Propaganda ala Bush
An illustration of why we need to, if not be the media ourselves, by highlighting news worthy items missed by a complicit mainstream media, at least read what is available widely and think critically.
President Bush spoke to a group of folks in Greece, New York, outside Rochester. He had this to say while hardselling his plans to privatize Social Security.
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)
You'll notice the crowd applauded. He is the President. It is an exciting event to be in his presence. Leader of our country. Here in our small town. But he just admitted that he is using propaganda, for crying out loud. He is in his element though, talking folksy to the people, being "one of us".
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
The Bush administration has gone out of its way to shield us from the truth. Helen Thomas writes
As he travels around the nation to make his pitch that Social Security is in a crisis, the president is limiting his congregation to screened, sanitized audiences. Why does he sermonize on the subject only to carefully selected audiences?
These are people who are vetted to make sure they agree with the president's views. If they pass that test, the local Republican Party or the groups sponsoring the event then issue tickets to the so-called "town meetings" or "conversations with the president."
Asked why the president speaks only to his supporters, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush's intention is to "educate" the people. He probably meant "indoctrinate."
Is this the president of all the people -- or just some of the people who agree with him?
It's bizarre. He's preaching to the choir, hardly the way to "educate" the public.
Controlling his audience was a prime goal of Bush's 2004 presidential campaign, when anti-war protesters were barred from his public appearances. People who openly disagreed with him were hustled out of the hall. We're now seeing the same audience control when Bush speaks about Social Security. The Secret Service and White House aides apparently spend a lot of time trying to handpick those permitted to hear him.
People have been ejected from Bush events due to a bumper sticker. With no disturbance, orderly attendees had this experience:
On March 28, three people ejected from a Social Security town hall meeting in Colorado met with Secret Service officials to find out why. In an e-mail circulated by the National Coalition Against Censorship, three Denver residents described their experience, saying they had obtained tickets to the event from Rep. Bob Beauprey's (R-CO) office. When they entered, "we were told that we had been 'ID'ed' and were warned that any disruption would get us arrested. After being seated in the audience we were forcibly removed before the President [Bush] arrived, even though we had not been disruptive." The Secret Service told the three it was a private event.
In a subsequent meeting the Secret Service told them and their attorney that they were identified by a Republican staffer who saw a bumper sticker on their car that said, "No Blood for Oil." The Secret Service also said that the Republican Party was in charge of ticket distribution and staffing for the event. However, the White House communications office set up the event. The group also reported that a person wearing a Democratic T-shirt was ejected from a similar event in Arizona on the same day.
But let's get back to the meeting in Greece, New York. I find the following quote enlightening. If you read the whole transcript you'll see that the people spoken to agree with Mr Bush, that some talk about teaching their friends about his point of view concerning privatization.
THE PRESIDENT ...Now, you're contributing in to the -- both of you -- payroll tax, aren't you?
MS. McKENNA WEITZEL: Yes, we both currently are.
THE PRESIDENT: Pretty good-size chunk.
MS. RILEY WEITZEL: No, not really.
THE PRESIDENT: No, a pretty good-size chunk of your payroll tax.
MS. RILEY WEITZEL: Oh, of course.
Of course, Ms Weitzel. We bend to authority in our culture. The President corrected you. "No", he said. What, an average Joe-lene is going to contradict the President?
In totalitarian states, persuasion is straightforward. Citizens are simply told what to believe and how to behave. But in democratic nations, governance has nuance, inextricably tethered to divergent principles of individual freedom and mass control.
As scholar Noam Chomsky says: "Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism."
Senator Barbra Boxer makes clear what is going on.
On January 6, 2005, the White House wrote a Social Security memo. Although marked “not for attribution,” fortunately, we have it.
The most telling sentence in the entire memo is this: “For the first time in six decades the Social Security battle is one we can win – and in doing so, we can help transform the political and philosophical landscape of the country.”
Imagine: for six decades – that’s 60 years – the right wing has been after Social Security.
The memo also lays out the first priority for the White House and that is to “establish an important premise; the current system is heading for an iceberg” – thus explaining the use of the words “crisis,” “bankruptcy,” and “collapse.” By the way, he has also used the phrase “train wreck.”
The "he" refered to is Mr Bush.
This is just another instance where the economic and political consequences of Bush Administration actions are being shielded from the people. You'll note in his talk to these people there are no details, details such as this one from Dick Cheney:
Vice President Cheney acknowledged yesterday that the federal government would need to borrow trillions of dollars over the next few decades to cover the cost of the personal retirement accounts at the heart of President Bush's plan to restructure Social Security.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Cheney said the government would have to borrow $754 billion over the next 10 years, and conceded that the price tag would involve borrowing trillions of dollars more in subsequent decades.
"That's right. Trillions more after that," Cheney said in response to a question.
I realise I'm rambling, having started with wanting to highlight the fact that Mr Bush admits employing "The Big Lie" technique of propaganda as explained by Nazi Josef Goebbels; now talking about Social Security privatization. The GOP is working to change the cultural, political and philosophical nature of our nation. Bringing down Social Security is just one facet of their enterprise.
Bush, in the weeks before September 11, pledged to honor the sanctity of the Social Security lockbox except in the event of recession, war, or a national emergency. But after "everything changed" on 9/11, he reportedly gloated to his budget director, Mitch Daniels, "Lucky me--I hit the trifecta!"
I caught the propaganda quote at American Samizdat, posted by Dr. Menlo.