Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"And If It Was A Secret Vote..."

Peter King (R) of New York says 150 house republicans would vote for a clean CR "If it was a secret vote."

Voice of the Mountain

by Shawn K. Inlow

The Mountain doesn't often agree with U.S. Representative Peter King (R) of New York.  But in recent comments, King has reiterated something that you, dear reader, need to appreciate.

In the October 6 New York Times article, Boehner Hews to Hard Line in Demanding Concessions from Obama, Rep. King said this:

“I’m positive that a clean C.R. would pass ... If it went on the floor tomorrow, I could see anywhere from 50 to 75 Republicans voting for it,” he added. “And if it were a secret ballot, 150.” 

Let's think about this for a moment, shall we?  King is saying that 50 to 70 republicans are brave enough to openly support a "clean" continuing resolution to end the government shutdown.  "Clean" meaning a resolution that didn't come with any Tea Party demands about defunding the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as "Obamacare."

With 200 democrats ready to vote for a clean CR, the vote would pass with only 18 republicans standing up for common sense.  Yet Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio says those votes don't exist and will not bring such a vote to the floor.

But here's the good stuff, and it's the thing The Mountain has been pointing to for the last two days:  King continues to say that 150 republicans would vote for a clean CR to fund the government "If it were a secret ballot."

Snorting Koch: Douche-Bags Trying to Purchase Government
King is admitting the obvious.  House republicans, including John Boehner, are afraid of these guys: Charles and David Koch.  The Super Koch Bros.  The billionaire funders of all things Tea-Party and the emissaries of the downfall of respectable conservatism.

Any republican caught off the Tea Party farm can expect a wholly owned Koch Bros subsidiary with unlimited funding in his next primary.  This IS happening.  This is not your dad's republican party anymore.

What we are dealing with here, and what we've been talking about this week... I promise tomorrow we're going to talk about something else... is that Charles and David Koch are literally overthrowing the government with unlimited money.  And the fight that has to happen is inside the republican party.  Either the Kochs win or the dying breed of republican moderates who used to be able to WIN elections without rigging them will out.  Someone needs to grow some balls and have that fight.

So let's go ball-hunting by looking at the U.S. House of Representatives from the area around The Mountain.

I saw Glenn Thompson from Pennsylvania's 5th district on CSPAN this morning.  Maybe Glenn would show some balls.  But looking at his campaign funding over at Open one quickly notes that Glenn lives in the fossil fuel sector and lookie there, Koch Industries is among his top ten donors.

Glenn got up on the floor of the House this morning and spewed some shit about being a good scout and leaving the world better for those who come later.  Then he read two letters, one from Jefferson County and one from DuBois about the evils of Obamacare.


I was looking at Bill Shuster's page and see that the leaf doesn't fall too far from the tree.  He's setting himself up nicely as the chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he's raking in contributions from the transportation sector.  He's got it too good and I don't think we're gonna see Congressman Shuster pick a fight with the Super Koch Bros.

You just can't get good help these days.

I wonder if Mr. Thompson or Mr. Shuster would vote in secret for a clean continuing resolution to fund the government.  What would their position be if they knew the Koch Bros wouldn't find out?  I wonder if they'd care about the damage to my savings and pension as the market tanks because of the Koch Bros greedy aims.  I wonder, is Pennsylvania's republican delegation a pack of men or cowards?

I'm betting on cowards.  Or henchmen.  Each and every one of them.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blame the Republicans (But Mostly the Koch Bros)

The Men Behind the Curtain: Charles and David Koch

Voice of the Mountain 

by Shawn K. Inlow

The Mountain wants you to look at the two men pictured above.  You should know them.  They are Charles and David Koch, two billionaire brothers who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps by inheriting their companies from their dad and who are, according to reportage this weekend, almost entirely behind the republican funding and planning for a government shutdown and possible default.

Blame the republicans.  When the market goes tits-up and my pension goes flat and my savings disappear... Blame the republicans and their billionaire paymasters.  It's all right there in black and attributed white.

First, you need to read THIS EYE OPENING PIECE from the weekend New York Times.  It features republicans, in their own words, gunning for this manufactured crisis for months and finally getting what they want.  Read that and then come back and we'll talk, okay?

The Mountain posted yesterday in an uncharacteristic rant where I smelled the rat that is modern republicanism and heard the insipid whack-job Tea Partyism.  I smelled the reek of oil billionaires, but I just couldn't see them until that NYT story pulled back the curtain.  Now there can be no doubt as to who is to blame for the latest crazy republican political gambit.

These people are so desperate to deny President Obama his signature legislative accomplishment (and millions of Americans a shot for once at affordable health insurance) that they would do anything - hurt anyone - spend hundreds of millions of dollars "educating" the public and coercing republican congressmen and running Tea-Party Crazies against that odd, beloved endangered species, the "moderate republican."

There was a day where I could walk a mile with a republican, but those days are coming to an end, largely because the republican party has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries.  Let's call it what it is, because it is the most compelling case for what is wrong with government:  Pure Corruption.  Vulgar capitalist takeover of the democracy all dressed up in red-white-and-blue bunting.

Freedom indeed.  This is about owning the government.  And the two men pictured above are the worms at the heart of the apple.  They need to be hunted down and tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.  Charles and David Koch:  Public Enemies #1.  Can we get a CIA deck of cards with that pair of aces on the front? 

Man.  The Mountain is feeling all militant.  I gotta go take a sedative.  But seriously, someone oughtta go to one of their big parties and get 'em with a cream pie.

What's worse is that The Mountain feels like we all are being used as dupes here.  The issue isn't really the debt.  Obamacare is just a foil for something bigger.  These are just foils so that you and I, decent people, set against each other's throats.
Sneetches: Stars Upon Thars
McBean: "You can't teach a Sneetch!"

It is the Dr. Seuss story of "The Sneetches" and the Koch Bros are Sylvester McMonkey McBean, who emerges at the end of the day with all the money while leaving his bewildered victims changed forever. 

Dr. Seuss had this covered.  And in his loveable way he drew us this picture.

No, there is something much bigger going on and that is the corporate ownership, or freedom from the democracy.

Freedom to do as the Koch Bros please.

Freedom for the Koch Bros to keep all the money.

Freedom for the Koch Bros to do anything they want because they are powerful enough to do it.

This is not about you and me except by the way the vitriolic argument frees the Koch Bros.  THEY are the shit stirrers.  We are just the stick they use to stir the pot.

And I'm not down with this old canard I hear from my friends:  "A pox on both democratic and republican houses!"

Bullshit.  I'm calling bullshit.  Because generally speaking the democrats, even with their problems which I and regular walking around republicans can point to with fervor, want to be helpful.   The republicans want to destroy, deny, negate.  And if republicans won't say it themselves (which many do in the NY Times article above) I do not believe for a moment that the Koch Bros could be that coy.

To my conservative friends.  You have to know that the Koch Bros are sewing the seeds of your discontent.  And by destabilizing that which we've come to depend upon, by corrupting the America we grew up in with their ferocious capitalism, our lives become more precarious.

I'm worried about my savings.  I'm worried about the savages of Wall Street and the wolves of Big Money being left to run wild on my state pension plan.

Listen.  The debt is an issue.  Health care and foreign policy and everything else are legitimate issues that affect our lives.  They do.  But what is going on here, The Mountain feels down to its foothills, is something much bigger.  Much darker.  I invite you to pull back the curtain.

I leave the last word with a good man.  A good journalist.  Have a listen.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Politicians At Play with MY Savings

5 Miles High Over Central Pennsylvania

Voice of the Mountain

by Shawn K. Inlow

Politics.  You know, life was going along just fine and I'd managed to turn off the teevee and noted a markedly happier mood came over my spirit.  I actually quit watching the news for - maybe a month - and had relied solely on what I'd overheard or what managed to seep in.  

But there is a new crisis in our nation's capital and the echo and rumor and hearsay got my attention enough to think about this here government shutdown and what it all means... and what it's going to mean.

What it's going to mean is that my life savings is in jeopardy.  I don't know about you, but here's why The Mountain is awake today.  Politicians are now screwing with MY savings.  Probably yours too.

To explain.  Over the years, I did the responsible thing by saving as much money as I could for as long as I could.  One of the first rules of wealth is that you put back a portion of your income.  While I am not wealthy, I have enough to get by on.  I was able to retire early - at the age of 49 - in part because I'd saved a decent portion of my earnings and invested it in a very conservative market index fund.

I remember the last time that Congress - no, let's put the blame where it strongly belongs, shall we? - Republicans and particularly those of the Idiot Tea Party variety whose breathtaking combination of stupidity and selfish ambition can ruin anything -  I remember the last time they decided they would not raise the debt ceiling.  This is something that never had been controversial before.  The debt ceiling under Reagan, for instance, was raised 11 times.  

The result was that the market - you know, that market where I have put my life's savings - jittered like a teenager at a sock hop until the American debt rating was reduced... COSTING US BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.  In effect, the idiot republicans (and I don't see many right now that don't qualify) raised the American mortgage rate.  And the market did it's dance and I lost a pile of dough.

Nice going, jerks.  That's MY money you're dicking with.  We have already SEEN the result of this kind of (lack of) governing.  So why, why, why are there douche-bags like Ted Cruz, republican senator from WHERE?  TEXAS! of course, who get to run riot on issues that matter.

What we're dealing with now is a government shutdown, which is one thing, but what's coming right up is the debt ceiling again.  These idiot republicans are going to crash this car again and it's going to cost me my savings.  Maybe all of it this time.

You know, I'd heard a couple days ago that there were reports of gun-shots on capital hill.  And you wanna know what my reaction was?  I was surprised by it myself because it was a vile thought.  Seriously, the first thing that popped into my mind was, "Serves 'em right."  And you wonder why they have to have their political conventions behind heavily guarded barricades.

I found myself thinking about all these mass-shootings and thinking the real tragedy was that, at least, if you're gonna go off the edge, why kill innocent victims?  Why not go after the cause of the disease.  Why not go after Lloyd Blankfein?  A Koch Brother?  Rupert Murdoch or any of his pack of dogs?  Jamie Dimon?  How about a Walton?  There are any number of Grey Men who are doing harm the world over and we haven't even started on Big Oil executives yet.

See, these crazy bastards don't think about the people they are hurting.  They are thinking about themselves.  Which places most republicans (Sorry, can't capitalize it any more.) in the same boat.

Listen.  I really never thought I'd be in this space telling republicans not to screw with the market.  But here I am.  There are LOTS of things wrong with the markets.  The biggest criminals on Earth live on Wall Street and nothing's being done about it.  But it is the only game in town where it comes to savings that work well enough to get by on.  And believe you me, there are fat cats on Wall Street who lust after those federal, state and local pension plans right now and they want to rape them just the way the did the housing market in the last economic collapse, so our savings are at risk to begin with.

About Debt

So you and I and the taxi driver, by virtue of our savings, our pension plans, etcetera, OWN the U.S. debt that these Tea Party Idiots keep blathering on about.  IN FACT, the largest holder of American debt is ... Wait for it... Americans.  You can read and learn about that simple fact HERE.

China is the largest single foreign owner of U.S. debt, but I - we - Americans - have put more money on the barrel head betting on the full faith and credit of the United States of America than the Chinese have by a long shot.

So why, why, WHY have the idiot republicans set themselves so desperately at wrecking our bets?  I have to think it's because they're stupid because any other way of explaining it would be deeply shady at best or nefarious at worst.  I'd rather be dealing with the stupid than the evil.  You can remediate stupid, but Evil...

If it turns out we're dealing with the evil?  Then I have no qualms about setting all those broke homeowners whose savings have been pissed away in this political fight loose on these assholes.  Then they can finally meet Jesus in the twisted 2nd Amendment Polish firing squad of their own making.

The Mountain does not espouse violence.  But I have the feeling that these fools, given a choice between a sensible solution and doing harm to prove a point, are incapable of doing right by us.  Rob me of my pension and savings that I worked all my life for and you will have a wildcat - maybe thousands of wildcats - on your hands.

Then you pricks won't be able to pass gun control legislation fast enough.

Now Hear THIS!!