Friday, September 14, 2007

Why the Bush Regime is an Orwellian Threat

It was Margaret Atwood who called Bush, the greatest threat to world peace. What Atwood didn't mention was that Bush derives his power from a deliberate and well-planned attack on our language. George Orwell predicted it in the now classic 1984. His works remain the textbook examples of how governments manipulate people by first manipulating the language.

Orwell describes a fascist, totalitarian government that spies on its own citizens, denies reality, and exploits a perpetual state of war. Orwell's Big Brother succeeds in re-writing History, reshaping thought by reshaping language, creating an alternate reality.

It is true that in a fascist state all is done in order to maintain the regime in absolute power. Nevertheless, the lesson of 1984 is less about the state than it is about the individual. When states are absolutely powerful, the individual ceases to exist. Individuals robbed of the ability to exercise free will are denied personhood. From a theological standpoint, individuals are robbed of their very souls.
In order to acknowledge the collapse of Soviet Communism and the failure of fascism to reemerge as a potent political force, I ditched Orwell's oppressive totalitarian state in favor of an entertainment-fueled nihilism in which dimwitted citizens frittered away their lives watching web TV and working at slightly overpaid jobs to buy worthless junk ... on web TV, natch. Where Orwell envisioned endless rows of soldiers marching in perfect unison to the strains of the Two-Minute Hate, I saw a world where nations had been replaced by trading blocs and the objects of hatred were the immigrants in our midst.

--Ted Rall, Why Bush Is Addicted To Perpetual War

Images of 1984 are seared into our memories --big brother, the telescreen, the grotty bedroom, the cubicle, the memory hole, the drab gray existence, the rat cage. But 1984 is as much about language. Not just sub-text, language is a major player. It is the means by which Big Brother creates an alternate reality, the source of "his" power. Language is how Big Brother gets inside your head.

The "official language" is Newspeak, remembered for the slogans: war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. From newspeak we derive doublespeak which most certainly describes how the Bush administration and a sycophantic news media has empowered Bush --Homeland Security for the unlawful and omnipresence of Big Brother itself; operation Iraqi freedom for what is, in fact, a war of naked aggression; war on terrorism for a perpetual war which, on its face and by definition, cannot be won.

Interestingly, the origin of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" gives the game away. It was originally called Operation Iraqi Liberation, or OIL.

When the GOP uses the term "war" it is done so for the emotional reaction that it is sure to provoke. Americans rallied to defeat real enemies in World War II, a lesson that the GOP has never forgotten. The GOP is altogether too eager to elicit the same response with phony wars waged on crime, porn, drugs, and illegal immigrants. Real wars, however, are fought between armies representing nations. The GOP has always envied FDR his real war.

The War on Terrorism is a GOP code word for global police state or police action. A very hardcore GOP base knows precisely what Bush is up to and supports it. Like Reagan's War on Drugs or the war on porn, some kind of war will always be waged so that the GOP might maintain themselves in power.

The most glaring use of Newspeak is the invention of what I have chosen to call "focus group phrases" as they are invented, full cloth, in focus groups. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is just such a phrase, designed make a lazy populace forget that the war was begun upon a pack of blackhearted lies about WMD. The GOP use it because it tests well in focus groups. The media like it because it wraps up in three little words a long and complicated lie. It omits the obvious fact that al Qaeda had not been "in Iraq" until the US was "in Iraq". The US in Iraq is a threat to civilization, the world.

When WMD were not found, the history of the Bush administration became the list of equally absurd ex post facto rationales for a war of aggression. It is significant that Bush will never tell the nation his real reasons he bombed Afghanistan, his real reasons for attacking and invading Iraq. I will. Bush bombed Afghanistan so that Unocal might build a pipeline through that country to the Caspian Sea. The Taliban was targeted because they had apparently driven a hard bargain in a meeting they held with Unocal officials in Tom DeLay's old stomping grounds --Sugar Land, TX. Iraq was invaded because Saddam Hussein controlled the amount of oil exports and thus the world price of oil. Persian Gulf I had been fought for the same reasons. Bush Sr --as evil as Jr --was at least smart enough to know when to pull out.

Indeed, Orwell understood as few have the power of language and in, 1984 the "tool of power" is language. The institutions of state maintain power by exploiting the power of language to shape the nature of thought itself. In the novel, 1984, the state manipulation of language is the job of protagonist, Winston Smith. Smith's personal tragedy is symbolic of the tragedy of our civilization, if not our species.

Examples abound in the Bush administration. The Bush regime's use of the phrase "Total Information Awareness" very nearly gave the game away. In response to criticism, the regime stopped using the name "Total Information Awareness" to denote their program of widespread domestic surveillance. But that does not mean that Bush has stopped spying on you, invading your privacy, or violating your Constitutional right to be safe and secure in your own home. It does not mean that your email is not fair game. It does not mean that your phone is not tapped. It does not mean that you have nothing to fear from this venal administration. "Total Information Awareness" is no doubt called something else, a name designed not to attract the attention of the media, a less scary name to lull the "folk".

Orwell is most famous for 1984 but his great essay on politics should also be required reading. He explores how politicians explore language to accrue absolute power.
The White House saw September 11 as a golden opportunity. The first catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil sparked an unprecedented case of leadership projection: desperate for protection and answers (why do they hate us? can we kill them before they kill us?), Americans wishfully compared Bush to FDR and Churchill. Approval ratings hit 92 percent. But Bush's political advisors knew that peaking early wouldn't guarantee reelection in 2004. Bush's father had been turned out of office just 20 months after the Gulf War ratcheted his score up to 91.

The Bushies have lifted their reelection strategy straight out of "1984," and not just by creating ominous-sounding agencies like the Office of Homeland Security, the supposedly-closed Office of Strategic Information, and a "Shadow Government." As in "1984," the Bush regime tolerates zero dissent --a two-party system in name only has been distilled to one in which only Republicans express acceptable opinions. And an absence of follow-up attacks has been met by endless alerts, advisors and empty hysterics in the name of security, most recently culminating with Tom Ridge's much-mocked color-code warning system.

--Ted Rall, Why Bush Is Addicted To Perpetual War

In fact, all who have read Orwell's essay on how easily politicians debase the language for nefarious purposes have recognized in the Bush administration the very techniques that Orwell warned us about.

Orwell: Politics and the English Language

To be fair, it is not only politicians but bullshit artists who have made us vulnerable to tyranny. This is done by dumbing down the language, dumbing down our ability to think critically.
As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier -- even quicker, once you have the habit -- to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious.

--George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2 plus 2 equals 4"

Until Bush, even Republican "Presidents" paid lip service to the Constitution. But there were warnings.
“"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."”

—Sinclair Lewis, author of "It Can't Happen here!

The characteristics of the fascist state so vividly described by both authors are to be found in abundance in Bush's fascist regime. That millions are in denial is merely evidence of the truth that is denied.

A quote from Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here":
"Senator Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President, next November, and if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going." – page Page 20, It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
Clearly —Orwell and Lewis not only warned us, they predicted very precisely how it would be done. As Shakespeare would have said: "All is true!"

So --why didn't we listen? Because this nation has a fierce anti-intellectual streak which at its best makes us independent but at its worst makes us stupid!

1984 Trailer

Big Brother is Watching You

Big Brother Loves Torture

Apple's 1984 Take-off

Here's the searchable version in its entirety:

George Orwell: 1984

Scary shit!

Was a Covert Attempt to Bomb Iran with Nuclear Weapons foiled by a Military Leak?

By Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.

09/13/07 "The Canadian" --- - Critically exploring whether or not there was a covert attempt to instigate a catastrophic nuclear war against Iran is illuminated through an introduction using the recent B-52 Incident. On August 30, a B-52 bomber armed with five nuclear-tipped Advanced Cruise missiles travelled from Minot Air Force base, North Dakota, to Barksdale Air Force base, Louisiana, in the United States. Each missile had an adjustable yield between five and 150 kilotons of TNT which is at the lower end of the destructive capacities of U.S. nuclear weapons. For example, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 13 kilotons, while the Bravo Hydrogen bomb test of 1954 had a yield of 15,000 kilotons. The B-52 story was first covered in the Army Times on 5 September after the nuclear armed aircraft was discovered by Airmen. LINK

What made this a very significant event was that it was a violation of U.S. Air Force regulations concerning the transportation of nuclear weapons by air. Nuclear weapons are normally transported by air in specially constructed planes designed to prevent radioactive pollution in case of a crash. Such transport planes are not equipped to launch the nuclear weapons they routinely carry around the U.S. and the world for servicing or positioning.

The discovery of the nuclear armed B-52 was, according to Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, the first time in 40 years that a nuclear armed plane had been allowed to fly in the U.S. LINK. Since 1968, after a SAC bomber crashed in Greenland, all nuclear armed aircraft have been grounded but were kept on a constant state of alert. After the end of the Cold War, President George H. Bush ordered in 1991 that nuclear weapons were to be removed from all aircraft and stored in nearby facilities. ...

What Bush's Nuclear Holocaust Might Look Like

Bush is a threat to civilization, possibly to most life on this planet. This update from Buzzflash:
Brilliant Mark Morford Column: "Because the truth is, we are well past the point of salvaging anything noble or honest from Bush's massive, historic debacle. We have only this brutal reality: Iraq is, and forever will be, one of the most extraordinary wastes in all of American history." A must read that puts the war as a symbol of America's tectonic plate of culture clash into perspective.
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United We Lay said...

I've often wondered if this administration is using 1984 as their playbook. It seems like move aftermove is carefully considered and done in exactly the sameway. Haven't more people read this book? How on earth did our countrymen pass high school English?

Anonymous said...

Len, there's more on those missing nukes here. The procedures for moving nuclear weapons are ultra strict with multiple fail-safe checks:

The mode of transportation is also a major issue not defused by official explanations. Per standard operating procedures, or SOPs, both missiles and nuclear warheads are transported primarily by air, in specially modified C-130s or C-17s [ note - not B52s]. Under NO peacetime circumstances do military SOPs allow transport of nuclear weapons mounted in cruise missiles mounted in combat positions on combat planes.... Nuclear weapons are transported from the storage bunker to the aircraft in a caravan that routinely includes vehicles with machine guns front and rear and guards with M-16s. All steps in the process are done under the watchful eyes of armed military police....Rules require that at least two people jointly control every step of the process. If one person loses sight of the other, both are forced to the ground face-down and temporarily "placed under arrest" by observant security forces. All progress stops until inspections are made to assure the weapons weren't tampered with.

Clearly, this was no "mistake". Not a chance.

Michael Salla also went on to say this:

Consequently, there is considerable circumstantial evidence to argue that the nuclear armed B-52 was part of an apparent covert operation, outside the regular chain of constitutional military command. The alleged authority responsible for this was Vice President Cheney. He very likely used the Secret Service to take charge of a contrived National Special Security Event involving a nuclear armed B-52 that would be flown from Minot AFB. The B-52 was directed to Barksdale Air Force base where it would have conducted a covert mission to the Middle East involving the detonation of one or more nuclear weapons most likely in or in the vicinity of Iran. This could either have occurred during a conventional military strike against Iran, or a False Flag operation in the Persian Gulf region.

That's the important bit as I see it - Cheney was trying to use nuclear weapons against Iran.

Linda-Sama said...

brilliant post!

and I gave you a shout out in my latest post today!

Anonymous said...

There recent bin Ladin videos have also been debunked. A flaky "terrorism research institute" with ties to US and Israeli Intelligence received a copy of this video ahead of any of the usual Middle Eastern recipients -- yeah, right. Bin Laden is wearing the same clothing that he wore in a video produced three years ago. The background is the same and the desk. How likely is that? Only 4 mins of the tape are video motion. This part contain no references to contemporary events and is at least three years old. The remainder of the tape is a still image with a voice over. All references to current events, such as the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan and comments about UK and French leaders Sarkozy and Brown occur when the video is frozen. The religious and language details are all wrong. The video and audio parts have all been edited and spliced. Al Jazeera cites it merely as an alleged bin Laden tape. Even Michael Ledeen has declared it a fake (LOL). It's a fake!!

The second bin Laden video is interesting for a different reason:

The authenticity of a second video that purportedly praises the "martyrdom" of Waleed al-Shehri, who it said was one of the hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, was quickly undermined Wednesday when the British Broadcasting Corporation disclosed that al-Shehri is still very much alive in Morocco -- and is vehemently protesting his innocence...Indeed, within hours of the BBC's disclosure, al-Shehri told reporters at a hastily-called press conference in Casablanca that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington and had been in Morocco when they happened. He has contacted both the Saudi and American authorities, according to Saudi press reports.

So who was the guy who was actually on Flight11? Surely his name would not have been Waleed al-Shehri? So why would bin Laden use the name of a guy he would know was not even present on 9/11? [Hint: 9/11...inside job].

More spin from the story tellers on Pennsylvania Avenue. Keeping you safe through fear.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I have both copies of 1984 in VHS. The 1956 is superior and more true to Orwell's book though dated. This bunch scares the shit out me. And I see Orwell's vision occurring everyday on TV. If you watch faux news the similarities are striking and surely not coincidental. Bush is a madman and appears to be unstoppable. Since our media is in bed with them and the American people are dumbed down to the point of not even seeing what is going on. I fear for our children's future. It seems these people have no sense of humanity. They don't care that they are causing damage to the world that is i repairable. Don't they care for their children's futures? I am thankful for the internet and to be able to find similar voices to my fears and am glad I am not alone. If we didn't have the internet I don't even want to imagine where we would be right now. This cabal did not count on the internet being as powerful as it is to counter their takeover.

Diane B said...


You are right, our Nation has a fierce anti intellectual streak.

"When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." A quote by Sinclair Lewis, "It can't happen here". Sinclair was indeed prophetic. I gather from that American's have always been that way. Church and the flag. I really did not realize how that has always been, that quote brought it into focus. Thank you, Len.

Bob Higgins said...

Great post, thanks for putting this up.
I excerpted it over at my place.

BTW you have a link to my old url in your blog corral. the updated link is :

Thanks again for a good read.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Unknown said...

Wow....great posts, all! All of you are why I love blogging.

Damien, you scare the crap out of me. Indeed! This nation ought to be scared shitless. This nation should be frightened to the point of ridding this nation of the greatest threat to civilization and mankind since Adolf Hitler. Actually, Bush is a greater threat! Bush has nukes.

I believe damien's conclusion is correct. Bushco was in the midst of transporting NUKES in an illegal manner for the purpose of pulling off a "false flag" operation.

In that region, it might well lead to WWIII.

Someone! Please STOP Bush before he blows up the world.

linda, thanks for the great "review". I'll try had to live up to it. Keep up the great work.

Diane, glad you liked the Sinclair Lewis quote. I was likewise impressed with it the first time I read this Lewis work. Indeed, there has been a fanatic fundamentalist streak throughout American history which is surprising when you consider that our founders were by and large either deists, atheists or naturalists of one sort or another.

kimbutgar said...

This cabal did not count on the internet being as powerful as it is to counter their takeover.

I agree. I only hope that the net becomes powerful enough to stop these idiots before they blow us all up. When Bush is found to have been up to his sorry ass in this "nuke" caper, he should be put on trial for his life. This is yet another hangin' offense among the many for which there is already probable cause to try him in both domestic and international courts.

Bob, thanks for the new link. Will getcha updated right away.

hizzoner said...


A lot to "chew on" in that post....but like eating a whale, I'll do it one bite at a time!

First, the issue of the use of language to manipulate the masses. This became apparent to me in a very real way about 15 years ago when I became interested in a ...let's say...mass "self-help" program that also became a "religion". I bought the book and struggled through it...struggled because I had to learn a whole, new language in order to understand it. Further, when communicating with other practitioners of this you had to speak in their language in order to grasp what was being said. I left the practice rather quickly and then discovered that the Christian denomination of my childhood had done exactly the same thing . It took just a cursory survey to find that many denominations use the exact same techniques that Orwell employed in 1984. This explains, partially, I think the power of organized religion to hold onto converts.

Concerning the GOP learning lessons from WWII and the patriotism of that era. Remember this: Conservatives and free-market capitalists despised FDR and considered him a traitor to his class. Moreover, they looked upon his success in remaining popular as a result not of the times he lived in but of some sinister plot to manipulate the masses. Hence, they feel no shame or hesitation in using the "techniques" now.

Concerning AQ in Iraq. What the intellectually lazy American public doesn't understand is that AQ is a "franchise" operation....strangely like Young Republican Clubs (roflmao)...they buy into the radical Islamist hatred of the United States but they have no more relation to Osama Bin Laden than your corner McDonalds has to Ray Kroc.

damien's post about the B-52 and the Nuclear weapons has the ring of truth to it....I was US Air Force Strategic Air Command....that kind of stuff CAN'T HAPPEN! by accident.

Unknown said...

Great comments, hizzoner...indeed, the GOP never forgave FDR for "winning" WWII. The same mentality today LONGS for, PRAYS for another terrorist attack. The GOP is, indeed, nostalgic for Pearl Harbor even if it means the tragic loss of American lives. The GOP, I suspect, prays not so secretly that the US will be nuked so that it might give the Bush/GOP axis of unspeakable evil the dictatorship that they have longed for AT LEAST since the apotheosis of Ronald Reagan.

Vierotchka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulysses said...

Excellent post, Cowboy!! "Clean Air Act" written by polluters, Cheney "not bound by executive or judicial disclosure requirements," the incessant push to promote fantasy over fact-- "we have always been at war with Oceania"-- the parallels are indeed scary!

Unknown said...

Thanks Ulysses and my compliments on the "Gorge", Keep up the great work and keep the heat on the "Dog and Pony Show"

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

Wonderful post Len, Eric Blair and The Bard are the only two Englishmen whose collected works are among my most prized material possessions. They helped me to see the world both analytically and feelingly.

Some time in the next couple of months in Oz we are having a Federal Election. PM Howard is The Imbecile's prized South Pacific poodle. Whatever Bush wants, Johnny "The Rodent" Howard obliges. The other guy is just another polly but at least he has stated he will withdraw Oz's token force from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

I'm chipping in daily(some say obsessively, but so what!?) on "key" psephological blog sites downunder beacause all the "players" read them. This is where Orwell is so important. Most days I try via the blogs, in the only way I know how, to "seed" the national debate with slogans and catch-phrases that might gain resonance with voters should Opposition propagandists run with them. The right 6 or 8 words (or even 3, eg. "Just do it") might be just enough to make a diff if the vote is tight on E Day.

Damien, your contribution "here and there" has been scholarly, tenacious and brilliant. When we get around to that chess game, it's a given that you will be formidable, but I'm sure it'll be fun.

But foist, let's drive an electoral stake through The Rodent's heart and bury him without praise. In the National Interest.

Unknown said...

Good to see your post, Fuzz.

There's the title of an essay: Of Blair and the Bard! (NOT Tony)

They have more in common than the English language. Both men, I think, were appalled by their governments. Certainly, Shakespeare was "under cover", perhaps a closet Catholic, or worse--an atheist. When he wrote "...a plague o' both your houses", I think he mean both Catholic and protestants. Romeo and Juliet was more than a love story, though it can be appreciated on that level. It is political at a time when being "political" could get you drawn and quartered as were some of the bard's own relatives --the Ardens.

I have problems with all of the theories about Shakespeare's "authorship". Especially, the Devere theory. Marlowe is interesting because he seems to have been Shakespeare's alter ego. Here's a link to my modest effort: What's In a Name?

BTW --I agree with regard to Damien's posts. I would like to put them all in a collection where they can be accessed by title or keyword.

Anonymous said...

First there were six nuclear warheads on board that aircraft (still reported as such in the linked CNN article). Then there were five, in your article. Is there a loose nuke?

Unknown said...

Whig, it sure likes there IS a loose nuke. The books don't balance. Some have speculated that an "attempt" was thwarted. But what KIND of attempt? Who was the target? Iran? Or Bush? Was a coup d'etat in the work? What's up?

Anonymous said...

Well, Len, if there's a loose nuke for real, nothing was thwarted, someone got a 40x Hiroshima warhead to do something bad with. I hope it isn't so.

Anonymous said...