Monday, 18 February 2013

Talking back - part 3

[continuation of annotated SOTU]

Lie #16:
These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.

No, none of it will matter if vast incentives remain in place to ship the jobs elsewhere and juicy new benefits to outsourcing are added through “free-trade” agreements designed to place U.S. workers in direct competition with slaves, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal now being cooked up. [See below.]

Disturbing truth #29:
And that [training] has to start at the earliest possible age. Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.

Thanks to the blocking of the Mondale initiative for federally subsidized preschool that was vetoed by Nixon 40 years ago as part of the culture wars. Wars, BTW, which have gotten 100 times worse and are led by the rabid assholes now sitting in front of you and ready to gin up their ‘gummint threatens the Christian family!’ meme as soon as this speech is over.

Disturbing truth #30:
Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool.

In fact, many formerly middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for anything because they have no income at all. But deficit-slashing in the midst of a weak recovery should fix everything!

Disturbing truth #31:
And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own.

Get that, religious nutbags in Oklahoma? “Stable families,” “hold a job,” see, we’re not talking welfare queens here, my Christian brothers, this is the way to get THOSE people (wink-wink) out there and to function and stop being deadbeats.

Rosy prediction #19:
So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.

Yes, let’s use empirical evidence on preschool education even though our entire educational policy is based on privatization and teacher-punishment (see below), which has NO empirical basis.

Rosy prediction #20:
Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job.

Which will magically appear once people are well educated and trained, just like in Greece and Portugal where well educated youth are eagerly awaiting the next round of budget balancing/austerity, which I have legitimized conceptually in this speech, to help their countries blossom and flourish.

Disturbing truth #32:
Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this.

Yes, that’s what we need, IBM deciding how to organize every kid’s education given that the problems facing public schools are basically managerial and can be solved by good corporate practice; therefore, they need to be taken over by the private sector. Oh, and IBM doesn’t bother about silly old unions, either. This all worked out really well in Chile under Pinochet, so we should reshape our educational industry this way despite the lack of empirical evidence in its favor [see above]. After all, it’s a $500 billion income stream just sitting there waiting to be tapped by the banks, which might get them off life support eventually.

Disturbing truth #33:
Four years ago, we started Race to the Top – a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year.T

A program whose very name indicates that some will make it and some will sink to The Bottom, but that’s capitalism fer ya! Life isn’t fair, and not everyone is fleet of foot!

Disturbing truth #34:
Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.

That way, we can directly funnel children according to early classification as Alphas, Gammas and Deltas into their assigned roles in production without wasting a lot of expensive time in useless topics like history and flute-playing. Hey, ‘partnerships with employers’ even sounds kinda like how things work here at the White House! That should definitely work.

Rosy prediction #21:
Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It’s a simple fact: the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class.

That is, if there is a middle class once the multinationals and the Chinese Politburo get finished with it.

Rosy prediction #22:
But today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we have made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure they do. Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new ‘College Scorecard’ that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.

Sorta like those teacher evaluation scorecards are really popular and are working out well from coast to coast--without cheating!

Disturbing truth #35:
To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.

‘Willing to work’ = GOP shibboleth/red meat to Red Staters. Would this be the time to introduce the concept of unions into your address given their huge role in electing you to office twice?

Rosy prediction #23:
Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

There! I mentioned labor although not ‘unions.’ Picky, picky, picky. What do you commies want from me, anyway?

Disturbing truth #36:
Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made – putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.

And deported many more hundreds of thousands of people than George Bush did.

Lie #16:
Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.

Real reform will not include forcing people back to their countries of origin to get in endless lines for a decade because they won’t do it.

Disturbing truth #37/Rosy prediction #24/Lie #17:
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.

The ‘legal immigration system’ that has been mobilized since at last 2001 to treat illegals as the enemy? ‘Reduce bureaucracy’, good luck with that; ‘attract engineers’, oh really? Like the 11 million menial workers who make up the bulk of the undocumented population? Are you saying they should stay or get forced out? Or are we going to discuss that later?

Rosy prediction #25:
In other words, we know what needs to be done. As we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. Now let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.

So give me the chance to help the GOP to repair the damage they did themselves with Hispanics so it can win future elections and maintain our noble tradition of bipartisanship. Yay!

Rosy prediction #26:
But we can’t stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.

This is very likely to happen! John Boehner undoubtedly will risk political capital with vaginal wand purveyors to get it passed.

Disturbing truth #38:
We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages.

Especially for those engaged in ‘hard’ honest work.

Disturbing truth #39:
But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.

Which is particularly important given that well-paying manufacturing jobs are no longer part of the mix since global competition with Chinese slaves makes them unnecessary.

Rosy prediction #27:
Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here’s an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.

Surely you’ll agree in a bipartisan spirit that these struggling fellow citizens should be succored!

Disturbing truth #40:
Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it’s virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that is why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.

This is sounding great, recognition of Rust Belt devastation, need for structural change. Where is this going? [breathless anticipation]

Rosy prediction #28:
Let’s offer incentives to companies . . .

Yes, that’s what was missing, incentives to companies! Bipartisan agreement sure to follow.

Rosy prediction #28 (cont.):
. . . that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance. Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my Administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, education, and housing. We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest.

In non-union states! And all without a penny of ‘new’ spending, remember? We’ll get the cash from Grandma’s pension.

Disturbing truth #41:
And we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.

Wink, wink, see, I’m not favoring those deadbeat Negroes who have illegitimate children and then want welfare checks!

Rosy prediction #29:
Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America. It is this kind of prosperity – broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class – that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world.

Who writes this treacle?

Lie #17:
Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us.

Define ‘protect’. Invading Iraq protected us how exactly?

Lie #18:
Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda.

That was completed 12 years ago. The announced mission of stabilizing Afghanistan permanently has been an abject failure, extended for four additional and useless years by you.

Disturbing truth #42:
Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.

When it could have been over in 2002 with the same or even better results.

Disturbing truth #43:
Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates. Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self.

Why this was not done a decade ago at a savings of $1 trillion will not be discussed for now.

Disturbing truth #44:
Different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged – from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving.

Given our excellent record in winning the hearts of minds of the world’s peoples through drone assassination and imperial invasions.

Disturbing truth #45:
But to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali.

It only took us ten years of failed tactics and $3 trillion to realize we had to do things differently. Hey, learning curve!

Disturbing truth #46:
And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.

And man, do I love ‘direct action’. Hands off my girls, Justin Bieber! Wink, wink, chortle.

Lie #19/Whopper #4:
As we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That is why my Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations.


Lie #20/Whopper #5:
Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts.

Oh, please. Where to begin? How about the committees charged with oversight of intelligence ops that can’t get a straight answer from anyone?

Lie #21:
I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.

Except for the kill lists, which are my exclusive domain, and I promise to be totally fair when compiling them.

Lie #22/Whopper #6:
So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.

War Is Peace. Obedience Is Truth.

Disturbing truth #47:
Of course, our challenges don’t end with al Qaeda. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons.

So that only the big guys like us have them, no one else.

Rosy prediction #30:
The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.

Which have worked so well up to now.

Disturbing truth #48:
Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.

Note the ‘coalition’ part: that’s to show that we’re not drumming up this campaign out of any crude, selfish motives.

Rosy prediction #31:
At the same time, we will engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands – because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead.

Away from eliminating nuclear weapons because, let’s face it, nagahappen.

Disturbing truth #49:
America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks.

Given that we have led the way in launching them.

Disturbing truth #50:
We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail.

We know that because we carefully infiltrate and save all those of our own citizens. But no need to worry if you’re innocent of wrongdoing!

Disturbing truth #51:
We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems.

Like we would love to do to the Iranians, which would be totally legitimate and not an act of war like at all.

Rosy prediction #32:
We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.

For example, we don’t stand idly by in the face of threats to our economy like the housing bubble, nosireebob!

Lie #22/Whopper #7:
That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy.

All true up to the part about ‘our privacy’. He’s convinced we’re morons.

Lie #23:
Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.

Delete ‘secure our networks’, insert ‘spy on everything and everybody’.

Lie #24/Whopper #8:
Even as we protect our people, we should remember that today’s world presents not only dangers, but opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.

Completely undermining everything I said in the last hour about domestic job creation.

[End of part 3]

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