Saturday, July 26, 2003

Mojowire for 7/26

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, and this week, we are coming to you live from the the super-secret, ultra-dope, mega-cool, extra-jiggy, Mojohaus spy satellite of love high in geosynchronous orbit above Baghdad by the Bay …I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, July 26, and here’s 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 week, we take a look at the DeMedici-like machinations that are boiling just barely beneath the surface of the cheap veneer of civility the Bush Administration has shellacked over their attempts get underlings to fall on their swords regarding cooking intelligence reports on Iraq.

J. Next, we pour a stiff one and come to grips with the mounting evidence that the Republican Party is morphing the American political system is into a clone of the old Mexican political patronage system under the rule of the Partido Revolucionario de Institucional.

S. And for the second time in two months, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice, has called out their political masters for being a bunch of racist thugs in the implementation of the Patriot Act, by detailing numerous credible reports of civil rights violations that were committed by Justice employees in pursuit of the diabolical terrorist menace in our midst.

J. Then the good Dr. Strychnine, brings the love in part two of his reading of the entrails from the Oracle, Alan Greenspan, and delivers the bad news to Mr. and Mrs. Main Street that their futures bets on the Bush Administration’s Faith-Based Economy are about to tank...

S. And in the meantime, the list of people being shipped off to the Island of “I hate being right all the time,” has become quite illustrious while the U.S. Senate is laboring mightly to prevent an official accounting of the cost of the Iraq war to the U.S. economy, stifling another attempt just earlier this month, and the end result could be dire for the Republic.

J. Finally this morning, our regular presidential roundup. We start the round up this morning with a look at how GOP faithful are having their dark night of the soul as they watch Bush’s numbers start to drop with no real political end in sight, and yet another look at how the Dems are relating to the war news out of Iraq.

J. So stand by to stand by while we get ready to kick this pig...

J. This whole Iraq intelligence, weapons of mass destruction thing is really starting to sound like the old “who’s on first” Abbot and Costello routine. They are tripping over themselves trying to get their stories straight.

Unfortunately for them, there is no story *too* get straight. There is only a mass of lies, contradictions, half-truths, back-tracks and back-side covering. Remember the words of David Broder in the Washington Post last week... in the years to come, people will look back on July 10, 2003 as the day it all started to come apart for George Bush...the day he had to admit to the American people that he was a moron who had no idea what he was doing leading American to war in Iraq.

Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the administration has stoked the anxiety and fear of Americans to advance their own ideology. First by passing the draconian Patriot Act that would have sent Joe McCarthy squealing to the ACLU, and then by distorting the threat posed by Sadism Hussein, changing him from a regional Joe Stalin wannabe to the greatest threat to America since Orson Welles announced an invasion of Martians in the heartland.

But as you faithful listeners of the Mojowire know, this Administration has debased the fine art of political spin to the level of contemptuous hubris and fraud. Now the chickens have come home to roost in recent weeks, with the obvious realization that the Memo detailing Iraq's program to obtain Uranium from Niger used by President Bush in his State of the Union speech was a fraud, and that the Administrations claims that Iraq's Nuclear capability posed a threat to the United State were bogus.

A few weeks worth of deranged confusion culminated in the apparent mea culpa by CIA director George Tenet, who appeared to accept blame for the appearance of the claim on behalf of his beleaguered agency. Tenet was summoned to the Senate Intelligence Committee presumably to reiterate his act of seppuku.

But to the shock and awe of everyone in the beltway, he upped the ante. Check this: According to the Nelson Report website: in closed testimony sources confirm, Tenet named NSC non-proliferation official Bob Joseph as the White House staffer who forced the CIA to accept the “negotiated truth” Bush used to “prove” assertions by Vice President Dick --may I call you “Dick” Mr. Vice President, Cheney, and Rummy, that the Administration “knew” that Saddam Hussein was trying to “reconstitute” his nuclear bomb program.

What started out as falling on his own sword, has been revealed as a masterful chess move of beltway poltics, where the CIA director appeared to assume responsibility, but cleverly implicates his rvials at the NSC.

Now, Steven Hadley, Condi Rice’s deputy whose fingerprints are all over the infamous 16 words in the State of the Union, has accepted responsibility. Darth Tenet is no doubt relaxing with a tall frosty glass of Aunt Beru’s Blue Cocktails contemplating which White House Patsy he is next going to deprive of their pension.

S. We would dearly love to be surprised by these revelations. But how do you act surprised when this adminstration has proven itself unable to utter a truthful statement in virtually every aspect of their operation.

If it isn't cooking up distorted numbers to hide who is going to get the latest campaign contribution kickback, err, Tax cut in this years GOP prostration to its rich wheel-greasers, then it's another fairy tale about how deconstructing the environmental regulatons will improve air and water quality

The biggest scandals in the last 30 years have all come down to lies and deceptions, almost always about something that would have been survivable if the adminstration in power had just owned up to it.

Instead of coming correct, though? The bodies are starting to appear. First in the cavalcade of corpses? That honor goes to British Weapons inspector, Dr. David Kelly, a biochemist who was part of the original inspections regime, who testified to the House of Commons recently about being told to make the politically correct spin on the intelligence the Brits were supplying to the Americans.

His body was found near his home, in an apparent “suicide.” Look, we’re not saying that the NSC asked MI-5 to rub the guy out just as his story of falsifying reasons for war were coming to light...we’re just saying it smells like rough trade to us.

This administration has set a new standard of secrecy and stonewalling. Could they, faced with the possibility of disclosing their mendacious behavior in the Iraq War debate, come clean on this. Don't hold your breath....

J. And it’s time once again to play the game that’s sweeping the nation: Let’s See If This Sounds’s puzzle: a country, nominally a democratic republic falls under the sway of a single party, where in spite of competing political visions, this party always stays on top through a program of semi-official corrurption, patronage and pay-for-play policy making.

Now, yes... Wireheads are not stoopid, you’ve already guessed the punchline, we’re not really talking about the Mexican government under the PRI, we’re talking about the emergent Republican power structure in Washington.

But if you think that little parable is far-fetched, look at a couple of the most recent examples of GOP influence peddling.

First, our favorite poisonous little thug, House Republican Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, was exposed as a cheap mafia-esque arm-twister in a tell-all Washington Post piece last week. But even more outrageous, is the story that Republican state attorneys general have banded together to shake down campaign contributions from companies they are currently suing on behalf of their states.

Tom DeLay, for years we’ve chaffed under this reptillian mook . But in reality the Post piece doesn’t say anything we didn’t already know. It only exposes the ugly nuts and bolts undersides of how the DeLay polical influence machine works.

For the first time, a group called Democracy 21 -- look ‘em up on the web and give them your support -- have compiled a really complete picture of the series of money laundering schemes disguised as an interlocking system of political action committees run by DeLay and supporting the candidates and causes he feels are worthy.

We’ll let the post story speak for itself for a moment: “The group's analysis of DeLay's top 100 contributors from 2000 to 2002 reveals a pattern: Each donor gave to at least two political operations linked to the Texan. These committees included his reelection campaign; Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC); the short-lived Republican Majority Issues Committee; and his "leadership committee," Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC) , which had a federal arm and non-federal arm that could collect unlimited "soft money" donations before new campaign finance laws were enacted last year.”

In the world of big time Washignton politics, everyone has come to know that Tom DeLay is only about one thing, and one thing only...gettin’ paid. Money talks and we all know what walks.

A couple of examples: the nearly $800,000 given to these committees by R.J. Reynolds, which apparently bought DeLay’s opposition to more stringent tobacco legislation and taxation during the Clinton years. More recently, money given by Kansas-based Westar, an energy company, was specifically to buy a place at the table in writing energy legislation, according to recently released internal company emails.

Next, we have the story that the not only have Republicans been attempting to buy the legislative branch of government, they have been seeking to purchase judiciary futures as well.

A report released recently by the Center for Public Integrity, the same people who broke the news about Patiot Act II, detail how the Republican Attorney Generals’s Association, has been careening across the country in search of camapaign money from the very corporations they are currently pursiing in litigation.

Of the favored few who gave to the attorneys suing them, Shell Oil, who had just settled a state royalties case, gave $12 million to then Texas AG, now Texas Senator John Cornyn. Brown and Williamson Tobacco, Phillip Morris are other high profile companies implicated in this.

The documents state that in return for contributions, company officials would be entitled to meet with the attorneys general, participate in conference calls with them and socialize with them. As of Feb. 22, 2000, the group had collected $235,000 from 21 firms, received promises of $188,500 from 24 other firms, and was soliciting funds from an additional 114 firms, the documents state.

The group was born of federal applleate court nominee and former Alabama AG William Pryor and the Republican National Committee with the explicit aim of soliciting funds from the firearms, tobacco and paint industries and other industries facing state lawsuits over cancer deaths, lead poisoning, gunshots and consumer complaints, according to statements by Pryor and other officials, stated the Post report.

S. There is a strong argument to be made that perhaps Attorneys General should not be elected. Maybe the top law enforcement officer in the state should not be the guy who solicited the most money from his corporate friends and then grifted all the jethros to crawl out from their swamps and one room cabins just long enough to cast a vote for him before returning to quiet lonerville to contemplate the space brothers transmissions to Agent Cooper.

But beyond that, where is the outrage from the American Bar Association. I mean, Mojo and I are not lawyers, but we are fairly sure there is something in the ABA’s model code of ethics regarding the solicitation of money from parties you are currently suing. And we’re fairly sure it’s not a blanket endorsement of that practice.

Why on earth aren’t these guys being hauled up in front of ABA hearings and being stripped of their law licenses. For cryin’ out loud, Bill Clinton got his card yanked for five years just for lying about sexual indiscretion that had nothing to do with his ability to practice law. These guys are shaking down opposing litigants for camapaign contributions like cheap mob muscle.

But hey, when your legislative role model is Tom DeLay, the biggest whore-slash-pimp the House of Representatives has ever endured, then I guess the ethical bar is set pretty low.

In many ways it does remind us of the pre Vicente Fox era of PRI poltics in Mexico, when weeks before an election, people would line up for free televisions and bicycles at the local PRI bunker and the regional officials would submit their list of public works projects to be completed for target constituencies.

And of course, it is the party of the slim-black-brief-case-filled-to-overflowing-with-tightly-bound-hundred-dollar-bills. Corrpuption of public officials in Mexico is not just accepted, it’s the way the government really works. Reforms at this point would actually damage the government’s ability to govern before thing actually straightened out.

And that is where the likes of Tom DeLay and these rogue Attoreneys General are taking this country. Over the falls in a barrel full of holes and only at the last minute do we realize that they were lifted to safety by the pick up crane, as we feel the tug of gravity sending our Republic and our traditional notions of democratic fairness to a watery grave.

Good news citizen, there is something *you* can do about it. You see, this sort of thing can only choke out the American spirit with your acquiesence. That’s right, if you don’t like this, you can change it. That means, you register to vote, you get informed and you get the skinny on who’s striaght up and who’s not and you hold them accountable, not only at the voting booth, but by taking an active role in civic affairs. That’s how you arrest the cancer of corruption in our current system, and it all rests with you. You are the sovreign remedy for this poison.

Or, you could be just like your Republican neigbors, condemened to an existance of cheap American Beer, wreteched lies from the “reality technicians” at Fox News, and a willing receptacle for the latest throught command from Republican Star Control. This is the difference between your GOP Neighbors and you Wireheads. They are furry proto-monkeys throwing their Bud cans in the in air in Kurbrikian Glee, and your average wirehead is a freethinking Brainiac, with a cranial cavity big enough to dock a Star Destroyer and producing enough wattage to power an Mac G-5. Now register to vote and put your foot on their thick necks. But hurry, time is running out.

J. So fresh from their scathing criticism of the Ashcroft Justice Department’s Kristallnact in the wake of 9-11, the Inspector General of the Justice Department followed up their debut album with another little opus that takes the AG and his gang to task for being out of control facist thugs.

Well, perhaps that’s a bit overstated, but at the same time, they did validate dozens civil rights violations concerning enforcement of the USA Patriot Act, as again brought to you by your friends at the Washington Post.

You know, is there any point in continuing to have a Consititution anymore if the adminsitration in power is going to feel free to ignore it anytime they want?

But wait we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In spite of the nearly constant bloviating from FOXNews about how liberals and progressives were just being paranoid about the implementation of the Patriot Act, the reality is turning out to be much different.

“The report said that in the six-month period that ended on June 15, the inspector general's office had received 34 complaints of civil rights and civil liberties violations by department employees that it considered credible, including accusations that Muslim and Arab immigrants in federal detention centers had been beaten,” according to the report in the Post.

And this was culled from hundreds of other reports that for one reason or another just could not be corroborated, although no criteria was given for that.

There are many, not just the faithful wireheads who saw this coming. I mean, is there anyone who could look at John Aschcroft, a guy who thinks that the Old Testament should carry more weight in a court of law than the Consitutution, and *not* see that coming? No, of course not, and now he is still out there pimping the discredited notions of how he needs more power and how unless he can lock up anyone he wants without cause or trial, then no one will be safe from the Al Qaeda menace.

Abraham Lincoln once spoke some very prophetic words for our time: “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

For the history impaired, what he was saying is that the only people who can destroy America is Americans, not some foriegn bogey man used to sell t-bonds and duct tape, but Americans, especially those that we give power to, then forget to check up on them.

Is there anyone who is honestly surprised by the fact that when given nearly unlimited power, that it was almost immediately abused and used to violate our most cherished traditions of fairness and justice?

S. The answer to the proceeding question would of course be no.

John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan on the House Panel looking into abuses said: “This report shows that we have only begun to scratch the surface with respect to the Justice Department's disregard of constitutional rights and civil liberties. I commend the inspector general for having the courage and independence to highlight the degree to which the administration's war on terror has misfired and harmed innocent victims with no ties to terror whatsoever.”

We couldn’t agree more. There are more than enough examples to demonstrate that the Justice Department can’t be trusted with these kinds of powers. In fact, there is a damn good reason the authors of the Federalist Papers were scared of a centralized state with nearly unlimited police powers.

Why? Because they had just fought a war to be free of that kind of government and they wrote a constitution that would guarantee that no swamp-dwelling nitwit with a badge and delusions of grandeur could aspire to total power in the United States anytime within foresight.

However, they reckoned that they had left such a good map for how the country should be run, complete with the ability to adjust to changing times that things could never get that far, and never thought that a power elite would take control in America that thought that a return to the good old days of King George were a good thing.

Well, dust off those old beefeater jackets and call me macaroni because that’s just where the Ashcroft gang in the Justice Department are steering this out of control bus.

Part of problem is that the average American still doesn’t believe it can happen to them, inspite of the blatant warnings written into the act, as well as its follow up, the National Security Enhancement Act of 2003, which if defeated as a package will enjoy a hidden piecemeal enactment as riders on the coattails of various bits of inocuous and popular legislation.

After 9/11 there seemed to be an idea that as long as we rounded up “those” people, then everything would be okay. But when Ashcroft, his henchmen and his few supporters in Congress start talking about how it’s a good thing that anyone can be disappeared because they gave money to a group that later was designated a terrorist group, for reasons that are not disclosed and not legally revealable in public, that makes us all targets.

For the love God, how many times do we have to cover this ground? We know that the loyal wireheads out there are probably on board with this thing, but we are talking now to the hoardes of people who were scanning by, heard something funny and stayed for a moment to listen.

Well it’s like this... the United States *is* under attack, and its not by the swirly-eyed, turban-wearing, madrassa-trained, AK-wielding, Islamacists. Think of the words of Lincoln again; almost 150 years ago, he was laying out the basic argument that the no foreign power could destroy America. Only Americans can destroy Ameirica, and if we are not careful that is exactly where facist exteremists like John Ashcroft are taking us.

MojoWire for 07/26/03

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

S9 Greeting from free space, fellow travellers.

Should be fun for the whole family.

J. What started out as a minor squabble over budget figures, may now become one of the largest object lessons of the war regarding the Bush administration’s mendacity and intolerance for viewpoints other than the official line predetermined by the national security starting team, and the potential harm for the nation is just now starting to loom into view.

First it was General Shinseki, the former Army Chief of Staff who got run like a punk for daring to say publicly that the war would take far more manpower and resources than Rummy and his gang down in the Office of Special Plans bunker were calling for.

It was also a nasty and impolitc shock to the Rummy gang when Gen. Shinseki also predicted a several year stay in Iraq, as opposed to the utter fantasy of having the troops home in just four to six months, as proposed by the war planning wunderlichs.

Then Larry Lindsey, the former chief of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors chased out of town by the Adminsitration’s Taliban for speaking the heresy that the war was going to cost at least $100 billion, and could possibly even exceed $200 billion before it’s all over.

In the meantime, the Congress kept running up the nation’s bar tab on the assurance that W’s credit was good, but never actually folding in the cost of the war into the national debt.

Well, it’s hangover time. Our war is not going so good, even with the high profile deaths of Usay and Qusai Hussein. Yeah, that was supposed to demoralize the guerillas into giving up. Rught...they were so demoralized that they launched their deadliest attacks in a month, killing five GIs in two days, after the killings were announced.

So with the cost of the war now at around $4 billion a month, L. Paul Bremmer, the new Maximum Pro Consul of Iraq is beseeching the Imperial Senate for more money and resources to remake Fertile Crescent into a fit enough place for American corporate interests.

Wow...and $4 billion *a*month* isn’t enough? Pretty crazy when you consider we are going to spend more than $70 billion this year to grab an oil industry that is worth only $15 to $20 billion per year.

And then we get to the good part. Because even as the bills pile up for our colonial ambitions, any accounting of exactly what we are spending money on, or where they money is going, or even really how much it will really be in the end, is apparently not going to be known anytime soon.

The Senate decided last week that the financial situation vis a vis Iraq is really none of the American people’s business. You remember the American people...this is a song about the American people. That’s right, the people who pay the bills are again being subjected to the GOP’s cheap version of the Jedi Mind Trick...these are not the budget line items you are looking for.

S. We were thumbing through our old dogeared copy of the U.S. Constitution recently, and we were having trouble findng the part that says that Congress has no business holding the executive branch accountable for spending in a time of war. Then again, our copy is kinda old and there might be pages missing.

How long are we going to be forced to pretend that these costs don’t exist? And how long are we supposed to ignore the cheap, heavy-handed, hackery that confronts anyone who dares to question the emperor’s dearth of clothing?

Well, the darkly humorous part is going to be that it will be nigh on impossible soon, given the bond market’s real-world connection to main street, mom and pop Americans with mortgages and student loans and car payments to ignore the reality of the Bush adminsitration’s mishandling of the war and the economy.

Soon, even though there may be citizens out there ready to float the Bushies a few bucks for war operations, there might not be that many financial insitutions left ready to write that paper.

You know, if you or I went to our bank, and told our loan officer that not only were we in more debt than we knew how to handle on a business proposition that can’t possibly pay the principal, and then start demanding an open-ended revolving line of credit, while rudely insisting that it was none of their business how much money we were going to need much less if what we were going to spend it on...we’d have our knees broken and our homes repo’ed.

People seem to want to pretend that things like the bond market, the war in Iraq, tax cuts and recession all live in these separate little perfect vaccum universes and have nothing to do with one another.

So without revisiting the good Doctor Strychnine, too much, let’s just leave it at this: This war against a country that was no threat whatsoever to the United States, that no one in the world really wanted (apparently not even most of the people in Iraq), that we couldn’t afford, could quite turn out bankrupting the nation. It turns out that the only threat to America was a gang of neo-con thugs in a basement at the Pentagon, who while getting their war-on also managed to find a convenient means of destroying the Ameican economy and government at the same time.

In the words of Republican strategist and neo-con hive brain overlord Grover Nordquist: “I don’t want to destroy government, I just want to shrink it to the point where I can drown it in the bathtub.” Words to live to speak.

J. We begin this week’s presidential roundup with an interesting tidbit out of Washington recently. Apparently some national-level Republican movers and shakers are starting to hear the footsteps and are publicly beginning to worry that their horse is about to pull up lame.

Mainly, they worry that the economy is not turning around, and is set to bomb once the housing re-financing boom comes to halt, that the war in Iraq didn’t go anywhere near as planned, our liberation of Afghanistan is threatened by a reconsituted Taliban and in the meantime our environment is going to hell, our schools and roads are falling into disrepair and the states are getting ready to hold bakesales just in order to pay the janitors before the next fiscal year starts.

“Of course it alarms me to see his poll figures below the safe margins,” said Ruth Griffin, co-chair of Bush's 2000 campaign steering committee in New Hampshire. “If he isn't concerned, and we strong believers in the Bush administration aren't concerned, we must have blinders on.”

Many of the insiders are looking back on the whole uranium memo episode as the first real indiciation of political weakness as the credibility of the adminsitratio took a serious hit that they won’t rebound from any time real soon, especially since they still can’t get their stories straight.

The Bush image, as crafted by the professional communicators and hacks, was one of the plain talking, self-effacing Texan, who could be tough when the time called for it, and was a straight shooter who never waffled, never parsed words and always told it like it was.

It must have come as a nasty shock to GOP nation that they had not, in fact, elected Moses to be President, but rather, that guy in the tent on the outskirts of town quoting Moses, while he calls on the Holy Spirit to cure your lumbago and take your wallet.

Interestingly, there seems to be a name they are fearing more than others right now. At the Hitler Youth -- errr-- College Republicans Convention in the nation’s capitol last week, nearly every speaker, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, all took swipes at Howard Dean.

That’s right, Karl, can you hear the footsteps, can you hear them?

S. And at the same time, all the Democrats have stepped up their rhetoric against the Bush Administration’s handling of the war in Iraq. The attacks have more or less likened the Iraqi occupation to a Three Stooges-moving-the-piano-up-the-stairs routine.

Dennis Kucinich, the only candidate to cast a Congressional vote against the war, went on the offensive, calling out the credibility of the adminsitration, and in particular Dick Cheney for his unprecedented house calls at CIA, during the whole reality engineering process.

“Normally, vice presidents, yourself included, receive regular briefings from CIA in your office ... there is no reason for the vice president to make personal visits to CIA analysts,” said Kucinich’s letter, sent late Monday.

But now the rest of the gang of nine are jumping on board, and have been engaged in a non-stop broadsides barrage against the adminsitration. And our guy, Howard Dean, who was against teh war from the get go, not only beat on the Bush Administration, but on his fellow dems for being a little late to this party.

Hell, John Edwards basically gave Rummy’s stump speech about Iraqi nukes when he addressed the California Democratic Party gathering earlier this winter and front runners like Kerry and Gephardt have been running so fast from the war-approval votes they are in danger of setting land speed records.

But the good news is that the Dems may have found the music on this issue and are strating to make their points with it and if anyone in the West Wing wants to complain, too damn bad.

They should be reminded in the harshest possible terms that it was Karl Rove last year who said they needed to politicize the war and national security. Now that it turns out their war of liberation has turned into a long term occupation and gurerilla war, they want to take some sort of faux high road of politics?

Hell no... they wanted this, now they’ve got it. Remember the rules, have a take, do not suck or you will get run. Sorry Karl, your 15 minutes are just about up.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: A healthy economy and the expense of the war machine means the Terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Terrorism is what the hell ever I say it is...hippy!”

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.

And remember, you can now email the Mojowire at, that’s

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, July 19, 2003

Mojowire for 7/19
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, July 19, and here’s the news for the week gone-by...

J. Brought to you by Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988. Now headlines, from Mojohaus:

J. Even as the Bush gang’s political train wreckage continues to slide off the track at home, the military gains they made abroad are also in jeopardy. Reports out of Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?) show the Taliban regrouping in sufficient strength and numbers to be a threat to the fragile U.S. backed government in Kabul. And in the meantime, the words “guerilla war” were spoken by Central Command, in spite of Rummy’s continual denial that there’s anything wrong.

S. Since 9/11, progressives, liberals, and even some conservative civil libertarians have been branded as paranoid or conspiracy cranks for believing their rights are in danger from the Spy vs. Spy legislative work product of the Patriot Act. Guess again, as we examine the strange and terrible case of Marc Schultz, a bookstore employee who received a threatening visit from the FBI, when someone turned him in for reading an article critical of FOXNews.

J. But this is just part of an overall pattern of political intimidation, thuggery and lies that radiates from the White House. When people take public aim at the Bush Administration policies, they often find themselves on the short list for a publicity lynching by political hacks bunkered down by a West Wing character assissnation machine that would have made Nicolo Machiavelli cry.

S. Then Dr. Strychnine reads the bones fresh from the Oracle himself, Alan Greenspan, who appeared in a flash sulfurous smoke and blinding light before the House Banking Committee last week. And the Oracle deemed that negative inflation (deflation to you an me) is not a current threat. Strychnne says the Oracle needs to adjust the tinfoil on its hat.

J. And in a special report just for the college kids...let’s get a quick show of hands here: Who here is on federal or state financial aid right now? The good news is that with a current proposal from Congress, you won’t have to be worried about classes, tests, finals or campus parking next year. That’s because the bad news is that nationally, 84,0000 students are about to completely lose student aid, and hundreds of thousands of others will find their awards drastically cut.

S. Which brings us to this week’s presidential round-up...We have had an action packed week or so here. There is more from the Dean camp, building momentum as we begin the slow transition to the fall campaign, two of the three Dem frontrunners dissing Kweisi M’fume and the NAACP, big personnel shake up in the Liberman camp and Dick Gephardt’s machine slowly lurching to life.

J. So stand by to stand by while we get ready to kick this pig...

J. So while the Bush adminsitration is spinning out at home trying to figure out how to keep their political bacon out of the fire, the brave young men and women who are charged with carrying out this lemon of a foreign policy are now standing into danger for the failings of their civilian political masters.

Remember Afghanistan? Yeah, we pacified the hell out of that place, didn’t we. So much so, that the Taliban have regrouped in Eastern Pakistan and are becoming a force that could pose a serious threat to the fledgling U.S. backed government in Kabul.

According to CNN, In the past month, militants belonging to or affiliated with the Taliban have launched scores of rockets at U.S. military bases and detonated explosives in several Afghan cities. They have ambushed American and Afghan troops and torched newly rebuilt schools.

During the last week of June, Taliban combatants temporarily seized government offices in a remote part of Zabul province. On June 30 a Taliban operative planted an antipersonnel mine in a Kandahar mosque run by a pro-government cleric; the subsequent blast wounded 17 worshipers. The next day, an anti-Taliban mullah was killed by a shot to the head.

Now several of our allies in the region, such as Masood Khalili, once a leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and now Afghanistan's ambassador to India, are saying that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are now stronger than at any time since the U.S. invasion, and that Taliban recruits number in the thousands.

And now they are asking questions about the U.S. committment to maintaining the fragile peace that is quickly slipping away there.

The answer to that question is of course, that we moved on to Iraq. For weeks now, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been adamant in saying that the situation in Iraq was simply a little chaotic, as might be expected after a trauamtic and violent overthrow of the government.

But anytime anyone uttered the words “Guerilla War” in connection with the ongoing resistance to American occupation, Rummy would come unglued and claim that the asker knew nothing about guerilla insurgency and openly question their patriotism.

S. And yet, a statement this week from Gen. John Abizaid, the new chief of the U.S. Army’s Central Command, and the Iraq operation would indiciate otherwise: “midlevel Baathist, Iraqi intelligence service people, Special Security Organization people, Special Republican Guard people that have organized at the regional level in cellular structure [are] conducting what I would describe as a classical guerrilla-type campaign against us. It's low-intensity conflict, in our doctrinal terms, but it's war, however you describe it...But it is getting more organized, and it is learning. It is adapting, it is adapting to our tactics, techniques and procedures...”

So it’s official. The U.S. Army is once again engaged in a gurerilla war against a foe who is on familiar ground, has some nominal support in some parts of the country and is fighting in a way the Army was utterly unprepared for in a war made popular with the American people only by outright lies and omissions on the part of the Adminsitration.

Anyone with two synapses to rub together could have seen this one coming. We all knew it was going to get like this. And the only thing that has made it worse has been Rummy’s insistent denial that the Iraqis were anything but happy that American teenagers with guns were standing on every street corner.

Denial...that may be the key here. Perhaps an intervention is in order. Perhaps people need to go to Rummy and tell him, lovingly and in a non-judgmental way, that he has a problem and should seek help and that his denial is only getting in the way. Perhaps he should schedule a week of “tough love” at the Al Haig Home for Wayward and Delusional Public Servants, where he could get the help he needs.

Remember, only *I* statements. I think you you are a deranged ideologue..I know you jacked this whole thing up because you are an arrogant punk

The problem with these people is that they have all congregated together and support each other’s delusions in Washington, these days, and are not likely to engage in the type of intervention that Rummy needs. As we all know, when gathered together, the patients tend to conspire against therapy.

So this still leaves us with open ended committments in foreign countries, with no real strategies to help the people there, extract our own people or to bring in the international institutions necessary to bring these episodes to a optimum close for everyone involved. And in the meantime, the body bags keep coming home.

J. Every so often an incident happens that makes paranoids and conspiracists everywhere shout “AH-HA,we told you so!” Such an incident took place a few days ago to one Marc Schulz of the environs in and around Atlanta, GA.

There he was just minding his own business at the bookshop where he works, when he gets a call from his moms informing him that the FBI was at the house looking for him.

Without stealing too much of his own, very fine, narrative, the FBI came to his store and questioned him about what he was reading -- you got that *reading* -- because someone in a coffee shop thought he and his reading looked suspicious.

When he finally figured it out, it would seem that someone didn’t like his intellectual consumption of a web article criticizing FOXNews and the corporate influence on the American News Media. As of this date, he has not heard back from the FBI concerning his questioning, or why his reading would be of interest to them.

But moreover, why is the FBI running around chasing reports of people suspiciously *reading* things. It is difficult to think of a quicker way to quell debate and put a chill on public discourse than to have Elliot Ness and the Untouchables show up every time you pick up a copy of The Nation or log onto

And while he said the agents in question were polite, they made a point of letting him know that his reading material was very much their business and that a failure to cooperate would be the beginning of serious problems for the young man.

S. So would someone please explain to us here at the Mojowire how chasing down hippies in bookstores reading weblogs is going to keep us safe from Osama Bin Laden? The answer of course is that it won’t. But for some reason that doesn’t seem to matter.

No, the important thing is that all political dissidents and those who criticize the adminsitration, or their friends, it seems, have been targeted for official harassment and intimidation. It sends a signal to everyone, be careful of what you read in public, or some loser from Redneckistan might decide you look a little fishy and lob a call about you to Tom Ridge and the Justice League of America.

This is but one example of what might soon become the standard operating procedure in Ameirca, and our freedom to read and consume information might simply become part of an idealized past that no really believed ever existed.

This is part and parcel of a government not intent on protecting its citizens, but rather, intent on scaring them into compliance and complacency. And it begins with restricting the free flow of information. Forget passing laws against it, that would be too obvious and make too many people aware of the danger.

No, we start with the little things, like making sure you know that for your own safety, we are watching you, so you, in turn had better watch your own step.

Or in the words of Mr. Schulz himself: “My co-worker, Craig, says that we should probably be thankful the FBI takes these things seriously; I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees.

Then a spokesman for the FBI in Atlanta had this to say about your right to read: “In this post-911 era, it is the absolute responsibility of the FBI to follow through on any tips of potential terrorist activity. Are people going to take exception and be inconvenienced by this at times? Oh, yeah. ... A certain amount of convenience is going to be offset by an increase in security.”

That’s right, *terrorist activity,*-- reading now equals potential terrrorism in the eyes of the FBI. I would say, sleep tigh, but I am afraid that it only gets worse from here...

J. The strange and terrible case of Marc Schultz pales in comparison to the outright thuggery the Bush administration engages in when someone takes public issue with their many lies and fales assertions.

To begin with, let’s take a quick rundown of some of the more egregious examples of “reality negotiation:”

There was Bush's comic insistence in May that "We've found the weapons of mass destruction” when soldiers found an old tractor trailer that NSC people wanted to believe was a state of the art bioweapons lab.

What about the cost of the war, which the Bush administration insisted couldn't be estimated in advance but would be well below $100 billion? Larry Lindsey lost his job as chairman of the National Economic Council for blabbing to the Wall Street Journal that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion.

What about Bush lies about this year's tax cut? “My jobs and growth plan would reduce tax rates for everyone who pays income tax,” Bush said before Congress passed it. Not so! The Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center found 8.1 million taxpayers who would receive no tax cuts.

Or what about Ari Fleischer's denial (twice!) that Bush had come out against civilian nation-building during the 2000 presidential campaign? Why isn’t his nose the size of Bratwurst right now?

So what happens when those in the media and other areas of responsibility call out the Bush adminstration for their truth-challenged nature? Well, instead of a debate about facts, or policy ideology, apparently, Karl Rove, the President’s own vicious flesh-eating rodent, unleashes the wolverines and engages in mud-slinging that would have shamed Tameny Hall.

Let’s take a look at two examples of what happens when you cross Boss Rove: The stories regarding ABC correspondent Jeff Koffman who reported on unhappy American soldiers in Iraq, and former ambassador Joe Wilson, for blowing the lid off what is being called Niger-gate...

First, Jeff Koffman, covering the Third I.D. in Iraq did a story last week, rounding up some soldiers who, themselves are tired of being lied to, and let them vent their angst at Rummy and others for a few minutes of network air time.

Now, there were a couple of possible responses to this kind of story, such as spin-meistering with opposing viewpoints, refusing to comment, and so forth...but noooo... the play called by the Communications team was to break off a call to Matt Drudge, and drop the dime on Koffman to the king of yellow internet journalism.

So for many hours, the lead on the Drudge Report was the shocking assertions that not only is Koffman gay, but also...wait for it...a *Candadian*...

Now first off, “Gay?”, “Canadian?” Yeah...these people are just *stoopid* enough to think those are insults and damaging to credibility. We have no way of knowing whether it’s true or not, and more over, the technology has yet to be invented to measure our indifference to Koffman’s sexual-preference or nationality.

S. No, what’s important to the White House, though is that, some limp-wristed Canuck from the forces of evil at ABC News had infiltrated the Third Infantry Division and tricked these soldiers into saying horrible things about America and calling for Rummy’s resignation.

Now this little episode pales in comparison to the public degradation heaped upon Amabassador Wilson. This was the guy tasked by the NSC to go check out the Niger uranium story. When he came back and gave them the bad news that it was all a fairytale, he believed the issue to be dead.

Imagine his surprise when the story ended up in the State of the Union anyway and often quoted by the likes of Dick Cheney as a reason for going to war. Then when the Ambassador went public here a couple of weeks ago to let people know that this was all complete bollocks, the administration again took the offensive.

After causing some embarassing questions for the White House, someone in the West Wing placed a call to one of their favorite little pundit-stooges, Bob Novak from the Chicago Sun Times, who proceeded to downplay the whole thing as a nepotism based affair instigated by Wilson’s wife, whom he identified as a deep-cover CIA operative.

Memo to Bob: get on the web and check out a little thing called 50 USC 421, also known as the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. That’s right, your honor, tell Bob and his friends in the West Wing what they could win. They could be the proud winners of a fines of up to $50,000 and/or up to ten years in prison.

Some crank in the Communications bull pen who thinks he’s John Erlichman, put Wilson’s wife in deadly danger, whether she’s an operative or not, because he blew the whistle on the administration. Or as Wilson says: “Stories like this are not intended to intimidate me, since I've already told my story. But it's pretty clear it is intended to intimidate others who might come forward. You need only look at the stories of intelligence analysts who say they have been pressured. They may have kids in college, they may be vulnerable to these types of smears.”

If you were ever looking for the perfect object lesson of how this administration reacts to criticism or whistle blowing, then this is it. Getting their hand picked low-brows in the nation’s op-ed pages to go after anyone who challenges the official party line is how these people govern.

Is there anyone who really thinks this is the appropriate way for a democratically elected government in a republic to act? Well, perhaps people are starting to notice, if the play these stories are getting is any indication.

Remember, regime change begins at home.

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 Baghdad by the Bay…take it away S9…

S9 Greeting from free space, fellow travellers. While the Earth continues rotating outside the windows of the main bay here on S9 Station, we've noticed that some things on the ground in the U.S. economy are changing direction these days. And we're not alone.

This week, the waveform of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan, made its semiannual collapse in the chambers of the House Banking Committee to give testimony about what the American central banking cabal is willing to say in public, and to allow Congress-critters to grandstand about the economic policies of the opposition party. As you might know, the Investing Class tends to be about as fanatical about watching Greenspan testify as the Working Class tends to be about watching football games, except the Investing Class has hooligans who can do some real damage when their teams lose.

Greenspan's latest testimony has him saying with a straight face that the threat of deflation is "remote," and also that the continuing fall in the rate of inflation should be interpreted as "effective price stability" rather than a sign of significant risk of "negative inflation" in the future. He *did* admit that central bankers need to be mindful to "prevent inflation from falling too low," but *that* is where the comedy begins.

The June inflation numbers are in from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they show that inflation is down by about a whole point from the previous year, from two percent to a little under one percent. So one has to ask, how low is too low?

The sports fans who closely follow his excellency Greenspan all know that he's an orthodox monetarist who believes that the deflationary spiral of the Great Depression was caused-- and could have been prevented by-- the Federal Reserve exercising control over monetary policy. And he continues to cling to this orthodoxy because it conveniently offers an alternative explanation for events predicted by his mentor Milton Friedman's long-dead arch-nemesis in the Economics
department, the wizard John Maynard Keynes.

Some history. The monetarist orthodoxy supplanted Keynesian theory in America and Britain when the stagflation of the 1970's hit and seemed to show a fundamental flaw in Keynesian theory. Thus, Friedman and his clones became the new big men on campuse. Except the reality of the
1970's didn't show any such flaw in Keynesian theory, and the monetarists didn't really have a coherent alternative-- but that didn't matter so much. What mattered was that John Maynard Keynes was dead dead dead. Long live the monetarists. Great fun for the viewers at home.

The relationship between reality and orthodoxy is often only to be found in the eye of the unbeliever. And, as fans of the late science-fiction author Philip K. Dick will remind you, "reality is that which, when you ignore it, doesn't go away." Greenspan and his clones may be about to learn the critical distinction between what will-- and what will not-- "go away" when you ignore it.

The thing in the economy that continues to not go away-- no matter how much the Investing Class would like to pretend-- is the economy's continuing failure to respond to their favorite policies for
stimulating economic growth, i.e. pushing on the rope with interest rate cuts, ludicrous tax breaks for the idle rich, and a fetishistic obsession with maintaining price stability even to the exclusion of
swings in supply and demand. All classic monetarists’ snake oil, and the Investing Class is completely snowed by it.

That's why it's such a shame that the Working Class doesn't seem to be keeping a close eye on their bankers. If they did, there'd be no denying reality when the Chairman appears before Congress. Pretending that the risk of "negative inflation" is still as remote *this* year as it was *last* year-- when the inflation rate has fallen by 50% in the intervening time-- is a bad sign the Chairman is not aware of what is dangling on the end of his fork.

Stay tuned to this channel, space adventurers. This rant will be continued, when we will analyze what it means that Bush Administration forecasts a record high budget deficit for this year.

Should be fun for the whole family.

MojoWire for 07/19/03

J. Now here’s one from the education president for you... The man who wants to leave no child behind is cutting $270 million from federal student aid Pell Grants, with a new formulation that will axe 84,000 college kids from financial aid, and effectively prevent them from starting or continuing college.

The report by the Congressional Research Service, the research branch of Congress, also said that when the cuts take effect in 2004-05, hundreds of thousands of students will have their awards cut, to the point where it amounts to the same thing as preventing them from going to college.

So let me get this straight, at a time when college tuitions are raising, 30 percent next year at University of California campuses, for instance, one of the few programs that allow kids to stay in school will be cut, leaving hundreds of thousands of them to hit the streets with no college degree at a time when unemployment is skyrocketing.

This is the work of the education president? Is this what Republicans mean when they say they want to leave no child behind? When they talk about education, and esepcially higher education being the cornerstone of a successful life, then turn around and pull a stunt like this, what are we supposed to think?

It would be interesting to see how this works in terms of demographics and race. Of course, race is a tricky subject, we’re not supposed to talk about race anymore, are we? But as long as we’ve gamed the system, we can cut things without ever mentioning race, and walk away clean, but with the knowledge of a goal accomplished.

What is the agenda here? It’s not like balancing the budget is a priority of this administration to begin with, so what’s the deal? Someone cynical might say that there is an old Republican idea brought from the days of old that the hallowed halls of higher education should only be for those of means and the right surnames.

But in one sense it would be naive to pretend that this aimed strictly at minorities. This is aimed at all poor people in Ameirca. People whom this administration looks upon as nothing but fodder. That’s right, copper-top, blow off those classes, your time in academia is just about over. It’s back to your cocoon on the generation grid for you, Dick Cheney needs more electricity.

Because a widely educated middle class is more than capable giving the boot to a corrupt chief executive and the criminally insane cronies and thugs he has surrounded himself with.

S. And while we’re on the subject of a broad, well-educated middle class, when, exactly, did we decide that dumbing down our nation by making higher education more unavailable than it already is, will pave the path to a strong nation with good paying jobs and a healthy economy?

Did I miss that meeting? Was there a memo I was supposed to sign for? What particular school of socio-economic theory states that the creation of an undereducated, dispirited, poorly-payed working class is what will keep America strong into the next century?

It just strikes us as common sense that helping American teenagers pay for college is an infrastructure issue. This is an investment in the intellectual power of our country. This current generation is going to have to pay for their parents Social Security, and they aren’t going to make that bill flipping burgers or cleaning offices. I hear the spice mines of Kessell have a fine health plan. All the black lotus you want..Stygian ...the best!

Federal Pell Grants allow a sizeable portion of the college students in this nation to finish school. Investing in the higher education of American youth is how our country makes its future, its doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, journalists, scientists, astronauts, and I’m sorry, but unless there is some super secret elite inbreeding program designed to populate the earth with the seed of a few privileged bloodlines, then we are going to start running out of people with the education necessary to qualify them for a lot of these jobs.

I guess it just goes to show that no matter how much lipstick they put on that sow, the elitism of the Republican agenda will always be visible. This is the reality of the future they plan for America, as separated from the carnival barking rhetoric of their greasy sales pitch.

But if we dumb down the population enough, then perhaps, just perhaps, George Bush really *will* be the most qualified man to lead America in a time when the king is the one who just dosen’t soil himself.

J. We begin this week’s presidential round up with our standard disclaimer. We are Howard Dean supporters. We have been since January. That’s right bandwagon, we have been there since the beginning. So expect us to give props to the Doctor and run his opponents like chimps.

First, Gov. Dean got some nice run last week from the Associated Press’ Ron Fournier who did a pretty decent piece on the Dean campaign. It looks like he is starting to shed some of the “too-liberal-too-be-elected” label that many on the far right have been trying to tie on him.

Following him around, Fournier noticed that Dean has tapped into wells of Democratic voter discontent and that his fiery message, especially regarding the war, is now being tempered and expanded with more references to his record as a pro-business moderate, who still managed to work for and accomplish traditional democratic programs like universal health care, civil rights for gays and lesbians and a strong environmental protection regimen.

So it looks like the media are treating Dean as if he is for real. So as many say, now the hard part starts for the Dean camp.

Dick Gephardt made some headlines this week after returning to the labor activists who have kept him in Congress for so long. He is now playing to his strengths, with a major rip on other candidates for backing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Gephardt Conaned his way through the Democratic field, claiming that Kerry and Dean are merely shills for corporate American and want to ship all American jobs overseas where they will be performed by retired circus midgets living in dark basements eating bioluminscent lichens and moss for a 1/2 a scheckel a day.

It probably remains to be seen right now if the this message is going to get a lot of play, as most of the economic damage currently seems be coming from economic contraction, rather than a shift of resources.

Then three Democrats, Gephardt, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucnich have been declared non-corpreal entities by the NAACP. Their questionable ability to proclaim people into non-existence not withstanding, how did these three manage to enrage the leadership of the organization?

Simply by deciding they were too cool, busy or secure in their positions to come the Florida meeting of the group last week. Kweisi M’Fume declared the trio persona non grata in the black community.

Well, schedules were rearranged at the last minute and hurried red-eye flights to Florida were booked and the three each made mea culpas in front of the NAACP. But it really begs the question: Is it really amateur night in the Democratic Party? You might expect a move like this from an inexperienced operator like Dean (who attended), but from Gephardt and Lieberman?

Sure neither of them may have any real use for African-Americans beyond waiting tables in the House and Senate galleys, but to be that callously stoopid or just plain inattentive is nearly inexcusable in Democratic politics.

S. And at the same time, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was on the Chicken-in-Every-Pot tour through Iowa. Among his proposals were a $5,000 tax credit for first time home buyers and a $50 billion aid package to states.

Of his various proposals, aid to the states probably made the most immediate sense. States are so financially bent right now, that just about any money whatsoever would be welcome. This is a message that might start to resonate with voters watching their streets crumble into dirt, their schools fall apart and police and fire departments holding bake sales for gear, while the states are sell property tax increases to voters because the Federal government has all but cut them off.

Then there was a bit of a shake up in the halls of the Joe Lieberman campaign this week, as his two top gun fundraisers, Shari Yost and her deputy Jennifer Yoacham, bailed out on the Connecticut Senators incipient run for the roses.

Yost was being paid $20,000 a month to raise money, and when she was asked to take a 20 percent pay cut, she decided the indignity was all too much. Memo to Yost: When your guy is the number one fundraiser, you can pull that kind of act. When you are number five of nine, then you have no game and your bargaining position went down to zero.

So what is the deal here, is Lieberman actually running for President or not? We can’t quite decide if he is serious. Most of the time, it just doesn’t seem like his heart is in this thing. Perhaps it’s some weird pathology that makes a person keep running over and over again, until they are whisked away by men with white coats to the Barry Goldwater Home for Delusional Political Candidates...

But arguably the best part of this is the whole spin placed on this by his communications machine. Let this one speak for itself, from the Washington Post: “Lieberman's press secretary, Jano Cabrera, described the personnel changes as part of an effort to "build on that success" of fundraising in the second quarter "and tighten our expenses at the same time.”

Only in politics could a major reorganization, staff ejection and lack luster fund raising be labled as building on success. But such is politics...

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Allowing people to just read any old thing means the Terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “What’s in your hand hippy? What is that? A book? Huh? What is that!?”

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.

And remember, you can now email the Mojowire at, that’s

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, July 12, 2003

Mojowire for 7/12
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, July 12, and here’s 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...don’t mind the hyena behind the curtain. While you are all fixating on whether the Bush administration is a bunch of rank liars or merely incompetent boobs, their Republican cronies in Congress are fighting to destroy American’s overtime pay and medical malpractice regulations.

J. But at the same time, let’s not forget the main news of the past two weeks. The Bush Administration lied about Iraqi nuk-u-leer weapons procurement, and now the administration’s hacks don’t know which way to turn and their allies in Congress are starting to ask some uncomfortable questions.

S. Democrats have some uncomfortable questions of their own regarding Iraq right now that have nothing to do with Iraqi space-based doomsday planet-killing weapons. The occupation is looking to cost the American taxpayers far more than the Administration’s original “highball” estimates and Democratic representatives are starting to find a string to pull.

J. Then the good Doctor Strychnine brings the funk that after telling “Old Europe” to go stick their head in a pig, vis a vis Iraq, we now have to go begging to get them commit some troops to the cause so that maybe some of our guys can come home soon. Yeah...that’s gonna work.

S. Next, it’s time for the Mojowire to take a look a little more locally at the clusterfraggle that is the recall drive to oust California Governor Gray Davis. The Republicans are willing to spend millions of dollars the state doesn’t have to try to overturn a legitimate election and run an accused criminal to fill a job he has no experience in.

J. And then we bring this week’s presidential primary round up with reports on Howard Dean breaking into the top tier, John Kerry jumping on the anti-war bandwagon and finally, only one in three Americans can name a Democratic presidential candidate according to a CBS poll this week, but the name they blurt out most often is Dean.

S. So stand by to stand by while we get ready to kick this pig...

J. I know we’re all fascinated by the Bush Adminsitration’s national security team currently eating itself in a fit of pique over who knew what and when, and as much as we would like to fixate on the train wreck of foreign policy currently sliding to a halt, there are a couple of fights taking place here at home you might want to be aware of.

Congressional Republicans are currently planning to subject the middle class to the death of a thousand cuts. First it’s your overtime, then medicare reimbursements, then perhaps a regressive tax that can never be cut because they still have to fund a military and homeland security industrial complex machine to astronomical levels, and God forbid the wealthiest Americans should have to pay for it.

In spite of all its pro-patria mom and pop, apple pie rhetoric, it’s you Mr. and Mrs. American Heartland who are going to take this one in the shorts for the Bush family’s rich pals and their handpicked servents in Congress.

On the surface, adding about 1.3 million Americans to the rolls of those who can receive overtime pay seems like a good thing, until you realize that it’s a Republican proposal and then you start looking for the switch from the bait.

In this case, it’s a redefinition that allows companies to exempt so-called white collar workers and others in quote: “positions of responsibility” from receiving any overtime whatssoever.

The upshot, according to House Dems is that actual adjustment will be a loss of nearly 650,000 jobs with access to overtime. And of course, with the White House making this vote a test of loyalty, the nominally the populist joe-sixpack union Republicans found themselves in a tough spot, but not tough enough to keep them from voting to screw their constitutents.

Then at the same time the Administration has been pushing for new medicare malpractice awards caps that would allow insurance companies to skate on their responsibilities. The bill would have capped total damages, economic and pain and suffering at around $500,000.

Now, fortunately, there is some good news. The Democrats in the Senate manage to drive a stake into this thing and send it back to the nether regions from whence all bad legislation originates. But don’t worry, like any good horror movie monster, we *promise* you’ll be seeing this one again.

S. Look, doctors make mistakes. The question should be what is a legitmate process for a citizen to exercise to seek redress and what is a legitimate risk for a doctor to run in terms of making an error? Everytime a doctor makes a mistake are we going to sue him into debtor’s prison? No, it’s a more complicated issue than that.

My real problem here is that its argued strictly as an economic question, rather than a medical/ethical question. Really, you have two ridculous points of view. First, everytime I go to the ER I should have no risk? Look, doctoring is hard, There’s a *reason* you have to go to school for the better part of 10 years to become a *basic* MD.

On the other hand, somtimes there are just horrible doctors, and they should be sued, and it keeps the medical industry on watch for bad practices and practitioners because the stakes in medical care are so high.

But really, the problem the Congress is being asked to consider is not a medical question or even an ethical question. It’s not even really a question for doctors or patients. It’s a question for insurance companies who bet their pensions on that craps table of a American stock market.

And when the dice came up snake eyes, they covered their bets by taking it out on doctors and by extension, their patients. And the malpractice insureres were able to concoct this scheme to cover their compulsive betting because their boys on the hill will be there to carry that water, at the cost of medical care for the American public.

I don’t mind insurance companies managing their risk, that’s their job. But that’s not what they have been doing. They have been engaging in egregious financial risk taking. Risks they’d never back themsleves for that fact, and then insisting others pay their freight when their hair-brain Rube Goldberg investment schemes blow up in their face like a handful of the Coyote’s Acme Rocket-Powered Jet Packs...

One could also make the argument that the quality of health care delivery is really the question and that is what the debate should be about, instead of cost. And if we can’t afford the cost, perhaps we should be talking about that: How much should quality health care cost and how can we pay for it?

J. You know, this is becoming almost as old for us as it must be for you... There is no way you can have tuned into any major media this week without hearing some Bush Administration flunky trying to spin the whole “Oh God, we didn’t know the intel was faulty” story.

The odd part is that the rest of us seemed to have no problem in getting that information. Tell us Mr. President? How is that just a couple of regular joes like Sean and I can sit here comfortable in the knowledge that assertions of a reconsitututed Iraqi nuk-u-leer program were complete nonsense while somehow this tid bit of critical info seemed to get under the radar when your guys were in the decision making process for the war on Iraq?

I’m sorry Mr. President, was Spongebob Squarepants on at the same time Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei was addressing the UN and denouncing the U.S.’s evidence of Iraqi nukes as “rank forgeries?”

Oh...that’s right I forgot, weapons of mass destruction were not the reasons for the war. So all that stuff about the imminent threat Iraq posed to the United States was...what again exactly?

You know, that’s really the best part of this. Watching the administration which has been getting a pass from their co-conspirators in Congress and certain media, in destroying the American way of life, start to feel the branch creek a bit.

You can simultaneously watch CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews, CBN, The Daily Show, SciFi and the GameShow Network and see Administration officials all saying contradictory things: “ was the Brits fault....err, we didn’t really say that...err it wasn’t about WMD...err, we’ll find the nukes yet...err, it was Condie’s fault...”

And yet, as the media hype really began to spool up Thursday and Friday, George Tenet, Director of the CIA and good soldier, stepped forward and took the bullet for the administration, stating publicly that his guys vetted the comments, even in spite of misgivings they had about the accuracy of the reports.

Now...hold on a moment. It was just in May, if memory serves, that Tenet was pig-bitin’ mad when the first questions about the lack of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were being asked and Condi, Colin, Rummy and Wolfy were all casting aspersions on the gang in the basement at Langely.

But if you will remember from late May, word around the campfire inside CIA was that the agency’s ombudsman had received complaints of external pressure to politicize the final work product of the agency and to spin it in favor of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

S. The complaints specifically stated that administration policy wags were applying pressure as late as early 2002 for analysts to come to the polically correct conclusions about Iraqi weapons.

This caused Tenet to make a rare public comment, saying as reported by the Mojowire May 31, “integrity of our process was maintained throughout...we call it like we see it.”

Moreover, one analyst actually testified before Congress about a three weeks ago that he was explicitly pressured by superiors on orders from the White House to make a case for going into Iraq based on the danger posed by non-existent chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Well, apparently Tenet will now call it as it is shown to him by Karl Rove and the rest of the gang in the West Wing who know they will be barely qualified to run the tilt-a-whirl at the local traveling carnival if it were not for this cushy gig...

Regardless, the Administration is either full of boobs or liars...either way, they are trashing the credibility of the United States in the eyes of the rest of the world. The only possible upside will be that the credibility gap will extend to the voters about 18 months from now.

But in the meantime, Gen. Tommy Franks who officially retired in a grotesquely inflated display of pageantry last week, broke the bad news to ma and pa kettle back in the heartland, that Junior and cousin Jed aren’t likely to be back in time for the harvest later this summer.

No, in fact, Franks, said that as a parting gift to the U.S. military men and women he lead, he is leaving them witha bare minimum four-year committment in Iraq, and possibly even longer.

J. You know, $35 billion just doesn’t seem to go as far today as it used to. For instance: $35 billion will by you 17 and a half years operations of our national parks, seven years of ops at the National Cancer Institute or FBI, about three and half years worth of pollution control or foreign aid, two and half years of NASA, farm subsidies or student aid.

Or, it will buy you nine months guarding trash heaps in downtown Bagdad.

That’s right, the first nine months of the war and occupation has been pegged to cost about $35 billion with a running total for occupation of about $4 billion a got that...per month!

That is $2 billion a month more than what the congress was being told to expect on the high end for this. And what’s the reason? According to the comptroller of the Pentagon: “This is just refelecting the reality of the situation there.” Funny, we had no problem recognizing this was going to be the reality of the situtation. Again, the Bush Administration has engaged in crass stoopidity or mendacious sleight of hand or both... you choose.

You know, our favorite part of this is the assumption that once the Iraqi’s oil industry is back on line, they will be able to defray our costs. Unfortunately, the Iraqi oil industry is at best worth about $15 to $20 billion a year, according to Bush’s people, and that assumes no more sabortage or technical problems.

That would still be less than half of about what we are expecting to spend for a full year of occupation. And that’s without the additional cost of further adventures across the forbidden zones into Iran or Syria, God forbid.

Two issues: First, the adminsitration has consistently lowballed the anticipated costs prior to the beginning of the war. Anyone remember when the $100 billion figure was considered a goofy leftist attempt at discredting the war effort? Now, $100 billion is starting to look like it might end up being a bargain...

S. And, two: despite the escalating cost of the war, there has been no talk of altering the tax cuts to help cover the costs. There has been no attempt whatsoever to deal with the budget implications of the war. It’s as if the President goes to sleep with a .50 caliber shell under his pillow once a month and wakes up with another 30 day’s worth of occupation operations funds from the supply-side fairy.

Who is going to pay this freight. It’s going to be us. The people who don’t constribute the huge money to the Republican electoral machine. We are going to be the ones to see increases in our state taxes, our income taxes, our property taxes. We will be the ones who need government services like social security, medicare, federal highway funding, EPA pollution mediation and clean up, headstart and school lunches, student aid for college students...

Kiss it all goodbye...And here’s the really bad news for the Bush administration: “It is a lot more than I expected," said Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee. "Obviously the Iraqi occupation is bogging down, and the cost is substantially higher than we were earlier advised. So the problems are mounting, and I got a real earful from parents of soldiers when I got home about the lack of a plan for the postwar.”

The folks at home are starting to get a little concerned, not only about when their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisiters might be coming home, but also about where is the next meal or rent check coming from in an economy that is tanking on jobs and growth at an exponential rate.

And it is here that the President is most politically vulnerable, having demonstrated nothing but utter contempt for real economic planning or domestic policy, which is apparently all being done now by speechwriters.

And in the meantime, we will sink tens of billions of dollars into a country that never wanted us there in the first place, that never posed a threat to us and who’s situation we were completely unprepared for.

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 Baghdad by the Bay…take it away S9…

S9 Greetings once again from 122 degrees West longitude, fellow space adventurers. You will be pleased to know that, here on the Mojohaus Satellite of Ultrafunk, we have not been distracted by any of the recent scandals, for example the ones surrounding the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the allegations that he might be a mole for British MI-5. (How else to explain his failure to cover the President's yabahoes during that fateful State of the Union speech earlier this year?)

Oh no. *We've* been keeping our eyes glued to the scanners, and we're not about to be taken in by any neo-con nonsense aimed at distracting us from how the President and his League of Extraordinary Gentry are racking up demerits in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf with an
ongoing parade of incompetence, indecision, denial, deception and fraud.

Sure, the President relied on bad intel to make his case for going to war. He's been forced to admit he shouldn't have made that claim about Nigerian uranium. He really hopes you won't notice the nine million other bald-faced lies he and his people told Congress and the rest of America in the pitch for Operation Iraqi Fried Chicken.

But if you *do* notice those, that's okay-- because they'll have stories for them too. I'll tell you where they are really vulnerable: the live-fire weapons testing program in Iraq is quickly turning into a pit of quicksand, where the only way to pull out the troops that are already there... is to send in more troops, and to risk *them* becoming trapped in the quicksand too.

The Third Infantry Division has been in the Gulf since the beginning of the major escalation. For months, they and their families have been jerked around mercilessly over when their people will be rotated out. The latest news from Darth Rumsfeld is the Third will be leaving Iraq soon. One brigade is in Kuwait now, and the other two are due to leave in August and September. And there is still no official plan for rotating any of the other troops out and finding replacements.

And that's what's really missing in the explanations from Imperial High Command: how the nearly 20,000 troops in the Third Infantry will be replaced. Because the secret war-winning strategy of Richard Nixon, i.e. finding a way to Iraqi-fy the war and reduce troop strength with dignity by replacing the Americans with an indigenous force-- well, let's just say that plan is still in the Dream-On stages. It will take until the end of this year before even the most optimistic plans have a
homegrown Iraqi Army ready to take over from the Coalition forces. And the estimates are for only 1000 Iraqi troops when the Army comes online. Twelve thousand troops one year later.

Currently, the Donald is telling us that he is confident that the U.S. will be able to pressure key allies-- including France and Germany, I jive you not-- to send "peacekeepers" to Iraq numbering up to 30,000 by early fall this year. Uh huh.

How sick is that? The cost of the occupation in Iraq is currently running almost four billion dollars a month, more than double what the White House was willing to forecast before the war began (and getting them to come up with even that was like pulling teeth), and now Rumsfeld says Uncle Sam will have to hump around to the little pissant countries in the Coalition of the Willing, offering phat bribes on behalf of the American taxpayer to get them to send their troops to the Baghdad heat so that American reservists and active duty soldiers can rotate home on leave.

If you want to know why we think the situation on the ground in Iraq is deteriorating, you needn't look any further than the continuing roll call of winners in Killed By Hostile Fire lottery. If the security and infrastructure in Iraq is supposed to be improving like Paul Bremer swears is happening, then why are the guerillas still finding safe harbor among the civil population? Why are they graduating from small arms to rocket propelled grenades and mortars? Why are the huge
rewards being offered for capture of Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction failing to attract any takers? Why do the G.I.'s keep dying while doing mundane duty?

The administration knows that the situation in Iraq can only grow worse without escalating the troop committment, yet it remains religiously committed to the idea that they can just buy mercenaries from countries like Poland and Italy without having to cut any straight up deals with
NATO or the United Nations. Yeah. Let me go out on a limb here and make a prediction: this plan isn't going to work.

I've used this metaphor before, but it's time to use it again. In its foreign policy, the White House continues to act like Wile E Coyote, lighting off matches in dark rooms full of open powderkegs. One has to ask, how many episodes of this particular cartoon do we have to watch before we all figure out that the Coyote is never ever going to catch the Road Runner.

As many as it takes, apparently, and not one more than that.

J. Let’s see if this sounds party loses an election and instead of trying to work within the existing framework of government decides that their lust for power is all encompassing and start abrogating and bending the rules to make sure the result comes out in their favor. No, we’re not talking about the Clinton impeachment. We’re talking about something a little closer to home.

Republicans, frustrated by the fact that they didn’t have a live human being to run for Governor last year against Gray Davis have decided they want to refight the election by recalling Davis and having a new vote because they lost.

Let’s just get into this one right here and now. This is an abuse of the process. Memo to the GOP...we won, you lost -- *twice* now actually -- deal with it scrubs!

We have gubentorial elections every four years, so feel free to cull through the ranks of the undead and genetically damaged hillbillies you call a political party for someone with at least enough of the requisite body parts and an eighth grade education to trot out in front of the California voters in 2006.

But that’s not good enough for them, though. Noooooooo...after their friends in the energy business practically bankrupt the state, they want to blame it on the Democrats, then screw the budget process with a minority holding the state hostage, just so they can get their guy in office to do it to us all over again.

Yeah...sure, sign me up for that... just make sure you give me cab fare for the ride home in the morning.

And let’s come correct about this. This is the doing of only two or three people. One of which is George Bush’s hatchet man and chief fixer in California, Diamond Jim Brulte out in Rancho Cucamonga.

Diamond Jim has been ghosting around the halls of power for years, breaking knees and counting coup looking for his ticket to the big time. Well, that time needs to be now, because unless he’s ready to run for City Council in Fontana, he’s about to have to take up residence in private sector after being termed out of office.

For those keeping score at home, Diamond Jim is the guy who told his colleagues that any Republican who as much as thinks about working with the Democrats and Davis on the budget stalemate, he will personally space them out of the airlock. Any GOP assemblymember or senator even dreams of good bipartisan cooperation in government they had best wake up and apologize to Brulte.

S. Diamond Jim, who bears a striking resemblence to Jabba the Hutt if he was dressed by pathetic Eurotrash fashion victims was hoping for a ride on the escape saucer once W. won, but alas, he couldn’t deliver the goods, so he will remain here in purgatory until he figures out how to help the Republican Party recover from the train wreck it has become in this state for the past decade.

But help may be on the way in the person of Rep. Darrell Issa. The two term Vista congressman and business genius that brought us behind the Viper talking car alarm system has been the primary bankroller of the effort to oust Davis. And lo and behold, he also has an official campaign committee to run for governor himself in the event of a recall, even though he was swearing on a stack of bibles to anyone with a camcorder that being governor is the farthest thing from his mind.

But the word of this guy is perhaps a bit suspect. For instance. Several years ago, he and his brother, who is currently doing time, were implicated in a car theft ring. We’ll leave it to you the wireheads to contemplate the irony of the car alarm magnate being implicated in grand theft auto.

However, even before that, he was also charged with weapons violations, although never convicted. So I guess business connections still count for something in this state.

So this is the guy, along with Jim Brulte and a small cadre of GOP goofballs and outright facists who want to spend $30 to $50 million on a special election to overturn a legitimately elected governor. Davis isn’t accused of a crime, or malfeasance. They just don’t like him or his politics.

So instead of waiting around for the next election cycle, they want him out now. And they are willing to spend that money in the face of a $40 billion budget deficit to get it. And should Issa or The Terminator manage to replace Davis, we will still be no closer to solving our problems, only tens of millions more in debt. And we will have created a national electoral joke out of California to rival the 2000 Florida vote recount.

And of course the great joke of the whole thing is that all you need is a few hundred signatures to get yourself on the ballot as a gubanetorial choice. So be prepared for Gov. Stripper or Gov. Druid to be in charge in Sacramento this time next year because the GOP couldn’t accept a legitimate election and they had to go have their own.

J. We begin this week’s presidential round up with our standard disclaimer. We are Howard Dean Supporters. We have been since January. That’s right bandwagon, we have been there since the beginning. So expect us to give props to the Doctor and run his opponents like chimps. start off, it looks like Dean has finally broken into the upper tier of candidates by an impressive second quarter fund raising performance and strategic success on the internet by pulling in tens of thousands of supporters and volunteers nationwide.

Dean ended his $7.5 million quarter, which by the way, utterly eclipsed all other Democratic fund raising efforts, by bringing in $800,000 in a 24 hour period. The only person ever to do better was Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries, raising $1 million in the same period, and that was only after winning a primary election in New Hampshire.

So Dean is now officially the real thing. Not just a fluke, not an “abberation” as many in the centrist, establishment, quasi Republican wing of the Democratic party. His message is strong, and he is presenting a vision of American led by people of strong moral purpose and unshakable political courage. Who knew, that sort of thing actually may play with American voters.

Next, we have a report on John Kerry getting on the anti-war bandwagon. That’s right, this is guy along with Dick Gephpardt who voted to send your friends and family to war, is now saying that the Bush administration is bungling the aftermath.

News flash Senator, this is exactly what we Americans were telling you would happen when you voted to approve the use of force resolution in the first place, numbnuts.

S. And at the same time, Kerry is staking out other brave positions, such as we need to be less dependent on forieign oil (although he refuses to take a stand on domestic wilderness drilling) and that marriage should only be between men and women.

The funny part being that Kerry still brushes off questions about Howard Dean like he’s not really running, in spite of polls showing him in a statistical dead heat with the former Vermont Governor in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s the old school of “if I ignore it long enough, it will magically go away,” a little like the Bush approach to the current economic news.

Finally in the round up this morning, it turns out, according to a CBSNews poll that only one in three Americans can name a Democratic candidate running for President next year. However, the name the spit out most often when they do know is Howard Dean.

But in a larger sense, what is this saying about the American body politic? Have we really lost? Are we really a nation of utterly apathetic, self-obssessed me-monkeys with no care in the world about anything outside our immediate six-square feet of space we occupy?

It had better not be, because if that really is the case, then we are doomed as a nation and it won’t matter. Now is the time to get charged up. Now is the time to get involved. Now is the time to get mad as hell and decide that you are through leaving your future up to others. It’s your life, your community, your country, get out there and do something about it.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Paying our nation’s bills means the Terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “SLEEEEEP! SLEEEEEEEEEEP!”

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.

And remember, you can now email the Mojowire at, that’s

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...