The Bush II Era: Year 1


{Note from ZNet: Of course Bush II is mostly known, reviled, and/or revered for reinvigorating the War on Terrorism themes that his father and Ronald Reagan sought to make central to U.S. foreign policy two decades ago, and of course for bombing Afghanistan “from rubble to dust,” while ignoring the probable cost in the form of a million or more starved Afghan civilians. But Bush II has been busy at home also, as Sprintzen’s research makes abundantly clear.}

·        Significantly eased controls and safeguards on field-testing of genetically engineered crops.

·        Cut federal spending on libraries by $39 million.

·        Cut $35 million in funding for doctors to get advanced pediatric training.

·        Cut by 50% funding for research into renewable energy sources.

·        Revoked rules that reduced the acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water.

·        Blocked rules that would require federal agencies to offer bilingual assistance to non-English speaking persons. This, from a candidate who would readily fire up his Spanish-speaking skills in front of would-be Hispanic voters.

·        Proposed to eliminate new marine protections for the Channel Islands of California and the coral reefs of northwest Hawaii.

·        Cut funding by 28% for research into cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks.

·        Suspended rules that would have strengthened the government’s ability to deny contracts to companies that violate workplace safety, environmental and other federal laws.

·        OK’d Interior Department appointee Gale Norton to send out letters to state officials soliciting suggestions for opening up national monuments for oil and gas drilling, coal mining, and foresting.

·        Appointed John Negroponte a high-level Iran Contra figure to the post of United Nations ambassador.

·        Abandoned a campaign pledge to invest $100 million in rain forest conservation.

·        Reduced by 86% the Community Access Program for public hospitals, clinics, and providers of care for people without insurance.

·        Rescinded a proposal to increase public access to information about the potential consequences resulting from chemical plant accidents.

·        Suspended rules that would require hard rock miners to clean up sites on Western public lands.

·        Cut $60 million from a Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America program for public housing.

·        Proposed to eliminate a federal program (used successfully in Seattle) designed to help communities prepare for natural disasters.

·        Pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto Treaty global warming agreement.

·        Cut $200 million of work force training for dislocated workers.

·        Eliminated funding for the Wetlands Reserve Program, which encourages farmers to maintain wetlands habitat on their property.

·        Cut program to provide childcare to low-income families as they move from welfare to work.

·        Cut a program that provided prescription contraceptive coverage to federal employees (though it still pays for Viagra).

·        Cut $700 million in capital funds for repairs in public housing.

·        Appointed Otto Reich a high-level Iran Contra figure to Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.

·        Cut Environmental Protection Agency budget by $500 million.

·        Proposed to curtail the ability of groups to sue in order to get an animal placed on the Endangered Species List.

·        Rescinded rule that mandated increased energy-saving efficiency regulations for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

·        Repealed workplace ergonomic rules designed to improve worker health and safety.

·        Abandoned campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), the waste gas that contributes to global warming.

·        Banned federal aid to international family planning programs that offer abortion counseling with other independent funds.

·        Closed White House Office for Women’s Health Initiatives and Outreach.

·        Nominated David Lauriski ex-mining company executive to post of Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.

·        O.K.’d Interior Secretary Gale Norton to go forth with a controversial plan to auction oil and gas development tracts off the coast eastern of Florida.

·        Announced intention to open up Montana‘s Lewis and Clark National Forest to oil and drilling.

·        Proposed re-drawing the boundaries of national monuments, which would technically allow oil and gas drilling “outside” of national monuments.

·        Gutted the White House AIDS Office.

·        Renegotiating free trade agreement with Jordan to eliminate safeguards for the environment and workers’ rights.

·        Will no longer seek guidance from The American Bar Association on federal judiciary appointments.

·        Appointed recycling foe Lynn Scarlett as Undersecretary of the Interior.

·        Took steps to abolish the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

·        Cut the Community Oriented Policing Services program.

·        Allowed Interior Secretary Gale Norton to shelve citizen-led grizzly bear re-introduction plan scheduled for Idaho and Montana wilderness.

·        Continues to hold up federal funding for stem cell research projects.

·        Makes sure convicted misdemeanor drug users cannot get financial aid for college, though convicted murderers can.

·        Refused to fund continued cleanup of uranium slag heap in Utah.

·        Refused to fund continued litigation of the government’s tobacco company lawsuit.

·        Proposed a $2 trillion tax cut, of which 43% will go to a handful of the wealthiest of Americans.

·        Signed a bill making it harder for poor and middle-class Americans to file for bankruptcy, even in the case of daunting medical bills.

·        Selected as his Vice President a man who said on Meet the Press, “If you want to do something about carbon dioxide emissions, then you ought to build nuclear power plants.”

·        Appointed Diana (“There is no gender gap in pay”) Roth to the Council of Economic Advisers.

·        Appointed Kay Cole James an opponent of affirmative action to direct the Office of Personnel Management.

·        Cut $15.7 million earmarked for states to investigate cases of child abuse and neglect.

·        Helped kill a law designed to make it tougher for teenagers to get credit cards.

·        Proposed elimination of the “Reading is Fundamental” program that gives free books to poor children.

·        Is pushing for development of small nuclear weapons to attack deeply buried targets; which weapons would violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

·        Proposes to nominate Jeffrey Sutton attorney responsible for the recent case weakening the Americans with Disabilities Act to federal appeals court judgeship.

·        Proposes to reverse regulations protecting 60 million acres of national forest from logging and road building.

·        Eliminated funding for the “We the People” education program which taught schoolchildren about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and citizenship.

·        Appointed John Bolton who opposes nonproliferation treaties and the U.N. to Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

·        Nominated Linda Fisher an executive with Monsanto to the number two slot at the Environmental Protection Agency.

·        Nominated Michael McConnell leading critic of the doctrine of separation of church and state to a federal judgeship.

·        Nominated Terrence Boyle ardent opponent of civil rights to a federal judgeship.

·        Canceled 2004 deadline for automakers to develop prototype high-mileage  cars.

·        Nominated Harvey Pitts lawyer for teen sex video distributor to head EC.

·        Nominated John Walters strong opponent of prison drug treatment programs to be Drug Czar.

·        Nominated J. Steven Giles an oil and coal lobbyist to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

·        Nominated Bennett Raley who advocates repealing the Endangered Species act to be Assistant Secretary for Water and Science.

·        Is seeking the dismissal of class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. against Japan by Asian women forced to work as sex slaves during WWII.

·        Earmarked $4 million in new federal grant money for HIV and drug abuse prevention programs to go only to religious groups and not secular equivalents.

·        Reduced by 40% the Low Income Home Assistance Program for low-income individuals who need assistance paying energy bills.

·        Nominated Ted Olson who has repeatedly lied about his involvement with the Scaiffe-funded “Arkansas Project” to bring down Bill Clinton to be Solicitor General.

·        Nominated Terrance Boyle foe of civil rights to a federal judgeship.

·        Proposes to ease permit process including environmental considerations for refinery, nuclear and hydroelectric dam construction.

·        Proposes to give government the authority to take private property through eminent domain for power lines.

·        Proposes that $1.2 billion in funding for alternative renewable energy come from selling oil and gas lease tracts in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.

·        Forced out Forest Service chief Mike Dombeck, and appointed a timber industry lobbyist

 

[Compiled by David A. Sprintzen, Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Development, C.W. Post College, Long Island City, NY]

 

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