Saturday, March 22, 2003

Mojowire for 3/22

MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Eat Static, Crash N’ Burn
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, It’s Saturday, March 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. We start this morning by pointing out that protesting and questioning your government is not only appropriate in a time of war, it is perhaps more important than at any other time. The American people must hold their elected leaders accountable, so that as Shakespeare said “their souls shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengence” of war.

J. Next: as we examine the difference between Presidential rhetoric and action, we pose a question -- will the Bush Adminsitration stand up to some of their biggest industrial political supporters and crack down on the international proliferation of American weapons technology? Here at the MojoWire, we are not holding our breath...

S. Next, the Bush team has put forward an initial cost of doing business in Iraq -- $100 billion of your hard earned tax dollars. And that’s just for openers; not including occupation and reconstruction. Of course, the administration couldn’t have let us know how much we were paying before the bombs fell...

J. And this leads to this week’s dose of the good doctor. Strychnine this week examines the terrible case of KJ, a gay, Pakistani, trance DJ from San Francisco who faces deportation for visa violations. Although, we all really know his only crime is being a brown-skinned moslem in Mr. Ashcroft’s white Christian neighborhood...

S. Next, we take a look at the winners in the Iraqi war. Yes, we know the bombs are still falling, but that hasn’t prevented the Bush Administration from already doling out billions in government contracts for the reconstrutction. And as Arriana Huffington recently pointed out in a telling column, you won’t be filled with “Shock and Awe” at who the main beneficiaries are.

J. Finally this morning, we look at the state of Democratic candidates in the face of war. Special attention is paid to Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who seems more determined than ever to speak out against the Bush hegemony at home and abroad.

J. First this morning, on the subject of protesting. Around the country tens of thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to protest the war on Iraq. And in equally strident terms they are roundly denounced. There are, it seems, a small number of conservative activists, politcal hacks and two bit columnists, who equate political disagreement and free speech to terrorism.

But in a Democratic Republic, it is a critical function. Good God...why is this even a debate, why is this even up for discussion. There *is* nothing more basic to our national political culture and heritage than being able to criticize the government. And in time of war it is especially critical.

These guys are putting our parents, children, brothers and sisters in harm’s way. And there are a lot of us who don’t think they have a particularly good reason for doing so.

If, in the name of national unity, we crack down on free speech, and start beating protestors like yesterday’s mules, for being “unpatriotic,” then what the hell are we in Iraq fighting for in the first place?

Oh yeah...Dick Cheney’s Haliburton oil-contracts and stock options...

S.Unless we are willing to relegate the U.S. Constitution to the scrap heap of history, then questioning our government is of paramount importance. The ability to question our government openly, even loudly and shrilly at times, is what separates us from regimes like Iraq.

Look, at the end of the day, this should be very simple. In America, we can question our government without fear of repraisal from that government. Please tear your eyes away from the FoxNews Channel death-fest for a moment, and pay attention, this is important.

This radical stance was embraced by such notable Peaceniks such as Senators Trent Lott and Don Nickles, and ultra Republican majority leader and patriot baiter, who during the Kosovo conflict, blamed the ethnic cleansing on the United States, blasted the Presidnet for failing to use Diplomacy more effectively, and proclaimed that the US militayr wasn’t up to the task.

I think someone needs to call John Ashcroft to report these traitors. These Hippie Republicans really must be stopped.

In 2003, blind obedience to your government can get you killed. This nation was founded by people who were sick up to the neck of blind obedience. They wanted a country where you could figuratively haul the nation’s leaders out to the town square and administer the oratorical equivalent of a public beating if you didn’t like they way they were doing their job.

America, a great country give you the right to run whatever brain-dead screed you want and grants us the right to ridicule you mercilessly as a loser and geek with bad hair cut and no game. Remember, in the words of that great American philospher Jim Rome, in Ameirca there are only two rules: “Have a take and do not suck or you will get run.”

J. But with each step of the Justice Department’s war on domestic dissent, that is becoming less and less teneable a proposition. They are in the process of criminalizing dissent.

In a not too distant future, we can see a day when you will no longer have the clean-cut Adam-12 boys calmly informing you that you have the right not to be tortured into confessing, that you have the right of counsel and that the state must provide it for you, if you can’t.

Your Miranda rights will be replaced by Federal black-shirts, hauling you away to the detention center, informing you that anything you say, or that they say you said, will be used to tie you to terrorism and strip you of your citizenship. Then it’s just a quick plane ride for the disappeared to GITMO and the group ‘W’ bench.

If there was ever a time to speak up, this is it. Get out on the street, write your Congressional representatives, send a letter to the editor, call a radio show, put a sign in the window, do something. Flip the safety off your freedom of speech, it’s the only weapon you have...use it or lose it.

S. The Bush Adminsitration has taken great pains to portray our intervention in Iraq as a move to save the lives that might be otherwise lost by Iraqi proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But what about America’s role as one of the world’s leading gun dealers.

Is it any wonder that the nation with the highest per-capita private gun ownership in the world and among the highest violence rates among developed nations would be one of the world’s leading suppliers of guns, bombs and the various accoutrements that go with them?

J. In order to get a better handle on this, we need to turn the clock back almost 150 years to the U.S. Civil War. The nature of war was shifting from an older model to a more industrial model, as evidenced by the invention of the repeating rifle and the gatling gun. One general referred to the new weapon as concentrated “essence of infantry.”

As the 19th century faded and the 20th century dawned, the U.S. and Europe were the world’s dominant industrial powers, and we brought our industrial sensibilities to warfare, as noted by Richard Rhodes in “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.”

These powers created an industrial system for war, codified by law, rooted in organization, production, science and technical ingenuity: a death machine which, when cranked up to its full potential in WWI created 6,000 deaths a day for 1,500 days.

Once these powers started to hone the death machine, by deciding that civilian populations would make fine raw material, the U.S. and European powers such as France, began to see a market opportunity for exporting death machines.

And now we are reaping that legacy here at the start of the 21st Century.

S. In the Presidents televised speech, he declared that Iraq was a direct threat to our security, primarily because he posseses Unconventional weapons, and the means to produce them. The Bush Doctrine answers this threat through direct millitary intervention.

But if anyone belives that will end the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, I have some Dot Com stock I would like to sell you.

The engine of weapons proliferation is not easily villifed dictators, but the new economic paradigm of globalizaton. Iraq was able to procure the material and technology of weapons production by purchasing it from European and Western companies.

The ability of states to obtain dual use technolgoies like those Iraq used is exponentially increased in modern world trading system. There are no export controls or controlling authority over the trade of these technologies. Nor is the Administration agitating for them.

They seem content to allow anyone to shop for the latest in Bio Weapon or Nuke technology, and then blow them up after they get infinitely more dangerous.

We here at Mojohaus find it rather surreal that Iraq is getting pasted, while Iran, sponsor of suicide bombing terrorist thugs, is within close reach of producing nulcear weapon material. The means of which was obtained by cracking open their checkbook and buying the means from a horde of private companies.

The Irony that unregulated capitalism is the greatest Security Threat to the United States is one we could really do without.

J. Which brings us this morning to the issue of the cost of the war. A group drunken frat boys were making idiots of themselves in Long Beach with pro-war stupidty Friday night. Ask any of them what they would be willing to pay for a war and you’d probably get some non-sensical answer like “Whatever it takes to get Hussein...Arrrrhhhgggghhh”

What these flag waving pinheads don’t get, is that the government is spending their pell grant money on a war, because this administration values conflict more than educating its own population.

Even as the Senate passed a massive, unafforadable tax plan Friday, the adminsitration finally came clean and asked for $100 billion to fight the war. Democrats had been after the adminsitration for weeks to disclose their estimates. I’m sure it’s just a strange coinedence that the Administration only came up with the estimates for the War Costs after the bombs starting dropping.

The administration however, seems to want a pay-as-you-go war. Basically, they want a blank check from Congress to do whatever they want in Iraq.

But that’s okay, they’ll find the money. Once they have bankrupted the treasury and spent everything on war and taxcuts, there’s always those wasteful government programs like medicare, social security, education, roads, and other commie-pinko liberal spending programs.

S. And this is just $100 billion in cruise missles and MRE rations for the troops. This does not account for the cost of reconstruction and occupation. Nor does it account for how much money is going to crop up in foreign aid deals for the Coalition of the Willingly Bought.

This means that with the war, the cost to the Ameircan tax payer will be a record $400 billion deficit. That would shatter the record $290 billion deficit of 1992, even after adjusting for inflation.

But hey, Mr. and Ms. American tax payer, you don’t mind paying 30 percent on your home mortgage do you? Just as long as Saddam Hussein is dealt with and the weapons of mass destruction are gone, then any price is acceptable right?

Don’t worry if your kids can’t go to college now, they’ll be needed more as cannon fodder for the endless war and there will be more than plenty of that to go around. That’s future President Bush is attempting to purchase for us.

And now the music is telling me that we have an incoming transmission from the redoubtable Dr. S9…

J. That’s right. It is time once again for our regular contributor Dr. Strychnine, reporting from his super-secret, ultra-dope, extra-jiggy, Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchronous orbit above Baghdad by the Bay…take it away S9…

Last night, as I wrote this column, Aaron Brown's vapid patter was making the endless repeat viewing of daisy cutters over the Baghdad skyline into nothing more than a buzzkill of mediocre reality tee-vee. So I muted the audio, fired up the MP3 player, and gave the CNN feed a Goa-trance soundtrack. That made it more tolerable, but it didn't really make it easier. Let me explain.

Goa-trance is one of the weirder sounding sub-sub-subtypes of electronic music. Goa is a town in India, near Mumbai, where the locals adapted Euro and American industrial music, dispensing with
lyrics and turning every track into a twenty-minute drum and rhythm synth jam. I think one of the better DJ's on this station plays Goa-trance occasionally.

Listening to Goa-trance while watching CNN footage of M-1 tanks parked in the Iraqi desert puts me into a pretty weird headspace. Some background is in order. You see, the San Francisco Bay Guardian has brought to my attention the story of a local Goa-trance DJ in a serious jam with the Department of Homeland Security. His name is Keshav Jiwnani, but everyone here calls him KJ.

KJ was born to Hindu/Indian parents in the mostly Muslim city of Karachi, Pakistan, and he came to the United States about seventeen years ago to escape persecution. Having parents from the wrong ethnic background is a good way to be persecuted anywhere, but KJ is gay-- and that often gets you persecuted to *death* in Karachi.

If *only* KJ had known he could apply for political asylum-- but it's not like anyone asked him at the border. Like a lot of immigrants, he's undocumented, meaning he's been here without a visa... for seventeen years.

So when the INS announced that everyone born in Pakistan has to show up at the federal building to be fingerprinted and interviewed, KJ went down and presented himself. And now, unless he can win a quick legal battle in court to be granted political asylum, he'll be deported back to Karachi-- where his life expectancy will be substantially shortened... if he's lucky.

Let's be clear. KJ is Not Your Enemy. Capital N, Capital Y, Capital E. For most of you, KJ is just another guy with a hard luck story. Sucks to be him, right? So why do I care about KJ, when his story is one of thousands like it, all over the country right now? Precisely *because* he isn't alone.

KJ is the guy in *my* community that the Ministry of Fatherland Security has decided is a potential enemy of the state. KJ is the guy in *my* community who was plucked out of his peaceful life and sent away to wither and possibly die because the G-men who work for George Bush can't be bothered to use some common sense. KJ is the guy in my community who *I* will miss when he's disappeared, supposedly for the sake of national security. There is a KJ in your community, no doubt. You'll see.

So here I am, listening to 'Nocturnal Chainsaw Kerfuffle' by _Infernal_Machine_, watching CNN redistribute an Abu Dhabi TV feed of a 'coalition helicopter' circling over Iraqi army regulars still resisting the capture of Umm Qasr, and I'm actually beginning to see the connection between Iraq and the Global War On Terrorism. It's obvious. They both provide us with excellent excuses for rounding up people like KJ and kicking their butts.

We will probably deport KJ. He's got a good lawyer, assuming his legal defense fund raises enough cash for his retainer. Several members of the S.F. Board of Supervisors have written letters of support for him, which is probably why he isn't chilling in some detention center right now. Unless people raise an unusually big stink for him, it will probably not be enough, however, to save him. And that makes me angry.

We should just change the national motto from "E Pluribus Unum" to something more appropriate. Oh wait. We did that already. We did it in 1956. At the height of the cold war and Joe McCarthy's witch hunts, we replaced the old national motto with "In God We Trust" thinking that would scare off the atheistic communists.

Somebody should have told KJ that we really don't believe that "out of many, one" stuff anymore...

You can find out about KJ and contribute to his legal defense at That's whiskey whiskey whiskey dot sierra foxtrot lima november charlie dot com slash kilo juliet.

S. Thank you again Dr. Strychnine, we will be talking to you again soon...

J. That brings us this morning to yet another pointed example of the true Iraq agenda of the Bush Administration. Greasing the palms of the fat-back industrial vultures who make up the core of Bush political support.

In a great column by Arrianna Huffington this week, the plan for post war exploitation is pretty neatly laid out.

Already, more than $1.5 billion in tax payer contracts are up for grabs. But not just for anyone, though. No, these free-market warriors have decided that allowing the market place to decide is not such a good idea. They are inviting only a handful of special companies to compete for the reconstruction pie.

And of course it will not be a surprise that among these companies are the likes of Bechtel, Flour, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s old pals at Halliburton.

In the last two election cycles, these companies have given more than $2 million to the Republican cause. Talk about a sweet investment. $2 million in change and over four years and then yo get to split $1.5 billion...just another plank in the “No-Millionaire-Left-Behind” program. These companies are going to rake in phat stacks of mad bank on a relatively small initial investment.

Again, the smart money knows where the best returns are. The U.S. Government, the best administration money can buy.

S. And at the same time, 40 million Americans are without health insurance. Schools in California have to sue the government to get text books and funding for teachers and schools in Oregon are closing a month early because they don’t have the cash to make it to June.

But the administration can find $100 million to rebuild the Iraqi medical care infrastructure and another $100 million for ensure that Iraq's 25,000 schools have all the supplies and support necessary to "function at a standard level of quality" -- including books and supplies for 4.1 million Iraqi schoolchildren.

We know these people are going to need this after the going-over they are about to get. But at the same time, what about the kids in schools without books, or the people who are forced to emergency rooms for basic medical care right here?

I guess the President feels like he still needs to buy the support of the Iraqi people. He already took over our country, so I guess he doesn’t need to bribe us anymore.

And let’s be sure we know what this is really about. This is political pay-back. No wonder Vice President Cheney was so reticent letting the public know about those early energy task force meetings.

If I was a betting man, and I am, I would say that the ink was not even dry on the Supreme Court’s decision giving the country to Bush before Cheney and his pals were on the phone talking about how to get at Iraqi oil, and make a pile of cash in the bargain. All courtesy of the U.S. tax payer, by the way.

J. But 2004 is just around the corner, and already the Democratic party is starting to feel a serious left-ward shift. Those few unfortunate souls, such as John Edwards and John Kerry who have tied themselves to the President’s immoral war on Iraq are starting to feel the sting.

However, the one person who is making the biggest headway, at least rhetorically so far, is still Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who once again electrified a crowd with a “take-no-prisoners” attitude and refusing to apologize for standing for his principles.a

Evidence the relative performances at the Calfornia Democratic Party Convention last week. Edwards was nearly run out of the hall by angry villagers because of his pro-war stance. And his rhetoric is the worst kind of populist tripe.

Here is just a small taste:

“Saddam Hussein alone has chosen war over peace. He has defied international law rather than disarm his weapons of mass destruction. Our world will be safer when he is gone. . . We cannot allow him to have nuclear weapons.”

It’s as if this guy just strung together some recent Administration buzz words about non-existent nuclear and terrorist threats from Iraq without actually understanding what he was saying. We at Mojohaus say: “Read a book hillbilly.”

S. Compare this to the Dean rhetoric:

“What I want to know is what in the world some of these Democrats are doing supporting the president's unilateral intervention in Iraq?...We want our country back!” and of course, the line that seems to be defining his campaign to date: “I’m Howard Dean and I am here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”

This is an old-fashioned fire and brimstone liberal who pulls no punches. Even though in a recent statement he said that he wanted to make it clear that he supports the troops in harm’s way, but that it in no way dminished his criticism of the Bush policy that put them there in the first place.

The more this plays out, the more this is starting to resemble 1972, with a moderately hawkish center trying to play to a safe base, while a relative outsider is shaking things up.

The real question so far is how much money can Dean raise. So far, it has been an anemic effort. While the Republican Party as a whole raised more than half-a-billion dollars in 2001-2003, Dean alone raised about $305,000, starting the year with that amount in his war chest.

The next report, due March 31, won’t be made public until the second week in March in all likelyhood, and then we will get a better picture of whether Dean’s firery oratory has been able to mill opinion into cash.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Relating the violent images of war broadcasts to the reality of people dying and suffering means the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says: “Relax, those aren’t real people, it’s just a TV show...”

S. And that’s all for this week, tune in again soon for another exciting installment, unless, of course, 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...

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Mojowire for 3/15
MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ ???
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, It’s Saturday, March 15, 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. We start this morning from the “We Told You So” file. It would appear that much of the evidence surrounding Saddam Hussein’s quest for the bomb are “crude forgeries” according to officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which forces the question of to what depths will the administration sink to sell us this lemon of a foreign policy.

J. Next we take a look at the ponderous and extremely dangerous situation that may be developing in Northern Iraq regarding the majority Kurdish population, their relationship with the U.S., and their fears of a Turkish incursion into their territory, should the U.S. pull the trigger on Saddam.

S. And the finger on that trigger may be tightening, as the U.S. signaled late last week that it may give up on trying to pass a second UN resolution to gain a cheap floor-wax sheen of international legitimacy on the Bush Administration’s ill-conceived and morally bankrupt Iraq policy, and that it might just be time to go it alone after all.

J. And in the meantime, members of the Bush Administration and highly placed Republican operatives look to make a mint off the administration’s war against Terror, Iraq, Journalism and whoever else they decide. Just don’t point it out, or like Sy Hersh of the New Yorker Magazine, you could be branded a terrorist by Department of Defense functionaries.

S. And if Sy Hersh is a Terrorist, just what must some in the Department of Defense be thinking of their colleagues at the State Department, who this week authored a report completely repudiating the Administration’s line about how a victory in Iraq will lead to reform and stability in the region.

J. And now, for many, some of the worst fears of are apparently coming as the United States may be turning to torture and murder to extract information from terror suspects being held in Afghanistan. We’re not talking about the proxy torture in states where torture is the norm, we’re talking about homegrown pain merchants who specialize in damaging human flesh in the name of the U.S. taxpayer.

S. And while you attention is turned to the latest terror-alert threat or the daily demonic euphemism for Saddam Hussein, your country is being given away to the highest donors right your nose. The latest example of GOP kickback sleaze, 300 acres of prime lake front land near Tulsa, OK that was leased to a development company with Republican ties. The price?...dude paid stone. That’s right, dude got it for free.

J. First this morning, Americans are finding themselves awaiting to awaken from a nightmare of straw men with feet of clay. It would appear, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency that much of the evidence presented by the Bush Administration regarding Iraq’s attempts to get the bomb are “crude forgeries” according to a report Friday by several international news sources, including Reuters, based in our staunch ally Britain.

According to reports, Sen John Rockefeller, senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI director on Friday to launch an investigation into fake documents the United States used as evidence to the United Nations of Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Niger.

"These documents were provided to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as evidence of Iraqi efforts to procure uranium from the Republic of Niger. I am writing to request that the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigate this matter," Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia said in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

S. IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei on March 7 undermined Washington's position on Iraq by saying the documents were forgeries.

"Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded ... that these documents, which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger, are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei told the U.N. Security Council.

In addition, the aluminum tubes that the Administration claimed were being used as centrifuges for Nuclear fuel production have turned out to be conventional artillery pieces.

Saddam Hussein is a murderous thug, to call him a tyrant is to insult self-inflated, military coup leaders everywhere. There is a decent moral argument to be made for removing a jerk like him from power. So we are forced to ask, why is the administration based it’s entire case on a tissue of apparent lies.

J. The incontrovertible proof of an Iraqi nuclear program has turned out to be based on forged documents and creative interpretation of the evidence. There is not a shred of credible proof that Saddam Hussein has the means to produce any nuclear material, let alone a working weapon.

A major argument that supports the Administrations stance on rapid intervention has evaporated. It remains to be seen if American Intelligence willfully produced these forgeries and false accusations, or whether they were just too incompetent to discern a forgery or recognzie conventional artillery components when they saw them.

S. I’m still waiting for Dick Cheney to produce absolute proof that Saddam Hussein has recruited Godzilla and Monster Zero to unleash on the United States or offer them to Osama Bin Laden.

J. First this morning we take a look at the plight of the Kurds of Northern Iraq, who look like they stand about as much chance of getting a fair shake from Bush’s Iraq policy as they do being the first people to put a man on Mars.

At first it almost sounds like a bad joke, what do you get when you cross a war-hardened indigenous population rife with factionalism, with a dictator’s last stand, with an invading army with no other purpose than to put down the indigenous population and regain oil-rich former imperial territory all mixed with a foreign backed terrorist group gaining in strength every day? You get a boondoggle that even Robert McNamara could have seen a mile off.

But that is the situation that is gathering in Northern Iraq, now, a soap-opera-like entanglement of Iraqi Kurds, Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards units, the Turkish Army poised to invade the region whether the U.S. uses their bases or not, and the Iranian-financed and supplied Ansar al-Islam movement of Islamist fundamentalists.

Confused? Well, apparently there’s nothing to be confused about, according to our glorious political leadership…or is there?

S. Even if it was just a small matter of placating the Kurds, the question is which ones? There are several factions within the Kurds of Northern Iraq, ranging in flavor from hardcore Islamists to old fashioned Marxist revolutionaries, to ultra-nationalists to those who just want to fight to be free of tyranny as a Kurdish state within a new Iraqi Federation.

But no matter who it is, it looks as though we are going to sell out our erstwhile allies the first chance we get, or at least that is the Kurdish view of things right now, and they have good reason for believing so.

J. Just recently, when Sec. of State Colin Powell was addressing the United Nations and pointing to an alleged Al-Qaeda terrorist training camp in Northern Iraq in the town of Khurmal, the pro-American Kurdish population that controls the town was horrified, according to international media reports.

The place Sec. Powell was probably referring to is the town Sarget, more than four miles away and separated by a rocky ridge of mountains, held not by Al-Qaeda, but the Iran-backed Ansar al-Islam, who are certainly not there under the good graces of Saddam Hussein.

S. And the Kurds are a force to reckon with. Estimates of armed Kurdish militia men range from 70,000 to 130,000. Once the fighting starts, one of their goals will be to get control of key oil fields and maintain that control against all comers – not just Iraqi forces, but also Turkish troops, Because whoever controls the oil wells, controls northern Iraq.

Which brings us to the Turks. A report on recently from a foreign correspondent stated that as part of the price of joining Bush’s Coalition-of-the-Willingly-Bought, Turkey wants the U.S. to grant them oil concessions in Northern Iraq in the wake of the conflict. So oil is definitely part of the deal. And so is territory.

Two cities in the north of Iraq were, not so long ago, a part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire: Kirkuk and Mosul. Turkey has long coveted these cities and most of northern Iraq.

J. This is a recipe for ethnic strife and balkanization that will make the Serbian/Croat/Moslem battles of south-central Europe look like eight-year-old kids fighting on a playground. This thing has the capacity to go down like the last 15 minutes of the Godfather III.

But don’t worry, the President has promised us that this will all be brought under control.

S. Which brings us to the United States abject failure to buy nine votes at the UN Security Council. looks like some things really aren’t for sale, either that or the deep pockets of the U.S. may really be drying up.

At first the Administration’s stories were changing nearly hourly. First, they had the votes, then they were one vote shy, then they would have the vote no matter what, then they were still working on it, then they would delay the vote until they had the votes and as of Friday, administration and State Department officials were beginning to make suggestions that there would be no vote.

The official line is that the Bush Administration does not need a new resolution. UNSCR 1441 states that Iraq will face serious consequences by not disarming and as far as the U.S. and Britain are concerned, that condition for the use of force has been met.

J. But the real reason is that Sec. Powell and his UN posse got run because he was saddled with stipulations and untenable strategies that forced him and his gang to come off like the village idiots.

Of course, they weren’t going to get the votes, which is just what the likes of Sec. of Defense Don Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and the rest of the administration hawks like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the rest of the gang down at the Justice League Hall of Justice wanted along.

So now they are vindicated, at least in their own eyes that International Law is simply unworkable and irrelevant, and so they are going to do things there way...

J. And in the meantime, there are some people who are going to get absolutely stinking rich, or richer as the case may be, by keeping you herd bound and submissive by scaring with tales of Saddam and Osama.

And the neat part about that is when someone points out the dearth of clothes on the emperor, administration officials brand them publicly as terrorists.

First some background. Sy Hersh of the New Yorker Magazine wrote last week that Richard Perle of the administration’s redoubtable Defense Policy Review Board is heavily invested in a company that stands to make him a very wealthy man from war in Iraq.

S. And it’s not like he’s an isolated case. Consider Marc Raciot, recent head of the Republican National Committee and former Gov. of Montana and board member of Siebel Systems, another company poised to make a killing in the fear-industrial complex.

But when Hersh called out Perle for this behavior, Perle who speaks with the imprimatur of the Defense Department called Hersh a “terrorist” while being interviewed on CNN. Transcript of the conversation:

> PERLE: [...] Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism
> has to a terrorist, frankly.
> BLITZER: Well, on the basis of -- why do you say that? A terrorist?
> PERLE: Because he's widely irresponsible. If you read the article,
> it's first of all, impossible to find any consistent theme in it. But
> the suggestion that my views are somehow related for the potential for
> investments in homeland defense is complete nonsense.

J. And why should we care if a pompous consultant for the Defense Department labels a critic a Terrorist? In more benevolent times, I would say very little. But today, in this age of John Ashcroft’s Patriot Act, how we use the term terrorist is more than just grade school name calling, but an ominous message to critics of the administration.

The Patriot Act empowers the Justice Department to seek warrants, make arrests, hold suspects incommunicado, even divert suspects from the scope of judicial review into the custody of the military, where they can disappear for indefinite periods.

All that is required is to label the suspect a terrorist, or to link them to some organization under suspicion, and then obtain a warrant from a secret court with substantially lower standards.

S. Being labeled a terrorist, in light of these extra constitutional powers accorded our federal government, offers a powerful temptation to government officials under scrutiny or criticism to utilize this powerful accusation, and then use that intimidate potential critics.

In the days of Senator McCarthy and the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, that word was communist. The accusation ruined reputations, careers, even whole lives of Americans who did nothing more than exercise their First Amendment Rights.

Mr Perles use of the term terrorist does in regards to Mr Hersh does not prove anything regarding Mr Hersh’s story one way or another. But it does demonstrate that when pushed, or criticized, this administration will not hesitate to use the term terrorist on Americans who have no ties to Al Queda or other organizations.

J. So it is now the equivalent of terrorism to do investigative journalism that might prove embarrassing for a member of the administration. So now we have packs of roaming terroristic journalists skulking through the inky night, with their poisoned pens set to destroy the American way of life.

Sounds like the Bush Administration doesn’t need much help in destroying the American way of life. Sure let’s just start licensing journalists and those who don’t write what their told can just go explain it to the gang at Camp X-Ray…

S. In the hit TV show The West Wing, Richard Schiff’s character Toby Ziegler, White House Director of Communications was arguing with his ex-wife over a major foreign policy speech, which in fairly mild terms called out Islamist fundamentalists for human rights abuses and for states in the region for tacitly supporting them. His main theme, “It means Democracy and Freedom are coming to a theater near you soon, so get dressed. They’ll like us when we win.”

Now while many in the real West Wing probably have no truck with the likes of Bartlett White House, they seemed to have taken Ziegler’s message to heart in crafting at least the rhetoric surrounding why we must bomb Iraq *further* back into the stone age.

And yet, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that a classified report from within the State Department cast grave doubt on whether anything of the sort could or would be accomplished by making war on Saddam Hussein.

J. The report states: “Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve.
Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements.”

The thrust of the document, according to a source who spoke to the Times said, "is that this idea that you're going to transform the Middle East and fundamentally alter its trajectory is not credible."

Even if some version of democracy took root — an event the report casts as unlikely — anti-American sentiment is so pervasive that elections in the short term could lead to the rise of Islamic-controlled governments hostile to the United States.

The report, which has been distributed to a small group of top government officials but not publicly disclosed, says that daunting economic and social problems are likely to undermine basic stability in the region for years, let alone prospects for democratic reform.

S. So now it is starting to look like not only is the administration’s evidence for Iraqi weapons are highly suspect, but now their entire argument for war in the first place was cut out of whole cloth, cobbled together by speech writers, political hacks and Tom Clancy fans deep in the bowels of the National Security Counsel.

And that makes us here at the Mojowire very suspicious of the daily emanations from the White House that national press corps cluster on like dung beetles at the tail end of a camel train.

The real question in our minds is how long with the American public put with being lied to while their children, parents, brothers and sisters are sent to die for a handful aging oligarchs and their powerful oil-addicted corporate shills.

And now the music is telling me that we have an incoming transmission from the redoubtable Dr. S9…

J. That’s right. It is time once again for our regular contributor Dr. Strychnine, reporting from his super-secret, ultra-dope, extra-jiggy, Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchronous orbit above Baghdad by the Bay…take it away S9…

S9. Some days you just have to remember to breathe.
Its been a bad week for professional news analysts. Between 1) Sonny Crockett getting caught carrying eight billion dollars in bearer instruments across the Swiss-German frontier, 2) the revelations that the Pentagon is consulting the author of The Bible Code for divinations of the location of Osama bin Ladens secret redoubt, and 3) the chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee equating the work of a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with terrorism— it’s difficult to
stay focused on the critical bits in the dataflow.

Here at the Mojowire, we use industrial quality data-mining software to keep from losing track of the important stories that would otherwise get lost in the memory hole of the American corporate infotainment machine. So, we cover important stories like— for example— it seems the Central Intelligence Agency is torturing people again.

Late last week— as reported by the London Guardian and a few other reasonably reliable newspapers— a coroner at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan issued an autopsy report saying that two “guests of the CIA” died from pulmonary failure at a facility used for coercive interrogations. The two men showed signs of “blunt force trauma” and the cases are being treated as murders. It would appear likely that U.S. military and/or CIA personnel may have been ordered to extract information from prisoners at Bagram by physically breaking them.

In related news, the U.S. is now openly admitting it uses“stress and duress” techniques to coerce information from prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere. These are techniques that would be regarded as cruel and unusual punishment if used here in the States, but the U.S. claims they aren't really quote torture end-quote.

Even worse, the reports coming from Bagram Air Base are loaded with off-the-record quotes of officials saying things like,“if you don’t violate someone’s human rights, you probably aren’t doing your job.” Isn’t it a good thing these guys are doing their job in Afghanistan rather than in your backyard? Hey, at least they're not torturing people, right?

But wait. It’s worse. Officials are also telling reporters off the record that the U.S., when faced with prisoners possessing a strong will— who can resist the methods that Americans can bring themselves to perform on their own— is deliberately sending prisoners to countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, where more brutal techniques are routinely employed.

In other words, in less than eighteen months, we went from a country that condemns torture to one that contracts out for the torture services of the lowest bidder. And meanwhile, there are two curious cadavers at the Bagram Air Base that belong to a pair of guests who won’t be sources of any actionable intelligence in the near future.

At some point, we might want to ask how “you only have to worry about the war crimes trial when you lose” became the American way. How is it that torturing people is supposed to make us safer?

If the CIA is torturing people in its “interrogation center” at Bagram Air Base — and evidence is mounting of the reality of this horrifying prospect— then we have a serious problem. And it’s not just about what we’re doing to our prisoners. It’s what we’re doing to our own people.

If Americans are torturing people under orders from Washington, that’s a big hairy deal. When their tours of duty are over, these people doing the torturing won’t easily integrate back into civilian life, i.e. as sales representatives, telephone repairmen, policemen and technical writers. More likely: the Department of Homeland Security will place them in an environment where their unique experience can be quietly put to use obtaining testimony and confessions from domestic prisoners, using the means and methods they refined in Afghanistan.

Lots of Americans may believe that anyone their government accuses of being a terrorist is scum— scum who deserve to be tortured. Ultimately though, torture is a crime. And not just any ordinary crime. It’s a war crime.

You’d think the Congress would be interested in sending a delegation to Bagram to investigate the situation. You’d think...

In these latter days of the American Republic, we shall see if the Congress is still able to step up and represent the interests of the people its serves. Or if the Congress is now nothing more than a corrupt debating society.

S. And now my fellow Americans, while you duct tape yourselves in your homes to protect against the threat of the North KoreIranAqi legions of Kim bin Hussein and the World Terror League, who will rain down firey death on American any moment, so don’t dare turn from your Fox News affiliate to get the latest in official information…yeah, while you’re doing all that, your government is giving away vast tracts of public land to Republican bag men

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns more than 450 lakes in 43 states and allows private development by leasing or selling property at fair market value to developers.

But not to one Ronald W. Howell of Oklahoma, GOP fund raiser and former finance chairman for Senator James M. Inhofe.

Apparently at Inhofe’s bidding, according to a New York Times story, the Corps passed 280 acres of water front property on Skiatook Lake for free…that’s right, for *nothing* to Howell through a straw man deal with the Skiatook Economic Development Authority.

J. Oddly enough, Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who, as the new chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, oversees the corps.

So now the taxpayers will front the property bill for Howell and his StateSource Development Co. to build a $10 million marina, golf and cabin complex and, in the process, turn the taxpayers land into phat stacks of mad bank.

You know during the Clinton years, if an administration official had created this kind of deal for a Democratic fund raiser, the Republicans in the Congress and their pet columnists at Dow Jones and Scaiffe newspapers, would have been like a crowd in a Frankenstein film, storming the White House with pitchforks, torches and other improvised peasant pole arms.

Someone would have ended up in front of a Federal Grand Jury and again Americans would be roundly chastised in the media for placing such a sleaze ball in charge.

S. But now it is apparently standard operating procedures to give away the taxpayers land for free to political cronies and industry insiders because as we know, what’s good for business is good for America.

But don’t worry about that, citizens, you need to pay attention to the color of today’s terror alert forecast and be assured that everything your government is doing is for your benefit. Sleep tight suckers...

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Refusing to invest in overpriced stocks or to spend all your cash on consumer goods means the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “We have ways of making you talk...”

S. And that’s all for this week, tune in again soon for another exciting installment, unless, of course, 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...

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Mojowire for 3/8
MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Prodigy, We Have Explosive
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, It’s Saturday, March 8, 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. The clock seems to be at least semi-officially ticking for Iraq this morning. Once again, the U.S. has given a thumbs down to the Blix/ElBaradei comedy hour, and the smart money has the smart bombs seeking out the Evil Doctor Hussein’s lair either on or about March 17.

J. We start this morning with an examination of “Bush’s Brain.” Yeah, I know, don’t blink or you’ll miss it... actually we’re going to look at a new book by veteran reporters on the ascendancy to power of one Karl Rove, arguably the most powerful man in America right now.

S. Next, in one of the most original, and according to many successful, anti-war actions to date, phone lines, fax machines and email servers throughout the hallowed halls of power in Washington, DC were brought to a complete bollocks Feb. 26 as hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens reached out and touched their elected representatives. The message was simple: Americans don’t want a war in Iraq.

J. Which brings us to the federal deficit and the Administration’s inability to deal with the U.S. economy. The New York Times reported this week that congressional estimates of this year's budget shortfall are about $30 billion; 15 percent beyond the forecast the Congressional Budget Office issued only five weeks ago.

S. And starting this morning, what we here at the Mojowire hope will be a regularly occurring feature: our special correspondent Dr. Strychnine, with his portents of looming economic doom.

J. And finally, what many of you have been waiting for, the Mojowire gets into the Presidential election season, which is at least informally underway. As we stand just about a year from the California primary, we take a look at the early runners and provide some early handicapping.

S. We start this morning with a quick look at the war that seems to poised to start any day now in Iraq. Friday morning, the doctors Blix and ElBaradei, gave their report to the UN, and it was everything countries like France, Germany and the rest of the Coalition of the Willing-George-Bush-To-Go-Soak-His Head wanted it to be.

Both Blix and ElBaradei, while stopping short of a glowing report, said Iraq is making improvements in their cooperation and have begun taking real steps towards disarmament, and that the potential nuclear threat has been grotesquely overrated by Washington and their hacks on various right-wing opinion pages.

J. Meanwhile the US is going to push for a vote by the Security Council as early as Monday or Tuesday, giving Hussein and his gang until March 17 to drop their weapons and come out with their hands up.

This deadline -- roundly criticized as impossible by many diplomats -- elicited the following telling response from one unnamed ambassador on CNN Friday evening: “I have a better chance of getting a date with Julia Roberts than Iraq has of complying in 10 days.”

S. So the die is apparently cast, and now America will spend the rest of at least this administration with guns trained on the rest of the world, threatening to blast the first person who looks funny at us. Yeah...that’s a recipe for stability.

J. Next -- he has been called in America’s Joseph Goebbels; Karl Rove, the man behind the throne of George the Second. First this morning, we take a look at Bush’s Brain, a new book on Rove, either out now, or by the end of the month, by James Moore, a long term veteran broadcast and print reporter and Wayne Slater, the former Dallas Morning News, Statehouse bureau chief.

The pair were on NPR recently had some interesting things to say about Karl Rove. For instance, this tid bit: “The problem with Karl Rove is that he leaves no fingerprints. But then he goes somewhere and a house burns down, then he goes somewhere else and a house burns down, then he goes to a third place and a house burns down, and there’s Karl across the street on the side walk complaining that he doesn’t even know *how to use matches,” Moore said.

S. They also related a tale where Rove, complaining of proprietary information leaving his office, called a press conference to announce a listening device had been found in his office. “There wasn’t a reporter who left that room who didn’t think that Rove put that there himself,” Slater said, adding that the FBI report on the incident seemed to indicate the same thing, or at least contradicted much of Rove’s version of events.

Here’s a little more background on Karl Rove, from Wayne Madsen from AlterNet.Org: As a 21-year old Young Republican in Texas, Karl Rove not only pimped for Richard Nixon's chief political dirty tricks strategist Donald Segretti but soon caught the eye of the incoming Republican National Committee Chairman, George H. W. Bush.

Rove's dirty tricks on behalf of Nixon's 1972 campaign catapulted Rove onto the national stage. From his Eagle's Nest in the West Wing of the White House, Rove now directs a formidable political dirty tricks operation and disinformation mill.

J. In many respects, however, the apprentice Rove has far exceeded the chicanery and evil-mindedness of his mentor Segretti. Rove has been suspected of engineering the whisper campaigns about John McCain’s potential to be a mind-controlled Manchurian Candidate, during the 2000 election, the number of 2002 elections lost by strong Democratic incumbents in primarily Democratic areas, such as Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, one of the first members of Congress to question exactly what the President might have known prior to the 9/11 attacks who then lost to a GOP neophyte and supporter of that wacky funster Alan Keyes, and a host of other political sleaze ball hi-jinks that have become status quo for the Republican Party self-perpetuation machine in the last few years.

S. We here at the Mojowire say, you see Bush’s Brain on the bookstore shelf, grab a copy, before the Ministry of Right Thought has it banned...

J. Next, in one of the most original, and according to many successful, anti-war actions to date, data transmission throughout Washington, DC was completely fettered in gridlock Feb. 26 as hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens phoned, faxed and emailed more than one million messages regarding their displeasure at the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy.

Phones, faxes and email servers were completely bezerk on the day of the Virtual March, sponsored by coalition of different anti-war groups, organized by Win-Without-War through the MoveOn.Org web site.

According to the story in the L.A. Times, the staffers on Capitol Hill were barely able to function that day: “We are getting slammed by the virtual marchers," said an aide to Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.), who supports President Bush in the use of force with or without U.N. approval.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), whose office received more than 3,000 phone calls -- only 12 of which supported Bush -- doubled to six the number of aides answering calls.

S. This sort of protest could be just the thing that some nominally secure Congressional Representatives might take as a sign that supporting the President’s morally bankrupt foreign policy might not be the smartest domestic political move right now.

And in spite of the hacks in the Administration who are trying to down play the importance of demonstrations, they are the only things that are getting the attention of a media addicted to quick overnight poll numbers and throwing taproots from their butts down into the comfy chair seats in the West Wing pressroom, taking their daily drubbing from Ari Fleischer.

I suppose it’s a good thing for the Bush Administration that they hold Democracy in such contempt, otherwise, this might convince them that this is an unpopular policy that needs greater support from the electorate.

Remember what is important to this administration and the GOP. It’s not the voters, its the contributors. And none of you, faithful listeners, have the bank account to be welcomed into the ranks of the Dick Cheney's chosen legions.

J. Which brings us this morning to the federal deficit and the Administration’s inability to deal with the U.S. economy. The New York Times reported this week that congressional estimates of this year's budget shortfall are about $30 billion; 15 percent beyond the forecast the Congressional Budget Office issued only five weeks ago.

These forecasts are coming from the overtly partisan House Budget Committee -- controlled by the Republicans, no less -- who are now concerned about the augers of crisis and failure. According to the New York Times, the deterioration appears to stem from the continued weakness of the economy and the stock market.

S. The new projections mean that the government's 2003 shortfall could soar to $400 billion if Mr. Bush's tax cuts are approved and if war costs this year run into the tens of billions of dollars. And now it looks like the Gross Domestic Product will suck the pipe through at least the end of this year with the jobless rate climbing to 5.8 percent in Feb.; another 300,000 Americans out or work.

This combination of factors also means that the Bush Administration will face new pressure either to scale back proposals for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, or to rein in favored programs like a military buildup, domestic security and prescription drugs for the elderly.

J.The White House has already estimated that the budget deficit this year will hit a record $304 billion, a calculation that includes the effect of the administration's tax-cutting proposals, but not one thin dime regarding the costs of a war with Iraq.

But Congressional analysts say the outlook has grown considerably worse in the last few months. From October through January, the first four months of the current fiscal year, tax revenue plunged, and the deficit ballooned to $94 billion.

According to a column by WP reporter David Broder, the Committee for Economic Development, a blue-ribbon organization of corporate CEOs and civic leaders, has offered it's take on the Budget and economic future, and apparently they see a future of Trillion Dollar deficits consuming available investment capital, and a vision of economic growth so dire that it makes the Depression era policies of the Hoover administration seem inspired.

S.They are quoted as saying, according to Broder "All told, the new budget proposals, if enacted, would raise the 10-year deficit by about $2.7 trillion and annual deficits 10 years from now by about $500 billion. Remember folks, This DOES NOT include an estimate of the cost of the Iraqi Invasion or the reconstruction. Ironically, the same "Old Europe" despised by this administration would probably be the main financiers of this spending spree. I only hope that the collection agency the Germans employ will call George Bush every night after 10 to ask him when he's going to send them a cashiers check for a billion dollars.

J. In addition, they offer this cheery view of our chances for growth "Staying on our present track, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid skyrockets, while revenues fail to keep pace. The federal government deficit would balloon," weakening an already poor savings rate, and "by the 2020s, per-capita income growth would have fallen by more than half, and by 2040 the model predicts growth rates very nearly zero. . . . Perhaps for the first time in this country's history, most Americans could no longer expect their children and grandchildren to have higher living standards than their own."

S. Remember this a group of Corporate CEO's, the Presidents own clique and the primary financiers of his election. Even they are fleeing from like rats from a sinking ship. Of course, John Q. Republican voter is not concerned, he got 300 big ones from Uncle Sam, and he still gets the O' Reilly Factor on his basic cable. What more could anyone ask for? Jobs and Health Care are for feminists and Democrats.

S. And now ... wait what’s that...could it be? Hey Mojo, I think we have an incoming transmission from Dr. Strychnine...

J. Yeah... I think you’re right...well then loyal he is, live from the Super Suede, Ultra Cool, Mojowire Spy Satellite of Love high in geosynchronous orbit above Baghdad by the Bay, our very own Dr. Strychnine...come in S9, are you there, come in S9....are you receiving us...

S9 Have you ever heard of a San Francisco duel? In a San Francisco duel, you and your opponent walk out onto the Golden Gate bridge and you take turns throwing solid gold sovereigns into the bay. The first one to stop throwing away perfectly good money is the loser.

I'm here to make a prediction that won't sit well with the purveyors of conventional wisdom. We're headed for another economic recession, and this one will be deeper, broader and more painful than the one we just emerged from in recent months. There's even a chance we could be visited by one of the stalking monsters of Great Depression, a deflationary spiral-- it's not a sure bet, but it's not a long shot either.

Pay attention. There *will* be a test.

Here's the scoop: the last recession was mostly the result of letting the air out of the telecommunications and Internet bubble economy over the past 18 months. But wait. There's another wave of asset price inflation happening right now. It's in the housing market, and it's about to receive its reckoning, too. When it comes, there will be a more serious downturn in the economy, because a lot of people stopped buying stocks like drunken sailors, and started buying real estate like drunken sailors market before the first recession hit, and now there's nowhere left for them to run.

This week, the Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan-- speaking before a gang of Florida bankers-- gave a signal rather like the one you hear in a South of Market bar around 2:15am: "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." Noting that Americans have collectively expanded their mortgage debt by about $700 billion dollars over the last year-- thanks mostly to generous Federal Reserve interest rate policy-- he said that we can expect to see the housing market "simmer down" in the coming months.

The fact is: Americans floated their consumer spending on the backs of an expanding mortgage load, fueled by inflated home prices and low interest mortgages.

You mean we can't keep floating our consumer spending by refinancing our homes? Of course not. The Fed Chairman signaled that interest rates won't be going any lower any time soon, and that means they have nowhere to go but up. Say goodbye to your consumer spending and imports driven economy, buckaroo-- the real belt-tightening is about to come upon us.

And don't expect the live-fire weapons testing exercise in Baghdad to help matters any. The best case outcome there is that the costs turn out to be minimal, the Iraqi economy stabilizes quickly with the oil fields up to full production in a few months, the U.S. dollar stays strong, and foreign investors who have been buying all our corporate and consumer debt remain committed to supporting the American hegemony with their hard-earned euros and yen, so we get out of the next recession after a moderately painful few years.

On the other hand, Treasury Secretary Snow let slip this week that he isn't all that concerned about maintaining a strong U.S. dollar, and this sent foreign exchanges into a dollar dumping spree. The euro is at a five year high, and Japan is wondering how their government will keep propping up the dollar against the yen. The French and Russians recently announced that they will not allow a second Security Council resolution to pass, and the U.S. is signaling that it's ready to just blow off the Council entirely. What a great way to make your creditors happy!

If the Showdown in Iraq turns into a nasty asymmetric war of attrition, the U.S. will be throwing a lot of gold sovereigns into the Euphrates river,. and one might want to ask where all that gold will be coming from.

S. Thanks Doc, that was as enlightening as always and a lot to think about, hopefully we’ll be hearing more from you in the future...

Which brings us to our final feature of the day, our look ahead to Election 2004...Assuming we still have, you know, elections and stuff in 2004.

As it stands right now we are t-317 days until the Iowa Caucus Jan. 19, 2004, 325 days until the New Hampshire Primary - Jan 27, 2004, almost one year to the day from the California Primary and 605 days until Election Day on November 2, 2004

J. At this point we have at least nine, that’s right, count ‘em, *nine* candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring, if not more waiting on the fringes, either officially or unofficially, although only a few are really serious contenders.

They the Mojohaus ranking order of seriousness: The top tier, consisting of Ma. Sen. John Kerry, Mo. Rep. Richard Gephardt, De Sen. Joe Biden and Ct. Sen and former VP candidate Joe Liberman.

The next tier is lead by a very strong Vt. Gov. Howard Dean, NC freshman Sen. John Edwards and Fl. Rep. Bob Graham.

Then the Democrats also-rans will include the likes of former Sen. Carol Mosley-Braun, Ct. Sen. Chris Dodd, , Former Co. Sen. Gary Hart, Former SACEUR Gen. Wesley Clark and a few others.

S. At this point it is really to early to write anyone off completely, but again, as usual, the front runners are those who have ties to the deepest pockets in Washington.

The problem as usual is apparent to any student of Democratic political history. There will be a big dust up in the race to the primary, with enough of them staying in to the bitter end, so that when the dust settles, there isn’t enough blood left in the party for the eventual rumble with G2 and the Axis of Arrogance.

The real watchers will be looking at the second tier guys right now. Any of those three could spell serious problems for the more stolid establishment monkeys like Gephardt or Biden, both of whom are on their second, and many say last chance at the West Wing.

Take Dean, for example. He has this quirky George McGovern thing going on, without the terrible sense of doom and futility that seemed to dog the Democratic candidate’s every step in 1972. Dean is a more meat and potatoes type of politician, especially for being the Yale trained medical doctor that he is. Almost like George McGovern meets Martin Sheen’s President Bartlett...

Check out a sample of his comments to the Democratic National Committee winter meeting in New York last month:

“What I want to know . . . is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the President's unilateral attack on Iraq?
What I want to know . . . is why are Democratic leaders supporting tax cuts? The question is not how big the tax cut should be -- the question should be: Can we afford a tax cut at all with the largest deficit in the history of the country?
What I want to know . . . is why we're fighting in Congress about the Patient's Bill of Rights when the Democratic Party ought to be standing up for health care for every man, woman and child in this country?
What I want to know . . . is why our folks are voting for the President's No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind and every property tax payer behind?
I am Howard Dean. And I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”

J. Stood the party elite on their ear, energized the younger crowd, and produced the only memorable moment thus far in the early race ... and suddenly the comparisons with an early McGovern are a little more in focus.

Questions still remain whether Dean can raise the necessary money, especially given the number of other big money Democrats already in the race and running around the country raising money.

Then there is the like of John Edwards, a fresh young face on the Democratic scene. The crack on Edwards is that many people think he has not had enough time in the Senate, being only about half way through his first term. There are questions if his more moderate, slightly left-of-center, approach is what the party needs right now.

But there is no doubt he can raise the money needed. He is assembling top notch teams so far in both Iowa and South Carolina, apparently going back to his trial lawyer base, especially in Iowa, where he has recruited top labor and legal leaders in the party to run his show and start raising his profile and money from the deep pockets of the trial lawyer community.

S. The season is definitely upon us, so stay week we look at the Bush2004 campaign and what Republicans may be lining up to take a swing at the Bush juggernaut.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Thinking for yourself means the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Say it...One nation under God!...Say It!”

S. And that’s all for this week, tune in again soon for another exciting installment, unless, of course, 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...