Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, June 29, 2012

Anti-Healthcare Republicans: Go Back to Law School

If the Supreme Court had overturned Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the Far Right had their talking points all lined up:

Obama spent almost two years cobbling this bill together, and it turned out to be unconstitutional.  Obama is a former law professor and he can’t even come up with a bill that the Supreme Court will uphold.  Etc.

So now that “Obamacare” has been upheld by the Supreme Court, let’s turn things around.  Republicans have wasted two years trying to get the Affordable Care Act overturned.  How many millions of dollars — and how many billions of man-hours — did Republicans squander on this empty charade?

Twenty-six state attorneys general took part in this clueless attempt to get the Affordable Care Act overturned.  Isn’t an attorney general supposed to be a lawyer?  Did any of these insurance industry hacks even go to law school?

What about that “Loser Pays” concept that conservatives love so much?  Will the taxpayers get back some of their money that got wasted on this frivolous lawsuit?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Ruling Steals Thunder from GOP’s “Contempt of Congress” Circus

Republicans had this whole thing staged and choreographed right down to the minutest detail.  The Supreme Court would overturn Obamacare, and on the same day, House Republicans would vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress.  They’d deliver a one-two punch to that Kenyan Muslim who’s struggling to get re-elected.

Republicans have to rely on these orchestrated theatrical stunts, since they have absolutely no credible ideas to run on, and their presidential candidate is a robot who only talks in Vague-Speak.

And then the Supreme Court dropped the ball by upholding the Affordable Care Act, and this decision is totally dominating the news.  The Contempt of Congress vote — the other half of the GOP’s one-two punch — is just a teensy little voice getting drowned out by screaming bullhorns and loudspeakers.

The Supreme Court has upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Chief Justice Roberts joins liberals to uphold law.  Jaw-dropping switch saves Obamacare.

Congressional Republicans are still planning to go ahead with their vote on whether or not to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress.  John Boehner said…

Will the Supreme Court ruling help President Obama’s re-election?  How will GOP candidates deal with this stunning defeat?

Congress has voted.  Attorney General Eric Holder is now the first sitting cabinet officer to be held in Contempt of Congress.  The House vote was 255 to 67.  255 congressional prostitutes got down on their knees and sucked off the NRA, one of the main backers of this vote.  108 Democrats walked out on the proceedings in order to protest the whole charade...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obamacare OVERTURNED!!!!!!

Relax, this is only a drill.  But if/when the Supreme Court does overturn the Affordable Care Act, what will happen next?

Will it be back to the drawing board, as if the raging battles of 2009 and 2010 never happened?  Don’t forget, Candidate Barack Obama campaigned for the public option during the 2008 election.  He took it off the table as soon as he got elected and the hardcore negotiations got underway.

But the public option was a popular idea during the 2008 election season.  If the 2,000-page Affordable Care Act gets overturned, maybe the public option will come back into favor.

Even better than the public option, there could be a slight adjustment to Medicare:  Make Medicare available to EVERYONE, not just people over 65.  Presto!  Single Payer, just like every other industrialized country in the world except us.

Or maybe we’ll go back to the good old days when insurance companies could turn you down because of your pre-existing condition, and/or your HMO could cancel your medical coverage AFTER you’ve already accumulated $800,000 worth of hospital bills.

Interesting times.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Darrell Issa’s Long Criminal Record

I got the idea for this post from Jack Jodell at the Saturday Afternoon Post.  His June 23rd post gives a rundown of Darrell Issa’s long record of criminal charges and convictions.  And he makes the point that the mainstream “media” never mentions any of this.

I knew that Darrell Issa was once convicted of auto theft, but I didn’t know his police record went any further than that.  It does.  It’s a big ’un.  It includes auto theft, carrying a concealed weapon, and insurance fraud (or whatever the charge was; he faked the theft of his Mercedes Benz).

Sometime after that, Darrell Issa had an extremely suspicious fire in a building he owned.  The fire broke out right after he had tripled the value of the insurance he was carrying on the building.  Insurance investigators were suspicious but they couldn’t prove anything.

If you do a Google search for “Darrell Issa criminal record” all of the above-listed crimes come up, plus a whole lot more.  Check out some of the links.

On the other hand, if you do a Google search for “Eric Holder criminal record” you get Nada.  Jack Shit.  Bupkis.  Sure, you’ll find some links about Fast and Furious and the House’s ongoing witch hunt; and you’ll find a few rightwing bloggers spewing their retarded venom.

But you won’t find any criminal charges, much less any convictions.  Unlike Darrell Issa, Eric Holder was working hard and getting one degree after another instead of stealing cars and setting buildings on fire.

Kinda makes you wonder:  how does a convicted criminal — and all around dickwad — like Darrell Issa keep getting re-elected to the House?  And how did he get appointed to chair the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee?  That’s much too important a committee to be headed by a car thief and arsonist.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution: the Disconnect

Or to paraphrase Tina Turner, “What’s the Constitution got to do with it?”

A Bloomberg survey asked twenty-one professors of constitutional law for their legal opinions regarding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  Nineteen of these professors said they believe the Affordable Care Act — aka “Obamacare” — IS constitutional.

However, out of those nineteen constitutional law professors, only eight of them think the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act.  In other words eleven constitutional law professors think the law is constitutional but the Supreme Court will overturn it anyway.

But [scratches head] uhh…isn’t that the PURPOSE of the U.S. Supreme Court???  To decide whether or not a law violates the Constitution?  Or do they make their rulings according to their mood swings, or whether they remembered to take their meds or who offered the largest bribes?

The Supreme Court already has the lowest public approval ratings ever.  (Still higher than Congress’ poll ratings, but not by much.)  Maybe the above-mentioned Disconnect has something to do with this.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Seventy-Three U.S. Senators Went Down on Monsanto

Yesterday the U.S. Senate defeated a farm bill amendment which would have allowed states to require the labeling of genetically modified foods.  Again, this amendment didn’t require GMO foods (genetically modified organisms) to be labeled; it simply left the matter up to individual state legislatures.

What happened to that “local autonomy” and “states’ rights” that conservatives are always blubbering about?

And why the fuck are we still arguing about food labels???  In 2012???  Since at least the 1970s we’ve been checking the ingredients labels to see what we’re buying.  Hello?!?!?!

This is just as retarded as dragging those 1960s birth control arguments out of mothballs and into the 21st century, just so rightwing demagogues can keep their inbred Biblehumping “base” all fired up.

Forty-nine countries require all GMO foods to be labeled.  The U.S. is going backwards.  Again.

The defeated amendment had been introduced by Bernie Sanders and co-sponsored by Barbara Boxer and Mark Begich.

Over 3,000 food ingredients are currently required to be listed on the label.  What are Monsanto and other GMO companies afraid of?  They claim their GMO products are the greatest invention ever, but they don’t want you to know when you’re buying it?!?

Organizations that are concerned about the possible hazards of GMO foods include:  Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Food Safety, American Public Health Association, Public Citizen, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Cooperative Grocers Association.

The U.S. Senate stabbed 300 million Americans in the back when they voted — 73 to 26 — to prohibit GMO labeling.  Seventy-three U.S. senators should all have big signs pointing to their mouths that say “Monsanto’s dick goes here.”

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

PSSSSTT!!! X-Rated!! Naked Pictures of Mitt and Ann Romney!!!

Gotcha!  This was just an experiment to demonstrate what Internet traffic experts are saying:  Mitt Romney is sooo BOOOORRING that if “Mitt Romney” appears in a title, the surfing public will NOT click on the link.

Or to use the current vernacular among people who study this sort of thing — Mitt Romney is Traffic Poison.  In another article, the author talks about the Romney reader curse.

This is something subliminal in the public consciousness.  It has nothing to do with whether a person likes or dislikes Mitt Romney, or whether or not they like Obama better.

Buzzfeed conducted an expirement:  They ran two almost-identical articles about the early lives — childhood and young adulthood — of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  More than 130,000 people clicked on the Obama article.  Fewer than 20,000 clicked on the Romney article.

According to one theory, Mitt Romney is purposely staying under the radar.  You would too if you were more bland than a warm glass of day-old Pepsi and more slippery than a street covered with wet leaves.  He’s more boring than a 500-page insurance policy.  He’s taken every possible position on every issue.  Of course he doesn’t want you to notice him.  Look away.  Move along.  Nothing to see here.

If you’ve ever read Stephen King’s The Talisman, Mitt Romney is a real life Morgan Sloat.  Morgan Sloat was as evil, sleazy and underhanded as any of Stephen King’s villains.  And part of his success came from the fact that nobody could stand looking at him.  If you looked at him, you could tell by his body language, wicked facial expressions and twitches that you wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with this sleazebucket.

Morgan Sloat conned people left and right because they just sort of pretended to look at him while he was talking.  If they actually caught a glimpse of his face, they quickly looked away.  And they got taken.

Morgan Sloat is Mitt Romney.  When you see Mitt Romney on TV or on the Internet — LOOK at him!!!  Yes, it’s unpleasant, but force yourself.  LOOK at that robotic face.  LOOK into those soulless eyes.  LOOK at that fake smile and those mechanical movements.

If you LOOK at him — and listen to his meaningless soundbites that all contradict each other — then you WON’T vote for him.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hundreds of Environmental Activists Murdered in Recent Years

This is worldwide; not in the United States.  (Not yet anyway.)  According to Global Witness, more than seven hundred environmentalists have been murdered in the past ten years.  These killings have occurred in 34 countries.

Most of the murder victims were indigenous people — or environmental activists working on their behalf — who were trying to protect their land from loggers, mining companies, developers and poachers.  Three quarters of these murders took place in Peru, Brazil and Colombia.  Another fifty killings took place in the Philippines; twenty in Thailand.

A spokesperson for Global Witness said:

“It is a well-known paradox that many of the world's poorest countries are home to the resources that drive the global economy. Now, as the race to secure access to these resources intensifies, it is poor people and activists who increasingly find themselves in the firing line.”

A Human Rights Watch spokesman said:

“It's so easy to get someone killed in some of these countries. Decapitate the leader of the movement and then buy off everyone else — that's standard operating procedure.”

I guess we should be grateful that environmentalists aren’t being murdered in this country.  So far, it’s been easier and less messy for a few energy conglomerates to just purchase a few congressmen, and to keep orchestrating those phony “demonstrations” for their useful idiots to take part in.

If these sleazy tactics start becoming less effective, what new improved method will Exxon and the Koch Brothers come up with instead?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Exclusive: The REAL story behind World War II

The American Future Fund (AFF) has revealed — for the first time — what REALLY caused World War II.  For all of Adolph Hitler’s atrocities, his most evil human rights violation was his ongoing threat to large corporations.  Hitler’s totalitarian regime — if he had conquered America — would have required politicians to publicly identify those corporations and wealthy individuals who had financed their election campaigns.  Can you imagine living under such tyranny?!?  To put it another way:  If Germany had won the war, and YOU contributed a million dollars to a politician, YOUR name would be revealed to the public.  [shudder]

We had absolutely no idea what was at stake in those bloody WWII battles.

Almost half a million American soldiers gave their lives so that, today, a Political Action Committees can contribute millions of dollars to a politician, and the public doesn’t have to know where the money came from.  Ah, Freedom.

The above-mentioned American Future Fund has provided this new information in a short film clip.  Images of our Founding Fathers segue into images of American soldiers fighting on D-Day.  And it all leads up to a clip of Mitch McConnell fighting valiantly to keep wealthy campaign donors from having to reveal their identities.

[swoon]  Doesn’t this just make your heart burst with pride?

The American Future Fund is supported by donations from Latin American drug cartels, al Qaeda and the Russian Mafia, among others.

Actually, nobody knows who the AFF’s donors are, since the AFF is keeping these names secret.  So the above guesses are as good as any.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Rodney King, the Riots, Aftermath, Etc.

There have already been a lot of retrospective articles about Watergate, since that scandal started unraveling forty years ago.  And now with Rodney King’s death yesterday, everybody is reminiscing about the Rodney King era:  his videotaped police beatdown in March 1991, the 1992 acquittal of the four LAPD goons by an all-white jury and the subsequent L.A. riots that killed fifty-three people and injured over 2,000.

By 1992, most people thought civil rights violations being acquitted by jurors was a relic of the Deep South in the 1950s and early ‘60s.  But that fantasy disappeared when twelve white trash inbreds watched the 81-second video of Rodney King being clubbed 56 times, watched the video again and again, and went “Huh?  Police brutality?  Where?”

(Two of the LAPD Gang of Four were later convicted on federal civil rights charges.)

Most people over a certain age probably remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the four LAPD knuckledraggers being acquitted, and/or heard the news that L.A. was on fire.

I remember some of the jokes going around:  L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates called for a two-week waiting period before you could buy a video camera.  (At least I think it was just a joke.)

Adam Sandler called Daryl Gates a douchebag on Saturday Night Live during one of his Opera Man skits; “bagga doucha” to be exact.  Also:

Q.  How many LAPD officers does it take to push a suspect down the stairs?

A.  None.  He fell all by himself.

And a few rock bands got in their two cents worth.  Living Color expressed their angst in a track from their Stain album (1993).  And on the Judgment Night soundtrack (also 1993), there was a reference to “L.A. ’92” on this Slayer/Ice-T collaboration.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mitch McConnell Receives Millions of Dollars from Drug Cartels and Sex Trafficking Rings

The above sentence was not intended to be a factual statement.  But rumors like this are going to keep flying, and keep multiplying, as long as Mitch McConnell keeps fighting every attempt to provide campaign finance disclosure.

What are McConnell and his fellow sleazebags hiding?  The “reasoning” behind the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was that unlimited “campaign contributions” (formerly known as bribery) were all fine and good, since voters could follow the money and see which politicians are owned by which special interest groups.  But we can’t very well “follow the money” when these bribes are anonymous now, can we.

Most voters are opposed to the Citizens United ruling that allows unlimited campaign contributions.  Among the people who are in favor of that ruling, most of them want full disclosure of who is bought and paid for and by whom.

Last Friday Mitch McConnell gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.  He lashed out at Republicans who are starting to “cave in” on campaign finance disclosure:

“I know that as November draws near, some of those running for office will feel the need to choose their battles.  There will be a very strong temptation, particularly among conservatives, to take this particular issue off the table, to make concessions. My advice is to resist the temptation. Because, as I’ve said, everything we’re fighting for is contingent on our ability to speak our minds.”

WTF???  “Our ability to speak our minds” is threatened if the public finds out who these secret donors are?  Who the fuck ARE these secret billionaires and organizations that nobody is supposed to know about?

Senator Chuck Schumer responded to McConnell’s speech with:

“…As Justice Brandeis said, sunlight is the greatest disinfectant. Senator McConnell is apparently now afraid of sunlight because the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent for his candidates and against the President, if disclosed, would create an enormous backlash.”

This is exactly why campaign finance disclosure is so important.  Corporations are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to purchase politicians, but they’re in danger of losing customers if the public finds out which candidates they’re funding.  Fortunately (for the plutocrats), corporations can make their political donations through the country’s largest money-laundering syndicate:  the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Politicians are bought, and the lowly public doesn’t know who bought them.

So let the rumors fly.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has received billions of dollars from North Korea and al Qaeda.  Mitch McConnell’s senate campaigns have been financed by the world’s largest child pornography ring.

Of course nobody can prove these accusations..  But slippery politicians can DISPROVE these rumors by DISCLOSING who owns them.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Alberto Gonzales: Obama “May Have Violated His Oath of Office”

Seriously???  The most corrupt unprincipled attorney general EVER, accusing President Obama of violating his oath of office?  Saturday Night Live and the Daily Show couldn’t have dreamed up a skit this hilarious.

Gonzales was referring to Obama’s executive order halting the deportation of some undocumented immigrants.  Let the courts rule on it; not the disgraced Alberto “Torquemada” Gonzales.

When Dumbya’s numerous scandals were being investigated, his slippery attorney general Gonzales kept covering for him.  His main weapon was to have more memory blackouts than anyone in history.  He hid behind the “I cannot recall” copout more often than all of Nixon’s Watergate conspirators put together.

Gonzales might not have violated his own oath of office, since the only oath he ever took was:  “MMMHH!!!  I just love to watch me some spreadeagled Gitmo prisoners!  Yeah!  Crank up those electrodes!  Higher!  Crank ‘em up until he — oops, I just creamed my pants again.”

And now this sleazebucket is lecturing Obama?!?  What’s next, Tony Soprano complaining about the high crime rate?

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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Republican Guide to Hispanic and Asian Stereotypes

Unfortunately, these swarthy creatures vote.  We’re working frantically to fix that problem, but in the meantime, here is our how-to guide.  If you want to pander to these icky minorities and con them into voting Republican, this is what you need to know:

Hispanics are the model minority.  They’re brilliant at math — each and every one of them — but they can’t drive.  And don’t be fooled by their mild-mannered politeness; they all have a black belt in one of those martial arts.

Asians:  well, what can you say?  All they want to do is get bombed on tequila and then lie around all day with that stupid sombrero covering their faces.  They all have quick fiery tempers — must be from eating all those red hot burritos — and each and every one of them carries a switchblade.

OK, if you’re a conservative politician and you’re trying to pander to these lowly furriners, these guidelines will help you to —


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rand Paul: Big Government Libertarian

What’s up with all these schizophrenic “Libertarians?”  If you’ve just gotten laid off and your health insurance has been canceled — straighten up and quit whining.  If you’re a CEO whose company will reap huge profits from our next military adventure — there there now, let me prop you up and coddle you.

There’s nothing unusual about Rand Paul; he’s just the most famous of these two-faced assholes.

During the 1970s and early ‘80s, one of the Libertarian slogans was “U.S. out of South America.  U.S. out of North America.”  I don’t know what’s happened since then, but there are jillions of “Libertarian” pundits and bloggers who preach personal responsibility and self-reliance for individuals; and massive handouts — with lots of tender loving care — for defense contractors and corrupt dictators.

WTF?  These schizoids used to be called Republicans.

Rand Paul is constantly defending his fellow chickenhawk — Mitt Romney — every time Romney thumps his chest and makes threats against Iran.  We all understand that Romney has to make these periodic war whoops to keep the inbreds all stoked and fired up.  But why would a Libertarian side up with him?

Rand Paul told Sean Hannity that he thought Mitt Romney “would be a very responsible commander-in-chief. I don't think he'll be reckless. I don't think he'll be rash.”

Riiight.  If Romney’s constant chickenhawk screeching aren’t rash or reckless, I don’t know what is.  Inciting a riot is a felony.  Why isn’t Mitt Romney in prison?

And Ron Paul should disown his pitiful son.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Warning to Corporations: Bribing Politicians May Be Hazardous to Your Financial Health

It’s too bad the Supreme Court prostitutes justices have opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations, thereby selling America to the highest bidder.  But just maybe, that legendary elusive Invisible Hand Of The Marketplace will balance things out a little.

An extensive study by Rice University and Long Island University has found an inverse ratio between the amount of money a company spends on political activity and the market performance of that company.  No doubt there are exceptions; I haven’t seen any reports of Exxon or Koch Industries going bankrupt (damn it!).

The study was based on 943 companies in the S&P 1500.  Over an eleven-year period, they measured each company’s end-of-year stock value and return on assets against the amount of money that company spent on lobbyists and campaign contributions.

The results of this study will be published later this year.

A few years before her death, Molly Ivins wrote that buying a congressman is by far the most lucrative investment anyone can make.  She said it’s so far ahead of every other type of investment, it doesn’t even matter what comes in second.

So which is it?  Personally I like the Rice/Long Island University results better.  A co-author of the study said:

“If you look at most of the literature on business management and strategy, the implication is that these investments really pay off.  But we found a really persistent negative relationship.”

This study should give a lot more momentum to shareholders who are pushing for the right to vote on their companies’ (i.e. the companies that THEY OWN) political expenditures.  This movement is growing and strengthening as we speak.

So go ahead, skanks.  John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy can go ahead and bend over for their corporate owners ‘til their ears are touching their heels.  Go ahead and put a giant For Sale sign across the whole country.

At some point there’ll be an equal and opposite reaction.  I hope.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And Now YOU TOO can have a Politician in Your Pocket

That’s right folks, the playing field has been leveled.  You don’t have to be a multi-billionaire robber baron to purchase a politician for your own personal use.

Right now, for as little as $51 on eBay, you can purchase your very own 3-inches-tall Mitt Romney.  You can fit your new Mini-Mitt snugly into your pocket, just as if you were a hedge fund manager or a Koch Brother.

And don’t dismiss the Mini-Mitt just because it’s only three inches tall.  Mini-Mitt is so wooden and lifeless, you’d swear it was the real thing.

Or maybe you’d rather purchase a mini- Supreme Court justice.  With this new level playing field, you don’t need to be an HMO executive to have the Supreme Court in your pocket.

Act Now.  Void where prohibited.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Using Eminent Domain to Condemn Underwater Mortgages

Not the property itself — just the mortgage.  Allow an underwater homeowner to keep his/her home by seizing the mortgage.  YESEureka!  (Or “Viola!” as Kellie Bundy used to say.)

Everybody wins — the homeowners themselves and jillions of neighborhoods that have been blighted with foreclosed/derelict buildings.  And this doesn’t involve any tax dollars or government agencies.  This idea is being pushed by a mortgage firm and a number of investors.

Mortgage Resolution Partners says condemning underwater mortgages and taking them out of the hands of private banks is “the only practical way to modify mortgages on a large enough scale to solve the housing crisis.”

We’ve tried everything else.  Let’s give it a whirl.

Mortgage Resolution Partners is working with local governments to find investors who are willing to come up with the money to finance the condemnation process on a large scale.  After taking possession of a mortgage, Mortgage Resolution Partners would restructure the loan, thereby reducing the monthly payments and allowing the homeowner to keep his/her home.

The chief executive of San Bernardino County (CA) said:

“We are intrigued.  Our economy in this county can't be turned around until a large proportion of the mortgage crisis has been addressed.”

The chairman of Mortgage Resolution Partners said:

“The private sector provides all the financing and all the risk with this program.  We have watched state and national government try to fix this and it hasn't worked.”

This sounds like the most hopeful approach yet.

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Republicans Determined NOT to Identify Their Secret Donors

You have to wonder what the Republicans are afraid of.  Who are these secret donors that the GOP doesn’t want you to know about?  Foreign governments?  Terrorist organizations?  Crime syndicates?

Two months ago the FCC created a website where some TV stations — only those stations that are affiliated with the four largest networks — would be required to disclose who paid for that station’s political ads and how much they paid.  It was a small first step for people who would like to follow the money and find out WHO has purchased our government for their own personal use.

And now the House Appropriations financial services subcommittee has killed that first step.  Along party lines, they voted to prohibit the FCC from implementing this new requirement for TV stations.  So much for those “public airwaves” we keep hearing about.

This FCC requirement was heavily opposed by the broadcast industry, since they’re expected to “earn” $3 billion this year from political ad revenue.  And needless to say, this requirement was desperately opposed by Republican prostitutes politicians and the secret “donors” who keep bribing them.

Reciting what his wealthy johns told him to say, Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R—Hands Around His Ankles) said:  “Television station fiscal matters are private and should be kept private.”

That’s right!  You wanna know who’s purchasing the election right out from under you?  None of your damn business!

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Friday, June 08, 2012

Check into your Motel Room, Get Stabbed with a Used Syringe

It’s bad enough you get bombarded with hidden fees and surcharges everywhere you go.  On top of that, you might get stabbed by a blood-covered used syringe that was hidden inside your motel mattress.

A family was staying in Aberdeen, WA because their daughter’s softball team was playing there in a tournament.  When she crawled into her bunk that evening, she got pierced with the hidden syringe.  Her mother said:

“There were syringes, plastic bag, bloody bandage all underneath the mattress cover. We were really shocked and freaking out.  It scared us to death.  Our main concern is HIV disease, and hepatitis B or C.”

The family has been told by a doctor that it could take up to a year before they find out whether the girl has contracted anything contagious from the needle.  And during that twelve-month period she’ll need regular blood work.

And now, for a final insult to injury, the motel management refused to give the family a refund on the room.  Their “reasoning” is:  they need to investigate and determine exactly how the needle got under the mattress cover.  WTF???  “How the needle got under the mattress cover?”

Uhh, going way out on a limb here, I’m going to take a wild guess that somebody left it thereDUUUHHH!!!

Not only is this motel “management” completely sick; it’s bound to become a public relations nightmare.

Welcome to the Bates Motel.  We have plenty of vacancies.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Scott Walker and his Plutocrats were Running Like Rabbits

I don’t necessarily believe this, but it’s a counterpoint to the steady drumbeat of “Democrats are doomed,” “the final nail in the coffin for Big Labor,” yada yada.

Last November, when Ohio voters overturned Governor John Kasich’s union-castrating law — similar to Scott Walker’s power grab — direct-mail has-been Richard Viguerie wrote a column titled “In Ohio, Union Bosses Were Rabbits Running For Their Lives.”  He wrote:

“Every day, there are millions of races between foxes and rabbits.  Sometimes a fox will win, otherwise there would be no foxes, but most of the time the rabbit wins because, while the fox is running for his dinner, the rabbit is running for his life.  So it was in the vote on Ohio’s ballot Issue 2, to keep or reject the new state law restricting collective bargaining rights for more than 300,000 unionized public employees.”

“While the mainstream media has presented the vote on Issue 2 as a key test of electoral strength in the coming presidential election, the 4 to 1 spending differential shows the Ohio vote was really a desperate race for life on the part of the public sector unions…”

“The union rabbits, with money and manpower brought in from across the nation, have won this race, but taxpayers will regroup and continue the chase in all 50 states next year.”

Substitute Ohio’s vote on Issue 2 with Scott Walker’s recall victory, and change the “4 to 1 spending differential” to “7 to 1” — the ratio by which Walker’s owners outspent the Democrats — and Richard Viguerie’s column makes just as much sense.

Personally I didn’t think last year’s Ohio vote was a grand omen for future national elections, and I don’t think the June 5th vote in Wisconsin was either.

Oh, and there’s one tiny item from Tuesday’s Wisconsin vote that’s been totally lost in all the swooning over Scott Walker.  State Senator John Lehman (D) defeated Republican Van Wanggaard, thereby giving Democrats control of the Wisconsin senate.

Just thought it might be worth a mention.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Washington State: How NOT to Run a Liquor Store

I didn’t think this would make the national news.  With the most volatile mudslinging election EVER coming up in a few months, most Americans could give two shits whether Washington residents purchase their booze at the supermarket or at a state-run liquor store.

Then again, Washington’s newly privatized liquor distribution system is a microcosm of the ongoing Corporate/Rightwing drive to privatize everything from education to prisons to mass transit.  In this particular case, it backfired big time.  It was a gold mine for Costco, which spent $22 million to purchase the statewide election results.  It was a knife in the back for almost everyone else, especially the approximately 1,000 civil service employees of the Washington State Liquor Department who are now unemployed.

Liquor privatization was approved by Washington voters last November.  During the months leading up to the election, the ubiquitous soundbite was “get the government out of the liquor business.”  This phrase was parroted endlessly by millions of Washington residents who probably had no idea how robotic and drone-like they sounded.  Conversations, letters to the editor, opinion poll questions — everybody who was in favor of the liquor privatization initiative used that exact same wording, again and again.  Were they thinking or were they programmed?

Privatization and competition are always better than a bunch of faceless bureaucrats regulating everything.  Right?  Lower prices, more choices.  NOT.  As of June 1st — when this new privatization took effect — liquor prices have gone through the roof.  At the now-defunct state liquor stores, the price on the shelf was the price you paid at the cash register.  Under our new improved system, there’s a whole shitload of new taxes, fees and surcharges.  And these new taxes and surcharges are NOT included in the shelf price.  When you bring your bottle(s) to the cash register — SURPRISE!

At our local Safeway, an employee was stationed in the liquor aisle, with the sole purpose of warning shoppers that the price would be about thirty percent higher than the price marked on the shelf.

Let this be a lesson to people everywhere who have been mesmerized by “Privatization is Good.”  “Privatization means more competition, lower prices.”  Etc.  Think, don’t Parrot.

We’ve all heard stories about reformed drug addicts who travel around the country, warning students not to do drugs.  An old wrinkled toothless former meth addict might say:  “Kids, meth ruined my life.  Don’t do what I did.  And by the way, I’ll be twenty-three next week.”

Washington’s gullible voters who approved the liquor privatization initiative could redeem themselves by traveling around the country, warning other voters:  “Don’t be gullible like I was.”  “If a corporation spends $22 million to purchase an election, ask yourself why.”  “If somebody’s only reason for being in favor of an initiative is a mindless recitation of ‘get the government out of the __________________,’ ASK this person if s/he even knows what s/he’s saying.”

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Monday, June 04, 2012

Help Overturn Citizens United: Rubberstamp Your Money

I don’t suppose this will have any effect on the Supreme Court’s “Bribery is protected by the First Amendment” ruling.  But it should raise public awareness, which is a first step.

Ben Cohen — co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s — is working with Move To Amend to distribute rubber stamps to the public.  He wants to encourage “thousands of people to buy rubber stamps and stamp any currency that comes into their possession.”

Each of these rubber stamps will have a slogan such as:  “Money is not speech,” “Corporations are not people” and “Not to be used for bribing politicians.”

And yes, it IS legal to stamp a message onto a bill, as long as the bill is still legible.

I personally like this approach better than “Occupying” public places.  You’re not confronting the police or alienating the public.  And if enough bills are rubberstamped, this has the potential to reach a lot more people.  Most people don’t follow the news very closely, other than the front page of the daily paper and the “top stories” on the evening news.  But everybody handles paper money.  This message might actually penetrate the public consciousness.

One can hope anyway.

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Hatfields and McCoys

Did anybody watch this?  If you haven’t seen it yet, the History Channel will probably be re-running these episodes ‘til Doomsday.  I really liked it.  A slice of American history brought to life with great acting performances and plenty of blood and gore — what’s not to like?

And now we’ve seen what Romania looks like (that’s where it was filmed).

As you’ve probably read, the Hatfields and McCoys mini-series was the second most-watched program (not including sportscasts) in cable TV history.  The linked article has four theories on why the mini-series was such a huge hit.  A lot of the comments at the end of the article seem to agree that it was so popular because American viewers are starved for substance, talent — something other than dimwitted soap operas and reality shows.

I’ll probably watch Part I again, just because the people all looked and talked alike at first, and it was hard to keep track of who was who, who killed who and why, etc.   The History Channel website has a schedule of upcoming reruns as well as videos of the episodes.

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Friday, June 01, 2012

FDA: High Fructose Corn Syrup Can NOT be Renamed to “Nature’s Wholesome Goodness”

In a stunning victory for public health over corporate money, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stood up to the Corn Refiners Association.  The Corn Refiners Association — the manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup — have watched their product become less and less popular over the past few years.  I have no idea whether or not high fructose corn syrup is as toxic as everyone says.  But with so much smoke, there’s probably a fire in there somewhere.

In any case, seeing their product’s popularity spiraling downward and further downward, the Corn Refiners Association has done what any self-respecting manufacturer would do:  create a better product that the public would like to buy Give their unpopular item a new name so the public won’t know what they’re buying.  They wanted to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to Corn Sugar.  Same shitty product with a wholesome new name.  Problem solved.

Thankfully the FDA shot down their request.  In the event that the FDA had approved this request, the Sugar Association was ready to file a lawsuit against the Corn Refiners Association for trying to con the public.  A lawyer for the Sugar Association said:

“What do con men do? They normally try to change their name. The FDA has thankfully stopped that.”

High Fructose Corn Syrup isn’t just a sweetener.  Almost anything you buy that’s in a can or a jar is apt to have HFCS in it.  Even “healthy” things.  Try finding a jar of wasabi or horseradish that doesn’t contain it.

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