War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Saddam May Run for National Assembly

These elections are parliamentary, so Hussein would not have to run nationwide, only from a district, presumably Tikrit. Makes television ads and fundraising a lot easier. Even nationwide, Hussein seems to be making something of a comeback. Di Stefano cited a recent Gallup poll that he said indicates that 42 percent of the Iraqi people want their former leader back.
In the Loop (The Washington Post)

Memory Lane 2

One thing is FOR SURE - JK isn't The Candidate because of his vision, leadership, policies, or his ability to Turn People On. In fact, JK has an almost magical ability to Turn People OFF, while at the same time convincing EVEN DEMOCRATS that he is nothing more than a self-serving Flip-Flopper, who would sell his soul to Satan, or whoever else was the highest-bidder, for the opportunity to ascend those last few steps to the Oval Office.
Yes, I wrote that back in June.

I definitely have to admit that I have warmed to Kerry a bit over time. Especially now, after seeing him debate Bush. Compared to Bush he seems to have practically preternatural political instincs, and tome like intelect.

Something Kerry did well tonight was that he stood up and made blatantly false statements with the self assurance of a devoutly religous person quoting scripture.

Maybe half-a-dozen times Kerry stated with total absolution that "he has had one position on Iraq." This is so blatantly false that Bush seem genuinely taken aback by it, and one can only assume that it must have left a bitter taste in Bush's mouth to have his favorite campaign tactic - simply lying about anything inconvenient to your story line - turned back against him.

Presidential Debate Pix

BTW. I corrected the images, so that they accurately reflect each participants actual height. In the original C-SPAN broadcast, the candidates were framed in a way that actually showed Bush as being taller than Kerry most of the time.

If you want debate analysis, you can get all you want on the various cable news channels, so I won't bother you with any of my own.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Show Me The Money

Generally speaking, I try to limit my posts to wild speculation, totally unfounded rumor, prejudicial observation, and drunken rambling. But every once in a while even I give in, and am forced to actually create a hypothesis, do some research, analyze the facts, and draw well founded conclusions. You know, like, the Scientific Method.

In this case, I decided to investigate whether or not there is a correlation between how much money people have, and how they vote. The "conventional wisdom" on this question is, to state it grossly, that rich people vote Republican, and poor people vote Democrat, and that was the hypothesis that I set out to test.

My first task in carrying out this test, was to chose indicating criteria for how people vote, and how much money they have. In order to make this as simple as possible, I chose to use the 2000 Presidential election as an indicator of voting habits, and Median Household Income as an indicator of how much money each voter group had. Both of these indicators are extremely broad, and so, any conclusions based upon them really need to be tested further in order to verify their veracity.

So what does the data show?

I'm gonna bust this mojo on you Perry Mason style, starting with Exhibit A, and Exhibit B.

Voting Results from 2000 Presidential Election

Deviation From National Average in Mean Household Income 1999

Notice any similarities?

Exhibit A shows, in typical red/blue fashion, states that went for Bush (red) and Gore (blue) in the 2000 presidential election. Exhibit B shows states with a Median Household Income above the national average in Green, and states with Median Household Income below the national average in Red.

This is about the point where the "conventional wisdom" breaks down in tears on the stand and confesses that it was guilty of being wrong all along. I guess the "conventional wisdom" better get ready for some hard time in the booty house, because its chances on appeal aren't looking too good.

What I found was that in 39 of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia, a median household income below the national average indicated a majority, or plurality for Bush, or a median household income above the national average indicated a majority or plurality for Gore.

It should be noted that because 2000 was a three way race, the absence of Nader in the election would have probably led to Gore winning Florida, which has a median household income below the national average. It should also be noted that the District of Columbia is an urban metropolitan area, not a state, and so, even though it has electoral votes, it is very different from the other states in terms of the makeup of its population. Likewise, Alaska and Hawaii have unique features that make them quite different from the continental states. Those exceptions aside, let's move on, and try to sort out what this relationship between income, and voting preference actually means.

Firstly it should be said that there is clearly no causal relationship between these two indicators. Or, to put it plainly, voting Democratic will not give families in your state a disproportionately higher income. The reason I say this is simple, most of the poorest states in the union (those in the deep south) voted consistently Democrat up until 50 years ago, and they were just as poor then as they are now.

But, what if we step outside of our society's shifting mores for a moment, and ignore the various changes that have occurred over the years in the ideologies of our nation's leading parties, and consider states on the basis of whether or not they have mostly supported progressive or conservative political ideologies. In this case, the model of progressive political ideology leading to an increase in median income for the residents of a state would seem to be a better fit. This most certainly cannot proved by the data that I have looked at, but it is possible that it could explain my data.

My theory would go a little something like this:

Conservative ideology is basically devoted to maintaining a system where an elite class holds a disproportionate share of the money and power, while a vast poor underclass is subservient to it. Progressive ideology is centered around the idea that freedom and equality for everyone is the true goal of a healthy society. Thus, progressive political action would seek to reduce the disparity in income between rich and poor, while conservative political action would seek to increase that disparity.

I make the assumption that large disparities in the distribution of income will affect the overall prosperity of a social group. My reasoning is that, if a few people are very rich, then by definition, a great many people must be poor. The most reasonable explanation for why this situation would occur is that the few rich are receiving a greater share of their society's wealth than they deserve, and the many poor are not receiving the share of their society's wealth that they deserve. If this happens, the link between work and reward (which is essential for a labor market to function) is broken, and so the many poor - who perform most of the labor - will work less, because they know that they will not be fairly compensated for their work, and as a result, overall prosperity is decreased. It is also likely that this income disparity, and lack of fairness in the distribution of wealth, would decrease the incentives for an individual to pursue higher education, and increase the incentives for an individual to engage in criminal activity.

The most extreme example of the above would be a society where most of the labor is performed by slaves, while a very small wealthy elite controls the vast majority of all of the assets, and receives a majority of the income, and a small class of impoverished free persons have almost no assets, and receive only a subsistence income. That doesn't sound at all familiar - does it?

Let's take a look at the ten states with the lowest median household incomes, raked by the percentage by which they deviate from the national average.

Rank: State: Deviation: (median income) Margin Victory for Bush: (points)
1 West Virginia -29% 6
2 Mississippi -25% 17
3 Arkansas -23%
4 Louisiana -22% 8
5 Montana -21% 25
6 Oklahoma -20% 25
7 Kentucky -19% 15
8 Alabama -18% 15
9 New Mexico -18% **Gore by 366 votes**
10 North Dakota -17% 27

Oh my GOD! Holy Shit!

That's a fucking shocker. Six of the ten are deep south states that historically have had economies heavily based on slave labor. Nine of these states went heavily for Bush in 2000, and all of those nine are predicted to go for Bush again.

In conclusion, there does seem to be a very definite relationship in between conservative/Republican ideology and median income. The relationship is that being conservative is a drag on a social group's median income. Obviously, many other factors other than political orientation do affect income, but political orientation does seem to be a contributing factor.

This is something that I do intend to explore further, and in greater depth. Hopefully I will get down to the level of state-by-state analysis, and be able to use other factors, such as measures of the distribution of wealth, and demographic makeup of the population to control for error. But for now, this is something for people to chew on, and hopefully something that will provoke people to start think a little more about how class and wealth affect politics in America.

I don't know why that table is breaking the template and adding all that whitespace, but I don't really care enough to fix it, so just deal with it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A few updates...

As you can see, I have now prominently positioned a truely fantastic image on my sidebar. BTW, that isn't me. Unfortunately I lack the creativity to dress myself up as death and carry around a sign that says "Bush is my Bitch."

Also, I have added some permanent media links, which may or may not change over time. Be sure to check out "Donkey Kick'n Fun," which is a sort of techish-house/crap tune I produced a few months ago.

In the links section I have added "Johasen Hunt Monkeys," which is the now dormant site of my monkey hunting friend Jürgen Jöhansen. Jürgen does claim to be working on a new video entitled "Thrill of the Chase," but this effort has apparently been set back because his slated director, Edward Caraballo, is no longer available for the project. Jürgen does assure me, however, that he is very close to signing another documentary film-maker to take over the helm of what Jürgen calls "the first ever in-depth look at the dangerous and deadly world of professional monkey hunting."

Another link that I have given prominence to, is SullyWatch, a blog devoted to ridiculing Andrew Sullivan. Objectively speaking, the writers on SullyWatch have what is probably the worlds easiest job (making a mockery of AS), but I have to give them credit for taking on the supremely masochistic task of acutally reading the inane garbage that AS churns out at a seemingly super-human pace. If you don't know who AS is you aren't missing much, but you can view his site here. To save you the trouble, I'll just say that he is the world's biggest twat, and a fucking moron to boot.

The Real Presidential Race

With the first presidential debate only two days away the bullshit flowing from the political press is reaching feverish heights in both volume and inaccuracy.

A recurring theme of late, which is being espoused by both right-wing drones and democratic naysayers, is that Kerry is somehow already sunk. Seemingly before his ship ever left the dock. This, my friends, is totally absurd.

Let us review the facts. Before the Democratic Convention Kerry was consistently ahead in the national polls, and leading in most of the battleground states. If the election had been held then - according to the polls - he would have won, both popularly and electorally. [I said "orally"] This is the reason that he didn't get much of a bump in the polls from the convention. Simply put, if your numbers already reflect the support of your base, plus a majority of swing voters, there simply is nowhere else you can get points from except for the other candidate's base, which in this case happens to be rabidly pro-bush, and totally unassailable.

Yet, despite the obvious fact that the only way Kerry could get a substantial gain in the polls coming out of Boston would be if he revealed in his acceptance speech that he was in fact the embodiment of the second-coming of the risen savior, the political punditry dwelled on this non-event for some time, acting all along as if it was an indicator of some massive failure of the Democratic Convention. It wasn't. The Democratic Convention may have been as boring as Vanilla Ice Cream, but it was still Ice Cream, not the shit-popsicle that all of the hand-wringing in the press would make you believe.

Following the convention, Kerry - now the official nominee of the Democratic Party - was for the first time bound by the statutory spending limits that came with his acceptance of public financing for his presidential campaign. Until the Republican Convention a month later, Bush was still free to spend as much money as he pleased. This is a story that was covered pretty well before the Democratic Convention, but was never mentioned (that I heard) during the month that followed, despite the fact that the reduction in the Kerry campaign's spending must have surely affected its ability to operate as before.

Meanwhile the Kerry campaign spent the entire month facing airwaves that were saturated with both official "I'm President Bush, and I approved this Message" attack ads, and unpaid media coverage of a Texas hatchet group called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." Why the media gave the coverage that it did to these people is beyond the scope of this article, but the fact that they did it was a disgrace.

Against this backdrop of a campaign operating with reduced spending capacity, fighting off both an opposing campaign not confined by the same financial strictures, and an onslaught of negative press coverage, you saw Bush gain a few points in some national polls, and an increase in negative perceptions of Kerry. But if the election had been held then - according to the polls - Kerry still would have won, both popularly and electorally.

Now, given this situation where Kerry is leading Bush in the polls, Bush obviously has the opportunity - if he gives a successful performance at his convention - to get more of a bounce from it then Kerry did at his. Bush, like Kerry, did a reasonably good job, and the convention, while bland, was basically a success, and Bush did exactly that. He got a good bounce, one that was never even a possibility for Kerry, and as a result pundits started asking whether or not the race was already over. WTF?!?

Nothing of any import has really happened since the Republican convention, and as a result the two candidates have drifted back to within the margin of error in national polls, with Bush still leading, and Bush also leading electorally. These numbers, like the numbers 1-2 months ago that showed Kerry in the same position Bush is now, are meaningless. The election isn't today, its in November, which may seem like a weirdly simplistic and rhetorical thing to say, but it is apparently something that you have to forget, if anything being said by so called political experts is going to make any sense to you.

What the numbers do show is that we are in a close race, and that there are no demonstrable trends within those numbers that give any conclusive evidence as to how the vote will actually come down on November 2. And the numbers have been showing that exact same thing for about half-a-year now, so it shouldn't be a supprise to people. Kerry isn't losing, Bush isn't winning, the race isn't over. For most of the people in the country all of the occurrences along the campaign trail during the past months have gone in one ear and out the other, with the exception of the party conventions, and for a few, the public appearances of John Kerry, or John Edwards. For most people, their final voting decision will be based, first and foremost on party affiliation, and secondly on the performances of the candidates in the presidential debates.

All of the TV ads, sideshows, talking heads, and even the war in Iraq and the state of the Economy, are essentially subordinate to the simple fact that for a majority of voters party affiliation is the only thing that affects their voting decision. For the rest of the voters, those who do actively make decisions without regard to party affiliation, the way they will make that decision is by watching the two candidates stand side-by-side on stage, and make their case for why they should be president. And so, in reality, the Real Presidential Race is only just about to begin.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I Love the CPD

Here is the contract between the two campaigns concerning the terms of their 4 (3 presidential and 1 vice-presidential) debates. It is definitely worth reading. I mean, shit, the riders in this baby put J-Lo to shame.

Crazy Chris Matthews vs. Krazy "Ted" Kennedy

People who don't watch Hardball regularly definitely missed a good one tonight as the titans of red faced rage, and spit spraying speechifying, sat down face-to-face for an interview.

Before I go on, I must state as a disclaimer that I basically view Edward M. Kennedy as a god who walks among men. In my book, anybody who can act that crazy and drunk on a regular basis, and still enjoy the power of a totally locked in senate seat for life, has reached the pinacle of human achievement.

As it happens, Krazy K (not to be confused with Special K) is one of the few people who can acutally shut Chris Matthews up.

Similar to the SNL skit where Matthews sits dumbfounded while Sharpton makes up words, the real Chris Matthews simply leaned back and watched the madness unfold as Kennedy ran totally wild, spouting out an almost nonstop stream of extreme claims, hypocritical accusations, and maniacle malapropisms that would put Bush to shame.

Among these, Kennedy decried Bush for running a "campaign of anger and insult," something he should know well from experience. He accused Dick Cheney of "McCarthyism," which is about as vague and as putrid of an insult as "facism," but one more easily digested by the listener and the media. Finally, and ironically, Kennedy said, about Kerry, that he was "convinced that people will say he's the man for us to lead."

So there you have it - even Teddy doesn't think Kerry is a strong leader. Him and everyone else.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Memory Lane

Two months ago I posted a rant about the horrible Iraq coverage in the N.Y. Times.

Liberal Media Watch:
The N.Y. TIMES gives front-page prominence to yet another totally unfounded Iraq Story

I just wanted to point out that I was dead right at the time, and that two months on not many people are talking about any "internal rifts" in the Iraqi resistance.

In particular I think that Mr. A should take note of this, since he expressed considerable skepticism about my credibility when I originally wrote the piece.

That's right. Eat it bitch.

And let this be a lesson. Just because someone is smoking meth, and drinking wine out of gallon jugs, doesn't mean they can't get it right - Not that I was ever doing either of those things.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

On How to Lose the (Information) War

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses, And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!
Since I am too drunk to write, I have decided that I will simply quote the headlines from Al Jazeera - they say it better than I could (sober) anyway.

Allawi's Congress speech draws flak
US now wants more troops in Iraq
Gorbachev decries Iraq invasion
Blair urged to act on Iraq captive
No new Ethiopia-Eritrea war, says UN
Allawi: No release of female prisoner
Italian hostages probably alive
US troops seal off Samarra*
Car bombs cause more Baghdad carnage

*Samarra, according to one internet source, is the "largest ancient city in the world," and one of Iraq's "four Islamic holy cities." The Great Mosque - built in 852 - which still stands in Samarra, was the largest mosque in the world before the modern era. So, I guess it's a good thing that we have sealed the city off, and we're bombing the shit out of it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

There's no such thing as paranoia

Umhhh - yeah. When I got up this morning, this is what I found in a flourescent light fixture outside my door in the hallway.

From what I can tell, it is a radio that has been wired into the light fixture to provide power. God knows who put it there, or for what reason.

Right now I'm torn between calling the police, and reporting it as "suspicious," or just taking it for myself.

I don't mind if I do...

Click the link, and you can also play the ever so exciting "Oxy Rocks!" game.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Pentagon Announces Deployment of "Mother of All Microwave Rays"

The Telegraph, and Stars and Stripes have both recently reported that the Pentagon is currently readying an experimental Energy Beam Weapons System, knows as the “Active Denial System,” for deployment in Iraq by August of next year. The stated intent of the Pentagon is to use this weapon against civilian non-combatants, supposedly for the purpose of “crowd control.” Naturally, these articles raised many questions in my mind, such as “doesn’t shooting people with highly focused microwave beams seem - uh… - dangerous?

Of course not! And how can I be so sure that this system is perfectly safe? Because Rich Garcia, “a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory in New Mexico” says so, that’s why. As quoted in The Telegraph, Garcia says that “when you get out of the path of the beam, or shut off the beam, everything goes back to normal. There's no residual pain." And what happens when you’re in the path of the beam? Not much really, “it just FEELS LIKE YOUR SKIN IS ON FIRE [caps added].” Oh - I see - no worries then.

Like most Pentagon statements, the answers here raise more questions than they put to rest.

When a spokesperson says that a weapon which makes you feel “like your skin is on fire” is perfectly safe, you immediately have to ask how they know that. According to an Air Force Research Laboratory “Fact Sheet,” they know the system is safe because they have been testing it on humans and animals for “several years” – sounds humane.

Another glaring question that these reports raise concerns the “experimental” status of this technology. Once again, according to the Air Force’s own “Fact Sheet,” (from 2003) an evaluation of this technology was not slated to be complete until the “end of 2005.” Now they plan to deploy this system in a combat zone for use against civilians even before the evaluation of its utility was scheduled to be finished. Either the MI Complex has made great strides in efficiency that I didn’t know about, or this system isn’t ready to be put in the field yet. My hunch would be the latter.

What happens if the “Mother of All Microwave Rays” does malfunction? What kind of injuries could be sustained by the civilians that this weapon is designed to target?

One must also consider the potential risk to our soldiers who will be relying on this experimental weapons system to defend themselves. Luckily this weapon is intended for use as a “defense” against unarmed civilians, so that risk may be limited to being forced to watch as Iraqis gather to protest the occupation policy, and exercise their human right to free speech.

While it is true that this weapon may be an improvement over the military’s current technique for dispersing crowds, which frequently seems to include firing missiles into them, it also clearly appears to be a disaster in waiting. Like the “terrorism futures market” proposed by another Pentagon research agency about a year ago, this is a Sci-Fi non-solution to a very real problem, which demonstrates how far afield our military leadership has wandered in their execution of the Occupation of Iraq. When you start thinking that Microwave Ray Guns are a good idea, isn’t seems clear – at least to me - that the time for withdrawing our troops from Iraq has come and passed.


-Stars and Stripes also says that “While the Pentagon is taking the lead in developing Project Sheriff, other agencies interested in the experiment’s progress include the Justice, Energy, and State departments and the FBI,” so if your lucky, you may be able to see this baby in action even if they don’t reinstate the draft.

-The Telegraph reports that the same vehicles being fitted with the MAMR, are also being equipped with “a rapid-fire gun currently under development that will detect enemy snipers and automatically fire back at them, [emphasis added]” which is known as “The Gunslinger” (And I didn’t even have to make that one up!) I wasn’t able to find any additional information on this weapon, but it sounds like a winner.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Remember 3.15.03

Tha rock won't burn
if yo cash don turn

Yeah baby
shit yeah

aint that the truth

I was in an odd mood this morning - a bit jittery - so I decided to stroll on up to the friendly neighborhood Starbucks.

On the way I run into the usual assortment of early morning characters.

A man, looking in his late twenties, pimped out in a red velour sweatfit, swaggering along a little too casually on the grey early morning sidewalk.

Another man walking speedily across an intersection, a block up in front of me, wearing what looks like a leather jacket from a distance. But something in his gate tells me that up close it would be vinyl.

I stand in line wondering how there can be a line at 6:30 in the morning. I feel a little weak on my feet. A dozen-and-a-half beers will do that to you. I walk back home with my coffee in one hand and my folded over New York Times in the other. I scan the headlines on the quarter of the page that faces me, but I don't remember any more what they said.

The sun is coming up now, behind the light grey clouds that hang in the sky across the river, outside my window. Dawning dreary and depressing, which is fitting for a day like this.

As soon as I finish writing this I intend to smoke anything even vaguely narcotic that I can lay my hands on, and then pass out and sleep for at least fourteen hours.

I definitely want to make a point to miss anything and everything on television today, because I'm sure it will all be either viciously depressing, or infuriatingly insipid - in most cases, probably both.

10 days ago - labor day - I was digging through some old tapes, and I happened to run across some video that I had shot at the peace march that took place in Portland on March 15, 2003. I had almost totally forgotten about that rally, and when I sat down and watched the tape, it had a definite impact on me.

Watching all of those thousands of people, many with signs, many chanting, some just walking, and some dancing, I was struck by how far we have come from that day. Not just in days, dollars, and bodies, but also in perceptions.

Today we are faced with the inextricable problem of 140,000 of our soldiers entangled in the occupation of a foreign country that is on the verge of collapse even with their presence. In this situation few people even consider the possibility of peaceful solutions. And none of those who do are running for president as the candidate of a major party.

"I'm John Kerry and I'm Reporting for Duty"

And I am really going to vote for this guy?

After watching that tape a few more times, I decided that I had to share it, and what better day then today.

Instead of remembering death, and destruction, I encourage you to take the time to remember Peace, and remember what it was like to stand shoulder to shoulder with tens of thousands of Portlanders, and in spirit with millions around the world, and believe that Peace was possible. It may be just me, but I think that if we stand on our convictions, it still is.

This video is encoded with XviD. www.divx.com has codecs available for both Windows and Macintosh.

If you use BitTorrent, please download the torrent, so I can save my bandwidth:

You can also download the file directly:

Friday, September 03, 2004


Kenya to seek extradition of 'miracle birth' pastor (The Guardian)
Police are investigating claims that the church is a front for a child-smuggling ring that steals babies from impoverished mothers in Nairobi. All of the so-called miracle mothers have gone to Nairobi to deliver the babies, though most were living in the UK.
Goddamn - I love christians.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Serious Consequences

God damn. I'm up to my ears in the fucking bullshit that GWB dumped all over my television screen tonight.

Like the good German that I am, I got fucking loaded this evening, and watched The President's convention speech. I even chanted "U - S - A" along with the delegates, cheering on our great leader, or as the German's would say, Der Fuhrer.

In all actuality, I found the Republican herd to be suprisingly subdued, and unenthused about Bush's speech. While they certainly did cheer, and occasionally build up the "four more years" chant to a reasonable crescendo, the response was not the orgiastic celebration of certain victory that usually accompanies the speech of an incumbent president at their convention. One reason that the crowd may have been somewhat unawed is simply that The President's speech was so lackluster and lacking in original material. The only real policy proposals that the president made were Social Security "reform," and "simplifying the tax code," which happen to be proposals which he also made the first time he was running for President, and with considerably more detail at that time than he provided now.

To be fair, Bush couldn't spend much time proposing new policies because he had to devote large amounts of time to defending and explaining away the policies he has already instituted. Foremost amongst the blunders that Bush had to spin on was Iraq, and the terrible miscalculations that he and his advisors made about WMD. This portion of the speech was really my favorite.

Somehow it is perversely entertaining to me to watch Bush lean into the podium, squint up his beady pig eyes, drop his voice to a tone usually reserved for addressing children, and "make" his case for why it was still a good idea to invade Iraq. "In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat. Members of both political parties, including my opponent and his running mate, saw the threat, and voted to authorize the use of force. We went to the United Nations Security Council, which passed a unanimous resolution demanding the dictator disarm, or face serious consequences." I'm sure that Evil Dick explains it to him exactly the same way.

On the economy - the most important issue to actual voters - Bush offered little more than the same hollow claims that his policies really have worked, and we just have to wait a little longer (i.e. at least till November 3) to see the results. The convention crowd, composed mostly of white-bread upper middle-class idiots, lapped up Bush's assertion that making permanent his tax giveaway to the ultra-rich would cement the "economic recovery" and spread prosperity to all.

Sadly for the Bush Campaign, poll after poll shows that a strong majority of the public is well aware that this is total horse shit. Somehow, the memory of a one-time $400 dollar tax-rebate doesn't bring nearly as much satisfaction - three years on - as having a job, or health care for you and your family. And the joy of knowing that the people who live in the hills above you have an extra one, or ten thousand dollars in their pocket come tax time, doesn't really salve the pain of knowing that most of the social security payroll tax being taken out of your already meager paycheck is being used for general government expenses, instead of being invested in a trust fund to pay for your benefits when you retire.

Serious policy (if it can be called that) critique aside, the speech also had plenty of partisan fluff, most of which was recycled, including the "Actually I voted for it, before I voted against it" crowd-pleaser. The one gem, which I believe was new, (at least I hadn't heard it before) was a quote from a New York Times editorial that Bush read.
In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times, "Germany is a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. [European] capitals are frightened. In every [military] headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed." End quote. Maybe that same person's still around, writing editorials.
The selection of this quote is really hilarious because it is so fucking a-historical, and assumes that the listener knows absolutely nothing about the aftermath of World War II.

Now, I am a little drunk right now, but let me do my best. At the end of the war our "occupation policy" was to split Berlin and consequently Germany into occupation zones controlled by the United States, France, Russia, (and Britain I think). The result of this policy was the blockade of Berlin by the Russians, and ultimately the institution of a communist government in East Germany that took another 45 years to get rid of. This is something that GWB should know something about because he just announced a plan to realign our armed forces by dramatically reducing our troop levels in Germany. When that rotation takes place we will have been in Germany for sixty years. Hopefully we can get our troops out of Iraq a little more quickly.

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