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The State of our Union

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
So El Presidente delivered the State of The Union last night to a friendly congress but a somewhat skeptical nation. In my traditional fashion, I'm going to take statements out of context and examine them.

Let's start with this statement:
In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom -- or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy -- or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting -- yet it ends in danger and decline.
Here is an example of the right versus wrong, black versus white polarization that President Bush practices. For a man who pledged to be a "uniter, not a divider" these statements seem to have a binary answer.

Another priceless gem is this one:
Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror.
How do you back that statement up? I mean, seriously... where has the study been done? Is this a 100% blanket statement? And does "respecting the rights of their citizens" include a constitutional right defining marriage as being between a man and a woman and a domestic spying program? (I mean, of course, the terrorist surveillence program.)

Moving down the line, the President talks about our economy:
In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs -- more than Japan and the European Union combined.
My question is this: how many jobs have been subtracted in the last two-and-a-half years and what's the average wage of those jobs versus the national average?

And, speaking of the budget, here's President Bush on tax cuts and government spending:
Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending -- and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another 14 billion dollars next year -- and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.
Do you see where he says "non-security spending"? I'm curious as to how much security spending has *increased* in the security and non-discretionary areas. Furthermore, saving us 16 billion dollars is a bit of word-play since we're still spending more, we're just being taxed less. That's called a deficit.

Let this become a completely negative post, here's something I agree with:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
I would add, though, that our security (not just economic competativeness) is also tied to this addicition since our foriegn policy must also be tampered by our need for oil from countries we tend to disagree with.

And there's more...
We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

Also good is this:
I propose to double the Federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next ten years. This funding will support the work of America’s most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.
We will definitely need to stay involved and, in fact, lead the pack in certain areas of research. I hope we double our support for the arts, though, for beauty and expression are also important in our society.

The speech ended with hope and statements on what a hopefuly society should do. All in all the speech wasn't bad. I disagree with certain statements and would like documented proof of others, but I think we can ALL agree that our president is NOT a charismatic speaker.


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