Archive for mark karlin

Koch "Carbon Bomb" Brothers Could Cash in Billions on Alberta Tar Sands Holdings

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tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

A recent study by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), provides evidence that the Koch Brothers could earn at least $1 billion from Alberta tar sand land holdings (with additional profit from their processing plants and related products and services).  This is despite the unconvincing Koch Brothers claim that they have no personal interest in the pipeline.

That disconnect reflects a larger problem that befuddles the northern section of the Keystone XL Pipeline decision. Tar sands oil is already flowing into the US and the Koch Brothers are already profiting from it through its conversion into petroleum coke. [...]

Major tar sands oil pipeline spills have already occurred in Michigan and Arkansas.  And the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline -- the one Obama approved -- has already needed 125 repairs from faulty pipes, and it hasn't even started flowing yet. [...]

The carbon bomb come at either end of the process: primarily in the extraction of tar sands oil in Alberta and in the refining or conversion to petroleum coke at the other end of the pipeline. [...]

The carbon bomb comes from the increased processing that will result from a northern pipeline with more capacity; in short the size of the carbon bomb will be increased because more tar sands oil will be able to be extracted and carried efficiently (otherwise more train tankers and land transport options will need to be used, which will slow the processing and profit down). [...]

CommonSenseCanadian.com:

"The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy, a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.”

The report also asserts that the more money the Kochs and their ilk make from accelerating climate change beyond the tipping point, the more funds they will have to continue lobbying to increase the impact of their destruction of planet earth.

Please read the entire post here.

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Challenge: Let Young, Middle-Aged Tea Partiers Pay Their Own Cash for Parents' Medical Care and Retirement

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challenge battle of wits unarmed

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at TruthOut, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[T]he Affordable Care Act (ACA) limits insurance company to spending 15% for administrative overhead. The ACA is going to also attempt to limit insurance company profit. ... Although the jury is still out, many studies thus far are already predicting -- due to its cost control measures -- that the Affordale Care Act should actually lessen the cost of medical care in the United States.

But here's the BuzzFlash at Truthout challenge, which we have mentioned before: if you are young or on the younger side of middle age, you can be responsible, in cash (without relying on any government assistance whatsoever), when your parents become ill. [...]

So let their children who might balk at the Affordable Care Act pay for their mom and dad's healthcare if there is no ACA. Also, let that young person who doesn't currently have insurance, but can afford it, sign a legal document that they will not use any government funds if they become ill or have a serious accident.

Let's go a step further and challenge those Tea Partiers and Republicans and some Democrats who want to cut back on Social Security and Medicare. (After all, "the grand bargain" proponents use the same strategy of telling young workers that they will be paying into Social Security at a higher rate in order to cover the aging population.)  You and those who agree with you must first sign a similar legal document that declares that you will support your parents and supplement their meager Social Security incomes as the government cuts back the checks that they earned as they worked toward retirement. [...]

And when these young or under-50 haters of the federal government complain that they are bankrupt from paying for medical care and their parents' stay in the nursing home, just tell them to -- in the colloquial -- shove it.

Please read the entire post here.

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Must-Read: Personal debt that enriches Wall St. -- NOT national debt -- is greatest threat to retirees

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must read

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Whenever the elected political tools of the oligarchs trash Social Security, they tout 401(k)-type accounts and voluntary retirement savings programs. [...]

...WP article is entitled, "Most Americans accumulating debt faster than they’re saving for retirement":

A majority of Americans with 401(k)-type savings accounts are accumulating debt faster than they are setting aside money for retirement, further undermining the nation’s troubled system for old-age saving, a new report has found....

[...]

So the problem facing even non-Social Security dependent retirees (who have earned their checks by paying into the fund) is due to personal debt not national debt. What people owe money on are non-government expenses such as college, housing, cars, credit cards, etc.  This is private indebtedness that is contributing to a looming personal retirement shortfall of funds.

Ironically, Social Security is one of the few programs that is keeping most seniors from economic impoverishment, as meager as the average monthly check is.  [...]

Since the Reagan era, wages have been relatively stagnant in the United States as debt has risen.  It is indeed this growing personal (again not national) debt that has been a primary source of profit for the banks too big to fail.  Persons who owe large amounts of money are paying off interest at often exorbitant sums (think credit cards) while in many cases barely scratching away at principal.  This is all easy money for banks that are paying out literally .01 % on savings accounts. [...]

So, let this WP article be a mini-lesson on what the oligarchy and their minions on the Hill, such as Paul Ryan, have been up to. Since the Reagan era, they have been promoting policies that increase personal debt while stagnating wages (except for themselves, of course).  In turn, a likely majority of the 99% has to go into debt and borrow money at high interest rates, while those who save receive virtually no interest on their savings.  This, in turn (except for Social Security) limits what they can save for retirement.

Then the financial titans sponsor think tanks and give campaign contributions to blame "entitlements" for all the personal indebtedness which has fueled their profitsSo, if a "grand bargain" of Social Security and Medicare cuts are enacted, the elderly become indebted and poorer, while the Wall Street barons make even a greater profit from increased borrowing as the national debt is lowered in the name of "austerity" (without revenue increases in the form of higher progressive taxes on the rich).

Please read the entire post here.

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Despite Pres. Obama Beating Back Barbarians at the Gate, #Sequestration Is Still Harming Many Americans

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cancel the sequester

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Yes indeed, with "The Tea Party and the Economy: It's Like Putting an Arsonist in Charge of the Fire Department."  Paul Krugman also opined on the ruinous impact of the rabid Right Wing in a column, "The Damage Done":

Elections have consequences, and one consequence of Republican victories in the 2010 midterms has been a still-weak economy when we could and should have been well on the way to full recovery.

But why have Republican demands so consistently had a depressing effect on the economy?

Part of the answer is that the party remains determined to wage top-down class warfare in an economy where such warfare is particularly destructive.

Think of Obama's sudden emergence of spine as having kept the dam of the American economy from bursting, wreaking havoc throughout the nation -- with a devastating global impact had the nation defaulted.  Yet, due to the Tea Party (financed largely by the likes of the Koch Brothers) and Republican Ayn Randians such as Paul Ryan and the opportunistic Ted Cruz (along with the less fanatic, but, nonetheless, austerity-driven Mitch McConnell) the dam is still leaking like a sieve.  It hasn't burst, but the jury is still out on whether or not the dam will break open from all the holes blasted open by the alliance of libertarian oligarchs with neo-Confederate populists.

Let's look at just one example: sequestration.  The Republicans in Congress insisted on potential sequestration (automatic cuts in the domestic and military budgets) as a condition of raising the debt in 2011. [...]

This summer, the AFL-CIO blog listed "25 Ways the Sequester Causes Real Harm to Real People." These include: "kids kicked out of Head Start"; "increased homelessness"; "elderly adults not being able to eat"; "loss of unemployment benefits"; and much more damage to a large swath of US citizens, not to mention the economy. [...]

Given that the Republicans in Congress continue to oppose new sources of revenue (higher taxes on the rich and the closing of corporate and financial institution loopholes, along with perhaps some financial transaction taxes), the likelihood of the austerity juggernaut continuing is high.

Basically, the federal budget and debt have been negotiated since Reagan largely on Republican terms...

Please read the entire post here.

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The Tea Party and the Economy: It's Like Putting an Arsonist in Charge of the Fire Department

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gop tea party

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[B]y virtually every account the GOP Tea Party tactics have cost jobs and seriously dented the gross domestic product over the past few years, and certainly in the past few weeks.  Even the very conservative pro-austerity Peter G. Peterson Foundation, as noted by Think Progress, issued a report about the devastating toll of the Republican "pay us a ransom" government by crisis:

The report ... finds that cuts to discretionary spending from 2011 to the present have cost the country 1.2 million jobs and 0.7 percentage points of GDP growth. About three-quarters of the $2.4 trillion in total deficit reduction enacted since the fall of 2010 was in the form of spending cuts. The Peterson-commissioned estimate of what that steep reduction in government expenditures has cost is a bit more conservative than previous estimates by other economists, but only slightly less negative.

An October 17 article in The Atlantic states that "the budget wars since 2010 have cost us 12 months in job creation."  The article covers the likely economic and job costs of the Tea Party war on the US economy, including the toll from the latest attack and overall effect since the radical luddites swept to power in the House in 2010:

Macroeconomic Advisers put the figure at $12 billion. S&P estimate the cost was twice as high, at $24 billion. Split the difference, and you're talking about $18 billion in lost work...

But that's just a nibble compared to the total cost of the budget showdowns stretching back to 2010. According to Macroeconomic Advisers, the total cost of Congress's assault on the economy going back to 2010—including the budget cuts, including sequestration, and fights around the budget cuts—was about 3 percent of our entire economy. That's $700 billion. That's not just NASA. It's one year's entire defense budget. ...

So let's do some math here -- something that the Tea Party has extreme difficulty with: if the economic speculation is correct, the "don't tread on me" crowd has cost the nation 2.1 million jobs in less than four years!

The New York Times pegs the loss of domestic output due to the rolling Tea Party bellicose actions as $300 billion [...]

The uncertainty of never knowing when an economic hostage taker is going to hold a gun to the head of the United States takes its toll.

There is much additional evidence of how the Tea Party has torpedoed a struggling recovery, but suffice it to say putting Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and John Boehner in charge of job and economic stimulation would be like putting three arsonists in charge of the fire department.

Please read the entire post here.

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A Modest Proposal: Voters Must Pass a Sanity Test Before Casting a Ballot

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Gone Crazy

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Okay, we are being sardonic, but wouldn't the fate of the United States be vastly improved if voters had to pass a sanity test to vote?

That would pretty much keep most of the Tea Party and current House GOP obstructionists from casting ballots, given their paranoid delusional and possibly psychotic state of mind.

After all, the Right Wing has been trying to keep minorities, the young, the poor and the non-white elderly from voting through completely unnecessary voter restriction laws, given that there is virtually no statistically significant voter fraud by individuals at the polls.  [...]

Now, even the federal judge -- Richard Posner of the Chicago federal court -- who set in motion the eventual Supreme Court approval for restricting voter rights through arbitrary state-passed "burdens of proof" admits that he was wrong in approving such tactics.

Please read the entire post here.

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New Mom With Stage IV Cancer Denied Promising Treatment Due to #GOPShutdown: "This Is a Matter of Life or Death"

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life death

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Michelle Langbehn, 30, has a one-year-old daughter.  She also has stage IV sarcoma, with a life expectancy of one year.  That is unless she is able to beat the odds as a result of promising new treatment undergoing clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But Langbehn, according to the Washington Post (WP), won't be receiving the treatment that she was scheduled for due to the House GOP not passing a new federal budget.  The resultant cutbacks at NIH (for what are deemed non-essential services) have stopped clinical trials dead in their tracks. [...]

She has a message for Congress as she told the WP:

I want to tell them that lives are at stake. This isn't just a matter of inconvenience. This is a matter of life or death. I’m not just doing this for myself. There are 200 people that are trying to get into clinical trials each week. I want to speak for all of us.

[...]

RT online reports that some of the cancer patients denied clinical trial treatment are children [...]

There is no guarantee that the clinical trial Langbehn is being denied because of the House GOP government shutdown will prolong her life indefinitely, but it does provide a great deal of promise and hope -- to her young daughter and family.

"Lives are at stake," she told the WP -- and indeed they are.

Please read the entire post here.

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