Wednesday, February 23, 2005

There IS a Problem, Houston

Judging by the number of comments on the previous entry, lots of people out there think I’m paranoid, full of crap, or just really stretching to find something to criticize the Bush Administration about. That’s the problem with Bush’s brand of state-run media. We are bombarded so constantly with administration approved "news," that the pro-right, anti-liberal message has become almost subliminal. I really don’t think people understand what is going on, or the gravity of it. When you feel like you’re the only one shouting an important message into a screaming headwind, you start to doubt your own veracity. But, shortly after I posted that entry, I received an email forwarded to me by my sister-in-law. Generated by Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY28th), it was a plea to sign an internet petition to "stop the Bush Propaganda Machine."

"I have worked on media fairness and reform throughout my stay in the House, and never have I seen such an open assault on the standards of a free press as I have in the past four years. We have seen several right wing pundits who were being paid with tax dollars to promote Administration policies with no disclosure. We have seen fake news reports distributed to media outlets with no indication of their origin; we have seen those fake segments deemed "illegal covert propaganda" by the General Accounting Office; and then we have seen the White House simply continue on with the technique completely unphased. We now know that prior to the war in Iraq, Iraqi exiles with checkered pasts, allied with (and paid by) the White House distributed bogus intelligence on WMD to produce perhaps more than 100 newspaper articles hyping the case for war! Even now President Bush flies around the country at taxpayer expense holding televised "town hall discussions" on Social Security in which nobody who does not support him is allowed in.

"This must stop, and it must stop now. This sort of manipulation of the free press - one of most pivotal checks & balances in our Constitution - demonstrates a contempt for democracy, the rule of law, and the great people of this nation, many of whom trust this president with all their hearts."

Think about it, people. Picture a head of state presenting his grand campaign oratory to carefully selected crowds of supporters. Non-supporters are turned back at the door, or led away in handcuffs, should they somehow manage to get in. What world leader would you imagine behind the microphone in this picture? Castro? Kruschev? The Ayatollah? Nope…that’s George W. Bush behind the podium. With the cameras busily rolling, recording for posterity our stalwart Commander-in-Chief reading the Republican message prepared for him, to a legion of smiling, cheering, fist-pumping everyday Americans. And all those fence-sitting folks at home, see these images and think, "It looks like our President isn’t doing such a bad job after all." Don’t think it wasn’t planned to have precisely that effect.

And now, the administration is starting up that same engine to push through Bush’s "legacy" programs like the assault on Social Security. Additionally, USA Next, the agency that used lies, half-truths, and naked hatred to successfully sully John Kerry’s military experience during the campaign (you know--the "Swift Boat Veterans" people), has been enlisted to reprise that performance, only this time, against the AARP. Do we really want to see these folks harpooning our parents, older siblings, or us, as they go after the AARP with the same weapons they used on Mr. Kerry? Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next, capsulizes their strategy:

"They are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts [Mr. Bush’s Plan to "save" Social Security]. We will be the dynamite that removes them."

If that doesn’t send a cold shudder through your bones, you are not human.

And don’t fool yourselves…we only glimpse a tip of this iceberg. Don’t you ever wonder why stories exposing the Bush administration’s blatant media manipulation last about five seconds and then disappear? Doesn’t it mystify you that nothing bad or negative ever stays around long enough to stick to Mr. Bush? To generate anything but a feeble, "Hey, that doesn’t look quite right…" from the American public before the information is buried so deep an oil derrick couldn’t tap into it? We need to be asking ourselves these questions. And we need to start holding the Bush Administration accountable for their interpretation of Freedom of the Press---which to them means the freedom to club it to insensibility, and then harness it to their own advantage.


  1. I went back to look at some of the "paranoid, full of crap" comments you speak of on the previous post and could only find supportive posts.  Actually, I started to post about your paranoia and fullness of crap when I read it, but figured it would just get deleted.  Apparently, I was right.  Count me as a "Bushie" as one of your posters calls us.

  2. Pudge450--

    I was not referring to the language of any of the comments I had received.  I was referring to the number of comments.  When people read something they agree with, they usually at least leave an "Atta boy" comment.  Yesterday's post had only generated three comments by the time I wrote this next post this morning.

    I don't delete negative comments from my journal.  Have you ever seen me delete any of yours?  As long as you can communicate your disagreement in a relatively polite, non-profane way, you are welcome, and encouraged, to comment.  This latest comment, however, begins to inch toward the kind of high-pitched, nasty rejoinder that I would rather not see...  Lisa  :-]

  3. Hello Lisa-
    So glad to see you writing with such intelligence and verve (as usual) about such imperative social and political issues. Bush is just really "messing" things up even more isn't he? I know my words sound so blunt and not "politically correct", but in a nutshell that is the truth.
    I read this article found via AARP and here it it:

    This article explains how Social Security reform in Britian did NOT work and now they are scrambling to fix it. I guess that explains why Bush and Prime Minister Blair are such good buddies right?

    Love your new entry as always,

  4. Oh and one more thing: you are not paranoid, full of crap or stretching to find things wrong with Bush and his moron of an administration. Actually you are quite brave and smart!


  5. Social Security is broken.  How are you going to fix it?

  6. Sieblonde--You don't fix it by dismantling it.  The Republicans don't want to fix Social Security.  They want it to go away.  This is just the first step.  Lisa  :-]

  7. Lisa,

    The cunning manipulation of the media that we are seeing reminds me of only one form of government: fascism.  And I think more and more people are starting to think it and even discuss where we, as a nation, are headed.  

    As for Social Security, I'd like to see one of these people who believe it's 'broken' to show me how they are economically sound for the next fifty years.  I'm certainly not.  I know my carpenter's pension isn't.  I'd like to see what company can say it's economically sound for the next fifty years.  Far from broken, Social Security is looking to hit a bump in the road in the next fifty years (over 70 if we remove the cap on incomes that are taxed) that will level out.  This change in demographics is not permanent.  

    Back to the Bushies.  I think we have to start realizing that this problem is much bigger than just the Republicans.  The democrats are not doing anything to fight this.  They have power.  They have access to the media.  But we barely hear a whimper out of them.  There are some stand up democrats, Pelosi, Boxer, Mckinney (funny, all women: let's get a woman in the White House!) but the leadership is weak and continues to head to the right.

    The whole system is broken.  But I think we have to begin by taking back our media.  Those airwaves that Fox and NBC use to manipulate and misinform us with are OUR airwaves.  We need to take them back.  We need to take back our radio waves from giants like Clear Channel and bring back local broadcasting.  And we need to seriously start energizing sources like Indy-Media and other alternative news sources.


  8. Lisa, I think you know that I'm not going to get into any verbal wars over politics, religion or sexuality with anyone because it's just not my thing.  I'm strictly a ranting kind of gal about family issues.  I want you to know that I always read your entries.  

  9. Your republican friend checking in.... thanks for the chuckle.....

    Man, I hate that about the guy not putting the weed mat down before putting your bark in.   That stuff really does work.  We will be planting a bed of azaelas down one side of our house in a few weeks, and the weed mat will be put down once all 20 plants are in the ground... no way I'm gonna weed that big a bed!!!


  10. I didn't say anything about Republicans or Democrats.  Social Security is in big trouble.  It needs changes.   What changes do you suggest.    One suggestion is to set it up similar to what Congress and Federal Employees already have.  Another suggestion is to raise the payroll tax (which is already higher than the federal tax).  Another suggestion is to raise the salary cap that they tax (but this would mean more benefits to those higher income people, so that doesn't really help.)  Another suggestion is to allow people to take 4% of their SS money that is withheld and privatize it like the federal employees have.  I type transcripts every night from NPR....  I'm hearing alot about the situation.  What suggestions do you offer?

  11. Sie--
    Legitiamte question.
    First of all, I dispute that Social Security is "in big trouble."  Even conservative estimates have it completely solvent for forty to fifty more years, without any changes at all.  Can the federal government even make that claim?  What's the dire emergency?
    I personally lean toward raising the salary cap.  But I will do some research and post my findings next week.  Lisa  :-]

  12. I couldn't have said it better myself. The scary thing is, you can go through your day and never hear anything that doesn't support the mindset you've already got. Most of the unbiased material I've come across is from the two newspapers we take and Newsweek. Anything I hear on network news gets googled to look for alternate opinons. It is very scary.

    Oh, and anything involving statistics immediately has about five pounds of salt sprinklied on it because the story never includes the base statistic they're working from. I.E. Taking XYZ reduces your chance of a heart attack by five percent. But they never START the story by telling you what the actual rate of heart attacks IS. Five percent of one in one hundred is a lot but five percent of one in one thousand is a lot smaller. :-)

  13. The red text on green is very harsh on the eyes. At least mine. I had to highlight the entry in order to read those portions. The quote from USA Next is horrifying. You know I think part of the problem is that there is no follow up. And, as a concerned individual, it's hard to do the necessary research to find the truth yourself. :-) ---Robbie

  14. No one tells it like you!  I haven't been keeping up like I and life gets in the way these days...

    You are preaching a valuable message.  I listen.  Everyone else should too.