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Feb./Mar. '02 Articles:

Dying for a Smoke

Editorial: Bush: Bad for America

Notes from the Cultural Wasteland

Overpriced Musings:
Mix, Rip, Burn,
Go to Jail!

4 Lies About
Soc. Security

The DEA's
Hemp Hatred

The Muddlemarch: 1

The Muddlemarch: 2

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The K Chronicles

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Bush Is Bad for America

WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICANS? GW has a tremendous approval rating. Yet, the man continues to do things that should make America cringe, both related to terrorism and otherwise. It seems that during a time of war, a friend of mine said quite correctly, we should be even more critical of our government. Instead, Americans are patting Dubya on the back.

Let's review. We go to war. Our economy sinks. It's easily blamed on the terrorist attacks, but the fact of the matter is that our economy was already doing poorly; Dubya's tax cut definitely didn't help and almost certainly hurt our economic situation. But, media and Washington spins put the blame squarely on 9/11 and Americans nod their heads and go back to praising Bush. Then in January 2002, Bush says that "over his dead body" will he scale back those tax cuts. As journalism Robert Scheer eloquently put it, "The president cannot say that 'over my dead body' will he forget his pledge to assist seniors with prescription medical costs, save Social Security and revive public education, when in fact his tax cut has made it impossible to deliver on any such promises."

Sadly, Bush's campaign lies are not limited to those above. Numerous, they also include his blocking regulations meant to make it easier for sick coal miners to receive black lung benefits and his decision to not regulate carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants, despite the fact that he promised support for both while campaigning.

Then Ashcroft, with full approval from Bush, of course, began to eliminate and infringe upon freedom after freedom. Note this memo from Ashcroft in October: "When you carefully consider FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records."

The FOIA is a hugely important facet of America. Information obtained through the FOIA has led to numerous revelations including exposing the chemical industry's lies (thanks to the Environmental Working Group), Duke Power's money games (thanks to the Charlotte Observer) and misconduct in the highest rankings of the National Guard (a rare thank you to USA Today). Ashcroft, with little to no media coverage, has made it vastly harder for information to be obtained. He's also loosened wiretap restrictions, detained hundreds of people without disclosing any charges and announced he (along with Dubya) would like to revive domestic spying on religious and political groups by the FBI.

Some people say these kinds of things are necessary in this "new, post-9/11 world" but that's a bunch of hogwash. But if Americans want to allow Bush (and his cronies) carte blanche permission over all things 9/11, fine. There's plenty Bush has done, unrelated to the war, whilst our campaign against terrorism has murdered Afghan civilian after civilian. (A UK media estimation shows that we've now killed more civilians in Afghanistan than were killed at the World Trade Center.)

On January 8, 2002, the Bush administration finally admitted their behind the scenes activities with the higher-ups at Enron--six meetings in fact plus two phone calls just prior to the company filing for bankruptcy. This includes a meeting between VP Dick Cheney's and the company's Chairman. This story will continue to unravel for months, maybe longer as we learn about the corruption at Enron and their tight ties. (Dubya refers to Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay as "Kenny Boy".) Over the several months, Democrats had been pressing the administration to disclose who they met with from the energy industry as they developed a new energy plan. Until these recent "revelations", the administration was refusing to give out any details of the private meetings.

Upon release of this information, Cheney's counsel, David Addington, commented: "It is our hope that submission of the information will help you avoid the waste of time and taxpayer funds on unnecessary inquiries." Boy, the Republicans surely didn't feel this way when they wasted millions in tax payer dollars over Clinton's dalliances nor have the Republicans addressed the fact that Enron's chairman slept over at the White House numerous times during Bush Sr.'s term. To me, energy policy is more important than whether Clinton lied about getting some extra-marital action.

Need more to convince you that Bush is evil? Two days after Christmas, by executive order, the President killed an earlier executive order issued by the Clinton administration. The order would have prevented corporations guilty of repeated violations of federal environmental, consumer protection, and labor laws from being awarded federal government contracts. But, thanks to Bush, corporations, regardless of their defective products, environmental pollution or unsafe working conditions, can still guzzle our federal tax dollars. This seems outrageous to me, and should to you, yet the mainstream media barely even mentioned it.

And speaking of pollution, Bush wants Americans to inhale more! In early January 2002, according to the Associated Press, "The Bush administration is considering relaxing clean-air standards for power plants, which environmentalists and Northeastern states strongly oppose and the energy industry favors." What a shock that Bush is leaning towards a policy that supports the energy industry.

Finally, (because I could go on for a long time) in December, Bush refused to release $300 million in emergency aid to help poor families and senior citizens pay their heating bills. He commented that a possibly mild winter made the extra funds unnecessary. The funds had already been approved by Congress, but Bush had to finalize the release of them.

These handful of actions by our President make me wonder how Americans can give him such blind support. Is it because the media doesn't expose this stuff well enough? Is it that Americans don't care enough? It's hard to place the blame in those terms. But, I, personally, place the blame squarely on Bush. He has proven to be, in one short year, a liar, a cheat, a rich brat and a lover of big business at the expense of all other Americans. President George W. Bush is an embarrassment and I anxiously await the day he leaves office.

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