Jim Hightower

The Cut-And-Run Bushites

Karl Rove’s red-hot buzz phrase for this fall’s election is “cut-and-run Democrat.” It’s meant to be hurled at anyone who dares oppose George W.’s war of lies and failure in Iraq. The obvious response is that the Bushites themselves cut and ran long ago. When it comes to standing firm in Iraq, who’s actually standing there? Not Bush’s two daughters or eight nieces and nephews. They’re all of prime enlistment age, but they chose to cut and run rather than sign up for their Daddy’s war. Same goes for the loved ones of Cheney, Rummy, and any of the other ardent warmongers in Bush’s top circle—they cut and ran, too.

Then there’s Congress. A recent New York Times article practically wailed that Sen. Max Baucus’ nephew had been killed in Iraq, saying it “showed how death and grief can invade the halls on Congress.” His death is horrible, as are those of the 2,900-plus other Americans who have been sacrificed in this wretched war. But let’s not forget that Congress continues to throw our young people, our public treasury, and our global reputation into the wasteland of Iraq—yet of 535 members of Congress, only six have close relatives whose lives have been put at risk there. The loved ones of the other 98.9 percent of lawmakers have chosen not to take a stand in Iraq. The same is true of the right-wing media blatherers, the military contractors profiting from the war, the Wall Street financial powers, and the other elites who damned sure aren’t volunteering to have their kids become “boots on the ground.”

If Bush’s war is not worth putting their families at risk, it’s not worth the risk of any family. Rep. Charles Rangel has a bill that confronts the hypocrisy of these cut-and-runners.

To learn about his Universal Service Act, call 202-225-4365.

BUSH’S HOMELAND HOKUM

Trying to puff up his bad poll numbers and give his beleaguered party a political boost for this fall’s congressional elections, George W. keeps wrapping himself in the bloody flag of 9/11 and posing as America’s valiant defender. For example, he scooted over to the National Counterterrorism Center last month for a PR tour and photo op, declaring solemnly to the cameras, “We’re doing everything in our power to protect you.”

If only. While the Bush-Cheney-Rummy Axis of Incompetence and Insecurity has dumped nearly a third of a trillion tax dollars and more than 2,900 American lives into its disastrous war in Iraq, it has deliberately left Americans exposed to more attacks by failing to take some of the most basic security steps. Port security, for example, is so sloppy that only a small percentage of shipping containers coming onto our shores is screened. The Bushites are screening every single American getting onto a plane to check them for shampoo, but—because the Wal-Marts don’t want the stuff they bring here from China delayed at our ports—thousands of containers are merrily waved through each day without inspection, despite the real possibility that a nuclear or biological weapon could be tucked into them and detonated here. Speaking of shampoo seizures, the technology to detect and protect us from liquid explosives has long existed. Yet Bush & Company failed even to test detection technology that Japan gave to our government early this year. They also tried to divert $6 million that was budgeted for development of such technology—instead using it to provide more security for federal officials. W.’s perverse preoccupation with Iraq has sapped money and focus from real protection here at home, leaving us vulnerable to real threats.

WILD WORLD OF SPORTS

“The House That Ruth Built” will be replaced by “The House That Greed Built.” Yankee Stadium is to be bulldozed and dumped on the altar of money, replaced by a $1.2 billion baseball palace. With shovel in hand, Yankee mogul George Steinbrenner took part in the groundbreaking. “It’s a pleasure to give this to you people,” the billionaire boss said.

Give? New York taxpayers are the ones doing the giving. In a deal rammed through the city council without even giving the public a chance to speak, New Yorkers are putting up about $400 million so Steinbrenner can erect this edifice for his own profit. Also, the Yankee owner will be given a pass from paying real estate taxes on his sprawling new business property. Well, says George with a regal wave of his hand, the replacement stadium will be “much better for the fans.” That’s another shovelful of BS. George’s place will have some 7,000 fewer seats than the House that Ruth Built. Real fans also might not think it’s “better” to have to pay higher prices for tickets, which are to rise from an average of $50 each, already the most expensive seat in the league. Ah, but George has added some seats for the customers who really count. He is tripling the number of luxury suites, which will cost about half-a-million bucks each, allowing corporate executives and clients to sip cocktails and watch the game on TV while sitting in splendid isolation above us riffraff. Also, George will pocket millions from corporations paying to put their names and logos on every wall, gate, ramp, and other piece of this publicly funded, private palace. This deal shows how the rich get richer—they rip-off the rest of us.

Jim Hightower is a speaker and author. To order his books or schedule him for a speech, visit www.jimhightower.com. To subscribe to his newsletter, the Hightower Lowdown, call toll-free 1-866-271-4900.

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