Archive for December, 2008

The Republican Theme Song Is Now ‘Barack, The Magic Negro’
December 26, 2008

The former campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, one Chip Saltsman, is running for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

As part of his appeal he has sent to the committee members a CD containing the racist ditty from Rush ‘The Klansman’ Limbaugh’s program, a song titled ‘Barack, The Magic Negro’.

It’s been no secret that the Republican Party is, and has been, the home of the fabled American Racist Pig, but this may be the first time they’ve got up on their hind legs and oinked publicly and openly about it.

Saltsman has said that he considers the song a light-hearted political parody.

That’s good, Chipper. Inflame the racist scum that look to Republicanism for their salvation. Yeah, make it okay for them to crap all over the niggers again. Hey, Chipper, think you can make it to the next lynching? They’ll be playing your song, boy.

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Christians Mistake Their Beams For Motes, Crucify Selves On Own Logic
December 25, 2008

Today’s Globe contains a delightful letter from one Kris Mineau, who may or may not be a man, or a woman, or a boy, or a girl, but who self-identifies as the President of the Massachusetts Family Institute, apparently out of Woburn, Massachusetts.

The first warning bell should be the organization’s name, the Massachusetts Family Institute, the sort of name behind which Christian fundogelicals hide their narrow-minded views of the world.

Here’s the letter, appropriately commented by a Christmasless Grumpy Lion:

DERRICK JACKSON has failed to recognize a key reason Americans chose Barack Obama to be their leader: his ability to disagree without being disagreeable. In lambasting President-elect Obama’s choice of pastor Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation, Jackson has embraced hypocrisy and intolerance rather than hope and change.

M. Mineau cast Derrick Jackson, a regular Globe columnist, of progressive leanings, as a hypocrite and agent of intolerance. A strong opening salvo by Mineau.

Whether Jackson likes it or not, the vast majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. So does the incoming president. Every state – 30 in total – in which the people were allowed to vote on a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage has passed such a measure. Obama recognized that to lead the entire country, he must reach out symbolically to the tens of millions of Americans who may or may not have voted for him but who embrace Warren’s Christian worldview.

Now Mineau falls into a couple of  typical fallacies practiced by people seeking to rationalize their intolerance. If six billion people believe the world is flat and one person believes it is round, is the world flat or round? If Thabo Mbeki believes AIDS is not caused by a virus, but by poor living conditions, is AIDS caused by a virus or poverty (hundreds of thousands of South Africans died because of that man’s arrogance)? If fifty states voted to make the enslavement of people of color legal, would slavery be right?

If Rick Warrren believes that a certain minority group of Americans, who hold jobs, who pay taxes, who feel the same emotions as the rest of humanity, should be discriminated against in law, should be denied the same rights and privileges accorded all other Americans, does that make it right to do so?

Mineau says yes to Warren’s bigotry, and would also, by Mineau’s own fallacious logic, have to say the earth is flat, AIDS is caused by poverty, and slavery is just hunky-dory.

While America readies itself for a new brand of leadership, old-guard liberals will have to learn how to be more inclusive of their fellow Americans.

Perhaps Mineau would care to explain how liberals and progressives must be more inclusive of bigots, but the bigots can simply continue about their business of corrupting American democratic values to exclude anyone they don’t like.

Perhaps Mineau would care to explain just how it is that marriage is under attack, given that there is no evidence of anyone getting divorced from a straight marriage simply because gay marriage has been legalized in a few states, and given that no one is telling straights that they can’t get married, and given that fifty percent of straight marriages end in divorce and the highest rate of divorce occurs in the so-called Bible Belt states.

Perhaps Mineau would care to enlighten the citizenry about the roots of the Christian arrogance and bigotry that Warren and others of his ilk apparently practice and wish to inflict on the rest of society.

Mineau’s got a huge beam in his eye, but, typically for a Christian, Mineau can’t see it.

Did General Electric Destroy Iraq To Profit From Death And Destruction?
December 17, 2008

General Electric has closed a three billion dollar deal to sell Iraq fifty-six gas turbine power generators to create electricity.

Not noted in the story is how much GE made selling stuff that killed Iraqis and destroyed its infrastructure. That would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it?

The bloody hand washing the green hand.

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Stunning Admissions From Bush And Cheney Draw Major Yawns From Media And Citizenry
December 17, 2008

Within the past two days the Republican Administration of the United States has publicly admitted two stunning facts.

Yesterday George W. Bush, the proponent, promoter, and snake-oil salesmen of unregulated free markets told CNN “I have abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”

Which is to say that free-market principles don’t work. Not big news, but to have the little slug admit it? That’s big. But it rates hardly a blip on the news.

And the other stunner occurred when the Vice-President of the United States admitted on ABC News that he approved the use of torture and that he believes torture should be used.

He admits to a war crime, publicly, on national television, and he hasn’t been arrested? And hardly anyone acts as if it’s important?

These two men have dragged the United States to depths of illegality and immorality that in an earlier day would have been unimaginable.

But given the last couple of decades of Republican dominance, what else could we expect. It’s the Republican way.

Christmas Quickies…
December 16, 2008

Madoff victims cry… foul?

All the rich people who lost money to the fraud of Bernard Madoff are crying ‘I’m a victim’ and bemoaning their fate. Imagine that.

After all these years of benefiting from the fraud of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, which amount to massive theft from the middle and lower classes for the next couple of generations, rich people got screwed by one of their own.

Couldn’t happen to a crappier class of people.

Of course they’ll soon be begging at the government’s door for a bailout, won’t they? Take more money from the taxpayers to make up for the wealthy classes’ greed, stupidity, and ignorance?

And be sure they won’t forget to blame the SEC and other regulatory agencies, the ones gutted by the Bush and Republican ideology of deregulation.

It would be good for the country to get a bunch of rich people living homeless on the street, trying to whine to the local winos about their terrible misfortune. There’s real democracy for you. There’s the free market at work, for real.

Condi Rice puts shoe in mouth again…

Condoleezza Rice, rumored to be the current Secretary of State, commenting on the shoe tossing incident involving her boss:

The shoe incident Sunday in Baghdad “is a kind of sign of the freedom that people feel in Iraq,” Rice said.

If Iraq were free, why is there a foreign army occupying it? Why did the Americans destroy the country? Why are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, and more injured, and over four million living as refugees? Why are so many out of work? Why are Sunni and Shia, who used to live together, now separated by concrete barriers? Why is the country’s infrastructure in ruins?

Iraq’s not free. It exists under the heel of an invader, an invader propped up by corporations who feel it is their right to rape the country and take whatever they want from it.

That the architect of this disaster dares to visit and proclaim a victory is a slap in the face to Iraq, and to America itself. The ruin that is Iraq is little more than the display of George Bush’s adolescent ego.

There were not enough shoes flying that day in Baghdad.

Dick Cheney, unrepentedly stupid and arrogant to the end…

Little Dickie Cheney, whose mother should probably been waterboarded when it was discovered she was pregnant with him, went on ABC News yesterday to reaffirm his belief in torture and his belief that torturing people is the right thing to do.

That Cheney is no better than the thugs who ran the Catholic Inquisition’s dungeons, the Lubyanka in Moscow, and jolly old Adolf’s Gestapo, was confirmed by his statement that the stinking pit of inhumanity that is Guantanamo Bay prison should stay open until the war on terror is over.

Which is to say that American torture holes will never close, because the Americans insist on continuing the stupidity of making war on a stateless technique.

The best hope of mankind is that this pig, this banquet of brutality and arrogance and ignorance, ends his days in a pit, buried under tons of Iraqi shoes, preferably those of the thousands of women and children killed by Bush and Cheney’s war of aggression.

Chris Matthews: Loudmouthed Blithering Motormouth, The Most Annoying Blabber On Television
December 15, 2008

Chris Matthews never fails to impress The Lion.

He’s a big time interviewer who can’t conduct an interview. He’s an embarrassment. He’s either forgotten or never learned the first rule of news interviewing, or opinion interviewing.

Ask your question and shut the hell up and let the interviewee talk.

Not Matthews. He interrupts constantly. He blabbers on and on, demonstrating that he generally knows little or nothing about the subject matter, preferring instead to spew his own opinions instead of letting his viewers hear his guest’s thoughts. 

Tonight he just finished making a fool of himself over the shoe throwing incident in Baghdad. The essence of it was that he believed it was more important to smother the incident under American values rather than bring out the Iraqi side of the matter.

Given the intensity of the incident and the intensity of the mass protests in Iraq favoring the shoe thrower, a person might think that an intelligent interview of the two journalists on Matthews’ show would have explored the deeper aspects of the events.

Nope. We Americans, all of us apparently, according to Matthews the Mouth, thought it was funny that the guy threw shoes. Well, no. There’s nothing funny about George Bush. He’s a liar and a mass murderer and an incompetent, pathetic, and stupid human being. Which is not to say that some of us would not have taken greater joy if the shoe man had actually hit Bush.

And he couldn’t understand why Muntadar al-Zaidi, the remarkably accurate hurler of shoes, didn’t just write out his hostility. Maybe because the Idiot-in-Chief doesn’t read and doesn’t care and is utterly immune to reality and criticism? And maybe because al-Zaidi knows that nothing he wrote about the dog and pony show Bush and al-Maliki were running would have near the effect of a couple of well-aimed shoes.

And then The Mouth said he didn’t understand how all those guys in the street protests found the time to protest, how they always seemed ready to march. Maybe because millions of people don’t have jobs in the country George Bush and the Americans destroyed?

But such fine points of fact are lost on Matthews. He’s demonstrated time and again that the only opinions he’s interested in are his own, and that he believes his opinions are, indeed, facts.

The Lion fondly hopes that he does run for the Senate, as he is rumored to be interested in doing. At least it will get him off the air and perhaps replaced by someone who actually listens to guests and lets them voice their opinions, which are usually far more well informed by fact than anything Matthews blithers and spews.

As for al-Zaidi, the entire American press corps should take lessons from him on how to treat people like Bush. He was practicing the fine art of real journalism, the kind that doesn’t suck up to bullcrap and lies and insanity and murder, the kind that realizes that there is no balance when psychopaths like Bush and Cheney are in charge. The press likes to pretend that they are objective and uninvolved and that those are professional virtues. They are not. The press in large part enabled Bush’s malignant acts abroad, and at home. They have blood on their hands, they are covered in gore. They chose to get on their knees and sell their ethics, their souls, their skills, and their minds to liars and murderers. They should have been throwing shoes all along.

Al-Zaidi is a hero. He saw the ugly truth and he stomped on it.

Wha’ Happen? Where’s My Money? Where’s My Job? Huh? Stiglitz Makes It Clear
December 10, 2008

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel-prize-winning economist, dissects the decisions that got the United States economy into its current greasy pit.

He writes clearly, understandably, pointing the finger at five causes of today’s running disaster. Give it a look.

Now if he could only tell us what’s going to happen next week, next month, next year…

BCS Bowl… (yawn) Games Selection… (zzzzz) Complaints Again… (phrppp)
December 9, 2008

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe writes a long tedious column in today’s sports section about the inequities of the Bowl Championship Series.

For the incognoscenti, the BCS is the answer from the college football bureaucrats to the question of ‘Who’s Number One?’

Considering that every year the complaints about the system fly thick and fast it’s apparent that no one really knows Who’s Number One. But it’s important to the football folk, their lives apparently on hold at this time of year, to be able to say knowledgeably at the water cooler or the bar that “Yup, yup, Huge Freaking College is Number One this year. Yup, yup, sure is.”

The process that the BCS folks use to determine Who’s Number One is so arcane that it puts intelligent people to sleep. (The Lion would note that he is so intelligent that he fell sound asleep at the end of the first paragraph of Ryan’s column.) It is rumored by odd men wearing cheap black suits and sunglasses that the people who designed the BCS system don’t understand it either.

Of course central to understanding BCS is that it doesn’t matter how it works or if it works to actually determine Who’s Number One. What matters is that it keeps people talking about the BCS and that money keeps rolling into college football coffers.

Consider if you will the Naming of The Bowls. There’s the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The Citi Rose Bowl Game. The FedEx Orange Bowl. The Allstate Sugar Bowl.

There’s even the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Imagine how proud it must be for a player to say, perhaps when he’s in his forties or fifties, “Yup, yup, I played in that chicken fast food bowl back in the day, yup, yup.”

When the corporations are lining up to buy bowl games the jig is up. It’s no longer about Who’s Number One. It’s about Money. Big Money. The players aren’t playing for their school anymore. They’re playing for FedEx and Tostitos and the honor of millions of dead chickens.

The corporations want to own everything, and in the process they’ve made everything they touch into cold corporate product. The FedEx Orange Bowl is not the Orange Bowl. It’s just a corporate shill extravaganza for FedEx.

It doesn’t really matter anymore Who’s Number One. When your football uniform says Allstate or Citi, you’ve been bought, and we’ve been sold a bill of goods.

Just A Quick Reminder: Mr. Obama Is Not The President
December 8, 2008

Barack Obama is possibly the most visible, most active, most influential President-in-waiting the country has ever seen.

And from all quarters comes the cry ‘He’s not doing enough to fix the terrible problems we face.’

Which is a stupid thing to say.

He’s not the President.

The real President is bunkered up with his minions trying to create the lies that will redefine his Presidency as something other than the complete, unmitigated, stinking disaster that it really is.

Mr. Obama does not have the actual power of office yet. Even so he is far more influential than George W. Bush. He’s leaving no doubt that he will be in charge after January 20, 2009, and that he will be making changes.

But for now he can only co-opt the bully pulpit of the White House, and demonstrate a steady hand and a cool intellect and powerful pragmatism, all of which together suggest that the chance of the United States becoming a very different country than it has been under conservative dominance is quite real.

Whether he and his officials can overcome the devastating damage Bush and the Republicans have wreaked upon the United States is the elephant in the room.

But let’s remember, Mr. Obama is not the President yet.

Mitt Romney Back Again, As Sleazy As Ever
December 8, 2008

After Republican Mitt ‘The Mitten’ Romney dropped out of the presidential sweepstakes he founded a political action committee to make money and took in $2.1 million dollars.

He got it by telling conservatives he was raising the money to support Republican candidates around the country. And then he spent the magnanimous sum of $244,000 in contributions to candidates. Today’s Globe, in a story by Frank Phillips, figures that to be 12 percent of the total.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom argued that the Free and Strong America committee’s contributions of $244,000 to other candidates represented a significant percentage of the committee’s overall expenditures. Its “level of financial support was extraordinary,” when compared with other national leaders of Romney’s standing, he said.

Twelve percent?

Extraordinary?

Pronouncements like that might suggest why Romney could barely buy a vote during the Republican primaries.

And, the story being about Mitt Romney, there are of course the usual disconnects between reality and pompous rhetoric. Here’s what Romney said in his fund raising appeal from his Free and Strong America Committee:

“It is more essential than ever that conservative candidates and organizations have the resources they need to get their message out to voters,” Romney said in the fund-raising appeal. “Because of your help, my political action committee . . . is supporting over 70 candidates this election cycle. Your continued support today will ensure that they have the assistance they need to win.”

And here’s what he did:

Qualifying for a donation from the committee did not necessarily depend on a candidate’s need for financial assistance. US Representative Rodney Alexander of Louisiana got $4,600 and his GOP colleague Lamar S. Smith of Texas received a $2,300 donation, although both had no opponents. They each had endorsed Romney in his presidential bid.

Mississippi’s US Senator Thad Cochran, who threw his support for Romney, was easily favored to win reelection, but he still got a $2,300 donation from the committee. Cochran won with 62 percent of the vote. Another Republican senator, Lamar Alexander, a popular Tennessee Republican who was under no threat of losing his seat, got a $2,300 check from Romney as he cruised to victory with 65 percent of the vote.

Reporter Phillips notes that the list of candidates receiving aid was ‘dominated’ by such candidates. Yeah, Mitt, you’re just a rough, tough guy who picks the hard battles. All mouth and no guts.

The meat of the story is neatly summed up in this paragraph by reporter Phillips:

In essence, Romney is financing a political enterprise that he can use to remain a national GOP leader and use as a springboard should he decide to launch another presidential bid for 2012.

Go for it, Mitten!

In fact The Lion suggests that the perfect Republican ticket for 2012 would be Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. These two self-aggrandizing empty suits would be the perfect pair for a Democratic landslide in four years.

The Lion also notes that the name of The Mitten’s PAC, Free And Strong America Committee, has definite overtones and undertones of Joe McCarthy, the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, and nascent fascism. But maybe that’s just because the right wing of American politics (okay, okay, the Republicans) consistently tends to disguise their anti-democratic, dictatorial tendencies in the language of Orwellian propaganda.

Note to Mitt: Us lefty atheistic types will be waiting for you in 2012, Mitt.

Note to Sarah: See note to Mitt.