frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.

Check out my old  Voice of the People page.

Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington

1610 POSTS

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Thursday, 9 February 2006 at 1h 32m 21s

Lest we forget

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, yesterday:

“Pace said only one Iraqi army battalion is capable of fighting without U.S. help. That is the same number as in September, when U.S. commanders disclosed that the number of such highly trained battalions had dropped from three to one, prompting criticism from lawmakers.” [AP, 2/7/06]

For those of you who don't know, that "one battalion" consists of 800 men. Yep, after nearly 3 years of Operation Iraqi freedom, the US military effort can only convince 800 Iraqi's to willingly support them.

Thursday, 9 February 2006 at 0h 53m 29s

Heartless, thoughtless bastards

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent [SOURCE]

WASHINGTON - President Bush's budget calls for elimination of a $255 lump- sum death payment that has been part of Social Security for more than 50 years and urges Congress to cut off monthly survivor benefits to 16- and 17- year-old high school dropouts.

If approved, the two proposals would save a combined $3.4 billion over the next decade, according to administration estimates....

[T]he benefit is paid in cases in which a surviving spouse was living with the deceased at the time of his or her death. It is also available in some cases for a surviving spouse who lived apart and for some surviving children.

Administration officials said the payment began as a burial benefit in 1939, to assist families with funeral expenses. The amount was set at $255 in 1952 and until 1981, the payment was made directly to funeral homes, they said.

The second change Bush proposed would terminate monthly survivor benefits for 16- and 17-year-olds who do not attend school full time. Current law requires 18-year-olds to remain in school to receive their benefits. Survivor benefits are paid in cases in which a parent has died.

Wednesday, 8 February 2006 at 3h 22m 50s

It's the constitution stupid

except when winning elections are more important than patriotism.

Howie Kurtz manages to put the NSA eavesdropping fiasco in perspective. Go here

The article essentially glosses over all of the items thrown about in the news. I don't usually like Howie, because he has been wishy-washy in the past, and he often chooses the facts to make the point, instead of using all of the facts to figure out the point. Ignoring poignant facts makes me wonder if the author who does so consistently is really a shill of sorts, as if he is quite mindfull of which side his bread is buttered.

But Howie gets why the news-fo-tainment industry can't provide anything but a slanted, inaccurate perspective of all remotely "political" events. Consider this snippet, which comments on how the news networks covered Senate Judiciary hearings with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez yesterday:

The cable nets all made a great show of 'covering' the Senate Judiciary hearing by carrying the AG's opening statement, then maybe a question or two from Arlen Specter. Then they trotted out their legal analysts to talk about the meaning of the hearing, which by then must have been eight or nine minutes old. The hearing became video wallpaper as the cable talkers talked. They never even got to Pat Leahy, the panel's top Democrat, meaning that only Republican voices were heard. Gonzales essentially got a free ride.

Then everyone moved on to other subjects. MSNBC went back to the hearing for a couple of minutes but thought better of it. We had CNN looking at Fall Fashion Week, Fox ginning up a debate on Ken Mehlman calling Hillary angry, and MS doing a 'Massachusetts Murder Mystery.'

Now I'm not saying the Gonzales session should have been covered wall to wall (though fortunately it was on C-SPAN). America probably got sick of the preening politicians during the Roberts and Alito hearings. And the cable nets did deal with other serious issues. But they couldn't even be bothered with dipping in and out of the first attempt on Capitol Hill to hold the administration accountable for its domestic spying program. Instead, we had the appearance of coverage, and even that didn't last long.

It's important to understand the seriousness of what happened yesterday. The Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzalez, obfuscated every direct question. He could not answer a simple yes or no to the question posed by Senator Leahy: does the United States eavesdrop on American citizens? "I can't answer that with certainty" , "It is my belief that that is not our policy", "I believe that our activities are consistent with the Constitution", and anything else but the one of two words that would have answered the question : yes or no.

Lets not forget that the hearings began with a vote on partisan lines not to put Gonzalez under oath. [see it here] Senator Feingold called for a voice vote, and some of the Republicans uttered "no" while looking down at the table, as if ashamed.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006 at 4h 49m 16s

He who gives a little liberty for safety, will get neither of both

Okay, you say. I'm a good citizen. I'm not ashamed of anything. I have nothing to hide.

But consider the idea at stake. Do we have to have every conversation -- digital or audible -- monitored in order to be safe? Keep in mind that already the entire network of telecommunications within -- and exterior to some extent - - the United States in gathered at the NSA. I repeat. They are already gathering the data. Accessing that data however, or tapping into the instantaneous moment of the network, needs a warrant. If an emergency arises, the executive branch has 72 hours to notify the FISA court with the "probable cause" basis for the action. The FISA court consists of 12 justices appointed by the Chief Justice.

When the government doesn't bother to notify or include the FISA court they are breaking the law.

Nothing is inhibiting the need to protect the public by following the law. The idea that some super-program can filter out the data is ludicrously inefficient. No search query could ever be more than 99.9 % accurate. There are just too many variations. Mind you during the average day, more than 1 billion communications occur. Now lets do the Math. 99.9 % means you have 0.1% error. 0.1% of one billion equates to 0.001 x 1,000,000,000, which equals a minimum of 1,000,000 calls a day.

Okay, now of this 1,000,000,which calls are the actual terrorists. And what of the other "terrorist"-related calls that don't get fished into the net? Since some of the calls will be false positives, what if your listening to these calls gains you incidental information not related to the reason for the monitoring (terrorism?) And what of the false negatives? These will also be missed, and might be more important, so at best, any kind of software is imperfect.

1,000,000 calls a day. How do we filter this residue? Does the administration hire 100,000 people to monitor 10 calls a day? 10,000 people to monitor 100? 1,000 people to monitor 1000? 100 people to monitor 10,000? 10 to monitor 100,000.

Who decides how to resolve the above issues as regards this "monitoring" of NSA communications. You say you've got nothing to hide, but what happens if you wind up in the 0.1% area. Does that mean your name gets put on a list? What is the procedure? Again, incidental information could occur, so what is the systematic approach to the filtering of this "monitoring."

Or would the above information leave us vulnerable to "the enemy" ?

"I can't talk about specifics. Information is obtained. Information is retained. And information is obtained with respect to the rights of all Americans." Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General of the the Dubya Bush administration. The same Attorney General exclaimed in a recent speech that "reasonable suspicion" was the same as "probable cause" because of the clustered mumbo-jumbo legalese that he gave in the speech. Essentially, the argument boiled down to the proclaimation that "judges have long since agreed," which is not true. Judges have NOT LONG SINCE AGREED because the 4th amendment is absolutely clear on this :

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This type of ongoing, surreptitious surveillance leaves us vulnerable to intimidation. Only fools succomb to the idea that the world is not safe and so therefore we must surrender our liberty. The world has never been safe, and no amount of liberty given or surrendered will increase or decrease the world being unsafe.

It's not like we don't have a history. Pinkerton detectives were hired by many industrialists -- examples: Oil magnate John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, big steel manager Ford Frick-- from the 1890s to the 1930s to infiltrate and destroy the union movement. Lynchings were the ante-bellum methods of supressing the slaves and the black sharecroppers of the early 1900's. Start a cooperative to finance a store that undercut the exorbitant prices of the small town "white" store owner, and a few niggahs found themselves hanging by a rope. And equal to the struggle for civil rights, the Union movement itself involved many people getting shot and assassinated before Franklin Roosevelt enshrined the right the form a Union in legislation.

The director of the FBI in the post-World War 2 world, J. Edgar Hoover was known to be a closet homosexual who blackmailed many people in government and political groups. The Cointelpro operation by the FBI involved infiltrating environmental groups, peace groups, and other groups deemed "leftist" in the effort to disrupt them by all means possible. The Nixon administration used the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, and the Secret Service in every effort to destroy the perceived enemies on the enemies list, which was why the breaking into Daniel Ellsberg's home and the Democratic headquarters at Watergate occurred. Go refresh your history on Nixon, people.

The creation of the FISA court in 1978 was the fruition of the Church investigation by Senator Church of Idaho. The investigation revealed to the nation the incredible extent of the activities of the National Security Administration, the CointelPro FBI program, the use of the IRS to intimidate people, and the use of the secret service to form a police force under the direction of the executive branch.

We've been here before.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 3h 39m 54s

Arrested for wearing a tee-shirt

From NBC News and news services Updated: 10:15 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2006


Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the antiwar movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush’s State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman said.

Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D- Calif., was charged with unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor, Capitol Police told NBC News. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.

Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an antiwar 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.

The T-shirt bore the words “2,245 Dead — How Many More??” in reference to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, protesters told NBC News.

Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived. Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 3h 2m 9s

He did it again.and again. and again

A "bi-partisan" commission to offer "bi-partisan" solutions to Social Security. You don't say? Been there done that, people. George Dubya already tried that attempt to destroy Social Security in 2001-2 when he had Daniel Moynihan as the token non-partisan on the commission. The suggested remedy was somehow almost exactly like what Bush promoted last year. Moynihan was reported at the time to be very disatisfied with the operations of the commission and made some snappy quip about how conclusions seemed to exist prior to the investigation.

--- He goes on ---

So there he is acting like there is a problem that "won't go away" that isn't related to his own reckless government spending that is outta control. I repeat. Social Security is not in crisis.

American Competitivenes Initiative. American children get a sound foundation in Math and Science. Alternative Energy sources. A tax credit. Public and Private sectors. Insuring Opportunity for decades to come.

Encourage children to take more math and science. NCLB did what? Did he say bring in 30,000 Math and Science professionals? Okay, specifically how are you going to do this?

He is just now lying about the crime rates, the number of abortions, and the births to teenage mothers. INCREDIBLE. Does anyone read regular newspapers so they catch the stories that would let them know these were lies?

Activist courts that try to redefine marriage?

We have proven the pessimists wrong before, and we will do it again?

Justices must be subserviant to the law and not legislate from the Bench? Whoa, boy, then why did you nominate Alioto, who did exactly that on at least 5 occassions -- in applications of legislative statues to safety regulations, his "theory of the Unitary executive," and his very constant uncommon understandings of the law which on many occasions put him alone as the sole descenting vote on the ruling of the Appeals court.

Of course, whatd'you expect. Vague hyperbole in a cute vernacular or ... or what?

Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 2h 35m 25s

Bush spits on the Union

Ugh, how he has just exploited that soldiers dying words and his family ? I cannot recall the last time there was this use of American soldiers as a symbolic mythological creation of a failure for a Presidency.

And just minutes before he declares "We are Winning."

Winning what? What is it exactly that is being "won" ? What does "winning" mean? Give us a vision, sir Presidente, that isn't airy declarations that corrupt overlord gang filed Afghanistan is actually a "democracy" because a few thousand woman in Kabul voted on election day, when the rest of Afghanistan is under the umbrella of the Taliban.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 2h 20m 28s

What you should know about Rupurt Murdoch

Thanks to Atrios. .

MURDOCH THE APOLOGIST FOR DICTATORSHIPS: Time Magazine reported that while Murdoch is supposedly "a devout anti-Soviet and anti-communist" he "became bewitched by China in the early '90s." In an effort to persuade Chinese dictators that he would never challenge their behavior, Murdoch "threw the BBC off Star TV" (his satellite network operating in China) after BBC aired reports about Chinese human rights violations. Murdoch argued the BBC "was gratuitously attacking the regime, playing film of the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and over again." In 1998 Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Murdoch for the "objective" way in which his papers and television covered China. [Source: Time Magazine, 10/25/99]

MURDOCH THE PROPAGANDIST FOR DICTATORS: While Murdoch justifies his global media empire as a threat to "totalitarian regimes everywhere," according to Time Magazine, Murdoch actually pays the salary of a top TV consultant working to improve the Chinese government's communist state-run television CCTV. As Time notes, "nowadays, News Corp. and CCTV International are partners of sorts," exchanging agreements to air each other's content, even though CCTV is "a key propaganda arm of the Communist Party." [Source: Time Magazine, 7/6/04]

MURDOCH THE ENABLER OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS: According to the LA Times, Murdoch had his son James, now in charge of News Corp.'s China initiative, attack the Falun Gong, the spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government after 10,000 of its followers protested in Tiananmen Square. With Rupert in attendance, James Murdoch called the movement a "dangerous" and "apocalyptic cult" and lambasted the Western press for its negative portrayal of China's awful human rights record. Murdoch "startled even China's supporters with his zealous defense of that government's harsh crackdown on Falun Gong and criticism of Hong Kong democracy supporters." Murdoch also "said Hong Kong democracy advocates should accept the reality of life under a strong- willed 'absolutist' government." It "appeared to some to be a blatant effort to curry favor" with the China's repressive government. [LA Times, 3/23/01]


[ here's a larger snippet of the Time article ]

Murdoch, a devout anti-Soviet and anti-communist, became bewitched by China in the early '90s. The Chinese leadership, while liberalizing in terms of economics, still attempted to control information; satellite broadcasting seemed an obvious threat to its ideological stranglehold.

To try and persuade the Chinese he was not a danger, Murdoch threw the BBC off Star. He argued that it was gratuitously attacking the regime, playing film of the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and over again. He also pointed out that since the BBC broadcasts only in English, almost no Chinese could understand it. In 1998 he ordered his British publishing firm, HarperCollins, to drop the memoirs of Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and another fierce critic of Beijing. The reward came last December when Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Murdoch for the "objective" way in which his papers and television covered China.

When I put it to him that he was betraying his anti-communist values to ingratiate himself with Beijing, he said: "I don't think there are many communists left in China. There's a one-party state and there's a communist economy, which they are desperately trying to get out of and change. The real story there is an economic story, tied to the democratic story." He argues that Western entertainment, even without Western news, will help further dilute the regime.

In case you didn't know, Rupurt Murdoch is the owner of all the ancillary branches of the Fox Corporation both in the United States and abroad.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 1h 15m 22s

They just don't care

You have to wonder just how hard George Bush's appointed heads of FEMA and Homeland Security (Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff) tried to deal with Hurricane Katrina. Especially after the following story reported in the New York Times yesterday. [SOURCE .] The story is written by Eric Lipton, someone whom I have found to be consistently fair and reliable.

As Hurricane Katrina passed across the Gulf Coast last August, the federal Interior Department offered hundreds of trucks and flat-bottomed boats, thousands of law enforcement officers and even 11 aircraft to help with the rescue effort. But much of the equipment and personnel were not used as part of the federal response, or at least not used effectively, according to an account prepared by department officials.

"Clearly these assets and skills were precisely relevant in the post-Katrina environment," said the department's assessment, prepared at the request of a Senate committee investigating the government's flawed reaction to the storm. The report focused on the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Interior Department, the document says, has a staff of 4,400 law enforcement officers, "many of whom work in harsh environments and are trained in search and rescue, emergency medical services and evacuation," and many of them were in the Gulf Coast area. Yet the report says they were not called to help by FEMA until late September.

The Interior Department was not the only government agency to offer assistance that was not used, or at least not used effectively. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said in September that Amtrak had offered, before the storm, to carry residents out, but that its train had left nearly empty. New Mexico offered National Guard troops, but for days officials waited for formal approval to use them.

But the internal documents note that the Interior Department is formally a part of the January 2005 Southern Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Plan, prepared by FEMA, and was supposed to play a support role in the "need for rescue and sheltering of thousands of victims," according to the plan....

Even without an official federal assignment, some Interior Department boats and security squads took part in rescue efforts, but it occurred on an ad hoc basis, ultimately helping about 4,500 people, the department said.

They knew the Hurricane was going to be devastating at least 2 days prior to hitting "Democratic-ly" dense New Orleans, and yet ignored every single agency and public corporation ( Greyhound in addition to Amtrac ) that offered to help rescue people. They even allowed a Naval vessel to lay off the coast of Louisiana waiting to be given an order to send in helicopters for 3 days because, according to the Officer in charge, the president had not given orders to act. When the evacuation finally proceeds they send all the refuges all across the United States, rather than accumulate them in various different places nearby -- like they did when THREE FREAKING Hurricanes tore into Florida during Presidential election year 2004. I guess 2005 was not an election year. Oh yea .... the Governor of Florida is brother Jeb Bush.

They exclaimed that no one predicted the levees would break, but then a report prior to the Hurricane -- and emails -- come out indicating that they themselves were well aware the levees could potentially give way. Rumsfeld and others spoke of newspaper headlines that said New Orleans missed the bullet, only to discover -- oopsie -- there were no newspaper headlines that said any such thing. George Bush himself spent the first 2 days fund-raising in Arizona and Colorado, then joining Senator McCain for his birthday party. And when he finally made his way East on Wednesday, he spent the night in Crawford -- although he did "fly-over" the hurricane affected area for 15 minutes.

And don't forget the plethora of "photo-ops" the President made, where according to German press reporters for Der Speigel, the constructed water bottle dispersal centers were instantly deconstructed when the cameras were turned off. And don't forget the firefighters who were re-routed to Atlanta, Georgia for a couple days so they could be trained in public relations before they could actually help anyone.

The President couldn't take the disaster seriously, but he did find time to suspend the Davis-Bacon provisions of Government Contract Laws AND to a recess appointment of a Department of Justice official that coincidentally happened to oversee the Abrahmoff case. One has to have priorities, you see. The suspension of the Davis-Bacon provisions is exceptionally egregious, since this dropped the wage level for workers involved in the reconstruction from the "prevailing wage" criterea to whatever the contracted corporations decided they wanted to pay. Bush calls it "giving business incentives" when he gets on this topic in his speeches. Really now, and with Karl Rove himself the point man in charge of the Katrina Reconstruction processs, I'm sure the decisions on who gets contracts are very fair and absolutely non-partisan.

Except one thing. It came out in November that -- oopsie -- KNPR ( a branch of Halliburton ) was caught importing workers from Honduras. Instead of hiring workers who actually live ( or lived ) in the area. Now surely, this was never the intention by Bush when he suspended the Davis-Bacon provisions.

In the meantime, Karl and the gang sit back and toss fishes to the sharks, hungry for more power.

This was by design folks, don't fool yourself. They are not incompetent. They purposely allowed Katrina to become a disaster, because they thought they could spin it as the fault of "the local politicians" while they filled the big bowl for the contracting gravy train.

That's the sad, pathetic story of Katrina. Quite frankly, it really pisses me off. My family is from New Orleans. I lived there from age 9 to 27.

And you wonder why I'm so passionate about this corruption and the lies which are used to conceal the fact that these people are monsters.

Tuesday, 31 January 2006 at 4h 41m 26s

This speech sounds better than the real one

This is damn hilarious. I had to paste the full copy, but I did not write this. The author's site is here.

The State of the Union - first draft

(Hey, Karl. Here’s the first draft of my “State of the Union” speech. I’ve put some questions for ya in parenthisaurs. Let me know what you think. Best -W)


Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, extreme members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of all ages.

As we boldly enter a new year of hurling before us, I’ve come before you to tell you that Freedom is spreading like cancer in the Middle East, our economy is even robustier than it was last year and, if we all work together in this coming year, there will be countless more fish to fry, or bake if you’re watching your cholesterol.

Tonight, with more and more Americans going back to work, with our nation an active force for goodnicity in the world, the state of our union is truly flamboyiscious. (SP?)

This past year, we have accomplished many things that no one expected and some outright feared.

Our No Child Left Behind Act has not only increased our youngins’ ability to read and do math, but we have decreased the student population dramatically, nationwide. Now, when a child graduates high school, not only will he or she be able to print his or her name tag while asking “Do you want fries with that?” they’ll be able to add up the menu total.

The past year, we’ve reframed and totally regurgitated Medicare, creating thousands of jobs in emergency room care.

We have added two million jobs in non-auto construction related fields.

We have plugged the holes of the bankruptcy dykes, who threatened to cheat honest bankers and credit card employers out of their hard squandered cash.

We have tackled such hard questions as how frightened are you of Social Security disappearing, how many hurricanes can FEMA handle and how fast can the House pass a bill when no one is looking?

But we must not rest on our laureates.

The year ahead will present us with challenges both overseas, at home and elsewhere.

I’m going to remind you all that we’re living in hysteric times. The decisions we make today will help shape the direction of events for years, even weeks, to come.

Now, recently, there has been a hornet’s nest of inflappatory (SP?) rhetoric concerning my involvement with so called “domestic spying.” It’s true, I have allowed NASA to spy on Americans but let me remind you of one important fact: the world changed after 9/11.

Think about it. 9/10? You’re riding your bike whistling a happy tune. 9/12? You’re scared stiff. In between? 9/11. Bingo.

If any of you don’t remember 9/11, we were attacked by a group of drooling madmen who hate us for our freedoms, so I decided to lessen them.

And, if NASA can safely land people on the Moon, it can handle this finely.

Our “domestic spying” program isn’t. (Does that make sense, Karl?) It’s a program devoted to “terrorist surveillance” or, as I call it, “terrorist tattling.”

If al Qaeda is talking to you? E-mailing you? Sending you a candy-gram? I want to know about it. This program only involves American citizens who are calling known terrorists in another country or another state. We have a list of terrorist groups we’re monitoring from al Qaeda to al PETA and al Quaker.

The terrorist tattler program is necessary to protect America from attacks either within our own borders or even closer. Terrorists will use every available weapon at their disposal, from dirty bombs to free speech, to break the will of the American people. I vow I will never let that happen. That’s my job.

Some people say that I’ve broken the law. That’s not true. A President has inherent authorities given to him by the Constitution. One of them is breaking the law. I hope this puts an end to the issue.

Oh, yeah, I don’t know Jack Abramoff, either.

This year, I’m asking Congress to help me in passing bills that will help all American people struggle.

We’re setting a goal of creating two million more jobs, some of them actually in this country.

We will tackle affordable Health Care insurance the way we did Medicare. By this time, next year, Americans will be dancing in the streets, unless they’re too old or too sick.

We will help an additional 200,000 unemployed workers get training for a new job. If you could build a Bronco, you can flip a burger. It’s the American way.

We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families, and deny businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, like joining the military. This will not apply to Canadians.

Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of our society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges or odd people. For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage as long as divorce is left out of the equestrian.

As you all know, the world is facing a possible pandemonium of bird flu. As your President, I vowel that no foreign birds will be allowed in this country without having proper background checks done.

I’m also pleased to report that our ongoing War on Global Terror has had an explosive effect on the world. After 9/11, and our world changed after 9/11, we decided to go after the evil-doers and tackle Afghanistan. I’m proud to report that Afghanistan is now a democracy, the Taliban has started it’s own political party and that formerly vicious warlords are now elected officials. Plus, their economy is booming thanks to farmers who grow flowers. From what I understand, they’ve had a record year.

In Iraq, the Iraqis are standing up so we can sit it out. They now have their own government, their own Constitution, their own problems.

Before the United States of America drove out the Butcherer of Baghdad, Iraq was a country filled with mass graves. Today? There are no more mass graves, just a whole bunch of little ones. Before the United States went to the aid of our Iraqi brothers and sisters, Saddam brutalized his own people. Now that they have their own elected government, Iraqis are free to brutalize each other as they see fit.

(Karl, I think this is where we should introduce dead soldiers’ parents, wives and kids. See if you can get one kid to bring a bunny. Bunnies are cute. Plus, Easter is right around the corner.)

Democracy is on the march in the Middle East, with more and more people choosing ballots over bullets or, sometimes, both.

As you know, even in Palestinia, there were free elections. And, if not free, relatively cheap. We look forward to working with the Humus Party in reaching a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian problem as soon as they take Israel’s total destruction off the table.

Now, I know, when it comes to my foreign policy of peace, democracy and loving yourself as much as your neighbor does himself, there are some naysayers in this country who say “nay.” But, where you say “nay?” I say, “hey, how’s it going?” And many brave people with purple fingers say “hey” back, but it’s in a different language so I can’t quite catch all of it. It’s awesome-inspiring.

I suppose that makes me an optometrist. Some people look at a glass and wonder if it’s half-empty or half-full of it. I always know it’s half-full of it.

Now, in order to protect our great Homeland and to allow it to prosper, I ask Congress to do two things: make my tax cuts permanent and re-authorize the Patriot Act.

Many of my opponents have unfairly said my tax cuts are biased because rich people save the most. Well, a-heh-heh (Karl. People love it when I wink and laugh.), any economist knows that rich people have the most money to save because they have the most money. (Karl. Is this redundant or smart?)

They, then, take their savings and put it back into our great economy, creating new jobs for house servants, valets, car detailers, and tennis pros.

And don’t forget the backbone of our country, the small businesses run by entremanures. My tax cuts guarantee them savings when they expand their temp services, limousine services and landscaping enterprises.

As some of you know, the world changed after 9/11 and, since the creation of The Department of Homeland Security, we have not been attacked a second time. Sure, a lot of other countries have, but they don’t have Homeland Security departments. We do. They don’t. That simple.

Remember, these evildoers we are fighting never sleep. Their vision is dark and dim and they never have their eyes checked. Like the Tin Woodsman in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ they have no hearts. They don’t even have tin. They kill innocent men, women, children and bunnies (Karl. I guess I’m just in a bunny mood today.). In order to save the children and bunnies, I ask Congress to make Homeland Security a bastardion of our country.

The War on Global Terror will last a bazillion years. In Iraq alone, we’re battling “rejectionists,” “poo-pooers,” “al Qaeda,” “foreign fighters,” “local fighters,” “commuters,” “Baathists,” “Showerists,” and Venutians. We have to be vigilant. We have to stand tall in the saddle.

Now, I know I have my critics because of the war and Homeland Security, and I know this is an election year but, in the spirit of bi-partisanship, I extend a fig towards the opposition and say, if I may use Latin? “Ix-nay.”

Every bad thing you say about the War on Global Terror makes the evil-doers laugh and our soldiers cry. Think about it.

So, in closing, in this coming year, we must not look back. We must look in the opposite direction. We must jog on the treadmill of hope towards a more peaceful and zesty future. The road somewhere will be long and, maybe, lumpy. But it’s up to us, as pothole filling patriots, to keep that road alive and well. And tread upon it as we do ourselves.

As Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt once said: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” So, smile and be afraid. I’m in charge.

God bless me. God bless Mommy and Daddy. And Barney. God bless all Americans. God bless der Homeland.