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The American State of the Union address is a very tepid affair compared with speeches given by a British Prime Minister before the House of Commons. In the United States, Senators and Members of the House sit quietly until pauses built into the speech signal them to applaud whatever the President is proposing. This contrasts greatly with speeches before Commons, where one can often hear mutterings of agreement or disagreement with the P.M. And while the "loyal opposition" in the British Commons will lustily boo a proposal with which they disagree, disapproval in the American Congress is expressed by refraining to applaud, or rarely, by applauding in an apparently inappropriate place.
It is the rare man or woman on Capitol Hill who would risk being shown on television as visibly disagreeing with what a President said during a State of the Union address, even if all the world knows he or she disagrees wholeheartedly. One of those rare people is Senator Ted Kennedy (D.-MA). He was shown rolling his eyes and shaking his head during the 2004 State of the Union address when George W. Bush talked about some of Kennedy’s favorite subjects: Medicare and education. Still, Kennedy’s reaction, unlike that of his British counterparts, was a silent one. Perhaps there were others in his camp. But, in the theatre that is the American State of the Union Address, it would take the stature of a Kennedy (or a Clinton), to draw the focus of the camera lenses away from the front of the chamber even momentarily.
Constitutionally, the report on the state of the union need not be given in person. Woodrow Wilson was the first president since John Adams to do it that way. Calvin Coolidge gave the first State of the Union speech broadcast on radio. Harry Truman’s 1947 speech was the first to be televised. The State of the Union address is now filled with pomp and circumstance (and much pre- and post-speech reaction and analysis) so that the Chief Executive can bask in the limelight of major press coverage, especially TV.
Although these addresses are dramatic set pieces, there was an unusual moment in this year’s speech, when Bush mentioned that the Patriot Act was due to expire in a year. (It is actually closer to two years, as he made his address on January 20, 2004, and the sunset provisions of the Patriot Act don’t kick in until December 31, 2005). Bush paused for effect after he said that, no doubt hoping to hear the boos one hears in England, where he recently visited the Prime Minister and the Queen. Instead, Bush heard applause for the idea of sunsetting Patriot. But it was not the strong applause needed to send the signal that the Congress was ready to start rescuing our tattered Constitution. When Bush called for Congressional reauthorization of this unconstitutional excuse for legislation, the applause was at least three times greater.
This one brief attempt at disapproval of a part of all that Bush has done to destroy American norms of freedom, constitutionality, and proper law enforcement procedure is an example of how the Democratic Party is NOT functioning as a true loyal opposition. It’s simply rolling over and playing dead. The Democrats, by and large, are complicit with the bad state of the union—endless war, destruction of the rule of law, huge deficits, and a "jobless" economic recovery.
The United States is currently ruled by an election thief and his neocon cohorts (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz, et al.) They facilitated a terrorist attack on our soil, and have used that attack to keep the people in fear of terrorism.
[If you still have doubts about US Government complicity in 9-11, please read the pertinent articles at theCenter for Global Research , From the Wilderness , Radio Internet Story Exchange , Standdown and the timeline at the Center for Cooperative Research ].
Honest students of American foreign policy know that the United States has been the Number 1 rogue state and sponsor of terrorism for decades. It has supported death squads, political assassinations and wars abroad under the Administrations of both parties.
[For more details on terroristic U.S. foreign policy, read two books by William Blum, "Rogue State: A guide to the world’s only superpower" and "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA interventions since World War II." They should be available at or through your local independent bookseller. For information regarding American support of radical Islamic militancy, listen to theR.I.S.E. interview with Prof. Michel Chossudovsky ].
Many Democrats backed the Patriot Act.
The neocons are using the threat of terrorism to attack our Constitution. Too much democracy is bad for corporate globalization. People and nations might get the idea that they can vote against it. The Patriot Act is nothing less than an illegal attempt to amend the Constitution by statute. It weakens our judicial process and our individual freedoms. Yet only a handful of members of Congress and only one Senator, Russ Feingold
(D.- WI), voted against it. Ted Kennedy, where were you then?
Yes, the Democrats by and large have been complicit in the doings of this excuse for a President. They have voted him billions for his world war. They voted for the Patriot Act.
When "Patriot II," which wasn’t even supposed to exist, was leaked in its full 87-page infamy, its proponents decided to pass it piecemeal. The Democrats voted for a portion of "Patriot II" expanding the powers of the FBI to seize business records; it was quietly signed by Bush on the Saturday that Saddam Hussein’s capture was revealed. Bush can divert media attention from his actions as easily as he can attract it.
Why Bush gets away with murder.
None of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives have the guts to introduce abill of impeachment against this excuse for a Commander-in-Chief. This chickenhawk, who went AWOL from his National Guard duty in Alabama during the Vietnam era, lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to commit the lives of our troops to a war for oil in that country. (Iraq holds the second largest oil reserves on the planet). His call for a probe to investigate "intelligence failures" that pointed to alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction is a red herring. Former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter has toured the nation for years telling us that the UN destroyed almost all of those weapons after Gulf War I, and that whatever was left had a limited shelf life and would already have been rendered inert by time.
Additionally, if Saddam really had weapons of mass destruction, why didn’t he deploy them to save Iraq from the invaders?
Why haven’t they been found?
Yes, there was a time when Saddam had WMD. Where did he get the ingredients? From U.S. and British companies, among others. The U.S. tried to hide that by deleting thousands of pages from Iraq’s weapons declaration to the United Nations in December, 2002.
Why is Bush getting away with saying that Washington still thinks that WMD will be found, but even if there aren’t any such weapons, the Iraq war was still a good thing because Saddam was an evil dictator and the world is better off without him? (Bush’s messiah complex just grows and grows). We’ve known Saddam to be an evil brute since he participated in his first CIA operation at the age of 22—the attempted assassination of then Iraqi President Qassem. He was our boy in Baghdad for 44 years. Why suddenly do his decades of brutality require his removal? Would we care how many of his own people he tortured and killed if he hadn’t been sitting on the second largest reserves of oil on the planet right whenoil depletion is staring us in the face?
Why does Bush get away with calling an Orange Alert or having flights cancelled out of fear of terrorism, every time the heat gets raised on his Pseudo Administration’s pro-war lies, (e.g. Powell’s support of British plagiarism just a year ago)? [See also, "Bush’s Christmas Terror Alert " by Professor Michel Chossudovsky.]
Bush gets away with all of this and more because the Democrats are complicit in the bad state of the union.
This fact was not lost on Peter Camejo, a former Green Party candidate for Governor of California. When he was called upon by radio stationKPFA-FM in Berkeley to give his reactions to the 2004 State of the Union speech, Camejo said:
…the key to this whole performance that you saw tonight is the Democrats. Because the people, of course, want to hear who opposes him [Bush] and what they have to say. What the Democrats will do, as they always do, is confirm that what he has said is true. They gave him 18 standing ovations, the Democrats, during this State of the Union address. They gave him even more when he did it last time. They voted next to almost unanimous, only one did not vote for the Patriot Act [Feingold]. They voted 98 to 0 in the Senate for a motion to give unequivocal support to George Bush in the war with Iraq.
I give you one other example. He said Saddam Hussein tortured and murdered and it was correct to overthrow him. No Democrat tomorrow will say "While Saddam Hussein tortured and murdered, the United States Government supported him, provided him anthrax, poison gas, gave him military advice on where to use it. President George Bush, Sr. sent a public message endorsing and thanking Saddam Hussein for the good work he was doing. These are the facts that the people, the American people, need to understand, to begin to put together what’s really happening in the world and in America.
But tomorrow, the Democrats will talk about how to do what George Bush is proposing, not to talk against it.
And that will be the key issue: whether the U.N. should have been involved in taking away Iraq’s right of sovereignty, or whether the United States should do it by itself. This will be how the debate is managed so that the American people never hear an alternative to what Bush is fighting for."
The Neocon Plans
Bush is trying to keep Americans permanently in fear of terrorism, so that their representatives won’t object to the neocon plan of decades of global warm but, instead, will bust our Treasury to support it and the bottom lines of Halliburton, Bechtel and other neocon firms.
On October 21, 2001, Dick Cheney told the Washington Post, ‘‘It is different than the Gulf War was, in the sense that it may never end. At least, not in our lifetime.’’
On January 15, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle staff writer James Sterngold published an article headlined: Cheney’s Grim Vision: Decades of War. It reported on Cheney’s address to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council the previous day. Sterngold said in his report that "He [Cheney] also said the administration was planning to expand the military into even more overseas bases so the United States could wage war quickly around the globe. "
Remember when Bush was running for President and he said that Clinton had spread the military too thin and that the United States should not be engaged in nation-building?
Please don’t think that he changed his mind as a result of 9-11. Rather, 9-11 was the way to get the American people to support the endless world war the neocons want.
Their plans have been in the works long before 9-11. Check out the report calledRebuilding America’s Defenses , by the Project for the New American Century, published a year before 9-11. In fact, check out the entire PNAC web site . Then send the URL to your nearest Democratic Senator, Representative and your favorite "anybody but Bush" Presidential candidate. Ask them:
Where are the Democrats who will say that war is terrorism?
Odd Democrats and the Presidential Race
There’s an odd one here and there. It was my Congresswoman, Barbara Lee (D.-CA) who said, "Let us not become the evil that we deplore" when she became the lone vote in the House against a blank check for Bush to wage war immediately after 9-11.
Why was she alone? Where were the Democrats in the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, and the Progressive Caucus? Where was Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D. OH), who says he wants to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace?
A message to all those who are planning to vote in a Democratic primary or caucus this year. The Democratic Party will not nominate for President someone who will do what needs to be done: pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, disestablish the Department of Homeland Security, repeal the Patriot Act, free all innocent detainees from Guantanamo, and formally charge and openly try in civilian courts any detainees for whom there is probable cause to charge them with a crime.
Most importantly, the Democratic Party will not nominate for President someone who will tell the American people the truth about 9-11, and its connection to Peak Oil and Gas, and Peak’s connection to the decades of world war Cheney’s talking about.
Kerry and Dean
Senator John F. Kerry (D.-MA) and former Vermont Governor and former Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean are the two biggest attention-getters in the Democratic race for President. So for this article, I’ll just talk about Kerry and Dean. (Some people are still asking if Gen. (Ret.) Wesley Clark is really a Democrat. John Edwards looks too young, physically and politically, to be President. Leiberman, Kuchinich and Sharpton are on their way to joining Gephardt and Mosley-Braun as 2004 election trivia questions).
Don’t let the initials fool you. I saw Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts on CNN a few weeks ago disclaiming that he is "a Massachusetts liberal." This despite the fact that the gay rights movement says he was for equal rights for gays and lesbians before it became politically fashionable to espouse that position. (Pun intended; Kerry doesn’t think Americans are ready for gay marriage). Kerry has also recently won the endorsement of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. This largely Hispanic union says Kerry has long been on their side.
Kerry is the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for President after victories over Dean in the first round of the Iowa caucuses and in the New Hampshire primary. Like both George Bushes, he’s a member of the secret society Skull and Bones. He wed Republican money by marrying the widow of the late Republican Senator John Heinz of the Heinz food fortune. Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran who later turned against that war. But while some people consider him an anti-war hero, they forget, or perhaps don’t even know, what he has said about the current war in Iraq. While Kerry was campaigning in Waterloo, Iowa on October 18, 2003, he was quoted as saying: "I voted against that $87 billion in Washington yesterday. But let me make it clear, I'm for winning the war in Iraq." (emphasis mine),
We need a President who is against the current war, not against a war fought over 30 years ago.
Former Vermont Governor and former Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean is famous for opposing the war in Iraq, but less famous for opposing it because it takes away from the "war on terror." But now that we are there, a President Dean would stay the course. In a debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus last year, Dean was quoted as saying, "We cannot lose the peace in Iraq. If we leave Iraq … al-Q’aida may move in. If we leave Iraq to a fundamentalist Shiite regime with Iranian influence, we will in both circumstances be worse off than we were when Saddam Hussein was president." (emphasis mine.)
So you see, even a Democrat who appeals to some lefties in that party doesn’t want an Iraqi election to reflect the will of Iraq’s majority, the Shi’ite Muslims who were persecuted by Saddam. Other countries are only allowed to have the rulers the powers-that-be in the United States want them to have.
Military Rule in America
What the voters who still believe in the "Mom and Apple Pie" United States don’t realize is that we, too, are only allowed to have the rulers the powers-that-be want us to have. In fact, they are getting us ready for military rule. In the December 2003 issue of Cigar Aficionado, Gen. (Ret.) Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq, suggested that a mass-casualty nuclear, biological or chemical attack on the U.S. or one of its allies would cause "our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution."
What he did not say is that the fabric of our Constitution is already being unraveled by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, et al., in a number of ways: Bush claims the status of "wartime President" without going to Congress for a constitutionally-mandated formal declaration of war. He unilaterally abrogates or "unsigns" treaties, such as START II and the Kyoto Protocols against global warming despite the constitutional provision that treaties shall be part of the supreme law of the land. Ashcroft wants to abrogate the constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial by declaring Americans, such as Jose Padilla, to be "enemy combatants" who can be held incommunicado without access to the courts for as long as the world war Bush started lasts. Remember that Cheney said that this so-called "war on terror" might last beyond our lifetimes. This means the Bush
Pseudo-Administration is actually claming the right to disappear people for life, which is certainly not part of the Constitution.
[A further account of Bush’s unconstitutional acts can be heard in myinterview with international law professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois. Prof. Boyle has founded a movement to impeach Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft. For more on the prospects for military rule in the United States, listen to Testing the Waters: Military Rule in America Parts 1 and 2 , by Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone.]
Where is the great clamor against these policies from the Democratic side of the Congressional aisle? Why aren’t we hearing condemnations of Franks’ remarks daily from the Democratic Presidential candidates? Why aren’t they warning us that we are being prepared for military rule?
The Democrats are complicit in the bad state of the union.
Vote with your eyes open.
I will not discourage anyone from voting in the Democratic primary or the General Election because the powers-that-be have been working hard to discourage us from voting at all. Vote because they don’t want us to vote. But vote knowing that withblack-box voting , it may not count. Vote knowing that at anytime, the neocons can pull their gloves entirely off and order the terrorist attack—I think it will be bioterror this time—that will install a military dictatorship, for our own safety, of course! And vote knowing that the Democrats will offer no true alternative. (You may want to choose a candidate from a minor party or write in a candidate come November, assuming we have a General Election). The corporate transnationalists who have designed the New World Order pledge allegiance only to greater wealth for themselves. And to that end, they have horses in both the Republican and Democratic stables. Their candidates get fed the money and the media attention. They make sure that both major parties nominate someone they deem acceptable. And they fool us into thinking that by going with the Democrat, we can choose to reject them.
But, as a colleague of mine said recently, "Hard to lose when only horses in your stable run."
Radiojournalist and writerKéllia Ramares grew up in a Democratic household and was a registered Democrat from the ages of 18-45. On her 45th birthday, she registered Green. She is considering writing in her own name for President this November.
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