A Desperate State of the Union


No doubt about it; the State of the Union was Bush’s lamest performance to date. He may have lunged to the dais like a prize-fighter; soaking in the adulation of the Republican faithful, but when the bell rang he made a few wheezing sounds before nose-diving to the canvas.

Off his game, was he?

The soliloquy was familiar enough; Bush promising to take the broad-ax to popular domestic programs so that more revenue could be loosened up for high-tech weaponry and exorbitant tax cuts. But the delivery was as flat as Texas road-kill. It had none of the gusto of his earlier speeches, just the monotone whimpering of a political understudy reciting his lines to the teleprompter.

Bleak, very bleak.

His droopy performance made no difference to the euphoric Congress. They were quick to their feet at every opportunity; bellowing their approval for Bush’s grand plan.

“I welcome the bipartisan enthusiasm for spending discipline. I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.”

What complete twaddle. Maybe he’s planning to turn water into wine as well, or part the Red Sea.

“The principle here is clear…Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely or not at all.”

Imagine this nonsense coming from a president who increased overall government spending by 25% while cutting revenues to an unsustainable level. But, as we all know, facts have no bearing on the disciples on George the Baptist. Their etherealized world-view emerges from a solid devotion to Bible, moral values and mumbo-jumbo.

“We must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job creators from junk lawsuits. Justice is distorted and our economy is held back by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims, and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year.”

“Frivolous asbestos claims?!?” Ah, yes, those pesky, trivial cancer claims. Whatever made us believe that a citizen could sue for damages for something as trifling as premature death? Thankfully, Mr. Bush’s keen sense of moral rectitude has put us back on the path of righteousness. We should be ever so grateful.

As expected, the peerless leader articulated a wish-list of freebies for big business and “thin gruel” for the rabble. For every bone tossed to corporate America, there was a belt-tightening program for the masses. And, then, this bombshell:

“Four years of debate is enough! I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.”

What lunacy? Less dependent?!? Didn’t we just spend $300 billion invading Iraq? What was that all about?

The irony was lost on the doting Congress who rose in a tsunami of praise; their hoots and hollers resounding through the rotunda. The camera’s scanned the exuberant audience; honing in on the bulbous, florid visages of overfed vulgarians cheering away at their political frat-party. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that there’s an unbroken chain of succession from Jefferson and Adams to this dismal cast of pedestrians.

Bush’s speech took a turn for the worse when he started into his 30 minute oratory on Social Security. It was a fatal mistake.

“The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy, and so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security.”

This conspicuous deception was followed by a lengthy, mind-numbing diatribe that left even the most ardent Bush loyalist wincing in agony. The Commander-in-Chief morphed into a shabby pitch-man for Wall Street; hawking stock plans to his captive audience like a traveling medicine man. It was grim; much like watching a comedian flailing and fading in front of a packed house. It went on forever.

Despite the reverential atmosphere, there was a fair amount of jeering when the straight-faced Bush unleashed this corker: “The United States has no right, no desire and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else;” a remark that left many either laughing or gasping for air.

For some reason, Bush’s speechwriters invariably insert a few meaningless tidbits about the desperate situation in the Middle East. The reasoning seems to be that if we discuss it openly then the public will forget that the US is underwriting the carnage with boatloads of money and weaponry.

“To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach — and America will help them achieve that goal.”

The Deceiver-in-Chief is in way over his head on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He’s already reneged on his former promise of a Palestinian homeland in 2005, and has subsequently (unilaterally) overturned 242 by approving of Sharon’s settlements in the West Bank. Now, he adds to the insult by offering $350 million to rebuild the PA security infrastructure that Sharon has been destroying for the last 4 years. The proposal is nothing more than a slap in the face to the many innocent people who needlessly suffered or died while Bush did nothing.

Interestingly, Bush exhorted both Saudi Arabia and Egypt to “show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.” It would serve him right if they took him up on that. Consider the damage Saudi Arabia could inflict on American markets if the people had greater control over the pricing of their greatest resource? Think what havoc Egypt might cause to Israel if a representative Islamic government replaced Mubarak? Bush’s spurious comments are purely theatrical and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Bush assumed his warrior demeanor to tackle the Iran crisis. Undoubtedly, many people across the globe were looking for a clue to grasp the direction of the administration.

“Today, Iran remains the world’s primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.”

Most of Bush’s commentary is flagrantly false. The IAEA (after lengthy investigations) has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program. Iran has no plutonium and it has stopped its uranium enrichment program even though it is legally permitted to pursue it under the provisions of the NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) He also conceals that the US has deployed covert operatives onto sovereign Iranian territory, and has authorized illegal intrusions into Iranian airspace; a clear provocation of hostilities.

Bush’s lies will be carefully analyzed by friend and foe alike. It’s likely that they will notice the resemblance they bear to the fabrications produced prior to the war in Iraq. This should alert the world that they should stop the pointless effort to disprove that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and, instead, get on with the more pressing task of providing conventional weaponry for Iran’s defense in the event of an American attack.

Bush offered nothing new about the Iraqi nightmare except to reiterate the resolve of American elites to continue the colonial project ad infinitum: “We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq. We are in Iraq to achieve a result” etc, etc, etc.

The 4 permanent military bases and the $1.5 billion US embassy (the largest in the world; large enough to facilitate the entire Middle East if you catch my meaning) attest to the fact that American servicemen will be dying in Babylon for the foreseeable future. Bush’s presidency is now inextricably yoked to the policies of aggression and subjugation. He has already cemented a legacy of torture and war crimes. Whatever glimmer of hope that people derive from his public ruminations to Congress is of little consequence. The real State of the Union is one of desperation; a nation increasingly alienated from its allies, from its principles and from its moral underpinnings. If the man at the top was anything more than vacuous poseur, he would have told us just that.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come