Thursday, March 20, 2008



The mass media is shying away from the substantive story that has developed all week showing McCain's carefully crafted, though completely baseless, "expertise" in foreign policy disintegrating. He's as much an "expert" and the perpetually angry old man down the street screaming at the kids to stay off his lawn. Instead, the media jokes around about McCain getting a little confused-- mixing up Purim with Halloween and Iran with al-Qaeda. Purim/Halloween... doesn't mean squat. Iran equals al-Qaeda... that kind of boneheaded ignorance on the part of the entire Bush Regime is what got us into the disastrous situation we're in now. It's more than squat. It should be a disqualifier. He should go back to yelling at kids who walk on his grass and let Mitt Romney run in his place.

I just noticed that Glenn Greenwald decided to go in the same direction I was moving in with this post: the tendency of the corporate media to amplify the McCain hype machine, overlook his incredible shortcomings (and assassinate Democrats the way they did with Howard Dean in 2004 and the way they have been attempting to do this week with Barack Obama). I'll leave it for Glenn and go in a different direction. (First a little of what Glenn wrote in his piece:)
Reporters have already decided that John McCain is a Serious, Knowledgeable Foreign Policy Expert-- and an honorable, truth-telling gentleman-- and therefore there is no reason to tell voters about evidence that demonstrates that he's anything but that. Evidence that reflects poorly on McCain's foreign policy seriousness or character is actually suppressed or concealed because they think it can't be newsworthy, because such evidence just can't be true, by definition.

Amazingly, reporters who have long covered McCain themselves constantly admit that they accord McCain special, favorable treatment and don't even realize the deep corruption they're acknowledging... McCain's simple-minded militarism, his ignorance about national security, and his moronic view that the U.S. should run the world through endless wars ought to be one of the most intensely debated issues in the campaign. But it won't be because-- as Marcus said-- the media has already decided that McCain is a Serious Expert in these matters and that national security is his strength, and evidence to the contrary won't be reported.

The corporate media message is what it is and that includes the relentless, distorted and hysterical mania they are using quite effectively to shipwreck Obama's campaign on the shoals of a radical pastor. They fear Obama's ability to go directly to people without their mediation-- the way they feared the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Paul Wellstone, Howard Dean, all political figures threatening right-wing dominance who were silenced by the right.

This morning Obama moved on from Fox/Limbaugh/Coulter World to part 2 of his critique of Bush's Iraq agenda, policies and failures. I though in some ways it was his best speech yet and at the heart of what a political campaign should actually be about, whether the media wants to give it real consideration or not. (Today they're all excited about and completely preoccupied with finding out how many steps Hillary was from the spot Bill and Monica were doing whatever they were doing. It isn't worth even mentioning they should all lose their broadcast licenses.) Instead, let me excerpt parts of Barack Obama's talk in West Virginia about the economic impact of Bush's war in Iraq.
The costs of war are greatest for the troops and those who love them, but we know that war has other costs as well. Yesterday, I addressed some of these other costs in a speech on the strategic consequences of the Iraq war. I spoke about how this war has diverted us from fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from addressing the other challenges of the 21st Century: violent extremism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. 

And today, I want to talk about another cost of this war-- the toll it has taken on our economy. Because at a time when we're on the brink of recession-- when neighborhoods have For Sale signs outside every home, and working families are struggling to keep up with rising costs-- ordinary Americans are paying a price for this war.

When you're spending over $50 to fill up your car because the price of oil is four times what it was before Iraq, you're paying a price for this war.

When Iraq is costing each household about $100 a month, you're paying a price for this war.

When a National Guard unit is over in Iraq and can't help out during a hurricane in Louisiana or with floods here in West Virginia, our communities are paying a price for this war.

And the price our families and communities are paying reflects the price America is paying. The most conservative estimates say that Iraq has now cost more than half a trillion dollars, more than any other war in our history besides World War II. Some say the true cost is even higher and that by the time it's over, this could be a $3 trillion war.

But what no one disputes is that the cost of this war is far higher than what we were told it would be. We were told this war would cost $50 to $60 billion, and that reconstruction would pay for itself out of Iraqi oil profits. We were told higher estimates were nothing but "baloney." Like so much else about this war, we were not told the truth.

What no one disputes is that the costs of this war have been compounded by its careless and incompetent execution-- from the billions that have vanished in Iraq to the billions more in no-bid contracts for reckless contractors like Halliburton.

What no one disputes is that five years into this war, soldiers up at Fort Drum are having to wait more than a month to get their first mental health screening-- even though we know that incidences of PTSD skyrocket between the second, third, and fourth tours of duty. We have a sacred trust to our troops and our veterans, and we have to live up to it.

What no one disputes is that President Bush has done what no other President has ever done, and given tax cuts to the rich in a time of war. John McCain once opposed these tax cuts-- he rightly called them unfair and fiscally irresponsible.  But now he has done an about face and wants to make them permanent, just like he wants a permanent occupation in Iraq. No matter what the costs, no matter what the consequences, John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush-term.

That's an outcome America can't afford. Because of the Bush-McCain policies, our debt has ballooned. This is creating problems in our fragile economy. And that kind of debt also places an unfair burden on our children and grandchildren, who will have to repay it.

It also means we're having to pay for this war with loans from China. Having China as our banker isn't good for our economy, it isn't good for our global leadership, and it isn't good for our national security. History teaches us that for a nation to remain a preeminent military power, it must remain a preeminent economic power. That is why it is so important to manage the costs of war wisely.

This is a lesson that the first President Bush understood. The conduct of the Gulf War cost America less than $20 billion-- what we pay in two months in Iraq today. That's because that war was prosecuted on solid grounds, and in a responsible way, and with the support of allies, who paid most of the costs. None of this has been the case in the way George W. Bush and John McCain have waged the current Iraq war.

...Now, let me be clear: when I am President, I will spare no expense to ensure that our troops have the equipment and support they need. There is no higher obligation for a Commander-in-Chief. But we also have to understand that the more than $10 billion we're spending each month in Iraq is money we could be investing here at home. Just think about what battles we could be fighting instead of fighting this misguided war.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and who are plotting against us in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We could be securing our homeland and stopping the world's most dangerous weapons from falling into terrorist hands.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting for the people of West Virginia. For what folks in this state have been spending on the Iraq war, we could be giving health care to nearly 450,000 of your neighbors, hiring nearly 30,000 new elementary school teachers, and making college more affordable for over 300,000 students.

We could be fighting to put the American dream within reach for every American-- by giving tax breaks to working families, offering relief to struggling homeowners, reversing President Bush's cuts to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and protecting Social Security today, tomorrow, and forever. That's what we could be doing instead of fighting this war.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to make universal health care a reality in this country. We could be fighting for the young woman who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford medicine for a sister who's ill. For what we spend in several months in Iraq, we could be providing them with the quality, affordable health care that every American deserves.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to give every American a quality education. We could be fighting for the young men and women all across this country who dream big dreams but aren't getting the kind of education they need to reach for those dreams. For a fraction of what we're spending each year in Iraq, we could be giving our teachers more pay and more support, rebuilding our crumbling schools, and offering a tax credit to put a college degree within reach for anyone who wants one.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to rebuild our roads and bridges. I've proposed a fund that would do just that and generate nearly two million new jobs-- many in the construction industry that's been hard hit by our housing crisis. And it would cost just six percent of what we spend each year in Iraq.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be freeing ourselves from the tyranny of oil, and saving this planet for our children. We could be investing in renewable sources of energy, and in clean coal technology, and creating up to 5 million new green jobs in the bargain, including new clean coal jobs. And we could be doing it all for the cost of less than a year and a half in Iraq.

These are the investments we could be making, all within the parameters of a more responsible and disciplined budget. This is the future we could be building. And that is why I will bring this war to an end when I'm President of the United States of America.

Nancy Pelosi predicted all this in 2002, when as Minority Whip she led a majority of Democrats against voting to rubber stamp Bush's attack. It's worth watching this 2 minute clip from that fateful day in 2002 (sounds like she had a better grip on the consequences than anyone in the Bush Regime and better than McCain or Hillary):

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At 2:03 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Yes, she did. Too bad she then took impeachment off the table and effectively neutered the Democrats for the rest of Captain Codpiece's term.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain is like Uncle Tonoose from the Danny Thomas show. And given that we already have an idiot in the white house you would think we wouldn't even consider electing someone as stupid as McCain.Does he even read???

And for us parents trying to put our kids through college the credit crisis really has us scared. There will be less student loan money and tuition keeps rising.Do you think that chimpy had to worry about tuition costs like us real people?

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Albatross said...

It is vitally important that progressives understand and acknowledge that the mainstream corporate media is a propaganda tool of the corporations that own it. NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN and NPR all exist to promote the corporate agenda.

Mainstream media personalities are not impartial, and they are not professional journalists conducting professional journalism. Brian Williams and Mike Galanos and their colleagues are marketing personnel for corporatist intellectual products, called "talking points."

We need to accept that the MSM is pwned, as the kids say. When, as this past week, the media agenda is a topic that does not help progressives (Obama's pastor), progressive strategists need to find a means of redirecting the mainstream media back to topics that help us. How to do that? I couldn't tell you.

But we need to accept that from now until the election, the media will outright lie about the Democratic candidate; will hide the truth of the Bush Administration's crimes and failures; will coddle McCain; and will distract week after week with sensationalistic stories. We MUST anticipate this and learn to deal with it.

The media is a propaganda arm of the corporations: where is the progressive propaganda tool?

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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