Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

I am gleaning this information from multiple sources. However most of what you will see in the this first section was suggested to me by an article in the Rolling Stone magazine entitled “Inside the Koch Brothers Toxic Empire” by Tim Dickinson.

Each Koch brother is worth approximately 40 billion. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year’s midterms. So far in this cycle alone, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate. Here are some examples of why it is so important to them to keep the GOP in power.

Koch is now a key player in the fracking boom that’s pushing the United States past Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer, even as it’s endangering America’s groundwater. In 2012, a Koch subsidiary opened a pipeline capable of carrying 250,000 barrels a day of fracked crude from South Texas to Corpus Christi, where the company owns a refinery complex, and it has announced plans to further expand its Texas pipeline operations. In a recent acquisition, Koch bought Frac-Chem, a top provider of hydraulic fracturing chemicals to drillers. Thanks to the Bush administration’s anti-regulatory­ agenda – which Koch Industries helped craft – Frac-Chem’s chemical cocktails, injected deep under the nation’s aquifers, are almost entirely exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. And why would they bother, if, as they claim, there is nothing to worry about! According to them, fire coming out of faucets in the areas of tracking is coincidental and nothing to do with them. Livestock has been found dead, fish in ponds floating lifeless, but it has nothing to do with fracking! So then why did they spend so much money and time to exempt themselves from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Legislation that was put in place to protect us from this exact type of activity.

Here is another example, the Koch brothers own the richest – but also the dirtiest and most carbon-polluting – oil deposits in North America: the tar sands of Alberta. The company’s Pine Bend refinery, near St. Paul, Minnesota, processes nearly a quarter of the Canadian bitumen exported to the United States – which, in turn, has created for Koch Industries a lucrative sideline in petcoke exports. Denser, dirtier and cheaper than coal, petcoke is the dregs of tar-sands refining. U.S. coal plants are largely forbidden from burning petcoke, but it can be profitably shipped to countries with lax pollution laws like Mexico and China. One of the firm’s subsidiaries, Koch Carbon, is expanding its Chicago terminal operations to receive up to 11 million tons of petcoke for global export. So it is illegal for use in the USA because we don’t want to contribute to the worlds pollution any more than we have to, but all right to sell it to the rest of the world out of an American port? That, my friends, is the perfect example of the definition of “oxymoron”! I have been accused of defending President Obama too much of the time. Of course most of my readers would prefer I never did! So what! I only did that when people started up with the birth nonsense, what color suit he wore, doctored pics depicting him and wife in every derogatory way possible. So sue me for wanting better healthcare and my social security I paid in since I was thirteen. So here is one of the things I do not like. President Obama is on a big anti pollution and climate change crusade. However he lets people who can buy votes sell pollution for profit and lets them use our infrastructure to do it! You have to set your boots down on one side of the barb wire or the other and dig in your heels. Can’t blame Obama for everything, well the same goes for the GOP. Of course their slice of blame pie is a really big sloppy piece!

Charles Koch, the 78-year-old CEO and chairman of the board of Koch Industries presents himself as a man of moral clarity and high integrity. “The role of business is to produce products and services in a way that makes people’s lives better,” he said recently. “It cannot do so if it is injuring people and harming the environment in the process.” I’ll bet after he repeated that bullshit three or four times, he actually believed it. Another example if you will. A company called Universal Oil Products invented a way to crack the heavy crude oil into the usable fuels and chemicals for plastic, etc. It made the process at the refinery faster and far cheaper. Fred Koch teamed up with a former engineer from Universal and copied their cracking engineering almost exactly, with only one or two small differences, then set out to under sell them. Universal eventually took them to court for intellectual piracy and tied up the operation. So undaunted, Fred Koch just went to Stalin who was financing his communistic agenda and the cold war with their oil fields. Their oil, it turned out, was even harder to refine than American oil. So Fred supplied Stalin and the USSR with all the cracking expertise and equipment the country needed to crank up its petroleum industry and helped to directly finance our biggest and most dangerous enemy! They have a word for that, and I don’t need to tell you what that word is. But money shoved in the right pocket allows you to pretty much do whatever you want, even collaborate with the enemy.

So one last thing. Almost all the ads you see denying climate change come out of the coffers of the Koch brothers. This fact alone should tell you two things right away. First, they are one of the top three polluters in North America so it behooves them to deny that man is effecting any climate change. And two, you don’t spend millions upon untold millions to convince someone of something that does not exist. The summit to discuss climate change at the United Nations recently was one of the highest in attendence ever. The protest event outside demanding something be done about climate change was one of the largest in history. Not only that, the same day, world wide, 2,646 other events took place in 162 countries. Cleaning up the environment cost money. The Koch brothers can’t have that even though currently they take in 115 billion in annual revenue and want to double that in the next ten years. We need to get them and their ilk out of politics. Well they should get to vote, scream and yell like the rest of us, but their money should be unwelcome in politics. Every politician for a specific office should have the exact same amount of money available to them to run for office. Any ads must come from that fund, not the Koch brothers deep pockets.

I have tried a few times to put down on paper my thoughts on our economy and those of Canada, the British empire and northern European countries like Germany, for example. Robert Reich posted a recent blog, which explains it well, and all in one place, so I am going to reblog it here, and I quote; “For years Americans have assumed that our hard-charging capitalism is better than the soft-hearted version found in Canada and Europe. American capitalism might be a bit crueler but it generates faster growth and higher living standards overall. Canada’s and Europe’s “welfare-state socialism” is doomed. It was a questionable assumption to begin with, relying to some extent on our collective amnesia about the first three decades after World War II, when tax rates on top incomes in the U.S. never fell below 70 percent, a larger portion of our economy was invested in education than before or since, over a third of our private-sector workers were unionized, we came up with Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor, and built the biggest infrastructure project in history, known as the interstate highway system. But then came America’s big U-turn, when we deregulated, de-unionized, lowered taxes on the top, ended welfare, and stopped investing as much of the economy in education and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Canada and Europe continued on as before. Soviet communism went bust, and many of us assumed European and Canadian “socialism” would as well. That’s why recent data from the Luxembourg Income Study Database is so shocking. The fact is, we’re falling behind. While median per capita income in the United States has stagnated since 2000, it’s up significantly in Canada and Northern Europe. Their typical worker’s income is now higher than ours, and their disposable income – after taxes – higher still. It’s difficult to make exact comparisons of income across national borders because real purchasing power is hard to measure. But even if we assume Canadians and the citizens of several European nations have simply drawn even with the American middle class, they’re doing better in many other ways. Most of them get free health care and subsidized child care. And if they lose their jobs, they get far more generous unemployment benefits than we do. (In fact, right now 75 percent of jobless Americans lack any unemployment benefits.) If you think we make up for it by working less and getting paid more on an hourly basis, think again. There, at least three weeks paid vacation as the norm, along with paid sick leave, and paid parental leave. We’re working an average of 4.6 percent more hours more than the typical Canadian worker, 21 percent more than the typical French worker, and a whopping 28 percent more than your typical German worker, according to data compiled by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. But at least Americans are more satisfied, aren’t we? Not really. According to opinion surveys and interviews, Canadians and Northern Europeans are. They also live longer, their rate of infant mortality is lower, and women in these countries are far less likely to die as result of complications in pregnancy or childbirth. But at least we’re the land of more equal opportunity, right? Wrong. Their poor kids have a better chance of getting ahead. While 42 percent of American kids born into poor families remain poor through their adult lives, only 30 percent of Britain’s poor kids remain impoverished – and even smaller percentages in other rich countries. Yes, the American economy continues to grow faster than the economies of Canada and Europe. But faster growth hasn’t translated into higher living standards for most Americans. Almost all our economic gains have been going to the top – into corporate profits and the stock market (more than a third of whose value is owned by the richest 1 percent). And into executive pay (European CEOs take home far less than their American counterparts). America’s rich also pay much lower taxes than do the rich in Canada and Europe. But surely Europe can’t go on like this. You hear it all the time: They can no longer afford their welfare state. That depends on what’s meant by “welfare state.” If high-quality education is included, we’d do well to emulate them. Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 rank near the bottom among rich countries in literacy and numeracy. That spells trouble for the U.S. economy in the future. They’re also doing more workforce training, and doing it better, than we are. The result is more skilled workers. Universal health care is another part of their “welfare state” that saves them money because healthier workers are more productive. So let’s put ideology aside. The practical choice isn’t between capitalism and “welfare-state socialism.” It’s between a system that’s working for a few at the top, or one that’s working for just about everyone. Which would you prefer?” Conservatives have to be careful not to follow a lot of their constituents over a line that has not been drawn by them, but by well moneyed interests who have been telling them how to think. Liberals have to weed out the bleeding heart that wants everything regardless of the cost. There is a happy medium, one that a lot of countries have obviously found and are using to their advantage, and just as obvious that we are failing to do the same. So the message is, wise up!