bring in the scumbags

The New York Times this morning reported that a conservative lobbying organization working to build public support for the president’s initiative to privatize Social Security would be hiring some of the same consultants who helped shape the anti-Kerry message of “the Swift Boat Veterans” (also know here at MM.com as “the Flotilla of Douche Bags”) during last year’s election.

Here’s a clip from the article:

The lobbying group, USA Next, which has poured millions of dollars into Republican policy battles, now says it plans to spend as much as $10 million on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the powerhouse lobby opposing the private investment accounts at the center of Mr. Bush’s plan.

“They are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts,” said Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next and former deputy under secretary of the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. “We will be the dynamite that removes them.”…

One USA Next official predicted that this time around, the campaign would be so aggressive that the White House might not to want to associate with it…

Mr. Jarvis said the group’s goal is to peel off one million members from AARP, by presenting itself as a conservative, free-market alternative. He says USA Next surveys show that more than 37 percent of AARP members call themselves Republicans…

Formerly known as the United Seniors Association, USA Next was founded in 1991 by Richard Viguerie, a Republican pioneer and mastermind of direct mailings, who raised millions of dollars from older Americans using solicitations that sent alarming messages about Social Security. In 1992, there were allegations that the group was used as a device to enrich other companies owned by Mr. Viguerie, drawing criticism from watchdog groups and Democratic lawmakers.

So, it looks as though the same assholes who helped paint the decorated war veteran John Kerry as a cowardly mama’s boy are now going to be jumping into the Social Security debate. One wonders what they have in store…

Actually, one doesn’t have to wonder. The smear has apparently begun. I just learned through the Daily Kos site that the USA Next ads have already started appearing… Here’s one that I just clipped from a conservative site called the Spectator.

Of course, there’s no explanation given. If you click on the ad you just get whisked away to the USA Next site where you’ll read all about the AARP’S “liberal games.” The implication, however, is clear — you might as well be lubing up a young man’s ass and killing a soldier if you’re a member of the AARP. (It is just me, or does it look as though they’ve also Photoshopped George Bush’s face onto the body of the soldier in that ad?)

I don’t suppose it’s any surprise really. After all, they won a presidential election by vilifying homosexuals and playing upon the basest fears of their evangelical base, so why not assume that the same would work now? All they need to do is link the AARP through innuendo to gay marriage and they’ll start pealing away members. That’ll teach those old fuckers from going up against the President and fighting to preserve Social Security. This is, after all, fucking hardball.

…So, my question to all of my conservative readers is this. Where’s your outrage now? Remember how upset you got when Jeff Gannon’s sexual history was brought up? Remember how you accused the left of being homophobic for going after him? Remember how you used Dick Cheney’s daughter as evidence of the fact that homosexuality wasn’t an issue on the right? Well, where’s the anger now? Where are the letters to USA Next telling them not to appeal to the basest prejudices of Americans?

This, my friends, is what happens when the right doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They begin looking for easy targets… The Republicans tried to tell Americans that Social Security was in “crisis.” And then, when it became clear that it wasn’t in immediate danger, they took it into the gutter and started pitting the elderly against the gays.

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11 Comments

  1. mike
    Posted February 21, 2005 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a quote about the AARP by Economist Allen W. Smith Ph.D., author of “The Looting of Social Security: How the Government is Draining America’s Retirement Account”.

    The article says that he ” is disturbed that the AARP continues to deceive its members and the public by falsely claiming that the Social Security trust fund holds sufficient assets to pay full Social Security benefits until 2042. The AARP is waging a strong battle against President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security. I applaud the organization for that effort. However, I fault the AARP for continuing to mislead its 35 million members and the public by claiming the IOUs held by the Social Security trust fund are just like those that private pension funds invest in. They are not. The trust fund holds no regular marketable Treasury bonds, and the special issue IOUs it holds are nothing more than accounting entries showing that the government has ‘borrowed’ and spent every dollar of the $1.5 trillion surplus generated by the 1983 payroll tax increase, leaving the fund with no real assets. Only IF the government chooses to raise taxes or borrow massive additional amounts in order to repay its debt to Social Security will the program be able to continue paying full benefits after 2018, and that is indeed a very big if,” he says.

    Another thing about private accounts is that that money is now GUARANTEED to be yours when you retire. Nobody can take it away from you no matter what. This is not the case for any money that the government holds. Just look at the bottom of your SS statement( they call it an ‘estimate’ for a very good reason if you read the fine print). This should just be one more reason to want the money in your own hands for your own retirement. Right now they can just take it all away from grandma with a simple law change…hell, it’s not hers anyway, right?

  2. mark
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Still not sue what any of this has to do with men kissing. Can you elaborate?

  3. Ken
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Mark, I think that is a perfectly resonable response from Mr. Bell in keeping with the Hannity/Limbaugh/O’Reilley talking points. One should stay the course and shout their talking point until everybody backs down. If it needs to be boiled down anymore to it’s essense, I think that talking point is: “MINE!!”

  4. chris
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    OK, is it me, or do you find it odd that Mike (seemingly a Bushie) is quoting an article where the economist is discussing how the govt has borrowed on a surplus leaving no real assets. Which is essentially what the Bush administration has done driving up the deficit to a bajillion dollars.

    Which makes me wonder, what the fuck are they going to use to pay into these private accounts even if it is 60 cents on the dollar. Maybe this is Mike’s big issue. Get it now or never get it all. Is that it Mike? Which is soooo GOP. And ultimately, VERY anti-christian.

    That Spectator ad is so over the top that at first I thought it was satire. But this is where we have come to. In fact, do we know for sure that HST took his own life as it quite possible that his brain just exploded in total disbelief of the current state of affairs and it just so happened there was a gun nearby.

    Mark, I am working on hubby per the
    breakdown. He said that the article in the Wall Street Journal explained it better than he could. Maybe at the very least I will cut/paste the article. Though I am still working on hubby.

    Also, I was telling my Dad about Gannon and he was oblivious but oddly neither defensive nor surprised. I think he is rethinking his time spent in Iraq last summer rather than as a patriotic sacrifice but more as absolute awe that he got out, well, got out period. Which ultimately is having him rethink his pro-Bush stance.

    Finally, linking to the HTS remembrance, googling Pitts image, linking to the first and scrolling down brought me to this photo of a woman’s fascinatingly placed butterfly tattoo. Did you see this? I stared for many seconds.

  5. Posted February 22, 2005 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m not terribly well versed in the politics surrounding the “social security crisis” and am quite sick (a cold or something) at the moment as well, so any “right” thinkers should feel free to shout me down or ignore me if it gives you the giggles to do so.

    I am curious about a couple things. If the money’s not there, then how can it be invested to our benefit? For that matter, what’s to stop them from changing the law down the road to put the money that has been invested back into the pockets of the government? And what about the undereducated laborer who makes good money but doesn’t know the first thing about investing? Will a consultant be provided by the government? If so, what would there be to keep a government provided consultant from influencing these under educated people into investing in stocks that benefit “friendly” companies? And last, how is this different than the 401k fund that I’m already paying into each month on top of the money that is being and has been withdrawn from my paycheck for Social Security since the first one I’ve ever received?

    And now I’ll be quiet about this and go back to being sick.

    Oh, wait, here’s a freebie that they can add to their ad:

    “AARP… Anti American Rump Plunderers.” At least then the ad might make some sense.

  6. chris
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Dear Collin,

    Thank you so for all of your questions, Mark and I have been bugging my husband to write up a little something reg. just this issue. He is a municipal/govt bond analyst. Anyway, he keeps asking, what do I say that hasn’t already be said? So now I will just ask him to answer this nice young man’s (your) questions. Unless, of course, Mike/John Galt can answer these questions (educatd answers please) I hope you feel better soon.

  7. Anonymatt
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand these claims that the treasury bonds in the SS trust fund aren’t real treasury bonds, but unredeemable IOUs. Doesn’t the Treasury pay interest on them to the SS trust fund, just like any other TBond? Does the Treasury treat them different from other bonds? I would guess that if the Treasury decides to repudiate the bonds in the SS fund, it would have major financial repercussions.

    I won’t comment on Bush’s SS plan until he actually sets down what he wants to do. Right now it seems that he is willing to borrow the money to finance the transition to personal accounts. Somewhere this was described as selling a lot of Treasury bonds to people so that the US govt can give money to its citizens so that they can invest it in the market in an attempt to outperform Treasury bonds.

    When Bush sets down his plan, I would want to know how it would handle the disability benefits that are a part of the current system. And what would happen to people who made bad choices and lost money, would they get a minimum benefit or would they be S.O.L.? They might be a small percentage of the total, but we’re dealing with like 200 million people in the workforce, if only 1% lose money, that’s still 2 million people.

    But I’ll wait and see what he actually proposes.

  8. mark
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Matt’s right. We don’t know yet what the president has in mind. We do, however, know that it involves, at least to some extent, privatization, which I disagree with in principle. You can yell, “But it’s my money” at me all that you want. I disagree. Social Security, as I see it, is not a savings plan. It is not an IRA. It is a social program in which those of us who are working strive to give the elderly (primarily) enough to scrape by with dignity. Bush, and many Republicans, see this as Socialism, and they’ve wanted to do away with it since FDR signed it into law. I don’t care what you call it, I think it’s a good program, and one worthy of saving. Elderly Americans should not be abandoned.

  9. mark
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    And, Mike, I’m still waiting for your response as to what any of this has to do with men kissing…

  10. mark
    Posted February 24, 2005 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Still waiting….

  11. mark
    Posted February 28, 2005 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    USA Next, I

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