By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
20. Bush's administration is steadily chipping away at reproductive rights. Bush has appointed a host of anti-choice federal judges. He slashed funds to the United Nations Population Fund, a program supporting groups that educate the women of poor nations about their reproductive options. He signed a bill banning a late-term abortion procedure, a bill two federal judges found unconstitutional. Although laws already cover crimes against pregnant women, Bush signed the redundant Unborn Victims of Violence Act as a shout-out to pro-lifers. He's suggested doubling the federal funds for abstinence-only sex-ed programs, even though graduates of such programs are statistically more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Sure, the majority of America is pro-choice, but since when has Bush let the will of the people affect his decisions?
21. "Sanctity of Marriage": pure crap.
22. Remember the recent headlines when Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was deported after his name was spotted on a U.S. security "watch list"? Turns out the whole thing was due to a spelling error. Nice to know our government is devoting the proper resources to persecuting singer/songwriters of the 1970s.
23. Although Bush hardly spent his youth (or middle age) in a state of monk-like sobriety, his administration will bust you hard if you party like he did. His Justice Department has invoked the War on Terror to crack down on minor drug users, running hysterical ads equating marijuana use with supporting terrorism. Last year, Cheech and Chong's Tommy Chong did nine months of hard time for selling glassware that could be used to smoke pot. Chong wasn't dealing drugs; he was a glassware pusher. The day Chong was arrested, Ashcroft declared in a press conference, "The illegal-drug-paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge." Jesus . . . Tommy Chong? Cat Stevens? Is Bush working his way through Nixon's old enemies list? Watch out, Hanoi Jane!
24. Bush's administration doesn't just invoke the War on Terror to justify busting folksingers and pothead comedians. They invoke it to bust unions, too. On Jan. 7, 2002, Bush issued an executive order to de-unionize 500 government positions (mostly support staffers like secretaries, paralegals and clerks) because the presence of unionized workers would not be "consistent with national security requirements and considerations."
25. During his 2000 campaign, Bush pledged that if elected, he'd support the continuation of the assault weapons ban. Bush lied, of course, and AK-47s will soon make a legal return to the streets.
26. Pseudonymous bloggers Julius Civitatus and Biltud compiled a chart showing the Bush administration announces new terror alerts (alerts often discredited later) whenever the headlines look bad for W and that Bush's approval ratings typically rise as a result. Following some rough weeks for Bush this summer, on Aug. 2, the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror alert at several large financial institutions in New York City and Washington . . . based on info later revealed to be three or four years old. That same day, Bush's daughters visited New York's Citicorp Building, one of the buildings supposedly in grave danger. See the chart at juliusblog.blogspot.com/2004_08_01_juliusblog_archive.html.
27. At this writing, the headlines are full of the "Rathergate" fiasco, so much so that nobody mentions that while the memo itself was a rather obvious forgery, all the evidence suggests Bush did skate on his National Guard service. A chastened CBS has shelved a long-planned 60 Minutes piece investigating how the Bush administration justified the Iraq invasion by using forged documents claiming Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. CBS now says it would be "inappropriate" to run it this close to the election. Some might say the Rather memo came along at the perfect moment for the Bushies.
28. "In the CIA's core, U.S.-based bin Laden operations unit today there are fewer Directorate of Operations officers with substantive expertise on al-Qaeda than there were on Sept. 11, 2001. There has been no systematic effort to groom al-Qaeda expertise among . . . officers since Sept. 11. Today, the unit is greatly understaffed, [and] the excellent management team now running operations against al-Qaeda has made repeated, detailed and on-paper pleas for more officers to work against al-Qaeda . . . but have been ignored." (Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit)
29. While Bush's camp has tried to convince America the terrorists want Kerry to win, Bush is actually a superb recruiting tool for al-Qaeda: he is despised by the rest of the world, and he's overseeing a disastrous occupation of Iraq that brings more people to the terrorist cause every day.
30. After Sept. 11, there was an outpouring of goodwill toward the U.S. from the nations of the world, something Bush has squandered with his macho posturing.
31. This administration treats America's workers with shocking contempt. On Oct. 2, Congress voted to oppose Bush's efforts to rewrite overtime pay rules so an estimated 6 million workers would lose overtime benefits. In a May visit to an Arkansas Wal-Mart, Cheney said, "The story of Wal-Mart exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country." Do America's best qualities include paying workers poverty-level wages, providing such crappy health benefits many employees rely on public assistance, and locking employees inside stores overnight? Referring to workers who've dared to take Wal-Mart to court over such labor practices, Cheney snarled, "America's entrepreneurs should be able to hire productive workers, instead of hiring lawyers."