James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Little Bush of Horrors

Outrages – or what would have been felt as outrages in another era – run in a flood from the Bushy White House. It’s impossible to keep up with them.

One of the reasons you don’t see more of the facts in your local press is that some editors fear they’ll seem to be “picking on” the nominal president if they report the truth. Rightists will scream if there are two or three or more stories outlining each day’s acts of malfeasance.

That’s lick-the-bully’s-boots cowardice, to say nothing of abdication of responsibility, but that’s how it’s played these days. Perform multiple acts of societal rape and pillage daily, and the news people will give the Republicans a pass on all but a few – usually those involving questions the average know-nothing can grasp without effort.

Thus, W’s ducking out of Air National Guard duty gets quite a bit of ink, though the story is handled delicately, as though there is a question about whether he skipped. (There is no question; he skipped.) And thus, as just one example, the newsies refuse their duty to report on the horrendous appointments to key offices that have been made and continue to be made by the Bush crowd. All you get on most new appointees, if you see anything at all, are name, rank and serial number, with no background on who they really are and what can be expected in them in their new offices.

Do you have any idea how many big-buck lobbyists now run the government agencies that supposedly regulate the industries for which they worked and to which they will return? Do you know how many genuine nut cases – I mean raving lunatics – have been appointed to powerful government posts to appease the Bush crowd’s fanatic weird-Christian backers?
(Hey, Falwell and Robertson ain’t even in it with some of those people.)

Even if they were trying, the big daily newspapers with all their resources couldn’t keep up. Small publications, alternative newspapers, organizations such as Public Citizen and MoveOn and the most dedicated of bloggers have no chance of telling the whole story, or even most of it.

All any of us can do is leap on the ones we see and spread the word to as many others as we can.

To that end, I’ve decided to start inserting short bits here – just alerts, really – on some of the godawfuls that come to my attention but don’t make it to the top of my priority list. If you need more on them, you’ll have to dig.

Here’s today’s collection, in the order they are stacked on my desk at the moment:

* You may have heard that Republican Senate staffers got into the confidential computer files of Democratic senators and stole thousands of documents, many of which they forwarded to various right wing and party organizations (sometimes the same thing). But did you know that Republican senators vehemently opposed an investigation of the thefts? GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, often a partisan pit bull himself, when confronted with the undeniable truth of the thefts, decided that an investigation is needed. He was promptly savaged by his Republican colleagues, a host of right-wing organizations and publications such as the National Review. Hatch is being threatened with career-ending retribution for daring to suggest theft of documents is improper. (Sources: The Nation, the Democratic National Committee and the National Review.)

* Nominal President Bush has named Dr. W. David Hager to head the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee didn’t meet for more than two years, and its charter lapsed, so Bush gets to fill all eleven committee positions. His appointments don’t require Senate approval. I don’t know at this point how many others have been appointed or who is on his approved list.

The committee decides on the legitimacy, efficacy and availability of drugs used in obstetrics, gynecology and such. Contraception, infertility drugs, hormone therapy and related treatments come under its jurisdiction.

Hager, an OB/GYN is proudly “pro life.” But he goes beyond that. In his practice he refuses to prescribe contraceptives to single women. But he goes way beyond that. He believes the Bible has all of the answers to women’s health problems and published a book that repeats biblical accounts of Christ healing women and mixes the stories with “case studies” from his own practice. The book suggests, for example, that women can deal with even the worst of premenstrual syndrome by praying and reading the Bible. He also claims – although all real scientists say he’s wrong – that the common birth control pill is an abortion pill. He also wants to prevent distribution of the morning-after drug commonly called RU-486 on religious grounds. There’s more, but you get the idea.

The fact that the appointment already is official is not widely known. There’s an Internet campaign on now to try to stop it. People are emailing the White House (President@Whitehouse.gov) by the thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands. They never had a chance of blocking Hager, though. Bush plays to the religious fanatics frequently, and no amount of protest seems to deter him. His handlers apparently believe that a bloc of certain votes is worth a few defections in other quarters.

(Sources: Many. Go to the Web site of any feminist organization and you’ll undoubtedly find further information.)

* The Bushies have come up with a new way to “fix” the loss of about 2.7 million manufacturing jobs in this country since W was appointed to office. It’s not a done deal yet, but the administration is seriously considering reclassifying fast food jobs (paying their munificent $7 or $8 an hour) as manufacturing jobs. That’ll show us! Manufacturing, as a statistical category, will be right back to where it used to be, or almost so.

No, I’m not kidding. (Sources: New York Times and the Daily Mislead.)

* The Bush/Cheney energy bill is coming back, of course, but perhaps sooner than expected. Indications are that the Republicans are going to pop it out onto the Senate floor soon, with little or no warning, to prevent the guttier Dems from mounting a filibuster. Here are just a few of the many horrors of that bill:

1. It exempts oil and gas drillers from pollution controls on rivers and coastal waters.

2. Allows underground injection of diesel fuel and other chemicals during oil and gas development, although such injection seriously threatens water supplies –pollutes drinking water.

3. Increases air pollution and global warming with new incentives to burn coal for electricity without adequate pollution controls.

4. Puts up roadblocks to development of fuel economy and so locks in American dependence on foreign oil.

5. Greatly weakens states rights (remember those, as touted by conservatives?) to protect their coasts from harmful oil and gas exploration.

6. Provides billions of dollars in subsidies to big oil, coal, nuclear and timber companies.

...and much more, all bad.

(Sources: MoveOn Organization and others.)