Number 24 - January 9, 2003
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the true thief, there can never be "ill gotten gains" or "an
embarrassment of riches." What's to be embarrassed about? says
George Bush's face, looking ever so slightly confused just above the
eyes. Then the smirk gets smirkier, a few new crinkles of satisfaction
signifying that Bush's rock-hard greed is infinitely stronger than the
questioner's weak attempt at rebuke.
The same with "ill
gotten gains." Once you've gotten those gains, especially the capital
kind, there's nothing to be ill about. What an alien concept, thinks
the thief, amused, but only for a smirk of a second.
George W. Bush is
pulling off multiple, simultaneous, history-shaking heists at home and
abroad, all in plain site, with the calm and aplomb of a born criminal,
a prodigy, a "natural." He hauls the people's treasury from
the vault, crosses the lobby nodding howdy-do to bystanders, deposits
the cash at the curb for pickup by limo, then turns to pause for applause.
After a few awkward seconds, the onlookers oblige him.
Bush announces that
he is about to seize the second largest deposits of oil on the globe.
Assembled emissaries of the planet's governments clear their throats
to ask if he will be kind enough to sit down and talk about the matter
awhile. Bush shouts that the world should be glad he hasn't taken the
oil fields already but, being the nice guy that he is, he'll wait until
he's good and ready. Well, say the diplomats, that's reasonable.
The $300 billion
Bush steals with
all due diligence. He disposed of an unprecedented projected federal
surplus in his first months in office, dispensing $1.35 trillion of
it to his fellow pirates before anyone else had a chance to even think
about rebuilding the national infrastructure, repairing social safety
nets, or making real investments in education. A year and a half later,
with the nation now deeply in debt and at the brink of a $200 billion
war, every state in fiscal crisis and joblessness stalking the land,
Bush announces that the ten year tax breaks he gave to the wealthy in
2001 must be speeded up. And he demands that the rich receive another
ten year, $300 billion dollar gift through elimination of the tax on
stock dividends. His own advisors warn that this might cause a public
backlash. They caution Bush to ask for only a halving of the tax. Bush
reasons that the walk from the vault to the limo is still the same distance,
whether with half or all the loot, and tells his friends to line up
at the curb for the full 100 percent.
Bush rammed his
entire legislative package through the waning days of last year's 107th
Congress, benefits to corporate America so numerous that no single list
was compiled before the final vote. Republicans lined up to pencil in
gifts to their favorite special interests. Somebody - almost certainly
Tennessee Senator William Frist - made sure that Homeland Security legislation
immunized the giant drug company and GOP contributor Eli Lilly against
suits for harm caused by its vaccines. Frist is now Senate Majority
Bush pointedly did
not tell his congressional troops to extend unemployment benefits
before they dashed home for the holidays. Instead, he waited until the
session was over to join Democrats in bemoaning the impending cutoff
facing 800,000 jobless workers on December 28. The Congress that does
everything Bush tells it to do had screwed up, said the President. He,
Bush, would fix that in January.
Against an all or
nothing deadline, on Tuesday Republicans passed a bare bones unemployment
benefits bill, just in the nick of time to keep checks going to the
800,000 families whose holiday had been spoiled by Bush. It was an up
or down vote, with no debate allowed on Democratic proposals to extend
assistance to people who had already exhausted their benefits.
The White House
pretended that it had no hand in "rigging the process," as
Wisconsin Democrat Rep. David Obey put it. Harlem's Rep. Charles Rangel
accused Bush of playing "good cop - bad cop."
Republican Leader Tom DeLay accused Democrats of being the party of
the loafing class. "What the Democrats' problem is, nothing is
good enough for them," said the far-right Texan. "In fact,
I would venture to guess that they would have unlimited unemployment
compensation so somebody could stay out of work for the rest of their
lives and get unemployment compensation if they had their way."
DeLay will have
little difficulty gaining House passage of Bush's $674 billion economic
package. Corporate media dutifully refer to it as an "economic
stimulus plan," while failing to find a single economist who will
vouch for its near term stimulative effects. The most that even Wall
Street economists will venture is that the rich will feel better if
the stock dividends tax is eliminated. They will look forward to the
future with "confidence."
Meaning, it costs
$300 billion to put a smile on a rich man's face.
WPFW: More than just a job
has never posted a job opening notice, but we think the search for a
general manager of Pacifica's WPFW in Washington, D.C. is of general
interest to African Americans and progressives. The radio station's
strategic political and demographic location is enough to thrill an
activist broadcaster's heart, although the past several years of turmoil
within the Pacifica chain will give pause to the unadventurous.
WPFW 89.3 General
station WPFW in Washington DC is soliciting resumes for the permanent,
full time position of station General Manager. WPFW's 50,000 watt
signal, transmitting from the nation's capitol, has the ability to
reach nearly four million potential listeners.
The WPFW GM has
a unique and important leadership position within the Pacifica network,
and is provided challenges and opportunities to contribute to the
examination and debate on the nation's political, economic and social
agendas. Deriving funding from listener sponsors, Pacifica's position
is unique in the current corporate dominated, commercially driven
broadcast industry. The WPFW General Manager position is more than
a job, it's a commitment to make a more peaceful, more sustainable,
and more socially just world.
The GM will interact
directly with the WPFW Local Advisory Board, the Pacifica National
Board, other Pacifica stations and affiliates, staff, volunteers,
candidate will have:
A proven track
record championing progressive issues. Proven excellence in radio
management and audience development or other comparable and transferable
management skills. Strong leadership, goal setting, and assessment
skills. An interest and preference to work in a culturally diverse
and dynamic station environment. Superior interpersonal, communicative,
and conflict resolution skills. Non-commercial fundraising skills
within the context and principles of the Pacifica mission. Ability
to insure the station's fiscal health through excellence in fund raising,
budget planning, and fiscal management. Knowledge of and the ability
to insure that FCC requirements are met. A strong commitment to news,
public affairs and community education and the expansion of WPFW's
and Pacifica's ability to reach and provide significant benefits to
the communities served.
Salary will be
commensurate with experience. Pacifica values diversity in action,
not just in words, and encourages all qualified candidates to apply.
Please submit your resume electronically to e-mail addresses:
HR@pacifica.org and firstname.lastname@example.org
notice was sent to us by Sam Husseini , chair of WPFW's local advisory