Thursday, June 09, 2005

June 8, 2005

News Blues

One of my favorite scenes in a movie is the one in Roxanne where Steve Martin puts a quarter into a newspaper machine, takes a paper, glances at the front page, runs back to the machine, shoves another quarter in and puts the paper back. That’s how I felt this morning within seconds of opening my morning paper.

Okay, let’s go. Buckle up and keep your hands and arms inside until we come to a full stop.

Saddam v. Joe Camel. Saddam Loses.
While Saddam Hussein awaits trail in Baghdad for killing tens of thousands of his own citizens, it’s a different matter here in the US where Big Tobacco executives killed millions of their own customers, and continue doing so. They got a pass yesterday from the Bush Justice Department.

"After eight months of courtroom argument, Justice Department lawyers abruptly upset a landmark civil racketeering case against the tobacco industry yesterday by asking for less than 8 percent of the expected penalty…. Justice Department lawyer Stephen D. Brody shocked tobacco company representatives and anti-tobacco activists by announcing that the government will not seek the $130 billion that a government expert had testified was necessary to fund smoking-cessation programs…(the case) had been the largest civil racketeering and conspiracy case in U.S. history." (Full Story)

I bet that story really burns Saddam’s ass. I mean think about it:

* Saddam killed tens of thousands of his own people. But Big Tobacco killed – and continues to kill – millions of people every year, yet they are not in jail and not going to be.
* Saddam lied about his murderous intentions. Big Tobacco lied and lied and lied about its murderous products, even lying under oath to Congress. Still, no one is in jail, and no one going to jail.
* Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction after all. Big Tobacco did, and does. Yet no one occupies Big Tobacco’s offices. No Big Tobacco execs are being pulled out of spider holes.
* Bush claimed Saddam posed a WMD proliferation danger, which he was not. But Big Tobacco sure as hell is. Big Tobacco proliferates its WMD products to any country where people inhale.

Nevertheless Bush wants Saddam to swing. Big Tobacco, on the other hand, is let off with a slap on the wrist and a good ole boy slap on the back. (“Hey, you boys be good now, hear?” Wink wink, nod, nod.)

If I were Saddam I’d complain. I’m certain he’d happily pay a $10 bil fine and just call it even. Saddam might also want to make the case that he hasn't killed anyone for over two years. (Okay, not voluntarily, but just the same..) Big Tobacco, on the other hand, has gone right on killing its own customers by the thousands every day, even as it was negotiating this sweetheart deal with the Bush Justice Department.

Sorry Saddam, but you blew it. I’ll send you the book, “Racketeering For Dummies,” and you will see where you made your biggest mistake. See, you didn’t share. Big Tobacco shares its booty with the right people. The Saudis know how to do this too, which is why they are still enjoying their palaces and you’re cooling your heels in the calaboose. It really isn’t all that complicated. Just make sure the checks don’t bounce.

Is It Getting Hot in Here?

Big Tobacco may have pull with the Bush administration but Big Oil is a virtual subsidiary. And nothing annoys Big Oil more than all this tree-hugger hand wringing about global warming.

The first thing former Texas oilman Bush did when he got in office was to shred the Kyoto Treaty. But the subject just wouldn’t go away. When asked about it Bush would get a little pissy. “This administration believes in sound science,” he would declare. “When we have sound science we will follow those recommendations.”

But Bush couldn’t make the subject disappear. Instead he made it worse. Scientists kept producing good science and sending it to him showing that, “yes, it is getting hot in here,” and “yes, fossil fuels are a big reason for it.”

What’s a oilman to do?

Well, get a “good” editor to change the good science into bad science.

“A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.” (Full Story)

Do you see a pattern here? Wasn’t this the same MO we saw on WMD intel? When it did not agree with the Bush administration’s wishes, they just changed it. I’d love to see these guys do a jigsaw puzzle. When a puzzle piece would not fit where they wanted it to go, they’d just get the scissors and mallet out.

But this editing of global warming data is something else again. It’s as if Columbus’ logs had been edited before publication by a confirmed Flat Earther. That’s pretty close to what this administration anti-global warming sycophant did, turning sound science into junk science. These people are natural born liars – the whole pack of them.

Anyway, Big Oil and Big Tobacco clearly know how to reply when asked by the Bush folk, “Who’s Your Daddy?”

Saying It Like It Is
All this news comes on the same day the mainstream press all atwitter over harsh anti-GOP comments by DNC head, Howard Dean.

“Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Wednesday defended his recent harsh criticism of Republicans, including his observation that they are "pretty much a white, Christian party….Dean noted that he, too, is a white Christian. But he said the GOP is too narrow in its scope and the Democratic Party is far more diverse.” (Full Story)

Now, as a veteran of the Clinton scandals I find all this quite odd. Republicans clawed their way to majority status in Congress and to the White House, in large part, through non-stop, vitriolic, and more often than not, false, attacks on Democrats. Even now the smarmy GOP hit men Swift Boaters are releasing a book that “insinuates” that Hillary runs with lesbians.

But let Howard Dean suggest that some Republicans may have made their millions in unsavory ways, or that the GOP has become a party run by rightwing white Christians, and all hell breaks loose.

Instead of jumping all over Dean why doesn’t the press do their real job? Go out there and do some research You remember how to research don’t you? It’s a bit harder than just being a stenographer for political spokespeople, but it’s the way real journalism used to be done. So do some research and either prove or disprove Dean’s comments.

* Did some top Republicans make their money in ways that might not cut the ethical mustard?
* And what exactly is the demographics of the GOP? Are white Christians the dominant and controlling GOP demographic, or not? Was Dean wrong, or was he right about that?

Unlike Dems Republicans don't lay down when kicked. They jumped right on Dean's remarks because they struck at it threated to unmask their "big tent" facade. You know, that the GOP is the “party of inclusion.” What nonsense. The GOP today is made up largely of two kinds of people; white Christians, and blue collar Reagan Democrats who, only now are beginning to realize they were suckered. For Reagan Democrats the GOP’s promise to return America to “traditional values,” was the political equivalent of a Venus Flytrap. Suckers! First it consumed their votes, then sent their jobs overseas, gutted their pension plans and sent the whole lot of them back to work as minimum wage Wal-Mart greeters.

(Breaking Sucker Update: GM to layoff a third of its workers... Full Story.)

To add insult to injury whimpy Congressional Dems have fueled press negative stories about Dean’s cage-rattling remarks. “He sure doesn’t speak for me,” winced Sen. Joe Biden.

Get a backbone, Biden, et al. God forbid that the head of the loyal opposition party should speak harshly of the other party. Fine. You Dems in Congress just go back to living in your collegiality pretend world while your surrogates of your GOP “colleagues” pick you off one by one with smears, lies and demagogic IEDs. (BANG! Did you know Hillary was a lesbian? Huh?)

Crap. I have splitting headache. See you tomorrow.

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