Thursday, September 30, 2004

The George Bush record

From the Shakopee Valley News
By Carol Frechette
Guest commentary
Defense? The Iraq war has caused over 1,000 American deaths, 7,000 soldiers maimed and destroyed families at a cost of $177 million each day. President Bush ignored U.S. military and U.N. advice and misled us with false statements of "imminent threat, WMD and Al Qaida connections." He closed veterans’ hospitals as casualties mounted. International terror incidents are at an all-time high.


Jobs? Over 1,000,000 Americans are out of work. Bush cut job training, bargaining rights, OSHA and outsourced government jobs. Bush cut overtime pay families depend upon. He took 100 percent of his salary while on vacation 42 percent of his time in office (more than any president in history).

Environmental protection? Forty years of hard-fought environmental protection laws were trashed. Bush appointed lobbyists and CEOs of polluter companies to environmental protection agencies; his "Healthy Forest" initiative opened National Parks, forests and wilderness to timber, coal and gas exploitation; his "Clear Skies" Act spewed 10 times more air pollution by allowing volunteer cleanup; "Clean Coal" initiative allowed blowing off mountain tops. One-third of our rivers and one-forth of our lakes are contaminated by mercury poison and we are warned not to eat the fish.

No Child Left Behind? He refused to fully fund his No Child Left Behind Act! One in three schools is overcrowded and crumbling. Only three of every five eligible children get Head Start. Children are alone at home because after-school programs were cut. He cut Pell grants — 43 percent of qualified middle-class-income students can’t afford college. Bush gave $125,000,000 of public education money to private school promoters.

Valued families? At a black-tie dinner, our smiling president said, "haves and have mores are my base." There are 81,000,000 families with no health insurance (one in six families and 9 million children). Some 18,000 Americans die each year because they’re uninsured. There are 1.3 million more Americans who live in poverty. CEOs average $25,000 a week as their employees are treated as disposables and forced to work longer hours. HMOs were freed from liability for patient death and injury. The Bush Medicare "reform" prohibits negotiating lower drug prices for seniors who pay 67 percent more than Canadians. He refused to protect pensions from corporate crooks. Corporations and offshore subsidiaries paid little or no taxes. Halliburton was given a lucrative, no-bid contract and Pentagon audits showed it "lost" $1.8 billion we paid it for services to soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait.

Homeland Security? Bush refused requests for additional firefighter, police and counterterrorism money after 9/11 and recently rejected the ban on Uzies and AK-47s. America’s nuclear, food, chemical and transportation sites remain inadequately protected. Bush sent disaster first-responders (National Guard) to Iraq.

The Economy: A $106 billion surplus was squandered into a $177 billion deficit. Tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent caused enormous debt (Congressional Budget Office Report). There was a record high trade deficit of $489.9 billion in 2003. Bush borrowed millions from China and foreign countries to pay our bills. He sought a retroactive repeal of the corporate minimum tax — a $254 million benefit for Enron. He used "our" credit card recklessly and now we can’t afford things we’ll need.

Foreign policy? He rejected world partnerships (Land Mine Treaty, Small Arms Control, Kyoto Environmental Treaty, International Criminal Court, Endangered Species and Geneva Convention).

A Uniter? Bush called Max Cleland, war hero paraplegic, "unpatriotic." He demanded, "You’re either with us or against us!" He seeks privatized Social "Security." He increased anger in America.

Freedom? The "Patriot" Act allows surveillance of any American’s library books, medical records, phone conversations and e-mail. Seniors and peaceful sign carriers were arrested and jailed. At public appearances, only citizens with Bush-approved tickets are allowed to assemble — demonstrators are removed from view. Reporters submit questions before presidential press conferences. The Bush administration sends daily "talking points" to FOX television and conservative radio stations. New voting machines have no verifiable paper ballot.

Bush said, "one of the great things about being president is I don’t have to account to anyone." Please hold him accountable! He has not represented ordinary Americans. He cheated our children, squandered our resources, broke his promises and does not deserve a second term.

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Is this really the man that half of the voters in this country support? And if so, why? We would be nhappy if we personally knew or worked with someone like this on a day to day basis. If this type of activity took place within a company where we worked, we would surely look to have the individual(s) responsible extracted from their position(s). Why do we tolerate it when it is our nation's president and his cabinet taking part in the same activities? The time for change comes in a matter of days. We approach one month until the election. The most important election to date for most of the citizens of this country. Register. Decide. Vote.

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