Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Know Bush Fact # 38

Based on the belief that the truth shall set you free:

The Bush/Cheney ‘04 campaign claims to be "Building a Safer World."

Their Convention was in New York City to remind voters of their worst nightmare, to date.

Leading up to the third 9/11 anniversary, Dick Cheney warned Americans of the danger of voting for Kerry: ". . . we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating." (Though the sentence was deleted from the web transcript, he made his point.)

Bush and Cheney are banking on voters believing they are the leaders who will keep us safe from terrorists. Polls indicate that is their greatest strength.
However. . .

Across the United States, there are 15,000 chemical manufacturing facilities, oil tank farms, pesticide plants and other repositories of deadly chemicals that are without standard security measures – EASY TO HIT - EASY TO POISON OUR AIR ON A HUGE SCALE. Talk about devastating. .

The Kuehne Chemical Company of Kearney, New Jersey, for example, just across the Hudson from Ground Zero, reported in a 1999 mandatory safety report that a rupture of an onsite tank car, for example, "would be immediately dangerous to life and health for a distance exceeding fourteen miles. The total population in this radius is approximately twelve million."

Troy Morgan, the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Specialist, refers to such a chemical tank as "the poor man’s atomic bomb."

In April 2002, Pittsburgh Tribune Review reporter, Carl Prine, entered 60 dangerous chemical plants, strolling through unguarded gates, driving up to pipes and control rooms, climbing on tanks – all key terrorist targets. "I wonder what it would take for me to get arrested at one of these plants?"

On February 6, 2002, George Tenet, then Director of the CIA, testified that Al Qaeda could be planning to target chemical facilities.

Unfortunately, Bush is ignoring this warning, because this is where Bush’s stand on deregulation outweighs his concern for keeping us safe.

Attempts to respond to Tenet’s warning, by establishing enforceable security standards at these chemical plants, were shut down when the chemical-industry trade associations put their money and lobbyists to work.

Meanwhile, Christine Whitman at the Environmental Protection Agency spent a year trying to negotiate chemical security regulations that would suit the White House – to no avail. So, she decided to fall back on the EPA’s authority to send inspectors to high priority chemical facilities. Unfortunately, her plans were leaked on June 11, 2002.

Naughty Christine and EPA.

On July 25, 2002, Senator John Corzine’s (D-NJ) Chemical Security Bill, an attachment to the Senate's Homeland Security bill specifically granting the EPA authority to regulate security at plants housing dangerous chemicals, and requiring a decrease in the quantity of dangerous substances allowed in storage, passed the Environment and Public Works Committee on a 19-0 vote.

Naughty EPW Committee.

On August 29, 2002, the Republican members of the Environment and Public Works Committee received a letter, signed by thirty members of the chemical and oil industry lobby, protesting the Chemistry Security Bill.

A week later, on September 6, 2002, the Bush's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) received an urgent fax from the President and CEO of The American Petroleum Institute. Days later, on September 11, seven of the nine Republican members of the Environmental and Public Works Committee changed their stand and signed a letter arguing against the Chemical Security Bill. It died without a vote.

That summer, The American Chemistry Council paid more than $1 million in political contributions, most of which went to Republicans.

That fall, Bush, in a reversal of position (flip flop!), suddenly campaigned in favor of the Department of Homeland Security Act, and it passed in November, without any binding provisions for security at chemical plants.

Once the new Department was in place, in early 2003, Bush took away all EPA authority over chemical security and transferred all such oversight to the inexperienced, overwhelmed and underfunded Department of Homeland Security.

On May 21, 2003, Christine Whitman announced her resignation as Chief Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The American Chemistry Council, the largest chemical industry trade association, has issued a code of voluntary security practices. Sadly, it does not include such basic protections as background checks on guards or even timely repair of fences.

Thus, Bush/Cheney ‘04 sells out our safety when we’re not watching. It should not be considered their strong point.

To verify/research, Google "Bush +EPA +chemical +Homeland."

Friday, September 03, 2004

Know Bush Fact #37

Based on the belief that the truth shall set you free:

In honor of those who work (or seek to work, or who have been let go from work), on this Labor Day:

“When a good or service is produced at lower cost in another country, it makes sense to import it rather than to produce it domestically.”
– Economic Report of the President, February 2004

“Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that’s a good thing.”
– N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors
Feb. 9, 2004

“CEOs at companies that outsource the most U.S. jobs are rewarded with bigger paychecks.”
– The Institute for Policy Studies / United for a Fair Economy Report

“Executive Excess 2004: Campaign Contributions, Outsourcing, Unexpensed Stock Options and Rising CEO Pay”
August 31, 2004

“Why don’t they get new jobs if they’re unhappy – or go on Prozac?”
– Susan Sheybani, Asst to Bush Campaign spokesman Terry Holt
Overheard by Reuters journalist during a phone transfer, July 2004

According to this August 31 report quoted above from The Institute for Policy Studies / United for a Fair Economy, called “EE2004" for short, the 50 CEOs of the largest outsourcers of service jobs were paid an average of 46% more in 2003 than in 2002.

Meanwhile, U.S. soft-ware related jobs – the newest trend in outsourcing, are “in steady decline, dropping 16 percent between 2001 and 2004.” This indicates that the increased profits of these outsourcing companies, that supposedly would support jobs and the economy in the United States, are instead making the already wealthy top executives even more wealthy.

Back at home, according to the September 1, 2004 report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. employers initiated 10,208 mass layoffs, causing 1,049,541 workers to lose their jobs from January through July 2004.

Even so, the Bush’s Department of Labor denied income and training assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to hundreds of workers who lost their job due to trade, only agreeing to reconsider its decision when it appeared that it would lose in the U.S. Court of International Trade. Bush’s budget for 2005 also reflects a $300 million dollar cut back in funding for TAA benefits.

Meanwhile, the National Republic Committee went past American workers and outsourced their fundraising calls to HCL Technologies in India. During a 14 month period in 2002/2003, callers from India contacted an estimated 8 million registered Republicans in the United States, raising approximately $10 million for Bush’s re-election campaign.

The Bush administration also passed over American workers to outsource a $30 million order for uniforms for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (now an agency of the Department of Homeland Security)to be produced in Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic. Though the Berry Amendment of 1941 requires military uniforms, as well as tents, tarps, etc. purchased by the Department of Defense to be made in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security is a separate entity, without loyalty to American-made.

To verify/research, Google: “Bush +outsource.”

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Know Bush Fact #36

Based on the belief that the truth shall set you free:

"It is my great honor and privilege to nominate George W. Bush, a strong and compassionate leader, for the office of President of the United States of America."

And so started the misuse of language at the 2004 Republican Convention.

On the second day, the theme was: "People of Compassion" – but just because they use the word "compassion", over and over again, saying it doesn’t make it true.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, "compassionate" is defined as "having or showing sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."

In a biographical piece on Bush by Nicholas D. Kristof in the May 21, 2000 NY Times (as well as many other sources), Bush’s childhood friend, Terry Throckmorton, told of young Bush’s leadership as a boy in Texas when, in a favorite activity after a good rain, thousands of frogs would come out.

“Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them, or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up."

In 1967, as President of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale, Bush was called to task for leading a sadistic, illegal torture on new members: The tip of a wire hanger was bent to form the Greek letter Delta, heated over a flame, and then used to brand fraternity initiates in the small of the back, creating a second degree burn that left a half-inch scar.

This action got him his first interview with the NY Times when the scandal broke.

"It was no worse than a cigarette burn. . . There's no scarring mark physically or mentally."

According to the Guiness Book of Records, Texas holds the title of "U.S. State with the Most Executions," with George W. Bush signing 152 of the 244 death warrants, 40 of them in 2000, the year he first campaigned as a "compassionate conservative."

He defended his preference for capital punishment:
"I believe it sends a chilling message that there is a consequence to your actions."

Hmmm. . .

What about the consequences suffered by the 978 patriotic Americans who’ve died in Iraq to date?

Or the over 3,000 Americans wounded, many very seriously?

In preparation for his attack on Iraq, in June 2002, Bush declared to the National Security Agency:

"I’d rather have them [the American troops] sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on Congressional hill."

And then there’s Abu Ghraib, where, for example, an Iraqi prisoner with an already dislocated shoulder was hung from the ceiling by that very arm, even though it had been pointed out by a medic as needing treatment . .

Or what about Iraq itself, where, according to , the number of Iraqi dead is estimated between 11,730 and 13,730. . .

On that Republican National Convention day of "People of Compassion," the U.S. military bombed the village of Weradesh in Afghanistan, where at least 8 villagers, including children, were killed, and a Danish team aiding Afghan refugees barely managed to escape, as their supplies and equipment were destroyed

The day following the Republican day of "Compassion," the U.S. launched an air strike on the Iraqi city of Falluja, leaving 17 people dead, including three children, a woman and an elderly man.

Still, the Republicans usurp the word "compassion." But here’s the catch: According to Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor for the conservative National Review, on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show Wednesday, September 1:

"In promising to be a compassionate administration President Bush never agreed that he was going to accept the definition of compassion proffered by liberals."

Liberals? What about Merriam Webster?

There again, this is the same Bush who also manages to usurp Christianity without seeming to accept the creed proffered by Christ:
"In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."

To verify/research, Google "Bush +frogs" or "Bush +torture".

For a stunning and insightful look at Bush’s "compassion" I strongly recommend Bush on the Couch, by Dr. Justin Frank. And before anyone jumps at the criticism that Dr. Frank never actually had Bush on his couch, please note that such "Applied Psychoanalysis" has been used for years at the CIA headquarters in The George Bush Center for Intelligence to better understand the character of various foreign leaders.