- In one of its usual displays of Rumsfeld-ian arrogance, the Pentagon is considering "requiring military prosecutors to observe a U.N. convention against torture in their use of evidence during tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp." Well, gee, if they're considering following international laws on torture I guess that makes the Pentagon a really swell bunch of folks...NOT! NEWSFLASH: the Pentagon, at all times and without exception, should adhere to the Geneva Convention. The U.S. is a signatory, it has an obligation to follow it. If not, then nobody had better complain when American prisoners are tortured by enemies.
- The Shithead-in-Chief has decreed that Iraqis must form a government, and fast. Well I'm sure they will just end their civil war, start making nice, forget centuries of ethnic and religious animosty, and get right to it. After, oh, about half the population has been massacred.
- The British high court basically told a Muslim girl--and every other citizen of the U.K.--that there is no expectation of religious freedom in Great Britain. Kind of makes one proud that we live in a country where we have the right to worship, or not, as we please.
- And you're going to love this last one, ladies and gentlemen. The Washington Post's new neoconservative blogger has declared the late Coretta Scott King a communist.
Which brings us to the point of this, the latest entry in the Taking Back America series: WE MUST TAKE BACK CONTROL OF THE DISCUSSION.
Perhaps you've noticed over the past fifteen years, a pattern in Republican talking points. They say what they want to, when they want to, and however the hell they want to, no matter how insane it is or inflamatory to the situation.
The typical Democratic response has been to bend over and take it when, for example, Jean Schmidt calls a decorated war veteran like Jack Murtha a coward for suggesting we ought to leave Iraq as quickly as possible while helping Iraq get the hell out of the chaotic mess we got the country into. Or when during the 2002 midterm elections Republicans smeared war veteran and multiple amputee Max Cleland.
This has to end. If you want to take back this country from the neocon scum, you'll want to get down in the mud with them and fight dirty. I know you might be thinking, "why should we lower ourselves to their level?"
To that I ask, do you think Karl Rove, Michelle Malkin, Bill O'Lielly or Ann Coulter worry about what people think of them when they make such remarks as "[w]hen contemplating college liberals,you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty" (Coulter)? Or that they worry about being labeled insane when they say something like, " Hillary Clinton is seeing pink. Code Pink. The unruly group of far-left female apologists for tyranny around the world, most infamous for prancing around in pastel lingerie to protest President Bush and the war on terror, has now launched a nationwide campaign against the New York senator because of her opposition to immediate troop withdrawals from Iraq." (Malkin)?
No, their job is to go on TV, get printed in the papers, and pollute the blogosphere with the proverbial blood of Democrats, liberals, and conservatives who don't tow the GOP line 100% of the time. And they're winning. Just look at how close the 2004 presidential election was.
With the lies of the Swift Boat Liars For Bush tarnishing John Kerry's war record, and the successful portrayal of the Massachusetts Senator as a flip-flopper on critical issues (a patently false portrayal), Bush managed to cheat his way to a second term. Think about it; why, with a horrible record and growing dissatisfaction with his lies and his disastrous policies, would the Shrub have stood a legitimate chance of winning unless he could drag his opponent down to his level in the public eye?
That is the neocon media tactic. They know their record is one of deceit, corruption and criminal acts, and the only way they can deflect attention is to make the discussion turn in their favor.
Turn on, for ten minutes, any episode of the O'Lielly Spin Zone on Fox Spews Channel. Pay attention to the token liberal on the show. Notice how they almost never let the poor sap get a word in edge-wise? And when he or she starts saying something they can't spin in their favor or flat out lie about, off goes the microphone.
Hear's another suggestion, listen anytime Bush or one of his media whores tries to make you feel guilty for questioning him by saying the "terr'ists" are "empowered" by your dissent.
Are you going to take that? And why should you? You're an American. You love your country. You are outraged at what Bush & Co. and their whores in Congress have done to our country.
Whether you're running for Precinct Committee Member or city council, or mayor, or an office on the state or national level, you will get no where if you don't control the debate.
If your opponent has a record of siding with corporate interests over constituents, point it out. Explain why it is a bad thing to give a free tax break with no requirement for creating and keeping jobs in your community; tell voters that if a corporation gets a free tax break only to lay off workers in your community, thereby harming said community, then that corporation can and should pay its fair share to make up for the lost tax revenue from laborers. The government is our employee, and its job is to provide services. It builds and maintains roads, operates public utilities such as water and gas and electricity, does upkeep on parks, etc. And that all requires money. People don't do this stuff for free, they've got families to feed too. There is also the cost of materials.
So why, when MCI for example, announces in 2003 that it is laying off between 2,000 and 3,000 customer service operators in Ohio and shipping the jobs to India with the stated goal of using the money saved to keep rates lower, then turns around and raises rates...does MCI deserve to be allowed to pay lower taxes? Those are 2,000-3,000 Ohioans that now cannot support themselves and their families, many of whom had to leave the Buckeye State to find work. When shit like this happens, it brings down the whole state.
That is the kind of argument you want to make to voters on the issue of tax breaks. Is it fair to people to expect them to pay increasingly higher taxes so some multi-millionaire who doesn't need it can have even more money--and all at your expense? The natural answer, of course, is "no it isn't."
And what of Iraq? No matter what his rhetoric, any Republican who has supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq has probably done something to slash benefits for veterans, or voted in favor of some measure cutting combat pay or medical benefits for injured soldiers. Use that when they question your patriotism. Say something like, "if you support the troops so much then why did you vote to cut funding for body armor, Senator Stevens of Alaska?" It also helps to start quoting Theodore Roosevelt when being called a traitor for criticizing the Shrub:
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.This is a golden ticket, because it allows you to throw accusations of treason back at the GOP by demanding to know why they feel the need to committ moral treason.
As I said, you may be hesitant to "lower" yourself to their level. But the GOP and its enablers in the mainstream press have no such concern. There is no low to which they won't stoop, no depth to which they won't sink in order to get what they want. We can either fight back, or be cowed by the enemy. Most Democrats on the state and national level have chosen to be cowed. If you want to take back America, you can do a lot worse than to use that backbone of yours and take the fight to the Republican Party.