Propaganda: False or partly false information used by a government or political party intended to sway the opinions of the population.
Another of the White House renaming ceremonies has taken place.
Ve vill now be usink Rove(Goebbels?)-approved “Terrorist Surveillance Program”R in all discussions of illegal, warrantless und intrusive domestic eavesdropping, spying und surveillance of U.S. citizens. Wasn’t our terrorist surveillance program called FISA?
The Bush administration is not the first to use this desensitizing and misdirecting method, nor the first to introduce new words or impose new meanings on old words in order to achieve the objective of camouflaging the realities of its policies – but they do appear to be the most flamboyantly dishonest in our nation’s history.
Question: Will the thousands and perhaps millions of Americans that were (are) spied-upon accept this definition of themselves and others as “terrorists”?
How many U.S. citizens are actually in contact with terrorists anyway? Does anyone in this country actually have bin Laden’s phone number?
This sculpted vocabulary will only fool the ones who are usually fooled, but language is a powerful thing. Euphemisms disguise practices that might be rejected under a more direct name.
” We are stepping up our efforts to educate the American people about this vital tool in the war on terrorism.” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.” – White House Spokesman Scott McClellan
“family values” – oppression of women and promulgation of hatred toward those who don’t participate in the historically-recent over-emphasis on the nuclear family unit.
“privatize” – stealing national resources to give them to big business
“tort reform” – corporate immunity and the elimination of lawsuits by individuals against corporate entities
“tax reform” – tax burden shift from unearned income [wealthy] to earned income [working people])
“Leave No Child Behind” – maintaining the social class divide by the planned implosion of the public school system
“enemy combatant” – legal wording to get around the Geneva Conventions ‘ protective rights for those captured in combat
“sound science” – pro-corporate, anti-environmental science
“Healthy Forests”- destructive logging of old-growth forests
“Clear Skies” – repealing provisions of the Clean Air Act to allow more corporate pollution and to lower emissions standards
Although the invocation of the Nazi regime in political discussion seems to be verboten at the moment, there are some parallels to consider. To some extent, it’s standard politics to put a positive spin on items of your agenda and to universalize your views rhetorically to appeal to voters. But the gap between truth and reality in the language of this administration is reminiscent of how the Nazis worked.
In 1933 the German Reichstag (Parliament) was burned to the ground. Hitler convinced German President Paul Hindenburg to issue a Decree for the Protection of People and State (their Patriot Act), which suspended sections of the constitution.
Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephone communications; and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscation as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.
We’ve already seen some inrounds made into the same territory.
“There are no parliamentary parties in Germany any longer. How could we have overcome them had we not waged an educational campaign for years that persuaded people of their weaknesses, harms, and disadvantages? Their final elimination was only the result of what the people had already realized. Our propaganda weakened these parties. Based on that, they could be eliminated by a legal act.” -Joseph Goebbels, 1934
While the European democracies unraveled into fascism, the USA reaffirmed its democracy. We passed income tax and anti-trust legislation to limit the power of corporations and the wealthy, fostered the middle class with minimum-wage and Social Security laws, and set aside public lands to safeguard the commons. We thrived. Democracy puts a leash on slash and burn corporate greed for the sake of the nation and its citizens. Without that leash, there can be no country for and by all the people.
Are we ready for the end of democracy in America? Do we really wish the termination of many of the things for which we are most proud? While we’re talking about the spread of “liberty” and “democracy,” let’s ask how our nation allocates the goods of the land: Does it protect the commonwealth on behalf of all the community members, or does it allow wealth and political clout to steal the commons from the people? If we’ve lost by that measure, then the terrorists don’t really have to do anything but watch.
A reminder – Patriot Act alert! The White House has been “reaching out” to senators “with concerns about the bill.” Call your representatives today (Capitol switchboard – 202-224-3121) and tell them not to give in to the President’s demands for an unchanged “Patriot” Act.
If passed as is,
- … the Justice Department will retain the authority to investigate American citizens without judicial oversight, a power that is invoked more than 30,000 times each year.
- … the government will still be able to search individuals’ private property without notifying them.
- … authorities will still be able to search citizens’ library records, medical records, school records, and financial records virtually unchecked by the judiciary.
Before you listen, if you can listen, to the “State of the Union” address at the end of the month, take a look at Think Progress’ “State of Presidential Credibility” report, which documents the “distortions and misrepresentations”* of Bush’s previous addresses.
*These are the euphemisms we use to soften the reality now, just in case someone is too “traumatized” by the word “lies.”