Monday, September 06, 2004
Photo Courtesy: The Washington Post
Once again Bush, the self-proclaimed "compassionate conservative", delivered a speech last week at the RNC that was long on pretty-sounding platitudes but short on the truth. This follows in a tradition, well-established by several State of the Union addresses and countless press conferences held both by Bush and his senior cabinet members, of his administration making claims or promises completely at odds with truth or reality.
This is not even my forte but here's a few examples from current events in the last week that show how much of Bush's RNC address was, at best, misleading but, more likely based on his adminstration's track record, wilful lying (note: pull quotes cited below and labeled "source" are from the text of his speech as prepared for delivery at the RNC and sent to the media as published in The Boston Globe):
- Bush: "[O]ur mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned.
Our troops know the historic importance of our work. One Army Specialist wrote home: "We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place ....""
Seven U.S. Marines were killed on Monday in an apparent suicide attack when a car bomb exploded near their military convoy on the outskirts of Fallujah, the U.S. military reported. The attack, which also killed three Iraqi National Guardsmen, was the deadliest against U.S. troops in four months.From "7 Marines Killed in Blast Near Fallujah" (The Washington Post)
There are three possible scenarios for the future of Iraq. The most probable scenario is that Sunni, Shi’a and Kurdish factions will fail to cohere under the transitional governments, leading to fragmentation and civil war, says a new report published by Chatham House.From the "Iraq in Transition" press release. (Chatham House aka the Royal Institute of International Affairs)
- Bush: "[O]ur men and women in uniform are doing a superb job for America. Tonight I want to speak to all of them -- and to their families: You are involved in a struggle of historic proportion. Because of you, the world is more just and will be more peaceful. We owe you our thanks, and we owe you something more. We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory." (source)
Veterans Affairs Budget CutsFrom "Issues Facing Our Troops" at Operation Truth.
The latest budget plans put forth by the current administration will cut more than $910 million from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the fiscal year 2006 budget (Source: OMB). In the last year, plans were announced by the current administration to close or drastically reduce services at 11 VA hospitals. Additionally, 572,000 veterans are estimated to be missing out on disability payments largely because they are unaware that payments are owed to them, and in an effort to maintain costs no effort is being made to inform them of what is rightfully theirs. In a time of war, it is immoral and unconscionable to treat our heroes of the past and present in this manner.
Weak National Support Systems for Soldiers’ Families
When National Guard and Reserve soldiers are deployed, their families are left to fend for themselves. We need to create a solid network that embraces and protects families to the fullest. Child care, counseling services, job placement, spiritual support and financial safeguards need to be established formally to take proper care of those families who fight for us.
Proper Counseling and Treatment for the Soldiers
As of August 23, 2004, 961 American Soldiers have been killed in Iraq, but 6497 have been injured. The number of people suffering from psychological problems is even higher. Returning units have seen a spike in suicide rates. The long-term effects of Larium, the anthrax vaccine, and other medical treatments administered to troops have not been fully explored. The government must act quickly to provide adequate counseling and treatment for our wounded and traumatized Troops.
- Bush: "We see America's character in our military, which finds a way or makes one. We see it in our veterans, who are supporting military families in their days of worry. We see it in our young people, who have found heroes once again." (source)
[L]eading Republicans said yesterday that things went a little too far when they had to publicly repudiate the actions of a delegate who was handing out adhesive bandages marked with Purple Hearts to mock Mr. Kerry's war wounds.From "Delegates Mock Kerry's Wounds, Angering Veterans" (The New York Times)
The bandages, distributed by Morton Blackwell of Arlington, Va., included a message that read, "It was just a self-inflicted scratch, but you see I got a Purple Heart for it." Mr. Blackwell said he was only trying to have fun, but the Military Order of The Purple Heart, an organization that says it represents wounded veterans, was not amused.
- Bush: "This election will also determine how America responds to the continuing danger of terrorism -- and you know where I stand... Our strategy is clear. We have tripled funding for homeland security and trained half a million first responders, because we are determined to protect our homeland." (source)
With tens of thousands of heavily armed police officers swarming around Madison Square Garden, helicopters whirling overhead and bomb-sniffing dogs on every corner, the Republican National Convention was supposed to be the most tightly secured political event in history.From "With Spare Passes in Hand, Hecklers Found It Surprisingly Easy to Crash the Party" (The New York Times)
But over the last four days, more than two dozen hecklers have proven that only a small device was necessary to penetrate the cordon and disrupt the convention: a delegate's spare guest credential or a media pass, which protesters said were surprisingly easy to get.
- Bush: "I believe every child can learn and every school must teach -- so we passed the most important federal education reform in history. Because we acted, children are making sustained progress in reading and math, America's schools are getting better, and nothing will hold us back. (source)
We are transforming our schools by raising standards and focusing on results. We are insisting on accountability, empowering parents and teachers and making sure that local people are in charge of their schools." (source)
Students are returning to classes across the nation amid a cacophony of contradictory messages about the quality of their education, as thousands of schools with vaunted reputations have been rated in recent weeks as low-performing under a federal law.From "Good Schools or Bad? Ratings Baffle Parents" (The New York Times)
"We have a school down here that is absolutely extraordinary - all the kids take Advanced Placement courses,'' said Jane Gallucci, chairwoman of the Pinellas County School Board and a past president of the Florida School Boards Association, "and the feds called it a failing school. Now that's ludicrous."
- Bush: "I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor America's seniors -- so I brought Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare. Now seniors are getting immediate help buying medicine. Soon every senior will be able to get prescription drug coverage and nothing will hold us back." (source)
Health insurance premiums for senior citizens enrolled in Medicare will rise 17.5 percent in 2005, bringing the total monthly payment to $78.20, Bush administration officials said yesterday.From "Medicare Premiums To Rise By 17.5%." (The washington Post)
As most Americans began the Labor Day holiday weekend, federal health officials held a late-afternoon briefing to announce that the 42 million disabled and elderly Medicare beneficiaries will be hit with the largest premium increase in 15 years.
Nationwide, health care costs have been on a steady rise for several years, but the Medicare increase exceeds recent premium hikes for private health insurance.
- Bush: "In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path -- a path to greater opportunity, more freedom and more control over your own life. (source)
[Kerry's] policies of tax and spend -- of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity -- are the policies of the past. We are on the path to the future -- and we are not turning back." (source)
BIG government is back. And while that fact may not have been heralded at Madison Square Garden this week, it is largely responsible for the best long-term economic statistic that Republicans cited.From "In the Bush Years, Government Grows as the Private Sector Struggles" (The New York Times)
By one measure, President Bush has presided over a reversal of the trend to smaller government that began nearly 30 years ago. That measure is the share of wage and salary income that comes directly from governments, and its rise has helped keep the economy growing.
And finally, even more distortions about Kerry at the RNC by Bush and the rest of the GOP. (The Washington Post)