New Report – Social Security Administration Politicized

The Stakeholder talks about a new report on the politicization of the Social Security Administration. From the post, Pelosi, Waxman: SSA Politicized:

“The report, based on a review of over 4,000 pages of Social Security documents from 1995 to 2005, reveals that the agency has systematically altered agency publications, press releases, PowerPoint presentations, website content, and even its annual statements to foster the impression that Social Security is ‘unsustainable’ and ‘must change.’ The agency’s new pessimistic tone and emphasis echo President Bush’s warnings about the future of Social Security.”

This is a blatantly illegal use of a government agency to promote a political party, unprecedented in American history, but who will do anything about it? The Republicans in Congress will block any attempts at oversight. The Justice Department’s job now is to enforce Party ideology instead of American laws. The Federalist Society judges are in place to block any non-Party law enforcement attempts. The media is intimidated and non-functional – you probably won’t even see anything about this report in the mainstream press.

We are the frog in the water as it heats, and the water is starting to bubble now. It has been coming on slowly, and seems like just a very small step away from the tricks and schemes we were reading about a month ago. But think back. Before Bush came along the idea of a government agency telling the public to support one political party’s ideology over another’s – while Congress refused to do anything about it – was unimaginable in America. This is how things like the Soviet Union come about – when government agencies ignore the country’s laws and promote The Party, and get away with it. Look where we are, with Party control over all agencies of government, government-sanctioned torture, a press that reflects the ideology of one and only one side — and our country committing wars of aggression. When do they start on us?

Go read the report at The Stakeholder. And watch your backs.

Priorities

Rolling Stone (via /.):


A review of fines levied by other federal agencies suggests that the government may be taking swear words a bit too seriously. If the bill passes the Senate, Bono saying “fucking brilliant” on the air would carry the exact same penalty as illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors. (Actually, you might be able to afford four “nuke malfunctions”: The biggest fine levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year was only $60,000.)

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Inches and Rope to Right-Wingers?

The Daou Report links to this piece: I believe Bush* will go down in history as being a Liberal Hero:

“I believe Nader was right. Things are going to have to get a lot worse before they get better and Bush* is the man to do that very thing. He will be responsible for the collapse of the Dollar and America’s esteem world wide. There will be a backlash and Liberal values will become the Law of the land. We will decide it is in the interest of the USA to take care of it’s citizens first and not let Corporate America rule over their lives. America will be on the point of total collapse before Bush*’s second term is done. Republicans will have proved beyond any doubt that they are anything but financial wizards. People are going to get fed up with having Christianity shoved down their throats and the two decade long ‘temporary insanity’ that has overtaken America will be cured. America has a very bright future and it is all because of this Bush* Cabal. All we have to do is survive him now. This pattern of though is what is keeping me going. Remember ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining'”

I had a nice reply ready to post here, but the first comment, by “jpgray,” said what I was going to say far better and in many fewer words:

Ernst Thalmann thought the same thing.

He died in Buchenwald.

Take these people seriously, and fight them at every opportunity. Don’t give them an inch. Don’t “give them enough rope.” I really don’t like to think about right-wingers with ropes — because more likely than not they will hang YOU.

Watch your backs.

Behind The Republican Anti-Social Security Operation

Over at There Is No Crisis they have just released some research into USA Next, the front group for Social Security privatization. Go take a look at Social Security – Is the privatization scheme just a junk mail operation? The first installment of the research is a 158.63 KB PDF file.

From the blog post introducing the research,

It appears that USA Next, the front group for Social Security privatization, was really just a junk mail and spam operation in disguise to benefit Richard Viguerie in the 1990s. It appears that it was, before becoming a corporate shell for pharmaceutical industry money.

So go have a read.

I did some digging and found a few things to add:

The report says that Texans for Lawsuit Reform, an industry front-group working for “tort reform,” is a funder of USA Next. Well, here’s a name you’ll recognize: Enron’s Ken Lay helped start and fund Texans for Lawsuit Reform! See the following, which is footnote 47 from my report The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law:

[47] Ken Lay helping start first tort reform organization in Texas:

Doroshow, Joanne. “‘Tort Reform,’ Bush and the Enron Connection.” Center for Justice and Democracy. January 26, 2002. Viewed September 27, 2003 http://www.centerjd.org/press/release/020126.htm

“Bush, Lay Shielded Errant TX Businesses From Lawsuits.” Texans for Public Justice. February 12, 2002. Viewed September 27, 2003 http://www.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/enrontlr.html

Otto Scott, listed in the report as a former USA Next Boardmember is an interesting name. From Who Is Otto Scott:

The more complex answer is that Otto Scott is one of a great many Americans who are well-known to a special audience, but unknown to the nation at large.

Well, Scott is a member of the secretive Council for National Policy. CNP is an organization that keeps turning up… You can look for info on CNP (and please follow one or two of these links) here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

I also found this about W. H. Regnery, former Boardmember:

W.H. Regnery Sr., patriarch of the nation’s premier conservative pubishing house, was one of the principal financiers of the America First movement which advocated an isolationist policy prior to WWII and part of a group that founded the National Review in 1944.

I encourage all of you, especially bloggers, to help out by digging into this yourselves. Post your research at your blog, or in a comment at the There Is No Crisis post, or send your research (or links to your blog posts) to Bob Brigham bob.brigham@gmail.com

When Will AARP Respond?

The new anti-AARP smear from the Republicans: (some might try to deflect responsibility and say this is from the drug industry-front USANext, but it is the Republicans, it is a typical Republican tactic, the Republicans are benefiting from it and the Republicans certainly are not denouncing it.):

AARP? Not For Me!
From bogus surveys designed to promote a hidden liberal agenda to actively promoting liberal causes like gay marriage, the AARP has become one of America’s most active liberal lobbies — at the expense of seniors and their families. As a result, more and more Americans are standing up to the AARP and saying ‘enough is enough!’ Join the growing grassroots movement and voice your opinion on the AARP!”

By not responding with a fight the management of AARP is allowing their organization to be dragged through the mud by fascist thugs. But it’s more than that. Managing an organization as large and important and public as AARP puts them in a position with a certain amount of responsibility for the national discourse. By not responding they are allowing this kind of thug tactic to continue and grow in effect and harm all of us. The Kerry campaign did not respond to the Swift Boat smear, and look where that got them. This is another chance to fight back, and maybe put a dent in the Republican smear machine. AARP has a responsibility to all of us to try to shut this stuff down!

Bloggers, we need a drumbeat on this! Let’s see if we can get AARP to respond!

Update – And this.

"Dean Scream" tape a fraud

In a column written for the Miami Herald and reprised at www.tallahassee.com, Edward Wasserman, the Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University, revealed how the media used out-of-context video tape of Howard Dean to end his campaign, the same “Dean scream” tape now being repeated ad nausea on television to re-discredit Dean, the new Chair of the Democratic Party.

On the clip shown 700 times after the Iowa caucus, Dean is screaming for no apparent reason, red in the face, his voice breaking, seemingly out of control. His face filled the screen; no supporters were visible. Crowd noise was silenced by a directional microphone which deadened ambient sounds. However on a second clip brought to Wasserman by a young producer, was the same speech taped by a supporter on the floor of the hall. The place was packed. The noise was deafening. Dean was on the podium, but you couldn’t hear him, drowned out by his supporters. He was no longer over the top; he was like the coach of a NCAA football team at a pre-championship game rally, trying to rally his team and be heard over the roar of enthusiastic fans.

The Scream tape used by the networks and cable channels was a fraud, but the media establishment has never acknowledged it because it incriminates the entire professional mission of television news, the use of pictures to tell a true story. TV producers don’t claim to offer context, just visuals of what really happened. If great footage is profoundly misleading, if it doesn’t tell you what really happened, too bad, even if it derails the political career of a great man and serves the interests of one or the other political party.

Progressive bloggers need to get the real tape out and pound on the media that use the misleading one. It is time we put a stop to assassination of Progressive leaders by lies, whether they be spoken or video.