/dirty tactics to deflect criticism? (If the links don't show up on your browser, you can find them at the end of the post.)

This very strange situation wouldn't have been something to write about here except that what should have been a dispute over a commercial transaction settled through legitimate channels quickly devolved into a civil liberties issue. Rather than use facts to dispute my claims, Organic Bouquet chose to attack me personally and use threats and intimidation in an effort to cyber-bully me out of criticizing the company.

The short version of the story is that after a really horrible product and customer service experience I took a number of actions, including writing a negative review of the company on Sustainlane (again, active link at the end of the post). In response to the review, someone claiming to be one of OB's Colombian suppliers wrote a bunch of nasty comments attacking me personally and eventually threatening that "Our association of floral exporters in Colombia, California and Ecuador need to follow you and advise your every potential employer of your inability to be fair and objective in your reporting." This person had copies of pictures that I had sent the company (to show the sad and pathetic state of the second order of wrong flowers they sent), and used them to concoct a story about my motivation for complaining.

Somehow, readers were meant to believe that my whole motivation for making a Mother's Day order and then complaining when it was wrong (and then the replacement order was wrong, and the company refused to do anything about it because it had issued a refund I didn't request), was all some sort of complex plan to "get a big headline." Weird, since I have made three other recent orders from the company without event or complaint because the company did not mess them up. The company itself has to perform pretty craptastically to get me to the point of feeling the need to speak out.

So, I reported the totally creepy comments to the FBI since they are so clearly a violation of federal law and in my now three-year long history of near nonstop harassment and intimidation no one has been so sloppy and careless as to carry it out in such an obviously illegal and traceable manner. At that point it seemed clear that the commenter was writing on behalf of Organic Bouquet, but I thought it might be someone hired to make positive comments for the company on blogs, or to defend criticism of the company and that this person went too far. Though I definitely thought OB was of course legally responsible since this person was acting on their behalf, I wouldn't have dreamed that the CEO himself would possibly pathetically disguise his identity in an effort to defame me in defense of the company.

Then, I received Mr. McLaughlin's rebuttal to a report I had filed with the Better Business Bureau. It was written the day after the online threats and contained the same weird accusation about my pictures supposedly illustrating that I was ordering multiple bouquets of flowers from different companies as part of a story I was supposedly writing. I couldn't believe it. Really, the same person had to have written it or to have had access to the same arguments and definitely the same pictures. I wrote to OB PR and Mr. McLaughlin himself for a confirmation or denial that he was the cyber-harasser, and received no response. [Update 5/24/10: Finally, ten days after being notified of he illegal cyber-harassing and threats, apparently in response to this post, Mr. McLaughlin offered a very tepid and unconvincing response.]
mafioso-150l.jpgFinally, it all makes sense. This ethically-challenged, predatory business man must have political aspirations.

A couple of years ago I saw Steve Loken give a speech for a fake environmental organization at the University of Montana in Missoula. Loken is a supposedly "green" building contractor who has been on the Democratic Governor's global warming task force and speaks nationally on energy and building issues. On this particular occasion, he spoke about needing to add a sales tax to tourism-related purchases, stating that like Robin Hood he believes it's necessary to "Rob from the rich to give to the poor."

Since people in his employ had already bilked building materials from my mother, I had to wonder: did he mean over order tile on one client's job so that she would pay for much more than necessary and he could redistribute it to his subcontractor's sprawling Lolo spec home?

To me that seemed more like, "Rob from the unassuming and vulnerable retired lady to give to your real estate developer buddy." Poor people generally don't seem to fare to well in an economy based to a large degree on high-end real estate development -- it hasn't served average Montanans. Even if Loken does subscribe to a political philosophy of wealth redistribution, as reflected in his business practice it seems to be more about redistributing to his pals than to the dispossessed.

Eventually, we had to wonder whether the used building materials nonprofit he started, Home Resource, was in part a front. How many of his clients paid for materials that were then "donated" to Home Resource and bought cheaply for his friends' jobs?

It finally became clear that Loken wasn't concerned about making my mother's project at all green, even though that's why he was hired. The supervisor Loken hired knew nothing about green building materials. For some reason, Loken didn't want to replace an old and wasteful heating system even though the plumbing expert recommended he do so.

Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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