Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Ministry of Information Retrieval

Mojo gave me some flack in the comments section about my take on the ARDA project to resurrect the ghostly revenant of Total Information Awareness inside the National Security Agency.

My reading of the document seems entirely disconnected from TIA.

While it does not explicitly deny or prohibit homeland spying, it seems more concerned overall mainly with how analysts approach intelligence.

It looks like I have some of the professionals following this story coming down on my side of the argument, though... see this article over at Banned by CENTCOM for the goods by George Paine (writing in response to an Associated Press article).

The AP notes that many of the researchers who worked at the Information Awareness Office on Total Information Awareness have also worked at ARDA, and now again work at ARDA. Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists says "The whole congressional action looks like a shell game. There may be enough of a difference for them to claim TIA was terminated while for all practical purposes the identical work is continuing."

Yeah, the phrase "shell game" is exactly correct here. Congratulations, citizens— you've just been taken in the oldest grift ever. You rule! We suck! Huzzah!

Instead of it being a DARPA project, it's the NSA now. You'll never kill it there.

Things You Don't Hear About On American Talk Radio

Now, that would be a Jeopardy category I would enjoy playing.

Check out this piece in the Guardian Unlimited, headlined Spy case casts fresh doubt on war legality.

Dramatic new evidence pointing to serious doubts in the government about the legality of the war in Iraq was passed to government lawyers shortly before they abandoned the prosecution of the GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun.

The prosecution offered no evidence yesterday against Ms Gun, a former GCHQ employee, despite her admitting that she leaked information about an American spying operation at the UN in the run-up to the war.

She said she acted to try to prevent Britain illegally invading Iraq. But the prosecution at the Old Bailey said there was no "realistic prospect" of convicting her. She was arrested nearly a year ago and charged eight months later under the Official Secrets Act.

The leading prosecutor, Mark Ellison, said it would not be "appropriate" to go into the reasons for dropping the case.

The Guardian, of course, thinks it knows what were the reasons. Are you hearing about this in the United States? No. Our press is like the Ministry of Truth here.

Re: Cometh the Dominionists

One of the things that really gets under my skin is the theology of most Dominionists lacks any critical rigor or consistency. Trying to impose the legal code of a ancient tribal culture from thousands of years ago as some guide to modern liberal democratic society? It is completely without merit to suggest that the founding generation, whose primary inspiration in political thought was the Enlightenment, embraced or attempted to create a nation based on Old Testament legal codes. Nothing they wrote, personally or in the Constitution itself, supports this idea.

This is not hard to figure out. The colonists were overwhelmingly Christian, but in so many different denominations, with theologies so radically different, that the term "Christian" in this context is devoid of meaning. These differences in interpretation of what Christianity really meant provoked centuries of bloodshed. You'd be hard pressed to find any conflict prior to WWI more viscous, cruel and destructive than the Thirty Years War. A conflict fought, in part, over differences in theology that most Christians today don't give a second thought. Arguments over the Petrin succession, or the use of icons, to name a few, could get you tortured to death in Europe. That is why the framers deliberately tried to keep religion out of the political system, and protected it's free exercise at the same time. It takes a level of mendacious Hitler level brain twisting to suggest the Framers wanted some kind of Old Testament society, enforcing dietary laws and social arrangments that were antiquated even to them.

It seems like they are trying to wipe out two thousand years of Western Civilization, particularly the evolution of ethical and moral philosophy that separated itself from Christian thought centuries ago. But even more bizarre, has anyone realized that the legal code of the Old Testament did not create a particularly well governed society? In fact, even a literal interpretation of the Bible, shows Pre-Dispora Hebrew society as a people with a dysfunctional political system, and a society with profound ethnophobia.
The great contribution of that society was their spiritual legacy and the resilience and cultural unity it provided through numerous invasions, (Egyptian, Philistine, Sea Peoples, Babylon, Assyrian, Macedonian, to name a few), and through societal conflict that split the Hebrew Kingdom of Solomon into two separate states.

The devotion of Dominionists to Old testament Law, and their disturbing return to, no shit, the Christian theology of the medieval period is also bizarre. Particularly, and this is one of my favorite peeves, in it's war on Empirical Science. The system of thought being pimped by Robertson and that crowd actually embraces the idea that something written by someone(s) three or four thousand years ago, meant to consider the spiritual ideas of an ancient culture, is a better method for describing the physical universe than what we can observe and prove empirically.

Is anyone else struck blind and dumb by the intergalactic irony of these ideas coming to prominence in a society that has built it's economic and cultural fortunes on technology?

We need to move the debate, at least in part, to the theology level. What they actually profess to believe is so obviously demented once you trot it out in the light of day.

I still want the animation of the Lincoln statue..


Our good friends at Democratic Underground are prounouncing the Federal Marriage Amendment as dead on arrival; not with speculation, but with a hard nose count in the Senate...

These are official finds through the press or the senators offices. These are not speculation. It looks like the bill is DEAD. This should be forwarded to the news agencies. Let them start talking about it.
34 confirmed:
Chafee (R)
Collins (R)
Hagel (R)
Lugar (R)
McCain (R)
Snowe (R)
Campbell (R)
Alexander (R)

If this is to be believed -- and Oxblog has a similar count, although with a total of 31 against -- then it looks like this nice piece of political distraction might soon be behind us...

So what has the Bush team been doing while we have all be wringing our hands about the FMA...

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"You see this chase is hotly followed friends..."

Associated Press reports that the Congress took up discussion on a quaint little piece of legislation called the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" today. (Senate bill is S. 146

(Both originally aired in 2003, and are now back on calender)

Colloquialy known as "Laci and Connor's Law" regarding the horrible death and subsequent blood-soaked media circus surrounding Laci Peterson and her unborn son Connor, this has the earmarks of the congressional right's next move in the culture war.

Opponents of the bill argued that it was a thinly veiled move to advance the anti-abortion agenda by giving even a fertilized egg the same rights as the mother. The bill defines "unborn child" as "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."

Apparently, Zoe Lofgren of California offered up an alternative that would increase penalties on attacks against women that interfere with pregnancies but would not confer legal person status on fetuses.

The White House is getting into the act, apparently instructing its various piss-ant footsoldiers in the House to not accept the Lofgren compromise and pass him a bill he can sign.

After some cursory searches, it would appear that the GOP in the House are playing this one cool...just one of these numbnuts...John Boozman, Arkansas 3rd, stepped up to run some weak-ass smack...

H.R. 1997, which I cosponsored, states that anyone who in the act of violent crime causes the death of, or bodily injury to, a child who is in utero shall be guilty of a separate offense. The bill would establish a punishment equal to that had the injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother, even if the perpetrator did not know the victim was pregnant. By providing the same protections to an unborn child as we would a human being, we unequivocally state that a crime against an unborn child is just as wrong as a crime against you or I.

To look at it, the appearance is that of just more generic CO2 emission from another GOP back-bencher gasbag... "blah, blah, tough on crime, yada, yada, prevent hideous blood drinking cultists from blah, blah, blah..."

But for those playing along at home, you certain recognize the issue here. This will be a specific legislative refutation of the primary notion of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), namely that:

Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer. [410 U.S. 113, 160]

Well, sorry Justice Blackmun, it looks like this slopeheaded swamp-dwelling throw-back from Arkansas has placed the scientific, theocratic, philosophic and legal question beyond dispute...

And end run around Constitutionally protected rights by digging up the grave of a horrbily murdered young woman and unborn child and parading their corpses through the public square for political gain. Terrible!

This is a move in a great game of chess, and this is not happening in a vacuum.

This is just one in a series of pieces of legislation that has been spurred by a sudden fit of regulatory tourettes syndrome on the part of the Market Fundamentalists and Dominionists.

Any more comments? Any ideas on how we oppose this?

Cometh the Dominionists...

Props to the good folks at The Yurica Report for doing the heavy lifting on this one...

It's a long read, but well done and spells out the danger pretty accurately (and the "Sacred Heart" George Bush monogram at the top is priceless).

Here is a snippet:

As Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court explained a few months later, the Bible teaches and Christians believe “… that government …derives its moral authority from God. Government is the ‘minister of God’ with powers to ‘revenge,’ to ‘execute wrath,’ including even wrath by the sword…”[3]
George W. Bush began to wield the sword of God’s revenge with relish from the beginning of his administration, but most of us missed the sword play. I have taken the liberty to paraphrase an illustration from Leo Strauss, the father of the neo-conservative movement, which gives us a clue of how the hiding is done:

“One ought not to say to those whom one wants to kill, ‘Give me your votes, because your votes will enable me to kill you and I want to kill you,’ but merely, ‘Give me your votes,’ for once you have the power of the votes in your hand, you can satisfy your desire.”

Yes, yes...leave it to the wit and wisdom of Leo Strauss to give the Dominionists their play book


This really is concerning me very much now. We have a bonafide national movement with inside-the-beltway resources and capital and an agenda that includes running everyone I know and love into the sea or into the camps...

This is unacceptable!

Part of the problem is that a lot of people on the left, and in the current opposition parties did not heed the warnings of folk like s9 and myself, and the learned critiques of the likes of Sara Diamond when we saw that Ralph Reed and his incubus overlord Pat Robertson embarked on their little political strategy...

Now we are starting to see the fruits of that strategy. Quite simply, these people have declared a war on America and Americans.

And in case anyone is wondering, I am in fact a Christian and these people have very little to do with the God I was brought up to praise and rely on...

I am not talking about decent, normal God-fearing Christians. I have no problem with you Atticus...

I am talking about the ones with the bloodless, glazed over "Prophets of the Carribean" know, those who talk about goin' down to the "10/40"

Significantly, Dominionism is a form of Social Darwinism.[48] It inherently includes the religious belief that wealth-power is a sign of God’s election. That is, out of the masses of people and the multitude of nations—wealth, in and of itself, is thought to indicate God’s approval on men and nations whereas poverty and sickness reflect God’s disapproval. The roots of the idea come from a natural twist of an Old Testament passage, which I discuss below. Essentially there were two elements necessary to establish Dominionism among Christians who previously believed helping the poor was a mandate of Christianity.[49]
First, Old Testament law had to be accepted as an essential part of a Christian’s theology.
Secondly, the Christian had to undergo a second conversion-like experience that went beyond being born again and demanded not only a commitment to reestablishing the Old Testament legal structure but required the implementation of that law in the nations of the world (including the U.S.) based upon a different understanding of the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20).[50]  Under this concept Dominionists are to go into all the world to take dominion and “make disciples” teaching the disciples to “observe all” that Jesus “commanded.” All nations under Dominionist’s teaching are to convert to biblical laws, which are ranked superior to secular laws that were not God given or God directed and are found wanting. The Christian therefore must be willing to overthrow all laws that are secular.
In other words, a measure of one’s spirituality rested upon the individual’s willingness to accept the concept of taking dominion over not only the people of America, but taking dominion over the people of the entire world. From Dominionists’ actual words, the taking of America is perceived as a violent act. Ben Kinchlow who co-hosted CBN’s 700 Club with Pat Robertson told an audience, “We need to grab the American dream by the short hairs and snatch it back to where it was originally designed to be.”
As Robertson wrote approvingly in his book, The Secret Kingdom, the kingdom of heaven “suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” He explained, “Zealous men force their way in. That’s what it means.”

Call it what you want, Dominionism, Totalitarianism, Theocracy, Facism, at the end of the day, the human-skin lampshades are all the same...

Now, I know, some are asking "hey, if you 'rely on God' then why aren't you pulling some strings with Mr. Big to get these people the hell out of here?"

Quick parable:
One day, a man decides he can take no more and he cries out to God "How can you let evil, pain, injustice and suffering take place in this world if you are all merciful? How can you sit there and do nothing?" And that night, God visited the man in his dream and said "But you're wrong, I did do something... I sent you...

Sorry, s9, it might be time to get up early in the morning again...don't worry, I know how to drive a stick these days, so you can sleep in the passenger seat this time.

sorry...a little mojo/s9 inside baseball there, ask s9...

This may sound a little more militant that I originally intended, but Gorramnit, I have absolutely no intention of quitting the field unfought...

Look, I am a little wound up right now... I will try to come back at this later with a better take than just REGULATORS...Mount Up!

I blame Jesus..

Do these people really want to open up this can of worms?

Yes, they really do. The abject terror of gay marriage has so unmanned them that no rational thought is possible. Dropping a Constiutional A-Bomb into marriage law and all that goes with marriage (GAO calculated 1059 Federal "benefits" that go along with it) is just another day at the office. Christ, think about the weird ass thing they cooked up so little Jack and little Jane can pray to Almighty Jesus in school. Thereby turning every city council meeting and school board into a horrible brawl over religion. Fuck those crazy satanists from 200+ years ago. They were probably all homo's, wearing wigs and short pants and all...

It was bad enough when they wanted to ban the terrible plague of flag burning so they could pretend to be more patriotic than thou. Now they have to wipe their ass with the bill of rights again???.

I blame Jesus. Sorry dude, I know you're the son of god and all, but these freaks are running around claiming they work for you. I know the New Testement was supposed to be about love and forgiveness and all that, but these people are telling us that's a bunch of sissy liberal hooey, and that you are all about suffering, pain, and not kissing your fellow man on the lips. Yeah, I know we thought we had straightend all that out, but the 20th Century was a really, really bad trip for some of these folks apparently.

Sorry Jesus, you need to deliver one of your pappy's Old Testement beat downs on these losers. Give the fella's that did Sodom and Gomorrah a jingle, I hear they come highly recommended. If I may offer a few suggestions, we are really fond of bringing the Lincoln statue on the mall to life, and send him on a 14th Amendment rampage....Think laser-eyes and radiactive fire breath....

Just a thought...

Do These People Really Want To Have This Argument?

I've been thinking about the Federal Marriage Amendment (no links, Google is your friend here). Here's the proposed text from H.J. 56:

SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

There is this weird mathematician in the back of my head making rude quips about "referential transparency" and how this amendment is curiously silent about the definition of "divorce"— so I'm wondering: what happens to "a union of a man and a woman" when they are divorced and one of them decides it would be nice to enter into a new union with someone else?

If divorce is defined as the destruction of a union, does that mean that divorced couples are to have their "marital status and legal incidents thereof" retroactively stripped from them as soon as they become an "unmarried" couple? (Yes, that implies that tax liabilities would need to be recomputed as if the marriage had never existed and all the forms refiled...)

Because, if you don't define divorce as the retroactive destruction of "a union of a man and a woman," then I have to wonder if some oddball is going to have a fine time in the courts arguing that some fool's "second marriage" is invalid because marriage in the United States is defined as the "union of a man and a woman" and the divorce did not destroy the union of the first marriage— it just put a temporal boundary on the marital status and legal incidents thereof.

Do these people really want to open up this can of worms?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Rough Consensus And Running Code

Via Ken Macleod, comes a commentary by [of all people] Steve Forbes on the subject of economic reforms coming to Egypt soon.

Most development experts ignore the elephant in the room--the fact that most people in the world operate outside their country's formal legal systems. In Egypt's case, 88% of all enterprises are extralegal, as is 92% of the country's housing. Egypt and other developing countries do not lack for entrepreneurs; they lack institutions and legal structures that would enable theirentrepreneurs to expand and truly flourish. The Peru-basedInstitute for Liberty and Democracy, which spurred this project and is headed by economist Hernando de Soto, estimates that Egypt's shadow economy has accumulated $248 billion in assets. But as De Soto notes, "All this activity and all the assets in theextralegal economy are dead capital--assets that cannot be leveraged to obtain credit and investment. To convert all of this dead capital into live capital requires the two cornerstones of a market-based rule of law: legal property rights that cover all of Egypt's assets and good business law for entrepreneurs."

Too often, Western aid programs assume that codifying property rights means documenting existing formal properties and businesses; they overlook the fact that most such assets are outside the system--they are informal. In the U.S. property laws often followed what people did informally. American property law history can be summed up as having turned squatters into pioneers.

I don't know what to think. Steve Forbes is the same guy who told me in 1999 to invest heavily in Enron because it was so, like, you know, the wave of the future and all.

On the other hand, there's a part of me that says, "Hey! There might be something to this basic idea of putting together an RFC series on exactly what the hell people are actually doing to solve their basic problems and building a system of standards around whatever it is you find out that way."

What do you think?

Monday, February 23, 2004

Governor Schwarzenegger Accused Of Taking LSD

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 23 2004 — Residents of the city of San Francisco are openly accusing Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of the State of California, of being an acid freak after witnessing televised remarks, in which the Austrian-born Republican made startling observations that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the reality everyone else in the room was experiencing.

The governor appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" in an obviously altered state of mind, saying, "All of a sudden, we see riots and we see protests and we see people clashing... The next thing we know is there are injured or there are dead people, and we don't want to have that. We don't want to get to that extent."

Mr. Schwarzenegger is assumed to have been referring to the mild protests at City Hall over the ongoing campaign of civil disobedience by Mayor Gavin Newsom to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Police and emergency response technicians have all reaffirmed that no riots have taken place, no one has been arrested or injured. No one is dead except the people waiting in line for standby tickets at the Fillmore.

City officials contacted for this story have all responded to inquiries about the governor's statement with a standard denial: "We have no idea what the governor is smoking, but he should maybe try listening to some ambient music next time."

"We are not aware of any riots or any threat to public safety in San Francisco," Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for California's attorney general, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We are unclear as to what the governor is referencing in terms of riots. We urge a toning down of political rhetoric. This is a complex issue, and we will be dealing with it in the courts."

An unscientific survey conducted by this reporter in a neighborhood watering hole suggested that San Francisco residents are quite ready to believe their governor is an acid freak. When asked whether you'd have to be zonked out of your mind on 700 mikes of finest Lightning-Lord blotter to see those pathetic fools down at City Hall as if they were a murderous and unstoppable rebel insurgency force bent on anarchy or death, seven out of eight respondents said, "Sounds about right."

Buying Washington

I just put down $100 on Ro Khanna for Congress. He's the guy running the credible primary challenge to Tom Lantos in the California 12th District— usually a safe seat for Democrats.

He's got an impressive list of endorsements now. I like that he has one from Lawrence Lessig.

I live in the 12th Congressional District in California. We’re a pretty sensible (you might call us liberal) bunch. Over 80% oppose the war. Almost 70% oppose the “Patriot Act.” Yet our Congressman — a wonderful and amazing figure, Tom Lantos — doesn’t vote the way his district thinks. He has supported the war. He has supported the Patriot Act. I haven’t done this before, and I’m not going to do this much again, but this gap between who we are and how we are represented has led me to help Congressman Lantos’ opponent — Ro Khanna. Ro’s a bright, young, committed Democrat, committed to representing the views of his district.

I sure hope Mr. Lantos is getting the message. "Can you hear us now, Tom?" You do not get to be a water-carrier for the neoconservative foreign policy hacks in the White House and the Pentagon and still feel safe in your cozy Democratically gerrymandered district.

Not bad for a start...

John Kerry fires off a scud at the Administration..check out this line...

“I'd like to know what it is Republicans who didn't serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did.

What he said!..Why does the GOP hate veterans so much? First John McCain, then Max Cleland, and now John Kerry.

I just like this whole line of attack, which is basically "hate the game, don't hate the playa". I also liked this little nugget,
"and I'm still waiting for the Republicans to tell me what more Max Cleland has to leave on the battlefield of Vietnam to prove his commitment to our country.”

Yeah, me too.

The content of this pimp slap back at the White House isn't really the issue. Sure, it's funny, but ultimately this race is not about the facts or qualifications. The Hypocrisy quitioent of the Republican Party has so completely raced off the charts that they can attack tax and spend democrats on one hand and vote for massive tax cuts that will make the Federal Government inelegible for anything other than one of those cash only credit cards. It is not about the truth with these people.

It's all about getting up in the other guys grill and forcing the cable chats and the news stream to yak about what you want to yak about. The more you can get the news cycle to be about the the naked Emperor at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and less about John Kerry's people skills, the better for Kerry.
Dick(head) Morris gave the White House the best free advice of the political season in The Hill. The President is clearly vulnerable, and there is a narrow window to conjure up media image of John Kerry that they want and make it stick. If Kerry defines himself before they can, then all the quatloo's secreted in the Brain Chamber will not help

The blogsphere has been a nice help in this, keeping stories like the AWOL story alive until it simmered up to a boil. The more we can smack the President and keep them defending, On Iraq, on the budget, on whatever, the better for us. It will take every dime in the kitty to fight off the attack, rather than pounding on Democrats.

Which is why this Plame investigation, and the ticking bombs of Dick Cheney energy porn collection and the 9/11 commision is giving the White House the hives.

Insert the vengeful, apocalyptic wrath of the space-God Jehovah-1 here.

Are you freekin' kiddin' me?!

H.R.3799...You have got to be joking... these people are freekin' killin' me...

This lovely little bit of culture panic has been circulating through the blogosphere the last 24 hour or so...

`Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'.

Look, let ol' doc mojo make it simple for you... They want to take the power away from the federal judiciary to declare public religion unconstitutional, and in fact require that the government of the United States recognize the God of Our Fathers as the official One-True-Godhead of the American people...

There is a Senate version of this bill as well. In an odd turnabout, there is only one House sponsor of the bill, that's Mike Pence of Indiana...

But there are five -- that's right, count 'em five sponsors in the Senate: comrades Wayne Allard of Colorado, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Zell Miller of Georgia.

Miller actually got up in the well of the U.S. Senate and ran the following smack the other day...

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) today delivered the following statement on the floor of the United States Senate addressing several social issues facing the country:

“The Old Testament prophet Amos was a sheep herder who lived back in the Judean hills, away from the larger cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Compared to the intellectual urbanites like Isaiah and Jeremiah, he was just an unsophisticated country hick.

“But Amos had a unique grasp of political and social issues and his poetic literary skill was among the best of all the prophets. That familiar quote of Martin Luther King, Jr. about ‘Justice will rush down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream’ are Amos’s words."

That's right, calling down the cleansing firey wrath of the cosmic fist of the pre-atomic space god jehovah one on the unholy and unforgiven among us.

What the fsck has gotten into these freekin' people. Is this part of some massive political weapon of mass distraction designed to get looking the other way while the White House goes on yet another extended pogrom somewhere in the world or finished auctioning off the national treasury and resources to the highest campaign contributor?

Or, is this the opening salvo in the far right's attempt to seize the debate in the coming election and push Bush to the right...or perhaps to the left to make him look more moderate than he really is by opposing something so obviously wrong-headed...

What the hell are these people thinking?

I hate being right all the time...

Another epic scud from Comrade Joshua:

"As far as we're concerned we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."

Those were the words last week of Ahmed Chalabi, head of the INC//, member of the IGC, and central player in a scandal the scope of which Americans are only now beginning to grasp.

Not quite an admission, but also quite a ways from a denial. In other words, more or less what Chalabi told the Telegraph: "What was said before is not important."

Now, to me Chalabi's motives are extremely suspect. But there are many, many Iraqi nationalists who were willing to do or sacrifice anything to rid their country of this brutal dictator. And from that perspective I can understand how their consciences would be clear. They're not Americans. They're not bound up in the ins-and-outs of truth-telling in the context of American domestic politics. Their primary interest is not the vital interests of the United States. What they're trying to do is overthrow a tyrant in their country. And if that means hoodwinking the great power to come in and do the job or perhaps just telling the leaders of the great power what they want to hear, then so be it.

This is just outstanding...

"Yeah, I know we told you there were Iraqi Flying Saucer fleets and that the Hussein twins regularly fed people into industrial plastic shredders "feet first so they could momentarily witness their own mutiliation..." and everything else we could glean from old 60s spy movies and slasher flicks...but, whatever, we got over, we rule, you suck..."

So let me get this straight... hundreds of American servicemen dead, our country in a bottomless pit of debt, thousands of Iraqis dead, displaced... but what they said before is not important?

Is it time for impeachment hearings yet? There needs to be more agitation for the beginning of impeachment hearings. The administration was either criminally stoopid or criminally mendacious in how they sold this thing to Congress and the American people...


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Poindexter Watch

You remember the big flap about Total Information Awareness, don't you?

You remember I told you that they weren't really canceling it— they were just changing its name and hiding it elsewhere in the grey budget?

This article at Slashdot says you should check out the Advanced Research Development Activity web page.

In particular, you want to check out the marketing copy for their Novel Intelligence from Massive Data project. Read it carefully, boys and girls. Note well the domain in the mailto: URL for the webmaster at ARDA... it's your friends and ours, the line eaters at No Such Agency.

So, you know, when they say—

Some intelligence data sources grow at the rate of four petabytes per month now, and the rate of growth is increasing. A smaller volume of data may nonetheless be considered "massive" because it consists of separately authored information objects in numerous types and formats: structured text in various formats, unstructured text, spoken text, audio, video, tables, graphs, diagrams, images, maps, equations, chemical formulas, etc. Data may also be deemed "massive" because of its inherent complexity, which arises when a single document contains links between multiple information objects, with the meaning of any object dependent on information contained within other objects. Understanding the content of complex data requires being able to process data that has already been fused together, which is beyond the capability of current technology. A deeper level of complexity comes into play when information requires a variety of expertise for full comprehension because of the interconnectedness of the domains. For example, analysts might need to consider social, military, economic, political, governmental, scientific and technical issues surrounding an event or location.

—they know what they're talking about.

My reading of this page suggests that TIA was presented to us as the man-of-straw we could all enjoy knocking down and feel good about putting out to pasture, while the real project— the one aimed at solving the real problem, i.e. getting the totally ridiculously unmanageable quantity of raw bit streams they already collect sorted into a seemingly coherent story— continues to crawl along consuming ever larger chunks of the federal IT budget.

Anybody else wanna comment?

Kerry's pathetic slouch towards Bethlehem

Sorry, s9, your previous take on how the GOP will pillory Kerry with his own veteran's record and take on National Security is probably not going to come to pass, because Kerry himself seems determined to punk out on it.

Did you see his horrific display on This Week?

Stephanopoulis: So you wouldn't completely scrap the preemption doctrine?

Edwards: I would scrap the preemption doctrine. We don't need a preemption doctrine. I never believed we needed a preemption doctrine. The president of the United States can do whatever needs to be done to keep the American people safe.

Bush: It is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers.

Kerry: Well, I agree with that. I mean that's, again, stating the obvious. … But nobody's suggested that all we do is serve them legal papers.

Stephanopoulos: But in the South Carolina debate, you did say that the war on terror was primarily an intelligence and law enforcement.

Kerry: It is primarily, George. Primarily. Primarily means first. Secondarily means once you know who they are, and where they are, and what they're planning, you can go get them. Obviously, our intelligence failed in Iraq. I believe that we could've done a better job at Tora Bora in Afghanistan. I think that intelligence is critical, George, to knowing what you're target is. Once you know what you're target is, I'm prepared to use any combination of military force that's necessary to take them out and protect the United States of America. But I know this from experience: If you don't know accurately to where you're going and who's planning to do what to you, and you don't do it at the earliest possible moment — i.e. where they're plotting it over there rather than here — we're not going to protect America adequately. … I think we can do a better job of doing that than this administration has done.

Thanks, JK, thanks a lot... just go right ahead and roll over for the White House's stovepiping intelligence and preemption doctrine...

Yeah, I am feeling so much better about this guy now...

But then Comrade Joshua reported this great little snippet and some of the Democratic handwringing surrounding the great take regarding Saxby Chambliss...

Said Max Cleland today: "For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because of a trick knee, to attack John Kerry as weak on the defense of our nation is like a mackerel in the moonlight that both shines and stinks."

Yes, that's the Saxby Chambliss who went down and dirty against Cleland back in 2002. And now the Bush campaign is sending him out against John Kerry.

What else is there to say? Bring it on. This time we're ready to fight back.

Yeah... we're good to go, but will our nominee be ready to brawl when the time comes? I am not having such a good feeling about that if it's Kerry...

The Fifth Column

I originally posted this as a comment in s9's piece, but was informed by a rude beeping noise and popup error window that it was too long for a "comment."

Yeah...I read Dollar Bill's piece. It was pretty righteous. And yeah, his take on a complicit beltway media was also right on target.

I am trying not to be bitter about this. Besides, there is something else in the wind here... the Dean people are not going away. They may have been pushed back beyond the Potomac, but the way the campaign was set up, its cell structure remains in every state.

The key thing to understand about this was the decentralized nature of the Dean Campaign. They literally told people, "yeah we want your support, so go out and set up a campaign for us in your state/city/community," without a lot of top-down instruction or control from Burlington.

The local, regional and state campaigns were very autonomous from each other and from Vermont, until very late in the game, and were grassroots organizations in and of themsleves. This kind of "freelancing" in a major Presidential Campaign was unheard of and was arguably the biggest systemic change that the Dean people introduced to the Democratic Party, which has long been based on a kind of hive-mind centralized control hierarchy.

The odd thing, that people are just now starting to notice was that beyond simply supporting the Doctor, a lot of people decided that if Howard could do it, they could to, and are running for local offices! Everything from dog catcher to mayor to state legislator... and in many states (particularly in the northeast and the west) are starting to have a lot to show for it. The state party machinery in these places are too dependent on real grass-roots organization at the sub-county level and a lot of these people are starting to get over. And a lot of these people that have shown up in the last 18 months to lead and do the heavy lifting are Dean people.

Oddly enough, far from being bitter (although there is a bit of that) many of these people are coming away with a feeling that they can make a difference, even if it is just at their own local level, in their local Democrat Clubs, District Boards, local races, etc...

It is clear from reading through the Joe Trippi and Matt Gross blogs and the comments they are receiving from the Dean tribe, that a lot of people are somewhat at a loss, but that others didn't waste a moment of time before they started converting their Presidential campaign organizations into local Democratic organizations.

This is the Ralph Reed strategy being applied to the Democratic Party. So we may have lost the Doctor, but this war is far from over...

mojo sends

A Bug In The Woodpile

From The LA Weekly, there comes this fine interview with Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Lt. Col who worked in the Pentagon for William Luti in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I've been reading her essays for some time now, and if you haven't heard of her before, then you should absolutely get your head around her stuff. She's a conservative of the libertarian bent, but don't let that intimidate you. She is a firebreather when it comes to criticism of the neoconservative approach to foreign policy.

Q: So if, as you argue, they knew there weren’t any of these WMD, then what exactly drove the neoconservatives to war?

A: The neoconservatives pride themselves on having a global vision, a long-term strategic perspective. And there were three reasons why they felt the U.S. needed to topple Saddam, put in a friendly government and occupy Iraq.

One of those reasons is that sanctions and containment were working and everybody pretty much knew it. Many companies around the world were preparing to do business with Iraq in anticipation of a lifting of sanctions. But the U.S. and the U.K. had been bombing northern and southern Iraq since 1991. So it was very unlikely that we would be in any kind of position to gain significant contracts in any post-sanctions Iraq. And those sanctions were going to be lifted soon, Saddam would still be in place, and we would get no financial benefit.

The second reason has to do with our military-basing posture in the region. We had been very dissatisfied with our relations with Saudi Arabia, particularly the restrictions on our basing. And also there was dissatisfaction from the people of Saudi Arabia. So we were looking for alternate strategic locations beyond Kuwait, beyond Qatar, to secure something we had been searching for since the days of Carter — to secure the energy lines of communication in the region. Bases in Iraq, then, were very important — that is, if you hold that is America’s role in the world. Saddam Hussein was not about to invite us in.

The last reason is the conversion, the switch Saddam Hussein made in the Food for Oil program, from the dollar to the euro. He did this, by the way, long before 9/11, in November 2000 — selling his oil for euros. The oil sales permitted in that program aren’t very much. But when the sanctions would be lifted, the sales from the country with the second largest oil reserves on the planet would have been moving to the euro.

The U.S. dollar is in a sensitive period because we are a debtor nation now. Our currency is still popular, but it’s not backed up like it used to be. If oil, a very solid commodity, is traded on the euro, that could cause massive, almost glacial, shifts in confidence in trading on the dollar. So one of the first executive orders that Bush signed in May [2003] switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.

See what I mean?

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Dollar Bill Greider Delivers A Eulogy For The Dean Campaign

The redoubtable William Greider has a piece up on Common Dreams right now about "Dean's Rough Ride" that I think is worth reading if you've been on the Dean bandwagon, like some of us here at The Mojowire.

Aside from the fine eulogy Uncle Bill writes, there is an anecdote I would like to pull out of the second paragraph:

So, I remarked, you guys saved the Republic from the doctor. Yes, they assented with giggly pleasure, Dean was finished--though one newsmagazine correspondent confided the coverage would become more balanced once they went after Senator Kerry. Only Paul Begala of CNN demurred. "I don't know what you're talking about," Begala said, blank-faced. Nobody here but us gunslingers.

I think Dean and his people got crushed like bugs, in a concerted and deliberate effort to mow the grass.

We cannot have candidates and campaigns in the Democratic Party that will be answerable to the little guy, the small donor, the working class, the rank and file political activist. That way lies reformation of the cozy power structure contrived by the geeks at the Democratic Leadership Council to keep the party "viable" in the New American Order.

And you can see that Democrats all over the country are lining up behind Kerry and not saying boo about the sudden departure of Comrade Howard, even while the appartchniki go about the process of having his biography excised from the official record. The recriminations have begun, and Dean supporters are being ruthlessly purged from Washington.

This will come back to bite them in April when they have no bank and they can't raise enough through MoveOn (because the GOP will have begun a saturation media campaign with a wrath of biblical proportions, which among other things, will paint MoveOn as a nest of traitors, scum and villainy more wicked and vile than America has ever seen).

It's all good though. We saved America from the Doctor. That's what was important.

Now you know why I gave up on the Democratic Party.

Friday, February 20, 2004

The Colour Out of Space...or Why There is No Mojowire This Week!

To our legion of devoted fans, stalkers, sycophants, immitators and copy-capture drones slaving away down in their cubbies at NSA...

It would appear that while engaged in a lost weekend of zero-G debauchery disguised as an editors' conference, high on geosynchronous orbit in s9 Station, the Mojowire broadcast team contracted a deadly, mutant space virus.

This terrible, brilliant lifeform had been laying dormant in the intense cold-wash and radiation of the Van Allen Belt for billions of years, waiting for an unsuspecting organic host to receive it and allow its horrible genetic meme to burn through an unwitting and ultimately doomed population.

First it became difficult to breath, then our voices were taken away, then I started to have fevered deleriums in which I saw Ethel Merman dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Jello-wrestling Robert Novak in a disposable diaper, while singing "This is My Country..."

Sean seemed to sprout extra limbs at random then retract them again, and Strychnine kept hollering at his maintenance crew to open up a goddamn window and let some fresh air in to this rancid space station...

Please stand by, while we work through these technical difficulties...your patronage is important to us. Your ranters will be with you shortly...please stand by...

We will return to our next regularly scheduled time slot...

mojo sends

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Cognitive Dissonance

It's just before 8 a.m. and CNN is headlining that Dean is quitting the race...sort of... He won't actively campaign, but he is not pulling his name of the ballot.

The blog is full of disappointed, yet defiant people and a lot who are deporting themselves with class and honor. The odd bitter guy here and there, but nothing like the shameful display of meltdownedness that followed Sen. Eyore's ignoble ejection from the race.

(BTW, He's still soliciting money on his site...)

Then I think about eating at Hooters yesterday for lunch. I was stood up for a business lunch there, but decided to stay and eat anyway. There was the general selection of fairly attractive women who would be dancing at a topless clubs or doing soft-core porno if they weren't doing this. A collection of busboys in auto-mechanics shirts. A certain amount of forced grabasstic joviality, backed with pop-rock stylings of the late 60s/early 70s, was being had by all... This is what we would all be doing everyday if life truly resembled a light beer commercial.

At the table next to me, man in his late middle age sat alone, like me. He had clearly eaten, and he had a collection of children's games from the 70s, like he'd been out shopping. You know those great old Milton Bradley/Hasbro games like The Game of Perfection and another I didn't know the name of that was some sort of fish-the-objects-out-of-the-spinning-container variety.

He looked like he might be having issues; muttering to himself occasionally, like he was upset...

No one was paying any attention to him, when he got out the "fishing game" and started playing there at the table, completely unconcious of everyone around him, and obviously engrossed with the game, happy as a clam completely disengaged from the weird quasi-mating ritual behavior taking place all around him, focused with a child's intensity on the game... I don't know why, maybe it was the sight of a grown man engaging in a clearly child-like activity, perhaps it was that combined with it happening in a place that was clearly designed to "appeal to the purient interest." [Roth v. U. S. , 354 U.S. 476 (1957)] as it were... and I suddenly was very uncomfortable.

And with God as my witness, I don't know whether I wanted more to just flee or to go over and ask him if I could play...

So here I am 20 hours later with this image in my mind and the news of Dean's campaign implosion on my screen... What these things have to do with one another, I don't know. There seems to be a weird connection in my own mind.

I have always had a sort of weird reaction to things out of my own childhood. There are things that I wish I didn't know and things I wish I could back to... I want to protect those things. I hate it when adults dump on children or belittle their feelings... Watching this guy then, and then reading the reactions on the Dean blog...

Is it loss of innocence? No, that's too easy... maybe this is only something that millionses and millionses of dollars and an army of therapists needs to dig out of my still pulsating brain case... But I would hope they don't... on some odd base level that I am not even really aware of, this is what drives me to get involved with things like politics or dress funny in the park on Saturdays...

The problem is that I can't reconcile why Dean's ultimate defeat and this boo in the restaurant yesterday should be so connected in my mind.

Perhaps my current vapors are a byproduct of the evil space virus going around the Mojohaus headquarters right now; after a weekend of cosmic debauchery up the well on s9 Station, we have all been afflicted by some sort of alien disease that incubates in the intense cold-wash and radiation of the void, only waiting to attach to an unwitting host...

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Mojowire for 02/07/04 (PART I)

Mojowire for 02.07; vol. 2, no. 03

MUSIC: Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Supreme Beings of Leisure, Under the Gun
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

intro with hendrix star spangled banner

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, Vol. 2, No. 03... I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, February 7, 2004, Day 1,042 of the Neocon Captivity, and here’s the news for the week gone-by...

J. Brought to you by Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988. Now headlines, from Mojohaus:

S. First this morning, we give a quick overview of where the Democratic primary is and then try to read the signs for why it looks like the the Dems are going to put up a better fight this year than many thought them capable of.

J. Next, we have political obituary for Sen. Eyore. We take a look at the rise and fall of the Joeman empire...Friends, Joemans, Countrymen, hear us, for we come not to praise Joe, but to bury him...

S. Then we examine an issue that has started to come back to life after lying dormant for many years: President Bush’s apparent unwillingness to show up for National Guard duty for an entire year in the 70s and get away with it. Going against a bonafide Vietnam War hero, that could turn into a *thing* for the Prez.

J. Then Strychnine brings us terrible portents and dreadful readings on the nature of the new commission that is supposed to get to the bottom of the intelligence failures that lead to war in Iraq, but rather appears to be shaping up more like a political defense team.

S. Finally, this morning, Vice President Cheney starts to feel the branch creek a bit with a pair of news items this week, namely that a Federal Grand Jury is looking to his office for the source of the Valerie Plame leak and a possible subpoena for the Veep in regards to his attempts to shake down the French for kickbacks when he was in charge of Halliburton.

J. …So stand by to stand by while we get ready to pull the pin on this thing...

fade in more hendrix star spangled banner for five or six count then back out again

J. So it breaks down like this... The sages and oracles hunched over old bones and entrails, chewing their eucalyptus cud have spoken and their words resound across the land, but at the end of the day we are not sure they really know much more now than they did then.

Of course, the numbers are all in and the delegate race, as of this moment in time, is Kerry, Dean, Edwards, Clark, also-rans... But what does this really tell us about what the American people are thinking about the race, in general.

The CNN/Gallup Poll released earlier last week actually shows John Kerry waxing Dubya by nearly 10 points. Again, not sure what that really means 10 months before the election and before Bush has really cranked up his campaign rut.

Look, we’ll save you the quarter... It’s going to be John Kerry for the dems; not our first choice, but a guy we can certainly live with and who will make a far better President than Dubya and his gang of Wile E. Coyote analogs running things in the West Wing.

So, now you can get over the breathless play by play of the horse race that you will get for the next several months, and we can begin to concentrate on some specifics.

For instance, ever since Iowa, voter turn out has been above normal, even far above normal in many places like New Hampshire, South Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma. That’s bad news for Karl Rove.

Moreover, Democratic candidates, as they are dropping out are increasing the available money pool to the remainder, namely Kerry, Edwards and Dean. Clark will be out of the race inside two weeks, and Sharpton and Kucinich not long after, although they probably will make a stand until Super Tuesday, to secure their speaking slots at the convention, then call it quits.

But taken together, it would appear that perhaps, just perhaps, the American people are beginning to get over the embarassment at having a buck-naked emperor. And, who knows, they may be getting ready to do something about it.

There are a couple of factors in play here. First and foremost: the media. In this case, there has been an large amount of attention paid to the Democratic primaries and that, between snippets of poll results and replays of Dr. Dean screaming, the Democratic message is starting to filter down through the masses, over the Internet, in the Newspapers, even in broadcast news.

And that message is that the Bush administration is a horrible train wreck that needs to slide to halt soon before they take us all with them. Among the many omens currently getting some attention; currency dumping overseas could soon turn people upside down on their mortgages. It becomes more apparent with each passing day that the run up to the Iraq war resembled the plot of a Pink Panther movie, the President’s own party out in the hinterlands of the states’ legislatures sending his ill-conceived No Child Left Behind programme packing, and that everything we were told to expect from the President’s tax cuts turned out to be absolute mendacity, and in fact, we are teetering on the edge of a return to recession after the first quarter, if the jobs picture doesn’t pick up, so saith the oracles at Credit Suisse First Boston in a report released last week.

And moreover, it becomes apparent with each passing day that the administration has no plan to reverse any of these trends other than to get George up in his Alexander the Great gear and repeat “9/11 changed everything” over and over again...

Well, sorry, it looks like we’ve seen through that trick, what else you got for us Karl?

S. It is against this backdrop that we now set the Democratic candidates in motion. There are some central themes that they are hitting upon; some well known, others more targeted. For instance, the appeals for a fairer trade policy that keeps jobs in America, a health care reform package that works within the existing infrastructure to extend services, doing away with education gimmicks and just getting the resources back to the schools and districts that need them most.

But moreover, Kerry, Dean and to a lesser extent Edwards have made some good inroads on subjects like Small Business. Right now there are 20.5 million small businesses that account for 70 percent of American jobs and 50 percent of the GDP according to the Labor Department, and they are getting hammered. The Bush economy was clearly not designed to give them opportunities, with cuts in the Small Business Administration, the cancellation of regulatory compliance assistance and a general economic condition that will send their costs for capital through the roof.

The Democrats are starting to mobilize, thanks in large part to the work done by Howard Dean over the past year, and the message has been targeted not only to get the traditional Democratic base back in the game, but also to draw back the cross-over moderate Democrats who have been completly betrayed by their flirtation with conservative politics.

The only shadow that hangs over a strong Democratic frontrunner emerging and putting the serious wood to Dubya, is that when the Democratic Party has been faced with these multi-candidate races in the past with a number of potential contenders, the party has had a bad habit of eating itself.

Evidence the shame in our all-too-memorable past of Miami-battle, fatefully struck in the long hot summer of 1972, when the party machinery blowed itself up in a fit of pique over the nomination of George McGovern, or the Texas-Steel-Cage-Blood-Match between Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter a scant eight years later over the issue of delegates’ voting perogatives.

There are times the Democrats seem less like a political party and more like an extended version of the show Cops, writ large. And there’s Terry McCauliffe: “we’re responding to a shots fired call at an address we go to a lot,” and there the homicide guys are already drawing chalk lines around the bloody remains of Lieberman and Gephardt’s careers in the driveway of the DNC Trailer Park Headquarters, and Terry is asking a screaming Dean “What happened here, just calm down and tell us what happened here?” But he won’t stop hollering and cops have to hogtie him, then find his crack pipe in his socks, and then Wes Clark in a wife beater and torn sweatpants, comes out of the other room with a half-dressed Hillary Clinton with a cigarette hanging loosely from her lips, takes a big pull off a beer and swings at a drunken Edwards right in front of the cops, so they tackle him while the next door neighbors Dennis and Al are standing over the fence shouting incoherently about how they saw the whole thing and off to the side is Kerry sitting on the gravel road with a bloody lip telling the officers he just wants them all to leave, but the cops can’t make them because they pay rent and live there, too, and finally McCauliffe calls them all together and tells them if they get *one*more*call from this address tonight, then he is going to run the lot of them into jail...

Yeah...a scene like that could get played ad infinatum. The only chance for this not to bec so that Dean doesn’t even come to California, Edwards will be relegated to the Veep in waiting, and Clark will be out of money and camera-time.

I know, this is more horse race right here, but this is how the race actually effects who becomes the next President and it’s an important thing to remember.

But if it plays out that Kerry and the rest of the pack can come to terms, then just perhaps, they will be on the verge of breaking the cycle of domestic violence that plagues the Democrats and get their campaign-on and prepare to kick some major butt this summer and fall.

J. Well, was it likely to end any other way for Sen. Eyore. No, this was the only likely, and might we add timely, way for Eyore to go out. The Joementum just wasn’t there, and a cursory glance at the fact that he seemed more in line with moderate Republican views on just about everything makes us wonder what he was doing in this race in the first place.

A couple bits of, his website is still apparently accepting donations, even though he’s been out of the race for a week. Two, his blog is still up and this thing is precious. But it casts an interesting look into the hearts and minds of Lieberman’s dedicated core of followers, including horny 14 year olds, Bush supporters and young Republicans.

It was on a teary Tuesday last that Eyore said good bye to his cavalcade of comedy, pulling the plug on the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, at least for this election cycle:

“We have strived to stay true to ourselves, true to our beliefs, and true to what we believe is best for this great country.  I have always believed in working across party lines to get things done, and putting the national interest above special interests or partisan interests.”

Yeah, so props for not being all “partisan” and stuff, there Joe, but being that this is an election and all, and that we are being asked to choose between ideologies and everything, perhaps a little partisanship, perhaps a little separation between you and the current White House might not have been out of line.

Look, it’s simple, the thing that cacked Eyore was his inability to understand that the Democratic Party was not going to sit still for the same old, same old of “we can’t get down on the President too much or criticize the Republicans too harshly because they’re so big and stuff and they might hurt us...”

*Bollix!* Wake up Joelusional! It’s an election year, your party is mad as hell and they are leaving you behind to turn into rich, thick crude oil like the dinosaur you are because you decided to run away from your party’s base.

Even in the last days of the Joeman Empire, when he was trying to sound more like a progressive, but ended up talking in a disjointed, out of synch fashion with an Australian-accented Howard Dean voice coming out of Joementum’s grille like a badly dubbed Kung Fu movie...*damn you cut too many taxes and killed my will pay!*

No, Joe, get thee to the other side of the aisle where you belong, trollbait...

And speaking of troll bait, take a gander at Joementum’s blog. One of the funniest things is that they had to post a nominal warning about trolls even on the front page of the blog, to wit: troll (n.): A person that posts outrageous messages to a blog to bait people to answer. Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a discussion. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls.

But it is hard to tell who was trolling and who was just being sincere, check out the level of discourse in the wake of Joementum’s passing from these gems:

I would like to say as a young republican I repected Joe the most out of all the democratic candidates.

-and then there was-

Mr. Lieberman. Please endorse the only candidate that has not back stabbed you, lied about you, or misrepresented you in anyway. Please endorse Bush.

-or how about -

Like the America of today which has lost its moral character, trustworthiness and fairness, the Democratic party has chosen to follow their own false prophets instead of the man who would have brought all Americans back to our founding priciples.

-and then -

Lieberman was the only person who was normal in the Democratic Party candidate pool. Now that he has left, I urge all of you to either sit out or vote for President Bush.

S. -and my personal favorites -

Who was the friggin' GODDESS behind his left shoulder during the concession speech. The way she kept tilting her head back and closing her eyes. She was smokin'!

Joe never had a chance, but his daughter, or whoever was behind him at his loser speech is freakin hot.

When finally, someone gets it right.

The replies many of you posted here explain in full why Joe Lieberman decided to call it quits. The majority of you are all saying you will now vote for Bush...

Are we taking the lumber to Lieberman pretty hard? Yeah...we are! Why? The same reason we have been doing it for nearly a year now. The guy is a closet Republican and he added nothing of substance to the Democratic race.

This is not to say he is a bad guy or anything like that, but it has always just left us boggling about where he thought he was when he came out and openly pimped the President’s invasion of Iraq, and continues to support it, even though we have proof that it was a tissue of lies.

He still can’t bring himself to condemn the President’s tax policies, in spite of some half-hearted attempts about two weeks ago when the Prez., floated his faith-based economic principles. He also took some generic swipes at Dubya after the state of the union, but absolutely nothing of substance or style that would have convinced the rest of us that he was the guy we wanted to step in the ring to brawl.

It might have been one thing if his speaking style didn’t have that whole deep, voice-of-Saruman, Svengali-like, “*sleeeeeeep*....*in heavenly peeeeace....*” thing going on. There are times during the 2000 race he was on the ticket with Al Gore in order to make Al Gore look animated.

But even that could have been overlooked were it not for the fact that ideologically he was not such a treacherous goon who would just as gleefully usher in an age of radical right wing theocracy and culture police as the next swirly-eyed, pompodored, evangelical snake oil pimp.

And now that he’s out of the race, the Democratic Party can get on with the business of being the Democratic Party again, with that experiment thankfully relegated to the locked box in the attic that we must never speak of again.

So when your younger sibilings or childern ask you, “Hey, why did Lieberman’s campaign have to quit,” just look at ‘em and say, “because he was rat, see...and rat’s gotta suck the pipe!”

The Mojowire for 02/07/04 (PART II)

J. Although the issue of our Maximum Leader’s less-than-stellar military career came and went in the 2000 campaign, it would seem like it is undergoing a second life. Perhaps one of the few things the Democratic Party did right in the last few years. Instead of just continually beating the President about it until it became a non-issue, the party has kept this one in its pocket.

But care needs to be taken, because as tailor made this thing is for sound bites and late night comedy monologues, we have some instructive examples of how it can be taken too far.

Let’s sum up: As a recent Yale grad, the Prez joined his local Texas Air Guard, learned to fly, carefully avoided Vietnam and then went to join the Alabama Air Guard so he could work on some right wing crank’s Senate camapaign.

But then there is this interesting 12 month period in 1972-1973. During that time, there is apparently no record of his service, and no one seems to remember him actually showing up for duty. Moreover, he then next surfaces officially requesting an early out from the service so he can go to Harvard B-School.

So... from the party that beat Bill Clinton mercilessly as a “draft dodger” for getting a deferrment and standing up for what he believed in, the current President will get a pass for hiding out in the Air National Guard, and then apparently not even doing his duty there...allegedly...

There are a couple of interesting aspects to this. First, of course, is the aforementioned Democratic strageizing, then there is the Republican’s anemic and panicked response.

For many of us, the dropping of this issue was simultaneously a disappointment and a hope. We were sorry to see the issue disappear as quickly as it did, and yet, over the last four years, we have said in private.... “boy, Karl Rove had better sacrifice white roosters to whatever skulking godhead idol he prays to that the Democrats have forgetton that...”

Well, looks like Karl’s sacrifices have not appeased the gods, because this issue is coming back with a vengeance. In the past three weeks, this has become even more of a deal because the Democratic front runner John Kerry is a bonafide war hero from the same era, as well as his fellow Yalie Bonesman.

So now we are forced to confront the spektor that the President is, in fact, a draft dodging liberal, as our good friend and covert operations editor The Drieux might say.

But moreover, from the tactical standpoint, what does this mean for the Democrats. Well, two things; one, it is nice to see the opposition party sounding off like they have a pair and two, they need to be careful that they don’t get utterly sidetracked and keep their message on point.

For the longest time, we here at the Mojowire have fielded countless emails, phone calls, smoke signals, coded pulsars, stating that the Democrats need to attempt to grow a spine and call the GOP and their orcs out on to the plain in front of the black gate for a little tete-a-tete ... yeah, let’s go, punks, what you got?

That’s all good, that’s what drew a lot of people to candidates like Howard Dean in the first place, the notion that Democrats were ready for a brawl and had discovered that maybe their ideas and their nation were worth fighting for after all, regardless of how distasteful we found fighting.

S. Yeah...okay, you got us... “how distasteful” *they* found is well known that the Mojowire recruits its writers and editors from Asian pit-fighting circuits and Bloodsport Kumite combat arenas...

So it’s good to see that the Democrats have finally grown something of a spine regarding this issue. This is the sort of thing that Progressives like us and so many others were waiting for. It’s like the great line from the series “The West Wing” where Ron Silver, a campaign consultant tells Brad Whitford’s Josh Lyman that he’s tired of just taking whatever the Republicans dish out and cowering in the corner “saying please don’t hurt me.”

But there’s another part of this. The Republicans have understood this idea for a very long time, and yet, they have continued to get themselves bitten in the posterior by it time and time again when they take it to an extreme to defend an idea that utterly defies what the electorate is concerned about.

A good example is shaping up in the gay marriage debate. The Republicans are looking for red meat for their base, and when that is the case, they never fail to go to their social conservatives, who want to drive the rest of the party with a radical agenda of sexual or social control over their lives.

It’s all about picking their fights, and if they try to ride gay marriage back to the White House, they will lose and lose bad.

But the Dems are in danger of being in a similar situation. Fine, you have the base energized, but what do you do with it? For the Democrats, that is the same problem. They are in danger of going beyond making a simple and good point, and turning it into an issue that makes it possible for the other team to portray it as a Democrats avoiding the real issues.

The Democratic candidates can not get sidetracked by this. Instead, this is illustrative of what is wrong with the Republicans in general, but at the same time this all needs to be steered back to the fact that the GOP has no plan to create jobs, fix health care, make sure education is affordable and accessible.

No, all they can do is trot out a draft dodger with no ideas and a serious debt to the nation’s wealthiest interests and industrial contributors. That’s the real issue. Who is trying to actually address the nation’s mounting and serious problems and who is out there commanding us to “look at the monkey, look at the silly monkey.”

Because that is where the “culture war” issues really fit in. They have very little to do with actual national well being and both sides both use them as convenient touchstones for their bases and have them used against them as cudgels when the other side comes up with good points.

Right now the conservatives are on the ropes with that because they have nothing else to offer other than an obviously failed domestic agenda, mainly created by right wing speech writers in the West Wing and a discredited and disastrous foreign policy that has embroiled us in war, costing American lives and cost us credibility in the eyes of the rest of the world.

We would like to think that most progressives and even those who are just feeling a little more akin to them this year, will not be fooled by the nonsense of culture war distraction-land and that the Democrats will keep their eyes on the prize instead of allowing themselves to be drawn into a mire.

cue JAMES music

And now the music is telling me that we have an incoming transmission from the redoubtable Dr. S9…

J. That’s right. It is time once again for our regular contributor Dr. Strychnine, reporting from his super-secret, ultra-dope, mega-cool, extra-jiggy, Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchronous orbit above Baghdad by the Bay…take it away S9…SPOOK WARS
S9 Greetings fellow high-movers, breakabouts, blacklighters and assorted bubbleheads. Once again, our elite staff of tactical situation analysts here on S9 station are working overtime tracking the movements of objects through our solar political space, keeping a sharp eye on threatening profiles as they develop. Our forecasters are particularly alarmed by the recent developments at the White House in response to the ongoing deterioration of their case for making preëmptive war on
Iraq last year.

It seems that El Jefe Máximo has finally been briefed on the minor problems related to the yawning chasm between his rhetoric about Iraqi Weapons Of Mass Destruction in late 2002 and early 2003 and the actual reality of the David Kay report in January 2004.

At least, *we* knew the Weekly World News was joking when they broke the story about Iraqi archeologists digging up a crashed U.F.O. in the ruins of Babylon. Apparently, the White House may have taken it seriously— because the President announced yesterday his executive order to create a commission on the intelligence capabilities of the U.S. regarding weapons of mass destruction. At first glance, it looks like the President is going to get to the bottom of how the
intelligence agencies could have been so ridiculously *wrong* about the threat posed by Iraqi Flying Saucer Technology Program Related Activities.

But our crack team of investigative analysts looked at little deeper. We discovered that there is every reason to believe that this new commission has been deliberately constructed to execute a whitewash of epic proportions. This is going to make the Warren Commission on the assassination of President Kennedy look like an episode of Law And Order by comparison.

Let's start with the basics.

• The commission will not have any power of subpoena— it's merely vested with a worthless grant of moral authority in the vague language of its executive order.

• The commission is a wholly-owned and operated subsidiary of the White House. The President appoints all the members— after vetting by the Vice President— and they all serve at his pleasure.

• The commission has no brief to consider how any intelligence product was used in the formation of policy. It's all about how the intelligence agencies fouled up.

• The commission has no authority to investigate Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, or the special shadow intelligence agency set up in the Office of the Vice President to stovepipe the irrational claims of Iraqi National Congress defectors directly into the White House inner circle— completely bypassing any analysis at CIA, NSA, DIA or any of the other 3- and 4-letter acronym soup agencies.

In other words, after heaping gynormous pressure on the CIA (and its cognates) to cook the National Intelligence Estimate to inflate the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the administration now plans to put the ritual scarification of blame onto the very spooks they pressured for giving them a cooked story in the first place.

But wait. If that's not enough, there is the President stacking the commission with a coterie of sycophants with no business deciding for themselves where to have lunch— much less how to sort out the malignant elements of the intelligence community from the patriotic public servants who harbor them among their ranks.

Who are we talking about? Consider just the co-chairmen.

Chuck Robb, a former Senator from Virginia most famous for partying with organized crime figures, sex with underage girls, and illegally tapping a political rival's cellphone. The only reason this clown wasn't indicted by a grand jury in 1992 was that the Bush Administration (the previous one) needed him to throw the deciding vote in the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

Laurence Silberman, a former federal judge most famous for overturning Oliver North's conviction on utterly bogus reasoning, and for accusing President Clinton of "declaring war on the United States" for simply trying to protect secret service agents from being used as political pawns. A more partisan and extreme whackjob, you may never find.

In other words, the co-chairs are: 1) a guy who literally owes his butt to the Bush family, and 2) a guy who would gladly cut off his own chalootie if G2 were to look at him sideways. And the rest of commission is loaded with similarly noteworthy names.

Oh yeah— and if that isn't enough to convince you of the complete lack of seriousness this commission deserves, consider this: the executive order says the commission has until the end of March 2005 to make its report.

Cue James music for exit

Speaking for all of us here on S9 station, we can't *wait* to see the magic bullet theory this commission comes up with... "the uranium yellowcake starts here in Niger, then travels through time and space, like the cheshire cat, until finally landing in this sub-basement in Damascus here..."

J. That flock of vultures you are seeing over the naval obseravatory is not a mirage wireheads. The Vice President of the Untied States is in serous trouble, politically and legally, as his reign as chief vizier to the Sultan has started to unravel.

Yeah, this guy’s Jafar to the Bush family’s Sultan in Disney’s Alladin, except that the Sultan was actually well meaning, instead of a coked up dilletante loser with delusions of grandeur and a family with more money than God.

As you loyal and devoted wireheads know, the justice deparmtment has been investigating the illegal disclosure of the identiy of CIA operative Valerie Plame to punish her husband Joeseph Wilson for calling out the administation on it’s WMD falsehoods. In recent weeks, we told you that a Federal Grand Jury had been empaneled, and the DOJ was closing in on who the chattermouth was that leaked Plame’s identity to the Conservative News Network’s official administration monkey Bob Novak.

So, lo and behold, this week, from the UPI:

“Federal law enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby were the two Cheney employees.”

Make no mistake Wiregeeks, John Hannah’s lawyer has already thrown back a few shots of fine Beltway Tequila with somone from the US Attorney’s office, discussing how John can avoid a paid vacation at Club Fed; particularly by running through a list of names of who in the West Wing food chain he can finger.

Scooter Libbey is one of the big players in this administration, and Cheney’s key staffer. If he get’s popped for the Plame scandal, Vice President Dick — may I call you “Dick,” Mr. Vice President — Cheney’s clout at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave has taken a boot to the head. And this Administration’s insistence that this was all just much ado about nothing is revealed for the cheap carny hypnosis trick it was. Bad day for Dick and the rest of the Capo’s in the Bush regime.

But wait..There’s more... It now looks like Halliburton is going to get called on to the carpet for attempting to extort money out of the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys in order to do business in the Western Hemisphere. while Dick Cheney was at the helm of Halliburton, their senior marketing officials were out shaking down French entrepreneurs for their lunch money for doing their energy busiess west of the Greenich Mean line.

And now, they want to question him under oath.

Hey, I guess it’s a good thing that executive protection doesn’t extend to sitting members of the executive branch of government, like what happened to Clinton, or Cheney would be able to walk away.

But really, though, in the world of real politick, this is a nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions for the Administration. Why? Because this is primarily coming out of media that they have absolutely no control over, namely the French.

Now it might be easy enough for the average American to normally write off the French news media as the aforementioned cheese-eating surrender monkeys, but for the fact that the U.S. Justice Department has felt it necessary to conduct their own investigation into the matter.

This is the issue that most consumes us now regarding Halliburton. And again, if it were just this, we might, that is *might* be able to look past it, but alas, it is not.

S. Besides Hallliburton, there is the small matter of the intelligence leaks on Valerie Plame. Again a bit of a refresher is in order.

Plame is married to Joe Wilson who was asked to look into the dread Iraqi Fying Saucers and at the end of the day pronounced them to be nothing more than the fevered imagnings of racist thugs deep in the bowels of Rummy’s Office of Special Plans.

But that didn’t seem to matter to the consensus builders....if Wilson couldn’t play ball, then theyh could find ways to make him more pliable. His wife, a deep cover CIA operative, could always have her cover blown... granted, we have no way of knowing whether he was threatened first or whether he and his wife were just done without any hint.

And then once a Federal Grand Jury gets a hold of the situation, it would appear that the first rock
they turn over reveals a staffer from the Vice President’s office, and now they are looking to talk to the like’s of the Veep’s Chief of Staff Scooter Libby.

Look, as veterans of these kinds of scandals, the Mojohaus legal department has informed us that it breaks down like this: some understaffer, who probably made the call or set up the call, will be called in, sweated out under the lights and then cracked.

From there, he gets a good attorney who trots himself down to to the federal prosecutors’ office and says something to the effect of “I understand that you are investigating the Valerie Plame incident. Tell you what: C-class federal misdemeanor, no jail time and a $5,000 fine and we’ll finger the instigator for you.”

We can almost guarantee that is what’s happening. And it does not bode well for the future of Dick Cheney. At some point he might have to be jettisoned. Not that he will end up doing badly out of the deal, with the deferred compensation in violation of federal conflict of interest rules and all.

The real issue here is what does this say about the Bush administration in an election year. This is what we are looking at. The Buh Administration has found itself in a particularly vulnerable situation, with a Vice President who is nothing more than a giant iron Albatross around the neck of a sitting President.

There is a certain buzz going around in circles right now that Cheney might not be on the ballot next fall with Dubya. Well, that remains to be seen, but for the time being this gives a lot of ammo for the Democrats to paint this administrartion as a group of rogue venture capitalists gone utterly out of control and on a binge that would embarrass the combined wealth of George Soros, Bill Gates and the first four emperors of China...

Get’s election season...

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: A strong Democratic challenger means the Terrorists win, or as John Ashcroft says... “Are you tryin’ to vote? Let’s see some ID hippy!”


S. And that’s all for this week, tune in again soon for another exciting installment, until, of course, we are declared enemies of the state.

And remember, you can now email the Mojowire at, that’s Email, us hippies!

J. And now you can check out the Mojowire online at; you can read the entire archive.

This has been the Mojowire, brought to you by Mojohaus...Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988, and produced by our super funky fly producer Mike Payne and the Darkling Eclectica, here on KUCI, 88.9...
J. And now you can check out the Mojowire online at; you can read the entire archive.

This has been the Mojowire, brought to you by Mojohaus...Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988, and produced by our super funky fly producer Mike Payne and the Darkling Eclectica, here on KUCI, 88.9...

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Britney Spears vs. Benjamin Franklin

The redoubtable Dr. Juan Cole has a comment to add to this piece from the Center for American Progress, which you may find enlightening...

You know, if you were an Arab intellectual in Cairo, Amman or even Baghdad, and you wanted to read a book that collected some central writings of Thomas Jefferson in Arabic, you almost certainly could not get hold of such a book. I repeat: The major classics of American thought either have not been translated into Arabic, or were published in tiny editions and are now impossible to find. I just checked. Bernard Mayo's Jefferson Himself appeared in Cairo in 1959 and 1960. Nobody now could find a copy, I am sure. I searched for the Federalist Papers in Arabic and got nothing. Abbas Mahmud al-`Aqqad's book on Benjamin Franklin was published in 1955, and appears to be the last word on the subject.
The highly professional and provacative Arabic service of the Voice of America has been shut down. It has been replaced by Radio Sawa, a pet project of US radio mogul Norman Pattiz, which broadcasts Britney Spears and Arab pop to the young people but which has almost no intellectual content.

I suppose now would be an impolitic time to say We Fsckin' Told You People This Would Happen! It has been very easy making predictions like this. Why? Because we can see that the people in charge of conducting American foreign policy and public diplomacy didn't learn from the mistakes of the past, so there is every reason to expect that they will make the same mistakes in the present and also into the future.

While the rest of your pro-War™ friends are beginning to slowly come around to the painful realization that their guys in D.C. are clowns, we sit here non-plussed. There is nothing new here. It is as it is. Will you finally wake up and replace the clowns with a team of competent players? No. The best we are hoping for is that you will replace the current set of clowns with a less idiotic team of other clowns.

(I would put links in the paragraph above, to show who I'm talking about, but I think I would piss off my blogmates if I did that.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Plame investigation is no big deal....You are getting sleepy...sleepy..

Last week's UPI story wells up to the Times and the is the Times

UPDATE: I fixed Sean's link. —s9

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Iraqi Flying Saucer Technology Related Program Activities

Just so every knows, when we here at the MojoWire crack jokes about Iraqi WMD using "flying saucers" as a metaphor— we are making an oblique reference to a story that went around in late 2002 about Saddam having access to a crashed UFO.

"The craft allegedly crashed during the Gulf War (1990-1991) or more recently (possibly December 1998). This will be Iraq's Roswell. The U.S. is currently reverse-engineering the Roswell craft and fears Saddam's scientists will catch up with or even go beyond the U.S. in one or more areas. These areas of research include zero point, over-ratio or gravimetric tenchology, which would allow for a tremendous advance, allowing Iraq to become a leading power."

And the only warning we might ever get is a mushroom cloud over an American city.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Fire In The Hole!

Tune in here tomorrow morning at 8:25 am California time to hear us do our live show. Better yet, tune in earlier and listen to The Darkling Eclectica program— whose producer is kind enough to give us a launch window with which to operate. Sometime later in the weekend, Mojo usually posts a transcript.

So get your heads wired to your asses, hippies! We plan to bring you the rhetorical equivalent of a half-empty vodka bottle stopped up with a rag. All you need is a some flint and steel, and you're golden.

Ah... The Power Of Cheez!

I read the hard bloggers. Of course, the drieux is also a friend of mine. But, he launches a pretty well coordinated wave in this piece, where he answers Atrios on the subject of why liberals are evil.

He starts with:
Evil Liberals are Evil because they either support the draft or they oppose the draft.

...which is always good for a laugh. But you want to grovellate all the way down through the whole meandering flow, so that you can get to this excellent take on the wonders of Free Market Fundamentalism...

Clearly if they had not destroyed Enron there would be a Hedge Fund for those persons who wanted to have artillery fire co-ordinated and directed on targets of their future by matching up those who had artillery fire to sell with those who wanted to have a fire mission. The same would have been true of matching up those who had MediVac air flights and those who wanted to call in a dust off to extract their wounded!

I have no joke here. I just like pointing out that there are plenty of other players in the market making business today, who are quite happy to be playing in this "reinsurance" market. In fact, a number of them are fattening their businesses even now in the Global War On Iraqi Flying Saucer Technology Related Program Activities.

You see, liberals are evil because they support the reservation of the imprimatur for the use of military hardware solely to state-sponsored military forces. All true patriotically correct Americans recognize that the wonders of the Free Market™ ended the Cold War, and they support an orderly transition of military operations away from the failed public service model of the Soviet Union toward a more American model of private sector free enterprise systems.

Hope that helps.