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Won’t Back Down

PrchrLady emailed me this to encourage everyone, via Firedoglake by Naomi Wolf:

I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment — Colorado to California — speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the ten steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness — but I am finding crowds of people who don’t need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

But I can’t stand the stories I am hearing. [Story continued here.]

Americans might not feel so isolated, so alone in this fight, if the media would help by doing their jobs. So we often criticize the media, and rightly so, for helping Bush push the propaganda. But, lest we forget, the Bush administration has also been using intimidation and fear against journalists as well. For example:

• The FBI acknowledges that journalists’ phone records are fair game.

Katie Couric recently lamented there was “a lot of undercurrent of pressure not to rock the boat” on the Iraq war.

• The anthrax attacks targeted Democrats in Congress, such as Tom Daschle, as well as the media, such as ABC.

• CNN’s top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN “was intimidated” by the Bush administration and Fox News, which “put a climate of fear and self-censorship.”

Glenn Greenwald writes about how Bush followers attack the freedom of the press, specifically its ability to report on the administration’s misconduct. And how Bush’s DOJ is aggressively pursuing a criminal investigation into the disclosure by The New York Times of the Administration’s decision to violate the law when eavesdropping on Americans.

• The continuing attacks by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Fox News to smear anyone who dares disagree with the Bush administration, including children [such as Graeme Frost]. But they especially target politicians and the so-called liberal media.

The Bush administration knows that adversarial journalism is one of the last checks on it. This is one of the reasons why blogs are so important. They’re largely unencumbered, by having to please editors say, to challenge the new McCarthyism and fight for democracy, while they help empower people to get involved and collaborate.

  • Philip Henika

    No Quarter:

    The “watch list” that Naomi was refering to is apparently a hypothetical one.

    “Jim Spencer” is not on the

    http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sdn/sdnlist.txt

    which I was able to download today but not yesterday for reasons I cannot explain.

    I can understand Blackwater as the tip of the iceberg but if the iceberg is to be exposed then evidentiary rigor is required i.e. find the “watch list” and don’t make assumptions leading to preconception to bolster argument e.g. Naomi’s assumption of “probably Republican”.

  • Thinker

    Sound great comments, a fine topic starter Leslie/Pchrlady. Thankyou.

    I think summarised, the comments by Yogi-one and YBN spear the root of this problem. Also thanks to Montag. I did not known Zenger won ‘freedom of speech’ in a court of law. Perhaps there is hope for the legal system yet. Although, today many areas of speech are not free as a result of Bogie-man presentations characterising a particular view.

    For instance is anyone for drink driving, child sex and the social use of cocaine or heroin. Those are some stark examples. But the more you delve the more you realise how the social view is embroiled prejudice. As Yogi has already said, the progression to today’s sorry state of affairs started in the 1970′s. Actually I feel it started in the 1960′s which were very similar today: a moon landing that never took place, yet populations were successfully sold the idea (so well, that few disbelieve today). Several spectular assassinations and disappearances. A presiding backcloth of fear unlying a sexual revolution [today we have a pornographic revolution and the war on porn is about to start with venom].

    We also had Watergate. The importance of Watergate was threefold. Firstly, the president and all his men were unaccountable. Second they were prepared to and did lie to the people they swore to serve. And thirdly, and probably most importantly, they established the ultimate standard of non-transparency because no one paid. That is why the current administration is prepared to, nay good at saying “so what?”

    Some peeps have read my stuff and asked “who’s side are you on?” I neither represent the left or the right and seem to citicise just about anybody. That’s because I am here for truth and both the left and the right deceives. The only way to attain enlightenment is through the comprehension of truth. While fiction is dressed as fact, how can humanity become enlightened? So as the one who must ascend all humans, step one is to ensure we are working with the truth and nothing but the truth.

    The Bush administration applies plural arguments to everything it does. These may compell its supporters. For instance, if Iraqis are considered terrorists, then selfish Americans might quite reasonably wish to terminate the entire popluations. Problem solved. Though there is a conflict of identity. I am a human. How can I justify the slaugher of another. This has been done before with the invention of the savage….a sub human. As the writer of the article pointed out [myself included - many times on this board] the gap between Hitler’s Germany and present day 1st World is shortening by the day. Far from Orwell issuing warnings, he has turned out to have created the blueprint for how things are to be.

    This is why I have said the war of words is futile when dealing with those who say “so what”. There are only two remedies, which will induce enormous suffering either way, revolution or mutiney. Theoretically, there is is a third but that requires progressive thinking and the human species has not evolved far enough for that I suspect.

    • Yogi-one

      Don’t give up on the humans just yet.

      Western Europe seems to have actually evolved beyond thinking the answers to their problems lie in conquering everything in sight. They have a long history of wars and would-be world rulers all believing salvation will come in the form of killing your enemies and suppressing all dissent domestically.

      It eventually led them to WWI and WWII, and they seem finally to have realized they can’t get what they want through constant war. Every Napoleon is going, sooner or later , to hit their Waterloo. Every Reich is going, sooner or later, to encounter their Russian Winter.

      The n00bs on the block, the USA, haven’t figured it out yet. We are still under the illusion that there can be an Alexander who never has to turn back, a Ghengis Khan that lives forever, lies that never have to be given up, crimes that never have to be paid for.

      We are Yurtle the Turtles, and everything we see we want to own.

      Of course at some point it will all blow up in our faces. There will be a collective “what in hell have we been doing – TO OURSELVES?” moment just as there was in 1950s Western Europe and Japan.

      These countries don’t care about conquering the world anymore because they have followed the entire path to its bitter end several times already.

      Americans still suffer from the illusion that somehow, some way, it is still possible to conquer everybody, squelch everybody, live wasteful lives with no second thoughts and have everything we want right now.

      It’s going to get worse before it gets better, no doubt. We seem to want to learn the lesson the hard way, and only after we’ve exhausted ourselves and we’re sucking wind wondering how we are going to to continue, will that magic moment come when we realize that what we have been doing ISN’T WORKING.

      But sooner or later, I still believe we will get it.

  • lidia

    Hm, so “average” people in New-Mexico or District Columbia NOW experience first hand how it is for people in Mexico, or in Columbia. Or for Blacks in the same USA. Or for Leftists. The sourse is the same – the USA government, only now its scope is much wider.

  • mudkitty

    There’s that famous Goebbles quote about governments using fear…does anyone remember what it is…how all governments do it and it’s as old as the hills?

    • Delia

      I can’t find a Goebbels quote about fear. There’s a famous Goering quote about how a government can lead a nation into war using fear.

      Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. 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 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.”

      –Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

      There’s more about the context at Snopes

      http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.asp

      I found a wide variety of interesting quotes on fascism, America, patriotism of both the good and the bad variety, etc., on this page

      http://www.letstalksense.com/quotes.html

  • Fred C. Dobbs

    Well, Sports Fans, it’s 1970 all over again. Except THIS time the Fascists in charge learned their lessons well from the early 70′s when they were acolytes at the altar of Nixon, Mitchell, Haldeman et al.

    Back then there were other people in the government who said, “Stop!”

    But, since almost no one (except Liddy) went to a real prison, or was shot, no real Example was made.

    Thus Rummy and Cheney and The Boys in the Bund bided their time, waiting for the appropriate set of conditions to pull this off.

    And since the Congress has largely become populated with money-grubbing opportunists, conditions will continue to deteriorate, until even the most ardent, herb-farming, navel-gazing pacifist will wish he owned a gun.

    Just HAD to vote for that idiot Reagan, didn’t you, America? Governor, “If it takes a blood bath, let it begin here.”

    Where’s Rhodes of Ohio when we need him to shoot down a few demonstrators?

    Muddle ‘Murricans let this happen, having done less than nothing to preserve us as a nation of laws.

    Government reform, to be effective at this juncture, will have to come at the end of a rope. If government drones on their way into DC had to pass three dozen corpses of crooked politicians and civil servants hanging from the lightposts of the Key Bridge, it might, well, Send A Message to their lizard brains.

    Since that’s not going to happen, the slide downward will, inexorably, continue.

    This is the government and the country my generation murdered strangers for…

  • ybnormal

    Fear and un-accountable authority are partners in crime.
    Regardless of whatever else I or any others may agree or disagree on with Rob, who posts here; he has in fact hit the nail on the head with:

    So whats different today? We as a Nation are, we fear our own government. That is unacceptable…

    We are repeatedly told by our “leaders” our biggest enemy is terror, some kind of shape-shifting never-ending dark force. Instead of the inspiring words of the past about our only fear is fear itself, today we are told to be AFRAID, VERY AFRAID, of fear (expressed as terrorism).

    This does not mean we don’t have real terrorists in the world, we do. But terrorism is not conquered by fear. Fear only enables un-accountable authority, which naturally leads to authoritarian tyranny.

    Fear’s natural advantage is that it’s easier to leverage than courage. That does not mean that fear will always win; it just means that courage takes a greater effort. In simple terms, this means pro-adtively getting off our asses and giving a shit.

    • Cee

      We are repeatedly told by our “leaders” our biggest enemy is terror, some kind of shape-shifting never-ending dark force.

      I’m not afraid and not fooled.
      It used to be the commies that were accused of every evil under the sun. Now Muslims are the new Satan.
      Rob mentioned some of the terror groups of the past and with the exception of The Weather Underground (to my knowledge) all of them were infiltrated and run by various intelligence agencies.
      I see today that the old Team B is back and threaten Putin if he travels to Iran.
      SOS year after year.

  • Philip Henika

    The List did not download for me – maybe someone else can try?

    http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sdn/

  • Yogi-one

    It’s good Americans are finally starting to get it. It would have been better if they were listening in the late 70s when people starting sounding the alarm about the rise of the religious right, or during the 80s when a few enlightened souls engaged in the absolute heresy of disagreeing with Ronald Reagan.

    Now, after the neocons are in the final phases of their plan, Americans, emerging from a deep zomboid shopping-trance, are beginning to notice ”ummm, something doesn’t feel right”, just like in Animal Farm when a few horses start to think something they just can’t can’t put their finger on doesn’t seem quite right…

    Not quite an enlightened citizenry, but we have to seize the opportunity and splash buckets of cold water on them while the possibility of awakening is still there…

    When you awaken a person from a deep slumber, their first impulse is to resist you because they are so enjoying their sleep. Then they begin to realize they’ve been sleeping, then finally there’s the awareness they would like to wake up – the deeper the sleep, the slower the process of awakening…

    Americans have been asleep at the wheel, and the cliff is coming very close now.

    If there is a second major terrorist attack, I just hope Cheney’s involvement is exposed much, much quicker than after 9-11. Maybe if Americans are forced to watch Cheney engineer a second attack, with their eyes wide open, maybe then the light bulb will go off and they will figure this stuff out.

  • Bill Keyes

    A no s**t sherlock statement by Our esteemed leader of the House..

    Pelosi: “I would not give Congress high marks on ending the war.”

    Read more here…

    http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/pelosi-i-would-not-give-congress-high-marks-on-ending-the-war-2007-10-14.html

  • http://america-weeps.blogspot.com/ anon paranoid

    Don’t forget we have a live Military Martial Law exercise coming up October 15th through the 20th.

    What are the chances that there will be a real terrorist attack during it?

    Left up to the Decider, very likely. I would not put anything past this Fascist Regime and could very well imagine them committing an act of terror against American Citizens.

    Just the excuse he needs to start World War III and launch his War on Iran.

    God Bless.

    • Cee

      So they priming people for this nonsense?

      An ex-senator that opposes individual rights of women; a pundit that calls people “faggots” and considers Islam a “cult”; a Christian scholar who is considered a “polemicist” and an “Islamophobe” by conservative Christians themselves; and an intellectual who has received millions from “far right” organizations since 2001, are rising up for the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities in the Muslim world. This laughable spectacle is called the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. It will be coming to a university near you on October 22 – 26.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-eteraz/laughing-at-islamofasci_b_67565.html

  • Montag

    Look up JOHN PETER ZENGER (1697-1746) and you’ll find that he helped to establish Freedom of the Press in the U.S. Zenger was a German immigrant who published the first party newspaper, “The New York Weekly Journal.” In 1735 he was tried for sedition and libel against Governor William Crosby. But Zenger had merely printed the TRUTH about Crosby’s high-handed shennanigans.

    Zenger was considered sure to be convicted and his first local lawyers were actually disbarred for defending him! So he got the original “Philadelphia Lawyer,” Andrew Hamilton, who couldn’t be disbarred by the Governor of New York. Hamilton argued that the law making the truth illegal when painful to the Powers That Be was unconstitutional, and the jury miraculously acquitted Zenger in a case of Jury Nullification which established the right of a Free Press to tell the truth.

    Zenger later wrote: “No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.”

  • Teaeopy

    I’ve been disturbed that the “9/11 changed everything” justification has been used to diminish the privacy of public library users and to reduce access to public records at all levels of government.

  • Delia

    Here is what’s incredible to me. Germany and Italy in the 1920s were nations in desperate circumstances. The usual analyses of the rise of fascism/nazism factor in the sense of economic desperation and cultural victimization that supposedly led to the rise of these movements. Yet what are we seeing in the United States? It was the most prosperous country in the world and the Right developed this myth of victimization, well, mainly out of thin air. They got their Pearl Harbor-type event, all right, and I don’t think we’ll ever get satisfactory answers for all that. But the groundwork for the Republic of Fear was laid well before that. Yes, Naomi is right about what’s happening, but there is this crucial difference between us and the first fascist movements, and I’m not sure what it means.

  • http://robinstorm.blogspot.com/ Rob

    I just want to add a note here… I grew up in the 60s and 70s when Black September, the Weatherman, the Baader-Meinhof Gang and the Red Brigade were running amok blowing up government buildings, kidnapping, murdering folk and hijacking aircraft….

    We did not as a Nation panic, create out of control intelligence and law enforcement agencies nor hide under our beds. Americans back then refused to fear or hide. They held their elected officials feet to the fire even with the Vietnam War going on.

    So whats different today? We as a Nation are, we fear our own government. That is unacceptable…. If this does not make you all mad then I so not know what will. What do we do? Take the dam government back by not putting in the same idiots we have in office now.. Then hold their feet to the fire….

    We only have our Republic to loose…. And that is no joke.

    • Patrick Henry

      I would be interested in a poll across America..that asks.. “DO you feel Inspired by George W. Bush..Dick Cheney..or Karl Rove..??

      Do you believe they have Provided Good Leadership..??

      Do you believe they have Betrayed the Public trust..especially after 9/11..??

      Do you think thier Policys have made the world and the United states less Secure..and Unsafe..??

      Do you think President Bush should have Invaded Iraq..??

      do you think the Excuses for the Invasion of iraq were Manipulated by the Bush Administration..??

      Do you think the Bush Administration has Lied to ..or decieved the American People.. ??

      Are you suspicious that the Iraq war has been mismanaged ..allowing it to drag on ..Just so that certain priviledged Contractors and insiders could make millions..and billions of dollars of $$$$$$PROFIT…
      off of U.S. Taxpayer dollars..Controlled and Distributed by the Bush Administration..?

      I think the survey would be Interesting..

      But..I’m sure we will get the Answers to the Publics Opinion after our Next NATIONAL Elections..(and local elections..)

      I Hope there will be Accountability for all Partys..Participants..and corporations.. to go along with the results..and serious and Intense Congressional Hearings..on behalf of THE PEOPLE..

    • Cee

      Who really directed these groups that you mention and for what reasons?

  • Patrick Henry

    Leslie and prchrLADY..

    Good Post..Good reading..Good Comments..

    Yes..I also think we are in the middle of another
    “American Movement.”….bringing about a Conscious Awakening of the Trubled times and national perils we are facing..and the Threats to Our Constitution and Social well being..This is the Same “Spirit” of Awareness that united the Colonists..and Inspired The Founding fathers who provided the Leadership of those Times..

    They told the “TRUTH” and the People responded..and fought for freedom..Digtnity..and Confronted Obvious..and Flagrant Tyrrany..The kind that Steps on PEOPLE..and Steal the fruits of thier labor without Fair Compensation or Appreciation..

    There are tyhose of us..who know what sacrifices the “Patriots” made for Freedom..AND on behalf of the PEOPLE..The “Spirit of 76″..Lives on..In Poeple like you..like Larry..like many others who believe in the TRUTH..and will stand up to Tyrrany and Abuse of Power..so that we Have “Good and FAIR Government”
    and responsible use of Our national resources..and treasury..

    There is growing awareness indeed..of the Waste..Abuse..and misrepresentation by Elected officials ..and Government Agencys..

    I Hope..that We..The People are UNITED..all across America..Before the next Crisis..and Not because of it..

    Let us be Alert and Discerning..

    Let us choose our Next Leaders wisely..and may the TRUTH BE TOLD..and as Welcome as a Warm Sunrise after a long..Cold Winter..

    l

  • Sandy

    EXTREMELY important post…and points…thank you, Leslie.

    I so often find it SHOCKING some of the stuff I see or read…and try to read as little of it as I can. I almost don’t want to know any more than I already do.

    But you’ve told me something new here — the AUDACITY of the Bush administration DOJ investigating — “criminally” — the NYTimes for its OWN C-R-I-M-E-S. You really have to hand it to them. They Do have balls….at least for that sort of thing. Not going to war themselves, of course. Just sending someone else’s kids.

    Wow, this adm. will go down in history all right! Just when you think you’ve seen everything….