Friday, February 11, 2005

Feb. 10, 2005

Goooood morning America. Wake up and listen up. It’s a new day and there’s news. There’s good news and there’s bad news. Let’s do the good news first.

Democratic Proliferation
Former Axis of Evil Nation Gives Birth: A frail but feisty democracy was delivered by caesarian section in Iraq! Though the baby remains in the hospital under observation, it’s cute as hell. (Some say it looks kinda like a young Donny Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld, denied paternity with his trademark humor, “Me the father? Hey, I’m an old fart. Do I look like Strom Thurmond? You falter me. Next question.”) Iraq’s new democracy will be released from the coalition hospital just as soon as social workers confirm its parents have stopped trying to kill each another.

Now the bad news. This may take a bit longer so get comfortable.

Nuclear Proliferation
Axis of Evil Country #2 Gets Nuked Up: While it turned out Iraq had no nukes, or even an active nuclear program, Bush attacked and occupied the country anyway. This morning we wake up to read that North Korea did have and now has even more, nukes. They used our preoccupation with Iraq to reprocess it’s own nuclear fuel and build themselves as many as a dozen A-bombs. Now all nuked up and no one paying them their propers, the nut-case Northies made a public announcement about their shinny new nukes. They also told the White House they were done Gestalting with us about the matter and are withdrawing from all future disarmament talks. So, while playing Dr. Welby to Iraq’s democracy, Bush allowed the a nation run by a leader who, if he were caught walking the streets of the US, would be institutionalized, to become a nuclear power.

Axis of Evil Country #3 Threatens US: Iran, the third of three Axis of Evil countries identified by Bush, yesterday warned the US to not even think about trying to stop its nuclear programs. Even head-in-the-sand Europeans agree that Iran is well on its way to developing an operational nuclear weapons program, so there is little doubt about it. Hell, the French and Russians have been sending engineers and selling Iran the gear, so there can be no doubt. So now we have both Iran and N.Korea warning the US that any move to forcibly disarm them would be met with catastrophic retaliation. While both these bellicose nations have made such threats before they are now in position to deliver on them.

So, after wasting quarter trillion dollars, and losing over 1500 American soldiers in Iraq, do you feel safer this morning? You shouldn’t, because you aren’t. In fact the West is at more risk from nuclear terror now than it was during the Cold War. The Soviets were just nuclear-armed commies. The N. Koreans are just plain nuts. The Iranians are martyr-praising Islamic extremist mullahs who have publicly stated that the very first item on their “to do” once they get a nuke is to wipe out “the Zionist entity.” That would be Israel.

Trading Places
Trade Deficit Worst Ever: The U.S. trade deficit rocketed to a record of $617.7 billion last year -- 24.4 percent above the previous record of $496.5 billion in 2003. Trade and tax polices that encouraged the production of US consumer goods offshore, and America’s insatiable appetite for oil, were the main reasons for the growing deficit. US retailer, Wal*Mart, now purchases nearly all its merchandise from China and other low-way nations. Meanwhile the Bush administration continues to resist attempts to remove tax incentives that encourage off shoring or renegotiating trade deals that give offshore producers an unfair edge over domestic producers.

Because of this and mounting Bush deficits the dollar in your wallet and paycheck is worth a lot less today than it was when he took office. Start learning the words of the folk song, “Ain’t Worth a Greenback Dollar.”

Senior Security
Bush Puts Granny Back to Work: Older Americans are being increasingly forced back into the workforce and have now become the fastest-growing portion of the work force. The percentage of men 55 to 64 years old in the work force fell steadily from 87 percent in 1950 to under 65 percent in 1994. It was back up to nearly 70 percent last year, according to the Labor Department. Among men 65 and older, the participation rate rose from 15 percent in 1994 to 19 percent last year.

The reason for this trend, economists say, is the demise of the company pension plan. As recently as 1979, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found more than 80 percent of the workers covered by a company retirement plan had a defined-benefit pension. By 2001, the percentage had dropped to a little over 40 percent. Companies have increasingly dumped their pension plans forcing employees into personal 401K accounts instead. Now the Bush administration wants to mimic this industry trend by forcing future Social Security recipients into private accounts as well.

This begs the following question: Private 401K retirement accounts have been around for a couple of decades – plenty of time to weather market ups and downs. So, if such private accounts are supposed to provide better – or at least adequate – returns for retirees, why then are so many older workers, forced years ago into 401Ks, now having to return to work to make ends meet? It’s a question worth pondering.

Are We Stupid, Dept.
This Just In: Lying Works: After less than two months of Bush’s campaign claiming – falsely – that Social Security would go broke, a majority of Americans already believe him. The revelation came from a poll conducted in recent days by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.

The poll showed that 70% of Americans polled said they agree with President Bush’s oft-repeated claim that Social Security will go bankrupt unless this Congress acts. The poll also showed that, even though private accounts would suck up to $2 trillion out of the Social Security trust fund, those polled saw such accounts as a solution to Social Security’s long range funding problems.

Cleary the Bush administration learned from Iraq that a lie, told often enough and stubbornly maintained when faced with evidence to the contrary, eventually sinks in. We are, they know, suckers for a simple, consistent message. Madison Ave has known that for since they drove us nuts with “Help, I fell down and can’t get up,” and “Don’t squeeze the Charmin!” ads. Facts force us to pay attention to details. Also a guy screaming “crisis” is a real attention getter. Facts are just boring. Karl Rove knows that busy, self-indulgent Americans are more amenable to simple lies than sorting through complicated factual explanations.

Social Security will go bankrupt !!

Got it?

Apparently you so.

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