By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
So the question is still asked, are you standing tall with the president? Are you standing with him as he defends us?
Eventually, they will figure it out.
They being who? The American people?
Yeah, the American people. They are asked these quick questions. Do you approve of him? Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, he blew up all those funny-sounding cities over there.
That doesn't mean they like him. Mark my words. He will leave office the most unpopular president in history. The junta has done too much wreckage.
They were suspiciously very ready with the Patriot Act as soon as we were hit. Ready to lift habeas corpus, due process, the attorney-client privilege. They were ready. Which means they have already got their police state. Just take a plane anywhere today and you are in the hands of an arbitrary police state.
Don't you want to have that kind of protection when you fly?
It's one thing to be careful, and we certainly want airplanes to be careful against terrorist attacks. But this is joy for them, for the federal government. Now they've got everybody, because everybody flies.
Let's pick away at one of your favorite bones, the American media. Some say they have done a better-than-usual job since 9/11. But I suspect you're not buying that?
No, I don't buy it. Part of the year I live in Italy. And I find out more about what's going on in the Middle East by reading the British, the French, even the Italian press. Everything here is slanted. I mean, to watch Bush doing his little war dance in Congress . . . about "evildoers" and this "axis of evil" -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea. I thought, he doesn't even know what the word axismeans. Somebody just gave it to him. And the press didn't even call him on it. This is about as mindless a statement as you could make. Then he comes up with about a dozen other countries that might have "evil people" in them, who might commit "terrorist acts." What is a terrorist act? Whatever he thinks is a terrorist act. And we are going to go after them. Because we are good and they are evil. And we're "gonna git 'em."
Anybody who could get up and make that speech to the American people is not himself an idiot, but he's convinced we are idiots. And we are not idiots. We are cowed. Cowed by disinformation from the media, a skewed view of the world, and atrocious taxes that subsidize this permanent war machine. And we have no representation. Only the corporations are represented in Congress. That's why only 24 percent of the American people cast a vote for George W. Bush.
I know you'd hate to take this to the ad hominem level, but indulge me for a moment. What about George W. Bush, the man?
You mean George W. Bush, the cheerleader. That's the only thing he ever did of some note in his life. He had some involvement with a baseball team . . .
He owned it . . .
Yeah, he owned it, bought with other people's money. Oil people's money. So he's never really worked, and he shows very little capacity for learning. For them to put him up as president and for the Supreme Court to make sure that he won was as insulting as when his father, George Bush, appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court -- done just to taunt the liberals. And then, when he picked Quayle for his vice president, that showed such contempt for the American people. This was someone as clearly unqualified as Bush Sr. was to be president. Because Bush Sr., as Richard Nixon said to a friend of mine when Bush was elected [imitating Nixon], "He's a lightweight, a complete lightweight, there's nothing there. He's a sort of person you appoint to things."
So the contempt for the American people has been made more vivid by the two Bushes than all of the presidents before them. Although many of them had the same contempt. But they were more clever about concealing it.
Should the U.S. just pack up its military from everywhere and go home?
Yes. With no exceptions. We are not the world's policeman. And we cannot even police the United States, except to steal money from the people and generally wreak havoc. The police are perceived quite often, and correctly, in most parts of the country as the enemy. I think it is time we roll back the empire -- it is doing no one any good. It has cost us trillions of dollars, which makes me feel it's going to fold on its own because there isn't going to be enough money left to run it.
You call yourself one of the last defenders of the American Republic against the American Empire. Do you have any allies left? I mean, we really don't have a credible opposition in this country, do we?
I sometimes feel like I am the last defender of the republic. There are plenty of legal minds who defend the Bill of Rights, but they don't seem very vigorous. I mean, after 9/11 there was silence as one after another of these draconian, really totalitarian laws were put in place.
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