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The First 100 Days

Well, it’s almost 100 days now. It takes that long, they say, to

establish a record of efforts and accomplishments which will show the

difference between what the candidate said and what he actually pursues once



(s)elected. So let’s take a closer look at “No Count.”

Since assuming office, George W has: Repealed an ergonomic rule




protecting workers from the most common form of industrial injury; Stopped

medical privacy rules and is moving to do the same with Internet privacy;

Supported a bankruptcy law that guarantees, should it ever come to it, that

you’ll be homeless before you become car-less; Tried to provide tax money

for religious organizations doing social work while openly engaged in

proselytizing; Expelled 50 Russian diplomats in an apparent attempt to bring

back the good old days of the cold war; Attempted to railroad through

Congress an outrageous tax cut for the rich even before detailing a budget

proposal; Appointed right wing ideologues to most cabinet positions;

Eliminated a 50 yearlong practice of having federal judicial appointees

screened for professional competence prior to nomination; Oh, and here’s one

interesting inaction: George, as of mid April, still hadn’t appointed a

Science Advisor.

George says he’s concerned about the environment. He is. No, really.

But let’s not forget the costs. Let’s see, Arsenic in the water? Fifty parts

per billion is too much, even the non-science advisors agree. But will it

cost money to decrease it? “Yes, therefore we’ll just undo Clinton’s rule

lowering that limit.” Global warming? A real threat? “Yes, but it will cost

big business money to avert it, so we’ll just keep on pumping carbon dioxide

into the atmosphere.” Never mind the campaign promise – that was just

election rhetoric–and never mind that it makes the U.S. the Taliban of the

Kyoto treaty, appalling the rest of the world as we destroy the valued works

of others – and certainly never mind Interior Secretary Whitman–“moderates

are in this administration only for show, and the sooner they get that, the

better we’ll all get along. Global warming won’t be a crisis until it’s

someone else’s watch, so they can worry about it, not us. Kind of convenient

that we don’t have any Science Advisor, isn’t it?” Forests? “What good are

they just standing there, and besides, if you can’t even get an SUV in

there, how do you expect to get lumber out?” Mining? Clinton’s rules would

have forced mining companies to put down a deposit to guarantee a clean up

after they’re finished doing their business on our public lands. “But they

gave big bucks to our campaign. That’s deposit enough!” The Alaskan Wildlife

refuge? “Trash it! Whose idea was it to set up a refuge in the first place?

If you can’t shoot ’em, how much fun is that? “

It’s all pretty much politics as usual. Despite moralists’ promises

of a new, ethical, regime, it’s more “he who pays the piper calls the tune”

than ever before. Perhaps most telling, insofar as shedding light on just

how great a facade the morally superior act of the right wing is, is the

nomination of John Negroponte to be Ambassador to the UN. Ambassador to

Honduras during the Iran-Contra scandal, Negroponte has been implicated as a

facilitator for the infamous CIA sponsored Salvadoran death squads. A man of

vast experience, he is known as someone who can get things done, and most of

all, who will do whatever he is told to do, regardless of the ethical

implications. The LA Times quoted an anonymous former senior State

Department official as saying, “He believes in nothing.” The perfect soldier

in the right wing’s (un)holy war. What kind of government sends such a man

as it’s ambassador to the Community of Nations?

The answer, I’m afraid, is in the policies put forth during these

first 100 days. But you wouldn’t know it if you only paid attention to GW’s

words. He talks bipartisanship, but there’s nothing in his actions that even

comes close to it. Personally, I much preferred deception when it had to do

with the President’s bedroom rather than the survival of the world, the

distribution of wealth, or the struggle of the poor and oppressed for

freedom and dignity.


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