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Since assuming office, George W has: Repealed an ergonomic rule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