This is covered at dKos by Coldblue Steele here.

We are all aware of the pending problem with our Social Security program, and we are all aware of the presidents plan to privatize it.  This is good; your president is entitled to informing the public and promoting his agenda.  But when is too much?  Most would think that a clause in the State of the Union, a prime time press conference, and/or a brief blurb every few days as he makes his rounds as the Commander and Chief would suffice.

For the last two months Mr. Bush has traveled the country using tax payers money to promote his plan to save Social Security.  At tax payer expense he has carefully choreographed? No… Set up? No… Staged a campaign of propaganda in order to force his agenda.  

Mr. Cheney is at it to, in Georgia Monday he invaded a High and held one of these staged events.  I say staged because it is staged, every part of it.  The crowd is all Repubs, carefully vetted Repubs that are fed questions from the administration.  These town hall meetings are pure propaganda.  They are held in order to get some Repub talking points framed in front of a cheering crowd, and aired on the echo chambers of the So-Called Liberal Media.

I’d say that this has gone too far.  One, because it is paid for with taxes.  Two, because it is now being used as a megaphone to smear the opposition, to bring religion into the battle.

Cheneys opening remarks on 2 May 2005 at said town hall meeting, emphasis mine:

If we don’t do anything at all, if we just stay where a lot of people have said we ought to stay — there are a number of members of Congress of the other faith who have said that we don’t need to do anything — well, if you don’t do anything, the net result will be, for somebody today, say, in their 30s, by the time they get to retirement age, their benefit levels are going to be cut some 26 percent or 27 percent. Automatic, that’s what will happen with today’s existing law.

…of the other faith?  How odd, well this is a one time thing right?  
Nope.  I told you, this is all staged…

Later, when the general public was allowed to ask the VP questions , emphasis mine:

Q: Mr. Vice President, thank you for coming to Georgia, and thank you and the President for your leadership in the war on terror. Millions of Americans appreciate that.

I just threw up on my keyboard. Continuing:

My question is, I watched the press conference the other night with the President, and it seems like when the two of you come up with serious ideas that those from the other faith, in the other party, all they do is demonize and, in many cases, just lie and try to divide the older generation, our grandparents from us, those in our 30s.

There it is again …the other faith.  propaganda!  A later questioner, emphasis mine:

Q: Good morning, Vice President Cheney. I’d like to ask a question. This morning you’ve really delineated very well a lot of points in the program and what you and the President want to do. Could you delineate for us, because I think we have a little bit of an easy audience this morning on convincing us of this program — could you delineate out a few other points from the other side, or the other faith, differences maybe in what you’re saying this morning, and maybe what they’re saying or not saying?

Staged = Propaganda
Rep. Henry Waxman in a letter to the GAO:

In recent months, questions have been raised about the Administration’s use of taxpayer funds for propaganda purposes. Two GAO reports have found that the Administration violated the law by disseminating fabricated video news releases on Medicare and drug policy.  Other investigative reports have revealed that taxpayer dollars have been spent to hire journalists to promote Administration initiatives, such as the contract with commentator Armstrong Williams to tout the No Child Left Behind Act.  Another investigation revealed that TV news stations across the nation have — without disclosure to the public — aired countless video news reports fabricated by the Administration on topics from women in Afghanistan to the activities of the Department of Agriculture.

Now serious questions are being raised about whether the Administration is inappropriately using federal resources to rally political support for his Social Security proposals.A report that I released in February presented evidence that the Social Security Administration, contrary to its history of nonpartisanship, has been systematically rewriting its communications to the public to build support for the President’s Social Security proposals.

I don’t know about you, but this isn’t right.  It wouldn’t be right if a Dem was doing it and it isn’t right now.  I disagree, in the strongest sense of the word, with any part of any government that tries to force an agenda on me, especially at our expense.

Update [2005-5-4 19:2:8 by hfiend]:

This is kinda ironic… I don’t know the laws around Union pension funds. But while we are slammed with SS nonsense, the unions are asked to remain quiet.

The Labor Department cautioned organized labor in a letter made public Wednesday not to use money from pension funds to lobby against President Bush’s proposal to overhaul Social Security.

“The department is very concerned about the potential use of plan assets to promote particular policy positions,” Alan D. Lebowitz, a department official, wrote AFL-CIO’s top lawyer.


Lebowitz sent the letter after GOP Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Sam Johnson of Texas requested an investigation.

The Labor Department letter to the AFL-CIO marked a political turnabout of sorts. Democrats have complained for months that the White House has improperly used the Social Security Administration itself to lobby on behalf of Bush’s proposals.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has asked the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to determine how much the administration’s effort is costing. “Using taxpayer resources to mount a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of the president’s high office,” he said earlier this year.

on a side note, John Boehner’s daughter went to school with me back in the day. Not your class act if you know what I mean.

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