Archive for July, 2007

Executive Privilege? Nope. Try Legislative Privilege.
July 31, 2007

Harvey Silverglate has a nice dissection of executive privilege according to the Constitution in today’s Globe. Well worth the read. Find it here.

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Rice and Gates: Frick and Frack To Bush’s Hallucinations
July 31, 2007

Condoleezza Rice, reputed to be the Secretary of State, and Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, have hauled their butts off to the Middle East for some reason or other having to do with the latest multi-billion dollar plan to enrich American arms manufacturers.

Matthew Lee of the AP quotes the Rice woman:

“We are helping to strengthen the defensive capabilities of our partners and we plan to initiate discussions with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states on a proposed package of military technologies that will help support their ability to secure peace and stability in the Gulf region.”

That’s right, lady. Take what may be the most heavily armed region of the world and pump more weapons into it. In the name of peace, right?

And of course that means pumping more American taxpayers’ money into Israel, thirty billion to be exact, so they can have more weapons than anyone else (did you count their two hundred or so nukes, Condi baby, did ya?). That really guarantees peace in the Middle East. Sort of like the peace that broke out over Lebanon last summer when Israel unleashed all that nice shiny American weaponry on Lebanese civilians.

And folks, you know all that talk in the United States about getting out of Iraq. Here’s Gates:

(Gates) said the key goals of the trip include reaffirming that the United States will continue to have a strong military presence in the region. And, he said, US officials want to “reassure all of the countries that the policies that the president pursues in Iraq have had and will continue to have regional stability and security as a very high priority.”

And Gates is supposed to be one of the more grounded, reality-oriented members of the Bush administration. Apparently whatever psychosis Bush suffers is contagious.

In 2003 Iran offered a serious proposal to the United States for high-level talks on all the issues. All Bush had to do was start honest negotiations with them. Instead he chose to ignore the offer and go with his delusions and hallucinations and do what his god told him to do.

And here we are, playing war and slaughter, pretending that Rice and Bush and the whole crew have a clue about what they’re doing.

Just in case anyone’s forgotten, I offer the following:

“This week, the BBC announced that it will air a documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the documentary, another well-respected Palestinian political leader, Nabil Shaath, says that he was at the same meeting in Aqaba: “President Bush said to all of us, ‘I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me: George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq and I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me – go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I’m gonna do it.””
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1008-29.htm

July 16, 2004
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”

President Bush, quoted in the Lancaster New Era, during a private meeting with an Amish group.”
http://politicalwire.com/archives/2004/07/16/quote_of_the_day.html

Now don’t you feel better? Or how about, are you better off now than you were six years ago?

Khalilzad: The Saudis Are Our Sweetest, Dearest Friends
July 31, 2007

Zalmay Khalilzad, currently United States Ambassador to the United Nations, formerly another American ideological functionary, reputed to have been an Ambassador, in Iraq, Sunday criticized the Saudis for undermining the U.S. effort in Iraq.

Today he sought to take it back, calling the Saudis a “great ally” and friend of the U.S.

Yeah.

Fifteen of the 9/11 killers were Saudi.

Forty percent of the foreign fighters in Iraq are Saudi.

The Saudi government is one of the most repressive in the Middle East.

But little Zalmay mustn’t say anything about any of that, else he disturb the long standing business arrangements the Bush ruling family maintains with the Saudi ruling family.

Perhaps the Bush family would like to be extraordinarily renditioned to the Saudis. You know, dark of night, blindfolds, torture, just the things one friend does for another.

Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot. Bush insists the United States doesn’t torture.

We just let our dearest friends do it for us when they’re not busy helping Bush and friends bring down the United States.

George Bush and Gordon Brown: Different Species, Different Planets
July 31, 2007

One would like to think that Gordon Brown is more grounded in reality and reason than his predecessor, the unlamented Bush poodle Tony Blair.

And one would already know that George Bush’s only connection to reality occurs when he goes to the bathroom, and even that is tenuous at best.

The two got together yesterday for some reason. Here’s how it went, according to Ben Feller of the AP.

Bush described terrorism as an ideological struggle of good against evil.

Brown said, “Terrorism is not a cause; it is a crime. It is a crime against humanity.”

Bush said he listened carefully to Brown’s thinking and was reassured. “He gets it,” Bush said.

“What’s interesting about this struggle … is that he understand [sic] it’s an ideological struggle, and he does,” Bush said.

George apparently wasn’t in the same country as Brown, likely not even on the same planet.

Brown also called Afghanistan the front line against terrorism. Bush of course has convinced himself it’s Iraq. Apparently neither of them thinks terrorism is used in Indonesia, the Philippines, Asia, South America, the United States (oh, you forgot Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph?), England, Europe, yada yada yada.

Yeah, okay guys, get it yet? There is no front line. Armies don’t stop terrorism. Armies create terrorists.

To which the Bushbaby says:

“This is going to take a long time in Iraq, just like the ideological struggle is going to take a long time.”

No, George, it’s not an ideological struggle. It’s a religious war. It’s a race war. It’s an oil war.

I’d bet Gordon Brown went home muttering to himself, “That man is daft. He should be locked up.”

At least he’d be sure he was right on that.

Bush Vows To Kill American Children
July 31, 2007

For context, remember the remark, widely reported elsewhere, that Bush made recently when talking about his planned veto of a federal children’s health care plan:

“People have access to health care in America,” he told an audience in Cleveland. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

Obviously this is another example of Bush living in his tiny world of delusions and deliberate ignorance. He has no clue about the real world. None.

But the saga continues.

Keep in mind that, according to an article in USA Today by Julie Appleby, the average cost for a family health insurance policy topped $10,000 for the first time this year.

Democrats in Congress and a few sane Republicans are trying to increase the funding of the SCHIP program that provides health care for uninsured children of the working poor and lower middle class.

The Senate’s plan provides $35 billion over five years, the House $50 billion over five years.

John Donnelly writes in the Globe today that:

Bush, however has vowed to veto either plan, saying that the new coverage would encourage people to leave their private insurers for a government-run program.

No, George, they are not leaving private insurers. They can’t afford private insurance. Fewer and fewer families can afford private insurance, but George wouldn’t actually admit that because the insurance companies, among other corporate thieveries, keep him and his cronies afloat in politics.

Bush of course gets support from the rabid right wing Republicans in this sort of willfully ignorant and blindly ideological thinking. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Jr, a man who positively slobbers the wingnut virus, said:

“It will significantly increase taxes. . . and lead to a government-run health insurance.”

Well, no, the increase won’t be significant. A couple of months of the money wasted in Iraq would take care of it, if you would care to give up that miserably misbegotten adventure, Mitch. And we have government-run health insurance already, Mitch. It’s called MediCare, and it’s doing a good job, Mitch, and would be doing a better job if you maddog Republicans would keep your hands off and stop treating it as a cash cow for the drug companies that pump money into rabid Republican campaigns.

Just how disconnected and delusional the Republicans are comes clear in remarks by Elizabeth Dole, Republican Senator from North Carolina:

Senator Dole. . . called the legislation “not only the right policy, but it’s the right thing to do.” Nevertheless, she said the cigarette tax increase to pay for it was all wrong, predicting that her home-state tobacco industry “may collapse altogether” if the Senate passes the bill.

As an ex-smoker, let me ask why that would be a bad thing, Libby. Tobacco kills over 400,000 people a year in this country alone, and costs tens and tens of billions of dollars in health care. I think Libby’s logic is that we have to take care of children’s health so the tobacco companies will have someone to kill when the children grow up.

So, in essence, Bush, mass murderer supreme, the great killer of Arabs and Muslims and people stupid enough to get entangled in the Texas legal system, now vows to bring his murderous ways to the children of America by making sure they don’t get health care, by making sure they get sick and can’t afford doctors and hospitals.

The man just loves to kill, and he’s bringing it on home to ordinary Americans so they can participate in his vision of a brave new world of Republicanism.

Does the country proud, doesn’t it?

The Grumpy Lion Answers Your Questions
July 31, 2007

Well, actually, no.

But once in a great while I feel the desperate need to clarify what the Lion is about. Why another snarky little blog that gets fifty readers a day, and in the great scheme of things doesn’t contribute all that much meaning to the great conversation of democracy…

Next question…

In part, I got tired of trying to write letters to the editor, only to come up against the competition of hundreds or thousands of others trying to break through to the editors, and seeing that when a letter does break through, the editors, who can’t write nearly as well, butcher the prose.

In part, I hate what Bush and the Republicans have done to this country. That whole bunch comprises some of the most despicable people in this country ever to rise to prominence in politics, in the press and the media, in business, in the law. And I had no voice. A vote is not a voice when the electoral process is corrupt. A vote is not a voice when the press lies and distorts, and kowtows to power. So, to keep my blood pressure at an acceptable level and preserve my health and sanity, I write here.

I don’t bring any new information. I don’t break new ground. I don’t investigate. I do read the Boston Globe every morning, with an orange marker in hand and a note pad and pen next to the paper. I read pretty much everything, and as I read I note the stories that engage my attention, that engage my outrage. It may be a quote buried in the story. It may be the whole story. And then I write, I write fast and hot, as if fighting a daily deadline like I used to do at the old Cape Cod Standard Times long ago.

I realize that in the great conversation of democracy what I do doesn’t amount to much. Maybe someone will get a different take on an issue because of what I say here. Maybe not. But I want to be part of that conversation. I refuse to allow the wingnuts and psychotics, the Bushes and the Rices and the Rumsfelds, the Giulianis and Romneys and McCains, to dominate the conversation, to take from me the right to speak my mind, the right to live as a free American, a real American who believes in freedom and liberty for all, not just the moneyed few and their yes-men, not just the haves and have-mores, as Bush defines his base of supporters.

If one word I say, if one sentence I write, contributes to bringing Bush and Cheney, Rice and Gonzales, and all the rest of them down; if I contribute in any way to making these people accountable for their crimes, for their brutality, for their studied destruction of the Constitution and the rule of law on their way to creating an American tyranny, then I will have done my part as a free citizen of a free nation to preserve and recreate an America, the real America, that lives in the deepest heart of true patriots.

That’s why there’s a Grumpy Lion. That’s why I write.

Sometimes I need to remind myself.

Thanks for your patience.

Romney Is Kerry
July 30, 2007

There’s a piece over at TPM about the Mitten’s two-facedness. He called the Democrats cowards for refusing to take part in a debate on Fox News (“Unfair and Unbalanced”), but he’s refusing to participate in the upcoming YouTube debate.

But the best part of the piece is the comment from a reader called ohiomeister, who wrote:

Mitt was for having the courage of his convictions before he was against it.

An almost perfect summation of the man. I say almost perfect because it doesn’t reference his cruelty to his dog. But politically, oh yeah, that’s the Mitten.

Republicans Have A New Idea: Limit The War So They Can Stay In Office
July 30, 2007

Anne Flaherty of the AP writes a piece in the Globe today about Republicans in Congress dissatisfied with their hero’s conduct of the war, and so on.

The basic motivation for Republican discontent isn’t that the war is wrong on its face, or that it has been conducted incompetently, or that it has been a tissue of lies and blood operating directly against the interests of the United States.

Nothing so subtle.

The Republicans are just afraid they’re going to get their butts kicked in the next election if they stick with the Bushbaby.

But they don’t want us to think they’re actually sticking with him, so they come up with ideas for legislation like this bit of genius from Collins of Maine:

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, favors binding legislation that would order Bush to restrict the mission of US troops to counterterrorism, training Iraqis, and protecting US assets.

Clever, isn’t it? She wants to insist that Bush change from what he’s been doing to doing what he’s been doing.

That’s how Republicans solve problems.

By the way, when she says ‘US assets’, she must mean Iraqi oil that Bush is trying to co-opt for American oil companies. After all, they’ve got nothing else that we think is ours.

Fuel Efficient Cars? Sure, Twenty-five Years Ago. But Automakers Just Can’t Manage It Now.
July 30, 2007

John Donnelly’s got a big front-page article in the Globe today about the Congressional debate on increasing the gasoline efficiency of automobiles.

Two bills are up for discussion:

Representative Edward J. Markey… is sponsoring a bill that calls for a 35-miles-per-gallon standard by 2019. Another House bill, endorsed by more than 40 Democrats and 60 Republicans and backed by much of the auto industry, calls for a standard of at least 32 miles per gallon for cars and trucks by 2022.

Wow!

The automakers’ bucks go far indeed when they’re paying for politicians.

Two decades ago, government analysts informed Congress in three reports that technology existed to produce cars that could achieve an average of up to 45 to 50 miles per gallon by 1995, if Congress chose to adopt higher fuel economy standards.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Congressional Budget office showed that high mileage technology was available, in reports done in 1979 and 1980.

Here’s the kicker:

Automobile industry officials, in interviews, agree that such technology exists, but said consumers would pay much more for those vehicles and would sacrifice safety features.

Do they mean safety features like air-conditioned gloveboxes?

No. What they mean is that to make high-mileage vehicles they would have to forego the hefty profits they make off the heavy, inefficient pieces of iron they sell now. They want to make their profits safe, and the country and the environment be damned.

Had Congress enacted legislation back then, fleet fuel economy for cars and trucks could have reached an average of 37 to 42 miles per gallon in the 1990s.

But in 1985 the Carter Administration caved in to the fat cats in Detroit, refusing to call for an increase in standards when the boys in Detroit objected.

Along came Ronnie Raygun, who opposed any increase in mileage standards and tried to roll back other environmental initiatives.

Republicans in the White House and in Congress, supported by key Democrats from auto-industry states, successfully stalled efforts to increase the standards for cars, while increasing the standard for light trucks by just 5 miles per gallon over the last 28 years.

As usual, the Republicans want to have it both ways. They, with help from key Democrats, want to keep their fat cat automaker friends happy and the money flowing into Republican coffers and pockets, while ginning up a war for oil to keep their fat cat oil friends happy.

Remember that the next time you read about dead American soldiers in the Middle East and South Asia.

Remember that the next time you see a picture of a dead Iraqi child.

They died to make a few sociopathic Americans rich.

The Seeming of Mitt Romney
July 29, 2007

A long piece in today’s Globe tells how Romney is leading the pack of tiny-minded Republicans seeking a primary win in New Hampshire. The article doesn’t really break any new ground, but a telling comment from a voter occurs three-quarters of the way through:

“I was really impressed with him; he seemed very relaxed, very confident, and very knowledgeable,” said … an undeclared voter in her late 60s…”

Romney seemed knowledgeable.

That pretty much tells me she didn’t have a clue about the issues, or about whether the Mitten actually knew what he was talking about. But she’s willing to put together her ignorance and his confident manner and decide that he’s the guy to run the United States.

I’m sure part of the Mitten’s undoubtedly entertaining shtick involves boasting how well he did as Massachusetts’ governor.

Of course he won’t mention that he wasn’t in Massachusetts much of the time, but was out whoring in other states for primary votes by criticizing the state.

Perhaps that voter who places such great faith in seeming would be interested in a report in the Globe today by Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin, both of the Center for Market Studies at Northeastern University, about Romney’s tenure as Governor of the state he loved to bash. 

Our analysis reveals a weak comparative economic performance of the state over the Romney years, one of the worst in the country.

Some highlights:

  • Formal payroll employment: third lowest in the country
  • Manufacturing payroll declined by 14%, compared to 7% nationally
  • Two states experienced no growth in resident labor force, Massachusetts and Louisiana. Louisiana had Katrina.
  • 220,000 more people left the state than came to live here

Between 2002 and 2006, the median real (inflation  adjusted) weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in Massachusetts is estimated to have fallen by $10 or nearly 2 percent.

Heckuva job, Mitten!

The authors also mention that Massachusetts was a national leader in home price increases between 2002 and 2005 – 95%, compared to 40% nationally.

Sum and McLaughlin generously add:

Real world experience has shown that a governor is limited in his power to influence the course of economic development in a state. A full-time governor who is deeply committed to the economic well-being of a state’s workers can, however, make some difference. The state unfortunately did not receive such leadership over most of the past four years.

No kidding. It’s the Republican way. Make your money off the backs of the working class and then kick the crap out them every chance you get.

As I recall, the Mitten, when sucking around for the governorship, flaunted his business success and promised he would boost Massachusetts’ stature and finances.

Seems like he blew that. But then what could you expect from a guy whose first act as governor of Massachusetts was to start running for President?

Makes me wonder what he’s going to run for if he wins the trophy of the Presidency? He’s already shown that he’s too ignorant and too psychologically challenged to be competent in the White House. Hell, he’ll probably make Michael Vick the Secretary of Defense on the grounds Vick understands how to fight subhumans. I’m sure the two of them will have a great time playing with their dogs in the basement pit of the White House. Or in Romney’s case perhaps on the roof.