Archive for August, 2009

Torture, Maim, Murder, Slaughter – The Wingnut Way To American Greatness
August 31, 2009

A letter in today’s Globe demonstrates once again the failure of wingnut ‘thinking’. This one’s about torture and holding torturers accountable.

MEMBERS OF Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other assorted groups crying for American blood must be thrilled with the news that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is sending out the posse (“Inquiry ordered into CIA methods,’’ Page A1, Aug. 25).

By naming a veteran prosecutor to investigate “alleged’’ harsh interrogation techniques, we ignore the atrocities committed by terrorists and focus on the few tools we still have available to us.

I am unconcerned with the comfort of our enemies. My concern is Americans, civilians and military alike, and our allies. This ridiculous announcement only encourages and emboldens enemies who will view this position as weak.

We had better be ready to fight hard, because these people seek our annihilation or capitulation, nothing less.

That’s the whole letter, minus the signature.

The Lion would wager that al-Qaeda and friends don’t really care about Mr. Holder’s investigation. It is, as currently constructed, petty and fairly useless, more of a sop to the progressive Democrats than a real investigation dedicated to holding accountable the entire chain of command that encouraged and enabled torture, from the White House to the CIA field agents and the contractors.

But if AQ did give a damn, they would more likely be unhappy than ‘thrilled’, as the letter writer said. AQ could not have been happier than when the United States began to torture and murder detainees. When the U.S. began torturing captives, it lost its moral authority to claim a just war and to claim that it was a better system of government, that it held the high ground morally and ethically. AQ at that point had effectively knocked the U.S. down into the gutter. AQ at that point had won a great victory over America.

Torturing people is a sign of weakness and fear. When the United States began torturing, it said to the world, “We have no faith in our values and our institutions of freedom and democracy. We are so afraid of this handful of criminal terrorists that we are throwing away those things that make us strong and resorting to the most base and evil actions mankind can commit against itself.”

As for the letter writer’s last point, that AQ and friends want to annihilate us, or force us to surrender, perhaps the last time she looked out her window she noticed the vast armies and navies of AQ storming ashore.

Sorry, lady, but AQ isn’t going to bring America down. We have politicians and corporate leaders and religious fanatics and the Republican Party that continue to do a fine job of destroying the United States. It’s people like yourself, who can see neither forest nor trees, whose reasoning processes have failed on a fundamental level, who will do a truly amazing job of annihilating America.

Chinese Taipei Wins 2009 Little League World Series
August 30, 2009

The Little League team Chinese Taipei won the Little League World Series held over the past ten days in Williamsport, PA in the United States.

The Taipei team played teams from all over the world, with the exception of the United States, which again refused to play any foreigners.

However, the Taipei team, gracious in victory, did agree to play a demonstration game against a U.S. team from Chula Vista, CA. The California team won, 6-3. Perhaps if the U.S. team had agreed to play in the international tournament, it might have won the series and could then legitimately claim to be the Little League World Champion.

Sports fans the world over hope that someday the United States Little League organization will drop its crybaby demand that it be automatically given a spot in the final every year, and will play a legitimate series.  Then the world will find out if the U.S. Little League has the moxie to become a real world champion. So far they haven’t had the guts to play in an honest tournament.

So congratulations to the Taipei team on winning the real Little League World Series and claiming the title as genuine Little League World Champions.

Tom Brady Not Such A Good Guy, Talks Arrogant Idiocy
August 26, 2009

Tom Brady, that All-American quarterback, that hero of the NFL, that epitome of the New England Patriots, that down-home all-around good guy, just cut his own legs out from under his image.

Today’s Globe sports section carries a story by Christopher L. Gasper about Brady’s contract. Brady has a sixty million dollar contract ($60,000,000 for those of you struggling to pay your mortgage, gas, electric, and medical bills). This year he will be paid about eight million dollars ($8,000,000 for those of you struggling to find a job and those recently thrown out of a job).

And what does good ol’ boy Tom have to say:

“If somebody wants to pay you more money? [Heck], I think we’re all probably underpaid, don’t you think?’’ said Brady. “We all wish we were paid more.”

Well, no, Tom, you aren’t underpaid. You and your football buddies are obscenely overpaid. You play about seven minutes of actual football once a week for sixteen weeks a year, barring playoffs. That’s the actual product you produce. Seven minutes, give or take a bit. A three hour NFL game produces about fifteen minutes of actual football play. Figure half  for the defense, half for the offense.

For that, Tommy boy, you get eight million dollars this year. And you think you’re underpaid? Families are living on the street because of what rich people who think you’re hot stuff did to this economy. People are dying from lack of health care because of what rich people are doing to health care reform. And you’re tramping around the world with your obscenely overpaid supermodel wife and blithering about being underpaid for your bullcrap career as an NFL quarterback producing seven minutes of football a week for a few months?

The Lion can’t figure out if you’ve been hit in the head too many times or not enough times.

To quote the profound judgment of wise people: “Jerk!”

For A Good Time…
August 20, 2009

visit Grumpy Squirrel.

We’re out of free Chipmunks-on-a-Stick, but other goodies are still available.

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Barney Frank Bags A Nazi Teabagger
August 19, 2009

Watch this short video over at Talking Points Memo.

It’s about time the pols started calling these people out on their idiocy.

Health Care Reform Failing? Well, Just Flog Afghanistan
August 18, 2009

Has anyone noticed that as Mr. Obama’s misbegotten plans for health care reform float gently down the toilet, he and his administration are making louder noises about Afghanistan?

Yesterday he paid a visit to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention and, among other things, had this to say:

“The insurgency in Afghanistan didn’t just happen overnight. And we won’t defeat it overnight. This will not be quick nor easy,’’ Obama said.

But, he added, “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. This is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.’’

Of course it’s pointless to note that the al Qaeda attacks could just as easily have been planned in a kitchen in The Bronx, or a den in Peoria, or a bedroom in San Diego.

Mr. Obama is channeling George W. Bush and the neocons, utterly ignoring the past eight years of disastrous American exceptionalism that’s destroyed two countries and killed hundreds of thousands of people and drained the American treasury while savaging the United States Constitution.

Health care plans failing? Change the subject. Those late night discussions at the White House have come up with the classic political solution. Gin up a war, or gin up the war you’ve got. Mr. Obama, intelligent man that he is, is playing the smart politician and the human idiot. Both roles will get a lot more people dead and America into a deeper hole on all fronts.

But that’s okay in Washington’s America, and apparently it’s okay with the tiny brains of the citizenry. It’s probably not okay with the Afghanis, living, threatened, and dead.

Of course, as long as the tactic shines up Mr. Obama’s poll numbers, it’s okay. Really, it is. It’s the American way.

Did Anyone Notice The ‘Health Insurance Mandate’?
August 18, 2009

The wingnuts on both sides of the health insurance debate as well as the ditherers in the middle have all been quiet as little mice about the fact that two of the major bills on health care reform force people to buy insurance and the third bill is leaning that way.

And if you don’t buy insurance you get forced to pay a fine.

The only people exempt from this would be poor people, whose insurance payments would be subsidized by the government.

That sounds like a good way to incentivize poverty, not to mention create it. (Insurance for a family of four in Maine runs about $20,000 a year.)

What these mandates do is force you to give your hard-earned money to insurance companies. Those companies will immediately skim twenty or thirty percent off the top to pay for obscene executive salaries and perks and huge overhead, and then they will immediately start looking for ways to deny you care when you need it. They’ll tuck those little tidbits of information in your file, keep taking your money, and then when you need health care they’ll pull out the flags and say you can’t get your money for your care because you had acne thirty years ago.

Apparently most people in the United States like that system because they seem desperate to keep it, so desperate that they’re willing to let the government force them to participate in it.

But it gets worse.

The bills also mandate (read ‘force’) businesses to pay for insurance for their employees, or pay fines.

That means that workers will get less pay and still have to fight the health insurance companies to get health care.

And it means that the businesses will be burdened with a cost that guarantees they will be at a disadvantage competing with the rest of the advanced nations (oh, say, Europe for instance) where business doesn’t labor under those added costs. The shining example is the American automobile industry, where every car carries a premium of $1500 to pay for health insurance costs. Ever wonder why the Japanese corralled the American market with better cars?

The further insanity is that all these programs depend on the good will of the insurance industry and the drug industry, the same corporate imperialists who have been screwing the people for decades, and who own most of the politicians involved in putting these bills together. And our newly minted President of Hope and Change tells us he’s made deals with them and trusts them to keep their word.

Talk about a weak sister. He came on as a community organizer, a street guy who knew his way around, a fighter for justice who could walk the walk and talk the golden talk. Turns out that not only is he not a street fighter, he’s up against the gutter fighting liars of the Republican party and he can’t handle it. All he does is back away from the confrontation, hoping they’ll decide to play nice. Health care reform needs a gutter fighter, not a piecemeal Neville Chamberlain.

As a result, here’s the deal the President and Congress think is the bee’s knees. Hand over a ton of your money to insurance companies for a song and a promise, and maybe some minimal regulation, and then Mr. Obama will claim he’s solved the health care crisis.

There’s a better way.

The government runs a couple of pretty good, but not perfect, health care programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA system for veterans. So they can do that, and have and can weed out fraud and such.

Instead of forcing citizens to hand their money over to insurance companies whose sole goal is to make as much profit as they can, why not tax citizens (at considerably less cost to the citizen than insurance premiums) and provide them with good health care through whatever is determined to be the most effective means for each person?

It’s proven cost effective, here in Medicare, and abroad in a variety of forms. It takes the anti-competitive burden off business. It relieves doctors of having to pay extra staff and spend extra time wading through differing forms and rules and regulations from dozens of insurance companies – that relief should save billions of dollars all by itself. It saves families money – they pay less up front and they don’t get socked with extra costs when sick.

It maintains freedom of choice. The citizen gets to keep his doctor, and he gets access to specialists when he needs them without having to fight some anonymous insurance bureaucratic drone. People can get sick without having to worry about going broke, or losing their home, or living in poverty the rest of their lives. And they likely will get healthier quicker because they don’t have to deal with the stress of fighting the insurance company.

Some variety of single-payer health care is the sensible and reasonable way to go. It works in the rest of the civilized world. It’s a no-brainer.

Or would be if most Americans had useful brains.

It’s ironic (no, irony isn’t dead yet) that Americans, who brag about their independent individuality, their Marlboro man psyches, are so pathetically easy to manipulate. Let the know-nothing fearmongers like Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly fling a few lies, toss around a few scare words, and those brave individualists turn into quivering, fearful mush. Let a silver-tongued orator like Obama float syllables of hope and change, and suddenly vast swaths of Americans think the world will be made right again with the wave of a wand.

The Lion thinks it’s because American education is sorely lacking the single most important element students need. Very few Americans know how to apply critical reasoning to the issues before them. Nobody ever taught them how. Without that knowledge, without applying that knowledge, Americans are easy marks for every huckster and shiny-suited demagogue that comes along.

The way things are going people will end up being forced, under law, to pay more for health insurance that provides them with subpar care whenever the corporations think they can get away with it, and the people will always be struggling financially because of this one major issue.

Go America! Rah rah rah! Idiots rule, money trumps sanity, and the Marlboro Man – well, he died of lung cancer.

To End The Taliban, Dump Thieving KBR, Hire Afghans
August 17, 2009

Interesting piece in the Globe today titled ‘The truth behind Afghan insurgency‘, by Ralph Lopez, a founder of an outfit called Jobs for Afghans.

This fellow sounds like he actually knows what he’s talking about, as opposed to the usual gang of idiots who know nothing and won’t shut up because the media pays them so well.

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Why The United States Is Doomed To Fall Hard And Apparently Real Soon
August 14, 2009

And these are the people running the country… check this post over at Girl du Jour.

American Economy: Proud Giant Or Neurotic Wimpy Loser?
August 14, 2009

Mark Weisbrot writes in The Guardian about the myths at the heart of the United States economy.

The Lion suspects we may be in for a much harder ride if the country doesn’t sort itself out, mythologically speaking.

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