Monthly Archives: August 2012

The American Stinker Lays Another Pooper

Hard at work for the corporate agenda.

Stephen McCann a classic plutocrat and contributor to the site American Stinker and the site linked to the magazine, American Spectator, sits on the Stinker pot and performs the rectal birth of a tract so full of lies even the lowest of parasites might have to bring out the lie detector.  Compensated at a rate of a mere 4.5m a year, Mr. McCann gets passive into that very narrow canal of American mogul-lovin’.  Sitting firmly within the top 1%, possibly the top .01% of wealth holders globally, the Australian McCann we’re sure gets a big BFF ranking from the plutocrat class here in the states.

So onto his scribbles from the war room water closet and why we should really give a damn what he says anyway. First off, its worth pointing out that although McCann sits in his house on the near bottom of the globe where our winter is his summer, he seems awfully disturbed by certain sectors of the American population known commonly as the “left”.

Yeah you all you pro-choice, tree hugging, union thug, anti-racist, anti-war leftists, this fine gentleman is fed up with your anti-austerity politics you hear? He’s had it with your desires for justice and equality and wants you to grow up and practice some good old austerity.  Concerned as he is with the deficit in the United States  … er… his portfolio.   He’s sick and tired of “The Childishness of the American Left” and he’s going to tell you why.

The American left is the most self-indulgent, arrogant, and spoiled group of people on the face of the earth.  They live in a nation facing national bankruptcy and societal upheaval — a country presently subsisting on the residue of past economic achievements.  Yet the only things that matter to them are their lifestyles and imposing their self-determined superiority on rest of the American people.

Social upheaval?  Could it be the social upheaval of a population sick and tired of the 1% wealthiest “imposing their self-determined superiority on the rest of the American people”?  Seems to many of us here in the US that once an economic system existed wherein at least there was some hope that a rising tide would raise all boats.  That with the work of the left through government regulation and correction,  social inequities would soon begin to disappear and anyone, a person of color, a woman, a disabled person, could as the old saying goes, capture the American Dream by working on a finally leveled playing field.

But as we all know now, the job of straightening out 300 years of socialized inequality takes some sacrifice from everyone and we’ve had our share of resistance.  Us lefties always do after a while tend to get all misty-eyed and go on about hard to quantify issues such as racial justice, gender equality and LGBT rights, worker’s rights and a clean and healthy planet.   We on the left have known for quite some time that the existing system favors a certain group of people and we have tirelessly pointed this fact out.  Basically many of us figured out after about 5th grade that the Land of the Free we learned about ain’t exactly free for a large portion of the population.

Unlike the minority who upon their birth are cloistered among nannies, private schools, Ivy League colleges and a nice inheritance, the majority of people in this country live quite modest lives.  We on the left selfishly have worked tirelessly for little money (because where do you think money comes from?), to champion causes not particularly popular with the ownership class.

We have repeatedly marched down streets, sat in halls, picketed and boycotted businesses to protest the sending of our young people to die for the myriad wars that benefit only the 1%, protested and worked toward changing injustices from gay rights to women’s rights, from working against racism, to saving the planet from industrial destruction, all in the name of that selfish idea; justice.

Do we have a superiority complex? Possibly, if one equates having a sense of fervent duty to the social contract of humanity; yes possibly if one takes seriously the precept of the prophet of our Christian based culture; “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You” All this while swarmed by a capitalist campaign of mass consumption, exploitation and greed.  We on the left have worked tirelessly to draw attention to how global capitalism exploitation kills humans and the planet.

But let’s take our lesson from Mr. McCann and hear about his concerns about the debt and the GDP; essentially his global balance sheet shall we?  First McCann draws our attention to an NPR interview:

The true indebtedness of the United States now exceeds $222 trillion.  Appearing on National Public Radio in August of 2011 Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University said:

If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, and subtract all the taxes we expect to collect, the difference is $211 Trillion.  This is the fiscal gap.  That is our true indebtedness.

Since that interview, the indebtedness has increased by another $11 trillion.

Well it seems the kind professor was making an effort to point out that with falling revenues from tax cuts, funding wars will drain the treasury.  Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans became all the fashion when Ronald Reagan proved just how easy it is to fleece the American people as long as you lie to them enough.  So easy that H.W. Bush and Bush the Younger have pushed the envelope further not only cutting taxes for their buddies but also borrowing to finance some major military adventures.  So again the professor points out that when the boss cuts your pay, going to Disneyland may not be such a good idea.

But let’s take the boss analogy a step further.  When your boss learns that you’ll  work just as hard on $7.25/hour as you would on $15/hour, especially if he promises you get a ticket to Disneyland, do you think he’ll go back to $15?.  Nope, you’ve just got suckered.  Boss got just as much work out of you for less and what’s more he didn’t bother to tell you he borrowed from your pension fund to pay for those tickets to Disney, what a deal!

Not rocket science, nor a big secret.

Then further down, McCann rails about the GDP versus expenditures.  The fact is, just looking at the GDP fails to consider so many other factors that have caused the largest economic slump since the Depression.  As is detailed on a page here a bit back, McCann doesn’t bother to tell his dear readers that while the GDP has failed miserably, corporate earnings  have multiplied upward for the last three generations, while earnings growth for those who work for a wage has stagnated since about 1979.  Also McCann fails to mention that those who possess high wealth have enjoyed as much as a 200% or more increase in their portfolio value at the same time.

So in summary, tax cuts sent the money into the hands of the plutocrats, cuts in services such as housing, poverty programs, cuts in agency funding, cuts in education funding also sent more money to the plutocrats which for some reason never came back home.  All the while corporations learned that lay-offs reward richly (and thus rewarded their CEO’s thusly), temp labor is a pip and people will work for dogs on mere promises. Add to that the people’s gullibility for tall tales about scary hordes that must be brought down by fancy artillery and young Americans’ lives and you’ve got one heck of a mess.

Now Mr. McCann, being only human can’t help but look a gift horse in the mouth.  As if fleecing the American and global population hasn’t made him rich enough, he’s now concerned about the possible collision of the health of his portfolio with the health of our nation.

Yet these estimates do not include the full impact of ObamaCare, which could add another $17+ trillion.

Now taking away the fact that McCann seems to think that Americans don’t need affordable healthcare like Australians enjoy, let’s just focus on his concern about our fiscal health shall we?  Wait what’s this? All over the internet sites figures keep quoting the CBO and its research that purport that in fact, the ACA will reduce the deficit by $210 billion, not increase it.  So in other words, McCann is either very poorly informed or just telling lies because he doesn’t think we should have public healthcare like his homeland does.  We’d suggest that McCann follow the old rule; those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Oh, Australia doesn’t fund healthcare for rich guys, oh well.

On the other side of the ledger: the annual Gross Domestic Product (the value of all economic activity in the U.S.) is $15.6 trillion.  The indebtedness to GDP ratio is a staggering 14.2 to 1 and guaranteed to further accelerate if Barack Obama is re-elected.

See Disneyland borrowed on your pension fund. We explained that already.  Mr. McCann hopes to impress and bamboozle his readers with statistics and figures that really say the same damn thing no matter how you turn them around; the rich guys spent all our money and borrowed to the hilt for whatever our paychecks couldn’t cover.  Pretty simple; you spend more than you making, you going to end up bankrupt.

The United States is not facing bankruptcy, it is bankrupt.  The primary factor that has kept the nation afloat over the past four years is that the dollar, albeit temporarily, remains the world’s reserve currency, thus allowing the Federal Reserve to print enormous sums of money to cover the Obama budget deficits and flood the global market with near worthless cash.  Today it requires $100.00 to purchase the same goods $10.00 purchased in 1950.

Firstly, the Federal Reserve does not print money! Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not some super-secret club full of special presses stamping out benjis to add to the “money supply” as they please.  So we can dispense with this quickly and move on, please see the following comic made up by the Fed in an attempt to dispel ignorance.

Comparing the value of the dollar today to its value in 1950 is much like picking up

Oh do we need to go back what was good in 1950 compared to today? Like the fact that nearly 50% of American workers were union members? That save for the social inequities that still existed, many people enjoyed a prosperity most young Americans cannot even imagine today.  Taxation was progressive and effective with the top tiers paying as much as 90% of their income, so revenues were high, wages were healthy and what’dya get? A healthy economy!  Infrastructure expenditures were up, employment rose and the standard of living in the US rose for a large majority of Americans above nearly the entire world.

Increased indebtedness due to wars funded on borrowing, money policy that shifted wealth from the commoners to the elites and the resulting bust in GDP growth among the population that depressed revenues and consumption seems an indication of selfishness, but of the leftie kind.

As a further comparison, the total annual GDP of all the countries on earth is $70 trillion.  The American indebtedness alone exceeds that amount by a factor of 3 — which contributes mightily to a world drowning in debt and facing an inevitable debt crisis and financial collapse, which will trigger a massive global depression.

Thanks again in large part of levering of the American economy by the elites on the backs of the working people who have seen their share of the pie steadily decrease even though their production has rivaled other first world countries for decades.

Currently, just 58.4% of the civilian population is employed, as compared to 64.3% twelve years ago.  Factoring in the growth of the population during that period, this drop represents over 22 million Americans unable to find work.  Since January 2009, 74% of all new jobs created in the U.S. were in the lowest-paying sectors of the economy, thereby stifling any chance of upward mobility and growth in median income which has fallen by 9% since January 2009, and average household wealth that has declined by nearly 40% over this same period.  This failure is a byproduct of a tsunami of government regulations, mandates, and taxes which has nearly destroyed the innovation and business and job-creation that made the American economy so vibrant over the latter part of the 20th century.  That innovation has now moved overseas, along with over 7.5 million high-paying goods-producing jobs since 2000.

Another patent lie, since the 1980’s government sectors on all levels have suffered massive cuts and laws that regulated finance, commerce and trade have been modified to favor corporate growth over national growth.  Couple that also with the outsourcing of the white color and blue collar sectors then mix in outflows of investment dollars to those offshore operations and you have decreased consumption within the US market as workers’ buying power decreases,  increased outflows of revenue from the what production remains (as it flows upward and not into worker’s pockets)  into the coffers of tax-free havens, off-shore trusts, third world sweat-shop factories and overall global manipulation of labor, finance and government regulation. Whew and McCann calls us selfish for bitching about it?

The reaction of the self-described progressives to this dire scenario?  Sweep the facts under the rug or ignore them completely, as it appears that the most important things in their lives are the legalization of gay marriage, free contraceptives and abortifacients, worshiping at the altar of extreme and discredited environmentalism, mocking and undermining all organized religion (except Islam), and telling the American people what they can eat, where they can live, what may be taught in their schools, how they must operate their businesses, and what health care they can access.

Au contraire Mr. McCann, while the left has beat the drum of reigning in the cowboy plutocrats, ending the wars, regulating off-shoring, stopping the trade treaties that favor global corporatism and bringing back a truly progressive taxation strategy, the right wing has gone on an endless campaign of distraction by fighting gay marriage and rolling back women’s rights to bodily sovereignty.  We didn’t choose to put these issues front and center, the Republicans did and we have been forced 24-7 to fight these battles on basic human rights, while the economy suffers global moguls continue to rake in the money.

Yes, Mr. McCann we bleat on and on about the importance of an educated and healthy population.  We voice and express concerns about how exploitative capitalism, on which your portfolio and business model relies, has caused irreparable harm the planet we call home.  But we know, worrying about an endangered planet and humanity causes your portfolio to wilt like you probably do when you’ve run out of Viagra in the middle of the deep blue on your shiny yacht after your escort has finished dictating for you.

To the true believers on the left, re-electing Barack Obama is not a matter of what is or is not good for the country; rather, for the majority on the left, the primary motivation is geared solely toward defeating their sworn enemy: conservatives and Republicans, whom many falsely believe are a right-wing horde determined to create a theocracy and impose old-fashioned morality.  But what they fear most from the right is a determination to reinstitute unfettered individual freedom and concomitant economic growth, which would relegate the American left to the back bench of American society.

Yeah we got it.  Apparently McCann seems to have a misunderstanding of American history? We’re not going to the back of the bus as much as the GOP, Tea Partiers and others wish.  In fact, its pretty clear the country is changing and electing a black president only constituted the beginning.

Thus, to them, what the policies of Barack Obama and his radical minions are doing to the long-term fate of nation is immaterial as long as Obama regurgitates his support for the various causes that are near and dear to the coalition that makes up the left.  There are two common threads to the belief system of American progressives: 1) an omnipotent central government controlled by them, and 2) an assumption that there is a bottomless pit of money to be siphoned from an equally bottomless pit of wealth.  But this is not the same nation that experienced unprecedented prosperity from 1946 to 2007.  It is not the same nation in which these narcissists on the left grew up, never knowing national adversity or trauma.

1. Yes, we do in fact represent every single portion of humanity not represented by the guests on your yacht Mr. McCann, yes we do in fact believe that the government’s role is to put selfish pricks like you where you belong — in the palm of our sweaty, hard working hands.

2. We do indeed see a bottomless pit of money — our money that we worked damn hard for that you stole from us through your wrangling and perverting our government to allow you to extract every penny from our efforts and give as little back to us as possible.

And we also know that the national prosperity has been in decline for us ever since your patron saint, Ronnie Reagan took office here and began to strip every single protection from greedy, self centered, hypocritical plutocrats like yourself.   We’ve suffered enough trauma under the reign of the greedy and we’ve had it.

The manner in which these progressives, and their titular leader Barack Obama, are conducting themselves in the current campaign season is indicative of their arrogant and immature mindset.  To the vast majority on the left, this campaign is merely a game played out on the playground of American politics, wherein they childishly engage in name-calling and temper tantrums reminiscent of spoiled brats determined to get their way, regardless of the consequences.

Well, to the vast majority of Americans this playground is ours and its our damn business how we play it out and we’d like it if global moguls like yourself keep your filthy paws out of our political and electoral business.  We are indeed determined to get our way but it seems last we knew, the bamboozled foot soldiers of the plutocracy were the ones throwing the biggest temper tantrums about having a Kenyan born Islamic black man chosen as the president of their whites-only fiefdom.  But like most spoiled brats, you people just refuse to take your marbles and go home to cry to mama, nope, instead you have to put millions into SuperPACS and keep trying to play petty games with our political system to feed your own selfish desires.

It is time to grow up and understand that the America that could absorb all the excessive spending, promises, and left-wing fun and games is no more.  This nation cannot survive on its present course, and if that course is not dramatically reversed, those on the left will suffer as much as if not more than the bulk of the American people they are trying to rule.  History has shown repeatedly that when an overwhelming political and social catastrophe strikes a nation, the people turn against the ruling class, often with a vengeance.  In the United States, that ruling class is presently dominated by the American left.

You’re absolutely right Mr. McCann, the country can no longer continue on this course.  Scientists say if we don’t make radical life style and consumption changes we may not have a planet worth living on in another twenty or thirty years.  History has indeed shown repeatedly that when aristocrats and their inbred offspring are allowed to run things, they tend to make a big damn mess of the house and leave the adults to come and clean it up.  The clean up time has begun and we’re ready to evict you and your lying friends.  Thanks for playing Mr. McCann, there’s a spot in the back of the bus for you.

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The New Hampshire Immigrant Problem: The Free State Project

Bienvenue à New Hampshire, où nous avons des impôts et des frais. Si cela ne vous plaît pas, retournez chez vous, préférablement pas sur nos routes publiques.

Copied from Counterpunch, apparently there’s more if you subscribe, but Progressive Action NH alas, has no budget for subscriptions right now.

April 27, 2009

The Far Right’s Plot to Capture New Hampshire

by PAM MARTENS

One of the most audacious and cynical corporate-backed social experiments in living memory, the Free State Project in New Hampshire, has now shifted into damage control mode.  Free State operatives learned this past week of my article that appears in the current subscription edition of CounterPunch, taking the first in-depth look at their plan to entice 20,000 out-of-state ultra libertarians and anarchists to move to New Hampshire and implant an extremist brand of free market capitalism: a brand the corporate backers hope will lead to a gutting of business regulations, environmental laws, and return the state to the right wing of the Republican fold.  (Currently, all three branches in New Hampshire, known for its pivotal first primary status, are controlled by Democrats.)

An effort at damage control is playing out in the Free Staters’ internet pummeling of this author and a reporter at the Keene Sentinel newspaper in southern New Hampshire, Phillip  Bantz, who made reference to the revelations in the CounterPunch piece along with an eyebrow raising quote from a Free Stater on legalizing cannibalism, a demand of some fringe Free Staters.

The attacks have not gone as planned.  Over 128 reader responses are now registered in the Keene Sentinel, founded in 1799, which typically receives less than 20 responses to an article.  Area residents, known for tolerance, are displaying pent-up fatigue and anger with the agenda of the Free Staters.

Some of the Free State participants call themselves anarcho capitalists, promoting an embrace of free markets and individual freedoms unencumbered by authority of the state.  Free State members must formally agree to the premise that “government exists at most to protect people’s rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else.” [1]   This premise is widely interpreted by Free Staters to mean all tax supported social welfare programs must go, along with zoning and planning and building inspectors.  Public education would be replaced with home schooling or private schools.

What has been able to fly completely under the radar for the last seven years, is the role of shadowy think tanks and their corporate money backers in the Free State Project strategy.

On the morning of Friday, February 27, 2004, at the Washington D.C. corporate headquarters of the free market think thank, the American Enterprise Institute, this far-fetched plan was carefully rolled out to the national media.  The key speaker at the event was Jason Sorens, founder of the Free State Project. Dr. Sorens is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The following are excerpts of remarks made by Dr. Sorens at that event, according to a transcript available at the American Enterprise Institute:

“The Free State Project started as an effort to identify the best state in the country for people who favor smaller government and stronger individual liberties to move to…

We started signing up people in September 2001, and our growth was slow in our first few months.  However, growth picked up dramatically in late 2002 and 2003, and by August 2003, we had 5,000 signed members…

New Hampshire doesn’t have large metropolitan areas, which tend to be left-leaning…

The Free State Project is related to market-preserving federalism in two different ways.  First, New Hampshire is poised to benefit if the United States returns to a true model of market-preserving federalism.  One example is Social Security.  New Hampshire could do much better if it were taking care of its own Social Security program because its residents pay much more in Social Security taxes than they receive back in benefits…

The Free State Project can also contribute to market-preserving federalism and its beneficial workings in another way.  Once New Hampshire moves dramatically in a free market direction, we are going to continue to attract individuals and businesses from other states.  And other states are going to have to reform their own laws in order to avoid losing their tax base to our state.

So the Free State Project, in more ways than one, I think, is the thin end of the wedge in increasing liberty throughout the United States.” [2]

(Notice what just happened here: unfettered capitalism has been conflated with “stronger individual liberties.”   Are we not currently living the economic nightmare that proves the opposite is true? )
One of the most astute questions at this conference came from a man identified in the transcript as William Kelly of Cox Newspapers:

KELLY: My question is for Jason.  I was wondering, when you sign people up, do you do any kind of background check on them or anything, to make sure that you’re not importing rapists and thieves to New Hampshire?…

SORENS:  No background checks.  I think libertarians wouldn’t like that, too privacy invading and too resource consuming as well.  So to some extent this is built on trust.  Everyone I’ve met has been normal and well adjusted.”

Jenna Wolf of the Union Leader out of Manchester honed in on another obvious area:

“Have you talked to residents?  What are their feelings about this?”

Dr. Sorens assured Ms. Wolf:

“…we have solicited the opinions of people who live in New Hampshire in our forum…And the responses I have gotten have been overwhelmingly positive, conditional.  So long as you are good neighbors and really support the political ideals that you talk about, then they are supportive.”

In just four months, both the lack of background checks as well as resident reaction would blow up in Dr. Sorens’ face.

Just nine days before Dr. Sorens gently rolled out his case to a strategically selected group of free market think tanks and reporters viewed as market friendly at the headquarters of the American Enterprise Institute, Tim Condon, at the time the Director of Member Services at the Free State Project, had mapped out an offshoot strategy.  The plan was to create a Free Town Project as well – “a low-population town in that same state where Porcupines can congregate….”  (Free Staters refer to themselves as Porcupines – upset them at your own risk.)  The tiny town of Grafton, New Hampshire was chosen. [3]

Tim Condon is a Tampa, Florida lawyer and one of the original organizers of the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) in 1991, a group that says it works “to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party” according to its web site. Unbeknownst to most rank and file Free Staters, Mr. Condon was receiving funds from the RLC.  According to the First Quarter 2005 minutes of the RLC of Florida, “On Jan. 4, the National Board of Directors of the Republican Liberty Caucus agreed to pick up some of the expenses of Florida RLCer Tim Condon of Tampa who – in conjunction with his efforts on behalf of the free state project…has been working to develop the New Hampshire RLC, one of the fastest growing RLC chapters in the nation.” [4]

According to Mr. Condon’s own account of how the Grafton plan came about, an “exploratory trip was launched in early February, 2004.  This time Porcupines Tim Condon and Zack Bass flew to New Hampshire from Florida, and had help from resident Free Staters in exploring.  Also present was Robert Hull, who drove up from New Jersey to join us.”
Zack Bass, according to a June 20, 2004 article in The Boston Globe was actually Larry Pendarvis of Brandon, Florida: “A computer analyst who also goes by the alias Zack Bass, Pendarvis was convicted in Polk County, Fla., in 1997 of more than 100 counts of downloading child pornography, a conviction later overturned on appeal. His other enterprises include a website that peddles mail-order brides from the Philippines with the slogan, ‘Date Locally, Marry Globally.’ ” [5]

According to the Free State Project, it was Mr. Pendarvis who was responsible for setting up a web site targeting local residents [6] and one establishing the goals of the Free Town Project as follows:

The Free Town Project intends to liberate either a New Hampshire Town, or a Western County, by moving in enough Libertarians to control the local Government and remove oppressive Regulations (such as Planning & Zoning, and Building Code requirements) and stop enforcement of Laws prohibiting Victimless Acts among Consenting Adults, such as Dueling, Gambling, Incest, Price-Gouging, Cannibalism, and Drug Handling. [7]

Hostilities flared against the Free Staters in Grafton by residents, followed by a large town meeting and unflattering press.  Dr. Sorens has persistently blamed all of this on Pendarvis and dismissed it by noting that Pendarvis was expelled from the Free State Project.  Dr. Sorens fails to note that it was he who declined to do background checks and it was his own Director of Member Services at the time, Tim Condon, who has acknowledged in his own article that he was part of the conception and planning of the project and made the exploratory trip to Grafton with Pendarvis (aka Zack Bass) in February 2004.

Dr. Sorens has additional explaining to do.  The Mercatus Center lists him as an Affiliated Scholar.  It, and its sister organization, Institute for Humane Studies, have funded Dr. Sorens research since at least 2002 according to public records. [8]

Mercatus is the Latin term for markets.  Thanks to an in-depth report published in September 2006 by the public interest nonprofit, Public Citizen, and OMB Watch, we know a great deal about the agenda of the Mercatus Center.  [9]

Richard Fink, executive vice-president of Koch Industries, Inc., founded Mercatus (then called the Center for Market Processes) at his alma mater, Rutgers University, in the early 1980s.  Later, he moved the organization to George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, where it resides today.  Mercatus blossomed at George Mason in 1997 after receiving a $3 million grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, which was founded by Charles G. Koch, chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries.  Koch Industries, an oil and gas giant, is the second largest privately held company in the United States…

The Charles G. Koch Foundation is one of the largest corporate donors to George Mason University, donating over $15 million since 1998 to the George Mason University Foundation, which accepts and manages tax deductible donations on behalf of GMU and its affiliates.  The Charles G. Koch foundation frequently earmarks these donations for the Mercatus Center, and in the past two years alone has donated over $2 million to Mercatus…

[As part of its anti-regulatory agenda] Mercatus staffers were pushing rollbacks that would directly benefit their corporate patrons.  BP Amoco, Exxon Mobil, and the Kochs, for example, would benefit from 14 of the suggestions…filed in 2001 to weaken the Clean air Act.  These petrochemical companies would also benefit from four of the Mercatus Center’s 2002 submissions calling for the weakening of the Clean Water Act…

By far the biggest corporate contributor to the Mercatus Center, and the group with the clearest personal ties to it, is the Koch group of foundations and, through them, Koch Industries.  A privately-held $25 billion petroleum, chemical, and agricultural company based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries has good reason to angle for a rollback of environmental standards.  In 2001, the company’s petroleum division pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act for releasing benzene, a known carcinogen, into the air at a Texas refinery.  Koch agreed to pay $10 million in criminal fines and further agreed to spend $10 million for environmental projects in the Corpus Christi area.  In addition, Koch must complete a five-year term of probation and adhere to a strict new environmental compliance program.

In a separate incident, Koch agreed to pay a $4.5 million penalty to settle other Clean Air Act violations at its Minnesota refinery.  The EPA also forced the company to spend an estimated $80 million to install new pollution-control equipment at two refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, and one near St. Paul, Minnesota.

Koch also has had a problem playing by the rules of the Clean Water Act.  The EPA found that during a seven-year period in the 1990s, a Koch pipeline subsidiary allowed 300 leaks to remain unstopped, spilling three million gallons of oil into waterways across six states.  In January 2000, the EPA leveled $30 million in civil fines against Koch, then the largest U.S. civil penalty, and required Koch to spend an additional $5 million on environmental projects. [10]

A former director of the Mercatus Center’s regulatory program was Wendy Lee Gramm.  As former chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 1988 to January 1993, Ms. Gramm’s deregulatory stance toward credit derivatives is widely regarded as a key element in today’s financial market meltdown.  According to Public Citizen, “In 1992, as the first step in its business plan to profit on the speculation of energy, Enron petitioned the CFTC to make regulatory changes that would limit the scope of the commission’s authority over certain kinds of futures contracts.  Immediately before leaving the CFTC, Gramm muscled through approval of an unusual draft regulation that would do just that – it narrowed the definition of futures contracts and excluded Enron’s energy future contracts and swaps from regulatory oversight.  Although her actions were criticized by government officials who feared the change would have severe negative consequences (as, in fact, it did), Gramm was rewarded five weeks after she left the CFTC with a lucrative appointment to Enron’s Board of Directors.  Between 1993 and 2001, when the company declared bankruptcy, Enron paid Gramm between $915,000 and $1.85 million in salary, attendance fees, stock option sales, and dividends.”

How much exactly has Dr. Sorens received from the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, and George Mason University Foundation?  Requests for specific dollar amounts to Dr. Sorens, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and each of the nonprofits was met with silence.  Dr. Sorens did take the time to send a seven-page letter to the Editors of CounterPunch demanding a retraction of this author’s first article.

A notice on the web site of the department of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo, a public funded institution where Dr. Sorens now teaches and conducts research, notes that “Jason Sorens and his co-author William P. Ruger, an Assistant Professor at the Texas State University, San Marcos published a study on Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom with the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.  The study presents an evidence based ranking of the 50 states in terms of both their provisions for and protection of personal and economic freedoms. Professor Sorens also continues to oversee a grant from Donors Trust.  The grant supports a series of research workshops on ‘Markets and States.’ ” [11]

Exactly 13 days after the study on Freedom in the 50 States was released, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law at the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions in Ohio, another free markets nonprofit, used the document in testimony on a House Bill in Ohio threatening to “initiate legal action” if the bill was signed into law. The testimony noted, from the report, that “Ohio recently ranked 38th in an index of economic freedom amongst the 50 states.” The bill would have eased mortgage loan modifications to prevent foreclosures. [12]

DonorsTrust, now funding Dr. Sorens “Markets and States” workshops, explains itself this way: “DonorsTrust was established as the sole donor-advised plan dedicated to promoting a free society and serving donors who share that purpose.  To date, DonorsTrust has received $230 million from these donors who are both dedicated to liberty and to the cause of perpetuating a free and prosperous society through philanthropic means…Know that any contributions to our DonorsTrust account that have to be reported to the IRS will not become public information.  Unlike with private foundations, gifts from your account will remain as anonymous as you request.” [13]

These promises of more freedoms from uninvited liberators who are secretly backed by special interests sound eerily familiar.  Hopefully, this particular plan has been outed in just the nick of time.

PAM MARTENS worked on Wall Street for 21 years; she has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article.  She writes on public interest issues from New Hampshire.  She can be reached at pamk741@aol.com

Notes.

[1] Free State Project web site
www.freestateproject.org

[2] Transcript of Jason Sorens speaking at the American Enterprise Institute

[3] Tim Condon maps out the plan for the Free Town Project in Grafton

[4] First Quarter, 2005 RLC of Florida Minutes (See page two.)

[5] “Grafton’s Messy Liberation,” Boston Globe, June 20, 2004

[6] Blood Bath & Beyond, Grafton Locals Targeted

[7] Web site of the Free Town Project

[8] Jason Sorens affiations with The Mercatus Center
http://www.mercatus.org/SearchResult.aspx?SType=Basic

[9] “The Cost is Too High,” Public Citizen, OMB Report: Pgs 43 – 55,
“Meet the Mercatus Center”

[10] Ibid, pg 52

[11] Jason Sorens’ funded work at the State University of New York at Buffalo

[12] 1851 Center for Constitutional Law Cites Sorens Research

[13] DonorsTrust

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His Mistress Green

 

His Mistress Green*

24

 

“Now think, ye rich men all, I pray
Of Goody Blake and Harry Gill!”
—Wordsworth (mostly), from Goody Blake and Harry Gill

You see that man, that billionaire who
Insists he knows the low-class woes?
That man, a more-than-millionaire who
Claims to know how hardship goes?
Do you believe that gold-fed man
—Who goes and poops a golden log,
Who claims that all are in his plan—
Is so empathic?  Ask his dog.

This Mitt-head (as of now a Mormon),
Who owns, I bet, a sub/car/plane:
I wonder when he greets his doorman
Does he feel that doorman’s pain?
Oh, yes!  I bet he tips him great!:
He puts two tickets in his hand
And says, “My boy, here, bring a date
To see me speak.  It will be grand!”

(Remember, he was asked about how
Best his boys had served their home,
And shameless, spineless did he tout how
“They campaigned!… Hey… where’s my comb?”
But don’t you doubt he’d send your son,
Your daughter off to distant lands,
With too few bullets in their gun,
To die in Middle-Eastern sands.)

I say a Mormon now because he
Might disown it like his plan
For social health-care.  My God! does he
Own one thought? this sketchy man!
And though this flopper didn’t flip
His message at the ACP,**
Don’t think that he had drunk a sip
Of Kool-Aid made with Limbaugh pee.

He has no master but the dollar,
His one true love, his mistress green;
This dominatrix has his collar:
This biggest sub you’ve ever seen!
So vote for him you mammoth red,***
But don’t complain to me if you
Were led astray by what he said;
He might turn out the reddest blue!

~

*This poem was written using the “Goody Blake”
stanza of William Wordsworth.
**This means, of course, the NAACP, but I could
not find a way to fit in all the letters while maintaining
the meter.  Something tells me Wordsworth himself
would have found a way.  I am no William Wordsworth.
Hail Wordsworth!  One of the greatest Democrats ever!
***Mammoth = GOP elephant

Save Public Education – The Core of Democracy!

Save Our Schools! Rally – September 22, 2012

Veteran’s Park, Manchester New Hampshire

4 – 6pm

For more info: See Facebook

The Corporate Education Reform Agenda

by Tom Crean for Socialist Alternative

It is becoming increasingly clear that the future for working class and poor youth in the United States is bleak. Three years into the most severe economic and social crisis of the capitalist system since the Great Depression, the unemployment rate for teenagers 16-19 years old is 26 percent. A recent study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies points out that the employment-population ratio-the ratio of the number of people employed to the total working-age population- which is a broader measure of labor market health than the unemployment rate, has fallen by about 20 percentage points over the past decade to 25.6 percent for teenagers. This is a record low in the post World War II period.

The picture is even worse when looking at the situation for poor black and Latino youth. The employment-population ratio for African Americans ages 16 to 19 was 14.4 percent in July. Since middle class youth will still go to college and one way or another find their way into jobs, albeit perhaps jobs that pay less than the ones they would have expected to get in the past, the picture is not as grim for them. But a whole generation of poor youth now essentially has no experience of paid employment. This is truly a lost generation.

Why begin a discussion of the state of education with unemployment statistics? This is the right place to start because most people would agree that a key aim of education should be to prepare young people for a better life than their parents had. The corporate elite that dominates our society also looks at education in relation to the future, but from the more narrow perspective of training the next generation of workers.

Continue reading: Save Our Schools!

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What If

WHAT IF

What if we had a world
Where everybody helped each other
And tried to build each other up
In stead of tearing each other down
And blowing each other into pieces.
Would not suffering be banished?
With helpful hands and gentle hearts
Could we not bring humanity to a pinnacle?
Why must we continue to fail at
The only Commandment that ever mattered,
That being to love each other
So as to be willing to give up ones life
For a friend,
To turn the other cheek
And to love our enemies.
This was a Commandment,
Not an aspirational guideline
And apparently
the most difficult one of all to follow.
As a species, if we eventually
fail to follow it,
We deserve to reap the dire seeds
Of our own destruction and demise.
A meeker species will eventually
Inherit the earth
And i will thankfully be gone.
Already in my lifetime,
I have seen enough.
What if,
Peace.
Mike Murburg 08/29/12
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Ron Paul Rally 8/26

Sent from Mike Murburg via his phone on 8/26: Just picked it up today.

Reporting live from the USF Sundome, Ron Paul Rally.  The dome is filling.  Ron Paul is where libertarianism has been.  Gary Johnson or Rand Paul is likely where it will go. The crowd is young, some gray hairs, someiddle agers.  Asians, whites, atabs, blacks, some….a pretty good crosssection, Mostly white but a surprising number of burka wearing women. There are bikers and babies….well mannered and polite, middle class.  I am comfortable here with these people, the Republicans of a Neolithic age, the vanishing middle class.  “The Ron Paul Revolution, Respect the Constitution” is heard as a scant chant.  The crowd builds.  The VIPs are beginning to arrive.  No glamourazzi here, no bulls or brown shirts.  This is no Nuremberg.  No skinheads… Just the comfortably passionate and reasonable.

The music is setting the stage.
Tom petty, won’t back down
Jackson brown, lives in the balance, For Everyman
John Mayer, waiting on the world to change
I am a patriot, Jackson Browne
Michael franti, time to go home, yell fire,
Sly, war
Millet halstead, interlude
Jackson Browne, doctor my eyes
Bob marley,  no more trouble

Time for the speakers to arrive.
Perhaps what I am seeing and realizing is that at heart I am a pragmatic progressive with the heart of a libertarian or some mixture of that.  Without liberty there is no life.  Without life there is at best, only the liberty of others.  These people are not crazy.  This is the libertarian wing of the republican party, moderates, veterans, the disenfranchised by the party power elite who have homogenized and centralived the party from the rules committee to the delegate process and turned their backs on truth and the common weal.

This wing has its internal differences, surprisingly abortion still unsettles many and states rights vs trespass theory of being a fetus still foments discussion but not derision.

Perhaps science will dissolve this problem and the early fetus saved and warded to the state and adoption.  When our fertility and birth rates drop to a point where humans need each other and life is precious from conception to the grave will it no longer be an issue.  It’s just a thought, for now.  Freedom to assemble and to speak are the obvious values embraced here today.  The abandonment of the Fed, getting rid of the patriot act, irs, dangerous institutions today. Down with big brother…making ones chain longer does not freedom make. Santorum’s name gets booed, fox gets booed, John Stewart gets cheered.  I feel comfortable here.

Ron paul’s wife speaks.  She is an intelligent amd sweet woman.  Impressive family of fjysiciams. Rand Paul speaks.  He knows his being in the senate is a miracle.  Now his dad.  Good speech, more talking points.  It all makes sense.  Here is where the Goldwater Republicans have come to dwell.

So, in the end, what have I learned?  In a word, no system can be one without compassion sewn into its cloak of doctrine.  Perhaps in two words, libertarian progressive no longer seems like a true contradiction in terms

Mike Murburg

UPDATE: To Mike’s report on the Ron Paul delegation:

Ron Paul Delegates Walk Out After Video Tribute, Rand Paul Speech

Supporters of former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) stage a walk-out of the Republican National Convention.

Full story at TPM

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Screw the Troika!

Europe is awakening to resist the efforts of the German-led bankers to use the Euro to squash public services and safety nets in order to increase profits for the global elites.  Mirroring in many ways the strategies imposed upon Americans here at home by capitalist elites, the global capitalists have started the slaughter of the people’s rights on European soil as well.

Here, the site Igualistarista puts out the call from Portuguese resistance activists to stand up and protest against the austerity measures pressuring Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain in an effort to get them to succumb to secondary status to as laborer-serf countries for European capitalist interests.  So without further delay:

Screw the Troika, We Want Our Lives!

This is a call to protest made in the last few days by Portuguese activists for a new day of protest against what is known as the Troika (the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank). You can find the protest and the original call in Portuguese here:

Que se Lixe a Troika! Queremos as nossas Vidas – Screw the Troika,  We Want Our Lives!

It is necessary to do something extraordinary. It is necessary to take to the streets and squares in both our cities and our countryside. To join voices and hands. This silence is killing us. The noise of the mainstream media fills the silence, reproduces the silence, spreads the network of lies that puts us to sleep and annihilates our desire. It is necessary to do something to reverse the submission and resignation, to do something against the filtering of ideas and against the death of the collective will. It is necessary to once again call upon our voices, arms and legs, of everyone who knows it is in the streets that the present and the future is decided. It is necessary to overcome the fear that is constantly spread and, once and for all, see that we no longer have much to lose, and that the day will come when everything has been lost because of our silence and our surrender.

Read the rest of this excellent post Igualistarista

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Dead Ends – Poem

Dead ends

By John Coyote

Brothers told no-one they were scared.
Stood on a chair and told the world to f-off.
Baby sister cried and family learn to live without the laughter
of two strong boys.

Young girl told me she is useless.
Better off dead. She had did many bad things.
No forgiveness for woman who wasted everything she touched.
I told her. “Jesus can forgive. You must forgive yourself and become wiser
in choices. Stop and think. Re-set your journey. Can’t change the past. But you
can decide the future”

Old man sat alone.
Thinking of dead memories.
Missing voices gone and not forgotten.
He wondered  could he had of changed people journeys?
Could he had of been kinder?
Tears fall from his eyes.

Wars are alive and well.
Old Soldier sat at a  grave stone of a good friend.
He drink his friend favorite Miller’s beer.
Told his friend. “Kids are strong and beautiful. You are a grandpa now twice.
The little boy looked like you. I miss you my friend. I wished I could hear your
laughter and I know what you would tell me. It will be alright Johnnie. I know you will
be there for my kids.” I leave four Miller’s beer on a lonely grave and pray my friend is watching his children from heaven.

Someone killed people in Wisconsin.
Just people going to worship.
I saw their faces of the family and friends after the shooting.
Exploding with tears and sadness.
Old world is going mad.

My good friends killed in Iraq in 2004 with my daughter and his two daughters.

Why would anyone kill another in a church of prayer or anywhere for no reason?
We need a billion prayers for love and kindness to be rebirth in our world.

“Too much death lord.
Please protect the children.
Please send wisdom and guidance to our leaders.
Lord of life and death.
Please help us. We are being led by Beserkers who want hate over love.
Want murder over conversation.
They desire blood of another because of religion.”

Today we stand on a dangerous edge.
Israel threatening war.
Middle East can send the world on the final journey.
Weapons and Soldiers cannot bring peace.
Destroying beautiful cities don’t create friendships.
Words of hate lead us to no-where.

We are all flesh and bones.
We know pleasure and pain.
If you stand for nothing.
One day you wished you scream out against war.
One day you will wished you told a love one you loved them.

One day we will be on a dead end road.
Too late for tears and forgiveness.

I pray and  hope for logic and common sense. Need a miracle.
Common people everywhere must stop the berserkers of war and violence.
Stand together for peace and kindness.

Send food and medicine. Not weapons and Soldiers.
Tell someone you miss and love them. You need them near.

Coyote
2012

For more see John Coyote: An Old Poet with Dreams of Peace and Stories to Tell

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So Tell Me Again Racism Doesn’t Exist

So I was at the Valley Street Stop and Shop in Manchester; the one that in the phone book is on Lincoln Street. Anyway, I’m there shopping with my little carpenter friend and suddenly, as I hunted around I heard African voices speaking, not uncommon in Manchester. Always curious about new sounds and languages I look up and see a mom and her two kids shopping.  Nothing new, so I return my gaze and concentration to answer the burning question, steel cut oats or organic? quick cooking or old fashioned? I make my selection and move down the aisle.

Then suddenly I hear some talking from a loud man, as I move closer to the end of the aisle, I saw a plump white man moving along with a carriage and his mouth moving along with him.  Then I hear quite clearly, “You like America uh?” My mind had to register for a minute if that this was not a friendly exchange. Bellowed at the top of the man’s voice, everyone in that part of the store had to have heard it.  Other people I noticed moved along quietly and said nothing. I turned the corner of the aisle and passed the mom and her children to whom I was certain the shouting was directed.

You know communication is universal and one of the most fascinating elements of communication is how, without words we humans often can pick up the subtle nuances of emotion and state of mind.  I passed the mom and noticed her son, probably a pre-teen talking quickly in his native tongue and his mother scolding him back.  The exchange continued with mom interrupting son.  I imagined the conversation as something the boy spouting off in frustration, answering the rude man’s racist jest and mother telling him to be quiet and move on.

The man’s voice echoed in my mind, the tone of mom and son’s speech and I had a hunch, I turned from my carriage and faced the mother and asked out loud, “Did that man just say what I thought he said?”  The mother answered, “Yes!” with a look of disbelief and frustration.  I told her I wish I had been there and spouted off about what a horrible thing and what an ass, she said he just started talking to her and yelling at her.  We vented together, me allowing her, I hope, the permission to be angry; to know that not all ‘white’ people agree with the ignorance of that man.

But whatever I could do as a ‘white’ person far outnumbers the violence and offensiveness of the racists.  Often I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle and I never have the opportunity enough times, nor enough support from my white peers to fight this problem.

More than likely I can’t find enough ‘white’ to stand up to this, because there are too many telling each other that racism doesn’t exist anymore.  They say that conversations and verbal assaults like what I witnessed today are rare, if happening ever at all and certainly not in our community!

Well there it is, in your community and this isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed this or had to sit and listen to an endlessly ignorant and arrogant white person tell me how they know all about people of color.  Come again?

I know it exists, I know it happens. I don’t have to be the witness every minute to verify the experiences of people of color when they tell me stories they tell me in confidence. I don’t want to walk away and pretend I don’t notice when incidents like the above happen, in fact I wish I had caught on sooner and had been in closer proximity to what was going on today; I would have been happy to provide an example of a white person standing up to a racist.

I don’t have to have dark skin to know that racism is wrong. I don’t have to count on my fingers the number of dark skinned friends I have to figure out whether I’m qualified to speak out against racism.  I don’t need someone to tell me that as a white person I have privilege when nearly once a week, maybe everyday depending on where I am, I hear a white person justify to me, why they think their white skin makes them better than and different than someone without white skin.  I hear it, I hear their ignorant words and their ignorant ideas. I hear white people say to me about “that part of town”.  I hear white people say to me, “Well he’s black.” I hear white people say to me, “I don’t rent to Mexicans.” I hear white people say to me, “Black people are lazy, spanish people are noisy.” Should I go on white folks or do you know what I am saying?

So don’t tell me there’s no racism.  See: 10 Conversations I’m sick of Having with White People

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Wal-Mart to Sell Genetically Engineered Corn This Summer

Yum, yum! Bite into some BT today! If there was ever a good reason to find your local grower’s market for some fresh sweet corn, this may be the year.   Well, according to the article, grocers have been selling to product for awhile — without anyone noticing.  You can thank the corporate controlled FDA for their non-action.

by Sarah Damian on August 07, 2012

sweet_cornOnce again, consumers will be left in the dark when it comes to what food they’re purchasing at the grocery store – in this case, thanks to Monsanto and Walmart. The largest retailer in the world, Walmart confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that it wouldn’t restrict sales of Monsanto’s new genetically engineered sweet corn.

Like other foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, the sweet corn does not require labeling to keep shoppers fully informed about what they’re eating (a different story in the European Union, China, Russia, Australia and Japan, where it’s required). Some food safety advocates say directly consuming GE foods necessitates more long-term, transparent health studies.

For the from Whistleblower.org

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