Saturday, January 10, 2004

Mojowire for 01.10

S9 Greetings once again from high orbit fellow space travellers. I know you're all as excited down there in the one-gee soup as we are up in the L4 tetra to hear about the new plans at the White House to remake the set of Moonbase Alpha from Space: 1999 and send a new generation of heroic cosmonauts to Mars. We're sure this is no boondoggle aimed at diverting the federal pipeline for science research dollars directly into the accounts of aerospace companies with big defense ties. We here on S9 Station have no doubt that this renewed interest in manned space travel will inspire generations of young Americans for many decades to come to believe in and fight for the glorious revolution! Onward and upward to the skies.

Of course, you might want to have a look in the rear view mirror of that jet car you're driving. Keep in mind that when it comes to the warlike event sequence in Mesopotamia, they are not kidding: objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

In the last couple weeks, the news out of Iraq that has been cutting through the fog of American media warfare and actually getting to the eyeballs of most Americans has been the slow but steady flow of transfer tubes from Baghdad back to Dover, Delaware-- where they are offloaded in the dead of night and cameras are strictly prohibited.
Oh, I'm sorry. You don't know what is a transfer tube? A transfer tube is what they now call what used to be called a human remains container, since they've decided that the phrase 'human remains' leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It's a whole lot better than 'body bag' now isn't it?

Anyway, the news that has *not* been getting through-- the news that you have to actually read the whole newspaper to get, not just the front page or the funnies-- is that the Kurds are playing hardball with the effort to transition Iraq into an independent federalized nation-state. This is big news.

Right now, the Iraq Governing Council is supposed to be developing a transitional law in preparation for the June 30 deadline to transfer sovereignty away from the war coalition occupying powers to an interim Iraqi government formed to draft a new Constitution. And the two main Kurdish political structures, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have just issued a statement of joint unity in opposition to the strong central federalism favored by the United States of America, and declaring that they will boycott the interim government and the constitutional convention unless complete Kurdish autonomy is retained under the new government of Iraq.

The Kurds have always been one of the two scariest wildcards in the whole Iraqi regime change game-- the other being the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is a powerful Shia muslim group that has actually been mostly cooperative with the war coalition so far. This development with the Kurds is not making any friends for them in places like Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq's neighbors are entirely unhappy with the idea of a loosely federated Iraqi government that allows ethnic divisions to deepen further. Yet, this is exactly what the Kurds have now said they will require as a minimum opening bid. Today's Kurdistan Observer on web is reporting that the U.S. has agreed to let 200,000 Kurds who were ethnically cleansed by the Hussein regime from the city of Kirkuk to return to the city and kick out the Arabs and Turkmen who were the main beneficiaries of the cleansing. You can expect this to produce howls of protest from opponents of the Kurds.

None of this news make the prospects of an orderly handoff of sovereign power in Iraq to a strong centralized federal government seem any more likely. A year ago, when the U.S. was loudly beating the war-drums for regime change in Iraq, some of the war policy critics in America as well as hear in high orbit and on the Mojowire, were telling you that the odds of any reasonable facsimile of a democratic system emerging in Iraq were pretty darned long. Not because we were pessimistic about the Iraqi culture and its ability to make democracy work-- much as you may think. No, the reason for our concern was always that we didn't think the U.S. could commit itself to the extent necessary to build a strong federalized system in Iraq because it ultimately lacks the political will to match its rhetoric with its action.

And once again, we appear to be correct. Watch this story to see what it takes to get the Kurds to back down-- if it even happens, which is open to speculation at this point. If they don't back down, it will be interesting to see whether Turkey or Saudi Arabia follow through on the threats they've made to intervene in Iraq, in order to prevent Kurdish autonomy from taking root in the region.

As the U.S. tries to extricate itself from the swamp into which its convoy has rolled and gotten stuck in the proverbial mud, it might help to remember that the objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. It may not be able to spend all the sweet, crude lucre on visiting Mars and building a base on the moon. In reality, it seems likely that the money will go instead toward terraforming the Euphrates river valley.
Cue James music for exit
A worthy project, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of any effort to terraform the Earth. But wouldn't it be nice if the engineering plan didn't have to include helping our friends implement the third ethnic cleansing of a city in Northern Iraq in two decades? I'm just saying.

J. So, early in the year, the supply side economic masterminds in the Bush Administration made a fairly bold prediction. If Congress implemented their latest round of tax cuts, then employment, according to their unique bubbling stew of supply side necromancy poured over the rotting head of John Keynes, would result in the Employment of 134 million, a 4 million job boost in the economy.

If only they would stop hating America and vote for the tax cut, this amazing turnaround would come to pass. This economic miracle courtesy of tax cuts was supposed to come to fruition by December 2003.

Well, December 2003 has come and gone and the final numbers have been posted. Shock and awe, the employment numbers for 2003 came to 130.1 million jobs. Not only did the ridiculous fantasy of 4 million jobs created out of the ether fail to come to pass, but that number is lower than the January 2003 number of 130.4 million. Nice Job Bush Administration, not only did tax cuts fail to move the employment number up, the numbers actually dropped a tick.

Nobody at the time that this fantasy was pronounced could figure out how they arrived at this figure. We cynical Bush haters, drunk on latte and the deadly fumes of our volvo's, assumed someone in the White House descended into the slave labor pits underneath the West Wing where they keep their economists and ordered one of these dufes to mock up a prediction. Yes, it's what you Wireheads dread to hear, we were right, again.

Can someone tell us exactly how this administration has degenerated the debate over the nations economic policies to the point where no one bats an eyelash when the Presidents flunkies gin up a fake outcome to support a harebrained tax cut plan? This is just the tip of the awful sinking ship the administration is steering into dangerous waters. Let's put these numbers into some perspective.

Let's start with the labor number. Unemployment has been hovering around 6% for the last few months, not the worst, but nowhere near what is needed to sustain a real recovery. There is always a debate surrounding whether the unemployment rate captures all the relevant data. It's an arcane statistical and economic debate that will require an explanation from Doctor Strycnine sometime in the future when he is in Mentat mode.

But what is clear beyond dispute to all observers is that the rate is masking a truly disturbing trend. Thousands upon thousands of workers are dropping off the radar screen of the unemployment data because they have given up looking for work. Yes, that's right, the Bush regime has ground their aspirations of gainful employment into a grim despair. And their unemployment benefits ran out just in time for the holidays! Merry Christmas!

Not only are the jobless numbers truly awful, but two distinct reports on the deficit came out in the last week that will really put this debacle into perspective. First, the IMF came out with a report that stated "Soaring U.S. government debt will drive up interest rates world-wide by as much as a full percentage point, hampering investment and growth, the International Monetary Fund says.

S. According to an IMF report, if cumulative budget deficits rise by 15% of gross domestic product, as the Congressional Budget Office expects, world interest rates would be pushed up by one-half to one percentage point over 10 years. "

Translation: If the drunken GOP orgy in Washington doesn't come to sliding halt soon, the deficit could drive up interest rates around the world, causing a world wide recession and killing any economic recovery in the works.

The White House response was in effect, " Don't worry, the President promised to cut the deficit in half". Just let that sink into your dome for a minute. Try to stifle your incredulity at the idea the President was going to keep a promise. What deficit number is he going to cut in half? 2003's? 2001? It defies all logic to accept this as a response. And remember, IMF is a creature of the American government, it's main source of cash. If these guys are waving a flag, they really are worried about this.

Another red flag was raised when a some analysts from the Brookings Institute came out with the following “The U.S. federal budget is on an unsustainable path. In the absence of significant policy changes, federal government deficits are expected to total around $5 trillion over the next decade. Such deficits will cause U.S. government debt, relative to GDP, to rise significantly. Thereafter, as the baby boomers increasingly reach retirement age and claim Social Security and Medicare benefits, government deficits and debt are likely to grow even more sharply.

The scale of the nation's projected budgetary imbalances is now so large that the risk of severe adverse consequences must be taken very seriously, although it is impossible to predict when such consequences may occur.”

So not only did the tax cuts not deliver 4 million jobs in 10 months as predicted, but now everyone who isn't working for the administration or its direct vassals is predicting economic disaster if they don't get their house in order.

We all have been hearing the same good news recently, a rising market, good GDP numbers. But all of that will be for nothing if we don't generate jobs, good jobs not part time burger flippers, and if we allow the debt to escalate so far out of control that a panic among our creditors causes interest rates to rise the whole house comes crashing down. In related news, the administration wants another round of tax cuts.

All of this begs the question, where is the Fed in this? Do they really believe at Greenspan Inc. that we are going to grow our way out of this deficit? The Feds complicit support for tax cuts has been crucial in getting Congress to pass them, and for their contributors on Wall Street not to drop a load in their Armanis.

If someone at the Fed would deign to stand up and maybe offer a moment’s consideration of when the President and his gang of backwater swamp dwellers in the GOP congress are going to address these important issues, maybe that would be helpful in slowing the red ink.

Greenspan the Green, dread sorcerer and economic oracle, might want to lean into the strike zone and mention the coming economic apocalypse. Because clearly all those liberals at the IMF, and we can hear the craniums popping all the way hear at UCIs underground radio installaiton near the earths core, cannot get through to the White House, or virtually every other economist not enslaved by the White House, maybe the Greenspan and the superfreinds can do something before we are brawling in the bread line for that last piece of stale sourdough.

J. So our patriotic thought for the day: Educating the little brown children means the Terrorists win, or as John Ashcroft says... “Are those pot seeds, hippy? That does it...1000 years!”

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

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...

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