J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, I’m Mojo
S. I’m Sean, It’s Saturday, Feb. 22 and this is the news for the week gone-by
J. Brought to you by Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988 — Now headlines, from Mojohaus:
S. Leading off this morning, we are going to shed the harsh light of reality on some Bush Administration appointments that aren’t getting much media play but give a real glimpse into the true nature of the Bush Presidency.
J. America’s own Delphic Oracle of the Economy, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, was summoned before Senators last week, and the news for the Bush Administration and their minions on the hill was grim, for the Oracle pronounced that tax cuts were not good.
S. Is it a crisis yet? While many scoffed at Bush’s “Axis of Evil” description, the Evil Dr. Kim Jong Il of North Korea seems bent on playing the bond villain role to a ‘T’ and this week he ratcheted up the rhetoric once again, spurring many to wonder when the Bush Administration is going to take diplomacy seriously.
J. Ask yourself if this seems familiar: American military advisors are sent to a South East Asian nation to help the locals battle local insurgents as part of a larger American international strategy to contain this year’s bad guys. But the locals are quite up to the task, so those advisors are going to become front line combat troops...hmm, where have we heard this before? How about the Phillipines...
S. Finally this morning, the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress reported this week that the Justice Department has been inflating terrorism conviction statistics for the last three years, and although the GAO ascribes no motive for the inflated stats, it would certainly be a good way to keep Americans pliant and scared of the terrorist menace...
J. To begin this morning, we would like to examine a couple of nominees to the Bush Administration that have not been getting as much ink or air as some of the judicial nominations. Nevertheless, these appointments paint a radically different picture of the Bush agenda for America, than the kindly compassionate conservative bipartisan conciliator the Bush spin machine has strove so earnestly to sell the American public.
First: William H. Donaldson, of the well-known professional services firm Donaldson, Lufkin, Jennerette has been tapped to succeed Harvey Pitt as the head of the Security and Exchange Commission.
Even some of the nation’s most conservative business media, Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek and Bloomberg have questioned the wisdom of Donaldson, given his corporate governance record.
S. The following from Open Secrets.org: As head of Donaldson Enterprises in the '80s, the investment banker ran an offshore fund incorporated in the Cayman Islands. As head of the New York Stock Exchange in the early '90s, he allegedly ignored millions of dollars in illegal floor trades and pushed to weaken accounting rules for foreign companies listed on the exchange. As CEO of Aetna Inc.—where he was paid nearly $20 million for just over a year of service—he reportedly covered up accounting misstatements.
As a member of the board and compensation committee for EasyLink Services Corp., an Internet transaction company, he voted to forgive a $200,000 loan to the CEO when EasyLink's shares fell precipitously last April. And finally, Donaldson, who founded one of Wall Street's most prominent investment firms, denounced the SEC rule that mandates fair disclosure of market-sensitive information as "terrible" and "crazy" in statements made last year.
"If he comes into the SEC with that kind of agenda, he might as well be walking in carrying his own head," John Markese, president of the American Association of Individual Investors, told Bloomberg in December.
J. It doesn't hurt that Donaldson, a longtime Bush family friend, is also on friendly terms with several Senate Banking Committee Democrats, not to mention a host of other senators, who are likely to approve his nomination later this week.
While Donaldson has given little to politicians through individual contributions (just $5,500 since 1989), his investment firm, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, gave a total of more than $1.3 million (56 percent to Republicans; 44 percent to Democrats) in individual, PAC and soft money contributions between 1989 and 1998.
S. Next we find the good Dr. W. David Hager, being named to head the Food and Drug Administration’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. This committee affects the health and safety of American women by offering expert scientific and medical advice to the FDA on drugs such as those used for contraception, medical abortion, infertility treatments, hormone replacement therapy and labor and delivery.
So who is this Kentucky born and bred country doc. Well, here is an indication: he has suggested that women could relieve premenstrual syndrome through reading scripture and prayer. He has allegedly refused to prescribe birth control to women and and appears to have endorsed the medically inaccurate assertion that using birth control pills is the same thing as abortion.
Do we have to spell out his position on RU 486?
J. These people are supposed to be examples of Bush’s bipartisan spirit and desire for more integrity in government? There are a lot of people who are starting to realize that the Bush agenda, driven in large part by people like his special advisor Karl Rove, and allies on Capitol Hill like newly frocked Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, is a radical right wing plan that will undo just about every major progressive movement of this country in the last 40 years.
S. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Yoda Greenspan emerged from his swampy Dagobah home to offer his insight on the state of the U.S. economy and pronounce his views on the proposed Bush Tax cuts and the deficits the Bush Administration keeps reminding us not to worry about.
The Bush Administration has proposed a round of tax cuts that will siphon off 1.3 Trillion, and remember to roll that Trillion of your tongue when you say it, from the Federal Treasury for the most part into the hands of America’s oppressed millionaires, George Bush’s “Leave no millionaire behind” program.
The Federal Reserve Chairman has a poker face that cool hand Luke would kill for, and for him to openly crack on the Administrations plan speaks volumes about his concerns.
J. Last time we checked, the Congressional Budget office has upped the projected deficits beyond 300 Billion. Many of our GOP Supply Sider believers, who spent the better part of the eighties and nineties predicting lakes of blood an and plagues of locust if we didn’t control our deficits, have been attempting to hypnotize us like two bit carny hicks into believing that now that the Republicans have the Federal checkbook to themselves, Borrowing Billions from Old Euorpe and Asian strategic competitors is good for Main Street.
Chairman Greenspan offered a few choice moments of raining fiery Federal Reserve doom and horror on the creative, well, lying that has been emanating from the White House.
S. In regards to the Claim by amnesiac supply siders and Bush speech writers masquerading as economic voodoo priests that claimed that large deficits did not contribute to higher interest rates: "Contrary to what some have said, it does affect long-term interest rates and it does have an impact on the economy," Greenspan said.
Greenspan pronounced the deficits a threat to the future of the U.S. economy and that the Trillion dollar in tax cuts, needs to be revenue neutral. In spite of the reading of the bones by the Republican leadership, it looks like this plan may not get the smooth sailing that many GOPers feel tax cuts should get when sailing through Congress.
J. Next, North Korea turned up the heat again this week by going further off the reservation. The great leader, in the wake of his 150th birthday bash, threatened his East Asian neighbors and the rest of the world by announcing his intention to pull out of the 1953 armistice agreement that ceased the active shooting on the Korean peninsula.
Apparently, the Great Leader is concerned that no one is respecting his authorit-ay or his nukes. So far, the Bush administration, more focused on Iraq, than the United States, much less another far flung corner of the Earth, has not been able to come up with much of a response other than to close its eyes and hope he’ll go away.
S. And now...The UN Security Council is set to take up the matter, and in a loose-lipped moment, someone mentioned the word “Sanctions” and the U.S. then started it’s own military buildup in the region with an carrier battle group and air assets, which is apparently what brought on the Great Leader’s latest saber rattling fit of Tourrette’s syndrome.
You know, if the stakes weren’t so high, this would make a great soap opera. The big question: What next? What happens if there are sanctions or if the U.S. continues to disengage from North Korea? It’s disquieting to think that the stability of the region and the threat of war rests on one of the world’s most unstable personalities...stay tuned...but remember America, it’s not a crisis
J. Next....Now let’s see how familiar this sounds. American military advisors are sent to a South East Asian nation to help the locals battle local insurgents as part of a larger American international strategy to contain this year’s bad guys. But the locals are quite up to the task, so those advisors are going to become front line combat troops...hmm, where have we heard this before?
If you answered Vietnam, you would be right...and now history seems to be repeating itself in the tropical paradise of the Phillipines. In the hunt for Al Qaeda sympathizers, the Administration has decided to support the Philippine army’s hunt for the Abu Sayaf gang.
Although they may have some shadowy ties to Al Qaeda, mainly for funding and supplies, most international observers consider Abu Sayaf to be more a gang of slow-headed thugs rather than earnest politically-motivated terrorists.
Are we going to do this all over again? Talk about not having an exit strategy. The United States is once again committing itself in an open ended engagement against an intractable foe that will only gain international credence for thumbing its nose at the US.
This is not to say that Abu Sayaf is not a problem, like we said, their a gang of thugs, not an army. Their aim is to get paid. It just feels like the US is getting sucked in to yet another bondoggle with no clear way out.
S. Finally, this morning, the GAO reported that perhaps the war on terror by the John Ashcroft’s untouchables, is perhaps not entirely as advertised.
This from the Washington Post: The Justice Department reported inflated numbers of terrorism convictions as a result of misinformation from U.S. attorney's offices around the country, the General Accounting Office has found.
The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the number of terrorism convictions reported in 2002 was inflated by 46 percent because of inaccurate and unreliable information from U.S. attorneys. At least 132 of 288 cases the GAO examined were misclassified as terrorism-related, the agency told Congress.
The numbers are an important tool for Justice and Congress in assessing the performance of law enforcement in pursuing terrorism cases.
"We found that DOJ does not have sufficient management oversight and internal controls in place . . . to ensure the accuracy and reliability of its terrorism-related conviction statistics," the GAO concluded.
Doesn’t this just figure? The Justice Department is starting to call anything they want terrorism. This sure sounds like a good way to keep Americans on their toes if you can show them that they are surrounded by enemies night and day and that Ashcroft and his gang are the only thing that stand between you and the evil hordes.
Remember this the next time you are asked to “trust the government” when it comes to their plans to do away with your freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism.
J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Fair trials, an informed electorate and an open government means the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Question me, will ya? You wanna go to Camp X-Ray, huh, do ya, huh?”
S. And that’s all for this week, tune in again soon for another exciting installment, unless we are declared enemies of the state.
J. This has been the Mojowire, brought to you by Mojohaus...Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988, and produced by our super funky fly producer Mike Payne and the Darkling Eclectica, here on KUCI, 88.9...