web analytics

Good night, and good luck

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, February 1st, 2017 - 24 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

The United States of America appears to be going through one of its darker phases, which we haven’t had for a while. It’s not fascism. It’s a long and dishonourable record of House committees that shame, jail, and socially eradicate people:

Overman Committee – 1919

This Committee started off investigating pro-German sentiments in the U.S. liquor industry. It then evolved into a full anti-Bolshevik hunt and become the first Red Scare.

Fish Committee – 1930

This committee examined people and organisations suspected of being involved in communist activities in the United States.

McCormack-Dickstein Committee 1938-1944

Investigated Nazi propaganda, as well as communist propaganda, and anyone associated with either.

Dies Committee 1938 – 1944

Investigated communist affiliations especially in the arts community. Also proposed interning Japanese Americans into camps – which the government then did.

House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) 1945 – 1975

Anti-communist investigations into arts and movie industries, and broad-ranging investigations into government institutions.

HUAC led to the Communist Control Act of 1954. This law, still in force, outlaws the communist party of the United States, and outlaws membership, and outlaws all supporting activities.

According to the Harvard Crimson, “In the fifties, the most effective sanction was terror. Almost any publicity from HUAC meant ‘the blacklist’. Without a chance to clear his name, a witness would suddenly find himself without friends and without a job.”

In June 2016, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich advocated the creation of a new House Un-American Activities, in order to combat Islamic terrorism.

For those who haven’t seen the movie, Good Night, And Good Luck shows the kind of pressure some news organisations successfully brought to bear against this committee:

The precedents are not good, but public pressure and media pressure can be successful in curbing this kind of political investigation.

24 comments on “Good night, and good luck ”

  1. mac1 1

    The title of this post recalls the Irish song of parting, especially in the last line.

    How much a better place this world would be if the lyrics below were a model for nation’s behaviour- spending our money ‘in good company’ and the only harm being done is not to others.

    The third couplet about want of it and loss of memory however is far too prevalent amongst out politicians, or so they say.

    But mostly, how good it would be to wish everyone joy with all the effort and action required to bring joy to all.

    “The Parting Glass

    Of all the money that e’er I had
    I spent it in good company
    And all the harm I’ve ever done
    Alas it was to none but me
    And all I’ve done for want of wit
    To mem’ry now I can’t recall
    So fill to me the parting glass
    Good night and joy be to you all”

    In this struggle that we have now with the new iteration of evil and harm in this world, we must not forget the power of song, both to give ourselves support and strength, but also to excoriate the evil-doers, to expose and criticise and shame.

    “Which side are you on?”

  2. Anne 2

    It’s a long and dishonourable record of House committees that shame, jail, and socially eradicate people:

    The HUAC was not just confined to America. It was not uncommon for individuals in countries closely associated with America to also find themselves targeted – and that included NZ. As we now know, the CIA was very active in Australia, NZ, Canada, Britain and other western nations. It was common for individuals who [perhaps] were outspoken or critical of American activities at that time to be harassed, intimidated and in some cases outlawed without ever having any recourse to justice. My father experienced it in the 1970s.

    It may not be fascism yet Ad but it has the potential to become so – especially if leaders choose to be submissive and weak as happened prior to WW2. We have seen it thus far with Theresa May and our newly minted leader, Bill English.

  3. Macro 3

    We are not far removed from another Kristallnacht.
    Yes the witch hunts of the American yesteryear are predictive of the appalling behaviour we are about to witness yet again in the US. There will a long hard fight back against this tyranny. Of that we can be sure.

  4. simbit 4

    I have friends and contacts who experienced fear and oppression under Obama. And Bush (1 & 2). And Clinton. Et cetera et cetera. They are African-Americans and Indigenous. This is what America does. Stop being so surprised…

    • Macro 4.1

      I’m far from surprised as at this escalation of violence and irrational behaviour in the US. Anyone with half a brain knew that this would be the result of placing a spoilt brat in the White House.

  5. Anne 5

    Oh look:

    Pres. Trump is already making waves at the office. Wants to be “the President who will be remembered as a King.” His words, not ours.

    Now we know why he’s so keen to stay with Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain. He thinks he’s royalty… King Dunny Donald of America.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11792405

    • Macro 5.1

      Gezz! And to think thousands of early Americans died to remove themselves from the vicissitudes of a Despotic King!

      • Anne 5.1.1

        To be fair to the Queen I doubt she is looking forward to hosting King Donald. In fact I expect she is filled with horror at the prospect. But she has to do what her prime minister tells her to do.

  6. adam 6

    I agree Ad nothing new from the land of the free. The free to be fearful. Or to quote Erich Fromm “The fear of Freedom”

    http://realsociology.edublogs.org/files/2013/09/erich-fromm-the-fear-of-freedom-escape-from-freedom-29wevxr.pdf

    If you’d like to read his fine book.

    Hard to guess if this will be worse, I see anonymous are saying it could be in there latest video.

    https://plus.google.com/+Anonymous

    The common thread thought out this wave after wave of reactionary, is the increased power of the centralized state. I think we can call the ‘tea party’ Muppet’s on this about now.

    • Richard McGrath 6.1

      The Tea Partyers were never supporters of greater central government – just the opposite, they supported decentralised power from federal to state governments and from government to the individual.

      • adam 6.1.1

        And yet they support trump…

        And if they had half a brain between them, they would have understood all his rhetoric has one common theme, all power to him – thus a centralized state.

    • Ad 6.2

      Fromm was fine. For then.

      Try Canetti’s ‘Crowds and Power’.
      He got the dynamics cold that still apply now.

      • adam 6.2.1

        I was racking my brain on that book. I think I’ve read it, by the synopsis that I’ve looked at. But I’m sorely tempted to hunt it out, and read again.

        Wonderful quotes from it

        ““It is only in a crowd that man can become free of this fear of being touched. That is the only situation in which the fear changes into its opposite. The crowd he needs is the dense crowd, in which body is pressed to body; a crowd, too, whose psychical constitution is also dense, or compact, so that he no longer notices who it is that presses against him. As soon as a man has surrendered himself to the crowd, he ceases to fear its touch. Ideally, all are equal there; no distinctions count. Not even that of sex. The man pressed against him is the same as himself He feels him as he feels himself. Suddenly it is as though everything were happening in one and the same body.”
        ― Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

  7. rhinocrates 7

    How to Build an Autocracy
    The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.

    Text version:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/

    Audio version:

    Video (short):

    https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/515082/can-it-happen-here/

  8. Stunned Mullet 8

    While not disagreeing with the post or Trump’s bigly douchebaginess, it’s interesting how quick ‘we’ all are to chastise ‘merica when they display behaviour that’s pretty much de rigeur for many other major powers.

    Do we hold the US to a higher standard than we have any reason or right to ?

    • rhinocrates 8.1

      Do we hold the US to a higher standard than we have any reason or right to?

      America holds itself to a higher standard through its frequent claims of exceptionalism, leading back to the framing of the constitution itself.

    • Johan 8.2

      To: Stunned Mullet
      Obviously you need a lesson or two in American history. Their behaviour in the last the 240 years has been nothing short of economic bullying and gun-ship diplomacy.

    • Henry Filth 8.3

      Yes. Yes we do.

      And so we should.

      If you claim (long and loud) to be a Saint, expect to be told when you ain’t.

      It’s a shame really. They actually do have the potential to be “the good guys” that they claim to be.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago