Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’

Handouts — This Time It’s About Corporations Taking Them, Big Time

I am so sick of wingers whining about Americans who get “handouts.”  They usually drone on about people on food stamps or retirees on Social Security or Medicare.  Who decides to be bored to death, to be old and/or sick? Nobody.

I think it’s high time we turn the tables and redirect the “handout” talk to corporate handouts.

Read this. Talk about handouts:

Fast food CEOs exploit despicable tax loophole

Outrageous: In two years, fast food corporations paid out $183 million in deductible “performance pay” to top brass

December 3, 2013 at 7:10 PM 1 comment

12 Years Into the Afghan War, Hamid Karzai Assures the World Stoning Will Not Be Revived

You mean to tell me we’ve spent how many lives and how many bazillion dollars in Afghanistan and the most optimistic thing its president has to say lo these many years on is that they won’t stone people to death anymore?

Stoning via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is progress?

 

Stoning Will Not be Brought Back, Says Afghan President — Hamid Karzai’s government backs away from reintroduction of brutal punishment after outcry

Afghanistan’s government has backed away from a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery after the leak of a draft law stirred up a storm of international condemnation.

The president, Hamid Karzai, said in an interview that the grim penalty, which became a symbol of Taliban brutality when the group were in power, would not be coming back.

More…

“Karzai’s government,” meaning Karzai at the very least approved it, proposed “reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery.”  (I bet 99.9% of the people stoned would be women.)  In other words, the guy the Bush administration installed as president there wants stoning to be brought back, but that caused “international condemnation” so he back down?

That means it’ll happen but the government will look away.

Gee. Things are going swimmingly there, huh?

 

 

 

 

November 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM Leave a comment

When Politicians Hand Billions of Our Tax Dollars to Billion-Dollar Corporations

Boy, wouldn’t it be great if the “liberal media” got all worked up about this instead of some deadbeat somewhere ripping Medicaid off for a few thousand dollars?

Money Tree via ppiblog.com

(Image via ppiblog.com)

With the stroke of a pen, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday signed into law the largest corporate tax break any state has ever given to a single company. And it took just three days of debate in the state legislature to get the measure to Inslee’s desk.

The new law extends a business and operating tax cut for the aerospace giant through 2040, streamlines the permitting process and invests in a transportation package the company had advocated. Over the life of the package, the deal is expected to be worth $8.7 billion.

That money is part of an effort to entice Boeing to build the 777X, an extended-range version of its popular wide-body aircraft, in the Puget Sound region.

[...]

The deal “is notable for being the biggest package ever in history,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, an advocacy group in the District that tracks subsidies states offer to companies.

[...]

“The biggest beneficiaries of this are Boeing shareholders, most of whom don’t reside in Washington State,” LeRoy said. “This is a shift of burden from foreign airlines to Washington taxpayers who either get higher tax rates, maybe they’ll have to raise their sales tax, or they get lousier public service.”

More…

November 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM Leave a comment

Chris Christie: Increasing New Jersey’s Deficit Like Republicans are Wont to Do

Chris Christie fat via nj1015.com

(Image via NJ1015.com)

Running for New Jersey governor in 2009, Chris Christie hammered the Democratic incumbent, Jon S. Corzine, for using “one-shot gimmicks” to balance the budget, called it “unconscionable” to take away property tax rebates and railed against issuing more debt for transportation projects, promising to “start saying no to spending.”

Fast forward to 2013:

Overall spending has risen 14 percent, and while state surpluses nationwide are growing, New Jersey’s has shrunk to its lowest percentage in a decade. The state’s bond rating is among the worst in the country.

Mr. Christie’s record is drawing scrutiny now, not only because he is emphasizing that he “restored fiscal sanity” to the state as he seeks re-election next week, but also because of his possible presidential candidacy.

And if Christie does run for president, you can be sure he will boast about “saying no to spending.”  But take a look at how he’s basically rigging the books, robbing from Peter to pay Paul:

During the past two years, he took $175 million from the money paid to states to settle complaints of mortgage fraud, intended to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. (Nationwide, New Jersey has the second-highest percentage of homes in foreclosure.) Last year, he planned to take $166 million that towns were supposed to spend to build affordable housing. (The towns have sued to stop him, so the governor may have to fill an even bigger hole.)

He relied on an accounting switch earlier this year, announcing that instead of sending out property tax rebates in May, as has been the custom, the state would send them out in August, pushing $400 million onto the next budget.

[...]

Mr. Christie has been especially aggressive about taking funds dedicated to energy efficiency, to developing renewable energy and to reducing costs for rate payers. He has taken roughly $700 million in so-called clean energy funds, dumping most of that into the general fund, and using a smaller percentage to pay utility bills in state buildings. The transfers began small — $42.5 million in fiscal year 2011 — then more than quadrupled over the next three budgets.

[...]

He issued $4 billion in bonds, but said that to avoid future borrowing, he would increase the amount the state contributed toward the transportation trust fund every year. But when revenues came up shorter than his projections in 2013, he took the turnpike tolls intended for those contributions to the trust fund and used them to help balance the overall state budget. For fiscal year 2014, he again eliminated the planned payments.

More…

I recommend the whole article.  Christie’s hocus pocus “budgeting” is based on band-aides and fingers in dikes.

 

October 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM 2 comments

McDonald’s “McResources” Staffer Refers 10-Year Employee to Medicaid and a Food Pantry When She Calls Looking for Help

This is how you and I contribute to McDonald’s bottom line:  We subsidize their low-wage employees like Nancy (see video) so they can pay their top honchos millions of dollars while they refuse to give Nancy a freakin’ raise. She’s worked there full-time at $8.25 an hour for ten years!  Again, no raise in TEN YEARS.  So she calls to see if the “McResources” people can help:

More

 

October 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM Leave a comment

Poor People Don’t Matter, As Usual: Outage Shuts Food Stamp Program in 17 States

I’ve got to start keeping track of the infrastructure failures that are occurring all across the United States;  everything from water main breaks to computer glitches. I read about them here and there almost every day.    They seem small on their own but together, they add up.

Our country is falling apart.  Literally.  The thing is, the failures aren’t happening in areas where rich white people live so we aren’t hearing about them.

Food Bank

Case in point.  This is an emergency:

Power Outage Shuts Down Food Stamp Program In 17 States

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – Food stamp recipients in 17 states lost access to the electronic system used by stores to verify their benefits on Saturday, leaving many unable to buy groceries, the company that manages the system said.

People enrolled in the government food assistance program use plastic vouchers similar to debit cards. Starting at about 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), some of those cards stopped working, Xerox spokesman Kevin Lightfoot said.

A power outage that started the problem was fixed within 20 minutes, Lightfoot said, but shoppers continued to run into difficulties throughout the day. By early evening, the problem still had not been fixed.

[...]

States States experiencing problems included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois,Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio,Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, Lightfoot said.

More…

My food bank-volunteer-self knows this is going to hurt so many people in so many ways.  The ripple effect will be tremendous lest it’s fixed tonight. Get that “electronic system” up and running ASAP! Oh, wait, the government’s shut down.  Shi*t.

H/T Republicans.

 

 

October 12, 2013 at 8:28 PM 2 comments

Republicans Giddy About Spending $160 Million Per Day on Shutdown

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 10=12-13

Republicans are downright giddy because ah, why?  Oh yeah, I remember:  They’re — wink, wink — trying to control spending (never mind that black guy in the White House).  Oops.  Guess what: The shutdown is costing $160 million per day.

Geezus.

October 12, 2013 at 7:05 PM Leave a comment

Our Tax Dollars at Work: A Place For the Government to Put the Info it Gathers Spying on Us

This is the humongous building the NSA is building to house the data it collects by spying on us (and everyone else on the planet):

NSA Utah Data Center via via NSA.gov1.info

(Image via NSA.gov1.info)

The National Security Agency is building a massive new data center in Utah, all the better to store your weekly phone call to grandma with. You know, just in case that corn muffin recipe turns out to be a coded call to your sleeper cell to spring into action. But there’s a small problem: as the Wall Street Journalreports, the operation keeps blowing up and catching fire.

More specifically, the facility has been “undercut by logistical headaches” and “electrical troubles—so-called arc fault failures—as ‘a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box.’ These failures create fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail.”

You can practically smell the money burning as the Army Corps of Engineers argues with its contractors over the cause(s) of the explosions. And the contractors have proved to be a many-armed beast: “The architectural firm KlingStubbins designed the electrical system. The firm is a subcontractor to a joint venture of three companies: Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR Construction and Big-D Construction Corp.”

Estimated project costs somewhere in the vicinity of $2 billion; the final cost, after they stop the thing from blowing itself up, is anyone’s guess.

More…

Anyone’s guess is right.  We can only imagine what the final tab will be.  Once contractors put their grubby hands inside the national wallet, they tend to have a hard time pulling it out.

Oh, and when I went looking for a photo of the place, I found the one above on the NSA’s website.  When I clicked the link attached to it I was taken to — I kid you not — a page titled “Domestic Surveillance Directorate.”  Creepy.  Sounds like something from the old Soviet Union.

October 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM Leave a comment

Democrats Won’t Negotiate?

Why isn’t this — from Cox’s News reporter Jamie Dupree — breaking news everywhere?

Tweet of the Day 10-8-13

October 8, 2013 at 3:36 PM Leave a comment

The Shutdown Hits the Senate and They’re Crying Like Babies

Bawwaha:

Bpxed Lunches 10-6-13I invite these poor suffering Senators to hang out with me on any given Friday at the food bank where I volunteer.  A boxed lunch sounds so fresh compared to what the people I see get.

How about some canned chili made with mystery meat that’ll last for a million years and oh, I don’t know, some canned green beans from who-knows-where?  And let’s have some soggy brownish government-issued canned peaches for dessert.

Sounds yummy huh?

Catered meals?  Really?  That’s what you’re used to?

October 7, 2013 at 8:25 PM 2 comments

Shutdown: Worker Safety Isn’t an “Essential Service”

Over the weekend the Pentagon ordered “almost all furloughed civilian employees back to work” despite the government shutdown.

Ah yes.  “Essential services” as in wars and drone attacks.

As for the health and wellbeing of We the People?

OSHA Logo

Nonessential:

A 32-year-old Scituate man doing tree work at a residence on Border Street suffered severe traumatic injuries this morning when the harness he was wearing failed and he fell 30 to 40 feet to the ground, police said.

Police responded to a 9-1-1 call at 9:45 a.m. Police said Total
Tree Co. of N. Main Street was removing trees at 136 Border St.

Police said the victim was treated at the scene and taken by Cohasset Fire Department ambulance to South Shore Hospital.

Acting Chief William Quigley said it is standard procedure to contact OSHA’s (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) Braintree office when there is a work-related accident but they could not get a hold of anyone due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. OSHA is a federal agency that regulates workplace safety and health.

More…

As an aside, there’s this: Owner Made a Billionaire Feeding U.S. War Machine.

Interesting, isn’t it, who suffers and who doesn’t?

October 7, 2013 at 7:02 PM Leave a comment

Yo, USA: Let’s Think About a Basic Yearly Income For Everyone

I can’t wait to see what happens:

Switzerland flag via wikipedia.org

Flag of Switzerland. (Image via Wikipedia.org)

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

[...]

In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company’s lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.

More…

Nice.  When a country doesn’t spend a gazillion dollars on “defense” they can think about things like this.

 

October 6, 2013 at 7:04 PM Leave a comment

Boehner Lies: There Aren’t Enough Votes in the House to Pass a Clean Continuing Resolution

Hey John: You say there aren’t enough votes in the House to pass a “clean” (no strings attached) Continuing Resolution (CR) in the House?  Cool.  Put it on the floor for a vote and we’ll see.  Then, the issue will be moot, at least for now.

John Boehner Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

The White House on Sunday challenged  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to prove his assertion in an ABC News interview that “there are not the votes in the House” to pass a “clean” continuing resolution.

 

“If he’s right, why not prove it?” White House press secretary Jay Carney asked on Twitter.

More…

Boehner’s lying.  He’s scared.  It would pass:  Here, here, here, and here.
No wonder he gets drunk every night.

October 6, 2013 at 6:05 PM 2 comments

Closed for Business

The Teabaggers got their way overnight and shut the government down.

This NY Daily News front page pretty much captures the mood of everyone else this morning:

NY Daily News Turds 10-1-13(Via.)

 

October 1, 2013 at 8:32 AM Leave a comment

Republicans Whine That Obama Hasn’t Called

This afternoon we learned that President Obama had a 15 minute conversation this morning with the new Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani.  (15 minutes?  I guess that’s better than nothing but I wouldn’t get too excited about a 15-minute phone conversation.)

This is what Republicans are saying in retort:

Russert Tweet of the Day 9-27-13

They’re doing two things here:  (1) Implying Obama favors “terrorists” over folks in his own country, and (2) implying that he isn’t serious about avoiding a government shutdown. If he were, he’d be working his butt off to avoid it.

The thing is, passing a Continuing Resolution (CR), which needs to be done by October 1, is congress’s responsibility.  Congress is charged with spending money and paying the bills.  Passing a CR means that Congress authorizes Treasury to write the checks to pay the bills congress has already authorized; to pay for things it has effectively already purchased.

So hey, why does Obama need to call Boehner to get Boehner to get that job done?  That’s his job for God’s sake.  He’s a big boy.  Not only that but there’s this:  Boehner Tells GOP He’s Through Negotiating One-on-One With Obama.  And now the GOP’s whining that Obama hasn’t called?

Adorable.

John Boehner Crying 12-22-10

September 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM Leave a comment

Colorado Republicans Support Local Flood Relief After Voting No on Help for Hurricane Sandy

Ah yes, fickle Republicans strike again.  Ethics?  Morality?  Character?  Doing what’s just plain right to help their fellow humans?  Nah.  It’s all about what will get them re-elected:

Colo Republican Committee via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia.com)

Colorado House Republicans Unanimously Support Flood Relief, Unanimously Opposed Sandy Aid

As historic floods of “biblical” proportions continue to ravage Colorado, President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Sunday — a move that was encouraged by a bipartisan letter last week from the state’s nine-member Congressional delegation. But the four Republican Congressmen who are now supporting disaster relief for their own state were among those voting earlier this year against the emergency aid funding for Superstorm Sandy victims on the East Coast.

Colorado Republican Reps. Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton joined their delegation in asking the president to send emergency funds to help their constituents combat and recover from the more than 14 inches of rain that have flooded Colorado this month.

More…

The next time you hear a Republican say he or she wants to “cut the deficit” laugh and tell them about this. What they bloviate about to their Fox & Friends has nothing to do with their convictions.  It has everything to do with sticking one’s finger in the air and deciding which way the wind is blowing.Turning that upside down, both of Colorado’s Democratic senators voted for Sandy relief earlier this year, despite the fact that that that relief didn’t go to their state.  Hello!

In a 62-36 vote, the Senate on Monday approved legislation providing $50.7 billion to help New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Hurricane Sandy.

All 36 “no” votes came from Republicans.

More…

 

September 19, 2013 at 7:48 PM 4 comments

War Dollars Spent on Love

If we did more stuff like this with the money we spend on bombs we might actually win hearts and minds:

Rescuing a Dog from Flood 9-16-13

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault/Released) Public Domain)

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith Bart, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, carries an animal to safety during flood rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colo., Sept. 16, 2013. Colorado and Wyoming National Guard units were activated to provide assistance to people affected by massive flooding along Colorado’s Front Range. 

(Via.)

 

September 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM Leave a comment

America’s “Humanitarian” History — What a Bunch of Crap

Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.

What a bunch of crap.

Show me another country who’s launched significant humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.

I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe.  I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.

Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality.  Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:

Image via wikipedia Agent orange deformed babies

(Babies deformed by Agent Orange via Wikipedia)

  • 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
  • 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
  • 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
  • 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
  • 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
  • 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
  • 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
  • 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
  • 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
  • 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
  • 2003: Iraq.
  • 2011: Libya.
  • 2013: Syria
  • More…

September 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM Leave a comment

John McCain Plays Poker on his iPhone During Hearing About Bombing Syria

Here’s a photo of John McCain playing poker on his iPhone during John Kerry and Chuck Hagel’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today on bombing Syria, via the Washington Post’s Melina Mara:

McCain Plays Poker on iPhone 9-3-13

(Image via the WashingtonPost.com / Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

I guess the “debate” was just a side show to ol’ John.  But no doubt, we’ll see him on the “news” shows a million times in the coming weeks / months because he’s supposedly such a serious person when it comes to war(s).

Geezus.

September 3, 2013 at 6:07 PM Leave a comment

If The United States Wants to Help The Syrian People…

If the United States wants to help the Syrian people, it might try this instead of bombing them:

Swedish Flag

Sweden Grants Blanket Asylum to Syrian Refugees

Swedish government announces it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply, because it does not expect violence in Syria will end ‘in the near future’

———————————–

Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.

“All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokeswoman for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.

“The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future.”

The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad.

More…

 

September 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM 2 comments

American Scientists Considering Moving Overseas Due to Budget Cuts

We are watching the United States collapse from within:

Scientists via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

A new, eye-opening study shows that the United States is not only falling behind in scientific research, but now we are in danger of losing our scientists, too.

In a study called, “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,” The American Society For Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) surveyed nearly 4,000 scientists from nearly all fields of research about the effects of budget cuts and sequestration on scientific research. The results are quite disturbing for anyone who cares about the future of science in our country.

In its press release summarizing its findings, the ASBMB wrote that the cuts are “tearing at the fabric of the nation’s scientific enterprise” while having a “minimal impact” on our national debt and deficit. Also, “The overwhelming majority of scientists in all fields believes the U.S. has lost its position as the global leader in scientific research.”

Sam Stein, at the Huffington Post, dug through the weeds and found, “Nearly one-fifth of scientists are considering going overseas to continue their research because of the poor funding climate in America.”

More…

Sigh.
Maybe Republicans will get their way after all and arrange life here in the United States such that the only “science” we rely on is the Bible.

August 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM Leave a comment

Missouri Banker Bought $381,487 Florida Condo with Bank Bailout Money

Lowest of the low:

Greed via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Darryl Layne Woods, the former CEO of a Missouri bank, admitted in court yesterday to using financial crisis bailout funds to purchase a luxury waterfront condo in Florida…

In November 2008, Woods, 48, who was the head of Mainstreet Bank and the bank’s holding company Calvert Financial Corporation, applied for TARP money on behalf of his bank…

In January 2009, his bank received $1,037,000.  A month later, he used $381,487 of it to buy a place in Fort Myers, Florida.

[...]

Woods is no longer allowed to work in the banking industry, according to the release.  He also faces a sentence of up to one year in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $100,000 plus restitution.

More…
Excuse me.  What about the condo?  Does he get to keep that?  And why isn’t the fine equivalent to the money he stole from US taxpayers?

August 27, 2013 at 6:34 PM Leave a comment

From the Department of I’ll Believe it When I See It

Eric Holder via justice.gov:ag:

(Image via Justice.gov./ag/)

Eric Holder Vows ‘Significant’ Financial Crisis Prosecutions Against Banks

Wall Street should brace for “significant” civil or criminal charges from the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to Attorney General Eric Holder. The promise comes amid intensifying criticism of the DOJ’s financial enforcement decisions.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, the nation’s top law enforcement official refused to give specifics about what sort of charges his department will be filing and would not discuss the number or type of cases he expects to pursue.

More…

What?  Is Obama suddenly worried about this legacy?

August 21, 2013 at 3:06 PM Leave a comment

We the People Subsidizing Airport Used by Walmart Jet Fleet in Arkansas

Yo, Americans, guess what?  Thanks to our corporate-owned lawmakers, our tax dollars are being used to subsidize a little airport in Arkansas that just happens to be home to, and used primarily by, the 20-jet corporate fleet of jets belonging to Walmart.

Walmart Smiley Face

U.S. taxpayers are increasingly picking up the tab for the control tower at an airport that’s home to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)’s corporate fleet, at a time lawmakers say they want to ban perks for hometown interests.

Language inserted into a spending bill two years ago spared the world’s biggest company by revenue from losing taxpayer-funded controllers to guide its approximately 20 jets based in Rogers, Arkansas, near its Bentonville headquarters.

The measure was championed by two Arkansas lawmakers — Republican Representative Steve Womack and Democratic Senator Mark Pryor — whose biggest donors include Wal-Mart employees. Taxpayers were left responsible for a higher share of costs of operating the Rogers tower than called for by U.S. guidelines for low-traffic airports.

More…

August 14, 2013 at 11:25 AM 2 comments

The Police, Who Work for Us, Protect the Corporatocracy

There was a march against Chevron and fracking in Richmond, California today:

8-213 via JoshuaKahnRussell

(Image via JoshuaKahnRussell on Twitter)

The police, who we pay, with our tax dollars, protected Chevron:

Cops Protecting Chevron via mrdavyd on twitter -3-13

(Image via MrDavyD on Twitter)

Look at those Darth Vader-like guys.

This is what the militarization of America’s police force looks like.

August 3, 2013 at 7:16 PM Leave a comment

Be Careful When Googling “Pressure Cooker”

Google LogoThis is what total information awareness surveillance on you and me looks like:

It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.

Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack.

[...]

What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.

Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.

Read the rest of it here.

Bottom line, six FBI agents went to an average American couple’s home (with two dogs and a young son) because the woman had been looking online at pressure cookers and her husband was doing research on backpacks and that meant they were potential repeat Boston bombers. The six agents looked through the house, and left after about 45 minutes, saying they take similar action roughly “100 times a week.”

So, this is where we’re at folks.

 

 

August 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM Leave a comment

Obama’s About to Break a Big, Big Promise

Barack Obama, February 12, 2013:

News breaking out of D.C. this afternoon:

The United States and Afghanistan have resolved most issues and are nearing completion of an agreement that paves the way for an American military presence after 2014 that will include a limited U.S. counterterrorism force and military advisers.

“We’re at the point now where we concluded the text,” said a senior State Department official familiar with the negotiations. “We’re in a period of endgame.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not official.

[...]

After 2014, the Afghan security forces “will still require substantial training, advising and assistance — including financial support — to address ongoing shortcomings,” according to a Pentagon report released this week.

The agreement spells out two missions for the U.S. military after 2014: assisting Afghan security forces and establishing a U.S. counterterrorism force that will be limited to pursuing al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

More…

Three words:  Our.  Tax.  Dollars.

July 31, 2013 at 4:06 PM Leave a comment

Hey, I Thought Detroit Was Bankrupt

So, Detroit filed for bankruptcy on Monday, right?  Then what the f’ing hell is going on here:

Detroit Red Wing Logo

A state board on Wednesday unanimously gave the go-ahead for a new Red Wings hockey arena in downtown Detroit to be paid for in part with $284 million in tax dollars even as the broke city works through bankruptcy proceedings.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others defended against criticism that the $650 million project should be financed entirely with private money because the city currently can’t provide basic services and retirees are facing cuts in their pensions.

Really?  Since when are economic development taxes [where do tax revenues come from people?] “private money:”

The Michigan Strategic Fund Board approved the Detroit Downtown Development Authority’s request to use economic development taxes for the project. The board also took a preliminary step toward issuing $450 million in bonds to build the arena, to be paid off in no more than 30 years by the Red Wings’ owner and the city.

More…

You’d think Snyder would at least, at least, wait a few weeks before letting this happen but no.  He apparently doesn’t care  how bad the optics look of doing this 36 hours after the city filed for bankruptcy.  Arrogance and callousness at a level that is truly stunning.

 

July 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM Leave a comment

The U.S. Could Keep Corporations and the Rich From Parking Their Money Overseas if it Wanted To

Dean Baker over at the Center for Economic and Policy Research makes a great point here:

Corporate Flag

In the last few weeks Edward Snowden has been holed [sic] in Moscow’s airport trying to negotiate terms of asylum with various countries around the world. Thus far it doesn’t seem that Snowden has been able to find any acceptable offers.

Part of the reason is that the United States government has been openly threatening governments that are considering offering asylum, warning of dire consequences. Governments throughout the world take these threats seriously.

In fact, governments take threats from the United States very seriously. France and Portugal both broke with international conventions a few weeks back and refused to allow Bolivia President Evo Morales to use their airspace because the Obama administration had heard rumors that Snowden was on board his plane.

Clearly when something matters to the United States government, it is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get what it wants. And even relatively powerful countries like France quickly bow to its wishes, even when it means breaking with well-established international protocols.

[...]

Now let’s get back to Edward Snowden’s efforts to get asylum. Apparently there is a lot that the United States can and will do to prevent sovereign countries from granting him asylum. Does anyone really believe that if the United States used just a fraction of the same power to persuade the Cayman Islands or some other country not to set itself up as a tax haven, that it would be met with a stonewall?

This is absurd. If countries are allowed to act as tax havens against a financial speculation tax or any other measure it is because the administration in Washington is content to let them act as tax havens. When it actually wants something to happen, the Obama administration, like its predecessors, is prepared to do a full Snowden.  And in nearly every case, it will get what it wants.

More…

So, through its silence, the U.S. government condones the use of overseas tax havens by the corporatocracy and the rich.

 

July 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM Leave a comment

This is What Small Government Looks Like

You may have heard about the Black Forest fire burning just outside Colorado Springs.  It started yesterday.  It has burned roughly 8,000 acres and as of this morning it’s still out of control. An estimated 40-60 homes have been destroyed.  We’ll know more when the El Paso County Sheriff holds a press conference this morning at 9:00 a.m. local time.

The Black Forest area is just outside Colorado Springs, one of the most conservative “small government” areas of the state (and the country for that matter) despite the fact that the Air Force Academy and NORAD are located there and government money pours in.

My husband and I watched live images like this yesterday afternoon of million dollar homes catching fire and collapsing in a matter of seven or eight minutes.

Black Forest Fire via TheDenverChannel.com 6-12-13

(Image via TheDenverChannel.com)

This morning, of course, all three local news outlets are covering the story wall-to-wall and the big news at the heart of it is that, according to CBS4 at 5:00 a.m., there are “not enough crews to fight the fire.”

So here’s a shout out to “small government” lovers everywhere.  This is small government in action.

 

June 12, 2013 at 7:30 AM Leave a comment

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