This is a blog of populist and liberal information and ideas, advancing the cause of truth and justice while fighting the ugly tyranny of right-wing oppression in Oklahoma and its surrounding environs.

Scallywags and Seadogs

Image of Planksy, the pirate turkey

(Okie Funk will resume its regular publishing schedule on Monday, Dec. 29. Happy holidays!)

Arrrrrrrgh! Yer favorite pirate turkey, Plansky, doin’ yer holiday scribbler’s dance for DocHoc, me hearties. Imagine me, handsome gobbler a-blowing in thee wind, and 300 swashbucklin’ pirate fowl, rascally gentlemen o’ fortune all, sailin’ up and down yer Turner Turnpike looking for doubloons and spreading groggy cheer to Oklahoma buccaneers this holiday season. Shiver me timbers! It’s a dandy sight to behold. So are you a scallywag or a swashbucklin’ seadog? Scallywags get the plank o’ doom. Me seadogs get as much as me pirate’s brew—straight from the ol’ rum barrel--as they can handle. (We have yer eggnog flavored rum, too!) So I have me list, and har she blows, me lads and lasses, one and all.

Swashbucklin’ seadogs: Arrrgh! Oklahoma teachers. Aye, this here group of honorary turkey pirates has me heart and a share of me treasure. Oklahoma teachers get yer low wages, fer sure, but these swashbucklers keep working hard against the squalls.

Scallywag: Yer state Rep. Sally Kern continues to stink it up. First, she rants and groans scurvey-like about gay people, then she tries to turn our schools into churches and religious war zones. Sally’s religious crusade is a scurvy operation, me mateys, a bone-chillin’ attempt to turn Oklahoma into the durnest theocracy you’ve ever seen.

Swashbucklin’ seadog: Pass the rum cup to Serena Blaiz. She works for the liberal cause in the reddest of red states and writes it all up on peace arena. Keep flying high, me seadog! Yo-ho-ho!

Scallywags: The Oklahoman editorial-page crew are scurvy swindlers spouting smarmy mush. Let’s see. They’ve taken their merry rapscallion vows against workers, professionals, teachers, government employees, the middle-class, poor people, etc, and, oh yeah, logic. They’re the scallywag parrots on the shoulders of the rich and powerful.

Swashbucklin’ seadog: Arrrghs-a-plenty! The legendary Frosty Troy continues to tell yer tale of truth and justice at the Oklahoma Observer. Shiver me timbers! Pass me grog, me hearties. Troy’s the definition of “truth-to-power,” of yer don’t give up ever.

Scallywag: Don’t look for Jim “I’m a Jesus guy” Inhofe to do a thing for Oklahoma seeing as how the scurvy scallywag is busy with his African trips and crusades against the environment. That’s how the Oklahoma GOP and the oil companies like it and get it, me fellow pirates.

Swashbucklin’s seadog: He’s a beaut of a bird, me mateys. Aye, he delivers the holiday cheer with fowly elegance and wit. He’s none other than meself, Planksy, yer favorite pirate turkey. (No charge on autographs fer children 12 and under.) Enjoy your tofurkey this holiday and watch in yer neighborhood fer yer bird with a view.

Chauffeurs For Bankers, Layoffs For Workers

Image from www.oldamericancentury.org

One of the last of many miserable legacies left by President George Bush will be the lack of government oversight of the $700 billion taxpayer bailout of Wall Street bankers.

According to The Washington Post:

Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.

Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts. In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.

In essence, Bush has ensured a major part of the GOP “base”—Wall Street investment bankers—will remain heavily compensated for what should actually be criminal behavior. Instead of going to jail or finding new employment, Wall Street executives will still enjoy lavish salaries and huge bonuses for ripping off people. It’s the basic GOP ruse, which aims to shift as much taxpayer money as possible to the richest and most rancid people in our culture.

The Associated Press recently reported that banks receiving taxpayer bailouts paid out $1.6 billion in compensation to their top executives in 2008.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.

The lavish and outrageous compensation came as these executives made terrible business decisions about their banks that resulted in the loss of retirement and investment income for individual Americans. Meanwhile, unemployment claims and home foreclosures are rising.

Are people angry? It certainly doesn’t seem like it. I haven’t heard of people in significant numbers hitting the streets to protest. Will President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress clean up the obvious Bush error in the bailout bill?

Will Obama prevent our tax dollars going to chauffeur expenses and country club memberships for the overpaid swindlers who have damaged the retirement prospects of millions of Americans and ruined the economy?

Here’s how Will Rogers put it during a different generation but under similar national financial circumstances:

Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the late crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again. There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it.”

How are we ever going to cleanup the corrupt political system in Washington? What type of major crisis will it take before people wake up and demand a fair economic system and a responsive government? The American people really do have the collective power to demand change, but apathy and the fear to speak up prevent it.

Meanwhile, some southern GOP Senators are on a mission to make sure workers are paid less, have less health care benefits and decreased retirement benefits. This will benefit the foreign-owned automobile companies in their own states, weaken unions and lower wages throughout the country.

Under the Southern economic model, and this would certainly include Oklahoma, relatively small oligarchies control the financial infrastructure in states while starving the educational systems needed to create self-aware and active citizens.

Michael Lind, writing for Salon.com, says the politically powerful in the south are creating a race to the economic bottom for the country:

The economic Axis is collaborating with the neo-Confederates against their common opponent -- the American Union. If they succeed, the losers will be not only non-Southern regions in the U.S., but the majority of Southerners of all races, whose interest in decent wages, good education, and adequate public services have almost always been sacrificed to the greed of the well-connected few by Southern statehouse gangs.

Liberals still have much to do. The fight is far from over, and we’re losing ground on what seems like a daily basis as the disgusting George Bush era comes to its end.

Vote on a poll about this issue.

The Observer Increases Web Presence

(State Rep. Sally Kern continues to push her religious agenda. Read DocHoc's article "Prayers instead of poems" in this week's issue of the Oklahoma Gazette, the state's best alternative publication.)

The Oklahoma Observer is increasing its web presence, and that’s great post-election news for liberals in Oklahoma.

Arnold Hamilton, who appears in the YouTube video on the right, and his wife, Beverly, now operate the journal, which is an important Oklahoma institution. They took over the publication from legendary Frosty Troy and his late wife, Helen. Troy still writes for The Observer.

Progressive bloggers and writers in the state owe much to Troy, who has relentlessly stood up to the rich and politically powerful in this state. He paved the way. The Observer has been one of the few, consistent liberal voices in Oklahoma for more than three decades. It has provided an extended forum for liberals to discuss state issues outside of Oklahoma’s conservative corporate media. The publication remains influential in the state political scene.

The Observer motto is: “To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Hamilton recently announced The Observer was improving its Web site. “In the coming months,” Hamilton writes, “we believe you’ll find it a must-stop on your daily Internet rounds, an indispensable read to stay in the know on Oklahoma government and politics.”

The journal offers subscriptions to both its print and online versions. Check it out.

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