3/31/2006

Big, Fat Smiley Faces!

During a recent public relations speech in West Virginia, a woman in the carefully screened audience commented to President Bush that the media do not report the good things the Bush administration does.

In her mind, I suppose, hearing stories about violence in Iraq, the New Orleans fiasco, and presidential misconduct shows the Bush administration in a bad light. She wishes the media would report more good stories.

That’s it! We need more happy stories! We do not need an independent media that reports the truth, holds politicians accountable, and lets the political chips fall where they may. We do not need stories showing the gruesome reality of the Iraq war or showing fallen soldiers coming home in coffins. We do not need to know that, as a result of Bush’s war, tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, including innocent men, women and children. We do not need to hear evidence that shows the president has lied repeatedly to the American people and to Congress. We do not need to know about Bush’s war on dissent and his approval of the unconstitutional wiretapping of American citizens. We do not need to know about the administration’s plan to produce -- and use -- a new generation of nuclear weapons.

As if the media do not have enough built-in filters that toe the administration line and keep citizens ignorant, now we need stories with big, fat smiley faces to show that they meet the goodness test! The war is going just fine and the troops are exited to be promoting American democracy in Iraq! The economy is strong because Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy are creating new jobs! These are the happy stories that show the Bush administration in a positive light. Never mind that growing numbers of demoralized Iraq veterans are joining antiwar protests. Never mind that the new jobs being created are low paid service jobs that do not provide benefits. The administration knows that if you repeat your message and catch phrases often enough for gullible Americans, they will believe anything. According to Hermann Goering, Hitler's designated successor in the Third Reich, "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

So, to the West Virginia woman who wants big, fat smiley faces masking the truth, I would say that the world is in a far more dangerous position after George W. Bush used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to launch a vague war on a tactic and then decided to use preemptive warfare in Iraq. There are no smiley faces big enough to hide his crimes against humanity.

3/14/2006

Hands Off Iran!

Just like the build-up to the Iraq war, the hypocritical U.S. Government and its media allies are creating an artificial sense of urgency regarding Iran. Vice President Dick Cheney said that there will be “meaningful consequences” if Iran does not change its present course. “We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Cheney said.

Sound familiar? Remember the constant media drumbeat in 2002 and 2003 regarding Saddam Hussein and Iraq? Remember the accusations that Iraq was supporting terrorism? Remember the bogus assertion that Iraq was responsible for 9/11? Remember the imagery of the “mushroom cloud” and the U.S. insistence that Iraq had a vast stockpile of chemical weapons? Of course, the former United Nations weapons inspectors were saying at the time that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, but this point of view was drowned out by the loud drumbeat for war. There was no meaningful diplomacy during that time because the Bush crime family had already decided upon war.

So why all of the interest in Iran now? Is it really about nuclear proliferation, or is that just a smokescreen for something else. After all, Bush recently made a nuclear technology pact with India, a pact that sends signals throughout the world -- and to the Iranian leadership -- that nuclear proliferation is O.K. and that the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty doesn’t mean anything. In fact, the U.S. is planning a new generation of nukes, so it has no right to criticize other nations. So what is really going on?

It so happens that Iran -- like Iraq -- is a major oil producer and is in a strategic location for the long-term U.S. plan to control the Caspian Sea oil reserves and build pipelines through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. There will be a pretense of diplomacy as the United Nations tries to find a solution to the Iranian situation that will satisfy the United States, but a solution acceptable to the U.S. will not be found, so the Bush regime will launch a unilateral military strike. Who can doubt it? The campaign to sway public opinion has already begun. The oil-mongers are at it again, no matter what the human and environmental cost.

3/13/2006

Constitution? What Constitution?

History will regard the 109th Senate as the most corrupt ever.

In the same way that President Bush fixed the facts to fit his neocon war plans in Iraq, the Republican leadership in the 109th Senate uses its power to short-circuit meaningful debate and independent investigations of presidential wrongdoing.

On March 13, 2006, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), called upon the Senate to censure President Bush for ignoring the Constitution and misleading Congress and the American people on the use of warrant-less wiretapping. Bush loyalists claim that the president has the right to circumvent existing statutes and to use whatever means he sees fit in the so-called “war on terror.” One chief loyalist, Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), even wants to introduce legislation making Bush’s warrant-less wiretapping on American citizens legal in order to cover the president‘s past illegal actions. What a sham!

Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) wanted to force an immediate vote on the Feingold resolution with no discussion on the Senate floor, a tactic that seems just plain wrong in a supposed constitutional democracy, but the resolution will likely be sent to the judicial or intelligence committee, where the Republican majorities will quietly squash it.

It is unlikely that the Feingold resolution will get any support from a single Republican. As for Democratic support, well, let’s just say that the Democrats in the 109th Senate are spineless jellyfish and have been known to buckle under to the Republicans. A clear violation of the U.S. Constitution is not even enough incentive for more than a handful of Democrats to consider censoring Bush during wartime.

Feingold did what needed to be done in order to preserve the integrity of the Constitution and President Bush deserves censure -- and eventual impeachment -- for his illegal actions.