• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683.


Down on Our Knees


Standing before more than 1,400 loyalists and lobbyists who threw him more than $3.5 million, President Bush claimed he "got the economy going again . . . laid the foundation for greater prosperity" and defended the country against terrorism.

Assuming he was neither drunk or stoned, he may have believed what he was spinning.

But, let’s look at the record. First up, the economy.

–More than 2.7 million jobs have been lost during the past two years. More than 10 million are unemployed, the highest unemployment rate since the Bush I era.

–The Republican-controlled Congress failed to pass any significant legislation to raise the minimum wage or to provide health coverage for 60 million Americans.

–although the Administration says it wants to extend universal health coverage to all Iraqis.

–President Bush declared that leading economists said if the $350 million tax cut was approved, the economy would grow by 3.3 percent. As Gordon Livingston, writing in the Baltimore Sun, correctly noted, "no such report exists."

–What does exist is a welfare package for the rich. The top one percent, many of whom live on dividends and stock sales, benefit far more than most Americans who are paid hourly. Among their benefits are reduced income taxes, dividend exclusions and capital gains benefits, and a special deduction of up to $100,000 for any vehicle over three tons. About 50 million lower- and middle-class families get nothing; about 20 million get less than $100. In his original proposal, eventually modified by Congress, President Bush allocated nothing for military pay increases, nor any provisions to cover military families.

–The package includes a "child tax credit." Those with incomes below $26,625 a year get nothing. In killing the credit for low-income families, House Majority Leader Tom Delay coldly set the Republican priority. "There are other things that are more important," he told more than 12 million families.

–Among the "more important" items was a $1 million expense to turn around the U.S.S. Lincoln as it neared San Diego so the flight-suited President Bush could jet out and pose for several hundred cameras.

–Although President Bush declared he wanted corporate reforms, the actions of the administration proved otherwise. Halliburton, the company that Vice-President Cheney once ran, got a no-bid contract to help clean up Iraq–after American-led forces tried to destroy and are now trying to "Americanize" one of the world’s oldest civilizations. There have yet to be any prosecutions for Enron or WorldCom, among dozens of other corporations, which gave multi-million dollar benefits and bonuses to its executives while the workers lost their savings and retirements.

Let’s now look at the President’s claims that he is responsible for reducing the levels of terror.

–What the Administration has reduced is the number of airport security screeners, delayed implementation of port security vulnerability assessments, and given the Coast Guard even more responsibilities with severe budget constraints. Nevertheless, we now have a color scheme.

–In his January 28 State of the Union message to justify his planned war, the President strongly implied that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda, and claimed that Iraq already had and was continuing to develop substantial quantities of biological and chemical weapons. He even cited documents that he said proved Iraq was buying supplies from African countries. Even as the President spoke, intelligence agencies had called these documents suspicious; the documents later proved to be forgeries. Those who argued there was no justification to go to war with Iraq, no matter how evil its leader was, were banded by the President’s followers to be unpatriotic and un-American. No intelligence agency claimed there was any connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks. In Poland after the war, the President declared "We found weapons of mass destruction." But, two months after the war was officially over, but with American troops still dying in Iraq, Marine Lt. Gen. James Conway, said that extensive searching showed no weapons of mass destruction exists.

–At the same time the Bush administration is de-arming Iraqi civilians–claiming that guns are too dangerous for the average citizen–the NRA-controlled administration is doing nothing to influence the NRA-controlled Congress to continue the temporary ban on assault weapons when it expires in September, thus raising Americans’ own terror levels.

–And then there’s John Ashcroft. The attorney general, with complete approval and encouragement from the White House, launched a massive attack upon the Constitution and civil liberties. Patriot Act I, with its sequel in development stages, has provisions that make even Saddam Hussein’s disregard for human rights look rather mild. In a scathing report, the Justice Department’s own inspector general blasted the FBI and Justice for massive violation of citizen rights.

When Bill Clinton came into office, after George H. W. Bush had led the nation into a series of domestic crises, there were 10 million unemployed, a federal debt that was four times greater than under Reagan/Bush, higher welfare and crime cases than ever before, massive environmental and MediCare cuts, and a $290 billion deficit. When Mr. Clinton left office eight years later, the nation had experienced the biggest economic expansion in history. More than 22 million new jobs were created, unemployment dropped to the lowest rate in 30 years, and welfare cases were down by almost half. He also stopped massive Medicare and environmental cuts imposed by the previous Republican administration, and set aside more land for environment than anyone since Teddy Roosevelt a century earlier. He put 150,000 Americans into AmeriCorps to aid the impoverished, added the family medical leave policy, special tax credits for families whose children were in college, provided federal funding for more than 100,000 teachers and 10,000 police, and allowed two million more impoverished children to benefit from health coverage. He created stronger ties to other nations, directed the biggest expansion of the GI Bill of Rights since World War II, and gave America a $230 billion surplus. A political witch hunt by conservatives led to several million taxpayer dollars to investigate Travelgate and Whitewatergate, neither of which had any substance. A politically-motivated investigation by the incoming Bushians of theft and malicious violence in the White House and Air Force One fizzled among massive government documents that proved otherwise.

However, because Intern Monica got down on her knees before Mr. Clinton who then lied about it, he was disgraced and impeached, though not convicted.

When George W. Bush gets down on his knees before corporations and a phalanx of special interest lobbyists who tuck wads of dollar bills into his elastic campaign fund, then lies about the economy, innumerable domestic issues, and reasons to send American youth into war, we just nod our heads and tell him to keep sucking and spinning.

Go figure.

Walt Brasch’s latest book is "The Joy of Sax: America During the Bill Clinton Era." You may reach him at brasch@bloomu.edu. Assisting was Rosemary R. Brasch.

October 13, 2015
Dave Lindorff
US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital
Steve Martinot
The Politics of Prisons and Prisoners
Heidi Morrison
A Portrait of an Immigrant Named Millie, Drawn From Her Funeral
Andre Vltchek
Horrid Carcass of Indonesia – 50 Years After the Coup
Jeremy Malcolm
All Rights Reserved: Now We Know the Final TTP is Everything We Feared
Paul Craig Roberts
Recognizing Neocon Failure: Has Obama Finally Come to His Senses?
Theodoros Papadopoulos
The EU Has Lost the Plot in Ukraine
Roger Annis
Ukraine Threatened by Government Negligence Over Polio
Matthew Stanton
The Vapid Vote
Louisa Willcox
Tracking the Grizzly’s Number One Killer
Binoy Kampmark
Assange and the Village Gossipers
Robert Koehler
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
Jon Flanders
Railroad Workers Fight Proposed Job Consolidation
Mel Gurtov
Manipulating Reality: Facebook Is Listening to You
Mark Hand
Passion and Pain: Photographer Trains Human Trafficking Survivors
October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid