Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two State Solution

State Senator Joseph E. Robach, a Republican who represents part of Rochester, has proposed legislation that would allow each of New York State’s 62 counties to hold a referendum in 2010 to ask voters this question: “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?”
How might that play out?

Laws of Virginia

hacked from TPMWire: State Delegate James Edmunds (R) is upset about a state law that prohibits possession of "any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law."
Virginia, February 1, 2010:
  • Edmunds wanted to hang a pair of deer antlers is his office
  • Edmunds discovered that the antlers were considered contraband by the state.
  • Edmunds introduces a bill that would exclude "possession of shed antlers" from this law.
  • Edmunds bill pass into law, 95-1.
  • Edmonds hangs his shed antlers in his state house office, declares victory over the repression of shed antlers.

The Long DeLay

Some months ago, in an undoubtedly perverse state of mind, a trigger set off a query: what ever happened to that fuckwad Tom DeLay? That question alone makes me think, hope, that such a question would trigger in a beery pub poli-chat. I hope this is the case, because I'd rather not discover that I'm secretly wondering about the fate of Tom DeLay alone, and not without inebriation and a bar full of drunken yowlers yowling about those "fucking Republicans! What the fuck is wrong with those guys?" greasing the slide toward wondering about the fate of Tom DeLay.

Last most of us heard, DeLay was indicted in a campaign money-laundering scam -- running corporate cash through the RNC and shunting it back to DeLay's state-based TRMPAC. He scrapped and howled -- partisan witchhunt! cried the witch. Then he resigned. Fox jacked around with him for awhile, but even they finally realized that Tom DeLay needed to be on teevee less.

But still, what happened? Especially, whatever happened to that indictment? Well, some months have passed, the erstwhile bout of DeLay delirium remains just that, and what pops onto the screen at the TPM wire:
State high court backs money laundering indictments in DeLay case.
Asked, and answered, with judicious lag time.

Sadly, the case is not actually about Tom DeLay, but two co-conspirators, similarly indicted.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals today upheld the money laundering indictments against James Ellis and John Colyandro in a political ethics case tied to former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

DeLay was not directly involved in the appeal, but his trial had been postponed while the indictments against Colyandro and Ellis were on appeal. All three men have been indicted on charges of illegally laundering corporate money through the Republican National Committee in exchange for individual contributions to help Republican state House candidates in the 2002 elections.
So, Tom DeLay is still awaiting trial on state money laundering charges. The indictment was filed, Oct 3, 2005.

And this is funny, here's the kind of legal thinking seen in the lower courts of Texas, the kind of thinking that just might help out Tom DeLay.
Judge Sharon Keller said the lower appeals court had "Inappropriately" over-stepped its bounds in a habeus corpus hearing by determining the money laundering law violated Ellis and Colyandro's First Amendment rights of free speech.
"Lower appeals," as in, hairy knuckles dragging on the ground lower. Presumably, buying off judges is also protected under the first amendment. It really is still the wild freaking west out there to some people.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To gain the world and forfeit your soul

Reading along about how those damnable oil companies "fought off new safety rules" just prior to the big explosion in the Gulf. Yeah, shocking.

I'm not going to go off on a rant about what a bunch of stupid fucking dipshits the oil companies are, but this little clip ought to give everyone a very clear idea about what a bunch of stupid fucking dipshits the oil companies are.

Calling the new rules, they always call new rules designed to rein in at least one of their many foul behavioural vectors, an "unnecessary burden," Oilies conspired to defeat any new safety regulations regarding off shore drilling. One is loathe to wonder, new rules? what would they do? The oilies have been breaking actual rules and laws for decades, and nothing seemed to happen; just as in the mining industry. Of course, production overrode it all:
"there is tremendous pressure to put production first."
First, and only. Or so the clever ones thought.

How's that "production first" priority working out?

Now that production has been put first, there are 11 dead guys and a very fucking expensive rig at the bottom of the fucking Gulf. And, if there is justice in the world, a blizzard of lawsuits will unleash upon your thick, stupid heads, and the insurance companies will fight you fucks forever. Hopefully, your stock plummets amid a legalistic quagmire that will ultimately doom your existence. By all that is proper and just, the load of managers in charge who brought about the carnage ought to be facing manslaughter charges.

I know ... dreams.

Do you jackasses not remember shop class? Safety first. Remember? The reason for "safety first" was that you could get seriously fucked up. Except, when you never turn the lathe, you don't really appreciate what the goddamned thing could do to you.

No, of course they don't remember. They cannot remember. They never took shop class. But if they had, they would have been the ones who got other guys wounded in shop class.

Lurking in the back scenes ... guess who? Halliburton. Yeah. Fucking up the well cap. Which, of course, blew. Proud to be American, those Halliburton guys. Oh yeah, forgot. They shipped out to Dubai. Not so proud then. Ha! my bad.

things are so bright ...

So, I'm readin' over there at the Beeb, how the Chinese are taking to western luxury brands -- big time -- they want all the fancy do-dads. With the burnishing prospect of tens of millions of Chinese consumers soaking up the glories of the West, the "tanned and relaxed" director of global communications for Rolls Royce, Richard Carter, seemed pleased at the development of a Chinese taste for status and luxury.
"The Chinese have taken to Western luxury brands in a very satisfactory fashion. They understand the notion of luxury - and not just in motor cars: watches, yachts, aeroplanes and so on. We are doing very well here."
Yes, this is just what the earth needs.

Focksnooze Science and Technology: 99.9% pure

Who can but laugh at what Fox News pumps out as "Science and Technology"? "Has Noah's Ark been found on a Turkish Mountaintop?" Cutting edge stuff, to be sure, right up there with nanobots. Naturally, the Catholic News Agency latched on hard.

Readers are informed that "Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers" have found Noah's Ark -- for real this time! Not like the last time some dumb-ass jag-off said he found a fictional artifact that had somehow transmogrified itself into real world matter.

And just what the fuck is an "evangelical explorer," anyway? Some glassy eyed dipshit wandering the earth lookin' for shit that ain't there? Funding streams largely unknown.

This new "evangelical explorer" crowd even managed to use "carbon dating" -- real sciencey stuff -- to show that the wood is 4800 years old! Well, by god! That's exactly when the flood is supposed to have happened, according to the Bible. Therefore ... . You see how it all makes sense.

The entire tone of the article is simply amazing, and not just in the sense that they present Noah's Ark and its surrounding fable as unquestionable fact, "It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it." There is no question as to whether there is or was an ark, but only whether this pile of beams is it.

So, there you go! Despite zero evidence that such a monstrous, devastating event occurred a mere 4800 years ago, a flood filled the world, and dumped a small boat that supposedly housed two of every living land creature on the planet -- except for those dag-blasted dinosaurs, thank goodness -- several thousand feet above current sea level on the gentle, cradling slopes of Urartu. Carbon dating proves it!

Of course, I cannot help but wonder what those Egyptians were doing building all those pyramids when the world was under water? Clearly, they had no idea what was going on.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The invidious one

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”
-- Gen. James N. Mattis
Joint Forces commander
U.S. Marine Corps
Apart from all the other built-in stupid, you mean?

Noriega Shit Karma

Manuel Noriega; dude can't catch a break. Now, the French are throwing him in jail, "one of Paris's [sic] most famous" ones. The French are treating Noriega somewhat less "preferentially" than did the United States. Who knew the shit all those CIA ties would get ya?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Insurgent and The Stinger

In reading Bruce Cameron's excellent brief ode to Afghanistan and the CIA, a little nugget sunk its pitted, misshapen content into the frontal lobe, made me wonder about something.

As we know, the US supplied deadly Stinger missiles to the Afghan mujahedeen, via the CIA-ISI-Saud-Mossad Operation Cyclone, during the Soviet occupation. Banes bedeviled the Soviets, but the Stinger, well, the Stinger proved one of the larger banes of the Soviet military effort; literally hundreds of aircraft shot down.

Almost every quasi-corrupt quasi-western power has these things, from Slovania, to Israel, to Turkey. Even Pakistan has these freaking things.

So, here's the weird part: the world arms market is vast, white, grey, and black. Anyone determined can pretty much get whatever they want. Stingers are not outside the range of these domains, indeed, they likely would pass through all three. And yet! And yet, despite the multi-billion dollar operation the Taliban are running, despite connections to global weapons traffic -- no Stingers. None. So far as we know. Have you ever heard of a Stinger missile taking down a US aircraft? Neither have I.

So, two choices: CENTCOM has checked any Stinger reporting (seems unlikely), or there are no Stingers in Afghanistan.

I find this amazing, both for the fact this has never before occurred to me, and for the fact itself, at how laughably easy it is to smuggle Stingers around the world, no more difficult that a crate of AK-47s. How do these particularly cheap, and awfully expensively lethal weapons, readily deployed against bygone enemies, thence celebrated by the US media, fail to make an appearance on the theatre of battle where once they reigned?

Now, people may argue, hey! idtiot! the DoD keeps tracks of all those bad things they make. But bad has a threshold, apparently. Because the Dod is not above loosing guns, and ammo, and god knows what else, by the bucket load. This appears to be not bad. Stingers? Well, what Stingers really are, are bad for the US military when in the hands of "the opposition." The era of the insurgent and the Stinger is over. Ended awhile ago, by the landscape.

Sorry, Noel, the stingers of Afghanistan are wanting these days. Must be the wind.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gitmo Double Down

Though the politically "liberal" intelligentsia don't much fuss about such things, that Obama is doubling down on the Gitmo ploy is fair troubling, indeed. But, given what we've seen so far, it fits the trajectory perfectly.

I've long since given up on Obama as nothing but an establishment stooge -- he is pulling it off brilliantly so far -- passing out little candies to his supporters, like gays can go in the army! gays can have visitation rights at hospital! Woo hoo. Amp up the war in Afghanistan, let the contractors rip, let the banksters run wild, deliver the global missile defense shield, spread Gitmo onto two continents, keep bombing, keep lying, keep spying. Gays, however, can now visit their loved ones in hospital. See how liberal the man is!

Obama's healthcare debacle surely cannot be considered as some liberal move for the people. He did it, so far as I can see, mostly for himself. He couldn't have given a rat's ass during the interminable nonsense that was so blithely labeled "debate," having already cut deals with every blood sucking health care industry player involved. The "public option" was never going to be an option, and he knew this because he cut the deal with hospital industry, way back. Every other public interest nugget was duly carved out, also by deals cut by the White House -- no drug price negotiation, no drug re-importation, ... -- so the White House basically knew what was going to be in the bill long before Congress finally passed something, a something exactly like the White House had cut deals to make.

What a remarkable sham, really. Oh, well, it did get some folks fired up, some got arrested, made at least one idiot a multi-millionaire, got a few congress people threatened, even got a few folks killed, killed by those other folks who'd got fired up, and had not got arrested.

Anyway, back to the troubling Gitmo double down thing, what I find rather remarkable in the current administration's assertion that they, and they alone, can detain anyone forever, is the divine nature of the claim. Of course, Obama does have precedent, which may explain the quietude on the liberal front; such weaklings.

The halcyon core of any nominal system of justice, evidence, is no longer required. For there is no nominal system of justice, only one that serves the political necessities of the moment. Indeed, it is highly likely that a Gitmo detainee will remain in prison precisely because there is no evidence. Even if one is acquitted in a court of law, Obama royally asserts sovereign rule to continue to detain in custody, ad infinitum, one so acquitted.

What law permits this?
No law permits this.
By what means is this then done?
Verily, this is done by the word and the will of Obama.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Still lying. Stop the lying. Stop the war!"

Those words, and more, were yelled out at Condoleeza Rice many years ago. She's got a comfy gig back at Standford and nascent American war criminal housing project, the Hoover Institution, showering her banal establishment slurry onto the spongy heads of wannabes.

And the lying? Still on.
“According to the [U.S. military’s] statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine [sic] insurgents were killed.”

And the war?

Friday, April 16, 2010

As we like it

Barack Obama is capable is saying some really stupid shit. Painful, really. He does it so eloquently, and with such rhetorical aplomb, no one appears to notice the stupid. Or the dumb. Whatever it is, I find myself on the verge of wanting to throttle the man:
"It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower"
The president of the United States wonders, possibly is not sure, whether the United States "likes" being the "dominant military superpower." He appears not to know whether "we" like it, or not.

Uh, Barack? Where on earth have you been? Of course "we" fucking like it! Hell, "we" have been working on it -- in continuity -- for decades, if not since prior the opening days of the United States as a nation, and its incipient Drang nach Westen.

So, fuck yeah, "we" like it, dumb ass. Sure as hell beats getting genocided, or having bombs falling on your head.

Sucks to be not "we."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Feeding Children Poop

In reading Hank's piece over at Deconstructing the Manifest, one rather astounding little detail about how, exactly, the CIA was spending US tax payer dollars on bioweapons research jumped out at my astigmatic eye. Overseeing the joint CIA-Ft. Detrick SOD MK/NAOMI project, Dr. Charles H. Rammelkamp, Jr. of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board (AFEB), approved experiments on "physically healthy mentally retarded children at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York." One of those experiments centered on infection vectors.
The experiments centered on subject children being fed infected stool extracts obtained from individuals with hepatitis, thus infecting the subject children with the virus.
This presented on a "NEED TO KNOW" basis only.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Double Infilt Op

While checking into a little history of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), the fun-fact-filled Wikipedia article sufficed as first cut review. Stumbled upon a rather ballsy fellow by the name of Robert Mazur, the undercover US Customs agent whose infiltration op brought down the criminal banking operation (as though the others aren't!) , and simultaneously penetrated the Medellin Cartel.

Check this:
BCCI’s demise began, in 1986, when a US Customs undercover operation led by Special Agent Robert Mazur infiltrated the bank’s private client division and uncovered their active role soliciting deposits from drug traffickers and money launderers. This two year undercover operation concluded in 1988 with a fake wedding that was attended by BCCI officers and drug dealers from around the world who had established a personal friendship and working relationship with undercover agent Mazur. At the same time he was dealing undercover with BCCI executives, Mazur used his undercover operation to establish a relationship with the hierarchy of the Medellin Cartel as one of their sources for laundering drug proceeds.
US Customs agents gots some chops!

We'll also note here that the Wikipedia article fails to make any mention of this:
... evidence of [BCCI] ties to the highest levels of the US government under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, extensively uncovered by investigators, was repeatedly rebuffed by superiors and by regulators. It is worth noting that the Treasury Department official responsible for scrutinizing BCCI’s affairs in the Reagan-Bush administration was assistant secretary for enforcement John M. Walker Jr.—who happened to be the cousin of George H.W. Bush.
Honestly, how many cover-ups does one family get?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tiger Tale

In reading Rich's little blurb today, the small but fascinating detail popped out that Tiger Woods had "briefly hired" former Bush PR flack, otherwise known as a White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer to help out with the whole messed-up corporate-public image thing that was surely costing Woods millions. To those deeply steeped in the Woods hole, this may have been news awhile ago -- but really, who gives a shit? Which is why this particular detail must have wafted past.

(An absolutely fabulous Blitzer moment on CNN the other night, wherein golf-ball head informed his viewers of a CNN viewer poll conducted of and presented to CNN audiences. The question was "will Tiger Woods win the Masters?" 61% -- Don't Care. Though it probably did not come as much of a surprise to CNN viewers that they mostly didn't care about Tiger Woods and the Masters, CNN was there to officially poll them and then tell them this. I expect the result was more of a shock to the nimrods at CNN than to anyone, which is why they felt it newsworthy. Nonetheless, and with a full-on Tongues of Kings deploy, CNN then proceeded to their next story: Will Tiger Woods win the Masters? The message apparently being along the lines of: by god, submit! by the time we get through with you, you will not only care about Tiger Woods and the Masters, you will openly weep if he does not win!!!)*

My what a wonderful wending of worlds, isn't it? Top professional athlete mired in publicity muck up to his neck; who to turn to? Why, of course! The guy who helped sell a phony war to the US public! The very same guy who had the balls to solemnly intone that Americans should "watch what they say," as though then criticism of George Bush were equivalent in kind to blabbering about convoy routes in the North Atlantic during WWII. And you know what? He looked like he meant it! Hell, if Ari couldn't suck Tiger out of his self-made muck pond, who could?

Also interesting is the co-mingling of elites from what one who is not an elite might usually imagine to be fairly well detached domain spaces. Ari Fleischer and Tiger Woods. Christ, how the hell does that happen?

Lots of Money. And a whiff of desperation.

* This has been (a parenthetical indulgence)2