The Kochtopus: one more reason to revolt

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

Read more in the New Yorker.

Like the robber barons of old, David H. Koch is a billionaire and very generous philanthropist, as though doing some good with some of his money makes up for all the bad he does with the rest of it — including the founding and support of supposed “grass roots movements” such as Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level….. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

The revolutionaries who held the original Boston Tea Party would never have stood for the machinations of the Kochtopus. These new Tea Partiers, manipulated by libertarians like Koch who spread disinformation and and stir up the disatisfactions of the people who will most suffer if their policies come about, are going to dismantle what is most good about this country. What these misguided citizens don’t realize is that they will ultimately suffer most, as the Kochs of this nation grind their lives to ash.

I like these comments left on a post of the blog of the Investigative Fund.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’m wondering if those who support that so-called Tea Party Movement really know where Republicans are leading them? It seems like the Tea Party rank & file are being USED by a bunch of vain, self-serving, evil, power mad, greed stricken, K-Street Con Artists. Paid for by wealthy silver spoon trust fund babies who want to turn the American PEOPLE into peasants. The scum of the earth who hide their hideous faces by using Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as spokespersons. SUCKERS!

Just look at their agenda items. It‘s like wet dream for Ken Lay or Jack Abramoff:
1) Repeal Health Insurance Reform
2) Privatize Social Security or abolish it.
3) End Medicare
4) Extend Bush Tax Cuts for wealthy and Big Oil
5) Repeal Wall Street reform
6) Protect all those responsible for Gulf oil disaster and future environmental catastrophes
7) Abolish or cut funding to Department of Education
..) Abolish Dept. of Energy
9) Abolish Environmental Protection Agency
10) Repeal 17th Amendment
11) Rewrite Bible and school textbooks,
12) Replace JESUS with Glenn Beck, Frank Church with Joe McCarthy…
13) After USA is destroyed by Republican Party low grade thought processes, BLAME Democrats/Liberals
14) be flunkies, soldiers and slaves for silver spoon trust fund babies like George W. Bush, Saudi Prince Bandar and the Koch Bros.

Why aren’t the mainstream media falling all over themselves to unveil the Koch behind the curtain. Sell-outs. All of them.

almost as immorally nuts as GOPers

I gave up raging over the mess that the GOP so-called “leaders” have been making of my country. It seems like too many of the people on this planet are hell-bent on helping with the demise of sense and sanity.

All of the following are excerpts from this week’s Harper’s Weekly Review, where you can find documentation and a citation for each of these discomfitting reports.

A Walmart in New Jersey asked all black people to leave.

An Ohio man told police that since January he’s been sucker-punching little children at his local Walmart for thrills.

A Kentucky man was charged with wanton endangerment after he got drunk and put his five-week-old son to bed in an oven.

Wachovia Bank was fined $50 million, and required to remit a further $110 million, for laundering funds for Mexican cocaine cartels.

A Swedish report found that the United Arab Emirates is now the fourth-largest importer of weapons in the world.

Dutch officials repudiated a claim by U.S. general and former NATO commander John Sheehan that the gayness of the Dutch army had rendered it unable to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to Ireland to apologize for the sexual abuse of children by Church leaders.

A lawyer in Oregon was planning to release the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files,” a secret archive of 1,000 documents identifying Scout molesters.

A cable network in North Carolina played two hours of porn on the Kids On Demand channel.

Then there’s the “a little nuts but not immoral” category:

Members of the Winnemem Wintu Indian tribe traveled from California to New Zealand to beg forgiveness of the salmon.

Mexican police were praying to spirits and sacrificing chickens to protect themselves from drug lords.

The Vatican was investigating the daily appearances in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, of the Virgin Mary, who is crowned with stars and floats upon a cloud.

Indian politicians wanted to ban both black magic and Lindsay Lohan.

Finally, neither nuts nor immoral, and maybe a good idea — especially since I haven’t been able to wear my removable bridge because my gums are swollen:

A Bavarian baby-food company said it was planning to market its product to adults who dislike chewing.

Makes you just want to break out in song, doesn’t it?

Stop the World I Want to Get Off

and

Stop the World I Want to Get Off

and

Stop the World I Want to Get Off

The 70s at 70

My 70th birthday is today. My Face Book profile photo today is one from the 70s as a reminder of the fleetingness of time and body image.

I am here trying to take care of my 94 year old mother , but I am feeling like the sciatica inflicted 70 year old that I am.

And I’m pissed because my laptop wont connect to the net even tho the wifi sig is coming in strong. So I’m doing this late at nite on my iphone because it’s my only time my hands are free of my mother’s ferocious grasp.

Let me tell you, those 70s were a hell of a lot more fun than this one.

But it’s my birthday so I’ll bitch if I want to. Hell, my first birthday card is my jury duty notice.

all that’s wrong

From The Narcissus Society by Roger Cohen in the NY Times:

Community — a stable job, shared national experience, extended family, labor unions — has vanished or eroded. In its place have come a frenzied individualism, solipsistic screen-gazing, the disembodied pleasures of social networking and the à-la-carte life as defined by 600 TV channels and a gazillion blogs. Feelings of anxiety and inadequacy grow in the lonely chamber of self-absorption and projection.

[Be sure to read the rest of the above piece.]

And that’s just the “little picture.” Add the above to the stonewalling of the RIGHT(eous) GOP that is preventing what is supposed to be our “big picture” government from fixing what it can, and we wind up with an American society that has too much wrong because it has too much RIGHT(eous).

I have never felt so powerless to affect the big picture.

Maybe we need a real Luke Skywalker so that this Empire can Strike Back.

ban guns and capital punishment; allow abortions

I want to ban the sale of guns to anyone who just “wants” one and capital punishment for any but the most hopelessly insane serial killers. I want a public health care option that includes funding for abortions along with widespread sex (read “human reproduction and contraception” education). I am an American of conscience. What makes those Congressional “people of conscience” douchebags any more ethical and moral than I.

The power people of this country are as morally bankrupt as so many of the rest of us are financially.

Poor Obama. He might have won, but we are losing.

it’s a DEPRESSION, stupid!

From Wikipedia, via Time Goes By (where Ronni Bennett proves that a “recession” it is not).

“[A] depression is characterized by its length, and by abnormal increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. Price deflation, financial crisis and bank failures are also common elements of a depression.”

And deepening our collective depression, according to Bob Herbert in the NY Times, “Safety Nets for the Rich,”

The lead headline, in the upper right-hand corner, said: “U.S. Deficit Rises to $1.4 Trillion; Biggest Since ’45.”

The headline next to it said: “Bailout Helps Revive Banks, And Bonuses.”

We’ve spent the last few decades shoveling money at the rich like there was no tomorrow. We abandoned the poor, put an economic stranglehold on the middle class and all but bankrupted the federal government — while giving the banks and megacorporations and the rest of the swells at the top of the economic pyramid just about everything they’ve wanted.

[snip]

Enough! Goldman Sachs is thriving while the combined rates of unemployment and underemployment are creeping toward a mind-boggling 20 percent. Two-thirds of all the income gains from the years 2002 to 2007 — two-thirds! — went to the top 1 percent of Americans.

We cannot continue transferring the nation’s wealth to those at the apex of the economic pyramid — which is what we have been doing for the past three decades or so — while hoping that someday, maybe, the benefits of that transfer will trickle down in the form of steady employment and improved living standards for the many millions of families struggling to make it from day to day.

That money is never going to trickle down. It’s a fairy tale. We’re crazy to continue believing it.

It’s also depressing not to see the Democrats shove these facts into the faces of the those who don’t believe that so many of the systems that we depend upon for citizen support need major overhauling.

Capitalism seems to only work on a small scale. Small businesses in consolidated communities that compete against one another have to rely on making it based on the quality of their goods and services and the ethics of their business dealings. Neighborly word-of-mouth recommendations and solid reputations ensure their success.

Once capitalism balloons into megacorporations-run-amok (as, it is now) then it’s up to the federal government to protect its citizens from greed, usury, and unethical business practices and to prosecute and punish corporations (and their officers) that take financial advantage of their customers.

Instead, we continue to reward the financial rapists. (see above)

I rather like this quote, from here:

Corruption which mars all aspects of our lives, our environment and prospect of our future generations, has its roots back to the instinctive greed of capitalism itself.

And this one, from here:

What happened to the role of governments in protecting societies and the environment?

For most of his life, my dad was a staunch Republican, and he and I could not even begin to discuss politics for many years — until he reached the age of about 60, after he had become a Commissioner on our city’s Housing Authority and after he had traveled and had experienced disenfranchised populations such as those in Haiti of several decades ago. He told me then that he has come to believe that what America needs is a Socialist Democratic government so that the disenfranchised of this country could have access to a safe, healthy, and opportunity-filled environment. Otherwise it would continue to be only the uber-capitalist, financially well-off citizens who could afford it.

Socialist Democracy, Democratic Socialism. There are lots of definitions for those concepts. According to here:

Political + Social + Economic democracies < => socialism.

While I know that the European form of Socialism has flaws, from my perspective, maybe what we need is a Socialized Democracy, where the Federal government keeps a tight reign on capitalist greed by
— closing corporate and personal financial tax loopholes and off-shore money stashing
— imposing even higher tax rates on the highest income earners (corporate and personal) and outlawing using federal money for corporate bonuses
— encouraging, through tax benefits, the reinvestment of corporate profits into hiring more workers; improving worker benefits, salaries, and working conditions; and improving product quality (all of which benefits the capitalist system)
— providing universal health care (Medicare for all) to all American citizens.

Now, that’s just a start of what an American Socialized Democracy might be able to accomplish from the perspective of this depressed citizen-victim of the out-of-control capitalism rampant in this country today.

we’ve been punked; wake up Mr. Pres.

Now, politics is the art of the possible. Mr. Obama was never going to get everything his supporters wanted.

But there’s a point at which realism shades over into weakness, and progressives increasingly feel that the administration is on the wrong side of that line. It seems as if there is nothing Republicans can do that will draw an administration rebuke: Senator Charles E. Grassley feeds the death panel smear, warning that reform will “pull the plug on grandma,” and two days later the White House declares that it’s still committed to working with him.

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.

Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

The above from Paul Krugman’s piece in the Times.

C’mon, Mr. Pres. You can’t be that naive, and I hope that you’re not as wishy washy as you’re starting to seem.

C’mon, Mr. Pres. Time to conjure up FDR’s ghost and put some spine in your stand. He might not have looked like he had it, but he had it when it counted.

We voted for change when we voted to you, Mr. Pres. Not small change, either.

They all might be right-wingers, but you were in the right when you promised to push the single payer plan.

Hold your single payer line, Mr. Pres. If not you, who?

I just paid more than $160 for a month’s supply of Nexium because United Health Care does not have that med on its list of drugs that it will cover. (That’s $160 even with a coupon that got me a 20% discount.) I’ve tried three other substitute drugs that are on the list, but none of them work on my GERD problem.

Now, it’s not as though I have a fatal illness or some precondition that my health care insurance refuses to provide medication or other coverage for. But I do pay premiums for which I, obviously, am not getting the benefits I used to get.

And it ain’t going to get any better because the system, as it is, sucks.

Stop letting the ignorant/greedy/selfish (take your pick or add more descriptors) right-wingers nickel and dime us all to death, Mr.Pres.

We voted for change.

CHANGE OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO SINGLE PAYER!

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW???