Archive for February, 2011

Mikey Weinstein To Speak In Las Vegas February 27
February 24, 2011

Mikey Weinstein, head of the hard-charging Military Religious Freedom Foundation, will be talking about the national security threat posed by the evangelical trends in the military.

He’ll be at the Rio Hotel Sunday in Las Vegas. The talk begins at 2 p.m. Details are at the web site.

The MRFF just won a battle in the continuing war against fundogelical corruption of the military. Read about it at their site.

Sunday’s event is free. If you’re in the neighborhood stop in.

 

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American Terror
February 23, 2011

February 23, 1998  East St. Louis, IL

Three men with links to a Ku Klux Klan group are arrested near East St. Louis, Ill., on weapons charges. The three, along with three other men arrested later, formed a group called The New Order, patterned on a 1980s terror group called The Order (a.k.a. the Silent Brotherhood) that carried out assassinations and armored car heists. New Order members plotted to assassinate a federal judge and civil rights lawyer Morris Dees, blow up the Southern Poverty Law Center that Dees co-founded and other buildings, poison water supplies and rob banks. Wallace Weicherding, one of the men, came to a 1997 Dees speech with a concealed gun but turned back rather than pass through a metal detector. In the end, all six plead guilty or are convicted of weapons charges, drawing terms of up to seven years in federal prison. New Order leader Dennis McGiffen is released in 2004, the last of the six to regain his freedom.

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

A New Rule For Lawmaking…
February 22, 2011

When the Republicans marched into Congress with their shiny new majority they made a rule that all bills had to state what part of the Constitution justified the bill.

Of course as soon as John “Cash” Boehner discovered the rule was inconvenient for his usual duplicitous activities, he canned it.

It was dumb to begin with, for any number of reasons, three high on the list being that most Republicans have a) no idea what the Constitution says and b) no clue about how the document relates to the real world that sane people have to live in and c) no idea what the document means in particular nor what it means to have a Constitution. And then there’s that little inconvenience about the courts deciding the constitutionality of laws.

The Lion suggests a different attachment for each bill.

Every bill should have a clear, plain-English statement of the facts and evidence, from reliable and independent sources, which support the need for the bill. Legitimate counter evidence must also be included.

Think about it: laws built on the best available independent  knowledge instead on the mindless, cash-induced ramblings of James Inhofe and Joe Barton.

Naturally the Luddite know-nothings in Congress will fight that tooth and nail (those would be the Republicans for anyone not paying attention).

The Republicans would rather beat women back into the Stone Age, kiss CEO ass for cash, kill everything that lives in the ocean, and enable, for oil cash, the end of humanity. Oh, and kick Obama’s ass back to the Kenyan ghetto from which he crawled.

Yup, facts and evidence really don’t fit into their plans.

A Must Read, But Take Your Meds First
February 21, 2011

Over at Common Dreams Robert Freeman lays out the insanity that we live in.

A little taste:

Let’s be clear. It was the Republicans who wrecked the economy. Both their people and their policies drove the economy into the ditch. They wrecked the economy not once, but twice in the last eighty years.

So Republicans condescending to instruct Americans about how to fix the economy is like the captain of the Titanic lecturing shipping operators about safe procedures for navigating the north Atlantic. No sane society would tolerate it. But this one does.

And then it gets better and better… He’s way better than The Lion at this.

Speak, O Mighty Democrats, Speak!
February 20, 2011

Drew Westen, one of The Lion’s favorite political analysts, writes in the March issue of The American Prospect that the Democrats need to learn to speak politics the way the Neanderthals on the Right speak it.

The deathly penchant that Progressives have for nuance just has to go, and it has to be replaced by language that works in the emotionally real world of politics.

He offers as examples the following statements that Democrats ought to be putting out there to the electorate. Compare these to the mealy-mouthed, sleepy mush that John Kerry offered during his campaign (if you can remember anything  he said).

I want to see the words ‘Made in America’ again.

Millionaires and billionaires should be giving to charity, not getting it.

We stand with the working- and middle-class Americans and the small businesses that create two-thirds of the jobs in this country. They stand with the millionaires and CEOs and big businesses that ship our jobs overseas.

It’s time politicians stopped running for or against government and started running it well.

And for those with the extra lung power…

I want to see the words “Made in America” again. Reclaiming our place as the world’s leader in manufacturing and agriculture isn’t just essential to our economic strength; it’s essential to our national security. Imagine if we had fought World War II without manufacturing plants and American-grown food. It’s time we negotiate trade agreements that lift up American workers, not bring down their pay and benefits to the levels workers in Mexico and China receive. It’s time we stop rewarding companies that ship our jobs overseas, and stop giving tax breaks to companies that shelter their money offshore. It’s time we stop giving money to the big banks that are strangling small businesses, which are the engine of economic growth and job creation. It’s time we manufacture the clean, safe energies of the 21st century, like wind and solar power, so we don’t have to depend on other countries for fuel. We’ve led every technological revolution of the last century, and there’s no reason we can’t lead this one. It’s time we balance free trade with fair trade, so that the working people who contribute to the creation of wealth share in it.

Those all strike The Lion as statements far closer to genuine, strong, and honest American values than the nonsense the Right and its handmaidens in the media keep vomiting forth.

Any guesses about when the timid little Democrats will get enough spine and smarts to say these things and stand up to the Boehnerian loudmouths of greed and sellout?

Not soon, The Lion would wager.

Got Klout?
February 19, 2011

Yesterday’s Globe featured an article by Beth Teitell on the growing practice of measuring the influence of Twitter as a means of ranking fellow humans. Social Darwinism rears its ugly head once more, in perhaps the silliest manner imaginable. The lead said:

After Valentina Monte accepts a date, the Boston University junior quickly goes online to see how many Twitter followers her suitor has. She checks her own follower count three times a day. When she meets someone who admits to following more people than follow him, she judges. “That means you’re a loser.’’

Klout score? Learn it or, as Monte would say, be judged. Klout.com is one of a number of new status-measuring tools aimed at making social networking more like high school than it already is.

The Lion supposes that for now Ms. Monte does not lack for dates, but The Lion is the sort who would laugh in her face at the sheer absurdity of her life. In fact, if The Lion were drinking coffee at the time she mentioned Twittering and Klout and dating, she would find herself bathed in an explosion of coffee.

Can life get any shallower?

Apparently it can.

“A credit score for your reputation,’’ is how Dave Wieneke, director of digital marketing at Sokolove Law, in Boston, describes the Klout score.

Garth Holsinger, vice president of global sales and business development at the San Francisco-based Klout, sees the desperation on a daily basis. “People call and say, ‘I work in social media, and I’m going to lose my job if my score doesn’t rise.’ We get celebrity managers asking how they can get their clients’ scores higher. We get people who are literally crying because their Klout score went down.’’

And corporations, which, despite their greed and amorality, we count on to maintain some measure of sanity, are going along with this silliness.

Indeed, the Klout score has already jumped from the online world into the real one. As Advertising Age wrote in September: “Need a Reservation? That Could Depend on How Big You are on Twitter (Really).’’

Would you want to do business with a company that judges you on this most ridiculous standard?

There is some snob value, of course, but The Lion suspects that hanging out with this Shankman fellow mentioned below would shortly make a sane being long for a lengthy session of watching a Chia pet grow.

Of course, no one enjoys being kept behind the virtual velvet rope. When the corporate sponsors of a holiday party hosted by social media entrepreneur Peter Shankman invited many guests based on Klout scores, the snubbed were not happy. Shankman expected “whiners,’’ he wrote on his blog, and he did get complaints. “They’re stomping their little feet.’’ If they want to be seen as more influential, he said later, “they need to post more interesting, more engaging things.’’

Welcome to the modern age of man, where your value as a person is measured by the number of people you don’t know who for a few seconds engage your name in an ephemeral electronic space apparently populated by people with the attention span and intellect of an insane two-year-old suffering major attention deficit disorder.

These are the people who will have to deal with global warming, major economic dislocations, war, global hunger, predatory politicians, and all the rest of it.

The Lion senses some difficulty ahead…

Republicans Defy Reality… Again… And Again… And Again
February 17, 2011

We already know that the Republicans don’t care for facts or evidence or logic or critical thinking (all of which give them serious migraines), but it has become increasingly evident that reality escapes them too (or that they have escaped reality).

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, commenting on the union busting tactics of the new Republican governor of that state, noted “…he’s getting, you know, riots. It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days.”

No, Paulie, those are legal, peaceful demonstrations of dissent. Nobody has come close to rioting.

And it’s all bogus anyway:

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state’s fiscal bureau — the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — concluded that Wisconsin isn’t even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

Good Republican strategy: slash taxes to cripple government and then blame the workers so you can crush them for the benefit of your rich corporate golfing buddies.

Over in Montana State Representative Joe Reed introduced a bill declaring that climate change is “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.” The bill further says:

…global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it, and that reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment.

These guys won’t believe anything bad about carbon dioxide until their children choke to death on it or on its effects.

And then there’s the Fright Queen of The North, Michele Bachmann, interviewed by George Stephanopoulos, spewing the Republican party echo about Barack Obama’s birth certificate:

Stephanopoulos: Do you believe it?

Bachmann: When the president makes his statements I think they need to stand for their own.

Stephanopoulos: But he has said it very clearly, I’m just asking if you believe it.

Bachmann: Well I think we should take the president at his word.

Then say he’s an American citizen, you mealy-mouthed, ugly witch!

A list of Republican crackerjack toys would not be complete without some cracked thought from one of the most amoral, corrupt minds in America, Karl Rove:

In Karl Rove’s mind, the White House is really the one to blame for the continued birther hysteria. "This is the White House strategy, they love this," he said. "Look, the President could come out and say ‘Here are the documents,’ but they are happy to have this controversy continue."

Yeah, Karl, the White House created Orly Taitz and the whole Republican birther apparat just to keep jerks like you and Mad Beck and Hacksaw Hannity and Lardbrain Limbaugh blithering inanities and lies day after day. 

And finally (for today anyway) we have Johnny “Cash” Boehner defending Republican plans to throw more working people out of their jobs:

"I don’t want anyone to lose their job, whether they’re a federal employee or not," Boehner said. "But come on! We’re broke! We’ve got to make tough decisions."

Before House appropriators unveiled their spending legislation, I checked in with other Republicans about the job impact of various proposed spending cuts, and for the most part they dodged the empirical question. The private sector would swoop in to catch people whose jobs were eliminated, they contended.

Other economists estimate that the spending cuts, as proposed, would cost almost 1 million people their jobs — both in and out of government.

Did you catch that about the private sector? Memo to the Republicans: The goddam private sector isn’t fucking hiring, you brain dead, arrogant, treasonous bastards!

And these are supposed to be the smart Republicans, the leaders, the future of America.

Yo! Check, please!

John “Cash” Boehner: Too Stupid To Govern?
February 16, 2011

Boehner: “The government can’t create jobs.”

Boehner: "In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs," Boehner said. "If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We’re broke."

Which is it, John?

In the first instance he was simply, stupidly wrong. Obviously the government creates jobs. If it didn’t then the work of government wouldn’t get done and the corporations would get away with killing lots more people than they kill now.

In the second instance Boehner simply lied. The net increase in government jobs since 2002 is twenty thousand, according to the Washington Post and the Office of Management and Budget.

But what can we expect from Boehner, a man whose competency extends only to raising money from his wealthy golfing buddies, who distributed lobbyist cash on the floor of the House, and who cares not a bit about American workers?

 

American Terror
February 13, 2011

February 13, 2003 PA

PA  Federal agents in Pennsylvania arrest David Wayne Hull, imperial wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and an adherent of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology, alleging that Hull arranged to buy hand grenades to blow up abortion clinics. The FBI says Hull also illegally instructed followers on how to build pipe bombs. Hull, who published a newsletter in which he urged readers to write Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh “to tell this great man goodbye,” is found guilty of weapons violations and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. He is to be released in 2012.

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

American Terror
February 8, 2011

February 8, 2002 Flathead County, MT

The leader of a militia-like group known as Project 7 and his girlfriend are arrested after an informant tells police the group is plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officers in order to kick off a revolution. David Burgert, who has a record for burglary and is already wanted for assaulting police officers, is found in the house of girlfriend Tracy Brockway along with an arsenal that includes pipe bombs and 25,000 rounds of ammunition. Also found are “intel sheets” with personal information about law enforcement officers, their spouses and children. Although officials are convinced the Project 7 plot was real, Burgert ultimately is convicted only of weapons charges and draws a seven-year sentence; he is to be released in 2010. Six others are also convicted of or plead guilty to weapons charges. Brockway gets a suspended sentence for harboring a fugitive, but is sent to prison for violating its terms. She is released in early 2008.

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