The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

House Un-American T-shirts Committee

First Amendment Watch

We are in danger of losing our right to dissent. Thanks to Melissa for this story, about a man who was arrested in a mall for wearing a "Give Peace a Chance" T-shirt. Of course, he wasn't arrested for wearing the shirt, he was arrested for not leaving the mall when asked to by mall security. But a mall is a public accommodation, like a restaurant, and not private property, like a private home, and the mall is clearly on thin legal ice here. Also, from the story it is clear that this guy was the wrong person to pick on. He goes after judges for judicial misconduct, so it won't be too surprising if he is hard to intimidate. Still, imagine that we are living in an America where people are _arrested_ for wearing "Give Peace a Chance" T-shirts. Like so many people have said before me, I feel like I've woken up in the middle of a nightmare.

Also, it turns out that this is not the first time this mall has seen fit to stomp on peace activists. Here we learn of the last time, around Christmas, when the mall ejected about 2 dozen wearing shirts that said things like "Peace on Earth". Imagine the gall - at Christmas time, no less!.

Now, here is the good part of the story. People around that mall are not taking the arrest lying down. Here is the "counter-offensive" by a group of peace-advocating citizens. Of course "pro-war" protesters were there too, with the main thrust of their argument seeming to be that people should "remember 9-11". Of course, doing to Iraq what Al Qaeda did to us is a pretty poor way to remember 9-11, since, as we never seem to get tired of pointing out, Iraq has not done anything to the US.

On a related note, here is a first hand account of 8 peace pamphleteers being arrested at a mall in Baltimore. It's a pretty scary story, but the mall probably doesn't have much of a legal leg to stand on. Read this discussion of the arrests on Democratic Underground, and look for post #32 (by BareKnuckledLiberal) for an explanation of some of the issues involved.

Tom Friedman Watch

It's almost sad to see the rational part of Tom Friedman's brain trying to wake up the part which is a cheerleader for team Bush to the reality that these folks are either incompetent, evil, or both. In his latest column, he goes through a long list of major screw ups and lost opportunities from this administration, any or all of which would make our coming invasion of a sovereign country to forcibly install democracy "better". Still, he hangs onto the hope, the hope against hope, that this little war will all turn out OK if we just believe in it enough and clap our hands. He manages to call Bush "bold" at least 5 times, like all the good little pundits are supposed to. Digby calls this the "It Just Has to Work" theory of geopolitics, and wonders why, since this administration has messed up literally everything else it has done since seizing power, we should expect this war to be a success, or at least not a horrible disaster.

History Watch

Somerby on the origin and spin of the "alpha male" quote on Gore.

Those Damned Furiners Watch

Here is a long and very sad article about the way Mad King George has antagonized the world, and how ordinary citizens and tourists will pay the price. Glad to see those US apologists still falling back on "we saved your asses in WWII" as their main talking point. That's original.

Iraq Watch

The gloves are finally off. The lies, as thinly veiled as they were, will not stand up any more to even the slightest scrutiny. We all knew that the Bush regime did not actually care about the threat of weapons of mass destruction - their actual goal is US hegemony in the middle east. But until now, that lie has served to justify themselves as they pushed forward their horrible agenda. As Gene Lyons notes, that illusion is no longer being maintained. Even as Iraq moves towards disarmament, the Bush administration says that their actual goal is "regime change". This bait and switch has understandably ticked off many of our few remaining allies, who were working in good faith within the structure of the UN to bring about peaceful disarmament. But whatever. As BuzzFlash notes, the UN gambit was only a time keeping measure, designed to make it seem as if they gave a fig about the rest of the world, and now they either get to invade with the UN's approval, or they can take a step closer to breaking the UN, which would please them about equally. Ironically, in this article, Colin Powell says that it is _Iraq's_ goal to break up the UN, continuing the fine Republican tradition of blaming other people for the things which you yourself are doing.

Finally don't miss this article by Nicholas von Hoffman, "Going Off to War Supplied With Lies", which first pokes a bit at the journalists (he calls them "war whores") who are so gung ho for this war, and then reminds us that we can expect nothing but a steady stream of disinformation once the thing has begun. He follows this by some of the lies from US conflicts from the last 60 years. Quite a sobering read.

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