The Associated Press
Text of President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday as released by the White House, annotated by t3knomanser:
Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests and fellow citizens:
America this evening is a nation called to great responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them.
[Everything is rising, military spending, unemployment, ever currency in the world versus the dollar...]
As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure.
[8,000 dead Iraqis thank the US, and 500 dead US troops thank our government for finding those weapons of... oh wait... we _still_ haven't found any.]
Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking terrorist threats; analysts are examining airline passenger lists; the men and women of our new Homeland Security Department are patrolling our coasts and borders. And their vigilance is protecting America.
[They have succeded in arresting innocents, forcing mothers to drink their own breastmilk to prove it's not something dangerous, and implementing asinine computer programs that do nothing. Go team!]
Americans are proving once again to be the hardest working people in the world. The American economy is growing stronger. The tax relief you passed is working.
[All of my rich buddies have been buying me extra beers when we sit down and smoke expensive cigars, and thanking me for relieving them of taxes.]
Tonight, members of Congress can take pride in great works of compassion and reform that skeptics had thought impossible. You are raising the standards of our public schools and you are giving our senior citizens prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
[Well, actually, we've _lowered_ the standards, and raised the number of successes. Same thing. It's like how my Department of Education guy said the dropouts all got GEDs and had a zero dropout rate. And for Medicare, that coverage doesn't really cover much, but it looks good,
We have faced serious challenges together -- and now we face a choice. We can go forward with confidence and resolve -- or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to us. We can press on with economic growth, and reforms in education and Medicare -- or we can turn back to the old policies and old divisions.
[For those of us in Texas, that can't understand high fallootin' language, that means, "We can all cower in fear and follow Bushco who will protect us from the monster, or we can think for ourselves.]
We have not come all this way -- through tragedy, and trial, and war -- only to falter and leave our work unfinished. Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same of us. In their efforts, their enterprise and their character, the American people are showing that the state of our Union is confident and strong.
["Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same of us"? Could someone translate that to me. I haven't a clue what that's supposed to mean. Oh, and since this is the "State of the Union" address, I'll sum it up in one sentance, then ramble some more.]
Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people. Twenty-eight months have passed since Sept. 11, 2001 -- over two years without an attack on American soil -- and it is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting -- and false. The killing has continued in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Mombassa, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Baghdad. The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilized world. And by our will and courage, this danger will be defeated.
[Wow Axis of Evil, how you've grown! I'd also like to direct everyone's attention to 9/11, again, and again, and again, and again. No attacks in two years. Go team.]
Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us. And one of those essential tools is the PATRIOT Act, which allows federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells and to seize their assets. For years, we have used similar provisions to catch embezzlers and drug traffickers. If these methods are good for hunting criminals, they are even more important for hunting terrorists. Key provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire next year.
[This is the part where everyone applauded, and I had to make a little frowny :*(]
The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule. Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens -- you need to renew the PATRIOT Act.
[Please god, renew it. It's only the fear of administration reprisals that keeps people from looking to closely at what happened on 9/11, why we ran the Iraq war, and I _think_ there's a provision in there that lets me arrest Paul O'Neill.]
America is on the offensive against the terrorists who started this war. Last March, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a mastermind of Sept. 11, awoke to find himself in the custody of U.S. and Pakistani authorities. Last August 11th brought the capture of the terrorist Hambali, who was a key player in the attack in Indonesia that killed over 200 people. We are tracking al-Qaida around the world -- and nearly two-thirds of their known leaders have now been captured or killed. Thousands of very skilled and determined military personnel are on a manhunt, going after the remaining killers who hide in cities and caves -- and, one by one, we will bring the terrorists to justice.
[9/11 again, and again, and again. Oh, and we caught some! Killed others! I've got this great flash game on my computer that lets you shoot ragheads.]
As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes that harbor and support terrorists, and could supply them with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The United States and our allies are determined: We refuse to live in the shadow of this ultimate danger.
[We've tracked terrorist groups to any nation that pisses us off in the near future. France, you've been harboring terrorists you fuckers. We're coming for you.]
The first to see our determination were the Taliban, who made Afghanistan the primary training base of al-Qaida killers. As of this month, that country has a new constitution, guaranteeing free elections and full participation by women. Businesses are opening, health care centers are being established, and the boys and girls of Afghanistan are back in school. With help from the new Afghan Army, our coalition is leading aggressive raids against surviving members of the Taliban and al-Qaida. The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free, and proud, and fighting terror -- and America is honored to be their friend.
[It's amazing, the actually do have elections everywhere the press is. Just don't go anywhere _else_ in Afghanistan. Or see that we haven't repaired the infrastructure at all, or done _anything_ of value really. Ignore the fact that Afghanistan is free, and is choosing Taliban reinstatement over the US empire, and that Al-Qaeda is active there again. I mean, you ignore all that, and Afghanistan is like Disney Land...]
Since we last met in this chamber, combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein -- and the people of Iraq are free. Having broken the Baathist regime, we face a remnant of violent Saddam supporters. Men who ran away from our troops in battle are now dispersed and attack from the shadows.
[Well, okay, technically, we ignored the demands of the United Nations to enforce the ones we
liked. And well... they're not _really_ Saddam supporters, we're having a hard time finding any of those. Mostly they just hate Americans. But they do *snipe from the shadows*. Like manycolored.Inside joke]
These killers, joined by foreign terrorists, are a serious, continuing danger. Yet we are making progress against them. The once all-powerful ruler of Iraq was found in a hole, and now sits in a prison cell. Of the top 55 officials of the former regime, we have captured or killed 45. Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day, and conducting an average of 180 raids every week. We are dealing with these thugs in Iraq, just as surely as we dealt with Saddam Hussein’s evil regime.
[Well, he was found someplace else, but some Iraqis caught him, and traded him in for the bounty that hasn't been paid out. Man, we fooled them _good_. In addition to all those statistics, let's also add that our troops get attacked between 16 and 25 times a day, kills some Iraqis every day, all that good stuff. And every day, we find absolutely no weapons of mass destruction, nor do we find Osama.]
The work of building a new Iraq is hard, and it is right. And America has always been willing to do what it takes for what is right. Last January, Iraq’s only law was the whim of one brutal man. Today our coalition is working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with a bill of rights. We are working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June. As democracy takes hold in Iraq, the enemies of freedom will do all in their power to spread violence and fear. They are trying to shake the will of our country and our friends -- but the United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins. The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom.
[It's hard, ever since the Pentagon has been dicking with the Halliburton contract. Why can't the military bend over like everyone else, hm? But we'll do it anyway, I mean, the oil is worth it, especially once we have a puppet government up to give it to us. Though if they think about turning commie, we're going to have to conquer them and prop up another dictator, _again_.]
Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security and their own future. And tonight we are honored to welcome one of Iraq’s most respected leaders: the current President of the Iraqi Governing Council, Adnan Pachachi. Sir, America stands with you and the Iraqi people as you build a free and peaceful nation.
[Peacefully bombing, sniping, suicide bombing, etc. until the Americans leave.]
Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better. Last month, the leader of Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle all of his regime’s weapons of mass destruction programs, including a uranium enrichment project for nuclear weapons. Col. Gadhafi correctly judged that his country would be better off, and far more secure, without weapons of mass murder. Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible -- and no one can now doubt the word of America.
[Because of American leadership and resolve... wait! I _am_ the leadership! I'm so great. Re-elect me. And it's also cool that Libya volunteered when we used diplomacy. I mean I'd hate to have to invade them... they've got nothing but... oil. Fuck!]
Different threats require different strategies. Along with nations in the region, we are insisting that North Korea eliminate its nuclear program. America and the international community are demanding that Iran meet its commitments and not develop nuclear weapons. America is committed to keeping the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous regimes.
[*snicker snort* Yeah, nobody dangerous has WMD. No Texas cowboy National Guard AWOLler has control over any WMD]
When I came to this rostrum on Sept. 20, 2001, I brought the police shield of a fallen officer, my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end [and to prove how sensitive and caring I really am. Really]. I gave to you and to all Americans my complete commitment to securing our country and defeating our enemies. And this pledge, given by one, has been kept by many. You in the Congress have provided the resources for our defense, and cast the difficult votes of war and peace. Our closest allies have been unwavering. America’s intelligence personnel and diplomats have been skilled and tireless.
[Man, this war on terror rocks. I've got the entire government working on this stuff. And everyone's afraid to not play along. Kickass!]
And the men and women of the American military -- they have taken the hardest duty. [They get shot at when my administration can't give a clear reason or purpose for being in Iraq. So keep them in your hearts, because it sucks to be them.] We have seen their skill and courage in armored charges, and midnight raids, and lonely hours on faithful watch. We have seen the joy when they return, and felt the sorrow when one is lost. I have had the honor of meeting our servicemen and women at many posts, from the deck of a carrier in the Pacific to a mess hall in Baghdad. [That pacific trip kicked ass too... I flew in a jet. It went fast, and I got to wear a flight-suit and look like Maverick.] Many of our troops are listening tonight. And I want you and your families to know: America is proud of you. And my administration, and this Congress, will give you the resources you need to fight and win the war on terror. [Like Burger Kings, which the troops in Iraq got before they had showers or a consistant water supply. Plus, they have to guard the trucks carrying the slabs of processed meat glop, which just gives them another duty to get killed doing.]
I know that some people question if America is really in a war at all. [Now, technically, we're not.] They view terrorism more as a crime -- a problem to be solved mainly with law enforcement and indictments. After the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were indicted, tried, convicted and sent to prison. But the matter was not settled. The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations, and drawing up more ambitious plans. [Because they hate Americans because we're free, and Christian, not because we pollute their land, destroy thier culture, and economically enslave them.] After the chaos and carnage of Sept. 11, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States -- and war is what they got.
[Well, mostly. I mean, there's the guns and bombs and stuff, but it's not _really_ a war. But we still get to blow shit up, so it's all good.]
Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq. [There's a provision in the Patriot Act to arrest you bastards too.] Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. We are seeking all the facts -- already the Kay report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. [Well, sort of. There were metal tubes. And those mortar shells that weren't WMD. And the Nigerian uranium that wasn't.] Had we failed to act, the dictator’s [unproven] weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day. Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance by dictators around the world. [And we couldn't wait for the United Nations to come to an agreement. So we weakened it by ignoring it, that way it wouldn't get weakened.] Iraq’s torture chambers would still be filled with victims -- terrified and innocent. The killing fields of Iraq [wait... weren't those in Cambodia?] -- where hundreds of thousands of men, women and children vanished into the sands -- would still be known only to the killers. For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein’s regime is a better and safer place.
Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq. [Mind you, they provide troops, but get no say in how Iraq is run. It was our idea, our major committment of troops, and if they don't want to play my way, I'll take my ball and go home.] As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America has sought international support for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. [Only a few. The massive protests were nothing more than a focus group. And a leader should _always_ do what the majority thinks is right.] America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.
We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government. I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. [There is nothing about religion that makes it so they can't be free. They're allowed to be godless heathen satan worshippers and still be free, damn sand-niggers.] And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.
As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny, despair and anger [ie. until we leave it alone], it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends. So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East [by not leaving it alone]. We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends [, a higher standard of doing what I fucking tell them to]. To cut through the barriers of hateful propaganda, the Voice of America and other broadcast services are expanding their programming in Arabic and Persian -- and soon, a new television service will begin providing reliable news and information across the region [, reliably telling them that America is good, America is great, America they shouldn't hate]. I will send you a proposal to double the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy, and to focus its new work on the development of free elections, free markets, free press and free labor unions in the Middle East. And above all, we will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, so those nations can light the way for others, and help transform a troubled part of the world.
America is a nation with a mission -- and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire [regardless of the PNAC documents signed by my VP, or the accusations of Paul O'Neill]. Our aim is a democratic peace -- a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman. [A Pax Americana.] America acts in this cause with friends and allies at our side, yet we understand our special calling: This great Republic will lead the cause of freedom. [Like the great Roman Republic.]
In these last three years, adversity has also revealed the fundamental strengths of the American economy. [Uneployment is up, the dollar is down, but we're getting a more even balance of trade (cause the dollar is worthless).] We have come through recession, and terrorist attack, and corporate scandals [involving companies connected to my administration], and the uncertainties of war. And because you acted to stimulate our economy with tax relief, this economy is strong, and growing stronger.
You have doubled the child tax credit from $500 to a thousand dollars, reduced the marriage penalty, begun to phase out the death tax, reduced taxes on capital gains and stock dividends, cut taxes on small businesses, and you have lowered taxes for every American who pays income taxes. [And made gas guzzling hummers tax-write-offs. My rich buddies thank you again.]
Americans took those dollars and put them to work, driving this economy forward [in the deceptively oxymoronic "jobless recovery"]. The pace of economic growth in the third quarter of 2003 was the fastest in nearly 20 years. New home construction: the highest in almost 20 years. Home ownership rates: the highest ever. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Inflation is low. Interest rates are low. Exports are growing. Productivity is high. And jobs are on the rise.
These numbers confirm that the American people are using their money far better than government would have -- and you were right to return it.
America’s growing economy is also a changing economy. As technology transforms the way almost every job is done, America becomes more productive, and workers need new skills. [And those new skills can also be learned by people in other countries, and then big companies can outsource most of their labor offshore and cheaper.] Much of our job growth will be found in high-skilled fields like health care and biotechnology[, and the rest will be in India]. So we must respond by helping more Americans gain the skills to find good jobs in our new economy.
All skills begin with the basics of reading and math, which are supposed to be learned in the early grades of our schools. Yet for too long, for too many children, those skills were never mastered. [I myself, suffer from this failing.] By passing the No Child Left Behind Act, you have made the expectation of literacy the law of our country. [And you've allowed recruiters to strong-arm schools into giving out contact info, so they can do the hardsell and replace all those troops we lost.] We are providing more funding for our schools -- a 36 percent increase since 2001. We are requiring higher standards. We are regularly testing every child on the fundamentals. We are reporting results to parents, and making sure they have better options when schools are not performing. We are making progress toward excellence for every child.
[Meanwhile, where did all this money come from? $87 for Iraq, 36% more funding for schools, the war itself... the tax cut. Hrm... this couldn't be creating a massive debt, could it.]
But the status quo always has defenders. Some want to undermine the No Child Left Behind Act by weakening standards and accountability. [Or even worse, people examine it, and realize that it's a peice of shit. They want to replace it with an actual useful system.] Yet the results we require are really a matter of common sense: We expect third-graders to read and do math at third grade level -- and that is not asking too much. [What about expecting that of Presidents?] Testing is the only way to identify and help students who are falling behind. [Standardized testing works. Ask New York state and California.]
This nation will not go back to the days of simply shuffling children along from grade to grade without them learning the basics. [Instead, we're going to not teach them anything _and_ not promote them up a grade.] I refuse to give up on any child [for any child is a future soldier, consumer, and taxpayer] -- and the No Child Left Behind Act is opening the door of opportunity to all of America’s children [to die for their country].
At the same time, we must ensure that older students and adults can gain the skills they need to find work now. Many of the fastest-growing occupations require strong math and science preparation, and training beyond the high school level. So tonight I propose a series of measures called Jobs for the 21st Century. This program will provide extra help to middle and high school students who fall behind in reading and math, expand advanced placement programs in low-income schools, and invite math and science professionals from the private sector to teach part-time in our high schools. I propose larger Pell grants for students who prepare for college with demanding courses in high school. I propose increasing our support for America’s fine community colleges, so they can train workers for the industries that are creating the most new jobs. By all these actions, we will help more and more Americans to join in the growing prosperity of our country.
[There, I've proposed it, and now just have to dodge the issue until after the election.]
Job training is important, and so is job creation. We must continue to pursue an aggressive, pro-growth economic agenda. [That way my buddies can leverage more tax-cuts.]
Congress has some unfinished business on the issue of taxes. The tax reductions you passed are set to expire. Unless you act, the unfair tax on marriage will go back up. Unless you act, millions of families will be charged $300 more in federal taxes for every child. Unless you act, small businesses will pay higher taxes. Unless you act, the death tax will eventually come back to life. Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase. What the Congress has given, the Congress should not take away: For the sake of job growth, the tax cuts you passed should be permanent.
Our agenda for jobs and growth must help small business owners and employees with relief from needless federal regulation, and protect them from junk and frivolous lawsuits. Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run -- so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. [There are thousands of barrels of oil under National parks that remain untapped.] My administration is promoting free and fair trade, to open up new markets for America’s entrepreneurs, and manufacturers, and farmers, and to create jobs for America’s workers. Younger workers should have the opportunity to build a nest egg by saving part of their Social Security taxes in a personal retirement account. We should make the Social Security system a source of ownership for the American people.
[I hope no one minds that I cribbed half this speech from the Democratic platform. I've got to win those middle ground voters.]
And we should limit the burden of government on this economy by acting as good stewards of taxpayer dollars. In two weeks, I will send you a budget that funds the war, protects the homeland and meets important domestic needs, while limiting the growth in discretionary spending to less than four percent. This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending and be wise with the people’s money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years.
Tonight I also ask you to reform our immigration laws, so they reflect our values and benefit our economy[, and provide my rich buddies with a cheap source of labor]. I propose a new temporary worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the job[, because it's not like any American's are unemployed]. This reform will be good for our economy -- because employers will find needed workers in an honest and orderly system. A temporary worker program will help protect our homeland -- allowing border patrol and law enforcement to focus on true threats to our national security. I oppose amnesty, because it would encourage further illegal immigration and unfairly reward those who break our laws. My temporary worker program will preserve the citizenship path for those who respect the law, while bringing millions of hardworking men and women out from the shadows of American life.
Our nation’s health care system, like our economy, is also in a time of change. Amazing medical technologies are improving and saving lives. This dramatic progress has brought its own challenge, in the rising costs of medical care and health insurance. Members of Congress, we must work together to help control those costs and extend the benefits of modern medicine throughout our country.
Meeting these goals requires bipartisan effort -- and two months ago, you showed the way. By strengthening Medicare and adding a prescription drug benefit, you kept a basic commitment to our seniors: You are giving them the modern medicine they deserve. [Well, it looks that way anyway.]
Starting this year, under the law you passed, seniors can choose to receive a drug discount card, saving them 10 to 25 percent off the retail price of most prescription drugs -- and millions of low-income seniors can get an additional $600 to buy medicine. Beginning next year, seniors will have new coverage for preventive screenings against diabetes and heart disease, and seniors just entering Medicare can receive wellness exams. [Not that I haven't covered this before. It's just, I don't have any real plan for the future, so I have to make it look like I've been a success so far.]
In January of 2006, seniors can get prescription drug coverage under Medicare. For a monthly premium of about $35, most seniors who do not have that coverage today can expect to see their drug bills cut roughly in half. Under this reform, senior citizens will be able to keep their Medicare just as it is, or they can choose a Medicare plan that fits them best -- just as you, as members of Congress, can choose an insurance plan that meets your needs. And starting this year, millions of Americans will be able to save money tax-free for their medical expenses, in a health savings account.
I signed this measure proudly, and any attempt to limit the choices of our seniors, or to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare, will meet my veto. [Because the Grey Foxes vote!]
On the critical issue of health care, our goal is to ensure that Americans can choose and afford private health care coverage that best fits their individual needs. To make insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising health care costs. Small businesses should be able to band together and negotiate for lower insurance rates, so they can cover more workers with health insurance -- I urge you to pass association health plans. I ask you to give lower-income Americans a refundable tax credit that would allow millions to buy their own basic health insurance. By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care. To protect the doctor-patient relationship, and keep good doctors doing good work, we must eliminate wasteful and frivolous medical lawsuits. And tonight I propose that individuals who buy catastrophic health care coverage, as part of our new health savings accounts, be allowed to deduct 100 percent of the premiums from their taxes.
A government-run health care system is the wrong prescription. By keeping costs under control, expanding access and helping more Americans afford coverage, we will preserve the system of private medicine that makes America’s health care the best in the world.
We are living in a time of great change -- in our world, in our economy, and in science and medicine. Yet some things endure -- courage and compassion, reverence and integrity, respect for differences of faith and race. [In other words, act Democrat, but vote Republican. Well, not when it comes to integrity... don't look to politicans for that one.] The values we try to live by never change. And they are instilled in us by fundamental institutions, such as families, and schools, and religious congregations. These institutions -- the unseen pillars of civilization -- must remain strong in America, and we will defend them.
We must stand with our families to help them raise healthy, responsible children. And when it comes to helping children make right choices, there is work for all of us to do.
One of the worst decisions our children can make is to gamble their lives and futures on drugs. [Mmmkay?] Our government is helping parents confront this problem, with aggressive education, treatment and law enforcement. [Confirmed] Drug use in high school has declined by 11 percent over the past two years. Four hundred thousand fewer young people are using illegal drugs than in the year 2001. In my budget, I have proposed new funding to continue our aggressive, community-based strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Drug testing in our schools has proven to be an effective part of this effort [and has increased the sales of "piss-test kits"]. So tonight I propose an additional $23 million for schools that want to use drug testing as a tool to save children’s lives [and continue to act like parents can do anything, hence, encouraging parents not to do anything. Schools raise children, parent's pay taxes]. The aim here is not to punish children, but to send them this message: We love you, and we don’t want to lose you. [You'll someday be a valuable consumer, soldier and or tax-payer.]
To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are short cuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character. So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough and to get rid of steroids now. [I love watching football.]
To encourage right choices, we must be willing to confront the dangers young people face -- even when they are difficult to talk about. Each year, about 3 million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them, or kill them, or prevent them from ever becoming parents. In my budget, I propose a grass-roots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks. [We will tell children that condoms are no solution, and the only solution is abstinance until marriage to someone of the opposite sex, and only in pairs.] We will double federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases [and they don't need to know any other method in case abstinence fails]. Decisions children make now can affect their health and character for the rest of their lives. All of us -- parents, schools, government -- must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture, and to send the right messages to our children. [Sex, like drugs, is bad. Call it "family duties" and we'll get along better.]
A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization. Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects marriage under federal law as the union of a man and a woman, and declares that one state may not redefine marriage for other states. Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives [but by following the Constitution. Damn thing. Gotta get rid of that]. On an issue of such great consequence, the people’s voice must be heard[, like that online poll that came out in favor of homosexual marriages. But you can't go by polls, they're innacurate, and I have my own polling data to contradict them]. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.
The outcome of this debate is important -- and so is the way we conduct it. The same moral tradition that defines marriage also teaches that each individual has dignity and value in God’s sight.
It is also important to strengthen our communities by unleashing the compassion of America’s religious institutions. Religious charities of every creed are doing some of the most vital work in our country -- mentoring children, feeding the hungry, taking the hand of the lonely. Yet government has often denied social service grants and contracts to these groups, just because they have a cross or Star of David or crescent on the wall. By executive order, I have opened billions of dollars in grant money to competition that includes faith-based charities. Tonight I ask you to codify this into law, so people of faith can know that the law will never discriminate against them again.
In the past, we have worked together to bring mentors to the children of prisoners, and provide treatment for the addicted, and help for the homeless. Tonight I ask you to consider another group of Americans in need of help. This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison back into society. We know from long experience that if they can’t find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison[, and since there _are_ no jobs, this is going to be a problem]. So tonight, I propose a four-year, $300 million Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative to expand job training and placement services, to provide transitional housing, and to help newly released prisoners get mentoring, including from faith-based groups[, because these people need to be _saved!_]. America is the land of the second chance -- and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.
For all Americans, the last three years have brought tests we did not ask for, and achievements shared by all. By our actions, we have shown what kind of nation we are[, aggresive, bullheaded, amd fundamentalist]. In grief, we found the grace to go on. In challenge, we rediscovered the courage and daring of a free people. In victory, we have shown the noble aims and good heart of America. And having come this far, we sense that we live in a time set apart.
I have been a witness to the character of the American people, who have shown calm in times of danger, compassion for one another, and toughness for the long haul. All of us have been partners in a great enterprise. And even some of the youngest understand that we are living in historic times. Last month a girl in Lincoln, Rhode Island, sent me a letter. It began, "Dear George W. Bush: If there is anything you know, I, Ashley Pearson, age 10, can do to help anyone, please send me a letter and tell me what I can do to save our country." She added this P.S.: "If you can send a letter to the troops -- please put, ’Ashley Pearson believes in you.’ " [I couldn't get a dead cop's badge this time, so this is my proof that I'm sensitive.]
Tonight, Ashley, your message to our troops has just been conveyed. And yes, you have some duties yourself. Study hard in school, listen to your mom and dad, help someone in need, and when you and your friends see a man or woman in uniform, say "thank you." And while you do your part, all of us here in this great chamber will do our best to keep you and the rest of America safe and free.
My fellow citizens, we now move forward, with confidence and faith. Our nation is strong and steadfast[, our economy is failing, our troops are dying, and we are strong and steadfast. Remember 9/11 again!]. The cause we serve is right, because it is the cause of all mankind. The momentum of freedom in our world is unmistakable -- and it is not carried forward by our power alone. We can trust in that greater power Who guides the unfolding of the years. And in all that is to come, we can know that His purposes are just and true.
May God bless the United States of America. Thank you.