The New York Times reports (Dec.15, 2005) that Bush asked the National Security Agency to spy on Americans with no oversight by any other agency. Lawyers for Bush reportedly told him that as commander-in-chief, Bush had the right to "do anything he wants." Talk show host Bernie Ward of KGO reports that the New York Times waited a year to report this story because Bush asked them to.
ABC News and Bernie Ward also report that AT&T set up a special room at Bush's request to monitor ALL phone calls and emails of Americans. 1984 is on the way; 22 years after.
Kerry compares his environmental record to Bush's
Gas prices are going through the roof. Yet Bush opposes better fuel efficiency standards. Kerry wants them. He cuts back severely funding for alternative fuels. Kerry has supported them. If we want fuel prices to go down, we need to move quickly to alternative fuels.
The choice is clear. A vote for Bush is a vote for high oil prices. There will be more hurricanes and climate change, which will damage more oil rigs as the recent hurricanes did. There will be more sabotage in Iraq, gutting more oil supplies. Demand for oil will skyrocket, because there's no alternative.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr, in his book Crimes Against Nature, reports that in many states fathers and sons can no longer go fishing together because the fish are contaminated with Mercury. Family values.
FDA Not Protecting Us
On Nov.16 Congress heard testimony that 5 drugs which independent research has shown to be dangerous have been pronounced safe by the FDA, and that Bush's FDA is putting pressure on its researchers not to report information that could damage the drug companies.
It has been reported that Bush was told 2 years ago that the supply of flu vaccine should be increased in case there is a shortage. He ignored the advice.
He has cut off access to affordable drugs to millions of senior citizens on fixed incomes, and has done nothing to help the 45 million Americans who have no insurance because they can't afford it. He is now turning to Canada for flu vaccine, even though he made it illegal to import drugs from Canada because it is "unsafe." Bush made it illegal for the government to bargain for discounts with the drug companies in order to lower the price.
Bush has decided that regulations to protect health workers from tuberculosis can be voluntary. So they won't be implemented. It is more important to save money for the big insurance companies and hospitals.
During the Bush years we have lost 4.3 million good paying jobs and replaced them with minimum wage jobs, doubled the long-term unemployment rate, added 4.3 million Americans to the poverty list (including 1.3 million children), has turned a $127 billion annual federal budget surplus in 2001 into a $422 billion estimated deficit in 2004, and the list goes on and on!
The Census Bureau reported that as of 2004 over a million people fell into poverty over the last year. There is no economic recovery; in August jobless claims rose, and only 30,000 new jobs were created in an economy that needs many more than that just to keep up with the population increase. In September the numbers again fell far below what was needed just to employ new people entering the work force. 230,000 jobs have been lost in the last 4 years in Ohio alone.
Bush has decided that the public does not want to know which cars are unsafe, according to the Washington Post. So which cars are unsafe according to government info is not revealed to the public. Bush says, revealing this information would hurt car sales, and take profits away from the companies that give him so much money.
The New York Times reports that safety regulations are being removed for coal miners.
In the past four years the Bush administration has cut half the money out of the Pell Grant system (which thousands of college students access in order to help them get an education), mandated an underfunded education act which is coming close to bankrupting several states.
BBC World reports that America's largest rainforest, the Tongass in Alaska, has been opened by Bush to more destructive clearcutting, overturning Clinton era restrictions. The forest has trees hundreds of years old. The Native people there say the logging is ruining their livelihood. Kerry promises to restore the restrictions.
The EPA's toxic waste division is run by a former head of toxic waste-producing chemical companies.
From Brian Rush at Fourthturning Forums:
On pages 27-32 of his Thieves in High Places, Jim Hightower presents in small type a list of the anti-environmental initiatives and executive orders undertaken by the Bush administration since it took office. He highlights a few of the actions in bold, and those I'll quote:
"Tried to shrink boundaries of nineteen national monuments to allow oil and gas drilling on public lands . . . Suspended the right-to-know regulation requiring utilities to inform consumers about arsenic in their water . . . Cut 270 positions from the EPA's enforcement division . . . Announced a plan for recycling waste into consumer products, from lawn chairs and zippers to spoons and baby cribs . . . Directed the Corps of Engineers to expedite development on wetlands after September 11, because "the harder we work to expedite issuance of permits, the more we serve the nation by moving the economy forward" . . . Announced mining rules saying that the Interior Department cannot deny a corporation's permit even if its mining could result in "substantial irreparable harm" . . . Altered rules so the Energy Department no longer had to prove that Yucca Mountain was geologically safe for storing nuclear waste . . . Relaxed nationwide permit rules so coal companies, developers, and others can fill in thousands of streams, swamps, and other wetlands, without public notice or comment . . . Shifted the cost of Superfund cleanups from the polluters to taxpayers . . . Announced new targets for power plant emissions, allowing 50 percent more sulfur emissions (acid rain) than current law, three times more toxic mercury emissions, and tons of additional nitrogen oxide (smog) . . . Killed funds to support environmental education in public schools . . . Sent an industry lobbyist, representing the country's biggest polluting utilities, to testify for the administration before Congress and defend Bush's cuts in the EPA's enforcement budget . . . Proposed to end the federal requirement that states test poor children on Medicaid for lead poisoning . . . Promoted an increase in production of coal bed methane gas in the Rocky Mountains, a process that pumps fresh water out of the ground and injects contaminated water back into the aquifers, polluting streams and rivers . . . Called on a federal judge to suspend his ruling that "Mountaintop Removal" is illegal -- a method whereby coal companies simply blow off the top of a mountain to get at the coal, then shove the debris into streams below, killing thousands of miles of waterway . . . Put industry-backed amendment into Homeland Security Bill that effectively exempts chemical plants, utilities, and other polluters from the public's right-to-know laws, which require corporations to tell their neighbors what poisons are being spewed on them . . . Reversed a scientific finding (after meeting with Peabody Coal officials) that Peabody's proposed 1,500-megawatt power plant, which was to burn Peabody's dirty high-sulfur coal, would pollute nearby Mammoth Cave National Park, allowing Peabody to build the plant . . . Eliminated scientific committees that disagreed with its policies, stacking new committees with scientists who have ties to regulated industries . . . Sided with America's largest cat-litter manufacturer, Oil-Dri, against local officials in Reno, Nevada, who had ruled that a proposed cat-litter plant would pollute the air and water . . . Sent memo to all EPA employees urging them to "express support for the president and his program" when off-duty . . . Instructed EPA to discount by 63 percent the value of lives of senior citizens when assessing whether to impose new restrictions on industries that pollute the air."
From League of Conservation Voters profiles:
President Bush's environmental performance may be gauged by the fact that he received an "F" on his most recent LCV Presidential Report Card -- the first failing grade given to a president in LCV's history. On issue after issue -- public lands, clean air and water, toxics, energy, wildlife conservation -- the Bush administration, at the behest of its corporate allies, has worked systematically to dismantle and subvert fundamental environmental protections while obscuring their actions with "green" rhetoric. The results have been nothing short of disastrous for America's natural resources and have made unseating President Bush LCV's primary goal for 2004. . . .
With a history of engagement that extends back to the first Earth Day in 1970, Senator Kerry is one of America's premier environmental leaders. His voting record has earned him the highest lifetime LCV ranking of all the presidential candidates, and he has taken a leadership role in promoting higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, combating attempts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and in overturning efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act. On a range of domestic issues -- from clean air to clean water to public lands -- Kerry has repeatedly staked out pro-environment positions. His record on international issues is equally distinguished: he sponsored legislation to incorporate environmental protections into trade negotiations and has participated in international climate change negotiations beginning at the 1992 Earth Summit and extending through Kyoto. In his run for the presidency, Kerry has made the environment a central issue, devoting several significant forums to his plans for environmental action if elected.
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