Archive for top 1%

The Kochocracy


la cucaracha Charles Koch KochocracyVia Lalo Alcaraz

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with those pesky, corporate 1%ers. Or as Will calls them, the Kochocracy. Take it away, Will:


In the bad old days, medieval German Lords figured out how to pocket some quick coin by charging a toll on the primitive paths meandering across their lands. The money wasn’t used to improve the roads or better the lives of the peasants or clean the rivers their pigs pooped in but rather heighten the piles in their treasury. Even back then, you just couldn’t have enough pewter candlesticks.

These were the first robber barons. Literally. Rich people whose sole pursuit was to survive to become richer people. A criminal aristocracy. A term history has proved redundant.

During the Gilded Age, the flushest 1% of the country held 1/3 of the national income. In the 1920s, this figure ramped up to 2/5ths. Molehills compared to today’s mountainous wealth, where the richest 400 American families control more money than the poorest 165 million of their fellow citizens put together. And if all 165 million were knelt end to end, those 400 families would have footrests from any compass point.

6 members of the Walton Family have accrued as much money as the bottom 41% of all Americans. Now, how hard would it be for them to cover the health care of WalMart employees? They’d still be worth as much as the bottom 34%. How many pewter candlesticks does one family need? You’d think they could get them wholesale.

In decision after decision the Supreme Court has equated money with free speech. Which would be great if it meant the more we spoke, the more we’re worth. But, alas, no. That’s not the deal. Pretty much the opposite, come to think of it.

Rich people have exploited these high court rulings like foxes given skeleton keys to the Tyson chicken empire. Any politician who espouses lowering taxes on the rich and blunting the powers of the poor gets backed. With unlimited sums. Of course the poor have free speech too, but we might as well be whispering downstage at a Metallica concert.

A plutocracy is a society where the rich make the rules- quickly becoming our norm. The 9th richest man in the world, Sheldon Adelson, focuses on politicians whose Israeli policies most closely mirror his. That’s it. One issue. In 2012, he gave 90 million to various GOP presidential candidates. And in the next election cycle, he is reportedly ready to triple that number, recently holding auditions in Las Vegas for his own personal presidential candidate American Idol. Once again: not Clay Aiken.

The most Darth- like of the new Robber Barons are the Koch Brothers, (rhymes with rock) David and Charles, each richer than Adelson. These self- made inheritors of a vast oil empire are responsible for jumpstarting the Tea Party and ALEC, and are now hand picking candidates all over the country; pouring in vast amounts of money to get them and their skewed legacies elected. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is one of the first generation Kochbots. And a bit glitchy.

If so desired, the Koch Family could spend a billion dollars a year for the next 85 years buying politicians. Bankrupting the rest of us through Kochbot legislated tolls on the primitive paths meandering across Koch owned lands. Especially egregious when ALL lands are Koch owned. Get ready for the American Kochocracy.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to to find about more about his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances.


Wealth gap watch: "Marie Antoinette Bakery reopened, is proud to be serving day-old cake."


taxes wealthy 99 percent

Another guest post by the one, the only Will Durst who's having a little fun with :


F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said the rich are different from us. To which Hemingway snorted, “yeah, they have more money.” And now seems like a good time to offer up a few words of sympathy for the rich. Because our wealthy brothers and sisters are going through some tough times. Not financially. No, no, no. They’re doing pretty good on that end. Last year the stock market shot higher than the 4:20 break at a Denver pot dispensary on Jerry Garcia’s birthday.

The fortunate among us are comfortable alright, but becoming increasingly uncomfortable, if you catch my drift. It’s us nasty poor people. Again. It appears that we’re picking on them. You know. Whining. Complaining. Jealous. Hungry. Rather than pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps like they did when their daddies left them all that money.

Cries of financial inequity have been so alarming lately that venture capitalist Thomas Perkins felt compelled to compare we poor to the Nazis. He wrote that while Germany’s 1% were the Jews, America’s 1% are the Well-Heeled. And did it in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. No surprise there. Where did you think he’d get it published? The San Francisco Chronicle? Progressive Magazine? Rachel Maddow’s blog?

Sporting a Richard Mille watch which lists for $330,000, Perkins later apologized for using the term “Nazi” but doubled down on his assertion that the rich are being demonized. The bellyaching billionaire: a uniquely American phenomena. Pretty sure the Romanovs expressed similar sentiments. The Marie Antoinette Bakery has reopened and is proud to be serving day-old cake.

Apparently, acute affluence causes the outer epidermis to shrink profoundly. Causing the prosperous to exhibit super-sensitivity to the slings and arrows tossed at their outrageous fortune. To say that reaction was loud and swift is akin to implying that Mr. Everest slopes. Many malcontents called for the Perkins to have his analogy completed by tattooing a serial number onto his arm.

But in America, that anti-rich stuff doesn’t fly because folks worry that any restrictions on the loaded and bloated will come back to haunt them when their ship comes in and they themselves start rolling in it. Wealth projection. Another American exclusive.

A recent study revealed that 85 people in the world now control the same amount of wealth as half the population of the planet. 85 people have as much money as 3.5 billion. Admittedly, some of those 3.5 billion people have taken a vow of poverty. But not all.

4 of America’s 9 richest are members of the family that owns Walmart. Really? Couldn’t they pay their workers a tad more and still be 4 of the top 30 richest Americans? Top 100? 2 million employees and the last year’s profit was 16 billion dollars. That’s 8K profit off every employee. Imagine how much more stuff Walmart could sell if each employee made $2,000 extra?

They call sharks-eating machines. And corporations are sharks that eat money. But even stockholders are starting to question the $100 million CEO salary. Although, its nice to know that when there’s a run on guillotines, Walmart will stock a nice selection of attractively priced models. But if you want something extra sharp with a built in timer, might want to check out Richard Mille.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh” and calendar of personal appearances including "BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG," Wednesday the 5th @ Angelica’s in Redwood City.


Jobless, aidless, homeless v. the wealthy who live in homes with moats, Botox rooms


makers takers Luckovich cartoon workers joblessVia Mike Lukovich, amuniversal

In the past couple of days, the Los Angeles Times letters to the editor about the jobless and homeless knocked it out of the park. I'm sharing a few samples, because our voices matter:

Re "222,000 in state to lose jobless aid," Dec. 25

So, Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky claim that funding extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless would hurt their chances of getting hired.

By that logic, it would necessarily follow that the homeless should not be given rent subsidies for an apartment because it would hinder them from buying a house someday.

I get it now.

Jerry Lasnik

Thousand Oaks


"222,000 in state to lose jobless aid" — that was the headline I saw Christmas morning, and it totally ended the joy that day should have brought.

I hope Santa had 535 lumps of coal for each voting member of Congress.

David Mathews


That was just in California. Nationwide, the number of those who will no longer receive unemployment benefits skyrockets to 1.3 million. Did I mention that Congress members-- who are paid $174,000 a year-- are taking a holiday break (yes, another one) to rest from all the work they didn't do?

And we all know what unemployment can lead to, right? If you answered "homelessness," you would be correct. And as so many American families struggle to eat and stay alive, the very, very wealthy struggle to come up with ways to keep up with the over-the-top Joneses by outdoing one another with preposterously showy novelty perks.

There is no link to the following letters, because, true to form, The L.A. Times failed to post these online. I transcribed these from my morning paper and added a link that is a MUST-read:

Re "Union Station's homeless," Editorial, Dec. 25

Once again we read on this Christmas Day that the business community-- in this instance, aided by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority-- finds no room for the desperately poor at Union Station.

One way to justify keeping the homeless at bay is to perpetuate blatant stereotypes, exemplified by the oft-repeated phrase "aggressive panhandling."  Both words are extremely negative and imply that people asking for charity are not only "bums" but that their actions, as the word "aggressive" conveys, border on violence.

When our favorite nonprofit organizations beg for our money, we call it intensive fundraising and assume it to be normal and expected, even when we are "aggressively" bombarded with stacks of nuisance letters and phone calls-- something no person without a home has ever done to me.

I suspect The Times was being ironic when it mentioned that only 4,000 shelter beds are available each night for Los Angeles County's more than 57,000 homeless, and then that outreach workers should encourage people at Union Station to seek out Shelters.

Douglas J. Miller

Santa Barbara


On Christmas Day, an article in the Business section reported on houses built with moats and other luxuries selling for as much as $50 million.

In the same paper, The Times editorialized on the homeless in Union Station. The editorial noted that there are 57,000 homeless in L.A. and only 4,000 beds to serve them.

Something is seriously wrong.

Jan Goldsmith

Sherman Oaks


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


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.