But today's edition of presidential propaganda deserves a dissection. It is chockful of doublespeak, and well... lies. It was titled "Moving America Forward", just like the slogan of that DNC mouthpiece known as MSNBC: "Lean Forward" So here we go:
Hello, everybody. As 2011 comes to an end and we look ahead to 2012, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
Okay, thanks, and same to you.
The last year has been a time of great challenge and great progress for our country. We ended one war and began to wind down another. We dealt a crippling blow to al-Qaeda and made America more secure. We stood by our friends and allies around the world through natural disasters and revolutions. And we began to see signs of economic recovery here at home, even as too many Americans are still struggling to get ahead.
(Um... we ended one war because Iraq kicked us out. It's the merest beginning of a beginning of the end in Afghanistan. Oh, and Libya was a limited thing and no American boots were scuffed. I ordered at least two assassinations that we bothered to tell you about. I have ordered secret Drone strikes that have unfortunately killed some or a thousand innocent people, but I don't want to talk about that. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, whom I have vowed to protect from prosecution for war crimes, "stuff happens". I also am not going to defend the lie that fighting maybe-terror with some real terror of our own will make America more secure. "Blowback" is something Chalmers Johnson theorized about -- and by the time the children of my Drone victims grow up and really do attack us, I will be in my undisclosed very secure location someplace.
Standing by our friends and allies.... hmmm... Well, we tried in vain to keep Mubarek in power but when that didn't work, we sent a diplomatic hack over with a bagful of cash, and finally we paid lip service to Egyptian democracy. Now, I am more hated in Egypt than George Bush ever was. They even call me the Black Bush! Those weapons the military are now using to assault and kill Egyptian citizens are American-made. See, America still makes things like tear gas and pepper spray and assault weapons and fighter jets and we sell them to anybody with the cash. Look at Bahrain, where the king is killing his own people. He is our friend and ally, and Saudi Arabia's friend because they buy our crap. But when they do bad stuff, I make sure that Hillary finds it deplorable!
We began to see signs of economic recovery at home, because we see what we want to see. Too many Americans are struggling.... I actually spoke truth about that! But getting ahead is just something I made up. For the first time since they started keeping track of these things, today's adults do not expect their children to be better off than they were. Most people are struggling not to "get ahead" but to literally keep body and soul together. I do not dare mention the "P" word: poverty, or that fully half of all Americans are either indigent or pretty close to it.
There’s no doubt that 2012 will bring even more change. And as we head into the New Year, I’m hopeful that we have what it takes to face that change and come out even stronger – to grow our economy, create more jobs, and strengthen the middle class.
I’m hopeful because of what we saw right before Christmas, when Members of Congress came together to prevent a tax hike for 160 million Americans – saving a typical family about $40 in every paycheck. They also made sure Americans looking for work won’t see their unemployment insurance cut off. And I expect Congress to finish the job by extending these provisions through the end of 2012.
It was good to see Members of Congress do the right thing for millions of working Americans. But it was only possible because you added your voices to the debate. Through email and Twitter and over the phone, you let your representatives know what was at stake. Your lives. Your families. Your well-being. You had the courage to believe that your voices could make a difference. And at the end of the day, they made all the difference.
This is quite a stretch, since the median income in the United States has plummeted down to about $25,000 and to get that extra $40 per pay period, you need to earn at least $50,000. And I am totally making up the part about my two-day social media campaign being what forced the Republicans to cave. They had to get home to face their constituents and most important, raise campaign cash. I am of course deliberately failing to mention the courage of the Occupy protesters in forcing me to at least temporarily abstain from my deficit reduction fetish. I will just pretend that the courage of twittering folks typing out their 100 characters made more difference than the thousands of Occupiers braving cold, rain, privation, and militarized police thugs. Because otherwise I would be forced to admit they're occupying my Iowa caucus.
More than anything else, you are the ones who make me hopeful about 2012. Because we’ve got some difficult debates and some tough fights to come. As I’ve said before, we are at a make-or-break moment for the middle class. And in many ways, the actions we take in the months ahead will help determine what kind of country we want to be, and what kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in.
What were you looking for, a Fireside Chat or something? This speech was never intended to uplift you, people. This is pure charm offensive persuasion. It is all about me. You don't face the difficult debates or the tough fights. Ponder once again this doublespeak of a mushy mess of a sentence: The actions we take in the months ahead will help determine what kind of country we want to be, and what kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. What the hell does that even mean? Stuff that I do will help figure out what I want, because we don't know what we want? My policies will determine a vision of some nebulous world for our progeny but not actually change things? It really is hard to find a fresh translation for that "Win the Future" slogan that went so stale, so fast.
As President, I promise to do everything I can to make America a place where hard work and responsibility are rewarded – one where everyone has a fair shot and everyone does their fair share. That’s the America I believe in. That’s the America we’ve always known. And I’m confident that if we work together, and if you keep reminding folks in Washington what’s at stake, then we will move this country forward and guarantee every American the opportunities they deserve.
Thanks for watching, and from Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo and myself, Happy New Year.
Okay, okay.... I found my new slogan! "Fair Shot, Fair Share". Notice how I carefully avoid all talk of the haves and the have-nots, because I need the money of the haves of the 1% and the votes of the have-nots of the 99%. And since I am a conservative at heart, I cannot resist tossing in "hard work and responsibility" as prerequisites for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Like every mendacious politician before me, I will spin a fantasy version of an America that has no basis in reality. I will just appeal once again to the patriotism of the masses and yack about the United States of Disneyland. The "America we have always known" conveniently ignores the genocide of the aboriginal Americans, the good old days of slavery, the horror of man's inhumanity to man in the Civil War, the oppression of the working class and the Haymarket massacre and the abuses of the Robber Barons, the shame of McCarthyism and the unpunished war crimes of the Bush Cabal.
One of the leading experts on American political propaganda is Noam Chomsky. Today's speech from Obama is a perfect example of a politician saying something that sounds great, but means absolutely nothing. "Propaganda is to democracy," he wrote in Media Control, "as a bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.":
You want to create a slogan (in this instance "fair shot at a fair share") that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something....(in this case, unpunished financial crimes that led to national impoverishment as financial chicanery continues unabated). We're all together, empty slogans, let's join in, let's make sure we don't have these bad people around to disrupt our harmony, with their talk about class struggle, rights and that sort of business.The title of today's Obama speech might as well have been "How to Aspire to the Mythical Middle Class and Learn to Live in the Secure Homeland with a Little Hard Work while Supporting Me." More Chomsky on what our elected officials and the complicit corporate media want from us:
They (the propaganda victims) ought to be sitting alone in front of the TV and having drilled into their heads the message, which says, the only value in life is to have more commodities or live like that rich middle class family you're watching and to have nice values like harmony and Americanism. That's all there is in life. You may think in your own head that there's got to be something more in life than this, but since you're watching the tube alone, you assume, I must be crazy, because that's all that's going on over there. And since there is no organization permitted -- that's absolutely crucial -- you never have a way of finding out whether you are crazy, and you just assume it, because it's the only natural thing to assume.Chomsky wrote those words ten years ago. The only thing that has changed since then is the birth of the Occupy movement. The theft of an entire economy by a small group of unpunished oligarchs has spawned the massive, spontaneous, leaderless organization that has the power elites shaking in their shoes. People have finally woken up to their own supreme sanity. So let's make this new year happy for reasons that have nothing to do with them, or their spectator sport presidential horse races.