Thursday, December 23, 2004

Jack and Bobby

The Moose mourns the passing of a muckraking icon.

One of the greats of modern journalism, Jack Newfield, died on Monday from cancer. Since the Moose was a calf, he has been a devout admirer of Newfield. He shared with him a deep passionate affection for Bobby Kennedy and his fighting faith. One of the Moose's prize possessions is Newfield's memoir of Bobby. Yesterday's New York Sun eulogy for Newfield,

"Bobby Kennedy was Newfield's most important love, a mainstream politician with whom the radical became smitten. It was a transformative love that grew during the 81 days Newfield, who was then 28, spent with Kennedy on the campaign trail that year. Newfield credited Kennedy with inspiring him to push for social justice. Thanks to Kennedy, Newfield found a taste for "conniving with the mainstream," in the words of Victor Navasky, publisher of the Nation."

Recently, Newfield trained his muckraking skills on the Abramoff/Reed/Norquist/Delay/Ney Indian gambling scandal. Savor this nugget from a recent Newfield piece on the subject,

"... for the last three years American Indians have been duped,
fleeced and exploited by right wing Republican lobbyists Jack Abramoff and
Mike Scanlon. They have been Custers with blackberries...

"This is the story of the corruption of public funds; of the predatory K
Street lobbying culture; of the American right wing's alloy of ideology and
greed; of what happens to the most vulnerable among us in a closed world
that is de-regulated, or unregulated by the federal government; and of the
latest screwing of Native Americans."

You can understand why the Moose was fond of Newfield.

It is truly sad that Jack Newfield is no longer with us. With Republicans in control of Washington and Congressional oversight virtually non-existent, we need journalistic muckrakers like Newfield now more than ever.

The Second Gilded Age is upon us. The Bushies pride themselves as guided by faith but they worship at the altar of Almighty Mammon. For the malefactors of great wealth, every day is December 25th. Perhaps inspired by the spirit of the season, this is what the Bushies have charitably put under the tree for the titans of the timber industry as reported on the front page of today's Washington Post,

"The Bush administration issued comprehensive new rules yesterday for managing the national forests, jettisoning some environmental protections that date to Ronald Reagan's administration and putting in place the biggest change in forest-use policies in nearly three decades.

"The new rules give economic activity equal priority with preserving the ecological health of the forests in making management decisions and in potentially liberalizing caps on how much timber can be taken from a forest."

In the Bushies' novel interpretation of the Good Book, God's creation is particularly ripe for exploitation in order to procure the Holy Dollar. Hallelujah and Praise the Lord! And somebody say, Amen.

Heck, the Bushies are not just intent in rolling back FDR's welfare state with their proposal to undermine social security, they are also hell-bent on reversing T.R.'s progressive tradition with the elimination of the inheritance tax, emasculation of food and drug laws and their threat to public lands. Mark Hanna had nothing on this crowd.

The task before us is clear. Jack and Bobby, live like them!

-- Posted at 9:45 AM | Link to this post | Email this post