By Anthony Wade
There is a certain calm in the air here in New York. It only appears calm however. There is a hypocritical storm coming. It is a republican storm heading toward a very democratic city. It is filled with rhetoric that is not supported by policy.
There is only one reason the republicans chose to hold their National Convention here, and that is to try and capitalize on the memories of 911. By having New York host it, the president hopes to remind all that he has led this country during perilous times. This may seem cynical until one realizes that this administration has done precious little for this city ever since his bullhorn photo-op three years ago. First, it has become apparent that Bush 's EPA lied about the toxicity in the air around ground zero when it was pronounced safe to return and work there. The EPA originally was concerned about the health risks of the area, but those portions of the report were removed from the official version. Secondly there is the money factor. In addition to the fact that it took years for Bush to make good on his promise of 20 billion in aid for the devastated city, is that he has shortchanged New York compared to his more friendly states in first responder monies and cuts to uniformed police officers. Now, I am sure that somewhere there is a terrorist who would consider blowing up Wyoming, but the fact is that is highly unlikely compared to a city such as New York. Bush has played politics with this money because he realizes that he has no chance over winning New York electorally, so why give us the money when he can allow Iowa to spend bio-terrorism funds on corn feed.
Having established why Bush will receive a very cool welcome, what exactly can we expect heading into this four-day dog-and-pony show? We will see a party transformed. The main speakers will be from the moderate wing of the party. You will see Rudy, Arnold, and Pataki. What you will not see is the heart of the Republican Party. You will not see the Tom Delay 's of the world. That is the true underbelly of this party but they cannot afford to let you see it. That is because it is very cold, very anti-woman, and exposes the GOP for what it truly represents.
You will hear a lot of rhetoric. You will hear about the war and how much safer the world is because George W. Bush. You will hear about how we have created freedoms around the world. None of it will be true however, but you will hear it nonetheless. Three years ago we were told that a shadowy group called al Qaeda, headed by mastermind Osama bin Laden flew planes into landmarks in this country. To date, al Qaeda is stronger than it was three years ago. Bin Laden is still at large and when Bush realized he needed to get the country 's mind off of him and onto Saddam, he stated that he simply did not think about him too much anymore. The facts are that Bush used a national tragedy and unheard of solidarity with the world to push his imperialistic agenda. The facts are that from the day he took office he wanted to "get Saddam ". As soon as 911 occurred, administration officials have admitted that Bush intended to use it to further his plans in the Middle East. It had nothing to do with terrorism, and he knows it. The facts are that Saddam had very little to do with terrorism. Iraq had been ravaged by the Gulf War and then decimated by ten years of sanctions. Bin Laden despised the secular Iraq and did not work with Hussein. Zarqawi was only holed up in the northern portion of Iraq, which even Powell had to admit before the UN, was beyond Saddam 's control. In the years prior to Bush we had only three major terrorist acts (besides Ok City) in ten years. Since Bush, we have seen terror on a daily basis. We are not safer. The terrorists have not been brought to justice. The world may be better off without Saddam but that is not the point. Bush lied to sell his war and that should matter to every citizen. Rewarding that lie would mean that you accept the fact that we no longer live in a representative democracy.
You will hear a lot of rhetoric. You will hear about how the economy is better and we have "turned a corner ". This is baseless and insulting. The just released poverty numbers revealed that during last year 1.3 million more people in America are living in poverty. You didn 't hear about that? That is because Bush tried to bury the numbers by releasing them early, during a quiet time in late August. July found a whopping 32,000 jobs created, despite that we need 150,000 per month just to keep up with the new seekers. Unemployment is actually close to 10%, once you correctly factor in the people who can no longer collect unemployment. George Bush will preside over the first net loss of jobs since the Great Depression. We also have the highest layoff rate since Reagan, not coincidentally the last time trickle down economics nearly ruined this country. Home foreclosures hit a record high in 2003. Personal bankruptcies hit all time high in 2002. Quite frankly, Bush would be best served to not even mention the economy but he has no shame. We will hear about fictional job creation plans and "ownership " concepts designed to amaze the listener who is not really paying attention. We all must realize of course, that it took Bush his first four years to come up with any domestic agenda at all. While he has had time to design infrastructure plans in Iraq, this country has fallen apart. When Bush talks about his plans for job creation ask yourself where this was for the past four years? When he talks about ownership, ask yourself where this was for the past four years? The facts are that he has taken an economy with a huge surplus and bludgeoned 800 billion dollars out of it. He has strapped the economy to a sled and kicked it down a mountain. The inescapable truth is Bush has mugged this economy. The only people turning a corner are the top 1%, as they have benefited tremendously from the Bush tax cuts. You must understand though, that is whom he intended to serve. That is at the heart of what is wrong with Bush. He does not view us as equals. To him, we are the help.
You will hear a lot of rhetoric. You will hear about healthcare and Bush 's vision for the next four years regarding the insurance problem. Unfortunately, the only solution Bush has to help you get insurance, is to take away your ability to sue your doctor, insurance company, or medication producer. He will use his aww-shucks, gosh, gee-willakers way of saying "I am on the side of the docs ", and assume that you can 't read between the lines enough to realize that he is deep in the pockets of the pharmaceutical and HMO lobbies. That is who really benefits from tort reform, not you and I. The fact is that there are 5.2 million more Americans without medical insurance than when Bush took office. The total uninsured in this country is now up to 45 million. Those who are lucky enough to have insurance are paying far more money for far less coverage. This is not because of lawsuits, that is a red herring. You cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater and stunt our ability to have legal recourse when wronged because some may bring frivolous lawsuits. Bush knows this of course; he just hopes you don 't.
You will hear a lot of rhetoric. You will hear some tired old ideas such as privatizing social security which has been debunked as a terrible risk that would make social security insolvent far sooner than it currently is on pace for. You will hear about no child left behind, but of course not hear about how it has been an essentially useless initiative because it has been left unfunded. You will hear some new ideas, such as this flextime nonsense. Essentially this allows employers to cheat you of your overtime earning capability by wrapping it up in the illusion of being able to set your own schedule to spend more time with your family. Another new idea Bush will be pushing is Health Savings Accounts. This is just another Bush scam for the rich, as this benefits the average person very little. For the truth behind this swindle, please see this link:
Yes, you will hear a lot of rhetoric. You will hear about values and principles from an administration that has displayed neither. What you will not hear is the fact that Bush has been confirmed to be AWOL during Vietnam, the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal and how Rumsfeld has now been found to be negligent, the torture of women and children, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame as political revenge, the $130,000 in gifts lavished on George and Laura by the Saudis last year, the daily deaths in Najaf, the fact that he has not attended one soldiers funeral, the incident when he stormed out of a press conference because a reporter had the temerity to ask him about his good friend Ken Lay, the abuses of the Patriot Act, the fact that he KNEW Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, the fact that to him; "what 's the difference " that Saddam did not have WMD, the obvious detail that Saddam never worked with bin Laden and had nothing to do with 911, that the warlords and Taliban are back in charge of Afghanistan, the odd change in bin Laden from public enemy number one to someone Bush "does not think about too much ", the healthy forests initiative which is a handout to the logging industry, the clear skies act which allows more pollution, the complete gutting of all other environmental regulations, the dismissal of any scientist that stands for the truth, the suspension of Habeas Corpus and illegal detention of Jose Padilla as an "enemy combatant ", the policy of making people sign endorsements of Bush in order to attend any Bush event, the arresting of dissenters at Bush events, the billions and billions of dollars made off this war by top Bush donors and Cheney 's former company Halliburton, the fact that Cheney still stands to make money from these contracts thanks to the deferred compensation he receives from Halliburton, the suppression of the black vote, the "people of color united " scandal where a white billionaire republican puts anti-Kerry ads out in swing states pretending to be from the black community, the use of state employees to harass elderly black voters by Bush brother Jeb, the swift boat veterans for truth who now have been proven to be lairs and working for the Bush campaign, the refusal of republicans to allow paper trails for the new computer voting machines which are made by republican backing companies, the continuing of the 911 cover-up, and the fact that George W. Bush has been neither compassionate, or conservative.
Tomorrow 250,000 protesters will descend upon this city. These people understand the facts presented in this article. They understand the difference between rhetoric and policy. Rhetoric is what you use to convince people that you have a plan for their futures. Policy is what your plan really is. Rhetoric is when Bush said in 2000 that most of his tax cuts went to the middle class. Policy shows that to be untrue and that 1/3 of the cuts went to the top 1%, who earn more than 1.2 million per year. Rhetoric is when you say that you want to leave no child behind. Policy is when you don 't bother funding your own initiatives. Rhetoric is when you stand at ground zero and say, "I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." Policy is when you state that you "no longer think about bin Laden much anymore " because you want to take out Saddam.
We have had four years of policies that have ruined our economy, destroyed our respect in the world, gutted our environment, stagnated our education and killed our kids. Now Bush wants to come back where it all started to feed you more rhetoric, as he did four years ago when he said he was a uniter not a divider. He is going to look you in the eye and say he is one of you. He is going to swear that he has your best interests at heart. It is all going to be empty rhetoric. You need to ask yourself if we can afford four more years of his policies.
Anthony Wade is co-administrator of a website devoted to educating the populace to the ongoing lies of President George W. Bush and seeking his removal from office. He is a 37-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple websites. A Christian progressive, and professional counselor, Mr. Wade believes that you can have faith and hold elected officials accountable for lies and excess.
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