America fights the “war on terrorism” with an all-volunteer army composed of the offspring of the working class, so that the rest of us are well-insulated from the shock of sons and brothers dying in combat (especially since the news media, seeking favor with the administration, block out images of the dead and wounded).
We are not asked to pay more taxes to support the war effort; indeed, the richest among us are given tax cuts. We are not asked to conserve fuel, as in past wars. Rather, we are encouraged to use it freely, advised that it will always be there if only we drill in enough places. War profiteers need not worry about going to prison; instead, they get new and bigger contracts, the profits from which can be used to make new and bigger political contributions. It is a comfortable, unintrusive sort of war that George W. Bush wages. All he asks of us is our freedom of speech.
Once again, the United States Senate has stopped a Bush-backed constitutional amendment to prohibit what supporters call the “desecration” of the American flag. They would desecrate the Bill of Rights instead, though it is the rights and not the flag that distinguish America from other countries. From the beginning, the American ideal has been to expand the people’s freedom. The amendment would shrink it. Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas was one of those who withstood the worst kind of political demagoguery in order to protect the Constitution. Whatever else we may think of Mark Pryor, we know now that he’s a patriot.
Bill O’Reilly, the top spin-artist of the Fox network, where spinning comes first, says that Air America Radio should be investigated by federal election officials. Air America has made fun of O’Reilly, and he is famously humorless. (Air America can be heard in Little Rock on KDXE-AM 1380.)
According to O’Reilly, Air America is not making a profit, and continues to operate only because it is subsidized by “left-wing millionaires” for the purpose of electing liberal political candidates. Extra! magazine points out that if news outlets are to be investigated by the feds because they’re not making money, O’Reilly’s boss, Rupert Murdoch, will have a problem. A right-wing millionaire, Murdoch owns both Fox and the New York Post, a conservative newspaper that loses an estimated $15 million to $30 million a year, but gives Murdoch an instrument with which to club his enemies and promote reactionary politicians. Then there is the Moonie-owned Washington Times, another right-wing sheet that loses millions every year but is treated like a real newspaper by the Washington press corps. This says a lot about the degraded state of the Washington press corps.