Annotated State of the Union 2006

From prereleased text; annotations – meaning our snarky thoughts and serious concerns – are in italics

If Bushie thinks most people believe his talk about greatness and hope and compassion, he is a dunce. Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, Members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.

[We share these thoughts. Could be pandering, but we’ll forgive it.]

Each time I am invited to this rostrum, I am humbled by the privilege, and mindful of the history we have seen together. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement. We have served America through one of the most consequential periods of our history — and it has been my honor to serve with you.

[The honor is all his; we feel only horror, fear, and disgust.]

In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. [Isn’t this the guy who called a political foe an “asshole?” Glass houses…] To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another — and I will do my part. [The Alito confirmation obviously has him feeling a bit smug.] Tonight the state of our Union is strong — and together we will make it stronger. [As if he would say anything other than “strong”; were he living the lives most of his subjects live, King George would see just how not strong the state of the union is.]

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. [What? Apples and oranges.] We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy — or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. [Another ill-conceived comparison.] In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting — yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people — the only way to secure the peace — the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead. [So says the Pie-eyed piper.]

Abroad, our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal — we seek the end of tyranny in our world. [Says the leader of a government that keeps certain of us unequal under law and has given itself the right to take people’s property from them. Sounds like tyranny to us.] Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. [Or intended treachery.] In reality, the future security of America depends on it. On September 11th, 2001, [Didn’t take long to pull out that reference…] we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state seven thousand miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country [aka *this* failed and oppressive state]. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. [Whereas this all-but-dictatorship inspires terrorists, feeds resentment and radicalism and holds more WMDs than any other nation.] Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. [Pardon me while I laugh.] Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer [in Shrubbie’s mind, at least], and so we will act boldly in freedom’s [greed’s and revenge’s] cause.

Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story [fable] of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122. And we are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government — with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan — and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink — and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom. At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half — in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran — because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well. [Perhaps. If true, only for the heterosexuals.]

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam — the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. [Pandering to the Muslims…] Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder — and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder. [Yes, like the WMDs found in Iraq.] Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. [Which obviously works. Have you seen the Shrub’s ads at bus stops?] When they murder children at a school in Beslan — or blow up commuters in London — or behead a bound captive — the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it. [Using the WMDs Shrubbie won’t allow them to have…]

In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. [See, even American terrorists use fear…] There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will — by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself — we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals [Bush policy already demonstrates that quite thoroughly], or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. [The Killing Brigade will remain on the case.]

America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. [Unless going it alone suits Shrubbie’s aims.] We are the Nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed [except for those the US oppresses], and move this world toward peace. [Want some gorgeous swampland in Florida? Call Jebby Bush.]

We remain on the offensive against terror networks. [Except for our own, of course.] We have killed or captured many of their leaders — and for the others, their day will come. [We’re gonna getcha, y’varmints.]

We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan — where a fine president and national assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy.

And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. [But no exit plan. And this clear plan isn’t clear to anyone else.] First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency marginalized. Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. [Even as many Americans don’t experience these benefits…] Third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. [Too bad so many are dying in the process…] Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.

Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, that nation has gone from dictatorship, to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, to national elections. [And many areas still don’t have electricity.] At the same time, our coalition has been relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out insurgent strongholds, and turning over territory to Iraqi security forces. [And in dying. What is it now? 2,245… and counting?] I am confident in our plan for victory — I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people [They will get what Shrubbie says they will.] — I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military. Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning. [Say it enough times and someone will believe it.]

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. [When they get there, however, they will be gray-haired old men — or dead.] As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels — but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C. [The ones who follow the dictates of the Commander-in-Chief, who is a politician in Washington, D.C.?]

Our coalition has learned from experience in Iraq. We have adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by Members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek [and largely ignore] your good advice.

Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. [Or rather, people courageous enough to report the unvarnished truth or to express anything Shrubbie doesn’t like.] Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy. [Coming from someone with neither wisdom nor a real strategy, that doesn’t mean much.]

With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. [Excuse me, I have to laugh up a lung…] A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison … put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country … and show that a pledge from America means little. [Ask GLBT Americans: A pledge from the US *does* mean little.] Members of Congress: however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our Nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission. [Sez you.]

Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices – and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear. They know what it is like to fight house to house in a maze of streets … to wear heavy gear in the desert heat … to see a comrade killed by a roadside bomb. And those who know the costs also know the stakes. Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting the enemy in Fallujah. He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: “I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to…. Never falter! Don’t hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.” [Lucky he found the words of a loyal Republican dead soldier who is only ONE of more than 2,000 dead.]

Staff Sergeant Dan Clay’s wife, Lisa, and his mom and dad, Sara Jo and Bud, are with us this evening. Our Nation is grateful to the fallen, who live in the memory of our country. We are grateful to all who volunteer to wear our Nation’s uniform – and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of America’s military families. [Never forget them, indeed – now, what is Shrub doing to help struggling military families? Why didn’t he invite the family of a dissenting soldier to the SOTU? Why not Cindy Sheehan?]

Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. [Which translates into the GOP’s and right-wing Christian fundamentalists’ dark vision of hatred and fear.] So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital – but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities [Must. Laugh. Again.], and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote [aka Stacking the SCOTUS]. The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election – and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. The Palestinian people have voted in elections – now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform – now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts. Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. [One that has much in common with the Bush regime, which isolates and represses many of its citizens every day.] The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon – and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions – and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. [We can have ’em, but no one else can, so there!] America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. [Unless you choose a Hamas-like government. Then all bets are off.] And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands. [Except for in the US.] Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. [Laughing again…] We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, and the drug trade.

In recent years, you and I have taken unprecedented action to fight AIDS and malaria, expand the education of girls, and reward developing nations that are moving forward with economic and political reform. [But only if they go along with Shrub’s restrictive terms.] For people everywhere, the United States is a partner for a better life. [Howling now… funny stuff, Shrub. Is this late-night TV?] Short-changing these efforts would increase the suffering and chaos of our world, undercut our long-term security, and dull the conscience of our country. [Could it get any duller?] I urge Members of Congress to serve the interests of America by showing the compassion of America. [For a change…]

Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this Nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime – so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act. [Shrub demands the right to know EVERYTHING about you. Feel safer? We don’t.]

It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. [LIE.] So to prevent another attack – based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute [LIE.] – I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have – and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. [Yes, because they followed FISA laws.] Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. [Ri-i-i-ight.] This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. [Really? Should we trust Shrub that this is correct? We recommend not.] It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida [or working for peace and speaking out against the terror caused by the US government], we want to know about it – because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.

In all these areas – from the disruption of terror networks, to victory in Iraq, to the spread of freedom and hope in troubled regions – we need the support of friends and allies. To draw that support, we must always be clear in our principles [WHAT principles?] and willing to act. The only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world. [Millions of us are pretty darned anxious NOW, especially with Scalito on the bench.] Yet we also choose to lead because it is a privilege to serve the values that gave us birth. [I feel a howler coming on…] American leaders – from Roosevelt to Truman to Kennedy to Reagan – rejected isolation [the route Bush took prior to invading Iraq] and retreat, because they knew that America is always more secure when freedom is on the march. Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy [My community certainly is, and his name is Bush.] – a war that will be fought by Presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. [The answer is NO.] Together, let us protect our country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom.

Here at home, America also has a great opportunity: We will build the prosperity of our country by strengthening our economic leadership in the world. [This guy ought to headline at the local Chucklez.]

Our economy is healthy, and vigorous, and growing faster than other major industrialized nations. [Tell that to the millions living in poverty, the working poor who can’t have health care, the schoolchildren left behind, etc.] In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs [minimum-wage McJobs] – more than Japan and the European Union combined. Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world. [Tell that to the people who pay at least HALF of their income just for a roof over their heads. Screw GDP – THAT is an economic figure that describes the health of the US economy.]

The American economy is pre-eminent – but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India. This creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people’s fears. And so we are seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy – even though this economy could not function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction – toward a stagnant and second-rate economy. [Um, look around Shrubbie – Ford and GM are axing workers and Japanese cars are selling here like hotcakes.]

Tonight I will set out a better path – an agenda for a Nation that competes with confidence – an agenda that will raise standards of living and generate new jobs. [Get your paper hats ready…] Americans should not fear our economic future [but we do, Blanche, we do], because we intend to shape it. [Now, *that’s* terror.]

Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest. [BIG laugh…] In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left 880 billion dollars in the hands of American workers [rich ones, primarily] investors [that damn sure doesn’t include the poor], small businesses, and families [no families we know]– and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth [that benefits a relative few]. Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, [WEALTHY] American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent. [The “haves” are cheering now.]

Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. [Sez the Resident who has racked up the biggest deficit ever.] Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending [aka anything that would help the poor] – and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. [Yep, Congress is complicit.] This year my budget will cut it again [screw the poor], and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities [further fattening rich people’s pockets]. 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. [With rising war costs and disaster relief? Doubtful.] I am pleased that Members of Congress are working on earmark reform – because the Federal budget has too many special interest projects. [Does that include funding to faith-based groups?] And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million Baby Boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad’s favorite people – me, and President Bill Clinton. [And millions more who need their Social Security checks to keep from having to eat Purina.] This milestone is more than a personal crisis – it is a national challenge. The retirement of the Baby Boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the Federal government. By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire Federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices – staggering tax increases, immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away – and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse. [He’s using FEAR again…] So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of Baby Boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include Members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan answers. [All this bipartisan pandering is hilarious…] We need to put aside partisan politics [yeah, right], work together [uh huh], and get this problem solved [so long as they do it Shrubbie’s way].

Keeping America competitive requires us to open more markets for all that Americans make and grow. One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. [Shrubbie does.] With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker. [Tell it to Japan.]

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values [heh], and serves the interests of our economy. Our Nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty … allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally … and reduces smuggling and crime at the border. [Gotta keep those maids and gardeners legal so rich households — including those of gummint leaders — have nice, clean lawns and homes.]

Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. [LIE.] For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care … strengthen the doctor-patient relationship … and help people afford the insurance coverage they need. We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology [so Shrubites can snoop through them], to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen Health Savings Accounts – by making sure individuals and small business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. [Sounds strangely like the failed Social Security reforms.] We will do more to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs without having to worry about losing their health insurance. And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice – leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB-GYN – I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year.

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.

The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources – and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative – a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

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. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment … move beyond a petroleum-based economy … and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past. [Nothing about drilling… Has he given up on ANWR… or has he some nefarious plot he isn’t revealing? And what’s up with the Clean Air Act he has been so hot to kill?]

And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people – and we [meaning those who can afford to go to school past high school] are going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our Nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science.

First: 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.

Second: I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit, to encourage bolder private-sector investment in technology. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life – and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come.

Third: We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act [wild laughter], which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers, to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science … bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms … and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs [that are in other countries while the US is filled with McJobs]. If we ensure that America’s children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.

Preparing our Nation to compete in the world is a goal that all of us can share. I urge you to support the American Competitiveness Initiative … and together we will show the world what the American people can achieve.

America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.

In recent years, America has become a more hopeful Nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row. [I have to look up those figures – sorry, I do not believe this man and I know too many people who are off the dole, but not making it on a McJob.]

These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation – a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment. Government has played a role. Wise policies such as welfare reform, drug education, and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country. [Pandering to the right-wing fundies here.] And everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican [more pandering to the powerless Dems], has a right to be proud of this record.

Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. [Ah, the slam against the queers…] And they worry about children in our society who need direction and love … and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster … and about suffering caused by treatable disease.

As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. [Do we?] We have proven the pessimists wrong before – and we will do it again. [Have you? Will you? Millions remain unconvinced.]

A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law. [The *law* doesn’t deliver equal justice!] The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. [Pardon me while I retch.] I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench. [Watch out for more right-wing justices– more fear…] Today marks the official retirement of a very special American. For 24 years of faithful service to our Nation, the United States is grateful to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research – human cloning in all its forms … creating or implanting embryos for experiments … creating human-animal hybrids … and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator – and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.
[Bushie says screw the atheists and those who could be helped by stem-cell research.]

A hopeful society expects elected officials to uphold the public trust. Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington – and I support your efforts. Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility – and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray. [Even though many in the Shrub Administration have done and likely will do exactly that.]

As we renew the promise of our institutions, let us also show the character of America in our compassion and care for one another. [Because the Bushites haven’t shown that so far, and they certainly have displayed nothing resembling character.]

A hopeful society gives special attention to children who lack direction and love. Through the Helping America’s Youth Initiative, we are encouraging caring adults to get involved in the life of a child – and this good work is led by our First Lady, Laura Bush. This year we will add resources to encourage young people to stay in school – so more of America’s youth can raise their sights and achieve their dreams. [Great, but who will be left behind?]

A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency – and stays at it until they are back on their feet. So far the Federal government has committed 85 billion dollars to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We are removing debris, repairing highways, and building stronger levees. We are providing business loans and housing assistance. Yet as we meet these immediate needs [and even as we see on the nightly news areas within the flood zone that have yet to be touched, even as we see people mired in FEMA red tape], we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived. In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country. The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools that teach every child … and job skills that bring upward mobility … and more opportunities to own a home and start a business. As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity. [Pretty words, but millions do not have justice; in fact, Shrub is actively working against their equality. As for poverty, there are millions of poverty stricken and working-poor Americans who do not live in the hurricane-hit areas. They, likely, will continue to be under the radar and allowed to suffer and die. Compassion goes only so far, right, Bushie?]

A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African-Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act … and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicine in America. We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African-American churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come closer to the day when there are no new infections in America. [Of course, if you’re not a churchgoer or a person of faith, you can go ahead and die. Shrub won’t care.]

Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore.

Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. [Yeah, but what about his nonviolent battle against poverty? What of that?] The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well? [Define “well.”]

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom’s advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward – optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

The short story: The state of the union is anything but sound. If you aren’t terrified, you should be.

Must go and throw up now before Tim Kaine hits the tube.

Update: Turns out Cindy Sheehan, the antiwar activist who lost her son in Shrub’s immoral Iraq invasion and who has been reviled by the Bushies (they only like military parents who agree with them), was invited to the SOTU. Certainly not by the Resident — who, as noted, only deals with people who agree with him — but by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), who gave the activist mom a front-row seat after she allegedly promised she would be good. Sadly, Sheehan didn’t get to witness Shrubbie’s oration: She was arrested by Capitol Hill cops and escorted from the building before the GOPster’s Emmy-worthy performance began. CNN reported that Sheehan had smuggled an antiwar banner into the Capitol gallery. NOT TRUE.

From Brad Blog:

The BRAD BLOG has confirmed the arrest moments ago with David Swanson of

According to Swanson, Sheehan was “arrested for wearing the shirt she was wearing all day, which had the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq… She was lifted out of her seat [in the Capitol Chamber gallery] by the Capitol Police and taken away.”

She was wearing an antiwar T-shirt (according to MSNBC, it merely said, “2245 – How many more”), which I would think should be well within her rights to wear, so long as her naughty bits are covered. If we don’t have the right to wear what we want, well, that doesn’t say much for the state of the nation, does it?

From the Associated Press:

Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said. Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived. Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, [Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly] Schneider said. “I’m proud that Cindy’s my guest tonight,” Woolsey said in an interview before the speech. “She has made a difference in the debate to bring our troops home from Iraq.”

Cindy Sheehan arrested for what cops thought she might do at the State of the Union address - photo by Reuters

The upshot: The cops, because of what they thought she might do, removed Cindy Sheehan, her hands cuffed like a common criminal’s, from the Capitol. Sources say she was detained and, about an hour later, released from custody. The Village Voice reports that she was charged with a misdemeanor offense, demonstrating inside the Capitol. Interestingly, rumors say her release came just after Shrubbie finally shut up. Beautiful.

CNN changed its story at 11:54 pm, according to Brad Blog, which quotes reporter Ed Henry saying, “She entered the gallery wearing a shirt with some sort of anti-war slogan…they were afraid she was going to do something with it in front of the cameras.”

Isn’t this America, where you are innocent until proven guilty? Cindy Sheehan was arrested and handcuffed in plain view of the entire nation because cops thought she might do something?

Forget Georgie’s hour-long drivel. This disconcerting incident puts the lie to the Creep-in-Chief’s assertion. The truth is: The state of the union is completely unsound — and we, the people, are screwed.

Bob Fertik of suggests action: “Call the White House Comment Line 202-456-1111,1,1 and express your outrage that the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested for wearing a T-shirt with the number of soldiers killed in Iraq!!!!!”

Another commentary on the SOTU comes from the Rev. Nancy L. Wilson, who heads the worldwide Christian denomination, Metropolitan Community Churches:

For far too many Americans, the President’s declaration that, “The state of our union is strong,” is far removed from their everyday experience.

The reality is this: So long as millions of our citizens live beneath the poverty level and are denied access to quality healthcare, out union is not strong. So long as the U.S.’ reputation in the world deteriorates and so long as our nation remains divided by a war that is not supported by a majority of people in either country — a war that continues to claim a horrifying number of lives — our union is not strong. And so long as civil liberties are endangered at unprecedented levels, our union is not strong.

Coretta Scott King was right, when in echoing the words of her late husband she said, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.” So long as any people are left behind, our nation’s garment is frayed and in need of mending — and our union is not strong.

And regrettably, the U.S. President’s State of the Union Address once again failed to acknowledge the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the United States.

Despite the promise of the U.S. Constitution to “establish Justice…and to secure the blessing of Liberty to ourselves and to our Posterity,” the reality is that millions of LGBT people live our day-to-day lives without the full legal rights and protections accorded to most citizens.

— In most of the United States, LGBT people are denied the right to marriage equality, and to the benefits provided by civil marriage law.

— In most of the United States, LGBT people are still not accorded full legal protection from discrimination in their employment.

— In most of the United States, our transgender brothers and sisters are denied legal protections based upon gender variance, and horrific hate crimes against transgender people, including murder at alarming rates, too often fly beneath the radar of civil authorities and media coverage.

— In most of the United States, LGBT couples are not afforded standardized and equal rights under a patchwork of adoption laws, and in many places, LGBT couples face overt hostility from adoption laws.

— In most of the United States, government at every level too often ignores the plight of LGBT teens, who experience high rates of discrimination in our nation’s schools, and experience higher rates of depression, attempted suicide, and homelessness than their counterparts.

— In the United States, the nation’s immigration laws devalue our LGBT relationships, and place undue and unnecessary hardships on LGBT couples, and unjustly treat persons with HIV and AIDS.

— Despite the alarming new rise of HIV and AIDS among people of color, women, and youth, the U.S. government continues to under-fund HIV prevention, research, and treatment. And for far too many, HIV medications are often difficult and too expensive to obtain; for them, words and promises are too little too late.

It is appropriate on this day that marks the passing of Coretta Scott King to also remember her words, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny…I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be. I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy.”

Until all people — including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — are afforded full equality under all the laws of the United States, the “state of our union” is not strong. The reality for millions of Americans is that this nation, which is a work in progress, has not yet lived up to the promise of its founding creeds.

Until equality and justice are realities for all people, we must not be silent. I urge all people of goodwill to renew our commitment to speak truth to power, to address injustice, and to act on behalf of all who are yet denied the promise of this nation’s founding vision.

This much I know:

Our union will be stronger when we speak out for those who are still left behind, and when we work to bring justice and equality to all people.

Next up: Playwright and author Gore Vidal offered his own State of the Union address on “Democracy Now”. The text follows:

Today, the 31st of January, in the hallowed year, election year, of ’06, could be a memorable day if we all do our part, which is simply to concentrate, among other things, and do perhaps what a couple of groups have decided would be useful for the President, I guess his State of the Union. We might give him some idea of our state, which is one of great dissatisfaction with him and his regime. And there’s talk of perhaps demonstrating in front of the Capitol or here or there around the country to show that the union is occupied by people who happen to be patriots. And patriots do not like this government.

This is an unpatriotic government. This is a government that deals openly in illegalities, whether it is attacking a country which has done us no harm, two countries — Iraq and Afghanistan — because we now believe, not in declaring war through Congress as the Constitution requires, but through the President. ‘Well, I think there are some terrorists over there, and I think we got to bomb them, huh? We’ll bomb them.’ Now, we’ve had idiots as presidents before. He’s not unique. But he’s certainly the most active idiot that we have ever had.

And now here we are planning new wars, ongoing wars in the Middle East. And so as he comes with his State of the Union, which he is going to justify eavesdropping without judicial warrants on anybody in the United States that he wants to listen in on. This is what we call dictatorship. Dictatorship. Dictatorship. And it is time that we objected. Don’t say wait ‘til the next election and do it through that. We can’t trust the elections, thanks to Diebold and S&S and all the electronic devices which are being flogged across the country to make sure that elections can be so rigged that the villains will stay in power.

I think demonstrations across the country could be very useful on this famous Tuesday. Just say no. We’ve had enough of you. Go home to Crawford. We’ll help you raise the money for a library, and you won’t even ever have to read a book. We’re not cruel. We just want to get rid of you and let you be an ex-president with his own library, which you can fill up with friends of yours who can neither read nor write, but they’ll be well served and well paid, we hope, by corporate America, which will love you forever.

So I think it is really up to us to give some resonance to the State of the Union, which will be largely babble. He’s not going really try to do anything about Social Security, we read in the papers. He has no major moves, other than going on and on about the legality of his illegal warrantless eavesdroppings and other breakings of the law.

I had a piece on the internet some of you may have seen a few days ago, and there’s a story about Tiberius, who’s one of my favorite Roman emperors. He’s had a very bad press, because the wrong people perhaps have written history. But when he became emperor, the Senate of Rome sent him congratulations with the comment, “Any law that you want us to pass, we shall do so automatically.” And he sent a message back. He said, “This is outrageous! Suppose I go mad. Suppose I don’t know what I’m doing. Suppose I’m dead and somebody is pretending to be me. Never do that! Never accept something like preemptive war,” which luckily the Senate did not propose preemptive wars against places they didn’t like. But Mr. Bush has done that.

So this is a sort of Tiberius time without, basically, a good emperor, and he was a good emperor in the sense that he sent back this legislation, which was to confirm anything he wanted to have done automatically. And they sent it back to him again. And then he said, “How eager you are to be slaves,” and washed his hands of the Senate and went to live in Capri, a much wiser choice, just as we can send this kid back to Crawford, Texas, where he’ll be very, very happy cutting bushes of the leafy variety.

You know, it’s at a time when people say, “Well, it makes no difference what we do, you know, if we march and we make speeches, and this and that.” It makes a lot of difference if millions of Americans just say, “We are fed up! We don’t like you. We don’t like what you’re doing to the country and what you have done to the country. We don’t like to live in a lawless land, where the rule of law has just been bypassed and hacks are appointed to the federal bench, who will carry on and carry on and carry on all of the illegalities which are so desperately needed by our military-industrial corporate masters.”

I think a day dedicated to that and to just showing up here and there around the country will be a good thing to do. And so, let the powers that be know that back of them, there’s something called “We the people of the United States,” and all sovereignty rests in us, not in the board rooms of the Republicans.

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