Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Hellloooo. Conservatives and Teabaggers, come back into the 21st Century. It's no longer the 1850's. That question was settled long ago back in 1865. Remember the Civil War? That started over "State's Rights". The whole issue was that there was a belief that each state had the right to nullify any laws or regulations created at the federal level. Essentially, picking and choosing what would be the law of the land. The biggest proponent of this political concept was John Calhoun. But the issue of "State's Rights" was settled back in 1865 at the end of the Civil War when the Southern States lost. Calhoun was the inspiration of the Sessionists of 1860 and contantly spoke of it, just like Rick Perry has.
So, it seems that the Conservatives and Teabaggers want to take us back to the pre-1860's and relive the Civil War. Bringing up the "State's Rights" is such a non-issue that for anyone to bring it up, such as Rick Perry and Ron Paul, shows how weak their other points really are. That they have to fall back on this resolved political issue.
Lastly, I would be extremely careful in beating this "State's Rights" drum too much. "State's Rights" has always been used by those who were defending slavery in America and opposing desegregation & civil rights laws. And the final reason that "State's Rights" is a non-issue? Because the 10th Amenedment to the Constitution (part of the original Bill of Rights) protects states' prerogatives. The Teabaggers, who are so fond of The US Constitution must know this. After all, aren't they smarter then the rest of us?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I always thought that the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, were only trying to destroy any social programs that are currently inplace in the US. This presumption is probably true, but there is a more devious and alterior motive for their views. They are very heavy financiers to ultra-conservative groups and causes such as Americans For Propserity. Intersting to note that the only thing that Americans For Prosperity are for is the prosperity of the Koch Brothers.
After reading Peter Finocchiaro's article in Salon.com called "Our Patriotic Billionaire Challenge!", I decided to do a small bit of research about them. What really got me interested in finding out more about the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries was their answer to the Patriotic Billionaire Challenge.
As a quick recap the issue, Warren Buffitt wrote an op-ed in the NY Times where he stated his feelings that America's Super-rich are in a much better position to help with the economic recovery and that he and the other Super-rich should be taxed more fairly. Buffett wrote:
"I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. [...] Most wouldn't mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering."Salon.com then decided to contact the Top 19 wealthiest Americans, from the Forbes 400 list, and ask them if they would support paying higher federal income taxes. They heard back from 8 of the 19 and only George Soros said that he'd pay more and 6 of the 8 replied with "No comment". But what interested me the most was the answer that Salon.com received back from Charles Koch. Besides saying No (not a big surprise there), he stated
"Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good; this is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending."Hmm, really? How? He goes on to say
"I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington."Wow!! What an altruistic guy. Maybe I'm reading them wrong. Maybe they are working for the benfit of society and the greater good. Unfortunately, there is no details as to what government spending they are opposed to. I don't want to assume that they are against all social programs, because maybe they aren't.
So, I did a bit of research and found some very interesting information. I found that the best source was Wikipedia because you can verify the information by the numerous ciations that are referenced. If I look up information there about something and notice that the citations referenced are extemely limited or not really verifiable, then I treat that information as suspect. But be that as it may, here is some striking information I located:
- Koch Industries was fined $35 million for 300 alleged pipeline spills across six states from 1990 to 1997, adding up to 3 million gallons of oil. The US Government had originally proposed fining Koch $71 million to $214 million in penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act by those spills.[Oil pipeline operator to pay fee. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. January 14, 2000.]
- Koch's Sterling butane pipeline had a leak in Lively, Texas, on August 24, 1996. Two teenagers on the way to report the leak drove into the unseen butane cloud, and were killed when the gas exploded and burned. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that severe external pipeline corrosion was the cause of the failure, and recommended to Koch to improve corrosion evaluation procedures. Although Koch distributed pamphlets about safety around the pipelines, they failed to maintain an up-to-date mailing list. Only 5 out of 45 residences in the area of the accident had received pamphlets. The families of the dead had not.["Austin news, sports, weather, Longhorns, business". Statesman.com. Retrieved 2011-07-23]
- In March 1999, Koch Petroleum Group, a Koch Industries subsidiary, pled guilty to charges that it had negligently dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of aviation fuel into wetlands near the Mississippi River from its refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, and that it had also illegally dumped a million gallons of high-ammonia wastewater onto the ground and into the Mississippi River. Koch Petroleum paid the Dakota County Park System a $6 million fine and $2 million in remediation costs, and was ordered to serve three years of probation.[Environmental Protection Agency (9 March 2000). "Koch Petroleum Group Sentenced for Minnesota Pollution". Press release. Retrieved 2010-06-14]
- In 1999, a federal jury found that Koch Industries had stolen oil from government and American Indian lands, had lied about its purchases more than 24,000 times, and was fined $553,504.[CBS News, Blood and Oil, Nov 27 2000]
- In January 2000, a Koch Industries subsidiary, Koch Pipeline, agreed to a $35 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and the State of Texas. This settlement, including a $30 million civil fine, was incurred for the firm's three hundred oil spills in Texas and five other states going back to 1990. The spills resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters.[Environmental Protection Agency (13 January 2000). "Koch Industries to Pay Record Fine for Oil Spills in Six States". Press release. Retrieved 2010-06-14]
- In 2001, the company reached two settlements with the government. In April, the company reached a $20 million settlement in exchange for admitting to covering up environmental violations at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.["Koch Pleads Guilty to Covering up Environmental Violations at Texas Oil Refinery". justice.gov. U.S. Department of Justice. 9 April 2001. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2001/April/153enrd.htm. Retrieved 30 May 2010.][Don Richards (22 January 2001). "DOJ Reduces Indictments Against Koch Industries". ICIS. http://www.icis.com/Articles/2001/01/22/130888/doj-reduces-indictments-against-koch-industries.html.] That May, Koch Industries paid $25 million to the federal government to settle a federal lawsuit that found the company had improperly taken more oil than it had paid for from federal and Indian land.[CBS (27 November 2000). "Blood and Oil". 60 Minutes. ][Russell Ray (20 June 2001). "Tribe Likely to Get Piece of Settlement in Osage County, Okla., Oil Squabble". Tulsa World.]
- In June 2003, the US Commerce Department fined Koch Industries subsidiary Flint Hill Resources a $200,000 civil penalty. The fine settled charges that the company exported crude petroleum from the US to Canada without proper US government authorization. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said from July 1997 to March 1999, Koch Petroleum (later called Flint Hill Resources) committed 40 violations of Export Administration Regulations.[US Dept of Commerce, Commerce Dept Fines Kansas Firm, June 3, 2003 press release, http://www.bis.doc.gov/news/2003/kansasfirmfined.htm]]
- In 2006, Koch Industries’ subsidiary Flint Hill Resources was fined nearly $16,000 by the EPA for 10 separate violations of the Clean Air Act at its Alaska oil refinery facilities, and required to spend another $60,000 on safety equipment needed to help prevent future violations.[EPA Press Release, EPA Fines Flint Hill Resources Alaska, Dec 13 2006, accessed Aug 25 2010, http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/b0789fb70f8ff03285257029006e3880/6b191200b3ce87e2852572430062f987!OpenDocument]]
- In 2007, Koch Nitrogen's plant in Enid, Oklahoma, was listed as the third highest company releasing toxic chemicals in Oklahoma, according to the EPA, ranking behind Perma-Fix Environmental Services in Tulsa and Weyerhaeuser Co. in Valliant. The facility produces about 10% of the US national production of anhydrous ammonia, as well as urea and UAN.[Dan Voorhis (2010-12-16). "Fertilizer Helps Koch Grow". Wichita Eagle.]
- In 2010, Koch Industries was ranked 10th on the list of top US corporate air polluters, the “Toxic 100 Air Polluters,” by the Political Economic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[Toxic 100 Air Polluters Press reelase, March 31, 2010, http://www.peri.umass.edu/toxic_press/]
Koch funds and supports libertarian and free-market policy and advocacy organizations such as the Cato Institute and Americans For Prosperity (the Koch Brothers prosperity) and David Koch was a Vice-Presidential candidate running on the Libertarian Party in 1980. Looking at the way they may perceive the government keeps getting them for numerous violations listed above, I can understand why they are Libertarians. They want to do anything and everything for the sale of their profits without regard for others or the environment. After all, if the area they live in becomes uninhabitable (remember Love Canal), they have enough wealth to move anywhere else.
I also don't believe that they are great believers of social issues. Yes, we have read where they have donated millions to hospitals and research institutes. But then, they didn't donate the funds in order for the average American to get use of it. They probably did it so that it would be available for themselves. If they are the major donar to a faciltity or institution then they have priority in being served. Regardless if anyone else's need is greater or not. Making donations to research faciltites also gives them the leverage to dictate what research is pursued. Of course, they'd prefer research where THEY can make a profit and preferably without any kind of oversight, regulation, or control. Wanting less government involvement would probably include the FDA and other government regulators.
The best thing that ever happened to the Koch Brothers was that Barack Obama was elected President. This so enraged some of the population that certain elements in the Republican Party were able to encourage the formation of the Tea Party. This in turn gave the Koch Brothers an inroad into the Republican Party. They are able to transition from a fringe party, The Libertarian Party, to one of the main stream ones, The Republican Party. They now have an opportunity to manipulate a major political party to reformat the American society into something they can make serve them better. Follow the news and see which states are trying to dismantle the major social gains from the last century - unioin, child labor laws, fair labor laws and you will more then likely find a major company in that state that is owned by the Koch Brothers and controlled by the Republican Party.
According to Forbes, the Koch brothers have seen their wealth rise $11 billion in recent years, making the Koch brother among the richest in the country by being worth around $22.5 billion each. Much of those profits, however, are due to soaring gas prices and the fact Koch Industries has avoided compensating the public for hundred million tons of carbon pollution the company produces each year. Other Koch companies also receive significant taxpayer subsidies, despite Koch’s supposed opposition to government spending. This company is among the country’s top sources of carcinogenic chemicals and air pollutants.
In conclusion, the Koch Brothers only support things that benefit the Koch Brothers and not the greater good. The only thing that the Koch Brothers are opposed to govenment give-aways is when the give-aways aren't to THEM. They spend millions of dollars to make you believe that their interests are your interests. That their wealth is for your benefit.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Ah, now we come the key question...how do I know that the Tea Party is racist. Because I am a student of history and remember a couple of decades back when the old KKK was around. I remember news footage of their speeches and their statements. They wrapped themselves with the American flag, called themselves partiotic, called into question the patrotism of those that criticized it, and were obsessively religious. So much so, that they use to burn a cross as a form of celebration and devotion. That seems like a pretty solid connection to me.
Not enough? OK, try this on for size. Let's look at the George W Bush administration. During Bush's term he started 2 wars whose cost he didn't even put on the books, thus not allowing the American people (and especially the Tea Party crowd) the opportunity to weigh in on, if they wanted to incur the costs of the wars, and thereby passing the costs onto their grandchildren. You remember the Tea Party supporter's grandchildren. Those that the Obama administration will bury in debt but the Bush spending wouldn't. Did we hear from the Tea Party crowd? We heard some isolated voices that were quickly shouted down or silenced with cries of "UNAMERICANS!!", "UNPATRIOTIC!!". But where were the Tea Partiers. Nowhere to be found? Why?
It was during the Bush Adminstration that the full financial system was on the verge of collapse. This is contrary to what many of the supporters of the Tea Party are now saying. These people are repeating constantly that the finaicial crisis came into existence during Obama's administration and that Bush inherited an bad economy and that he turned around (when in fact Bush's administration inherited a budget surplus). Why do they say this? Because Bush was white and he was wealthy.
Where were the Tea Parties when Sec of the Treasury Hank Paulson, who was appointed by George W Bush, came to the American people with a bailout plan that inlcuded trillion of dollars in handouts to the financial industry all written out on a few pages, with no details or oversight. I remember that Paulson wanted the American taxpayers to just hand him the money with no questions asked. Otherwise we were going to go through a financial Armegeddon. Where was the Tea Party Supprters then? Nowhere. It was the Democrats that stood up and said that IF there was a real crisis and IF the financial industry needed to be bailed out that there would have to be guidelines and oversight. No one knew what the end result would have been without it. We now see, with the global debt situation and the markets' activity that the fraud that Wall Street was a party to and the Bush Administration tried to cover up has had more drastic and far-reaching impact then anyone thought.
If you don't believe that the Tea Party groups isn't a racist group, then explain to me where they were when the deficit was being impacted as depicted below. Where were they during the Bush Administration. Where were they when George Bush and Dick Cheney were shredding the US Constitution, that the Tea Party supporters hold so dearly and wrap themselves in, when the Bush Administration lied and manipulated in order to send troops on an unwarranted war. Why weren't the Tea Party supporters screaming for the impeachment of Bush & Cheney when they violated, ignored, and essentially broke their oath to uphold and protect the US Constitution? Why weren't they as vocal and inflamed then? Because there was no black man occupying the highest elected office in the country, that's why.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I keep hearing from the Republicans and the Tea Party faction of that party that business owners need a tax cut. That in order to improve the economy, to create jobs that no tax increases are needed. Well, let me say as a business owner that they couldn't be any more incorrect. As a business owner I need customers. What good does it do me to decrease my taxes or even increase my taxes, without customers I don't have any revenue to pay taxes on. So, lower my taxes...raise my taxes, it's meaingless to me without paying customers.
This is why I have absolutely no use for the Republican Party or the faction within it called the Tea Party. They don't speak for me. They don't understand my issues. Basically, they are ignorant or completely immoral. Maybe both. It's obvious to a blind person that all the Republicans care about and cater to are the extremely wealthy. Those that have spent immense amounts of money to purchase politicians and a political party. They've done this to insure that they will be allowed to steal from THEIR customers and clients with impunity and have ready made lackeys to provide them a smooth road to taxpayers money, to implement laws to allow them to steal, and to have the tax payers pay the consequences (and to keep repeating how the victims are trhe culprits). They purchased a whole political party to insure that they would put a quick stop to any investigations into their practices, to dismantle any consumer safe-guards and regulations. They got their money's worth with the Republican Party. Listening to them would make you believe that the victims of the mortgage fraud put over by the lending institutions was the sole fault of the borrowers and the lenders were the victims. They paid the Republicans to keep drumming the same tune...that regulations created the financial crisis of 2008.
But as a business owner, what do I see needs to be done to help the economy? Jobs! People need jobs. Corporations that use jobs as punitive action against the society that wants to hold them accountable must be dealt with swiftly and firmly. As an example, the financial industry and the National Association of REALTORS® would have you believe that the Qualified Mortgage Rule (QMR) within the Dodd-Franks Act was directed at consumers. They want everyone to believe that the law would require the anyone buying a home to put down 20% in order to get a mortgage loan to buy a house. The truth is that the provision is directed at LENDERS and not consumers. It will require mortgage lenders trying to put together mortgage-backed security (you remember, those instruments that that got us into the financial crisis) could only sell them as "low-risk" if the mortgages in the package had 20% downpayments. Otherwise, the lending institutions couldn't sell them as "low-risk" and they had to retain a certain percentage ownership of them. Both of which is unacceptable to the financial industry. They want to be able to lie, do and say whatever they needed to to make a profit. And the other factor that was totally unacceptable was that they had to retain a percentage ownership fo the instruments. They don't want to own any portion of the junk they sell. They want to get rid of it as quickly and compeltely as possible. So, they convince the National Association of REALTORS® to carry their water and convince their members that the Dodd-Franks Act targets their customers, or the financial industry will destroy whatever is left of the real estate market by requiring ALL loan applicants to come up with 20% downpayment. Blackmail has worked for them in the past...remember TARP?
Now, why is there no buyer confidence? Because there are no jobs; in that the financial industry is sitting on the money until they get what they want. Ability to lie and steal with impunity. They are not going to lend money out to anyone unitl they have what they want. No jobs...no prospect of jobs...the consumer doesn't want to get into a situation where they could end up on the street. Additonally, and less spoken about, is that consumers have seen the consequences of the last outcome from the financial industry's fraud...the lending institutions weren't prosecuted, they walked away with tons of tax payer money (they got TARP money and paid out record bonues), and the borrower ended up paying the consequences and being labelled as the perpetrator of the fraud instead of the being the victim. The Republicans and Tea Party faction want you believe this just like they want you to believe that people who are conned out of their money by unscrupulous home-improvement con-artists were the cause of the crime and not the victim.
Yes, to have the economy recover we needs jobs, lots of jobs. Jobs that pay decently and are secure. Not any that still puts stress on the employees that they may end up without one in a week, a month, or a year. The corproations need to be put under control. The other issue that consumers need to see is that the proper people pay for the consequences of their actions. The financial industry still needs to pay for their crimes and sins. Until this happens, consumers are not going to be that trusting of the marketplace. With jobs they may end up venturing cautiously out into the market...but there needs to be some safe-guards in place for them. And the financial industry and corporations will have none of that.
How is the eceonomy to recover? JOBS! Let's start there. Get people back to work. Redirect the money for the good of the public and not the good of the obscenely wealthy.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
OK, so Rick Perry declared that he's running for President. A little while back Michele Backmann declared her candidacy for President. Now, why would anyone vote for them?
Rick Perry has been documented as saying that he wanted Texas to secede from the Union. This is a man that does not BELIEVE in the UNITED States of America. And now he's running for the highest elected office in the country. Why? He doesn't believe in it. What's the purpose? Was he lying then? Or is he lying now? If he gets elected, what does he plan
to do? Rip up the Constitution and dissolve the United States of America? Each State will then fend for itself? Each State would then create laws and regulations that would suit themselves and not the greater good. States that don't care about their citizens (would Texas fall into this category?) would be able to attract more businesses because of the lack of laws and regulations that protect the citizens. But then these same states would end up with critical labor shortgages because those citizens that could, would move to States that were more in-line with protecting their citizens. But where would the jobs be? What would Rick Perry's America look like? Would we end up with a theocratic nutcase running the country like the character representing the President in the movie "Escape from LA"? Why would anyone vote for someone who doesn't believe in democracy or in America?
Then there's Michele Bachmann. This is the candidate who is totally against a centralised government. This is the candidate who advocates against any kind of government program, except those that she and her family wish to take advantage of. We know what her standards are...everything for her and nothing for anyone else. What kind of America would we have under her? One where SHE decides who is worthy of getting a government program and who isn't? Remember, the Tea Party is
solidly based on hyprocracy. Just think back to the photos of the Tea Party demonstrators carrying signs that said "Keep Your Government Hands Off of My Medicare". OK, so maybe the Tea Party is solidly based on hypocracy AND stupidity. And Michele Bachmann is the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House. Hmmm. She's another one that doesn't believe in democracy, freedom, and liberty. Wasn't she the one that stated on national TV that Democrats were un-American and should be investigated because certain elected officials didn't agree with her ideas? Can you say...McCarthyism? She's against centralised government and the programs that go with it...except when it comes to her. She has collected more money from these programs then the normal US citizen, but she justifies it by saying that she deserves it.
Yes, Backmann's version of democracy...everything for her and nothing for anyone else, escept those that SHE decides are worthy.
So, again, why are they running for President? They don't beleive in democracy, in America. Liberty is just a word they use in their sound bites but really they don't understand what it actually means. I happen to agree with John Dean in his assessment of the current Republican Party. He wrote in his book, Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, that the GOP views public office as a stepping stone to personal wealth. That's all it is. The fact that they have to deal with and cater a little to the public is just a small inconvenience. The Presidency to them is a position where they can help themselves by helping those who will increase their wealth. Be this the wealthiest 1% or the Top 1% of the corporations. These candidates want to sell off America to those that will benefit them most. Does anyone remember, during Baby Bush's administration, the outsourcing of America's and official's security to Blackwater? If not, then maybe they should read Jeremy Scahill's book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
I think that they're running for President in order to acquire more wealth at the cost of the public good.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
The late George Carlin tried to shake people up...to get them to take action. He's gone now, but his message still remains. What the GOP and the Tea Party cohorts did this past week was unconscionable and these video clips from some past Carlin dialogues explain why.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
What I saw was members of the House of Representatives that are loyal to the Tea Party but members of the GOP basically held our economy hostage. This may seem a bit harsh but I can't think of another way of putting it. How is acting what would be considered a temper tantrum and threatening to destroy our countries credibility and economy anything but a hostage situation? Another point I want to make....YOU DO NOT REPRESENT ME, MY VIEWS, MY BELIEFS, OR MY CONCERNS. PERIOD. I do not know of any DECENT people that share your views or beliefs.
In this last round of "negotiations" (I use the term loosely because what it really was was a Tea Party temper tantrum) the Tea Party affiliated GOP members threatened to stop any legislation that would raise the debt ceiling. They held our credit rating hostage. The Democrats paid the ranson. But what consequences do you think the Tea Partyu has paid? They got what they wanted. They control the GOP. I'm pissed because no one is standing up to them. Basically what happened was that we tanked the economy in order to save it. Does that make sense? I can't put my head around the whole situation about what happened. If the Tea Party wouldn't compromise on this...what makes anyone beleive that they will compromise in the future?
This is why I was concerned about the "negotiations" that resulted in the current "compromises". They feel empowered and they will repeat there actions as long as it gets them what they want. I raised 2 children and found that children will only use temper tantrums as long as they think they will work. Bullies will bully you as long as they know they can get away with it and there are no consequences.
So, my question is this. Are you one of those that elected a Tea Party affiliated representative? Are you satisfied with your decision? Did you want them to completely disregard democracy and become spoiled brats on your behalf? If so, then don't be surprised when your neighbors start to reciprocate you with the same type of behavior towards you. Uncompromising can work both ways.
I was mad BEFORE I saw the Special Comment. I was mad when I first heard about the proposed deal forced on us by the Tea Party members of the GOP. I was mad when I followed the developments over the supposed negotiations. I was mad when I heard that this was a compromise. But I will let you watch Keith Olbermann as he delivers his Special Comments. If the video doesn't load below, you can view it here.