Propaganda

America’s boy emperor gave his annual State of the Union speech tonight. We didn’t have the patience to watch it or listen to it, so we read the prepared text. This carefully-worded propaganda – written to deceive without actually lying – is much easier to decipher without the distractions of the Repugnantan cheerleading section. The first half of the speech was spent trying to sound like a kind benefactor to the poor and unfortunate, while actually regurgitating tired proposals to line the pockets of his rich buddies.

For instance, he turned a paragraph on the health care crisis (40 million uninsured, yadda yadda) into a call for tort reform. i.e. more money for insurance companies, less for the victims of people who screw up. And his idea for Medicare reform is to give seniors access to more drugs…. drugs that happen to be sold by his big contributors in the pharmaceutical industry.

It’s encouraging to hear him talk about hydrogen-powered cars, but what about mass transit, or initiatives to reduce sprawl and commuting in the first place? And what’s this vaguely-worded Clear Skies Initiative? One can bet that the fine print will show this to be another Orwellian name, just like the Healthy Forests Initiative, which probably opens up more forests to the lumber barons (because we all know that’s what he really wants to do).

The last third of the speech was devoted to propagandizing for a new war in Iraq. This is where it’s really important to read the wording carefully. Note the frequent use of the words “Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce….” That doesn’t mean these things were actually produced, even though that’s what they WANT us to think. After all, a bag of charcoal could be “materials to produce a whole bunch of pipe bombs” (charcoal is an ingredient of gun powder).

The ingredients for the Oklahoma City truck bomb can be found at almost any large farm: fertilizer and diesel fuel. That doesn’t make every farmer a terrorist. But the words in Bush’s speech try to lead the listener to the same type of conclusion. Just because one has “materials to produce” a truck bomb does not mean a truck bomb has been built.

Granted, Saddam Hussein is not necessarily producing antibiotics and baby food with the materials in question. But Prince George is trying to whip the country into war hysteria with a line of logic that turns weekend barbequers into pipe bombers and farmers into terrorists. He may sound like he’s made his case, but his words are couched in qualifiers that hide deception.

One thing he won’t tell us about Saddam’s chemical weapons: it was Donald Rumsfeld that provided them to him, with all of the encouragement to use them.

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