Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, June 30, 2014

Using Drones to Spy on Factory Farms

All Right!!!

The Factory Farm Syndicate keeps bribing state legislator-prostitutes into passing Ag Gag laws, making it a felony to report animal cruelty or unsanitary conditions.  Bring on the drone surveillance.

Will Potter, a journalist, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a drone investigation of factory farms.  On his fundraising page, he said:

“In my new project, I am going to use new investigative journalism tools to help expose what some corporations want to keep hidden. With your support, I will lawfully document factory farms in multiple states using aerial drone photography...Will a drone allow us to see the scope of pollution caused by these industrial operations? I’m going to find out.”

It took him just five days to meet his $30,000 goal.  He plans to turn his drone surveillance findings into a book and a documentary.

Some of the commenters at the end of the linked article seem to disagree over whether a large farming operation owns the airspace over their property.  I say go for it.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Warfare Queens and their Culture of Defendency

Gotta love Jon Stewart's take on the trillions of dollars worth of corporate food stamps being doled out to Halliburton and the rest of our leeching defense contractors.  Congressional chickenhawks acting on orders from their corporate masters are dutifully whipping patriotic Americans into another frenzy.  More war.  More corporate handouts.

Jon Stewart said:

I'm really worried about the Republicans. Their inability to wean themselves off of military intervention. They have a culture of defendency, if you will. And I believe it's turned them all into warfare queens.  And I think we need to cut them off for their own good.


Remember that time we invaded Iraq to remove the threat of the world's most dangerous people using the world's most dangerous weapons, and it turned out that the threat wasn't there? Well, good news. The threat's there now!  In some measure, due to the destabilizing effect of our intervention. And you'll never guess what the people who hyped the original plan would like to do now.

Yes, there is apparently no country Republicans will not put under the protection of the United States. Well, except one...So basically, when we give other countries government assistance, they handle it great. But when we get it ourselves, we fuck it all up. Why is it you don't seem to care about unintended consequences, waste, fraud, and abuse, and culture of dependency when it comes to the unlimited checkbook we have for foreign military adventures?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Federal Lawsuit: The People vs. John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (RJameson) has confirmed that he plans to file a federal lawsuit against President Barack Obama because of Obama's extensive use of executive authority.  Reached at his favorite nightclub (or one of them anyway), Boehner told an interviewer:

“You know the conshtitution makesh it clear that the preshident’sh job ish to faithfully execute the lawsh and in my view the Preshident has not faithfully executed the lawsh.  Thish lawshuit ish about defending the inshtitution in which we sherve becaushe what we’ve sheen clearly over the pasht 5 yearsh ish an effort to erode the power of the legishlative branch.  Hey, Barkeep, gimme another triple shot of that Jamishon Whishkey.”

Then he fell off his bar stool, hit his head and became incapacitated (how could they tell?) and was replaced by Eric Cantor.  Oh, wait...


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Obama's Newest Power Grab: Socialized Workplace Policies

No doubt this is how the Right will spin it.  Tell those lowly workers to suck it up, get back to work and be grateful they still have jobs.

Yesterday President Obama directed federal agencies to create more scheduling flexibility for workers so they'll be more able to juggle family needs and workplace obligations.  He said:

“The bottom line is [that] 21st-century families deserve 21st-century workplaces. And our economy demands them, because it’s going to help us compete. It’s going to help us lead. And that means paid family leave, especially paid parental leave...There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us.”

A few months ago President Obama referred to workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode, not in the 21st century workplace.  Yesterday Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan on Mad Men, seconded Obama's Mad Men reference, saying:  “In the 21st century the only place for a story like Joan's should be on TV.”

Obama also mentioned a report showing that the U.S. could get more people back to work if more businesses had paid parental leave policies.  He said:

“A few states have acted on their own to give workers paid family leave, but this should be available to everyone, because all Americans should be able to afford to care for a family member in need.”

As with everything else that benefits the ninety-nine percent, workplace flexibility will have to be achieved through executive authority, since Congress is still too busy repealing Obamacare and screaming about Benghazi.


Monday, June 23, 2014

America's Alarming New Heroin Epidemic


It's Reefer Madness all over again.  The recent hysteria over a growing heroin epidemic (mostly among teenagers) is being whipped up by politicians and the Prison Industrial Complex.  Some people just can't accept the fact that it's 2014 and the War on Some Drugs is finally starting to wind down.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin use among teenagers has actually declined in the past two years.  There has been a recent increase in overdose deaths, but most of these ODs were from prescription painkillers, not heroin.

The communications director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy said that any public notion of a heroin epidemic is “a function of media reporting.”

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bobby Jindal is Pushing for a REBELLION

Bobby Jindal says a rebellion is brewing in the United States and “the people” are ready for a “hostile takeover” of Washington, D.C.  He said this last night at the annual gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. 

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like every time you turn around, it's the “annual” meeting of yet another gang of rightwing demagogues with too much time on their hands.  How are we supposed to keep track of them all?  Patriotic Christians For Freedom, Bullied Billionaires Fighting Back Against Communism,  Jesus Built My Portfolio, etc., yada yada.  How many of these Corporate-Agenda-Disguised-as-The-Voice-of-The-People “grass roots” organizations ARE there???

Bobby Jindal said:

“I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States, where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”

He also said there's a “silent war” on religious liberty in America:

“I am tired of the left. They say they're for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them.  The left is trying to silence us and I'm tired of it, I won't take it anymore.”


He also showed off his talents as a standup comedian, which he may need after he's become a political has-been:

“Are we witnessing right now the most radically, extremely liberal, ideological president of our entire lifetime right here in the United States of America, or are we witnessing the most incompetent president of the United States of America in the history of our lifetimes? You know, it is a difficult question.  I've thought long and hard about it. Here's the only answer I've come up with, and I'm going to quote Secretary Clinton: 'What difference does it make?'”


The shining star of the gathering, however, was Ralph Reed, who compared the GOP's ongoing fight against same-sex marriage to the fight against slavery.

Yup, same thing.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Higher Pay for CEOs = Smaller Dividends for Stockholders

Maybe this report will get a rise out of people who think Income Inequality is just a liberal buzzword.  When millions of stockholders find out that they themselves are being shortchanged by the inverse relationship between CEO pay and company performance, maybe something will get done.  (Forgive me for dreaming.)

Here's another link.

The companies with the highest CEO pay are suffering an average shareholder loss of $1.4 billion a year.  This information comes from a study conducted at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.  The economists reached this conclusion after studying executive compensation and corporate performance data over a seventeen-year period.

Over the past twenty years, roughly one third of the highest-paid CEOs have been bailed out by taxpayers and/or fired by their boards of directors and/or arrested for fraud.

On top of that, executive compensation is tax deductible.  YOU are contributing your tax dollars to these CEOs' 7-figure salaries and bonuses.  About $5 billion a year are being contributed by taxpayers to help finance these executives' compensation packages.

Let's hope this information will make its way to the millions of stockholders and investors who need to know this.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dick and Liz Cheney: the Circle Jerk

Disgraced former Vice President Dick “Meet my new heart, same as the old heart” Cheney and his daughter Liz the Quitter are jerking each other off again.  This time they're doing it in full public view on the pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Dick Cheney had a 9% public approval rating during most of his vice presidency, but that hasn't stopped him from him from spewing shit out of his mouth every chance he gets.  The same chickenhawk who swore up and down that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, assured us that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would be a cakewalk and ended up murdering 4,500 American soldiers is once again slamming the president who successfully got us out of Iraq.

The Father-Daughter 69 Team wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many...Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. …Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America…Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory...Oh, wait a minute, Liz is finally coming.  First time for everything.” 

Liz Cheney had been campaigning against Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi (i.e. trying to primary him from the right) but she quit her campaign last January for “health” reasons.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Obama plans to Create World's Largest Ocean Preserve

President Obama announced today that he will use his executive authority to set aside up to 780,000 square miles of ocean as a preserve.  No fishing or drilling will be permitted in these waters.  Obama is basing this action on maritime law, which states that a country has economic control of all waters extending 200 nautical miles from its coast.

The President's action will expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which President George W. Bush designated to protect unique species and rare geological formations.  These waters are considered U.S. territory since they surround a lot of mostly uninhabited American-controlled islands between Hawaii and American Samoa.

President Obama stated:

“If we ignore these problems, if we drain our oceans of their resources, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures.  We'll be cutting off one of the world's major sources of food and economic growth, including for the United States. We cannot afford to let that happen.”

Obama also plans to create a government program to crack down on black market fishing and seafood fraud, i.e. when seafood products are falsely labeled in order to hide their origin.  About twenty percent of the fish caught each year are part of the black market, which costs the legitimate fishing industry $23 billion.  A spokesperson from the conservation group Oceana said:

“President Obama's announcement is a historic step forward in the fight against seafood fraud and illegal fishing worldwide.  This initiative is a practical solution to an ugly problem and will forever change the way we think about our seafood.”

Undoubtedly, conservatives will flip into Outrage Mode over our power-crazed president exceeding his authority by making a detour around that giant blob of shit in the middle of the road (formerly known as Congress).

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Gasoline Prices: a Public Option

Somerset, Kentucky has been taken over by a bunch of them Comminists!  If this idea starts taking hold in the rest of the country, our beloved free enterprise system is toast; the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace will wither and die.

Residents of Somerset, KY have long complained that local gas prices are higher than in surrounding areas.  So the town will begin buying gasoline directly from the nearby Continental Refining Company and selling it to motorists at a city-operated fuel center.  This fuel center will have ten fuel pumps and will be storing 40,000 gallons each of gasoline and diesel fuel, and 20,000 gallons of off-road diesel fuel.

Lo and behold, the Public Option!  But don't these people understand?!?  Socialized gas stations will result in inferior gasoline, causing thousands of cars to break down on the highway at rush hour.  You'll need to make an appointment six months ahead of time just to fill up your gas tank.  A government-bureaucrat-operated gas station will have such long waiting lines, people will run out of gas while they're waiting in line to fill up.

Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said:

“We don’t want to interfere with free enterprise.  We want to feel a competitive force so our citizens here in Somerset don’t pay more for gasoline than they do in surrounding areas.”

Uh oh, that's the same reasoning used by 8 million Obamacare recipients, who simply aren't aware of the Communist trap they've fallen into.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Minimum Wage is a Violation of Employers' First Amendment Rights

No, this isn't from The Onion or a Saturday Night Live skit.  The International Franchise Association has filed a lawsuit to overturn Seattle's new $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Here's another link.

According to this group's legal “reasoning,” Seattle's new minimum wage violates the First Amendment because “by increasing the labor costs of franchisees, the Ordinance will reduce the ability of franchisees to dedicate funding to the promotion of their businesses and brands.”

That's right.  Why should business owners spend their hard-earned money to pay wages to the hired help those lowly peons should STFU and just be grateful they still have jobs when they could be spending this money to enrich themselves and promote their own companies?  And don't forget, when these employers are able to accumulate lots and lots of money (at everyone else's expense), some of this money will trickle down onto us little folks.  Everybody wins.

As the 2nd linked article says, if this lobbying group's argument had any legal merit:

“...then any law imposing costs on anyone would be unconstitutional, including all taxes. After all, every dollar paid in taxes is a dollar that can’t be spent to buy an ad promoting the deliciousness of the Big Mac.”

Another complaint of this lawsuit is that Seattle's minimum wage increase has different compliance schedules for large and small businesses.  Large companies (500 or more employees) will have to start paying $15 an hour by 2017.  Smaller businesses don't have to comply until 2021.  This double standard is totally unfair, and we all know that fairness is the number one priority of corporate lobbyists.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Eric Cantor: “I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up”

I know this is yesterday's news — day before yesterday's actually — but I was out of town for a few days and wasn't doing anything online.  I couldn't believe it when I saw the screaming headline inside a USA Today news rack yesterday.  YES!!!

I don't care if Eric Cantor's political disembowelment is good or bad for the Democrats.  I'm just glad that arrogant fuck got his comeuppance.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.  Like the saying goes, remember the people you stepped on when you were climbing the ladder; you'll meet the same people on your way back down (or whatever the exact quote is).  The Hubris before the fall.  One day you're thumping your chest and shouting “I want what I want when I want it.”  The next day you've fallen and you can't get up, and nobody cares.

Eric Cantor was a little too smug and complacent when an unknown Teabagger named David Brat challenged him in the primary.  David Brat's entire campaign spending totaled $122,000.  Eric Cantor spent more than that just partying at swanky bars and restaurants ($169,000).  On the day of the primary, instead of being glued to the latest political updates, he had a meeting with some of the GOP's wealthiest donors.

“Oh!  Nevermind!”

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Monday, June 09, 2014

Vietnam Hates Freedom

No wonder the United States went to war with Vietnam.  

Nguyen Duc Kien, 50, founder of Asia Commercial Bank, and one of Vietnam's biggest tycoons, was sentenced to thirty years in prison after being convicted of stealing $1.1 billion from depositors.  He had seven co-conspirators.

The Court's verdict said:

The defendants' activities manipulated the domestic financial and money markets, badly affecting the monetary and fiscal policies within the country.

The Vietnamese government is nothing but a gang of faceless bureaucrats meddling in the marketplace; a bunch of Commies!!!  Stealing $1.1 billion from depositors, manipulating domestic financial and money markets Nguyen Duc Kien and his seven co-conspirators are Job Creators!

Don't those bleeding heart socialists understand???  The massive wealth generated by Nguyen Duc Kien and his fellow Job Creators will trickle down onto the little people of Vietnam, thereby stimulating the economy and making everyone's lives better.

On a serious note:  Maybe some of our own Wall Street conspirators could get a change of venue and have their cases moved to Vietnam.  


Sunday, June 08, 2014

Where the Streets are Paved with Solar Panels

It hasn't happened yet.  But if all of the streets, sidewalks and bike lanes in America were repaved with solar panels, these solar roads would generate three times the amount of energy that Americans use in one year.  AND this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by seventy-five percent.

Obviously this huge undertaking isn't going to happen next week or next year.  But it's doable.  The sooner a massive project like this gets started, the quicker.

The author of the linked article compares the skepticism directed toward massive solar energy projects to the skepticism directed at the Wright brothers before their first flight.  Whether or not these two situations are comparable, there's one crucial difference.  Before the Wright brothers' first flight, human flight was still just an unproven theory.  Solar energy, on the other hand, is already being widely used.

The mastermind behind the idea of solar roads is Scott Brusaw of Solar Roadways.  Here is the FAQ section of the Solar Roadways website.

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Friday, June 06, 2014

When “Stand Your Ground” bumps into “Open Carry,” What Happens?

I'm pretty much in between on the whole Second Amendment controversy.  I don't own a gun, but I think guns are more of a symptom of our problems than the underlying cause.  But Jon Stewart brought up some interesting questions last night on The Daily Show.

Under the ever-more-common Stand Your Ground laws, you have the right to take whatever action you feel is necessary if you think you're in danger (e.g. George Zimmerman's defense).  Open Carry laws also spreading like wildfire allow you to carry your assault rifle anywhere you want, any time, for any reason.  When these two “rights” come into conflict, what could possibly go wrong?

I first saw the term “rights inflation” about twenty years ago in a Marin County (CA) newspaper.  I've never seen the term since then, but it pretty well described the prevailing mindset, and the potential for conflict when one person's rights come up against somebody else's rights.  Marin County is famous for having some of the trendiest and most self-absorbed people in the country.  Astronomers have still never figured out how the world can simultaneously revolve around every man, woman and child in Marin County.

Anyway, the article about rights inflation was talking about the rights of smokers to light up anywhere they want, any time they want (this was before public smoking was banned almost everywhere) vs. a non-smoker's right to never ever be within half a mile of a lit cigarette.  Another example was soccer moms (I don't think that term existed back then) trying to ban all dogs from public athletic fields so their precious children won't possibly step in any dog poo during a soccer game, vs. dog walkers' rights to take their dogs anywhere, everywhere and let them do their business whenever, wherever.

Anyway, I thought the term rights inflation pretty well summed up the prevailing mentality.  But in Marin County at the time, the worst that could happen would be two yuppies arguing over their non-fat half-caf cinnamon lattes.

The stakes might be a little higher when a big macho guy walks into a restaurant waving his AK-47 in everyone's faces, and a paranoid twitch with a concealed weapon permit gets all panicky, thinks “Oh My God, he has a machine gun!” and defends himself under the Stand Your Ground law.  Who wins?  Who was “right?”

Just asking.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Forget the World Cup. Go to the People's Cup.

When the FIFA World Cup is going on in Sao Paulo, Brazil, an alternative World Cup will be held in Rio de Janeiro's Port region.  La Copa Popular (the People's Cup) will be featuring athletes from Rio's favelas (OK, that's poor neighborhoods if you have to put a label on it).

One of the organizers of the People's Cup, Larissa Lacerda of Sao Paulo, wears a T-shirt that says World Cup for Whom?  She said:

The idea is make a sports competition, which truly has a popular character, with people in some way affected by FIFA's Cup.

In 2012, Brazil's congress passed legislation barring local street vendors from setting up shop within a 2-kilometer radius of FIFA's restricted zones.  These restricted areas are heavily guarded by “security” forces.  Also, countless citizens have been evicted in order to make way for the commercial development that will cater to the World Cup.  Larissa Lacerda said:

So there are teams of communities suffering from removals, the street vendors, teams from communities suffering police violence. So we did the Cup to bring visibility to these issues and create debate.

A 15-year-old player who will be participating in the People's Cup said:

A lot of people are suffering because of the World Cup. This is a way to protest.  There are a lot of people losing their homes.  Health and education are chaotic.  They are wasting money on unnecessary things like more roads, when really health and education should be in first place.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

“Bowe Bergdahl!!!” is the new “Benghazi!!!”

Congressional Republicans don't need to worry about their trumped-up “Benghazi!!!” scandal losing traction (if it ever had any) with the public.  They've got a brand new dead horse to beat on until November.

Up until a few days ago, the most tragic tragedy of all time, the most scandalous scandal EVER, was the death of Chris Stevens and three other unknown diplomats not one GOP useful idiot has ever named them in Benghazi.

But that's yesterday's news.  Out with the old fake trumped-up scandal and in with the new.  As you know, President Obama arranged the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl by his Taliban captors.  He was the only American POW in Afghanistan.  And conservatives are having a mass pantytwist over this gross miscarriage of justice.

Silly me, I would have thought the release of an American Prisoner of War was a Good Thing.  Apparently not.  Republican chickenhawks (sorry about the redundancy) are in Outrage Mode, and Congress is demanding hearings to investigate this new Benghazi horrifying event.

What a terrible president Barack Obama has been.  Eight million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance for the first time in their lives, the Federal Clean Air Act is going to start being actually enforced for the first time, and an American POW has been freed.

It's time for Republicans to start investigating.  Digging.  Digging deeper.  What else are they good for?


Monday, June 02, 2014

“Net Neutrality” vs. “Preventing Cable Company Fuckery”

No wonder the term “Net Neutrality” never gained any traction with the public.  John Oliver says the boring sleep-inducing words “Net Neutrality” should be replaced with “Preventing Cable Company Fuckery.”

He says this is a vital issue affecting all of us, but unfortunately “Net Neutrality” is “the only two words in the English language promising more boredom than ‘featuring Sting.’”

“Essentially it [net neutrality] means that all data has to be treated equally, no matter who created it. It’s why the Internet is a weirdly level playing field.  Start-ups can supplant established brands. That’s how Facebook supplanted MySpace, which supplanted Friendster, which supplanted actually having any friends. Do you remember physically having friends? It was awful. You couldn’t tap people’s faces to make them go away.”


“The Internet is currently not broken, and the FCC is taking steps to fix that...What’s being proposed is so egregious, activists and corporations have been forced onto the same side. That’s basically Lex Luthor knocking on Superman’s apartment door and going, ‘listen, I know we have our differences, but we have got to get rid of that asshole in apartment 3B.  He’s too loud, Supe, he’s too loud.’”

And he pointed out that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was previously the cable industry's top lobbyist.

“Yes. The guy who used to run the cable industry’s lobbying arm is now running the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”

So remember:  if the response you're looking for is a vacant-eyed auto-pilot “Huh,” say “Net Neutrality.”  If you want people to be properly fired up and outraged over their own Internet access, put it in terms of “Preventing Cable Company Fuckery.”

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