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Douglas Carpenter

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Corry (Erie County), Pennsylvania 16407
Home country: USA
Current location: Saipan, U.S. Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2005, 08:56 PM
Number of posts: 20,226

Journal Archives

Who are the Koch brothers and what do they want? by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors’ mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough. Now, they want to own the United States government as well.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court passed Citizens United. A few weeks ago, they passed the equally horrendous McCutcheon campaign finance decision which gives even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further. In the name of “free speech,” they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending -- a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon -- and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Not surprisingly, as it will give them the opportunity to buy politicians at will, this has always been the position of the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion. In other words, under the “anti-business”, “socialist” and “oppressive” Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year.

In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion. For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined in an election would be a drop in the bucket. They would hardly miss the few billion spent.

Given the reality that the Koch brothers are now the most important and powerful players in American politics, it is important to know what they want and what their agenda is.

Interestingly and not widely known, David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980. He believed that Ronald Reagan was much too liberal. Despite Mr. Koch putting a substantial sum of money into the campaign, his ticket only received one percent of the vote. Most Americans thought the Libertarian Party’s platform of 1980 was extremist and way out of touch with what the American people wanted and needed.

Fast-forward 34 years and the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right. Amazingly, much of what was considered “extremist” and “kooky” in 1980 has become part of today’s mainstream Republican thinking.

Let me give you just a few examples:

In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage. 34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party favored “the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” 34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people -- 1 in 8 Americans -- would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes.”

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party called for “the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.” 34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that “entitlement reform” is absolutely necessary. For some, this means major cuts in Social Security. For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.

In 1980, David Koch’s Libertarian Party platform stated “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes … We support the eventual repeal of all taxation … As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.” 34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said “would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax.”

Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about. The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party. And now with Citizens United (which is allowing them to pour unlimited sums of money into the political process) their power is greater than ever.

And let’s be very clear. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education. Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that. They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country. Every piece of legislation!

The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.

Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.

For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back.


Senator Bernie Sanders
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Apr 17, 2014, 12:11 PM (41 replies)

Do you think Sen. Bernie Sanders should run for the Democratic Party nomination for President?

Sen. Sanders has taken a trip to New Hampshire in just the past week to explore the possibility of entering the race for the Democratic Party nomination for President. Yes, we ALL know that he is currently an independent who caucuses and supports the national Democratic Party. So, of course he would have to officially join the Democratic Party to do that. But he wouldn't be going to New Hampshire - the first major partisan primary in the nation to explore an independent race or seek the Green Party nomination or run as Republican, now would he?

This is not a question of whether you would personally support him in the contest for the Democratic Party nomination or think he has good chance of winning - it is a question of whether you think it would be a good thing if he entered the race.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Apr 9, 2014, 03:27 PM (52 replies)

Rhode Island Teacher says, "I quit" (video)

Madfloridian's post: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024789340 which contrast the Finnish approach to public school teaching to the American approach - brought this video to my mind

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon Apr 7, 2014, 03:07 PM (2 replies)

Should making a jackass of oneself on one occasion wreck someone's career forever?

A world without redemption

I happen to live in a place where a lot of merchant marines pass through the area. There is a bar I sometime frequent popular with the general expat and merchant marine crowd who come ashore for a bit of relaxation and recreation. Just last night one fellow got himself drunk and started to get obnoxious and belligerent - as is not too uncommon on a Friday night in bars anywhere. After being asked a few times to cool it - he was finally asked to leave and then point blank told to leave. Being in a drunk and rowdy state he refused to leave and started to make a scene that disturbed the whole bar. So, naturally the bar manager called the police who quickly came and hauled this obnoxious character off to the local jail. Then interestingly I got in a conversation with one of his shipmates who told me that now the way things are - once the captain of his ship gets wind of this he will be fired within the next few days and sent home. Then on top of all of that - this one occasion will certainly result in him losing his merchant marine clearance and he will never, never, never work on any ships ever again. The fellow telling me this said that it was not always this way. But this is part of the post September 11 world.

I'm all for throwing the guy out of the bar. I'm all for banning him from that and any and all other bars in town. I'm all for throwing him in jail over night or perhaps even a few nights. I'm all for his employer coming down hard on him. If he makes a habit of this sort of thing - I wouldn't fault them too much for firing him. But should one embarrassing night wreck someone's career forever? Now the world of merchant marines is largely protected by a couple of major and very powerful unions. But the unions are powerless when it comes to protecting someone who gets in trouble with the outside local law.

I guess I see this as part of a bigger problem of our brave new world. Even a few decades ago it was possible for someone to get themselves in a whole bunch of trouble - perhaps even a serious crime - But after the person paid whatever penalty for their offense - they could move to a new town - perhaps in a different state and start life all over again. Short of receiving a life in prison without chance of parole sentence - there was almost always a possibility of redemption - a possibility to start over - to forget and bury the past. This new computerized world we live in now creates a permanent record of every debt, every blemish - perhaps every job that didn't work out quite right. And in a world that simply has a lot more people than it has good paying jobs for people - the possibility of permanently wrecking one's chances in life are so much greater than they were before. The possibility of recognizing one's foolish errors and starting life anew in a new job, a new home and new attitude are so much less. Are we creating a world without the possibility of redemption?
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:44 PM (18 replies)

Smearmaster Glenn Greenwald's smear campaign against George W. Bush

Smearmaster Glenn Greenwald's smear campaign against George W. Bush

AS they say - haters are going to hate and smearers are going to smear. Glenn Greenwald did not begin his smear career with President Obama - he was doing it way back before Obama came to the White House. It seems that he thinks that just because someone is in powerful position - that they are supposed to be criticized - Imagine that!~!

2008 Bill Moyer interview with Glenn Greenwald about the George W. Bush legacy


He also wrote three books about the George W. Bush Administration; The New York Times-bestsellers How Would A Patriot Act? (2006) and Tragic Legacy (2007), and his 2008 release, Great American Hypocrites.[/blockquote
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Apr 3, 2014, 01:16 AM (79 replies)

Where do you think President Obama stands in terms of being progressive vs. centrist/conservative?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Mar 29, 2014, 12:37 PM (49 replies)

Isn't it time to shift the discussion to something like alternative medicine, E-cigarettes, porn,

circumcision or at what age children must no longer sleep with their parents -- Then we can put the current ugly arguments aside for awhile
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Mar 28, 2014, 01:52 PM (7 replies)

What are your true feelings about supporting the Democratic Party of today?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 10:11 PM (184 replies)

Was the U.S. Invading Iraq and Russia invading Crimea morally equivalent?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 01:53 PM (34 replies)

Have you ever known personally of a dog dying soon after being spayed?

I know all surgeries whether on people or animals carry some risk - but I didn't expect this to happen.

I happen to live in a place that is awash with stray dogs and a lack of programs to deal with them other than the municipal dog catchers whose only job is to catch and euthanize. There is only one veterinary clinic within hundreds of miles and I suspect this lack of competition leads to some price gouging. Although I don't honestly know what normal veterinary service prices are these days.

Anyway I already have a very nice 80 pound mixed breed male dog who has lived a pretty happy life with me for the past year and a half. But a number of strays come around looking for some food and actually some companionship. They are the friendliest strays you will ever find. A little native female dog had been coming around to my back porch for several months. I had been feeding her and occasionally allowing her to stay inside especially if it was raining. But knowing that spaying, inoculating and de-worming was sure to cost me a minimum of $1000 to $1400 I had kind of held off.

But last week I actually saw that she was in heat and actually saw her mating with a male dog. Well, not wanting to have a half a dozen unwanted puppies on my back porch and knowing that it was about time I got her some basic veterinary treatment anyway - I decided not to wait any longer. So I brought her in on Monday to have her checkup along with some basic shots and treatments and to schedule a spaying surgery for Tuesday. The vet did tell me that the little dog did have a number of worms, parasites and other common dog illnesses along with inflamed and possibly cystic ovaries. But when I called Tuesday afternoon the surgery was over and it appeared to go just fine - I could pick the dog up to bring home. Of course the poor little thing acted sluggish and somewhat in pain - but, I assumed that was normal. But the following day, Wednesday the little dog would still not eat and seemed to be feeling sick and in pain. So, I took the little dog back to the veterinary clinic when things had not improved by Wednesday afternoon. The vet felt that the dog might be experiencing some typical post surgical pain - but all the essential signs remained positive. He even called me in the early evening to let me know that they had taken the dog for a walk and she was wagging her tail and looking well and no longer reacted to palpating the abdominal area. He could see no reason why I shouldn't be able to pick up the dog in the afternoon the following day.

Then to my shock when I called back this morning the vet very somberly told me, "I'm very sorry, but we lost the dog last night." He was fine when they checked her at about 7:30 pm. Two hours later when they did a routine check - she had already died. The vet's only explanation is that the dogs underlining illnesses from worms and parasites to tick disease to cystic ovaries were just too much. There was absolutely no bleeding in the surgical area - but apparently the dog went into pancreatitis with DIC and simply died of other internal bleeding.

Of course neutering and spaying is very important. But in the future I would be inclined to deal with any underlining illnesses first.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Mar 20, 2014, 05:03 AM (15 replies)
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