Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fun Times With The State Of The Union

Did you watch the State of the Union? Probably not. The media and the Administration tried to hype it as something that would be new and visionary. Well, there was a bit of the 'vision thing', but not really in the way that most expected. Here are excerpts from the speech, with my comments afterwards in red. I've also included some pithy quotes from others that offer additional insights into the words behind the words.

BUSH: Abroad, our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal -we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. Posted by Picasa
Me: Hello? Who came up with this one? This is something that hasn't been debated and discussed in any way; not when Bush was campaigning, not in Congress, not in the media, not anywhere. We have never had a national goal of ending tyranny in the world. It would mean non-stop war forever.
BUSH: On September 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state seven thousand miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country.

Me: There were a lot of bets out there on how long it would take him to bring up 9/11. Didn't take long at all. I like how he implies it is Iraq, but is now afraid to say it because too many are now aware that there was no connection between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorists. So I guess that oppressive state 7,000 miles away he is talking about is Saudi Arabia, since that is where most of the hijackers were from. Our Original Department Of Homeland Security and Anti-Terrorism Division
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BUSH: Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction.
Me: He probably doesn't realize how much each of those words applies to him and his own administration. Although we already HAVE weapons of mass destruction. Posted by Picasa
BUSH: They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder. Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear.
Me: Who is 'they'? Iran? Syria? The Iraqi insurgents just want us out. The terrorists such as Al Quaida just want us out of Saudi Arabia, and now Iraq. That is what got them started to begin with. And talk about the pot calling the kettle black, who has been a master of manipulation on using fear to get into this war to begin with? Not only did Bush use fear, he lied about WMD and Iraq/Al Quaida ties to cause fear.
BUSH: In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. Posted by Picasa
If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores.
Me: What commitment? He made up the 'commitment' to bring democracy to Iraq all on his own. He didn't ask for a national debate in the U.S. on the topic. The Iraqi people didn't ask him to come. They don't want him there now. His policies have created a worse environment than the Iraqis had before. As many have said, at least they had electricity and running water with Saddam. And if you stayed out of politics your life was relatively calm. Now random killings, lack of food, suicide bombers put everyone at risk. And Iraqis repeatedly complain that it is the Americans that didn't guard the border enough to let the outside terror mongers into the country. Now so many terrible things have happened that many Iraqis feel compelled to act as insurrectionists themselves.
Battlefield to our shores???? They are terrorists; they don't operate on a traditional battlefield. Take away the poor choice of words--and ponder the terrorist threat he is implying. Take away that most of the terrorist attacks in this country over the last twenty years have been perpetuated by Americans (Oklahoma City, Unabomber, Abortion Clinics, etc.) and you have 9/11. And as the 9/11 Commission Report has shown, even that would not have occurred had enough people in the Administration, NORAD, and the FBI been doing their jobs properly.

BUSH: America rejects the false comfort of isolationism.
Me: Huh? Somehow we took a giant leap here. I read and watch a great deal about current issues, and no one is even pushing that concept. It is pretty much established that we live in a global economy. I think he is trying to establish one of two 'arguments' here. Either (1) if you want our troops out of Iraq you are an isolationist. {A rather weak argument since Iraq is not exactly the world.} Or (2) if you are against his new idea of fighting tyranny around the world you are an isolationist. Bizarre as it seems, I think that will be a 'talking point' he will be pushing.

BUSH: We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan - where a fine president and national assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy.

Me: He needs to pay more attention to the news. Or stop out and out lying. Even the mainstream media has been reporting that heroin production and drug trafficking are at an all-time high. And that the Taliban is regaining strength in rural areas. Or maybe he should listen to some of the veterans from Afghanistan. These men and women have given interviews about how we had control and lost it. Perhaps because we decided to concentrate our military in Iraq instead. All because we don't hear much about Afghanistan in the news does not mean that things are going well there.
BUSH: And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory.
Me: How come no one ever gets to see this 'clear' plan for victory? Every 'plan' they release is more of a mission statement filled with generalizations.
BUSH: Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal.
Me: Ah, George is always working so hard. Now, is it difficult because our enemy is brutal--or because we have screwed up so badly? Let's see...We were told that: Iraquis would welcome us with open arms, that the oil from Iraq would pay for all of the war and all of the reconstruction, oh and that we had more than enough troops to do the job (despite the objections of the generals). Then, due to poor planning we ended up with anarchy, rampant looting and corruption. We seemed to bomb all the wrong places and kill all the wrong people. In between announcing that we had killed Saddam or one of his sons multiple times---and we were wrong. And have we all lost count on how many times we have announced that we killed Bin Laden's #2 man? Yet he is still alive.
Anyway, then (after Mission Accomplished) we ended up leveling Fallujah, without allowing any men below forty to leave the city. That is called genocide. Oh, and after using "Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people," as one of the high crimes that justified our toppling his regime---we use phosphorus on the people of Fallujah. Posted by Picasa
Let's see, we still have not gotten to Abu Ghraib, kidnapping Iraqi women, outrages committed by contractors who are somehow exempt from the law, throwing the Geneva Conventions out the window, torturing prisoners, and forcing our own troops to stay there after their time is up.
Whatever enemy he is referring to--insurgents, Al Quaida, Iran---has not hurt us as badly as we have hurt ourselves. They aren't as brutal as we are incompetent.
BUSH: A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison ... put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country.
Posted by Picasa Me: Since Bush and his cronies keep stating that we have successfully brought Democracy to Iraq; I guess he thinks that bin Laden is planning to run for office there. Then again, in free, honest democratic elections in Palestine, the ‘terrorist’ group Hamas won. Anyone who tries to work in any way with the U. S. government has a death warrant right now. Every day in the news a busload of police recruits, or mayor of some town is murdered. It looks like they will get killed if we are there, so why not give them a chance and leave? Then less Americans will die too.
BUSH: Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices - and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear. Posted by PicasaThey know what it is like to fight house to house in a maze of streets ... to wear heavy gear in the desert heat ... to see a comrade killed by a roadside bomb.
Me: This is just sad. Not only because Bush and most of his administration never served in the military--so they don’t know what the troops are facing. But because our troops still lack proper armor for their bodies and their vehicles three years after we started the war. Posted by Picasa

Our troops are being forced to stay there after their allotted time has been completed. Then the Bush administration--that empathetic group of men--thanks the troops by cutting their VA benefits and trying to eliminate medical coverage for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

BUSH: Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.
Me: Gee, maybe someday we can count on those things in our own country again too. Posted by Picasa
BUSH: To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands...Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need.
Me: Here we go again. He is definitely trying to lay the groundwork for a ‘let’s get involved in a bunch of other countries too’ offensive blitz. I don’t know who our ‘friends in desperate need’ are, but I do know that he hasn’t done much to encourage economic progress, fight disease or spread hope in the good old U.S.A.
Bush: I urge Members of Congress to serve the interests of America by showing the compassion of America.
Me: Laughing too hard to type. Is that the compassion shown to the hurricane victims of Katrina? Posted by Picasa

Having our phones illegally wiretapped and our computer searches data mined? Posted by PicasaFalsely imprisoning Americans and suspending their rights? Our fuel bills impoverishing every home while he pushes more tax cuts for the wealthy? Oh yeah, I am feelin the love.
Congress has shown a lot of interest in their own pockets and in turning over their powers to the President. They would better serve the interests of American by doing their job, honoring their oath of office to protect the Constitution, and impeaching Bush and Cheney.
BUSH: It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Quaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.
Me: He is implying it is because they didn’t have wiretaps. The actual reason (as the 9/11 Commission Report reveals) is that the FBI ignored the reports of their field agents. And that the crucial phone calls were not translated until September 12th. Because they didn’t have enough translators.
BUSH: So to prevent another attack - based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute – I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Quaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.
Me: One thing about this Administration, when they lie they lie with big bold brass balls. Every sentence of that is a lie. More about that seems to come out in the media every day. His assertion that the constitution gives him the right to ignore the FISA laws. His assertion that Congress implicitly approves. His assertion that the wiretaps are not domestic. His assertion that its only a few people that are wiretapped. Putting aside the Constitutional issues for a moment, why is he ignoring FISA? The wiretap law was specifically set up for the Executive Branch to use after the illegal behavior of the Nixon administration. It’s a rubber stamp court that approves 99% of their wiretap requests. They can file the paperwork 72 hours AFTER they place the wiretap. Yet Bush claims he doesn’t have to follow this law. Posted by Picasa Why? What are they doing that they don’t want a rubberstamp court to learn? Why have underlings said, in the media, that this involves hundreds of thousands of calls and they don’t have time to do the FISA paperwork? Why is Bush telling people that ‘only a few’ people are being wiretapped, and his underlings saying that is ‘hundreds of thousands’? Did someone leave some zeros off somewhere?
BUSH: Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority and Federal Courts have approved the use of that authority.

Me: Only the best liars are able to take a little bit of truth and spin it to support their lies. Without taking up space to describe the other situations, which were both totally different or prior to the FISA Laws applicable today, let me just say that after extensive research I (and many more qualified people) are sure that no previous president has used the Constitutional Authority that he is claiming, and NO federal courts have approved the use of this authority. Posted by Picasa{He is claiming, basically, that since we are at war he can do whatever he wants, and the constitution says that he can.}
BUSH: America has created 4.6 million new jobs.

Me: When he is talking about jobs, this is what he means:
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BUSH: Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly.
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Me: So impressive to hear from the man whose administration spent the last six years CUTTING benefits to the poor and elderly. And whose new prescription drug program is proving to be an unmitigated disaster for millions of senior citizens.
BUSH: We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors.
Me: That is another of the most chilling lines of this speech. Does anyone really believe that they will use this access to such private information to make things better for the average American? The government has HIPPA privacy laws preventing our private medical information from being revealed to any outside parties. (Defined as those involved in your medical care and the insurance companies). Is Bush claiming they don’t have to follow that law either? And what will they really do with the information?
BUSH: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
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BUSH: Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
Me: How come I have been hearing this from one politician or another throughout my adult life? The only thing that keeps changing is the ‘by’ number at the end of the sentence.

BUSH: Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our Nation's children a firm grounding in math and science.

Me: After six years of cutting education support. And destroying the budgets of local school systems by dumping the cost of his ‘No Child Left Behind’ program onto them.

BUSH: Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research - human cloning in all its forms ... creating or implanting embryos for experiments ... creating human-animal hybrids ...

Me: Oh, there are so many things I could say. Although I don’t really like animal testing and experimentation, it has helped homo sapiens in so many ways. Apparently he was absent from school the day they taught that homo sapiens ARE animals.
Maybe he is worried because Intelligent Design has been so publicly disparaged by the courts and the pope and all. Or he wants us to forget about the possible Primate connection--that there is a good chance that we are descended from human/chimpanzee hybrids. Especially because so many jokes about him include references to his chimp-like looks and behavior. Chimeras and hybrid stories have been around since the beginning of recorded time. Perhaps ‘human-animal’ hybrid is just an oxymoron he is using to pander to the Christian right over embryo and stem-cell research.
There is also the possibility that I am giving him to much credit for intellectual musings. It could just be that he has read too many comic books.

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The speech lasted almost one hour, and I just touched on portions of it here. One of my favorite moments wasn’t included in any of the quotes I mentioned. When Bush mentioned that his “Plan to Repair Social Security” had not been passed, all the Democrats stood and clapped. The look on his face was priceless.

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