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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Question: If you mix a cocktail of “black liquor,” biofuels, diesel and a generous splash of tax subsidies — then have it shaken vigorously by a U.S. senator and served in a golden goblet by corporate lobbyists — what do you call it? Answer: Koch Brothers Moonshine.

Black liquor is the key ingredient here, though don’t mistake it for an adult beverage like Johnnie Walker “black label” scotch or the relatively new wine named “Black Box.” No one drinks this black liquor moonshine. But fasten the seatbelt on your barstool, for you do pick up the tab for it — and the billionaire Koch boys do appreciate your civic generosity.

What we have here is an alcoholic sludge. Yuck! Yeah, you would never imbibe the nasty goo, which is a byproduct of the papermaking process, but it is a useful fuel that the industry uses to power its mills. Fine — it’s an example creative recycling.

But, next thing you know, the scheming honchos of these very profitable paper corporations went from creative to cabal. Conspiring with Sen. Mike Crapo and other practitioners of the legislative black arts, they turned their humble sludge into a slick, $3-to-4-billion-a-year corporate welfare freebie.

In 2007, Crapo and a covey of corporate lobbyists quietly made their “liquor” eligible for a subsidy meant to help wean America off of oil by encouraging the production of a biofuel-gasoline mix to power cars and trucks.

  • The first thing we should do to reduce our budget deficits and out of control increases in the national debt is end all loopholes, subsidies, and tax breaks for people who do not need them.

    • jojo

      Flat tax would be nice along with getting rid of all loopholes. I think congress would go into shock and despair if that happened.

      • grammyjill

        A good idea. I’ll go you one further. Get rid of lobbists.

        • jojo

          AGREE!! 🙂

    • onedonewong

      Like Japan an China and Mexico and Finland??

      • Are those the names of GOP corporations or wealthy operatives benefitting from tax loopholes; subsidies to oil companies, insurance companies, the agri-business and others; and tax breaks to the super rich so that they can shop in Paris, vacation in Bali, send Jr to catch waves in Australia, or claim a dressage horse as a therapeutic deduction?
        If you are talking about foreign aid, I would limit it to humanitarian projects only, but since none of the countries you mentioned get foreign aid from us your statement suggests you are on a different wavelength.

        • onedonewong

          Obviously your not very well read unless you have a teleprompter.
          finland $500M for tesla
          Wind turbines and solar China
          Brazil billions for them to do deep sea drilling
          Japan $6500 for every hybred/electric car they ship to the US
          Obviously you can’t grasp how many hundreds of thousands of jobs barak has shipped over seas

          • And you, obviously, can’t stay on topic. The fact that American companies that have received U.S. government help ship jobs overseas because they can not find facilities or can not find workers with the skills necessary to perform a specific job does not mean our government outsource jobs. Outsourcing is a deliberate decision to move jobs from the USA to a foreign country. The sad truth is that not enough American students are majoring in hard sciences and the subsequent shortages are forcing many American companies to either hire foreign professionals from countries such as India, Pakistan, and China to do complex work in the USA or move some of their facilities overseas. There is a difference between moving assembly line work or service jobs from the USA to a foreign country to maximize profits, and moving facilities because companies can not find qualified workers in the USA. The same goes for the need to hire foreign nationals with H1b visas to work in fields such as physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics in the USA.

          • onedonewong

            Can’t find facilities when GSA has over $%) Billion in empty federal owned buildings??? How can we not have workers with the needed skills Barak pad them unemployment benefits for 2 years to learn a trade are you saying it didn’t work??
            I agree that not enough americans are studying the hard sciences an its a perfect reason to eliminate subsidized student loans for nonsense majors like women and back studies,psychology, sociology, art history and the plethora on minimum wage degrees and then use that $$ to completely subsidize the hard sciences and medicine.
            I agree that there is a difference between moving assembly line jobs over seas to maximize profits and Obama taking taxpayer money and then using it to fund other countries economies that’s a 1st in this country.
            We also allow H1B visas for crab pickers, waitress staff, school teachers to name a few while allowing folks to stay on unemployment for years. In my area local businesses bring in 1000 foreign students to work in the service economy all bless by Obama.
            No choice?? sorry by ending the gravy train for majors we don’t need and providing full funding for careers we do need that will change the dynamics

  • Third Estate revolution is the only answer to the problems in America today!

  • Senator Crapo should be told that this deal with the Koch Bros. (and others) is “crapo” and needs to be eliminated–especailly if he and some of his sentae cohorts want to be re-elected, if ever.

  • In 218 BC, a carthaginian general named Hannibal Barca formed an army which traveled across southern europe with a few dozen elephants, over the alps into Italy to attack the romans on their home ground. His motive was revenge for his father and the spanking the romans laid on the carthaginians in the 1st punic war. For 15 years Hannibal rampaged thoughout Italy crushing one roman army after another. He was never defeated until forced to leave Italy to defend Carthage itself. So great was the fear romans had of Hannibal that mothers would routinely intimidate wayward children by threatening them that “if they didn’t obey, Hannibal would come to get them”. This went on for many years after the war ended in 202 BC.

    Now in 2012 a new boogey man has emerged. I forsee the day when mothers will discipline their children with “if you don’t go to bed right now, the Koch Brothers will come to our house and they’ll get you and you’ll be very very sorry.” Yes it could get that bad.

  • perplejado

    Good luck on that one, the only way Crapo would get unelected in Idaho, the reddest of red states, is for the preverbial pigs to start growing wings and taking flight. In Idaho, Republicans shake one fist at the federal government while the other hand is grabbing federal tax subsidies for farms, grazing on public lands and other “handouts”. Idaho recieves far more from the federal government than it pays in taxes. It makes my head spin. So subsidizing the Kochs comes naturally.

  • ObozoMustGo

    Here is an issue that I know almost ALL of us can agree on. The NDAA that Obozo signed last December allows the President to have the power to detain any American anywhere with charge, trial, or representation. For all of you guys on the left that were screaming about the Patriot Act and George Bush’s overreach, I find it odd that I hear nothing but crickets from you on this one. The law is being challenged in court right now and neither The Memo or any other media outlet in the US is talking about it. Gotta go to the UK to find this…

    Hat tip, Tangerine Bolen at TheGuardian UK:

    What makes our NDAA lawsuit a struggle to save the US constitutionTime after time, Obama’s lawyers defending the NDAA’s section 1021 affirm our worst fears about its threat to our liberty

    I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the power to hold any US citizen anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or trial.

    In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama’s lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported.

    In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA.

    Judge Forrest had ruled for a temporary injunction against an unconstitutional provision in this law, after government attorneys refused to provide assurances to the court that plaintiffs and others would not be indefinitely detained for engaging in first amendment activities. At that time, twice the government has refused to define what it means to be an “associated force”, and it claimed the right to refrain from offering any clear definition of this term, or clear boundaries of power under this law.

    This past week’s hearing was even more terrifying. Government attorneys again, in this hearing, presented no evidence to support their position and brought forth no witnesses. Most incredibly, Obama’s attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA’s section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest’s injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama’s government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them.

    To this, Judge Forrest responded that if the provision had indeed been applied, the United States government would be in contempt of court.

    I have mixed feelings about suing my government, and in particular, my president, over the National Defense Authorization Act. I voted for Obama.

    But the US public often ignores how, when it comes to the “war on terror”, the US government as a whole has been deceitful, reckless, even murderous. We lost nearly 3,000 people on 9/11. Then we allowed the Bush administration to lie and force us into war with a country that had nothing to do with that terrible day. Presidents Bush and Obama, and the US Congress, appear more interested in enacting misguided “war on terror” policies that distract citizens from investigating the truth about what we’ve done, and what we’ve become, since 9/11.

    I, like many in this fight, am now afraid of my government. We have good reason to be. Due to the NDAA, Chris Hedges, Kai Wargalla, the other plaintiffs and I are squarely in the crosshairs of a “war on terror” that has been an excuse to undermine liberties, trample the US constitution, destroy mechanisms of accountability and transparency, and cause irreparable harm to millions. Several of my co-plaintiffs know well the harassment and harm they have incurred from having dared openly to defy the US government: court testimony has included government subpoenas of private bank records of Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir; Wargalla’s account of having been listed as a “terrorist group”; and Hedges’ concern that he would be included as a “belligerent” in the NDAA’s definition of the term – because he interviews members of outlawed groups as a reporter – a concern that the US attorneys refused on the record to allay.

    Other advocates have had email accounts repeatedly hacked, and often find their electronic communications corrupted in transmission (some emails vanish altogether). This is an increasing form of pressure that supporters of state surveillance and intervention in the internet often fail to consider.

    I’ve been surprised to find that most people, when I mention that I am suing my president, Leon Panetta, and six members of Congress (four Democrats and four Republicans), thank me – even before I explain what I’m suing them over! And when I do explain the fact that I and my seven co-plaintiffs are suing over a law that suspends due process, threatens first amendment rights and takes away the basic right of every citizen on this planet not to be indefinitely detained without charge or trial, their exuberance shifts, and a deeper gratitude shines through newly somber demeanors. But this fight has taken a personal toll on many of us, including myself.

    My government, meanwhile, seems to have lost the ability to discern the truth about the US constitution any more; I and many others have not. We are fighting for due process and for the first amendment – for a country we still believe in and for a government still legally bound by its constitution.

    If that makes us their “enemies”, then so be it. As long as they cannot call us “belligerents”, lock us up and throw away the key – a power that, incredibly, this past week US government lawyers still asserted is their right. Against such abuses, we will keep fighting.

    • This article was commissioned by the Daily Cloudt and appears here by permission of the editors

    • Editor’s note: the article originally stated that the administration lawyers filed an appeal against the injunction on 9 August; this was amended to 6 August on 10 August, at 1pm ET

  • onedonewong

    Sounds like a prudent move. Why should we be subsidizing Japan to produce electric cars to the tune of $6500 that generate NO JOBS in this country?? Just another one of Baraks outsourcing ideas