Citizen "Combatants," Robot Warnings, And Endless
by W. David Jenkins
I was a child of the '60s and it finally dawned on me what all the warnings and threats and manufactured mayhem emanating from Bush II and Co. remind me of. Just how many of you good people remember "Lost in Space?" There we were as kids every Wednesday night at glued to the TV. The Robinson family, Dr. Smith, the robot and some goofy monkey type thing named "Bloop."
It seems like every time we turn around, here comes another warning of those dastardly terrorists! Whether the warnings come from Rummy, Cheney, Ridge, Mueller or "Mr. Salty" himself, I get the same picture in my head. That robot from "Lost in Space" waving its "arms" while announcing,
"Warning! Warning! Aliens approaching! Danger, Will Robinson!"
So it seems that I can no longer hear these endless, precisely scheduled rantings from the White House, or thereabout, without shaking my head and laughing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say there's no threat of further terrorist attacks. I'm absolutely positive that as long as Bush The Appointed and his gang continue to call various countries "evil" or threaten first strikes in the name of defending democracy that the threat will remain. But, come on already! Really, just how long will it take before the fear mongers in DeeCeeVille run out of things to name as "potential targets" before we have to go back to the top of the list?
This weekend it was synagogues and other targets named special to infuriate our Jewish population. Then there were the
Warning, warning! They're coming for the
But, whatever you do, don't pay attention to those leaks that undermine our national security. So what if we've arrested people without charge and won't let them talk to a lawyer? So what if we arrest and suspend college graduates for turning their backs to the "president?" So what if the Attorney General is in
That's right, you heard them correctly. That's this week's version on how to keep
I don't know about all of you, but it's become a kind of guessing game for me and others. Like I said, how long before they run out of things to scare us with? Think about it. We have the big old July 4th weekend coming up. They're already putting up security fences all over DeeCeeVille landmarks. They have a little less than two weeks to have us all waving the flag in celebration of our disappearing freedoms from the safety of our basements.
There's another bit of media history that comes to mind amidst all this mindlessness. Back in the late 1930s on the night before Halloween, Orson Welles scared the crank shaft out of the nation with a little program called "The War of the Worlds." For those of you unfamiliar with this production, it was a radio broadcast which depicted the invasion of the East Coast by Martians. Many people hadn't heard the disclaimer that it was only a play and many citizens became so terrified that widespread panic in the streets ensued. Water towers in
Well, I can't help but feel that we are currently experiencing a combination of a constant airing of "The War of the Worlds" while listening to the robot from "Lost in Space" broadcasting warnings all over the place. With all of this fearmongering and saber rattling going on, not to mention American citizens being denied their basic rights because John and George like to call them "enemy combatants," I'm finding it difficult to find a reason to celebrate the 4th of July.
Besides, I hear the terrorists hate us because we have backyard barbecues too.
Is The BushAdmin The Fourth Reich?
Part Two: The Propaganda Machine
Propaganda isn't really a dirty word. Basically, it's nothing more than information from one group to sway another to the source's way of thinking. Campaign promises, political messages, heck, even deodorant commercials fall under the true definition of propaganda. The old adage "Everybody does it" is true. Democrats and Republicans utilize propaganda to do their best to influence the masses to help them pass legislation or kill a bill. Propaganda is nothing more than a tool and a very powerful one. And like all powerful tools in politics and the media, it's fair game for abuse against those of us on the receiving end.
In the early days of Bush II's appointed reign, both members of his administration and their media supporters used the word "elected" every chance they had when in front of the TV cameras. There's an old rule that if you tell the same lie over and over that people will eventually believe it. Bush was heard to say repeatedly, "I was elected because…" or I'm doing this because that's what the American people "elected me to do." Ari Fleischer continues to remark about the will of the American people in reference to Bush II's latest attack on us without pausing to think that the majority of the American people wish Ari was nothing more than an occasional right wing blow-hard guest on MSNBC and his boss was still governor of Texas trying to figure out why his Daddy's plan didn't work. Their claim to speak for the American people is a clear example of the abuse of propaganda. But it doesn't stop there. There is also this little problem with the mainstream media. Like pigs at the trough, they line up to feed on whatever garbage Bush II throws their way with an enthusiasm that would make Goebbels envious.
Democracy is not simply a matter of being
able to vote, it is a matter of being sufficiently informed about crucial
issues to participate in decision-making processes. Why are mainline news
sources denying the American public such information? In regards to Nazi
We are not referring to the press
revealing state secrets, military intelligence or sensitive negotiations with
foreign powers. We are talking about information that is basic to understanding
what goes on in the current administration and our government. In other words,
information that is crucial for American citizens to be informed voters and
part of the democratic process. How has the esteemed American press fallen to
such depths that we can no longer trust its journalists as bearers of truth?
Even a cursory glance at major newspapers and the way that they covered the
recent coup d'etat in
What sort of nonsense is this? The
media has to have a director and sub-directors. In 1930
The cast of characters in place for Mr. Bush's Propaganda machine:
The most likely key players in the Bush
propaganda machine include Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, but who else is
involved? What official roles do former Iran-Contra operatives, Otto Reich and
John Poindexter play? How does the
One of the striking similarities between
the Third Reich and the Bush Reich is the list of euphemistic names given to
agencies responsible for propaganda. Mr. Bush created a new agency called the
Information Awareness Office in 2002 and named John M. Poindexter as its head.
Hitler created the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda and named
Joseph Goebbels as director. It is more likely that
Karl Rove is the power behind the Bush propaganda machine, but he holds the
official title of Director, Office of Political Affairs. Mr. Rove's increasing circle of influence may be a factor in
pushing Karen Hughes from the
Karen Hughes, Bush's former official spinmaster held the title, Counselor to the President and though she is in the process of "resigning," she is currently traveling in Europe with Mrs. Bush as her adviser. According to press reports, Hughes will continue to travel to the White House to consult with Mr. Bush.
Another player is Charlotte Beers, Public
Diplomacy and Public Affairs chief. She has recently (May 1, 2002) asked
Congress for $600M for the Propaganda budget. Ms. Beers comes from an
advertising background and sees her role as public persuasion. She is careful
to use the term "persuasion" rather than "propaganda", but
the net effect is the same. The Bush administration is managing perception, and
up until the foreknowledge about a potential attack with too many details
provided in presidential briefings came to light, the mainline media bought
into perception management. Lewis Lapham, Harper's
editor, views it as "the media is hand in hand with the government."
John Rendon and his public relations firm, The Rendon Group, specialize in making images, manipulating scenes and managing news. He is currently under a $100,000 per month contract to track foreign news reports and offer advice on media strategy. Rendon consulted with the Pentagon when it created the Office of Strategic Influence. Supposedly this office was snuffed after publicity leaked that the Pentagon planned to use it to spread disinformation. But, whether it is gone or just gone underground is a legitimate question.
"Persuasion works best when it's invisible. The most effective marketing worms its way into our consciousness, leaving intact the perception that we have reached our opinion and made our choices independently" (George Monbiot, The Guardian, UK 5/14/02). This is what Beers and Rendon do best and it is why Mr. Bush's administration hired them.
Whether it was the Reichstag fire in
February 1933 or the 9/11 attacks on the
The Republican National Party is
currently selling photographs of Mr. Bush depicting the "resolute
leader" on 9/11 and it's aftermath (even after he told a German reporter
he was trying "to stay out of harm's way" that day). This is one
example of perception management that may come back to haunt him and his
administration. Goebbels used exactly the same
strategy to sell the image of Hitler even though his weaknesses were known to
those close to him. "Give me ten years and you will not recognize
John Stanton and Wayne Madsen state that
"A crisis without precedent is underway in the
"Secrecy is a tool the leadership
uses to maintain power and control over controversy" (Sr. Sylvester,
What it boils down to is that we are
being subjected to a form of propaganda that even the Europeans recognize. The
American people are being ruled and controlled through fear tactics. The media
shows us images of America standing tall and then, in the same breath, does its
best to work with Bush II to send us cowering into our basements for fear of
History repeats itself.
Is The BushAdmin The Fourth Reich?
Bush is not Adolph Hitler. Although we've seen the sentiment in so many
different places and in many different ways, the fact still remains that Bush
II has not yet achieved Nazi
One of the main differences between Bush
and Hitler as leaders is that the later built a nation out of rubble.
George W. Bush, on the other hand, has taken a country that enjoyed peace and prosperity for almost a decade and trashed it completely. But when we look at the similarities, however, between post September 11th, 2001 and post February 27th, 1933 (The Reichstag Fire) is where the rise of the Third Reich and today's Bush II administration look remarkably alike. The attacks of September are Bush's "Reichstag Fire."
On February 28th, 1933 President Hindenburg and Chancellor Hitler invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which allowed the suspension of civil liberties in time of national emergency. This Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and State abrogated the following constitutional protections:
1. Free expression of opinion
2. Freedom of the press
3. Right of assembly and association
4. Right to privacy of postal and electronic communications
5. Protection against unlawful searches and seizures
6. Individual property rights
7. States' right of self-government
A supplemental decree was also added to create the SA and SS federal police agencies. Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it?
Although Bush has not yet proposed the elimination of these rights formally, in the wake of "Election 2000" and especially after 9/11, they have all been placed on the "endangered species" list to the point where many people are finally starting to wake up and ask questions. Just last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft placed #3 and #4 in the crosshairs with his proclamation of new powers to be given the FBI. The rest of these rights have been tested and tainted ever since Bush slipped through the back door of the White House. Like Hitler, Bush has surrounded himself with experienced thugs or just plain thugs with a perverted sense of what it right for the country. Yet both leaders were blessed by a common mindset of the people they lead. A mindset that allowed both leaders to inflict their tunnel view of the world and its people on their own countrymen in order to achieve their personal goals. The mindset of apathy.
"Why, of course the people don't want war ... But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
This is the rule now. In less than a
century, things have come full circle. The only difference is that it's not
happening "over there." It's happening right here. In
No, Bush is not Hitler. The current administration is not the Third Reich. It's subtler and yet, it's just as dangerous. It's just as threatening. And worse yet….
.....it's here...…right now.
Next: "The Propaganda Machine."