Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Mr. President, Have Pity on the Working Man..."

(That's a Randy Newman song, y'all. Check it out.)

The news this morning reports that President Bush is pushing a new “critical languages” education program, and setting up funding for it, too. Whew. Apparently, military academy and university students will all soon be learning Chinese, various Middle East languages (Farci, Pashtu, etc. -- about time, y'think?), etc. -- but what I wanna know is, when are we going to see funding of a program to teach us all Bushese?

That’s perhaps the most “critical language” of all.

After over five years, you'd think we'd have it down. But no, with every speech, there are more questions -- I mean, I read English. President Bush seems to be speaking some variant of the language. Maybe that’s why the White House has to keep issuing “corrections” after every speech?

So, I'm going to provide a long-overdue public service. I am going to teach you all a bit of Bushese.

To do so, I have sought out the least controversial speech I could find. My purpose is not to foment ire or articulate my views as I usually do here, but to illuminate our President's unique vocabulary and language.

I decided to go back in time, before the Iraq War, when (one would think) President Bush hadn't yet entered the full blossom of his current tongue. Back when Jack Abramoff was an unknown name to all but those reaping the benefits of knowing ol’ Jack in the Washington D.C. and Texan fund-raising arenas, before Valerie Plame had leaked all over the place, when Tom DeLay was still lording over his righteous feifdom and Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby were free to work as they were meant to be working, behind the scenes and away from scrutiny. Hell, Vice President Cheney hadn't even lied about "never meeting" Senator Edwards yet, nor had he told Senator Leahy to "go f --" well, you know, do that.

Maybe the secret of Bushese as a language can be found in his halycon years, that lovely glow (Yellow Alert? Orange?) we as a people basked in between 9/11 and March 2003 and the launch of the Iraq War.

I even went for something relatively non-controversial, then or now. You’d think.

The following is entitled "Remarks by the President on Homeownership," which sounds straightforward enough, and it's posted in its entirity
  • here,
  • just in case you want to check anything I’m quoting as accurate and as it was said.

    The speech appears here, complete, unexpurgated and unaltered.

    I have only provided a translation -- subtitles, if you will, for the daily “foreign film” that is our President.

    President George W. Bush speaks to HUD employees on National Homeownership Month
    Tuesday, June 18, 2002

    at the Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Washington, D.C.
    June 18, 2002, 10:30 A.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for that kind welcome. I'm here for a couple of reasons. First, I want to thank you all for your service to the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. (Applause.)

    [Read: America.]

    I'm here to celebrate National Homeownership Month,

    [Read: "No I’m not, really. I’m going to talk about terrorism."]

    because I believe owning a home is an essential part of economic security. And I'm concerned about the security of America. (Applause.)

    [Read: Tentative link between agreed-upon agenda for this speech, and President Bush’s agenda for this speech.]

    I had the pleasure on June the 12th of speaking to the last President who visited HUD.

    [Read: "I don’t want to say his name. I may not know it."]

    I wish number 41 a happy birthday. (Applause.)

    [Read: "Ha, see, I did know who it was. Do you?"]

    And I'm glad you've invited me here today, I really am. I first am really proud of Mel Martinez and Alphonso Jackson. I've known Mel for a while, I've known Alphonso for a long time. There was no question in my mind that these two fine Americans would do a great job in leading this important agency. (Applause.)

    [Read: Cronies.]

    I want to thank all those who have assumed leadership roles, who have left your states and your friends to come and serve America. And that's important. Service to our country is an incredibly important part of being an American.

    [Read: "Like me. I’m the most important American."]

    I want to thank all those who have worked here for a short time and long time,

    [Read: All time, of all lengths.]

    who will be here after we leave.

    [Read: After we die, they will live on: evocation of religion.]

    I want to thank a man named Larry Thompson, who has worked here for -- where's Larry? (Applause.)

    [Read: "I have forgotten what Larry does, if ever I knew."]

    Larry's been here for 30 years. And I want to -- appreciate your service,

    [Read: “I want to, but I can’t. But I will.”]

    Larry, and thank you for setting such a fine example for many others inside this building who serve the country.

    [Read: The waiters working for the caterers, most likely immigrants working in jobs “real” Americans don’t want to fill.]

    Let me first talk about how to make sure America is secure from a group of killers,

    [Read: Definitive & irrevocable transition from HUD speech agenda to President Bush’s agenda.]

    people who hate -- you know what they hate? They hate the idea that somebody can go buy a home.

    [Read: Blunt alignment of the seemingly unrelated HUD and President Bush speech agendas, all in one succinct turn of phrase.]

    They hate freedom; that's what they hate.

    [Read: Even blunter full-bore return to President Bush’s speech agenda.]

    They hate the fact that we worship freely. They don't like the thought of Christian, Jew and Muslim living side by side in peace. They don't like that at all. And therefore, they -- since they resent our freedoms, they feel like they should take out their resentment by destroying innocent lives.

    [Read: "They what? Oops, almost wandered astray": quickly regained footing with President Bush’s speech agenda. Whew.]

    And this country will do everything we can possibly do to protect America. (Applause.)

    [Read: Everything=Anything.]

    And that's going to mean making sure our homeland is secure, and I appreciate the progress we're making on setting up a Department of Homeland Security. I know it's going to be hard for some in Congress to give up a little power here and there,

    [Read: “I am in power, and they have no idea how much power I am already wielding, with or without their consent.”]

    but I think it's going to happen because people realize we're here to serve the American people, not here to serve a political party or turf in the United States Congress. (Applause.)

    [Read: “I am the power.” Evocation of the Divine Right of Kings.]

    But the best way to secure the homeland is to hunt them down one by one. And I mean hunt them down one by one

    [Read: Hunt them down one by one. One. By. One. One. One.]

    and bring them to justice, which is precisely what America will do. (Applause.)

    [Read: “If I have my way, we’ll be in Iraq by this time next year.”]

    I want to thank the choir for coming, the youngsters for being here.

    [Read: Disorienting return to cozy populist homey warm fuzzy talk of children, children who sing; everyone loves singing children.]

    I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.

    [Read: War=Peace.]

    We want there to be peace.

    [Read: We want there to be war.]

    We want people to live in peace all around the world. I mean, our vision for peace extends beyond America.

    [Read: “We will fight a war on any foreign soil I choose. Like, soon.”]

    We believe in peace in South Asia. We believe in peace in the Middle East.

    [Read: War in South Asia; War in the Middle East. “Wait, didn’t we already fight a war in South Asia? Oh, well, then, we’ll believe in war in the Middle East.”]

    We're going to be steadfast toward a vision that rejects terror and killing, and honors peace and hope.

    [Read: Honor terror and killing against those who reject peace and hope.]

    I also want the young to know that this country, we don't conquer people, we liberate people -- because we hold true to our values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    [Read: “Get your helmets and rifles, kids. Time to liberate some towel-heads.”]

    The security of our homeland, the need to make sure that America is safe and secure while we chase peace is my number one priority for the country.

    [Read: “We will be cozy over here while we chase war elsewhere.”]

    But I've got another priority, as well.

    [Read: Clumsy segue to HUD speech agenda.]

    I not only want America to be safer and stronger, I want America to be better. (Applause.) I want America to be a better place. I worry about our economy, because there are people who can't find work who want to work.

    [Read: Check out the cater waiters.]

    In this town, people look at numbers all the time -- you know, such and such a number dropped, or this number increased.

    [Read: Fuzzy math.]

    What I worry about are hearts and souls.

    [Read: “Who needs fuzzy math when you’ve got Jesus?”]

    That's what I worry about.

    [Read: “I am not Alfred E. Neuman, whatever the expression on my face at this moment.”]

    And if somebody is trying to find work who can't find work, we need to continue to expand our job base. (Applause.).

    [Read: Check out the cater waiters.]

    We also have got to understand, in this land of plenty, there are pockets of hopelessness and despair. You know, I mentioned the word American Dream

    [Read: Two words=one word. Fuzzy math=reality.]

    in Atlanta. I also recognize that some people aren't sure that dream extends to them. Some people don't even know what the dream means.

    [Read: Dream=home ownership. Further transition into HUD speech agenda.]

    And our job -- our jobs, our collective jobs,

    [Read: Our collective job.]


    [Read: are.]

    to make sure that notion

    [Read: “my notion”]

    of the American Dream extends into every single neighborhood around this country. (Applause.).

    [Read: Dream=home ownership, homes=neighborhood, hey, we’re finally in HUD territory.]

    I know this isn't the right department when I talk about education,

    [Read: “Fuck HUD, I isn’t done yet.”]

    but education, making sure every child is educated and no child is left behind, is part of making sure the American Dream extends to every single neighborhood in America. (Applause.)

    [Read: Dream=home ownership, homes=neighborhood, neighborhood=kids, kids=education, education=“No Child Left Behind” policy.]

    And we're making progress in a practical way when it comes to educating children, because, you know what,

    [Read: Further clumsy segue, appropriately using playground rhetoric.]

    for the first time the federal government says, if you receive money,

    [Read: “even if you don’t”]

    you need to let us know whether the children are learning to read and write and add and subtract.

    [Read: But not multiply: no sex in schools.]

    And if they are, we'll praise the teachers and praise the parents and praise the administrators.

    [Read: Carrott.]

    But if not, if our children can't read and write and add and subtract,

    [Read: “like me.” More fuzzy math.]

    instead of just hoping something changes, we're going to use the accountability system to insist upon change,

    [Read: Stick.]

    so every child has a chance to realize the dream in America. (Applause.)

    [Read: Educated children=homeowners; back on the HUD speech agenda.]

    But I believe owning something is a part of the American Dream, as well. I believe when somebody owns their own home, they're realizing the American Dream. They can say it's my home, it's nobody else's home. (Applause.) And we saw that yesterday in Atlanta, when we went to the new homes of the new homeowners. And I saw with pride firsthand, the man say, welcome to my home. He didn't say, welcome to government's home; he didn't say, welcome to my neighbor's home; he said, welcome to my home. I own the home, and you're welcome to come in the home, and I appreciate it. (Applause.) He was a proud man. He was proud that he owns the property. And I was proud for him. And I want that pride to extend all throughout our country.

    [Read: Except in Connecticut.]

    One of the things that we've got to do is to address problems straight on

    [Read: “Pay no attention to the war behind the curtain.”]

    and deal with them in a way that helps us meet goals. And so I want to talk about a couple of goals and -- one goal and a problem.

    [Read: Goal=problem.]

    The goal is, everybody who wants to own a home has got a shot at doing so. The problem is we have what we call a homeownership gap in America.

    [Read: Not everyone who wants to own a home has a shot. “See, I’m talking about HUD.”]

    Three-quarters of Anglos own their homes, and yet less than 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics own homes. That ownership gap signals that something might be wrong in the land of plenty. And we need to do something about it.

    We are here in Washington, D.C. to address problems. So I've set this goal for the country.

    [Read: After waging war, that is.]

    We want 5.5 million more homeowners by 2010 -- million more minority homeowners by 2010.

    [Read: Fuzzy math. Repeat.]

    (Applause.) Five-and-a-half million families by 2010 will own a home.

    [Read: Repeat. No fuzzy math.]

    That is our goal. It is a realistic goal. But it's going to mean we're

    [Read: “you’re”]

    going to have to work hard to achieve the goal, all of us.

    [Read: “We’ve got ours. Get to work.”]

    And by all of us, I mean not only the federal government, but the private sector, as well.

    [Read: “Fuck this, you do it.”]

    And so I want to, one, encourage you to do everything you can to work in a realistic, smart way to get this done. I repeat, we're here for a reason.

    [Read: There is no ‘two.’]

    And part of the reason is to make this dream extend everywhere.

    [Read: Everywhere=America.]

    I'm going to do my part by setting the goal,

    [Read: “There, I’ve done my job!”]

    by reminding people of the goal,

    [Read: “There, I’ve done my job again!”]

    by heralding the goal,

    [Read: "Man, I've told you this is hard work! Now you get to work! I've set, I've reminded, and I've heralded!"]

    and by calling people into action,

    [Read: "By God, and I called, too! I'm tellin' ya, this is hard work!"]

    both the federal level, state level, local level, and in the private sector.

    [Read: Both=Four.]


    [Read: “Did my part -- get to work, the rest of you!”]

    And so what are the barriers

    [Read: Race+Poverty=barriers]

    that we can deal with here in Washington?

    [Read: Race+Poverty=Not our problem.]

    Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeownership is high down payments. People take a look at the down payment, they say that's too high, I'm not buying. They may have the desire to buy, but they don't have the wherewithal to handle the down payment.

    [Read: Poverty=problem.]

    We can deal with that. And so I've asked Congress to fully fund an American Dream down payment fund which will help a low-income family to qualify to buy, to buy. (Applause.)

    [Read: Buy (said twice)=no problem.]

    We believe

    [Read: Believe=do=no problem]

    when this fund is fully funded and properly administered,

    [Read: “Put one of my cronies in charge, wouldja?”]

    which it will be under the Bush administration,

    [Read: “Put one of my cronies in charge, wouldja?”]

    that over 40,000 families a year -- 40,000 families a year --

    [Read: Repeat=no fuzzy math=reality]

    will be able to realize the dream we want them to be able to realize, and that's owning their own home. (Applause.)

    [Read: Realize+dream+realize (repeat)=reality=no problem=no poverty. Repeat.]

    The second barrier

    [Read: Oops, “Not single.” There is ‘two,’ e.g., “a second.”]

    to ownership is the lack of affordable housing. There are neighborhoods in America where you

    [Read: you=Not ‘me’=Not ‘my’ problem.]

    just can't find a house that's affordable to purchase, and we

    [Read: you.]

    need to deal with that problem. The best way to do so, I think, is to set up a single family affordable housing tax credit to the tune of $2.4 billion over the next five years

    [Read: Fuzzy math.]

    to encourage affordable single family housing in inner-city America. (Applause.)

    The third problem is the fact that the rules are too complex. People get discouraged by the fine print on the contracts.

    [Read: Fuzzy words.]

    They take a look and say, well, I'm not so sure I want to sign this. There's too many words. (Laughter.)

    [Read: “I can’t read. I don’t like to read. No one likes to read. Why should I have to read this?”]

    There's too many pitfalls.

    [Read: Words=pitfalls.]

    So one of the things that the Secretary is going to do is he's going to simplify the closing documents and all the documents that have to deal with homeownership.

    [Read: “You won’t have to read as much”=no pitfalls.]

    It is essential that we make it easier for people to buy a home, not harder. And in order to do so, we've got to educate folks.

    [Read: Clumsy but quick return to education agenda portion of speech.]

    Some of us take homeownership for granted, but there are people -- obviously,

    [Read: “Whoops, almost started talking about people.” Regain footing.]

    the home purchase is a significant, significant

    [Read: Repeat=important=significant, significant.]

    decision by our fellow Americans. We've got people who have newly arrived to our country, don't know the customs.

    [Read: No contact with customs=Illegal immigrants=workers filling jobs Americans don’t want to fill; don’t go there.]

    We've got people in certain neighborhoods that just aren't really sure what it means to buy a home. And it seems like to us that it makes sense to have a outreach program, an education program that explains the whys and wherefores of buying a house, to make it easier for people to not only understand the legal implications and ramifications, but to make it easier to understand how to get a good loan.

    [Read: Credit=solution=no problem.]

    There's some people out there that can fall prey to unscrupulous lenders, and we have an obligation to educate and to use our resource base to help people understand how to purchase a home and what -- where the good opportunities might exist for home purchasing.

    [Read: What=where.]

    Finally, we want to make sure the Section 8 homeownership program is fully implemented. This is a program that provides vouchers for first-time home buyers which they can use for down payments and/or mortgage payments. (Applause.)

    [Read: Vouchers+education=good, because it’s like, like, our other thing there.]

    So this is an ambitious start here at the federal level. And, again, I repeat, you all need to help us every way you can.

    [Read: “You do it.” Ambitious start=another unfunded Federal program.]

    But the private sector needs to help, too.

    [Read: Help=do. Read: “You do it.”]

    They need to help, too.

    [Read: Help=do. Repeat: “You do it.”]

    Of course, it's in their interest.

    [Read: Repeat: “You do it.”]

    If you're a realtor, it's in your interest that somebody be interested in buying a home. If you're a homebuilder, it's in your interest that somebody be interested in buying a home.

    [Read: Repeat, repeat, repeat: “You do it.”]

    And so, therefore, I've called -- yesterday, I called upon the private sector to help us and help the home buyers.

    [Read: Repeat: Repeat: “You do it.”]

    We need more capital in the private markets for first-time, low-income buyers. And I'm proud to report that Fannie Mae has heard the call and, as I understand, it's about $440 billion over a period of time.

    [Read: Fuzzy math+Fannie Mae=no problem.]

    They've used their influence to create that much capital available for the type of home buyer we're talking about here. It's in their charter; it now needs to be implemented.

    [Read: “Fannie Mae will do it.”]

    Freddie Mac is interested in helping. I appreciate both of those agencies providing the underpinnings of good capital.

    [Read: Fannie Mae+Freddie Mac=MaeMac=no problem=they do it.]

    There's a lot of faith-based programs that want to be involved with educating people about how to buy a home.

    [Read: Jesus=education=buy a home. “The Virgin Mary Built My Shed.”]

    And we're going to have an active outreach from HUD. (Applause.)

    [Read: “Oh ya, HUD.”]

    And so this ambitious goal is going to be met.

    [Read: “They’ll do it”=“There, I solved that”=problem solved.]

    I believe it will be,

    [Read: believe=reality=“They’ll do it”=problem solved.]

    just so long as we keep focused, and remember that security at home is -- economic security at home is just an important part of -- as homeland security.

    [Read: Clumsy return to President Bush’s speech agenda: Home=war.]

    And owning a home is part of that economic security. It's also a part of making sure that this country fulfills its great hope and vision.

    [Read: Fuzzy math: Ownership=security, hope+vision=war, thus: security=war.]

    See, I tell people -- and I believe this --

    [Read: “I tell”+“I believe”=reality.]

    that out of the evil done to America will come some incredible good. (Applause.) You know, they thought they were attacking a country so weak and so feeble that we might file a lawsuit or two, and that's all we'd do. (Laughter.)

    [Read: Evil=good, 9/11=lawyer joke.]

    That's what they thought. We're showing them the different face of America.

    [Read: These Colors Don’t Sue.]

    We're showing them that we're plenty tough.

    [Read: These Colors Don’t Run. Repeat:]

    When it comes to taking somebody trying to take away our freedoms, we're tough, and we're going to remain tough and steadfast. (Applause.)

    [Read: 3 x ‘tough’=applause. Repeat as necessary, forever.]

    But I also want people to see the deep compassion of America, as well.

    [Read: Compassion=war.]

    I want the world to see the other side of our character, which is the soft side, the decent side, the loving side.

    [Read: Soft=hard, decent=kill, thus: ‘Soft’+‘decent’+‘love’=tough love=war. Fuzzy/hard math.]

    I want people to know that when we talk about dreams, we mean big dreams.

    [Read: Texan talk.]

    And when we talk about a free society, we want a society in which every citizen has the chance to advance, not just a few.

    [Read: free=buy, advance=buy, every+advance=few. More fuzzy math.]

    And part of the cornerstone of America is the ability for somebody, regardless of where they're from, regardless of where they were born, to say, this is my home; I own this home, it is my piece of property, it is my part of the American experience. It is essential that we stay focused on the goal, and work hard to achieve that goal. And when it's all said and done, we can look back and say, because of my work, because of our collective work, America is a better place. Out of evil came incredible good.

    [Read: My home=your home, property=experience, goal=war, my=our, evil=good, inchoate string of cliches=conclusion, confusion=comfort, gibberish=coherent speech. No problem.]

    Thank you all for coming by.

    [Read: Thank you all for not questioning anything I’ve said; you wouldn’t be here if you were going to.]


    [Read: Not by a long shot.]

    © 2006 Stephen R. Bissette, scribed atop the Mountains of Madness 1/5/05; don't tread on me!