FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s America, For Better or Worse

“People have to watch what they say, watch what they do.”

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

In the 1950s, a junior senator named Joseph McCarthy made a speech accusing thousands of government employees of being communists. He moved from that target to Hollywood and smeared the names of dozens of artists including Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Arthur Miller. No one dared stand up to McCarthy out of fear that he would mount a smear campaign against them. These tactics were given a name–McCarthyism–and put into the files of the darkest archives of American history.

A few days ago, former Chief U.N. weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, was accused of trying to lure a teenage girl to a Burger King restaurant presumably for motives less than honorable. Actually, he was accused of this alleged crime in June 2001. He went to court and the case was dismissed and sealed. Usually a dismissal in a criminal case implies innocence of that crime. Usually having a case sealed means that it would never haunt that person again.

Of course, that would be the usual case as long as the person in question isn’t a credible and well-known critic of the Bush Administration’s lust for blood in Iraq. If Ritter had only kept his mouth shut instead of trying to shake some sense into an American public being fed a line of manipulative horse hockey, I’m quite sure his misdemeanor police record would have remained sealed, and his credibility intact.

Then there’s Rush Limbaugh, who went on a shrill rant to expose as communists the housewives and grandmothers that marched for peace in Washington D.C. Rush was immediately followed by his very own “Mini-me,” Sean Hannity, who parroted every line Rush had spouted. Whether these men understand democracy is questionable, and whether their estimated 20 million listeners agree with them is frightening. But I won’t deny them the right to smear as long as they don’t deny me the right to dissent.

The fact that the protestors have the ability to dissent in a democracy should be welcomed by these so-called patriotic talk show hosts, and the idea of smearing anyone who might harbor an alternative point of view as a communist is unbelievable. Healthy debate and alternative views should be aired before we start turning the streets of Baghdad red with the blood of innocents. Next thing you know they’ll be branding protestors with even worse epithets like “people-gassers.” Americans don’t like commies very much, but we hate people-gassers.

I’m quite sure that some of the protestors are communist sympathizers, but communists (and dictatorships) are divided into two groups these days. Those that cooperate and trade with the United States and those that don’t. Put into the black and white terms that Americans have come to require in order to understand any given situation: China good commies, Cuba bad commies. I would venture to guess that the alleged communists that marched on Washington probably practice some form of Capitalism thereby making them good commies. Especially the “Soccer Mom” commies that don’t want their soccer players killed protecting us from driving smaller cars. People often hear about the corporate media controlling the content of what we are allowed to hear, but they never actually catch it in action. After his remarks on “Politically Incorrect,” ABC fired Bill Maher. His ratings had remained the same throughout the tenure of the program, but the network cancelled him anyway. Maher’s words were considered unpatriotic and no one doubts that this controversy was the reason he was cancelled. Can’t have controversy at ABC.

It was just after Maher uttered the infamous remark that Ari Fleischer gave us his take on democracy that I quoted above. One has to wonder what pressure the White House applied to ABC. I’d venture to guess it probably wasn’t much more than a carrot. A communications bill that benefits the corporate networks can be very effective in making sure “people watch what they say.” If you expect to hear anything more than the government line after the hostilities begin, I’d buy a satellite dish.

The French and the Germans are ruffling the Bush Administration’s peacock tailfeathers over it’s latest line that time is running out on Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld has labeled these peacemongers “old Europe”. He’d rather think of Europe as Poland and the Czech Republic because these countries whole-heartedly support any idea that America comes up with. Of course, France and Germany have economies large enough to support themselves (and therefore think for themselves) while Poland is expecting aid from the U.S. in exchange for its advocacy of American policies. Most of us learn at an early age that we can’t buy our friends and you may recall that the federal government has bought more than a few friends over the years. Too many have returned as enemies. As long as the administration allows North Korea to sell SCUD missiles to our “ally” Yemen, I have a feeling more will follow in their footsteps.

Out of nowhere a tape made during the Kennedy Administration conveniently surfaced this week. On it JFK is heard complaining about the French being a bunch of whiners for not supporting American engagement in Vietnam. Whether the French were right is immaterial, but I1m sure this tape gave insight to many Americans on what to think of the nervous Europeans. Now when our allies in Europe start trying to avert our hostile intentions we’ll just say, “Those silly French. They’re always kidding around. Go ahead, Mr. President, ignore them.” Then we can march off to war with our newly-bought friends in tow and leave our true friends and long-time allies to whine about their insignificance. Hopefully we won’t need them. It wasn’t until a few columnists stood up to McCarthy and exposed his lies that McCarthyism was laid to rest in the late 1950s. Newspapers branded him “evil,” but Americans retained their fear of communists until the cold war ended. If you sense a pattern to these events I’ve just mentioned, you are waking up to the new age of McCarthyism being pulled from that dark archive and dusted off. Get used to living in fear of terrorism forever, and get used to smear campaigns being waged against anyone in the way of the government’s agenda. This is Bush’s America for better or worse. And if you’re sensing those patterns don’t mention it to anyone, or I’ll see you at the IRS audit.

JOHNNY BOYD is a columnist living in Aspen, Colorado. He can be reached at: snomasokist@mindspring.com

 

More articles by:

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail