Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, July 30, 2010

GOP to 9/11 First Responders: “Fuck You! DIE!!!!”

It’s time for the GOP to go over their to-do list and make sure there isn’t ANYBODY out there that Republicans HAVEN’T shat on yet. Let’s see: low income people, the unemployed, small businesses, minorities, gays, non-Christians, people who’ve been dumped by their HMOs, people losing their homes — Check.

What about the first responders who risked their lives on September 11th, 2001 — Check.

The House has defeated a bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid — over a ten-year period — to people who have become ill from the smoke, dust and debris from the 9/11 attacks. OK, so that’s a lot of money; we probably spent that much in Iraq and Afghanistan while you were reading this sentence.

The 9/11 victims are kind of like soldiers: Conservatives don’t give a flying fuck about either of them, but they make excellent grist for soundbites and talking points. “Support the troops!” “9/11!” “You’re undermining the war effort!” “9/11!” “You can’t be against the war AND support the troops!” And don’t forget:


And then when soldiers and 9/11 workers become sick or disabled, rightwing bumpersticker patriotism morphs into “We don’t need you any more. Run along now. Fuck off.”

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) chewed ‘em a new one. Check out the video.

Alan Grayson, Anthony Weiner — this is the kind of Democrats we need. And unlike talk radio and Fox News, these guys not only pack a punch; they can also string together complete sentences with big two-syllable words and everything.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

GOP to Small Businesses: “Fuck You! DIE!!!!”

What good are small businesses? They can’t write a 6-figure check to finance somebody’s re-election campaign. They’re too small to squish their competitors, which would strengthen the American Oligarchy. What have small businesses done for Congress lately?

Worst of all, small business owners live in the same communities where their businesses are located. That makes them Stakeholders. Which means — they actually care about all that touchyfeely socialist nonsense like schools, libraries, community activities, the local economy…

And now, that Kenyan Muslim in the White House is trying to increase bank loans to small businesses, with the help of a $30 billion fund. $30 billion?!?!? We need that money for Iraq, Afghanistan, the War on Drugs, bailing out failed CEOs. Who gives a fuck about some piddling little mom-and-pop store?

Fortunately, Senate Republicans have killed this wacky leftwing idea. Loans to small businesses [pshaw] If you're small, you're a sissy. Die!

Just think — if small businesses were able to get loans, they might start hiring, and that would help the economy. The GOP game plan would be ruined. We on the Far Right want the economy to keep getting worse and worse, so that in November millions of ignoramuses will lash out blindly at the party in power, and Republicans will take Congress back.

Back to 1955.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lindsey Graham: “Shoot the Messenger!”

Most Americans are angry, horrified (but not surprised) at the information published by WikiLeaks. With all of the lives lost and the countless billions of dollars (that’s OUR money!) spent in Afghanistan, we have a right to know where our money is going and what people are dying for. If our Pakistani “allies” are secretly coordinating with the Taliban — uh, shouldn’t we know about this?

But there are a few twisted sickfucks who are pissed off for all the wrong reasons. They aren’t mad at the deception; they’re just angry that this information got leaked.

Lindsey Graham (R—CoverUp) wants to prosecute not only the people who leaked the information, but also the WikiLeaks website itself. He shat:

“I’m willing to prosecute anybody who led to undermining the war effort. As far as I know, there’s no immunity for a website to be able to pass on documents.”

Peter King (R—Slow) and Songbird McCain have also called for the prosecution of whoever leaked the information, but so far neither of them have talked about prosecuting WikiLeaks.

The Songbird said whoever leaked the information should be sentenced to life in prison.

Oh well, at least the Far Right is consistent. Don’t forget about conservatives’ uncontrollable fury when the name of a CIA operative was leaked and then got published by the late unlamented Robert Novak. Right? Don’t you remember???

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Democrats Aren’t Getting Their Message Out

Yes, it’s the oldest cliché in the world. A party loses the election and then whines “We couldn’t get our message out.” But God Damn it, the Democrats can’t get their message out.

This National Journal/Pew Research poll shows that Americans heavily favor Obama’s economic policies over those of his predecessor. The question was “What would do more to improve the economy in the next few years?”

46% chose “follow policies of Obama Administration.” 29% chose “follow policies of Bush Administration.” Independent voters favored Obama’s policies over Dumbya’s, 43% to 20%.

Great news, no? Unfortunately, these poll results, plus $5, will buy the Democrats a cappuccino at Starbucks the day after they’ve lost the election. It’s the same old story: Voters agree with the Democrats on the issues, and then on Election Day they vote Republican. The GOP is just plain better at churning out candidates that Joe Sixpack would like to have a beer with.

And lately the Rightwing Hate Machine has been getting louder and more obnoxious and reaching more people. Rightwing think tanks have spent decades perfecting the art of the soundbite. They’re getting more and more effective with their short gut-level phrases that totally bypass the intellect and go straight to the fight-or-flight reflex.

Democrats go on and on with mind-numbing statistics and long-range 25-point plans that might start taking effect in ten years. And these cerebral lectures are supposed to compete with “We’re gonna take back our country!” and “Lock and load!”

I hope the November election isn’t a disaster for Democrats, but one news story after another keeps telling us that Republicans might take back Congress because voters are falling under the hypnotic spell of the rightwing screamfucks. Surely there’s a Democrat out there somewhere who can translate today’s boring economic statistics into a few hard-hitting soundbites that Joe Sixpack will relate to. It’s our only hope.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are getting THEIR message out loud and clear. Four more teenage mutant inbreds have fallen under the spell of the GOP Racist Industrial Complex.

A Salvadoran immigrant, Abelino Mazaniego, was waiting at a bus stop in Summit, NJ when he was beaten to death by three teenagers. A fourth accomplice recorded the entire event on his cell phone.

Way to go, rightwing demagogues and hatemongers. Keep on spewing out the KKK rhetoric and captivating the inbreds. It’s working.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law: A Gold Mine for Private Prisons

Whatever Arizona Governor Jan Brewer says, she likes the new immigration law for other reasons besides safety and border security. She’s closely allied with the Prison Industrial Complex.

Two of her top advisers have close ties to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). And CCA holds the federal contract for housing detainees in Arizona. When they start rounding up all them swarthy Meskins — the new law takes effect this Thursday — Corrections Corporation of America will get even wealthier.

Hey, as long as America locks up more people than any other country in the world, we might as well make a profit from it, right? Or to paraphrase a popular poster from the late ‘60s: Prison is good business; invest your son.

Now who says Republicans don’t have any original ideas, any solutions? Al Franken comes to their defense. They do too have an agenda: They’re trying to bring the economy to a standstill because they don’t want people to get jobs before the election.

See??? The Republicans really DO stand for something.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Take Away Social Security?!? That’s OUR Money!!!

When it comes to taxes — no matter how necessary they might be — the teabaggers always scream “That’s OUR money, not the government’s money. Give it back to The People who EARNED it!”

And yet these same people just can’t wait to get rid of Social Security, which is also — belaboring the obvious here — OUR money. This point was made by Minnesota state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who’s running against Michele Bachmann this November. Godspeed! You go girl!

She said:

“Michele Bachmann has said that Americans need to be weaned off Social Security and Medicare. Well, I’ve now been paying into Social Security since I was a teenager — so for about 25 or 30 years — seems to me that’s my money. Why on earth does she want to take away our money? It’s money that we’ve worked hard for, and it’s money that’s supposed to be there for our retirement. Well, why would she want to do that? It is the opposite of what I think people are mad about. We should be making sure that the government is going to have it be solvent and have it be available for us, instead of having people like Michele threatening to get rid of it.”

Excellent point. This is something the Democrats might want to bring into the spotlight during the next few months. That is, in case they actually care about winning this November.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

“President Obama, Get a Spine”

The editor of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, said this. She said Obama needs to stand firm against these constant rightwing Wag The Dog fake news attacks (i.e. Breitbart and the rest of those shitwads), or risk “feeding the zealots.”

These relentless attacks against Obama are making him look like a substitute teacher who’s just standing there waving his arms helplessly while the whole class is throwing spitballs and paper airplanes and climbing all over the desks.

vanden Heuvel said:

“This White House needs to institute procedures, as President Obama said, and get a spine because it is feeding the zealots of our system by not standing tall and confronting the forces of hate and fear in a country that has a lot of economic pain.”

She described the Shirley Sherrod controversy (Breitbart’s latest prank) as:

“A testing moment for America ... Are we going to be an America that learns from Shirley Sherrod's tale of reconciliation, overcoming prejudice? ... Are we going to be a media system which is vetting and upholding standards, or are we going to be bullied as a country by a right wing media which peddles fears and slanders to, really, destroy President Obama's presidency?”

She also said: “It's about the mainstream media — with a few exceptions in this case — accepting Andrew Breitbart, a journalist who's known to have no credibility.”

And speaking of the Rightwing Hate Machine: here’s another grass roots organization made up of everyday concerned American citizens — American Crossroads.

Karl Rove is one of the cofounders of this group. Almost every dollar raised by American Crossroads has come from four billionaires. Ah, the Voice of the People.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cheerleading is Not a Sport

Gee, ya think?

A judge has confirmed what most people already know. Cheerleading is all fine and good, but — a sport??? Therefore, a university cannot point to its cheerleading team and say “Why no, we don’t discriminate against women’s sports. See those cheerleaders over there?”

Title IX requires all universities to provide equal opportunities for men and women in school athletics. Quinnipiac University tried to make an end run around Title IX by eliminating the women’s varsity volleyball team and replacing it with a competitive cheerleading squad.

The Connecticut ACLU’s executive director said this decision “gives force to the law that has opened doors for women over the last 30 years.”

As one of the comments at the end of the linked article says, this is like Reagan saying ketchup and relish are vegetables, so school lunch programs don’t need to provide any additional nutrition.

My favorite example of this kind of “reasoning” was back in the ‘80s. In California, a regional agency was trying to get all cities to provide a certain amount of low-income housing. The wealthy-beyond-wealthy (and more sterile than an operating room) town of Tiburon told this agency that they were already complying with this, because affluent residents’ servants’ quarters qualified as low-income housing.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Permanent Tax Cuts for the Middle Class


Here’s an idea the Democrats can ride all the way to a November victory — making the Bush tax cuts permanent for every American who earns less than $200,000 a year.

The middle class — the backbone of this country — will be able to pay their bills and keep their homes. And they’ll have more money to spend, which will stimulate the economy. And best of all, this tax cut won’t have to be offset someplace else in the budget, because tax cuts pay for themselves. Remember, the Republicans said so.

Not only is this a great idea, but it’ll put the Republicans in a bind. As one Democratic aide put it:

“Republicans are going to have a real choice ahead of them. Are you for extending these tax cuts for middle-class families or are you against them because you want to protect tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans?”

I don’t even think Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity can shout their way out of this one.

In the meantime, Republican senators are still getting their rocks off. Even though unemployment benefits are a done deal now after yesterday’s vote, Republicans are delaying the final vote, so that those unemployed parasites can twist in the wind for a few more days. Republicans are doing this because they hate working-class people, but most of all, because they can.

Harry Reid said:

“Perhaps the overwhelming majority of Republicans think that since they've turned their backs on the unemployed for so many months, what's another few days? Perhaps they think that when unemployment goes up, their poll numbers do too.”


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Defeat for Republicans — Victory for America

Democrats have finally — finally!! — gotten past that gigantic speed bump in the Senate. It’s the same speed bump — comprised of forty buckets of excrement — that almost blocked health care reform and financial reform.

This time, Mount Pusmore was blocking unemployment benefits for two and a half million Americans. New Democratic Senator Carte Goodwin (replacing Robert Byrd) was just sworn in today, and almost immediately another vote was held. Sixty Democrats voted for America. Forty Republicans voted for — uhh, well, whatever it is they’re for.

After months of shitting all over working Americans, the GOP finally lost this round.

Max Baucus stated the obvious:

“This bill is about jobs because unemployment insurance goes to people who will spend it immediately. That would increase economic demand. And that would help support our fragile economic recovery.”

For most people, that’s a no-brainer. But explaining that to a Republican is like trying to teach advanced calculus to a slow 5-year-old.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

In Defense of the Sanctity of Marriage

Good news for all Godfearing Christians who understand that marriage is sacred. California voters have started bringing America home to Jesus, by preventing those icky homosexuals from getting [eww, gross!] married. But that was just the beginning.

California voters are getting ready to take it to the next level. And don’t forget, most nationwide trends started in California.

Since marriages are made in Heaven, then divorce, obviously, is a slap across God’s face. God is getting sick and tired of having His face slapped, and He has instructed His children in California to sign a petition.

John Marcotte, a married father of two, has until Spring of 2012 to collect the 700,000 signatures he’ll need to get his California Marriage Protection Act onto the June 2012 ballot. He said:

“Don't stop gay people from getting married; stop straight people from getting divorced! It's a much more direct way of achieving the goal of Prop. 8.”

Hallelujah! No more divorce. Isn’t that great??? God is smiling, and the people who bankrolled Proposition 8 are dancing in the streets and jumping with joy.

Aren’t they???

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Republican Platform? Ideas? “Our Little Secret”

I seem to remember an era when political candidates would try to win over the voters by debating the current issues. Candidate A would say “we should do this,” and Candidate B would say “no, we should do that.” The candidates would present their views as articulately as they could, and the voters would elect the candidate who best communicated his/her ideas.

Wasn’t it like that? Or did I just dream that up?

Since January 2009, the Republican Party hasn’t offered one single original idea. No solutions, no alternatives — Nothing. Just forty-one filibustering blobs of protoplasm that add up to a human speed bump. Or a human slag heap; or something.

Now it turns out, if the GOP actually did have a plan, it would be dangerous to announce that plan to the public because the Democrats could use it against them in the November election.

[waits for head to stop spinning]

OK, try this at your next job interview: Tell your prospective employer, “I’m not going to answer any questions, because if I did, you might decide I’m not qualified and somebody else would get the job.”

Or how about this devastating pickup line: “I’m not going to tell you anything about what I do for a living, how much money I make, nothing about past relationships, kids, ex-spouses, whether I’ve ever been convicted of a felony. So, wanna go to my place?”

And now — what’s all this liberal claptrap about racism in Arizona? Those damn liberals with their race card.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Neocon Astroturf Groups — One Size Fits All

A lot of people wear several different hats at their jobs, especially now with so many harried employees doing the work of their downsized former coworkers.

And now we have a rightwing Astroturf organization that’s doing the same thing. The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was formed early in Dumbya’s presidency for the purpose of — you guessed it — drumming up support for invading Iraq.

That group has disbanded; Mission Accomplished and all that. But now — same office, same warmongering chickenhawk fucks — the members of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq have turned around, put on different hats, turned around again and said “Hi. We’re the Emergency Committee For Israel."

Old neocons never die; they just morph into another group of demented sickfucks. How about a game of Whack-A-Neocon?

Both of these “grass roots” “patriotic” groups are located at 918 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. And this office happens to be the location of Orion Strategies, a rightwing public relations firm owned by Randy Scheunemann. And speaking of people wearing different hats — this is kind of funny — one of Randy Scheunemann’s other assignments is:

WARNING: Put down ALL food and drink before reading any further.

Ready? Randy Scheunemann is Sarah Palin’s personal foreign policy trainer.

Talk about an uphill battle. Which of the following jobs do you think is more challenging:

Peewee Herman’s bodybuilding coach; or

Sarah Palin’s personal foreign policy trainer?

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

If Corporations Keep Getting More Money, They’ll Create More Jobs


Trickledown — the most absurd intelligence-insulting urban legend of the past thirty years — has now been officially laid to rest. It was a scam; a trillion dollar prank. Stop falling for it!

The linked article starts out with:

“Corporate America is hoarding a massive pile of cash. It just doesn't want to spend it hiring anyone. Nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, roughly one-quarter more than at the beginning of the recession.”

In a survey last month of more than a thousand chief financial officers, a majority said they’re projecting a 12% earnings increase but aren’t planning to do much hiring.

Between 1980 and 2006, the average cash-to-assets ratio for American industrial firms more than doubled. Zachary Karabell, president of River Twice Research, said:

“CEOs don't like taking risks. They kind of move in packs. There's not a whole lot that you could do to entice companies to hire. You could cut taxes on them, but they're not going to hire just because they have the extra cash, because they already have the extra cash.”

That pretty well sums it up.

The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Trickledown — three of those four legends are only believed in by children. But millions of grown-ups (chronologically anyway) keep on believing that if we get rid of all business regulations and shower businesses with tax breaks and tax subsidies, these companies will create so many jillions of new jobs, your head will be spinning.

Wanna buy a bridge?

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Horrible Ugly Truth About Obamacare

It turns out the hysterical Talibangelical wing of the GOP was right. Obamacare really is a sinister two-pronged approach to destroying the American Family.

Step One — Socialized Medicine will destroy the work ethic and sap the moral fiber of this great nation. A Real American will get out there and get a job so he can pay for his own health care. Lord have mercy on any family whose breadwinner just lies around all day taking drugs and letting the government provide health care for them.

Step Two — Obamacare will provide free birth control and free abortion on demand. The Morning After Pill will be displayed among the impulse items at every supermarket checkout line, right there where the children can see it.

There will be abortion clinics on every block. And they won’t be just for the first trimester. Or the second trimester. As any devoted Biblehump will tell you, there are legions of indecent women — on welfare — who are so busy shooting LSD and worshiping Satan, they keep forgetting to have that abortion. But now she can be eight and a half months pregnant and just walk into any one of these 24/7 abortion clinics, have that screaming fetus yanked out, and she can still be on time for the next rave.

Obamacare also includes: an unlimited supply of Viagra for child molesters.

And again — everything mentioned above will be FREE. Hardworking taxpayers will be working their asses off so that millions of decadent liberals can lie around all day getting stoned, using that free health care and getting abortions whenever they damn well feel like it.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GOP Candidate: “Obama Taking Away Your Chance to Find God”

A Republican candidate in Missouri, Ed Martin, actually said that. And by God, he’s right. Seriously. Think about it.

Recent Republican administrations have set up a little “arrangement” with The Lord. And Obama is jeopardizing everything.

Every year, the health insurance industry enables 45,000 Americans to find God. Another 30,000 Americans find God each year as the result of His favorite invention — the Gun!

In the past thirty years, every type of safety regulation has been whittled down to zero. God has Himself a gold mine here. Environmental hazards, fatal workplace accidents, defective products that kill and maim — God gets tens of thousands of new visitors every year, thanks to them commie regulations finally getting derailed.

God’s best friend is, of course, the Military-Industrial Complex. About 5,000 American soldiers have found their way to God via Iraq and Afghanistan. And hundreds of thousands of civilians in those countries have also found God (although they may call Him by a different name). Worldwide, the fruit of the Military-Industrial Complex’ labor — war — has enabled countless hundreds of thousands of people to escape this earthly hellhole and ascend to a heavenly paradise.

God’s next best friend would be the Prison-Industrial Complex. Out of the entire global population of prison inmates, 23% of these inmates are incarcerated inside an American prison. No that wasn’t a typo. Poor medical treatment, disciplinary measures from guards or other inmates — thousands of these prisoners find God every year. Sure, some of them were vicious murderers, rapists, gang members. But a lot of them were in prison just because of personal behavior which offended the Powers That Be but didn’t harm anybody else.

So yes, Ed Martin is absolutely right to be afraid of President Obama’s devious agenda. Obamacare, more protection for the environment, increased workplace safety regulations, a slight decrease in the War on Drugs, another slight decrease in the war machine (not that we’ve seen it yet) — Ed Martin should be very afraid. If Obama's evil plans aren't stopped, there might actually be fewer Americans finding their way to God.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Afghanistan: Obama’s Waterloo

And this is from a Democrat. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D—NY) said:

“I think that this war, if it goes on and if it escalates, has the potential to destroy this presidency and to destroy the Democratic majorities in Congress.”

As far as his timing goes (i.e. the November election coming up), he said:

“When you’re dealing with war and peace you can’t think of it in those terms. People are dying. The security of our country, the honor of our country, the lives of our men and women, the lives of foreign men and women — are at stake. And that’s a lot more important, frankly, than partisan advantage…I got into politics opposing a president of my party — a president who was very good in most other respects — over the Vietnam war.”

I just had a troubling image: It’s Spring of 2012. The War in Afghanistan has escalated beyond anything we ever imagined. And as always, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Obama is giving a televised speech, which begins with: “I do not seek, and I will not accept…”

So, what’s Obama to do? Should he set a withdrawal timetable and follow it? Should we pull all of our troops out of there yesterday?

What say you?


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recording Industry Association of America: “Squeeze More Blood Out of That Turnip”

Between 1999 and 2007, Joel Tenenbaum committed some of the most heinous bloodthirsty crimes in American history. Are you sitting down? He illegally downloaded and shared thirty songs online.

He originally received a $675,000 fine. Let’s see now, I’m no math whiz but I think that’s over $20,000 per song. Take that, you Brute! Poor little record companies.

And now Judge Nancy Gertner has reduced his verdict from $675,000 to $67,500. She said the reduced fine:

“Not only adequately compensates the plaintiffs for the relatively minor harm that Tenenbaum caused them; it sends a strong message that those who exploit peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully download and distribute copyrighted works run the risk of incurring substantial damages awards. There is no question that this reduced award is still severe, even harsh.”

However, it wasn’t harsh or severe enough for the RIAA, who threw a hissyfit and announced that they would appeal this decision. In an official statement, the RIAA whined: “With this decision, the court has substituted its judgment for that of 10 jurors as well as Congress.”

Or maybe, unlike Congress, Judge Nancy Gertner isn’t owned and operated by the deep-pocketed RIAA.

Gertner said her decision was consistent with recent court decisions that have reduced excessive jury awards:

“For many years, businesses complained that punitive damages imposed by juries were out of control, were unpredictable, and imposed crippling financial costs on companies. In a number of cases, the federal courts have sided with these businesses, ruling that excessive punitive damages awards violated the companies' right to due process of law. These decisions have underscored the fact that the constitution protects not only criminal defendants from the imposition of 'cruel and unusual punishments,' but also civil defendants facing arbitrarily high punitive awards.”

The RIAA is sort of a reverse image of Exxon, BP and the tobacco industry. Those companies will keep on appealing and appealing and appealing their verdicts, until a multi-million dollar fine gets reduced to pocket change. Either that, or the plaintiffs have finally all died of old age.

In the RIAA’s version, they turn their trillion-dollar guns on one individual, with the determination to totally ruin this person come Hell or High Water. Even if they never collect the amount they wanted, their victim will spend his life savings (and that of his great-grandchildren) on legal costs.

Boycott those cocksuckers.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Oakland Murder Case to be Reviewed by Federal Prosecutors

During the 1960s and ‘70s, civil rights cases were routinely tried in federal courts because redneck juries kept acquitting their fellow inbreds of arson, lynching and other good ol’ boy fun.

In 1992 the feds had to take over the Rodney King case because California jurors acquitted four LAPD misfits of clubbing Rodney King 56 times in 81 seconds.

And now federal prosecutors are investigating the involuntary manslaughter conviction of an Oakland transit police officer who shot and killed a suspect pointblank. The more things change…

On New Years Day, 2009, Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant as he was lying face down on the ground (as Grant had been ordered to do, by other transit officers). I did a post on it at the time; the linked article and YouTube video aren’t available any more.

Mehserle claimed he thought Grant was reaching into his pockets for a weapon, so he fired what he thought was his Taser. Only it turned out he was firing his gun instead. WTF??? Does that police department have an IQ test for new applicants?

There was some rioting in Oakland (and Tacoma) after yesterday’s involuntary manslaughter verdict. (Nothing like the L.A. ‘92 riots.) Referring to the protests and riots, the Oakland Police Chief said, “This city is not the wild, wild West.”

Really? Trouble is, on January 1, 2009, Oakland WAS the wild wild West.

Maybe, someday, police departments will get tired of having federal prosecutors coming in and cleaning up after them. They might even raise the qualification standards for new applicants. HINT: a low IQ and a quick temper are NOT enough.

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Poverty, Inc.

We’re all familiar with payday lenders, pawn shops and other bottom feeders who prey on poor people. But you have no idea how deep and how lucrative the poverty industry really is. Preying on poor people, keeping them poor, making them poorer — there’s gold in them thar desperate people.

I haven’t read Broke, USA by Gary Rivlin. I just saw a review of it in last Sunday’s paper. I hope it’s a huge seller. This information needs to get out there.

(Here are some more links.)

The full title is “Broke, USA: From Pawn Shops to Poverty, Inc. — How The Working Poor Became Big Business.”

In 2008, Americans spent $11 billion on payday loans and check-cashing fees. The author of this article says:

“To the upper and middle classes, they're all but invisible, but to the working poor, they're a fact of life: pawnshops, payday lenders, storefronts offering high-rate mortgages, tax preparers promising instant cash refunds…the poverty industry was allowed to rage out of control with the backing of Wall Street and the inaction of Washington and state governments.”

Now I’m all in favor of personal responsibility and self-reliance; and I’m well aware that we all play a role in our own financial well-being. But you can’t just shrug off a multi-billion dollar predator industry with “it’s their own fault,” “he should have known what he was doing.”

The last I heard, fraud and theft were still illegal. If this libertarian “self-reliance” mantra gets carried past a certain point, we might as well legalize assault and robbery and tell everybody to take a self-defense class. If someone tries to mug you, either you kick his ass or he gets your wallet.

In the book review I read last Sunday, the author was interviewing one of the high-ranking mucky-mucks of the poverty industry, who said something like “I’m making an average of $10,000 an hour; but I think I can do even better.”

Ah, so many crazy-desperate poor people who will try anything, fall for anything; so little time.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Economic Meltdown Caused by Overpaid Waitresses and Bartenders

Tom Emmer, Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota, wants to reduce the minimum wage for service workers who receive tips. He says some of these overpaid pampered bartenders and waiters make over $100,000 a year when their tips are included.

First Michele Bachmann, and now this dickwad. I thought Minnesota was a blue state. Where the fuck are all these inbreds coming from?

Meanwhile in California, tens of thousands of state employees are “temporarily” reduced to the minimum wage. I might be in favor of austerity measures like this, IF the higher-ups were willing to make a sacrifice themselves. I’ve gone over this linked article closely, but I can seem to find the part where Schwarzenegger and the California legislature are taking a pay cut. I’ll look again…

What do you call a highly paid elected official who thinks somebody else is making too much money? We all have plenty of names for people who are champing at the bit for America to go to war, as long as they themselves don't have to go — chicken hawks, keyboard warriors, the chairborne division, and a few less printable names.

So what do you call an elected official who gets a huge salary — courtesy of YOUR tax dollars — and wants somebody else to get a pay cut?

And speaking of overpaid legislators: Keep Congress in session this August. Yes I know, August is their chance to go home, put their ear to the ground, get back in touch with their constituents lobbyists, corporate donors; and go on those crucial fact-finding missions to Ibiza and Monte Carlo.

In this article, Robert Shrum says working through August would be a good campaign plan for the Democrats. They can highlight their differences with Republicans on, well, you name it.

As Robert Shrum says: “Keep Congress there in a drama that plays out on center stage — in front of the cameras — with the president calling a special session of Congress to deal with too-long delayed issues of urgent national necessity.”

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Shareholders: Your Vote DOES NOT COUNT

It’s becoming more and more common for investors to purchase stocks in controversial corporations so they can have a voice in those companies’ decisions. (And make a profit at the same time.) This is a good thing, right?

Well, in theory anyway.

Just when you think you've heard every corporate sleaze story, along comes another one.

Take Massey Energy (please!). They had a recent shareholder vote on whether the company should set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There were 25.1 million votes in favor, and 22.2 million votes against. All right! It passed! Stockholders (i.e. the owners) of one of the world’s most cutthroat companies have voted to change that company’s business practices. The system worked!

Well, except for one minor teensy little detail. There were 20.9 million Massey shareholders who didn’t vote. And those non-votes counted. 20.9 million abstainers, plus 22.2 million No votes — hee hee hee, those 25.1 million Yes votes were grossly outnumbered. You lose! Tough luck, treehuggers. Nice try though.

Plum Creek — a Seattle-based timber company — is another company that uses this same “counting” method for tallying shareholder votes.

A more honest CEO said: “The process is tilted in favor of management, yet they still feel the need to lean with their elbow on the scale — it's unbecoming.”

Unbecoming; yup, that it is. I would’ve picked a little harsher term.

Or maybe we could switch to this counting method in political elections. This November, the tens of millions of Americans who don’t vote, PLUS everyone who votes in favor of the Democratic incumbent, will be added up against the Republican votes.

Come to think of it…

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Monday, July 05, 2010

"Independence" Day? Huh?

I hate to wreck the Fourth of July euphoria and all, but check out these sobering statistics.

Twenty-six percent of Americans do not know which country the United States achieved independence from.

When asked which country they thought we achieved independence from, the 26-percenters' responses included China, France, Japan, Spain and Mexico.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Michael Steele: “Barack Obama Invaded Afghanistan, Invaded Iraq and Created the Patriot Act”

Obama also cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans. He inherited a budget surplus from the previous president, and quickly turned it into the most crippling deficit in American history. And don’t forget, he shat all over the Constitution by eliminating Habeas Corpus; and he thinks the Geneva Convention is “quaint.”

And he spends way too much time hiding at his “ranch” in Crawford, TX, where he rides his mountain bike and clears brush. That is, when he isn’t shitfaced on Jim Beam. When his wife was in her teens, she murdered —

Oh, wait. OOPS.

We’re all waiting now for Michael Steele to do his best Emily Litella imitation: “Nevermind.”

Ready now, straight from the horse’s mouth:

Afghanistan is “a war of Obama’s choosing” and “is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in…If he's such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right? Because everyone who's tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”

Steele gave this little “history” lesson at a fundraising event that was “closed to the media.”

Closed to the media??? Heellllooooo?!?!?!?!? Dingdingdingdingdingding!!! Welcome to the Twenty-First Century! There’s no such thing as “closed to the media” any more; and there hasn’t been for a long time now.

PSSST: There’s a brand new invention — a cellular telephone that takes videos. Wow!!!

Where the fuck has he been? Every time Sarah Palin goes to one of those “closed to the media” events and spews out her patented third-grader-at-show-and-tell shiny happy talk, her blubberings are posted on YouTube before she’s even through speaking.

As with so many other recent Republican blunders — if the Democrats can’t make hay out of this in November, they deserve to lose.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

NRA Says NO to Kagan. Case Closed. Next!

Just to keep up appearances, the Senate will probably continue their “debate” over whether to confirm Kagan for the Supreme Court. But it’s already a done deal. The organization with the tightest scrotal grip on the largest number of politicians — yes, the NRA — has tightened its grip and issued a stern warning.

Do NOT confirm Kagan, or your political career is toast.

OK, on to next nominee…

You know what they say about those sickfucks who torture animals — that these same shitwads will go from torturing animals to committing crimes against people.

Is there any truth to this? Let’s have a look.