Pearls Before Swine
The GOP spin machine is raking the bottom of the barrel given yesterday’s public relations update regarding the king’s activities during his holiday season vacation (fucking off on the taxpayer dole yet again) at the phony movie set of Chickenhawk Ranch in Crawford, TX. The man who discourages reading is now being touted as an ‘avid reader’ for apparently doing some page turning himself during this current hiatus from the White House. Strangely enough one of the books is on former president Theodore Roosevelt. Bush is a “history buff” according to a flack who provided the details to the press. Teddy Roosevelt is a strange choice for Le Enfant Terrible because despite his macho image that included charging San Juan Hill as a rough rider and sending the ‘Great White Fleet’ on a world tour to promote growing U.S. Naval power he held views that would be anathema to many the policies currently championed by the Bush administration. T.R. was an outspoken advocate of progressivism and in an effort to create a balance between labor and industry championed policies that would promote a ‘Square Deal’, he also was known as a ‘trust buster’ for going after the goliath monopolies of the wealthy that were strangling the rights of the common citizens through their avarice and worked to strengthen the ability of the government to regulate monopolistic corporate entities. Roosevelt also is credited for his conservationist views in creating national parks and nature preserves and being himself an avid outdoorsman was a champion of the environment. It is impossible to reconcile the philosophies of Roosevelt to either Bush’s Wall Street and corporate cronies or the polluters and profiteers who have been empowered by the Orwellian ‘Healthy Forests’ and ‘Clear Skies’ initiatives that Rove Inc. has thrown like chunks of raw meat to lions as enticements for graft to industries determined to destroy the environment for profit. It is glaringly obvious that this is just more of the same spin and focus group tested horseshit that is typically foisted off on the public by this most cynical of administrations. Even if Bush is actually able to read the book do you honestly think that he will come away with any sort of epiphany that will bring him an understanding as to the importance of the issues that Theodore Roosevelt promoted for the common good of America? Just consider that given all of Bush’s alleged infatuation with the New Testament and his so called special relationship with God have done absolutely nothing to instill any of the true meanings or values of the teachings of Jesus Christ into him. Judge a man not by his words but his deeds and Bush’s consistency at failure leave no reason for optimism that that most stubborn of all men will ever change.
And in an interesting footnote the front group champion of the fascist agenda Move America Forward is launching an advertising attack that seeks to reinforce original administration lies about Iraq and falsely insist that WMD’s existed as a rationale for the attack. Now that the much heralded Iraqi elections are being protested and widely decried by locals as illigetimate it is time to resort to the Goebbels playbook in repeating the big lie.
This is from the WSJ Online Edition:
Some Conservatives Return to Old Argument
Outside Advocacy Group Aims To Rally Support by Backing Bush’s Initial Claims on Iraq
By YOCHI J. DREAZEN and JOHN D. MCKINNON Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNALDecember 28, 2005; Page A4
WASHINGTON — The television commercials are attention-grabbing: Newly found Iraqi documents show that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, including anthrax and mustard gas, and had “extensive ties” to al Qaeda. The discoveries are being covered up by those “willing to undermine support for the war on terrorism to selfishly advance their shameless political ambitions.”
The hard-hitting spots are part of a recent public-relations barrage aimed at reversing a decline in public support for President Bush’s handling of Iraq. But these advertisements aren’t paid for by the Republican National Committee or other established White House allies. Instead, they are sponsored by Move America Forward, a media-savvy outside advocacy group that has become one of the loudest — and most controversial — voices in the Iraq debate.
While even Mr. Bush now publicly acknowledges the mistakes his administration made in judging the threat posed by Mr. Hussein, the organization is taking to the airwaves to insist that the White House was right all along.
Similar to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — the advocacy group that helped derail John Kerry’s presidential campaign — Move America Forward has magnified its reach by making small television and radio ad buys and then relying on cable- and local-television news outlets to give the commercials heavy coverage. Move America Forward has no discernible formal ties to the White House or the Republican National Committee, and the group says it operates independently from the Republican Party establishment. Still, the organization provides a clear benefit to the administration by spreading a pro-war message that goes beyond what administration officials can say publicly.
The effect of the ads hasn’t been measured. Amid a simultaneous flurry of speeches by the president and a ramped-up RNC effort aimed at boosting the war, polls show that Mr. Bush’s job-approval ratings, specifically his handling of the Iraq situation, have risen this month from all-time lows.
“The White House has really done a poor job of getting the message out, which is why we’ve had to step into the breach,” says California-based Republican political strategist Sal Russo, one of the group’s three founders. “They should do a better job of coordinating with those willing to get out and tell the story. We shouldn’t be the only ones out here fighting.”
The White House didn’t return several calls seeking comment. A Republican National Committee spokesman declined to comment.
Move America Forward has raised more than $1 million, mainly in small donations, over the past two years. The group grew out of the successful 2003 effort to recall Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis. It was officially founded in 2004 by Mr. Russo, whose company provides office space for the organization; Melanie Morgan, a conservative San Francisco radio host; and Howard Kaloogian, a Republican former state assemblyman seeking the congressional seat of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who resigned recently after admitting to taking bribes from defense contractors.
One of their early efforts was a campaign supporting John Bolton’s contentious nomination as United Nations ambassador. Another involved backing U.S. detention policies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by selling “I [Heart] Gitmo” bumper stickers.
When the White House was caught flat-footed this summer by the emergence of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier turned vocal administration critic, Move America Forward sent pro-war protesters to her camp in Texas and mounted a parallel bus tour of war supporters that culminated in a large rally in Washington. The counter-Sheehan campaign showed how the organization has raised its profile by staging well-publicized rallies and public events that attract substantial media coverage, even if the number of participants is relatively low.
In July, with the administration facing a torrent of negative media coverage of the war in Iraq, Move America Forward sent five conservative radio-talk-show hosts to U.S. military bases in Baghdad for a week of upbeat broadcasts. Ms. Morgan says that, during her time in Iraq, she rode up and down the so-called highway of death leading from Baghdad’s airport seven times to prove to her listeners that it wasn’t as dangerous as media reports suggested.
In addition to his Iraq political work in the U.S., Mr. Russo has an open-ended political-advertising contract with the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq for whom he produces advertisements that run in the U.S. seeking investment in Kurdistan. Some critics accuse him of having a vested financial interest in prolonging the U.S. presence there.
Liberals question how the group has maintained its status as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, which requires strict nonpartisanship, given the anti-Democratic tone of its campaigns. The group’s Web site, www.moveamericaforward.org1, for example, attacks the current chairman of the Democratic National Committee, referring to “Howard Dean types who only see a future of failure for this country.”
“When you have people participating in partisan activities with nonprofit dollars, that’s really something the IRS needs to look at,” says Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, another frequent target for Move America Forward’s rhetoric. “An organization with a shady tax status participating in partisan activities and saying things that aren’t true is a rogue element in American politics.”
An Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman declined to address the issue, saying that it is agency policy not to “comment on individual taxpayers or organizations.” MoveOn is a “political action committee,” meaning its donations aren’t tax-deductible and must be disclosed.
Move America Forward officials acknowledge that the group’s leadership is conservative, but insist they are nonpartisan and point out that the organization also has criticized Republicans. They say that the organization has no connections to the Bush administration or the Republican Party and has been unable to get meetings with White House personnel. And they say there is no conflict between the organization’s advocacy work and Mr. Russo’s financial ties to the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq.
“If you consider being pro-America and pro-troop to be Republican, then we’ll proudly take that label,” Ms. Morgan says. “But we’ve never been embraced by the White House or made part of a secret-right wing conspiracy.”
Indeed, Ms. Morgan says she is baffled that the White House no longer makes the case that Mr. Hussein had WMDs. The White House dropped the claims after a variety of investigators found no evidence to substantiate them. But Ms. Morgan says her ads are justified, based on documents given to her in Iraq by an Iraqi general she identified as Abdul Qader Jassim, and on information from U.S. officials involved in the hunt for weapons there. She believes Mr. Hussein possessed WMDs, and that those weapons remain in Iraq today. It couldn’t be ascertained that Mr. Jassim is a general and he couldn’t be reached for comment.
The organization has kept up a steady drumbeat of pro-military and pro-war commercials in recent weeks. Its newest radio ads, timed to the holiday season, feature parents of service people killed in Iraq or on their way back to the country. In one spot, a woman described as military parent Deborah Johns observes that the “the terrorists know they can not defeat our military — they can only win by beating down the morale of the American people.”
Several Move America Forward officials hope to participate in the Iraq debate more actively than through mere advocacy. Mr. Kaloogian has an early fund-raising lead in the crowded field of Republicans hoping to succeed Mr. Cunningham, the former U.S. representative who resigned after admitting taking bribes. And Move America Forward Executive Director Robert Dixon, furious over a recent troop withdrawal resolution passed by the Sacramento City Council, is weighing a run for a seat in the hopes of getting the declaration reversed.