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Sunday, February 17, 2013

School Voucher Supporter Learns "Religion" Does NOT Mean "Christian"

Naw, Vouchers aren't a Great Right-Wing Christian Conspiracy. A Louisiana State Legislator nearly had meowlings when she learned that "religion" meant "religion" and not "Christian". Oh my... Louisiana state representatives were shocked to find that opening taxpayer funding to religious institutions actually meant all religions. Louisiana Representative Valarie Hodges, (R-Watson), nearly pulled her support of the bill when she found out the funding could be used to support Muslim schools (although the Muslim schools that originally applied have since removed their applications – this year). Representative Hodges mistakenly believed that the term “religious” only meant “Christian.” http://educatefortexas.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/texas-school-voucher-scheme-yet-another-blow-against-public-education/

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lindsey explains that she's just the same ol' Lindsey but with an R instead of a D. No big deal, right? Lindsey still believes in choice and education and a strong economic future for Alaska. Her "just l'il Ole me" thesis breaks apart when one notes that this isn't about 'Lindsey'. Although 'Lindsey' IS her favorite subject, it really, really isn't about her. She just gave Chenault a 'super-majority': 30 of them and 10 of the others looks a lot like 3/4 to me. She is about to learn what Super-Majorities can do. They can defund Planned Parenthood. They can raid the Constitutional Budget Reserve to fund government whilst giving away billions to Exxon, BP, and Conoco, they can dump every environmental and commerce regulation on the books and turn Alaska into a Right-to-Work State and they won't even have to consult with Lindsey on any of it. That's the beauty of Super-Majorities: they can move from first reading to the floor vote in days. While Lindsey is checking out her new Republican look in the mirror, the 'values' that she claims to believe in will be shuttled into the dumpster by her Committee Chairs. Smooth move, Ex-Lax (as my Brother used to say when we younger siblings did something really stupid). SEE Compass: Lindsey Holmes talks about her decision to switch parties http://www.adn.com/2013/01/25/2765796/compass-lindsey-holmes-talks-about.html#comment-779198331

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Monday, February 06, 2012

Indiana As An Example of the Failure of One Party Government

By JEFF SCHULTZ Eleven northern Indiana lawmakers attended the Indiana State Teachers Association legislative breakfast on Saturday, not just for free coffee and doughnuts but to share insights with educators on contentious bills circulating thorough the General Assembly. The event at Michigan City High School drew all four Duneland legislators and a surprise visit from Indiana House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend. Bauer, an educator himself, urged teachers to continue taking a stand against the majority of Republican lawmakers introducing bills that include vouchers, restricting teacher’s bargaining rights, transforming public schools into turnaround academies and allowing schools to teach creationism from the viewpoints of various religions. “You’ve got to fight because if you don’t, they will take away all of your rights,” said Bauer, telling teachers to speak with their voices firm, loud and with conviction. “You are the target. Don’t forget it.” Bauer said whenever there is such a difference in the number of Democrats and Republicans in the Statehouse as there is now, that is the time when radical bills make their way into state law. He hinted a change in power could be coming as a result of this year’s state elections. “We need balance in this state. When we have balance, we have success.” Indiana Assistant Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, deemed last year as the “worst for public education” since he’s been in office, mentioning the massive cuts public schools have endured. The laws on vouchers and school takeovers are already in effect and Pelath said his next move would be to see that some funding is restored and investment made in programs such as full-day kindergarten and early education. “We can’t undo what’s been done but we will do our best going forward,” said Pelath. Pelath said effective ways for constituents to have their views heard would be to stop “trying to finesse and cajole” state lawmakers and become more involved at the community level such as starting discussion groups, blogs and writing letters to the newspaper. Echoing Pelath’s comments, State Rep. Nancy Dembowski, D-Knox, said citizens should never underestimate the power of working as a group. Dembowski said building an educated workforce would surpass right-to-work in terms of creating jobs and advocated investing the $320 million found in an “unnoticed fund,” before the Assembly began, entirely into public education since that was roughly the same amount cut in 2010. State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, a member of the Budget Committee, said the $320 million was corporate income tax that was “stuck in the drawer” and she and fellow committee members made cuts wondering why revenue forecasts were not being met. She insisted the money should go to programs that were axed. “These cuts have to be put back in the next budget cycles. They have to be,” Tallian said. Weighing in on funding, State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said his bill to ban smoking in public places statewide could indirectly generate more state revenue. Approximately $1 billion is spent in Indiana due to the effects of secondhand smoke and less health problems would mean being able to pay for children’s education or helping families put food on the table. While many local legislators expressed the need to increase the number of students participating in Kindergarten (more than 21 percent of Kindergarten-aged children are not enrolled), a bill authored by Tallian, D-Portage, mandating half day kindergarten did not even receive a hearing. However, full-day kindergarten could get an $80 million boost from the House Ways and Means committee proposed by chairman State Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale. A large portion of the $320 million has also been considered for teacher pension funds. Meanwhile, ISTA Public Education Advocacy Coordinator Nancy Papas thanked State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, for coordinating with ISTA on legislation that would help schools be tested more fairly. Senate Bill 265, co-authored by Charbonneau would drop the lowest five percent of student scores on ISTEP testing on one of the two report cards sent to the state. A second bill, Senate Bill 280, would change school funding to be based on a fiscal year rather than a calendar year in order to streamline schools with the state budget which is determined every two years. SB 280 could bring $30 million to schools a little earlier in these crucial times, although none of those contains any new money, Charbonneau said. Running on a fiscal year will also make it easier for schools to understand how much funding will be coming their way, Charbonneau said. Soliday worked language into a bill that calls for the state testing reports to exclude students who cannot read or write in the English language. Schools in the lowest category of ISTEP scores are targeted to become turnaround academies where a special management team is appointed by the state to replace a community school board, thus creating an “independent” school. As the amount of testing continues, Papas said more teachers are finding themselves working long hours into the night just to fill out paperwork “burning themselves out” when they should be spending more time preparing lesson plans or other student activities. “There is so much more to a school than a test score,” said Papas. Soliday said he finds the pay-per-performance approach for teachers a less than effective way of solving problems and said the state needs to start changing its way of thinking by holding management liable for when a school is failing. “Holding a manager accountable is how you get things done,” said Soliday. Many of the laws passed in the 2011 General Assembly for items like school vouchers are being watched over by house members to see just what effect the new laws will have before any other major changes are made, Soliday said. State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, encouraged teachers to form an association or be part of a movement against the “painful changes.” “Change is what it is by description. It’s not a permanent thing,” he said. Papas said parents can also do their part by understanding their child’s needs. More parents are unfortunately finding less time to spend with their children because of long work hours, she said. Members of the audience included a number of Valparaiso teachers who reminded the legislators of the $3.2 million shortfall in the school district’s General Fund for 2012, and without any relief money coming from the state, many teachers are concerned about whether the schools can perform basic functions. “We’re in a crisis,” one teacher said. Valparaiso Community School board is considering a voter referendum on creating a special tax levy to salvage staff and curriculum, not unlike the Duneland School Corporation which is contemplating establishing a new property tax as an additional revenue source. The Duneland School Board will host two public input sessions this week, the first of which begins tonight at 7 p.m. in the Chesterton High School auditorium, followed by a second session on Thursday. Duneland School Board member Ralph Ayres said the board must decide at their Feb. 13 meeting whether to pursue a referendum in time for the May 8 primary elections and that is why it is crucial to hear from local residents this week. The legislators will gather again on Saturday, Feb. 25 for another public forum hosted by the Indiana Retired Teachers’ Association at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso at 9:30 a.m., UniservDirector of ISTA Andrew Borrelli announced. The discussion which will include a broad range of public policy bills will be moderated by Ayres, a former state representative. Posted 2/6/2012

Another Blast From The Past, Circa 2008

As I suspected, the Channel 11 News Report, which has been picked up by Indian Country publications around the country, incorrectly characterized our Tribal governments as perpetrators rather than the victims of mismanagement. The thrust of the report is that the BIA and the IRRP program mismanaged the funds, failed to fill technical positions despite the availability of funds and failed to provide the oversight required as the fiduciary agency. As a result, needed Tribal infrastructure has not been built. I will call and get details on the $14 M fiasco but, I suspect, it wasn’t a single Village, although it was characterized as such. Channel 11’s presentation of the finding was misleading. Channel 11 states... “In the federal audit- of $32 million D.O.T. dollars handed out to Alaska Native communities every year only $3 to 4 million worth of road projects were actually verified as completed.” ...While the Report states “While 32 million in program funding was distributed to approximately 230 Alaska Native communities each year, only about $3 to $4 Million in road projects had any physical oversight or verification of work completed.” The first implies that only 3 or 4 million were completed. That is NOT true; the Report says that there was oversight provided on $3 or $4 Million dollars worth of projects meaning that we DO NOT KNOW the status of the other $28 M worth of projects. The point being NOT that $28 M worth of projects was mismanaged or incomplete, but that the OVERSIGHT over $28 M in projects was not provided. This is a VERY IMPORTANT difference. The Channel 11 spin implies that there is $28 M in failed projects and that is not what the report says. One of the specific instances cited in the report involves a $2 M unauthorized road project where the BIA itself was responsible for the directing that unauthorized use not the Tribe. The most egregious error in the Channel 11 report, however, is the following statement: “The letter from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior to Secretary Ken Salazar warns; give Alaska Native tribal governments money and they will likely misuse it.” [Emphasis added] NOWHERE in the IG’s transmittal letter to Secretary Salazar was this stated. This conclusion was fabricated by Ms Gusty or her staff. Finally, the Report is, itself, not the source documentation and raises as many questions as it answers. 1. The $14 M conversion of funds to support tourism is vague. How exactly were those funds expended? Was it on a related road project or was it spent on non-transportation services? If it was the former, then there is some mitigation of value and benefit; if not, then the misuse is even more eggregious; 2. The “overtime” may have been a result of severe winter weather conditions required airport/road maintenance and the absence of qualified personnel. It may have been associated with emergency erosion or flooding. Again, there is insufficient data to judge. It is neither surprising nor shocking to me that the bureaucrats in charge of the program were unable to explain the circumstances. Having said all this, there appear to be at least one real instance of misuse/fraud on the local level; namely, the $500,000 used to purchase a restaurant/bar. Mismanagement, including failure to complete timely reports, is also doubtless rife throughout the villages. This speaks to the issue of capacity-building and local project management support. Elstun W. Lauesen,

Saturday, February 04, 2012

BLAST FROM THE PAST-Letter to the Editor 10.10.09

'Efficient' system not always the best In response to the flag-waving chest-thumpers attacking Michael Moore for his movie "Capitalism: A Love Story," here's a bit of shocking news: 1. Capitalism is not a pure system or 2. Socialism is not devoid of enterprise. Americans who paid attention during the debate over auto bailout/loans from Congress should have picked up on a major point that American manufacturers made about their competitive disadvantage: European and Japanese socialism. The social safety net and health-care system provided through taxpayers in Europe and Japan effectively moves the unemployment insurance and health care cost "off the books" and away from the price of labor. America insists on financing those costs through an employer-based system, which pushes up commodity pricing. Since health care insurance costs are now almost 30 percent of labor pricing, the sacrifice comes out of wages. All that "efficiency" that politicians like to brag about? That is a result of more production with lower labor cost. Based on that theory of labor productivity, the cotton industry in the South before the Civil War was highly efficient. -- Elstun W. Lauesen Anchorage Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2009/10/09/968167/letters-to-the-editor-101009.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Neil Davis takes 'A Citizen's Look at Oil Taxation'

Neil Davis takes 'A Citizen's Look at Oil Taxation': UPDATE: Laurie Fagnani, president of the marketing firm MSI Communications, said that the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition is not funded by the Alliance, as alleged by Davis. She also said that h...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We Who Are Your Closest Friends



[Note- I heard this on Keillor's 'Writer's Almanac"; it is simply brilliant in its smoldering effectiveness. There are sometimes in our lives, narcissistic personalities who see themselves as victims, who view their lives as a fateful target and who exhaust us with constant emotional demands of their squid-like ego they keep ensconced in a grainy twisted clamshell.-Dagoog]
 
We Who Are Your Closest Friends
Phillip Lopate

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
frustration
discontent and
torture
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
association
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Views of the Movie "Atlas Shrugged"

View One. The Tea Party Express.

Normally we're not too focused on what movies are playing in local cinemas, but the release of Atlas Shrugged The Movie (based on Ayn Rand's monumental book) has become a seminal event in the tea party movement.

And we've got some good news to report to you on the success of this movie that has liberal film critics up in arms.

In its debut weekend, Atlas Shrugged surprised everyone, grossing more in ticket sales per movie screen than any other movie save the hit family movie, "Rio."

And this week, Atlas Shrugged expands - from 299 screens last weekend to 423+ screens this weekend.  You can find the closest movie theater showing the film near you - FIND MOVIE THEATER HERE

The movie, like the book, serves as a wake up call to the dangers posed when governments take on too much power and subvert the will and freedom of the individual.  Specifically, it showcases what happens when entrepreneurship and free market principles are deemed to be unseemly and unacceptable to Big Government.

When you watch the movie you'll feel like you could be watching the real-live events of today, not a fictionalized account written by Ayn Rand some 60+ years ago.

And the fact that this movie touches on many of the problems we face today, and that we in the tea party movement are fighting, explains why so many liberal movie critics have slammed this movie and urged people not to see it.   They don't want you to see this movie, because they don't want you to see the truth about what is happening in America today.

Michael Phillips, writing in the Los Angeles Times, complained about the film's "tea-stained politics."
Peter Travers in RollingStones vented, "Who's the idiot responsible for this fiasco?" Roger Ebert gave the film just 1-star and whined:  "And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault."
Peter Debruge incorporated a swipe at Fox News Channel in his review for Variety, writing that: "...Atlas Shrugged" becomes a series of polite policy conversations interrupted by Fox News-style updates whenever exposition is called for..."

Yes, we get it, liberal film critics.  You all can't stand free markets, and you can't stand that there is a film out there that echoes many of the same evils that the tea party movement here in America is fighting against.

You can see the movie for yourself this weekend, and in the process angry a Big Government, autocratic, liberal.  Watch it again, even if you've already seen it once.  Oh, and  be sure to take a friend with you too.

To find the nearest cinema showing "Atlas Shrugged" - JUST CLICK HERE.


View 2.  The Washington Post.

By Michael Gerson, Thursday, April 21, 8:00 PM
The movie “Atlas Shrugged,” adapted from Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel by the same name, is a triumph of cinematic irony. A work that lectures us endlessly on the moral superiority of heroic achievement is itself a model of mediocrity. In this, the film perfectly reflects both the novel and the mind behind it.
Rand is something of a cultural phenomenon — the author of potboilers who became an ethical and political philosopher, a libertarian heroine. But Rand’s distinctive mix of expressive egotism, free love and free-market metallurgy does not hold up very well on the screen. The emotional center of the movie is the success of high-speed rail — oddly similar to a proposal in Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address. All of the characters are ideological puppets. Visionary, comely capitalists are assaulted by sniveling government planners, smirking lobbyists, nagging wives, rented scientists and cynical humanitarians. When characters begin disappearing — on strike against the servility and inferiority of the masses — one does not question their wisdom in leaving the movie.
None of the characters expresses a hint of sympathetic human emotion — which is precisely the point. Rand’s novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. “The Objectivist ethics, in essence,” said Rand, “hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”
If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand’s achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne.
The appeal of Ayn Rand to conservatives is both considerable and inexplicable. Modern conservatism was largely defined by Ronald Reagan’s faith in the people instead of elites. Rand regarded the people as “looters” and “parasites.” She was a strenuous advocate for class warfare, except that she took the side of a mythical class of capitalist supermen. Rand, in fact, pronounced herself “profoundly opposed” to Reagan’s presidential candidacy, since he did not meet her exacting ideological standards.
Rand cherished a particular disdain for Christianity. The cross, she said, is “the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. . . . It is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. That is torture.” Yet some conservatives marked Holy Week by attending and embracing “Atlas Shrugged.”
Reaction to Rand draws a line in political theory. Some believe with Rand that all government is coercion and theft — the tearing-down of the strong for the benefit of the undeserving. Others believe that government has a limited but noble role in helping the most vulnerable in society — not motivated by egalitarianism, which is destructive, but by compassion, which is human. And some root this duty in God’s particular concern for the vulnerable and undeserving, which eventually includes us all. This is the message of Easter, and it is inconsistent with the gospel of Rand.
Many libertarians trace their inspiration to Rand’s novels, while sometimes distancing themselves from Objectivism. But both libertarians and Objectivists are moved by the mania of a single idea — a freedom indistinguishable from selfishness. This unbalanced emphasis on one element of political theory — at the expense of other public goals such as justice and equal opportunity — is the evidence of a rigid ideology. Socialists take a similar path, embracing equality as an absolute value. Both ideologies have led good people into supporting policies with serious human costs.
Conservatives have been generally suspicious of all ideologies, preferring long practice and moral tradition to utopian schemes of left or right. And Rand is nothing if not utopian. In “Atlas Shrugged,” she refers to her libertarian valley of the blessed as Atlantis.
It is an attractive place, which does not exist, and those who seek it drown.
michaelgerson@washpost.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oil Tax Winners & Losers

Anchorage Daily News
 

In any language, oil tax haste a bad idea
COMPASS: Other points of view

By ELSTUN LAUESEN

(04/16/11 19:01:50)
Scott Hawkins' compass piece attacking the Senate ("Senate stands idle as pipeline dries up," April 14) for resisting lobbyists pushing for oil tax breaks is a classic piece of rhetoric and should be studied in all classrooms for its flaws.
First, Hawkins commits the fallacy of "argumentis ad populum" by treating us to a dog-and-pony parade of all tax-break supporters.
Next comes a false premise, which also poisons the well: "ACES is not working" is the premise. It is a "policy disaster" and is based on "punitive tax hikes."
Then Hawkins commits the error of "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" or confusing a correlation with a causation -- specifically, that a drop in production on the North Slope is tied to ACES. It isn't. The governor's own charts show a long decline since the 1980s.
Then he "appeals to authority" -- quoting Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan of all people -- and sauces his rhetorical salad throughout with ridicule: the Senate is "out of touch," "obtuse," "sits on its hands."
He ends with arguments of emotive persuasion, fear: "oil pipeline close to shutting down."
Of particular note is his angry rejection of "study." He is angry that the Senate wants to study the issue. This seems odd coming from an economist, which he once was, but I guess it is understandable coming from a businessman beholden to the industry, which he now is.
The "studies" that Hawkins contemptuously rejects are precisely what is required by the fiduciary trust embedded in the oath of office that the senators took, to uphold our state constitution (e.g., Title VIII) and to look out for our collective interests, not just those of Mr. Hawkins.
There were so many red flags on the field of play during this debate over oil tax cuts that for the Senate to do anything less than deliberate would be an abrogation of their responsibility; Sen. Gary Stevens and his colleagues deserve applause rather than ridicule.
One red flag in particular has not been talked about much but deserves to be mentioned. The governor hired a consultant to review the House version of the tax break in February. The consultant is Richard Ruggiero with Gaffney, Cline & Associates of Houston, Texas. Here is a summary of what he told the House Resources Committee:
The companies may or may not invest the proceeds of their tax cuts in Alaska. There are no guarantees. Mr. Ruggiero wisely took no position on HB 110. Instead he presented a range of possibilities based on his reading of the bill. If Sean Parnell's gamble pays off and the oil companies vigorously reinvest in Alaska's fields, the state could realize $210 billion over the life of the fields; if, however, they reinvested those tax-break dollars elsewhere, the state would lose $20 billion over the next 15-20 years. In so many words, Mr. Ruggiero was telling us that HB 110 (and its companion Senate bill) is a crapshoot.
Since then, a new analysis reveals a somewhat more pessimistic view of the crapshoot. Mr. Ruggiero gets wiser by the day.
On April 13, Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) produced a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of the effects Conoco Phillips' proposed $5 billion investment if HB 110 were implemented.
As Sen. Wielechowski put it: "Essentially ... Alaskans are being asked to give up $13.5 billion ... in exchange for about $3.2 billion in new state revenues (from new oil production). I don't know many CEOs who would be OK with a deal like that."
Now back to Mr. Hawkins and his echo chamber of real and alleged supporters. They all would be more intellectually honest to say that they need the state and future Alaskans to lose so they can win. That way, when they all leave us to follow Big Oil out of Alaska to work in some other center of global investments funded partly by our dollars, we won't take it personally.



Elstun Lauesen is a lifelong Alaskan, financial development consultant and former socioeconomic officer with the state Pipeline Coordinator's Office.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let The Big Dog Out!

Big Dipper Oil & Gas. Have you heard of it? It operates here in Alaska. It owns Billions of Barrels of oil and it owns trillions and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. It pays you a dividend every year. Unlike Conoco-Phillips that claims to be “Alaska’s Oil and Gas Company”, Big Dipper Oil & Gas really is. Big Dipper Oil Company or “Big Dog” is, of course, the State of Alaska.
Now let’s see a show of hands: how many Alaskans have received a dividend directly from Conoco-Phillips? Ok…I see a few of you out there. How many of you receive a dividend directly from he State of Alaska. Do you get it now?
There is only one oil company that cares about maximizing benefits to Alaskans; there is only one Oil Company that gives a fig about Alaska’s ‘public interest’ and that is the Big Dog.
All the other companies are up here pretending to be our friends because they want what the Big Dog’s got. Oh, they spend a pretty penny on the gauzy lens and inspirational music, showing our First People in moving shots and lots of neighborly faces talking sincerely for the camera. But in the end, when the easy money is gone, so will they. As Walter Hickel once told a reluctant ARCO regarding undeveloped leases: “You drill ‘em or I will!”
Wally Hickel went eyeball-to-eyeball with the industry and the industry blinked.
Now that was a CEO of Big Dog that all of us Alaskans could be proud of.
Contrast THAT CEO to Sean Parnell. It appears to me that the main reason Governor Parnell can’t go eyeball to eyeball with the industry is that the Governor closes his eyes when he kisses.
Here are a few facts that haven’t been made in other articles on the Governor’s proposed Tax rollback for the Oil Companies:
·      A consultant hired by the Administration, Rich Ruggiero, of Gaffney, Cline & Associates of Houston, Texas, told the House Resource committee last month that he couldn’t endorse the Governor’s bill, but could only give an up and down scenario; In other words: it’s a crap shoot. 
·      Conoco-Phillips most recent 10-K report openly discusses its plans for the next 5 years: sell old assets, buy-back shares, enhance shareholder equity and invest in proven, emerging ventures.
·      Over 47% of new hires for Alaskan oil fields have come from outside the state. Let’s make certain that any employment deal that may be struck is not just an assurance of jobs, but hires inside Alaska and the best way to ensure that is through a project-labor agreement and a unionized workforce.
·      None of these oil companies are standing still, they are all investing to meet the changing future and so should we. $2 B worth of holes in the ground, if the desired reinvestment is realized, would rerun the last 20 years but would not diversify or transform our economy for a new century. Perhaps a $250 M a year University-Conoco partnership that would effectively shift their Research and Development unit to Alaska from Texas would look like more sincere investment than some vague promise to spend $5 B of our dollars enhancing oil production.
The bottom line is that our oil and gas future should be driven by Alaska’s real Oil and Gas Company and NOT by someone else. Alaskan’s don’t care how they do it ‘Outside’? It’s time we prove it.

Elstun Lauesen is an economic development consultant, writer, and lifelong observer of the Alaskan political scene.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How To Bargain With An Oil Company For Its Tax Break

If Conoco-Phillips wants a 40% reduction in oil taxes in Alaska, here is what I would ask for in return: Move CP's R & D unit to Alaska and finance it with part of the tax roll back. Alaskans have this crazy notion that if only the oil companies invest in field exploration and development that the next 30 years will be jut like the last 30. Well--that ain't gonna happen. Why? Because it is not in the interest of the growth in their stockholder's return on equity that they go back to the future--they are going forward to the future and they are going to finance part of that acceleration with our Tax dollars. These Corporations aren't going to stand still; they are dynamic and they are going to change and Alaska should be positioned to change as well--right alongside them. So, here is my modest proposal--if CP wants a 40% reduction in its tax burden in Alaska, we will propose that they bring their Research and Development subsidiary up here and capitalize advancements in emerging technologies right here in Alaska. The profile of their Research and Development unit can be found on page 22 of their current 10-K Report. As part of their investment in research, CP is currently making significant investments in University Research in Colorado and Texas. In Financial Note 23, Pp 130 of the 10-K report, R&D expenses were roughly $230 M in 2010. At that level of funding, and assuming a $750 M annual tax benefit for Conoco Phillips from lowering their taxes, those investments from our tax breaks could anchor a significant R&D backbone within our University System, fund quality support jobs and still leave enough money for significant investment in Alaskan fields.
**********************************************************
Technology Development
Our Technology group focuses on developing new business opportunities designed to provide future growth prospects for ConocoPhillips. Focus areas include advanced hydrocarbon processes, energy efficiency technologies, new petroleum-based products, renewable fuels and carbon capture and conversion technologies. We are progressing the technology development of second-generation biofuels with Iowa State University, the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels and Archer Daniels Midland. We have also established a relationship with the University of Texas Energy Institute to collaborate on emerging technologies. Internally, we are continuing to evaluate wind, solar and geothermal investment opportunities.
In early 2011, we announced we will partner with General Electric Capital and NRG Energy, Inc., to form a new joint venture, Energy Technology Ventures (ETV), which will focus on development of next generation energy technology. ETV will invest in, and offer commercial collaboration opportunities to, venture- and growth-stage energy technology companies in the renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls and biofuels sectors.
In addition, we are equal co-venturers with General Electric Company in a Global Water Sustainability Center in Qatar, which researches and develops water solutions for the petroleum, petrochemical, municipal and agricultural sectors.
We offer a gasification technology (E-Gas™) that uses petroleum coke, coal, and other low-value hydrocarbons as feedstock, resulting in high-value synthesis gas used for a slate of products, including power, substitute natural gas (SNG), hydrogen and chemicals. This clean, efficient technology facilitates carbon capture and storage, as well as minimizes criteria pollutant emissions and reduces water consumption. E-Gas™ Technology has been utilized in commercial applications since 1987 and is currently licensed to several third parties. We have also licensed E-Gas™ to third parties in Asia and North America, and are pursuing several additional licensing opportunities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Parnell's Own Advisor Refuses To Endorse HB 110

This is an excerpt from the Teamster's Legislative Newsletter:

"The Governor has said the state would continue to receive its fair share of revenue, while establishing a secure investment climate for our industry. A consultant hired by the Administration, Rich Ruggiero, stated in his testimony last week to the House Resource committee that he was not endorsing the Governor’s bill, but did give an up and down scenario. If the legislature passes HB 110 the upside could result in companies redoubling investment on the North Slope and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and they will continue to operate through 2050. His downside scenario is the legislators cut taxes and the companies don’t invest, and TAPS stops flowing sometime before 2030. If TAPS last longer, the state could receive $210 billion dollars in tax revenues or lose $20 billion dollars over the next 15 to 20 years by reducing taxes without an effect. According to Ruggiero, if companies want to take Alaska oil and reinvest somewhere else, then the state should get its share, if they want to develop the North Slope then the state should encourage the companies to do so. The bill, with a few amendments, moved out of House Resources on February 28th."

Richard Ruggiero LNG Manager
Gaffney , Cline & Associates
1360 Post Oak Blvd # 2500
Houston, Texas 77056

713 850 9955
United States
GCA is an international advisory firm focused on the provision of integrated technical and managerial services and independent advice to all sectors of the oil and Gas Industry.

http://www.gaffney-cline.com/default.asp

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hey America! Know Thyself; Know thy Enemy...

Speaking Truth To Power is often invoked when one describes a face-off between a David against a Goliath. 'The Little Guy' for example, facing a Big Government Bureaucrat or a whistle-blower confronting a Big Corporate Fat Cat. It is less often used when the abuser of power is the people themselves. In this case, the power is free speech. The abuse of that power is fomenting fear and civil disorder. Perpetrators may be on the Right and Left sides of the political spectrum. But unlike the hypocrites over at Fox, I don't pretend to be 'fair and balanced' in this analysis because what I see is a nation careening horribly off-center and despite a handful of leftward debaters shouting themselves hoarse, there is a lynch mob rumbling through the country and it is on the Right. Well I have a few things to say to this mob before they swamp the Commons and hang Truth from sea to shining sea.

1. Smell the rope. Break away from your bubble of talk radio and Fox News long enough to look at who is funding all the PACS and Think Tanks. These are the guys who are feeding you the rope. Do you smell that oil? Don't you smell that expensive cologne?
2. Know thyself. Are you a millionaire? Are you a corporate fat cat? Do you really need 'deregulation' and tax breaks for the rich? Are you really a victim of government overreach or the failure of government to protect citizens against Billionaire Ponzi-schemes?
3. Know thy enemy: Worried about the Illuminati and the Bilderbergers? I am more worried about the Koch Brothers and Massey energy. Don't waste your energy stewing about mythical beasts and chimera who may create some comic-book Armageddon, the real enemy wants you to work for next to nothing and kill yourself in unsafe, unregulated  workplaces.
4. Know Reality. The Right Wing mob lives in a parallel universe. Over a third of self-identified Republicans believe that President Obama is a Muslim. Over half of self-identified Republicans believe that our democratically-elected President is working against the best interests of the United States. Almost a quarter of Self-Identified Republicans believe that President Obama is not a U.S. Citizen. Political snake oil is being peddled by the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck characterizing President Obama as socialist when he is anything but socialist. Rush Limbaugh refers to the President as Imam Hussein Obama.
5. To thine own Self be True: So who is your real enemy? Who is your real friend? What is the source of your anger, discontent and problems anyway? Are you REALLY a victim?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Shades of the Thirties in Battle Against Unions | BuzzFlash.org

 M2K note: The image pasted into this lead for the excellent historical perspective by Dick Meister is an illustration of the messaging to support Roosevelt's intervention with the labor strife largely fomented by Capitalists in the 1930s. It shows "Dr. Uncle Sam" booting out the Capitalist lackey in his top hat and giving nurture to Labor. Among other things, Roosevelt pushed the National Labor Relations Act and he ensured collective bargaining throughout the War. "We need labor to win the war" he said. Isn't that true today? We sure as hell need a Roosevelt now.
*****************************************************************


DICK MEISTER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

By now, there can be no doubting it: What's happening in Wisconsin is one of the most important labor developments in decades. It's of major importance to unions and their members, of major importance to working people generally - of major importance to us all.

In many ways, it's the 1930s again. Just as then, workers and their political allies and other supporters are demonstrating, picketing, marching, striking and otherwise forcefully demanding the basic civil right of collective bargaining - the unfettered right for workers' representatives to negotiate with employers on setting their wages, hours and working conditions.

Shades of the Thirties in Battle Against Unions | BuzzFlash.org

Letter from Here: Note to Gov. Walker: Think the people are going away just because you locked them out?

Letter from Here: Note to Gov. Walker: Think the people are going away just because you locked them out?

Scott Walker Studying Up on How to Close the Capitol | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Scott Walker Studying Up on How to Close the Capitol | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Revolver Map!

Cool Java App I just posted to the left. You can post it on your site as well...it keeps track of visitors. Note I have been back 3 or 4 times since I embedded the code.

Tea Party Governor Walker An Incompetent Ideologue

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/rachel-maddow-asks-when-democrats-are-goin

Walker’s Gone, But We Are Still Stuck With His Bills:
But it was Scott Walker who got all the presents, and the tax payers who got stuck with the bills.
In the fall of 2009, as our elected leaders were hashing out the 2010 budget, Scott Walker included a plan to privatize the security guards at the Courthouse and other buildings. The Board rejected that idea and cut it out of their budget. Walker used his Frankenstein veto pen to reinstate the privatization. Again, the Board overrode his veto.
But after 2010 started, Walker declared a fiscal emergency and went ahead and privatized the guards, giving a lucrative contract to Wackenhut, over the protests of the County Board.
To make matters even worse, Walker bungled the whole thing.
First, he didn’t county on the professionalism of the county guards, who stayed on duty to the bitter end. So Walker had county security guards as well as the Wackenhut guards on duty at the same posts. To top it off, he also had Sheriff Deputies on duty, some on overtime, at the same posts.
Secondly, the jobs he took from Milwaukee County citizens ended up going to people from Chicago and Florida. The it turned out that one of the Wackenhut supervisors had a criminal history, including inappropriate sexual conduct, all while he was the police chief for Manawa.
Despite Walker’s claims that it would save tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars, the reality was that it barely made it to $70,000.
And now, even that small savings has been obliterated, because Walker, as he is prone to do, overstepped his authority and the whole thing was done illegally.
The unions took the matter to arbitration, and the ruling of the arbitration came out late today. It was in the favor of the unions.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Found Metanoia2k rant from August, 2008

Responding to the linked piece.

"Oh for crying out loud, another Bush apologist lards on the grease to help the club footed Bush II legacy squeeze into the princess slipper of history. Poor misunderstood George. According to Rosen, the administration "... tries to get its message out but not vigorously or shrewdly enough to actually succeed. Abysmal marketing has plagued the White House since Bush took office in 2001..." Are we talking about the same Bush Administration that rode roughshod over a meek and compliant media establishment in the run-up to the war in Iraq? Here I am talking about the calculated campaign of lies and distortion that attended Undersecretary of State Richard Feith's selling of the Iraq-Al-Qaida connection based on a series of discredited articles by New York Times Columnist William Saffire. I am also referring to the now infamous manipulation of New York Times reporter Judith Miller who beat the drums for the discredited Weapons of Mass Destruction litany that helped lay the groundwork for the Iraq invasion. I am also referring to the collusion between Scooter Libby and Nationally Syndicated Columnist Robert Novak in the outing of Valerie Plame in order to wreak vengeance on administration critic Ambassador Joseph Wilson. It would be more accurate to say that, when it matters most to George Bush, the media is there for him. If the media isn't "there" for him on his good deeds, perhaps that initiative doesn't matter so much to him that the infamous White House PR machine hasn't been committed to the story. It is just as likely, however, that the PR machine is adrift due to resignation, indictment or imprisonment. Perhaps, too, there is a recently found skepticism on the part of a media that, struggling to overcome years of manipulation by the Bush Administration is chary to hail his percieved success lest they learn, as is so often the case with the Bushniks, that things are not as they appear. The most that George Bush can hope for in terms of legacy is to avoid being tried for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. -m2k"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Meditation on Madison: Dictator Reagan Deposed After 30 Years of Rule!

A conservative friend of mine seemed shocked when I likened the revolt in Madison, Wisconsin to the uprising in Cairo, Egypt. "That's absurd" he said. We don't live in a dictatorship. Why, you even have Obama as president!"

I granted him that things did appear to be different on the surface. We have freedoms of speech...in theory. We have freedom of the press...in theory. We are an open and tolerant society...in theory. And, importantly, we have the rights of free association and assembly...in theory.

But beneath the theoretical surface of rights and freedoms, there has been a collusion of powerful forces working to fundamentally alter everything that we are taught is great about this country: a generation ago, C Wright Mills called them the Power Elite. The Occult Right-Wing calls them The Illuminati. I call it The Reagan Revolution. The bad news, folks, is that they won 30 years ago and have been instituting changes so fundamental that our freedoms are now merely symbolic gestures under a capitalist and corporatist dictatorship. In that context, President Obama is merely the caretaker of the fundamental power structure put in place 30 years ago that reduces citizenship to consumerism, speech to money, free association to the marketplace and labor a simple commodity in the provision of service. The 'social contract'? That has been reduced to a mere side agreement of the greater duty of society to serve the profit interests of corporatist strategists, planners, lawyers and CPAs.

The good news? Madison, Wisconsin.

The service class has become the slave class. In a world where manufacturing competes with 3rd world salaries and the corporatist benefits from high unemployment to keep wages and salaries low, labor is a bargain and the Dictatorship of Corporatariate wrought by the Reagan revolution wants to keep it that way.

The Republican Party, the Party of Reagan, has now become ideologically pure--beyond even Ronald Reagan's imaginings. I don't think, in fact, that Ronald Reagan would approve of what his Party has become. He was, after all, a genial proxy for a lot of powerful forces that revolved in, out and through his administration.

The transformation of the Republican Party is the important work of high-level corporate manipulators and capitalists with no particular ideology other than greed who have struck an alliance with ideologues and libertarians to frame the speech that reduces the social democrat's world view to a joke. "Where from the government and we're here to help" Hahahaha. Funny. "Government IS the problem" Reagan famously said. In so doing, he effectively neutralized the ONLY social institution with the power to provide checks and balances to the corporatists whose agenda is to privatise profit, socialize costs, and turn Americans into an uncritical mass of drones and consumers. The only regulation that the corporatists want to see are the toilet habits of their workers and spending habits of their consumers. Under the Dictatorship of the Corporariate the only questions the Elite want you to ask is 'what's on sale', 'what colors do they come in', and "how much to supersize?"

Under the Reagan Revolution life became precious in the womb, but once that fetus exits the womb, he or she better not ask for the right of free assembly, the right to collectively bargain, the right for decent health care or the right to a decent pension. Under the Reagan Revolution the Supreme Court has determined that money is a form of speech and Corporations are the same as persons. Thanks to the Billions contributed by the Corporatists (like the Koch Brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife) they have pushed the Reagan revolution and its lexicon into media echo-chamber and a manufactured patriotism that, ironically, serves the interests of a crown corporation (BP) more than the Commonweal. The Tea Party serves like the Jack-booted thugs of the Dictatorship. The likes of Limbaugh, Palin, etc. are the propaganda ministers. But guess what. It isn't going to work. The era of Reagan is coming to an end.

The people who refused to join the manufactured revolution of the Corporatists are summonsing an old-fashioned American populism that we haven't seen for some time.

We are seeing it in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Dictatorship of the Corporariate under Reaganovich and the Republicanskya has gone about as far as astroturf, money and borderline personalities can get them.

The Reign of the Dictator Reagan is ending in Madison just like we saw Mubarak fall in Cairo. And just like Cairo is inspiring revolution throughout the Middle East, I pray that Madison inspires the same throughout America.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

THE LESSON OF CAMPAIGN 2010? CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM NOW!

The Urgency of Campaign Finance Reform:
A Meditation on Election Day, 2010
 by Elstun W. Lauesen

Let me begin with a little Ginsberg:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix; Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.

Yeah. Word up.
Here’s what I see. I see the best candidates of my generation destroyed by other people’s madness; people who are well fed and well-dressed, driving through the paved exurbs and hillsides looking for an angry fix; ditto-headed Christers burning for the ancient heavenly connection to explain the random crap in their lives and, in the process, getting manipulated by the political machinery of the Right.
Nationally, the moneychangers, potentates and idol-worshippers that control the political Right purchased the control of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2nd.
Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010)
The black-robed Justices of the Roberts Court are dominated by an ideology that is structurally anti-human: Capitalism. And the Citizens United case gave voice and standing to corporations in time for this election cycle. The Roberts court had a special sitting to consider Citizens United in September 2009. Most court observers agree that the decision was intended to affect the 2010 election cycle.[1]
The Court struck down a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 § 203 (popularly known as McCain-Feingold) or BCRA that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications.[2]
Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the 5 Justice Majority making explicit an interpretation of First Amendment Rights that vests the ‘rights of Englishmen’ with corporations. In the fine tradition of Judicial Kabuki, Scalia feigned shock at the Dissenters by asking (in effect) “How can you assert that…
“…the rights of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form”[3]
The Dissent in this case was written by Justice Stevens and joined by Justices Ginsberg, Breyer and Sotomayor. The Dissent calls out the Right-Wing Court Majority for their ham-handed treatment of McCain-Feingold. Justice Stevens couldn’t be clearer in his condemnation of the Majority. BCRA § 203 was never at issue in Citizens United!
Stevens writes that the Majority “…changed the case so they could change the law”[4]
Stevens goes on to write:
At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.[5]
Where is all the hand-wringing on the Right about activists Judges? (Crickets)
The Rise of the Moloch, The Grand Acquisitors and Their Tools such as Karl Rove and Dick Armey.

With the Citizens United decision in place, legal breath and speech was bestowed upon the godless and soulless corporation. Like the Moloch of old, the corporation could spew gold from its collective mouth. The black-robed Brethren, via Magister Scalia’s invocation cited above, gave personhood to the (collectively) most powerful creature on earth. Well before the Brethren summonsed the powers of the Undead, the servants of Moloch’s Masters, who I call the Grand Acquisitors, were putting in place the machinery to gather Moloch’s gold for the purpose of directing it against those who were regarded as their enemies. The Grand Acquisitors are those for whom acquisition and accumulation of wealth is the highest religion.  I call it a religion, because “acquisition and management of wealth” is what consumes these people fervently. It occupies their thought and defines their vision of the world. While the obligatory few hours occupying a church pew may give them a religious label, the true religion of the Acquisitors is conducted within the corporate shells that host them. The Grand Acquisitors are a network of the richest and most powerful corporations and their directors. Their cloak of invisibility is the ‘corporate veil’ and their loyalty is to no nation, creed or culture; the growth of Capital is the only function that they serve.
To explore a nice schematic of the Moloch, please click here.

(c) www.npr.org:







There are three components to the machinery that is fed by the Moloch: Aggregators, Taggers and The Horde.
Aggregators are organizations like the ones created by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie (former Chairman of the Republican National Committee) to take advantage of the Citizens United decision and the end of McCain-Feingold. American Crossroads and CrossroadsGPS are two examples of Aggregators. These organizations function as matchmakers.  They match a pool of affiliates with campaigns whose candidates serve the Capitalist cause. In effect, Karl Rove and tools like Rove are the central nervous system for Moloch. So grateful were the Corporate Masters to Clarence Thomas for his good works on their behalf in the Citizens United case, that they gave Justice Thomas’ wife’s Aggregator, Liberty Central, a million dollars after the decision. [6]

Taggers constitute is the new role for the Party establishment. In the case of the Republicans in the 2010 cycle, they needed to support candidates running against Democrats and the Moloch targeted the most viable of those candidates for support.  There is no dearth of ego and ambition on the Right. Bill Maher famously said that Conservatives campaign on the thesis that government doesn’t work in order to get elected so they can prove themselves right. Being against something is much easier than being for something as observed by the late Democratic House Speaker, Sam Rayburn (D-Tx): “Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a real carpenter to build it.” Since the goal of the Moloch and its Masters is to gut and debilitate government oversight, controls and regulations, they actively seek politicians who champion ignorance and suspicion of government. In general the priority of the tagging follows this hierarchy.
1. Tagged for Destruction
Politicians who support strong governmental institutions, oversight and regulations of corporations and who are not easily intimidated, seduced or otherwise compromised
2. Tagged for Neutering
Politicians who are compromisers and subject to intimidation by pressure groups and lobbyists; Evan Bayh is a good example of a malleable member of this class
3. Tagged for Support
Hard Right-Wing ideologues who are hostile to government and feel that their job in public office is to get ‘government out of the way’ of business—which, of course, benefits the Corporate Masters

The horde. For the Moloch to effect the change that the Acquisitors want, it has to have a horde of trolls that will spread out into the land and repeat the litany of the Acquisitors: ‘Government is the problem’.  
The truth is, of course, that the government is “us” and is the only means by which ‘We The People’ can balance the power of giant corporations. As long as ‘We The People’ wage war with our own government, we remain at war with ourselves. Such self-destruction neutralizes the only checks and balances against corporate abuse that exists.
The Horde is critical to the absolute rule of the Acquisitors because “the People” provide ratification for the destruction of strong public institutions. This keeps the billionaires from having to bloody their own hands or the hands of their millionaire agents in congress; the Horde will shamble onto the Commons and do the work for them.
Dick Armey, Friedrich Hayek, Contract on America, Citizens for a Sound Economy, FreedomWorks, The Tea Party Nation and Town Hall Health Care Massacres.
Few have had more of an impact on American politics than Richard Armey, former Congressman from Texas D-26. Armey is an economist with a PhD from the University of Oklahoma and a proponent of Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek and free market economic determinism. When Armey became a politician (first elected to the House of Representatives from Texas 26th District), his public policy initiatives reflected those theories. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the influence of Hayek (8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992) seems evident. Dr. Hayek became entangled in the foundational debates over Great Britain’s Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party, just a few years before Armey himself decided to enter politics.
 In 1978 Hayek came into conflict with the Liberal Party leader David Steel who claimed that liberty was only possible with "social justice and an equitable distribution of wealth and power, which in turn require a degree of active government intervention" and that the Conservative Party were more concerned with the connection between liberty and private enterprise than between liberty and democracy. Hayek claimed that a limited democracy might be better than other forms of limited government at protecting liberty ".[7]
Then in an ironic foreshadowing of what could describe ‘Tea Party Democracy”, Hayek adds: “…but that an unlimited democracy was worse than other forms of unlimited government because "its government loses the power even to do what it thinks right if any group on which its majority depends thinks otherwise”[8]

Dick Armey helped to deliver the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, otherwise known as Bush Tax Cuts 1.  Through his connections with the Koch Brothers, conservative funders of ‘think-tanks’ that provide intellectual fodder and talking points for their allies, Armey was hired to run the Citizens for a Sound Economy, which was funded by the Koch Brothers with millions of dollars to hire academic mercenaries to produce hundreds of white papers on every subject important to the Acquisitors.

 

Under Armey’s leadership, Citizens for a Sound Economy developed a novel method of boosting its membership and revenues. Through an affiliation with a Republican businessman named J. Patrick Rooney, purchasers of insurance policies also paid for membership in Citizens for a Sound Economy. This practice carried over to FreedomWorks, when CSE changed its name. Only after Rooney and FreedomWorks were sued in a class-action lawsuit that was settled out of court, did the practice end[9].

 

In his service to his Masters, Armey helped lobby for Bush Tax Cuts 2 and then, in the shell of FreedomWorks, Armey push for tax reform, School choice, Welfare Reform, Social Security privatization, and the Flat Tax.

 

But the real organizational hand of Dick Armey has been seen in this election cycle in association with the Tea Party Patriots. Army recycled his Contract FOR America and called it Contract FROM America. FreedomWorks organized boot camps for the Tea Party movement, spent $10 M on materials and support targeting town hall protests against the Health Care reform. This latter activity cost Armey his job with the lobbying and legal firm DLA Piper, whose clients had hired the firm to lobby FOR health care reform. Leaving DLA Piper was no big deal to Armey; it left more time for his real job: deliver the Horde for the Moloch.

 

The handbook distributed by FreedomWorks to the Tea Party network includes instructions on disrupting meetings: "Pack the hall. Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early. Get him off his prepared script and agenda. Stand up and shout and sit right back down." The memo continued, "The Rep [representative] should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the agenda of Washington."[10]

 

After CNBC Editor, Rick Santelli’s  ‘Rant heard round the world’ on February 19, 2009 from the Floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange bitching about the Obama Administration’s plan to refinance home mortgages, FreedomWorks’ Eric Odom just magically created a facebook page and a website taking up the clarion whine of Santelli and the rest, as they say, is history. ChicagoTeaParty.com came into existence 12 hours later and by February 20th, Fox News was all akimbo over the ‘Tea Party Rallies’
FreedomWorks was involved in the financing and support of the April 15, 2009 Tax Day protests, and scores of Tea Party rallies around the nation between April 15 and July 4, 2009 including the Independence Day Rallies around the nation. FreedomWorks was involved in the training and planning for the protests held during the Town Hall meetings on Health Care reform. They were involved in the Taxpayers March on Washington in September, 2009 and the first Tea Party Convention in January 2010.
As these gatherings and protests matured, the scope of the attacks fell generally along the lines of Mr. Army’s Contract From America: “Less Government, lower taxes, more freedom.” This is, indeed, the litany of the Acquisitors.
Come Together Right Now, Over Me…
As 2010 rolled on, the political season took on greater importance in the minds of all. The Tea Party movement despite general public misgivings embraced the Citizens United decision. The FreedomWorks and Tea Party Nation networks lauded the opinion in a briefing paper. This despite the obvious fact that the decision had the potential to conflict with the very ‘liberties’ that the ‘movement’ made its priority.
Here in Alaska, even the Wasilla Patriots sent a letter in February of this year to all the media, and local governmental politicians demanding unlimited political speech in the April, 2010 municipal election in which they were planning to support like-minded candidates. They must have gotten their memo from Dick Armey that Citizens United is good for liberty-loving Americans (LaLas). Now LaLas can attack all levels of government at will and clean house and replace them with patriots!
Anyway, the Taggers were at work and FreedomWorks endorsed Marco Rubio in Florida, Pat Toomey , Mike Lee and Rand Paul. Moloch took note. Crossroads USA immediately gave $250,000 to Rubio[11] and similar levels of support are expected from the others, post-election reporting.
The horde has been unleashed and they supported all of these candidates, all of whom won, raising the Republican gain in the Senate to 5.
The total estimate of money spent during this election cycle will be $4 Billion. Much of that money spent on negative ads attacking opponents. Nearly corporations hiding under the cloak of Citizens United will have spent 30% of that money. Next year the totals will be even greater. This year, we learned about Target and Best Buy contributing to a Republican candidate supporting anti-gay positions. We learned about it because the corporations donated to a traditional PAC with reporting requirements. Next year they will be smarter, they will donate through an aggregator with an IRS (c) 4  status and they won’t have to disclose.
The lesson Learned.
Kill Moloch. Destroy the godless, soulless corporate influence in our elections. It is the popular thing to do[12] it is the moral thing to do (all speech is not equal) and it is the sane thing to do (corporations are not human). We have learned the power of the unlimited corporate money in political campaigns to bait, bully, browbeat and boggle the consciousness of the average citizen. Brilliant manipulators like Karl Rove and Dick Armey who serve the interests of the corporation over the citizen will continue to lie cheat and steal elections with impunity as long as they have the power to control the media.
How else can we explain a plastics manufacturer’s ability to convince a majority of the good citizens of Wisconsin that he is a better guardian of their civil liberties than Russ Feingold? Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the USA-PATRIOT Act that conservative and liberal scholars both agree violates our civil liberties. So what is the greatest danger to freedom and liberty—even greater than terrorism--  from which Feingold’s opponent will protect the Badger State? You guessed it: Health Care Reform.
There is no other priority greater than campaign finance reform. That is the lesson from Election 2010.


[5] Justice Stevens, et al, ibid.
[7] ^ secured from Wikipedia Entry at ^ "Letters to the Editor: The dangers to personal liberty", The Times (11 July 1978), p. 15.
[8] ibid
[9] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/22/AR2006072200683.html
[10] ^ Debates Turns Hostile, New York Times, August 8, 2009

[12] In a Washington Post-ABC News poll in early February 2010 it was found that roughly 80% of Americans were opposed to the January 2010 Supreme court's ruling. The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent)