Bush's Good News/Bad News Day: More Payola And Mixed News From Iraq
Today’s a day of good news/bad news for the Administration.
Good News: Bush said earlier in the week he was against his government paying journalists for propaganda.
Bad News: Right after he said that, it was revealed that a third conservative commentator was being paid by the Administration to propagandize. Eric Boehlert of Salon reported yesterday that Michael McManus, a columnist who writes on morality and pens a column entitled “Ethics and Religion” pocketed $10,000 for touting Bush’s marriage initiative without informing his readers that he was on the payroll. Furthermore, an Assistant Secretary of Tommy Thompson’s Health and Human Services Agency arranged for the McManus payola and that of Maggie Gallagher, ($21,500) while also funneling nearly $50,000 to Marriage Savers, a group that the Assistant Secretary used to be a board member of. And who helped arrange these payoffs? Well, our friends at the Heritage Foundation, that’s who. And how much exactly has the Bush Administration been funneling to public relations firms for message management, propaganda and media services? How about the tidy sum of $88 million, just in 2004 alone? Yes, that’s $88 million on top of the freebies from Fox News and the entire right wing corporate media empire that supports the conservative cause in this country.
Good News: Iraqi authorities announced they have captured three close associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in advance of the elections, and this has given them hope that they are close to capturing al-Zarqawi himself.
Bad News: Two more US soldiers were killed today in Baghdad, in one of the worst weeks in months for American losses. And another American helicopter just crashed in Iraq, in southwest Baghdad no less.
More Bad News: We have now lost five soldiers today.
Good News: The fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product came in at a solid 3.1%.
Bad News: The government also reported that exports fell in the fourth quarter to by their steepest rate in two years, and that inflation is ticking upward. Also, our friends the Saudis have decided they like higher oil prices and will no longer attempt to force down prices with OPEC. The Saudis like the $48 per barrel price just fine. Also, there were over a million planned layoffs in 2004, with over a hundred thousand of those in December alone.