Tag Archives: corporate welfare

Welfare abuse

Make the corporate junkies to kick the habit — the hard way.
By Jehovah Jones
“They’re trying to anesthetize our institutions,” Ralph Nader told a gathering of several hundred people at a recent gathering in Washington of Occupiers from across the country.
That’s about right. There’s certainly some doping of the public going on, and it’s happening in plain sight as surely as if addicts were tying off and shooting up in Franklin Square.
Addressing “Protecting the Commons from the insatiable advocates of privatization,” one of a series of lectures collectively entitled Stop the Corporation, hosted by The National Occupation of Washington, DC on April 2, the co-founder of Institute for Local Self-Reliance laid out how our Post Offices are falling victim to that effort to stupefy.
Across the country, 3600 communities were given notice last fall that they may lose their post offices, David Morris told the activists. The announcement roused such outrage that the Postal Service issued a six-month moratorium on any such closures.
But that’s not the end of it, he warned. When the moratorium ends next month, you can expect to see rapid closures of many small-town Post Offices, and to add insult to injury, Congressional Republicans are pushing for Saturday postal delivery to be ended nationwide, in order to give Corporate America a chance to trojan its way into the public mail system.
The community impact statements the agency is required by law to conduct are being fudged, he said; the statements do not include the cost to community of the loss of postal service. The Postal Service is using fanciful corporate-speak — “Starbucks language”, in his words — to put a positive spin on what they’re doing, but it’s not working. Local Occupy movements have seen through the smokescreen, and are involved in fighting the closings in a number of states, with some success.
All of this begs a question: Why is the Postal Service having the alleged shortage of cash that is given as the reason for all the closings and cuts? Morris did hit that in passing; it’s the usual Republican budget shenanigans involving shifting deficits across the budget year and across the federal government to hide the truth.
But there’s one important aspect that this seminar didn’t address at all, and it’s the one that explains where the money’s actually going, and it’s one that should resonate most with Occupiers: the fact that this public agency is subsidizing private corporations to the tune of billions of dollars a year. Think about it, and I’m guessing you’ll know what I’m referring to: junk mail.
That’s right. In addition to ‘franking’ political junk mail for your alleged representatives in Congress, the Post Office hugely subsidizes giant corporations at your expense, helping them to fill your mailbox with useless crap that has your name on it.
Not only do these corporate junkies get to sell your personal private information to other addicts without asking you, but they also get to send you garbage for a fraction of a cent per piece, while you, the individual taxpayer, get soaked for — what; 44 cents? — when you want to send mail. Or has it gone up again overnight?
Yes, they call one variety Third Class or Fourth Class and the other First Class, but that does not come anywhere near explaining the difference in price.  And as you can tell by the timing of the subject matter of your political junk mail, it gets through the system  as quickly as that birthday card from your Aunt Fanny, regardless of what the damn stamp says.
Junk mail is yet another way that our tax dollars pay for massive corporate welfare, and it’s one that is a pain in our collective ass every single day. We shouldn’t tolerate it. Why should they be allowed to send us unsolicited junk emblazoned with our names at all —  pointless crap with the sole purpose of trying to sell us shit we don’t need, wasted paper that we have to use our valuable time to recycle, and remove our names from if we want to be safe — much less at our expense?
Make ‘em kick the nasty habit. And force ‘em to go cold turkey, since that’s how they roll when it comes to other junkies. Tough love? Maybe. But they shouldn’t have gotten hooked on the junk in the first place.
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“I love the smell of Roundup in the morning.”

Occupy pays a Leap Day visit to Monsanto and ALEC

by Jehovah Jones

Feb 29: Occupy DC’s Leap Day actions started at the butt-crack of dawn.

Ok, maybe 7am doesn’t precisely qualify as time’s anus, but it’s right next door. And Occupiers aren’t known for liking to get up early. Back in the good ol’ before-February-5 days when I used to crawl out of my tent at McPherson around 5am to go to work, the few hardy souls I bumped into seemed less than completely alert, partly due to the neocon agitators honking horns ’til the wee hours.

Everybody’s milling around drinking coffee, and because this is Occupy, there’s a woman with a Domino’s box.

Cinnamon bread sticks, maybe.

No… it’s pizza.

Note to self: Tell that woman why Domino’s should be the target of a boycott.

And stop salivating.

We’re about 50 strong now, maybe 60. It’s too early for accurate counting. Three U.S. Park Service cops, including an older guy who’s always here, seems mostly decent. Somebody says he’s the one who got Tank’s foot in the ‘nads back in December. Seems pretty calm and easy, chats with any and all of us, doesn’t seem angry or vindictive. The other two look like Beaver and Wally going to pepper-spray camp, hands on their ‘batons’ a lot; maybe they like caressing wood..?

7:30 a.m. Occutime, and we’re off. Down 14th and turn on L St NW, a couple of DC cops and a black SUV trailing us.

On this rainy morning, Occupy DC is acting in solidarity with Occupy Portland, which has declared today to be Shutdown the Corporations day; we’re visiting our neighbor ALEC, formally known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, on the 11th floor at 1101 Vermont Ave. N.W. (They seem fond of ones; maybe it’s the one-percent thing?)

Our homeboy ALEC, who provides right-wing legislation for state governments that’s ghost-written by corporations — one of the benefits of their being declared people, perhaps? — has been busy over the past year, pushing hundreds of anti-worker bills to stop public employees from unionizing and bargaining for a fair deal and a living wage. Alec’s been hanging out with some real douche-bag governors, including Jan Brewer and Scott Walker.

“No legislation for human subjugation!” the people chant to the beat of a drum and whistle. “ALEC, can’t you see? We’re a democracy!”

Then we’re off again, with Occupiers at the head of the pack determined to find another corporation to congratulate on his or her civic-minded citizenship.

“We are unstoppable. Another world is possible!” A cop on a motorcycle hears, believes, and shuts down K Street for us. Yeah! Let the lobbyists curse. “Get up, get down! There’s revolution in this town!” We cut through a park–Franklin Square? Who cares? Parks are so yesterday.

An OccuKid pulling a cart full of signboards announces that we’re about to see some anarchist street theater. Seems like that might best be done on the street, so we head out the other side, and…Jesus. Some students from AU want me to fill out a survey about Occupy’s relations with police. I tell them I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never screwed a cop while Occupying.

On to 1300 I Street to visit Sigñor Monsanto, the scourge of farmers and eaters everywhere. This fine Corporate-American’s first product in 1901 was saccharine, a harbinger of all that was to come, including a flurry of poisons used to make it dirt cheap for corporations to produce food-like substances that will enrich them almost as fast as they kill you.

In a partnership with Dow, Monsanto made Agent Orange, a potion that Vietnamese civilians and American soldiers alike can attest has a bit more kick than Orange Crush.

Monsanto was the first to modify a plant cell’s genetics to create fake-but-photogenic food. “Food with a boob job,” a friend used to call it.

They manufacture Roundup, a name which describes what their security thugs are trying to do right now to their Occupying neighbors. “Can I get a wagon over here?” a scruffy woman in plain clothes yells into a walkie-talkie, and a screech of sirens answers from the box.

The Occupiers sit in front of the revolving door holding a large Occupation Nation sign. “Take the day off!” they advise Monsanto employees. “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we are shutting the building down. This is what democracy looks like.”

“This is a peaceful, nonviolent protest,” they calmly inform the cops who approach. Some cops aren’t interested in nonviolence, yanking at those sitting. “Who do you serve?” the Occupiers demand.

“If you do not move, a police officer will arrest you!” one very large cop bellows, his stomach heaving with indignation. “He’s talking to a donut,” one kid grins. “Why don’t you go an arrest Monsanto?” another yells. “They’re the ones killing us. We’re upholding the law.”

But they’re not moving. Well, one girl is. She’s being dragged across the pavement by a giant donut masticator. “Medic!” she whimpers, her arm firmly clutched in his large sweaty palm. “Show me what a police state looks like!” the crowd chants. “This is what a police state looks like!”

“Show me what a donut looks like,” a kid begins, and a cop grabs his hair… then sheepishly lets go and walks into the street, where the Occupiers are unfurling a huge banner. One rope catches on a cop’s parked motorcycle, and Occupiers yell, “Stop! Don’t turn the bike over!” A cop, whose name tag reads Farr, helps free the snagged rope, and smiles at the Occupiers as they get back to work. “Thanks, officer!” the Occupiers yell. But after a bit, seeing that the paddy wagon has been backed up to the curb, he informs them that they have to get off the street or be arrested.

An Occupier does a mic check. “Should we stay in the street and get arrested, or hold the doors?” he asks.

“Fuck the street, hold the doors!” the crowd yells. And under the leering grin of the cardboard ghost writer dripping simulated blood, 12 people are arrested for doing just that. “Fuck Monsanto!” they yell as the cuffs are attached.

“Fuck Monsanto,” a cop agrees.

As I walk away through the rain, headed for the job it seems I am lucky to have, some workmen prepare to go into the building. Music by Canadian rock band Rush blasts from their van’s speakers:

“It’s a far cry from the world we thought we’d inherit. It’s a far cry from the way we thought we’d share it.”

Originally published on CoolRevolution.net, March 1, 2012