Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dispatches from the Front

Okay, some dude calling himself "BradBlog" has this bit up on his page now.

If true, this could be a prety cool thing. Apparently, RFK jr. has been doing some digging into the 2004 election, and claims to have the goods on the theft of our Republic.

If only we now had cops to report it to...

Update 1.0: Here it is. Go, read, tremble. And never, never forget... we told you so!

mojo sends

The Firey Wrath of the T-Bogg...

Word to the muthafsckin' T-Bogg. He brings the serious pimp-hand to some smug faced cowardly "craphound" who calls out the anti-war crowd for not being American enough...

mojo sends

Police State Update...

You might be remembered a couple of weeks ago I threw a shoe over HR 5020 P.C.S. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007

It contained some provisions in sections 423 and 432 that amend federal law to give the CIA and NSA unlimited plenary police power in the United States.

Well, the Senate has finally roused itself from a pork-induced stupor and floated their companion version of the bill. There is some good news and some not so good news.

The Senate did not do away with the provisions in their version. They did, however, water them down, ever so slightly. To wit, they added the following line on the end of both offending verses:
"...and such personnel may not exercise any authority for the service of civil process or for the investigation of criminal offenses."
So it appears that the language will dilute the ability of the CIA or NSA to engage in blanket law enforcement.

However, the rest of the language leaves the possibility open, especially given that Sparky Gonzalez is going to be the one creating their operating parameters through an authorization opinion. Remember, the key phrase is "while engaged in protective functions." But that phrase is completely undefined.

Here is 50 USC 403f(a)(4) as it stands now:
"Authorize personnel designated by the Director to carry firearms to the extent necessary for the performance of the Agency’s authorized functions, except that, within the United States, such authority shall be limited to the purposes of protection of classified materials and information, the training of Agency personnel and other authorized persons in the use of firearms, the protection of Agency installations and property, and the protection of current and former Agency personnel and their immediate families, defectors and their immediate families, and other persons in the United States under Agency auspices
...and this is what it is being replaced with in the section 424 of the Senate version:
"Authorize personnel engaged in the performance of protective functions authorized pursuant to subparagraph (A), when engaged in the performance of such functions, to make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in the presence of such personnel, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States, if such personnel have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony, except that any authority pursuant to this subparagraph may be exercised only in accordance with guidelines approved by the Director and the Attorney General and such personnel may not exercise any authority for the service of civil process or for the investigation of criminal offenses
This is where it pays to know the phrase Chevron Deference from the Chevron v. NRDC case in 1984.

In short, it is the doctrine that absent clear legislative intent, or specific legislative language, federal agencies and rules promolgators are to be given deference in creating the regulations that give reality to laws passed by Congress. In other words, if Sparky says that the CIA can now set up speed traps on I-80 as part of their "protective functions" the Justice Department is to be accorded a deference in their definition of "protective functions," because Congress couldn't -- or wouldn't -- be bothered to define it.

Also, there is the problematic issue of "reasonable grounds," versus "probable cause" for the grounds for arrest for CIA and NSA officers. Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Ed. defines probable cause as:
A reasonable ground to suspect that a person has committed or is comitting a crime or that a place contains specific items connected with a crime. * Under the Fourth Amendment, probable cause -- which amounts to more than a bare suspicion, but less than evidence that would justify a conviction -- must be shown before an arrest warrant or a search warrant may be issues.
Now let's compare this to NEW JERSEY v. T. L. O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985) where the court annunciates the "reasonable grounds" standard by saying [cites omitted]:
"Ordinarily, a search - even one that may permissibly be carried out without a warrant - must be based upon "probable cause" to believe that a violation of the law has occurred... However, "probable cause" is not an irreducible requirement of a valid search. The fundamental command of the Fourth Amendment is that searches and seizures be reasonable, and although "both the concept of probable cause and the requirement of a warrant bear on the reasonableness of a search ... in certain limited circumstances neither is required." Thus, we have in a number of cases recognized the legality of searches and seizures based on suspicions that, although "reasonable," do not rise to the level of probable cause."
This creates a lower standard of evidence or care for "reasonable grounds. And remember, the sections of law we're talking about also specifically state that the officers can act without a warrant if they believe they meet this lower standard, which then takes the bar and kicks it down even lower.

I realize I have been winding on here, so let me just wrap up with this: The U.S. Senate version of FY2007 Intelligence Authorization bill sets up a nominally watered down version of the language that has us so cranked here. We'll see what comes out of conference. But remember, whatever version that gets passed, it will be up to the Attorney General of the United States, now, to use the CIA and the NSA protective services in whatever capacity he sees fit for domestic U.S. law enforcement. I have attempted to peel back the curtain a bit here and show the legal underpinnings as I understand them, and hopefully impart a sense of the danger that is embodied in this.

These two buried and fairly innocuous sections contain the seeds of a full-blown police state as repressive as anything we saw in Eastern Europe during the Cold War and completely breach the original organizational principles of the CIA and NSA, not to mention violating the classical liberal ideals that our country was founded uopn. Why, oh why, are there not more people getting seriously cranked about this?!

mojo sends

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Your Brief Moment of Surreality

Well, whaddya know? It turns out that cranky, dominionist χ-tians don't really have a problem with ultraviolent video games after all.
Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life.

The game, slated for release by October 2006 in advance of the Christmas shopping rush, has been previewed at video game exhibitions, and reviewed by major newspapers and magazines. But until now, no fan or critic has pointed out the controversial game's connection to Mr. Warren or his dominionist agenda.
At least, in the Doom series of games, you're supposed to be fighting evil demons from Hell.

One Morning In Cairo

The mighty Billmon writes about how he caught the train to Luxor and why, occasionally, it pays to be picky about which particular small bills you accept in change from a cash transaction at the airport before embarking on a journey to certain less industrialized countries.

Update 1.0: The original title of this post was "One Night In Cairo" until I decided that the cognitive dissonance bugged too much and fixed it. The events Billmon writes about took place in the morning.

Thursday, May 25, 2006



Ken Lay is going down on all counts, including the bench case counts against Ken Lay of lying to his banks... It looks like Jeff Skilling is going to skate on the insider trading charges, (that's something like 6 or 7 out 60 counts) but guilty on all others...

And now it looks like both of these assholes are going to jail for the rest of their freekin' lives.


mojo sends

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hey! This Doesn't Look Like The Brochure!

A while back, our dear van.mojo went on a one of our irregularly scheduled— but frequent— naval gazing exercises with his "Are We There Yet?" meme, i.e. has America finally crossed the line from democratic republic into authoritarian national security police state, and if not, how can we gauge the distance yet to go?

Today, I bring you the related kvetching of an old friend of ours from our salad days, the American Caliban, who is having a bit of a negative reaction to a somewhat scary news story about mystery men in bunny suits frogmarching people from their homes in broad daylight.
Pete gave me the update on that crazy "let's simulate a pandemic including all the creepy quarantine arrests" story. The best paragraph in the new story:
Walsh said the drill didn’t apparently alarm area residents because county officials didn’t receive any calls, but she added that the investigators reported that small groups of curious people gathered to watch the actors be cuffed with plastic handcuffs and taken away in unmarked cars.
Oh hey great. When they take me to Camp Halliburton, there will be a small group of curious people watching.

The subject line on American Caliban's post says it all:

This is how it will look, folks.

I couldn't say it better myself.

They Polish Bullshit Into Precious Stones, They Do...

Again, via the very sharp Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest, we come to another untold story of probable ratfucking at work. My apologies ahead of time, but I'm going to link to an editorial in the New York Sun. Sighs all around, I know. But pay close attention to the subtext.

Here. Let me reprint the whole article with the keywords highlighted for easy deconstruction.
Yesterday's indictment of class action plaintiffs' law firm Milberg Weiss in connection with a fraud case promises to shine a bright spotlight on the need for tort reform [s9 —there's your first clue that the message payload is probably pathogenic; no honest writer would use the phrase "tort reform" anymore]. The firm, along with two of its partners, Steven Schulman and David Bershad, stand accused of orchestrating a long-running scheme to pay off the named lead plaintiffs in the shareholder lawsuits the firm has built its reputation in pursuing. The indictment doesn't speculate on whether the motive was fun or profit, but the smart money's on profit [s9 —really? how so? the article never explains]. Mr. Bershad earned some $161 million as his share of the firm's profits between 1983 and 2005; Mr. Schulman made $67.1 million between 1991 and 2005. The firm allegedly raked in about $200 million in fees over 20 years just from the 150 suspect cases described in the indictment. [s9 — omg. alert the fscking media. lawyers are paid actual money for performing professional services.]

The case hinges on an alleged conspiracy [s9 —alleged by whom?] by which the firm would kick back a portion of its fees to the lead plaintiffs in its trademark shareholder suits. Such an arrangement is illegal because it leaves the named plaintiff with different interests than the other class-action plaintiffs he's supposed to represent. One such named plaintiff who was indicted last year, Seymour Lazar, stands accused of taking a total of $2.4 million in exchange for his participation in a plethora of such cases over the years. Mr. Lazar allegedly received $325,000 over two years for suits against W.R. Grace, $100,000 for a suit against British Petroleum, more than $400,000 for two different suits against Genentech, and the list goes on. [s9 —did you spot the misdirection?]

Finding creative ways to make lots of money might sound like the American way, but the allegations made in this case paint a picture of a perversion of the entrepreneurial spirit [s9 —oh, how here we go...]. These alleged crimes weren't victimless. Those millions upon millions of dollars came from the pockets of the unsuspecting shareholders in the defendant companies. The plaintiffs' attorneys' fees that apparently lined the pockets of Messrs. Schulman, Bershad, and Lazar and others implicated in the case came from those shareholders in the form of profit-reducing payouts [s9 —you mean fines, judgements and penalties?] that cut dividends, while the lawsuits threatened to depress stock prices.

If this indictment makes an eloquent case for tort reform, other related circumstances, especially right here in New York, highlight how difficult that reform can be to achieve. Consider all the New York politicians who have taken contributions [s9 —all Democrats, coincidentally...] just from the members of the plaintiff's bar implicated in this particular case. The state's comptroller, Alan Hevesi accepted $100,000 from the firm for his 2002 campaign, as well as $13,500 each from senior partners Melvyn Weiss and William Lerach. Mr. Lerach later left the firm, but was still a partner during part of the time covered by the indictment. He was certainly at the firm when he donated $12,000 to the Friends of Pataki committee in 2001 and 2002.

The gubernatorial campaign of the attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, accepted $35,000 from the firm, of which $20,000 came in during the past year as the legal cloud darkened, and another $35,000 from Mr. Weiss. Mr. Schulman donated $9,000 to Mr. Spitzer's 2002 attorney-general and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns. Mr. Bershad gave Mr. Spitzer $13,000 in 2002 and $10,000 for 2006.

[s9 —omg, yet again. alleged criminals found to be leading the same kinds of lives as their colleagues otherwise not under any suspicion. someone call the cops!]

It's worth asking whether that money might have played some role in one interesting little trill in the indictment: The federal indictment notes that some of the behavior it alleges also violates New York law. Yet Mr. Spitzer, [s9 —chewbacca... is a wookie!] who normally interprets New York law to expand his jurisdiction, doesn't seem to have taken much interest in pursuing Milberg Weiss before or during the federal investigation. Likewise, after winning re-election in 2002 in part with a cash infusion from Milberg Weiss, Mr. Hevesi just happened to hire the firm to represent the state's public-employee pension fund in - you guessed it - a shareholder suit against Bayer AG.

The good news is that Mr. Spitzer, at least, is now making an effort to distance himself from Milberg Weiss; the attorney general is preparing to return at a minimum the most recent contributions. As for Messrs. Hevesi and Pataki, at best it's too soon to say. Mr. Hevesi's spokesman told the Sun's Jacob Gershman yesterday that the comptroller is still studying the indictment. There's no word yet from Mr. Pataki. To give them the benefit of the doubt, the money came in a long time ago and it may be difficult to retrieve.

We're all for campaign contributions as a form of free speech [s9 —except when we aren't...], but trial lawyers' exercise of their First Amendment rights doesn't absolve politicians of their responsibility to put an end to abusive litigation like that alleged in this indictment [s9 —really? i thought the allegation was about improper kickbacks...]. No matter how much money these New York politicians, or other beneficiaries of trial lawyer largesse, return, the fundamental problem of the abuse of civil litigation will remain. This indictment shows just how big that problem may turn out to be.
Lemme boil this down for you.

The Feds just indicted the principles of a class action plaintiff's law firm for engaging in what amounts to a serious technical foul, but not exactly an earthshaking scandal like the ones currently roiling the GOP, and now the New York Sun is using it as a springboard to stir up a fake constroversy about how the "culture of corruption" extends into the Trial Lawyer's Association. Wouldn't it be nice if the Feds would use their powers for Good and turn their prosecutors on the massive stream of fraud and waste that was the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq?

I guess that would be too much to ask.

As Dave Johnson would say... SEE THE FOREST. This might all be about ratfucking the Democrats in the 2006 midterm Congressional elections while continuing to piss and moan about how important it is to drive a stake throught the heart of public interest law before evil greedy lawyers lead a Marxist revolution and overthrow state capitalism in America.

I don't really know how dirty this Milberg Weiss gang really are, but I smell the pungent odor of freshly churned GOP bullshit. You should too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Thank You Wired...

Wired that tired font of Silicon Valley new-tech-culture-hype gets major props from me for publishing the so-calledAT&T Documents.

Basically, it's testinomy from AT&T whistle blower Mark Klein along with some documentary (albeit a bit technical) evidence.

Perhaps S9 will be good enough to break this down for us later, and help us understand "what it all means?"

mojo sends

Monday, May 22, 2006

Remember a few posts ago where I wrote about "Rock Bottom"?

Yeah... well, forget about all that.

Because I now am in possession of absolute scientific empirical evidence that the gang at NRO had their senses of irony removed at birth.

Behold ye reality-based and despair:
The 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs of All Time
All you really need to know is encompassed in this passage -- 3. "Sympathy for the Devil," by The Rolling Stones...Don’t be misled by the title; this song is The Screwtape Letters of rock. The devil is a tempter who leans hard on moral relativism — he will try to make you think that "every cop is a criminal / And all the sinners saints." What’s more, he is the sinister inspiration for the cruelties of Bolshevism: "I stuck around St. Petersburg / When I saw it was a time for a change / Killed the czar and his ministers / Anastasia screamed in vain."

Again, am I asking too much to hope that this is just divinely inspired performance art by the gang at NRO? No that woul dbe too much, it is the earnest nature of this screed that makes it the priceless artifact that it is...

And there's a special bit of love for you there as well, S9...

mojo sends

More Fractal Wingnuttery

I'm clearly in one of my darker moods today...

Via Art Brodsky, we find yet more proof of the "fractal self-similarity of the wingnut function" in the form of Senators Sensenbrenner and Brownback coming out against Internet Neutrality on the utterly specious grounds that common carrier regulations supposedly prevent the market from delivering parental control of Internet content filters.
In their letter, the senators write that “opposing the heavy hand of regulation that network neutrality represents is critical if we are to maintain the Internet as an open, evolving, and market-based tool, and to protect children and familites from the negative aspects of Internet content that exist today.”

The argument is that the telephone and cable companies are spending billions to deploy broadband and are investing in new technologies to improve the Internet experience. The senators write: “These technologies also hold the promise of providing parents with new tools to protect their children and families as they explore online.” Network Neutrality, they assert, would “be anything but neutral,” they write. It would “penalize broadband access providers for making major improvements to the Internet.” Net Neutrality, “to be enforced, presumbably by virtually unaccountable bureaucrats,” would “reward content providers who demand regulation in order to tip the scales of Internet competition in their favor.”

And the capper: “It also threatens to deprive parents of new technologies they may use to protect their families from online harm.”
As Art Brodsky more politely explains, this is just an inscrutable fornication of the truth. Senators Sensenbrenner and Brownback are just making shit up because if they stop talking nonsense their primitive nerve ganglia will seize up completely, and the careful simulations of personality they use to pass for functional humans will be permanently and irrevocably crashed.

Which leads me to a depressing thought— which can be encapsulated cleanly by the question, where the fsck do I start?

The problem with bullshit, of course, is that its purveyors don't care that it's something other than true. Producing an exhaustive refutation of bullshit is a fool's game, because bullshit isn't about making statements that can be evaluated for correctness— it's about making statements that can serve as the foundation for the purveying of more bullshit. This is why the Wingnut Function is a fractal. It continually recycles bullshit into increasingly complicated imagery, every bit of which is founded on the same primordial ur-Bullshit.

What is the ur-Bullshit, you ask? Think about it. It's not hard to spot.

The fundamental bullshit that seeds the Wingnut Function is that politics is magic. This is why, whenever you deconstruct the latest bullshit from some gaggle of wingnuts, you end up feeling like you're the one asshole in the audience who knows how the card trick is done, and you're so under-impressed when the magician pulls your card from his jacket pocket after everyone else "saw" it torn into shreds.

With politics, of course, the Wingnut Function is self-supportive. People seem to be naturally predisposed to magical thinking, and this leads them to prefer magicians for political leadership. Political magicians then use misdirection to maintain an illusion of effective and competent governance, with the net result that money flows from the populace to the magicians in exchange for nothing of any practical value.

We have a big problem. As long as people are unwilling to give up on magical thinking, it's going to be full employment for the purveyors of wingnut bullshit— potentially until the end of time itself. In the meantime, our political discourse is necessarily of a highly surrealistic nature. It bears a strong resemblance to reality, if you squint and you try not to notice the smoke and mirrors employed by the wingnuts, but it's really full of nonsensical absurdities designed to reinforce the magical thinking that keeps the wingnut circus performers in control of the show.

Now you know why we call it the "surreality-based" community on the masthead.

Friday, May 19, 2006

More, More, We're Still Not Satisfied

Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest checks in to remind us that you may never find a more wretched hive of mendacity, glibness and gullibility than what passes for "enlightened" commentary in East Blogistan.

They just addicted to bullshit. No amount of it will ever be enough.

Your Daily Moment Of Surreality

Over at Evangelical Outpost, Joe Carter has decided to risk a little bit of public ecclesiology, which is always a fascinating topic for a guy like me. The post is long, and somewhat tedious if you really don't want to think about who is and isn't a Christian.

But scroll down into the comments. The fun begins here:
Terry wrote;

"If you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he died on the cross for your sins, and was resurected after three days you are a Christian."

This is demonstrably wrong. Even the Demons believe this and they shudder.

Posted by: Eric & Lisa at May 18, 2006 07:34 AM

At this point, I'd like to make an ostensibly unrelated announcement.

It is now my policy that I do not discuss the distinction between atheists and "hard" agnostics until the bong has been properly loaded and the bowl has been fired at least once. Also, this policy is not subject to debate until all the neo-Calvinist, evangelical Christians in the room have been either smoked out or they're too high to speak.

Are we clear about that? Good. You may now return to your regularly scheduled sectarian squabble.

Hippies getting the last laugh

From the OC Weekly, a followup to a story they did about a local guy who had one of the rare Electric Vehicles from the Auto Companies. He has the means and the infinite patience and resolve to go almost completely to alternative energy sources. Give these a read and ask yourself if perhaps if we had listened to the whiney hippies about solar power and electric cars where would we be right now?

Rock Bottom...

Okay dopers, listen up...

The following is the rhetorical equivalent of looking for bits of your carpet with bong-water stains to cut up and smoke because you spent your last 10 bucks on a George Bush bobble-head doll to impress that preppy-chick in your Monday morning poli-sci class...

Illegal aliens cause obesity
... this is how desperate these people have gotten.

Here's yer money grafs:
Without a surfeit of illegal immigrants, the cost of getting household jobs done would probably be higher. With less competition from cheap illegal labor, legal workers would benefit. And some householders who enjoyed access to cheap immigrant labor would no longer be willing or able to pay the higher wages resulting from a restricted immigrant labor supply.

To the extent Americans adjusted their lifestyle to a reduction in the supply of immigrant labor by doing more household tasks, obesity would decline and health would improve. It would also be a financial boon. Householders would save on labor costs and obesity-related medical and other expenses, and taxpayers would save a bundle to boot.
How freekish is this? Undocumented workerrs are causing Americans' obesity... This really is rock bottom; an intervention is necessary at this point. Really, how do you parody this?

I'm still reeling from the awesome trembling display of wretched tortured logic in this argument. Seriously, a couple of years ago, this would have been an Onion article. What the fsck is next... the heartbreak of Psoriasis? "Are you troubled by a burning and itching sensation on your scalp, feet or groin? If so, your problem is not your lax hygiene... all the Mexicans are using our domestic water and soap supply leaving tender American skin at the mercy of foreign fungus and bacteria that will eat away at our moral fiber and pollute our precious bodily fluids... remember America, no matter what those hippies from Franceataxachusettstan tell you with all their fancy liberal 'science', it's not your fault..."

To seriously pimp the idea that Americans are fat and lazy because we have our Mexi-bots to do all our manual labor for us so that we can lounge all day in luxury on our couches jamming ding-dongs, KFC and MGD long necks into our grill as quickly as our chubby, grease smeared little fingers can move reeks so badly of political desperation anc cultural fear and loathing that no amount of cheap perfume from the West Wing will be able to mask the smell of the gasoline-soaked towels on the cross waiting to be lit for the evening's GOP pro-patria rally.

Really, go to this Orcinus post that lays out our nation's long, proud history of anti-immigrant hysteria so finely tuned as to border on mass psychosis.

But articles like this also demonstrates the extent to which the movement conservatives feel like they have been done in the ass by the President on this issue. As we wrote in our live blogging of the President a few days ago, these people were not going to be happy unless we were going to put the 3rd Infantry Division on the border with orders to set up a 50-mile security zone inside Mexico and kill every living thing that walks north.

mojo sends

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What Inflation?

Oh yeah! That inflation.
The way the government computes the CPI has created a distortion that made inflation look tame when home prices were soaring, but is now making inflation look worse as price gains moderate. It's all because the government measures everyone's housing costs -- renters and homeowners by looking at rents, not at the cost of owning. [...]

Housing prices do not figure directly into the CPI data, Vitner explains. The government recognizes that homes are not only shelter, but assets that add to individuals' wealth, just as stocks and bonds do.

To measure just the value of the shelter services and not the long-term value of owning the asset, the government essentially assumes that homeowners rent their homes to themselves, so it computes an implied rent called "owners' equivalent rent" by asking them how much their house would rent for.

Owners' equivalent rent "is a deeply unsatisfactory measure because it is a price that nobody actually pays," said Jan Hatzius, chief economist for Goldman Sachs.
Read the whole article and pay close attention. It will explain to you exactly where they've been hiding the salami for the last six plus years of double-digit real estate asset price inflation. Now, with the housing market cooling down, they're going to be desperate to find a new orifice in which to hide the salami.

You're invited to guess in the comments forum where the salami will go next.

Greenwald with the ball...he shoots, HE SCORES!

Yeah, get over to Glen Greenwald for a look at this piece on the the Haditha Massacre, where it looks like a bunch of kill crazy Marines went on a spree in a couple of houses, gunning down women, children and old men, then later blaming it all on an IED.

It's odd, because the story, thanks in large part to Congressman Jack Murtha's willingness to call attention to it, is starting to find some TDM traction.

One way you can tell the TDM might be taking an active interest in the story, is that the howling you are hearing this morning from right wing blogistan is a back-arching ragegasm about Murtha's "treason." It's a little like inferring a distant planet's presence by looking for the gravitational wobble of it's primary star.

But just take a look at the towering Jesus-based wrath and fury down to Free Salt Lick, and take a look at the comments. These people are gripping with a "mighty and most terrible wind" in the words of the venerable Dr. s9.

They are really worried that the mustard came off the hot dog...

mojo sends

Update 1.0 [s9]: I've been wanting to know what the fsck happened in Haditha for a while now. Apparently, that serves as just one more reason to call me a traitor, a criminal and a terrorist sympathizer. I suppose if I were more patriotic, I would be openly decrying how much I don't want to know what the U.S. Marines have been doing in Iraq.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Via The Mighty Billmon...

President Bush . . . has a positive job approval in just three of the 50 United States. This according to 50 separate but concurrent statewide public opinion polls conducted by SurveyUSA for its media clients across the country.

Ahhh haha hahahahahahahahahahaaaaa!!!!!

Securities Laws Are For Suckers

And you know what P.T. Barnum said about suckers.
Ordinarily, a company that conceals their transactions and activities from the public would violate securities law. But a presidential memorandum signed by the President on May 5 allows the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, to authorize a company to conceal activities related to national security. (See 15 U.S.C. 78m(b)(3)(A))
I don't know about you, but I feel safer knowing that John "What Death Squads?" Negroponte is the guy the President wants to be handing out Amnesty from securities law to corporate criminals...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

That's Right! I Said It, I Said it!

Here is the Judicial Watch link to the "newly released" 9/11 security cam footage of Flight 77 allegedly hitting the Pentagon.

Look, I know I am flirting with a big glass of kool-aid here, but I will give a month's salary to anyone -- and I mean anyone -- who can look at that footage and honestly tell me this:


looks like a Boeing 757 zipping in from the far right to hit the building.

And while we're at it. This is all this newly released video shows. Nothing more than the frame by frame capture from the two parking lot cams.

My favorite part is this quote from Judicial Watch's chief bottle washer Tom Fitton:
"We fought hard to obtain this video because we felt that it was very important to complete the public record with respect to the terrorist attacks of September 11," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77. As always, our prayers remain with all those who suffered as a result of those murderous attacks."
...says the guy who launched suit after suit during the 90s trying to prove that Bill Clinton was a murderous drug king pin, married to a blood crazed, power-mad, Vito Corleone wannabe, both of them running cocaine out of Arkansas to fund Communist insurgencies in Latin America for his secret Tri-Lat masters aboard the Bilderbergers space bunker in a polar orbit at L5.

This is the guy now telling me... "move along citizen, nothing to see here..." ...right then...

Look, I don't have an alternative explanation, all I'm saying is that there has been a full court press today to make sure that everyone everywhere believes that: 1. a Boeing 757 and nothing else could have hit the Pentagon on 9/11, 2. this new footage clearly resolves any lingering questions, and 3. anyone with any remaining question about the official story is a liar, crank or a sucker.

Hell yes, something is rotten in the state of Denmark...

mojo sends

"Let me tell you a little story..."

You know, I wasn't really planning on going to see The DaVinci Code.

But then I read this:
"CANNES, France (AP) - Christian groups as far away as South Korea, Thailand and India protested the movie The Da Vinci Code ahead of its premiere Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival, planning boycotts, a hunger strike and attempts to block or shorten screenings."
Like I said, I wasn't planning on going, but then again, I didn't think God loved me this much...

mojo sends

Stop touching Lou's Eyes!

I caught Lou Dobbs yesterday after the Speech. He was beside himself with fury, and fired off canard after canard to the hapless completely GOP panel of cranks, along with a captive and apparently terrified Wolf Blitzer. Now Lou is pretty tame next to the racist screeds you can tune into on talk radio every day, but it is a pretty good clearing house for the standard scripts.. One of my favorites is how our schools are being overwhelmed by those terrible immigrant kids. The nice folks at Education sector provide some empirical information on educating immigrant kids. Here are a few data points that jumped out at me:

Third, most children of immigrants are proficient in English. As Chart Three shows, there were 10.8 million school-age children of immigrants living in the United States in 2000, compared to only 3.3 million students who have been categorized as Limited English Proficient (LEP).

Roughly a third of the total number of immigrant kids are LEP. Now tie that in with this:

First, most foreign-born students aren't Mexican. As Chart One shows, 63 percent of foreign-born students in grades PK-5 were born in Europe, Canada, Asia, Africa, and other countries. Mexico is a much larger source of students than in past decades, but it still only provides a little more than one-third of foreign-born children.

Doesn't sound like quite the tidal wave Lou makes it out to be. But wait, there's more:

Fourth, most LEP students aren't foreign-born. In fact, a significant number of LEP students aren't the children of immigrants at all. As Chart Four shows, less than half of students with limited English proficiency are first-generation immigrants. Significantly, more than one in five LEP students are third-generation immigrants, indicating that some of the biggest challenges in helping students learn English lie with native-born children in linguistically isolated households.

Bottom line: The line about immigrant students ruining American education and overwhelming our resources is false. A worthless allegation not supported by the data.

Now let's be clear, Mexican immigration, illegal and legal, has a significant impact on schools in the border states. However, so does the immigration from Asia, which in California is quite large. Each brings unique challenges in education and integration. I would argue it would be prudent and fair to provide additional support and funding to school districts from the Feds to support this important process. I certainly sympathize with the burden placed on local and state taxpayers to educate a unique demographic that is difficult to plan for and is a result of Federal policies. But running around making it out to be the biggest problem facing these schools is absurd, and distorts the other very real problems with have in education. Look, we have problems making our own native born kids in many districts English proficient. LEP students are the tip of the iceberg.

Address Education issues as a whole, and you'll be amazed how the issues caused by LEP students and immigrant students fall into line.

Lou, don't use these kids to support your immigration hysterics. They deserve better.

Interesting News Item...

Bell South is hollering out to anyone who will listen this morning: "We didn't give records to the NSA!"

Oddly enough, the company never denies that the NSA has the records. Just that they never agreed to give them to the NSA.


mojo sends

Update 1.0: Now it appears that Verizon is jumping on this bandwagon also... set up to ruin USAT or deliberately ding the TDM before something worse breaks? Phone companies worrying about consumer rebellion and lying through their teeth, secure the NSA will not gainsay them? Telcos telling the truth and that NSA simply just took the records but the USAT sources just got it wrong? Don't look to the U.S. Senate for any help here... Arlen "Back-And-To-The-Left" Spectre punked... again!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Live Blogging the President at 5 p.m. (pdt)

Well here it is boys and girls...

The first ever team live blog as Mojo, s9 and Sean bring you the blow by blow of the President's desperate cry for help from his base.

Standby for pregame...

(p.s. this will all work much better if you are listening to John Williams "Imperial March" in the background...

mojo sends

van.mojo: Welcome this afternoon to the live blogging of the President's hideous screed on Immigration. We will be your guides this afternoon. The others will introduce themselves as they may. We now have just under 25 minutes until the address, but as you might be aware, wingnut blogistan has been in a whinge about this for most of the day...

Their basic take is that they don't want to see National Guards troops on the border unless they are there in Division strength with orders to shoot anyone they think is a little too brown walking north...

s9: Wait. Is the President planning to talk about immigration? Or border security?

van.mojo: I don't think he believes there's a difference. His base certainly doesn't. Here is a bit from Free Salt Lick this morning: "The President isn't building any "fences" with this approach. We need a minimum of 50,000 troops assigned to duty on both the Mex and Canada borders.

An actual wall should immediately be approved along the southern border by those dunderheads in D.C. with construction started in a few days following. We might even arrest the wetbacks already here, form chain gangs and let them erect the wall, working on the Mexican side of it."

The President's speech is what 12 steppers call a cry for help...

van.mojo: Will someone tell me why Harry Reid is expending this much gas in a special order speech no one but a handful of cranks and junkies are watching? What is his position on undocumented immigration and/or border security... temporally congnated brains want to know... because right now, a brother has got this kind of James Joyce "Ulysses" narrative thing going on here...

s9: He's obviously not speaking to us. He's speaking at his fellow Senators, I think. The message that GOP colleagues will here, I fear, is "Annhiliate rational thought!"

van.mojo: Ladies and Gentlemen, supreme ruler of the Universe George W. Bush

s9: Ah, apparently, he thinks we're talking about immigration reform.

s9: I can hear the wingers gargling tequila. The 'work hard' phrase just went down.

van.mojo: But it sure didn't take long to raise the spectre of evil creeping north... also, who here has been "rallying in favor of those here illegally." That's some pretty hideous spin!

Here we go... 6000 guard... but no direct law enforcement. But "initial" commitment for one year? What new agents and technologies. This is the guy who cut Border Patrol funding last year.

"We are not going to militarize our southern border" The wingnuts are even now heading to their nearest bridges and overpasses...

Oh we prisons!!

van.mojo: So the choices will be indefinite detention centers or slave labor as a "guest worker." Boy, he's just pissing off everyone tonight...


van.mojo: Oh yes, Sean... all the new tech you can eat.

s9: Of course, he isn't saying squat about discouraging employers from hiring illegal labor.

s9: Ah yes, let's hear it for the "English Only" movement. I can't wait for us to have our own version of L'Academe Francais, which will tell us exactly what is English and what is merely Pidgin Spanglish. Yee-HAW.

Gots to get back to wingutistan to see if they are glitching on the call to tolerance...

van.mojo: The wingnuts are ready to commit suicide over their perceived betrayal this evening...

And now for Sen. Durbin:

s9: Some of my updates got stepped on. Anyway, between the expanded detention facilities, the "English Only" initiative and the "improved" state and local authorization to assist in cracking down on the terrorists illegal aliens, I think we can safely say the devil is clearly going to be lurking in the details.

van.mojo: It's interesting that Durbin is making really oblique references to the American-Indian war when he talks about the Guard being forced to some hideous duty of dubious importance to them while their own homes might be in danger. This was an early point of contention in the American colonies...

Moreover, Durbin's choice for this response is politically interesting... I will have more later... but for now, this is vanmojo signing off...

s9: I'm trying very hard to locate what might be enough "red meat" to satisfy the Unhinged GOP Base, and I'm having to stretch to get it. I suspect, after East Blogistan gets done ripping a new one for the White House, we might see a concerted pushback from BushLoyalists that will harp mercilessly on the "Ending Catch And Release As We Know It" theme. If state and local authorities are empowered to do random sweeps demanding to see the new and improved GuestWorkerID™, and they start filling camps by the boxcarload with people detained for not having sufficient paperwork, it's possible that Wingnut Nation will start feeling mollified. But only if they see television footage of the results of such handiwork will they believe it's happening.

Anyway, that's all for us tonight. We are retiring to our respective basements, watering holes and data centers to cogitate about what we heard tonight. More to come after we've had a chance to integrate.
Powerline's Big-ass Trunk claims to have received teaser excerpts from the President's speech tonight. He's predictably unsatisfied. Uh, yeah— wtf did you expect, Scott?

You Are Now Safe To Move About The Country

Somehow, this story from last December escaped our attention until now. Apparently, according to Congressional Quarterly, the TSA wants to put veterans with PTSD on the infamous No Fly List.
As it turns out, the government was taking steps in that direction almost a month before Rigoberto Alpizar was plugged by U.S. air marshals after he ran down the Jetway with a bundle in his hands while saying, according to the government, that he had a bomb.

A Nov. 15 notice put out by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is always thinking about new ways to keep potentially dangerous people off our airliners, states TSA is looking for contractors to add a number of new databases for screening passengers and airport workers.

Up first are the files of the Defense Department (DoD) and Veterans Administration (VA), which the TSA says it wants scoured for "mental defectives."
I feel safer already knowing that America's next Timothy McVeigh will have to walk, ride a bicycle, drive a car, take the bus or the train, carpool or hitchhike his way to the site of his impending mass casualty attack. God forbid we let those crazy muthafsckers take an airline flight.

You Knew This Was Happening, Right?

Via Josh Marshall, we find out that ABC News has been told by a senior federal official that the government is specifically tracking the calling patterns of political reporters.

Live Blogging the President at 5 p.m. (pdt)

This afternoon at 5 p.m., the President will be addressing the nation live from the Oval. The only two times he has done this in the past has been to announce military decisions.

It appears this evening will be no different. It is expected the President will be calling for the National Guards of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to deploy along our 2000 mile border with Mexico on a "temporary basis."

Is this a big fnord or what?!

My favorite part is that "they won't be there as law enforcement agents, they will just be there to help secure the border." So they won't be enforcing the law or acting as American law enforcement officers (with the general rules that govern their conduct), they will simply be acting as a military force on our border. Good things many of these boys and girls will have had some good training for this in Iraq... Outstanding...

We here at the Mojowire will be live blogging the speech. We will go live at 5 p.m. and get through the President's address. It will personally surprise me if Maximum Leader goes for more than 10 or 15 minutes, and then lets the spinners take over...

mojo sends

Update 1.0 [s9]: The President's speech begins at 8pm EDT, which is 5pm PDT. The MojoWire editorial staff keeps Pacific Time. (S9 Station, of course, also keeps Pacific Time in low earth orbit. Tho— we would probably call it 17hrs, because we prefer 24-hour time formats.)

Ask a Ninja...

Look, there's a lot at stake in this Net Neutrality debate. And as much as we respect Dr Strychnine for his incredible insights on the importance of this matter, his discourse can be a little technincal at times.

So for your edification, we have:


Ask a Ninja about Net Neutrality from the very popular "" website.

This will arguably be the most cogent, yet e-z to get explanation of this issue you will need. Props to the Public Policy Blog for putting this up...

mojo sends

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I Can Name That Tune In Five Notes

Matt Stoller spends a little too much time kvetching about Mike McCurry and not enough time responding to the lame asshattery coming from the anti-Internet telecom companies. Eventually, he gets around to saying what needs to be said:
Now, in their ad campaigns, the telecoms are portraying something very different. They are trying to pretend that they don't want government regulating the internet. In fact, they just want to make sure that the rules that have worked for thirty years are stripped away so they can control it.

This was on full display at a lobbyist sponsored event I attended yesterday put on for community groups. They asked me not to record it so I don't have verbatim transcripts, but let's just say it was a bunch of bad faith in fancy suits. Company flacks scaremongered about telemedicine and how it can't be reliably delivered unless you get rid of network neutrality and allow phone companies to control the innards of the internet. They talked about how the government will somehow destroy the internet (even though the government did, you know, build the internet). They implied that there will be no parental controls if Congress doesn't get rid of net neutrality. They said if they don't get their way 'internet freedom will vanish forever'. They said that the government doesn't regulate the internet yet you shouldn't worry because under their plan the FCC has authority to protect consumers from abusive behavior by telecoms on the internet, as if that's not a regulation.
The part of this that incenses me, of course, is the ongoing bullshit about how telemedicine supposedly can't be reliably delivered unless you get rid of "net neutrality" (or as I would prefer we called it, common carrier regulations). That is complete, unutterably noxious bullshit.

We took great pains to design a differentiated services architecture for the Internet over ten years ago, explicitly for the purpose of enabling services like telemedicine and distance learning. The equipment vendors that make the all the gear these companies buy have implemented differentiated services in their routers and other switching gear. The telecom companies use differentiated services within their own networks routinely, so I don't want to hear any more bullshit about it being unproven tech. They've been intentionally refusing to make differentiated services available at retail, and now they want you to believe they can't do it unless you release them from common carrier regulations.

This all reminds me of the great California energy deregulation debate. You remember that, right? You remember how the campaign for Proposition 9, which would have forced the bad deregulation system back into the legislature, was opposed by a vast array of astroturf groups that tried very hard to make it sound like it would have done the exact opposite? It went down in flames, and two years later we were suffering from rolling blackouts as a direct result. The energy industry in California is still a disaster for consumers, and we could have avoided it all if we had just listened to the experts and regulated the industry sensibly. We could have had a highly competitive market in energy distribution, but we succumbed to coordinated propaganda campaign and we believed a pack of lies about what we were doing, which was sold to us by greedy tools who never had to bear any responsibilty or consequences for it.

It's happening all over again with telecommunication.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday night is alright for fighting..

Based on the revelations from Fitzgeralds recent filings and the Newsweek article about Big Time's notes on the Wilson op/ed, I am fairly certain the Patrick FitzGerald is gunning for the Vice President, or at least is deeply suspicious of his role in all this and wants to get his ducks in a row before he starts applying the Pressure to force him before the Grand Jury. Presuming he can stay away through an entire Grand Jury session of course.

I have serious doubts that this White House will allow the Vice President to go before the Grand Jury or be indicted, he truly knows where every body is buried, probably because he buried them himself. Some sort of analog to President Nixons Firing of the Special Prosecutor during Watergate is going to happen. These people cannot let Patrick FitzGerald get too close to the Vice President. That struggle will be for all the marbles. The President will exercise his authority over the Executive Branch and nuke the Plame investigation from Space. He will dare Congress to do something about it. He would much rather engage in a Separation of Powers battle, something he has consistently emerged triumphant from, than a slow death by grand jury and indictment.

Now, a Saturday night Massacre is not a good option by any means. This White House evades responsibility by obfustication whenever possible. They outlast, confuse and twist bad revelations through their very effective propagana machine. They would rather any Plame revelation were cooked over a slow flame on Fox and talk radio. The Republicans in Congress are scared down to their cloven hooves about the escalation of the Cunningham investiation and the slowly rising tide of the Abramoff scandal. The last thing they want is for the West Wing to take a nasty dump on the steps of the Capital by firing a Special Prosecutor because he got too close to the Oval Office. But the President would rather dare congress than allow Dick Cheney to choose between an indictment and selling him out. You know Big Time will space George out the airlock without losing a wink of sleep.

I have serious doubts than Democrats can reclaim either House of congress, so I expect right after the MidTerms Patrick FitzGerald to be fired or his investigation to be scuttled in some way. FitzGerald is the Torpedo down the Thermal Exhaust Port. he cannot be allowed to finish his attack run.

Book him Dano...

From Jason Leopold at

Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

    Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources confirmed Rove's indictment is imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove's situation. A spokesman in the White House press office said they would not comment on "wildly speculative rumors."

    Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, did not return a call for comment Friday.

    Rove's announcement to President Bush and Bolten comes more than a month after he alerted the new chief of staff to a meeting his attorney had with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in which Fitzgerald told Luskin that his case against Rove would soon be coming to a close and that he was leaning toward charging Rove with perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, according to sources close to the investigation.

Friday, May 12, 2006

H.R. 5020

House Resolution 5020, the fy2007 Intelligence Authorization bill has passed the house with the horrific language intact granting the CIA and NSA protective services plenary and opaque domestic law enforcement powers. The CRS summary for the CIA rules, Section 423, is priceless "to make arrests without a warrant for offenses committed in their presence if such personnel have probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or will commit a felony offense."

"Freeze, hippy! You look like trouble to me..."

So it is now on the Senate legislative calender awaiting enrollment as an official Senate action item, which I expect will happen within the next week or two...

I am so depressed about this right now...

mojo sends

Still Think They Won't Fire on Us?

The other day I published a little thing on the anniversary of the Kent State massacre.

When I said "Never Again!", this is what I was talking about:




Do you all get it yet!?

mojo sends

Well Below Average Performance

News this morning from the Harris Poll: Bush Tanks! Below 30 Percent Approval!


"This administration isn't sinking! This administration is soaring... if anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenberg..." -- Steven Colbert

mojo sends

Gentlemen... Start Yer Engines!

Not much to add here, just that Raw Story looks like it may have busted another one open this morning.

And my favoriteful part is that the paramilitary operations occuring, are taking place completly outside the scope of any legislative oversight or accountability. The President just decides he wants war, and Congress can just learn about the decision from the grainy night-vision bombing footage on CNN.

mojo sends


Holy crap! We've been blogrolled! I've returned the favor. See the link in our sidebar to Speak Out California!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Not Mining Or Trolling

(revision: 1.1)

The President says the NSA isn't "mining or trolling" the telephone call records they got from the local exchanges carriers. Now, I know a lot of people in Left Blogovia are blowing a raspberry at that and calling bullshit, but I think I believe him. What the President isn't telling you is why the fsck the NSA demanded the records if they weren't planning to mine them for statistical information.

What do you do with databases? You cross-correlate them with other databases, that's what you do with them. What other data does the NSA have that they would want to cross-correlate with call records taken from the local exchange carriers? Duh. They've got petabytes and petabytes of storage filled with raw dumps of the digital traffic on the international lines. All those bits might seem pretty mysterious without some way of figuring out which particular bearer channel was used to carry the call you want to snoop, but it isn't quite as troublesome as you might think.

The raw feeds contain all the signaling traffic. Prior to the use of this illegal wiretapping program, if they caught a particularly juicy conversation with a digital voice analyzer on a transoceanic fiber or one of the trunk lines into Canada or Mexico, they could back out the terminal identifiers on each of the call, get the phone numbers associated with them, look at everything else in the archive to or from those terminals, lather, rinse and repeat until they were clawing their ears off in boredom. They could also cross-correlate the phone numbers with personal identity records obtainable from open sources and have a pretty good idea who was saying what. More importantly, they could start with a name and get a record of everything that person has said on an international fiber from a phone known to be in that person's control.

Now, they'd like to be able to do this with all the domestic traffic, because— hey, who wouldn't want to be able to listen in on everything Seymour Hersh's editorial assistants say on the telephone?— and that would require a hell of a lot more storage and computational power, but the really annoying thing preventing them from doing it is the logistics of getting all that raw data from such an expanded array of sources without comprimising operational security. But the signaling traffic, on the other hand— that, they could get easy. If it weren't for that annoying FISA law.

It would be nice if the Senate were to take seriously the idea of investigating the complicity of the local exchange carriers in this illegal wiretapping program. In addition to feeding NSA with a real-time flow of all signaling traffic through their switches, they are also journaling the raw traffic into local offline storage (as opposed to how it's done for the international traffic, i.e. in secure data centers at the NSA headquarters). The collection of all that raw data is, at least ostensibly, done in compliance with CALEA and ECPA, but that shouldn't give you much comfort.

What we almost certainly have here is NSA illegally getting a real-time feed of the signaling traffic for all domestic telephone calls, which they can then use to index the call content collected at the local exchanges for CALEA compliance. If this were a country still operating under the Rule of Law, then the NSA would have to convince someone in the DOJ to go to a judge and ask for the local carrier to feed them real-time notifications of call events to specific terminals identified in the authorization to tap. Now, they aren't bothering with any of that. If you're on their list, maybe because CIFA doesn't like your sense of humor, then NSA gets notifications of every call you make, within seconds of you making them. No judge, no warrant, no cops, no oversight, no rules of any kind.

The good news is that, even though the USA PATRIOT Act amended the Wiretap Act of 1968 to make it more of a rubber-stamp affair to get a wiretap warrant for the actual call content, they still have to get a judge somewhere— any federal judge will do, actually— to agree that you're probably a terrorist before they can actually listen in on your phone sex. The information is that once they can monitor the signaling traffic from your cell phone without a court order, they'll know everything about you worth knowing, i.e. where you are, what you're doing, who you're talking with, and how to build a case for the judge about how you're probably a terrorist.

That's a nice police state you got there, Red State— sure would be a shame if someone were to scratch the paint on it.

Update 1.1: Glenn Greenwald covers the legal issues. One point I would like to make that isn't getting a lot of attention anywhere I've seen: the signaling data for mobile phones includes more than just what calls are made to and from the phone, but also handoffs between cells— and, my personal favorite: Global Positioning System notifications.

So. The next time you show up for a political demonstration, you have a choice: A) leave your phone turned off, or B) allow the President to have a list of names of everyone in the crowd with you. Just in case that information might turn out useful in proving that you associated with, you know, questionable people. Be seeing you.

He Measures His Words Very Carefully, That Guy

Via Phoenix Rising, we learn that President Bush has declared World War III.

I have nothing to add here except to reprint the lyrics to Tom Lehrer's So Long, Mom:
This year we've been celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Civil War, the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, and the twentieth anniversary of the end of World War II. All in all, it's been a good year for the war buffs, and a number of LP's and television specials have come out capitalizing on all this "nostalgia" with particular emphasis on the songs of various wars. I feel that if any songs are going to come out of World War III, we had better start writing them now. I have one here. You might call it a bit of pre-nostalgia. This is the song that some of the boys sang as they went bravely off to World War III.

So long, Mom,
I'm off to drop the bomb,
So don't wait up for me.
But while you swelter
Down there in your shelter,
You can see me
On your TV.

While we're attacking frontally,
Watch Brinkally and Huntally,
Describing contrapuntally
The cities we have lost.
No need for you to miss a minute
Of the agonizing holocaust. (Yeah!)

Little Johnny Jones he was a U.S. pilot,
And no shrinking vi'let was he.
He was mighty proud when World War Three was declared,
He wasn't scared,
No siree!

And this is what he said on
His way to Armageddon:

So long, Mom,
I'm off to drop the bomb,
So don't wait up for me.
But though I may roam,
I'll come back to my home,
Although it may be
A pile of debris.

Remember, Mommy,
I'm off to get a commie,
So send me a salami,
And try to smile somehow.
I'll look for you when the war is over,
An hour and a half from now!

Impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice. Put them on trial for war crimes. Do it now.

Oh Hell No!

Sooo not helping, this morning!

I got the item from Orcinus. Go give him props for this catch...

mojo sends

Getting there

As reference to the previous post from Dr. s9, which refers to this very fine FireDogLake piece which openly asks if we are in a dictatorship...

It was only an hour or so after reading this that I then read this horrible crap from CNN.

Here, I'll save you the click through:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has been secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls in an effort to build a database of every call made within the country, it was reported Thursday.

AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth telephone companies began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers' phone calls to the National Security Agency program shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said USA Today, citing anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The White House defended its overall eavesdropping program and said no domestic surveillance is conducted without court approval.
And my favorite part is that the guy heading this project, then-NSA chief Gen. Mike Hayden -- who will soon head the CIA -- stood up in front of Congress and lied his ass off about this. Even if he wasn't under oath, I don't give a shit, it's still a violation of 47 USC §1001 Here's yer money graf, though:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully -
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or
device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent
statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
and this is just the beginning of the section of law that lays out pretty specifically why guys like Hayden and everyone else like him in this administration need to be in jail!

But does any of this answer the specific question: are we there yet?

As I mentioned in the commentary response to the esteemed Dr. s9, I have been a bit conflicted about this, because none of this looked like what I thought it would. I mean, tanks on the streets, door to door searches by the blackshirts, yeah, that's an image I can get my head around and say "we have arrived!"

But even while these guys are putting all the pieces in place to have that kind of control; openly falsifying elections, Congress working to vest the CIA and NSA police forces with plenary law enforcement powers in the United States, the NSA conducting warrantless searches on perhaps millions of Americans, pimping for government sponsored eugenics under the guise of "anti-abortion" policies, and every attempt to hold the executive accountable for any of these breaches of our rights are being stymied by procedure, or even more gravely, ill-conceived legal whingery with fancy sounding names like "unitary executive theory" which is just another way of saying the President is just a law unto himself.

So I can only say that we are in fact there! It's just that the campground doesn't look like anything in the travel brochure.

But given that we are there, we now have some decisions to make.

Anyone? Anyone?

mojo sends

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Attention Dr. Van Mojo!

Jane Hamsher, over at Firedoglake, is asking the same question you are: Can We Call It A Dictatorship Yet?

I don't know, Jane. Can we? And if we did, would it make any difference?

Glass jaw GOP

Tom Franks writing over at the New York review of books reminds us of a special moment from election 04:

Residents of West Virginia and Arkansas received mailings from the Republican National Committee warning that liberals would ban the Bible if they got the chance. In numerous other states, voters were energized by ballot initiatives proposing constitutional amendments reacting to the illusory threat of gay marriage, an institution that was already illegal almost everywhere, but that conservative activists nonetheless decried as a mortal, immediate menace to civilization itself

How about a mailing effort saying something like:
"The Republican party wants to ban birth control"

Which, unlike the bible banning outrage above, is actually true. If they want a fight over the pill, lets give it to them. It's time to take the fight to these guys.

Your Daily Moment Of Surreality

Assrocket has some free advice for President Bush on the subject of his dismal approval polls.
[...] The time has come, though, to go on national television and say you were wrong, and you've changed your mind. About immigration.

Give a major speech in prime time. Say that you still think that a long-term solution to the immigration issue should include a guest worker program. Acknowledge, however, that many Americans disagree and there is currently no consensus on a long-range policy. Say that, more fundamentally, you're now convinced that our first priority has to be getting control over our borders. Until we control our borders, and know who is coming and going, any immigration policy we may announce will be meaningless anyway.

So, discussion about long-term approaches to immigration will continue. But in the meantime, your priority will be securing the borders and enforcing the laws currently on the books. Which means that the crackdown on employers of illegals will be expanded. Announce some specific measures to begin securing the Mexican border, preferably including some kind of fence.

This simple act will cause your approval ratings to begin rebounding, re-energize Republicans, and assure that the party keeps its Congressional majorities in November. If you really want to get the conservative base back in your corner, go and meet with the Minutemen--on camera--and tell them you appreciate what they're doing.

That's step one. Here's step two. [...]
Emphasis is mine, by the way.

I'm sorry. I read that and almost herniated myself from uncontrolled laughter. Yeah, that would be so awesome. (I'd inline a picture from the page behind that link, but I'm behind an application firewall at the moment that prevents uploading images to blogger.)

We suck

Via Juan Cole, the Mirror offers this chilling story:

SOME 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists, it was feared yesterday.

The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished.

God Bless the Free Market!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Further Signs of Impending Doom...

You know, you would almost have to go through the William Morris Agency to get guys like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Fortunately, Juan Cole at his blog has a reasonable take on this, along with the The Le Monde translation of this Ahmadinejad's screed.

If I was a cynical person, I would almost be tempted to remember that great "X-Files" episode Dreamland where Michael McKean plays a MIB and tells the lone gunmen:
"Saddam Hussein? There is no Saddam Hussein. I invented him. His real name is John Gilnitz, I found him doing dinner theater in Boca Raton, in The King and I."
Read Ahmadinejad's letter. I have to concur with Cole, the guy's a crank, whatever points he might be raising. At the end of the day, his assertion is that "liberal democracy" has failed and the world's only hope is theocratic fascism.

He then asks if W does not want to join him in pursuing this brave new world...

No... I am not sleeping any better...

mojo sends

Monday, May 08, 2006

Another Wingnut Echo Chamber Detected

I've finally been banned from posting comments at Stones Cry Out. I don't know why.

Your Daily Moment of Surreality

That's a really big one, Mr. President.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Your Daily Moment of Surreality

Don't look now, but the new and improved Calvinists are now available at a store near you.

Update 1.0: Behold, the power of cheese.

Friday, May 05, 2006

This Way to the Egress, Mr. Goss...

Porter Goss has just been spaced out the airlock at CIA... more to follow...

mojo sends

Update 1.0: Here is the Washington Post's AP report on it. From this, it sounds like don't know the play to call. Also, just to throw this out there, Fitz is meeting with his judge this afternoon...

Update 1.1: Apparently, the narrative is shaking out in certain parts of the blogosphere that this is a case of "Mission Accomplished." Goss' job was to be a partisan hack and ideologically cleanse the agency. In the New York Times/AP piece notes senior Dem on the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman as noting that more than 300 years of aggregate intelligence experience and knowledge has been exiled out of the agency in the year that Goss has been at the helm.

Update 1.2: Josh Marshal at TPM makes a point I am actually curious about myself. This was not a long planned, leaked in advance "wants to spend more time with the family" resignation. Apparently, dude just marched himself up to the Oval and said "I'm out! Effective immediately". Something big's up, they say. We concur...

Update 2.0: Per Sean: Word has gone out through the internets and TDM that tomorrow's WaPo will feature Dana Priest with the goods on why Goss threw himself on his sword today. So I guess we will wait until tomorrow to read the verdict. And L'il Russ will weep...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

War for dummies...

So a jury refused to legitimize the ridiculous and absurd death penalty hail mary shot of the Justice Department by sentencing barely sentient whackjob Zacarias Mousaui to death for being a worthless stooge in the 9/11 plot. Meanwhile, the real culprits are in U.S. custody, completely unable to be tried because we're torturing them for what is by now worthless information. Whatever relevant information they possessed could have been obtained by legal and effective means that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement have been using for decades. But no, the utter morons that work for this Administration have exempted these jerkoffs from prosecution by using torture and making everything they say inadmissible.

Despite the bad rap Juries get in this country, they managed to make the right decision here. Sentencing this geek to death was exactly what he wanted, insofar as he know what he wants. It makes him SOMEBODY to the audience that he cares about, his pseudo friends in Al Queda and the audience in the Middle East looking for another excuse to hate the United States.

I have a fresh idea, how about we stop doing what these guys want us to do. Aside from the action in Afghanistan, we've handed them victory after victory. The Invasion of Iraq, the abuse and torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghirab, and the failure to bring the plotters of 9/11 to public justice is exactly what they want. It's victory after victory for the bad guys because our guys are too arrogant and too stupid not to play into their hands. Iraq is perfect for Al Queda. They get to hurt the United States, drain it's resources, ruin it's image without committing any serious resources or manpower. It costs them money, but they seem to have plenty of that.

Class, does anyone want to venture a guess why Al Queda always seem so flush? Anyone...

This trial was a sham. A sham like the fake alerts conjured up everytime the White House had a bad news cycle, like all the prosecutions that never got off the ground, and like this President war against terror. He's not fighting a war against Al Queda, at least not very well. They cough up the ball, and then pretend they are still on offense. And a pathetic and intimated press corp, at least the parts that don't work directly for them, are too corrupt, too weak or just too incompetent to call them on it. Mousaui was a worthless nut who should go to jail for his meager participation in a plot to murder innocent people. He's going exactly where he should go for justice to be served, into a hole where he will be forgotten in a few days. This isn't high strategy or brilliant tactics, it's the simple and obvious play.

Well, to everyone who isn't Dick Cheney...

Tin Soldiers and Nixon's Comin'...

...We're finally on our own...

Kent State Univeristy -- May 04, 1970

Never Again!

mojo sends

Moussaoui Sentencing...

Again it is His Rudness who has the correct take on the issue of the day.

The Wire says: check it out!

mojo sends

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Your Daily Moment Of Surreality

Amnesty International just won't shut up about it. (And well they should not.)

Holy Crap!

Juan Cole is pissed OFF! (And rightly so. It's long, and it starts off as a relatively civil rebuttal to Christopher Hitchens, but read all the way to the end. OMG. When academics attack.)

Well, this is just precious...

Comrade Joshua dispatched one of his new communards out to check out Shirlington Limo, the guys supplying limos and possibly hookers to power players vis a vis Brent Wilkes...

Now Justin has a little comedy bit about getting tossed out of the building, where a company called Signature Aviation was renting some sort of office space/car park to Shirlington, when he has this amusing little throw away line:
Wouldn't you know it, the Department of Homeland Security has offices there too! The Air and Marine Operations branch. I heard voices talking in a back room, so I walked in and said, "hello?"
Like I said, it's an amusing little thing, but the fact that the guys running cars and hookers for their pals in the beltway at the behest of a major defense contractor specializing in domestic spying, is sharing office space with the Department of Homeland Security's Air and Marine Operations group?

How long am I expected to go on believing in coincidences?

mojo sends

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What The FSCK Happened In Haditha?

And why isn't this story getting more coverage?

Carpet-Bombing Our Way Toward Jeffersonian Democracy

Glenn Greenwald writes about the wave of refreshing honesty rolling through East Blogistan in the wake of a truly noxious piece of white supremacist sewage in the online edition of today's Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Update 1.0: Would somebody please explain to me WTF Jeff Goldstein is trying to say about all this?
[...] As I’ve mentioned here on numerous occasions, the first fight we must win is internally and domestically. And it is a fight for the soul of classical liberalism, which is being undercut (in my estimation) by nearly 40 years of a concerted effort by those whose goal is power and control to relativize meaning and deconstruct, through incoherent linguistic assertions that have unfortunately been widely adopted out of self-satisfied feel-goodism (specifically, an ostensible deference to the Other that allows us to convince ourselves we are “tolerant” and “diverse,” when in fact we have created the conditions to turn those ideas into something approximating their exact opposites). [...]
If I didn't know better, I'd say he's attempting to sound cerebral, but it's really hard to say that when he throws around words like "feel-goodism" and uses bizarre phrases like "ostensible deference to the Other" that really make you wonder if he might not be human. Seriously. I'm halfway convinced he's really a very rudely hacked Perl script running Markov processes on text regularly scraped from National Review Online.

The Internet Neutrality Debate Explained

Okay, it looks like this is going to be one of those controversies, like the Social Security privatization debate, where the bad guys intend to push hard for a "solution" to a problem, which they're secretly manufacturing themselves, in order to bulldoze Congress and the voters into breaking a perfectly good network that the bad guys hate because it empowers democracy.

Here is what the bad guys are doing in a nutshell: they're pretending that network neutrality regulations prevent them from offering differentiated services. It doesn't, and they want you to believe it does.

Look at the arguments against network neutrality coming from the telcos, their lobbyists, their astroturfed supporters and the brainless mob of conservative clones who are snowed by them. Every last argument they have goes to the perceived need to build a "multi-tiered" Internet, with variations in pricing for variations is service quality, i.e. so-called differentiated services. What they don't tell you is that the law already gives them the power to offer differentiated services. What it doesn't do is free them from the requirement to be a common carrier.

The network geek inside me can't resist telling you that differentiated services are only necessary to optimize resource utilization in networks with scarcity. If you're building out your network backbone, you can decide to completely dispense with the extra expense of supporting a differentiated services (DIFFSERV) architecture simply by overprovisioning the network by about 30%. For various technical reasons, it really is unfair to expect American telecom companies to do that, so they really do have to implement DIFFSERV in their networks. They need to run DIFFSERV if they want to offer all those cool features they talk about, e.g. video on demand, medical remote monitoring, etc. Otherwise their networks cannot provide the reliability, latency and/or jitter guarantees those features require, and there's no way they're going to overprovision their networks to make up for that.

So why don't they just turn on the DIFFSERV mibs in their routers?

All their backbone routers have supported the standard for years. All their edge gear could support it with a software upgrade if they don't already, and most of it does. So what's the hold-up?

The hold-up is that DIFFSERV was designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to permit differentiated network services while preserving network neutrality. It's the network neutrality they want to destroy, not for the reason they give you, i.e. that it prevents them from offering differentiated services— because it doesn't— but for the simple reason that they've never liked being common carriers, they've been struggling to free themselves from that regulation ever since AT&T was brought low by anti-trust law, and they think they've got a chance to get what they've been after for the last fifty years, i.e. the end of common carrier regulation.

Don't let them snow you. This debate isn't about letting the telecom companies offer innovative new services. It's about preventing their customers from offering innovative new services to other customers unless they get a controlling piece of the action.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Rude Moment In Your Otherwise Polite Day

Brought to you courtesy of The Rude Pundit. He brought to my attention some things I did not know, and I will not steal his rude thunder. You must go read his rudeness yourself to find out what I now know. Hint: It involves black water systems in more ways than one.

Your Daily Moment Of Surreality

Over at Calculated Risk, the Angry Bear watches what passes for reasoning about energy policy in the United States and clutches his head like— well, not an angry bear so much as like— a stunned monkey.
MarketWatch quotes Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman saying "Demand exceeds supply" in the market for gasoline. Here is the excerpt:
"Suppliers have lost control of the market," Bodman told NBC's Tim Russert, when asked what the reason for the latest spike in U.S. gas prices. "Therefore demand exceeds supply."

I don't think 'demand exceeds supply'. Too funny.

For some reason, relatively high gasoline prices bring out the silly comments and dumb proposals. Senator Frist has proposed sending most Americans a check for $100 - he is thinking small - why not $1 million?

And some Senate Democrats have proposed a 60-day Moratorium on gasoline taxes. Wouldn't that encourage demand?

And Condoleezza Rice proclaimed:

"... if anything has surprised me as secretary of state, it is the degree to which the kind of search for hydrocarbons is distorting international politics."

This was a surprise?
Idiots. We are a nation of idiots. Idiots with a nuclear arsenal.