Liar Lies, Gets Caught, Election-Manipulation War Talk Continues

I saw this one at MSNBC.
Seeking to build a case Saturday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, President Bush cited a satellite photograph and a report by the U.N. atomic energy agency as evidence of Iraq’s impending rearmament. But in response to a report by NBC News, a senior administration official acknowledged Saturday night that the U.N. report drew no such conclusion, and a spokesman for the U.N. agency said the photograph had been misinterpreted.
Bush said Iraq may be 6 months from having a nuclear weapon. But the report he cited said that BEFORE WE DESTROYED IRAQ'S NUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTRE Iraq was possibly 6-months away from having the bomb.


Hey, Not Bad

Media Whores Online points us to a White House Document on Social Security "reform" that makes it clear they mean PRIVATE accounts -- yes, the dreaded "privatization" word that George "I don't use polls" Bush says they never used, now that polls show the public doesn't like it.

Anyway, in the document is a chart showing that Social Security offers a 1.7% "rate of return." Compared to what banks are offering these days, that's not too bad! (Hasn't anyone ever told these wizards that return = risk.)

Amazing Timing

In my previous entry I wrote about the amazing timing of this drumbeat for war with Iraq. That got me thinking about the amazing timing of this year's flurry of terrorist threat alerts. They amazingly seemed to happen whenever something was hitting the news that could hurt Bush politically. Remember? Remember the country being scared out of its wits, time after time?

And with the Padilla "dirty bomb" scare the timing become so amazing - reporting that he was arrested months after he really was arrested but just after some harmful political news - that mainstream reporters started writing about the amazing timing. And then the terrorist threats stopped! Another example of amazing timing. Just after the mainstream press started writing that the timing of the terrorist threats was amazing, the terrorist threats amazingly stopped. Amazing! The country seems to be cursed with terrible events - threats, wars - that occur with amazing timing that is in sync with Republican troubles ... unless .... no, I couldn't say something like THAT.

A Choice?

John Kerry says, We Still Have a Choice on Iraq.

Uh, John, HELLO!, did you miss the 100 American and British warplanes attacking Iraq yesterday? It's already STARTED, John! I mean, DUH! Bush snuck another one past the Constitution, John, and what are the Democrats going to DO about it, John?

You wrote, "For the American people to accept the legitimacy of this conflict and give their consent to it, the Bush administration must first present detailed evidence of the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and then prove that all other avenues of protecting our nation's security interests have been exhausted."

There's ANOTHER thing they're going to have to prove. They're going to have to prove that something is DIFFERENT right now from what was happening in Iraq 6 months ago or a year ago or 3 months ago instead of right NOW, because otherwise I'm going to think that this is just too suspiciously timed to manipulate the election, and I don't like that. This country learned the hard way in VietNam that it is important to have the WHOLE public behind you when you go to war, not just a manipulated majority and an angry minority that sees too clearly how the rest were manipulated. So if this is REALLY serious, and this is REALLY a threat to the country the LAST THING that should be happening is a drumbeat of war just in time to change the focus of the election in the Republicans' favor.

What would I like to see? I'd like to see a hearing on whether Carl Rove has had ANYTHING AT ALL to do with any aspect of the "War on Terrorism." Because there is no more serious crime than manipulating a war for political objectives.

I am not saying that IS what the Republicans are doing, I'm saying that the oversight job of the Congress requires that they make sure it ISN'T what is happening here, that they ask that question and get satisfactory answers, ESPECIALLY when the timing is so amazingly, stunningly, astoundingly, brazenly, unbelievably, incredibly, shockingly, historically convenient for the Republicans.


Not Reporting on the ONGOING War in Iraq?

Is there some reason this major story just isn't being reported in the American press? I mean, some GOOD reason? Maybe it's just early and it will be reported later. But other recent air strikes and other actions against Iraq haven't gotten much press.
About 100 American and British aircraft took part in an attack on Iraq's major western air defence installation yesterday in the biggest single operation over the country for four years.
I reluctantly have to admit I saw it on Drudge.

Added Shadow

I've also added Shadow of the Hegemon to the links. Check it out, too.

Free Pie!

I've added Free Pie to the links list. Check it out.

Well Worth Reading

The other day I wrote that the lack of union and worker issues in the media clearly demonstrates the effect of corporate ownership of news sources. Today Joe Kenehan Center points to this article on worker issues, We Rarely See Those Who Labor. From the article:
A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a liberal media-watchdog group, found that the evening news programs of CBS, ABC and NBC recently devoted only 2 percent of their total air time to workers' issues, including child care, the minimum wage, and workplace safety and health.

During a full year, the broadcasts reportedly spent a total of 13 minutes on job safety and health, while an average of more than 16 workers die daily from work-related injuries, and more than 650,000 annually suffer back, wrist or other injuries from poorly designed work stations and repetitive motion.
Not only are work-related topics missing in the media, but so are workers. Studies of ABC's "Nightline" and PBS' "News Hour" found that almost all the guests were corporate or government officials, politicians or professors, while fewer than 1 percent were non-elite workers or their representatives. An examination of four months of news reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post found that not one of 201 sources mentioned in reporting on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a worker or union representative.
It's a longer article, well worth reading.

Tax Cuts for Billionaires

I did something fun today. I went to the Heritage Foundation's PolicyExperts.org and looked up some right-wing organizations. All I did was sort by "National Research Organizations" so it shows me the entire list.

Then I started picking a right-wing organization at random and going to Cursor's Media Transparency to see who is funding them. I did this several times. Guess what I found? There are hundreds of right-wing organizations, but they are almost all funded by a foundation whose name contains Scaife, Olin or Bradley, and a few others.

The public, the media and policymakers think they hear a wide range of voices. For example, you might see on C-SPAN or MSNBC a panel with experts from five or six different organizations. But in fact the likelihood is you are hearing the voice of Scaife, Olin, Bradley or one or two other billionaires. NO WONDER so much of the national policy debate is about giving huge tax cuts to billionaires!

Try it yourself.


Timing is Everything

So, how about that Iraq timing, huh? Almost exactly 2 months before the election and it looks like things are really heating up. Looks like it could really come to a head in ... OCTOBER.

Is it in any way possible that the timing is political? I'm hearing a lot from the right wing PR machine about how this is a Democrat vs Republican thing (and not much about reasons to attack Iraq). They're spinning this entirely as a political issue. Anyone been listening to Rush Limbaugh lately? Much of his show this morning was about how the Democrats are placing the country in danger by trying to manipulate public opinion on Iraq against Bush in an attempt to get an issue in the election.

I've often observed that the right-wingers accuse us of what they're up to themselves. It's called inoculating. And the usual suspects have been all over the media accusing the Democrats of using Iraq as a political issue.

It seems to me that if they are looking for public support and want to keep the divisiveness down that they would do everything they could to keep things QUIET until after the election to avoid even the APPEARANCE of this being politically motivated. Even if the need was truly great to do something it would be best to keep it away from the election so they could go into a war with an undivided public, to put it redundantly. I think it is becoming blatantly obvious that they are pulling an October Surprise here. This timing is extremely unfortunate for our soldiers because it risks public support for at home.

To be redundant again, it this were for real they wouldn't want it to happen anywhere NEAR election time.

Government Again

Thinking about right-wing anti-government rhetoric, I like to swap a few words so that the real meaning is more clear. For example, for "government" I like to substitute some version of "the people" or "the interests of the people." For "government bureaucracy", some version of "public accountability over the use of public funds."

Here's how it works: Ronald Reagan said "Government is the problem." Substitute in "public oversight and accountability". Or suppose you hear "government regulations are holding back business," you can substitute in "public control over health and safety issues making sure that the public benefit." "Big government" - "Lots of public oversight and things done for the benefit of the people."

Substitute some variation of "autocratic anti-democratic organizations where decisions are made by a few amoral people who sole interest is to funnel profits to a few people at the top" for corporations. Try it out on "corporations do everything better than government bureaucracies."


Big Government

"Big government" is a great sounding phrase, but does it actually mean anything? I've always loved to taunt right-wingers with totally unfair questions like "What does 'big government' mean?", and "WHAT programs would you cut to make government smaller, and how much money does it save, and does it make a difference in balancing the budget?" (See if you can ever find a right-winger who can answer that one. "Waste, fraud and abuse" isn't an answer.)

They will never, ever, ever, ever say that they oppose Social Security or Medicare - at least not if they're running for any kind of public office so long as we remain some imitation of a democracy that sometimes lets the people's will decide what happens. The only "big government" left is military and interest on the debt, both of which funnel huge amounts of our money into rich people's pockets.

Of course, that leaves tax increases on the rich as the only way to balance the budget, so "big government" will stay in their vocabulary until enough of us speak up.

MaxSpeak, You Listen

MaxSpeak has a great piece about debt and growth in the 90's. And you better read it because, as he says, "There is no liberal politics worthy of the name that can fail to comprehend this."

As I wrote earlier today, "Never mind that the government is us. Never mind that almost everything the government spends money on benefits us - that's what government IS." So I was ahead of my time at being a liberal! (He wrote at 4:31 Eastern and I wrote at 11:14 Pacific, so I was ahead of my time by two and a half hours if I added that right.)

Taking it Easy

Buzzflash points out that Bush has spent 42% of his time as President at a leisure destination - Camp David (123 days), Kennebunkport (12) and his Texas ranch (115).

When Reagan was President I had a standard Halloween costume. I'd wear pajamas and a Reagan mask and say I was dressed up as Reagan attending a cabinet meeting. But it looks like Bush has even Reagan beat for not giving very much respect to the office of President and actually doing the JOB.

Read This Again

Friday I wrote a little piece pointing to a New York Times report of Bush saying that the deficit is "incredibly positive news" because it forces the government to stop growing. It's worth reading again, and understanding what he's saying.

He's admitting that the deficits are intentional. "Incredibly good news" because it advances the right-wing strategy of cutting back our government. Never mind that the government is us. Never mind that almost everything the government spends money on benefits us - that's what government IS. Never mind that he has proposed the largest increases in government growth in decades with his military buildup and his Fatherland Security department. Never mind that it means no prescription drug plan or health insurance for children, and cutbacks in almost everything good that our government does. And never mind that deficits mean we are borrowing more and more money and every year we have to pay interest on that borrowing.

Let's not let him get away with claiming now that the deficits aren't his fault, that he "hit the trifecta" or anything else he says. He said that the deficits are "incredibly good news" and the public should be reminded that he said that.


Get Your War On

I think I've recommended Get Your War On before, but just in case I haven't, I recommend it. I also recommend clicking around the website, the archives, links, etc.

Today's Google Experiment

Speaking of George Will, today's Google Experiment looks back to the 1980 presidential election.

During the election the Reagan campaign (among other things) ran an intelligence operation against the Carter White House involving active military personnel. One of their actions was the theft of Carter's debate briefing books from the White House. (That's right, a White House military aid stealing notebooks from the Oval Office, never disciplined by the "patriotic" Republicans.)

So go to Google and search for "George Will Carter Reagan stolen briefing book". Read some of the websites that pop up. (If you're not old enough to remember the criminality of the Reagan crowd I recommend spending a few more minutes looking into some of the things that happened between 1980 and 1992.)

Here we have a briefing book stolen from the White House, we have "journalist" George Will in possession of this stolen property and helping prepare Reagan for the debates, and on the night of the debate "journalist" Will sat as an ABC commentator on the debates. A "journalist" in possession of stolen briefing books, possibly the biggest political news story of the decade at that time, and he kept it secret. He was never jailed for possessing stolen property (the Reagan Justice Dept. from day 1 suspended prosecution of Republicans), never fired for not reporting the story, never fired for not letting the public know of his role in debate preparation, and continues as a high paid "journalist" to this day!


Thanks to Shadow of the Hegemon, for referring to and writing about what I wrote yesterday and for inspiring me to explain my anonymity, which I've been meaning to do. Replying to what was written, I don't think that Will or North or Limbaugh think for a second that what they wrote about the NEA is true - or care. Sure, others are believers, but they have a responsibility to contact NEA before writing that kind of stuff about them, and editors shouldn't be publishing it without finding out if they did contact NEA. I completely agree that they are using a technique of conditioning the public to distrust mainstream news sources.
IssuesGuy, if you want to change the way that people debate, the first and most important step is to deal with the ridiculous, hateful, and sickening rhetoric aimed at the left, the kind that neo-conservatives specialize in and that the left (both moderate and radical) has ignored and explained away for far too long.
Hey, that's the theme of this weblog! See the forest for the trees! They throw trees at you, see the forest.

Also, thanks Atrios for referring to and writing about yesterday's rant as well. I guess I really got going.


I haven't made my name public here and use "Issuesguy" because I first named this weblog "I Have Issues," and because the way the Blogger software works I needed a name to use. (I would have changed it to "Forestguy" if I could figure out how to do it without adding another team member.)

I want this to be a weblog ABOUT, not a weblog BY. I think I have some good reasons for that. First and foremost this focuses criticism to content. I mean this limits a critic's ability to attack the content by attacking & attempting to discredit the author - a favored right-wing technique. If you don't know who the author is you're stuck with having to look at the content and argue with that. Too bad.

I'm not saying that I expect to be writing anything worthy of right-wingers taking note. My second reason is more that this is NOT an ego-based endeavor so why put my name on it.

And my third reason is that I have been discussing politics online since way back when I was getting HUGE bills from CompuServe, and I've received plenty enough nasty e-mail and threats, it is jarring every single time and can ruin a day. It seems less jarring when it isn't addressed to your very own personal e-mail account.


I don't know how I missed putting Slacktivist in my links list, but it's there now.


Nathan Newman has a good Labor Day roundup of Labor news that actually relates to WORKERS issues, so clearly contrasted with most newspaper, TV and radio coverage. And as always, I recommend checking out Joe Kenehan Center. And Atrios notes that in his Labor Day radio address Bush went out of his way not to mention Labor.


Wal-Mart Campaigns for Dole in N.C.

Wal-Mart mailed a Dole campaign piece to 200,000 North Carolinans this week, 2 weeks before their primary. It also was sent to millions nationally.

The company said the campaign piece "was meant to promote literacy." "There was nothing remotely political in the intent," Jay Allen, a senior vice president of Wal-Mart, said on Friday.


More Fuming

(Referring to the piece below this one)
What get's me is that Mona Charen knows that the NEA didn't do what she's writing. She is lying, and knows it, and is getting paid well to repeat these lies because the end result is people believing bad things about the NEA, and "liberals." And all the others participating in this lie, like George Will and Ollie North and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest of this crowd. It is a lie. They know it is a lie. They are repeating it because focus groups have shown that this particular lie will stir up the public in certain lasting ways, and if they keep circulating lies like this the public becomes more inclined to vote Republicans into power so they can give big tax breaks and defense contracts to their cronies. And, of course, pay Mona Caren and the rest of them lots of money.

We know how this works. (Read "Blinded By the Right." This is from the guy that started the whole "Clinton Scandals" lie. He talks about how they do it, how much they're paid, and the people doing it. People like Ted Olson, rewarded by Bush with the job of Solicitor General of the United States.) We know that they circulate lies to achieve their political goals. But the editor of the San Jose Mercury News has a RESPONSIBILITY to know, too! And a RESPONSIBILITY to look at a piece of trash like this column and say, "This is just a lie and I will not print it in my paper." And "responsible" columnists like David Broder have a responsibility to the public to alert them to this kind of lie, this kind of calculated smear.

Just a couple of weeks ago we all watched ANOTHER calculated smear spread through the media. This was the one about Gore and the Springsteen tickets. It was just another made-up lie. But it was repeated. Back then I wrote about the old "Clinton haircut" smear, how that was spread. These are just lies, character assassination, and the way it works is the Republicans make up lies and spread them and when one lie dies down they make up a new lie and spread that one.

How long can this character assassination/lie machine go on before enough of us are telling the rest of us what it is, making it ineffective? It worked on Carter and got Reagan elected. It kept Clinton from accomplishing very much. It got Bush elected. It threatens to take us into perpetual war now.

A Lie Repeated, and Repeated, and Repeated!

I'm fuming again. My morning is ruined by reading this damned LIE repeated in this morning's newspaper. Mona Charen, nationally syndicated columnist, in today's San Jose Mercury News, repeats and extends the lie about the NEA, starting it now with, all capitalized, "LIBERALS," "LIBERALS want to prevent Americans from feeling any sense of righteous fury about Sept. 11. How dare we, when we were responsible for slavery, imperialism, racism and an inadequate minimum wage?"

She continues with the lie you're already familiar with, "The National Education Association has weighed in with suggestions to guide teachers on the first anniversary of the terror attacks. ``Do not suggest,'' the NEA advises, ``that any group is responsible. Do not repeat the speculations of others, including newscasters. Blaming . . . is especially difficult in terrorist situations because someone is at fault.'' Well, yes, someone is always at fault. And unless those that someone is a right-wing radio host, liberals just hate to see anyone blamed for anything."

Listen to this whopper, "In New York (the NEA would like this), a teacher was suspended merely for telling her class that all of the individuals who attacked this country on Sept. 11 were Arabs." Reminds me of the time right-wingers were telling people about the guy "arrested for praying", but when I looked into it the guy was kneeling in the middle of the busiest intersection in town blocking all traffic.

There's more, much more. "The NEA also tells teachers to say: ``We have no reason to believe that the attacks were part of an organized plan of any other country. The terrorists acted independently, without the sanction of any nation.'' This is false. Did Afghanistan not fully participate in the terrorists' attacks?" Well, no, actually, "Afghanistan" did NOT fully participate, didn't participate AT ALL, in the terror attack. They "Harbored" the terrorists.

Here's how it ends, "The liberal hold on our education system amounts to a moral disarmament of the nation. Before there can be an Army, Navy and Air Force capable of protecting us, there must be a citizenry that believes we are worth defending."

I am just fuming. How long is a lie like this allowed to spread. By now I'm sure that much of the public believes this. And, playing on emotions from the terrible Sept. 11 attacks there could be real consequences to stirring up the public with such inflammatory lies! How can my newspaper reprint something like this, lies from first word to last. How can this so-called "columnist" ever be printed in newspapers after knowingly circulating such trash!

And most important, why is there no voice informing the public that this is a cruel, calculated, inflammatory lie, circulated by professional LIARS! Where are the so-called "responsible" journalists and editors when LIES like this are being circulated! Are they hiding, afraid to be branded with the dreaded "liberal" word? Have they no guts? Have the editors of the San Jose Mercury News and other papers circulating this inflammatory LIE no shame at all?!

And now I'm even angrier than when I started writing this.