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BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

Little Hawk 06 Jan 05 - 01:17 AM
Amos 06 Jan 05 - 01:14 AM
Amos 06 Jan 05 - 12:56 AM
Amos 05 Jan 05 - 08:19 AM
Amos 05 Jan 05 - 08:13 AM
Amos 05 Jan 05 - 08:11 AM
robomatic 05 Jan 05 - 12:38 AM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 11:33 PM
robomatic 04 Jan 05 - 10:56 PM
DougR 04 Jan 05 - 10:37 PM
Bobert 04 Jan 05 - 10:35 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:30 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:28 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:27 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 07:05 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 06:03 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 06:00 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 05:56 PM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 07:36 AM
Metchosin 04 Jan 05 - 12:17 AM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 12:11 AM
Amos 04 Jan 05 - 12:04 AM
Amos 03 Jan 05 - 11:51 PM
Amos 03 Jan 05 - 11:44 PM
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Once Famous 03 Jan 05 - 10:04 PM
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GUEST,Clint Keller 03 Jan 05 - 01:46 PM
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Ellenpoly 03 Jan 05 - 05:32 AM
Metchosin 03 Jan 05 - 12:31 AM
DougR 03 Jan 05 - 12:18 AM
Amos 02 Jan 05 - 10:58 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 01:17 AM

Thought I'd add this to your thread, Amos:

Bush is not known as a "peacemaker" anywhere in the World, Doug, except within the utterly deluded confines of the USA. You're already living in the Fourth Reich, you just haven't become aware of it yet. Don't feel bad, because most Germans weren't aware of their real situation either, until about 1943 or '44. Then it was way too late.

Germans are essentially good people in the vast majority. So are Americans. Good people can be very badly led.

It is not necessary for people who want to strike at America to come TO America now. They have a whole army to shoot at now on their own home ground, in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have 150,000 live targets now. That's a very good situation for Al Queda, and just what Bin Laden wanted. He wanted a holy war between Islam and America. He's got it, and it will continue until it destroys the Bush administration, and possibly another administration after that. It's rather like Vietnam in that respect. It's a war that cannot be won, because its objectives are unrealistic and unattainable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 01:14 AM

Lynching Social Security

To eliminate nation's safety net, Bush first has to convince us it's bad

Molly Ivins, Syndicated Columnist

AUSTIN, Texas -- In the Texas legislature, they are called "prior-roarities," such a happy coinage. What should come prior?

When the pitter-patter of falling year-end columns comes again, not necessarily next year, but certainly four years from now, I fearlessly forecast a dismal unanimity: that the Bush Administration II suffers from bad and dumb prior-roarities.

Actually, the passage of time is not required for proof -- look around. The Bushies are about to launch a $50 million to $100 million dollar propaganda campaign to convince us the Social Security system is in crisis. Actually, it's not. It's quite robust and has astonishingly low administrative costs, less than 1 percent.

According to President Bush's own Commission to "Strengthen Social Security," the administrative costs of keeping track of private accounts will be 10 to 30 times the cost of administering the current system.

The Social Security System is in no danger whatsoever of going broke, or even of having to pay out less than full compensation for at least 50 years. There are any number of statistical models and premises one can argue about here, but when the administration begins with a premise that requires fixing Social Security based on an extrapolation to infinity, you know you are not dealing with people who argue in good faith. (See link above for rest of article).


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 12:56 AM

January 5, 2005
American Gothic

By Tom Engelhardt, writing for Mother Jones magazine .

Excerpt:

Here we are, because time has some of the qualities of a tsunami, deposited in 2005, whether we like it or not. As the year changed, nature trumped the Bush administration in an appropriately, if horrifyingly Biblical way, with a preemptive strike against shorelines jammed with rich tourists and poor peasants alike. And even in the midst of the collective horror, much of what the Bush administration is, much of whom we now are becoming, showed through unbecomingly.

Only one small spot in the vast Indian Ocean basin "seems to have received full advanced warning of the waves to come -- the ostensibly British island of Diego Garcia, which is actually a sizeable U.S. military base, a stationary "aircraft carrier" for the war in Iraq. It also houses "Camp Justice," one of the secret little hideaway resorts the administration has set up, or contracted out for, on prime global real estate to hold "high value" prisoners in the war on terror. The camp, named by someone who must have had a yen for the Orwellian, is part of an offshore Bermuda Triangle of injustice set up by the Bush administration -- two interlinked prison systems, in fact; one run by the Pentagon and the other by the CIA, both meant to keep prisoners and practices far from the prying eyes of the American public and its court system; both, as it now turns out, anchored in that jewel-in-the-crown, Guantanamo (or Gitmo to devotees) -- a grim prison camp set up on territory in Cuba that is close at hand, U.S.-controlled, and yet -- or so Bush officials hoped until the Supreme Court ruled otherwise last year -- beyond the reach of our courts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 08:19 AM

Tuesday 4th January 2005 (03h58) :
Imagine if Bush -- instead of Eisenhower -- had supervised D-Day
1 comment(s).

Jane Stillwater in Bella Ciao

I'm laughing so hard as I write this, I don't even know where to start! I'm sorry but it IS funny. Can you even BEGIN to imagine Dubya ever replacing Ike?

First, let's go back to before World War II even started (This part is NOT funny): Like Rumsfeld selling missiles to Saddam Hussein, Bush would have kept Hitler supplied with American-made WMDs for over a decade before even Dunkirk.

Like when North Korea BROADCAST far and wide that it had nuclear capabilities and knew how to use them but Bush invaded Iraq instead, our Dubya would have forgotten about Germany and invaded Argentina! "Hey, we need their beef."

"Hitler, is our target, boy," General Eisenhower told him. "H-I-T-L-E-R." But you couldn't tell GWB anything. Instead of Dresden, he fire-bombed New York City.

"Okay, okay." Ike drew a really BIG map with a big X on Normandy. "You pronounce this place EU-ROPE," he told young George.

"I knew that. Karl Rove told me."

FINALLY, George bombed the hell out of Omaha Beach. But then he got bad information from the CIA, forgot to chase the Nazis and started killing off the French. "Hey, they looked like terrorists to me!" After 50,000 French women were blown up, however, the GIs mutinied.

"Ike, the soldiers hate me," Bush whined. "They wanna fight Nazis -- not the French Resistance. They're all mad because we blew up Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer."

How did the D-Day invasion finally turn out? Guess.

Due to voting machine glitches, George Bush was still "Commander in Chief" 50 years later and US troops were still fighting in France. They never even got to Germany.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 08:13 AM

Tuesday 4th January 2005 (18h34) :
George Bush and the return of Little Black Sambo
3 comment(s).

by Jane Stillwater writing for Bella Ciao

Remember Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney -- and the Civil Rights Summer of 1964? How brave we all were back then as we worked hand in hand for a new world of hope and justice and harmony where "colored people" would be allowed to vote.

It's 40 years later and "colored people" are still being systematically deprived of their right to vote -- only this time on such a grand scale that it would cause even Martin Luther King's jaw to drop.

I marched in Montgomery.

I was at Malcolm X's funeral.

I taught in freedom schools, I picketed, I marched. And for every white person like me out on the line, there were at least five "Negroes" risking their lives to have the right to vote.

Now, 40 years later, George Bush is doing every single thing he can think of to resurrect Jim Crow, Stephen Fetchet and Little Black Sambo.

In predominantly African-American precincts in Florida and Ohio in November 2004, absentee ballots were lost, people were intimidated, voting machines were not provided, legitimate voters were "purged" from voting lists, people were instructed to vote on the wrong day, provisional ballots were "lost," votes disappeared and even dead people were allowed to vote as long as they voted for George W. Bush.

I don't know how African-Americans feel about being placed once again at the back of the bus but I know how I feel. I am totally pissed off!

...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 08:11 AM

Acts of God Versus Acts of George W. Bush

Commentary by David Rozelle in the Washington Dispatch
January 4, 2005

"All I know is what I see on TV."

          ‑‑ Will Rogers



George W. Bush sleeps like a baby these days. Never much of a thinker, our president's freeze-dried ideology has spared him the task of thinking up and writing down New Year's resolutions. His goals stand as propounded – deep-rooted in his fallow mind by November's shallow election victory.

And so it is that on the eve of 2005, in the highest office of the mightiest nation in human history, there will be no reflection on, no reconsideration, no revision of policy. George W. Bush claims he has been crowned with a "mandate," albeit by barely fifty-percent of his subjects. And that's that, as far as the Great Mandater is concerned.

But what about the "lesser" half of this president's fellow citizens -- those of us who didn't vote for the man's coronation?   It appears that we can either go along with George II or go to hell. There will be no calling Bush to account for his policies. The late Flip Wilson, a popular comedian, used to duck accountability by quipping, "The Devil made me do it." Everyone laughed. George Bush, an Evangelical Christian, declares, "God made me do it," and at least half of us quake.

Not even during the aftermath of devastating tidal waves does George W. break his clueless, dogmatic stride. The media reports, for instance, that the president first had announced he'll set aside a Scroogian 30 million dollars for victims' relief -- this on the heels of an announced 40 million "donated" by corporations to pay for his inaugural balls in January. (Let the good times roll in tie-and-tails D.C., while a tsunami rolls over Asia's poor.) Where's the moral balance in all this? Where's the "compassion," neoconservative or otherwise. Where's the sense of decency?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: robomatic
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 12:38 AM

Amos, after I posted I felt I should have phrased it: Extremists using the name of Islam but I think my meaning was clear. Yes there are extremists of every persuasion, but Christianity is so great and powerful that to a great extent it has 'mellowed' and the extremists are miniscule in numbers. Islam is a much younger religion, and has not gone through an 'Enlightenment'.

I appreciate your thoroughness, but I will stand by my position that in a Democratic society you stand by a flawed leader on the big stuff, and fight the good fight with the irreducible minions.

But I guess that to an extent is what you're doing.

Hoping for a better '05

Robo


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 11:33 PM

I have only recently come to agree with you, robomatic about the scope of the fanatacism of the small faction of extremist Msulims who would like to restore the fla g of Mohammed from SPain to Israel and back. I think they are about as many as the fanatic right-wing Christians in this country. But they have fanatic extremist visions and they are ruthless in pursuing them.

I think it is quite arguable that it was the blundering of the Bush administration in dealing with Iraq that opened up this Pandora's box, and that prior tot hat time there were many options which should have bene pursued in defusing the potential of these extremists. Unfortunately, pugilism was irresistible to the Cowboy.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: robomatic
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:56 PM

Just to chime in and maybe learn something I'll opine thusly:

Does the Geneva convention apply when only one side is concerned with complying with it and the other side probably can't even read it? (And by other side, I'm talking about the Iraqi resistance).

I still think that the US, Europe and especially the Arab world have a lot at stake in stabilizing and democratizing Iraq. I may think it could have been done better but the US could also have used a little help from our European Allies and we didn't get it, except for the English under Tony Blair, who I believe has been eloquent in expressing our reasons for being there. You can bitch all you want to about Bush, but expressing himself in words that suit you is not very likely.

I agree with a lot of what you say about Tom DeLay and his ilk. To quote the BBC's version of "I Claudius" these people are reason enough to keep mankind from totally losing its sense of smell."

I think there is a real lack of leadership in preparing us for the coming higher cost of energy, and fiscal irresponsibility in the amount of money being spent on useless items (missile defense shield) and the growing national debt.

The war, however, is another matter. Extreme Islamic terrorism is a valid threat, and in recognizing that threat and doing something to deal with it, especially in the face of Democratic indecisiveness, Bush ends up being the guy we've got, and in that if in nothing else he is ahead of most of Europe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:37 PM

It's ALIVE! ALIVE, I say! :>)

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:35 PM

801 and yer on to somethin' with the moron thing, Leadfingers... Might explain a lot...

But keep on firing, Amos...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:30 PM

Oh - By The Way - Eight Hundred !


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:28 PM

Or even an Oxy moron ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:27 PM

Isnt 'Bush' 'Administration' a contradiction in terms ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM

The crime of war: from Nuremberg to Fallujah
By Nicolas J S Davies
Jan 3, 2005, 22:16


A review of current international law regarding wars of aggression, and its implications for U.S. policy in Iraq and elsewhere

In September, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told the BBC that the U.S./British invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law [1]. The following week, he dedicated his entire annual address to the U.N. General Assembly to the subject of international law, saying, "We must start from the principle that no one is above the law, and no one should be denied its protection." So, how was the invasion of Iraq illegal? How does that affect the situation there today? And what are the practical implications of this for U.S. policy going forward, in Iraq and elsewhere?

The Secretary General presumed what the world generally accepts, that international law is legally binding upon all countries. In the United States however, international law is spoken of differently, as a tool that our government can use selectively to enforce its will on other nations, or else circumvent when it conflicts with sufficiently important U.S. interests. For the benefit of readers in the U.S., I therefore feel obliged to preface a review of war crime in Iraq with a look at the actual legal status of international law, both in international terms and in terms of our own national framework of constitutional law.

When the president of the United States signs a treaty and it is ratified by the U.S. Senate, our country is making a solemn undertaking. The seriousness of such commitments is exemplified by the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and subsequent international trials, in which individual national leaders have been held criminally responsible for treaty violations and, when convicted, have been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment or even death by hanging. In our own constitutional system, Article VI Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the "Supremacy Clause," grants international treaties the same "supreme" status as federal law and the Constitution itself. It reads:

    "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."




The balance of this article can be found here.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 07:05 PM

Iraq Vs. Tsunami: The Duplicity Of The Media
By Mike Whitney
Jan 2, 2005, 11:47

The American media has descended on the Asian tsunami with all the fervor of feral animals in a meat locker. The newspapers and TV's are plastered with bodies drifting out to sea, battered carcasses strewn along the beach and bloated babies lying in rows. Every aspect of the suffering is being scrutinized with microscopic intensity by the predatory lens of the media.

This is where the western press really excels: in the celebratory atmosphere of human catastrophe. Their penchant for misery is only surpassed by their appetite for profits.

Where was this "free press" in Iraq when the death toll was skyrocketing towards 100,000? So far, we've seen nothing of the devastation in Falluja where more than 6,000 were killed and where corpses were lined along the city's streets for weeks on end. Is death less photogenic in Iraq? Or, are there political motives behind the coverage?

Wasn't Ted Koppel commenting just days ago, that the media was restricting its coverage of Iraq to show sensitivity for the squeamishness of its audience? He reiterated the mantra that filming dead Iraqis was "in bad taste" and that his American audience would be repelled by such images? How many times have we heard the same rubbish from Brokaw, Jennings and the rest of their ilk?

Well, it looks like Koppel and the others have quickly switched directions. The tsunami has turned into a 24 hour-a-day media frenzy of carnage and ruin, exploring every facet of human misery in agonizing detail.

The festival of bloodshed is chugging ahead at full-throttle and it's bumping up ratings in the process.

Corporate media never fails to astound even the most jaded viewer. Just when it appears that they've hit rock-bottom, they manage to slip even deeper into the morass of sensationalism. The manipulation of calamity is particularly disturbing, especially when disaster is translated into a revenue windfall. Koppel may disparage "bad taste", but his boardroom bosses are more focused on the bottom line. Simply put, tragedy is good for business.

When it comes to Iraq, however, the whole paradigm shifts to the right. The dead and maimed are faithfully hidden from view. No station would dare show a dead Marine or even an Iraqi national mutilated by an errant American bomb. That might undermine the patriotic objectives of our mission: to democratize the natives and enter them into the global economic system. Besides, if Iraq was covered like the tsunami, public support would erode extremely quickly, and Americans would have to buy their oil rather than extracting it at gunpoint. What good would that do?

Looks like the media's got it right: carnage IS different in Iraq than Thailand, Indonesia or India. The Iraqi butchery is part of a much grander scheme: a plan for conquest, subjugation and the theft of vital resources, the foundation blocks for maintaining white privilege into the next century. (....).


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM

Stopping the Bum's Rush

The people who hustled America into a tax cut to eliminate an imaginary budget surplus and a war to eliminate imaginary weapons are now trying another bum's rush. If they succeed, we will do nothing about the real fiscal threat and will instead dismantle Social Security, a program that is in much better financial shape than the rest of the federal government.

In the next few weeks, I'll explain why privatization will fatally undermine Social Security, and suggest steps to strengthen the program. I'll also talk about the much more urgent fiscal problems the administration hopes you won't notice while it scares you about Social Security.

Today let's focus on one piece of those scare tactics: the claim that Social Security faces an imminent crisis.

That claim is simply false. Yet much of the press has reported the falsehood as a fact. For example, The Washington Post recently described 2018, when benefit payments are projected to exceed payroll tax revenues, as a "day of reckoning."

Here's the truth: by law, Social Security has a budget independent of the rest of the U.S. government. That budget is currently running a surplus, thanks to an increase in the payroll tax two decades ago. As a result, Social Security has a large and growing trust fund.

(Paul Krugman in the NY Times)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:03 PM

The Chief Justice Speaks


Published: January 4, 2005




Fighting thyroid cancer, Chief Justice William Rehnquist used the occasion last week of his 19th, and potentially final, report on the state of the federal courts to extend his proud record of defending the independence of the federal judiciary against intrusive attacks by politicians.

Without naming names, Chief Justice Rehnquist spoke of a troubling "new turn" in recent years that has seen some conservative Republicans in Congress cross the line from ordinary criticism of judicial decisions they do not like to trying to intimidate individual judges. In the process, they show disrespect to the constitutional separation of powers and threaten the essential role of an independent judiciary in protecting American rights.

Without singling out the House majority leader Tom DeLay and others, Chief Justice Rehnquist expressed appropriate concern over recent calls by some members of the last Congress for laws limiting the jurisdiction of federal courts to decide constitutional challenges on matters like the use of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. He was also duly critical of threats to impeach so-called "activist" judges for their interpretations of the Constitution.

"A judge's judicial acts may not serve as a basis for impeachment," the chief justice, author of a 1992 book on this theme, stated in a timely reminder to the reconvening Congress. "Any other rule would destroy judicial independence. Instead of trying to apply the law fairly, regardless of public opinion, judges would be concerned about inflaming any group that might be able to muster the votes in Congress to impeach and convict them."

This is a message that Chief Justice Rehnquist, much to his credit, has delivered time and again as head of the nation's court system, even at the risk of offending fellow conservatives. But given current political tensions over the future direction of the federal courts, it has special resonance right now.

(See link for rest of this NYT article.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:00 PM

Dad, Don't Go to Work for the Bush Administration
by Hal Cranmer


http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/cranmer1.html   

My father called me a couple of nights ago with an announcement. The US government has asked him to go to Iraq for six months to manage their oil sector. He has an extensive background in the oil industry, having worked as an executive for a major multinational oil company for approximately 30 years. He seemed excited about the position, for reasons that I just cannot understand.

So I am writing this article to try to convince him to turn down the
position....


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 05:56 PM

MARGINS OF VICTORY
Republican Presidents Reelected During the Last Hundred Years
        President        Popular Vote        Electoral Vote
1904        Theodore Roosevelt        17%        196
1956        Dwight D. Eisenhower 16%        384
1972        Richard M. Nixon        23%        503
1984        Ronald Reagan               18%        512
2004        George Bush               2%        34

          Source: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17690

This article in the New York Review of Books is an interesting study on the ebb and flow of beliefs behind Bushie's re-election. I recommend it as a good read.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 07:36 AM

Gonzales Nomination Draws Military Criticism

Retired Officers Cite His Role in Shaping Policies on Torture

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 4, 2005; Page A02

A dozen high-ranking retired military officers took the unusual step yesterday of signing a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing "deep concern" over the nomination of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, marking a rare military foray into the debate over a civilian post. ...

Although the GOP-controlled Senate is expected to confirm Gonzales to succeed Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, some Democrats have vowed to question him aggressively amid continuing revelations of abuses of military detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The letter signed by the retired officers, compiled by the group Human Rights First and sent to the committee's leadership last night, criticizes Gonzales for his role in reviewing and approving a series of memorandums arguing, among other things, that the United States could lawfully ignore portions of the Geneva Conventions and that some forms of torture "may be justified" in the war on terror. ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 12:17 AM

It is my belief that US law was built upon the fundamentals of the Magna Carta and as such The Guantanamo Gulag is in violation of the very basis of law as we understand it and "the good sense of mankind".

The Magna Carta and American Law


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 12:11 AM

This is part of another essay uncovering an important mathematical distortion in Bushies' mathematics.

The Social Security Fear Factor


Published: January 3, 2005

        
If you've lent even one ear to the administration's recent comments on Social Security, you have no doubt heard President Bush and his aides asserting that a $10 trillion shortfall threatens the retirement system - and the economy itself. That $10 trillion hole is the basis of the president's claim last month that "the [Social Security] crisis is now." It's also the basis of the administration's claim that the cost of doing nothing to reform the system would be far greater than the cost of acting now.

Well, the $10 trillion figure is the closest you can get to pulling a number out of the air. Make that the ether. Starting last year, as the groundwork was being set for the emerging debate, the Social Security trustees took the liberty of projecting the system's solvency over infinity, rather than sticking to the traditional 75-year time horizon. That world-without-end assumption generates the scary $10 trillion estimate, and with it, Mr. Bush's putative rationale for dismantling Social Security in favor of a system centered on private savings accounts. The American Academy of Actuaries, the profession's premier trade association, objected to the change. In a letter to the trustees, the actuaries wrote that infinite projections provide "little if any useful information about the program's long-range finances and indeed are likely to mislead any [nonexpert] into believing that the program is in far worse financial condition than is actually indicated."

As it often does with dissenting professional opinion, the administration is ignoring the actuaries. But that doesn't alter the facts or common sense. If the $10 trillion figure is essentially bogus, so is the claim that Social Security is in crisis. The assertion that doing nothing would be costlier than enacting a privatization plan also turns out to be wrong, by the estimates of Congress's own budget agency.

Over a 75-year time frame, Social Security's shortfall is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at $2 trillion and by the Social Security trustees at $3.7 trillion, a manageable sliver of the economy in each case. If the shortfall is on the low side, Social Security will be in the black until 2052, when it will be able to pay out 80 percent of the promised benefits. If it is on the high side, the system will pay full benefits until 2042, when it will cover 70 percent.

Contrary to Mr. Bush's frequent assertion that Social Security is constantly imperiled by political meddling, it has in fact been preserved and improved by political intervention throughout its 70-year history, most significantly in 1983. The system could - and should - be strengthened again by a modest package of benefit cuts and tax increases phased in over decades.

Instead, the administration wants workers to divert some of the payroll taxes that currently pay for Social Security into private investment accounts, in exchange for a much-reduced government benefit. To replace the taxes it would otherwise have collected - money it needs to pay benefits to current and near retirees - the government would borrow an estimated $2 trillion over the next 10 years or so and even more thereafter.

In effect, the administration's plan would get rid of the financial burden of Social Security by getting rid of Social Security. The plan shifts the financial risk of growing old onto each individual and off of the government - where it is dispersed among a very large population, as with any sensible insurance policy. In a privatized system, you may do fine, but your fellow retirees may not, or vice versa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 12:04 AM

A short protest from the New Tork Times Editorial Page:

        EDITORIAL

Leave No Sales Pitch Behind


Published: January 4, 2005

The fine print in President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act is slowly dawning on the parents of high school students across the country as the war in Iraq drags on: military recruiters can blitz youngsters with uninvited phone calls to their homes and on-campus pitches replete with video war games. This is all possible under a little noted part of the law that requires schools to provide the names, addresses (campus addresses, too) and phone numbers of students or risk losing federal aid. The law provides an option to block the hard-sell recruitment - but only if parents demand in writing that the school deny this information to the military.

Hard-pressed recruiters have stepped up the sales pitch to meet wartime manpower shortages. One sergeant filmed by the NewsHour on PBS recently sounded like a salesman from David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross as he exhorted a campus group: "I mean, where else can you get paid to jump out of airplanes, shoot cool guns, blow stuff up and travel, seeing all kinds of different countries?"

The Pentagon insists that it enjoys the same entree to high school students as college and corporate recruiters. But clearly, No Child Left Behind has given the military a thumb on the scale with the threat of lost money. Some students on the cusp of adulthood describe the recruiters as merely offering another option in life; others complain of outright pestering.

Recruiters have learned to focus on the most promising markets - typically lower-middle-class schools. No one can complain of unfairness in a draft-free society where many have found fine careers in the military, with recruitment part of the process. But it is objectionable when the government tucks a decided advantage for its wartime armies' salesmanship into a law invoked in the name of children.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:51 PM

The Guantanamo Gulag

by Mike Whitney

Excerpted from The Progressive Trail


"The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

Winston Churchill

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

U.N. Convention Against Torture; Article 2, Section 2

The prison facility at Guantanamo Bay is the brightest star in the Bush firmament. It towers over the political landscape like a monument to human cruelty. That's why the administration chose to slap it up in full view of the world. It's their way of announcing that the fundamental rules of the game have changed.

There's no need for Guantanamo. The United States has plenty of experience concealing political prisoners from the public. The CIA has been transporting enemy suspects to hidden locations since its inception. Certainly, an increase of 600 prisoners or so wouldn't have caused much of a stir if they were tucked away in some remote corner of the earth. But, that's not the purpose of Guantanamo. Guantanamo is intended to send a message that the internationally accepted norms of justice have been rescinded. From now on, all law proceeds from Washington.

The world seems oddly bewildered by this development. Individuals have protested the particularly heinous aspects of the new system, like the use of torture, or detention without charges. But, these are just the trimmings and don't get to the heart of the matter. Guantanamo is a deliberate effort to overturn every legal protection that safeguards the individual from the arbitrary actions of the state. Simply put, it is the end of the law.

What is it that we fail to grasp about Guantanamo? Are we so blinded by the assuring narrative of democracy and personal freedom that we don't recognize the symbols of tyranny when we see them? The reality of Guantanamo is quite stark; a dull-gray world of cinder-block and wire situated beyond the reach of any law or regulation. Is their some doubt about what this really means?

Just yesterday the Washington Post reported that the "Bush administration is preparing plans for possible lifetime detention of suspected terrorists, including hundreds whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts." Isn't this conspicuous power grab by the president enough to awaken even the most blasé observer? Remember, these prisoners have never been charged with a crime and, yet, the administration is paving the way for permanent incarceration.

The Washington Post report comes on the heels of last week's article by the ACLU which confirmed that "President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq."

So, now there's a paper trail connecting the President directly to the torture that was "systematically" conducted at Guantanamo.

Torture? Permanent imprisonment without charges? These are the most fundamental violations of the law. How can we continue to ignore the gravity of this situation?(...)



By the way, do you recall how strange and alien the concept of a "gulag" was when you first read about it? Was it Nabokov's writing, or some other amazed observation by an American reporter, perhaps, who was incredulous at ther bestiality and feudalism embraced by those thick-skulled Commies. Remember?   That was so different than the way we handled things in our proud country, where we had principles....


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:44 PM

From MSNBC:

Social Security formula weighed

Bush plan would cut promised benefits

By Jonathan Weisman and Mike Allen
Updated: 11:11 p.m. ET Jan. 3, 2005

The Bush administration has signaled that it will propose changing the formula that sets initial Social Security benefit levels, cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades, according to several Republicans close to the White House.

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Under the proposal, the first-year benefits for retirees would be calculated using inflation rates rather than the rise in wages over a worker's lifetime. Because wages tend to rise considerably faster than inflation, the new formula would stunt the growth of benefits, slowly at first but more quickly by the middle of the century. The White House hopes that some, if not all, of those benefit cuts would be made up by gains in newly created personal investment accounts that would harness returns on stocks and bonds.

But by embracing "price indexing," the president would for the first time detail the painful costs involved in closing the gap between the Social Security benefits promised to future retirees and the taxes available to fund them. In late February or March, the administration plans to produce its proposed overhaul of the system, including creation of personal investment accounts and the new benefit calculation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:41 PM

Lieberman says he won't join Bush administration

From CongressDaily via http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0105/010305cdpm3.htm

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said Sunday that he is not interested in becoming President Bush's national intelligence director or Homeland Security secretary -- saying he feels he can be more effective staying in the Senate.

Asked on ABC's This Week whether he is interested in a Cabinet post, Lieberman responded: " I'm not. I appreciate the floating. It's a quadrennial game here in Washington when a new administration takes shape."

The possibility of Lieberman -- a centrist who was his party's 2000 vice-presidential nominee -- leaving the Senate has turned into something of a political parlor game in his home state in recent weeks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:31 PM

House G.O.P. Voids Rule It Adopted Shielding Leader
By CARL HULSE

Published: January 4, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 - Stung by criticism that they were lowering ethical standards, House Republicans on Monday night reversed a rule change that would have allowed a party leader to retain his position even if indicted.

Lawmakers and House officials said Republicans, meeting behind the closed doors of the House chamber, acted at the request of the majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, who had been the intended beneficiary of the rule change.
        
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When they adopted the change in their party rules in November, Republicans said they feared that Mr. DeLay could be subjected to a politically motivated indictment as part of a campaign finance investigation in Texas that has resulted in charges against three of his associates. The decision, coupled with other Republican proposals to rewrite the ethics rules, drew fierce criticism from Democrats and watchdogs outside the government, who said the Republican majority was subverting ethics enforcement.

Those attending the Republican meeting, which was held on the eve of the opening of the 109th Congress, said Republicans unanimously agreed to restore the old rule after Mr. DeLay told them that the move would clear the air and deny Democrats a potent political issue. In the past year, he has been admonished by the ethics panel three times: for his tactics in trying to persuade a colleague to support the Medicare drug bill, for appearing to link political donations to support for legislation and for involving a federal agency in a political matter in Texas.

Some Republicans who originally opposed the rules change greeted the decision not to go through with it enthusiastically.

"It allows the Republicans to focus on the issues, the agenda that is before us and not to have Tom DeLay be the issue," Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee, said. "I feel like we have just taken a shower."

Excerpted from the NY Times:http://nytimes.com/2005/01/04/politics/04cong.html?hp&ex=1104814800&en=8190025ec1760a93&ei=5094&partner=homepage




Of course, to really notice that you have taken a shower, you have to have been carrying some heavy dirt around beforehand...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:19 PM

Jeeze, Martin....if you're gonna dedicate limericks to me, at least make them scan and rhyme!! This is insulting in its poetic ineptitude!!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 10:28 PM

C-...

Nah, make that a solid D+...

"Amos" to "anus" is a stretch...

Come on, Martin, you can do better...

Sorry, pal, we was jus' starting to get along...

But, hey, it's gotta a nice little rythum thing going...

Meanwhile, what do ya get when ya cross a possum with George Bush?

Opps, sorry, but we couldn't find any possums willing to have sex with the guy...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Once Famous
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 10:04 PM

Once there was a guy name Amos
Who thought he knew enough politics
To make him famous

But no one was there
to read or to care
So he went back to picking his anus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 09:43 PM

Brownshirts....


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 09:36 PM

I appreciate the occasional support, guys -- it is just what I need.

If you get too bewildered to sleep over what the right-wing dialogue sounds like, here is a vivid representation of mass-think being born and blossoming large.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 08:00 PM

Definitely. I'm doing pretty much what Ellen is doing (read, copy, send to friends, etc), so it's not just the people checking in here who are reading this. It's getting around. I think that's Amos's point. Amos is providing a service, for which I thank him wholeheartedly.

Mid-term elections in 2006, and 2008 is not that far off.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM

In defense of this thread, Bushites. Would you rather have one place for them our have 15 or 20 threads going at any given time about yet another Bush administaration screw up?

Count your blessings...

Amos oughtta take a Bush screw up a day and throw it out there... Heck, that alone would keep him busy for a life time...

Like I said, count yer blessing...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 05:46 PM

Bush administration unveils 2005 pay raise
By Tanya N. Ballard
tballard@govexec.com

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday evening formally
implementing a 3.5 percent average pay raise in 2005 for General Schedule employees.

The pay increase, which will take effect on Jan. 9, will be divided between a 2.5 percent base pay increase for all employees and an average 1 percent locality pay adjustment that varies according to where employees work.

From http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1204/123004t1.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 01:46 PM

I read it, or at least scan it. I don't post to it hardly because I look on it as an information source and I imagine others do too. Amos always gives his sources.

clint


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 01:35 PM

TWO avid readers, one scanner and one who doesn't even have the ability to scan a thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 01:22 PM

Perhaps I am Amos. It appears you have one avid reader, and one scanner. Impressive.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 08:33 AM

Okay, maybe not all of it... But I scan it...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 08:13 AM

Perhaps you are out of touch, Doug R! Thanks, EllenP!!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 05:32 AM

I read this all the time. I also copy and send a lot of it to friends. It is a GREAT thread, and I only hope that nothing and NO ONE ever puts off Amos from continuing it.

Happy New Year, Amos.

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:31 AM

yes


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:18 AM

Alright Mudcatters, time to fess up. Is anyone actually reading all the crap Amos is posting on this thread? Be truthful now, or your nose will begin growing! :>)

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 10:58 AM

Could some kind clone close the HREF container in the above post right after the word "magazine"?? Thanks.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 05 - 10:35 PM

Coal Position


Bush admin isn't putting money where its mouth is on "clean coal"
By Amanda Griscom Little writing in GRIST magazine

When pressed on climate change, the Bush administration is fond of citing "clean coal" technology as the wave of the energy future. Even some enviros are starting to grudgingly acknowledge the technology's potential for good.

Coal: Can you dig it?

But all Bush's talk doesn't appear to be translating into the funding needed to really get clean coal rolling.

Given that coal accounts for a whopping 50 percent of U.S. electricity production, it can't realistically be phased out overnight -- or even in the next half-century -- which means that transition technologies are critical. Such technologies are in development, and they could make coal-powered generation almost completely smog-free and easily conducive to capturing and storing carbon-dioxide emissions.

The business community, for its part, is atwitter with excitement over clean-coal developments, particularly given the rising prices of oil and natural gas. Last month, The New York Times published a cover story in its business section titled "Fuel of the Future? Some Say Coal," reporting a huge increase in coal-generation investments. Likewise, a leading business newsletter, Platts, published a report last week on the ballooning demand for clean-coal facilities.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 05 - 10:22 PM

Two stories from Bush Watch for January

BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT: BUSH PLANS TO LEAVE WOMEN BEHIND BY ELIMINATING THEIR EQUAL RIGHTS TO ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS "Colleges and universities would be allowed to limit the number of scholarships awarded to female athletes without regard to enrollment under the most controversial recommendation being considered by a national commission studying reform of Title IX, the landmark law that bans sex discrimination in collegiate sports....The proposals, obtained by The Washington Post, are the first indication of the Bush administration's plans for changing Title IX, which is widely credited with increasing female participation in collegiate sports over the past three decades. " 01.24.03
wp | related stories

WAG THE BUSH Someone went to great lengths to ensure the backdrop for President Bush's sales pitch Wednesday on his economic stimulus plan sent all the right messages -- and none of the wrong. Bush delivered his remarks from a warehouse floor at JS Logistics, a trucking, courier and warehouse business that provided a visual image for his argument that his proposal carries economy-boosting benefits for small businesses. The audience was flanked on all sides by piles of cardboard boxes -- with additional piles in front of and behind his podium. Each one of the hundreds of boxes had a piece of paper obscuring its "Made in China" label....A backdrop made-to-order for the White House filled the space directly behind Bush, which is most likely to show up on TV news clips of the event. Blaring a logo of "Strengthening America's Economy," it exactly mimicked the real-life box piles, down to perfectly aligned shelves. Except the boxes on the backdrop were labeled, "Made in the USA." --AP, 01.22.03


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 05 - 09:55 PM

From the same magazine:

        On Native Ground
HOW FUNDAMENTALISM FAILS AMERICA
by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
Dummerston, Vt.

DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Can a country where more people believe in the Devil than in evolution maintain its leadership in the sciences?

That's a question that David Baltimore, Nobel laureate and president of the California Institute of Technology, asked in a recent op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times.

Baltimore believes that "Asia has the potential to blow us out of the water" because their scientists and engineers "are as good as ours, as imaginative as ours - they work longer hours and are more dedicated."

The numbers bear him out. India's colleges and universities are turning out more than 40,000 computer science graduates each year, and the enrollments in those programs are rising while U.S. colleges struggle to fill their science programs. And China produces more 325,000 engineers each year, or five times more than the United States.

By contrast, Baltimore wrote that our nation has a "lack of federal leadership in funding schooling that emphasizes math and science" with a "fragmented educational system that leaves much to local control" and an attitude of "general anti-intellectualism."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 05 - 09:33 PM

On Native Ground
A DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN CREATED THE SOCIAL SECURITY 'CRISIS'
by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
Dummerston, Vt.

DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- I look at how the Bush administration is trying to manufacture a Social Security "crisis," and it looks much like what was done to manufacture the rationale for invading Iraq.

Certainly the steps are the same. Invent a crisis where none currently exists. State only the information (real or not) that benefits your argument, and repeat it often. Ignore all information that might undermine your argument and attack anyone who might disagree. Then, after convincing everyone that there is a crisis and marginalizing your opponents, you come up with the solution to the crisis you manufactured.

Through constant repetition and taking full advantage of the limitations of journalism's objectivity fetish, the Bush administration can bend reality to fit its policy schemes.

As journalism is now practiced, to state the facts is considered an act of bias. In the case of the Iraq war, even though there was abundant evidence that the Bush administration was overstating its case at best and flat-out lying at worst, the cult of objectivity required giving the Bush administration's lies as much weight (and often times, more weight) as the opposing views. Pointing out discrepancies between the facts and the spin is sacrificed in the name of balance.

The Social Security debate has followed the same path. News reports dutifully repeat the claim that the program will go bankrupt in 2042. The reality is that, if nothing is done, Social Security will be taking in more revenue than it pays out until 2018. After 2018, current obligations can be met until 2042. After 2042, there would still be enough money to pay at least 73 percent of benefits. These figures aren't wishful thinking from a liberal think tank, they are the government's own calculations.

Excerpted from The American Reporter.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 05 - 08:51 PM

Rep Henry Waxman maintains a website providing some oversight of the state of science under the current administration. Here's a link: Politics and Science. A rather unsettling post appeared there today:

Saturday, January 1, 2005
HHS Restricts Communications between U.S. Scientists and WHO Officials

A new HHS policy requires the World Health Organization to submit all requests for expert scientific advice to political officials at HHS who pick which federal scientists will be permitted to respond. The new policy and two recent Administration decisions to withdraw federal scientists from major international health conferences are part of a disturbing pattern of political interference in global health issues.


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