By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
There are so many reasons to oppose four more years of George W. Bush it can be hard to keep them all straight. And so we provide you with this handy guide, listing 60 reasons (in no particular order) why this administration sucks major butt.
1. Despite Bush's endless assurances that "Americans are safer," he's done astonishingly little to protect the continental U.S. from terrorist attacks. His administration spends more in Iraq in four days than they've spent protecting our ports in four years, and Bush has blocked mandatory safety and security requirements at nuclear/chemical facilities (such requirements are unpopular with his corporate buds), leaving these facilities perilously vulnerable.
2. While there's no established connection between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11, there are established connections between Sept. 11 and Saudi-government officials, who not only provided funds to the hijackers (15 out of 19 of which were Saudis), but also supported front groups that funneled millions in aid to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Say what you will about Michael Moore sometimes getting screwy with the facts, but his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 does raise serious questions that the major media should have at least asked about the special treatment given numerous Saudis—including Bush's longtime family friends the bin Ladens—to fly out of the U.S. in the days after Sept. 11.
3. Bush often reminds us we should be grateful to our soldiers, but in 2003, he proposed closing seven veterans hospitals, cutting combat bonus pay 33 percent, cutting assistance to soldiers' families by 60 percent and cutting $1.3 billion in veterans' health care. So far, Bush has not attended the funeral of a single soldier killed in Iraq.
4. Native Alaskan villages are being destroyed as sea ice melts and huge waves pound the coastline. El Niño caused China's Yangtze River to overflow, killing more than 3,000 people and leaving 230 million homeless. Despite this and substantial evidence that global warming is real and man-made, for four years, Bush has misrepresented science in order to avoid passing measures that could annoy his campaign supporters in the fossil-fuel and auto industries. Bush has allowed companies to set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and surprise, they set themselves very unchallenging goals.
5. Bush has his sights set on eliminating Social Security and is pushing for a system in which individuals' contributions go into private accounts. This is a fine way to prepare for your dotage . . . as long as you're not, y'know, one of those yucky poor people.
6. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have elevated conflict of interest to an art form. Before he joined the administration, Cheney was CEO of the giant energy company Halliburton, and he still receives deferred payments from the company. Halliburton's a major contributor to the Bush administration, and Bush has paid them back in many sweet, sexy ways. In January, he announced we're going to Mars, and an industry official told the Washington Post, "Halliburton would benefit considerably." Bush allowed hydraulic fracturing--an oil-and-gas-exploration technique pioneered and primarily used by Halliburton--even though studies showed the technique could leave toxic chemicals in drinking water. And then there's Iraq. The Energy Task Force Cheney headed to develop a long-range plan to meet U.S. energy requirements naturally ignored ideas for reducing oil consumption and in March 2001 submitted a report containing a map of Iraqi oilfields, refineries, pipelines and terminals, along with two charts outlining Iraqi oil and gas projects. In 2003, without competitive bidding, the Pentagon hired Halliburton to rebuild Iraq and restore the Iraqi oil industry. After the company overcharged the government $61 million, the White House removed a provision from the $87 billion Iraq spending bill that would've held Halliburton accountable.
7. In Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, you can see for yourself what a useless lump Bush was on the morning of Sept. 11 as he sat in that classroom, staring into space while kids read My Pet Goat. This time, Moore's actually hired some decent factcheckers, and for a line-by-line, factual backup of many of the film's most damning claims against Bush, citing a variety of sources, visit www.michaelmoore.com/warroom/f911notes/.
8. Even now, Bush laughably points to Afghanistan as one of the successes of his administration. Although military and intelligence officials believe we had bin Laden surrounded in the caves of Tora Bora, Bush pulled out our troops, sent them to Iraq and left the bin Laden hunt to Afghan warlords. Bin Laden's still at large, and since August 2003, more than 1,000 people have been killed in violence linked to a resurgent Taliban.
9. Fossil fuels will be gone within your lifetime, and while Bush's administration has been touting hydrogen as a potential replacement for oil, it takes more energy to create hydrogen than we'll ever get from the stuff. Unless we get serious about alternative fuels--and pronto--expect ever-skyrocketing oil costs, bloody wars over resources and economic collapse.
10. Bush's campaign has cleverly turned many of Democratic nominee John Kerry's seemingly irrefutable virtues against him. Problem: Bush supported the Vietnam War but stayed home and partied, while Kerry, who was against the war, went off to fight courageously, won medals and came home to tell America of the horrors he'd witnessed. Solution: Swift Boat with a dash of ribbon-gate. Problem: Bush is an inarticulate ignoramus, while Kerry is well-spoken and sophisticated. Solution: portray Kerry as a French-talking, out-of-touch egghead (and make lots of jokes about him being rich, even if your guy comes from big money, too). Problem: Bush is small and graceless, while Kerry is imposing and athletic. Solution: use the footage of Kerry snowboarding and windsurfing to make ads about him "changing direction," impugn his masculinity wherever possible, and joke about his tan. Problem: Bush is mindlessly set on a suicidal, unpopular course in Iraq, while Kerry's position evolved, like most Americans, from pro to a firm con. Solution: flip-flopper! Hey, this stuff writes itself. Well, actually, horrid little men write it in darkened rooms, and Bush sneakily benefits while publicly deploring the sorry state of modern campaigning.