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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Muslims - Outrage, or Outrageous?

OK. I can't ignore it. You've all heard about the furor in the Muslim world about the cartoons depicting Mohammed. You've heard about the boycotts of European goods, burning of European embassies in several countries and the death threats. Here is a link thru Yahoo to information about these cartoons in case you haven't been connected in the last week or so. You can even find the cartoons on line if you search a bit.

I will not state my thoughts here (partly because I'm still trying to comprehend it all and to 'see through' the media coverage), but I will invite all of our readers to do so. Pro or con - have at it. Just try to avoid the insults and stick to 'fair argument', OK? Maybe we can all learn a little something if we try.

No Cuts to the Guard?

It looks as if both houses of the Senate are resisting Bush's plan to make cuts to the National Guard - in advance of his proposal no less.
Added Rep. John Murtha D-Pa.: "You can mark my words. They're not going to cut the National Guard."

His point is that lawmakers will not allow it, even though Congress is controlled by Bush's own Republican Party.

In fact, a bipartisan group of 75 senators said in a letter Thursday to the president that they "strongly oppose these proposals."

From the Capitol to statehouses, Republicans and Democrats are making the argument that the country's ability to defend itself would suffer under the Pentagon's plan, given reservists' major roles in Iraq and hurricane recovery.

The restructuring also will run into this political reality: Lawmakers are fiercely protective of citizen-soldier units that bring jobs and pride to their hometowns.

Fights over other Pentagon proposals are brewing and could prove a tough sell for Bush, especially because budget pressures from the wars, hurricane recovery and federal deficits are forcing even the military to live with smaller spending increases than it might like.

75 Senators! Must feel good for those Republican guys to finally stand up to the boss, eh?

Competitive America

Here's an interesting little story about our pResident's plan to keep America competitive in the world.

"If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world," Bush said.

Rep. George Miller of California, the senior Democrat on the House Education committee, applauds Bush's emphasis on competitiveness. But he said the Republican-controlled Congress this week passed a bill that cuts $12 billion from the federal student aid programs.

Somebody explain how cutting $12 Billion from student aid funding will help our children to succeed in life, please.

Rummie Suprise

Apparently the Busheviks learned from the way the world reacted to the US instigation of the war in Iraq, and have now designated the Sec'y of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to mouth the D-word (diplomacy). But of course, they still have formerly respected and now known to be a Bush pocket-pet Senator John McCain leaving "all options on the table" and making vague 'mushroom cloud' threats. We all heard that 'all options' crap before Bush invaded Iraq. What it really means is that we're saying the D-word, but we're picking the targets already. Keep your K-Y handy, America, or you'll get done dry.

I'm suprised that Rummie is even suggesting diplomacy. I always thought that diplomacy was handled by the "Diplomats" at the Dept. of State, and that the Sec'y of Defense and the Pentagon got up when the diplomats failed. Boy, was I dumb, huh? That Constitutional style of thinking is just so 'pre-911'. Nowadays its just all about marketing the agenda, period.

And McCain. People used to respect him. Now he just appears to be another dog-on-a-leash for the Bushies. It's starting to look like he might be sucking up for an endorsement in 2008, isn't it? Too bad. Another formerly decent statesman war hero turned pointless politician.

Economic Stats SNAFU?

An article in Business Week magazine is running a story about how the economy is really stronger than we think it is, due to the particular statistics being collected and used for reporting. The gist of it is that there are 'modern economy' things going on that aren't counted by the 50 year-old data used by the federal agencies that do the reporting.

Well, don't be. Because the economy you thought you knew -- the one all those government statistics purport to measure and make rational and understandable -- actually may be on a stronger footing than you think. Then again, it could be much more volatile than before, with bigger booms and deeper busts. If true, that has major implications for policymakers -- not least Ben Bernanke, who on Feb. 1 succeeded Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Everyone knows the U.S. is well down the road to becoming a knowledge economy, one driven by ideas and innovation. What you may not realize is that the government's decades-old system of number collection and crunching captures investments in equipment, buildings, and software, but for the most part misses the growing portion of GDP that is generating the cool, game-changing ideas. "As we've become a more knowledge-based economy," says University of Maryland economist Charles R. Hulten, "our statistics have not shifted to capture the effects."

The statistical wizards at the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington can whip up a spreadsheet showing how much the railroads spend on furniture ($39 million in 2004, to be exact). But they have no way of tracking the billions of dollars companies spend each year on innovation and product design, brand-building, employee training, or any of the other intangible investments required to compete in today's global economy. That means that the resources put into creating such world-beating innovations as the anticancer drug Avastin, inhaled insulin, Starbuck's , exchange-traded funds, and yes, even the iPod, don't show up in the official numbers.

First, I'm not sure that I consider R&D to be 'productive' economic activity, or domestic product (as in GDP - Gross Domestic Product) - so much goes down the drain as dollars that DID NOT produce anything. I guess it depends on your definition of 'product'. Second, I don't see design efforts or brand-recognition or training as appropriate economic indicators or 'product' either. You can't really sell your brand familiarity to another company. Those are things you do to stay in place. You have to run faster to get ahead. Besides, we now have such a lopsided non-'free market' economy due to special interest legislation that once a company reaches a large enough size, it can dominate the market in any way it wants and the lobbyists will ensure that Congress supports that monoploy or oligarchy power thru legislation. Look at drugs or insurance as examples.

And funds trading? That IS NOT economic activity. Just go back to when Enron went bust and people were asking what actually happened to their pension monies. The economists and Wall Street pillagers all said 'What're you talking about? That wasn't real money. The value of the stock disappeared, and so did the value of the investment'. But real people paid for those shares with real wages earned. If it can evaporate because it 'didn't really exist', then how can something that doesn't exist be counted as economic activity?

And last, I really don't see 'more volatile' as a benefit either. My state has had to cut programs because the slack economy sucked all the income out of the state's investments - yours probably did too - and that was even before the Busheviks started cutting funding for all the federally mandated programs. How is that kind of volatility helping us?

So actually, I suspect this article is a trial balloon for the Bushies to see if they can't get some kind of higher approval rating for King George's economic stupidities. They're trying out an idea, to be blunt about it. I believe that the real health of the economy is the financial health of the working citizens - all of us. Are you any better off the last 5 years? Did your 401k nearly tank and not fully recover yet?

But here is the real meat of the issue: If we know we aren't collecting all the right numbers, but we don't know yet what all the right numbers should be, how do we know the news won't really be WORSE than we think it is? What if they only pick new indicators that will look positive in order to paint a rosy picture?

Friday, February 03, 2006

I Made a Mistake

Recently I posted Bush's State of the Union speech with my rebuttal comments inserted. Well, I was way wrong on one of them. How many times have I commented here that in order to actually understand what a Bush Repug is saying you have to think of EVERY possible meaning, and pick the most evil? At least a dozen times I know. Well, I failed in one instance to follow my own rule of thumb. Here it is.

Part of the speech was:
A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. 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, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator -- and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale. (Applause.)

(By the way, the "applause" is actually in the text of the speech from the White House.gov page, so I assume it's in there as an audience queue-up. I'm surprised we didn't see the little "Applaud Now" signs lit up somewhere.)

My comment said that I expected Bush had left out stem cells, but would have it added to legislation on the sly as they have done with a lot of the things passed during his reign.

But that was not correct. Using the 'worst possible interpretation' theory, it's clear that stem cells are already included. "Human cloning in all it's forms" covers stem cells because to grow enough to do anything, like distribute them to medical research labs, you are cloning human stem cells. That is one of the forms, although we're supposed to think from his choice of words that he meant growing identical versions of people for organ harvesting or something.

"embryos for experiments" could mean stem cells too, as to the fundamentalists, any fertilized ovum is an embryo, although I believe that science calls it a blastula until it actually develops an organ structure. But that would cover stem cells also. This was supposed to make you think of mutated babies or some equally unacceptable thing that has nothing whatsoever to do with stem cells.

Human-animal hybrids is supposed to make you think "Island of Dr. Moreau" or some other such sci-fi thing, but again, using any ANIMAL stem cell would fit under this category in any legislation he proposed.

And last, "buying, selling, or patenting human embryos" is clearly designed to stop the use of stem cells when you consider that the original lines came from embryos.

So the result it that by using terms that made any rational person think HE was being reasonable by trying to limit science fiction horrors, Bush basically promised his brain-dead fundamentalist base that he would stop stem cell usage and research, and even outlined the basic forms of the legislation he intends to use. I got fooled, and I believe NOTHING this lying drunk says. Imagine what happened to the central part of the population who simply WANT to believe their presidend is reasonable and haven't yet come to the realization that he is a hateful, power-mad dictator wannabe who is nuts enough to think he talks to God and that God tells him to kill people.

DO NOT fall for it folks. Use this explanation as freely as you have to in order to have your friends ready to oppose this promised legislation. Bush also said that "Human life is a gift from our Creator", and it's obvious that he's going to try to make sure that nobody ever gets a chance for a better or longer one thru medical research into stem cell possibilities.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

George "I Spy" Bush

It seems today that the Bush White House is stonewalling the Senate on providing any information about the domestic spying felony - that's the NSA spying on citizens program Bush started in violation of federal law, in case it wasn't clear. This story in in the New York Times.

I've said here before that I'd be happy enough (enough being the operative word) about the program if Bush would simply let Congress review it and TELL US that it was only being used against terrorist suspects, and those with some kind of probably cause. I've said that refusing to do so only implies to me that the program really is spying on citizens, probably DISSENTING citizens, and that claims to the contrary are bald-faced lies. (OK, I didn't write "bald-faced" before, but I did now and I mean it.)

But this isn't happening, because Bush is going back to his tactic #3 (after Ignore it, and then Lie About It) which is STONEWALL ON IT.
The administration has already drawn fire from Democrats in the last week for refusing to release internal documents on Hurricane Katrina as well as material related to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

And there were other notable walls put up by these usurpers. Remember the Enron / Cheney meetings when they refused to provide even Cheney's appointment schedule? How about the 9-11 Commission, when they stonewalled on appointing a commission, and have since stonewalled on implementing any of the recommendations? Or the stonewalling that occurred and continues about the phony Iraq WMDs, and the subsequent Valerie Plame identity felony?

Stonewalling is a tactic in the playbook for these bastards, and our stupid folks in Congress haven't realized yet that it will happen EVERY time. (Or maybe they do realize that and just don't know what to do about it?) Whazzup, my Congress?

Libby E-mails "Missing"

Remember how Nixon managed to 'lose' several minutes of an Oval Office tape recording? It was later found that his secretary had been ordered to delete that portion. Well, then this should sound familiar.

Some of the White House e-mails are supposedly 'missing' due to an archival failure. These e-mails may be related to the Libby prosecution - at least they fit into the timeframe for the felony. Of course, until they are found on the server somewhere, Fitzgerald is forced to admit that as of now there is no 'evidence' that they contained any evidence.

Funny thing, is I found it on Fox News. That means I'm unable to tell if they are gloating or not. But it's also here on Capitol Hill Blue, which is where I found it first. Strange that something on CHB, which is openly opposed to Bush, would be found so quickly on Fox, which is a Bush worshipping station. But that is the case. It's 12:43 p.m. as I write, and these are the only two items I could find via Google that were more then 'preliminary' or 'glossing over the subject' in length.
"Bottom line: Accidents happen and there could be a benign explanation, but this is highly irregular and invites suspicion," said Steve Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists government secrecy project.

Yeah, huh? You'd think that guys who worked for Nixon (Cheney) and studied the Nixon presidency (Bush) would know better than to try that same old used up excuse of "the e-mails went missing somehow, you explain it". I'm suprised they aren't trying to blame the dog for eating them.

Bush vs. Voter Rights

Well, our pResident is now coming out in support of the gerrymandering that occured in Texas under DeLay's direction, according the the Washington Post. The effect of the 'redistricting' was to break up minority dominated districts and replace those with new districts in which the Blacks and / or Hispanics are the minority - effectively making them districts that could be counted on to vote Republican.
Justice Department lawyers initially recommended rejecting Texas's plan, saying it would harm black and Hispanic voters, but were overruled by senior Justice officials. The legal standards used in the lawyers' analysis, however, were different from those at issue in the current case, which focuses on a separate section of the Voting Rights Act.

The Bush administration's 35-page friend-of-the-court brief does not address the constitutional issues, focusing instead on the Voting Rights Act. As amended by Congress in 1982 and interpreted by the court, Section 2 of the act prohibits states from diluting the voting power of cohesive minority groups.
But the administration's brief argues that the Dallas-Fort Worth district is legal because blacks alone did not make up a majority of the voters in the old district, so the plan did not deprive a single minority group of control it once had. The administration also argues that the number of majority-Hispanic districts in the plan is sufficient.

So now the Busheviks are claiming the districts weren't 'cohesive' because the demographics of those districts was mixed. Essentially folks, they're saying that even where you are the majority, if you don't live in a 100% minority ghetto, you shouldn't be able to elect the representatives you want.

Give to the Wealthy...

Steal from the poor:

The House yesterday narrowly approved a contentious budget-cutting package that would save nearly $40 billion over five years by imposing substantial changes on programs including Medicaid, welfare, child support and student lending. [...]

Recipients of Medicaid can expect to face higher co-payments and deductibles, especially on expensive prescription drugs and emergency room visits for non-emergency care. More affluent seniors will find it far more difficult to qualify for Medicaid-covered nursing care.

College students could face higher interest rates when their banks get squeezed by the federal government. And some cotton farmers will find support payments nicked.

Rinse, wash, and repeat.

Grover Norquist on Domestic Spying

Pass this one on to any Republicans (and any other Bush supporting types) you may know:

Norquist said one of his main concerns is that, once the government becomes so intrusive, there is no way to prevent continued erosion of individual rights.

"Even if you believed an angel was making these decisions, and that's not what I'm saying, at some point the person in the White House will change," he said. "Hillary Clinton might be making these decisions."

Oil Addiction

Hold that thought:

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.

Oh, what a kidder...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Republican Favoritism

I haven't even found this posted here in the States, but it's on BBC and that is credible enough for me. Cindy Sheehan was arrested last night for her T-shirt, but the wife of Republican Rep. Bill Young was merely ordered out of the gallery for her 'Support the Troops' T-shirt. And there was another guest ejected too, reasons so far unknown.

Maybe this is why the Capitol Police Chief has apologized to Cindy Sheehan and asked the US Attorney's office to drop charges? It would certainly make for a pretty clear-cut discrimination case if they hadn't. But this IS the Bush administration. Let's just wait and see if the Gonzo attorney's office drops charges or not.

Another talking head....

Tired yet of all the talking heads droning on about the State of the Union speech, each with his own axe to grind? Well, my version is below, in case you're interested in my thoughts about the subject.

Synopsis: 30% probable lies, 50% unsubstantiated political drivel, 20% proposals which will never be funded. I wasted another perfectly good hour when I could have been listening to Tommy and Ray on Car Talk.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2006/index.html Copied at 11:59, Jan. 31, 2006 (in case it changes later)
United States CapitolWashington, D.C.
9:12 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King. (Applause.)

A homily to Mrs. King. Nice, but most likely only to suck in the black minority of the US. Remember New Orleans.

Every time I'm invited to this rostrum, I'm humbled by the privilege, and mindful of the history we've seen together. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement. We have served America through one of the most consequential periods of our history -- and it has been my honor to serve with you.
In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of goodwill and respect for one another -- and I will do my part. Tonight the state of our Union is strong -- and together we will make it stronger. (Applause.)

Since when does this administration give a crap about the two party system? He must be weaker than we realize if he’s acknowledging the opposition and asking for ‘goodwill and respect’. He’s never given either before, and neither has his party. They’re losing the public and they know it.

In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom -- or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy -- or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting -- yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people, the only way to secure the peace, the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership -- so the United States of America will continue to lead. (Applause.)

There are lots of critics of your policies, but just WHO is advocating isolation or protectionism? Nobody that I’ve heard of. This is a plain attempt to paint every issue as white and black, with your agenda as the white one.
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. On September the 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer -- so we will act boldly in freedom's cause. (Applause.)

Our nation has NOT committed to that goal. Your administration may be. I don’t know of anyone saying it’s misguided idealism. I do know people who think it’s a desire for world conquest. Failed and oppressive state? The 9-11 terrorists were almost all from Saudi Arabia. What would your Saudi business partners (in the Carlyle Group) say to your allegation that theirs is a failed and oppressive state? Or your allegation that they are a dictatorship? Furthermore, your ‘act boldly’ involved lies to the UN, to the US Congress, andthe nation, and violations of international law. Boldly maybe, but apparently not legally.

Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. And we're writing a new chapter in the story of self-government -- with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom. At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran -- because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom, as well. (Applause.)

Every damned American with a brain wants the world to be free. But you are painting fantasies here. Women in Afghanistan were threatened with death for voting, and Egypt elected guys you don’t approve of. This new chapter you’re writing is not as rosy as you say it is, Pollyana.

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam -- the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder -- and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder.

Yeah, right. So it’s your job to stop them, you’ve had 5 years, and accomplished NOTHING. Why?

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. When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it. (Applause.)

With respect, it was YOU, Mr. President who chose Iraq as the battlefield, and you had to lie to get that. Further, it was not Islamist terrorists in Beslan, but anti-Russian terrorists. And you are more famous for ‘playing the fear card’ to support your bogus administration than the jihadis are.

However, you are right about one thing sir. The American people do love our freedom, and we WILL fight to keep it – against any enemy - external enemies, or internal enemies who would subvert our Constitution from inside our government.

In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. 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. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will -- by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself -- we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. (Applause.)

What are you smoking these days? What commitments are you talking about? Do you mean the phony promises you made about keeping up the war on terror that you started and somehow can’t win?

And as far as the terrorists moving the battlefield to our shores – if you actually did ANYTHING to protect our borders or our ports, they might not have the ability to bring the battle here – but YOU cut funding for those programs, didn’t you?

America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed and move this world toward peace. We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders -- and for the others, their day will come.

Their day will come? You said two weeks ago via Scott McClellan that you could end this war at the time and place of your choosing. So why do you choose to not end it yet?

We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan, where a fine President and a National Assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy. We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First, we're helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased and the insurgency will be marginalized.
Second, we're continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. And, third, we're striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom. (Applause.)

First, your Iraqi inclusive government is not stopping the approaching civil war along religious sect lines. Second, your reconstruction funds have largely disappeared into the pockets of your no-bid subcontractors and campaign operatives, without audit and without accountability, so how does this help the Iraqi people? Third, so far all you’ve done is lie about the ability and capability and willingness of the Iraqis to pick up the fight, so why should we believe you tonight?

Our work in Iraq is difficult because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, the nation has gone from dictatorship to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, to national elections. At the same time, our coalition has been relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out insurgent strongholds, and turning over territory to Iraqi security forces. I am confident in our plan for victory; I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people; I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military. Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning. (Applause.)

Coalition? You mean those who haven't walked out on you yet? Relentless? Sure, our soldiers are tough guys who do try to complete their missions. But we don’t seem to be very successful do we? You’re the Commander in Chief – tell us where you’re failing.

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels -- but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

Liar. You will tell the military what you want them to do, just as you told them how to attack Iraq in spite of their advice that it couldn’t be done successfully as planned. You’re simply trying to make the dissenters in Congress and among the citizens look bad for opposing your failures.

Our coalition has learned from our experience in Iraq. We've adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefitted from responsible criticism and counsel offered by members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice. Yet, there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. (Applause.) Hindsight alone is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy. (Applause.)

Essentially, you’re saying that anyone who disagrees is wrong, that you will not pay any attention. And really, WHAT does that last sentence mean? It’s like ‘do you walk to work or carry your lunch’? Two non-sequiturs in a row. Is that worse than a double negative, or just nonsense? Hindsight is definitely a path to wisdom, if you’re willing to admit that you may have been wrong. And the rest is just ‘out there’ somewhere, even if it does sound good. What the heck IS that supposed to mean?

With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country, and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress, however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in this vital mission. (Applause.)

Speak with candor? Can you do that when you’re lying? Iraq is only a ‘strategic country’ because you invaded it based on lies and violations of international law. And if we have only one option, isn’t it about time our Commander in Chief stopped fucking around and started to win that war he started? Why did you start this war in the first place if you’re not man enough to win it?

Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices -- and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear. They know what it's 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. And those who know the costs also know the stakes. Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting in Fallujah. He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: "I know what honor is. … It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to…. Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting."
Staff Sergeant Dan Clay's wife, Lisa, and his mom and dad, Sara Jo and Bud, are with us this evening. Welcome. (Applause.)

Yeah, here we go. Play the sympathy card by sucking in the family of some poor schmuck who died believing your lies, and putting them in front of the nation on TV. You pathetic marionette.

Our nation is grateful to the fallen, who live in the memory of our country. We're grateful to all who volunteer to wear our nation's uniform -- and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of America's military families. (Applause.)
Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital, but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, and protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.
The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election -- and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. The Palestinian people have voted in elections. And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. (Applause.) Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform -- now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts. Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity. (Applause.)

YOU say they hate us for our freedom. So how ill we defeat them by offering them freedom and peace? And you talk about Palestine and how Hamas MUST recognize those things that constitute your agenda. But Palestinians didn’t vote as you wanted them to, and you threatened to cut off the aid to the starving refugees for it. What if Hamas doesn’t do as you say they must?

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon -- and that must come to an end. (Applause.) The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. (Applause.) America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.

But, wasn’t the Iranian regime elected by the Iranian people? Is the regime not legitimate when freely elected if you don’t like them Mr. Bush? That is what you’re saying, isn’t it?

Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran. (Applause.)

Mr. Bush, if you really respected Iranians' right to choose, you’d be talking with their government and trying to find some kind of common ground instead of drawing lines in the sand and posturing for war.

To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, and 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. We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of terrorism, and organized crime, and human trafficking, and the drug trade.

This is no doubt the reason you have ignored genocide in Darfur.
In recent years, you and I have taken unprecedented action to fight AIDS and malaria, expand the education of girls, and reward developing nations that are moving forward with economic and political reform. For people everywhere, the United States is a partner for a better life. Short-changing these efforts would increase the suffering and chaos of our world, undercut our long-term security, and dull the conscience of our country. I urge members of Congress to serve the interests of America by showing the compassion of America.

What does this mean? I really mean it – what are you talking about? You've made promises of aid along these lines and then not come up with the money, or cut the funding. So just what is this crap about?

Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives, protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. (Applause.) They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime -- so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act. (Applause.)
It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 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 Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. 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 Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again. (Applause.)

I have read the Patriot Act and honestly cannot see how it helps to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, so that excuse is bogus. What the Patriot Act does in Section 106 (f) is give you the power of some banana republic dictator, and THAT is why you want it re-authorized.

We didn’t know about the Al Qaeda plans in time because your administration ignored the indications about the attack and how it would be conducted, and information about the terrorists themselves. If that had not happened, you might have used FISA to listen to their conversations.

Also your assertion that your are given the authority to spy on citizens by The Constitution and by statute are only that – assertions. Untried, untested, unapproved and in all likelihood unconstitutional. You claim it’s only Al Qaeda operative you're spying on – the FBI said differently. I think you’re lying again. Further, you have refused to provide any details to Congress that would permit them to verify that the spying is only against Al Qaeda as you allege, so it is entirely reasonable to suspect that you’re not only lying about that but actually spying heavily on dissenting citizens.

In all these areas -- from the disruption of terror networks, to victory in Iraq, to the spread of freedom and hope in troubled regions -- we need the support of our friends and allies. To draw that support, we must always be clear in our principles and willing to act. The only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world. Yet we also choose to lead because it is a privilege to serve the values that gave us birth. American leaders -- from Roosevelt to Truman to Kennedy to Reagan -- rejected isolation and retreat, because they knew that America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.

So, if America doesn’t try to control the world (leadership) and the behavior of all its nations, we’re threatened? Do you have ANY CLUE yet as to how much work and expense that would be? It’s just not feasible. There aren’t enough of us. China might manage it, because there are in fact a lot of Chinese, but not that many Americans. I would suggest that the bigger threat is to destroy ourselves trying to control the world rather than to adapt to it.

Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy -- a war that will be fought by Presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. Together, let us protect our country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom. (Applause.)

Repeat. You said you could win the war any time, at the time and place of your choosing. What are you waiting for?

Here at home, America also has a great opportunity: We will build the prosperity of our country by strengthening our economic leadership in the world.

By exporting our jobs?

Our economy is healthy and vigorous, and growing faster than other major industrialized nations. In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs -- more than Japan and the European Union combined. (Applause.) Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world.

American companies have done that. But her citizens are actually not gaining wages as fast as inflation eats them. The working families are losing ground, and your recent bankruptcy legislation will ensure that they can never regain it.

The American economy is preeminent, but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors, like China and India, and this creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears. So we're seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy -- even though this economy could not function without them. (Applause.) All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction -- toward a stagnant and second-rate economy.

So you’re admitting we can’t keep our standard of living with any economic policies you have? You’re also saying that the folks who object to tax cuts for your rich friends that don’t touch the rest of us is a good idea, right?

And what’s this about immigrants? Most of the people I know only object to ILLEGAL immigrants – and that only because they 1) use services paid for by taxes on working citizens, but don’t pay those taxes themselves, and 2) represent the utter failure of your administration to protect the nation from terrorists by controlling who gets across the borders.

All of those things, by the way, are the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the United States. You, Mr. Bush. What are you doing about it?

Tonight I will set out a better path: an agenda for a nation that competes with confidence; an agenda that will raise standards of living and generate new jobs. Americans should not fear our economic future, because we intend to shape it.

I see your lips moving, but all I can hear is Blah, blah, blah.
Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest. In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and families -- and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. (Applause.) Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome.

Most of that tax relief (about 90%) was left in the hands of the richest 10%, while the rest of us worry about paying our rising energy bills, finance charges, and the Billion a day for Iraq. Furthermore your giddy girl-at-the-mall spending has already doomed Americans to a tax bill they will not welcome, and it will cripple the finances of most families. Thank you Mr. Bush.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)

Actually, we’re all going to be paying higher taxes as soon as you’re gone just to pay the debt you’ve created from the surplus you inherited. We do still have a Balanced Budget law here. It’s just that you and your party choose to violate it.

Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. (Applause.)
I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. (Applause.) And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto. (Applause.)

So, cutting more social programs while you escalate your war against the world, are you?

And that bit about the line-item veto – will you trade getting that for a law ending your ‘signing statements’ exempting yourself from laws passed by Congress?

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad's favorite people -- me and President Clinton. (Laughter.) This milestone is more than a personal crisis -- (laughter) -- it is a national challenge. The retirement of the baby boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the federal government. By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices -- staggering tax increases, immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending.

Seems like no problem if we just use that Billion-a-day you’re blowing in Iraq.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security -- (applause) -- yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (Applause.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

If you’d just quit raiding the social security funds to pay general fund obligations, there wouldn’t be a problem.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved. (Applause.)

Good idea. Social security should be increased to where everyone gets a decent standard of living from it. It needs beefed up significantly.

Keeping America competitive requires us to open more markets for all that Americans make and grow. One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker. (Applause.)

Except that we don’t have open markets or a level playing field to deal with. There is too much pandering to corporate profits. A level playing field would actually mean no government support or favoritism laws to help, and you compete or lose out. Stocks (corporate equities) are supposed to be ‘investors taking the risk’ but we protect corporate profits so much to prevent investors (rich folks and investment corporations and Saudi princes) that there is no such thing as a level playing field.

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. (Applause.) To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. (Applause.) And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border. (Applause.)

Glad you brought this up – orderly and secure borders. So just why do we have Mexican machine gun emplacements INSIDE the US protecting drug runners?

Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. (Applause.) Our government has a responsibility to provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. (Applause.) For all Americans -- for all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and help people afford the insurance coverage they need. (Applause.)

Meeting that responsibility in the lamest possible fashion. 42 Million Americans have no insurance and therefore no health care, and the number grows every year.

We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen health savings accounts -- making sure individuals and small business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. (Applause.) We will do more to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs without having to worry about losing their health insurance. (Applause.) And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice -- leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB/GYN -- I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year. (Applause.)

Electronic records? Legal cost controls for the most profitable industry in America? while the rest of us lose even the privacy of our bodies? Or just another source of data on citizens for the feds to tap into?

Medical errors are not caused by paper records – studies show them caused by human error. Things like cutting off the wrong leg, or hanging the wrong name at the end of the bed.

Health savings accounts are merely a way to prolong the insurance industry while they continue to price themselves out of their own market in search of greater profits. They still write down what they’ll pay on every claim submitted, for whatever reason they can make find. The one I had was actually going to cost me over $9000 a year before I saw the first benefit dollar. I cancelled it.

What’s more, studies have shown that lawsuit settlements are going down over the last 8 or so years, but costs of malpractice insurance have gone up about 800% over the same period. So it’s not lawsuits that are driving doctors out of practice, but the same insurance companies that cover the doctor’s patients.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

And have been for like, 40 years.
So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)

If we see the same proportions spent on coal-fired plants, solar and wind, and nuclear that we’ve seen in the past, you can forget solar and wind. There won’t be enough spent on them to make any change, in spite of studies that indicate that just putting solar on top of all our federal buildings would dramatically cut the nation’s energy bill. But then, solar and wind power aren't really on your agenda are they? They're just here because they sound good in the heartland. It's the nukes and coal folks you're going to fund isn't it?

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

Who is going to do these things? Do you really expect a Republican Congress to pass any legislation that will hurt the current energy oligarchy? Do you expect it to be funded, even if the citizens force it to be passed? And does anyone think for a minute Mr. Bush that you wouldn’t cut the funding for it if it was passed?

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. (Applause.) By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past. (Applause.)
And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people -- and we're going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science. (Applause.)
First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.

Doubling over 10 years averages 10% a year. You’ve been cutting education funds faster than that.

Second, I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit -- (applause) -- to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life -- and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come. (Applause.)

This might even be a good idea, but you promise lots and deliver nothing. So forgive us if we don't hold our breath on this proposal.

Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world. (Applause.)
Preparing our nation to compete in the world is a goal that all of us can share. I urge you to support the American Competitiveness Initiative, and together we will show the world what the American people can achieve.

YOU propose to train 70,000 high school teachers? Who is going to pay for this, and with what money? Will you put the war in Iraq on hold for several days to fund this?

And, um, shouldn’t we train our kids to read well and critically, to understand the issues and responsibilities of a democracy, to vote with some semblance of intellingence, instead of turning them into docile, servile corporate entry-level grunts? Educating ‘voters’ preserves freedom. Training employees preserves corporate profits. The two are not synonymous.

America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.

Do you plan to provide job retraining for your party then?

In recent years, America has become a more hopeful nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row. (Applause.)

Are you trying to take credit for these?

These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation -- a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment. Government has played a role. Wise policies, such as welfare reform and drug education and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country. And everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican, has a right to be proud of this record. (Applause.)

Yup. You’re trying to tie these changes in our culture to your policies, even though the changes started way before you moved into the White House.

Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They're concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. They worry about children in our society who need direction and love, and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and about suffering caused by treatable diseases.
As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before -- and we will do it again. (Applause.)
A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under the law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members -- new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. (Applause.) I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench. (Applause.)

OK. So this was all about justifying your provincial, reactionary judge choices. We will all suffer for decades for that, thank you.

Today marks the official retirement of a very special American. For 24 years of faithful service to our nation, the United States is grateful to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. (Applause.)

Thanks Ms. O’Connor. The people will miss your level-headed approach to the law. And will miss it more as time goes on.

A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. 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, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator -- and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale. (Applause.)

Sounds good, but watch out Congress. He’ll have stem cells slipped into the legislation prohibiting these things overnight the night before the vote, the same way you got the version of the Patriot Act that you had NOT examined.

A hopeful society expects elected officials to uphold the public trust. (Applause.) Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington -- I support your efforts. Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility -- and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray. (Applause.)
As we renew the promise of our institutions, let us also show the character of America in our compassion and care for one another.
A hopeful society gives special attention to children who lack direction and love. Through the Helping America's Youth Initiative, we are encouraging caring adults to get involved in the life of a child -- and this good work is being led by our First Lady, Laura Bush. (Applause.) This year we will add resources to encourage young people to stay in school, so more of America's youth can raise their sights and achieve their dreams.
A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency -- and stays at it until they're back on their feet. So far the federal government has committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We're removing debris and repairing highways and rebuilding stronger levees. We're providing business loans and housing assistance. Yet as we meet these immediate needs, we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived.

Committed $85 billion, but delivered exactly how much so far? It’s millions, right? And the screw-ups continue, by the way. You’re in charge, so why don’t you get that fixed?

In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country. The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools that teach every child, and job skills that bring upward mobility, and more opportunities to own a home and start a business. As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity. (Applause.)
A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act, and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicines in America. (Applause.) We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African American churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come closer to the day when there are no new infections in America. (Applause.)

Katrina to Aids, did you notice? Glossing over a big failure of the administration to help Black folk and then move on to something that scares and affects those people. Its called a diversion. Bait and switch. No more will happen about Black Aids than happened about drowning Black grannies in New Orleans, but you want us to forget those grannies.

Fellow citizens, we've been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We've entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. Sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore. Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing.
Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

How dare you even try to compare yourself to Lincoln or King? They were good men who stood for what was good for the nation. You’re a dictator wannabe who stands only for what will further your world domination goals.

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward -- optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of the victories to come.
May God bless America. (Applause.)

God bless us one and all. With you in office, we need it and will continue to need it - for decades.

There's more...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

They Hate Us for Our Freedoms

Such as:

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House gallery after refusing to cover up a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan before President Bush's State of the Union address.

According to a blog post on Michael Moore's Web site attributed to Sheehan, the T-shirt said, "2,245 Dead. How many more?" -- a reference to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, the cable news pundits have yet to mention the arrest in the oh so thorough recap of the event...

The Mexican Border

Via MSNBC's Scarborough Country January 30th transcript:
Is a dangerous South American gang planning attacks along the U.S.-Mexican border? Well, that‘s a shocking report from California and a newspaper that has obtained secret U.S. government documents. According to a captured member of a deadly drug cartel, there‘s a secret attack planned and it‘s a plan that calls for members of the gang to gather in Mexican border towns, and then attack the United States using the same route they use to smuggle drugs.
Read the rest...

It may not be Gospel, and should be taken with grains of salt, but it's being reported in the MSM. I believe some apologies are owed to Nostradamnthem.

A Hot Preview of the State of the Union Speech

It took a lot of digging, but we finally found a video of Bush rehearsing his State of the Union address for tonight. Remember, you saw it here.

Alito Scalito

We lost a battle yesterday. But, as Digby points out, there may be brighter days ahead.

Don't lose hope just yet...

DHS Hides Planned Mexican Invasion of US

Monday night, Jan. 30. Scarborough Country. Sara Carter of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin is interviewed, and she alleges that there are plans for a major invasion of the US by Mexican drug gangs in order to control the border, and that they plan to kill border and local police wholesale. What is really appalling is that Homeland Security knew and didn't even bother to tell - anyone.

That's right. Our 'friends' to the south have made plans to actually invade the southwest in order to wipe out local police and border security, using a drug gang called MS-13. It seems that Homeland Security also knew about this plan (she got the information from DHS documents!), and 'somehow' failed to notify any of the cops who were going to be attacked. It is also alleged that Mexican military units have been making armed incursions into our territory for several years at least, to support the drug runners. I have been unsuccessful at finding the video of the interview posted as yet, but I'll link it when I do. Meanwhile, here and here are a few of the details as published in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

How does this happen? First, how does Mexico even THINK they dare attack us on our own soil? (Oh, yeah, our entire army is in Iraq, and so are the Guard units. Bush has cut funds to cops and border security. Result - no defense capability.) Second, why does Dept. of Homeland Security find out about this, and not even tell the locals to get ready? (They work for Bush, our 'chief executive', so ask him.) Why does it take an investigative reporter to find this out?

Here's my idea about why: DHS is under the conrol of Chertoff, who is one of Bush's pocket pets. Aggressive action to protect our border with Mexico would go against Bush's Guest Labor policy and his amnesty for illegals program. (Look what France got from their Guest Worker policy - 15 million muslims who now threaten civil war if France's secular laws are applied to them. Rioting, arson, murder. And look at Germany's problems with their millions of Gast-Arbiters. Same thing. Holland too.) It would also mean actually protecting the border so that Al-Qaeda couldn't be sending guys in wholesale as they are doing. It would result in that long fence that Pat Buchanan wanted, and make Bushie look bad for having failed to protect the border for 5 years. For his, you know, pre-9-11 thinkipating. But he'll be reading a book to some kindergarten class in Maine when it happens.

In other words, this military attack by Mexican gangs would work to support Bush's Keep America Afraid Agenda. It's a damned shame when the citizens can't depend on their government to keep them safe because it's not to the administration's advantage.

Global Warming Caused By - - - Chicken Farts?

The Bush administration has cut a deal with the factory - farmers of the nation to avoid penalties for pollution if they report on OTHER far less likely pollutants. Apparently, Bush wants to blame global warming on animal farts again.

The Environmental Protection Agency has signed agreements with 2,681 animal feeding operations in the egg, chicken, turkey, dairy and hog industries. They would be exempt from having to pay potential fines of up to $27,500 a day for violations either in the past or over the next four years.
Pollutants to be monitored include soot and volatile organic compounds, as required by the Clean Air Act, and ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, as required by Superfund's emergency reporting provision.

Yeah, those critters create a lot of soot with all those campfires they build to keep warm. But, let's see, no data on how much raw pig-shit gets into your water supply? No data on how much chicken shit is in your well water? And oh by the way, a pass on fines for permitting the water pollution, and no enforcement to make it stop?

Gosh, who needs a dirty bomb to kill us when we have the Bush administration to poison us first?

Monday, January 30, 2006


Following a recently developed tradition, there are Bingo cards available to track all of the Chimperor's buzzword usage during the State of the Union address. Here are a few sources - print a bunch and invite all your friends to a party. Remember to drink or toke heavily, or both. It'll help make you immune to the lies.

A hundred choices here so find one you like. Codepink's version here (link near the Elephant's head). And the DNC's version of the card here near the 'step 3' icon (don't miss the Bingo Chips either - they're more properly called Bingo Chimps however). And that was just the first 3 listings on my Google search. It should be a good time. Our pResident is good for a laugh, if nothing else.

Frist Gets First Clue

Senator Bill 'Insider Trading' Frist has told Meet the Press that he's learned that Americans don't want the government making 'end of life' decisions. DUH! This is the guy who pushed the Terry Schaivo support bill, against the advice of all the doctors providing care. Remember all that "Culture of Life" bull crap?

An autopsy later showed that Schiavo had suffered severe, irreversible brain damage and was blind.

Frist, R-Tenn., said in the full Senate that he supported what he called "an opportunity to save Mrs. Schiavo's life." A heart surgeon, Frist had viewed video ordered by a court and taken by a board-certified neurologist who had concluded she was not in a persistent vegetative state.

So, Frist - a cardiac specialist - looked at a video and made a diagnosis contrary to the neurological specialists caring for Mrs. Schaivo. Now, he denies making a diagnosis (apparently it's a term somehow regulated by the AMA in such a way that he can deny making one), but he used that unmade diagnosis to muster up a law requiring further support in violation of the order to pull the plug on her. Thank God our courts didn't support that action.

His second-guessing of the experts for political purposes sounds a lot like Bush cooking intelligence and ignoring Pentagon advice about Iraq. Do we really want another 'fangers-in-his-ears, yelling Na, Na, Na I can't hear you' president? No, sugar, I don't think so!

Hagel on Domestic Spying

Senator Chuck Hagel is urging the administration to try to justify it's Domestic Spying by the NSA.

Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said he is looking forward to congressional hearings on the legal justification for the secretive National Security Agency program. He remains unconvinced that Bush could allow the program without fully consulting with the courts or Congress.
"If in fact the president does believe that our current laws are restricting him because of new technologies ... then he should come together with Congress and say we need to amend it," Hagel said on ABC's "This Week."
Added Hagel: "National security is more important than the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. And to use it to try and get someone elected will ultimately end up in defeat and disaster for that political party."

Trying to use it for controlling those who disagree with your policies will be a disaster too. A much bigger disaster than having 'the enemy' find out what you're doing.

Repugnant to Repugs

It seems that Bush's apparent sale of the White House to Jack Abramoff is repugnant even to some members of his own party. Several are starting to demand that he come clean about it.

Even Senator Hagel, who thinks Bush is innocent of selling the White House, says Bush should come clean.

"Get it out. Get it out. Come on," Hagel said, adding the photos will eventually leak out anyway.

"I mean, disclosure is the real issue. Whether it's campaign finance issues, whether it's ethics issues, whether it's lobbying issues, disclosure is the best and most effective way to deal with all of these things," he said on ABC's "This Week."

But the joke du jour comes from Rep. Mike Pence:

"I think this president is a man of unimpeachable integrity," Pence said. "The American people have profound confidence in him. And as Abraham Lincoln said, `Give the people the facts and republican governance perhaps will be saved.'"

Really, does ANYONE believe that? Nostradamnthem says 'Give the people the facts and Republican governance will be ended for another 4o years'.

New GOP Campaign Funding method?

Apparently, the reconstruction funds disappearing in Iraq without any records may be ending up in Republican campaign coffers.

Tens of millions of dollars in cash had gone in and out of the South-Central Region vault without any tracking of who deposited or withdrew the money, and why it was taken out," says a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is in the midst of a series of audits for the Pentagon and State Department.

Much of the first audit reports deal with contracting in south-central Iraq, one of the country's least-hostile regions. Audits have yet to be released for the occupation authority's spending in the rest of Iraq.

The audits offer a window into the chaotic U.S.-led occupation of Iraq of 2003-04, when inexperienced American officials — including workers from President Bush's election campaign — organized a cash-intensive "hearts and minds" mission to rebuild Iraq's devastated economy.

Did you catch that - Bush's campaign stooges organized a cash give away worth billions that has NOTHING to do with a campaign. Political operatives on the take. What's the point of putting your party soldiers in charge of billions in cash if you can't profit a little by having it set up so that the program is unauditable? So that there are no signatures required to check out, oh say, $10 Million in cash? Every week. This is a new level of money-laundering that makes organized crime look like girl scouts.

Not Hillary, Maybe Cindy?

Cindy Sheehan may challenge Sen. Diane Feinstein for her seat.

"She voted for the war. She continues to vote for the funding. She won't call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops," Sheehan told The Associated Press in an interview while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela along with thousands of other anti-war and anti-globalization activists.

"I think our senator needs to be held accountable for her support of George Bush and his war policies," said Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

(Sen. Joe Liebermann is to be challenged in CT over his support of the war and support of the Bush Cult of Personality, too. What about your state? Is the next election going to be all about the war?)

If Bush thinks Hillary is 'formidable', what will he think of Senator Sheehan? Poor chimpy.

Climate Schmimate Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk

So now we've gotten to where scientists tell us that we may be approaching a critical mass point in our global warming, and that it may well be irreversible no matter what we do when we get there. Probably within our lifetimes.

The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted. James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would "imply changes that constitute
practically a different planet."

"It's not something you can adapt to," Hansen said in an interview. "We can't let it go on another 10 years like this. We've got to do something."

But meanwhile, the Bush ass-ministration is trying to silence the Director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, because he is trying to warn us all that Bush's policies in this regard are insufficient.

James Hansen, director of the US space agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his forthcoming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard website and requests for media interviews, the New York Times reported Sunday.

"They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," said Hansen, who told the paper he would ignore the restrictions.

That's right, Jimmy. Don't you dare contradict King George. You'll get your ears pinned back.

Promoting Democracy in the Middle East

Well, Bush got in Palestine what he says he's been wanting in Iraq - a democratically elected government, chosen by popular vote. So why is he not happy? Well, apparently because the Palestinians didn't vote for the guys Bush wanted to see elected. Those guys were too crooked and corrupt to get elected. Sound familiar?

So what does Bush do? He immediately draws a line in the sand, saying he will not deal with or provide aid to known terrorists. How phony is that? It's not like Fatah isn't the party of Yassir Arafat the Terrorist. (Yessir, remember, Yasser was a terrorist! It's how Fatah came to represent Palestine in the first place. Its why whenever Israel said that they would negotiate if they could get 30 days of no attacks, then 2 weeks, then one week, then 3 days, - it NEVER happened. ) Not like the Fatah guys don't still all carry guns. So, without waiting to see if Hamas will be reasonable, or anything about how they will behave as a government, he sends Condi Rice around the world saying we won't provide any aid to the Palestinian people because of the government they elected, and we don't think anyone else should either.

Humanitarian help to the Palestinians, many of whom are poor and unemployed, is likely on a "case-by-case basis," Rice said Sunday. She indicated that the administration would follow through on aid promised to the current, U.S.-backed Palestinian government led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

And just how will they administrate a 'case by case' basis? Who will do that work and what will the standards be? Will we let kids go hungry because their uncle is in Hamas? Meanwhile, Hamas is saying the people need the money and they will permit audits of the spending to ensure it goes to aid, not fighting Israel.

Western donors funneled about $900 million into the Palestinian Authority in 2005 — including $400 million from the United States — to pay salaries and finance desperately needed infrastructure projects. Failure to pay the 137,000 people on the Palestinian Authority payroll could lead to massive layoffs and ignite violence in an area bristling with guns.

Some Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the volatile situation, have cautioned that the Palestinian Authority could collapse if the outside support were to dry up.
"We in Hamas are ready to meet and have an open dialogue with the Quartet," he told a news conference in Gaza City. "We assure you that all the money will be spent under your supervision."

So just what is Bush going to do? Cut off aid and destabilitze the entire area, causing even more violence? (He promised already) Go back on what he said he'd do? (Unlikely. He can't think hard enough to change his mind) Provide the aid in some other fashion so he can support the terrorists and hope nobody finds out? (More likely)

It's not that I think terrorism is acceptable. By no means. Frankly, I think Arafat and even Nelson Mandela should have been hanged; and I'd play along with Hamas now, so that they would take a more public stance and we could find out who they ALL are - just in case. But I do think Bush has painted himself into a corner where Israel will be or feel attacked, and Bush will be forced to defend it by attacking Palestine - the second step toward Armageddon. What're your thoughts?

Progress toward Iraq's Civil War

The fighting in Iraq between the religious groups just gets worse as time goes on.
"Mosques and houses are empty because clerics and ordinary men are being chased as if there was a sectarian cleansing in Baghdad," Adnan al-Dulaimi told reporters.

The Antichrist's work toward Armageddon progresses. Nice job, Mr. pResident.

FEMA refused help in NOLA

As if everything we know about the federal response to Katrina wasn't bad enough, we now find out that FEMA stopped search and rescue operations after 3 days, and that they refused help offered by the Dept. of the Interior.

Responding to a questionnaire posed by investigators, Assistant Interior Secretary P. Lynn Scarlett said her agency offered to supply FEMA with 300 dump trucks and other vehicles, 300 boats, 11 aircraft and 400 law enforcement officers to help search and rescue efforts.

"Although the (Interior) Department possesses significant resources that could have improved initial and ongoing response, many of these resources were not effectively incorporated into the federal response for Hurricane Katrina," Scarlett wrote in the response, dated Nov. 7.

Scarlett added: "Although we attempted to provide these assets through the process established by the (response plan), we were unable to efficiently integrate and deploy those resources."

At one point, Scarlett's letter noted, FEMA asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help with search and rescue in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and St. Tammany Parish "but never received task assignments."

The agency, part of the Interior Department, apparently went ahead anyway, according to the letter, which said that Fish and Wildlife helped rescue 4,500 people in the first week after Katrina.

Well, now we have some insight into why Bush has ordered the stonewalling on this particular investigation. You're doing a heck of a job, Chimpy.

Take what you want, leave what you don't.

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