The Implicit Bold-Faced Lie Technique

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A new propaganda tactic? (Jan 05)

The dishonest nature of the twice-fraudulently-elected President George W. Bush's second inaugural address didn't surprise me as much as what appears to be the apparently new propaganda technique his speech writer (Karl Rove?) devised for "pulling the wool" over his audience's eyes. I've decided to call this propaganda technique the "implicit bold-faced lie." Here are some examples from that speech.


1. "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this Earth has rights, and dignity and matchless value because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and Earth."

[Although some could debate for hours as to what Mr. Bush really meant by this statement, most of us would probably agree with his stated ideal that "every man and woman on this Earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value." However, in light of his record, watching George W. Bush make this statement is like watching Joseph Stalin boldly proclaim that he doesn't believe in the death penalty. If Mr. Bush had actually said "I believe that every man and woman on this Earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value", THAT would have been a plain old bold-faced lie. The way Mr. Bush treats suspected "enemy combatants" and ignores our own nation's laws as well as internal laws regarding the treatment of people shows that Bush clearly does NOT believe that "every man and woman on this Earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value." By having him bolding state such high sounding principles which in themselves appear to be true, his speech writer is using an implicit bold-faced-lie technique to create the false impression that Mr. Bush actually believes in those principles, when in fact he does not.]

2. "We have seen our vulnerability, and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny -- prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder -- violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders and raise a mortal threat."

[Likewise, this is essentially a true statement, including the point that such violence can cross the most defended borders. But in light of our own government's active support for (and even creation of) such tyrannies throughout the world, watching Mr. Bush make a statement like this is like watching Adolph Hitler wonder aloud in 1943 why he has so many enemies.]

3. "My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve and have found it firm. We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation -- the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies. We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies. Yet, rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty."

[Although you might agree that Mr. Bush's most solemn duty is to protect our nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats, one must keep in mind that no man alive today has made decisions that have ended up killing or maiming more Americans than George W. Bush. Whether or not Mr. Bush can succeed in preventing further terror attacks from occurring within our national boarders remains to be seen, but he has clearly failed to adequately protect the Americans that he himself "put in harms way." The pervasive respect that most Americans have for the rule of law has done far more than the Bush Administration to prevent further terror attacks "on American soil", evidently because those terrorist organizations have found it quite difficult to convince Americans to volunteer for their suicide missions. But under the Bush Administration, Americans' respect for the rule of law has been declining, as can be seen by the unabashed willingness of the Republican officials who ran the November 2004 elections in Florida and Ohio to engage unethical (and quite likely illegal)conduct in order to create the false appearance of a Bush/Cheney "victory" in those states. If more and more Americans begin to emulate the Bush Administration's disrespect for the rule of law, a time will come when terrorist organizations will begin to "flower and thrive" within the United States as well. Mr. Bush boldly claims that "there is no justice without freedom", but in fact it's the other way around. As we can see these days in Iraq and may soon see as well in America, without an effectively established system of justice, what people end up with is not freedom or liberty, but a bloody anarchy.]

4. "Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison or exile can know: America sees you for who you are -- the future leaders of your free country. The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side. And all the allies of the United States can know: We honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat."

[This may sound well and good until one realizes that it's just another attempt to rally support for a dishonest cause, just as Mr. Bush used his "America must speak with one voice" argument to convince a majority in our Congress to grant him authority to militarily invade Iraq if Saddam Hussein refused to turn over alleged "weapons of mass destruction" that he didn't have.]

Mr. Bush's speech also included some PLAIN OLD BOLD-FACED LIES:

5. "There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment and expose the pretensions of tyrants and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant. And that is the force of human freedom."

[The so-called "force of human freedom" that the Bush Administration has been promoting has been nothing more than anarchy bolstered by various ideologies of selfishness (which have proven to be good for our nations' defense industry, but very bad for people in general). One can see the bloody consequences of Bush's anarchy-creating version of "freedom" every day in our nightly news reports. If Mr. Bush gets his way, we will continue to see such bloody consequences for the very same reasons for another four years at least. Contrary to what Mr. Bush claims, throughout history, it has been God's guiding principles of truth and love (as taught by Jesus Christ) that have proven to be the only force in history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant. And, as Jesus demonstrated, those two guiding principles require an honest respect for the rule of law, which is conspicuously missing from the doctrines and conduct of Mr. Bush's Administration.]

6. "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

[Here Mr. Bush is talking as if he were Vladimir Lennon! Throughout history, the terms "freedom" and "liberty" have served as emotionally charged terms to "morally justify" the killing of huge numbers of people. People who like to use such terms should be forced to be far more specific. They should explain precisely what freedoms they are referring to. Freedom to of the press? Freedom to practice one's religion without fear of being killed while doing so? Freedom to speak freely without fear of being thrown in jail for doing so. Freedom from arbitrary home invasions, searches, arrests, and seizing of personal property? Freedom from torture? The right to have a trial by jury if accused of committing a crime? Do the people of Iraq have any of these freedoms under the rule of Mr. Bush's puppet government? No! But nevertheless, Mr. Bush CLAIMS that as a result of his actions, the people of Iraq not have "freedom" and "liberty." It's amazing how many Americans (including many of our nation's news agencies) appear to actually believe Mr. Bush when he makes such dishonest claims.]

7. "Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security and the calling of our time. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen and defended by citizens and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way."

[Mr. Bush seems to have conveniently "forgotten" that as part of a "great compromise" in order to attain ratification, slavery was actually codified in our Constitution until after our Civil War. Given that a substantial majority of present-day Americans are opposed to slavery, this appears to be a fairly safe assertion to make. But then Mr. Bush proclaims that it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture. This reason this claim can be counted as a plain old bold-faced lie is because his own Administration has been caught "red-handed" attempting to topple the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. As for Iraq, it remains to be seen to what extent the Bush Administration may have rigged the outcome of the elections that have just taken place there.]

8. "In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act and the GI Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance -- preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear and make our society more prosperous and just and equal."

[This may sound wonderful to some people, but one must realize that under Mr. Bush's first administrations, the percentage of American workers who are laboring on the edge of subsistence has increased over the past four years. To make matters worse, Mr. Bush has intentionally boosted this trend by redefining job classifications so as to deny millions of American employees the right to receive overtime pay when they are required to work more than 40 hours a week. His Administration's efforts to make it easier for large corporations to "walk away" from their pension plan commitments to their former employees is further adding to this trend. Mr. Bush's "solution" for these dismal trends is to promote his so-called "ownership society", a satanically inspired ideology of selfishness that helps people who have more money than they actually need at the moment to feel good about ignoring the needs of others. By hook, crook or whatever lie they can dream up, Mr. Bush and his friends are dishonestly attempting to convince people to put as much of their money as possible into our stock and bond market--perhaps to help offset the huge financial drain on those markets that will begin in the next few years as our nation's "baby boomers" begin to retire. Those who have funds available for investment would be far better off if they donated some of those funds to worthy causes and waited for our stock markets to crash, as they inevitably will, before beginning to invest in stocks. To make matters even worse, there is also a considerable chance that the Bush's Administrations irresponsible deficit spending policies will trigger a stock market crash even before the "baby bombers" begin to retire en mass.]


Last Thursday morning (or perhaps Friday morning, 28 Jan 05), CNN.COM posted a reader opinion poll that asked, "Do you think there could be another holocaust?" About 75 percent of the respondents answered "Yes", which may have embarrassed CNN, because within an hour or so, they posted a different question. That 75% "Yes" response indicated that three out of four of CNN readers had very little faith in the willingness of our nations' news agencies to hold a potential tyrant like Adolph Hitler accountable for the truthfulness or credibility of his statements. That's not surprising when one considers how our nation's news agencies not only allowed George W. Bush and his cronies to get away with using bold-faced-lie propaganda techniques to "sell" their proposed invasion of Iraq, many of those news agencies (like Fox News) enthusiastically "jumped onto Bush's Bandwagon of BIG Lies" and helped to orchestrate the Administration's dishonest efforts by dreaming up lies of their own in order to make themselves more popular. As you see from the analysis above, it's obvious that Mr. Bush still believes he can successfully con most of our news agencies and a majority of the American people by using such blatantly dishonest propaganda tactics. But this time, I've been encouraged to see that some of our news agencies are now featuring people who are willing to stand up an publicly expose such lies. The following examples are excerpts of articles re-published on www.truthout.org:

Calling the President's Bluff
By Steve Weissman
t r u t h o u t | Perspective (Monday 31 January 2005)

Mr. Bush's logic, if I may use the word, runs like this: Only the success of liberty in other lands can stop the growth of hatred and violence, which - in the form of terrorism - will cross our borders, no matter how we defend them, and mortally threaten the survival of liberty in our land. Ergo and Abracadabra, he voices the magic equation: "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

With this intoxicating leap, a struggle against a few thousand terrorists has once again ballooned beyond recognition, this time into a boundless crusade for freedom everywhere. Few American voters knew the extent of Mr. Bush's agenda. Congress never even discussed it. Yet, like an absolute monarch, the president has radically redefined our country's national interests to embrace untold deaths, endless deficits, and unlimited disaster.

Does this sound like mission creep?

"A Military in Extremis"
By Sidney Blumenthal
Salon.com (Thursday 27 January 2005)

Even as the neocons reveled in their influence, Bush's glittering generalities, lofted on wings of hypocrisy, crashed to earth. Would we launch campaigns against tyrannical governments in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or China? No, the White House briefed reporters, of course Bush didn't mean his rhetoric to suggest any change in strategy.

Love for Sale
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times (Thursday 27 January 2005)

Consider Charles Krauthammer, who went to the White House on Jan. 10 for what The Washington Post termed a "consultation" on the inaugural speech and then praised the Jan. 20th address on Fox News as "revolutionary," says Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group.

Democrats Call Rice Liar, Bush Apologist
By Anne Gearan
The Associated Press (Tuesday 25 January 2005)

Rice, who has been President Bush's White House national security adviser for four years, was one of the loudest voices urging war, Democrats said. She repeatedly deceived members of Congress and Americans at large about justifications for the war, said Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn. "I don't like impugning anyone's integrity, but I really don't like being lied to," Dayton said. "Repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally."

1600 Pennsylvania Meets Madison Ave.
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times (Tuesday 25 January 2005)

By now many commentators, including "realist" conservatives, seem to agree that President Bush's inaugural speech was radical, if not downright bizarre, in its insistence that the United States can and will deliver freedom to Earth's more than 6 billion human residents. "If Bush means it literally, then it means we have an extremist in the White House," said Dimitri Simes, president of the Nixon Center. What critics here and abroad are glossing over, however, is that as a political marketing device, Bush's address was absolutely brilliant. It takes a true demagogue to remorselessly cheapen the lovely word "freedom" by deploying it 27 times in a 21-minute speech, while never admitting that its real-life creation is more complicated than cranking out a batch of Pepsi-Cola and selling it to the natives with a catchy "Feeling Free!" jingle.

In Bush's neocon lexicon, the fight for freedom has been transmogrified from a noble, but complex and often elusive, historical struggle for human emancipation into a simplistic slogan draped over the stark contradictions and tragic failures of this administration's foreign policy. "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one," Bush intoned. Perhaps if we had been in a coma the last four years we could take that as a serious expression of idealism in the vein of, say, Jimmy Carter. But having seen in recent months how "America's vital interests" have sanctioned torture at Abu Ghraib and Guant namo, war profiteering by Halliburton and lies to the American people about the Iraqi threat, it is hard not to cynically assume that "fighting for freedom" is just a new way to frame the same old hollow arguments.

...As the admen say, never confuse the thing being sold for the thing itself. Bush's passion for "freedom" extends only as far as it is useful as a political sales pitch.

World Media: Bush Inaugural a Jolt
By Jim Bencivenga
The Christian Science Monitor (Friday 21 January 2005)

Bush's speech focused on the 'power of freedom', saying that the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. On that, not many people will disagree. The differences are over what he understands by 'freedom' and how the benefits of democracy should be spread in the world - or indeed whether it is any country's business to export democracy to others... It is possible to have the freer world that Bush speaks of, but the idea that those who are strong and have a larger arsenal have an unchallenged right to impose their will on the weak, undermines democracy. - Nation

Arabs Say U.S. Rhetoric Rings Hollow
By Scott Wilson
The Washington Post (Saturday 22 January 2005)

Many Arabs, including some involved in democratic reform movements, also say the U.S. record of alliances in the Middle East is at odds with Bush's agenda. The United States supported Saddam Hussein in the 1980s during Iraq's long war with Iran. The Bush administration has applied steady pressure on largely resourceless Syria, including economic sanctions for its military presence in Lebanon, while leaving alone the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, which sits atop a quarter of world's petroleum reserves. "What he said is great, and we completely agree," said Abdulaziz Alsebail, a professor of modern literature at King Saud University in Riyadh and part of a reform movement in Saudi Arabia that is nudging the ruling family toward allowing more public participation in politics. "But the question is: How can you impose freedom? Is military intervention the right way to do it? I don't think it's been a very successful attempt at all."

Freedom's New Ring: War on Terror Recast
By Roger Cohen
The International Herald Tribune (Saturday 22 January 2005)

New York - When was it exactly that the war on terror morphed into the war on tyranny? I do not recall, and I suspect the process has been more one of osmosis than abrupt transformation. But anyone with a lingering doubt that America's focus, or at least its rhetoric, has shifted should take a close look at President George W. Bush's inaugural speech. The phrase, war on terror, so effective in galvanizing Americans to vote Bush, did not appear. Nor did Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, terror networks or other favorites of the post-9/11 presidential lexicon. In their place came freedom (a word used 26 times), liberty (12 times) and an impassioned call to banish oppression.

...I have nothing against freedom, believe me. On the contrary, I believe it is the only decent basis on which to build a society. Nor do I have any doubt that Bush is sincere in his embrace of liberty. But as Senator Joseph Biden, a Democrat, remarked this week, overthrowing the tyrant Saddam Hussein "was not the rationale for going to war when we went to war." In other words, idealism has grown in the White House as the politics of Iraq have demanded it. Because there were no chemical or biological weapons in Iraq and the existence of such weapons was the principal reason advanced for the war, the removal of the despot Saddam became the central justification for the invasion. The advance of liberty supplanted the curtailment of terror; more precisely, they became one and the same. As Bush said Thursday in the ultimate refinement of his doctrine: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

You have to admire the ingenuity of this. America's long foreign-policy struggle between its values and interests resolved! No more tension between the global fight for democracy and the Realpolitik that could make Stalin or some Latin American despot allies when it mattered! Woodrow Wilson and Henry Kissinger embrace and make up! Freedom equals security! Bingo! But hang on a second. Is it really in America's "vital interest" to force democratic change in Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, in Pakistan or Egypt? Would such change necessarily make America safer? As the 1920s and 1930s illustrated in Europe, it is precisely when old structures of government are threatened that radical and violent ideologies may exercise the most appeal.

It is also worth recalling that Richard Reid, the would-be shoe bomber of American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami in 2001, came from Britain, a country scarcely a stranger to liberty. Mohammed Atta, a mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, lived for about a decade in Hamburg. It was in this beautiful Western city, a center of free trade since the times of the Hanseatic League, rather than in his hometown, Cairo, that he became an Islamic jihadist. The dismantling of several radical Islamic cells in Europe in recent years, not least in Spain, has provided no evidence that free European societies coaxed would-be terrorists from their intent. If anything, it was rather the perception of moral decay in a free and freewheeling West that drove the radicalization of Muslim youths. The fact is, the rhetoric of freedom has a ring to it and sits comfortably within an American narrative that places the United States in the role of beacon to the world, but fighting Islamic terror is more complicated than, and rather different from, the spread of liberty. They are not one and the same, convenient as that would be.

... Put more bluntly, if spreading freedom means bombing Iran, Europeans would say, "No, thank you." If spreading freedom means trying to engage with Iranians, even the mullahs, Europeans would get behind that. The war on terror is an expression that proved deeply divisive. But there is no guarantee the war on tyranny will fare any better. What is now clear is that the global pursuit of freedom is the device Bush has chosen to recast America's response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Absent bin Laden and Iraqi nuclear weapons, liberty moved center stage. Such politics do not make the goal less noble, but its attainment and America's safety may not be synonymous.

OK. Now that we've established a broader perspective for viewing such issues, one might wonder: How many implicit bold-faced lies or plain old bold-faced lies will appear in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address this coming Wednesday?

We'll soon find out.

(one grain of salt)

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Last modified on Monday, January 31, 2005