The Hightower Report
Bush wants to spend your taxes on missile defense, but won't tell you if it works; and, WWJD -- What Would Jim Do?
The Bush Doctrine at Work
George W. is acting like a shameless shell-game huckster. He wants Congress and We the People to keep putting down our money and guessing which shell he's hidden the pea under -- only now he wants us to put our money down without even getting to see the shells or the pea!
It's the old Star Wars flimflam that he's trying to pull on us. At the behest of Boeing, TRW, and the other military contractors that are profiteering on this multibillion-dollar boondoggle, Bush is demanding ever more of our tax dollars to finance his fantasy of a missile defense system in which, in essence, a bullet is supposed to shoot down another bullet fired from several thousand miles away.
Big surprise: It doesn't work. Time and again this thing has been tested by the Pentagon and its corporate cohorts, and time and again the tests have failed. As reported by Congress, the media, and independent scientists, not only has the Star Wars anti-missile missile failed to hit its incoming target, but it can't even distinguish between the real target and a decoy.
But George W. is nothing if not clever, so he's come up with a remarkable remedy for these embarrassing test failures. His answer is that he will henceforth classify the test results as a government secret. Right. We're to keep shoveling tens of billions of our dollars into the bottomless pit of Boeing and others, but no longer will we get to judge whether these billions are producing anything.
Not to worry, says King George the W with a wave of his royal hand, I'll let you know whether the system works or not. Indeed, his Missile Defense Agency will continue to announce in advance that a test is to be conducted, then, afterwards, it will tell us whether it succeeded ... but it will release no verifiable backup evidence.
It's another example of the Bush Doctrine, which recognizes that the public can't criticize what it can't see, so the Bushites try to stifle presidential scrutiny by stamping everything "Top Secret."
Fighting for the People
"Well, Hightower," read a testy e-mail zapped to me, "If you know so much, what would you do if you were in Tom Daschle's place?"
Daschle is the Senate's Democratic leader, and I recently singled him out as a political wuss for allowing the anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-farmer, anti-democracy "Fast-Track" bill to whisk through the Senate, with 25 Democrats providing the votes to pass it. My e-mail pal noted in Daschle's defense that, with George W. personally pushing it and hordes of big-money corporate lobbyists demanding that senators support them, "The insiders had him outgunned, so why pick on him instead of Bush?"
Fair question. Of course Bush is the instigator, but I expect no better from him. On the other hand, Daschle and the Democrats, who're always asking working families, environmentalists, and farmers to stand with them in elections, should be expected to fight tenaciously for these people when it counts, as it certainly did on this vote.
What would I have done? I would've geared up for this fight early on and mounted a coast-to-coast outsider strategy. Is there not even a trace of Harry Truman left in the Democratic Party? Two blocks from Daschle's senate office is Union Station. What if Tom and several other senators boarded trains and choo-chooed all across America in a series of "Give 'em hell, Harry" whistle-stop tours?
Imagine the grassroots energy and media coverage that would be generated by senators fanning out to points north, south, midwest, and west, going directly to the people. They could tell them in person what Bush and his corporate pals were trying to railroad through the Congress. Senators could read the names of the corporations pushing Fast Track and tell about how each corporation has been abandoning America and now is demanding carte blanche to abandon more workers and communities.
If you're really going to fight for the people, you have to go to them, rally them, involve them. That's what I would do.
Jim Hightower is a speaker and author. To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, call toll free 866/271-4900. To order his books or schedule him for a speech, visit
Jim Hightower is a speaker and author. To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, call toll free 866/271-4900. To order his books or schedule him for a speech, visitwww.jimhightower.com