Wednesday, August 04, 2004

What I'm reading

The books of Al Franken

I'm about a third of the way through Al Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (out in paperback.)

It's a great read. He's able to convey serious, disturbing problems with the media in a humorous way. But it's a shame it is meant to be funny. I would say this should be required reading for voters; but too many people would dismiss it completely just from the name of the book.

As I write this, though, I'm still depressed that so few Americans know about the level of distortion that goes on in our media -- or worse yet, fewer even care.

I started this blog as a way to blow off some steam. Some place to just dump out all my frustrations and worry about what is going on with this country right now.

In the eighties, I was concerned about Reagan's trickle down fantasies and the consequences that would have for the country. The arms for hostages deals and illegal terrorist (or "freedom fighter") funding was also troubling.

Although Reagan and H. W. Bush got away with it, at least there were hearings and the media reported it factually. The Bush I presidency was less worrisome; the Gulf war was justified and the bad economic policies of Reagan ironically brought his veep's reign to an end.

In the nineties, the media lost all sense of fairness, integrity, or even basic fact-checking for much of Clinton's second term (and Franken documents some of the mechanisms of the right-wing smear machine in his book.) It really pissed me off, as a lot of really important issues for the middle class were crushed.

However, I never felt fear for the democracy until now. CEO pay and concentration of wealth bothered me, angered me, but it was something of a slowly boiling frog in a pot. The temperature hadn't risen fast enough to alarm me.

The post-911 Bush America scares the Hell out of me. Dubya is on a path to a complete two-tiered America. More and more evidence surfaces that his administration botched 911 and Clinton's, though not perfect, was pretty damn good relative to the others.

We all know Iraq was an unnecessary war that has created a terrorist haven that didn't exist before Dubya took office.

The majority of Americans polled say Bush has the country on the wrong track, mishandled the economy, is less likely than Kerry to fix health care, and will still vote for him (depending on the poll; Bush only wins on the terrorism issue and who wins the popular vote varies week to week.)

Please, people; get yourself educated on the issues and get your ass to the polls in November. If you're under 30, you will be paying for this mess (deficit, war) the rest of your life; you owe it to yourself to have a say in which direction we go from here.

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