Dear Bush Beat . . .

You’re going to hell . . . we’re all going to hell . . . Baghdad is hell . . . name the kleptocrats

Bob Schaeffer writes:

Why bother writing this crap? No evangelical, or for that matter, no honest Believer of any kind reads this socialist rag. You’re singing to the Godless choir. Hope that will soothe your soul when you realize just how long eternity truly is.

Thank you for reading. As far as my soul is concerned, Bob, nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Dick Cheney.

Roger Bradshaw, editor at 21st Century/China Daily, writes from Beijing:

Bush Beat is without a doubt the most amazing collection of stories on this outrageously ridiculous man that I have read. You are really to be commended for this magnificent piece of work.

Thank you for reading. But let’s thank George W. Bush because, Roger, you just can’t make this shit up. Earlier this month, for instance, as pre-eminent Bushism collector Jacob Weisberg notes, the president told a crowd in Erie, Pennsylvania:

That’s why I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental—supplemental—funding, which is money for armor and body parts and ammunition and fuel.

That seems like a waste of money, Dubya. There are plenty of fresh body parts in Baghdad after this morning’s bomb blast.

Joe Young writes:

This statement [in the September 3 Bush Beat] is very telling: ” . . . the two parties divide up the spoils by gerrymandering the U.S. House of Representatives.” But the issue is deeper than Bush, Kerry, Clinton, and Cheney. There is only ONE major party in the United States. It is called “The Democratic Party and the Republican Party.” This party is the party of big business and big government. For example, rhetoric aside, Bush greatly INCREASED the size of government!

Thank you for reading. Yes, Joe, there does seem to be one party, but let’s call them the Plutocrats or the Kleptocrats—something catchy. I’m open to suggestions.

The big media, definitely a part of this crew, are also to blame for blinding themselves to this blurring of party lines. For example, the rapidly declining New York Times, once the nation’s finest paper but now far behind the likes of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, recently ran a piece by Floyd Norris that excoriated the board of directors of Hollinger International (owner of the Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post, and until recently, The Daily Telegraph in London). The media conglomerate’s own appointed investigative panel (which included a former SEC chairman) said the company was looted by its former CEO, Conrad Black. (Norris’s September 1 Times story was re-posted here by the Australian Financial Review.) Norris rightly pointed out that the devastating critique of the Hollinger board—a must-read for all Americans because of its literate description of how big business works—particularly skewered top neocon warmonger Richard Perle. Problem was, Norris added this:

Democrats were not left out, with the board including Robert S. Strauss, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Richard R. Burt, a former United States ambassador to Germany.

Yes, Strauss was a Democrat. Yes, Strauss was even Jimmy Carter‘s campaign chairman in 1976. But he was Reagan‘s ambassador to the Soviet Union, and it’s Strauss’s business connections that have helped Republicans (and some Democrats) profit from Russian plunder following the collapse of the “evil empire.” Some Democrat he is.

As for Richard Burt, well, bear with me for a rather long-winded discussion:

A week after Norris’s story ran, the Times ran a correction that noted it “misstated the political affiliation of a director, Richard R. Burt. He was an official during a Republican administration, that of Ronald Reagan, not a Democratic one.”

We all make mistakes (I certainly do), but what the Times neglected to say is that Burt was a former Times reporter, and not just some anonymous hack but the guy on the paper’s national-security beat in the late 1970s until he went to the State Department near the end of the Carter administration. Reagan made him an assistant secretary of state of European affairs in 1982 and then, in 1985, sent him to West Germany as ambassador. In 1989, George Bush the Elder picked Burt as the strategic arms talks negotiator. On all three occasions, by the way, cracker senator Jesse Helms raised questions about what was termed at the time Burt’s former “social relationship” with Times reporter Judith Miller. Helms claimed that Burt leaked stories to Miller, including one in June 1979. (At the time, it was reported that Burt acknowledged a friendship with Miller but denied leaking stories through her.)

If you recall, Judith Miller’s “wretched reporting” (as Slate‘s Jack Shafer termed it) trumpeted CIA stooge Ahmed Chalabi‘s WMD tales in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Considering that many of America’s middle-management media muckamucks (especially the TV tyros) blindly follow the Times‘ news judgment in deciding what’s “important,” you have to give some props to the Times for convincing the populace to support our unilateral invasion of Iraq.

OK, you’re saying that Richard Burt’s stint as a Times reporter was a long time ago. Well, it’s still relevant for the paper that employed him to point out that connection when writing about him. Besides, Federal Election Commission records indicate that Burt has given money only to Republicans. So where did this “Democrat” bit come from?

These days, Burt is a co-chair of an outfit called Diligence, which is also being run by Bush’s 2000 campaign manager Joe Allbaugh. Diligence is working hard to make money consulting and providing security to businesses interested in profiting from rebuilding the Iraq that the Bush administration is currently bombing into rubble. (See how that works?)

Diligence describes itself as “the premier global risk consulting, corporate intelligence, due diligence and strategic business information gathering firm founded by former members of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s MI5 Intelligence Service.” Burt’s company opened an office in Baghdad in July 2003. Douglas Jehl of the Times wrote a story last September about Allbaugh’s setup, and Burt rated only a mention, with no word of his having once been a prominent Times reporter. ( re-posted Jehl’s story here.)

Now if you also want to profit from Iraq’s misery, read this sales-pitch letter from both Burt and Allbaugh.

Yes, Burt is some Democrat, all right. I’d like to ask him how anyone could think he’s a Democrat, but no one from Diligence replied to my e-mail.

Want more blurred party lines? The consulting firm Kissinger McLarty Associates is an amalgam of Nixon/Bush Junior confidant Henry Kissinger and Mack McLarty, Clinton’s chief of staff.

So we know that the party lines blur where profit is concerned. There are still some differences between the parties, of course. Another four years of Bush would give him power to shape the Supreme Court—read Michael Dorf‘s sober, exhaustive analysis of the impact of the next POTUS on the aging SCOTUS. And dismantling the corporatist kleptocracy would be even more difficult after another Bush term, assuming we don’t provoke a nuclear war somewhere on the planet we’re trying to conquer.

But the basic problem will remain: What do we call this imperialistic corporate-welfare party made up of Republicans and most of the so-called centrist Democrats like the Clinton-GoreLieberman DLC types? What are they? Other than schmucks, I mean.

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