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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of November 20 - 26, 2002

Opinion Columns

Alice’s Wonderland reborn

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Say this for President Bush and those around him: They’ve mastered the use of doublespeak babble that says one thing while meaning something else.

Only the naïve believe this is clumsy political syntax rather than genuine flimflamming.

This passage between Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Humpty Dumpty in "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" says a lot:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more or less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that’s all."

You judge.

Item: President Bush and Republicans as a group have railed against big, intrusive and overreaching government power for years—yet the Bush plan for America includes a $200 million "Total Information Awareness" agency in the name of war on terrorism with power to seize personal Internet mail, telephone records, credit card data, banking transactions and travel documents without a search warrant. The Big Brother in charge of this bureau is the ominous retired Navy Vice Adm. John Poindexter, who masterminded Ronald Reagan’s Iran-contras arms deal, persuaded Col. Ollie North to lie to Congress and was himself convicted of perjury (an appeals court nullified the conviction because of congressional immunity). The logo designed by Poindexter for his agency—a Cyclops-like Big Brother eye atop a pyramid with the slogan "Scientia Est Potentia" ("Knowledge Is Power").

Item: To that add Attorney General John Ashcroft’s vow that he won’t violate the privacy of Americans with sweeping new wiretap powers not requiring court approval. Can Ashcroft be believed, since he was the man who dreamed up the controversial and discredited Operation Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS) to encourage letter carriers, household service workers, neighbors and others to report suspicious personal activities?

Item: U.S. intelligence agencies complain the war on terrorism is hindered by a lack of Arabic-speaking specialists to intercept and decipher the flood of foreign communications in their hunt for Osama bin Laden—then the Army dismisses six Army linguists trained in Arabic because they’re gay.

Item: While acting horrified by North Korean and Iraqi nuclear weapons development and the menacing possibility of nuclear war between India and Pakistan, President Bush lays the groundwork for developing new nuclear weapons, including $15 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration to study modifying nuclear weapons capable of destroying underground factories or laboratories.

Another source provides an eerie parallel with Bush & Company’s manipulation of words and deeds.

In George Orwell’s dark novel, "1984," a chilling study of totalitarianism that obliterates privacy and distorts truth, Big Brother conditions the submissive populous to accept convoluted logic that "war is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength."

Democrats dismayed by the Nov. 5 election should buck up: there’s good news in the results.

Presidential dreams of the party’s clumsy architects of defeat—former Vice President Al Gore, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Rep. Richard Gephardt—have just about been ended for good.

President Bush and his political Rasputin, the ruthless, take-no-prisoners-shoot-the-wounded Karl Rove, would chew up any of them like beef jerky in 2004: Gore is still searching for himself; Daschle seems in a perpetual state of somnolence; Lieberman’s cracking voice leaves the feeling he’s on the verge of tears; and Gephardt’s droning would put voters into deep sleep.

Democrats need thick-skinned thinkers with the backbone and moxie to confront the Bush plan for converting America into a feedlot for big contributors.



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