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The Irregular Alphabet
-The ABCs of Beating Bush in 2004 -

These days, so much is happening, so fast, that it's becoming difficult for American voters to keep track of all the news. In a presidential election year, being overwhelmed with information can cause many Americans to tune out, preferring to avoid the whole mess of making a decision in such hectic times.

Unfortunately, those of us who believe in American democracy don't really have the luxury of not voting this year. Over the last four years, Americans have become increasingly polarized, as the Republicans in power have attempted to install radical new policies that attack the foundations of our freedom and prosperity.

The entries below are just excerpts from our upcoming book: The ABCs of Beating Bush. The book itself, which will be published at the end of April,. contains many more entries, and more complete discussion of each issue.

We assembled this irregular alphabet because we wanted to simplify the important issues of the last four years into a format that reveals the foundation of the rift that threatens to rip America apart. Of course, if you want a more complete accounting of the problems of the Bush Administration, we are also assembling a list of 2004 Reasons to Boot Bush


-A-

Abortion

George W. Bush has steadily worked to destroy Americans' abortion rights from the start. Bush's very first official act as President was to block 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. Further, the executive order places a gag on family planning organizations worldwide, keeping them from even discussing abortion issues.

What is it that lets George W. Bush be so absolutely against abortion, no matter what the circumstances?"Sometimes, a simple question has a simple answer. In this case, the simple answer is that George W. Bush has never had to worry about getting pregnant.

Given Bush's privilege and prudishness, we support the motto that reads "I'll give up my choice when George W. Bush gets pregnant."

Abstinence

One of George W. Bush's favorite pet projects is pushing what is called abstinence-only education. You see, according to Bush, the best way to teach kids about sex is to teach them about only certain aspects of sex. It's kind of like teaching addition-only mathematics, or using tackle-only football coaching.Cowed by the dominance of conservative religious lobbying organizations in the Republican Party, Bush has decided that it ought to be against the law for public schools to teach teenagers anything about sex other than the reasons that they shouldn't have sex.

That's really all that abstinence-only education is: Adults nagging teenagers not to have sex, then not saying a word about how to handle it if they do have sex. Bush and his Republican religious reactionary allies really believe that if adults just tell teenagers not to have sex, and make sex seem really scary, then teenagers just won't want to have sex. The idea is that once teenagers stop wanting to have sex, there won't be any reason to educate them about it.

Afghanistan

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? 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 didn't want Bin Laden. Bush wanted to attack, and we have been suffering the consequences ever since.

Bin Laden is still on the loose and hard at work, and Afghanistan is still not under the control of the central government that Bush installed. Women are still oppressed in much of Afghanistan, and terrorist squads still roam the country. Heck, even opium (to make heroin) production is up in Afghanistan since Bush invaded.

Bush's invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not what we'd call a success story.

Americorps

George W. Bush promised in his State of the Union address to increase the AmeriCorps budget. Then, he cut it.

Arsenic

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.

-B-

Barbed Wire

Not long after John Ashcroft became the United States Attorney General, the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. was surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire. So, that's Bush's vision of justice, is it? A nation behind barbed wire is not something we choose to celebrate.

Boxgate

Late in January 2003, George W. Bush celebrated the winter season by performing a snow job on the American people. As millions of Americans saw it on their television sets, Bush stood in a factory warehouse in St. Louis, surrounded by shelves full of boxes stamped "Made In U.S.A.".

Actually, those boxes that seemed to be stacked up to the ceiling behind Bush weren't really boxes at all. They were made up, painted carefully on a canvas that appeared to be real when photographed or viewed on television. Of course, stacked all around Bush were real boxes, with the words "Made in U.S.A." stamped on them, just like in the fake painted boxes behind him.

After Bush gave his speech, a curious reporter wondered why there was extra tape around the areas that were stamped "Made in U.S.A." and peeled the tape back to see what lay beneath. The reporter found the words "Made in China". That's right, a team of people working for the White House printed up special stickers to cover up the fact that the boxes of factory goods all around Mr. Bush were full of products made in China, not in America. They did it just to make Bush look good. After some intial denials, the White House admitted as much.

Bribery

When his Medicare bill seemed in doubt in the Congress, the Republican establishment pulled out the big guns, offering a $100,000 campaign bribe to Representative Nick Smith for him to change his vote from no to yes. When Rep. Smith refused to change his vote, his son (who is running to take his place in office upon his retirement) was threatened. Representative Smith was told that campaign contributors would send extra funds to his son's competitors if he were to vote no.

Representative Smith stood his ground and voted no. After the vote, a number of Republican members of Congress, including representative Randy Cunningham approached Rep. Smith and let him know his son's candidacy was effectively over. Let's call it like it is: Using money to buy the votes of members of Congress is nothing more than bribery.

-C-

Censorship

When the media followed George W. Bush on his visit to Fort Carson, 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. Ground Rule #9 instructed that journalists must "Write positive stories about Ft. Carson and the U.S. Army." Ground Rule #6 for all media at Fort Carson instructed that "no roaming" was to be allowed. After all, journalists might actually end up interviewing someone. Apparently, the Bush Administration does not trust members of the military to follow the Bush party line. Are they, perhaps, afraid of what the once-independent press might find out?

Child care

It's a painful fact that for single parents of young children that in order to get a job, their kids have to go to child care. What makes it worse is that often, child care costs more than any job that a single parent might find, or at least so much that it's not possible to pay for child care and rent and food. In spite of these difficulties, in 2001, George W. Bush tried to cut funding for low-income child care. To make matters worse, while child care costs rose in 2002, George W. Bush proposed increasing the work hours required for single parents on welfare - with no increase in the funds to help single parents find child care. A lack of compassion for working parents with young children is not a trait that most Americans are looking for in a president.

Civil Liberties

With almost three years on the case with John Ashcroft's 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 Bush's new government programs to spy on Americans if they don't help catch murderers in our midst?

-D-

Deficit

Republicans love to go on and on about how fiscally irresponsible Democrats are. But the facts are not on the Republican Party's side. In constant dollars, Democratic Presidents Kennedy and Johnson contributed less to deficits than Republicans Nixon and Ford, both in total and on an average yearly basis. Democratic President Carter borrowed less than Republican Presidents Reagan and Bush, both in total and on an average yearly basis. It was Democratic President Bill Clinton who brought us out of deficit territory back to surpluses. It is Republican George W. Bush who is surging back to record deficits.

Dick Cheney says that deficits don't matter. Tell that to my son, Dick. He'll be picking up the tab for your Republican borrow-and-spend policies.

Drunk driving

George W. Bush is a convicted drunk driver. Well, it's true.

Dick Clarke

No, we're not talking about the guy who has that Rockin' New Year's Eve Party. We're talking about Richard Clarke, the guy who gave Condoleeza Rice a plan for dealing with Al Quaida, a plan that was thoroughly ignored. Of course, to be fair, Condoleeza Rice says that Clarke never gave her a plan, just a series of "actionable items". That clears it up, doesn't it?

-E-

Economy

Hey, you! Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Most people aren't, and yet George W. Bush insists on taking the power of government to create jobs and translating it instead into big checks for the super rich, the same super rich who are shipping jobs overseas instead of creating them.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney put the CON in economy.

Endangered Species

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. Most of those 20 species Bush was forced to add to the list, by court order.

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."

Evildoers

As he began his War On Evil, George W. Bush peppered every speech with the words "evil" and "evildoer", telling the American people that sacrifices of civil liberties were necessary in order to capture the "eviloder." 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? What does that make George W. Bush, the man responsible for degradation of American democracy?

-F-

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!

How could this be? I thought that Hollywood was to blame! Wasn't the "Homosexual Agenda" responsible for destroying the American family? How could it be that the lack of mandatory prayer in school was not to blame? I was shocked. Shocked!

Looking at the facts, it seems 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.

I find this to be kind of interesting, considering that one of the Republican Party's current missions is to abolish overtime pay.

George W. Bush himself spent months this year pushing a bill through Congress that would have made millions of American workers exempt from overtime pay. So, under the Bush plan, American workers can be made to work overtime, and be taken away from their family evening meals, but then get no overtime pay for it.

Folks, that's not family values. That's corporate values. That's Republican elite values.

Forestry

George W. Bush says that trees cause forest fires, and that if we would just cut a lot of trees down, we wouldn't have as many forest fires. That's about as logical as saying that it's journalists who cause George W. Bush to lie, and if we just cut down on the number of journalists writing about the Bush White House, Bush would lie less often.

France-bashing

With Bush in the White House, the looniest of Republican politicians in the Congress have been set free. And what are our Republican representatives doing with their time? Balancing the budget? No. The Republican-controlled Congress is spending its time renaming lunch items in the House Office Building cafeterias.

With all the problems in our country that need to be addressed, Republican members of Congress have instead been spending their days and nights putting up signs, passing out leaflets, and calling news conferences declaring that "Freedom Fries" are now being served for lunch. Oh, that'll fix things!

Funerals

Hundreds upon hundreds of Americans have died in Iraq in the course of prosecuting George W. Bush's war of choice. In our country, one traditional way to honor the sacrifice slain soldiers has been the ceremonial reception of soldiers in their caskets upon their arrival. However, the administration of George W. Bush, which sent these soldiers to die halfway around the world, has not only banned these ceremonies, but has also banned media from covering the return of slain soldiers to our country. Bush has even declared that he will not attend the funeral service of any of the Americans killed in Iraq. He explains that he's too busy. Funny how Bush isn't too busy to use taxpayer funds to fly around the country attending campaign fundraisers with Republican bigwigs. It looks like with George W. Bush, the only sacrifice that gets attention is a sacrifice of money.

-G-

Gay-baiting

What is it that gets George W. Bush in such a worked up bother about gay people? 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?

Global Warming

There are consequences to the Bush Administration decision to do nothing about global warming. A team of 19 scientists studying 1,103 native species in Mexico, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Europe conclude that one third of these species could disappear or approach extinction by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed.

Are those consequences not human enough for you? Well, then, consider that the Pentagon, of all organizations, has issued a report to George W. Bush, advising him that climate change has the likely potential to create huge disasters for humanity. A Pentagon report, kept secret from the American people until uncovered by the British press, predicts that, as a result of climate change "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life... Once again, warfare would define human life." As he does with most reports, George W. Bush has responded to this one by doing nothing.

-H-

Haiti

White House aides have been busy denying that George W. Bush has any responsibility for the armed revolution that has torn Haiti apart. However, as far back as his campaign in 2000, George W. Bush actively promoted a policy of neglect of Haiti by the United States. Back then, Bush criticized the Clinton Administration's efforts to stabilize Haiti, saying, "I wouldn't have sent troops to Haiti. I didn't think it was a mission worthwhile. It was a nation-building mission." So what did Bush do once he got into the White House to keep Haiti stable? He did exactly what he promised to do: Nothing. So, the Haitian people can give a big "Thanks for nothing" greeting card to George W. Bush, now that their nation has been ransacked by unelected gangs and drug dealers.

Halliburton

Vice President Dick Cheney has admitted receiving large payments from Halliburton since he came into office. He insists that these payments have had nothing to do with Halliburton getting that gazillion-dollar no bid contract. Cheney says that those payments he's gotten from Halliburton have been structured in such a way so as to make corruption impossible. He says that this is so even though the payments from Halliburton have been larger than his salary as Vice President.

Health care

In 2002, the number of Americans lacking health insurance rose by 2.4 million, introducing not only personal danger into the lives of these citizens, but also high costs for society when these people get acutely sick after a lack of preventative care. George W. Bush has failed to present a plan to provide these people with health care again.

Homeland

George W. Bush, who says that he's the man for homeland security (and security for the United States of America too, apparently), has actually proposed to eliminate the funding for a research program designed to establish methods to decontaminate buildings that have been exposed to biological or chemical weapons.In his budget proposal, Bush actually admits that the end of funding he suggests "represents the complete elimination of homeland security building decontamination research."The Environmental Protection Agency says that eliminating the research will "force it to disband the technical and engineering expertise that will be needed to address known and emerging biological and chemical threats in the future."Why does Bush want to eliminate this essential security program? He wants more tax cuts for the rich, and he has to pay for his ongoing adventure in Iraq.

-I-

International embarrassment

Kenneth Adelman, member of George W. Bush's Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board, who said "I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction," now says that because no weapons of mass destruction have been found, "the foreign policy blow-back is pretty serious," as nations around the world are showing a diminishing inclination to believe that what the Bush White House says is credible.

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 AsiaĐand 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?

Investigation

George W. Bush has insisted that his handpicked commission to investigate his administration's untruthful declarations to the American people must delay issuing a report until after November 2004.The problem is that elections are the tool by which people can hold their leaders accountable. If we do not know how and why the Bush administration misled Americans into supporting a war until after the November election, how can the elections serve their designated purpose?

Of course, George W. Bush does not want to be held accountable. George W. Bush cannot handle accountability. George W. Bush is running pell-mell from accountability. And that is all the more reason to hold him to account in the elections this year.

Iraq

George W. Bush tells the American people that "the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans." However, the plain fact is that in the decade before the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the American military, Iraqis were responsible for precisely zero killings of Americans. Now, in just one year since the beginning of Bush's war in Iraq, Iraqis have killed hundreds of Americans. Is this what Bush calls "the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people?" Now, for those of you who have gotten used to the fuzzy math of the Bush White House, keep in mind that hundreds is a bigger amount than zero.

-J-

Joseph Wilson

According to a senior Bush administration figure, the Bush White House leaked the name of a secret CIA operative to the press in order to get back at that operative's husband, Joseph Wilson, who had criticized Bush's plans for going to war in Iraq. The White House's actions not only jeopardized the safety of that CIA operative, but also the safety of the operative's helpful contacts in countries around the world.

Judicial branch

Who needs three branches of government? Not George W. Bush. No, he seems to think judicial review of executive branch actions is needless. Bush's latest policy push is to allow members of his administration's Justice Department to issue subpoenas to seize citizens' records or compel their testimony without the permission of a judge, based solely on the judgment of John Ashcroft or his underlings that the target is a danger to society. But wait, it gets better. If Bush's law gets passed, the citizen who has been slammed with an Ashcroft subpoena can't tell anyone but his or her lawyer that the subpoena even exists, under threat of a five-year prison term. If we value a free society (and it's clear Bush and Ashcroft don't), this sort of insanity has got to be stopped.

-K-

Kerry for President

K clearly stands for Kerry, although it could also stand for plenty of other things, like Kangaroo courts, or even Kucinich, the congressional representative from Ohio who has run a strong and principled progressive campaign for President. We have chosen to allot K to Kerry alone because John Kerry stands a symbol of resistance to all of the things that have gone wrong with the Bush Administration.

There are more reasons to vote for John Kerry than that he's not George W. Bush. John Kerry has taken principled stands his entire life, with the combination of intelligence and dignity that has brought him to the point of becoming one of the first statesman presidents in a very long time. Imagine standing George W. Bush next to Abraham Lincoln. Bush would disappear. Now consider Kerry in that position, and it's clear that Kerry has some real potential.

There's no denying that John Kerry has been on the wrong side of some issues, but the fact is that we all have. I know I have. Anyone who has been in the public eye for over 20 years is sure to have made a couple of small mistakes, but Kerry's mistakes are nothing on the order of Bush's ongoing tragedy of errors.

Kerry might be a great President, but there's no doubt in our minds that he will be a good President. Right now, given the awful term in office of George W. Bush, asking for a President who does just a good, solid, sane job at leadership is plenty. John Kerry can return America to balance, though it will take a long hard slog to undo the messes that Bush has created.

-L-

Land mines

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, has decided not to honor that pledge, and to keep using land mines.

Law

George W. Bush has led the Republican Party into a degraded attitude of amorality, in which Republican activists, and even Republican employees in Congress, are encouraged to do whatever is necessary, even to break the law, in order to defeat Democrats' attempts to bring balance back to American government. A case in point: Republican staffers in the U.S. Senate have been 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, and President Bush has done nothing to rein these Republican attack dogs in!

Lies

Clinton's Lies were about consensual private sex; Bush Lies about consequential policy. Bush's lies are much more serious because he lies to get people to go along with his political agenda. When Bush lies, lives are at stake.

-M-

Mercury

As if putting more arsenic and human sewage in Americans' drinking water isn't enough, George W. Bush and his White House aides have come up with a new poison to let loose, into the air this time: Mercury. It's a fact: George W. Bush and new EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt have acknowledged that they plan to let their friends in big energy corporations pump more mercury into the air that drifts through American neighborhoods in small towns, cities and even the countryside.Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Clean Air Trust, says "It shows that [EPA Administrator Michael] Leavitt is taking orders from the White House, which is influenced by the power companies that want to gut the mercury requirements."

Mercy

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.

Microsoft

Bush 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, George W. Bush came to occupy the White House, and ordered the lawsuit to be abandoned. Microsoft was instead allowed to settle with the federal government, in a sweetheart deal.

Mojo

How out of touch is the Bush Administration? When a reporter asked Donald Rumsfeld whether he had lost his "mojo," Rumsfeld responded that "I don't know what it means... in 1926 or something, it had to do with jazz music."

Moondoggle

In order to score political points by giving a token amount of funding to a mission to send people the Moon (Haven't we already done that?), George W. Bush has ordered the Hubble Space Telescope program to be ended years ahead of schedule. Destroying important scientific space missions in order to fund Buck Rogers whiz bang space adventures is just one more reason to boot Bush.

Even with the defunding of the Hubble Space Telescope, Bush is not actuallyproviding enough federal funds for anyone to actually make it to the moon. Bush simply refuses to put enough money in the budget to do the job right. He says that NASA ought to do the job on the cheap. That's President Moonbeam for you. Let's call this one Marooned On The Moon Act of 2004.

-N-

National Mall

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.

Negligence

When George W. Bush entered office in 2001, he quickly moved to abandon Clinton's efforts at brokering peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Instead of helping negotiations, the Bush Administration called for the bickering sides to sort things out "on their own." Fighting almost immediately escalated and has been going on ever since.

-O-

Oil

With George W. Bush, government is by the oil, of the oil, and for the oil. In just one of his petroleum presidential projects, Bush is still pushing to open up oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in spite of the fact that a majority of Americans oppose it for sound environmental reasons. The Bush Administration and its allies in Congress want to make it seem like there's a huge amount of oil that just can't be accessed because it's trapped in wildlife refuges. The truth is that there are 1,806 active oil and gas wells on 36 different wildlife refuges throughout the United States. The real problem is that these oil and gas wells are dramatically under-regulated. The General Accounting Office recently recommended a tightening of governmental oversight on activities related to oil and gas wells currently pumping within wildlife refuges in order to make sure that the refuges are not being harmed. What did George W. Bush do with this report? Why, he did the same thing he does with most reports - he ignored it.

O'Neill Paul

Paul O'Neill, who served in the Cabinet as Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, says that in the first few months of the Bush Administration in 2001, the Bush White House was drawing up plans to invade Iraq using American troops. O'Neill's claim is corroborated by members of the dissident Iraqi National Congress, who say that officials representing the Bush White House contacted them in early 2001 to include them in planning for an American invasion of Iraq.

Operation TIPS

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 Democratic lawmakers hadn't called a halt to the Bush-Ashcroft plan.

-P-

Patriot Act

Okay. Someone tell me what's Patriotic about allowing the government to tap my phone, search through my library records, and infiltrate my personal religious and political organizations, even if there isn't any suspicion that I am engaged in criminal activity. In an age when the Bush Administration accuses peace activists of being potential terrorists, I think that there's an awful lot that's downright unpatriotic about the Patriot Act.

Pollution

George W. Bush's father signed the Clean Air Act, but George W. Bush himself has turned out to be the Dirty Air President. Bush Junior has done more to enable pollution than any other President in living memory.

George W. Bush's first dirty air act: Breaking the only promise to protect the environment he made during his 2000 campaign, he decided not to do anything to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions that enter the air.

Under Vice President Dick Cheney's instruction, Bush's EPA (Emitting Pollution Administration) has dropped investigation of fifty 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.

In addition to letting these fifty big polluters go scott-free, Bush and Cheney have proposed letting thousands of other 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 pay the consequences.

The filth goes on and on and on...

Preemptive strike

James Webb, a Vietnam combat veteran, and secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan, writes, "Bush arguably has committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory. To put it bluntly, he attacked the wrong target... There is no historical precedent for taking such action when our country was not being directly threatened. The reckless course that Bush and his advisers have set will affect the economic and military energy of our nation for decades. It is only the tactical competence of our military that, to this point, has protected him from the harsh judgment that he deserves." Mr. Webb is no liberal pacifist. When he condemns Bush's reckless military adventures, we ought to listen.

-Q-

Questions

Why is the Bush Administration so opposed to answering even the most basic questions from the American people? As of January 2004, George W. Bush has avoided answering reporters' questions by accusing the reporters of using "trick questions" eleven times.

George W. 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, the order and source of questions has been pre-determined by his advisors. The appearance of Bush's spontaneity, 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. My momma calls someone like that a "puppet" -- when the strings fit....

Quagmire

The people who speak in the name of George W. Bush insist that the American military is not stuck in a quagmire in Iraq. Let's take a look at the facts:

  • As of this hour, something like 700 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Thousands upon thousands of others have been injured or taken prisoner.
  • The Bush Administration still does not even know who is behind all the attacks upon Americans in Iraq.
  • The Bush Administration has no concrete plan for transferring power to a genuinely Iraqi government, yet has only a month and a half to do so.
  • All the reconstruction agencies that were supposed to help America reconstruct Iraq are leaving the country.
  • Bush is sending more troops, not less, to Iraq.
  • The violence is getting worse, not better.

    So, how is Iraq not a quagmire?

    -R-

    Racism

    George W. Bush is the head of the Republican Party. Under his leadership, 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 George W. Bush address this disturbing fact? Okay, I'll answer that rhetorical question. You haven't heard George W. Bush address this problem, because he simply has never bothered to bring it up. Bush has proven unwilling to take any of the political risk necessary to lead the Republican presence in the Congress to become less segregationist. Apparently, Bush doesn't think it's a problem.

    Where racism exists, George W. Bush and his aides use their power to cover it up. For example, when George W. Bush and John Ashcroft's Justice Department publicly released a study of racial discrimination in the Justice Department, they "redacted" (the polite word for censored) the considerable number of sections of the report that criticized the department's lack of tolerance for diversity. Did they think we wouldn't notice the big black marks where words should be?

    Religious assumptions

    George W. Bush often justifies his domestic and foreign policy decisions with references to his faith in God and his beliefs about what course of action is most consistent with his understanding of God's standards. The problem is that faith by its very nature transcends logic and reason; if one can justify a policy path by means of logic combined with broad and deep knowledge of a problem, then faith is not required. In his reliance on faith, George W. Bush is asking us to trust his own trust that he has a good bead on God's existence and will. Given Bush's trustworthiness on other issues, I think I'll pass.

    -S-

    Scare Tactics

    In September 2003, just as Bush's ratings in the polls slipped further, the Bush Administration issued a new warning: Al Qaida is going to poison our food! The problem was that the FBI revealed after this warning that there was actually no evidence that any such attack was imminent. We wish we could believe that the timing the terrorist warning and Bush's dip in the polls was a mere coincidence, but Bush just won't give us any reason to believe.

    Science

    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. So, 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.

    Separation of Church and State

    Under George W. Bush's push to fund 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.

    Sewage

    George W. Bush wants to put shit in your drinking water.

    Let me say that again: George W. Bush wants to put shit in your drinking water.

    No, I'm not using the word "shit" here to refer generically to stuff, which could include the kinds of relatively obscure noxious substances that environmentalists commonly refer to, like PCBs, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms. No, when I say "shit", I mean "shit". We're talking feces. Dung. Bowel movements. Poop.

    In order to save money, so that rich people can get their special tax breaks, George W. Bush has decided that it's most efficient to let big loads of shit flow out into America's supplies of drinking water every now and then. He has actually ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to allow for the mixing of shit into America's public sources of drinking water. Bush and his friends call this process "blending".

    Yummy.

    -T-

    Tax cuts for the rich

    If you had an employee who agreed to take a few hundred dollars less in salary, then borrowed several thousand dollars that you would have to pay back, would you think that was a good deal? That's what Bush is doing with his tax cuts and record deficits, and it's a raw deal.

    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 just gives a lot of very rich people a lot of money.

    Teachers are not terrorists

    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. So, when Rod Paige declares that the NEA is a terrorist organization" he's saying that huge numbers of average, ordinary American school teachers are, in fact, terrorists.

    Bush is the guy who appointed Mr. Paige, so you can imagine what Bush's opinion of teachers is. We wonder when John Ashcroft's phone taps in the principal's office will be placed.

    Total Information Awareness

    n 2002, the Bush Administration began implementation of their Total Information Awareness project, which would collect citizens' personal information in a central database. According to the TIA website, this information includes financial, educational, communication, medical, travel, housing and yes, even veterinary records. Under the TIA plan, a computer will use this information to identify "dangerous" citizens and engage in "pre-emptive" action.

    When the public began to complain, the Bush Administration tried to keep TIA in place by renaming it "Terrorism Information Awareness." In spite of the name change, the program was exactly the same, planning to gather private information on ordinary Americans who have nothing to do with terrorism, and sifting that information into governmental intelligence files. Keep in mind that the Bush Administration has declared that school teachers are terrorists. Heck, according to Bush and his followers, all Americans are potential terrorists, and need to be watched by government agents just in case. Thank goodness enough Americans read George Orwell to demand this nonsense be shut down.

    The sad thing is that, although Total Information Awareness was shut down as a distinct program, George W. Bush and John Ashcroft ensured that its operations continued through the work of the other branches of the federal government. Big Brother is still under development by the Bush Administration, even though it's no longer called by any recognizable name.

    -U-

    United Nations espionage

    Before the war against Iraq, as Bush and Blair were trying to get a United Nations resolution in favor of war passed, the Bush Administration's National Security Agency bugged the phones of Security Council delegation offices.

    It turns out that, at the same time, British agents were also engaged in a prolonged mission to spy on United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, recording all his private conversations.

    Spying on the United Nations is just one of the many ways that George W. Bush has turned America's allies into enemies.

    United States

    I turned on CSPAN this 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 a sign of how much the divisive politics of George W. Bush are breaking the country apart that the Republicans are encouraging interregional hatreds of a strength that have not been seen since the days of the Civil Rights struggle four decades ago. Through advertisements, like those of the Club for Growth, Bush's supporters are actually encouraging Americans to hate other Americans just 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.

    -V-

    Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

    When Hillary Clinton accused the Republicans of creating a "vast right-wing conspiracy" to destroy President Clinton, conservatives howled that they have never heard such a thing. Well, oops, it looks like they howled too soon. One of the conservatives own rising stars has come out of the right-wing closet and admitted that he was, in fact, part of this conspiracy. David Brock describes the vast, right-wing conspiracy in fascinating detail in his book Blinded By the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.

    We'd like to think that the vast right-wing conspiracy is only an interesting matter of history. Unfortunately, it appears that the right-wing conspiracy is now working from within the White House and other offices of government, establishing a system to harass, intimidate and spy on Americans who oppose Bush Administration policies.

    Voting Irregularities

    In the past, Michael E. Toner has served as legal counsel for the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. Thanks to George W. Bush, what's his current title? Federal Elections Commissioner. Talk about foxes guarding the hen house!

    -W-

    War

    On his "Republicans Against Bush" website, Brian Youmans of Boston, MA notes that "The Republican party used to be the party that kept America out of international entanglements. Until the Reagan years, the party had taken pride in the fact that all major wars in the last century had been entered into by Democrats (WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam). The peace treaty for WW I was signed under a Republican, Warren G. Harding, and Nixon had extracted the US from Vietnam. Why are the Republicans suddenly the party of war?" That's a good question, Mr. Youmans, but Mr. Bush isn't answering.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction

    First, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney said we needed to go to war against Iraq because there were ties between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden's organization, Al-Quaida. That was proved to be false. American intelligence agencies actually indicated that Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were enemies, not allies.Next, the Bush Administration and its right wing mouthpieces in the Heritage Foundation said that there was clear evidence that Iraq had massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destructions that made it a clear and immediate threat to the United States. This meant we had to invade and occupy Iraq right away even though Iraq had not even threatened to attack the United States.

    That so-called "evidence" proved to be fake, outdated, exaggerated or imaginary. Furthermore, the Bush Administration knew that its "evidence" was shaky, but told the American people that it was rock solid. Since the American occupation of Iraq began, Americans have not been able to find a single chemical, biological or nuclear weapon in Iraq, even though George W. Bush's aides said they knew exactly where those weapons were.

    Oops.

    In spite of their recent attempts to rewrite history, over the last two years, numerous members of the Bush Administration have insisted that the rationale for starting a war against Iraq was the supposed existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Over and over again, members of the Bush Administration, including Bush himself, have expressed certainty that the weapons were there. As it becomes clear that weapons of mass destruction are not in Iraq and have not been for over a decade, both the rationale for war and our confidence in the competence of the Bush Administration disintegrates.

    -X-

    X-ray, Camp

    What is the operational definition of injustice? Try the "military tribunals" at Guantanamo. Now the detainees, an increasing number of whom the Bush Administration now admits are not culpable, have been held for years without trials or even access to lawyers. The plan is for those being held to be put through "military tribunals" in which the traditional American standard of courtroom justice -- evidence, representation and all that silly stuff -- is not met.

    But now comes the real kicker: Military officials now say that even if detainees are found not guilty in front of these "military tribunals," they may continue to be detained indefinitely anyway. Yes, this is the Bush Administration's definition of justice. You may be lucky so far. But would you like it to happen to you?

    Xenophobia

    The Bush Administration's Treasury Department has 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. đ add reference to Salman Rushdie, at least we're not trying to kill Iranian authors, but it's a shame that we're censoring them.

    -Y-

    Yellowstone

    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!

    -Z-

    Zealotry

    It's become clear that George W. Bush is a religious zealot. He claims that God has chosen him to become President. He hires military leaders who go around the country making speeches insisting that Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are wars against Satan. Bush's choice for Attorney General of the United States is a man who starts his day in the Department of Justice by leading government workers in songs with lines like "Only God! No other King!"

    However, the problem of Bush's zealotry goes far beyond matters of religion. George W. Bush is a zealot in all matters, whether they have anything to do with religion. He is only able to perceive a stark division between absolute good and absolute evil. As a consequence, he develops policies that he believes by definition are wholly and completely good, and is willing to use whatever tactics he deems necessary to destroy his opposition. America is a nation of many beliefs, and many ideas about how our society ought to be structured. We need a President who can respect this diversity, and recognize the moral subtleties that are necessary to build effective domestic and foreign policy.


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