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Archive for September, 2018

Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains is a wonderfully researched and written book. It comes from a different point-of-view when it comes to Charles Koch and his war against US Democracy and the United States Constitution. MacLean views the Koch revolution. which is really a revolution of billionaires against the masses and against the US Constitution, through the eyes of Professor James Buchanan, a noted economist who developed an intellectual framework through which the Koch brothers operate.

Koch’s billions now control the Republican Party, most of the US Supreme Court, the US Senate, the US house of representatives, the Cato Institute, George Mason University, the Federalist Society, the Tea Party, as well as exercising massive influence on other universities, think tanks, FoxNews, the Wall Street Journal, judges, etc…. via his billions.

Both Buchanan and Koch see the mass of people as lesser creatures unworthy of making intelligent decisions about the role of government, their finances, how many toxins should be allowed in the air, ground and water, etc…. Therefore, only Koch and Buchanan know what is best, at least in their minds.

Both Buchanan and Koch push for economic freedom, which can be defined as anything any billionaire and or corporation wants to do in the name of profits. Democracy is an impediment to profits because those lesser creatures use democratic means, i.e. their right to vote, to curb the economic freedoms of corporations and their billionaire owners to give the masses such things as breast cancer; polluted rivers, air and groundwater; cause their babies to be born without brains and other deformities, rob them of their Constitutional rights, etc…

In other words, democracy stops the billionaires from doing everything they want to do in the name of economic freedom. Koch really wants the golden rule; he who has the gold makes the rules. Among other underhanded tactics, Koch engaged in a campaign of lies and fraud to convince citizens that big time voter fraud was occurring when it is not. Thus, Koch developed a rationale to push his Republican Party to curb voting rights, with such things as voter ID laws. Professor James Buchanan developed that idea in the name of economic freedom, and Charles Koch adopted it.

And so the Republican Party war against democracy continues as they push unnecessary voter I.D. laws, and pack US courts at all levels with judges who have benefited from Koch money in one way or another. Bret Kavanaugh is the latest example. John Roberts was an earlier example. Neil Gorsuch is a more recent example.

As NPR commented, “The Federalist Society is a hugely powerful, nationwide organization of conservative lawyers which will be instrumental in helping President Trump pick the next Supreme Court nominee.” Koch has poured millions into the Federalist Society. The result is Kavanaugh.

What does Kavanaugh support? He believes that corporations are people although nothing in the US Constitution nor in the writings of any of the founding fathers even remotely suggests that. Kavanaugh believes corporations spending money is free speech, and must be protected at all costs, even though nothing can be found suggesting this in the US Constitution or in any of the writings of the founding fathers.

In other words, Kavanaugh has been nominated by President Trump and Charles Koch to alter the meaning of the United States Constitution in a way completely abhorrent to the founding fathers. And yet, Kavanaugh claims he is an original intent jurist, which means he decides legal issues based on what the founding fathers thought, and nothing could be further from the truth. That, of course, is a lie.

Kavanaugh has been picked by Charles Koch and Donald Trump so he will alter the meaning of the US Constitution in favor of the billionaires and at the expense of the vast majority of US citizens. He intends to curtail the constitutional rights of the masses by extending greater rights to the corporations owned by billionaires.

This is precisely what Charles Koch wants. He wants government for the billionaires and against the common good.

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Charles Koch wants economic freedom. He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to reach that end. Hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to universities, politicians, think tanks, political action committees, the Federalist Society, and on and on in order to influence public debate on issues dear to himself and his business, Koch Industries. The money has also gone to elect politicians true to his cause. But what does economic freedom mean?

Economic freedom means Koch wants billionaires and their corporations to be able to take people’s property by using the power of government to force property owners to sell their land so that the Koch pipeline, otherwise known as the KXL pipeline, can be laid.

So what if you develop breast or other cancers because of industrial toxins Koch Industries puts in the air, land and water? Let economic freedom ring by letting the market decide the issue.

Child labor laws are an impediment to economic freedom and must be done away with.

Health and safety laws impede the economic freedom of billionaire investors and must be eliminated.

Rivers that are so polluted they catch fire with a match clearly demonstrate economic freedom. Policies must be enacted to ensure this economic freedom, which corporations once had, and which included the rivers and lakes of fires.

Not being able to pollute lakes so badly with industrial waste you can smell them for thirty miles impedes the economic freedom of billionaire investors.

Workers who combine their primary asset (their labor) into labor unions in order to bargain for higher compensation and better working conditions are impediments to economic freedom, but billionaires who combine their primary asset (their billions) into unions (corporations) ensuring they have less competition and greater profit are the most important of economic freedoms.

Koch’s actions demonstrate that he believes billionaires who control the mechanisms of government and both major political parties know what is best for everyone else, especially if their name is Charles Koch while the collective political actions of the woefully ignorant and lesser humans of the 99 percent to have their democratically elected government enact laws governing issues such as the above is frightfully silly.

Koch wants the market, which is regulated by billionaires and their corporations, to determine how polluted our air and water should be rather than allowing the people within a democracy to decide that issue with their votes.

Our current weak Wall Street regulations curb corporate profits and are therefore an impingement on economic freedom according to Koch’s logic. The real logic is that Koch wants Wall Street to have the legal rights to rip off everybody in the 99 percent and redistribute massive amounts of income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves. And let the market (Wall Street decides the market rules) decide who the winners and losers will be. The reverse of this, of course, is to have freedom from Wall Street manipulation, and that freedom is something Charles Koch does not want the 99 percent to have.

Income inequality has grown as Koch’s vision as grown. The top 1 percent once received about 8 percent of the total income produced in the USA in 1980, and now they steal anywhere from 24 to 37 percent. That’s what Koch’s economic freedom has brought us. His economic freedom has only been achieved by turning our democracy into a plutocracy, which is a government of, by and for the rich only.

Actions speak louder than words. According to Nancy MacLean, in her book Democracy In Chains, Koch’s well funded proxy army used the threat of “…well-funded primary challenges” to force Republican Party elected officials to do his “…bidding or Lose their seats.” Koch’s well-financed proxy “was pushing out radical right laws ready to bring to the floor in every state through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was selling those laws through the seemingly independent but centrally funded (by Koch) and operationally linked groups of the State Policy Network. it was leveraging the anger of local Tea Party groups (founded with Koch money) to move the legislative agenda of Americans for Prosperity (funded by Koch) and Freedom Works (funded by Koch). Its state affiliates were energizing voter turnout with deceitful direct mail campaigns. Its elected allies were shutting down the federal government; in effect, using its employees and the millions who rely on it as hostages to get what they otherwise could not-and much, much more.”

Former US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, himself a wealthy man, once remarked, “We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Our democracy is in shambles with both major political parties being controlled by concentrated wealth. We’ve been attacked by the Koch brothers, by the major news organizations, and by the billionaires who control the Democratic Party. They are winning this class war because of their financial clout to control politicians, such as Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden, and their financial clout to determine the information we receive from the corporate news media, public and private universities, think tanks, and other sources of information.

The Koch brothers, however, are in the vanguard in waging both class warfare, and war against our United States democracy. The idea that people can limit his economic freedom, and Wall Street’s freedom to plunder and rape the 99 percent, is a horror to him. He does not know that the US government has been created for the common good,” as former President John Adams once wrote, “and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.”

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Well, here we go again. A viciously anti-Democracy, anti-US Constitution Supreme Court nominee named Brett Kavanaugh can easily be stopped from wreaking more havoc to the US Constitution by the outnumbered Senate Democrats. And they will not do it.

The Democrats simply do not need to show up for the full Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, now that US Senator John McCain has died. Article I, section 5 of the Constitution requires that a quorum (51 senators) be present for the Senate to conduct business.

The Republicans hold 50 Senate seats, and the Democrats plus their independent allies, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, hold forty-nine. If all the Democrats show solidarity and simply do not show up for business, as usual, Kavanaugh cannot be confirmed to sit as a justice on the Supreme Court.

However, it is highly unlikely the Wall Street controlled Democratic National Committee will allow this because Wall Street executives want Kavanaugh on the court. Kavanaugh says he is an original intent jurist. That means as a judge, Kavanaugh claims to rule on issues as the founding fathers intended. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is a liar.

The billionaires who control both major political parties want a supreme court justice who is dishonest enough to say that the founding fathers of the United States believed corporations are people, trade treaties are not trade agreements, and money is free speech.

None of our founding fathers uttered such a thing in any of their writings. So all of the conservative supreme court justices (John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch) are simply lying in order to alter the meaning of the US Constitution.

This fundamental alteration based on lies gives the billionaires via their corporations’ significantly more constitutional rights while simultaneously diminishing the Constitutional rights of the vast majority of United States citizens, the 99.5 percent.

In the meantime, the US corporate news media, on behalf of their corporate and billionaire advertisers and owners, are keeping the eyes of the 99 percent on the abortion issue rather than the increase of constitutional rights the billionaires will achieve with the successful nomination of Kavanaugh and his lies, and the lies of the other conservative justices.

So do not expect the billionaires who control the Democratic Party to do the right thing, stopping a quorum and stopping Kavanaugh in the process, by uniting 49 US senators behind a common cause to prevent the US Constitution from the further perversion that Kavanaugh will insist upon with lies.

Expect income and wealth inequality to continue to grow as the billionaires continue to control the United States Supreme Court.

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