Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rice Patsy

I was a late reader of 1984. It wasn't required reading in my high school years, nor was it required in the Air Force back then in the Vietnam War era. (It isn't likely that the Air Force requires it today either.) I read it back in the year 2000 while Bush and Gore were slugging it out over the Florida vote. I can still remember the feelings that ran through me while I read that book. Of course I associated myself with the main character of the book. (Sometimes I wonder if there are people who could read that book and not associate with that character.) As the story progressed, I can still remember the hope I felt that somehow this critical mind would survive the pressure being put on it and the deep sense of loss that I felt when it turned out he couldn't.
I've been having some of those same feelings lately, especially this week. Perhaps nobody else noticed, perhaps I just imagined it, but this week was Bush propaganda week almost everywhere I turned. I am not on cable or satellite and only get TV news from two television networks, CBS and PBS, but all week long both of those networks focused on presenting White House propaganda. In fact, the first thing I saw on TV this week was Dan Bartlett being tossed softball questions first thing Monday morning on CBS. Last night, Jim Lehrer offered the same favor to Donald Rumsfeld.
But the thing that has most dominated the propaganda scene all this week has been Secretary of State Condi Rice's whirlwind European tour designed to quell dissent against the US use of torture in the war on terror. How anyone in the media can cover or even just follow that story and not recall the fact that just a few weeks ago the Vice President of the United States was lobbying the US Congress to exempt the CIA from the McCain Amendment banning torture is simply beyond me, but it happened all week long. I was not aware of a single instance where the media reminded us of Cheney's actions. Instead, Cheney himself was allowed to promote the White House propaganda unchallenged.
For awhile, for half a year in fact, the White House seemed to lay low on the Orwellian thing. They seemed to be playing it straight. It was almost impossible to pick out an obvious lie. I had even begun to think that maybe this was the new Bush strategy. Maybe Bush had learned a lesson with the Plamegate thing and the Social Security fiasco and had decided to get through the rest of his term using honesty to win favor with the American public. But rather than winning favor, his poll numbers dropped precipitously up until just recently. This week, his poll numbers made a turnaround. Why? The only reason I can see is because of this media blitz this week promoting the Bush administration. Or is it more sinister than that?
Could it be that what has made the difference is the fact that the Bush administration across the board has decided that what the American people really preferred was to be lied to? And is that what has made the difference this week? Because all week long the whole Bush administration has been lying. They are lying about Iraq. They are lying about prisoner of war torture. And they have been doing it right out in broad daylight where we all can see them doing it. And we are eating it right up and loving it! The old Bush administration is back and winning the hearts of the American people again!
I sure hope I'm wrong about all this, but it sure is bringing back some familiar feelings that I never knew till I read Orwell's 1984.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Imagine the White House icon of interracial civil liberty touring the nations of the former Nazi empire convincing them of the need to tolerate the disappearance (rendition) and torture (interrogation) of suspects in the war on terror. What an irony! Just how insane can it get? President George W. Bush, whose grandfather and great-grandfather strongly supported the Nazi cause, now advocates this.
Before her departure Dr. Rice gave a talk at Andrews Air Force Base outlining the US position. "Torture is a term that is defined by law. We rely on our law to govern our operations. The United States does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances." In other words, we decide for ourselves what we will call torture and what we won't. The rest of the world be damned. And now not only do we define torture ourselves but we operate around the world by our own definitions. You don't like it? Go to Hell. Orwellian, isn't it?
The nightmare is back. The terrorists have won.