ADJUSTING THE TRUTH

12 01 2007

The Bush junta continues to show that they are undeterred by the results of the November elections. I have before me two examples of truly 1984-style manipulation. One is almost silly; the other has deep ramifications for the health and welfare of every American.

The silly one is also the better known of the two, because it was splashed across the editorial page of the New York Times in big, bold, black bars: an editorial about US-Iranian relations, with major chunks of it “redacted” (that’s a technical word for “blacked out”) not by the CIA review board, which acknowledged that everything in the article was part of the public record, but by the White House, which intervened to prevent open, fair discussion of its Iran policy. They want to act as if some things just never happened—mostly instances of US-Iranian co-operation to stabilize Afghanistan, and explorations of the possibility of resuming diplomatic relations.

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, y’know? Eurasia has always been our ally….oops, no, Oceania and Eurasia have always been implacable enemies, and Eastasia has always been our ally….Evidently, Rove and Cheney read 1984 and thought that Big Brother was cool and Winston Smith was a dumb sucker.

In a similar vein, the Bush junta has instituted a “cost-cutting move” and closed down the EPA library network, which is not just a repository of environmental information but a vital resource for researchers seeking to rein in polluters. Getting sued or legislated into cleaning up after themselves costs those industries a lot of money. Those must be the costs our pro-business junta is trying to cut, because the EPA’s own internal studies show that the libraries (and their all-important research librarians) save the federal government alone three times their total budget just in research costs. But hey, we can’t allow piddly little things like science and the public interest to get in the way of business’s freedom to make profits, can we?

The EPA is mumbling about how “rising demand for online services” is making brick-and-mortar libraries obsolete, and promising to put as much of its collection online as it can—someday, when they have the funds to do it. But they will not be digitizing books, scientific journals, or non-EPA studies, and will keep only one copy of each for inter-library loan. How generous. And of course, the thing about online documents is that they can be modified so easily.

The Democrats, including Tennessee’s own Bart Gordon, have had the sense to raise a fuss about this, but, being Democrats, they are all too likely to lose interest or compromise away their demand that the libraries be kept open. In any case, like the move to increase troop strength in Iraq, the junta is moving ahead on this without asking for Congressional input. Hey, the unitary executive crowd doesn’t have to answer to the electorate anymore, so screw us, they’re gonna trash the place.

“An informed citizenry is the cornerstone of democracy”—was it Thomas Jefferson who said that? With every means available—from these EPA library closings, to censorship of the New York Times, to further media consolidation, our current government is doing everything it can to dumb down America. An uninformed citizenry is the cornerstone of fascism, and that’s what they want. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they don’t get it.

music: Frank Zappa, “A Lie So Big

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