Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, June 28, 2015

GOP suffers Massive Heart Attack

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SCOTUS shoots down the Teabirthers' Lawsuit. Again.

It's a relief of course that the Supreme Court has ruled 6 to 3 AGAINST the umpteenth corporate-financed lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.  But this decision was such a no-brainer, how else could they rule?

If six million Americans had had their health insurance yanked away from them because a 5-word phrase in the middle of the 2,000-page Affordable Care Act might, just might, might could mean something slightly different than what was clearly spelled out in that phrase:  imagine the ripple effect...

When you pull up to a Stop sign, you can no longer just stop, look to make sure there's no oncoming traffic, and then go.  Nope.  That was then.  From now on, a Stop sign means STOP.  That's it.  So you pull up, Stop, and then sit there until you receive further instructions.

And pronouns would pretty much disappear from people's conversations.  When you say Johnny stubbed his toe, the listener is 99.99% certain that you mean Johnny stubbed Johnny's toe.  But you can't assume.  From now on, that obvious fact will have to spelled out every time.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TPP Fast Track Authority: Is There ANY Difference Between the Two Parties?

This article by EcoWatch cuts to the chase.

A heartfelt Thank You to the Democratic Politicians who have saved us from the Corporate Orwellian Nightmare picture below:


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why is America so Deeply in Debt? (Rhetorical Question)

OK everybody, once again:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership: International Investors 1, Everyone Else 0

Here's the worst part of Obama's proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership:  it will tilt the playing field even further — much much further — in favor of the world's wealthiest investors.  This New Yorker article, Trade Agreement Troubles, sums it up perfectly.  The bureaucratic term for these global of, by and for the Investing Class regulations is Investor-State Dispute Settlement (or I.S.D.S.) provisions. Don't be put off guard by such a bland sleep-inducing term like “Investor-State Dispute Settlement.”  This is fuckin' Scary.

These provisions have been around for fifty years already, as the global corporations and their PR puppets keep telling us.  Technically, yes.  But as the linked article says:

“I.S.D.S. lawsuits used to be rare, but they’re becoming a growth industry. Nearly a hundred have been filed in the past two years, as against some five hundred in the quarter century before that. Investor protection, previously a sideshow in corporate law, is now a regular part of law-school curricula...This mission creep has been abetted by the fact that the language of I.S.D.S. provisions is often vague.”

A law professor who specializes in international-investment law said:  “The rights given to investors are so open-ended and ambiguous that they allow for a lot of creative lawyering.”

One current example — not mentioned in the linked article — is Congress' recent vote to repeal the requirement for Country of Origin labeling on imported food products.  Country of Origin labels have been required for the past thirty years, but Congress' stated reason for repealing the requirement was that some billionaire in Europe or Asia might sue the United States for jeopardizing his/her investment profits.  Or something.

Another example:  Philip Morris Asia is suing Australia, using a 1993 trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong — where Philip Morris Asia is based — because Australia's recent anti-smoking campaign has violated the investor-protection provisions contained in the trade agreement.  Philip Morris Asia not only wants Australia to cease and desist from their anti-smoking drive; the company is also demanding billions of dollars in compensation.

The case is still pending, but this is the exact type of international lawsuit — sort of like Goliath hitting David with a slingshot — that will become a lot more ubiquitous if the Trans-Pacific Partnership goes through.

From the linked article again:

“There’s nothing wrong with domestic courts reviewing government regulations, but outsourcing the responsibility to international tribunals is troubling. In effect, you’re giving these arbitrators the power of review over domestic law and regulation.”

The article points out that America used to be the 800-pound gorilla that intimidated other countries:

“In the old days, aggrieved American investors would call on the Navy to protect their interests—thus the phrase 'gunboat diplomacy.'  How much better that now they just call their lawyers...I.S.D.S.-style provisions may once have made sense. But they’re now outdated and unnecessary. And including them in trade agreements undermines the broader case for free trade, by making it look like exactly what people fear—a system designed to put corporate interests above public ones. If the Administration wants these deals to be seen as legitimate, it can start by excising the I.S.D.S. provisions. We no longer send out the gunboats. Let’s call back the lawyers, too.”

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Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Vote Against Your Own Interests

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When One Arm is Stronger Than The Other

Editorial cartoon U.S. Economy Wages

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ornette Coleman

Saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman passed away yesterday at age 85. He was never exactly a household name, but he was one of the most vital musical innovators (of any musical category) of the past sixty years.

His musical approach was so unheard-of at the time (1950s/60s), most people just said he couldn't play, or thought he was playing off key, etc.  His improvisational approach was much more intuitive than that of almost any other jazz player of the era.  Or as Ornette Coleman himself put it:

“No one has to learn to spell to talk, right?...Music is the same way.  If you can play it and bypass all the rest of the things, you're still doing as great as someone that has spent 40 years trying to find out how to do that.”

During the 1950s, when Bebop was still considered “cutting edge,” Ornette Coleman described it as:

“They were playing changes.  They weren't playing movements. I was trying to play ideas, changes, movements and non-transposed notes.”



Thursday, June 11, 2015

The OTHER side of the McKinney Police Scandal

The liberal media has not told us what really happened at that wild pool party in McKinney, Texas.  It all started with:


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The King v. Burwell lawsuit against Obamacare is Obama's Fault

King v. Burwell, as you know, is the current Supreme Court case against the Affordable Care Act.  Republicans are hoping the SCOTUS will rule that six million currently-insured Americans will lose their coverage.  Regarding the lawsuit, Senator John Thune (R—DUUUHHH) has taken Republican/circular “logic” to soaring new heights:

“Six million people risk losing their health care subsidies, yet POTUS continues to deny that Obamacare is bad for the American people.”


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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Finally: The Return of America's Work Ethic

Editorial cartoon U.S. College Graduates

Thursday, June 04, 2015

An Infinite Untapped Source of Renewable Energy

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Democracy: It's Not Just for Billionaires Any More

Billionaire campaign donors have reached the point of diminishing returns.  Inflation, you might say.  From the linked article:

“Florida Senator Marco Rubio has one; Texas Senator Ted Cruz has one; even former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, considered a longshot for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has a billionaire in his corner. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has two.”

If every candidate has a billionaire or two, then how does a billionaire-financed candidate separate him/herself from the rest of the pack?  Aside from the inflation/diminishing-returns factor, the public is gradually (it took long enough) starting to resent the hijacking of the electoral process by a few billionaires.

A director of the Brookings Institution said:

“There's growing public awareness about rich people trying to buy elections and that makes the task of winning all the more difficult.”

One recent example:   Anthony Hardy Williams was heavily favored to become the next mayor of Philadelphia.  He was backed by three billionaires — the founders of a global financial firm.  Then came the backlash.  A coalition of unions and community groups held demonstrations, and waved signs saying “Stop billionaires from buying our next mayor!”

After the election (Williams lost), one voter said:  “I would have looked seriously at Williams if not for the money.  You don't think that money should govern people who are elected, but what do you do, just let the billionaires take over?”

And this brings us to Crowdpac — think Kickstarter, GoFundMe — an online fundraising platform. 

Mason Harrison, Crowdpac's political director, said:

“We have a lack of money from small donors in American politics, and if we have more people involved in the political process we can make great strides in terms of diluting the influence from special interests.”

Maybe the tide is starting to turn.  One can hope.