Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If You Liked Dick Cheney, You’ll Love Newt Gingrich

It might be fun — in that sick sort of way — to have a pool on how many foreign quagmires we can dig ourselves into under President Gingrich.  Dick Cheney and his adorable little sockpuppet were just getting warmed up with Afghanistan and Iraq.

That was a nice start.  But what about Iran?  Venezuela?  North Korea?  Syria?  So many countries to liberate, so little time.  Newt Gingrich’s foreign policy team is straight out of Dick Cheney’s inner circle.  They include:

David Wurmser was one of the ringleaders of our Iraqi invasion.  And now he’s Gingrich’s Middle East policy advisor.

James Woolsey is a former CIA director who’s fixated on invading Iran.  He compares our failure to attack Iran with England’s appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.  (See Godwin’s Law.)  Woolsey’s other fixation is President Obama’s “political jihad promoting Islam around the world.”

Stephen Yates was part of Cheney’s national security team.  He thinks China is the solution to America’s “enemy deprivation syndrome.”  i.e. “You need some unifying enemy after the collapse of the Soviet Union.”  Great.  Let’s combine the best features of the Cold War and our current Crusade in the Middle East.

Let’s hope this week’s Not-Mitt-Romney will crash and burn soon.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

King Street Patriots: Looking For a Few Good Rednecks

If you hate immigrants, minorities, low-income people and college students — and you still can’t find Europe on that damn map — the King Street Patriots want YOU.

As you know, voter fraud is the gravest issue facing America today.  Negroes, renters, people with swarthy accents — they’re all trying to vote.  With your help, we can stop them!

Our small group got its start in Houston with our True The Vote campaign, and in 2012 we’re planning to expand throughout the country.  Can you help us?  All you have to do is show up at a polling place on Election Day — preferably in a precinct that’s low income and full of icky minority types.  And then just hang around and scare away the undesirables.

You’ll be trained in how to look at a group of would-be voters and pick out the Democrats.  Signs to watch for include:  swarthy complexion, foreign accent, tacky clothing (indicating elderly or low income), the know-it-all demeanor of a liberal college student; and so many others.  Don’t worry, you’ll be thoroughly trained and indoctrinated.

Then, when you see a Democrat who comes in wanting to vote — get right up in his face and scare him off.  Don’t worry, they won’t give you any trouble.  They’re afraid of war, they don’t think nonviolent pot users should be put in jail — in short, they’re pussies.  Just go swaggering up to them and say “Boo!” and they’ll turn and scamper away.

You can do the same thing with election workers inside the polling place.  If you see one of these do-gooders trying to help out some swarthy fuck who doesn’t speak English — see previous paragraph.

Please help us out on Election Day 2012.  Your fellow teabaggers need you.

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Federal Judge to SEC: “Grow a Pair!!!”

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff threw out the SEC’s slap-on-the-wrist settlement with Citigroup.  The SEC had agreed to a $285 million settlement over Citigroup’s sale of toxic mortgage debt.

According to the linked article, Judge Rakoff said the Securities and Exchange Commission “appeared uninterested in actually learning what Citigroup did wrong,” and ignored the interests of the public.  Judge Rakoff said:

“An application of judicial power that does not rest on facts is worse than mindless, it is inherently dangerous.  In any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth.”

He called the SEC’s settlement “neither reasonable, nor fair, nor adequate, nor in the public interest,” and wondered whether the SEC was only interested in “a quick headline.”


This is the kind of news we should see more often.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Police Brutality is Legal; Photographing It ISN’T

This seems to be some people’s “reasoning.”  The infamous Rodney King beating by the LAPD would have been their little secret if the entire incident hadn’t been videotaped from somebody’s apartment window.  At the time, there were jokes going around that the L.A. city council wanted a 3-day waiting period before you could buy a video camera.

These days it’s not even a joke.  There are already a few state and local laws prohibiting citizens from videotaping police officers during an arrest.  Leonard Pitts, Jr. writes about it in this column, Give Thanks to Citizens With Cameras.

He tells about a woman in Rochester, NY who was arrested for videotaping a traffic stop from her own yard.  In Miami Beach, a man was arrested, beaten by police and had his cell phone stomped on — how convenient — after he recorded an officer-involved shooting.

The recent pepper spraying incident art UC Davis would have been nothing more than a rumor if the incident hadn’t been captured on a cell phone.  Same with the police execution of an unarmed handcuffed suspect on an Oakland BART train (New Year’s Day 2009.)  The executioner, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, is already out of jail after serving a shorter sentence than most people would get for shoplifting.  But if the murder hadn’t been caught by somebody’s cell phone, the police would have come up with an official story that the murder victim — Oscar Grant — had fallen and hit his head; pulled a gun and had to be shot; or something.

About ten years ago (give or take), the San Francisco Police Department filed a libel suit against a woman whose only “crime” was giving a sworn statement about what she had witnessed during an arrest.

Just as you don’t need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows, you don’t need a court ruling to know that these laws against videotaping police officers are clearly unconstitutional.  Every one of these laws should be suspended immediately by the federal government until the courts can come to the obvious conclusion.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Republicans Tackle the Pentagon

Talk about unintended consequences.  When Republicans started hammering away at the Solyndra scandal, it seemed like a foolproof multi-pronged scheme to mobilize their base:  Democrats and tie-dyed hippies with their sissy solar energy versus manly All-American oil, coal and natural gas.

But congressional Republican prostitutes got so carried away pounding on Solyndra and everything it represents, they suddenly found themselves pounding and kicking their pimps in the Defense Department.  Awkward.

The Army, Navy and Air Force have all been utilizing — and publicly promoting — renewable energy sources for the past few months.  Republicans might want to occasionally look up from their corporate instruction sheets — and the accompanying “campaign contributions” — and see what’s going on out in the world.

Republicans recently turned their Solyndra-bashing momentum on another solar energy company, SunPower Corp.  The Republican Lockstep Brigade kept referring to SunPower Corp. as “Solyndra 2.0.”

And now it turns out, SunPower Corp. is in the process of building a huge solar installation at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.

OOPS.  What happens when a prostitute takes a wild swing and accidentally connects with her pimp’s jaw?

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

It could have been the 10,000 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and everyone would still be going “What?!?  You forgot __________________ !!!”

(Here's the link to Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time.)

My own “Hey, what about _______________” list would include Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, Allan Holdsworth, Jan Akkerman, Stanley Jordan, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Vernon Reid.

Oh, and James Hetfield made the list but Kirk Hammett didn’t?  Uh, OK…


Friday, November 25, 2011

Shop Locally on Black Friday

Whatever one thinks of Occupy Wall Street, everyone should follow their advice for Black Friday:  Shop locally.  Patronize mom-and-pop stores instead of chains and Big Boxes.

As a downtown resident of a small town — for the past seven-plus years — I’ve been hearing this message constantly.  It’s probably less obvious if you live in a large city or the suburbs.

The numbers I’ve been hearing over and over are:  when you buy from a locally-owned store, sixty cents of every dollar you spend stays in your community.  When you patronize a Big Box store — Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. — only six cents of every dollar stays in your community.  For non-Big-Box chain stores, the figure is somewhere between those two extremes.

Now that the economy is in the tank, and a larger share of the nation’s wealth is concentrated in fewer hands than ever before, this message is more important than ever.  Buy local.

Remember — politicians won’t help you.  They’re part of the one percent.  You have to vote with your dollars whenever possible.  If you hate Wall Street, don’t keep your money in one of the big banks.  If you hate Wal-Mart, don’t shop there.

Happy Black Friday.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chicago: the 51st State?

An Illinois state representative wants Chicago and the rest of Illinois to break up into two separate states.  Bill Mitchell (R—Redneck) has introduced a bill which, if passed, would put the issue before the state’s voters.  If Illinois voters approve the measure, it will still have to be approved by Congress and the White House.

Proponents of the bill say Chicago and Cook County residents “hold different and firmly seated views on politics, society, and economics” from the rest of Illinois.  Bill Mitchell said:

“These liberal policies are an insult to the traditional values of downstate families.  When I talk to constituents, one of the biggest things I hear is 'Chicago should be its own state.’  Our voters' voices were drowned out by Chicago.”

If a new state was formed every time a few local yahoos talked about forming their own own state, America would have at least five hundred states instead of just fifty.  There are several distinct regions of California that hate the rest of the state, and have probably been talking about forming their own state since the day California became a state.

There definitely is a culture clash between Chicago and rural Illinois.  I went to a small college in western Illinois — near the Iowa border — a looong time ago.  This was the late ‘60s, and it was still 1951 at this college.  And the rest of the town was so much further backward, they made the college campus look like Berkeley.

But this is true for most states.  Even in the Deep South, the largest cities are a lot more liberal and urbane than the small towns.  All three of the Left Coast states have interior regions that might as well be backwoods Mississippi.

If Illinois voters succeed in giving Chicago the boot — or would it be the other way around? — this could start a trend.  How many states do we want?

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fox News Slandered by Liberal Media

The state-run liberal media is trying to undermine Fox News’ fair and balanced reporting.  They’re trying to sell us some sort of socialist hogwash about people who watch Fox News being LESS informed than people who get no news at all.


The liberal media is desperate.  They’re afraid of the Truth, and we’ve got ‘em on the run now!  If you don’t watch Fox News, you are completely unaware of the following:

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Kenya, he’s a Muslim, and his entire Socialist Agenda is based on his late father’s tribal anti-colonial hatred of the White Man.

Global warming — if there even is such a thing — cannot possibly be man-made.  God created the Earth 6,000 years ago.  He created it and only He can control our weather.  If global warming exists, it’s God’s Will.  Or as Sarah Palin so aptly put it:  Global warming is just God hugging us closer.

If you don’t watch Fox News, you probably still believe the liberal myth that government can create jobs; that a country can tax its way to prosperity.  Fox viewers, on the other hand, are fully aware that the ONLY way to create jobs is to get rid of these cumbersome burdensome government regulations that are strangling the economy.  Scrap these F#$%!&%! regulations, set the job creators free to do what they do best, and millions of new jobs will be created
— in time for Christmas!

Ah, Christmas.  That brings us to the War on Christmas.  If it weren’t for Fox News, most Americans wouldn’t even know about it.  A secret cabal of secular humanists — connected to the U.N. of course — has quietly instructed millions of cashiers to say “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas.”  And it’s WORKING!

And what’s with this latest hullabaloo about those Occupy Wall Street parasites getting pepper sprayed?  The liberal press would have us believe pepper spray is some sort of poison or toxin, or something.  Fox viewers, however, know the Truth:  pepper spray is just a food product.  A FOOD PRODUCT, for Christ’s sake.  Sheesh!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Steven J. Baum, P.C.: “Karma’s a Bitch”

If you believe in Karma, this has to be the feelgood story of this Holiday Season — in that meanspirited vengeful sort of way.  The law firm of Steven J. Baum, P.C. — one of those infamous foreclosure mills — had its fifteen minutes of fame this past Halloween.  All 89 of the company’s employees came to the company Halloween party dressed as foreclosure victims and homeless people.

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera wrote about it.

And now — remember kids, what goes around comes around — the firm of Steven J. Baum, P.C. is closing.  The firm has had constant battles with state and federal officials over its use of robo-signing and all the other sleazy tactics used by foreclosure mills.  Steven J. Baum’s numerous fines and warnings were presumably the main cause of the firm’s, uh, departure.

But Steven J. Baum would rather blame that mean old New York Times columnist for his bad Karma.  After announcing his firm’s closure, Steven J. Baum sent this e-mail to Joe Nocera:

“Mr. Nocera — You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC.  It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.”

Aw come on, Steven, cheer up.  Next Halloween, people will be dressing up as YOU.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rick Santorum Endorses Labor Unions

Will wonders never cease.  Pigs are flying and Rick Santorum is speaking out in favor of labor unions.

Meanwhile, here in America, if you’re one of those lowly working-class types, you’d better keep your nose to the grindstone, keep your mouth shut and be grateful you have a job.

Santorum wants an Iranian labor movement to serve as part of America’s three-pronged attack:  economic sanctions, a strong Iranian labor movement and American military action against Iran.

Describing his newfound empathy for Iranian workers, Santorum said:

“There’s some fomenting going and, and there’s strikes going on. We should have several avenues of getting money into Iran to help striking labor unions, to give them money so they can keep out on strike and disrupt the government and try to create the revolutionary atmosphere there.”

As for American workers struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes, Santorum’s other personality said:

“I do not believe that — that state, federal or local workers, unions, should be involved in unions.  And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated.”

Quick, put him back on his meds.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

How the United States Devolved into this Current Crisis

Bill Moyers has an excellent article explaining when the United States began its downward spiral into a corporatocracy.  He even pinpoints the exact date.  By the time Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, our oligarchy — or corporate dystopia, whatever you want to call it — was already ten years in the making.

On August 23rd, 1971, Lewis Powell — corporate lawyer and future Supreme Court justice — sent a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Bill Moyers says:

“We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down.”

Lewis Powell’s memo ranted about “an attack on the American free enterprise system.”  Powell said the attack was coming not just from “a few extremists of the Left,” but also from “perfectly respectable elements of society,” including politicians, well respected intellectuals and the media.  Powell urged his fellow VIPs to “fight back and fight back hard” and to build a movement; take on the universities, the media and the courts.  Powell wrote that TV programs should be “monitored the same way textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance.”

He also wrote that political power must be “assiduously [sic] cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination and without embarrassment.”

Lewis Powell visualized the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a council of war.  He sure got that wish.  No doubt he’s been having multiple orgasms from his grave.

Powell’s infamous memo said that business executives have “little stomach for hard-nosed contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate.”  Therefore, Big Business should form think tanks, legal foundations and front groups.  These groups could all be aligned into a united front through “careful long-range planning and implementation…consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

And so it came to pass.  (See above-mentioned in-grave orgasms.)
And in the late 1970s, William Simon — Nixon’s former secretary of the treasury — expanded on Lewis Powell’s rhetoric.  He urged “men of action in the capitalist world” to mount “a veritable crusade” against all of the progress of the previous forty-five years.

Bill Moyers says:

“Those ‘men of action in the capitalist world’ were not content with their wealth just to buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more vacations and more gizmos than anyone else. They were determined to buy more democracy than anyone else. And they succeeded beyond their expectations. After their forty-year ‘veritable crusade’ against our institutions, laws and regulations—against the ideas, norms and beliefs that helped to create America’s iconic middle class—the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance.”

And here we are.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Anonymous, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Protect IP Act

Whatever one thinks of Anonymous and other “hacktivist” organizations, they couldn’t pick a nicer target than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Anonymous attempted to hack the U.S. Chamber’s computer systems last May, with mixed results.  Now they’re planning another attack.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce exists mostly as a money launderer, enabling large corporations and wealthy individuals to make huge anonymous political contributions.  Elections and politicians can be purchased without the public even knowing who the purchaser was.

But now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found another purpose:  lobbying aggressively for the Protect IP Act (also known as the Stopping Online Piracy Act, SOPA).

If you like the idea of people getting fined millions of dollars for downloading music without paying, you’ll love the Protect IP Act.  Using the smokescreen of “stopping online piracy,” the Protect IP Act would give the U.S. government sweeping unprecedented powers for censoring the Internet.

So which is it?  Does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want a tiny bathtub-size government that lets the Free Market run wild, or do they want a gigantic Orwellian Big Brother controlling everything we do online?

Here’s Anonymous’ description of the Protect IP Act:

“This bill would allow the United States Government to force ISP’s and search engines to censor websites they do not like under the guise of ‘copyright protection.’  Instead of reducing piracy, this bill endangers the free flow of information. Through Domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and the restriction of funding to accused websites, this bill takes Internet censorship to a new level…

“The Internet is a place where anyone and everyone can come together freely to share information and opinions.  The freedom the Internet provides has served us well, and driven our intellectual progress, sparked revolutions and changed the lives of many, all of which has been accomplished without the interference of corporations, governments, or any other global institutions until now.”

Aside from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the only other group that favors the Protect IP Act is the entertainment industry — i.e. those Hollywood Elitists that conservatives are always ranting about.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Benetton’s Unhate Campaign

Benetton’s newest campaign is sure pushing a lot of people’s buttons.  Benetton has released a series of ads that show various world leaders kissing.

Here’s another link.

Pictures include:

Barack Obama making out with both Hu Jintao and Hugo Chavez (in separate pictures); Angela Merkel smooching with Nicolas Sarkozy; and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas kissing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And last but not least:  the Pope smooching with Sheik Ahmed Mohamed El-Tayeb.  The Vatican has threatened legal action against Benetton for this photo.

Each picture is captioned “unhate.”

It’s hard to know which is more offensive to the Powers That Be — the pictures themselves or the word “unhate.”

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Reason to Recall Scott Walker

And all the rest of the Koch whores in the Wisconsin legislature.  It’s not just labor unions and microbreweries that Scott Walker (and the legislature) hates.  Their newest target:  College students; especially the blue collar riffraff that goes to technical colleges.

Don’t Let Them Vote!

You wouldn’t believe the level of trickery and deception being practiced by Koch Industries’ Wisconsin prostitutes.  Under Wisconsin’s Koch-ordered Voter I.D. law, most college student I.D. cards are unacceptable as voter I.D. cards.  College campuses will need to print a sticker with the required information.  This sticker, together with a student I.D. card, will allow MOST college students to vote.

MOST college students.  But NOT the lowly working-class types that attend technical colleges.  A student I.D. card from a technical college is NOT valid for voting.  No exceptions.  Most of these blue collar types are Democrats, so it’s best to just keep them away from the voting booth.

There are about 400,000 technical college students in Wisconsin who will not be allowed to vote if this rule stands.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board tried to overrule the legislature’s action by “interpreting” that the procedures for college I.D. cards — i.e. a student I.D. card is valid if it includes a sticker with the required information — must include students from technical colleges as well.

Wisconsin Republicans retaliated by classifying the Government Accountability Board’s ruling as an “administrative” rule.  An administrative rule can be blocked by the governor.

Problem solved.

Come on, Wisconsin voters.  Get those recall petitions signed so you can scrub that shitstain out of the governor’s mansion.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Congress More Hated Than BP, the IRS and Communism

Oh, and Paris Hilton too.

I don’t know what this all means; probably nothing.  I’ve always been amused by these statistical displays, like Harper’s Index (no relation).

Senator Michael Bennet (D—Colorado) had a field day with these public approval ratings on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” last week:

The IRS:  40%

BP (during the height of last year’s oil spill):  16%

Paris Hilton:  15%

The idea of America “going Communist” — 11%

Huge Chavez:  9%

U.S. Congress:  9%

As the linked article says:

“Bringing the government to a standstill over and over again to spite Barack Obama (current approval 47% and tracking upward) is working out really well.”

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Tell Congress: No War With Iran

First of all — for the benefit of any rightwing readers here — this petition is coming from Downsize DC, a Libertarian organization.

As you’ve been seeing in the news, the chickenhawks are foaming at the mouth, champing at the bit to send somebody else’s children and spouses off to war in Iran.  One would think our trillion-dollar quagmire in Iraq had taught us something, but you know the old expression about doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result.

Please click here and send a letter to Congress, telling them you oppose conflict with Iran.  Sorry, it really is a letter and not just a petition to sign.  Come on, your country needs you.

The first sentence is already filled in — “I oppose conflict with Iran.”  Just insert a few sentences or phrases of your own in the blank field, and send it.

The GOP White House contenders — acting on orders from their pimps in the “defense” industry — are all trying to whip up the inbreds with scary images of Iran attacking the world.  Don’t fall for it.  And tell Congress not to fall for it either.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Boycott Costco

I know this is a non-starter.  Costco has high-quality products at low prices.  Their employees are well-paid (if I’m not mistaken) and there always seems to be a really upbeat vibe inside the store.

Besides, if you do a web search for “Boycott Costco,” not many links come up.

But I’m gonna rant anyway.  Costco spent $22.5 million — the largest election purchase in Washington State’s history — promoting Initiative 1183 to privatize the state’s liquor industry.  Costco funded a similar initiative last year but it got defeated.  So Costco changed the wording a little, quadrupled their campaign spending and — Presto — the voters “saw” things differently this time.  60% voted Yes on 1183.

Currently in Washington you have to buy your booze at a state-run liquor store.  They’re open until 8 or 9 p.m.; closed Sundays and holidays.  It’s a bit less convenient, but I never heard of anyone going through the DTs because they couldn’t get to the liquor store on time.  (You can buy beer and wine at any grocery store or mini-mart; just not liquor.)

Every state is different; I didn’t see why Washington’s approach was a problem.  I spent most of my adult life in California where every grocery store and mini-mart has a full liquor selection.  That seemed like the norm, so when we moved to Washington, their state liquor stores took some getting used to.  (Washington’s system will be similar to California’s when 1183 takes effect next year.)  In some other states (e.g. Wyoming), if you want anything alcoholic — even beer or wine — you have to go into a bar and buy it off-sale.

So every state does it differently.  I don’t see why a huge corporation needed to spend $22.5 million just to change the liquor laws in one state.  And if you shop at Costco and notice their prices going up, you’ll know the reason.

I don’t know whether people voted for 1183 because they thought the price of booze would go down, or because it’s just too difficult to get to the liquor store before 9 p.m.  So far the only effect of 1183 is that about 1,000 state liquor department employees will be out of work.

The Yes on 1183 campaign was a perfect petri dish to show how endlessly-repeated propaganda seeps into the public consciousness.  Washington residents were bombarded for months with TV, online and newspaper ads saying “let’s get the state out of the liquor industry.”

And that exact phrase has been used in countless editorials, answers to survey questions and letters to the editor.  Recite the same slogan often enough and the parrots will repeat it.

So anyway, there probably won’t be any sort of boycott of Costco.  But the nearest Costco happens to be next door to a Grocery Outlet, which also has high quality products at low prices.  And unlike Costco — if you see an item you like at Grocery Outlet, you don’t have to buy fifty of them.

Let’s hope the local Grocery Outlet siphons off a few Costco shoppers.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Colin Powell on Occupy Wall Street

If anyone other than Colin Powell had said this, the Far Right would be pulling their hair out and yelling “Who IS that socialist parasite and why does he hate America?!?”

Colin Powell told CNN:

“I was born in Harlem to immigrant parents, and my parents always had a job.  And so, people are concerned now that there is not that source of an income. There isn’t that work source that I remember.  So, what you’re seeing with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and the others are people who are unhappy, and they’re directing their unhappiness right now towards Wall Street and towards those they think are doing to well in our society.  And so, demonstrating like this is as American as apple pie. We have been marching up and down and demonstrating throughout our history.”

CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Colin Powell:

“Do you understand the anger particularly towards Wall Street, I think?  What really gets their goat is that a lot of these banks and bankers got bailed out by the taxpayers. The first chance they got, when they got back on their feet, to not give themselves huge bonuses again, they ignored that temptation and put their noses back in the trough.”

Colin Powell:

“…one of the things that is of concern to all of us is that there’s an increasing gap between those who are doing very well and I’m doing well, and those who are not doing as well. And those who are not doing as well are not seeing their lives improving. And so, there’s frustration and angriness there.  And so, it isn’t enough to scream at the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrators. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back in to how do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again? How do we get businesses that have a lot of money stacked up, how do we get them to invest that money and create jobs?”

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Tourists: Come to America

I think this is a great idea.  The Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) is a private-public partnership formed for the purpose of bringing visitors to the United States.  Their ad campaign starts next year.  They describe their campaign as:  “the first-ever coordinated global marketing effort dedicated to welcoming international travelers to the United States.”

They also refer to creating a “21st century brand which symbolizes the boundless possibilities of the U.S.”

The group’s website also offers a few tips for travelers to America:

“Health care is superior in the US but it can be very expensive because there is no universal health care.”

“Some banking networks charge fees of $1-2 per transaction.”

“Be aware that Americans are fanatics about showering and hygiene.”

They should have mentioned something about the language barrier.  Foreign tourists who aren’t fluent in English are in for a rough time.  I’ve traveled all over Europe and Asia and would have been totally stranded if I had to rely on my own tiny smatterings of the local language.  English, and numerous other languages, are widely spoken overseas.  Such is not the case here, for whatever reason.

A spokesperson from the Corporation for Travel Promotion said:

“What is so compelling about the United States is that no one thing can explain who we are as a nation.  Each visitor and each experience helps create the fabric of American culture, and Brand USA embodies this spirit. When we launch our global marketing and advertising campaign next year, we will be able to reach audiences around the world by showcasing the best of America and spreading the message that we welcome visitors with open arms.”

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Obama Delays Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline

I was hoping for a flat-out DISapproval of the Keystone XL pipeline.  But this delay is better than nothing.  The Obama Administration is “delaying” approval for the purpose of finding a different route for transporting tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas.

What “different” route would be better?  Apparently the people of (mostly Republican) Nebraska screamed too loudly; something about their aquifer being jeopardized by a massive oil pipeline running through it.  So there’s, what, a different region of the country where the people WON’T care that their water supply and their surrounding environment would be devastated by a tar sands oil spill?  Good luck with that.

NIMBY means “somebody else’s back yard.”  And this “somebody else” will also scream NIMBY.  And the search continues.

If you like massive oil spills in Alaskan waters and the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll love the Keystone XL pipeline.  (More information on the Keystone XL pipeline here.)

This delay in approval will make the Keystone XL pipeline a major campaign issue for the 2012 election.  It’ll come down to which side has a better PR campaign:  the “Drill Here Drill Now” inbreds or the rest of the population whose IQs are HIGHER than their shoe sizes.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thoughts on the 2011 Election Results

Mostly it was encouraging.  Ohio voters kidney-punched Governor John Kasich, trouncing his Koch-ordered union-crippling law in a statewide referendum.  The 99 percenters have got some momentum now.  Next stop — Wisconsin.  And Michigan, Florida..

And you’ve gotta love John Kasich’s concession speech after his signature law got repealed:

“It's clear that the people have spoken. My view is when people speak in a campaign like this, in a referendum, you have to listen.  I've heard their voices. I understand their decision. And frankly I respect what people have to say in an effort like this. As a result of that, it requires me to take a deep breath and spend some time reflecting on what happened.”

Gee, ya think?  How magnanimous of the pompous little prick.

Maine voters showed they can’t be purchased by a jillion-dollar anonymous bribe.  Maine’s legislature and teajob governor passed a voter-restriction law — basically eliminating a decades-long tradition of allowing voters to register on Election Day.  Voters put a referendum on the ballot to overturn the voter-restriction law.  Just a few days before the election, an anonymous conservative donor contributed $250,000 to the rightwing campaign to keep the disenfranchise-the-voters law in place.  Didn’t work.  Once again, Maine residents can register to vote on Election Day.

Arizona voters have recalled state Senator Russell Pearce (R—Ku Klux Klan), the architect of Arizona’s infamous “he looks swarthy, let’s stop and frisk him” law.

And thank you Jesus, Mississippi voters trounced the state’s “personhood” amendment.  This was an attempt to define life as beginning at fertilization.  This would ban all abortions — no exceptions! — and some forms of contraception as well.  Even though this abortional idea (pun intended) got squelched by the voters, the Salem Witch-hunters who are promoting it might keep putting this question on other state ballots.  This could be the “gay marriage” of the 2012 election — a scheme for getting every snake-handling fetus-humping Biblewipe to crawl out from under their rock and into the voting booth.

On the downside, Mississippi voters did approve a law requiring all voters to present a government-issued I.D. in order to vote.  (I thought conservatives didn’t trust them government bureaucrats.)  And in Washington State, Costco has discovered that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, you CAN get a different result.  (More on that in a later post.)

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

McDonalds McRib: The Factory Farm Connection

Every once in awhile, the sick horrifying conditions at factory farms are swept out from under the rug and shown to the public.  Even if you don’t give a fuck about the tortures inflicted on these animals, how can you eat the byproducts of these factories?  Factory farm animals are fed excrement and the rotting flesh of other livestock, among other things.  If that’s what they’re eating, and you eat them, then that’s what YOU’RE eating.

Smithfield Foods is the factory farm that supplies the pork for the McDonalds McRib.  Last year the Humane Society did an undercover operation at Smithfield Foods.  Among other niceties, the pigs are crammed together so tightly that they suffer from “open pressure sores and other ulcers and wounds.”

No doubt there are hundreds of other factory farms that are just as putrefied as Smithfield Foods.  But Smithfield Foods pretends to be different, claiming that their animals are raised under “ideal” conditions.  And McDonalds has publicly praised Smithfield Foods for its humane treatment of their animals, and even presented Smithfield with a “supplier sustainability” award.

Other abuses discovered by the Humane Society include — from the linked article:

Animals were crammed into cages that were “coated in blood from the mouths of pigs chewing the metal bars....A sick pig was shot in the head with a captive bolt gun and thrown into a dumpster while still alive; prematurely born piglets routinely fell through the gate's slats into a manure pit… and employees tossed baby pigs into carts as if they were stuffed animals.”

Mmmm, it’s what’s for dinner.  Belly up to the counter.

I have nothing against McDonalds or any other fast food chain.  They’re wealthy because jillions of people like their products.  Nobody is being forced to eat there.

If you go there — just remember what you’re eating.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Public Perception: YES, Republicans ARE Deliberately Sabotaging the Economy

For months — OK, longer — it’s been obvious that Republicans in Congress were deliberately sabotaging any possible chance of an economic recovery.  And it seemed like nobody else could see it, outside of a few people who frequent “alternative” news sites.  Every time Obama or any Democrat would try to stimulate the economy, they'd get blocked, obstructed, straitjacketed by the “Party of Jobs.”

And it seemed like nobody was making the connection.  I just felt like grabbing the American electorate by the lapels and screaming “Hello!!! Can’t you understand this???  Wake UP!!!

And now the public HAS waken up.  In a survey in Florida, respondents were asked if they thought Republicans were “intentionally stalling efforts to jumpstart the economy to ensure that Barack Obama is not re-elected.”  49% answered Yes.  39% said No.  Of the voters who identified themselves as “Moderate,” 59% said Yes.

And again, this is Florida; not exactly a liberal state.

In another survey, this one nationwide, about half of the respondents agreed with the following statement:

“President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs.”

Congressional Republicans:  We see you.  The sausage factory doors have been flung open.  The stench is unbearable.

Democratic strategists:  You’ve finally got a winning issue here.  Start hammering away at it, and keep on hammering and hammering again until Election Day.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) are kind of the opposite of the old cliché.  Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck — but it’s NOT a duck.  Gotcha!

Crisis pregnancy centers exist — and they’re spreading like cancer — solely for the purpose of sidetracking and derailing women who are seeking an abortion.  When a desperate woman walks in, thinking she’s finally found an abortion clinic or at least a referral, she gets bombarded with confusing sales pitches, brochures, lectures, pictures.  It might be hours before she finally figures out she’s been had; or before the CPC employee finally blurts out “Oh, you want an abortion?!?  [gasp]  We don’t do that here!”

The title of the linked article asks if crisis pregnancy centers are using “false advertising.”  Well DUUUHHH!!!  If this isn’t false advertising, I don’t know what is.

In Washington — probably other states too — legislation was introduced (and defeated) which would have required crisis pregnancy centers to have prominent signs clearly stating that they do NOT offer abortion as one of their services.  There was a bunch of orchestrated folksy-sounding letters to the local paper, all expressing bewilderment at this incredible government bureaucratic overreach.  “What???  A business has to advertise the products they DON’T sell???”  “What’s next?  Will the local butcher have to have a huge sign saying he doesn’t sell organic vegetables?”

Let’s turn this around, shall we?  A would-be gun buyer walks into a store called “Gitcher Gun Right Here.”  The customer gets a smooth sales pitch that gradually oozes into a lecture about gun violence.  Finally the customer says “OK, cut to the chase.  I came here to buy a —”  “What?!?  If you still want to buy one of those deadly contraptions, you came to the wrong place.”

How would the Right react?  Think they’d still be spewing out their choreographed soundbites about “Oh sure, and let’s make sure every butcher tells his customers that he doesn’t sell tofu or alfalfa sprouts, huh huh huh huh uh uh uh uh.”

A few months ago, Shari Plunkett — founder of First Resort, a chain of crisis pregnancy centers — sent the following e-mail to her fellow fetus-worshipers:

“With the closing of five abortion clinics in the Bay Area in March, our call volume has never been higher.  Women are calling in survival mode, with utter panic in their voices…‘Planned Parenthood has closed’, they tell us, ‘I need an abortion, can you help me?’  This is one of the most amazing opportunities we’ve ever had to serve abortion minded women.”


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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Wanted: Dead or Alive…

An anonymous “donor” has just spent $250,000 to purchase next week’s election in Maine.  Ironically enough, the election issue has to do with voting rights.  As usual, Democrats want people to vote.  Republicans don’t — unless you’re a wealthy property owner who can show the proper receipts for Learjet payments and yacht club dues.

Maine’s Republican legislature and teabagging governor passed one of those cookie-cutter Koch-ordered voter restriction laws (LD 1376).  Voters reacted by collecting more than enough signatures to put Question 1 on the ballot.  Question 1, if passed — i.e. vote Yes on 1 — will repeal Maine’s teatard voter restriction law.

And now at the last minute, some rock-dwelling troglodyte has snuck out of its hole, made a secret $250,000 contribution to the No on 1 campaign, and then quickly slithered back under its rock.

This is the exact kind of shit that needs to be stopped dead.  People can argue ‘til the cows come home whether campaign finance restrictions are necessary to level the playing field, or whether they restrict individual freedom.  But there’s absolutely no valid argument in favor of secret donations.  If somebody uses his/her wealth to steal an election out from under the American people, the public has a right to know the identity of the offending douchebag.

Hopefully Anonymous or some other “hactivist” organization will do the necessary hacking, and smoke out this cocksucker.  The public wants to know who it is and where it lives.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Dozens Killed in Ohio Bridge Collapse; John Boehner Among the Dead

Ironically, it’s the same bridge that President Obama used as a photo op several weeks ago, when he was stressing the importance of fixing America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Just yesterday, Republicans again defeated a bill that would have provided $60 billion for infrastructure repair and would have put tens of thousands of Americans back to work immediately.  And now the inevitable has happened.

John Boehner’s wife (or was it one of his mistresses?) sobbed:

“He hardly ever used that bridge.  He just assumed that when it collapsed, only the riffraff would get killed.”

Just a split second before John Boehner’s car hit the water, somebody snapped this photo of him.

Was John Boehner crying because of guilt?  Maybe in his final moment, he realized he had been wrong to keep using millions of Americans as hostages solely for the purpose of making Obama look bad for next year’s election.

Or was he crying because he knew he was just seconds away from getting hoisted on his own petard?

Or was he crying just because, well, because John Boehner was always crying?

We’ll never know.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

“Bad Lip Reading”

If you aren’t familiar with the Bad Lip Reading website, you’ve got some hilarious videos to check out.  The videos are actual footage of a politician speaking, with totally nonsensical words dubbed in.  Have fun watching Herman Cain, Rick Perry, President Obama, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachman (among others) babbling incoherently.