Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, October 31, 2014

The War on Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2014

“Both Parties Are The Same”

Sign on the front door of our local Democratic headquarters:

“One of the most dangerous things in American politics is the patently false notion that 'both parties are the same.'

There's a reason Elizabeth Warren is a Democrat and the Koch brothers are spending millions of dollars to prevent Democrats from voting.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anonymous Tip Line for Reporting Violations at Factory Farms

All Right!!!

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has launched a hotline (1-888-209-7177) for whistleblowers to report cruelty at factory farms, slaughterhouses and livestock auctions.  Whistleblowers not only stay anonymous; they can receive a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for animal cruelty.

As you probably know, one red state after another has been passing these AG Gag laws, whereby it's a crime to distribute videos or photos of the filthy inhumane conditions inside factory farms.  There are several lawsuits pending against Ag Gag laws — not to mention the groundswell of public outrage — but it's kind of moot now, isn't it.

Agribusiness has spent quatrabazillions of dollars bribing state legislatures to pass Ag Gag laws to protect factory farms from public scrutiny, and it's all for naught.  Don't want to risk a prison sentence by taking clandestine photographs inside a factory farm?  Just call the hotline.  That number again is 1-888-209-7177.

This is excellent news.  Thank you HSUS.  You Go Guys!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Monsanto Suing Guatemala

Our little corporate Frankenstein is growing up.  After years of suing and crushing local governments and small farmers, Monsanto has now graduated to suing entire countries.

This past August, Guatemala passed a law — supposedly because of international trade agreements — mandating huge fines and prison sentences for farmers who reuse their genetically modified seeds from one year to the next.  Guatemala is one of the world's poorest countries, and there were massive demonstrations and blockades to protest the Monsanto Protection Act.

One month later, the Guatemalan government bowed to public pressure and repealed the Monsanto Protection Act (officially known as the Plant Variety Protection Law).

No wonder the American Plutocracy liked it to much better when Central American countries were one giant colony for Corporate America, instead of the uppity democracies they're turning into now.

Monsanto is now planning to sue the government of Guatemala.  Talk about Goliath hitting David with a slingshot.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce

We've lost another one.  Jack Bruce was probably the least famous of the three Cream members (bass and most of the vocals), and he pretty much fell off the public radar after Cream's short-lived career ended.

He had a brilliant career that pre-dated Cream and continued throughout most of his life (his most recent album was released in March 2014).  He came from a jazz background; he played in several lesser-known blues and jazz groups in the early-mid 1960s.

After Cream broke up, he released several solo albums and played with a lot of jazz and blues-rock bands (the most famous was probably West, Bruce and Laing).  My personal favorite was Jack Bruce's work with Lifetime (1970, give or take a year), with Tony Williams, John McLaughlin and Larry Young.



Friday, October 24, 2014

Rep. Steve King Dies, Comes Back as a Factory Farm Animal

Republican Congressman Steve King — self-righteous Biblehumper and the factory farming industry's biggest prostitute — is spewing fire and brimstone again.  This time his hatred is directed at gays, “cohabiters” and divorced people.  He said:

“I’ll just say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven. So let’s stick with that principle.”

Aside from regurgitating the Old Testament, Steve King's other mission in life is to derail every legislative attempt to protect animals' rights.  Regulations to protect factory farm livestock against crowded filthy conditions, laws against dog fighting and cockfighting — you name it, Steve King is against it.  His most recent blowjob for the factory farm industry was an amendment to the Farm Bill which would have overturned practically every state and local ordinance against animal cruelty.  The Steve King Amendment failed, but he'll keep trying.

Steve King going to Heaven?!?  He'll be reincarnated.  See below for an exclusive glimpse into Steve King's next incarnation.  (That's him on the right, third row.)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bridge will NOT be Renewed for a Third Season


It shouldn't be surprising that FX would cancel The Bridge.  They're running a business after all, and The Bridge's ratings have been dismal.  But still...

“The best TV program you're not watching” and all that...

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George H.W. Bush: Patent Pending

Granted, former president George H.W. Bush is a piece of work.  But is he a work of art that can be copyrighted?  Or maybe a Blue Blood Patriarch is entitled to special privileges that the rest of us aren't.

Michelle Nunn is a centrist/moderate Democrat running for an open senate seat in Georgia.  With Georgia being a red state, Michelle Nunn has to play up her conservative cred.  For seven years she was in charge of then-President George H.W. Bush's Points of Light Foundation; and her campaign ads are playing this up to the max.

(We all remember GHW Bush's ubiquitous “a thousand points of light” slogan being regurgitated ad infinitum, ad nauseam.)

George H.W. Bush doesn't want his name and image being used in Michelle Nunn's campaign commercials, and he wants it stopped immediately.  Damn it, he's a Blue Blood and he shouldn't have to put up with this sort of thing.  GHW Bush's spokesman Jim McGrath said:
“Michelle and her team have been clearly, repeatedly and consistently told that President Bush did not want them to use his photo as part of this campaign. Apparently, the Nunn team feels they can repeatedly disregard the former president’s wishes, which is very disappointing because it’s so disrespectful.”
And last April, when Michelle Nunn  first started using GHW Bush's image for her commercials, Jim McGrath had said:

“Several of the president's representatives have discreetly and directly communicated to all levels of the Nunn campaign that his photo was not to be used under any circumstance.”

And on that note (I wasn't planning to mention this, but, aww shucks), former President George H.W. Bush has also publicly endorsed my blog:

“I don't always agree with Tom Harper, but Who Hijacked Our Country continually offers some of the most perceptive news analysis out there.”

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Online Shopping for the One Percent

Friday, October 17, 2014

Note to “Homeland” producers: Islamabad is NOT a Grimy Shit-Hole

I've never been to Islamabad (and I've never watched Homeland), but this article — 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad — totally nails it.

In the mid 1970s I spent some time traveling through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal.  Before I left the U.S. I read several travel/guide books of those countries, and they all described Islamabad as Pakistan's gleaming meticulously planned modern capitol city.  If I knew that from just reading a travel book (and they didn't even have the Intertubes or the google in those days), you'd think the creators of a highly-acclaimed TV drama would have discovered this simple fact.

I guess Homeland doesn't want to show a bunch of jihadists and their sympathizers sipping cappuccino in trendy coffee houses and shopping in modern stores instead of dusty back-alley bazaars.  Who needs accuracy when you can just keep trotting out the same tired one-dimensional stereotypes.

Like I said, I never went to Islamabad, but I was in Peshawar, Rawalpindi (near Islamabad) and Lahore.  Also Mingora — north of Peshawar — hometown of Malala and the crazed wackjobs who blinded her.  Mingora and Peshawar in particular both had this intangible pull to them, a certain vibe you just can't put your finger on.  Same with everywhere I went in Afghanistan.  This was before any of the political/religious bloodshed flared up.  Needless to say, I wouldn't go back there now.

But forty years ago, the people there were very friendly and welcoming, in a standoff-ish don't fuck with me and nobody gets hurt sort of way.  I don't know what changed.  My guess would be the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led up to today's bloodbath.

Like they say, travel is broadening and enlightening.  Obviously, traveling to Afghanistan or Pakistan is not in the cards any more.  But research — use the google — and accurate portrayals are the least we could do.  Enabling ignorance and prejudice by trotting out the same simple-minded stereotypes accomplishes nothing.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Georgia Secretary of State: “Those 40,000 Voter Registration Files Never Existed”

Black and Hispanic residents of Georgia are less likely to be registered to vote than their white counterparts.  Utilizing that tried-and-true American tradition of find a need and fill it, a nonprofit group called the New Georgia Project decided to correct this problem by registering 80,000 new voters in Georgia.

And now 40,000 of these voter registration forms are missing.

And by the strangest coincidence, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp just happens to be furious about the whole concept of them swarthy minorities being allowed to vote.  Last month he launched a fraud investigation into the New Georgia Project's voter registration drive.  And two months before that, Brian Kemp said:

...In closing I just wanted to tell you real quick, after we get through this runoff, you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November...

Around that same time, Georgia state Senator Fran Millar complained that early voting was making it too easy for minorities to vote, and said he was investigating if there is any way to stop this action.

But again, there is absolutely no connection between the blatant bigotry of Georgia's Powers That Be and the fact that 40,000 voter registration files just happen to be missing.

Move along.  Nothing to see here.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Foreclosure Crisis: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Thousands of American homeowners who lost everything during the housing crisis are now back on their feet.  Barely.  Now that they've started rebuilding their finances — their lives — debt collectors are freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their wages and seizing their property.

The banks that have sold these foreclosed homes are disappointed that they haven't made more money from their sleazy tactics.  They're unhappy.  Remember, corporations are people and they have feelings just like the rest of us.

Lenders are able to keep gouging and sabotaging these foreclosure victims because of a legal tactic known as Deficiency Judgment.  Banks used to be reluctant to use a deficiency judgment for going after foreclosed homeowners because of the expense and the bad publicity.  But that was then.

Hell, why don't we just toss these foreclosed homeowners into a debtors' prison — maybe one of those lucrative private prisons — and throw the key away.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ebola, Islamic State terrorists: A Gift for Republicans?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Confirmed: Voter ID Laws Reduce Turnout Among Black Voters; Supreme Court Approves

The Government Accountability Office has confirmed what we already suspected.  Dozens of ALEC/GOP-instigated Voter ID laws have delivered their intended results:  reduced turnout among black, young and elderly voters.  Mission Accomplished.

And these voter suppression laws are being approved and encouraged by the Corporate Arm of the Republican Party (formerly known as the U.S. Supreme Court).  North Carolina's new Keep the Nigras Out of the Voting Booth law had been delayed until after the November election by a federal appeals court.

The Supreme Court justices, recognizing the urgency involved, took time out from their busy schedule to quickly overturn the Appeals Court's decision.  So now it's full speed ahead for North Carolina in their mission to eliminate early voting and voter registration drives (the Voter ID part of North Carolina's Jim Crow law doesn't take effect until 2016).

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

China is Number ONE!!!

China's economy has now surpassed the U.S. economy, according to a calculation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF calculation is based on purchasing power rather than GDP.  In terms of GDP (the usual calculation method), America's economy is still number one.   But since China's cost of living is much lower than that of the U.S., China has greater purchasing power.

Oh well, we knew this day was coming.

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Monday, October 06, 2014


Wipe out almost the entire native population of the land you discovered — slaughter, slavery, disease — and then get a holiday named after you?!?

Seattle has now joined a few other cities and states that have renamed Columbus Day.  Bellingham, WA — north of Seattle, almost to the Canadian border — is considering whether to change Columbus Day to Coast Salish Day.

Minneapolis voted earlier this year to change the holiday to Indigenous People's Day.  And the states of Hawaii and South Dakota have renamed Columbus Day to Discoverers' Day and Native Americans Day, respectively.

The Seattle City Council vote took place this afternoon.  But last week the Seattle School Board voted unanimously for the city's schools to observe Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day.  The Seattle School Board's resolution says the board “recognizes the fact that Seattle is built upon the homelands and villages of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the building of the City would not have been possible.”

The resolution also says the board “has a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education and social crises.”

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Friday, October 03, 2014

Mitch McConnell vs. Mitch McConnell

In 1984, Jefferson County (Kentucky) Judge-Executive Mitch McConnell was alarmed over the hazards of a proposed coal processing plant on the Louisville waterfront.  Mitch McConnell wanted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assess the merits of the coal processing plant versus the increased pollution and truck traffic in residential areas:

“Jefferson County has and will continue to support and advocate economic development within its borders. Yet this proposal raises several issues that deserve and require careful consideration.  Although I advocate economic and job expansion, it must not occur to the detriment of our environment.  The processing plant's approval would undermine any potential for the aesthetic future of the Upper Ohio Riverfront.”

About Face!!!

Fortunately, Mitch McConnell the tree-hugging well-intentioned-but-fuzzy-headed idealist has come around.  He's making so much more money these days, sucking off those same fossil fuel lobbyists that he used to be suspicious of.