May 3, 2003

Mean Spirited America

  • Hats off to MSNBC for posting Jill Nelson's "A mean-spirited America: Today, I fear my own government more than I do terrorists," for the other America, that is, the ones who a) are not wealthy and b) have their eyes open. "These days, a sense of apprehension and foreboding lurks in the back of my head and the pit of my stomach," writes Nelson, reflecting the climate of fear Americans have become accustomed to since the installation of the Bush regime. "Itís a gut-wrenching reminder that something very bad has happened and is about to happen anew. It is an anticipation of the next insult and injury in an America that has been defined under the Bush administration by a profound meanness of spirit."
  • Jean Kilbourne, the author of Canít Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, interviewed on Tom Paine, says, "One of the things thatís alarmed me the most as Iíve studied advertising over all these years, is the extent to which our political system has really been hijacked by the advertisers," says Kilbourne, "that itís all about advertising, commercials, spin, hype, and not at all, really, about the issues anymore. But itís very difficult to get people to really see that and understand it." The corporate brainwashing helps keep the pressure off the Bush administration when it blatantly favors its rich donors because people identify with the rich. "An extraordinary number of Americans identify with the rich, and believe that theyíre going to end up wealthy even though they arenít wealthy now and thereís no reason to believe they ever will be," says Kilbourne. "They believe that they will be. And in fact I think there have been surveys that indicated that about 40 percent of Americans actually believe that theyíre going to be wealthy." American dreams indeed.
  • Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington Law School, writes in The LA Times that Camp Delta in the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is holding prisoners under the age of 16 along with all the others that are being held without charges or a trial. "Although certainly tiny compared with Chinese or Soviet models, the facility operated by the U.S. can no longer be defined as a prison or even a military camp. It is an American gulag, holding hundreds of prisoners without trial or access to the courts. In fairness to the Soviets, it must be noted that at least their prisoners got sham trials. This makes Camp Delta an even more extreme variation on the gulag theme."
  • "Sooner or later, US killers, we will kick you out," says a banner outside the mayor's office next to the American compound in Falluja, Iraq. Britain's Telegraph says, "According to the mayor, Taha Bedeiwi, who is recognised by the US forces, 20 people have been shot dead by the Americans so far - 16 in a late-night incident on Monday and four more when a US convoy clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators on Wednesday." ... "We demand compensation from the Americans, but we also demand our town back," said Sheikh Khalaf Abed el-Shebib, leader of one of the 35 clans that make up the town. Searching for the ugliest comparison he could find, he said: "Even in Israel they do not shoot children in such numbers when they throw stones in a demonstration." It ain't over till it's over. Looks like US taxpayers will be spending a lot of money for troops to babysit Halliburton's and Bechtel's and the US oil companies' investments in Iraq.
  • Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild takes a canny look at Bush's "Top Gun" show. Behind all the hoopla were the usual outright lies, saying the war was a "last resort" when he had to drive the weapons inspectors out of the country to begin bombing, saying Saddam and Al Qaeda are "allies" and linking his invasion of Iraq to September 11, with no basis at all.
  • Bush and top Repubs are pushing to give the CIA and the Pentagon broad new domestic powers "to demand personal and financial records on people in the United States as part of foreign intelligence and terrorism operations. See The New York Times.
  • See Guerrilla News for a short glimpse at America's proud history of fakery to justify military action.

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