Condi Under Oath

by JOHN L. HESS

 

So Condy will take the oath, after all, to tell the truth so help her god. Right out in public. When she met privately with the commission, not under oath, she said nobody ever warned her that airliners might be hijacked and turned into bombs. She’s had to admit that she “misspoke.” That doesn’t mean we can believe her, at last. The Bush gang includes several men who’ve been convicted of lying under oath.

Lies got our country into a criminal and disastrous war–and nobody takes the blame. The main headline in the Times Review of the Week asked, “Where Does the Buck Stop?” and it answered, “Not Here.” It mourned that presidents rarely accept responsibility any more, and it’s getting worse, “as a national culture of shifting blame permeates American politics. It slips in a phrase — “at least in the opinion of some .. experts” –which is a Times way of avoiding responsibility.

The article is by an old colleague of mine, Michael Oreskes. He happens to have been in charge of the Times’s Washington coverage–and he proves his point by saying not a word about the Times’s own enormous role in repeating deadly falsehood. The national culture is not all corrupt and hypocritical — good Americans have been sounding off all along, but as Mike knows very well, the Times does not like outsiders. It was encouraging to read in Editor and Publisher a column by a reporter who covered the war for three small-town papers, and is saddened at the failure of the big influential media–of the Times and the Washington Post–ever to tell their readers –“We are sorry.”

 

Roger Altman Rides Again

John Kerry took a few days off to go skiing, and did just fine, while the Bushies went into panic mode. Then he came back and set out to blow his lead. The old Clinton gang from Wall Street, led by Robert Altman, fed him a plan to createing jobs: Cut taxes on corporations and give more breaks to businesses that don’t ship all their work abroad. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s Bush lite.

Politicians love tax breaks because they don’t sem to cost anything. They are the most expensive way to accomplish any public purpose, and the least efficient. A current example is the program to move jobs into zones that are hard up. An audit in New York State found that most of the breaks went to plants well outside the needy neighborhoods. It was hard to prove that any new jobs had been created–though it was suggested that some poor folks might commute from the slums to mop floors in the new gated office communities.

The Bushes didn’t invent this. It goes way back to the Kennedy years; when the government began to turn programs like public housing over to private developers, while cutting taxes like mad. The Altman group–which often met for breakfast at the Carlyle Hotel–made out like thieves. They ran economic policy for Bill Clinton, and now they’ve taken over John Kerry.

Easily, because union leaders and what Ralph Nader calls the liberal intelligentsia gave the Democrats a blank check. But can they deliver the votes? Can Kerry bring them out by flipping and fudging on Iraq, taxes and Nafta? That’s hardly sure. Now tune in on Nader, spinning out a pure progressive line — something to fight for, with pride. At every campaign stop, large numbers volunteer. In November, many will likely go for the lesser evil, but on the way they’re trying to make it less evil. Stay tuned.

 

To Survive Is Victory

This time of year, I always recite–“Wal, I got through that winter, and ain’t died a summer yet.” It gets less funny as life goes on–so little time, so much to say.

Among the latest follies, I’ve got to mention that video of Bush on hands and knees, pretending to be looking for weapons of mass destruction under the rug in the Oval Office. Invited guests who lost kinfolk on 9/11 or in the Iraq war were not amused.

The Times gives what it calls that nimble twister Ahmed Chalabi credit for peddling those weapons to the Pentagon — without mentioning that the Times itself was his most effective shill.

The Times also, I think, should mention its own part in another big story–Social Security and Medicare. So should I. I just got a notice from the .Guild-Times welfare fund that it will cut me and my wife off benefits unless we sign up for insurance that will cost us $150 a month and will charge us more out of pocket for each prescription. It points out that the Times company contributes nothing for retiree benefits. They all have to come out of what we put by during our working careers. The funds were invested in the market, which is a whole ‘nother story. I should add that the Times has not in ages adjusted our pensions for inflation. Not only as a large, profitable corporation but also as a powerful newspaper, it has campaigned against cost-of-living adjustments, Social Security, Medicare and welfare, except for corporations.

I’ve sounded off about this for decades, and written about it in my latest book. It’s an insider’s picture of the Times–which is a hot news topic these days. It’s just been reviewed very kindly in the Times Literary Supplement of London, but not at all in the Times of New York..

Ah, well. I got through that winter, and ain’t died a summer yet.

(P.S. The April issue of CJR carries my reply to its review of “My Times.”)

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

 

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman
Peter Lee
Making Sense of China’s Stock Market Meltdown