Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wine Industry’s Profits Threatened by Fish Protection

Grape growers are the 800-pound gorilla of Napa and Sonoma Counties in northern California. Just as large corporations have a scrotal grip on Congress, local legislators and supervisors in Napa/Sonoma Counties have their nutsacks in the iron grip of the wine industry.

What the wine industry wants, it gets. Period.

If you have a well that just went dry because a local vineyard sucked up all the water, tough shit.

If certain non-native insect pests are found in the area, everything for miles around will be sprayed with pesticides. Don’t want your house, yard, family members and pets to be coated with poison? Tough. What’re you gonna do about it?

And now the latest target in the grape growers’ crosshairs — those F$#!%&$# fish in the local rivers and the meddling bureaucrats who insist on protecting them.

In order to protect the endangered Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout, a regulation has been proposed which would limit the amount of water that vineyards can pump out of the local rivers. If this law is approved, vineyard owners will need approval from the State Water Board before they can pump water from the Russian River and other local rivers.

I don’t know anything about the State Water Board, but I sure hope they’re less of a fox-guarding-the-henhouse than some of the local water agencies. In Sonoma County — where I lived until 2004 — the Board of Supervisors and the county water agency are the exact same people. Not overlapping — the same. Identical.

The five county supervisors stand up, turn around, put a different hat on, turn around again and — Presto! — Hi, we’re the water agency.

And this agency just loves to sell jillions of acre feet of Russian River water to neighboring Marin County, while knowing full well that the flow into the Russian River, from the Eel River, has been reduced. Connect the God Damn Dots!

Anyway, let’s hope federal and state regulators and the State Water Board will start protecting endangered fish. 2011 is the earliest this law could take effect.

In Sonoma County, thousands of orchards and crop fields have been plowed up and replaced by vineyards. Consequently the local wine industry is “too big to fail.” Let ‘em fail, if that’s what it takes to save wildlife.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn, J.D. Salinger: R.I.P.

Christ, this makes two great writers we’ve just lost.

J.D. Salinger was by far the better known of the two. His only book, “The Catcher in the Rye,” has sold more than 60 million copies since he wrote it in 1951.

Every movie you’ve ever seen about teenage anger, rebellion, nonconformity — was probably influenced by Salinger’s book.

Howard Zinn wrote “A People’s History of the United States.” This was not your father’s history textbook. This is an unabridged uncensored politically incorrect history of America — blemishes, warts, tumors and all.

Noam Chomsky said: “I can't think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence. His historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past.”

Here’s a link to “A People’s History of the United States.” If you’re not already familiar with this book, please bookmark the site and refer to it frequently. No matter how jaded you already are to “the official story” and the steaming piles of shit behind the lies, you’ll still be shocked by this book. And this is information we all need.

And finally: Take That, all you bigoted inbred Biblehumping redneck pukes.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

President Obama, State of the Union Speech

OK, I admit it. It was an excellent speech. In the past few months I’ve been disgusted and disillusioned with Obama's ongoing cycle of Dither, give a rousing speech (his weekly Saturday address), dither again, give another stirring speech.. Rinse and repeat. Etc.

I was fully expecting another smooth speech that would promise but not deliver. But he said everything he needed to say to acknowledge everyone’s fears and frustrations. (Full text here.) Just a few highlights:

“…change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry. They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded but hard work on Main Street isn't, or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems. They are tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now.”

“Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal. But when I ran for president, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular — I would do what was necessary.”

“Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers.”

And now, for all of the inbred teabirther tenther fucks out there — please try to grasp the big words in the following sentence: “And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.”

Knuckledragging rightwads, please read the above bold/enlarged sentence over and over and over until comprehension occurs.

And (sorry about the brief rant): “Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the interstate highway system, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.”

“You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China's not waiting to revamp its economy; Germany's not waiting; India's not waiting. These nations aren't standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.”

And regarding the yearlong spitball-throwing contest over health insurance reform:

“But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Here's what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform.”

“But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is election day. We cannot wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about their opponent — a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can.”

It was a great speech — a tough act to follow by the Wall Street Party, try as they may.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell gave a followup counter speech that was smooth, slick — or maybe sterile and lifeless would be more accurate. This automaton makes R2-D2 look animated.

Let’s put it this way: if you call the Virginia governor’s office and you think you’ve been relegated to a phone tree — that’s not a recording. That’s the governor, in person! He just talks like that.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Supreme Court: It’s Not Just for Bribery Any More

Halliburton is asking for a little help from America’s Bribery Clearinghouse (formerly known as the U.S. Supreme Court). Shouldn’t be a problem.

After all, this is the same “court” that selected a president in 2000. Shortly afterward, one of the court’s “justices” went on a hunting trip with the vice president he had just selected, even though this vice president had a case pending before the court. They insisted there was no conflict of interest here. A bit later, the “court” ruled in favor of its selected vice president; and this ruling had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the vice president and this court “justice” had just been out in the woods together, hunting and bonding and doing guy stuff.

And just last week the Supreme Court ruled that bribery is a constitutional right. Purchasing a few congressmen, rigging elections — aw come on, it doesn’t get any more American than that.

And now they’ll probably do this little favor for Halliburton. Incidentally, this vice president — who was selected by the Supreme Court in 2000 — was once the CEO of Halliburton. Small world.

Anyway, Halliburton needs a little favor from Bribes R Us the Supreme Court. If you read liberal blogs or “alternative” news sites, you probably know about this case. The mainstream “media” wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

Jamie Leigh Jones, a Halliburton employee in Iraq, was gang raped by some of her coworkers. This link goes into more detail.

After she was gang raped, her supervisors locked her in a shipping container for 24 hours. No food, no water and needless to say, no medical help of any kind. Jamie Leigh Jones filed a lawsuit against Halliburton (who wouldn’t?).

And now Halliburton wants the Supreme Court ("We Can Fix Anything!") to take care of this little, uh, problem. Halliburton’s current CEO and Justice Antonin Scalia will probably go on a duck hunting trip soon. And this of course will have no connection with anything when the Supreme Court dismisses that pesky lawsuit against Halliburton.

Coming soon to your mailbox: A plain white envelope marked “Do Not Destroy, Official Document. 2010 Congressional District Census.” When you receive this, please open it immediately. It’s urgent! The Republican Party needs money from YOU. That commie Kenya-born Muslim Terrorist is just about to take over America, and Wall Street needs YOUR help! NOW.

Michael Steele, the GOP’s Token Negro, said: “Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country.”

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Thomas Friedman is Right

Yes, it feels good to lash back at those knuckledragging Rightwingers who keep sabotaging and derailing everything Obama tries to do. How can you feel anything except hatred and contempt for America’s oligarchs, and the millions of inbred retards who keep enabling them?

But Thomas Friedman makes an excellent point — answering hatred with counter-hatred is not the answer. It doesn’t work.

Remember, America’s two most successful politicians of the late 20th century — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — were always positive and upbeat. They talked about what they wanted, not what they didn’t want. And as far as I can remember, neither of them ever indulged in personal attacks or name-calling.

And speaking of personal attacks — sorry, brief diversion here — it turns out George W. Bush got a bad rap during his presidency. Liberals kept accusing him of being a tyrant, a dictator, and “shredding” the Constitution. And now we find out — funny story — Boy George simply imbibed a little too much Jim Beam one night, lost his balance, and fell on the Constitution.

Anyway — Thomas Friedman tells Obama: “If you think that the right response is to unleash a populist backlash against bankers, you’re wrong…Americans don’t rally to angry politicians…We rally to inspirational, hopeful ones.”

He also advised Obama not to try fighting the dumbfuck teabirther scumbags by stooping to their level. Actually, his exact wording was:

“We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of ‘Start-Up America’…Obama should make the centerpiece of his presidency mobilizing a million new start-up companies that won’t just give us temporary highway jobs, but lasting good jobs that keep America on the cutting edge. The best way to counter the Tea Party movement, which is all about stopping things, is with an Innovation Movement, which is all about starting things.”


“Obama should bring together the country’s leading innovators and ask them: ‘What legislation, what tax incentives, do we need right now to replicate you all a million times over’ — and make that his No. 1 priority.”

I think this is an excellent approach. And if nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch the Republicans try to paint this with their usual “Socialism!” “Government Takeover!” drivel.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obama Threatens to Nationalize All Banks; Investors at Orange Alert

The Investing Class has been thrown into a state of sheer panic. Terror! According to that commie in the White House, they might not get bailed out and coddled and wetnursed by taxpayers the next time their companies are on the brink of collapse.

Panic in the Suites!

Obama’s financial reform agenda has some eerie similarities to that three ring circus formerly known as Health Care Reform. During this yearlong circus, HMO lobbyists and rightwing inbreds were screaming “Freedom!” and “America!” and “the death of this once-great nation!”

And from the other side we kept hearing that the health reform bill is nothing but a billion dollar giveaway to insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. It does absolutely nothing for consumers except force them to buy health insurance — which may or may not actually cover them if they have the nerve to get sick.

And now the financial reform proposals are generating this same hysterical point-counterpoint.

Warning to all investors! Government bureaucrats meddling in the economy. Etc. You know the drill.


These new proposed bank rules are completely empty. Toothless. Phony. Just more smoke and mirrors.

[sigh] So which is it?

And now, this exclusive report: A copy of the Pittsburgh Police Department’s job application form has been leaked to the press.

“Looking for a few good bigots. If you never got past the fourth grade, you’re White and your parents are first cousins — We Need You!” Perverts, psychopaths and ex-convicts welcome.

There must be a few lurid jokes in here somewhere. Go ahead — insert your own.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court: “Bribery Is Good”

The Supreme Court has just made an Earth-shattering decision. It’s unthinkable. Suddenly, it’s OK for trillion-dollar corporations to start pouring money into political campaigns. What will this mean??

This Supreme Court ruling is causing some unimaginable, horrifying visions of America’s political future. Just try to picture this nightmare:

Large corporations and wealthy individuals might be single-handedly deciding who gets sent to Congress and the White House. Sure, it would still be an “election,” technically at least. But with wealthy organizations funneling billions of dollars to the candidates they want, America could turn into an oligarchy. A corporatocracy.

And the laws that Congress passes would no longer be based on what the public wants. There’ll still be opinion polls, and people could still send letters or e-mails to their congressional “representatives.”

But picture this: a congressman finds out that 90% of his constituents are in favor of a certain bill. Then this same congressman gets a million-dollar “campaign contribution” from somebody who’s against that same bill. Guess how your “representative” is going to vote.

Now: multiply that scenario by several hundred — thousands even — and a horrifying image will appear. A nightmare! Are you picturing this??? Without trying to be too blunt or too pessimistic: our entire government could be hijacked — taken over! — by a handful of large companies and wealthy individuals. These millionaires’ “campaign contributions” will determine who gets “elected” and which laws are passed.

Millions of people will probably continue to vote in national elections, and they’ll probably feel like they’re actually participating; playing a role in our political process. But there’ll be this creeping, growing sense that voting is just a charade; that they’re just going through the motions. Eventually, fewer people will even bother to vote. More and more people will have this sinking feeling of “why bother” — that their vote just doesn’t matter any more.

This is absolutely unthinkable!!!

Yes, this means — no sense trying to sugarcoat it — that our current system, the political landscape we all know and love, will no longer exist. No longer will elections be won or lost according to which candidate is more intelligent and has better ideas. No longer will the public interest have anything to do with which laws get passed. These decisions will all be made by a few well-placed bribes and multi-billion-dollar advertising campaigns.


Say it isn’t so!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our Luxury Vacation in Haiti

Jeez, the liberal media with their constant drumbeat of doom and gloom. If you listen to the press, you probably think Haiti is nothing but death and destruction and mass starvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We had a fabulous trip on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. And one of our favorite stops was a private beach — in Haiti. Yes, Haiti really has luxury villas and beautiful pristine beaches. You just don’t know about them because that damn media simply refuses to report any good news.

But anyway, back to me. That pristine private beach in Haiti really was the high point of our cruise. Swimming in those nice warm Caribbean waters, sunbathing on the beach with an umbrella cocktail…aahhh, the Good Life. And we even had a barbecue. As you may have heard, the food on these luxury cruise liners is absolutely fabulous anyway. But to have this same top notch exquisite food barbecued for you on a private beach…[swoon]…to die for.

This has to be one of those “peak experiences” that those hippie psychologists used to talk about back in the ‘60s.

Now I’m aware that certain liberal redistribute-the-wealth Class Warrior types will probably put our luxury vacation in a negative light. “How could you?!?!?” “Sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while thousands of corpses are piled up on the streets just a few miles away?!?!?!?”

[yawn] WhatEVer. Hey, if you’d like, I can e-mail you some of our vacation pictures.

It’s really neat to see the luxurious side of a country that everybody thinks of as being backward and poverty-stricken. I’m gonna go on the Internet and see if any cruise lines are making stops in…let’s see…how about Somalia…

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Portrait of Scott Brown

This Tuesday, a Republican — Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown — might actually get elected to the U.S. Senate seat that Ted Kennedy held for 47 years. So, who is Scott Brown? For openers:

The Wall Street Mafia loves him. Brown is against Obama’s proposed tax on large banks, a tax that might actually give taxpayers some of their money back. You know, the hundreds of billions of dollars they gave to Wall Street without getting anything in return.

That gang of robber barons known as the Club For Growth is using some of its billions to purchase a Senate seat for Brown.

And FreedomWorks is back with a vengeance. Who could forget last summer’s orchestrated choreographed “demonstrations” against health care reform — courtesy of FreedomWorks. Our favorite rightwing Astroturf group is now organizing a huge Get-Out-The-Vote drive for Scott Brown.

In October 2001, State Senator Scott Brown voted to DENY financial aid to Red Cross workers who had volunteered to help 9/11 recovery efforts.

And last but not least, Brown even outflames the Afterbirthers. Not only was Obama born in Kenya, but he was probably born out of wedlock.

The Republican Party sure knows how to pick a candidate.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Republican Plan for Taking Back the House

The Rush Limbaugh party has a new detailed plan for winning control of the House of Representatives this coming November. They’ll be using a variation of that tired “80/20” cliché.

80% of their strategy will be attacking and sabotaging and derailing and slandering Obama and everything he stands for. This is new???

And the other 20% will consist of — according to the article — “talking up their own ideas.” [rereads sentence] “their own ideas.”

[scratches head] [puzzled facial expression]

And what exactly would “their own ideas” consist of? They’ve contributed absolutely nothing in the past year except lies and threats and more lies. And of course, the “proof” that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Now I’m not saying this is right, but it feels goooood. More than a hundred contributors to a rightwing website have had their credit card numbers and other personal information leaked. Now now, this isn’t funny.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) has received 139 faxes giving the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, credit card information — and the amount of money donated — on people who have contributed to ExposeObama.com. This website is run by Floyd Brown, who’s also one of the creators of the Willie Horton ad campaign in the 1988 presidential election.

Stupak said: “This apparent breach of personal information could easily lead to these individuals falling victim to identity theft if placed in the wrong hands.”

Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

California to England: “No! Don’t Do What We Did!!!”

We’ve all heard stories about reformed drug addicts who go on the lecture circuit, warning high school students “don’t let this happen to you.” “Don’t make the same mistakes I made! Do you want to end up like me?? Do you want to look like me??? I’m twenty-five years old and you probably thought I was fifty-eight. Stay off drugs or this will happen to YOU!”

The British government is planning to ease its budget crisis by slashing a huge amount of funding for England’s top universities. What a neat idea.

Now imagine seeing the Before and After pictures of a meth addict. “This is me when I was a strapping 16-year-old high school linebacker.” “And here I am now. I’m 25, I look like somebody’s grandfather, I don’t have any teeth, I weigh 130 pounds and my back screams if I even try to pick up a grocery bag.”

Now here’s a Before picture of California in the 1970s. It had an education system that was the envy of the country; of the world. From several top universities on down to their public school system — everything was thriving. Booming.

Now, after thirty-odd years of “taxpayer revolts” — probably about as genuine as last summer’s “demonstrations” against health care reform — and several disastrous Republican governors, California’s education system is a wreck. It’s crumbling. Shattered.

England: Your little experiment has already been tried. It doesn’t work.

Scientists have discovered a mysterious new species: a sea slug that’s half plant, half animal. I didn’t think there was anything mysterious about this. Put it this way: find a TV set that’s tuned to Fox News, and you’re probably in a whole room full of these sedentary creatures.

And they vote.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Factory Farmers Have Rights Too

And so do puppy mills. And now, factory farms and puppy mills are banding together to protect their livelihoods against those nefarious treehugging animal rights commies.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, told a meeting of 5,000 members:

I love the smell of cramped bleeding tortured animals in the morning! A line must be drawn between our polite and respectful engagement with consumers and how we must aggressively respond to extremists who want to drag agriculture back to the day of 40 acres and a mule. The time has come for us to face our opponents with a new attitude. The days of their elitist power grabs are over.”

Because of lobbying by the Humane Society of the U.S., six states have passed laws banning cramped cages. Factory farmers and puppy mill operators are mad as hell.

A cattle rancher from Utah said: “"I definitely feel like the people that are talking about animal rights are very passionate about what they're doing. I'm concerned there's a lot of money behind them. They're well-educated people and know how to get their message across. I think there will be more of an effort to educate people that we do take care of our animals.”

They “take care of” their animals, riiight. Yes, they’re so nice and cozy in those tiny cages. And they’re covered with infected wounds and excrement to keep them warm.

Agribusiness is one of the most powerful and entrenched industries in the country; they’re right up there with the oil companies and the pharmaceutical industry. Don’t fall for their bullshit about being just little ol’ family farms battling against “well educated people with a lot of money behind them.”

If you haven’t eaten in the last few hours (make sure!), check out a few of these links.

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Giuliani: “There Was No Iranian Hostage Crisis During the Carter Years”

Who needs Snopes when we have Rudy Giuliani, our walking talking one-man Urban Legend Debunker.

What’s this “9/11” that everybody keeps blubbering about? Apparently, millions of deluded Americans think there was some sort of terrorist attack on that date. Not only that, but it was supposedly a terrorist attack on American soil. [rolls eyes] Christ, what are they putting in our drinking water???

Anyway, Ask Rudy™ — he’ll set you straight. This nation “had no domestic attacks” under President George W. Bush. OK now? Understand???

Rudy is now debunking some of the other urban legends that gullible Americans just can’t seem to let go of. These include:

President Bill Clinton had an affair with one of his interns, right there in the Oval Office. While Clinton was sitting at his desk performing presidential duties, this imaginary intern would crawl underneath his desk and perform her “duties.”

The United States of America invaded Iraq in 1991. It’s true that there was a mysterious fireworks celebration in Baghdad for a few weeks in early 1991. That much you could verify just by turning on the evening news — it looked like some sort of Fourth of July celebration in Baghdad. But somehow a bunch of tinfoil hatters are insisting that those fireworks were actually [smirk] American warplanes dropping bombs on Iraq. WTF???

In the early 1930s there was a “Great Depression” that nearly brought America to her knees. Things were sooo bad — businessmen were jumping out of office windows. Formerly successful people were sitting on street corners selling apples, pencils, anything that might possibly earn them a few pennies. Whenever some Nanny State Liberal wants to create still another giant bloated government program, he/she always invokes this “Great Depression” as the reason we need more faceless government bureaucrats meddling in our lives.

So, you don’t actually believe any of the above claptrap, do you? If so — Ask Rudy™.

In Afghanistan, a private security firm known as Xe wants to help out with their special ops expertise. Xe — hmmm, never heard of ‘em. I guess that should be OK, as long as that fetid F$%&!#%&!#! Blackwater isn’t involved.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Thursday Hodgepodge

Which of these two phrases describes your take on President Obama? “There’s a new sheriff in town” or “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” I’m beginning to think it’s the latter.

No wonder Real Republicans hate that pussy RINO governor of California. College education is just as important as the Prison-Industrial Complex??? Schwarzenegger wants a constitutional amendment that would guarantee at least ten percent of California’s budget to the University of California and the California State University system. And he wants funding for California’s prison system to be scaled BACK to ten percent. WTF??? If them folks get edumucated, who’ll be watching Fox News?

And speaking of linking things, how about: bank executive bonuses and the insurance premium paid by that bank to the FDIC? Go ahead, pay your bloated CEO a quatrabrazilian dollar bonus; and your insurance premium will go up accordingly. Works for me.

Now, I haven’t converted to Creationism or anything like that. But maybe they have a point. Four-Legged Creature’s Footprints Force Evolution Rethink. Makes you wonder. Here are some exclusive photos of that four-legged creature. So, what’s this “evolution”/evolving you were talking about?

At least he wasn’t hiding a bomb. Who knows, maybe we’ll all have to start following this guy’s example. It might be the only way to keep our nation safe from terrorist attacks. “Hey You! Yeah you, wearing clothes! What are you hiding in there?? Up against the wall!”

Monday, January 04, 2010

Starting the Decade with some Good News

Yes, the political/economic situation sucks. So far Obama’s “leadership” is more like a substitute teacher who stands there sputtering and waving his/her arms frantically while the whole class is running around, yelling, laughing and throwing spitballs and paper airplanes.

But there are a few silver linings. For the first time in a looong time, the Secretary of Labor is actually sticking up for working people and cracking down on workplace safety violations. Imagine that — a cabinet member who actually agrees with the agency he/she is in charge of, rather than being a Trojan Horse sent to destroy that agency from within. After eight years of henhouses being guarded by foxes, this is a refreshing change.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced that there was a new sheriff in town when she was appointed last year, and so far she’s been backing that up. Last October OSHA issued the largest fine in its history against a Texas oil firm for repeated safety violations. She also has hired 250 more investigators to go after companies that cheat their employees out of wages and overtime pay.

Solis said: “We will not rest until the law is followed by every employer, and each worker is treated and compensated fairly.” What a concept.

In other good news, cities and counties are lashing out at corporate welfare cheats. Their main target is large companies that get huge tax breaks in return for locating in a community and creating X number of jobs. If the number of jobs created is less than X, and/or there are layoffs soon after the company opens its new location — that company’s tax rate goes way waaay up.

One example is DeKalb, Illinois, where Target opened a new distribution center with (supposedly) five hundred job positions. There turned out to be just 434 positions. Boom! Target’s next tax bill will be $600,000 higher. More than half of that money will go to the local cash-starved school district.

Corporations get an estimated $60 billion a year in tax abatements from local governments. Cities and counties are starting to follow DeKalb’s example.

Geoff McKimm, a member of the Monroe County Council in Indiana, said:

“The public is a lot more aware of tax abatements and there's a climate of skepticism about what can be perceived as corporate handouts.”

This article also puts to rest for once and for all the rightwing urban legend that “businesses will leave!” if they get taxed, regulated or forced to live up to their agreements.

An assistant county counselor in Shawnee County, Kansas, said:

“We were told that we were going to ruin Topeka's ability to attract businesses; we'd give Topeka a black eye.”

He was referring to a settlement that requires Target (again) to pay $200,000 a year for ten years for creating fewer jobs than they had promised. Instead of ruining Topeka’s business climate:

“Last year we opened a Home Depot distribution center right next door.”

And finally: well, nobody ever accused meth heads of being intelligent.