It is hard to believe Bush's poor choice of words during his inauguration speech. Bush said that his policies have:
"Lit a fire in the minds of men and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
Um, the fire that Bush sees is probably from car bombs exploding in Iraq. With more than 1,360 American troops killed and more than 10,000 injured, Bush and his supporters continue to live in denial. While Molotov cocktails fly in Iraq's capitol, Bush and his friends are sipping cocktails at posh Inauguration soirees in America's capitol. Of course, its much more fun to wear Armani suits at lavish parties, than to lavish our soldiers' trucks with suits of armor.
While incredibly important, you've got to admit the debate over fixing Social Security can be really B-O-R-I-N-G. In today's New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman does a stellar job of making sense of the whole mind-numbing morass:
"Once you cut through all the fine phrases about an "ownership society," this is how the Bush privatization plan works. Payroll taxes would be diverted into private accounts, forcing the government to borrow to replace the lost revenue. The government would make up for this borrowing by reducing future benefits; yet workers would supposedly end up better off, in spite of reduced benefits, through the returns on their accounts. The whole scheme ignores the most basic principle of economics: there is no free lunch."
As Krugman deftly points out, privatization is a ridiculous scheme that the Bush Administration is trying to foist on the American public. I believe the real goal of Bush and his cronies is to repeal the New Deal and any other programs and reforms that benefit real working class families.
Today President George W. Bush was sworn in, while the rest of us were just plain swearing.
"No! This can't F^*%*#^ be happening!"
Yes, it did happen. The snow you saw in Washington was Hell freezing over. A president who squandered the surplus, ran up the deficit, damaged our international standing and launched a pointless war over weapons that did not exist was reelected.
It was really pointless listening to his speech today. He has distorted reality so much that it is difficult to take anything he says at face value. While listening to him ramble on, some old lyrics from the 80's punk/glam band Missing Persons came to mind.
"What are words for, When no one listens anymore."
Does anyone actually hear what he has to say? Bush has somehow managed to take uplifting words like "liberty", "freedom", "mission accomplished" and "democracy" and turn them into cynical, meaningless utterances.
Here is the good news. Bush, Dick Cheney and all of Congress are in Republican hands (not that this is really good news). They can no longer blame Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle or even Jane Fonda for their failures. Not that they won't try, of course. When they do, just tell them:
"The blue dress didn't cause this mess."
It is put up or shut up time for Republicans. Either their policies work, or they don't. It's sink or swim and I hope they have a life raft. So, just sit back and watch the bumbling buffoons bungle. It won't be fun. It won't be pretty. But a day of reckoning seldom is.
The New York Times had a terrific editorial today that pointed out how the military's anti-gay policy is putting our national security at grave and unnecessary risk. If President Bush wants to finally do something to help our military, he will instruct Congress to scrap the woefully failed Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy. Here is the Times editorial.
Don't ask, don't tell - just scream in frustration: it turns out that 20 of the Arabic speakers so vitally needed by the nation have been thrown out of the military since 1998 because they were found to be gay. It is hard to imagine a more wrongheaded rebuff of national priorities. The focus must be on the search for Osama bin Laden and his terrorist legions, not the closet door. The Pentagon's snooping after potential gays trumps what every investigative agency in the war on terror has admitted is a crucial shortage of effective Arabic translators.
After the first World Trade Center attack, in 1993, government agents revealed an alarming shortage of Arabic speakers. Key notes, videotapes and a phone call pertaining to the attack were later found in a backlog of untranslated investigative data. The shortage continued right up to and well beyond the 9/11 attacks. Three years after the towers were destroyed, the F.B.I., rife with translation problems, admitted it had an untranslated backlog of 120,000 hours of intercepts with potential value about looming threats. At the State Department, a study showed that only one in five of the 279 Arabic translators were fluent enough to handle the subtleties of the language, with its many regional dialects.
The military's experience is no more encouraging, with intelligence results muddied at times by a rush, as one inquiry put it, to recruit Arab convenience store owners and cabdrivers, who couldn't handle the task. The military is right to rely more on its language schools, but it can take several years to produce fluent graduates. The folly of using "don't ask, don't tell" policy against such precious national resources amounts to comfort for the enemy.
When President Bush was asked last week by The Washington Post why Osama bin Laden had eluded capture, he replied, "Because he's hiding." So is the Pentagon - it's hiding from reality.
Is Condoleezza Rice incompetent or simply truth challenged? Perhaps she is afflicted with both problems. During her hearing for Secretary of State this human fib factory slithered, sputtered and spun - but shed no light on why she misled America on Iraq's weapons programs.
She failed to adequately answer why she said that the aluminum tubes found in Iraq could only be used for a nuclear program, when it was clear that this was not the case. She failed to say why she told the American people that if we didn't go afer Saddam, the final evidence of his weapons programs might be a "mushroom cloud".
The question is, if Bush decides to preemtively invade another nation, will Rice go shrooming again, electing to scare the hell out of the American people with bogus threats?
Thank God for Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who took the gloves off and asked the tough questions. Boxer told Rice:
"Your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth."
Kudos for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for also standing up to Rice with rigorous questioning.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the hearing was Rice's ignorance of the dire situation in Iraq. When asked how many Iraqi soldiers have been fully and properly trained, Rice answered 120,000. Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., replied that U.S. commanders had told him only 4,000 had been adequaltely trained.
I know she's not dumb, so she must be deceptive. It is a shame that the Secretary of State will be filled with Condo-lies-a Rice -- the Secretary of Spin.
In their gratuitous zeal to undermine same-sex families, Virginia lawmakers are showing about as much wisdom as Prince Harry in a costume shop. In the opening week of Virginia's general assembly, four separate constitutional bans on the freedom to marry were introduced. This continuous drive to marginalize and stigmatize gay families may gravely damage the reputation of Virginia and cause a gradual brain drain that will hurt business interests.