State of the Union (my take)

It's the nature of doing something like this after the fact, that I get to pick it apart to my own content. For those who want the speech in its entirety, I got it from whitehouse.gov, here.

Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on -- as long as we're willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done.
Well, you know, the first part of that is pretty accurate. Of course, it shows more in the fact that more people believe that the Democrats are the small-government party these days than anything else... I wouldn't go so far as to say that there isn't a lick of difference between them, but there probably aren't all that many licks.

Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and to help them to build a future of hope and opportunity(...)
Gag me, please, somebody. Their jobs are enumerated very clearly here and here, in this document. Maybe I'm not reading close enough, but the concept of helping the people build a future of hope and opportunity isn't popping out at me.

In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. (Applause.) I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government, and we can balance the federal budget.
Brilliant. Let's see it.

First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income on payroll tax -- or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income.

States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick.
Here comes mean, heartless me, full in my belief that this isn't part of the government's enumerated jobs, either. Really, they'd do better by calling for and offering less tampering, such as getting laws out of the way that would let people actually... y'know... buy the insurance they want, rather than being restricted by legal requirements.

(...)we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave Border Agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists.
As far as it goes, it sounds good in theory. What is left unsaid, though, and is the real crux of this matter, is that it would be extended to people who already broke the law and entered the country illegally. There's a world of difference between people who would like to come in given a reasonable chance, and people who blatantly ignore the rule of law.

Now, I'll grant you, an argument could be made that we don't even need the temporary worker program. Still, if we were in a situation where we had to accept such a thing in turn for it not being applied to those who are already illegal... is that enough to accept it? Or is there a good reason for wanting to throw it out altogether that I just haven't come up with, or happened across?

We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty.
It doesn't take animosity, or amnesty. It takes finding them, picking them up, and dropping them off back in the country they came from. Last time I checked, after all, the word illegal still meant something. Maybe not, though... I suppose it's possible that they pulled it from the dictionary around the same time they removed gullible.

We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. (Applause.) We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- (applause) -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.
Tell you what: There are a bunch of companies in this country who are in the business of energy. Let's get the government regulations out of their way and let them figure out how to solve our energy problems. I have a great deal more faith in their ability to do such a thing, and I have sneaking suspicions that the cost in dollars and time will be significantly lower, as well.

Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. (Applause.) When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.) At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Let me say this right now, as a car guy, rather than a small-government conservative. Get your damned government regulations out of my car. The sludge passed off as fuel they call ethanol only contains 2/3rds as much power per gallon as regular old gasoline. It costs more in money and energy to produce, and it's more inefficient. Frankly, I twitch just thinkin' about it.

And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Why not triple or quadruple it while we're at it?

We have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty, as well, to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
Well, at least it's really one of their jobs. Unfortunately, the likelihood of any action being taken on this resides somewhere in that invisible margin between slim and none.

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them.
Can we make more of this, please? It's hard enough to find the good stories as it is, so it's certainly nice to hear about them.

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

Earlier, I made mention of some comments made by Neal Boortz. While a lot of them are well worth reading, this seems to put the lie to the concept that the president didn't properly name the threat in his speech. "Islamist radical (movement)", which one would assume to be made up of Islamist radicals, and so forth.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.
I can't understand why people refuse to understand this idea. The alternatives to what we are doing are not any better, and most of them end in scenarios a good sight worse.

American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger and poverty and disease -- and that is precisely what America is doing.
May I have a moment to go bang my head against the wall? ... ... ... Thank you. I don't really feel better, but at least now I can blame the source of my growing headache on the fact that I just banged my head against a wall. Here comes the broken record again: This is not the job of the United States government. There are plenty of private charities who see to this sort of thing, with less bureaucracy, and fewer overhead costs. This may strike some people as a radical idea, but what if government got out of people's pockets to the extent that they're in them to pay for this sort of thing, and we'll see people who have that extra money that they can then give to such charities if they so choose.

When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. These deeds reflect the character of our people.
What generosity is forced generosity, exactly? If you have no choice in whether or not the money is donated, then is it really generous, or a donation at all?

The stories that the president ended on really are quite inspiring. I would certainly suggest reading them, if you haven't had a chance to do so.

No comments: