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November 20, 2006 09:56 PM UTC

"Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid." - Cracking U.S. Government Policies of Fear

  • by: lysanzia

-by Lys Anzia / Nov. 20, 2006

“We should all be real proud of ourselves,” said Jack Cafferty about the endless corruptions of the George Bush presidency on CNN in a recent premiere called “Broken Government.”

Today American citizens are fighting their fears against the continued length on the war in Iraq, the NSA domestic spying program, government spying on citizens personal financial and telephone records, government prisoner abuse and torture, secret prisons in Eastern Europe, governmental holding of prisoners indefinitely without a hearing and many more unspecified upsetting federal actions.

“The Bush administration is clear. Be afraid. Be very afraid,” said CNN.

The dramatic sweep of Democratic success on the 2006 mid-term election has proven that fear and fear mongering is just not working the way it used to these days.

But that hasn’t always been the case.

According a 2001 report from Canadian University of Alberta’s Express News after 9/11, “Anthrax causes more fear than death.”

In 1938 Orson Welles radio show based on H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” caused a surprising outbreak of panic in the U.S. Some listeners of the radio show panicked and actually believed that the earth was being invaded by warriors from Mars. Reports of a gas attack spread in New Jersey.  Panic evacuations were reported in New York.

We live in a time full of shared fear. Fear of terrorists. Fear of governments. Fear of conspiracies. Fear of corruptions.

White House strategy has gone from “Let’s rescue America from weapons of mass destruction” to “Let’s find Saddam Hussein”, to “Let’s convict Saddam Hussein”, to “Let’s establish democracy in Iraq” to “Let’s stay the course”, to what Suzanne Malveaux of CNN aptly said right before the 2006 mid-term elections, “Let’s mend the course.”

“Without popular fear, no government could endure more than twenty-four hours,” says Robert Higgs of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a 250 academic faculty-supported classical/libertarian bent organization. 

Even the second president of the U.S. hit the nail on the head.
“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power,” said John Adams over one hundred years ago in 1788.

There seems to be a lot to fear these days inside the U.S.

As U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales pushed for increased public surveillance through the country’s NSA programs, Gonzales continued to endorse “warrant less” surveillance and wiretapping in U.S. domestic spying programs during his law school lectures as late as Jan. 2006.

“President Bush may believe he can authorize spying on Americans without judicial or congressional approval, but this program is illegal, and we intend to put a stop to it,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero as the ACLU began legal suit in January against the NSA and Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander.

In addition to the ACLU press on the NSA the EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has brought a class action suit against communications giant AT&T. This suit also began in Jan. 2006. Ongoing appeals are still currently in process with U.S. Supreme Court to take up the serious matter of AT&T’s wedding with the NSA with customer surveillance.

As a Republican Congress passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act on a 232 to 191 vote in late Sept. some American voters were taking notice. At the same time issues of privacy, government strong arm tactics and ever increasing troubles of U.S. policies with the war in Iraq were grating in a very negative way on voter confidence in the pre-election Republican stronghold.

The dramatic Democratic party sweep in the 2006 mid-term election sent Capitol Hill a clear message: “Government strategies and policies must change.”

Perhaps John Adams in 1788  had a window into the future and the “fear” strategies that have been coming from Capitol Hill for too many years now.

Sources for this article include Fox News, Seeds of Truth, The Washington Post, CNN, ACLU, The Ludwig von Mises Institute, Official Site of the United States Senate, The Guardian Unlimited and University of Alberta Express News.


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