Archive for December, 2007

Patriots v. Giants: A Prediction
December 24, 2007

Having been forced to watch hours of NFL football in order to accommodate an adolescent need to be there when the Patriots settle the undefeated season issue one way or the other, The Lion feels obligated to strike back by issuing his prediction for the Pats and Giants game Saturday.

Taking note that the Pats have barely managed to beat weak teams for a few weeks now, and looked terrible in the second half against the Dolphins yesterday, The Lion makes the following prediction, a prediction worthy of the deepest skills and talents of the Delphic Oracle.

The New York Giants will be giant killers in Saturday’s game against the Pats.

Chew on that, NFL!

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The Lion Is Shocked, Shocked…
December 20, 2007

The Lion was shocked to see that Jamie Lynn Spears, the sixteen year old inarticulate, no-talent younger sister of Britney Spears, an inarticulate, no-talent tabloid performer, got knocked up. Apparently the younger tart was practicing abstinence, George Bush’s favorite birth control method.

It wasn’t that the dumb little twit did some bareback boinking and got pregnant that did in The Lion’s sensibilities. No, it was that something as stupid and pathetic as this got more than two seconds of air time and more than one inch of newsprint. And was taken seriously, as if it meant something.

The Lion finds himself overcome, just completely overcome. Palpitations ensue. Fainting is possible. Roaring is muted. It is as if the Hindenberg fell. ‘Oh the idiocy, the idiocy…”

image So, in the true spirit of these holidays, The Lion is giving himself the present of a hiatus until 2008. A Lion can only take so much before he shakes the fleas out of his mane and retreats beneath his favorite shade tree to contemplate the stupidity of his species and to luxuriate in the arrogance of his all-knowingness and Lionly wisdom.

Roar.

Roar.

Phblblblblblblblt.

The Seven Weird Facts Meme
December 17, 2007

Well, nobody asked, and I usually don’t go for the whole blog meme thing, but since this one gives me the perfect opportunity to make up silly stuff about myself, I just couldn’t pass up barging in on it. So here I go.

image

1. I steal images from other blogs, like the bunch of 7s I stole from Spanish Inquisitor. I was a wiseass in high school and still act like one to get attention. It’s the secret of my blogging success. At least among the half dozen people who read my blog.

2. I haven’t touched  a woman since November 1995 when J broke up with me to go with a lawyer. Since then I have poured sugar or sand into the gas tanks of Jaguars and Mercedes of 274 lawyers around the country. The police in 83 jurisdictions are baffled.

3. In a previous life, about forty years ago, I did some astrology and dabbled in tarot. Worse, I believed they had some validity.

4. I worked as a DUS for the FBI. The cognoscenti will recognize the acronym stands for Federal Bureau of Investigation. The other one stands for Deep Undercover Specialist. In that capacity I took down three motorcycle gangs of Islamic jihadists in Iowa who were planning to kidnap trout fingerlings and release them in radioactive waters at a nuclear plant. The plan was for the trout to mutate into ferocious eating machines that would migrate to Georges Bank and wipe out the remaining food fish, thus plunging the United States into a depression, whereupon the motorcyclists could foment revolution and take over Iowa. That that did not work out for them was due to my heroic and dangerous infiltration of the gangs. Shortly afterwards I left the FBI because they refused to let me keep the motorcycle I used.

5. I’m a nice guy. My tough reputation is made up. Really. I wouldn’t hurt a mouse. Unless it was a Republican mouse. Or a fundamentalist mouse. Or a right-wing mouse that needed crushing.

6. All of my grandparents were killed in the Hindenberg disaster. But as they were a forward thinking bunch (an inheritable trait, I might add) they set aside some sperm and eggs before they boarded. Those were forwarded to the Italian government, which put them together and implanted the results in some rogue nuns who then gave birth to my parents in New England and New York.

7. I believe that memes do not exist. After all, if they existed, wouldn’t I have a girlfriend by now? The logic is inescapable. Therefore I must be a monk.

There! All done. And since memes don’t exist I obviously see no need to forward any of this to anyone. In fact, anyone who reads it will have to be eliminated, especially those who read item number four. There’ll be a Republican going around taking names.

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Hillary, Hillary… Same Old Crap Does Her In
December 15, 2007

The Lion believes it was predictable that Hillary Clinton would crash and burn.

Never mind all the nitpicky analysis by punditocrats peering at polls and pigeon guts.

She surrounded herself with the same old crew of strategists and advisers who have managed to lose elections for Democrats for the past few decades. But what about Bill, you say? The Lion says you might want to consider that Bill was forced to the right because the Democrats lost Congress because they didn’t know they had to fight for it.

So here’s Hillary trying to be all things to all Democrats with money, and ignoring the most passionate, and possibly the largest group of Democrats, the ones who want the war over and the Bush policies rescinded (hopefully across the board).

Hillary doesn’t stand for anything because she has refused to stand for anything unequivocally. The Lion can’t help but think she’s been bought and paid for, and that she won’t bring anything new to the country, but will instead just continue politics as usual on the right, instead of a genuine and constructive politics of the left, of the Democrats who still stand for the things that brought social programs that lifted the country out of the dark ages of corporate absolutism and piracy practiced against the working class.

She may still win, but frankly, The Lion would never trust her. She will always be too busy ‘triangulating’ to stand up and do the right thing. The Lion would vote for her in the general election in November 2008, but only because there would be nothing better available. But if the Democrats want to crush the Republicans then and reclaim the country for honest and decent people, the Democrats are going to have to do better than Hillary Clinton.

New Energy Bill From Congress Saves The World! Rah, rah, rah…
December 15, 2007

Congress will shortly be sending a new energy bill to the putz in the White House.

The bill will increase oil consumption by cars and trucks to 10 million barrels a day in 2020, down from the projected 11 million barrels a day, and up from the current consumption of 9.25 million barrels a day.

The result [of the bill]: Automakers can still produce gas-thirsty vehicles to meet consumer demands, as long as they sell enough high-mileage cars. Now, 53 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States are trucks. “People will still be able to buy a gas-guzzling, big hulk of a vehicle,” said Dan Becker, an environmental lawyer and consultant.

Becker called the legislation “the singlest [sic] biggest step to cutting global warming and dependence on foreign oil,” but acknowledged more steps are needed.

Someone needs to push Danny boy up against a wall and scream into his face that if we don’t cut the use of fossil fuels, and by a huge percentage, we are not taking any steps to reducing climate change caused by the use of fossil fuels. Did you look at the numbers, Danny, you frigging idiot? The bill makes it okay to burn more oil than we’re burning today. Did you miss that part, Danny, you and the other numbskulls in DC?

Apparently the lawmakers and political apparatchiks in Washington, DC, haven’t gotten the memo that Washington is likely to be underwater by 2020 without major, worldwide cuts in fossil fuel use real soon now.

Those folks seem to think they can dick around with the laws of physics.

The Lion guarantees that the laws of physics don’t give a flying goddamn about humans. Or animals, who are far wiser in matters of planetary management than the politicians playing stupid human tricks with our lives.

Jamie Leigh Jones: One Day Of Fame, And Poof – Gone, Baby, Gone!
December 15, 2007

Jamie Leigh Jones was 20 years old when she was, she claims in a civil suit filed last May, gang raped in 2005 in Iraq by six Halliburton/KBR employees, and locked in shipping container for 24 hours, under guard, by the company.

image There was no investigation, despite her attempts to have authorities investigate. She filed a civil suit because the company and the military have done nothing.

Apparently it’s okay to rape and imprison female contractors, who have no recourse to justice under American law or occupation law in Iraq.

One can recoil in horror at what was done to her, and the complete failure of justice and law. One can even point out a clear line of responsibility to the White House, as Doug’s Darkworld has noted.

And one could note that Ms. Jones managed to get something less than a day in the news cycle before she disappeared from media consciousness. 

And finally one could feel incredibly disgusted, if not filthy in mind and heart, that still nothing is done, and that nothing is being done because the gang rape of Ms. Jones has become a political matter, to be hushed up lest it embarrass an ethically, morally, and legally depraved President, and a government which has been as silent as the inside of that shipping container in which the raped and brutalized Ms. Jones was imprisoned.

Not on this act alone, but on the totality of its political and moral and ethical depravity must the Bush administration be brought down. The government of the United States can no longer tolerate these foul and disgusting people. They commit treason with breakfast. Every breath George Bush takes in the White House sullies and fouls the Constitution and the law. He, and Cheney, and the rest of their crew, must be removed from office, and tried as the criminals they are.

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Bush Pushes Military To Revolt… Or Not. Yoo, Bush, Cheney Seek To Cripple JAG
December 15, 2007

The Judge Advocate General corps – military lawyers, serving in uniform – may well be one of the last hopes for the United States to avoid a headlong tumble into fascism.

George Bush has now targeted the JAG.  He has proposed a regulation that would bring the JAG under the control of political appointees, giving the appointees final say over the promotion of JAG officers.

Any JAG officer giving legal advice stating that a White House policy is illegal would be looking at the end of his career.

It was the JAGs who told the Bush Administration that Bush did not have the right to bypass the Geneva Conventions “and other legal protections for wartime detainees.”

Retired Major General Thomas Romig, the Army’s top JAG from 2001 to 2005, called the proposal an attempt “to control the military JAGs” by sending a message that if they want to be promoted, they should be “team players” who “bow to their political masters on legal advice.”

It “would certainly have a chilling effect on the JAGs’ advice to commanders,” Romig said. “The implication is clear: without [the administration’s] approval the officer will not be promoted.”

And further on:

Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law professor who is also general counsel to the National Institute of Military Justice, agreed that the regulation boils down to giving political appointees the power to veto JAG promotions.

“The message would be clear to every JAG, which is that when you have been told that the general counsel has a view on the law, any time you dare disagree with it, don’t expect a promotion,” Saltzburg said, adding “I don’t think that would be in the best interest of the country. We’ve seen how important it can be to have the JAGs give their honest opinions when you look at the debates on interrogation techniques and the like.”

The new regulations are being pushed by John Yoo, probably best described as a morally defective lawyer, who wrote several of the legal opinions supporting Bush’s power to ignore the Geneva Conventions and anti-torture laws. Yoo is in league with William Haynes, appointed by Bush as General Counsel at the Pentagon. Haynes, in that position, would be able to veto the promotion of any JAG officer.

“It only makes sense to put this in if you want [general counsels to exercise the power to give] thumbs up or thumbs down, in order to intimidate JAGs,” said retired Colonel Gordon Wilder, who was the Air Force’s top JAG specialist in administrative law until last January.

Like most of the attempts to undermine the Constitution and American liberty, this one emanates like a slimy tentacle from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.

In the early 1990s, both Haynes and Vice President Cheney’s top aide, David Addington, were politically appointed lawyers in the Pentagon during the Bush-Quayle administration. On their advice, Cheney proposed making each service’s general counsel the boss of his JAG counterpart, but the Senate Armed Services Committee forced the administration to back down.

In 2001, Haynes and Addington were restored to power in the Bush-Cheney administration, and the conflict over JAG independence resumed amid the fights over such war on terrorism policies as harsh interrogations.

Responding to the conflicts, in 2004 Congress enacted a law forbidding Defense Department employees from interfering with the ability of JAGs to “give independent legal advice” directly to military leaders. But when President Bush signed the law, he issued a signing statement decreeing that the legal opinions of his political appointees would still “bind” the JAGs.

Can there be any clearer picture of the legal, moral, and ethical depravity of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their crew of thugs? These people have infested the government like a plague of termites chewing at the foundations of freedom and democracy. And they should be treated accordingly.

If the military of the United States allows this regulation they might as well start setting up controls and checkpoints in American cities, because at that point United States military forces will have ceased to be an instrument of democracy and become instead the main force of fascism, not only in this country, but in the world.

 

Ruminations On Outrage
December 12, 2007

The other day Evo posted a comment in response to my post on the CIA torture tape destruction, saying, “Lion, what should be of most concern about the CIA story is that things like this no longer elicit much outrage. It already seems like yesterdays news.”

I responded in a light vein, but then kept on writing and as I did so my anger grew into a Lionesque snarl. Oh, yes, I am outraged. And I suspect a lot of people are.

There’s certainly plenty to be outraged about. The Bush Administration has been nothing but a progression of incompetence, lies, deceit, criminal acts, and sleazy, disgusting conduct. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Failure to provide proper equipment to the troops. Halliburton and others profiteering off the the death of American troops. Dead soldiers smuggled into the country in the dead of night instead of in the light of day and in the sight of Americans. Torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib. Black prison sites, unaccountable to anyone. An Attorney General politicizing and corrupting the Department of Justice – the Department of Justice, for chrissake – and lying to Congress. The White House complicit in breaking the cover of an undercover CIA agent doing valuable work on weapons of mass destruction. The President commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby, a convicted felon involved in the treason of outing the CIA agent. A new Attorney General claiming that a globally recognized method of torture, abhorred for five hundred years, was outside his knowledge and depended on the President’s definition. A President who seeks a new war, despite having, according to every United States intelligence service, no cause, and in fact that essentially claims the President is a liar. Which he is and has been. Federal tax dollars being fed to religious organizations, with no accountability. Fanatic religionists infesting the government, infesting the Justice Department and pushing their pathological agenda. Military academies crawling with religious fundamentalists and raging evangelicals pushing religious bigotry against non-Christian cadets. A Vice-President spewing lies and hatred and continuing the same lies and hatred even when he’s proven to have lied. Legitimate scientific research, crucial to the nation and the world, and to individual Americans, lied about, twisted, distorted, suppressed by the White House. Torture approved by the President. Habeas corpus suspended. Americans wiretapped for no cause, apparently by the millions at hubs operated by complicit communication corporations. Mercenaries given full immunity in America and Iraq, murdering Iraqis at whim and will. A Republican Senate and Congress agreeing to all of this. A Democratic Senate and Congress unable to get its thumb out of its ass to fight the destruction of Constitutional law by a Republican President and his gang of thugs. An Attorney General (Mukasey) committing the Justice Department to supporting voter ID laws that are nothing more than a cover for Republican suppression of the vote.

And on and on. I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch, just as I’m sure that in the stinking underbelly of Republican and Bush rule there is more foulness that has yet to come to light. If all of this were condensed into a stench, everyone in the world would be vomiting a dozen times a day.

And if the people of this country ever gave vent to their justified outrage at this government, Bush and Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, a dozen others, and the likes of Limbaugh, would all be hanging from the tree nearest the White House.

But to answer Evo as to why there is no outrage, I can only surmise that a portion of the population chooses ignorance; some choose apathy, seeing only business as usual; others have chosen party over nation, party over the rule of law and justice, party over the Constitution, party over decency; others are, I think, simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of outrageous and criminal acts and have to some degree gone numb; and yet others hold their anger at bay, putting their hope into next year’s elections, and not seeing that the Republicans are doing their best to subvert those elections, locally, and with the support of the new Attorney General, whose nomination the Democrats refused to fight.

White House crime, incompetence, deceit, lies, the worst of the worst running the government, day after day – this has become the norm. It’s simply not possible to maintain outrage month after month, year after year, and keep one’s health and sanity.

I’m tired, and I’ve only been writing on these things since May. Before I began blogging, I was simply furious every time I opened the paper or watched the news. Now, by blogging, I’ve relieved some of that stress, but more and more I come up against the feeling that it makes no difference, that there is little to be done to stop the slide of the United States under the Republicans and the fascist Conservatives into the kind of nation that the founders abhorred when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I’m not young anymore and I likely will not live to see the worst of it. But I’d like to see my side win. I’d like to see that before I go.

But I think the United States will do what other nations have done. We will slide into tyranny and oppression, leading to bloody revolution, and follow the cycle again and again. That’s going to be the legacy of George Bush and the Republicans and their arrogant, foul, brain dead religious supporters who glory in the tyranny they’re seeking to create here.

Next year is a crossroads in our history. We can choose the rule of blood and wealth or the rule of American Constitutional law.

Yeats, I think, had it right.

[And then of course there’s this…]

[And this over at Atheist Hornet…]

 

Again More Quickies Again
December 9, 2007

Secretary Gates gulping Kool-Aid…

Robert Gates, considered by some to be the Secretary of Defense, has apparently joined his bosses in the emotional hatefest against Iran. Apparently all evidence that Iran is not the purely evil country that George Bush wants it to be is to be denied or discounted.

But never mind that. Here’s what he said in the last paragraph of a story in today’s Globe:

Gates ended his speech with a grim warning against underestimating the United States. Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Fascist Italy, and the former Soviet Union all made that miscalculation, Gates said. “All paid the price. All are on the ash heap of history.”

Gates is apparently under the impression that the United States won World War II and the so-called Cold War all by itself. That would, of course, fit right in with the delusional thinking of the Bush Administration in a Bubble.

Gates also had a cute little remark in answer to a question about whether Israel’s nuclear arsenal posed a threat to the Middle East. He said no, because Israel had never threatened to destroy a neighbor. Really? They just dropped bombs on Syria, they’ve been hell bent on destroying Palestinians for several decades, and last summer they bombed the crap out of Lebanon and killed a thousand civilians doing it. Gates has now officially received his George Bush Inner Circle of Idiots secret decoder ring.

It’s unfortunate that if Bush and his hench-psychos continue to have their way, it’s the United States that will end up on the ash heap. And sooner rather than later.

[BTW, Jim Jones and his crew apparently drank something called Flavor-Aid, not Kool-Aid. But it just doesn’t have the same cool ring to it, does it?]

U.S. Army to be faster, smaller, meaner, and more high-techie…

Future wars by the United States Army will be fought with mice, according to this article by Alec Klein of the Washington Post.

In the Army’s vision, the war of the future is increasingly combat by mouse clicks. It’s as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cellphone, as intuitive as a video game. The Army has a name for this vision: Future Combat Systems, or FCS. The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors, and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say.

The Lion sees a couple of problems with this, besides the ones outlined by critics in the article.

It’s not mentioned, but does the Army assume that nobody they fight will have the smarts to disrupt all that fine electronic networkery?

The Lion would also meanly point out that almost five years ago a high-tech, lean, mean American Army invaded Iraq and handily defeated a fourth-rate Iraqi army that for the most part didn’t even bother to show up to fight, opting instead to melt away and fight several more years, holding at bay the finest Army America could field with RPGs, AK-47s, and by continually adapting clever explosive devices created from whatever they could get their hands on.

So while the new high-tech American Army of the Future can likely invade and occupy any third world country, what they can’t do with all their gadgetry and clever killing machines is win a war of aggression, not in the long term, and not based on lies, illegalities, and immorality. Iraq proves that and will continue to prove it as long as the psychos keep the Army there.

CIA and DOJ demonstrate continued corruption…

From the Associated Press in today’s Globe:

The Justice Department and CIA yesterday announced a joint inquiry into the spy agency’s destruction of videotapes of interrogations of two suspected terrorists.

‘I welcome an opportunity to address questions over the destruction of videotapes,’ CIA Director Michael Hayden said.

The review will determine whether a full investigation is warranted.

Does anyone in his right mind think that including the CIA in an investigation of itself, with the Department of Justice, still a corrupt and politicized arm of the Bush Administration, is going to result in anything other than a whitewash?

Just when you think this government can’t get any more pathetic, any more disgusting, any more dangerous, it produces a coverup of a coverup by two of the least trustworthy agencies in the Federal Government, one that engages in acts of torture illegal under American and international law, and another so crippled and corrupted by Bush and AG Alberto Gonzales that it will be a generation before Americans can even begin to trust the system of justice in the United States. And imagine, an investigation of torture by a man, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who claims that a technique recognized by the world as torture for five hundred years may not really be torture, depending on what a psychotic President says.

The United States is way way way down in the rabbit hole.

A Choice Piece For Atheists
December 9, 2007

There’s an interesting piece in today’s Globe by Sam Allis on his conversation with Peter Gomes, reputed to be Harvard’s official chaplain or preacher or whatever for some thirty years. Allis is one of the good guys. Gomes is not, though Allis claims he possesses great charm and humor.

Some bits:

Allis brought a small book called The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality to the meeting.

Upon learning the title of the atheist tract, [Gomes] said, without missing a beat, “Of course it’s a little book.” He held it in his hands and added, “It is very light, isn’t it?”

Apparently Allis failed to take advantage of the opening, since he did not say, “Well, of course. That’s because it’s not weighed down by two millennia of dogma, dishonesty, and ignorance.”

Gomes on the possibility of nothingness:

“My whole system of justice is that, ultimately, there is an accounting. Eventually the wicked will be punished and the virtuous rewarded. I don’t choose to believe it. I have to. I can’t believe the universe is sheer chance and sheer chaos. I don’t trust chaos. I don’t trust chance, and I can’t trust human effort because I’ve seen what it does.

Pete, you don’t trust chaos and chance? But why, Pete, why? The Lion would be remiss if he failed to point out that nobody among the atheists trusts chaos and chance either, but for more valid reasons.

There’s nothing there to trust. And trust to do what, anyway? The universe is chaotic in a Laws of Physics sort of way. So what? Is Pete suggesting that he doesn’t trust the giant blue star Snarkzon to deliver retribution to Bush and Cheney and goodies to Gomes? Chaos and chance are what they are. They exist. They’re real. They don’t give a damn. They’re process, without soul, without breath, without conscience.

As for human effort, apparently Pete means the human effort to deliver justice. Perhaps he has in mind the hundreds of years of brutality the godly have delivered to each other and to anyone who disagreed with them. Yeah, The Lion doesn’t trust the bloody minded religious bozos to either deliver or understand justice either.

Pete’s message would seem to be that this world sucks. Of course that hasn’t stopped him from hanging around for sixty-five years to torture logic and twist reason and pervert common sense.

Pete on atheists, against whom he is an ‘implacable foe’:

“I don’t know what a good atheist is,” he says. “There may be something that’s helping you along the way. You have no idea whether you’re doing it by yourself.” Either way, he said affably, “You’re good for business.”

Apparently Pete fails the first test of being an implacable foe, the test being to know your enemy. He could explore any number of websites and books that explain atheism, including the American Atheist site, which The Lion mentions here because he has long lusted after the mind and beauty of the AA president, Ellen Johnson. (Does that make The Lion a bad atheist?)

And yes, Pete, there is something helping us along the way. It’s called evidence-based reasoning, critical thinking, a view of the world unsullied by human dogma about unproveable supernaturalisms. Apparently Pete and friends need the weight of twisted reason and weird dogma to help them along, because they have no clue about whether they’re doing it by themselves (and anyway isn’t that a sin, Pete?) and it’s certain that they don’t feel they can trust themselves. To wit:

[At the Henley Royal Regatta this year] He watched with delight as the Harvard varsity eight won its race decisively. “When we got to the dock,” he recalled, “I told them, ‘I hope you boys don’t think you did this on your own.’ “

Excellent work, Pete, excellent work. Get right down there in their faces and demean their victory, degrade their joy, and negate all the hours of hard work and practice those guys put in. Typically Christian of you, Pete.

But after all, you are a priest.