- How does he sleep at night?
- What is it that enables George Bush to sleep at night
when his avarice and iniquity as a ruler exceed that of Marie Antoinette?
Could it be that he slept through his history lectures about the French
Revolution while he was at Yale? Perhaps his capacity to sleep soundly
stems from having the most powerful military in the history of humanity
at his disposal. Being a member of a dynasty dating back to the 1930's
would also tend to endow one with a sense of serenity as one plundered
a nation's resources, shredded the US Constitution, initiated illegal wars,
bullied most of the world, slaughtered innocents in the name of "spreading
freedom", starved the poor to feed the rich, and allowed tens of thousands
to suffer or die in New Orleans simply because they are poor and black.
- The power of psychological manipulation
- While there could be many reasons for Bush's smug self-assurance
as he gives the finger to most of the world's citizenry, I theorize that
his sense of security stems from the level of protection he derives from
America's Propaganda Matrix, the propaganda machine which enables the American
Nightmare to masquerade as the American Dream. A friend recently commented
to me that Orwell had written "1984" as a warning, but that the
Bush administration had adopted it as a blue-print. Free and constant access
to the mainstream media (to spread their sugar-coated versions of Pax Americana),
genuflecting pundits like Michelle Malkin and Charles Krauthammer,corporate
ownership of mainstream media, textbook companies and schools which portray
a white-washed version of US history, heavily funded "think tanks"
like the Hoover Institution, and the perpetuation of the myth of the United
States as the "good guys" in many mindless Hollywood blockbusters
unite to provide US leaders a powerful yet subtle means to manipulate their
subjects. Why would Bush worry about the consequences of his actions when
the propaganda machine at his disposal, like his military machine, is unparalleled
in human history?
- Not unlike the program the machines created in the movie
called the Matrix, America's Propaganda Matrix manipulates the poor and
working class by lulling them into an illusory sense of joy over being
so "free". While wealthy dynasties (like the Bush clan), their
sycophants, and their corporate cronies pillage the US treasury and employ
foreign policies (like the Bush Doctrine) to seek world domination, an
apathetic American public joyfully slaps magnetic ribbons supporting the
Iraqi invasion onto its gas-guzzling SUV's, smiles and nods its assent
at federal budgets calling for increases in an insanely bloated defense
budget and cuts in spending for social programs, lightheartedly surrenders
its civil liberties, and blithely watches the wealth gap widen to monumental
proportions. The brilliance of the American Propaganda Matrix is that it
enables a covert nobility to rule behind the guise of a "federal republic".
With virtually no open acts of violence or totalitarian measures, a small
fraction of the population in the United States maintains a vast majority
of the world's wealth and power by ensuring that "their people"
are elected and appointed to the key positions in the US government. Living
in the delusory American Propaganda Matrix, many poor and working class
Americans contentedly go about their lives as the "freest people in
the world" enjoying the fruits of "sublime capitalism".
In the American Propaganda Matrix, the American Way is The Way, and there
is no room for critical evaluation. Those beguiled by the American Propaganda
Matrix will tenaciously adhere to their delusions, regardless of who suffers
or dies as a result.
- Your computer has a virus, Mr. Rove
- Unfortunately for those in power in the United States,
the American Propaganda Matrix has a "virus". In fact, as a free
lance writer publishing on the Internet, and as a proponent of social justice,
I am a part of that "virus". The "virus" consists of
activists for peace and social justice who are attacking the "program"
which manipulates Americans into believing in the false construct of the
US as a benevolent world power with political and economic systems which
the world "must embrace. I know from the many emails (and comments
on my blog) which I receive that more people are escaping the psychological
clutches of this Matrix each day as they awaken to the harsh light of reality.
As Americans examine their leaders and history more closely, they see the
depth of the corruption, the pervasiveness of the lies, the extreme hubris,
the insatiable avarice, the objective of global domination (regardless
of the human cost), the white patriarchy, and the exploitation of the poor
and working class. Propaganda does not hold up well under the scrutiny
of critical examination. The Iraqi occupation, events in New Orleans, cuts
in assistance to the poor, a rapid decline in the number of decent paying
jobs, tax cuts for the rich, spiraling federal deficits, sky-rocketing
gas prices, corporate plundering, and weakening environmental protections
are coalescing to form a battering ram of truth which is shattering the
delusions created by the American Propaganda Matrix. When reality bites,
the pain is real, but as my wrestling coach said on many occasions:
- "No pain, no gain!"
- As the "virus" of activism for peace and social
justice spreads like wild-fire, Karl Rove and his staff desperately seek
to patch the highly vulnerable American Propaganda Matrix "program".
Their efforts are in vain. Noam Chomsky posits the theory that the world
has two remaining superpowers, the United States and public opinion. The
"virus" has ignited public opinion to mobilize against the miscreants
operating behind the veil of the failing American Propaganda Matrix. Bush's
rapidly descending approval ratings provide the statistical evidence, but
there are also more concrete indicators.
- Cindy Sheehan symbolizes a turning point
- Consider Cindy Sheehan. One woman standing in a ditch
in front of George Bush's ranch in Crawford came to symbolize the national
movement against the war in Iraq, and galvanized a growing number of dissidents
in the United States to demand peace and social justice from a country
whose leaders are sorely lacking in desire to allow either.
- Ms. Sheehan's determination and willingness to live in
a tent while George Bush vacationed comfortably on his ranch for five weeks
has evolved into a cross country tour of anti-war demonstrations. Now that
Bush has finally gone back to work, many of the Sheehan supporters from
Camp Casey, including other military family members and war veterans have
begun the Bring Them Home Now Tour. This three bus tour will hit 42 cities
in 26 states. Their ultimate goal is to converge on the White House with
hundreds of thousands of other activists on 9/24 to demand that the Bush
administration end the war in Iraq, bring home the troops, defend civil
rights, and end racism. Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families
Speak Out, Iraq Vets against the War, and Veterans for Peace are working
together on this national tour to garner public support for opposition
to the Iraqi invasion. They are also promoting the peace and social justice
march on 9/24, which will culminate with the delivery of petitions and
demands to George Bush, who needs a strong reminder that he is a mere servant
of the American people, not a monarch.
- Activism in my neck of the woods
- Yesterday evening, I left work and headed for the Plaza
area of my hometown of Kansas City, anticipating the arrival of one of
the Bus Tours from Camp Casey. My excitement was justified. Three to four
hundred anti-war demonstrators gathered to show their support for Cindy
Sheehan's group. The caravan from Crawford was a little late, but people
found plenty to do as they waited. Petitions circulated. People met, mingled
and discussed their disgust with the Bush administration and its imperialistic
policies. Ira Harritt, a local peace activist who is heavily involved with
American Friends Service Committee, and Nancy Carry, co-chair of the KC
Iraq Task Force, took turns speaking to the group about local efforts to
end the Iraqi occupation. Many of the demonstrators admired the enormous
collage assembled with ribbons bearing the names of each US soldier who
has died in Iraq since the illegal occupation began.
- Having participated in local anti-war demonstrations
before, I was used to getting the finger and hearing insults. Yesterday,
I felt awe-struck by the virtually over-whelming support of passers-by.
The assembly was situated in a park on the corner of a busy intersection
and took place during rush hour. I noticed many people honking, waving,
gesturing and smiling with approval. I heard no cursing and saw no vulgar
gestures. Bush's supporters are obviously dwindling and feeling less inclined
to express their views publicly.
- As I waited, I had an opportunity to speak with two of
Kansas City's stalwart anti-war demonstrators, Carol Huhs and Bob Rowe.
They are members of a group of twenty die-hards who call themselves the
63rd Street Patriots. Determined to make a difference, regardless of weather
extremes or abuse from Bush supporters, they have held demonstrations opposing
the Iraqi occupation for 132 consecutive weeks. The commitment of people
like Bob and Carol form the backbone of the movement for peace and social
justice, which by its very nature dissents against the Bush administration.
- Morrigan Phillips, the media coordinator for the Bring
Them Home Now Tour told me that the goal of the tour is to build momentum
for the 9/24 march on Washington. She added that another objective is to
find members of Congress who have the moral courage to introduce or support
legislation to bring the troops home immediately. They have set high goals,
but they are worth pursuing, and this group has the resolve to persevere.
- I visited briefly with Kansas City Star columnist Lewis
Diuguid, one of the few mainstream journalists in Kansas City with the
courage to write columns supporting social justice, peace, civil liberties,
civil rights, and social welfare programs. I thanked him for his efforts
and for expressing his opposition to many of the grossly misguided policies
of the Bush administration.
- Camp Casey comes to KC
- As the RV from Camp Casey arrived, it occurred to me
that I was witnessing (and was a part of) an activism which had not occurred
in the United States on such a large scale during my adult years. I could
feel the awesome power of America's Propaganda Matrix waning as the energized
crowd of "de-programmed" Americans cheered the appearance of
Tammara Rosenleaf and Cody Camacho, who had both spent several weeks with
Cindy Sheehan in Crawford.
- Deeply tanned by her stint in the hot Texas sun, Tammara
gratified her eager listeners with her brief bio, news of Camp Casey, anecdotes,
and information about the Iraqi occupation. I felt the elation moving amongst
my fellow activists from Kansas City as an element of Cindy Sheehan's group
made direct contact with us. For that hour, we were direct participants
in the national movement against the Iraqi debacle.
- As she started speaking, Tammara reminded us that Camp
Casey had evolved from the courage of one woman standing in a ditch alongside
the road in front of the ranch where Bush cowered. Within a few days, Sheehan
had been joined by about thirty supporters. Initially they feared they
would be arrested, but the local sheriff allowed their vigil to continue
in the interest of their First Amendment rights. By the end of the first
week, they had 50 people and one tent. 10,000 people visited Camp Casey
over the course of its existence. It ended with a rally attended by 2,500
people who helped dismantle the 71 tents that had been erected over the
course of 5 weeks.
- Tammara told us that her husband is stationed at Ft.
Hood. His Army unit is scheduled to deploy to Iraq in November. He supports
Tammara's involvement with Military Families Speak Out and the peace movement.
Tammara told us that her husband's captain and chaplain also support her
- Pool of tears and the raging torrent of public opinion
- George Bush needs to realize that the Iraqi occupation
has created a pool of grief created by the tears of mothers and wives of
dead military personnel. Tammara reminded us that Cindy Sheehan's tears
caused this pool to over-flow. What started as a trickle, grew to a river,
and has now gained the momentum of a raging torrent headed for Washington.
Perhaps Mr. Bush will pay attention to the pool of tears on 9/24 when he
is confronted with the power of public opinion which it has inspired.
- Bring Them Home Now left Crawford with an RV and $450.00.
In the tradition of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, this is a
grass roots movement relying on support and participation from people across
the United States who are waking up to the malevolence of the Bush administration.
Tammara asked for donations as she spoke, and it appeared that many in
the group responded.
- Tammara emphasized to her audience that the Iraqi occupation
also affects many facets of life stateside, for both returning veterans
and other working class or poor Americans. In New Orleans, 3,000 National
Guardsmen who would have been helping during Katrina are busy occupying
Iraq instead. Military helicopters which could have been used to air-lift
people out of the city and to help repair the dikes are also in Iraq. How
many will suffer or die in the wealthiest nation on Earth before the New
Orleans crisis is resolved? As many veterans prepare to come home from
their tours in Iraq, the Bush administration is closing several VA hospitals,
limiting medical and psychiatric care for those suffering physical and
psychological wounds. Tammara reminded us that in Baghdad alone, JAG Corps
officers have received 2600 petitions for divorce since the beginning of
the occupation. It would appear there is no limit to the human cost George
Bush and his so-called Neocons are willing to expend using other peoples'
lives in their quest for global domination.
- A veteran speaks
- Following Tammara's inspiring and heartfelt talk, Cody
Camacho took the microphone. He served as an Army specialist in Iraq from
March 2003 to March 2004 before he was honorably discharged in October
of 2004. Cody asked several poignant questions as he spoke:
- 1. Who is the "boss" in the United States?
Excellent question, Cody. With a slim margin of victory in the last presidential
election and support for his illegal Iraqi occupation well below 50%, why
is Bush defying his "boss", the American people, and insisting
on "staying the course" in Iraq?
- 2. Why do people continue to support corporate media?
Another question more Americans need to ponder deeply. Why support a corporate
media which often ignores or waters down the truth if it casts even a hint
of negative light on the United States?
- 3. What is the noble cause in Iraq? Cody answered that
question for us since Bush would not. The illegal Iraqi occupation is a
"nobility cause" to benefit the wealthy.
- 4. Why are we showering Halliburton (via its subsidiary,
KBR) with billions of dollars in Iraq-related contracts when our soldiers
are not equipped with effective body armor or properly armored vehicles?
- Cody informed us of the lack of efforts toward reconstruction
of infrastructure for the people of Iraq. Based on his observations during
his deployment, many US resources were funneling into the construction
of permanent US military bases in Iraq. (A nation can't have a "true
democracy" without US military oversight, now can they?) To further
nauseate the crowd, Cody told us that his job in Iraq was to protect Halliburton
contractors, one of whom bragged to him that he was making over $100,000.00
per year (tax free). Given the fact that he was talking about Halliburton,
it was not surprising to learn that many of those contractors were performing
jobs US soldiers could have been doing. Disgusting to hear, but not surprising.
- One of Cody's greatest fears as a veteran relates to
the issue of depleted uranium. Depleted uranium (or DU) is the residual
left after natural uranium has been enriched to make reactor fuel or weapons.
Its radioactivity is mild, but DU is very heavy and is almost twice as
dense as lead. The military places it in the cores or tips of weapons
in order to pierce armor. When DU does pierce armor, it becomes a cloud
of vapor which then forms a poisonous and radioactive dust. Many veterans
of the Gulf War believe that exposure to DU left them with chronic and
serious health problems and killed some of their fellow veterans. While
the US military acknowledges that DU dust is dangerous if inhaled, they
claim that its effects are short-term. There is no hard evidence to prove
either contention. However, Cody, and many other veterans, fear what the
long term effects of their exposure to DU might be.
- As Cody finished speaking, he dispelled one of the common
rumors about Camp Casey. According to several accountings, the pro-Iraq
occupation demonstrators in Crawford out-numbered the contingency at Camp
Casey. Cody and Tammara both confirmed that on a given day throughout the
vigil, the number of Bush supporters only averaged about 30. Not only were
they much fewer in number than the Sheehan supporters, they also went home
- How long can he ignore the 'Second Superpower'?
- I left the Bring Them Home Now Tour with a renewed sense
of hope and a stronger faith in the power and magnitude of the grass roots,
spiritual movement toward a better America. The "virus" of activism
for humanity is spreading rapidly throughout the "hard drive"
supporting America's Propaganda Matrix. As more people become acquainted
with the reality behind the veneer of lies, the Bush administration, large
corporations, the wealthy elite, and powerful lobbying groups are slowly
losing their grip on power as the tide of public opinion rises against
them, here and abroad. The non-violent movement for peace and social justice
is growing, and hundreds of thousands of us will be knocking on Mr. Bush's
door on 9/24.
- Jason Miller is a 38 year old activist writer with a
degree in liberal arts. He works in the transportation industry, and is
a husband and a father to three boys. His affiliations include Amnesty
International, the ACLU and the Americans United for Separation of Church
and State. He welcomes responses at email@example.com or comments
on his blog at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.