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Skate Off The Union

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008 3:45 AM

Less than two weeks after conceding that now, amid fears of recession and a stumbling economy, was, perhaps, not the best time to talk about making his tax cuts permanent, President Bush did just that early in his final State of the Union Address.

Let's go over this again. If the economy is crashing despite tax cuts, then there's no reason to believe that they've been effective. They certainly didn't inoculate the country against fiscal foolishness like the subprime mortgage crash.

People should be free to manage their money responsibly, Bush affirms. But, hey, we want you to take that tax rebate and spend it on durable goods instead of food, gas, or dropping it into an IRA.

But on we go to a list of things We Should Be Doing In This Country, but somehow have never managed to address within the Bush Administration, including a paean to how we'll pit the competitiveness of American workers against anyone in the world - never mind that we're outsourcing the very jobs we're talking about, because 'competitive' seems to mean low wages and minimal benefits to most corporations.

"On matters of justice, we must trust in the wisdom of our founders and empower judges who understand that the Constitution means what it says," Bush said.

An ironic statement, coming from the man who instituted warrantless wiretaps, appointed an attorney general who believes the Constitution contains no implicit guarantee of habeas corpus, and who is rumored to have angrily complained that the Constitution 'is just a goddamn piece of paper.'

Of course, the SOTU wouldn't be complete without praising our progress in Iraq, and another round of trite affirmations about freedom and liberty, and how al-Qaeda is on the run. Which must be why we're pacifying Mosul ... again. And why General Petraeus is saying we need six more months to determine if the surge is actually working.

Bush actually praises the 'Anbar Awakening,' the banding together of Sunni tribal leaders to fight al-Qaeda, ignoring the fact that the Iraqi government has voiced their disapproval, and apparently forgetting that Abdul Sattar Abu Risha got drilled through the head a couple of days after meeting with Mr. Bush. Not to mention the questionable wisdom of arming Sunni partisans in the first place.

This is followed with 'Hey, we're bringing 20,000 troops home!' - which almost completely negates the forces added through the troop surge at the start of 2007, and could very well undo any gains or progress therein, because this endless chasing insurgents from city to city isn't anything but a temporary solution - yet we have leaders who won't commit to benchmarks or timetables.

Bush again intimates that Iran is up to no good, challenging them to 'verifiably' terminate their nuclear enrichment program, so negotiations can begin. This continues his intransigence in light of the National Intelligence Estimate that reported Iran stopped their program in 2003.

Mr. Bush lauded efforts to defeat two non-plots as proof that we're fighting the good fight, then trotted out the scare line that unless Congress approves the revisions to FISA, including telecom amnesty, we'll somehow stop monitoring our enemies.

This kind of nonsense needs to be shot down at every opportunity. The United States has had procedures in place for foreign surveillance since FISA was first established in the 1970's. What Mr. Bush is asking Congress to approve is his own flaunting of the Constitution and federal law.

"America is leading the fight in global hunger," Bush attests. Except there's no such thing as hunger, remember? Your administration calls it, 'low food security.'

Bush wants to encourage America to buy relief supplies from local growers, to improve their agriculture. Maybe it's escaped his notice that parched and arid land doesn't sustain crops.

President Bush ended his address by referring to the Constitution yet again. We already know that's empty praise. The Decider doesn't listen to anyone.

So, let's see - a strained economy, a war that we haven't a strategy for winning, another half-finished job in Afghanistan, and a nearly doubled national debt. The proposed solutions? Extend tax cuts that didn't work in the first place, stick it out for 'six more months' after years of hearing the same refrain, praising Afghanistan's freedom while ignoring the harsh reality of the Taliban returning to prominence, and passing the debt on to future generations.

That picture of the horse thief beating it out of town really is his icon.

A word to Nancy Pelosi.

You have no right to sit there and frown at the foolishness of this president as long as you refuse to impeach him.

"Congress shall impeach ..." is not an option. It's like the tax code and the Ten Commandments.

Shall means MUST.

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