You Want Lies With That? Just an Average Week in Bush 's America, Protections for the Rich, Police States for the Poor and McMedia for All
By Anthony Wade
March 10, 2005
There are moments of such pure clarity that one can stop and see what an entire administration stands for within a glimpse of a passing week. The Bushies have been clever to no end in announcing poorly accepted policies on Friday afternoons, to avoid media scrutiny, but everything cannot stay hidden forever, even with a mostly state-sponsored media. Today, as the news slows down, and we can look at the highlights from this past week, we can see a microcosm of life under George W. Bush.
In Bush 's America, the rich play by a different set of rules. We all know this because from day one the only real economic plan George W. Bush has is to cut taxes on the richest Americans under the failed guise of trickle down economics. Bush will insist that everyone gets their taxes cut, but clearly, it is the rich that benefit from even percentage cuts. When you factor in the increases in prices of gas, milk, electricity, medications and state charges, the Bush tax cut ends up meaning nothing to the poor and middle class, while the rich continue to reap the benefits. There have been many opportunities for Bush to roll back these unfair bonanzas for the wealthy and at every turn, no matter what damage was to be done to the economy, he has refused.
This week however, we saw the crystallization of the rich get richer under Bush with the passing of the new bankruptcy laws. It has always been allowed in this country for people to eradicate poor financial mistakes and start over. Second chances one would say have been uniquely American, as opposed to Bush who thinks working three jobs is uniquely American. There is always a punishment, in that the person would need at least ten years to rebuild their credit rating back to the point of being acceptable. The credit card companies never really suffered as these conditions are what lead the companies to charge outrageous financing fees. Not content with this though, the credit card companies have lobbied Congress to stick it to the American people by making it far more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy.
This past week saw attempts by democratic senators to amend this egregious law to protect:The elderly an amendment would have shielded the elderly from losing their home, only up to $75,000 in value. Often it is medical problems and limited income that leaves the elderly with no option but bankruptcy. The sick an amendment would have protected people from these new standards if the bankruptcy was a direct result of a catastrophic illness. Veterans an amendment would have protected our returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq who so often face financial hardship upon their return.
Do these sound fair to you? Well, not in George W. Bush 's America. All three amendments were defeated. Not even victims of identity theft would be exempt from these new laws. Here though, is what makes this week 's actions take shape as being pure Bush, Congress refused to close loopholes in this law designed to protect millionaires.
Did you get that America? Your Congress is passing a law to hold you accountable for debt, but in the same law have set up "asset protection trusts " for the filthy rich. Another amendment was introduced this week that would have reduced these trusts to $125,000 or less and you guessed it, it was defeated. This is what led NY Senator Chuck Schumer to regret, "now we have a bill that says a family won't be protected if it has $50,000, but it will if it has $5 million." THAT, is life under George W. Bush.
In Bush 's America, we are in a police state scrambling after our lost civil liberties. Despite the daily stories about police tasering people to death there was another story largely ignored by the state-sponsored media this week and that was the decision in the Jose Padilla case. For those who have not heard about this, because of the media blackout, Padilla is the poster child for Bush-abuse in a post-911 world. Jose Padilla is an American citizen. One day he walked off an airplane and into federal custody charged by Mr. Bush as being an "enemy combatant. " Three years later, Mr. Padilla sits in a cell, not charged, not tried, and represents all that can be wrong about ceding too much power to anyone, let alone the President. I do not know if Mr. Padilla really intended to set off a dirty bomb, as Bush alleges. What I do know is that as a citizen, he has rights. Those rights were set up by our forefathers and should not be treated so casually by us. If Padilla is guilty, then give him his day in court and allow him to defend himself. Today it is Padilla, tomorrow it may be you.
The Padilla case is beyond egregious in that the Bush administration has set the precedent that their opinion, without any proof, can circumvent habeas corpus, due process of law, trial by jury, and right to counsel. If this was allowed to stand, then the door is open to a military-fascist society, where anyone can be detained without any of the constitutional protections our country was founded on. Thankfully, Judge Henry F. Floyd realized this and ruled that the government needs to either charge Padilla or release him.
Jose Padilla is a microcosm of the Bush policies that assault our civil liberties and are close to propelling us into a near police state. In the run-up to the election, Bush created "Free-Speech Zones " which were nothing more than cages for people who dared to protest. Apparently, Bush was unaware that before his administration, this entire country was a "free-speech zone. " The ruling this month is a victory for all American people but serves as a stark reminder of the unbridled arrogance by which the Bush administration operates. The fact is that Bush has had setbacks in this case before and simply ignored the decisions of the judiciary. We need to be vigilant in how this case unfolds now especially since we cannot guarantee that the state-sponsored media will follow it at all.
Lastly, in Bush 's America, the news is processed, not reported. This past week saw the return of the poster child of the Bush media, Jeff "I can 't pronounce Jim " Gannon. The professional gay hooker-turned-faux journalist has gone back online, begging for donations to his cause and lying with impunity. His irrelevance has been well established but he is truly representative of the superciliousness Bush treats all media with. From day one of this administration, the press was punished for asking tough questions and rewarded for asking fluff. What we have seen in latter-day America is the packaging of news, the framing of news, and the creation of news. The GOP has a massive news operation. When there is a need to push a particular talking point, let 's say the social security scam, the GOP noise machine gets in gear. First you will hear on the talk radio circuit how bold Bush is for his vision. Rush Limbaugh will bemoan the lefty democrats who would stand by and do nothing while Bush at least wants to try and let younger wage earners "invest. " Mind you, the facts in the talking points are skewed and often inaccurate, but that does not stop the assault on your opinions. Soon the machine starts up at night during the cable news barrage. Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough will pontificate about this scam, using the exact same talking points as their radio counterparts. Chris Matthews will have a stacked panel where GOP shills are there to sell you on privatization and the moderates are there to have a fair debate. The coup de grace is delivered in the White House press pool the next day when a GOP plant asks a completely rhetorical question, entirely supporting the same talking points the machine has already hammered home, to the president or his representative, for the sole purpose of finalizing the talking points and having the print press report on it is if it were fact.
Make no mistake about it; we live in an era of packaged media. News is created, weighted and put into a cardboard carton for us to swallow at dinner time. It is McMedia for all. It is representative of all that is inherently lazy about us as Americans. It is what makes us sit back and not care that the reasons we went to war, were wrong. When Katie Couric shouting "Navy seals rock! " passes for investigative journalism, we are headed for deep trouble. When Jim Guckert can lie about who he is, who he works for, and pretend to be a journalist, and then be celebrated for it, we are in the age of McMedia. The arrogance of this administration filters down to folks like Jeff/Jim who claim that somehow the "gay card " is being played on him. Mind you, this is a man who lied in his interview with Wolf Blitzer about the "gay-sounding " websites he paid for. When he was exposed, it turned out that he had over 40 naked pictures of himself online and was still selling his sexual services as a gay hooker but somehow someone else is playing the gay card on him?
No, Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert is simply a microcosm of the McMedia this administration is selling you every night. They just assume you will be too lazy to check the facts. Even if the truth comes out one day, Bush has proven that he can make the ends justify the means and have everyone swallow it. Every night there is another whopper for you to buy. If Bush gets in real trouble with your testy public opinion, he can just send out an emissary onto Fox News, call it an "exclusive " and be granted unfettered minutes to finalize the sale to you, under the guise of journalism. The sad part is that we keep coming back for it. Just like when we know that Big Mac is no good for us, but we order it anyway for lunch.
This is life in George W. Bush 's America. The rich find loopholes, the poor lose their civil liberties, and the press sells you why it is all good. These are just three observations one can make in any given week of this administration. They are all troubling. The transfer of wealth to the top 1% is a frightening fact as the middle class is being eliminated. At a photo-op stop last month Bush was speaking with a woman who told him she had to work three jobs to make ends meet. Bush 's reaction was to laugh. He tried to cover up his laughter with a comment about how "uniquely American " that was, but we all saw what he stood for in that reaction. It is the same smirk we are met with when we dare to discuss the erosion of our civil liberties.
The most frightening of these problems however is the notion of a state-sponsored media. Loopholes for the rich can be closed, if they are reported. Civil liberties can be protected, if the abuses are reported. If all we have is this McMedia, where the government sells us on what they want, then we will no longer even know what the real issues are. The real media sat with Jeff Gannon for two years knowing he was a GOP plant and did nothing about him. The networks knew that Bush had not proven anything about WMD, yet they sold you this war. They packaged it up for you, placed it in a cardboard carton, put a little American flag sticker on it and you bought it.
This past week saw the story about the Treasury Department announcing the formation of a Social Security 'war room' and the hiring of three full-time employees to help coordinate and refine the administration's message on the issue. Once again, this administration is using your tax dollars to help sell you on a plan you already know you do not want. They did it with the No Child Left Behind Act and the Marriage Initiatives. They did it by allowing a gay-hooker to pose as a journalist and ask softball questions of the president. The purchasing and packaging of your news is what they are in the business of. The only question left is when you are going to stop buying it.
Anthony Wade, a contributing writer to opednews.com, is dedicated to educating the populace to the lies and abuses of the government. He is a 37-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple websites. A Christian progressive and professional Rehabilitation Counselor working with the poor and disabled, Mr. Wade believes that you can have faith and hold elected officials accountable for lies and excess.
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