Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

YOUR Drinking Water is Endangered

Chances are, your water supply is handled by a municipal or county utility. If so, try to keep it that way, for your sake.

Across America, this is slowly changing. This is NOT good.

Right now, 15% of Americans have their water supply owned and controlled by a private company (usually a multinational corporation with no stake in the local community). Now 15% may seem small, but this percentage has tripled in the past few years.

In a lot of Third World countries, the water supply has been privatized by global corporations. In almost every case, prices go through the roof, quality and service go down, and nobody seems to be accountable or available if there’s a problem.

In the most famous/infamous case, Bechtel purchased the water supply in Bolivia a few years ago. Prices doubled (Bolivia is South America’s poorest country) and eventually there were massive protests and riots threatening the entire country. Out of desperation, the Bolivian government cancelled their contract with Bechtel.

And now this cancer is creeping into America.

I first heard of this phenomenon about fifteen years ago. The town of Bodega Bay, CA “sold” its water supply to a private owner in Naples, FL. Suddenly everyone’s water bills tripled and quadrupled, service was “spotty” (to put it kindly) and nobody ever seemed to be available to help with problems.

At the time, this seemed like such a bizarre situation; I had no idea this would become a trend.

Currently the most high-profile battle is taking place in Illinois. More than a million Illinois residents have their water supply owned and operated by RWE, a German conglomerate. One woman, complaining about her $800 water bill, said “Everything we hear is double-talk. Should we call Germany to get the answers we need?”

Last month the mayor of Urbana, IL did exactly that. She flew to Germany to chastise executives and shareholders of RWE. She said “I fired a diplomatic shot across the bow. I was there to show the flag and to let them know that Americans are offended by foreign intervention and corporate bullying. After all, it’s our water, not theirs.”

Across the country, local governments have spent millions of dollars in legal battles and referendums, trying to reclaim their water supply from RWE. Since RWE has a multi-million dollar arsenal of lawyers and PR hacks, they usually win.

RWE of course puts its own spin on things: “government piracy” versus “free enterprise.” A company attorney has described these battles as “Zee communities lose and zee company loses.”

In Monterey, CA and Chattanooga, TN, among other places, RWE has spent millions of dollars to defeat local referendums for taking back their water supply.

Illinois has now passed a state law making it easier for communities to take back their water supplies from corporate owners. The legislation hasn’t yet been signed by the governor.

Like cancer, this corporate takeover of our water (and God knows what’ll be next) is easier to prevent than to cure. If your water supply is still owned by a local government, do whatever you can to keep it that way. Stay on top of things and do what you have to do to keep your drinking water out of the hands of robber barons.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

American Legion Condemns Chickenhawks

Well, they didn’t use that exact word, but that’s the meaning. Chickenhawks, keyboard warriors, members of the Chairborne Division — the American Legion has your number. In the June 2006 issue of American Legion Magazine, there’s an article entitled “How the Privileged See the Military.”

The article is a review of this bookAWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service — and How It Hurts Our Country. One of the book’s two authors is the wife of a career military officer, and the other is the father of a former Marine.

My favorite quote from the article is: “For those who wave the flag and support the troops but also consider their own family exempt from service because of the wealth of better options available to them — we suggest they take the magnetic yellow ribbon off their SUV and rethink their position.”

Bravo! Again, these aren't the rantings of an anti-war Leftist. This is the ultra-conservative My-Country-Right-or-Wrong American Legion.

Currently, the number of Congressmen and Congresswomen who are also veterans is about one third of what the number was just a generation ago. About one percent of Congress has a child who’s currently serving. Hell, it’s more fun to send somebody else’s kids off to war.

Or, like Moe used to say (pointing to Larry and Curly): “I’ll fight to the last drop of their blood.”

The article says “This is not a Democrat-Republican issue. It is a class issue — small-town, religious and middle-class Democrats are more likely to have someone in the military in their extended social group than wealthy Republicans living in big cities.”

The article concludes with “Why don’t the elites serve? Most probably they never even consider it…the reasons may change but one thing remains constant: the expectation that military service is for the “other” and never for the most privileged."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Assault With Deadly Marijuana!

Terrorists have struck again! Dallas is in flames! This time the terrorists didn’t need hijacked airliners — they used evil marijuana.

Marijuana muffins in the hands of two high school seniors — My God, we need to strengthen the Patriot Act! More surveillance! More prisons!

Thank God the FBI has gotten involved. A terrorism task force was also called in.

The two students delivered the deadly muffins to the teachers’ lounge at their high school. Eighteen school employees reported feelings of lightheadedness and other symptoms. Uh oh — Reefer Madness!

With all due sympathy to these eighteen victims, they’ll need to be quarantined and watched very very closely. We all know what marijuana can do. These poor dupes will soon be heroin addicts, crazed lunatics, and Communists. They probably should just be shot and put out of their misery.

The two teenage terrorists are each facing five felony assault charges. Since illegal drugs were involved, prosecutors are trying to upgrade the charges. The students could get a maximum of twenty years.

It is this writer’s opinion that our wimpy American prison system is too good for these wicked perverts. They need to be rendered to one of our secret CIA prisons in Uzbekistan for some serious torture.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Immigration: A Win-Win Solution

Everyone’s making fun of George W. Bush for sending the National Guard to the Mexican border. But think about it — Everybody Wins.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Clueless Asshole of the Week: Dennis Hastert

Hey, did you know that working people don’t pay any taxes? Cool!! I didn’t know it either, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert said so.

On the floor of the House, Hastert said “well, folks, if you earn $40,000 a year and have a family of two, you don’t pay any taxes. So you probably if you don’t pay any taxes, you are not going to get a big tax cut.”

He also said “Now, if you earn $1 million a year, you are going to pay about $400,000 of taxes. Maybe you’ll get a $40,000 tax cut.”

How did such a stupid dumbfuck manage to climb so high?? If, Heaven forbid, anything should happen to both George W. Bush AND Dick Cheney (aw come on, we can fantasize can’t we?), Dumbfuck O’Clueless is next in line to become president.

Or as this article puts it: “Hastert is two heartbeats away from the presidency. Unfortunately, Hastert is also two bricks short of a load.”

This article also calls Hastert “the Marie Antoinette of American politics” and “the dim bulb who was screwed into the speaker socket by Tom DeLay.”

Our taxes pay this asshole’s salary (and medical benefits, and retirement pension, and more perks than you could ever imagine). We’re being “represented” — SERVED — by sheltered pampered aristocrats like this. Gee, doesn’t everybody have a limousine, a penthouse suite and a summer place in the Hamptons?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Take a Shit on the Constitution, Get Confirmed

Sometime this week — most likely Thursday — the Senate will vote on whether to confirm Michael Hayden as Director of the CIA. According to all the pundits, his confirmation will be a slam dunk.

No wonder the Bush Administration is so full of twisted megalomaniacs. The more ruthless you are, the more you trample on the Bill of Rights, the higher you go. If you display Nazi-like behavior, you get rewarded.

Instigate a massive spying program against American citizens, and get selected to run the CIA. Michael Hayden should be rewarded with treason charges, not a promotion.

Maybe it’s a done deal, but let’s give this the best fight we can. If you don’t think a Josef Stalin wannabe should be running the CIA, click here. Ask your senators to vote against his confirmation.

We need to start demanding some tiny shred of accountability and integrity from the government officials who serve us.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Jesus Was A Homosexual!

Fellow Christians, you’ll need to be sitting down when you read this terrible news. It has now been proven that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was a, a, a — oh God I can’t even make myself say it — a homosexual! Say it Goddamnit, Jesus was a homosexual! The Son of God was a gristlemuncher!

The American Family Association has taken on the painful task of breaking this news to us. This incriminating photograph proves everything. All peepees and other icky un-Godly body parts have been airbrushed out of the photo, so it’s safe for viewing.

But we must all be strong and look at this photo. Look long and hard, and let the horrible meaning sink in. The rug has been pulled out from under us. Our beliefs have been shattered. Everything we know is wrong.

The Reverend Donald Wildmon needs to be commended for his bravery in sending this painful news to all of us. Please don’t shoot the messenger — the Wildomater is absolutely devastated by all of this.

But, after we’ve all grasped this awful truth, and what it all means, we must make adjustments and move on. If Jesus was a homosexual, then He was showing us the way. We must copy him. This will be a difficult change for millions of Godfearing Christians, but change we must:

Breeders are evil! Heterosexuality is just a lifestyle choice. And now we must switch and make the Right choice. Jesus said so.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Telecom Executives: Weapons of Mass Deception

In the high-stakes battle over Network Neutrality, the broadband companies are stooping lower and lower. They’re determined to make the Internet into their own personal fiefdom, with toll roads, fast lanes and slow lanes, and intolerable waiting periods for anyone who hasn’t paid huge extortion fees to use the Fast Lane.

The telecom industry already has more money than God. They’re spending millions of dollars a week to bribe their prostitutes (formerly known as Congress) to delete Net Neutrality, the Internet “First Amendment” which has kept the Internet a level playing field for hundreds of millions of users. And so far most of these hookers have been spreading their legs on command.

But the telecom monopoly isn't satisfied just having a million-to-one financial advantage over the rest of us. They already have Congress by the shorthairs, but that's not enough. They’re also stooping to new underhanded sleazy tactics that most criminals wouldn’t even sink to. They’re creating phony “grassroots” organizations pretending to “save” the Internet from “government regulation.”

The latest example is this group of lowlife douchebags. This group is affiliated with the largest telecom companies (AT&T, Cingular, BellSouth, among others), and they’re trying to con millions of Internet users into joining their cause (i.e. deleting Net Neutrality).

If you see an ad for this organization, ignore it. Even better, send them an e-mail telling them what a bunch of F#$&in’ C#&%$#%&ers they are.

Here is the current online ad being pushed by this gang of fucksticks. It’s sort of entertaining, but DON’T be fooled. Even more unbelievable: a lot of bloggers, including some of the big-name liberal blogs, are actually running this ad at their sites. Helloo!!! What’s next, the NAACP running a recruitment ad for the Ku Klux Klan?

So, in addition to having gazillions of dollars at their fingertips, the telecom companies are also stooping to the most slippery shameless tactics imaginable. Sort of like a 300-pound mugger using the most brutal martial arts tactics for mugging an old lady in a wheelchair.

So don’t be fooled by any telecom robber barons posing as a grassroots organization trying to “save” the Internet. Whatever your political views, or your favorite online activities — blogging, chat rooms, search engines, movies, music — the telecom cartel would like to charge you an arm and a leg, and/or keep you waiting interminably every time you want to download something. Is this what you want?

If you haven’t already done so, please click here to sign petitions and send e-mails asking Congress to KEEP Net Neutrality. Act now, while you still can.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hostile Takeover

This is the title of a book by David Sirota. The full title is Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government — and How We Take It Back.

Author and radio announcer Jim Hightower has said to “use this book as a lesson plan and action plan for taking our government back.”

Corporate interests have performed a hostile takeover of our government — both parties, all branches. Big Business and government have literally fused into one entity. The author says:

“The regulator is part of the regulated. The regulated controls the regulator. Once we understand that that’s what’s really going on behind all of the happy sounding rhetoric, we can better understand why we get the public policies we get, and, more broadly, why we are now living in a society where the middle class and the working class in this country are being crushed.”

This current mess didn’t happen overnight. It began in the late 1800s. A California court ruled that a corporation has the same rights as a person. This set a precedent for future court rulings; a can of worms had been opened.

Before this court decision that a corporation was a “person,” corporations already had plenty of power. A corporation is a concentration of wealth, and it can literally live forever. And even though a corporation is legally a “person,” it obviously can’t be jailed or executed as a person can. So a corporation, besides its concentration of wealth and power, now has the same rights as a person but without the responsibility or vulnerability that a person has.

About 100 years ago, Theodore Roosevelt put the brakes (somewhat) on runaway corporate power. But today’s global corporations make the 1800s robber barons look like quaint little mom and pop stores.

And here we are.

Our Government/Business monolith is constantly dropping slogans about capitalism and the “free market,” but that’s a far cry from what we have. This is an oligarchy. This is worse than the robber baron age of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The author says:

“What our government works to do is to rig the market – to weight and to distort the free market by permitting monopoly power by, for instance, telecom companies; by permitting monopoly power by large oil companies; by passing all sorts of protectionist policies in our ‘free trade’ policies that preserve unfair patent and copyright protections to create high drug prices in the Third World. So we don’t have a free market. That’s one of many very good examples of how big money interests deliberately skew our political debate with terms like this, and thereby make us think our government is doing exactly the opposite of what it is doing.”

The incredible power of Halliburton, the pharmaceutical industry and the oil companies, the corruption of Enron, the Jack Abramoff scandal — these are all just symptoms of the hostile takeover of our government.

And just to show how little difference there is between Democrats and Republicans: one of the highest ranking members of the Democratic Leadership Council was one of the signers of the original Project For A New American Century letter in 1997.

So, how do we break out of this? Is there any hope? Can any political party or candidate break this cycle? The author says:

“I think that requires political candidates who are willing to take on big money interests in a frontal way, in a public way. I think it requires political leaders who are not afraid of the labeling that the right wing and the corporate forces will throw at them if they take populist positions. The fact is, on almost every major economic issue, if you look at a poll, the public is far more progressive than what is coming out of Washington, far more distrustful of free-market orthodoxy, far more insistent on a strong federal government and state government that protects ordinary citizens. Right now, we don’t have too many politicians who are really willing to walk into that fire. But I think there’s hope...But this is a long-term battle. We have to understand that these stereotypes about both parties are in people’s minds, and the cynicism is very deeply ingrained. It’s going to take many, many years for us to turn the tide back, but I’m confident that it can be done.”

Let’s hope he’s right.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Monday, May 15, 2006

SUV Sales Increasing??!?

With gas prices going up and up and up, you’d think SUV sales would be going down. Apparently not.

At a Cadillac dealer in Washington, D.C., the Cadillac Escalade (13 miles to the gallon) is selling so fast they can’t keep them on the lot. According to the dealer: “My biggest problem is not gas prices. It’s getting enough of these trucks.”

Looks like we need to do more drilling. Hell with those sissy national parks and wildlife refuges — we need oil!

You have to wonder just how intelligent a species Homo Sapiens really is. The indicators are not good.

Several decades ago, a psychological experiment was done with some rats. If you put some cheese in a tunnel, the rats will go in and get it. If you don’t put any more cheese in that tunnel, the rats will keep going in anyway, thinking there has to be some cheese in there. But eventually they get the drift, and they stop going into that tunnel to look for cheese. The study concluded that the difference between rats and people is: people will continue forever to go into that same tunnel to look for cheese (figuratively) just because some cheese was once in there. Rats eventually get the hint; people don’t.

The above story was part of the literature from the trendy ‘70s Erhard Seminars Training. I have no idea if it was based on an actual scientific study or if it was just a clever parable. But it sure illustrates the neuroses (doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result each time) of some people.

Who the fuck could possibly go to a car dealer now and think “wow, what a cool land yacht. I’ll take it”?

Along with the Cadillac Escalade (sales increased 127% last month), the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon are also selling better than ever. Helloo!!

Supposedly the original natives of Easter Island died off after every tree had been cut down. The population had grown too large to be supported by the amount of food they could grow, and they couldn’t even build boats so they could go somewhere else. It’s fun to look back at primitive cultures and think how much smarter we are now.

But are we?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I’m Baaack

Been on vacation for two weeks. I meant to do a post saying I’d be gone and wouldn’t be posting for awhile, but it sort of fell through the cracks during all those last minute preparations. I don’t have a laptop or anything, so I just checked e-mail whenever I could.

Spent a few days in Sonoma County (CA), where we moved from a year and eight months ago. Like they say, “you can never go home again.” Our quaint little neighborhood in Forestville sure has mutated in twenty months. It used to be a street with one-story houses, and each one looked different. Now, just on our end of the street, there are three huge McMansions. The size difference is bad enough, but all three of them are just giant gray 40-foot-tall cinder blocks. There goes the neighborhood.

Spent two days in California’s Central Coast area — Pismo Beach, Moro Bay — and then on to Arizona. We stayed on the Hopi and Navajo reservations for several days. The Hopi region is an incredible Power spot. I’ve never been to any of the “in” Power places like Sante Fe or Sedona, but the Hopi reservation is one powerful place. Everything there just feels “different.” Hope the New Age Crystal-gazing crowd doesn’t “discover” it.

I’ve stayed away from the news these past two weeks, all except for the blaring headlines you can’t avoid. There'll be plenty of material for upcoming posts.