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K Marx The Spot

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30 October 2003

The Uncertain Economy

The Bush administration was quick to take political credit for the 7.2 per cent growth in gross domestic product for the third quarter. The administration pointed to tax cuts as the generators of growth while downplaying the stimulus resulting from from government spending. It has pushed a falling dollar and that policy certainly has worked to increase net exports. We should all give credit where credit is due. However, the credit should be commensurate with the facts, not the spin.

Given the positive news, the reaction of the capital markets was modest. Stocks moved slightly lower and bond yields increased in anticipation of higher interest rates. The announced declines in unemployment benefit claims are also welcome but there has been no real increase in employment. Voters will appreciate the news on economic growth but the proof requires real improvement in the job market. Good jobs, at good wages, are not knocking at the door of the American worker. Despite the positive growth news, Democrats in Congress are trumpeting the loss of manufacturing jobs and demanding the administration do something constructive. Republicans, pressed by the Democrats, are blaming manufacturing job loss on China. Of course, if politicians and CEOs were losing their own jobs to lower paying competition in Asia, the tough talk would be replaced with action.

Let’s hope the positive news on the economic front will continue. Just don’t jump to too quick to a conclusion about the sustainability of that growth or what it means for next November’s elections.

Posted by PAUL at 10/30/2003 10:50:00 PM

Talking Tough

For those paying attention, President Bush is using similar bellicose rhetoric when talking about trade as he does when talking about national security. We have been treated to endless banter warning China to lower its trade barriers and embrace a market economy. Bush continually threatens to erect barriers in the US to Chinese exports. The message has the same "us against them" theme that Republicans have practiced for decades. Now, the message is intended to benefit from America’s post-9-11 psychology. Bush’s rhetoric has everything to do with projecting an image to American voters and little to do with changing policy in China.

The administration's policies have led to massive increases in the US budget deficit and trade deficit. When Bush needed a scapegoat on national security, he chose Saddam as a target. Now that Bush needs a scapegoat on a growing trade imbalance and the loss of US manufacturing jobs, China makes an easy target. The American media continues to distribute Bush’s message like obedient servants, just like they served up his lies about Iraq. The old adage, "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me," applies. The American media should feel shame.

One publication has been upfront in reporting that the allegation that China is deeply protectionist does not stand up and that many American companies, and consumers, benefit from China's lower costs. Today’s editorial in the Financial Times makes the case that Bush's argument is based on political expediency and not facts. China runs only a small global trade surplus, has deficits with many other countries, and is the fastest-growing US export market. It appears that the president and Republicans in Congress will continue to play the blame game with this issue because the US recovery remains jobless.

Posted by PAUL at 10/30/2003 07:50:00 AM

28 October 2003

Audio Didn't Kill the Talk Radio Stars

John Dennis and Gerry Callahan are back on the Boston airwaves after their two week suspension, but not much has changed at WEEI Radio.

On 29 September, the two esteemed members of the Boston electronic media decided to make light of the escape of an adolescent gorilla from Boston's Franklin Park Zoo. The gorilla, Little Joe, injured two children before being tranquilzied and captured.

Callahan: "They caught him at a bus stop, right — he was like waiting to catch a bus out of town."

Dennis: "Yeah, yeah — he’s a Metco gorilla."

Callahan: "Heading out to Lexington."

Dennis: "Exactly."

Among the Boston media, only the weekly alternative paper, the the Boston Phoenix took proper umbrage. In a recent editorial, it noted that

[t]he laggard response of station management is instructive. At first, when the public was led to believe that the comments were made by Dennis alone (WEEI surely knew better), Dennis was forced to apologize. As the furor grew, Dennis was given a two-day suspension. Then, last Friday, the public-affairs program Greater Boston, on WGBH-TV (Channel 2), played an audiotape it had obtained that showed Callahan was in on the yuks.

Dennis and Callahan had earned over the past few years a well-earned reputation for a show that pushed the boundaries of good taste, and their antics made their show very popular among listeners and advertisers.

Unlike Rush Limbaugh or Jimmy the Greek, whose every television utterances were sure to be preserved for posterity, Dennis and Callahan opereated under the assumption that no one who cared about propriety was going to tape any particular show. The Associated Press paid particular attention to their first day back on the air.

“I never made a racist connection in my mind, which certainly makes me careless, inconsiderate and clearly out of touch, all of which I plead guilty to on every single count. But it does not make me a racist,” said John Dennis, co-host of the “Dennis & Callahan” show on WEEI-AM. “That’s not who I am, it is not what’s in my heart.”

...Dennis said Tuesday that the potential racist connotations escaped him when he made his comment. “Do you honestly think if I made a racist connection in my mind about an escaped zoo animal and a school program that I would be stupid enough to say it, and commit professional suicide?” Dennis said. Callahan apologized and said it was time to move on.

Dennis's apology is instructive. He claims that making a racist comment would be professional suicide. Hardly! As his station's response showed, what he and Callahan said led to suspensions only after the exchange was played to a wider audience.

It is hard not to read the pair's remarks and find that they were not making a racist connection between the (primarily black) schoolchildren who live near the zoo and the gorillas in the zoo. If Little Joe had escaped in the morning and haunted a Metco bus stop, then joking that he was waiting for a Metco bus would have been apropos—insensitive and perhaps tasteless, if anyone had been hurt, but apropos nonetheless—. But Little Joe escaped in the evening, and was caught at a city bus stop that had nothing to do with Metco, or school buses at all. The only students who take Metco buses to Lexington are minority students who enroll in that primarily white suburban school district. I submit that Dennis and Callahan knew exactly what they were saying, and what it meant. Did they feel guilty, or just ashamed that they had been caught?

Posted by Tim W at 10/28/2003 01:42:00 AM

27 October 2003

A New Theory of Relativity: Numbers That Do and Don’t Make Sense

Republican politicians rely on the complexity of tax and budgetary issues to obfuscate the real impact of their policies. They sold a radical shifting of the tax burden from the wealthiest Americans to middle-class Americans by pretending that their version of “tax relief” was fair and balanced. Sound familiar? For years, they preached the need for a balanced budget only to run up deficits during Republican administrations. The truth is that Republicans impeached the only president to balance the budget since John Kennedy. The facts don’t stop Republican politicians from repeating these lies. The American people seem to have a hard time following the real financial impact when the numbers get into the billions and trillions. Could it be that the Bush administration's foray into Iraq will help give the average American a financial frame of reference?

The right-wing of the Republican Party has targeted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two dominant providers of funding for American homeowners. In the name of “privatization,” Republicans propose to free these government-sponsored enterprises from their ties to government. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have combined mortgage portfolios of $2.5 trillion. They provide financing for about half the US mortgage market. This steady source of funds has been a major economic driver, which has been especially important for the American economy during the economic downturn of the last four years.

If Republicans had been paying attention to what Fannie and Freddie were doing over the last few years, they would be singing the companies’ praises. Instead, they are running off half-cocked in an ideological vendetta against big government and spouting the same tired rhetoric that seems to have an endless application. They claim that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “preventing competition.” These "patriotic Americans" only want to “level the playing field." They only want to “privatize” Fannie and Freddie. Most of all, they want to end the $5bn credit line with the federal government the companies share.

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Two companies, listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, that have the federal government providing them a $5bn credit line. Why haven’t we heard about this on “60 Minutes”? Actually, I think I have heard this charge on “60 Minutes.” Then again, compared to the sum of over $100bn that the president is pushing the government to spend in "post-war" Iraq, a $5bn credit line to help working Americans buy or refinance homes seems like a great investment. Isn't a credit line just a loan that is obliged to be repaid?

Let’s put this question to a referendum. Do you support: (A) A $5bn loan that will help provide financing for half of the US mortgage market or (B) Over $100bn in expenditures for reconstruction in Iraq?

Posted by PAUL at 10/27/2003 10:16:00 PM

23 October 2003

The Public Relations Presidency

Bush, a president with a distinct distaste for leaks (or so he says), must have soiled himself when Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's internal memo admitting the rebuilding of Iraq would be "a long, hard slog" was leaked to the press. "A long, hard slog" is definitely not in the approved marketing hymnal from which administration officials sing to the press. It's a bad time for another miscue that highlights the administration's propensity for not telling the truth. Yes, the United States is winning the "war on terrorism" and the Red Sox have the Yankees' number.

Just before Rumsfeld was caught questioning the Bush administration's track record against al-Qaeda and world terror, Treasury Secretary Snow dropped a bomb on the financial markets. Snow predicted a rise in interest rates that would prove an election year recovery, even if job statistics did not. Ironic, is it not, that the younger Bush is begging Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan to increase interest rates leading up to his re-election campaign? Bush's father begged Greenspan to drop the rates in the period leading up to his loss to Bill Clinton. Say it ain't so, Bob Novak, the Bush family would never politicize the Federal Reserve and the financial markets. For once in his life, Bob's not talking.

Of course, these two public relation blunders pale in comparison to the latest Bush administration slap in the face of American servicemen and veterans. The administration is literally raising the curtain on the media coverage of the flights home of servicemen who have lost their lives in Iraq. Flag-draped caskets do not fit with the image the Bush administration wants to project.

Posted by PAUL at 10/23/2003 01:24:00 AM

22 October 2003

The New Vernacular of Upper Class Consciousness: Givers and Takers

Today's Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney yesterday distanced himself from a recent remark by his budget chief that "the ratio between givers and takers" of social services in the Commonwealth is out of whack, fueling the state's fiscal woes. We think of our loved ones who cannot care for themselves as children and parents. The New Republicans think of them as takers.

Posted by PAUL at 10/22/2003 09:32:00 AM

20 October 2003

The Spineless "Liberal" Media

As usual, if you want to read the truth about the Israeli government, you won't find it in the so-called liberal media in the United States. Instead, you need to read Ha'aretz, in your choice of Hebrew or English. In the instant case, the subject is the nuclear weapons capabilities of Iran and Israel.

Mossad agents supply foreign journalists with information about Iran's nuclear efforts; such foreign reports, the Mossad expects, support the international campaign to thwart Iran's nuclear weapons program. Sometimes, the foreign media are used to deliver deterrence-oriented messages about Israel's capabilities and intentions.

Sources say one Mossad official was recently commended by his superiors after a leading U.S. newspaper released a report about progress notched in Iran's nuclear weapons procurement program.

The so-called liberal media passed along the Bush administration's lies about Iraq's nuclear weapons "program" and is passing along now half-truths about Iran's program. Yet the mainstream press corps still can't ask the United States why it refuses even to acknowledge that Israel has scores of nuclear weapons and has had deployed them for years.

All of our government's concern about "weapons of mass destruction" is hypocritical enough when we have a vast arsenal of chemical and nuclear weapons, but when its concern disspiates on the correct side of the Jordan, it's a wonder that anyone in the Arab world believes a single word that anyone in the United States government ever says.

Posted by Tim W at 10/20/2003 12:30:00 AM

Following the Wrong Leader

It's hardly news now that General Jerry Boykin, a deputy undersecretary of defense who is instrumental in the Pentagon's actions against terrorism, is a religious fanatic who sees the United States as a "Christian nation" chosen by God to combat Satan.

I am thrilled to hear that General Boykin has dispelled any notions that the United States government was pro-demonic.

But I do worry. The last government to make it a habit of calling its enemies Satanic was the revolutionary Iranian government of Ayatollah Khomeini, not exactly the sort of leader to emulate if your object is to win friends and influence people.

Posted by Tim W at 10/20/2003 12:08:00 AM

15 October 2003

Caught in Lies, Bush Blames the Media

The Bush administration looks more like the Nixon administration every day. The administration's public policies are far to the right of those of the Nixon administration, but they share in common the systematic telling of baldfaced lies. Now, they share in common the tactic of blaming the media when their lies are exposed. On Monday, Bush made possibly the most disingenuous statement of his presidency: "There's a sense that people in America aren't getting the truth." Bush was not coming clean on his administration's lies and distortions in connection with its Iraq policy. Bush was on the offensive, attacking the media coverage of Iraq.

As irony would have it, that same day the individual responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Colin Powell told CBS that Secretary of State Colin Powell intentionally misinformed Americans during his speech at the U.N. last winter. The interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes II, Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Will a media that has served Bush well throughout his presidential campaign and presidency turn on the man who, when caught in a lie, is now pointing the finger at that media? The next twelve months will be very telling.

Posted by PAUL at 10/15/2003 02:22:00 AM

14 October 2003

Class Warfare for the Bourgeoisie

Nathan Newman correctly notes that the Leninists in California supermarkets are not the workers, but the supermarket owners. The supermarkets are trying to charge the workers more for health insurance on the grounds that non-union employer Wal-Mart would screw them even worse.

Out in California, the unions were planning to strike only Vons supermarkets, but Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons management decided to lock out all their employees as well: The supermarkets, however, said a strike against one company would be considered a strike against all three. In a joint statement, they said Albertsons and Ralphs would lock out employees during the dispute.

Corporate leaders know that unions are effective tools for lower-class Americans to have economic or political clout, and they will do almost anything to avoid them.

Ironically, their best defense here could be a good offense. It would certainly help Vons or Safeway or Kroger or Albertsons if Wal-Mart had to pay union scale. None would dare—because opposition to unions is essential to the politically correct mantra at most business schools—but the chains would do better by using the money that they plan to spend on replacement workers to finance some strategically placed card-check campaigns!

Posted by Tim W at 10/14/2003 01:14:00 AM

13 October 2003

Beware of the New Republican Anti-Politicians

Arnold Schwarzeneger will not be the first actor to become a Governor in 2003. Massachusetts's own anti-politician, Governor Mitt Romney, preceded Arnold. Romney not only beat Arnold to the punch, his ascension to the top of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also proved that he is the better actor. Both men were picked by the White House and Karl Rove and sold to a public with Democratic tastes as Republican Lite. Romney clearly is more polished.

Without the special circumstances of the Recall Election, Schwarzeneger would not have been elected. He did not have to face off against a conservative challenger in a Republican primary and, while Davis needed at least 50% of the voters to vote against the Recall to keep his job, Arnold needed just one more vote than Cruz Bustamante or Tom McClintock to win. Romney had to persuade a sitting acting-Governor, a mother with twins, to hand him the Republican nomination by quitting her campaign before he announced. He then had to get her to swallow her pride and endorse him when he did announce. Romney would go on to overcome this political assassination of the only woman ever to govern Massachusetts by beating the sitting Massachusetts Treasurer, also a woman, with a campaign that obnoxiously marketed the candidate to women voters by making Romney out to be a hunk.

Those of us who have spent much of our lives working in firms specializing in institutional capital know that Romney's history at Bain Capital meant he was both a good actor and a good politician. Soon after being sworn into office Romney proceeded with his next political assassination, former Massachusetts Senate President William "Billy" Bulger. Bulger had left the Senate for the cushy confines of higher education, and the presidency of the University of Massachusetts. Bulger is also the brother of James "Whitey" Bulger, a fugitive on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list. Bulger made an easy but well-connected political target. Bulger's run-ins with the Boston Globe made it virtually certain that Romney could run a media campaign against Bulger while appearing to be Gary Cooper in High Noon. Not wanting Romney to have the Bulger scalp on his resume without his own anti-Bulger credentials, former District Attorney and now Attorney General Thomas Reilly made very public statements condemning Bulger for not assisting the feds in catching his brother. Reiley also has his eye on the corner office.

Prior to this public assassination Romney announced his plan to makeover Massachusetts's public colleges and universities. The plan called for breaking apart the University of Massachusetts's system of separate campuses under control of the president, Billy Bulger. The key to the plan, which was touted by Romney and his staff and widely reported, was the elimination of Bulger's office and its $5 million annual budget. Romney also put the stop on major capital projects. Romney assured the citizens of Massachusetts, as well as the students and teachers within the system, that his plan was to eliminate government waste while improving public higher education. Democrats in the state legislature kept Romney from enacting his plan but Romney got what he really wanted, the very public buyout and resignation of Bulger. This week, the state placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal announcing their search for a new president of the University of Massachusetts. The Globe reported that the best candidates are "wary" because the position lacks Governor Romney's support.

Not to worry, Governor Romney is now reported to be a strong supporter of retaining the office of the presidency of the University of Massachusetts and is willing to sit down with individual candidates to reassure them. You tell me, who is the better actor? We know who the better politician is.

Posted by PAUL at 10/13/2003 01:32:00 AM

If at First You Don't Succeed, Lie, Lie Again

Now that AIDS has become a scourge in Africa for heterosexual men and women, the Roman Catholic Church has decided that AIDS isn't the real enemy: condoms are. The Guardian reports that the Vatican is making widespread, untrue, claims about condoms to bolster its blinkered notions about sex and procreation.

The church's claims are revealed in a BBC1 Panorama programme, "Sex and the Holy City," to be broadcast on Sunday. The president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, told the programme: "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom.

"These margins of uncertainty... should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."

The WHO has condemned the Vatican's views, saying: "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

The organisation says "consistent and correct" condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90%. There may be breakage or slippage of condoms—but not, the WHO says, holes through which the virus can pass.

Religion is indeed the opiate of the masses, and the leaders are yet again calling for more opium. Better to condemn potentiially millions of faithful followers to death than to tell them the truth: that the Church's teachings on condoms have been, and continue to be, negligently pernicious.

Posted by Tim W at 10/13/2003 12:45:00 AM

10 October 2003

Red Sox Brass Do It Again

If there is one team in American professional sports that should be especially vigilant against racism, it is the Boston Red Sox. A prejudice against African-American players permated its management for decades, so much so that it was the last major-league baseball team to hire any African-American ballplayers. Boston loves its Red Sox, but, as a recent book makes pellucid, there is much not to love about the team.

Red Sox management has missed an easy opportunity to make a stand against racism. Last Monday, the hosts of WEEI's morning drive-time "Dennis and Callahan" program decided that the best way to make light of the escape of a gorilla from Boston's Franklin Park Zoo was to equate gorillas with African-American children:

After Callahan observed the gorilla, Little Joe, was captured near a bus stop, Dennis said "Yeah, yeah. He was a Metco gorilla."

"Heading out to Lexington," Callahan added.

"Yeah, exactly," Dennis replied.

(Metco is a voluntary Massachusetts program that sends kids from inner-city Boston to schools in the Boston suburbs.)

Dennis and Callahan missed the attention of the national media, which concerned itself with Rush Limbaugh's recent on-air stupidity. But they did catch the attention of groups in Boston that called for their pubishment. Originally, WEEI suspended Dennis for two days. Then, after a tape of the incident showed up, WEEI suspended Dennis and Callahan each for two weeks. Meanwhile, exactly two advertisers have pulled their advertising from WEEI in protest. Apparently the white racist demographic is too important to tick off.

So, where do the Red Sox stand on this? Would the Sox dare consider moving their games off of WEEI (nominally an all-sports station)? Or at the very least, shave its executives stop appearing on the Dennis and Callahan show?

Not a chance. According to the Boston Globe, nothing has changed.

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said that he expects to continue appearing on WEEI's morning talk program, "Dennis and Callahan," despite the controversy that led to a two-week suspension of the program's hosts. "They're our flagship station," Lucchino said, "and I'm going to continue to work with our flagship station. I'm not there to comment on political issues, I'm there to comment on baseball issues. As long as the flagship station wants me, I'll be there."

It must be very important to the Red Sox to capture that white racist demographic.



Posted by Tim W at 10/10/2003 05:28:00 PM

08 October 2003

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Anyone reading this surely knows by now that the California recall passed and that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the next governor of California. It is interesting that the vote for the recall is less than the combined vote for the two most prominent Republicans: Schwarzenegger and McClintock. Minnesotans can now breathe easier, since the 1998 tenure of Jesse Ventura no longer can represent the ascension of the most unqualified chief executiev in American history.

Hidden amongst all the hubbub of the recall is that Californian voters did reject, by wide margins, Propositions 53 and 54. The first would have exacerbated the state's budget morass by establishing a high floor on state spending on infrastructure. The second would have made any sort of state-level anti-discrimination work impossible by prohibiting the state from collecting virtually any data on race. Both of these measures were damnably inane measures, and kudos to the majority of voters for kicking them to the curb.

As for kicking Schwarzenegger to the curb, voters will not have long to wait.

Posted by Tim W at 10/08/2003 01:12:00 AM

07 October 2003

Bush Calls Agent Outing Criminal

President Bush (the Tanya Harding of CIA-gate) is reported to have called his administration's outing of a CIA agent a criminal act. Bush is not denying the story, he is just preparing the media for his outing of the dutiful political soldier (the Jeff Gillooly of CIA-gate) that carried out the act.

Reporters were not dumb enough to buy Tanya's protestations that she was not involved. Why would anyone believe Bush's?

Posted by PAUL at 10/07/2003 07:28:00 AM

05 October 2003

Bush Administration Compared to Tanya Harding

Former CIA officer Jim Marcinkowski, now a prosecutor in Royal Oak, Michigan, is quoted in the October 5 issue of Time comparing the Bush administration's dirty tricks in outing a CIA agent to the leg breaking tactics that Tanya Harding and her associates used against Nancy Kerrigan.

"Her career as an undercover operative is over. She will no longer be safe traveling overseas. I liken that to the knee-capping of an athlete."


Posted by PAUL at 10/05/2003 05:39:00 PM

04 October 2003

Right-Wing Censorship

Rush Limbaugh's quick crash and burn at ESPN highlights why the far right has created its own media to promulgate viewpoints that would create a backlash if aired outside a controlled cocoon. Groupthink requires that the individuals within the group not be subject to contrarian viewpoints and the facts that support contrarian arguments. Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that many right-wing media outlets keep a tight rein on content to protect the inherent bias in their message. The radio of Rush Limbaugh, the television of Fox News, and the internet of Free Republic are all unabashed at controlling their media. Opposing viewpoints are served up only as an ideological piñata to be bashed by the group. If necessary, these media outlets resort to outright censorship no matter their self-description as "fair and balanced" and "free".

This week, we at Bear Left and K Marx The Spot put this theory to the test. We posted the following excerpt of the transcript of "Hardball," aired September 30, 2003, to Free Republic. Excerpts of the transcript, which first appeared on MediaWhoresOnline, offered the readers of Free Republic the opportunity to see and read the words of an interview between moderator Chris Matthews and Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie.

The text we posted follows:

MATTHEWS: Do you think this is bigger or smaller than a burglary, a third-rate burglary, the fact of someone being caught, exposed as a spy for the United States? Do you think that is more serious or not than some burglary at the Watergate? I'm serious. Don't you think it's more serious than Watergate, if you think about it?

GILLESPIE: I think, if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative is abhorrent. And it should be a crime. And it is a crime.

MATTHEWS: It would be worse than Watergate, wouldn't it?

GILLESPIE: Yes, I suppose, in terms of the real-world implications of it. It's not just politics.

The headline we used was "Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie: Worse Than Watergate."

We included the following comment to the post:

This story has hit critical mass. Let's be honest with each other. If Clinton did this it would have been Article One in the impeachment.

We posted under the screen-name bearleft on 10/01/2003 at 4:32 AM PDT. Despite the early hour, the post was recognized as newsworthy and received 33 comments before a moderator at Free Republic pulled the piece at 5:12 AM PDT, just forty minutes after it was posted.

In an email to Jim Robinson, the founder of Free Republic, we asked why the post was pulled. We also offered to repost with a link to MSNBC's transcript page once it became available. Mr. Robinson did not respond to our email. We did receive the following message:


Your posting privilege has been revoked.

Reason:
troll

Our guess is that if the year were 1999, when Jim Robinson and like-minded individuals opposed George W. Bush, the above transcript would have found a welcome home on the pages of Free Republic. The right wing of the Republican Party now sees Bush as its man. Now, the words of the Republican National Chairman, when they unfavorably compare the actions of the administration of George W. Bush to those of the Nixon White House, must be censored. Free Republic welcomes "FReepers" and "Lurkers." What it does not welcome is independent thought.



Posted by PAUL at 10/04/2003 12:37:00 PM

02 October 2003

Bad News and Good News for Rush Limbaugh

There is bad news and good news for Rush Limbaugh.

The bad news is that news reports link him to illegal purchases of prescription narcotics, including OxyContin.

The good news is that he now has a good explanation for his knackered comments earlier this week. The government-mandated warnings for Oxycontin include these side effects, reported by 1% to 5% of users: "In descending order of frequency they were anorexia, nervousness, insomnia, fever, confusion, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, rash, anxiety, euphoria, dyspnea, postural hypotension, chills, twitching, gastritis, abnormal dreams, thought abnormalities, and hiccups." [Emphasis added]

Posted by Tim W at 10/02/2003 01:46:00 PM

It's a Small Mind After All

It is only a matter of time before Rush Limbaugh blames The Liberal Media for his quick exit from the football preview show "Sunday NFL Countdown." Limbaugh certainly knew that ESPN is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Corporation, the bane of conservatives for treating gays and lesbians like people. So, it's hardly surprising that his corporate masters might not appreciate racially insensitive comments.

Of course, Limbaugh brought the attention on himself when he criticized Donovan McNabb earlier this week:

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well," Limbaugh said on Sunday's show. "There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

The media is not "desirous that a black quarterback do well"; if anything, the media, as well as many football fans, are simply happy to see that black players get to play quarterback. Thankfully, the days that a black quarterbacks get shunted to safety or cornerback while white players got to play in the "skill positions" are gone.

In a speech today at the National Association of Broadcasters, Limbaugh explained the difference between television, even cable television, and radio.

To draw in listeners, "we want controversy," he told the broadcasters meeting. "Nobody tells me what I can and can't say" on the radio, he said.

How true that statement is. In Boston this week, on a popular morning drive-time show, John Dennis make Limbaugh look like a amateur. Of course, Dennis has festered for years on a sports show on the radio, where boorishness, jingoism, and filth are normal. The Boston Globe has some of the only reporting on the matter, so far:

A prominent WEEI radio talk show host apologized on the air yesterday for comparing the escaped Franklin Park Zoo gorilla to a Metco student waiting for a bus. During Monday morning's Dennis & Callahan Show, host John Dennis reportedly said the animal, which rested briefly at a bus stop during the episode Sunday, was "probably a Metco gorilla waiting for a bus to take him to Lexington." Responding to complaints, Dennis yesterday said the remark "was extremely insensitive." WEEI program director Jason Wolfe said Dennis and the station also had apologized to school and Metco officials. The station also has offered Metco officials public service spots to talk about the program.

No wonder that Limbaugh prefers radio to television.

Update: the Associated Press now has a decent article on what Dennis said.

Posted by Tim W at 10/02/2003 01:38:00 PM

01 October 2003

A Republican Tells the Truth and Shames the White House

Yesterday, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer interviewed Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and counterterrorism official at the State Department. Mr. Johnson spoke openly and honestly about the outing of Ambassador Wilson's wife by the Bush White House:

I say this as a registered Republican. I'm on record giving contributions to the George Bush campaign. This is not about partisan politics. This is about a betrayal, a political smear of an individual with no relevance to the story. Publishing her name in that story added nothing to it. His entire intent was correctly as Ambassador Wilson noted: to intimidate, to suggest that there was some impropriety that somehow his wife was in a decision making position to influence his ability to go over and savage a stupid policy, an erroneous policy and frankly, what was a false policy of suggesting that there were nuclear material in Iraq that required this war. This was about a political attack. To pretend that it's something else and to get into this parsing of words, I tell you, it sickens me to be a Republican to see this.

Posted by PAUL at 10/01/2003 06:41:00 AM

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