Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Yuletide Greetings!

One of the main reasons I was skeptical in 2002 that invading Afghanistan would turn out to be a worthwhile application of U.S. military forces is highlighted in this video from the U.K. Grauniad. It was not at all difficult to foresee that Rumsfeld's strategy of outsourcing the war effort to the Northern Alliance would result in an explosion in poppy farming and opium production, with the attendant consequences so starkly displayed in the video linked above.

Look upon that, ye jingo American neoconservatives and liberal hawks— look upon your works, ye mighty, and exult in your power to liberate people from suffering. You will be remembered by generations of Afghans for what you have done. So will all your fellow Americans.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Inaugural Invocation Kerfuffle... starting to piss me off.

People. Can we get a grip? I know you don't like Rick Warren. He's a bigoted homophobe and an apologist for the Torture State. Giving a guy like that another pulpit and more face time with the panopticon is dangerous business. I get that.

He is, on the other hand, a leadership figure in a large religious movement. Obama is sending an important message by picking him to deliver the invocation: Rick Warren is a preacher, not a political advisor, and the New Rules say that preachers should stick to performing religious services. If Warren were smarter, he'd be refusing the invitation. It's a trap for him and all his dominionist screwhead followers.

Now, I'm not exactly happy with the situation. Until the day arrives that we no longer need to have a religious service as a part of the presidential inauguration ceremony, I think we're all going to have to settle down and get used to the fact that preachers are going to be standing in front of pulpits at times like this, and usually— preachers often being the deeply silly people that are drawn to that line of work— the preacher doing the lip-flapping will be a hugely popular one who's said more than a few stupid things in his career. Rick Warren fits that bill just fine.

To sum up: I am not at all interested in what Rick Warren has to say when he's babbling at his fellow cultists in Irvine, and I don't think I'm going to care much what he says in his invocation in Washington, D.C. next month. I am happy that the most popular dominionist pinwheel-eyed churchmonster in the nation will be relegated to the insubstantial role of proposing the equivalent of a toast, and not being invited into a White House where the political operation is a deliberate substitution for a functional policy shop. That's a considerable smackdown for Warren and his fellow travelers, and I'm pleased to see it delivered with force.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Obama Is A Pragmatist?

Chris Hayes writes in The Nation about how Barack Obama is supposed to be a pragmatist.
In case you haven't heard, Barack Obama is a pragmatist. Everybody agrees on this. Joe Biden, accepting Obama's nod as VP at his unveiling event in Springfield, Illinois, called him a "clear-eyed pragmatist." Describing Obama's rise through Chicago politics, the New York Times stressed his "pragmatic politics," while the Washington Post's David Ignatius refers to "The Pragmatic Obama," and one of Obama's most trusted confidantes, Valerie Jarrett, told USA Today, soon after his election-day victory, "I'm not sure people understand how pragmatic he is. He's a pragmatist. He really wants to get things done."

Now, it so happens that we consider ourselves bigtime Pragmatists (yes, the upper-case P is on purpose) here on S9 Station. So, this Chris Hayes article is of interest around the dining space table. He grinds on and on for a while, and it's pretty tedious, but then it gets almost interesting.
This is not to say that there isn't something appealing and meaningful about Obama's self-professed pragmatism. Pragmatism in common usage may mean simply a practical approach to problems and affairs. But it's also the name of the uniquely American school of philosophy whose doctrine is that truth is pre-eminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief.

[...more grinding about Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist idealists elided...]

Pragmatism as a school of thought was born of a similar impulse of reconciliation. Having witnessed, and in some cases experienced firsthand, the horror of violence and irreconcilable ideological conflict during the Civil War, William James, Charles Peirce and Oliver Wendell Holmes were moved to reject the metaphysical certainty in eternal truths that had so motivated the abolitionists, emphasizing instead epistemic humility, contingency and the acquisition of knowledge through practice--trial and error.

This tradition is a worthy inheritance for any president, particularly in times as manifestly uncertain as these. And if there's a silver thread woven into the pragmatist mantle Obama claims, it has its origins in this school of thought. Obama could do worse than to look to John Dewey, another onetime resident of Hyde Park and the founder of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, which Obama's daughters attend. Dewey developed the work of earlier pragmatists in a particularly fruitful and apposite manner. For him, the crux of pragmatism, and indeed democracy, was a rejection of the knowability of foreordained truths in favor of "variability, initiative, innovation, departure from routine, experimentation."

Dewey's pragmatism was reformist, not radical. He sought to ameliorate the excesses of early industrial capitalism, not to topple it. Nonetheless, pragmatism requires an openness to the possibility of radical solutions. It demands a skepticism not just toward the certainties of ideologues and dogmatism but also of elite consensus and the status quo. This is a definition of pragmatism that is in almost every way the opposite of its invocation among those in the establishment. For them, pragmatism means accepting the institutional forces that severely limit innovation and boldness; it means listening to the counsel of the Wise Men; it means not rocking the boat.

But Dewey understood that progress demands that the boat be rocked. And his contemporary Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood it as well. "The country needs," Roosevelt said in May 1932, "and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands, bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach."

That is pragmatism we can believe in. Our times demand no less.
Naturally, the very next place I turned was Google. Weirdly, I found the trail I was looking for at Freeperville.

It seems the some of the freepers are (or at least were) in a twist about a 2002 conference in Chicago called "Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?" sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago and some outfit called the Center for Public Intellectuals. The freepers noticed that Barack Obama appears in the conference schedule as sitting on a panel that also featured William Ayers, he of the infamous Weatherman. They also got tweaked up about another Weatherman alumnus named Bernadine Dohrn appearing at the same conference.

The freepers are, of course, gibbering idiots. They're incapable— maybe even congenitally incapable— of comprehending that panel members at conferences like this are often chosen precisely because they have controversial and opposite views from one another. What I noticed was the Pragmatist sitting on the same panel as Dohrn, playing the same role as Barack Obama was on the panel with Ayers.

It was none other than my favorite philosopher, Richard Rorty.

As you might imagine, I'm now really curious to know if a well-thumbed copy of Rorty's Achieving Our Country is sitting on a bookshelf in the Obama home library. I'd be willing to bet folding money on the proposition. Rorty's critique of the American left sounds almost precisely like Obama's campaign speeches.

Suffice to say, I think Hayes might be right to notice that Obama is probably a Pragmatist with an upper-case 'P', but I suspect he's missing the connection. It isn't Dewey, James and Pierce. Obama is almost certainly more familiar with Rorty than those old dead guys from the previous century, having "palled around with him" in person on at least one occasion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama Continues to Impress...

For those who don't know, tomorrow or the next day, President-elect Obama is expected to name Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy...

Read up on Chu and his Nobel-winning low temperature atomic physics research. Here is a guy who really is one of the "Smartest-Guyz-In-The-Room®" who also has the practical political management experience of successfully running one of the two or three most politically charged national laboratories in the world.

Serious freekin' people... More of this, please...

mojo sends

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Maybe This Is Old News To You...

...but, let me say this: our next President is pretty damned smart.

Why am I confident enough to say this without qualifications? Listen to the Chairleg Of Truth—It Does Not Lie! There is no more sure sign of personal intelligence than a well-developed sense of comic timing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

But my dog is trained!!!

The title above is a phrase your hear quite a bit here in Long Beach, Calinfornia where Mojo and I live. Usually from dog owning goofs while we watch their dogs run out into traffic or scrap with other dogs, all the while with their owners holding the leash they are supposed to attach to their dogs.

This plaintive whine was echoing in my head when I read this article by a former right wing talk show host producer. Here is a part that caught by eye:
Conservative talk show hosts would receive daily talking points e-mails from the Bush White House, the Republican National Committee and, during election years, GOP campaign operations. They’re not called talking points, but that’s what they are. I know, because I received them, too. During my time at WTMJ, Charlie would generally mine the e-mails, then couch the daily message in his own words. Midday talker Jeff Wagner would be more likely to rely on them verbatim. But neither used them in their entirety, or every single day.

This is not exactly shocking news to anyone who has listened to this kind of talk radio before. And yes, it's quite an effective club to have in your bag as a political operation. But it does not capture a critical part of the talk radio issue that is detrimental to the electoral fortunes of a party that is struggling right now to compete with critical voting blocs that do not listen to talk radio.
check this:
But the key reason talk radio succeeds is because its hosts can exploit the fears and perceived victimization of a large swath of conservative-leaning listeners. And they feel victimized because many liberals and moderates have ignored or trivialized their concerns and have stereotyped these Americans as uncaring curmudgeons.

Ah yes, its your fault hippies! But the key phrase here is "percieved victimization". And talk radio has always relied on that great of American polemical devices: Foreign Immigrants.

What has to be understood about the immigration issues that drove a bunch of numbnuts to the border is that it did not emanate from the bowels of the conservative think tanks or from RNC political operatives, they were at best along for the ride. Immigration hysteria got started on talk radio. Because it was an area they could disagree with the administration, bash on the liberals and hate foreigners at the same time. A Trifecta!

The problem is that the GOP was killed in key swing states among Latino voters. Who are likely very unhappy with the racist spew coming their way everytime talk radio gets cranked up about immigration, legal or otherwise. The truth is talk radio has slipped it's leash. Limbaugh is the most important power broker in the party today. And if he and the rest of the talk show goof brigade become less a political actualizer and more a way of shrinking the base and chasing out moderates and growing voter blocs like Latinos, that is a problem. And it's not a problem that has anything to do with teh straw man of liberal elites or geographical bias. We didn't force them to broadcast hate and fear all day long, they did that themselves.

Good luck with that Necks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fear And Loathing In Minnesota

The Mighty Atrios says that the contested Minnesota race for U.S. Senate between our hero Al Franken and the despicable Norm Coleman has entered the "lawyers, guns and money phase" and that the money goes here.

I want to know where to bring the guns.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I may have to change my mind about tomorrow

Who can resist the compelling case offered by Fafblog to vote for John McCain? A sample:

B: Now rural Pennsylvania isn't the most exciting place in the world, but I don't know if I'd call it -
MCCAIN: And I will rescue America and, and take her for my demon bride.
FB: We really gotta go, John McCain.
MCCAIN: We shall reign for ten thousand years.

Damn you Fafblog!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thank You, Danny Elfman

Via FDL, comes the video above from Danny Elfman's political action committee. Can I just say that I've never felt better about being an admirer of Mr. Elfman? The man is a national treasure.

And now, a message from Barak Obama

Just something to keep in mind as we imagine all the various ways this could go wrong.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heed the Mighty Billmon...

Billmon speaks you listen...

He has managed to coalesce and give voice to a gnawing fear that has been growing in base of my spine for several weeks now as the conservative movement's quest for a one-party state has started to look like it's going to come up short, and in fact take one in the chones for its troubles.

"We don't need to hark back to the unfortunate history of a certain Central European country in the 1930s to understand how poisonous this kind of political myth making can become. Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative "movement" aren't just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they're preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency -- in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City."
His interpretation of events is frighteningly plausible.

Already we have been seeing during the course of the summer and into the fall, the desperate talent search by movement conservatives for a new internal enemy, like a reality show; "American Traitor" where contestants line up to see who would be the best victim for the "stabbed in the back" myth making.

Thanks Billmon... you can just rock me to sleep, now...

mojo sends

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fact Check?

Someone tell me... when did get in the tank for the Republicans?

News item in the barely readable Newsweek chortling with glee over FactCheck's latest salvo against the Obama campaign, to wit:
"In a TV ad and in speeches, Obama is making bogus claims that McCain plans to cut $880 billion from Medicare spending and to reduce benefits.

A TV spot says McCain's plan requires "cuts in benefits, eligibility or both."
Obama said in a speech that McCain plans "cuts" that would force seniors to "pay more for your drugs, receive fewer services, and get lower quality care."

These claims are false, and based on a single newspaper report that says no such thing. McCain's policy director states unequivocally that no benefit cuts are envisioned."
Except for the fact that senior policy people for the campaign have been saying just that for a couple of weeks now, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:
"John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.
In the months since Sen. McCain introduced his health plan, statements made by his campaign have implied that the new tax credits he is proposing to help Americans buy health insurance would be paid for with other tax increases.

But Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. McCain's senior policy adviser, said Sunday that the campaign has always planned to fund the tax credits, in part, with savings from Medicare and Medicaid. Those government health-care programs serve seniors, poor families and the disabled. Medicare spending for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 is estimated at $457.5 billion.
If on were to believe this, it appears as if Obama might actually understating the damage that McCain is planning to unleash on American seniors' health care.

And you have to read the FactCheck article carefully to find the dishonest there. The only proof they offer of the deceit of the Obama ad is that it ultimately comes from a paper written by progressives at the Center for American Progress, without ever delving into what the paper said.

FactCheck then, quite treacherously, carries water for McCain by claiming that the $1.3 trillion would not be in cuts, but merely "what would need to be produced to make the plan revenue neutral."


In fact, had the FactCheck folks bothered to actually review the CAP report and their research, they would have found a very cogent argument based not on just a single WSJ report, but on state by state health care statistics, the McCain campaign's own statements over the summer and basic math.

The FactCheck answer? There won't be cuts, they'll find 1.3 trillion dollars in waste and fraud.

But even though this was ostensibly all about the Obama ad and the so-called reality of the McCaim plan, that still didn't stop FactCheck's Brooks Jackson from taking partisan parting shots at Obama's health plan, claiming -- without offers of proof or explanation -- that they were all very skeptical of Obama's ability to provide his plan as promised.

mojo sends

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How To Confront Mormons About Proposition 8

The LDS church has pulled out the stops in support of Proposition 8. It now looks like the initiative may actually pass, and that would be saddening, because the validity of its amendment to the state constitution will probably be challenged successfully, and then we'll have to sit through yet more rounds of right-wing whining about activist judges.

It's important that pro-marriage forces really get mobilized in opposition to Proposition 8. It will be a lot simpler for everyone, including the churches actually, if this initiative is defeated. I bring this up because, if you're like me, then you probably know someone who knows someone who's a Mormon, and that means there's a good chance you've been swept into a wider discussion with one of the many Brothers and Sisters who've been sent out to engage the public in support of Proposition 8.

Recently, I had the opportunity to shred one of these benighted sods pretty mercilessly in email, and he stopped communicating with me all of a sudden. But I'm not letting go of him just yet. Check out the message I just sent him below, and please bookmark it for when you find yourself in your own discussion with one of these people, and they use this rather common talking point they keep spreading. This line of reasoning is very powerful, and if enough of us use it when the opportunity arises, we may just manage to turn this situation into an opportunity to do some good.

I wrote:
For whatever reason, you haven't responded to my previous message on this topic. I understand we're all busy and engaging in a democratic discourse with your fellow citizens doesn't directly contribute to the family income statement, but there was one point in the discussion that I'm really, REALLY motivated to get sorted out, because I think it's the most important thing we talked about.
[...] more importantly, what happens when a gay couple want to be married in the temple? The temple, in our belief, is the most sacred of places, and the whole ceremony is about the creation, and men and women. So, is that bigotry, or 2000+ year old doctrine? [...]
[...] The California Supreme Court did not rewrite church doctrine with its decision. It can't do that. Just because gays and lesbians have a right to obtain marriage certificates from county clerks just like straight couples, it does not mean that they now have a right to profane your temple. [...]
I'm very interested to hear your response to this. If what I wrote immediately after this seemed too harsh, the please know you have my sympathies. It's never feels very good to be exposed as a fraud.

[I wrote:]
See? This is another one of those right wing lies that your church is spreading-- that *you* are helping your church to spread.

Do you feel good about helping your church to spread lies, [brother]? Is that one of the ways that following the LDS church has improved your life? By giving you an excuse to spread convenient lies?
I think, by now, you've had plenty of opportunity to find out the truth, and it must be making you feel uncomfortable, I know.

Here you've been trying to help your church in an outreach operation of obvious apparent importance to many of your Elders, Bishops and Presidents, and now you come to find out they're using you to spread a lie. They know full well that the California Supreme Court has not done anything that puts LDS doctrine at risk of interference by the state. They know more than full well that Proposition 8 will not provide any further protection of LDS doctrine not already afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the myriad religious freedom laws and regulations that depend from it. Yet, here they are spreading the lie that if Proposition 8 doesn't pass, then your temple will be as good as profaned, it's only a matter of time.

And here *YOU* are repeating this lie to your friends and family, your Brothers and Sisters in the LDS church, your fellow citizens whom you meet when you go out to proselytize for Proposition 8. I'm going to assume that you either didn't know or didn't think about how you might be participating in this deception before you started, but I don't cut the High Social Dominance Oriented leaders of your church any such slack. Nor should you, [brother]. Nor should you.

Finally, I'd like to ask you two questions, and I really hope you'll favor me with the time it takes to give me thoughtful answers.

1) Now that you know there is no threat to the sanctity of your temple posed by the recent California Supreme Court decision recognizing the right of gays and lesbians to marry, and you know that Proposition 8 will not (moreover, CANNOT) provide any further protection of the sanctity of your temple, will you stop trying to spread fear and uncertainty about it by posing questions to people like the one I quoted from you above?

2) Now that you know how your church leaders are lying to you, and abusing your trust and faith to manipulate you into spreading their lies for them, what do you plan to do about it?
I'll be interested to see if this gets no response from him either. Fortunately, the guy is my brother-in-law's best friend from high school, and my brother-in-law is against Proposition 8 already. I don't think he's going to be able to weasel out of this bind he's gotten himself into.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Attack Of The Zombie Newspapers

The Washington Post continues to underwhelm.
The End Of American Capitalism?
By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 10, 2008; A01

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is claiming another casualty: American-style capitalism.
No, you idiot. That's not the death rattle of American-style capitalism you're hearing. That sound is the last dying gasp of Reaganomics.
Since the 1930s, U.S. banks were the flagships of American economic might, and emulation by other nations of the fiercely free-market financial system in the United States was expected and encouraged. But the market turmoil that is draining the nation's wealth and has upended Wall Street now threatens to put the banks at the heart of the U.S. financial system at least partly in the hands of the government.
[emphasis mine] It remains to be seen whether Comrade Paulson will even have the stones to seize the means of credit production away from the bourgeoisie, much less go so far as to come out solidly as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
The Bush administration is considering a partial nationalization of some banks, buying up a portion of their shares to shore them up and restore confidence as part of the $700 billion government bailout. The notion of government ownership in the financial sector, even as a minority stakeholder, goes against what market purists say they see as the foundation of the American system.
See what I mean? All those idiots who studied the Reaganomicon too closely and allowed it to warp their perceptions of reality so badly are finally getting eaten by the Old Ones they worshipped in the fiery doom they've been told all along to expect.
Yet the administration may feel it has no choice. Credit, the lifeblood of capitalism, ceased to flow. An economy based on the free market cannot function that way.

The government's about-face goes beyond the banking industry. It is reasserting itself in the lives of citizens in ways that were unthinkable in the era of market-knows-best thinking. With the recent takeovers of major lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the bailout of AIG, the U.S. government is now effectively responsible for providing home mortgages and life insurance to tens of millions of Americans. Many economists are asking whether it remains a free market if the government is so deeply enmeshed in the financial system.
Ia! Ia! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
Given that the United States has held itself up as a global economic model, the change could shift the balance of how governments around the globe conduct free enterprise. Over the past three decades, the United States led the crusade to persuade much of the world, especially developing countries, to lift the heavy hand of government from finance and industry.

But the hands-off brand of capitalism in the United States is now being blamed for the easy credit that sickened the housing market and allowed a freewheeling Wall Street to create a pool of toxic investments that has infected the global financial system. Heavy intervention by the government, critics say, is further robbing Washington of the moral authority to spread the gospel of laissez-faire capitalism.
Here follows what would have been the body of a decent article if it hadn't been preceded by all this nonsense.
The government could launch a targeted program in which it takes a minority stake in troubled banks, or a broader program aimed at the larger banking system. In either case, however, the move could be seen as evidence that Washington remains a slave to Wall Street. The plan, for instance, may not compel participating firms to give their chief executives the salary haircuts that some in Congress intended. But if the plan didn't work, the government might have to take bigger stakes.

"People around the world once admired us for our economy, and we told them if you wanted to be like us, here's what you have to do -- hand over power to the market," said Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. "The point now is that no one has respect for that kind of model anymore given this crisis. And of course it raises questions about our credibility. Everyone feels they are suffering now because of us."

In Seoul, many see American excess as a warning. At the same time, anger is mounting over the global spillover effect of the U.S. crisis. The Korean currency, the won, has fallen sharply in recent days as corporations there struggle to find dollars in the heat of a global credit crunch.

"Derivatives and hedge funds are like casino gambling," said South Korean Finance Minister Kang Man-soo. "A lot of Koreans are asking, how can the United States be so weak?"

Other than a few fringe heads of state and quixotic headlines, no one is talking about the death of capitalism. The embrace of free-market theories, particularly in Asia, has helped lift hundreds of millions out of poverty in recent decades. But resentment is growing over America's brand of capitalism, which in contrast to, say, Germany's, spurns regulations and venerates risk.

In South Korea, rising criticism that the government is sticking too close to the U.S. model has roused opposition to privatizing the massive, state-owned Korea Development Bank. South Korea is among those countries that have benefited the most from adopting free-market principles, emerging from the ashes of the Korean War to become one of the world's biggest economies. It has distinguished itself from North Korea, an impoverished country hobbled by an outdated communist system and authoritarian leadership.

But the repercussions of crisis that began in the United States are global. In Britain, where Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined with President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to herald capitalism's promise, the government this week moved to partly nationalize the ailing banking system. Across the English Channel, European leaders who are no strangers to regulation are piling on Washington for gradually pulling the government watchdogs off the world's largest financial sector. Led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, they are calling for broad new international codes to impose scrutiny on global finance.

To some degree, those calls are even being echoed by the International Monetary Fund, an institution charged with the promotion of free markets overseas and that preached that less government was good government during the economic crises in Asia and Latin America in the 1990s. Now, it is talking about the need for regulation and oversight.

"Obviously the crisis comes from an important regulatory and supervisory failure in advanced countries . . . and a failure in market discipline mechanisms," Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's managing director, said yesterday before the fund's annual meeting in Washington.

In a slideshow presentation, Strauss-Kahn illustrated the global impact of the financial crisis. Countries in Africa, including many of those with some of the lowest levels of market and financial integration and openness, are now set to weather the crisis with the least amount of turbulence.

Shortly afterward, World Bank President Robert Zoellick was questioned by reporters about the "confusion" in the developing world over whether to continue embracing the free-market model. He replied, "I think people have been confused not only in developing countries, but in developed countries, by these shocking events."

In much of the developing world, financial systems still remain far more governed by the state, despite pressure from the United States for those countries to shift power to the private sector and create freer financial markets. They may stay that way for some time.

China had been resisting calls from Washington and Wall Street to introduce a broad range of exotic investments, including many of the once-red-hot derivatives now being blamed for magnifying the crisis in the West. In recent weeks, Beijing has made that position more clear, saying it would not permit an expansion of complex financial instruments.

With the U.S. government's current push toward intervention and the soul-searching over the role of deregulation in the crisis, the stage appears to be at least temporarily set for a more restrained model of free enterprise, particularly in financial markets.
The final graf is darkly amusing.
"If you look around the world, China is doing pretty good right now, and the U.S. isn't," said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "You may see a push back from globalization in the financial markets."
China is a bubble waiting to pop, too. But you wouldn't know that from reading The Washington Post.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Quote of the Day -- Sarah Vowell

When talking about the propensity of GOP assrags, gasbags and assorted hangers on to drape themselves in the political theater that has become the tragedy of 9/11 when they visit New York, then run off to flyover country to complain about "unAmerican" those liberal elite latte drinkin' city folk are back east, she had this to say:

"I just feel like if New York was American enough for Al Qaeda, it should be American enough for them."

Sarah Vowell, author on The Daily Show Oct. 7, 2008.

mojo sends

Friday, October 03, 2008

I think you're going to need a bigger boat.

The fellows at FiveThirtyEight have been cruising around the battleground states, checking out the ground operations of the campaigns to get some grasp of the state of the ground game to complement their polling anaylsis, (which is excellent). Apparently, despite their stringent attempts to be fair and impartial, the McCain people decided to lock them out from visiting their field offices. They are less than impressed with the McCain ground game right now:
Up to this point, we’ve been giving McCain's ground campaign a lot of benefit of the doubt. We can’t stop convincing ourselves that there must – must – be a warehouse full of 1,000 McCain volunteers somewhere in a national, central location just dialing away. This can’t be all they’re doing. Because even in a place like Colorado Springs, McCain’s ground campaign is getting blown away by the Obama efforts. It doesn't mean Obama will win Colorado Springs, but it means Obama's campaign will not look itself in the mirror afterward and ask, "what more could we have done?"

You could take every McCain volunteer we’ve seen doing actual work in the entire trip, over six states, and it would add up to the same as Obama’s single Thornton, CO office. Or his single Durango, CO office. These ground campaigns bear no relationship to each other.

Here on out, our skepticism is going to be higher. We truly respect organizers on both sides, because it is grindingly hard work for minimal pay. It’s powered by a belief in doing what’s right. We do not quote them or get them in trouble. Moreover, we truly respect direct action by volunteers – who do exist on the McCain side, just as a tiny, tiny fraction of the Obama side – but if the attitude continues on this unhelpful and obstructive turn, we’re going to spend less time making excuses for what we observe. Less benefit of the doubt. Show us real work and we'll cover it. We want to.

The FiveThirtyEigtht guys are mostly focused on the Presidential races in this post, but I think it's worth pointing out that door to door campaigning and volunteer phonebanking have significant impact on downticket races. Couple this with the registration gaps that are popping up, and if I'm a GOP political functionary, I might seriously consider booking that flight to a country with weak extradition laws.

P.S. All the usual caveats about voter fraud apply.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh, Dear God...

From the execreble* Associated Press:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The international shipping industry must take on more responsibility to protect vessels against pirate attacks and kidnappings in the dangerous waters of Somalia rather than rely on the U.S. Navy, the commander of the 5th Fleet warned on Monday.

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said the U.S.-led coalition patrolling the Gulf of Aden simply doesn't "have the resources to provide 24-hour protection" for hundreds of commercial vessels passing daily through these dangerous waters between Somalia and Yemen.

Gortney's comments come as heavily armed pirates are increasingly preying on shipping in the area. Drug smuggling and kidnappings for ransom have increased despite heavy presence of U.S. warships and patrol boats in the area.
Somebody please tell me: why the fuck do we spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on a Navy that can't even do the one mission for which the Navy was created to do?

Pirates. You have got to be fucking kidding me. Pirates!? We can't even suppress the goddamn pirates and keep the shipping lanes safe anymore? Jeebus. What the fuck are they doing with all that money we spend on them? Blowing it on hookers and dope?

Okay, so now I gotta ask: is Chevron gonna be allowed to build their own fleet of battlewagons to defend their tankers against pirates because the U.S. Navy is too fucked up to do the job itself? What kind of firepower are we thinking Chevron ought to be lugging around while we continue to go about pissing away the military's power to project force? Can we sell them cruise missiles? I'm only asking because I'm kinda in the business of making things, you know, and well, I'm seeing this wealthy new buyer coming into the market soon...

Aieeiee. Goddamn it! Why the fuck do these people keep trying to make my planet into a cheap 1980's sci-fi potboiler?

* No, you fuckheads. This is what's called Fair Use. You can suck it.

At Least, Our Secretary Of State Isn't An Idiot

Debra Bowen says we ought to be using open source code in our voting machines. You know? It's refreshing to find out that the candidate to whom you gave the most money the last election actually managed to win... but it totally rocks when that candidate then goes out and does exactly the right thing after she gets into office.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"How did Nancy Pelosi screw up this badly?"

Consider this excerpt of dialogue from Animal House (1978):
D-Day: Hey, quit your blubberin'. When I get through with this baby you won't even recognize it.
Otter: Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up - you trusted us! Hey, make the best of it! Maybe we can help.
Flounder: [crying] That's easy for you to say! What am I going to tell Fred?
Otter: I'll tell you what. We'll tell Fred you were doing a great job taking care of his car, but you parked it out back last night and in the morning, it was gone. We report it to the police, D-Day takes care of the wreck, the insurance company buys your brother a new car.
Flounder: Will that work?
Otter: Hey, it's gotta work better than the truth.
Bluto: [thrusting six-pack into Flounder's hands] My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder, he's in pre-med.
D-Day: [firing up blow-torch] There you go now, just leave everything to me.

The analogy writes itself.

Is the other shoe dropping for McJackelope?

Interesting news items...

1. Fannie/Freddie Subpoenaed in Probe of Possible Wrongdoing

2. McJackelope's Chief Wrangler Rick Davis Still Tied to Old Fannie/Freddie Lobbying Firm

So for those playing along at home, I guess since Rick Davis was Fannie/Freddie's main bag man on the Hill during the worst of the apparent excesses, and still makes his money with partner David Manafort from this, one would have to wonder if he's going to have to take a leave of absence to sit with a Federal Grand Jury in New York sometime in the next couple of weeks...

mojo sends

The Mother Of All Bailouts

Synthesizing the various takes from the econ bloggers I read, it seems to me like the bailout bill is A) gonna pass, B) not suck as bad as the original Paulsen "plan" did, C) at best, prevent another Great Depression from happening, and D) at worst, delay the real reforms needed to get the financial services sector functioning properly again, i.e. sensible regulations on the shadow banking system so that if it looks like a bank and quacks like a bank, by borrowing short and lending long, then it needs to be regulated like a bank: depositor insurance, limits on multiples and minimum reserves.

The optimists think the Treasury department can't possibly be as screwed up as the rest of the U.S. government, so of course, the bailout program won't be yet another episode of disaster capitalism straight out of Naomi Klein's book. The pessimists, among whom I should count myself owing to my natural tendency to be a doom-monger about economics, all seem to think that it's got to get a lot worse before the people who brought us this mess will be sufficiently discredited— some would say exsanguinated— that we can replace them all en masse with a corps of competent technocrats.

I'm inclined to go out on a limb and say that both the pessimists and the optimists are right: we need to pass this bailout bill, because we can't wait until the next congress to do it and this is the bill that will pass this congress and be signed by this president, but sadly, it probably won't be enough to keep the economy from unraveling. I've seen rumors on the web that a run on the hedge funds is underway. If so, then there will be a lot more blood on the street.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oh God... Biden Speaks...

You know, I no sooner get done with Sarah Palin, the would be vice-McJackelope, than I am confronted with video of Joe Biden opening his pie hole off-leash...

Here is the horrrrribleness...
"Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence, is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicate with people [...] this is how we can fix this," Biden said. ""When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened...'"
You know... I hate being right all the time.

It's time like this I start thinking that maybe duct taping the veep candidate into the back of a 1980 TransAm and driving it to a small TufShed® camoflouge shelter out in the woods for the next 40 days or so is not a bad idea...

mojo sends

I am in awe...

Ladies and Gentlefreeks... I think we have found the all time emeritus leader and inaugural Hall of Fame inductee for Stoopidist Things Ever Said...

Here are the lyrics so you can sing along...
COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land- boundary that we have with- Canada. It- it's funny that a comment like that was- kind of made to- cari- I don't know, you know? Reporters-...

COURIC: Mocked?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah. Um...

COURIC: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials?

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our next door neighbors are foreign countries. they're in the state that i am the executive of. And there in Russia --

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We do -- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia -- as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska, It's right over the border. It is from Alaska, that we send those out to make sure an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.
Are. You. Shitting. Me?!

Seriously, the transcript doesn't do this justice, watch the video; it's like they nominated "Flo" from the Progressive Insurance TV Ads to be VP with her "big tricked out nametag..." No, scratch that... this would be Flo's evil twin...

I am imagining things, or did she just bilge out that U.S. Intelligence/Counter-Intelleigence assets operate out of Alaska for the purpose of Russia surveillance? Yeah, I know it should come as no surprise; the only eye opening thing is that she would say something that idiotic in public.

I don't doubt for a moment that it did not occur to her that Alaska is a U.S. Intelligence Community playground until receiving her first intel briefing the other day. Now she's gots a sekritz 2.

And as for a giant Vladamir Putin Head floating across the Bering Sea and into U.S. airspace... uhh... well, okay... I'd pay to see that. However, I'd have thought that perhaps the rest of us would have noticed that by now as well. Unless perhaps only Sarah can see the giant Putin head...

But that first part was exemplary; talk about a glass jaw. If she had to eat even a tenth of the crap Bill or Hillary did in their first shots at national office, she would have just burst into flames or started speaking in tongues by now.

Perhaps I am in agreement with Biz, when he says the reason McJackelope ditched Letterman Wednesday night was because handlers called him on the special Red Phone in the Straight Talk Express... you know, the one in the glass box that says
"In Case of Vice Presidential Nominee Implosion, Break Glass"
and was instructed by the GOP Command Satellite to get his wrinkled geriatric ass out of 30 Rock and over to West 57th Street and "fix that fscking Palin interview Pronto!"

It's funny, the folks over at Comarade Joshua's Kolektiv have finally had enough and now have a story up saying, "TPM has finally gone from contempt to pity..." When Comrade Party Member Greg has to beg readers to write in just to explain what she was saying because, he, like, knows what all those words mean, but yet they still don't scan or form any coherent thought...

We agree, it's just gotten sad.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Ur-lie of the Iraq Clusterfuck

John Dean thinks Barton Gellman has found it.
During this meeting, the Post reports, Cheney turned Armey around on the war issue. Cheney did so by telling the House Majority Leader that he was giving him information that the Administration could not tell the public -- namely (according to Armey), that Iraq had the "'ability to miniaturize weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear,' which had been 'substantially refined since the first Gulf War,' and would soon result in 'packages that could be moved even by ground personnel.' In addition, Cheney linked that threat to Saddam's alleged personal ties to al Qaeda, explaining that 'we now know they have the ability to develop these weapons in a very portable fashion, and they have a delivery system in their relationship with organizations such as al Qaeda.'"

The Post story continues, "Armey has asked: "Did Dick Cheney ... purposely tell me things he knew to be untrue?" His answer: "I seriously feel that may be the case...Had I known or believed then what I believe now, I would have publicly opposed [the war] resolution right to the bitter end, and I believe I might have stopped it from happening."

In short, it was this lie that sealed the nation's fate, and sent us to war in Iraq. By lying to such an influential figure in Congress, Cheney not only may have changed the course of history, but also corrupted the separation of powers with their inherent checks and balances.
Apparently, Fourthbranch spun out a yarn for Armey about Saddam Hussein provisioning his army of Al Qaeda devil robots with suitcase nukes— and Armey bought it hook, line and sinker. Can we please charge President Cheney with high crimes and misdemeanors now?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Da, da, comrade... pass the borscht.

I for one welcome our new state-capitalist neo-Leninist overlords, and I'd just like to take this opportunity to state for the record, that— as a dirty fucking hippie Leftist blogger— I may prove to be useful to their plans by helping them convince the proles to continue toiling away in their underground sugar mines.

Otherwise, I'm rendered utterly unspeechified by this:
SEC intends to temporarily ban short selling, but it's not clear if the commission has approved the move. Cox is briefing congressional leaders. Separately, the government is seeking congressional authority to buy distressed assets.
Of all the stupidest possible things to do, I never would have guessed they'd reach in the bag for this one. Who are these alien shitfiends, and what are they doing on my PLANET?

Ariirghhghrhhghgh!!!!!!!! The shrill. I feel it taking over my brain. Must control myself. Must find whiskey. It's only 10:00am PDT. How will I survive this dark night?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And now something completely different...

Kevin Carey at the American Prospect pens an insightful piece on how the Dems have squandered Education as a political issue. Along the way, he offers a concise primer on the issues of American education and the sorry condition of the political argument. I strongly recommend you check it out. This stood out to me:

American public education does a much better job than many of its conservative critics claim. The idea that present-day schools represent a huge decline from previous decades is a myth; overall student achievement has improved and is improving still. At the same time, public schools are plagued by a number of major shortcomings, most rooted in the underlying structure and history of the system, which has always been unusually local in character, funding, and governance.

Local control means that poor students receive far fewer resources than their wealthy peers and that every district makes its own decisions about what students need to learn. Because schools are government-supported and free to attend, they generally have little competition or external accountability. Historically, this has led schools in environments lacking strong economic, social, and political institutions (the District of Columbia's public schools are an infamous example) to collapse into total dysfunction. Well-off students generally do okay in this system, because their schools have more resources and whatever they don't get from their teachers is made up for at home. Low-income and minority students, by contrast--the children whom Democrats should be ideologically and politically most interested in serving--tend to fare far worse. In many distressed communities, drop-out and illiteracy rates are sky-high.

Friday, September 12, 2008

An Even Uglier Side to the Foreclosure Crisis...

You know, eight years ago I would have seen this story and would have thought "You-Are-Shitting-Me!"

Now? It's just another day partying like it's 1799.

I'll save you the click through... GOP operatives are going to compile lists of foreclosed homes in largely minority neighborhoods in one particularly swing district of Michigan -- itself a so-called "swing state" -- in order to challenge mainly black voters.

The minor premise of this hideous little enthymeme being that if their home has been foreclosed, they no longer live there and can't vote in the district. But the major premise is a barely disguised push to disenfranchise an entire class of people; not racially, but economically, even if the financial status tends to track racially in places.

Only white property owners should be voting, apparently.

At first, reading this I thought, this can't possibly be an isolated thing, even as my eyes were tracking to this next section of story...
Vote suppression: Not an isolated effort

Carabelli is not the only Republican Party official to suggest the targeting of foreclosed voters. In Ohio, Doug Preisse, director of elections in Franklin County (around the city of Columbus) and the chair of the local GOP, told The Columbus Dispatch that he has not ruled out challenging voters before the election due to foreclosure-related address issues.

Hebert, the voting-rights lawyer, sees a connection between Priesse’s remarks and Carabelli’s plans.

“At a minimum what you are seeing is a fairly comprehensive effort by the Republican Party, a systematic broad-based effort to put up obstacles for people to vote,” he said. “Nobody is contending that these people are not legally registered to vote.

“When you are comprehensively challenging people to vote,” Hebert went on, “your goals are two-fold: One is you are trying to knock people out from casting ballots; the other is to create a slowdown that will discourage others,” who see a long line and realize they can’t afford to stay and wait.
These tactics have all the subtlety of roadkill. Expect to see a major nationwide push to challenge voters and purge voter rolls based on economic standing this election, not just in the "swing states" (I have always hated that bit of political cliche) but on a national level.

A couple of days ago, Biz posted some interesting voter registration data. I expect that this is largely a push back on those data; an attempt to fend off and discourage potential Democratic voters, especially new ones, who are perhaps getting on board Obama bandwagon out of a sense of economic self-interest. This would be understandable given the Bush administration's unremitting war against the middle class in this country.

This is the same kind of thinking that leads to cuts in college aid, small business aid and anything else that might seem like an egalitarian society's attempts at governance that genuinely gives a rat's ass about the economic mobility and potential of it's population.

No, the movement Conservatives at this point, think the American century has passed, and with it, the need for a broad, prosperous middle class. The plan now is to return people to the semi-indentured servitude of the 18th century by creation of a semi-permanent underclass, and by extension a more permanent ruling caste.

How else can a New American Mercantile Empire succeed? Where else you gonna find young people you don't like or respect anyway to go fight and die for your par-value share price?

mojo sends

Friday, September 05, 2008


I see where Lynn Westmoreland (R-Neoconfederate States of America) now claims that he didn't know the word uppity is a racially loaded term.

Okay, comrades. Short, shameful confession time.

Until recently— as in earlier this year— I didn't know that "uppity" is a racially loaded term. Happily, I'm ignorant no longer, and I'm thankful that I didn't make the discovery by using it inappropriately. So, you'd think maybe I might be more sympathetic to Mr. Westmoreland and his gaffe. I'm not.

He already stepped in it once when he appeared on The Colbert Report.

I think he's bullshitting us now with his stupid claim that he didn't know that uppity is a racially loaded term. Why do I say that?

“I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem — snobbish.’

“That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up,” Westmoreland said.

Um. Yeah, that would be a mill village deep in the tribal mountain territories of Neoconfederate Redneckistan. My ass, you didn't know that it was racially loaded.

I grew up in Southern California— which truly does have its own race problems, and I do not mean for them to be overlooked as I draw attention to the unresolved racial issues still plaguing the South— but the explanation for my ignorance is that I completely misunderstood the meaning of the word.

You know what I thought it meant? I mistakenly believed it was derived from the phrase acting up— to be uppity was to be "prone to acting up." As in this kind of acting up. That's what I gathered from hearing it used in context.

Until recently, I thought being "uppity" was something everyone should want to be from time to time. It never occurred to me— because I don't often hear the word used in context anymore— that I should look up the word in a dictionary, where I would have learned of its 19th century origin and its correct meaning as a synonym for arrogant or self-important. In fact, now that I know what "uppity" really means, I'm sorta disappointed— because, now I don't have a word to use as an adjective to mean "prone to acting up," and it's a shame that uppity isn't suitable for that.

Somehow, Westmoreland didn't make the mistake I did. He knew full well what the word meant when he used it. I have a hard time believing he didn't know that choosing to call a Black man and his family "uppity" instead of merely "arrogant" or "self-important" would remind everyone who heard him use that word of its 19th century origin and the racially loaded connotations he most surely intended to convey.

I'm going to be so happy if, when this election is over, we have our first Black President. I think that will go a long way toward helping racist troglodytes like Lynn Westmoreland get their heads sorted out. I'm hoping. I really hoping now.

A peek behind the curtain

Over at Edge of the American West, SEK decided to peek behind the curtain of the GOP's Sarah Palin driven Triumphalism, and take a look at a critical electoral indicator, Voter registration. The numbers are not very good news for the GOP.

Here are a few choice examples in a few Battleground States:
Colorado: 13,352 Republicans, 66,516 Democrats, 23,437 Independents

Florida: 77,196 Republican, 209,422 Democrat, 26,100 Independents
From January to June

Iowa: 7,515 Republicans, 69,301 Democrats, -62,922 Independents
From January to August

Nevada: 1,230 Republicans, 51,457 Democrats, 7,550 Independents
From January to August

North Carolina: 20,363 Republicans, 171,955 Democrats, 123,605 Unaffiliated
From January 5 to August 30
Src: January 5, August 30

He could not acquire numbers from some of the other keys states, but it's likely the trend is national. And keep in mind that the Obama people have been constructing a massive GOTV effort modeled on the Bush/Cheney machine to leverage this registration trend.

Yes, the press narratives matter, but ultimately, all the nice speeches and pundit worship of John McCain is a sideshow to the ability to register new voters affiliated with your party, and then get them to the polls on election day. And in that area, the Obama campaign seems to have focused on.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The New Gloss

Gov. Sarah Palin... I hereby dub thee:

Caribou Barbie

You are a crank among cranks, and the only good thing we can say about you is that you are safely ensconced in the least populated state in the union where you can little harm the rest of us in the lower 48.

Please stay there.

mojo sends

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Mighty Billmon Speaks

You listen!
Via Greg Sargent at Talking Point Memo, I see the McCain campaign (a.k.a. the kinder, gentler lynch mob) is ramping up the volume on its guilt-by-association campaign linking Obama to retired Weatherman Bill Ayers -- and dispensing with its false flag operation in the process.

From McCain spokesperson Brian Rogers:
"The fact that Barack Obama chose to launch his political career at the home of an unrepentant terrorist raises more questions about Senator Obama's judgment than any TV ad ever could . . ." etc. etc.
More of that "civil," "respectful" campaign McCain promised -- respecful as in, "we will respectfully tear that uppity you-know-what's face clean off his head."

But, unlike most of McRove's spitball volleys (like his vapid Obama-is-a-celebrity ads) this one actually interests me, because I'm curious to see if a slur so hopelessly retro still has some juice left in it.

Don't miss the rest of it.

(Via the indispensible Cursor.Org.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Paging Gov. Eagleton to the History Repeats Ward, Stat!

Obama picks Biden as running mate. The GOP already had the commercials waiting...

Please join us here at the Mojowire in welcoming our new geriatric overlord Sen Palpatine McCain.

Thanks for nothing Obama...

mojo sends

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yellow Alert: Election approaching..

So the Dem Convention is rolling up on us, and it occured to me we haven't really gotten into the politics or the policy issues very much. I would like to kick off a series of posts on the election by linking to this article by David Leonhardt of the New York Times on Obama's economic policy and idelogical point of view. The article is not only insightful on Obama's economic perspective, but provides background on the economic policies and outcomes of the last 30 years. This jumped out at me:
Sunstein, now on the faculty at Harvard, has a name for this approach: “I like to think of him as a ‘University of Chicago’ Democrat.”
It’s a useful label. Today’s Democratic consensus has moved the party to the left, and on issues like inequality and climate change, Obama appears willing to be even more aggressive than many fellow Democrats. From this standpoint, he’s a true liberal. Yet he also says he believes that there are significant parts of Reaganism worth preserving. So his policies often involve setting up a government program to address a market failure but then trying to harness the power of the market within that program. This, at times, makes him look like a conservative Democrat.

The University of Chicago, as you might know, is ground zero of the supply size market economics that has dominated American economic policies for the last 30 years. It's where Milton Friedman made his lair, and his devotion to the idea of the primacy of markets defines the outlook of this economic perspective. The way Obama seems to be integrating that point of view with his other more liberal views is quite fascinating. Give the article a read.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another Brick In The Wall

Via Cab Drollery, we learn about prisoner number 650 at the infamous Salt Pit.
"We now know the screams came from a woman who has been held in Bagram for some years. And she is Prisoner No. 650," Ridley disclosed at a recent Press conference in Pakistan.

And I strongly suspect that Prisoner No. 650 is none other than Dr Aafia Siddiqui. It is quite possible that her captors decided to end her isolation after the Pakistani Press and activists like Yvonne Ridley began increasingly talking about the Prisoner No. 650 and how she was tortured and abused physically, mentally and sexually for the past four years.
Pure speculation by Yvonne Ridley and Aijaz Zaka Syed? Perhaps. Anti-American rhetoric by a disgruntled Arab? It's certainly possible. Ten years ago I would have dismissed this report out of hand. After all, surely no civilized government would behave in such a fashion, and, if it did, surely our free press would have gone through walls to uncover the behavior.

That was ten years ago. Now, I'm not so sure.
Vote RoboBushCheney in 2008! Thank God for them! They SHINEY!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Only Surprise...

... is that it took the GOP shitbird machine this long to do this

mojo sends

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Debates, Bitches!

Paris Hilton has redeemed herself somewhat in my eyes with this:
See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Greg Sargent over at Comrade Joshua's bunker makes a good point about the pathetic nature of the GOP mockery machine this time around that allows Paris Hilton of all people to tee off on the Jackelope McCain.

mojo sends

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Who needs Knights when you have lawyers?

This is just beyond priceless

Knights Templar heirs in legal battle with the Pope
The heirs of the Knights Templar have launched a legal battle in Spain to force the Pope to restore the reputation of the disgraced order which was accused of heresy and dissolved seven centuries ago. Read the rest.

Maybe descendents of Roman Legionaires can sue descendents of Visigoths and Vandals for damages and psychological stress for invading the Empire and sacking Rome. The possibilities are endless...

Okay Holy Blood, Holy Grail geeks, get your conspiracy hats on and get cracking..

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Look Who's Back On The Spike...

Via Atrios... it's Billmon. That would be The Mighty Billmon to us benighted wankers on the hinterlands of Blogotopia...

Don't worry, Billmon. You'll be able to quit again after the campaign is over. Maybe it'll take for good next time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm surprised it took this long...

The McCain campaign finally began going where we all knew the GOP would eventually go with a black candidate..Look out Red State, it's time to hide the white womens..:

It's only marginally about celebrity. This is about young white girls and black men. Let racism ring...!


Can You Hear Me Now?!

So now they have started shooting.

"Gunfire erupted Sunday during the children's performance at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, which authorities said Jim D. Adkisson intentionally targeted because of its congregation's liberal policies. A four-page letter found in Adkisson's SUV indicated he picked the church because, the police chief said, 'he hated the liberal movement.'"
Of course the source of those beliefs should come as no surprise:
"Still seized three books from Adkisson's home, including "The O'Reilly Factor," by television commentator Bill O'Reilly; "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder," by radio personality Michael Savage; and "Let Freedom Ring," by political pundit Sean Hannity."
Frankly, I'm not sure which cranks me more, the blatant encouragement behind the attack or the pious bleatings of the Right Blogistan to "end the politicizing of personal tragedies..."

I really think this my favorite part though from RealClearPolitics:
"In other words, the Adkisson case provides a case study in the secular demonology of the left. We're seeing the politics of hatred in action. It's marked by demands for vengeance and modes of discourse seeking to protect the perceived purity of the liberal sensibility. It is irreligious and opportunistic. It is the repudiation of decency."
A guy guns down a bunch of kids in a church because he "hates the liberal movement," and our anger over this is actually the problem.

The moral bankruptcy and toxic politically-degenerate nature of blaming the victims of what was nothing more less than a public lynching, is really a new low. Of course a lot of the usual suspects... the Moonbatteries, Emperor Mishas, Michelle Malkins, have not even mentioned this, not even in the misbegotten attempt at raising the spectre of "gun control = death" hackery so common in the wake of such tragedies.

Perhaps it is because they are not-so-secretly pleased that Unitarians are pacifists for the most part and would not think of bringing instruments of violence into church that they make easier targets...

You know... I am trying real hard keep a leash on my own nascent pacifism... but this kind of shit is only going to become more common place I am afraid and that is going to lead to an open shooting conflict. These people are bound and determine to turn America into Northern Ireland c. 1975 or Israel c. anytime in the last 50 years.

I am just going to stop now, before I write something that gets me in trouble...

mojo sends

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

History Repeats As Farce

Consider this from the CarpetBagger Report:
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic adviser, told Slate, “[McCain] has certainly I’m sure said things in town halls that don’t jibe perfectly with his written plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s official.”

Got that? If we want to better understand John McCain’s economic policies, we should overlook what John McCain says about his economic policies. McCain’s “official” positions don’t come from McCain.
Good to know that we have so mainstreamed this nonsense that nobody even blinks when it happens.

Think about this for a second, people... we have presumptive GOP nominee for President openly lying in campaign speeches, and when he's called on it by the evil liberal press, the official response from the campaign is that the candidate doesn't speak for himself when he's making personal appearances in public.

This should be an astounding development. It's a milestone in the deterioration of our politics.

We have become so inured to the sad state of affairs of having a President so divorced from reality that his public appearances are a surreal farce that we don't even blink when his party expressly claims that their chosen successor is a suitable candidate because he's good at lying to the public.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Get Your War On!

Oh Canada, which is where this story gets the proper headline, as opposed to here in the United States, where the extensibility of the feature enhancements make for streamlining the core competencies of news organizations more extensive and competently, featureful...
By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress should explicitly declare a state of armed conflict with al Qaeda to make clear the United States can detain suspected members as long as the war on terrorism lasts, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said on Monday.

Mukasey urged Congress to make the declaration in a package of legislative proposals to establish a legal process for terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo, in response to a Supreme Court ruling last month that detainees had a constitutional right to challenge their detention.

"Any legislation should acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us," Mukasey said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.

"Congress should reaffirm that for the duration of the conflict the United States may detain as enemy combatants those who have engaged in hostilities or purposefully supported al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated organizations," he said.

Mukasey was not asking for a formal declaration of war, which would trigger certain emergency powers under the Constitution and international law, a Justice Department spokesman said. U.S. President George W. Bush has on numerous occasions said the United States was "at war" against terrorists and cited that as a basis for his powers.

Mukasey may not have *explicitly* asked for it, but that's no reason to think the Congress won't deliver it anyway.

Q1: How many people here can recite the collective and exhaustive list of all those "certain emergency powers" such a formal declaration would legally provide to the executive branch?

Q2: How many of those powers have yet to be exercised by this President despite not having been legally afforded to him?

water policy wonkage

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert is a brilliant book about the history of water policy in the West, particularly California. Micheal O'Hare at The Reality Based Community points out however, that the state of water issues in Ca has changed since 1986 when the book was published, and that water policy geeks would be well advised to get a little current on how things work now. If you are interested in these issues, it's a succinct update on what has changed in water and ag policy since then. Check it out.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stupid Or Evil? You Decide!

Over at the Lake, Dr. Murphy serves up a round of medical horror that makes me clutch my head like a stunned monkey.
For at least two years, the Nashville PD have been recklessly endangering citizens by using emergency medical personnel to forcibly inject Versed -- a powerful prescription medication with side effects including agitation and confusion -- into agitated, confused people. This potentially lethal stupidity is what we can expect when people who go to work with guns on their belt decide to play "doctor".
Or, as I would say, "...when credible reports of official state-sanctioned drug torture are ignored by policy-makers and the perpetrators are not held accountable for their crimes."

I want to scream at the top of my lungs that I told you this would happen, but the truth is I didn't specifically imagine this particular variant of the horror. But look, the situation is this: we let a bunch of assholes in the state security apparatus get away with using medical procedures to apply punishment for refusing to respect their authoritay, so now we're going to see more of it.

Think about that the next time you voluntarily let somebody knock you out before you go into a surgery.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Listen To The Chair Leg Of Truth!

It does not lie!

Those Courageous Democrats!

Remind me again why I should feel hopeful that Democrats are interested in restoring the rule of law.
I have firm confirmation that Nancy Pelosi is urging the Judiciary committee NOT to go forward with contempt against Rove.

Congressman John Conyers and the Judiciary staff are battling for it but this has become an infight among dems.

Time to burn up the phone lines.
Click though and raise hell.

Monday, July 07, 2008

What Then, Larry? What Then?

Kagro X at DailyKos explains the problem.
The executive branch shall construe the requirements on the Inspectors General in section 301(b) as advisory in nature, so that the provisions are consistent with the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and to supervise the unitary executive branch.
"What then?" she says.

I'll tell you what happens then... everyone in Congress who supported the new FISA bill, including the Democrats among them, cheers as the White House turns the line-eaters loose on everybody in their enemies list, and they feed everything caught in the net straight to Charlie Black— who uses it to ratfuck anybody who doesn't put their back into getting McCain elected this November.

Then, on the odd chance that counting the votes somehow results in an Obama victory (don't count on it yet, homies), then and only then will it suddenly become a Constitutional Crisis that the government has trash-canned the 4th Amendment. I'm not sure I foresee how the crisis gets resolved, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it all just blows over without anything getting fixed. Democrats will definitely love them line-eaters.

I'm really getting tired of explaining this shit to people.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

No Subject, Really...

It occurs to me that, if the GOP wants to attack Obama on his most perceived strength, i.e. his rhetorical ability, then the appropriate response is to go after McCain likewise, i.e. to attack him on his most perceived strength, i.e. basically to call out McCain as a coward and a fraud. (He is, you know. He is.)

Will Democrats do this? Somehow, I very much doubt it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modern Problems.

Atrios explains why the "do you want a liberal Democrat in the White House to have these powers?" question may not produce the desired effect when you pose it to wingnut freakbots...

As I've written before, Democrats will regret embracing the expansion of executive power because a President Obama will find his administration undone by an "abuse of power" scandal. All of those powers which were necessary to prevent the instant destruction of the country will instantly become impeachable offenses. If you can't imagine how such a pivot can take place then you haven't been paying attention.
So, yes— it appears we may have tactical considerations beyond the mere ethical concerns about Obama caving on the telecom immunity provision in the forthcoming foreign intelligence surveillance law. It seems nearly certain now that we will soon have a President, who voted while he was a Senator to give the White House power to order private enterprises to violate the law with immunity from prosecution, and the only open question before us at this point is whether we want to have a media and political environment that allows him to be impeached for doing it.

Hmmm. Modern problems. They arise in unexpected ways. I'm sure I will be saying "Who Could Have Possibly Predicted This?" in a couple years.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Republic, if you can keep it.

What exactly is Lindsey Graham suggesting here?:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed Thursday to do everything in his power to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on Guantanamo Bay detainees, saying that, “if necessary,” he would push for a constitutional amendment to modify the decision.

Is he actually saying what I think he is saying? That he wants to amend Article II, Section 9 of the constitution:
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

Because if he is, could somebody please explain to him that the Great Writ is not some liberal hippie legal plot to aid the overthrow of the Republic? This little diatribe actually shocked me. A lawyer, an AMERICAN laywer, actually wants to amend the freakin Constituion and hamstring Habeas? Look Lindsey, it's not the courts fault your law degree is a worthless scrap, particularly in light of the fact you were the author of the Military Commissions act that was so efficently defenstrated by Justice Kennedy. Please stop sniffing around my Constitution. You and your batshit insane legal playmates are the last people on earth I want writing amendments to the Constitution.

Seriously, what is next with these people? After wiping their ass with the Geneva Conventions and the Bill of Rights, now they want a piece of one of the keystones handed down from before the Revolution, meant to preserve liberty and serve as a bulwark against false imprisonment and tyranny? You don't agree with the Courts decision, fine. Feel free to pout and kick your dog. But, you and your facist justice friend, Nino "who's an originalist?" Scalia can stay the Frak away from my Constitution thanks.

And in the annals of hysterical stupidity, this really takes the cake:
This decision will come at a cost,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. “The Supreme Court just moved us closer to the day when U.S. Marine rifle teams will have to have lawyers read Miranda rights to terrorists captured on the battlefield.”

What a shock this comes from Duncan Hunter. No Duncan, it does no such thing. It only moves us closer to the day when we restore the rule of law and justice to this country. I'm not surprised you cannot tell the difference.

I like this one too:
The American people are going to wake up tomorrow and be shocked to hear that a member of Al Qaeda has the same constitutional rights as an American citizen,” said Graham. “[Even] the Nazis never had that right.”

If the President and his minions had used Nuremberg as a model for constructing a legal process for the Gitmo detainees, that would have passed muster. It's not quite the same, but it at least acknowledged that the defendents have rights, and they are entitled to a fair trial, which even the Friggin Nazi's received. As bad as Al Queda is, they cannot possibly hold a candle to the Nazi's?? For Christ's Sakes, they murdered over 10 millions people in industrialized death camps. What the hell is he talking about??

And for the record, if the American people are suprised that, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, that rights are "inalienable", and that they are universal,"endowed by their Creator", then the American people are shockingly ignorant and should grow the fuck up and learn what those words really mean. They do not mean, in any possible way, that military and civilian leaders can arbitrarily suspend or deprive people of their libery without due process, or strip them of their basic humanity and dignity EVER. This isn't rocket science people. It's only rocket science to the semi-closeted nutjobs in the VP's office and their ideological friends like Lindsey Graham who cannot grasp these ideas.

When can I wake up from this nightmare??

And Mr. Franklin? I can only say we are deeply sorry that we allowed these people to fuckup the Republic you tried to pass on to us. We're trying to do better. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HR 4279: Well Below Average Law Writing

Okay... it's been a while since we've pulled the breach plug out of the ol' mojowire canon. And I don't think we would be doing it without a good gorrham reason!

HR 4279, the Ministry of Truth Authorization Act of 2008 Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 is a hideous piece of legislative sophistry that essentially makes that burned copy of the latest Coldplay album you got from your friend a federal felony.

Yeah, but who's got time to run down all these kids with their crazy music and book sharing? Well, the DoJ will when this is enacted, by creating a whole new division at Justice with it's own senior level appointee position, as well as greasing the wheels of local law enforcement to be on the look out for Captain Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Cyberbbean.

Moreover, there are provisions for civil and criminal forfeiture that allow the U.S. Customs officials to search your iPod/laptop, etc... at any place in the United States just because and then take them if they find anything that is covered by copyright protections and --and this is the kicker, if I read this right-- anything that can be used to circumvent copyright.

Dr. Strychnine brought this to our attention on his Live Journal site, and he has been hollering about this for years, as have the rest of us here. Now it's happening. This bill has passed the house, and is going to the Senate.

Now would be a good time to start banging the phones and emails on your various states' Senators to voice your displeasure...

mojo sends

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'll be chucking out my copy of Ringworld...

via SadlyNo, I read about this adhoc group of "advisors"
Now a fixture at Department of Homeland Security science and technology conferences, SIGMA is a loosely affiliated group of science fiction writers who are offering pro bono advice to anyone in government who want their thoughts on how to protect the nation.

Don't raise your hopes, its not Ken McCloud or Neil Gaiman. It these frakking jokers:
Among the group’s approximately 24 members is Larry Niven, the bestselling and award-winning author of such books as “Ringworld” and “Lucifer’s Hammer,” which he co-wrote with SIGMA member Jerry Pournelle.

Pournelle, according to covert operatives of the Mojowire, is renowned for cranking at Science Fiction conventions about Government involvement in Space Exploration, or some such libertarian nonsense. Apparently, he's the more liberal of the famed Pournelle/Niven pairing. This is the part that made my cranium explode:

Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.
“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.
“Do you know how politically incorrect you are?” Pournelle asked.
“I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied

hahahahaha. Oh Larry, you are so cuuutte when you are politically incorrect. Oh wait, you're not being politically incorrect, you're being an ignorant racist FrakFace. Um, Larry, maybe you should consider the following facts:

Hospitals are not losing money because of "illegal immigrants". They are losing money because the business model of Health Care is broken and needs to be fixed. A key aspect of that. which you are vaguely and inaccurately alluding to is the burden the uninsured place on the dwindling number of Hospital Emergency rooms, where the law and all standards of human decency require they treat and stabilize everyone who shows up. A relatively small percentage of these are illegal immigrants. Most of them are legal immigrants or citizens who do not have health coverage, and show up with acute health problems that cost astronomicly more to treat in the ER than they would at the Doctors office. Maybe you should get your facts straight Mr. Ringworld, before you pop off to a government agency with your too maverick for the room ideas.

By the way Larry, terrorizing sick people to get them to avoid the ER will result in otherwise preventable serious illness and death. Some of whom are children, since they comprise a sizeable number of the people illegal immigrants and uninusured citizens bring to the ER. Little else other than sick kids or debilitating illness brings people to the ER who don't have insurance. It's too expensive. And Larry, someone walking around with untreated influenza or tuberculosis could turn in a bigger national security threat than any of the others your overheated imagination can conjure up. Think 1918 Larry. And crack a book other than one of your own sometime about the history of pandemics.

And just for the record, Editor Biz works in a Southeast Los Angeles Hospital at ground zero of the Latino community which shelters many of these terrifying illegal immigrants. You know why our ER is full all the time? Hmmm...? It's not the dreaded illegal immigrant. It's because a huge Public hospital located in Central Los Angeles closed down, and we're the closest ER for people in this part of town. Relatively few of them are here illegally. They are the working poor of Los Angeles, mostly uninsured, many of whom are African American. Is their legal status good enough for you Larry? The huge pool of urban working poor will still be here to inconvience your trips to the ER to be treated, even if the Larry Nivens of the world hermitically seal the United States off from the rest of the world.

It kills me to find out that Larry Niven is just as big an ignorant crank as Pournelle. Even Orson Scott Card is sounding rational next to these dufes.

Oh, before I forget, let's chat about this genius idea:
David Brin, keeping on the topic of empowering citizens with mobile phone technology, delivered a self-described “rant” on the lack of funds being spent to support citizen reservists to back up the military, homeland security officials and first responders in times of crisis. “It is impossible for you to succeed without us!” he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.

Citizen Reservists?? uh oh...
Pournelle said that once mobile phone technology and the devices tacked on them to take pictures and record video become more ubiquitous, then ordinary citizens will be empowered to take security into their own hands — a prediction some have said already has come to pass.

you mean, like a Lynch Mob? What *exactly* will waving cell phones and taking picture do for the security of the Fatherland? Let me tell you, people sending DHS pictures of the neighbors dog peeing on their lawn, and pictures of people of color walking in suburban neighborhoods, spooking terrified white people. Can you tell the difference between a second generation Middle Eastern Amerian citizen, and a covert Al Queda operative. I'll give you a clue, you will never see the Al Queda operative at the mall.

Cell phones would not have prevented 9/11 , nor would have "citizen reservists" stalking American streets looking for Al Queda devil robots. Coordination among the agencies charged with foreign and domestic intelligence, accompanied with a radical culture change that would enable better cooperation. Oh, not to mention that Senior leaders like the President and the National Security Advisor should maybe pay closer attention when CIA briefers give them memo's with titles like" Al Queda likely to attack U.S.," or things to that effect. Without that, we can put a cell phone in everyone's hand, and it won't really change the odds.

Oh, and Larry, Ringworld Throne sucked.