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.
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 www.sflnc.com/kj. 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...