The Koch Brothers vs. God

To blaspheme the earth is now the dreadfulest sin
To blaspheme the earth is now the dreadfulest sin

Fascinating story about a new line of anti-environmental attacks from the Kochs, and the ensuing counter-attack from religious people. We only have on Earth, let’s keep it habitable, and not exploit it for money for a few, leaving our planet despoiled.

At another rally focused on fossil fuels a year earlier in Richmond, religion was front and center.

In December 2016, gospel music stars descended on a local community center in Richmond’s East Highland Park neighborhood. Hundreds of residents from throughout the area had answered the call to attend a concert marketed as an opportunity for enlightenment, both spiritual and environmental.

As a sea of hands waved through the air as eyes closed in prayer, what many in the crowd didn’t know was that they were the target of a massive propaganda campaign. One of the event’s sponsors was a fossil-fuel advocacy group called Fueling U.S. Forward, an outfit supported by Koch Industries, the petrochemicals, paper, and wood product conglomerate founded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The gospel program was designed to highlight the benefits of oil and natural gas production and its essential role in the American way of life. During a break in the music, a panel discussion unfolded about skyrocketing utility costs. The lobbyists and businesspeople on the panel presented a greater reliance on fossil fuels — billed as cheap, reliable energy sources — as the fix. Later, a surprise giveaway netted four lucky attendees the opportunity to have their power bills paid for them.

The event was one big bait and switch, according to environmental experts and local activists. Come for the gospel music, then listen to us praise the everlasting goodness of oil and gas. Supporting this sort of pro-oil-and-gas agenda sprinkled over the songs of praise, they say, would only worsen the pollution and coastal flooding that come with climate change, hazards that usually hit Virginia’s black residents the hardest.

“The tactic was tasteless and racist, plain and simple,” says Kendyl Crawford, the Sierra Club of Richmond’s conservation program coordinator. “It’s exploiting the ignorance many communities have about climate change.”

Rev. Wilson likens that gospel concert to the Biblical story of Judas accepting 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. Like many African Americans in Virginia, he initially didn’t connect environmental policy with what he calls the “institutional racism” — think racial profiling, lack of economic opportunity, etc. — that can plague black communities nationwide. Now he considers “the sea level rising or the air quality in the cities” another existential threat.

So in response to the Koch Brothers’ attempt to sway their flocks, Wilson and others affiliated with black churches in Virginia have channeled their outrage into a new calling: climate advocacy. For Wilson, environmentalism has become a biblical mission.

(click here to continue reading The Koch Brothers vs. God.)

Ultimate Tea Party Irony

All the Tea Party’s accusations of Obama being Marxist have to be viewed in a different light now that the truth of their origins comes out1

Lifes short enough to remain optimistic

The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR. The secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure.

The comrades were good to the Kochs. Today Koch Industries has grown into the second-largest private company in America. With an annual revenue of $100 billion, the company was just $6.3 billion shy of first place in 2008. Ownership is kept strictly in the family, with the company being split roughly between brothers Charles and David Koch, who are worth about $20 billion apiece and are infamous as the largest sponsors of right-wing causes. They bankroll scores of free-market and libertarian think tanks, institutes and advocacy groups. Greenpeace estimates that the Koch family shelled out $25 million from 2005 to 2008 funding the “climate denial machine,” which means they outspent Exxon Mobile three to one.

I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when my colleague Mark Ames and I were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing advocacy groups directly tied to the Kochs. We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity, both of which are closely linked to the Koch brothers.

But the Tea Party movement—and the Koch family’s obscene wealth—go back more than half a century, all the way to grandpa Fred C. Koch, one of the founding members of the far-right John Birch Society which was convinced that socialism was taking over America through unions, colored people, Jews, homosexuals, the Kennedys and even Dwight D. Eisenhower.

[Click to continue reading Yasha Levine: Tea Party Financiers Owe Their Fortune to Josef Stalin – Truthdig]

Too funny. Well, not really. I think the Tea Party Republicans2 should leave America since they hate it so much.

  1. or at least their largest corporate sponsor []
  2. and are there really any others? I’d say the Tea Baggers are just a rebranding of the Republican Party []

Dems Abroad passes sweeping Marijuana resolution at DC Meeting

Good for the Democrats Abroad! Common sense would suggest the United States government should reconsider its ill-guided anti-marijuana crusade. The majority of Americans espouse this position as well, only the retrograde faction also known as the US Congress, Senate and White House that resist change.

Live High aka High Life

Democrats Abroad (DA) is the overseas branch of the Democratic Party. We’re considered one of the 56 ‘state’ parties by the DNC and are one of the 6 non-state ‘states’ (along with Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.). Our members live around the world and come from every US state.

We held our annual global meeting recently (April 24 ~ 26) in Washington DC and, in addition to doing things like our DC doorknock and sharing ideas for increasing voter turnout among Americans overseas in 2010, we considered a number of resolutions, including one (text below), calling for the regulation of marijuana and for treating it in the same manner we treat alcohol.

It was, as you can imagine, a somewhat controversial resolution but I’m proud to say that our members tackled the issue head-on and passed the resolution without modification fairly easily in the end. If you think the so-called ‘war’ on marijuana should be scrapped and would like to confront this issue in your own state party, read on.

[Click to continue reading Daily Kos: State of the Nation – Dems Abroad passes sweeping Marijuana resolution at DC Meeting]


The text of the resolution:

Resolution text:

Resolution on Regulation of the Use of Marijuana


The Obama Administration has wisely stopped Federal prosecution of marijuana sold for medical purposes in a manner compliant with state regulation, thus alleviating the suffering of cancer patients and others who would benefit from medical marijuana.

Only thirteen states regulate the sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

Criminalization of non-medical uses of marijuana continues to contribute needlessly to organized crime at home and abroad, illicit drug trade, overburdening of the criminal justice system, and diverts valuable criminal justice resources away from more serious crimes.

The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy heavily criticized U.S. drug policy and called on the U.S. to decriminalize marijuana in a report coinciding with increased drug-trade violence in Mexico;

The dominant argument against liberalized marijuana regulation, the gateway theory, has been consistently disproven, most recently by a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the British Parliament;

According to a World Health Organization survey conducted in 2008, the United States of America has the highest rates of marijuana use in the world.

In the Netherlands, where adult possession and purchase of small amounts of marijuana are allowed under a regulated system, the rate of marijuana use by both teenagers and adults is lower than in the U.S.

55% of Americans believe possession of small amounts of marijuana should not be a criminal offense, according to a 2005 Gallup poll.

In the U.S., almost 90% of more than 9.5 million marijuana-related arrests since 1995 were for simple possession – not manufacture or distribution.


We praise the Obama administration for its bold step to make marijuana available for medical purposes,

We call upon states that do not yet provide the reasonable regulation of medical marijuana to do so as soon as possible, to alleviate suffering wherever possible.

We recommend replacing the current policy of marijuana prohibition with a taxed and regulated system modeled on how alcohol is treated in the U.S.

Reading Around on April 16th

Some additional reading April 16th from 17:21 to 20:40:

  • Chicago Reader | The Works | Ben Javorsky for Mayor! Responses to your responses to our story about Chicago’s parking meter lease deal By Ben Joravsky – I heard Daley on the radio say, “You have to monetize your assets or else they become liabilities.” What an idiot. Never took an economics or accounting class at the U. of C., that’s for sure. Vote the idiot out. —South Looper

    Now, now, don’t harsh on Mayor Daley. He didn’t have time for economics or accounting—he was too busy studying for that bar exam for the third time.

  • Daily Kos: Why yesterday's protests were stupid – What was the message? Too much taxes? I didn't see many bank executives and Wall Street types out on the streets. And coming on the heels of the biggest tax cut in American history, almost entirely directed at the middle class, this message didn't have much salience. Furthermore, the theme of these protests "taxation without representation", was pretty silly considering that these people did have representation. It's just that they lost the elections, which sort of happens in a democracy. "Representation" doesn't mean you always get your way, it means that you have a vote. So it was an indefensible frame to base the protests around.

    That's probably why the crowds didn't easily rally around it, deciding to freelance it instead. So there was talk about pork barrel spending! And bail outs! And wanting to stick a knife in Obama's eye! And secession! And Obama's birth certificate! And Obama taking away their guns! The American taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's ovens! Obama is Hitler!

  • GO TO 2040 Blog -Edible Change is Enticing at 4th Annual Food Policy Summit – "In its fourth year the summit Edible Change! Building Networks for Policy Action, hosted by the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC) reached full capacity bringing together over 250 people from the Chicago area and around the region with amazing diversity of geography, ethnicity, and age to talk, learn, and share stories about food. "

    photo of produce by me