Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, January 31, 2009

How to Create Four Million Jobs in Two Months

No, this isn’t some sort of scam, like how to make thousands of dollars a week stuffing envelopes at home in your spare time. According to this article, Franklin Roosevelt — with his Civil Works Administration (CWA) — created four million jobs in the winter of 1933.

What’s more, as a percentage of the population, four million people in 1933 is the equivalent of ten million today.

During its five months of existence, the CWA gave the country 12 million feet of sewer pipe. The agency also built — or repaired — 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools and almost 1,000 airports.

And it wasn’t all manual labor (which most of today’s population “can’t” or “won’t” do). These projects employed thousands of teachers, architects, statisticians, bookbinders; and even 3,000 writers and artists (??). The CWA’s total budget was $1 billion. That’s equal to $16 billion in today’s dollars. About 80% of that money went directly into workers’ pockets. THAT’S how you stimulate the economy. What are we waiting for?

Our entire infrastructure is crumbling. Imploding. We have millions of Americans out of work, and we have work that needs to be done. Why can’t we put these two things together and solve both problems? We did it 76 years ago; we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

The bad news from this article is that Obama’s proposed stimulus package doesn’t have much in common with FDR’s successful Civil Works Administration. Instead, it has a much closer resemblance to FDR’s failed Public Works Administration. Hopefully Congress and the White House will make some important adjustments.

In a related story, Republican governors are telling their colleagues in the Senate to stick their lofty slogans up their asses and come down to the real world. It’s easy for senators to sit around blubbering about “self-reliance” and “bootstraps” since they don’t have to deal with any real-life consequences. Governors — and mayors, county supervisors, city councils — are the ones who have to slash funding for schools, hospitals, libraries and fire departments.

And regardless of their political views, they’re telling those asswipes in Congress to quit masturbating with soundbites and platitudes, and start putting America back to work.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Republican Party: “Was It Something We Said?”

Big Biff keeps hanging out in bars, trying to get lucky. His one and only pickup line is “Hey Bitch, wanna do the nasty?” Poor old Biff hasn’t scored for a long long time. Finally, after too many hundreds of lonely nights, Biff has started asking himself “is there something wrong with my pickup line?”

Soul-searching and self-analysis are always useful, but they have to be accompanied with a little dose of reality. Republican leaders are trying to figure out what happened in the last two elections, but they’re falling back on the old “we didn’t get our message across clearly enough.”

Or, going back to the earlier analogy, Big Biff is thinking to himself “Hey, I’m a deep, sensitive guy. How the fuck can I get that across to those dumb broads?”

When you’re turning inward and trying to figure out why you keep losing, there’s always the danger of coming to a completely bass-ackwards conclusion. Some Republicans are insisting that they lost because their message was “diluted.” “We need to Stand For Something!

And Big Biff is thinking to himself “Maybe I’ve been coming across as some sort of wimpy intellectual. I need to start acting tougher, more crude; show them broads I’m just a regular guy.”

Will Biff ever score again?

(to be continued)

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Survive Great Depression II

If you’re a failed banking executive who wants another trillion-dollar handout, all you have to do is look longingly at Congress and bat your eyelashes.

For the rest of us, it’s time to batten down the hatches, tighten your belt and do some serious prioritizing. Here are two articles that have helpful financial advice. There aren’t any brilliant new insights here; no magic wand. Just good old common sense. If everybody was following these guidelines, we wouldn’t be in this mess we’re in. And we won’t pull ourselves out of this Depression until millions of people start making the necessary changes.

This first article was written by an ex-convict. Prison teaches a person other things besides how to pick a lock, hotwire a car, and ninety-nine ways to kill somebody with your bare hands. You also learn — out of necessity! — how to stay out of debt. As the author says, in prison your creditor might settle things with a shiv.

Nothing new here, but too many people have forgotten (or never learned) that:

“The best way to get yourself in serious trouble is to take on things you can’t handle. Know your limits and accept what you can and can’t do. If you can’t handle credit cards, cut them up.”

“Your assets are only worth what someone is willing to pay…Too many people get caught up on artificial values on their house…and even their investments. Just because you think your house is worth $300,000 doesn’t mean it is— it’s worth what a willing buyer is going to pay.”

Yeah I know — “Duuhh!” But again, if everybody was using these common sense guidelines, we wouldn’t be in the fix we’re in.

Most of the comments at the end of this article are sympathetic, all except for one dickwipe who rakes the author over the coals for being an ex-convict.

3 Steps Back to the Sanity of Cash by MP Dunleavy also has some good common sense advice.

“If every ounce of credit now available to you, in the form of cards or home equity or whatever, if all of it dried up, what would your life be like? The fact that that's hard to imagine is a sign of how deeply entrenched credit-think has become.”

When you go shopping with a credit card, you’re apt to have just a vague idea of how much you spent. When you pay with cash, you probably know the damages right down to the penny.

She says “Credit creates a fog. Cash will snap you out of it.”

Both of these articles have useful advice. Again, nothing you haven’t heard before. The steps they describe are simple but painful.

Maybe the economy will start picking up soon; maybe not. There’s an awful lot of doom and gloom in the financial news every day. Best to be prepared for the worst possible scenario.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Delete George W. Bush?

Erasing Bush is the title of this article.

Are you sure you want to send George W. Bush to the Recycle Bin? Y/N

So, what will we do about the previous eight years of powerdrunk corruption and High Crimes and Misdemeanors? Er, I mean ALLEGED High Crimes and Misdemeanors? Should we investigate, prosecute and lock up the guilty bastards? Or should we forgive, put it all behind us and “move on?”

Those tough law-and-order Republicans — the same ones who spent hundreds of millions of YOUR tax dollars investigating Clinton — are now suddenly anxious to “move forward” and “not wallow in the past.”

Democrats have been divided over this ever since the 2006 mid-term elections. Some don’t want to divide the country with too much prying and investigating. Others don’t want to set a terrible precedent — that it’s OK to subvert the Constitution and invade sovereign countries as long as Congress is full of spineless douchebags who keep looking the other way.

Or there’s the school of thought that the best way to get even with an asshole is to not be one. After eight years of festering putrefying sewage in the White House, Obama could come in, drain the swamp and start running an open, honest, transparent administration. The contrast between the two presidents might be the most wicked revenge ever.

I personally would like nothing better than to just move on and pretend these eight years of corruption never happened. I’ve written a few less-then-kind things about the Dumbya Administration during the past four and a half years, but it’s over now. Thank God. Dealing with the worst economic crisis in 80 years is much more important than digging for skeletons in Bush’s closet.

But, there’s that precedent again. Our country has one of the best legal systems in the world, even after all the body blows it’s taken in the last eight years. The legal processes need to run their course, regardless of the end result.

Now, about that “let’s move forward” argument — in my previous post, Lew wrote in the comments section: “All crime happens in the past, rape, murder, and theft are all crimes of the past…and in no way can we justify overlooking some crimes because of a need to move forward.”

Good point, no? If you’re ever prosecuted for a crime, try defending yourself with “Aw, come on, that’s in the past. Let’s move forward now.” Let me know how that works out for you.

So — what to do?

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Republicans: “Dammit, We Wanna Torture Us Some Ay-rabs!”

Eric Holder, unlike his sleazewipe predecessor, actually gave clear honest answers to the questions thrown at him by Republicans. Unfortunately one of his answers was the wrong one.

Waterboarding is torture??? Saying that to a Republican is like telling a junkie that drugs are evil; or telling Pat Robertson that there’s no god and religion is just a crutch.

The Republican fixation with torture is kind of like that dialogue from Blazing Saddles:

“You mentioned ‘rape’ twice.”

“I like rape.”

Since Eric Holder failed to give the Correct Answer, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have blocked the vote on his confirmation as Attorney General. They need “more time.” More time for WHAT???

That’s the same “logic” that drug warriors have been using to justify marijuana laws. We need to keep locking people up for 30 years for possession of marijuana because “we don’t know enough about it.” “We need to conduct more studies, more tests.”

Maybe these fixated Republican senators could just rent or download a few juicy torture videos and get themselves off at home. And then the rest of us can get on with the task of digging out from our 8-year disaster.

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Is this a great country or what?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is IT Really Going To Leave?

For the past few years, some bloggers have talked about Bushcheney declaring martial law. Laws have been quietly changed and reworded, so that in case of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, disease outbreak — Bush can declare a State of Emergency and impose martial law. Etc.

The counter-argument is usually that America could never become a police state because there are too many millions of armed households in the country. As The Doors once sang, “they’ve got the guns but we’ve got the numbers.”

And the counter-counter-argument would be that Americans have become too addled and too zombified to know or care what’s happening around them. We’d all be so busy watching American Idol and Fear Factor, there could be tanks rolling down the street and we wouldn’t notice.

In any case, the paranoid arguments and counter-arguments have pretty much subsided lately. The paranoia has given way to that odd combination of euphoria, anticipation and “Are We There Yet????”

Should we be afraid?

In Romania, the Ceausescu regime was probably Europe’s most brutal post-WWII government. In 1989 Ceausescu was overthrown, executed and dragged through the streets of Bucharest. Steps 2 and 3 should’ve been switched around.

Here was one of his many dirty tricks: Some remote parts of Romania had a fake “border” out in the middle of nowhere. People trying to escape the country would sneak through the woods, cautiously creep up to the “border,” and slip past. They’d be ecstatic, euphoric, jumping for joy, dancing, hugging. Then they’d walk on, come to the real border, and get arrested and sent back to be tortured and executed.

But I digress. I don’t know what made me think of that.

Are we there yet??????

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Starting to See a Few Rays of Sunshine

Is this really possible? After eight years inside this Orwellian dungeon, a few rays of sunshine are starting to poke through the walls. Little shafts of hope. Sanity. The light is almost blinding. What could this mean?

The new Attorney General-designate, Eric Holder, has said that waterboarding is a harmless fraternity prank torture. Oh come on. What if there was a ticking time bomb and this swarthy terrorist was the only person who knew where it was and how we could disable it??? We could save millions of lives by torturing this cretin. On 24 the other night…

You think that’s scary? Lisa Jackson, Obama’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, said the EPA will make decisions based on bribes from developers science. Science??

Obama’s nominee for Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano, said she will “revisit” the infamous REAL ID that Shoe Man has been obsessed with since 9/11.

In Congress, the newest multi-billion-dollar stimulus package is going to eliminate billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that banks started getting last fall. And the newest round of tax cuts will go mostly to homebuilders, retailers, manufacturers and low-income families.

Ah, a little more sunlight is peeking through. It’s intoxicating. Rumor has it that in just a few days, the dungeon doors will be thrown open, and our eight-year nightmare will be OVER.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Other Population Explosion

Mankind isn’t the only animal that’s going forth and multiplying and smothering the planet. The oceans are being strangled by jillions and gazillions of jellyfish — sort of the Homo sapiens of the marine world.

This is being caused partially by over-fishing, which is removing their predators and competitors. Another factor is the warming of the oceans. In other words — sorry, rightwads — global warming. Climate change.

Pollution is another culprit. Jellyfish thrive in the kind of pollution that kills almost everything else. Maybe someday the oceans will be like those clogged sick polluted rivers that have nothing but carp.

One of the worst examples is the Black Sea. According to a recent sampling, ninety percent of its biomass was jellyfish. [shudder] Aah, come on in, the water’s nice.

The Sea of Japan has also been swamped with hordes of jellyfish. If this article is correct, 300 million to 500 million jellyfish were flowing into the Sea of Japan from the Tsushima Strait every day.

The same eco-nightmare is happening in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Florida, among other places.

The Global-Warming-Is-A-Myth brigade might soon be dealing with a tougher opponent than just a few wacky treehuggers: the international fishing and tourism industries.

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Right to a Speedy Trial

The United States Constitution guarantees us the right to a speedy trial. The Supreme Court will soon decide whether spending three years in jail — waiting to be tried — is considered a “speedy trial.”


Most people with an IQ higher than their shoe size will agree that three years does not a speedy trial make. Unfortunately, the suspect in this case will be a perfect poster child for the usual rightwing drivel about “coddling criminals” and being “soft on crime.”

Michael Brillon, of Bennington, Vermont, was charged with assault after punching his girlfriend in the face. He has previous convictions for obstruction of justice and sexual assault on a minor.

Obviously this asswipe should serve a long prison sentence, or get the shit beat out of him by a friend or relative of the victim, or something. But — not until AFTER he’s been tried and found guilty.

Brillon was convicted of this assault charge in 2004 — after waiting three years for his trial. He was sentenced to 12 to 20 years for the assault charge plus being a habitual offender. A Vermont court overturned the conviction because Brillon’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated.

And now a huge coalition of governors, mayors, county governments and a victims’ rights group has appealed this case to the U.S. Supreme Court. They’re worried that if Brillon’s conviction isn’t reinstated, other criminals will wiggle out of their prison sentences using that same speedy trial “gimmick.”

Here’s a thought: Maybe they could wait less than three years before putting a suspect on trial. DUUUHHH!!!

Don’t they study the Constitution in schools any more?

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Banking Industry Appalled at Bailout for Homeowners

This story isn’t from The Onion or a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s for real. WTF???

Two national banking organizations — the American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable — are having a tantrum because some of their $700 billion bailout package might actually go to regular people so they can keep their homes.

You can almost picture the stomping foot and the thrust-out lower lip. “It’s My bailout! My money! All Mine! MIIINE!!!!!

“Pleeease, I need a handout. My Learjet needs some repair work, and there’s a problem with the sauna at one of our vacation homes. Whaddya mean some lowlife working person is whining about his mortgage payments? Get a job! Oh God, please help me.”

Citigroup Inc. has reached an agreement with several Democratic senators that might help some mortgage holders avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. (This legislation hasn’t been passed yet.) Before you start patting Citigroup on the back — this agreement was part of the “strings” attached to their $45 billion handout from Us. From YOU.

Citigroup (like most other banking VIPs) had previously been against that socialist idea of helping homeowners with their mortgage payments. But when they saw the size of their gigantic gargantuan welfare check, and were told they might have to actually do something in return…

And in other Absurd But True stories: Sarah Palin is lashing out at the media. Again. Still. This time it’s because “the media” is giving kid glove treatment to Caroline Kennedy, compared to the harsh scrutiny that Mooselini got. Let’s see, Vice President of the United States for four years, maybe eight years, and a stepping stone to the presidency; versus the last four years of a Senate seat. Yup, same thing.

And now the U.S. Navy’s newest fighting ship: the USS Willie Horton. It’s a kinder gentler aircraft carrier.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

What’s The Difference Between a Revolver and a Stun Gun?

No, this isn’t a riddle. Bay Area Rapid Transit police officers can’t tell the difference. Or at least that’s the excuse they’re using.

On New Year’s Day there was a fight on a BART train in Oakland, CA. One of the people involved in the fight, Oscar Grant (unarmed), was forced to the ground by transit police officers. While he was lying face down, officer Johannes Mehserle drew his gun and shot him in the back, killing him.

Mehserle quickly resigned from the police department before he could be questioned. Some people are speculating that Mehserle thought Grant was armed (he wasn’t). Others are speculating that Mehserle thought he was firing a Taser and not a revolver. DUUUHHH!!!

As of this writing, Mehserle hasn’t yet been charged with a crime. And meanwhile Oakland is being torn apart by riots.

This wouldn’t be the first time a crooked cop has slithered away untouched. There was a similar case a few years ago in nearby Richmond, CA, another city with a high crime rate and an unaccountable police department. An off-duty Richmond cop shot and killed somebody during a bar fight. Prosecutors couldn’t (or wouldn’t) touch him because he was a cop. The police department couldn’t touch him because he was off duty. And off he went.

Here’s a link to the YouTube video that shows the BART shooting. And here are some more links to the shooting incident.

Since we seem to be reverting to frontier justice: Wanted, Dead or Alive — Johannes Mehserle.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

America’s Permanent Stain in Iraq

Long after “cakewalk,” “greeted as liberators” and “coalition of the willing” have been forgotten by American comedians, Iraqis will still have a permanent reminder of America’s 6-year, uh, “visit.”

Who needs the Taj Mahal when you can have America’s Shrine To Itself. The new American Embassy — the world’s largest — was unveiled yesterday in Baghdad’s Green Zone. A $700 million masterpiece, paid for by YOU.

Our sparkling jewel contains twenty-one buildings on 104 acres and has space for a thousand employees. It also has its own self-contained power and water supply. Thank God! Let those lowly Iraqis drink polluted water and stagger in the heat during their constant blackouts and brownouts. American diplomats deserve better than that.

It’s more than ten times the size of any other American embassy. It’s six times larger than the United Nations complex in New York. It’s roughly the same size as Vatican City.

Mission Accomplished!

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

George H.W. Bush: Shut the Fuck Up!

Everybody, all together now — put your index fingers together in the form of a cross, direct all of your energy toward ex-president Bush 41, and scream (silently) “NOOOOO!!!!

Earlier today, Bush 41 spoke the Unspeakable. The Unthinkable! Blasphemy!

In an interview, he said he’d like to see Jeb Bush become president. “My special needs child already had his turn to play president, and now I want my normal son, using the term loosely, heh heh, to have a turn. It‘s such a fun game, I want my whole twisted sickwipe family to play I'd like to see him run. I'd like to see him be president someday.”

OK, you know the drill. Index fingers together — “NOOOOOO!!!!

Sure it’s unfair that the entire Bush Crime Family’s image has been tarnished by George Johnny Walker Bush. Life is unfair. Hey, David Berkowitz has a younger brother, Biff, who would like to come and work for your company. Aw, come on now, you’re not gonna pre-judge him because of his sickfuck brother, are you?

Supposedly, if you go to Georgia and your last name is Sherman, you’ll get the cold shoulder from everybody just because of your name. I’ve never known if that’s true or just an urban legend. But the fact remains, certain last names are mud. And rightly so.

For years, bloggers and columnists have been guessing what would happen to the Bush Crime Family. Maybe Dumbya would be tried for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Or the whole family might flee to their huge compound in Paraguay, where they could become South America’s problem. Sort of an international version of the bus therapy that cities use for homeless people.

But having another Bush offspring shitting all over the White House?


cross-posted at Bring It On!


Friday, January 02, 2009

International Olympic Committee Gets Burned

A moment of schadenfreude. One of the victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is the International Olympic Committee. They could lose up to $5 million. Greed meets greed.

Now, I like the Olympics as much as the next person. The anal retentive schmucks that run the International Olympic Committee — not so much.

For years the International Olympic Committee has been suing, or threatening to sue, anybody — anywhere — who uses the name Olympic. I live near Washington’s Olympic Mountains. Olympic National Park is here; the capital of Washington is Olympia; and the area north and west of Olympic National Park is called the Olympic Peninsula. So far nobody’s forcing Washington to rename the mountain range, the capital city, the park or the peninsula. But you never know.

It stands to reason that a lot of local businesses here have used the name Olympic. Most of them are too small for the International Olympic Committee to bother with, but again you never know. It’s a Sword of Damocles that could fall any second, or it might never fall.

A local winery — Olympic Cellars — has been threatened by the International Olympic Committee. This winery has had the nerve to be successful and start selling some of their wine outside of Western Washington, and the winery is a popular tourist attraction. Goliath the International Olympic Committee was not amused.

For the moment there’s a sort of uneasy truce between Olympic Cellars and the International Olympic Committee. As long as Olympic Cellars stays small and confines most of its sales to the immediate area, nobody gets hurt. OK, no problem. After all, the purpose of going into business for yourself is to stay small and be unsuccessful, right?

Here is a link to some of the other trademark infringement lawsuits that the International Olympic Committee has filed or threatened to file.

Maybe if these assholes hadn’t been so obsessed with squishing every business and organization that uses the name Olympic, they would’ve paid more attention to their investments and not gotten swindled. They’re sort of like that oblivious driver who’s going 45 in the left lane while blabbing on the phone, changing the CD, eating, texting — and then veers off the road and into a ditch.

This post was brought to you by Olympic Blogging™.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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