Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Koch brothers announce they are buying the 2016 elections

What do you get the billionaire who has everything? How about the United States of America? 

Charles and David Koch have announced that their political network is planning to spend nearly a billion dollars on conservative candidates for House and Senate seats and the presidency in 2016.

Thanks to their ideological soul mates on the Supreme Court, the Koch’s can now lavish money on their chosen candidates through an immense network of non-profit groups without, in many cases, having to identify donors. Koch-approved Republicans will get writer’s cramps endorsing their checks.

Does this sound like democracy to you? Me neither. America is quickly becoming an oligarchy where a small minority of elites determine who goes to Washington. The system of checks and balances instituted by our founders has clearly broken down, and voting has become an exercise in futility.

It’s a shame. America began as a brilliant experiment in democracy, but has been taken over by the insatiably greedy 1 percent whose only allegiance is to the bottom line.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Devil Dog Signals the End Times

Insanity reigns. What was once satire is now reality. What was once unthinkable is now thinkable. What was once a stunningly bad idea is still a stunningly bad idea, but it’s been released into the real world of living human beings. This event is without a doubt the harbinger of the end times. It may just be the anti-Christ.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the KFC Double Down Dog. This atrocity is a hot dog nesting in a “bun” of fried chicken drizzled with a mucus-like sauce. It looks like a horrible accident on the set of a porn movie. The needle on the disgust meter is buried in “Burn it with Fire!” It’s the only food on the planet that Andrew Zimmern won’t put in his mouth.

At the moment, this Devil Dog is only being featured at a few KFC outlets in the Philippines WHERE IT IS SELLING OUT. So you know that like ebola, the disease will spread worldwide quickly, poisoning the palates of millions before it can be stopped and a cure found. For the love of all that is holy, keep your children away from it and safe, and resist, resist, resist the siren song it will use to lure you into the nearest KFC.

Dear arrogant, clueless billionaires: Please shut the fuck up

The chutzpah is strong in this one.

Billionaire Florida real estate mogul Jeff Green, who is presently attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said this:

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

Of course. It all makes sense now. It’s the little people’s fault for wanting anything more than food, water and a roof over their heads. Never mind the economic prosperity we enjoyed in the fifties and sixties, when taxes on the rich were far higher than they are today. That’s just a false memory. Now, go back to sleep, little people.

What we need, Mr. Green, is an economic system built on fairness with an equitable tax system. What we need is to drastically lower income inequality and to provide people with a realistic, livable minimum wage. What we need is for companies to stop sending jobs oversees. What we need is to stop allowing American companies and individuals to avoid paying taxes by keeping their money in off-shore accounts and foreign banks.

You are correct when you say we need to reinvent our whole system of life, but it needs to be done in a way that will make you and your billionaire friends very unhappy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

When will Americans stop glorifying violence?

The film “American Sniper” is stirring up controversy. Michael Moore and Seth Rogan have dissed it and gotten a lot of nasty, hate-filled Tweets and emails for their opinions. I haven’t seen it and probably won’t, but it sounds like one more in a long, long line of propaganda efforts from Hollywood designed to romanticize and sanitize America’s military actions.

What exactly makes Navy Seal Chris Kyle a hero worthy of our respect? If it’s his body count, why aren’t the pilots and crew members of military bombers who dropped explosives on Iraq and killed tens of thousands of people, given ticker tape parades and huge medals? And what kind of a guy is Kyle? People have pulled excerpts from the book on which the film is based, and the unfiltered bigotry and lack of compassion for human life paint a less than heroic portrait of the real American sniper.

On this Martin Luther King Day, it’s a good time to ask when we as a country will stop glorifying individuals who commit violence in our name and start celebrating the peacemakers? Creating a day of remembrance for King was a good start, but I’ve never had a job where my company recognized the day as a holiday, yet everyone gets Memorial Day off.

Our priorities as a country are badly skewed, but because we are Americans, we don’t feel any need to look in the mirror and assess our weaknesses. Films like “American Sniper” play to our darkest desires to beat up anyone who acts, talks, thinks or looks different than us. That’s the attitude of a schoolyard bully, not a great democracy.

Income inequality worldwide: Bad and getting worse

There is a sobering new report from Oxfam about income inequality worldwide. Some lowlights:
  • The richest 1 percent of the world's population currently controls 48 percent of the world's total wealth.
  • If trends continue, Oxfam predicts that the most affluent will possess more wealth than the remaining 99 percent by 2016.
  • The 80 wealthiest people in the world possess $1.9 trillion, which is almost the same amount shared by some 3.5 billion people at the bottom half of the world's income scale.
  • Thirty-five of the lucky 80 were Americans with a combined wealth of $941 billion. Germany and Russia shared second place, with seven uber-rich individuals apiece.
Although late to the game, Obama is at least attempting to do something about this egregious problem and will announce a plan to extend tax credits to the middle class by hiking taxes on wealthier Americans and big banks during his upcoming state of the union address. It’s a step in the right direction, but we’ll have to wait and see what the dim bulbs in Congress have to say about this.

As bad as things are for the 99 percent here in America, there is one statistic that is perhaps the most shocking and damning of all.

More than 1 billion people worldwide live on less than $1.25 a day.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

There is a serious glitch in the Matrix

Something is wrong. Very wrong. Somehow we ended up with a Congress that is diametrically opposed to the will of the majority of Americans. This isn’t supposed to happen in a democracy, but it has, which calls into question whether we can truly call ourselves a democracy anymore.

The national research firm Hart Research Associates polled 1,101 American voters and found that 72 percent strongly support more pollution controls, 70 percent strongly support protecting public lands like monuments and wildlife refuge areas, and 66 percent support the expansion of wind, solar, and renewable energy development. Sixty percent of voters surveyed also said they strongly supported setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants — a number that rose to 82 percent when including voters who said they somewhat support that proposal.

Republicans in Congress oppose every one of the initiatives that the voters favored by a majority. Our electoral system is clearly broken, and it’s not just the whining of sore loser Democrats. The polls bear us out. I would guess that polls taken involving any number of issues beyond the environment would show similar results.

True, meaningful campaign finance reform has always been at the top of my “most important issues” list. We need to overturn Citizen United, but we must go beyond that to do even more to take huge sums of private money out of our elections.

 The glitch in the Matrix can be repaired, but it will take political courage to fix it, and sadly, courage in Washington today is in very short supply.

Friday, January 16, 2015

This week in stupid

Physician Ben Carson, a Republican who will probably run for President, compared America’s founding fathers with ISIS because they were willing to die for their beliefs and didn’t compromise “for the sake of political correctness.”

A Tennessee mother has complained that the taillights of a school bus form a “Pagan” pentagram and is demanding they be changed.

A new Alabama abortion law allows judges to appoint attorneys to represent fetuses in abortion cases involving girls aged 17 and younger who don't have consent for the procedure from their parents. The ACLU points out that Alabama does not have a statewide public defender program. Fetuses can get an attorney, but poor adults accused of crimes cannot.

According to a study by The Tax Foundation, the seven states that take in the most federal tax dollars all had one thing in common. They all voted Republican in the presidential 2012 election.

Four U.S. Republican Senators introduced a bill on Tuesday seeking to cut off any funding which could allow detainees – including men long cleared for release by federal agents – to leave Guantánamo. One of the four is John McCain, who campaigned for president in 2008 saying that the detention center at Guantánamo needed to be closed.

As part of a holiday charity campaign, the Walmart Foundation last month donated $1.5 million to food pantries across the country. An estimated 825,000 workers at Walmart, the largest private employer in the United States, earn less than $25,000 annually, placing many who have families below the poverty line and in need of food assistance programs.

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers in Mississippi has introduced a bill calling for the Bible to be named the “state book.”