101: Required Reading
Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman)
by Jim Grichar
the interests of full disclosure I must acknowledge that James Bovard
is a friend of mine.)
of all persuasions love to wax eloquent about how they have practiced
and do practice patriotism and how we should do the same. Trying
to convince the public as to who is the über patriot has
become part of the political discourse in this country, particularly
in a presidential election year.
current president, George Bush, lectures Americans almost nonstop
about being patriotic in the sense that they should make sacrifices
and give service to their country (as if they are not already tax
serfs) by helping to alleviate both domestic and foreign problems,
mainly by spending more money on domestic programs and spending
more money on foreign adventures and sending more troops to die
in far-off lands, all in the name of spreading freedom and democracy.
Many Americans have been taken in by the false notion of patriotism
put forward by George W. Bush and his minions. Those that have opposed
Bush and his Administration on their domestic and war policies have
been dubbed "unpatriotic," as if blind obedience to a
sitting president in an undeclared war is required in the Constitution.
that is not the definition of patriotism. According to the 1986
version of the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary, a patriot
is ... "a person who loves his country and defends and promotes
its interests." Those who have criticized the Bush Administration
for its domestic and foreign policies are much more patriotic than
those who have gotten the U.S. into the fiscal and war/foreign policy
mess that it is now in.
American a true patriot in my opinion who has not been hoodwinked
or bamboozled by Bush Administration propaganda is James Bovard.
In his new book, The
Bush Betrayal, Bovard documents the mendacity
with which George W. Bush has run his Administration. Whether in
domestic or foreign policy, Bovard proves with facts that Bush has
betrayed his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the United States. Indeed, Bush has betrayed his
oath of office in a highly egregious manner by expanding unconstitutional
federal programs, abridging Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties,
and leading the U.S. into undeclared wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
that have nothing to do with winning the war on terrorism. In running
his Administration, Bush has consistently used the "Big Lie"
to lead America into one fiasco after another while aggrandizing
more power for the executive branch of the central government.
is his style, Jim Bovard marshals and provides meticulous documentation
for the facts that substantiate his points. Starting with the events
surrounding the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Bovard
documents how selective and repetitive lying about what the Administration
knew about the attacks and what it did following the attacks including
the monumental bureaucratic bungling by the FBI, CIA, Defense Department,
and the rest of the alphabet soup of federal departments and agencies
has been used to lull the public into believing that "their
government" was and is taking care of them.
the early chapters, Bovard provides ample evidence of Bush mendacity
often in a very humorous way reminiscent of H. L. Mencken’s sarcasm.
Here are a few examples:
- how all
anti-Bush protestors are kept away from the president during his
domestic trips outside Washington they are moved far away from
the president to "free speech zones," where the media
are not given access. As a result, many Americans are led to believe
that there is no opposition to Bush Administration domestic and
foreign policies. Those unwilling to go to the "free speech
zones" are arrested and charged with various bogus crimes,
just to make them a lesson to others who might want to protest
the president’s policies;
how Bush perpetrated "Ed Fraud 101," the name Bovard
gives to the No Child Left Behind Act. Ed Fraud 101 has led some
states to degrade their testing standards so as to lower the number
of schools failing to meet standards and to alter definitions
of what a violent crime-ridden school is (actually rigging the
definitions of what constitutes a violent crime in a school),
all in the name of preventing parents from moving their children
to better schools. Gifted education programs are being gutted
to fund keeping dumb and education-hostile students in school;
ridiculous and graft-ridden Americorps. In a March 12, 2002 speech
in Philadelphia, Bush wanted Americans to think about giving 2
years over 4,000 hours of public service to their
country. Bush ignored the fact that members of the public are
already the equivalent of tax serfs. As Bovard wryly observed,
"Bush’s ‘4,000 hours’ mandate illustrates how the nation’s
most renowned Masters of Business Administration degree-recipient
thinks like a government bureaucrat. Bush proposes to measure
good deeds the same way federal workers snare their pensions.
A person’s service to humanity is gauged by a simple test: Did
someone put in the time";
farm bill. "The new farm bill entitled farmers to snare up
to $360,000 per year. This ‘limit’ contains the usual King Kong-size
loopholes so farmers can drive their harvesters back through the
Treasury coffers for second and third loads." "The notion
that a politician is being generous when he confiscates one person’s
paycheck to deliver to someone he considers a worthy recipient
is one of the most pernicious delusions in contemporary political
and moral thinking";
foreign aid. Bovard quotes investment guru Jim Rogers, who has
driven around the globe, and who stated, "Most foreign aid
winds up with outside consultants, the local military, corrupt
bureaucrats, the new NGO (non-governmental organizations) administrators,
and Mercedes dealers. There are more Mercedes dealers in places
where there are not even roads"; and,
the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has bungled,
at vast expense to taxpayers, its mission of providing safe flying
conditions for passengers. "TSA agents are entitled to reverential
treatment, regardless of how much damage they inflict on people’s
travel schedules or luggage."
humor rightly diminishes as Bovard moves on to the president’s (and
his minion, John Ashcroft’s) unprincipled and unconstitutional restrictions
of civil liberties that are reminiscent of what Lincoln did during
the Civil War. Whether it is the holding violating the Geneva
convention of arbitrarily defined "enemy combatants,"
suspending "habeas corpus" to hold others without charging
them incommunicado in various domestic military prisons (in violation
of a Supreme Court ruling that struck down Lincoln’s similar suspension
of habeas corpus during the Civil War), or inflicting torture on
prisoners to extract information from them, the president and his
minions have sunk to new lows that are unworthy of American leaders.
also goes through the lies used to get the U.S. into Afghanistan
and Iraq, stories with which most readers are familiar. He does
bring to the surface additional and more recent information that
helps further confirm the image of Bush betraying his oath of office.
also reserves a great deal of criticism for the so-called Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), which prohibits issue-oriented campaign
ads within 60 days of an election. Issue-oriented ads, which are
placed by groups like labor unions, the National Rifle Association,
and other groups, are often the only way most people get educated
on the major issues in a campaign. With an electorate that is largely
too lazy to read, the BCRA is nothing more than a blatant and unconstitutional
way of keeping incumbents from being booted out of office.
a lazy electorate that cares only for its immediate comfort and
not freedom, Bovard concludes that it is no wonder that we get the
kinds of leaders we have, leaders that are driven by the quest for
ever-increasing amounts of power over the populace. Bovard does
not make any election predictions or endorsements of presidential
candidates but fears that more of the same policies will continue,
and possibly expand, regardless of whether Bush or Kerry wins the
election in November.
that is why it is so important for everyone to read The Bush
Betrayal. It serves as a reminder of what the Founding Fathers
had in mind when they established the republic, not the twisted
vision that has been imposed on an unsuspecting public. It’s the
best book for an introductory course on what patriotism really means,
and it will certainly help awake a comatose public before all its
rights are trampled by future "Bush’s."
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail], formerly an economist with the federal government,
writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
teaches economics part-time at a community college and provides
economic consulting services to the private sector.
© 2004 LewRockwell.com