Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Enter the Contest: What Corporate Constitutional "Right" Will the Supreme Court Invent Next?

The Supreme Court has already ruled that a) corporations are people, and b) spending millions of dollars to purchase an election is a form of speech.  Therefore, c) any limitation on corporate political spending is a violation of corporations' freedom of speech.

Next, the Supreme Court will decide whether corporations have the right to practice their religious beliefs.  Specifically, can the Affordable Care Act require companies to violate their religious views by providing birth control coverage for their employees?  Or would this requirement offend a company's religious sensitivities and hurt his/her feelings?  Since corporations are people, they obviously have feelings and emotions.

And if the Supreme Court rules in favor of corporate religious freedom, what next?

Now, you can enter the contest and make your prediction.  Maybe corporations can use the right to assemble to fire anyone who's the wrong gender, religion or ethnic group.

How about the Second Amendment?  Can a corporation arm itself to the teeth?

To participate, e-mail your prediction to contest@theweek.com before noon (Eastern Time), December 3rd.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Another Warm and Fuzzy Thanksgiving Message from William S. Burroughs

As I've done on previous Thanksgivings, here's something to get everyone into that festive Holiday spirit:  a tingly-all-over Kodak-Moment Thanksgiving Poem from William S. Burroughs.

Enjoy.  And Happy Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pope Francis on “Tyranny of Unfettered Capitalism” and “Idolatry of Money”

Uh oh.  Pope Francis might need to tone down the liberal rhetoric before he alienates too many Christians.  He's really pushing it this time.  Jesus' actual teachings are being brought to the forefront.  Meanwhile, the Supply Side Jesus — the one who embraced the moneylenders and drove the beggars from the temple — is being driven further and further out to the fringes.

The Pope has referred to unfettered capitalism as “the new tyranny.”  He also attacked the “idolatry of money” and urged politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare.”

He also said:

“Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”


“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?...I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”


But again, he needs to watch out for those Biblethumping Christians.  When somebody crosses their Supply Side Jesus, things get ugly.

For those Biblewipes who are offended by the Pope's “leftist" rhetoric, Bill Maher says:

“If Sarah Palin thinks Pope Francis is liberal, wait until she sees what Jesus has been saying.”

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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Christmas Candle

Rick Santorum's Christmas movie appears to be every bit as successful as his political career.  The Christmas Candle has flopped at the box office as well as being panned by critics.

The movie takes place in the fictitious English village of Gladbury, and is being promoted as “a timeless holiday film for the entire family.” The New York Daily News begs to differ:

“This odd Dickens-meets-Sunday-school movie is as artless as the setup is muddled.”

 The New York Post:  “This throwback, made-for-TV-style film takes the easy way out in a cheesy climax, but its resolute quaintness may appeal to the kind of viewers who regard electricity as disturbingly newfangled.”

 Poor Rick.  But on the bright side, how many other politicians have a new word named after them?

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Tragic Death on November 22nd, 1963

Aldous Huxley died fifty years ago today.  (Who'd you think I was talking about?)

The Doors of Perception (which inspired the name for Jim Morrison and company), Brave New World — Aldous Huxley left us a huge legacy.  Brave New World had the most accurate predictions of any of the “futuristic” novels I've read (it was published in 1932).

It took place in London in the year 2540.  And it was partially inspired by Huxley's “first visit to the US, in which he was struck by how a population could apparently be rendered docile by advertising and retail therapy.”  [from the linked article]

Sound familiar?

Motherhood is non-existent; all children are mass produced through in vitro fertilization.  Each infant has his/her capabilities carefully modulated, depending on which caste this individual will be assigned to.  The lower castes are programmed to be perfectly happy and content in their assigned role in society.  Soma is a harmless narcotic which is available to everybody.  Soma reinforces everybody's blissful satisfaction with their lot in life.

It's a totalitarian society, but everyone is too blissed out to care.

What's our own version of Soma?  The linked article says:

“Our runaway infatuation with the sleek toys produced by the likes of Apple and Samsung — allied to our apparently insatiable appetite for Facebook, Google and other companies that provide us with “free” services in exchange for the intimate details of our daily lives — might well turn out to be as powerful a narcotic as Soma was for the inhabitants of Brave New World.”

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nuclear Option: YES!!!

Again, that's YES.

Go Nuclear!  WTF have they been waiting for?!?

Today in the Senate, there was a rare sighting of certain body parts — spines, balls — that aren't usually associated with Senate Democrats.  Senate Republicans have been governing by filibuster ever since Obama got elected, and it's been getting worse every day.  Democrats kept threatening to eliminate the filibuster — i.e. the Nuclear Option — but it was always just talk; no action.  Until today.

Harry Reid and the other 51 senators who finally voted to eliminate the filibuster — You Go Guys!!!

Now that the GOP's three ring circus has been curtailed just a little, maybe, just maybe, President Barack Obama can start getting his judicial and cabinet nominees voted on and approved, just like other presidents have always done.  Ya think????

Starting today, the U.S. Senate might be just a little less constipated.  It's about fuckin' time!

I hate to admit it, but my favorite part of the Nuclear Option is the mass tantrum-throwing and hissy-fitting from the Right.  Twist in the wind, suckers.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Green Tea Coalition

This kind of Strange Bedfellows coalition should happen more often.  In Georgia, the Tea Party and the Sierra Club have joined forces against a common enemy.  This coalition has successfully fought twice against corporate/government cronyism, and they’re gearing up for a third battle.

Their current fight is against a proposed new stadium in the suburbs of Atlanta.  If approved, it’ll be the new home of the Atlanta Braves, and will cost local taxpayers $300 million.  Debbie Dooley, co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party, said:

“This is another example of the good ol' boys getting rich and the taxpayers getting the shaft.”

The Sierra Club is opposed to the new stadium since its suburban location means less access to mass transit; and that of course means more traffic and more air pollution.

Last year the two groups joined forces to defeat a ten-year sales tax increase that would have financed a huge transit project.  The Tea Party was against it because of the tax increase.  The Sierra Club was against the project itself because most of the funding would go toward highways instead of mass transit.  Working together, the two groups prevailed.

The coalition's first success was a campaign in favor of renewable energy.  Debbie Dooley of the Atlanta Tea Party explains:

In Georgia, we have one company controlling all of the electricity production, which means consumers have no say in what kind of power they must buy. A solar company could not start up and offer clean power to customers because of restrictions in state law. Our Constitution does not say that government should pick winners and losers, but that is what government is doing when it protects the interests of older technologies over clean energy that’s now available at competitive prices. I say, let the market decide.
I don't usually agree with the Tea Party, but like the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Iranian Extremists, American Chickenhawks: Can’t Tell the Players Without a Program

This article is titled “Ignore the Extremists in Tehran and on Capitol Hill.”

A failed Iranian presidential candidate says “fighting the global arrogance and hostile policies of America is a symbol of our national solidarity.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee calls Iran’s newly elected president “a slick snake-oil salesman.”  Another member of the same committee says Americans are “making fools out of ourselves” by negotiating with Iran.  And Rep. Tom Marino (R—Inbred) says “I'm so upset over the fact that this administration thinks that if they put their arms around these terrorists, we're going to sing 'Kumbaya' and everything's going to be fine.”

In other words, Iranian militants and American warmongers are mirror images of each other.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — the government “Enforcer” that terrifies most of the population — gets most of its wealth and power by smuggling “forbidden” goods into Iran.  This lucrative smuggling business would not be possible without America’s continuing sanctions against Iran.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Revolutionary Guard Corps — the two mirror images — are cooperating closely to maintain hostility between the two countries.

Americans haven’t gotten over the 1979 takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran by Iranian fanatics.  Iranians haven’t gotten over the CIA’s overthrow of Iran’s elected president in 1953.  As the linked article says:

“If emotion is the worst guide for diplomacy, cool assessment of national interest is the best…No step the United States could take anywhere in the world would strengthen U.S. national security more quickly and decisively than reconciliation with Iran.”

Just three examples of America’s and Iran’s common enemies:  Afghanistan being the source of most of the heroin in the world; al Qaeda; and the Taliban.  (Both of those groups are Sunni.  Iranians are Shiites.)

The article concludes with:

“Reconciliation between Tehran and Washington would be a turning point in modern Middle Eastern history. Those in both capitals who seek to block it are undermining the long-term security of their two countries.”

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Attention, Women: After You Have a Baby, Your College Education will be FREE!!!

YES.  It’s true.  If you’re a woman who’s considering an abortion, DON’T.  Instead, obey God’s command, carry your pregnancy to term, and you’ll be rewarded with a FREE college education.

This is just one of the many little-known facts being publicized by your local Crisis Pregnancy Center.  Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), as you probably know, are Christian “right to life” fronts which are disguised as family planning clinics.  When a desperate pregnant woman is lured into a Crisis Pregnancy Center — thinking she’ll get an abortion — she gets bombarded with hours of Christian “counseling” instead.

Like all slick recruiters and salespeople, these CPC employees will tell a pregnant woman ANYTHING to persuade her to have the baby.

NARAL and the Feminist Majority Foundation conducted a recent sting operation against Crisis Pregnancy Centers and their slippery tactics.  In addition to “Have your baby and your college education will be free,” other blatant CPC lies included:

“Your boyfriend will leave you if you get an abortion.”

“You will become infertile if you have an abortion.”

“You will get breast cancer if you have an abortion.”

And they told a Native American woman:  “As a Native woman, you should be more in tune with the natural world.”

Thirty-four states are providing funding for these anti-abortion front groups posing as family planning clinics.

Your tax dollars at work.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Health Care Rollout is a Total DISASTER

What did they expect?!?!?!  When one sixth of the economy gets taken over by the government — by a single website! — it’s going to FAIL.  Why couldn’t those socialist bureaucrats see this coming?  How long do we have to wait before this lurching careening monster can be stopped???

And no, it can’t be “fixed.”  Tweaking the law, tweaking the website — forget it!  Repeal it NOW.  Repeal and replace!

After several weeks of being “up and running,” a whopping 123 people have signed up for this boondoggle.  Repeal and replace!

Yes, when Mitt Romney’s socialist Romneycare first rolled out in Massachusetts in January 2007, it was a nightmare.  An unmitigated disaster.

And who came up with this Communist idea in the first place?  The government can force its citizens to purchase health insurance?  What country is this, the Soviet Union???

But you can’t blame Mitt Romney for this.  He was only following orders from his fellow Communists at the Heritage Foundation.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Occupy Wall Street purchases $15 Million of Americans’ Medical Debts

The Rolling Jubilee Project, a spin-off of Occupy Wall Street, has purchased nearly $15 million worth of personal medical debts, and has forgiven the debts.

The group spent $400,000 to buy the debts at a fifty-to-one ratio.  This random act of kindness has liberated 2,693 people who had been overwhelmed by medical expenses.  A message at the Rolling Jubilee website says:

“Think of it as a bailout of the 99 percent by the 99 percent.”

Remember:  Sixty percent of American bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.

Here’s another article that says “Occupy Wall Street’s debt buying strikes at the heart of capitalism.”

The article makes some interesting points.  It closes with:

“And if your instinct is to point out that $15 million is so small a drop in the ocean as to be insignificant, my response would be: not to the 2,693 people who received that letter. The sparkle of a lit fuse is, by its nature, humble.”

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Tales from the Keystone Klansmen

Also known as “How many Ku Klux Klansmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?”  Or, why are inbred racists not allowed to take coffee breaks at work?  (A.:  It takes too long to retrain them.)

A Ku Klux Klan chapter in North Carolina sent about 600 recruiting fliers to the community of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  Only trouble is, New Smyrna Beach is mostly black.


To quote from an ill-tempered supervisor I once had, these people “couldn’t figure out how to pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heel.”

The fliers all said “Our Race Is Our Nation” and showed a picture of a hooded klansman.

A local radio station asked KKK leader Robert Jones why they were targeting a predominantly black neighborhood.  Robert Jones replied:

“Well, we don’t have no way of judging where we’re putting the fliers at.”

You can’t make this shit up.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Smartphone Thefts: Company Profits vs. Consumer Safety

In New York City, smartphone theft is the fastest-growing street crime.  Last year, twenty percent of all street crimes involved smartphones or tablets.  (I don’t own either one of those newfangled contraptions, so I have no dog in this fight.)

Most of these robberies could be prevented if the manufacturers were willing to use an already-existing anti-theft technology.  But there’s no profit in doing that, so why bother with the extra expense?  And besides, when somebody’s smartphone is stolen, the victim has to go out and buy a new one.  Ka-Ching!

Thirty-one state attorneys general — led by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — have started the Secure Our Smartphones initiative.  New York City’s Mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, and the mayor of London, have also joined this initiative.

The group has sent a letter to executives at Google/Motorola, Microsoft and Samsung.  Apple didn’t receive the letter because they’ve been cooperating with this effort.

The letter states that South Korea has a Kill Switch that allows stolen smartphones to be permanently disabled, and this “raises the questions as to what the manufacturers are capable of doing if one country has already mandated a more robust response.”

The letter says some of these smartphone security features were tested last July, and “while some of these new anti-theft security features are encouraging, the response from manufacturers needs to be more robust.”

Schneiderman said:

“Manufacturers and carriers need to put the public safety before corporate profits and stop this violent epidemic.”

According to last night’s newscast, the thirty-one attorneys general are considering legal action if the smartphone manufacturers don’t cooperate.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pharmaceutical Industry WANTS Government Bureaucrats to Meddle in the Marketplace

I sure wish these corporate VIPs would make up their minds whether they want the government ON or OFF their backs.  A new law in Maine allows pharmacies in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand to export prescription medicines, through the mail, to Maine residents for their personal use.  In other words, the “invisible hand of the marketplace,” right?

Apparently, Big Pharm would rather have a bunch of “job-killing regulations.”  The State of Maine is being sued by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Maine Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and Retail Association of Maine.  These pharmaceutical companies are terrified of a little competition.  Help!  Bring on the Nanny State.

Maine’s attorney general, Janet Mills, responded to the lawsuit with:

“Maine is free to choose not to regulate the conduct of pharmacies located in other countries.”

Makes sense to me.

This is sort of a dilemma for Republican politicians.  What to do:  Live up to their “free enterprise” “personal responsibility” rhetoric, or bend over for their johns in the pharmaceutical industry?

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Friday, November 08, 2013

Koch Brothers: Biblethumpers, NOT Libertarians

Most people think the Koch Brothers are using their inherited billions to fund pro-business anti-regulation causes and aren’t interested in the Christian Right’s social agenda.


An investigation by Politico and RH Reality Check has uncovered a vipers’ nest of Biblehump organizations that are secretly funded by the Koch Brothers.  Tax documents show that Koch-funded “pro business” groups are pouring money into state legislatures’ attempts to close abortion clinics and ban birth control.

Senior Washington correspondent Adele Stan said:

“There is little doubt that the rash of anti-choice measures that flooded the legislative dockets in state capitols in 2013 was a coordinated effort by anti-choice groups and major right-wing donors lurking anonymously behind the facades of the non-profit ‘social welfare’ organizations unleashed to tear up the political landscape, thanks to the high court’s decision in Citizens United.  Helping to drive the right-wing offensive in the states and in Congress is a network of deep-pocketed business titans convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.”

A Koch Brothers’ shell company, Freedom Partners, is the main clearinghouse for these anonymous donations.  About two hundred donors give an average of $100,000 apiece, each year, to Freedom Partners.  Freedom Partners, in turn, has funneled this money into the following Astroturf groups:

Center to Protect Patient Rights, a gang of teabaggers dedicated to fighting the twin evils of abortion and Obamacare;

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, which pushes the Talibangelical “Christian” agenda;

Generation Opportunity, a cult group that’s trying to lure “Liberty-loving” young people into their parlor;

And we’re all familiar with the infamous Americans for Prosperity.

The president and editor-in-chief of RH Reality Check describes this confluence of gutting the safety net and all regulations while bringing back the Salem Witch Trials:

“It is a marriage of ‘church and commerce’ not previously seen in the United States.  Now it is clear that the Koch brothers are pouring money into a policy agenda that recognizes both corporations and fertilized eggs as people, but not the personhood of women.”

Yup, “Limited Government” in all its glory.

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Speaking More Than One Language can Delay Onset of Dementia

Speaking two or more languages can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years.  These are the findings of a study conducted by Edinburgh University and Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India.  They examined 650 dementia patients.  The patients who were bilingual or multilingual had a much later onset of dementia than the ones who only spoke one language.

And it doesn’t matter if a person is illiterate.  People who can’t read or write still get the mental health benefits of speaking two or more languages.  Education level, occupation, gender and whether a person lives in an urban or rural environment — none of these factors matter.  Any way you look at it — to paraphrase Mel Brooks — it’s good to speak two languages.

According to the linked article:

“The researchers suggested bilingual switching between different sounds, words, concepts, grammatical structures and social norms constituted a form of natural brain training, which was likely to be more effective than any artificial brain training program.”

A professor from Edinburgh University said:

“These findings suggest that bilingualism might have a stronger influence on dementia than any currently available drugs.  This makes the study of the relationship between bilingualism and cognition one of our highest priorities.”

I wonder if dementia even exists in Holland — especially Amsterdam — where it seems every man, woman and child is fluent in half a dozen languages.  I remember standing in line at an information booth in Amsterdam; everybody in front of me was a different nationality.  The woman behind the counter was totally unfazed, rattling off one detailed answer after another in Spanish, German, Tagalog, Chinese, you name it.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have our own flagwaving Klanbaggers clamoring to Make English Americas Offical Language.


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Washington Voters: Bought and Paid For by Monsanto

Washington ALMOST became the first state to require labeling of GMO products.  When the initiative — I-522 — first got enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, it looked like a slam dunk.  Who could be against a simple labeling requirement?  Food companies already have to tell us when their products contain maltodextrin, xanthan, BHT and hundreds of other additives.  Why should genetically modified organisms be any different?  Methinks Monsanto is hiding something.

Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association — a huge money-laundering organization that enables food companies to make anonymous political donations without jeopardizing their public image — together spent $22 million to purchase the election.  That’s more than twice as much per voter as they spent in California to defeat the same initiative, Proposition 37.

Out of that $22 million, exactly $550.00 came from within Washington State.  The other $21,999,450.00 came from national/global corporate conglomerates.  This fact was widely reported, but unfortunately it didn’t have any effect on the gullible voting public.

In other election news:  Chris Christie coasted to re-election (as we all knew he would), setting himself up to be Hillary’s most likely opponent in 2016.

It was generally a bad day to be a Teabagger. Thank God.  Ken Cuccinelli got defeated in his run for Governor of Virginia, mostly because wealthy Republican donors didn’t donate to him.

Same story in Alabama.  In a congressional GOP runoff, mainstream Republican Bradley Byrne defeated Teabirther candidate Dean Young.  Maybe the mainstream/non-teatard Republican Party is getting its groove back.

New York City’s Mayor-Elect, Bill de Blasio, has been described as the first genuinely liberal New York City mayor since John Lindsay, who was — this is not a typo — a Republican.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Senate Filibuster: Use the Nuclear Option Already

Enough is enough!  Enough of this tyranny of the minority.  Enough of the endless  blocking and sabotaging of every nomination and every law just because somewhere, a radical “Christian” sect or a corporate donor might be offended.

Today the teabaggers are targeting Mel Watt, nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and Attorney Patricia Millett, nominated for the United States Court of Appeals.

Tomorrow it’ll be the two nominees for the FCC.  After that, God only knows how many bills and nominees will be derailed by the Government Shutdown Party (formerly known as the GOP).

Regarding Patricia Millett, Sen. Patrick Leahy said:

“If the Republican caucus finds that despite her amazing, stellar legal reputation and commitment to her country, that somehow a filibuster is warranted, I believe this body is going to have to consider anew whether a rules change should be in order.  If Republican senators are going to hold nominations hostage without consideration of individual merit, we will have drastic measures…”

The filibuster is NOT protected by the Constitution.  It’s been a long tradition which was originally intended for extreme cases.  It was never intended to be standard operating procedure; a weapon for every Biblehumper or corporate prostitute who wants to bring the Senate to a halt.

Get rid of it.  Use the Nuclear Option.  If Republicans take the Senate next year and Democrats are unable to use the filibuster, that’s the way it goes.

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