Issue Number 24 - January 9, 2003

GOP says Democrats fund loafers
Democrats charge game is rigged
Pacifica station looking for a GM

 

 

 

 

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For 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 smile

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 Leader.

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."

Offended, House 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.

Washington's 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 Manager Application

Pacifica radio 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, and listener/members.

The exceptional 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:

e-Mail addresses: HR@pacifica.org and wpfwgmsc@yahoo.com

The notice was sent to us by Sam Husseini , chair of WPFW's local advisory board.

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