Saturday, September 27, 2003

MojoWire for 09/27/03

J. Well, in place of the horror of Strychnine this week, we offer some enlightening tidbits that may have portents beyond just their immediate facts. Two things happened last week in Congress that people might take cheer from.

First, Ohio Rep., and Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich turned up the heat this week on the Patriot Act in the House of Representatives by introduing the Ben Franklin True Patriot Act.

According to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the new legislation woud repeal parts of the Patriot Act that allow secret searches and wiretaps as well as detaining suspects indefinitely without meaningful judicial review, and that broaden the definition of what constitutes a terrorist group.
Kucinich's bill also would overturn laws that require airport screeners to be U.S. citizens, repeal Justice and Homeland Security department exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act and toss out a law that lets the FBI conduct undercover investigations of religious centers.

These were hallmarks of the legislation that have left a lot of people wondering about what sort of country Ashcroft wanted to be living in. And he still has never explained how denial of fundamental rights, such as Habeous Corpus makes Americancs any safer now than before 9.11.

This is the type of law you get from people who say they love America, but plainly can’t stand Americans.

Well, fortuantely, Kucinich and his friend have some love for Americans. The bill, introduced by Kucinich on Friday, had 20 co-sponsors right out of the gate, including Republicans, such as GOP mainstay Ron Paul of Texas. This legislation is the latest proposal in a string of Congressional moves that seek to put a leash on the dread Count Ashcroft and his feckless gang of spooks.

Back in July, if you will be recalled of it Wireheads, a generally good Republican Soldier, named Butch Otto, an Idaho Representative, went completly sideways on the Administration sponoring and getting passage 309 to 118 of legislation that repealed the Justice Apartment’s ability to execute secret search warrants and delay notifying the subjects of the search.

In case you needed proof that the Patriot Act, is indeed becoming a kitchen table issue and that regular constituents are writing their representatives about it, this is where that starts. On top of that, more than 150 U.S. cities have officially passed ordinances that either symbolically oppose the Patriot Act or outright prohibit the use of civic resources in its application.

S. But there’s more. Also on Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 to drive a final stake through the heart of John Poindexter’s blasphemous IT experiment, the Total Information Awareness program. The Senate voted to defund the project, which might sound tentative, but in legislative speak is what you do when in reality you are spacing something out the airlock.

“I've always said I believe that you can fight terrorism vigorously without cannibalizing civil liberties, and TIA did not meet that test,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who led the fight against TIA and related projects in the Senate. “Time and time again, the Defense Department sought to cross the line on privacy and civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. The appropriators have wisely chosen to end this program.”

The House approved the conference committee’s report to do the same thing by an curb stomping 407 to 15 vote just the day before.

If you will remember, the DARPA experiment with the darkside of IT was ostensibly a project to allow them to collect all manner of information about you without your knowledge and consent, and then use it to generate profiles of probable terrorist suspects.

Because, of course, this would have somehow prevented 9/11. We know this because John Ashcroft tells us so. Actually wait, he does not tell us so...not that much anymore at any rate. Funny thing has happened since his little Patriot-a-Palooza tour fizzled out in some dim circus tent back in a swamp somewhere in vast cheese dog and beer quaffing hinterlands.

He has apparently decided he will no longer talk to print reporters. That’s right, it’s now broadcast news or nothing from the AG. This was apparently word passed to many of the print slugs in the beltway recently that apparently the AG just feels he is not getting his message out efficiently thorugh them.

And is it any wonder? I mean, look at the editorial pages of nearly any national newspaper, with the exception of the sycophantic hillbillies who have taken over the once vaunted opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, and you will see that most of the print-opinion media speaks with one voice when it asks: “What the hell part of the Constitution did you *not* understand?” And few projects have been as universally panned in editorials as the now-smoldering remains of Total Information.

So it’s FOXNews or that hippy? But moreover, what does this move tell us? Think they’re worried that their little social science experiment is getting a big thumbs down from the rest of us who foot the bill?

Well, they should be worried. And when you start to see *this* Congress, which previous to this has evinced little interest in their executive branch oversight function, start taking open swipes at sacred cows like the dread Count Ashcroft and his punk minions and his pet Patriot Act, perhaps it’s time for some of those folks in the West Wing to start updating their resumes.

J. Now, more from the front lines in the administration’s glorious ongoing war against the world’s poorest people.

Back in 2001, one of the first things Bush did in office, after he finished urinating in all the corners, was reinstate Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Rule from 1984. Also known as the global gag rule, this prohibits family planning agencies from receiving any share of U.S. aid if they either provide any abortion-related services or counseling or lobby their nations to make or keep abortion safe and legal.

But still not satisfied, the Bush Administration last month toughened the policy by denying funds to American groups who went overseas to work with at-risk populations in they did not abide by the same gag rule.

Now reports are starting to come in that this policy is taking a deadly toll, mostly on those who were most dependent on a helping hand.

Surveys in developing African nations, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia and including some European nations such as Romania, show that health clinics are being forced to close because they will not tow the politically correct line from this administration.

The practical effect is that it is leaving millions of people, especially in the AIDS ravaged African countries without access to adequate contraceptives or health information regarding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

“The NGOs have also had to cut their staffing by as much as 30 percent, reduce services in remaining clinics and raise fees in order to remain viable,” reads a report from the Planned Parenthood Foundation released last week. “In Lesotho, one in four women is infected with HIV/AIDS -- one of the highest rates in southern Africa. Over a three-year period from 1998 to 2000, the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association received 426,000 condoms ... all donated by US Agency for International Development ... Because of their refusal to agree to the gag rule restrictions, they no longer receive USAID contraceptives.”

And this is especially hateful in light of the administration’s sanctimonious calls for a total campaign against AIDS in Africa. The President’s continued fa├žade of compassion is masking an uglier and deeper truth, however.

S. Remember that when most of us think about war, we think about death and destruction. When the Bush administration thinks about war, they see dollar signs.

So naturally, the idea is to follow the money. You might remember last week we had a quick mention of the phrase “10-40” countries. A Christian missionary term that describes their “war zone” the nations that mostly lie between 10 north and 40 south latitude.

These are the nations that Christian missionaries are most trying to penetrate. And we’re not talking about just general missionaries out doing what their faith earnestly commands them to do. We are talking about big business, such as World Vision and others.

In Sara Diamond’s seminal book Spiritual Warfare, she details a mid 80s explosion of missionaries from groups like World Vision (which has long been reported to have ties to the CIA), jumped dramatically, so that now, there are hundreds of thousands of missionaries from the largest organizations careening through these countries.

But that takes a lot of money to put those people in the field. And one major problem has always been funding. Many of these organizations get some nominal dollars from USAID, but because of the Separation Clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution, they can only get money under the most stringent of circumstances, and certainly not for prostletyzing.

But thanks to the multi-billion dollar effort of the Bush Administration, taken in concert with their gag rule and proposed faith based initiatives, this would start to funnel billions of tax payer money, virtually unaccountably into the capital machine of large organized religious institutions, who will have nearly free reign to use that money as they see fit.

And all they have to do is promise not to go around providing abortions or abortion information... We just love it when a plan comes together.

And in the meanwhile, in Kenya's Mathare Valley a clinic closed, leaving 300,000 people with no healthcare services with there is no other family planning or reproductive health clinic nearby because USAID won’t fund them for providing abortion services.

This is the real face of Bush's compassionate conservatism -- a war on the world's most vulnerable women and children, who bear the brunt of Bush's obsession with paying off his domestic political base.

J. This morning’s round up begins with yet another breakdown of a Democratic Candidate debate.
The Dems met in upstate New York at Pace University for what was the sharpest contest yet, and welcomed newcomer former Gen. Wes Clark to the party.

If the Pace debate was any indication, the gloves are starting to come off and most the Dems are going to revert into their vicious flesh-eating rodent forms from now until the primaries. As usual, Dean was the focus of most of the attacks, a sign that even the other candidates view him as a front runner.

He perfomed well, again, but watchers say he needs to polish up his act still further. And yet, how can you not look good when faux-Republicans like Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman start trying to compare you Newt Gingrich.

They can’t even run against George Bush, now they’re trying to run against the memory of two-bit political weasal like Gingrich? How desperate is that?

This elicited the best comeback of the night, though: “I'm ashamed you would compare me with Newt Gingrich. Nobody up here deserves to be compared to Newt Gingrich. ... We need to remember that the enemy here is George Bush, not each other.”

And then there was North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who’s own campaign is sinking quickly into oblivion, trotting out the “can’t we just get along” line, before throwing his own darts at Dean for opposing tax cuts.

But Doc, lines like: “You know, to listen to Senator Lieberman, Senator Kerry, Representative Gephardt, I'm anti-Israel, I'm anti-trade, I'm anti-Medicare and I'm anti-Social Security," he said. "I wonder how I ended up in the Democratic Party.” are going to end up in campaign ads, utterly out of context. We know you were being ironic, but come on, this is the big time, you can’t let ones like that slip out.

S. Wes Clark got the evenings get out of rhetorical hell free card. Most of the candidates, viewing him as an unknown quantity at this time more or less let him have his run at the podium.

Connecticut’s Sen Eyore, however, in a stunning display of cowardice, went after him with a vengeance *after* the debate when he was talking to reporters.

“I was fighting (Bush's) reckless economic strategy while Wes Clark was working to forward the Republican agenda by raising money for the Republican Party.”

True or not, Eyore, that was punk to try to get that run *after* the debate was over instead of bringing it up in the debate. That was the sort of thing we would expect from Republicans...oh wait...never mind.

Polls incidentally indicate that Kerry has closed to within 10 points of Dean in New Hampshire in the week or so since Clark got in the race, indicating that Clark could be having some effect on Dean’s base of support.

The acid test happens Tuesday, Sept. 30, though. That is the end of the quarter and a lot of the lower tier candidates, including possibly Eyore himself if the word around the campfire is to be believed, could pull the plug on their campaigns, deciding not to throw good money after bad.

Calculations will revolve around Clark and the fund raising ability of Dean. Expect to see Kucinich, Carol Mosley Braun, Al Sharpton, John Edwards and possibly Joe Lieberman pull the plug. Some might stay through the New Year, but not much beyond that.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Refusing to subsidize religious teaching means the Terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “No questions, I’m not taking any questions from you freekin’ people...”

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 Do it hippies!

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, September 20, 2003

Mojowire for 09/20   

MUSIC: Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
       Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

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

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, September 27, 2003, 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 cast a critical -- and might add, jaundiced -- eye at the President’s little soft shoe-stand up routine in front of the UN General Assembly. In spite of his best Dr. Mezmer line of “you are getting very sleepy...Sleeeeppp!” was only met with some half-hearted laughing from most of the rest of the world.

J. Next, we continue to ask the question: Where’s the David Kay report. For those who don’t know David Kay was the administration’s point man in Iraq who was going to come back with the good news that Rummy, Cheney and the gang had been right all along about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Well, he’s back, but the report doesn’t seem to be getting much play from the White House...hmmm...wonder why that might be.

S. California continues to hork up giant political hairballs. And yet, we continue to lick ourselves. Amazing! The latest was in two parts. An eighth grade shouting match broke out over the subject of the recall the other day. Of course we are referring to the 9th Circuit’s 11-judge panel reconsidering the court’s earlier decision to delay the recall untill March. What, did you think we were talking about the debate with Ahhnold? We wouldn’t insult eighth graders like that...

J. Normally, this would be the spot where we would announce this morning’s horror laden rant from the good Doctor Strychnine. But he is in the shop this week, undergoing intense ultraviolet radiation treatments in his Electro-Deluxe, Nitrate-Enriched, Dream Pyramid, and will be with us again next week. Instead, *we* actually have a spot of good news about civil liberties.

S. Then it’s back to the mines as we examine the results of the Bush Administration’s war on the world’s poor in the name of religious hackery. Remember war profiteering is not only for the Haliburton’s and Carlisle’s it’s also apparently for the religious right as well.

J. And in this week’s presidential round up, we look at the latest round of Democratic debates, and the further blustery flailing that is characterizing most of the D’s pack. Then we do a little handicapping and peer through the mists of the future to examine what the pack may look like in a couple weeks after the end of the quarter.

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

J. Once again, last week, our President decided to soil himself in public by getting up in front of the General Assembly of the United Nations and declaring in the first sentence that uttered from his lips that this whole Iraq thing can be linked to 9/11.

That’s right...just let that one sink in for a minute. After having his flunkies and various other hangers on careen around the halls of power last week telling people that they had no evidence of an Iraqi link to the Twin Towers attacks, Bush decided that the best way to get over on the UN was to disrespect those who died that horrible day by trotting out their memories for political gain when the rest of his mendacity could no longer buy him a call back from the rest of the world.

But he didn’t stop there, he went on, at some length, to describe the dire threat that Saddam Hussein and his Weapons of Mass Destruction presented to the rest of the world. And I know you are thinking to yourselves, would these be the same weapons that no one has been able to find and are continuing to elude all attempts to find?

You would be correct. And then he went on to describe how the people of Iraq are now free of a tyrannical ruler who tortured and killed his own people. But somehow, he forgot to mention that for many years he was raping, torturing and killing his own people and others with the tacit or at least wilful disregard of the United States.

And now, George W. comes to the UN, in all his self-righteous glory, to tell the rest of the world, that’s it’s okay, we’re big enough to let bygones be bygones, and if they still want to help us out with some stuff, we’ll let them.

You know, that UN writes a mean consititution and I hear they throw a pretty good election, too. Either way, if they still want to come to the party, we will be glad to acknowledge them.

Now, you want the truth of the matter? The war is costing far too much money, money we don’t have because our economy is currently swirling down the john, and our miitary is stretched to thin across the globe because, in spite of earlier victory pronouncements, we are still in the middle of a hot shooting war in Afghanistan, and could be faced with a conflict in North Korea.

Here’s the odd bit, though. The President makes big show of going to the UN, like he’s freekin’ Nixon visiting China, makes a bunch of prounouncement his own administration have even stopped saying out loud, and the basic message of his speech was “Ha Ha...Ha Ha Ha...Ha! Told you so!”

S. Arguable one of the sickest parts of this speech was the following take: “A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- and the means to deliver them -- would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. …We are determined to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from all our shores, and out of the hands of our common enemies...”

This coming from the President who has decided that we should unilaterally withdraw from weapons treaties, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, refusing to sign on the International Chemical Weapons Ban and other treaties are currently, in fact, in deep jeopardy as a result of
the Nuclear Posture Review of 2001.

These include such international favorites as The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (which is itself a revision of several prior treaties), The Fissile Materials Disposition Treaty, the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

While the U.S. has not withdrawn from these treaties, it has not yet ratified them either-- the U.S. has clearly announced its intentions to withdraw from the leadership role in promoting the signing and ratification of these treaties.

And if you will be remembered, the Bush Administration’s family and friends’ ties a little enterprise called the Carlisle group.

The Carlisle group is an investment company with stakeholders such as George Bush Senior, Jimmy Baker, and a laundry list of their freinds and supplicants. What do they specialize in? Well, they play mostly in national securit investments, for example, they were key investors in the Crusadar artillery system. Also, they do a substanital amount of business with the Saudi Royal family.

Okay, before you check your dial to make sure you aren’t hearing the radio version of the big book of conspiracies, let us just say there is nothing wrong with former government officials making a few dollars in the private sector.

Where we get a bit interested is when well connected former Presidents and National securit advisors start making money by financing and investing in companies and programs that benefit directly from the unlimited access to the workings of government they enjoyed previosuly. We also get interested when defence contractors do buisiness with states that send millions to support the enemies of the United States. We are of course referring to Saudi Arabia and the funding of Al Queda by a variety of Saudi nationals.

It is set against this context that W. goes to the UN and tells them to do what he says and no one gets hurt. The response of course was only going to be a few laughs. Memo to W: the rest of the world now knows you no longer have bullets in the gun you are holding on the rest of the world... and your friends take off the John Wayne, Green Beret gear, and let the adults talk. You’re embarassing us.

J. So it’s like this. A few months the administration began to be concerned that their troops were not absolutely covered in radio-active-nerve-gas-anthrax, and dispatched an old friend of the family named David Kaye along with his 1400-strong posse to get to the heart of the Weapons of Mass Destruction deal.

For these months, whenever someone in the administration has answered the question of “Well, where the hell are they?” with “You’ll see...” they have been referring to the pending work product of Kaye and his team.

Last month, there was significant buzz surrounding the apparent inability of the coalition of the willingly bought to discover the dreaded weapons, and more and more people started echoing the take: “Wait and see what David Kaye comes up with.” It was with that in mind that they started targeting September as the release date for the report.

Well, September is almost gone and we are asking: Where’s the David Kaye report?

Now Kaye and his team are wrapping up their work and the preliminary look does not seem encouraging for fans of the dreaded Iraqi captured flying saucers.

There are a couple things currently in play. One -- Sec. of State Colin Powell telling people on chat shows last week that the report will, that is *will* show the world that we were right about Iraqi Chemical, Biological and Nuclear weapons. Two -- reports are starting to circulate that the report will never see the light of day. And Three -- If it is released, it will resemble the original Iraqi weapons declaration; tens of thousands of pages that essentially say nothing.

Unfortuanately for Colin Powell -- and honestly General, I am not sure I can simply ascribe you the roll of unwitting, but honest dupe; you are starting to look more and more like an unindicted co-conspirator -- Joshua Marshall’s Talking Points has thie following less-than-sanguine observation about the upcoming report: “The strategy behind the Kay report will apparently run something like this: Present a body of evidence that utterly discredits the administration's pre-war arguments about WMD. But dress it up with tons of documents and details. Say it confirms the administration's arguments. And then hope no one notices.”

But there are other voices out there saying that Kaye’s report is going into a crate and will be shipped off to the warehouse to sit in storage for a thousand years next to the Arc of the Covenant and the rest of the United States’ dirty little arcane secrets.

S. This strategy is starting to seem more and more likely, since Condi Rice has recently been telling people that in spite of the scheduled release of the report this month, that it might take “years” for such a report to be truly complete.

The CIA’s own dubious public information officers have been downplaying the release of the report saying that it would not really be *The*David*Kaye report, but merely an update on their work thus far, and that no one should take anything it says seriously

The adminsitration has staked a good deal of their political capital and their credibility on this report. So they are under some pressure to make the best of these horrible tidings. So the heat is on and their team is fully in the field trying to put some lipstick on this pig.

Already, we see the effect of the full court press on the nation’s news media, according to the national journalistic trade mag Editor and Publisher: “And what of the two often tough-minded giants of the East? The Washington Post echoed others who found Powell's evidence "irrefutable." That paper's liberal columnist, Mary McGrory, wrote that Powell "persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince." The New York Times, meanwhile, hailed Powell's "powerful" and "sober, factual case." Like many other papers, the Times' coverage on its news pages -- in separate stories by Steven Weisman, Michael Gordon, and Adam Clymer -- also bent over backward to give Powell the benefit of nearly every doubt.”

With a presidential election coming up and their ability to show their face in public on the line, the administration is going to turn this into a political show that will defy all conventional meanings of that term. Calling the pending beltway maelstrom a circus would be to insult bearded ladies and walking bears everywhere.

Which at the end of the day is really a shame, because weapons proliferation is a very serious issue and one where honest and earnest U.S. leadership could go a long way in preventing some of the disasters that proliferation will almost certainly one day lead to.

But as previously noted, we’re not terribly convinced about this administration’s sincere desire for true cooperative threat reduction and cutting off the flow of components for WMD, not when there is such big money in helping all those brown and yellow people around the world kill each other. And if they occasionally get loose and wax a white guy, well, there’s money to be made there, too, apparently. Just ask Richar Perle and Dick Cheney...

J. Well, so it turns out that a full 11-judge panel of the Notorious Ninth -- or the Ninth Circus -- as one ACLU Freudian slip made them out to be on the record -- decided their three-judge panel misspoke the other day when they decided that Bush v. Gore was the precedent upon which to base a delay of the recall election until March.

And this was even with Ted Costa’s attorney imploding into a singularity right in front of the bench, when he went off on one of his quantative non-arguments: “these machines have a very low error rate, only about 1.65 percent.” Which of course is always answered by the question of “Well, give us the number where it becomes a problem and tell us why that’s the magic figure.”

Of course he could not do so, and instead of trying to redirect his argument he burst into tears and started speaking in tongues.

So with that settled, it was mere moments before the reelection campaign spun completly out of control. And it was nowhere more evident than the alleged debate that took place a few nights later with Conan the Pervericator.

But to be fair, what transpired was not so much a debate as it was an eighth grade shouting match. It was like CNN’s Crossfire if their hosts sucked. Arnold snipping at Arianna, Arianna snipping at Arnold, Arnold snipping at Cruz, Cruz snipping at Arianna and Arnold, McClintock snipping at the Alien Conspiracy to ship California babies to the Communist Slavers of Zeta Reticuli, Peter Camejo railing against all of them...

The real crime here, of course, is that with some brief exceptions of lucidity from Peter and McClintock, the voters were left with no clear view on the issues and opinions of the candidates. Why? Because it was audition time for amateur night at the Improve apparently, and they were all trying out their newest one-liner heckler put downs.

So between playing for cheap laughs like some low rent Don Rickles knock off, there was really little of substance and we can only imagine that most of the voters were left thinking that they wouldn’t vote for any of these freekin’ people for dog catcher much less to be Governor.

And the funniest part was the fact that Arnold went over so badly that Gray Davis is personally challenging him to a debate. You think the Simon-Davis debate was a butt kicking? Apparently Davis is now convinced that Conan the Comediator is so stoopid he can phone this one in.

How badly do you have to suck before Gray Davis, the man who’s first name perfectly describes him, decides that you are intellectually and charismatically challenged enough that he can start shouting challenges to you from highest roof tops?

S. Which of course leads us to the even better possibility... That Gray Davis actually gets over and beats the recall. Now, naturally, we are not now and never have been real Gray Davis fans. But the truth is that we would love to see the recall get beaten.

Even now, Darrell Issa, the auto “entrepreneur” and Republican Congress critter from Redneckistan in San Diego County, first started telling Republicans to vote against the recall for fear of a Bustamonte Planet, but has now been headlocked into throwing his support to Arnold.

When it comes to eating their own in bitter recriminations, no one beats the California Republican Party. Republicans all over the state will start to simply disappear in flashes of flame and brimstone if Davis pulls this thing off, once the California GOP begins to take a financial accounting of what they spent on this freak show.

And there is reason to think that he just might.

In Friday’s Los Angeles Times, an article went fairly in depth to describe what Davis aides are calling a “pretty good shot” at beating the recall.

Right now that means getting at about 3 percent of the expected electorate. In real numbers, it means that if they change the minds of one person in every other precinct, they win. If it’s one in every precinct on average, it’s a landslide.

And especially after the debate debacle of Wednesday night, the Governor’s aides are finding more receptive ears for the idea that while California might be in a tough spot, handing things over any of this gang would be Irwin Allen disaster movie. The Towering Posieden Earth Inferno Quake Adventure.

A humorous aside is the electoral strategy Davis has adopted that initially drew hearty laughs from the peanut gallery has apparently paid off. Davis is donning a hair shirt and going from town to town like Job and letting the peasants beat on him with sticks.

This seems to be abating their majority of their anger and are now getting over the “fit of teenage pique” we first ascribed the recall to many months ago.

And now as the statehouse hopefuls get completly sideways in the last week and a half or so, Davis will continue to make his mea culpas, and look gubenatorial, and perhaps take Conan the Perambulator out back behind the chemical shed and put a pill in his ear.

Governor Davis, what is best in life: “To crush the state GOP, to seem them burst into flame in a fit of self-loathing, and hear the lamentations of the two bit, talentless hack who slinks back into Hollywood oblivion where he belongs...”

Mojowire for 09/20 

MUSIC: Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
    S9/ Orbital, P.E.T.R.O.L.
       Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

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

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, September 20, 2003, 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, we examine the headless chickens of the landmark Bush vs. Gore decision coming home to roost when using the spurious reasons that are now controlling law, the Notorious Ninth put a bullet in the hopes of would-be Gov. Terminator by postponing the California Recall until March.

J. Next, we drag out the old journalistic saw “follow the money” when it comes to war profiteering in Iraq. And being the highly insightful radio audience that you are, we are certain you know where that particular trail leads.

S. And speaking of following money and chickens roosting, the “Ten-Forty All Stars,” told the World Trade Organization to go soak their heads last week. Apparently, many of these smaller, mainly agrarian, developing nations have decided that French farmers and Ameircan rice merchants are just going to have to live with their insistence on fair trade practices.

J. With this week’s spectacle of horror, the good Doctor lays down the groove from orbit about the latest synapse misfires that have caused the graduates of the Wile E. Coyote Super Genius Academy now serving in the Pentagon to spin out regarding the “flypaper theory.” You gotta hear this one to believe it folks.

S. And then we reach back into the “we told you so” file for the stick with which to beat this issue into final submission. Listen very carefully: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Repeat this over and over again until you finally get it!

J. And for this week’s presidential roundup we look at the entry of Gen. Wesely Clark into the race for President, how he is likely to change the dynamics, and how the neocon media is already beside themslelves in a froth.

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

J. So now the bitter recriminations begin. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Notorious Ninth as it is known in some hyper-right wing circles, managed to delay the California state recall election and get in a good nose tweaking of the Supreme Court at the same time.

Because, in reality, it was the Supreme Court that delayed the recall election.

Let me break it down for you like this -- in 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Bush vs. Gore that it was a violation of the 14th Amendment to only count certain votes or to count some votes one way and other votes another way.

This was the essence of the argument used by the Ninth: “Plaintiffs’ claim presents almost precisely the same issueas the court considered in Bush, that is, whether unequal methods of counting votes among counties constitutes a violatoin of the Equal Protection Clause... The Plaintiffs’ theory is the same, that using error-prone voting equipment in some counties, but not in others will result in votes being counted differently among counties. In short, they contend that a vote cast in Los Angeles or San Diego is entitled to the same weight as a vote cast in San Francisco.”

But to place this decision in its political context, it helps to understand that the Ninth is the most overruled court in the nation. The Supremes basically have a giant wastepaper bin where all Ninth Circuit decisions get filed.

But not this time. This was not a decision based on dicta or some weird reading of an obscure ancient heretical Jesuit text on the nature of Chancery courts and the weight of their decisions on Common Law.

This was good old fashioned Stare Decisis. This was the court taking the controlling law precedent set by the Supreme Court and applying it in an even fashion. The court really had no option but to come to this conclusion, so clear was the decision of the Supremes on this issue back in 2000.

Conservative legal scholars and apologists for rabid little weasals like Tony Scalia, are quoting the dicta at the beginning of the Bush v. Gore, saying “well, this was a one time only decision, and can’t be used for any other precendent.”

Well, that is what happens when you napped through when they taught law in law school. When the Surpeme Court issues a decision it is precedent. And if you don’t like it, too bad. Maybe if you hadn’t cut your Constitutional Law class to attend that Leo Strauss lecture in the basement of the Skull and Bones Club, you would not be walking funny and wondering about the pain in your butts right now.

S. So the path it takes it from here could be a torturous one. The full Ninth will elect an 11 judge panel to review the decision. Keep in mind that they can not take into account anything but whether the original three judge panel misapplied the law.

But unfortunately, it does leave some unsatisfactory issues that are not likely to find judicial remedies. First and foremost is the fact that instead of punch card ballots, we are likely to be stuck with electronic voting machines that at best, are not technically capable of handling the size of the ballot in the March primary with the addendum of a recall election attached.

At worst, we will have unwittingly saddled ourselves with voting machines that, as you may remember from the horrifying oracle of Dr. Strychnine in his secret Delphic base high in Earth orbit, were essentially perfect designs for election fraud.

Now would be a good time to start banging on our elected representatives to do make elections held with these machines accountable and legitimate, or scrapping the whole thing and just go back to burning paper. If it’s white smoke, the Democrats win, if it’s black smoke the Republicans win.

But for professional pols, who thought it would be a stretch holding their breaths until the October 7th election, they are now faced with the prospect of living another six months with all the oxygen being sucked out of the room by the recall.

That means it is going to be more difficult for Presidential candidates to get their act together in the state, because both state parties will be focused on the recall with laser like precision, and those running for lower offices, such as Congress will start to face recall litmus tests as the only real issue anyone is going to care about or be able to grasp, given the doorknob -like attention span of the average California voter.

J.  Ever since the Nixon era, Reporters have observed a piece of wisdom that has served them well, follow the money. This piece of media folk wisdom helped bring down the lying thieves in Nixons autocratic funhouse, and that adage serves us well today in unraveling the bewildering web of lies, deceit and arrogant posturing that poses as government here in the third year of the NeoCon Captivitity.

Because the adminsitration has cloaked its Iraq venture in the shiney mantle of patriotism and national security, it’s been hard to see through the glare of the rhetoric. But recent stories have revealed a web of suspect relationships that could make even the most ardent supporter of the Bush Empire wretch into the punch bowl like Jenna at a Frat Party.

Faithful listeners of the Mojowire know that Vice President Dick -- May I call you “Dick” Mr. Vice President -- Dick Cheney’s former employers, Halliburton, are the most obvious reciptents of the Iraqi war largesse, choking down billions in contracts to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq in a no bid process. Benefitting, no doubt, large shareholdrs of Halliburton stock such as, shock/awe, Dick Cheney!

But there’s more...

Sy Hersh in the New Yorker some months back exposed NeoCon brainiac Richard Perle, former Fuhrer of the DAB, a Pentagon advisory group, and his representation of companies seeking favor at the Pentagon. Perish the thought that his prominent role as a key advisor at the Pentagon would benefit the companies he pimped to the Pentagon. By the way Richard, what about the libel suit? You’re not wussing out, are you?

Now for more bad news..Ready?

This from Fred Kaplan at Slate:
“When the technological history of Gulf War II is written, will it be concluded that Iraq was lost for want of a decent cell-phone network?

“U.S. military officers and reconstruction workers, who have been toiling in postwar Iraq these past months, are complaining that a major cause of their troubles is that they've had neither the resources to do the job nor—literally—the ability to talk with those who do.

“This, some officers say, is why the U.S. authorities in Baghdad so often look like they don't know what they're doing— because they don't . Many of them are smart, talented, and eager. But they can't talk with the Army about security, they can't talk with Iraqi specialists about civil needs—in short, they can't find out what they need to find out—so, for far too much of their time, they sit, paralyzed and helpless.”

S. We will leave it to you, Wireheads, to speculate if MCI was a big contributor to the Bush regime and its GOP minions...You would think this amount of blatant thievery would ignite a good old fashioned march on the castle by the villagers with pitchforks and torches.

Wait for it....This from Al Kamen at the Post: “With a great chunk of President Bush 's proposed $87 billion scheduled to flow to Iraqi reconstruction "big time," as they say, we've come across a most timely announcement from the highly regarded international corporate and commercial law firm of Zell, Goldberg & Co.

“The firm "has recently established a task force dealing with issues and opportunities relating to the recently ended war with Iraq," its Web site announced. With offices in Israel and Washington, the firm says it ‘is assisting regional construction and logistics firms to collaborate with contractors from the United States and other coalition countries in implementing infrastructure and other reconstruction projects in Iraq.

“Through its Washington, D.C., office, ZGC is also assisting American companies in their relations with the United States government in connection with Iraqi reconstruction projects as prime contractors and consultants.”

Interested parties can reach the law firm through its Web site, at Hmmm. Rings a bell. Oh, yes, that was the Web site of the Washington law firm of Feith & Zell, P.C., as in Douglas J. Feith , former Pentagon official in the Reagan administration and now undersecretary of defense for policy and head of -- what else? -- reconstruction matters in Iraq.

You and I are expected to believe that the windfall of billions of your tax dollars that is supposed to be rolling out democracy to the Middle Eastern heathen that will be shoveled into the troughs of the same mooks who engineered the war is just one of lifes little coinky dinks?

Is is election year yet? Can we run these guys out of office...please?

I cannot wait for the look in Donald Rumsfelds face when we dispatch a squad of marines to stand over him while he cleans out his desk...No Mr. have to leave the Leo Strauss bobblehead....

J. But while the U.S. Defense Department is now the business development division of the New American Mercantile Empire, a group of nations has decided that perhaps they are better off keeping their own council about their international busines dealings, instead of just pimping themselves out to the American East India Company.

Delegates from many of the ten-forty countries walked out of world trade talks in Cancun last week after they decided that the rest of the industrialized world was looking at them essentially as labor units and acres of arable land.

And for those of you who don’t know, the phrase ten-forty refers to Christian missionaries who talk about the ten-forty belt, basically the countries between 10 north and and 40 south lattitude, that are generally poor and agrarian, by so-called “western” standards.

Many of these countries have started to understand that they have certain powers when they unite, and many see the collapse of the Cancun WTO talks as the first indication of such a movement on the part of these nations to assert the power that comes with control of resources.

Their leaders are starting to realize that perhaps no deal is better than a bad deal. At least they can still negotiate at this point.

The New York Times reported last week that the failure of the talks will further complicate the international economy’s ability to climb out of the doldrums: “Wealthy nations had hoped an agreement at the five-day talks in this resort city would help fend off a new wave of protectionism, especially in the United States, where manufacturing jobs have been disappearing by the tens of thousands. Already, questions about the benefits of unfettered world trade have infected the presidential campaign.”

The root cause of the breakdown were proposed new trade rules for investment and government procurement. These rules were trotted out by the European Union, but were immediately opposed by many poorer nature, especially regarding agriculture.

The so-called group of 21, made a case that the $300 billion in subsidies paid every year to farmers in the wealthiest of nations basically undermined the livlihoods of poorer farmers in poorer countries, and that proposals made to ameliorate some of that did not go nearly far enough.

And this was just among the many issues that these nations brought up. There was a definite feeling that they were being asked to buy a pig in a poke from people who had sold many pigs in many pokes to these people in the past, sometimes at gunpoint and they were not about to just sign on the dotted line and ignore the man behind the curtain with the wrist and ankle monacles.

For instance one of the major problems was cotton subsidies. Delegates, especially from Africa, said that they suffer staggering losses because of the subsidies paid to American and European cotton farmers and that until that ended or that at least $300 million bones was forthcoming from the developed nations to help offset their losses, then the WTO could go stick its head in a pig.

The WTO response? We’ll look into that and get back to you...

S. With responses like that , Bob Zoellnick, the head of the US delegation has the nerve to be surprised when these people walked out?

What the hell were they expecting? If you or I went to a business meeting and were asked to believe everything we were told, not do due dilligence, just trust that everything would be all right as long as we just held our breath and didn’t look too closely at our bank accounts or the army of people marching around in our homes taking all our stuff and paying for it with sea shells and fire water... we’d be told we had it coming.

But this is exactly what the developed nations are doing at the WTO. Just trust them and they will look after you. Yeah...and I am sure a shepard looks after his flock, cares for them, tends them well, protects them from harm. Because, hey, that meat is worth something and the wool alone will make a lot of money.

These are the conditions that had people window smashing mad in Seattle, DC and Toronto over the last few years, and now the nations themselves are starting to realize their potential power.

So let the real negotiations begin. Next month when the parties start to meet in Geneva again, we’ll see if some of these same developed nations don’t return to the table with a little more respect for the ten-forty all stars.

And moreover, the Gang of 21 needs to push even harder and farther. There is no telling what concessions they might be able to extract out of these greedheads. Help with labor standards, subsidies for environmental protection, wage and working condition guarantees, more equitable use of the World Bank funds...the list goes on and on.

We can only hope that the United States doesn’t start to really pattern itself after the old British Empire -- or worse, the Chinese Red Army, which is the biggest business conglomorate in China -- and start declaring states that don’t play ball with the U.S. in the WTO as “terror supporting nations.”

Because, then naturally, we would have to go liberate them and then hold their assets and resources as the patrimony of their people. At least hold it all long enough while they are being fitted with their special collars and employee id tags.

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 space adventurers. No time for the customary witty intro this week-- somebody broke into the captain's cigar locker Thursday night and doused all his Dominican hand-rolled's in cat urine. Consequently, we have enough righteous indignation in the station wardroom to keep your ears ringing for the next two months. So let's get right into it, shall we?

Did you like President Bush telling you that Iraq is now the “central front” in the War On Terrorism? Having burned every last bridge to our past rationalizations for choosing aggression, it's good to know we now have a New And Improved rationalization going forward with conducting
this illegal and unnecessary occupation of Iraq.

He said, “Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there -- and there they must be defeated. This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory...” Later in the same address, he said,
The surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.”

This is the idea that some pundits in Latter Day America are calling The Flypaper Theory. It's principle virtue lies not in its utility as a warfighting strategy, but rather in its sex appeal among the morally bankrupt, flag-worshipping, beer-drunk, Operation Infinite Freep airheads who wouldn't be caught dead in an Army National Guard recruiter's office, even if the Taliban had just nuked Las Vegas from space.

As an actual warfighting strategy, the Flypaper Theory has got to be one of the more stupid ideas to be making the rounds on Sunday chat shows. You probably know some right-wing whack-job who has bought into this scam hook, sinker, bob, rod and reel. And if it isn't painfully obvious to you why the idea is lame, lame, lame-- then, permit me to point out the most glaring flaws.

As only the most delusionally partisan supporter of the President can fail to notice, the War in Iraq has quickly degenerated into a classical guerilla war of attrition. The formal theory of such wars is
at least fifty years old, and you can find examples of the successful application of the guerilla strategy throughout history going all the way back to the Scorpion King in ancient Egypt.

The first thing you need to get clear in your head about how to wage a guerrilla war against an occupying army is the basic difference in objectives of the two sides in such a conflict. The guerilla forces win simply by not losing. The occupying army, on the other hand, loses by not winning.

If the occupying army has someplace to which it can retreat, someplace it calls home other than where it is fighting the guerrillas, then the guerrillas don't need to kill very many enemy soldiers to succeed. In fact, killing the enemy soldiers might be *less* effective than wounding and maiming the enemy.

When you kill an enemy soldier, somebody eventually hauls the corpse to the morgue and the life insurance policy is liquidated a few days later: it's all over pretty quickly, and the most troubling part is writing the letter to the family and having to deliver it in person. When you wound or maim an enemy soldier, on the other hand, you can expect that two or three other soldiers will immediately be distracted by the pressing need to get their comrade off the battlefield and into a medical facility; doctors and surgeons are infinitely more expensive to keep on staff and ready to operate than morticians; and a wounded veteran is a whole lot more demoralizing for nice, happy civilians to be around than a quiet cemetary full of little white plaques set every few inches into the grass.

You want to win a war of attrition against the forces of terrorism in Iraq? It'll be lot harder to do if you're not willing to tell American boys and girls in uniform that they're going to have to live out the
rest of their lives in a free and democratic Iraq or die trying to make it that way. As long as you let them continue to look forward to the end of their tour, when they can go back to the Big PX and marry their high school sweetheart, you're making it easy on the enemies of America to wear down the U.S. military the same way the Soviet army was nearly destroyed in Afghanistan. The object of their game is not to kill as many American uniforms as possible, but to make it cost too much for
you to keep replacing the ones that get rotated out.

The Pentagon doesn't like to admit it, but estimates of the number of seriously wounded soldiers rotated out of Iraq and Afghanistan into the V.A. medical care system are running into the thousands. And that'll be some parade if they ever march on Washington.

So. Before you start touting the brilliance of this Flypaper Theory of War In Iraq, you might want to make sure it really works the way you think it does. It probably doesn't.

MojoWire for 09/20/03

J. Now, I don’t want to hear any laughing or chuckling from the rest of the regular Wireheads... this is for our friends on the other side of the road. Please... take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11...?”

See, that wasn’t hard now was it. Now, I want you to repeat that to yourselves several times daily. And please step away from the FOXNews. You will only hurt yourself.

I mean, talk about a case of we told you so. You know, on a personal note, I was down with a group of friends in Long Beach not long ago, and we were standing out on the sidewalk essentially sharing our displeasure with the rest of the world at the Bush Administration’s wrongheaded adventurism in the Middle East.

A van drove up and a man shouted at me... “9/11” and I rejoindered, “Had nothing to do with Iraq.” Then his masterful rhetorical stroke undid me with laser like precision when he fired back with “’re stoopid.”

Yeah...and so apparently is the rest of the gang in Bush’s West Wing who have been making the round of the various talk shows and pundits to tell them that in spite of the misgivings of nearly two-thirds of the population, Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attacks on the Twin Towers.

And to be fair, the adminsitration never really made that claim. That was done by their pet chimps in the neocon punditocracy, namely the likes of William Safire, Bill Kristol, Bob Novak and George Will.

But they didn’t do much to downplay what they clearly knew to be complete and utter bollocks at the time. No, they would rather just let the American people believe things they knew to be openly wrong and completely lame at the same time.

But even as they are coming correct on this, there are still those Dead-Enders in the administration who want us to believe desperately that there were was some species of connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

So even as the news was spreading across the land about the lack of a Saddam finger print at ground zero, the Vice President Dick -- may I call you “Dick” once more Mr. Vice President -- Dick Cheney, was making the rounds of places like Tim Russert on Meet the Press and still making it sound like there was some chance that the boys down in CIA craft services could come up with something half way convincing in the way of evidence.

Well, sorry, Dick, but the cat’s out of the bag on this one, and even guys like Rummy’s personal spider-eating man-bride Paul Wolfowitz has been making the scene lately telling everyone the apparent bad news about the Iraqi innocence in 9/11

S. But none of this happens in a vacuum. You see, a big part of the problem here is legal. In the congressional authorization for Operation Iraqi Smackdown, there was a small bit about “and hey, you guys are doing this for some sort of verifiable national security goal, right? *RIGHT?*”

Well, at first we were told that it was about the gazillions of gallons of VX nerve gas and anthrax death spores that were poised to be dumped over all American cities by the secret Iraqi unmanned air squadron powered with captured flying saucer technology.

When that turned out to be completely bogus, they tried to sell the American media on the notion of “ could happen,” and when that didn’t fly it was all about the Iraqi/Al Qaeda connection. But now that has been completely discredited.

The President and his gang are starting to run out of reasons to have engaged in this delightful little enterprise and pretty soon, some even in his own party are going to start asking the obvious questions. “$100 billion a year for what, exactly, again. Hey you dorks, some of us have to run for reelection next year, too...”

So the question then really becomes, where do we go from here? It is time for one of those hellishly instrospective self-talkathons where we examine not only the technical details of how we got where we are, but the moral and philosophical underpinnings of the actions we have taken.

And it’s not going to be pretty folks. Because, in spite of all the pro-patria rhetoric, at the end of the day, we are going to notice that the moral compass is competely broken and that there is no there, there.

We have all been victims of an utterly amoral foreign policy, devoid of any values or ethics besides enriching the Bush Administration and their close political patrons.

But the even more important question remains: Now that the emperor has been shown to be buck naked, now that we have had a good look at the man behind the curtain in terms of the Bush Administration, what are we, the people, going to do about it?

Well, to quote Gen. Patton, when you stick your hands in a bunch of goo that used to be your’ll know what to do.

First primaries in four months and counting. Vote with extreme prejudice.

J.  We are going to dedicate most of this week’s round up to the extraordinary events of last week surrounding the entry of Ret. Army General Wesley Clark into the race as a Democratic Candidate.

Wes Clark, former supreme allied commander in Europe and head of NATO, announced his intentions last week, as predicted by the mojowire last Saturday. (By the way, we also predicted the 24 hour advance news leak...just for those keeping score.)

Clark is an interesting character. Career Army, but takes a very jaundiced view of using the military as a tool for enforcing U.S. foreign policy aims, and in particular has been critical of the whole Iraq war.

Not much to speak of in terms of domestic policy. He has been talking with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, whom the mojowire endorses, about domestic issues, and in return he has been supplying the Dean camp with his foreign policy and national security wisdom.

And that is the real worry for the Bush Administration. His entry into the race has complicated the reading of the bones for the cabal in Deep 13. Karl Rove is being kept up at night by the imaginary footfalls he hears stalking him through the streets of North West D.C.

It was reported last week that Dean had actually asked Clark to join his campaign, but Clark apparently decided otherwise, deciding to test the waters himself. There are many who say that Clark can win against the current field of Dems. Just check out the latest issue of The American Prospect for that take.

But others are not so sure. He starts at least $10 million behind in the money race, even with all the internet fund raising and organizing his people are doing in an apparent imitation of Dean. But moreover, his lack of a real domestic agenda will be seen as a negative among Democratic primary voters.

This has still not stopped the far right’s angst fest, labeling him as everything from a sissy to war criminal. Just yesterday, one of Richard Mellon Scaiffee’s pet scribblers penned a diatribe claiming that somehow Clark’s inept handling of the Kosovo situation had lead to... well...something...and it’s wasn’t good.

Memo to morons at the nation’s Right Wing Consensus manufacturing plant...if this is the best you can muster, then it’s time to send in the varsity. Because this won’t even get you signed on with the single-A club.

S. But at the same time, one of the people we kind of feel sorry for is North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Edwards had been planning a relaunch of his campaign for weeks, it was to be a massive media event and was going to catapult him back into the top tier of candidates from the dank basement his team currently occupies.

Alas, that was the day Clark decided to formally throw his pot-top into the ring. That pretty much hammered Edwards out of the political coverage for the crucial 24 hours of news cycle he would have needed to make that relaunch worth something politically.

And in other campaign news, one of Kerry’s top aides has decided to eject from the campaign. Chris Lehane, a volunteer spokesman and political consultant, decided that if the Kerry is not going to use that dark-side purple lightning shooting out of the fingertips attacks on Howard Dean, then his talents are just going to waste and he would do well to go elsewhere.

This is more evidence of the traction that the Dean campaign is getting, when his mere presense is causing this kind of internal turmoil in the camps of the rivals. Kerry, to his credit, has decided that perhaps making himself look like an embittered, low-rent clone of Senator Lieberman is perhaps not the best strategy.

It is the kinder gentler Democratic candidate. But you might see that start to fade as the primaries draw nearer and if he can’t close to within single digits with Dean, much less poll within the margins, then perhaps the firey wrath of the old-testament Space God Jehovah 1 will be just what Kerry will decide he needs.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Not surrendering all your national resources to American rice merchants means the Terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “The bill of rights? That’s in the restricted stacks in the library now.”

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...

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Mojowire for 09/16

MUSIC: Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Orbital, P.E.T.R.O.L.
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

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

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, September 16, 2003, 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, President Bush announced his plans to end our Democratic Republican form of government Wednesday while addressing grads from the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia. The announcement outlined plans to start the piecemeal passage of Patriot Act II.

J. Next, the Bush people finally put something of a price tag on the Iraq war -- 87 billion of our hard earned tax dollars. But even though they have asked for money, they have announced no real plan of how to spend it, prompting Dick Gephardt to correctly assess that “you haven’t given us a plan, you’ve given us a bill.” Could Congress balk at paying the check?

S. And along those lines, there is a growing split in conservative circles between the ultra-hawk, kill-em-all neocons like David Frum and Paul Wolfowitz and the aptly named paleoconservatives, like some of the gang at the Weekly Standard who have become more nervous lately with our apparent inability to get the fairy tale ending in Iraq we promised in time for sweeps.

J. With this week’s horror forecast, Dr. S9 takes a look on the long range scanner to the horizon out west and sees a billion hard working Chinese people who are going to take it amiss if Republican Senators really pull the trigger on a threatened trade war against the People’s Republic and their currency, which is an important point, since they are currently our number one banker.

S. And then with this week’s Presidential roundup, we again look at another Democratic debate, but one with markedly different results for Howard Dean, and then we look at the blowback, as the rest of the pack race to keep up with the Doctor. And then... A Dean/Clark ticket? We won’t say it’s true, and we won’t say that it’s not...but there’s been talk!
J.... So stand by to stand by while we get ready to kick this pig...

J.Just when you assumed that watching the President crossdress as a Naval Avaiator and land on a carrier, just like he practiced for hours and days on his Playstation, was the most grotesque image you had ever witnessed, The President chooses to announce the final annihilation of the Bill of Rights while giving a commencement speech at the FBI Academy. What a surprise to all those fresh faced Special Agents that all those hours practicing carefully cirumventing the Constitution would go to waste!

Yes, the President not only declared his undying faith in the Patriot Act, but vowed to remove the fig leaf they left over your civil liberties the first time around to bring you "Patriot Act II, Ashcroft's Revenge". In honor of this seminal event in our history, we thought we would commemorate the last scraps of the Old Republic being swept away and remind you of what you were losing and, at least, some of the highlights. This from Dailia Lathwick at Slate Magazine Online:

“Previously the government needed at least a warrant and probable cause to access private records.... Under FISA the 1978 act authorizing warrantless surveillance so long as the primary purpose was to obtain foreign intelligence information-that was somewhat eroded, but there remained judicial oversight. And under FISA, records could be sought only ‘for purposes of conducting foreign intelligence’ and the target ‘linked to foreign espionage’ and an ‘agent of a foreign power.’”

Now the FBI needs only to certify to a FISA judge-(no need for evidence or probable cause) that the search protects against terrorism. The judge has no authority to reject this application. DOJ calls this “seeking a court order,” but it's much closer to a rubber stamp on what are known as Section 215 warrants, referencing the section of the Patriot act that enables this grotesque defiling of Constitutional rule regarding private records.

Also, now the target of a search needn't be a terror suspect, so long as the government's purpose is “an authorized investigation ... to protect against international terrorism.” ...Downplaying the extent of these changes, the DOJ argued to Congress that 215 warrants were no big deal, since grand juries could always subpoena private records in the past.

The difference they don't acknowledge is that investigators may now do so secretly, and these orders cannot be contested in court. 215 does extend FBI power to conduct essentially warrantless records searches, especially on people who are not themselves terror suspects, with little or no judicial oversight. The government sees this as an incremental change in the law, but the lack of meaningful judicial oversight and expanded scope of possible suspects is pretty dramatic.”

It takes a pretty grim sense of humor to create a warrant process where the judge cannot reject or actually do any oversight. Why even have judges? why not just stick a plush Cthulhu in the judge's chair and ask it for a secret warrant?

Bottom line, Josh Ashcroft can dig out your secret stash of High Times and Maxim's underneath your mattress, and then use them in your eventual show trial, where you get shipped off to share bug and reptile cooking tips with Papillion at Club Gitmo.

More from Dalia concerning National Security Letters: “Before Patriot, these letters could only be issued against individuals who were reasonably suspected of espionage.”

S. But Patriot loosened the standard by allowing the letters to be used against anyone, including U.S. citizens, even if they themselves are not suspected of espionage or criminal activity. These letters may now be issued independently by FBI field offices, rather than by senior officials.

And unlike Section 215 warrants, they are not subject to even perfunctory judicial review or oversight. The records that can be obtained through the letters under Patriot include telephone logs, e-mail logs, certain financial and bank records, and credit reports, on the assertion that such information would be "relevant" to an ongoing terrorism investigation.

They cannot be used in ordinary criminal investigations. Unlike 215, no court order-not even a rubber-stamped order-is required. Those forced to turn over records are gagged from disclosing the demand.

Here is how it is being implemented. According to documents turned over to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of their FOIA lawsuit, the FBI issued enough national security letters since October 2001 to fill more than five pages of logs. What precisely those letters compelled is unknowable, since virtually every page of those logs were blacked out , ostensibly for security reasons. The government has refused to provide further information on how the letters were used.

Here is what you need to know to get you through a cocktail party discussion. While few Americans seem to be getting exercised over Section 505, it's actually a good deal scarier than 215-the angry librarian provision-in some ways.

Why? Because there is no check on the attorney general's discretion, not even a toothless judge. Add to this the government's refusal to disclose how these letters have been used, and there are some grounds for paranoia over this provision.

This is our favorite part! John Ashcroft can get any info he wants, just by calling it Terrorism, and he doesn't need a warrant or a judge to do it. Better yet, he doesn't even need to tell your elected representatives how or when he is using this power.

Democracy is soooo twentieth Century folks!..The only check on the AG's power is his technical superior, President Bush. I'm sure we will all sleep well knowing that Gomer Pyle is now the only thing that stands between us and John Ascrofts theocratic police state funhouse.

The Administratiion would argue that all of these are justifiable when we consider the threat posed by Al Queda, and that their efficacy is demonstrated by the lack of any domestic attacks since 9/11. Our reply is simple: Excrement!

The Patriot Act was passed before any serious examination of the events leading up to 9/11 were generally known. The Act was simply a facist Wet Dream cooked up by the appartchiks at DOJ.

It is demonstrably false to argue it was designed to foil specific terorirst threats. What we really need in this country is a frank examiniation of the failures and vulnerabilities in our defenses against these threats, and then tailor our laws and methods to meet those challenges while balancing our core values as best we can.

John Ashcrofts demented accusations of aiding the enemy because we criticize his power grab is the best indicator that he is unprepared to answer these questions. Ashcroft and the rest of the graduates from Slytherin Law school need to be run out in the next election along with their Forest Gump Boss.

J. So with all of the kvetching from all those longhaired malconents in Congress, the Bush Administration finally came clean and announced that...yeah...the war is costing us big bucks and that we will need at least $87 billion to see us through the end of the year in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But those hippies on the hill still won’t quit. They want more of an accounting of where that money is going and how they plan to spend it. The answer to those queries continues to be obdurate silence from Rummy, Condi, Dick and Bush, much less their cave-dwelling West Wing yes-monkeys.

So what can we infer at least from looking at the situation on the ground right now. Friday, our handpicked police in Fallujah shot the hell out of a building and killed 10 people. Meanwhile, two more young Americans are on their way home in boxes.

All this taking place in the context of Secrtray of Defense Don Rumsfeld’s continual assertions that the situation is under control and that we don’t need one more boot on the ground there and if they did, then the generals would ask for it.

Besides, according to Rummy, anyone who would have the audacity to question his business enterprises is lending aid and comfort to the enemy anyway. He’ll spend as much as he wants to and anyone who asks him why, can just go contemplate their rudeness in a chainlink cage down in sunny camp X-ray.

And for those of you keeping score at home, the $5 billion a month currently being sucked out of the American economy for Alexander the Great’s South Asian campaign, is approaching the amount we spent monthly in VietNam, adjusted for inflation.

Interesting note about that: We are spending an equivalent amount with only about one-third the troop strength. Now we haven’t had to drop one of those Gucci JDAMS or Smarter Image catalog Tomahawks in months, so that can’t be the reason for the cost. What could it be?

Well, the word around the campfire is that along with better military pay for an all volunteer service, at least some of that money is also being used to fuel the capital machine of Dick -- may I call you “Dick” Mr. Vice President? -- Dick Cheney’s old pals at Haliburton and their myriad subcontractors who will now be running Iraq through Maximum ProConsul L. Paul Bremmer as a wholly owned and operated subsidiary.

S. Even some Republicans are starting to question the necessity of the $20 billion price tag being attached to much of the continuing and future reconstruction effort, being done almost exclusively by two or three American companies with deep, direct tie to the Bush Administration.

Halliburton, for those who need a quick reminder, is the company for which Cheney served as CEO before becoming President Bush’s vice presidential nominee three years ago. Democrats have long questioned Halliburton’s ties to the administration, using the firm to attack Cheney’s personal wealth, the adminstration’s approach to energy legislation and the Pentagon’s outsourcing program for many of its most basic functions in overseas work.

Democratic aides circulated reports showing that Cheney’s former firm has already drawn more than $1.7 billion in contracts from the war in Iraq and was set to rake in hundreds of millions more dollars in no-bid contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle seemed to notice the dearth of an actual plan beyond handing phat stacks of mad bank to Haliburton and said the administration needed to “guarantee that Halliburton, and other corporations like that, aren’t just going to take these funds and with excessive profiteering run off like bandits without any competitive opportunities, without any insurance that there’s transparency.”

And now looking forward, Bremmer is starting to make noises about more than $70 billion for the occupation of Iraq for 2004 and this does not even start to count the money it will take for yet another year to support the Mayor of Kabul in Afghanistan.

Aside from the obvious question of what Americans will have to sacrifice for the sake of the war effort, such as public schools, drivable roads, a working power grid, there is the more basic question: Is this money worth spending?

We would let the President speak for himself in this particular, but after reviewing the President’s remark from last week, we have concluded that the President has no answer for that essential question other than to make allusions to 9/11 and Iraqi secret police and painting a picture of a Middle East that looks just like the United States someday soon, only with more Falafel stands.

Which might be all well and good, except for the small matter of a $500 billion national debt for next year alone, financed mainly by Europeans and the People’s Republic of China, and that the more we keep ruining our reputation *and* our credit rating, it is going to become more and more difficult to keep the capital machine flowing... but hey, Rummy said we didn’t need the UN for anything.

J. Interesting bit in the Washington Monthly last week. A piece by Tim Noah detailed the strange schism within the American conservative movement that threatens to break out like a good, old fashioned Destroy All Monsters creature feature.

Apparently, the Republicans are splitting into two camps. In the very, very black corner, wearing the very, very black trunks, walking upright, but just barely, we have the Paleoconservatives. In the abysmally black corner wearing the abysmally black trunks, defiling all that is good, are the Neoconservatives.

Now, granted, looking at them from the safety of your own car on Republican Country Safari, the differences can be a little tough to spot. You have to work like the Mojohaus crew, from the safety of our camflouged field obersvation posts, studying these creatures in the wild.

The main difference, aside from the fact that Neocon females tend to be bigger than the males of the species, is that the neocons seem to be getting away from their ideological forebearers and are openly advocating big government, deficit spending, restrictions on liberties and massive military intervention overseas.

This is in direct contrast to the old guard, the paleocons, who are from the old school of balanced budgets, limited U.S. overseas involvement, civil liberties and limited government. These are the wizened graybeards of the Reagan era who brought the tribe’s burning stick of fire forward from the Goldwater age thereby retaining the magic that kept the rest of the hunters in line.

This polarization comes courtesy of our involvement in Iraq. We are running our economy into the ground on reckless credit card spending which only seems to be buying us dead bodies, while the rest of the world looks at what could be the beginnings of a new American mercantile empire.

And to us the humor value is that this battle for the shriveled hearts and narrow minds of the Republican wing of the Republican party is being fought out in one of their most prized forums...the Weekly Standard.

Sure there are other conservative organs, such as The National Review, now mostly gone over to the neocon side and the American Conservative, Pat Buchanan’s paleocon rag dedicated to fighting the forces of the Great God Mammon and American imperialism.

But the Standard is...well...just that...the standard for a lot of these guys and it was one of the original neocon mouthpieces for juicing up the war in Iraq. But now, we are seeing stories with headlines like “The Secretary of Stubborness” in which Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan take Rummy to the mat for being truculent with respect to advice from the professional officer corps of the U.S. military.

“For five months they let Rumsfeld have his way, and for five months Rumsfeld said everything's fine. He wanted to do the postwar with fewer troops than a lot of people advised, and it turned out to be a mistake.”

S. It’s like they’ve been listening to the Mojowire. If that is indeed the case, then listen up, because we’re going to have some more very important information for you in a few minutes.

But that aside, the other team fires back with shots like this from Max Boot -- in the LA Times of all places -- who assures us: “U.S. troops in Iraq are slowly winning the war on the ground, even as they're losing the public relations battle back home ... [a] corporal asked me to cover [a handcuffed Iraqi suspected of bombing a Marine transport] with a 9-millimeter pistol. I was happy to comply....Every U.S. officer I talked to said that the 150,000 soldiers we have in Iraq now are sufficient.”

Noah makes the salient observation that if the Marines are reduced to asking two bit hacks to pick up weapons and help them round up evildoers -- itself of dubious legality -- then perhaps things are not as under control there as they would like us to believe

As for us, the first rumblings of this schism came not from the Iraq adventure, but from the Patriot Act issue. When you see paleocons like former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr cozying up to the ACLU because the Attorney General is going off the reservation in a facist-mobile, that signals genuine angst in paradise.

The neocons may really be on the losing end of this one, though. The massive hive brain of the conservative movement has been producing some unpleasant odors lately. Namely, the Rand Corporation’s new report from last month estimating that the real number of soldiers necessary for Iraq will probably be around 500,000, which is currently more people than are actually in the U.S. Army.

Well, there’s always the draft, that’s an old neocon favorite. What was that old phrase that Bush’s father, George HW liked to use in reference to average American citizens? Oh yeah... “OFU” which stands for One Fodder Unit... No joke.

But the real question is what will the dust up mean to the party in general. I mean, Democrats are good at infighting. Seriously, going to a Democratic meeting is like having dinner with the De Medici’s. Get someone to taste your food, sit with your back to the wall, know how to escape through the kitchen...

But a Republican infight? We’re not so sure they know how to have an good old dysfunctional family brawl. Memo to the GOP. If you’re going to do this, do it right. We don’t want to see a slow-motion pillow fight, or a bunch of sissy hair pulling and squealing pass for the introspective beat down that the Republican Party genuinely needs to cleanse itself of the unclean spirits.

Listen, if you need help, get James Carville on the phone, and he will talk you though the steps.

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 fellow freakbots, cardplayers, highmovers and breakabouts.

It's time for another report from the Economic Condition Monitoring and Early Warning System here on S9 Station. The last time we interrupted your regularly scheduled panic with news about the impending landfall of an economic monsoon, it was right before the start of Operation
Iraqi Flytrap (back when it was all about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and not at all about using American troops as bait for Osama's murderous little crew). We warned about several alarming economic forecasts that seemed plausible depending on the outcome of the military adventures in Iraq.

Now that Iraq has been transformed magically into the "central front in the war on terrorism," and some time has passed since our last report, we should all breathe a sigh of relief-- it looks like our economy has managed to avoid being smashed up by a perfect storm of wicked-high oil prices combined with what Alan Greenspan would call "unwelcome disinflationary pressures". It's true that Iraq is only pumping a few hundred thousand barrels per day, but the rest of OPEC is keeping oil priced at an orderly twenty-eight dollars per barrel; so the really scary predictions back in February seem to have been mistaken.

Gross domestic product is growing. The stock market is up. The bond market is keeping a lid on it still. The sun is shining on *my* section of the beach-- I don't see any storm clouds on the horizon. What could *possibly* go wrong?

Check the long-range satellite image, and have a look at the barometer, Bucky. There is a *reason* your Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow, went on walkabout in Beijing and Phuket a couple weeks ago. Oh sure... he *told* you he was there to beg the Chinese into unpegging their currency, the Renminbi Yuan, from its fixed exchange rate of 8.3 to the U.S. dollar.

Here's what he was *really* there to do: sell yet more U.S. government debt to the Chinese Communist Party. You'll be pleased to know that the Commies appear to still be in the market, but it's an open question for how much longer.

It's true. The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers is making a lot of noxious wind about the Chinese yuan being artificially undervalued, and how this supposedly keeps American manufacturers from being competitive, and *forces* them-- like, at knifepoint, you understand-- to move their operations to Thailand, India, Romania, Djibouti, Palau and other wonderful places most yankees can't find on a map to save their lives.

But it's baloney. The economic forces at work that make those moves profitable have fsck-all [ed. pronounced "fizz-check all"] to do with how many Renminbi Yuan you can get for a picture of George Washington.

Snow went to Beijing to apply some discrete pressure to the Chinese about their monetary policy in order to see how hard they would push back. They pushed back, but not as hard as they could have pushed. I'm here to explain why, and to explain how that makes a difference in your future.

The Chinese can't afford to revalue the Yuan against the Dollar. While they have a huge trade surplus with the U.S., they are basically running an even balance of trade, since they have huge deficits with other trading partners, i.e. they import a lot of petroleum products.

Important clue from the Nixon era: follow the money. In this case, you need to follow the Yuan. They leave China when China buys petro from OPEC countries. The OPEC countries sell the Yuan on the international foreign exchange. And who is buying them? People who want to buy
things made in China-- in other words, Americans.

So now you have the Treasury Secretary, and his puppet masters at the N.A.M., complaining that China is artificially inflating the price they have to pay for the Yuan on the foreign exchanges. He goes to Beijing, puts on a show to complain about it, and the Chinese say in slightly more polite terms: "Hey, back off there Joe-- don't pressure us or maybe we stop buying T-bills."

You watch. These Republican Senators currently making the news by threatening punitive tariffs on China if it doesn't let its currency float will whine and complain mightily about Chinese "cheating" but at the end of the day-- *none* of them wants to see the interest rate hike that would come down around the American economy like a giant circus tent if the Chinese stopped financing the U.S. national debt.

When you owe $7,000 on your credit card that you can't pay, you have a big problem. When you owe $7 *trillion* on your credit card that you can't pay, your *bank* has a big problem. The Chinese Communist Party has *exactly* that big problem.

That means the President can't monetize the national debt without launching an all-out trade war with a billion hard-working Chinese people. The administration is rapidly running out of options for getting job growth back into the economy. Begging the Communists for monetary flexibility was a cheap bluff and a stalling tactic. And it played well with some of his right-wing fruitbat constituency. But is served no useful purpose.

The cyclone is spinning up in the deep ocean even now as we watch. The stimulus from the tax cuts will be short-lived, and the jobs the President promised will not materialize (for reasons you should have learned in Econ 101), and then the Federal budget deficits will deliver their payload over every city in America in the form of higher-- much higher-- interest rates.

And that's when the deep hurting will commence. Better make sure you have fresh batteries in the flashlight and a store of drinking water. It ooks like this could be a bad one.

J. First this week on the Presidential roundup we look at the second round of debates. This was a big turnaround for Dean, rhetorically speaking. He was more relaxed, he was more in control, his answers were concise and well crafted.

He spoke with confidence and looked Presidential. Even more surprising for veterans watchers, Dean continually steered his answers towards National Security and Foreign Policy, where he is perceived as being the weakest.

That’s when the monkeys began throwing their feces at him. Senator Eyore from Connecticut in particular. There was this priceless little exchange after Dean had the temerity to say that the US should not be taking sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but should be an honest broker.

Eyore said something to the effect of “That is a betrayal of the people of Israel,” to which the Dr. calmly, yet forcefully returned: “This is important, we shouldn’t demogogue this issue, Joe.”

But at the end of the night the end, though, Dean’s biggest laugh comes when he uncorks the night's best line, in response to a question about how he can understand black voters when he hails from the nearly all-white state of Vermont: "If the percentage of minorities in your state has anything to do with how you connect with black voters, then Trent Lott would be Martin Luther King.”

This has resulted in a spate of ugly name calling in the past few days as the rest of the Democratic field is trying to recover from the beating they took the other night. It has lead to such excellent hyperbole as Dick Gephardt (who, by the way, turned in another strong performance at the debate) comparing Dean to Newt Gingrich because back in the early 90s, Dean saw that Medicare was heading for a crisis.

The comparison didn’t even make sense and the alleged facts cited by the Gephardt people were of dubious lineage. This lead Joe Trippi, Dean’s overall Capo for the campaign to wax rhetorical and ask: “What, first we’re George McGovern? Now we’re Newt Gingrich? Would you people please make up your minds?”

And Sen. Eyore has been making the rounds still trying to trump up the notion that Dean will sell out the Israelis to the barrow wights and orc tribes of the region. The problem, is that Lieberman doesn’t realize that more and more pro-Israeli Americans are starting to come to the idea themselves that an honest broker roll for an involved U.S. administration might be what is required to secure real peace and security for the Israeli people.

S. But none of this happens in a vacuum. As if the rest of the contenders didn’t need this bad news. There is talk, and more than just talk, of a possible Dean alliance with General Wesely Clark, who himself is mulling a presidential run and preparing to make a formal announcement sometime next week.

While the Dean people deny asking Clark to stay out of the race, they do say that Dean and Clark have met several times and each time Dean asks for Clark’s support.

Moreover, there have been cross campaign conversations with Dean people asking Clark for advice and help on matters of National Security and Foreign Policy, which might be paying some dividends now and Clark’s people coming to Dean for domestic policy help.

Clark, the former commander of NATO, has said repeatedly that he has not made up his mind, but will be delivering an address on Sept. 19 where he is expected to make his announcement formal one way or the other. Expect the answer to be leaked at least one news cycle ahead of the actual speech.

But should he decide not to run, or if he runs but doesn’t pick up much traction quickly because Dean and everyone else have sucked all the oxygen out of the room already, then a potential alliance between Dean and Clark becomes a real possibilty, perhaps even a VP slot.

That is, of course, the doomsday scenario that is keeping Karl Rove up at night and causing him to eat Tums like M&Ms everytime he hears one of these reports. With Dean surging as a populist, outsider candidate with a strong message and tapped into some big grassroots money and discontent to be teamed up with a military figure of Clark’s stature and experience, it could spell a serious challenge to the Bush juggernaut that is just now starting to roll out.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Low interest rates means the Terrorists win... or as John Ashcroft says... “Assume the position hippy, I’m in charge here...”

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...