Friday, April 07, 2006

The Enemy Next Door

A striking exchange from President Bush's Q+A session with an audience in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday:
Q: You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you'd like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are --

THE PRESIDENT: I'm not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what's your question?

Q: Okay, I don't have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I -- in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and --


THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec -- let him speak.

Q: And I would hope -- I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself.
History's proven that the greatest danger to a nation sometimes is not a wayward leader, but the unthinking masses desperate to surrender freedom to someone---anyone---promising to "protect" them. It's during those times that the individual's most lethal enemy is not his government, but his next-door neighbor.

Instead of "booo," the audience at the president's event might just as well have bleated "baaahhh."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question to GW:

Mr. President. You and your base preach that immoral sexual behavior is ruinous to young peoples lives. Since our sex lives are open to discussion, here's my question. Did you and your wife have premarital sex and, if so, how has that negatively effected your relationship?


4/07/2006 1:03 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

C.R., I've been thinking up ways for the average citizen to drive the government crazy. I need to know how to convince the government to eavesdrop on me.

If I knew the government was eavesdropping on me, I'd start calling perfect strangers out of the phone book and leaving mysterious sounding messages on their answering machines. I'd try and call people in Iran, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, you name it.

One time, I did a reverse search on the last name of one of the 9/11 hijackers. I forget which one but it started with "A". One of the returns was an address in Portland Maine which is where Mohammed Atta went on 9/10. So I picked out a few more common Arab names, searched the Portland phone book for them and found out that there are a fair number of Arabs living very near the Portland airport (Mapquest and all).

I bet I could really get the government going if it was eavesdropping on me and I started calling those folks up in Portland.

Calling neo-nazi groups and requesting information might attract attention from the government. What do you think?

We could all have a lot of fun if we can convince the government to spy on us all at the same time. A few million people making up bizarre plots to overthrow the government would tie up the government for awhile and if everyone is on the same shitlist, who cares?

4/07/2006 1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to drive the government crazy just have them eavesdrop on one of my two-hour rambling, non-productive conversations with my mom.

That's enough to have anyone swear off telecommunication devices for good.

4/07/2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Ben Franklin quote comes to mind:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

4/07/2006 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

History's proven that the greatest danger to a nation sometimes is not a wayward leader, but the unthinking masses desperate to surrender freedom to someone---anyone---promising to "protect" them. It's during those times that the individual's most lethal enemy is not his government, but his next-door neighbor.

Instead of "booo," the audience at the president's event might just as well have bleated "baaahhh."

This is the most succinct and accurate description of that brave patriot's question and the hand-picked audience's reaction.

Other blogs should link to it.

4/07/2006 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree, good post TCR.

4/07/2006 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would I do for a mass distribution of 1984? Orwell was prescient. The sad part about it is that no one talks about it anymore. Anyone remember what the audience sounded like at the apex of the "Two Minutes of Hate"?

4/07/2006 12:27 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

"[28] Marius was now in his fifth consulship, and he sued for his sixth in such a manner as never any man before him, had done, even for his first; he courted the people's favor and ingratiated himself with the multitude by every sort of complaisance; not only derogating from the state and dignity of his office, but also belying his own character, by attempting to seem popular and obliging, for which nature had never designed him. His passion for distinction did, indeed, they say, make him exceedingly timorous in any political matters, or in confronting public assemblies; and that undaunted presence of mind he always showed in battle against the enemy, forsook him when he was to address the people; he was easily upset by the most ordinary commendation or dispraise. It is told of him, that having at one time given the freedom of the city to one thousand men of Camerinum who had behaved valiantly in this war, and this seeming to be illegally done, upon some one or other calling him to an account for it, he answered, that the law spoke too softly to be heard in such a noise of war; yet he himself appeared to be more disconcerted and overcome by the clamor made in the assemblies. The need they had of him in time of war procured him power and dignity; but in civil affairs, when he despaired of getting the first place, he was forced to betake himself to the favor of the people, never caring to be a good man, so that he were but a great one."

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4/07/2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger Grodge said...

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they will follow me." John 10:27

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4/07/2006 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Censure resolution should b gaining ground is it? Who's more scary (dangerous), the President or the sheep

4/07/2006 3:29 PM  
Blogger Daniel DiRito said...

What’s most interesting about the Bush apologists is their ability to play fast and loose with an individuals right to free speech…if you say good things, you’re applauded…if you say negative things, you’re booed…if you wear the wrong t-shirt you’re arrested…if you talk on your phone to a friend in France, you’re wiretapped. Seems to be a bit twisted. I guess we should be thankful the guy wasn’t denied access…but maybe that was just a vetting mishap? I seem to recall a book by some hooligan named Orwell that talks about this kind of society…hmmmm.

More observations at

4/07/2006 3:38 PM  
Anonymous jay walker said...

Do you think the IRS will audit him?

4/07/2006 4:00 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Please stop with the moral high ground. We all remember the shameless acts of the democrats BOOING republicans at Senator Wellstone's funeral. Quit trying to pretend that one side is shameless while the other is fighting the good fight. IMO, both parties are filled with kool-aid drinking sheep.

Heres to a multi-party system!

4/07/2006 6:46 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

What on earth are you talking about roy? You're comparing a condemnation of free speech on one hand (Bush's road show) to its free, albeit tacky exercise on the other (Wellstone's wake). People on either side who insist it's all the same -- by which they usually seem to mean 'our side ain't so bad' -- need to start employing the logic and rules of evidence governing case comparability or we're never going to get out of the mess we're in.

But I wouldn't mind seeing a viable third party alternative either - I'm having a devil of a time identifying candidates who are fiscally conservative but also socially progressive without being socialist -- maybe I'm just getting old but it seemed to be easier to find real American statesmen such as Jacob Javits awhile back. Libertarians don't cut it: Hard headed sure but also hard hearted.

4/08/2006 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An incredible article in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh

this man has not been wrong many times before.

4/08/2006 4:46 PM  
Anonymous muddy said...

I know a number of people who call themselves Libertarians, but who think Bush is quite justified in having people's phones tapped without warrants. Eh?? Whenever I get done an international call, especially one to or from the Middle East, I make sure to call these "Libertarians" *immediately* thereafter, to be sure they get their fair shares of being tapped as well, for being in my phone tree. It's also fun to include in the conversation things that don't make a lot of sense, as though I am using a code. Gotta do something to cheer myself up.

4/08/2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Free speech does not mean free from criticism. I do not believe anyone booing the guy was thinking he should not be allowed free speech. They were just exercising their right to free speech, tacky as it may be.

4/08/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That man is very brave. I wish more people were brave. I wish the media was brave.

The radical right has spent billions on conditioning people, including forced ignorance, for over 30 years. They have spent the time and money to build media infrastructures and connections.

4/09/2006 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The man tells the President what his concerns are and what do we get from the President? A sarcastic remark and everybody laughs and applauds then he trys to be serious. I wonder if the President does in his meetings before he makes that tough decision that will have repercussions for years to come.

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