It’s all right to be Howard Beale angry. I mean “mad as hell” as seen here in some YouTube scenes from the 1976 film “Network.” It’s OK to be anchorman, vein popping, red-faced, trembling, just this far from a CVA, angry. Because the Republican Party and their despicable proxies, the Koch brothers, deserve every blood pressure point of that anger. And you don’t have “to take it anymore.”
Southern Democrats never get Beale angry with Southern Republicans. They just shake their hands at the local Rotary club. And that’s why the Southern Democratic Party is, for the most part, politically impotent. There is one exception to the Southern Democratic repression of their anger. While said Democrats never get angry with people who are destroying the South and most other regions of America, they do manage to vent their hostility on the rare Democrat who does get righteously angry.
Well, be prepared Southern Democrats; ’cause I’m about to let loose. A couple of things have happened recently that got my blood boiling. I’ve written about the capitulation of both the University of South Carolina Upstate and the College of Charleston over the issue of books and discussions of what it’s like to be gay in the south (miserable) and an ongoing symposium at USC-Upstate on essentially the same subject. The chancellor of USC-Upstate forced the academic director of the symposium to pull a segment that two local state senators, Lee Bright and Michael Fair, in particular didn’t like. I’ve already written about the intimidating “visit” to the chancellor to force his hand. The chancellor then proceeded to put the head of the Symposium under the bus by announcing from the podium the first day that “WE” agreed….”
The College of Charleston rolled over completely. They’re going to change their whole approach to the question of educating incoming freshmen about one of the great societal problems of our time; the ongoing discrimination and mistreatment of the gay population. Now, the inescapable conclusion is that students at the school have heard the last of anything substantive, sympathetic or relevant to the ongoing gay issue other than, I’m sure, some subtle demonizing.
The awesomely homophobic Republican majority in the legislature responded by demonstrating what happens when you play nice to ignorant dictators. An amendment suddenly popped up in the general assembly, rewarding the College of Charleston’s reversal of its initial reasonable approach to the gay issue, with the new and potentially lucrative designation as a research university, created within the college itself. There’s only one other official research university in the state.
That’s how it works. Bow to the narrow-minded power brokers and the dollars come raining down on your institution of higher learning. Sass, and funding won’t budge from the budget.
The second thing that fired me up was an AP story of the human detritus called the Koch brothers, who are taking advantage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for their own selfish benefits while funding every conceivable negative commercial slamming Democratic senate candidates supporting ACA in critical states. AP quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as noting that Koch Industries ‘Early Retirement Program’ benefited from a temporary provision in the health care law. The provision actually “helped the company pay health insurance costs for its retirees who are not covered by Medicare.”
The Koch brothers are a throwback to the Robber Baron era of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Baron’s with such easily recognizable names as Astor, Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. The term was first coined by Atlantic Monthly magazine. The Robber Baron’s modus operandi involved controlling the government, cheating wherever possible, paying absurdly low wages and acquiring (with no DC resistance) enough companies to constitute monopolies so large as to quell any meaningful competition, plus the control of natural resources (oil and natural gas anyone?).
Just a word about the Vanderbilts, past and present. The money flow started with perv (he married his first cousin) Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt. A string of inheritances enabled a bunch of Vanderbilts to swim in money. They loved homes and one decided to build a summer home nestled in Asheville, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. What’s not to like? Here are some mind-blowing stats. The ‘home’ totals nearly 180,000 square feet, just shy of a Walmart Supercenter and about 100 times larger than your humble domicile. There are 250 rooms that sit on 8,000 acres compared to your 1/3rd of an acre, if you’re lucky. The original acreage was 125,000. It’s called the Biltmore Estate.
If you’ve got around $60 to blow for the pauper’s tour of Biltmore House (guideless, you’re on your own), have at it. It’ll take about 3 ½ hours or so, then you can wander the grounds and figure out other ways to give the Vanderbilt’s your money. They still run the operation.
And what has changed since the robber baron days? Nothing for the better. Capitalism has run even more amuck. When 8 people make as much as 3.6 million people, we’ve almost reached the point of no return. And when the McCutcheon v. FEC 5-4 decision by the corporate-controlled anti-American wing of 5 radical Supreme Court justices commits the near-treasonous, money laundering (as described by ThinkProgress) act of giving our country over to a handful of billionaires and corporate monopolies, we’re finished as a viable, reasonable nation and have entered an era of economic slavery where we’re all black and we all serve the man!
What drives people like the Koch brothers? They’ve made their money. They’re now worth $40 billion apiece. These two are sick puppies. I wouldn’t offend those challenged by mental illness, by saying the Koch brothers are mentally challenged. They’re not. They’re sick; greedy egomaniacs who don’t give a tinker’s damn about anybody but themselves and maybe their families. They’re laughingly described in many quarters as philanthropists. Any money they give away, is either to lower an already non-existent tax bill, a strategic corporate move or to deflect attention away from their true purpose in life, the destruction of a meaningful existence for those making less than a million a year.
David Koch will be 74 in May; Charles 79 in November. I want them to go away. I want America to change direction, or to put it another way, I want my country back. I don’t want to be personally beholden to the likes of the Kochs and their pernicious posse. I want people with stagnant wages to rethink their absurd and totally uninformed objections to ACA, financial regulations, unions, clean air and water, public education, women and minorities rights. When they’re finally informed, please win the day back for the good guys at the polls.
I want Democratic men and women, using whatever communications available to ‘out’ the likes of the Kochs and their ilk. We’re fast approaching the last roundup.