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Archive for September 28th, 2009

Keepin’ It Virtual

A disarmament crusade is not merely “naïve,” it’s a waste of valuable diplomatic energy, chided French president Nicolas Sarkozy following Brother O’s praise for the United Nations Security Council’s resolution calling for a world without nuclear weapons. 

“We live in the real world, not the virtual world. And the real world expects us to take decisions,” Sarkozy said.

American newspapers saw fit to blackout Sarkozy’s mockery of their president’s “naïveté regarding the realities of nuclear technology.”  

Brother O lauded the agreement as a major step in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and beginning multilateral disarmament:

“We must never stop until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of the earth.”

Sarkozy saw fit to address Brother O’s obvious myopia and point out the glaring difference between the forest and the trees:   

“President Obama dreams of a world without weapons . . . but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite. Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993.

[W]hat good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state [Israel] off the map.”

Sarkozy concluded his derisive remarks with a call for sanctions:

“If we have courage to impose sanctions together it will lend viability to our commitment to reduce our own weapons and to making a world without nuke weapons.”

Although America’s newspapers chose not to inform the American people of the clash between Presidents Obama and Sarkozy, at least they have been spared from listening to another racism/right-wing conspiracy screed from former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

I.M. Kane

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Hitler Comparisons and Media Reporting: Then and Now

20 August 2009

Evan Coyne Maloney

Not too long ago, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets with signs comparing our president to Adolf Hitler, painting him as “the world’s biggest terrorist,” even calling outright for his killing. Here in New York City, posters of a cartoon George W. Bush replete with simulated bullet holes began springing up around town.

It was a time when Democratic politicians complained loudly whenever they felt their patriotism was being impugned. In those days, bumper stickers reminded us that “Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism” and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, declared that disruptive protests were “very American and very important.” Now that protests are directed against a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, Nancy Pelosi thinks such disruptions are “un-American.”

During the Bush era, the media looked the other way at the extremist element in the protest movement; the large number of protest signs bearing swastikas and mathematical formulae like “Bush=Hitler” just didn’t interest them. But it did interest me, and because the media didn’t want to report it, I did some reporting of my own. The videos I posted online inadvertently launched me on a second career as a documentary filmmaker.

I recently dug through my old footage and found many examples of the same kind of inflammatory speech that the media and the Democratic Party—forgive the redundancy—now decry. What follows are just a few examples.

At President Bush’s second inauguration in 2005, I visited Washington D.C. to hand out consolation prizes to crestfallen leftists. Folks got a chance to select their own action figure: one of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Michael Moore or Hillary Clinton. The resulting video, Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution, captured derogatory signs and predictions of violence. Among the highlights:

  • “Us Democrats are going to get up in arms…we’ll have to come out and do what we have to do in the spirit of revolution. We’ll have to come out and kill somebody, I guess.”
  • One sign had a double-digit number of swastikas: large swastikas with President Bush’s face superimposed and smaller ones replacing the letter “s” in the president’s surname
  • A number of “Buck Fush” signs and stickers, which shouldn’t need explaining to the dyslexic
  • “Bush=Death”
  • “Karl Rove is a Nazi, and so is Bush”
  • “We are in a Christian Fascist state”
  • “There needs to be a revolution in this country”

In Pin the Tale on the Donkeys, I quizzed peace protesters about the various hawkish statements Democrats made about Saddam Hussein over the years. I also captured a few choice signs, including:

  • A “Stop Bush” sign where the “s” in Bush has been replaced with a swastika
  • A sign accusing President Bush of being both a “fascist” and a “racist”
  • One that refers to President Bush as a “terrorist”
  • A “Protest = Patriotic” sign (an equation that liberals no longer seem to believe is true)
  • A sign with a picture of President Bush calling him “a madman”

On an unusually cold day in New York City, Al Gore delivered a speech on global warming that was sponsored by MoveOn.org shortly after that Democratic Party-affiliated organization sponsored an ad comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler. I interviewed some of the citizens I met outside the venue of Gore’s speech; they were an interesting cross-section of conspiracy theorists. In the video Gettin’ a MoveOn (The Gore Effect), you’ll see:

  • Clips from the MoveOn.org ad that compares Bush to Hitler
  • One person claiming President Bush is “bent on destroying the United States”
  • Another saying Bush is one of the “super-villians of our world”
  • A protester calling America under President Bush an “evil empire”
  • One protester saying “Hitler, clearly” is the historical figure most similar to President Bush
  • “I could very easily liken [Bush] to Hitler, but I’m not going to do that”
  • A protester claiming Bush is a part of the “same Texas crew” that assassinated President John F. Kennedy

At a protest I filmed in San Francisco—shown here in Protesting the Protesters II—I found:

  • A sign calling President Bush an “evil dictator”
  • “George W. Bush is a terrorist!”
  • “G.W. Bush is the AntiChrist”
  • “Fuck Bush! I don’t support 400,000 murderers in U.S. Army uniforms!”
  • “Down with the U.S. troops!”
  • “9/11 = Inside Job”
  • “U.S. Fascists Guilty”
  • A chant: “Who are the biggest terrorists in the world today? Bush, Cheney and the CIA”
  • An “Adolf Bush” sign with a picture of President Bush and a Hitler mustache drawn on
  • A sign saying “Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft: The New 4th Reich” (for added effect, the “s” in Bush is a swastika, the first “e” in Cheney is a skull, and the “s” in Ashcroft is a Nazi SS logo)

And in my very first web video, Protesting the Protesters, you’ll see:

  • A man with an intricately drawn sign showing Adolf Hitler in front of the burning Reichstag building, and George W. Bush in front of the burning Twin Towers. Both Hitler and Bush are saying, “Follow Me”
  • A “dead or alive” sign with the name “George W. Bush”
  • “George W. Bush is the worst terrorist”
  • “Bush = Nuclear Terrorist”
  • “Team Bush: The True Axis of Evil”
  • “Bush the Baby Killer”
  • “Buck Fush”
  • “Fuck You Bush”

I didn’t like people comparing President Bush to Hitler, and I don’t like it when it happens to President Obama. There are many ways to argue against Obama’s planned health care takeover without invoking Godwin’s Law. An argument about contemporary American politics that’s strewn with Hitler comparisons is hard to take seriously, especially if you know anything about Hitler.

My real complaint is with the media, however. After years of ignoring the prevalence of violent sentiments at “peace” protests, the media has picked up the Democrats’ talking points that the town hall protesters are dangerous lunatics. (A small minority of them might be, such as the Lyndon LaRouche followers—neither conservatives nor Republicans—who have been showing up with Obama/Hitler signs. If the media were doing its job, the LaRouchies would be properly identified so they could receive the derision they deserve. Of course, if the LaRouchies were singled out, it’d undermine the impression that the media wants to convey: that the town hall protests are illegitimate, and the protesters extremists.)

Next time you see a media report that unfairly paints town hall protesters as extremists, send this page to the editor, the ombudsman, or whatever contact you can find. Show them this documentation and ask them where all their outrage was when the target was a Republican president, not a Democrat.

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