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3am FEATURE





COMMENTARY ON THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 3am Magazine Political Editor Charles Shaw offers a blow by blow of MSNBC’s broadcast of the State Of The Republic address.
By Charles Shaw

COPYRIGHT © 2002, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


09:00PM - Pregame Show

Only two Supreme Court Justices showed up. And one of them was Kennedy, who put Bush in office. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Then the “Cabinet” enters led by Rumsfeld and Ashcroft, entering together like Michelle Pfieffer and David E. Kelley walking the red carpet. I haven’t seen that much hand-pumping since I had on-demand porn. Shameless entry!

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Resident of the United States.”

Then came Bush, with his permanent stick-in-his-ass, Texas Shuffle, smug as can be…and he mounted the podium.

The Speech began at 9:08 EST

09:08 - The Big Game

In one fell swoop, he acknowledged we were in a war and a recession, and stated, “…and the state of our union has never been stronger.” Nice opening, quite effective in disarming critics almost immediately.

THE FIRST THING HE MENTIONED was liberating Afghanistan. Brilliant strategy! He called the US and Afghanistan “partners in rebuilding” But we know he doesn’t read well, and what he really meant was “partners in BUILDNG”, as in building the trans-continental pipeline “Operation Silk Road”, which was the reason we were over there in the first place. Throughout, the camera cuts to Hamid Karzi, bobbing his head like the good puppet that he is.

SECOND MENTION goes to “the Might of the US Military”, and immediately the camera cuts to the Joint Chiefs. Bush referred to us dispensing “Justice” around the world. I am willing to meet him half way on this one. Sure, go get the nationless terrorists…but how far does “Justice” go, and what exactly does he mean by “Justice?”

THIRD MENTION goes to Ground Zero, when he refers to a little boys note tacked on a fence about his dead father…ugh! Yes, terrible and awful for the boy, but totally manipulative and contrived on Bush’s part to mention it. I groaned audibly.

AND THEN they cut to the wife of Mike Spann, the CIA asshole that Johnnny Jihad Walker is accused of conspiring to kill. Just like on Sept. 2oth when he acknowledged Lisa Beamer, wife of one of the deceased “heroes” of Flight 93. Yes, despite fighting off a host of terrorists, they were unable to stop those missiles launched at them by the US jets. It made me convinced they used the same sedative on both women.

09:22 PM - FIRST HILARY ALERT!!! – After a day of asking “do you think Hilary will smirk or smile?”, they finally cut to Hilary. She is doing just fine. You go girl!

09:23 – He begins the long segment about the terrorist threat by emphatically stating “our war against terrorism is only beginning”. He details the tens of thousands of terrorists that were trained in Afghan camps, and who are still at large. It was a frightening, sobering proposition.

And it took him only a minute to mention Ashcroft and the FBI.

Then, even more frightening, was his Call to Arms, to “pursue them wherever they are." He mentioned there are 12 nations who harbor terrorists, but did not name them specifically. He did name four specific groups that have made their Anti-American agenda clear… Hammas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hishi Muhammad. . Yeah, there’s news.

Then he mentioned the Philippines, Bosnia, and Somalia. If you read between the lines, you understood this to mean they already have begun military incursions there.

09:26 – Acknowledges Pakistani President/Military Dictator Musharref as an admirable man. Yikes! There is the Operation Silk Road connection again.

09:27 – Cut to “Homeland” UberMinister Tom Ridge. Does this guy look like Superman or what?

Then Bush issues a chilling statement: “If other countries don’t act to root out terrorism, America will”, basically stating they will invade whenever they want in the name of terrorism. He referred to unpalatable governments as “regimes”, in order to downplay the fact that they are planning to oust many world leaders and governments. Despite how despicable Saddam Hussein is, his Government is not really a “regime” anymore. I mean, he went through a war, got the snot pounded out of him, and he is still in power. I’d say they qualify for “government” status. He is just a Dictator. Regardless, Saddam, watch your ass! Here we come!

The point is, how far does it go? If we suddenly don’t like France anymore, are we going to call it the “Chirac Regime”?

Then he announced America’s new enemies, North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, and their pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Using word like “peril” and threat”, and mentioning for the second time that our war had only “just begun”. He effectively justified all future military action against these countries and set the stage for a much larger, all encompassing political climate by announcing the definitive reality of the Missile Defense system. He announced, “History has called us, and it is our responsibility and privilege to fight.” Again, ugh! I don’t think I got that call, did you? And since when is it a privilege to get killed?

09:30 – OUR NEW COLD WAR OFFICIALLY BEGAN

09:31 – THE BUDGET – MORE WEAPONS

When he laid the foundation for a billion dollar a month defense budget, and stated, whether we like it or not we will spend whatever it takes, we knew it was all over.

He talked about “Homeland Security” (doubling current funding), which means MORE COPS!, more Police State tactics like crowd dispersal and clamp downs on free expression and communication, more totalitarianesque regulations, more elimination of personal freedoms in favor of “heightened security”.

He asked the “citizens” of America to become the Government’s eyes and ears, then reinforced that statement by acknowledging the two flight attendants, seated in the balcony, who noticed Richard Reid trying to light his shoe…The Shoe Bomber, who many believe was a total stage job by the Government.

He is essentially asking us to be paranoid rats, always spying on your neighbors, always going about your day with an air of fear and distrust.

We’ve seen this before. The Military-Industrial Complex cannot keep chugging forward without a clear cut enemy to point it at. In my lifetime, Nixon did it with Vietnam, and by Proxy, the Soviets…as did Reagan in the ‘80’s. How terrified were you the first time you saw The Day After? Well, here we go again! He beats it down our throat that we are now under a credible Nuclear threat from not one but THREE nations. That’s three times worse than what Reagan threw at us, but nothing will ever be as terrifying as the old USSR.

BE VERY CAREFUL with this. I know we need to watch out for “terrorists”, but remember two things: The House Committee on Un-American Activities, and Big Brother. There are extents to this.

09:40 – Ted Kennedy. Jeez he’s getting’ old.

09:40 – Economy, “jobs”, blah blah, and tons of standing ovations.

09:43 – Hilary standing to applaud during one of the many aforementioned Standing O’s. That is strike two, you pundits! You go girl!

09:43 – Camera cuts to Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. Huh????? That’s seemed about as random as if they cut to Don King or chicken mogul Frank Perdue. What’s little Jimmy up to?

09:44 - Foreign Oil. See how they buried this and masked it and put it all down elsewhere, despite the fact that this is THE issue. He barely mentions it, despite the fact that we are starting WWIII over it.

09:44-09:48 - Tax policy, Economic Stimulus, Welfare Reform, Patient’s Bill Of Rights, Senior Medicare and RX, 401Ks and pensions….

Hold on…here it comes…

09:49 – The great Allusion to ENRON, “corporations must be held accountable…blah blah blah…It was the classic non-committal double-talk, and it made the case for most of us that he had his hand in that big ole cookie jar.

The rest was blather until he acknowledged The First Lady, which I thought was particularly classy of him. What was priceless was the shot of her and Hilary smiling at each other. Hilary, thou art redeemed!!!!

09:53 – He announces the “new ethic and new creed” of America, Let’s Roll. The camera then immediately pans to Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is shaking his head like, what a card, what a maroon, what a numbskull!!!! Thank you MSNBC! That made the whole night worth it.

HERE’S WHERE IT GOT WEIRD!!!!!!

He then took the opportunity to “call all Americans to service” by asking us to give two years of our lives —of course which two years was a bit fuzzy—to the military, the paramilitary, or, in the New Alternative, to the new USA FREEDOM CORPS, which to me sounded EXACTLY like an admixture of the old absurd Civil Defense Corps (who tried to teach people that they could survive a Nuclear blast by Ducking and Covering), the Nazi SS, and the old Roman Praetorian Guard. He talked about stationing these people all over the world. He said he doesn’t want to impose our culture, just maintain “freedom.” What’s the difference? Read on…

Then he stated he wants to retool the Peace Corps (most likely with Bibles) and send them into the Islamic world to “educate” the people. Why do I get the feeling we haven’t heard the last of those two scraggy Christian aid workers?

Then he made this penultimate statement, “We will lead the world towards the values that will provide lasting peace.” What those values were, he did not elaborate. But as I wrote down his words as he spoke them, I saw I had unconsciously written “police” instead of “peace”. Hmmmmm.

I’m not so sure what that is all about, but it sounds very sketchy. This part of the speech was an obvious retooling of Poppy’s famous “New World Order” speech. Bush made it abundantly clear that a “free” society is no longer about personal freedoms, but about free trade.

He also kept invoking the spirit of “evil”, claiming like the god-fearing evangelical that he is, that it is all around us. This then was distilled into his closing comment:

“Evil is real, and it must be opposed. God is Near!”

Halleluiah, can I get an AMEN!!!

America, we are in serious trouble.


Charles Shaw is the Politics and Non-Fiction Editor for 3am Magazine, along with being a regular contributor of fiction and interviews. He is also the co-editor of 3am's sister site, SinglesFAQ.

A graduate of Boston University with degrees in Literature, Psychology, and Creative Writing, Charles’ work attempts to address ontological themes such as our relationship to ourself, those around us, and that which is beyond us.

In 2000-2001 he was scriptwriter for J. Harrison's award winning nationally syndicated radio show Reality Check.

In 2000 Charles launched Spiritus Creative, a consulting company, and designed The Spiritus Creative Project, an online Arts and Humanities site. In that time he published a number of freelance articles on the loss of meaning in American Culture at the end of the millennium.

In 2001 he was selected as a semi-finalist in the International Library of Poetry’s annual competition. The 33 semi-finalists were selected from a field of over 3 million total entries.2001 also saw the debut of his daily rant column, Signs of the Decline of Western Civilization.

In 2003 he will publish The Politics of Recreation: The History of Chicago Public Land (Lake Claremont Press), and his debut novel, Unfinished Portraits.

Aside from his fiction and essay, Charles has worked extensively writing and directing film and theatre.







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