Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Stand Up and Clap! Have You Been Serviced?

by David Vest

The president has been talking about “service” again. Urging his audience to “make a culture of service a permanent part of American life,” President Bush promised graduates of Ohio State University this week that they “will gain satisfaction that cannot be gained in any other way.”

It was not the first promise the assembled students, faculty and family members had heard.

Moments earlier, they had been promised that anyone who demonstrated or heckled the commencement speaker would be subject to expulsion or arrest — and they had been instructed to service the president with a “thunderous” ovation.

Sounds like something an announcer in China might say to a crowd of university students before bringing out President Jiang Zemin to speak to them.

Perhaps the comparison is too harsh. After all, Bush is uniquely qualified to lecture people about service. His entire administration has been about service. He learned a lot (as he would say) about service in his role as a greeter at the Ball Park in Arlington, the only real job he ever had before he met Ken Lay.

Soon after that fateful handshake he was providing service to all kinds of people from his new home in Austin.

He served the petrochemical industry by letting polluters write environmental regulations (for starters).

Now he’s in a position where he can really service a lot of people. He can make Secretariat look like a eunuch now.

Just look at his service to Enron. (You do remember Enron, don’t you? Haven’t heard much about it lately? That just shows how unobtrusive the service has been.)

He’s ready to perform service for anyone who wants to gouge, cut, dig, drill, rape and loot the American landscape. The Afghan landscape, too — don’t forget that pipeline.

Nobody can say he hasn’t done outstanding service for the nuclear industry — providing us all with an opportunity to serve by standing at attention as deadly nuclear waste rolls through our neighborhoods. (Remember not to heckle or demonstrate, ok? Wouldn’t want anyone to get held without trial.)

This president is devoted to serving all manner of special interests. (What makes them so “special”? the service they get, of course!)

Of course, the president is only human. His record of service is not flawless. Vietnam Vets of Alabama, for example, put up a cash reward for anyone who can prove Bush actually performed his military service in the state of Alabama, as he claims to have done (Dubya’s commanding officer says there’s no record he never showed up for duty). As far as I know, the reward is still there for the taking.

No one’s perfect. And lecturing students about service is an improvement for Bush: in Texas he used to lecture the poor about “responsibility.”


DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Qaddafi
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Winslow Myers
Christopher Brauchli
Wonder Woman at the UN
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
Lee Ballinger
Tupac: Holler If You Hear Him
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”
October 20, 2016
Eric Draitser
Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Extreme Unction: Illusions of Democracy in Vegas
Binoy Kampmark
Digital Information Warfare: WikiLeaks, Assange and the US Presidential Elections
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Bogus History Lesson
Bruce Mastron
Killing the Messenger, Again
Anthony DiMaggio
Lesser Evil Voting and Prospects for a Progressive Third Party
Ramzy Baroud
The Many ‘Truths’ on Syria: How Our Rivalry Has Destroyed a Country
David Rosen
Was Bill Clinton the Most Sexist President?
Laura Carlsen
Plan Colombia, Permanent War and the No Vote
Aidan O'Brien
Mao: Monster or Model?