Bush administration opportunism

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The following are examples of incidences of Bush administration opportunism, particularly those used to divert public attention from other Bush administration antics such as: Bush administration leaks; Bush administration propaganda and disinformation; Bush administration scandals; and Bush administration smear campaigns.

Incidences of Opportunism

Bush administration smear campaigns

Bush Teleconference with Soldiers in Iraq Staged

fake news

Hurricane Katrina

President Bush will be traveling to the Gulf Coast on the fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "Bush hopes to rekindle the sense of broad national purpose that rallied the public behind him then," Peter Baker, wrote in the Washington Post, September 10, 2005.

Jessica Lynch

Operation Swarmer

Pat Tillman

September 11, 2001: 4th Anniversary "Freedom Walk"

Tammy Pruett

Rolling Thunder Memorial Day Rally 2005

Rolling Thunder, a "biker group that supports veterans' rights, ... has been staging the rally on Memorial Day weekend since 1988 to focus attention on POW-MIA issues."

Joining "thousands of bikers riding through Washington" from "Arlington National Cemetery to the National Vietnam War Memorial before heading to the Lincoln Memorial" was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, and his wife.

"Later in the day, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gave a speech to members of Rolling Thunder near the Lincoln Memorial ... [thanking] the veterans' commitment to the cause of freedom." AP, May 30, 2005.

Second Term Non-Issues: Social Security, John R. Bolton, etc.

What if, asked Dave Lindorff in the April 21, 2005, issue of CounterPunch, the Republican "campaign and road show" regarding "saving Social Security," as well as the "voting integrity issue, the question of fraud in the 2004 election," the "Congressional assault on liberal judges," and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, are just part of a "grand diversion designed to keep Democrats, and especially progressives and the labor movement, all worked up and focused on saving Social Security, while the White House and congressional Republicans (and their quizling Democratic supporters like Joe Lieberman) do major damage in myriad other areas."

Lindorff said to "Notice how little effective opposition there was in Congress, and especially out in the street and in communities, over the bankruptcy bill, over the latest round of $82 billion in funding for the War against Iraq, over the restrictions on class action lawsuits."

He wrote that, considering Bush's poor popularity ratings in his second term and the thinness of the Republican "majority in both houses of Congress ... it's nothing short of astonishing that he's been having such an easy time of it, legislatively."

And, he added, "One might even argue that there's method to the madness of putting rabid dogs like John Bolton up for a nothing job like UN ambassador--a post that has traditionally been the equivalent of being put out to pasture. Like the campaign against Social Security, it gets the more progressive Democrats all riled up, but ends up having them waste time and energy opposing something that, in the grand scheme of things, is really rather meaningless."

"As long as the Democratic Party continues to play defense, and refuses to challenge the underlying pro-corporate, anti-worker, imperial agenda of the Bush administration, Bush and Rove will be able to keep Congressional Democrats, mainstream Democratic voters and even the left running around from issue to issue like ants disoriented after the rock covering their home has been lifted.

"Meanwhile, while they scurry around ineffectively, the U.S. economy is being hollowed out, health insurance is being terminated by even large corporate employers, the environment is being destroyed, schools are being turned into test centers, the country is getting dragged ever deeper into an endless war, cities are falling back into decay, the Constitution is being trashed, and corporations and the rich are getting ever richer.

"It's all devilishly clever," he concluded. [1]

Terri Schiavo

  • One only has to wonder briefly what purpose the sudden Bush administration interest in the 15-year-old right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo serves, particularly since "interest" stirred simultaneously with the second anniversary of the launching of the shock and awe phase of the U.S.-led preemptive war against Iraq on March 19, 2003.
Sad to say, it would appear that Terri Shiavo has become the diversion du jour in another example of Bush administration opportunism. The number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq to date has exceeded 1500 and the numbers of wounded, disabled, suicides, MIAs, POWs, AWOLs, and those with post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological damage are unclear, at best. This does not account for members of the "coalition of the willing", civilian contractors, members of the media, Iraqi insurgency, and Iraqi civilians.
How convenient it is to be discussing the "pro-life" bias of this administration when Iraq has turned into a giant slaughterhouse. Is Terri Schiavo, then, the unfortunate victim of a media feeding frenzy initiated to divert attention from the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq?
In the face of so many questions about media integrity and manufactured journalism, particularly the Jeff Gannon/Talon News scandal, Bush administration scare tactics and recently engineered media blitz about the future of Social Security and "private savings accounts," the reappearance of Bush supporter Kenneth Lay and the Enron scandal, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's evolving fundraising abuse scandal, two recent controversial nominations by President Bush -- John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Paul Dundes Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank --, among other issues, a right-to-life/right-to-die case is sure to provide sufficient diversion and cover for other activities upon which the administration would rather the world did not dwell.
And what might those "activities" be? Well, for one thing, August Keso writes March 22, 2005, that it is to attack the judiciary, weaken it, and then consolidate executive and federal power and to appoint non-"liberal" judges, particularly in light of the fact that it was a Clinton-appointed judge who would not order Terri's feeding tube reinstalled. A concrete example of that consolidation of power can be seen in the fact that, since the passage of Patriot Act I, there has been a "75% increase in the number of documents labeled 'secret'."
"Matter of fact," Keso says, "their callous and brazen use of Terri Schiavo proves that the Republican Party's need and desire for power has no limits." [2]
  • "Terri Schiavo deserves our sympathy and our Godspeed. ... She was just an innocent bystander to a political, Elmer Gantry circus of GOP political opportunists and religious hucksters. ... with the help of the infamous Randall Terry and the GOP hypocrisy machine, a case long ago settled by the courts, was hijacked to advance Republican fortunes and fill the pocket books of celebrity fundamentalist preachers." BuzzFlash editorial, March 28, 2005.

. . . and bankrolling life support

  • Jon B. Eisenberg asks March 4, 2005, "Have you ever wondered who is bankrolling the seemingly endless courtroom effort to keep Terri Schiavo's feeding tube attached?
"During the Watergate scandal, investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were famously advised to 'follow the money'. In the Schiavo case, the money leads to a consortium of conservative foundations, with $2 billion in total assets, that are funding a legal and public relations war of attrition intended to prolong Terri's life indefinitely in order to further their own faith-based cultural agendas."
After conducting research on the internet, Eisenberg "learned that many of the attorneys, activists and organizations working to keep Schiavo on life support all these years have been funded by members of the Philanthropy Roundtable."
Through Media Transparency and the Schindler family website terrisfight.org, Eisenberg "learned of a network of funding connections between some of the Philanthropy Roundtable's members and various organizations behind the Schindlers, their lawyers and supporters, and the lawyers who represented Gov. Jeb Bush in Bush v. Schiavo." The Recorder.

Athletes' abuse of steroids

  • "When President Bush included athletes' abuse of steroids as a principal plank in his [ State of the Union 2005 ], many reputable news outlets sensibly ignored that portion of the speech, which many thought bizarre, and some thought merely an oddly-conceived attempt to divert voters from more serious problems.
"Now Karl Rove, the brain behind Bush's speech, must be chuckling as newspapers as influential as the Boston Globe divert their readers from the Iraq war, the dollar's unprecedented plummet, the scandalous state of healthcare with banner-headline front-page stories on steroid abuse ....
"If either President Bush or the Republican Party seriously considered steroid abuse a problem of national importance, simple logic suggests that neither would have embraced steroid-abuser Arnold Schwarzenegger as the GOP's West Coast standard bearer." [3]

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