Wednesday, January 12, 2005

January 11, 2005

This Winter of Discontent

Jesus H. Christ this has been an awful winter – and I am not talking about the weather. For progressives (formerly known as “liberals,”) these are the worst of times and the worst of times. Each morning I turn on the news and pick up my newspaper with a mixture of dread and resignation.

The news -- I brace myself -- will be bad. And it is. And it just gets worse.

Throw a dart at any page of the main section of the paper and you will hit a story that hurts your head to read.

“Ukraine Pulls Troops for Iraq.” The coalition of the willing just shrunk by another 1800 troops yesterday as Ukraine became the latest to pull its troops out of that pus-pot of nation, Iraq. Little by little Bush’s phony “coalition” is being exposed for as just that – phony – a PR stunt with guns. A Wag the Dog tale cooked up by Karl Rove’s evil elves in the White House Spin Dept.

Whoooosh… THUD!

“CBS Fires Four in Fake Story Flap.”
No one who really knows George W. Bush’s personal history doubts for a second that he dodged his military obligations during the Vietnam War. No one. But leave it to Dan Rather to screw up a sure thing.. and he did.

All of us who covered Bush over the years knew that Bill Burkett – the guy who pawned the fake docs off on CBS – was an anti-Bush wing nut. Rather, who is himself from Texas, should have known that as well. (A simple Google search would have told hm all he needed to know. For example.

But not Dan Rather, who has spent the last twenty years trying to convince himself that he really was a worthy heir to the Cronkite legacy – even though not a single other living creature agreed. So, when he jumped the gun on the Bush Air National Guard story, got it wrong, once again failing to live up to his own self-image.

Rather did accomplish two things though. First, he helped get George W. Bush reelected as some voters who had been on the fence were blown to the right by Rather’s rush of hot air.

But even more depressing he accomplished something rightwing Republicans have been trying to do for years – discredit and intimidate the news media.

"It's an unprecedented moment as far as conservatives are concerned," said Republican media consultant Keith Appel, whose firm worked with the Swift boat veterans group that fought Democrat John F. Kerry's presidential candidacy. "I think it's a warning to the rest of the media."

A “warning to the rest of the media?” Does that include FOX News? And just think ... that crack comes from a guy whose company produced the Swift Boat ads? Gadzooks …. The arrogance, the goose-stepping arrogance of it all, takes the breath away.

Meanwhile FOX News.. a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party escapes condemnation while CBS fires four of its own.

Well, you can be sure the media got the message, which was -- cross these goons and they will get you. But, work with them and you will prosper.

Remember when Bush said he “looked into Vladimir Putin’s soul?” Well what he saw while he was in there was Putin’s plan to tame the free media in Russia. And, he liked what he saw.


“Bush Pushes Social Security Cuts.”
Even during the biggest collapse in the history of capitalism, the Great Depression, conservatives hated the whole idea of providing ordinary working folks with a retirement safety net. Doing so, they complained, was creeping socialism. Nearly three quarters of a century later conservatives see their best chance in decades to begin dismantling this hated program. But, they know how many voters depend on Social Security so they will come to the battle in sheep’s clothing. Their argument: “We have to destroy Social Security to save it.”

“.. Bush and top strategist Karl Rove, the political force behind the Social Security plan, are convinced that the politics of Social Security have changed over the past six years -- and in a direction that could help the GOP cement a durable governing majority…This view is supported by many congressional Republicans, who, like Rove, see an even bigger payoff for Republicans in the long term. They believe Bush can do for Republicans what Franklin D. Roosevelt did for Democrats when he proposed the program more than seven decades ago: create a generation of voters who see them as the guardian of their retirement program." (Washington Post 1/11)

Go ahead. Laugh. You don’t think they can pull it off? Think again. These guys have raised Orwellianism to a fine art. They dress turds up in torqued verbal logic all the time, and it works all the time. Clear Skies Initiative -- No Child Left Behind -- Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Each was the polar opposite of what their name suggests. And, each time, we bit.


“Bush’s Dress Posh for Inauguration”
Next week, while you are surfing the cable channels you will still see heartbreaking images of families destroyed by the tsunami. And, you will see images of US boys and girls bleeding and dying in Iraq. But you will also see this:

“The inaugural gown that first lady Laura Bush will wear next week is an ice blue and silver embroidered tulle V-neck dress with a matching duchess satin coat by Seventh Avenue designer Oscar de la Renta.”

Ah yes. As Mel Brooks said in his satirical film, History of the W
orld, “It’s good to be the King.” And what of the peasants? “Pull!” he shouts as a peasant is launched into the air for target practice rather than a clay pigeon.

And so the Bush’s will spend $40 million dollars celebrating themselves next week.

And, while they have sent 1500 other family’s sons and daughters to their deaths in Iraq, their Doublemint Twins will be showing off their designer duds as well:

“While Mrs. Bush enlisted the aide of three designers for her inaugural week wardrobe, her daughters, Jenna and Barbara, had the combined forces of four design houses: Lela Rose, de la Renta, Derek Lam and Badgley Mischka. With their choices, they have opted for the familiar, the traditional, the new and the va-va-voom.”

Va-va-voom is definitely more to their liking than the ka-booms 150,000 of their peers will have to endure in Iraq even as the Doublemint Twins party down for daddy’s inaugural.

I’m sorry to drag the girls into this again but there just seems something wrong with all this. Even President Johnson had family fighting in Vietnam. The Bush’s leave the dirty work to other people’s kids.

It is good to be the King -- AND the king's daughters.

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