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It was one of the many great ironies associated with controversy surrounding the issue of fracking in North Carolina that so-called conservatives opposed efforts during the 2012 legislative session to include stronger protections for landowners.

As you may recall, it was mostly conservative supporters of the fracking industry who opposed efforts to include language in fracking legislation that would have made it easier for private landowners to avoid the phenomenon known as “forced pooling” (i.e. the notion that landowners can be forced to enter into leases to sell their gas rights). Mind you, many of these same people are some of the most ardent supporters of “property rights” when it comes to things like municipal annexation.

Now comes word from Pennsylvania of a battle in which the fracking industry is butting up against another traditionally conservative ideal: local control. Read More

At some point, it seems, conservative ideologues and their friends in Congress will simply get down to admitting that what they have in mind for the American tax code is the following simple situation:

The wealthy will simply pay no income taxes, capital gains or estate taxes of any kind.  Meanwhile, average working people will be called upon to bear an ever-greater responsibility for funding essential public services and structures — or, at least, the services and structures that conservatives are willing to allow to continue and/or farm out to corporate interests.    

The latest example of this inevitable trend in motion can be see in this new proposal from U.S. Senate conservatives.

 

The veteran journalist pulls no punches in this excellent essay. I like this passage:

“Let’s see if we’ve got this right: On the one hand, conservatives declare that corporations and the superrich can spend all they want on exercising their First Amendment rights, but on the other, they demand to keep it secret so the rest of us can’t exercise our First Amendment rights to fight back? Have you ever heard of more cowardly lions?

It’s one big joke. Big enough to make you cry. Three things don’t go together: Money. Secrecy. Democracy. And that’s the nub of the matter. This is all a sham for invalidating democracy in the name of democracy. It’s the trick authoritarians always use to hide their real intention — in this case absolute power over our public life and institutions: the privatization of everything. The Supreme Court is pointing the way. Instead of mitigating the worst excesses of both the state and the private sector, the Court has taken sides. Saying to the massed wealth of the one percent: America is yours for the taking, for the buying.”

Watch/read it by clicking here.