Archive for September, 2008

Bail, Bail, Bail Your Boat…
September 19, 2008

So the financial bigwigs got greedy, assumed that their ethics had been deregulated by all those Republican and Conservative politicians they bought, and now, when their ass is being handed to them by the free market so beloved by those same Republicans, want the government to bail them out, save their mansions, protect their fancy cars?

Oh, sure, okay. Here’s the deal.

The United States government, no, make that the Bush Administration of the United States Government, which is different from the government of, by, and for the people, wants to take the people’s money, hundreds of billions of dollars of it, to buy worthless securities from these companies that have gamed the system and with this deal continue to game it. Apparently the Bush Government will have to borrow the money, or maybe they’ll just print some, both options which will, of course, be really really good for the economy.

The Government will hold onto these worthless securities until the market ‘stabilizes’ and they can then sell them.

We know the securities and other items involved in this crime are worthless, because if they were worth anything there wouldn’t be a problem.

Let’s simplify.

You own a hamburger palace. Monday morning you come to work and discover that all your hamburgers and all your condiments are contaminated with hepatitis. Woe is you for you shall be bankrupt.

But your Uncle Sammy, out of the goodness of his heart, decides to borrow a lot of money to buy all your diseased stock, thinking perhaps he can sell it next week to some unsuspecting third world country, perhaps, where some fools have never heard of hepatitis.

So you get to keep your business as though nothing has happened, and Uncle Sammy goes deeper into debt, so deep that the only thing he can see now is the ceiling above the toilet as his company and life swirl down the pipe.

Bottom line – the taxpayer is being screwed again by the big boys and their Republican friends and Democratic enablers, all the result of Republican idiot ideology that took away the regulations and the rules and the systems that kept the greedy bastards from screwing you before.

And John McCain, who took money from Francis Keating to queer the regulatory investigation into the savings and loan scandal, who has the principles and ethics of a Wall Street shark, was one of the biggest deregulators in Washington, along with his friend and close economic adviser, Phil Gramm, who brought Enron to the grandmothers of California.

There is one sure thing in all of this, and that’s that the people who built this mess, the politicians, the brokers, the hedge fund billionaires, the financial ‘geniuses’, none of them will pay a price. They won’t lose their homes, their cars, their jobs. They won’t be charged with crimes, they won’t do time. They’ll just move on to the next scam, buoyed with the knowledge that their friends in Washington will probably bail them out again. And again. And again. That’s how the Republican free market works. That’s the Republican way.

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Who’s Hypocritical?
September 18, 2008

This revelatory piece came in today’s e-mail. The Lion thinks it worth sharing.

 

I’m a little confused about this whole leader qualifications thing. Let me see if I have this straight…..

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.

If you teach children about sexual predators, you are irresponsible and eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you’re very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America’s.

If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that hates America and advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.  Some see the glass as half full, some see the glass as half empty. I say we need a smaller glass.

Thanks to The Lion’s old friend John.

 

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More Republican Flimflam And Illogic
September 18, 2008

A fellow named Todd Domke has a column in today’s Globe titled ‘Why Obama’s not leading by a landslide’. Domke is identified as ‘a Boston-area Republican political analyst, public relations strategist, and author’. Herewith the full column, with toothed commentary by The Lion.

WHY ISN’T Barack Obama far ahead in the opinion polls?

As nominee of the “out” party during an economic downturn, unpopular war, and even more unpopular presidency, Obama should not be in a virtual tie with John McCain.

Some Obama supporters offer blanket explanations for why he’s lagging in the polls: white prejudice; dishonest smears; Obama is too intellectual and voters are too stupid.

Apparently they think it’s time to elect a new people.

But Obama and his allies are not blameless. They’ve made strategic decisions – blunders? – that could cost them the election:

Recognizing that racial prejudice exists, that the McCain campaign has engaged in a sleazy campaign of smears and lies, that intellectuals and intelligence in America are suspect, and that much of the voting public doesn’t vote with intelligence but from emotion, all of that doesn’t mean we need a new people. That’s insulting to the people. We do need rational ways to address those problems – problems which the Republicans have used and manipulated successfully to win elections. It’s the Republicans who think the voters are stupid for falling for Republican racism, lies, and the populism of ignorance.

And now that the gloss is off of Sarah Palin, Obama is pulling ahead in the polls.

Obama rejected McCain’s request to have weekly Town Hall-style debates.

When Obama was the front-runner, he decided to play it safe and just accept the three established debates. But often the greatest risk is not taking any risks.

If Obama had agreed to weekly debates, this race would be more civil and constructive. When candidates debate, they don’t argue about pigs and lipstick because they know they’d look foolish. They try to act more presidential. And they are less likely to run unfair attack ads if they know they’ll be held accountable by the opponent and audience in a televised forum.

Town Hall debates would have allowed Obama to practice what he’s been preaching about a “new politics.”

This is a hot one among Republicans. The basic logic is that if only Obama had agreed to do what McCain wanted him to do, then McCain would not have had to launch one of the most disgusting campaigns of sleaze and lies and smears and more lies in the last century of American politics.

And if Obama had agreed to the so-called Town Hall debates? Domke and the rest of the Republican smear machine would have accused him of weakness for knuckling under to McCain.

As for the pigs and lipstick, let’s not forget that it was McCain that started that, not Obama. Any slur McCain made about that remark rebounded against McCain, since he has used the same phrase at least four times publicly, and at least once publicly against Hilary Clinton.

Obama rejected Hillary Clinton for vice president.

He should have at least put her on his short list and thus given her some public respect.

Obama reportedly didn’t pick Clinton because he didn’t want to risk having her husband embarrass him. Now Obama is in the embarrassing position of needing both Clintons to vouch for him.

Obama gave Hilary Clinton plenty of respect, and often, including devoting the better part of two nights at the Democratic Convention to the Clintons. As for the short list, putting her on it or leaving her off it both carried risks.

And Obama is hardly in an embarrassing position vis a vis the Clintons. They’re both actively supporting him.

Obama broke his pledge to abide by public financing limits for the fall campaign.

He sacrificed some “new politics” credibility to have a money advantage over McCain. But while McCain campaigns full time in swing states, Obama must spend precious time in nonswing states for fund-raising events.

And John McCain violated the regulations of a toothless Federal Election Commission with his financial antics. McCain’s crew complains about Obama’s so-called pledge because Obama was raking in money hand over fist while the Republicans were struggling. Obama made the smart move against a win-at-all-costs liar and hypocrite.

As for the swing thing, Obama has the money, the resources, and the organization to spend time wherever he thinks it will do the most good. He doesn’t need Republicans telling him how to run his campaign.

Obama didn’t use his convention speech to propose specific solutions.

Instead, he reiterated platitudes – against a Greek temple background. Holy Zeus, what were his event planners thinking?

He had a chance to disprove Clinton’s claim – echoed by McCain and others – that he gives “speeches, not solutions.” Offering specifics carries risk, but so does being amorphous. When candidates speak only in generalities, voters are more receptive to negative ads that purport to fill in the blanks.

Perhaps Mr. Domke needs to be reminded of George Bush’s Greek temple moment? I’m sure he can find the images out there on the Internet, unless of course the Republican party machine has scrubbed them away, like they did with Bristol Palin’s fiance’s web page.

As for platitudes, John McCain has spewed whatever platitudes he thinks will get him elected. He switches overnight, literally, from being a primary force behind the deregulation of the financial industry, which is now collapsing because of McCain’s deregulatory rabidity, to calling for strict regulations.

Obama has in fact offered many specifics, while McCain blows empty and hypocritical rhetoric up the public’s butt. McCain says anything and means nothing.

Obama wouldn’t challenge his own Democratic Party.

Obama needs to win independent voters who favor bipartisan solutions, yet he wouldn’t do what Bill Clinton did in 1992 – oppose his party’s liberal orthodoxy on some high-profile issues.

In the last 40 years, Democrats have won only three of 10 presidential elections. The two Democrats who won – Jimmy Carter once and Bill Clinton twice – did not campaign as liberals, but rather as centrists.

The Democrat-controlled Congress has the lowest approval rating of any Congress in history – sinking as low as 9 percent – yet its leaders embrace Obama as if they’re doing him a favor.

Clinton moved to the right because the Republicans had a stranglehold on Congress and he could have gotten nothing done if he hadn’t caved on progressive issues. Clinton was not a centrist.

As for the so-called Democrat-controlled Congress? Nonsense. The Republicans have, in reality, controlled the Congress since 1994. The Democratic majority today is so slim that the Republicans still effectively control the Congress. One need only watch their obstructive tactics to see that. They’ve hamstrung the Congress because the Democrats don’t have the strength to override them.

If Obama can pull off a major win in November, he may well bring a functional majority of Democrats to the Congress, which is a good reason for Congressional leaders to embrace his campaign.

Some Obama supporters attacked Sarah Palin personally, falsely, and hatefully.

Their attacks built a huge, curious, sympathetic TV audience for her convention speech. When Palin spoke more impressively than seasoned politicians like her opponent, Joe Biden, she became an Obama-like star, rejuvenating the McCain campaign and the GOP.

Wisely, Obama didn’t attack Palin personally, knowing that voters base their decision on presidential – not vice presidential – nominees.

Sarah Palin was new and a surprise, so naturally people were interested in her.

When the truth of her beliefs and actions started to come out, when her lies began to be revealed, not from personal, false, and hateful attacks, but from the press actually doing its job to investigate her, people began to turn away from her.

She was McCain’s one-trick pony, and she’s turning into a bad ride.

Some attacks on Palin ignited debate on cultural issues Obama tried to defuse.

Obama was still recovering from his gaffe about how when small-town folks “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion. . .” Yet some Obama supporters could not resist mocking Palin for having been mayor of a small town, a hunter, and religious.

Unfortunately for Obama, small-town folks who are religious and/or own guns vote in great numbers in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia.

If Obama loses, some of his surrogates may be bitter and blame those voters. They won’t blame themselves for alienating voters with insults. And they won’t see any inconsistency in their praising tolerance and multiculturalism while denigrating middle-American culture.

Not many people mocked Palin for being the mayor of a small town. They found out that she abused that office, as she later abused the office of governor, and that she lied about what she did. If she was mocked, she was mocked for her lies and abuses of power.

Hunters? Most people aren’t hunters, and most feel revulsion at hunting for sport, and at shooting animals from airplanes, which Palin likes to do.

As for religion, religious people have done far more damage to religion than Obama could ever do. Palin comes across as just another fundogelical freak who wants to use political power to impose her religious views on the rest of the country. She should be attacked on those grounds.

However, if Obama wins, perhaps he will begin uniting the country by asking McCain to join him for a Town Hall meeting.

Why would Obama want to dignify a man who has run one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history, a campaign of lies, racism, smears, and distortions? Obama’s better off letting McCain babble on in his carefully-vetted, restricted-entry meetings of his echo chambers.

 

‘Support The Troops’? Not This Fellow. Good For Him!
September 18, 2008

Steve Almond, author of an essay collection, has an interesting column in the Globe today on the fallacies of ‘supporting the troops’ as popularly conceived.

Well worth a look.

Barney Frank Bitchslaps The Republicans On The Economy
September 18, 2008

In today’s Globe reporter Beth Healy interviews Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in a Q & A.

A couple of interesting bits from the interview:

Q.Why not bail out Lehman Brothers?
A. What you had was a lot of conservatives saying, oh, let’s let them go belly up. And as I’ve said, as it turns out, looking at a dead belly isn’t as enjoyable as they thought it would be. I am thinking about a bill that would make Sept. 15 Free Enterprise Day in America, because it was the only day in which the Bush administration lived by it. The problem is this, their failure to regulate sensibly has so endangered the economy and so burdened it with bad stuff that it’s become very vulnerable.

Q.So suddenly the government is in the business of intervening in corporate America. What does that mean?
A. The Republicans – their own philosophy blew up in their face. They were so extreme in their insistence that there be no government intervention that they have wound up provoking far more government intervention than the Democrats ever would have.

You go, Barney!

NOW Rejects Palin, The Whackogelical Darling Of The Republicans
September 17, 2008

Here’s a piece at Common Dreams from the Independent/UK on the National Organization For Women’s rejection of Sarah Palin and John McBush…Cain.

A little sample:

Another Wasilla resident, Phil Munger, a music composer and teacher, says she pushed an evangelical agenda in the town. “She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the [school] board. I bumped into her after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God [a church]. I said, ‘Sarah, how can you believe in creationism – your father’s a science teacher.’ And she said, ‘We don’t have to agree on everything.’ I pushed her on the earth’s creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she’d seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them.”

She might well have seen such a thing. They were fakes created by creationists, you know, Christians who will lie, cheat, steal, kill, deceive, do whatever is necessary to prove that their narrow, ugly little view of the world is the only right one.

And finally there’s this:

Mr Munger also asked Mrs Palin if she believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. “She looked in my eyes and said, ‘Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime’.”

Just when the United States and the world need American leaders grounded in reality, in facts, in evidence, in the real world, the Republicans offer us a delusional, whacked-out freak who lies, abuses political power, lies, believes falsehoods, lies, and thinks Armageddon is a real battle that is supposed to set the world right.

Thanks for thinking of country first, Johnny Bomb Bomb.

And thanks to NOW for rejecting a Republican trash ticket.

Jeff Jacoby Whines Again, And He’s Wrong. Again.
September 17, 2008

The Lion cannot stand reading Jeff Jacoby in the Globe, or anywhere else. He’s one of those petulant Conservative whiners who rarely gets anything right and blames the rest of the world when he’s wrong.

Today’s gem:

For someone who has been in the national spotlight for only three weeks, Palin has been the victim of an astonishing array of falsehoods. Voters have been told that she slashed funding in Alaska for special-needs children. That she tried to ban books from Wasilla’s public library. That she was a member of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. That she links Saddam Hussein to the attacks of 9/11. That she backed Pat Buchanan for president. That she doesn’t want students taught about contraception. That she called the war in Iraq “a task from God.” All untrue.

The Lion notes that Ms. Palin has been the perpetrator of an astonishing number of falsehoods, and has repeated them ad nauseam even when caught out.

As for what’s-his-name’s charges, naturally he gets it wrong.

She cut funding for Alaska Special Olympics, a program for special needs children.

[Sue] Libenson cites the governor’s line-item veto trimming the Special Olympics budget by $275,000. Palin also slashed funding for statewide independent living centers and transition housing for homeless young adults, Libenson says.

She did explore banning books from the library.

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

Her husband was a member of the secessionist group and she gave an approving speech to them.

She, along with over fifty percent of Americans, links Iraq with the 9/11 attacks.

She believes in abstinence only sex education, which doesn’t believe kids should be taught about contraception (and apparently not about the existence of the penis and the vagina).

And she’s on tape, in church, calling the Iraq war a task from God.

Jacoby conveniently leaves out the investigation of her abuse of power in the Troopergate deal; her repeated lies about the Bridge to Nowhere funds; her hiring of unqualified friends to high-paying positions in government; her current stonewalling of the Troopergate investigation, with the help of the McCain campaign, despite her promise to cooperate fully with the investigation.

In fact, she’s told so many lies about the Troopergate investigation that she can’t even keep track, especially as she invents new ones almost daily. The latest is she fired Walter Monegan because he wanted to aggressively go after rapists and child molesters in Alaska, which leads the nation in rapes per capita.

Jacoby whines and moans about poor Sarah and then claims that the attacks on her are solidifying support for McCain and Palin. He even calls her McCain’s ‘refreshingly normal running mate.’

So according to Jacoby, arrogant, ignorant, lying, hypocritical, whackogelical ideologues are refreshingly normal.

Of course he neglects to mention, among all his numbers showing just how favorably she is viewed, the latest ones showing a negative ten point swing in her favorability rating since September 13.

But that’s Jeff Jacoby. Republican, Conservative, and once more, wrong. That’s the Republican way.

(The Lion would note that he does not normally give Jacoby a second, nay, even a first, glance, unless Jacoby’s headline indicates that Jacoby is petting one of The Lion’s peeves.)

Coincidence? Or Indicative? Seventeen Percent Fail MCAS Science Test
September 17, 2008

The Globe today, in a story by James Vaznis, reports that twenty percent of high school sophomores failed some portion of the MCAS tests, for the taking of which the students have been highly trained. (The Lion suggests that their training has come at the expense of their education.)

The numerical breakdown shows that seventeen percent failed the science portion of the test, remarkably close to the twenty percent of Americans who believe that the sun revolves around the earth.

Yup, can’t hardly wait for Palin and McBush to get creationism into those science classes in the most advanced civilization in the world.

What Does One Of Johnny Bomb Bomb McCain’s Fellow POWs Have To Say About Him?
September 15, 2008

 

 

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Palin Likes Bloody-Minded Fascist Writer Who Called For Kennedy Assassination
September 15, 2008

From Huffington Post, a comment by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on Sarah Palin:

Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that “some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.”

It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.

We know them by the company they keep. Palin keeps company with Pegler. McCain keeps company with Palin.