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OAF OF OFFICE - by Greg Palast

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Al-CIAda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 08:12 AM
Original message
OAF OF OFFICE - by Greg Palast
Thursday, January 20, 2005
by Greg Palast

Watching John Kerry lip-synch the oath of office, I couldn't help wondering, 'what if.'

Here on stage in Washington was the winner-class warmed and protected by cashmere and tax cuts against the strange, nipple-chilling cold. Hell had frozen over.

Our President said, "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation." Well, no, it isn't.

Our President said, "We will widen retirement savings and health insurance." No, he won't.

Our President said, "America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains." Yes, he will.

Our President said, "And our country must abandon all the habits of racism." Oh, sure.

He doesn't believe a single word he's saying. And all over America, everyone knows he's lying and America is truly relieved.

America doesn't want to give up the habit of racism. Karl Rove doesn't. Jeb Bush doesn't. If not for challenging hundreds of thousands of voters in Black precincts of Ohio and other swing states, if not for purging thousands more from voter rolls for the crime of voting while Black, you wouldn't be president now, would you, Mr. President?

You won't "pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains," unless they are chained by your buck-buddies in Saudi Arabia.

You'll "support democratic movements" so long as the citizens of Venezuela don't get carried away and decide that democracy means they can choose a leader you don't like.

And you'll "widen Social Security and health insurance"? Who are you kidding? I just got a doctor bill for $5,200 should I send it to you at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

You said, "You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs." What you meant was, "Courage is fragile and real evil triumphs." Indeed your entire campaign was about American cowardice: "they" are coming to get us. Americans, scared for their lives, soiled their underpants and waddled to the polls crying, "Georgie, save us!"

Franklin Roosevelt said in his inaugural, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But he didn't have Dick Cheney creating from his bunker a government which is little more than a Wal-Mart of Fear: midnight snatchings of citizens for uncharged crimes, wars to hunt for imaginary weapons aimed at Los Angeles, DNA data banks of kids and grandmas, the Chicken Little sky-is-falling social security spook-show, and shoe-searches in airports. Fear is your only product.

In another world, in which all votes are counted, J.F. Kerry would have gathered most of those arcane chits called "electoral votes" and would have taken that oath today.

But, dear Reader, there's one cold statistic Kerry voters must face. The fact that Republicans monkeyed with the votes in swing states doesn't wash away that big red stain: 59 million Americans marched to the polls and voted for George W. Bush.

If bin Laden doesn't scare you, THAT should.

Because if 59 million Americans agreed with George Bush that every millionaire's son, like him, shouldn't have to pay inheritance taxes; that sucking up to Saudi petrocrats constitutes a foreign policy; that killing Muslims in Mesopotamia will make them less inclined to kill us in Manhattan; that turning over social security to the casino operators that gave us Enron, WorldCom and world depression is smart economics; then, fine, Mr. Bush deserves the job. But most Americans, bless'm, don't actually believe any of that hokum. YET MOST STILL VOTED FOR HIM!

What we witnessed on November 2, 2004 was a 59-million strong army of pinheads on parade ready to gamble away their social security so long as George Bush makes sure that boys kill each other, not kiss each other; who feel right proud that our uniformed services can kick some scrawny brown people in the ass in some far off place when we're mad and can't find Osama; who can't bring themselves to vote for a guy with a snooty Boston accent who's never been to a NASCAR tractor pull and who certainly thinks anyone who does is a low-Q beer-burping blockhead. And they are.

Today we witnessed more than the coronation of some privileged little munchkin of mendacity. It is the triumphal re-occupation of our nation by nitwits who think Ollie North's a hero not a conman, who can't name their congressman, who believe that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were going steady, who can't tell Afghanistan from Souvlaki-stan. Bloated with lies and super-size fries, they clomped to the polls 59 million strong to vent their small-minded little hatreds on us all.

When I looked today at the oaf of office, I could not shake the feeling that this election was an intelligence test that America flunked.
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complain jane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. Isn't that the truth
Thanks for posting this.
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OmmmSweetOmmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. Palast hits another one out of the park. Thank you for posting! n/t
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Al-CIAda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. your are both welcome...sick shit...ouch -eom
Edited on Fri Jan-21-05 08:56 AM by Al-CIAda
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
4. Ahhh.... Good to the last syllable!
Heck the title alone is worth the price of admission.

Where are the rest of the Greg Palasts in this world
of ours?

Thanks for posting.
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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. 59 million votes say the easily hackable central tabulating computers.
We just had another faith-based election--faith that the will of the people was reflected in the central tabulators final results. I am afraid we have been had, yet again, and the media cannot even imagine it.

How utterly tragic for our dying democracy!
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
6. Loved the title. Not so much a few of the conclusions
We don't serve our cause if we keep doing two things:

1) Accepting that George Bush received the majority of the votes. I am convinced that he did not. I accept Freeman's estimate that 4.3 million votes (or TIA's estimate that 5 million votes) were switched from Kerry to Bush. The majority of Americans who survived all the efforts at voter intimidation and disenfranchisement and made it to the polls voted to throw the smirking chimp out -- their votes were simply not counted properly.

2) I also don't appreciate any argument that continues to denigrate the intelligence (or the lifestyle choices) of Americans, regardless of who they voted for. When we do that, we're as small-minded as our opponents. While I think attending NASCAR races only makes sense if you are migraine-deficient, a number of my friends and neighbors are NASCAR fans so I keep that opinion to myself. And I firmly believe that a number of the people who voted for Bush did so under false premises and that Bush-Rove, the corporate media and (yes) even "our side" are partially to blame for that.

I also believe that if we keep pushing our election theft investigations, if we keep pushing the corporate media to take their heads out of Karl Rove's ass and if we keep using the alternative media (and our own one-on-one powers of persuasiveness) to change the inaccurate perceptions of people, we will prevail. I have witnessed the righteous anger of my friends who are Republicans once they have read the evidence for the election theft and realized that Bush is not only incompetent and wrong-headed but that he is also fundamentally un-American. If we keep working hard, the backlash against Chimp-Rove will shake the foundations of the Nazi wing of the Republican Party, something that we, the world (and moderate Republicans) will be thankful for.

So Greg Palast, keep up your excellent writing and keep giving me titles that let me start my day laughing at my computer screen. Just stop spewing the Kool-Aid that Bush received the majority of the votes and that this was because most Americans are dunderheads. He didn't and they are not. Now it's time to go cut more firewood in my ole pick-em-up truck, to wave at my conservative country neighbors who hate Bush as much as I do (because his actions and words blaspheme their Bible and soil their flag) and to keep working hard, smart and without self-righteous attitude to take OUR country back.

Remember: it's hard to win an argument with someone you think is ignorant, but it is impossible to do so if you call him ignorant right off. Around here, that's not a prelude to an enlightened and persuasive conversation. It's an invitation to an ass-whuppin'.
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Helga Scow Stern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. I agree with you. This article is misguided.
I didn't agree with Palast, that 1) Bush won with 59 million votes, because Bush stole the office through cheating, including padding the popular total with up to five million votes; and that 2)the American people are so stupid. The majority voted to defeat this buffoon. Palast does us all a real disservice with this kind of talk. Just because a minority are wrapped in a pink cuccoon that Bush is great is no reason to denigrate the majority of Americans.

I was quite disappointed in Palast in this article.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I agree. Pallast is giving creedense to the lie that Bush won.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Thanks. kick.
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Al-CIAda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Good points FBN -eom
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genieroze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I agree, that's what bothered me about the article. I think * lost big
time and it was a Kerry sweep and the chimpinheadinator knows it.
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Shalom Donating Member (832 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Are We Allowed to Criticize the 48% of Americans Who Did Vote for Bush ?
Edited on Fri Jan-21-05 12:49 PM by Shalom
I agree Palast concedes too much by assuming Bush got a majority of the 2004 vote, but even the most die-hards amongst us will concede that he likely got about 48% or so of the popular vote.

If this is correct, we need to be honest with ourselves: are we even allowed to make disparaging comments about these people ? It is interesting that the Reich-wing of America is not shy about being hyper-critical of the liberals, and this has not hurt them. Why can't liberals tell the truth about the Reich-wing ?

For example, are we allowed to comment that while it's OK to watch reality TV, lots of football, and go to NASCAR races, that it's NOT OK to do so at the exclusion of being a responsible citizen ?

Is it OK to comment that it is fine to talk about the right to life, but hypocritical to do so when perhaps 100,000 INNOCENT HUMAN BEINGS IN IRAQ (THAT'S MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN) HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY THE US GOVERNMENT ?

Is it OK to comment that it is wonderful to talk about faith and religion and attend houses of worship in the US, but hypocritical to do while while the US military is bombing houses of worhsip and destroying entire cities in Iraq ?

Let's face it: Bush would not have been elected were it not for some fundamental flaws in our national culture and character, and we can't blame the corporations and the media for everything. If we can't point out these flaws, we can never overcome them.

Remember from history that prior to Hitler becoming a dictator in Germany, he actually was able to get about 37% of Germany to VOTE for him (see below). My final question is this: Is it OK for us to criticize the Germans who voted for Hitler after he published his manifesto in Mein Kampf (so that it was clear what he stood for), and to recognize that if these individuals had not VOTED for Hitler, he never would have been a position to seize total power ?


Hitler Versus Hindenburg - 1932
In February 1932 Hitler decided to stand against Hindenburg in the forthcoming Presidential election. In order to do this he became a German citizen on 25th February 1932. The result of the election on 13th March 1932 gave Hindenburg 49.6 percent of the vote and Hitler 30.1 percent (two other candidates stood). As Hindenburg failed to win a majority a second election was called. The result of the second election gave Hindenburg 53 percent and Hitler 36.8 percent (one other candidate stood). Thus Hindenburg was re-elected to office and Hitler was forced to wait for another opportunity to win power.
Chancellor Bruening lasted in office until June 1932, unable to maintain popular support his government resigned due to pressure from the President, who had been advised by an influential General called Schleicher. General Schleicher had plotted the overthrow of the cabinet in conspiracy with the Nazis. Power then passed to a Presidential cabinet headed by a new Chancellor, Franz von Papen. New Reichstag elections were also set for the end of July.
Nazis Become the Largest Party - 1932
In the July elections, the Nazi Party won 13,745,000 votes which gave them 230 out of the 608 seats in the Reichstag. Although the Nazis were the largest party, they were still short of a majority. Hitler, however, demanded that he be made Chancellor but was offered only the position of Vice-Chancellor in a coalition government, which he refused.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. You can criticize anyone you want. Just know it comes with a price.
The point of my earlier post was two-fold:

1) We shouldn't concede that Bush won "fair and square" because the overwhelming evidence is that he did not. So anyone who says that Bush got the majority of the country to back him is misguided and surrenders the political high ground needlessly.

2) Spending our time criticizing others (particularly in regionalist, classist and other condescending ways) only invites rebuttal comments that we are upper-crust, elite intellectual snobs who couldn't sell watermelons if we had the Highway Patrol blocking traffic and directing people into our melon patch (one of my favorite Jim Hightower sayings).

I would rather focus on stating (as a democratic mantra) that Bush is not supported by the majority of Americans and that many who did support him did so because they were intentionally mislead; motivated by maudlin and shallow political, religious and patriotic sentimentality whipped up with cynical relish by the Roveists and their leashed corporate media whores; or poorly exposed to the pro-American logic, intellect and morality that underlies our own positions. These positions shift the blame away from the voters we should hope to attract and toward our political enemies and to ourselves (where much of it belongs).

I just spent an hour talking with a good friend who is a lifelong Republican. Our conversation was stimulated by my face having been on the evening TV news last night and by the fact that I now wear an orange ribbon on my lapel whenever I go out in public. The conversation centered around the stolen election. There was another right-winger briefly in our company but all he could do was try to shout me down and call me names. When neither my Republican friend nor I responded to him, he left in disgust, muttering under his breath. That allowed my friend and I to discuss at length the evidence for the stolen election, the relative silence of the supposed "liberal" media to this story and why the protesters were so numerous and so vocal, in DC and elsewhere, yesterday.

Toward the end of the conversation, my friend asked me "Just what is it you want anyway?" That question gave me the opening to list at least a half dozen reforms to the election process (which included enforcing our existing laws against voter intimidation and disenfranchisement). As I listed each reform, my friend said "Well, I agree with that." When I finished listing the reforms I support, he concluded,"You know, I was about to tell you that I would agree to disagree with you, but you spoiled that. I don't disagree with anything you want to see accomplished. I don't see how any
American could disagree with you."

I'm glad I stopped myself from shouting "Bingo!!", but I sure felt it. That one-on-one exchange was real progress in the political dialogue and, after all, that's what we progressives ought to be about -- progress.

So feel free to criticize anyone and everything that you want, if it makes you feel better. Just ask yourself why you're doing it. If it's just to make yourself feel superior, ask yourself just what added value comes with that feeling --and what costs. As for me, I'd like us to stake out the democratic high ground and invite as many people as possible to admire (and remember) the view with us. What we have as a country is precious and I would rather work hard to remind everyone of that than to pat myself on the back for my own political and moralistic superiority in an otherwise empty room. It doesn't have to be lonely at the top if we act in an inclusive and open manner with all others who might be persuaded that what we truly stand for is fundamental, necessary and correct in the maintenance of our democracy. Name-calling, while temporarily and self-righteously satisfying, gets us nowhere but in another shouting match that our manners-challenged enemies are better equipped to win anyway.

Staying firmly grounded in the "reality-based" world and increasing mutual understanding and our numbers -- that's the ticket.
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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
13. Great Column! Thanks for the post. n/t
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super simian Donating Member (292 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-05 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
14. Love Greg, but here is where he loses me....
"In another world, in which all votes are counted, J.F. Kerry would have gathered most of those arcane chits called "electoral votes" and would have taken that oath today.

"But, dear Reader, there's one cold statistic Kerry voters must face. The fact that Republicans monkeyed with the votes in swing states doesn't wash away that big red stain: 59 million Americans marched to the polls and voted for George W. Bush."

Say it again: "In another world, in which all votes are counted...."

And so if all votes aren't counted, how do we know how many people actually voted for Chimp? Short answer: We don't! We don't know if it was 59 million or not! We don't even know if it was a majority.

I agree with everything Greg is saying about the short-sighted, self-serving, xenophobic, scared-shitless racists who actually cast their vote for the Worst President Ever, but Greg seems to confuse bashing THEM with bashing the MAJORITY who actually voted for Kerry (in another world, in which all votes are counted.)

So, much as I love the sentiment behind this and the awesome writing, I think we should stay very clear on the fact that in THIS world all the votes were not counted and we don't know for a fact whether Chimp won or not, or by how many votes.


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