The Hightower Report

The Bushites harass a grieving war mom; and the prez cozies up to Pervez


In monarchies, the peasants are not even supposed to speak to the royals unless spoken to. In democracies, however, the folks are supposed to be free to speak their minds to those in power.

That's what Sue Niederer, of Hopewell, N.J., tried to do. Earlier this year, her 24-year-old son Seth was killed in Iraq while trying to defuse a roadside bomb. "Angry" is not a strong enough word to describe her emotions – "mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it" is a phrase that comes closer to Sue's feelings.

To express those feelings, she attended a Laura Bush political rally near her home. She wore a politically incorrect T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of Seth and the words "President Bush Killed My Son." As Laura pattered on about the heroic nature of her husband's war on terrorism, Ms. Niederer hollered out an uninvited but totally legitimate question: "If the war is so essential to our national security, why aren't the Bush daughters enlisting in it?"

Raw ugliness erupted. Bush partisans immediately surrounded this distraught lady, shouting "Four More Years!" over and over, while waving their Bush/Cheney signs at her. Hello. She lost her son in Bush's war of lies – and this is the respect she gets from the Bushites?

Worse, the police handcuffed her, hauled her to jail, and booked her for trespassing. Of course, the charge was ludicrous and later had to be dropped ... but the Bushites are still after her! Now, Bush's secret service is investigating Sue, claiming she threatened the president's life. What she did, in an understandable fit of anger, was to say on a Web site that she'd like to "rip the president's head off" and "shoot him in the groin area." Of course, she didn't mean the comments literally, yet the vindictive Bushites are using them as an excuse to hound and try to destroy her.

To tell the monarchy of King George the W to leave Sue Niederer alone, call the White House comment line: 202/456-1111.


In foreign policy, it's hard to claim the moral high road when you're stumbling down the low road arm-in-arm with repressive dictators.

Yet, there's our boy George W, insisting to the United Nations in a recent speech that his Iraqi adventure is all about his deep commitment to spreading democracy throughout the world ... while he hugs up to Pervez Musharraf, the anti-democratic general who seized power in Pakistan five years ago in a military coup. Bush calls Musharraf a trusted buddy in his global war on terrorism – apparently oblivious to the fact that the general himself is considered a terror by Pakistan's democracy advocates.

The very next day after his pious democracy speech to the U.N., George met with Musharraf for an hour in the White House, yet our prez ducked mentioning an unpleasant matter of major political importance in Pakistan. Not only has Musharraf declared himself president, but he also continues as chief of the army, thus reinforcing his autocratic, military grip on the country. Earlier this year, Musharraf pledged to give up his military position, but he recently reneged, infuriating those fighting for some semblance of democracy in Pakistan.

Imagine their anger that Bush – a guy claiming to be a tiger fighting for democracy – meets for an hour with this dictator without even a meow of protest about Musharraf's continuing military rule. To explain Bush's wussiness, an aide was reduced to semantic contortions, asserting that George had told the general that it's "important to stay on the road" of democratic reform, claiming that the general knew what George meant.

Oh, yeah, subtlety always works with military dictators! As a result, Musharraf returned to Pakistan confident that the Bushites had given him a big ol' wink and would not raise a finger to oppose his ongoing dictatorship. And George wonders why he has no credibility with democracy advocates around the world.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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Iraq War, Sue Niederer, Hopewell, N.J., George W. Bush, Iraq, Laura Bush, secret service, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan

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