DAY 146:

The Bush administration had little in the way of a postwar plan when it invaded Iraq, according to reports released by several news organizations. In March 2003, during a meeting of war planners and intelligence officials at Shaw Air Force Base, an Army official’s presentation on the Pentagon’s strategy included a slide on “Phase 4-C,” the period of rebuilding after fighting had ended. That slide said only “To Be Provided.” In April 2003, after American troops had taken Baghdad, General Tommy Franks met with his commanders and said that combat forces should begin to pull out within 60 days, and that only 30,000 troops would still be in Iraq by September. Today, 138,000 soldiers remain in Iraq.

These plans were made in the face of intelligence estimates suggesting that the postwar phase would be far more difficult than the war itself. In February 2003, the Army War College prepared a report saying that “the possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious … The United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America’s own making.” The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency circulated similar forecasts in January and April 2003; the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the CIA’s National Intelligence Council also made comparable predictions before and during the war.

The Army Central Command originally envisioned a force of 380,000 to wage the war; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s original estimate was 40,000. Although the White House ultimately approved the use of about 250,000 troops, additional forces that were meant to be sent to secure Iraq after the war were sent late, or not at all. Two Army divisions that Centcom had been promised for the postwar period were not in Iraq when Baghdad fell. A third, the 1st Cavalry Division, was so delayed by Rumsfeld’s questioning of the need for more troops that on April 21 its deployment, set to include 17,500 troops, was canceled. Jay Garner, the initial civilian administrator of Iraq, said that “we did not seal the borders because we did not have enough troops to do that, and that brought in terrorists.” James A. Marks, a retired Army major general and the chief intelligence officer for the land war command, said that “the insurgency was not inevitable … We had momentum going in and had Saddam’s forces on the run. But we did not have enough troops … They took advantage of our limited numbers.”

Preparations that could have been made before the war were neglected by the administration. The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development requested permission from the Pentagon to position relief supplies in Kuwait, but was ignored. Garner was not appointed until January 2003 and did not organize an interagency conference on postwar Iraq until less than a month before the invasion. The Pentagon never released its Phase 4 plan for Iraq. A plan called Operation Desert Crossing, which addressed the restoration of order after a war in Iraq, was last updated in 2000 and was never utilized. On March 17, 2003, two days before the start of the war, commanders contacted the Army War College to request copies of the handbook the U.S. had used in its occupation of Germany almost 60 years ago. Garner said that “the Bush administration did not [have its head in the postwar game]. Condi Rice did not. Doug Feith didn’t. You could go brief them, but you never saw any initiative come of them. You just kind of got a north and south nod. And so it ends with so many tragic things.”

(Sources: Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott, “Post-war Planning Non-existent,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, October 17, 2004. See article at: realcities.com. Michael R. Gordon, “The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War,” New York Times, October 19, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

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DAY 145:

The CIA has yet to release its report on intelligence failures before September 11. The report was requested by Congress almost two years ago, and was completed in June. Intelligence officials and congressional Democrats have suggested that the Bush administration has instructed the CIA to withhold the report until after the election because of its damaging content. An official who had read the report told columnist Robert Scheer that “the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren’t interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward … The report found very senior-level officials responsible.” The ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jane Harman, sent a letter requesting the report to the CIA more than two weeks ago, but has received no response. “We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report,” she said.

(Sources: Greg Miller, “Lawmakers Prod CIA for Pre-9/11 Accountability Report,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2004. See article at: latimes.com. Robert Scheer, “The 9/11 Secret in the CIA’s Back Pocket,” Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2004. See article at: latimes.com.)

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DAY 144:

Without significant interference from the Bush administration, Congress has distributed billions of dollars for terrorism preparedness without taking into account where the risk of terrorism is greatest. Alaska has received almost $92 per resident over the last two years, and North Dakota has received $91 per resident; New York has received $32 per resident, and California has received $22 per resident. This year alone, Juneau, Alaska, has received $962,000, with which it has bought a bomb-deactivating robot, decontamination equipment, night-vision goggles, and other supplies. Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic member of the 9/11 Commission, said that the anti-terrorism funds had become a “general revenue sharing program” driven by “political muscle flexing.”

(Source: Dean E. Murphy, “Security Grants Still Streaming to Rural States,” New York Times, October 10, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

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DAY 143:

The United States Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan agency established by Congress, has prepared a report that is sharply critical of the Bush administration’s civil rights record. The report “finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words.” The commission’s analysis highlights the administration’s lack of action on voting rights and election reform, as well as on equal education and affirmative action. The report also criticizes the administration for facilitating racial profiling after September 11, and criticizes the EPA for its lack of attention to the impact of environmental contamination on minority communities.

On October 9, after Republican members of the USCCR objected to the timing, the commission voted to postpone final approval of the report until after the election. A draft remains available on the commission’s website.

(Sources: “Bush’s Civil Rights Record Is Criticized, Silently,” The Associated Press, October 10, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Press Release, October 5, 2004. See article at: usccr.gov.)

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DAY 142:

Over 100 high-level officials appointed by the Bush administration now oversee industries they previously represented as lobbyists, lawyers, or company advocates. Many of those appointees have pushed for more favorable policies for their respective industries from within the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, and other agencies. Six have been the subject of ethics investigations or have resigned due to conflicts of interest.

The Bush-appointed chief counsel for the FDA, Daniel E. Troy, is a former lobbyist for pharmaceutical firms. Last December, he met with several hundred pharmaceutical attorneys and offered them the government’s help in dismissing lawsuits against their companies. By then, Troy had already officially intervened on behalf of Pfizer in several cases. A 2002 General Accounting Office study of the FDA’s new system for notifying companies of rule violations, implemented by Troy, concluded that warning notices “have taken so long that misleading advertisements may have completed their broadcast life cycle before FDA issued the letters.”

In 2001, Ann-Marie Lynch, who had lobbied against price controls on prescription drugs on behalf of a trade group, was made the deputy assistant secretary in the office of policy within the Department of Health and Human Services; she has since discouraged the administration from adopting price caps. A report issued by Lynch helped persuade Congress to ban Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices. She has also blocked the release of about a dozen research reports that challenged the claims of drug companies.

Charles Lambert, a former meat-industry lobbyist, became a deputy undersecretary in the United States Department of Agriculture in December 2002. As a USDA official, he has argued that mad cow disease is not a threat to the U.S. and that meat-labeling programs are unnecessary. Six months after he told Congress that the disease would not reach America, it was discovered in a cow brought here from Canada. More than a dozen other USDA officials also have connections to the meat industry.

Jeffrey Holmstead worked as a lawyer at Latham & Watkins representing a chemical company and a trade group for utility companies until October 2001, when he was appointed to the EPA. The agency’s proposed changes to air-pollution rules, released January 30, included at least a dozen paragraphs taken from a proposal submitted to the Bush administration by Latham & Watkins in 2003. Those rule changes will allow many plants to continue to avoid emissions reductions.

In June 2001, Bush chose J. Steven Griles, an energy-industry lobbyist, to be the Interior Department’s second-highest official. An investigation by the department’s inspector general concluded that Griles’s appointment had created an “ethical quagmire.” A former Griles client has been awarded $2 million in no-bid contracts, and he has pressed the EPA to allow gas drilling by several companies he once represented.

(Source: Anne C. Mulkern, “When Advocates Become Regulators,” Denver Post, May 23, 2004. See article at: commondreams.org.)

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DAY 141:

On September 7, Government Accountability Office investigators announced that the Bush administration had illegally withheld data on the cost of the Medicare law. Thomas A. Scully, the former head of Medicare, was ordered to repay seven months of his salary to the government for his violations of federal appropriations law. The Medicare law was signed by President Bush on December 8; the White House later admitted that the law would cost $534 billion over 10 years, not the $400 billion it had reported to Congress. The Department of Health and Human Services found that Scully threatened to fire Richard S. Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary, in order to prevent Foster from revealing the higher cost estimate to Congress. The GAO said that Scully’s threats were “a prime example of what Congress was attempting to prohibit” when it outlawed the imposition of gag rules on civil servants in 1912.

(Source: Robert Pear, “Investigators Say Ex-Medicare Chief Should Repay Salary,” New York Times, September 7, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

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DAY 140:

The White House has proposed a 12.6 percent reduction in the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget for the purchase of new air-traffic-control equipment. Tom Brantley, the president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists union, said that “cutting the budget by almost 14 percent is insane. Seventy percent of the systems out there are in need of upgrade or replacement.” September 2 was the U.S. air-traffic-control system’s busiest day ever.

(Source: Leslie Miller, “White House Wants to Cut FAA Budget,” The Associated Press, September 16, 2004. See article at: miami.com.)

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DAY 139:

In his speech to the Republican National Convention, President Bush announced a $1 billion plan to enroll poor children in government health-insurance programs. But at the end of September, the Bush administration returned $1.1 billion in unspent children’s-health funds to the Treasury. As a result, six states participating in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program will not be able to meet their budgets in 2005. According to two analyses by advocacy organizations, the federal money could have provided health coverage for 750,000 uninsured children. The National Governors Association and a bipartisan group of legislators had asked for an extension on SCHIP spending, but Bush refused to include such an extension in the budget.

During his speech at the convention, Bush said that “in a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government’s health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need.” It is projected that 17 states will run out of SCHIP funds by 2007.

(Source: Ceci Connolly, “Words, Actions at Odds on Children’s Health Care,” Washington Post, September 25, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

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DAY 138:

Earlier this year, the Bush administration sent out “video news releases” to publicize its Medicare plan (see Day 40). The videos, which were shown on local TV stations, did not make clear that the announcers were actors hired by the government, not reporters. Although the General Accounting Office ruled that those ads violated a statute that forbids the use of federal money for propaganda, the White House has used the same tactic to promote its education law.

A video prepared for the Education Department by Ketchum, a public-relations firm, includes a “news story” on the No Child Left Behind law. As in the Medicare video, the story ends with a woman saying, “In Washington, I’m Karen Ryan reporting.” The government is not identified as the report’s source, and the reporter is not revealed to be an actor. The department has stopped using the videos since the release of the GAO report, but at least one television station in New York ran the video in 2003.

(Source: “Bush Ad Appears to Be News Story,” The Associated Press, October 11, 2004. See article at: abcnews.go.com.)

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DAY 137:

“The reality-based community … believe[s] that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
—A senior adviser to President Bush, speaking to reporter Ron Suskind in the summer of 2002

(Source: Ron Suskind, “Without a Doubt,” New York Times, October 17, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

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DAY 136:

The Bush administration has spent $31 billion on its missile-defense program; plans call for an additional $53 billion through 2009. The $10.7 billion spent this year alone is equal to the Army’s entire research-and-development budget, and twice the budget of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. In July, the program’s first component was installed in an Alaskan missile silo, and on August 17, President Bush told an audience at a Boeing plant that “we say to those tyrants who believe they can blackmail America and the free world, ‘You fire, we’re going to shoot it down.’”

The administration has pushed for full deployment by October 2004; only some aspects of the system are now being put in place, and even those parts that are in place have either not yet been tested or have failed tests. Between 1999 and the end of 2002, a prototype interceptor hit a dummy warhead five times out of eight, but those tests are considered preliminary—the interceptor knew the missile’s trajectory, as well as the time and place of its launch. The Pentagon’s chief of testing, Thomas P. Christie, has estimated that the system would not be ready for operational tests for a decade or more. Christie is unsure if the system will ever be able to distinguish between warheads and decoys, and has calculated that it could hit its targets about 20 percent of the time. Tests scheduled since 2002 have been canceled or delayed; the most recent postponement was made public on September 14, just two weeks before a test was to take place.

Potential weapons systems are usually assessed periodically by the Defense Acquisition Board and made to meet a set of specific requirements designed by the Pentagon, but in 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized the Missile Defense Agency to work outside of such oversight. An audit released by the Government Accountability Office last April noted the lack of reliable estimates of system performance and cost. The report concluded that the system now being deployed remains “largely unproven.”

Last spring, 49 retired generals and admirals called upon the president to delay deployment and transfer missile-defense funds to security for nuclear facilities and American ports and borders. “A system is being deployed that doesn’t have any credible capability,” said retired General Eugene Habiger, who headed the U.S. Strategic Command in the mid-1990s. “I cannot recall any military system being deployed in such a manner.”

(Sources: Fred Kaplan, “Missile Defense: Mission Unaccomplished,” Slate, September 17, 2004. See article at: slate.com. Frances FitzGerald, “Indefensible,” The New Yorker, October 4, 2004. See article at: newyorker.com. Bradley Graham, “Test of Missile Defense System Delayed Again,” Washington Post, September 14, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Ibid., “Interceptor System Set, but Doubts Remain,” Washington Post, September 29, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

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DAY 135:

“Mountaintop removal,” a coal-industry practice that began to be widely used in the late 1980s, has led to the dumping of thousands of tons of debris into valleys and the burial of more than 700 miles of mountain streams. By 1999, the mining method had been mostly halted by court rulings. But in May 2002, the Bush administration reclassified the resultant debris as “fill” instead of “waste,” essentially legalizing the technique, and the dumping, once again. As a result, industry activity has rebounded. The administration has also proposed a regulatory change that would end a two-decade ban on mining within 100 feet of a stream, and another that would allow ditches dug by coal companies to serve as substitutes for streams that companies had destroyed. The coal industry has raised $9 million for the Republican Party since 1998.

Such rephrasing has played a role in other Bush administration environmental policies as well. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency downgraded the “hazardous” classification of mercury pollution from power plants, effectively granting utilities a 15-year extension on the implementation of pollution controls. And earlier this year, the Energy Department reclassified millions of gallons of “high-level” radioactive waste as “incidental,” and in doing so, allowed the government to avoid the expense of removing it.

(Source: Joby Warrick, “Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change,” Washington Post, August 17, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

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DAY 134:

Under the Bush administration, the Internal Revenue Service has increased its auditing of the working poor; it has audited corporations and high-income citizens at record low levels. In 2001, audits of the working poor increased 48.6 percent, and accounted for 55 percent of all audits. The odds of being audited that year for those seeking the earned-income tax credit reserved for the working poor were 1-in-315; for everyone else, the odds were 1-in-431. By 2003, the audit rate for large corporations was 29 percent, down from 33.7 percent in 2002. For all corporations, the rate fell from 8.8 percent in 2002 to 7.3 percent in 2003.

(Sources: David Cay Johnston, “I.R.S. Audits of Working Poor Increase,” New York Times, March 1, 2002. Ibid., “Corporate Risk of a Tax Audit Is Still Shrinking, I.R.S. Data Show,” New York Times, April 12, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

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DAY 133:

President Bush and his appointees have repeatedly taken credit for programs that the administration has attempted to eliminate or sharply reduce. The administration has publicized the $11.6 million it has given states to fund the purchase of defibrillators; Bush had tried to cut that funding by 82 percent, to $2 million. Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced this year that the administration was giving out $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states provide care for the uninsured. He did not mention that Bush has annually proposed the cancellation of that program for the last three years. Thompson has also made announcements about grants to improve rural health care, part of a program that the White House wanted to cut by 72 percent in 2005, and about awards to universities to provide for the medical training of minority students, an effort that the administration wished to abolish entirely.

In May, the Justice Department announced a new round of awards through the Community Oriented Policing Services program, which supports the hiring of police officers at the local level. Each year he has been in office, Bush has attempted to drastically reduce the program; in 2003, he proposed eliminating it altogether. For 2005, Bush proposed cutting the COPS budget by 87 percent, to $97 million. The cuts that have been successful have forced many departments to dismiss the officers the program allowed them to hire. COPS grants helped Minneapolis hire 81 officers by 1997; the city has dismissed 140 since then, including 38 in 2003, and crime rates have risen. New York City received grants for 4,700 new officers; the department has dropped 3,400 since 2000.

(Sources: Robert Pear, “White House Trumpets Programs It Tried to Cut,” New York Times, May 19, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. Kevin Johnson, “Federal, Local Cuts Pull Cops Off Streets,” USA Today, December 1, 2003. See article at: usatoday.com.)

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DAY 132:

On September 26, the Washington Post published a story on the increasing activity of Iraqi insurgents, whose attacks now number roughly 70 each day. The article cited daily reports prepared by Kroll Security International for the U.S. Agency for International Development and distributed to congressional officials. On September 27, a USAID official wrote to congressional aides that “this is the last Kroll report to come in. After the WPost story, they shut it down in order to regroup.” A spokesman for the agency said that the reports are now “restricted to those who need it for security planning in Iraq,” and that the information was being restricted because of a fear that it “would fall into insurgents’ hands.”

While campaigning, President Bush has avoided mention of the increasing frequency of insurgent attacks. An administration official told the New York Times that “the decision’s been made that the president just isn’t going to get into an introspective mode of ‘we could have done this better.’” The official added that there was a time for the president to make such a statement, but “that moment passed months ago.”

(Sources: Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, “U.S. Effort Aims to Improve Opinions About Iraq Conflict,” Washington Post, September 30, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Richard W. Stevenson and David E. Sanger, “Stump Speech Retooled, Bush Goes on Attack,” New York Times, October 7, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

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DAY 131:

An analysis of four federal regulatory agencies by OMB Watch, a nonprofit watchdog organization, has found that the Bush administration has stopped work on dozens of significant proposals in the last year. The Environmental Protection Agency withdrew 25 items from its agenda in that period; it has withdrawn 90 since Bush entered office. Most of those addressed the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The EPA, in the last six months, also failed to achieve 73 percent of its projected benchmarks for addressing agenda items. The Food and Drug Administration withdrew four items, bringing its total since 2000 to 62, and failed to complete 70 percent of its benchmarks. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration withdrew 13 items in the last year, for a total of 31, and fell short of 71 percent of its benchmarks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration removed two items, for a total of 24, and fell short of 75 percent of its benchmarks. Overall, the Bush administration has approved 25 economically significant rules put forth by the four agencies; 74 such regulations were approved by George H. W. Bush, and Clinton approved more than 50 in each of his terms.

In the period surveyed, the EPA proposed a revision meant to minimize enforcement of the New Source Review, a regulation intended to ensure that coal-fired power plants would be made to comply with the Clean Air Act when they underwent major upgrades. Before the New Source Review was altered, EPA and Justice Department investigators had forced several companies to install modern pollution controls, and many other companies were in talks with the agency. But the Bush administration’s revision allowed power plants with upgrades that had not yet reached a cost equivalent to 20 percent of the value of the plant to operate without pollution controls. Agency enforcement officials had recommended that the cut-off be no higher than three-quarters of 1 percent, and the inspector general of the EPA, Nikki L. Tinsley, has said that the revision has “seriously hampered” the agency’s ability to pursue cases against major polluters. Among the items withdrawn by the EPA were the addition of 40 chemicals and one chemical category to community right-to-know regulations and a proposal to reduce the construction industry’s estimated annual discharge of 80 million tons of solids into U.S. waterways. Items on the agenda that were not addressed include drinking-water regulations for radon and disinfectants.

The FDA withdrew a rule that would have created a blood-supply tracking system designed to allow quick notification in the event of contamination. The agency also withdrew a proposal that would have banned the use of material from cattle that had passed through any country thought to present an undue risk of introducing mad cow disease into the U.S.; it delayed a regulation meant to close a loophole that has left U.S. cattle at risk of exposure to mammalian protein in feed, and thus at risk of contracting mad cow disease. After the delay was announced, the normally nonpartisan National Cattlemen’s Beef Association endorsed Bush for re-election.

Gene Kimmelman, a senior director of public policy at Consumers Union, told the New York Times that “generally, regulatory submissions often get pushed off in election years. What is unusual this time is the clear pattern of holding back regulatory decisions that will benefit the largest industry players and will drive up prices and marketplace risks for consumers, ranging from telephones to drugs to the risks of contaminants of food.”

(Sources: Robert Shull and Genevieve Smith, “The Bush Regulatory Record: A Pattern of Failure,” OMB Watch, September 2004. See article at: ombwatch.org (PDF). Stephen Labaton, “Agencies Postpone Issuing New Rules Until After Election,” New York Times, September 27, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. Ibid., “Do Not Open Before the Presidential Election,” New York Times, September 27, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. Michael Janofsky, “Inspector General Says E.P.A. Rule Aids Polluters,” New York Times, October 1, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 130:

The Supreme Court’s current membership came together 10 years ago; the court has not gone so long without a new jurist since 1823. Eight of the nine Supreme Court justices are now 65 or older; John Paul Stevens, part of the court’s liberal minority, is 84, and Sandra Day O’Connor, who has voted with the liberals to form majorities on several occasions, is 74. Boyden Gray, the White House counsel to George H.W. Bush and founder of the Committee for Justice, has said that the next president “will appoint at least two and as many as four justices to the Supreme Court.” Ralph G. Neas, the president of People for the American Way, a progressive organization, has made the same prediction.

If President Bush is re-elected and a liberal justice retires, it is likely that his appointee—or appointees—will move the court toward a willingness to restrict abortion and affirmative action and overturn civil rights protections. Bush has said that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the court’s most conservative members, are the models for his appointments. Samuel Alito, a 3rd Circuit Appeals Court judge believed to be a potential Bush nominee, has voted to uphold abortion regulations, including one requiring women to tell their husbands before having an abortion. That law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992. Miguel Estrada, whose nomination to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001 was blocked by Democrats after the Bush administration refused to release memos Estrada had written as a government lawyer and Estrada refused to articulate the positions he had taken in the memos, is also thought to be a possible nominee.

Other judges considered contenders for a Bush nomination have similarly divisive records. Emilio Garza, a 5th Circuit Appeals Court judge, has criticized Roe v. Wade and said that abortion regulation should be left to the states. Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel, wrote a memo in 2002 arguing that foreign fighters captured in Afghanistan were not covered by the Geneva Conventions. And Michael Luttig, a 4th Circuit Appeals Court judge, allowed a Virginia ban on “partial-birth” abortion to take effect while it was being challenged as unconstitutional, and later voted to uphold the law. It was invalidated after the Supreme Court struck down a similar ban in 2000.

The next president will also appoint many federal-appeals-court and trial judges, who also serve until they choose to retire. In his first term, Bush appointed 201.

(Sources: Joan Biskupic, “The Next President Could Tip High Court,” USA Today, September 30, 2004. See article at: usatoday.com. Joan Biskupic, “Some Potential Nominees for the Supreme Court,” USA Today, September 29, 2004. See article at: usatoday.com. James Vicini, “Next President Could Get to Reshape High Court,” Reuters, October 1, 2004. See article at: olympics.reuters.com. Mary Deibel, “Future of Supreme Court Likely at Stake in Election,” Scripps Howard News Service, September 30, 2004. See article at: knoxstudio.com. Ralph Neas, “The Future of the Supreme Court as an Issue in the Presidential Election,” People For the American Way, September 30, 2004. See article at: pfaw.org. “Next President May Pick Supreme Court Justice,” The Associated Press, September 27, 2004. See article at: cnn.com.)

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DAY 129:

During his September 23 press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, President Bush said that “nearly 100,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, police officers, and other security personnel are working today. And that total will rise to 125,000 by the end of this year. The Iraqi government is on track to build a force of over 200,000 security personnel by the end of next year. With the help of the American military, the training of the Iraqi army is almost halfway complete.” He repeated this claim during the first debate last week.

According to Pentagon documents given to Congress, only 53,000 of the Iraqis on duty have been trained. Of the 82,051 police officers on duty, only 8,169 have completed the eight-week academy. The rest have received a three-week course; Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage described those officers as “shake and bake” trainees that had been instructed “primarily in human rights, respect for law, things of that nature.” The administration’s goal of 135,000 fully-trained police officers will not be met until July 2006.

(Sources: Anna Willard and Adam Entous, “U.S. Documents Question Iraqi Police Training,” Reuters, September 24, 2004. See article at: abcnews.go.com. Walter Pincus, “U.S. Says More Iraqi Police Are Needed as Attacks Continue,” Washington Post, September 28, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Transcript at: whitehouse.gov.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 128:

Last October, the White House Office of Management and Budget ended the EPA’s 10-year effort to introduce regulations restricting the use of atrazine. The chemical, a popular weed killer, has been found to disrupt hormones in wildlife; in some instances, exposure to the chemical turned frogs into hermaphrodites. This effect was found with exposure to one-thirtieth the level currently allowed in drinking water. The European Union banned atrazine at the same time that the EPA decided to permit its ongoing use. The agency concluded that hormone disruption was not a “legitimate regulatory endpoint at this time” because the government had not settled on a way to measure such disruption.

That stance was prompted by the Data Quality Act, a two-sentence addition to the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 2001. The Data Quality Act, which was written by an industry lobbyist and inserted into the bill without debate, directs the OMB to issue guidelines “ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information … disseminated by Federal agencies.” With this authority, the OMB has repeatedly dismissed scientific information in response to industry petitions arguing that the data could not be considered conclusive. In the case of atrazine, a petition was filed on behalf of the manufacturer, Syngenta, by Jim J. Tozzi, the same lobbyist who drafted the DQA.

John Graham, the head of the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has said that the DQA is a tool for both business and environmental interests. But critics have pointed out that it is most useful to those seeking to decrease governmental regulation, since it is designed to challenge the evidence necessary for such oversight. In the first 20 months since the act’s implementation, 39 petitions of regulatory significance were filed; of those, 32 were filed by regulated industries. Tozzi’s most recent petition was directed against the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program, which determines if chemicals are carcinogenic. The lobbyist argued that the program’s procedures were in violation of the DQA and that it should not be allowed to review any chemicals.

(Source: Rick Weiss, “‘Data Quality’ Law Is Nemesis of Regulation,” Washington Post, August 16, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 127:

One-third of the tax cuts created by President Bush in the last three years have gone to the richest 1 percent of Americans, who earned an average of $1.2 million annually, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That 1 percent received an average tax cut of $78,460; those in the middle 20 percent got only $1,090 on average. The average after-tax income for the top 1 percent climbed 10.1 percent; that of those in the middle 20 percent climbed 2.3 percent—and their share of the overall tax burden went from 18.5 percent to 19.5 percent. The after-tax income of the bottom fifth rose only 1.6 percent. Independent analysts have argued in the past that Bush’s tax cuts favored the wealthy, but the CBO, run by the former chief of Bush’s own Council of Economic Advisers, is considered authoritative.

(Sources: Edmund L. Andrews, “Report Finds Tax Cuts Heavily Favor the Wealthy,” New York Times, August 13, 2004. “Middle-Income Americans Now Bear More of the Brunt of Federal Taxes,” Newsday, August 17, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 126:

Before the Iraq War, the White House repeatedly rejected Pentagon plans to attack the camp of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant affiliated with Al Qaeda who is now blamed for more than 700 killings in Iraq. In June 2002, U.S. intelligence found that Zarqawi had set up a weapons lab in northern Iraq to manufacture ricin and cyanide; the Bush administration rejected a potential strike. Four months later, when intelligence suggested that Zarqawi would use ricin in Europe, the administration again rejected a plan to attack the camp. In January 2003, when London police discovered a ricin lab connected to the Zarqawi camp, the Pentagon drafted a third attack plan, which the White House rejected. NBC News reported that “military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.”

(Source: Jim Miklaszewski, “Avoiding Attacking Suspected Terrorist Mastermind,” NBC News, March 2, 2004. See article at: msnbc.msn.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 125:

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, prepared by the National Intelligence Council and released in July, found that the chance of stability in Iraq over the next 18 months is limited. The report set out three scenarios for the future of Iraq; the worst was civil war, and the best was, according to the New York Times, “an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.” When asked about the Estimate last Tuesday, President Bush said that “the CIA laid out several scenarios. It said that life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better. And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like.” The report was initiated by then-CIA Director George Tenet and approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under John McLaughlin, the acting director of central intelligence, as well as by the heads of the other intelligence agencies. The National Intelligence Council is meant to reflect the consensus of these agencies.

(Sources: “Bush Dismisses Gloomy CIA Report on Iraq,” Reuters, September 21, 2004. See article at: reuters.com. Douglas Jehl, “U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq’s Future,” New York Times, September 16, 2004. See article at: informationclearinghouse.info.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 124:

“It struck me as I was speaking to people in Bangor, Maine, that this president sees America as we think about a 10-year-old child. I know as a parent I would sacrifice all for my children.”
—White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, September 1, 2004

(Source: Sarah Schweitzer, “Card Says President Sees America as a Child Needing a Parent,” Boston Globe, September 2, 2004. See article at: boston.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 123:

When President Bush traveled to Pittsburgh in 2002, a protester named Bill Neel who refused to move to the “designated free-speech zone”—a baseball field a third of a mile from Bush’s speech—was arrested for disorderly conduct. At Neel’s trial, a police detective testified that the Secret Service had told local police to keep “people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views” in the free-speech zone. The judge threw out the charge, saying, “I believe this is America. Whatever happened to ‘I don’t agree with you, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it’?”

Similar incidents have occurred at Bush appearances around the country. At a Florida rally in 2001, three demonstrators were arrested for holding up signs outside of the designated zone; the next year, seven protesters were arrested outside of a rally at the University of South Florida. At a St. Louis event in 2003, a woman and her 5-year-old daughter who protested outside of the approved area were detained by police and taken away in separate vehicles. This year, a West Virginia couple wearing anti-Bush T-shirts was detained by the Secret Service at a July 4 rally, and on September 17, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested and charged with trespassing at a Laura Bush appearance.

When seven AIDS activists were ejected from a Bush event in Washington, D.C., on September 9, the Secret Service told journalists that if they approached the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to re-enter the event. One agent told a reporter who was prevented from returning to the speech that there was a “different set of rules” for journalists who did not talk to the activists.

Brett Bursey, who held up a “No War for Oil” sign amidst hundreds of Bush supporters at a 2002 appearance by the president in Columbia, South Carolina, was arrested by a police officer who told him that “it’s the content of your sign that’s the problem.” He was charged with trespassing; when that charge was dropped because Bursey was on public property at the time of his arrest, the Justice Department charged Bursey with “entering a restricted area around the President of the United States.” He faced six months in jail; in January, he was convicted and fined $500. The federal magistrate, Bristow Marchant, denied Bursey’s request for a jury trial, and later ruled that the protester had not been unreasonably singled out among the Bush supporters by police—although other people were there, he said, they did not refuse to leave, as Bursey did.

In a May 2003 terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security Department told local law-enforcement agencies to pay special attention to anyone who “expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government.” In April of that year, after the federally funded California Anti-Terrorism Task Force fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters at the Port of Oakland, a spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center said that “if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest. You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.”

Secret Service agent Brian Marr told NPR that the agency creates free-speech zones because “these individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their support or nonsupport that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade route and be injured … we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end of the evening and not be injured in any way.” The ACLU is suing the Secret Service for suppressing protest at Bush events in Arizona, California, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and elsewhere.

(Sources: James Bovard, “Free-Speech Zone,” The American Conservative, December 15, 2003. See article at: amconmag.com. Jonathan M. Katz, “Thou Dost Protest Too Much,” Slate, September 21, 2004. See article at: slate.com. Dana Milbank, “Secret Service Not Coddling Hecklers,” Washington Post, September 10, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 122:

For over a year, the White House has blocked the appointment of Howard Zucker to the post of deputy secretary of health in the Department of Health and Human Services. Bush administration officials said that they have not approved the appointment because Zucker made a donation to the Democratic National Committee in 2000. Zucker, who has traveled to Iraq with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and led the administration’s health-care-education efforts in Afghanistan, made the contribution while working as an associate professor at Columbia. A Republican candidate for another top health care position told The Hill that the White House’s interview process for such jobs was meant to “see how much of a Republican you are.”

(Source: Bob Cusack, “W. House Is Blocking Dem Donor,” The Hill, September 20, 2004. See article at: hillnews.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 121:

The Central Intelligence Agency now has fewer case officers assigned to its Osama bin Laden unit than it did on September 11, 2001. Michael F. Scheuer, the former chief of the unit, said in a letter sent to Congress that “there has been no systematic effort to groom al-Qaeda expertise among Directorate of Operations officers since 11 September. Today, the unit is greatly understaffed because of a ‘hiring freeze’ and the rotation of large numbers of officers in and out of the units every 60 to 90 days—a process in which experienced officers do less substantive work and become trainers for officers who leave before they are qualified to support the mission. The excellent management team now running operations against al-Qaeda has made repeated, detailed, and on-paper pleas for more officers to work against the al-Qaeda—and have done so for years, not weeks or months—but have been ignored.”

(Sources: James Risen, “C.I.A. Unit on bin Laden is Understaffed, a Senior Official Tells Lawmakers,” New York Times, September 15, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. “CIA Officer: al-Qaida Efforts Still Lag,” The Associated Press, September 17, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. Spencer Ackerman, “Iraq’d,” The New Republic Online, September 16, 2004. See article at: tnr.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 120:

Eleven days after taking office, President Bush suspended the contractor-responsibility rule; 11 months later, he revoked it. The regulation, which took effect the day before President Clinton left office, would have allowed federal agencies to deny contracts to companies that have violated federal laws. Bush administration officials argued that existing law, which requires federal contracting officers to determine if a contractor has a “satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics” was enough to protect the public interest.

When the rule was first proposed, Clinton officials said that, with no clear definition of “satisfactory,” “the government continues to award contracts to firms that have violated procurement and other federal laws.” A General Accounting Office study found, over a four-year period, more than 100 instances in which a major defense contractor violated procurement law. And a Mother Jones survey of the nation’s top 200 contractors found that, between 1995 and 2000, 46 had been prosecuted for failing to take responsibility for environmental violations. Fifty-five of those contractors had, together, been cited for 1,375 workplace-safety-law violations that put their workers at risk of death or serious injury.

(Sources: Ellen Nakashima, “Bush Administration Suspends Contractor Regulation,” Washington Post, March 31, 2001. See article at: detnews.com. Ken Silverstein, “Unjust Rewards,” Mother Jones, May/June 2002. See article at: motherjones.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 119:

The Department of Energy will spend $6.5 billion on nuclear weapons in 2004. President Bush has requested $6.8 billion for 2005, and $30 billion for the following four years. Adjusted for inflation, the 2004 expenditure is over 50 percent more than the United States’ average annual spending on nuclear weapons during the Cold War—$4.2 billion. President Clinton’s last budget devoted $5.2 billion to nuclear activities.

Bush’s five-year nuclear-spending plan includes $485 million for the development of a “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrating Warhead,” a weapon designed to destroy underground facilities. The fiscal-year-2005 budget for this program includes $27.5 million for “development ground tests” on “candidate weapon designs.” Such weapons were singled out in the Bush administration’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review as likely instruments of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against “potential contingencies”—countries like North Korea, Iran, Libya, and Syria.

David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said in 2003 that “it is a bad idea to develop [earth-penetrating nuclear weapons], which probably would never be used, and do so openly. It develops a lot of paranoia among proliferating states who believe the U.S. is planning to attack them.”

(Sources: Fred Kaplan, “Our Hidden WMD Program,” Slate, April 23, 2004. See article at: slate.msn.com. Walter Pincus, “Pentagon Pursues Nuclear Earth Penetrator,” Washington Post, March 7, 2003. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Ibid., “U.S. Nuclear Arms Stance Modified by Policy Study,” Washington Post, March 23, 2002. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 118:

In December 2003, President Bush signed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The measure streamlined the approval process for timber-industry projects in federal forests and authorized a $340 million increase for “thinning projects” on 20 million acres of federal land. It also mandated that court orders blocking such projects be reconsidered every 60 days.

At the same time, the Bush administration adopted a rule allowing the Forest Service or another land-management agency to decide if a timber-thinning project would affect any endangered species. Previously, the Forest Service was required by the Endangered Species Act to consult the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service, the agencies devoted to the protection of rare plants and animals. Marty Hayden, the legislative director for an environmental-law firm, said that “the conflict of interest is that the agency whose top job is to do the logging will make this decision, rather than the agency whose top job is to protect threatened or endangered species.”

Since 1999, the timber industry has contributed $14.1 million to political campaigns. Eighty percent of those donations have gone to Republicans. President Bush has received $519,350 from the industry in the same period.

(Sources: “Bush Signs Forest Bill,” The Associated Press, December 4, 2003. See article at: cnn.com. Elizabeth Shogren and Richard Simon, “New Forest-Thinning Policy Droops Safeguard for Wildlife,” Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2003. See article at: commondreams.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 117:

By combining political events and government business on his trips, President Bush has transferred some of the costs of primarily political appearances to taxpayers. In February 2002, Bush raised $2 million at two receptions for New York Governor George Pataki. Because he also gave a 21-minute speech at the New York Police Department’s command-and-control center, 54 percent of the trip’s expenses were billed to the government. Taxes are also used for the full $57,000-an-hour cost of flying Air Force One, regardless of the purpose of the trip, as well as for all communications and security costs. President Bush took 28 political trips in his first 16 months in office, eight more than President Clinton did in the same period. At each political stop, the White House staged an official event as well.

In January, Bush visited the grave of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just before attending a $2,000-a-person fundraiser in Atlanta. A church near the memorial site hosted a civil-rights symposium on the same day; the Secret Service initially told organizers that they would have to cut it short.

(Sources: Jeffrey Gettleman and Ariel Hart, “Bush Plan to Honor Dr. King Stirs Criticism,” New York Times, January 15, 2004. See article at: commondreams.org. Mike Allen, “On the Way to the Fundraiser,” Washington Post, May 20, 2002. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 116:

On Monday, September 13, the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons expired. President Bush, who officially endorsed the ban, took no action to move it through Congress. A study by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence found a 66 percent drop in use of assault weapons in crimes after the ban was first enacted in 1994, prohibiting the sale of 19 types of semiautomatic weapons. A report by the Consumer Federation of America on the expiration of the ban concluded that “assault weapons will be more lethal and less expensive.”

A poll by the National Annenberg Election Survey found that 68 percent of Americans wanted the ban extended. But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said last week, “I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire.” At least 2,000 sheriffs, police chiefs, law enforcement groups, and prosecutors also endorsed the ban and asked the president to extend it. Joseph M. Polisar, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said that the White House ignored a request for a meeting.

(Sources: Fox Butterfield, “As Expiration Looms, Gun Ban’s Effect Is Debated,” New York Times, September 10, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. “Bringing on the Guns,” Washington Post, September 12, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Dan Eggen, “Enthusiasts Eye Assault Rifles as Ban Nears End,” Washington Post, September 8, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 115:

Bushisms

“We’ve got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”
—George W. Bush, September 6, 2004

“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories … for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.”
—George W. Bush, May 29, 2003

(Sources: (1) whitehouse.gov. (2) whitehouse.gov.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 114:

The Bush administration has valued the lives of senior citizens less than the lives of younger people when conducting cost-benefit analyses of anti-pollution regulations. Such analyses are employed to determine whether potential regulations would benefit the public enough to justify the cost to industry. Twice in 2002, the White House Office of Management and Budget instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the $6 million valuation of a human life traditionally used by the federal government for cost-benefit assessments. Under the OMB’s directive, anyone under the age of 70 would instead be valued at $3.7 million; anyone over 70 would be valued at $2.3 million, or 62 percent of the worth of a younger individual. These figures have allowed the EPA to forecast smaller societal benefits in its analyses of proposed regulations on power-plant pollution and snowmobile emissions.

The Bush administration’s valuations were based on a 1982 survey of British citizens that asked how much they would be willing to pay for a safer bus system. It found that elderly respondents would not pay as much to avert death. The study’s author, Michael Jones-Lee, told reporters that the data was out of date and could not be applied to the United States.

(Source: Seth Borenstein, “Elderly Less Valuable in Cost-Benefit Analysis,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, December 18, 2002. See article at: bradenton.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 113:

In April, the Bush administration deleted all discussion of potential economic benefits from a report on the protection of the bull trout, which is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released only the parts of the report that described the costs of saving the fish. Fifty-five pages were excised; they detailed the estimated $215 million return over 20 to 30 years that would arise from maintaining the bull-trout population. The benefits included reduced drinking-water costs, more water for irrigation, and revenue from sports fishing, as well as gains for other fish species. The projected costs came mainly from increased expenses for hydropower, logging, and highway construction.

Diane Katzenberger, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman, told the Montana Missoulian that “the removal was a policy decision made at the Washington level.” Chris Nolin, chief of the division of conservation and classification at the agency, said that the section on economic benefits was not published because it did not conform to the standards of the White House Office of Management and Budget. He told the Washington Post that the OMB has “told us repeatedly in the past to remove this kind of analysis” from public reports.

(Sources: Blaine Harden, “Trout-Protection Data Questioned,” Washington Post, April 17, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Sherry Devlin, “Economic Benefits of Recovery Omitted From Bull Trout Report,” Missoulian, April 15, 2004. See article at: missoulian.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 112:

President Bush’s proposal for renewing the 1996 welfare-reform law included a provision that would have exempted welfare recipients from minimum-wage laws. Those in “workfare” programs, which provide workers with credit toward welfare benefits but no cash income, were targeted by the proposal. According to Bush’s welfare plan, payments for those programs “are not considered compensation for work performed … thus, these payments do not entitle an individual to a salary or to benefits provided under any other provision of the law.” A Department of Health and Human Services official confirmed that “any other provision” was meant to include the minimum-wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and said that “these programs are designed so you gain experience so you can get a better job where you would get a salary and would fall under” the FLSA. The change would have reversed a 1997 Labor Department ruling that working welfare recipients must be paid the minimum wage.

(Source: Mike Allen, “Bush Proposes Welfare Change,” Washington Post, March 6, 2002. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 111:

In May, President Bush announced plans to give the first of five weekly speeches on the U.S. plan for Iraq. A White House official said, “We’re entering a critical phase, and the president will be speaking out each week to discuss with the American people, and the world, the way forward in Iraq … Some speeches will have more details than others, and will be given at different places and times.” Ultimately, Bush delivered only two of these speeches; the second did not focus on Iraq.

(Sources: Robin Wright and Mike Allen, “Bush to Detail Transition Monday in First of Several Iraq Speeches,” Washington Post, May 20, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Marie Horrigan, “Bush Foreign Policy Speech Knocks Realists,” United Press International, June 2, 2004. See article at: washingtontimes.com. Paul Slansky, “The Thirteenth Hundred Days,” The New Yorker, August 30, 2004. See article at: newyorker.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 110:

The provisional Iraqi government set up by the Bush administration cannot account for at least $8.8 billion given to Iraqi ministries, according to an audit by the inspector general of the Coalition Provisional Authority. The audit found that payrolls under CPA control contained thousands of ghost employees. In one instance, the CPA paid for 74,000 guards without validating that number; in another, 8,206 guards were listed on a payroll, but only 603 were known to exist.

In a letter sent to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, three Democratic senators wrote that “such enormous discrepancies raise very serious questions about potential fraud, waste and abuse.” Another audit, released last month by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, found no evidence of fraud but said that CPA oversight had been insufficient. Despite repeated requests, the monitoring board was given no access to U.S. audits of Halliburton contracts. And in June, the British Charity Christian Aid said that at least $20 billion had disappeared from banks administered by the CPA.

(Sources: Sue Pleming, “Senators Ask Where $8.8 Bln in Iraq Funds Went,” Reuters, August 19, 2004. See article at: yahoo.com/news. Emad Mekay, “‘Staggering Amount’ of Cash Missing in Iraq,” Inter Press Service News Agency, August 21, 2004. See article at: ipsnews.net.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 109:

In February, the Bush administration proposed reclassifying employees of fast-food restaurants as manufacturing workers. The idea appeared in the Economic Report of the President, which questioned the inclusion of fast-food restaurants in the service sector and suggested reclassifying such businesses as manufacturers. The report said that the current system for classifying jobs “is not straightforward … When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a ‘service’ or is it combining inputs to ‘manufacture’ a product?” David Huether, the chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, said that expanding the definition of “manufacturing” would produce statistics showing more jobs in that sector, which has been in decline.

(Source: David Johnston, “In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories?” New York Times, February 20, 2004. See article at: independent-media.tv.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 108:

In 2001, the Bush administration created the Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining to pass the concerns of energy companies directly to federal-land-management employees. The White House has since written to Cabinet officers instructing them to “identify ways your agency could expedite the review of permits or other authorizations for energy-related projects … and accelerate the completion of such projects.” Administration officials have also pressured the Bureau of Land Management to issue more permits for oil and gas drilling on federal land. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bush administration “commended offices that approved large numbers of drilling permits and chastised those that were slow.”

The BLM, in turn, issued an agency directive ordering field officers “to take the necessary steps to work with local oil and gas operators.” Permits have been issued at a rate 70 percent above that of the Clinton years. Funding for the BLM program administering oil and gas exploration on public land has risen by 50 percent since the Bush administration took office, while funding for wildlife management has declined. A career BLM staff member in a Western office told the Los Angeles Times that “all we do is issue permits for oil and gas … We’re told to follow new deadlines that are totally driven by industry. We’re not given time to do adequate [environmental reviews] and to consider the consequences of our decisions.” Another BLM employee told the paper he left the bureau in 2002 because the Bush administration had begun to refer to wildlife protections as “impediments” to leasing.

With a legal settlement signed by Interior Secretary Gail Norton last year, the Bush administration opened 2.6 million acres in Utah and 600,000 acres in Colorado to development, reversing a Clinton administration policy shielding those areas. After the settlement, the BLM leased tens of thousands of acres in the area to oil and gas companies. The settlement also stripped the BLM of the authority to protect lands proposed for wilderness conservation. President Bush has signed legislation preserving only 528,604 acres, far less than any president since the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964. President Reagan preserved 10.6 million acres; President George H.W. Bush preserved 4 million. And last month, the Department of Agriculture rolled back another Clinton administration rule in order to allow the construction of new roads on 58 million acres managed by the Forest Service. According to the Los Angeles Times, the ban on road construction “had kept the remote lands off limits to industry.”

In New Mexico, ranchers have complained that wastewater from natural-gas drilling has contaminated their water sources, and that the industry activity is depleting the water table. Last month, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department criticized the BLM’s efforts to safeguard wildlife, saying that protective measures had been “inconsistently applied” and “frequently modified or waived.” In 2002, the BLM’s Wyoming field director gave an award to the Buffalo, Wyoming, field office for approving more drilling permits than all other BLM offices combined.

(Source: Alan C. Miller, Tom Hamburger, and Julie Cart, “White House Puts the West on Fast Track for Oil, Gas Drilling,” Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2004. See article at: latimes.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 107:

On May 19, the White House issued a memo preliminarily outlining widespread domestic-funding cuts to be included in the 2006 budget. The memo, sent out to government agencies, said that spending levels for 2006 must not exceed the levels specified in a database included with the 2005 budget. According to that database, overall domestic spending will drop by $2.3 billion in 2006, not including inflation. The budget for the EPA will be cut by $161 million. The Department of the Interior will lose $200 million. A nutrition program for women, infants, and children will be cut by $122 million; Head Start, the early-childhood-education program, will be cut by $177 million. Other programs due for cuts include the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the Transportation Department, and the Social Security Administration. The Defense Department, though, will receive a 5.2 percent budget increase, to $422.7 billion, and the Justice Department will receive a 4.3 percent increase, to $19.5 billion.

The Bush administration has publicized its plans to increase spending in many areas in 2005, without mentioning that funding would be reversed a year later. The 2005 budget gives the Education Department a $1.7 billion increase; the 2006 budget memo reduces that by $1.5 billion. The Veterans Affairs budget will get a $519 million increase in 2005, and then, according to the memo, a $910 million cut in 2006. A homeownership program will be increased by $78 million in 2005, as President Bush has repeatedly noted; it stands to be cut by $53 million in 2006. The National Institutes of Health would lose $600 million in 2006 after gaining $764 million in 2005. And homeland-security spending, described by the Washington Post as “a centerpiece of the Bush reelection campaign,” would be reduced by $1 billion.

(Sources: “White House Budget Memo Riles Democrats,” CNN.com, May 28, 2004. See article at: cnn.com. “Bush Plan Eyes Cuts for Schools, Veterans,” The Associated Press, May 27, 2004. See article at: usatoday.com. Jonathan Weisman, “2006 Cuts in Domestic Spending on Table,” Washington Post, May 27, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 106:

In 2002, President Bush appointed Dr. W. David Hager to a Food and Drug Administration panel on women’s health; this June, Bush renewed the appointment. Hager is the author of As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now and (with his wife, Linda) Stress and the Woman’s Body, which recommends prayer for the treatment of headaches and premenstrual syndrome. He has criticized the birth-control pill for promoting promiscuity.

Last December, when the panel considered permitting the morning-after pill called Plan B to be sold over the counter, Hager argued that the pill had not been adequately tested on adolescents. Another physician on the panel called Plan B “the safest product that we have seen brought before us,” and the committee recommended that it be sold without a prescription by a vote of 23-4. In May, the FDA disregarded that recommendation and the endorsements of other FDA staff members and refused to allow Plan B to be sold over the counter. The rationale provided in the rejection letter was “inadequate sampling of younger age groups.”

Dr. Alastair Wood, who voted for approval of Plan B as part of the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee, said that “there’s no evidence that this drug has different side effects in younger girls.” James Trussell, the director of Princeton University’s Office of Population Research, said that the stated FDA justification for rejection was a “political fig leaf,” and that scores of drugs, as well as contraceptives such as the vaginal sponge and the female condom, were approved without data on specific age groups.

(Sources: Karen Tumulty, “Jesus and the FDA,” Time (online edition), October 5, 2002. See article at: time.com. Chris Mooney, “Christian Science?” Mother Jones, September/October 2004. See article at: motherjones.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 105:

Last week, the Bush administration issued a report acknowledging that carbon dioxide emissions were the only likely explanation for global warming. Dr. James R. Mahoney, the director of the Bush administration’s climate-change-science program, delivered the report to Congress; he said that it reflected “the best possible scientific information” on climate change. But this report, according to the administration, does not indicate a shift in its position—President Bush maintains that the science on global warming is not strong enough.

When the Bush administration issued a document in 2002 suggesting that global warming had a human cause, President Bush dismissed it as “put out by the bureaucracy.” The new report was signed by Bush’s secretaries of energy and commerce, and by his science adviser. The New York Times reported that, in an interview, President Bush “appeared unfamiliar” with the report. When asked why the administration had changed its position on the causes of global warming, the President said, “Ah, we did? I don’t think so.” John H. Marburger, the president’s science adviser, said the report has “no implications for policy.” James R. Mahoney said that the main cause of climate change is water vapor.

(Sources: Andrew Revkin, “U.S. Report Turns Focus to Greenhouse Gases,” New York Times, August 26, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. David Sanger and Elisabeth Bumiller, “Bush Dismisses Idea That Kerry Lied on Vietnam,” New York Times, August 27, 2004. See article at: nytimes.com. Juliet Eilperin, “Administration Shifts on Global Warming,” Washington Post, August 27, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 104:

President Bush’s new rules on travel to Cuba went into effect on June 30. They allow Cuban-Americans only one visit home every three years, eliminate humanitarian permission to attend funerals or to see dying relatives, and remove all extended family—such as aunts, uncles, and cousins—from the list of government-approved relatives. Violators are fined $65,000.

In July, during a speech about the travel restrictions, President Bush told an audience of Florida law-enforcement officials that Fidel Castro was promoting sex tourism to Cuba. “The dictator welcomes sex tourism,” Bush said. “Here’s how he bragged about the industry. This is his quote: ‘Cuba has the cleanest and most educated prostitutes in the world.’”

The quote was from a paper written by a Dartmouth undergraduate, Charles Trumbull, in 2001. His paper provided no footnote for the quote, but when reached by the Los Angeles Times, Trumbull guessed that it was a paraphrase of comments Castro made in 1992. In that year, Castro told the Cuban parliament that “there are prostitutes, but prostitution is not allowed in our country. There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to a foreigner, to a tourist.” A State Department official said that the White House asked for material on human trafficking in Cuba less than a day before the speech and that the department then found Trumbull’s paper on the Internet.

(Sources: Maura Reynolds, “Bush Took Quote Out of Context, Researcher Says,” Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2004. See article at: commondreams.org. Portia Siegelbaum, “Castro Blasts Bush on Sex Charges,” CBS News, July 27, 2004. See article at: cbsnews.com. Mary Murray, “Castro Responds to Bush’s Prostitution Charges,” NBC News, July 27, 2004. See article at: msnbc.msn.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 103:

On October 12, 2001, the FBI requested $1.5 billion to fund its counterterrorism efforts. The Bush White House cut that request by two-thirds, to $531 million. Attorney General John Ashcroft cut the FBI’s request for items including computer-networking and foreign-language intercepts by half, a cyber-security request by three-quarters, and eliminated altogether a request for “collaborative capabilities.”

Before September 11, the FBI requested $588 million in increased funding for 2003. Part of that increase would have been used to hire 54 translators and 248 counterterrorism agents. In the 2003 budget request Ashcroft sent to the White House, on September 10, 2001, he did not include the FBI’s request and he proposed cuts in some counterterrorism programs.

In April 2000, Ashcroft’s predecessor, Janet Reno, called terrorism “the most challenging threat in the criminal justice area.” Reno also increased the Justice Department’s counterterrorism budget by 13.6 percent in 1999, 7.1 percent in 2000, and 22.7 percent in 2001.

A “Strategic Plan” produced by Ashcroft’s office on August 9, 2001, did not include fighting terrorism as one of the department’s seven goals; it was listed as a subgoal, beneath gun violence and drugs, and was not among the 13 objectives highlighted as an “Attorney General Goal.”

A month earlier, however, in July 2001, Ashcroft began using a private jet after an FBI “threat assessment” warned him against commercial flights.

(Sources: Dana Milbank, “FBI Budget Squeezed After 9/11,” Washington Post, March 22, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com. Adam Clymer, “How Sept. 11 Changed Goals of Justice Dept.,” New York Times, February 28, 2002. See article at: criminology.fsu.edu. Julian Borger, “Ashcroft Drawn Into Row Over September 11,” Guardian, May 21, 2002. See article at: guardian.co.uk.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 102:

President Bush appointed Jay Bybee, the author of a Justice Department document authorizing the torture of detainees, to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Several of Bush’s other appeals-court nominees were also involved in the creation of the administration’s policy on torture.

As the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, Bybee wrote a memo setting out what the White House counsel called the “definitive interpretation” of the law on torture. He defined torture as any action that causes as much pain as “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” “Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” is, according to Bybee’s memo, acceptable. That document was issued on August 1, 2002. On January 7, 2003, Bush nominated Bybee for the judgeship, and in March 2003, he was confirmed.

A month later, on April 4, 2003, a Defense Department memo employed Bybee’s definition of torture. That memo also argued that, as commander in chief, the president was able to override constitutional restraints against mistreatment of detainees. The Defense Department general counsel who approved the memo was William Haynes; in September of 2003, he was nominated to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. An appointee to the 3rd Circuit, Michael Chertoff, headed the Justice Department Criminal Division when it reviewed and cleared “stress and duress” methods used by the CIA against detainees in 2002. He was nominated by President Bush a year later.

(Sources: Herman Schwartz, “Twisting the Law on Interrogating Detainees,” Newsday, August 18, 2004. See article at: newsday.com. Kenneth Ofgang, “Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee Confirmed as Ninth Circuit Judge,” Metropolitan News-Enterprise, March 14, 2003. See article at: metnews.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 101:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began creating regulations to guard against workplace tuberculosis infection in 1993, predicting that its work could prevent 25,000 infections and 135 deaths a year. On the last day of 2003, when those regulations were nearly complete, the Bush administration ceased all work on them—claiming that voluntary measures were effective enough.

President Bush attempted, in his first year in office, to eliminate 100 of OSHA’s jobs and to cut the funding for its standards-setting section by 8 percent. With its current staff, OSHA can only visit about 2 percent of the nation’s workplaces each year.
Since President Bush began his term, OSHA has eliminated almost five times as many pending standards as it has approved. On the day that Bush was sworn in, his chief of staff, Andrew Card, froze all standards that had not yet gone into effect. Within months, more than a dozen of those pending regulations were eliminated. President Bush personally signed the repeal of the central worker-safety standard created during the Clinton administration, which set safeguards against ergonomic injuries.

When a standard for safety masks was being created, 3M asked OSHA to give its disposable dust masks the same rating as more sophisticated respirators. Even after scientists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and from an American National Standards Institutes committee testified that the masks were not as safe as respirators, last June OSHA gave all masks the same rating.

In 2001, OSHA also canceled standards for a group of chemicals suspected of causing miscarriages. Its explanation at the time was only this: “OSHA is withdrawing this entry from the agenda at this time due to resource constraints and other priorities.”

(Source: Amy Goldstein and Sarah Cohen, “Bush Forces a Shift in Regulatory Thrust,” Washington Post, August 15, 2004. See article at: washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 100:

When the Bush administration took office, the Justice Department abruptly settled several cases against Koch Industries, dropping criminal charges and drastically reducing penalties. Koch, an oil conglomerate privately owned by brothers Charles and David Koch, has donated $3 million to the Republican Party since 1998 and has spent another $3.88 million on direct lobbying in Congress.

In late 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration, Koch received a 97-count indictment for concealing the discharge of benzene from a refinery in Texas. Benzene is carcinogenic; the company had released more than 15 times the legal limit. Penalties were projected to exceed $350 million, and four Koch employees faced up to 35 years in prison. Three months after the Bush administration entered office, as the lawsuit was about to go to trial, the Justice Department dropped all but a single count of concealment of information, and fined Koch $20 million. The four employees were not charged at all.

The government had also sued Koch in 1995 and 1997 for a reported 300 oil spills from the company’s pipelines, seeking between $71 million and $214 million in penalties. It was estimated that the spills had dumped 3 million gallons of oil into lakes and streams spread over six states. On January 13, 2000, the case was settled for $35 million.

In another case, Koch was sued under the False Claims Act, which gives private plaintiffs the right to sue companies defrauding the government. Koch was accused of stealing millions of barrels of oil, worth about $170 million, from federal and Native American lands. In May 2001, that case was settled for $25 million. Again, all charges were dismissed.

The Koch brothers are also involved with a range of advocacy groups that have influenced legislation in the company’s favor. Between 1985 and 2002, Koch-family foundations gave more than $23 million to George Mason University, the site of the Mercatus Center, among other Koch-funded institutes. When the White House’s Office of Management and Budget chose eight major EPA rules for review in December of 2001, five of them had been the subject of public-interest comments filed by Mercatus. According to the Government Accountability Office, Mercatus submitted more comments than any other organization for OMB review; 23 were marked as “high priority” by the OMB. John Graham, a senior OMB official, was once an advisory-board member at the Mercatus Center.

Another think tank founded by the Koch brothers in 1984, Citizens for a Sound Economy, is the subject of a recent Federal Election Commission complaint. It is charged with illegally contributing to Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign.

(Source: Bob Williams and Kevin Bogardus, “Koch’s Low Profile Belies Political Power,” The Center for Public Integrity, July 15, 2004. See article at: publicintegrity.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 99:

When Vice President Dick Cheney spoke in New Mexico last month, non-Republicans who attempted to attend were prevented from doing so. Campaign workers required proof that each attendee was a member of the Republican Party, or had contributed money to the party. All others were asked to sign forms endorsing President Bush. An endorsement form obtained by the Albuquerque Journal said “I, (full name) … do herby [sic] endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States … In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush.” A spokesman for the Kerry campaign said that the Democratic Party has no screening requirements at its events.

(Source: Jeff Jones, “Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement,” Albuquerque Journal, July 30, 2004. See article at: abqjournal.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 98:

President Bush praised an American Indian housing program during a speech last week but did not mention that he plans to cut almost 80 percent of its funding. Speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 in Albuquerque, Bush said of the program, “Doesn’t it make sense to have public policy aimed at helping people own their own home? I can’t think of a better use of resources.” Bush’s proposed budget, however, reduces the Indian Housing and Guarantee Fund’s funding from $5.3 million to $1 million, and seeks the return of $33 million in additional funds. Chester Carl, the chairman of the National American Indian Housing Council, said that the cuts would cripple the program. “It’s going to go backward,” Carl said. “We’re just now starting to see tribes understand that there’s another way and banks understand that they can make loans on trust land. You’re pulling the rug out from under them.”

Arnold Reano, whose family was the first from Santo Domingo Pueblo to take advantage of the program, stood with Bush on stage in Albuquerque while the president said that the program showed that the American dream of home ownership was “valid for everyone.” Reano was not told that Bush had chosen to cut back funding for the program. “If I had known, I would have asked the president about it,” he said.

(Sources: “Bush to Cut Indian Housing He Praised,” Associated Press, August 14, 2004. See article at: latimes.com. Leslie Linthicum, “Bush Sends Mixed Messages,” Albuquerque Journal, August 13, 2004. See article at: abqjournal.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 97:

Earlier this month, at the “Unity: Journalists of Color” convention, the president answered a question about the meaning of tribal sovereignty in the 21st century, and his response drew derisive laughter from the crowd.

Bush said, “Tribal sovereignty means that … it’s sovereignty. I mean, you’re a—you’re a—you’ve been given sovereignty, and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity.”

Jacqueline Johnson, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, was one of many Native Americans offended by the president’s comments. She said that sovereignty is “the nearest and dearest, No. 1 issue in Indian Country … It’s not something that was given to us. As tribes, we see sovereignty as something we’ve always had.”

Ron Allen, the NCAI’s treasurer and the chairman of the Jamestown S’Kallam tribe, said that “it was disappointing to hear his statements … It was clear to us that he didn’t know what he was talking about.”

At the same convention, President Bush was asked if he would endorse an amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. The amendment is meant to ensure that the disenfranchisement of many Florida voters in 2000 would not be repeated. The president responded: “Just don’t focus on Florida. Now, I’ll talk to the governor down there to make sure it works.”

(Sources: Shannon Gibney, “Bush, Kerry Address Journalists of Color,” Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, August 13, 2004. Lewis Kamb, “Bush Comment on Tribal Sovereignty Creates a Buzz,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 13, 2004. Marcus Mabry, “A Tale of Two Candidates,” Newsweek, August 7, 2004. whitehouse.gov.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 96:

“A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.”
—George W. Bush, accepting the Republican nomination for president, August 3, 2000

(Source: cnn.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 95:

In his memoir A World Transformed (1998), George Bush Sr. wrote:

“Trying to eliminate Saddam … would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible … We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq … There was no viable “exit strategy” we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations’ mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."

(Sources: Thomas M. DeFrank, “Book: Poppy Opposed Dubya’s War,” Daily News, April 6, 2004. See article at: nydailynews.com. David T. Pyne, “Not Too Late for an Iraqi Exit Strategy,” military.com, Nov. 19, 2003. snopes.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 94:

On April 29, 2004, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations asked Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, how many U.S. soldiers had been killed since the invasion of Iraq.

Wolfowitz responded: “It’s approximately 500, of which—I can get the exact numbers—approximately 350 are combat deaths.”

According to the Pentagon and news reports, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq on the day Wolfowitz appeared before the committee was 722 (521 of them killed in combat). Wolfowitz is a chief architect of the U.S. war in Iraq.

(Sources: Les Payne, “Wolfowitz Is Numerically Challenged,” Long Island (N.Y.) Newsday, May 2, 2004. “At Hearing, Wolfowitz Falls Short,” The Associated Press, April 30, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 93:

Bush has fought to repeal America’s Better Classroom Act, which provides funds for repairing qualified public schools. His budget plans have consistently omitted any dedicated resources to help states and local governments address the estimated $127 billion needed for school maintenance.

The average American school is 43 years old. Almost one-third of all public-school buildings require major repair of roofs, exterior walls, windows, plumbing, lighting, and other features. Also, many schools do not have the wiring needed to support today’s Internet and computer technology. When the American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2001 report card on the nation’s infrastructure, school buildings received a D-, the worst grade given that year.

(Sources: Committee on Education and the Workforce, edworkforce.house.gov. American Society of Civil Engineers, “Full Report Card for 2001,” asce.org. National Center for Education Statistics, “How Old Are America’s Public Schools?,” nces.ed.gov. National Education Association, “School Modernization Bill Just Common Sense,” nea.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 92:

The Bush administration defends its recent decision to freeze the Child Care and Development Block Grant—a major source of federal child-care funding for states—by claiming that it will deprive only 200,000 eligible children of assistance by 2009.

The actual number is significantly larger.

The administration’s figures are based on unrealistic and misleading assumptions. The key assumption is that states will continue to devote the same level of welfare funds to child care as they did in 2001. However, as recent welfare cuts in Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and West Virginia indicate, the level of state-provided child-care funding is on the decline and will continue to decline in the future. This is primarily due to two factors: (1) buffer welfare funds from previous years are nearly exhausted, and (2) the rising cost of other state welfare programs is eating into the amount available for child care.

More-realistic estimates, which account for inflation and decline in funding, place the total number of children who will lose coverage by 2009 at 365,000. This is almost double of what Bush has suggested.

(Source: cbpp.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 91:

Bushism

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
—George W. Bush, August 5, 2004

(Source: ap.tbo.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 90:

President Bush’s campaign demanded to know the ethnicity of a journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Cheney at an Arizona rally. A spokesman for the re-election campaign, Danny Diaz, said the request was made for security purposes: “All the information requested of staff, volunteers and participants for the event has been done so to ensure the safety of all those involved.” When asked if the photographer, Mamta Popat, had been targeted because of her name, Mr. Diaz would not elaborate on his statement.

(Source: Karamargin, C.J., “Bush Camp Solicits Race of Star Staffer,” Arizona Daily Star, July 31, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 89:

New York’s share of homeland-security funding shrank from 25 percent in early 2003 to 7 percent in November, despite being the victim of terrorist attacks in 1993 and 2001. On a per capita basis, New York state is 49th in antiterrorist funding, far below rural, sparsely populated Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota. The New York Daily News reports that New York is also 49th in per capita funding among cities: $5.87 per person. New Haven, Connecticut, on the other hand, has the highest per capita allocation: $77.92 per person.

According to New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, “The credible threat of terrorism is considered a secondary factor in Washington in the way homeland-security funding is allocated.”

(Source: Jack Newfield, “Bush To City: Drop Dead,” The Nation, April, 2004. See article at: thenation.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 88:

In the summer of 2003, the Bush administration passed a bill that added a $400-per-child tax credit to middle- and upper-income families. However, in a last-minute change to the bill, the tax break was denied to families who earn just above minimum wage.

Over 6.5 million families, and 12 million children in households earning less than $26,625 a year, did not benefit from the administration’s increased tax refunds.

Senator Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat who tried to extend the tax credit to low-income families, said: “I don’t know why they would cut that out of the bill. These are the people who need it the most and who will spend it the most. These are the people who buy the blue jeans and the detergent and who will stimulate the economy with their spending.”

(Sources: David Firestone, “Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets,” New York Times, May 29, 2003. “Dems, GOP Spar Over Tax Cut Provision,” CNN, May 30, 2003. See article at: cnn.com. cbpp.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 87:

Since George W. Bush has taken office, his administration has significantly weakened the country’s central toxic-waste-cleanup program, Superfund. For 20 years, Superfund identified the country’s largest polluters and required them to pay for cleaning the sites they contaminated. When President Bush took office, he did not renew this “polluter pays” program; as a result, taxpayers have been forced to pay for this cleanup. With its limited funding, estimates show that Superfund will run out of money by the end of the year. Without adequate funding, the rate of Superfund cleanups has fallen by half in comparison with the 1990s.

An EPA report published in July found that 111 Superfund sites do not have human exposure to hazardous toxic waste and ground-water pollution under control. A Sierra Club report found that these sites threaten to expose 1 in 4 Americans to such dangers.

Congress passed Superfund in the late 1970s, in response to an incident in Love Canal, New York, where residents discovered that their homes had been polluted by 20,000 tons of toxic chemical waste discarded by the Hooker Chemical Company in the 1940s and 1950s. This discovery coincided with a slew of miscarriages, birth defects, respiratory ailments, and cancer diagnoses in the region.

(Sources: Frohman, Jessica, Ananda Hirsch, and Ed Hopkins, “Communities at Risk: How the Bush Administration Is Failing to Protect People’s Health at Superfund Sites,” The Sierra Club. See article at: www.sierraclub.org. www.epa.gov. David Hopkins, “Superfund Waste Sites Endanger Human Health, Says Report,” Environmental Data Interactive Exchange, July 30, 2004. See article at: www.edie.net. www.news-journalonline.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 86:

Many believe that President Bush’s selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate in 2000 violated the 12th Amendment. The amendment mandates that running mates must inhabit separate states: “The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.” Cheney registered to vote in Wyoming on July 21, 2000, four days before he joined the ticket. Before that, he had lived in Highland Park, Texas, for five years and had identified himself as a Texas resident on tax returns.

After the election, a lawsuit was filed arguing that Cheney’s residency in Texas violated the 12th Amendment and made Bush ineligible for Texas’s electoral votes. The plaintiffs, three Texas voters, claimed that they had been deprived of their constitutional rights to a meaningful vote and to an election held in strict accordance with the law. But the judge, in an accelerated ruling, found that the voters had no standing to bring the suit: “Plaintiffs’ allegation that a violation of the Twelfth Amendment would infringe their constitutional rights does not of itself establish an injury in fact to them personally. A general interest in seeing that the government abides by the Constitution is not sufficiently individuated or palpable to constitute such an injury.”

(Sources: txnd.uscourts.gov (PDF). usatoday.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 85:

In June 2004, the Bush administration announced that any new scientists participating in the World Health Organization’s expert panels must first be approved by a senior political appointee.

WHO—the United Nations’ leading international health and science agency, governed by 192 member states—is accustomed to inviting individual scientists to meetings without consulting political bureaucrats. WHO officials in Geneva have so far refused to comply with the request, explaining that the new regulation would politicize their independent panels in which specialists from around the world discuss the latest studies on chemical, biological, industrial, and environmental threats.

Dr. D.A. Henderson, an epidemiologist who ran the Bush administration’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and who worked for the WHO for 11 years, said that the only case in which he could remember having to consult with government officials on who should participate in a scientific panel was when dealing with small Eastern European countries.

(Source: Tom Hamburger, “Bush Appointee Must Clear Any Scientist Advising WHO World Health Agency Says Policy Threatens Free, Open Inquiry,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 84:

Bushisms

“The illiteracy level of our children are appalling.”
—George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2004

“One of the most meaningful things that’s happened to me since I’ve been the governor—the president—governor—president. Oops. Ex-governor. I went to Bethesda Naval Hospital to give a fellow a Purple Heart, and at the same moment I watched him—get a Purple Heart for action in Iraq—and at that same—right after I gave him the Purple Heart, he was sworn in as a citizen of the United States—a Mexican citizen, now a United States citizen.”
—George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 9, 2004

“See, one of the interesting things in the Oval Office—I love to bring people into the Oval Office—right around the corner from here—and say, this is where I office, but I want you to know the office is always bigger than the person.”
—George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2004

(Sources: whitehouse.gov (1). whitehouse.gov (2). columbiapoliticalreview.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 83:

The Bush administration changed the status of pilot Captain Michael Scott Speicher to “missing/captured” in October 2002, nearly 10 years after his F-18 jet was shot down over Iraq, in 1991, and he was declared dead. The decision to change his status in 2002 was bolstered by an informant’s testimony that was later found to be unreliable.

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter writes in the June 2004 issue of Harper’s:

“Alongside arguments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, Scott Speicher offered Americans a human and less abstract rationale for war. In the six months leading to war, there were at least 135 news stories about Speicher, speculating about his fate and the character of those who would keep him prisoner. In March 2002 the Washington Times ran a front-page article on Speicher for five consecutive days. One was titled ‘Bush denounces “heartless” Saddam: He suspects Navy pilot is live captive,’ and another cited an informant inside Iraq who ‘stated that the pilot was being kept in isolation.’ CNN’s Wolf Blitzer called Speicher’s situation ‘shocking,’ and on MSNBC a former Pentagon official discussed the likelihood that the pilot was being tortured."

The latest military investigation finds no evidence that Speicher was ever held captive, or that he survived the crash.

(Sources: Scott Ritter, “An American P.O.W. in Iraq?,” Harper’s, June 2004. Bill Gertz, “New Reports Say Iraq Holding U.S. Pilot,” Washington Times, January 13, 2003. Randall Richard, “The Question Lingers: What Happened to Scott Speicher?” The Associated Press, July 17, 2004. First Coast News Staff, “New Answers in Search for Scott Speicher,” First Coast News, July 23, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 82:

Scientists are concerned that a Department of Energy-funded proposal to inject excess carbon-dioxide emissions into the deep sea could damage sea life. The proposal is part of the Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnership Program initiated in August 2003 in order to suggest alternative ways of storing excess carbon-dioxide emissions, instead of reducing them in the first place.

According to Brad Seibel, co-author of the book Climate Change and Biodiversity and assistant professor of marine biology at the University of Rhode Island, increased carbon dioxide in the oceans would result in decreases in the pH levels (the measure of acidity) of seawater, resulting in dramatic physiological effects on many species. Deep-sea creatures are even more sensitive to environmental changes, he said. In some species, their metabolism would become suppressed, which would lead to retarded growth and reproduction, while other species would be unable to transport oxygen in their blood.

“Carbon-dioxide injection would be detrimental to a great many organisms,” said Seibel. “It would kill everything that can’t swim fast enough to get out of the way, because in concentrated form it’s highly toxic, even to humans.”

The Bush administration has repeatedly refused to sign the emission-reducing Kyoto Protocol.

(Sources: www.innovations-report.com. www.fe.doe.gov. www.energy.gov. Department of Energy press release.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 81:

In March 2001, President Bush’s EPA announced that it would withdraw a new standard for arsenic in drinking water and reinstate an outdated standard established in 1942. The lower standard cuts costs significantly for the mining industry and water suppliers.

The new standard—10 parts per billion (ppb)—was implemented by the Clinton administration after a decade of testing and studies. One of those studies authorized by Congress cost $2.5 million annually from 1997 to 2000. Another report, by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1999, concluded that the previous 50 ppb standard could “easily” result in a 1-in-100 cancer risk and recommended that acceptable levels be lowered “as promptly as possible.”

When the president made the decision to go back to the original 50 ppb standard, he said: “At the very last minute, my predecessor made a decision, and we pulled back his decision so that we can make a decision based upon sound science and what’s realistic.” His EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, said the standard had not been based on the “best available science.”

In October 2001, following a new NAS study concluding that the 10 ppb standard was scientifically justified and possibly not low enough, the EPA finally adopted that standard. But by this time it was widely recognized that a 3 ppb standard (the lowest level that EPA studies consider technically and economically feasible to achieve) would best safeguard consumers. In fact, studies now show that the 10 ppb standard presents cancer risks 10 times higher than the level EPA considers acceptable in regulating other water contaminants.

(Sources: David Corn, “The Other Lies of George Bush,” The Nation, September 25, 2003. www.nrdc.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 80:

At the International AIDS Conference last week, the Bush administration announced its refusal to donate a requested $1 billion to the U.N.-sponsored Global Fund to fight the disease. The fund works with 128 countries and is currently $3.6 billion short of its 2005 budget.

U.S. spokesman Randall Tobias said that the United States already donates billions to their own AIDS relief programs. However, the United States focuses its aid only on the small number of countries (approximately 14) that support the president’s abstinence-first policy. In addition, the United States’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief only allows the use of brand-name drugs, which are usually American-made, as opposed to cheaper generic versions. Generic drugs that are allowed under the Global Fund cost as little as $150 per person per year, versus the typical $700 cost of the U.S.-approved drugs.

(Source: “U.S. Fights Criticism at AIDS Conference,” The Associated Press, July 14, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 79:

President George W. Bush announced last week that the $34 million Congress had set aside for the U.N. Population Fund will be used for other purposes. This is the third year in a row that the president has denied funding for the organization, which works with governments in over 140 countries in the areas of population and reproductive-health programs.

The funding was denied because $3.5 million out of the program’s $300 million annual budget was appropriated to China. Because some counties in China allow coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, the administration explained, it could not send UNFPA aid to the country. The decision was made despite the fact that no evidence has ever been found to connect the UNFPA’s work with such coercive practices.

The head of UNFPA’s Washington office, Sarah Craven, said: ’’That money could have prevented up to 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 induced abortions and maternal deaths, and 77,000 infant and child deaths annually."

(Source: Jim Lobe, “Bush Extends Jihad Against UNFPA,” Inter Press Service, Saturday, July 17, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 78:

In 1997, Governor Bush approved the appointment of William Archer III as Texas Health Commissioner.

In April of 2000, Archer, who is Caucasian, was quoted in several news reports as saying that Hispanic teenagers “want to be pregnant.”

Archer later resigned from his position in the midst of pressure surrounding inappropriate comments caught on tape during a meeting with Dr. Demetria Montgomery, who is African-American. On the tape, Archer makes reference to lynching and suggests that Montgomery use her brain to advance her career because “that’s what white people do.” He also said to Montgomery, “You are fair [skinned] as a black woman, you get certain privileges in white culture that others don’t get for that.”

(Source: “Texas Health Commissioner Resigns Over Racial Remarks,” CNN.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 77:

In January 2002, Vice President Cheney refused to let a congressional oversight body see records of his Enron meetings. The records might have helped determine how much influence the company may have had over the energy policy Cheney’s task force developed in 2001.

Cheney explained his refusal to publicize what took place at the meetings by saying that he and the president should be allowed to do their work in secret.

He told CNN in 2002:

“I have been in town now off-and-on for 34 years. And during that period of time, there’s been a constant, steady erosion of the prerogatives and the power of the Oval Office, a continual encroachment by Congress, War Powers Act, Anti-Impoundment and Budget Control Act, previous instances where presidents have given up, if you will, important principles. So the office is weaker today than it was 30, 35 years ago.”

The administration that was in office 30, 35 years ago was the Nixon administration, in which Cheney served. Watergate took place during this same period in Nixon’s first term, causing Congress to later establish reforms that made it more difficult for a president to conduct politically motivated burglaries.

(Sources: “Cheney: We’re keeping papers secret on principle,” CNN, Jan. 29, 2002. Elisabeth Bumiller, “Enron’s Many Strands: The Vice President; Cheney Is Set to Battle Congress to Keep His Enron Talks Secret,” New York Times, Jan. 28, 2002. Adam Clymer, “Judge Says Cheney Needn’t Give Energy Policy Records to Agency,” New York Times, Dec. 2002.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 76:

On December 10, 1985, then-Congressman Cheney voted against the Community Right to Know Act, an amendment that would require oil, chemical, and other polluting facilities to report their toxic emissions. On the same day, he voted against the Citizen’s Right to Sue Polluters Act, an amendment that would allow citizens to sue in federal court if they were harmed by pollution from abandoned toxic-waste sites.

(Source: www.commondreams.org. “Cheney Pick Would Be Threat to Environment, Supported Oil Industry on Many Issues,” The Sierra Club, July 24, 2000.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 75:

In a 2002 Defense Department report that examined the policies and execution of the war in Afghanistan, retired Army colonel Hy Rothstein concluded that the victory in Afghanistan was not a strategic long-run success.

He noted that the bombing campaign was an ineffective way to hunt down Al Qaeda operatives. Moreover, it resulted in a number of civilian deaths that could have been avoided if Special Forces had been deployed and able to use methods of unconventional warfare. Finally, Rothstein believed the Special Forces would have negotiated with anti-Taliban elements to ensure that postwar Afghanistan did not degrade into its present state of anarchy.

When Rothstein delivered his report in January 2003, the Pentagon returned it to him with the message that he had to cut it drastically and soften his conclusions. When asked for comment, the Pentagon said, “We did not support all of his conclusions.”

An unidentified former senior intelligence officer said, “It wasn’t like he made it up … the reason they’re petrified is that it’s true, and they didn’t want to see it in writing.”

(Source: Seymour M. Hersh, “The Other War,” The New Yorker, issue of April 12, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 74:

George W. Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover who has not attended a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) convention.

Bush declined a recent invitation to speak at the NAACP’s upcoming annual convention. NAACP spokesman John White said that Bush has rejected every invitation to speak at their conventions since the president has taken office.

(Source: “Bush Declines NAACP Invitation,” The Associated Press, Thursday, July 8, 2004. See article at: www.cnn.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 73:

While campaigning for the presidency in 2000, Bush said: “I do support a national patients’ bill of rights. As a matter of fact, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to do just that in the state of Texas to get a patients’ bill of rights through. We’re one of the first states that said you can sue an HMO for denying you proper coverage … I don’t want the law to supersede good laws like we’ve got in Texas.”

However, as governor, Bush vetoed the patients’ bill of rights that he refers to above. Bush finally let the law pass, but he refused to sign it.

The Bush administration recently argued against this same Texas patients’ bill in a Supreme Court case that challenged the strength of the law. The administration’s briefing on the subject argued that allowing patients to sue their HMOs for wrongful denials of medical benefits costs the HMOs too much.

This month the court ruled in favor of the managed-care companies.

(Sources: Presidential debate, St. Louis, MO, 10/17/00. Charles Lane, “A ‘Flip-Flop’ on Patients’ Right to Sue?” Washington Post, April 5, 2004. New York Times, 3/24/04. abcnews.go.com. Jake Tapper and Alicia Montgomery, “Patients bill alive, for now,” Salon, Feb. 7, 2001.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 72:

On Tuesday the Senate confirmed Bush judicial nominee J. Leon Holmes to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in a 51-46 vote.

Holmes has written that abortion is akin to the holocaust. He also said that concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.

In an article he co-authored with his wife, he said a wife has an obligation “to subordinate herself to her husband” and “to place herself under the authority of the man.”

Holmes’ judgeship is a lifetime position.

(Source: www.chicagotribune.com, Chicago Tribune Online Edition, July 7, 2004. Neil A. Lewis, “Senate OKs Bush judicial pick: 3 Republican women vote ‘no’ in fierce debate,” Chicago Tribune Online Edition, July 7, 2004. www.pfaw.org, People For the Am.)

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DAY 71:

In February, 2004, President Bush appointed Peter Lawler to his Council on Bioethics. Lawler has written that if the United States does not soon “become clear as a nation that abortion is wrong,” then women will eventually be forced to abort genetically defective babies.

Lawler is one of three new members that replaced Elizabeth Blackburn and William May, who were dismissed in February, and who both advocated for research on human embryo cells.

(Source: Rick Weiss, “Bush Ejects Two From Bioethics Council, Changes Renew Criticism That the President Puts Politics Ahead of Science,” The Washington Post, February 28, 2004. See article at: www.washingtonpost.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 70:

The Bush-Cheney campaign is encouraging churchgoers to use their congregations to rally support for Bush’s re-election. However, as the IRS reminded Republican and Democratic national committees in a recent letter, tax-exempt charitable groups “are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.”

If religious organizations participate in partisan political campaigning, they will lose their tax-exempt status.

The Bush-Cheney campaign distributed a document to religious volunteers that indirectly involves congregations, rather than individual congregants, in the effort to re-elect Bush. Some instructions include: “talk to your Church’s seniors or 20-30 something group about Bush/Cheney ’04,” and “recruit 5 more people in your church to volunteer for the Bush Cheney campaign.”

(Source: Alan, Cooperman, “Churchgoers Get Direction From Bush Campaign,” The Washington Post, 7/1/04)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 69:

On June 16, 2004, the Bush administration’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new mandatory guidelines for HIV prevention organizations.

Under the new regulations, state and local health departments will appoint a panel to censor the content of HIV educational materials. Any “obscene” or “sexually suggestive” content will not be permitted. Drawings or photographs that demonstrate condom use on dildos or even cucumbers are listed as “obscene.”

In addition, HIV educational material must include a warning about the “lack of effectiveness” of condoms. If an HIV prevention center disobeys the new rules, they lose all their federal funding.

The CDC is the government’s single source of funding for HIV prevention programs. Julie Gerberding, the CDC’s current head, was appointed by President Bush.

(Source: Doug Ireland, “Condom Wars: New guidelines gut HIV prevention — and endanger young people’s lives,” LA Weekly, July 2004. See article at: www.laweekly.com. Federal Register: June 16, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 115). See article at: www.cdc.gov.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 68:

On April 1, 2004 the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 in favor of President Bush’s nomination of William G. Myers to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Myers has referred to the California Desert Protection Act, which set aside 7.5 million acres of wilderness and 5.5 million acres that helped create the Joshua Tree National Park, the Death Valley National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve, as “an example of legislative hubris.” He also called environmental regulation “outright, top down coercion”.

(Sources: “Senate Judiciary Committee Sends Myers to the Floor”, sierraclub.org, April 1, 2004. “The Nomination of William G. Myers III”, civilrights.org, February 3, 2004. Ted Monoson, “Myers’ Judicial Nomination Advances”, The Casper Star-Tribune, April 2, 2004. http://www.enn.com/news/2004-02-06/s_12849.asp)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 67:

In 2000, while he was Governor of Texas, George W. Bush signed a proclamation declaring June 10 as Jesus Day, urging Texans to “follow Christ’s example by performing good works in their communities and neighborhoods.”

(Source: Laurie Goodstein, “The 2000 Campaign: The Religion Issue; Bush’s Jesus Day Is Called Insensitive and a Violation of the First Amendment,” The New York Times, August 6, 2000.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 66:

The Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in April of 1994 to protect the Northern spotted owl and the Pacific salmon as well as thousands of other at risk species from the timber industry. During the last ten years the plan has drastically reduced clear-cutting in Northwest ancient and rare forests.

On March 23, the Bush administration announced two major changes in the Northwest Forest Plan. Firstly, the administration eliminated the “Survey and Manage” program, commonly referred to as “look before you log,” which required forest managers to inspect ancient forests for endangered or rare species and establish protective buffers before approving timber industry logging. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management estimate that without “Survey and Manage,” 47 species are now at high risk of local extinction.

The administration also modified the Northwest Forest Plan’s “Aquatic Conservation Strategy,” a set of provisions that limits harmful run-off from the logging operations into streams where salmon live. Under the newly announced amendment, The Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management is no longer required to review and ensure that logging activity does not harm water quality. The changes came just a month before the Northwest Forest Plan celebrated its tenth anniversary.

(Sources: ems.org – “On Eve of Northwest Forest Plan 10th Anniversary, Conservationists Decry Administration Plans to Increase Old Growth Logging”. sierraclub.org – “Undoing Important Northwest Forest and Wildlife Protections”. about.com – “Bush Administration Lifts Old Growth Protections in Northwest,” March 23, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 65:

As Governor of Texas, George Bush supported a 1995 Texas law that allowed private citizens to carry concealed firearms with a permit, breaking a century long-ban on such conduct in Texas.

In 1997, Bush signed an amendment to the law that legalized the possession of concealed weapons in “a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.” If a religious institution wants to prohibit the possession of concealed weapons on their property, they are responsible for posting a sign that says so. However, under the Bush amendment there is no legal penalty for the first time that someone disregards such a posting.

(Source: Adam Clymer, “Bush Law allows Concealed Guns in Churches,” New York Times, Sept. 18, 1999. John Wildermuth, “Bush, Gore Trade Fire Over Gun Control,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 10, 2000)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 64:

The Bush administration has repeatedly declared its intention to go after tax cheats and put an end to a steady decrease in tax law enforcement; in fact, under Bush audits and prosecutions have fallen.

In September 2002, Bush said that the government was sending “a clear message to every dishonest corporate leader: you will be exposed and you will be punished.” But according to Syracuse University research, in a fifteen-month period ending on December 31, 2003, the IRS obtained convictions in only one-half of one percent of its cases against corporate officers.

The Syracuse researcher also rejected the administration’s claims that audits will increase in the coming year, saying that “the administration has not asked for sufficient money and staff, so law enforcement will continue to decline.” Corporate audits are not the only IRS endeavor that is being underfunded — a request for $12 million needed to investigate the financing of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda was also rejected by the Bush administration.

(Source: Johnston, David Cay, “Corporate Risk of a Tax Audit Is Still Shrinking, I.R.S. Data Show,” The New York Times, April 12, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 63:

In an ABC-TV interview in July 2000, Dick Cheney denied participation in any oil- or other business-dealings between Halliburton and Iraq while he was CEO of the company. He admitted to deals with Libya and Iran, but stated that there were strict policies against dealing with Iraq. The Washington Post later revealed that according to UN reports, Halliburton in fact signed contracts worth $73 million with Iraq while Cheney was its CEO. According to the report, two Halliburton subsidiaries sold materials to Baghdad through French affiliates. The sales took place between the first half of 1997 and the summer of 2000. Cheney resigned from Halliburton in August of 2000.

Three weeks after the aforementioned interview, Cheney was informed that a Halliburton spokesman had publicly stated that Dresser Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump (the Halliburton subsidiaries) traded with Iraq. Cheney then modified his earlier response, and claimed to be unaware of these dealings. However, the firms continued trading with Iraq for more than a year while Cheney was Halliburton’s CEO.

In September ‘03, Cheney said that since becoming vice president, "I’ve severed all my ties with (Halliburton), gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven’t had, now, for over three years."

To this day he still possesses over 430,000 shares of Halliburton stock options and a deferred compensation account valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.

As Vice President, Cheney continually denies playing any direct role in the government’s awarding of multibillion dollar contracts to Halliburton and its subsidiaries, despite internal Pentagon emails indicating that he has.

President Bush has been quoted as saying Cheney’s “doing a heck of a good job. When I picked him I knew he was a fine business leader and a fine, experienced man.”

(Sources: “Bush defends Cheney over Halliburton” CNN.com, July 17, 2002. See article at: www.cnn.com. “Cheney’s Halliburton Ties Remain” CBS News, September 26, 2003. See article at: www.cbsnews.com. “Halliburton Iraq ties more than Cheney said” NewsMax Wires, Monday, June 25, 2001. See article at: www.newsmax.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 62:

In 2002 and 2003 the Bush administration repeatedly failed to fully fund Energy Star, one of the EPA’s most admired conservation programs, after publicizing its intention to do so. The Energy Star program promotes energy efficiency by rating homes and household products and forming partnerships with businesses; it has earned wide praise, and in 2003 it saved Americans who used the program $9 billion in energy costs, and has prevented more than 150 million tons of carbon emissions. But in the same year, Energy Star was forced to cancel some contracts and delay or abandon other projects because of its budget shortfall. The cuts came even as administration officials praised the program and held it up as an example of their action on the environment.

According to EPA officials, the program produces $70 in benefits for every dollar spent on it. And yet, last year the program was quietly given $12.5 million less than what Bush had pledged, and what Congress ostensibly approved. As a result Energy Star had to put off several of its endeavors, such as product testing to verify energy conservation. As a result of funding cuts, in 2003 alone, carbon emissions increased by about 10 million tons. The money promised to the organization was instead used to pay for other programs within the agency, what the EPA described as “pork barrel.”

(Source: Hebert, H. Josef, “Touted Initiative’s Funds Cut,” Associated Press, 8/30/2003)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 61:

During a eulogy delivered last week for Ronald Reagan, Mr. Reagan’s son, Ron, censured politicians who use religion for political gain.

He said: “Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man, but he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians — wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.”

An anonymous friend of the Reagan family affirmed that Reagan Jr. has deep concerns with the Bush administration’s intermixture of religion and politics, and was compelled to deliver this message to the public. The friend said, “I think he was making a more profound statement about style and the danger of religion in politics.”

The former president’s son has voiced his criticism of the Bush administration in the past. In 2000, at a Republican convention in Philadelphia, he asked of Bush: “What’s his accomplishment? That he’s no longer an obnoxious drunk?”

In addition, during an interview with Salon.com, he said, “The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he’s in now. Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the 80’s. But the overall thrust of this administration in not my father’s — these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive and just plain corrupt. I don’t trust these people.”

(Source: “Reaganite by Association? His Family Won’t Allow it.” Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, June 15, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 60:

On the morning of May 11, 2004, Steve Kurtz’s wife, Hope Kurtz, died of cardiac arrest in her sleep. When the police arrived they found unusual artwork made with biological substances and laboratory contraptions like Petri dishes. So they called the FBI. The FBI arrived at Kurtz’s home and detained him, impounding his artwork, books, manuscripts, computers, and his wife’s body, because of a new provision to the Bush Administration’s 2001 Patriot Act. The provision states that it is illegal to possess “any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system” without the justification of “prophylactic, protective, bona fide research, or other peaceful purpose.”

Kurtz is an art professor at SUNY-Buffalo. He writes and makes artwork about the politics of biotechnology, often using unusual materials such as sealed Petri dishes with the kind of E. coli that is commonly used in science labs in colleges and universities. He and his wife were the founding members of the Critical Art Ensemble, described on the group’s resume as “tactical media practitioners of various specializations,” who “focus on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology, and political activism.” Kurtz has helped write several books on the subject of biotechnology, including Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media, and Electronic Civil Disobedience and Other Unpopular Ideas.

On June 15th the FBI tried to indict Kurtz on unknown charges at a grand jury hearing, despite earlier test results that showed no harmful specimens were used by the artist. For now, Kurtz is free on bail. However, the FBI continues to subpoena witnesses for future hearings. The FBI also seized Critical Art Ensemble’s performance materials concerning genetically altered food. The materials were scheduled to be part of an exhibit titled “The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere” at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass.

Kurtz’s colleague, Robin Held, was questioned by the FBI. She said, “they asked incredibly inflammatory questions. … I remember one of them asked, ‘If you heard there was an explosion in Buffalo that killed 100 people and Steve Kurtz was involved, would you be surprised?’ I said, ‘Yes, of course, there couldn’t be an explosion involving Steve. He’s an artist, not a terrorist.’” She concluded that “[Kurtz] is caught up in some Kafkaesque drama…”

(Sources: www.caedefensefund.org. www.channel.creative-capital.org. Duke, Lynne. “The FBI’s Art Attack: Offbeat Materials at Professor’s Home Set Off Bioterror Alarm,” Washington Post, 2 June 2004. seattlepi.nwsource.com.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 59:

In 2002, President Bush said, “refugees contribute so much to our society…I am proud that we are…the world’s leader in accepting refugees for resettlement.”

President Bush’s recently announced foreign-aid budget proposes a $30 million cut in the Migration and Refugee Assistance account (MRA) for the fiscal year 2005. The MRA fund assists refugees all over the world in coming to the United States and provides money for the transition to new housing and other aid upon their arrival.

The United States has set its annual ceiling for refugee admissions at 70,000. Due to budgetary constraints, the U.S. will most likely fail to reach this ceiling for the third year in a row.

(Source: Oneworld.net, “Bush asked to follow through for Refugees” by Jim Lobe, published June 15, 2004. Remarks at World Refugee Day Event, June 20, 2002. See transcript at: http://www.state.gov/)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 58:

The Bush campaign has raised $296.3 million since 1998, giving it the advantage in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. One-third to one-half of this $296.3 million was donated to the Bush campaign by only 631 people.

This is the end result of Bush’s “Pioneers” campaign fund. The maximum individual donation to a presidential candidate by law is $1000; however, the Pioneers have been able to work around this regulation by creating a network of people, mostly businessmen, who are each able to persuade 100 friends or more to donate the $1000 maximum to their cause. Donors who have raised at least $100,000 are dubbed “Pioneers”. Those who have raised at least $200,000 are called “Rangers”.

Of the 246 Pioneers and Rangers in the 2000 campaign, 104 of them have received a job or appointment during Bush’s reign in the White House. Twenty-three of them have been made ambassadors.

2000 election Pioneer Kenneth Lay, former Enron chairman, sent the White House a list of eight persons he recommended for appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission upon Bush’s election. Two of the persons he recommended were appointed to the five-person commission.

The Pioneers group is now twice as large as it was in the 2000 election.

(Source: Cohen, Sarah, Thomas B. Edsall and James V. Grimaldi. “Pioneers Fill War Chest, Then Capitalize.” Washington Post, 16 May 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 57:

On May 2, English journalist Elena Lappin was detained in a small cell, interrogated, strip searched and handcuffed for 26 hours at the Los Angeles International Airport when she arrived in the United States without an I-visa.

Due to a chapter in the Patriot Act titled Protecting the Border, foreign journalists are now required to apply for a special visa known as the I-visa in order to gain entrance to the United States.

The I-visa provision was reinstated March 2003 after it was revoked in 1952. Since the I-visa was reinstated, 13 foreign journalists have been detained and then deported.

Lappin was not notified that an I-visa was needed to enter the United States. She has worked in the United States many times before, is married to an American, was at one point an American resident, and has an American-born daughter.

Journalist requirements similar to the I-visa are also seen in Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

After her release, Lappin stated that “in the process of trying to develop a foolproof system of protecting itself against genuine threats, the US has lost the ability to distinguish between friend and foe. The price this powerful country is paying for living in fear is the price of its civil liberties.”

(Source: Lappin, Elena. “Welcome to America.” The Guardian, 5 June 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 56:

A group of 27 retired diplomats and military commanders, called Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, has released a statement demanding that Bush be replaced in November. The statement condemns the Bush administration’s foreign policy for severely damaging national security and international relations.

Their statement cited “manipulation of uncertain intelligence about weapons of mass destruction [and] a cynical campaign to persuade the public that Saddam Hussein was linked to al Qaeda and the attacks of Sept. 11” as reasons for the group’s implicit endorsement of John Kerry.

In a news conference at the National Press Club on June 16, former director of the State Department’s intelligence office Phyllis Oakley, a signer of the statement, said, “Never in the two and a quarter centuries of our history has the United States been so isolated among the nations, so broadly feared and distrusted.” The statement attacks the Bush administration for having “adopted an overbearing approach to America’s role in the world, relying on military might and righteousness, insensitive to the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful of the United Nations … Motivated more by ideology than by reasoned analysis, it struck out on its own.”

In the statement and at the news conference, the group emphasized that the cumulative effect of the Bush administration policy has been to reduce the standing of America and the safety of Americans, and that the administration is not equipped to handle its responsibilities. Former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman denounced the “post 9/11 atmosphere of hysteria” and said that “I think we will in time come to be very ashamed of this period in history … and of the role some people in the administration played in setting the tone and setting the rules.”

Former ambassadors appointed by presidents from both parties, and retired military commanders and state department officials whose careers span three decades, make up much of the signers of the statement. Others include Adm. William J. Crowe (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Ronald Reagan), Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar (appointed by George H.W. Bush to lead U.S. forces in the Middle East), Gen. Merrill A. McPeak (former Air Force chief of Staff), and Adm. Stansfield Turner (former head of the Central Intelligence Agency).

(Source: Slevin, Peter, “Retired Diplomats, Military Commanders Fault Bush’s Leadership,” Washington Post, June 16, 2004. Dunphy, Harry, “Former diplomats say Bush should be voted out of office for Iraq, other foreign failures,” Associated Press, June 16, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 55:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has refused to let Congress see all the information pertaining to the Air Force’s proposed lease and purchase of one hundred 767 aerial refueling tankers from Boeing Co.

The inspector general began auditing the proposed $23 billion deal when it was revealed that Air Force official Darleen Druyun helped negotiate the tanker contract while Boeing was offering her a job. Nine months later she accepted a position as deputy general manager of Boeing’s missile defense systems. In April she pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for her actions.

The Congressional Budget Office found that the deal would have cost as much as $5.7 billion more than a conventional purchase.

In addition, a 2001 Air Force study found that the current fleet could last until 2040. Nevertheless, President Bush has been a strong supporter of the deal, saying “Boeing is going through a difficult period … I do support it [the deal].”

Documents hidden from Congress include communications between the White House and the office of Management and Budget. Republican Senator John McCain said that Rumsfeld’s refusal to share information will “eviscerate the responsibility of Congress to provide oversight in such matters.”

(Source: Galloway, Joseph, “Rumsfeld Restricts Senate Access to Documents in Boeing Deal,” Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Thursday June 3, 2004. “U.S. Air Force Ex-official Admits to Boeing Deal,” Columbia Daily Tribune, April 21, 2004. “Feds Probe Boeing Deal,” CBSNews, Sept. 18, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 54:

In May 2004, the Bush administration proposed lifting federal environmental regulations, such as the Migratory Bird Treaty, which protect migratory birds from the adverse effects of Department of Defense military activities.

The amendment makes the Department of Defense responsible for determining whether bird populations are being harmfully affected by military actions. The Department was temporarily exempted from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 2002, because the military needed to conduct bombing practice on an island in the Pacific that is a key nesting site for migratory birds, including frigatebirds and Pacific golden plovers. However, that exemption was never lifted, and will become permanent with the administration’s new rules.

The new rules were partially justified in a Pentagon legal brief by Judge William Haynes II, who said that the military’s killing of birds means “bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one.”

Bush later placed Haynes on a federal appellate court.

(Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service press release, May 28, 2004, Center for Biological Diversity v Pirie, 191 F. Supp. 2d 161)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 53:

Meet The Press, February 7, 2004:

RUSSERT: If the Iraqis choose, however, an Islamic extremist regime, would you accept that, and would that be better for the United States than Saddam Hussein?

PRESIDENT BUSH: They’re not going to develop that. And the reason I can say that is because I’m very aware of this basic law they’re writing. They’re not going to develop that because right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.

Rose Garden press conference, June 1, 2004:

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Chalabi is an Iraqi leader that’s fallen out of favor within your administration. I’m wondering if you feel that he provided any false information, or are you particularly —

BUSH: Chalabi?

Q: Yes, with Chalabi.

BUSH: My meetings with him were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven’t had any extensive conversations with him.

Q: I guess I’m asking, do you feel like he misled your administration, in terms of what the expectations were going to be going into Iraq?

BUSH: I don’t remember anybody walking into my office saying, Chalabi says this is the way it’s going to be in Iraq.

(Source: NBC News, 2/7/04. See transcript at: msnbc.msn.com. President Bush Discusses the Iraqi Interim Government. The Rose Garden, 6/1/04. See transcript at: www.whitehouse.gov.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 52:

The EPA recently exempted industrial boilers and plywood manufacturing plants from applying “maximum available control technologies” if the plants can show their emissions to be “low-risk.” The Environmental Integrity Project has reported that, according to EPA data, these exemptions will allow tens of tons of fine-particle pollution above what is now allowed, and will increase public health costs by $1.7 billion annually, while reducing industry expenses by $170 million.

The EIP report also argues that the administration has relied too heavily on industry proposals in drafting the exemptions; in one instance, the White House Office of Management and Budget removed references to National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health studies linking leukemia to formaldehyde exposure, and instead inserted reference to a risk model submitted by the Chemical Industry Institute for Toxicology. The NCI’s estimate of cancer risk is 10,000 times higher than the CIIT’s.

(Source: www.environmentalintegrity.org. “EPA Relied on Industry for Plywood Plant Pollution Rule,” LA Times, 5/21/04. See article at: www.latimes.com. See I.B.5 of the IRIS Summary for Hydrogen Chloride (CASRN 7647-01-0) available online at www.EPA.gov.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 51:

The Bush administration has cut off all funding to the Family Planning Association of Kenya and Marie Stopes International-Kenya, because these groups provide safe abortion services and post-abortion care.

On June 3rd it was reported that seven Kenyan clinics have closed down as result of the cuts in funding. Most of the clinics are located in slums or rural areas, and were depended on for other services including immunization, vitamin supplements, and treatment for malaria and STDs. It was estimated that 1,560 people were served every day by three of the clinics; others functioned as training sites for doctors and nurses.

Since the Mexico City rules were implemented by the Bush administration in 2001, the U.S. is prohibited to financially aid organizations offering abortion services. Funding has been cut by over $35 million. At the same time, unsafe abortions and maternal mortality rates have increased in Kenya.

(Source: Arthur Okwemba, “Clinics Close Over Abortion,” Daily Nation, Kenya, 6/3/04. Maggie Fox, “U.S. Abortion Policy Hits Clinics Abroad,” Reuters, 9/24/03. “The Impact of the Global Gag Rule,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 7/1/03, see article at: www.plannedparenthood.org.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 50:

When Dick Cheney was a Wyoming congressman from 1978 to 1989, and secretary of defense from 1989 to 1993, he voted against the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion rights, funding for programs meant to help schools desegregate, legislation that would instigate collection of data about hate crimes, and funding for the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

From 1985 to 1988 Cheney repeatedly opposed U.S. sanctions on the then-apartheid state of South Africa. In 1986 he voted against a House resolution to call on the South African government to free Nelson Mandela from prison.

(Source: “Cheney On the Issues,” Associated Press, October 2000, www.usatoday.com, www.bush-cheney.net)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 49:

While campaigning in 2000, then-Governor Bush attended a fund-raising dinner in New York and told the crowd, “This is an impressive crowd — the haves and the have-mores. (Laughter) Some people call you the elite. I call you my base.”

(Source: www.pbs.org)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 48: Bushisms

“You’re free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it’ll take time to restore chaos and order—order out of chaos. But we will.” —G. W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2003

“I think the American people—I hope the American—I don’t think, let me—I hope the American people trust me.” —Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2002

“I don’t bring God into my life to—to, you know, kind of be a political person.” —Interview with Tom Brokaw aboard Air Force One, April 24, 2003

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 48: Bushism

TIM RUSSERT: Which Supreme Court justice do you really respect?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, that’s — Anthony [sic] Scalia is one.

TIM RUSSERT: He is someone who wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, he’s a — there’s a lot of reasons why I like Judge Scalia.

(Source: NBC’s Meet the Press, 11/21/99.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 47:

The Bush administration plan for global warming relies on polluters voluntarily reducing their emissions. In 2002 Bush announced his “Climate Leaders” plan that does not require businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but instead hopes that they do so on their own.

Only 14 companies out of thousands have volunteered to set goals for reducing their carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Thirty-six companies signed up for the program, but made no specific promises concerning how much they plan to reduce air pollution.

(Source: Guy Gugliotta and Eric Pianin, “Bush Plans on Global Warming Alter Little,” Washington Post, January 1, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 46:

The Bush administration is proposing to alter the Endangered Species Act so that hunters, circuses and the pet industry can legally kill, capture and import endangered animals from other countries. No U.S. endangered species would be affected.

The administration explains that the increase in trade would benefit both U.S. and international economies. In addition, other countries are expected to use the profits from the trade to pay for their own environmental conservation efforts.

Environmental advocates fear that foreign countries and companies that stand to profit from the animal trade will be in charge of determining how many animals can be killed or captured. They warn that legalizing the trade will allow poaching to flourish. Some species identified by the proposal include: Morelet’s crocodile, an endangered freshwater crocodile found in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Its skin is prized by U.S. leather importers; and the endangered Asian elephant of India and Southeast Asia. The declining population in U.S. breeding programs “has raised a significant demand among the [U.S.] zoo and circus community,” the proposal said.

The proposal was first made in September, 2003. The Fish and Wildlife Service is still reviewing public comments on the issue.

(Source: Shankar Vedentam, “U.S. May Expand Access To Endangered Species,” Washington Post, Saturday, October 11, 2003. http://forests.org)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 45:

In 1999, then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush appointed Charles W. Williams as the state police chief. The year before this appointment, Williams, who is white, said in court that terms such as “porch monkey” were not racial slurs. He also said that African Americans did not mind being called “niggers” fifty years ago.

Williams, the police chief in Marshall, Texas, was appointed to the nine-member Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education in 1997. Bush promoted him to chairman in November 1999.

“I was born and raised with blacks, and back then we had Nigger Charlie and Nigger Sam, Nigger Joe, and we regarded those people with all the respect in the world. That was their name,” said Williams, who is 57.

“They didn’t mind. It wasn’t any big deal then,” he added.

(Source: Laura Meckler, “Bush Appointee Says Remarks Weren’t Racial Slurs,” Associated Press, April 7, 2000.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 44:

George W. Bush and his father have long held a close relationship to the Saudi Arabian royal family. This relationship threatens to influence and hamper the Bush administration’s fight against terrorism.

The man the Saudi Arabian government appointed to investigate September 11th, said to journalists: “Who has benefited from September 11th attacks? I think [the Jews] were the protagonists of such attacks.”

The U.S. response has been that it is “pleased with and appreciates the actions taken by the Saudis” in the war on terror. In November 2002, the U.S. changed its immigration laws to require men coming from 18 listed countries to register with the INS upon entering the United States. Saudi Arabia was left off this list until the public protested.

(Source: Patrick E. Tyler, “Feering Harm, Bin Laden Kin Fled from U.S.,” New York Times September 30, 2001. Kathy Steele, ‘Phantom Flight from Florida," Tampa Tribune, October 5, 2001. Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers, and Maggie Mulvihill, “Ties to Saudi Elite May Be Hurting War on Terrorism,” Bosion Herald, Decemeber 10, 2001. Katie Couric, John Hockenberry, and Bob Mckeown, “Sand Storm: Saudi Arabia does not allow US to gather intelligence there; various people discuss how terrorists find haven and recruits in Saudi Arabia,” Daitline NBC, August 25, 2002. Alaa Shahine, “Saudi Interior Minister Says Jews Wer Behind Sep;t. 11 Attacks,” Associated Press, December 5, 2002, John M. Broder, “U.S. Drops Armenian Men from List of Visitors Who Must Register” New York Times, December 19, 2002. Michael Steinberger, "Bush’s Saudi Connections," The American Prospect, October 1, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 43:

In February 2002, Bush unveiled his “Clear Skies” air pollution plan. In it, he declared: “For the first time ever, we will cap emissions of mercury, cutting them by 69 percent… Clean Skies legislation will… reduce the risk to children exposed to mercury during a mother’s pregnancy.”

The “Clear Skies” initiative, however, allows for three times more toxic mercury emissions than previous laws permitted, and gives U.S. power plants until 2018 to cut their mercury emissions, violating the Clean Air Act.

Announcing the proposal, Bush said that “[the White House would] give transferable credits to companies that can show real emission reductions.” This means that companies in violation of the legal mercury limit can buy credits from law-abiding companies in order to reach the legal limit.

Mercury exposure causes learning disabilities and neurological damage in children and fetuses.

(Sources: http://www.whitehouse.gov. Barry, John Byrne. “Bush Plan Falls Short on Mercury,” The Planet. June/August 2003. J.J. Fialka, “Mercury Threat to Kids Rising, Unreleased EPA Report Warns,” Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2003. Gugliotta, Guy. “Mercury Threat to Fetuses Raised,” Washington Post, February 6, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 42:

In February, 2004, a group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes. Its authors included 20 Nobel laureates, several science advisers to past Republican presidents, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In their report, scientists said the administration was “suppressing, distorting or manipulating the work done by scientists at federal agencies” in several cases. On the subject of global warming, the administration ordered significant changes to the section on global warming in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2003 Report on the Environment. The entire section was later dropped.

In this “comprehensive” report, the administration opposed mention of research demonstrating sharp increases in global temperature over the past decade. They also objected to reference of a National Academy of Sciences report on the human contribution to global warming.

The administration sought to replace the statement that “©limate change has global consequences for human health and the environment” with a statement about the “complexity of the Earth’s system and the interconnections among its components.”

Cases of distortions in other subjects include:

- Replacing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet on proper condom use with a warning emphasizing condom failure rates.

- Removing scientists from advisory boards when their political views didn’t match those of the administration.

- Suppressing a U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist’s finding that potentially harmful bacteria float in the air surrounding large hog farms.

Russell Train, former EPA Administrator to Presidents Nixon and Ford, wrote in a letter to the New York Times:

“I can state categorically that there never was such White House intrusion into the business of the E.P.A. during my tenure. The E.P.A. was established as an independent agency in the executive branch, and so it should remain. There appears today to be a steady erosion in its independent status. I can appreciate the president’s interest in not having discordant voices within his Administration. But the interest of the American people lies in having full disclosure of the facts, particularly when the issue is one with such potentially enormous damage to the long-term health and economic well-being of all of us.”

(Sources: Seth, Borenstein, “Bush Admnistration Accused of Suppressing, Distorting Science,” Knight-Ridder, Feb. 19, 2004. Report by E.P.A. Leaves out Data on Climate Change, New York Times (June 19, 2003). When Politics Trumps Science (Letter to the Editor), New York Times (June 21, 2003). Jeremy Symons, “How Bush and Co. Obscure the Science,” Washington Post, July 13, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 41:

In March 2001 President Bush withdrew U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. The protocol is a multinational agreement initiated in 1997, designed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions each participating nation produces. 125 countries have ratified the agreement or asked to participate.

The President did not notify any other nations that the U.S. was about to pull out of the agreement.

The United States produces 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

His explanation to foreign leaders: “I went to dinner with fifteen leaders of the EU, and patiently sat there as all fifteen in one form or another told me how wrong I was. And at the end I said, ‘I appreciate your point of view, but this is the American position because it’s right for America.’”

(Source: Jeffrey Kluger, “A Climate of Despair,” Time, April 9, 2001, 30. David E. Sanger, “Leaving for Europe, Bush Draws on Hard Lessons of Diplomacy,” New York Times, May 22, 2002. Peggy Noonan, "A Chat in the Oval Office, " Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2001.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 40:

The Day 12 posting about the new Medicare prescription drug bill states: “The Bush administration paid actors to pose as journalists in televised video clips that praised the law. The source of the videos is not provided in the clips.”

On May 19, 2004, The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded that the Bush administration illegally spent federal money on the advertisements mentioned above.

The GAO report says that HHS’s “video news releases” violated a statute that forbids the use of federal money for propaganda, as well as the Antideficiency Act, which covers the unauthorized use of federal funds.

Portions of the videos, which have been aired by 40 television stations around the country, do not make it clear that the announcers were paid by the Department of Health and Human Services, and were not real reporters.

The fake news report concludes with a woman saying, “In Washington, I’m Karen Ryan reporting.” The name of the “news agency” is not given.

Source: Amy Goldstein, “GAO Says HHS Broke Laws with Medicare Videos,” Washington Post, May 20, 2004. Online at: http://story.news.yahoo.com

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 39:

Shortly after he was elected, George W. Bush said to Reverend Rev. Jim Wallis, a leader of Call to Renewal, a group of churches fighting poverty, “I don’t understand how poor people think. [I’m] a white Republican guy who doesn’t get it, but I’d like to.”

(Source: Elisabeth Bumiller, “Bush ‘Compassion’ Agenda: An ’04 Liablity?,” New York Times, January 23, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 38:

As of August, 2003 George W. Bush spent 27 percent of his presidency on vacation. This is the most vacation time that any modern US president has taken.

(Source: Judy Keen, “Bush Won’t Be All Play and No Work,” USA Today, July 2002. Laurence McQuillan, “White House to move to Texas for a while,” USA Today, Aug. 3, 2001.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 37:

In January, 2003, the Bush administration chose Jerry Thacker to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

Thacker has described AIDS as the “gay plague,” homosexuality as a “deathstyle” rather than lifestyle, and explained that, “Christ can rescue the homosexual.”

The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS provides “recommendations on the US government’s response to the AIDS epidemic.” Thacker is also an alumni, and former member of the faculty at Bob Jones University, a school known for its ban on interracial dating. In September 2001, Thacker gave a speech at Bob Jones University, during which he spoke of the “sin of homosexuality.”

Due to the controversy over his appointment, Thacker withdrew from the Commission shortly after his nomination.

(Source: http://www.pacha.gov/. Ceci Cnnolly, “AIDS Panel Choice Wrote of a ‘Gay Plague,’” Washington Post, January 23, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 36:
Pair of Bushisms

“More Muslims have died at the hands of killers than – I say more Muslims – a lot of Muslims have died – I don’t know the exact count – at Istanbul. Look at these different places around the world where there’s been tremendous death and destruction because killers kill.” — President George Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2004

“I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things.” — President George Bush, aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 35:

In 2003, President Bush helped Haley Barbour campaign for governor of Mississippi, despite his links to a white supremacist organization, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). The CCC supports deporting African Americans to Africa, denies the Holocaust took place, opposes immigration of Asians, Latinos and other minorities to the U.S., and opposes the “mixing of races.”

Prior to the election, the CCC homepage posted a photograph of Barbour and the organization’s leaders at a CCC-sponsored event. Barbour did not object to his photograph being used on the site.

During Barbour’s gubernatorial campaign, Bush said Barbour was “a man of good values.”

Barbour won the election in 2003.

Today’s CCC homepage shows a photograph of a recently married gay couple holding three children. The caption reads: “OREGON joins a growing list of liberal states which now have city governments issuing marriage licenses to perverted sodomites. To date, no governor in any of these states has ordered any law enforcement agency to halt the illegal licensing. These two queers show off their nonwhite ‘offspring.’”

(Source: http://www.cofcc.org/. Stephen Dinan, “Bush Praises Barbour’s ‘values,’” The Washington Times, November 2, 2003. Derrick Z. Jackson, “Barbour’s Racist Links Tar Bush Too,” The Boston Globe, November 22, 2003. )

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 34:

In January 2004, while Congress was out of session, President Bush appointed Judge Charles W. Pickering to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

For two years Democratic senators have blocked Pickering’s appointment, because he has supported segregation, and voted to outlaw abortions.

Other notable events in the appointee’s career:

In 1959 Pickering wrote an article suggesting that the State of Mississippi strengthen the penalties associated with its law against interracial marriages.

In 1976 Pickering voted to overrule Roe v. Wade, making abortion illegal.

Pickering has voted against state funding for family planning programs, and has opposed the Equal Rights Amendment.

In the 1970’s,when Pickering was a Mississippi state senator, he voted to repeal a provision of the Voting Rights Act that helps to ensure equal voting rights for minorities in states that have a history of discrimination.

Five weeks after Pickering’s appointment, — while Congress was again out of session — Bush installed Judge William H. Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Pryor opposes abortion, and has described Roe v. Wade as “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”

Despite their unconfirmed status, both judges can legally remain in office for one year.

(Source: Mike Allen, “Bush Again Bypasses Senate to Seat Judge,” Washington Post, February 21, 2004. Jesse J. Holland “Bush Installs Controversial Judge on Court,” Associated Press January 16, 2004. http://saveourcourts.civilrights.org/nominees/details.cfm?id=14472. David M. Alpern, Hal Bruno, John J. Lindsey, Thomas M. DeFrank, and Gerald Lubenow, High Noon, Newsweek, Aug. 23, 1976, at 18. http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=1214. Mike Allen, “Bush Again Bypasses Senate to Seat Judge,” Washington Post, February 21, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 33:

In 2000 Bush said:
“I am going to ask Congress to bolster the first year aid from thirty-three hundred dollars to five thousand one hundred dollars per recipient of the Pell Grant… Increasing the first-year Pell Grant will make college much more affordable for low and middle income students.”

For the past three years the President has cut or frozen the maximum value of the Pell Grant. The administration’s new budget for 2005 does not increase the overall value of the grant.

In February 2004, the administration proposed that students who take a “rigorous” courseload in high school get an additional $1,000 added to their Pell Grant.

However, the Bush administration is asking for only $33 million to fund the new program. That is enough for only 33,000 out of today’s 15.8 million college students. In 1976 the Pell Grant covered half of the cost of tuition, room and board at a public college. Since then tuition has risen faster than the value of the Pell Grant. The grant now pays for one-fifth of the same costs.

The Education Department predicts that it will fall $3.7 billion short of what it needs to pay all the college students that qualify for the grant this year.

(Source: Bush speech, Hampton, New Hampshire. 8/30/00. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040120-7.html. June Kronholz, “The Bush Budget Proposal: College Grants and Loans Get $4.4 Billion Boost,” The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2004. http://edworkforce.house.gov/democrats/pellgrantsummary.html)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 32:

In 1999 Bush said that he didn’t like to read long books, especially when they were about policy.

For his first two years in office, the president’s staff spent only 30 to 45 minutes a week discussing policy with him. Clinton spent the same amount of time per day on the subject.

In 2003 Bush told Fox News that he rarely reads newspapers beyond their headlines.

(Source: Bill Minutaglio, First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998), 86. Tucker Carlson, Talk, September 1999. Steven Brill, After: How America Confronted the September 12 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), 376.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 31:

In April, 2004, the Bush administration withdrew support for the Global Health Conference that will take place in June. The conference is a three-day event in which experts speak on topics including reproductive health, infectious diseases such as AIDS and SARS, nutrition, and disaster assistance. The U.S. government has supported this forum for the past 30 years. Past keynote speakers have included Mother Teresa, former President Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan. This year the administration has pulled back on their pledge to donate $170,000 to the event, because pro-choice organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Population Fund were invited to participate in the conference.

(Source: Ceci Connolly, “HHS Withholds Funds for Global Health Meeting,” Washington Post, April 27, 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 30:

In June, 2004, the Bush administration’s new Medicare drug cards will be available to the public. The new program enables private companies to sell “discount drug cards” to Medicare recipients. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said that seniors who pay the $30 annual drug-card enrollment fee can expect “huge savings” of up to 25 and 50 percent on their prescriptions.

However, a study by the House Government Reform Committee found that the majority of seniors will pay significantly more using a Medicare drug card than they could buying their prescriptions without a card. The Washington Post also found that six out of ten widely prescribed medications were cheaper online (and via Canada). The government’s Medicare website does not post the savings that are offered by the internet pharmacies.

The program will cost tax-payers tens of millions of dollars, but will greatly benefit participating pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

(Source: Bill Brubaker, “Web Still Helps the Medicine Go Down,” Washington Post, April 30, 2004. Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, “New Medicare Drug Cards Offer Few Discounts,” April 2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 29:

In June, 2003, Michael K. Powell, the Bush-appointed chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, approved sweeping changes to existing laws concerning media ownership. The new rules make it easier for national television and radio networks to buy local affiliates, and for the first time allow a private company to own both a newspaper and a television and/or radio station in the same media market.

Even many Republicans, including Trent Lott (R-MS), and conservative groups including the National Rifle Association, protested that the law was a threat to the First Amendment and to the health and maintenance of a democracy.

(Source: Tom Shales, “Michael Powell and the FCC: Giving Away the Marketplace of Ideas,” Washington Post, June 2, 2003. American Civil Liberties Union. http://www.aclu.org/FreeSpeech/FreeSpeech.cfm?ID=12720&c=42. Marilyn Geewaz, “FCC’s Action Under Attack; Battle Lines: Some in Congress Consider Trying to Undo New Media Rules,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 5, 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 28:

In October 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed, partly in response to the chaotic 2000 Florida election. The act was meant to help states update their voting systems with better technology, and to ensure that voters are not turned away by misleading or confusing signs and/or voting instructions. (In 2002, for instance, a sign in a Baltimore neighborhood whose residents were primarily African-American, said that before voting, one had to make sure that all parking and motor vehicle tickets were paid, as well as overdue rent.)

Although the President helped pass the HAVA act, his 2004 budget cut funding for the program to $500 million, instead of the $3.9 billion that the act authorizes.

(Source: “President Signs Historic Election Reform Legislation into Law: Remarks by the President at Signing of H.R. 3295, Help America Vote Act of 2002,” October, 2002, at www.whitehous.gov/news/release/2002/10/20021029-1.html. Interview with Steven Carbo, New York, Aprill 11, 2003, The Book on Bush, by Eric Alterman and Mark Green.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 27:

In 2000, South Carolina’s Bob Jones University had a ban on interracial dating, and the school’s Web site quoted its founder as saying that Roman Catholicism and Mormonism were “cults which call themselves Christian.”

That same year George W. Bush spoke at Bob Jones University, hoping to gain support from the religious right just prior to winning the South Carolina primary. During his speech, Bush did not take a stand against the school’s racist policies. When questioned about his visit to the school, the president said he would deliver his message to all that would listen, regardless of their viewpoints.

However, while campaigning in 2000, Bush would not meet with the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian grassroots organization, and except for one meeting two years ago, the President consistently refuses meet with the Congressional Black Caucus.

(Source: William Saletan, “Defining W. Down,” Slate.com, February 2000. “Bob Jones Bites Back: Controversial School Founder Defends Policies,” Associated Press, March 3, 2000.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 26:

In February, 2004, the President explained that the U.S. is facing a deficit of $500 billion, the largest in American history, because “we went through a recession, we were attacked, and we’re fighting a war.” But the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the single biggest cause of the deficit was the President’s tax cuts for the wealthy. (The top 1 percent of earners get an average $52,000 tax break this year, and the majority of taxpayers only get $850.) Specifically, 36 percent of the deficit resulted from tax cuts, and only 31 percent resulted from defense/war-related spending increases. The remaining 33 percent of the deficit was caused by economic recession.

(Source: President Remarks, 02/02/2004, “Will the President’s 2005 Budget Really Cut the Deficit in Half?” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 01/16/2004, “CBO Figures Indicate Lower Revenues, Not Higher Spending, Account for the Large Deficit,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 01/26/2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 25:

In 1999, Bush stated that he opposed including sexual orientation in a bill to strengthen and clarify a Texas hate crimes law. The law was already set up to increase the penalty for crimes committed against victims who are targeted for their race or gender, but not necessarily for their sexual orientation.

The then-governor of Texas also stated in 1999 that he was opposed to gay couples adopting children. He supported a bill to block gays from adopting children in the custody of Child Protective Services.

(Source: cnn.com July 2, 1999. “Bush Opposes Hate Crimes Laws and Gay Adoptions,” March 23, 1999.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 24:

In February, 2004, President Bush proposed important new expenditures for education: $100 million for reading programs to help middle and high schoolers who still struggle to sound out basic words; $40 million to assist professionals in math and science make the transition to teaching; and $52 million to bring Advanced Placement classes to more high schools. Yet all of these programs combined would be eclipsed by the $270 million the president wants to devote to a school program promoting sexual abstinence. This despite there being little evidence that such programs reduce teen sex or pregnancies.

(Source: Los Angeles Times March 8, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 23:

In March, OPEC announced it would cut oil production by 4 percent. In response to OPEC’s decision, the Bush administration announced that the President will not personally do anything to dissuade the organization from cutting oil production. This despite Bush’s repeated demand during the 2000 campaign that former President Clinton should “get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say, ‘We expect you to open your spigots.’”

U.S. gas prices have reached a record high — an average of $1.80 a gallon. In addition, demand for gas has inflated due to tax incentives that encourage businesses to purchase SUV’s, and a 37 percent cut to federal research on renewable energy.

(Source: “OPEC to cut back despite high prices,” Washington Times, 04/01/2004.“Surging Gas Prices Pump Up Political Debate”, Los Angeles Times, 03/31/2004.“Bush Refuses to Lean on Oil Cartel”, Miami Herald, 04/01/2004. “OPEC cut to oil output likely to keep prices near record levels”, Dallas Morning News, 04/01/2004. “Saudi envoy plays nice with White House on oil supply”, USA Today, 04/02/2004.“The Saudi Connection”, US News and World Report, 12/15/2003. OpenSecrets.Org. “SUV, truck owners get a big tax break”, Detroit News, 12/18/2002. “Proposed Bush Budget Cuts Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programs”, Resources for the Future, 04/11/2001.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 22:

In speeches to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in August of ’01, Bush promised reforms and improvements to health care benefits for veterans.

However, in January ‘03, the Bush administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would reduce access to its health care system in order to block over 150,000 veterans from enrolling in that fiscal year, due to a backlog of vets still waiting to receive treatment.

In March ‘03, Bush’s VA budget was passed. It included raised charges for primary care and drug prescription co-payments, raised enrollment fees — which had never before existed in veteran’s health care — and complete blockage of care for what the VA considers lower priority vets.

(Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/08/20010820-1.html, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/08/20010829-2.html. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A4064-2003Jan16, Edward Walsh, “VA Cuts Some Veterans’ Access to Health Care Huge Backlog, Long Waits Prompt Decision,” Washington Post, 1/17/03. http://www.house.gov/strickland/vetsreport.htm#Proposals.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 21:

President Bush’s 2004 official election campaign sells clothing made in Myanmar. This is in direct violation of Bush’s own trade embargo against the country, one of the world leaders in sex trafficking, human rights abuses, and narcotics production.

The US is currently experiencing the worst textile industry slump since 1953, due in part to inadequately enforced trade laws.

(Source: “Bush campaign gear made in Burma,” Newsday, 03/18/2004. “4,000 textile jobs lost in 2003,” Charleston Post and Courier, 01/14/2004. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma, US Department of State, 02/25/2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 20:

Bush’s 2003 prescription-drug program was supposed to give a tax break to companies that continued drug-prescription coverage for their retired employees.

However, the Bush administration added a provision to the bill that allows companies to shift the cost of prescriptions to their retirees, while still benefiting from the subsidy.

(Source: Ellen E. Schultz and Theo Francis, “U.S. Drug Subsidy Benefits Employers,” Wall Street Journal, 01/08/2004.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 19:

There were a record number of bankruptcies (1.61 million) from March 2001 to March 2002. Personal filings made up 1.57 million of that figure.

(Source: "Bankruptcies Rise to Record. CNNMoney. See article at: www.american-champions.org)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 18:

The President released a signed report in early 2004 that promised to create 2.6 million new jobs this year. When economic statistics estimated much lower numbers, the President claimed he never signed the report, and would not comment on the quoted figures. The administration predicted 2,142,000 new jobs would be created in the first seven months after the 2003 tax cuts took effect. Only 296,000 jobs were created in that period.

The administration is on pace to be the only administration since Herbert Hoover’s to preside over an overall loss of jobs.

(Source: “Bush says U.S. will add 2.6 million jobs in 2004,” The Olympian, 02/10/04. “Bush Backs Off Forecast of 2.6M New Jobs”, ABC News, 02/18/04. "President Bush Discusses War on Terrorism with Tunisian President, 02/18/04. Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, 02/18/04. Job Watch. “Cabinet caravan touts successes in Northwest swing,” The Oregonian, 02/18/04. “Bush backs off estimate of 2.6 million jobs,” Sun Hearld, 02/18/04. “Better times near, Bush officials tell state areas hurting for jobs,” Seattle Times, 02/18/04. “Accounts of job losses clash,” The Oregonian, 02/19/04. "Kerry Team Gives Bush ‘Hoover Award,’ The Washington Times, 03/09/04)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 17:

The Office of Special Counsel is an organization that protects “federal whistleblowers and government workers from retributions in the workplace.” President Bush’s appointed head of that office, Scott J. Bloch, reinterpreted the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act to mean that an employee is not necessarily protected if fired because of their sexual orientation. In January, 2004 he removed references to discrimination based on sexual orientation from the organization’s web site and other educational brochures.

(Source: Stephen Barr, “Special Counsel Under Scrutiny,” Washington Post, February 23, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 16:

As governor of Texas, Bush executed more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern US history. He is also the first president in 40 years to execute a federal prisoner.

(Source: Charles Zewe, “Texas Prepares to Execute Woman,” CNN.com, January 15, 1998, at www.cnn.com/US/9801/15/texas.execution/; Jim Yardley, “Bush and the Death Penalty; Texas’s Busy Death Chamber Helps Define Bush’s Tenure,” New York Times, January 7, 2000.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 15:

The Bush administration’s FY2004 budget eliminated programs for school counseling, improving teacher quality, reducing class size, dropout prevention, school reform, and rural education. In 2005 the administration plans to cut funding for Title I schools and teacher support services. Each of these programs were part of the administration’s own No Child Left Behind Act.

The Bush administration’s 2005 budget contains $9.4 billion less than the $34 billion needed to fund No Child Left Behind. The House Appropriations Committee predicts that the 2006 budget will come $1.9 billion short of the funding needed for the program, and $4.6 billion short by FY2009.

In the last two years that NCLB has been in effect, none of the President’s budgets have met with the Act’s authorized financial needs. In 2003 the bipartisan National Governors Association and 90 percent of almost 2,000 surveyed superintendents and principals labeled Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act an “unfunded mandate.”

(Source: www.ed.gov, Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, June 9, 2003The Wallace Foundation, www.wallacefoundation.org, Education Week, 1/7/04. Associated Press, 2/24/03. Center for American Progress. See article on, www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=41367.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 14:

In 2003 the Bush administration proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that would eliminate overtime pay for 8 million workers. The proposal would reclassify workers as managers, administrative or professional employees so that they are no longer eligible for overtime pay. It would also add an income limit, over which employees cannot qualify for overtime pay.

(Source: American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations. See article at: www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/ns03282003a.cfm. New York Times July 1, 2003. Economic Policy Institute, July 2003. Houston Chronicle, March 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 13:

In 2000 Mr. Bush said, “Our men and women in service put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. We have a special obligation to rebuild the schools that educate their children. As president, I will ensure that this obligation is met.”

The Bush administration’s 2004 budget cut $200 million from Impact Aid, the program that helps pay for the education costs of children whose parents are in the military. In the administration’s latest tax cuts, military housing programs were cut from $10.7 to $9.2 billion, veterans benefits were cut $14.6 billion over ten years, and a scheduled child tax credit was not extended to 200,000 low-income military families.

(Source: House Appropriations Committee, Minority Staff, June 17 2003, June 16 2003, Washington Post, June 17 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 12:

The Bush administration did not inform Congress that the prescription drug bill passed in 2003 would cost $139 billion more than was revealed before the law was approved. Richard S. Foster, the nonpartisan Medicare actuary, says he was told that if he disclosed the true cost of the legislation to Congress, he would be fired. The Bush administration paid actors to pose as journalists in televised video clips that praised the law. The source of the videos is not provided in the clips.

(Source: Robert Pear, “U.S. Videos, for TV News, Come Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, March 15, 2004. Amy Goldstein, “Foster: White House Had Role In Withholding Medicare Data,” Washington Post, March 19, 2004. Center for American Progress, see article at: www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=37818)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 11:

The Bush administration pushed for logging 10 million board feet of timber from the Sequoia National Monument, and for drilling on the border of the Arches National Park in Utah. A federal judge stopped the drilling project.

(Source: Natural Resources Defense Council, “Rewriting the Rules: Year-End Report 2002,” January 2003.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY 10:

Despite the long-recognized neurotoxicity of lead to children, the Bush Administration’s proposed FY2005 budget cuts $35 million from lead hazard control grants—a funding reduction of 20 percent. The administration is also seeking to reduce or eliminate funding for Health and Urban Development (HUD) programs that help low-income families find safe and affordable housing, including $50 million in HUD lead hazard control grants.

The Children’s Environmental Health Network [www.cehn.org] assigns an “F” for the Bush Administration’s consistent lack of commitment to children’s environmental health research and programs.

A few examples:

A) Under President Bush, the Office of Children’s Health Protection has been leaderless for over two years.

B) In October 2001, the administration announced funding for four new research centers into children’s environmental health, only to have the EPA cut the budgets for the original eight. Congressional pressure restored some of this funding, but the total number of centers will ultimately be 11, not 12.

C) EPA also cut funding for the National Children’s Study, which would follow approximately 100,000 children from before birth to at least age 18, assessing the impact of environmental factors on health.

(Source: Children’s Environmental Health Bush Administration Report Card, 2001-2004, Children’s Environmental Health Network. Also see: http://www.cehn.org/ Also note: the Board of Visitors and Advisory Council for CEHN (available on their webpage); this report is informed by a broad base of support, meaning it is not a liberal thinktank, but a collective of medical and public health professors (like from Johns Hopkins), EPA officials, and respected and influential research hospitals.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY NINE:

“Bush’s 2003 EPA budget would continue a three-year effort to slash the number of enforcement jobs. With fewer people available to enforce the laws, the result is not surprising. Since Bush took office, civil environmental penalties are down almost 50 percent, the number of pounds of pollution to be cleaned up is down 20 percent, and EPA is conducting three thousand fewer inspections each year.”

(Source: The Book on Bush, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Viking, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY EIGHT:

The USA Patriot Act, signed in 2001 by President Bush, allows the government to indefinitely detain immigrants, and conduct searches and surveillance without the Fourth Amendment’s rule of probable cause.

(Source: David Cole and James X. Dempsey, Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Securty (New York: The New Press, 2002) 148.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY SEVEN:

One of Bush’s chief supporters is Richard T. Hines, a former managing editor of the Southern Partisan, an unabashedly racist magazine celebrating the antebellum South. Hines has lobbied against the placement of an Arthur Ashe statue in Virginia, and criticized the governor of that state for referring to “the horrors of slavery.” During the 2000 election, Hines was instrumental in defeating the then-surging John McCain, and financed the printing of 250,000 fliers heralding Bush’s support for the Confederate flag. On his own website- www.rthconsulting.com-he has claimed “an active voice in the Bush administration.” He is also a close friend of Karl Rove.

(Source: The Book on Bush, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Viking, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY SIX:

George W. Bush is listed, through 1999, as a donor to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, having raised money for their annual ball. The event is held in a former slave hall, where slaves were forced to build war material for the Confederate army.

(Source: The Book on Bush, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Viking, 2004)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.

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DAY FIVE:

The Bush administration states that the average tax cut for 2003 will be $1,126. They do not specify that the median household will receive $217, 53% of taxpayers will get $100 or less, 50 million will receive no benefits, and filers who make more than $1 million per year will receive $93,500. 83% of taxpayers will get less than the average cut stated by the administration.

(Source: Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, Andrew Lee and Joel Friedman, “Administration Continues to Rely on Misleading Use of Average’s to Describe Tax-Cut Benefits,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 28, 2003. See article at: http://www.cbpp.org/5-28-03tax4.htm.)

To Suggest Your Own Reason, click here.