Citizen Koch: A film about money, power, and democracy.
Miscellaneous

Citizen Koch: A Film About Money, Power, and Democracy

I always recommend watching documentaries with an open mind; they are, after everything else, works of a few individuals, and aren’t always guaranteed to be unbiased (though, to me, they should be). That said, I think they are absolutely invaluable when it comes to introducing a large number of people to an issue that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.

I just came across the trailer for Citizen Koch, and I have to say that I am incredibly excited to see this. Personally, I’ve been very troubled by what the Koch brothers have been doing to manipulate the American political system, and it’s something that not enough people are talking about. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission sparked massive controversy when the US Supreme Court ruled that independent political expenditures by corporations and unions are protected under the First Amendment and not subject to restriction by the government.

SCOTUS gave multinational conglomerates free reign to pump as much money as they want into individual campaigns without any transparency or restrictions, meaning people like the Koch brothers, and any other person or company with enough money, can (and do) influence policy by proxy. This isn’t something that might happen; this is something that is happening, and it should scare the shit out of every American, regardless of political ideology, because it is an absolute mockery of the Constitution.

It’s never been about “free speech;” that was a distraction thrown out to keep people on opposite sides of the political spectrum arguing while Citizens United greased the cogs of Washington with their financial influence. It has always been about one thing: the privatization of political power, and as long as American citizens allow this to keep happening, our individual voices and liberties will slowly continue to be snuffed out at the whims of the select few at the top.

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Miscellaneous

“They Live in the Walls”

Ed Hermanski’s “The Kimberly Story”

05/13/2014 10:31 AM: Regarding the audio file, it’s probably best that I don’t host it on my site, as I don’t know the intellectual property laws surround Mr. Hermanski’s telling of the story. When I recorded it back in 2003, I was 17, and only using the recording for personal use. I’m sure he’ll be okay with me hosting a transcription of the recording, but to protect myself from any legal issues, I’m not going to upload the recording.

Ed Hermanski c. 2007

Ed Hermanski c. 2007

I first came across this urban legend in 2002, when I was a junior in high school. A year later, I heard the story from a different source, this time informing me that the teacher involved – Ed Hermanski – not only existed, but taught at Hamilton High School, in Chandler. My friends and I stalked him down just in time to hear him tell the story right around Halloween (something that has become a regular tradition, even though he has retired).

I’ve talked about this a few times online (most notably back in 2005 and again on Yahoo! Answers) and put an old email address out in case anyone wanted copies, but now I’ve decided it’s probably easier to just post it here. About three to four times a year (especially around Halloween), my inbox explodes from people asking for the transcript; I think the running tally is close to 3,000 requests since I started archiving them back in 2007 (when the Arizona Republic ran a story on Mr. Hermanski).

A recent post on Tumblr has brought more requests in, so I figured I’d help all those searching Google for it by posting everything I have here.

Regarding “the truth” behind all of this…

I never could find anything that one could point to and say, “Hey, see this is absolute proof!” I mean, I was able to get some corroborative information from third-parties who I could trust, but I could never quite tell if people just didn’t like talking about it because it disturbed them into silence, or if they just didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. Because everything took place back in the late 80s, there were very few electronic records kept for me to access, although, these days, it is easier to track that information down; I’d kind of given up trying back in 2005 only because I had hit so many brick walls and I felt like I had exhausted all avenues of research.

On the other hand, a part of me liked the idea of just keeping it a mystery, you know? I mean, say it was all made up, does it really matter? Mr. H. has always just been trying to entertain and engage his students, something that worked very well, and the story has taken on a life of its own now with social media that I think it’s okay to just let it be.

If even half of what he has been telling is true, then I don’t blame people for not wanting to talk about it, and if none of it is true, then I just look at it as a very well-crafted and well-told story that entertains people to no end, myself included.

So, I simply tell people to “enjoy!”

“The Kimberly Story” Transcript

 

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