5 Quick Political Facts for Today (2/21/15)

  • Prominent climate change-denying scientist has been outed as a fossil fuel-funded hackWei-Hock Soon, who has testified to Congress and state governments and been a guest on conservative news programs, has been destroyed in an article today that contains the following tidbits:

He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work…

Dr. Soon also received at least $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation…

Though often described on conservative news programs as a “Harvard astrophysicist,” Dr. Soon is not an astrophysicist and has never been employed by Harvard.

But hey, he has a fancy title and says things certain rich people want to hear so he is believed by those that don’t realize what he says amounts to a steaming pile of horse manure.  Sorta like the vast majority of conservative politicians.

  • War on Terror is killing more innocents in Somalia, but with economics instead of military weapons.  In an effort to make sure no money makes its way to terrorist groups, banks have closed off any way for immigrants to send money back to their families in Somalia.  “Over 40 percent of Somalis rely on money sent from family living abroad to cover needs like food, housing and education, according to a report released Thursday”.  This comes after the ugly reality that 260,000 Somalis died during the famine that lasted from October 2010 to April 2012, half of which were children under the age of 5.  A surefire way to make even more people hate the West enough to join a terrorist group will be to cut off their lifelines and push them to the brink of starvation in the name of fighting extremists.
  • More children in South Sudan have been abducted from school to be soldiers89 boys (possibly more) have been added to the 12,000 other children that have been used as soldiers in the country.  It’s a sad irony they are taken so young from school when expanded education would likely lead to a quicker and lasting peace.  It’s an awful cycle of violence that actions like this will likely help continue for a long time to come.

    I see London, I see France, I see Satan in that Yoga stance!
  • According to a Catholic priest, Yoga will lead you to having good posture and a healthy and loving relationship…with SATAN!!!  No, that was not a line from an SNL “Church Lady” skit (although it kind of sounds like it).  This was actually stated and is apparently believed by the church at the highest levels.  Just when you think the church is starting to evolve a little…
  • Giuliani now implying President Obama is a Communist.  And he is totally correct.  I mean, after six years of his heavy-handed rule, the United States is a Communist country in every way imaginable.  Just look at how afraid people are to speak out against him and his policies and denounce him with outright lies in the media.  He is such a vicious dictator!

Countering the Right: Insidious Koch Brothers Attack on Detroit Bankruptcy Settlement

A prime example of the absurd economic inequality in the U.S. has reared its ugly head as the Koch brothers apparently got bored and have decided to throw money at the Detroit bankruptcy settlement in an effort to deceive the 99%.

Their first tactic of deception is to attack the “bailout”.  Just one issue with that: it’s not a bailout.  As noted by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in the article:

This is a settlement. This not a bailout,” Snyder said. “And I want to be very, very clear about that.” (Emphasis added)

The easy way to confirm that statement as true would be to simply realize it was an officially filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy and not a legislative decision to provide stimulus-type money to the city.

But that isn’t the really despicable attack by the Koch brothers group.  Take a look at their page at http://www.strongerdetroit.com/ (disgracefully named, as usual).  You’ll see this nugget of info:

Per capita state revenue sharing payments are over 3x what other cities receive.  In 2010, Detroit received $335 per capita in revenue sharing payments compared to $96, the average amount per capita all other cities over 50,000 in Michigan received.

Clearly, those greedy people in Detroit just upped their piece of the Michigan pie in the years leading up to this bankruptcy until they were all happy, fat cats.

Except they didn’t:

Between 2000 and 2010, inflation adjusted state revenues per capita declined by 13.7 percent in Detroit, while in Buffalo they increased by 45 percent.  In the recession period alone (2007 to 2010), state aid to Detroit went down by 8.2 percent, but went up by 7.2 percent in Buffalo.  Thus a big difference between these two structurally similar cities is the economic and fiscal environment and fiscal choices made at the state level.  Had New York treated Buffalo in the same way fiscally as Michigan dealt with Detroit, Buffalo, which is already teetering on the edge of fiscal crisis, might have been forced to declare bankruptcy as well. (Emphasis added)

But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The per capita spending is still three times higher and some might be angry by this.  Unless they realized why.

Detroit’s poverty rate is a whopping 38.1%, according to the Census Bureau, more than double the Michigan state rate of 16.3%.  Add on the fact that Detroit is Michigan’s largest city by a lot (more than three times the size of second place) and the picture starts to come together.  But just to drive the point home, let’s give an example to further explain the disparity.

Suppose you have two cities in a state and both have a population of ten people.  City A has one person (10%) living below the poverty line.  City B has three people (30%) living below the poverty line.  If the state spends $100 per person in various ways on people below the poverty line (education, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc.), then City B would be receiving three times more ($300) from the state than City A ($100).

The reason for Michigan’s spending on Detroit is not very difficult to figure out.

The reason the people of Michigan might fall for the Koch brothers heinous attack on the city’s bankruptcy settlement is also easy to figure out: brainwashing.

Koch’s Against Renewable Energy

nytlogo379x64At my workplace many have cited the advertisement mentioned at the end of this NYT Editorial Board op-ed stating that solar power costs consumers, not helps save them money.

This editorial breaks down how the Koch brothers and “big polluters” are behind this “deliberately misleading” ad.

Read Here.


Press Should Scrutinize Donors

leadA good piece in The Atlantic by Peter Beinhart yesterday argues that in a post-McCutcheon world, the press should start to scrutinize political mega-donors much more severely.

Beinhart puts forth that donors have an aurora of anonymity when they are now becoming more powerful than many members of Congress in the political realm.

Read Here.


The Irony of Right-Wing CEO Propaganda

Recently, an alarming trend has begun in the corporate world that should be exposed and analyzed.  CEOs of large companies have informed their employees they will likely lose their jobs if they vote for President Obama in the upcoming election.  These CEOs are putting on their Nostradamus caps and predicting the future of the economy and are seeing only pain and grief if the Democrat is re-elected for a second term.  Is it fair to point out now that most of these same guys apparently did not see the economic calamity of 2008 coming and told their employees nothing of this nature at that time?  How strange?  But I guess they must be correct in their assumptions now.  Would everyone who believes that be interested in buying a bridge I have for sale?

CEO Propaganda: Don’t believe the hype

There is a great irony here.  There is little doubt a lack of regulation in the housing and derivatives markets were the greatest causes of the financial crisis we are still feeling the effects of and both political parties were guilty of contributing to that situation.  But history has no place in the propaganda of these CEOs.  One even warns of “unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses” that will come if Obama wins in November and this is why the employees should be worried about their jobs.  And therein lies the irony.

The economy imploded because of deregulation or a lack of new regulation where it was needed.  The bleeding was stopped with liberal economic policy and the passing of the stimulus bill.  Now employees are told to vote for the candidate most likely to deregulate and make the economy more volatile and to shun the candidate responsible for setting the economy on a stable path to growth.  So, if you want to keep your job, vote for the policies that nearly lost you your job four years ago instead of the policies that have kept you working during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The ridiculous reality of this situation is these guys actually do have the power to create the circumstances they are predicting whether the economy plays a role or not.  They can simply fire their employees, close their businesses, and watch the chaos like children who do not get their way.  This is most exemplified by the last few lines of this letter released last week to the, now frightened, employees of Westgate Resorts:

My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed, your boss,

David Siegel

Two important aspects of this should be noted.  The first is the phrase “provide jobs”.  Siegel is obviously running with the idea the 1% are the “job creators” and threatens his people in a not-so-subtle phrasing of that.  The second is the fact certain people are able to make a threat like this because of the income inequality in the U.S.  He has no motivation to work so he hoards this over his employees and threatens their livelihoods because he can.  If the problem of inequality was not as great as it is, he might not be so motivated to close his business just to get his way.  (We, of course, should not worry too much about these threats since greed will keep these guys right where they are for the foreseeable future regardless of the election outcome.)

This is nothing more than another way of bosses buying votes.  In the past, people were paid to check the ballot box for a candidate of someone else’s choosing.  Now the currency is their job and the security of knowing they will have one next year.

And remember, this is not a person being influential because of their ideas, their ability to inspire people, their ability to organize people, or even their ability to change people’s perspectives on life.  It is the influence of money and greed, plain and simple, sad and unfortunate, disgusting and undemocratic.