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A Press Conference

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  • ProudLiberal7@aol.com
    A Press Conference This time, with real live reporters © Bryan Zepp Jamieson 4/30/05 http://zeppscommentaries.com/Politics/pc43005.htm Putsch, clearly
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1 12:32 AM
      A Press Conference
      This time, with real live reporters

      © Bryan Zepp Jamieson
      4/30/05
      http://zeppscommentaries.com/Politics/pc43005.htm

          Putsch, clearly feeling his back was against the wall on the whole
      issue of Social Security, came out from under the White House where he
      had recently been hiding from stray clouds, and braved a press corps
      that was noticeably absent paid GOP hacks and male prostitutes.

          With approval ratings for recent GOP miscues such as Social Security,
      ending the filibuster, and Terri Schiavo all in the 30s, and his own
      down around the mid 40s (the lowest ever for a President just four
      months after reelection), Putsch’s handlers clearly felt that the risk
      of Putsch saying something really stupid was outweighed by the need to
      stop the slide.

          Of course, just six months ago, they didn’t need to worry about Putsch
      saying something stupid.  He did, all the time (“I own a timber
      company?”) but the American media, so ably represented in class and
      intent by Jeff Gannon, never reported such things, preferring instead to
      rhapsodize about how Churchillean Putsch was.

          So, Bob Scheiffer notwithstanding, when Putsch screwed up the other
      night, it did get reported.  (More on Scheiffer’s efforts to protect the
      president from his own mouth in a moment.)

          Folks at Air America and MediaMatters and the new anti-Drudge website,
      “Raw Story,” had a field day with the press conference, of course, but
      mainstream reporters, doubtlessly mortified by Armstrong Williams and
      Jeff Gannon, actually asked Putsch some pointed questions, and reported
      on his generally weak responses.  No word on if they were still being
      required to submit the questions in advance.  Putsch dealt with the hard
      questions by not answering them, of course. Compare with that painful
      charade of a press conference held in March of 2003 on the eve of battle.

          And, not to be too cynical, but a lot of the business-oriented
      associates who own all those little reporters in the mainstream media
      are beginning to get cold feet over the insane ideology and religious
      whackery that is the hallmark of this administration.  I suspect a lot
      of reporters feel freer to report critically, without feeling their jobs
      might be at risk, than was the case just a year ago.

          When Putsch pulled one of his usual gambits, trying to have his cake
      and eat it too, it got reported.  He pulled one of his favorite talking
      points, the pre-fabricated phrases that make up so much of his
      vernacular, which he had been playing all during his efforts to
      dismantle Social Security: He referred to the funds as “...file cabinets
      full of IOUs” (in Putsch-friendly “town meetings” he likes to say
      “useless IOUs” – apparently he was warned to avoid that particular
      adjective during a full-blown – even without Jeff Gannon – press
      conference) and then, literally seconds later, said, “People say, Well,
      I don't want to have to take risk. Well, as I outlined in my opening
      statement, there are ways where you don't have to take risk.  People
      say, I'm worried about the stock market going down right before I
      retire. You can manage your assets. You can go from bonds and stocks to
      only bonds as you get older.”

          Those “cabinets full of IOUs” are the very treasury bonds he’s
      encouraging people to invest in!  What’s more, it’s what people
      CURRENTLY have their Social Security accounts invested in!

          This is where Bob Schieffer stepped in, remarking after the press
      conference that it seemed that “the President did not appear to step on
      his own story” when of course it was transparently evident to one and
      all that he did.  I wonder if Schieffer was Gannon’s mentor?

          Putsch stated at one point, “I feel strongly that there needs to be
      voluntary personal savings accounts as a part of the Social Security
      system.”  Well, why not have voluntary personal savings, period?  That
      way, there’s no cap on returns, like there is on his half-baked scheme
      (that’s right, folks: working folks would assume the risk, but the
      government would assume the rewards beyond what people would get
      anyway!) and it could be done without messing with Social Security: just
      encourage companies to pay their workers better.

          When all else failed, he tried blustering.  When the focus shifted to
      his efforts to have “means testing,” the practice of cutting benefits in
      relation to other income, he avoided mentioning that his plan envisioned
      implementing such cuts when the other income exceeded twenty thousand a
      year (that would be “the upper middle class”, it seems).  A reporter
      asked of means testing, is it “... a system where a rich person, say
      Dick Cheney, wouldn't get much out of it?”  Putsch snapped, “Now wait a
      minute, don't get personal here, that's international TV. That's a cheap
      shot.”

          No, it isn’t.  Of course, Cheney won’t get much of a Social Security
      check, since he spent most of the past twenty five years in public life,
      but his pay-off, the short time he was President of Halliburton, ensures
      that he’ll never have to worry about the size of his Social Security
      check.  No eating dog food for old Dick!

          Incidently, there is one little nasty in his Social Security
      privatization scheme that he forgot to mention: the accounts would not
      be protected in the event of bankruptcy.  As it stands now, if you go
      bankrupt, for whatever reason, your Social Security is still there, and
      your checks are protected.  The privatized ones won’t be.  So you work
      all your life, get hit by a bus, your insurance doesn’t pay (and why
      should they, since it’s nearly impossible to sue them under “tort
      reform”) and you declare bankruptcy at the age of 65.  No Social
      Security for YOU; it all goes to satisfying creditors!  Enjoy that dog
      food, and be glad that Dick Cheney hasn’t bought it all up!

          When Putsch wasn’t contradicting himself, he was playing games with
      numbers.  “The system goes broke in 2041. In 2027, for those listening,
      we'll be obligated to pay $200 billion more a year than we take in in
      order to make sure the baby boomers get the benefits they've been
      promised.”  The “goes broke in 2041" is based on an assumption that the
      economy will only grow at 1.3% a year for the next 36 years. But even
      then, look at what he was really saying: if we wait 23 years to fix it,
      it will cost $200 billion a year, or nearly as much as we’re wasting in
      Iraq now.  If we do something about it right now, it will cost less than
      $50 billion a year, and will bullet-proof Social Security against 36
      years of severe recession.  That’s what he was saying!

          And then, of course, he flatout lied, too.  For example, he referred to
      the charming practice of “renditioning,” which is that of shipping
      people off to other countries to be tortured, as “hypothetical.”
      There’s no hypothetical about it.  America has been doing it for some
      time, and the proof of it is there for all to see.  If Putsch is bright
      enough to run a computer, he might get on what he calls “the inter nets”
      and do a Google for Maher Arar.  It’s not a common name: nonetheless,
      he’ll get quite a few hits on it, mostly dealing with a huge lawsuit by
      the Syrian-born Canadian against the US.

          On Iraq, he was, as always, panglossian.  He chirped happily about the
      progress of the Iraqi army (that would be the one that is getting
      slaughtered at the rate of over 100 a week), remarking,  “Recruitment's
      high. It's amazing, isn't it, that people want to serve, they want their
      country to be free?” Well, when it’s the only paying gig in town, maybe
      it’s not so amazing.  The very best neighborhoods in Iraq get eight
      hours of electricity a day, and others average less than three.  The
      very town where Saddam gassed the Kurds has been without fresh water
      since the Americans deliberately destroyed it during the early fighting
      in the spring of 2003.  Less than one percent of reconstruction projects
      have already begun.  Oh, and there is a civil war going on.

          No, Iraq isn’t doing very well at all, Putsch.

          We did get to see a new verbal tic this time.  Every time he got hit
      with a hard question, he would begin his reply with, “Yes, I appreciate
      that...”

          Just like we appreciate him, no doubt.
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