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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- The Bush formula for governing is now quite predictable: Keep them scared, everything you want should be framed as a "crisis," encourage focus on messianic missions like sending our Christian soldiers to spread "freedom" and "liberty" and stamp out "tyranny" wherever it grows -- except, of course, in China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The formula works with fascist efficiency. The Bushites and their allies declare their narrow political agenda -- usually far removed from matters of true public urgency -- and with the assured compliance of the corporate media, the bribed whores posing as members of the media and huge government-financed public relations programs, they churn out whatever simplistic "message" Karl Rove, the president's "brain," has crafted. With painful predictability, the Bush White House manufactures a crisis and then consent. Don't you just love George W.'s version of American democracy?

The biggest domestic lie we are pummeled with these days is the Social Security "crisis." It's telling that President Bush hardly mentioned the topic during the campaign, but now it's catapulted into crisis status and the right-wing politicians and pundits -- given their talking points by the Bush propaganda machine -- rant incessantly about the manufactured, phony "crisis."

Bush practices reckless borrow-and-spend fiscal policies. He's happy to burden future generations with the costs of tax cuts for the rich and the bill for his imperial war. He refuses to address the $400 billion operating deficit the federal government has this year and the $1.3 trillion forecast over the next decade.

Bush's pledge to cut the deficit in half during his final term in office is a laughable lie. If there is anyone out there who can show me the numbers and how this can be done, please come forward. I'll be waiting for Godot.

The federal operating deficit, the Medicare trust fund and Medicaid costs are demonstrably greater problems and require more immediate attention than the Social Security fund. But Bush is out there stumping for his plan to create private accounts for Social Security, claiming, "Our job is to confront issues and not pass them on." What ails Social Security can be cured with careful, patient attention. The madness of our King George is his plan to borrow trillions of dollars to start up dicey privatization

The president is making his frightening sales pitch, saying Social Security is headed for "bankruptcy" and will soon be "broke," at the same time he's asking for another $80 billion to pay for the war in Iraq. Bush will put that tab on the national Visa card, passing on the cost of war, while he refuses to confront the truth and tell the American people that foreign occupation and bloodshed come with a terrible price in lives and debt.

Bush has the perfect Congress to legislate a solution to the manufactured Social Security crisis. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has designated revamping Social Security as S.1, the first Senate bill introduced in the new session. Frist says this priority designation "has been reserved for what is probably the most important domestic legislation we will address in this Congress and that is modernizing and strengthening the Social Security program." Is this guy stupid, nuts or both?

Frist, a medical doctor now responsible for legislative triage, wants to treat the healthy and curable Social Security system while other pressing issues are in need of urgent care. Is Dr. Frist aware that 45 million Americans have no health insurance at all? Does he know that job growth is anemic at best, that more Americans are living in poverty and that median income has declined during his rounds on Capitol Hill? Has the good doctor heard that infant mortality among minorities in America is at the same rate as in some Third World nations?

And how about the air we breathe? Dr. Frist supports Bush's filthy air initiatives that coddle the energy and auto industries, while asthma and other respiratory diseases are increasing, especially among children.

Another important issue for Frist is imposing damage caps in medical malpractice cases, again a manufactured crisis. Frist stands to benefit personally and substantially from legislation capping malpractice awards. An honorable man would recuse himself from an issue that clearly represents a conflict of interest, but Frist is happy to keep his dirty hands in the legislative process that has a direct impact on his and his family's vast wealth.

The Frist family founded HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the nation, and the senator and his kinfolk have at least $25 million in company stock. Limiting malpractice awards would do little to curb overall health care costs but would dramatically improve HCA's bottom line and Frist's investment.

Frist, whose ambition is in inverse proportion to his public policy talent, wants to succeed George Bush in the White House if Karl Rove doesn't create another crisis and convince the American people to amend the Constitution so we can keep Shrub forever.

Frist goes along with anything the Bushites want. The Republican Senate has become a house of harlots for the pimps in the West Wing. They call the crisis tricks and Frist gladly turns them.

While the health of millions of real people gets ignored, so too does the health of our planet. Bush and Frist are on the same page on the crisis of global warming. In their view, it simply doesn't exist, and the growing and overwhelming scientific evidence doesn't matter.

Bush and the Republicans in Congress are essentially flat-earthers. Polar ice caps are melting, glaciers are disappearing, ocean levels are rising, temperatures are soaring, ecosystems are going haywire, and America's political elite say there is no crisis and nothing needs to be done.

A new study published in the scientific journal "Nature" finds global warming is "twice as bad as previously thought" and catastrophic consequences may result if worldwide carbon dioxide emissions are not dramatically reduced.

While Bush can easily spot a speck of evidence pointing to Saddam Hussein's phantom weapons of mass destruction and a Social Security fund plunging into "bankruptcy," all those scientists with their empirical evidence are just alarmists and should be ignored.

Bush's rejection of the Kyoto Treaty, aimed at limiting greenhouse gasses, is truly a crime against humanity. The administration's disinformation program on global warming is a sinister attempt to keep the public from knowing the truth about the frightening scientific reality.

James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has seen the Bush administration's crisis denial firsthand. He told students at the University of Iowa, "In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public is screened and controlled as it is now."

Hansen briefed a global warming task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney and congressional leaders and found deaf ears and "so what" shrugs.

Hansen says the administration only wants to hear scientific findings that "fit predetermined, inflexible positions," and that evidence that would raise concern about global warming is dismissed as not being of interest to the public. "This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster," Hansen laments.

In 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a report noting that human activities are behind climate change. When Bush was asked about it, he said dismissively, "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy."

Well, first of all, if anyone believes Bush actually read a scientific report, please stop reading now. You are too hopelessly naive or terminally stupid to deal with serious matters.

Bush wants us to believe we can keep tooling around in SUVs, guzzling oil and burning dirty coal in power plants spewing pollution, and there will be no consequence for the environment.

It's better that we worry about the crisis in Social Security. And don't worry about that bloody mess in Iraq and the violence that will rage on even after the election. There's no crisis there.

We just need to be "patient," as our war president reminds us.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@aol.com.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Feb. 1 2005