Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bush’s Game Pieces Going in Place

Iraq cut off all flights to Syria and closed some border crossings with Iran as part of the “new way forward” in Iraq. The partners in the “axis of evil” have been uncooperative in stabilizing their new democratic neighbor according to the Bush administration. Yet the news had this to say.

Syria is believed to be harboring former Baath party officials who support the Sunni insurgency and has been accused of allowing foreign fighters to slip across its border with Iraq. And U.S. officials have complained that Iran smuggles weapons to Shiite extremists who have killed Americans and provides Shiite militia with training and support.

Partners in evil are helping opposite sides in the Iraqi civil war? How sinister! Yet, given the Shia-Sunni split dividing the Middle East, why are Syria and Iran in bed together? All other alliances in the region are same sect. This doesn’t make sense.

The moves adding integrity to Iraq’s borders with Syria and Iran are in preparation for the new security plan. My guess is they are designed to contain any blowback from Israel’s raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Although today’s news offered a different possibility. A skirmish between Iran and U.S. military assets in the region could spark a broader conflict. With tensions already sky high, a slight misstep could result in war.

My gut says it will be more than an error by the Jewish state as it seeks to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities. That significant U.S. firepower will be in the region, even on the border, will just be serendipity. Bush is playing RISK again, the game of global domination…

“Chavi Boy” No Longer President, Joins Other Naked Emperors

President Hugo Chavez finally ditched his last bit of clothes to walk naked in a downtown Caracas plaza as Venezuela’s new Emperor. Children were banned from the event lest one point out Mr. Chavez’s fine suit to be made of thin air.

The transition from President to Emperor came from the passage of an enabling law giving Hugo wide powers to change the country by decree. Any leader that would accept such power could not believe in balance of powers between branches of government.

Legislators gave their power away to Mr. Chavez. One celebrated by saying "Fatherland, socialism or death! We will prevail!"

My guess is another naked leader, known “as the Decider” will issue an executive order or signing statement granting one of those three wishes, “fatherland, socialism or death”. My money is on the last option.

Is anyone else curious why people elect pathological leaders intent on growing their own power? And why do the legislators cave when it comes to holding the naked boys in check? I didn’t mean literally hold them…

Note to Bush: P4P Produced Widespread Corporate Stock Option Cheating

As the President wanders in search of an audience that can still stomach his musings, does he ever re-examine his positions? While on Wall Street, the President once again touted “pay for performance”. Corporate stock options, one of the simplest and most impartial pay for performance schemes has a twelve year track record in the U.S. What does it show? A study indicated some 2,000 out of 6,000 publicly traded companies backdated their stock option grants.

Most grant programs did not allow the CEO and his staff to pick the best date of the quarter, the one with the lowest stock price to date their options. Yet, thousands did so in violation of their own rules which makes it a violation of SEC regulations. Company after company is restating earnings over an 8-10 year period, often at a cost of millions in profits to shareholders.

What President Bush claims to be the solution actually created the problem. With no incentive plans, the motivation to cheat to optimize one’s executive pay at the expense of the company goes away. It disappears. While it won’t remove all senior leader pathology, the corporate carrot dangled in front of the money obsessed vanishes immediately (like much of the country envisions the Bush Presidency). Poof!

Bush’s Sharp Warning to Execs on Lavish Pay Given to Wrong Audience

The President stood atop the Big Board today speaking on the State of the Economy. In his talk he dressed down CEO’s for not earning their extravagant pay. At that point the audience went quiet. But who was in attendance? How many CEO’s spend their day watching traders at the NYSE? Not many, unless it’s their turn to ring the bell.

The regular crowd had to be working given the surprise nature of the visit. Bush spoke to Big Board’s stock traders, not to corporate big dogs. Yet the message hit home given traders’ pay this last year. I can see why they got quiet. Record bonuses were distributed this past holiday season to Wall Street traders as most brokerage houses made historic high profits.

So Bush got to dress down a bunch of corporate chiefs who weren’t there. Did he wink afterwards, thanking his base for being absent for their public dressing down?

The President got to reprise his concerns for broader America, last shown after Hurricane Katrina. He finally raised several issues, long recognized as problems by the average citizen. They include the growing gap between the rich and the poor as evidenced by the income inequality gap (which accelerated into hyperspace under Bush’s term in office). The President also noted people’s anger over enormous salaries and perks for America’s CEO’s. This isn’t limited to employees but extends to large mutual fund holders. Ask new Defense Chief Robert Gates, ex. Fidelity Chairman or the slightly longer tenured Treasury Head Hank Paulson, ex. Goldman Sachs CEO.

President Bush re-delivered the myth of “pay for performance”, that people earn what they deserve by their individual contributions to their company. Never mind corporate systems drive 95% of the results according to Dr. Deming, a legendary management guru.

So what if Bush showed up at the wrong place if he really wanted to encourage CEO’s to earn their lavish pay. He’s regularly “a day late and a dollar short”.

Bush Greases Skids for Back Stepping on Sarbanes Oxley

President Bush spoke on Wall Street today on “the State of the Economy”. A better title would be “the Improving State of Executive Compensation”. The gifts Bush came bearing include permanent tax cuts for the wealthy, relaxing aspects of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations to make America more competitive in the world of international finance, and giving a free pass to 90% of companies fudging their executive stock option programs (the SEC is investigating some 200 out or 2,000 companies found backdating in a study).

In encouraging CEO’s to be transparent about executive pay, the President hid his motivation. If the government is going to relax financial reporting requirements, then someone will need to step up. Who? Bush has always loved self reporting and self investigations to the exclusion of any outside oversight.

Of course the President needed something distinctly American to hide his real plans, pay for performance. This means the top person in any organization benefits whether the company had a good year or bad. Think how much worse it would have been had we not had the CEO to save us! Cheating or re-defining terms is an acceptable way to achieve goals. (How else did Bush cut the deficit in half early?)

President Bush believes in the great man theory, that one individual heroically is responsible for a system made up of thousands of employees, not to mention customers. He also believes people work harder for the prospect of more money, that the company’s mission or purpose and a livable wage are not enough to motivate people.

Unfortunately the promise of such pay systems is yet to be delivered.

“Pay-for-performance programs can be too effective in rewarding self-interested behavior at the expense of overall company morale and the bottom line.” Harvard Business School Professor Michael Beer.

Their pitfalls are well documented. An arkload of consultants are available to help tinker the program to achieve optimal results. Sailing behind are data consultants to make sure people don’t cheat in reaching the targets. Bringing up the end of the flotilla are the word shapers who use catch phrases to keep intrinsically motivated workers from becoming disheartened by the endless bribes to perform.

Bush spoke on "the State of Executive Pay" which is already outstanding. This is the same place our President needs to be, out standing in a field back in Crawford, before he can renew pay for performance for our public schools via No Child Left Behind or export it to Medicare and Medicaid.

For a President who wants to simplify government regulations, his desire to add complexity to teachers’ and doctors’ pay is puzzling.

Negroponte’s Appointment Indicative of U.S. Heavy Handed Diplomacy to Come?

In testimony before Congress John Negroponte spoke frequently of threats to democracy in our own hemisphere. High on the list is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian leader Morales.

While I am not a fan of Chavez and believe he should not accept the broad law making power soon to be granted to him, I find our position ironic. As the U.S. accuses Chavez of drifting toward authoritarianism, Bush calls himself “the Decider, the Decision Maker” on Iraq. Our President’s use of signing statements fits in a drift toward authoritarianism. His recent executive order imposing thousands of little Bush’s in a regulatory mode throughout the federal government is Chavez worthy.

Despite the irony, Negroponte’s appointment indicates “something sinister this way comes” in America’s foreign relations. The news reported his assignments include Iraq, China, and North Korea while Secretary Rice will keep Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian non peace initiatives.

Who gets Central and South America with its recent spate of populist elected leaders? My guess is John can work our heavy stick and carrot routine in multiple places at one time. His experience as Director of National Intelligence could come in handy should any underhanded measures become necessary.

If he needs Rev. Pat Robertson’s phone number for advice on how to handle Hugo Chavez, John only need call the White House. President George and Rev. Pat are close

Ever Fallible, Un-transparent Bush Administration Has Little People Paying the Price

Not only did the U.S. government kidnap the wrong man in Macedonia, they tortured him for months before realizing their error. The German citizen raised cane with his government afterwards. How did the transparent, credible Bush administration respond?

The case has been a sore point in otherwise good German-U.S. relations. The U.S. Justice Department has declined to provide Munich prosecutors assistance, citing ongoing legal proceedings in the United States.

The victim, Al-Masri has asked a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to reinstate a lawsuit he filed against the CIA. A judge dismissed the lawsuit in May, ruling that a trial could harm national security by revealing details about CIA activities.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. officials have declined to address the case. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the United States has acknowledged making a mistake with him.

Due to the Bush team’s intransigence, CIA agents now face criminal charges in Germany.

Arrest warrants were issued for 13 people in connection with the alleged CIA-orchestrated kidnapping of a German citizen in the agency's extraordinary rendition program, a Munich prosecutor said Wednesday.

In typical Bush fashion, underlings will be held responsible for the implementing their nefarious bosses’ plans.

Chief of “The Democratixx” Unleashes New Round of Agents

Returning to “The Democratixx”, something moved in the false shadowy world designed to keep humanity asleep, only to be awoken every two years for their vote. The Chief’s scrunched up face, full of frustrations, mouths “I’ve got to get out of here. This place stinks of something!”

Is it Agent Smith who hates the smell of humans and wants to replicate himself in an effort to do in the program that created him? Or is it Agent Bush who hates the smell of regulation, a key role of government? Does George Bush want to undermine the program that gave him power or does he want to take it all over by seeding the program with thousands of Agent Bush’s?

Agent Bush claims to hate regulation but nearly two weeks ago, he signed an Executive Order proliferating copies of himself in every federal agency. Why paste a Bush face on the swath of civil servants “protecting” the American people? Does the President want to do otherwise?

"Within 60 days of the date of this Executive order, each agency head shall designate one of the agency's Presidential Appointees to be its Regulatory Policy Officer, advise OMB of such designation, and annually update OMB on the status of this designation."

Yes, in two months numerous Bush agents will proliferate the halls of government. Soon they will have their marching orders. And as extensions of Agent Bush they will have considerable power.

"The Director may convene a meeting of agency heads and other government personnel as appropriate to seek a common understanding of priorities and to coordinate regulatory efforts to be accomplished in the upcoming year."

"Unless specifically authorized by the head of the agency, no rulemaking shall commence nor be included on the Plan without the approval of the agency's Regulatory Policy Office, and the Plan shall contain at a minimum:".

How many Neo’s exist in the bowels of our federal monstrosity? Will they be able to outrun the new wave of Agent Bush’s coming their way? Rumor has it Agents will target the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Health and Safety Administration. They will be extra hungry having been kept on the sidelines as a select few from the SEC gutted Sarbanes Oxley. Agent Bush is happy to have more Enron’s but a clean environment and safe workplace, those are unnecessary luxuries barely viewable in “The Democratixx”.

Regulators will now intervene only when the false shadowy world itself is at risk. No longer will problems negatively impacting the public be identified as the focus shifts to “market failure”. The Agent will scour the landscape for industries needing more profit as it tries to break out of itself. Once found, huge government contracts will head the way of health insurers and financial institutions. And the Agent still mutters “I must get out of here. This place stinks…”

Ccccc Cafferty File!

Q: What does it mean that President Bush is using taxpayer money to fund a private army in Iraq without the knowledge of the American people?

A: Since when has President Bush cared about the American people being fully informed? When he put out his Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned report did he say "I completely left out the hospital with the highest patient death toll and they happen to be friends of my father's, the earthly one"? Nope, and The Carlyle Group's LifeCare Hospitals are most grateful.

A: Did you notice how poorly the Pentagon is keeping track of those private contractors? After six years in office plenty of evidence exists of the Bush team’s managerial incompetence. From “who could have foreseen” to “miscalculated”, their droppings are everywhere. I hate to tell you Jack, but Bush wants to contract out everything. Next up for a big round of outsourcing are government sponsored health insurance and retirement, otherwise known as Social Security. How well will they keep track of those insurance companies or financial managers?

Q: What does it mean if Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is a tougher critic of the Bush administration than many Democrats?

A: It means both have seen the President's dismal approval ratings. Chuck's language indicates he wants a divorce ASAP. Meanwhile the Democrats are delighted to let Bush sit in the slop. Not long ago Congress had such a rating. The Democrats probably want to enjoy their dry clothes for just a bit.

Q: Is it possible to train politicians not to say stupid things ever?

A: Are they speaking to the level of most Americans to garner votes or do they really believe some of the "stupid" things they say?

A: Hey we’re all human. The question is whether the "stupid" statement is projection or a reflection? And how often do they occur (for leaders other than our President)? He proves not all are trainable.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bush Talks Dirty to Iran

President Bush’s manhood stood on full display as presented his Executive stance to Iran. With a bulge in U.S. troops headed to the engorged region, the Bush administration issued a stern warning. Any augmentation of Iranian assets in Iraq will be met firmly with a surge of Bush inspired testosterone.

Bush’s new military man for the inflamed Middle East said the U.S. miscalculated in Iraq. Did America underestimate the passion in that part of the world against those who would rape their country? It’s not the first time a Western army invaded to seed something new.

If this doesn’t help clarify things, I’m not sure anything will…

Monday, January 29, 2007

Helping God Bring on Those End Times

A group planned violence to help bring about prophesized events in their religion. Their scheme involved accelerating key events predicted to lead to the final conflagration, the return of the messiah, and a long reign of peace. Was it:

1. Messianic Jews digging under the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to plant bombs, making way for the Third Temple on the Dome of the Rock
2. Messianic Muslims adding to the level of violence and chaos needed to prompt the Hidden Iman to return
3. Messianic Christians playing the latest “convert or die” video game, the modern virtual crusade.

All answers are correct! Everybody wins, except messianics hate that. They want only their tribe/nation to win.

The real messiah has everybody winning in the end and would say there is no other time than now…

Warden’s MD Degree?

A Florida prison warning gave his professional opinion about the sensations felt by an inmate during a botched execution. Apparently this prison chief studies pain management on the side, otherwise why would a board of inquiry seek his opinion on such a matter? The incarceration manager stated:

A convicted killer whose execution was botched last year was never in any pain, and appeared to be straining to see a clock, not grimacing as some witnesses claimed, the warden told a panel reviewing Florida's lethal injection procedures Monday. "He had the opportunity to be able to scream, cry, yell and that sort of thing and that did not happen," Florida State Prison Warden Randall Bryant, who stood about 2 feet from Diaz during the execution, told the 11-member commission.

What did the real medical professionals deduce?

An autopsy found chemical burns in both his arms, and some experts said in interviews that Diaz probably suffered excruciating pain.

Does Mr. oopss I mean Dr. Bryant want to avoid having his blown execution associated with those from the world’s newest democracy? At least this wasn’t a lynching, dang it. I meant hanging. And nobody lost their head

Bush Quotes Worth Exploring

Several recent comments by President Bush are telling. The first characterized V.P. Dick Cheney as a sunny optimist.

"I think that the vice president is a person reflecting the glass half full mentality," Bush said in regard to his V.P.’s statements on Iraq.

Huh? Why then is the Vice President so pessimistic about a small number of people’s ability to do harm on a widespread basis? Why is so dark that he spends months lobbying for torture on Capital Hill? How much of the glass did the V.P. drink before firing into the sun and hitting a huge Republican campaign donor while quail hunting ?

The second statement involves that same war in Iraq.

President Bush said Monday "we will respond firmly" if Tehran escalates its military actions in Iraq and threatens American forces or Iraqi citizens.

The choice of words is priceless as the U.S. used “surge” and “augmentation,” but definitely not “escalation” to describe an increase of troops in disintegrated Iraq. It appears the Bush team saved “escalation” for its enemies.

Does anyone believe these folks anymore? Not many as the President’s approval rating dropped to the low 30’s. Nearly 60% wish the Bush Presidency were over. But don’t worry as Cheney and Bush are grateful for the 30% of Americans that are with them. Should the 70% beware as the Dick/George duo repeatedly called out “if you’re not for us, you’re against us”?

U.S. State Department Maybe Weighs in On Israel’s Use of Cluster Bombs in Lebanon

Sean McCormick graced my television set with results of a “preliminary investigation” to Congress on Israel’s illegal use of American provided cluster bombs against Lebanon this past summer. He noted the lengthy, factual, technical nature of the report which will need to be digested by a Congressional committee. I hope they don’t indigestion from all those qualifying words like “may”, “likely”, and “could have”. In about 20 seconds of videotape Sean unleashed a spate of qualifying statements.

Contrast this with America’s strong objection blaming the Palestinian government for a suicide bomber who killed three in an Israeli bakery.

In Washington, the White House condemned the violence and said it held the Hamas-led government accountable. "Failure to act against terror will inevitably affect relations between that government and the international community and undermine the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own," the White House said.

Two Palestinian militant groups, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, claimed joint responsibility for the attack.

Did the U.S. government hold itself responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing? If not, why would a government be responsible for attacks by militant groups not under their control? Bombs are killing innocents in either case. Both should be strongly denounced. And they will train in the ways of war no more…

Rudy Hires “Clean Semprini” for Help in New Hampshire?

It only took one phone call for Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani to reach Wayne Semprini and request his service in New Hampshire. In 2002 the “Live Free or Die” state stood at the center of political controversy. Republican operative James Tobin hired a company to block Democratic phone lines arranging rides for voters. For this Mr. Tobin has been sentenced to jail time. Will his Bush Pioneer status work into any future presidential pardons?

Mr. Semprini weighed in on the lawsuits, even suggesting the criminal work the result of “a few unauthorized individuals” and not the Republican Party. This claim becomes questionable when the roles of those individuals are examined. The three people named in criminal cases include:

1. Executive Director of New Hampshire’s Republican Committee-Charles McGee
2. Republican National Committee Operative-James Tobin
3. Consultant Head of GOP Marketplace-Allen Raymond

The Executive Director paid the consultant $15,000 to find someone to carry out the phone jamming scheme. Does the Granite State’s Republican Committee not have internal financial controls? Who signed the $15,600 check besides Mr. McGee? Did then chair John Dowd ink the check?

Mr. Semprini said his committee deplored the phone blocking incident and does not endorse illegal or improper election tactics. While it may not endorse such practices, it does defend them. One news story said the various Republican Committees paid some $3 million to defend the gentlemen in question.

And what happened to the criminals afterwards? Charles McGee, rather than a pariah, continues to benefit as a member of the GOP fold. Karl Rove came to New Hampshire to conduct a fundraiser to replenish funds drained by the state’s portion of the legal defense, which eventually rose to over $400,000.

What Mr. Semprini left out is notable.

The FBI's 2003 interview with NHRSC Executive Director Chuck McGee is especially revealing in this regard [we've posted it here]. McGee, who has said he originally hatched the plan to jam Democrat's phones, told the FBI that he'd discussed the jamming before Election Day with the NHRSC's Chair, the Vice Chair, Finance Director, and four other senior level Republican staffers in the state. McGee pled guilty for his role in the jamming and has already served his time.
McGee said that the Party's Chairman John Dowd gave him the go-ahead the night before the election [Dowd, for his part, admitted to The New Hampshire Union Leader that McGee told him of the plan, but said he did not authorize it]; that the Vice Chair gave him the number of the Manchester Professional Firefighters Union, one of the jamming's targets; and that the Financial Director, who signed the check to pay for the jamming, disclosed to the FEC that the money was for "GOTV" (Get Out the Vote efforts) when she knew what it was really for [she corroborated this in her interview with the FBI].
Despite the apparent widespread knowledge within the NHRSC about McGee's plan, the NHRSC has tried to portray themselves as "the innocent victim of a single rogue employee acting alone," the Dems write in their motion.

Will Mr. Semprini be able to work similar magic with Rudy’s romantic history? Or will he be charged with helping the public forget some of Mr. Giuliani’s prior moderate positions?

Update 12-3-17:  A decade later President Trump's lawyer John Dowd claims to have tweeted on behalf of his boss to save Trump from a potential obstruction of justice count.  How can one attorney be so repeatedly bad on the law?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cheney’s Meaning of “I’m V.P & You’re Not”

With an interest in leadership I’d like to explore Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent comment in defense of the Bush Iraq policy. Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb has been rather direct in his criticism of the President’s escalation/surge/augmentation plans. When queried about Hagel’s statements, Cheney responded with:

"Let's say I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. But it's very hard sometimes to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved."

Later in response to another question about criticism from former associates, the V.P. said "Well, I'm vice president and they're not." What do you think he meant by that?

Did the Vice President mean his high role in the U.S. government is above criticism and a real reply unnecessary? Could he just play the position card and get out of any legitimate concerns about the Bush administration’s leadership of our country? Did he just say “I’m the #@& Ace of Hearts, second only to Bush, the Ace of Spades? In a game of war, I take all those low cards by just showing up. Even with Bush, we have a face off which I usually win.”

Or did Richard Cheney take the high road on this rare occasion? Did he mean the Vice President should not speak ill of other people as it stands second in command of the Executive Branch which serves all people? If so, how does this fit with his historical acerbic smack downs of the other party, including his famous invitation to Sen. Leahy of Vermont to go ____ (have sex with) himself, spoken on the Senate Floor? For me to believe Dick stumbled in a full blown rage off the high road, an apology to Mr. Leahy would need to exist on the record (somewhere other than his scorekeeping journal).

Or did V.P Dick Cheney unload another round of shot into the unfortunate lowlings who happened to cross his political path? As they lay on the ground bleeding, did Richard pinch a Vice Presidential doodee and leave it within noseshot? As he turned to walk away did the Veep say “Well, I’m the Vice President and they’re not.”?

It is so hard to read the man. If you have any thoughts on his true meaning please share.

Shadow of Middle East’s Shining Democracy

The Jewish state’s claims of a shining democracy have been darkened by the same aspects hiding in America’s historical shadow, discrimination and corruption. President Bush came out strongly against such government practices last fall, despite widespread evidence of influence pedaling under his Republican led Congress.

Two BBC news stories drive home Israel’s failure to live up to the President’s exhortations. One cites elected leaders consistently getting in trouble for corruption over time. Current Prime Minister Olmert is under the microscope for a bank deal.

The second article celebrates the first ever appointment of an Arab to the Israeli Cabinet. Despite comprising 20% of Israel’s population, a person of Arab descent had never been tapped to serve. Raleb Majadele will serve as Minister without Portfolio. His appointment was opposed by another recent cabinet appointment, Avigdor Lieberman to Minister of Strategic Affairs. Mr. Lieberman is an avid separatist wanting to drive all Arabs out of Israel.

In a rationale similar to kinder American slave owners, Israeli representatives suggest Arabs have more rights in the Jewish State than they have elsewhere in the Middle East. Maybe, but do they have the same rights as other Israeli citizens? They don’t according to the U.S. State Department website which indicates Israeli Arabs are discriminated against in housing and jobs.

However it isn’t the first time the Israeli cabinet reached out to a minority. In 2001 a Druze was appointed to the same position of Minister without Portfolio. He resigned shortly afterward after being indicted on corruption charges.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bush’s Handlers Help Log Eye Blind President

In another Saturday afternoon bad news release, the Army’s investigative division pursues corruption in the various “War on Terror” theaters. This comes after Bush boldly exclaimed “influence purchasing”, a Republican Party value, was off limits for other countries. There are some parts of democracy too sacrosanct to export.

From high-dollar fraud to conspiracy to bribery and bid rigging, Army investigators have opened up to 50 criminal probes involving battlefield contractors in the war in Iraq and the U.S. fight against terrorism, The Associated Press has learned. Senior contracting officials, government employees, residents of other countries and, in some cases, U.S. military personnel have been implicated in millions of dollars of fraud allegations.

"All of these involve operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait," Chris Grey, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, confirmed Saturday to the AP. The cases range in type, seriousness and complexity and involve contractors both inside and outside the United States.

Recall the Iraqi Electricity Minister charged with multiple counts of corruption but broken out of jail in the secure Green Zone and spirited out of the country, eventually making his way back to Chicago, of all places. He claims to be a personal friend of President George Bush. Isn’t that how one gets appointed nowadays?

Did you notice the firms under investigation are not mentioned in the news piece? Halliburton specifically has a policy that allows “facilitating payments” hard to distinguish from illegal bribes in its corporate ethics guidelines. Did they pass a few million in greased paper to get bridge building contracts needed on that road to democracy?

Finally Raw Deal-tails Revealed on Iraqi Oil Law

At 6:30 pm on a Saturday evening, the media released details on Iraqi production sharing agreements with foreign oil companies. As no domestic companies exist to make a bid, the newest democracy will soon outsource its oil production. What can foreign companies expect?

Published reports in the Middle East said the proposal would provide for so-called product sharing agreements that would give international oil firms 70 percent of the oil revenues to recover their initial investments and subsequently allow them 20 percent of the profits without any tax or restrictions on transferring funds abroad.

Several aspects of this agreement favor big oil. One, the percent of oil revenues at 70% is beyond the more common 40-60% rate seen around the world, especially for relatively easy to access oil. And two, the tax free nature of the company’s profits is not standard practice. Corporate profits in other countries are taxed.

This does seem to be a gravy train for the President’s favorite industry. How does it play out at the current price of $55 a barrel with production at prewar levels of 3 million barrels of oil a day? Seventy percent equates to $115 million a day or $42 billion a year until their initial investments after operating costs are recovered. After that most of the revenue would flow to the bottom line.

Another key is how cost over-runs are handled. Shell and BP stuck it to Russia & Georgia in this area requiring all cost overruns be deducted from the country’s share. While this was not mentioned in the news piece, the U.S. experienced huge cost over-runs in Iraqi reconstruction. The Center for Global Energy Studies estimated Iraq needs investment of $2.5 billion a year to achieve production of 6 million barrels per day by 2010.

While this date may have slipped back, it is instructive that Iraq needs about $10-12 billion in infrastructure development. Over those 5-6 years foreign oil company investment, big oil stands to pull out $210 to $252 billion just from their 70% revenue arrangement.

Once the investment is paid off, foreign firms will take 20% of the profits tax free. Under 6 million barrels a day at $55 a barrel, gross revenues would be $330 million a day or $120 billion a year. Should operating expenses be minimal, some $20 billion, big oil stands to clear that same amount, $20 billion tax free with their initial investment already covered.

Sweet for big oil! Bad for the Iraqi citizen who believes George Bush when he says, “Iraq’s oil belongs to the Iraqi people”. Did he ever follow that up with “and they should give it away”? After all from those who have much, much is required…

Senior White House Aid Admits Media is Manipulated

It took a courtroom oath to get the skinny on the current White House’s media manipulation. The tactics vary from granting exclusive stories to pitting reporters against each other. The weekend news lag is used to drop dirty stories the administration hopes go away. Cheney's former top press assistant, Cathie Martin described the craft of media manipulation - under oath and in blunter terms than politicians like to hear in public.

The uses of leaks and exclusives. When to let one's name be used and when to hide in anonymity. Which news medium was seen as more susceptible to control and what timing was most propitious. All candidly described. Even the rating of certain journalists as friends to favor and critics to shun - a faint echo of the enemies list drawn up in Richard Nixon's White House more than 30 years ago.

"Fewer people pay attention to it later on Friday," Martin testified. "And in our view, fewer people are paying attention on Saturday, when it's reported."

Plus an official can demand anonymity in return for the favor. "You can give it to them as a senior administration official," she said. "You don't have to say this is coming directly from the White House."

As the White claims it is being transparent, insiders testify otherwise. Why am I not surprised?

“Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda.” President Bush

Does that include “transparent” media manipulation, Mr. President? Get Laura to uncross her fingers behind her back before you answer…

Transportation Privatization Train Gaining Steam with Latest Nomination

President Bush’s latest appointment greases the legal skids for major privatization of America’s transportation infrastructure. This comes on top of Mary Peters’ approval as Secretary of Transportation last fall. The newest nomination, David James Gribben IV, currently works for a private infrastructure company. DJ will rejoin his old boss, Ms. Peters in his new role as chief legal counsel for the Transportations Department.

But he doesn’t arrive without a full complement of baggage having most recently worked for a foreign company doing transportation infrastructure deals in the U.S. Just last month, DJ spoke at a conference on privatizing public works. “Public Infrastructure: from Crisis to Asset Class” was held Dec. 4-5 in Washington, D.C.

The attendance list was a who’s who of private equity firms. The infamous Carlyle Group even had Robert W. Dove there as a presenter. They started an infrastructure division last spring with Dove as the co-head. He shared a panel with Bush’s newest appointee whose bio in the conference materials states:

D.J. Gribbin
Division Director
Macquarie Holdings, Inc.
New York NY

D.J. Gribbin serves as a Division Director of Macquarie Holdings, Inc. He is responsible for representing Macquarie in Washington, D.C. and assisting with business development in the United States. He joined Macquarie in January of 2006.

Prior to joining Macquarie, Mr. Gribbin served as Chief Counsel for the Federal Highway Administration. As Chief Counsel, he supervised a staff of 50 attorneys, who provided a range of legal services to the Agency. He and his staff worked with state and local government transportation attorneys and other customers to enhance their understanding of Federal laws and procedures relating to highway transportation. Mr. Gribbin’s tenure at FHWA was characterized by a focus on advancing public-private partnerships (PPP). His efforts included creating a PPP task force, writing a report to Congress highlighting the benefits of PPPs, and creation of FHWA’s SEP-15 program. For these efforts, he was presented with ARTBA’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2005.

Prior to joining FHWA, Mr. Gribbin most recently served as the Director of Public Sector Business Development, Koch Industries. In that role, he worked with the governors, legislators and leaders of State highway authorities to develop public-private transportation ventures. In addition, he worked on a policy level with Congress and the Administration to make it easier for states to use innovative financing and contracting techniques when building highways. As Koch’s Director of Government Affairs, he helped manage Koch’s Federal legislative and political efforts.

From February 1994 to September 1997, Mr. Gribbin served as the National Field Director for the Christian Coalition, where he managed a range of activities focused on expanding the grassroots organization. He worked from April 1989 to February 1994 as Legislative Representative for the National Federation of Independent Business, the largest organization representing small business owners. Mr. Gribbin served on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director for Congressman Larry Combest of Texas, with responsibility for a broad range of legislative duties. His responsibilities included serving as a member of the Professional Staff for the House Committee on the District of Columbia, where he drafted amendments and attended hearings with and on behalf of Congressman Combest.

Mr. Gribbin earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Law Degree from Georgetown University. He is a member of the Virginia Bar.

It’s good that DJ found the latest religions of “free markets” and “privatizing government functions” as the private sector is always more efficient. Unfortunately corruption and multiple layers of contractors post Hurricane Katrina put a pin in those balloons.

In an eerie Kevin Bacon like connection, President Bush nominated DJ’s dad, David James Gribbin III as a member of the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation in April 2002. However, the father only served a year on the Freddie Mac board.

It turns out the son comes with a pedigree. Pop served on the Halliburton Board of Directors. 1996 SEC documents give this description of the father in his new role of managing all of Halliburton’s government management relations.

Mr. Gribbin III, 56, brings a broad range of government experience toHalliburton. From 1979 to 1986, he was Administrative Assistant to Congressman Dick Cheney. Between 1986 and 1989, he held various assignments in the U.S.House of Representatives, including Executive Director for the Republican PolicyCommittee and Chief of Staff for the Republican Whip. From 1989 to 1992, Mr.Gribbin served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense. For the next three years, Mr. Gribbin was Chief ofStaff for Senator Dan Coats (R) of Indiana.

After a brief sabbatical, teaching a seminar on the U.S. Congress at theNaval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, Mr. Gribbin was named Executive Director for the Republican Platform Committee. In this capacity, hesupervised production of the draft document and managed the process at the recently held Republican National Convention in San Diego.

Well the Fourth appears to be a chip off the old block of the Third. Both are political animals who survive on the good will of their carnivorous peers. Let’s trace a few of the lions.

IV served in the same Republican Defense Department as Frank Carlucci, who went on to found The Carlyle Group. Tres went to work for Macquarie which did its own deal with Carlyle when it picked up Taiwan Broadband Communications. Both Carlyle and Macquarie want to make money off privatizing public infrastructure. One of those deals is in rural Texas with the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Macquarie just announced its purchase of American Consolidated Media, a company that owns loads of small rural Texas newspapers, 40 to be exact. Any chance they want to use that media influence to grease the skids for their corporate brother or sister to get a piece of the Bush/Perry pie also known as the Trans-Texas Corridor? The Corridor's Steering Committee even heard from the boys at Goldman Sachs about privatization in their November meeting.

A leading developer of the Texas private roadway is Cintras which just months ago partnered with Macquarie in a 50: 50 deal over an Indiana Toll Road project. (By the way, those 40 newspaper markets line up quite well with both routes of the new Trans-Texas Corridor.)

As they leave Governor Perry’s office, how much will Cintras/Macquarie walk away with? Will they do as well as Carlyle which already did its time on the State of Texas government tit, sucking some $100 million for its Vought Aircraft Industries site in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? After the State tithed $35 million in assistance it proffered a $65 million land deal which reduced Vought’s future tax exposure. The local government kicked in an extra $5.5 million to boot!

Can DJ Gribben the IVth beat Governor Perry’s corporate largesse in his new role with Transportation Department? Will he and Mary Peters be the dynamic duo that shovels American assets on the cheap to the likes of Carlyle, Goldman Sachs, Cintras or Macquarie? I hate to say it but should that be the job President Bush desires, he has assembled the right team…

Bush Issues “Reflexive Response” Challenge to Most Damnocrats

President Bush pulled out his reflex hammer and proceeded to pound the Damnocrat’s knees and elbows with it. Much of the President’s position (with my clarifications) is below:

Two key challenges we face are reducing our dependence on oil and expanding access to affordable health care. I have asked Congress to take several vital steps to address these issues. In health care I project tax cuts will reduce the nearly 47 million people with health insurance by 5 to 10%. This brings it down to the number without coverage in my second year in office. Now that’s progress. And while some members gave a reflexive partisan response, I was encouraged that others welcomed this opportunity to reach across the aisle. Thanks Evan!

We must also work together to ensure that Americans have accessible and affordable health care. The government has an obligation to provide care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children; and we will meet these responsibilities via contracting to the private sector. For all other Americans, private insurance is the best way to meet their needs. Do you hear that Uncle Bucky? My strategy is well-a-pointed!

And this week, I proposed two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. One is to roll back the number of uninsured to some 42-44 million via tax cuts. I even managed to work in tax cuts for 5 million people making over $50,000 a year under the guise of covering more people. Ha! The American people are gullible.

The other is to take money away from hospitals providing care for the poor and divert it to states trying innovative things to cover more people. Never mind that insurance companies administrative costs will eat up huge chunks of that $30 billion that previously went to patient care.

Last week I said health insurance is more like home ownership. Yet, this blew up in my face as I failed to see the U.S. government covers expensive multi-million dollar vacation homes built along the coast but refuses to cover nearly 47 million people. Yes, buildings are more important than people. I just hate it when people rub my nose in it!

Rather than a reflexive partisan response, I offer our country a proactive familial screwing, and I thank Senator Bayh for
joining me on this. So American citizens, bend over…

Which Religion Quiz?

As the U.S. works hard to export democracy and women’s rights throughout the world, obstacles continue to arise. The news reported on such a case this morning. A female teacher was told by school officials to leave because women are forbidden from teaching men. Was her leaving based on:

a. Quranic Law or Sharia
b. Biblical Law from 1st Timothy

The correct answer is b. The teaching institution is Southern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. The Hebrew teacher dismissed is Sheri Klouda. The school in its defense had this to say:

“With regard to the tightening of the policy of women teaching in the School of Theology, there has been no change in policy; but rather a return to the way it has always been. There was a momentary lapse of the parameters and the seminary has returned to its traditional, confessional, and biblical position.”

Now that clears things up! It turns out a “momentary lapse” is seven and a half years. Did the School flaunt its Lordly disobedience for close to a decade, merely the blink of an eye in God time? The U.S. is exporting democracy that gives religion the freedom to take rights, however temporarily granted, away. As America “returns” to its “Christian roots”, will women teachers be shed everywhere?

Who else might these freedom loving Christians be on the lookout for? Gays, of course. A Baptist College kicked out a top student for stating his gayness on his MySpace profile.

Who thought in America people could keep women from teaching men and stop openly gay people from getting a higher education? It surely sounds more like one of those international backwaters we are trying so hard to help. Might we need to look in the mirror?

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Reality Show “So You Think You Can Decide”

Inspired by the competition “You Think You Can Dance”, the Bush White House is stepping all over its own toes as it sponsors “So You Think You Can Decide?” The first season’s competition will be on Iraq and feature President Bush, V.P. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Bob Gates. President Bush and ex. Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have practiced their moves over the last 4 years and should be quite accomplished. New Defense Chief Bob Gates is at a distinct disadvantage.

Let the "decision off" begin:

President Bush and V.P. Cheney joined hands in the Oval Office for a waltz. After a few minutes of gazing into each other’s eyes, they pair broke apart and began rapping. With Dick making spitting noises and swinging his arms about wildly, the president challenged lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his buildup with his "I'm the decision maker" on troop levels rap.

After bouncing up and down and changing positions from front to back, the duo closed their rap with Vice President Dick Cheney saying ”Yo, da buildup will proooo-ceeeeed even if yo stinking resolution passes like bad gas after downing a jalapeno beef & cheese burrito!” The V.P. then introduced his Secretaries of Defense
saying “I believe their record speaks for itself”. The crowd quickly pulled out air freshener unsure if the Veep had passed bad gas or the odor came from “the stinky record” to which he referred.

Rumsfeld and Gates were supposed to compete as a team but bad blood turned their act into two solos. Now retired Rumsfeld chose a ballad titled “I’m the finest Secretary of Defense the world has ever had, at least according to Dick Cheney.” After the audience booed "warbling Donald" off the stage,Gates came last with his act.

Bob tried to solo but seemed a bit off key as he alluded to his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, in singing “the performance of generals like Casey, should be evaluated in the context of the decisions, made by their civilian superiors." His second verse: "The battlefield they faced, was shaped by those decisions." After closing on a high note, Bob took a bow.

Not only did the contestants want the audience to cheer solely for them, they warned any applause for competitors would embolden their position in the reality show. All agreed the booing of Sec. Rumsfeld would hurt troop morale as no one wants to battle after a high pitched, out of tune fight song. They feared it would embolden the terrorists to work on their singing skills.

After this round the audience wanted to dump all contestants, but rules provided for only one to go home. One audience member even said "where are the generals on the ground as aren't they the real decision makers?" Bush had no answer that made sense.

The audience declined free tickets for the next performance, calling the first one “embarrassing enough” for our country. Stay tuned for “So You Think You Can Decide?” and be sure to look and see if anyone at all is cheering…

Bush “Decision Maker” on Iraq, “Avoider” on Health Care

President Bush beat his chest about being “the decision maker” on Iraq as Congress challenges his troop augmentation plans. In doing so he derided his opponents about having no alternative plans to deal with the rapidly deteriorating democracy. As I read his stand, I could only picture Bush being “the avoider” on health care, of having no plans of substance to deal with the legions of uninsureds in our country.

His vaunted health savings accounts, launched as personal health accounts in 2002, had no impact as the number of uninsured rose by some 5 million people the last five years. He bragged yesterday that his newly proposed tax credits with reduce the 46.6 million with coverage by 5 to 10%. That gets it back to a number hit sometime during 2002.

Roughly the same percent of Americans, nearly 70% want something done about Iraq and healthcare. I don’t think President Bush is on the right side of either issue, especially if democracies are supposed to reflect the people’s will. Next time I hear him say “I working hard on the will of the people”, I’ll know it’s just another lie…

AP Reports China Has Twice as Much People as Population

In announcing a recalculation of China’s divorce rate, the Associated Press revealed the Communist giant has twice as much population as people.

China is switching to a more common international standard of counting divorces that will cut the divorce rate in half, state media said Friday. From this year, China will count the number of divorces per 1,000 people instead of counting the number of people who split per 1,000 population, the official China Daily newspaper said. The divorce rate for 2005 was 2.76, but according to the new method it was 1.38, the paper said. For 2006, the rate is estimated at 1.3.

When one doesn’t like a number, reform the calculation. The Chinese method may inspire President Bush to do more to “address” the number of people without health insurance in America. Last years re-formulation dropped 500,000 uninsureds from 2004 with the click of calculator. I can just President Bush issuing a signing statement that the number of uninsured be calculated using “per 1,000 people” instead of “per 1,000 population” to emulate the Chinese’s dramatic success in cutting their divorce rate...

Halliburton’s Policies Provide for “Facilitating Payments”

If only Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s attorneys had seen Section 6 of Halliburton’s Policy on Sensitive Transactions. It might have provided the Congressman both a means to accept grease money and a proper defense. The policy states:

The Company may be required to make facilitating or expediting payments to an official or employee of a government outside the United States, the purpose of which is to expedite or to secure the performance of routine governmental action by such government official or employee. Such facilitating payments may not be illegal under the FCPA and similar Laws of other countries. Nevertheless, it may be difficult to distinguish a legal facilitating payment from an illegal bribe, kickback or payoff. Accordingly, facilitating payments must be strictly controlled and every effort must be made to eliminate or minimize such payments. Facilitating payments, if required, will be made only in accordance with the advance guidance of the Law Department.

Randy could have flown over a country with no laws against such activity in a Halliburton jet, qualified as an official of the government currently outside the United States, and accepted a fat Halliburton check. While it may be difficult to distinguish this legal facilitating payment from an illegal bride, Randy could have been in compliance with company policy. And Halliburton’s Law Department would be there to guide him through the maze…

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bush’s Goal on Uninsured, Get Back to 2002

The President’s second signature plan to reduce the number of people in the U.S. without health insurance is projected to reduce the 46.6 million without coverage by 5 to 10%. A ten percent reduction would bring the total down to 42 million, which still seems like a scandalously large number. It happens to be the same number our country passed sometime in 2002, the same year President Bush introduced his first signature strategy to address the problem, personal health accounts. If his first plan resulted in an increase of 4.6 million without coverage, how might his follow up initiative work?

1. It will give a tax break to millions of Americans already with health insurance coverage. Huh? Isn’t the aim to get more people covered?

2. It may encourage insurance companies to quickly raise prices to meet that magical $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families for what Bush considers a non “gold plated” plan.

3. It may give employers the incentive to drop health insurance as a benefit thus shifting the responsibility to the one getting the tax break, the individual. Some 160 million people are covered by their employee benefits.

4. It will give some 5 million people who buy their own coverage and make over $50,000 a year a significant tax break. They save $2,500 on individual coverage and $5,000 on family coverage.

When President Bush calls for bold action to address the uninsured, this isn’t it. However, it is bold action for insurance companies wanting to sell more profitable individual policies with less coverage. It also greases the skids for employers wanting to dump that dreaded health insurance benefit.

As usual Bush leaves out hospitals carrying the burden of caring for the uninsured. He plans to shift $30 billion in federal support for such facilities to states wanting to innovate in covering more people. If Bush gets his way there should be 42 million left for the states to wrestle over.

Chertie Cheers World On to “Be Realistic”

The man who couldn’t save thousands of people from death after Hurricane Katrina has advice for the world on terrorism. His veiled threat of “terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons” aimed squarely at the Iranian President. Sec. Chertoff warned “You can't put that genie back in the bottle once a weapon of mass destruction or a nuclear bomb gets into the hands of a terrorist,"

Speaking at the World Economic Forum Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff got his back up over criticism of American methods to defend against terrorism. With red, white and blue pompoms Chertie broke into a rousing cheer in true Bush fashion.

Be realistic!
Be realistic!

When the going gets rough
Homeland Security gets tough

Those with terrorist signs
Will find us on the line

You with bad intentions
Face endless detentions

Some nabbed off the street
Placed on planes so fleet

They are carried afar
To accommodations nearly 4 star

No one is treated poorly
For this they act sorely

It’s democracy we hoard
So prisoners can water board

Freedom is to be sacrificed
So we can remain free

Our heroes are Bush/Cheney
Not the world’s hineys!

Be realistic!
Be realistic!

Yes, another rousing cheer from members of the Bush administration! Can we put that genie back in the bottle and return to a pre-Bewitched mindset? I don’t like the spells being cast…

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Businesses that Stand to Benefit from Bush’s SOU Address

The news reported on a number of corporations that could benefit should any of President Bush’s domestic proposals. And who should make the list for his health insurance tax credits targeted to help the private sector?

The health care taxation plan is the most appealing to the private sector, analysts said. The second part of the provision aims to curb health care spending by taxing any benefits over the $7,500 and $15,000 marks, and it could drive many Americans to individual-oriented plans offered by UnitedHealth Group Inc., Wellpoint Inc. and Aetna Inc.

President Bush’s Uncle Bucky just happens to sit on the WellPoint board of directors. The lone Democrat giving a standing ovation during Bush’s tax credit idea has a wife in the board chair next to Uncle Bucky. Senator Evan Bayh’s lovely wife, Susan sits on the WellPoint board. She flipped stock options for a whopping $1.2 million gain the last two years.

Mrs. Bayh’s seat is still warm from Al Hubbard’s service. Mr. Hubbard left the board to serve on President Bush’s economic team, specializing in healthcare. Is it any wonder, WellPoint stands to benefit from the President’s proposals. It seems their board is well appointed…

One Year Anniversary of SOD!

It's the one year anniversary of the event that inspired my second blog (after the no longer in existence Letters to Nowhere). Last year's State of the Division speech prompted my first post and even this blog's name.

What follows in two posts is my clarification of the President's 2007 State of the Union Address. May it provide you food for thought, possibly even a chuckle. Peace,

State of the Division

President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address

United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.
9:13 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own -- as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker. (Applause.) (The President reached back to tear off Mrs. Pelosi’s outer covering in a rehearsed skit & unfortunately grabbed her skirt instead, before yanking hard. While the crowd could hear a loud tearing sound the Speaker quickly sat down behind the rostrum and no unmentionables could be seen on the screen thus saving the White House a large FCC fine)

In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as Speaker of the House of Representatives. (Applause.) Congratulations, Madam Speaker. (Applause.) Better buy a new skirt Pelo-chia-pet!

Two members of the House and Senate are not with us tonight, and we pray for the recovery and speedy return of Senator Tim Johnson and Congressman Charlie Norwood. And pray they have health insurance unlike some 47 million Americans. (Applause.)

Madam Speaker Pelo-chia-pet, Vice President "Shooter" Cheney, members of the irrelevant Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens whose opinions I regularly ignore:

The rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour -- when decisions are hard and courage is needed. A quick translation is this address comes around every year like Greek Week. The behavior is pretty much the same. People get drunk and cheer vociferously for their fraternity. In Congress we have only two houses and a few geeks who couldn’t pledge either. And y’all remember how hard you worked to make sure your fraternity came out on top! Well the Presidency is like that every day.

We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us, except to pay our fair share of taxes if we happen to be the wealthy making out like bandits in my new economy. Most of you know what I’m talking about! We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies -- and the wisdom to face them together. Wisdom is a euphemism for pulling decisions out of my hind end! Root cause is proximate cause and plans with timelines, who needs ‘em!

Some in this chamber are new to the House and the Senate -- and I congratulate the Democrat majority. (Applause.) We’ll get you in next year’s Greek Week, rest assured! The Inter-Fraternity Council, oopps, I mean Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities. Each of us is guided by our own convictions –ask Duke Cunningham or Bob Ney-- and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we're all held to the same low ethical standards, and called to serve the same good for our personal pocketbook purposes: To extend this nation's propensity to spend the people's money like trail riding cowboy’s in a whore house; to give the illusion of solving problems by leaving them to future generations; to employ Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson to guard America against Satan in the form of Ted Haggard; and to keep faith with those who volunteered for huge bonuses to defend us. (Applause.)

We're not the first to come here with a government divided and uncertainty in the air. At least last year we were certain Congress would do nothing. Like many before us, we can work through our differences as long you come around to my way, and achieve big things for our party’s campaign coffers. Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on -- as long as we're willing to cross that aisle when our big donors show up with that check. (Applause.) Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans in the top 1% of the income charts and to build the illusion of a future of hope and opportunity -- and this is the bidness before us tonight.

A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy -- and that is what the statistics show, however the people don’t believe it. We're now in the 41st month of uninterrupted low wage, no benefit job growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs -- so far below a living wage that even illegal immigrants used to living on a pittance are scraping by. Unemployment is low because the chronically unemployed quit looking for work, inflation is low because housing prices are cratering, and wages are surging, escalating, oopps I meant augmenting. This economy is on the move, whoa last fall I specifically ordered “No Big Moves!” (The Vice President whispered into the President’s ear “that was on Iraq, Sir”) Gulp, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government earmarks, but with more enterprise. In my last signing statement I decreed “earmarks” from now on will be known as “enterprise”. (Applause.)

Next week, I'll deliver a full report on the state of our economy from the restroom of the Oval Office. Both of us will be in the crapper. Tonight, I want to discuss three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress, as the last Republican controlled Congress couldn’t even pass a flipping budget. They were too busy watching Nancy Pelo-chia-pet’s hair grow. Rick Santorum loved to come by and water it. That Bill Frist would slip some Rogaine in Rick’s watering can without his knowledge. Cough, cough. Phwet! Sorry I laughed too hard reminiscing about the 109th and my tears dislodged a big loogey that got stuck in my throat. Sorry Mrs. Ginsberg, I hope it didn’t hit you. Now where was I?

First, we must balance the federal budget after 6 years of record deficit spending. (Applause.) We can do so without raising taxes on the rich who would never manage their household like our government. Now the poor know what its like to live off credit, I mean deficit spending. (Applause.) What we need is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. by gutting those dreadful New Deal social programs. I set a goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009, and met that goal three years ahead of schedule by fudging the figures otherwise known as lying. (Applause.) Now let us take the next step and lie some more. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. (Applause.) I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the drunken cowboy in a whore house spending appetite of the federal government, and we can balance the federal budget without cutting out the booze or prostitutes. (Applause.)

Next, there is the matter of earmarks. Under Republican Party leadership these special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour -- when not even C-SPAN is watching. (Laughter.) In 2005 alone, the number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. And I signed every bill. Even worse, over 90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate -- they are dropped into committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You didn't vote them into law. I didn't sign them into law. Yet, they're treated as if they have the force of law. How can I do a signing statement on them? The time has come to end this practice by renaming it. So let us work together to reform the budget process, remove every earmark and replace it with an “enterprise”. After all you are “enterprising” Congress persons. (Applause.)

And, finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of #@&# entitlements. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience but who has time for that, and so it is our duty to gut them under the illusion of keeping them permanently sound. Yet, we're failing to help the poor and elderly so the rich can keep their ginormous tax cuts. And this failure will one day leave our children with three bad options: selling matches on the street in the dead of winter, crossing the Rio Grande to Mexico in search of work, or moving to China to work for an American manufacturer there. Everyone in this chamber knows the rich deserve their tax cuts in perpetuity because their wealth came from God and who are we to interfere with the big guy, however he does listen to me -- yet somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and make the rich people happy now. With enough good sense and goodwill, you and I can “modernize” Medicare and Medicaid -- and “privatize” Social Security such that every citizen will have to fund their own healthcare and retirement. (Applause.)

Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children the knowledge and character they need to succeed in a material world. Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, preserving local control, raising standards, and holding those schools accountable for results by bribing or punishing them. And because we acted, schools have taken their cues from American CEO’s and are cheating to achieve results. Executives backdating stock options to improve business performance inspired our smartest teachers to do whatever they needed to achieve “the prize”. Students are performing better on reading and math tests, and minority students are closing “the achievement gap”. They are assigned a rich alum from an Ivy League school as mentor. This helped me close “the achievement gap” and get into Yale. I expect it to work wonders, especially if they get a stock option cheating CEO as an alum.

Now the task is to build on the success, without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform. Huh? Who wrote that crap? (Mr. Cheney whispers in the President’s ear, “you did”) Well, whatever it means, I meant it! We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools by hook or by crook, and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose someplace better which if enough failing children choose will become worse. (Applause.) We must increase funds for students who struggle -- and make sure these children get the special help they need. Remember the rich alums! (Applause.) And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future and our country is more competitive by strengthening our French fry cooking and Chinese language skills. The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America's children like stock option grants worked for U.S. CEO’s -- and I ask Congress to reauthorize this law that encourages people to cheat on a widespread basis. (Applause.)

A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available health care and I have done nothing on this during my six years in office. (Applause.) When it comes to health care, government has an obligation to allow private insurance companies to profit from the care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children. And we will meet some of those responsibilities now while doing fewer in the future. For all other Americans, you are on your own. Private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs and for the companies to profit. My Uncle Bucky sits on the board of a major insurer and his stock appreciation rights are definitely major. He sits next to Senator Bayh’s wife at the board table. Hey Evan, Uncle Bucky wanted me to tell you to tell Susan hi! (Applause.) But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy and I don’t particularly give a rat’s ass about it. Get a better job, scumbags! God will bless you with health insurance if you deserved it!

And so tonight, I will use my God like abilities and propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income on payroll tax -- or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income. With this reform, health insurance companies will quickly raise their rates on their most basic plans to guess what? $7,500 a year for individual and $15,000 a year for family coverage! Do you hear that Uncle Bucky and Susan Bayh? In addition, more than 100 million men, women, and children who are now covered by employer-provided insurance will benefit from lower tax bills. Wait, these people already have coverage, why do they need help? (Dick Cheney whispers in the President’s ear.) My Veep tells me this greases the way for employers to dump those health insurance benefits.

At the same time, this reform will level the playing field for those who do not get health insurance through their job. For Americans who now purchase health insurance on their own, this proposal would mean a substantial tax savings -- $4,500 for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach. Notice I will make no real projections as to how many people currently uninsured will get coverage as a result of my plan. Al Hubbard has dodged the Health Savings Accounts statistics for years. We call him “Dodger Al”. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making health care affordable for more Americans. Remember what I said earlier about balancing the budget in 5 years? If this proposal goes through we will need to bloody Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. (Applause.)

My second proposal is to help Uncle Bucky’s company by assisting states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. The problem is under Medicare’s Pay for Performance no doctors will want to see the poor or the sick. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to take existing federal funds and use them to create "Affordable Choices" grants. These grants would give our nation's governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need. Do you hear that Uncle Bucky, the cavalry’s coming!

There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts which I’ve talked about from this podium for over 4 years, yet the number of uninsured rose by over 4 million people under my signature strategy. (Applause.) We need to help small businesses through Association Health Plans. (Applause.) We need to reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology. Never mind the cost of providing care to the legions of uninsureds in our country. (Applause.) We will encourage price transparency to unleash the power of the individual consumer when the negotiating leverage of large businesses and the government failed. And to protect good doctors from junk lawsuits, we passing medical liability reform. This will free up provider’s time to negotiate prices on the phone with their patients. (Applause.) In all we do, we must remember that the best health care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors, unless you happen to be a heart patient needing an implantable cardiac device. In that case the government will interfere. (Applause.)

Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America -- with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated by non European/Anglo settlers, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we're doubling the size of the Border Patrol, and funding new infrastructure and technology.

Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off employers -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave Border Agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. Never mind that someone has to monitor the temporary time frames. (Applause.) We'll enforce our immigration laws at the work site but I won’t mention the agency responsible and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law. Every employer will have access to the “Do Not Fly” list to check the status of each dark skinned employee. (Applause.)

We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. (Applause.) We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty. (Applause.) Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration and lawmakers can now lose their pensions over such deep convictions. I have my fingers crossed for you Tom Delay which leads me to my next point. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate, so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law. (Applause.)

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil produced by U.S. oil and gas companies at huge profits. And this dependence leaves those firms more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy. Never mind that a hurricane did the same thing, raising the price of oil and generating record profits for our outstanding economy. The key is who gets the money!

It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power. (Applause.) We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. (Applause.) We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- (applause) -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes, to politicians hot air. Tonight I’m hooked up to a special device that pulls the kinetic energy from my breathing process and turns it into electricity. You see the bulge in the middle of my back under my suit coat? Yes, it’s the same device I tested in that John Kerry debate. Only then I used the shocks to wake me up when John talked. Man that guy is dry! Oh hi John!

We made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies here in Washington and the strong response of the market. Big oil tried to lower gas prices to keep the Congress in Republican hands and it almost worked. And now even more dramatic advances are within reach. As I speak prices once again are being lowered to temporarily assuage the public. Soon an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will make these prices a fond memory.

Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. (Applause.) When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East. This will play great in living rooms as people are frustrated with the Iraq war. Their ongoing rage can be minimized with a vision of future payback by importing much less oil. Bingo!

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.) At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017. Wait I consistently have argued against mandatory standards and relied on voluntary measures. Why the change? (The VP whispered in his ear). Oh, the federal government will subsidize alternative fuels while reducing strict regulations on industry via “modernization and reform”. Hey, didn’t I warn against backsliding under the rubric of reform a minute ago?

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it's not going to eliminate it. We still need Iraq! And so as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. Forget the Valdez and Exxon’s refusal to pay fines while making kajillions of dollars! Drill in Alaska! (Applause.) And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We have to keep driving up oil company profits! (Applause.)

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change also known as the Tooth Fairy. (Applause.)

A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice for the common person as the rich rarely are held accountable for their crimes. How many of the 2,000 CEO’s who backdated their stock option grants will get charged, much less spend a day in jail? The lives of our regular citizens across our nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal courts. We have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely conservative rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate right wing nut job men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a doodee, as well, to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. (Applause.)

For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people of this country from danger. What happened to military service? In other speeches I say there is no higher duty than military service. Yet not all protectors are in the U.S. military. There are policeman, fireman, and emergency medical workers. I’m getting stuck, breathe, must return to the mantra….Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that the terrorists can cause. We've had time to take stock of our situation. We've added many critical protections to guard the homeland. We know with certainty that the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend for us -- unless we stop them.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. There was no time for such debate after 9-11; a swift boat of action was needed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions like did Saddam really have WMD? Yet one question has surely been settled in all this swift boating: that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy. You’re either with us or against us. If you’re not against me, you’re for me. Four score and seven years ago…(Applause.)

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense (the President picks up a football). Evan, run a curl pattern. John Roberts, you block for me. Now all you sissie Democrats come and get the ball! Completion! High fives Evie Boy! Y’all got blocked by one Supreme Court Judge! Wussies!

The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary in tents and caves, easy movement by camel, steady financing from selling dates, and free flowing communications by cackling loudly in the desert are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same.

2007 State of the Union Address: Part Deux

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. The freedom hating terrorists did not harm either Sweden or Switzerland, long known for their abundant freedoms and high taxes. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. Yet the plans couldn’t even agree on the name of the building. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We took their hair gel and personal grooming tools before they could be used against us. Those supplies were put to good use as FEMA chief Michael Brown used them prior to his Katrina television interviews. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them. (Applause.)

Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this growing enemy, ever inspired by my words and actions. Here I’ll really piss ‘em off. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that's the case, from sea to shining sea America is still a nation at war, however a draft isn’t needed and please keep shopping!
In my mind, ooopps, I mean in the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Rather than that big pot of terrorist stew I offered last fall, Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology, mostly taught by Wahabi’s in Saudi Arabia yet I attacked Iraq instead as the war in my mind began well before 9-11. Back to the free bin Laden’s views.. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent. Hey that sounded like Rev. Pat Robertson’s international policy advice!

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions while we cover ours. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon our world wide money making schemes. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology while keeping their profits at home. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: "We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse." Osama bin Laden declared: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us." Yes, there are nutcases in the world. These people don’t worship money or the fact that God gives his true followers boatloads of it, even from selling arms!

Remember that pot of terrorist stew? Think of Sunni extremists as the meat in the broth.
These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. The Shia are the potatoes in the stew. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The problem is compounded at the meat and potatoes are fighting each other in the big pot of Iraq. I will know act like this is not true. The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale. So America is taking a big spoon and colander into Iraq to keep the meat and potatoes separated and peaceful in that simmering cauldron. When the meat takes a bite out of the potato, it will be treated like a terrorist. Should the potato use its heat to burn the meat, it will be incarcerated in the colander. Is that clear? The Sunni are meat, and Shia extremists will be mashed.

In the sixth year since our nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers had ended. They have not; as a matter of fact they’ve grown according to our National Intelligence Estimate. I alone created Muqtada al Sadr! They call me Dr. Frankenstein! And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people. What’s not lawful under Congress passed laws is covered under fiat per my secret signing statements. (Applause.)

This war is more than a clash of arms, legs and torsos -- it involves the brain, and the security of our nation is in the balance. My acts have tilted this balance against us. Oh crap, not again. Breathe, must return to the mantra… To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come and kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom-- societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Thus Sweden and Switzerland are at extreme risk. All conscientious Americans should enroll in the Swedish and Swiss military as soon as possible.

Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies – yet violent and malignant narcissistic leaders will manipulate their followers down such a path. Most will choose a better way when they're given a chance, but it is difficult for the populace in any country to challenge pathological leaders. So we advance our own security interests by helping other narcissists posing as moderates, reformers and brave voices for democracy while purposefully not looking in our own mirror. Recall Ahmed Chalabi? We plan on creating more of them. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity to give America your oil. And I say, for the sake of our own security, we must. (Applause.)

In the last two years, we've seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East -- and we have crapped on it. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, they drove out the Syrian occupiers and chose new leaders in free elections. Then a year later, I sat on my hands for 30 days while Israel attacked its democratic neighbor to the north, setting it back 25 years.

In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. Since then I’ve reduced American troops in the country and the Taliban is resurging, re-escalating and re-augmenting.

And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections, choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world under our direction, and then electing a government under that constitution that didn’t meet for months while the country unraveled. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget. As for killers in their midst, according to a British medical journal the U.S. war is responsible for over 600,000 civilian deaths since the invasion. (Applause.)

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel long after the Israeli incursion, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Sunni Secular Baathist Syria and Shiite Fundamentalist Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government.

In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, while to newly elected government refused to meet, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia -- and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day. This what my surge, I mean escalation, uh augmentation intends to address. A civil war brews in every place democracy has been introduced, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Iraq. It’s much easier to conduct international business with the common people occupied with daily survival tasks.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we created the conditions for. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. That four years later the fight continues reveals major flaws in both strategy and execution. Yet I won’t talk about either, instead I’ll give you some drivel about keeping on by keeping on. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our meat and potato friends abandoned, our own security at risk, and all that damn oil in the ground. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle by giving the enemy more targets. Let us stuff our concerns, find our resolve, and turn events toward victory. (Applause.)

We're carrying out a new strategy in Iraq -- a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government that consistently fails to deliver, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission which will remain nebulous. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror. Now craft a military plan to make that happen!

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to stand up so we can’t stand down. We have to stand up even more for them so we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces run the risk of being fragged as they help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads.

And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered from across the world and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. (Applause.) We didn't drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq. Oopps, the Taliban is still in Afghanistan and al Qaeda leader bin Laden is rumored to be there too. Did I just lie again in saying we drove al Qaeda out of Afghanistan? No, I used a word re-definition, kind of like changing “earmarks” to “enterprise”, al Qaeda in Afghanistan is now known as Taliban. You can drive a whole slew of bad stuff away with a simple word change. Did you know people in America are no longer hungry, just food insecure? And I did it without fishes or loaves. Now that’s real power! Where was I? Oh yeah, Iraq.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace when not fighting each other, and now it's time for their government to act. Iraq's leaders living in foreign countries know that our commitment is not open-ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad -- and they must do so as our commitment is not open ended. They pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party -- and they need to follow through as our commitment is not open ended. By lifting needless restrictions on Iraqi and coalition forces, these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the meat and potatoes people of Baghdad.

Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks, something I won’t do -- to achieve reconciliation, to share the pittance of oil revenues leftover from western oil company contracts among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq, to allow more ex-Saddamist Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life, to hold local elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secure. And our nation building plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

My fellow citizens, our recently replaced military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach for a whole month. After much mountain biking and brush clearing, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance for success, but I can’t tell you the percentage chance for success as that is top secret and I would have to kill you. If the American people heard the number I would have to kill them and then I would be their greatest terrorist. So to be safe Americans, stay ignorant!

Many in this chamber (Republicans & ex. Halliburton Execs) understand that America must not fail in Iraq, because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far-reaching. If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. As if it isn’t already. Have you seen the horrific bombings the last couple of days? We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict. Isn’t that verbatim what Saudi Foreign Minister al Faisal warned me about before invading in 2003, a destabilized Middle East? I want a new speechwriter, quit giving me dated material!

For America, this is a nightmare scenario of our own creation. For the enemy, this is the objective we will bandy across the airwaves. Chaos is the greatest ally -- their greatest ally in this struggle. And I’m familiar with chaos. Did you see my response to Hurricane Katrina? Uh oh, dang, I did it again, painted myself into a corner even self deprecating humor can’t release me from. Remember breathe and access the mantra….And out of American intervention in Iraq, chaos would emerge with an emboldened enemy, new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm me and Americans by proxy. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th which involved attacking the wrong country and invite tragedy by repeating the error with Iran. Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! (Applause.)

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now unless its hidden in a secret signing statement. I have spoken with many of you in person and most of you are boring. I respect you and the silly arguments you've made, especially you cut and runners. We went into this largely united in our purposeful ignorance, in our manipulated assumptions and in our convictions. Dang it who put Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney back in the speech! And whatever you voted for, it had no corporate ties to it. You did not vote for failure, although our Iraq rebuilding effort qualifies as such. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to hang the current al Maliki government. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way cause there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it! (Applause.)

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. No I am not a lame duck! And that's why it's important to work together so our nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. Please don’t make me irrelevant! It is pitiful watching Condi be ignored by the world. Don’t sentence me to that! It's why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties who support my positions. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. We'll show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory. Never mind that I ditched most of the Iraqi Study Group’s recommendations! This isn’t a study group it’s a special advisory council.

And one of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. Note a 70 billion budget increase for this item alone means a chain saw will be needed to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Whhrrrr! (Applause.) Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. (Applause.) A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time. In other words, we can’t hire enough contractors to do the work! People don’t want to voluntarily go to danger zones but those who join a reserve corps, can be ordered.

Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle because we're not in this struggle alone. It is not like New Orleans when you were really struggling alone. We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism yet causing many countries to become nervous about America’s heavy handed international dealings. In Iraq, ever dwindling numbers of multinational forces are operating under a mandate from the United Nations. We're working with Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the Gulf States to increase support for Iraq's government. However it is difficult to get support from people who warned you not to invade in the first place.

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. (Applause.) With the other members of the Quartet -- the U.N., the European Union, and Russia -- we're pursuing diplomacy to help bring one way peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. Did you see the beating Jimmy Carter got for his book equating treatment of the Palestinians with Apartheid? That’s what happens when you cross the Israeli lobby. Did I mention how much I love Israel and their atomic weapons? All you AIPAC sponsored Congresspersons join with me in thanking Israel. (Applause.)

In Afghanistan we “cut and ran”, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive -- the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Whoa! Didn’t I say a minute ago we’d drive al Qaeda out of Afghanistan! Son of a bitch! Hey, that reminds me of Kim Jong-Il! Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we're pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

We will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus, and Burma -- and continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur. We save invasions for countries that actually have oil. Although I heard Cuba has potential offshore reserves. Hhhmmm. (Applause.)

American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy, although evidence of this is difficult to find. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required except the paying of taxes. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger, I mean food insecurity and poverty and disease -- and that is precisely what America is doing. We wiped out hunger in the U.S. by changing the name to food insecurity and we can do likewise throughout the world.

We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa. (Applause.) Because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in three short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. I ask you to provide $1.2 billion over five years so we can combat malaria in 15 African countries. This will go the World Bank managed by my good friend Paul Wolfowitz. He would love to make interest on the $1.2 billion or get a better return by picking up a piece of a Carlyle Group syndication. (Applause.)

I ask that you fund the Millennium Challenge Account, so that American aid reaches the people who need it, in nations where democracy is on the rise and corruption is in retreat. Unfortunately with increasing government corruption and the Unitary Executive’s creeping powers, the United States no longer qualifies for the Millennium Challenge. And let us continue to support the expanded trade and debt relief that are the best hope for lifting lives and eliminating poverty. Ignore that worldwide poverty has grown despite the promises of free trade. (Applause.)

When America serves itself by pretending to serve others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. Guess which companies will provide the AIDS drugs and malaria reduction materials? These deeds reflect the character of our government and businesses. Our people would be appalled. The greatest strength we have is not the heroic kindness, courage, and self-sacrifice of the American people. It is their ignorance, their lives filled with day to day details such that they can’t explore what occurs behind the hallowed halls of government. You see this spirit often if you know where to look -- and tonight we need only look above to the gallery. Look they are all smiling and waving!

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America. While Dikembe builds hospitals, my health care plan moves money from hospitals that care for the poor to states trying innovative solutions. (Applause.)

After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children's videos in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born, and in just five years her business grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success to help others -- producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: "I believe it's the most important thing that I have ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a world that is safe." And so tonight, we are pleased to welcome this talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur -- Julie Aigner-Clark. If Julie were to sell her company today
for $25 million she could save over $1 million in capital gains taxes, thanks to my tax cuts. (Applause.)

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped onto the tracks, pulled the man into the space between the rails, and held him as the train passed right above their heads. He insists he's not a hero. He says: "We got guys and girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We have got to show each other some love." There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey. Yet with a few swipes of the pen, I can toss tens of thousands off Medicaid and symbolically toss them in front of a speeding train. (Applause.)

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rieman returned fire; he used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and received shrapnel wounds to his legs -- yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy's position. For his exceptional courage, Sergeant Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and the gratitude of our entire country. (Applause.)

In such courage and compassion, ladies and gentlemen, we see the spirit and character of America -- and these qualities are not in short supply except in Washington D.C. This is a decent and honorable country -- and resilient, too. We've been through a lot together. We've met challenges and faced dangers often without my help, and we know that more lie ahead especially when I get that axe to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Yet we can go forward with confidence that you are on your own -- because the State of our Union is strong, our cause in the world is super sized, and tonight that cause goes on. God bless. (Applause.)

See you next year. (I’m not a lame duck just yet). Thank you for your prayers to anyone but Allah. And maybe next year I’ll mention how our nation is healing from Hurricane Katrina!

END 10:02 P.M. EST