American Politics Journal

The Softer Side of the Coup
No Vacation for Activists

By Michael Rectenwald

August 6, 2001 ( via APJP) -- A new wave of offensive charm will be unleashed in the coming weeks, as the softer side of the Bush coup will be (re)presented.

While Bush is on his month long vacation after six months of "work" and most Americans who work 60 hour weeks have had their rights eroded as a result of the Bush residency to date, the "softer" side of the coup promises to promote itself to women with the "softer" issues of education "reform", "values" and a prescription drug "program" for the elderly. While the rest of the nation is lulled into complacency while Bush, the mental giant, "decides" about the ethics of stem cell research, progressive activists have to be every bit as vigilant as before, or more so, as the new offensive is explicitly meant to disarm the public and wash over somnambulists a fresh wave of amnesia as to the results of the "charm offensive" to date.

Beginning with the repeal of the ergonomics regulations, the offensive is almost becoming unmanageable to even enumerate. Activists are overwhelmed with keeping the list of offenses against the people. The Kyoto accords, the ABM Treaty, the small arms treaty, the biological warfare treaty, ergonomics regulations, gag rule regurgitation... and on and on. I, for one, am tired already [see for CLG's attempt to track and trace Bush atrocities].

While Bush is on his month-long sabbatical from the White House, look for the subversiveness of the facade to be every bit -- if not more -- pernicious. As such, progressive liberal interlocutors must reinsert the obvious back into all discourse regarding the Bush facade of "compassionate conservatism." As if "values" could make up for global warming and a Second Cold War, as if hugs can stop the violence sure to follow the proliferation of guns that Bush is intent on seeing, as if a new "volunteerism" is an anodyne to the increase in economic miseries sure to result from the tax- cutting whoredom to wealth and big business -- the new wave of "compassion" amounts to painting peace signs on warheads, selling gas masks as environmentalism, and handing out "values" vouchers to the hungry. Those who are wise to the double-speak rhetoric that says that the oppressors are the benefactors, the heartless are the compassionate, and the immoral are the "moral" must become the clarion voices of sense against the completely fallacious, camera obscura image that will be proffered as the Bush "vision" of the world.

To counter the Bush Occupation rhetoric, I offer a three step action plan, which is by no means meant to be a comprehensive one.

Remembering Hiroshima is a good place to start.

The Missile "Defense" System promises to violate the 1972 ABM Missile Treaty, which has served to keep the world "safe" from nuclear war. But Bushies are intent on ending the treaty, calling it a remnant of Cold War Logic. However, it is the Bushies themselves who are revitalizing Cold War Logic by reintroducing the possibilities of nuclear proliferation and the fun of building defenses to blow ever more projectiles out of the sky (with the help of "beacons"). Hiroshima is a real historical result of the beginning of the arms race. He who forgets history is doomed to repeat it.

Secondly, signing the pledge to honor the Kyoto Treaty, despite the rejection of that treaty by Bush, who, after all, does not represent the majority, is another step to take against the rhetoric.

We need to remind all of Europe and the world that Bush does not act on our behalf when he rejects the Kyoto protocol. "Compassion" does not knowingly endanger the future of the entire human race. The American public overwhelmingly favors the treaty as a sensible first step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reversing the trend of global warming. See the link for signing the pledge below. Signing the pledge serves to counter the reverse logic of the Bushies, who insist that words make good when their real actions (or inactions) do real harm. As someone once said, "by their actions ye shall know them."

Thirdly, rejection of the present administration's energy policy is part and parcel of signing the Kyoto Treaty pledge.

The House passed this week that part of the energy plan that calls for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We continue to voice our opposition to this energy "plan" by boycotting Exxon Mobil. Also, we are behind efforts to have the energy task force investigated, and ask you to write letters to the General Accounting Office (GAO) and urge them to continue investigating the fraudulently wrought energy plan, which is surely a payback to donors who fueled the failed Bush/Cheney election bid.

Lastly, almost all of the opposition and opponents to Bush will coalesce in Washington, D.C., for the September 29th action. The protest is nominally against the World Bank and globalization, but we at CLG believe that the entire Bush occupation will become the unofficial object of the protestors. We are officially endorsing the action, and urge all of our members and other pro-democracy activists to participate [see for more details].

We are entering into the most dangerous phase of the Bush offensive to date, as the Bushies hope to elude criticism for their draconian programs and supplant an imagined "compassionate" president for the actually tyrannical resident that we have. What the Bushies say is usually the complete opposite of what they do. We must remind the American public about what the Bushies do, and contrast that with what they say. Now is the time to remain vigilant, not to lapse into complacency.

Michael Rectenwald is Founder and Chair of Citizens for Legitimate Government (

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ISSN No. 1523-1690