Thursday, July 26, 2007

Staying strong when it comes to liberty as a transformative agent to bring the peace we want

Bush gave a speech today at something called the American Legislative Exchange Council (evidently a group of right-wing state legislators).

He told them, “I believe in that old Texas adage, if you don’t stand for something, you don’t believe in anything.” Or possibly vice versa. I’m pretty sure that’s not an old adage from Texas or anywhere else.

He says that a $2,200 tax break means a lot to the farmer “out there who’s worried about making crop”. Well, if he’s making crop rather than growing crops, that could be the problem right there.

IN OTHER WORDS: “Since August of 2003, when these tax cuts took full effect, we’ve increased new jobs by 8.2 million. In other words, people are working.”

IN OTHER WORDS: On Democrats in Congress: “In other words, they’re now in charge; it’s important that they exercise their responsibility.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “In other words, Tommy, we’ll be driving pickup trucks that may not be running on gasoline.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “We were attacked by a group of ruthless killers who have an ideology. In other words, they believe something.”

THE EVER-POPULAR, DEATH-DEFYING DOUBLE IN OTHER WORDS: “In other words, there wasn’t enough security at the time -- in other words, enough confidence in the security at the time amongst the Iraqi people to be able to stop people from fighting each other.”

He wants the Pentagon budget passed before any of the other appropriations bill, and before the August recess. “We got troops in harm’s way.”

He wants to do something about earmarks, which these time he didn’t call entitlements, because – and see if you can read this without laughing – “I believe in accountability when it comes to spending your money. We want there to be transparency.”

He reiterated his belief that “some unbelievable technologies,” “optimistic things that are coming” will take care of all our energy and environmental problems without anybody having to change their lifestyle or – heaven forfend – drive a vehicle that looks like a golf cart. “I mean, we’ve got a comprehensive plan that says, technology and free enterprise can help us achieve energy independence. That’s what we want.”

“You know, one of the real problems we have in America is an achievement gap. I guess that’s a fancy word for saying that generally Anglo kids are doing better in the basics than African American or Latino kids.” He thinks “achievement gap” is one word. Excuse me, achievementgap. Say, that is a fancy word.

The achievementgap is a problem because “The economy is going to demand brain power as we head into the 21st century”. Sure, because we’ll be fueling those vehicles that don’t look like golf carts...with brains. “It’s people! Chevron Green is made out of people!!”

I’ve been cutting down on the number of Bush grammatical mistakes I point out in each of these Bush-speech posts, because it just gets long and tedious, with all the subject/verb agreement issues and the dropped articles, but who can resist when the subject is education: “When you find an inner-city kid that may not have the right curriculum to get he or she up to the grade level at the 4th grade, let’s solve it now”.

And, of course, he spoke about The War Against Terror (TWAT). “When I talk about a caliphate that stretches from Spain to Indonesia, that means that they want to impose their ideology on people.”

And what would such a caliphate be like? “Well, I just want you to remember -- think what it would be like to be a young girl growing up in Afghanistan, when they were able to find their safe haven and impose their vision across that country.” Note that he thinks Afghanistan was ruled by Al Qaida.

“These people, they’re smart, they’re tough, and we need to be tougher every single day.” Evidently we don’t also need to be smarter than them. Hate for George to strain something.

“See, they understand when they fill our TV screens with death and misery it causes a compassionate people to recoil.” Also, any stories about Lindsay Lohan. “They know that we value human life, and therefore, when they take human life it affects how the American people feel.”

He carefully analyzes these wannabe tv producers: “And then this enemy -- and the enemy, by the way, is comprised of people who wish they were still in power, disgruntled militia that are trying to make -- see if they can’t take advantage of some chaos. But the enemy that is causing the biggest spectaculars is al Qaeda.”

He says there is a debate in Washington, “well, is the al Qaeda in Iraq have anything to do with the al Qaeda that’s hiding out somewhere in the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? There’s some actually who say, well, they’re different”. George, of course, thinks differently: “And they have sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and they agree that Iraq is the central part of this war on terror, with Osama bin Laden. And they agree with his ambition to drive us out so they could have a safe haven from which to plot further attacks. Yes, al Qaeda in Iraq is dangerous to the United States of America. They blew up the holy shrine. They saw the progress being made; they can’t stand the thought of a free society that will thwart their ambitions, and they blew up the shrine.” I’ve been trying to decide whether to call this strategy of obfuscatory revisionism 1) rebunking or 2) embunkening. What do you think?

“It’s really interesting to watch this counterinsurgency strategy work. I mean, when people on the ground begin to have confidence, they, all of a sudden, start making good decisions for a state that will represent their interests.”

There were a couple of other “All of a sudden”s. That’s one of his phrases that you don’t hear for a while, then he can’t shut it off. “Then all of a sudden, you begin to get a sense of our strategy on how to handle the deficit...” “And all of a sudden, we put more Marines in, the people saw things change on the ground...”

George has a curious faith in the power of motherhood, considering the hell-beast who spawned him: “See, I believe most Muslim mothers, for example, want their child to grow up in peace. I believe there’s something universal about motherhood. I don’t think mothers in America think necessarily different from mothers in Iraq. I think the mother in Iraq says, gosh, I hope for the day when my child can go outside and play and not fear violence”. What’s the Arabic for gosh?

BEGIN THE BEGUINE: “And when people begin to see that these thugs that have a dark vision begin to get defeated, people begin to change attitudes.”

WHO IS MORE CONFUSED IN THIS SENTENCE, BUSH, AL QAIDA IN IRAQ, OR MANY EXPERTS? YOU BE THE JUDGE: “Last November, many experts said that Anbar province, which al Qaeda in Iraq has stated as their -- that they wanted as a safe haven -- this was going to be where they were going to launch their caliphate from -- they said, we can’t win there.”

“Now, I know that the car bombs that take place tend to cloud people’s vision.” Is that how The Shadow did it? I always wondered.

If you’re counting the pop cultural references in this post, that’s Soylent Green, Lindsay Lohan, Cole Porter, and The Shadow. I’m nothing if not versatile.

“See, unlike some wars, this enemy wouldn’t be content to stay in Iraq.” Well, sure, have you seen Iraq lately? “They would follow us here.... They’re dangerous in Iraq, and they’ll be dangerous here.”

And he concluded: “But I would remind you, in the long run, the best way for your children and grandchildren to be able to say that when given a tough task, this generation didn’t flinch, and had certain faith -- had faith in certain values -- is that we stay strong when it comes to liberty as a transformative agent to bring the peace we want.”

And then he went home for the Special Olympics Global Law Enforcement Torch Run Ceremony. No idea what that is. I’m thinking Don Knotts in the Andy Griffith Show and Murray the Cop in The Odd Couple. Caption contest:

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