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Dueling Funded Mascots and Fibbing Ryan Schoenike — Welcome to Washington, DC

A tip of the hat to Bill for letting me know that on October 31, a “pirate” disrupted a staged “rally” featuring about ten representatives of “The Can Kicks Back” and about ten reporters who’d been summoned to the event. The main spokesperson for the event was paid by billionaire Pete Peterson to dress up as a big foam can and talk about how the youth of America are really keen on cutting our senior citizens’ Social Security. Later on, “Canny” (can I call you “Canny”?) tweeted about his love for a Kick-the-Old plan to cut cost-of-living adjustments to the elderly’s benefits:

The Can Kicks Back Chained CPI Tweet

“Canny” and his allies argue that it’s OK for Social Security payments to fall behind the cost of living because, if you squeeze seniors hard enough, they’ll thin down their soup or heat the house less or buy peanut butter instead of meat. The scheme is called “Chained CPI” — as in “Chained to Thin Gruel for the Rest of my Miserable Life.”

Who came to heckle “Cannie” and the rest of the besuited spokesstaff of The Can Kicks Back? A guy in a pirate costume who is actually the head of another DC beltway advocacy group, Social Security Works. Social Security Works is funded by “The Atlantic Philanthropies,” which is in turn largely funded by Chuck Feeney, a billionaire who gave away his wealth to advocate fora country in which everybody has access to health care and a quality higher education. The Pirate shouted that The Can Kicks Back and its fellow front groups were funded by investors with “more than $500 million in offshore corporate booty.”

The conservative US News & World Report’s Washington Whispers column uncritically repeats Peterson fundee’s Ryan Schoenike’s protest that he’s just a guy who came up with The Can Kicks Back “organically,” all on his own, with four other young dudes who were just all riled up, all on their own:

The Can Kicks Back’s co-founder and executive director Ryan Schoenike says his group started organically. “Myself and four other people were concerned about this issue, we have been for a long time, we got together in our off time and came up with a plan to do this and we went out and found funding for it on our own,” he told Whispers.

Now, would it be fair to say Ryan Schoenike is a lying liar who lies lies? Not exactly. It wouldn’t, strictly speaking, be a lie for a Coca Cola executive to respond to the discovery that Indy Grunge Cola is a wholly owned corporate brand of Coca Cola with the phrase, “I don’t know what you mean, and I object! Indy Grunge Cola started organically. Myself and four other people were concerned about colas, we have been for a long time, we got together in our off time and came up with a plan to do this and we went out and found funding for it on our own.” That would not, strictly speaking, be a lie if this Coca Cola executive and four other Coca Cola executives came up with the idea of Indy Grunge Cola at lunch between sessions at the annual Coca Cola corporate board meetings and put together a proposal for the board. It wouldn’t be a lie — but it wouldn’t be the truth, either.

Follow these links to find the truth about Ryan Schoenike and The Can Kicks Back: all the “founders” of The Can Kicks Back, including Ryan Schoenike are long-time members of multiple shell groups funded and promoted by billionaire Pete Peterson, who unlike Chuck Feeney has not given away all his wealth. Rather, Peterson invests a portion of his wealth into advocacy organizations that seek to preserve wealth. The Can Kicks Back shares office space with two other kick-the-elderly front groups that are also, you guessed it, funded by one billionaire Peter G. Peterson.

Billionaire-funded costume duels and “organic” fertilizer. Welcome to Washington, DC.

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