Above the Fray

Friday, January 21, 2005

Reese Piece: Truth and Lie


Clear, concise, complete:

The Big Lie

You should recognize the pattern by now. President George Bush does not discuss any subject; he launches propaganda campaigns. Thus, he starts his campaign to cripple Social Security with the Big Lie that it will be bankrupt by the time 20-year-olds will be retiring.

This is not true, though as with all propaganda campaigns, the Big Lie will be repeated over and over and over until some people begin to believe it. Adolf Hitler might have coined the phrase "the big lie." He was certainly an expert on propaganda.

He wrote in Mein Kampf: "The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell big ones."

"All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those toward whom it is directed will understand it. ... Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around," Hitler added.

The first Big Lie of the Bush administration was the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You will recall how often that was repeated. The current Big Lie is that Social Security will be bankrupt unless Congress passes the Wall Street Bonus Plan, which would turn over 2 percent of the Social Security taxes to the sharks on Wall Street who contributed so generously to Bush's campaign.

It's probably pointless to say it, but just as there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Social Security is in no danger of going bankrupt. The trust fund has not even been touched — except, of course, by Congress, which replaced the cash with government bonds. By the time, if it ever happens, that only two workers will be around for every one recipient, the trust fund can easily take up the slack for most of the rest of this century.

Since this is a fact, you cannot excuse Bush's statements as ignorance or mere opinion. It is like the campaign to deceive Americans into going to war — a deliberate attempt at deception. If he is arguing that the bonds in the trust fund will be repudiated by the government, then the United States and indeed the world will face a much bigger problem than making Social Security payments.

I suppose, but rather doubt, that I am alone in resenting politicians' insulting my intelligence by resorting to Hitlerian propaganda techniques. As you will notice, there is no room left by Bush for any discussion, much less any dissent. This is exactly as prescribed by Hitler. The word in Washington is that Bush has allocated $250 million for this campaign, which will be augmented by other special interests.

I noticed that nothing has been said about the matching contribution of the employer. Presumably, Bush wants the employees to invest their 2 percent, while the employers will just get a 2 percent break on their taxes.

It is true that if a working person dies before receiving any or very much of his or her Social Security, the money goes to the government if his or her spouse is deceased and children are grown. That could be easily remedied by simply paying the estate a lump sum equivalent to the payments that would be made during a normal life span.

Americans had better raise hell with their congressional representatives and senators, or the Bush administration will wreck Social Security. The whole system is merely an annoyance to the rich crowd Bush hangs out with. As employers, they have to match their workers' Social Security taxes, but being rich, their Social Security checks are just chump change. They would love to see all working men and women at the mercy of Wall Street, where commissions and fees and stock-market manipulations by insiders will eat up the sweat and labor of the American people.
Charlie Reese

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Headline as Self Referential

This is priceless..

Poll: Nation Split on Bush as Uniter or Divider
CNN Poll
Thanks for the reference: Progressive Blog Digest

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Funny Quotes for Today

More interesting and unrelated quotes for the file:

Gene Lyons 19 January 2004

"A foolish consistency," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is the hobgoblin of little minds." An otherwise unreadable 19th century essayist who has driven more students out of American lit courses than James Fenimore Cooper and Alice Walker combined, Emerson became the patron saint of opinion columnists everywhere with that happy thought. (A hobgoblin is a malicious ghost; like Ann Coulter with a sense of humor, I suppose.)

Emerson didn't mean that consistency itself was suspect, only the foolish kind, "adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."...

Gene Lyons: 'Getting the best of the hobgoblins'




We're not calling it an inauguration," said Jack Nargil, head concierge at the Hay-Adams Hotel, as he gazed across the street at the White House last week. "Because the president's supporters believe he has a mandate, there's going to be, in effect, a coronation."...
Washington Post

And so it goes...

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Tsunamis

Someone over at Columbia University has done a very good job of pulling information about Tsunamis in general and specifically the current one. Not for the attentive impaired. Thanks to y'all

Information relating to the submarine earthquake inbetween Aceh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka of the 26th of December, 2004 has been compiled here. This compilation archives much of the readily available scientific information. Aspects that were not immediately brought out by news reports were:

The 9.0 Earthquake at 6.58 hours at the epicenter (and in Sri Lanka) led to a sequence of 15 quakes across the Andaman region.

While earthquakes could not be predicted in advance, once the earthquake was detected it was possible to give about 3 hours of notice of a potential Tsunami.

Tsunamis are rarer in the Indian Ocean as the seismic activity is less than in the Pacific.

Earthquakes occur when any of the 12 or 13 tectonic plates collide at their boundaries.

Tsunamis are not entirely unknown in the Indian Ocean. For example, the Tsunami in 1883 generated by the Volcanoes at Krakatoa led to a surge of at least 1 m in Sri Lanka.

Early warning is only one part of disaster risk management, disaster preparedness, vulnerability reduction and post-disaster relief and reconstruction. Much more..
Scientific Background on the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami

Thanks to Benedict for the heads up