Bush's Bullshit the Union Address

Just spent the last half-hour reading President Bush’s State of the Union Address from last night in anticipation of writing something significant here. Cutting through all the US political jargon – much different from Labour Party speak which I’m more familiar with – it was pretty much predictable. As expected, he again defended the Iraq invasion, hyped up the troop ‘surge’ as a great success and sent a warning to Iran saying how the US will continue to defend its “vital interests” – he means oil, but somehow never managed to get the word out.

Centrepiece was the Economic Stimulus package, which is supposed to be a short term measure to stave off recession. It involves a $150 billion bribe to 170 American citizens in the shape of rebate cheques. Nothing like buying your way out of recession! Oh yeah, and there was tax cuts for the rich. Well if you’re gonna give the low-paid something, you gotta keep the wealthy sweet.

As far as this blog is concerned, with its penchant for news on the increasing global surveillance society we live in, Bush also urged lawmakers to endorse a new surveillance bill that would grant immunity to telecom companies that aided warrantless spying on U.S. citizens.

Said Bush:

“One of the most important tools we can give them is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning. Last year, the Congress passed legislation to help us do that. Unfortunately, Congress set the legislations to expire on February the 1st. That means if you don’t act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America. We have had ample time for debate. The time to act is now.”

In light of what happened on Monday - when Democrats in the Senate temporarily defeated an effort by Republicans to pass a bill that also expands the government’s authority to conduct warrantless spying powers – this reeks of emotional blackmail. Here’s Bush bullshitting at its best, and it’s got naff all to do with terrorist threats, defending America or to protect telecom companies from lawsuits from irate customers who have been spied upon. In truth, this “immunity” he hankers after is all about concealing the true level of state snooping on American citizens for the past seven years. Existing laws make it a felony for telecom companies to spy on customers on behalf of the government, handing over customers’ records, without a warrant, and which has been the case in recent years. Bush’s proposal not only saves telecom companies $billions, saves his administration embarrassment if people knew the degree to which they were mistrusted and spied upon, but also allows the Bush regime to continue with its plan for a surveillance state unmolested.

As I write, the fate of the surveillance legislation is uncertain. Though the Democrats blocked a Republican-led effort to end debate on the issue, they lost a measure that would have granted a thirty-day extension to continue discussion. But a dozen or so Democrats have joined Republicans in backing telecom immunity and from what I can make out the big vote on the issue is tonight. And it looks like the repukes are gonna have it their way. The totalitarian global state edges nearer.

Me, I prefer Bush when he told it like it is, no bullshit. Below is Bush as we best remember him and here presenting a previous State of the Union Address.

No comments: