Archive for March, 2009

Deranged Pope Jonny Ratz In A Creepy Condom Conundrum
March 18, 2009

From today’s Globe:

[Pope] Benedict also said the Roman Catholic Church is at the forefront of the battle against AIDS.

"You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease, as he answered questions submitted in advance by reporters traveling on the plane.

Holy crap! (That’s descriptive, not exclamative.)

Attacking this mentally deranged old fart is so easy that there’s hardly any point to it. He runs a cult dedicated to increasing death, suffering, and misery. Tens of millions of people have died of AIDS, tens of millions are infected, and this bozo goes into the heart of Africa where the worst of the plague is happening, and lies to people about how to protect themselves from the disease.

He should be arrested and thrown in a dungeon, along with all of his beskirted fellow cultists in the Vatican. They can while away the rest of their benighted lives trying to figure out how many angels fit on the head of gnat’s penis.

They might also devote some time to considering that the HIV virus, no more than the Black Plague bacterium, doesn’t give a rat’s ass about morality or responsibility. The virus rides lust and desire to survive, and nothing Jonny Ratz and his arrogant bunch of dogmatics can say or do will ever wipe out human emotions or stop people from playing with each other’s fun body parts.

To tell people that they should not use condoms, the single most effective preventive against HIV, is an act of wanton criminality. It is immoral by any measure.

The Lion encourages people to do the world a favor today in honor of Jonny Ratz and his Band of Immorals. Go out and kick a priest in his shriveled balls, just to remind him that he’s not a little god but is a delusional human member of an immoral cult dedicated to promoting death, poverty, and misery. And sex with children, don’t forget that part. It’s apparently a formal benefit of joining the priesthood. The Lion, if in a bad mood, might suppose that they bang children because there’s considerably less chance of contracting HIV/AIDS. Clever people, these priests.

The perils of the bootstrap, or, Naked women drinking absinthe on Battlestar Galactica while playing bocce. Pope outraged. Dobson speechless. Obama has heart attack.
March 17, 2009

The Republican and Conservative crowd, along with their dark shadow, the Libertarians, want everybody to do everything for themselves. Government shouldn’t help anyone (except of course for big corporations who feed the right-wing money – those guys get all the taxpayer money they want and don’t have to account for any of it).

That crowd is big on ‘bootstrapping’. You know, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, those little pull tabs on top of your boots. Not that you can afford boots anymore.

The usual knock on pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is that you’ll fall on your ass as you jerk your feet out from under you. The corollary is that you’ll be lying on the ground helpless.

But there’s another reason to avoid following this clever little piece of rhetorical fallacy. Picture it. You bend over to grab your bootstraps. And there you are, helpless again, your butt exposed to the Republicans. Not a pretty picture. And of course we know the result – we have only to look at the current economic crisis, the creation of Republican/Conservative/Libertarian philosophies and practices of deregulation.

Which is to say the Republicans will screw you every chance they get. For them it’s all about money, not morals.

And they’ll be very happy to sell you an interest in the boot they shove up your ass.

Why We Are In Afghanistan
March 17, 2009

Well, ummm, yeah, see the thing is that nobody’s come up with a good reason for the United States and a bunch of other European countries to be fighting and dying and wasting money in Afghanistan.

Oh, there’s that 9/11 thing, sure. But Afghanistan didn’t do that. A bunch of fanatics who had an uneasy relationship with the Afghani government at the time and used the country as a training base are the ones who did the WTC attack.

Now what they’ve got there is a civil war between that old government group, the Taliban, and the current government of Kabul, a corrupt group supported by America and Europe, but maybe not so much by the Afghani clans and tribes.

So there’s America in the midst of a foreign civil war, blabbering about democracy while it slaughters civilians by the score and pisses off the Afghani people no end. Again.

“We have to stop extremism,” the Americans huff and puff. Yeah, well, they didn’t do such a good job of it at home during the last eight years, did they?

“We have to make America safe,” they harumph, while doing everything they possibly can to make the world a far more dangerous place for everyone.

“We turned Iraq into a democracy where people are safe,” they blither. People are killed every day there by bombs and Americans. The country’s been segregated by walls and troops. They don’t have reliable  or sufficient electricity or drinking water.

So the Americans have spent a trillion dollars, with another couple of trillion to come in direct and follow-up costs, and they are no safer than they were before their stupidity. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead. Two countries lie in ruins. Neither has a truly stable government.

The 9/11 hijackers are dead. Their leaders are still alive and free, if constrained.

Their ideas are alive and well and growing, fed by the blood of every civilian, every woman, every child murdered by American infantry or bombs.

America has turned itself into an object of disgust and contempt, of loathing and fear, courtesy of the Bush administration and its criminal ministers and minions. And Obama seems intent on continuing too many of the policies of those foul people.

Want to make America safe? Then get the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Tell the Afghanis that if they want freedom they have to fight for it themselves, tell them we are no longer going to be the unpaid mercenaries doing their dirty work. Give them guns and ammunition, give them training in warfare (without the odious teaching of torture) and wish them luck. And apologize to them and the Iraqis for screwing over their countries.

Want to make America safe? Take the money and manpower wasted in those wars and spend it here in America. Spend it on making the ports truly safe. Make the airways safe. Spend it on creating corruption-free elections here. Spend it on education, on healthcare, on infrastructure. Spend it on beefing up American intelligence capabilities and small-force military capacity. Spend it on shoring up a free press that can’t be dominated by massive corporate interests. Spend it on improving our relations with other countries around the world.

Want to make America safe? Start regulating the bankers and financiers and corporate barons who have put profit above country, profit above human life; who have put their own narrow interests ahead of the interests of the American republic. Bring them to heel, and put in jail the ones who created and enabled the skullduggery that has put the world on the edge of economic collapse (AIG’s financial products wizards would be a good group to start with).

Want to make America safe? Stop trying to kill an idea by killing its adherents in the Islamic world. The more you kill, the stronger you make the idea. Back off and let the Muslim world handle its malefactors. Keep on killing and you just drive people into the arms of the radical idea and drive them to arms. Stop thinking, as the hawks and Conservatives and the Republicans do, that you can kill your way to safety – and take note that those who speak the loudest for slaughter refuse to put themselves into the fires of war, but are content to sit back and keep their children home and to skim profits from the deaths of American soldiers and the destruction of the American economy.

There aren’t enough bullets in the world to make America safe as long as its people continue to elect narrow-minded, ignorant, greedy, thoughtless fools to public office.

You can give a man a gun and some bullets and in a few weeks turn him into a mindless killer. Do that often enough, as the Americans seem intent on doing, and you will lose your nation and your freedom.

Or you can give your children a long education in which they learn to think for themselves and to apply critical thinking to the problems they face and that their nation and their world must confront. Do that and you will gain freedom and security for your nation and the world.

The Americans can’t decide what to do, and thus they cannot answer the question, in fact can barely bring themselves to ask why they are dying in Afghanistan.

“Simply put, the Republicans hate Democrats more than they love America.”
March 15, 2009

There’s an interesting piece by Robert Freeman titled ‘The US Is Facing A Weimar Moment’ over at Common Dreams. Freeman details a comparison of the current state of the United States with the life and death of the Weimar Republic in Germany after World War I, and demonstrates how the Party-of-No in America is following the same game plan as the German wing-nuts did back then. It’s a lengthy article, but worth reading.

From the conclusion:

Resentment and obstruction are all the right wing in America have to peddle. Their policies are utterly discredited. Their ideology – even by its own standards – is a sham. They are so bereft of leaders, their de facto leader is a former drug addicted, thrice-divorced radio talk show host. That is literally the best they can muster. But they have built a national franchise inciting the downwardly mobile to blame the government, not the right, for their problems, exactly as Hitler did in the 1920s.

The Republican propensity for fascism must not be underestimated. Witness their phony justifications for the war in Iraq, fanning the flames of nationalistic aggression, just as Hitler did with Austria, the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, and Poland in the 1930s. Consider their symbiotic embrace of corporate interests in the oil, weapons, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, finance, and other industries-the same type of corporate interests that sponsored Hitler’s ascent to power. Look at their efforts to dismantle civil liberties with the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. Or their relentless, pervasive propaganda laundered through their corporate-owned right-wing media machine.

These are the classic hallmarks of fascism. The strategy is to obstruct recovery, facilitate collapse, and then incite the faux-populism of public resentment to re-install a corporatist oligarchy which has failed, but which will not abide a reduction of its privileges or a diminution of its control. It is a fetid, seditious agenda, awaiting only its own latter day mustachioed messiah for its final fulfillment.

Frankly, The Lion wouldn’t put too much stock in the stock market’s upward bump last week as an indicator of any kind of recovery. The problem is too profound and the people who created it are still running the corporations that brought this down on the world, and they are still feeding the Republicans. And too many of them are in the White House and have Obama’s ear.

What’s needed in the Presidency is a vicious infighter willing to get bloody on the Republicans and their corporate enablers, and Obama so far doesn’t appear to be capable of that or to desire to go that route.

As Jon Stewart said to Jim Cramer, this isn’t a fucking game.

Who Ya Gonna Trust? How About Kenny Lewis, Bank of America CEO?
March 13, 2009

Kenneth Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, was in Boston yesterday spouting optimism about the current financial crash.

"I believe we are going to break the back of this thing, and I still believe we’ll do it this year," Lewis said of the recession that has settled in. "There is too much ammunition being fired from too many directions not to bring this beast down."

Lewis was talking to the Boston College Chief Executives Club.

Note that Lewis took $45 billion in taxpayer bailout money, and is refusing to assist the investigation of the hefty bonuses Merrill Lynch paid its execs just before Bank of America took over ML.

Lewis also condemned talk of nationalization of the banks.

Such a move would "immediately undermine confidence in the financial system even further and send shudders through the investment community. It would give the false impression that banks are insolvent, and investors would immediately start betting on which banks would be next," Lewis said.

Umm, Kenny, most of the banks involved are insolvent. They don’t have the assets to back up their liabilities. And as for undermining confidence in the financial system that brought on this abysmal mess, other than people like Lewis there aren’t a lot of people being confident about people like him and about the institutions people like him run.

Besides, Lewis has to be optimistic. If he doesn’t act confident, then Bank of America’s stock will join the other big banks down in the penny stock market and he might lose his job and his millions.

So who are you going to trust?

The Lion’s going with Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann.

It’s Friday The Thirteenth! Let Us All Praise Judas! Rah Rah Rah! Zoroaster Rules!
March 13, 2009

The Lion routinely phones a good friend, one of the very few, the privileged few, to annoy and torment her. It makes her laugh and it satisfies the adolescent element in The Lion’s personality. And of course misanthropes are required to annoy people on a regular basis, according to the Association of Practicing Misanthropes.

During this morning’s annoyance call, The Lion reminded her that Friday the thirteenth actually fell on Friday this month. She gave her usual ‘So what? That’s stupid!’ response to the things The Lion says and then wondered how the superstition got started.

The Lion suggested that the Last Supper was at the root of it. The gang of thirteen met for a cannibalistic supper and then the gang leader had a really bad Friday.

She mentioned Judas as the cause of it all.

The Lion spontaneously opined, ‘My hero!’

She, a religious type, though not a fundogelical (though The Lion does worry that she may fall victim to their kind if she keeps on with it – already like most Christians she can’t tolerate any criticism or black humor or rationality directed at her superstition) cried out, ‘That’s terrible! Don’t say that!’

Naturally The Lion said it a couple of more times to annoy her, and she responded as above, and then we went on to some other nonsense. Any conversation touching on religion usually ends badly between the lady and The Lion, who is a hard-core atheist.

But the incident does bring up a salient point about Judas.

Why do Christians hold him in such ill repute? I mean, really, think about it.

Without Judas there would have been no crucifixion and none of the nonsense that followed (resurrection yada yada yada). Without Judas selling out his boss for a handsome sum of money, the boss would have remained just another pain-in-the-ass itinerant preacher wandering around Judea annoying the hell out of people. Without Judas, no Popes and their children, no Luther and his theses, no massive witch burnings and other Inquistionite entertainments through the ages. Without Judas, none of the murderous wonders the Christians have thought so highly of these two millennia. And on the other side of the coin, without Judas science and technology and rational society might well have advanced about a thousand years further than where they’re at today.

(The Lion notes that a writer of some repute, whose name escapes The Lion, proposed that Christ and Judas actually conspired to turn the boss over to the authorities in order to create a martyrdom that could be used to sell the boss’s beliefs to the ignorant masses. The theory seems to have been that the boss knew he would end up a nobody if he didn’t manage a big finish. If true, then Judas and Christ were cofounders of the superstition and should be accorded equal worship by the faith filled.)

Christians should be on their knees worshipping Judas. They should call themselves Judasians, or Judasites. He created their fuzzy-brained religion. It’s the rest of us that should curse the little bastard for bringing this superstition down on humanity. On the other hand, given human nature, if it wasn’t the sickness of the gang of thirteen, it likely would have been some other set of illogical, irrational foolishness.

Hell, if not for Judas we might all be Zoroastrians today.

Bob Dylan On The Economy
March 12, 2009

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."

-All Along The Watchtower, Bob Dylan

Bear McCreary version on Battlestar Galactica

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Hedges Slices Right To The Testicle And Ovary Of Environmental Collapse
March 9, 2009

There’s a piece by Chris Hedges over at Common Dreams that gets to the heart of the matter of our collapsing environment.

It’s about being in the room with the herds of elephants that nobody wants to talk about. Or think about. Or do anything about.

The Lion Nags The Boston Globe Writers. To The Woodshed With Them!
March 9, 2009

The Lion’s eye caught a couple of little things today that cast light on the state of journalism and the ways in which it fails the public.

The first is by Robert Weisman, of the Globe staff:

When the economy finally snaps back, technology is expected be the catalyst that pulls the state out of its doldrums, just as it has done in the past.

Writers of modern journalism like to make their writing lively, even snappy, to the point that snappiness overrides good journalism.

Weisman, by his choice of word here (snap), is either trying to spice up his sentence without reference to the reality he is reporting on, or he is clairvoyant and knows something that the economists and other experts don’t.

He is creating a false expectation that the economy will recover quickly, but has absolutely no justification for what amounts to his prediction of the economy’s behavior. He’s offering  an opinion through his word choice, and that’s not his job.

The second example comes from a story by Noah Bierman, who writes about an outspoken dissenter on the board of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

“It’s not just the tolls itself. It’s the impact on the region,” she said, launching into a practiced polemic on fairness. “The tollpayer needs a voice.”

Bierman immediately prejudices the story against Mary Connaughton with his phrase ‘practiced polemic’, categorizing dissent as polemicism before he has offered her a voice in the story. Bierman should have stopped the sentence at ‘she said’.

One woman’s polemic may well be the reasoned dissenting view of another.

The Lion could of course be accused of nitpicking. What difference does a word or two make here and there? But the issue goes to the credibility of the news. If a reporter takes a view, whether deliberate or not, in a news story, then the story cannot be trusted. He is supposed to report facts. A. B. C. He said. She said. The report said.

But when the reporter says the economy will ‘snap back’, or that an interviewee’s dissent is a polemic, he’s expressing a point of view. Once he does that the reader must hold the story suspect, and ask if the reporter has cherry picked facts to support his opinion, or if indeed he is even reporting fact.

An intelligent newspaper reader can likely sort through an article, but he cannot be sure, unless he’s an expert on the subject, that the reporter has reported fact without bias.

The unintelligent, uncritical reader will simply accept what’s being said if it appears to agree with his view of the world.

There is not enough of the former going on, and far too much of the latter. Bierman and Weisman, and the Globe’s editors, owe their readers better reporting and writing.

Earmarks Get A Bad Rap
March 6, 2009

To listen to the pols ranting in Washington one would think that earmarks are the work of the devil himself, or are the devil’s feces.

All the rhetoric makes it sound as if the earmarkers are forcing the government to spend more money than it should.

Not so.

An earmark doesn’t add money to a bill’s appropriation.

An earmark simply directs where some part of the money is to be used in a Congressman’s district or state. The money is already approved. The issue is merely one of where and how it is to be spent.

To call earmarks ‘pork’ is disingenuous. That implies money added for foolishness. Earmarks are more like arterial blood being directed to nourish  some remote or minor part of the body politic. Keep in mind the old saying, ‘One man’s pork is another man’s broccoli.’

Possibly the best reform of the process would be one that requires earmarks to be reviewed and to be publicly defended before being accepted. The review should be non-partisan. It makes no sense for a Senator from Arizona to get up on the Senate floor and criticize an earmark for volcano study in Hawaii on no basis other than it’s an earmark.

If such a review is instituted, perhaps then the country could get on to a much more serious matter, one of great import, and that is the problem of unwanted ear hair on middle-aged and elderly men. The Lion considers ear hair a serious problem and welcomes an open and constructive discussion focused on the two major aspects of the difficulty – how to get rid of ear hair, or, alternatively, how to get women despite having ear hair.

The floor is open.

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