“One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America”

Terry Gross’s show “Fresh Air” on NPR managed to have a really interesting show on March 30th, featuring Kevin M. Kruze, author of “One Nation Under God:  How Corporate America Invented Christian America”

Very enlightening.  We’ve known for a long time that the so-called “Christian Right” is neither right, nor Christian, but are a bunch of political operatives working for a kind of religio-fascism in these United States.  This guy’s book reveals the whole sordid history of how the business men were looking for a way to put lipstick on the pig of capitalism, and found that religion was the most expeditious way.

Now that we know for sure that so much of the “Christian Right” is a creation of the corporate world and the businessmen, I think we shouldn’t be shy about trying to debunk their whole game. Call them out, every time you hear some “Christian” preacher fantasizing about the godliness of rape, or hating on gay people, or suggesting that World War III with Iran would be just great because it will bring about the End Times. Or whatever crazy shit they’re talking, just call them on it.

Book is available at this link.

When the State Denies The People Our Inherent Rights… (Paul Cienfuegos)

The struggle for community rights to assert control over environmental disasters in the making continues in Wisconsin.  Occasionally we win a case or two, but most of the time, the gigantic corporations are winning. They’re asserting their power over us and passing along their environmental costs to the people, while retaining the profit for their owners.  You may be experiencing frac sand mining, CAFO industrial agriculture, Enbridge corporations’ tar sands pipelines, the shipment of explosive crude oil on railcars through your communities, or fracking for oil and gas in those states which have such deposits.  How does your community fight this, when the State itself is on the corporations’ side?  Paul Cienfuegos has some ideas. Here’s a sample from a recent article, with the full link at the end.

When the State Denies The People Our Inherent Rights, How Should We Respond?

Paul Cienfuegos’ December 23rd, 2014 Commentary on KBOO Evening News

 (His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org, or subscribe via ITunes. This particular commentary can be heard HERE.)

Greetings! You are listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos.

Since the spring of 2013, I have been traveling to a very beautiful part of the Midwest, where northeast Iowa, western Wisconsin, and southeast Minnesota converge along the magnificent cliffs and wetlands of the Mississippi River watershed. I’ve been leading workshops and giving talks there every few months, to expand the number of communities and states that are shifting gears away from the ultimately dead-end tactic of pleading with regulatory agencies to get corporations to cause a little less harm, and towards a more potent tactic – Community Rights lawmaking.

In this region of the Midwest, the hills are made of a very unusual sand, which, it turns out, is absolutely perfect for use as what is called a “proppant” for the fracking industry. Enormous quantities of this special sand are forced, under high pressure, deep into the ground to prop open the drill holes where the fracking industry captures methane and other gases that are trapped between layers of rock.

Entire hills in this Midwest region are being dynamited to get access to the sand, which is loaded onto long trains and sent 1000 miles or more to fracking operations across the country. Tragically, these mining operations are destroying a way of life in these rural communities that has existed pretty much since the land was originally settled as farms. Most residents have lived in these valleys for five generations or more. But all of that is now changing, as the fracking corporations buy up farmland to get at the sand, and turn family farms and deciduous forest landscapes into devastated and poisoned moonscapes. Communities across this region have mobilized to try to stop it in the only way they know how – by pleading with regulatory agencies – which almost never succeeds.

I am teaching these rural communities how they can instead pass Community Rights ordinances that strip these mining corporations of their so-called constitutional “rights”, that enshrine the local community’s right to self-government, and that ban frac sand mining entirely. This tactic is a lot more politically and legally and culturally powerful than what local communities are used to trying, and I’ve already succeeded in helping four counties to launch Community Rights efforts, which is a very big and bold step for a rural community to take, especially given that these local ordinances are not yet legal – that they are themselves acts of civil disobedience through local law-making, which empowers local residents, and which forces the state and the corporations to change tactics in the way they challenge these local laws.

Get the full story–and explore the Paul Cienfuegos website, here

County-By-County Charts Showing the WI GOP Destruction of School Districts

A group called School Funding Reform for Wisconsin has a complete collection of pie charts showing how your County — be you a wealthy or a poor persons’ county — will be badly affected by the Walkerist GOP Austerity plan for bleeding public education to death.

All so that their donors who own voucher schools can pirate away students from schools which will be failing because of funding cuts.  Perfect vulture capitalism at play.

The introduction on the School Funding Reform for Wisconsin page states:

Our mission:  To support wisconsin’s k-12 public schools.

School Funding Reform for Wisconsin is a volunteer grassroots organization begun in 2010 by a group of concerned citizens in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and today we have members from the Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids and Amherst areas as well.  While we continue to work towards changing the failed formula that has been used for the past 20 years to fund our public schools, we are also focused on raising awareness in our communities of efforts underway in Wisconsin and elsewhere to shift public school funding to private schools.  We believe the privatization of our educational system is wrong for our communities and wrong for Wisconsin.

These charts can be found here, click the link to see your county’s share of the damage.

WI State Senator Tiffany with Bad Tax Hike Bill

Frequent Non-Taxpayer Sen.Tom Tiffany Pushing $270 Million Property Tax Hike on Wisconsin Homeowners to Benefit His Big Business Backer

Tom Tiffany’s Distaste for Paying Taxes Extends Only to Himself, Big Business Backers
One Wisconsin Now Release
March 27, 2015
Contact: Mike Browne
Phone: (608) 444-3483

MADISON, Wis. — Serial non-taxpayer Sen. Tom Tiffany is out with a new plan to shift $270 million in state taxes from businesses onto Wisconsin homeowners. The move is being pushed by the state big business lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which has also spent generously to back Tiffany, Gov. Walker and other GOP legislators in their campaigns.

“With this latest tax giveaway to big business Sen. Tiffany seems much more conscientious about paying back big campaign contributors than helping Wisconsin homeowners, or even paying his own taxes,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

Legislation being proposed by Tiffany would eliminate taxes on business equipment. According to an analysis of the proposed tax break, business tax liability would be reduced by $270 million while shifting the burden on to Wisconsin homeowners. Under Tiffany’s plan, over 70 percent the of all property taxes paid in the state would come from homeowners.

Major backers of the business tax giveaway that would increase local homeowner property taxes include the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). In 2012, when Tiffany was elected to the State Senate, the WMC was estimated to have spent over $1 million to boost him and other GOP candidates.

Tiffany’s antipathy to his own taxes is longstanding based on a review of his own tax records. He paid no personal state income taxes in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 or 2010, but did pay in 2011 — the year in which he received $49,943 in state taxpayer funded legislative salary, comprehensive health insurance and pension benefits and over $9,500 in tax-free payments for attending work in Madison. Tiffany’s businesses Willow, Inc. and Wisconsin River Cruises, Inc. paid no state income taxes between 2001 and 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Ross concluded, “It seems Tom Tiffany’s distaste for paying taxes only extends to himself and the big businesses that underwrite his campaign, and he’s willing to sell out Wisconsin homeowners to the tune of $270 million to seal the deal.”