How George W. Bush rescued me from satellite TV | AspenTimes.com
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How George W. Bush rescued me from satellite TV

Gaylord Guenin

About eight or nine years ago, a neighbor of mine, Doug Carpenter, who lives a few hundred yards down the road from my place, installed a satellite television system. It was one of those systems with the small dish that attaches to your house. He invited me down to watch a Bronco game, and I was impressed. Very impressed, in fact! I hadn’t had TV for almost 10 years because I couldn’t obtain a decent signal, so after spending Sundays during the football season at Doug’s place watching the Broncos, I finally convinced myself that I couldn’t live without satellite TV. So I had a unit installed, purchased a modest-sized television set and immediately became a couch potato. It was rather ugly. I abandoned the books I had been reading and slowly developed muscle cramps in my hands because of my continuous use of the remote control. I was acting like a kid with a new toy. I would skip from PBS to the Discovery Channel and then hurry off to see what was on CNN or one of my endless ESPN or FOX sports channels.I paid extra in order to receive programs from Denver and then splurged for the baseball package, which gives me 30-plus major league games during the season. At one point I also paid for the NFL package, which means you can watch every NFL game played on any given Sunday. Obviously you can’t watch every game, so you skip around and watch only bits and pieces of various games, which didn’t make much sense. I finally dropped the football thing. But I still had the Food Network, Home & Garden Television and the always-popular Weather Channel.My television was becoming more than a simple addiction; it had transformed into some weird, mutant mania. It didn’t matter “what was on”; it was some strange obsession just to have the damned set turned “on.” I didn’t really seem to care what the program was, just as long as that miserable box was transmitting images and making noise.I came to realize recently how much trouble I was in when I began to enjoy seeing this message pop up on a blank screen: “This program is not available in your area.” A refreshing moment of tranquility, a rare retreat from stupid reality shows and those frantic car chases that FOX and CNN insist on featuring. No matter how exciting they may be, a high-speed chase in Los Angeles probably will not impact my little life in Colorado.But George W., our compassionate-warrior president, may be my savior. He and his gang of truth-fabricators in Washington, D.C., are slowly destroying my obsession with satellite TV. George W. and his buddies have bungled in so many arenas that they seem to dominate news and talk shows as they attempt to explain away their collective ineptitude. As they have gained so much airtime, I have watched much less TV.The problem is quite simple: I no longer trust anything that anyone from the current administration says. I still do not understand why we went into Iraq in the first place. The original argument was that Saddam had a giant horde of weapons of mass destruction, weapons he somehow might turn on us. How he would do that was never quite explained, but the neocons in D.C. insisted this was a possibility. Then there was the supposed connection between Saddam and Bin Laden and his terrorists, and with 9/11 fresh in our memories, that did seem plausible. That huge store of weapons was never found, nor was any link between Saddam and Bin Laden. So our mission suddenly became one where we were there to establish a “democracy” in Iraq. That is an honorable bit of motivation, tainted somewhat by the fact that it seemed to come as an afterthought. We had one of the president’s cronies (remember Wolfowitz?) assuring us that Iraq’s reconstruction would be paid for by our using Iraqi oil. Because Iraq’s oil production is far less than it was before our invasion, we are pouring billions into the nation while George W. insists on monster tax cuts for the rich at home. This nation had a $236 billion budget surplus when Clinton left office in 2000. We now have a $371 billion deficit. Republicans want us to believe the deficit is the result of spending increases, but The New York Times claims that 62 percent of the deficit is due to lower tax revenues. So who is fudging on the truth? And who can forget George W.’s “mission accomplished” moment aboard that U.S. aircraft carrier in May 2003. As the “mission” seemed to have changed after no weapons of mass destruction were found, how could anyone know if it had been accomplished or not? From the botched handling of the Katrina aftermath to George’s callous attitude toward our environment and our public lands, I sense that everything is for sale in this administration, including human lives.With midterm elections sneaking up on us, I know we will be inundated with vicious political ads. I also know that George W. isn’t going to go away. I believe I may limit my television viewing to baseball games and that serene TV channel that informs you, “This program is not available in your area.” Hell, I may even go back to reading books again. This is the 327th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where television and politics do not mix all that well.


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