January 17, 2008

You Were Warned


In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was campaigning against George Bush Snr for the Republican Party ballot, Reagan's camp ran an advertisement which claimed:

"A coalition of multinational corporate executives, big-city bankers, and hungry power brokers... want to give you George Bush... their purpose is to control the American government."

At that time, the widely unpopular George H. W. Bush was considered "unelectable". Does anyone remember that?

Before WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a warning:

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling power... Among us today, a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."

That "concentration of private power" included George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, who was later convicted by the US government under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Then there's President Eisenhower's dire warnings in 1960 about the growth of the "military-industrial complex", a term he himself invented:
"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
There were other warnings too. Here's Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, in 1941:
“We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
Here's Huey Long, who won fame by taking on the powerful Standard Oil Company, which he sued for unfair business practices:
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag.”

3 comments:

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Gandhi, some of us consider that Bush the First effectively WAS the president of the U.S. from the 1981 Hinckley assassination attempt on through the end of St. Ronnie's term. The clueless, increasingly senile Ray-gun was the affable figurehead who got his say in the few areas that interested him, but left the nuts and bolts of actually running things to the detail-oriented vice president. Sound familiar?

FWIW, I shook Bush the First's hand once. It was in 1980, while he was campaigning for the prezznitial nomination. I was a young reporter for my college newspaper, and I went to cover a campaign event close to campus, in part for a story and in (larger) part because they always had a lot of good free food at those things. I stood in the receiving line to press flesh and ask some inconsequential question, to which he gave a forgettable non-answer. I didn't see any mark of the Beast on him, or gunpowder residue from the JFK killing, but I wasn't as sensitised to such things then. At the time, I thought he was a fairly nice, sensible guy, in contrast to the scary, war-mongering Reagan.

gandhi said...

Bukko, that is pretty funny! What would you do NOW, knowing what you know?

Like the neocons always say these days: hindsight is a marvellous thing!

I remember being horrified when the USA chose Reagan as Prez. I was still in high school, but even I could see he was an abyssmally bad choice. The media kept trying to sell him as a good, decent man who would hold Washington accountable to Teh People, but even I could see (fifteen years old, living in Australia, with minimal interest in politics!) that was bullshit.

And this has-been movie star is now the Gold Standard for US Presidents???? Puh-lease!!!

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Know what you mean about being shocked by Reagan. When he started getting seriously scary about starting the War to End All Worlds, I literally bought 50 1-ounce gold coins (Canadian Maple Leafs, because kruegerrands were unclean back then) and buried them in my yard. In case it all went up, ya know, and we went back to a pre-industrial civilisation.

Then the info about nuclear winter began coming out. The yard in which I buried this gold was a cabin I owned on the shoreline of Lake Superior. Beautiful tree-fringed place on a majestic freshwater inland sea, but it was colder than a monkey's tit, or a witches' brass balls, or something like that. More than two metres of snow each winter, which lasted from September through May. To think of nuclear winter on top of that? I gave up on survivalistic thinking and decided I'd just have to die with everyone else...

P.S. If I could ask Bush I just one question, it would be "Are you ashamed of your grandfather, the Nazi financier?" I'd choose the gramps, because I'm sure he's been asked for his shame level re: the misbegotten son too many times already.

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