Uncategorized , Unsorted, and Oddly Numbered(As Of Yet) Reasons to Vote Bush 2008
- 339 total -
"No child" has been "left behind," but their schools have been left without funding. $18 billion was scheduled in Mr. Bush's own legislation for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, but that year's budget only provided $12 billion. (Source: New York Times 8/26/03)
George W. Bush chose Rod Paige to be Secretary of Education. So how well does this choice reflect on Bush? Well, recently Rod Paige announced to a meeting of the nation's governors that "The NEA is a terrorist organization". For those of you who don't have kids in school, he was talking about the National Education Association, America's largest organization of school teachers.
Rod Paige's announcement that hundreds of thousands of American school teachers are in fact members of a "terrorist organization" has provoked at least one teacher's confession. Michael Sherwin, from Corvalis, Oregon, writes: "Since Secretary of Education Rod Paige has torn off the mask and exposed the National Education Association for what it is: a terrorist organization, I can see the game is up. There's no use in dissembling anymore. I want to confess. For decades, I have been part of this terrorist organization. For decades, I have sent them material support disguised as union dues. For decades, I have spent countless hours participating in their nefarious plot to educate America's children. But no more. I have seen the light! I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw... Oh, sorry ... wrong witch hunt." If witch hunts against teachers arenÕt on your Ņto-doÓ list, consider voting for a president who will put a more reasonable man or woman in charge of the Education Department. (Source: Corvalis Gazette-Times, February 24, 2004)
Bush ran for President in 2000 on the apparent success of the Texas school system. He even appointed Houston School District Superintendent Rod Paige his Secretary of Education based on the supposed "Texas Miracle" in that city following from Bush's purportedly miraculous education policies in the state. But it turns out that the "Miracle" that Rod Paige produced in Houston was anything but miraculous. Paige set up a system in which school principles got bonuses for low dropout rates. Principles simply underreported dropouts to get their bonuses, creating the illusion of a Miracle that never actually existed. (Source: Palm Beach Post September 27, 2003)
George W. Bush's 2005 Budget cuts back on professional development funds for school teachers, making it more difficult for teachers to keep their classroom techniques up to date. It's typical Bush to hold teachers accountable for performance even as he undercuts their ability to perform. (Source: United Federation of Teachers, February 2004)
In his 2005 budget, George W. Bush underfunded his own No Child Left Behind Act by 9.4 Billion dollars. Dollars mean something real, especially when they add up to the billions. Because George W. Bush has underfunded his own act, more than 53,000 children in North Carolina alone who have been promised tutoring in reading and math didn't get the help BushÕs Act promised. That's a profoundly wrongheaded choice: when children gain reading and math skills early in life, their increased productivity will lead to many social contributions. The Bush administration just hasn't been that farsighted. (Source: Charlotte Observer, March 2, 2004)
The Bush Administration planned to raise Medicare premiums by a whopping 17.5% in 2005. The cowards announced this plan in a news conference on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day, hoping that nobody would notice. (Source: Washington Post September 4, 2004)
George W. Bush's faulty financial management of the federal government has resulted in a shortfall of over 3 billion dollars for funding of the Pell grant program that helps working Americans get the education they need to stay competitive in the Republican-inspired global labor market, in which jobs are outsourced overseas at the drop of a hat. Hey, maybe George W. Bush felt that a college education was nothing more than an excuse to get drunk, but for a lot of American kids who weren't born with big trust funds, a college education means an awful lot. (Source: Fact Sheets for House Consideration of the 2005 Budget, House Budget Committee, Democratic Caucus, March 23, 2004)
Although he couldn't wait to spend hundreds of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to halt a fictitious WMD threat, George W. Bush took pains to prevent safer arsenic standards for our drinking water from being enacted. Bush's "radical" opponent in this instance? The National Academy of Sciences, which had endorsed the standards. (Source: The Nation September 25, 2003)
Bush decided early in his administration to allow thousands of the nation's dirtiest coal-belching industrial plants to renovate their facilities without upgrading to cleaner, more environmentally-friendly equipment, as previous EPA regulations required. (Source: Washington Post August 23, 2003)
Breaking the only promise to protect the environment he made during his 2000 campaign, Bush decided not to do anything to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions. Honor and integrity, indeed. (Source: The Independent March 15, 2001)
Bush Trashes the National Parks. Nearly 130 members of Concerned National Park Service Retirees say "the founders of the Park Service must be turning in their graves at what is happening to the Service and the parks" under the watch of the Bush Administration. The group decries Bush's campaign of drilling, pollution and privatization. (Source: Campaign to Protect America's Lands).
The Bush Administration announced in the spring of 2003 that it would restrict the implementation of wilderness protection over 6 million acres of federal lands. (Source: Salt Lake Tribune August 30, 2003)
The Bush Administration overturned rules keeping jack-hammer loud, pollution-spewing snowmobiles and their inconsiderate operators from ruining Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for the rest of us (including the young Moose). To give you an idea of how bad the problem is, rangers have been wearing respirators and earplugs on the job to deal with the smoggy onslaught. But there's no hydrocarbon or hydrocarbon-based machine (or is that just hydrocarbon-based industry?) that George W. Bush won't fight for. Bush administration officials tried to make a field day out of claims that a new generation of snowmobiles would run cleaner and quieter -- but independent tests showed that the new generation of chuggers were actually more polluting and louder than older machines! (Source: Los Angeles Times September 4, 2003)
Under Republican direction, the EPA announced on May 14, 2003 that it would further delay the implementation of smog requirements designed to make it easier for millions of Americans to breathe. (Source: San Jose Mercury-News May 14, 2003)
Under Vice President Dick Cheney's instruction, Bush's EPA (Emitting Pollution Accelerated) has dropped investigation of 50 power plants for violations of the Clean Air Act. The Bush Administration explains that it would simply have been too expensive for the power plants to obey the law. (Source: New York Times November 6, 2003)
The Bush administrationÕs record on the environment is so shoddy that fellow Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to criticize him on it. Prominent Republican politician Pete McCloskey writes regarding the Endangered Species Act, "The administration has stopped designating "critical habitat" for listed species except under court order. It has stopped adding to the list of threatened and endangered species unless ordered to do so by a judge. It has moved to exempt the Forest Service from abiding by the law on the pretext of fire prevention. It is working to weaken the requirement that endangered species be protected from pesticides. And that list barely scratches the surface. The assault on the law is widespread and relentless. The administration and its comrades in arms argue that the law is ineffective, expensive and in need of drastic overhaul. In truth, they are acting as agents for the timber industry, the mining industry, land developers, big agriculture and other economic interests that sometimes find their profits slightly decreased in the short run by the need to obey this law." (Source: Los Angeles Times January 2, 2004)
Republican attacks on the environment over the past eight years have come too fast and too furious to follow. As if allowing more sewage and arsenic into drinking water weren't enough, Bush now wants to give the green light to polluting watersheds right at the source.
See, up until the dawn of the new millennium there'd been this pesky little regulation that prevented coal miners from disturbing land within 100 feet of a stream unless they could prove it wouldn't harm the water quality or reduce the flow of water. But the mining industry wanted that regulation overturned so it could do something called "mountaintop mining": blasting away the top of a mountain ridge to reveal a coal deposit, then dumping the waste into mountain streams. And George W. Bush went to bat for them. (Source: The Guardian, Jan. 7, 2004)
In 2003 Gale Norton, the Republican Secretary of the Interior, ordered the Bureau of Land Management to stop all attempts to keep track of land with good potential protection as public wilderness. Thus, the Bush Administration effectively ordered all offices of the federal government to stop planning for the preservation of any vulnerable wilderness not already protected as public land. Purposefully avoiding looking for problems in order to pretend that the problems do not exist should be a source of shame, but the Republicans have done it with pride. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
It turns out that the Bush/Cheney energy policy was not an energy policy for all Americans. No, the Bush/Cheney energy policy was an energy policy specifically designed to provide big government financial rewards to industrial and energy corporations in Texas.
Bush and Cheney proposed letting thousands of power plants, factories and other industrial sources of pollution get away with breaking the law, giving them a loophole to violate the Clean Air Act without having to the consequences.
Now where, oh, where, do you think that the majority of the dirty power plants that would have profited from this new pro-pollution policy are located? That's right kids, they're in Texas - all 1,942 of them. (Source, Environmental Protection Agency, September 30, 2003)
It looks like if you're going to play in Texas, you've got to have a big wad of cash for Republican politicians like Bush and Cheney, along with a face mask on to breathe.
There are three hundred endangered and threatened species of wildlife living on land managed by the United States military. Yet George W. Bush created a new exemption of 25 million acres of that land that allows the military to completely ignore the habitat-protection provisions of the Endangered Species Act. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
In the first three years of the Clinton Administration, 221 species were added to the list of endangered species. In his first three years in office, George W. Bush has only allowed 20 species to be added to the list, in spite of the fact that the rate of species extinction is increasing, not decreasing. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
According to Jeff Ruch, the executive director of PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Bush Administration reassigned members of its professional staff when they issued reports on environmental issues that did not favor the economic interests of industries giving large contributions to the Republican Party. He describes instances of "targeted political payback" orchestrated by the top officials at the Service, officials appointed by Bush. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
Even David Gergen, conservative and former adviser to Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, admits that the Republican Party has an awful environmental record: "On issues of the environment, I do not think we can take pride in what we've done." (Source: Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 2004)
Since he came to occupy the White House in 2000, George W. Bush has managed a federal government that systematically intimidates scientists from presenting results of studies that do not support Bush's extremist conservative political policies. In just one example of manipulation of government-sponsored scientific research, after 10 years of research, a team of biologists studying the effect of water flow on endangered pallid sturgeons in the Missouri River was replaced with a new team when their their study's results appeared to recommend changes in shipping patterns that were stronger than those favored by the Bush Administration. A Bush appointee put a new research team in place, which, after just 45 days, released a new report that supported the plans of the Bush Administration. When a President fires scientists because they say things that he doesn't want to hear, he undermines the trust that Americans should be able to place in scientific research sponsored by the government. The time is overdue for a new president to restore that trust. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
Oh, how the Republicans love to talk about homeland security. It turns out that he's not very interested in keeping the actual land in the homeland secure, though. In fact, under the Republican White House, American land is the least secure it's been in generations. For example, the EPA states that 1,172 streams are at high risk of pollution by the weed-killer atrazine. These streams run all through that "homeland" the GOP keeps talking about, so you'd think they'd be concerned. Nope. It turns out that, under George W. Bush's direction, the EPA required only 3.4 percent of the streams that are at high risk of being poisoned by atrazine to actually be monitored. The other 1,132 streams at high risk of this chemical attack were to be left defenseless. George W. Bush's plan for homeland security left communities along these waterways to fend for themselves and just hope that they weren't exposed to this poison. That's not just sloppy. It's not just careless. Bush is being negligent in protecting Americans from very real threats to their lives. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April, 2004)
When Republicans swept into power with the 2000 elections, anti-environmental officials swept in right behind then, gaining power over the very governmental agencies that are supposed to protect the environment. Craig Manson, the official at the Interior Department who is supposed to oversee the Fish and Wildlife Service and enforce the Endangered Species Act, is on record as stating, "If we are saying that the loss of species is inherently bad, I don't think we know enough about how the world works to say that." Here we have the man who is supposed to make sure that endangered species are protected in accordance with the law, and he's saying that it doesn't much matter to him whether or not species go extinct. If you care about extinction, itÕs time for some regime change. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
If you're a mountain climber, you ought to protect your favored activity by casting a vote for a progressive candidate. Many of the world's most popular mountain-climbing destinations, such as the Matterhorn and Mount Blanc, are disintegrating because of global warming, which increases the rate of avalanches and huge rockfalls by warming up mountains' ground temperatures and increasing evaporation from glaciers and snow pack during summertime. As a result, mountain climbing is becoming more dangerous, and many mountains are even being closed to climbers. The current crop of congressfolk havenÕt done anything to stop global warming, and neither has the current president. Major bummer, dude. Hook your carabiner into the idea of voting progressive this year. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
Conservative cronyism hurts our world. The Republican White House set its sights on the Red Desert of Wyoming, and not for a nice refreshing hike. The plan? More than 12,000 oil and gas wells by the year 2010. Of course, this decision has nothing to do with the fact that both the Bush and Cheney families are up to their earlobes in the oil business, right? And it has nothing to do with the millions of dollars in campaign contributions flowing into Washington, DC from the oil lobby, does it? Sure Š and IÕve been typing all this with my elbows. (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
Thanks to a decision by the Bush Administration, significant areas of wetlands across New York State have lost their federal protection and are now open to complete destruction. The wetlands of New York State are one of its greatest natural resources, protecting New Yorkers from floods, providing them with areas for hunting and fishing, and increasing the quality of drinking water used by municipalities like Albany and New York City that rely on surface supplies of water. For Bush, the freedom of big business to push urban and suburban sprawl appears to be more important than the quality of life for all New Yorkers. (Source: Sierra Atlantic, spring 2004)
In the 2000 campaign, Bush ridiculed Al Gore for suggesting that it was time to replace the internal combustion engine, and suggested that such a position was anti-business. Bush was too short-sighted to realize that in replacing the internal combustion engine with new technology, new businesses would be spawned. These new technologies would rely less on traditional fuels, providing further economic benefit to American businesses who are now stuck with the rising cost of fossil fuels. WeÕve lost eight years of potential economic growth in the green energy sector, and American car companies are regretting their decision to follow BushÕs lead. General Motors has lost its lead to the hybrid-making Toyota as the worldÕs most successful car company. (Sources: USA Today April 3, 2000; Washington Post March 20, 2004; New York Times November 3, 2007)
Mark Rey, appointed by George W. Bush to the position of Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the Department of Agriculture, spent the decades before his appointment acting as a lobbyist for the timber industry, paid by timber corporations to advocate expanded logging. Talk about foxes guarding the chicken coop.! (Source: Mother Jones September 2003)
Thomas Sansonetti, appointed by George W. Bush to the position of Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources, has presided over the settlement of lawsuits that have generously allowed corporate access to our nationally-treasured wilderness for a variety of purposes including mining. Surprise, surprise: Sansonetti's previous job was as a lobbyist for corporate mining interests. Isn't it time we said "enough is enough" to these corporate cronies in our government, and to the administration that put them there? (Source: Mother Jones September 2003)
"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." Š George W. Bush. No, no, actually, we donÕt. (Source: Remarks of George W. Bush in Trenton, New Jersey, September 23 2002)
The Bush Administration spent over a hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers' money to hire a public relations firm to convince said taxpayers (that's us) that triple-logging the forests of the Sierra Nevada would be good for the forests of the Sierra Nevada. What a waste, to use citizens' own money to try to fool them. When the Bush Administration hired that public relations firm, two further goals were specified: to counter "an apparent atmosphere of mistrust and cynicism about the government's real intentions," and to counter the notion that the Bush Administration was acting "due to some hidden politically motivated agenda."
Problem is, when rumors started circulating about the Bush Administration's hiring of a public relations firm, the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign filed a Freedom of Information Act claim to find out whether this was true.
And the Bush Administration denied it.
And that's why we have our current "atmosphere of mistrust and cynicism about the government's real intentions." (Source: Associated Press March 10, 2004)
The Republicans are not just divorced from reality on their own: theyÕre trying to shove a wedge between the rest of us and reality, too. In a February 20, 2004 memo to the National Park Service, Republican political appointees commanded National Park Service employees not to refer to reduced services as being the consequence of budget cuts. Rather, the National Park Serice employees were to use the phrase "service level adjustment."
Republican America: the land of "service level adjustment." (Source: Philadelphia Inquirer March 28, 2004)
The Bush administration must think we're all stupid to try this one: in a publicity campaign to try to convince Americans that logging the forests of the Sierra Nevada is the best way to save the forests of the Sierra Nevada, the Bush Administration has released a brochure that juxtaposes a photograph of Sierra Nevada forests in 1909 with Sierra Nevada forests in 1989. The goal: to show how the Sierra Nevada forest has become increasingly unhealthy.
Except that the photo in 1909 is of Montana. And the forest in that photo has just been logged. (Source: Associated Press April 13, 2004)
When determining whether wild salmon are worthy of federal protection, the Bush administration has decided to count fish raised in concrete-pool hatcheries as if they are wild. That's like counting stray dogs as part of the grey wolf population. (Source: Washington Post April 29, 2004)
In an interview with the New York Times on January 14, 2001, George W. Bush claimed to know the reason for the California power crisis: "The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants." Sure, Dubya tripped over his tongue when trying to get his sound bite out there. But he also was dead wrong. Enron was causing the crisis by restricting California's access to otherwise readily-available power.
Why did Bush make this claim when he obviously had no clue what he was talking about? By spouting the Enron line, Bush helped energy corporations extend their sham of a scam, costing energy consumers countless dollars in unnecessarily higher utility bills. HavenÕt we had enough of this anti-environmental cronyism? (Sources: New York Times January 14, 2001; CBS News June 1, 2004)
They say that people who mistreat animals as children grow up to become sadists as adults. Well, what about people who torment animals as adults?
It turns out that George W. Bush is one of those sadistic adults who derive pleasure from picking on animals. It's not just any animals that Bush bothers either. Bush gets his jollies from picking on endangered species.
In another in a series of attacks against endangered species, George W. Bush took pot shots at the gray wolf, which once roamed almost the entire continental United States, but now is restricted to a few tiny scraps of land where small packs barely hang on. Now, after decades of decline, a tiny number of gray wolves might be returning from Canada to the great Northern Forest of New England.
Just as this small bit of progress was taking place, George W. Bush introduced an administrative act called the Wolf Rule, which was designed to remove protections from the endangered gray wolf. Under Bush's plan, gray wolves were to be slaughtered all over again, and their habitat was to be destroyed with impunity.
Picking on an endangered species of animal is like picking on the smallest kid in your class at school. It's just plain mean.(Source, National Wildlife Federation, May, 2004)
The Bush Administration does some pretty disgusting stuff, but nothing was more disgusting than Bush's new rule for factory farms that allows corporate farmers to take huge mountains of untreated animal shit and dump them wherever they want to, even if the shit leaks into streams or rivers that feed into human water supplies. You think that's water you're drinking? No, that's a load of bull shit. (Source: National Resources Defense Council, December 16, 2002)
The Union of Concerned Scientists has uncovered extensive evidence of the Bush Administration interfering in scientific studies, mandating skewed administrative and research interventions in the scientific process to result in findings or actions of benefit to the industrial groups that are contributing to Mr. Bush's re-election campaign.
In one such instance, J. Stephen Griles (a political appointee to the Bush Administration's Department of the Interior) mandated that scientists preparing an environmental impact statement on mountaintop-removal mining were to "focus on centralizing and streamlining coal-mining permitting," and to cease consideration of environmentally beneficial changes to the mining practice. (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, July 2004)
Another instance of political meddling in the scientific process by the Bush Administration came as real estate interests pushed for permission to develop critical areas of the Florida panther's habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) scientific review panel found that the Bush Administration's Department of the Interior mandated several faulty assumptions in order to inflate the apparent number of breeding pairs of Florida panthers in the wild. For example, every reported panther -- including the very young and very old -- was counted as a member of a breeding pair. Although the review panel informed Bush Administration officials of the problem and recommended a change in the practice, Bush Administration officials repeatedly declined to do so, to real estate developers' benefit. (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, July 2004)
Yet another skewing of the data for political purposes: In 2003, the Bush Administration was court-ordered to designate critical habitat protection for the bull trout of the Pacific Northwest. In a report associated with that plan, economists working for the Fish and Wildlife Service enumerated the financial costs of enacting habitat protection and the financial benefits of doing so. The section of the report detailing financial costs of enacting the protection was kept in the final version of the report released by the Bush Administration; the section of the report detailing the financial benefits of enacting that protection was deleted. Fish and Wildlife Service officials reported that "the removal was a policy decision made at the Washington level; it did not come out of Denver or Portland." (Sources: Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, July 2004; The Missoulian April 15, 2004)
On July 12, 2004, George W. Bush declared his administration's intention to open up 58 million acres of wild, roadless land owned by the American people (one third of the remaining American wilderness) to private business development. Doesn't this man get the point that once our wilderness is gone, it's gone? Some things are worth protecting in the long term. But George W. Bush seems incapable of thinking in the long term. (Source: Associated Press July 12, 2004)
Energy Star is a program that encourages businesses to conserve energy and gives consumers information they need to buy more energy-efficient appliances, preserving environmental resources and saving billions of dollars that would have gone into wasteful energy use. And the cost of the billions of dollars of savings to the taxpayer only runs in the millions of dollars, meaning that the Energy Star program in effect more than pays for itself -- to the tune of $70 saved for every $1 spent. Wonderful!
You know what I'm going to say next, don't you? That's right: the Bush Administration cut funding to the program, resulting in the cancellation of Energy Star programs. (Source: Associated Press August 30, 2003)
Sometimes, the Bush Administration's attacks on the environment seem kind of abstract. The attacks take place through policies that encourage damage to the environment. Other times, however, the attacks by the Bush Administration upon the environment are quite literal. In 2002, the Bush Administration decided to allow a huge diversion of water in the Upper Klamath Basin in order to satisfy the interests of big commercial agriculture operations. As a result, 33,000 fish, including huge numbers of coho and chinook salmon, were killed. This was the largest fish kill in history, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service admits that the Bush Administration's decision was directly responsible for it. (Source: San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, 2003)
The majority of Americans live within ten miles of polluted water. Boot Bush this Election Day because if our American water is so polluted, we'll never be able to wash off that dirty feeling that another four years under Bush. (Source: Sierra Club)
Air conditioners make the air feel more soothing, but they're typically so inefficient that they also significantly contribute to air pollution by gobbling up electricity. Yet, almost as soon as George W. Bush took office back in 2001, he ordered the Energy Department to delay enforcing efficiency standards for air conditioners. Those standards had already been approved - Bush just ordered his folks in the Energy Department to give a green light to big businesses even when the standards were broken. (Source: Sierra, September/October 2004)
Delays, delays and more delays! In another purposeful bureaucratic delay taken just days after polluting air conditioning manufacturers were let off the hook, the Bush Administration announced that it would put wetlands protection from big mining and development interests on the shelf. (Source: Sierra, September/October 2004)
George W. Bush ought to pay more attention to what he catches when he goes fishing. Bush likes to take a lot of time away from his duties as President to do some recreational fishing. Among the fish that he's caught is the striped bass.
Now, why is Mr. Bush able to catch a striped bass? He can catch the fish for fun because of the work of fishery observers, who make sure that big commercial fishing operations stop the practice of catching and then discarding huge amounts of striped bass in order to get a small number of the more financially lucrative cod, haddock and flounder. Just a few years ago, striped bass were at record low levels. Thanks to fishery observers and other conservation efforts, the striped bass have made a modest recovery in their population.
Although these fishery observers have ensured that pleasure boating folks like Bush have the opportunity to play at Old Man and the Sea and catch striped bass for fun, when Bush goes back to Washington D.C., he shows nothing but ingratitude. Bush asked Congress to cut the funding for fishery observers in 2005. (Source: Splash, Summer 2004)
In its first year in office alone, the Bush Administration ripped 500 million dollars out of the budget of the EPA, thus giving corporate polluters a helping hand in their efforts to evade the laws that keep America clean. (Source: Sierra, September/October, 2004)
The vice president for conservation programs at Trout Unlimited reflects the anger among hunters and fishermen at the Bush Administration's negligent treatment of habitat needs when he says, "What's happening now on public lands is forcing sportsmen to organize... This is a constituency that is slow to anger, but the administration is starting to see a backlash." (Source: Sierra, September/October, 2004)
Republicans like to say that they are pro-life. Yet the Republicans have been pushing policies for years that would increase the amount of coal that is burned to supply Americans with electricity. A moral discrepancy comes from the fact that the pollution from coal-burning power plants causes 24,000 premature deaths every year. When a Republican politician says that he's pro-life, does he not include the lives of the Americans who have to breathe the polluted air that his pro-corporation policies create? (Source: Sierra, September/October, 2004)
A staff attorney named Melissa Merkel chose to resign rather than to continue working under George W. Bush in the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement division. Merkel specialized in the area of enforcing environmental standards on factory farms, but found that the Bush Administration was too reluctant to prosecute industrial farms who violated the law. She believes that this reluctance was due to an unusual influence of the livestock industry within the Bush Administration. (Source: Chicago Tribune May 16 2004)
Under George W. Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency has been desperate to convince Americans that it is still getting tough on polluters. Thus, it was very proud of itself when it claimed that it increased its enforcement of environmental law. The only problem with this claim is that it was completely bogus. In order to inflate its enforcement statistics, Bush's EPA added narcotics busts and counter-terrorism efforts to the environmental enforcement rolls. Busting a pot smoker doesn't count as environmental enforcement, and neither does arresting Islamic radicals. How about some truth in reporting? (Source: Sacramento Bee July 16 2003)
The 1990 Pollution Prosecution Act mandates a bare minimum of 200 EPA agents to pursue cases environmental wrongdoing. The Bush administration has flouted the law, maintaining only 172. (Source: Washington Post September 30 2007)
Under the Bush administration, the number of civil lawsuits brought by the EPA against polluters is down by 70 percent. (Source: Washington Post September 30 2007)
Since the Republicans took control of the governmentÕs environmental enforcement, the annual conviction rate for environmental crimes has declined by 36 percent. (Source: Washington Post September 30 2007)
Acid rain created as a result of pollution released by coal-burning plants in the Midwest has already sterilized half of the lakes in New York's Adirondack Mountains. Under Bush's plan to increase the role of coal in America's energy system, this sterilization of the Northeast's greatest wilderness will continue to expand. (Source: Sierra Atlantic, Fall 2004)
The Content Analysis Team in the US Forest Service is supposed to review letters from the public about issues related to the administration of public lands. However, the Bush Administration ordered the Content Analysis Team to simply ignore many of the letters that have been sent in by the public. (Source: High Country News, April 26, 2004)
The US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in 2004 that the pacific fisher, a rare relative of the otter, is in danger of extinction. However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service also concluded that it could not add the pacific fisher to the list of officially threatened and endangered species. The reason had nothing to do with science. Rather, the reason that the pacific fisher was not getting the protection it needed was that the Bush Administration had cut the budget of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in order to pay for special tax giveaways to big corporations. (Source: Associated Press, April 9, 2004)
Cod catch quotas under the Bush Administration's supervision are 100,000 tons above a sustainable level. (Source: Sierra, September/October 2004)
The Toshiba Corporation received permission to put a big nuclear power plant right on the Yukon River in Alaska, next to a tiny village of just 700 people. Toshiba's lobbyist, Andrew Lundquist, was formerly the executive director of Vice President Dick Cheney's secret energy task force. That task force created a plan that would allow let corporations like Toshiba off the hook if nuclear power plants like the one that's being build on the Yukon River had meltdowns or other accidents that exposed Americans to deadly radiation. Coincidence? What do you think? (Source: Sierra, September/October 2004)
The Bush Administration has ordered employees of the Environmental Protection Agency to neither contact members of the press nor to respond to questions from the press. It's a funny thing; I thought that the United States government was supposed to be hospitable to the people. I must have misheard that in civics class; the teacher must have really said "hostile to the people." Either that, or something's changed since my high school days. (Source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility September 22, 2004)
Global climate change is ruining people's lives right now. The Inuit of the American arctic are struggling to make ends meet because of climate change. Siloah Atagoojuk, a woman who lives in her people's traditional territory above the Arctic Circle, comments, ŅThere is a sickness in the animals. The flesh doesn't look good. You have to cook it extra. Even the caribou are not healthy, as fat. It's the same for marine animals.Ó SomethingÕs wrong in the Arctic. LetÕs get on the ball and elect someone to the White House who understands this. (Source: Amnesty Now, Fall 2004)
The Republican Party makes corporate polluters so happy that the polluters hand out awards for those Republican politicians who do the most dirty work in protection of pollution. In 2004, one of these awards was given to Republican Senator James Inhofe. The ACSBPP, which has been found in the past to receive 80 percent of its funding from the pro-pollution National Association of Manufacturers, gave a special award to Senator Inhofe in reward for his work promoting their anti-environmental priorities. Inhofe has gotten much more from polluters than just a little award, however. By far, Inhofe's largest campaign contributors at the time were from polluting companies in the oil, gas and electric industries. Senator James Inhofe is the anti-environment face of the Republican Party. (Source: Sierra, September/October 2004)
Even though the US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that prairie dogs should be listed as a threatened species, and even though prairie dogs are essential to the survival of endangered species like the black footed ferret, the Bush Administration decided to allow the mass poisoning of prairie dogs living on five National Grasslands. If these public lands aren't allowed to have some semblance of a natural ecosystem, many species that make up America's natural heritage will go extinct. (Source: Associated Press, February 14, 2004)
One aspect of trade policy has gone unaddressed under George W. Bush: The problem of invasive nonnative species. These species often move across borders as unintended hitchhikers in cargo holds and travelers' suit cases. A report from Cornell University estimates that these nonnative species are resulting in 137 billion dollars in expenses that must be taken out of the federal budget every year. That's more than the cost per year of the Iraq war. Yet Bush has doing nothing to stop the damage. HereÕs another task for the next president. (Source: National Wildlife (October/November 2004)
Whenever I flip on the television to watch a Republican authoritarian responding to questions about national security, I can't decide whether I'm being spoken to as if I am a dog ("Sit down. Shut Up. Good Dog. Here's a Biscuit.") or a child ("If you knew what we knew, you'd know that what we know to do is the right thing. You know? No, you don't. So sit down, shut up, and have a biscuit.").
In a climate tolerant of authoritarian abuse, intelligence agents of the United States Army asserted the right (and succeeded in their effort earlier this year) to question students at the University of Texas who were asking "suspicious" questions at a conference there on Islamic law.
The response of any sane presidential administration would be to condemn such dangerous expansion of Army power into surveillance of and control over citizens' lives. Haven't there been enough brutal dictatorships to show us the folly of that path?
The Bush administration, of course, did not follow the path of sanity. Instead, it responded by slipping language into a Senate bill that would give Military Intelligence sweeping new authority to watch over and intervene in the lives of law-abiding citizens right here in the United States. (Source: Newsweek June 21, 2004)
When George W. Bush visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 21, 2004, citizens of that city who were pro-Bush were permitted to stand on the curb and wave their supportive signs as Bush passed in his motorcade. Citizens of Baton Rouge who carried anti-Bush signs were roped off 100 feet away from the street behind an oak tree.
Ward Reilly, a veteran who attended that day, pointed out that security doesn't explain this action; any assassin with an IQ above 75 would simply carry a pro-Bush sign to the rally to get closer. So what is the reasonable explanation in this land of liberty? I'm still waiting to hear it. (Source: Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel May 27, 2004)
In their 2000 platform, the Republican Party pledged "We will reopen Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House as a symbolic expression of our confidence in the restoration of the rule of law." Pennsylvania Avenue was never reopened, and the rule of law has been consistently debased. Why should we trust the RepublicansÕ promises for the next eight years? (Source: 2000 Republican Party Platform)
How downright nutty is a Republican Congress left unchecked by an active opposition in either the Congress or the presidency? Twenty-six Republican members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill, H.R. 3920, entitled "To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court." Read the text of the bill, and you'll see that's exactly what the bill is trying to do:
"SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL REVERSAL OF SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS.
The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court--
(1) if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and
(2) to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.
SEC. 3. PROCEDURE.
The procedure for reversing a judgment under section 2 shall be, as near as may be and consistent with the authority of each House of Congress to adopt its own rules of proceeding, the same as that used for considering whether or not to override a veto of legislation by the President."
What happens if the Congress is able to decide that a law is Constitutional if it says it is? Well, then, the Congress can pass any law it wants to, regardless of whether it actually follows the Constitution or not.
This dangerous attempt at subverting constitutional government betrays the Republican Party's lack of faith in the U.S. Constitution as a guiding set of principles of liberty and democracy. Those who would subvert the Constitution must be checked, and George W. Bush is not the man to do it. It's time to get a Democrat back in the White House. (Source: Library of Congress, House Resolution 3920)
The Republican Party Platform of 2000 read, "The rule of law, the very foundation for a free society, has been under assault, not only by criminals from the ground up, but also from the top down. An administration that lives by evasion, coverup, stonewalling, and duplicity has given us a totally discredited Department of Justice. The credibility of those who now manage the nation's top law enforcement agency is tragically eroded." We couldn't agree more. Just cross out "2000," put in "2008," and they've got it about right. (Source: 2000 Republican Party Platform)
Heady with the post-9/11 power of intimidation, the Republican Party wrote 250 television stations back in 2004, asking them not to air advertisements that criticize Bush. What country do these people think they live in? Not one with freedom of the press. (Source: San Jose Mercury-News, March 6, 2004)
The Bush Administration has issued a new legal opinion through the justice department that doctor-patient confidentiality will no longer be recognized by the federal government, and that patients "no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential." This is just another piece of evidence that the R in Republican stands for Riffling through your papers. (Source: New York Times, March 6, 2004)
A lot of Americans do not realize that the Republicans shut down the Statue of Liberty for nearly three years. Since then, Lady Liberty has only been returned to a half-life. Americans arenÕt allowed to climb the statue the way they were before. You never know, say the custodians of the statue, a terrorist attack to destroy the Statue of Liberty could take place at any time, so it's just not safe to allow Americans to have access any more. TheyÕll have to look up from the bottom.
It's kind of symbolic, I think, that the Statue of Liberty, the symbol of American freedom, has been shut down for almost the entire time the Republicans have been in power. This act reflects Republican priorities: Americans only get to enjoy freedoms when they don't interfere with a paranoid obsession with security.
You know, my car could be broken into and used in a crime at any time. It happens! In fact, cars are broken into, stolen, and used to commit criminal acts far more often than prominent American landmarks are destroyed in terrorist attacks. Does that mean that, for the sake of security, my freedom to drive my own car should be taken away? That's the kind of logic Bush and his friends are using to attack Americans' freedoms, and I just don't buy it.
Are Americans really such cowards that they are afraid to climb the Statue of Liberty out of fear that they'll die in a terrorist attack? Aren't we brave enough to carry on with our lives as normal? IÕve had enough of the cowardice of fear. How soon will it be before the Republicans arrange the erection of a giant Statue of Security in New York Harbor?
Yes, it bothers me that under the authority of the Republican Party, liberty has been officially recognized as unsafe. It bothers me enough to vote for an alternative in 2008. (Source: New York Newsday, January 16, 2004)
In Salem, Massachussets (yes, that Salem), a woman inquiring about a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator software for her 10-year old son led the staff at the Staples superstore to report her to the police. How do we know? The state trooper shining a flashlight through a glass door at her home (looking for terrorists of all things) shared the story. And here's the real kicker: it turns out that the Staples store manager who reported this woman to the police said staff was just following the authorities' advice. It seems the FBI had asked for citizens to be on the lookout for people with reference materials, or "drivers with maps." What phrase best describes a nation in which drivers with maps or customers asking about software at stores that sell software become criminal suspects? "Police State" comes to mind. The authoritarians in charge of our government have been fanning the flames of fear for too long. (Source: The Register of London August 1, 2004)
The Bush Administration's stupendous idea for protecting American freedom: Operation TIPS, in which American citizens were encouraged to volunteer as spies on their fellow citizens, calling in legal but "suspicious" behavior to the FBI. They tried it this way in East Germany, and it would have been done in the USA too if opposition lawmakers hadn't called a halt to the Bush-Ashcroft plan. (Source: New York Times November 16, 2003)
When the media followed George W. Bush on his visit to Fort Carson in November 2003, the Army and White House passed out 10 ground rules to the media for them to follow. Rule #3 for the "free press": do not talk to any soldiers or any soldiers' families. Rule #9 instructed that journalists must "Write positive stories about Ft. Carson and the U.S. Army." (Source: Denver Post November 25, 2003)
Under the Republican White HouseÕs interpretation of the Homeland Security Act, model rocketry hobbyists must be fingerprinted. (Source: Quad Cities Times March 24, 2003)
The Republicans tell us that the lesson of "September 11" is that there are bad guys and we have to make them pay. They say that "September 11" "changed everything", which seems to mean that whoever is in charge gets to do whatever he wants and the Constitution doesn't count any more. From the people who are also conveniently those in charge of the American government, the explanations of "September 11" don't get much deeper than that. We need a deeper appreciation of what has (and what has not) changed in this country since the attacks that took place on that day.
When George W. Bush said "There ought to be limits to freedom" on May 21, 1999, he was trying to justify his efforts to shut down a critical web site. Even before the Republicans assumed power, they couldn't tolerate anyone making fun of them. (Source: Dallas Morning News May 22, 1999)
Since they gained power, the Republicans have systematically moved to destroy the balance of powers between the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, the balance that is established in the United States Constitution. In George W. BushÕs first term, Attorney General John Ashcroft moved to reduce the ability of judges to deliberate when sentencing individuals convicted of a crime. Judges are there to restrain the baser impulses of the executive branch -- but the Republicans want to take them out of the picture. (Source: Associated Press September 30, 2003)
When George W. Bush was passed a note by Condoleezza Rice informing him that the latest version of an Iraqi government had been installed, he scribbled back on top of that note the words "Let Freedom Reign."
"Let Freedom Reign." Where to begin? Well, first of all, the phrase is "Let Freedom Ring." If one had only heard the latter phrase, one might be forgiven for misinterpreting the words, but anyone who has read Dr. Martin Luther King's famous historic speeches (or who has even read a high-school American history textbook) should know otherwise. This is yet another piece of evidence for George W. Bush's aliteracy.
If, on the other hand, we assume that Bush really meant to write "Let Freedom Reign," then he must be a fool as well as ignorant. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "reign" refers the dictatorial period of rule of a monarch, not to the period of governance of a free regime, which is referred to as a "term" or "government." Merriam-Webster tells us that a "reign" is "the time during which a king, queen, or emperor possesses the supreme authority," or as a verb, means "to have superior or uncontrolled dominion." So is Bush meaning to refer to the new version of an Iraqi government as imperial or monarchical? Or is he simply ignorant of the meaning of the words he uses?
The kicker is that "freedom" describes the state of an individual or a people who are not under the thumb of the dominion of a monarchy or other regime of supreme authority. So what is Bush saying here? Let non-reigniness reign? Let freedom exercise the limiting of freedom? Freedom is slavery? Bwah-huh? (Source: Reuters June 28, 2004)
How far have American values been degraded over the past seven years? WeÕve left behind questions like "Is pre-emptive war an ethical choice?" to new questions like "Is that mud or shit covering the prisoner in that photo?"
In a report drafted for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the final days before the invasion of Iraq, Bush Administration lawyers were tasked with developing justifications of the use of torture. The report rings with enabling passages such as "In order to respect the president's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign . . . (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his commander-in chief authority." The parenthetical comment is in the original report.
Another bon mot in the Bush Administration document: "Sometimes the greater good for society will be accomplished by violating the literal language of the criminal law.... Without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the president's ultimate authority." In other words, it's OK for the President to break the law.
Donald Rumsfeld classified the resulting document, which provided a specific list of defensible techniques, making the final version of the report unavailable to the American public until 2013.
Justify torture. Put the president above the law. Hide it from the public. Haven't we had enough of this sort of amoral leadership? (Source: Wall Street Journal June 7, 2004)
Even as we find more links in the chain going from the torture by Americans in Iraq, George W. Bush continues to say, "we followed the law". On the morning of June 12, 2004 we learn that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez gave an order to allow American soldiers to abuse prisoners at Abu Ghraib whenever they wanted, using a list of techniques, even when prisoners were not suspected of any crime.
Where, oh where, did Sanchez get this list? Why, he got it from the prison at Guantanamo. Where, oh where, did the people in charge of prisoners at Guantanamo get the list? Why, they got it from the Bush Administration.
Few bad apples, my orchard! The decision to use torture came from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and all the rest of that rotten crew. That's not following the law, Mr. Bush. The law clearly states that no one hired by the American government can use any kind of torture. Maybe it's time you spend time as a prisoner. (Source: Reuters June 12, 2004)
If you need more evidence that in the torture scandal, the rot went all the way to the top, mull over this:
It has now been revealed that Bush's Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, personally ordered a detainee to be hidden from visiting Red Cross inspectors investigating the treatment of prisoners, and to be taken off the official rolls.
Torture. Hide. Cover-up. Deny. Repeat. Aren't you tired of these kind of shell-game values? (Source: New York Times June 17, 2004)
When was the last time you heard someone say "that's none of your business"? I imagine it's been a while. Since the Republicans took charge, the concept of "none of your business" has faded away, replaced by the presumption that what you do is everybody's business, especially the business of the government. If you want the rest of this country to get their noses out of your business again, the Republican authoritarians must be shown the door.
ŅThese are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say." Š George W. Bush, in a news conference on October 28, 2004. Actually, you had to pay George W. Bush money to go in to the forum, so it wasnÕt open in that way. But even ignoring that, thereÕs such an elitism in BushÕs statement. An truly open forum is one in which all can come and voice their views, not one in which one person gets to speak and everybody else is granted the privilege of listening. This kind of closed-minded, lÕetat-cÕest-moi approach to civic politics almost makes me want to bring back Bill Clinton so he can sit there on that stool, listen to what I have to say, and feel my pain all over again. Almost. IÕd prefer someone who meant it.
How does a Republican like Inhofe respond when he learns about the torture of Iraqis under an American administration? Where is Inhofe's outrage directed?
"I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment."
"I'm also outraged by the press."
"I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons, looking for human rights violations."
The outrage of Senator James Inhofe is directed toward the people who uncovered acts of torture, toward the press that let the American people see images of that torture, and toward the outrage that the American people feel against acts of torture. Take a good look at those remarks, because if the Republicans stay in power, they're a vision of America to come. If we want to see a different America, these men of power must be replaced. (Source: Transcript of Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing of May 11, 2004)
What hath Bush wrought? In the wake of his endorsement of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, ministers have been arrested for performing marriages between same-sex couples. Neither the couples nor the ministers signed civil licenses, but instead simply performed a ceremony.
As long as no legal documents are signed, isn't it ministers' and couples' own business what they do in their churches? Apparently not.
When George W. Bush tries to use government power to enforce religious doctrine, the use of government power to arrest religious officials for carrying out legally non-binding marriages should be no surprise. (Source: Associated Press, March 15, 2004)
Why give conservatives the boot? Because now for every one ends-justify-the-means American who says "How can the Arabs criticize us, when they run their own torture rooms," there are ten Arabs who say "How can the Americans criticize us, when they run their own torture rooms?" Once the moral high ground is lost, it is very, very hard to regain.
We used to say that other countries like the Soviet Union were "evil" because they conducted show trials in which the accused were denied access to evidence, denied access to lawyers and denied freedom even when found not guilty. What does it make the U.S.A. to be doing the same now?
Under the Republicans, the Treasury Department issued a regulation making it illegal for Americans to translate or act as an editor for anything written by an Iranian citizen. So much for the freedom of information. (Source: New York Times February 28, 2004)
It's not just San Francisco that's standing up to the religious fundamentalist agenda of segregating marriage rights. Same-sex weddings have been taking place all over America. As far east as the small Upstate New York village as New Paltz, city and town officials have been helping couples of the same sex get married. In the parking lot of the New Paltz Village Hall, Mayor Jason West legally married 21 couples, explaining, "I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. What we're witnessing in the village today is the flowering of the largest civil rights movement in a generation." IsnÕt love a beautiful thing? We need to keep electing officials like Jason West who understand this. (Source: Poughkeepskie Journal, February 28 2004)
The night before George W. Bush announced he would push for the government to amend the constitution in order to keep gay people from getting married, he made the following statement about his opponents:
"They seem to be against every idea that gives Americans more authority and more choices and more control over their own lives. We'll hear them make a lot of promises over the next eight months -- and listen closely because there's a theme: Every promise will increase the power of politicians and bureaucrats over your income, over your retirement, over your health care, and over your life. It's that same old Washington mind-set -- they'll give the orders..."
Did Bush not see the dissonance here? Is he projecting his motivations on his opponents? Or in his universe do gay and lesbian people not count as people? I am truly mystified. (Source: Remarks by George W. Bush to the Republican Governors Association, February 23 2004)
In attempting to justify his push for a constitutional amendment to restrict the freedom of gays and lesbians, George W. Bush explained that "attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country."
Serious consequences? What serious consequences might those be? Bush did not elaborate, unfortunately, so we'll have to work those out for ourselves. Will tadpoles fall from the sky and clog sewer drains? Will we all start fornicating with cattle? Will the fact that gay people are getting married in San Francisco lead people to start committing petty theft in Austin? I can think of no consequences any more serious than the shocking possibility that some awfully closed-minded people might take offense. That's an awfully low standard for amending the Constitution. Yet again, George W. Bush has managed to simultaneously embrace low standards and the lowest common denominator. And heÕs not just speaking for himself. George W. Bush represents a segment of the population that feels repressed whenever other people maintain the right to live their lives on their own terms. ThatÕs not the way I feel about it. If thatÕs not the way you feel about it either, then perhaps you align your vote accordingly. (Source: Remarks by George W. Bush in the Roosevelt Room, February 24 2004)
We don't weep for terrorists. But if it's clear the people being held at Guantanamo Bay are terrorists, why not put them on trial where the introduction of evidence will make it clear that they are terrorists? And if it's not clear that these are terrorists we're holding, then what is the justification for their indefinite detention?
Such is the logic of the American justice system, even and especially when it is inconvenient to those in power. ThatÕs why authoritarians in government have been working so hard to change the logic of the American justice system, and thatÕs why those of us who believe in the justice system must work so hard to resist.
One line from George W. Bush's State of the Union address of January 20, 2004 really stuck in my craw:
"Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people."
Since this was an address to a joint meeting of the House and Senate, I assume Mr. Bush was referring to his duty as President, the duties of Senators and the duties of Representatives. Members of the Supreme Court were there, too: to be fair, let's include them as well.
Let's actually look at the job descriptions of the President, Senators, Representatives and Members of the Supreme Court as described in two places: the U.S. Constitution and the oaths of office taken by each of these officeholders.
In the U.S. Constitution, the Preamble tells us what the government should be for:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Look in there: "provide for the common defense" is just one of six priorities, and it's stuck in the middle there, like the middling actor in a movie who gets neither the top billing nor the coveted final "and featuring..." spot. Surely (surely!) George W. Bush has read the Constitution. Why, then, does he neglect Union, Justice, Tranquility, Welfare and Liberty?
Moving on through the Constitution to Article I, Section 8 enumerates the responsibilities of the House and Senate in a set of 18 clauses. By my reading, these include
securing common defense
promoting general welfare
regulating foreign and domestic commerce
governing the post office
promoting scientific and artistic progress
instituting intellectual property
maintaining a court system
supporting international law
maintaining an Army
maintaining a Navy
instituting domestic law enforcement
governing the District of Columbia
writing laws to accomplish all of the above.
In Article V, amending the Constitution is also mentioned as a legislative responsibility. Here too, the whole "defense of the American people" thingy is only one of many duties of the Congress. Is Bush ignorant of these, or does he actively choose to ignore them?
In Article II, Sections 2-3 of the Constitution, the responsibilities of the President are enumerated:
serving as commander in chief of the armed forces
administrating of the departments of the executive branch
granting reprieves and pardons
appointing ambassadors, administrators and judges
filling vacancies when Congress is not in session
Yet again, multiple responsibilities are named, most of which are not directly related to military engagement.
In Article III of the Constitution, the responsibilities of the Judiciary are enumerated, and all of them are related to upholding a system of laws. No responsibilities related to military engagement are named.
Finally, Article VI of the Constitution states that "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (That whole "no religious Test" thing is another story). The oaths of office for all three branches of the U.S. Government are not to engage in "the active defense of the American people," but rather to uphold the Constitution.
The Oath of Office for the President is specifically laid out in Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The oath of the Constitution makes it perfectly clear what the primary responsibility of the President is. It is not to defend economic security. It is not to defend the people. It is to defend the Constitution of the United States.
The Constitution that the President of the United States is sworn to preserve, protect and defend contains a Bill of Rights. These include:
the prevention of the establishment of religion (which Bush proposed doing by providing material governmental support to certain religious groups)
freedom of speech (which Bush's spokesman attacked by admonishing Americans to "watch what they say, watch what they do")
freedom of the press (which Bush does not bother to read)
freedom of peacable assembly for purposes of protest (which Bush undermines in his appearances by keeping opponents out of his line of sight and in distant "free speech zones," outside of which words of protest are forbidden)
a right to bear arms (which Bush is OK with)
a right to refuse search and seizure without probable cause (undermined by involuntary data mining operations, unregulated surveillance of law-abiding citizens without notification, and random roadside searches)
a right to a trial (taken away for those Bush designates as "enemy combatants")
The Bill of Rights does not include a right to national security, or to personal safety. It prescribes liberty and admonishes government leaders including the President to protect that liberty. It requires the President to swear to uphold those liberties by protecting, upholding and defending not the American People, but the American Constitution.
Is Mr. Bush ignorant of his Constitutional duties? Has he forgotten his oath of office? Or is he acting in knowledgeable disregard of them?
None of these possibilities is reassuring. Fortunately, in cases of presidential ignorance and/or active contravention of duty, the Constitution reserves to the people the right to remove a sitting (and this one definitely is sitting) President from office.
Dereliction of Constitutional duty is a serious offense. LetÕs elect a progressive to replace this man; a progressive who will do what a president is supposed to do.
The Republicans try to tell us that the government should reject same-sex marriage because it stands against the Christian religious heritage of America, but the plain facts contradict this claim. It's not just non-Christian religion that accepts gay marriage.
Many Christian churches have religious ceremonies consecrating weddings for homosexual couples. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Unity Fellowship Church, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the United Church of Christ, the United Church of Canada, and Reconciling congregations of the United Methodist Churches include gay marriage within their set of religious rituals. When the Republicans say that they want to use the power of government to forbid gay marriage, they are taking sides in a struggle between religious groups, supporting conservative religious beliefs and opposing liberal religious beliefs.
The federal government has no place stepping into the middle of a sectarian theological battle within Christianity and telling Americans (Christian and not) which religious beliefs are right and which ones are wrong. The effort of Republican extremists to restrict the scope of marriage on a religious basis is an unconstitutional and ill-informed blunder. (Source: Human Rights Campaign, 2003)
If it hadn't been for concerted opposition by progressives, George W. Bush and John Ashcroft would have foisted an expansion of the Patriot Act (dubbed "Patriot Act II") on American citizens. The Bush administration wrote it. Progressives stopped it. (Source: Alternet January 1, 2004)
Patrick Henry: Give me liberty or give me death!
George W. Bush: There ought to be limits to freedom.
Little men unsure of themselves are the most dangerous -- they overcompensate by turning into tyrants. The world cannot stand eight more years of an unsure little man at the helm. LetÕs elect a president who has a solid footing in progressive principles of governance, not a need to impose his or her psychodrama of incompetence on the rest of the world.
The Republican White House has directed executive agencies to obstruct, by all legal means possible, Freedom of Information requests by the public. Democratic President Bill Clinton, by contrast, had set in place a policy directing the same agencies to comply with, whenever legally possible, Freedom of Information requests about government activities. (Source: New York Times January 3, 2003)
In Oregon, those dying of an incurable and terminal disease can make the decision to spare themselves a final week of severe pain, if they are certified as terminally ill and mentally competent by two doctors. Bush's Attorney General, John Ashcroft, pushed to have any doctors acting under the Oregon law placed under arrest. (Source: Bloomberg News April 27, 2002)
George W. Bush authorized the American ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremer, to hire Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat government agents. The Mukhabarat agents were infamous for their brutal repression of the Iraqi people during the rule of the Baath Party, administering a reign or terror that helped keep Saddam Hussein in power. Instead of prosecuting these goons as the criminals that they are, George W. Bush hired them to help him put the people of Iraq in their place again. BushÕs disregard for ethical standards in Iraq helped the nascent government of Iraq transform into an instrument of division instead of an instrument for unification. (Source: Reuters August 24, 2003)
The Republicans like to say theyÕre for small government. But if that's true, why are they using the government to interfere in Americans' lives? The Republicans have ruled that Cuban-Americans may not visit their relatives in Cuba more than once every three years, and even then for only two weeks. Since when is it the GOPÕs business how Americans choose to visit members of their own family? (Source: Houston Chronicle July 10, 2004)
The Bush Administration has made it a habit to spend its time publicly advocating for policy changes that almost nobody thinks has a chance of coming to pass. In the spring and summer of 2004, George W. Bush took the time almost every day remark on the importance of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. But those who took the time to do a count on Capitol Hill knew that the votes weren't there to pass a constitutional amendment. George W. Bush speechifies about the keeping words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, but he knows that the arbiter of that decision is the Supreme Court, not the President of the United States.
Why, when the Bush Administration could be spending time working on issues over which it could actually exercise some change, is it wasting its time pontificating about issues over which it has no control?
One issue the Bush Administration should be expending a great deal of energy on, but just isn't, is the decline of democracy in Russia. As Vlad Putin shuts down opposition voices in the media and extends his control over various branches of the Russian economy, George W. Bush should be doing everything he can to encourage movement in the other direction. But democracy be darned: George W. Bush has looked Vlad Putin in the eye and decided that old Pootie-Poot (as Bush calls him) has a good "soul." So Bush allows Russia to continue its dangerous decline. (Source: BBC News May 23, 2002)
Even when a political horse is dead, George W. Bush won't stop beating it. When his constitutional amendment against marriages failed in the Senate, the amendment was assured failure. The sensible thing to do would be to move on to other policy priorities. But instead Bush asked the House to take out time from addressing substantive policy matters to engage in floor debate and voting on the amendment. George W. Bush seems to enjoy getting the government to waste its time rather than actually letting it do something productive. Only an entitled, pampered, and spoiled child of privilege would let government fritter away its energy on inconsequential rhetorical matters while serious problems line up around the block waiting to be addressed. (Source: Associated Press July 15, 2004)
The Republican administration of New York City that ushered George W. Bush and his conventioneers around the city made special room, giving the approximately 50,000 Bush supporters free reign in Central Park. The National Organization of Women petitioned to use Central Park for a demonstration of 50,000 people against Bush's candidacy. They were turned down -- because 50,000 progressives would "hurt the grass."
Is this the America you cherish? Not exactly. ItÕs the Homeland now. (Source: July 28, 2004)
Republican Party officials required Americans to sign oaths of loyalty to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney before they were allowed to attend events at which Bush appeared in his capacity as President of the United States. The President of the United States is supposed to serve all the people of this nation, not just loyal Republicans. (Source: NPR, August 9, 2004)
As the 2004 Republican National Convention approached, and Americans were being killed in Iraq almost every day, John Ashcroft sent his FBI goons... to Missouri. Actually, FBI agents were sent all over the country to intimidate anti-war protesters. Ashcroft wouldn't speak on the subject himself, but his spokespeople indicated that these people may have been terrorists.
Is there any actual evidence that they're terrorists? Well, no, other than the fact that they planned to take part in protests outside the Republican National Convention in New York City last week.
The FBI sent its agents to follow anti-war activists for days. These FBI agents were then sent to the homes of peaceful anti-war, anti-Bush protesters and asked whether they intended to take part in violent acts against the Republicans. Then they were asked if they knew of any peaceniks who were planning to commit violent acts against the Republicans. Then they were warned that lying to an FBI agent is against the law. Then the FBI agents left.
Now see, if I were a terrorist, and an FBI agent asked me if I was planning an attack, I would say, ŅOh, sure!Ó Really? No, of course not. IÕd say "NO!" John Ashcroft and his FBI henchmen knew that this is the case too, of course. These kinds of questionings were used as a warning, not as a tool of true interrogation of suspects.
It sure looks like the FBI being used by the Bush Administration to stifle people who oppose the re-election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. FBI spokesman Joe Parris denied that's what's happened, though, and justified the harassment of anti-bush, anti-war activists by saying that "criminal behavior isn't covered by the First Amendment."
Criminal behavior? What criminal behavior has taken place? Well, none.
However, with the Patriot Act, John Ashcroft and George W. Bush have taken the power to treat non-criminals as if they had committed a crime - based on the claim that even law-abiding citizens could commit serious crimes some time in the future. So, according to the Bush Administration, because everybody is a potential criminal, everybody can be treated like a criminal, and they're constitutional rights don't apply.
So, the very people who are planning protests against Bush's violence are identified by the FBI as potential terrorists who must bear the brunt of an official FBI investigation. The FBI investigation includes infiltration of anti-Bush activist networks to find out private details about online organizing and fundraising.
Anti-Bush online organizing and fundraising are now signs of terrorist plots?
Heck, I've got a warning for the FBI! Interview me! You never know - I might lead a Martian invasion of New Mexico someday! (Source: New York Times August 15, 2004)
Under Bush's watch, how over-reaching and draconian have restrictions on Americans' freedom of movement become?
United States Senator Edward Kennedy has been denied permission to fly to his home state of Massachusetts five times. The reason? A secret Bush administration document listed him as a potential terrorist.
Senator Kennedy had to use his personal clout to get Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on the phone in order to gain clearance to travel. Then he had to call Ridge again. And again. It took three weeks before Kennedy's prohibition on travel was lifted by the Bush Administration.
If this is the experience of a powerful man at the hands of Bush's government, how can the rest of us expect to fare? When Bush is in the White House, fear your government. (Source: Associated Press August 19, 2004)
It's not just Senator Kennedy who has been denied permission to board a plane because a secret Bush Administration file lists him as a terrorist. The same happened to U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia -- thirty-five times. Other John Lewises across the country -- including a Dr. John Lewis of Camden, Maine -- have had the same experience. Isn't this ridiculous? Isn't this preposterous? Unfortunately, under George W. Bush one thing this isn't is surprising. (Washington Post August 21, 2004)
It hasn't been widely covered by the press, but in August of 2002 George W. Bush's Attorney General, John Ashcroft, disclosed a Bush Administration plan in which United States citizens would be declared "enemy combatants," stripped of their constitutional rights, denied access to courts, and jailed indefinitely in special camps -- all without a trial, the right to dispute the Bush Administration's action, or even any charges.
The U.S. Constitution forbids such actions, of course, but that isn't stopping the Bush administration. And that's why we have to stop the Bush administration ourselves come this November. Now is the time to ask: when will they come for you? (Source: Los Angeles Times August 14, 2002)
The Bush Administration, famous for its bumbling failures in human intelligence, has most recently failed by sending FBI agents and police officers to investigate whether Quakers there were planning terrorist attacks against Republicans. The problem? Quakers are avowedly and consistently pacifists. They won't even fight legally in the US military, much less concoct terrorist plots. (Source: The New Standard, August 26, 2004)
Not only was the massive FBI harassment of peaceful protesters illegal, it was completely unnecessary. John Ashcroft and other Bush Administration officials claimed that the harassment was necessary because anti-war and anti-Republican activists could be planning "terrorist" attacks against the Republican National Convention. Well, over half a million people showed up in New York City to protest against the Republicans, and not one of those protesters attempted to engage in any terrorist attacks. The closest thing to terrorism during the event was a big bicycle ride in Manhattan. The fact that George W. Bush is willing to send out FBI agents to prevent his opponents from riding bicycles shows how deeply out of touch he is with the real security needs of the American people.
It looks like the harassment of peaceful anti-Republican activists by FBI agents sent out across the country by the Bush Justice Department will continue in the future. When Sarah Bardwell, a Colorado Quaker, refused to answer FBI agents' questions about her plans to take part in legal protests, she was warned that the FBI would be "forced to take more intrusive efforts in the future".
Forced? What exactly is forcing the FBI to intrude more and more into the lives of law-abiding Americans? Dissent? Disagreement? ItÕs frightening to hear government agents use the same rationale as violent husbands who explain their wives Ņmade me hit themÓ by talking back one time too often. (Source: The New Standard, August 26, 2004)
The Republican administrationÕs crusade against progressive Americans is frighteningly reminiscent of the dark days of J. Edgar Hoover's iron-fisted administration of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization dedicated to the protection of Americans' constitutional freedoms, says, "The FBI's intimidation and interrogation of peaceful protesters brings back eerie echoes of the days of J. Edgar Hoover. Resources and funds established to fight terrorism should not be misused to target innocent Americans who have done nothing more than engage in lawful protest and dissent." (Source: The New Standard, August 26, 2004)
The FBI agents that were sent to harass peaceful, law-abiding Americans could have been used for genuine security purposes, like investigating genuine terrorist threats. But no, the Republicans in charge seem more interested in tilting at windmills than taking care of America's real needs. Using government resources for partisan benefit instead of the common good is especially shameful in these unstable times.
Bush's Defense Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice knew about the use of torture by American soldiers in the prisons of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, and were briefed again in 2003. (Source: Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, by Seymour Hersh)
When Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice found out about the use of torture by American soldiers in the prisons of Guantanamo Bay, they held meetings to discuss the matter, but then just let the issue drop, doing nothing to stop the torture. (Source: Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, by Seymour Hersh)
When it became known that Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice knew about the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, and let it continue, George W. Bush did nothing to punish Rumsfeld and Rice. Instead, the Bush Administration decided to use the power of the Pentagon bureaucracy to attack the work of Seymour Hersh, the journalist who exposed Rumsfeld and Rice's role in the continuing torture. Blaming the messenger is not the kind of behavior that befits the President of the United States. (Source: Houston Chronicle, August 13, 2004)
Back when there were first concerns about the torture of prisoners by American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, George W. Bush assured the American people that the prisoners were being treated humanely, even given periods of "recreation". What happened during some of those so-called recreation periods? Prisoners were put in straitjackets, with hoods over their heads, and left out in the tropical sun for long periods of time, to bake. That the White House calls this kind of thing "recreation" reveals a dangerously sadistic streak in the government today. (Source: Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, by Seymour Hersh)
On September 13, 2004 Vladimir Putin announced that Russia's regional governors would be appointed rather than elected, and that candidates could only run for election to the Duma (Russia's parliament) if they were affiliated with one of the national parties, which Putin controls. The latter move would prevent half of the current membership of the Duma from legally running for election.
In short, Putin announced the closing down of Russia's democratic experiment.
You'd think that a democracy-loving American government would have a problem with this development. But George W. Bush made no remarks whatsoever on the subject that day or the next. And when asked about developments in Russia on September 14, Dick Cheney declined to make any statement disparaging Russia's move away from democracy, other than to say that "President Putin and President Bush have a good relationship."
Our nation and the world deserve more than an administration that stands mutely by as democracy slips away. (Sources: New York Times September 14, 2004; Remarks of Vice President in Ottumwa, Iowa on September 14, 2004)
The Bush Administration's obsession with harassing its political opponents filters down to small town Republicans across America. In Auburn, New York, at the annual TomatoFest, Republicans convinced festival organizers to try to force the Democratic Party booth and a booth rented by the Cayuga Coalition for Peace to stop criticizing President Bush. Was the problem political speech at a public festival? No, the Cayuga Coalition for Peace's booth was right next to a booth rented by the Republican Party, and another rented by the local Conservative Party, both of which were the focus of some quite severe liberal-bashing. At the urging of Republicans visiting TomatoFest, the peace activists and the Democrats were harassed by festival organizers, while the Republicans and Conservatives were left alone. Stifling dissent isnÕt just a Bush tactic: itÕs a party-wide problem for the Republicans. Yes, even at the TomatoFest. (Source: Syracuse Post-Standard, September 12, 2004)
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has declared that the freedoms that most Americans take for granted "go way beyond what the Constitution requires," and suggests that these freedoms should be taken away when they are inconvenient to the power of the President of the United States. Scalia promotes a new American order in which constitutional rights are "ratcheted right down to the constitutional minimum" until the President decides that the War on Terror is over. George W. Bush placed two more conservative justices just like Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court in his second term. Can we afford to risk that another conservative president would appoint even more Scalias to the court? (Source: People for the American Way)
Republican reliance on secrecy and deception has filtered down to from national government to the level of state government as well. For example, when Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, tried to get a copy of legislation of anti-terrorism legislation under consideration after the attacks of September 11, 2001, she was told that she would not be allowed to see it. In fact, the New York State legislature refused to allow any private citizens to know what the legislation actually was. At all levels - local, state and national - American freedoms are under attack, which means we need stalwart defenders of freedom put in place. (Source: Time Out New York, August 5-12, 2004)
House Republicans passed a bill on September 23, 2004 that would prohibit the Supreme Court from ruling on any issue associated with the Pledge of Allegiance. Putting the particular issue aside for a moment, what's really scary about this bill is that it attempts to dismantle the separation of powers, the system of checks and balances that preserves our democratic system. In order to get what they want in the short term, Bush and the Republicans seem willing to gut our democracy in the long term. (Source: Associated Press September 24, 2004)
It's one matter to arrest peaceful protesters who haven't committed a crime. Unfortunately, the New York City Police went even farther than that in their work for the Republican National Convention in Manhattan. The New York City Police, under the direction of their Republican mayor, arrested huge groups of innocent people, twenty percent of whom were not even protesters. This is what happens when politicians in charge favor security at the expense of freedom. (Source: Associated Press, September 17, 2004)
George W. Bush's bad example has been followed all over the world, as national leaders use the "war on terror" as an excuse to attack freedom. Chip Pitts, the Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International of the United States of America, describes the problem as follows: "Overly broad U.S. anti-terrorism measures like the 'Patriot Act' have been widely imitated in other countries. Instead of relying on objective, fact-based criteria aimed at identifying and stopping actual terrorists, these measures allow officials to rely on subjective discretion that is all too easily abused against immigrants, refugees, vulnerable minorities and activists." (Source: Amnesty Now, Fall 2004)
The Republican Party is the party of apes like Strom Thurmond, who loudly rallied for racial segregation while hiding his black daughter.
Theodore Roosevelt said it in 1918: ŅTo announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.Ó ItÕs about time that we had a president in the White House who valued free dissent over obedience to authority. (Source: Theodore Roosevelt, ŅLincoln and Free Speech,Ó 1918)
Eight years is a long time, but twelve is longer still. If the agenda of George W. Bush's presidency is allowed to continue under another Republican president for another four years, a significant portion of the American population won't be able to remember an America before the installation of the Homeland. And that will make it much harder to repair the damage.
When George W. Bush entered office in 2001, he quickly moved to abandon Clinton's efforts at brokering peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, the Bush Administration called for the bickering sides to sort things out "on their own." On the day that Hamas and Israel declared that the "road map to peace" was falling apart, Bush responded by immediately flying out to Washington State, where he took credit for improved salmon runs. In the years following, thanks to the negligence of diplomacy, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come no closer to resolution. (Source: Christian Science Monitor September 9, 2003; New York Times February 9, 2001)
The man who sits in the Oval Office sets goals that just don't match with what's going on in the real world. In August 2003, Bush said that "We've got a year and a while during my first term to make the world a more peaceful place, and we'll do it." From a man who said his war would rid the world of Evildoers, this was not too surprising. But surprising or not, it betrayed a dangerous lack of connection with reality. At any rate, heÕs had his year and a while. He's had his chance. He blew it. And he wasnÕt alone: the entire Republican Party and the conservative wing of the Democratic party backed him up in his folly. Why donÕt we give that other wing of American politics, the didnÕt-get-it-wrong wing, a turn at the helm? (Source: The Guardian August 25, 2003)
Thousands of Americans die after George W. Bush says "Bring them on!" to Iraqi attacks against Americans. Scores of thousands of innocent Iraqis follow them to their grave. This is the price of a cowboy approach to foreign policy, and with the exception of last-place Ron Paul, the current crop of Republican candidates for president would stay that course. (Sources: Associated Press July 2, 2003 and Iraq War Casualty Count at icasualties.org)
In Fall of 2002, George W. Bush justified his push to go to war by saying that "I am not willing to risk one American life." By the end of 2007, approximately 4,000 American soldiers had died, along with an uncounted additional number of American civilian aid workers, journalists, and mercenary contractors. What kind of American life was he referring to? Apparently not these American lives. George W. Bush has thrown these American lives into the woodchipper. ThereÕs more death to come. And the progressives warned us all not to do it. This time, letÕs listen to what theyÕre saying. (Source: Cincinnati Enquirer October 8, 2002 and Iraq War Casualty Count at icasualties.org)
Just as in the stories our parents told us, we're no longer in the mood to listen to the boy who cried "Code Orange"! What if thereÕs a real terrorist threat some day? Americans wonÕt believe it Š weÕve been told too many times of terrorists that werenÕt actually terrorists, and terrorist plots that didnÕt exist.
While unsuccessfully trying to convince members of the United Nations Security Council to back a war with Iraq, the Bush Administration's National Security Agency bugged the phones of Security Council delegation offices. Amazingly enough, when word leaked out, Security Council nations got angry! Gee, I wonder why. In the years after, Bush complained that he wasnÕt getting the diplomatic movement from other nations that he had hoped for. Gee, I wonder why. (Source: The Observer 3/2/2003)
More than six years on the case, and in spite of a range of super duper new powers to spy on the private lives of ordinary American citizens, the Bush Administration still has absolutely no clue who sent deadly anthrax spores to prominent American politicians and media personalities. What use are new authoritarian government programs to spy on Americans if they don't help catch murderers in our midst? (Source: American Daily October 2, 2003)
Before he invaded Iraq, George W. Bush promised to the American people in a nationally-televised speech that he would insist that the members of the United Nations Security Council "put their cards on the table" and force them to vote on a resolution explicitly authorizing an invasion of Iraq. Then, within a week, George W. Bush broke his promise to the American people and withdrew that resolution from the United Nations Security Council so that none of the member nations ever had the chance to "put their cards on the table". America doesn't need a Commander-In-Chief who's infamous across the world for talking tough, but then turning tail and running away when he can't back up his tough words with the tough-minded diplomacy it takes to really get things done. (Source: BBC News March 7, 2003)
Before he invaded and started the American occupation of Iraq, George W. Bush complained that there was no time to be patient with weapons inspectors because Iraq had huge stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction with which he could attack the United States at any time. In the aftermath, when those weapons of mass destruction cannot be found, and Bush's plan for a stable American dictatorship over Iraq fell apart, Bush begged the American people to be patient with him, saying "This will take time." A progressive president would invert that choice, encouraging patience in the interests of peace, not as an excuse to prevent criticism of a reckless rush to war. (Source: ABC News September 8, 2003)
Bush and his fellow pro-war politicians from both parties say that the continuing American military occupation of Iraq is "critical to our security". But he doesn't mention that Iraq only became a real threat to American security after the American invasion and occupation began. Pro-war politicians have a way of creating their own messes. Progressive politicians know that the best way to avoid getting in a hole is to avoid picking up a shovel. (White House Press Release September 12, 2003)
George W. Bush says that, "the terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and the resentments of oppressed peoples." Um, there's still no democracy in Iraq, and the people of Iraq are feeling resentment at being oppressed by the American military dictatorship over their country, a dictatorship that routinely guns down unarmed civilians, including Iraqi children. By his own standard, hasn't Bush's invasion of Iraq actually helped terrorists to thrive? War is an instrument of oppression. How about using different tools to different ends? (Washington Times September 8, 2003)
When he was selling his war against Iraq, Bush sent administration officials to Congress to dismiss worries about the cost of the occupation after the war by saying that revenues from Iraqi oil would pay for it all. ItÕs come nowhere close. Where's the oil revenue going from the Iraq occupation going?? To Halliburton, a multi-national corporation that just happened to have been run by Dick Cheney until he became Vice President. Just a coincidence, we're sure. Oh, and Mr. Bush, how is that oil revenue going to pay for the hundreds of American lives that have been lost during the occupation so far? The answer: it's not, of course: oil revenues -- after Halliburton takes its cut of the dough, of course -- will not even pay for the re-establishment of clean drinking water in Iraq. And now it comes out that Vice President Dick Cheney has been receiving payments from Halliburton since he came into office. But hey, we're sure that had nothing to do with Halliburton getting that gazillion-dollar no bid contract. Absolutely sure. (Sources: Reuters September 16, 2003; Boston Globe September 9, 2003; Philadelphia Inquirer August 31, 2003)
To what tasks did the Bush Administration devote its attention in the Spring of 2003? Planning for war's aftermath? No. Instead, Air Force One's in-flight menu was revised to remove references to "French Toast" and to offer "Freedom Toast" instead. That'll show 'em! (Source: Reuters March 26, 2003)
George W. Bush squandered the goodwill of the world in the wake of September 11, 2001. Do you remember how, in the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center, people marched in the streets of nation after nation (including, yes, France) to demonstrate their solidarity with the United States? How they played the American national anthem and flew American flags? What could we have done to change the world for the better, to unite nations in a common positive purpose, had George W. Bush not soured it all with his flaccid bravado? It wasnÕt all Bush, though. Half of America cheered as Bush took the country into a war of choice. IÕm not inclined to trust that half of America again.
In its breathless rush to war in the fall of 2002, the Bush Administration asserted that Iraq had a fleet of unmanned "drone" aircraft designed to fly over cities and release chemical or biological weapons. Bush cabinet member Colin Powell even suggested that the tiny drones might somehow wind their way after multiple refuelings to the United States where they would attack us mercilessly. Horrors! Well, guess what? The drones exist! But wait: American scientists have determined that their range was highly limited and that they were incapable of carrying chemical or biological weapons. Got some aluminum pipes and a balsa-wood model airplane sitting around in your garage? That about all Saddam seems to have had. It turns out that intelligence sources were warning the Bush Administration in the fall of 2002 that the magic pilotless drones being droned on about by the Administration were harmless. But, surprise surprise, the Bush Administration ignored those warnings and went ahead with Operation Freak Out America. The Republicans with a choke-hold on government have never let the facts get in their way. (Source: Associated Press August 25, 2003)
When George W. Bush went to war, he was so desperate to create the appearance of a worldwide coalition that his ridiculously administration pumped up the numbers of nations entering as members of his coalition. The Bush administration published a list of supporting nations including the Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza quickly retorted that his nation was not a member of any coalition and had not in fact offered any support to President Bush in its invasion of Iraq. Whoopsie. (Source: The New Zealand Herald March 27, 2003).
George W. Bush's diplomacy leading up to his war against Iraq was so botched that 15 of the 45 nations numbered as providing support to Bush's invasion of Iraq actually weren't, um, listed by name. That's right, they were too embarrassed on the world stage to stand with George W. Bush any way but anonymously. And George W. Bush's powers of persuasion were so weak that of the 45 mostly small nations providing "support" to Bush's invasion of Iraq, only 3 sent troops to participate in the actual invasion. (Source: Ottawa Citizen March 26, 2003).
The Bush administration likes to toot its horn about how after the invasion, 26 nations sent troops to Iraq. What a grand coalition! Well, not so grand, actually. As of September 2003, that set of 26 included nations like Slovakia (sending a total of 82 troops) Albania (which has sent 70 troops), New Zealand (61 troops) and Kazakhstan (26 troops). Lithuania sent 90 troops, but hey, at one point they were thinking maybe of sending 50 more. Then thereÕs the Micronesian Island of Palau. It's a pretty place. Palau provided moral support. Nothing else. That's the power of diplomacy that really doesnÕt care. (Source: Associated Press September 19, 2003)
How many ways can they try to spin the truth? The Bush Administration, in scrambling desperation, tried again to explain why it sent hundreds of thousands of young Americans off to kill and be killed in Iraq when it had no solid evidence that there was any need to do so:
Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush's National Security Advisor, justified the invasion and occupation of Iraq by saying, "nothing pointed to a reversal of Saddam Hussein's very active efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, to have very good programs in weapons of mass destruction."
Lack of evidence that a crime has not occurred is not the same thing as evidence that a crime has occurred. If there's a man who lives next door to me who has a history of embezzling money from work, would I be justified in having him arrested on suspicion of doing it again, just because I didn't have any evidence that he was not?
Of course not! This isn't the American way of doing things, although Bush and company would like us to forget it. Here in America, our legal and ethical traditions are based upon giving the benefit of the doubt, when there is a lack of evidence that we should do otherwise. If there is no evidence that a person or group of persons has committed a crime, we do not assume that there is a crime and start the punishment. That's just not the way Americans do things. Correction: thatÕs just not the way Americans should do things. (Source: Boston Globe September 29, 2003)
While delivering his talking points on how great Bush's War in Iraq would be, Secretary of State Colin Powell depended on a blue curtain to obscure what really stood behind him: Pablo Picasso's Guernica. See, the painting showed images of war: dead people and stuff. That's a really pesky thing for people to see when you're trying to get them to invade a country. (Source: Toronto Star February 9, 2003)
From the October 11, 2000 Debate at Wake Forest University:
"Q: What is the role of the U.S. in the world?
Bush: I'm not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it's got to be.... I'm not sure where the vice president's coming from, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course." ...
"Q: Should the people of the world fear us, or see us as a friend?
Bush: If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us.... If we're an arrogant nation, they'll view us that way, but if we're humble nation, they'll respect us."
We couldn't agree more. It is tragic that in the intervening years Mr. Bush didnÕt follow his own advice.
One of the most forgotten details of the American response in the weeks after September 11, 2001 is that the government of Afghanistan offered to give in to George W. Bush's demands. The government of Afghanistan offered to hand Osama Bin Laden over to the American government, through Pakistan.
Why didn't George W. Bush take Afghanistan up on its offer? Oh, what an excellent question that is.
Bush refused to take Osama bin Laden into custody from Afghanistan because the Afghan government wanted to negotiate the way in which this transfer would take place. Bush said that he would not conduct any negotiations with the Afghan government, even if it meant that the American government could get Osama Bin Laden as a prisoner. Then, Bush said he'd had enough of talk with the Afghans.
Bush wanted to attack.
The government of Afghanistan pleaded with the Bush Administration, saying that it wanted to talk to him about handing over Osama bin Laden into American custody. Bush refused. Bush said he wouldn't talk about it. Bush wanted a war more than he wanted Osama bin Laden. Bush made a choice to let Osama bin Laden go. And the war in Afghanistan still drags on.
America didn't have to invade Afghanistan. Bush made the choice that he wanted to fight for Osama bin Laden instead of negotiating for him. For Bush, fighting felt better. That has made Bush a dangerous leader. Why should our next leader attempt to follow in his footsteps? (Source: Washington Post October 29, 2001)
How could George W. Bush say with a straight face on March 17, 2003 that "the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war?" In March of 2002 Bush remarked in a policy-planning meeting: "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out," and Dick Cheney remarked to a Senate Republican planning meeting also in March of 2002 that the question of a war with Iraq was no longer if but when. Bush lied. People died. (Source: Time May 5, 2002)
Now that his war of choice in Iraq isn't working out so well, George W. Bush has been trying to disassociate himself from it in big and little ways. One of the little ways: Mr. Bush tried to claim that neither he nor his staff had anything to do with the "Mission Accomplished" banner flying behind him as he spoke on the Aircraft Carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. After journalists uncovered other banners with the same background and typeface placed behind Bush at other speeches, the Bush Administration backtracked and admitted that it did indeed make and place the banner. Why lie? (Source: Army Times October 28, 2003)
It has been revealed that in the days before the American invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi government sent a message to the Bush Administration repeating its claim to have no weapons of mass destruction and offering to allow American soldiers to search throughout Iraq in order to verify this claim.
George W. Bush and his top aides rejected the offer.
I'm not making this up, folks. If you don't believe me, go ahead and read the article from the Associated Press, printed in the Times Daily of Northeast Alabama - hardly a bastion of liberal media bias.
Pentagon officials have confirmed that this message was received and rejected.
The upshot is this: George W. Bush had the chance to send American soldiers to search Iraq for the weapons of mass destruction he thought were there, but which turned out not to be there.
Bush didn't need to send American soldiers to war. The Iraqi government was willing to allow them in peacefully.
Bush turned this offer down because he wanted to send American soldiers to war, not because American soldiers had to go to war.
What's particularly despicable is that George W. Bush never even had the courage to tell the American people about this offer. He kept it secret. He lied when he told us that there was no other way but war to disarm Iraq. He not only betrayed the American soldiers he sent to die, he betrayed the entire American nation.
You want another 8 years of that? Vote for another Republican. TheyÕd like to do the same with Iran. (Sources: Associated Press November 6, 2003 and New York Times November 6, 2003)
In its desperate bid to hide the deadly outcome of its war of choice, the Bush Administration renamed body bags "transfer tubes." (Source: Chicago Sun-Times November 11, 2003)
The Republican warhawks have so offended the Brits that they've taken to posting signs that say "Special Relationship? I Want a Divorce!" Republican rule has tarnished the long-standing relationship between Britain and the United States, jeopardizing our standing on the world stage. (Source: National Public Radio November 19, 2003)
Where in the world is the front in the "War on Terror"? George W. Bush's stated standard: "anywhere the terrorists think they can strike is a front." That kind of dangerous thinking makes the world a battlefield and turns the "War on Terror" into a War on Terra. (Source: Washington Post November 22, 2003)
A fundamentalist Muslim nation ruled by a military dictatorship spreads nuclear weapons technology around the world! Iraq? No. Iran? No. It's Pakistan, folks. And what has George W. Bush done? He calls Pakistan an "ally" in the "war on terror". This kind of twisted logic has no place in the White House. It's time to take the blinders off and get this guy back to his dude ranch, where he can't hurt anything but prairie dogs. In his place, letÕs put someone in charge who can keep his or her eyes on the prize, words focused on diplomacy, and arms out of the hands of unstable nuclear regimes. (Source: Financial Times, February 7, 2004)
For what we're spending on the Iraq war, we could go to a thousand of the poorest villages in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia--and build a million-dollar medical clinic, water-treatment plant, housing project, or road in each village, EVERY WEEK. Who would hate America then? Where would Al-Qaeda go to recruit?
Just suppose it actually DID become necessary to take military action to counter a serious, imminent threat to U.S. security. And suppose the threat were discovered through intelligence sources that, for whatever reason, had to remain undisclosed. A Republican would be the absolute worst president to have under those circumstances. TheyÕve lied so many times about Iraq that nobody would believe a Republican any more. Congress wouldn't believe it; the press wouldn't believe it; our allies wouldn't believe it; even some of our own troops on the mission wouldn't believe it. I sure wouldn't believe it, coming from the Republican Party with such a hideous track record on military truth. We need to elect someone to the presidency who doesnÕt have an itchy trigger finger and who doesnÕt have a history of pulling it prematurely. We need to elect someone as president who we know is sincerely reluctant to use force; someone for whom the last resort really is the last resort.
President Bill Clinton pledged that the United States would sign on to an international treaty banning the use of land mines (which have the unpleasant habit of killing and maiming countless innocent civilians every year) by 2006. His successor, George W. Bush, decided not to honor that pledge, and to keep right on using land mines. What's a missing leg or a dead kid to you when you know your own are safe? ThatÕs not a rhetorical question: answer it, then vote in line with your answer. (Source: The Charlotte Observer February 28, 2004)
Thanks to the Bush Administration for ushering the democratically, constitutionally-elected Aristide out of Haiti while leaving a political and military vacuum. What's the result? The next day, drug trafficker Guy Phillipe declares "I am the Chief... The country is in my hands." After his speech, Phillipe's men begin the public smashing and burning of artwork. (Sources: Cox News Service March 3, 2004; New York Times February 29, 2004)
You know the saying "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?" Well, the Bush administration was fooled by Ahmad Chalabi twice, each time in a big way. In the leadup to war, the Republicans in charge of the war bought hook, line and sinker a series of "reports" by Chalabi about Hussein's Iraq that just weren't true. After the war, Chalabi assured the Bush Administration he would support an interim Iraqi constitution... then backed out at the last minute. If the United States of America is going to depend on hucksters in developing its foreign policy, then at least... no, no, the lesson is that the United States of America should not depend on hucksters in developing its foreign policy. (Source: Knight-Ridder Newspapers, March 5, 2004)
What kind of logic was it for George W. Bush to ignore the U.N. to show Saddam Hussein that the U.N. cannot be ignored?
Back in 1999, George W. Bush criticized Bill Clinton's war in Kosovo by saying, "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." So come on, Mr. President, explain what your exit strategy from Iraq and Afghanistan is. So far, it appears that the exit strategy simply does not exist! Bush was too busy taking month-long vacations at his dude ranch in Texas to come up with one. (Source: Houston Chronicle, April 9, 1999)
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports the reason why the Canadian government refused to join George W. Bush's war coalition as it had done during the past. It turns out that Jean Chretien had asked the United States to share the secret intelligence it claimed it had showing that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq. Although the U.S. has shared such evidence with Canada in the past when the need for a coalition existed, George W. Bush refused to show Canada his evidence this time. Canadian officials say they understand why now: "They didn't have any evidence." (Source: Toronto Globe and Mail March 12, 2004)
Parce que les Francais avaient raison.
Congressman Henry Waxman commissioned a report that examined the statements of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice. The report includes a searchable database of two hundred and thirty-seven (237!) misleading statements about the threat from Iraq. Two hundred and thirty seven. Two hundred and thirty seven. (Source: Henry Waxman, "Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq." Online at http://oversight.house.gov/IraqOnTheRecord/)
A serious problem with the world view of neoconservatives of both Republican and Democratic affiliation is that they cannot distinguish between different sorts of threats in proximate parts of the world. Because of their simplistic way of thinking about the Middle East or the Muslim World as a singular entity, they took one threat from the Al Qaeda of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia (three religiously authoritarian regimes), another threat from Hussein of Iraq (a secular authoritarian regime), and assumed that the threats must somehow be linked. Because they could allow themselves to think of the world in a nuanced-enough way to allow for distinct levels and motivations of threat, they were unable to craft a nuanced foreign policy -- and disaster has resulted. Do we want to allow an overly simplistic administration to have another eight years to blunder its way into disaster again?
Before George W. Bush came to office, members of the military complained that they were being overdeployed, being stretched too thin. Since George W. Bush has taken office, the military has been stretched even thinner, to the point that many currently enlisted members of the military say they will not re-enlist for another term of service. As a consequence, the remaining members of the military can look forward to harder deployments as military resources are stretched even more thinly across the globe in Bush policy pursuits. (Source: Washington Post March 28, 2004)
How lame was the intelligence circus used to generate "evidence" for WMDs in Iraq? An investigation by the Los Angeles Times traced back the "evidence" for a supposed large array of trucks and railroad cars within which biological agents were supposedly produced. Ahmad Chalabi, who looked forward to entering post-Hussein leadership in Iraq, was asked to find evidence of such trucks and cars. Chalabi produced a "witness." The "witness" was the brother of one of Chalabi's aides. The evidence turned out, of course, to be bogus.
And this is why we went to war. Haven't we had enough of this kind of Three Stooges politics? The Republican candidates for president in 2008 donÕt think so. TheyÕre humming little ditties now like ŅBomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.Ó (Sources: Los Angeles Times March 28, 2004; NPR October 25 2007)
Bush Administration Solicitor Theodore Olson's contention: "The courts have no jurisdiction to evaluate or second-guess the conduct of the president and the military." Well, so much for checks and balances. (Source: The Seattle Times January 21, 2004)
In 2004, the Republican Congress mandated $50,000,000,000 in spending over the next five years to put an anti-missile system in remote Alaska to protect us against that ICBM-wielding superpower enemy of ours named...
oh, right, there isn't one. But at any rate, $50,000,000,000 in spending it is, because the Republicans say it must be important. What else could we have done with that $50,000,000,000? Well, $50,000,000,000 could have:
bought a brand-new Dell Laptop for every man, woman and child in Iraq, with $500 per person left over to spare;
done the same for every family in the USA;
built five hundred brand-spanking-new state-of-the-art $100 million schools across the United States;
paid a year's salary at the generous level of $48,000 for an additional teacher for every 20 students aged 5-9, helping a generation to get a head start in school.
The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Who knows why the Republicans are such wasteful spenders on unnecessary big-ticket projects, when they could be engaged in trying to do things that actually help Americans? (Source: New York Times May 4, 2004)
"The arrogance, inconsistency, and unreliability of the administration's diplomacy have undermined American alliances, alienated friends, and emboldened our adversaries." That's what the Republican Party says in their party platform. Sure, they said it in 2000, but they were right. They just didn't know they were making a prediction. (Source: 2000 Republican Party Platform)
On some accounts, one reason reverberates into many. We could give you hundreds of reasons to vote progressive this time: One for every American kid with a skinned knee and no one to kiss it and make it better, alone because a parent died in Iraq.
We could name a thousand reasons: One for every Iraqi home destroyed as American soldiers dig in for an urban siege.
Five thousand reasons: One for every American soldier's muddy boot print on the floor of an Iraqi mosque.
Ten thousand reasons: One for every young widow's tear at home and abroad.
A hundred thousand reasons: One for every drop of American blood spilled onto Iraqi soil.
Five hundred thousand reasons: One for every unheard cry of an orphaned Iraqi child.
A million reasons: One for every teenager who curls her lip and narrows her eyes at the word "politics."
Ten million reasons: One for every American who has learned to only count American deaths as tragic.
Fifty million reasons: One for every time the word "homeland" replaces "country" in conversation.
A hundred million reasons: One for every shattered dream of peace and goodwill on Earth.
After the International Court of Justice ruled that the new barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians violates international law and must be removed, the White House dismissed that ruling as irrelevant. That's disappointing but not surprising given the Bush Administration's "international law, schminternational law" approach to world affairs. (Source: Reuters July 9, 2004)
On July 12, 2004, George W. Bush uttered the following defense of his war of choice against Iraq:
"We removed a declared enemy of America who had the capability of producing weapons of mass murder and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them."
Let's take that sentence apart. First of all, good grammar, Mr. President. It's nice to see you try on that account.
But more substantively, notice how far George W. Bush has come in one short year. It used to be that Bush claimed Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Then Bush claimed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction programs. Then Bush claimed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction related programs. Now Bush claims that Hussein had the capability of producing weapons of mass destruction.
The capability. Is that enough to go to war? Intelligence experts have now pretty much agreed that Hussein did not have the capability to produce nuclear weapons (as Bush claimed he did -- another slip of the truth), so we'll have to assume Bush meant that Hussein had the capability of producing chemical or biological weapons.
I hate to break it to Mr. Bush, but just about any country who employs a PhD-level microbiologist has the capability of producing biological weapons, as our own nation's domestic anthrax scare of 2001 demonstrated. And as the Sarin attacks in the Tokyo subway demonstrate, even an esoteric religious cult has the capability of producing chemical weapons.
So if the capability of producing chemical or biological weapons is the essential criterion for going to war against a country, then by Mr. Bush's standard we're going to be sending our troops to countless unfriendly nations around the globe for some time now.
Unless, that is, George W. Bush is not leveling with the American people. Hmmm. Could that be what's going on here? Hmmm. (Source: Associated Press July 12, 2004)
Because a reckless war of choice has drawn members of the National Guard overseas, they are no longer at home to perform their traditional function of helping states cope with emergency situations. Governor Dick Kempthorne of Idaho said that with so many members of the Idaho National Guard drawn overseas, he's worried about his state's capacity to fight wildfires. Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon worried about the same thing. This is another way we're weakened on the home front because a bunch of chickenhawks couldn't wait to run off and play war with other people's lives. (Source: New York Times July 20, 2004)
George W. Bush's Vice President, Dick Cheney, mocked John Kerry for saying "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror." In particular, Dick Cheney told his supporters that a "sensitive war on terror" was an awful idea.
But what does it mean to conduct policy in a "sensitive" fashion? To be sensitive means literally to use one's senses, to acutely perceive one's environment when deciding upon a course of action. The whole problem with the Bush Administration is that it dedicated so little energy and time to noticing what actually was going on, instead barreling into a deadly quagmire with its eyes firmly shut. We know who paid the price. (Source: Washington Post August 20, 2004)
"The tactics of our -- as you know, we don't have relationships with Iran. I mean, that's -- ever since the late '70s, we have no contacts with them, and we've totally sanctioned them. In other words, there's no sanctions." Š George W. Bush. This is the man who wants to take us to war with the country that, as you know, is totally sanctioned, in an unsanctioned way. Oh, dear. Return us to lucidity. (Source: Remarks of George W. Bush August 9, 2004, from whitehouse.gov)
A European who spent some time in the United States as a student and calls himself "a friend of all conscious Americans" writes in to us: "I cannot believe how torn the world is since some fanatic Crusaders have ruled your country. America lost most of its fans. Have you ever thought about how many hospitals, schools, streets etc. in the poor countries of the third world could have been built with the money of just one bomb dropped over Iraq? The USA could have tried to act Christian and could have made friends instead of starting an unjustified war and making thousands of people either dead or enemies.Ó
Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's nonchalant response to news of widespread looting in Iraq? ŅStuff happens.Ó (Source: CNN September 12, 2004)
The problems caused by the use of depleted uranium ammunition in his wars are bad enough, but what's less known is that under Republican administration, the American military is using the even more radioactive non-depleted uranium in its weaponry. This was the finding of the Uranium Medical Research Center, and independent group of scientists from the United States and Canada. Such weaponry keeps on killing long after it has hit its initial target, killing over years and years through nuclear radiation. (Source: Syracuse New Times, September 15-22, 2004)
How out of touch has the Bush Administration been with regards to Iraq? Let's listen to prominent Bush adviser Richard Perle, speaking on September 22, 2003: "We're doing better than people think. And a year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation." (Source: American Enterprise Institute transcript of speech by Richard Perle, Luncheon Keynote Speaker of September 22, 2003).
The United States military admits that it keeps information on the numbers of people it kills in Iraq, including the number of Iraqi civilians it has killed. Yet, the military refuses to tell the American people just what these numbers are. The military won't even tell Congress what these numbers are. So, we're forced to get information from the Iraqi Ministry of Health.
The last time I checked, the military was still supposed to be under the control of the American people's democratically elected civilian government. The U.S. military's ability to keep secrets not related to national security leads me to wonder if the military has not become an independent rogue force. (Source: Detroit Free Press, September 25, 2004)
Approximately half of the Pentagon budget now goes to private corporations. There are tens of thousands of private corporations that get money from the military budget, but the top 50 of these corporate contractors get over half of the money. These top 50 corporate contractors are also the most likely to get military contracts without having to bother submitting bids against any competitors.
Now, which party is the biggest recipient of donations from these top military contractors? That's right - it's the Republican Party. If this corrupt system continues under another president, the American democracy may not survive the emerging domination of military contractors. (Source: Outsourcing the Pentagon, Center for Public Integrity)
When George W. Bush said on September 25, 2002, "You can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam," he really should have said, "I can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam." We need a president who can. (Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution September 30, 2004)
In a 2004 presidential election debate, George W. Bush cheerfully chirped that in Afghanistan more than 10 million people are registered to vote. What he didn't cheerfully chime in was that the number of people registered exceeded the size of the population eligible to vote. In other words, the upcoming vote in Afghanistan was fraudulent. That's not a source for chirpy cheer. (Source: New York Times October 1, 2004)
According to a brand-new New York Times investigation, members of the Bush Administration all the way up to Condoleeza Rice knew as early as 2001 that the government's own top nuclear experts had judged that aluminum tubes purchased by Saddam Hussein were NOT centrifuges for refining fissible materials, but parts of small artillery rockets.
If Condoleeza Rice did her job, Bush knew this too.
Yet members of the Bush administration continued to scream at the American public that they had "irrefutable evidence" that the tubes were for making nuclear bombs.
My stars! What chutzpah! I'd prefer a president without chutzpah for a few years, now. (Source: New York Times, October 3, 2004)
For weeks at a time in 2003, George W. Bush refused to accept any calls from the leadership of France. Who knows what could have been accomplished? We'll never know, because Bush refused communication. This is yet another example crazed petulance getting in the way of American interests. It never hurts to talk. How about after these long Bush years we get ourselves a president who is willing to talk Š even to The French?(Source: New York Post October 5, 2004)
Oh, by golly! How could we forget Bush's reliance on slick, yet strangely ham-handed public relations professionals to mislead the American public about his trade policies? We're talking about BoxGate, that photo-opportunity at which Bush's aides slapped "Made in U.S.A." labels on boxes that were really stamped "Made in China", created a fake backdrop of more boxes, and relied on an audience of workers who were forced to attend the event by their bosses. How's that for honesty and honor in the White House? (Source: Washington Post January 29, 2003)
"He wasn't really elected -- he was appointed by the Supreme Court." These words sent in by a resident of central Florida sum up an oldie but a goodie. If you dig through the fine print of the corporate media, ignoring broad proclamations and admonishments that we should move on instead of sifting through real reporting of facts (silly things, those), you'll find this inescapable truth: If all votes had been counted, Gore would have not only won the popular vote -- he would have won Florida and hence the electoral vote, too. What would the past eight years have been like without a Republican in office? What could have been done better? What fears might we have avoided? What waste might we have avoided? What wars might we have avoided? It's too late to cry over spilled chads, but it's not too late to make sure a Republican with a regressive political and social agenda doesn't ride into office again on the backs of powerful insiders. (Source: Newsday November 15, 2001)
A vote to replace George W. Bush with a progressive president will help the Dixie Chicks feel proud about being from Texas once again.
A vote to get replace George W. Bush with a president who understands the value of diplomacy will help Americans to visit France in the name of cultural exchange without fear of being pelted by rotten vegetables.
In a democracy, the president derives power from the consent of the governed. As Thomas Jefferson pointed out in his 1789 letter to Richard Price, ŅWhenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.Ó The consent to govern must be an informed consent. When George W. Bush lied to the American people to obtain misinformed consent for him to govern in their name, Bush stole power from the people. It is incumbent upon us first to stop trusting George W. Bush as a source of reliable information, second for us to inform ourselves, and third to take the power of government back from Bush and his ill-informed, mis-informing administration so that a responsive form of government based on the honest communication of information and open decision making can take its place.
After all these years, Dick Cheney still won't tell us who he met with in 2001 to discuss U.S. energy policy. Whoever it was, it didn't prevent thousands of shareholders from going broke in the Enron collapse, or millions of people from losing power in the worst blackout in decades. ThatÕs not just secretive; itÕs secretive, incompetent, and ineffective. (Source: New York Times January 3, 2003)
Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the White House has turned into a puppet show. Bush's handlers never let him out in front of an audience without a script. Even in the handful of "news conferences" that Bush has mustered in his two terms, the order and source of questions has been pre-determined by his advisors. The appearance of Bush's sponteneity, like most other aspects of Bush's presidential behavior, is micro-managed by others. Don't believe us on this: believe his own spokesman, Ari Fleischer, who admitted to setting out an assigned list of reporters for Bush. ItÕs time for Americans to have a president who can actually think up his own words to speak on occasion Š the exercise may do us all some good. (Source: White House Press Briefing March 7, 2003)
Absolutely none of the Republican members of the Senate or House of Representatives are Black. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. When was the last time you heard a Republican address this disturbing fact?
Potemkin Village, here we come. When George W. Bush travels out to see "The People," he makes sure that no people who oppose him are nearby. Bush's Secret Service agents search the crowd for dissenting signs and corral those individuals to "free speech zones" which are typically out of sight of the President, rendering the dissent purposeless. Members of the crowd who support the President get to stay. Bush and his Republican cronies canÕt handle real American dissent. (Sources: St. Petersburg Times 10/13/2002, St. Petersburg Times 11/3/2002, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 8/18/2002)
If we boot the Republicans out of the White House in 2008, perhaps in time the Canadians and Europeans who Bush snorted and sneered at will actually want to visit our country again. Our tourism industry is suffering enough Š letÕs put a progressive with a global understanding in the White House and do what we can to welcome the world back.
Can you trust a Republican president? In his 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush promised to increase the AmeriCorps budget. Then he cut it. ThatÕs sadly typical. (Source: Christian Science Monitor 8/11/03)
After pushing for a constitutional amendment to criminalize flag desecration, George W. Bush has repeatedly desecrated the flag himself. No, really, honestly, legally and truly. HeÕs been writing all over them at rallies, using them to give his autograph. ThatÕs flag desecration. But Bush and his conservative ilk donÕt really care about desecrating the flag, as BushÕs scrawling demonstrates. TheyÕre more interested in pushing peopleÕs emotional buttons to get them to vote against their interests. If that takes another year with another flag desecration amendment, so be it. (Source: Washington Post August 31, 2003)
The Republican Bush White House let Microsoft get away with establishing a monopolistic control over the single greatest source of personal and systematic power in the coming decades: The computer. Just when the federal government was poised to gain victory in its ongoing anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 2000, the Republicans took over executive government and ordered the lawsuit to be abandoned. Microsoft was instead allowed to settle with the federal government, in a sweetheart deal. (Source: Money in Politics Alert September 6, 2001)
Bush sold out the heart of America, the National Mall in Washington D.C., to be staging grounds for a giant and illegal commercial advertisement for corporate contributors to the Republican Party, with Britney Spears as its main spokesmodel. It's against the law for commercial activities to take place on the National Mall, but George W. Bush is willing to bend the law when big business contributes big money to the Bush campaign for re-election. In fact, George W. Bush took the time to relay a video message endorsing the Pepsi commercial event. The National Mall belongs to the American people, not to the President, and it's time we got someone back in the White House who understands the difference. (Source: US News and World Report September 10, 2003)
The Republicans in power have gotten whiny and arrogant. "This is political hate speech!" frothed Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie after Democrats had the temerity to criticize Bush's policies. "Political hate crime!" fumed Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay when a Bush nominee was rejected by Democrats after the White House wouldn't let them see, of all things, the nominee's files. Whine, whine, whine. How annoying! More importantly, how insubstantial! LetÕs kick these whiners out of power and send them to their room for a while. ItÕll build character. (Sources: Dallas Morning News September 10, 2003 and New York Times September 4, 2003)
When Bush was the White House and the Republicans controlled Congress, America caught a glimpse of the RepublicansÕ true priorities. What did our Republican representatives do with their opportunity? Balance the budget? No. Fully fund education programs they themselves passed? No. Figure out how to get back the millions of American jobs that Bush has lost? No. Develop consistent mental health policy? Lord, no. The Republican-controlled Congress spent its time renaming lunch items in the House Office Building cafeterias. That's right. With all the problems in our country that needed to be addressed, Republican members of Congress instead spent their days and nights putting up signs, passing out leaflets, and calling news conferences declaring that "Freedom Fries" were now being served for lunch. Did that fix things? (Source: Associated Press March 11, 2003)
The justifications for any of the major Republican policies resemble nothing more than one of those Mad Libs sheets I used to fill out on car trips when I was a kid. [Derogatory Adjective] [Tyrant] is in possession of [Nifty Secret Weapon], so we need to bomb [Third-World Country]. We can't show you the evidence because that's just what [Adjective] [Tyrant] would want, you [Derogatory Adjective] [Non-Patriotic Noun]. And while weÕre at it, we need another tax cut for the already rich to [Stimulate/Maintain/Rein In] the [Current Economic Condition], rescue [Cute Animals] from the clutches of the [Non-Cute Animals], and end [Nasty Debilitating Disease].
ArenÕt you tired of your fear being manipulated for political purposes? In September 2003, just as Bush's ratings in the polls slipped, the Bush Administration came out with a new warning: Al Qaeda is going to poison our food! Problem was, the FBI said there wasnÕt actually any evidence that any such attack was in the works. The Bush administration nevertheless pushed it as a plausible plot. We're sure that the terrorist warning and Bush's dip in the polls was a mere coincidence. Sure it was. (Source: CBS News September 12, 2003)
In July of 2003, ABC News aired a story about soldiers opposed to the war in Iraq who were calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The Bush White House responded by letting it leak out that the reporter covering the story was "Gay" and "Canadian." Will someone tell the Republcans they arenÕt in middle school anymore? (Source: Toronto Star July 19, 2003)
Under the RepublicansÕ push to fund "faith-based initiatives" (translation: religious programs) with taxpayers' money, The Reverend Pat Robertson's Christian organization Operation Blessing received $500,000 from the federal government. This organization's mission statement declares that "We believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and authoritative source of Christian doctrine and precept... We believe that the only hope for man is to believe on Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, who died to take upon Himself the punishment for the sin of mankind and who rose from the dead so that by receiving Him as Lord, man is redeemed by His blood." This is the ministry your taxpayer funds have paid for. (Source: Washington Post October 3, 2002)
Under the control of the Republicans, the White House appointed Thomas White to be Secretary of the Army because they said they wanted Thomas White to run the Army like he ran his business. The problem is, White's business was Enron. Former employees say that White was dishonest and helped to set up fake partnerships that eventually led to Enron's bankruptcy. White responded that he had no part in the illegal fraud because he wasn't really in touch with the operations of the division where he was supposed to be in charge. Which really happened? Was White a criminal or just grossly incompetent? And what business did either sort of man have taking a post as Secretary of the Army? (Sources: Houston Chronicle October 24, 2001, Houston Chronicle March 30, 2002, and New York Times September 17, 2002)
Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, decided in February of 2002 to disband a panel charged with addressing claims of sexual assault in the military. Since then, multiple stories of sexual assault mishandled by the military have emerged in the press. Clearly, the panel was desperately needed. (Source: New York Times March 2, 2003; Associated Press October 4, 2003)
The very first official act of the incoming Republican White house was to block the funding of family planning organizations. That first executive order, issued on the 28th Anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, prohibits the funding of family planning organizations overseas if those organizations use their own privately raised funds to lobby their own governments in favor of less restrictive abortion laws. Although George W. Bush justified his order by saying that "taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions," taxpayer funds were not in fact being used for those purposes, since that's been illegal since 1975.
Further, the executive order places a gag on family planning organizations worldwide, keeping them from even discussing abortion issues if they want badly needed U.S. funds. Bush's first order was designed to curtail the use of contraception in the developing world, a change that only increases the suffering of poor families -- and back-alley abortions to boot. We need to elect a president whose first order of business upon assuming office will be to reverse this executive order. (Source: BBC News January 23, 2001)
Why is the Republican Party so uncomfortable with the Americans they say they want to represent? The Republicans tried to hire a luxury cruise liner so that its delegates and "special guests" wouldn't have to, you know, STAY in New York City during the Republican convention of 2004. Instead, they'd have had the best of amenities and avoid the riff-raff. (Source: New York Times December 1, 2003)
George W. Bush had the gall to say to a reporter, televised, in front of the whole country: "one of the things, David, I think you've seen about our foreign policy is that I'm reluctant to use military power." This is the man who, in response to members of his administration inquiring about the progress of negotiation, said "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out" -- a full year before going to war against Iraq. (Source: Presidential Press Conference December 15, 2003)
In George Orwell's 1984, a totalitarian regime governs under a series of slogans, including this one: "who controls the past, controls the future." The Ministry of Truth in Orwell's novel employs agents to scan the historical record for facts that would embarrassing to the Party, then delete them from the record to avoid such embarrassment. The totalitarian Soviet Union employed this tactic often, airbrushing "purged" officials out of old photos.
Taking a page from Orwell and the Soviets, the White House rewrote its posting of George W. Bush's speech of May 1, 2003, changing the phrase "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to the ever-so-much-more convenient "President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." (Source: Washington Post December 18, 2003)
More Soviet-style truth management: The Bush Administration has eliminated all reference to comments made by United States Agency for International Development administrator Andrew S. Natsios. Natsios aided the pro-war pep rally of the Bush Administration by announcing in an interview with Ted Koppel on ABC that the reconstruction of Iraq would only require an investment of $1.7 Billion on the part of the United States, with all other costs to be paid for by other countries. A transcript of this interview was prominently placed on the USAID website during the summer of 2003, but reference to the remark has long since been eliminated. (Source: Washington Post December 18, 2003)
Back in 2004, Republicans funded an ad in Iowa that referred to Democratic campaign staffers as Volvo-drivers, NPR listeners, newspaper readers who drank the wrong sort of beverage. That tactic betrayed a Republican divisiveness that appeals to AmericansÕ bigotries. How about we have a campaign this time around that is based on policy ideas rather than petty prejudices? (Source: Washington Times January 5, 2004)
In their years of control over federal government, the Republicans have offered no major policy initiative to improve highway safety, although 14 times more people died in motor vehicle accidents in the year 2000 than died in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Wait for Republican apologists to remark that such a suggestion trivializes the deaths on September 11. Respond that not doing anything about highway safety trivializes the deaths of the equivalent of fourteen September 11s -- EVERY YEAR. When will the Republicans get off their behinds and do something? IÕll give you a hint: the answer starts with the letter ŅN.Ó
In order to score political points by funding his promise to send people on a mission to the Moon (Haven't we been there before?), the Republican Bush administration ordered the Hubble Space Telescope program to be ended prematurely. Destroying important scientific missions in order to fund Buck Rogers whiz bang space adventuresÉ what nutty priorities! (Source: New York Times, January 17 2004)
The last words of George W. Bush's 2004 State of the Union Address: ŅMay God Continue to Bless America.Ó ItÕs time for us to find a president who doesnÕt think she or he can read the thoughts of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.
To be fair, it's not just Republican federal judges who are racists. Many Republican state legislators are racists as well. With George W. Bush in the White House, Don Davis, a Republican state representative in North Carolina sent a letter to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, containing the following passage: "Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God's Law and the disenfranchisement of White men." When we elect a Republican to the White House, we support a Republican Party that embraces opinions like this. (The Fayetteville Observer, August 22, 2001)
Have the Republicans been using the power of the federal government to pay back campaign contributors in ways that harm the American people? Let's look at just one example of mutual back-scratching strategies (We can't call it bribery, can we? Oh no, we canÕt. We mustn't.) During the 2000 presidential campaign, the electric utility industry donated 4.8 million dollars to the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee. As president, George W. Bush ordered 50 separate investigations of electrical power plants for violations of the Clean Air Act to be stopped. It is estimated that the electrical utility industry saved 10 billion dollars as a result. As the Church Lady might have asked, "Isn't that special?" (Source: Sierra Magazine, March/April 2004)
ŅWhatever it takesÓ Š is that the basis of your moral system? Consider the case of Republican staffers in the U.S. Senate, caught breaking into the computer systems used by Senators who belong to the Democratic Party. When Republican Senator Orrin Hatch dared to condemn this illegal act, powerful agents in the Republican Party attacked Senator Hatch for being disloyal. Pretty twisted. (Source: Slate, February 20, 2004)
From 2001 through 2004, the Republicans in control of Congress made significant cuts in the federal Community Oriented Policing program (COPS). This program brings police out from behind the wheels of their squad cars and back out onto the beat, on foot and on bicycles, and sets up community policing centers that are more accessible to people than traditional police stations. Community policing increases security by keeping police in touch with what's going on in our neighborhoods in a friendly way, without violating anyone's constitutional freedoms. When the Republicans cut these programs in order to fund special tax giveaways for the richest Americans, it shows that they is soft on security. (Source: Boston Globe, March 13, 2004)
Under the direction of the Bush Administration, the National Cancer Institute posted a claim on its web site that there is a connection between having an abortion and getting breast cancer. The claim stayed on the web site for 5 months, in spite of the fact that claims of this connection have been definitively disproved for quite some time. Allowing the announcements of scientific organizations to be determined by fundamentalist Christian religious agendas is not the kind of behavior we should expect from an American President in the 21st century. (Source: CBS News, March 11, 2004)
The Bush Administration made a practice of distributing videos to local news outlets across the country for inclusion in their nightly news programs. In these segments, "reporters" explained the virtues of Bush's Medicare policy, lending the aura of considered legitimacy. The problem is, those "reporters" were not reporters at all. They were hired actors. The General Accounting Office has judged these fake "reports" to be illegal, noting that under federal law this activity qualifies as "covert propaganda." (Sources: New York Times March 15, 2004; New York Times May 20, 2004)
George W. Bush has proposed cutting staff from the Veterans Administration dedicated to processing disability claims -- this at a time when a backlog of hundreds of thousands of claims has built up. (Source: Washington Post, March 3, 2004)
Under the 2005 budget George W. Bush submitted to the Congress, Veterans' copayments for prescription drugs were set to double. Way to support the troops. (Source: Washington Post, March 3, 2004)
George W. Bush's budget for 2005 cuts the budget for sewage cleanup by 37 percent. More shit for you. (Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2004)
Only a Republican would be so callous as to appoint James L. Connaughton, lobbyist for power companies and corporate polluters, to be the White House's senior environmental adviser. Republican president George W. Bush did it. (Source: Mother Jones September 2003)
Only a Republican would be so callous as to redesignate ketchup as a ŅvegetableÓ in national school lunch standards, sacrificing poor childrenÕs health for budgetary gain. The Republican Reagan administration tried it, and only the voice of outraged childrenÕs advocates turned that one around. (Source: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/040716.html)
You think that kind of shenanigan is old history? ItÕs not. The Republican Bush administration reclassified frozen french fries as "fresh vegetables" under the law. Ketchup plus french fries Š yum, yum! Too bad theyÕre not actually what the Republicans tell you they are. (Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel June 15, 2004)
"The illiteracy level of our children are appalling." Š George W. Bush. IÕd say the illiteracy level of our president are much more appalling. (Source: Remarks by George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., January 23, 2004)
Bush Administration Special Counsel Scott Bloch changed the administrationÕs interpretation of the U.S. legal code so that all gay and lesbian federal workers lost their protection against workplace discrimination. According to Bloch, government workers could be demoted or fired for being gay and lesbian. So much for equal treatment under the law. Goodbye to American justice for all. (Source: Gay365.com News Service, March 17, 2004)
During the 2004 election season, the Republican National Committee dug up what they thought was the ultimate dirt on John Kerry: he has a cousin who is... French! Do the Republicans really want to argue that a man is unfit for the Presidency because of his family's ethnic heritage? Apparently, yes. The more important question: do you want to lend your support to these people? (Source: Republican National Committee Briefing, "International Man of Mystery, March 8, 2004)
In May 2004, the Republican Justice Department announced to great fanfare that they would allocate $47 million for a program to hiring of police officers at the local level. This money was already in the 2004 budget, and so of course it would be spent. What the Republicans didn't mention was that their new budget for 2005 proposed CUTTING that same program for hiring police officers by 87 PERCENT. (Source: New York Times May 19, 2004)
Bush said it! "The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." Sigh. Are you ready to start the cleanup in 2009? (Source: New York Times November 23, 2000)
When George W. Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson announced in 2004 that his department would award $11.7 million to help states provide health-insurance for poor Americans, he neglected to mention that George W. Bush had tried for three years to completely eliminate that program. Fortunately, in each of those three years Bush failed in his efforts to cut health insurance, thanks to progressive members of Congress. Now hereÕs a crazy notion: what would happen if progressive members of Congress proposed health insurance coverage for poor Americans and the president agreed? Vote for a progressive president in 2008 and thatÕs what youÕll get. (Source: New York Times May 19, 2004)
Bush said it! "I do know I'm ready for the job. And, if not, that's just the way it goes." And that is just the way it went. We were warned; letÕs not make that mistake again. (Source: Chicago Sun-Times August 22, 2000)
Think four more years under another Republican couldn't really be so bad? Well, did you think the last seven years under a Republican would be this bad? They continue to surprise us, which is kind of scary.
Under the Republicans, the Centers for Disease for Control has been forced to require all federally-funded HIV prevention programs to state the "lack of effectiveness of condom use" for preventing the spread of AIDS. What's next: Purple is Green Month? Drink Drano to Your Health Day? (Source: LA Weekly June 25, 2004)
When William R. Miller, professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, was interviewed by the Bush Administration for a position as a scientific advisor to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, he was asked whether he had voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 elections. After his response, Miller's appointment was cancelled. In another interview for a position at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Claire Stark was repeatedly asked by a staffer at the White House whether she had voted for George W. Bush. Dr. Stark repeatedly refused to answer, noting that the position she would take was scientific rather than political. But the White House interviewer continued to ask for Dr. Stark's confidential and irrelevant voting record. (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, July 2004)
When Nobel laureate in medicine Torsten Wiesel was nominated to serve on the advisory board of the Fogarty International Center at the NIH, Bush Administration officials reportedly rejected Wiesel because he had written too many letters to the New York Times that were critical of George W. Bush. (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, July 2004)
The Republican Department of Justice was so desperate to make it appear that the Bush Administration was prevailing against terrorists that it classified 35 criminal cases in Iowa as blows in the War on Terrorism. The problem: most of the defendants in these cases were charged with simple crimes like fraud (omitting mention of prior drug arrests on employment forms) or theft (of baby formula!), served a few months in jail, and then were released. Judges involved in the cases said they were not terrorist-related at all. (Source: Associated Press July 19, 2004)
If you sat down to play poker with any major figure in the Republican Party, you'd win hands down. They're all so transparent when they're bluffing, aren't they? Bluffing about reasons for war, bluffing about patriotism and the flag, bluffing about family values. The problem is, we're not playing poker. We're playing with policies that affect peopleÕs lives.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared before the Republican National Convention in 2004 to utter the following profound sentiment: that "those critics who are pessimistic about our economy" are "girlie men."
Well first of all, they're called statisticians, not girlie men. And second of all, "girlie men" is at best a synonym for "men who are like women" and at worst "faggots."
So this is what the Republican Party has to offer? That people who worry about the economy are either men who are like women (apparently to the Republicans it is a problem to be like a woman) or gay?
Spare us four more years of this "moral uplift." Vote enlightened in 2008. (Source: Associated Press September 1, 2004)
The Republicans have consistently followed a plan to prevent minorities from voting from the 2000 election all the way up to the 2004 election. In 2003, for example, people in neighborhoods with large minority populations were met by Republican Party operatives when they tried to vote. The Republican operatives were dressed in suits with official insignia, carrying clip boards and wearing ear pieces, as if they were election officials. They were not election officials, but they told minority voters that they would have to meet extra identification requirements if they wanted to vote. As a result, large numbers of minority voters were turned away from the polls, and the Philadelphia district attorney's office got almost 100 complaints about the racist abuse. Such race-based harassment is what the Republican Party stands for. (Source: The Crisis, September/October 2004)
Rim shot synopsis of Republican logic: Why did the chickenhawk increase our debt? To make our government smaller!
Do you remember that photo-op back in November 2003 when George W. Bush was photographed sharing a turkey with adoring soldiers? It turned out that turkey was plastic. But now a soldier shares the screening process for members of the military to get into the room with Bush. Soldiers had to fill out a questionnaire with the question "Do you support the president?" Soldiers who answered "yes" were granted entry, giving Bush a conveniently managed backdrop of strong support. Soldiers who answered "no" were denied entry and given meager MREs to eat on Thanksgiving Day. This is just one more dispatch from Potemkin America. (Source: Dr. Redwood Interviews, 2004)
Trustworthy Leader Who?
That's what I've been asking myself for the last seven yearsÉ
Republicans controlling Congress in 2004 loved to talk about how much they cared for AmericansÕ security. Yet they tried to cut millions of dollars in funding from cardiovascular research programs, even though heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Such actions decrease, not increase, national security. (Source: Fact Sheets for House Consideration of the 2005 Budget, House Budget Committee, Democratic Caucus, March 23, 2004)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), controlled by the Republican Bush Administration, promised the American people that it would release information about which cars and trucks have the worst histories of involvement in the death or injury of passengers. But then it reversed itself and decided to keep the information secret. Why? The NHTSA has decided to cave in to pressure from tire manufacturers.
The Republican White House refused to lift a finger to get the information released, and so American drivers remained in the dark about whether their own vehicles are unsafe. Sally Greenberg of the Consumers Union accuses the government of "opting for secrecy in the area of vehicle safety." Greenberg challenges the Bush Administration to open the records for public view, saying, "The more the government decides to keep data under lock and key, the more they put the public at risk."
Putting the public at risk for the sake of corporate lobbyists is the way that the Republicans prefer to have things run at the NHTSA, and for that they deserve a big boot on Election Day. (Source: Detroit Free Press, September 24, 2004)
In 2004, the Republican National Committee sent out literature claiming that Democrats want to pass laws to ban the Bible. Not only is this ridiculously desperate, it's also simply untrue. Is the Republican National Committee willing to say anything, do anything, to get what it wants? That's not very Biblical. (Source: New York Times September 24, 2004)
Republicans at the state level are just as involved in unethical shenanigans as Republicans at the national level. For example, in 2004 in New York State, Republican Governor George Pataki paid for part of his special tax giveaways to rich New Yorkers by savagely cutting funding for public libraries across New York State. Then, Republican legislators in the New York State Assembly put together a plan to restore funding for libraries, but only in districts where voters supported Republican candidates. Libraries in Democratic-leaning areas of New York State were told to go to hell. This is only one of the many ways that the Republican elite have launched a war against librarians, and that's just plain weird. (Source: Syracuse Post-Standard, September 23, 2004)
If Republicans thought that cutting veterans' benefits was the right thing to do, you'd think that they would make these cuts in the open, with pride. Instead, the Republicans sneak these cuts through. The Republicans in Congress cut veterans' benefits between midnight and 6:00 AM on a Friday morning, so that they could be sure that the story would be buried in the Saturday morning newspapers, the least read newspapers of the week. If Republicans are going to betray the people they support, they ought to at least not try to cover it up. (Source: American Prospect, September 20, 2004)
Moderates everywhere know that balance is a good thing in life and in politics. The American federal government has been thrown out of balance under the regime of George W. Bush, with the judicial and executive branches of government increasingly dominated by right-wing extremists and with the legislative bodies of Congress increasingly sidelined from decision-making. We need to return balance to the branches of government, bringing the White House and the Supreme Court back toward the mainstream and empowering the Congress to act as a coequal branch of government once again.
ItÕs not only against the extremist government administration of George W. Bush that the reintroduction of progressivism must act to balance. The likes of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and US News and World Report have use their corporate sponsors' deep pockets to promulgate their increasingly extremist bias in reporting, imposing their own form of control over our society. Yet another corporate-dominated administration, be it Republican or Democratic, wonÕt do it. We need an independent who isnÕt reading from a board-room script. We need a progressive voice from the bully pulpit of the Oval Office to balance the corporate media out.
On the eve of war against the nation of Iraq, a war that has cost tens to hundreds of thousands of lives, George W. Bush pumped his fist for the camera, smiled, and said "I Feel Good!". Feeling good about going to war? Does that attitude match with your values? NobodyÕs feeling good about the aftermath now. (Source: Chicago Tribune March 20, 2003)
George W. Bush said in 2000 that Jesus Christ is his favorite political philosopher. Last time we checked, Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." That, and "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." God, Earth, Peacemakers, the Meek. Little details like that. Apparently, W. doesn't read the Bible much. If we must speak Biblically, how about we find ourselves a Sermon on the Mount president?
Ethics, schmethics. In his administration, Bill Clinton prohibited the paying of cash bonuses to political appointees in the executive branch of the U.S. government. The Bush administration reinstated cash bonuses for political appointees. (Source: New York Times 12/4/2002).
DonÕt be soothed into thinking the people whoÕve driven this country into a ditch feel anguished about it. Take our president, George W. Bush. What does Bush think about when he goes to sleep at night? The millions of American jobs lost since he took office? The thousands upon thousands of dead in a war he started? Environmental deregulation? Constitutional violations? No, according to Bush, "Sometimes when I sleep at night I think of 'Hop on Pop.'" (Source: White House News Releases April 4, 2002)
ThereÕs something morally sick about a party in power that treats a matter of life and death as if it were an item on a business sheet. When asked in August 2002 why George W. Bush was simultaneously complaining about Iraq as an imminent threat but saying he wouldn't have any suggestions for action until he returned from a month-long vacation in Texas, Bush's chief of staff Andrew Card replied: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." What would have been different if Andrew Card hadnÕt thought of war as a widget to sell? (Source: New York Times, September 7 2002).
George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress tried to send America's best medical researchers to jail. I'm not kidding: the House and Senate GOP expended political effort to ban somatic cell nuclear transfer research, which would create medically precious stem cells by moving patients' own skin cells into the nucleii of donated eggs. This is not the cloning of babies we're talking about -- no Frankenbabies would be created in the process. It's simply the creation of stem cell lines tailored to each individual's genetic makeup, which could be used to help people walk again, recover from strokes, battle Parkinson's disease and lead healthier lives in ways we can't even yet imagine. But the Republicans wouldnÕt have that. Instead, they tried to pass a bill under which any researcher, health care provider or patient using such a treatment would have had to fork over up to a million dollars and spend up to ten years in jail. Punishing doctors and patients for trying to heal. How petty and backward-minded. (Sources: New York Times April 23, 2003 and New York Times May 2, 2003)
When Bush couldn't get the Republican Senate to go along with his plan to ban somatic cell nuclear transfer research, he pushed the United Nations to ban the research world-wide, regardless of the lack of agreement in the United States that this is a wise course of action. (Source: Reuters December 9, 2003)
Because in the last two terms of a Republican administration, the standard of truth-telling has pretty much come down to this: For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 31, 2003
President Didn't Say Simon Says
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
November 31, 2003
11:10 A.M. EST
MR. McCLELLAN: Good morning. Let me run through the President's day so far. First of all, this morning the President ate a full bowl of Crispy Corn Flakes, with Raisins. While he read the back of the box, his staff verbally summarized important news events. The President made a phone call to Governor Schwarzenegger of California, and I'm told the two had a positive discussion regarding the development of the entertainment industry as it specifically pertains to the cinema and the role of stunt doubles. After a game of solitaire on the computer, a two-mile jog and a nap, the President convened his physical fitness board and had a nice lunch. The President is now in conference with Vice President Dick Cheney in an undisclosed location. I'd like to open the floor to questions.
Q: Sir, many in the press are wondering whether Mr. Bush stands by his statment of March 18 that "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised"...
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely. The President ...
Q: The President absolutely stands by that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Of course. The President of course absolutely stands by that statement.
Q: How is that possible, when no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Dave, if you look carefully at the transcript of the President's remarks, you'll find that at no point in his speech does the President say "Simon says."
MR. McCLELLAN: Simon says. As in the game. Simon says.
Q: What does that have to do...
MR. McCLELLAN: Operating under the principles of Simon says, unless a phrase is not followed "Simon says," it is not to be taken literally. Indeed, to take literally a statement not followed by "Simon says" traditionally merits some mark of derision. Acting in that capacity, I must say I am disappointed by the lack of professionalism of the press corps in this regard. Are there other questions?
Q: Following up on that, in a speech to the Republican National Committee Vice President Cheney asserted that "Saddam Hussein has neither accounted for, nor destroyed" anthrax, sarin, mustard gas and VX nerge gas. But with none of these weapons found, it is becoming increasingly plausible that Mr. Hussein actually did order the destruction of these agents, that is if they ever existed. So...
MR. McCLELLAN: Hold on. I'm not comfortable with the direction that statement is headed in. If you will review your press packets for that day, January 31 of this year, you will note that January 31 is National Backwards Day. Clearly the Vice President's remarks must be taken in that context.
Q: I see. Are there any other caveats that would clarify the White House position on weapons of mass destruction?
MR. McCLELLAN: Certainly. On March 30, 2003, when Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld asserted of any alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that "We know where they are, they are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north of that," he was warming up for April Fools' Day which, if you were to fly around the world one and one-half times in an easterly direction, it would already have been. I am also advised that when President Bush said of Saddam Hussein on September 19, 2003 that "this is a man who has weapons of mass destruction and says he doesn't. He poses a serious threat to the American people," he was tacitly honoring International Talk Like a Pirate Day. As we all know, pirates are known to exaggerate and dissemble at times, and I'm quite sure the President's audience appreciated that...
Q: Are we supposed to take this seriously, Mr....
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not finished. Finally, when Secretary Rumsfeld asserted the existence of "bulletproof evidence" connecting Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda, he had his fingers crossed, which is a well recognized sign that the meaning of a statement should be taken conversely. You wanted to ask that question, now, Helen?
Q: Thank you, I do. Is there any time in the future at which you anticipate that Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney or Mr. Rumsfeld will acknowledge that they either misled the American people or were themselves mistaken in their confident assessments of a military threat from Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's a fair question, and I'm happy to announce that tomorrow morning at 10:00, the President, Vice President and Secretary will convene in the Rose Garden to announce the results of a thorough and unbiased evaluation of the administration's claims in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Following their announcement, all three will be happy to take as much time as is necessary to address unscripted questions from the press corps in this regard.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I didn't say "Simon says." Thank you very much for coming today. Have a good weekend.
George W. Bush said it: "One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end." Washington, D.C., Jan. 8, 2002. Oh, if only that had been true. (Source: U.S. Department of State International Information Programs)
In the summer of 2003, George W. Bush's Attorney General, John Ashcroft, ordered all federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty whenever possible. Even if you believe in the death penalty, prosecutorial discretion about recommending its usage is one way for complexities of the circumstances surrounding a crime to be considered. Complexity was apparently too much for the Republican White House to handle. (Source: Washington Post September 22, 2003)
According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, of the $4 Billion a month being spent in 2003 for Bush's War in Iraq, $1.5 Billion could not be accounted for as of that September. In response to this report, Senator Edward Kennedy said the following regarding Bush's War in Iraq: "There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud." He further noted of the $1.5 Billion in unaccountable spending, "my belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops."
George W. Bush's did not respond on a factual basis to Senator Kennedy. He could have let us know where the mystery $1.5 Billion is going, but he didn't. Instead, he attacked Senator Kennedy's patriotism for questioning him: "I don't think we're serving our nation well by allowing the discourse to be come so uncivil that people say -- use words that they shouldn't be using."
What kind of political value system classifies questions about hidden money and policies of war as unAmerican and uncivil? (Sources: Associated Press September 18, 2003 and Boston Globe September 22, 2003)
In February of 2003, George W. Bush referred to an impending war against Iraq as a "game." That's sick. (Source: Toronto Star February 9, 2003)
Tellingly, the response of Republican politicians to charges that Bush is a liar is not to deny that he has been lying. No, instead they trot out phrases like this: "When you start throwing out words like lies and liars, I think that offends people." Well, yes, it does offend people. But not in the way that Republican partisans might like. (Source: WCAX News October 1, 2003)
How far have our national values fallen? A contrast:
John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
George W. Bush: Go shopping!
Franklin D. Roosevelt: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
George W. Bush: Orange Alert! Orange Alert! Quick! Grab your duct tape and plastic sheeting! Orange Alert!
Yet another contrast:
George Washington: I cannot tell a lie.
George W. Bush: What I said about there being an imminent threat of a nuclear attack from Iraq was technically correct.
In his address to an invitation-only crowd at the royal Whitehall Palace in the United Kingdom, George W. Bush said without apparent irony that "duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men." Under this moral principle, what does that make the men who pursue violent restraint? Who shall in turn "restrain" them? (Source: George W. Bush, Address of November 19, 2003)
On NPR's The Connection, December 5, 2003, Dick Gordon asked the smartest stupidest question I've heard in a long time: Why can't the Democrats come up with a new idea around which the Party can be organized?
This is a question right out of the Republican playbook, and it's a trick. The real answer is that the Democratic Party doesn't need to come up with a new organizing principle. The Democrats have an old one that does just fine. On The Connection, Mario Cuomo identifies it as "we're all in this together."
That's a nice phrase, and it's true, but what it comes down to is much simpler: The Democratic Party I knew used to stand for the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.
The Golden Rule makes sense not only because it is nice, but because when others (whether they are individuals or nations) are treated with respect they tend to become respect-worthy. When others are treated with fairness, they tend to act fairly. When others are treated with accountability they tend to take responsibility. The Golden Rule works to build more stable, more prosperous, more tightly interwoven and more just societies.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party stands for the Rotten Rule: Do Unto Others Whatever You Can Get Away With.
The Rotten Rule erodes trust, encourages venality, fosters violence, encourages fear, ignores justice, and wastes our energies on destructive gambits.
Bush and the Republicans are Rotten. The alternative is Golden. But hereÕs the smart part of Dick GordonÕs stupid question: he asked why the Democrats couldnÕt come up with a new idea for their Party because the Party has shown signs of abandoning that old idea. LetÕs shore up the Golden Rule in government by electing a progressive in 2008.
Right after visiting the grave of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Republican president George W. Bush appointed Charles W. Pickering to the federal appeals court. Pickering has a long history as an advocate of racial segregation, and an opponent to voting rights legislation. This betrayal reminds us that we need to watch what the Republican Party does, not what its photo opportunities say, to uncover the partyÕs true values.
Oh, and keep your eyes on this: Bush appointed Pickering while Congress was out of session, thus depriving the American people of their right to approve the appointment through the Senate confirmation process. Progressives in the Senate had blocked PickeringÕs confirmation on the grounds that Pickering's segregationist past made him a poor choice for a federal appeals judgeship. By appointing Pickering in this back-handed manner, Bush not only flouted the will of the United States Senate, he also snubbed the very civil rights activists he met with on Dr. King's birthday. (Source, San Francisco Chronicle, January 16, 2004)
Propaganda ministries in totalitarian nations around the world can point to what's happening now in America and say, "See? Democracy doesn't work after all. America's not really run by the people. It's run by a small group of corrupt, powerful individuals. Democracy is just an illusion created by the few to control the many."
Well they're wrong, because no matter how the corrupt few try to pull the wool over our eyes, at the end of the day, we all get to vote. Democracy doesnÕt inevitably work, but it can work, and 2008 is the year we show the world it works by putting the office of the presidency back on the right track.
I turned on CSPAN one morning to hear a conservative Republican from Tennessee preach about what it means to be a "real American", announcing that if Massachusetts and California want to let gay people get married, they don't belong in the United States anymore. It's discouraging to see conservatives encouraging interregional hatreds of a strength that have not been seen since the days of the Civil Rights struggle four decades ago. Through negative advertisements, like those of the Club for Growth, conservatives have been actually encouraging Americans to hate other Americans solely because of the region of the United States in which they live. This kind of division within America should not be sought for the sake of mere political gain. (Source: CSPAN, February 23, 2004)
More moral clarity from George W. Bush: When 500 Haitians took to the sea in rickety boats to try to escape the devastating violence in their country, Bush ordered the Coast Guard to pick them up and return them to Haiti, where they face attacks by both rebels and Aristide loyalists, all over again. Bush's excuse? He says it's not his problem. It is against international law to refuse to help refugees who are fleeing violence. I guess Bush's morality gets a bit fuzzy on matters like that, though. (Source: Associated Press, February 28, 2004)
We agree with The Progressive magazine when it states, "Bush contended that marriage is the foundation of our society. But he's wrong. Justice is the foundation of our society." Justice, in and out of marriage, is the core of our values, even if it's not something that Bush values. We're sick of hearing politicians acting on behalf of fundamentalists to cram their family values through everybody else's front door. We want to return to an America in which individual rights are respected as much as the rights of social institutions of authority, such as marriage. (Source: The Progressive, February 25, 2004)
Why vote for a progressive? Because momentum matters. Individually, people can be very smart, but collectively we can act like cattle, moving in a direction just because other people are. This is how George W. Bush managed to yank the country rightward despite losing the popular (and possibly the electoral) vote in 2000.
Now the momentum is shifting, because Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans have had enough of being pushed. We're pushing back, and the country is noticing. Perhaps you've noticed, too: it's little things such as few people daring any more to call you unpatriotic just for criticizing George W. Bush.
But the sad thing about government momentum is that it keeps us moving in a certain direction long after the people who put changes in motion have left. Just to move back to the center, weÕre going to need to push in a progressive direction for a while. That wonÕt be accomplished by electing another conservative Republican, and it wonÕt be accomplished by electing a corporate Democrat. We need a progressive in the White House to apply enough political force to stop the march of intrusive government conservatism.
Eva writes to us from Germany with an international perspective: "Germans tend to think that Americans are arrogant and ignorant and believe themselves to be the kings of the world. George W. does nothing to contradict that; he even confirms it. Chancellor Schroeder was among the first to offer help after 9/11. Bush's conception of friendship seems to be: do what I want, or get lost!"
An increasing number of Americans will react to Eva's thoughts by dismissing them: after all, they'll say, she's a German, not an American, so who cares what she thinks anyway? This xenophobic way of thinking has only been encouraged by the bull-in-a-China-shop approach of the Bush years.
You want to know what unaccountable leadership sounds like? Listen to George W. Bush: "I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." We know how that kind of leadership turned out. ItÕs time for an alternative. (Source: Washington Post, November 19, 2002)
The Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs has decreed that in order for Catholics to continue to receive Communion, they cannot vote for any candidate for office who supports stem-cell research or abortion rights. Don't you hate getting pushed around by puffed-up holier-than-thou zealots? November 2008 provides an opportunity to show you that you won't be bullied in the voting booth. (Source: Denver Post May 14, 2004)
George W. Bush has helpfully explained why he doesn't read newspapers or even watch the nightly news on television: "I like to have a clear outlook. It can be a frustrating experience to pay attention to somebody's false opinion or somebody's characterization, which simply isn't true." Yes, exposure to other points of view can pose a pesky problem for one's clarity. It might even change one's mind. What ever would happen if we had a new president who read the papers? (Source: Washington Times May 11, 2004)
When Bush said that the attacks of September 11, 2001 "changed everything", he acknowledged bin Laden's power to destroy our way of life. No president should ever allow a terrorist to have so much power over America. We could have stood firm and refused to change our way of life. We could have refused to comply with bin Laden's plan. Instead, Bush "changed everything" and gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted.
"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there." Š George W. Bush, speaking classic Republicanese Š always, always on the lookout for a Them. (Source: Ottawa Citizen March 9, 2000)
There's nothing worse than a rude Frenchman snickering at you... unless of course it's a rude Frenchman who's got a point snickering at you. The French have had a point lately, so if you visit Paris prepare yourself for a richly deserved taunting.
Until George W. Bush became president, the White House released an annual report entitled "Equal Pay Matters" that tracked changes in the pay gap between women and men in the United States. George W. Bush put an end to that publication. (Source: The Village Voice March 12, 2003)
A Republican-controlled Senate confirmed J. Leon Holmes to a federal judgeship. Holmes has written that in marriage "the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man," and has also written that conceptions from rape occur "as often as it snows in Miami." Holmes is not only morally regressive, he's just plain wrong: approximately twenty thousand rape victims become pregnant in the United States every year. That George W. Bush would nominate and the Republican Senate confirm such an ignorant and odious man shows how morally bankrupt the G.O.P. has become. (Source: Brattleboro Reformer July 20, 2004)
George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans love to go on and on about how about how the Bible is their source of morality, and how it's important for Biblical standards of morality to be protected by the government. That is, after all, why the Republicans have pushed so hard for an amendment to the Constitution to keep gay people from getting married. It's puzzling, then, why the Republicans have not pushed for other moral standards clearly spelled out in the Bible to be enacted in law.
Let's take, for instance, usury: the lending of money at high rates. The Bible clearly states that usury is a major-league sin:
Leviticus 25: 35-36
And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.
But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right... And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he sh all surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
Exodus 22: 25
If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury.
Matthew 21: 12-13
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
In recent years, the United States has been beset by the proliferation of predatory lending operations that offer desperate people short-term "payday loans" to tide them over for a week or two, but that charge huge interest rates for the "favor."
Where are the Republican legislative initiatives before the Congress to be rid of the usurious payday lenders? Where is the Constitutional Amendment against usury? Biblical sins that benefit rich corporations while crushing the lives of the dispossessed are apparently not a Republican concern. The private acts of consenting adults must be regulated first. (Source: www.whitehouse.gov)
The Republican-controlled Congress perennially considers another amendment to the Constitution, an amendment to ban the burning of American flags. Do you see anyone on your street corner burning flags? Is there some kind of rampant flag-burning movement sweeping across Wisconsin or something? I don't think so. But while the Republicans are wasting their time playing amendment games (knowing all the while that there's no chance of the amendment being passed), Americans are going without enough jobs, without enough health care, without information about energy security, without full funding for education initiatives, and with another soldier dying in some foreign entanglement every day. Will the Republicans address these matters? No, of course not -- they're too busy keeping people from burning flags!
When will the Republicans get real? When pigs fly? It's time to get somebody else in charge who is willing to do the heavy lifting needed to get our country back on track. (Source: Reuters July 20, 2004)
What was the moral worldview of the delegates assembled in New York City for the Republican National Convention of 2004? According to Leonardo Alcivar, spokesman for the Bush convention, "Our delegates understand the old adage, do unto others as they do unto you."
We'll take Alcivar's word for it that "do unto others as they do unto you" is an accurate representation of the ethical perspective of the central circle of Bush conventioneers. Unfortunately, that phrase is not an accurate quotation of the old adage known as the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule actually reads "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
The difference between the Golden Rule and the Republican Rule is not trivial. As Alcivar articulated it, human action in a society should be organized according to payback: if someone slaps you upside the head, you should slap them right back (lest you think this was a misquote or a slip of the tongue, Alcivar mentioned the Republican version of the adage as a way of letting reporters know that whatever anti-Bush demonstrators might dish out, conventioneers might be inclined to dish right back). The Golden Rule, on the other hand, asserts that if we act toward others not as they act toward us but as we wish they would act toward us, the standard of conduct in a society will come to resemble our wishes.
The Golden Rule is instructive, self-sacrificing, with a vision for the long term that offers a strategy for improvement in the way we deal with each other as individuals, groups and nations. The Republican Rule is vindictive, self-guarding, short-sighted and offers no hope for improvement in the way people, groups and nations interact with one another. (Source: New York Times August 31, 2004)
Alcivar's misconstrual of the Golden Rule establishes another troubling tendency among Bush's core of supporters at the convention: apparently, they enjoy referring to the Bible more than they enjoy reading it.
The Golden Rule is clearly enshrined in the New Testament of the Bible, in two places:
(Matthew 7:12 RSV) "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."
(Luke 6:31 RSV) "And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."
Do we have to quote the Bible to the ostentatious Bible-thumpers? Apparently we do. The Bush conventioneers that Alcivar refers to aren't nearly as Biblical as they say they are -- and we certainly don't need another four years of self-righteous ignorance masquerading as piety.
Bush Administration Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's line of defense against criticism on torture at Abu Ghraib:
"Does it rank up there with chopping someone's head off on television? It doesn't."
Is that what America stands for now? At least we don't chop your head off? I think we can reach for a higher standard than this. (Source: Associated Press September 10, 2004)
Under the Bush Administration's watch, both military and civilian branches of government are suffering from a shortage of translators of Arabic. Yet six translators of Arabic have been dismissed from the military because they were gay. Priorities? (Source: CBS News November 14, 2002)
It wasn't just immoral for the Bush Administration to condone interrogation techniques that have been characterized as torturous. It also just plain didn't work. In the period adter media pressure forced the Bush Administration to end the use of "physical coercion" (a nice term for torture) in interrogation in Iraq, interrogators gained 50% more high-value intelligence from interrogation than they did when they were using "coercion." (Source: New York Times September 7, 2004)
In 2004 Democrats have put forward a plan to fully fund health coverage for disabled children under the Family Opportunity Act. Congressional Republicans refused to cooperate or even let the bill move forward, demanding that the Democrats stop trying to help the parents of children with disabilities. Can you get any meaner than that? (Source: Fact Sheets for House Consideration of the 2005 Budget, House Budget Committee, Democratic Caucus, March 23, 2004)
Conservatives in America have a goal of making abstinence-only sex education the standard for all schools in the United States, and taking away teenage access to contraceptives. The conservatives in Texas put such standards into place; how well have they worked there? Texas is tied with Mississippi for the highest rate of teenage pregnancy. (Source: Houston Voice, September 10, 2004)
What's the problem with the kind of abstinence-only sex education that American conservatives love so much? Why does it lead to higher rates of teenage pregnancy? Well, according to the Protect Our Kids Campaign, which is fighting against abstinence-only sex education in Texas, the textbooks used in the conservative variety of sex education classes include information that is just plain untrue. Texas physician Gordon Crofoot agrees, saying that the textbooks are "factually and scientifically incorrect". (Source: Houston Voice, September 10, 2004)
When Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, thinks about how to reduce crime, she's got a long-term vision. "The criminal justice system is not where you reduce crime," she says. "You do that with schools, the economy, and social services." Schools, the economy, and social services: those are priorities of a progressive administration. If you want to reduce crime, vote progressive. (Source: Time Out New York, August 5-12, 2004)
In The President of Good and Evil, author Peter Singer analyzes the content of George W. Bush's speeches and finds that Bush refers to "evil" more often as a noun than an adjective. In doing so, Bush inappropriately lends separate reality to what he thinks is an entity - Evil - that can therefore be vanquished. But if evil is really something that characterizes what people do, then it is more difficult to win a War on Evil, because evil is always a potential trait rather than a concrete thing to be identified and eliminated. Bush is either unwilling or unable to entertain the latter, more complicated possibility.
During the Bush-Kerry debate of September 30, 2004, George W. Bush repeatedly asserted that Americans need to speak with one voice in support of his war policy in Iraq, because "mixed messages" will "embolden the enemy."
Hmmm. When do "mixed messages" occur? When people express and advocate for different ideas about what to do in a situation. Isn't that democracy? And when people speak with one voice, isn't that called dictatorship? Surely the American people are too smart to support dictatorship Š arenÕt they? The answer to that question is up to you. (Source: Transcript of Bush-Kerry Debate of September 30, 2004)
How far have extremist right wing activists gone in taking control of the Republican Party? Take the agenda of Republican Congressman Jim DeMint as one sign of the radicalization of the Republican Party. DeMint has declared that he favors banning gays from working as schoolteachers. Oh, but that's not all! Mr. DeMint also says that single mothers out to be forbidden from working as schoolteachers too. (Source: Politics1.com, October 8, 2004)
How addicted to fear-based politics is the current administration? It's told school administrators to devote their time and energy to watch for people spying on their school buses...because in the wake of the school capture in RUSSIA, the administration figures terrorists could hijack school buses here, even though there is no evidence that terrorists are planning to do any such thing. (Source: Associated Press October 7, 2004)
The Center for Reproductive Rights has determined that should the Roe vs. Wade decision be overturned, thirty states would be ready to outlaw abortion within a single year. Of course, first there'd need to be a president who would have the chance to appoint just one more anti-choice judge to the Supreme Court, and we'd have to have a bunch of justices in their seventies. The latter we have. LetÕs make sure we donÕt get the former. (Source: Pasadena Star News October 5, 2004)
Remember that No-Bid contract the Bush Administration handed to Halliburton, the corporation headed by Dick Cheney until he became Vice President? Well, guess what Halliburton did with the gift -- overbill the U.S. Government for gasoline by more than a two and a half dollars per gallon. ThatÕs what happens when cronyism is allowed to creep into politics. (Source: New York Times December 10, 2003)
The Bush Administration's Security and Exchange Commission was supposed to inspect mutual funds to ensure that brokers dealt on the straight and narrow. Well, it turned out that huge swaths of the mutual funds brokerage houses gave sweetheart deals to large-scale investors that illegally allowed them to trade after-hours at the expense of small-scale investors. And Bush's poorly-funded SEC didn't carry out enough inspections to catch these evil-doers. Indeed, Bush's SEC didn't even follow up when a whistle-blower literally walked into its office with documentation and alerted them to the problem. New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose well-funded investigation (along with an investigation of the well-funded Massachusetts Securities Division) uncovered the shenanigans, says that Bush's SEC engaged in "an outrageous betrayal of the public trust.... The regulators who were supposed to have been watching this industry were asleep at the switch." The Republican laissez-faire approach to markets didnÕt work. The progressive regulatory approach did. (Sources: Boston Globe October 24, 2003 and Rocky Mountain News November 1, 2003)10. Made-in-the-USA textile businesses are infuriated at the Bush Administration for failing to address the economic fallout of cheap, sweatshop-produced clothing flooding into this country from China. Says John Emrich of Guilford Mills, "So far, we have not been able to get our message across to anyone in this administration. They have dragged their feet on every issue and patted our heads as if we are the sort of people who don't get it." When even corporations start getting angry at a Republican President, you just know he's doing an awful job. (Source: Associated Press November 7, 2003)11. Let us consider family values! Yesterday, I glanced at the USA Today newspaper in the library, and my eye was caught by one of those little charts they've always put down in the corner of the front page. According to this chart, the number one reason that most American families do not sit down together for an evening meal is that one or more of the parents is forced to work long hours that bring them home long after dinnertime is over! What!?!? You mean Hollywood isn't to blame? You mean it isn't the "Gay Agenda"? How could it be that the lack of mandatory prayer in school was not to blame? I'm shocked! Shocked! No, it looks like the reason that American families can't even sit down to dinner together anymore is that they're having to work longer and longer hours just to make ends meet. Now, I find this to be kind of interesting, considering that one of the Republican Party's current missions is to ABOLISH OVERTIME PAY. No, really, it's true! George W. Bush himself spent months in the year 2003 pushing a bill through Congress that would have made millions of American workers exempt from overtime pay. So, under the Bush plan, American workers ought to work overtime, be taken away from their family evening meals, but then get no overtime pay for it. That's actually what the Bush bill said! Folks, those are not family values. Those are corporate values. Those are Republican elite values. The Republicans are the anti-family values party, and America needs to wake up before the Republicans do further damage to the American working family. (Source: USA Today November 11, 2003)12. "There are a lot of other things that are more important than that," wrote Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay, referring to a congressional proposal to include working families earning up to $26,625 in the $400 child tax credit given to better-off families. At the last minute, Republican Party operatives removed children of the working poor from the tax credit plan. What, empirically speaking, is "more important" in the Republican Party tax package than including children of the working poor in a child tax credit plan? Dividend benefits for millionaires? Or assistance for casino operators? How did that work out for Tom DeLay?Can we permit the Republican Party to continue to abandon kids from the wrong side of the tracks like this? (Source: New York Times June 4, 2003)13. George Soros knows money. He's made 7 billion dollars of it for himself. So, perhaps we ought to listen when Mr. Soros comments on George W. Bush's tax policy. Soros says, "The purpose of Bush's tax cuts was to reduce taxes on the rich, people like me. The linking of job cuts to taxes is deceptive. They weren't targeted at the middle class, and some don't kick in for five years. How does that create jobs in the short term?" Answer: It doesn't. It hasn't. Count ignoring the financial wisdom of George Soros as another reason to boot Bush. (Source: San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 2004)14. "I don't understand how poor people think." -- George W. Bush, stating the obvious. (Source: New York Times, August 26, 2003)15. The General Accounting Office reports that more than 60% of U.S. corporations didn't pay any federal taxes in recent years. I pay taxes. You pay taxes. Why don't corporations? ItÕs about time that we remedy this inequity. (Source: GAO Report to Congressional Requestors, Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1996-2000, February 2004)16. The Republican Party Platform of 2000 read, ŅOur powerful economy gives America a unique chance to confront persistent challenges.Ó They're right, it did. But they certainly won't be able to include that line in the Republican Party Platform of 2008. The Republicans inherited a powerful economy and transformed it into one that is mediocre at best. What damage could they do with another eight years? (Source: 2000 Republican Party Platform)
17. In April of 2003, George W. Bush traveled to Canton, Ohio's Timken Co. to give a speech touting the benefits of his tax-cutting plan for companies like Timken.In May of 2004, Timken Co. announced it would close three of its plants in Canton and lay off 1,300 workers. (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer May 15, 2004)
18. On May 14, 2004, George W. Bush took time from his schedule of presidential duties to visit Bridgeton, Missouri for a fundraiser featuring Rolls-Royces on prominent display. To obtain the privilege of meeting with Bush, attendees were required to have funneled $25,000 to Bush, ensuring that only the most flush could get close to the president. The result: only 90 people in attendance brought $2.2 million in gift money for Bush. Bush was clearly pleased by this, exulting that "We have done extremely well with a few people. This is the way we like to do it in politics." George W. Bush was just the front man for an administration dedicated to the principle that all rich people are created more equal. Bush may leave the stage in January of 2009, but his administration and the program of elite-enrichment it stands for will keep right on trucking if you vote for a Republican in 2008. Is that what you want? (Source: Washington Post May 15, 2004)
19. In yet more evidence that the Bush Administration can't handle the law, the General Accounting Office has concluded that the Bush Administration illegally stretched definitions of a certain corporation's original contract in Iraq in order to award new funds to that corporation on a no-bid basis. That certain corporation: a subsidy of Dick Cheney's old firm, Halliburton. Who paid for that cronyism. Why, you, of course, this April and the next April and the April after that. (Source: Reuters June 14, 2004)
20. Alan Greenspan, a conservative Republican, has noted that if George W. Bush had not made a program of special tax favors that go overwhelmingly to corporations and very wealthy Americans, Social Security and Medicare would have been financially secure for the next 75 years. (Source: Fact Sheets for House Consideration of the 2005 Budget, House Budget Committee, Democratic Caucus, March 23, 2004)21. At the end of 2003, George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress announced that they would give 20 billion dollars in gifts to big energy corporations. In 2004, we again have record budget deficits. Connection, anyone? (Source: New York Times, November 15, 2003)22. While campaigning in 2000, George W. Bush argued against electing Al Gore president: "The vice president seems to have forgotten who's been in office for seven years. This is the administration that's been in charge, and the price of gasoline has gone steadily upward." (Source: Los Angeles Times July 1, 2000)Hmmm. How are gas prices now, compared to prices in the year 2000?