Archive for January, 2008

Bush Is Brilliant! Brilliant!
January 16, 2008

George W. Bush, reputed to be the President of the United States of America because he gets to fly around in a big 747 jet, has been bouncing around the Middle East these last few days, demonstrating why the United States is fortunate to have the little fella as its leader.

A story from the Washington Post, printed in the Globe this morning, written by Michael Abramowitz, tracks Mr. B’s travels through Saudi Arabia.

Some of the President’s precious and prescient sayings are worth repeating, and The Lion simply cannot pass the opportunity to add them to the blogosphere, along with an admiring comment or two.

Hanging out with the King of one of the biggest oil producers in the history of the world, Saudi Arabia (clever readers will remember that they donated fifteen hijackers to the September 11 effort in 2001), Mr. B, discussing high oil prices, noted:

“What’s happened is, is that demand for energy has outstripped new supply. And that’s why there’s high price.”

The man’s grasp of economics is stunning, is utterly profound. Note also the grammatical subtlety in ‘there’s high price’ – quietly suggesting the unity of oil and price by not saying ‘prices’. A person might further admire his absolute refusal to compromise the United States by taking any action to reduce demand by Americans, thereby neatly putting the onus where he thinks it belongs, on the producers. Brilliant!

Further on, when reporters moved the subject to the recent dust-up in the Persian Gulf between three United States Navy capital ships and five off-the-rack speedboats from Iran, Mr. B demonstrated his stunning diplomatic resolve and his grasp of recent history when he said:

“It’s not going to matter to me one way or the other if they hit our ships, and the Iranian government has got to understand that,” he said. “This is serious business. We lost lives when one of those boats loaded with explosives attacked us – called the USS Cole.”

Notice how cleverly he shifted the onus of the attacks from poor little Yemen, the country where the attack on the Cole happened, to Iran, thus burdening the Iranian government, which Mr. B has constantly and correctly pointed out is not exactly like the United States, with a terrorist attack on the Cole, in which Iran played no part. A stunning reversal, an incredible feat of diplomatic jujitsu! Brilliant!

And finally, he had this to say about the intelligence services of the United States, all sixteen of them, who recently agreed unanimously that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons programs in 2003:

The estimate concerned many of the countries that Bush is visiting on his trip, and Bush said he spent time discussing Iran with his counterparts. The president said he made clear to his hosts that he still views Iran as a threat and seemed to put a little distance between him and his intelligence services.

“I defended our intelligence services, but made it clear that they’re an independent agency; that they come to conclusions separate from what I may or may not want,” he said.

Citizens of the United States must be simply stunned and amazed at this statement, at the sheer bravado and daring and determination of Mr. B as he places his unutterably profound and unquestionable intellect above the work of mere bureaucrats snugged away in the intelligence services. The man is born leader, a mind for the ages, a legend being born! Brilliant, just brilliant!

It would not do justice to Mr. B to fail to mention that he has gone to the Middle East to finally settle, once and for all, and for all time, the nettling question of relations between his friends the Israelis and those other people with whom there is a dispute, the Palestinians. Mr B. has told the Palestinians in no uncertain terms that the matter must be settled by the end of the year. Such forcefulness, such forthrightness, such righteous certainty by this man just simply guarantees that there will be peace in the Middle East by January 2009. That’s simply beyond question. The man is brilliant! Brilliant!

And finally, while Mr. B was conducting his press conference, his Israeli friends killed seventeen Palestinians with air strikes. Also, a car bomb in Beirut, Lebanon, destroyed a United States Embassy car and killed four people. It should be noted that only 21 United States troops died last month, along with 476 Iraqi civilians.

Brilliant!

 

The Mitten Wins Michigan Primary, Proving Once Again Republican Hypocrisy
January 16, 2008

Michigan Republicans gave Willard ‘The Mitten’ Romney a vote of confidence yesterday by giving him 39% of the vote in their primary.

Apparently they liked his message that when he oozes into the Oval Office he’ll pay more attention to them than to anything else in the country.

He promised a so-called partnership between government and industry that will make Michigan number one in the car business again. A ‘workout’, not a bailout, said The Mitten.

The Mitten has a predilection… no… he has a finely crafted plan for the primaries, a plan calling for him to say whatever the voters in any given area want to hear. Thus, his Michigan stance. Certainly not wide, but as narrowly tailored as the man’s mind.

Apparently he and his handlers forgot that the rest of the country has access to every word that sleazes out of his mouth. The Lion suggests that, if Michigan is so important that it will be preeminent among the concerns of The Mitten’s presidency, then perhaps Willard should run for governor of Michigan and spare the rest of us a corporatist presidency.

But about the hypocrisy part of the headline… Michiganers got screwed by greedy and incompetent corporations, and in keeping with the Republican mantra of small government and personal responsibility, they now whine, by voting for Romney’s ascendancy, that the government should make everything right and bring back the 50s.

And The Mitten’s promise of a government-industry partnership? All that means is that corporations will get handouts from the Feds (that means tax dollars from the rest of country) and that workers will get screwed. That’s a promise. That’s what Republicans do. They take care of their rich friends, and working people are not the ones they invite to fancy dinners at The Mitten’s mansions or the palaces of CEOs.

Huckabee Plays God Card: Rewrite The Constitution To Fit Christian Rules – Can You Spell T-h-e-o-c-r-a-c-y And T-y-r-a-n-n-y?
January 15, 2008

So much for The Huckster being a decent, intelligent human being (in case anyone was inclined to view him that way).

He’s just another Christian Hitler a-borning. He can’t wait to get into the Oval Office and lead us down the path to that good Christian Taliban tyranny. The Lion can hear the blood spilling as this bunch of lunatic morons finishes the job Bush started of fucking over American democracy.

Odd how the news media seem to have decided to pretty much ignore this. The Lion supposes “Religious Lunatic Runs For President” might be a little too controversial for them. A guy who doesn’t believe in science wants to rewrite the American Constitution to reflect what he believes are “God’s Standards” runs for President of the United States and the news people stand around with their thumbs up their collective ass while talking about what Clinton is wearing, or how black Obama is, or whether Britney Spears is wearing underwear today.

Maybe the country deserves this crazy sonofabitch as President.

You Can Never Find A Hooker When You Need One, But We’ll Always Have The Mitten (Romney, That Is) And Plenty Of Customers In Michigan
January 15, 2008

Today’s Globe features a story by Michael Levenson and Robert Gavin illustrating that Willard ‘The Mitten’ Romney missed his calling in life. Apparently whatever God he worships actually intended him to be a whore. He already has the money, but what he really wants are votes and he’ll say anything to please a voter.

Campaigning in Michigan for tomorrow’s primary, he’s telling the voters what they want to hear. They want to believe that they don’t have to join the rest of us in this century but can go back to the middle of the last one, when the American automobile industry was the top dog in the four-wheeled world.

In a speech to business leaders and at an international auto show, he was especially critical of new fuel efficiency standards signed into law last month by President Bush. “Instead of throwing over a life preserver, Washington has dropped yet another anvil on Michigan,” Romney told the Detroit Economic Club. “And now it’s passively sitting back to see if car companies can swim, and the answer is: just barely.”

But as governor, Romney imposed tough emissions standards in December 2005 that added Massachusetts to a growing list of states seeking to force the auto industry to produce cleaner-burning cars – which automakers considered a back-door attempt to raise fuel standards. Under the rules, cars sold in the state after 2015 must emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide, 20 percent fewer toxic pollutants, and as much as 20 percent fewer smog- causing pollutants than under federal standards.

Massachusetts voters wanted clean air and a hand in working against global climate change. The Mitten said okay, finding a few minutes to sign the legislation when he wasn’t galumphing around the country hurling insults at Massachusetts while he sought votes at gatherings of conservatives.

Now he’s on his knees in Michigan, denigrating conservation efforts, sucking up to voters who apparently haven’t figured out that the year is 2008, not 1958.

The same voters don’t want to hear John McCain tell them that they have to adapt to changing times. That would take too much thinking, too much mental work, so they’re flocking to the Mitten, who conveniently blames ‘Washington’ for Michigan’s misery.

How about putting the blame on the so-called leaders of the automotive industry who refused to adapt to changing conditions? Who refused to meet the challenge of foreign automakers and kept on making the same crappy cars for a couple of decades while Toyota and friends crushed them in the marketplace?

And Willard, whatever happened to conservatism’s free market babble? You want the taxpayers to bail out an industry that couldn’t stop tripping over its own executives’ feet? That’s not very conservative of you, Willard, now is it?

Detroit could have been putting out highly fuel efficient, minimally polluting cars for a couple of decades now, but they didn’t. There’s much more money in ugly-ass, inefficient, polluting SUVs that don’t have to meet Federal fuel standards. And of course those SUVs work just as well on three and four dollar a gallon gas, don’t they?

So Detroit whines, and Michiganers whine, and now they bow down to any snake-oil salesman like Willard who promises them that they won’t have to live in the real world if they make him President.

But what about Willard’s record?

Another central point that Romney has made in Michigan is that he would use his business acumen to create jobs. Yet during his four-year term as Massachusetts governor, which began in the depths of a recession, the number of jobs grew by just 0.5 percent, compared with 5.5 percent nationally, according to Labor Department statistics. Only three states did worse: Ohio, Louisiana, and Michigan.

Manufacturing employment in Massachusetts slid 12 percent, more than double the national average; the state fared only slightly better than Michigan, which lost more than 15 percent of manufacturing jobs during that period.

And let’s not forget The Mitten’s previous life as a capitalist sort of fella who bought up companies, stripped out employees like so much trash, and sold the companies to line his pockets with cash.

And as if to demonstrate just how out of touch with reality he is, as well as the Michiganers who buy his line, he finished off with this gem:

“I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I’m in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, congressional, and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America’s automotive leadership,” he said to applause.

Apparently his plan is to make SUVs popular, because the auto industry is so far behind the rest of the world in building what’s really needed that by the time they catch up, Lake Erie and Lake Huron will have joined up and put Detroit under twenty feet of water. (Never mind that what’s actually needed is for the world to minimize cars and to create effective mass transit systems.)

And while little Willard is focusing on Detroit for his first hundred days, what’s going to be happening with the two wars that are sucking the country’s treasury dry? What’s going to be happening in the rest of the country as it reels under the crashing of the real economy (that would be the economy other than the stock market)? And what about healthcare, Willard – there’s a problem that affects a hell of a lot more people than ever lived in Michigan? (Never mind, Willard, we already know you’re in bed with your wealthy friends in the health insurance terror business, so we know your answer to that one.)

So what’s it gonna be, Michigan? Snake oil from a pandering hypocrite and liar? 1958 or 2008? Or do you want to get with reality and dump an industry that’s failing and has failed you?

Romney wants you to tilt at windmills.

Today you would be a lot better off building windmills.

Why The Healthcare Debate Will Rage On And On In Dark Ages America
January 12, 2008

There’s a letter in today’s Globe, from a fellow identifying himself as a doctor, whom The Lion will graciously refer to as Doctor X, or just X. The attitude he expresses suggests why healthcare in America will continue to languish and fall behind healthcare in the rest of the civilized world.

I AM writing with regard to Thursday’s article about CVS’s plans to provide walk-in care for “minor” ailments (“In-store healthcare wins state approval,” Page A1).

CVS wants to open clinics in some of their stores to provide care from a nurse practitioner for minor health complaints. Patients would be charged for the services, either through insurance or paying for themselves. The service is expected to be reasonably fast and efficient.

In my opinion, this will shift to another form of provider the same cadre of patients who abuse the system by using hospitals for primary care.

Now here’s a big key to Doctor X’s mentality and morality. He apparently thinks sick people get up in the morning and decide that since they can’t afford to see a doctor or can’t find a doctor who will see them, they’ll go to the hospital so they can sit in an emergency room for hours with other sick people. They apparently do this just for the sake of abusing the so-called healthcare system. It has nothing to do with being sick or injured and wanting to get well.

This will not save insurance costs. In addition, it will deprive primary care doctors of revenue (another reason fewer people are going into primary care) and enrich only the for- profit sector (CVS).

Ever try to get a primary care doctor to see you if you don’t have insurance and you’re poor or broke? The hospital has to provide care. Doctor Moneybags is under no such legal obligation.

And The Lion would note that Doctor X’s premise suggests that he objects to the CVS project because somebody else is getting the money instead of him. Apparently, according to his thinking, and he’s a doctor, doctors are definitely in it for the money. Why else object to some other provider getting the fee?

Is it any wonder that the United States, for all its vaunted high tech medicine, has one of the poorest records for healthcare in the civilized world?

High Productivity Killing The United States
January 12, 2008

The Lion has listened for quite a while to all the economists and pundits polluting the airwaves with explanations and prognostications.

The only thing that is certain is that none of them seem to know what’s going on in the American economy. In fact, if one were rude and cynical, which of course The Lion is, one might loudly say they don’t seem to know what the hell they’re talking about.

Therefore, The Lion feels obligated to offer his own humble analysis of economic matters. He leaves it to his Halflings to decide if he knows what he is talking about. (Has everyone received their Lionish bribe?)

During the past few decades much has been made of productivity gains by business. Productivity has become a mantra, a grail, a dream pursued by hardheaded MBAs, and obscenely wealthy CEOs who insist on higher productivity so that they may become even more obscenely wealthy.

In practical applications, productivity means fewer people doing the same amount of work as more people did before eager little MBAs decided that a philosophy creating lean and mean companies made them look good.

If your company produces 1,000 babushkas a year with 100 employees, then productivity is ten babushkas a year per employee. Fire fifty employees. Produce 1,000 babushkas. Productivity doubles, soaring to 20 babushkas per year per employee. The CEO buys a bigger house and a fancier car with the wages of the fired fifty. The other officers get promotions and bonuses.

The fired fifty get jobs at burger joints, making less than half what they did before.

Now the only way they can afford to buy a babushka is on credit, which, what with rent or the mortgage, and food and heating fuel and gas costs and medical bills, soon becomes overextended. The fired fifty buy less when credit runs out. Babushka sales fall. The babushka company moves to a fourth world country that specializes in sweat shops full of chained child laborers.

Financial companies make a killing, of course, manipulating all of this angst. Industries go away because fewer people in the United States can afford their products at the prices customers would have to pay if the companies paid livable wages. Profits go to the wealthy, whose narrow spending does virtually nothing for the people who need jobs with good wages. CEOs buy still bigger houses, while workers sucked into felonious mortgages move their families out onto the street.

And the government, oh alright, Bush, stands up and lies that the economy is strong and good. He would have us believe that the stock market is the economy. What’s he going to say when it crumbles? Of course he’s never had to work a real job a day in his life, and he’s been utterly incompetent at the fake jobs he’s held. Always had to be bailed out by Daddy and Mommy. Now that he’s turned the Presidency into a fake job, there’s nobody to bail him out. Or us. Or the economy he and his rich cronies have helped to screw over.

The Lion is pretty much convinced that we’re pretty much screwed and had best look to our own devices to survive what seems to be coming at us. We’re heading deeper into economic terror, created by rich Americans to benefit only rich Americans, enabled by politicians clawing their way into getting a piece of that pie.

It ain’t gonna be pretty. But the riots and bloodshed and the burning of gated communities and mcmansions should be interesting. Like the man said, the rich are very different from the rest of us. Maybe they’d enjoy some home cooking.

Falmouth, Massachusetts, To Spend Half Billion On Sewers While Town Drowns
January 12, 2008

A new climate model that includes the latest data on the acceleration of climate warming predicts that the Arctic ice pack will be gone in five years.

That suggests that the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheets will melt faster than has been accepted up to now.

Here on Cape Cod, in the town of Falmouth, much newsprint in the local rag, the Falmouth Enterprise, has been spent on reporting the initial moves towards a half-billion dollar ($500,000,000) sewer system that’s needed to protect the limited supply of fresh groundwater. Many, many words have been spewed forth by the paper and by the relevant parties.

But not one word about climate warming and sea levels rising.

Given the accelerating rate of warming and melting, The Lion thinks it likely that within twenty years or so the shopping center behind his home, which is a fifteen minute walk from the town’s main beach, Falmouth Heights Beach, will become the new Falmouth Heights Beach.

The other day the wastewater worthies toured a nearby neighborhood, Maravista, as they furthered their research into sewering the area. It’s a flat section extending directly back from the shore for maybe a mile, a few feet above current sea level.

Nary a word about what’s coming when the sea rises.

It’s typical of this town to shut its eyes and brains to the problems it creates for itself. Hell, it’s a habit. But this outdoes all the other boondoggles put together.

A half billion dollars for sewers that will be useless in a few years.

Good plan, Falmouth. Oh, yeah, real good, really well thought out. Just ignore the herd of elephants trampling all over your assumptions.

These are the same people who continually encourage people to visit by the tens of thousands, and to move here, even though traffic is virtually gridlocked during the summer and not a lot better during the winter; even though the water supply is limited and stinks of chlorine and rushes through 35 miles of carcinogenic mains; and even though taxes and rents and home prices are increasingly unaffordable for working people.

But when they talk about sewering everything, they talk about protecting property values and the quality of life. When the water comes, and it will, all that precious property won’t be worth a pile of minnow dung. Of course by then the usual gangs of felons will have sucked up their millions from the project and moved on to higher ground.

The Lion expects the town fathers, for whom, admittedly, The Lion has little respect, will soon pull from the woodwork the local climate change deniers, as well as some quotes from the national and international deniers, and ignore the tens of thousands of legitimate scientists who actually know what they’re talking about.

And thus will they justify ripping off the taxpayers to pour money into Falmouth’s very own Big Dig.

The world is changing. Quite literally. The very ground on which people stand, the air they breathe, the fragile sphere of life in which they live is changing rapidly and desperately.

But the local politicos still think Falmouth is quaint and immune. People who live on high ground in big houses always think that way. It’s only the little people who pay taxes and drown.

Iran Clashes With U. S. Navy And Wins The Battle
January 9, 2008

Let’s see what happened out there in the Tonkin… oops, sorry… the Persian Gulf.

Iran, or some faction thereof, sent five speedboats, from the looks of them, classic cigarette boats, out to toy with three major warships of the United States Navy.

George Bush and other fearmongering hawks of Republican and Conservative persuasions immediately insist to the world that the event constituted a major provocation and threat to the United States.

Does anyone in their right mind believe that five speedboats up against three American warships would have a) gotten close enough to do any harm, and b) would have lasted more than three seconds against the Navy’s weapons?

This was nonsense from the get go, nothing more than more of the same Bushcrap the country has been subjected to for seven years.

Whatever the Iranians had in mind, the incident wasn’t worth more than a page forty-seven mention in the daily newspaper. It’s a sad commentary on the Republican administration and on the news media that enables their fearmongering. And it’s a sad commentary on the United States military that they think we’re supposed to consider this incident to be any sort of threat.

The more Bush and his incompetent cronies trumpet this incident as a provocation, the stupider the United States looks, and the better Iran looks to its supporters.

Iran won this one going away.

Why McCain Won In New Hampshire
January 9, 2008

Before The Lion pollutes his three brain cells with commentary from the smart pundits out there in primary land, he wishes to offer his take on why John McCain, a singularly unattractive human being and candidate for the Republican nomination, won the New Hampshire primary.

The short answer? Willard ‘The Mitten’ Romney.

Romney is such a transparent phony that the voters were left with little choice than to vote for McCain, who would, and did in 2000, sell his family’s honor and integrity in an attempt to gain the Presidency. In fact, The Lion feels it would not be too far-fetched to opine that Romney did as well as he did because McCain is such an unattractive candidate.

After all, McCain supports Bush pretty much down the line on all the foulness Bush has crapped onto the country, and the world. All he promises is more of the same backward, flat-out stupid policies and actions. But he at least says what his policies will be and he sticks to saying them in public.

Romney stands for nothing but lust for power. He says he supports Bush’s policies but who knows? Today it’s this, tomorrow it’s that. The Lion supposes that’s what he means by change.

It is clear that Romney was a predatory capitalist back in the day. He bought up businesses, laid off thousands, and sold the businesses to put money in his pocket, money made from the suffering of the people he threw out into the street. And of course there was the incident of the twelve-hour torture of the dog. We might suppose that as President he will be equally cold-blooded.

So, of two unattractive Republican candidates, who does a Republican choose? Naturally the one who claims he’s being straight with them will get the nod over the clear phony. The Lion suggests that anyone whose strongest claim is that he is being straight and honest is most likely lying or covering up more than one bit of sleaze. The savings and loan scandal back when comes quickly to mind.

The Lion offers this prediction for the coming Republican primaries. Down South Huckabee will swamp McCain and Romney because he’s a religious freak whose coded message is that he will bring on an American theocracy in which Christians will reign supreme and can push their agenda of ignorance, stupidity, arrogance, and tyranny on the rest of the country. Huckabee’s probably smarter about retail politics than the rest of them put together, but he is, as are all the Republicans, bad news for democracy and freedom – the real democracy and freedom, not the secret decoder ring kind the fundogelicals dream about.

The Lion predicts Huckabee will win the nomination via the Bible Belt. That’s where the stupid people live, and they’ll go for his line, they’ll hook themselves up to him, and if he wins the election, they will sink the country into a morass of ignorance and backwardness, bigotry and hatred, and genuine Christian dominionist arrogance and blindness. The Dark Ages of religious dominion calls to these people night and day, and they respond to the call like a critically thirsty man crawling desperately toward a mirage of water. And Huckabee knows how to play the fake Messiah better than anyone in politics right now.

New Hampshire Motto ‘Live Free Or Die’ Is For Wimps, Quitters, and Cowards
January 6, 2008

A confluence of little things set both of The Lion’s mental gears in motion this morning.

Yesterday over at Atheist Hornet, in the comments on a post about Candidate Huckabee, there was some talk about resistance and emigration if the country should put another Republican religious fundogelical in the White House. As a side note, that cheeky Hornet fellow, who mistakenly believes The Lion is an old fart*, put up a post on H. 888, with good links, a House resolution that is full of distortions and lies promulgated by the Christian freaky fundos. Expect more of the same dangerous idiocy if a Republican gets the White House.

And of course New Hampshire is now full of the political elites – the has-beens, the wannabes, the lunatic fringe, and the religious unhinged.

And then on page A12 of today’s Globe there was this comment by the aforementioned Candidate Huckabee.

Huckabee, like Romney, has retooled his message for New Hampshire, shedding some of his overt appeals to the social conservatives and evangelicals that powered his Iowa win and talking instead about freedom and liberty.

“Your state motto, ‘Live Free or Die,’ really exemplifies the very heart of America,” the former Arkansas governor said yesterday at a Londonderry school.

Now The Lion has never cared for the New Hampshire state motto. It sounds arrogant, as if New Hampshireians, or -ites, are the only ones who like being free. Supposedly the words imply that NHians will fight for their freedom and are willing to die in the attempt. But it doesn’t say that. It says ‘die’.

It doesn’t stand up. “Live Free or Die”? Do those people think that if they lose their freedom they will simply lie down and die? Sure sounds like it. The Lion supposes that such thinking worked for the Jim Jones crew down in Guyana. When the demon Arab terrorists take over New Hampshire, apparently all those white conservatives up there will drink funky Kool-Aid and pass on to the Great Nothing.

It strikes The Lion that a more appropriate motto might be “Live Free or Fight”. Now there’s speech with some spunk and some hope, something with the spirit of “Don’t Tread On Me” wrapped in a rattlesnake.

On the other hand, given the last seven years, it may well be that the true spirit of America is to lay down and die when political radicals, right-wing religious freaks, and power-hungry corporatists and fascists rip away American democracy and freedom.

The Lion supposes that if a rowboat filled with al Qaeda operatives attacked the New Hampshire coast, the natives would charge out and beat them to death with shovels and pitchforks and then crow about how they saved America.

But let some Republican President, whose only competencies are fear-mongering, incompetence, and corruption rip away American freedoms and rights in the name of a bogus war, and those same New Hampshire folk just meekly say, “Oh, okay, we’ll just die now, because that’s what we do. Our motto says so.”

Since no one else will speak truth to New Hampshire, The Lion feels obligated to remonstrate against their motto, and demand that they change it for the good of America and to restore their reputation as nasty folk who bite the foot on their neck.

If not, The Lion has a large stock of Kool-Aid-like substances, available at quite nice rates. Please remember to show your wimp ID when ordering.

 

[*The Lion will admit only to being an intelligent, nice-looking fellow of middle age who occasionally has been rumored to fart.]