Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Welfare’

Governor of Connecticut Gets Owned

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2007 at 10:23 am

Apparently, on September 13th, the Governor of Connecticut made a public statement condemning Chesapeake Energy for choosing not to sell some natural gas that it could not make money on. In response, the CEO of Chesapeake sent him and all of Connecticut’s congressional representatives a letter explaining all the ways in which Governor Rell was wrong. It is not only an excellent piece of writing, but very informative with regard to an industry that most Americans thoroughly misunderstand. The entire letter is available here (PDF). I encourage everybody to read through it, which shouldn’t be a problem as it is quite entertaining.

Here is my favorite part:

After demonstrating that external speculators were the cause of bizarre swings in oil & gas prices:

If it is true that large speculators have influenced trends in oil and natural gas prices, who are these speculators that have driven oil prices to record levels that are punishing U.S. oil consumers and natural gas prices that are causing the U.S. natural gas industry to sell their product below oil price equivalency levels? From what we have read, these speculators are primarily hedge funds and, significant to this discussion, many are Connecticut-based hedge funds, most notably last year, Greenwich-based Amaranth Advisors. Over the past week, we have examined your campaign contribution records and it is evident that you have received donations from principals and employees of many hedge funds, some of which may have been involved in causing oil prices to be higher than they should be and natural gas prices to be lower than they should be.

Now, it’s no surprise that a politician would favor his sugar daddies over what’s right – especially when the group in the right is unpopular – but to publicly make factually incorrect accusations is a whole other level of stupid.

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Presidential Candidate Purity Testing

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Crime, Drug War, First Amendment, George Phillies, Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Military, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican, Second Amendment on July 25, 2007 at 6:39 pm

While I believe that “how libertarian” a candidate is shouldn’t be the only deciding factor in determining whether to vote for them, I feel it’s important we discuss it more than “so-and-so’s position on this is not libertarian”, both with regard to their position on it and whether they address it at all. I recognize this thread will likely turn into a huge argument, and if people can provide me with information to alter my analysis, I will be happy to change it. (If I’m slow in doing so, I won’t be offended if other LFV writers do it, though I’d prefer it if those officially affiliated with certain campaigns didn’t do so, for obvious reasons.)

The three substantial candidates I consider remotely libertarian are Steve Kubby, Ron Paul, and George Phillies. (Despite others including Christine Smith as a substantial candidate, I have seen functionally no presence from her.) The standard I’ll use for “libertarian” will be the LP platform, which I recognize is by no means perfect, but it gives me a set of issues to work with. I’ll consider the candidates in alphabetical order. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Bastille Day. We need a new one.

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, George Bush, Guantanamo, History, Human Rights Abuses, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Protest, Second Amendment, Terrorism, War on July 15, 2007 at 6:40 am

Originally posted yesterday on my blog for Bastille day. Forgot to transfer it over til today. Oh well, better late than never…

According to wikipedia,

On 5 May 1789, Louis XVI convened the Estates-General to hear their grievances. The deputies of the Third Estate representing the common people (the two others were clergy and nobility) decided to break away and form a National Assembly. On 20 June the deputies of the Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath, swearing not to separate until a Constitution had been established. They were gradually joined by delegates of the other estates; Louis started to recognize their validity on 27 June. The Assembly re-named itself the National Constituent Assembly on 9 July, and began to function as a legislature and to draft a constitution.

The blue-blooded Chimperror, Cesar Potus George Dubai-ya Bushitler II, has brung back the clergy and the nobility back to a level of undue influence in civic life. Perhaps we need a new storming of the Bastille?

In the wake of the 11 July dismissal of the royal finance minister Jacques Necker, the people of Paris, fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal military, and seeking to gain arms for the general populace, stormed the Bastille, a prison which had often held people arbitrarily jailed on the basis of lettre de cachet. Besides holding a large cache of arms, the Bastille had long been known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The general populace being increasingly outgunned by regime agents? Check. People jailed arbitrarily? Check. Political prisoners? Check. Absolutist, hereditary rulers? Check.

The storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than a practical act of defiance.

Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, on 4 August feudalism was abolished and on 26 August, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed.

Ending feudalism and having citizens rights? Yeah, we kinda need that again. Check!

How to be a successful drug dealer and get away with it

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Drug War, Fraud, George Bush, Health, Human Rights Abuses, Law Enforcement, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility, Police State on July 6, 2007 at 10:49 am

Also posted at Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

Energy Vortex II

In Civil Liberties, Economics, Environment, Global Warming, Health, History, Iran, Iraq War, Media, Middle East, Military, Police State, Terrorism, War on June 16, 2007 at 8:26 am

A while back I wrote about the Energy Vortex and others have commented on the same issue.

The most cited instance of this is the War in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan; it may have had a lot to do with the proposed oil pipeline through Afghanistan).

This view of

Operation
Iraqi
Liberation

has worked its way into popular culture:

Many have denied the connection, but the new Iraqi Oil Law
makes it harder to give any credibility to such denials.

Nor is the regime’s energy fascism solely confined to grand projects abroad; sometimes, it can also be quite petty and domestic.
Francois Tremblay
reports:

Despite his good intentions, the state fined Teixeira $1,000 for not paying motor fuel taxes. North Carolina officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he’d have to first post a $2,500 bond.

Such penalties have also been levied against other North Carolina drivers whose vehicles were powered by alternative fuels.

It’s enough to make you do a Katrina Clap…

Let Freedom Grow! for 06/03/07

In Civil Liberties, Economics, Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Police State, Politics on June 4, 2007 at 3:09 pm

In this week’s radio address, Steve Kubby discusses the US Senate’s immigration “compromise.”

The political community’s been abuzz this week with news of a bi-partisan “deal” on immigration law. We go through this every few years as our politicians try to satisfy everyone, end up satisfying no one, and usually make things worse than they were.

The proponents of the new law claim that it will secure America’s borders, provide for a “guest worker” program and a “path to citizenship.” They’re wrong. It won’t secure the borders, and its “guest worker” and “path to citizenship” provisions are already blueprinted to quickly degenerate into yet another set of expensive, intrusive bureaucracies.

The opponents of the law claim that the “guest worker” and “path to citizenship” measures amount to an amnesty. They’re right as far as that goes, but they’re wrong when they suggest that that’s a bad thing, or that it’s incompatible with the national security. Not only is amnesty a GREAT idea — it’s the best thing to do when you’ve had a really, really stupid law in place for so many years — it is a prerequisite to ANY effective national defense.

Tune in for more:

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Immigration hysteria + “Fair” tax = Police State USSA

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Fraud, History, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Police State, Taxation, Terrorism, War on June 1, 2007 at 4:22 pm

UPDATE 6/2: Claire Wolfe reports that current employees will also have to apply for government permission to keep their jobs.

Recently, I wrote about how immigration hysteria being used as an excuse for rise of a US police state.

Here, Mark Yannone documents some of the proposed mechanics of this connection are being put together. Like me, Yannone believes that the Trojan horse of a fraudulent “fair” tax will also be a key building block of this disturbing development. This guy, this guy, or maybe this one could easily be the perfect candidate to put the finishing touches on a domestic system of fascism.

Makes a lot of sense, except for this picture of ol’ Kris Kristofferson. What’s he got to do with it?

UnemployedStop the Experiment

by Mark Yannone

Half in jest, I’ve long referred to employment regulation as government’s attempt to make employment illegal. Legislation like the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 makes the federal government’s desire for complete control over our lives more evident than ever.

By ignoring existing immigration law for years, the law enforcement failure—in conjunction with welfare programs and other socialist policies—has helped to produce conditions that make Soviet-style control of its citizens a more palatable “solution” to the government-engineered problems associated with illegal immigration.

Is this draconian legislation the last straw for those who assert their inalienable right to earn a living without government interference? Maybe . . . if it were rigorously enforced. But it could never be fully enforced as long as we have cash. So, once again, Americans will have to surrender more freedom for the sake of the success of a government program. When our money is 100 percent digital, enforcement will be fairly easy, except where barter is used. Barter will include what was previously considered legitimate money: gold and silver coins. Of course, such transactions will have to be outlawed, but they won’t stop. Barterers who are discovered will lose their assets and what remains of their freedom to teach the rest of us that such behavior is ill-advised.

The final step in the system will be the implementation of the world’s most controlling system of taxation, currently referred to as the FairTax, a 30 percent national sales tax that will require everyone to receive a monthly living allowance from the federal government, transferred electronically into their bank accounts (as long as the citizen remains compliant).

The economy in such a government-controlled society cannot thrive. As it deteriorates, law enforcement will grow increasingly difficult and expensive, so the measures used will become extreme. Given the history of mankind, we can expect these enforcement tools to include labor camps and extermination. And if you think that can’t happen in our system of government then you must have missed the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive from the White House.

The world is a living laboratory. The experiments outlined here have already been performed, and the results were all negative. They don’t need to be repeated, and you don’t need to continue to live as a lab rat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ag Department protecting big business from superior product

In Big Brother, Health on June 1, 2007 at 7:33 am

I can’t believe this. A Kansas beef producer, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, announced its plans to test all of its cows for mad cow disease – which sounds great to me. (The company does some other pretty cool stuff – its processing plant was designed by Dr. Temple Grandin, a specialist in animal welfare, for example.) The USDA, however, knew that

…if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, [larger meatpacking companies] might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.

Since the USDA regulates the mad cow test, it prevented Creekstone from testing its cows, using the blindingly lame argument that

…widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

Naturally, they don’t care that widespread testing could lead to people not dying – it’s the big meatpacking companies that they’re around to protect.

On March 29th, Judge James Robertson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that it was illegal for the USDA to prevent Creekstone from testing its own goddamn cows – but allowed the USDA to appeal until June 1st. On May 30th, they did. Creekstone’s CEO James Buhlke said that

We still hope to convince USDA to work with Creekstone on a voluntary BSE testing program. However, Creekstone Farms will continue to pursue our right to test even in the wake of this latest action by the USDA.

I don’t see how anybody who’s not a complete shill for Creekstone’s competitors could disagree. Creekstone owns the cows, Creekstone’s customers want safe beef, but the USDA thinks it owns all the cows in the country.

McCain: The Manchurian Candidate

In Censorship, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Fraud, History, Iran, Iraq War, Middle East, Military, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Second Amendment, Terrorism, War on May 18, 2007 at 6:41 am

With all the attention we have been paying to Republican Presidential candidates Adolf Giuliani and Ron Paul lately, I thought it would be only fair to say a word or two about creepy warmonger
John McCain.

Here he is singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and laughing about it.

What did the Iranians ever do? Never mind, war criminal McCain has never met a war he didn’t like.

McCain can’t help but remind me of the
Manchurian Candidate.

This illustrious member of the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal Senators and noted gigolo is also well known for the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act.

Somewhat less well known is that he also co-sponsored the McCain/Lieberman gun show bill, which would have given the federal government the administrative power to prohibit all gun shows, and to register everyone who attends a gun show. According to wikipedia, “Since 2004, McCain has gained the unique distinction of receiving an F- rating from Gun Owners of America; and further unlike any other 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate has a dedicated section/compendium within the GOA web site, which contains numerous pages relating to John McCain’s very own anti-Second Amendment initiatives while in the Senate”.

Wikipedia also points out that he hired a board member of the Project for the New American Century, Randy Scheunemann, as his foreign-policy aide and is considering Billion Dollar Bob Riley for veep.

Oh, and his anti-torture provision? Not all it’s cracked up to be.

To sum it all up, I have to give McCain the maximum number of flushes.

Why doesn’t Big Business love libertarians?

In Corruption, Crazy Claims, Economics on May 12, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Whenever I bring up free-market ideals to people, they tend to reply with the public-school-gruel argument that goes something like this:

If government doesn’t keep the corporations down, monopolies will naturally develop, and they’ll buy out startups with new products, saving them from their own inefficiency, and they’ll never go away.

Firstly, if this were true, there would be a lot more corporate dollars flowing to Ron Paul’s and any Libertarian’s campaign, as opposed to neocon’s big-government campaigns.

But let’s look at why this isn’t true.

Large corporations are inefficient. 55% of innovations are produced by small companies. Sure, the big guys can buy up the innovators, to some extent. Eventually, however, the inherent inefficiency of a large organization will catch up to them and they will fall – unless government props them up.

Adolf Giuliani: As Far From Libertarian As Possible

In Big Brother, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Drug War, Economics, Fraud, History, Law Enforcement, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Second Amendment, Taxation, Terrorism, War on May 11, 2007 at 6:47 am

Despite what a certain milk shake would like you to believe, Rudolf Giuliani Mussolini is As Far From Libertarian As Possible (click on the link to read about his early history as a psychotically deranged persecutor of victimless white collar “criminals”).

Even some of Giuliani’s admirers admit he has fascist tendencies. The amazing record of corruption and perfidy simply boggles the mind. Giuliani even had the incredible temerity to
try to stay on as mayor after his term was over.

Check out the comments at Serf City. Giuliani abused his mayoral office to go after cabbies, artists, street vendors, porn,
sex-related businesses, and anyone who did business without a license. His phony tax cuts were merely deficit spending – putting the tax bill on future victims, plus interest, while ducking the responsibility for his out of control spending, a favorite ploy of scumbag Rapepublicneoconartists.

Ron Moore reports,

Let’s take the pot smokers. One study points out that under Rudy’s Broken Windows policy, public-toking arrests rose 2000% from about 2000 in 1994 to over 50,000 by 2000 ( Harcourt & Ludwig, Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing and Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests in New York City, 1989-2000 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=948753). The study also finds that this had no measurable effect on violent crime.”

Furthermore,

Unfortunately, Rudy’s broken windows policy didn’t apply to Rudy’s buddies in the New York Police Department. An April 1999 article in Crime and Delinquency (Zero Tolerance: A Case Study in Police Policies and Practices in New York City, Judith Greene) points to a 75% increase in new civil rights claims against the police for abusive conduct. The article also points to a sharp increase in the number of complaints which resulted in no arrest and no summons and where there was no suspicion of criminal activity. Um – just why were people being stopped? What was Mayor Rudy’s response to growing concern about police misconduct? According to the article the new Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) funding was cut 17% compared to the agency it replaced.

Victim disarmament? According to Mike Blessing, Giuliani said on one of the

morning empty-talk shows that “We shouldn’t just try one of these [”gun control”] plans, we should try them all.”

Giuliani libertarian?

King George Dubai-ya Dubai-ya III Bush has gone a long way towards creating a fascist Amerikkka. Rudolf the coke nosed Fascist would go all the way. No libertarians should even remotely consider being fellow travellers in helping Ayatollah Giuliani set up his gulag regime.

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

-Rudy

Destroying the Environment for “Renewable” Fuels

In Corruption, Economics, Environment, Global Warming on March 31, 2007 at 12:26 pm

It’s a good time to be a corn lobbyist. The largest acreage of corn since 1944 is to be planted this year, with a record harvest predicted if weather is even slightly cooperative. Here’s what the Washington Post tells you:

Corn prices have doubled since last fall due to explosive growth of the ethanol industry, driving up costs for cattle, dairy, hog and poultry producers.

“Explosive growth of the ethanol industry” translates to higher ethanol content in gasoline, thanks to government, high tariffs on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, thanks to government, and massive subsidies for ethanol production, thanks to government. This government support for corn ethanol isn’t around because your representatives just care so much about CO2 emissions. In fact, corn ethanol does very little for net CO2 emissions. But it’s awesome for Midwestern special interests. Sugarcane ethanol is far easier to produce, and thus far more environmentally friendly, but since there’s nowhere in the US that is suitable for growing sugarcane (except, with huge government subsidies, the Everglades – government helping out the environment again), it must be imported from countries like Brazil. This might be a good idea, but the corn lobby and their pet politicians won’t hear of it, so ridiculous tariffs on ethanol have been imposed.

The larger acreage of corn being planted means that corn is being grown on land less well-suited for corn farming, which means that farmers will use more chemicals on their land to get a yield. These chemicals don’t all stay on their land, however. Some will end up in runoff, which means they’ll get into streams and rivers. There, pesticides and herbicides kill things, and fertilizers cause runaway growth of algae. When the algae dies, its decomposition uses up all the oxygen in the water. Then all the animals not killed by pesticides and herbicides die. Bam, dead stream/river/lake. As government continues to tweak the market, encouraging naturally uneconomical uses of land, the environment will continue to suffer – all in the name, supposedly, of renewable energy.

Why the minimum wage sucks.

In Democrats, Economics on February 28, 2007 at 8:21 pm

The Democrats passed it a while back, and Dubya rolled over like a little bitch. Everyone was like “OMG YAY NOW TEH POOR WILL FINALLY BE OKAY.” Hell, even Walmart, Soul-Sucking Corporate Enemy Of The People, was cheering for it. It was the feel-good political blockbuster of winter.

But it was a fucking stupid idea, and even though it hasn’t taken effect yet, it’s already started screwing over the poor.

Remember how I mentioned Walmart? Yeah, those bastardfucks were cheering this on because they realized that nobody with money would bother shopping at their store. However, raise the minimum wage and their core consumer base suddenly has a little more spending money… money they’d spend at Walmart. Not only that, but Walmart was already paying $7 and change an hour on average, so raising the minimum wage would only hurt their competition.

That’s not all though!

I went shopping with the $16.50 that the State of Nebraska thinks I earned over the last two weeks (yay severe underreporting of hours! I need a new job) the other day and went to buy soda. Knowing that I couldn’t afford the decent Cherry Coke that I usually buy for $.98, I was prepared to buy the fuck nasty Sam’s Cola because it was $.50. Lo and behold, when I got there, the Cherry Coke was $1.24 and the Sam’s Cola was $.62. Yes, that’s right. The minimum wage hasn’t even HIT yet and they’re already raising prices.

So let’s sum up. Minimum wage rises, throws about 7% of the poor out of a job. On top of that, before the wage even hits, prices for basic consumer goods go up to the point that it’ll negate any wage hike in the first place.

At least I can rest assured that the price of habañero lube that Big Government/Corporate America is using to fuck me up the ass hasn’t gone up. Either that, or they’re just sucking up the cost out of the goodness of their hearts. They rape because they care.

Wal-Mart the (Corporate) Welfare Queen

In Corruption, Economics, Personal Responsibility, Politics on February 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm

By way of Brad Spangler

Shopping for Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth

by Philip Mattera and Anna Purinton

  • “The $1 billion figure we cite for total public assistance to Wal-Mart may very well be the tip of the iceberg.”

Link above is to the full study. Handy summary available here.