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Bush's Abuse of Power

by Elizabeth Saturday, Jun. 11, 2005 at 9:37 AM

The First Amendment, once the steward and protector of our freedom of speech..is being relentlessly reduced to oblivion, a near-forgotten dinosaur.



By Elizabeth

[This letter to the editor was published in: The Lone Star Iconoclast, June 1, 2005. For information on this incredible Crawford Texas newspaper, click on http://www.iconoclast.com.]

To the Editor:

Wake up, America, John Kerry said.

Wake up to what this administration is doing with your money and to your economic security, to your health, to your environment, to your natural resources, your wetlands, national parks and wildernesses, and to your civil liberties.

Stop blindly assuming that your government is doing whats best for you or believing it just because they say so. Consider their countless contradictory statements. Be informed, and choose your sources with care.

According to the New York Times (03/2005) the Bush Administration spent $254 million in its first term on public relations contracts, nearly double what the Clinton administration spent. Moreover the Bush White House produces prepackaged TV broadcasts, picked up by local stations and slipped into regular programs as part of an administration effort to gain support for their policies. Called good news segments, theyre looked upon by the White House as powerful strategic tools to manipulate public opinion and are often omissive of critical information. Overall, the media give minimal coverage to news unfavorable to Bush administration actions and inaction with little or no followup and the story peters out, often replaced by some new crisis manufactured by the White House as a distractive fear tactic to control the public.

While some journalists are paid to push White House programs, others are jailed for telling the truth or for protecting their sources, with ringers put in their stead.

The New York Times (03/13/05) reported that at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgment of the governments role in their production, columnists wrote in support of administration policies without disclosing they had accepted payments from the government, all this to put forth, the Times says, a quiet drumbeat of broadcasts describing a vigilant and compassionate administration.

This is part and parcel of the Bush administrations abuse of power-their determination to muzzle and mute the media. Congress and academia, as in their current effort to eliminate the 150-year-old tradition of filibustering to silence the democrats, the minority party and their regular practice of only accepting questions reviewed in advance from carefully screened, preselected audiences and press.

John Daniszewski of the Los Angeles Times (05/12/05) reported a story from the British press, reiterating some of the intelligence that has been circulating here for many months, but not seriously dealt with by the media and therefore not taken seriously by the majority of Americans. Based on official British documents, it clearly demonstrates that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair agreed on an invasion of Iraq by July 2002, eight months before the attack, and shaped intelligence to that aim, eliminating diplomacy as an alternative.

Among the documents is a memo of the minutes of a July 23, 2002 meeting of the Prime Minister with his intelligence and military heads, a briefing paper for the meeting and a Foreign Office legal opinion written in advance of a Texas summit in April 02 between the two leaders. Both men deny that such a decision was made by mid-2002.

The disclosure from Britain has precipitated action from 88 Democrats and one Independent, expressing shock that the information might actually be true. In a letter to the President, released on May 6, they state If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of our own administration. The letter, requesting an explanation, was answered on May 16 by Scott McClellan, White House spokesman, who stated that the President reached out to people across the world, went to the United Nations to resolve this in a diplomatic manner.

It is entirely possible that there is no satisfactory explanation; although our heads of state have scant knowledge or understanding of history or geography perhaps their war was waged solely to control and dominate the Middle East; that the seemingly senseless conflict lacking both a plan for the aftermath and an exit strategy, was all part of a nefarious scheme to create turmoil, to keep the region in a continuous state of war, thereby benefiting the unholy alliance of government and oil interests by making certain that US access to mineral-rich South West Asia is unhampered by other powers.

This, along with other puzzlements, may remain hidden, the truth withheld indefinitely from media scrutiny and public edification.

The First Amendment, once the steward and protector of our freedom of speech, of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances is being relentlessly reduced to oblivion, a near-forgotten dinosaur.

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Abuse of Power John Q Public Monday, Jun. 20, 2005 at 2:57 PM

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