Greg Palast  September 4, 2003

I couldn't make this up. This morning, the US Department of the Interior is turning over the Mall in front of the Washington Monument to Pepsi-Cola Corporation to promote their new "Pepsi Vanilla."

This has gotten the Washington Post's liberal columnists' knickers in a twist. But they don't know the half of it.

Beyond renting the Monument grounds to Pepsi, President Bush has agreed to re-name the looming recession, "The Pause That Refreshes."

Furthermore, as part of a larger "re-brand America" campaign, the National Institute for Health has announced that the fourth new food group in the 'nutrition pyramid' after dairy foods, meat and fiber will be, Fizzy Brown Stuff.

The Bush Administration has moved swiftly to respond to objections to the commercialization of the nation's heritage sites. The complaints, from Pepsi rival Coca Cola, will be addressed by re-naming the Bill of Rights. Attorney General John Ashcroft is expected to announce today that, "those ten outdated amendments will be called 'Bill of Rights Classic,' while the post-PATRIOT Act version will henceforth be called, 'New Rights Lite.'" A spokesman for Mr. Ashcroft added that Anne Coulter will be renamed, simply, "Lite."

Mr. Dick Cheney, the nation's Vice-President for Marketing, has angrily rejected accusations that photos released by the Defense Department of Saddam Hussein drinking Diet Dr. Pepper were fabricated for the purpose of winning public support for our entry into the cola wars. Cheney has turned down repeated requests to produce notes of his several meetings with soda-pop executives.

A spokesman at the Park Service indicates the agency has nixed proposals for a monument to the "Spirit of the Pioneers" - referring to those who have given more than $100,000 to Bush family electoral campaigns. However, the plaque at the Lincoln Monument has been updated "for accuracy" at the request of the National Association of Manufacturers to read, "this government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists and for the lobbyists shall not perish from this earth."

There was a muted response from Senate Democrats who did not want to be seen as disagreeing with the popular president's rent-a-star program replacing the American flag's former design with peel-off coupons for a Pepsi, McMuffin and a large fries.

Bush spokesmen brushed aside government watchdog groups complaints that several federal agencies had encouraged civil servants in the Washington area to take the day off to attend festivities. "Heck," said Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, "That's nothing. Today, we're announcing that the President has given more than NINE MILLION Americans the day off from work . maybe they'll get the whole year!"

Speaking from his golf cart at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, a confident President Bush reassured reporters, "Despite the nay-sayers and doom-sayers, the Pepsification of America is proceeding as planned." Noting that the Pepsi Vanilla extravaganza will be coordinated with the launch of the 2003 National Football League season, the President said, "It's time to stop the quibbling and support our boys in uniform."

"And, hey," the confident commander-in-chief added, "if we can go to war for Exxon, what's the big deal about renting the Mall to Pepsi?"


Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his writings for Britain's Observer and Guardian newspapers, and view his investigative reports for BBC Television's Newsnight, at

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