Saturday, January 31, 2004

You win...

You certainly win on "Wiping their ass with the Constitution" grounds. I still maintain my post was more abject.

Here is the part that really burns me..

Let me give you a word of advice," he replied tersely. "You need to learn to watch your mouth.").

Pardon me officer, but allow me to give you word of advice. She does not need to learn to watch her mouth, and I pray she NEVER learns that lesson. fuck you very much...

Insert the vengeful, apocalyptic wrath of the space-God Jehovah-1 here.

Laugh NOW!

I do like MaxSpeak for his serious analysis, but I have to recommend this bit of weekend humor. He has taken the whole "Friday Catblogging" thing to its logical extreme.

Be sure to check out the comments. Some of the suggested captions are hysterical.

Friday, January 30, 2004

No MojoWire Broadcast This Saturday

Since we are told that The Darkling Eclectica is doing a special edition program, there will be no MojoWire segment.

Since we love Mike like family, we encourage our legions of loyal followers to tune into the program anyway. Whenever there is a "special edition" of The Darkling Eclectica, you know something is likely to happen that will be infinitely more important than anything the three of us might prattle at you about.

When He Demands Your Passport, Don't Talk Back

You think the proto-fascism of Limbaugh's poor deluded fans is scary, Sean? Take a good long pull on this little bottle of poison.

Make sure you scroll down and catch this little parenthetical buried well past the lede paragraph:

Lest we all think the agents' attitudes began and ended with immigrants, consider my daughter's welcome Saturday upon arriving in Portland by bus from Boston: After she gave a border agent her license, he demanded her passport. She correctly told him that U.S. citizens don't need passports for interstate travel. "Let me give you a word of advice," he replied tersely. "You need to learn to watch your mouth.")

Let me repeat the part that burns me the most: "She correctly told him that U.S. citizens don't need passports for interstate travel."

Someone PLEASE 'splain to me why law enforcement officers with the Department of Homeland Security are demanding U.S. citizens carry passports for interstate travel? Oh wait, never mind— I already know how this story ends. Clearly this newspaper guy's daughter is a lying commie traitor. The DHS simply doesn't do what she's alleging they did. And if they ever start doing it, then well— don't worry, Citizen, they would never do something like this in America...

No's a manly love...

Orcinius reprints a love note to Rush from one of his abject worshippers. Someone needed a hug, and Rush gave it to him...Oh god..please read's too awful to be alone in my horror..

But Impeachment has that funny aftertaste

A few thoughts on the Impeach article...

Bonifiz says:
.But today we face an extraordinary moment in United States history. The president of the United States launched a premeditated, first-strike invasion of another country, the likes of which this nation has never before seen.

I don't know about that. We have a pretty awful track record on allowing the Executive Branch to engage in all kinds of military adventures without a declaration of war from Congress, and no one got impeached. He doesn't spend any time digging any of them up and arguing that this is fundamentally different on the merits, he just asserts it. The Gulf of Tonkin leaps to mind as a fair analogy of today's situation.

I certainly agree that a declaration of war should be the standard, that it is more consistent with the Constitution than these funding measures they pass in lieu of a declaration, and that this President deserves a good, fat, impeachment up the side of his dome. But arguing that he has done something worse than some of the shit other President's have done in using military force without invoking the War clause in the constitution seems pretty shaky.

Congress has a law on the books, the War Powers Act, that tries to address this issue. It gives the President some discretion to respond to crisis, but requires that Congress approve any long term military hijinks. It's a dead issue in Congress, and has been since they passed the damn thing. But it illustrates how the modern incarnations of the Congress and the Presidency in the Post WWII world have struggled to reconcile this issue with the fairly clear requirements of the Constitution.

In short, it's not as clear cut as he makes out to be, even if Congress was disposed towards considering it. And the standard cooked up by the GOP in 98 to impeach President Clinton is a horrible standard that demeans the whole process.

It's an election year, why give the President something more to rally the troops behind? Why not just vote him out of office? Impeachment seems like a weapon that can cut both ways here.

Now, if the Plame Grand jury reveals some cover up conspiracy that leads to top of the food chain, or Dick Cheney is faced with extradition from a European court, now we are talking something different. That might be something that changes the Paradigm.

What should happen is that the majority in Congress should be turned out of power by the voters because they have failed to represent the interests of their constituents, and to protect the essential role of Congress in our republic. They have done this for cynical, partisan reasons. The President is guilty I think of, among a list of other things, perverting his role as CINC to extend his political dominance, and that this threatens our democratic traditions. But Congress is an accomplice to this crime, and so Impeachment seems like a strange device in this circumstance.

"We reject kings..."

John Bonifaz writes at about the case for impeaching the current occupant of The Oval Office. I'm in complete agreement, and have been for quite some time now— despite the curious looks Mojo and Sean give me whenever I mention the 'I-word'.

At one point, Mr. Bonifaz offers an interesting hypothetical:

Imagine this: The United States Congress passes a resolution which states: "The President is authorized to levy an income tax on the people of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to pay for subsidies to U.S. oil companies." No amount of legal wrangling could make such a resolution constitutional. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants the power to levy taxes exclusively to the United States Congress.

Roll that one past your screwhead chickenhawk buddies around the water-cooler and ask them if they want to hop on top of it.

Terrorists? What terrorists? Those are freedom fighters...

Comrade Joshua lobs another grenade at Rummy's favorite libel victim:

Should an advisor to the Pentagon be pocketing a fee for helping to raise money for a terrorist organization?.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

Would You Like Fries With That?

In a private forum, I've been trying to make an argument from anecdotal evidence in my own recent personal experience that turns out to be the same case as the one made in this article by Richard Florida in the current online edition of The Washington Monthly.

Here's an excerpt:
Why would talented foreigners avoid us? In part, because other countries are simply doing a better, more aggressive job of recruiting them. The technology bust also plays a role. There are fewer jobs for computer engineers, and even top foreign scientists who might still have their pick of great cutting-edge research positions are less likely than they were a few years ago to make millions through tech-industry partnerships.

But having talked to hundreds of talented professionals in a half dozen countries over the past year, I'm convinced that the biggest reason has to do with the changed political and policy landscape in Washington. In the 1990s, the federal government focused on expanding America's human capital and interconnectedness to the world--crafting international trade agreements, investing in cutting edge R&D, subsidizing higher education and public access to the Internet, and encouraging immigration. But in the last three years, the government's attention and resources have shifted to older sectors of the economy, with tariff protection and subsidies to extractive industries. Meanwhile, Washington has stunned scientists across the world with its disregard for consensus scientific views when those views conflict with the interests of favored sectors (as has been the case with the issue of global climate change). Most of all, in the wake of 9/11, Washington has inspired the fury of the world, especially of its educated classes, with its my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy. In effect, for the first time in our history, we're saying to highly mobile and very finicky global talent, "You don't belong here."

Naturally, when I bring this up with my friends in the "conservative" movement, they tend to react with some sort of quip along the lines of, "Well, it's true. You don't belong here."

I swear, these people are making me feel more like a refugee in my own home country with every passing day.
Daily Kos adds to you arsenal of imminent Threat quotes:

mojo: Remember Afghanistan... this is a song about Afghanistan...

From our good friends at The Center for American Progress we learn that perhaps the Land of the Khans is perhaps not the newly minted peacable republican kingdom that mythology is making it out to be...

VIOLENCE ESCALATING: The violence in Afghanistan has worsened. More than 60 people have been killed in this month alone. Suicide bombing, previously not the threat in Afghanistan that it has been in other places like Iraq, is becoming more prevalent, with two attacks already this month. NATO is trying to combat the escalating violence and has authorized an expansion of forces in the country and is racing to boost security. But the peacekeeping group has run into massive roadblocks. Knight-Ridder reports, "The alliance has been seriously hamstrung by a lack of contributions of troops and equipment, failing to obtain even enough helicopters for its operations in Kabul."

Correct me if I'm wrong... and it's always possible that I am, but weren't we supposed to have already won the war there? I mean, we even managed to install a vaguely successful mayor in Kabul, what the hell more do those ingrates want from us?

There are chickens coming home to roost, and even now as the spring thaw gets ready to kick off another season of guerrilla war in the highlands on the Paksitani border and more insurgency almost certainly following in the cities, how are we going to manage this without a new commitment of troops we don't have?


Interestingly enough, The New York Times Book Review has an interesting take on how this has been working, with a review of several books and publications that have been silently critiquing the U.S. and international experience in nation-building in Afghanistan.

Let's get right down to it, it's a long read:

Last summer, in a joint report, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society issued a similar grim warning:

Unless the situation improves, Afghanistan risks sliding back into the anarchy and warlordism that prevailed in the 1990s and helped give rise to the Taliban. Such a reversion would have disastrous consequences for Afghanistan and would be a profound setback for the US war on terrorism.

The report urges the US to do the very things that Human Rights Watch has been recommending ever since the American victory and that are still not being adequately addressed: speed up training of the Afghan army and police force, provide at least $1 billion for reconstruction—over and above relief aid—for the next five years, help the ISAF expand or make peacekeeping part of the mandate for US troops, and undertake a major diplomatic initiative to bolster Karzai and prevent neighboring countries from interfering in Afghanistan.

That the Taliban are returning in force two years after their defeat is testimony enough that the West's support and strategy for rebuilding Af-ghanistan have so far been a failure. The war against terrorism is still to be won in the Afghan mountains and deserts and among the Afghan people as well. Their nation, the largest and most tragic victim of terrorism, is not being rebuilt. Until that happens there is little incentive for al-Qaeda or extremists elsewhere to lose heart.

The urgency of the Afghan situation was emphasized by Kofi Annan in a UN report issued on December 3. "Unchecked criminality, outbreaks of factional fighting and activities surrounding the illegal narcotics trade," he said, "have all had a negative impact." He warned that "the international community must decide whether to increase its level of involvement in Afghanistan or risk failure."

And we would appear to be well on the way to that failure, and I fear that it is going to make things even worse than they were before 9/11...

Thank's Dubya, thanks a lot...

freekin' doofus...

mojo out!

Analyzing The D Race

Robert Reich has a thoughtful analysis of the Democratic party Presidential nomination race. I've been careful to note what Uncle Robert says ever since I read his Work Of Nations almost a decade ago.

The dismal fifth-place showing by Senator Joseph Lieberman in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday serves as both reminder and motivator to the other Democratic presidential candidates on what it will take to win in November. For so long now, everyone has assumed that recapturing the presidency depends on who triumphs in the battle between liberals and moderates within the party. Such thinking, though, is inherently flawed. The real fight is between those who want only to win back the White House and those who also want to build a new political movement — one that rivals the conservative movement that has given Republicans their dominant position in American politics.

Further down, he discloses that he's helping the Kerry campaign.
Well, to be honest...

It is understandable how the conservative movement would want to try to claim Lord of the Rings as their own, given their utter lack of any real heroes in this day and age.

But remember, it was the counter-culture of the 60s that claimed the books for essentially the same reasons — it was the lionizing of a set of values that all people in one way or another want to feel they share.

Looking at the historical Tolkien, it is easy to see how he himself was probably something of a conservative. He converted C.S. Lewis to Christianity, for instance. Much of the work, although not allegorical, according to Tolkien, still drew much from his views on society, and said he wanted to create an alternative "anglo myth" history.

While myths are not specifically historical, they demonstrate, or illustrate, what the author considers to be certain truths. It is only with the passage of time, however, that those truths begin to take on a more subjective coloration.

To wit: One of Tolkien's essential themes throughout the book is that self-sufficient freedom is *always* preferable to some sort of security in servitude. This is something that on its face is clearly a no-brainer, and it is the constant struggle in the Tolkien universe between those forces that seek to dominate and control, as opposed to those that seek for peace and freedom that provides the conflict for everything that happens.

Everyone can, in one way or another, relate to this concept from their own point of view. It is just that "liberals and "conservatives" tend to address this without any introspection. "We" good, "They" bad.

In the 60s, progressives could easily see allegory between the neo-facist forces of Nixon and the Military Industrial Complex Military Industrial Complex and Saruman and the forces of Sauron, the small petty-mindedness of many of the Shire-folk and the fecklessness of the world of men, just waiting for a leader to show them the way...

Now in the 21st Century, there are conservatives who see parallels between anti-war politicians and ignorant shire folk; or worse, Wormtongue who seeks to pacify Rohan in the face of a clear threat, working an evil agenda of his own, and not in the national interest, even using the term "warmonger" to describe Eomer. Until the Strauss-like figure of Gandalf appears, runs Grimá, wakes up Theoden and gets him to go forth and kick-ass!

Even adherents of the writings of the Mad-Czech, Abdul Al-Leo Al-Straussahad, can pervert the vision of Gandalf into this neo-Platonic figure roaming the world, suborning people to fight in wars that at the end of the day are little more than unusually high stakes penis-contests between demi-gods, by telling "noble lies," concocting, then selling others on, wild-ass, hairbrained schemes with little chance of success, exercising control behind the scenes , but doing it all in the name of a greater good.

Sorry, just finished giant glass of coffee! I will stop rambling and linking now... ahhh...I have a piece of html code and I'm not afraid to use it!

mojo sends
The Ring Cannot Stay In Rivendell

Another of our heroes, David Neiwert, runs to ground a horrible meme starting to make the rounds that J.R.R. Tolkein should be regarded as a literary hero of the modern "conservative" movement.

Here at The MojoWire, we can be a bit geeky about Tolkein at times, so I thought it important to bring this fine smackdown to your attention.

I am oddly excited by this prospect....

Remember to clean out ALL the orifices please..I am very, very dirty....

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Mgt

I changed the template and added a couple links to some of our favorite sites.
Manufacturing Reality, Part I

Consider the latest media deconstruction from our hero Christopher Allbritton.

Go read the whole article, because it's long and it's got a lot of important things to say. Here's the Mojowire summary: some joker 'enhanced' the recent smack by Paul Bremer about CPA accomplishments in Iraq, and the wingnuts at Newsmax and Freeperville are treating it like it's the real thing, without realizing they're being hoaxed.

Make sure you read all the way down to the end where you get to the point where the enhanced version of the document concludes...
Now, take into account that many people in our government and media continue to claim on a daily basis on national TV that this conflict has been a failure. Taking everything into consideration, even the unfortunate loss of our sons and daughters in this conflict, do you think any other country in the world could have accomplished as much as the United States and its coalition partners have in so short a period of time?

Apparently, some of you really do need the <sarcasm></sarcasm> markup tags around your news-like product before you will get the joke. (It's really too bad that so many of you with this disorder are salaried journalists working for commercial news organizations, but we'll get into that later...)
Be Still My Beating Hart

Ummm... Wes?
"I'm the one person who can bring gay issues forward. And I will."

I am so somewhere about this.

Mojo? Is there a reason I shouldn't be laughing my ass off at this apparent posturing? Or is General Clark actually credible on this issue? I'm guessing you might have something to add.
StILl a FeW bUGs iN tHe SYst3M...

For those trying to make sense of the editorial flow here at The MojoWire, please bear with us. We are slowly but surely learning to master the controls of our shiny brand new starter keyboard from the Acme Mighty Wurlitzer Company and Cheese Food Distribution Service.

Our dear friend Sean has kindly reprinted the entirety of a post by Brad DeLong without clearly delimiting his own commentary from the source material. For reference, the original post is here.

We ask for your kind indulgence while we take Sean down to a nice, comfortable, adequately soundproofed and ventilated room that can be easily cleaned with a high pressure water hose, and we introduce him to our close personal friend, the stylebook.
This is a great post f rom Brad Delong...Check it...

"More Thuds and Screams from the Topkapi Palace

The plot is well-known. A small group of men sneak through the Sultan's Topkapi Palace in the middle of the night. A thud, and a splash. The following morning it is announced that the evil vizier of the Sultan has disappeared, and that the callow and bewildered Sultan is now receiving advice from a different group of high officials, and that henceforth everything will be fine.

Outside the palace, the merchants and craftsmen of Istanbul wonder what really happened.

Fantasy, of course. But meanwhile, back in today's world, Counterspin Central hears footsteps, thuds, and splashes from inside the darkened White House. He interprets these as signs that the grownup Republicans' in the national security wing are finally making their move to capture the Bush administration, and turn it from a public embarrassment and a policy disaster into something better:

Counterspin Central: The "Dump Cheney" movement within the Republican party is really picking up steam...

While Democratic rivals battle for the presidential nomination in a succession of grueling primary elections, Vice President Dick Cheney appears to be fighting to secure his spot on the Republican ticket behind President George W Bush. The vice president... is seen more and more by Republican Party politicos as a drag on the president's re-election chances... instead of the moderate voice of wisdom and caution that voters thought they were getting in the vice president, ongoing disclosures about his role in the drive to war in Iraq and other controversial administration plans depict him as an extremist... who exercises undue influence over Bush to further a radical agenda, a notion that was backed by the publication of a recent book about former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, who described Cheney as creating a "kind of praetorian guard around the president" that blocked out contrary views.... Halliburton... billions of dollars in contracts for Iraq's postwar reconstruction... a major political liability....

Reports were already surfacing two months ago that a discreet "dump Cheney" movement had been launched by intimate associates of Bush's father... Brent Scowcroft and former secretary of state James Baker.... Scowcroft and Baker... have privately expressed great concern over Cheney's unparalleled influence over the younger Bush and the damage that has done to US relations with longtime allies...

The grownup Republicans' move is long, long overdue. But where are the grownup Republicans in the economic policy wing?

And if this strike by Scowcroft, Baker, and company is to do any good, they need to ponder the advice that Alessandro Farnese, Prince of Parma, gave to Henri, Duc de Guise: "As we say in Italy, he who draws his sword against his prince needs to throw away his scabbard." "

If this story is true, it may have been escalated by Jimmy Bakers appointment to go and round up some love from Iraq's creditors. Jimmy is popular in European capitals, and I'm sure he got an earful about the assholes in the White House, and how they can go blow themselves if they think they are getting any love from Old Europe, or Middle Eastern capitals for that matter. Then Jimmy comes back and tells Poppy that the evil Vizier has Junior in his icy grip and is blowing up Nato and compromising US economic interests in the cause of getting Rummy and Dick a foreign policy woodie.

I would love to see a GOP bloodbath. I really don't believe the removal of Cheney will come to pass, at least not yet. If the Plame thing catches fire, then this becomes a real issue, because Poppy will have to talk his son through the crisis...
So it looks like Labor comprises half of his PAC contributions. Public Employees? and individual contributions seems like a large factor, probably a nationwide fundraising network tied to his rep as a Cold Warrior and other causes..The guy has a million benjamins on hand. Oh well, you were never going to outspend him anyway. Large votor turnout could help you guys...
Who Buys The Sausage?

The site you want to read when you want to know who supports an incumbent member of the U.S. Congress is (Mojo needs to invite me to be an 'administrator' for The Mojowire, so I can add them to the links column we don't have in this blog yet.)

Read all about who pays for Lantos's reëlection campaigns here.
I checked out Ro's website and I am impressed, that is a nice candidate you got yourself there, at least from here he looks good. I'm not familiar with your district, where is Lantos' support coming from?
How To Bait Reds

I'm guessing Ken Macleod is still peeved about his son being assaulted in public a few days ago. I'd be peeved too, truth to tell. I wondered what he was doing yesterday when he posted this but he confirmed my suspicions today:

It took, oh, hours for the comrades at SIAW to pounce on the post below as apparently 'a quixotic attempt to rehabilitate Josef Stalin as a great Marxist thinker'.

Sounds like he was baiting the reds. Don't get me wrong— I'm not chastising him for it. I'm sympathizing.

Last time I was doing my street-corner hawking for my friendly, neighborhood Opposition Candidate (Ro Khanna is running in the primary against Tom Lantos for the 12th district U.S. House of Representatives seat), I was doing fine until the local cadre of the International Socialist Organization air-dropped six of their most annoying comrades onto all four corners of 9th Avenue and Irving Street to drum up signatures for a petition to stay the execution of some convicted murderer scheduled to die by lethal injection unless Herr Gropenfuhrer does something totally unexpected and issues a stay or something.

I so wanted to get in their face and remind them that for almost sixty years now they have sat on their hands about Taft-Hartley, and one wonders if they even remember that they're supposed to be trying to get it repealed.

Would have been bad sportsmanship, and I didn't want the inevitable scene this would produce to reflect badly on my candidate. But it was really annoying when one of them had the gall to get all up in my face about whether my guy was sufficiently emphatic in his opposition to the death penalty. Damned reds.

You can troll them all you want, Ken. I'll cheer you on.
Let The Seller Beware

I am just so something about this article in the Fishwrap. People are making small piles of cash buying items on eBay advertised by illiterate boobs— then turning around and selling them with a properly composed advertisement.

Here's the paragraph that made me laugh hysterically:

Jim Griffith, whose official title at eBay is dean of eBay education, teaches 40 to 50 seminars a year around the country. Although the auction house flags common misspellings online, Mr. Griffith said, the most common question he gets is, "When will eBay get a spell checker?" His answer? "You go to a store called a bookstore, and you buy something called a dictionary."

Hmmm... I wonder if I can pick up a good dicsionary on eBay for a steal...
And The Surprise Is What Again?

Sales of new homes fell. This is reportedly a surprise. Apparently, we're supposed to believe that the 'surprise' is not actually that they fell, but that they fell in December. (See... if sales are up the first eleven months of the year, then they're supposed to go up the last month of the year too— or somehow the balance of nature collapses.)

The good news is that sales of existing homes remain up. The information is the mortgage lenders are reportedly getting ready to start laying off staff. And the surprise here is supposed to be what again?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I'll sleep on it before I look at the bones. Not sure what it means that Kerry delivered a thumping in New Hampshire. Right now, I'm might be willing to put even money on him winning the majority of assigned delegates by soopertoosday. Beyond that, I don't have any analysis.

Well, no analysis other than now the baleful eye of Sauron turns....

Well, this was just shameless...

Let me get right to the heart of it for you:
Lieberman: I'm exceeding expectations
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (AP) -- Joe Lieberman
counted on independents for a stronger-than-expected
showing in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary,
which he said would be a victory regardless of where he
placed among the seven candidates.

The Connecticut senator was undeterred by early results
putting him in fifth place with about 10 percent of the vote.

"Senator Lieberman has said all along that his campaign
starts here, it does not end here," spokesman Dan
Gerstein said.

"The standard for showing some strength here is to
do better than expected. A week ago we were in the
low single digits. After a very strong debate
performance Senator Lieberman jumped up in most of
the tracking polls," Gerstein said.

And then in his address to the crowd, tells his crowd that failing to break into double digits, finishing fifth is a great vindication of his cause...

Translated: "But Al From said *I* get to be President...waaaaaa...."

But the real problem for me is that this guy comes out in a delusional haze as bad as Bagdad Bob, watching tanks roll up on the Palace telling his people that he is on the cusp of victory, but CNN essentially gives him a pass, while Dean , who finished third, *not* fifth, in Iowa gets a little loud with a room full of true believers and that's the only clip you see on TV for a week of the guy.

Speaking of which, Dean came out and actually gave a really good speech for his "first loser" position. (I know this sounds bitter, but I am a big Dean supporter). And as an interesting side note, I'm not sure how this happens but due to yet another quirk in electoral politics, in spite of his placement in the field through two elections, Dean actually leads in the actual convention delegate count.

To wit: Kerry has 95 and Dean has 112. Not sure how that goes...

Kerry, now he just put up some great numbers and then came on CNN with Herr Blitzer and absolutely got into Dubya. If this is the kind of campaign that Kerry is going to run, then good on him. And I think that perhaps we might have a Howard Dean to thank for that!


It's official, The Massachusetts Mangler, JK has dropped as serious *ass-kicking* on his rival Howard Dean by a stunning 15 point margin.

With more than 60 percent of the state reporting in, there looks like whatever bump that Howard Dean was looking at in the polls in the last 72 hours completely disinetegrated at zero-hour.

Our special mentat oracles deep in the bowels of the Mojohaus headquarters are even now calculating the chances that Dean will even be in this thing in two weeks time. Kerry looks nigh on unbeatable at this moment. He has not had to spend a dime in any of the next dozen states, and he will already be going in with a 10 point lead in the polls right out of the box.

This is the deal, folks! And before you get talking, no, there will not be a Howard Dean vice presidency...the ticket will be Kerry/Edwards, or Kerry/Clark. And either of those will be formidable combinations against the Bush juggernaut.

mojo out
I'll be happy to spare you the squishy language, but allow me to point out that the term Imperialism is squishy too. And I think, one of the premises of Marshalls piece was that these terms like Imperialism, which are useful to historians, are often misapplied when we want to describe the present. It seems to me you are somewhat guilty of what Marshall hammers the NeoCons over.
That being said, your application of various behaviors of the American state that are consistent with Imperialism is much more useful than the British one Perle and Max Boner were using to pimp Destroy All Monsters. What I have issue with is whipping out loaded terms like Imperialism and then lumping a disparate variety of events, policies and outcomes as Imperialism. My caution is partly political and partially policy based. Imperialism in the 19th Century was founded in some assumptions I am not sure are operative right now. I would like to see a bit more discussion about that before I am on the Imperialism bandwagon.
Which I know you get, James. But my critique of your viewpoint is not that it's wrong to fuss about Imperialism. I am urging caution in falling into the historical analogy trap, applying Imperialism, or fascism, to name another abused term.
I much prefer to shoot NeoCon "National Greatness" in the back of the head by proving it's not good for the long terms interests of the nation, both from a military and economic perspective Here is where we can use their Imperialism analgoy against them, by emphasizing all the outcomes that directly resulted from these policies and behaviors that ended up blowing up and eroding the interests of the British, for example. Same for Fascism. It's not just bad because of the Nazi's, it had severe negative consequence for a variety of reasons, not just because it was misapplied.
And that fundamentally is how I see the argument of the Bush Administration. They pimps themselves as pragmatists, and that while liberalism may be nice, it won't keep the Iraqi Devil robots from raping your pets. They are, of course, fucking wrong. Current economic and foreign policy is eroding our long term economic and national security interests, similiar to how Imperialism and Colonialism eroded British and European interests in the long term as well. That is the lesson the NeoCons ignore, and that Marshall so aptly nailed.
I see your argument as strictly moral and ethical. It's not wrong, but incomplete. Marshall, because he is a historian, veers away from those judgements and makes the pragmatic case against Imperialism. It's not just nitpicking, including the "It's a shitty national security policy on top being morally bankrupt" is important, at least to me.
In answer to your question about how to get the United States out of the imposing the hegemony business, the best way is to demonstrate it doesn't work as advertised. It is ultimately self-defeating. history has demonstrated that when one nation adopts Imperialism, or whatever these goons at the White House call it, your ability to sustain it is finite. That I think is history's applicable lesson.
I really don't know what institution, relationship or organization is required to move us from Imperialistic behaviors, to more sustainable and, I guess more liberal,
For the sake of starting the discussion, Post War Europe might bear some examiniation. Yes, I know it is a much abused metaphor. But think of it in the broader historical context. Euorpean states, particularly France, Germany and England, have been at virtualy perpertual war for thousands of years. Breaks in the war were simply the time between rounds, not real cessations of hostility. Europe is now forging a new entity that seems to be making that old paradigm obsolete. It is based on shared economic and security interests. That could point the way to similiar relationships on a larger scale...
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Mojohaus, fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988.

Props to Henrik Hertzberg at The New Yorker for this article. The whole thing is very good and covers a lot of ground around the recent State of the Union address. But this particular zinger is worth highlighting:
The rest of Bush’s proposals were either ruinously expensive, socially poisonous non-starters (such as privatizing Social Security) or cheap cuts of wormy red meat for the conservative and evangelical base. Of the latter the cheapest was an exhortation to professional athletes to quit taking steroids, the wormiest a threat to deface the Constitution with anti-gay graffiti.

I like the phrase "to deface the Constitution with anti-gay graffiti." That pretty much sums up my opinion of the Federal Marriage Amendment— except, I'm willing to stand up and accuse the supporters of that amendment wanting to do it just to prove they can.
Well, this is just precious.
By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria - Even if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq, the U.S.-led war was justified because it eliminated the threat that Saddam Hussein might again resort to "evil chemistry and evil biology," Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday.

I can't wait for him to start talking about "evil mathematics" and "evil linguistics".

Monday, January 26, 2004

One of my professional heroes, Grace Murray Hopper is widely given attribution for this pearl of management wisdom:
You cannot manage men into battle. You manage things; you lead people.

I mention this in response to Sean's article below, where he asks...
Are leadership and Imperialism synonymous in your view? I have no problem being Team Captain, Leadership by consensus is not by nature immoral. If we build the right institutions and relationships, will Imperialism really be the problem you believe it to be?

From my perspective, Imperialism is a theory of management. Part of it is the theory involving the process by which you organize some people into positions of leadership and others into positions where they can— well, how do I say this politely— where they can be An Army Of One. There is also the disembodied voice of Charles de Gaulle in the back of my head reminding me that...
"No nation has friends— only interests."

These are the ideas that come to mind when I'm asked if I think Leadership and Imperialism are synonymous. In simpler terms, you can have Leadership without Imperialism, but you can't have an Empire without Emperors.

I had another long drawn-out telephone conversation with drieux again today, and we were talking about this very subject. He is, of course, deep in his boy scout heart— a federalist. At one level, he agrees with Mr. Marshall that the world would be ever so much less dangerous a place if there were a One World Government with the official imprimatur for the legitimacy of the use of military force. On a whole other level, of course, he seems ready to agree the proposition starts to break down in very ugly ways when you begin evaluating the available transition mechanisms.

I'm an IETF guy, remember— so I spend a lot of time thinking about how to get away from using the stupid, broken protocols we limp along with today, and start using smarter, less broken protocols that will make the world a better place tomorrow. It is all about the transition mechanisms, baby.

So how do we get to the bright new World Of Tomorrow without turning ourselves into radioactive anthrax bombs in the process? Sure, I'll go along with the part of Josh Marshall's piece where he basically says the Destroy All Monsters school of foreign policy is a really lousy idea.

In the days of yore, we anti-imperialists used to think that the best way to export Americanism (assuming you believed it was a good idea) was to invite players in foreign countries to consider forming Republican forms of government, then ratify articles of annexation and assimilating them into the United States of America under the terms of Article IV of the Constitution. That's exactly what they meant by "the Flag follows the Constitution."

So if we're not going to carry the Constitution with us when we plant the flag in some foreign country, build permanent military bases there, and cut deals with the local warlords so our citizens in uniform are immune from prosecution under the local laws there— how do we want to go about establishing Pax Terra Americana?

Specifically, how do we plan to get the Americans to give over their nuclear deterrent and their how many carrier battle groups to some higher world governing authority invested with the legitimacy to delegate responsibility for conducting military operations to the capable organizations around the world?

Please— spare me the squishy language about being a "Team Captain" and "Leadership By Consensus" because, unless we're talking about something that gets the Americans out of the business of managing a global hegemony and spending more of its wealth on building out its national security apparatus than the entire rest of the world combined, then we're not talking about Anti-Imperialism— we're talking about the difference between how the Americans treated the Bear Flag Republic in 1846, and how the Americans are treating the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic today.
Mojowire for 01.24.04; vol. 2, no. 02

MUSIC: Intro/Jerry Goldsmith, Take Us Out
S9/ FSOL, We Have Explosive
Exeunt/Ministry, New World Order

intro with Goldsmith, Take Us Out

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, Vol. 2, No. 02... I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, January 24, 2004, Day 1,028 of the Neocon Captivity...

J. And welcome to the Mojohaus election season kickoff with our All-Star, Decision 2004 Election Coverage Spectacular... reporting to you live from our secret, nuclear-hardnend, secure broadcast bunker several miles beneath the campus of UCI with reports coming from our Stealth-Satellite Spy Station high on Geosynchronous Earth Orbit, spinning out the news from the backrooms and buses as we get ready to get our game-on to boot out a corrupt chief executive and his hideous reign of thugs and petty criminals.

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

J. First this morning, we read the bones from the results of the Iowa caucus last week and attempt to make some sort of sense from the seemingly surprising turn of events that left Howard Dean limping and John Kerry pimping.

S. President Bush formally announced his candidacy for Sherrif of Tombstone Arizona, last week, with what was perhaps the most awful State of the Union Speech ever uttered by a Chief Executive. Watching this State of the Union was a torturous experience, but it provided a clear blueprint of the themes that the Bush Armada will go with in 04.

J. Then Strychnine, who has been stricken dumb with horror for the past couple of weeks, finally regains his voice and takes a good hard look at the likes of the re-energized campaign of John Kerry and pronounces it dead on arrival.

S. Next, we take a gaze ahead at Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and try to get a peak at the man behind the curtain to see who is going to come out ahead, and who will be the next in the field to pull the plug.

J. …Finally, we have a sober reflection of the stakes in this election. Look, it’s simple; this one’s for the species boys and girls. If the Bush machine gets another crack at the helm, then maybe it will be time to ask NASA if they are accepting volunteers for a manned Mars mission.

…So stand by to stand by while we get ready to pull the pin on this election season...

fade in more Goldsmith for five or six count then back out again

J. The Iowans have spoken!

And the results were something of a surprise, not the least of which to both John Kerry and John Edwards who finished a strong first and second during the caucuses. Howard Dean, who finished a distant third later attempted to boister a still hopeful and enthusiastic crowd, which apparently made many in the national press corps feel like their lives were being threatened.

Old school political reporters were filled with terrible images of an old fashioned Mongol clinging to power in his warband after a unclear battle by promising to crush the infidels and to rage across the world in blood and fire conquering all those who oppose the Holy Khan. And the Beltway media reacted predictably.

Ahhh...if only...but we digress.

And while were on the subject, a word about Dick Gephardt. I am reminded of the old Voltaire quote: “To the living one owes respect, to the dead, one owes only truth.” And the truth is that Gephardt’s political career died the cheap, rum-soaked death in the ditch it deserved.

A man incorrigibly pushed about on the winds of his own ambition to the point where he was barely conscious of his own actions, like a drunken frat boy on the last night of Spring Break when he suddenly remembers he totally failed to get hooked up on vacation, and starts careening through the crowds looking for someone with at least a few of the correct body parts who might even be vaguely interested.

No, Gephardt’s shameless implosion after Iowa was sheer poetry, and it can only be said that even with the vicious flesh-eating rodent campaign he waged, that history will be kinder to him than he deserves.

The real question is did this actually create the template for the rest of the primary election season? It's actually a pretty good question, and all seems to revolve around who's reading the bones.

You would not be incorrect in remembering that Kennedy (among several othes) lent their organizational acumen and machinery to Kerry in the waning days before the caucus, and really worked to give him that boost.

But there were two other factors at work. One: The spitting match between Dean and Gephardt that Edwards and (to a lesser extent) Kerry stayed out of in the last 30 days turned off a lot of the uncommitteds. Remember that throughout the last month uncommitteds were far and away the largest group going into the caucus.

And two, the caucus procedure itself, which is all about blatant electioneering there at the caucus sites, as opposed to voting, where there is 100-foot buffer around all polling places.

For those who have never been to, or seen, a caucus, there is little common frame of reference we can use to describe the Roman Circus like atmosphere. It’s almost a combination of the Algonquin Rountable and one of those dark Tiajuana allies reeking of urine and leather where dark men reeking of Agavé and cheap tobacco paw at you from stables filled with blankets, switchblades and Dia De Los Muertos skulls, demanding that you buy something from them.

Instead of casting a quiet and private ballot for the candidate of your choice, you are assaulted from all sides by people who are desperate for you to come sit in their group and make them a viable caucus, and for those candidate’s precinct captains just shy of the magic viability number, they would do nearly anything shy of going upside a atttendees head with a blunt object or having a minion ether them from behind and with a hoarse battle cry, carrying them off like spoils of war.

S. Dispassionate sarcasm aside, it was the combination of a large number of uncommitteds and Kerry’s ability to muster the best and pushiest precinct captains, clearly symbolic of a strong organization, that he was able to pull out the victory.

But moreover, Edwards is the one who's organization has been underestimated. One of those instances where the candidate with less money actually spent it a little better than some of his rivals. He was really the big winner out of Iowa, in our humble opinion, since Kerry had always been the high expectation candidate.

His second place finish was essentially a “get out of New Hampshire” free card. He can absolutely tank in the Granite State and remain viable for at least another two weeks, until he makes it back to the bright, sunny south. But he will *have* to perform there with at least some first and second place finishes for Iowa to be seen as anything more than a fluke for him.

Which brings us to the question of what do the Iowa numbers really mean in the big picture? Well, that all depends on what are you trying to read from the Iowa numbers. On the one hand, no, the Iowa caucus does not mean much in terms of overall electoral math. Moreover, polls show that in New Hampshire, voters are not likely to take much of a cue from the Children of the Corn. Sorry Malachai, get back in the barn, you and your evil demon overlord do not get to choose the Democratic nominee.

However, it means a bit more for those looking for subtext, and who looks like they might have either less game or more than previously thought. There's no way you can slice this that it doesn't look like a tough beat for Dean. Granted, the conventional wisdom says that three tickets traditionally get punched out of Iowa, and Dean got one of them (even if it appears to be the steerage class ticket).

But it may have cost him going into New Hampshire, even while it seemed to light a fire under some of his campaign people there who were just be coasting a bit after sitting atop a comfortable lead for several months...which just goes to prove the old Mojowire addage that polls more than 60 days out from an election mean nothing...

Looking at the Dean numbers in larger perspective, just 90 days ago the pundits were all pretty much conceding Iowa to Gephardt with Dean finishing third or fourth in the polls around Halloween, as we recall. It wasn't until the last 30 to 45 days that Dean made a move in Iowa, and became a presumptive frontrunner there, hence the nastiness from the Gephardt (and secretly, I suspect, other old DLC Clinton allies who don't like Dean).

That is the buzz going around in some circles, whether it seems credible or not. Don Clinton has ordered his capo regime in the DLC to push the button on this pebble in his shoe, Howard Dean. And any thing less than Dean’s career going to sleep with the fishes will be unsatisfactory...and that Don Clinton does *not* forgive.

J. President Bush formally announced his candidacy for Emperor of the Republic Tuesday, with what was perhaps the most awful State of the Union Speech ever uttered by a Chief Executive.

Watching this State of the Union was a torturous experience, but it provided a clear blueprint of the themes that the Bush Armada will go with in 04. You will be glad to know that Truth and Reality have been declared enemies of the State, and have been bundled up in duct tape, hustled into the trunk of a Chevy Nova, and are now presently on their way to Camp X-ray to wait out the election year as a guest of John Ashcroft.

The Stategery for the President’s Reelectification is forged on about three princplenesses. First, use the threat of Terrorism, and the war in Iraq to portray this President as a Wartime President, and thus cast all opponents as vaguely unpatriotic, and their criticisms as giving comfort to the enemies of the United States. The President fired off that scud in Tuesdays Annual Scare of the Union Speech by asking Congress to renew the Patriot Act, to wit:

"Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give our homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us. And one of those essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells, and to seize their assets. For years, we have used similar provisions to catch embezzlers and drug traffickers. If these methods are good for hunting criminals, they are even more important for hunting terrorists. "

First off, is the failed war on drugs the model we are going to use to fight terror?...We hope not...
Like the midterms, the Administration will use the 9/11 attacks to justify all of his policies, even Tax cuts, as essential to the War on Al Qaeda. The cynical perversion of that tragedy is going to be the glue of every Republicans campaign, from dogcatcher all the way up to the Dogcathcher in Chief.

For example, Renewal of the Patriot Act will be a device the President will try to use to cast his opponents as weak on National Security. Although the Patriot Act has generated concern across the Political spectrum, it's renewal will be portrayed as essential to keeping Americans safe from Iraqi Flying Saucers and Al Qaeda Devil Robots being kept at bay by John Ashcroft and the untouchables.

The efficacy of the Patriot Act is unknown, since DOJ has refused to share details of how many of it's provisions have been applied, but that apparently is policy dweeb stuff an alpha male like Junior is too manly for. Let the eggheads at Justice figure it out.

The applause from the Democratic side of the aisle when the President mentioned the Act was due to expire tells you how despised it is by them. Their opposition to it will be cast by the GOP as weakness against Terror. Don't you know that the Executive Branch can blow off the Bill of Rights whenever it wants too, hippie? Rights are dangerous in Wartime, it's in the Bible...Somewhere.....

Second, keep the President above the fray of partisan politics by making vague pronouncements and euphemisms, and viscously attacking his enemies through the GOP"s exclusive Media networks of Talk Radio, allied pundits and editorial pages, and the barely literate hacks at Fox News.

A good example of this strategy is pressing General Clark to disavow Michale Moore’s accusation that Pres. Bush is a deserter. It's pretty clear the Pres. was AWOL, but not that he deserted, in the technical legal sense. General Clark was pushed multiple times on this, and then attacked by GOP drone Fred Barnes (among others) for it afterwards.

S. All the work of attacking the Democrats is done here by proxy, while the President goes on with the business of ruining the country. We find it supremely hypocritical for any of these geeks to push General Clark on Moore’s deserter statement, when congenital liars like Ann Coulter accuse the entire Democratic party of being Communist stooges throughout the Cold War, and no one ever asks the President or GOP leaders to disavow this wretched lie.

So General Clark, who has a silver star for valor is tarnished by right wing loons as a traitor and that doesn't raise an eyelash, and the President’s dubious service record is questioned, and that is pushed by every Right Wing media outlet.

Third, hug the Evangelical Right Wing close to his chest by carefully feeding them the raw meat of gay marriage, supporting the war on the establishment clause, and using evangelical code phrases lifted from the Bible by the Presidents speech writers. The President announced his support for the awful anti-gay marriage amendment being pushed by the homophobes on the religious right with this beautiful piece of subterfuge:

“Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage. (Applause.)”

The President here offers support for the right wing’s obsession over gay marriage, and their deranged fear that it threatens the institution of marriage, without explicity endorsing it. This is exactly the strategy the President used to intimate imminent threat without actually uttering the word imminent himself. The President feeds the homphobia of his base, without spooking tolerant moderates who could be swayed to the Democrats if they actually caught a glimpse of the wild eyed fanaticism that drives these bigoted policies.

The Hypnotizing of the Union contained perhaps one of the greatest deceptions in the history of the Presidency. Last year, the President enumerated specific details of a vast arsenal of Iraqi biotoxins, chemical weapons, and that the Iraqi's possessed a real and operational Nuclear Weapons program. Now, all of that has been reduced to this wonderful phrase: “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.”

Just chew on that for a moment. Weapons of mass destruction related Activities. What on Earth does that mean? Weapons grade Algebra scrawled on a bar napkin from the Al Rasheed Hotel? The Kay Report, if you care to read it, lays out the paucity of the Presidents claims in the last Screech of the Union. Now it's all related activities. Which turned out to be a couple of flatbed trucks, some stuff in a guys refrigerator, and a centrifuge stuck under a garden gnome in a scientists back yard.

Nice try Mr President, but like your campaign rhetoric in the coming year, it's all worthless garbage that should get you run out of office, along with your gang of sick and slack-jawed lackeys. Let us send you out with the words of columnist Michael Kinsley from Slate, who sums up this Administration quite nicely:

"Bush II administration lies are often so laughably obvious that you wonder why they bother. Until you realize: They haven't bothered. If telling the truth was less bother, they'd try that too. The characteristic Bush II form of dishonesty is to construct an alternative reality on some topic and to regard anyone who objects to it as a sniveling dweeb obsessed with 'nuance,' which the president of this class, I mean of the United States, has more important things to do than worry about."

Uruk Hai out...

cue JAMES music
And now the music is telling me that we have an incoming flash election bulletin 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…
Mojowire for 1/24/04

S9 Greetings, once again, my fine fellow space adventurers. For the last two weeks, you haven't heard much from us here on S9 Station, and that's mainly because we've been gobsmacked into blind idiocy watching the Democratic Party Presidential nomination race.

For awhile there, a lot of the consensus manufacturers in the mainstream press were absolutely convinced that it was a done deal for Howard Dean, and that it was only a matter of time before everyone got over their disappointment that the race was over so quickly.

Then, my dear departed mother's home state of Iowa held their official caucuses on the subject. And as often happens in Iowa in the week before the caucuses, the winds began to blow in a different direction. "Iowa for the Iowish," they say, and they're right.

The good news for Howard Dean-- who took a distant third place in the Iowa caucuses-- is that the Iowish are decidedly *not* like the rest of America. They just get to go first. The information is that John Kerry has been gifted now (by the Washington media establishment, and probably with no small deliberation) with a badly needed dose of The Wild Horny-toad Mojo going into the New Hampshire primary.

It won't be enough for Senator Haircut, though. His campaign for the White House has been doomed to defeat ever since 1971. And now, more than ever, it looks like the best hope of kicking G2 out of the White House next year will be a brokered DNC in Boston-- in which we see a
Clark/Dean or a Dean/Clark ticket emerge from the backroom thumb-wrestling. Either of those will work, I think-- but I'm here to tell you that if the D's nominate John Kerry for President, it will be
Four More Years of blindly stove-piped and heavily cooked intelligence on Republican job-creation program related activity chatter evidence something, punctuated by the occasional Code Elmo homeland security threat level as we reinstate the draft, invade Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and make even more threatening noises at Iran and North Korea.

There is no way Americans are going to elect John Kerry over George Bush. He'll lose in a landslide. That's my prediction.

Don't get me wrong... I like John Kerry. If the D's nominate him, I will happily cross party lines from the Green Party to the Democratic Party and vote for him. I may even write a big check to his
Presidential campaign. But then-- let's be honest: an endorsement from S9 Station isn't going to make him a winner any more than it made Paul Simon a winner back in 1988. No, Kerry is going down-- and it's his military background that will be the millstone around his political neck.

Kerry is a Vietnam War veteran. I'd call him a War Hero-- he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts for his service in the U.S. Navy-- but Americans don't believe there was anything heroic about the Vietnam War. It's why they think George Bush did the right thing when he went AWOL from his National Guard unit for the better part of a year during the Vietnam War-- even though he stood very little chance of going to the front.

But on top of that, Kerry came back from Vietnam with his patriotism damaged. Oh sure, from my perspective he's a great patriot-- his protests against the Vietnam War in his testimony before the U.S. Senate helped bring an end to an utter disaster of American foreign policy. But let's try to remember what the John McCain campaign taught us about what happens to Vietnam veterans when they try to get elected President of the United States.

Here's how we can expect Karl Rove to paint John Kerry: he may have supported the troops at one time in his life, but in 1971 he threw away his ribbons and joined the filthy shoeless antiwar hippies. He's a quitter, and he's a loser as well. And now he wants to tell you he's against the War On Terrorism (which will be a filthy lie, but Rove will make Bush and his people say it anyway) even though Kerry voted in the Senate *for* the War On Iraq.

In 1971, Morley Safer on _60_Minutes_ asked John Kerry, "Do you want to be President?" And he replied, "Of the United States? No." Imagine the negative ad you could write with an edited version of that exchange. Just leave off the last word of Kerry's reply, and the rest writes itself.

More importantly, Kerry can't tout his military record without reminding everyone who hears it about what a clusterfumble was Vietnam-- in the process sounding like he hates the military more than anything even when, *especially* when, he tries to sound sincere about how much he loves it. Nobody wants to dwell on the failures of the past. Certainly not any of the moderate Democrats and swing Republicans he'll need to unseat Bush.

At the same time, Bush has *always* known how righteous and powerful are the United States Armed Forces. Why-- he's practically the Greatest Military Leader EVER. And if you don't think so too, then you must be on the side of the terrorists. Of course, it isn't true, but the truth isn't what this is about. It's about manufacturing reality.

The Bush Campaign will hammer home this "Kerry is a disgrace to his uniform" theme-- without actually saying it-- and it will cost them nothing politically. *Nothing.* The more Kerry swings back, the more he will appear un-Presidential in the process. If he doesn't swing back, he will be allowing the Bush people to define his message.
Cue James music from top of song for exit
That's my story. As much as I like him, I have to admit it: the Kerry campaign has the mark of doom on it.

J. So, now it comes down to a handful of cranky, freezing old Yankees in a state so far north that even Candaians consider them hearty arctic survivors. On Tuesday, they will take a big hand in deciding who the Democratic candidate for President will be.

As we write this, a scant 96 hours before tee-time, the bones are rolling and the knives are out. Call from the poll has it Kerry, followed by Dean, closely followed by Clark, Edwards and the rest of the also-rans...

This is after Dean came into the state with a commanding lead, even still as large as 10 points right after what the media have dubbed the “I Have a Scream” speech. Since then, the Dean campaign has experienced what political watchers call “hemoraging.”

It remains to be seen if the doctor has managed to staunch the bleeding, but at this point most of the polls agree that it will be a Kerry/Dean race. With that said, does the Mojowire endorse the conventional wisdom going into Tuesday’s election?

No! And here’s why. Media cycles are much quicker now than they were, and already, there are signs that the Dean campaign has gone through the bad-news phase, and the official redemption phase is kicking in, perhaps just in time for people to remember why they liked him in the first place.

The 12 hour retreat to Burlington with Dean and his starting team to do damage control appears to be paying off, and the remaking of the image may be enough to bring him back to prominence. Enough to get over on Kerry? Maybe not, but at this point, the expectation for him is so low going in now that if he can at least finish a convincing second, within 3 to 6 points, then that is a net win.

Much of this will turn on the undecideds, again a large group of voters in the last few days and no one knows with any certainty what they will do. Some anecdotal evidence on the ground suggests that they may have been waiting until they actually walk into the booth to make up their minds, and unlike Iowa, there won’t be campaign precinct captains lurching around around the polling place like Lieberman of Borg, trying to assimilate their political distinctiveness into their own.

To maintain his momentum, Kerry will have to crush the competition. This is the hazard of being the front runner that Dean spoke of...expectations, and Kerry was always the candidate of the high expectations, even before he ever announced his candidacy, his name was being bandied about as the guy the Democrats should turn to.

He has taken in a good deal of money in the last week, which is really what momentum does for you. Winning a primary is essentially like a video-game. It means you collect the prize or treasure for that level and you get to move on to the next level, until you defeat the convention monster and move on to the final boss level.

Edwards is another one who has had his campaign juiced. But he is in an interesting position, and a good one for him. As previously noted, his strong second place finish in Iowa gives him a pass, more or less, in New Hampshire. He can get through there with little to show for it and still be a perceived front runner.

S. Let’s take a look at the schedule: Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina Primaries, and New Mexico and North Dakota Caucuses take place just one week after New Hampshire on Feb. 03. In at least three of those states — So. Carolina, Oklahoma and Missouri — Edwards can expect to do reasonably well.

The Dean campaign has been flooding the zone in Arizona, New Mexico and Washington, while we have heard very little about the Kerry machine in those states. Those could end up to be very even contests in another ten days.

But only if Dean does not completely melt down with a bad showing in New Hampshire and another bad bout of tourettes. Although, if he went on the O’Reilly factor and barked and tried to bite William, that would rule! That would send his numbers right through the roof.

So, back to the Granite State, home of President Bartlett. In the last two or three days of manic campaigning, the candidates will be mushing their staffs through the frozen wilderness seeking out anyone not moving fast enough to get a little face time with the voters. It some ways it really is a shameless spectacle.

You will invariably hear from every candidate a variation on the theme that their campaign is absolutely “on fire,” “en fuego,” if they were any hotter, then they would have to be encased in asbestos and only the Combat-Campaign-Bots from C-SPAN would be able to get close enough to them to conduct interviews and voters would have to be kept to a minimum safe distance of one mile from the candidate at all times.

All these augers will be inescapable, but now you listen to the wisdom of the ancients from down in the bowels Mojohaus oracle... here are the signs and portents to watch for, and when you see them they will be as undeniably clear as a 900-foot Jesus striding the landscape cleansing the earth of sinners in the firey wrath of the fist of the vengeful pre-atomic space god Jehovah 1...

What? Oh, yeah, signs and portents...

First: The pundits on your favorite mass media of choice will start talking about how the media “overplayed” the Dean screech, and talking about “how matured” the candidate has appeared to be. This will be the sign that Dean has again found his feet and could surprise people on Tuesday.

Second: Kerry will cease making any veiled references to any of the rest of the Democratic pack and focuses the rest of his message on policy and why the economy is in the tank. This is a sign that his internal poll numbers have put him beyond effective reach of anyone beside the ghost of Franklin Roosevelt. Inversely, if he goes on an anti-pack tear and shows off his battle scars, that is a sign that Dean has returned from the brink of death.

The last sign to look for will be if John Edwards bails out of New Hampshire before Monday, which will be the sign that he knows he is baked there and will be on his way south to redeem his Iowa victory coupon.

And finally, the next guy to pull the plug, or at least to get the plug pulled for him is Eyore, the Liebermanator. And good riddance!

J. Now, aside from giving us plenty of fodder for vaguely amusing quips, and allowing us to bring you a good horse race, why should you, yourself, put down the remote, get up out of the chocolate chip cookie and cheap beer gravity well of the La-Z-Boy and get involved in this election?

Simple: you may not have another chance after this year if the Bush juggernaut rolls on to another victory.

We need to talk folks. This adminstration has changed the stakes in our Democracy. The consensus that emerged from the New Deal, the Cold War and our committment to the promise of democracy we have inherited from preceding generations is currently being held hostage to a group of feckless thugs who cannot be trusted with the power of the Executive Branch.

We all know, loyal wireheads, that this administration engaged in a massive deception of the electorate and themselves in the runup to the Iraq debacle. But this is more than just Watergate style lying. This Administration has broken trust with the Amercican People.

Simply put, they have supreme contempt for liberal democracy. You are simply a consumer that needs manipulating. The Bush Gang has no loyalty to you, they are loyal to their own ideolgoies of leveraging power, and to the promise of vast riches offered by pimping the interestes of wealthy greedheads that will enrich them when they eject from Government.

And once they cash in their chips from being in the halls of power, they have created a revolving door system where their hand-picked replacements can follow in their immediate footsteps and take their place with complete continuity and with no change in real government policy or agenda.

Semptemer 11th has been perverted by the Administration from a shared grief into a weapon the President wields against his critics. His administration is morally and ethically incapable of distinguishing between poltical rivals and fellow citizens.

You are either with them or against them, whether it’s wielding the legal authority of the Judciary against Greenpeace, or subverting science to appease their luddite supporters in the 700 club and their pals who bank on befouling the environment with fossil fuels, it’s all the same to them. The Republic does not come first in the Bush Adminitration; their political power does, and if you get in the way, they have a lovely 8x10 timshare in Gitmo they can provide for you.

A fundamental change is in the wind in this country. Look, politics has always been a contact sport, and besides golf, probably the one with most elitist rules for entry into the game. But the American system is predicated on the idea that however elitist it might be, it is not entirely closed to those who want to participate on a meaningful level, regardless of social standing.

The Bush Administration is aiming to change that. With legislation like the Patriot Act, an obsession with official secrecy, stacking the courts not only with right wing ideologues, but actual political cronies, and creating a voting mechanism designed for wholesale election rigging, the complexion of our Republic is about to be radically altered.

Remember, these people come, by and large, from the school of Leo Strauss, and his progenitors who had no use for the vox populi other than as a cheap marketing gimmick, like EST. These are people who really believed, deep down, that freedom in America is a bad idea; a belief in the superiority of oligarchy and the need for the elites to exercise strict, overt control over the state.

S. For many years the Republican Party, and even elements in the beltway establishment of the Democratic Party have been playing that game behind the scenes, co-opting populism, dispersing progressive support, retaining power through a thin veneer of republican accountability and transparancy.

But now the current administration seeks to completely formalize an arrangement where they no longer have to make any pretense of respect for our traditional notions of democracy and republican rule, and their allies who control the legislative branch are rolling over for it and have completely abrograted their roll as a check against the power of a rogue executive.

They are a cult of secrecy and power and they are about to complete a not-so bloodless coup that will send our nation’s ideas to the scrapheap of history.

So, yeah, this is about *you*, and your right to choose your government. Your right *not* to be disappeared by Federal Marshals in the dead of night, to govern the use of your own body, to know what your government is doing with your money in your name, to have clean water to drink, to have clean air to breath, to not pay a month’s salary for a bag of groceries, to live in a nation where notions of Justice and Fairness and Freedom are not antiquated concepts kids learn about in history books that talk about “the bad old days” of peace and prosperity.

That’s why you, yearh *you*, need to get up off your butt and get out there, pick a candidate and get your campaign-on. If we win will it change much? No, probably not, but at least we will still be in the game.

I know people are tired of hearing us say this. We have been dropping these bombs for months now and we realize it is a bit pedantic but it *is* that important. If we lose, then fine, we lose, but for the love of God, please don’t let us lose because we didn’t try.

Honestly, this was not supposed to make you despair, we are trying to make you angry enough to get ready to get out there and fight like hell for your country. This nation is under attack, and not from Al Qaeda or the dread Iraqi Flying Saucers. We are under assault from within by forces who would seize this nation and destroy it, remaking it into nothing more than their personal coast-to-coast WalMart.

This is your country, and it’s going to be up to you to save it. Not any nameless or faceless agency or politician. The fate of 350 million people all rests on you. Yeah, I know that deal sucks — too bad, but that’s what it is, so the question is really, what are *you* going to do?

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Realizing the threat posed by the radical right wing oligarchs, means the terrorists win, or as John Ashcroft says... Oh, screw John Ashcroft! He’s baked!


S. And that’s all for this week, tune in again soon for another exciting installment, until, of course, we are declared enemies of the state.

And remember, you can now email the Mojowire at, that’s Email us hippies...

J. And now you can check out the Mojowire online at; you can read the entire archive.

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...
The thrust of that article was to challenge the deeply flawed historical analogy with Imperial Britain that seems to constitute some of the core assumptions behind the ideology that Perle and Frum argue for in their latest tome. He does acknowledge that the United States exerts a particular kind of hegemony that bears a resemblance too imperialistic behavior:

"If America, militarily unchallenged and economically dominant, indeed took on the functions of imperial governance, its empire was, for the most part, loose and consensual. In the past couple of years, however, neo-imperialism, this thing of stealth, politesse, and obliquity, has come to seem, so to speak, too neo. Especially as the war on terror began, hard-liners who were frustrated by Clinton’s bumbling and hesitations saw no reason to deny that America was an imperial power, and a great one: how else to describe a country that had so easily vanquished Afghanistan, once legendary as the graveyard of empires? The only question was whether America would start running its empire with foresight and determination, rather than leaving it to chance, drift, and disaster."

He concedes you can make the argument, but faced with today's brand of Imperial behavior, it's pretty obvious that you can make some clear distinctions. In this kind of essay, you've got to pick a thesis, and the one you are hopped up about was only peripheral.

Like many historians, and those of us who like history as a friend, Marshall is suitably annoyed at the willful revisionism that made the colonialism and exploitation that were characteristic of British and European Imperial behavior so highly regarded in retrospect. He is right too, the Neocons are high if they truly want to recreate that world order. When your foreign policy statements become interchangable with the pronouncements of Skeletor, it's time to up the voltage...

Apparently, it is now permissable to pretend WWI was not a direct result of this particular world view. Viewing the world as a high stakes poker game where you use every scrap of your military and economic pot to run the other guy off the table and out to the nickel slots room to order watered down drinks with all of the other burned out retirees.

So I'm not sure your criticism is correctly applied here. He does bring the pimp hand down on the whole notion that the world can be dominated by our gigantic chalootie, particuarly when you consider how the British, who were as good as anyone at it, ended up sucking the pipe in many unpleasant ways.

He makes a good point I think in this paragraph:
“Bill Clinton was actually a much more effective imperialist than George W. Bush,” Chalmers Johnson writes darkly. “During the Clinton administration, the United States employed an indirect approach in imposing its will on other nations.” That “indirect approach” might more properly be termed a policy of leading by consensus rather than by dictation. But Johnson is right about its superior efficacy. American power is magnified when it is embedded in international institutions, as leftists have lamented. It is also somewhat constrained, as conservatives have lamented. This is precisely the covenant on which American supremacy has been based.

Are leadership and Imperialism synonymous in your view? I have no problem being Team Captain, Leadership by consensus is not by nature immoral. If we build the right institutions and relationships, will Imperialism really be the problem you believe it to be?
I usually like to read Josh Marshall when he puts on his "academic pinhead" hat. However, his latest piece in The New Yorker seems like he's getting in touch with his inner imperialist.

Yeah, I know that Mojo and Sean think I'm being a bit hyperbolic in my anti-imperialism— and they probably think I'm jumping at my own shadow sometimes— but I really did get the sense reading this latest article from Mr. Marshall that he really isn't all that opposed to the idea of American imperialism, as much as he's just critical of the way the current occupants of the seats of American power have played their hand.

I'd really like to believe that liberalism implies anti-imperialism, but I'm afraid I just don't see it that way. I've come to believe that the major faultline of division between the factions of liberalism is the one between the imperialists and the anti-imperialists. At times like these current days, these divisions can become very deep indeed.

I'm thinking what happened a century ago in America when The Anti-Imperialist League was at odds with the rest of American liberalism. Back then we had debates about whether "the Constitution should follow the flag, or the flag should follow the Constitution" when we [inevitably, of course] exported them overseas.

I guess I'm just peeved that Mr. Marshall seems to think that debate is settled. We made our bed: the flag goes everywhere, and the Constitution stays in a glass case at a museum where it belongs.

I'd like to know why imperialists think patriotic Americans should concede that debate. I really would. Every time I ask them, though, they just roll their eyes and call me an idiot. (I can't use enough invective to convey how frustrating this is for me.)

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Meanwhile, back in the jungle... the rate at which American troops are coming under attack is supposed to be decreasing (or so I keep hearing from the wingnuts), but in the last 24 hours the Americans lost another eight soldiers.
Check out the comments in this article at Freeperville. (I'll wait here while you go skim them.)

Oh. My. Fscking God. I think I just had an epiphany. These people really truly do not actually believe that the United States was aligned with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war.

In Freeperville, apparently, everyone knows that all those mass graves, which the 24-hour news channels keep discovering in Iraq-- why, of course, they're filled entirely with the tortured remains of pro-Democracy dissidents. Hundreds of thousands of them, packed off in rail cars and put to death with nerve gas in great big open air concentration camps while the Russians, French and Germans looked on smiling with approval.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, you're a blood-sucking leftist Satan-worshipper if you think maybe a lot of those corpses in those mass graves were KIA in the Iran-Iraq war with the rest of them mostly radical Islamists, Communists and other miscellaneous poor bastards who took a dodgy chance going up against the Baathists without the help of a British-American air-support umbrella.

We have got to figure out a way to make money selling crap to these people.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Oh yeah-- and *another* thing. (This really peeves me.)

I see that both Atrios and Calpundit, and their readers, are once again full of pissfire about the whole "nobody ever said the word 'imminent' about Iraq" thing. (See here and here for the backstory.)

Here's why I'm pissed off. It's because the Bush administration did say the threat from Iraq was imminent. Yes, they really did use the word 'imminent' and it really annoys that critics of the Bush administration Iraq policy can't dig this up.

Check out this transcript of the February 10, 2002 White House Press Briefing with Scott McClellan aboard Air Force One en route to Nashville, Tennessee.

Q: What about NATO's role? Belgium now says it will veto any attempt to provide help to Turkey to defend itself. Is this something the administration can live with, or is it a major obstacle?

MR. McCLELLAN: Two points. We support the request under Article IV of Turkey. And I think it's important to note that the request from a country under Article IV that faces an imminent threat goes to the very core of the NATO alliance and its purpose.

Q: What can you do about this veto threat?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I think what's important to remind NATO members, remind the international community is that this type of request under Article IV goes to the core of the NATO alliance.

Q: Is this some kind of ultimate test of the alliance?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is about an imminent threat.

Looks pretty clear cut to me. But then what do I know? I'm just a stupid blogger.

Here's the amusing part. This transcript is not available on the White House official press gaggle web archive. Could it be that the archive has a selective memory?
Our dear uncle drieux has recently posted another kvetch about whether Americans are really all that committed to keeping their Republic much longer, now that nobody really remembers much about Ben Franklin beyond that stunt with the kite.

He concludes saying, "The only solution then is to engage more americans in the political process, before there has to be any serious discussion about how to recover that political process because the "Diplomacy Window" has really been closed, and 'they' Really only understand Military Power as the driving motivator."

Which reminds me of this fine rant from the redoubtable Arundhati Roy in which she argues that the time has come to regard Drieux's "diplomacy window" as well and truly slammed shut.

I'm trying to find a way to disagree politely with Ms. Roy, but I'm coming up short. It's not that I can't be polite. It's that I can't quite bring myself to disagree...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Attention all loyal followers of the MojoWire and all Mojohaus operatives...

The next show will be Jan. 24, which will be 1,028 of the Neocon Captivity. Yet take heart!

This will be the beginning of the end, as we launch on the campaign trail and turn the Mojowire over completely to the Elections Desk for an extended Jungian throw-down on the Democratic Primary.

Our show will also go on about one hour earlier than usual...that is 7:25 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, in order to facilitate the legions of our listeners on the East Coast and all the ships out in the "Romeo" and "Tango" international time zones...

So don't forget Wireheads, set your alarms early next week, Jan. 24th for the Mojohaus Election Kickoff special coming live from our spacious luxury broadcast bunker several miles below the earth's surface...

Tune in, hippies...

--The Mojohaus Staff

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Mojowire for 01.10.04;
vol. 2, no. 01

MUSIC: Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
S9/ Supreme Beings of Leisure, Under the Gun
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

intro with hendrix star spangled banner

J. Good morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, Vol. 2, No. 01... I’m Mojo...

S. And I’m Sean, it’s Saturday, January 10, 2004, Day 1,014 of the Neocon Captivity, 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, the Labor Department realized that new overtime regulations set to take effect in March might accidentally do some good for American workers, and so sprang into action to prevent that kind of catastrophe from befalling business.

J. Next, when Supreme Court Justice William Renquist calls you out as a judicial thug and political hack, you need some serious introspection. This happened last week when he critiqued last year’s politically-inspired federal sentencing guidelines passed by Congress. Yet another bad idea from the people who are turning bad ideas into an art form.

S. Then, the chickens are coming home to roost for the Bush Administration’s “No-Education-Business-Left-Behind” program as cash-strapped states are looking for ways around the law or just refusing federal money altogether, rather than play the Department of Education’s rigged game.

J. Then Strychnine breaks down the latest horror amid reports that his sky is about to get real crowded soon, but only if the Bush administration can get a handle on their number one earthly problem, namely the stabilization of Iraq, which to this point has been sheer fantasy.

S. Finally, we take a big picture look at the economy, and the guys at the “damnit, we hate being right all the time desk” provide the beat down as we look at what might end up being a pretty grim election year economy for the President.

J. …So stand by to stand by while we get ready to pull the pin on this thing...

fade in more hendrix star spangled banner for five or six count then back out again

J. Over a cetain amount of time, we here at the Mojowire might have expected to grow a tough, crusty carapace under which we would huddle from the ravenous degredations of the Bush Administration in their continuing bachanal of pillage and plunder of our nation’s resources, people, heritage and culture.

Like I said, one *might* have expected that. But then, as if they were crouching down in the Oval Office cloak room, firing up the Space Brothers Zeta Reticuli Death Weed in a giant bong made from the hollowed-out skull of Herbert Hoover seeking some way to make us twitch, we get this from the Assoicated Press this week.

“A proposed Labor Department rule suggests ways employers can avoid paying overtime to some of the 1.3 million low-income workers who would become eligible this year.”

Let me back this one up for you. Do you remember our rant here several months past about how the administration was really screwing people on proposed new overtime rules, now set to take effect in March?

This was where the administration planned to move millions of American workers into “management” so they would no longer be eligible for overtime, while nominally increasing the amount of salary that fell under the requirements for overtime pay.

Well, you gotta say one thing for Bush’s people, when they set out to yank you around by the short hairs, they are at least thorough. The Labor Department is now trying to pimp companies on how to finish hosing everyone who didn’t get specifically drilled by the new regulation.

The Labor Department is forwarding new workplace rules for American companies that specifically state ways comapanies get around paying any overtime at all, by cutting pay, or giving nominal raises to a staggering $22,100 per year, to make people ineligible for mandatory overtime.

And one of my favorite parts about this is the quote from this greasy Labor Department spokes-orc, Ed Frank, that “We’re not telling anyone they *should* do this.”

Does it even bear mentioning that the only reason anyone voted for this is because the freekin’ administration sold it to everyone on the idea that it would create $895 million more per year in salary making its way into the pay packets of Americans, and from there into the nation’s WalMarts, etc...

It was a bad deal even just based on that, but this latest insult to the humanity of every person in America who gets up in the morning and goes to work is almost too much to take.

S. At the same time, though, it really does demonstrate exactly where this administration is in terms of its fiscal policy and how it regards the middle class. As Bush Senior was once reputed to have quipped, you are just O-F-U: One-Fodder-Unit.

But this also has a certain stank of the mendacity that Bush team is becoming known for. Their inability to tell the truth under *any* circumstances whatsoever is becoming systemic.

We also are now learning that despite the original estimates from the Bush team that 644,000 higher paid workers would lose overtime, the Labor Department is now saying at least 1.5 million to as many as 2.7 million will lose over time. And that’s without their handy little primer on how to circumvent the law altogether.

Seriously, why not just start rounding up Americans and herding us off the to the work camps where we can labor for our slice of bread and shot of oily “Victory” Gin per day in the service of the grand and glorious capital enterprises that fuel the New American Mercantile Empire.

It’s not bad enough that we *knew* the overtime pay deal was going to be bad news for workers on its face? They have to turn around and yank the carrot away, too? This is political stoopidity on a level we really didn’t think these guys possessed. How in the *hell* did these guys actually get elected to office...

Oh wait...they didn’t, never mind.

How is it that a guy allegedly as astute as Karl Rove and his team could let the Bush Administration do something this obviously counter to their political survival right out of the gate in an election year.

Yeah, Strychnine, we know, there are some really disquieting -- and not entirely unreasonable --answers to that question, which we won’t get into here.

Bush got a lot of run from unions in 2000, setting himself up as something like the straight-shooting “Son-of-the-Gipper,” instead of “Son-of-the-Gipper’s-Overlord.” And again, in 2002, when he hit the road to help GOP congressional candidates, it was with this same faux-populist message that help win a lot of blue-collar, working class Americans into the ranks of Republican voters.

Well, Mr. and Mrs. wage-slave: CAN YOU HEAR ME, NOW? GOOD! This is what you voted for. You put this guy in office, you can take him back out again. W., and everyone in his administration has had nothing but contempt for you and they are starting to show it publicly.

Voting for Republicans is voting against your own self-interest, and it’s policies like this that prove it. Let’s get out there, get our collective Jesus-on and let’s start clearing the money changers out of the temple!

J. In 1986, hot on the heels of the death by cocaine overdose of Pro Basketball Player Len Bias, Congress enacted a drastic overhaul of the Federal judicial system, instituting draconian mandatory sentences for a broad range of crimes, particularly drug related crimes.

The result, according to CBS News, has been “The population in federal prisons has quadrupled from 43,000 inmates in 1987 to 173,000 today - at a cost to taxpayers of $4 billion a year.” The Federal prison population has quadrupled in the last 15 years. Take a listen at this example that CBS News found:

“In 1991, Valencia was a 19-year-old former high school athlete in Miami who'd never been in trouble with the law until she gave a ride to her roommate's stepmother. Brenda knew the woman was a drug dealer and knew she was going to West Palm Beach to pick up money from a cocaine dealer...In West Palm Beach, federal drug agents arrested Valencia, the woman she gave a ride to, and the two men who set up the deal. Prosecutors charged Valencia with being part of a cocaine conspiracy, and federal law required the judge to sentence her to at least 12 years and 7 months in prison. But he wasn't happy about it, and wrote, ‘Even the low end of the guideline range is an outrage in this case...’”

So tell me, why even have judges? Why did the Founding fathers go to the trouble of creating a separate and equal branch of government if they were denied the ability to actually do their job. The job in this case being able to mete out appropriate punishment based on the facts of the case, not what lawmakers think is going on in neighborhoods and cities they would never even drive through at 80 miles an hour.

This was the essential problem pointed out by Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist this week, when he blasted Congress for seizing judicial power for what amounts to cheap political gain on the “law and order” platform.

There are a few glaring problems with mandatory sentencing as a tool to combat the drug trade. First, because of the practice by prosecutors of plea bargaining based on information from defendants on other criminals, the bigger the dope dealer you are, the more information you have to bargain down your sentence.

Therefore, the less culpability you have, the less information you have to offer the government. The cruel irony is that the least involved defendants serve more time than those higher and more culpable in the drug trade. Please let me know when we get to the justice part..

Most importantly, it does nothing, and I mean *nothing,* to deter or reduce the drug trade. The reason why is founded on the basic principles of how markets work. The Drug trade is basically a commodities market, like oil or frozen orange juice.

In fact, it is perhaps the most lucrative market because there are no taxes or other costs associated with legal markets. Because the market is so incredibly lucrative for the producers and distributors, there is intense competition to enter the market and produce and distribute. For every participant in the market caught and prosecuted, a thousand more compete to take his place.

The threat of prosecution is simply a cost factored into the price to compensate for the risk incurred, just like distributors of legal products do. Whatever value mandatory sentencing on the federal or state level provided in the "drug war" has been eroded to nothing by now because it has already been compensated for by the drug market.

Another market factor has been that our ability to affect supply on most drugs is minimal. Supply of most controlled substances, particularly cocaine, heroin, and the Crack of Rural America, meth-amphetimines, has grown so fast that all the drugs seized by law enforcement barely registers in the overall supply of the drugs.

Essentially, mandatory sentences have proved to be completely ineffectual deterring anyone from producing and selling drugs because it cannot compete with the incentive offered by the immense profits offered by participating in the trade. So exactly why are we so committed to mandatory sentencing? Answer: Pure politics.

S. Both Parties have so thoroughly exploited this simplistic approach as a solution to the intractable problems offered by addiction and the illegal drug trade that services it, that it is now dogma it's the only way to keep Al Pacino from showing up at your doorstep to show you his little friend. This is despite the obvious and indisputable superiority of treatment over enforcement in moving people from addiction to lives without drugs.

The value of this approach is obvious to even the most challenged conservative mook still wiping the drool from his grill from viewing last nights Factor. The less addicts you have, the less customers for the product you have, and that directly impacts the bottom line of the distributors and the producers. Profit they cannot recover by increasing the price or improving production efficiency.

And the gravy on top? Its less expensive than locking someone up in some prison hellhole. Humane and Cheap at the same time, a liberal and conservative marriage of ideas.

As you might guess, the horrible losers in the GOP congress and the White House are thoroughly committed to the failed policies of mandatory sentencing and Swat style enforcement. Well, that is unless a hypocritical pig like Rush Limbaugh is revealed to be an addict and cog in the drug trade, than they are all about rehab and moral redemption.

This is despite the fact that Rush was wholly against treatment, and regularly slavered for the brutal treatment of addicts by locking them up in, what was in his view, prisons that were not near tough enough. I hit my knees every night in the hope that Rush has to do a nickel in one of those sweet and easy Florida state prisons.

John Ashcroft has made it even harder for judges and prosecutors to inject any measure of justice into the Federal system by demanding prosecutors seek the harshest punishments in all cases. Even William Reinquist, an alpha conservative whack-job if there ever was one, has spoken out about the injustice of this system.

It is clear, even to semi-sentient conservative judges who have to mete out this mock justice, that mandatory sentencing is cruel and unjust, does nothing to address the crime problems it was meant to deal with, and serves no purpose other than to allow law and order punks on both sides of the aisle to pimp their cred to the electorate without having to do anything about it. And they get to piss your money away on something that will never work, the perfect Bush administration program!

Trust us, when you are getting called out as a judicial thug by William Renquist, you have seriously wandered off the reservation, and it’s either time to reign you back in or just write you off altogether.

It's time to have a serious brawl about mandatory sentences and the horrible lies that support it. It is not making you any safer, not helping the people afflicted with addiction, and just serves as a prop in the horrible farce that is the federal governments war on drugs. War on people is more like it.

Oh, and free Tommy Chong

J. How funny / sad is it that in these times, cash strapped states are telling the Bush Administration and their minions in the Department of Education that if they have to abide by the idotic, and vaguely racist aspects of the “No-rich-white-child” left behind program, then Bush can keep his stoopid money.

But that is what is happening in some states, where they are starting to realize just how badly the deck is stacked against the schools that need help, but instead are being faced with federal take over.

“We're not trying to make a political statement, but this law can just overwhelm a school system's ability to meet its requirements, especially when a district is as financially stressed as we are,” Fred Gaige, a school board member in Reading, PA told the New York Times last week. His school system has been struggling to comply with the law, he said, even as it flirts with bankruptcy because the local manufacturing economy is collapsing.

The scam works like this. A school district is required to meet some federal standards for what the little nippers are supposed to be learning. If not, then the district is expected to lay out whatever money is necssecary to remedy the problem to the Bush Administration’s arbitrary satisfaction.

If federal education officials don’t like the way you are dealing with it, you are dubbed “under-performing” and you get what little federal money is left yanked, and kids are shipped out of your district to “better schools” all on what’s left of your dime.

Or parents can always make a fuss and start asking for federal aid to send their kids to private schools. I mean, hey, it’s not really vouchers, these are emergencies.

Eugene W. Hickok, acting Maximum Deputy UnderCzar for Education, acknowledged that many teachers and school officials thought this was all a really bad idea, but that on the whole, people love this plan. “It exposes them and makes them nervous because it focuses on where the job isn’t getting done. But generally the American public likes the law's emphasis on accountability and results. Over all there's a lot of popular support.”

But apparently, this swell of popular support hasn’t stopped the child-hating extremists in places like Connecticut from telling the Education Department Aparatchik to keep his filthy money. Hell, in Utah, they are about to pass a law that forbids anyone in the state from complying with No-Child-Left-With-a-Public-School” or whatever it is.

Why would anyone take such a radical step? Well, let’s take a look at just one example of this overwhelmingly popular law’s results:

One school that did not make adequate yearly progress this year was Somers High School in Connecticut, where 100 percent of students scored at or above the proficient level on the most recent reading test, and 99 percent on the math test.

Only 94.3 percent of the sophomore class participated in the math test, however, which meant the school failed the requirement that 95 percent of students participate, causing the school to fall short of adequate yearly progress, said Thomas W. Jefferson, the Somers superintendent.

However, that shortfall has no consequence because the Somers Board of Education had already voted to reject $43,000 in federal financing they would have lost under the federal rubric anyway.

S. A big part of the problem comes in big urban districts like Los Angeles or Long Beach, that have a high proportion of immigrant students, many who have only nominal schooling even in their own language when they get here.

The program makes no allowances for that in the requirements for the reading and writing benchmarks, much less provides additional help for districts that find themselves in that kind of situation.

The result is as predictable as the end of a Road Runner cartoon...the school board rushing after the prize with a Department of Education Acme Jet Pack strapped to its back zooms right off the edge of the cliff and falls thousands of feet to the valley floor only to disappear in a puff of dust and a big Coyote-shaped crater in the earth.

That would normally be pretty amusing as an analogy if it weren’t so close to the truth. The administration is literally asking school boards to perform more with less under the most difficult circumstances imaginable, and then penalizing them when they fail to meet unreasonable expectations.

That’s why some places like Reading, PA are now taking this situation to the courts to demand that the insanity be brought to a halt.

From the New York Times: “Reading, PA, is a city in distress. Factories are closing, and property tax revenue declined from $33.8 million to $22.3 million in eight years. The district spends about $2,000 less per student than the average Pennsylvania district. Spending has declined even as the school population has surged, with many new students requiring English instruction.

Thirteen of Reading's 19 schools either missed adequate yearly progress this year or were labeled as needing improvement. Although the district received at least $8.1 million in federal education money for this year, up from $4.9 million in 2001-2002, the increases have not kept pace with needs, partly because of Pennsylvania's budget crisis.”

Why don’t we just come correct and call this what it is: The Bush administration, spurred on by free market snakehandlers and their allies in the religious right have been attempting to dismantle public education for more than a generation.

That is what “No-Child-Left-Out-of-the-Salt-Mines” or whatever, is all about, and that is *all* it has ever been about; the systematic destruction of the nation’s public education infrastructure by “starving the beast.”

I know, you’re asking “what possible good could come of that?” But you have to think like these people. Look hippy, quality education is not for you! It’s for the star-belly sneetches. You need just enough education to be able to read the instructions on the dishwasher at their favorite restaurant or pass the driver’s test so you can work at the valet stand.

Believe me, if God had meant for there to be pulic education, everyone would have been born a Rockafeller. Now, quit whining, get out of bed, and report immediately to the nearest reprocessing center, San Onofre needs a new coat of reactor shielding.

cue JAMES music
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…