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by Abraham Zapruder
Friday, Apr. 25, 2003 at 6:59 AM
"But Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon represent something altogether different in this battle over the issues of this war, this administration and Constitutionally-protected free speech. With them comes the true battleground and everyone should take notice. Neither of them are given to excess hyperbole or ad homonym attacks against those who differ with them politically ... What has transpired recently has not quite sunk in for most Americans. This isn't a left vs. right issue, though the right (and yes, indeed, many leftists) want it to be in order to further polarize the citizenry."
Sly As A Fox In The Box
By James Neff
Normally one would never find me defending a left-wing liberal, especially one from the spoiled and vapid community of Hollyweird. For the most part I have very little sympathy for their oft televised trials, tribulations and brain-dead politics (ie, Rosie O'Donnell's 'I can have an armed body guard, but you can't have a gun'-ism). When Sean Penn visited Iraq I wanted to barf. I finally did when he appeared on Larry King to talk about his Iraq experiences and simply mumbled incoherently for an hour. I don't think it's possible to more despise a group of people so out of touch with reality as I do the West Coast 'Axis of Idiocy.' The Baldwins and Sheens and Madonnas don't represent American mainstream politics or morals and never will. The Michael Moores are nothing but blowhards who usually can't see the forest for the trees (and don't want to). And that's ok... if they weren't around to astound us with their utter rebellion against anything and everything middle-America holds dear, and their phenomenal acts of stupidity, we wouldn't have any entertainment; God knows they aren't making any decent films or television anymore!
Simultaneously, I abhor the right-wing Neocon (and not so neo Neocon!) flatheads like Fox's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. They are equally disassociated from reality, with equally inflated ego's as their "actor" counterparts in Hollyweird whom they love to prop up as icons of everything bad and evil in America, perpetually straw-manning the liberal left and knocking it down as though Cher or The Dixie Chicks were the spokespersons for democrats left of center. Their slant against the west coast entertainment elite is simply a tool of Republican conservative polarization technique and nothing more. And the saddest thing is... it's working.
But Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon represent something altogether different in this battle over the issues of this war, this administration and Constitutionally-protected free speech. With them comes the true battleground and everyone should take notice. Neither of them are given to excess hyperbole or ad homonym attacks against those who differ with them politically (save what they have to say against those presently in power, which is fair game); they're vocal, but not ridiculously verbose or acidic. What has transpired recently has not quite sunk in for most Americans. This isn't a left vs. right issue, though the right (and yes, indeed, many leftists) want it to be in order to further polarize the citizenry. No, this is an issue of conscience, of respect for our Constitutional republic, dying though it may be before our very eyes. It would be wrong to toss Robbins or Sarandon onto the heap of Hollywood politi-hogs who use the media and world events to keep their name in lights, or who simply prattle off about issues during fits of manic depression like O'Donnell, only to apologize for it and its impact on the Oprah-ized sheeple later.
What we are seeing daily on Fox television is nothing short of state-run television, there is nothing "fair or balanced" about it. Viewpoints counter to this administration and the war are treated with utter disdain across the 24 hour live news splatter. That's NOT Journalism! The 'embedded' reporting of the war has sucked them into a foxhole where there can be no other view but down the barrel of a rifle at the "enemy" this administration invented by way of twisting facts, evidence, minds and hearts after 911. That puts people who oppose the war and/or oppose this administration because of the war in a "pro-Saddam" camp, which many of the political pundits on Fox willfully misconstrue as often as possible, like a mantra or hypnotic suggestion, furthering the polarization of people against one another over an issue which truly has nothing to do with republicans vs. democrats, liberals vs. conservatives. One either respects constitutionally protected free speech and the right to dissent, or one does not. Only one of these can be an "enemy of the state" and the constitution.
One Fox news anchor muttered, "They're going in to do the Lord's work," as Coalition forces rolled into Basra. Under normal circumstances, heads would have rolled over that one. But nothing happened.
Anti-war protesters and pro-peace activists have been referred to as 'freaks.' It is becoming commonplace for Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity to cut off the mics of guests who don't capitulate to their "America, love it or leave it" Archie Bunkerisms on programs where debate and free exchange are supposed to be exampled. One O'Reilly guest was a relative of a 911 victim, but only moments into a discussion with him, O'Reilly flew into a rage, cut the guy's mic off and tossed him off his show, screaming at him to "Shut up! Shut up!". Why? He dared to be someone close to 911 who wasn't using it to muzzle-pack psychological ammo against Iraq. As soon as the man was asked for his opinion, his opinion was terminated in rude and outrageous fits of anger. O'Reilly acted as if it was utterly impossible for someone to be that close to the 911 tragedy and yet not be brainwashed by 911 fever into believing the party-line of Doublespeak: 911 + Osama + Terrorism = Saddam x Iraq = War. Simply unthinkable to oppose such 2+2=5 logic.
NBC is showing signs of buckling to the same strange pressure, as demonstrated by the unfathomable censoring of Robbins on The Today Show. In a generally liberal controlled media, one has to wonder how this happens. But there's the rub -- this issue has transcended the common left/right line we've grown so accustom to and it is not being recognized as a paramount issue of common liberties in the balance. We're seeing a rebirth of McCarthyism, only this time its pulpit isn't the Congress, but the idiot box, and the end result is still blacklisting and the silencing of voices of dissent popularized as the "American way." It's patriotic to label those who oppose the war and this administration as "un-American." I don't know how many times Fox anchors and pundits have noted that peace rallies were backed or organized by 'communist groups' (with the bubble-headed bleach blonde anchors bobbing their heads up and down, wide-eyed, as though someone had skulked out the very devil himself in that bit of news. Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! ), that people in the peace movement are all radical "leftists" (those strange people who are pro-peace, heaven forbid!) and those who oppose the Bush strategy commonly characterized as "liberals" as though the word meant "monster." Let's face it -- if you oppose the war, you oppose Bush, and if you oppose Bush you oppose America. That's what the media, by and large, and this administration have generated in this country. You're a filthy liberal, an un/anti-American commie and must therefore be pro-Saddam, either openly or secretly. You need to be watched. There's something WRONG with you. It means you WANT to see the Iraqi people suffer under a brutal dictatorship and WANT to see weapons of mass destruction get into the hands of terrorists headed for America.
Pat Buchanan is an un-American, leftist, commie liberal???? The Pope WANTS people in Iraq to suffer under Saddam's regime? Truly, the world has turned upside down and inside out overnight. At least on Fox.
Fox would have us believe that it all breaks down over a simple, partisan political principle, left vs. right, socialists vs. capitalists, demos vs. repubs... the same old tired nonsense we've had spoon fed to us by media for ages. It's simply nonsense.
Anti-American? What does that mean, exactly?
When Sen. Joseph McCarthy used such words, it was to trample down any voices of dissent to a view of America personally manufactured by himself -- one which openly-violated the Constitutionally protected free speech and free press, creating a "black list," with congressional powers so intimidating that -- though unofficial -- few of those placed on the black list could find work, as employers feared being called forward themselves and having their patriotism placed in question before the public, which alone was enough to ruin many lives and many careers. It's happening again. It's happening now.
There is a simple definition for this kind of brute mentality and unconstitutional abuse of power and mind control -- FASCISM.
Americans, like Joseph McCarthy, are perfectly willing to ignore the Constitutional Republic upon which this nation is founded and seek to persecute those who will not bow down to their special 'king'... not merely an elected president anymore, but by sheer magnitude of persuasion they tacitly are admitting that GWB is king of America, or is America itself as if by some divine spectacular he has been imbued with all the facets of Truth, Justice and the American Way. By the very suggestion that opposing the war and questioning the administration and keeping the public mindful of our own national disgraces and atrocities, inhumanities and violations of both moral and international law, many are called "un/anti-American." Thus, those making the charge are admitting that we no longer operate under a Constitution of set and protected liberties; rather, that we are under mob rule, that the two (or more) party system is defunct and we have a fascist dictatorship to which everyone MUST profess allegiance or suffer the consequences. Therefore all who make such charges have willfully and willingly sold their constitutional liberties away and exchanged them for a fascist nationalism.
This administration has utterly raped our Constitution in the name of 'homeland defense.' While they have the nation all rattled about terrorists with color-coded warnings right out of some bad sci-fi book, they took your Constitution and burned it. Many don't realize the gravity of this fact. Under the current laws, you have no Constitutional rights whatsoever if the federal government decides to classify you as part of the terrorist threat; and the FBI's official list of groups and people considered to be "likely" to fall into this category even include Christians who believe in the End Times and "lone individuals." Pretty broad-brushed! When the government decided it did not want to have to obey Geneva Convention rules, it changed the definition of a POW so it could deliberately violate those rules, calling the POWS from Afghanistan "unlawful combatants"! If another nation did this, they'd be swiftly labeled "evil." Meanwhile the administration rails against other nations holding POWS and their violating Geneva Convention rules. Is this American justice?
Constitutionally-protected dissent and free press/free speech are the hallmark of what makes this country great and unique. It is the heart and core of the REAL America. Yet, certain people have decided they and they alone are truly patriotic Americans and all who dissent are "commies" or "enemies" of the state, in direct violation of everything our Constitution stands for and protects.
We have an obligation to speak up, speak out and keep things on an even footing while Americans are being drowned in propaganda and a nationalism bordering on fascism and self-righteousness; gross self-interest at the expense of nearly every other nation on earth that doesn't "toe the line" according to our dictates, empowered and backed first by financial blackmail and then by military might. This isn't anti-American rhetoric. This is a Pro-Constitutional morality-check in the midst of serious emotional and intellectual manipulation of the masses. Especially during this time of unbridled 'nationalism' and patriotic fervor, those of sound mind MUST level the playing field. How would you like it if fundamentalist Muslims worldwide, who believe they are morally superior to us in the west (we're infidels and sinners as they see it) decided they'd invade America and right all our wrongs?? What if they invaded and decided to end racism, set free OUR political prisoners, close our bars and distilleries, shut down the porn industry and impose THEIR concept of "right society" upon US?
Do we have the MORAL upper hand simply because we allow personal excess, breed poverty and injustice like Kudzu and encourage a system that lets the rich get richer and the poor poorer? Where is the moral upper hand here?? It's a sick, sad illusion passed off on the sheeple by keeping us convinced that if we have personal excess and Playstation 2 it is the mark of true freedom. That excess has a price, and the price is paid by the third world where most of our corporations set up shop for slave labor as we consume more than 70% of the world's resources - while comprising less than 5% of the world's population.
Saddam slaughtered approximately a quarter million people in 20 years. That's according to Red Cross, Amnesty International and UN figures. Many question the numbers, but let's say its true. Be it 100 or 100,000, it's heartbreaking and sick, we would all agree. But, do you know how many people WE slaughtered in the last 20 years...? by abortion on demand... by knowingly sending faulty parts, outdated chemicals and medicines or contaminated food to third world counties? I bet those Afghanis really liked the way we made our day-glow care packets the same size, shape and color as our unexploded cluster bombs... 30% of which never detonate, until some poor, hungry Afghani kid walks up and grabs it thinking its food from America. How many were killed in India when the Union Carbide plant exploded due to rank negligence? The death toll continues to climb there. Seems we have the nasty habit of killing in the long term, with horrifying, lingering effects. How many are dying right now due to Depleted Uranium used in our shell casings and missiles in Iraq? How many people died during the Iran-Contra debacle? How many in Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador because our gov't wanted to establish its own turf in the international drug cartel? How many died when we sent AIDS laden serums for vaccinations to Africa 10 years ago and super-boosted the pandemic there? What's the projected death rate? 5-6 million? We're outdoing Hitler, now, with those numbers. The list goes on and on. The difference is, we just don't usually kill our own people in blatant, obvious ways...we seem to save that for special occasions like Ruby Ridge and Waco. So, what's the difference? NONE. Killing and slaughtering people is killing and slaughtering people. Atrocities are atrocities. We have our fair share and the news likes to keep people in denial about it. To dare to suggest we do not have the moral upper hand is presently verboten.
Neil Cavuto of Fox recently uttered a few truthful syllables, though he decimated the issue entirely. "Pay back is a bitch..." he said, commenting on the left wing Hollywood elite being shut out for their opinions (namely, Robbins/Sarandon). Yes, there was a trace of truth in what he said. For many, many years people of conservative values and convictions in Hollyweird have been quietly blackballed, blacklisted, shut out, shut down, co-opted, disenfranchised, silenced and demeaned by the predominantly liberal culture of the West Coast entertainment industry. For more than 20 years prime time television has been utterly in the hands of liberal writers and producers to the point that even the most lame-brained sit-com is used continually as a soap box for liberal viewpoints, while conservatives, Christians and middle-America is portrayed as backward, idiotic or even dangerously insane. Cavuto had a point. But the fact that he would choose the Tim Robbins affair to make this point is precisely why Fox television is a disturbingly twisted right-wing mutation and propaganda machine. Robbins was slandered; his patriotism and moral character were subjected to scrutiny by people who aren't worthy to tie his shoes. Even his family was attacked by the press. He was slandered, clearly, and that is a far cry from mere political fist-to-cuffs where two parties agree to disagree and life goes on. His right to free speech and constitutionally protected dissent is what is up for grabs here; not just his, but yours and mine.
First it's Tim and his views... then it's you and your views. First it's 'Catcher in the Rye', next it's the Bible being chucked out of the school library. If we don't protect our Constitutional liberties, and fight for them, they will be quickly swept out from under us without a single Ruby Ridge-like shot being fired. The battlefield for our freedom doesn't lie on the dusty plains of ancient Babylon hunting for weapons of mass destruction, dripping with the blood of both American soldiers and innocent Iraqi "collateral damage"... it's right here, right now, whether you stand up against tyranny with all politics aside, or you don't. Stand up against it even if the person being wronged is someone with whom you vehemently disagree. For their rights and your rights are manifest from the same, wonderful, awe-inspiring Constitution. It serves us all. There is a fight for freedom which does not involve bullets and bloodshed. The powers that be want desperately to convince us that the thing we must fear the most is foreign terrorism, when in reality the greatest threat to our liberty is running the whole show. And running the Constitution into an early grave.
This is one conservative Christian who will not have the wool pulled over his eyes by political game players while our liberties are being raped.
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||Friday, Apr. 25, 2003 at 7:00 AM
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|Reply to ovel
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|Fair and balanced
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||Sunday, Apr. 27, 2003 at 1:49 AM
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