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, September 17, 2003

Stripping us of our citizenship

"Patriot" Watch

In this article (I got some weird formatting with it) from the spring of this year, Nat Hentoff wonders why the press hasn't been informing us more about what our leaders "perceive" our liberties to be, how that may differ from what we think our liberties are, and how the laws are being changed to curtail them. This was back when Bush and Ashcroft were quietly trying to pass part II of the Patriot Act. Apparently they have stopped trying for now, or are being even more quiet about it.

How many Americans know that if the bill is passed (and Bush certainly won't veto it), they can be stripped of their citizenship if charged with giving "material support" to a group designated by the government as "terrorist"? Sending a check for the outfit's lawful activities - without knowing why it landed on Ashcroft's list - could make you a person without a country and put you behind bars here indefinitely. As Chief Justice Earl Warren said, "you lose the right to have rights" when you lose your citizenship.

Lying Liars Watch

Here is an editorial, also from late April, that has an almost insouciant naivete about it in retrospect. We had just "won" the war in Iraq, but the editor asks, "Did our leaders lie to us? Do we even care?" (Answers: most definitely and some of us). Some excerpts:

Just a few weeks ago, any statement from me that Bush's case for war was riddled with inconsistencies and illogic would have brought swift and fierce condemnation from this fellow. Now, basking in the glow of military conquest -- and confronted by a thus-far futile search for chemical and biological weapons -- this hawk breezily conceded the point while also waving it away as inconsequential. Have we become a country that wears its hypocrisy openly and proudly?
But we're heading for big trouble as a nation if we aren't even concerned that our heads of state may be manipulating us by manipulating the truth. In a nation where hypocrisy is rewarded, expect more lies.

Later, of course, we learned the stunning depths of the lies which were told to us, and many many more people have died since this was written, with no end to the bloodshed, destroyed lives, or enormous costs to us in sight. Oh, to return to those jejune days of spring, when our cynicism was young and we thought that at least the Bushies thought that Saddam was a threat. Were we ever really that young?

"Democracy" in Iraq Watch

Ooops, did we ever say that we were going to let the Iraqis choose their own leaders? One would think that was a requirement for "democracy" in Iraq, yet this headline (reprinted from the New York Times) "In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off" signals a very different outcome. Let's read on about how we are going to put this nation, formerly ruled with an iron fist, on the shining path to peace, prosperity, representative government . . . someday:
The Iraqi figures were also surprised by the reversal since it appeared in recent weeks that Pentagon officials had persuaded the White House that the best course was to turn over power as quickly as possible to opposition forces.

But as the breadth of systemic breakdown in Iraq has become more visible, a counterargument has grown that the failure of the opposition to make the transition to a viable government would reflect poorly on the allied victory over Mr. Hussein and add to instability.

To be sure, there is some kind of council now in place, but we are definitely running the show. Maybe we are afraid that a new Iraqi government might not just give Halliburton (oops again, of course I mean the United States) all of its oil.

Franken Watch

Finally, here is a link to the audio of a hilarious interview that Al Franken did on the Late Show with David Letterman promoting his new book (warning: sound), in case you missed it. The funniest thing is to hear Letterman laughing his ass off as Franken skewers O'Reilly.


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