Friday, November 30, 2007

Paging Dr. S9

Should I be pleased or distressed by the upcoming auction of the 700mz spectrum? Should I be encouraged by this story about Google? Or about Verizon's movement towards more open devices?

Why do I get the feeling Apple is once again ahead of the curve here..?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trouble in River City

Based on the clip piece I saw on TPM, I would say that Huckabee won this going away. This is not good news for the Giuliani Campaign.

The Rudy campaign expects to lose Iowa and New Hampshire, they are not spending much money there. They are waiting for Romney in the later primaries. The problem with that strategy is that it is based on the assumption of Romney winning both of those. Huckabee is a much stronger candidate in the South than Romney, and with the momementum and money he will get from those two, he will move directly into that area of the country where his persona and message will resonate strongest. Rudy needs to go after Huck now before he gets that momentum, if he is able.

I'm again surprised over how poorly these candidates looked in that debate. I'm certainly biased, but they appeared shrill, mean spirited, (except for Huckabee and the comatose Thompson) and devoid of any real policy agenda. None of these guys are ready for primetime. When Ron Paul looks to be the most sane and rational person on the dais, you are seriously in trouble.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Coming soon to a theatre near you!

Actually, it's already in select theaters such as talk radio and Fox News,

Dolchsto├člegende

From the Philadelpha Jewish Voice:
The world's finest military launches a highly coordinated shock-and-awe attack that shows enormous initial progress. There's talk of the victorious troops being home for Christmas. But the war unexpectedly drags on. As fighting persists into a third, and then a fourth year, voices are heard calling for negotiations, even "peace without victory." Dismissing such peaceniks and critics as defeatists, a conservative and expansionist regime -- led by a figurehead who often resorts to simplistic slogans and his Machiavellian sidekick who is considered the brains behind the throne -- calls for one last surge to victory. Unbeknownst to the people on the home front, however, this duo has already prepared a seductive and self-exculpatory myth in case the surge fails.

The United States in 2007? No, Wilhelmine, Germany in 1917 and 1918, as its military dictators, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and his loyal second, General Erich Ludendorff, pushed Germany toward defeat and revolution in a relentless pursuit of victory in World War I.


You can push the applicability of historical analogies beyond reason very easily, but this seems appropos considering the rhetoric of the GOP and the NeoCons since the war started going south on them. This is part of the reason I've been getting agitated by the behavior of the beltway press in this campaign. Nothing I've seen in the last several years as led me to believe the Timmy Russerts or the Loud Dobbs of the press would hesitate a moment to pimp this meme until it became the gospel truth. As long as they get their piece of the action, it's all cool.

I would also like to point out that you could easily argue that the stab in back theory conjured up by Hindenburg and Ludendorf to cover their own fat asses was then employed by Hitler to bring about his genocidal campaign against the Jews.

Now let's just consider an executive branch with virtually unlimited powers to arrest, imprison, and torture; a judiciary and congress that has essentially given its imprimateur to this powers, and then add in the need to come up with a scapegoat to preserve the idea of America Fuck Yeah.

Sleep well...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Systems Of Generalized Irresponsibility

Over at Left Business Observer, I found an old article from 2005 when they were talking about the housing slowdown, the insolvency crisis, and other generally unsexy topics now enjoying more currency among the dismal sciences. Buried a few paragraphs down here is the following delightful gem of observational comedy:
Why are bankers making such risky loans? One reason is that they're a little desperate; profitability is down sharply in the industry, and there's tremendous overcapacity. Another reason is that banks themselves rarely hold onto the loans; they're packaged into bonds and sold in large chunks to institutional investors. And the investors may assume that Alan Greenspan will save them should things go sour. Why not? He's done it many times in the past.

When risk can be passed along like that, there's an incentive to overlook it. It used to be said of Soviet-style economies that they were systems of "generalized irresponsibility." We've got the capitalist version of that going in the USA.
Emphasis mine, of course. (Remember, this was written in 2005. Most of the seriously dumb irresponsibility really got going in 2006 and early 2007.)

I'll venture a little further. It isn't just our banking system that's a system of generalized irresponsibility. How the fnork do you think we ended up reelecting the bozo who took the country to war on false pretenses and made us into a nation of torturers? Our whole political, philosophical and economic system has degenerated into a system of generalized irresponsibility.

Talk about your ownership society... does anybody in this country want to own our collective failures anymore? Not when you can keep passing along the risk debt obligation to future generations of taxpayers the unborn baby jesus. God will snatch us all up to heaven before the apocalypse.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Would you like some Whine with that cheese?

Okay, here's the thing, I'm an Edwards guy with a dash of Kucinich. As far as I'm concerned, nobody even comes close in either party to talking about the things that truly need to be addressed in this country. I can live with Obama, although his consumption of the Social Security Kool-Aid is seriously pissing me off. I'm really not a Hillary person. I think she's a very competent, sharp, and politically savvy canddiate. My big problem with her is she has not clearly and decisively rejected the fundamental assumptions that have driven us into this NeoCon ditch in Iraq and around the world. Not to mention that she's far too centrist and moderate for my taste. She's probably my least favorite of the Dem frontrunners, although her worst, most PNAC-esque day is light-years better than any of the GOP torture-loving douchebags. I say this to provide some context for the following statement:

I sincerely wish the American press corp would stop acting like a gang of wretched fnorkweasels when it comes to Hillary Clinton. You people are convincing more every day I have to vote for her just to protest your HORRRRRIBle behavior.

Case and Point: This piece of excrement. What a shock it's coming from the Marty Peretz's Beltway Bro's at TNR. Rather than pull quotes out and comment, I suggest you read this piece and join me again for my overall take on this. Go ahead, I'll wait...
(insert Jeopardy music here)

Back? Okay..here we go..

You should have noticed a few warning flags about Crowley's piece. First, the reliance on NYT reporter Jeff Gerth previous...uh..work about Hillary Clinton. Remember that Gerth was the one who "broke", read dutifully acted as stenographer, for the Whitewater story. Most of his reporting on that story has been demolished, the work of serial liars and Clinton political enemies in Arkanasas and Washington. He is also the author of nasty book about Hillary. Which is not say his work should be ignored, but his history with the Clintons is relevent to the reader regarding his potential bias. Throw in a little Howie Kurtz for..umm..balance and you've got the recipe for a whiney hit piece.

What kind of balance or context should be provided in this piece and others like it when trying to understand why a campaign would act like this? If, of course, you are not content to accept the D.C. Press officially approved narrative that Hillary is a ballcrushing Bitch. I think one way to contextulize here is recall this event from 2000 Dem Primary. From Bob Somerby:

How had the press corps acted during the debate? “The media groaned, howled and laughed almost every time Al Gore said something,” Mortman reported. “What happened with Bradley?” a panelist asked. “Stone silence. Really,” Mortman said. And Mortman—a staffer in the original Bush White House—was not alone in his report. Eric Pooley described a similar scene in the November 8 Time:
POOLEY: [Gore’s attempt to connect with the audience] was unmistakable—and even touching—but the 300 media types watching in the press room at Dartmouth were, to use the appropriate technical term, totally grossed out by it. Whenever Gore came on too strong, the room erupted in a collective jeer, like a gang of 15-year-old Heathers cutting down some hapless nerd.
Seven weeks after the Dartmouth debate, Salon’s Jake Tapper described the same conduct. Appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, he replied to a question about “liberal bias:”
TAPPER: Well, I can tell you that the only media bias I have detected in terms of a group media bias was, at the first debate between Bill Bradley and Al Gore, there was hissing for Gore in the media room up at Dartmouth College. The reporters were hissing Gore, and that’s the only time I’ve ever heard the press room boo or hiss any candidate of any party at any event.


That's the tip of the iceberg. We can get into the manufactured stories of Gore lying, the Naoimi Klein story about earth tones conjured up by Republican politial operatives and repeated as gospel by reporters even to this day, or the farcical coverage of the Bush/Gore debates. You get the point.

The obvious reason the linton people treat the press like the enemy is because they ARE the enemy. I don't blame them. In fact, stories like his make me feel a bit less frustrated. Finaly, someone gets it.

Crowley mentions the resemblance to the Bush attitude to the press. In truth, I don't blame the Clinton people that they modeled their press machine after the Bushies. Their model worked, to perfection. For Christ's sake, it worked to the point that journalists, highly paid, experienced jouranlists eagerly particpated in the outing of a covert CIA operative, a blatant political hitjob that rolled up the Agencies worldwide WMD counter-proliferation ops. The failure of the press to hold the adminisration accountable in that story is truly Fucktacular. They cannot even bring themselves to label a Bush lie as a lie. It's a deception, a misstatement, or a mistake. Better to call him a dufus than risk the ire of the White House when you call a liar a liar.

You only have to watch the performance of Little Tim Russert at the last debate to understand the Clinton campaigns strategy, and the wisdom of it. Stunts like that only reinforce this attitude at Camp Clinton. One only has to remember the lies of the Swiftboats, Al Gores internet speech, even this waitress debacle to want to blow a gasket when you read this sort of whiney dogshit from Crowley.

Look, this isn't a good thing. It's in fact a terrible development and bad for democracy. Candidates like Hillary and Bush who manage to conceal their strengths and weaknesses as possible Presidents weaken the ability of the public to make a good decision. My point is that it's not wholly a creation of the politicians and their operatives. The nature of the political coverage, driven by the business model of their employers, the nature of journalist as celebrity, and the anti-liberal bias of corporate press that has helped, if not driven the creation of this model. And yes, I said anti-liberal bias in the corporate press. Because if it's one thing The Timmy Russerts hate more than Dems, it's the HIPPIES.

And Timmy, your Bills suck ass.

P.S. Just revel in this statement for a moment:
Almost as important--in the Democratic primaries, at least--it is determined to show that it won't let that happen again. "They've cultivated this attack-machine image because they think that Democrats want that," says one political reporter. "They're pandering to the bloggers


Uhh..okay. You see S9, Hillary is pandering to YOU!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Connaissez Vos Terroiristes!

Apparently, because I like a little cardamom in my coffee from time to time, the FBI thought [briefly] that it might want to get to know me better.
FBI Hoped to Follow Falafel Trail to Iranian Terrorists Here
By Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor

Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.
[...]
He said, as if putting somebody on a terrorist list for ridiculous and illegal reasons is something the United States of America would never, ever do.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Are we there yet?

I'm thinking we're pretty close. This piece in New York magazine about an impending economic meltdown sounds like a mojowire anthology. To wit:
The willingness of consumers to keep spending and piling on debt in the midst of a slowing real-estate market is hailed on Wall Street as an act of patriotism, which Schiff considers perverse. Imagine, he suggests, that you ran into a good friend and asked him how he was doing. His reply: “I took out a third mortgage, maxed out my credit cards, and emptied out my kids’ college savings account so I could buy a bigger TV and a new car, and we’re going to Greece on vacation over the holidays. Things are great!” Schiff lets the idea sink in and then finishes the thought: “And we’re celebrating the fact that we’re doing this as a nation?”

We are celebrating it, or we were until the isssues of higher interest rate leading to APR resests leading to foreclosures leading to CDO issues started to appear on the radar.

The article lists five steps that could lead to hard times:
1. The Bottom Continues to Fall Out of the Housing Market
2. The Derivatives-Related Meltdown, Part II
3. Consumers Run Out of Steam (and Take the Economy Down With Them)
4. That the Rest of the World Decides They Don’t Need Us and the Dollar Tumbles Hard
5. That We Don’t See It Happening Because It’s a Slow-Motion Train Wreck

Sounds fairly plausible to me. Number 4 is the one that makes the most nervous. I see no happy there.

Now spice this doomsday stew up with the fact that we are tossing over a trillion large into Iraq and you've got yourselves a FUBAR event that will go down in the history books. A trillion that could have been invested in America's desperate infrastructure needs. But hey, we have HD televisions, right Mr. Kudlow? I hope all those consumer good we purchased by borrowing against our homes tasted good on the way down.

I guess we could always cut taxes, right?....Right??

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November...

guyfawkesthe gunpowder treason and plot/
I can think of no reason/
why gunpowder treason/
should ever be forgot...


I like to think there's a reason that national elections in the U.S. occur on or very near to Guy Fawkes Night.(Next year, our election will be the day before on Nov. 4) Remember, ladies and gentlemen, it can happen here... And no one wants that, at least, no one on my f-list...

mojo sends

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Who We Are Now

I keep hearing the conservatroids spout the reasons we're fighting them over there instead of over here. Near the top of the list, every time I see it, is the whole "they want to go back to medieval times" thing (and, no, friends— we're not talking about "the Middle Ages as they should have been" in these arguments; the pitch is usually all about how medieval = barbaric. Those damned medieval enthusiasts and their hatred of American culture... um, yeah).

So. Let's put on our thinking caps, shall we? Consider this:

Fla. Mother Acquitted in Piercing Case

Oct 25, 2007
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A woman who had her 13-year-old daughter's genitalia pierced to make it uncomfortable for her to have sex was acquitted of aggravated child abuse on Thursday.

The girl, now 16, had testified that her mother asked a friend in 2004 to shave the girl's head to make her unattractive to boys and later held her down for the piercing.

A jury deliberated for about three hours before deciding the mother's actions didn't involve punishment or malicious intent, or cause permanent damage or disfigurement.

The 39-year-old woman, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter's identity, could have faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

The girl was not in court for the verdict. Her guardian declined comment.

"She was trying to protect me, but it hurt me," the girl testified earlier this week. "It not only hurt me physically, but it hurt me mentally. ... That's emotionally scarring. That's physical abuse."

Prosecutors said the mother called on a friend to shave the girl's head and do the piercing after realizing that she had been having sex, including with the mother's boyfriend.

Defense attorneys told jurors that the mother had trouble with her rebellious daughter and that the girl agreed to the piercing to help rebuild her mother's trust.

Child welfare officials were called after the girl became infected from the piercing.

Tammy Meredith, 43, who did the piercing in her home, was sentenced to a year in jail for her role. An arrest warrant has been issued for the mother's boyfriend on allegations he had sex with the girl.
(Check out this fine rant from Zuzu at Feministe on the subject.)

Now, I don't mean to go off on a rant here, but would somebody please remind me why fighting them over there is supposed to keep us from having to fight them here at home? I'm having a hard time seeing how that's supposed to work. Clearly, from the evidence above, it isn't working very well.

As Zuzu says, your boyfriend rapes your 13-year-old daughter, so... you think the appropriate thing to do is punish your daughter by forcibly mutilating her genitals? And the jury acquits you on the obvious charge of aggravated child abuse?

I would add this... and this is happening in America, where progress is progressive and the future is futuristic and none of us really are trying to bring back the torture chambers, the rape rooms, chattel slavery and the banal evil of the Dark Ages?

Go ahead. Pull the other one.