Saturday, April 26, 2003

Mojowire for 4/26
MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, I’m Mojo, Sean is still on speceial assignment to a distant Pacific archipelago. Sitting in for him yet again this morning, via the magic of the ether is our own redoubtable Dr. Strychnine...Say good morning Strycnine

S9. Good Morning Strychnine, I’m sitting in for Sean once again and It’s Saturday, April 26th; 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:

S9. First this week, we examine just how little regard American industry has for the concept of Homeland Security. This object lesson comes courtesy of American chemical manufactuers and refiners. The industry has recently lobbied to death any attempt at regulation to make plants safer from terrorist attack.

J. Next, arch-conservatives and anti-environmental interests are so hell bent on the repeal of environmental regulation that they are willing to argue that it was tree-hugging enviro-nazis that brought down the Shuttle Columbia with onerous -- and might I add unAmerican-- governmental rules. This is becoming a grotesque diplay of disrespect for the seven dead astronauts and an affront to their memories and to the dedication of the thousands of men and women struggling to lift humanity to our next destination.

S9. Late last year in the dispute between internal dissidents and the Bush Administration, a group took out ads decrying those who opposed war in Iraq as being like the hated French. Now in an attempt to smear those who believe giving away the national treasury to the already-ultra-rich is not, perhaps, such a good idea, another group has started to take out ads comparing them to the despised gallic surrender monkeys, in yet another stunning exhibition of political hackery.

J. Which leads us to an essay on the nature of the Bush domestic political plan. Preemption; it’s not just for deposing foreign governments anymore. It is for destroying political ideas opponents in America we are not terribly fond of either. We examine the Bush doctrine of preemptive war on political opposition and look at the danger to the Republic posed by this handful of power-mad would-be Caesars.

S9. Next: How many state bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb? Well, if you’re in Missouri, the answer is none, because they are busy unscrewing every third one of them in state buildings in a desparate attempt to save precious cash resources. And if the joke seems more tragic than funny, you’re not alone as a mounting fiscal crisis looms, brought about by the Bush Administration’s financial war on the states.

J. stay tuned while get this party started ...

J. In the wake of 9/11, many security professionals in this country began looking around them and started to feel very vulnerable. Most of this was due to the unprecedented industrial freedom in America to build anything nearly anywhere and to place them and their byproducts directly adjacent to large populations.

Some saw huge chemical plants sitting next door to residential neighborhoods as potentially bad news, if some terrorist organization -- or even the occasional lone nut -- had a moment of evil lucidity. The death and destruction that could be wreaked in a place like the petrochemical termninals in the ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles or the large chemical plants along the lower Mississippi and Ohio rivers could be unprecedented.

But don’t expect the Ameircan chemical industry to do anything to mitigate any potential harm any time real soon. The Chemical Safety Act, sponsored by Sen. Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, would have required chemical processing plants to operate in a safer fashion, take more security precautions and finally, to use less toxic, less volatile chemicals in their processes where practical.

The bill, which made it out of a Senate committee in a stunning 19 to 0 bipartisan show of common sense, was nonetheless gunned down last week by the hired thugs of the American Chemical Manufacturing Insititute and their sycophantic peons in Congress.

In fact, the only thing that really made it out of the bill and into the Homeland Security apparatus were provisions that prevent average people who live near such plants from being informed of the potential hazards next door and what emergency steps exist to prevent or respond to a disaster or attack.

You see, that would be giving terrorists too much information. That’s right, just let that one roll around on your soft pallet for a minute. Public disclosure of potential environemental hazards in *your* neighborhood are a Homeland Security risk. I guess you’ll just have to suck it up citizen, don’t you know there’s a war on?

Here are some quick facts on why this piece of proposed legislation was not just a good idea, but should have become law. According to the EPA, 123 chemical facilities could threaten a million or more nearby residents if attacked. The U.S. Army's surgeon general estimated last year in a classified report that 2.4 million people could be killed or injured in a terrorist attack at one U.S. toxic chemical plant.

And if you will be remembered, last year an enterprising Pittsburgh reporter investigating the safety and secrurity of chemcial plants *anonymously* walked into more than *60* US chemical plants *without* challenge. You got that...dude just strolled in like Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop and asked someone for a smoke.

So apparently Homeland Security and the lives of innocent American citizens are a priority of this administration, but not enough of a priority to actually inconvenience the same people who greased the wheels of government to the tune of $11 million in the 2000 election cycle and $8 million in the 2002 midterms, with more than 85 percent of that money going to the Republicans in charge.

Relax citizen, and know that if you should die choking in a poisonous cloud of chlorine gas or sodium cyanide, you died an American hero for the cause of free enterprise.

S9. Did you know that Shuttle Columbia was destroyed by the environmentalist whackjobs in the Earth Liberation Front? I didn't believe it, until I heard them talking about it on my local right-wing
mutant tin-foil hat brigade talk radio station. I was amazed.

On Wednesday, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board heard testimony from five retired NASA contract managers, with expertise going back to the birth of the space program. They testified in support of the leading theory for explaining the cause of the Columbia accident: that
a breach in the seal on the leading edge of the left wing led to a catastrophic failure of the orbiter on reëntry.

While Columbia was still in orbit, engineers were concerned about a piece of insulating foam that separated from one of the external fuel tanks during lift-off. Video-camera footage showed that it may have struck the leading edge of the wing. According to the testimony of Robert Thomspon, who headed the the shuttle program in the 1970's and who helped design the spacecraft, the seals on the leading edge of wing are unable to withstand impacts with solid objects of that size and weight. If the impact damaged the seal, it would lead inevitably to the destruction of the shuttle during the landing sequence.

Thompson told reporters he was surprised that the engineers who knew about the piece of insulating foam had decided that it did not cause severe damage to the seal, and that the shuttle crew would be safe returning to Earth. He said that insulating foam coming off the fuel tanks in flight was a problem that should have been fixed a long time ago.

Indeed, according to a field journal report written in December 1997 by Greg Katnik on the NASA Quest website, an educational resource provided by NASA, abnormal damage to the heat-protecting tiles on the Columbia was observed on the STS-87 mission. One of a series of possible explanations for this abnormality was that STS-87 was the first mission in which a new insulating foam material was used on the external fuel tanks, one that was produced without using chlorofluorocarbons, which are the catalyst chiefly responsible for the destruction of ozone in the upper atmosphere. The idea was that, while some damage normally occurs as a result of bits of ice falling off the tanks, the abnormal damage could have been the result of little bits of insulating foam
coming off the tanks at high speed.

It was only one of several possible explanations, and Kitnak noted that the investigation was ongoing.

The Boeing engineers who analyzed the low-velocity impact of the insulating foam in the STS-107 mission could not conclusively rule out the possibility that the seals or tiles on the wing were damaged, and they asked for better pictures to be taken of the wing while the craft was still in orbit. Those pictures, tragically, were never taken.

Robert Thompson, nevertheless, thinks the problem with the foam should have been fixed a long time ago. He's got a point. But if the failure analysis of the Columbia disaster arrives at a consensus around the insulating foam striking the leading edge seal as the root cause-- and
that hasn't happened yet, it must be noted-- then the procedural mistake that needs the real attention is the one that allowed the damage to the seal to go unnoticed even while there was cause for active concern about it

Meanwhile, it's worth noting how this story has been spun by reactionary elements in the American news media as an indictment of environmental activism.

In February, not long after the Columbia accident, Steven Milloy, who is the founder of and a Fox News columnist, wrote that NASA "succumbed to political correctness" in choosing not to obtain an EPA exemption from the CFC phase-out. There is no analysis showing the change in material composition of the insulating foam was the cause of abnormal damage to heating tiles in the STS-87 mission. Nor is there any analysis showing that the composition of the insulating foam played any part in its separation from the fuel tank in the STS-107 mission.

But once again, the results of actual analysis are irrelevant to the story. Milloy asserts that the "PC-foam was the chief suspect" in STS-87, and offers no evidence to support this. WorldNetDaily, an
advocacy journalism website popular with talk radio audiences, has been trumpeting on and off for weeks its exclusive reporting that "environmentalism" lead to the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In an article citing the Kitnak report as if it were the results of an official investigation, rather than merely a journal entry about ongoing operations, the headline read, "NASA blames shuttle tragedy on foam; conclusion supports WND report, environmentalism at fault."

It's pretty clear what is going on here. Reactionary conservatives-- who are deathly afraid to face the realities of environmental problems that require global cooperation to achieve meaningful threat
reduction-- are willing to use even the tragic deaths of the Columbia astronauts and the associated setback to the space program as materiel for their horrible lies about how the godless environmentalists are less concerned about human beings than they are about plants, animals,
and their pagan Earth-mother.

Those seven astronauts wouldn't have died if it hadn't been for the environmentalist whackjobs trying to keep the ozone layer from disappearing. That's the message they want you to believe. Never mind what really happened, and what can really be done to reduce the chances of it happening again. That's irrelevant. What's important is that you blame the environmentalists for everything that goes wrong with anything. Don't you know those godless freaks are out to destroy the world?

J. On a quiet Good Friday morning, the morning commemorating the crucifiction of Jesus Christ, another politically inspired execution was taking place at the hands of Pontius Rove. An allegedly home-grown anti-tax group launched a guerrilla attack on Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich and Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

The Club for Greed ... errr Growth, a political advocacy group that raises money to elect encphatically challenged yahoos who will do their bidding no questions asked, unveiled a television campaign that equated questioning the President’s criminally stoopid tax cuts with treason and hatred of America

And really all Voinovich and Snowe, did was say that maybe a $350 billion tax cut over 10 years instead of nearly a trillion bucks was a better idea, given current levels of deficit spending. And according to the television ads, this is tantamount to French opposition to the Iraq war.

Quote: "President Bush courageously led the forces of freedom but some so-called allies like France stood in the way," a voice says, as images of the president and the fall of Saddam Hussein's statue float on the screen. "At home, President Bush has proposed bold job-creating tax cuts to boost our economy. But some so-called Republicans like George Voinovich stand in the way. . . "

According to Mojowire operatives at the Daily Times of Dayton Ohio, the Club for Growth has taken on an even more vicious tone, in the face of nothing but a chuckle and sad head shake from Voinovich’s posse. Club Poobah Stephen Moore on Friday called Voinovich a “Republican in name only” and his decision an “act of disloyalty.”

But Voinovich is well known in Ohio for his obsession with fiscal responsibility and reducing the deficit. One of the few conservatives to come correct on their economic stands and stick by their financial ideology.

Seriously, how sick is it when a Senator who sides with the President 95 percent of the time can be targeted for termination with extreme prejudice by his own gang because he wants to stay ideologically consistent with what he (and many of his colleagues, secretly) believe.

The Republican Party is really starting to resemble the Empire from Star Wars. Soon, lower ranking members of the House and Senate will have to watch what their steps before Darth Cheney decides that he finds their lack of faith disturbing and starts force-crushing some tracheas and none of them will have the midiclorians to stop him... sorry got a little messed up there trying to be cool.

But really, if this is how the GOP treat their own, what chance does anyone else in the United States have of a relatively fair shot of being heard in the public arena with out calling down a terminal sewage rain by people who’s unlimited funds are only matched by a lack of conscience or a sense of reckoning.

The truth is not in these people! It is time for an accounting!

This adminsitration has become downright Nixonian, except that these people have an aggregate IQ well above the Moron standard, unlike the barely human punks and nazis lurching around the White House in the late 60s, early 70s.

Treachery and deceit have become the organizing principles of the American political system and somehow, we the people -- you remember “we the people” don’t you? Some folks a couple hundred years ago wrote us a little letter with some operating instructions for our country -- have to figure out how to turn this thing around.

It starts with getting involved, then getting organized. The life of your Republic, your country, your community all depends on this.

S9. At Mojowire, we never miss an opportunity to complain bitterly about the Bush Doctrine, the new foreign policy system the President and his dark cabal of pathologically obsessed neo-conservatives at the Pentagon and the National Security Council have cooked up since taking office in January 2001. However, now that the live fire weapons testing program in Baghdad no longer captures the entire attention span of the American media, perhaps it is time to crank out some analysis of the *other* Bush Doctrine, i.e. the domestic policy system.

Like the strategic wishful thinking that informs the Bush foreign policy, the common thread in the Bush domestic policy is a new focus and determination on the unilateral deployment of overwhelming political power with the aim to prevent any opposition from arising to challenge Republican Party control of Congress, the White House or the Federal bench.

There's no question that Republicans have secured exclusive control of the engine room of American government. Since winning moderately narrow majorities in both the House and the Senate last year, they have quickly and decisively moved to transform the traditional order of two-party government in Washington into a one-party rule of patronage, nepotism, kickbacks and secret back-room deals. The Bechtel and Halliburton reconstruction deals were only the demonstrations of how they don't feel the need to hide what they're doing anymore.

There is literally no safe place in Washington for a Democrat to hide anymore and wait out the elephant stampede. When they passed into the minority in both houses, and their guy was not in the White House, and there's almost nobody friendly to them on the Supreme Court or the Federal bench anymore, that sent a lot of Democratic staffers nowhere to go but back to flyover country, to go into therapy and try to kick the monkey off their backs.

Hi, my name is Bill, and I'm in recovery. It's been fifteen months since I solicited funds for a political campaign or crafted a policy position for a progressive politician with any hope of winning an election.

Hi, Bill.

Some say it began not in the '02 election results, but earlier, in the aftermath of the 2000 election cycle snafu. They say it ain't over until your brother counts the votes for you, but the numbers don't lie: that election was over when the Florida G.O.P. managed get 90,000 Democratic voters removed from the voter rolls illegally, because their names were similar to those of convicted felons. There's no point, apparently, in going back and prosecuting Florida Republicans for vote fraud. After all, the Supreme Court appointed the electors, and the electors voted for Bush. End of story. Why bother charging criminals with crimes?

But wait, there's a series of minor developments that all add up to an accelerating program to integrate political power into a monolithic Republican Party controlled state apparatus. There's...

Ongoing media consolidation in print and radio. And the FCC is about to open the floodgates to a wave of consolidation in television, Internet service and telephone. Soon, the propaganda will be so
think and ever-present, we will all feel like we are living in John Carpenter's “They Live” Dissent and political opposition will be unthinkable.

Electronic voting machines will be entirely unaccountable. No peer review will be possible on their software implementations-- the companies that make the machines are all controlled by Republican
businessmen. Manual recounts will no longer be either necessary or possible. When they tell you how many people voted to reëlect Senator Foobaz, they will get the number from the same place that Senator Joe McCarthy got his infamous list of eleventy-three Communists in the State Department.

The chilling effect of Transportation Security Agency 'No Fly List' taggings for simply affiliating with political opposition movements, as has happened recently to the editors of the War Times newspaper here in San Francisco. Or consider the cases of Mike Hawash or Keshav
Jiwnani, two politically controversial cases here on the West Coast in which the Departments of Justice and Fatherland Security are putting people in jail for no other reason than that it clearly gives Muslims, Arabs and reasonable people who care about their civil rights, reasons to keep a
low profile.

We know. It sounds depressing. But like we told you about the fundamental weakness of the Bush doctrine of foreign policy, i.e. they can't pay for it, because there isn't enough money in the treasure to sustain deficit spending,we'll tell you about the fundamental weakness in the Bush doctrine of domestic policy. It's the same weakness: they can't afford to stick a gun in their creditor's face and expect to be loaned enough money to buy bullets for the gun.

At some point, they will reach the stage where they will be expecting you and Mojo and I to stop believing in the obvious. The truth will not merely be "out there"-- it will be undeniable: the Bush domestic doctrine doesn't make us safer and stronger. Rather, it does the opposite. And there won't be any way an endless parade of American contenders for the post of the next Minister of Information in Baghdad will be able to hide the truth.

And *that* will be the moment when we can start-- *really* start-- to take our democratic governance back. Get ready for it. It's sooner than you think.

J. Hunter Thompson, spiritual father of the Mojowire, once wrote, “Kill the Body and the Head will Die.” At the time he was describing the Ali/Foreman Rumble in the Jungle. He said he has no recollection of writing those words or exactly what he was thinking at the time.

Well, perhaps the good doctor had slipped into some sort of precognitive trance and was receiving psychic emanations regarding the Bush Administration’s approach to social spending in America, especially as done by the states, mostly with federal grants and matching funds.

And that was no joke in the teaser about Missouri and light bulb. And certainly there is some reflexively reactionary anti-tax militia wannabee thinking up a better punch line. But the toll of this financial crisis is the worst thing to hit states in more than 50 years according to analysts of all stripes and the blade cuts deep.

Here are some more highlights from the butcher’s bill:

• Teachers are doubling as janitors in Oklahoma

• They are working two weeks without pay in Oregon just to make sure the schools stay open,

• Connecticut is laying off prosecutors

• Kentucky is releasing prison inmates early

• In Nebraska, almost 25,000 poor mothers have lost health care and state college tuition has been raised 20 percent over two years. In a state that has vowed to try to hold onto its young people, a thousand University of Nebraska students have been told their financial aid is over, and 431 college positions were eliminated.

• Pleasant Ridge, Mich., the police are considering a deal to allow companies to advertise on the sides of patrol cars in exchange for cheap vehicle leases. Police Chief Karl Swieczkowski said his budget-pinched force was ready to go ahead if the advertisements get legal approval.

• A new library stands empty in Hawaii; the state built it but left no money for books. The bookmobile, the only library access for many in the islands, has already been cut.

• Washington State, which has the nation's largest ferry fleet with 25 million passengers a year, has announced plans to drop one of its most popular boats — a foot-passenger-only commuter ferry that takes people across Puget Sound to work, then home again.

• And in Texas, home of our Maximum Leader, George W, 275,000 fewer children will receive health care. And that freekin’ place already ranks first in the number of children without medical coverage.

• Ohio is planning to cut 50,000 people from health coverage, which would be the largest increase of uninsured Ohioans in history.

• Colorado suspended property tax breaks for 120,000 elderly residents, and is cutting Medicaid benefits to more than 3,500 legal immigrants, including 120 nursing home residents. School districts in parts of Colorado have gone to four-day weeks to trim costs.

• In Idaho, where the Republican governor, Dirk Kempthorne, has proposed a tax increase to stem further cuts, towns have held bake sales and auctions to keep teachers on staff. Teachers in Twin Falls gave up a day's pay to pool enough money to keep a hearing specialist on staff.

• Here In California, the most populous state with the largest budget hole, about $30 billion, layoff notices have been sent to 25,000 teachers, although not all of them will be laid off. The cuts affect rich and poor districts alike. Summer school will not open for elementary students in San Francisco, and the Laguna Beach school district has announced layoffs of a third of its teachers.

Had enough? Yeah...I’m talking to you, the Orange County voter who cast yer ballots for this veritable opera of misery. Are you proud of this, is this what you wanted? Did you really intend to sell your country and your fellow citizens into poverty and despair?

And please spare me the “don’t you know there’s a war on?” This crisis was brewing well before 9/11, but oddly enough not until Dubya took the reins...

A new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures cited in the New York Times last week, attributes much of the problem to soaring health care costs, lagging tax revenues and mainly to inadequate payments from the federal government for mandatory programs.

Quote: “The report's findings reflect what many analysts say is the states' worst financial predicament in more than 50 years. Mounting deficits for two years have eviscerated a number of critical programs and prompted even some Republican governors to support tax increases.

The report concluded that the war in Iraq had not had a direct effect on state budgets, but uneasiness over military action dampened consumer spending and capital investment, thus slowing tax collections.” End Quote.

And in the face of this, the President *still* wants to spend $100 billion on a needless war in Iraq and give away a trillion dollars in tax cuts to his wealthy friends over the next ten years. You know, it was several weeks ago we were discussing this issue in more vague terms. Namely, questioning the rhetoric of some Democrats crying for more Homeland Security funding in the midst of a recession.

And as I recall, if memory serves me, we predicted that the federal government would find the money for what it really wanted somewhere. And that somewhere is directly out of your pockets. From the water that comes out of your tap to the food you jam in your pie hole, to the college education you are trying to afford to the car eating potholes in the roads you drive on to the medical care you can’t afford anymore, this is the domestic legacy of the Bush administration.

Remember, regime change begins at home.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: spending money on citizens’ needs means the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Suck it up, walk it off, ya rock!”

S9. 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, April 19, 2003

Mojowire for 4/19
MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, I’m Mojo, Sean is on speceial assignment to a distant Pacific archipelago. Sitting in for him this morning, brought to us via åthe magic of the ether from the ultrasuede, megacool, entirely too hip Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchornous orbit above Bagdad by the Bay is our own redoubtable Dr. Strychnine...

S9. Greetings fellow space travellers, this is Strychnine sitting in for Sean. It’s Saturday, April 19, 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:

First this morning, we examine how those in neoconservative circles are starting to perhaps get cold feet regarding further military adventurism in the Mideast, now that it appears that not only are we less welcome than we originally expected, but are also going to have to break the bank to do it.

S9. Next, we take a look at how more than 5,000 years of recorded human history is vanishing before our eyes in Iraq thanks to the looting of museums and libraries containing some of the most priceless artifacts of human civilization -- a sort of culturally “scorched earth” scenario.

J. Which brings us to reports this week that veterans who recently fought for their country are getting the shaft from the very same Republicans who put them in harm’s way in the first place. In spite of all the rhetoric about “supporting our troops,” the Republicans have no compunction about dumping all over yet another generation of young American men and women who served their country.

S9. Next -- does it seem odd that progressives are now the budget hawks. Once upon a time the phrase “budget-hawk” was reserved Reagan administration officials saving money by telling poor kids that ketchup in their school lunches was a vegetable. But a new breed of fiscally disciplined progressives want to create sustainable economies without screwing the poor and working classes.

J. Last week, the Third District Court of Appeals brought a dose of judicial reality to Vice President Dick Cheney, openly questioning his nigh on manic paranoia and obssessive secrecy habits, and saying openly that perhaps the Vice President is in fact answerable to the Congress and by extension to the American people, and that, no, Mr. Vice President, your business and the advice you get on your business is the American people’s advice and business.

S9. Next comes a piece detailing how one of the greatest tools the American body politic has ever been given to keep Democracy alive is the Internet. And in fact, with all the internal threats our nation faces from facist and reactionary forces, people need to get online and get involved. The survival of the Republic may very well depend on it.

J. Ask yourself: WWWD, what would W do? PopQuiz: There is a nation that possesses weapons of mass destruction, has engaged in wars of conquest and empire, committed genocide, and according to reports published late last week has elements in their government and armed forces colluding with an established terrorist organization. If you answered Great Britain, you would be correct, now that reports show the Army and members of the government gave assistance to Prostestant paramilitary terrorists in Northern Ireland starting in the 1970s up to very recently.

J. First this morning, in spite of tough talk about where the Third ID and First Marine Expeditionary Force might find further gainful employment in the Middle East, it would appear that many who hold the President’s *astonishingly* short attention span have their hands on the chicken switch.

Some of the very same Defense Department functionaries and their pet scribblers at the Wall Street Journal, the American Enterprise Foundation and selected outposts of academia who sold this policy lemon to our Maximum Leader, are perhaps rethinking getting their war on.

In a telling piece in the Los Angeles Times this week, many of the most ardent neohawks of the 21st century, hardened war criminals like Paul Wolfowitz and his Svengali-like overlord Richard Perle are now saying that now is *not* -- I repeat *not* the time to invest the blood of young American men and women on the siege of Damascus or Tehran.

Now for those keeping score at home, even as the camera’s were rolling on that little Saddam statue toppling spectacle in Fidros Square (like Dennis Miller says, I haven’t seen choreography that stiff since the Lee Harvey Oswald jailhouse transfer), officials back in deep 13 at the Pentagon seemed prepared to retire Syria’s amateur status and advance them to pro standing as the latest candidate member for the Axis of Evil.

Treacherous tales of Iraqi murderers hiding out in Damascus palaces, sipping champagne and thumbing their noses from exile at American military might, while Syrian ner-do-wells cross the frontier into Western Iraq to drink the blood of American soldiers, and then word comes that Syria has the dreaded “weapons of mass destruction.” What to do...

What is up with these neopeaceniks, don’t they know there is evil to defeat?

Well, there are two possibilites. One, they know that they are less than 10 months from the first ballots being cast in the 2004 presidential election primaries. With the economy continuing to tank, there is talk that the teaming masses of flag-waving, barcalounger, burger and beer addled voters shouting “give us Barabas” at their TVs anytime anti-war protests are shown might just lose their taste for war without end, amen.

I mean come on, your average reality TV show only tapes an average of 12 to 16 new episodes a season, and once you’ve seen those reruns once, you start channel surfing in search of the latest Girls Gone Wild commericals...

Two, it is a setup. The leading conservative minds talk tough politically and economically about Syria and Iran, or at least tough enough to keep their team in the game, while sounding like they have had a “come to Jesus” moment regarding the use of military force. And when their newly peaceful ways don’t bear fruit...well, we don’t have to draw you a map; the average Mojowire listener, besides being breathtakingly attractive, also has an average IQ of well over 200, so you *know* what happens next.

“Sorry, we tried it the peaceful way...”

One thing that makes this particularly cynical, conspiratorial view more plausible is that many of these newly converted peaceniks refuse to take force off the table as an option, or even to place it on the back burner. The rationale being that one of the few things that will generate compliance with the Bush Administration’s demands is the threat of American tanks rolling up your tree-lined boulevard’s and having some weary 18-year-old American GI washing three weeks worth of desert grit out his butt in your personal ivory and gold inlaid presidential shower stall after the rest of your town has been glassed from orbit...

But recently, there have been real voices of doubt shouting from within the GOP hive brain. These are the people who have been opposed to nation building all along and are now being described as neocon “realists.” One was quoted in the Times article as saying: “remember, you can’t spell messianic without spelling mess.” Their essential concern is that while they may applaud ideology involved, they are not so sure that a Pax Americana enforced by American weapons of war is a good business model. They don’t seem to harbor the central neohawk delusion that “they’ll like us when we win.”

But do not mistake this for a rethinking of basic values, it is still all about getting the idea across that there will be winners and losers in the long term conflict, and anyone who wants to be on the right side needs to be on that train when it leaves the station and it’s leaving soon.

Read the screeds of anyone of them, from Johns Hopkins Stratgeriy Studyin’ Professor Elliot Cohen to Secretary of Defense Donald Rummsfeld and the message is the same: “American free market capitalism and elitist faux democracy are coming to a theater near you soon, so get dressed.”

S9. Remember a couple weeks ago when we told you about Joshua Marshall writing in the Washington Monthly about how the neo-conservative "big picture" in the Middle East is that the U.S. needs to roll the table with military force, toppling regimes, inflaming the Arab street, wreaking havoc and mayhem with a heavy hand everywhere the U.S. has ever been called The Great Satan? That was before the regime in Iraq collapsed like a three-dollar whore after a night with the entire crew of the U.S.S. Constellation. Now that we've had a few days of being the Triumphant Army of Liberation, how does the "big picture" look as it starts to come into focus on our television screens?

While there have been several acutely worrisome tragedies involving unnecessary killings of Iraqi civilians at poorly managed checkpoints, and plenty of other appalling examples of coalition forces throwing around more weight than is appropriate or constructive... the most galling spectacle for many Westerners, and quite a few Iraqis as well, has lately been the sacking of Baghdad's archaeological museum and its national libraries.

There has been no shortage of hand-wringing intellectuals coming on our television screens lately to tell us about how many priceless antiquities are now being trucked across the Western Iraqi desert on their way to black-market antiquities dealers in Geneva, Moscow and New York. And there have been quite a few Arab voices complaining mightily about how the Pentagon seems to have no shortage of troops to guard the Ministry of Oil building in Baghdad, but nobody to stop the wholesale looting of hospitals and art treasures in nearby neighborhoods.

It's not like the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, can really expect us to believe that coalition forces are powerless to prevent the ravaging of the cultural heritage of Iraq. How many times before the war did we hear the SecDef and all of his pet hobgoblins like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz tell us that the Ramallah and Kirkuk oil fields are the "patrimony of the Iraqi people"-- obviously the 7000 years of Mesopotamian history belongs rightfully to someone else.

Well before the war started, UNESCO-- the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-- took great pains to remind the Pentagon exactly where all the important treasures were stored, and the Pentagon duly swore not to bomb them into smithereens unless it was absolutely positively unavoidable. The generals who planned the war are all well aware of the requirements of international law on "belligerent occupiers" to preserve the religious and cultural artifacts of an occupied nation. So how did this happen?

We weren't really surprised to learn from Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker Magazine two weeks ago that Donald Rumsfeld kept telling his uniformed subordinates to trim the force requirements back until there would be only enough boots on the ground to drive Hussein into hiding and hold the army back from destroying the oil wells. But now it all seems so convenient for Rummy that the forces required to stop the looting and maintain order would have *been* there already if he had gone with the plans his generals had drawn up for him in the first place.

The neo-conservative 'big picture' is starting to come into focus: the Iraqi people are going to need their $600 to $1200 billion dollars worth of petroleum reserves if they're going to hope to service the debt they owe to their glorious liberators, but the priceless artifacts of 7000 years of cultural heritage are wasted on them. Look at them-- they'll steal anything that isn't nailed down, don't you know.

Or at least, someone in the region will when the U.S. gives them the tailor-made chance. In the meantime, the humiliation delivered to the Iraqi people by this savaging of their cultural heritage only further serves the neo-conservative purpose: by salting the "cultural earth" of the marsh Arabs in Iraq, the message is clear to everyone else in the region.

When the U.S. comes to kick your butt, you will know it's been kicked long after the U.S. troops have allowed the carpetbaggers to haul away everything of value that you used to love about your beautiful country.

Who said democracies don't start wars of aggression?

J. It is really too bad that our political leaders’ rhetoric about supporting the troops is not worth the free carbon radicals they exhale while spinning this worthless pack of lies. Remember the old phrase, put your money where your mouth is. Well mouths may be all about the veterans, but the money isn’t going to go anywhere near them anytime soon it seems.

The Bush administration's 2004 gut-buster spectacular of a budget included a 7.7% increase (to $27.5 billion) for VA medical care starting in October. Sound nice? Sure, until you learn that the budget increase is based on fee increases. A $250 annual enrollment fee for veterans earning $24,000 annually or more, and increased copayments for higher income veterans (from $15 to $20 for outpatient primary care and from $7 to $15 for prescription drugs). It is also based on limiting access to services.

Lobbyists and analysts with the Veterans of Foreign Wars now estimate that the budget is, in reality about $2 billion short of what it needs to meet the actual demand of care that will soon be needed.

So let me get this straight, kid gets out of the Marine Corps and settles down with a wife and kids after honorably serving his country and becomes one of that most mythical of creatures in Ameircan culture, a member of the “middle class,” secure in the knowledge that he served his nation well, and that the government will not forget that service.

But no...after volunteering to be a lead catcher for a gang of reactionary whackos who didn’t have the brass to don the uniform, pick up a weapon and stand a post themselves, this time he will be asked to catch political bullets for that very same crowd.

American Legion National Commander Ronald F. Conley: "Our nation cannot, in good conscience, commit men and women to battle, and reduce the meager, yet well-deserved, compensation for those who are wounded.”

And let’s get this straight, this is not Democrats killing the defense budget to place more kids on food stamps in public housing, this is from the Republican controlled House and Senate with the backing of one of the most reactionary administrations since Richard Nixon. So while they are spending billions on the latest military gadget to make taking human life just a little easier, they are completely forgetting those who have “borne the battle” as they say.

And forget the moral argument. This doesn’t even make good financial or business sense.

Among the many ironies, the cost savings of reducing staff that provides Primary Care in a preventative or early stage of a person's illness, is offset by the exponentially increased cost of treating them six months to a year later, often resulting in a costly inpatient stay, or more aggressive treatment to address the advanced illness. This has been gospel among private and public health care providers outside the VA for decades.

As virtually every business undergrad in America can tell you, investment in new technologies, infrastructure and personnel are essential to maintain the viability of any organization: public or private. Seeking cost savings simply by slicing off a percentage from the gross budget works only for a limited time. The most effective cost savings are those created by efficiency and greater productivity. This slice off the top of the VA budget is not decreasing long term costs. What it will do is create a host of system failures and problems that *will* generate skyrocketing costs in the near future.

Perhaps more fundamentally, though, the central question has been avoided. What is our nation’s level of commitment? What are we committed to provide for our veterans? What was promised? It ceratainly seems, at least, that starving the VA health provider infrastructure to fund other budget priorities can hardly be seen as meeting that commitment.

S9. Good grief. Has anyone noticed how pathetic the political opposition to President Bush's domestic economic program has been lately? It's almost comical. It's not funny, though-- it's actually one of the most mind-numbingly scary developments in a long series of cluster-freakouts
associated with the political climate in the new Republic of Fear.

Check this out. As if the Bush tax-cut mania didn't do enough damage in the last congressional session, the barrow-wights in the RNC are back again this session trying to ram through another $550 billion in various tax packages. They have the unmitigated gall to call this a "jobs-boosting" initiative that will get the "economy rolling again"-- how? By sheltering yet more of the income of the Americans who are already wealthy enough that they will never know the need to work for
their own living again for the rest of their unnatural lives.

You think you're that rich? You probably aren't. My own personal income is in the top 5% in America, and even *I* won't notice the cut in my taxes under the Bush plan when it passes. Most of my income still comes from wages, so I won't see much of a cut at all. I'll be lumping it along with all the rest of us when the rent comes due in ten years on Social Security and Medicare.

Meanwhile, the Congress is stealthily raising the debt ceiling-- again. And the national deficit is outpacing even Germany's, and they're still recovering from reunifying after the fall of the Berlin wall. And that's before we get the bill for occupying the cradle of civilization for who knows how many years. The trade deficit is another matter that isn't getting better over time.

In the face of all this, you'd think that progressive politicians would be scrambling to discover their inner bean counter. We have a real opportunity to kick over the shibboleth-- now going on sixty-plus years old-- that progressive politicians are fiscally irresponsible. Between the corporate governance scandals of last year, and the utterly *shameless* rape of the economy perpetrated by the Republican Party in its relentless drive to destroy the engine of American regulated capitalism and replace it with a neo-colonial foreign policy and a brutal system of domestic patronage and graft, the progressive movement has been handed the political equivalent of an AC-130 Spooky gunship with which to mow down the neo-conservatives in Washington like the morons they are.

It is high time for progressive to wake up, smell the fair-trade coffee, and get their boots on. If you haven't noticed yet, all the cheer-leading at the pro-patria rallies and the shouts of "Oo-rah! Let's roll!" are *NOT* coming from a lot of people in the class who pay for their kid's private school tuitions out of their dividend checks. Even Bill Gates has come out against repealing the estate tax. There are people with Real Money who are ready to bankroll the progressive political movement, as long as it doesn't look like the economic theory comes from reading Che Guevara.

Remember: it was fiscally disciplined progressives who crafted the domestic policies that made the United States of America into a superpower that could challenge the world. It is high *freaking* time that progressives call their stock brokers and start putting together a portfolio that will pay off over the long run. In nineteen months, it will be too late. The clock is ticking.

J. Last week on one of the Sunday morning chat shows, Vice President Dick -- may I call you *Dick* Mr Vice President? -- Cheney told a host asking about his court case regarding his compulsively secret behavior, quote: “the Vice President doesn’t answer to any member of Congress.”

Well... hold on their Tex. The good folk down to the Third District Court of Appeal may have a slightly different take on that. First some background: The ink was not even dry on the Supreme Court’s coup d’etat decree when Vice President Cheney had old oil buddies in his office for secret meetings, where many even believe the future of Iraqi oil may have been discussed along with Arctic exploration, offshore drilling and how to best payback the Enrons and Shell Oils for all their hard work and financial support for the Bush campaign.

When both the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, two groups that couldn’t be further apart ideologically, wanted the Vice President to disclose what went on in those meetings. They were told, along with Congressman Henry Waxman of California, that it was none of their damn business. Cheney forced the General Accounting Office, the investigative agency of Congress, to sue him in federal court. Cheney won that suit and is now being sued by the Sierras and JW.

The administration went to the Court of Appeals to ask them to directly intervene in the lawsuit, claiming that it had no legal basis to proceed. But apparently the only thing that lacked legal basis was the administration trying to coerce the appellate court to take a direct hand in ongoing litigation.

That’s right, this is ongoing litigation. Not an appeal of a decision, but a continuing trial. But apparently the Bush administration is not fond of waiting for the wheels of civil justice to grind out a solution. They just decided that they would take the next step already to kill the litigation. What the hell were they thinking?

I mean, I am no expert on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but were I a betting man, and I am, I would have to say that is probably standard operating procedure to wait until *after* the Judge or jury reaches a decision before you appeal it. Do they really have that much to hide that even the process of an open trial is a drastic threat to the political integrity of the administration?

But, at the end of the day, why should anyone care about this little bit of legal wrangling? Because it demonstrates the extraordinary lengths that this administration, and Vice President Cheney in particular, will go to in order to prevent the American people from being informed as to what really goes on in the formation of our national policies.

That is the basis of the current suit. That these “private individuals,” such as illustrious American Ken Lay of Enron, helped the Vice President create our current national energy policy, a policy that might well be partially responsible for the deaths of American soldiers and marines and innocent civilians in a distant land called Iraq.

Why should anyone care? Because while you and I are shelling out more than two bucks a gallon for gas in order to get to work in the morning, ExxonMobil Corp.'s top executive made absolutely sick bank last year: $16.7 million by exercising 720,000 options in 2002, according to a proxy filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. How were his option decisions influenced by insider information as to national energy policy?

ExxonMobil also paid Chief Executive and Chairman Lee Raymond a bonus of $2.16 million in 2002, while his salary increased to $3.25 million for 2002 from $2.85 million the year before.

These are the people who are getting rich off of policies they helped create after putting their hand picked minions in the White House. And then they have the unmitigated gall to tell the Ameircan people that it is none of their business that this cult of dyspeptic vultures and market fundamentalist extremists have pushed us into war, our economy into depression and our society into despair.

Set against these considerations, minor legal battles that keep that ball in play take on a far more important meaning.

S9. This week, the Pew Research Center published the results of a study on the Internet and American Life, and one of its more underreported findings should surprise nobody: adoption of the Internet is widening and usage is continuing to grow.

Users are still more likely to be young, urban, white, wealthy or well-educated... but the trend is clearly toward more adoption among older, rural, non-white, less wealthy and less well educated users. What the Pew study doesn't ask is what the effect of all this Internet adoption is likely to be. Is there cause for optimism? Or will the Internet bring disaster to the fabric of our culture?

If you're one of those people who completely refuses to use the Internet, you still have good reasons to be encouraged by its continued adoption across a widening cross-section of our society. The best reason to be encouraged is that the Internet can literally make America safe, once again, for democracy.

On September 7, 1927, in a laboratory in San Francisco, Philo T. Farnsworth demonstrated the first electronic television system, and it was *television*-- not the Internet-- that has proven to be the most corrosive technology ever to undermine the American system of democratic governance.

Since its invention, television has basically been a broadcast-only one-way medium. Anyone can buy, rent or borrow a television set and watch whatever it receives. It's an extremely powerful and engaging medium. And today, seventy-six years after the invention of television, there are millions of television sets in San Francisco, and there are less than a dozen television transmitters. That's an
artifact of the design of television, not its use.

It's not just that nobody really wants to be their own television station; it's simply that there's only room on the dial for so many stations. The vast majority of users are passive. They receive but
they never transmit. A wealthy minority of users actively control the content in the television network, and it gives them enormous power to shape public opinion.

It's no coincidence that the invention of television coincided with the emergence of public relations as tool for constraining the power of the democratic political process by actively manipulating public opinion and the manufacture of consent.

Far from posing a threat to the democratic political process, the Internet by contrast *enables* it, by lowering the barriers to contribution of content to the network, so that practically anyone can participate. Since everyone with Internet access actively controls what content is available to them, and they can contribute as much and as often as they are able, public relations efforts only work when they involve active participation of the actual public.

Moreover, the control of news and information distribution is decentralized. The Internet pushes editorial decisions all the way out to the edge of the network. To the user. That can be pretty
frightening to novices, who often encounter too many sources of information out there to track, and find that so many of them are inaccurate, slanted, prejudiced, or full of outright disinformation. In fact, the Pew study found that many people cited this as a primary reason to regard the Internet as dangerous.

Veteran users, however, know what Internet pioneer Vint Cerf said about this on September 12, 2001-- when he was stranded at the Chicago airport by the attacks in New York and Virginia the previous day:

“Now, more than ever, the Internet must be wielded along with other media to cast bright lights on all who would destroy freedom in the world. Information is the torch of truth and its free flow is the bloodstream of democracy.

The price of such free flow may be information we do NOT like or believe, but the antidote to misinformation is more information, not less.”

If we are to keep America safe for our democratic principles of governance, then it will be We The People who will have to provide the antidote to counter all the misinformation produced by the enemies of democracy, many of whom retain enormous control over the media of radio
and television.

Now, more than ever, it is important to use the Internet. Use it both to learn what is happening that isn't on television and talk radio, as well as to tell others about what is happening in your part of the
world. Get connected to your community, your church, your political party, your world.

Our republic depends on it.

J. So what do you think W would do if he learned that there was a country that committed genocide in its not too distant past, had and has used weapons of mass destruction and has now been incontravertably found to have elements in their government supporting known terrorists.

Well, if the country’s Great Britain, he’d invite them along to go kick the snot out of the Iraqi army.

Britain’s own human rights record in the 20th century is nothing to be proud of. And now, what many people suspected for the past 30-plus years has apparently been confirmed by the nation’s top cop, Sir John Stevens.

He released a report this week that finds elements within the British Army and British civilian authority in Northern Ireland colluded with and supported radical protestant paramilitary terrorists, up to and including assisting in the murders of Catholic civil rights lawyer Patrick Finucane and a protestant construction worker, Brian Lambert who was shot because of mistaken identity.

Many victims of abuses in Northern Ireland have believed for years that much of the terror spread by the likes of the Ulster Defense Regiment and other racist protestant radical paramilitaries were done as proxies and with the knowledge, even direct control of the MI5 and Special Branch, the British Secret Police and the unit responsible for the Ulster police forces.

And now the Stevens report corroborates many of these charges, in spite of 14 years of denials, threats, obstruction, obfuscation and outright treachery and falsehood by the British government, which itself was apparently willing to go to a good deal of trouble to ensure that none of this would ever see the light of day. In some ways it is surprising that Stevens ever lived long enough to make this report or that it was even allowed to proceed to this point.

These are our very good allies: The British, the Crown, Her Majesty’s Boys in Blue, the nice lads trying to liberate Iraq for the good of the Iraqi people. The funny part is how anytime British officers or others in the Blair government are questioned on their preparadeness for the mission to Iraq, the continually mention all the great experience with of civilian pacification in Belfast and Derry. how long before Islamist Shi’ia clerics have to start driving different street’s home every night, because you never know when a car is going to come screeching around the corner filled with a bunch of guys in ski masks with Enfield assault rifles... This is liberation? These are liberators?

Stevens investigation is continuing.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: if you don’t spy on your neighbors, especially the foreign ones, the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Be a good American, don’t try to think...”

S9. 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, April 12, 2003

Mojowire for 4/12
MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Eat Static, Crash and Burn
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

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

S. And I’m Sean, It’s Saturday, April 12, 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. First this morning, we learn the true meaning of freedom from Donald Rumsfeld as he experienced yet another public spin-out over reporting on the Iraq War. Today’s lesson, looting and vigilantism are just the “untidy” aspects of freedom.

J.Meanwhile, the next victims of the Bush Adminsitration’s delusions of empire may be entering the crosshairs. Recall last week, our ranting on the true agenda of the Bush foreign policy. Now, the Wolfowitz gang are starting to talk tough about Syria. Is Damascus next?

S. Next, while the war machines chugs merrily along, the economy is starting to grind to a halt. And who are the people shouting these approbations of doom? Not some tie-died, Dead-Heads, and not the 60s radical holdover teaching American Studies at the local community college but some of the nation’s leading fiscal conservatives. And who’s to blame for the economy’s sorry state of affairs? Stay tuned to find out.

J. Next, the redoubtable Dr. Strychnine returns with yet another harrowing tale of our times, recounting how the current administration is undermining our personal security and privacy and pushing us towards a digital police state and an ever-increasing pace.

S. Next we take a look at the *other* war the Bush Administration is fighting. The war against environmental protection. New offensives were announced this week that will result in opening vast tracts of Utah for mining and stripping federal money from wildfire fighting efforts.

J. And finally, this morning, we update 2004 Democratic primary, examining the Dean plan for a post-war Iraq, John Edwards apparent lack of spine, Dick Gephardt’s apparent lack of an imagination and Joe Lieberman’s apparent lack of care.

J. First this morning, as American Forces remove the remanants of Saddam Hussein’s regime, journalists have described in print and through images the growing breakdown of civil order in Iraq. Every single news source in country has described this rapidly escaling problem. Yet Baron Von Rumsfeld, Field Marshall of the Emperors Bush’s legions in Iraq, was incensed at these reports, and chastised reporters in a news conference.

Using the excuse that freedom is “untidy,” Rummy threw a shoe and launched into a breathless excoriation of the press for spreading stories that the situation in Bagdad is deteriorating rapidly, and that U.S. troops had been told to forget previous hands-off orders and told to stop looting.

“Stuff happens,” was the Rumsfeld answer for the looting in Iraq.

S. The problem is that this is a no-win situation for the soldiers and marines on the ground. At first, there were complaints from the locals that the troops were not doing enough to restore order in the face of a collapsed government. But if the troops are pressed into law enforcement, then you can bet there will be deadly force incidents.

Suddenly, the people who were calling for them to restore order will be angry and resentful at them for actually doing it., further destabilizing a situation as unstable as a drunk Crispin Glover arguing with the waitresses at the Circus Circus Buffett
And that’s, you know, pretty unstable...

J. And yet, it is military commanders on the ground in Iraq telling their embedded reporter pals how bad the situation is spiraling out of control starting earlier this week when officers with the Third Infantry Division started complaining that they were being told to standby and watch in the face of anarchy and violence.

That order was apparently rescinded today, as the 101st Airborne began taking up positions in and around Bagdad and have been starting to put down the looting. But how long before these soldiers are going to be resented by the populace, even as suicide attacks and other violence continues almost daily against U.S. soldiers and marines.

So go ahead, be untidy, celebrate your freedom, don’t shave today, don’t tuck in your shirt, forget making the bed, let the laundry go another day, don’t do the dishes, it’s freedom, damnit! Don’t you want freedom? What are you, some sort of terrorist? It’s all about the freedom, let those corn chips and fast food containers stay on the floor boards of your car, let the papers pile up on your desk, it’s all good, freedom is just a bit untidy, that’s all...

S. This is simply a recipe for disaster, and it is becoming apparent with each passing day that the administrration really had no plan for Iraq sans Saddam, they still don’t, and seem to have precious little interest in creating one, besides having some basic ideas about keeping out the UN and letting the Army run everything, at least until it all becomes inconvenient.

Memo to Rummy: You think this is untidy now? Wait a few weeks or months until these people get fed up with the inept post-war political handling of their country. Iraq is going to look like a hotel room deflowered by The Who.

J. Recall last week, our discussion of the writings of Joshua Marshal in the Washington Monthly. Let’s refresh:In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism.

It now looks as though this may be coming to pass. We offer this from CBS news Friday: “In recent days, the Syrians have been shipping killers into Iraq to try to kill Americans. We don’t welcome that,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz before Congress this week. According to another administration official, U.S. military forces took 15-20 “potential combatants and terrorist-types” into custody on the Iraqi side of the border earlier this month, after they had crossed from Syria.

S. And according to Mojohaus reporters skulking the highways and byways of the corridors of power, it was reported in some news sources earlier this week that Rumsfeld has officially called for a contingency plan for a Syrian invasion, based in large part on spurious Israeli tales of terror and chemicals, that even our own CIA are discounting as highly implausible.

So apparently the message is clear. The United States now has a loaded gun and is training it on the rest of the world, and that will be the deciding factor in all our multi-national relations from now on. Possibly the best example of Bush Middle East policy thinking from the New York Times’ David Sanger: Shortly after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stark warning to Iran and Syria last week, declaring that any "hostile acts" they committed on behalf of Iraq might prompt severe consequences, one of President Bush's closest aides stepped into the Oval Office to warn him that his unpredictable defense secretary had just raised the specter of a broader confrontation.
Mr. Bush smiled a moment at the latest example of Mr. Rumsfeld's brazenness, recalled the aide. Then he said one word — "Good" — and went back to work.
Now, Since it’s George Bush, he could have replied good to the question he was just asked, or he was answering question from three hours ago about what he thought about green jellybeans. It’s bee widely reported thought, that this president believe he’s been selected by God for these tasks. Apparently ,someone forgot to t ell George that the Serpent is not the advisor you should have write your forign policy.

J. The economic news continues to worsen, even as the Glorious War of Iraqi Oil Liberation prepares for its victory parades. But whence come these dark tidings, certainly not from a source as sober or as Republican as senior Wall Street bankers and some of the leading conservative economic minds in America today.

In a recent NY Times Op/Ed, members of Concord Coaliton, including former Conservative Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and former GOP Senator Warren Rudman, authored a scathing indictment of the out of control Deficits and the Tax Cut mania that is driving them. To wit:

“Under more realistic assumptions, the deficit projections are cause for alarm. A recent study by Goldman Sachs includes this forecast: if the president's proposed new tax cuts are enacted, a Medicare prescription drug benefit is approved, the A.M.T. is adjusted and appropriations grow modestly, the deficits over the next 10 years will total $4.2 trillion — even if the Social Security surplus is included. If it is not included, the deficit would be $6.7 trillion. Under these circumstances, the ratio of publicly held debt to gross domestic product climbs within 10 years to nearly 50 percent, from 33 percent just two years ago.

And all of this happens before the fiscal going gets tough. Looming at the end of the decade is a demographic transformation that threatens to swamp the budget and the economy with unfunded benefit promises, like Social Security and Medicare, of roughly $25 trillion in present value. Our children and grandchildren already face unthinkable payroll tax burdens that could go as high as 33 percent to pay for these promised benefits. It is neither fiscally nor morally responsible to give ourselves tax cuts and leave future generations with an even higher tax burden.”

S. Let’s put this in simple terms. The Bush Administration has lied, deliberately and brazenly about their tax cuts, past and present. No one in the White House believes they will raise revenue or spur growth. Their sole purpose is to enrich an elite group of Republican contributors, satisfy the demented economic fantasy of Market Fundamentalists and Supply Siders, and starve the Social Security and Medicare Programs., until they are destroyed. Any other explanation they offer is a dangerous lie pimped by a gang of thugs who cannot utter an honest word even in their sleep.

It may be time to bring back the good old days of saving for your kids college by putting your money in your mattress, because their won’t be anything left of the Nations Economic infrastructure left standing after these Nazi Thugs are done with it.

Just remember, it really is the economy, stupid. We’ll see how many folks in heartland are cheering and waving flags for the Bush Administration while they stand on unemployment lines by this time next year.

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, mega-cool, extra-jiggy, Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchronous orbit above Bagdad by the Bay…take it away S9…

S9. Greetings from the flight-deck, fellow space adventurers. We hope you've had an enjoyable voyage so far. While the crew is preparing for our final approach sequence prior to landing in the United States, it's time to brief you on what to expect if this is your first visit to The Surveillance Nation.

For a couple decades now, the United States has been gradually cranking up the level of surveillance on visitors, travelers, immigrants and even its own citizens, as its elite ruling class of corporate feudalists consolidate ever more power in unaccountable government bureaucracies, protected by impenetrable barriers of official secrecy. In the last seventeen months, however, the pace has increased substantially-- resulting in almost comical levels of institutional paranoia.

On one hand, very real threats to the fatherland security are increasingly being handled by obscuring them from public awareness. Almost a year ago, on April 14, 2002, an accident in unloading a rail car in Festus, Missouri resulted in the release of 48,000 pounds of chlorine gas. We know about this because the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (the CSB) used to be required to conduct public meetings to present the results of investigations into such spills. Since then, the authorization for the Department of Homeland Security has put a stop to that, however-- so don't try any funny stuff.

It's none of your business... you terrorist.

While industrial accidents are matters of state security, you shouldn't expect to receive the same protection if you inadvertently release any chemicals into the environment. Consider the Saudi Arabian college student, who according to Reuters was returning to Philadelphia on a valid student visa last month, when he was asked at a security checkpoint about a bottle of cologne he was carrying in his luggage.

When the man sprayed himself with the liquid to prove it was cologne, airport security issued a code-red hazardous materials alert, and summoned police, fire, hazmat and FBI agents. They sent two guards to the emergency room, which was then quarantined for three hours. Two cops who were briefly on scene went to a doughnut shop and a drug store afterward, and those sites were shut down for an hour each. All over a bottle of cologne. Don't let this happen to you.

And even if it doesn't happen to you, that won't mean you still won't be tagged as a threat to homeland security. At least three major identification databases are expected to be deployed in the coming months, each of which have been exempted from accuracy requirements of the 1974 Privacy Act: the CAPPS-II airline passenger screening system, the NCIC criminal information database, and the re-animated Total Information Awareness data mining operation. You can land in any of these three databases just by being a victim of identity theft, and there's no appeal process.

The point of all this surveillance, official secrecy and security through absurdity is not to make you any safer. It's not even to make you *feel* like you might be safer, even when you're not. The point is to make you want to do anything and everything possible to keep from discovering the new and interesting ways the government can put you in a vise and squeeze you for everything you are worth.

They don't have enough screws for everyone at once, so it's important you be kept busy while you wait your turn.

If all this makes you wonder if you shouldn't have left the Americans to play out the Patriot Game on their own, you're not alone. Some un-American individuals, like the famous computer scientist Roger Clarke and the Linux kernel hacker Alan Cox, have recently stopped participating in technical conferences in the United States, because the visa application process is too invasive and capricious, and because the border crossing is too humiliating.

If you're still undaunted, and you're not frightened off by the anecdotal reports that muslim families are leaving the United States and applying for political asylum in Canada-- as well as the news that
the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow, is planning to leave the country because he's given up hope for an American republic, devoted to liberty and justice for all-- well... in the immortal words of Frank Zappa:

Welcome to the United States. This form must be completed by every non-immigrant visitor not in possession of a visitor's visa. Type or print legibly, in pen, in all capital letters. Use English!

S. Thank you Dr. Strychnine, that was...horrifying... and now for more good news -- ready? The administration’s War on the Environment continued this week with two new offensives being opened up.

Miners in Utah cashed in on their GOP fundraising support, as Interior Secretary Darth Norton pulled the plug on more than 3 million pristine acres of Utah back country wilderness, at the behest of the mining industry and their handpicked minion in the statehouse, Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Just as an aside, this is the same governor who seems to think that polygamy should be constitutionally protected as “religious freedom.”

But this gets even better. This move was ostensibly used to announce a complete overhaul of how the federal government looks at wilderness areas. Or more to the point, will *no*longer* look at wilderness areas. Norton annouced that the Interior Department is scrapping all protocols for evaluating and designating land as “protected wilderness.”

Moreover they are rewriting the laws concerning currently protected wilderness, so that soon, western mining and logging interests will be able to tear down any mountain, denude any forest, trash any ground they come across.

J. Again, we see how smart investors gave up on the stock market back in 2000 and instead put their money in legislators. For the relatively paltry amounts, perhaps in the millions given to the likes of George Bush and Senators like Utah’s Orrin Hatch, himself a pimp-daddy of the mining lobby, they are hitting payoffs in less than four years in the thousands of percent payback. The mining industry stands to make hundreds of million of dollars once the gates are thrown open and the serious land rape begins.

What a racket, huh? You know, if you or I hit upon an investment scheme this good, we would be hauled in front of a federal judge for violating the RICO statutes.

These moves should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Gayle Norton’s career. I mean, this is a bureaucrat who served with former Regan Interior Secretary James Watt. You all remember Watt don’t you? You know, leaves cause pollution and all that. Norton then left federal service once the thrill was gone, and went home to Colorado to start an unrelenting, ruthless war against environmental regulation, filing record numbers of lawsuits as part of a western “land and property rights” lobbying and legal action foundation.

When many of us heard she was being nominated, we thought that it had to be a joke, but it quickly became apparent that again Vice President *Dick* -- may I call you *Dick*, Mr. Vice President -- Cheney’s pals in the mining, oil & gas and logging industries were calling the shots.

And now that she has been installed, her unremitting contempt for environmental protection has been the organizing principal of this adminsitration attitude towards any kind of regulation, from repealing arsenic limit protections in drinking water, to firing U.S. Geological Survey mappers who inadvertently revealed that ANWAR drilling would devastate breeding grounds for several species.

S. But what happens when the industrial cogs of rail and industry start wildland fires in these newly deflowered regions, as does happen from time to time? Well, don’t count on the U.S. Forest Service to come put them out. The Bush Administration and their lackeys on the hill have decided that with fighting evil-doers and giving the rich tax cuts and all, there just isn’t the money there used to be for things like putting out *real* fires.

Congress cut 500 million dollars from the National Fire Plan that would have taken effect in October of this year. The budget was cut from a proposed 3.1 billion dollars to 2.6 billion dollars. That may seem like a lot, but consider that last year alone, more than 1.6 billion dollars were spent on fighting wildfires.

Those fires accounted for more than four times the Forest Services’ budget for firefighting. The department was so strapped for cash, they took money from other programs, such as range management and reforestation.

And remember, with all the paranoid talk last summer about possible terrorist involvement in those fires, you would think that the Fatherland Security Apparatus would be keen to prevent national catastrophes by giving the necessary tools to the frontline, heartland warriors to protect our forests and property from fire.

If that was really what they were after, then I suppose we would believe that, but we all know better by now, don’t we?

J. Which brings us finally this morning to the subject of elections. Again our standard disclaimer: We are Dean supporters, so don’t be surprised when we say good things about Dean and bring the pimp hand to the sorry gaggle of geeks and hacks who are lurching around the country like drunken yard cats trying to mate with anything not moving fast enough to escape their gelatinous tendrils.

First, on the endorsement front, some new, potentially important endorsements were announced this week. First John Edwards grabbed early end entire North Carolina congressional delegation, Congresswoman Eddie Johnson of Texas and New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid.

Gephardt, is touting union support, recently getting the nod from the International Bridge Builders, who are promising to mobilize for him in a big way in New Hampshire or Iowa. Good for him, he’s going to need it.

And Howard Dean announced the endorsements this week of congressional representatives Zoe Lofgren of California, Neal Ambercrombie of Hawaii, while Vermon Senators Jim Jeffords and Neal Patrick Leahy have jumped on the Dean bandwagon.

S. Dean also released his vision for a post war Iraq. Something we’ve been waiting for our allegedly real president to do for months now. His seven-point plan is as follows:
• A NATO-led coalition should maintain order and guarantee disarmament.
• Civilian authority in Iraq should be transferred to an international body approved by the U.N. Security Council.
• The U.N.'s Oil for Food program should be transformed into an Oil for Recovery program, to pay part of the costs of reconstruction and transition.
• The U.S. should convene an international donor's conference to help finance the financial burden of paying for Iraq's recovery.
• Women should participate in every aspect of the decision-making process.
• A means should be established to prosecute crimes committed against the Iraqi people by individuals associated with Saddam Hussein's regime.
• A democratic transition will take between 18 to 24 months, although troops should expect to be in Iraq for a longer period.

These seem like some fairly common sense approaches to getting us out of Iraq and letting the people there get on with running their own affairs. Too bad that’s the farthest thing from the minds our current political leadership.

But while Dean is laying out his policy stands, the other candidates seem to be wallowing in a self-indulgent stupor, no one wanting to go to far out on a limb. For instance, the other day Edwards had a perfect opportunity to bring a serious beatdown to one of his nitwit colleagues in the Senate, one Norm Coleman who has been engaging in the kind of trash talk against deceased Senator Paul Wellstone, that in the NBA would get your picture posted in someone’s locker and then get you posterized in front your own home crowd.

I guess that’s the only way Coleman was going to beat Wellstone in Minnesota, was if he was dead. I mean, if Coleman even dreamed he beat Wellstone alive, he best wake up and apologize.

J. But Edwards response to this the kind of mealy-mouthed “don’t be mean, you big meanie” response that as allowed Republicans to turn the Democrats into the Washington Senators, you know, the hapless traveling victims of the Harlem Globetrotters.

This is not what the party needs. The Dems need someone who is willing to unleash the holy fire of the vengeful space god Jehovah-1 should anyone from the other side of the aisle even look cockeyed at them. It needs to be a nearly Roman type of retribution, the kind of politics that would make Sicilians cringe.

If this sounds like the politics of divisivness, then guess what, that’s what we already have, and anytime we push back we are accused of being a divisive influence in this country. Well, that’s Democracy, it is, as Rummy says, untidy, and at times divisive. There are supposed to be different opinions, and right now many of those opinions are hiding under rocks and in caves. We need glowing god candidates, meting out indiscriminate justice, knocking down trees, leveling mountains with their oratory.

S. It is time to bring the noise, and right now, there only seems to be one candidate up to that. Hopefully, the others will get over their fear of flying and get on board and perhaps, we can have a real debate in this country on the nature of the the Republic.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Celebrate your freedoms with lawlessness or the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Tuck in that shirt and get a hair cut you hippies, untidiness is for foreigners...”

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, April 05, 2003

Mojowire for 4/5
MUSIC WILL BE -Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Eat Static, Crash and Burn
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

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

S. And I’m Sean, It’s Saturday, April 5, 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 with a look at how the war on terror is being fought on the home front. Good thing for people in vulnerable, target rich environments like New York and Los Angeles that the Department of Homeland Security is on the job, or at least it would be if they had voted for the Republicans in the last two elections

J. But maybe there is just a bit more behind leaving the coasts open to attack by terrorists than simple political payback. Washington Monthly columnist Joshua Micah Marshall takes a look at the bigger picture when it comes to the flat-earth approach to neo-conservative foreign policy advice.

S. And even while we’re still hashing out this week’s flavor of ultimate evil, the real problems in America continue to mount with more disappointing economic news in the past two weeks, in spite of mini rallies in the stock market, fueled by nominal war news and pushed by the desparate speedy high of people lookiing for any reason to keep the party going, even after everyone’s gone home.

J. Which brings us to another hair-raising, spine-tingling episode with Dr. Strychnine, guaranteed to make you pig-bitin’ mad. This week, S9 tackles some of the weirder aspects of what we consider politically correct semantics in this day and age. Buckle up.

S. And next...Already the Glorious War for Liberation of Iraq (a Geo. Bush production, 2003, all rights reserved) is starting to be criticized. But by who? The radical left? The anti-American, cheese-eating surrender-monkies in “old Europe?” No, it’s the senior military staff in the Pentagon. And who are they the most bellicose about? Maximum Pro-Consul, Donald Rumsfeld..

J. Finally, this morning, we take a look at the 2004 Democratic primary, including Howard Dean beating expectations in the war chest and at the polls, and John Kerry’s remarks getting him tarred and feathered by conservatives who decry him for running for President.

S. First this morning, we explode the myth that the War on Terror is an apolitical exercise, being conducted by freedom-minded warriors of the people. Again, the Bush Adminsitration shows a tendency towards mendacity and deceit that is becoming difficult to measure with current technology.

Of course, there will be those of us who climb on top of the nearest tall buildings and soap boxes in the town square to cry, “we told you so.”

J. Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who is making something of a name for himself by beating the Bush Administration in print every week like the family mule, points out yet again how politics will win out over the securiy and prosperity of the American people in George Bush’s regime.

In a country where the “fringe element” of Americans on the coasts and in the urban centers heavily subsidize the so-called rural “Heartland” -- exemplified by the fact that New Jersey *pays* $1.50 in taxes for every dollar it gets back, while Montana *receives* $1.50 for ever dollar of tax it pays -- the Ministry of Homeland Security is no different.

Again, in spite of the fact that this nation’s softest most vulnerable targets are on the coasts, such as the ports or culturally important landmarks, the homeland security commissars spend 7 times as much protecting each resident of Wyoming as it does protecting each resident of New York.

Many say this is an egregious act of anti-urban, even potentially racist, bias, considering where some of the poorest minorities in this country live.

S. According to Krugman, here’s how it works: In its main grant programs, each state receives a base of 0.75 percent of the total, regardless of its population; the rest is then allocated in proportion to population.

“This is a very good deal for states with small populations, like Wyoming or Montana. It's a very bad deal for states like California or New York, which receives only 4.7 percent of the money. And since New York and other big urban states remain the most likely targets of another major attack, it's a very bad deal for the country,” Krugman wrote.

And this is while the adminsitration is busy handing out billions of dollars in homeland security contracts to politically well-connected allies. This includes the likes of Marc Raciot, former head of the Republican National Committee and now chairman of the security software company Sibel Systems.

They make software that will make it easier for the government to commit acts of internal spying on Americans, allegedly to keep us safe from the terrorists. But at the same time Bush is cutting funds for first responders such as police and fire and emergency medical care in those very same urban centers that are most likely to be targets. One has to ask: what is the *real* agenda here?

J. How many times are we going to let George Bush and his gang of dyspeptic vultures put American lives at risk at home and abroad while average Americans foot the bill and get stuck out on the long finger again by people who’s only real ability is counting votes, and who’s only ideology is political expediency.

The contempt of the Bush administration for urban centers is nothing new. They didn’t vote for him in particularly big numbers, so his gang sees no reason why they should receive any protection from the government. Besides, it sure is a lot easier to sell military adventurism overseas if you have a lot of neat CNN footage of burning sky scrapers to show people day after day.

It’s 11 months from primary day in California... let’s get ready to rumble.

S. In the recent issue of the Washington Monthly, Joshua Marshall offered a sobering view of the aims of the Neo Con’s at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative--Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria--while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks' broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments--or, failing that, U.S. troops--rule the entire Middle East.”

So, while 40% of Americans have been duped into believing this is a war soley to address the specific problem of Saddam and his Iraq, the Administration seems to be embarking on a radical overthrow of the consensus first put forward by Harry Truman. That the United States would operate within a framework of International order and law to develop liberty and human rights through peaceful means, and specifically opposed the efforts of other powers to effect change by force.

J. Those who know me have heard me say the following: Never blame conspiracy, when simple incompetence will serve to explain events. But now my assertions are being challenged.

The people directing foreign policy in this nation have adovcated this new direction, not by engaging in an honest debate with the American People, but by a campaign of deceit and deception that would leave even the Soviet propagandists of the Stalin’s Soviet Union shocked and awed. America has not been commited to the libeation of Iraq and the removal of the threat of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, but to a war of conquest to reorder the world to our liking, either through direct force or the threat of it.

Remember, this is from a group of people, who in the past have used Biblical end-time prophecy to advocate this approach to foreign policy, to the point of having their pet Republican lawmakers foward this point of view on the floor of the House of Representatives. It’s as if Hal Lindsey and the gang at the Trinity Broadcasting Network have taken over American foreign policy and are now basing all critical State and Defense Department decisions on The Bible Code and the pronouncements of fat, beady-eyed, preachers with bad hairpieces and funny hats, breathlessly -- and gleefully -- proclaiming the death and damnation of all non-believers and that “Jesus is coming, so everyone look busy.”

At the same time, they have partnered with a posse of entrepreneurs who are ready to pimp any rhetorical line, as long as there are phat stacks of mad bank at the end of it.

S. And if that means the degradation of the American republic to gain a financial and political end, then that is the price that avverage Americans will have to pay to people who view them as nothing more than raw materials for a morally bankrupt political machine, propping up a bloated economic regime long past any usefulness to America or the world.

This is a gamble of immense proportions. A massive bet on the international roulete table placed by an arrogant group of idealogues who have apporpriated the grief of the nation over the deaths of 9/11, and perverted it to suit their grand schemes of political conversion. Of course, if the wheel comes up with a different number, the chaos they have created, the suffering they have brought about, and the huge debt that will have been shouldered by the taxpayers, will all be blamed on everyone but themselves and the dupe they installed in the White House.

You better flag down the drink waitress while the Bush Adminstration spins the wheel in the Middle East, we’re all going to need it while this war escalates to new heights. Make mine a double please, Dick Cheney creeps me out when I hear him speak while I’m sober.

J. While most Americans are still glued to their 24-hour-a-day FoxNews destruct-a-thon, they have been effectively distracted from the fact that the national economy is quickly slipping beneath the stormy waters for the third time.

Unfortunately, the lifeguard is stoned and trying to pick up chicks around the pool by flexing his muscle and using words he doesn’t understand, instead of actually watching for the safety of the people in the water.

The news on the economic front this week was bad...*again.* Now, don’t worry, there is war on, so that should be the only concern; forget the notion that there might not be any jobs for veterans when they return, and not enough in the federal coffers to properly care for them medically or socially, in spite of what they gave to and for their country.

The New York Times reported this week, that surveys of manufacturers in the last month has shown increasing pessimism as executives complain about slumping demand for their own goods and higher prices for the materials they use to make them.

The Commerce Department reported that factory orders dropped 1.5 percent in February, the steepest drop in five months. On Friday, the government will reported that unemployment rose again in March.

Though the increase in joblessness was expected to be modest, the economy has already shed more than 600,000 jobs since November and two million since President Bush took office.

These latest numbers come amid decreasing consumer confidence and further erosion of retial sales, by nearly 2 percent in the last month alone, and general malaise in the financial markets.

So while our troops are overseas, their own political leadership is quickly destroying the economy of the country they were sworn to serve. The economic policy of this adminsitration is run the same way all of their other domestic policies are formed: by a committee of speechwriters, pollsters, political hacks and industrialists looking for their payback for fronting the President’s campaign.

The infrastructure of this country is being degraded at an ever-increasing pace, partly out of apathy and partly out of a belief that government has no role in such things, other than as perhaps an auctioneer, parceling out our national business to the highest bidders.

But as we have warned in the past, and will continue to warn in the future, there are some disturbing trends in the economy that should be worrying anyone with a 401k, or for that fact, anyone with a job:

Since latest data suggest that the rate at which things are getting worse is accelerating, in February, payroll employment fell by 308,000 — the worst reading since November 2001. Some analysts suggested that number was a fluke, distorted by bad weather, but Thursday, there were two more worrying indicators: new claims for unemployment insurance jumped, and a survey of service sector companies suggests that the economy as a whole is contracting.

Contracting, meaning that the productivity is going down, but with interest rates planning to climb, since they are already about as low as they can possibly go. And here we are talking about the deflationary spiral again.

The Bush Adminsitration’s idea of a working economy is Tom Joad, workhouses and dust-bowl blues, all seen through a nostalgic prism, askewed from the memories of those who actually lived through those times. The economy is not simply about being more worried about money than our security, it is, in fact, a measure of our security and our ability to export that security and prosperity abroad, and reap not only financial but political and social benefit.

Remember, terrorists rarely come from a world of comfort and peace.

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, mega-cool, extra-jiggy, Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchronous orbit above Bagdad by the Bay…take it away S9…

S9. Greetings, fellow space adventurers, from high orbit over San Francisco. It's time once again for Dr. Strychnine to guide you through the surrealistic landscape that is the contemporary American collective psyche. Please remain seated at all times, and do not extend your arms, legs or other appendages out the windows for any reason. This could be a bumpy ride.

If you look out the right side of the vehicle, you will witness a rare spectacle. That's Peter Arnett, who only said on Iraqi state-owned television something that a parade of people have been saying on American corporate-owned television for the last week. He's not just been fired from his job-- a U.S. Senator from Kentucky has called for him to be arrested and tried for treason.

Next to him, you'll see Geraldo Reivera. He transmitted secret U.S. military plans directly into the hands of enemy war planners in the Iraqi regime. Instead of being arrested on the spot, he was politely asked to leave Iraq and no criminal charges are expected.

Now, if you look out the left side of the vehicle, you will see the colorful plumage of Senator John Kerry, Democratic candidate for President. He's busy trying to win an election. You remember election cycles, don't you? That's when the American people take vote on whether to have a regime change in the U.S.A.

Apparently though, the meaning of the phrase 'regime change' has been redefined in recent weeks. When Senator Kerry suggested that Democrats should get behind his campaign, because America could use a 'regime change' in Washington as well as in Iraq, several of the major players in the GOP ruling party elite went ballistic, saying that such language was "highly inappropriate," "untimely while we are at war," and "rude, crude, lewd, icky-yucky-poopers".

Intrepid Mojowire research assistants in Tokyo, Moscow, London and Grover's Mill, New Jersey have investigated, and they discovered that the phrase 'regime change' has come to mean the overthrow of a sovereign national government by military conflict and the establishment of martial law-- which is clearly another way of saying the liberation of the long-suffering people and the establishment of democratic institutions. They're the same thing, you see.

If all this doesn't leave you wondering whether you should have taken the blue pill instead of the red one, then you'll definitely want to check the monitors for the latest from the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference.

According to a story in Wired News, Heather MacDonald-- one of the John M. Olin fellows at a right-wing crackhouse called The Manhattan Institute, and who is also the author of a book that unapologetically defends the practice of racial profiling in law enforcement-- this week had the gall to show up at a technical policy conference, and tell a packed hall full of extremely geeky techno-gearheads that they're all a bunch of neo-Luddites, that to combat terrorism we must allow the government to use invasive technology to destroy the concept of personal privacy.

For those of you taking the virtual survey at home, the John M. Olin Foundation is one of the principle sources of funding for the neo-Conservative movement. Heather MacDonald is a non-practicing lawyer, and a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard, which is strongly affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for a New American Century-- in other words, basically, she's a member of the blackest death cult in America today. These are the same
yahoos who attacked the Center for Public Integrity when they called attention to the news that the Ministry of Justice has been secretly been working on a heinous new upgrade to the USA Patriot Act-- as we mentioned weeks ago on the Mojowire.

If all this sounds to you like we are on safari in rubberband-land, you're not alone. Another week of this, and we're all going to be living in a Dali painting--recall, for a moment, that Dali deliberately
promoted the forgery of his own work.

So, let's review. It's only treason when you question the wisdom of the President, but not when you give secret war plans to the enemy. Engaging in political campaigning during wartime is highly inappropriate. Martial law and democratic institutions are the same thing. And, the concept of personal privacy must be destroyed or the terrorists win. Quit whining, or you're going straight to Room 101. Did we miss anything?

A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar.

S. Thank you Dr. Strychnine for yet another illuminating report. And now...

According to Ultra Fly Reporter Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, Officers and Generals in the Pentagon have been dragging reporters like Hersh into broom closets at the Pentagon to express their extreme displeasure at the amateur meddling and bizarre demands of Donald Rumsfelds and Rummiettes. In particular, Rumsfelds demands to reduce by half the proposed invasion force, and his flock of Chickenhawks assuming control of the operational deployment details.

According to Hersh’s piece in the most recent New Yorker magazine: “Several senior war planners complained to me in interviews that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his inner circle of civilian advisers, who had been chiefly responsible for persuading President Bush to lead the country into war, had insisted on micromanaging the war’s operational details. Rumsfeld’s team took over crucial aspects of the day-to-day logistical planning—traditionally, an area in which the uniformed military excels—and Rumsfeld repeatedly overruled the senior Pentagon planners on the Joint Staff, the operating arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ‘He thought he knew better,’ one senior planner said. ‘He was the decision-maker at every turn.’”

J. The words of this reporter -- an alleged terrorist according to Senior Defense Dept. advisors unfamiliar with the U.S. Consititution -- should be a wake up call for anyone who thought that this war was anything other than a made-for-TV political spectacle. This despite the warnings of the professional officer corps of the U.S. military, this war is being run by people who think that Tom Clancy and Mack Bolan novels represent the best and brightest thinking in military strategy, and that Hogan’s Heroes should be shown on the History Channel.

Now that it has become apparent even to the doomed monkeys at Fox News that the reduced deployment created vulnerabilities in the long supply lines, Rummy has taken to pimping how General Tommy Franks was responsibile, and pushing his grouchy Boo Radley persona at Press Briefings to a new height of “kiss my leathery old Chickenhawk behind.”

It’s hard to decide what is worse, Arrogant intellectuals who were too good for military service during Vietnam deciding to dress up and play general during the planning for operation Iraqi Hubris, or Rummy spreading the blame around for deployment inadequacies like a bad case of the clap at a Subic Bay Cathouse.

S. Here’s a free piece of advice from the brain trust at Mojowire, unless you had the stones to enlist and spend decades learing how to deploy huge mechanized armies, maybe you should return your Walmart Bought Camo’s and go back to doing what you’re good at, Sticking your balding dome on talks shows to pretend your opinions mean anything. This goes in particular to that Peter Lorre Wannbe Richard Perle, friends don’t let friends wander up to Meat the Press and predict easy victory, nice Job Wonderlick!

J. Which brings us finally this morning to the subject of elections. You do remember elections don’t you? Well, assuming we have one next year, here is the latest in Democratic presidential electoral politics.

A quick preface...we here at the Mojowire have decided early on that we are all about the Howard Dean campaign. We are disclosing this in the interest of fairness, so deal with it. This is an opinion show and our opinion is that Howard Dean should have run for president three years ago, and we plan to openly plug his campaign in the coming months.

To begin with, apparently the fire storm surrounding John Kerry’s “regime change” remarks are not hurting his chances with the voters any. Apparently, he saw one of those keen “regime change begins at home” signs, and decided that would be a neat piece of propaganda.

This immediately lead to charges that he was “politicizing” the war, and doing so in “highly inappropriate” ways. The rhetoric of “regime change” aside, since when have the Republicans shied away from politicizing war? It was Bush’s own brain, the evil Dr. Rove who, was openly telling his troops last year to get out there and talk up the war on terror during the mid term elections.

S. And yet, in the early wealth primary, Kerry is not meeting expectations. He still trails John Edwards, who in the first quarter stuffed his cheek pockets with $7.4 million, as opposed to a paltry $7 million by Kerry. This is a poor showing for Kerry in his own backyard, the Northeast, where he was expected to do very well.

These two are followed by Connecticut Senator Joe Liberman’s $3 million and Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean’s $2.6 million, beating his own fundraising goals by more than a half-million dollars, while House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt has, as yet, declined to say who is juicing his campaign and by how much.

And there is an interesting thing here to note. Dean, who is short nearly $4.5 million of John Kerry, in money is actually even with him in early polling in New Hampshire. There are some Democratic strategists who are downplaying the significance of Dean’s early success in money raising.

It is being said that he doesn’t get extra points just for beating expectations. To be competitive, it is estimated he will need at least $20 million in the bank just to be a legitimate starter by the beginning of next year.

J. And yet, those pesky poll numbers that show the Dean campaign growing in popularity and challenging the mainstream insitutuional candidates like Kerry. The numbers seem to suggest that although he may not be getting as much money, he is certainly getting the face time and the name recognition necessary to make a legitimate bid for the big seat.

We here at the Mojowire believe it is a combination of firey rhetorical style that makes him sound less like a victim than others in the race. It is a style that combines well with fire and brimstone old school liberal message that actually appeals to the Democrats in the Democratic Party.

This is a potential combination that could swing some of the soft Green and other third party votes by representing a real alternative to the Bush Juggernaut in 2004.

And if I were in the Bush camp right now I would have my eyes a little less glued to the video-game war being played out on TV, and perhaps a little more attention paid to the business sections of major metropolitan newspapers.

In a piece in this morning’s Washington Post, analyst Dana Milbank points out that, politically speaking, time is running out for the Bush team to fix the economy.

S. Yet another Bush administration official has gone off the reservation in terms of the bad economic news. This week, John W. Snow, Secretary of the Treasury: “The problem is not with the concern about the Iraq war. The problem is the underlying weakness with the economy,” Snow said in Orlando, Fl. on Thursday. Asked about the possibility of a return to recession, he said that "we need to guard against it” because of a “clear weakness.”

The conventional wisdom has it that in order for an economic recovery to mean anything, it must do a couple of things: first, grow the economy at a bare minimum stall speed of three percent per year to add jobs, and that such growth has to be firmly in place by the second quarter of an election year. To achieve that, any stimulus package needs at least nine months to a year lead time in the economy for the ripple effect to take place.

Regardless of how the war the plays out, the fundamental weakness in the economy is something the Bush Administration is going to have to deal with on an immediate basis, or their chances of being upset by the likes of Howard Dean start to look better and better.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Running for President as an opposition candidate means the terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Elections? We don’t need no steenking elections...”

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...