Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

What follows are excerpts form tonight's State of the Union address (full transcript available here) followed by my snarky comments in italics.

To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another. And I will do my part.
Does that include not misrepresenting your opponent's stances?

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.
Apparently not.

Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror.
Democracies like Iran and Hamas in Palestine?

In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today there are 122.
Including Iran and Palestine?

And we are 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.
Exactly how are fixed elections in Iran better than the fixed elections in Egypt, or the US for that matter?

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world.
Sure it's their aim, now.

BUSH: But they have miscalculated. We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.
Even if it means surrenduring it to the government wiretaps.

There is no peace in retreat.

And there is no honor in retreat.
But, to paraphrase General MacArthur, perhaps we should advance in another direction?

We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders.
Just not the most important ones.

We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory.
And that would be?

First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased and the insurgency will be marginalized.
Or become part of the governing coalition.

Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts (at least all the swimiing pool hardware is shiny)and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy (by stuffing millions in unmarked bills into file cabinets across the country), so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of Exxon/Mobile freedom.

Third, we are striking terrorist targets (with more new tqargets created every day) while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy, (that we continue to create).

BUSH: Iraqis are showing their courage every day
By going out their front doors

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, (to civil war).

BUSH: The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home.
Though many will also come home in boxes in cargo holds as well.

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.
What about by politicians in undisclosed locations?

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.
As well as incompetence that seems incapable of anything but failure.

Hindsight alone is not wisdom.
No, but neither is denial.

And second-guessing is not a strategy.
And niether is wishful thinking.

With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor.
OK, you first.

A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, (or at least a retreat to their New York and Paris townhouses) 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 its vital mission.
Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear.

BUSH: 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.
(Insert tribute to a soldier far more honorable than Bush, Cheney and the rest of the draft-dodgiing chicken hawk Yellow Elephants here).

(Insert toothless calls for greater democracy in the mid-east here.) And by the way, what of the two biggest offenders of civil rights, Russia and China? Perhaps chickenhawk bush is showing the bright yellow stripe that runs down his back?

And, 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.

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.
BUSH: Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies; it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need.
Not that we're doing nearly enough, but OK.

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.
Be afraid and submissive, be very afraid.

(Insert specious justification for illegal domestic spying here)

Did I mention you should be afraid?

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 (Mc)jobs -- more than Japan and the European Union combined.
BUSH: Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, (and despite my own incompetence) the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world.

BUSH: We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy, even though this economy could not function without them.
All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction: toward a stagnant and second-rate economy. (The BushCorp plan?)

In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of huge multinational Corporations, the Paris Hilton set, American workers, investors, small businesses and families. And they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth.
Yet the windfall for the rich tax relief is set to expire in the next few years.

BUSH: Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars.
Vote Democrat!

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.
Indeed, all those programs for poor people must be obviously failing. People are still poor, see my point?

BUSH: I am pleased that the members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects (proposed by Republicans). And we can tackle this problem together, if you give me the royal powers which are my birthrightpass the line-item veto.

BUSH: 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 our outrageous militaryevery category of spending.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care.
Fat chance of that with Republicans in charge.

Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are shirkingmeeting that responsibility.

(Insert proposed payoff to the medical insurance industry here)

BUSH: 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.
This is apparently news to Bush. A wee bit late to the party, but hey better late then never, right?

(insert proposed payoffs to energy industry here)

I'm paraphrasing here: Edjumacation is (they tell me) good. So is, though the jury's still out on evolution, science.

And the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.
Except for poor mothers in red states with restrictive abortion regulations.

They are concerned about grand scale Republican corruptionunethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that protect equal rights for gaystry to redefine marriage.

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-animal hybrids?! Um, Mr. President? "The Island of Doctor Moreau" isn't a documentary.
Human life is a gift from our creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.
Unless it for the military.

BUSH: So far, the federal government has committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We are removing debris and repairing highways and rebuilding stronger levees. We're providing business loans and housing assistance.
To help make up for our incompetence before the disaster. Wasn't it a Republican who said that you can't solve problems by throwing money at them?

(insert laughable allusions comparing himself to Lincoln and Martin Luther King here)

BUSH: Before history is written down in books (I'm told), 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.
And may God have mercy on your souls.

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