Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, February 28, 2014

For the Koch Brothers, There's No Such Thing as Good Publicity

Harry Reid made headlines two days ago when he called the Koch Brothers un-American and condemned them for using their inherited billions to buy America.  He said:

When you make billions of dollars a year you can be as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be.  It's too bad that they're trying to buy America, and it's time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.

I think it's an understatement, but he's on the right track.

Tim Phillips, president of the Koch front group Americans For Prosperity, has already come to his puppet-masters' defense by by blasting Reid.  Harry Reid hates Freedom, wants the terrorists to win, yada yada.  Other rightwing useful idiots are sure to jump on the bandwagon.

Good.  Bring it on.

The Koch Brothers have always kept a low profile, doing all of their bribing and election-rigging behind the scenes and staying off the public radar.  Those days are over.

Every time a politician or pundit condemns Charles and David Koch and every time a rightwing spokesperson comes to their defense the Koch Brothers are being dragged further and further into the spotlight.

The man behind the curtain no longer has a curtain to hide behind.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Americans: Season Two


If anything, last night's Season Two opener was even more white-knuckle-nail-biting suspenseful than Season One.  And that's saying a lot.

If you're not familiar with The Americans, it's an FX series about two KGB agents (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) in Washington, D.C. posing as an American couple, circa 1982.  Even their two children a 14-year-old daughter and a son who's somewhat younger don't know their parents' real identity.  Same with the FBI agent who lives next door and whose main mission is tracking down KGB infiltrators.

The intensity is excruciating.

The program prides itself on capturing hundreds of minute details of the early '80s, the way American Dreams and Mad Men did with the early '60s.

In last night's episode, I thought I'd caught them in an error.  A couple was watching a movie on a VCR and using the remote to pause, etc.  I was sure they didn't have VCRs in1982, so I Googled it.  They did.  When we got our first VCR in late 1985, it seemed like everybody else in the Free World already had one.  But I hadn't heard of them three years before that.

Anyway excellent TV show.  Check it out.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Do You REALLY Want to Know What Your Dog is Thinking?

A group of Scandinavian scientists, the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery is working on a new invention they call No More Woof.  You put this device on your dog, and when he/she barks, the bark is translated into a short phrase which was already pre-programmed into the device and the phrase is then transmitted through a microphone.  A spokesperson for the group said:

“The brainwaves differ quite a lot from different races as well as individual dogs.  However it is possible to detect some common patterns and we have no doubt that in the future this technology will open up a vast new era of communication between dogs and humans, or animals in general and humans.  No More Woof is the result of combining the latest technologies in three different tech-areas EEG (electroencephalography) sensoring, micro computing and special [brain-computer interface] software...Right now we are only scraping the surface of possibilities.  The first version will be quite rudimentary. But hey, the first computer was pretty crappy too.”

Regardless of how close this invention is or whether it's even for real do you really want to know what your dog is thinking?  Careful what you wish for.

I saw an article a long time ago saying that dogs outperform every other animal except people on a very specific type of intelligence:  Anticipating what a person is about to do, based on what this person has already done.  Your dog is extremely perceptive as to what you want and what you're about to do.

Combine this with the fact that dogs are pack animals.  And your dog perceives YOU as the leader of the pack.  Therefore, is your dog really as loving and devoted and loyal as you think?

Or is he/she more like a shrewd employee who knows exactly what the boss wants to hear?

This new invention could take all the mystery out of it.  When you come home from work and your dog's tail is wagging furiously and he's jumping all over you, maybe the little microphone thingy will transmit Oh boy oh boy, you're home at last!  Or maybe it'll say I hate you.  Feed me.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dick Cheney Fuck Off And DIE (Part XVIII)

Every time I vow to never do another post about this snarling chickenhawkfuck, its mouth opens and out comes another shitburst, and I end up doing my umpteenth Cheney rant.

As you've probably heard, the Pentagon will be creating a leaner meaner military, shrinking the U.S. Army to its smallest size since before World War II.  This is a good thing, assuming the Pentagon hasn't been infiltrated by a bunch of flag-burning peaceniks.

Needless to say, the Chairborne Division is getting its panties in a wad.  Dick Cheney appeared on Sean Hannity's program last night chickenhawks of a feather flock together and they went into an orgy of hate-spewing and war-mongering.  Dick Cheney said:

“Absolutely dangerous.  I, obviously, have not been a strong supporter of Barack Obama but this really is over the top. It does enormous long-term damage to our military.  They’re basically making the decision, the Obama administration, that they no longer want to be dominant on the seas and the skies and in space.  This notion that we no longer want to have a force that’s capable of any sustained occupation of a foreign territory, that’s a basic fundamental decision that drives — supposedly justifies this. But lots of times, you don’t get to make that choice. Circumstances will make that choice for you. I think the whole thing is not driven by any change in world circumstances, it’s driven by budget considerations.  He would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”

During the final debate of the 2012 election, Mitt Romney trotted out that same rightwing talking point that we have fewer weapons and fewer soldiers than we did in the early 1900s, etc.  President Obama got off his classic retort that “We also have fewer horses and bayonets...We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

Perhaps Dick Cheney was busy twiddling his pacemaker and he missed it.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis

I hate to admit it, but the only thing I knew about Harold Ramis was that he was in Ghostbusters.  He was also in As Good As It Gets, Stripes and High Fidelity, but I didn't remember seeing him in any of those flicks.

I had no idea he was such a prolific writer, director and producer.  I also didn't know or else I forgot that he was part of Second City Television (SCTV).

Harold Ramis was a co-writer of Animal House, Stripes, Meatballs, Ghostbusters, Back to School, Analyze This and Analyze That.  (His writing credits are a lot more extensive than that; I'm only naming the movies I've seen.)

He was also the original head writer of SCTV.



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Exxon CEO Comes Out AGAINST Fracking

No, not fracking per se.  Just one specific fracking operation that might jeopardize the value of his $5 million property.  Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, has joined a lawsuit to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower that would be part of a nearby fracking operation.  Fracking would lead to too much noise and too much traffic, which might put a damper on Rex Tillerson's ability to fully enjoy his $5 million home.

Now before we descend into an orgy of hatred and name-calling, we should feel a moment of pity for Rex Tillerson.  He's obviously suffering from a severe case of schizophrenia.  Introducing Rex Tillerson vs. Rex Tillerson:

The lawsuit, in which Rex Tillerson is one of the plaintiffs, states that the proposed water tower “will sell water to oil and gas explorers for fracing [sic] shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.” 

Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson's other personality has lashed out at environmentalists' attempts to regulate fracking:

“This type of dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth, and global competitiveness.  Natural gas production is an old technology just being applied, integrated with some new technologies.  So the risks are very manageable.”

OK, we've heard our dueling outbursts from Twenty-first Century Schizoid Man.

And that takes care of the pity party.  Let the name-calling begin.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mitch McConnell Alienates Dogfighting and Cockfighting Inbreds

The federal farm bill — recently passed by both houses of Congress — has an amendment making it a federal crime to attend a dogfight or cockfight.  Mitch McConnell voted for the farm bill, and this has gotten Kentucky's inbreds all riled up.

Craig Davis, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association, said:

“This will destroy Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.  When you make a law like that, you take good taxpaying people and you turn them into criminals overnight.  The grass roots on this are not playing games anymore. They’ve been beaten and battered for 30 years. They’re rural people. They want to be left alone.”

Maybe some of these fighting dogs and roosters would like to be “left alone” too, Asshole.

Craig Davis also answered an unspoken question:  Exactly how many Kentucky voters are the offspring of a sibling or cousin romance?  60,000 according to Davis.  That's how many people Davis says will vote for McConnell's teabagger opponent in the primary.

Davis also wants the Kentucky legislature to pass a law guaranteeing Kentucky residents their God-given right to hold dogfights and cockfights.

Somebody should throw Craig Davis into the middle of one of these dogfights.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Idaho Pervert/Legislators like to Get It On with Farm Animals

Recent undercover videos taken at an Idaho farm have revealed some shocking abuses, including — but not limited to — a worker fondling a cow's vagina.  Again, we're talking about Idaho.  Now, let's take a little quiz.  Idaho's legislators have responded to this outrage by cracking down on:

A) Mistreatment of farm animals;

B) People who photograph the mistreatment of farm animals.

Right you are; B) is the correct answer.

Utah and Iowa already have these “Ag Gag” laws in place, whereby animal cruelty is perfectly OK but videotaping or reporting it is illegal.  And now Idaho is about to jump on the bandwagon.  Idaho's Ag Gag law was introduced by state Senator Jim Patrick (R—Cows Are Even Better Than Sheep).  He said:

Now what in tarnation is wrong with gettin' it on with a cow?  I prefer bulls myself but each to his own.  This is clear back in the sixth century B.C.  This is the way you combat your enemies.”

Next, we'll provide equal time for those whose IQs are HIGHER than their shoe sizes.  Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals, said:

“This legislation is a desperate attempt to sweep evidence of animal cruelty and sexual abuse under the rug.”

He also described the legislation as “pathetic.”  That's putting it kindly.

A resident of Boise agreed, saying:

“People who are whistle-blowers are terrified.  They lose their jobs. They lose their careers. This bill drives another nail in their hearts.”

Mission Accomplished.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Democratic Strategy for 2014 Elections: Focus on Obamacare

With the upcoming mid-term elections, Democratic politicians are in their usual predicament:  Voters agree with them on most of the issues, but they're more likely to vote for the Republican candidate instead.  Yes it sucks, but what're you gonna do?

At a recent three-day retreat for Democratic VIPs, Joe Biden told the audience:

On every major issue, the American people agree with the Democratic Party.  I can't think of a time when the issues that most affect the American people, most affect the middle class, overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, they support us.

He's right. Income inequality, a higher minimum wage, infrastructure spending, gun control, immigration reform, abortion, same-sex marriage for that matter, the entire rightwing Biblehump agenda that Republicans keep trotting out the public is with the Democrats on all of these issues.  That and four dollars will get you a cappuccino at Starbucks.

If agreeing with the public on the issues was any sort of guarantee, the Democrats would be assured of winning the House and strengthening their control of the Senate this November.  And Jimmy Carter would have trounced Ronald Reagan in 1980.

A Republican consultant responded to Biden's comments with:

Biden's comments reflect a 50,000-foot view rather than political realities on the ground in key states that will determine control of the Senate.

He's absolutely right, like it or not.

In a recent survey, 52% of the public named the Affordable Care Act whether pro or con as the most important issue.  Therefore, what should the Democrats be focusing on?

Obamacare.  This is what Democratic candidates need to talk about the Affordable Care Act, with all its good and bad points. Talk about the millions of previously uninsured Americans who finally have health insurance; people with pre-existing conditions who, for the first time in their lives, can NOT be turned down by an insurance company.  Insurance companies are no longer allowed to cancel your coverage AFTER you've gotten sick.  Talk about this!  Shout it from the rooftops.

And since millions of voters are pissed off about Obamacare acknowledge this.  Listen to their complaints and explain how it happened and what you'll do (or have done) to fix the problem.

The GOP is planning to sweep the 2014 election by hammering away at Obamacare the millions of glitches and crashes, people's genuine fears of losing their current coverage or having to pay more for less coverage, the evils of socialized medicine, etc.  Democrats can NOT let the Republicans frame this debate.

If the Democrats try to avoid talking about Obamacare and instead just bask in the glow of the public is with us on the issues we're looking at a Republican Senate next year.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Washington State Legislators Vote to Protect Jobs

Their own jobs that is. House Bill 2473 would protect state lawmakers the ones who have an outside job in addition to serving in Olympia from being fired by their employers.  Employers would be required to grant a temporary leave of absence to their legislator-employees.

First things first.  At least they've got each others' backs.  What about those of their constituents?

So far, HB 2473 has passed the House.

Can't blame the Republicans for this.  The bill was introduced by a Democrat, and the one legislator who spoke out against it (in the linked article) was a Republican.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Mitt Romney's Revenge

Mitt Romney went down in flames in the 2012 election, but his private equity / corporate raiding M.O. will be playing a larger role than ever during the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Romney's failed campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, has created America Rising a centralized opposition research firm.  Unlike Political Action Committees and those ubiquitous fake charity groups that aren't required to disclose their donors, America Rising is privately owned; profit-driven.

The mission of America Rising will be to dig up dirt on any and all Democratic candidates, nationwide, 24/7/365.   Republicans are hoping America Rising will be the party's most sophisticated, modern, and centralized opposition research effort ever. It is key to the GOP's hopes of resurrecting itself after the soul-crushing presidential defeat of 2012.”  [from the linked article]

We'll see.  Interesting times ahead.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Conservatives Are Right: Welfare DOES Destroy Incentive and Create Laziness

Corporate welfare that is.

A recent study has concluded what most of us already knew:   Corporate tax breaks and subsidies cause the recipients to become complacent, lazy and unproductive.

Jeff Zebo, in charge of this study, said:

Most of them [tax-dodging CEOs] spend an inordinate amount of time hobnobbing in lavish resorts and playing Candy Crush on corporate jets.

Exhibit A:  Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.  Bank of America has received over $1 trillion (no, that wasn't a typo) in bailout money and paid ZERO taxes in 2010.  Jeff Zebo said:

Has this made Moynihan motivated?  No the man can barely pay attention on the job. And he sleeps all the time employees sometimes stumble into his office and find him face down on the desk mumbling about things like milk shakes and Aruba.

But, he's a Job Creator!!!

Exhibit B:  Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.  Goldman Sachs aka the Vampire Squid, as Matt Taibbi calls them is the second largest recipient of corporate welfare and also paid zero taxes in 2010.  In return for such taxpayer largesse, Lloyd Blankfein contributes, uhh...

He sits around his mansion most days eating chips, drinking Belgian beer and taking conference calls in a bathrobe while secretly playing Call of Duty.  And when he's forced to leave his house, it's clear he just wants back on his couch.

Jeff Zebo's solution?

Take away their corporate welfare.  Unlike the poor, they don't need it. And they'd actually be more productive as a result.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nuclear Fusion Might Be Closer Than We Thought

It's not happening next week or even in the next few years.  But recent experiments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have brought fusion energy a lot closer to reality.

These experiments have produced more energy from fusion reactions than the amount of energy that was put into the fuel.  Omar Hurricane, the physicist in charge of the experiments, said a lot more work still needs to be done before fusion becomes a viable energy source, but:

“Really for the first time anywhere, we’ve gotten more energy out of this fuel than was put into the fuel. And that’s quite unique. And that’s kind of a major turning point, in a lot of our minds.” 

Unlike fossil fuels or nuclear fission the process currently used in today's nuclear power plants nuclear fusion will create an abundant energy source with no pollution, waste products or greenhouse gases.  Describing the status of nuclear fusion research right now, Omar Hurricane compared it to “climbing half way up a mountain, but the top of the mountain is hidden in clouds. You can’t see it. You don’t have a map.”

He also said:

“I wish I could put a date on it.  But it really is just research. And, you know, although we’re doing pretty good, we’d be lying to you if we told you a date.”

But we're halfway up the mountain.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Anti-Abortionists Really DO Care About You After You're Born...

...If they can molest you, that is.

Last month in Snohomish, WA, an 11-year-old girl was groped inside a Fred Meyer store.   The perp, 58-year-old Curtis Beseda, is still at large.  A $250,000 arrest warrant has been issued.

In the 1980s, this same Curtis Beseda was a frequent picketer at the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Everett, WA.  In addition to picketing, he set three fires at the Women's Health Center, forcing the clinic to close.  He was also convicted of arson at a clinic in Bellingham, WA.

Curtis Beseda probably isn't your typical anti-abortion protester.

Then again...

UPDATE:  Curtis Beseda, the child-groper, has been arrested.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Koch Brothers Determined to Keep Medicaid Out of Louisiana

The Koch Brothers through their money-laundering organization Americans For Prosperity are planning to spend whatever it takes to prevent the Louisiana legislature from expanding Medicaid.  Part of this is a campaign to unseat Senator Mary Landrieu, who's up for re-election and who has worked to expand Medicaid for her poorest constituents.

And part of it is because, well, because they hate poor people; i.e. people who weren't smart enough to choose wealthy parents.

So think about it.  Two of the wealthiest people in the country are using their inherited billions to make sure Louisiana's poorest residents will NOT be able to get health insurance.

I can't think of anything dirty or profane enough to express what I think of those two cocksuckers.  What say you?

Comments are welcome the more profane the better.

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Friday, February 07, 2014

(Formerly) Anonymous Koch Brothers Political Donors Outed

Last week the Koch Brothers held their twice-a-year meeting with their fellow rightwing movers and shakers.  Corporations and wealthy individuals who contribute to the Koch Brothers' various front groups are guaranteed to be kept anonymous.  They can make huge donations to Americans For Prosperity, Freedom Partners and other Kochtopus tentacles, and still keep hiding and cowering under their rocks so nobody knows who they are.

But at last week's meeting, one of the attendees left behind a sensitive document that listed some of the largest donors to the Kochtopus.  The document promptly found its way to Mother Jones, which is why these anonymous donors' identities have gone viral.

Without further ado, here are some of the corporations and individual billionaires who have been secretly trying to derail our democracy:

Papa John's Pizza;

TRT Holdings, owner of Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym;

Carl Berg, Silicon Valley real estate billionaire;

Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel hedge fund, ranks #103 on the Forbes 400;

Klipsch Group, headphone and speaker company;

John W. Childs, private equity investor;

Mountaire Corporation, huge agribusiness firm;

Charles Chandler, CEO of Intrust Bank;

Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon restaurant chain;

And on and on...

The complete list is shown at the linked article.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Inequality For All

Inequality For All is sooo good, it should be on everyone's required viewing list.  Robert Reich brings us some alarming, infuriating facts; facts we all need to know.

Even if you're liberal, even if you're already aware that America's gargantuan wealth gap is a threat to the entire country this movie will tell you things you didn't know.  It's worse than you thought.

The people who would benefit most from this movie the I'm so dumb I keep voting against my own interests crowd will of course not see it.

We've all heard that there are some eerie parallels between the late 1920s leading up to the 1929 Crash and the years leading up to the 2008 global meltdown.  But Robert Reich shows some charts and pictures that bring home just how striking these parallels are.  1928 and 2007 look almost interchangeable.  Talking about repeating history because we didn't learn from it.

Our lopsided wealth gap i.e. the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom half of the country put together creates massive social problems in addition to all the economic suffering.  There's a close correlation between income inequality and political polarization.  In the late 1920s, polarization and mutual hatred were as prevalent as they are today.

On the other hand, from the end of World War II through the mid 1970s when labor unions were at their peak, the middle class was thriving and the income gap was at its lowest political polarization was also at its lowest.

Deregulation of large industries, and the resulting income inequality, started increasing again in 1978.  Come to think of it, that's around the time that rightwing Biblehumping demagogues started whipping up their inbreds and getting them all riled up over gay rights.  Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell where are they now?  But I digress...

When the wealth gap started rearing its head again in the late 1970s, the effects were less noticeable for several reasons.  Right around this time, women started entering the workforce in record numbers.  The huge increase in dual/multiple-family incomes helped stave off the approaching economic Armageddon.  Also, housing prices started increasing faster around this time, which was a boon to anyone who owned property.  At least until the bubble burst...

Anyway, this movie is very informative, fast-moving and well presented.  It's not the dry documentary I was afraid it would be.  And it's short just under an hour and a half.

Also, please check out the Inequality For All website, which they talked about at the end of the movie.

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Democrats Tricked into Donating to Republican Party

OK, first of all:  You can't be gullible or unfocused when you're making donations online, or deciding whether or not to click on a certain link.  Too many hidden traps; too much fine print.  But the fact that only gullible people fall for a certain scam doesn't change the fact that the person pulling that scam is a lowlife sack of shit.

Exhibit A:  the National Republican Congressional Committee has set up a series of trick websites whose sole purpose is to con Democratic donors into donating to a Democratic candidate's Republican opponent instead.  Again, let the buyer beware, look both ways before crossing the street, don't turn off the bathroom light switch while your hands are still wet, etc.

But still...the Republican Party is now in the same league with all those blaring magazine and Internet ads we've all been seeing for years.  Send $100 to this P.O. Box and YOU can earn thousands of dollars a week stuffing envelopes at home in your spare time!!!  Thousands of jobs are going begging!  Enroll NOW in our expensive school and YOU too will be earning a huge salary in this exciting new field!

The GOP has long since given up any hope of winning elections on the strength of their ideas or solutions.  Their only hope is to pull every trick imaginable to keep non-Republicans from voting, and to keep gerrymandering congressional districts so that House Republicans are guaranteed to be re-elected no matter how extreme or corrupt they are.  And now:

Click HERE to Donate to Your Democratic Representative's opponent.

Fuckin' pitiful.

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Monday, February 03, 2014

How to Marginalize Payday Lenders AND Help the Post Office

Senator Elizabeth Warren has endorsed the idea of allowing the U.S. Postal Service to replace a lot of the payday lenders that are monopolizing the poorest neighborhoods.  The Post Office would use its huge already-existing infrastructure to offer debit cards and small loans to millions of low-income workers.  These are the people who don't have enough money to open a bank account and are therefore at the mercy of payday loansharks.

People who don't have a bank account spend about ten percent of their income just to access their own money.  In addition to saving these people billions of dollars, the Postal Service would be adding $9 billion to its own coffers.

The Postal Service would be operating in partnership with banks.  Big banks' reputations are getting more and more damaged (in case they care) by their partnerships with payday lenders.  Banks that work in conjunction with the Postal Service will still have as many customers as they've always had, without the PR disaster caused by their association with payday loansharks.  It's a win win.

Roughly sixty percent of all post offices are located in a bank desert — a zip code that has one or zero bank branches.  These are the exact neighborhoods that are easy pickin's for payday lenders and would be helped by the Post Office's new banking service.

I'm glad Elizabeth Warren is pushing this idea.  She has that unbeatable combination of populism and pragmatism.  No wonder Republicans hate her.

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