The World According to Koch

In 1927 Fred C. Koch patented an improved method of converting heavy oil to gasoline – a catalyst paving  Wichita, Kansas roads of the early 1940’s with Wood River Refining and Oil dollars – later known as Koch Industries. I could blither on about how Koch Industries became the second largest privately held corporation in America. How staggering wealth was built on the back of oil, gas, chemicals, and methods to move these commodities about – or I could ask you to take my word for it, link to this timeline of Koch history, and move on to my point.

Brothers David and Charles Koch have “donated” an estimated 67 million dollars in funding and support of anti climate change initiatives. It doesn’t end with this “no shit Sherlock” denial of cutting the hand that feeds them.  Some of those millions support conservative “family values” (AKA – Tea Party and like minded fundamentalists) by way of Americans for Prosperity – a group founded in 2004, dedicated to no climate tax, no universal health care, no tax reforms hinting of increased or fairer shares for business, no government scrutiny of business at local, state or federal levels, and no Democrats in office if infinitely deep pockets and slick fabricated attack ads have anything to say about it.

A 2010 study released by University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries as one of the top ten polluters in America. Greenpeace dubbed them the “kingpin of climate science denial”.

Whining Koch protestations range from blaming “radical press” for branding Koch “whipping boys”, to spluttering, indignant outrage against  un-American critics of their righteous mission.Read this article from the New Yorker and decide for yourself.

I try to be polite. I don’t want to point fingers or pass judgement. The trouble is – every few weeks I’m incapable of swallowing the vomit in my mouth. Post after post slamming the government, comment after comment parroting diarrhea gobbled from “news sources” worthy of criminal charges, and incessant speculation over who’s actually running the show – these forces reach critical mass and my mind erupts to save itself.

This isn’t rocket science people! Anybody who still believes democracy reigns supreme hasn’t met power through money.Until people are willing to call bullshit on America according to Koch and associates, all I can say is speak out or shut up.


Understanding America

Every so often I play a little game called “try to understand America”. Not so much a game as my attempt to put headline American issues into perspective. The “game” demands I remain undaunted by logical dead ends. Rookie game play led to bouts of snippy remarks, indignant preaching and knee jerk tirades. Age has mellowed this opinionated Canadian – thankfully allowing objectivity be heard – even for the briefest of moments. Reaching a point where temperance dictates a “I understand why it’s like that” rather than ” are you out of your freakin’ mind”  – a game move I hope leads to higher levels of understanding.

Take Obamacare for example. I can’t possibly know all the ins and outs – I’m Canadian. My understanding is limited to these observations – Hospitals and insurance is “for profit” in America – “big medicine” likes things just the way they are. Big medicine, big insurance, big pharmaceutical companies have big money at stake. The Koch brothers backed Americans for Prosperity has spent upwards of 30 million dollars on anti Obamacare ads. In July of last year Kantar Media reported ad campaigns for and against were on track to reach a billion dollars by 2015. No surprise is lop-sided distribution at five to one spending by “anti” medicare interests.

America has a deep seated fear of Communism – any idea deemed remotely socialist sends propaganda mills into overdrive. Ad campaigns worthy of cold war hysteria warn of “socialized” government run health care. Perish the thought – a nation where each and every citizen received equal treatment! The horror unleashed if medical care was available to all, regardless of income – followed by laughable comparison to the Veteran’s Administration – Americans asked if they wanted to be treated like the soldiers fighting for their country. Holy crap.

Media stories warn of social medicine catastrophes in Canada and the UK. Dire tales of government bureaucrats dictating when and where citizens receive treatment, long waiting times for scare or limited treatment – absolute hogwash. Sure, we might have to wait a while for non life threatening surgery. That said, cancer treatments, chemotherapy, heart specialist – no problem. Canadians can even register on line to receive results from blood or urine lab tests  at the same time as your doctor. Socialized medicine isn’t perfect, nor is it a detriment to anyone other than profit driven egg heads – there’s a reason why busloads of Americans cross the border to fill prescriptions – costs are controlled.

Attempting to understand health care in America is depressing – money spent on advertising, lobbying and mud slinging alone could finance a small nation. Fear mongering plays directly to the heart of American psyche – I get it. I get it and understand “profit” is king. The Obama administration never stood a chance, the American political structure binds the hands of change as fear, spin doctoring and misinformation muddy the waters.

This Canadian understands. This Canadian is proud to list Tommy Douglas – the founder of Canadian social medicine as one of her heroes. Douglas, a Baptist minister who left the church over their troubling obsession with “life after death”, in favor of politics – a place where he could help people before death.