Saturday, December 04, 2004


Now I don't know whether I'll get around to recreating the entry that was lost yesterday.
I'm on to a related topic.
The main issue still is our irresponsible press.
The item that has me hot and bothered today is David Brooks's column in this morning's New York Times.
He's describing a phone conversation with Senator Lindsay Graham, who called him from a pub in Ireland to discuss Social Security reform. And there's a comment from Brooks about descending into "wonkery".
I hate that word.
It seems to me that the press used to consider it a positive thing to be well-informed about current events and issues of public importance.
Now -- and I guess since some time early in the Clinton administration -- it's derided as "wonkery".
Those of us who care about the state of our country and its policies are laughed off. Heaven forbid we should be diverted from the really important things like shopping, TV-watching and ridicule of the various "elites" who seem to thrive on threatening our red-stated American "values".
I happen to think Social Security reform is an extremely important topic that all Americans -- not just "wonks" like me -- should be discussing in social situations everywhere. Irish pubs are one good venue, but so are good old American bars, football stadiums, even kitchens.
Maybe it's partly that as I grow older, my retirement income seems a more important topic to me. And I see the Bushies threatening it with their every move to weaken our economy through their irresponsible deficit spending practices.
I am amazed that Bush was allowed in one of the debates to ridicule Kerry as a "liberal from Massachusetts, " over a spending issue, without the press, the public and the Democratic party falling over themselves to get at him for his hypocrisy.
This is the man who has turned a large and healthy surplus into the largest deficit this country has ever seen -- in four short years!
But those of us who think about this are just "wonks" with too much time on our hands. I guess I should be criticized for not being at Wal-Mart getting my shopping done. How dare I actually pay attention to the content of Bush's remarks. How dare I notice how cynically he and his staff are backing the United States into a financial corner, so that at some point in the near future we may have no options except to begin slashing entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, that protect the basic dignity of our senior citizens.
That backing of the US into a financial corner is, by the way, a stated objective of one of the president's key tax advisors, Grover Norquist -- unfortunately a college classmate of mine.
This Saudi-funded right-wing terrorist has caused as much damage to our economic security as Osama bin Laden has to our physical security -- and yet he roams free. And I have to believe it is at least partly because his party has led the charge in ridiculing well-informed Americans as "wonks."
Forget "fag," "nigger," "cunt", and all the other nasty slur words around. "Wonk" is one that should offend us all, regardless of race, gender or sexual preference.
Scream about it.
It's time to kill this term.


By the way, I think Bush's remark about the "liberal from Massachusetts" and his outrageous spending proposals was made at the third debate, which was roundly derided as a "wonkfest" by the panel on MSNBC, the worst and most dishonest of the cable networks in covering the debates. This is the channel that actually had Andrea Mitchell -- wife of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan -- on board as a "journalist"!!!


Since my 15 minutes aren't up yet -- I write fast when I'm angry -- let's go back to yesterday's topic for a few moments.
The gist of my writing was that as a former member of the press, I am appalled by the failure to hold the Bush administration accountable for its words and actions. It seems to me that there were a few years -- the "All the President's Men" era, as it were -- when a brave press was deemed essential to preserving democracy.
But then the right wing caught on to the power that the press had wielded in holding Nixon accountable, and began the slander of the fourth estate as the "liberal media". Since that time, it seems to me, the press has first gone overboard in giving voice to unsupported right-wing lies and then -- as corporate takeovers transformed outlet after outlet from independent voice into megaphone for fat-cat-supporting business -- into unapologetic voices of the right.


I'm done.