Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Day in the Life Of The Administration

This is what I would call a typical news day for the Republican Party and Bush administration.

The Anti Lobbiest Candidate and Bad Choices
The man chosen by John McCain's presidential campaign to run this summer's GOP convention--Arizonan Doug Goodyear--is CEO of DCI Group, a consulting firm that earned $3 million last year lobbying for ExxonMobil, General Motors and other clients…DCI was paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent Burma's military junta, leading "a PR campaign to burnish the junta's image, drafting releases praising Burma's efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing 'falsehoods' by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other abuses." Ouch. –Newsweek (Add to that Burhma’s refusal to let aid workers in to help over 100,000 cyclone victims.)

Another Mad Cow Test
"The Bush administration urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease. The Agriculture Department argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers.
"They want to create false assurances," a Justice Department attorney said. Larger meatpackers have opposed Creekstone's push to allow wider testing out of fear that consumer pressure would force them to begin testing all animals too." –Tailrank.com (“Let the market decide” neo liberals don’t like it when the market demands additional testing for overseas customers. Can we have too much testing for mad cow?)

Not Another Regulation Protecting Workers Lives
"The Bush administration issued a veto threat against legislation to protect workers from combustible dust explosions such as one that killed combustible dust explosions such as one that killed 12 sugar refinery workers in Port Wentworth in February. The legislation would require OSHA to issue regulations for industrial dust that can build up and explode. The White House 'has serious concerns with the expedited and one-size-fits-all regulatory approach required by the bill, which will impact as many as 200,000 workplaces in a variety of industries." –ajc.com (the positive side is that 200,000 workplaces would become SAFER...aww, nevermind.)

War With Iran…Never Mind
“In a sharp reversal of its longstanding accusations against Iran arming militants in Iraq , the US military has made an unprecedented albeit quiet confession: the weapons they had recently found in Iraq were not made in Iran at all. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin.”-informationclearinghouse.info (So much for the run up to war with Iran.)

Voter ID Slippery Slope Really Really Slippery
AP-"The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote."

Nasty Pre-Election Threats against The Democratic Nominee
EDWARD N. LUTTWAK: “As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian…His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes...with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder. With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings.” New York Times (Fear the Muslim, kill the Muslim traitor huh?)

Corruption Ignored in Iraq
AP- "The Bush administration repeatedly ignored corruption at the highest levels within the Iraqi government and kept secret potentially embarrassing information so as not to undermine its relationship with Baghdad, according to former State Department employees. The Office of Accountability and Transparency said their office was understaffed and its warnings and recommendations ignored. The State Department's policies 'Contradicted the anti-corruption mission…indirectly contributed to and has allowed corruption to fester at the highest levels of the Iraqi government.' The U.S. embassy 'effort against corruption - including its new centerpiece, the now-defunct Office of Accountability and Transparency' - was little more than 'window dressing."

Lawless Blackwater Rehired by Pentagon
New York Times-"Even thought Blackwater Guards were involved in a shooting that left at least 17 Iraqis dead at a Baghdad intersection…prompted the Iraqi government to demand Blackwater’s ouster from the country, and led to a criminal investigation by the F.B.I., a series of internal investigations by the State Department and the Pentagon, and high-profile Congressional hearings...Blackwater is back to business as usual. The State Department has just renewed its contract to provide security for American diplomats in Iraq for at least another year. State Department officials said that they did not believe they had any alternative to Blackwater, 'If the contractors were removed, we would have to leave Iraq.” (Who could have predicted that?)

Oil Costs To Offset Stimulus Package
Washington Post-"Since Congress and Bush unveiled an economic stimulus package Jan. 24, the price of the OPEC basket of crude oil has jumped by $32.51 a barrel, raising the cost of U.S. oil imports enough to offset the entire stimulus package over the course of the year."

War Profiteers Avoid Tax Obligations
The Boston Globe recently revealed that two Defense Department contractors operating in Iraq — KBR and MPRI — have avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Social Security and Medicare taxes by hiring its employees through “shell companies” based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. AP reveals a third contractor assisting the U.S. military’s mission in Iraq that is also dodging Social Security and Medicare taxes. Combat Support Associates established CSA Ltd. in the Cayman Islands allowing it to avoid paying the taxes and evade scrutiny from the U.S. government: But Congress has taken notice of these contractors’ unethical practices. The House passed a bill last month — despite Republican opposition — to “stop federal contractors from using foreign subsidiaries to evade Social Security and other employment taxes.” (Let me understand this; the Republicans are opposed to war contractors paying U.S. taxes? How did they get away without a public outcry?)

Besides Global Warming, Pollution Still Dangerous
Washington Post-"Long-term exposure to the tiny, dirty particles in polluted air seems to increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which are blood clots in the thighs or legs, an Italian study finds. It is well-established that air pollution causes myocardial infarction [heart attack] and stroke. Such particles come from the exhaust of vehicles, especially those with diesel engines, and burning of fossil fuels, the researchers said."

Budget Cuts to Combat Crime
AP-"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said violent crime has increased in some cities in part because local police are too cash-strapped to fight it, echoing pleas by mayors across the country for more federal money to combat crime. The Bush administration, facing its own budget crunch while funding the war and reconstruction of Iraq, has scaled back money available to cities to crack down on crime.” ( The self fulfilling effects of smaller government and mismanaged economy.)

People Die, Get Over It
Miami Herald-"Residents of Tallevast, Florida blame toxins that leaked into the ground and their water supply as a factor in the 80 cancers of family members and neighbors over the years, and they want someone held accountable. For more than three years, neither the plant's owner nor Florida state regulators who had learned of the leak bothered to tell them. In 2005, Tallevast residents prompted a change in state law, the Tallevast Bill, that requires polluters to notify communities within 30 days. Why didn't the state inform the community? 'I don't believe we had a regulation,' said Pamala Vazquez, a DEP spokeswoman." (Hey, don't we have enough regulations already? We'd all be better off if government stayed out of it, right? And does one need a regulation in order to do the right thing? It's really a moral, ethical and humane response programmed into our DNA.)

I will be adding to this in the days, weeks and months to come. Check back.

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