Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Hammered

Breaking News...

CNN reports that Tom "Those Darn Minorities Took All the Good Vietnam Combat Jobs, So I Can't Go" DeLay has been indicted...

You got that?

On one count of criminal conspiracy by a Texas Grand Jury...bitch...

You will be telling your grandchildren where you were on this day...

Updates as information becomes available.

Update 1.0: The Washington Post has a story up now off the AP wire to wit:
WASHINGTON -- A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, looks on during a news conference regarding Hurricane Katrina on Capitol Hill in this Sept. 2, 2005 file photo. A Texas grand jury's recent interest in conspiracy charges could lead to last-minute criminal indictments, possibly against DeLay, as it wraps up its investigation Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005, into DeLay's state political organization, according to lawyers with knowledge of the case.

The indictment against the second-ranking, and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jury's term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates.

The grand jury action is expected to have immediate consequences in the House, where DeLay is largely responsible for winning passage of the Republican legislative program. House Republican Party rules require leaders who are indicted to temporarily step aside from their leadership posts....


Update 2.0: CNN is reporting that Tom Delay has announced that he will step down as Republican Majority Leader "temporarily" as David Drier steps up to replace him.

Woot! again

Update 2.1: It would appear that House Majority Whip Roy Blunt is going to space David Drier out the airlock and seizes power himself. This is important. Drier was largely seen as a place holder, a warm body to occupy the seat until DeLay got back. Blunt on the other hand is the logical choice for the next HML, and if DeLay ever gets back, too bad, it's now Blunt's ball... the implication is that in choosing Blunt, it is not expected that DeLay will get back, and could even possibly be pushed into resigning or being forced out on rules regarding felons in Congress.

Woot! once more

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When do they send Godzilla and Monster Zero?

From USA Today

just feel the burn...

"an Idaho weatherman says Japan's Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge itself for the Hiroshima atom bomb attack — and that this technology will soon be wielded again to hit another U.S. city."

Outstanding! Finally someone out there really GETS IT! When in doubt, blame the Japs and the Russkies, right Red State? Get off FEMA's back hippies. It's not the morally bankrupt and clownish incompentence of the Bush Administration in the face of a natural event. Hell NO! It's a super-secret, ultra -groove Russkie SuperWeapon in the hands of tatooed Japanese gangsters.

Doesn't this sound like an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man or some other ridiculous 70's or 80 TV show? "Steve, you and Jamie need to parachute into Tokyo to prevent the Yakuza from destorying New Orleans. "

We MUST get this weatherman to Los Angeles. He will fit in perfectly among the horrific NewsBots that spend three hours a day scaring the shit out of Southern California with stories about drive-by's, murders and lost white women. I might actually watch local affiliate news if the weatherman was likely to break off a Russian Super Weapon forecast. As a matter of fact, give him Al Rokers job. They need a ratings bump and it' wouldn't be the most craven thing the morning network circle jerks have done for ratings.

War all Cold War Retro Weatherman conspiracy theories...


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Do I Have To Support THESE Troops Too?

Via Digby, whose article behind that link ought to be required reading for every WireHead™, we find this post from the otherwise painfully unreadable Andrew Sullivan:
CORPSES FOR PORN? What on earth is this website [link elided] doing? U.S. soldiers can post pics of the corpses of Iraqis killed in war on a website devoted mainly to amateur porn. I clicked through and saw just a couple of pics which are beyond appalling and distressing. The section for corpses - and it's not clear whether they are of insurgents or just civilians - has this introduction:
Pictures in this forum are submitted by U.S. Soldiers from over in Iraq and Afghanistan and will probably be a little gory. So if you get sick easy or have a problem with dead terrorists please don't look here.
If you send in pics of dead insurgents or Iraqis, you get free access to the porn part of the site. The pics that are appended have names such as "What every Iraqi should look like," "DIE, HAJI, DIE," and "Cooked Iraqi." I would think this violates the Geneva Conventions, not that the U.S. under this president cares about those very much any more. But it's also beyond depraved. Eric Muller sounded the alarm. Like the pictures from Abu Ghraib, these images are also a propaganda coup for Zarqawi and his monsters - a consequence of war in the Internet age. Have we really sunk to this?

Yes, apparently— we've really sunk to this. Drink it in, Americans. This is your patriotic glorious all-volunteer military. These are the people your President thinks are the only people really prepared to deal with the logistical requirements of a major natural disaster in your neighborhood.

America really is an exceptional country, isn't it?

Update 1.0: I've been behind a web proxy all week, and I'm not seeing this article show up on the MojoWire front page. Strangely, it went straight to archives. I wonder if something inside Blogger doesn't like the 'P' word.

Update 2.0: It finally happened. I scooped Billmon. Go read his take— it's better than mine.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mojowire Podcast for 09/17/05

Well, here it is, the terrible, yet dread podcast of this week's Mojowire, brought to you by the fine folks at The Darkling Eclectica

Happy listening...

mojo sends

Friday, September 16, 2005

Blame The Tree-hugging Dirt Worshippers!

Via Josh Marshall, we find a newspaper in Mississippi claiming to have acquired evidence that the Bush administration is looking to blame environmental activist groups for the New Orleans flood.
The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Finally! The tree-hugging dirt-worshipping hippie fanatics are exposed! They've been plotting the wholesale destruction of American cities for decades, and now there's a chance of finally catching them in the act! This is a great fscking day!

I hope the Rovians are successful with this line of attack. If they successfully pin the blame for the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, then Americans will finally be forced to reckon with the awesome power of Greenpeace!

Quake in fear, America! We environmentalists can strike at any time, anywhere, with hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes— the full array of Nature's wrath! Come to heel or we will DESTROY YOU ALL!

A Cold Chill...

Did anyone else get that cold chill up the spine when Maximum Leader said this last night:

"It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice."

Yeah... that's just what I wanted to hear, a guy who has attorneys writing half-bright treatises on Presidential perogative for torture now wants broader authority to order the military into action in the United States...

And as a tangent, check out Blackwater Security and check out their latest battlefield... I really like the fact that they are also being contracted by the insurance companies to determine claim validity. I also like the fact that they are being used for "crowd control."

mojo sends

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Executive Accountability Amendment

I propose amending the U.S. Constitution as follows:
The President, if impeached in the House, shall be removed from office after a vote of three fifths of the Senate.

Currently, the Constitution requires a trial in the Senate and a two-thirds vote. This amendment would dispense with the trial and lower the threshold for removal, thereby effectively weakening the power of the President and making the office more accountable to the Legislative branch.

It would make that phenomenon, which George W. Bush calls an "accountability moment," happen every two years, rather than every four.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bill Maher Breaks Off Another One

The occasionally brilliant Bill Maher apparently remembered where he put the good dope and launched an excellent scud. Here is the portion of his monologue on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher I'm calling out:
And finally, New Rule: America must recall the president. That's what this country needs. A good, old-fashioned, California-style recall election! Complete with Gary Coleman, porno actresses and action film stars. And just like Schwarzenegger's predecessor here in California, George Bush is now so unpopular, he must defend his jog against...Russell Crowe. Because at this point, I want a leader who will throw a phone at somebody. In fact, let's have only phone throwers. Naomi Campbell can be the vice-president!

Now, I kid, but seriously, Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!

Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in...Please don't. I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.

Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky!

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."

Rack that guy, ASAP.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

"National Disaster" vs. "National Emergency"

It's one of those curious legal distinctions that occasionally comes around and makes a world of difference that you otherwise wouldn't see coming unless you noticed the change of a single word in a legal document.

The President has just declared a "national emergency" in response to Hurricane Katrina. This is separate and different from the declarations he made a couple weeks ago about certain parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as "national disaster" area. Let's look at the text of the actual executive order (with my emphasis in italics).
Proclamation by the President: To Suspend Subchapter IV of Chapter 31 of Title 40, United States Code, Within a Limited Geographic Area in Response to the National Emergency Caused by Hurricane Katrina

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

1. Section 3142(a) of title 40, United States Code, provides that "every contract in excess of $2,000, to which the Federal Government or the District of Columbia is a party, for construction, alteration, or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings and public works of the Government or the District of Columbia that are located in a State or the District of Columbia and which requires or involves the employment of mechanics or laborers shall contain a provision stating the minimum wages to be paid various classes or laborers and mechanics."

2. Section 3142(b) of title 40, United States Code, provides that such "minimum wages shall be based on the wages the Secretary of Labor determines to be prevailing for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the civil subdivision of the State in which the work is to be performed . . ."

3. Under various other related acts, the payment of wages is made dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under section 3142 of title 40, United States Code.

4. Section 3147 of title 40, United States Code, provides that "[t]he President may suspend the provisions of this subchapter during a national emergency."

5. Several areas of the Nation have been recently devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The devastation from the hurricane has resulted in the largest amount of property damage from a natural disaster in the history of the Nation. An enormous but undetermined number of lives have been lost, and hundreds of thousands of homes and business establishments either destroyed or severely damaged. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have lost their jobs and their livelihood. An unprecedented amount of Federal assistance will be needed to restore the communities that have been ravaged by the hurricane. Accordingly, I find that the conditions caused by Hurricane Katrina constitute a "national emergency" within the meaning of section 3147 of title 40, United States Code.

(a) Hurricane Katrina has resulted in unprecedented property damage.

(b) The wage rates imposed by section 3142 of title 40, United States Code, increase the cost to the Federal Government of providing Federal assistance to these areas.

(c) Suspension of the subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code, 40 U.S.C. 3141-3148, and the operation of related acts to the extent they depend upon the Secretary of Labor's determinations under section 3142 of title 40, United States Code, will result in greater assistance to these devastated communities and will permit the employment of thousands of additional individuals.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do by this proclamation suspend, as to all contracts entered into on or after the date of this proclamation and until otherwise provided, the provisions of subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code, 40 U.S.C. 3141-3148, and the provisions of all other acts providing for the payment of wages, which provisions are dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under section 3142 of title 40, United States Code, as they apply to contracts to be performed in the following jurisdictions: the counties of Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile, Sumter, and Washington in the State of Alabama; the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe in the State of Florida; the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, La Salle, Lafayette, Lafourche, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Terrebonne, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn in the State of Louisiana; and the counties of Adams, Alcorn, Amite, Attala, Benton, Bolivar, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Claiborne, Clarke, Clay, Coahoma, Copiah, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Itawamba, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Lafayette, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lee, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pearl River, Perry, Pike Pontotoc, Prentiss, Quitman, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Tunica, Union, Walthall, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wilkinson, Winston, Yalobusha, Yazoo in the State of Mississippi.

And, as to such contracts to be performed in such jurisdictions, I do hereby suspend, until otherwise provided, the provisions of any Executive Order, proclamation, rule, regulation, or other directive providing for the payment of wages, which provisions are dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under section 3142 of title 40, United States Code;

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.


Other media outlets may have reported to you that the President has suspended "the minimum wage" in the storm-damage afflicted areas. A moment of clear thought would make such a report seem like nonsense.

The federal minimum wage is what entry-level retail workers get paid. That's not what President Bush lowered by declaring a national emergency. He lowered a different, and much more interesting, minimum wage. He released government contractors— and all their subcontractors— from having to pay prevailing wages in the reconstruction efforts.

Think about that for a moment. The federal government is going to borrow an addition fifty-plus billion [with a 'B'] dollars from the Chinese Army, the Bank of Japan and whoever else is still buying U.S. Treasury bonds these days; the money is going into a FEMA slush fund managed by Chertoff with basically no Congressional oversight; it will be handed out to contractors who have earned favor with the Bush administration; and now, this is the outrageous part, now those contractors have been released from the federal law that requires them to pay prevailing wages for the actual laborers who will be doing the work.

That's what a national emergency means.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hunger Strike at Gitmo?

Via Eric Alterman, the Guardian reports today the 200 prisoners at Gitmo are on a weeks long hunger strike to protest their treatment. The Pentagon, with the straight faces only a lifetime of military discline can provide, says ONLY 76 are striking.

Gitmo already is an affront to the very core of American values regarding human dignity, and a repudiation of 50 years of adherence to a human rights standard that we are among the chief architects of. Now it has become an international showroom of the worst elements of American Right Wing Neo-Facism and xenophobia.


Things That Make You Go Hmmmm....

Consider this Google News search for a moment. For days now, we've had a report from a couple of eye-witnesses in New Orleans that the Gretna sheriff's police department prevented pedestrians from evacuating on foot over the I-10 bridge out of downtown by threatening them with gunfire.

Because the eye-witnesses were from San Francisco, and they're known to be weird people— no, we have no idea whether they're gay, but it's worse than that: they're socialists— their report has been easily disregarded as the fantastic ravings of, well, socialists. Everyone knows socialists are congenital liars. No serious people question that anymore, right?

Anyway, so it turns out today that UPI posted a story by one Shaun Waterman that confirms the account of our friendly neighborhood socialists. Here is an excerpt:
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Police from surrounding jurisdictions shut down several access points to one of the only ways out of New Orleans last week, effectively trapping victims of Hurricane Katrina in the flooded and devastated city.

An eyewitness account from two San Francisco paramedics posted on an internet site for Emergency Medical Services specialists says, 'Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the city on foot.'

'We shut down the bridge,' Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International, adding that his jurisdiction had been 'a closed and secure location' since before the storm hit.

You can probably find a copy of that story in the list returned by that Google search I linked above. Unfortunately, as I write this, the link to the original on the UPI website is returning an error. The Washington Times appears to have picked up the story. The kids on NRO appear to be talking about it. Some columnists have made mention of it. But nothing else. Nothing. Like it never happened. The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he didn't exist.

Honestly. When Americans stop using 1984 as their operations manual, I will stop calling them Orwellian.

Update 1.0: On Saturday, September 10, America's newspaper of record, Pravda On The Hudson, finally picked up the story.

Is the creaking branch ready to break?

Arianna Huffington, who has been all over Judy Miller and the New York Times for her refusal to testify in the Plame case, reports an interesting rumor she is getting from her "sources" inside the New York Times. here is a sample:

The question is, if what Miller wanted was to be "properly released" by her source why didn't she properly ask for it? If all she was waiting for was a more "proper" waiver, why is it okay to ask for one now but not to have asked for one two months ago?

"I think," said the source, "Judy doesn't want to spend even more time in jail -- which could happen if Fitzgerald decided to press criminal contempt charges."

I have suspected, based on what I have read about Paddy FitzGerald, that he would slap Judy with crinimal contempt for failing to testify if she pissed him off enough. Remember, these two have a history. As I understand the story, Fitzgerald was placed in charge of investigating Islamic Charities that were being used as money laundering operations for Al Queda and Hamas. He was ready to drop a search warrant on some of them, when A New York Times reporter called the charities up for comments on the impending raid the night before it was supposed to go down, thereby tipping off. When the Fed showed up with their warrant, a ton of evidence had been removed or destroyed. Nice work, Judy!

FitzGerald is renowned for his low tolerance for perjury and his vigor in purusing people who lie to his Grand Juries. Rove Sideious better hope that Judy is not ready to squawk, or that her info doesn't pertain to him, because this could get ugly real damn fast.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Eat The Rich!

You knew this would have to happen.
"The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

Or, as the immortal Billmon says:

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Uh Oh.....

The SF Bay Guardian has published their list of the ten most ignored stories in the MSM this year. It's worth checking out, but I was particularly struck by this one:

9. Iran's new oil trade system challenges US currency
The Bush administration has been paying a lot more attention to Iran recently. Part of that interest is clearly Iran's nuclear program – but there may be more to the story. One bit of news that hasn't received the public vetting it merits is Iran's declared intent to open an international oil exchange market, or "bourse."

Not only would the new entity compete against the New York Mercantile Exchange and London's International Petroleum Exchange (both owned by American corporations), but it would also ignite international oil trading in euros.

"A shift away from US dollars to euros in the oil market would cause the demand for petrodollars to drop, perhaps causing the value of the dollar to plummet," Brian Miller and Celeste Vogler of Project Censored wrote in Censored 2006.

"Barring a US attack, it appears imminent that Iran's euro-dominated oil bourse will open in March, 2006," Miller and Vogler continued. "Logically, the most appropriate US strategy is compromise with the EU and OPEC toward a dual-currency system for international oil trades."

Yikes! Renomination into Euro's could lead to a widespread devaluation of the dollar, and not at the leisurely rate everyone seems to be crossing their fingers for. The bond market will crap cinder blocks if this actually looks like it's going to happen.

So, when do you think the bombing of Iran will begin? Does anyone seriously believe that this Administration will hesitate to whack Iran with everything they have to prevent this from happening?

Place your bets, wireheads. We should start a pool for the month and day the bombs drop...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Haiku of the Week

Down in the bayou
Tim LaHaye's books left behind
The rapture's come

Friday, September 02, 2005

Battle of New Orleans

From Apocalypse Now:

"Hey, soldier. Do you know who's in
command here?"


mojo sends

Update 1.0: Okay, my bad -- Lt. Gen. Russel Honore is apparently in command...


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rumsfeld On Looting...

Just a reminder, in case anyone's memories have been surgically removed by the Department of Homeland Security, this is what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had to say when a reporter asked him for his thoughts on the looting in Baghdad after the American invasion in 2003...

"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," Rumsfeld said. "They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."

Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. "Stuff happens," Rumsfeld said.

Freedom is untidy. Stuff happens. Remember that when you're watching coverage of the destruction in New Orleans, Louisiana.