Skip to main content

The Scariest Plenary Ever

What follow are my notes from this afternoon’s plenary address by Mark Crispin Miller. Miller’s title, as listed in the program, was “Mediating Tomorrow’s History: Live Coverage and Documentary in the Digital Era,” but in fact his talk had nothing whatever to do with that title, so I’m assuming there was a change of plans somewhere along the line, though no replacement title was announced.

I want to front-load Miller’s conclusion, though, making sure it’s above the fold. As he said, before concluding on what he called “an apocalyptic note,” his conclusion makes it sound as though he’s more than a little paranoid (actually, what he said was that it sounds as though he wears a tinfoil hat while coming up with this stuff), but a little googling, and… well, it’s unfortunately not crazy, just scary.

The main story of Bush’s presidency, he argued, is not a stupid president, or the manipulations of the oil industry; the main story is that the Bush/Cheney movement is a radical theocratic movement (with the caveat that W. is perhaps not a sincere Christian, but he still talks with God and believes he was chosen). In fact, Bush’s strongest supporters are the Christian Reconstructionists, a radical wing of the religious right, who want to see the U.S. transformed into a theocratic state based on the book of Leviticus. Miller cited, as evidence of the Christian Reconstructionist incursions into the Bush agenda, the Council on National Priorities (which Miller called the steering committee of Christian Reconstructionists; I’ve attempted to find this group, and think that Miller must have meant the Council for National Policy), the Traditional Values Coalition (and particularly its director, Rev. Louis P. “Homosexuality Is a Social Disorder” Sheldon), the International Mission Board, which has been conducting conversions in Iraq in conjunction with its ostensible charitable aid, and a welter of Bush administration policy ranging from its harping on abstinence, the Defense of Marriage Act, and so forth.

But the most frightening bit of recent policy that Miller pointed to was the Help America Vote Act, which mandates touchscreen voting. Much has been written in the blogosphere about the scandal surrounding Diebold’s knowledge of the unreliability of such systems. What hasn’t gotten much press is that the main venture capitalist backing both Diebold and ES&S, the two primary manufacturers of computerized voting machines, is Howard Ahmanson, a Christian Reconstructionist who has said openly that he has the goal of imposing Biblical law on the US.

The end message: Vote while you can, my friends. Vote while you can.

Further notes from Miller’s talk:

And you know how it goes from there.

Just one further note, though, from the Q&A: In response to a question about why the US press is so weak in its reporting on Bush, as compared with the press abroad, Miller pointed out a series of problems with the contemporary press. The one that has gotten the most attention is media consolidation — with so few corporations in control of all media representations, few opinions can get out — but he stressed as most important a class shift in reporters themselves: many are millionaires, hobnobbing with those they’re supposed to be reporting on. The most alarming example? Dan Rather co-owns a ranch in Taos with Donald Rumsfeld. (Really. Scroll down to the bottom for verification.)


No mentions yet.