Friday, July 30, 2004

Bush trumpets a flatulent message

The following are excerpts from a speech Bush gave on Friday, July 30, 2004, in what appeared to be a rodeo ring in Springfield, Missouri:

"When it comes to America's school's we're turning the corner and we're not turning back." (Uh, yea. This is the president who cut the public schools' budgets to the bone. Just ask ANY public school system official who is honest about the fiscal condition of his/her schools in ANY county in the nation. Ask if they're better off now than they were four years ago!>

"This world requires greater knowledge and a greater level of skills. We will expand the use of the Internet to bring high-level training into our schools ... so our children can achieve the American dream." (This sounds a lot like one of Al Gore's proposal in 2000. Hmmm?) "We have more to do to make quality health care affordable and available. When we came to office Medicare didn't pay for prescription drug coverage. We got it done. More than 4 million seniors have signed up for drug discount cards that provide real savings. And beginning in 2006, seniors will be able to sign up for real savings. When it comes to giving Americans more choices about their own health care, we are turning the corner and we're not turning back." (Seems to be a corner-turning trend here. Snappy rhetoric, indeed! But the fact is, every accountant who studies medical cost-issues says Bush's Medicare package benefits drug manufacturers, NOT CONSUMERS!)

"Most Americans get their health care coverage through their work. Most new jobs are created through new businesses and we must allow small employers to make available (employee) insurance at discounts available to big companies." (OK, sure. Great. But how? How will Bush pay for insurance discounts to small businesses when insurance companies constantly carp about low profit margins - despite making billions. Thanks to G.W. and his crew, insurance companies in Texas are able to do damn near anything they choose to do with impunity. Bush signed a law that made it more difficult for patients to obtain health care, and he allowed the insurance companies to quash law suits brought by patients who were hurt by those companies that refused medical treatments recommended by physicians based on internal guidelines that obviously favor the company's bottom line? Empty promise? I think so!)

"We must limit lawsuits that drive good doctors out of medicine."

(Here we see a favorite 'saw' of the GOP - it loves to blame lawyers and the court system for the problem of rising health care costs while ignoring the thousands of lives that have been irrevocably damaged or altered through medical error and/or insurance companies' greed, expressed through denials of treatments.)

"We must harness technologies that reduce costs and we must harness good research and see to it that health decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C." (Hmm. This from a guy who wants to kill the promise of stem cell research, despite his own science committee's recommendation. This from a guy who ignored the the National Institutes of Medicine when it recommended the sale of RU-486 - a pill that interferes with the reproductive process so unwanted pregnancies can be avoided without resorting to abortion - and pressured the FDA to refuse the public sale of the drug - despite the FDA's own scientific committee's recommendation. This is a president who wants to dictate guidelines to scientists that originate in the Evangelical churches, not in the laboratories and academic centers nationwide.)

"We have more to do to make America's economy stronger. We've come through a recession, we've come through terrorist attacks, corporate scandals - we've come through these obstacles because of well-timed tax cuts."(Well-timed? Uh, OK. Sure. I guess that's why we have the largest federal deficit since Reagan, eh?)

"We made sure families with children, married couples, got tax relief. And this time the check really was in the mail." (Uh-huh. That $300 I received fueled the economic boom we're enjoying today, right? Now I'm sure that Bush's pals, like Kenny-boy Lay really DID applaud the president's tax cut since it put millions of dollars in his pocket - not, by the way, into the company coffers.)

"Because we acted, our economy since last summer has grown at a rate as fast as any in 20 years. We've created 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Because we acted Missouri your unemployment rate is now 5.2 percent. When it comes to creating new jobs for Americans we are turning the corner and we are not turning back. The cornerstone of our tax relief plan says we're going to help small business owners. (Oh yea, millions of minimum wage jobs are going to put Americans back on track to that elusive American Dream)

"We must lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy; to keep this economy growing so people can find work, we will not overspend your money, and we will keep your taxes low. We'll offer America's workers a lifetime of learning ... at our community colleges. We will insist on a level playing field when it comes to trade. We want Missouri farmers selling Missouri crops all over the world. And we want families to have time to play with their kids - I believe Congress ought to enact comp-time and flex-time in order to better help families spend time ... at home." (Better jobs and higher wages for the American people, now that's a guaranteed vote-getter if you believe it's something the president can guarantee.)

"We have more to do to wage and win the war against terror. America's future depends on our willingness to lead around the world. If America weakens, the world will drift into tragedy. This will not happen on my watch." (Excuse me, but didn't it already happen on YOUR WATCH?)

"The world changed on a terrible September morning (yea, that's what the one ...) and since that day we changed the world." (I'll say!) "Before Sept. 11 Afghanistan trained thousands of killers ... today Afghanistan is a rising democracy and, as result of our actions, America and the world are safer."(Really?) "Before Sept. 11 Pakistan was a safe passage point for terrorists. Today the Pakistani government is helping to round up terrorists. ... Today the Saudi government is taking the fight to al-Qaida. Before Sept. 11 Libya was spending millions to develop weapons of mass destruction. Today, Libya has abandoned its quest for weapons of mass destruction and America is safer.(OK, come on. I'm supposed to beieve that Moammar Qadafi - a guy who travels with a goat where ever he goes - presented a REAL threat to our nation? If so, where is the CIA report supporting that supposition?) "Before Sept. 11 the ruler of Iraq was a despot. He harbored terrorists; he subsidized the families of suicide bombers; he was a source of great instability in the world's most vulnerable region. I took that threat seriously. We must deal with threats before they fully materialize.(Here we go with the Bush policy of pre-emptive strikes, also known as the 'my way or the highway' doctrine.) "The Sept. 11th Commission concluded that our intelligence institutions failed to imagine the horrors of that day. After Sept. 11 America did not fail to imagine that a brutal dictator (Saddam) could unleash terror and destruction on the world - members of my cabinet, including the Congress, looked at the intelligence and they saw a threat. We went to the United Nations and told Saddam to allow weapons inspectors to do their job; but he continued to present a threat. I had a choice to make; given that choice I will defend America every time."(Seems to me there were several possible choices short of warfare. I do recall many voices, including our own CIA, advising the president that Saddam was a toothless tiger ...)

"When it comes to fighting the threats of our world and making America safer and promoting the peace, (HUH?) we're turning the corner and we're not turning back.

We have more to do. We will continue to work with our friends and allies to aggressively pursue our enemies we will engage those enemies around the world so we do not have to face them here at home."(Behold, the new spin on the Iraq war. Since Bush is no longer able to convince Americans that killing thousands of Iraqis just to depose one of dozens of despots throughout the the world was a righteous action, he now proposes that the war was a shrewd ploy designed to suck the world's terrorists into Iraq where we can knock them off without risk to the homeland. It's called treading water and retro-spin.)

"We will continue to lead the world with confidence and moral clarity. Forty nations are involved in Afghanistan, some 30 nations are involved in Iraq, but I will never turn over our national security decisions to the leaders of other countries.

We will keep our commitments to help Afghanistan and Iraq become democratic societies. More and more people in Iraq are stepping up to fight these terrorists. The people of these countries can count on our continued help.(Too bad the American people can't count on the president's help, eh?) "We promised to help deliver them from tyranny to restore their sovereignty and put them on the path to peace. And when America gives its word, America will keep its word.

(Bush blather par excellence.)

"I've seen the great decency and the unselfish courage of those who wear a uniform. These people deserve the best pay, the best equipment and the best possible training. That's why last summer I proposed supplemental funding - 12 senators voted against that legislation. Two of the twelve are my opponent and his running mate."(Please take the time to check this LIE. Bush wanted to lower military pay and cut the military budget for equipment. Come on people, do a little legwork on this one statement to see who's telling the truth. Jeez.)

"He (Kerry) said he was proud he voted against the funding and then he said the whole thing is a complicated matter. There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.

In the long run our security is not guaranteed by force alone. We must change the conditions that give rise to terror; poverty and hopelessness and hunger. Free countries do not export terror; free countries to not stifle the dreams of its citizens. By working for the ideal of liberty after four more years, America will be more secure and the world will be more peaceful.(Uh, well, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise if you ask me)

"These are still dangerous times; there is an enemy out there who would like to hurt us; shake our confidence. We are not yet safe. We transformed our defenses and created a new department of Homeland Security (against Bush's wishes); we passed the Patriot Act to give new tools to our law enforcement agencies. When it comes to better protecting America, we're turning the corner and we're not turning back.(Yea, I get that we're turning a lot of corners. Could it be we're going in circles?)

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Armstrong wins!

It's wondrous when someone does the seemingly impossible, and today Lance Armstrong, a Texan, took the best bicyclists in the world to the mat, winning his sixth straight Tour de France in classic fashion, leading by more than 6 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor. How many records fell with Armstrong's win? Who knows. Besides the six-in-a-row benchmark, he also won, with this race, the greatest number of yellow jerseys; he set records for specific stages of the race, particularly in the inclines up muscle-wrenching mountain roads; he posted extraordinary times overall, including at the beginning of the race some three weeks ago.

And, of course, the sixth straight win is a lofty peak that, I think, few will ever approach, let alone achieve. Armstrong's win gives new meaning to the word unprecedented – perhaps defining it, if you will.

I wonder if he's achieved everything he set out to achieve, or will he go for seven? Ah well, who cares. Today, he's king of the road!