Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 09:40:03 -0700 (PDT) |
Subject: dead parrot society
below is an excellent article from today's new york times by the great paul krugman (i've included his email address & bio at the end of the article). after krugman's article i've included an email i just got from the michael moore mailing list, which is quite interesting. some other recent articles i think deserve to be highlighted are:
How To Shut Up Your Critics With A Single Word, by
Arab League opposes Libya pull-out
i was surprised to learn that palestine is one of 22 "states" in the arab league.
Venezuela opposition backs army rebels
one large regime change please, no milk.
(as always, if you'd rather not receive such emails from me, just reply with "i prefer not to know" and i'll remove you from the list. any feedback is welcome, positive or negative. also, fyi, this audience numbers about 40-60 depending upon my mood, and spans 4 continents.)
A few days ago The Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote an article explaining that for George W. Bush, "facts are malleable." Documenting "dubious, if not wrong" statements on a variety of subjects, from Iraq's military capability to the federal budget, the White House correspondent declared that Mr. Bush's "rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy."
Also in the last few days, The Wall Street Journal reported that "senior officials have referred repeatedly to intelligence . . . that remains largely unverified." The C.I.A.'s former head of counterterrorism was blunter: "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements." USA Today reports that "pressure has been building on the intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates to fit a political agenda."
Reading all these euphemisms, I was reminded of Monty Python's parrot: he's pushing up the daisies, his metabolic processes are history, he's joined the choir invisible. That is, he's dead. And the Bush administration lies a lot.
Let me hasten to say that I don't blame reporters for not quite putting it that way. Mr. Milbank is a brave man, and is paying the usual price for his courage: he is now the target of a White House smear campaign.
That standard response may help you understand how Mr. Bush retains a public image as a plain-spoken man, when in fact he is as slippery and evasive as any politician in memory. Did you notice his recent declaration that allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power wouldn't mean backing down on "regime change," because if the Iraqi despot meets U.N. conditions, "that itself will signal that the regime has changed"?
The recent spate of articles about administration dishonesty mainly reflects the campaign to sell war with Iraq. But the habit itself goes all the way back to the 2000 campaign, and is manifest on a wide range of issues. High points would include the plan for partial privatization of Social Security, with its 2-1=4 arithmetic; the claim that a tax cut that delivers 40 percent or more of its benefits to the richest 1 percent was aimed at the middle class; the claim that there were 60 lines of stem cells available for research; the promise to include limits on carbon dioxide in an environmental plan.
More generally, Mr. Bush ran as a moderate, a "uniter, not a divider." The Economist endorsed him back in 2000 because it saw him as the candidate better able to transcend partisanship; now the magazine describes him as the "partisan-in-chief."
It's tempting to view all of this merely as a question of character, but it's more than that. There's method in this administration's mendacity.
For the Bush administration is an extremely elitist clique trying to maintain a populist facade. Its domestic policies are designed to benefit a very small number of people — basically those who earn at least $300,000 a year, and really don't care about either the environment or their less fortunate compatriots. True, this base is augmented by some powerful special-interest groups, notably the Christian right and the gun lobby. But while this coalition can raise vast sums, and can mobilize operatives to stage bourgeois riots when needed, the policies themselves are inherently unpopular. Hence the need to reshape those malleable facts.
What remains puzzling is the long-term strategy. Despite Mr. Bush's control of the bully pulpit, he has had little success in changing the public's fundamental views. Before Sept. 11 the nation was growing increasingly dismayed over the administration's hard right turn. Terrorism brought Mr. Bush immense personal popularity, as the public rallied around the flag; but the helium has been steadily leaking out of that balloon.
Right now the administration is playing the war card, inventing facts as necessary, and trying to use the remnants of Mr. Bush's post-Sept. 11 popularity to gain control of all three branches of government. But then what? There is, after all, no indication that Mr. Bush ever intends to move to the center.
So the administration's inner circle must think that full control of the government can be used to lock in a permanent political advantage, even though the more the public learns about their policies, the less it likes them. The big question is whether the press, which is beginning to find its voice, will lose it again in the face of one-party government.
Yes, It Was a Bushmaster
October 25, 2002
Yesterday, Larry Bennett, a 16-year old, was shot in the head after he was involved in a minor traffic accident. You probably didn't hear about it because, well, how could he be dead if he wasn't shot by The Sniper?
Yesterday, an unidentified woman was shot to death in her car in Fenton, MI. You probably didn't hear about it because she had the misfortune of not being shot by The Sniper.
Two nights ago, Charles D. Bennett, 48, an apartment security guard, was shot to death after confronting two teenagers in his parking lot in Memphis, TN. You probably didn't hear about it because the sniper was too busy sleeping in his car that night, and thus, poor Charles was not shot by The Sniper.
Yes, The Sniper has apparently been caught, so we can go back now to NOT reporting the DOZENS of gun deaths that occur every day, the ones that just aren't newsworthy because they happen in all those old boring ways -- unlike the ways of The Sniper, who was interesting and creative and exciting and scary! He played so much better on the news.
Of course, had Congress not caved in to the NRA, we would have known after the first HOUR of the first day of the killings three weeks ago that the rifle those bullets were coming out of belonged to John Williams/Mohammad. Many more people died needlessly after that day, and every one of their deaths could have probably been prevented had we had a national ballistics fingerprinting data base.
Thank you, Mr. Heston for this unnecessary carnage. Thank you, Mr. Bush, for supporting Mr. Heston and his group's agenda -- which protects only the criminals.
If everyone reading this letter (and you now number in the millions) would share this fact with just one person who is thinking of skipping going to the polls on Nov. 5th, I believe that on Nov. 6th, Mr. Bush will have neither the Senate nor the House doing his or Heston's bidding. Americans don't like people who assist serial killers in being able to ratchet up their kills because The Sniper knows that his bullets are prohibited by law from being traced to his gun.
That, in a nutshell, is what the NRA is all about -- and I implore all responsible gun owners and hunters to join with me in putting an end to the NRA agenda once and for all. Don't give Bush his majority on November 5th. He's already seen to it that his cronies in big business have wiped out your 401 (K), and they are doing their best to see that you are left with no pension at all. That alone should be reason enough to NOT pull a single lever for a Republican on Nov. 5th. Send a message. Do something brave.
PS. "Bowling for Columbine" opens in a few dozen new cities this weekend, including Portland, Minneapolis, Sacramento, South Florida, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cleveland, a bunch of towns in New Jersey, that village in Connecticut where we liberated the beaches, a theatre in Times Square, Detroit (Royal Oak), and Denver. Click here http://www.bowlingforcolumbine.com/about/theaters.php to see the full list of theatres where it opens today.
PPS. Don't forget to show up in DC or SF tomorrow to voice your opposition to the War on Iraq. Many other cities are holding rallies. Check out my mission from the Office of Homeland Security http://www.michaelmoore.com for details.
PPPS. You can find out more about the candidates to
beat and the ones
support in the upcoming election here:
last updated: 10.25.2002