Monday, January 30, 2006

Bob Shrum should shut his piehole

Mojo and I were just talking about this Roll Call article (sub required) where Congressional Dems and other Beltway players were complaining about DNC Chairmans Deans spending on local party infrastucture. Although Dean set a new fundraising record for the DNC in an off cycle year, he spent most of it on building up local party infrastructure, in addition to the money he has been raising directly. Mojo had some issues with how the DFA people here in CA were behaving, and he can lay that out for you himself. But this touches upon a few of my chief concerns about the party:

First, as Amy Sullivan lays out in this Monthly piece, the party consistently uses the same worthless consultants and pollsters, despite the fact they clearly aren't contributing to success. Part of that model is the fundraising/spending model the DNC has used; saving money in a big kitty to target a few key races. That model has not worked, period. Dean is engaged in precisely the strategy he said he would implement if made Chair, building locally and not concede any state, no matter how red it may appear. I support that as a strategy. His plan depends on execution, and how well it comes off remains to be seen, but the old strategy clearly wasn't working, so Dean deserves the chance to try something different.

Next, The polling methodology Dems use isn't adequate compared to what the GOP is using. The GOP utilizes a far more sophisticated polling methodology that creates detailed profiles of voters. This touches upon what James was talking about with his post a while back about branding. Brands are, in part, the products of detailed and sophisticated methods of measuring customer behaviors and lifestyles. The GOP was able to use their resourcs more effectively in key areas like Ohio, without the Dems or the Unions even knowing what they were up to. The folks at MYDD are playing with some different polling methods, take a look.

Part of what DCCC is assed up over is the loss of gatekeeping power they exercised previously. Now local parties can run campaigns or candidates without having to genuflect to them. IN light of their incompetence in the last several cycles, I say that's a good thing.

And before everyone chimes in with their pet peeve about National Dems, I'm not defending or ruling anything out. You might have a perfectly legitimate gripe to lay on them. But these are mine, and I wanted to lay out why the DCCC and the rest of the crew should STFU about Dean's fundraising. He's doing exactly what we want him to do. If Bob Shrum or Donna Brazille and the rest of the repeat failures who are so skilled at ruining Dem Campaigns don't like it, then get the fsck out and go play somewhere else. You are losers and no one cares what your worthless opinions is on Dean. If Dean fucks up, then fine, at least he didn't simply try and run the same old worthless DCCC strategy that continues not to work.

Our First Contestant?

Tell me this guy is not thinking hard about running for President...

mojo sends

Friday, January 27, 2006

Why Isn't Anne Coulter in Jail?

So in the process of Anne Coulter telling the kids at a traditionally black college, Phillander Smith in Arkansas that the crack cocaine problem has gone away, she also openly called for the assassination by poison of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

In spite of her saying it was only a joke, we live in a post 9/11 world don't you know... we simply don't joke about killing national leaders. In fact, such a thing could be seen as a violation of new anti-terrorism laws.

I guess it's only terrorism if you disagree with the President.

mojo sends

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Time For Cake!

Over in the comments to this post at Orcinus, I just had the sublime pleasure of provoking Bill White, the spokesman for the National Socialism Movement into calling me evil.

Naturally, this made my day. Yay, me! I'm going to treat myself to a slice of cake!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"I've Got A Brand New Shiny Helmet And A Pair Of Kinky Boots"

The proposed United States Secret Service, Uniformed Division, part of the USA PATRIOT IMPROVEMENT AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005.

A lot of folks are getting twisted up about Sec. 3056a (b)(1) (B), which says...
make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony
The phrase "reasonable grounds" is a little weird. Why doesn't this say "probable cause" here?

I'm weirded out by that, sure— but I think Sec. 3056a (a)(7-13) is the more interesting excerpt.
`(a) There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the `United States Secret Service Uniformed Division'. Subject to the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division shall perform such duties as the Director, United States Secret Service, may prescribe in connection with the protection of the following:

`(7) Foreign diplomatic missions located in metropolitan areas (other than the District of Columbia) in the United States where there are located twenty or more such missions headed by full-time officers, except that such protection shall be provided only--
`(A) on the basis of extraordinary protective need;

`(B) upon request of an affected metropolitan area; and

`(C) when the extraordinary protective need arises at or in association with a visit to--
`(i) a permanent mission to, or an observer mission invited to participate in the work of, an international organization of which the United States is a member; or

`(ii) an international organization of which the United States is a member;
except that such protection may also be provided for motorcades and at other places associated with any such visit and may be extended at places of temporary domicile in connection with any such visit.
`(8) Foreign consular and diplomatic missions located in such areas in the United States, its territories and possessions, as the President, on a case-by-case basis, may direct.

`(9) Visits of foreign government officials to metropolitan areas (other than the District of Columbia) where there are located twenty or more consular or diplomatic missions staffed by accredited personnel, including protection for motorcades and at other places associated with such visits when such officials are in the United States to conduct official business with the United States Government.

`(10) Former Presidents and their spouses, as provided in section 3056(a)(3) of title 18.

`(11) An event designated under section 3056(e) of title 18 as a special event of national significance.

`(12) Major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates and, within 120 days of the general Presidential election, the spouses of such candidates, as provided in section 3056(a)(7) of title 18.

`(13) Visiting heads of foreign states or foreign governments.
I think a picture here may be worth more than anything I could write.

[Deep, formal bow to the Virtual Museum of China '89 for the image.]

The Credibility of No Such Agency

Let me see if I get this straight...

According to General Micheal Hayden, the Deputy DNI, the Presiden't illegal wiretap program...
"is not a drift net over Dearborn or Lackawanna or Freemont, grabbing conversations that we then sort out by these alleged keyword searches or data-mining tools or other devices that so-called experts keep talking about. This is targeted and focused."
Well that's reassuring.

Except, this is the NSA. We should believe this is General Hayden trotting out anything other than an official public denial of the existence of a classified intelligence gathering operation? Um, why? Because he's just such swell guy?

When Donald Rumsfeld told us that Congress could pull the plug on Total Information Awareness but it wouldn't stop him from secretly mining electronic message networks, did anyone else think he was serious?

Apparently not. Kevin Drum [here and here] as well as Comrade Joshua [here] and Matthew Yglesias [here], seem to be eating this up with a spoon.

I just love these "serious" moderate Democrats. They're oh so happy to rail about the lies and the lying liars who tell them [apologies to Al Franken], but only after they've got egg on their faces for credulously believing the lies in the first place. I keep asking: at what point will these supercilious and self-righteous bastards wake up and stop giving these people the credibility they desperately need to keep perpetuating the bullshit?

And the thing about the "serious" moderate Democrats that really pisses me off is how useless they really are most of the time. If you're a conservatarian GOP running-dog imperialist goon, you have to be thinking to yourself: who the fsck needs Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum and Big Media Matt to help out with hammering home the narrative? We've got the entire top-down media on our side, and these small-beer players are just not playing their weight class!

For the record: No, I don't believe a word of General Hayden's bullshit. The man is a professional liar. If his natural impulse was to tell the truth to the press, then I doubt he could have been hired to clean the toilets at the NSA, much less serve as the Deputy Director of National Intelligence.

Update 1.0: I was right to be suspicious. Glenn Greenwald tells us how full of shit General Hayden was when he said that "probable cause" was the issue with FISA compliance.

Sammy the Gavel Gets Ticket Punched...

Sammy "The Gavel" Alito will get sent to the full Senate today by the Judiciary Committee.

The vote will be 10-8; maybe 11-7 if Herb Kohl jumps the shark...

Please let me know where the Republic's wake will be so I can send flowers...

mojo sends

Update 1.0: It is done... 10-8 to send to the full Senate

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Sound of One Mojo Clapping...

Well, it's not very often that I get to sound off regarding my own prognostication ability, but I was checking up on a post I wrote on August 10, 2005 on the strange and terrible fate of Lt. Gen. Kevin Byrnes.

After reading a post by Lindsay Bernstein at the redoubtable Majikthise blog wondering about the official explanation on the canning of Byrnes, I too became curious.

The word from on high had it that Byrnes, the head of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), was caught in an extramarital dalliance and that such exposed behavior was not in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and so Byrnes was summarily packed off to the Island of Misfit Flag Officers, ne'r to be seen in uniform again...

Many at the time were saying that something about that story simply did not seem right. Mark Kleinman wrote that "it did not pass the sniff test." Lindsay essentially agreed and asked if anyone had any competing theories...

I did a little net-mining and hit a vein of promising ore, which I quickly refined into cold rolled sheets of theoretical byzantine intrigue regarding a potential ruffling of feathers (as well as potentially phat stax of post military service bank) regarding control of a program called LandWarNet.

Reading the history, it looked as though Byrnes may have punked Gen. Steven Boutelle, U.S. Army's G-6, (or Chief Information Officer), regarding the future of the digital Army. Boutelle had his own program, but ended up being told to go to Congress to pimp for Byrnes' pet project instead.

Suddenly, less than a year later, Gen. Byrnes gets spaced out the airlock...

At the time, I was interested to see who then got control of LandWarNet in the wake of Byrnes' demise, saying it would auger well for my theory if it ended up back in the hands of G-6.

Well, I didn't think much of it at the time, other than being vaguely amused at my own ability to think conspiratorily and use the Internet to help me with that...

Then yesterday, the military fetishists at "Global Security" updated their LandWarNet entry, to wit:
The idea behind LandWarNet is how to best support the warfighter, the Soldier. It will give Soldiers the ability to reach up and grab that information they need. LandWarNet brings together the Active and Reserve Components and connects them into the GIG. TRADOC is still focused on the warfighting piece of LandWarNet, but now the G-6 has the overall responsibility for the infrastructure and service

I love it when a plan comes together...

mojo sends

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oh, And Another Thing...

This goes to vanmojo's first point in the previous article, i.e. that the power to forbid abortion is also the power to coerce abortion.

Closer to home, it's also the power to sterilize. The United States was the first country to adopt a serious policy of compulsory sterilization, and we did it for both punitive and eugenic reasons. It was greatly curtailed, but not eliminated, by a Supreme Court decision, Skinner v. Oklahoma, which specifically struck down compulsory sterilization for punitive purposes.

Believe it or not, the last forced sterilization for eugenic purposes was performed in Oregon in 1981. Eugenics passed out of popular favor in the wake of the Nazi holocaust, but its proponents have never gone away. Here in California, it was really popular until a few years ago. Still, you find the loudest arguments for reinstating eugenics programs coming not from pro-choice advocates, but from abortion opponents. Most abortion opponents are really opponents of reproductive freedom in general, and they're often opponents of women's reproductive freedom in particular.

Here at MojoWire, you'll find that the three of us have pretty consistent views on the relationships between social problems and the civil liberties that must be protected when addressing them.

For example...

• We're big supporters of intellectual freedom, but we think patents and copyrights are necessary for promoting the arts and sciences.

• We're big supporters of freedom of the press, but we go around and around with each other about whether shield laws for reporters are a good idea.

• We're huge supporters of the right to keep and bear arms (and yes, we're shooters), but we think small arms proliferation is a serious problem that needs the attention of government to mitigate.

• We're loud and proud on freedom of religion, but even the atheist on the masthead thinks that Michael Newdow is an annoying git for focusing all the attention on stupid distractions like the pledge of allegiance, to the exclusion of the problem that atheists are frequently excluded from public service because of their religious affiliation.

...and finally, yes...

• We're big supporters of reproductive freedom, but we know there is a role for the state in assisting with the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. We don't believe you can prevent unwanted pregnancies by restricting the availability of safe and legal abortion. And even if you could, we think you shouldn't.

Why? Simple. If the reason you're making it difficult to get an abortion is to force women to accept higher risks of unwanted pregnancy, to force them to accept even more severe consequences of sexual abuse and the physical consequences of abnormal pregnancies, and to force them not to have non-procreative sex, then why aren't you demanding their sterilization for punitive and eugenic purposes? You've already gone most of the way— you're deciding that the State has an overriding interest in what women do with their reproductive systems, and can move to prevent women from exercising control over themselves to advance its own ends at their expense. It's only a matter of time before you start reaching for eugenic compulsory sterilization to fix your favorite pet social problems, and that is unacceptable.

Do you hear me? UNACCEPTABLE!

An Answer for TheRobb

In the rather heated exchange going on in Sean's recent post on Alito, our good friend TheRobb asks the question:

"Why do (Dems, Liberals, Leftists) appear to be 'hung up' (for lack of better words) on protecting Roe v. Wade?"

And I endeavor to answer...

Now, I don't pretend to speak for Sean, S9, or anyone else on my team, but to my mind there is a very easy answer for this, in two parts; part one, is that most people who support Roe do not view unviable foetuses as persons, with all rights and obligations thereunto pertaining. A potential, certainly; but not a full fledged person.

Part two, the classic liberalism that many of us passionately defend is predicated on a certain self-determination and freedom from undue influence over our own particular destinies.

Now, whether we believe that undue influence takes the form of capital run amok over of the lives of ordinary people to the point where they are enslaved by an allegedly "free-market" ...


whether we believe the threat to freedom stems from a callous, incompetent and self-interested government working openly against the interests of personal liberty in order to guarantee its own self-perpetuation ...

Or some combination of the two...

The basic starting point is the same, the previously mentioned personal control over one's own destiny.

And there are two arguements that I like to use in this situation:

a1: Not really so much an arguement as an observation... Our position is soley about freedom and choice. A government that has the ability to prevent abortion, also has the ability to enforce abortion (c.f. The People's Republic of China). The door really does swing both ways.

a2: The concept of making abortion unlawful and putting it in the category of "crimes against the person (e.g. murder, manslaughter, assault) leaves most people in a curious position on this.

If we postulate that a foetus at any point in gestation is a legal "person" then anyone who takes a deliberate act to harm that foetus is guilty of one of those aforemention "crimes against the person."

At that point, I believe it morally obligates those who take that stance to support putting doctors and would-be mothers in jail for the rest of their lives for terminating a pregnancy. Perhaps even the death penalty here in California, because the laws againt torture and "mayhem" (basically dismembering someone) would require it.

And yet, I see very few people who are willing to go there. The question becomes, if we put a mother in jail for murdering her kids in a bathtub, like that lady in Texas, then why wouldn't we put her in jail for terminating a pregnancy?

And if you do believe that is what should be done, then at least I would respect the consistency of your belief, but I don't know if that is how you really think about this.

Why is there such vitriol involved?

I think part of the answer is at least that both sides see the issue as a matter of a fundamental right or part of human nature. It goes straight to the very dignity of our existence and our right to order our own lives. Both sides see the other as an anathema to everything we believe is important about our country and our society.

Quite simply, these two substances cannot occupy the same space.

But also, I think a lot of the vitriol on both sides is artificial. Both in the safe snarkiness of the Internet where no one really knows who (or what) they are talking to as well as the relatively controlled nuclear reaction of street action where the cops are on hand to make sure no one gets too far out of hand.

There is also the media angle. As a former news reporter, I often used to notice that those who were the most outrageous and loud on an issue often got the coverage as opposed to the circumspect or quiet. You wanna get your name and your issue in the paper, say something wild.

No, I didn't (and still don't) think that is a particular good way to present news and issues to the public, but that's the way it works. And it is a shame.

But some of the vitriol simply comes from being attacked. I have had people spit on me, physically assault me, call me all manner of ugly names (all in the name of Christian love, you understand). After a while, that kind of pseudo-combat becomes second nature.

For example, I regard the Kelo v. New London decision as much more of a disgrace than Roe.

I whole-heartedly agree with you on that one, and I am doubly disappointed because the majority in that case came from the justices with whom I usually find myself in agreement. I was deeply distressed by the court's reasoning in Kelo. And to my mind, I find cases like that far more instructive on a justice's potential jurisprudence than an abortion litmus test.

Although, to return to Roe for a moment in that context, I think the issue is not so much whether a justice supports abortion in an of itself, but whether that justice can find a reasonable reading of the Constitution that says a woman has an absolute right to control her reproductive destiny. This was essentially the arguement in Griswold.

So at the end of the day, I don't think it's so much about "abortion" as a concept as it is about the government's ability to declare very intimate aspects of our lives as public domain and susceptible to government control.

And I would hope in this moment of clarity and non-snarkiness, that you would at least acknowledge that liberals are not all about government control of people's lives, like we have been trying to tell you for, lo, these many years.

I got into it the other day with the children over at Moonbattery (Even consider the name of the blog, as to why we get worked up...) And a guy was wondering aloud about the persecution of Christians compared to some kid in the upper mid west who won the right in court to wear his Sikh dagger (part of the religious garb of Sikh's, like a yarmulke for Jews).

He was complaining that some kid could now wear his ceremonial knife to school, but they still couldn't put a crèche out on the lawn of the courthouse. And I attempted to explain to him the difference between the freedom to wear religious accessories on one's person as a spiritual fashion statement as opposed to placing a religious display on public property where people would now have to pay for subsidizing a religious display that they might violently oppose...

And yet this person could not see the difference (or at least claimed he couldn't, but I have my doubts there). As far as this person was concerned, there was no difference between wearing a cross or crucifix on one's person, and erecting a giant cross on public property subsidized by the taxpayers.

I know I have wondered a little far afield from the original questions, so I will cut it off here, but these are my answers, such as they are without snark or sarcasm.

I hope this helps clarify my position for you.

mojo sends.

Friday, January 13, 2006

What, again?!

So now they are threatening to ban me over at Moonbattery.

But I actually feel a little bad about that one. As weird as they were at JYB at least they had takes, as wack as they were...

Given the quality of their topics and their take, I am starting to wonder if the Moonbattery cadre isn't actually some kool-aid® drinking teenyboppers who think they are being all cool, edgy and urbane... That would suck if I'm actually teeing-off on kids here...

mojo sends

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bye Roe..

I think it unlikely that Alito's appointment to the Court will be defeated. While I believe that his appointment should be filibusted, I doubt the Dems will be able to pull it off even if they have the will for it. Based solely on his judicial record, I think it is clear he will vote to overturn Roe and defend the Administrations power grabs wherever they rear their ugly head before the Supreme Court.

We need to get our heads around this. The test cases are probably ready to go, or soon will be. And despite Alito's testimony, I would not stay too attached to Griswold.

So let me be among the first to welcome you to Jesusland. Mind the cursing and the spitting, and don't forget to kiss our Lords Holy Posterior lest he give you a stroke or a catagory 5 hurricane or something equally unpleasant. And watch out for the GAY, they are tricky and have been known to sneak into your home and make it and you more tasteful.

Got a problem with that hippie?

Monday, January 09, 2006

American Heroes

Digby, once again, reminds us of things we would all prefer not to have to notice. But we do. We do.
New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive.

I'm really ever so sorry to harsh your buzz, Redstate... but these are your American heroes doing this, you panty-wetting little pantloads.

Click through the link to Digby's post. The horror deepens when you find out what else there is to know about this story. Digby finally concludes thusly:
Someday, US Army grunts and innocent Americans with no operational information are going to be held captive by another country and that country is going to use the same rationale for imprisoning and tormenting them indefinitely. And the people who do it will eventually go to the ninth circle of hell and join George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as they scream into the void for eternity about how they had to become sadistic monsters in order to prove they weren't afraid.

"Hell is other people." —Jean-Paul Sartre

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ouch, That's Gotta Hurt...

I'm sorry. I just have to give props to Teresa Nielsen Hayden, one of the proprietors of Making Light, for cracking off this masterful flame at our friend Alec Rawls.

For those who don't know, Alec Rawls is the son of John Rawls, political philosopher of the American gods. Young Alec appears not to be endowed with quite so much potential for keen insight— he's the source of all that wacky conspiracy theory coming out of Lower Wingnut Blogistan about how the Flight 93 Memorial site design is a Shrine to Islamo-fascism.

Click through to comment thread at TBogg's place I linked above. Teresa's comment is full of all kinds of interesting trivia, but I'm primarily interested in bringing her snarky quip at the end of the comment to your attention.

When she finally concluded with the following paragraph...
If any of the corrected methods for more accurately identifying and bisecting the tips of the crescent show that the memorial is in fact pointing toward Istanbul, I'm willing to entertain the notion that what we have here is an actual Byzantine conspiracy; but that's as far as I'm willing to take it.
...I laughed so hard, I scared the cats. (The cats are usually pretty blasé about my belly-laughs, so that's saying something.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

IRS Collecting Data On Individual Political Party Affiliation

Now, isn't this just the most precious thing you've ever heard?

Oh, don't worry, RedState— I believe every word out of the mouth of a Deputy Commissioner of the IRS.
...Deputy IRS Commissioner John Dalrymple said the party identification information was automatically collected through a “database platform” supplied by an outside contractor that targeted voter registration rolls among other things as it searched for people who aren’t paying their taxes.

“This information is appropriately used to locate information on taxpayers whose accounts are delinquent,” he said.

I'm sure it's used for exactly that purpose. For some definition of "appropriate" in that context...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Godfather

The latest news from Pat Robertson:

Our heavenly Godfather has the Archangel Luca Brazzi push the button on Ariel Sharon for refusing to sell his casinos in Gaza to "La Familia."

Outstanding take, Pat...

mojo sends

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Wiretaps Were Illegal... So What?

I think it's time our legions of wireheads faced up to a harsh reality.

When the Bush Administration is found to have used its illegal wiretap capability on journalists and political opponents— no, Redstate, I don't want to hear it: when not if... WHEN— you need to be ready for the response from conservatarian supporters of the President.

Wiretaps on journalists and political opponents is perfectly acceptable to these people. Illegal wiretaps on journalists and political opponents is a necessary tool in the President's kit for protecting the American people from terrorism. The only reason they're illegal is that enemies of the American people have so far kept the Congress from giving the President the powers he needs to keep us safe. The very fact the wiretaps were illegal just goes to show how necessary they were to our security.

Here's how we beat these people at this game. Use satire to criticize President Bill Clinton for not violating the law when he was President. I'm sure we can come up with a long list of wonderful examples where Bubba could have exercised his constitutional authority as the Commander In Chief of the Republic to circumvent the procedures of the law to make Americans safer from the threat of domestic terrorists in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Why, if Bush had been President when Timothy McVeigh struck the Murrah building, all those terrorists in the Militia Movement would have been smoked out of their caves, captured like Osama bin Laden and put on trial like Uday and Qusay Hussein. Instead, look at what happened on 9/11! NEVER FORGET!

UPDATE 1.0: Atrios is asking the question answered in this post. I don't think he's ready to believe it yet, but it probably won't be very long before we'll have a definitive answer.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ask not for whom the bell tolls,

It tolls you for you GOP!

The overture in the Operatic tragedy of Tom Delay and the holy crusaders of Conservativism has ended and Act I, Scene I is about begin. Along with Jack, Michael Scanlon, former press fluffer for Tom Delay has already cut a deal with Federal Prosecutor to sing Castrati. The long night is about to start for Wingnuttia. Can't wait for the Ralph Reed sold into bondage in the prison exercise yard part! I might cry...

Sunday, January 01, 2006