Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, September 30, 2005

Endangered Species Act: The End?

Yesterday our coin-operated House of Representatives voted 229-193 to completely overhaul the Endangered Species Act.

Representative Richard Pombo, Chairman of the House Resources Committee, has been champing at the bit to abolish the Endangered Species Act ever since 1994 when Republicans took control of the House. It’s been his sole purpose in life.

The Endangered Species Act was passed during the presidency of that well-known treehugger, Richard Nixon. OK, so we saved the Bald Eagle from extinction; fine. Now, what about the profits of developers?

Like prostitutes and call girls everywhere, Congress likes the big spenders. Those lowly environmental groups with their chintzy spending — who’d they ever get re-elected? Congress doesn’t want to turn tricks for those cheapskates. Developers, ranchers and timber companies are Congress’ favorite johns. They offer some of the biggest bribes, and our hookers representatives are only too happy to bend over and earn their “favors.”

Pombo wants landowners to be “compensated,” i.e. get government handouts taken out of our tax dollars, in return for their noble act of complying with the Endangered Species Act. Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia, said this bill sets a “dangerous precedent that private individuals must be paid to comply with an environmental law. What’s next? Paying citizens to wear seat belts? ... This bill will not improve species’ ability to recover.”

There are 1,268 plants and animals currently listed as threatened or endangered. Over the years, twelve species have recovered enough to be taken off the list; nine have gone extinct.

Fortunately, this new Developers’ Giveaway Act faces an uphill battle when it gets to the Senate. Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island, is head of the panel that will oversee the new law; he has “expressed concerns” about the law. Hopefully the crippled “leadership” of Insider-Trading Cat-Torturing Video-Doctor “Bill” Frist will be unable to get this bill passed in the Senate.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It Got Indicted (Finally!)

Better late than never. Maybe we’re finally gonna get that repulsive grease stain out of the House of Representatives. Out Damn Spot!

The Hammeroid was indicted yesterday on charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. As required by House regulations, El Exterminato will have to step down temporarily from his position as Majority Leader. In November 2004, DeLay’s fellow Republicans repealed that House regulation in the ninth inning, in case DeLay got indicted. Two months later they were shamed and embarrassed into reinstating the rule.

In early 2005, Republicans changed the rules of the House Ethics Committee, making it harder to conduct an ethics investigation. Maybe they were anticipating an investigation of someone like, oh, Tom DeLay.

DeLay is claiming his indictment is nothing but a witch hunt by evil Leftists. Well, that explains it. The foreman of the Grand Jury is a 76-year-old retired sheriff’s deputy. You just can’t get any further to the Left than that.

DeLay called the prosecutor a “partisan fanatic.” He said “I have done nothing wrong ... I am innocent.” He said the charges amounted to “one of the weakest and most baseless indictments in American history.”

If you’re sick and tired of having this sleaze bucket on the public payroll, please sign this petition to Clean Up Congress Without DeLay. This petition demands that DeLay resign from the House of Representatives. If this human blight is the best leader the Republicans can find, they’re in deeper trouble than they know.

DeLay is the first House leader to be indicted while in office in at least a hundred years. He’ll be replaced by Roy Blunt, R-Missouri.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Monsanto’s Newest Colony: Iraq

Some of the largest multinational corporations seem to think our entire planet is one big juicy pie that they can just carve up and have all for themselves. When you think of this you probably think: Halliburton, the oil companies, arms manufacturers. Monsanto isn’t exactly a household name, but when you learn more about this amoral twisted bunch of sickfucks, they make Halliburton and the oil companies look like Mother Theresa.

If Monsanto could find a way, they’d suck all the oxygen out of the air so they could sell it back to us.

Monsanto is a huge agrochemical company, specializing in genetically modified (GM) crops. They’re one of the ringleaders in pushing genetically modified crops on the world population, replacing “organic” crops that have a natural-born resistance to pests and diseases. They’re also determined to exempt themselves from any labeling laws, so that shoppers will have no way of knowing whether the produce they’re buying is genetically modified or not.

When Monsanto gets its foot in the door, farmers eventually end up being required to purchase Monsanto’s patented seeds. This patent means that farmers can no longer store some seeds from their own crops for next year’s planting, or purchase seeds from a local market. They have to purchase their seeds every year from Monsanto, or face legal action for violating Monsanto‘s patent. For Third World farmers who are barely making it, this is a crippling expense.

And that's not all. Monsanto often files lawsuits against non-GM farmers for “violating” their patent. Sometimes seeds get blown over from one field to the next, and the neighbor of a farmer growing GM crops will end up with some of those GM crops growing in his own field. And Monsanto is right there with an army of lawyers, ready to sue for patent “violation.”

Conservatives who are always blithering about “too many lawsuits,” “too much litigation,” never seem to be bothered by this kind of lawsuit. They only get upset when an individual sues a large corporation (usually after every other avenue has been closed off). Apparently it’s just fine when a global corporation sues an individual — sort of like Goliath hitting David with a slingshot.

And now, guess what’s in store for our newly liberated farmers in Iraq. You got it. (Check Story #8 at this website.)

L. Paul Bremer III, the former American administrator of the Iraqi occupation, issued a directive to the Iraqi authorities before they took over last June. This directive sets criteria for the patenting of seeds that can only be met by multinational companies like Monsanto. Because of naturally-occurring cross-pollination, Monsanto’s GM plants will eventually wipe out native varieties. Monsanto’s GM seeds — which all farmers will eventually be forced to buy — will be more susceptible to diseases because of the lost biological diversity.

It’s kind of ironic. Mesopotamia (what’s now Iraq) is where agriculture is thought to have begun about 10,000 years ago. Now a global corporation is coming in and forcing everyone to do it their way. Iraqi farmers will be “re-educated” to grow industrial-sized harvests, for export, using American seeds.

Jeremy Smith of The Ecologist said: “It is here, in around 8500 or 8000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat, here that agriculture was born. Iraqi farmers have been naturally selecting wheat varieties that work best with their climate ... and cross-pollinated them with others with different strengths. The U.S., however, has decided that, despite 10,000 years practice, Iraqis don't know what wheat works best in their own conditions. The people whose forefathers first mastered the domestication of wheat will now have to pay for the privilege of growing it for someone else. And with that, the world's oldest farming heritage will become just another subsidiary link in the vast American supply chain.”

Mission Accomplished.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Michael Brown: He’s Back and He’s Sulking

OK, quit picking on poor little Michael Brown. The disgraced former FEMA director does too have other talents besides managing the Arabian Horse Association (and getting fired).

Among his other talents: Michael Brown has no equal — he’s so far out in front it doesn’t even matter who comes in second — when it comes to sticking out his lower lip and whimpering “I did too.” “It was their fault.” “It was his fault.” “It was your fault.” “Did not.” “Takes one to know one.” “I am rubber you are glue…”

Yup, when it comes to sleazing and slinking his way out of any possible blame or responsibility and being an unrepentant petulant douchebag: “Brownie, you’re doin’ a heckuva job.”

Monday, September 26, 2005

Internet Access

The greater the number of people who have Internet access, the better off our country is. That was one of Ross Perot’s main themes during the 1992 presidential election.

All over the country, local governments, schools and community groups are offering inexpensive Internet service. Everybody wins — as conservatives like to say, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Here is a map of community Internet projects all across the country. If you don’t want to pay the exorbitant prices of the cable conglomerates, or if you live outside their range, these community projects are a Godsend.

Of course there are a few people who disagree with this idea, namely the major cable and broadband executives. So far they’ve bribed fourteen states into passing laws to prohibit communities from setting up low-cost Internet access.

Now, there’s a bipartisan Senate bill to rescue community Internet service. The Community Broadband Act, S 1294, has been introduced by Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) and John McCain. This bill would amend the 1996 Telecommunications Act to “preserve and protect the ability of local governments to provide broadband capability and services.”

Given the slutty behavior of most senators when confronted by corporate lobbyists waving sacks of money, this bill faces an uphill battle. You can help. Please call your senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Community Broadband Act.

Our economy, our society, can’t afford to have Internet access unavailable to millions of Americans.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pro-war Demonstration Draws — (gasp!) — 400

Saturday’s anti-war march in Washington DC drew anywhere from 100,000 to several hundred thousand, depending on who was reporting. Meanwhile about 400 pro-war demonstrators rallied today, claiming to be the “Silent Majority.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, serenaded the crowd with “the group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don’t know what they represent, other than blaming America first.”

Some of the pro-war marchers carried signs saying “Cindy Sheehan doesn’t speak for me” and “Arrest the traitors.” Some of the signs you didn't see in this crowd were “I’m looking for the nearest Army recruiter” and “I’m going to enlist so I can put my money where my macho mouth is.”

The organizers of today’s pro-war rally were hoping to attract up to 20,000 marchers. Oops. Back to the drawing board…

Here is one of the groups involved in the pro-war demonstrations. Notice that their website goes on and on about slogans, T-shirts and bumper stickers. They also brag about countering and harassing and demonizing anti-war demonstrators. But, here is something they don't mention. It figures.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Anti-war March, September 24

Saturday, September 24th will bring the largest anti-war demonstration since the beginning of the Iraqi war. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. will march past the White House. Who’s-it won’t be there of course.

Bush has again said he won’t withdraw our troops from Iraq. “The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon the mission. For the safety and security of the American people, that's not going to happen on my watch.”

“Abandon the mission”??? Which "mission" would that be? Weapons of Mass Destruction? Connections between Iraq and 9/11? Connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda terrorists? Democracy for Iraq? The continuing quest for oil? A new colony for Halliburton?

Our “mission” in Iraq is sort of like the weather in New England. If you don’t like the mission, just wait a few minutes and it’ll change again.

And what’s all this about “that's not going to happen on my watch”? On Boy George’s “watch” — ooooohhhh!!! He's on watch! Lately our fearless leader’s “watches” consist of spending quality time with his closest friends: alcohol and anti-depressants. Two of the worst disasters in our country’s history took place while our “president” was in his stupor on “watch.”

This under-worked over-rested pisspoor excuse for a president makes Rip Van Winkle look like a hyper-active security guard.

Tomorrow’s demonstration will also attract the usual assortment of able-bodied enlistment-age adults demonstrating in favor of the Iraqi war. Demonstrating in favor of the Iraqi war?!?!?! Let’s see, our forces in Iraq are drastically undermanned, the Army is way behind in its recruitment goals, and people are demonstrating in favor of the war. Hmmm…dissonant thoughts whirling around…ideas starting to gel…wait, I think it’s…dingdingdingdingdingding ENLIST, ASSHOLE!!! Your government needs you! Do something useful for once! Serve a purpose!!

Anti-war groups are also running ads in the Washington Post, Fox News and local cable TV stations. In one newspaper ad, the column on the left has a quote about Weapons of Mass Destruction, under the caption “They Lied.” On the right side, under the caption “They Died” is a list of American military personnel killed in Iraq.

Large anti-war demonstrations are also expected in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Heil Sensenbrenner!

There’ve been some recent noises in Congress about amending this year’s bankruptcy “reform” law to exempt victims of natural disasters (Katrina, Rita, etc.) from the stringent new requirements for declaring bankruptcy. After all, they’ve lost everything, including records and receipts proving what they’ve already paid and what they’ve lost.

But Congressman Essen Scheisse Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has refused to create an exemption in the bankruptcy law. By sheer coincidence, Fuhrer Sensenbrenner owns a quarter million dollars worth of bank and credit card company stocks.

It’s bad enough the way this bankruptcy “reform” came about in the first place. Banks and credit companies dictated the exact language for their prostitutes representatives to put in the bill. And these hookers dutifully bent over, spread their cheeks and did exactly what their johns told them.

Eleven members of Congress voted against the $52 billion aid package for Katrina victims. And yes of course Sheissekopf Sensenbrenner was one of them.

This new and improved bankruptcy law gives credit card companies the power to garnish the wages of people who’ve fallen behind in their payments. Previously, this power was available only to the IRS and mothers seeking child support payments. In other words child support payments are now in jeopardy because of credit card debt being on an equal footing. How many mothers aren’t getting the child support money they need because of this new bankruptcy law? And what’s this say about those “family values” the Far Right is always blubbering about?

Just think, hurricane victims who have lost their homes and vehicles can have their mortgages and car payments deducted from their wages even while they’re still broke and homeless. What a great day for the banking industry!

Now, you can make a difference. Please send this e-mail to Sheisse “James” Sensenbrenner. Ask him to allow this bankruptcy exemption for victims of natural disasters. It’s the least we can do for people who have lost everything.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Top Priority for the FBI

We’ve all seen movies and TV shows about heroic FBI agents. They risk life and limb as they come storming in to rescue — Corporate CEOs. Without the fearless determination of the FBI, nobody would be safe from — Eco-Terrorists!

While liberals and other America-haters are whining about the war in Iraq, Katrinagate and crushing deficits, the FBI is concentrating on our biggest threat. “Eco-terrorist” groups such as the Earth Liberation Front have been vandalizing and sabotaging construction sites in Western Washington (among other places).

The FBI has now targeted “eco-terrorists” as a top priority. The Building Industry Association of Washington has offered rewards of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of activists who damage construction sites.

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has claimed responsibility for vandalizing SUVs and housing construction sites. An FBI Special Agent said the ELF “has emerged as a serious terrorist threat.” Oookay.

Obviously vandalism and sabotage are serious crimes. But Terrorism? A top priority for the FBI? Money talks — in this case it’s shouting. Most crime victims don’t have $100,000 to throw around for “protection.”

Maybe Halliburton could get a no-bid $30 million contract to build new strip malls in Washington. Blackwater Mercenaries could come up from New Orleans and offer a little “frontier justice” to those wicked “terrorists.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Who’s Winning in Iraq?

Now that we’ve been quagmired in Iraq for 2½ years, some questions need to be asked. Like, who’s winning? Do we have a plan? Meaning, a solid, focused plan of action; not the soundbite of the day.

This blunt analysis from the Washington Post makes some unpleasant points that need to be made. Every time the insurgency launches another devastating attack, the Bush Administration crows that “the insurgency is in its death throes.” “See how desperate the enemy is — this means we’re winning!”

But are we? Zarqawi’s suicide bombings and car bombings are increasing. And they’ve become deadlier and more effective at paralyzing Iraqi cities. This was obviously not foreseen by the architects of our Iraqi invasion. What happened to the cakewalk? Throngs of grateful Iraqis showering American soldiers with flowers and ice cream? “Mission Accomplished?”

Either the Iraqi invasion was part of a neocon master plan that had nothing to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction or Saddam Hussein’s brutality; or it’s the most ineptly planned undertaking in our country’s history. Either way, American soldiers are paying with their lives while our unaccountable government keeps changing the reasons for why they're over there.

Every day we sink deeper into the quagmire, more American soldiers are killed and maimed, and we hear more Orwellian statements from our “leaders” about how well it’s going. Is anybody accountable? Anybody home?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Clinton: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Bill Clinton — who was vilified and slandered by Republicans all through his presidency and has been the wingnuts’ favorite punching bag for the past 4½ years — has finally spoken out. It’s about time.

It’s great that Bush, Bush & Clinton have raised so much money for Katrina victims. But let’s face it, the Bushes and Clintons hate each other like the Hatfields and McCoys. It was getting too weird, too phony, to see them standing there like three Stepford Husbands. Enough already. Let the sparks fly.

Yesterday Clinton criticized the Bush Administration’s disaster “plans.” He noted that poverty had declined sharply during the Clinton presidency, and that the Katrina disaster revealed the blatant class divisions of the past few years.

“It’s like when they issued the evacuation order. That affects poor people differently. A lot of them in New Orleans didn't have cars. A lot of them who had cars had kinfolk they had to take care of. They didn't have cars, so they couldn't take them out. This is a matter of public policy. And whether it’s race-based or not, if you give your tax cuts to the rich and hope everything works out all right, and poverty goes up and it disproportionately affects black and brown people, that’s a consequence of the action made. That’s what they did in the ‘80s; that’s what they’ve done in this decade. In the middle, we had a different policy.”

He added “you can't have an emergency plan that works if it only affects middle-class people up, and when you tell people to go do something they don't have the means to do, you’re going to leave the poor out.”

Also, FEMA performed much more efficiently during Clinton’s presidency. The agency used to be staffed with qualified people, instead of the current crew of inexperienced and incompetent but well-connected friends-of-friends.

Let’s hope Clinton keeps offering his opinions. He’s been way too nice to the Bush Dynasty. He needs to take the gloves off and keep them off.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Radical California Campus Threatens America’s Morals

Our Godfearing saviors at Front Page Magazine have alerted decent Americans to yet another Leftist/Atheist menace from Northern California. While the liberal media is still dithering with that rainstorm in New Orleans, Kathleen or whatever it was called, at least one Christian publication is focusing on the real menace.

America’s traditional values are being threatened!

A college campus in Monterey, CA has become a breeding ground for the next wave of America-hating treehuggers. During the 1990s, the great American Army base at Fort Ord was converted to a radical left-wing college campus. In other words, a U.S. Army base became a Marxist boot camp.

Some of the favorite code words at this campus are: multi-culturalism, diversity, critical thinking and social responsibility. Oh my God, could this be any more blatant?!? Why don’t they just paint a giant pentagram on the football field and start burning Bibles and killing fetuses?!?

Nowhere in their Vision Statement do they mention anything about capitalism, bootstraps, American Supremacy or eternal damnation for sinners. They’re probably too busy with their devil-worshiping rituals to have any concern for the values that made America what she is today.

Please check out Front Page Magazine regularly. We all need to be aware of the latest threats to the moral fiber of this great nation.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush Takes Responsibility!

OK, it takes a big man to take responsibility and own up to his mistakes. And George W. Bush has passed this test. He’s taken the plunge. He’s finally poked his head out from the shelter of the Bush Family Trust Fund, and decided to face the music.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Selling Sickness

There’s a new book, “Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients.” It explains a lot.

In other words, no, it’s not your imagination. Everyone you know really is obsessed with their weight, their cholesterol, bone density, bodyfat content, am I too shy / too pushy / not popular enough, am I suffering from the disease-of-the-week — you name it. Coincidence?

The pharmaceutical companies planted this seed a long time ago, and it’s blooming right on schedule. The billions they spend on advertising has paid for itself many times over. We’ve all seen the TV ads. Shy? Tense? Depressed? Take Xaxidrenophene. Warning: may cause heart attack, kidney failure, ulcers, psychotic reactions, suicide, cancer, genital disintegration. Ask your doctor if Xaxidrenophene is right for you.

And it’s worked like a clock. God, American consumers are easy! Yes, the drug companies are scumbags (and a whole slew of unprintable names) for marketing sickness; for selling crutches and trying to convince everyone that they have a broken leg.

But we live in one of the freest societies in the world. (We have a Hitler wannabe in the White House, but the American people will triumph. Believe it.) And yet, American consumers have to be the most gullible, manipulatable, nose-ring-operated people in the world. Their brand of toothpaste, political candidate and psychoactive drug are all being pushed and pulled every which way by: Advertising.

Countless industries are thanking their gods for this; so is Karl Rove (and the other political manipulators who preceded him); and so are the pharmaceutical companies.

It’s easy to point the finger at the pharmaceutical industry, but the only way to reduce their power and influence is for people to start thinking for themselves. Don’t be so F#@%$&! gullible.
A sense of personal responsibility and autonomy is tied in with all this. We’ve all known people who, ten or fifteen years ago, would have been called an asshole, a douchebag, a bully, a mooch — you get the idea. Now it seems no matter how big a #@$%&!# somebody is, there’s a clinical name for this person’s “psychological” disorder. In “Designing Women” — toward the end of the series — one of their characters always talked about being diagnosed with OPD (Obnoxious Personality Disorder).

And this is what we’ve become. It’s someone else’s fault. I’m not incompetent / a bully / a leech — I suffer from Psychodysfunctionalarchetype Syndrome. And because of this mindset, too many of us get pulled into every sales pitch, whether it’s for a political candidate, a fad diet or the newest drug that’s good for what ails you.

We can reduce the un-Godly influence of the pharmaceutical industry just by showing more independence and thinking for ourselves.


You've probably seen this already at other blogs, but in case you haven't: Go to Google, type the word "failure" (without quotes) and click on I'm Feeling Lucky.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina: Great Opportunity for Corporate Gold-diggers

If you’ve got dollar signs in your eyes and aren’t hindered by morals or a conscience, New Orleans is the Land of Opportunity. There’s gold in them thar ruined lives.

Halliburton (of course) is getting in on the act. They reaped a fortune with their no-bid contract in Iraq; now they’re getting the same deal in New Orleans. Devastation plus tragedy equals $30 million for Halliburton.

This petition is asking the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a competitive bidding process for the cleanup and reconstruction. Please sign and send this if you think the Katrina victims are more than just a goldmine waiting to be plundered.

And in case you thought they don’t get any sleazier than Halliburton, here is another company headed for New Orleans for the easy pickins. The Department of Homeland Security has hired Kenyon International to set up a mobile morgue to handle the corpses. Kenyon is a subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), which has a colorful history of hiding and dumping corpses.

In 2001, SCI removed hundreds of bodies from two cemeteries in Florida and dumped the remains into swamps and woodlands. In one case they used a bulldozer to crack open a vault, so they could remove the old corpses and make room for new ones. They paid $100 million to settle the ensuing lawsuit.

The chairman of SCI is a longtime friend and campaign donor to both George Bushes, father and son. But surely that’s just a coincidence and has nothing to do with why the Bush administration hired them again to do what they do best.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Underlying Cause of Hurricane Katrina

OK, let’s give Bush some credit. He only appeared to be dithering over the New Orleans devastation. In reality, he’s been working his ass off behind the scenes, 24/7.

He didn’t want to emerge in public until he could determine the real cause of Hurricane Katrina.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Wetlands Would Have Reduced The Flooding

We’ve known for a long time now that wetlands are a crucial part of our eco-system. In addition to sustaining plant and animal life, they serve as protection against flooding.

When George Bush Sr. was running for president in 1988 he promised “no net loss of wetlands.” For every wetland that got drained or flooded, a new one would be created. Technically, he kept his word. He simply redefined the term “wetland” so that anything smaller than Lake Superior was no longer a wetland.

If the swamps and marshes of Southern Louisiana hadn’t been lost to overdevelopment, the recent flooding would have been much less severe in New Orleans and other Gulf communities. When torrential rains fall, wetlands absorb a lot of excess rain. When the wetlands have been replaced with concrete and asphalt — or when marshland has eroded and been washed out to sea — there’s nothing to absorb the water, and you get a flood.

Since the 1930s, erosion and decay have destroyed 1,900 square miles of wetlands in Southern Louisiana. Some of the wetlands have been lost to development in general. And the massive system of levees and canals has washed lots of sediment out to sea. Former marshes are now submerged under the Gulf of Mexico. These marshlands acted as a buffer to slow the force of an oncoming hurricane. New Orleans no longer has this buffer; it’s almost completely exposed to the Gulf of Mexico.

The effects have been noticeable on a day-to-day basis. Some of the coastal highways flood every time the tide comes in. This wasn’t always the case.

The levees prevent minor flooding by bringing the water of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. But these minor floods are what the wetlands need. The flooding brings fresh water and sediment which sustains and replenishes the wetlands. Without periodic flooding, the wetland “compacts.” A consultant for the America’s Wetland group said “simply put, when the land does not have any nutrients and fresh water it dies.”

Obviously the levees and canals are necessary; nobody’s arguing with that. But their side effect — the disappearance of hundreds of square miles of wetlands — is a serious problem that needs to be solved.

This problem has been known for a long time. Local residents have tried to help in little ways, like placing their old Christmas trees in marsh areas to help retain sediment. Sidney Coffee, the executive assistant to the governor for coastal activities, said “the entire area has to be re-plumbed. You have to build on what you have. It’s a very complex solution.”

A massive effort to divert river water and deposit sediment will cost about $14 billion. Coffee said “this is a very intense effort that would go on to do this. But the costs of not doing it are far greater.”

Aye, there's the rub. In April 2004, some of America’s top engineers, plus millions of dollars, were diverted from Louisiana to Iraq. The marshes of Iraq became a higher priority than the marshes of Louisiana.

Bush requested $100 million for restoring the Iraqi marshlands (Congress hasn’t yet released the money). At the same time, the amount allotted for restoring the marshes of Louisiana was $8 million. (?!?!)

That’s right! The wetlands of Iraq are twelve times more important than restoring the lifesaving (as we’ve learned the hard way!) wetlands of Louisiana. How many lives could have been saved along the Gulf of Mexico if Iraq wasn’t considered a higher priority than Louisiana?

I don’t know whether this is shocking, or whether it’s just another jaded, numbed reaction of “that figures.”

In an administration already famous for its twisted, sick priorities, this takes the prize.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Friday, September 09, 2005

FEMA Now Hiring. No Experience Necessary!!

Job seekers: are you desperate for a job but you don’t have any experience? Maybe you’ve been fired from every job you’ve ever had and you’re afraid nobody will hire you.

You can get a job with FEMA. On-the-job training, no educational or experience requirements. No references needed. They can’t turn you down!

Five of FEMA's top officials came to the agency with no prior experience in handling disasters. FEMA’s top three leaders got their jobs as a reward for working on Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. Many of the agency’s most experienced managers have left FEMA since 2001.

This combination — inexperienced personnel who got their jobs as a political reward, and the departure of the most experienced leaders — has created a “brain drain” at the agency. The crisis was made even worse in 2003 when FEMA lost its cabinet-level status and was merged with the Department of Homeland Security.

A professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy said “FEMA has gone downhill within the department, drained of resources and leadership. The crippling of FEMA was one important reason why it failed.”

A non-profit group that promotes careers in the federal government has ranked FEMA at the bottom of the 28 federal agencies it studied.

In 2004, the American Federation of Government Employees took a survey of the best government agencies to work for. 84 FEMA employees responded; only ten of them described their bosses as good or excellent. 67 of them said the agency has gone downhill since merging with Homeland Security.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bush: the Teflon is falling off

Americans will cut you lots of slack if you’re President. You can lie to get us into a war 10,000 miles away. Your fake “reasons” for this war can keep changing every week, and nobody seems to notice. American soldiers keep getting killed and maimed in this endless quagmire — ho hum. Our deficit swells to record levels because of the Iraqi war and massive tax cuts — Yawn.

But the free ride doesn’t last forever. There are some things even a sheltered pampered trustfunded president can't get away with:

You can not sit there with your thumbs up your ass while the worst natural disaster in our history devastates us.

That was the last straw. The free ride is over. Bush’s political capital has been spent. Suddenly, “Bush” and “accountability” are appearing in the same sentence. “Chickens coming home to roost” is a popular phrase.

Jon Edwards has revived his “Two Americas” theme from the 2004 election campaign, to much larger applause than he ever got last year. Harry Reid said “How much time did the president spend dealing with this emerging crisis while he was on vacation?” Nancy Pelosi said “There were two disasters last week: first, the natural disaster, and second, the man-made disaster, the disaster made by mistakes made by FEMA."

The same fractured, diffused, divided Democrats who were afraid to say anything about Iraq or the environment or tax cuts for the rich, are suddenly unified and unafraid.

Hillary Clinton has announced that FEMA should be separated from the Homeland Security Department, and that we need a 9/11-style investigation into what went wrong.

She described the underfunded, understaffed and inept/oblivious FEMA as “a recipe for disaster. There was nobody in charge at the federal government level and no one willing to take responsibility to work with state and local governments. There is no plan, no overall strategy. We don't have a seamless, smooth-running response machine.”

For the first time (and it sure took long enough), the Bush administration is in the hot seat. The tails-between-their-legs opposition is suddenly unafraid and ready to kick ass.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Post-Katrina: Congress' Priorities

Congress is back in session, and what are their priorities? Yup, you guessed it.

Before the New Orleans disaster, repealing the Estate Tax was at the top of Congress’ agenda. Now they’ve grudgingly postponed this urgent priority, what with all those drowning poor people and all. But make no mistake — it’s crucial that when a multi-millionaire dies, that person’s heirs will not have to pay any tax on their inheritance.

Another Earth-shaking matter that needs to be taken care of yesterday — damn that Katrina anyway — is eliminating the Endangered Species Act. The Far Right isn't about to let their agenda get derailed by a flood and a few whiny tree huggers.

Bush's sacred tax cuts might even be endangered by the cost of relief efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The total federal cost could reach $100 billion. The current cost is about $700 million a day.

This could be the most expensive natural disaster in our history. Priorities have to be set. Difficult decisions need to be made. Will we keep sending National Guardsmen to Iraq when we need them here? Can we keep spending billions in the Middle East while our own country starts looking more and more like a third world country?

Repealing the Estate Tax will cost the treasury $70 billion a year. The proper coddling and pampering of Paris Hilton — and thousands of others in her position — is a top priority of course. But how urgent is it, compared to saving lives, preventing future disasters, and reducing our record deficit?

Hillary Clinton said “I don’t believe we are putting the American people first in this country. I don’t know that we can do that unless we have a more sensible policy that looks at the tax cuts for wealthy people that the administration seems determined to enshrine in permanency and the additional tax cuts and spending cuts the administration wants. We have to look at all of our spending.”

With Bush’s disgraceful performance this past week, he may have already spent all of his “political capital.” He might even be deep in debt by now.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bush Family: Above It All

We’re seeing more and more that the Bush family is completely sheltered and insulated from the problems that plague most Americans. People killed or maimed in Iraq, economic misery, natural disasters — ho hum, pass the caviar.

But two quotes from Barbara Bush really bring home just how arrogant and above-it-all our “leaders” really are:

While touring some hurricane relief centers in Houston, she said “Almost everyone I’ve talked to says we’re going to move to Houston. What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this—this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.”

Just before the Iraqi invasion in March 2003, Marie Antoinette Barbara Bush said “But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

Oh really. The problems of everyday peons — boooorrriing!!

Our country is being ruled by aristocrats who have no connection, no concept, of what life is like for the other 95%. This isn’t about class warfare. Obviously the President of the United States isn’t gonna live in a ghetto, and didn’t say “would you like fries with that” at his previous job. But this complete detachment and disinterest on the part of our “leaders” — we all know what happened to Marie Antoinette. How is the Bush family any different?

George W. Bush is — literally — a son of a bitch.

Monday, September 05, 2005

George W. Bush: "I Care"

OK, quit picking on Bush. He’s been unfairly accused of “not caring” about the hurricane victims. Not caring??? You stand corrected.

The other vicious rumor about GWB is that his response to the tragedy was “slow” or “inadequate.” Oh Yeah?!? Check this out.

As you can see, our Great Leader has been wrongly vilified by the godless media.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Labor Day

While you’re celebrating Labor Day, please remember why this day is a holiday. And while you’re at it, think of how much better your life is because of labor unions. Even if nobody in your family is a union member, just think of these everyday words: weekend, overtime, paid vacation, retirement pension, medical benefits, break periods, safe working conditions.

None of these concepts would exist today without labor unions and the sacrifices they made.

In the late 1800s, 125,000 railroad workers went on strike. The government called in federal troops and several thousand special deputies. The strike was broken and thousands of workers were blacklisted.

In 1902, 100,000 miners in Pennsylvania went on strike. They kept the mines closed all summer. They ended up getting a 10% wage increase and a shorter workday.

In 1911, 150 workers in New York City were killed when a fire swept through their factory. All of the safety exits had been locked, allegedly to “prevent loss of goods.” The ensuing investigation brought about lots of today's industrial safety measures.

In 1912, 50,000 textile workers went on strike in Lawrence, MA. Women, children and non-violent protesters were attacked by police and vigilantes. Public outrage ultimately forced the mill owners to agree to higher wages and a shorter workday.

But by the 1920s, the post-World War I depression brought wages down and union membership declined. Corporate PR hacks were able to equate labor unions with Bolsheviks and Communists. Strikebreaking, blacklisting and vigilante attacks were common. Lots of workers could only get jobs by signing a pledge that they wouldn’t try to join or form a union.

The president of the National Association of Manufacturers stated that the trade union movement was “an un-American, illegal and infamous conspiracy.” The unions’ quest for higher wages, shorter hours and regulation of child labor were all portrayed as a vicious Communist plot; Big Business would be the hero who rescued America from this evil menace.

Maybe you’re thinking “OK, we’ve got all these things now. We don’t need no steenking unions.” Oh?

18,000 machinists are on strike against Boeing. Jumping on the bandwagon, Boeing is trying to reduce workers’ pay and benefits. Yet again, a few executives with seven-figure salaries are trying to squeeze every last drop out of their employees. Hey, it’s the 1920s again.

The Service Employees International Union, United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters have all split from the AFL-CIO, the backbone of American labor for 50 years. This means the AFL-CIO has lost 4.6 million members and $20 million in membership dues. (That sloshing and gurgling you hear is the sound of millions of Republicans drooling with glee.)

More and more companies have been cutting wages and benefits and eliminating pensions, while their Boards of Directors’ seven-figure bonus packages remain untouched and non-negotiable. When the going gets tough, fuck your employees.

Maybe your salary, benefits and pension plan aren’t being threatened. Yet. But remember that famous quote from Nazi Germany: “When they came for the Jews I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a Jew…” (etc., you’re familiar with it). If you stay complacent and uninvolved while company after company reduces wages and eliminates pensions, there won’t be anyone left to fight for you when your benefits get eliminated.

Be very afraid.

Happy Labor Day.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Politics Aside - Hurricane Assistance Information

originally posted by The Bastard at Bring It On!

Paul from Wizbang has asked, as bloggers, to put our Monday morning quarter-backing to the side and compile as much information as possible so that people affected by the hurricane (like himself) don't have to spend hours looking for information. So, here is a list of information that might be helpful if you have been directly affected by Hurricane Katrina. I will keep updating this list as I compile more information. If you find information that you think might be useful leave the information in the comment section and I will add it to the list. Paul has some good tips on what people will be looking for so head over to Wizbang to get some ideas for what to help with.

For starters the Network For Good website is jam packed with donating information and information for the victims.

IMPORTANT: If you are trying to locate a loved one the American Red Cross maintains a database to help you find family. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.

Evacuees can call the American Red Cross’ information line at 1-866-GET-INFO for information regarding emergency assistance and public safety information and road closures. In addition, Louisiana residents can call the Louisiana State Police at 800-469-4828 to check on roadways that are open and safe for travel in less impacted areas.

FEMA: The Disaster Assistance Process for Individuals
For use ONLY by people in designated federal disaster areas.
Be prepared to give your Social Security number, describe your losses, provide financial information, and give directions to the damaged property.

What You Can Do If You're Having Trouble Getting Through
If you get a busy signal, try to call in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or on the weekends when call volumes tend to be lighter.

Tips for Applying for Federal Disaster Assistance
People who lose their jobs due to the disaster may apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) which provides weekly benefits to individuals who are unemployed and not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance compensation. You can call 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or the local unemployment office for information.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance From the Department of Labor
Louisiana – To file a claim, individuals may report in person to the nearest Job Center. For general information and locations of Job Centers, you can visit Louisiana Works Department of Labor website at http://theunitedamerican.blogs.com/t/app/redirect.asp?link=www.laworks.net or call (225) 342-2937.

Mississippi – Unemployed individuals must file their claim in person at the nearest local WIN Job & Claims Center. Individuals will need their Social Security card, or a Driver's License, and the names and addresses for the places he/she worked during the past 18 months. A listing of WIN Job and Claims Centers can be obtained on Mississippi Employment Security website at mdes.ms.gov. For convenience, individuals may complete an online registration form, print it and take it to a WIN Job & Claims Center.

FEMA can provide disaster housing assistance to those whose homes are damaged or destroyed. To apply for assistance, all you have to do is call the special toll free telephone number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) and register. Specially trained operators at one of FEMA's National Processing Service Centers will process your application.

This is some of the information off of FEMA's web site. They have a great FAQ's section if you need to find out more information such as I Don't Have Any (or enough) Insurance?, What About My Pets?, Apply for Disaster Assistance?

Disaster Recovery A Guide to Financial Issues
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner - What To Do After A Hurricane Hits
USDA, Natural Disaster Assistance - Hurricane Assistance
Alabama Emergency Management Agency
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Louisiana Emergency Management Agency

Louisiana State Information
Louisiana State Police
LSP Hotline 1-800-469-4828 for 911 emergencies only. Do not call for road closures.
Report Roadway Emergencies: Dial *LSP (*577) on your cell phone to report roadway emergencies.

Louisiana Citizen Awareness and Disaster Evacuation Guide
Evacuees can register children for school in Lafayette Parish
Shelter Information:Red Cross- 1(866)-GET-INFO (438-4636)
Special Needs Shelter Information
Triage Phone Numbers:
Alexandria: 800-841-5778
Shreveport: 800-841-5776
Baton Rouge: 800-349-1372
Monroe: 866-280-7287
Houma/Thibodaux: 800-228-9409
Slidell/Hammond: 866-280-7724
Lafayette: 800-901-3210
Lake Charles: 866-280-2711

Equine Shelter/Evacuation Site Information
Locations for Animal Evacuation:
Alexandria - Large & Small 318-442-4222 (all vet clinics will accept)
Lamar Dixon - Gonzales - Large Animals
Shreveport - LSU-S (pets only, no livestock)
West Monroe - Ike Hamilton Coliseum

Louisiana Hotel Information 1-800-99-GUMBOEmergency Shelter Information Points:

Tourist Welcome Center, US 65 & 84, 1401 Carter St. (US 84), Vidalia, LA

Tourist Welcome Center, TA Truck Stop, Tallulah Exit (Hwy 65 & I 20)
Paragon Casino, 711 Paragon Place, Marksville LA
Sammy's Truck Stop, I-49, Exit 53, 3601 LA 115W, Bunkie, LA
Med Express Office, 7525 US 71, Alexandria, LA
P.E. Gym, LSU- Shreveport, One University Place, Shreveport, LA
Pickering High School, 180 Lebleu Rd., Leesville, LA
Mowad Civic Center, 5th & 10th St., 1 Block off US 165, Oakdale, LA

Offices of Emergency Preparedness
Orleans Parish

Jefferson Parish

St.Bernard Parish

St.Tammany Parish

Lafourche Parish

Assumption Parish

St.Charles Parish

St.John Parish

St James Parish

Plaquemine Parish

Tangipohoa Parish

Terrebonne Parish

Washington Parish

St.Mary Parish

Orleans City Departments Phone Numbers:

Office Of Emergency Preparedness

Mayor's Public Advocacy Office

Mayor's Communications Office

New Orleans Police Department

New Orleans Fire Department

Public Works Department

Park & Parkway Department

Sewerage & Water Board

Hurricane Evacuation Shelter Coordinator

Human Relations Commission

Emergency Numbers:

Southeast La. Red Cross

New Orleans Public Advocacy

New Orleans Human Relations Commission

New Orleans Council on Aging

American Red Cross

For police, fire, and medical emergencies call 911.

cross-posted at Bring It On! by The Bastard

Americans Favor the Patriot Act, Until…

According to this survey, most Americans who favor the Patriot Act don’t know anything about it. When they learn more about it, they don't like it.

People who are uninformed tend to like it because of that warm fuzzy name, and all the rhetoric surrounding it. Hey, it’s called the “Patriot Act” and it fights terrorists. What’s not to like?

Only 42% were able to identify the main purpose of the Patriot Act — increased surveillance. Overall, 64% were in favor of the Patriot Act. That number dropped to 57% among those who knew the purpose of the law.

The Patriot Act has been highly visible in the public consciousness, and yet most people don’t know anything about it.

The director of the survey said “the Patriot Act has been a very visible piece of legislation. We wanted to see if people had an understanding of the act that differentiated it from the war on terrorism generally. Most people don't distinguish the Patriot Act from the war on terror in general. Once people see these things hit increasingly close to home, they become more and more troubled.”

75% of the survey said they thought law enforcement would use the Patriot Act for purposes other than fighting terrorism. 72% said they believe it will be used to spy on legitimate political organizations.

The public is evenly divided on whether the Patriot Act has prevented terrorist attacks.