In One Eye

Friday, April 29, 2005
I apologize in advance for the long blog, but the "press conference" last night provided so much grist for the mill that I just couldn't resist.

Needless to say, the comments and responses by Dear Leader last night were risible.

Here are just a few of the more laughable items:
Congress ... needs to address the challenges facing Social Security. I've traveled the country to talk with the American people. They understand that Social Security is headed for serious financial trouble, and they expect their leaders in Washington to address the problem.
Evidently, he's referring to the staged "Town Halls" he's spoken at in the last few months. If he's getting his information from the prostitutes attending those photo ops, he's sadly deluded.

Of course, it should be pointed out that when the information doesn't go his way, ah then insightful George is full of doubts: "I don't think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people" the Harvard MBA said about the very same issue. That is, in one instance, it's ok to trust the judgment of the folks in the carefully selected town hall audiences, but when a real poll shows that only economic morons and partisan whores want alterations in Social Security, then the evidence isn't to be trusted.

Is it any wonder the networks cut short their telecasts of this clown? Here's certainly something that should've enticed them to switch to other programming:
[A]ny reform of Social Security must replace the empty promises being made to younger workers with real assets, real money. I believe the best way to achieve this goal is to give younger workers the option, the opportunity if they so choose, of putting a portion of their payroll taxes into a voluntary personal retirement account. Because this money is saved and invested, younger workers would have the opportunity to receive a higher rate of return on their money than the current Social Security system can provide.
Talk about empty promises. He has no way of knowing that a different setup would allow younger workers "to receive a higher rate of return on their money than the current Social Security system can provide." No one can predict such a thing—certainly not the underachieving Cantabrigian MBA currently residing in the White House (who trotted out the tired metaphor of "file cabinets full of IOUs").

And President Pious is so proud of himself for making this hard decision.
I'm proud of my party. Our party has been the party of ideas. We said, here's a problem, and here's some ideas as to how to fix it. And as I've explained to some people, I don't want to politicize this issue -- people say, you didn't need to bring this up, Mr. President, it may cost you politically. I don't think so. I think the American people appreciate somebody bringing up tough issues, particularly when they understand the stakes: the system goes broke in 2041.
It goes without saying that Fearless Leader didn't bring up the oligarchic Social Security idea until after the 2004 election. He can brag all he wants about how this may cost him politically, but he is, after all, a lame duck, so there seems to be no threat at all.

Not surprisingly, the president continues to delude himself into thinking that
once the American people realize there's a problem, then they're going to start asking members of Congress from both parties, why aren't you doing something to fix it?
This creation of a solution for which there is no problem worked so well in Iraq, after all.

And speaking of Iraq, Dear Leader believes
we're making really good progress in Iraq, because the Iraqi people are beginning to see the benefits of a free society. They're beginning -- they saw a government formed today.
As predicted in an earlier post, GI George pointed out that Iraq had formed a government, which is true as far as it goes. However, the lack of ministers of defense and oil—the very raisons d'etre of Iraq these days—certainly isn't very encouraging.

We also got a theological lesson from the Archbishop of Harken:
I view religion as a personal matter. I think a person ought to be judged on how he or she lives his life, or lives her life. And that's how I've tried to live my life, through example. Faith-based is an important part of my life, individually, but I don't -- I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith ... The great thing about America ... is that you should be allowed to worship any way you want, and if you choose not to worship, you're equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship. And if you choose to worship, you're equally American if you're a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim. That's the wonderful thing about our country, and that's the way it should be.
Needless to say, this asseveration brought tears to my eyes.

On Iran and its "nukuler" capabilities:
[W]hat the Iranians have said was, don't we deserve to have a nuclear power industry just like you do? I've kind of wondered why they need one since they've got all the oil ...
What a moron. This from the same man who started the gabfest by discussing the horrendous gasoline prices in the US—who insisted that "we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power [emphasis added]. So if nuclear power is so important to replacing the dependence on the finite resource of oil, then why belittle another nation's attempts to create a strategy to reduce its dependence on said commodity? Once again, the president makes no sense. Or, at least, wants to have it both ways.

And on John Bolton:
[T]he U.N. needs reform. If you're interested in reforming the U.N., like I'm interested in reforming the U.N., it makes sense to put somebody who's skilled and who is not afraid to speak his mind at the United Nations.
Needless to say, one has to keep his back to the wall at all times when the Bushies use the word "reform." It almost invariably means "elimination."

On North Korea:
Kim Jong-il is a dangerous person. He's as man who starves his people. He's got huge concentration camps. And, as David accurately noted, there is concern about his capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon. We don't know if he can or not, but I think it's best when you're dealing with a tyrant like Kim Jong-il to assume he can.

That's why I've decided that the best way to deal with this [is]diplomatically ...
As Dear Leader describes it, North Korea sounds exactly like Iraq did when the Vulcans were promoting an invasion: Dangerous leader! Kills his own people! Weapons of mass destruction! We invaded Iraq, but the best way to deal with North Korea is "diplomatically." Now why do you suppose that is? (Answer below.)

And on the subject of the lawsuits over NCLB, the education president made it clear where he stands:
I think it's working. And the reason why I think it's working is because we're measuring, and the measurement is showing progress toward teaching people how to read and write and add and subtract. Listen, the whole theory behind No Child Left Behind is this: if we're going to spend federal money, we expect the states to show us whether or not we're achieving simple objectives -- like literacy, literacy in math, the ability to read and write. And, yes, we're making progress. And I can say that with certainty because we're measuring ...

Look, I'm a former governor, I believe states ought to control their own destiny when it comes to schools. They are by far the biggest funder of education, and it should remain that way. But we spend a lot of money here at the federal level and have increased the money we spend here quite dramatically at the federal level. And we changed the policy: instead of just spending money and hope for the best, we're now spending money and saying, measure.

And some people don't like to measure. But if you don't measure, how do you know whether or not you've got a problem in a classroom? I believe it's best to measure early and correct problems early, before it's too late. That's why as a part of the No Child Left Behind Act we had money available for remedial education. In other words, we said we're going to measure, and when we detect someone who needs extra help, that person will get extra help.

But, absolutely, it's a good piece of legislation. I will do everything I can to prevent people from unwinding it, by the way.
Psst, did you hear that the president said the purpose of NCLB is to measure? It's too bad that the president and his toadies don't know how to measure the economic shortfalls that are occurring as a result of the legislation.

The president can gloat all he wants, but the truth of the matter is that, were he still governor of Texas, his voice would be the most shrill in complaining that he was being shortchanged by those bureaucrats in Washington for a program that was mandated but underfunded.

The president ended the exercise by reminding us all of just how small he is. In a testy exchange with a reporter over who would get better benefits from changes in Social Security, President Petulant whined, "[D]on't get personal here ... You're on national TV; that's a cheap shot."

Let us not forget that it was Mr. Bush—and the king of the cheap shot artists, Karl Rove—who in each of the last two national campaigns unmercifully attacked political opponents in the most nefarious ways—often questioning their patriotism or their very humanity.

Just as he's demonstrating in his inaction towards North Korea (an enemy that, unlike Iraq, really can strike back), Mr. Bush has demonstrated time and again that, like the typical schoolyard bully, he can dish it out, but he can't take it.

He certainly showed that again last evening in responding to the last question.