Thursday, April 28, 2005

Truth Serum

I'm haven't bitched and moaned about anything lately, in spite of the wealth of items to choose from (the economy, the market, the Nuclear option, Social Security, DeLay etc). So to catch up here's a quote from the White House Briefing site,

Tonight's questions will likely be dominated by recent events, but there are some great mysteries past and present about the Bush administration that I suspect the public would be very grateful if he would clear up. So here are some proposed questions in that vein:

· Is the Bush doctrine still in effect? Would we still go to war pre-emptively to protect ourselves? Under what circumstances?

"It's better to blow out the smoking gun before it triggers a mushroom cloud. Next question."

· There are only three ways to reduce deficits. Raise taxes, cut spending, or greatly expand the economy. You say you won't raise taxes; you haven't shown any ability to cut spending, and the economy is not exactly booming. So why should anyone believe your promise to reduce deficits?

"My plan to reduce the deficit is by gutting social programs, education, Homeland security and every other segment of government that doesn't shovel money into the republican trough."

· Your elevation of Karl Rove to deputy chief of staff has led some people to suggest that politics and policy have become one and the same in your White House. What do you consider the most important differences between campaigning and governing?

"What's the difference? I'm afraid I don't understand your question. If I do something that I feel is right for the nation and it's also right for the Republican party, how is that a problem?"

· In your Social Security barnstorming tour, your staff made sure that you were constantly surrounded by supporters. Did you want them to do that? Shouldn't the president of all the people meet with all the people?

"Karl told me never to mention his name, but Osama is still out there and he'd still like to kill me, so that's why it's necessary to make sure my faithful base are the only ones I'd let within 100 yards of me. . ."

· Social Security was designed as a social insurance program, not a wealth-accumulation program. It can't really be both. Why is wealth accumulation more important to you than social insurance?

"Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I'll keep working on it."[This is an actual Bush quote. . .]

· With an ownership society comes risk. How much risk do you think is too much risk?

"The genius of my grand scheme is that if the private accounts fail to offer a good return it'll be because of government regulations, taxes, class action litigation etc. all of which Republicans will be happy to get rid of. And they will with the people's support because workers will have a stake in having corporations be successful. So they'll sign on to lower wages and benefits, freedom from onerous corporate taxation and regulation and complete lack of financial accountability so as to enhance shareholder value for a better return on their retirement dollar.

The other genius aspect of this that people don't consider is that the Federal government is going to have to go into vast amounts of debt to cover future Social Security shortfalls anyway. Why just piss away all that borrowing just to give it to retirees when we could do this in a way to benefit corporations as well?"

· I understand that you don't want to set a firm date for a pullout from Iraq. But the American public is eager to bring the troops home. Is there anything you could say that could help people get a better sense than they have now of our exit strategy, and could you specify some benchmarks that would be signs of progress?

"Huh? Well, the exit strategy is to get a meaningless government propped up as fast as possible so that we can get the hell out in advance of their 50 year civil war. There will never be a benchmark because when those benchmarks start to look bad I get them terminated or classified so no one can cite them."

· Do you know who leaked Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative? Even if the special prosecutor doesn't indict them, will you punish them?

"Yes I know who leaked Plame's identity, but I don't want to give up Karl's name because it would be too disruptive to my administration. And besides, I have a mandate. You'll find out who Deep Throat is and who killed Kennedy before the Plame story wraps up."

· Why haven't you held anyone accountable for the faulty intelligence about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction?

"Because there never really was any faulty intelligence, or rather the intelligence was irrelevant because I'd already decided that 9/11 was an opportunity to take out Hussein and get my Texas friends in to divvy up Iraq in the name of spreading democracy. The faulty intelligence angle was just something Rove dreamed up as cover for the fact that we cherry picked whatever we wanted to justify the war. Somebody had to take the fall and it sure has hell wasn't gonna be me. Damn, how can you guys be so dumb. . ."

· Do you feel that you or your White House bear any responsibility at all for the widespread torture and humiliation of prisoners at the hands of American soldiers and intelligence agents?

"I have it on good authority from my Attorney General that these were regrettable, isolated incidents that were solely the faults of the soldiers who committed them."

· You're an oil man. As the price of crude oil has gone up, oil industry profits have skyrocketed. The obvious conclusion is that gas prices would be lower if oil industry profits weren't so high. Can you explain to the public why that doesn't seem to bother you?

"You still haven't figured out that gas prices are high because the dollar is weak. The dollar is weak because of my failed economic policy of releasing the wealthy and large corporations from their obligations to pay their fair share of Federal income taxes. So my vast and increasing deficit has caused the global markets to scoff at holding our dollars, so then OPEC marks up the price of oil to make up for their lost purchasing power. "

· Immigration is a big issue among many members of your own party, the consensus being that you should be clamping down on it more. By contrast, you support a guest-worker program that some in your party see as a way of rewarding illegal immigrants. Why do you think you see things so differently on this issue?

"Corporations like WalMart need there to be a class of guest-workers that are so desperate to work they'll take anything with no benefits. Those workers compete with legitimate US citizens and bring down their wage scale. Corporations thereby benefit by having a lower wage structure and pass the profits over to their CEO's and lobbying groups while sticking their healthcare costs on local government programs. Where'd I lose you guys on that?"

· You said lately that you believe it's important that the press hold you to account, that it's part of the checks and balances of a democracy. But what do you think we should do when we don't think you've actually answered our questions?

"I'd suggest sticking it where the sun don't shine, Paco! Heh, heh, heh. . ."