Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Neighbors of Factory Farms — Yearning to Breathe Free

Literally.

Even if you're not close enough to a factory farm to see it, you can start crying and gagging from the piss and shit stench in the air.  But that isn't even the worst of it.

Like they say about smog, it's the stuff you can't see that'll kill you.  It's already been reported to death — in case the public is paying attention — that factory farms use about 80% of the antibiotics sold in this country.  And we know that these routine doses of antibiotics — administered so the animals will grow faster and won't get sick from living in their own shit — are a major cause of antibiotic-resistant infections.

On top of that, would you believe:  these antibiotics, and the bacteria that are resistant to them, are literally blowin' in the wind.  (Sorry Bob.)  Coming soon to the air near YOU.  From the linked article:

“While it’s well known that the stench of manure and urine travels, there’s little understanding of what rides along with it as winds blow across open-air cattle feedlots. That’s why a group of scientists from Texas Tech University began testing the particulate matter found both upwind and downwind of 10 concentrated animal feeding operations around Lubbock, Texas. Unsurprisingly, the results of the study, published this week by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, are as gross as that feedlot smell: Not only is dust made up of cattle waste, but 'there is significant potential for widespread distribution of antibiotics, bacteria, and genetic material that encodes antibiotic resistance.'”

 The fun is just beginning.

Breathe deeply...


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

ALEC: legislative “fiat by email forward”

I've heard ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) described as a “bill mill,” but I like John Oliver's description even better:  “fiat by email forward.”

While Congress is paralyzed, “laws are being passed at a breakneck rate at the state level; for every piece of federal legislation that gets passed, more than a hundred state laws go on the books....What's more, how is it that these venues for hyper-local arguments from various fiefdoms so often seem to tread the same pieces of legislation?"  [from the linked article]

That's exactly what I've always wondered, or more specifically, wondered why the public isn't more alarmed by this.  It's bad enough when congressional Republicans march in lockstep.  But when dozens of seemingly disparate states — “fifty individual experiments in democracy” — are passing the same boilerplate legislation in unison, it should be a red flag for anyone who's paying attention.

John Oliver describes ALEC as: 

“...a sort of shadow government for state legislatures, pushing the same agenda in state capitols across the country...the group is a coalition of conservative politicians and corporate interests that shares drafts of state legislation, in a system that should probably be dubbed 'fiat by email forward,' to advance the same laws across the country.”

Come on voters, pay attention damn it.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Highlights of President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Speech

I liked it.  Most of his agenda will be ignored by Congress, but hopefully these issues will be kept front and center with constant exposure between now and November 2016.

On (finally) ending the Cuban embargo:

“When what you're doing doesn't work for 50 years, it's time to try something new.”

On the need for better bridges, roads, ports, and trains:

“Let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.  [zing]  Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that will create jobs.  Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this.”

He urged Congress to send him a bill allowing all American workers to earn paid sick leave:

“We're the only advanced country on Earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers.”

To Republicans who keep voting against increasing the minimum wage, he said:

“If you truly believe you could work full time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it.”

He repeatedly used the term Middle Class Economics, defined as:

“The idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

Urging Congress to stop trying to turn back the clock on Obamacare, banking regulations, etc., he said to stop:

“...unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or re-fighting past battles on immigration.  If a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.”


The number of SOTU rebuttal speeches seems to grow exponentially every year.  Tonight there were supposed to be five of them.  Joni Ernst gave the “official” rebuttal speech.  I tried to stay awake through the first few minutes of her fixed-smile sing-songy head-bobbing kiddies' show TV hostess demeanor, but I wasn't up to the task.

Other rebuttal speeches were by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Curt Clawson and...(five was what I'd read online; I don't know who the fifth one was.  Does it matter?)


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ag Gag bill introduced in Washington State

One of the bluest of the blue states passing an Ag Gag law?  Not likely.  “Ag Gag” refers to a law that criminalizes reporting or photographing animal abuse inside a factory farm.  The abuse itself is OK; you just can't report it.  So far eight states have passed Ag Gag laws, but those states are all part of Inbredistan.  Let's keep them there.

The Washington Ag Gag bill — HB 1104 — was introduced by Rep. Joe Schmick (R—Goes Down On Big Ag Lobbyists).  Joe Schmick is a member of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), which is basically a bill mill that's funded by the country's largest polluters.  ALEC sends out hundreds of anti-environment anti-worker “model” bills to rightwing state legislator/prostitutes, who dutifully pass these bills as their johns have ordered.

In addition to Ag Gag laws, ALEC is also the “brains” behind the spreading cancer of union-busting legislation, Stand Your Ground laws, and state/local laws designed to sabotage renewable energy development.

According to the linked article, the law proposed by Joe “Will Bend Over For Campaign Contributions” Schmick:

“...would basically turn eastern Washington into a 'no-photography zone due to it being either wheat fields or orchards.'  Sound far-fetched? Under Utah's ag gag law, people have been arrested and charged for taking pictures of farms from public roads.”

Joe Schmick's bill is being co-sponsored by two of his fellow hookers:  Larry Haler and Vincent Buys.  This bill doesn't stand a chance of becoming law in Washington.  But it's a chance for these three Big Ag boy toys to send out a mating call to their constituents and keep the base all riled up.  (See the two examples pictured below):

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Solar Energy = JOBS!!!

Question:  Which industry created more jobs in 2014 — solar energy or oil and gas extraction?

Answer:  Solar energy.

Solar installation created almost fifty percent more jobs last year than the oil and gas pipeline construction and crude oil and natural gas extraction industries put together.  And the solar industry is expected to add another 36,000 jobs in 2015.

Solar installers earn from $20 to $24 per hour.  Solar salespeople can earn up to $60 an hour.

Anyone still believe in that mythical “clash” between jobs and the environment?


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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Congressional Republicans 1, Disabled 0

In a bloody knockdown drag-out fight to the finish, Congressional Republicans finally managed to kick the living shit out of America's most vulnerable citizens:  the disabled.

Problem:  How can corporate-funded Republicans manufacture a Social Security “crisis” — enabling their Wall Street puppetmasters to privatize Social Security — when Social Security isn't expected to have any financial problems until at least 2033?  By quietly creating a “rules change” that prohibits the routine transfer of funds between the Social Security retirement fund and the Social Security Disability Trust Fund whenever one branch is short of money.  Sometime next year, the Social Security Disability Trust Fund is expected to fall short, and a routine transfer of funds from the Social Security retirement fund will not be allowed, thanks to last week's rules change. 

Problem solved.  A Social Security “crisis” will be manufactured.  And as a special bonus, nine million disabled Americans are looking at a twenty percent reduction in their Social Security disability benefits.

That odd sound you're hearing is the mass orgasm of House Republicans as they contemplate stomping all over the country's most desperate citizens.

As despicable as these billionaire-funded congressional prostitutes are, they're only wielding the power given to them by millions of gullible voters.  As long as people keep getting conned into voting against their own interests, they'll keep “electing” these Kleptocrats and corporate prostitutes.  Dumb voters get taken, and the whole country suffers.

Thanks inbreds.  Happy now?


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Monday, January 12, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt: Imperial President, Dictator

On this date in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt used his executive authority to set aside the Grand Canyon for permanent protection.  If it hadn't been for President Roosevelt's Draconian power grab — this unprecedented trampling of Freedom and Property Rights — the Grand Canyon would have turned into a cesspool of mining, drilling and fracking operations. 

In 1903, after his first visit to the Grand Canyon, Theodore Roosevelt said:

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.”

After the fact, in 1913, Roosevelt said:

“My belief was that it was not only the President’s right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws…. I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power.  The course I followed was of regarding the Executive as subject only to the people, and, under the Constitution, bound to serve the people affirmatively in cases where the Constitution does not explicitly forbid him to render the service.”

Thank you Theodore Roosevelt.


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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Keystone XL Pipeline will Wreck the Environment, BUT it will Create FIFTY Jobs!!!

Sometime in 1969 or 1970, President Nixon sealed off the U.S. Mexico border — Operation Intercept — for several days, in order to crack down on drug smuggling.  There was a comedy skit where one of Nixon's advisers is telling him:  “Tourist traffic hasn't moved in days, the economy has lost millions of dollars, the Mexican government is threatening to cut off diplomatic ties with the United States, AND — we scored three joints!

At least that was only a comedy skit.  Now, fast forward forty-five years (and this is not satire):  The fossil fuel industry is ordering its prostitutes in Congress to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline to transport Canadian tar sands oil from Canada to Texas, where this oil will be refined and then shipped overseas.  The Keystone XL Pipeline will drastically speed up the climate change process, jeopardize the water supply for about one fourth of the United States population, AND it will Create FIFTY Jobs!!!

The linked article is titled “Sorry, Republicans, the Keystone XL Pipeline is not a jobs agenda.”  I think the title is inaccurate.  Republicans don't give a flying fuck about jobs or people who work for a living.  “Jobs!!!” is one of their favorite soundbites, a mating call to their useful idiots.  Nothing more.

The article should be directed at the misguided Democrats who mistakenly believe the Keystone XL Pipeline will create jobs.  It won't.  But the GOP has shrewdly turned this into a wedge issue between environmentalists and labor unions.

According to the linked article:  “Generous estimates predict that the pipeline would create around 42,000 temporary jobs — about 2,000 construction jobs and the rest in supplying goods and services. How many long-term jobs? Fifty. That's right, 50 whole long-term jobs."

Got that?  Come on Democrats and labor unions — we need to stand together on this.  There aren't enough Republicans in the Senate to override President Obama's promised veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  They'll need some Democrats to falter and start believing the “Jobs!!!” hype.  Don't.

And if President Obama vetoes a must-pass spending bill because there's a Keystone XL Pipeline amendment attached to it, we need to stand together and make sure the blame goes to the right parties:  the fossil fuel industry and its “global warming is a hoax” useful idiots.


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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Money in Circulation

The wealthier the one percent gets, the more political influence it has.  And the more political influence it has...

And the circle goes round and round...


Friday, January 02, 2015

Emergency Relief Drive for Persecuted Factory Farmers

By the time the Holiday Season has started winding down, we've all become a bit jaded.  After the sixty-third full-page ad showing the heartbreak of poverty and homelessness, and the umpteen hundredth TV news item about somebody receiving a pink slip on Christmas Eve, the sympathy, empathy and compassion have pretty much run dry.  (Admit it!)

But hold on — the Season of Sharing is not over yet.  The following story is guaranteed to have you weeping while you reach for the checkbook.

As you probably know, those comminist animal-rights treehuggers have crippled the family factory farm with their nanny state chicken-coddling regulations.  Chickens are now required to be kept in cages that are large enough for each chicken to actually move around and even flap their wings.  This law only exists in California, but the law also prohibits the importing of eggs from other farm states that don't require the larger cages.

And this brings us to the heartbreaking plight of Jim Dean, president and CEO of Centrum Valley Farms in Iowa and Ohio. One of his buildings that holds 1.5 million chickens is now only half full, just so he can accommodate those sniveling chicken-huggers out there in sunny Californee.  And he might have to completely overhaul one of his other buildings.  And that's not all.  When chickens are tightly crammed into cages, all snug and cozy-like, they keep each other warm with their body heat.  But now the poor farmers might have to install heaters in order to keep them motatin' wing-flappin' chickens warm in the winter.  You fuzzy-headed idealists in Sunny California never thought of that, did you?!?

Jim Dean says:

“You’re talking about millions upon millions of dollars.  It’s not anything that’s cheap or that can be modified easily, not in the Midwest.”

Now doesn't this just tug on the ol' heart strings?  Please Give.

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