Tag Archives: Koch Brothers

Dr. Monica Wehby, the Hollow Candidate

22 Aug

Monica WehbyThe 2014 mid-term elections have conservatives salivating, and the Tea Party holds out hope they can gets folks to drink their rancid brew. With many Congressional Democrats retiring and a handful of red-state Democrats seen as highly vulnerable, the GOP is working hard to retake the Senate. If they succeed, President Obama’s final two years in office will make his first six look like a productive picnic. Despite the friendly playing field, conservative operatives are trying not to take anything for granted, noting the many deeply flawed candidates that have cost them probable seats in the past two cycles. (Remember these charm free folks: Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle?) To hedge their bets, they’re looking at less likely pickups and dumping huge amounts of money on some long-shots. The amount of money being poured into GOP hopeful Monica Wehby’s campaign is disturbing. I suspect there are many countries that run on budgets that are much less than what the Koch brothers are pouring into campaigns such as Wehby’s.

The support for Wehby is perplexing. She’s running against Senator Jeff Merkley, the first man to receive the Marilyn Epstein Pro-Choice Champion Award from the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, who is finishing his first term. He’s popular, effective, and honest, but as a Freshman may be vulnerable. Despite the conventional wisdom, Oregon is NOT a blue state, but rather a very purple state with a slight Democratic edge in statewide races. The Koch Brothers and their ilk (The top 1%) have decided that this makes Oregon a potential pickup, so they found themselves a candidate.

Sadly, they did a worse job of vetting their pick than Sen. John McCain (R – Angrytown) did when he chose half-term half-wit Sarah Palin as a running mate. Dr. Monica Wehby is a surgeon and a political newcomer. In a “throw the bums out” year with Congressional approval ratings at an all-time low, this telegenic candidate seems promising. Until she tries to pick a position on, well, anything. Sadly, a number of advertisements against Senator Merkley  are already in full swing.

Before winning the GOP primary, Wehby made headlines for her history of stalking ex-boyfriends. She spun that as proof that she’s a determined person who would work hard to get what she wants in the Senate. The two different and independent stalking cases are pretty serious and my first thought was: “Oy! I only hope she does not have a gun on her.”  She also gained some notoriety for fleeing press conferences and debates once she’d used up her carefully crafted talking points. When pressed about LGBT rights in a TV interview, she kept talking about marriage equality, even though the question was about anti-discrimination laws. She says she’s pro-life but would support a woman’s right to choose while celebrating laws like “partial birth” abortion bans. She says she supports equal pay for women while saying that laws that actually enforce equal pay are bad because they would make employers hire more men to avoid lawsuits. Really. Stammering, stunned, and wide-eyed, she clearly isn’t comfortable taking a position that hasn’t been fed to her by the Kochs and their cronies. Again, I am reminded of Charles Durning’s performance of Dance A Little Sidestep from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Suddenly that Koch money is showing up on the airwaves. Wehby’s new ads are everywhere, trying to make her sound like a smart fiscal conservative. She attacks Sen. Merkley for voting to raise the debt ceiling and for opposing a balanced budget amendment. With a homey but deeply flawed analogy between the Federal budget and household money management, she manages to avoid any real fiscal facts. Raising the debt ceiling was critical to avoiding another, worse financial meltdown if the US were seen to ignore its obligations. The debt that Sen. Merkley wisely voted to keep paying is mostly the result of the fiscal ineptitude of George W. Bush and two pointless, costly wars. The balanced budget amendment is a nightmarish concoction that would hamstring the government. Economists both liberal and conservative decry it as a disaster that should be avoided at all costs. As an experienced legislator, Sen. Merkley knows this. I continue to be shocked and mortified that such falsehoods are allowed to be aired!  I know that in Georgia the Koch money is spreading lies and attacking Democrat hopeful Michelle Nunn. Koch money is fueling elections across the entire country.

It’s clear that Dr. Wehby is intended to be the anti-Merkley. That’s certainly true. Sen Merkley is an experienced, talented legislator with a deep understanding of the issues and a true passion for the needs of Oregon’s citizens. Monica Wehby is a shallow political puppet pursuing a Senate seat just because. Oregon’s choice this November is clear.

Update: Wow! I’m rather appalled and nonplussed to see Ben West doing a commercial supporting Wehby. Mr. West, I’m curious as to how you would support Wehby when she was NOT pro-marriage equality until after it was a fait accompli?  I’m also curious that she was not at Gay Pride nor has she attended a Basic Rights Oregon function?  In the commercial you assert that she is for all families, but it seems rather obvious that she is only for white wealthy families, and now you her token gay friend.

Number 5 Bigot of the Year 2012: Mike Huckabee

27 Dec
Number 5 Bigot of 2012

Number 5 Bigot of 2012

Let’s start this year’s Bigot of the Year awards with a big thank you to all the readers who submitted nominations. We had nearly 20 well-qualified horrors make the short list, many with multiple recommendations. After careful consideration, TSM is ready to roll out the bottom five! I’ve paid special attention to those people and organizations with significant power, privilege, and influence and abuse it to oppress their fellow human beings.

At number 5, we have one of the newest entrants into Hate Radio. Since leaving the Arkansas governor’s mansion in 2007, Mike Huckabee has been a thorn in reasonable America’s side. A bloviating gasbag of toxic opinions, he has flirted with other political aspirations, always deciding instead to earn big bucks for spewing bile and demeaning as many groups of Americans as possible. In less than a year on the air with his own show, Huckabee has been the go-to place for certified hate groups like the Family Research Council to peddle their noxious ideas and work to sustain a white hetero supremacist paradigm.

Huckabee has plenty of those on his own as well. He was the creator of Chik-Fil-A Day, rewarding the sawdust sandwich empire for its homophobia and anti-equality stands. He lashed into  President Obama for supporting marriage equality. He was an early supporter of Todd Akin after his horrific rape comments. He loves to blame the LGBT community for every disaster that strikes. Pushing him over the top of his fellow “personalities” were his comments in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Huckabee was the first and loudest to propose that school prayer and teaching “intelligent design” would have prevented the shootings. What a charm-free ball of crazy!

Dishonorable mention at #5 goes to five old straight white guys who burned up huge amounts of money trying to meddle with this year’s elections. Karl “0% Success Rate” Rove, Sheldon “It’s MY Money” Adelson, David and Charles “Pour the Tea” Koch, and Donald “Birther #1”  Racist Trump poured hundreds of millions of dollars into post-Citizens United Super PACs, pushing the farthest right agendas. Perhaps we should be grateful that they proved that even that much money can’t buy success, but just imagine all the good they could have done if they had invested in social justice rather than selfish arrogance…

Bigot of the Week Award: December 14, Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature

14 Dec
Bigot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

Well fetch my smelling salts. Petulant Republicans in Michigan rammed through anti-union legislation in their lame duck session. Even though they will maintain their slim majority in January, supporters of the bill were defeated in November, giving it no chance to pass in the new session. Desperate to gut union power, the soon-to-be-gone legislators colluded with Gov. Rick Snyder to pass the so-called “Right to Work” bill, marking another huge blow to workers.

The bill is modeled on a plan put forth by the Koch brothers, which tells us all we really need to know. Speaking in support of Michigan unions, President Obama wisely called it a “right to work for less” bill. Before the election, Gov. Snyder had maintained that the draft legislation went too far, saying he would not support it. He suddenly changed his tune, championing the odious measure and signing it in record time.

Legislators maintained that the bill was necessary to keep unions from abusing their power in the public sector. Their hypocrisy is revealed in every step of their actions, however. It includes restrictions on private sector unions. It exempts two large public sector unions, fire fighters and police. Is it a coincidence that both of these groups are more likely than other union members to support Republicans? These actions were clearly nothing more than an aggressive political move.

Dishonorable mention this week goes to a regular recipient of the BWA, Justice Antonin Scalia (Thank you to LGBT ally Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this).  As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear two marriage equality cases, Scalia reiterated his odious opposition to equality. Asked by a law student about his regular comparisons of homosexuality to bestiality, Scalia repeated and emphasized them. Curiously, the media — who often seem to enjoy his theatrical antics from the bench — are now pondering his viciousness, noting his nasty, behind the times irrelevance.

REMINDER: TSM is still accepting Bigot of the Year nominations. We’ll spend the last week of 2012 recognizing the most horrific and hypocritical behavior of the year. Please submit your suggestions by December 23 for full consideration and stay tuned for the winners!

Hero of the Week Award: November 9, American Voters

9 Nov

Hero of the Week

Despite the billions of (often anonymous–thank you Citizens United) dollars poured into this year’s elections, democracy prevailed. It did so largely because millions of people participated in the democratic process, voting their hearts and consciences despite the bleating ads and cynical lies.

The racist and oppressive attempts to intimidate voters and suppress turnout had a splendidly ironic effect. Turnout — especially for early voting — was high and the minority communities targeted specifically refuted the attempts. Many exit polls indicated that Latino and African American voters specifically made the effort to vote — even when disenchanted by their choices — to reinforce their constitutional right to vote in the face of efforts to disenfranchise them. Almost without exception, these voters repudiated the Tea Party right and supported the President. While the final outcome might not have changed, results in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida (at least) were helped enormously by this turnout.

And what a result! Not only did the Tea Party suffer major defeats (Goodbye, Reps. Walsh and West!) but the overall results were progressive. The new Senators are almost universally to the left of the people they replace, including wonderful people-powered winners like Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren. Women repudiated the Republican attacks on their minds and bodies, demonstrating a gender gap and voting power never seen before. Thanks in part to the President’s bold leadership, gay rights — which should never be put to a vote but sadly still are — saw unprecedented victories with marriage equality ruling the day.

Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and Citizens United poured huge sums of money into this election. They lost the top of the ticket, failed to take the Senate, and lost ground in the House. Ballot measures around the county routinely favored the people over corporate power and greed. We have a long way to go, and the President — despite his mandate — has a hostile House to contend with, but the message is clear and the direction is sound.  I am enormously relieved to see that a platform of hate and marginalization of so many people failed!

Walker and Koch Brothers: Pollute Wisconsin

14 Apr

Walker and Koch: Polluting Wisconsin

Just when you think you can not despise Scott Walker and his bed fellows: the Koch brothers and David Prosser anymore than you already do, we continue to find out information that makes them even more nefarious. At this point, most people are painfully aware of the deals Walker made with the Koch Brothers to crush public employee unions, but now we also know that Prosser and Walker worked to allow Koch’s  Georgia Pacific paper plants to pollute Wisconsin by pouring thousands of pounds of phosphorus into the water.  A report by the state government showed that Georgia Pacific is responsible for about 9% of total phosphorus pollution in the Lower Fox River near Green Bay. People of Wisconsin, let us all hope you can recall Walker.  Click here to see the full article.

Cracks in the Teapot

30 Mar

One of the many Cracks

Yes, for those of us that are pro-women, pro-equality and anti-hate, have been long aware of the many many cracks within the Tea Party– can we say Paul LePage, Michele Bachmann, Christine O’Donnell, Sarah Palin, and the many other nut jobs. Thankfully, a new study reveals that 51% of self-identified conservatives do not strongly identify with the Tea Party.  As we learn more and more about the Koch Brothers funding many of the Tea Party candidates and the paranoia of the Tea Party itself, let us all hope this will be the last Teapot Dome Scandal and that we will start learning from history, despite the anti-intellectual stand of Bachmann et al. Any bets that Palin, and the majority of the Tea Party have no clue what the Teapot Dome Scandal was?  Do we need a literacy test for elected officials? Click here to read the full article.

Randy Randy, The Model of Family Values…

24 Mar

Hypocrite Extraordinaire

Randy Hopper (R-WI), is proving to be consistent with the GOP’s platform of Family Values. As with our Newt, Hopper is showing Americans how glamorous hypocrisy can be and how dangerous marriage equality is.  Yes, it is obvious that teachers, labor unions, firefighters, and the gays are to blame for Wisconsin’s woes.  Scott Walker (brought to you by the Koch Brothers) has told America that the state of Wisconsin has no money, thus they can’t pay those fat cats (teachers et al.).  How very strange then that Hopper’s mistress was hired by the state on the advice of Scott Walker’s cabinet as a “communications liaison,” and that  her salary is 35% higher than her predecessor’s.  If people in Wisconsin and the rest of the United States are not paying attention to this, then shame on you.  We all should be outraged. It is time for a recall!  Please share this and expose Hopper and the GOP!

Wednesday Word of the Week: March 23

23 Mar

Bargaining, not bullying

This week’s word is: BARGAINING

the negotiation of the terms of a transaction or agreement – WordNet

Anyone who doubts the cynical political motives of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his ilk should be required to recite that definition 100 times. Walker (and other Republican Governors like him in thought but so far unlike him in success) maintains that public sector unions are so powerful that they run roughshod over state budgets. He and the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate created the union-busting bill pretending that it was necessary as a way to balance the state’s budget. The core of the bill eliminates or restricts collective bargaining activities for public sector employees.

Before the odious bill was rammed through in a manner so dubious that a judge has already halted its implementation, working conditions for public sector employees in Wisconsin (and Indiana, and Ohio, and teachers in Idaho) were mostly governed by a collective bargaining agreement.

COLLECTIVE

involving all the members of a group – Macmillan Dictionary Online

BARGAINING

the negotiation of the terms of a transaction or agreement – WordNet

AGREEMENT

a decision about what to do, made by two or more people, groups, or organizations – Macmillan Dictionary Online

That’s right, according to Wisconsin Republicans, unions held all the cards because of a process that involved all parties to the negotiation. A process of negotiation. A process resulting in a decision made by all the parties together. The very definitions of these words put the lie to Walker’s claims.

If the public employees’ unions were being so unreasonable that the budget was truly at risk, then they would be hindering the negotiations. The state has the power to call an impasse and set its terms. If the unions don’t agree, they can strike. That’s what collective bargaining is all about. If Walker were interested in setting a hard line for what the actual budget could sustain, this is the course he would take. Instead, the bill clearly nullifies all three of these concepts neutering the workers’ ability to have any direct control over their working environment.

So if these anti-union actions aren’t about balancing the budget, what are they about? The answer is simple and chilling. These bills are all about political and commercial power. Walker and his nasty brethren are part of the wave of tea that stained America last fall. Funded by the likes of Karl Rove and the Koch brothers, these politicians are interested in shifting the already imbalanced investment in political campaigns even further to the Right. By crippling unions, which traditionally donate just Left of center, a major funding source for Democrats dries up. Scott Walker is willing to scuttle fair labor practices and reasonable benefits for thousands of workers just to make sure he can get re-elected.

Fortunately, America seems to be jolted out of its recent complacency by this mad power grab. Democrats and union leaders are joining forces to recall Republican senators in Wisconsin and shift the power in that state a bit out of Walker’s hands. So far, those efforts look promising. Governors and Legislatures across the country are watching to see what the backlash will be. Let us hope that it will be serious and sustained.

As Billy Bragg reminds us, there is power in a union. Without a formal agreement, negotiations mean nothing, as the British coal miners learned in the 1960s. Collective bargaining leverages the work of few to benefit many. In an age of increasing corporate greed and a shrinking middle class, we must rise up together and shame those who would silence us. With perseverance, the workers can insist on their rights. We can punish politicians who strike deals and pass bills to harm us.

Let’s hope that the recalls in Wisconsin work out for the people, not the politicians, and that a few Republican state senators suddenly find themselves practicing another kind of bargaining altogether.

Shame On You Scott Walker…

20 Mar

The Picture Says It All

Thank you, to Bruce Liles for sending me this link on TSM. As you will hear in the video, Bruce really is channeling our Woody Guthrie. Here is the song written by Bruce Liles and click here to see his blog. It is nice to see a fellow blogger with a sense of history, and not histery as Michele Bachmann knows it. Let’s hope the Power of the People will Prevail and Walker will be sent walking.

Defending NPR: Why We as a Nation Should be Outraged…

12 Mar

Save NPR

I’m sure most of you remember the attack on PBS/NPR during the George W. years, when W. planted partisan operatives at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in an attempt to challenge journalists who didn’t hew to the party line–my that seems ethical (?).  I am sure that “the right-wing machine would thrill if our sole sources of information were Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and ads paid for by the Koch Brothers – it walks into a trap perpetrated by one of the sleaziest operatives ever to climb out of a sewer.”  There are so few reliable sources of news right now, although I am seeing a lot of good stuff coming from blogs (DailyKos), we have to do everything we can to save PBS/NPR.  Here is a great article from Truthout.  Please take the time to read it. Again, might I please ask the House of Representatives to stop wasting tax payer money and instead look to create jobs and decrease our homeless population.  Your jobs are to protect all citizens, not just the wealthy ones that stuff your greedy pockets with cash.

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