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. ...so 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 junkscience.com 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.
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
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...