Archive for June, 2010

Grumpy Lion: For Those Who Have Only Guessed, The Real Thing
June 25, 2010

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Secret photos of the real Grumpy Lion as he goes about his work slashing and biting at reality. The photos were taken at great personal risk, and can only be shown here due to the the immense contributions of a mysterious person known only as Shorty.


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A Practical Ethics For A Dying Species
June 25, 2010

This morning The Lion intended to begin work writing an Ethics for our dying species of humanity.

But screw that. In South Africa Brazil plays Portugal this morning. Humanity can go continue to screw itself for a while longer. The Lion’s got a game to watch.


June 24, 2010

Pessimism as a writing tool fails. I can’t write politics or environmental material if I am completely pessimistic. If there is no hope for changing the negativities of those two areas, then there is no point in writing about them. Unless to say there is no hope of changing their direction, but how many times can I say that. Once. Or risk repeating myself.

    I rarely write for Grumpy Lion anymore because I see no point in it. I can criticize and point out failures and errors in the subject of a piece, even suggest correctives, but I know as I write that no change will occur, that no one will hear. The politicians will continue to serve the corporations, and the environment will continue to degrade because of the actions of humans. And the two things feed into each other in a spiraling gyre (sorry Bill) that has already passed the point of no return. That the people of the Gulf of Mexico plead that deep water drilling for the oil that now and for future decades destroys their environment, that those people plead for such drilling to continue, demonstrates conclusively the short-sighted stupidity of the human race in the most graphic manner imaginable.

    They cry out, "But we have to put food on the table for our families" as the food stocks are being destroyed, some possibly forever, as the very nursery of those food stocks and the ecosystem that creates the food is destroyed before their very eyes. They cry "But we’ve always worked on oil rigs. We don’t know how to do anything else. We don’t want to do anything else. It’s good money." Any people that stupid deserve the fate of the Gulf. They sold their soul to the oil masters, have done for decades, and now the bill comes due, and they haven’t the will or the imagination or the guts to take another road.

    On a larger scale, not so dramatic, more slowly, lumbering, as it were, the human race pours greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, the atmosphere heats, the oceans heat, and the death of almost everything alive looms, but the people who could change that wring their hands and say, "But if we fix it, if we take the measures required to save the biosphere, including ourselves, from certain destruction, people will lose their jobs." The subtext, of course, is that the politicians will lose their cushy jobs sucking in public dollars and corporate dollars (which are, of course, dollars the public pays for the products the corporations produce).

    There is no genuine will on the part of the human race to face, to address, to solve the problem, even though the means are available. Off Cape Cod, in the ocean, a plan for building a wind farm has been stalled for nine years by people whose entire argument against it boils down to "It will spoil the view." They are willing to die for the view of an empty ocean. They are willing to participate in killing millions just so they can have a view. The most pampered, privileged, immature nation in the world, the nation that uses the most resources, that wreaks the most destruction on the biosphere and on the people of earth, just can’t bring itself to face reality. Its people would rather whine about the view than lift a finger to save themselves and the earth, while its gutless politicians and its enfeebled political system go along with the madness.

    Politicians talk about weaning the nation off of ‘foreign’ oil, but they speak not one word about cutting the use of oil. They have spoken not one word about reducing speed limits on the highways. Not one word about banning the construction and sale of gas-guzzling vehicles. Not one word about heating homes at lower temperatures in the winter. No, the political mantra is ‘Drill at home, drill at home for oil, drill at home for gas, drill in the Arctic for oil, and burn coal’, all the while watching the Gulf of Mexico die in order to feed the stupidity and ego and emotional immaturity of Americans.

    Nor is one word spoken about limiting population growth, about cutting down on the sheer number of humans inhabiting the earth. The happy technologists say, "We can feed billions more. We’ll just tweak a few corn and rice genes. No problem." For a profit, of course, and completely ignoring that we cannot feed the people living on earth today. They speak of a warming earth opening up more land to cultivation, ignoring the land that turns to desert at the same time, while other land is flooded and washed into a dying ocean.

    The current president talks about green jobs and a green economy, but he allocates hundreds of billions of dollars for a useless war on the other side of the world for reasons that, as soon as they drip from his mouth, or from the mouths of all the other politicians who support the Afghanistan idiocy, mark him as a complete fool. Hundreds of billions for a stupid war, and a pittance for the economy at home, a pittance for environmental changes that could well save humanity from its ongoing suicide.  One had only to listen to him yesterday sternly extolling the war, listen to him and know that he has no clue about reality, about what is important and what is not important.

    And so, pessimism. A writer cannot write about these things from such a sense of absolute pessimism. And there is little hope to be found in the citizenry. On the right, the wolves of ignorance and reaction and stupidity scream for a return to something that never existed and that exists today only in their narrow imaginations. On the left, the educated drown any possible movement in a sea of nuance instead of storming the doors of Congress, the halls of corporations, the offices of small-minded politicians. And in the middle, in the middle there is only a vast gaping-mouthed sea of uninformed apprehension and anxiety and an unwillingness to face the deeper reality of existence, because that deeper reality is nothing more than the destruction of civilization and of life itself.

    Humans are arrogant in their stupidity, or stupid in their arrogance. They think they can make a tweak here, a tweak there, and that their boundless optimism and wishful thinking will turn the environment around and all can be as it was. They never stop to consider that the environment does not care, nor that if it did care then humans would be the most hated species on the face of the planet and would be hunted to extinction. But the environment, the biosphere, the laws of physics, there is no caring there, there is no feeling there, no emotion. There is only law and justice. Put in a ton of excess carbon dioxide and the atmosphere will heat in proportion. Put a ton of excess carbon dioxide into the ocean and it will acidify accordingly, destroying the food chain that supports life on earth.

    The best science estimates that if we stopped pouring gasses into the atmosphere now, today, it would be a thousand years before the earth would recover. If you start a boulder rolling downhill, it will keep on going, destroying everything in its mindless path until the acting forces equalize and it stops.

    Consider that the human species has not reduced its activities one bit in all the time that the global warming problem has been realized, that it shows no willingness to do anything other than keep pushing the boulder off the top of the hill, and then, ladies and gentlemen, then try to speak of optimism, realistic optimism, not the wishful thinking that passes for reality among humans.

    There is none of the real thing to be had. It has been bled out of reality just as the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico bleeds death into reality.


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American Terror
June 24, 2010

June 25, 2009 

Longtime white supremacist Dennis Mahon and his brother Daniel are indicted in Arizona in connection with a mail bomb sent in 2004 to a diversity office in Scottsdale that injured three people. Mahon, formerly tied to the neo-Nazi White Aryan Resistance (WAR) group, allegedly left a phone message at the office saying that “the White Aryan Resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There’s a few white people who are standing up.” In a related raid, agents search the Indiana home of Tom Metzger, founder of WAR, but he is not arrested. On the same day, white supremacist Robert Joos is arrested in rural Missouri, apparently because phone records show that Dennis Mahon’s first call after the mail bombing was to Joos’ cell phone. Joos is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. 

The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

Republican Conservatives: ‘Stop The Nigger, Stomp The People!’
June 17, 2010

Republican conservatives in the House of Representatives, operating under the banner of something called the Republican Study Committee, which might more properly be called the Republican Hate Committee, released the following statement yesterday:

We all agree that BP should be held fully responsible for its complicity in the oil tragedy in the Gulf," said Chairman [Georgia Republican Tom] Price. "In fact, BP has already begun paying claims. Any attempt by the company to sidestep that responsibility should be met with the strongest legal recourses available. However, in an administration that appears not to respect fundamental American principles, it is important to note that there is no legal authority for the President to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account.

BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.

The Federal government, in the person of President Barack Obama, persuaded BP to set aside a minimum of twenty billion dollars, under the control of neither the government nor the corporation, to pay for the horrific damage BP has caused in the Gulf of Mexico, thus avoiding tying up the matter in the courts for decades, as Exxon did with the Exxon Valdez incident, and guaranteeing that the people and lands hurt by BP’s reckless and negligent behavior will be recompensed for what happened to them, to their livelihoods, to their country, and still the Republicans, who will tell you over and over how profound is their concern for the country and the people, accuse the President of playing a cheap political game, and that BP should only have to answer in court for its actions, a process that would simply take more decades and absolutely guarantee the complete destruction of the Gulf as a place to live and work.

The Republicans are insane. The fact that they support idiots like Sharron Angle, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, and Rand Paul, among others, has already shown that they have lost contact with reality.

Yesterday’s statement makes it clear that nothing Mr. Obama does will satisfy their blood lust against him. If he had been a Republican holding BP’s feet to the fire (an unlikely scenario, given Republican love of big business and hatred of working people), these fools would be cheering. The Lion suspects that if a white Democratic President had done what Mr. Obama did yesterday with BP, the Republicans would give at least grudging approval.

But no. Mr. Obama is a black man, or in Republicanspeak, a nigger. And that just upsets their pasty white asses so much that they have to crap on everything he does. They would rather the people of the Gulf spent the next two or three decades in the courts fighting for a pittance than see a nigger get credit for doing the right thing by fighting for those people.

Racial hatred is in the blood of the Republicans. They can no longer help themselves, and they are willing, given the people they’re putting forward through the Tea Party, as well as the statements, non-statements, and actions of their leaders, to tear the country apart to make sure that the only people who can hold office are white, and incompetent, and completely ideological, and willing to drag the country back into the ante-bellum nineteenth century.

It’s ironic that the blackest thing in the country these days is the heart of the Republicans.


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Kuttner On Financial Meltdown Blame: He Says It Ain’t So
June 14, 2010

Robert Kuttner takes on the right wing’s vicious campaign of blaming the housing crisis and the financial meltdown on moderate income homeowners.

It ain’t them, he says, and shows who the real villains were. And surprise! surprise!, it’s not the folks the right wingers are blaming.

Read all about it at Huffington Post.


American Terror
June 14, 2010

June 10, 1999

Officials arrest Alabama plumber Chris Scott Gilliam, a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, after he attempts to purchase 10 hand grenades from an undercover federal agent. Gilliam, who months earlier paraded in an extremist T-shirt in front of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s offices in Montgomery, tells agents he planned to send mail bombs to targets in Washington, D.C. Agents searching his home find bomb-making manuals, white supremacist literature and an assault rifle. Gilliam pleads guilty to federal firearms charges and is sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is released in early 2008.

The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge
June 11, 2010

The Lion would like to freely acknowledge stealing this little gem from Maureen Holland’s blog, Whatever Works. She apparently cheerfully stole it from somewhere else. It’s a good thing to steal.


The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

● Social Security
● Medicare/Medicaid
● State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
● Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
● US Postal Service
● Roads and Highways
● Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
● The US Railway System
● Public Subways and Metro Systems
● Public Bus and Light rail Systems
● Rest Areas on Highways
● Sidewalks
● All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations
● Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
● Public and State Universities and Colleges
● Public Primary and Secondary Schools
● Sesame Street
● Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
● Public Museums
● Libraries
● Public Parks and Beaches
● State and National Parks
● Public Zoos
● Unemployment Insurance
● Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
● Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty        much all of them)
● Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
● Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
● Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD’s ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
● Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
● Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
● If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C. I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
● Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
● The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
● The government-operated Statue of Liberty
● The Grand Canyon
● The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
● The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
● All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF ____________ IN THE YEAR ______________.

___________________________ ___________________________
Signed Printed Name/Town and State


American Terror
June 11, 2010

June 8, 2008

Six people, most of them tied to the militia movement, are arrested in rural north-central Pennsylvania after officials find stockpiles of assault rifles, improvised explosives and homemade weapons, at least some of them apparently intended for terrorist attacks on U.S. officials. Agents find 16 homemade bombs during a search of the residence of Pennsylvania Citizens Militia recruiter Bradley T. Kahle, who allegedly tells authorities that he intended to shoot black people from a rooftop in Pittsburgh and also predicts civil war if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton are elected president. A raid on the property of Morgan Jones results in the seizure of 73 weapons, including a homemade flame thrower, a machine that supposedly shot bolts of electricity, and an improvised cannon. Also arrested and charged with weapons violations are Marvin E. Hall, his girlfriend Melissa Huet and Perry Landis. Landis, who is to be sentenced in late 2009, allegedly tells undercover agents he wanted to kill Gov. Ed Rendell. Hall is sentenced to more than two years.

June 10, 2005

Daniel J. Schertz, a former member of the North Georgia White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is indicted in Chattanooga, Tenn., on federal weapons charges for allegedly making seven pipe bombs and selling them to an undercover informant with the idea that they would be used to murder Mexican and Haitian immigrant workers. The informant says Schertz demonstrated how to attach the pipe bombs to cars, then sold him bombs that Schertz expected to be used against a group of Haitians and, separately, Mexican workers on a bus headed to work in Florida. Schertz eventually pleads guilty to six charges — including teaching how to make an explosive device; making, possessing and transferring destructive devices; and possessing a pistol with armor-piercing bullets — and is sentenced to 14 years in prison. He is to be released in 2017.

June 12, 2009

Shawna Forde — the executive director of Minutemen American Defense (MAD), an anti-immigrant vigilante group that conducts “citizen patrols” on the Arizona-Mexico border — is charged with two counts of first degree murder for her alleged role in the slayings of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Ariz. Forde allegedly orchestrated the May 30 home invasion because she believed the man was a narcotics trafficker and wanted to steal drugs and cash to fund her group. Authorities say the murders, including the killing of the child, were part of the plan. Also arrested and charged with murder are the alleged triggerman, MAD Operations Director Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, a local member of MAD. Authorities say that Bush had ties to the neo- Nazi Aryan Nations in Idaho, and that Forde has spoken of recruiting its members.

The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

America’s Rugged Individuals… Not!
June 7, 2010

There’s a lengthy piece by Claude Fischer in yesterday’s Globe about America’s myth of rugged individualism and rugged individuals.

Turns out Americans are a bunch of conformist wusses. Which would explain the mass hysteria favoring the drunken Joe McCarthy and the cult of Reagan, who planned through astrology and went senile in office while starting the country down the road to today’s financial and environmental disasters.

The article is based on decades-long sociological surveys of dozens of nations by the International Social Survey Programme, and the World Value Surveys.

Some of the findings:

Americans are much more likely than Europeans to say that employees should follow a boss’s orders even if the boss is wrong;

to say that children “must” love their parents;

and to believe that parents have a duty to sacrifice themselves for their children.

We are more likely to defer to church leaders and to insist on abiding by the law.

Though Americans do score high on a couple of aspects of individualism, especially where it concerns government intervening in the market, in general we are likelier than Europeans to believe that individuals should go along and get along.

The Lion would add that the more wrong the boss is, the more fanatic is his support. George W. Bush and Ronnie Reagan were wrong about just about everything, but their followers want them canonized.

Research suggests that Americans do adhere to a particular strain of liberty — one that emerged in the New World — in which freedom to choose your allegiance is tempered by the expectation that you won’t stray from the values of the group you choose.

Yup, American groupthink masquerading as rugged individualism. “Yup, yup, I’m a rugged individual. As long as my group says it’s okay.”

Their findings suggest that in several major areas, Americans are clearly less individualistic than western Europeans. One topic pits individual conscience against the demands of the state. In 2006, the ISSP asked the question “In general, would you say that people should obey the law without exception, or are there exceptional occasions on which people should follow their consciences even if it means breaking the law?”

At 45 percent, Americans were the least likely out of nine nationalities to say that people should at least on occasion follow their consciences — far fewer than, for example, the Swedes (70 percent) and the French (78 percent).

Similarly, in 2003, Americans turned out to be the most likely to embrace the statement “People should support their country even if the country is in the wrong.”

That would tend to explain half the country’s embrace of waterboarding as a benign form of interrogation. Or maybe all those rugged individualists on the Republican Tea Party side of the country are just so terrified of terrorists, or anybody with skin that isn’t pasty white, that they can justify hiring people to commit the ugliest forms of brutality on human beings that the mind of man can generate. (Those hirelings would be CIA agents and various other agents of the United States government.)

The nature of individualism is complex, however, and there are at least a couple of ways that Americans in the ISSP and similar surveys do appear more individualistic than Europeans. For one, Americans are usually the most likely to say that individuals determine their own fates. What happens to you is your own doing, not the product of external circumstances. For Americans, things are the way they are because individuals made choices.

That’s the choice the Republicans and the Libertarians make, and it goes a long way towards explaining their view that people always choose to be homeless, that people who get sick (because they choose to, of course) aren’t entitled to health care, and why ketchup is a vegetable. Their motto: “Extremism in defense of what I got is a damned virtue and if you expect me to pay taxes on it I’ll shoot your sorry hide.” That’s what Republicans and their pals call ‘personal responsibility’.

The article also notes, “Americans are the most hostile to having the government redress economic inequality” and “Americans seem much more willing to submerge personal liberty to the group than Europeans are.”

The article goes on to note that American individualism seems to be a matter of contracts. A person is individually free to sign on with any group he chooses, be it a job, a social club, a political party, but once signed on he is obligated to conform to the group, and he is also free to leave.

Of course conformity is so much easier, particularly in a country that chooses to put so much of itself under the thumb of the most authoritarian, conformist organizations in history – religions. And when the religions of choice are as vile, as anti-freedom, anti-liberty, and anti-American as American fundogelical religions choose to be, you can bet conformity is and will remain the rule in America.

Interesting, isn’t it, how real individualism and real critical thinking thrives in Europe and Scandinavia where religion is dying, while America, home of the cancer-ridden Marlboro Man, home of John Wayne hypocrisy, the new home of waterboarding and endless mass war against tiny threats, yes, America, where individuality is crushed and Soviet-style conformity is exalted, is the true paradise of religious arrogance and ignorance.

And for those of you who want to chant ‘Love it or leave it’ at The Lion, thank you for making my point, though inelegantly and ineloquently. All together now…


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