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3am Feature





COMMENTARY ON THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS



3am Magazine Political Editor Charles Shaw offers his second annual blow by blow of MSNBC's broadcast of the "State Of The Empire" address.

By Charles Shaw

COPYRIGHT © 2003, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I didn't want to write this year's installment. Last year I was a bit angrier, a bit crazier, and somehow able to be obnoxiously glib about it all. But a lot has happened between State Addresses, and these days there is very little to laugh about. Yet, I felt compelled, if only to act as an interpreter. What convinced me of that was watching the pre-game show when they turned to the "voice of the people" segment, a new media trend based around the idea of these little cross sections of people, and callers and emailers, coming together to voice their opinions live, a virtual town meeting, if you will. The vast majority of the people polled, particularly the whites, and the young whites, parroted almost verbatim the Bush Administration's palaver about Saddam Hussein. Another poll asked what words came to mind when you heard the words George W. Bush. Responses varied from "a true leader" to "a rudderless ship". Still, most supported him as a man of integrity.

Most said they weren't interested in hearing about the economy in the President's address, what they wanted to hear about was Iraq. They claim Hussein is evil, commits atrocities against his own people and we need to rescue him. He has anthrax!!!

What was not mentioned was that he also has oil, and long history as a US operative, along with that Osama Bin Laden fellow, who I may as well just tell you now he does not mention once. Apparently, that imminent threat to mankind has been downgraded to "vanished".

All this despite an abysmal economy that has consumed over 600,000 American jobs last year, and over 2 million since Bush took office. If this isn't proof positive that the Bush "information" campaign is working, I don't know what is.

Curioser and curioser.

And on to the show…

8:01 - The parade begins, and the Generals take their place up in front. Does anyone ever bother to notice this?
8:06 - Dubya Redux!

He stepped into the chamber, his beady eyes darting around. Carrie remarks that he looks nervous, like a person who knew he was about to tell a whole bunch of lies, and there was a chance he could be caught. (later this observation would be drawn into contention by the way in which Bush delivered his speech)
8:10 -

Rumsfeld gives Bush a nod like "Go get 'em, tiger. Go get me my war.", and with that the Speech begins.

(obligatory second standing ovation)

Opens with four points:

  • Domestic concerns (wise, crafty, transparent)
  • AIDS (HUH???)
  • Prosperity (double HUH?)
  • Enemies and imminent Danger (see, it was last, cause we're not warmongers)

8:11 - Recycles "Our resolve is firm, our Union is strong" palaver…

*NOTE - All the canned applause breaks were great for jotting down notes.
8:13 - "Focus, Clarity," and Courage" - The successes of 2003
  • Education reform (otherwise known as re-segregation)
  • Dept. of Homeland Security
  • Tax Relief (the pittance that bought off a nation)
  • Corporate Reforms (HUH?? They arrested 5 guys. 5, that's F…I…V…E)
8:14 - The Goals and Priorities for 2003
  • Economy & Jobs. This would all be solved if Congress passes his…
  • Tax Reform Bill, which consists of eliminating the Marriage penalty and increasing Child deduction amounts, which will force everyone to get married and have kids in order to survive and prosper, which is good, but really the thing that is going to save "us" is the
  • Elimination of the Dividend Tax for "Investors and Stock Holders", which is a clever euphemism for the plain old rich, who get to keep more money now.
  • Deficit will be cured by instituting "spending discipline in DC", which I imagine will still call for an increase to our $400 Billion defense budget
  • Privatize Social Security (that way we won't be held responsible for the one that we spent already)
8:20 - Health Care
  • Didn't offer a plan, and further took the time to inform us that a National Health Care Plan "will not solve our health care problems", and that we needs to "put the doctors back in charge". Huh? Take that Canada and Europe!
The US Department of Defense: $400 Billion per 1 year
US Medicare:$400 Billion per 10 years
8:24 - Medical Malpractice Liability Reforms. This I actually agree with and think is legitimate. Having worked in the field in the early 90's while contemplating Law School, I can attest to it's parasitical inclinations. Like professional sports salaries, jury awards are ridiculously out of proportion.
8:25 -

Actually has the audacity to mention the words "Environment" and "Conservation" in the same sentence.

Shocked most of the world when he mentioned funding the development of a hydrogen power cell and engine, until he mentioned the amount: 1.2 Million. Mighty white of ya there, Dubya.

Military Industrial Complex = $400 Billion per year

Technology that could save the world, but would put the MI Complex out of business = $1.2 Million for one year

8:28 -

The Fourth Goal - Control our Spirituality

  • Expand Faith (translation: "find Jesus").
  • Pass Faith Based Initiative Bill, which would give Federal $$$ to churches despite the Constitutional mandate for the separation of Church and State. (and I wonder if the Vatican is going to get any of that money. My guess is…no.)
  • Mentorship program for I million disadvantaged kids…(is this Faith Based too?)
  • $600 million for drug treatment for 300,000 over 3 years. Then he made the following statement: "God does miracles. The miracle of recovery is possible", but stopped short of actually instructing us to go find god in order to recover. Great, our first AA president. Those of you who know what I mean, know what I mean. Those of you who don't, probably live saner lives.
8:32 - Called for absolute ban on partial-birth abortions and human cloning.
8:33 -

The Mission of the United States of America - "Help the Afflicted, Keep the Peace, Stop the actions of Evil Men"

Claimed success in Afghanistan, supported Israel and a "democratic" Palestine. Exactly what did he mean by that?

8:35 -

AIDS IN AFRICA

From out of nowhere he begins a near five minute spiel on the travesty of the epidemic, that "no one should be turned away from treatment and told to go home and die". This shockingly dramatic shift in policy, and a commitment of $15 Billion has you wondering who he's been listening to. Is this real or just PR? You have to admit just his mentioning it was pretty significant, and pretty cool.

8:38 - TERRORISM!

What you need to know about the War on Terror
  • We're winning
  • Over 3,000 Al Quaeda have been captured

What he didn't say to the rest of the world, but the rest of the world should have got:

  • "So, we're protecting your asses, you let us go and do as we want in Iraq now"
8:41 - Missile Defense Plan. This shit again.
8:42 -

Project "Bio Shield". $6 Billion for vaccines and treatments.

(Bonus part of plan he did not mention was the free vaccination kit for those receiving the marriage/child/dividend tax cuts)

8:43 - Announced formation of the information central processing bureau that will serve as a clearing house for all the domestic and foreign surveillance data collected by the FBI, CIA, Dept. of the Fatherland, and DOD. Your One-Stop Surveillance Superstore!
8:44 - "Free People will set the course of history" (and their slaves will build it for them)
8:45 -

"Outlaw" regimes are the Number One threat to world Security (Iraq segue). Bush, taking great care to bludgeon us with his cowboy fetish, reminds us again why Texas calls itself the Lone Star State. "Go it alone" is a way of life for these people.

Bush claims America saved the world from "Hitlerism, Militarism, and Communism." Well, I'll give them one and thee, but Militarism was perfected by the US of A and we all know that. But speaking of Hitlerism, I suspected he wouldn't mention his Grandfather Prescott's financial support of the Third Reich. In this segment, Bush attempts to portray the US as the defenders "of all mankind". Aren't delusions of grandeur a symptom of psychosis? Or does he have a point, of which we are all in mass denial?

8:47 -

Referencing the Iraq situation, Bush declares "The course of this Nation does not depend on the decisions of others." Of course, the rest of the world still needs to heed both our decisions and those of the United Nations.

Then, Bush proudly declares, "I will defend the American People". Just like he did in Vietnam.

8:49 - Iran

What you need to know about Iran.
  • They're just like Iraq. And we support a regime change for them too. (See Empire Spread. Spread, Empire, Spread.)
8:50 - N. Korea

What you need to know about N. Korea
  • Horrible, terrible, nasty regime that is blackmailing the world, but would be a welcome addition to the world community if only they disarm. Apparently disarming their nuclear program would make all their horribleness, terribleness, and nastiness go away.
  • The US seeks a peaceful resolution. (someone is going to have to explain that one to me).
8:51 - And then, after a whole speech, he lays into Saddam Hussein
Bush Statement Complete phrase
  • "Dominating a vital region"
  • ("…which we want to dominate")
  • "Possesses WMDs!!"
  • ("…just like us!)
  • Has "utter contempt for the world"
  • ("…just like me!")
    Claims Hussein has the following, which the inspectors have not found:
    • Anthrax
    • Respiratory paralyzing viruses like Hanta
    • Sarin, mustard and VX
    • 30,000 bio or chem. delivery munitions, of which we have found 16
    • "Mobile germ warfare labs" that can hide
    • Nuke development plan, enriched uranium, aluminum tubes
    9:00 -

    Bush finally claims they have obtained proof Saddam Hussein is in fact aiding Al Quaeda, harboring terrorists, and supporting networks across the globe. Of course, the proof was not made available to us. Silly rabbits. Truth is for Dicks.

    Bush then claimed that the conspiratorial nature of terrorism, that terrorists do not announce their intentions, validates and justifies his Preemptive Strike Doctrine.

    He tells the people of Iraq, "You're enemy is not the one surrounding your country, your enemy is the one running your country. The day you remove him is the day of your liberation." ("…and we'll be right there beside you, just like last time!")

    9:03 - Informed the world that on Feb 5th Colin Powell would address the UN and present evidence of Iraq's guilt. Could this be a veritable Cuban Missile, Adalai Stevenson smoking gun showdown in the works? Or is it just a formality? Well, folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but we're goin to war whether we or the rest of the world likes it or not. This notion was confirmed when he…
    9:04 - …gave the obligatory shoutout to the members of the Armed Forces deployed in the Gulf, essentially wishing them well in war.
    9:06 - States, "We seek peace, and we strive for peace." (again, someone is going to have to explain that one to me).
    9:08 - "The call of history has come to the right country. Liberty is not America's gift to the world, it is god's gift to humanity. I thank the god almighty.". ("…it's just that we, as the chosen people, need to bring this to the filthy stinking ignorant masses of the world that we gladly rule for this beneficent peaceful God that inspires so many wars")

    Bush delivered the address with steady authority and a noticeable dearth of his usual brand of autocratic smugness. It is becoming more and more clear, as codified in his statement that "like in Afghanistan, we will bring the newly liberated people of Iraq food, medicine, and supplies", that the Bush Administration has a vision of the United States as a nation that controls and defends the world, liberates oppressed peoples by defeating subversive terrorists and despotic regimes, and offers unparalleled financial and humanitarian aid. As such, it is also one that is above International Law. In any language, this is a working definition of an Empire. And the history of the world is the history of Empire. The New World Order has begun.

    See you next year…




    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Charles Shaw is 3am Magazine's Political Editor. He is an author, political activist, and Publisher of Newtopia Magazine. His fiction series, "DIALOGUE: Conversations Between the Ethereal and the Unmedicated", where he meets with famous dead people (and arose after he stopped taking dubious medication) can be found running regularly at Web Del Sol. His debut novel, Unfinished Portraits, will arrive in stores sometime next year, or so he is told. Current projects include a follow-up novel The Schnitzel Famine; and The Birth of the Cool, a play based on the outstanding book by Lewis MacAdams. In August of 2003 DIALOGUE will debut on stage in Chicago, starring none other than himself. His work appears regularly in Newtopia, Clamor, Punk Planet, UR Chicago, and 3am Magazine. He lives in Chicago in the shade of the skyscrapers, lovin' every minute of it.





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