July 11, 2002

Crocodile Tears

Since their outrageous complicity in the election fraud of 2000, the network news programs are too painful to watch for more than a few minutes at a time, but last night -- as the world catches on that Bush and his cronies are fast leading the world financial system to ruin -- I thought it would be a good thing to check in on what the corporate propaganda machine is spewing out these days.

As always the news networks were blowing their lies with nuclear intensity, in a typically frantic attempt to create cover for the latest scandals of the junta. The flavors of the day were Paul O'Neill, the Secretary of the Treasury so-called, and the Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, both real pieces of work. These are the guys the administration is trotting around today to try to reassure Americans as the stock market continues to tumble in the wake of one case of corporate fraud after another.

Just flipping around I caught O'Neill on an interview on C-Span and then side-by-side with Evans at a "Town Meeting" on NBC.

O'Neill has said he wants to abolish corporate taxes and capital gains taxes, Social Security and Medicare. (see Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) In an interview in the Financial Times (5/19/01 & 5/22/01), he said "able-bodied adults should save enough on a regular basis so that they can provide for their own retirement, and, for that matter, health and medical needs." O'Neill went on to say that the government shouldn't do anything, except fund the military machine: "National defense is a federal responsibility," the interviewer paraphrases O'Neill as saying, "but all other outlays need review."

It's hard to imagine how this elitist lunatic could reassure anyone, except the neo-feudal millionaires like himself who think government's only purpose is to keep the rich rich. There was a flicker of panic in his eyes as he was interviewed, maybe it was just stage fright. He looked like at any moment he might just bolt out of the room.

O'Neill said that the problem with all this corruption was our tax code, and implied that if the corporations didn't have to pay taxes, we wouldn't have so much trouble trying to collect it. He went on and on with drivel about how everything would be okay if everyone would just be honest and blah blah blah. But he steered clear of stating support for any kind of change other than more in the direction of freeing the corporations from all this restraint they now labor under.

Donald Evans -- who looked like a crooked funeral home director consoling a very wealthy, bereaved widow -- laid the hubris on thick about how America is the "envy of the world" and has the "greatest economic system ever devised." He assured his audience that there is nothing wrong with the system, though of course no system will work if people aren't honest. Some of these people just don't seem to know the difference between right and wrong, he said with his cheeks pulled hard into a rigid smile and his eyes narrowed to dark slits. But now that the president has made it very clear, they will all do the right thing.

That was the essence of it. Feel better now?

-- By David Cogswell

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