Koch brothers video on quality of life: the perverse twisting of “economic freedom”.

Charles Koch’s video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1U1Jzdghjk

What is amazing about this propaganda is that he takes the accomplishments of progressive countries and subtly infers it as a capitalist accomplishment.

The truth? In the last bastion of pure western capitalism, the USA quality of life is down, and dropping. It is directly related to corporate greed: taking jobs unnecessarily overseas, cutting salaries and benefits at home, and transferring vast amounts of wealth to the already incredibly rich. All while ignoring infrastructure, making vast profits from our children’s university educations, and effectively turning them into indentured servants.

I’m including just a few stats from different agencies worldwide. I try to use links from non-progressive websites to have the best sources: take a look! Germany is going through an “economic miracle“. The top ten spots for quality of life are all social democratic countries. The “failed states” map shows that we are on par with Greece, which is currently inundated with political unrest because apparently their elites raped their country too.

The truth is the loss of the American middle class is why our quality of life isn’t even close to that of other western nations. Currently it is the socialized democracies that provide their citizens with accessible tools like education, healthcare, quality work life and viable safety nets and pensions that are letting those nations forge ahead while the USA forgets that for a Republic, financial security IS freedom.


Insane Clown party politicians…

     I just had an epiphany: the only way the leaders of our country could get us sixty-three trillion dollars in debt and no balanced budget proposal in sight  – as a matter of fact, Obama is proposing more “stimulus”- Is because they are all insane buffoons clinging desperately to power by spending the country into oblivion. We as a people generally want a living wage and the ability to improve ours lot in life, reasonably priced health care and education, the ability to defend ourselves, and  a clean and safe environment to raise our children and live. These are basic government functions.

     We really have none of that. So, where is the money going?

     Which leads us to the insanity part. At what point does what both parties have done to our country in the last 20 years NOT constitute insane behavior?  They spent every dividend that could have come out of the end of the cold war in 1989:  political, peace, financial; the country is not one bit better for this spending…we are so far worse off it could only have taken someone dedicated to destroying America to have done a better job at it. When individuals continue a course of action that is clearly detrimental, and they do it over and over, it is a psychosis. They have lost touch with reality. The only other possibility? That they are all criminals, and we really do have ‘gangsta” government, and there is no more “American” ideal.

     We need to end the self-perpetuating power of the two political parties. National and Federal term limits, great ideas that need action. Limiting crossing over between branches of government is another. Ending the vast perks that federal and state representatives in all branches of government get is a final piece. Should we really allow the luxurious party atmosphere that pervades Washington, D.C.?  Why should reps get catered meals and cocktails, expense accounts and free trips all over the world? Why incredible health care plans and magnificent pensions for already wealthy reps, when so many in America don’t have the basics? Check out some of these links. You will be astonished, if not horrified. Really: who gets a pension for five years service in this day and age?? These are the things that have to change first, for America to get its priorities back.

Great Men

Ok…I find that I often resort to Hyperbole. Like my brother-in-law Jim M. stated in one of his columns, the word hero is overused. So I think,  is the term “Great Man.” But recently two men have passed who I think qualify…it is the end of an era with them gone. I would compare it to the day Adams and Jefferson died…or similar. Two great men, and I guarantee you’ve never heard of them, so an attempt to educate…

      Jay Hammond and Walter “Wally” Hickel. Two mavericks before it was cute, two self-made men who owe nothing to no-one except for ambition and ability. Both defined the era of Alaska statehood more than any other.  Hammond, a marine corps fighter pilot in world war II,  provided Alaskans w/the framework for the permanent fund. He believed in simple common sense, and you’ll never meet a humbler appearing ex-two time governor than this man. He, like Sarah Palin, married an Alaskan native and created a Lake Clark spread for his family that might rival  the days of  “Big Valley” or “Bonanza”…Alaska style.

     From the appearance of his hotel, the opulent grand dame of Alaska the  “Captain Cook“,  you’d think Hickel the opposite. The man who has a 10,000 bottle of wine cellar at the Crow’s Nest and has written several books barely had an education. Legend has it he arrived in state with thirty-seven cents but  a boat-load of confidence. To go from that to founding the “Institute of the North“, where world leaders traipsed into his presence long after he was out of the executive office to discuss the future of countries above the 57th parallell…Amazing.

     I won’t go into too much detail. You can hit the links and explore their biographies. Just remember as you look at the current crop of politicians hoping to get elected and then immediately kowtow to every interest that will further their selves…remember two humble men in a far off corner of our empire. Two guys who could have been prototypes for John Galt, but with the empathy and compassion that is necessary to  lead.

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut

Ok, i told my bro-in-law I’d get writing again, and what a nice topic this is: a Cotes du Roussillon Villages wine…I saw it at the Wine Discount Center on Elston, actually got an email from them here. This is, as the write-up mentions, a Top 100 wine this year…for $11.99!

     I decanted the bottle yesterday.  Like many French wines, it is a blend: Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan, the last being an old vine deignee. The first sip while eating a little ham and brie? A little too muscular, slight pepper, and even medicinal. extreme dark, obscuring coloration, heavy on the palate w/slight tannins.

     Doesn’t sound like I would like it, eh? Well i gave it an hour, and then tried it with beef, a better pairing as the first coupling was one of opportunity, while the second was by design. Mmmm. A convergence. The wine had relaxed, was much lighter on the palate (which is what I am looking for these days) while the pepper from the syrah was much more forward but in complete, absolute harmony with the other elements. This is a mouth filler without overstaying its welcome. Long finish… but round. Little tannins to speak of.

     Ok, you say that was by design, an intended result by the addition of the beef dish? No. I corked it overnight. Today around one I had lunch, and there was not a hint of difference after a day. Longevity- we like that in a wine. And according to the Spectator, this is just the beginning of Bila-Haut’s run. Drinkable 2010-2017. This, at this price? Get it by the case.

Polish Presidential Plane Crash

      No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke..the President of Poland, Lech  Kaczynski, and the Chief of Staff of the Army were killed in a plane crash in Russia.  They were on the way to a memorial service for victims of the Katyn forest massacre. Not a bad joke, but tons of irony there. And as we look, tons of irony everywhere. First, Kaczynski’s twin brother is head of the opposition party. President Obama just reneged on a deal to provide Patriot missiles to Poland in return for hosting U.S. missiles interceptors (read part of the “Star Wars plan)- reneged after the Poles greatly angered the Russians in accepting those missiles. This comes into play because the Poles, who liked George Bush and supported him with combat troops in his wars, is being treated like an out of favor suitor by the Obama administration. The Poles, and other affected Eastern Europeans, have not jumped on the Obama bandwagon.  And then of course there is why they were offered the missiles in the first place: Poland is the largest of the former Soviet satellites to embrace the West.

     So: I could write a conspiracy column. If we were still in the cold war, I would. Just remember that before the cold war, before the Soviets, the same stuff went on. Just under a different name. Now the continuation of the “Great Game” seems like fantasy.  Maybe so, but Obama has practically given Russia the green light to recoup its’ regional hegemony. Don’t be surprised if they do. Just remember that  sometimes when you think you are the clear-cut winner in an ideological struggle, the other side lies low, regroup, and strikes when the iron is hot.

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