Sunday, October 31, 2004
BUSH PLANNED WAR IN '99, WELL BEFORE ELECTION
In 1999, Herskowitz was hired to ghost write an autobiography of George W. Bush, timed to coincide with the 2000 election. According to Herscowitz:
“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999. It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”
Herscowitz also claims that GW's father was against the invasion, and that the senior Bush's security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, advised the junior Bush in the strongest of terms against the invasion. To see the full text of Russ Bakers fine article go to:
The study also concludes that the thawing of the tundra will make it much more difficult to extract oil and gas from the arctic regions, and melting of the two mile thick glaciers in Greenland threatens a major rise in ocean levels.
for full story go to:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/30/science/earth/30arctic.html?hp&ex=1099195200&en=73839895ef0c42c7&ei=5094&partner=homepage
Saturday, October 30, 2004
I FOUND THIS ARTICLE ON A NICE NEW......
100 FACTS & 1 OPINION by Judd Legum (Cut and paste above URL to see the full article with the links to sources)
1. The Bush Administration has spent more than $140 billion on a war of choice in Iraq.
2. The Bush Administration sent troops into battle without adequate body armor or armored Humvees.
3. The Bush Administration ignored estimates from Gen. Eric Shinseki that several hundred thousand troops would be required to secure Iraq.
4. Vice President Cheney said Americans "will, in fact, be greeted as liberators" in Iraq.
5. During the Bush Administration's war in Iraq, more than 1,000 US troops have lost their lives and more than 7,000 have been injured.
6. In May 2003, President Bush landed on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit, stood under a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," and triumphantly announced that major combat
operations were over in Iraq. Asked if he had any regrets about the stunt, Bush said he would do it all over again.
7. Vice President Cheney said that Iraq was "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11." The bipartisan 9/11 Commission found that Iraq had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks and no collaborative operational relationship with Al Qaeda.
8. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said that high-strength aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," warning "we don't want the
smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." The government's top nuclear scientists had told the Administration the tubes were "too narrow, too heavy, too long" to be of use in developing
nuclear weapons and could be used for other purposes.
9. The Bush Administration has spent just $1.1 billion of the $18.4 billion Congress approved for Iraqi reconstruction.
10. According to the Administration's handpicked weapon's inspector, Charles Duelfer, there is "no evidence that Hussein had passed illicit weapons material to al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, or had any intent to do so." After the release of the report, Bush continued to insist, "There was a risk--a real risk--that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons, or materials, or information to terrorist networks."
11. According to Duelfer, the UN inspections regime put an "economic strangle hold" on Hussein that prevented him from developing a WMD program for more than twelve years.
12. After receiving a memo from the CIA in August 2001 titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack America," President Bush continued his monthlong vacation.
13. The Bush Administration failed to commit enough troops to capture Osama bin Laden when US forces had him cornered in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan in November 2001. Instead, they relied on local warlords.
14. The Bush Administration secured less nuclear material from sites around the world vulnerable to terrorists in the two years after 9/11 than were secured in the two years before 9/11.
15. The Bush Administration underfunded Nunn-Lugar--the program intended to keep the former Soviet Union's nuclear legacy out of the hands of terrorists and rogue states--by $45.5 million.
16. The Bush Administration has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money.
17. According to Congressional Research Service data, the Bush Administration has underfunded security at the nation's ports by more than $1 billion for fiscal year 2005.
18. The Bush Administration did not devote the resources necessary to prevent a resurgence in the production of poppies, the raw material used to create heroin, in Afghanistan--creating a
potent new source of financing for terrorists.
19. Vice President Cheney told voters that unless they elect George Bush in November, "we'll get hit again" by terrorists.
20. Even though an Al Qaeda training manual suggests terrorists come to the United States and buy assault weapons, the Bush Administration did nothing to prevent the expiration of the ban.
21. Despite repeated calls for reinforcements, there are fewer experienced CIA agents assigned to the unit dealing with Osama bin Laden now than there were before 9/11.
22. Before 9/11, John Ashcroft proposed slashing counterterrorism funding by 23 percent.
23. Between January 20, 2001, and September 10, 2001, the Bush Administration publicly mentioned Al Qaeda one time.
24. The Bush Administration granted the 9/11 Commission $3 million to investigate the September 11 attacks and $50 million to the commission that investigated the Columbia space shuttle crash.
25. More than three years after 9/11, just 5 percent of all cargo--including cargo transported on passenger planes--is screened.
26. During the Bush Administration, North Korea quadrupled its suspected nuclear arsenal from two to eight weapons.
27. The Bush Administration has openly opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, undermining nuclear nonproliferation efforts.
28. The Bush Administration has spent $7 billion this year--and plans to spend $10 billion next year--for a missile defense system that has never worked in a test that wasn't rigged.
29. The Bush Administration underfunded the needs of the nation's first responders by $98 billion, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study.
CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION
30. The Bush Administration awarded a multibillion-dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton--a company that still pays Vice President Cheney hundreds of thousands of dollars in deferred
compensation each year (Cheney also has Halliburton stock options). The company then repeatedly overcharged the military for services, accepted kickbacks from subcontractors and served troops dirty food. [Laura's note: A congressional committee determined Cheney's unactivated stock-options were "retained ties" to the company].
31. The Bush Administration told Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan about plans to go to war with Iraq before telling Secretary of State Colin Powell.
32. The Bush Administration relentlessly pushed an energy bill containing $23.5 billion in corporate tax breaks, much of which would have benefited major campaign contributors.
33. The Bush Administration paid Iraqi-exile and neocon darling Ahmad Chalabi $400,000 a month for intelligence, including fabricated claims about Iraqi WMD. It continued to pay him for
months after discovering that he was providing inaccurate information.
34. The Bush Administration installed as top officials more than 100 former lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the industries they oversee.
35. The Bush Administration let disgraced Enron CEO Ken Lay--a close friend of President Bush--help write its energy policy.
36. Top Bush Administration officials accepted $127,600 in jewelry and other presents from the Saudi royal family in 2003, including diamond-and-sapphire jewelry valued at $95,500 for First Lady Laura Bush.
37. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge awarded lucrative contracts to several companies in which he is an investor, including Microsoft, GE, Sprint, Pfizer and Oracle.
38. President Bush used images of firefighters carrying flag-draped coffins through the rubble of the World Trade Center to score political points in a campaign advertisement.
39. President Bush's top economic adviser, Greg Mankiw, said the outsourcing of American jobs abroad was "a plus for the economy in the long run."
40. The Bush Administration turned a $236 billion surplus into a $422 billion deficit.
41. The Bush Administration implemented regulations that made millions of workers ineligible for overtime pay.
42. The Bush Administration has crippled state budgets by underfunding federal mandates by $175 billion.
43. President Bush is the first President since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of jobs--around 800,000--over a four-year term.
44. The Bush Administration gave Accenture a multibillion-dollar border control contract even though the company moved its operations to Bermuda to avoid paying taxes.
45. In 2000, candidate George W. Bush said "the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." He passed the tax cuts, but the top 20 percent of earners received 68 percent of the benefits.
46. In 2000, candidate George W. Bush promised to pay down the national debt to a historically low level. As of September 30, the national debt stood at $7,379,052,696,330.32, a record high.
Sources: www.georgewbush.com , Bureau of the Public Debt
47. As major corporate scandals rocked the nation's economy, the Bush Administration reduced the enforcement of corporate tax law--conducting fewer audits, imposing fewer penalties, pursuing fewer prosecutions and making virtually no effort to prosecute corporate tax crimes.
48. The Bush Administration increased tax audits for the working poor.
49. In 2000, candidate George W. Bush promised to protect the Social Security surplus. As President, he spent all of it.
50. The Bush Administration proposed slashing funding for the largest federal public housing program, putting 2 million families in danger of losing their housing.
51. The Bush Administration did nothing to prevent the minimum wage from falling to an inflation-adjusted fifty-year low.
52. The Bush Administration underfunded the No Child Left Behind Act by $9.4 billion.
53. In 2000, candidate George W. Bush promised to increase the maximum federal scholarship, or Pell Grant, by 50 percent. Instead, each year he has been in office he has frozen or cut
the maximum scholarship amount.
54. The Bush Administration's Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, called the National Education Association--a union of teachers--a "terrorist organization."
55. The Bush Administration, in violation of the law, refused to allow Medicare actuary Richard Foster to tell members of Congress the actual cost of their Medicare bill. Instead, they repeated a figure they knew was $100 billion too low.
56. The nonpartisan GAO concluded the Bush Administration created illegal, covert propaganda--in the form of fake news reports--to promote its industry-backed Medicare bill.
57. The Bush Administration stunted research that could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, spinal injuries, heart disease and muscular dystrophy by placing severe
restrictions on the use of federal dollars for embryonic stem-cell research.
58. The Bush Administration reinstated the "global gag rule," which requires foreign NGOs to withhold information about legal abortion services or lose US funds for family planning.
59. The Bush Administration authorized twenty companies that have been charged with fraud at the federal or state level to offer Medicare prescription drug cards to seniors.
60. The Bush Administration created a prescription drug card for Medicare that locks seniors into one card for up to a year but allows the corporations offering the cards to change their
prices once a week.
61. The Bush Administration blocked efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drug prices for seniors.
62. At the behest of the french fry industry, the Bush Administration USDA changed their definition of fresh vegetables to include frozen french fries.
63. In a case before the Supreme Court, the Bush Administrations sided with HMOs--arguing that patients shouldn't be allowed to sue HMOs when they are improperly denied treatment. With the Administration's help, the HMOs won.
64. The Bush Administration went to court to block lawsuits by patients who were injured by defective prescription drugs and medical devices.
65. President Bush signed a Medicare law that allows companies that reduce healthcare benefits for retirees to receive substantial subsidies from the government.
66. Since President Bush took office, more than 5 million people have lost their health insurance.
67. The Bush Administration blocked a proposal to ban the use of arsenic-treated lumber in playground equipment, even though it conceded it posed a danger to children.
68. One day after President Bush bragged about his efforts to help seniors afford healthcare, the Administration announced the largest dollar increase of Medicare premiums in history.
69. The Bush Administration--at the behest of the tobacco industry--tried to water down a global treaty that aimed to help curb smoking.
70. The Bush Administration has spent $270 million on abstinence-only education programs even though there is no scientific evidence demonstrating that they are effective in dissuading teenagers from having sex or reducing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
71. The Bush Administration slashed funding for programs that suggested ways, other than abstinence, to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
72. The Bush Administration gutted clean-air standards for aging power plants, resulting in at least 20,000 premature deaths each year.
73. The Bush Administration eliminated protections on more than 200 million acres of public lands.
74. President Bush broke his promise to place limits on carbon dioxide emissions, an essential step in combating global warming.
75. Days after 9/11, the Bush Administration told people living near Ground Zero that the air was safe--even though they knew it wasn't--subjecting hundreds of people to unnecessary,
76. The Bush Administration created a massive tax loophole for SUVs--allowing, for example, the write-off of the entire cost of a new Hummer.
77. The Bush Administration put former coal-industry big shots in the government and let them roll back safety regulations, putting miners at greater risk of black lung disease.
78. The Bush Administration said that even though the weed killer atrazine was seeping into water supplies--creating, among other bizarre creatures, hermaphroditic frogs--there was no reason to regulate it.
79. The Bush Administration has proposed cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by $600 million next year.
80. President Bush broke his campaign promise to end the maintenance backlog at national parks. He has provided just 7 percent of the funds needed, according to National Park Service estimates.
RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
81. Since 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft has detained 5,000 foreign nationals in antiterrorism sweeps; none have been convicted of a terrorist crime.
82. The Bush Administration ignored pleas from the International Committee of the Red Cross to stop the abuse of prisoners in US custody.
83. In violation of international law, the Bush Administration hid prisoners from the Red Cross so the organization couldn't monitor their treatment.
84. The Bush Administration, without ever charging him with a crime, arrested US citizen José Padilla at an airport in Chicago, held him on a naval brig in South Carolina for two years, denied him access to a lawyer and prohibited any contact with his friends and family.
85. President Bush's top legal adviser wrote a memo to the President advising him that he can legally authorize torture.
86. At the direction of Bush Administration officials, the FBI went door to door questioning people planning on protesting at the 2004 political conventions.
87. The Bush Administration refuses to support the creation of an independent commission to investigate the abuse of foreign prisoners in American custody. Instead, Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld selected the members of a commission to review the conduct of his own department.
88. President Bush opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission before he supported it, delaying an essential inquiry into one of the greatest intelligence failure in American history.
89. President Bush said gay marriage was a state issue before he supported a constitutional amendment banning it.
90. President Bush said he was committed to capturing Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" before he said, "I truly am not that concerned about him."
91. President Bush said we had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, before he admitted we hadn't found them.
92. President Bush said, "You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," before he admitted Saddam had no role in 9/11.
93. George Bush didn't come close to meeting his commitments to the National Guard. Records show he performed no service in a six-month period in 1972 and a three-month period in 1973.
94. In June 1990 George Bush violated federal securities law when he failed to inform the SEC that he had sold 200,000 shares of his company, Harken Energy. Two months later the company reported significant losses and by the end of that year the stock had dropped from $3 to $1.
95. When asked at an April 2004 press conference to name a mistake he made during his presidency, Bush couldn't think of one.
96. The Bush Administration refuses to release twenty-seven pages of a Congressional report that reportedly detail the Saudi Arabian government's connections to the 9/11 hijackers.
97. Last year the Bush Administration spent $6.5 billion creating 14 million new classified documents and securing old secrets--the highest level of spending in ten years.
98. The Bush Administration spent $120 classifying documents for every $1 it spent declassifying documents.
99. The Bush Administration has spent millions of dollars and defied numerous court orders to conceal from the public who participated in Vice President Cheney's 2001 energy task force.
100. The Bush Administration--reversing years of bipartisan tradition--refuses to answer requests from Democratic members of Congress about how the White House is spending taxpayer money.
If the past informs the future, four more years of the Bush Administration will be a tragic period in the history of the United States and the world.
Friday, October 29, 2004
DUBYA...WHAT HAST THOU WROUGHT?
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- About 100,000 civilians have died as a result of the war in Iraq, according to research from Johns Hopkins University. The findings are the first scientific study of the effects of war on Iraqi citizens, according to the Lancet medical journal, which is publishing the research.
The study, based on a survey comparing mortality rates in Iraq during the 15 months before and 18 months after the March 2003 invasion, found violence was the leading cause of death after the invasion. The majority of the civilian deaths were women and children, said the study, led by Hopkins' Les Roberts.
Most of the casualties occurred after the end of major hostilities in May 2003, researchers said in the study. Observations suggest that civilian deaths since the war are mostly caused by air strikes, the survey said. Two-thirds of the deaths were in the insurgent-held Sunni Muslim Iraqi city of Fallujah, the study says. (end of story)
Can anyone really fathom the depth of the tragedy of our invasion of Iraq? Hundreds of thousands of human beings from a dozen countries killed or wounded. Lives wasted, resources destroyed. An insurgency that could go on for decades, armed to the teeth by our own government's negligence.
For what reason? To secure nonexistent weapons of mass destruction? To remove an impotent dictator who was in no position to threaten anyone, let alone the US? To remove a nonexistent supporter of Bin Laden? How foolish, how depressing, how damnable! Damnable the neo-cons who foisted this folly off on us. Damnable the Congress which had neither the balls nor the brains to say NO to this fiasco. Damnable the citizens who not only have allowed it, but are on the verge of voting for more years of this disaster. No wonder the rest of the world is wishing a Pox on our collective house.
Five years ago, American goods were trendy in Europe. Four out of five Germans had a favorable view of America. American pop culture was an influence all over Europe. What a difference a presidential term can make! Now 3 out of 4 Germans have an unfavorable view of the US. In Spain and Portugal it's 87% unfavorable. Arnold Schwarzenegger's hometown in Austria has cancelled a multimillion dollar statue to his honor. Rising anti-American sentiment, and der governator's association with Bush, has made the once wildly popular hometown hero persona non grata in his childhood home.
The Bush presidency has created an atmosphere where Europeans are voting against America with their purchasing habits. For American companies doing business in Europe, a Bush victory could make things ugly.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
WHAT TO DO ABOUT FLORIDA
America has always been the country who has stood up for basic human rights. So what should we do about Florida? What we always do when a country gets too out of hand.....ECONOMIC SANCTIONS!
THINK OF IT...we can so quickly bring the Gator state to it's knee's! Buying grapefruit or oranges for breakfast? Look for the California or Arizona label! OJ, again, look for juice produced by a California cooperative. Fresh veggies? This time of year, they aren't local, so don't take the chance. Skip em'....you've been wanting to try out the Adkins diet anyhow!
Vacation? Disneyland instead of Disney World. Winter get away? San Diego instead of St. Petersburg. Or better yet... St. Ignace (you've always wanted to learn to ski, and the Yoopers could use the hard currency)!
So there's the plan. We can have them begging for political reform in a matter of no time. After all, look at how well sanctions have worked against Cuba!
SO MANY STORIES, SO LITTLE TIME
Postal workers everywhere are furious at assertions by Broward County FL election officials that the PO is responsible for 60,000 missing absentee ballots. Even more furious over accusation that local carriers are deliberately delivering ballots to Democratic voters only. Having worked as a driver under contract to the PO for thirty years, I can tell you that A) There is no way they lost 60,000 ballots, most of which were staying in county. B) I know of no postal carrier who would risk his high paying job over a few absentee ballots.
Oh yeah, USA TODAY reported yesterday that the total amount of explosives missing from the 113 known (and mostly unguarded) ammunition dumps is around 780 TONS.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
I tend to take a libertarian view when it comes to social issues. Quite frankly, I don't believe anyone's personal life is the business of the government. The government should not be able to dictate to anyone who they sleep with, what their medical decisions should be, who, what or how they should worship. I believe in the Teddy Roosevelt theory of government. It is the job of the government to defend the the territorial integrity of the country, to protect the average citizen from the greedy and powerful, and to provide for the general welfare of the populace.
Because social issues are so emotionally charged, their importance, and their impact on society are often greatly exaggerated. For example, the argument is often made that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry somehow cheapens or makes less meaningful marriage between a man and a woman. But how? Do you somehow love your wife less because there are same sex marriages? Are you less committed to your husband? Is the way your family interacts with each other changed because Ms. and Ms Smith live down the street? In the end, lack of commitment is what cheapens marriage, not whether or not you allow same sex couples to marry.
Likewise, the sanctity of life argument is overblown in the stem cell research debate. It is often argued that stem cell research will encourage abortions. But the truth is that there are thousands of fertilized eggs stored in fertility clinics that will never be used. They will never become a human life, or even a human embryo. They will eventually be disposed of. It seems to me illogical that it is acceptable to simply dispose of these cells, but unacceptable to use them for legitimate medical treatments. Treatments that could eventually increase the length and quality of life for millions of people.
Finally, I believe that the abortion argument is a mute point. It is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will ever overturn Roe v Wade. Rather then waste extreme amounts of energy screaming at each other, we ought to mutually seek out solutions for reducing the number of abortions performed. Like better access to health care and contraceptives. Programs to teach young women to take control of their own health. Ones that help them to make good, responsible decisions.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
CAN YOU SAY..........?
Consumer confidence drops 4 points, largest drop this year. Third straight month consumer confidence down.
Index of leading economic indicators down for fifth straight month.
Job growth falls short again.
Toy manufacturers warn investors that orders from retailers are down sharply from last year.
Retailers warn investors of reduced Christmas sales.
CAN YOU SAY RECESSION? Yes, you can! And you should, every chance you get! It is important that your friends understand what is about to happen to the economy before they vote next tuesday!
So how is it the administration was so taken by surprise by the size and strength of the insurgency? According to Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter), the Bush administration repeated the welcomed liberators lie so often, "they came to believe their own propaganda"!
To deliberately mislead the people and Congress is criminal. For people who have been around politics as long as Richard Chaney and Donald Rumsfeld to be guilty of falling for their own propaganda is just unforgivable!
Monday, October 25, 2004
HELP FOR THE WAR EFFORT
1. Replace Gen. Myers with the Postmaster General. Or the Inspector General. Or the Surgeon General. At this point, almost any general would be an improvemnt (with the possible exception of the Attorney General)
2. Make Patriots coach Bill Bellinchek Secretary of Defense. Now theres a guy who knows how to win!
3. As soon as the World Series is over, send Jonny of Nazereth (occasionally known as Jonny Damon) to Iraq. Anybody whose team can make 8 errors in 2 games and win both of them must have an in with God.
4. Make all GIs grow funky hairdoos and facial hair. Seems to be working for the Red Sox.
5. Remove George Bush from active management. Remember, he once traded Sammy Sosa!
Two weeks ago, Sen. Richard Lugar (Rep. IN) told the nation that we were in a mess in Iraq due to the incompetance of this administration. I wonder if this played a part in his thinking? Keep in mind almost nothing one can think of could be a bigger danger to our troops overseas. This is not your average run of the mill explosive. This is the stuff of missle warheads. A half pound of this explosive is said to be enough to level a 4 story building. We have, through sheer negligence and stupidity, handed 320 tons over to our enemies! How much of it will end up being used against American GIs? How much against government targets in Iraq. How much in terrorist acts against Isreal, or Russia, or Indonesia, or the Phillipines? How much against targets in this country? George Bush has said that he is the one most capable of protecting us from terrorism. OH REALLY? Is giving ammunition to the enemy anyones idea of keeping us safe? Paleeezze!
George Bush has warned us about changing horses in the middle of the stream. I say, "if your horse is drowning, change is good!"
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Can someone explain to me why the Lions can beat good teams on the road, but can't beat bad teams at home?
Can HOCKEYTOWN SURVIVE a hockeyless winter? Can Sean?
Can Jonny of Nazareth and his 8 disciples continue to survive their comedy of errors and lack of middle relief against Tony L and the Redbirds?
Will Joe Buck cause his father to turn over in his grave by yelling ramalama ding dong after a St. Louis home run?
How disgusted with Bush did former Navy Seal and Minnesota governer Jesse "The Body" Ventura have to become to break his vow of silence and endorse Kerry friday?
What I want to be when I grow up
For those who may be too young remember, Daniel Shorr was one of the most recognizable faces in televison journalism for forty years. After serving in army intellegence during WWII, he began a 20 year stint as a foreign correspondent, writing first for the Christian Science Moniter, then the New York Times. Edward R. Murrow hired him in 1953 to join the famed CBS news division as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent.
His career accomplishments are simply amazing. Opened the first western new bureau (CBS") in Moscow. Covered the Berlin Airlift, Khrushchev's U.S. tour, interviewed Castro, covered the Cuban missle crisis. In 1966 he became CBS Washington correspondent, covering the civil rights movement and environmental issues. His dogged coverage of the Watergate scandal earned him a prominent place on Nixon's enemies list. He stared down Congress over a threatened Contempt of Congress charge for refusing to reveal the source of damning documents he published during his coverage of the CIA scandle.
In 1979, he was hired by Ted Turner to help create CNN. Virtually everbody in the televison industry laughed at the idea of a 24 hour news nework until Shorr's hiring. Daniel Shorr gave CNN instant credablity.
Shorr left CNN in 1985 after a dispute with Turner over editorial control. He became Senior News Analyst for NPR, and for the last 20 years has produced almost daily commentaries for the network's news programs. He has also been a prominent figure in the coverage of Washington scandals from Bush to Clinton to Bush. Remarkably, he shows no sign of aging or slowing down!
So I want to be the next Daniel Shorr! No big hurry though. I have at least the next 36 years to do it in!
Saturday, October 23, 2004
We are what we...er...well...consume?
On the positive side, if you get the bulk of your news from PBS/NPR, you are one smart sonnavabitch (or dotterovabitch).
23% of these people were misinformed on one or more of the news items. On the other hand, if you get the bulk of your news from Fox, you are likely to be about as informed as their most popular personality, Homer Simpson. An astonishing 80% of this group were wrong on at least one story, and well over 60% on two or more. While there are a couple of factors that slightly skew the lousy results of Fox and CBS (which I will discuss momentarily), both these networks should be humiliated. And that's without taking into consideration the Dan Rather and Bill O'Lielly debacles. The complete breakdown goes like this.
NEWS OUTLET/ PERCENT MISTAKEN ON ONE OR MORE NEWS ITEMS
Print Media 40%
In some VERY small defense of Fox and CBS, these networks have a much larger percentage of conservative news viewers than the other networks. Fox has the bulk of the under 55 conservatives, while, in spite of Dan Rather, CBS has the bulk of older conservatives. The latter is due simply to tradition (Lowell Thomas, Edward R Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Severeid et al). These are people who, in the wake of 9/11, are much more likely to have a deep emotional investment in President Bush. Having bought into the media hype that the U.S. was forever changed by 9/11, these groups are by far the staunchest supporters of Bush. And, as the second study shows, they appear emotionally unable to absorb any information that might bring the wisdom of this investment into doubt. Even though, as venerable British historian, journalist and NYC resident Alistair Cooke put it,"it turns out that the exact length of forever is about three months."
Having posited this defense, I must say, the results are still appalling. It is imperative that journalists and news organizations take a long hard look at how they deliver the news. Democracy and freedom depend on an informed public. A public this badly informed is an invitation to disaster!
The other study has to do with who understands their candidates position more clearly, Bush supporters or Kerry supporters. Again, the difference is astonishing. While over 70% of Kerry supporters can correctly identify their candidates policy on matters ranging from environment, to transportation, to the economy, etc., close to 70% of Bush supporters thought their candidates policy to be exactly opposite of what it is. They appear to believe that his position is whatever they believe it should be.
I have already discussed the first reason why Bush's supporters appear unable to digest information that might reflect badly on him. But there is another, I believe, even more basic reason. I'll call it the faith factor.
Because he has worn his evangelical faith like a red badge of courage, George W. Bush has the one thing his father lacked. The overwhelming support of Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and conservative Catholic Christians. These are people who believe deeply and fervently that God works through George Bush, that God's guiding hand is directing the Bush presidency. It is absolutely emotionally impossible for many of these people to accept anything that might indicate that God's guidance is either wrong or, in Bush's case, nonexistent. So, facts be damned, they believe what their psyches will allow them to believe. As a caller to TOTN stated the other day, "it's very disconcerting to realize that your next door neighbor lives on another planet!"
To see both studies in their entirety, go to www.pipa.org