How does Bush sleep at night?
What is it that enables George Bush to sleep at night when his avarice and iniquity as a ruler exceed that of Marie Antoinette? Could it be that he slept through his history lectures about the French Revolution while he was at Yale? Perhaps his capacity to sleep soundly stems from having the most powerful military in the history of humanity at his disposal. Being a member of a dynasty dating back to the 1930's would also tend to endow one with a sense of serenity as one plundered a nation's resources, shredded the U.S. Constitution, initiated illegal wars, bullied most of the world, slaughtered innocents in the name of "spreading freedom".
The power of psychological manipulation
While there could be many reasons for Bush's smug self-assurance as he gives the finger to most of the world's citizenry, I theorize that his sense of security stems from the level of protection he derives from America's Propaganda Matrix, the propaganda machine which enables the American Nightmare to masquerade as the American Dream. A friend recently commented to me that Orwell had written "1984" as a warning, but that the Bush administration had adopted it as a blue-print. Free and constant access to the mainstream media (to spread their sugar-coated versions of Pax Americana), genuflecting pundits like Michelle Malkin and Charles Krauthammer, corporate ownership of mainstream media, textbook companies and schools which portray a white-washed version of U.S. history, heavily funded "think tanks" like the Hoover Institution, and the perpetuation of the myth of the United States as the "good guys" in many mindless Hollywood blockbusters unite to provide U.S. leaders a powerful yet subtle means to manipulate their subjects. Why would Bush worry about the consequences of his actions when the propaganda machine at his disposal, like his military machine, is unparalleled in human history? Not unlike the program the machines created in the movie called the Matrix, America's Propaganda Matrix manipulates the poor and working class by lulling them into an illusory sense of joy over being so "free". While wealthy dynasties (like the Bush clan), their sycophants, and their corporate cronies pillage the U.S. treasury and employ foreign policies (like the Bush Doctrine) to seek world domination, an apathetic American public joyfully slaps magnetic ribbons supporting the Iraqi invasion onto its gas-guzzling SUV's, smiles and nods its assent at federal budgets calling for increases in an insanely bloated defense budget and cuts in spending for social programs, lightheartedly surrenders its civil liberties, and blithely watches the wealth gap widen to monumental proportions. The brilliance of the American Propaganda Matrix is that it enables a covert nobility to rule behind the guise of a "federal republic". With virtually no open acts of violence or totalitarian measures, a small fraction of the population in the United States maintains a vast majority of the world's wealth and power by ensuring that "their people" are elected and appointed to the key positions in the U.S. government. Living in the delusory American Propaganda Matrix, many poor and working class Americans contentedly go about their lives as the "freest people in the world" enjoying the fruits of "sublime capitalism". In the American Propaganda Matrix, the American Way is The Way, and there is no room for critical evaluation. Those beguiled by the American Propaganda Matrix will tenaciously adhere to their delusions, regardless of who suffers or dies as a result.
Your computer has a virus, Mr. Rove
Unfortunately for those in power in the United States, the American Propaganda Matrix has a "virus". The "virus" consists of activists for peace and social justice who are attacking the "program" which manipulates Americans into believing in the false construct of the U.S. as a benevolent world power with political and economic systems which the world “must” embrace. More people are escaping the psychological clutches of this Matrix each day as they awaken to the harsh light of reality. As Americans examine their leaders and history more closely, they see the depth of the corruption, the pervasiveness of the lies, the extreme hubris, the insatiable avarice, the objective of global domination (regardless of the human cost), the white patriarchy, and the exploitation of the poor and working class. Propaganda does not hold up well under the scrutiny of critical examination. The Iraqi occupation, events in New Orleans, cuts in assistance to the poor, a rapid decline in the number of decent paying jobs, tax cuts for the rich, spiraling federal deficits, sky-rocketing gas prices, corporate plundering, and weakening environmental protections are coalescing to form a battering ram of truth which is shattering the delusions created by the American Propaganda Matrix. When reality bites, the pain is real, but as my wrestling coach said on many occasions:
"No pain, no gain!"
As the "virus" of activism for peace and social justice spreads like wild-fire, Karl Rove and his staff desperately seek to patch the highly vulnerable American Propaganda Matrix "program". Their efforts are in vain. Noam Chomsky posits the theory that the world has two remaining superpowers, the United States and public opinion. The "virus" has ignited public opinion to mobilize against the miscreants operating behind the veil of the failing American Propaganda Matrix. Bush's rapidly descending approval ratings provide the statistical evidence, but there are also more concrete indicators.
• Cindy Sheehan symbolizes a turning point
Consider Cindy Sheehan. One woman standing in a ditch in front of George Bush's ranch in Crawford came to symbolize the national movement against the war in Iraq, and galvanized a growing number of dissidents in the United States to demand peace and social justice from a country whose leaders are sorely lacking in desire to allow either. Ms. Sheehan's determination and willingness to live in a tent while George Bush vacationed comfortably on his ranch for five weeks has evolved into a cross country tour of anti-war demonstrations. Now that Bush has finally gone back to work, many of the Sheehan supporters from Camp Casey, including other military family members and war veterans have begun the Bring Them Home Now Tour. This three bus tour will hit 42 cities in 26 states. Their ultimate goal is to converge on the White House with hundreds of thousands of other activists on 9/24 to demand that the Bush administration end the war in Iraq, bring home the troops, defend civil rights, and end racism. Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Vets against the War, and Veterans for Peace are working together on this national tour to garner public support for opposition to the Iraqi invasion. They are also promoting the peace and social justice march on 9/24, which will culminate with the delivery of petitions and demands to George Bush, who needs a strong reminder that he is a mere servant of the American people, not a monarch.
• Activism in my neck of the woods Yesterday evening, I left work and headed for the Plaza area of my hometown of Kansas City, anticipating the arrival of one of the Bus Tours from Camp Casey. My excitement was justified. Three to four hundred anti-war demonstrators gathered to show their support for Cindy Sheehan's group. The caravan from Crawford was a little late, but people found plenty to do as they waited. Petitions circulated. People met, mingled and discussed their disgust with the Bush administration and its imperialistic policies. Ira Harritt, a local peace activist who is heavily involved with American Friends Service Committee, and Nancy Carry, co-chair of the KC Iraq Task Force, took turns speaking to the group about local efforts to end the Iraqi occupation. Many of the demonstrators admired the enormous collage assembled with ribbons bearing the names of each U.S. soldier who has died in Iraq since the illegal occupation began. Having participated in local anti-war demonstrations before, I was used to getting the finger and hearing insults. Yesterday, I felt awe-struck by the virtually over-whelming support of passers-by. The assembly was situated in a park on the corner of a busy intersection and took place during rush hour. I noticed many people honking, waving, gesturing and smiling with approval. I heard no cursing and saw no vulgar gestures. Bush's supporters are obviously dwindling and feeling less inclined to express their views publicly. As I waited, I had an opportunity to speak with two of Kansas City's stalwart anti-war demonstrators, Carol Huhs and Bob Rowe. They are members of a group of twenty die-hards who call themselves the 63rd Street Patriots. Determined to make a difference, regardless of weather extremes or abuse from Bush supporters, they have held demonstrations opposing the Iraqi occupation for 132 consecutive weeks. The commitment of people like Bob and Carol form the backbone of the movement for peace and social justice, which by its very nature dissents against the Bush administration. Morrigan Phillips, the media coordinator for the Bring Them Home Now Tour told me that the goal of the tour is to build momentum for the 9/24 march on Washington. She added that another objective is to find members of Congress who have the moral courage to introduce or support legislation to bring the troops home immediately. They have set high goals, but they are worth pursuing, and this group has the resolve to persevere. I visited briefly with Kansas City Star columnist Lewis Diuguid, one of the few mainstream journalists in Kansas City with the courage to write columns supporting social justice, peace, civil liberties, civil rights, and social welfare programs. I thanked him for his efforts and for expressing his opposition to many of the grossly misguided policies of the Bush administration.