Thursday, February 23, 2006

The National SECOND-HAND Used Car Salesman

Second Hand Used Car Bush, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

Used car salesman. That's what I thought of when I listened and watched as Dubya made his big Sales Pitch.

Now, there are honest used car salesmen. But, well, you know the stereotype. It has a long and well-made history. And in this case, the stereotype fits. Every time he opens his mouth, it holds a forked tongue. Whatever he tries to sell you, bet on getting the opposite. Every sentence, every paragraph was based on fallacies.

Fallacy number one:

He starts out with an out and out lie:

"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."

It wasn't the liberals who called out the dogs back during the election. "Swift Boating," "outing" our own secret operatives, We were not the ones who carried out illegal surveillance of American citizens, and then brazenly announced that they would continue doing so with complete disregard of American's shocked sensibilities! Bill Clinton never sought to turn himself into "King William the First" with the aid of a rubber stamp Congress, Nor was Lincoln allowed to keep suspension of habeas corpus by a "yes man" Supreme Court. But George W. Bush wants it all, to own Congress, the Court , and the ability to do whatever he wants from taking away our rights to helping his and Daddie's friends without pesky Constitutional impediments. And Dubya's surprised at Democratic truculence!

And forgive me George, but your talk of economic paradise rings hollow:

"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. "

"Protectionists.?" Well, let me show you a piece of a transcript from CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on 02/14/06, that shows a different point of view:

"DOBBS: Tonight, at least one member of the Bush administration has finally acknowledged the obvious, that the U.S. trade relationship with Communist China is neither free nor fair.

Trade Representative Rob Portman says it is time to readjust our trade relationship with Beijing, but it is far from clear tonight that the White House and Congress will listen.

Christine Romans reports.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Bush administration says it is now significantly concerned by the U.S.- China trade relationship.

ROB PORTMAN, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: The relationship needs to be more balanced, more equitable.

ROMANS: U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, vowing a "new phase of greater accountability and enforcement with China."

PORTMAN: As a mature trading partner, China should be held accountable for its actions and required to live up to its responsibilities.

ROMANS: His 29 page top-to-bottom review includes a laundry list of U.S. complaints. None of them new: continued Chinese trade barriers, piracy, labor violations, extensive government subsidies for China's domestic industries, environmental concerns, and spotty compliance with international trade rules.

Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, our trade deficit has exploded, topping $200 billion last year, the most unbalanced trade relationship in history.

MICHAEL WESSEL, U.S.-CHINA COMMISSION: We've seen jobs migrate out of the U.S., production loss, R&D loss. And this is all the way up and down the food chain. Not just toys and textiles, as some thought it was going to be, but you're looking at computers, high-tech equipment. We're really seeing the devastation not only of our manufacturing base, but our high-technology base as well.

ROMANS: Many call this so-called new phase for the Bush administration nothing more than rhetoric.

WILLIAM HAWKINS, U.S. BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COUNCIL: They've done -- done nothing for five years here as the situation has deteriorated. I think that this is really meant more to head off the growing cries in Congress to do something.

ROMANS: He knows prior administration efforts have come up empty-handed.


ROMANS: The U.S. Trade Office is adding a China Enforcement Task Force and a chief counsel for China trade enforcement but the critics, Lou, say, that should have been done years ago.

DOBBS: Well, absolutely. And the idea -- this administration has had a wonderful, wonderful penchant for suggesting that any one who wants to have a balanced trade relationship with China or any other nation, for that matter, is a protectionist and -- or an isolationist is one of their -- also favorite terms of art.

So if this administration can get rid of those kind of idiotic and insulting polar extremes and false choices in their rhetoric and actually focus on this, I will be the first to salute them.

But if they continue the absolute charade that they're putting out as a trade policy, we'll also be, I guarantee you, every bit as energetic in our criticism as we've been.

ROMANS: It's easy to keep score. Something called the trade deficit, $201 billion last year.

DOBBS: And 30 consecutive years of trade deficits and we've got CEOs of U.S. multinationals and this administration talking about competitiveness and productivity and efficiency. And all they're saying is cheaper labor, cheaper labor, cheaper prices. Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome."

I couldn't have said it better.

And what did Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative to boot have to China's " subsidizing" companies with slave labor on that same show:

"ROHRABACHER: It is amazing. We have built up a monster that is, number one, taking -- stealing our technology -- not our defense technology, also the technology that we have in order to be competitive.

If they have slave or low-wage people working over there, the only way our people are going to survive is if our technological ideas are put in place and not stolen. We permitted the Chinese to steal this and build a competitive product overseas. "

If this is true, and I very much suspect it is, can it be due to the pie-in-the-sky view of the world that Dubya thinks that he is creating?

" 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."

Freedom House, from where Dubya claims to get his facts, has a different opinion.

has only 89 free countries, 58 partly free and 45 countries not free. Now Freedom House notes that freedom has had steady progress since 1975 from 40 free countries to that magic 89.

Now, according to FH, out of 46 Muslim majority countries, only 3 are completely free, 20 countries are partly free, and 23 are not free. And this only advanced from 1 free, 13 partly free and 32 countries not free in 1995 - 96.

In the Middle it breaks down according to FH, to 1 completely free country, 6 partly free and 11 not free in 2006. Iraq is listed as "Not Free."

Why asked Freedom House's Arch Puddington:

"We asked Puddington why the highly publicized elections in Iraq and Afghanistan don't yet qualify those countries to be counted as democracies. 'It is a flawed way of thinking to believe that elections alone guarantee democracy,' Puddington said. 'You have to have a reasonable rule of law, a reasonable amount of freedom of the press, personal security. You have to have a fair and consistent electoral process in place, and you have to have the people who are elected then effectively governing the society.'"

Someone in the White House did some "fuzzy math."

And what will Dubya propose to do with Iran and Syria? Start another unnecessary, alienating war?

And "Unaccountable George" still doesn't get the role he played in creating a terrorist army in Iraq, or the terrorist havens in South and Central Asia:

"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.

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."

Brilliant George. Now tell them about the part where you didn't come with enough troops, didn't adequately protect those that are there, neglected to establish control by dispersing enemy troops with weapons and failed to secure key ammo dumps!

You practically rolled out the red carpet for them, Dubya! Gave Zarqawi a terrorist supermarket at the ammo dumps, plus a few lethal arms 7 Elevens for those tempted to deal in weapons!

But Dubya's pie-in-the-sky view of the world is matched only by his black and white view of his own countrymen!

"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."

No Georgie. All that means is that we will stabilize the situation, get the Iraqis to focus on victory, and fight the war we were supposed to be fighting, in Afghanistan, and Pakistan, looking for Al Qaeda's bosses!

But try telling that to a man who fires everyone who dares to disagree with him. He seems to think that politics must always be like a sitcom's resident jerk's dream, where the good guys all agree with him, and worship him:

"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.)

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. "

There's also a difference between qualified praise and blind jingoism that refuses to see danger. There is also a difference between accepting criticism and calling those who disagree "unpatriotic" and "cowards."

As for "a pledge from America," meaning little, I think that Dubya pretty much saw to that when he went back on his word to the UN and didn't allow the inspectors to finish their job, and attacked Iraq.

But that "terrible simplifier" George W. would not only apply his night and day logic to foreign policy, he would sacrifice liberty on the alter of security:

"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."

Jacob Burckardt the great Swiss historian was very prescient about the 20th Century when he said:

"terrible simplifiers . . . are going to descend upon poor old Europe"

He could've been talking about today's neocons. And H.L. Mencken may have had a thing to say about Bush's "terrible simplifier" solutions to the freedom v security debate:

"an easy solution to every problem neat, plausible, and wrong!”

But I believe that Bush's attitude to fighting terrorism at home is not "post 9/11", but neo-MaCarthyist. See if this paragraph from an essay done in the1950's doesn't apply to today From "Facing the Paradox", by Russell Nelson:

"The principles for which the United States stands have been seriously undermined at home and abroad. Since 1945 there has been a steady erosion of the values that were formerly considered the very foundation stones of American democracy. Proceeding from the false assumption that whatever is anti-communist is therefore democratic, many Americans have supported or acquiesced in measures that have generally been considered central characteristics of totalitarianism: spying on fellow citizens; anonymous denunciations; restrictions on freedom of movement, speech, and press; prosecution for beliefs rather than acts; the reversal of the traditional presumption of innocence until proof of guilt; the gradual militarization of our minds and our society; and the growing confusion of our thought and language until we no longer feel any astonishment at the use of a phrase like "the free world" to include all nations, however dictatorial, and colonies, however exploited, that are not under Soviet control."

With a few qualifications, I'd say that paragraph very aptly describes the situation we find ourselves in under Dubya's tender mercies.

With F.I.S.A. we gave every president the inch they needed to fight international terrorism on our soil, but like any other extremist who can't recognize the dictatorship they wish to set up for what it is, George W. isn't satisfied with the inch of privacy we've given up. He wants to take the whole mile! And after that he has the nerve to ask us to trust him with a permanent Patriot Act? Not without a few changes and some heavy scrutiny George! Previous Presidents always used the F.I.S.A. Act advisedly, and rarely broke that law. In case you're wondering, warrantless searches aren't that popular. There's a reason why evidence obtained without probable cause is thrown out. It's to prevent just such unreasonable search and seizure. It's not just the rights of the majority that protect the community, it's the rights of the individual that protect our democracy! Privacy is the key to free thought, and the grandparent to free expression. But the Terrible Simplifier is like a lawn mower. He cuts each blade of grass so that none is higher than the other. No individuals here. No blade higher than the other. Great for cutting grass. Horrid for democracy.

And that same cookie-cutter mentality is being used for our domestic policy:

"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. "

Our economic strength is being sold out from under us for cheap foreign labor abroad, and our security is being sold out for cheap illegal alien labor at home. And for whom is this economy growing? For you? For me? Hardly! The middle class is being squeezed out of existence! And those 4.6 million new jobs? That's not the NET gain! Dubya LOST 2.6 million jobs in his first two years, so we really only gained little over 2 million new jobs!

Of course, like any other entrenched ideologue, Dubya always wants to keep by his holy tenets:

"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. 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.

Dubya cut taxes during a war, which we haven't stopped paying for, he increased spending for his pet projects lavishly, and turned a surplus into deficit! And who did he cut the taxes for? That 1% that doesn't need it! Dubya asks for a permanent tax cut. What about a fair tax cut? What about one that gives debt-ridden families a break? Bush's Country Club friends can take a hit. Anyhow when he talks about cutting spending, he's not talking about defense spending, only "non-security discretionary spending". That means you and me. All other spending went up 42%! He thinks nothing of cutting programs people are in dire need of. And he wants permanent tax cuts! Typical! A something for nothing Republican! Like Wimpy, he'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today! Forget the fact those hamburgers pay the light bill each .month!

And yet somehow, Dubya seems to think that despite his economic mutations, his Frankenstein will keep business humming as usual in America:

"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. "

Doesn't that mean that we have to rebuild our American economy we have to build American, not letting the folks in the Marianas Islands put "Made in America" on their products?

But George is like the Energizer Bunny. Even when it looks like he's finally making sense, as when he spoke of "energy addiction", you still have to read between the lines:

"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."

A twenty-percent increase in energy research is not enough to David B. Sandalow, Environment Scholar, and expert in Foreign Policy Studies for the Brookings Institution:

"Yet the President's strong words were not matched with bold policies. After the attention-grabbing sound bite on oil addiction, the President called meekly for a '22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy.' Seldom has soaring rhetoric been deflated so quickly with budget specifics."

And Bush's so-called ''Advanced Energy Iniative?

"This Initiative, according to the White House, will consist of $236 million in proposed increases for six clean energy programs in FY 2007. This is hardly a transformational new program.

Furthermore, three of the programs in the Advanced Energy Initiative relate to electricity generation and are therefore essentially irrelevant to the problem of oil dependence, since only a tiny fraction of our electricity (less than 3%) comes from oil A fourth program focuses on hydrogen fuels, with a payoff several decades away".

What gets me here is, despite Bush's "election year energy policy conversion", underneath all that, he probably hasn't really changed. According to "The Hill", the energy section of the budget had a rocky history:

"The lawmakers sent a letter March 4 to House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) and Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) as Congress prepares to debate the budget resolution, which will set spending caps on the federal government.

The members said they supported efforts to cut the deficit, which the White House projects to be $427 billion for 2005. But the energy proposal รณ projected to raise $12 billion in 10 years would unfairly target our constituents that receive power from one of the four' PMAs.

“We oppose this proposal to unjustifiably increase our constituents power bills to boost the Federal Treasury,' states the letter, which is signed by 48 Republicans."

So, not only did we find at least one instance of seemingly crony-like behavior, but it also seems we have a blast from the Reagan past, "revenue enhancers"! Bush wouldn't raise anyone's taxes, but he'll jack up your energy bill for his friends!

Bush's duplicity knows no bounds as he will be disingenuous to your very grandparents and grandchildren:

"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.

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''

First of all, Bush cannot take credit for welfare reform. That was done in 1996 by Clinton and a Republican Congress. Secondly, the economy was booming so that many people could leave the rolls.

You had a 5 year limit come hell or high water.

And then you had a block grant system, where states got block grants and distributed them as they saw fit. According to Wikipedia:

" Some states simply kept the federal rules, but others used the money for non-welfare programs, such as subsidized childcare (to allow parents to work) or subsidized public transportation (to allow people to travel to work without owning cars)."

The "block grant'' system may have sent people off the rolls too early:

" Others criticized the block grant system, claiming that states would not be able to administer the program properly, or would be too motivated by cost. Finally, it was claimed that although the bill might work in a booming economy like that of the 1990s, it would cause significant harm in a recession."

Anyhow history shows that Dubya had nothing to do with declining welfare rolls:

"The consequences of welfare reform are still being debated today. Welfare rolls (the number of people receiving payments) dropped significantly in the years immediately after the passage of the bill. The original bill was set to expire in September of 2002; as of July, 2004, Congress had passed 7 temporary reauthorizations, generally of 3 months. Debate continued over Republican attempts to increase the amount of hours that recipients would need to work."

And of course, although I disagree with some in the Cato Institute about our spending priorities, one that we can agree on is that spending has gone too high, and we've gone into debt, which we will be paying for in the future.

Where would we be without more of Bush's doubletalk on checks, balances and the judiciary?

" 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."

Bush wants nothing more than his boys in place. A judge by definition does have to interpret the law. And sometimes that means that he has to judge the constitutionality of a law. A judge is supposed to be a referee, and his first job is to keep the government honest.

And it couldn't be a Dubya speech without a trip to the Twilight Zone!

"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. ".

First of all, Bush should understand that stem cell research has far more benefits than costs. And stopping something that can end affliction, and change the lives of the disabled for the better is criminal. And does Bush live on the Island of Dr. Moreau? This is the first time I ever heard of "human-animal hybrids!" George, I know your level of intellect is somewhere below that of a kumquat, but you watched too many B science-fiction movies from drive-ins!

And Bush always reaches the height of hypocrisy when broaches "civility:"

"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."

Who was it who began cheap tactics and political tricks during the last election? Not Kerry. It wasn't the Democrats who put the term "Swift Boating" in the lexicon. Who tried political intrigue and at every step showed that he was really in it for himself? Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove. And who was it that was evasive and opaque after every scandal if not Scott McClellan?

It's like he's Nero, so out of touch with his people that all he hears is his own music while people are screaming to him that Rome is burning. He "dissembles emotion" as E. L. Doctorow said. Bush on Katrina:

''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."

But Bush that took a well-run outfit like the Clinton FEMA, privatized it, filled it with cronies and added a layer of bureaucracy by unnecessarily folding FEMA into DHS! Oprah's getting more done with her pocket change than this FEMA! Next time Sean Hannity wants to know where the buses were, I'd ask him what's going on with the mobile homes!

All in all, I'd say Dubya's big speech was a snow job. He thinks that he can keep pulling the wool over our eyes. Well Georgie Porj, I've got some news for you. Even conservatives are calling you an impostor.

CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight 02/14/06


Freedom House

Wikipedia - Jacob Burckardt

Russell Nelson - "Facing the Paradox"

Cato Institute: Bruce Bartlett - "How Bush Bankrupted America"

Wikipedia - Welfare Reform

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