by Robert Parry
Reprinted from ConsortiumNews.com
This past week, grappling with the twin top stories of Haiti’s earthquake tragedy and the Massachusetts Senate race, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews personified the strange mix of puffed-up self-importance and total lack of self-awareness that has come to define America’s media punditocracy.
During "Hardball" programs of recent days, Matthews has veered from pontificating about how the killer earthquake in Haiti might finally cause its people to get "serious" about their politics to explaining how Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley deserves to lose, in part, because she called ex-Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling "a Yankees fan."
Not only did Matthews’s remarks about Haitian politics reflect a profound ignorance about that country and its history, but he seemed blissfully clueless about his own role as a purveyor of political trivia over substance in his dozen years as a TV talk-show host in the United States, as demonstrated in his poll-and-gaffe-obsessed coverage of the important Massachusetts Senate race.
Indeed, Matthews may be the archetype of what’s wrong with the U.S. news media, a devotee of conventional wisdom who splashes in the shallowest baby pool of American politics while pretending to be the big boy who's diving into the deep end.
With George Bush back in Texas (for good, by his own admission) The Dubya Report's mission is changing slightly, to monitor the conservative movement and its paradoxical efforts to reach Karl Rove's "permanent majority" in the face of egregious evidence that its ideology has failed. Of course we'll still keep an eye on the fallout from one of the most disastrous presidencies in history.
Returning visitors will notice a few changes in our appearance. We're now powered by the Drupal content management system. Many of the familiar features are still available, either from the menu at the left or the right. And as you can see, the search facility has been moved to the home page.We'll be making more changes over the next few weeks.
So to new visitors, welcome; to returning visitors, welcome back; and we hope you'll keep coming back for the news, analysis and commentary you've come to expect from The Dubya Report.
It was inevitable -- in an election year, with Bush' popularity near its nadir, with an administration and titular leader whose hallmark has been to do exactly what they exhort their opponents not to do -- that promises of a nonpolitical address on the evening of September 11 would be a lame attempt to limit the political fallout Bush created when he took what should have been an opportunity for grief, mourning, perhaps thoughts of peace, and turned it into another in a now familiar series of delusional and self-congratulatory paeans to failed policies and actions.
by Brent Budowsky
Reprinted with permission of the author.
This is a call to action: Democrats are in real danger of losing another election by making the same mistakes they made in 2002 and 2004. The President and the war fever Republicans in Congress are banging the drums for the new wars they want to fight, using the old and false charges they always make, using taxpayer financed propaganda pumped into the conservative media machine, and mainstream media again buys into the big lie.
by Frank J. Ranelli
Reprinted from OpEdNews.com with permission of the author.
A real-life story, of how one man was rescued from the jaws of the democracy-eating Bush regime, saved from drowning in a cesspool of war propaganda and found the Patriot Act was not so patriotic, after all!
As many of us do, we have friends, neighbors and relatives that have bought the Bush regime war propaganda machine, wrapped themselves in the flag, and have followed their irreverent, feckless, lying leader in the march towards fascism. Few, if any, ever really understood the true underpinnings of this remorseless, vile man. Few, if any, realized they voted against their own civil liberties and helped bring to power one of the greatest threats ever to confront our nation and its democratic form of government.
by George Lakoff, Marc Ettlinger and Sam Ferguson
Progressives have fallen into a trap. Emboldened by President Bush's plummeting approval ratings, progressives increasingly point to Bush's "failures" and label him and his administration as incompetent. For example, Nancy Pelosi said "The situation in Iraq and the reckless economic policies in the United States speak to one issue for me, and that is the competence of our leader." Self-satisfying as this criticism may be, it misses the bigger point. Bush's disasters -- Katrina, the Iraq War, the budget deficit -- are not so much a testament to his incompetence or a failure of execution. Rather, they are the natural, even inevitable result of his conservative governing philosophy. It is conservatism itself, carried out according to plan, that is at fault. Bush will not be running again, but other conservatives will. His governing philosophy is theirs as well. We should be putting the onus where it belongs, on all conservative office holders and candidates who would lead us off the same cliff.
Updated January 18. 2006
A year ago this past November Reagan biographer Lou Cannon wrote in the editorial pages of the New York Times:
President George W. Bush justifiably casts himself as the apostle of the Reagan Revolution begun by his father's predecessor. But Mr. Bush may find in his second term, as Ronald Reagan did before him, that he must overcome resistance as much from his friends as from his adversaries.
Conservative commentators William F. Buckley and George Will criticized Reagan for entering into nuclear arms reduction agreements with the Soviets; as Bush began his second term they had already begun to question the wisdom of the Iraq war. Where Reagan combined anti-Communist rhetoric with efforts to find diplomatic common ground with the Soviet leadership, however, Bush "has no Gorbachev with whom to negotiate, and no known exit strategy from Iraq. His relationships with many traditional allies are strained."
On April 22, 2005 the Senate Majority leader, Bill Frist, participated by video in "Justice Sunday" -- a rally and telecast held at the Highview Baptist mega-church in Louisville, KY. The overriding message of the event was that the Senate filibuster against a few of Bush's judicial nominees constituted discrimination against "people of faith." Joining Frist as presenters were:
- Focus on the Family's James Dobson, who rose to national attention by advocating the spanking of children ("... a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child...," Dare to Discipline, pages 6 and 7)
- Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 (reportedly for his mailing list), and who addressed the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens in 2001
- Convicted Watergate felon Charles Colson.
by John H. Conyers Jr.
Reprinted from the Chicago Defender.
The mainstream media seems to be waking up to the idea that all of the post-election talk about a mandate was just that: talk. Under the understated headline, "Doubts About Mandate for Bush, GOP," the Washington Post reports that the President's poll numbers are plummeting, his social security privatization plan and cuts are unpopular, and Congressional Republicans are abusing their power and are, likewise, very unpopular. They conclude that maybe there was never a mandate after all. In other words, they conclude "the main question facing Bush and his party is whether they misread the November elections."
A couple of points. First, this is a significant story.