March 27, 2015
You Have No Rights
Posted on Aug 14, 2007
Scheer: ... Every time [Bush] speaks, he doesn’t seem to have an idea of what’s going on in the world and he doesn’t really care. Do you think that’s because he’s not hearing negatives when he goes out in his limos and with the Secret Service?
Rothschild: He’s almost completely shielded from protest right now. He’s like a medieval king who sends out his vassals to clear, you know, any scruffy peasants from the carriage route. There’s actually a White House manual that came out as a consequence of a couple of the people I profile in this book suing the White House and suing the Secret Service. The White House manual from the advance team of the White House tells people at the White House, when the president and the vice president go out somewhere, that they should be shielded from protests, that the advance team should do everything possible to keep the protesters out of earshot and eyesight of the president and vice president. If that doesn’t succeed, the advance team should get together a rally squad—what I would call a goon squad—to stand in front of anyone who has an anti-Bush or anti-Cheney protest sign. And if the protesters are making any noise, this rally squad, this goon squad, should shout down the protesters with chants of “USA, USA, USA!” And then the manual advises the White House advance team to recruit people for these rally squads from Young Republican associations, from athletic teams, and from fraternities and sororities. It’s really an incredible document.
Scheer: It sounds like Noriega’s youth squads from back in the day.
Harris: How many people do you think are aware of these kinds of nuances?
Square, Site wide
Rothschild: The problem with the mainstream media is that it has not been reporting these cases in any kind of a systematic way. To the extent that they cover the stories, they cover it one at a time as if it’s just a crazy, isolated incident that has nothing to do with any other related incidents and nothing to do with this edifice of repression that Bush has constructed. Some people may remember the story, vaguely, of the guy with the T-shirt in New York, at a New York mall, who was a lawyer named Stephen Downs, and I profile here. All he did was, he went into the mall and he put on a T-shirt that said, “Give peace a chance” on one side and “Peace on Earth” on the other, and he was arrested in the shopping mall for putting on that shirt. So people may vaguely have remembered that, but they don’t connect it with all these other petty-to-really-scary acts of repression that have happened along the way, and so they don’t really see the picture. And then they forget.
Scheer: There was a book—we actually did an interview with the guy a few days ago and his book comes up behind yours on Amazon. It’s the same kind of thing about losing our democracy. He talks about some similar issues. I think you go more into the details with individual cases.
Harris: It’s “The Last Days of Democracy” is the title, but, yeah.
Scheer: He talks about how we’re becoming more like Nazis or fascists. Do you feel that way with the government? Do you think we’re going that path to fascism?
Rothschild: I’ve been very careful not to use the f-word here for about 27 years in public because I don’t think we’re a fascist state right now. Otherwise, you and I would not be having this conversation and I wouldn’t be able to publish this book, I wouldn’t be able to publish The Progressive magazine or go out and speak in public. But I do think there are clouds of neofascism in the sky and they’re not on the horizon; they’re getting closer to being overhead. And the problem is, if we don’t fight for our rights now, by the time a kind of neofascist government fully took over, it would be too late. And let’s be clear here: There are plans for martial law in this country. Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq, said that if we’re attacked again by terrorists with weapons of mass destruction this time, we will have to set aside the Constitution. Then a guy who just died two days ago, Wayne Downing, who was Condoleezza Rice’s deputy at the National Security Council, he said the exact same thing, essentially: If we’re attacked again by terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, we’re going to have to impose martial law. That was a quote he had in the Washington Post. And so we need to be alert to that. I mean, just last week Barbara Boxer said to Ed Schultz on the Ed Schultz radio program that this is as close as this country has ever come to a dictatorship. Dictatorship was her word. A senator, Barbara Boxer.
Scheer: Strong words.
Harris: Very strong words. How much of this, Matthew, do you believe is the result of that initial seed of fear that Bush planted? And he reinforced it the other day in his news conference at the White House, saying simply, again and again, “If we leave Iraq, they’ll come to get us here.” This idea that something is looming, that if we don’t follow his path—.
Rothschild: It’s totally fear. That’s all he does. He’s a giant fear-monger, and that’s why he repeats al-Qaida’s name constantly. That’s why he resuscitated the name of Osama bin Laden, a name that didn’t want to slip past his lips for about three years there when it was so embarrassing to him that he hadn’t caught Osama bin Laden yet. But now it’s useful for him because he inculcates fear, and if people are so fearful, they will surrender their rights to him. He also loves this image that he uses constantly—and he used it last week again—that before 9/11 we were protected by the oceans, almost womb-like I think he wants us to think. Protected by the oceans. Well, we weren’t protected by the oceans in the War of 1812. We weren’t protected by the oceans on Pearl Harbor Day. We weren’t protected by the oceans on any single day of the Cold War when the Russians could launch an ICBM with nuclear weapons on top of them to destroy this country. So this is just a fake idea that we were safe before 9/11 and now we are imperiled in a way we’ve never been imperiled before. The Russians, the Soviets, could have incinerated this entire country. They still could. Al-Qaida can’t incinerate this country. Al-Qaida can attack and inflict some serious damage here, but they cannot destroy this country. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney can destroy our democracy, and they are in the process of destroying our democracy right now.
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