Thursday, January 20, 2005
As Wm. Claude Dukenfield famously advised, "never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump." Greg Palast suggests in his exegesis of the President's inaugural speech that the suckers, chumps, and "fodder units" (to borrow one of Poppy's favorite sobriquets) will be only too happy to do your bidding as long as you flatter them with pretty lies about what it means to be an American:
Our President said, "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation." Well, no, it isn't.UPDATE: To valued commenter D. bar S., who complained in comments about what he perceived as the childish nature of Palast's rhetoric, we recommend the following straightforward, easy-to-read article from the Washington Post, setting forth (with lots of supporting detail) the yawning gap between Bush rhetoric and Bush policy:
Our President said, "We will widen retirement savings and health insurance." No, he won't.
Our President said, "America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains." Yes, he will.
Our President said, "And our country must abandon all the habits of racism." Oh, sure.
He doesn't believe a single word he's saying. And all over America, everyone knows he's lying and America is truly relieved.
America doesn't want to give up the habit of racism. Karl Rove doesn't. Jeb Bush doesn't. If not for challenging hundreds of thousands of voters in Black precincts of Ohio and other swing states, if not for purging thousands more from voter rolls for the crime of voting while Black, you wouldn't be president now, would you, Mr. President?
You won't "pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains," unless they are chained by your buck-buddies in Saudi Arabia.
You'll "support democratic movements" so long as the citizens of Venezuela don't get carried away and decide that democracy means they can choose a leader you don't like.
And you'll "widen Social Security and health insurance"? Who are you kidding? I just got a doctor bill for $5,200 … should I send it to you at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
Franklin Roosevelt said in his inaugural, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But he didn't have Dick Cheney creating from his bunker a government which is little more than a Wal-Mart of Fear: midnight snatchings of citizens for uncharged crimes, wars to hunt for imaginary weapons aimed at Los Angeles, DNA data banks of kids and grandmas, the Chicken Little sky-is-falling social security spook-show, and shoe-searches in airports. Fear is your only product.
In another world, in which all votes are counted, J.F. Kerry would have gathered most of those arcane chits called "electoral votes" and would have taken that oath today.
But, dear Reader, there's one cold statistic Kerry voters must face. The fact that Republicans monkeyed with the votes in swing states doesn't wash away that big red stain: 59 million Americans marched to the polls and voted for George W. Bush . . . .
Today we witnessed more than the coronation of some privileged little munchkin of mendacity. It is the triumphal re-occupation of our nation by nitwits who think Ollie North's a hero not a conman, who can't name their congressman, who believe that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were going steady, who can't tell Afghanistan from Souvlaki-stan. Bloated with lies and super-size fries, they clomped to the polls 59 million strong to vent their small-minded little hatreds on us all.
When I looked today at the oaf of office, I could not shake the feeling that this election was an intelligence test that America flunked.
President Bush's soaring rhetoric yesterday that the United States will promote the growth of democratic movements and institutions worldwide is at odds with the administration's increasingly close relations with repressive governments in every corner of the world.
Some of the administration's allies in the war against terrorism -- including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan -- are ranked by the State Department as among the worst human rights abusers. The president has proudly proclaimed his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin while remaining largely silent about Putin's dismantling of democratic institutions in the past four years. The administration, eager to enlist China as an ally in the effort to restrain North Korea's nuclear ambitions, has played down human rights concerns there, as well . . . .
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, was struck by the fact that Bush mentioned "liberty" repeatedly but did not use the phrase "human rights" as an overriding goal.
"The decision to speak in terms of liberty instead of human rights was deliberate," Roth said. "Liberty is an abstract concept, but human rights bind everyone, including the Bush administration. It's easy to say I'm for liberty but difficult to say I'm for human rights when he's overseeing what we know is a conscious policy of coercive interrogation, including inhuman treatment and sometimes torture."