Left-Wing Labor Protesters Funded by Taxpayer Dollars

Why are Occupy-style activists receiving taxpayer support?

(Page 2 of 3)

At the same time, a similar group gathered outside an Olive Garden restaurant in center city Philadelphia.

“If we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace,” they chanted in unison.

Across the nation, minimum wage activists rallied outside Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Capital Grille restaurants – all of which are owned by the same parent company, Darden Inc. – to decry corporate lobbying they say puts a lid on the minimum wage for restaurant workers.

But these supposedly grassroots efforts were in fact a well-orchestrated assault launched by ROC and labor union allies in several major cities. Other groups, such as the SEIU-backed Fast Food Forward, are working toward the same goal.

According to the group’s website, ROC began targeting Darden restaurants because the company joins with the National Restaurant Association, to lobby Congress in order to keep wages and benefits low.

Darden Restaurants did not return calls seeking comment.

A similar effort targeting a chain of New York restaurants owned by Chef Mario Batalicame to an abrupt halt last year when Batali sought and received a restraining order against ROC.

From humble beginnings to national network

Rather than unionizing a work place and using the collective bargaining process to negotiate with employers, groups like ROC use loud protests designed to attract public and media attention.  They threaten lawsuits and disrupt business.

In short, they use techniques that would be illegal if they were an actual union, said Stefan Marculewicz, an attorney who specializes in labor issues.

“Labor organizations by their very existence are supposed to be democratic institutions,” Marculewicz said.  “A majority of the workers have to sign up, or they have the option to not sign up.”

But ROC is not a union. And because they do not have to gain support from a majority of employees at a certain business – as a union world before it could begin negotiating with employers – groups like ROC can make their voices heard and their presence known without officially representing the workers they claim to support.

Maria Myotte, communications director for ROC, did not return calls and emails seeking comment on the organization’s strategy. But in a 2007 interview with the New York Post, one of ROC’s top officials described the practice as “minority unionism.”

“While a union has to go in and organize the majority of a shop to get some kind of collective bargaining agreement, in our case we’ll have a group of workers come in … a small number from a restaurant, and we will ‘organize’ them to create a demand letter, eventually file litigation, protest in front of the restaurant and get press,” said Saru Jayaraman, a co-founder of ROC.

ROC started in New York City to provide community support to the families of restaurant workers killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Now, they claim their goals include organizing workers “to create consequences for ‘low road’ restaurants that employ illegal and other exploitative workplace practices.”

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  • Ted S.||

    ROC should open their own restaurants paying workers their preferred wages. They'd be a hit.

    Or maybe not.

  • AdamJ||

    Great idea.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Great idea.

    How do you mean? It doesn't involve force, so it's a non-starter in leftist circles. How dare you insinuate that they use their own money in order to form the market space they desire when they can extort tax dollars and use other people's money to conform to their view of a righteous world?

  • Ted S.||

    If they wanted to fuck with H&R, the ROC would use the tax dollars to campaign against deep-dish pizza.

  • Marshall Gill||

    This would almost be a dilemma. I can see a real societal need to stamp out the abomination known as "deep dish". On the other hand, I am opposed to spending coerced funds on "society".

  • Careless||

    Boo this man!

  • Careless||

    Boo this man!

  • MappRapp||

    Sometimes man you just have to rol lwith the punches.

    www.Anon-Tactics.tk

  • KPres||

    "They were calling attention to what they said was an unfair minimum wage law that allows restaurants in New York City to pay their tipped workers only $5 per hour."

    I don't get it. Where I live, if you're getting $5 + tips, you're probably making $15/hour, which is right around the median wage. Is there something different about the areas they're protesting in?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    The government now taxes tips.

    Follow the logic thereafter.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    My first job was as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant. I made $2.85 per hours but killed it on tips. I had one of the best jobs a high school student could get in my small town. I typically made $30 in tips on a Friday or Saturday night. This was good money for a 16 year old. Of course, my ambition wasn't to raise a family on a waitresses earnings. It was training for the working world and a bit of savings and pocket money.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    That makes me want to know what these clowns really want. How would the argument play if if if the average waiter got 15+/hour? (which they do) I picked up $50~$200 a night in tips when I was in college in the 1980's and I wasn't particularly outstanding at the job.

    Waiting tables is just like commissioned sales-you're paid exactly what your worth.

  • ||

    Unless you're waiting on Mr. Pink, but that's just a hazard of the job, I guess.

  • avocats||

    I did the same on college breaks in the 60s. "My" local union required us all to report something like 35 cents per day in tips. If you tried to report something closer to reality ($50 a night) you got called into the shop steward's office.

  • Virginian||

    If you have cash, tip in cash.

  • Sevo||

    Virginian| 8.11.13 @ 10:34AM |#
    "If you have cash, tip in cash."

    pretty sure the gov't then "estimates" the tips and taxes that.

  • Virginian||

    Every little bit helps.

  • ||

    Just the tip?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I can't go through reading stuff like this it pisses me off so much.

    The stupid is so staggeringly stupid it makes me wonder just how stupid people can be. Fucking parasites.

    Margins. Life is all about margins. That's about the only advice I can give a kid.

  • Gordilocks||

    Margins, attitude, and drive.

  • mtrueman||

    "Margins. Life is all about margins. That's about the only advice I can give a kid."

    Or a restaurant.

  • ||

    Most restaurateurs understand margins very, very clearly. Which is why burger flippers aren't showing up to work in brand new BMW's

  • mtrueman||

    Well, I'm not so sure how much they appreciate their position as those businesses that will be first and most heavily affected by efforts to raise wages in the nation's lowest paid jobs.

    The article focuses on the wage activists, and says nothing about what restauranteurs are planning to do to meet the challenge. Even when questioned by sympathetic reporters, they have nothing to say. If they don't organize themselves, come up with a plan, bribe some legislators, whatever, they may well be facing a higher minimum wage.

  • ||

    They shouldn't have to bribe legislators and build playgrounds to kill a policy that even most left of center economists grant is harmful at worst and useless at best, but they probably would do well to make their position understood so it doesn't come as a huge shock to anyone when they slowly start shutting their doors if large-scale wage increases do end up being mandated.

  • Gordilocks||

    The fact that any person is free to find another job, or upgrade their skills, or figure out their own shit, is totally lost on these cats.

    That said, I would care less about these advocacy groups if they didn't suck on statist tit.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    The problem is these folks manage to get a politician's ear. You already have an anti-business President babbling about "fair wages" and in Washington they want to drive the minimum wage $4 higher.

    The sickness seems pervasive.

  • Gordilocks||

    Does Obamacare fund treatment for delusional thinking, which impairs ones ability to self motivate?

    Surely THEY are?

  • jessie||

    No amount of ambition or education can conjure up a job that doesn't exist.

    Lack of motivation can explain one person's financial situation. It can not explain an entire country's.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    nice pablum. Now try writing something marginally insightful or meaningful.

  • Virginian||

    No amount of ambition or education can conjure up a job that doesn't exist.

    Horseshit. The entirety of economic growth is driven by people creating jobs that didn't exist. In 1950 there was no such thing as a PC repair tech. In 1900 there was no such thing as an airline pilot. In 1850 there weren't any telephone operators.

  • jessie||

    Oh, so you just want all these fast food employees to go off and start their own industries? That's your solution to the low wage problem?

  • AdamJ||

    Are you saying they are too stupid to achieve more in their lives? Seems like you are. Sounds racist.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    It's impossible for fast food employees to go off and start their own businesses because regulations prevent them from doing so legally. The barriers to entry are incredible. The solution isn't to add further layers of regs but to make it easier for them to earn a living by working off the grid.

    Raising the minimum wage will increase unemployment.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Have you ever traveled in Asia or South America? Street vendors sell all kinds of foodstuff - stuff they grow or cook themselves. The locals have access to locally grown foods and cheap real food.

  • Gordilocks||

    THIS. I spent some time in Thailand, and ate from vendors and small mom and pop operations almost exclusively. The food was tasty, nutritious and cheap.

    Those food operations would be SWAT teamed instantly here

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Yeah, this is something I just don't get about progressive types.

    They hate the big corporations like McDonalds, but can't connect lack of opportunity to regulations that prevent the entry of small players, and a regulatory state that colludes with the same corporations to limit competition and choice.

    They love cultural diversity and see it as authentic when it's far away but are terrified of letting individuals near them make choices that enrich local choice and culture.

  • Bryan C||

    To be fair, they don't want people far away to be able to make those choices, either. Each of us has a role to play in preserving the world's cultures. Some by bravely waving signs to protest against GMOs and DDT, some by quietly dying of malnutrition or malaria in a picturesquely authentic native hovel.

    At home they operate on an all-knowing urban planners. Whereas globally, they generally work more like zookeepers.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    THIS. I spent some time in Thailand, and ate from vendors and small mom and pop operations almost exclusively. The food was tasty, nutritious and cheap.

    Those food operations would be SWAT teamed instantly here

    I've been contemplating a small roadside stand for my son to sell surplus eggs from our chickens, but I'm afraid of running afoul of the local constabulary and being on the hook for regulations infractions and being stormed by the Tax Gestapo.

    Of course I've also considering starting it despite this so that I can have a ready-made teaching opportunity for my 6 year old on the capriciousness of government fiat.

  • ||

    To a greater or lessor degree, at lease three things are likely to happen if restaurant workers get a substantial increase in wages:
    • Price marginal restaurants out of business along with the marginal workers they employee out of jobs.
    • Invite job competition from non-restaurant workers who now find restaurant work more appealing.
    • Be expected to work a lot harder or get fired.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    #4
    The surviving restaurants will put the waitstaff on flat pay, no tips, and add a 30% service charge to the bill.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Don't forget Robots.
    ... and the inevitable robot revolt.

    So as I'm being ripped apart by the greasy claws of a fastfood robot, these are the people I'll thank in my last pain-filled moments.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    "That said, I would care less about these advocacy groups if they didn't suck on statist tit."

    Would care if you took the day off work, took your niece to lunch, paid to park, waited 15 min for a table, sat down, ordered a steak, & then endured 20 mins of ill-conceived chanting and stupidity? There are other negative externalities in play. Some might say you deserve it b/c you benefit from the (too low) wages the restaurant-owning oligarchs pay. Harder to make that case when you’ve never before visited the 'oppressive' steakhouse in question...

  • Gordilocks||

    One would hope those restaurant oligarchs would 'release the hounds' and have these people removed from their property.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    I'd prefer releasing hungry cannibals from the jungles of Papua New Guinea to hunt, capture, and consume the protestors. All cultures deserve respect.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Well, the protesters look like good eating. A lot of fat on those bones.

    Why are statist protesters always fat?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    “If we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace,” they chanted in unison.

    I'm fully in favor of armed citizens giving them the justice they deserve.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Restaurant oligarchies?

    There's such a thing?

  • Gordilocks||

    Sarcasm meter recalibration required.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Yes, figured it was.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    According to tax filings for ROC United, the parent organization that has launched the smaller chapters operating in many cities, the group got $180,000 in government grants during 2010 and another $60,000 in similar grants during 2011.

    Nothing

    left

    to

    cut.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Labor activists using tactics adopted from the Occupy Wall Street movement... like rigid class segregation, up twinkles, crapping on sidewalks and sexual assault.

  • ||

    What the hell is an "up twinkle"?

  • VG Zaytsev||

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I wish I didn't read that. What brain cells I have left from last night just screamed in horror.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Don't watch, Hazel. The colossal stupidity is actually painful.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Sorry, ARV, I was a minute too slow.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That you-tube clip is my all time favorite.

    Moronic socialism in its purest form.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Although John Lewis isn't my favorite Congressman..."

    "Although John Lewis isn't my favorite Congressman..."

    "At least he put himself on the line fighting Jim Crow."

    "At least he put himself on the line fighting Jim Crow."

    "So the people who censored him..."

    "So the people who censored him..."

    "Can all suck Elizabeth Warren's dick."

    "Can all suck Elizabeth Warren's dick."

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The guy who blocked John Lewis from speaking...speaks out!

    http://www.salon.com/2011/10/1.....is_speaks/

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Imagine a Nuremberg rally where the National Socialist salute consisted of a sea of people up-twinkling with their right hands.

    Even the French would have beaten those guys.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    What the fuck was that?

    It's like the lost tribe of stupidity.

    What's up with the repeating?

    "Democracy won?" No, asshole, tyranny of the stupidity won.

  • The Dirty Mac||

    Between this and Obamacare, expect restaurants to become a lot more automated sooner rather than later.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    ROC started in New York City to provide community support to the families of restaurant workers killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    Vampires.

    Unsurprising.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    God bless ACORN, out there registering people to vote in some of the toughest neighborhoods in America.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Speaking of the oppression of the noble workingman:

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, nothing to do with blinking, but Ruth, the newspaper for whom you write for which you write your column, The Washington Post, big sale announced this week to the man who started Amazon.

    Surprised? How did you -- you and your colleagues, what did you think?

    RUTH MARCUS: Surprise is not a strong enough word. Stunned.

    This was something -- I said it was the day our earth stood still. This was something we never in a million years contemplated, because the Graham family is The Washington Post. The Washington Post is the Graham family. We had always understood that their ownership structure -- we are a publicly held company, but they had the controlling shares -- was our bulwark against bad things happening to the paper.

  • Fluffy||

    Suddenly Francisco D'Anconia sticks his head in the door during the interview and says, "Except...what one little thing did they forget?"

  • Fluffy||

    This article highlights a broader problem -

    Namely, that the entire infrastructure of federal "grants" - social science study grants, rural development grants, neighborhood block grants, regional workforce development grants, etc. - exists to support a large group of otherwise unemployable leftist trash that spends its time on "community organizing".

    Even when you don't have a direct connection between a federal grant and a political activity, as you do here, you have an indirect connection because the grants support these people in make-work sinecures, and that affords them the income and spare time to spend on their REAL vocation, advocating for looting in all its forms.

    The entire edifice has to be swept away. If you expose one group, they'll just form another one. Or they'll hide the connection(s) better next time. The grants themselves have to go, and the entire nonprofit world they support.

  • ||

    I would love to see a law saying that if you receive any kind of federal subsidy, whether it be a grant or a welfare check, or a contract, you are barred from any sort of political advocacy.

    The employees at defense contractors shouldn't be allowed to advocate for more defense spending. Teachers shouldn't be allowed to advocate for more spending on education. Construction unions shouldn't be allowed to advocate for more spending on infrastructure. The elderly shouldn't be allowed to advocate for more old age benefits, etc.

    I know people will cry free speech, but nobody's being forbidden from advocating, you're only forbidden from advocating AND also receiving government subsidies.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    If I knew how to that cross out thing, I would respond like this:

    I would love to see a law saying that you can't receive any kind of federal subsidy.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    (s)text(/s) for strikethrough. Just replace the parentheses with the appropriate less than or greater than sign to bracket the s.

    Ugh, that reads terribly. Needs moar coffee.

  • Killazontherun||

    Just end the grants, none of them would have been taken from the taxpayers in the first place without an advocacy group lobbying for it. You avoid free speech issues.

    One problem rarely addressed, grantees run to the courts. Here in NC, the Republicans who took over the legislature in 2010 tried to severe grants given to Planned Parenthood, but were blocked by a court order on the basis that they singled them out. Why would that matter? The Democratic legislatures also singled them out as to give them a special privilege.

  • Killazontherun||

    Republicans who took over the legislature in 2010 tried to severe grants

  • Robert||

    Grants are not the problem. Would you rather gov't employ people directly to do those things than open jobs to bid via grant? Because the details are proposed by the grantee, it opens gov't funding to more entrepreneurship and adaptability than would be the case if some gov't agency were in charge of the details. Usually a policy of making grants is put forward as an alternative to direct gov't action, so the choice I'm saying exists here is a realistic one, not hypothetic.

  • Killazontherun||

    Which one of the enumerated powers in which government is vested needs to be opened up to more entrepreneurship and adaptability, Robert?

  • Robert||

    Are you referring to enumerated powers of the federal or of the state gov't? Either one could be making grants, but state constitutions typically enumerate a hell of a lot of gov't powers & responsibilities.

    Open up your state's constitution, go down the list of things they're either allowed or mandated to do, and in each case ask yourself, if you had a choice of its being done by funding a private agency or by gov't employees, which would you choose? Hell, I wish 100% of gov't education funding were by grants.

  • Killazontherun||

    My state does mandate universal instruction, so I'll give you that last point certainly.

  • Robert||

    How about grants for dispute resolution rather than gov't-operated courts? Nobody said "due process of law" had to be in gov't-operated courts! I bet they'd come up with all sorts of improvements if this were let out by grants or contracts rather than having to conform to the monolith. They already have grants for legal aid, but why not the whole shebang? I bet that'd cut way down on jury duty, for just one thing.

  • Robert||

    And do you think grant-funded community patrols would lead to the sorts of abuses we read of here so often emanating from our official gov't police?

  • Killazontherun||

    BTW, the very idea that entrepreneurship exists in the culture of non-profits is highly unrealistic of the world we live in.

  • Robert||

    Probably I use the term "entrepreneurship" more broadly than you. OK, I'll write "enterprise" or "enterprisingness". Maybe "innovation" conveys it more accurately.

    Is it a problem that gov't funds more hard science via grants than by its direct employment of scientists? Then should it be a problem for the social sciences?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That said, this was a very sad day for people like me, who spent 30 years working at The Washington Post, love the Graham family. I have worked for Mrs. Graham, for Don Graham, for Katharine Weymouth, the current publisher. And she will continue as publisher.

    But the Graham family decided in the end to transfer the newspaper, sell it to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, in order to help protect it. And so there's reasons to be -- I'm stunned. I'm sad. But there's reasons to be hopeful here. First of all, Jeff Bezos has a lot of men to help the paper.

    Second of all, he's got patience to work it out. And, third, he's got experience in this new age of the Internet. My Amazon products come very quickly and effectively. And if he can do for The Post what he did for Amazon, God bless him.

    (LAUGHTER)

    OMG they sold my paper, and they didn't even ask my permission!

    Now some filthy capitalist owns it, and here I am, on television, kissing his smelly ass. The horror.

    The HORROR.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "this new age of the Internet."

    lol, that says it all.

  • Killazontherun||

    I've invested so much in kissing the Graham family's ass all these years, no there are thousands of people I do not even know ahead of me in line. Bezos might not even like the feel of my old dry lips on his tucas.

  • Killazontherun||

    now there are thousand

  • The Late P Brooks||

    to support a large group of otherwise unemployable leftist trash that spends its time on "community organizing".

    You cannot expect them to expose their lily-white hands to the foul stain of capitalism, Shirley.

  • Fluffy||

    That is the fate in store for them if I ever get my way.

    And stop calling me Shirley.

  • Marshall Gill||

    It looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

  • ||

    I hope these people get ignored. We already raised the minimum wage, TWICE, since 2006, when the Democrats took Congress. It was $5.25 (or something thereabouts), and it went up 40% to $7.25. But they won't be happy until it's been tripled to $15. Just goers to show that when you give the union assholes a little bit of slack, they will see it as a weakness and just ask for more.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    But they won't be happy until never

  • ||

    In all fairness, they're just trying to keep wages consistent with the inflation they and the fed created in that same span of time (and that we all know doesn't really exist. Wink wink).

  • Sevo||

    On topic, sort of:
    "Berry growers, UFW beg for immigration reform"
    http://www.sfchronicle.com/pol.....723326.php
    Paywall, but the story is this: There aren't enough berry pickers. Nope, just not enough. Market failure, no workers, need immigrants; if we don't get 'em, we're going out of business.
    Buried beneath the fold in the paper version is 'we tried paying above minimum wage and still didn't get workers'.
    Uh, the answer is right in front of you: PAY WHAT IT COSTS TO GET PEOPLE TO DO THE JOB, YOU IDIOT!

  • ||

    Perhaps they should be permitted to appeal to racism and charge double for berries stamped "picked by AMERICANS" on them.

  • Sevo||

    (according to the article) It seems not to have occurred to any of the farmers that if they and everyone else has to pay more, they're still competitive in the berry market.
    And, this is the bay area! We pay big bucks for tomatoes where each has a given name!
    'Strawberrys, lovingly picked and placed on Serta mattresses for a stress-free trip to your fave food boutique! $2.29/berry!'

  • Gordilocks||

    Surely some of the fat protestors mentioned above could pick blueberries for above minimum wage, and thereby maybe get a little healthier in the process?

    And then I woke up.

  • ||

    Some jobs are not worth paying what it costs to get people to do them.

  • Sevo||

    CharlesWT| 8.11.13 @ 11:19AM |#
    "Some jobs are not worth paying what it costs to get people to do them."

    True. In which case the business owner has no real business.
    Dunno if that's the case here, but it might well be. The market for strawberries is probably pretty elastic.

  • Calidissident||

    It's not market failure, because there are restrictions on the market preventing them from (legally, at least) hiring their demanded labor

  • XM||

    In reality, most mom and pop joints (or truly "small businesses") can hire whoever they like and pay them as little as 5-7 dollars an hour in cash. It's how Koreatown operates. I've had dog meat in LA.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now Lieberman is on (FOX), boohooing about how the Grahams were pillars of Washington Insider Society, and now some hippie weirdo from Seattle has swiped his (Lieberman"s) "local paper" and might not slavishly kiss the asses of all the Washington Insider Nobility.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now it's ABC's turn.

    HURRAY! An FBI death squad hunted down and killed that guy who kidnapped a pretty teenage white girl!

    If there were any comments from Cleveland, they went unreported.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    You need to write:

    "...killed the guy who "kidnapped" a pretty ...."

    At this point we don't know whether she was kidnapped or went with him voluntarily. We only have her parents opinion on the matter.

  • ||

    Seeing as how he murdered her mother on the way out, I think we can be fairly confident it wasn't voluntary.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Nice. Snowden's dad is on; he just said his son has sacrificed more for the country than either the President or Peter King.

  • Sevo||

    "Snowden's dad is on; he just said his son has sacrificed more for the country than either the President or Peter King."

    Maybe this does have enough traction to get something fixed.
    Good on the dad, and he's certainly right.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Maybe, but the President and Peter King have sacrificed a lot more of America.

  • Sevo||

    Ask not what...
    What?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    BTW some congress assholes are saying that Snowden could have been a whistle blower - a fine tradition in America, yada yada yada -

    Without once mentioning that Obama has prosecuted more whistle blowers than all the presidents before him combined.

  • Gordilocks||

    The Court Jesters don't usually comment on Naked Emperors.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Is there no limit to the scourge of Western Culture?

    Our film crew came to look at the connection between the drought in Kansas and the rise in global food prices that helped to fuel the Arab uprisings. But I stumbled upon another powerful environmental insight here: the parallel between how fossil fuels are being used to power monoculture farms in the Middle West and how fossil fuels are being used to power wars to create monoculture societies in the Middle East. And why both are really unhealthy for their commons.

    My teacher here was Wes Jackson, the MacArthur award winner, based in Salina, where he founded The Land Institute. Jackson’s philosophy is that the prairie was a diverse wilderness, with a complex ecosystem that supported all kinds of wildlife, not to mention American Indians — until the Europeans arrived, plowed it up and covered it with single-species crop farms, mostly wheat, corn, or soybeans. Jackson’s goal is to restore the function of the diverse polyculture prairie ecosystem and rescue it from the single-species, annual monoculture farming, which is exhausting the soil, the source of all prairie life. “We have to stop treating soil like dirt,” he says.

  • Fluffy||

    "All the skeletons littering the land 9 months after we stop growing wheat and corn will smile to themselves while considering the high soil quality."

  • Sevo||

    ..."the MacArthur award winner,"...

    This is the greenies' Peace Price equivalent, handed out to some numskull based on how warm and fuzzy the committee feels about his bullshit.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    I'm a little horrified you aren't in favor of Pleistocene rewilding. Do you not miss our megafauna brothers and sisters?

    Do you not miss the aurochs and the European elephant?

  • mtrueman||

    "Is there no limit to the scourge of Western Culture?"

    Yes there is. Do you suppose otherwise?

  • Marshall Gill||

    annual monoculture farming

    Damn. At first I read this as annual monocle farming! I was so excited at the idea that we could grow monocles. Way to bum me out, Brooks.

  • ||

    OMG. That's hilarious. It's like Friedman went back in time and started toking up with some street hippies from the 80s.

    Monocultures! Fossil fuels!

  • ||

    The prairie was, in large part, an artificial construct created by American Indians before European diseases wiped most of them out.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    "American Indians" is an artificial construct. But, then, "artificial construct" is an artificial construct.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Infinite artificially constructed regressions for all.

    *Throws confetti into the air and walks away*

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Annnnd, SCENE!

  • Killazontherun||

    Plague and famine causing natural events had been wiping out indigenous civilizations for a solid millennia before Europeans arrived. They would rarely recover fully to previous levels before being struck again. Anthropologist have been finding evidence of this being the case for sometime now.

    You recall the lesson of Indians teaching settlers to grow corn? They had 'monoculture' planting already, farms along riverbanks grew into towns, before white settlers came. When they did come, there was at least as much assimilation as there was warfare. Warfare always gets played more in the history books than assimilation as the more authentic expression of cultural prerogatives. For many tribes, like the Lumbees here in NC, the assimilation is so successful they have a difficult time getting official recognition.

    Here from the Wikipedia article on them:

    When the Scots and Irish came to what became Robeson County in the mid-18th century, Indians already had European trade goods, including metal tools, and farmed for their living. Maize, beans, and squash had all been farmed for centuries prior to European contact.

    It's just the height of condescension to believe prairie land rebels to be the only authentic representation of a civilization when everyone else just wanted the goods and good relations.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Exactly. It's "noble savage" ventriloquism.

  • ||

    More importantly, natural prarie grass isn't edible. At least not in the way wheat is.

    If you're going to write an article bemoaning the destruction that agriculture does to the natural ecosystem, you should propose an alternative to agriculture.

    Where is White Indian when you need him?

  • Sugarsail||

    These folks who are always demanding more pay don't address the core issues in our economy. They don't address why cost of living has skyrocketed and they don't address barriers to entry to entrepreneurship and upward mobility. All raising minimum wage does is raise the cost of living for everyone and solves nothing. We need to address excessive taxation and regulation, the credit economy, government waste, and inflationary monetary policies if we want to check cost of living increases.

  • Killazontherun||

    ^this.

  • AdamJ||

    Yes , healthcare, education, and housing have all been ruined by the govt. without the incredibly high costs of these goods, there would not be a problem.

  • cw||

    Why are Occupy-style activists receiving taxpayer support?

    Because FYTW. Duh.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Way to bum me out, Brooks.

    C'mon back and kick the football!

    I won't pull it away this time.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    All raising minimum wage does is raise the cost of living for everyone and solves nothing. We need to address excessive taxation and regulation, the credit economy, government waste, and inflationary monetary policies if we want to check cost of living increases.

    Libertarian smoke and mirrors; the system is nearly perfect, it just needs a little fine tuning.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    - the group got $180,000 in government grants during 2010 and another $60,000 in similar grants during 2011.

    Egregious, and I realize criticizing unions especially delights those libertarians who lean to the right, but one wonders why spill so much ink on such a group when a company like Lockheed Martin got 36 BILLION dollars in federal money in FY 2012.

    https://www.fpds.gov/fpdsng/index.php/reports

    And, of course, Lockheed Martin spends millions lobbying government to give it even more money.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pac.....=C00303024

  • cw||

    I've seen lots of libertarian sites spill ink on the military-industrial complex, like Cato. They have whole policy reports dedicated to exposing it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Of course, I quite enjoy Cato's work on the subject.

  • Virginian||

    Do you really see no difference between the two cases?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The difference I see is that Lockheed Martin takes far, far more of my money. What is the difference that you see?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, there is the fact that LMT provides...you know...goods and services for that money.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    But that is almost surely true for ROC too. See my post below on that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    one wonders why spill so much ink on such a group when a company like Lockheed Martin got 36 BILLION dollars in federal money in FY 2012.

    That's because we LOVE the military industrial ouroboros. Don't you know anything?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Spending so much time on the one as opposed to the other strikes like being a man with late stage terminal cancer complaining chiefly about his bunions.

  • cw||

    Or it's worthwhile to reveal that these so-called "grassroots" organizations rely on coercion for funding. Even if it's small, why shouldn't people at least know about it?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think there is a tendency for libertarianism to be distracted into certain pet causes of the political right when it would be better served focusing on far larger violators of our principles.

  • cw||

    To expand on your previous comment, it would be better to focus on the crashing diesel train that is mandatory federal spending (Medicare, SS, etc.) than on the slow cancer that is defense contractor spending, as far as priorities go.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Agreed. Let's call the former a massive coronary and the latter a slow cancer!

  • cw||

    So the next time there's an article criticizing Lockheed, you will comment that there are more important things to complain about, like mandatory spending?

    It's not that I necessarily disagree with you over priorities, just that I don't see why prioritization is so important when it's entirely appropriate to report on any encroachment of libertarian principles.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    As I explained it is out of a desire not to see libertarianism 'used' by the right. The right hates ROC because, well, unions! and they hate unions because unions work for the Democrats.

    As a libertarian I often oppose unions, but not because they work for the Democrats. I do so when they infringe on liberty. But I also am keenly aware that the Lockheed Martin's of the world, which the right does not want anyone to look at, are a worse problem in those terms.

    For many reasons we tend to get our news and scholarship from sources on the right. This tends to deflect our focus from areas where, from a libertarian perspective, it would be better spent.

  • cw||

    Again, I argue there are plenty of libertarian pages documenting the military-industrial complex (and I read and welcome them as much as I can), a traditionally left-wing concern. Does that make those libertarians left-wing? Does documenting union abuse make those libertarians right-wing? If yes to both, then fine, some libertarians lean one way or the other.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I don't think I disagree with you, but I am confused about something. Reason, a libertarian magazine, posts an article about a union-type organization getting government funds for services. It invites comments from readers. I, a libertarian reader, read the article and comment that while this is egregious there are far worse examples of this very thing.

    What did I do wrong?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I should add 'that perhaps better deserve our attention' after 'this very thing'

  • cw||

    In your original post I don't believe you did anything wrong, just that I don't see the need to prioritize topics when there's plenty of space available for just about everything.

    Where I do think you go wrong is in labeling the attention to this particular topic a "right-wing fascination."

    Of course you can comment. Some will comment back. Sometimes it can get acrid, but you just have to take that in stride.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think that this gets so much attention is a right wing fascination with unions.

    There are literally local little leagues that get more government grant money.

    http://yorktown-somers.patch.c.....-000-grant

  • ||

    What did I do wrong?

    Invented partisan motivations where none existed by suggesting, in a mind-boggling display of your own ignorance, that Reason and/or libertarianism in general is unconcerned with major abuses of government, such as the military industrial complex, but rather, willingly or not, shills exclusively for the right against petty tyrannies, like unions pocketing government money.

    It's a ridiculously stupid argument to make, since Reason has devoted tens of thousands of pages to military waste, corporate welfare, and the even larger drivers of national spending that make Lockhead's 36 billion look like chump change. If you want to play the priorities game, Lockhead is always going to be the ROC to some much larger government fraud, which is the ROC to one of the major entitlement programs. All we have to do is back your logic up one more step before we're asking you why are you picking on Lockhead? Because you love left-wing Democrats? I mean, libertarianism is great, but how will we ever be taken seriously if we are ganging up with the left on Lockhead and ignoring Social Security's unfunded liabilities?

    In point of fact, we routinely get people of your opposite ideological persuasion who accuse Reason of trying to torpedo Republicans and right-wing politics by cozying up with the left on pet issues. It reveals a lot more about you than Reason or libertarianism as a movement.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Lockhead is always going to be the ROC to some much larger government fraud, which is the ROC to one of the major entitlement programs

    I was sticking to the actual supposed offence: getting grant money from the government while you are lobbying for change. And in that area there is no larger offender than Lockheed. That is why I chose them, I went to the Top 100 Federal Contractor statistics and they were at the top. So it is not a case of which issue is more important, it is a case of who is the worse offender for this issue. And it is Lockheed, not by miles but by light years.

  • ||

    I was sticking to the actual supposed offence: getting grant money from the government while you are lobbying for change. And in that area there is no larger offender than Lockheed.

    [citation needed]

    First of all, you missed the supposed offense. Getting grant money (or a fat defense contract, which isn't exactly the same thing) while lobbying for self-interested change is weasel-like rent-seeking. But that wasn't the offense. The offense was getting grant money to provide services that it is not the government's purview to provide. The fact that the provided services fall far outside the normal scope and primary purpose of the grant-receiving organization's operations only makes the motives for the grants seem more questionable.

    Secondly, you picked Lockheed because they are the world's largest defense contractor. That's making a lot of assumptions about the amount and and the efficacy of their lobbying expenditures.

  • ||

    (continued from previous post)

    Thirdly, and most importantly:

    So it is not a case of which issue is more important

    Actually, it is. That Lockheed is a filthy cronyist corporate whore doesn't change the fact that they are receiving money for an at least philosophically justifiable use of the state (national defense).

    If tomorrow Lockheed were barred from lobbying, the military budget was cut by 75%, and they still remained the largest defense contractor in the world providing the DOD with only the weapons and services they actually needed to defend the country, the fact that they were a huge corporation receiving huge amounts of government money would no longer be an issue.

    If tomorrow, ROC were barred from lobbying and their grant was cut to 5,000 dollars from 60,000 dollars, they would still be receiving money to provide services that are not legitimate for the government to provide.

    That's the difference.

    By treating all government expenditure as equal and then basing your analysis purely on dollar amounts received you've constructed a false equivalence on its face, and an especially egregious one from the libertarian perspective.

    And still with all that considered, you never addressed my point and continue to merely concern troll on a pet issue.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    a union-type organization getting government funds for services.

    What "services" exactly?

  • Robert||

    Can't I oppose unions for both reasons?

    But there's a difference between being on the opposite side from a party and having a ready solution for making the other side either less effective or less opposed to me.

  • Fluffy||

    In exchange for their $36 billion the guys at Lockheed Martin at least had the common courtesy to give us missiles and planes.

    The only thing these guys have to trade is their skill at collectivist bullshit spouting.

    I am not a member of the War Party, to say the least, but I have much less of a problem with Lockheed Martin getting my money in exchange for, you know, actual products, than I have with this grant money going for the sustenance of people who make no bones about the fact that they hate me and want to either destroy or enslave me.

    What I want is for these people to lose their jobs, and either be forced to get new ones or - hopefully - NOT get new ones, and starve in the gutter.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    We don't know what the grants and contracts to ROC were for, do we?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    After reviewing the linked documents it appears the ROC conducts job training and placement programs as well as workshops to educate low wage workers about 'access to health care.' I would wager it is this sort of thing for which they receive government money for, likely from the Department of Labor.

    Now, I object to government taking my money and using it to pay anyone for such programs. But I also object to them taking far, far more of my money and giving it Lockheed Martin to make, for example, drones (one of their products) used to slaughter Pakistani villagers. I certainly can't say that my money for drones is superior to my money for job training.

    Both being objectionable I look at the price tags, and they are not even in the same proverbial 'ball park.'

    By the way, if you access the Excel files for the Top 100 Contractors at the link I provided, you will see that the Department of Labor provides hundreds of millions of dollars to other organizations for job training and the like. So again, to focus on ROC strikes me as silly.

  • Robert||

    Tnx. Konqueror (Fedora Linux distro) is taking forever to display the ScribD docs.

    But even your examples are pretty unobjectionable. Even if they were being done in house by the state or federal gov't, it'd be so far down the list of things that a libertarian would be likely to criticize, it's not in the class of Stossel or others complaining, "My pet problem with gov't's bigger than yours!" Rather, it's straining at gnats.

    OK, Hayek wasn't as radical in the days he wrote The Road to Serfdom, but one famous concession he made was job training & placement programs. Usually these are conducted, directly or by contractor or grantee, by or for a state or federal dept. of labor primarily to help people they're paying unemployment benefits to anyway. Maybe they're inefficient—CETA was often laughable—but their net cost is probably a spit in the ocean compared to cash payouts.

    As to advertising & counseling people re eligibility for gov't health care benefits, that was something Stockman, etc. promoted as an alternative to expanding gov't programs. They said, let's not initiate new programs while there are many people eligible for ones already on the books but don't know it. Considering the actual discussed policy options, this seems like a bargain. And when it's contracted to a private agency, you avoid the conflict of interest you'd have if gov't agencies themselves, with their employees interested in keeping their jobs, promoted their services more.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Both being objectionable I look at the price tags, and they are not even in the same proverbial 'ball park.'

    I don't consider the price tag the appropriate measure of offense. I would argue that the degree of principle is more so. In the case of LMT, the government is buying weapons that, in principle, they have a right to buy from an organization whose primary mission is selling things. In the case of ROC, the government is giving money that, in principle, they have no right spending for service the government has no business providing to an organization whose primary mission is political advocacy.

  • triclops||

    Right, pal. How many articles on this same topic have you seen here at Reason? And how often, on Reason, do you see complaints about how the military industrial complex is very much another federal welfare system without accountability?
    You are a hack whose childish games are far more transparent than you realize.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There have been several articles on the ROC this week alone. Can you point me to several this week on Lockheed Martin?

  • ||

    There has to have been articles on Lockheed Martin this week, from Reason? Why? Does this writer in particular need to focus on that issue specifically? Other writers at other publications can't write on these issues on their own time, they need to do so right now, this week? Why do new articles about Lockheed Martin need to be out right now? If not right now, why aren't past articles and possible future articles enough? Why do writers have to drop everything they're interested in writing about and write what you want them too? Are there new developments? Have the old developments not been written about before?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If the opposition or concern about ROC is that they are getting government money then I am merely suggesting it is silly to, in the words of another commenter here, to strain at a gnat while an elephant sits upon your chest.

  • ||

    This presumes no one ever writes about Lockheed Martin. Are there some new developments of which I'm not aware? Why does this writer need to write about Lockheed Martin? Why can't he write about the things he typically writes about (such as unions)? You act as if writing on this subject keeps Lockheed Martin articles from being written. There's room for them both, why harp about this coverage?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Dude, you're arguing with left-wing tulpa, picking at inconsequential details is what they do. It's who they are.

    Do you remember him complaining last election that Reason only did negative stories about Romney and not Obama? Even when shown the 1000s of negative articles Reason did on Obama, he and his merry band of rabble-rousing reactionaries would still harp on about some supposed cosmotarian bias.

    People see what they want to see.

  • ||

    I don't think he's quite like Tulpa. I disagree with him, but he's nowhere near Tulpa-level idiocy. I simply disagree with him.

  • ||

    There have been several articles on the ROC this week alone.

    This is the first one I've seen. Can you link me to the others? In return, here's a cursory search of Reason.com for "military waste" and the ~15,000 articles you apparently missed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -In return, here's a cursory search of Reason.com for "military waste" and the ~15,000 articles you apparently missed.

    I could have sworn I asked for articles on Lockheed Martin. After all, I am sure Reason has thousands of articles on 'unions.'

  • ||

    Most of those articles are focused on military contractors, Lockheed included, and the MIC spoils system more generally. I was under the impression your criticism was of the entire defense contracting racket. I didn't realize you were single-mindedly focused on one particular company you don't like (my fault, I definitely should have known better). In that case, you only missed ~1,700 references.

    Still waiting on those several other articles Reason ran on ROC.

  • General Butt Naked||

    C'mon brooks, us reason readin', cocktail swillin' cosmotarians only care for food trucks and homo-rights; most of us probably voted for Obama.

    Wait... Aren't we reason readin', mexican-hating paleos who give nary a shit about the poor and only come here to get our fix of union hatin'?

    TELL ME WHAT I AM, BROOKS!

    Maybe someone will come along with some suitably terrible tulpanalogies to explain what we should really care about! Please...

  • RannedPall||

    Anyone else think resident evil 5 when he mentioned "ouroboros"? Anyone? No? Okay then. *crawls back into cave*

  • The Late P Brooks||

    TELL ME WHAT I AM, BROOKS!

    Figure it out for yourself, buddy. You can't trick me into demonstrating empathy.
    What do you think I am, some sort of social engineer?

  • General Butt Naked||

    This is like giving a hungry guy a space shuttle.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a ride on your space shuttle today

  • General Butt Naked||

    Taking your money tuesday for a space shuttle ride today is like playing chess with a caterpillar.

    In other words, I'm gonna need to hold your driver's license or cell phone until you make payment.

  • Robert||

    Rather than unionizing a work place and using the collective bargaining process to negotiate with employers, groups like ROC use loud protests designed to attract public and media attention.


    And that's supposed to be...bad? Mr. Boehm, are you the type who prefers the statist "labor peace" that's been arranged in the USA & most of the rest of the "free world" to the anarchy that prevailed earlier? I'd rather have the loud protests than the forced negotiations, thank you.

    My cx to the ScribD hosted docs isn't working, so I can't tell what the terms were on the gov't grants. You're saying it's 5% of their total funding, but I'm sure the grants aren't unrestricted, so in effect you're complaining about effectively much less than 5% of this organiz'n's funding in terms of money they get to use for their own purposes.

    Someone show me there's a serious problem here.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well said.

  • ||

    I'd rather have the loud protests than the forced negotiations, thank you.

    False choice. There are no forced negotiations going on because these restaurants are not unionized. Because the unions haven't been able to effectively organize these workers in the way the law prescribes, which is already tipped massively in their favor, they are trying to use backdoor tactics to coerce a bargaining arrangement by disrupting business operations and harassing customers.

    A union work stoppage by any other name...

    Forgive me for not being grateful that they are only screaming and shouting rather than breaking kneecaps or blowing up cars like they have in the past.

  • Robert||

    Why is that a false choice?

    If the owners don't like it, they can have the protesters ejected, as was suggested upthread. They can put up signs with pictures of the protesters that say, "Do not serve, seat, or admit these people." If the protesters are already working there and on their shift, they can terminate them on the spot.

    I haven't been to one of these demonstrations, but the impression I got was that the idea was to gain the sympathy of the customers in the restaurant at the time. If it's instead to make the scene unpleasant for the customers, then they're cutting their own throats, because not only will they be out on their ear, but the customers will be against them and will side with the mgmt. ejecting them.

    To me this is a better state of affairs than if they were a union, because then they would be able to force negotiations on both the employers and employees. Did you not understand that's what I meant by "I'd rather have the loud protests than forced negotiations"? Employment at will is a superior state of affairs. That's the way it was before labor laws. It won't stop strikes, but what would you have instead? Slavery, by binding workers to their jobs? Or some sort of quota whereby only a certain number are allowed to quit at a time?

  • ||

    Well what I'm suggesting is that there's not a stark dichotomy here between going closed shop or having to deal with the occasional rabble rouser. The latter is intended to move toward the former in this case. It's a stepping stone for the unions, which is why they are supporting these groups.

    In terms of labor laws, it should be obvious that of course I favor at-will employment and a free labor market with no special protections or state intrusions in the bargaining process between worker and employer or worker's union and employer. As I posted down thread, I think my interpretation of the author's message was a little different than yours.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So again, to focus on ROC strikes me as silly.

    We're so very fortunate to have you here.

    Rabble such as we are grossly unqualified to properly prioritize our concerns and troll accordingly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I suspect you can properly prioritize your concerns but that they are simply different than mine.

  • cw||

    What strikes me as silly is we can't expend ink on even one article about a specific case of abuse without some commentors demanding we must turn our attention somewhere else.

    Reminds me of Stossel casually dismissing NSA spying because "there are more important government abuses to worry about." Why can't we note everything unjust the government does? Is that not possible for some?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I am not demanding attention be turned anywhere, just noting that from a libertarian perspective it could be better spent elsewhere in greater violations of our principles than on whatever the right wing fascination of the week is this week.

  • cw||

    Small injustices are still injustices, not simply a "right-wing fascination."

    Is worrying about the military-industrial complex a "left-wing fascination" when there are bigger threats to our liberty, like thousands of pages of new health-care law?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You prove my point. There is of course quite a bit of coverage of the health care law. Deservedly so, it is a massive and especially egregious attack on liberty.

    But the military industrial complex is not far behind it in egregiousness, yet its coverage is.

    Again, that the health care law is the center of attention over defense contractors strikes me as sensible. But ROC getting 60,000 dollars in grant money is an absurd drop in the bucket compared to what major defense contractors get. Focusing on the former is truly looking for the speck while missing the beam.

  • ||

    But the military industrial complex is not far behind it in egregiousness, yet its coverage is.

    Only in your demented little imagination because you are ignorant of Reason's extensive coverage of the issue (see my previous comment here). Your ignorance is a poor stand in for an actual argument.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But the military industrial complex is not far behind it in egregiousness, yet its coverage is.

    For a simple reason. As much as the MIC is a threat to liberty (and it is), military spending IS a legitimate function of government. Healthcare isn't. Nor is job training.

  • Robert||

    But what is the injustice being complained of here? Not whatever you might be adding on, but what the article is about?

    Look at the subjects of the grants. Would it have been better had some other non-profit beaten this one to those grants? Would it have been better had some for-profit business been hired to do the job? Would it have been better had the gov'ts invovled kept the work in house, hiring people as neceesary, rather than letting it out for bid?

    If the complaint were that gov't shouldn't be doing (or funding) those things, why wasn't that the focus of the article? Why didn't Mr. Boehm go Proxmire-style thru the details and point out the futility of some of those activities? I suspect it's because they're rather prosaic and not laugh-inducing or even very interesting to most readers.

    The other complaint in the article is, if anything, even worse. You'd really prefer the NLRB (especially the currently constituted NLRB) designating ROC or some other body as the official one the workers in some designated units have to bargain thru? And that the employers have to negotiate in good faith with? And then have ROC (or whoever) trade in the actions they're otherwise free to do for the privileges they'd get?

    Do I have a distorted idea as to where the frying pan is vs. where the fire is? Or are the rest of you just not analyzing carefully?

  • cw||

    Is the article not about taxpayer funds used to promote a certain public policy, such as min-wage increases? Perhaps it's a small amount, but that still goes against libertarian principles.

    I personally have not endorsed anything relating to centralizing bargaining power with the NLRB, nor did I see such an endorsement in the article (but if Boehm does that, then he's wrong, of course).

    Perhaps Boehm can't see the forest for the trees, but that didn't seem to be BCE's complaint. Rather, it was with his argument that too much attention is given to topics like this one. I argued there's nothing wrong with pointing out even small instances of taxpayer-fund abuse. And I thought the article did that with ROC as a specific example.

  • Robert||

    First of all, there's no more evidence that the gov't grants are promoting certain public policies than there's evidence that gov't's employment of a navy promotes the policy views of seamen. For this to apply, someone's going to have to come forward with evidence that organiz'n A was favored over organiz'n B in grant application competition because of their different public policy stances. You know, something similar to what's come out about IRS re non-profits. Then we're talking. Until then it's just special pleading and cherry picking.

    And although Bo Cara's objection might be about hir concerns being bigger or more important than thine, mine are not. I'm saying that given the likeliest, 2nd likeliest, and even 3rd likeliest alternatives, this is not a problem at all. I'm not saying this problem is too picayune to be concerned about; that's the thinking of typical procrastinators (like me), leading to no problem's ever being addressed, because the biggest (theoretically the highest priority) are intractable. I'm saying this is not a problem, but is part of the solution! Not the final solution (and certainly not that "final solution"), but a good temporary one.

  • ||

    First of all, there's no more evidence that the gov't grants are promoting certain public policies than there's evidence that gov't's employment of a navy promotes the policy views of seamen.

    That wasn't the question, and it's also a total non-sequitur. The government need not be selectively picking its grant recipients to be doling out money that shouldn't be doled out. It would also probably behoove the government in its grant selection process to pick specialists for the tasks for which the grants were alloted even if it is doling out robbed money for illegitimate purposes. Giving cash grants for health insurance education to an organization whose primary activities are for labor and wage related advocacy rather than, say, a health care advocacy organization or community health center, strikes me as pretty stupid EVEN IF we accept that those activities are a legitimate use of taxpayer funds (they are not).

    I'm saying this is not a problem, but is part of the solution!

    Well, that's hardly surprising given your ideological proclivities. But it's about as libertarian as privatizing the DEA.

  • Robert||

    It does seem odd that an organiz'n that started out about that 9/11/01 victims within the restaurant biz stuff and has since branched out into wait staff advocacy then further branched out into health insurance educ'n, but far from unprecedented. It's been pointed out that non-profits never die, they just find new stuff to do, the March of Dimes being a famous example. And you'd have to look at who the other applicants for that grant was. It may be that the likelier grantees had their plates full enough that they didn't apply for this grant. If it were a really big grant they could hire staff & facilities, but it may be a grant that's only big enough to be usable by some organiz'n that had excess capacity.

    I'm just wondering what you think my ideologic proclivities are, beyond libertarian. I thought I was one of those commenters like John here who are hard to pigeonhole. I don't even know how to label my own proclivities within the ambit of radical libertarianism. Hmm, maybe "pragmatic thinker who also takes some things to great extremes regardless of whether anyone agrees with me".

    As to privatizing DEA, that might cut down on many of their abuses the same way it would with other agencies with enforcement responsibilities. I suspect that with a an eye toward their bottom line and the knowledge they could be turned down for contract renewal, plus no civil service protecting their jobs, you'd see a lot less dangerous enforcement tactics and a lot fewer confrontations.

  • ||

    I'm just wondering what you think my ideologic proclivities are, beyond libertarian.

    You seem a lot more like a market utilitarian than a libertarian to me from your posts on Reason. The proof is here:

    As to privatizing DEA, that might cut down on many of their abuses...

    My entire point was that outsourcing to the private sector government projects which should not be done in the first place is still a completely illegitimate function of government. Doing with market efficiency that which should not be done in the first place is no improvement.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -But what is the injustice being complained of here?

    The injustice from the author's point of view seems to me to be that a left wing and pro-union groups is getting government money.

    The injustice in my view is that anyone is getting government money for anything outside of a minarchist state. As such, I think it is silly and distracting to focus on such a small violation of this principle as opposed to the many much larger examples.

    Imagine a senator like the former Senator Jim DeMint taking up this cause d'celebre of the right and fighting to get the grant funding struck, but who goes out the next day and fights to increase the already bloated defense budget. If we are focused on ROC instead of the Lockheeds of the world then we might wrongly see DeMint as some kind of friend of liberty. And we would be wrong.

    Of course I use this example of DeMint quite purposely, because this is how we acted and many libertarians fell for his nonsense.

  • ||

    Ahhh, now I get it. You mean, we might get some small things we want from people who won't give us the larger things we want, and in so doing, we may accomplish small things that you don't care about (or actually oppose) while still failing to accomplish the larger things you ostensibly do care about; instead of ignoring the small things altogether and failing to accomplish the larger things.

    So, say, partnering with Barney Frank on internet gambling even though his namesake financial regulation is one of the most atrocious things to ever crawl out of congress would be betraying the cause, just as partnering with Jim DeMint on cutting off grants would be betraying the cause, or partnering with Kucinich on auditing the federal reserve would be betraying the cause.

    Or wait, maybe you're just a concern trolling shill.

  • Robert||

    Yeah, as I wrote upthread, if that's Bo Cara's genuine thinking, it's symptomatic of procrastination. I shouldn't do X because Y has priority over it by far, but Y is unachievable right now, so I won't do anything at all.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Winner winner chicken dinner!!!

  • ||

    Ahhh, now I get it. You mean, we might get some small things we want from people who won't give us the larger things we want, and in so doing, we may accomplish small things that you don't care about (or actually oppose) while still failing to accomplish the larger things you ostensibly do care about; instead of ignoring the small things altogether and failing to accomplish the larger things.

    So, say, partnering with Barney Frank on internet gambling even though his namesake financial regulation is one of the most atrocious things to ever crawl out of congress would be betraying the cause, just as partnering with Jim DeMint on cutting off grants would be betraying the cause, or partnering with Kucinich on auditing the federal reserve would be betraying the cause.

    Or wait, maybe you're just a concern trolling shill.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I am not opposed to partnering with the devil himself if the end result is to advance liberty. Having said that, it is not partnering I am concerned about, but distraction. If DeMint acted in the fashion described and libertarians concluded that he was 'tough' on government contracting largesse they would be in serious error.

  • Robert||

    We come down on the same side of this issue, but apparently for different reasons. If I thought clamping down on gov't grants to organiz'ns like this were a worthy goal, I'd have no concern about its being a distraction. It's not as if there's one group mind that has to select a priority list. You've got people researching a bunch of different subjects because you never know whose interest you might catch who might turn out to be influential. It might be something big, it might be something small, and there's no reason to shut up those researching the small because it'll somehow distract people from the big.

    I could give your complaint some credibility if it were about someone who had a shitload of att'n paid to him, like the POTUS, if the person seemed to be putting forward some pecadillo to deliberately distract the media & public from something he doesn't want them to pay att'n to, but that's far from the case here.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Again, how is the government arming itself a greater violation of libertarian principles than a government funding a political advocacy group to do "job training"? Libertarian principles do recognize a legitimate realm of government employment of force. I'm not familiar with any libertarian principles that advocate government job training. Particularly on the part of an organization whose primary purpose is political advocacy.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    they are simply different than mine.

    Then cease your tiresome sniveling, and go picket Lockheed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Pardon me, I took this to be a libertarian website that welcomed comments.

  • ||

    Pardon me, but I took this to be a comment section where we can criticize other commenters if we like.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    My comment was a response to the suggestion that I should 'cease [my] tiresome sniveling, and go picket Lockheed' if I thought Lockheed was a far more egregious example of the problem.

  • ||

    Yes, I saw. No one here has to be any more welcoming than they wish, there's no imperative.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I was not complaining that any commenter invited me to stop commenting and leave, they are of course free to do so, but rather was reminding him that I had every right to stay and comment.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    just noting that from a libertarian my perspective it could be better spent elsewhere

    "Libertarianism is what I say it is!"

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I would love to hear your argument as to how ROC getting 60,000 dollars a year of our money is a worse violation of libertarian principles than Lockheed getting 36 billion of same.

  • Robert||

    That's not even what the main problem here is. Rather, it's as if both the blogger and the commenters were complaining to, or about, Lockheed per se for getting money to make & sell air drones, rather than focusing on the uses of the drones.

  • ||

    I would love to hear your argument as to how ROC getting 60,000 dollars a year of our money is a worse violation of libertarian principles than Lockheed getting 36 billion of same.

    I would love to hear where anyone in this thread or the original article ever advanced that argument, or why you can't oppose both at the same time. It's kind of sad that you wear your short attention span so proudly.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Because violations of libertarian principles are not measured in dollars per year. If the government spend all of $10 per year trying to restore the institution of slavery, it would still be a bigger violation of libertarian principles than if the government spent a $1 trillion on its legitimate functions.

  • Almanian!||

    San Diego Mayor Finishes Two-Week Training on Treating Women Like People

    Women are PEOPLE! He's fondling PEOPLE!

    /Heston

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Ooh, is this a test, Teacher? Will my response go on my permanent record?

    Concern troll is concerned.

  • Fluffy||

    By the way, if you access the Excel files for the Top 100 Contractors at the link I provided, you will see that the Department of Labor provides hundreds of millions of dollars to other organizations for job training and the like. So again, to focus on ROC strikes me as silly.

    I specified in my first post in this thread that my problem was with the entire grant complex, across all agencies.

    I certainly can't say that my money for drones is superior to my money for job training.

    National defense is at least theoretically a justifiable use of my tax dollars. While I oppose our current international policy set, that is not the fault of the drone itself. It is entirely possible that Lockheed Martin will sell us plenty of drones that will not end up being used in objectionable ways. Maybe it's not very likely right at this moment, but it's at least possible.

    But every dollar spent in grants by the human service agencies, along with every dollar spent by those agencies to maintain their own staffs, is a dollar that goes to my class enemies.

    And I don't use the expression "class enemy" lightly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -But every dollar spent in grants by the human service agencies, along with every dollar spent by those agencies to maintain their own staffs, is a dollar that goes to my class enemies.

    You do realize that the vast majority of federal grant money in the human services goes to...large corporations that do many things apart from that? Multinational corporations are your class enemy?

    It's in the data at the link I provided.

    -National defense is at least theoretically a justifiable use of my tax dollars.

    The current national defense budget is, in a time of peace, not even theoretically justifiable for a libertarian. Most of the tanks, drones and missiles Lockheed makes are not necessary or defensible in a libertarian philosophy. Why is someone taking my money to produce an unnecessary tank somehow less egregious than taking my money for an unnecessary human services program?

  • ||

    Multinational corporations are your class enemy?

    That you find that befuddling says a lot more about you than it does about Brooks. You're so married to the narrative as libertarians as corporate shills it never even dawned on you that, yeah, maybe he might oppose grants even when the recipient is *gasp* a large corporation!

    It's also worth pointing out that ROC is, you know, a large corporation. You may be surprised to find out that the actual legal structure of the operation is what defines a corporation. Not necessarily teh KOCHtopus tentacles.

    (continued)

  • ||

    ...in a time of peace...

    You may have missed an issue or two of your local paper, but just to get you up to speed, we may or may not be kinda fighting a proxy war in the middle east in addition to two nation building projects which are still hemorrhaging resources on at the moment. I really hope the term "peace" doesn't become so defiled that we use it to define circumstances such as these.

    Nevertheless, you utterly missed the point. National defense is a legitimate function of even the most minimalist state, so there is no philosophical reason that a libertarian should object to the use of state money for developing weapons in principle - the particulars are what matter. And you'd be hard pressed to find a libertarian who thinks the current American military budget is reasonable.

    Since teaching fast food workers how to sign up for government health care assistance is not a legitimate function of the state under even the most loose definition of libertarianism, the particulars are irrelevant - the opposition is a philosophical rejection of an illegitimate function of the state.

    That doesn't necessarily say anything about which budget item should be prioritized for the ax as a practical matter. It's just a statement of libertarian first principles. Most of the folks around here are not libertarians out of utilitarian convenience.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -we may or may not be kinda fighting a proxy war in the middle east in addition to two nation building projects

    We are fighting a loose band of terrorists while nation building. I am not sure that is a war, but I should have been more specifically and said in the absence of a defensive war.

    As to your arguments about the philosophical appropriateness of defense spending for libertarians I think I answered that in my response to Fluffy: from a libertarian perspective unnecessary defense spending is as objectionable as unnecessary human services spending. Here is an easy way to see it: if instead of passing the first stimulus as he did Obama simply passed a bill costing the exact same amount as a defense appropriation for construction projects on military installations would you have to be less opposed to it than as it was actually passed? Of course not.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    ....from a libertarian perspective unnecessary defense spending is as objectionable as unnecessary human services spending.

    This is simply not true, as PM and Fluffy and I have pointed out to you. From a libertarian perspective "human services" isn't something the government should be spending money on. Period.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You'd really prefer the NLRB (especially the currently constituted NLRB) designating ROC or some other body as the official one the workers in some designated units have to bargain thru? And that the employers have to negotiate in good faith with? And then have ROC (or whoever) trade in the actions they're otherwise free to do for the privileges they'd get?

    What the fuck are you on about?

    The complaint is that a (partially-government-subsidized) outside group is organizing extralegal disruption of everyday business activities, in order to extort labor concessions.

    Personally, I would not be offended if the business owners had the trespassers violently tossed out on their ears.

  • Robert||

    I wouldn't be offended by that either, but that doesn't seem to be what Boehm thinks is wrong. Any reasonable reading of the article says that ROC is usurping the fx of a (nonexistent) legally-designated labor union, and that the things they're doing would be illegal for a union to do.

  • ||

    That wasn't my reading, but if that's what Boehm's objection was, then fuck him, he's an idiot.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -What the fuck are you on about?

    My, look who is concerned now!

  • ||

    You desperately need to bone up on your internet idioms if you can't differentiate between asking a flabbergasted question and concern trolling.

  • Fluffy||

    We are in a class war, not against the "undeserving poor" but against the progressive state / nonprofit complex.

    It's a war in which head count matters.

    A very large number - maybe a plurality - of the persons on "the other side" are unemployable defectives who require grant funded white collar sinecures (or federal table of organization sinecures) to be in a position to fight at all. As I said above, this story demonstrates why there's such an urgent need to destroy the entire range of federally-funded nonprofits - because they provide a base of operations for people like this, and literally put a roof over their heads while they openly and unapologetically plan my enslavement and destruction.

    Every person we can attrit from the federal workforce or the nonprofit workforce is a victory.

  • Robert||

    I don't think this would have anything like the effects you think. You single out federally-funded nonprofits; what about state-funded ones? And by "-funded", do you mean exclusively, primarily, or in any part?

    Think about universities. Think about gov't grant-financed research that goes on even at private institutions. Do you think scientists are unemployable defectives because some or most of their funding comes from gov't grants? Do you think their supposed views regarding your enslavement & destruction improve when they move from a university to Pfizer?

    Look at broadcasting stns. that've had their gov't funding cut off. Take an even more extreme example like WNYC, which used to be municipally o & o and is now privatized. Do you think their propaganda content has improved or is any way less effective than previously?

    "Defunding the left" is a ridiculous chimera to chase. There's plenty of mishigos in the non-profits, but they are not your enemy. In many cases gov't funding has been the honey pot that has attracted unsavory types, but it did not produce them, any more than prohibited liquor or narcotics produced thugs and low-lifes rather than attracting people with those proclivities. You might as well think journalism is per se the enemy because it attracts such a preponderance of "left" and statist types; shutting down for-profit news media won't help you any more than shutting down non-profits will.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    This is certainly not a view mandated by libertarianism. I am not in a class war with anyone. 'Capitalists' who take my money or no better in my eyes than non-profits or government workers. And how does ROC 'openly and unapologetically plan my enslavement and destruction' more so than much larger and influential corporations like Lockheed? Are you under the impression Lockheed uses its government funded lobbying to promote your liberty?

  • Robert||

    Not your enslavement & destruction, Fluffy's. They're going to slip something into Fluffy's food to enslave hir chemically, then keep hir in a coffin and make hir think s/he's dead. Then Zombie-Fluffy's coming after us all.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    'Capitalists' who take my money or no better in my eyes than non-profits or government workers.

    Which shows you don't understand the distinction between honest exchange and government coercion.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If you can't even manage to pull the plug on a "miniscule" program expressly designed to funnel money to left wing social justice activists, what likelihood is there we can hack large chunks off the defense budget?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    There's plenty of mishigos in the non-profits, but they are not your enemy.

    Spoken like a card carrying member of the parasite class.

    Is it Bleeding Heart Liberaltarian Day, today?

  • Robert||

    OK, I'm a scientist. But I've never gotten my own gov't grant for anything, and it's been almost 20 yrs. since any of my research has been grant funded. My consulting clients are a mixture of for-profits and non-profits, but I get much more money from the for-profits. This has had no effect on my political views, specifically the enslavement & destruction of Fluffy.

    One thing I'm involved in, but hasn't produced any money for me yet, is a joint venture made possible by the laws of Panama, 51% owned by a non-profit. Also, my principal for-profit client is contracting to have a project done by a non-profit, as I helped draw up specs for.

    So tell me, where exactly does the parasitism come in?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Just as a 'heads up' some commenters here seem to provide snark, others substantive discussion. I think you are only going to get the former from this one.

  • Robert||

    Yeah, and some commenters are so condescending they think the rest of us can't discern the snarky ones.

  • Robert||

    The problem I get into is going from here to more heavily-moderated online forums, especially ones dominated by women and ones where participants think they have to kiss some experts' asses. I get kicked out or tossed in the cooler frequently, basically just for disagreeing with what others have written, or for reasons I'd've never expected.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Or are the rest of you just not analyzing carefully?

    That must be it.

  • in4mation||

    I wonder if Granit City in Indy is being targeted. There were some "protesters" kitty corner to them targeting them.

    BTW the bartender was down right compassionate to me while I was trying to fight off a migraine with food and hydration. Excellent service.

  • ||

    I'll just leave this here for Bo Cara. A timely though thoroughly unsurprising decimation of the entirety of his concern trolling argument.

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....t-defense/

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