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Class War For Idiots / June 15, 2010

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This article was first published in the New York Press.

Wall Street bankers and retired hedge fund billionaires have been talking about fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction, preparing the masses for austerity measures and cuts in social services—which we are told are regrettable, of course, but necessary nonetheless. Well, here is the perfect welfare program for the bailout queens to show off their fiscally conservative chops: Let’s see them cut federal farm subsidies, which funnel billions of dollars to the richest Americans, including notables like Ted Turner, David Letterman, Scottie Pippen, Paris Hilton’s grandpa, Charles Schwab, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and just about every single one of Sam Walton’s degenerate heirs.

Most people know next to nothing about this $20 billion-a-year welfare for the rich program, probably because the billionaires want it that way. Why get the masses worked up? Best to let them think the $200 billion they spent from 1995 through 2006 went to friendly farmers with cute farmhouses, rather than to Chevron or Kenneth Lay. Better to let urban entrepreneurs call themselves backyard farmers and toil away for the locavore movement, than to realize that their rich neighbors are reaping actual “farm” subsidies.

Now, farm subsidies weren’t always this criminal and, until fairly recently, had been doing what New Deal programs were designed to do: help the little guy. But the freemarket “reforms” of the Reagan-Clinton Era warped the welfare, redirecting farm subsidies from the have-nots to the have-mores, bankrupting all but the biggest farmers and depositing farm subsides into the bank accounts of the rich.

There’s no need to go to Iowa to see this welfare-for-the-rich in action. You can see it on the Upper East Side, where billionaire elites collect huge welfare checks from the government just for being rich, while a few blocks away, in one of the poorest, most ghettoized districts in the United States, the city’s black population is being purged from food stamp rolls for smoking some dope. Because, as Mayor Rudy Giuliani once wisely said, “As soon as they stop being dependent on the government, they’re moving in a much healthier direction.”

Norm Champ -- Park Ave Farmer & Upstanding Young Man

Norman B. Champ Jr: Wall Street Welfare Prince

But brutal freemarket ideas don’t apply to members of Manhattan’s genteel farmer class, even billionaires like Norman B. Champ III, who received nearly a half-million dollars in welfare payments for poor farmers, despite the fact that he lives in a multimillion dollar co-op at 828 Park Avenue. From 1995 to 2006, he raked in a total of $405,807 in dairy, corn and soy subsidies via his stake in the Champ family’s dairy farm in Missouri, his home state. Handout-for-handout, even Reagan’s mythic Cadillac-driving Chicago welfare queen and her $150,000 welfare scam got nothing on Champ, who could buy a Lamborghini and still have money left over to reupholster his private jet.

Norman B. Champ III, 47, was born into a wealthy, upper-crust Missouri family and lived a privileged life (the Champs had a Missouri village named after them in their honor: the Village of Champ). He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, went to England for a masters in war studies from King’s College and earned a law degree—cum laude, of course—from Harvard, after which he finally settled down at Chilton Investment Company, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He had added three titles to his name—Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer—by the time the markets crashed. He lost no time jumping ship to a cushy government job with the Securities and Exchange Commission, coming on board in January 2010 to start a new life as a financial regulator at the SEC’s New York Inspections and Examinations Division. He now leads a team of 100 hardworking investigators in a crusade to crack down on the shady dealings of his hedge-fund buddies.

An upper-crust billionaire type who lives in one of the nation’s wealthiest ZIP codes and collects welfare meant for struggling farmers? Whatta champ!

He might not be what most of us expect a welfare queen to look like, but that’s only because we have been duped by the whole poverty thing, convinced that the crumbs we throw the needy are a huge burden on our budget. So we look for any way to cut them off. For those who want to observe a real subsidy queen in his natural habitat, there’s no better place than Park Avenue. I am not trying to be ironic here. The people are literally welfare queens: They live where queens live and take money from the poor like queens do.

manhattan+farm+subsidies

Map to the Subsidy Stars

Billionaires Leonard Lauder, Mark Rockefeller and his dad, David Rockefeller, are just a few of the more famous names exploiting their salt-of-the-earth legal status. Over the past decade, however, millions of dollars in corn, dairy, peanuts, cotton, soy and livestock subsidy payments from the federal government have gone to countless rich rank-and-file Manhattanites few people have ever heard of: It’s all right there in the farm subsidy database maintained by the Environmental Working Group. William Lesse Castleberry, a tax attorney who oversees leveraged buyouts, received $133,680 in cotton subsidies through an Arkansas farm. Mary W. Heller, a photographer with a studio on East 74th Street, got $143,783 via a farm in Kansas for growing wheat and sorghum. William Philip Walsh, who recently purchased a $2.9 million luxury condo with interior design done by Armani, was paid $212,463 to not farm his land. Phyllis A. Joyner, a 77-year old peanut farmer with a swanky Greenwich Village apartment and over $7 million worth of beautiful land in rural Virginia, received $239,624 for her peanut crops.

They’re not your typical crusty overalls wearing farmers. But then, the small family farmers we picture in our heads, who live on their land with their family and rise with the rooster to milk the cows, aren’t around much these days (except maybe in Brooklyn backyard imaginations). And if they are, they probably aren’t receiving any assistance from the federal government anyway, says Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. “American taxpayers have been writing farm subsidy checks to wealthy absentee land owners, state prison systems, universities, public corporations, and very large, well-heeled farm business operations without the government so much as asking the beneficiaries if they need our money,” explained Cook in 2007, when his organization published a database of farm subsidy recipients from USDA records.

It wasn’t meant to be this way. Farm subsidies first began as part of the New Deal and were designed to help small, family farms struggling through the Great Depression. These days, this well-intentioned program exists only in name. Successive deregulation and various other freemarket “reforms” have turned farm subsidies into just another welfare-for-the-rich program, bypassing the very farmers it was designed to help and depositing billions in taxpayer money straight into the bank accounts of corporations and wealthy Americans.

Here’s what the New Deal program looks like today, after Reaganism had a couple of go’s at it: From 1995 to 2006, the federal government spent about $200 billion on agricultural subsidies, 75 percent of which ended up in the bank accounts of the richest top 10 percent of farmers. It’s welfare in reverse, taking from the many and giving it to the wealthy. And the richer you are, the more assistance you deserve.

You can see this logic at work in Manhattan, where the fattest farm subsidy checks are mailed to the richest zip codes. Like the $825,346.56 addressed to Kent M. Klineman at ZIP code 10020, one of Manhattan’s wealthiest, with an average income of more than $500,000: 10 times higher than the rest of America. In fact, Klineman, who got the cash from 1995 to 2006 for growing wheat and sunflowers and raising livestock on a South Dakota cattlebreeding ranch called Eagle Pass Ranch, just might be the most subsidized farmer in Manhattan. But you probably wouldn’t have caught this 77-year-old Harvard Law School grad (this alma mater appears quite often among Manhattan’s subsidy queens) at the ranch, shoveling and trucking manure and inseminating the sows. Judging by SEC records, Klineman is more of a wheeling and dealing finance type, running venture capital companies, private investment funds and assorted dubious finance companies. Also keep in mind that in 1974, Klineman was among 13 people indicted on various fraud charges in a 100-million Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that involved selling millionaires and movie stars fraudulent shares in an oil-drilling outfit called Home-Stake Production Co., by promising astronomical returns, which were paid out not from profits but from money put in by the newest round of sucker investors. Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Barbara Walters and Mike Nichols, among others, were purportedly bilked for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it wasn’t just naïve Hollywood entertainers that were scammed. The heads of some of America’s biggest corporations, including the president of American Express, the chairman of General Electric, and the chairman of Pepsi, were all caught up in the scam. In the end, the scam’s ringleader—Robert S. Trippett— got away with a scolding and a small fine, while charges against Klineman were eventually dropped.

But in the mid-90s, Klineman was implicated in another securities swindle, this time a mini version of an Enron stock pump-and-dump operation, which involved some two-bit computer company called EIS International. Whatever scam they were running, a shareholder class action lawsuit against Klineman and his partners alleged that Klineman, who EIS’s company’s Treasurer and Director, intentionally disseminated misleading information to investors the the aim of inflating the company’s stock and then cashed out just before the whole scam imploded, making over $1 million in the process. A settlement was reached nearly a decade later, forcing Klineman and two of his business buddies to fork over $3.9 million (plus a million or so in fees) to the scammed shareholders.

Like Carlito, Klineman “never convicted on no dope.” But even if he was slapped with a felony or two, there would be no reason for him to panic. His sweet $69,000 a year farm subsidy would continue unaffected, regardless of his criminal history. That’s nice, because if Klineman was a food stamp pawn living in Harlem, or any other ghetto in America, he’d have to deal with a harsh Clinton-era welfare reform that introduced poor people to the “one strike you’re out” law that forbids states to provide food stamps or cash-assistance to anyone with a single drug-related felony conviction, permanently—as in for life. “No one, including pregnant women or people participating in drug treatment, is exempt from the ban.” New York was kind enough to begin the lifetime exclusion only after the second conviction.

Feature_CarlitosWay-med

“What, you think you like me? You ain’t like me motherfucker, you a punk.”

Farmers have come to expect preferential treatment from the government. While the rest of us are constantly slapped with new laws, regulations, taxes and fees, farmers have been left to do their own thing because they are too fragile to be squeezed for cash like the off-farm masses. Aside from being exempt from things like zoning laws (a farmer’s property is taxed at a fraction of its market value), they get tax breaks, tax credits, tax abatements and all sorts of other perks that shrink their overall tax exposure to just about nothing, regardless of their wealth. So not only do they milk taxpayers for billions in subsidies, they do not even contribute their fair share.

Subsidies and tax breaks? That’s free money times two. Naturally, the rich have been exploiting America’s kindly treatment of its farmers from day one, widening loopholes, relaxing restrictions and turning farms into personal tax havens and petty cash machines that allowed them to give less, while taking more.

Even a Capitalist Hall of Fame family like the Rockefellers, known for their generous charities and contributions to culture, turn out to receive government welfare.

Mark F. Rockefeller, a fourth-generation industrialist, probably had taxes on his mind when he purchased roughly 5,000 acres of farmland in Swan Valley, Idaho, and started receiving subsidy checks at his capitalist lair in the Rockefeller Plaza. Starting in 2001, the federal government has been giving him $54,500 a year to not farm his land. That’s right: The government gives your money to a member of the ultimate capitalist clan, which has a combined worth of more than $200 billion, to just laze around, not work and let his fields weed over. It’s what they call a “conservation payment” program, in which the government pays farmers to convert their land into something natural, like wetlands or whatever other eco-friendly habitat might be appropriate for the environment.

Gone Fly Fishin'...On Welfare

It worked out well for Rockefeller. By some strange coincidence, his farmland happened to be right next to an upscale fly-fishing resort he opened up with his wife in 1999. The place, called South Fork Lodge, plays host to groups of rich, middle aged men who pay $1,000 a day to fish in elegance and beauty with a personal fly-fishing guide. According to its website, “South Fork Lodge rests on a dramatic bend of eastern Idaho’s world famous South Fork of the Snake River in scenic Swan Valley. As you prepare to spend your day on one of the most scenic and majestic fly-fishing rivers in America, you will marvel at the breathtaking views from your room or the Lodge patio.”

What their guests probably don’t know is that they’ll be paying for some of those views twice: once to South Fork Lodge and once to Mark F. Rockefeller himself.

Rockefeller gets double the welfare by gaming the generous tax breaks built into agricultural land. It appears that instead of having South Fork Lodge own the land surrounding the resort and suffer the full force of a normal property tax rate, Rockefeller has had the business buy up just enough property to house the hotel’s various structures, while he purchased all the open space the resort needed—riverfront real estate for fly-fishing, outdoor activities and background scenery—in his own name and dedicated it to farming.

It’s win-win for Rockefeller’s business, allowing South Fork Lodge to offer commercial services on land for which he pays almost no taxes. The lodge charges $1,700 per night for its outdoor safari type quarters, complete with servants and a personal chef, which they offer to guests who want to rough it in a “gorgeous wilderness retreat nestled in the cottonwoods and aspens of the South Fork of the Snake River Canyon Section.”

P1000733

A tax free slice of Rockefeller heaven

Two of Rockefeller’s spinoff businesses— which provide guided fly-fishing trips—also exploit the tax-free property, using it for private boat-launches, riverfront access and camping. If you were wondering why wealthy guys like him would go all the way out to places like Idaho for a lousy couple of grand in subsidies, do the math: He’s making a fortune off the land. Rockefeller pays a pitiful property tax of roughly $10 per acre, something like 1/60th of what it should be. Adding up the 5,000 acres or so, he gets a massive tax break of $500,000 or more.

But rich subsidy queens don’t need to travel far to filch their fair share of taxpayer wealth; they can do it right where they live and work. Failed dot-com entrepreneur Craig Winn lives in Albemarle, Va., and paid $1,000 in taxes on a $3.5 million estate by converting its 50 acres into conserved farmland. All his rich neighbors, including pop culture hacks Dave Matthews and John Grisham, enrolled their land in the tax saver program, too. Hell, even Walt Disney World became a farmer by putting some cows to pasture on its land in Orlando to shave millions off its tax bill. Hewlett-Packard opened up a Christmas tree farm on its massive Houston campus, which saved it (and cost Houston) half a million dollars a year in taxes.

No wonder America is starting to feel like a third-world country. Fighting two wars and bailing out banks is enough without having the rich plundering our country right out from under us. It’s not just property taxes, either. In the past decade, two-thirds of corporations doing business on U.S. soil paid no income taxes. The rich aren’t just not paying their fair share, they’re not paying anything at all.

Yasha Levine is a mobile home inhabitin’ editor of The eXiled. He is currently stationed in Victorville, CA. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com. Further reading: Property Taxes Are For Parasites: Billionaires Use The “Fake Farm Loophole” To Not Pay Any… How Limousine Liberals, Oligarch Farmers and even Sean Hannity Are Hijacking Our Water Supply.

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34 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. More Bad Attitude  |  June 16th, 2010 at 12:00 am

    wow.. wonderful piece of investigative journalism. great job Mr Levine! molodyets

  • 2. Sasha  |  June 16th, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Check me out, I;m a billionaire-testicle-gargling troll: And just how much tax burden do you bear, Mister Levine? I suspect like most of your readers, you are a net burden on the federal and even state fiscal system, that is, you ain’t paying your “fair share” either. I work nights and weekends!

  • 3. Fissile  |  June 16th, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Fake farms owned by millionaires are all over New Jersey — you can actually see the NYC skyline from some of these “farms”. All a millionaire needs to do to get his property zoned as a farm is show $3,000 in agricultural income for the year — revenue, not profit. So the rich fuck buys and sells a couple of horses, or cows, or sheep and that easily puts him over the limit — he now lives on a “farm”. Property that would have been taxed at tens of thousands of dollars is now taxed at a couple of hundred dollars. The results: Working class slobs living in tiny/nasty cape cod’s, built in the 1947, on 50′X75′ lots pay $12K in property tax. Wall Street swindlers, living on 20 acres, within eyeshot of Manhattan pay less than $1K. What’s even more sickening is the reaction of the tea-party fuck-wits to all of this. Instead of marching on the estates of this “farmer” class with pitchforks and torches, the tea-party shits are busy assaulting census workers for “violating their rights to privacy”.

  • 4. Lavrentij Lemko  |  June 16th, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I think that this sort of thing is outside the “Overton Window”.

  • 5. Bad Attitude  |  June 16th, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Yet again, you made me hate. Nobody does it better, Yasha.

  • 6. John Robinson  |  June 16th, 2010 at 8:31 am

    If the government did not have these programs in the first place, they would’t be able to be taken advantage of.

  • 7. Old News  |  June 16th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    This is old news….. thank God you are on top of it. People have been receiving subsidies for like 20 years for not farming so the price of produce stays stable. It is not just the uber rich that do this, and you can accuse the right all you want but this is a leftist program that the rich are taking advantage of. The left comes of with these insane programs and people think they help when in fact they are simply abused. This is just like cash for clunkers where my flaming liberal of a neighbor traded in some junk car he never uses thats worth 300 bucks at most and got 2500 back toward his new Audi A4 sooooooooo congrats play the blame game all day but we have no one to blame but ourselves.

  • 8. Ciorba  |  June 16th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    @7 “we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
    I’ll never understand the American working class’ self-hating victim mentality.
    Do your women also whip themselves and scream “it was all my fault for wearing a short skirt! I was totally asking for it!” when they get raped?

    The only thing you should feel guilty and ashamed about is that you’re letting bloated leeches drain you dry without a single complaint, let alone a struggle.

  • 9. DarthFurious  |  June 16th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    @Ciorba:

    Here fucking here.

  • 10. Necronomic Justice  |  June 16th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    @8, “Do your women also whip themselves and scream ‘it was all my fault for wearing a short skirt! I was totally asking for it!’ when they get raped?”

    Funny you should ask, Because our Taliban is all for that idea;

    http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/teenager_forced_to_apologize_to_her_church_for_being_raped

  • 11. Jerry  |  June 16th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Yep, fuck this country. Our government is 100% corrupted and inept. Corporations and the wealthy elite think this is all a game. They obviously are missing the genetic code responsible for feeling compassion for other beings.

  • 12. Tyr  |  June 16th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    This pisses me off. “These programs are here why shouldn’t we abuse them?” Because people are supposed to have some morals and decency you thieving, lying, immoral pieces of shit.

  • 13. Wow  |  June 16th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    You guys are fucking gods.

    You seriously need your own once a week tv show.

  • 14. EB  |  June 17th, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Our despots in Europe were using that trick from ancient times, and still loving it. Here’s part of original text: “The Queen qualified for £473,500 in farm aid in 2008 for Sandringham Farms, her 20,000-acre retreat and home to four generations of British monarchs since 1862.”

    Original text:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/5852319/EU-farm-subsidies-paid-to-big-business.html

  • 15. EB  |  June 17th, 2010 at 3:33 am

    @7 Are you talking about USA? There is no left and right. Just up and down. And if you read this with us, you are down :) So don’t waste time blaming people left and right of you.
    cheers

  • 16. chugs  |  June 17th, 2010 at 4:07 am

    a good friend was telling me about the one rebellion they were involved in. the entire middle class took to the streets for weeks. the entire country grounded to a halt. the palace was sacked, and the people won.

    the only reason why that happened was because the food stopped flowing.

  • 17. Jack  |  June 17th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Yeah there ain’t no change coming. Well not change like they might have been trying to make you think. But how will it end? I don’t think that anyone can say. The structure in America will keep on getting more bloated and inefficient, people will keep on getting squeezed in order to be more “productive” and I don’t see any sort of signifigant organized resistance coming from anywhere. I guess it will reach a limit eventually but what will that limit be?

  • 18. RecoverylessRecovery  |  June 17th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Алты́нного во́ра ве́шают, а полти́нного че́ствуют.

  • 19. What else  |  June 17th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    The only way to deal with corruption is death. People who fuck with the system and get away with it will just keep going back and doing it over and over. They won’t go to jail and they won’t change. We need like a hardcore mafia-like group that targets all these truly Anti-American acts.

  • 20. Ed  |  June 17th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Okay, here’s another story about how the elite like to stay that way. What’s new? And what am I supposed to do about it? I’m compromised, man. I’ve got a family, a student loan, a mortgage, and a profession—non-union, of course. A catastrophic illness; a job loss would be devastating and I’m essentially living paycheck to paycheck. Should I buy a pitchfork? Do I dare step out of line against injustice for an uncertain future? What do I have to fall back on? I feel like I’ve got too much to lose. Do I just lose it?

    What is the answer, really? An army of eXiled freedom warriors would be nice. What would they look like? How would they or should they act? I mean, they would have to be great orators—and not afraid of public speaking…Acting! They would need to be comfortable performing. But they would have to know what they’re talking about inside and out…Logic! Formal instruction in logic, rhetoric, and debate would be helpful. And they wouldn’t back down from a fight when they shouldn’t back down from a fight…MMA!

    Do you catch my drift? This. Is. eXiled. Sparta! We teach the three “Rs”: Reading, Rightin’, and Roundhouses.

    Do you see how oppositional this is to traditional Educational orthodoxy? Do you see how standardized testing and tying teacher evaluation to student performance and having more charter schools are not about the three Rs—even in a traditional sense? And was there ever a more perfect story to tie this all together—that there is a direct link between the elite and our Education system? (Hint: It’s not good for us.)

    Hedge Funds’ Leaders Rally for Charter Schools:
    (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/nyregion/10charter.html)

    Oh, hey, lookie here! The philanthropy of Anchorage Capital Partners, Greenlight Capital, and Pershing Square Capital Management with a combined $20,300,000,000 under management cannot be called into question, right? Because all money going to Education is good, right? Right. In fact, one hedge fund manager knows exactly what teacher unions are up to by opposing charter schools: “To protect their own self-interest, often at the expense of children.”

    Uh oh, what tonic is there for the invocation of the sacred “children?”

    Of course, they send their own children to private school. So, why ever would they wish to meddle in the affairs of the poor blacks and Hispanics?


    [T]he money managers are drawn to the businesslike way in which many charter schools are run; their focus on results, primarily measured by test scores; and, not least, their union-free work environments, which give administrators flexibility to require longer days and a longer academic year.

    Here’s an idea of what a good charter school looks like, if you were not sure:
    (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/education/02charters.html)


    At Williamsburg Collegiate, whose middle school students annually outscore the district and city averages on state tests, Jason Skeeter stood before his math students the other day as tightly coiled as a drill sergeant. He issued instructions in a loud, slightly fearsome voice, without an extra word or gesture. “Five minutes on the clock,” he told the 26 fifth graders, as they began a “Do Now” review sheet on least common denominators.

    On the whiteboard, an agenda told students precisely what to expect for the 60-minute period. Mr. Skeeter placed his digital Teach Timer on an overhead projector so the countdown was visible to all. When the buzzer sounded, he announced, “Hold ’em up,” and students raised their pencils.

    “Clap if you’re with me,” he said, clapping twice to snap students to attention. The class responded with a ritual double-stomp of the feet and a hand clap.

    Mr. Skeeter, 30, a stocky man in a dark blue shirt and tie, moved swiftly to a second timed exercise, the “Mad Minute,” 60 multiplication problems in 60 seconds.

    “Pencils down,” he ordered after the minute was up. “Switch papers with your partner.”

    The teacher read aloud the 60 answers. “Hands on your head when you’re done counting” correct answers, he told students. He started the timer again as he called students’ names — DeAndre, Alejandro, Nakeri, Lyric — typing their scores into a laptop. He announced the class average: 37.86.

    “Brian Leventer,” he said, making what the school calls a cold call to one student rather than looking for a raised hand, “what does it round to?”

    “Thirty-eight.”

    “Thirty-eight is correct,” Mr. Skeeter said. The class had fallen two points shy of fifth graders in a rival class. “Close, close, close,” the teacher said.

    I think James Cameron had Mr. Skeeter in mind when he wrote the part of Col. Crewcut for Avatar. Clap if you’re with me.

    This is what “results” look like because Williamsburg Collegiate’s students are outscoring other students. This is academic achievement for these poor black and Hispanic students. Let’s just say that the academic achievement of one of these poor black or Hispanic students were EXACTLY THE SAME as one of these hedge fund private school offspring. Who has the leg up?

    Certainly, a private school leg up can be expensive so the hedge fund managers are looking for something in return for their philanthropy. Enter the New Markets Tax Credit—a story this site linked to a month ago.
    (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/05/07/2010-05-07_albany_charter_cash_cow_big_banks_making_a_bundle_on_new_construction_as_schools.html)

    The New Markets Tax Credit—strangely, unmentioned in the Times’ articles—allows an investor to back construction of things like a charter school and then “almost double his money in seven years.” Wow! If only the poor blacks and Hispanics could achieve more academically, then they could think of smart things like that!

    Where are these children—the future workers—learning to speak up for themselves? Where are they learning to stand up against tyranny and oppression of oligarchs and plutocrats? Where are they learning to organize and be leaders for their generation? There are no eXiled freedom warriors to be found here. (And there are none to be found in the “bad” charter school, either.)

    It’s no matter because they are learning their place: “Close, close, close” is as good as it gets, I think.

  • 21. Hon Kee Mufo  |  June 18th, 2010 at 9:51 am

    well said, ed

    this is why I’ll be homeschooling my kids if at all able (probably won’t be, of course, like you I’m compromised and only becoming moreso)

  • 22. President Brown  |  June 18th, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    It gets worse when you consider that what they do grow ends up as the feed stock of the ethanol scam.

  • 23. zhubajie  |  June 19th, 2010 at 4:25 am

    “I work nights and weekends!”
    You probably have huge callouses from scratching your *ss.

  • 24. zhubajie  |  June 19th, 2010 at 4:27 am

    “this is a leftist program that the rich are taking advantage of.”

    Why don’t you just be honest? Not take improper advantage of the program? Isn’t honesty one of those traditional values that Rep(tiles) yak about so much?

  • 25. JO Dern  |  June 19th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Oh wow, that dude just looks cool!

    Lou
    http://www.anonymity-online.net.tc

  • 26. zhubajie  |  June 20th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    “every single one of Sam Walton’s degenerate heirs.”

    How degenerate are they? In what ways? Enquiring minds want to know!

  • 27. RecoverylessRecovery  |  June 23rd, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    “Verily I say unto thee; It is easier for an American billionaire to fit through the eye of a needle than for a poor man to get more than 1.5% interest off a fucking regular savings account”

  • 28. RecoverylessRecovery  |  June 24th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Another great piece by Yasha.

    Ya know, I gotta confess, I lived in a Third World Shithole myself for several years (I won’t name names, BUT I WILL say it was a country that fields a VERY good soccer team and has perhaps the BEST fucking meat in the world..and YES, by ‘meat’ I do mean the WOMEN too) and I would always tell my friends down there that the main difference corruption-wise between our two nations was that in THEIR country the corruption was FLAGRANT whereas in the U.S. it was MUCH more DISCREET.

    Time to scratch THAT fucking argument OFF my list, huh?

  • 29. RecoverylessRecovery  |  June 24th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    DISCRETE, excuse mua.

  • 30. Andy  |  June 30th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I’m sure that my rich-and-famous self living off in an alternate universe is now more educated than he was before on ways to game the government’s ‘system’. Cheers, eXile! ;)

  • 31. Carbon  |  July 7th, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Check this article out. Great stuff on Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and the rule of the top 0.01%:

    America is 234 Years Old Today – Is It Finished?

    http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/6284-philip-davis/80275-america-is-234-years-old-today-is-it-finished

  • 32. RecoverylessRecovery  |  July 10th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    “America is 234 Years Old Today – Is It Finished?”

    Yes. And as soon as we finish blowing out the candles we’re laying it to rest in a borrowed coffin from Costco.

  • 33. MailmanOnProzac  |  July 13th, 2010 at 1:43 am

    I’ve been looking for an article like this for a long time. Thanks. It’s so enlightening to see how the so called “productive” members of our so called “meritocracy” rake in all that money by working so hard and so smart. Yes they certainly are better than than you and me aren’t they. Better criminals that is. I truly feel like my Social Security benefits should be cut after reading this so that more can go to the superior life forms. I’m so inferior that i don’t deserve the peanuts i get.

  • 34. The Jeneral  |  July 26th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I knew it … damn! I’m in the wrong business.

    Keep it going guys, well done!


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