Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Moyers: Cheney "Poster Boy" for "Military-Industrial Complex" -- 04/21/2003 CyberAlert


1. Moyers: Cheney "Poster Boy" for "Military-Industrial Complex"
Vice President Cheney, Bill Moyers argued on his PBS show on Friday night, is the "poster boy" for the "military-industrial complex" made up of those who "call for war with all the ferocity of non-combatants and then turn around and feed on the corpse of war." Moyers lectured: "America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own and they're privatizing democracy. All the benefits -- the tax cuts, policies and rewards flow in one direction: up."

2. Carlson, Hunt and Russert Return to Tax Cut Bashing Mantra
Back to their pre-war mantra, Margaret Carlson, Al Hunt and Tim Russert are denouncing President Bush's tax cut. On CNN's Capital Gang, Carlson praised "moderate" Republican Senators for more than halving Bush's plan: "George Bush may well say 'thank you' in '04 to the moderate Senators who have held him back from this ill-advised tax cut." Hunt sarcastically suggested: "If the President's looking for another salesman to help him with this tax package, I got a candidate, that old Iraqi information minister. He knows how to sell a fraud." On Meet the Press, Russert favorably read from a David Broder column about how the next generation has been "blighted by the choices of today's politicians to press ahead with an unaffordable tax cut."

3. Jennings: U.S. Violated "International Law" in Museum Looting
ABC News has displayed an obsession with the looting and thefts from the Baghdad Museum, culminating with Peter Jennings on Friday night charging that "the U.S. did not act according to international law to prevent it." World News Tonight has now run at least three full stories in addition to Nightline on Thursday night and a segment about it on Friday's Good Morning America. Jennings concluded by dismissing the Pentagon's defense: "The Pentagon has said, in reply, look, this is war, and stuff happens, the U.S. was fired on from the museum grounds. Not a satisfactory answer for people who say that if the U.S. managed to protect the Ministry of Oil, why not this repository of civilization? Why, they ask, is neglect forgivable?"

4. Sarandon Ludicrously Claims $200 Billion Cut in Vet Spending
Actress Susan Sarandon defended the value of her free speech rights by citing, on Friday's Early Show, how "sometimes I have information" of value to the public, such as how "over the next ten years two hundred and some billions of dollars" will be "cut from the budget" for veterans benefits. Sarandon suggested that "people don't know this" and asked: "Now should I be quiet because I have information other people don't have? No." Others don't have her "information" because her claim is ludicrous.


Moyers: Cheney "Poster Boy" for
"Military-Industrial Complex"

Vice President Cheney, Bill Moyers argued on his PBS show on Friday night, is the "poster boy" for the "military-industrial complex" made up of those who "call for war with all the ferocity of non-combatants and then turn around and feed on the corpse of war."

Citing the awarding of a contract to Bechtel to re-build Iraq and how the company has connections to the Bush administration, Moyers lectured on PBS's Now: "Illegal? Not in our system. Unsavory? No matter how you slice it. But the main point is this: America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own and they're privatizing democracy. All the benefits -- the tax cuts, policies and rewards flow in one direction: up."

The "Bill Moyers Journal" commentary came at the end of the April 18 Now which had earlier featured, the MRC's Tim Graham informed me, a lengthy segment with New York Times economics columnist Jeff Madrick, a former NBC News reporter, denouncing Bush's tax cut plans.

PBS's Bill Moyers Moyers intoned: "Earlier in this hour Jeff Madrick talked about how inequality is changing the country. Politics determines economic outcomes and campaign contributions give the edge to those who can afford the entre. It goes even deeper. What's emerged full-blown is the military-industrial complex famously predicted and feared by President Eisenhower 50 years ago.
"It's no longer possible to tell where the corporate world ends and government begins. The poster boy for this new elite is Richard Cheney. As the head of Halliburton he made a fortune for the influence and access gained through his earlier service in government. Then Halliburton corporation gets favored and confidential treatment soon after Mr. Cheney becomes George Bush's Vice President.
"This week the big construction company Bechtel received a contract that could pay three quarters of a billion dollars for work in post-war Iraq. Bechtel gives lots of money to politicians, mostly to Republicans. On its board is George Shultz, who ran Bechtel before he became President Reagan's Secretary of State. One of Bechtel's Senior Vice Presidents is a former General who serves on the Defense Policy Board, along with other hawks like Richard Perle and James Woolsey, who wanted war with Iraq and got it. They advise the Pentagon and then turn around and make money out of their defense contacts.
"These fellows are all honorable men, I'm sure. But they call for war with all the ferocity of non-combatants and then turn around and feed on the corpse of war. Illegal? Not in our system. Unsavory? No matter how you slice it. But the main point is this: America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own and they're privatizing democracy. All the benefits -- the tax cuts, policies and rewards flow in one direction: up -- and the people Jeff Madrick talked about, whose faith in the fairness of the American way of life is the bulwark of our country, are left outside looking in."

Conservatives continue to be on the outside of PBS looking in at the liberals like Moyers who use the taxpayer-subsidized network to advance their own personal political vendettas.

Carlson, Hunt and Russert Return to
Tax Cut Bashing Mantra

Back to their pre-war mantra, Time's Margaret Carlson, the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt and NBC's Tim Russert are denouncing President Bush's tax cut as fiscally irresponsible while not mentioning plans for a new prescription drug benefit which will easily exceed the "cost" of the tax cut, nor how the Bush tax cut, on a static basis, will reduce federal tax revenue by barely 3 percent.

On CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday night Carlson, referring to how "moderate" Republican Senators Olympia Snow and George Voinovich got Senate leaders to agree to cut Bush's tax plan down to $350 billion over ten years, down from $726 billion, opined: "George Bush may well say 'thank you' in '04 to the moderate Senators who have held him back from this ill-advised tax cut."

Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal sarcastically suggested on Capital Gang: "If the President's looking for another salesman to help him with this tax package, I got a candidate, that old Iraqi information minister. He knows how to sell a fraud."

On Sunday's Meet the Press Tim Russert described Bush's tax cut as "large" and favorably read from a March column by Washington Post reporter David Broder about how "sadly...youngsters yet to be born will see their choices limited, their prospects blighted by the choices of today's politicians to press ahead with an unaffordable tax cut even while the costs of war and reconstruction make earlier spending estimates wildly unrealistic."

On the April 19 Capital Gang Carlson argued: "Well, you know, once the bombs stop falling on Baghdad, and it's reconstructing Baghdad, people are going to start paying attention to the economy again. And George Bush may well say, 'thank you,' in '04 to the moderate senators who have held him back from this ill-advised tax cut. Now, speaking of the war, you have the House of Representatives speech after speech praising the troops, and declaring their undying support, and then voting to cut veterans' benefits so we can have this tax cut that almost nobody except the administration shock and awe economists believe in." (See item #4 below for more about these imaginary "cuts" to veterans benefits.)

Hunt chimed in with this sarcastic remark: "If the President's looking for another salesman to help him with this tax package, I got a candidate, that old Iraqi information minister. He knows how to sell a fraud....This is such a fraud. This is not economic stimulus, Mark, this is....This is a giveaway to wealthy investors and contributors."

The next morning on Meet the Press Russert opened a segment with a panel, made up of Broder, New York Times columnist William Safire and Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Wright, by affectionately recalling a Broder column which denigrates the tax cut idea:
"David Broder, March 23, 2003. Let's watch and read: 'One big, overriding question was at stake.' This is the discussion over our priorities: 'Would President Bush and the Republican majorities in Congress step up to the costs of battle, of homeland defense and of national obligations at home, or would they pass the costs on to future generations? The answer, sadly, is that youngsters yet to be born will see their choices limited, their prospects blighted by the choices of today's politicians to press ahead with an unaffordable tax cut even while the costs of war and reconstruction make earlier spending estimates wildly unrealistic.'
"That was a month ago, David Broder. You stand by it?"
Broder affirmed: "Unfortunately, yes. There was some minor modification that was pushed through by a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans on the budget resolution, but basically, we are still headed for passing the bill off to our children and grandchildren."
Russert: "This was the headline in the Associated Press on Friday, Bill Safire: 'The government ran up a deficit of $252.6 billion in the first six months of the 2003 budget year, nearly twice the total for the same period a year earlier. The latest figures, released Friday by the Treasury Department, highlighted the government's deteriorating fiscal situation. Record deficits are forecast this year next.'
"Five hundred billion dollars and climbing. The $5 trillion surplus, the lockbox has been picked. It's gone, gone, gone. With that in mind, should the President and the Republicans in Congress go forward with a large tax cut?"
Safire: "I remember back in the '80s, the expression all the economists were using was, 'As far as the eye can see.' That's where all the deficits were going to lead us. And then in the '90s, with the boom leading to the bubble and income tax revenue flowing to the government, surpluses appeared and mushroomed and everybody was saying, 'There'll be surpluses as far as the eye can see.' And now here we are again, saying 'Deficits as far as the eye can see.' The eye can't see very far. Economics is not only a dismal science, it's a very inexact science. And take with a large grain of strategic arms limitation talk these projections of huge deficits, because here we're sitting here thinking, for the next 10 years, this is going to be the tax program. And everybody accepts it. Couple of years from now, there'll be a different Congress. Couple of years from then, maybe a different President. They're not going to say, 'Everything decided back in 2003 is what we're going to do.'"
Russert argued: "And you'll have twice as many people on Social Security and Medicare and the life expectancy will continue to go up, and so they'll be on for 15, 20 years. Half the girls born this year, baby girls, will live to 100."
Safire: "And we'll have solutions for that. Somebody'll say-"
Russert: "But the day of reckoning is coming."
Safire: "Not necessarily. Not necessarily. You can change the retirement age, you know."
Russert: "Lots of politicians running around saying, 'change the retirement age'?"
Safire: "No, but five years from now, who knows?"

But as National Review's Kate O'Beirne noted on Capital Gang, the tax cut is really pretty small: "The complaint on the part of members of the Senate is so ridiculous. The federal government's going to spend over $20 trillion over the next 10 years. The notion that a tax cut in the modest amount of $500 billion over 10 years is too much is ludicrous."

Indeed, the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl pointed out that the $350 billion tax cut level would represent a revenue loss to the government, assuming no economic uptick would result, of a piddling 1.4 percent of expected federal revenue, putting a $700 billion cut at about 3 percent of federal revenue -- so the government could spend 97 percent as much as planned. Read Reidl's report.

And the $350 billion tax cut level is well below the minimum of $400 billion a new prescription entitlement program would cost over ten years which, unlike regularly occurs with tax cuts, could not be undone since it will be politically impossible to ever reduce such a program built into Medicare.

But that spending increase does not seem to ever bother Russert.

Jennings: U.S. Violated "International Law"
in Museum Looting

ABC News has displayed an obsession with the looting and thefts from the Baghdad Museum which several network reporters have blamed on the U.S., culminating with Peter Jennings on Friday night charging that "the U.S. did not act according to international law to prevent it."

World News Tonight has now run at least three full stories in addition to the entire Nightline devoted to the topic on Thursday night and a segment about it on Friday's Good Morning America. Both Nightline and GMA featured interviews with Martin Sullivan, Chairman of a federal antiquities board, who quit and denounced President Bush.

As documented in the April 18 CyberAlert, on Thursday night, April 17, Peter Jennings cited "the failure of U.S. forces to prevent the pillage of Iraq's national museum" as he set up an entire story examining "the variety of places the U.S. has not been protecting."

Fast forward to Friday night, April 18, and Jennings returned with another piece on the same subject. He lectured on World News Tonight: "The country has been a living archive of man's earliest history where real connections can be made between then and now, which is why the Pentagon is being so widely criticized for not protecting the history when it captured the capital city. The U.S. is now guarding the entrance to Iraq's national museum, but the damage has already been done."

Jennings concluded the story he narrated himself by dismissing the Pentagon's defense as inadequate and mimicking the spin of critics: "The Pentagon has said, in reply, look, this is war, and stuff happens, the U.S. was fired on from the museum grounds. Not a satisfactory answer for people who say that if the U.S. managed to protect the Ministry of Oil, why not this repository of civilization? Why, they ask, is neglect forgivable?"

The Jennings story in full, followed by a look at the GMA and Nightline segments:

Jennings set up his end of the show polemic on Friday night, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"Finally from us this evening, 'What Value History.' When the U.S. invaded Baghdad, it entered the Fertile Crescent, a region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that was, several thousand years ago, the legitimate cradle of civilization. The country has been a living archive of man's earliest history where real connections can be made between then and now, which is why the Pentagon is being so widely criticized for not protecting the history when it captured the capital city. The U.S. is now guarding the entrance to Iraq's national museum, but the damage has already been done."
Donny George, Iraq Board of Antiquities Director: "It's a great, it's a great shock. The word anger is not enough."
Jennings: "Doctor George's anger is now global."
Elizabeth Stone, Stony Brook University Professor of Anthropology: "It's just inconceivable that we could have allowed this to happen. And I think, I think that's why this is an almost a puzzlement of how did this happen? Is it because it's somebody else's history and not ours?"
Jennings: "And therein lies the source of much anger. What was looted, by both professionals and the mob, was every man's history. Artifacts from the world's first civilizations. The people of Mesopotamia, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians. These were the inventors of the wheel, the calendar, mathematics, the first forms of writing. 'These were the articles,' he said, 'which connected us to 7000 years of civilization. What does the country think it is doing?' He means the Iraqis who desecrated their own museum. But, like some Americans, he also wonders why the U.S. did not act according to international law to prevent it."
Tony Wilkinson, University of Chicago Oriental Institute: "It is actually their responsibility to look after the cultural heritage of that property as much as they can within the chaos of war."
Jennings: "The items missing or destroyed are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Warca Vase from Uric, a Sumerian piece from 3200 B.C. The bronze statue of a seated man from 2400 B.C. The famous Harp of Ur, where the Bible says the prophet Abraham was born. American archeologists are furious because they told the Bush administration it was going to happen in several meetings and in letters."
Stone: "Everything we ever did in terms of talking to the Pentagon said this is the crucial thing."
Jennings concluded: "The Pentagon has said, in reply, look, this is war, and stuff happens, the U.S. was fired on from the museum grounds. Not a satisfactory answer for people who say that if the U.S. managed to protect the Ministry of Oil, why not this repository of civilization? Why, they ask, is neglect forgivable?"

U.S. troops only liberated, in barely three weeks, 20 million from misery, torture and death squads.

Friday morning, during the 7:30am half hour, Good Morning America ran a piece by Dan Harris, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, though Harris avoided the condescending attitude expressed by Jennings. Harris asserted: "Pillage and plunder: 7,000 years of Iraqi history, the history of civilization itself, smashed and robbed in just days of frenzied looting."
Woman museum official: "How I feel? I came quickly to the museum to see."
Harris: "Stolen in broad daylight were 170,000 statues, clay tablets, pottery, jewelry and other historic relics, many from the first stirrings of civilization. All told, billions of dollars lost. All that's left, tears and empty shelves."
Professor John Russell, Massachusetts College of Art: "This is probably the single event from the current Gulf War that'll be remembered in the future. Long after all the other details are forgotten, the Iraqi people will remember this as the moment that their past disappeared."
Harris: "Some say it was the worst ransacking since Genghis Khan tore into Baghdad 700 years ago. This time, an orgy of thievery turned a historical oasis into a wasteland. Some blame the U.S. military for not doing more to prevent it."
Donny George, Museum director: "If you are not stopping, in a way or another, you are encouraging. They should have stopped it."
Harris: "The United States destroyed buildings when it bombed Baghdad, but Iraqi people themselves stole their own history, and now the FBI is moving in."
Mueller do what can to get back
Harris: "There's some question about whether mobs did this or if Saddam's thugs got there before them and ransacked the place in order to embarrass the U.S. There is no question, however, that much of what was lost is irreplaceable."

Co-host Charles Gibson then set up an interview segment: "Well, the loss has been tremendous and the looting has stirred so many emotions and caused anger worldwide, that the President's top art and antiquities advisor resigned this week in protest. Martin Sullivan, who did resign, is joining us now from Washington. Mr. Sullivan, good to have you with us."
Sullivan: "Good morning, Charlie."
Gibson: "Everyone was very shocked that the Iraqis would loot their own priceless heritage, but why would you resign over that?"
Sullivan insisted that he does not blame the troops, but was disappointed that protecting the museum was not a higher priority.
Gibson: "But is it possible that we got into Baghdad so fast that any plans couldn't have been executed?"
Sullivan: "Oh, I think that's probably right, but we didn't hear anything in the run up to the war about this unique cultural heritage and how important it would be for the United States to secure it immediately, nor did we hear it afterwards; you know, we heard about 'untidiness' and 'Henny Penny' and so forth. So I think that we have just not, as a nation, or certainly in the Defense Department, come to terms with the fact that this was going to happen, it's part of a worldwide epidemic of looting of antiquities that's been going on, and that the United States has tried to work against ever since President Reagan's administration. So we're embarrassed, yeah, but again, it's not the troops. I think it's the planning that was at fault."
Gibson: "You cited the 'Henny Penny' quote -- that came from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Did you and other people concerned about this talk to the Defense Department, warn them, tell them that they ought to anticipate that there could be looting of priceless artifacts?"
Sullivan insisted the Pentagon received all kinds of warnings and requests.
Gibson: "And in a few seconds, because I know Iraq is the cradle of civilization, can you give me some sense of just how important, how valuable this is, and maybe a specific of an item that you particularly grieve the loss of?"
Sullivan: "Well, there are just so many things. Remember, it's not just a museum; it's the library. It would be as if here in Washington we lost the whole Mall and the Library of Congress and the National Archives."
Gibson: "Hmm, all those museums along the Mall, as well as the Library of Congress -- that's an interesting analogy. Martin Sullivan, appreciate you being with us. Thanks very much."

But Americans didn't do the stealing, Iraqis did.

The night before, on the April 17 Nightline, Sullivan appeared with Peter Galbraith, former U.S. ambassador to Croatia. Anchor Chris Bury at least challenged Sullivan: "Mr. Sullivan, presumably you knew that your resignation would embarrass the White House. Was that your intention?"
Sullivan: "Not at all..."
Bury: "Well, let me read from your resignation letter just for a moment: 'While our military forces have displayed extraordinary precision and restraint in deploying arms, and apparently in securing the oil ministry and oil fields, they have been nothing short of impotent in failing to attend to the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage.' Those are pretty strong words. I mean, the military here was fighting a war. To call it 'impotent,' is that not a stretch?"

Sarandon Ludicrously Claims $200 Billion Cut
in Vet Spending

Actress Susan Sarandon defended the value of her free speech rights by citing, on Friday's Early Show, how "sometimes I have information" a value to the public, such as how "over the next ten years two hundred and some billions of dollars" will be "cut from the budget" for veterans benefits. Sarandon suggested that "people don't know this," but "I can tell people that this is about to happen." She asked: "Now should I be quiet because I have information other people don't have? No."

Others don't have her "information" because her claim is ludicrous. Spending on veterans program is set to climb next year with spending on health care and other discretionary accounts for veterans to soar by over 12 percent.

Given the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs is under $30 billion annually and all veterans-related spending totals about $60 billion a year, a $200 billion cut, even over ten years, would be quite a feat. And she did say "billions," not "millions," as she emphasized the "b."

Sarandon came aboard the April 18 Early Show to plug her then-upcoming CBS Sunday night made-for-TV movie, "Ice Bound: A Woman's Survival at the South Pole," in which she played Dr. Jerri Nielsen who, while working at a South Pole research station, discovered she had breast cancer.

As Harry Smith nodded approvingly throughout her comments, she suggested some sort of White House conspiracy behind why she was disinvited from a United Way event in Florida because of her anti-war and Bush-hating views, contending she has valuable "information" to convey:
"I don't know what the real reason was, but the head visited Bush and then suddenly they came back and said it would be divisive for me to go because of my stance on the war, 'might be divisive.' And it's an interesting idea, you know, to say to people, ironic really since we're supposedly liberating these people for democracy and then you're telling people in this country where we have a democracy that you can't have a difference of opinion where the very basis for democracy is healthy discourse.
"And I think that people need to know what their options are and they need information and sometimes I have information. Like right now there's a huge billion dollars, billions of dollars being cut from the budget for veteran's rights and health care, for veteran's benefits and health care. Over the next ten years two hundred and some billions of dollars. People don't know this. So here I am and I can tell people that this is about to happen. Now should I be quiet because I have information other people don't have? No."

That ended the interview time, not that Smith would otherwise have challenged her claim.

Like all big government liberals Sarandon has distorted a slight decrease in a projected rate of increase as a "cut." I could not find any news stories with anything beyond vague references to the spending on veterans programs agreed to by the House and Senate a couple of weeks ago, but the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, chaired by Chris Smith of New Jersey, posted this in an April 11 press release:
"The conference report set a funding level for veterans programs for fiscal year 2004 of $63.8 billion, $6.2 billion higher than the 2003 level. This amount is $1.8 billion higher than the level proposed by the President earlier this year. The higher amount eliminates any need for changes or cuts to veterans disability and education programs. For veterans health care and similar 'discretionary' accounts, the budget provides a 12.9 percent increase ($3.4 billion) over the 2003 level. VA officials testified earlier this year that an increase of this amount was needed to maintain access for the nearly 5 million veterans expected to use VA services in 2004."

That press release is online at veterans.house.gov.

See a picture of Sarandon on the Early Show or view the interview via RealPlayer, on the Early Show website.

> Another John Stossel special tonight on ABC, Help Me! I Can't Help Myself, about people who insist others must accommodate their addictions. In a clip shown on today's GMA he suggests to some fat people that instead of being upset about having to pay for two airline seats that they eat less so they can fit into one. The show will air at 8pm EST/PST, 7pm CST/MST.

-- Brent Baker