One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. »» Plato

Welcome Back To Market Basket: With all New Higher Prices!

Posted on September 3, 2014
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market-basket  I just visited my local Market Basket for the first time since the now infamous pissing match between the billionaire owners ended.  Can’t say I’m happy about it.

I don’t do a lot of grocery shopping since I don’t cook and mainly eat fast food.  But I do buy three things from Market Basket on a nearly weekly basis: cigarettes, beverages and snack foods.  While I’m amazed by the outpouring of support for Arthur T. Demoulas that the world was recently witness to and was excited to see so many people band together to stand up for what they believed was right, I continued to shop at Market Basket during the whole debacle.  Why?  Because I’m not interested in going to additional expense or trouble to support a billionaire spoiled brat.  But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the punishment and deceit that I (and so many others) saw coming.

On Saturday, the Boston Herald ran a story titled: CEO not in Market to raise prices. Here are the first few paragraphs-

Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas has no plans to raise prices or cut pay or benefits to employees, a top executive said yesterday, as workers and vendors came up with creative ways to continue the frantic push to “right the ship” and restock shelves at the supermarket chain’s 71 locations.

“He is committed to keeping the pricing structure,” Market Basket Operations Manager David K. McLean told the Herald. “He would not be hurting the customers. He would not be hurting the (employees). The stakeholders come first. The first stakeholder is that customer. And the shareholders come last.”

The promise came as vendors jumped back to life after Demoulas struck the $1.5 billion deal Wednesday night to gain back control of the chain.

 

Unfortunately, those plans were apparently short-lived.

  • Market Basket branded 2-liter sodas were $0.69 before and all through the boycott.  Tonight they were $0.89.  That’s a 29% increase in prices.
  • Knock-off brand Hostess snacks (Swiss Rolls, Nutty Buddys, etc) were 2/$3 before and all through the boycott.  Tonight they were 3/$5 That’s a 11% increase in prices.
  • Camel cigarettes were $50.90 per carton before the boycott.  They weren’t available during the boycott.  Tonight they were $51.90.  That’s a pretty small price increase (only 2%, but it’s still an increase despite the beloved Arthur T having “no plans to raise prices”.

The other item I purchased tonight was 1.5 liter bottles of Mountain Dew.  The price on these remained the same at $0.99.  So, perhaps it’s only the “generic” items that had price increases.  But since Market Basket is a discount grocery store, I’m guessing such generic brands make up quite a large portion of the store’s business.

I have no intention of transferring my shopping to another store as a result of these increases (or the lies the media is repeating without question),  I just wanted the truth on record.

 

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Everything The Government Does Is, By Default, Constitutional

Posted on January 8, 2014
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USConstitution It amazes me how often I hear people calling themselves Liberty activists referring to some action by the government being “Constitutional” or “Unconstitutional” as if this has some relevance to freedom.  The United States Constitution has nothing to do with a free society.  It is merely a set of rules that the government is required to follow.  And even at that it is an incredibly flawed document.

So many people seem to believe that the Constitution “grants”, “protects”, or “defends” our rights when a simple reading of the Constitution itself shows that it doesn’t aspire to any such lofty goals, with a single exception.  The only time the word “right” appears in the Constitution is in Article I, Section 8 in regards to intellectual property: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;“.

Of course, I have no doubt your immediate response to my last paragraph is to point to the Bill of Rights.  But no rights are granted there either.  The various Constitutional Amendments that make up the Bill of Rights merely lays out rules against the government abridging, infringing, or violating rights that we already possess.  Again, there is a single exception: The Sixth Amendment reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”  Which grants people a right only within the framework of the government itself.  The 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments also grant the right to vote to various peoples.  But again, these aren’t true “rights”, but rather permission to act a specific way in regards to the government itself.

So, setting aside the fallacy of rights and the Constitution, we’re left only with the questions of whether or not it is possible for the government to act in an unconstitutional manner and how the document itself is flawed.

The flaw in the document is that it creates rules that the people serving in the government must follow, but then sets up people in that very same government as arbiters of whether or not a specific action follows those rules.  Under the structure created in the Constitution the Legislative and Executive branches may act however they desire.  Should someone believe they are not following Constitutional rules that person’s only recourse is to ask the Supreme Court (a body created by and defined by the Constitution as part of the government itself) to rule such action as Unconstitutional.  However, until the Supreme court rules otherwise, all actions are deemed to be to be Constitutional.

In other words, the government isn’t breaking any rules until the government says it is breaking the rules.  The Supreme Court’s word is final on all matters regarding Constitutionality, regardless of what the original document (and its amendments) have to say on the matter at hand, and completely independent from any opinions or concerns “We The People” may have.  Even when the Supreme Court rules some action to be Unconstitutional, the rest of the government is free to continue that action without repercussion until yet another case winds its way to the Supreme Court as there are no repercussions on the Government itself for violating any rulings.  However, the people in the other branches of government are seldom so brazen.  Instead, they’ll simply create themselves a new rule or law granting them the ability to do essentially the same thing they were doing before, but in a slightly different manner, knowing that it will take years for the matter to reach the Supreme Court once again (if it ever does).  And, should the Court rule against them once again, they merely have to return to the drawing board again, ad infinitum.

Every year the United States Congress passes tens of thousands of new laws.  Other government agencies (IRS, FDA, FCC, USDA, etc, etc) creates literally millions of new rules each year.  The Supreme Court has never heard more than 100 cases in a single year.  This means that 99.999999% of government actions never even have their Constitutionality tested in the first place.  They are, therefore, Constitutional by default.

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Is The Allenstown, NH Public Library A Necessity?

Posted on November 16, 2013
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I stumbled across a column in the November 14th issue of The Hooksett Banner by Amber Cushing, Director of the Allenstown Public Library.  The column does not seem to have been posted to the newspaper’s website, so I’m going to post it in its entirety before giving y’all my thoughts-

As I alluded to in the last piece in my column, I’d like to address the argument that “I don’t use the library, so it doesn’t need funding.”

Again, statistics alone disprove this argument.  At the Allenstown Public Library, 34 percent of the population has a library card, and circulation has increased every year for the past five years.  But as with my last column, I’d like to explre the roots of this claim.

When someone claims, “No one uses the library anymore, so we don’t need a library,” they most likely mean “I don’t use the library anymore, so it has no value for anyone else.”  This argument is akin to saying, “I don’t drive on Main Street, so it does not need to be paved.”  Just because one person chooses not to use a town service does not mean the town service ceases to have value for someone else.  A more accurate statement would be “I choose not to use some town services, so they have no value to me.”  OK.  Great.  You’re entitled to your choice.  However, when it comes to the library at least 34 percent of town residents do not agree with you.  And that’s OK, too, because they are entitled to their choices.

We get ourselves into a sticky situation when we assume that everyone should make the same choices we make.  The world doesn’t work that way.  Things get even stickier when we assume that everyone has the same financial means we do.  “I can afford to buy my own computer(s), books, DVDs, Internet access, etc., so no one else needs access to these things,” or “I don’t like to read, so no one else should be able to read,” don’t make for very effective arguments, either.

So when you think about your opinion regarding the necessity of the library, I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I trying to force my choices onto someone else?  Why?

There are a lot of problems with Ms. Cushing’s arguments, but I’m just going to address the most glaring.

What Ms. Cushing is concerned about is a 25% cut to the town funding for the library.  I have come across no one who is actually working to close down the Allenstown library, so people aren’t saying “[the library] has no value for anyone else,” “[main street] should not be paved,” “no one needs access to these things,” or “no one should be able to read.” Rather, they are saying, “people who find value in these things should fund them, rather then forcing me to do so.”

It’s not those who wish to withdraw their funding for the library who are “trying to force [their] choices onto someone else,” but rather those who insist on 2/3 of the town continuing to pay for services they neither use nor desire.

The Simple Solution

Ms. Cushing states that the library is a necessity because 34% of the town’s population makes use of its services.  Allenstown, New Hampshire has a population of 4,843.  Which means roughly 1,647 people make use of the town library.

If library services are a necessity for 1,700 Allenstown residents then simply move away from town funding all together and become a private membership organization.

If these people consider the ability to access computers, books, DVDs and internet access a necessity, then why are they unwilling to fund that access themselves?  Ms. Cushing implies that they are unable to afford to do so.  Well, let’s see about that.

The library’s 2013 budget was approximately $52,000.  That means that each of the library’s patrons would need to pay a grand total of $31.57 per year to match what the library currently receives from the town budget.  That’s less than $3 per month.  That’s less than one month of home internet service, and less than the cost of three books or DVDs purchased new.  It’s the cost of two meals eaten out.

If there truly are Allenstown residents who deem the library’s services a necessity and have purchased fewer than two meals outside their homes, and fewer than three books or DVDs in the last year because their budgets are just that tight, then I’d be more than happy to voluntarily donate to cover their annual library fee.  I’m sure others would as well.

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Chinchillas Are Such Funny Creatures

Posted on October 19, 2013
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I just returned from a three-day trip that was originally supposed to be a one day trip.  One result: my chinchillas were very hungry.

So, one of the first things I did upon returning home was to go feed them.  As usual, upon opening the top door to their cage Mario ran for cover (hiding near the bottom) and Luigi, who had approached the door upon hearing me enter the room, instinctively froze so as not to attract predators.  I gave Luigi a little pet, announced that dinner was served, and placed the food in the center of their “hidden” (read: safe) room and began to close the door.

As the door was swinging shut, Luigi started heading for the food and I realized I’d forgotten to check their water so reopened the door at which point Luigi stepped back away from the food and once again froze next to the opening.

How ridiculous is that?  He was clearly hungry, and clearly not afraid of me, but despite the presence of food he went back into “don’t let the predators see you moving mode”.

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How Can I Become A Winner When I Believe I’m A Loser?

Posted on June 24, 2011
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Part of the Ask An Anarchist Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Zen

Isn’t this really one of the biggest questions that each and every one of us has encountered at some point?  And, of course, it may not seem to have anything to do with anarchy, philosophy, government, business, or anything else covered on this website.    But, on reflection, I thin kit may have to do with everything ever discussed on this site.  But, most of all with parenting, which was, of course, the original inspiration for me to start blogging.

The attitude of not being a winner is the way people get into trouble in life.  The fact you woke up this morning makes you a winner, and no one make you a loser but yourself.

Each day look at the wins you have.  Value the greatness in your life, little and big.  If you find it impossible to isolate any wins in your life, use affirmations and begin creating some.

You can start now to change your own reality.  You are a loser, only when you think you are.

  • Thomas Edison declared bankruptcy for the North American Phonograph Co. in 1894, and his Edison Portland Cement Company filed for bankruptcy twice.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Milton hershey, H.J. Heinz, and P.T. Barnum all went bankrupt at least once as well.
  • Before filing for bankruptcy, Walt Disney was fired by the Kansas City Star newspaper for lacking ideas.
  • Colonel Sanders idea for Kentucky Fried Chicken was reportedly rejected more than 1000 times
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