Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chris Christie: Kentucky is “a leech on the federal government”

Zing!  This was the latest salvo in the ongoing verbal slugfest between Chris Christie and Rand Paul (R—Tea Klux Klan).

(As The Rude Pundit once said, Rand Paul’s facial expression always looks like he just finished masturbating on a woman wearing a bear suit.  But I digress…)

Rand Paul accused Chris Christie of having a “gimme gimme gimme” attitude toward the federal government, and called him “the king of bacon.”  And Christie’s response was:

“I find it interesting that Senator Paul is accusing us of having a gimme, gimme, gimme attitude toward federal spending when in fact New Jersey is a donor state, we get 61 cents back on every dollar we send to Washington.  And interestingly Kentucky gets $1.51 on every dollar they sent to Washington.  So if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he is going to cut spending to afford defense, maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork barrel spending he brings home to Kentucky at a $1.51 on every dollar and not look at New Jersey where we get 61 cents for every dollar.”

Unlike a lot of Democrats/liberals, I don’t hold any sort of admiration for Chris Christie.  Last fall, when he worked with President Obama during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, it looked like Christie was a real standup guy, putting his constituents’ needs above party loyalty.  But that illusion vanished last month when Christie vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of gestation crates on hog farms.  A standup guy?  Fuck no, just another teabag-sucking corporate prostitute.

In any case, Chris Christie put Rand Paul in his place, and said what needed to be said.  He said what liberal/alternative news sites have been pointing out for years now.  The mainstream “media” has never bothered to mention this, but:

Kentucky does indeed take in a lot more tax money from the federal government than the amount paid to the federal government by Kentucky’s taxpayers.  And this applies to most of the red states.   Google it — this fact has been documented over and over on blogs and “alternate” news sites (and conveniently omitted by the corporate-owned “liberal” media).

In other words:  The number of tax dollars contributed by a state is inversely proportional to the number of slogans about “bootstraps” and “self-reliance” being spewed out by that state’s politicians.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Impending Bestiality Epidemic — the Inevitable Result of Legalizing Gay Marriage

Poe’s Law:  “Without explicitly saying content is satirical, it is impossible to parody a political position without someone mistaking it for a genuine argument on its behalf.”

Tucker’s Law:  “As an email thread distributed among New Hampshire House Republicans grows longer, the probability of a reference to bestiality approaches one.”

And now, to demonstrate these two laws, we bring you Exhibit A:  New Hampshire state Rep. Jordan Ulery.  Jordan Ulery was surfing the web and ended up at two tongue-in-cheek websites.  He didn’t understand that they were just satire.  The two sites were:

Bestiality Surges Hours After New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage; and

Vermont Legislature considering a bill that would legalize bestiality, polygamy, etc.

Duly outraged, Jordan Ulery flew into action.  He forward the links to these two sites to several colleagues.  And he made this public statement:

“When we were discussing same-sex marriage people said talking about multiple partners, animal interactions made those who define marriage as a relationship between man and woman as silly and foolish.  Today, however, in several states multiple partners and even bestiality have been proposed or floated as extensions.”

I guess there’s no gullibility test required in order to run for the New Hampshire state legislature.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Corporate Douchebag of the Week: First National Bank of Wellston, Ohio

We’re all familiar with news stories about whacked-out narcotics agents bursting into the wrong house, ransacking the premises and terrorizing the occupants at gunpoint.  First National Bank of Wellston, Ohio has a new variation:  While Katie Barnett, of MacArthur, Ohio, was away on vacation, the bank’s hired thugs broke into her home and stole or destroyed most of her possessions.

OOPS.  First National Bank had intended to foreclose and repossess the house across the street.  But this wasn’t the bank’s fault.  A faulty GPS guided the hoodlums to the wrong house.

Not only is Katie Barnett NOT behind on her mortgage payments — she has no connection whatsoever with First National Bank.

Katie Barnett presented the president of the bank with a bill for $18,000 as compensation for her property that was damaged or stolen by First National Bank’s goons.  The bank president refused to pay her.  She said:

“He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is.’”

Retail??? The perp should have to pay the full retail value PLUS a huge fine and/or jail sentence.  Try getting caught shoplifting and saying “Aw come on, do I have to pay the full retail value of these items?”

Katie Barnett then went to the police, who told her that the case had already been closed.

The linked article doesn’t give the name of the bank president.  But I hope his name, address and photo are plastered all over every telephone pole and bulletin board in Wellston and MacArthur, Ohio.  Come on, townspeople — Grab your pitchforks and Take No Prisoners!

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Republicans’ Disgraceful Contemptible Efforts to Sabotage Obamacare

This post will consist entirely of a quote by Norm Ornstein:

“When a law is enacted, representatives who opposed it have some choices (which are not mutually exclusive). They can try to repeal it, which is perfectly acceptable — unless it becomes an effort at grandstanding so overdone that it detracts from other basic responsibilities of governing. They can try to amend it to make it work better — not just perfectly acceptable but desirable, if the goal is to improve a cumbersome law to work better for the betterment of the society and its people. They can strive to make sure that the law does the most for Americans it is intended to serve, including their own constituents, while doing the least damage to the society and the economy. Or they can step aside and leave the burden of implementation to those who supported the law and got it enacted in the first place.

“But to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation — which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law, including insurers, hospitals, and physicians; to threaten the even greater disruption via a government shutdown or breach of the debt limit in order to blackmail the president into abandoning the law; and to hope to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil — is simply unacceptable, even contemptible.”


Or to paraphrase a famous question from 1954:  Do these cocksuckers have no decency, no sense of shame?

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Obama Gives Rousing Speech on Economy

Yes, Obama “gives a powerful speech but doesn’t accomplish anything” seems to be the standard criticism, from the Left and Right.  Nevertheless, he gave ‘em Hell in his speech today at Knox College in Galesburg, IL.

“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop.  Job security, with good wages and durable industries, a good education, a home to call your own, affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you’re not rich. Reducing poverty, reducing inequality. Growing opportunity. That’s what we need.  Today, five years after the start of that Great Recession, America has fought its way back. We’ve fought our way back.  Over the past 40 months, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs. This year, we are off to our strongest private-sector job growth since 1999.”


“I will welcome ideas from anybody, across the political spectrum, but I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way.  That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it.  Where I can’t act on my own, and Congress isn’t cooperating, I’ll pick up the phone and call CEOs, I’ll call philanthropists, I’ll call college presidents, I’ll call labor leaders — I’ll call anybody who can help — and enlist them in our efforts.”

And he dared Republicans to “stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country.”

“Republicans” and “concrete ideas” in the same sentence — that’s gotta be the Mother of all Oxymorons.

The official GOP response was:

“Waaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!  I’m gonna stand here with my arms crossed, my lower lip thrust out, holding my breath ‘til I turn blue, and I’ll keep stamping my feet ‘til they break.  I’m gonna shut down the federal government if I don’t get what I want.”

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Red States Trying to Sabotage Renewable Energy Development

Americans For Prosperity (a Koch Brothers’ front group) and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) have ordered their prostitutes — formerly known as state legislators and “regulatory” agencies — to protect the fossil fuel industry by derailing solar and wind energy development.  And these prostitutes are duly obeying their johns' orders.

In Arizona, Georgia, Idaho and Kansas, state legislatures and/or utility companies have tried to clamp down on renewable energy sources.  And this has created some strange bedfellows.  Some Tea Party members have actually lived up to their own “Free Market” rhetoric by standing up to the monopoly utility companies and demanding their right to use — and/or generate — solar energy.

Arizona Public Service — Arizona’s largest electric utility — wants to crack down on net-metering.  This is the process whereby homes equipped with solar panels can sell back their excess solar power to the utility company.  Arizona Public Service wants all homeowners who have solar panels to pay an additional $100 a month just for the privilege of selling their excess power back to Arizona Public Service.

On July 16th hundreds of demonstrators showed their displeasure with Arizona Public Service.  As the linked article says:

“After all, net-metering challenges a government monopoly. It’s made with American ingenuity. The alternative is a costly boondoggle of centrally regulated authority.”

The article continues:

“APS is facing its own mortality. If rooftop solar is adopted widely enough, it means a death spiral for the electric utilities. The price per kilowatt-hour for solar is plummeting. The utilities all know it, and they’re fighting back by making net-metering more expensive.”

Also, Arizona’s Public Utilities Commission is closely allied with ALEC.  ALEC is the shadowy rightwing organization behind the epidemic of Stand Your Ground laws, “ag gag” laws and voter suppression laws, as well as these attempts to sabotage renewable energy.

The article says:

“The solar fight in Arizona crystallizes red states’ dilemma: Do they listen to the explicitly fossil-fueled Americans For Prosperity and the Koch brothers, or do they choose politically popular renewable energy?”

In Georgia, Tea Party members joined forces with the solar energy industry to force Georgia’s Public Utilities Commission to incorporate more solar net-metering.

In Kansas, farmers who wanted to create wind energy successfully fought a state law that would have delayed the implementation of renewable energy.  (I drove across Kansas once, and believe me, it is WINDY.)

Even in Idaho, the Public Utilities Commission prohibited a large utility monopoly from their attempted clamp-down on solar net-metering.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Investigate Darrell Issa

Darrell Issa’s contrived IRS “scandal” was a manufactured “crisis” from the beginning — nothing more than a smoke-and-mirrors gimmick to vilify Obama and rally the GOP base.

From the beginning, it was clear that the IRS was targeting ANY non-profit organization whose application for tax-exempt status included political buzzwords from the left OR right.  Darrell Issa cherry-picked the cases where a group using “Patriot” or “Tea Party” was questioned about why their political activity should be subsidized by taxpayers.  He cleverly omitted the fact that liberal non-profit groups asked the same questions by the IRS if they used references to “green” and other liberal buzzwords.

Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, recently publicized this fact — that the IRS was auditing non-profit groups of all political persuasions, not just conservative groups.  Darrell Issa had a public tantrum when his smoke and mirrors “scandal” came unraveled in front of God and everybody.

What else did you expect from a car thief, arsonist and insurance fraudster?

As slippery as Darrell Issa’s fake IRS “scandal” was, it’s been a successful fundraising gimmick.  During the second quarter of this year, he raised $737,109.  Most of these contributions were inspired by Issa’s scary IRS imagery.

If you think the House Ethics Committee should investigate Darrell Issa’s conduct, please sign this petition.

The purpose of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee is NOT to conjure up phony scandals so politicians can extort larger campaign contributions from gullible constituents.

Darrell Issa needs to be censured — at the very least — for his sleazy behavior.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Lewis Black vs. Rick Perry

One of the funniest comedians out there vs. Rick “George W. Bush Without The Brains” Perry — no contest.

Rick Perry is trying to persuade businesses — particularly in Illinois, California and New York — to relocate to Texas, where bidness folks ain’t gettin’ strangled by them there Comminist regulations.  There’s a radio commercial with Rick Perry saying:

“If you’re tired of the same old recipe of over-taxation, over-regulation and frivolous litigation, get out before you go broke. Texas is calling…The escape route leads straight to Texas.”

To which Lewis Black replies:

“Because nothing says ‘We’re on the cutting edge of 21st century business’ like an ad on the radio!”


“Now he’s trying to take California jobs?  Rick Perry doesn’t know it, but he just doubled his porn industry and tripled the number of skateboarding panhandlers…But go ahead, Perry.  Take your best shot. ‘Texas is calling?’ Well good thing I’ve got caller ID.  Listen, Texas, trying to steal jobs from Illinois and California is one thing, but you’re going to try to trash-talk about New York? Not on my watch…‘Don’t mess with Texas?’  Don’t fuck with New York.”

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Will Congress Re-Authorize the Voting Rights Act?

The voting rights issue — like immigration reform — puts Republicans in a damned-if-we-do-damned-if-we-don’t position.  If they just sit back and rejoice (silently) that the Voting Rights Act is dead, Democrats will have a volatile issue for the 2014 election.

Then again, if Congress does rewrite the Voting Rights Act so that it conforms to the Supreme Court’s objections, Republicans won’t be able to keep all those minorities, college students, elderly and low income voters out of the polling booth.  What to do?

The Supreme Court overturned Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act — if I’m understanding correctly — because it discriminates against certain southern states.  OK, so re-authorize the Voting Rights Act and change the wording so it applies equally to all fifty states.  Presto!  No more discrimination.

Ohio and Pennsylvania are every bit as guilty as any southern state for conjuring up one slippery method after another to keep non-white non-country-club-members away from the voting booth.  Let’s make every state, north or south, grovel for federal approval whenever they want to block the vote or gerrymander even safer districts for their incumbent “representatives.”

Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen (Tennessee) was asked whether he thought Republicans would make any effort to revise Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act:

“Absolutely not. They want to thwart people’s right to vote. They’ve shown it regularly. All those voter ID laws, all the changes in precincts at the last minute, their redistricting processes….Do you think those people at the Republican National Committee who want to stop older people, African-Americans, Hispanics and students from voting … really want to put those states (that had been covered by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act) under the thumb of the federal government? Absolutely not.”


Can’t argue with that.  But at least we’ll have a potent campaign issue next year.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

North Carolina Teabaggers Celebrate Thankful Tuesday

For the past few Mondays, thousands of non-teabagging North Carolinians have been staging a huge and growing demonstration — Moral Monday.  Local residents of the non-teatard persuasion have been expressing their alarm at the sharp right turn of North Carolina’s legislature.  Until this year, North Carolina had a Democratic governor to hold back the tsunami of teahadist legislation.

Now that there’s a Republican in the Governor’s Mansion, the Mississippi-fication of North Carolina is happening with a vengeance.

The Moral Monday demonstrators — including a lot of NAACP members — have been protesting against North Carolina’s new and improved voter suppression laws, anti-abortion laws, and tax “reform” which shifts the tax burden from corporations and wealthy individuals to those lowly working stiffs who don’t earn enough money to make political campaign contributions.

Needless to say, these are the exact same reasons for yesterday’s Thankful Tuesday gathering.  The two hundred teadroolers who took part in Thankful Tuesday seemed to be saying “Thank God we don’t have to move to Mississippi; we’s bringin’ Mississippi to us.”

The Thankful Tuesday rally was organized by the North Carolina Republican Party, We The People Franklin County Patriots and the Moccasin Creek Minutemen.  And they couldn’t muster any more than two hundred teajobs?!?

One of the speakers tossed foam footballs into the air as the crowd whooped and hollered.  The footballs each had the URL of a local Americans For Prosperity website — Back in the Game N.C.  People waved signs saying “Stop Abortion Now” and “Thank you McCrory” (Pat McCrory, North Carolina’s corporate-owned governor).

A Republican state senator told the crowd “This is so much nicer than Moral Monday, right?”

Depends on which side of fifty your IQ is on.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Filibuster Reform ALMOST accomplished

Almost.  Harry Reid huffed and puffed and glared and threatened, said he was really REALLY gonna stand up to the Republicans and finally crack down, finally put an end to four and a half years of government by fiat filibuster.  Yes, he had already said this before, made these same threats a hundred times already — but this time he really really meant it.

But the Republicans were persuasive, as always.  They came up with a “compromise,” and Harry Reid agreed to it.  Under this new agreement, Senate Republicans will hold the football in place, and when Harry Reid comes running up to kick it, the Republicans won’t yank the ball away and then laugh their asses off when Harry Reid falls ass over teakettle.  The Republicans have made this exact same promise before and they’ve broken it every time.  But THIS time it’ll be different.

In their first show of Good Faith — that is, if “Good Faith” and “Republicans” isn’t an oxymoron — Senate Republicans agreed to allow an up or down vote on Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Richard Cordray is already in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, via a recess appointment which Obama had to make after the GOP’s constant filibustering.  But now it’s official, or at least it will be if the Republicans live up to their agreement.

Republicans agreed to allow a few other long-stalled nominations to “move forward,” without giving any other specifics like which nominations and when.

In return for this magnanimous gesture by the GOP, President Obama has agreed to withdraw the nominations of his two appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.  These two board members, like Richard Cordray, had already been appointed by recess appointment, but a federal judge ruled that the Senate wasn’t actually in recess at the time.  Let’s see, ninety-nine senators were away on vacation, and one senator came into the chamber every three days to turn on the lights, hang around for a minute and a half, then turn out the lights and leave.  Yup, the Senate was in session, since that’s about how productive they are whether they’re physically occupying the premises or not.

Republicans have agreed not to filibuster Obama’s two replacement nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, but ONLY if Republicans have a hand in choosing the nominees.  Right now the National Labor Relations Board is completely immobilized — unable to take any actions whatsoever — because of having too many vacancies on the Board.

Without further delay, the GOP will nominate Scott Walker and Charles Koch to the National Labor Relations Board and these nominations will be fast-tracked.

Isn’t compromise great?


Monday, July 15, 2013

“Rock the Cat Box” by The Clash

According to this article, The Clash’s “Rock the Cat Box” (i.e. “Rock the Casbah“) is the third most misquoted of all rock lyrics.  There’s also Jimi Hendrix’s “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” (instead of “kiss the sky”).

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll used to write periodically about mis-heard song lyrics.  (Maybe he still does, for all I know.  I haven’t looked at the Chronicle much since leaving the Bay Area nine years ago.)

Jon Carroll calls these misquoted song lyrics “Mondegreens,” named after an Olde English folk song lyric that went “…and laid him on the Green,” which somebody mis-heard as “Lady Mondegreen.”

Other examples in the linked article include Elton John belting out “Hold me closer, Tony Danza” and Van Halen’s 1984 hit “Animal!”

For my own Mondegreens:  when The Doors came out with their 1968 hit “Love Me Two Times,” I thought Jim Morrison was singing “Amnesty Child.”  And the Little River Band’s 1979 hit “Lonesome Loser,” I heard as “Lofty Bluebird.”

I’ve had others too, but those two are the most blatant.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

A chance to Prevent Another Wall Street Meltdown: the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act

Senators Elizabeth Warren, Angus King, Maria Cantwell and John McCain have introduced a bill to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which had been in place from the 1930s — in response to the 1929 Crash — to 1999.  The Glass-Steagall Act established a firewall between commercial and investment banking, for the exact purpose of preventing a repeat of the Crash of 1929.

In 1999, Wall Street ordered its prostitutes in Congress to get rid of all these cumbersome banking regulations that were “no longer necessary.”  Then-Senator Phil Gramm duly spreadeagled himself, gyrated up a storm, and rewarded his big-spending johns by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act.

Nine years later, Wall Street was rewarded with the 2008 global meltdown and a multi-trillion dollar bailout/handout from taxpayers.  Mission Accomplished.

In addition to reinstating the original Glass-Steagall, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act is updated to prohibit the modern malignancies that led to the 2008 crash.  Derivatives trading, and some of the more slippery hedge fund and private equity activities — all would be off limits to commercial banks.

Elizabeth Warren said:

“Americans want safe banks.  The banks that handle their checking and savings accounts should be rock-solid secure, and they should not be juicing their profits by taking those insured deposits and insuring them in wild financial schemes.”

John McCain said:

“If enacted, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act would not end Too-Big-to-Fail. But, it would rebuild the wall between commercial and investment banking that was in place for over 60 years, restore confidence in the system, and reduce risk for the American taxpayer.”

With Congress being packed to the rafters with Wall Street’s skankiest prostitutes, one might think the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act hasn’t got a prayer of becoming law.  Elizabeth Warren addressed this concern:

“People said we could never get the consumer protection bureau. But we fought for it, and now we have an agency protecting consumers from credit card and mortgage scams.”

And here’s how YOU can help.  Please sign this petition urging Congress to pass Elizabeth Warren’s Glass-Steagall Bill.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

If You’re an Environmentalist, Chevron has YOU in their Crosshairs

I don’t know which is worse, the fact that Chevron is trying to track down everyone who was even remotely involved in a lawsuit filed in Ecuador against Chevron — or the fact that a U.S. judge has approved Chevron’s subpoena.

Last year an Ecuadorian court imposed an $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron for repeatedly dumping toxic waste into the Amazon River, polluting people’s drinking water and causing irreparable damage to waterways and the rainforest.

Here’s another link.

So far Chevron hasn’t paid a dime of this judgment.  But the company has acted with blinding speed to retaliate against everyone connected with the suit against them.

Chevron has filed a lawsuit in the United States, alleging that everyone connected even remotely with the suit against Chevron was engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the company.  As part of their lawsuit, Chevron has subpoenaed three Internet Service Providers — Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — for the IP and e-mail address of hundreds of advocates, journalists, lawyers and anyone else who was even peripherally connected to the suit against Chevron.

And Chevron found themselves a willing prostitute:  U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has approved Chevron’s subpoena.  Maybe somebody should subpoena Judge Kaplan’s bank records to see how much Chevron has been paying him off.

Remember when the judicial branch was somewhat less corrupt than the other two branches?  Or maybe that never was the case and things are just more blatant now.

Interesting times we’re living in.  If you “donate” millions of dollars to a political campaign and purchase the election, you can stay hidden under your rock and nobody will ever know who you are.  If you send an e-mail expressing your personal opinion on a pollution issue, a vengeful corporation can track you down.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Edward Snowden: a Whistleblower, Not a Traitor

This is what most Americans are saying.  According to the newest Quinnipiac poll, 55% of Americans think Edward Snowden is a whistleblower.  34% think he’s a traitor.

11% have no opinion.

The question was:

“Do you regard Edward Snowden, the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone scanning program, as more of a traitor, or more of a whistle-blower?”

The opinion that Edward Snowden is a whistleblower was represented equally by both genders and all political persuasions and social groups.  The assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll said:

“The fact that there is little difference now along party lines about the overall anti- terrorism effort and civil liberties and about Snowden is in itself unusual in a country sharply divided along political lines about almost everything.  Moreover, the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment.”

Good point.  This is just another example of how the “leaders” of both parties are out of step with the voters.  With so many high profile Democrats calling Edward Snowden a traitor, and threatening any country that offers him sanctuary, one has to wonder:  Is there any difference between the two parties?

I still think the Democrats are the lesser of two evils, but the distinction gets pretty blurred sometimes.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Corporate Thug of the Week: Gogebic Mining Company

Gogebic has an illegal mining site in the Penokee Mountains of northern Wisconsin.  The mine is located on public lands and is in violation of a local Indian treaty.

Last month Gogebic was traumatized when fifteen protesters gathered near the mining site.  To make sure this kind of outrage will never happen again, Gogebic has hired Bulletproof Securities.  As the name indicates, Bulletproof Securities is a private “security” company patterned after Blackwater or Xe or whatever they’re calling themselves this week.

A mine on public lands, in violation of a local treaty, and private armed guards being hired to protect the “property” — again, on public land — from the public:  sounds like the kind of thing we’re always reading about in third world countries.

Wisconsin state senator Bob Jauch said:

“I’m appalled.  There is no evidence to justify their presence.  Do they have the authority to use those weapons? If so, on who?  I don’t know if there’s a hunting season right now except maybe for rabbit, but you shoot a rabbit with that, all you’ll end up with is fur. What would you use those weapons for except to hurt somebody?”

A Wisconsin website — Indian Country TV — showed video footage of several Bulletproof Securities guards near the Gogebic mine site, dressed in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles.  A cameraman asked one of the guards:

“What happened to your fancy guns?  Look at that. Very close by. Who are you going to shoot?”

The guard responded:  “It’s a security protocol,” and refused to give his name or his employer’s name.  The cameraman continued:

“You’re being caught up in a national phenomenon.  We’ve got reporters calling from all over the country wondering about the occupation of Penokee Mountains Heritage Park by people who’ve got automatic weapons. And the question is, ‘Why?’”

Good question.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

The Clash of the Titans: Insurance Companies vs. the Gun Lobby

This oughtta be entertaining, a collision between two of the country’s most powerful — and hated — interest groups.  Politicians are scared shitless of the NRA and other gun-owner groups, who are determined to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom and/or have armed guards “protecting” our schools.  And what the NRA wants, the NRA gets.

OOPS.  Insurance companies might not provide coverage for school districts that allow armed teachers in the classroom.  Gee, what a shame.  For once it’s not just hospital patients who get shat on by their insurance company.

Some insurance companies are flat-out refusing to provide coverage if a school allows teachers to carry guns.  Other insurers will provide coverage, but only at a much much higher premium.  For instance, how about paying an additional $5,000 a year for every teacher who’s armed?  And you thought your local school district was already strapped for cash.

On top of that, the insurance industry doesn’t consider armed guards in schools to be a good risk.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, insurance companies know a thing or two about calculating risk.  Jenny Emery, head of the Association of Governmental Risk Pools, said:

“I haven’t seen evidence yet that suggests people are determining that arming teachers is a recommended way to manage risk.  Far from it.”

Aaarrgghh, what do they know?  Insurance companies are gonna take our guns away!  The insurance industry hates America.


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Gasland Part II

I haven’t even seen the first Gasland yet.  It’s on our Netflix queue, along with Matt Damon’s The Promised Land.

Gasland Part II is about to be shown on HBO, which we don’t get so we’ll have to wait ‘til the DVD comes out.  Josh Fox — producer of Gasland I and II — says he wants President Obama to see Gasland Part II:

“We want the president to watch the movie, and we want him to meet with the people who are in it.”  He says Obama is misguided in his support of fracking:

“It looks like he's really sincere and earnest in his desire to take on climate change, but he's got the completely wrong information and thus the completely wrong plan.”

Unfortunately the deep-pocketed fracking industry is able to buy a lot more access to the White House than a bunch of lowly treehuggers.  And this is one of the main themes of Gasland Part II.  Part II reiterates a lot of the same information from Part I, i.e. the contamination of entire neighborhoods caused by fracking.

But Gasland Part II goes more into how a powerful industry has been able to buy off our “elected” representatives and “regulatory” agencies; why our watchdogs have all mutated into corporate lapdogs.  Or as Josh Fox puts it:

“I felt like I could see it: a horizontal well bore, drilled down into the earth, snaking underneath the Congress, shooting money up through the chamber at such high pressure that it blew the top off of our democracy.  Another layer of contamination due to fracking, not the water, not the air, but our government.”

Very well put.  Gasland Parts I and II and The Promised Land are must-sees.  The more viewers these three movies can get, the fewer useful idiots the fracking industry will have.

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Independence Day

Independence from petroleum, that is.  We’re not there yet obviously, but there’s hope.  Honda and General Motors are hoping that the fuel cell will go from being a scientific curiosity to a mass-produced item by the end of the decade.  The fuel cell takes hydrogen and oxygen from the air to create a steady current for running electric vehicles.  The fuel cell vehicle’s only exhaust is water vapor.

GM’s global director of fuel cell development is hoping this technology will bring us closer to “weaning ourselves off petroleum.”

Right now there are about 200 prototype fuel cell vehicles being tested.  The fuel cell goes back over a hundred years, but its first practical application was during space flights of the 1960s and early ‘70s.  It’s time to make fuel cell vehicles a mass-market reality.

And in a related story, renewable energy will soon replace natural gas as the world’s second largest source of electricity.  According to the International Energy Agency, renewable sources will increase by forty percent over the next five years.  At that point, they’ll be providing twenty-five percent of the world’s energy supply.

OK, so we’re not there yet.  But we’re on our way.

Happy Independence Day.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Is Yoga a Religion? Should it be Allowed in Public Schools?

All over the U.S., Christians are having a hissyfit over Yoga being a religion.  If Christians can’t pray in school, then a bunch of moonbeam navel-gazing Hindus shouldn’t be allowed to practice THEIR religion in schools either.  But is Yoga a religion?

San Diego Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer has ruled that Yoga can be taught in the Encinitas, CA school system without violating the separation of church and state.  The ruling was a defeat for a local Christian couple who had filed a suit to prevent Yoga from being taught, their reasoning being that teaching Yoga amounts to religious indoctrination.

And these two devout Christians — Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock — are absolutely right.  Yoga IS a religion, and a very dangerous one at that.  Did you know:

During the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, armies of vicious Yogis staged a series of bloody crusades in the Middle East.  Between a million and two million people were killed during the Yoga Crusades.

A few centuries later, after the Church of Yoga had become more powerful than ever, Yogis waged a campaign of mass torture and slaughter of anyone who didn’t practice Yoga.  To this day, the Yoga Inquisition remains one of the darkest most brutal chapters in world history.

The American Colonies were not immune to the excesses of Yoga fanatics.  In the late 1600s, Yogis staged a series of “trials.”  Drowning, hanging or being burned at the stake was the grisly fate of any infidel who wobbled a little during the headstand or couldn’t hold the Lotus position properly.

But you don’t have to go way back in history to witness Yoga’s religious fanaticism and mass conformity.  When the Supreme Court overturned the federal law against same-sex marriage, Yogis reacted with fire and brimstone, hatred and fury.

And so on.

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Republicans: “Callous bigoted tools…for sale to the highest bidder.”

Alan Grayson (D—Florida) nails the GOP again.  In 2009 he said Republicans want sick people to hurry up and die and get out of the way.

In a fundraising video that was just uploaded today, he described Republicans as “callous bigoted tools.”  He said:

“They have no interest whatsoever in anything but personal advancement, and the means by which they advance are to sell-out, to carve the law up into little pieces and put it up for sale to the highest bidder.  That’s the reality of the situation.”

He said there are a few principled Republicans.  He named Ron Paul as an example.  In his speech, he lashed out at Congress in general; not just Republicans:

“I feel disgust towards many of these people.  Frankly, not only the Republicans. There are so many people who show no responsibility at all to the 700,000 people who elected them, sent them to Congress and are looking for them to do something useful for them in their lives.”

That pretty well sums them up.  And yet most of these useless shitbags will get re-elected because of their safe gerrymandered districts.