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Monday, January 31, 2005

Sound Off! Now Hear This. General Quarters! General Quarters! This is not a Drill!

Commentary by Eric & Sonja Elison:

In the Navy, the sounding of General Quarters is at once an alert to danger, and a command to prepare for action. As the 109th Congress opens, and the inauguration process is concluded, ours is a Nation in peril. We must roll out of our racks; hit the deck running, and man battle stations. This is not a drill!

Senator Robert Byrd, (D- West Virginia) rightly described the danger in his book Losing America (Norton Publishing, 2004) The nation is being led by an ill-equipped, reckless President; a President whose support was gained through appeals to fear, hate, greed, and piety; a President who like many before him, is grasping for more and more power.

The President is aided by a Congress ruthlessly ruled by his own party. A Republican Congress that can no longer be described by even the most deluded of observers as “conservative.” A radical Congress, willing to give up its power, and diminish the checks and balances that have served our Republic so well. A Congress that sits on its hands as young men and women die in Iraq. A Congress that allows the country to sink deeper in a quagmire in which the lives of our children, the fortune of our nation, the well being of our most vulnerable, and our reputation as a just Nation is lost.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist recently confirmed the warnings sounded by Sen. Byrd. In his year-end Annual Report on the state of the Federal Judiciary, the Chief Justice warned us of the danger associated with attempts by the Congress and Executive Branch to limit the power of the Courts. This warning is all the more noteworthy considering it may be the last report from an ailing Chief Justice appointed by Ronald Reagan. But these are not the only indicators of peril.

Emboldened by the electoral illusion of victory, Right Wing ideologues are pushing radical agendas; agendas that attack individual Freedoms, and erode Civil Rights. Disciples of political philosopher, Leo Strauss, seek to legislate mandatory adherence to Order, and Virtue as defined by hypocrites who would be kings. (https://www.alternet.org/story/15935)

Recently a warning came from James Dobson. Abandoning non-partisanship, he threatens to go after Democratic Senators if they don’t support Bush’s judicial nominees. In 2005, using his Focus on the Family organization, Dobson plans to raise $170 Million, much of which will be brought to bear against the Democrats in careful code words, that when deciphered will be understood as hate-laced, deceptive attacks against Democrats, and those that support individual liberties, and the exercise of free will.

Corporations and the wealthy paid over $400 million in the last election to continue to gain influence, and access to the Executive and Legislative Branches. The right-wing wealthy, who President Bush describes as his base, is deploying its forces from K Street offices. Unlike our Army in Iraq, the K Street forces have been significantly reinforced through a draft. Rep Billy Tauzin (R - LA), ever the patriot, entered the draft willingly. He drew a good draft number. No basic training will be required for Tauzin. He demonstrated his ability to deliver a windfall to the drug companies by inserting language that prevents the Federal Government from negotiating Medicare drug prices. Unconcerned about appearances, Tauzin will lead the Pharmaceutical forces and reportedly draw over $2 million a year from his paymasters.

Corporate-controlled media empires, such as Fox and Sinclair Broadcasting, are playing a key communication role in right-wing attacks. Led by Fox’s Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes, and Sinclair’s David Smith, they are helping to coordinate the creation and dissemination of propaganda, emanating from Right-Wing Think Tanks, Corporate-funded PR initiatives, the Republican Party, and the Executive Branch itself.

The Government Accounting Office, recently cited violations of Federal Law by the Administration in the production of propaganda “News stories.” In one instance, propaganda extolled the wonderful benefits of the Administration’s sham of a Medicaid Drug Bill. In another production, the propaganda promoted drug enforcement policies against importation of drugs from Canada. Most recently it was revealed that in the run up to the election, the Administration paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to conservative columnist, and TV Talk show host, Armstrong Williams, to promote the virtues, and benefits of the woefully under-funded “No Child Left Behind” Act. Other conservative personalities such a Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly make millions by appealing to base instincts in their listeners. The right wing media outlets are appealing to powerful emotions of hate, fear, and avarice in their listeners as they work constantly at creating division in the populace along the cultural fault lines of Guns, Gays, and God.

The organization and behavior of right wing radical forces can be variously described as corporatist, fascist, theocratic, and autocratic. Regardless of what label you place on the interaction and cooperation of these forces, there is no escaping the impact of their efforts on the United States. As we begin the 109th Congress, and the second term of President Bush, the citizens of this great country must heed the warnings that are sounding. Liberty and Freedom are under assault. Our Liberty, our Freedom is in peril. All citizens must stand against these threats. Citizens must call for the preservation of the Separation of Powers, the Independence of the Judiciary, and the Preservation of Civil Liberties. To remain inactive through either apathy or false patriotism will imperil our ship of State.

The authors are organizers of New Mexico Democratic Friends: a grassroots organization working to promote progressive policies that contribute to the Common Good. You can email them at NMDF@comcast.net. Their next meeting is scheduled for February 12th.

January 31, 2005 at 10:26 AM in Sound Off! | Permalink


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