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3 Feb-03
Chronicling the new Empire of America, the uber-Bully.

Turd of the Week

The State of the Ailing Union pushes aside all pretenders to this week's TOW (including Donald Rumsfeld's old Europe comments!), which lands firmly in the lap of the court-annointed President.

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Columbia Disaster
Even the Crap-Chronicling Iconoclasts at SOTC.com are grief-stricken by the disaster befalling American and Israeli astronauts aboard the Shuttle Columbia.

While the ultimate responsibility no doubt is traceable to engineering issues, we urge all the political powers that be (who no doubt savor every Monday's new issue of SOTC.com) to avoid leveraging the tragedy as a partisan opportunity. Let's hope Bush's handlers don't recognize that it was the left wing of the Shuttle that is the primary suspect in crippling the craft.

Maybe it's time to look at more modern technology to send folks into space? I mean, c'mon, the prevailing state of the art personal computing device in the days the Shuttle was first developed was a TRS-80.

screw all the other stockholders, we're cashing out!

Hey, what do you know? We make money from American militarily screwed up countries in the Middle East!

We're already negotiating with the “new Iraqi democracy” for oil rights!

Selling weapons all over the globe to ensure civilian death and instability which in turn ensures a strong market for years and years...

State of the Union Review
Okay, let's start off with the potentially promising parts of the ill-conceived speech:

$15 billion to AIDS treatment and prevention in Africa.
On the face of it, this is all good. The logistics remain to be seen. Will this be spearheaded through faith-based initiatives? Will this be an extension of abstinence education? Or will it be an effort based in cultural understanding, epidemiology and medical capabilities? We certainly urge Bush to pursue the latter path.

Hydrogen Cars
Second potentially positive point was Bush's statement "Tonight I'm proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles." Again, SOTC.com awaits the methods by which this vision will be furthered. How will these funds will be dispersed? Will it be a broad-based grant initiative targeted toward engineering universities and nonpartisan consortia? or will it be funding for Detroit automakers or worse, Harken and Halliburten and other oil concerns? Should the funding find its way in the hands of corporate multinationals, SOTC.com will help expose this evil. Also unanswered, "What is our plan for the two decades between now and the projected availability of these vehicles?" Oh yeah, I forgot - Invade Iraq!

Mentorships for children of prisoners? Sure, but why not try to address the problems at their root while you're at it. $2000 for each drug addict? Well, that's a step in the right direction. How much of it will Jeb's daughter get?

Beyond these bones to the minority party, Bush pushed forth his policies of Orwellian title and misbegotten initiative. "Clear Skies legislation" is anything but, as is the "Healthy Forests Initiative" which was written almost entirely by logging industry lobbyists. Does Bush's image management team outsource the initiative naming to The Onion?

"We must have an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job." If Bush hadn't skipped the first week of Econ 101 at Yale, he would understand the stupidity of this in a capitalistic. While some of his proposed changes to the tax code would bring modest benefits to lower income workers, Bush's tax plan disproportionately benefits the rich. This is irrefutable. He proposes nothing more than borrowing money from our children and giving it, disproportionately, to wealthy Americans. He does nothing to help state and local governments, who are teetering on the brink of collapse.

Health Care
Some capitulation to the Dems on Medicare. Otherwise, everybody else can take vague solace in medical liability reform. While liability reform is certainly needed, capping awards is a sure fire way to hinder the small independent providers, while fitting nicely into the business models of HMOs, who can then determine levels of care with manageable (and certainly greater) levels of capped risk.

"In the Middle East, we will continue to seek peace between a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine."
Score one for honesty here. Bush is seeking peace, but that's a lot different from helping promote it. This administration has done nothing more than issue vague platitudes to the combatants.

Where's Whatshisname?
Not so surprisingly absent from the evening was Osama bin Laden. Remember him? The vilified terrorist whose image propelled Bush's ratings into the stratosphere? Well, Bush did a great job of trotting out factoids on bureaucratic responses to 9/11, but the lack of substantive achievements was notable.

No, no, his name is Saddam!
Bush laid out his battle justification for ousting Saddam. He is evil. He is dangerous. He has ties to terrorism that Colin Powell had better deliver to the UN by tomorrow, or else! He is somehow far and away the greatest threat to global security right now. Of course, the pundits ate it up and readily site a litany of villains whose appetite for destruction was halted by intervention. But the fact of the matter remains that Saddam is one of many many evil dictators. His potential for harming the US is far below that of North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and the myriad terrorist groups that are operating around the globe now. Bush's public support for the war relies heavily on an ill-informed American public- admittedly a pretty sound strategy.

After being Laura-whipped and Colin-whipped into insisting on UN inspections, Bush is lurching headlong into an invasion when Blix hasn't even issued his first report in response to UN resolution 4114.

Rumsfeld's disparagement for "the Old Europe" is truly disturbing too. I mean, don't you think Germany and France know a thing or two about war?

Folks, we're going to war. We're going to win the military battles, but probably have to kill thousands of Iraqi civilians to do it. The power struggle in post-war Iraq will be expensive in lives and money and it will not resolve by the 2004 election. But let us not underestimate Bush's handlers' abilities to present their alternative reality to a public numbed on Joe Millionaire and convenience foods.

Professor Pissed, still reeling from the bullshit of last Tuesday's State of the Union, is on sabbatical from SOTC.com this week.

Borrow and Spend Reactionaries
While the conservatives have done an admittedly brilliant job of mis-portraying the Democrats as "tax and spend liberals," we shiners of the harsh light of reality must push for the Republicans to be known as "borrow and spend reactionaries." The Bush policies, particularly those which are defense related, are pushing up the deficit, as well as the debt, in a reckless fashion. While most economists admit that in recessionary times, some temporary deficit spending is in order, Bush's priorities are pushing the federal budget far into the red for many years to come. This is an important point that liberals must force into the daylight. While the tax and spend label has many abhorrent connotations (and incorrect when applied to the Clinton budgets), certainly it pales when one considers an approach of spending without regard to inflow.

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