Sunday :: Sep 12, 2004

Numb And Dumber

by pessimist

What ever happened to the country which put a man on the moon? The one that invented the telephone, radio, television, the personal computer, and the airplane? I don't know. I'm not sure than anyone does know.

I'm not even sure that anyone knows much of anything anymore. It's just an impression I have. Maybe someone told me this, I don't know. Maybe I saw it on television, or maybe I heard it on the radio. What's it matter, anyway? I don't know.

At least one 1950s monster movie depicted a space creature which lived by feasting on human brains. If such a creature were to descend upon the United States today, it would likely starve - or at least lose a lot of weight while hunting.

Anyone who has some concept of manipulation and how it works can see that the public image of George Warmonger Bu$h is promoted to American voters - just like a product being sold - through the use of blatant imagery. Think of the numerous times Bu$h has been photographed while speaking before a military audience, or standing next to or in front of an American flag; the 'halo' photos, the 'message' backgrounds during White House photo ops. The GOP wouldn't be going to so much effort to build Bu$h'$ image as a competent executive if these techniques didn't work.

"I'm pretty open. It's easy to be swayed," said Larry Wise, a 52-year-old undecided voter from Voluntown, Conn. [from next link]

I rest my case.

Take this example of effective Republican imagery:

Poll: Kerry Lags Bush on National Security

"If we don't take care of the terrorists, we certainly won't have to worry about the economy," said Janet Cross, 57, of Portsmouth, Ohio, who switched from Democrat to Republican for the last election.

Think of the implications of this statement and how well the GOP image pushers have succeeded with this woman. In these 17 words, she manages to pass along these points:

* Terrorism is the most important issue
* Everything else is secondary to defeating terrorism
* Nothing else matters if we don't defeat terrorism
* The economy itself is nothing to worry about
* I believe George W. Bu$h and he's doing a good job

Let's take these points in order.

Terrorism is the most important issue

Terrorism is indeed an important issue and deserves attention, but the country has generally continued to operate much as we had before 9/11/01. Thus, it isn't the thing we have on our minds most. If it was, then Bu$hCo wouldn't be so busy reminding us that Al Qaeda is hding behind every tree and in every closet and under every bed. They wouldn't have to.

There have been some adjustments for security, certainly, but with the exception of air travel these changes have been minimal. There are millions of opportunities every day for a foreign terrorist to strike in America, but the only incidents that have occured have been committed by American citizens, i.e., the Beltway Sniper. The vast majority of the changes in American life have taken place behind the reassuring image of a safe and free America - specifically changes like expanded police powers and reduced civil liberties, neither of which concerns the many Americans who believe "if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear - they're only after the terrorists".

These are the people who have little logical thinking capability. They are told 'if A, then B - and that's all you need to know'. They don't have to follow that if A equals B, and if C equals B, then A equals C. So if you try to explain why a Bu$h position is wrong for the country, their eyes will glaze over, and they will revert to seeing the image of Their pRezdint standing tall against the background of the 'Murkin flag in an aggressive stance, on his guard and defending them from the evils of terrorism - and deep thinking. You will have gone beyond the limits they were told they could have, for to follow your logic past those limits would be disloyal to Owwer Leedur, and he might not want to defend them anymore. Better to be safe than sorry.

Thinking people know that under the Patriot Act, what you don't know about can be used against you. The mere suspicion on law enforcement's part that you MIGHT commit some crime is now sufficient to thoroughly investigate a person, if not immediately arrest them without a warrant and ship them off to some secret prison in who-knows-where. If there is a trial, it could be years before it happens - the military officers have so many Al Qaeda suspects in Guantanamo scheduled ahead of you - and you won't be able to call any witnesses or even testify in your own behalf.

What this woman doesn't realize (That would require logical thought!) is that foreign terrorists can get into this country if they really want to. Want proof? Look at our southern border. Few Americans would be able to tell an Arab coming across from one of the thousands of Mexican coming across just by looking.

She also doesn't realize how open to attack our ports are. Thousands of cargo containers arrive in our ports every day, and few are inspected. This was one of the points covered by the 9/11 Commission in their report - but I'm sure she hasn't read it - it has more than 17 words.

There is also the possibility that terrorist acts could be performed in places where George Bu$h has no jurisdiction (despite his claims to the contrary), but who would DARE do something to an American citizen visiting a foreign land! That would NEVER happen!

Calling Nick Berg!

Everything else is secondary to defeating terrorism

If terrorism were really more important than anything, something would be done about all of these terror vulnerabilities. What is being done?

How George Bush bankrupted the war on terror

When one counts the money that has been spent in Iraq, and considers what it might have been spent on instead, one is hard pressed to see how our billions were at all well used. Late in August, the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, compiled a list of all the security initiatives that the U.S. could have purchased with the money already spent in Iraq. The list will cause you to weep -- billions and billions of dollars are needed to secure U.S. seaports, airports, flights, roads and railways, to fund police and fire departments, to secure nuclear stockpiles around the world, to invest in Afghanistan's security and reconstruction, and to provide aid to the world's poorest people, thereby possibly improving the United States' standing in the world.

These initiatives would seem guaranteed to make the nation safer; to use a business term that might be familiar to George W. Bush, the first president to hold an MBA, they provide a clear return on investment. Yet these blue-chip plans are not being funded. In an age of record budget deficits, paltry sums are available to fight the actual war on terrorism. Instead, money we don't have -- thanks to Bush's tax cuts -- is being spent on a war we don't need, a war of choice whose return on investment looks about as sure as that of a 1990s Internet firm.

Here are some examples of what real increased anti-terror security would have cost:

* $2 billion to improve cargo security. This would help cover costs associated with the Cargo Security Initiative, which deploys customs inspectors to ports around the world to screen cargo before it goes to the United States.

* $5 billion to purchase state-of-the-art baggage screening machines. This would fulfill the Congressional mandate to install in all commercial airports new systems that integrate baggage screening and baggage handling. Only eight of the nation's 440 airports have the new machines, and the administration has requested only $250 million for equipment this year.

* $240 million to equip the airports with walk-through explosive detectors. According to the 9/11 commission, it's still too easy for passengers with hidden explosives to make it through airport security.

* $30.5 billion to secure from theft the world's nuclear weapons-grade material. Securing the world's fissile material would enormously reduce the chance that lethal weapons-grade material could be made into nuclear and radiological weapons. A 10-year $30 billion program would ensure material security and weapon dismantlement in the former Soviet Union. Another $500 million would fund a "global cleanout program," aimed at removing dangerous nuclear materials from the most vulnerable nuclear sites worldwide.

* $2.25 billion to expedite the work of the Nunn-Lugar Threat Reduction program. Doubling this program's budget each year for the next five years would accelerate Nunn-Lugar, which has helped deactivate over 6,000 nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union and the United States. The FY04 Defense budget provided only $450 million for the program.

These few examples total to roughly $38 billion. How much have we spent on Bu$h'$ 'War on Terra'?

So far, the war has cost the United States $144.4 billion, including $25 billion in the administration's FY05 defense budget signed into law earlier this month. An additional $60 billion is expected in a supplemental request after the November elections. According to the Defense Department, the cost of containing Saddam Hussein over 12 years was only $30 billion.

George Bu$h is more intent on cutting federal taxes even further, and in pushing his radical legislative agenda, than he is in doing anything about the vulnerabilities of this nation to terrorism. So tell me again about how terrorism is the most important issue, because Dumbya's swagger don't match his bragger.

Nothing else matters if we don't defeat terrorism

If that were true, then Bu$h wouldn't have promoted going shopping or taking airplane vacations to the American people after 9/11. He wouldn't have been trying to tell us that the economy was improving when we all knew lots of peole who couldn't find decent jobs that paid as well as their previous jobs. He wouldn't have sent Colin Powell to India to guarantee that we would continue sending US jobs to India. He wouldn't have been pushing mandated (and unfunded) activities upon local governmental entities with so much vigor. He wouldn't have been spending so much time out campaigning for Christian value issues because he would have been too busy conducting the search for Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda financial backers. To George 'What? Me worry?' Bu$h, nothing matters more than remaining in power.

The economy itself is nothing to worry about

This woman either has a a lot of wealth, a reasonably secure job, or a husband who still does. She has no concerns about losing health care or wages - or both. She can still see retirement ahead, even though Social Security is one of the next major targets of the Bu$h (mis)Administration. She also doesn't seem to have any chronic illness that requires medication, or she would know how much drugs now cost. She must not have any retired friends, because they would be telling her about their own experiences with these issues.

You know - the more I talk about this woman, the more I wonder where I can buy such a sheltered life!

I believe George W. Bu$h and he's doing a good job

This woman hasn't paid attention to the deaths of our soldiers in Iraq. She might not even know that the count passed 1000 last week. She certainly doesn't know that the situation in Iraq is worse than it's ever been since Sadddam lost control there, and she's even less aware that Afghanistan is sinking back into open warfare. She has no clue about how China is quietly taking our place as the world's diplomatic and economic leader, and could likely care less about how they are making friends with our neighbors - especially the one's we've been abusing for decades. She could care less that America has never had such poor foreign relations due to Bu$h'$ incompetence in dealing with the other 192 nations of the world. We won't even go into more immediate domestic issues like lost jobs and low wages and no medical benefits in a worsening environment!

Just 17 words

Look at how many words I had to use to refute the 17 words of Janet Cross, 57, of Portsmouth, Ohio. If you couldn't follow 'if A equals B, and if C equals B, then A equals C', then I lost you to FAUX News a long time ago. This is why, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, George Wastrel Bu$h has a realistic chance of defeating John F. Kerry - but then, attempting to discuss the equally realistic chance that John F. Kerry will defeat George Workshirker Bu$h would take more than 17 words, and I really hate to see your eyes glaze over.

John F. Kerry has a lot of work to do, and the time available grows shorter every day. His advisors have to get serious if they expect to defeat Bu$h in November (assuming no electoral hijinks) and figure out how to reach the no-mind voters that now belong to the GOP. If they can do that, then we just might find ourselves in better hands. If they can't, then they deserve to lose - and America will pay the price for their failure.

Copyrighted source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.


This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

pessimist :: 5:40 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!