Archive for April, 2012
I’m sure you’re all familiar with Elizabeth Warren’s now famous quote. Her quote is extremely deceitful though and if she were an honest person should would have said the following:
Image obtained from Chris Lyspooner’s Facebook page
The owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi Wilf, is trying to sucker the people of Minnesota into handing over $548 million to help pay for a new stadium. Why does a multi-millionaire need pilfer the coffers of the state to pay for a stadium? He doesn’t, but like any smart business man making a risky move he wants to shield his fortune from possible loss as much as possible. Zygi didn’t get rich by being stupid after all. What’s interesting putting the sheer amount of money being demanded by the Vikings into perspective:
The public’s share of the project is slated to be $548 million and the Vikings must come up with $427 million. The team has already been approved by the NFL for a loan to help with the financing and could also sell stadium naming rights and seat licenses to cover their end. It is not clear if the bill will pass since most of the state’s taxpayers are against using their money to make Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, who paid $600 million for a team in 2005 now worth $796 million, even richer. Fully aware of this, advocates of the current bill have used bogus polling to plead their case.
If the bill for the Minnesota Vikings new stadium passes the cost to taxpayers will be $77.30 per ticket, per game, for 30 years, according to an analysis by state senator John Marty, who submitted his findings to his colleagues yesterday (see his full report below). If the taxpayers of Minnesota think $77.30 is too much, Marty has even worse news: the real cost is much greater because his calculation does not include the value of the property tax exemption on the stadium and the parking ramps, nor the value of the sales tax exemption on construction materials.
I have an idea, why don’t the Vikings just increase the cost of their tickets by $77.30 to fund the new stadium? If they’re right and the fans truly want a new stadium I’m sure they will have no problem paying $77.30 more per ticket to help the team out.
Personally I think Minnesota should just tell the Vikings where to stick it. They keep threatening to move to Los Angeles, I say we should make them put up or shut up.
Things are not going well for the Minnesota Republican Party (MNGOP). Some time ago it was revealed that they hadn’t paid the rent on their office building for some time, which lead to an eviction notice being sent their way. Now all sorts of chicanery is being revealed about the dummy corporation setup by MNGOP to contest Dayton’s electoral victor:
This past winter, George Fraley got a certified letter from a Republican attorney demanding payment of more than $219,000 in overdue legal fees from the 2010 gubernatorial recount.
There were two problems: The letter listed Fraley as CEO of a company he’d never heard of — Count Them All Properly Inc. Second, he never agreed to bankroll the recount for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.
“This has been, without a doubt, one of the screwiest things that has ever happened in my life,” said Fraley, who is not politically active and who has no ties to the GOP.
Fraley’s fight to get his name removed from the corporate filings for Count Them All Properly is coming to light as state regulators and a watchdog group are probing whether the company was created chiefly to keep debt off the books of the state Republican Party, which owes creditors $2 million, including recount debt.
GOP activists were rocked again last week when they learned that the party is $111,000 behind on rent. On Tuesday a Ramsey County district judge will conduct a hearing on whether the party can be evicted from its longtime St. Paul headquarters.
In the last two years, Count Them All Properly has listed two CEOs, both of whom say they have never heard of the company. Count Them All Properly has no corporate office, no phone number and no website. It does, however, have roughly $500,000 in debt, mostly to recount lawyers.
The company was incorporated in late 2010 by Daniel Puhl, a former administrator for the Republican National Committee who specializes in helping political parties, businesses and candidates work with the Federal Elections Commission.
About two weeks later, a CEO was listed: Jon Richard Schroeder.
Like Fraley, Schroeder says he had never heard of the company or agreed to be its chief executive.
“I have no idea how my name got on there,” said Schroeder, who runs a heating and air conditioning company in Maple Grove. “I have never been associated with them.”
As recount debt piled up, Schroeder said he started getting calls from people looking for the CEO. He told them the same thing: It’s not me; call someone else.
Months later, Schroeder’s name was replaced in state records with a new CEO: George Fraley.
Not only did they setup a dummy corporation to hide the debt that MNGOP knew would be incurred by recounting the governor vote (they claim that’s not why the corporation was setup but we all know it is) but they listed to random schmucks at the CEOs. Couldn’t they have at least listed somebody involved in the Republican Party?
I’m sure this story is going to get very interesting as it develops. I wonder how deep the corruption goes in this case. Also, why does a Ramsey County judge have to rule on whether or not MNGOP can be evicted? They haven’t paid their damned rent, it is well within the rights of the landlord to give those deadbeats the boot. Oh, right, MNGOP is a powerful political entity and therefore receive special state treatment.
Primal Fear is one of those power metal bands that was just destined to kick ass. The fact they were founded in part by former Gamma Ray vocalist Ralf Scheepers started everything on solid ground (Gamma Ray is another awesome power metal band). Needless to say Primal Fear is one of the purest power metal bands currently in existence. Their newest album, Unbreakable, keeps with the tradition of no nonsense power metal, which is to say the music is fast and the vocals are in the higher register:
It seems the Richmond Police Department should be more careful when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests:
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Richmond Police Department for police training documents, Mo Karn received much more than expected in return: homeland security and crowd control guides that show how the police target protests.
The police filed for an emergency court order yesterday to prohibit Karn from publicizing any of the documents, which should never have been released. The cops’ reasoning? “Defendant Mo Karn is a known and admitted anarchist.”
The documents, however, have already been published online. And buried in the training guides are insights into three trends in law enforcement that have been occurring not just in Virginia, but nationally: the demonization of protest, the militarization of police, and turning local cops into “terrorism” officials.
Hilarious is the only word for this. It’s always good to see the bad guys screw up once in a while. The documents themselves are interesting reads. Since this information is so secret that the Richmond Police Department attempted to prevent them from being published I decided to upload some local copies here:
I haven’t had time to actually read through all of these documents so please refer to the linked story for the highlights or read through the documents at your liesure (eventually I’ll get around to read them and if I find anything interesting I’ll probably post about it). With that said the 2009 Virginia Terrorist Threat Assessment manual has some interesting things to say about anarchists:
Anarchist extremists adhere to the anti-government movement which rejects governmental rule and police authority and advocates violent means to overthrow social, political, and economic hierarchies. The most current reporting includes known individuals, meetings and activities, internet reference, and law enforcement encounters in Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Strasburg, Williamsburg, Arlington County, Nelson, Smyth, Wythe, and Montgomery counties, as well as around Virginia Military Institute and William and Mary. Past anarchist activity or presence has been reported in Chesterfield, Christiansburg, Harrisonburg, Henrico, Norfolk, Prince Edward, and Prince William County, as well as by the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority. Reported activities have included public disturbances, conferences, and protests. In the past, Virginia’s primary anarchist figure of note was Peter Gelderloos, who is currently awaiting trial in Spain.
Many of the individuals who comprise this movement in Virginia are college age youth or college students, mostly located in the Richmond and Harrisonburg areas. These extremists have created their own training manuals and use list-serves and blogs to communicate, although the Virginia Anarchist Federation (VAF) webpage shows that attempts to organize on a large scale have been unsuccessful. Anarchists have been known to cooperate with environmental and animal rights groups and have engaged in hostile confrontations with white supremacist groups. Although the anarchist threat to Virginia is assessed as low, these individuals view the government as unnecessary, which could lead to threats or attacks against government figures or establishments.
I emphasized the most interesting pieces. First let me address the claim that anarchists “advocate violent means to overthrow social, political, and economic hierarchies.” Most of the comments made by the media and police regarding anarchists assume that anarchism is a single unified philosophy, as I explained some time ago it’s not. Some anarchists do believe in violent tactics, others oppose violent tactics entirely. To write a blanket statement like the one above demonstrates who ignorant of anarchism the state really is, which is probably why they fear it so much.
The whole “These extremists have created their own training manuals and use list-serves and blogs to communicate” line was just too funny. Watch out! The anarchists known how to read and post on list-serves (although I don’t believe anybody uses list serves to communicate today, everybody has moved on to web-based forums). Apparently anarchists also use blogs to communicate… interesting. I would have never guessed that.
I’m surprised they said anarchists have “engaged in hostile confrontations with white supremacist groups” like it’s a bad thing. Fuck neo-Nazis, seriously. The Ku Klux Klan? They can go to Hell. I’ll also point out that it was very likely the white supremacist groups were the ones who most often initiated hostilities. Any philosophy founded on mass extermination of entire ethnic groups or lynching of black individuals in the South isn’t exactly on pacifist grounds.
Finally the last line was nothing but pure fear mongering. First, anarchist usually don’t view government as unnecessary, they view it as violent and thus undesirable. In essence anarchists oppose violence, which is why it’s unlikely they will attack any government agents (and before anybody brings up Alexander Berkman, I said such an act is unlikely not impossible).
The state’s fear of anarchists has always amused me and it’s always entertaining to read their manuals that mention anarchism. I’m sure the other manuals will turn up some gold as well but now that their secrets are in the hands of anarchists the state will have to change their tactics.
In order to get people to believe the state is wise they were trying to make us believe the bailouts were a great idea because they would make the United States money. Guess what? They lied (shocking, I know):
US taxpayers are unlikely to get all their money back from a $700bn (£432bn) bailout of the country’s stricken banking and automotive sectors, according to a report.
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Tarp has published its latest report to Congress.
It said: “After three-and-a-half years, the Tarp continues to be an active and significant part of the Government’s response to the financial crisis.
“It is a widely held misconception that Tarp will make a profit. The most recent cost estimate for Tarp is a loss of $60bn. Taxpayers are still owed $118.5bn.”
This was the only possible outcome. In the business world failing is a sign that the business was not fulfilling the wants of enough individuals. When this happens there are only two options: change the business or face insolvency. At least in a free market those are the only two options, when the state gets involved there is the third option of receiving stolen money. That third option removes responsibilities from politically well-connected entities. They know failure isn’t a big deal because their friends in the political body will merely hand out some money and all will continue… for a while. Eventually the house of cards collapses as the number of bad decision makers increase and the state is no longer able to shovel enough money to keep their friends afloat.
When a company fails it’s time for it to go away. If it looks possible to turn around a failing business then investors will enter the game, if it doesn’t look possible then investors will stay out of the game. Investors, unlike the state, earn their money by giving capital to those who look like capable money makers so they’re more careful who they invest in. Sometimes they make bad investments and, like any other service provider, when they make too many bad decisions they have to exit the capital market when their money runs out.
It’s too bad the same conditions don’t apply to the state. If the state had to go away when it ran out of money we’d have rid ourselves of the federal government ages ago (and quite a few individual state governments as well).
A man with a carry permit in Utah managed to subdue a violent individual who had stabbed two bystanders:
A man stabbed two people at the Smith’s Marketplace grocery store in downtown Salt Lake City before being subdued by a bystander.
Police say a bystander with a concealed carry permit witnessed the attack and stepped in to keep it from escalating.
“(The bystander) was suspicious of what might be going on, and when he saw the stabbing, he just drew his pistol and challenged the individual,” which caused the alleged attacker to lie down on the ground, said Salt Lake City Police Lt. Brian Purvis.
By the time police officers arrived on the scene, the man was subdued and is now in custody.
According to gun control advocates this kind of situation should never happen. First they believe those of us who carry firearms are bloody thirsty monsters who are merely looking for an excuse to murder. In reality most of us are actually very peaceful and prefer to avoid violence. In this case a man carrying a gun was able to defuse the situation without the need for actually violence, presentation of the firearm alone was enough to make the stabber think twice about continuing his violent endeavor.
Second, proponents of gun control say only the police are qualified to carry firearm. What happens when the police aren’t there? The story doesn’t say how long it took for police to arrive but it was long enough for two people to get stabbed and another person to intervene and defuse the situation. Had that permit holder not been at the store it’s likely more people would have been stabbed. When a situation involving violence arises the most critical thing to be done is ending the situation as quickly as possible. The longer a violent individual is allowed to continue the more victims he or she can rack up.
Disarming individuals only makes it easier for the bad guys to reign supreme.
Remember all the uproar about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)? There was an Internet blackout to raise awareness and eventually passage of the bill became toxic to political careers. Obviously we won a great victory for liberty with that one! Or did we? The rule of thumb with politics is this: if there is money backing a bill it will be passed. Meet the HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). CISPA is the new SOPA. This time the critters in Congress were smart and decided to leave out any mention of piracy in the bill’s name and, as expected, the serfs have remained relatively quiet and therefore passing it will be a walk in the park:
The House on Thursday approved cybersecurity legislation that privacy groups have decried as a threat to civil liberties.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), passed on a vote of 248 to 168.
Its goal is a more secure internet, but privacy groups fear the measure breaches Americans’ privacy along the way. The White House had weighed in on Wednesday, threatening a veto unless there were significant changes to increase consumer privacy. The bill was amended to provide more privacy protections, but it was not immediately clear whether the Senate or the White House would give the amended bill its blessing.
Obama is threatening a veto. Remember when he threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)? His supporters claimed he was threatening to veto the NDAA because he was a proponent of civil liberties when in fact he merely wanted more power. When his desire for power was fulfilled he signed the bill without hesitation. I’m guessing CISPA has something that reduces his power so he’ll threaten to veto the bill until Congress adds in a clause to increase Obama’s power and the bill will get signed right away.
Now my question is this: where is the outrage? When SOPA was making its way through Congress we had a veritable uprising on the Internet. SOPA was one of the few bills that actually got responses from the general population. Shouldn’t the populace be doing the same thing against CISPA? Yes, but this time the bill title doesn’t mention piracy so nobody cares. Much like the Student Loan Forgiveness Act, CISPA has a warm fuzzy title that promises security but is really something far more sinister.
What happens when changing the labor laws to make it nearly impossible for an independent farm to function isn’t enough? If you’re the state you just start doing what you’re good at, stealing their money:
Now, Obama has the Dept. of Justice going after small farmers under the post-911 “Bank Secrecy Act” which makes it a crime to deposit less than $10,000 when you earned more than that.
“The level we deposited was what it was and it was about the same every week,” Randy Sowers told Frederick News. The Sowers own and run South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland.
Admittedly, when the Sowers earned over $10,000 in February, and learned they’d have to fill out paperwork at the bank for such large deposits, they simply rolled the deposits over to keep them below the none-of-your-fucking-business amount, rather than waste time on bureaucratic red tape aimed at flagging terrorism or other illegal activities.
“Structuring,” explains Overlawyered.com, “is the federal criminal offense of splitting up bank deposits so as to keep them under a threshold such as $10,000 above which banks have to report transactions to the government.”
While being questioned, the Sowers were finally presented with a seizure order and advised that the feds had already emptied their bank account of $70,000. The Dept. of Justice has since sued to keep $63,000 of the Sowers’ money, though they committed no crime other than maintaining their privacy.
This just goes to show that there is a law for everything. If you don’t want to fill out a ton of pointless paperwork when depositing $10,000 or more you’re committing a criminal act by making multiple smaller deposits. At this point it’s probably smarter to build your own valut to store you cash in because it certainly isn’t safe at the bank.
You also have to love the fact that the Department of Justice (DoJ) is suing the farmer to keep most of the ill-gotten money even though the farmers have committed no crime. Guilty until proven, well, guilty is the motto in this country.
The federal government hates independent farms. I understand this because large agricultural companies spend a lot of money lobbying for laws that hinder their smaller competitors. First the federal government attempted to make a rule that would require anybody driving farm equipment to obtain a commercial drivers license then they attempted to prohibit anybody under the age of 16 from working on a farm that wasn’t owned by their parents and now they’re trying to prohibit anybody under the age of 18 from doing many standard farm chores:
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.
As a former member of Future Farmers of American (FFA) (it got me out of school several days a year) I would just like to state that I’d much rather have that organization do safety training than the federal government. FFA, at least when I was in it, was a well run organization that did some damn good work. The last thing I want is an organization that has been attempting to shut down independent farmers be the sole entity that deals with safety training certification.
Sadly with the power large agriculture corporations hold there is almost no hope for independent farms to continue legitimately. If you’re an independent farmer let me just say it’s probably time for you to acquaint yourself with agorism, because that will be the only way for you to continue farming.