Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’

Wondering What the Chances Are That Any of These Fish Survived

This is the lazy person’s way of ripping off taxpayers by charging to supposedly restock a lake.  I mean, what are the chances that any of these fish survived?  Look at the height the plane was flying when it shot those poor things out of the hold, er ah, “set [them] free.”

A Utah fish hatchery has come up with a novel way to restock remote lakes that’s giving a new meaning to the term “fly fishing.”

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has taken to flying several planes over hard to reach areas dropping native fish out of a compartment at the bottom of an aircraft.

Hundreds, sometimes up to 1,000 3-inch fingerlings are set free.

The fish are fed by a man named Ted Hallows, who supervises them until they’re ready to be released into the wild.

“We’re in charge of coordinating the aireal stock statewide,” Hallows said.

They don’t always make it into the water alive. A small percentage of them die.

“They kind of flutter down, so they don’t impact very hard, they flutter with the water and they do really well,” Hallows said.

Overall, fisherman and experts are happy to hear someone is keeping the state’s lakes stocked.

More…

The person who wrote that article is so compliant.  No questions about whether dropping fish from 1,000 feet above a lake is viable.  The government says, the government says, the government says…and I report.

 

 

 

July 13, 2014 at 6:56 PM Leave a comment

Petition: Appoint George W. Bush Ambassador to Iraq

In a perfect world George W. Bush would be in prison for war crimes but I would settle for this:  From the White House’s petition site:

White House Petition Site via WhiteHouse.gov

(Image: Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov)

Nominate former President George W. Bush respectfully be named the next U.S. Ambassador to the country of Iraq.

In the best interest of both Nations, we the undersigned, respectfully request that Former President George W. Bush be nominated for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the Nation of Iraq. Said position should include all rights and responsibilities of the Ambassador, including residence in the country in which they are representing the interests of the United States.

More…

And make it for life.

July 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM 1 comment

Jamie Dimon Has Cancer: Oops, Turns Out He’s a Human Being Just Like the People He Spent His Life Ripping Off

Breaking news about Jamie Dimon, yeah, that Jamie Dimon:

Jamie Dimon via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

 

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

You can buy the best care the world has to offer (supplemented by our tax dollars) but hey Jamie, welcome to life down here on the ground.

Good luck.

July 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM 1 comment

When Asked What the Definition of Winning in Iraq is, John McCain Can’t Answer

For all of John McCain’s war mongering, you’d think by now he’d have an answer when asked what the definition of “winning” in Iraq is. But no.  (I saw this live this morning.  Not only can’t McCain answer, his anger at being asked is palpable.)

June 13, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

After the U.S. Government Spent Billions of Our Tax Dollars “Training” the Iraqi Army…

Mission Accomplished 8-18-10

This is where we are today:

This is an incredibly striking sentence from The Guardian‘s coverage of the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)’s takeover of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul:

Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters.

The Iraqi army outnumbered ISIS by about 40:1 in Mosul. Yet the army still turned tail and ran — ran so fast, in fact, as to leave some of their tanks and helicopters behind.

I’m proud to say I opposed invading Iraq from day one.  We’ve destroyed the place. The billions of tax dollars we spent there are down the drain and the lives lost on all sides were — tragically — for naught.

 

June 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM Leave a comment

The USDA’s “Wildlife Services” Killed Two Million Animals in Fiscal 2013

Dead Fox via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

One would think the USDA’s “Wildlife Services” was involved with ah, oh, I don’t know, serving wildlife or their interests, right?

Nope.  Not in this corporatocracy.  This is what they’re doing with our tax dollars:

Wildlife Services, the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has released new data showing that the agency killed more than 2 million native animals during the last fiscal year.

The new numbers reveal a 29 percent increase in the program’s killing, up almost a half-million animals since fiscal year 2012, despite an increase in public awareness.

Wildlife Services target animals deemed as pests by powerful special interests groups from the agribusiness, hunting and livestock sectors, according to Center for Biological Diversity.

“Wildlife Services has long been out of step with the values of Americans, and the new figures make clear it has no interest in changing,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned to reform the program last December. “These appalling new numbers show that Wildlife Services is simply thumbing its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual at Wildlife Services.”

[...]

The covert killings—which includes aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps—has gone on for decades with little oversight and according the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency has killed more than 26 million native animals  since 1996.

More…

Here’s a list of the dead (2013):

  • more than 320 gray wolves
  • 75,326 coyotes
  • 419 black bears
  • 866 bobcats
  • 528 river otters
  • 3,706 foxes
  • 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs (as well as destroyed more than 30,000 dens)
  • 3 golden eagles

June 10, 2014 at 2:57 PM Leave a comment

Wow: Live Feed of the International Space Station Orbiting Earth

It takes a while to load but man-oh-man the live view from the International Space Station (link below) is breathtaking…the clouds, the never-setting sun and city lights.

At times I curse our new technologies and at times I love them.  In this case, I love them.

Our tax dollars at work. Check it out here.

From a few minutes ago, moving east off the U.S. coast over the Atlantic (it’s much better in person):

ISS livestream via eol.jcs.nasa.gov

(Screenshot from livestream via eol.jcs.NASA.gov)

June 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM 2 comments

When the Military and Wars are a Country’s Priority

I-35W Bridge Collapse, Minneapolis, MN, August 1, 2007

I-35W Bridge Collapse, Minneapolis, MN, August 1, 2007 (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

WILMINGTON, Del. — Underneath a now-silent interstate bridge over which 90,000 tractor-trailers and cars normally rumble every day, engineers and workers in hard hats are using shovels and high-tech sensors to figure out how and why the ground has shifted.

The Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington, Delaware, was closed Monday after four pairs of support pillars were found to be tilting. Officials do not know when it will reopen.

Engineers are hoping to unearth clues that will help them determine how to shore up the bridge over the Christina River, a process officials say is going to take considerable time.

[...]

Four pairs of 50-foot-tall columns that are 5 feet in diameter are leaning, with the top of one roughly 2 feet out of line with the bottom. They are tilting by as much as 2.4 degrees, or 4 percent, from vertical.

[...]

An AP analysis of more than 600,000 bridges last year showed that more than 65,000 were classified as “structurally deficient” and more than 20,000 as “fracture critical.” Of those, nearly 8,000 were both — a combination of red flags that experts say indicates significant disrepair and risk of collapse.

More…

June 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Kansas’s Republican Governor Bankrupting State

Sam Brownback via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is what happens when a crazed, tax-cutting Republican governor comes into office:  He proves Ronnie right: Government is the problem and it doesn’t work because why?  The crazed, tax-cutting Republican governor bankrupted it:

Kansas revenues plunged again in May, leaving the state more than $300 million below estimates for the current year.

The state reported Friday afternoon that revenues fell $217 million below estimates in May, the second month in a row they came up short of expectations.

The latest decline leaves the state about $310 million short for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpThe state reported Friday afternoon that revenues fell $217 million below estimates in May, the second month in a row they came up short of expectations.
The latest decline leaves the state about $310 million short for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The numbers again raise questions about Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts from 2012 and 2013 and their effect on the state’s financial health.

Brownback’s administration attributes the falling revenues to taxpayers cashing in investments early before capital gains taxes increased in 2013.

Riiight.  That’s so lame.

[...]

Critics have blamed Brownback’s income tax cuts, which were cited recently when Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the state’s credit rating at the end of last month.

Moody’s warned that the income tax cuts — without offsetting measures such as spending cuts — would drain the state’s reserves. That, the ratings firm said, would pose a “significant credit weakness.”

The rating agency cautioned that spending cuts won’t be easy because of court-ordered spending on schools, keeping up with Medicaid demands and funding the state’s pension system.

More…

Good luck Kansas.  Oh, and you guys might want to pick up a copy of Thomas Frank’s book:  What’s the Matter With Kansas?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpy

 

June 2, 2014 at 8:04 AM 1 comment

Imagine if the U.S. Held a Country-Wide Vote on Defense Spending

Switzerland flag via wikipedia.org

(The flag of Switzerland via Wikipedia)

Somehow or another I came across this article and my eyes almost popped out when I read the headline.  People in Switzerland got to vote on whether their country would spend $3.5 billion on new fighter jets?  Amazing and wonderful.

If only we could do that here in the U.S.  The idea is that when our congresspeople vote on defense spending bills they’re our representatives so we are in essence voting.  But what with Republicans and a whole lot of Democrats now acting as wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporatocracy, that isn’t how it working anymore.

Swiss Reject $3.5 Billion Gripen Purchase in Blow to Saab

Swiss voters rejected a 3.1 billion- franc ($3.5 billion) order for Gripen fighter jets, a setback to Swedish defense company Saab AB.

The 22-plane contract, which Switzerland awarded 2 1/2 years ago, was opposed by 53.4 percent of voters, the government in Bern said on its website today. That’s in line with the latest survey ahead of the vote, which showed some 51 percent of people polled opposed the transaction.

“The people have spoken,” said Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer, a Social Democrat member of parliament. “We surely don’t have the money for such unnecessary acquisitions.”

More…

And as a not-so-small aside, look at this disclamer at the top of the page:  (Adds comment from lobby group in 11th paragraph.)  Here’s paragraph 11:

According to mechanical- and electrical-engineering trade group Swissmem, the no-vote will deprive the Swiss economy of 2 billion francs of orders. The compensation deals tied to the Gripen contract “would have secured jobs in Swiss companies,” Swissmem said.

So, Swissmem is a lobbying group.  Nice to know.  Imagine if U.S. newspapers noted at the top of every article when a lobbying group was being quoted.  That would practically double the weight of the average newspaper but wouldn’t it be nice say, when you see someone quoted from the group “Americans for Prosperity,”  you’re told it’s a lobbying group.  You could look it up and see  it was founded by the Koch brothers and it’s working not on behalf of Americans per se, but very, very, very rich Americans.

What a sensible and sane thing to do.

 

 

 

May 18, 2014 at 3:18 PM Leave a comment

If Banks and Oil Companies Can Write Off Their Expense, Why Can’t Teachers?

This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t.  They don’t have the

$5,000 bill

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is so wrong:

Tweet of the Day 5-10-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM 1 comment

When Wall Street Funnels Our Tax Dollars Into its Insatiable Coffers

City of Los Angeles logo

This is my hair-on-fire headline of the day:

Los Angeles Now Spending More on Wall Street Fees Than on Maintaining Roads

Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz has called for banks NY Mellon and Dexia to return $65 million in “unfair profits and termination payments” they received between 2008 and 2014. This follows a report (embedded below) revealing that the city spent more than $200 million in fees to Wall Street in 2013 alone.  Koretz says he may push the city to take punitive action against the financial institutions involved if they do not renegotiate the deal.

The report, published by the union-backed Fix LA Coalition, notes that “the City of Los Angeles last year spent more on Wall Street fees than it did on our streets.” Indeed, the report notes the city “paid Wall Street $204 million in fees, spending only $163 million on the Bureau of Street Services.”

The fees are connected to the controversial interest-rate-swap deal cemented by Los Angeles in 2006. It is a deal similar to those engineered by Wall Street in cities across the country. Those deals have made headlines in recent years in some of the country’s most high-profile municipal budget crises.

For instance, a recent study by former Goldman Sachs investment banker Wallace Turbeville found that an interest-rate swap deal was a primary driver of Detroit’s fiscal crisis. Noting that the banks used the city’s bankruptcy to demand “upwards of $250-350 million in swap termination payments,” Turbeville concluded that “a strong case can be made that the banks that sold these swaps may have breached their ethical, and possibly legal, obligations to the city in executing these deals.”

More…

This is what happens when city employees are charged with signing 200-page contracts with Wall Street firms that are written in legalese in tiny fonts.  The Wall Street firms are the only ones who know exactly what they say.

 

 

 

May 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM Leave a comment

Charter School Operators Siphoning Off Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

CHARTER SCHOOLS

 

Why is this a surprise?  Taxpayer dollars should fund public schools, not so-called “charter schools.” Anyone can set up a “charter school” and suck up our tax dollars to fund it, or their a lavish lifestyle.

Public money for public schools.  Period.  If someone wants to open a “charter school,” fine.  Come up with the money on your own.

Release: “A new report released today reveals that fraudulent charter operators in 15 states are responsible for losing, misusing or wasting over $100 million in taxpayer money.”

Summary: “Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud And Abuse,” authored by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education, echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

More…

May 6, 2014 at 6:34 PM Leave a comment

Shock and Awe — 11th Years and $4 Trillion Later

This happened 11 years ago tonight:

Watch it.  I’m serious.  It’s amazing how much pleasure CNN got from showing live video of bombs blowing people up.

I remember thinking how thrilled Americans would be about this:  explosions, patriotism and oh yeah, they’re gonna pay!  We bad!

Eleven years on:

Iraq, Afghan wars will cost to $4 trillion to $6 trillion, Harvard study says.

March 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM 2 comments

The War on Cancer: The United States Lost

Bad news:

C  A  N  C  E  R

Cancer Soon to Become #1 Killer in America

Here’s a depressing stat: Within the next 16 years, cancer will be the number one cause of death among Americans, according to a new report from the American Society for Clinical Oncologists (ASCO).

In their first report of its kind, ASCO dug into the prevalence of cancer in the U.S. and its projected rise, as well a number of pitfalls in our current medical system that will make treating all those cancer cases increasingly difficult. In fact, the report notes, the field of oncology is under such strain from skyrocketing medical costs and doctor shortages that the Institute of Medicine has called it “a system in crisis” in need of “urgent intervention.”

More…

Why do we have “skyrocketing medical costs” and “doctor shortages?”  I’m definitely not an expert on that but I would suggest unrestrained corporate greed might have something to do with “skyrocketing medical costs” and low wages and the high cost of a college education (not to mention medical school for crying out loud) might have something to do with it.

That said, due to the corporatocracy buying off the folks who are supposed to represent and protect We the Little People, we know there are chemicals in our soil, chemicals in our air, chemicals in our water, chemicals in our clothes, chemicals in our food, chemicals in our building materials and chemicals in our baby bottles.  There’s no end to the list.

I’m 61 and I’ve been lucky.  No cancer (other than some basal cell carcinoma on my nose from spending my teen years roasting in the sun).  Living 61 years — factoring in climate change — might be a thing of the past for today’s little ones.

Oh, and remember when Dick Nixon (R) declared a “War on Cancer?

We lost.  Our tax dollars went to “defense spending.”  Never mind that cancer has, and will, kill more of us than the boogeyman out there.

 

March 13, 2014 at 7:34 PM Leave a comment

Washington D.C. Residents Told to Boil Their Water

Man-oh-man, if this doesn’t hit at the heart of the United States needing to upgrade its infrastructure I don’t know what could or would.

Here’s a press release from the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority:

DCWater is life via dcwater.com

Mar 05, 2014 — The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) advises customers to boil their water for cooking and drinking if they are experiencing low water pressure, especially in areas West and Southwest of Rock Creek Park (see attached map). If customers do not have water service, they are advised to boil water when service is restored. If customers are not experiencing low water pressure and do not live in the affected area, customers do not need to boil their water.

Customers should:
– Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
– Allow water to cool before using.
– Store cooled water in a clean container with a cover.

Customers should use cooled, boiled water or bottled water for:
– Drinking
– Brushing teeth
– Preparing and cooking food
– Making ice
– Giving water to pets

On March 5, the Ft. Reno Pumping Station experienced a power outage that was isolated to the DC Water system. Due to a loss of pressure, affected customers are advised to boil their water until further notice. To minimize risk, customers should follow the instructions outlined in this advisory.

At this stage, this is a precautionary notice for people with low or no water. DC Water will be releasing more information as soon as possible.

More…

I’ll say it again:  We’re #1?  We’re #!?  We’re #1?

 

 

March 5, 2014 at 7:29 PM Leave a comment

How Not To Kill a Deer — or Yourself

Finland: Reindeer Antlers Being Sprayed With Reflective Coating to Protect Them From Cars

Deer Reflective Spray via chrishauk.com

(Image via ChrisHauk.com)

It’s amazing and wonderful to see a country spend money and time dealing with something like this.  We here in the U.S. can’t even get our shit together enough to teach our kids to read and write much less think about protecting drivers from deer, and vice versa.

 

 

February 18, 2014 at 9:33 PM Leave a comment

The Next Time You Hear Someone Fearmongering About Cutting the Defense Budget…

Think of this mind-blowing little factoid (my Tweet of the Day):

Tweet of the Day 2-6-14

And don’t forget, we’re talking Our Tax Dollars here.

February 6, 2014 at 5:18 PM Leave a comment

Do You Want Your Tax Dollars Spent on Religious Teachings?

Check out this map:

Map Creationism Taught in Schools via Slate

(Image via Slate.com)

Here’s the legend:

Legend Where Creationism is Taught via Slate

(Image via Slate.com)

(Via.)

I’m in Colorado, where there are six or seven “orange” schools, so my tax dollars are going to teach creationism.  Creationism is a religious belief.  I don’t want my tax dollars going to the teaching of religious beliefs, even if they’re my religious beliefs.  The teaching of religious beliefs belongs in church.  Period.

This is the kind of thing the Founders were worried about when they stressed the importance of the separation of church and state.

 

January 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM Leave a comment

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler: A Republican’s Republican

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, is catering to the business community to such an extent he’s practically bankrupting his office:

Scott Gessler image via sos.state.co.uk

(Image via SOS.State.CO.US)

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is blaming an election bill passed by Democrats for wrecking his budget, but a closer look reveals that it was Gessler’s own choices that largely account for a $5.1 million loss.

Gessler’s office was running a $7 million surplus, so large it violated the law, in June 2012. A year later, it had fallen to less than $2 million, and now legislators are worried his budget will need extra money to keep it afloat.

Most of the shortfall traces back to Gessler’s cuts to business filing fees, according to budget numbers the Herald obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act. He also spent money on website upgrades to make it easier to register a business in Colorado.

Gessler, a Republican, is running for governor, and he touts his cuts to business fees on the campaign trail. But under the Capitol dome, he places blame for his collapsing budget on House Bill 1303, a mail-voting bill that Democrats passed last spring.

[...]

The math, however, shows the opposite.

On five occasions, Gessler cut business fees, either temporarily or permanently. The biggest one was a three-month fee holiday from December 2012 to February 2013, when fees of up to $125 were reduced to $1. Gessler’s office lost $3 million in revenue those three months.

More…

Ah yes. Catering to business at the expense of everything and everyone else. Oooh yeah!  Republicans seem not to know any other way.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is blaming an election bill passed by Democrats for wrecking his budget, but a closer look reveals that it was Gessler’s own choices that largely account for a $5.1 million loss.

Gessler’s office was running a $7 million surplus, so large it violated the law, in June 2012. A year later, it had fallen to less than $2 million, and now legislators are worried his budget will need extra money to keep it afloat.

Most of the shortfall traces back to Gessler’s cuts to business filing fees, according to budget numbers the Herald obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act.

Gessler, a Republican, is running for governor, and he touts his cuts to business fees on the campaign trail. But under the Capitol dome, he places blame for his collapsing budget on House Bill 1303, a mail-voting bill that Democrats passed last spring.

“The issue basically with the budget is 1303’s been a budget-buster. It’s blown our budget out of the water,” Gessler said at a Dec. 19 oversight hearing at the Legislature.

Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, disputed Gessler’s argument.

“I don’t think one bill is causing a $5 million deficit,” Jones said.

“I’m sorry that you find that hard to believe,” Gessler answered. “I’m happy to show you the math.”

The math, however, shows the opposite.

On five occasions, Gessler cut business fees, either temporarily or permanently. The biggest one was a three-month fee holiday from December 2012 to February 2013, when fees of up to $125 were reduced to $1. Gessler’s office lost $3 million in revenue those three months.

- See more at: http://www.chieftain.com/news/politics/2203809-120/gessler-budget-fees-million#sthash.VXjEfGvn.dpuf

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is blaming an election bill passed by Democrats for wrecking his budget, but a closer look reveals that it was Gessler’s own choices that largely account for a $5.1 million loss.

Gessler’s office was running a $7 million surplus, so large it violated the law, in June 2012. A year later, it had fallen to less than $2 million, and now legislators are worried his budget will need extra money to keep it afloat.

Most of the shortfall traces back to Gessler’s cuts to business filing fees, according to budget numbers the Herald obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act.

Gessler, a Republican, is running for governor, and he touts his cuts to business fees on the campaign trail. But under the Capitol dome, he places blame for his collapsing budget on House Bill 1303, a mail-voting bill that Democrats passed last spring.

“The issue basically with the budget is 1303’s been a budget-buster. It’s blown our budget out of the water,” Gessler said at a Dec. 19 oversight hearing at the Legislature.

Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, disputed Gessler’s argument.

“I don’t think one bill is causing a $5 million deficit,” Jones said.

“I’m sorry that you find that hard to believe,” Gessler answered. “I’m happy to show you the math.”

The math, however, shows the opposite.

On five occasions, Gessler cut business fees, either temporarily or permanently. The biggest one was a three-month fee holiday from December 2012 to February 2013, when fees of up to $125 were reduced to $1. Gessler’s office lost $3 million in revenue those three months.

- See more at: http://www.chieftain.com/news/politics/2203809-120/gessler-budget-fees-million#sthash.VXjEfGvn.dpuf

January 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM Leave a comment

The “War on Drugs:” $1.5 Trillion Down the Crapper

Check out this chart showing how totally ineffective the U.S. “war on drugs” has been.  The blue line represents the U.S. addiction rate, which has remained essentially unchanged for 40 years.  The green line represent the $1.5 trillion we’ve thrown at it during that time:

War on Drugs via TheWire.com

(Image via TheWire.com)

(Via.)

There is some talk about Republicans coming back to D.C. this week and haggling with Democrats over extending Unemployment Insurance for the folks who lost it just after Christmas.  I’m hearing their big stickler will be how to pay for it (natch).  I suggest they close down the damn “war on drugs” and throw away the keys.

What.  A.  Waste.  Of.  Money.

January 5, 2014 at 1:07 PM 1 comment

Republicans Kick a Million+ Lazy Ass Americans Off Their Unemployment Insurance

Got that?  Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.

Dear god of the universe:  If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this<—-  <—-:

—->  —–>

GOP not working-

And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…

 

December 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM 2 comments

Exxon Hates Your Children

Tongue-in-cheek but dead serious:

(Via:  ExxonHatesYourChildren.com)

 

December 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM Leave a comment

Our Tax Dollars: Subsidizing Wall Street Bonuses

Interesting, isn’t it, that D.C. pols keep harping about teachers and food stamp recipients who supposedly suck the life out of our economy but they don’t say a word about these leeches who we pay, with our tax dollars, to live high on the hog:

Image via BecauseFinanceisBoring.com

(Image via BecauseFinaceIsBoring.com)

No Shame: $91 Billion in Bonuses, $83 Billion in Government Subsidies/Year

Earlier this year, Bloomberg calculated that the top 10 U.S. banks receive a $83 billion a year in subsidies from the government, due to their cheap cost of funding & the preferential treatment creditors give them because they assume the government sees them as TBTF.

In November, a NYT analysis of a Johnson Associates survey found that the top eight U.S. banks set aside $91.44 billion for bonuses in 2013.

More…

Oy.  Our supposed “leaders” have woven us into such a indescribably complicated mess.

December 25, 2013 at 9:37 PM Leave a comment

The United States – A Paranoid, Law-Breaking, Scardey Cat Nation

The NSA spied on — get this — UNICEF.

Back in the 60s, on Halloween, I trick or treated for UNICEF.  A penny here, a dime there and once in a while a quarter or wow, a dollar. I was helping to end the suffering of kids on the other side of the world.

H/t to my parents for getting me involved in that.

UNICEF box

Now I’ve come to learn that the NSA sees UNICEF as a threat.  Really?  According to the NSA, everything and everyone’s a freakin’ threat.

What happened to the once-confident, proud United States of America?  Now we’re a paranoid bunch of law-breaking scardey cats:

British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU’s competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top-secret documents reveal.

The papers show GCHQ, in collaboration with America’s National Security Agency (NSA), was targeting organisations such as the United Nations development programme, the UN’s children’s charity Unicef.

More…

December 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM 1 comment

Uh Oh — Socialist America

Republicans will say this proves Americans are lazy, spoiled brats and they need to have their support systems yanked out from under them so they’ll man up and take responsibility for themselves.  Big babies:

Pew 12-19-13

(Image via People-Press.org)

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 3-8 among 2,001 adults, finds majorities say it is more important to maintain spending on Social Security and Medicare and programs to help the poor than to take steps to reduce the budget deficit. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) say it is more important to maintain current Social Security and Medicare benefits than to reduce the deficit, while 59% prioritize keeping current levels of spending for programs that help the poor and needy over deficit reduction.

There is greater public support for cutting military spending in order to achieve deficit reduction. About half of Americans (51%) say reducing the deficit is more important than keeping military spending at current levels, while 40% say deficit reduction is more important.

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In other words Washington, don’t reduce the deficit on our backs.

Way to go Americans!

Speaking of big babies, maybe D.C. should look into fixing this little ditty as a way of bringing in more money:  Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion.

December 19, 2013 at 3:53 PM Leave a comment

Sentence of the Day

From David Sirota over at Pando.com in an article titled:  For Economic Stimulus, Pensions Beat Stadiums and Server Farms.

Detroit Protestors via Voice of Detroit.net

(Image via VoiceofDetroit.net)

There [in Detroit], as if proudly advertising its reverse-Robin Hood class war, the city is simultaneously seeking bankruptcy to avoid pensions payments, while pledging $400 million to build a new hockey stadium.

I would much rather have my tax dollars go toward pensions instead of a hockey stadium.  Geezus.  It’s a no-brainer.

December 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM 2 comments

Billions of Dollars Our Dollars Are Set to Go to Sugar Producers

Bowl of Sugar via wikimediacommons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Washington politicians facing a year-end deadline to cut billions in agriculture spending are feuding over the future of food aid for the poor and crop subsidies for farmers.

There is, however, one area of agreement in the contentious negotiations: sugar.

Lawmakers decided to preserve the decades-old government safety net that boosts profits for a relatively small group of growers and has cost consumers billions through artificially high prices.

The special protection is a testament to the enduring Washington clout of one of the country’s wealthiest farming interests, including the politically connected Florida family that controls a substantial share of the world’s sugar market.

Sugar makers succeeded by gaining the support of a wildly divergent collection of lawmakers — rural and urban, tea party and liberal — who have little in common other than the presence of sugar operations in their states.

[...]

The industry’s power was evident in the unusual alliances that formed in the House and Senate to thwart sugar-related measures over the past two years, turning ideological adversaries such as Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) into teammates operating from the same playbook.

“Removing the protections we have for our domestic sugar producers will do nothing but kill an American industry and outsource jobs to our competitors,” Franken said during a Senate floor debate this spring. Rubio, in the same debate, warned colleagues of the “risks to American jobs if reforms to our sugar program were to pass.”

The program, which has existed in various forms since the Great Depression, uses an elaborate system of import quotas, price floors and taxpayer-backed loans designed to prop up domestic growers, which number about 4,500.

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We’re talkin’ Our Tax Dollars here folks.

Oh, and don’t forget.  This is the same crowd that wants to cut food aid to the poor.

December 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM Leave a comment

We Could Retrofit Every Home in the U.S. For This Amount

Imagine spending $8 trillion on solar power here in the U.S. which we wouldn’t have to spend billions “guarding” every year:

Solar Panels image via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

It has cost the United States $8 trillion to provide military security in the Gulf since 1976. According to Roger Stern, a Princeton economist, the US has spent as much on Gulf security as it spent on the entire Cold War with the Soviet Union! In recent years through 2010 it has been $400 billion a year, though the US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 and the gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan this year and next presumably means that the figure is substantially reduced. Still, we have bases in Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere, and a Naval HQ in Bahrain, none of which is cheap. If it were $200 billion a year, that is a fair chunk of the budget deficit the Republican Party keeps complaining about. And if we could get that $8 trillion back, it would pay down half of the national debt.

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And shame on our so-called leaders for not talking about cutting some of this expense instead of food stamps for the poor.

Oh, and this is what just one trillion dollars looks like.  Multiply this by eight and you have an idea how much we’re spending guarding our oil.

What $1 Trillion Looks Like via the sleuth journalcom

(Image via TheSleuthJournal.com)

December 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM Leave a comment

The U.S. Government Takes Care of Raytheon. The Unemployed? Not So Much

This is happened yesterday:

Pentagon Approves $1.1 Billion Raytheon Missile Sale To Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, there’s this from today:

Destatute via Wikimeida Commons

Strong Jobs Report Could Mean Bad News For Unemployment Benefits

 

December 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM Leave a comment

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