The Presidency
of
George W. Bush

An Edited Version of
An Old Man Looks Back at the Presidency of George W. Bush
from October 2008

July 2012

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(Edited Reprint from October 2008)


As of May of this year (2008) 32 Congressional Republicans has either left or announced their plans to retire at the end of this year, most of them citing their displeasure with President George W. Bush and the GOP. This article by the New York Times looks at the Republicans mixed emotions about Bush, and ponders exactly when they begin to loose faith in him. So a good number of Republicans already recognize Bush for what he is.

Let's face it; for many, if George W. Bush had a "D" in front of his name rather than an "R" and had performed in exactly the same manner as he has over the past 8 years, he would have been crucified by the Republicans and the media. There's no question that not only would he have been impeached, he would have been removed from office. The neo-conservative Republican war machine would have seen to that.

As ordinary voting citizens, we do have a choice of what a President does regardless of which party he belongs to. All we have to do is stop fighting among ourselves (which is what the divisionary wants), come together, and force our elected officials to do what is best for the country; not what's best for themselves, their friends, and their party. We do have the power you know, if we just quit giving it away to them and succumbing to their "public relations stoolies", often referred to as the "news media".

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A Presidents Mandate

William Appleman Williams, influential progressive historian, said "it is not by rhetoric alone, but by their ability to recognize and resolve the central problems of their times that one should judge presidents". Norman Markowitz, US history teacher at Rutgers University, wrote "In judging who are the best or worst presidents, we should look at what they saw as the central problems of their times, what they did about those problems and whether or not their actions really contributed to a positive resolution of those problems. Whether or not the presidents were popular or won or lost great political battles is really beside the point. Whether their policies were "successful" in that they were implemented in terms of what they wanted to achieve is not the issue. The content and positive effects of their policies in regard to real life are the basis on which they should be judged" [bold added].

Neo-Conservatives

Many say modern day neo-conservatism rule began under the Ronald Reagan Presidency (some say not). But Reagan's indisputable point dogs for this movement were Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, and later for George H.W. Bush. Wolfowitz and Perle begin their careers in earlier years as staffers under Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson.

(The following is borrowed from "TVLiesNews", therefore might be dismissed by some. However, the ideology of Neo-conservatism as pointed out below is basically factual, although many neo-conservatives deny parts of this due to embarrassment or an attempt to hide their true agenda. At the bottom of this segment are a few other sites defining Neo-conservatism.)


The godfather of the Neocon movement was an intellectual disciple of Machiavelli named Leo Strauss. Straus was a German Zionist who immigrated to the US in the 1930s and mentored people like William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz [hyperlinks added] while advocating his philosophy of a dog-eat-dog world. In essence, the Straussian philosophy and teachings are now known as Neo-Conservatism. Below are some of the more interesting and perhaps surprising or even disturbing aspects of Neo-Conservatism as taught by Strauss:
  • Nations cannot consider collective action and multilateralism unless it is 100 percent in line with their own selfish interests.
  • Strong leadership is required.
  • Military power is essential.
  • Leadership ought not be encumbered by human rights discourse or a moral conscience but nonetheless must "appear" to advocate such ideas.
  • Rulers need not observe the laws they impose on the ruled.
  • A ruler can cheat and lie and do all sorts of things but should at all time maintain the outside appearance of adherence to human rights and caring for people.
  • Leaders can use religion as one of many tools to ensure the nation keeps on course as formulated.
  • Outside threats help ensure social cohesion under domestic leadership.
  • Altruism, environmental protection, justice etc, are not the concern of governments and ruling elites. They have no part to play in the equation of power.
  • Strauss questioned how, and to what extent, freedom and excellence can coexist.
  • Strauss was very pre-occupied with secrecy because he was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society, especially a liberal society because liberal democracy is about as far as one can get from the truth as Strauss understood it.
  • Secular society is the worst possible thing, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats.
  • Nazism was a nihilistic reaction to the ungodly and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic.
  • Religion should impose moral law on the masses who would otherwise be out of control.

Machiavelli's political doctrine serves as the foundation of Neo-Conservatism and it denies the relevance of morality in political affairs. It states that that craft and deceit are justified in pursuing and maintaining political power. It implies that when it comes to achieving or maintaining power the end justifies the means. This is essentially the core of Machiavellianism and serves as the foundation for Neo-Conservatism: The priority for the power holder is to keep the security of the state regardless of the morality of the means. Machiavelli discusses frankly, the necessity of cruel actions to keep power. He was in the business of power preservation, not piety. According to the originator of Neo-Conservative ideology, the leader of the state must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of the evil.

Let me repeat this last principle of Neo-Conservatism because it plays into the "believability factor" when considering claims made by people who accuse the Bush administration of unconscionable actions: "The leader of the state must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of the evil."These people believe that evil is acceptable and necessary at times! [bold / emphasis added]


Francis Fukuyama, admittedly once a neo-conservative, wrote an article for the New York Times in February 2006 entitled "After Neoconservatism". In this six-page article he talks about, among other things, the aftermath of the Iraqi war and the real prices to eventually be paid.

NOTE: William Kristol mentioned above is frequently seen on TV, in particular Fox News. He is the son of Irving Kristol, one of the founding fathers of neo-conservatism.


Additional sites on neo-conservatism. George W. Bush's "Biography" (including some of his family members)

  • There are arguable facts as to whether or not George W avoided Vietnam due to his name and family's political connections. He was certainly advanced above 500 other Texans who were waiting to join the Texas Air National Guard (being in the National Guard was a way of avoiding the draft and going to Vietnam). Being older than George W and spending 8 years in service, all during that conflict and war, I am certainly aware of the many ways people avoided the military and/or the war. And it seems obvious Bush was given preferential treatment because of who he was. In any case, he did not serve in Vietnam while in the Guard although he has referred to his "war record" on more than one occasion.
  • The Bush boys, George W, Neil, Jeb, and Marvin, were taught long ago by their father how to "achieve 'success' without risk"; and if they got into trouble, the father would always be there to bail them out. Just about every business venture they entered into was financed by someone else, leaving the financial risk to the latter. And in most cases, losses were realized; but only for their investors. The Bush's always seemed to come out ahead.
  • At least two members of the Bush family were associated with the Savings & Loan scandal back in the 1980's. Thanks to President's Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, the S & L industry, among many others, was deregulated. This opened the door for massive corporate corruption (the Keating 5 of the S & L is the most famous) and the beginning of the decline of the middle and lower class. While millions of Americans lost most, if not all, of their savings, the Bush family members involved fared very well due to that disaster. The total overall cost to the taxpayers? Over $1 trillion. So running up a big debt for the taxpayers to pay while advancing their personal agenda is nothing new for the Bush family.
  • In 1977 Bush started an oil company which he named Arbusto, ("Bush" in Spanish, but later renamed Bush Exploration) after finishing Harvard Business School (the Bush name helped him get the money to start the company). When Bush Exploration was nearly bankrupt, he merged with Spectrum 7 and became chairman of that company. With continuing financial losses, he sold Spectrum 7 to Harken Energy in 1986, reported as a real bargain price for Bush. He received $600 thousand in Harken stock (which later netted him nearly $1 million) and a large salary. Later a $180,375 loan from Harken was "forgiven" as recorded by the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

    Many speculate the reason Harken bought out Spectrum 7 in 1986 was because George W was the son of the Vice-President of the United States.
  • In 1986 Harken was bailed out by Saudi Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh of the infamous BCCI scandal. That contract with the Sheikh involved Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half-brother.
  • In 1988, with George W still on board, Harken was suddenly the front runner for an offshore drilling contract in Bahrain although Harken had never worked overseas, never drilled a sub-sea well (which was part of the contract), and was dead broke again. They had miraculously become the front runner for the contract ahead of experienced companies like Amoco. Coincidently, George W's father was now President and it appeared Harken was about to be rewarded for past "favors".

    Harken was awarded the contract in 1990. To fulfill this contract, they had to be financially bailed out again, reportedly this time by the Bass brother's of Dallas Texas who had made very large contributions to George H.W. Bush's congressional and presidential campaigns. The bail out of Harkin is reported at $25-$50 million. With the Bahrain contract and the Bass brother's bail out, Harken stock went up. George W sold his stock.

    In a matter of weeks of Bush selling his stock, Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. As a result of the invasion, Harken stock tumbled by 78%. Lucky for George W. He tried defending his sale by saying he sold at $4 per share but the buyer could have got $8 per share later. Well, it would have had to be very, very much later if the buyer was to get that much.

    It's easy to argue that George W was a total failure in his business ventures since two companies (or three, depending on your viewpoint) failed under his leadership. However, for him personally, it was a financial success. The Bush "Family Business" has proven very profitable for George W and the others.
  • With his money from the Harken stock sale (some report it was borrowed money instead), and still with Harken on salary, Bush organized some investors in 1989 and purchased the Texas Rangers baseball team for $75 or $80 million, depending on which report you read. Bush was a managing partner with only 1.6% of the business. With the strong name of Bush behind him, he managed to get the city fathers of Arlington Texas to use taxpayer money to buy land and build a state-of-the-art stadium for a reported $135 million.

    After the stadium was built, Bush and his partners bought the stadium for $60 million and was allowed to pay for it from gate tickets on an annual basis at about $5 million a year (a loss of about $75 million to Texas taxpayers). When the team was sold in 1998 for $250 million, Bush pocketed $15 million after a total personal investment of about $600 thousand.
  • As governor of Texas, George W pushed through tort reform, which limited the ability to bring law suits against companies. Bush gained major support from businesses, then and later, for his action on this matter. He also stumped for tax reform in Texas that would have cut $3 billion from state coffers; tax cuts mainly for the wealthy and wealthy Texas corporations (sound familiar?). His own Republicans defeated the bill, but parts of the bill were latter passed which provided $1 billion in tax cuts for those same favored people.

    Also as governor, he rewarded his oil and anti-environmental friends for their generous financial support, not only to himself, but to his father as well. The following is from a USA Today article from the times: "Craig McDonald, Director of Texans for Public Justice, a campaign finance group, summed up the bond between Bush and the oil industry this way: He's been friendly to that sector, policy-wise, and they've been good to him in return. He rewarded them with tax breaks when they cried that they weren't making enough money.'"

    And during George W's run for the presidency, those same oil friends supported him to the fullest.

In 2000 Sam Parry wrote a four-part series for consortiumnews.com on the Bush family called "The Bush Family 'Oiligarchy'" (the last two hyperlinks above are single pages from that series). Part one he called "The Early Years". It's a four-page piece which details the Bush family history relative to their connection to oil, and George H.W. Bush's entry into politics. Part two he called "The Third Generation". It's a three-page piece that details George W's entry into the oil business, bail-outs by his father and father's friends, and his "success" in the oil business. Part three is a two-page piece; "Politics & Oil -- The Sequel". It covers George W's time as governor of Texas in which he "rewarded" many of his oil friends. It also speculates on what a "President" George W. Bush administration might look like (Parry was certainly on target with the latter). Finally, part four is a two-page piece entitled "At the Candidate's Ear". It covers GWB's campaign and how his senior foreign policy advisers had close ties to the oil industry, and how Dick Cheney was well compensated by Halliburton as he left the company to become Bush's VP pick. You should return to these hyperlinks and read them.

A condensed biography on George W. Bush was published by "The Center for Public Integrity", which covers most of George W's history before he became President. And for a more detailed look, go to George W. Bush's Biography.

2000 Campaign

Bush was "selected" by the power players of the Republican Party to become the next president because of his pro-business record as governor of Texas. He was then "educated" by those same power players as to what was expected of him if he won the Presidency. Then he was surrounded by senior policy advisors with close ties to the oil industry (hand-picked by those same Republican power players) to direct him and make him look knowledgeable and intelligent. Supposedly Bush picked Dick Cheney as his Vice-Presidential running mate, but some say he was "told" it would be Cheney. (It was also rumored that he was "directed" to select Colin Powell as Secretary of State, then, after Powell resigned, Condoleezza Rice, who had been a director of Chevron.) At any rate, it was obvious to his party's leadership that he had to have people around him who was smart enough to make Bush look good.

When the GOP picked Dick Cheney, Chairman and CEO of Halliburton, as their VP, Halliburton handsomely rewarded Cheney upon departure. (As VP candidate, Cheney was required to sever all ties with Halliburton, but he continued to receive payments.) We know today, over 7 years later, how Cheney and Bush rewarded Halliburton for their generous support; a no-bid multi-billion dollar contract in Iraq.

Some Campaign Promises

  • Bush promised to lower the price of gasoline. He said he would do this through his "power of persuasion". On November 15, 1999, Election Day, a gallon of gasoline was $1.44. The price never did go down and as I write this, a gallon of gasoline is hovering around $3.75 a gallon. Great persuasion! I rather doubt anyone really believed he would or could get the price down, but it was a campaign promise none the less, and I'm sure that alone got him lots of votes.
  • Bush promised to regulate CO2 emissions during his campaign, but backed away from his promise in 2001, saying when reminded of the promise "I do not believe, however, that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a 'pollutant' under the Clean Air Act".
  • Bush promised election reform but turned down an election reform request from the Federal Election Commission.
  • Bush promised school vouchers to low-income families whose kids attended failing public schools, but never asked for the bill during the six years the Republicans controlled Congress.
  • Bush promised Social Security restructuring to allow workers to invest part of their payroll tax. That never happened. But with the exposure of Wall Street's greed & corruption I'm sure all of us who see Social Security as something important are glad Bush didn't keep this promise, just as I'm sure he's sad he didn't.
  • In the 2004 campaign, Bush promised to simplify the federal tax code by saying "in a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code". However, under the Bush administration, new tax laws have been written that further complicate it, with no attempts to simplify it.
  • In the campaign for 2004, he promised not to cut children's health coverage, but vetoed the extension of their health care in 2007.

Bush did keep one campaign promise, at least in part; cutting taxes, but not equally "across the board" as he promised. He managed to get tax cuts in 2001 & 2003 for wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals (maybe this was the "tax reform" he was talking about). He knew the public would not accept this unless he referred to the cuts as temporary. Of course, now he wants to make those tax cuts permanent. (More on this later.)

George W. Bush made many campaign promises he didn't keep. However, no president is expected to keep them all as it would be impossible, but it garnishes more votes, so they just chose to lie. However, Bush was by far the worst at it, seemly only to keep promises he made to the upper class of our country and to himself.

In his first speech as president-elect, Bush promised to be "the leader of one nation, not one party". However, looking back now at his 8 years as President, there is not one single piece of evidence to support that promise.

You can read more of Bush's Broken Promises and Bush Campaign Promises at a Glance if you like. Also take a look at how Bush destroyed his own credibility as the "Flip-Flopper-In-Chief" relative to his campaign promises.

Bush's 2000 Republican Party acceptance speech.

2000 Election

Most will remember the shameful & insulting fiasco of the 2000 election process involving the voting scandal in Florida. History will most likely record this as the first known illegal take-over of the White House. Thousands of people were involved, but most remember only a few names. Jeb Bush, George W's brother, was governor of Florida; Katherine Harris was Secretary of State. With her job as Secretary of State, Harris simultaneously co-chaired George W. Bush's Florida election campaign, served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and took time off from her "day" job to go around the country stumping for Bush.

The end result of the Florida election was that Harris declared George W the winner by just a mere 536 votes (.009786%) over Al Gore. Florida state election law didn't require the Secretary of State to order a statewide recount, not even in such a ridiculously tight election. But this article by The New York Times quoted a recount by the Miami Herald which said Gore would have won a flawless Florida election by 23,000 votes. Even if the Miami Herald was 90% wrong, Gore would still have won by more than 1500 votes.

Florida and the Katherine Harris Effect

After the election was over and the Supreme Court declared Bush as President, an investigation into the Florida voting was initiated. The investigation revealed that Choicepoint and Database Technologies, two companies (later combined into one company) hired by Katherine Harris's office to examine the legality of registered voters in Florida, had doctored the outcome. 57,700 legal voters were removed from the list and not allowed to vote. (Later, independent experts said most of those voters would have voted for Al Gore based on their party registration.)

Choicepoint said 8,000 of those Florida voters were felons, thus negating them as legal voters. But as it turned out, those 8,000 Florida voters had committed only misdemeanors, not felonies, which did not negate their voting eligibility.

There were several thousand more purged from the voting register simply because they had the same last name as convicted felons. Some were even purged because their personal computers had notes indicating they might commit a crime in the future.

When later confronted with these facts, Choicepoint admitted "I guess that's a little bit embarrassing in light of the election" [bold added]. But what did they care at that point? The crime had been committed, George W was President, and they were untouchable. Remember, Bush won in Florida by only 536 votes.

It must be noted that Choicepoint and DBT were owned and managed by groups of individuals who were very, very strong Republican supporters, although they claimed to have told Florida officials that the list "was exactly what the state wanted". I'm sure it was.

In 2001, government computers in the office of Florida's top elections official, including Katherine Harris's, were found to contain documents endorsing George W. Bush's candidacy for president.

An interesting video satire called Grand Theft America kind of puts it all together. A more serious article with some very interesting facts can be found in The Un-elected President written in January 2001 by Harvey Wasserman. And the hyperlink above by the Washington Post gives a lot more insight.

Katherine Harris was later asked about the voting scandal, to which she replied "Give voters a pencil and a piece of paper and they can do anything they like", referring to Democratic voters. When asked if she thought that meant Democrats were more stupid than Republicans, she didn't answer.

Earlier in her political career Harris was elected to the Florida Senate, but later lost her re-election bid because it was learned she had received illegal campaign donations. The feds found evidence that she had tried to hide those donations. It was after she lost her re-election to the Florida Senate that she was elected Secretary of State in spite of her past crimes. Then after her job as Florida Secretary of State she ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives in 2002 and was later identified as receiving illegal campaign contributions from defense contractor Mitchell J. Wade.

No record could be found as to whether or not she received any assistance from the Bush administration in her 2002 US House bid. But if so, was she "rewarded" again for her 2005 re-election bid by the Bush White House? Not hardly. Jeb Bush and Karl Rove refused to endorse her. The Republican Party also would not endorse her. Some say she lost the election because she was "Jilted". Today, although very wealthy and ostracized by her own family, she seems to have "faded" into history.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of sites you can go to for info on Harris. Some are extremely biased against her, but others are legitimate and supported with actual facts. You can start here if you're interested.

Bush's 2000 president-elect victory speech.

2004 Campaign & Election

As pointed out above, George W. Bush won the Presidential election in 2000 due to illegal tactics employed by his own party & party members. By 2004, because of his performance during his first term, Bush had lost the support of millions who voted for him in 2000 (me being one of them). 59 newspapers that had backed Bush in 2000 endorsed John Kerry in 2004. The Republican Party was split on Bush with some very powerful names breaking off.

On a level playing field, Bush could never have won again in 2004. But since their 2000 tactics worked so well, and without repercussions, he and his party once again turned to illegal means, but this time it was coupled with a highly publicized immoral attack on their opponent. Although the latter worked very well at turning many voters, it appears it was mainly designed to distract attention away from their real plan to win the election. Illegal tactics and voter fraud were used in many states & abroad, but mainly in Ohio (discussed later). This new plan made the 2000 election in Florida look pale by comparison.

The immoral tactics used in 2004 were outright lies and deliberate political assassination. You already know the tactics & lies I'm referring to; John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group. This group was formed in 2004 for the sole purpose of defeating the Democratic Party and Kerry. They were organized as part of the 527 political group, defined as "a group that is created primarily to influence the nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates for public office". They're a tax exempt group that is not regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC); therefore they are not limited on how much they can spend on a campaign.

No one has ever denied that the Swift Boat campaign played a large role in turning votes; but many applaud it as a means that justified the end. Although many voters really didn't want Bush back for 4 more years, they held their nose and voted for him anyway because they believed at the time the attacks on Kerry were true.

As for the Kerry smear campaign, it turned out there was not a speck of truth to the allegations, and the Bush inter-circle was exposed as being behind the attacks. Even John McCain questioned the ad and condemned it as "dishonest and dishonorable".

John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi were the founders of the Swift Boat Vets and had published a book on Kerry called "Unfit for Command". Now Corsi has written a book about Barack Obama in which many members of the Republican Party admit is full of lies.

Since so many Republicans found themselves tainted by the Kerry Swift Boat episode, they don't want the same thing to happen again, so I imagine that's the reason they are distancing themselves from Corsi and his latest book. Only one news outlet continues to bring up the book.

Just as the election of 2000 was exposed as "fixed" after that election, so was the 2004 election.

Turning to the voting fraud mention above, I will only summarize since there are dozens of legitimate web sites you can go to for verification; some are government sites. But I give you this one for starters, which covers most, if not all, of the irregularities. But the most impressive & scariest is the one published by Harpers Magazine called "None Dare Call It Stolen; Ohio, the election and America's servile press". This report will actually scare everyone out of their wits if we remember a precedence was set and it can be used by any political party; maybe next time not by your favored party. This report calls the 2004 election the "most unusual in US history with the strangest outcome".

The following is just a small sampling of the irregularities.

  • Almost 3 million people living abroad never received their ballots or received them too late to vote. The pentagon shut down their web site used to file registrations, but they could never account for the reason the site was shut down.
  • Sproul & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six states, was caught shredding Democratic registrations. The company was headed by Nathan Sproul, the former executive director of the Arizona State Republican Party.
  • In Ohio
    • Officials purged tens of thousands of eligible voters and neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives.
    • Short changed Democratic precincts in voting machine allocation.
    • Some Republican precincts had a 98% voter turnout while some Democratic precincts had only a 7% voter turnout.
    • GOP election officials in Warren County invented a terrorist threat to keep the media from monitoring the official vote count.
    • One in every four citizens who registered in 2004 were not listed on the registration polls.
    • 80,000 votes for John Kerry was counted for George Bush.
    • 357,000 voters were prevented from voting or did not have their vote counted. The overwhelming majority were Democrats.
    • Phone calls were made from a hotel across the street from the Ohio Republican Party headquarters to Democratic voters threatening them if they showed up to vote.
    • Kenneth Blackwell was Ohio's Katherine Harris this time around. Blackwell, as Secretary of State, was in charge of vote counting, yet he was co-chair of President Bush's re-election committee. (Does this sound like déjà vu "all-over-again"? Why not, it worked in 2000.)

Practically every irregularity of the 2004 election helped George Bush and hurt John Kerry. Pollster Lou Harris was quoted as saying "Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen".

The key suspect to voter fraud was in the exit polling.

In four states, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Ohio, the exit polls said Bush's odds of winning was less than 1 in 450,000, yet Bush won those four states. Exit polling in 30 states were so far off the mark that they couldn't be accounted for in the margin of errors, with 26 of those states favoring Bush.

Based on the exit polls, every single news organization, including Fox News, was reporting that John Kerry would win the presidency. None of them saw the slightest chance in hell of Bush winning. But he did. One report put it like this:

"----this ever-less-beloved president, this president who had united liberals and conservatives and nearly all the world against himself - this president somehow bested his opponent by 3,000,176 votes" [bold/underline added].

The same report asked "how did he do it?" to which the reply was:

"----to that most important question the commentariat, briskly prompted by Republicans, supplied an answer. 'Americans of faith - a silent majority heretofore unmoved by any other politician - had poured forth by the millions to vote "Yes!" for Jesus' buddy in the White House'".

What has amazed millions of Americans is the 2004 election fraud caught very little attention, especially in the main stream news media. By comparison to the 2000 election fraud, 2004 hardly seems destined to be anything more than a foot note in history. But the Republican disinformation war machine went into action before Election Day was even over. One report said:

"they were so effective with the news media that it was as if they were reporting from inside a forest fire without acknowledging the fire, except to keep insisting that there was no fire".

Most defenders just declared that since John Kerry had conceded there was no need for an investigation.

Maybe we Americans were just too ashamed in our own eyes and the eyes of the world to acknowledge that we had become nothing less than a "third-world dictatorship" when it comes to elections. It's no wonder Bush and Cheney have felt comfortable conducted themselves as they have without worry of being held accountable. But when there are immeasurable trillions of dollars to be made and ultimate power to be gained, nothing is beyond American politics.

The 2004 election may very well go down in history as the second known illegal take-over of the White House.

A very interesting book edited by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman entitled "Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?" was written on the Ohio scandal. You should read the introduction to the book.

Bush's 2004 Republican Party acceptance speech

Bush's 2004 president-elect victory speech

Bush's First Year In Office (just a few highlights)

  • Cut funding for research into renewable energy by 50%.
  • Suspends implementation of most of former President Clinton's late-term executive orders regarding the environment.
  • Cut funding by 28% for research into cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks.
  • Rescinded a proposal to increase public access to information about the potential consequences resulting from chemical plant accidents.
  • Pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto Treaty global warming agreement.
  • Cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by $500 million.
  • Nominated David Lauriski, an ex-mining company executive, to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
  • Proposed a $2 trillion tax cut, of which 43% would go to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.
  • Canceled a 2004 deadline for automakers to develop prototype high mileage cars.
  • Nominated J. Steven Giles, an oil and coal lobbyist, for Deputy Secretary of the Interior.
  • Nominated Ted Olson for Solicitor General. Olson lied about his involvement with the Richard Mellon Scaife funded "Arkansas Project" to bring down Bill Clinton. He also argued the "Bush vs. Gore" Florida elections case in the Supreme Court.

Another incomplete and unofficial list of Bush's accomplishments during his first year in office can be found here.

Note: The remainder of this post contains information about various actions by Bush and his administration during his presidency, and a few other references, but is in no particular order.

Appointments

Some Recess Appointments (and nominees planned for appointments during a recess)

From January 2001 through June 4, 2007 Bush made 171 recess appointments, something all presidents do although it's unethical. Recess appointments are made during a Congressional recess, thus circumventing the mandated Congressional approval process for one year. These usually involve nominees with known controversies surrounding them which may result in Congress not approving them. You may remember in many of the recesses this year Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to keep the chamber in session by appointing one member to stick around during a recess to bang the gavel to open and close the Senate each day. This prevented Bush from taking advantage of the recess.

  • Nominated Stan Suboleski to Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. He was an executive with the A.C. Massey Coal Company which, according to the United Mineworkers, had one of the worst safety records in the industry. Massey was also the company responsible for the destruction of more than 70 miles of streams in eastern Kentucky when 300 million gallons of coal sludge spilled from one of its mines. It was the worst ecological disaster in the US since the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • Nominated Michael Baroody to Consumer Product Safety Commission. Baroody was chief lobbyist for the National Association of Manufactures, a powerful trade group who opposed aggressive product safety regulation. Time Magazine said "he is the latest in a line of industry officials and lobbyists to be given senior jobs by Mr. Bush". Bush was expected to make the appointment on President's Day weekend in 2007 while Congress was in recess, but because of Baroody's history of opposing strong safety regulations, Bush withdrew him due to negative press over the appointment.
  • Peter Kirsanow to National Labor Relations Board. Kirsanow was a powerful lawyer who represented management for several companies in many labor disputes. At the time Kirsanow was a partner with Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. The firm's website pointed out that Kirsanow's practice had focused on "representing management in employment-related litigation, as well as in contract negotiations, NLRB proceedings, EEO matters, and arbitration".

Although not an appointment, Bush took advantage of Congress being in recess in August 2008 when he extended an agreement with Mexican truckers from 1 year to 3 years. The agreement allows Mexican truckers to continue operating across the United States in spite of their disregard for our safety laws. He did this two days after Congress recessed.

Other Appointments (some may have been recess appointments)
  • Appointed John Snow Secretary of the treasury after firing Paul O'Neil. John Snow had recently stepped down as CEO of CSX, an international transportation company. Under Snow's watch at CSX, despite raking in close to a billion dollars in pretax profits since 1998, CSX paid no federal income taxes in three of the past four years - magically making all of its profits "pretax." What's more, thanks to a combination of accounting gimmicks and tax shelters, the company was even able to score a hefty $164 million in tax rebates during that time; tax rebates on taxes that CSX NEVER PAID. After looting the treasury of our tax dollars, Bush appointed him Secretary of that same treasury.
  • Spencer Abraham, who tried to abolish the Energy Department while a Senator in Congress, is approved as Energy secretary.
  • Mike Leavitt, former EPA administrator, to Secretary of Health and Human Services. The list of laws Leavitt broke as an EPA administrator is long and scary. He struck several "back room deals", keeping the public out of the decision making process. This guy was really dangerous.
  • Appointed Gail Norton, former mining industry lobbyist to Secretary of the Interior. She was a proponent of "self-audit" laws, which allow industries to decide on their own whether or not they would comply with environmental regulations. In her writings, she actually suggested there is a "homesteading right to pollute". Among her many proposals: abolishing the Bureau of Land Management; selling off fish and wildlife refuges; transfer-to-private-ownership of federally held, so-called public lands.

    In her position at Brownstein-Hyatt, Norton had been working as a registered lobbyist for NL Industries. NL Industries was a defendant in approximately 75 governmental and private actions associated with waste disposal sites,mining locations and facilities. After leaving her government job she went to work for Royal Dutch Shell as a law advisor.
  • Former timber lobbyist Mark Rey is nominated for Agriculture Undersecretary for natural resources and environment.
  • J. Steven Griles, former oil and coal lobbyist, to Deputy Secretary of the Interior. He violated recusal agreements in order to lobby on behalf of a company he formerly owned and from which he was not fully divested.

    A longtime lobbyist for the energy industry, Griles met regularly with clients of his former employer, National Environmental Strategies (NES), during his tenure at Interior while receiving $284,000 per year from NES as part of a $1.1 million payout for his "client base." Griles played a key role in decisions affecting the Clean Air Act, oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (Gulf of Mexico), coal bed methane development in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, and wetland permit rules. While a lobbyist, Griles represented oil, gas and coal clients with interests in these same issues.

    A lawsuit was filed to obtain information about payments from his previous employer and meetings with former mining, oil and gas industry clients. Griles eventually pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress and became the highest-ranking Bush administration official convicted in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
  • Nominated Rebecca Watson as the Interior Department's assistant secretary for land and minerals management. Watson, who has made a career as a lawyer representing the mining and logging industries, was also a member of the Board of Litigation for the far-right, anti-environmental Mountain States Legal Foundation.
  • David Lauriski to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety. He was a long-time coal industry executive and lobbyist. Shortly after taking office, Lauriski bragged to a group of coal industry executives that his regulatory agenda "is quite a bit shorter than some past agendas." Part of Lauriski's abbreviated agenda was to reduce the number of times a mining company had to sample coal dust levels inside the tunnels. He wanted to get rid of the chest X-ray program that tests miners for black lung disease. Lauriski also wanted to slash the number of mine inspectors by 25 percent.
  • Rear Admiral Christina Beato to Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Her resume was so full of holes that every single thing in it was exposed as fraudulent before she could even be confirmed.
  • Hector Barreto to Administrator, Small Business Administration. He had never managed more than ten employees, but now had to manage 3,000 employees and a budget of $600 million and loans of $45 billion.

    Under Barreto, the SBA failed to notify Congress that it needed additional funding for its largest and most popular loan program and was forced to temporarily abandon it because it was out of money. Meanwhile, the SBA was doing such a poor job managing the $5 billion in loans the government set aside to help small businesses recover from September 11 that, according to an Associated Press investigation, the vast majority of the money went to businesses not affected by the terrorist attacks--including a South Dakota country radio station, a Utah dog boutique, an Oregon winery, Virgin Islands perfume bar, and more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts and Subway sandwich shops.
  • Claire Buchan to Chief of Staff, Department of Commerce. She was promoted from the job as deputy press secretary for Bush. Although she worked for Bush One when he was in office, her job afterwards was Public Relations for the lawn care, extermination, and appliance repair company ServiceMaster. But after her promotion to the Department of Commerce she was responsible for helping the secretary manage a budget of over $6 billion and oversee 38,000 employees.

    One White House reporter who worked closely with Buchan for five years called her "the most useless in a Bush universe of enforced uselessness. She took empty banality to a new low" [bold added].
  • Israel Hernandez was appointed to Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director-General of the United States Commercial Service. Hernandez had lived with the Bush family in their Dallas home and was called the "Altoid Boy" because he carried Altoids and other things for Bush when Bush was Governor of Texas. His other job was to accompany the Bush daughters overseas to "look after them". His trustworthiness with the girls was based on the fact he was openly gay.
  • David Hossein Safavian to the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget where he set purchasing policy for the entire government.

    Safavian's confirmation in 2004 under a Republican Congress was only attended by 5 of the 17 members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and lasted just 67 minutes. Not a single question was asked about his qualifications.

    As administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, he was placed in charge of the $300 billion the government spends each year on everything from paper clips to nuclear submarines. He had the job until he resigned on September 16, 2005 and was arrested afterwards and charged with lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the Federal Government.

    Prior to his appointment he helped the Pentagon buy helicopters. He spent most of his prior career as a lobbyist and was accused of working for the American Muslim Council.
  • Nominated Harriet Miers as a Supreme Court Justice. Miers was Bush's personal lawyer. Bush later withdrew her nomination because of very heavy opposition from Congress and the public.
  • William DeWitt to President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. DeWitt was a major investor when Bush bought the Texas Rangers baseball team, and he was a partner in Spectrum 7, the company that merged with Bush's oil company, Arbusto.

    DeWitt raised $40 million for the Bush-Cheney Inaugural committee. DeWitt also raised over $1 million in 1999 with a fundraiser for Bush and more than $2 million in 2000 with another fundraiser. DeWitt's wife, Katharine, was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by Bush. (I'm still trying to figure out how DeWitt was even remotely qualified to advise on foreign intelligence.)
  • Thomas Scully to Chief Administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He was formally employed with the hospital association. Scully approved the writing of the Medicare Part D drug policy (covered farther down in this post) which had tremendous input from several executives of drug companies. When he left his post as administrator he went directly to work for the drug industry as a lobbyist.
  • Julie Myers to head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. She was the niece of Richard B. Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and had recently married the chief of staff of her future boss, Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff. She had also worked for Ken Starr, the misguided investigator for Bill Clinton's "assassination".
  • Julie MacDonald to Interior Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. She resigned in 2007 to avoid prosecution after an internal review found she had given government documents to lobbyists for the industry, a violation of federal rules. This was just one week before a House congressional oversight committee was to hold a hearing on her violations.

    While in her position, one of her major decisions stood to earn her millions of dollars from her 80 acre farm in California. Policy Director Kieran Suckling called McDonald's overall actions "improper and potential criminal actions". Suckling went on to say "Julie MacDonald is gone from office, but her legacy of lawlessness lives on within the Department of Interior. Her abusive policies and illegal decisions are still in place. The Department of Interior will not regain credibility until her policies and decisions are withdrawn."
  • Among the absolute worst appointments, if not the worst, was Michael Brown to FEMA Director.

    A TIME magazine investigation revealed discrepancies in his online legal profile and official bio, including a description of Brown released by the White House at the time of his nomination in 2001 to the job as deputy chief of FEMA. The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." The TIME article quoted Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, as saying Brown was an "assistant to the city manager" from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. "The assistant is more like an intern," [all bold added] she told TIME. "Department heads did not report to him".

    Under the "Honors and Awards" section of his profile at FindLaw.com, which is information on the legal website provided by lawyers or their offices, he lists "Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University". However, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student here," [bold added] says Charles Johnson, News Bureau Director in the University Relations office at the University of Central Oklahoma.

    Michael Brown committed perjury while testifying under oath regarding the handling of the hurricane Katrina response, claiming that Louisiana Gov. Blanco's August 27th request to the President for a federal emergency declaration excluded Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes. In fact, Blanco requested the President to declare a disaster in "all the southeastern parishes," [bold added] which includes Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines.

    Yet, under Brown, Acting Deputy Director of FEMA Patrick Rhode said FEMA's response to Katrina was "probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country's history" [bold added].

By 2004 Bush had pushed thru more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the industries they oversaw. Hailed as the "hallmark" of Bush's administrative appointments, Daniel E. Troy was appointed chief counsel to the US Food and Drug Administration in mid-year 2001. He was now overseeing his former clients.

On December 15, 2001 at the Plaza Hotel in New York, Troy told several hundred pharmaceutical attorneys to "pitch us lawsuits that we might get involved in"; meaning claims where medications had caused devastating and unexpected side effects. James O'Reilly, a law professor at the University of Cincinnati, said "the FDA is now in the business of helping lawsuit defendants, specifically the pharmaceutical companies" [bold added].

For a different view and a more detailed look at some of Bush's recess appointee's you can go here, and for some advisor tragedies, go here. For a longer list of appointments and executive changes, go to this site and this site. Then, if you want to see a list of administration scandals, check out "Scandalized Administration Officials".

What Happened to George Bush's "Honest Government" Promise

Joseph L. Galloway wrote an article for the McClatchy web site in which he asked "What happened to the George Bush who insisted on honest government?" You might remember that Galloway was the author of "We Were Soldiers Once--and Young", later made into a movie staring Mel Gibson. Galloway ask the rhetorical question "Why do I keep remembering the George Bush that I actually once voted for when he first ran for president; the one who talked of bringing in an administration that would look more like the face of America and of giving us a government whose appointees would be honest, upright, fair and moral?" [bold added].

Galloway is just one of the millions of Americans, including myself, who once voted for Bush that is asking ourselves that same question.

The Iraqi War

"When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming" [bold/underline added]. That's a statement Bush made in 2000 when accepting the nomination for the Republican Party. Unfortunately for the American people, Bush didn't give us his definition of "just", "clear", and "overwhelming" as it pertained to war.

The Iraqi war begin on March 19, 2003. Over several months leading up to the war, George W. Bush convinced the American people (and much of the rest of the world) that we had to go to war "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction" (WMD). The WMD issue was the single justification for the invasion. But as we all now know, absolutely no evidence has ever been produced to support that accusation. When no WMD's could be found, Bush started changing his justifications for the war.

On May 1, 2003, 42 days after the war begin, Bush declared "mission accomplished", even though Bush himself still refers to it 5 years later as a war. Unfortunately, the war has continued on now for 2,000 plus days and counting, and Bush isn't even shy about his "mission accomplished" statement.

Using Bush's logic of "mission accomplished" in reference to war, the "mission" in Vietnam was "accomplished" several times before we lost that war, with the first coming around late 1965, the year combat troups were deployed to South Vietnam. The "mission" accomplished that year was the prevention of communist takeover of South Vietnam, albeit temporary. But the fact is the Vietnam War lasted 10 more years until 1975 when American troops withdrew under gunfire from the enemy; the war was lost.

Like Bush's war, this war was also "justified" with lies fabricated by another President, Democrat Lyndon Johnson (see "Tonkin Gulf Incident").

Unfortunately, the price has been huge for Bush's uncontrolled desire to go to war with Iraq; and here, I'm not referring to just the monetary cost. However, looking back now at George W and Dick Cheney's reputation for openness, truthfulness, and honesty, it's easy to understand their actions.

Regardless, the Iraqi war has been going on now for more than 5 years (longer than WWII), over 4200 great service men have died, and the monetary cost is approaching $600 billion with $2 billion being spent each week the war continues. Total estimates for the war exceed $1.2 trillion, with some estimates reaching $2 trillion when interest and collateral cost is considered. (Want to see what $1.2 trillion could buy for America?)

It's important to remember that the Bush administration initially told us the cost would be no more than $60 billion.

In return for this huge personal & financial cost to America, many American corporations have made millions, some hundreds of millions and some billions.

Two that's making billions is Cheney's old company, Halliburton and its subsidiaries and Bechtel Corporation. A plan for Halliburton to have total control over the oil fields in Iraq was made months before the war started. (Under Cheney's command, Halliburton had already made a fortune in Iraq after the first war.)

Who knows how many more billions will be made by those who favor war, and how many lives middle class America will have to sacrifice for those ill-gotten fortunes before this war is over.

Other than the obvious problems with the Iraqi war, there are two other problems not often talked about. First, America is in just as much danger today (many say more danger) of being attacked by terrorist as we were before the Iraqi war, in spite of the rhetoric we're still hearing from the war lords and Bush defenders.

Iraq was very low on the list of terrorist training grounds, and we really didn't have any more reliable intel on terrorist training going on in Iraq than we did on WMD's. The center of the real war on terrorism was in Afghanistan, which has been largely ignored compared to Iraq, and we are on the verge of loosing that war because of our focus in Iraq.

But even worse than the problem with terrorist, America has completely lost any future credibility with the rest of the world if we ever really do have a valid reason to go to war. It will take several generational cycles before we will be believed again that serious threats exist. In the meantime, America is in grave danger of being attack, and in a much worse way than was 911.

So why did Bush want to go to war with Iraq? No one really knows for sure but him, possibly Cheney, and maybe some very, very intimate friends. Some say it was for the oil; some say he just wanted to finish his fathers job; some say it was because Saddam Hussein tried to have his father assassinated (some reports say Bush I fabricated the assassination attempt in order to justify attacking Iraq the second time); and others say it was because of his ego to be a "great leader" of a nation at war. But for whatever reason, it is now obvious he wanted this war shortly after entering the White House, if not before.

A Congressional Research Report (CRS) prepared for Congress and updated July 14, 2008 entitled "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11" shows the details on the cost of war. It's quite lengthy, as you might guess, but gives a lot of facts and figures pertaining to the title subject.

The Valerie Plame Deal

Since the mid-1990's, the neo-conservatives have had great success in achieving their goals by twisting, turning, fabricating, and falsifying information, and at times, outright lying. So why should they handle the Valerie Plame incident any different? A summary of her and the incident can be found here.

There are several documented cases where the Bush administration has viciously attacked someone because they were critical of his administration; some were even in his own party (rule by fear). And there is no doubt the administration used the same tactics in the Plame case as is revealed in an article by David Corn entitled "A White House Smear".

Corn rightfully points out that if Bob Novak, a conservative journalist (not a neo-con), can't be trusted then no one could; and Novak's information proved that a smear campaign was orchestrated by the White House.

The article begins with Joseph Wilson being asked to go to Niger to investigate the possibility that Iraq was purchasing uranium (senior officials in the Directorate of Operations counter proliferation division made the request, not his wife as claimed by the White House). Wilson reported there was absolutely no evidence any one had sold uranium to Iraq. Although Wilson was hailed as a hero by George H. W. Bush for his role in the first Iraq war, the current Bush White House didn't like Wilson's report, as it contradicted previous claims made by the White House. But since Wilson recognized Bush intended to go to war with Iraq regardless of the facts, Wilson went public with his report and the White House went ballistic. Then, as Corn put it, "the payback came".

Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, who worked for the CIA, was exposed as an agent by the White House as retribution for Wilson's deed. Two White House senior administrations officials leaked the information about Plame to Bob Novak. The results cost Plame her job, career, and integrity.

Several critics called the outing "a breach of national security" (some were even Republicans), as did others. Plame's life was now in jeopardy, as would any exposed covert or undercover agent, of which Plame was. Plame had her hands tied from telling her story, and defending herself or her husband because she was ordered not to make any public comments about the issue.

The Department of Justice and the CIA called for an investigation into the leak and the investigation begin in 2004.

The investigation reveled that several Bush White House officials were involved. 23 were known to be involved by either admitting their involvement in the leak or were proven to be involved with undeniable evidence. Among those were Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Richard Armitage. One was convicted and sentenced to prison. And although both Plame and her husband's careers and lives were destroyed (& probably many more), Bush and Cheney got away clean, even though Cheney authorized the leak. Karl Rove was one of the people expected to be indicted along with Scooter Libby, but he also got away clean, although he was guilty of leaking information about Plame also.

Rove had told Chris Matthews of MSNBC "Valerie Plame is fair game", and he threatened Time Magazine if they published articles on Joseph Wilson's trip to Africa and his findings. (It was also rumored Cheney too told Matthews that Plame was fair game.)

"Scooter" Libby was the only person convicted of a crime, but not for all the laws he broke in participating in the scandal; he was convicted for lying under oath to a Grand Jury. He was sentenced to 30 months and a hefty fine, but Bush, not forgetting his friends (maybe with knowledge there was a lot more Libby could tell), commuted Scooter Libby's sentence less than a month after the sentencing.

During the investigation, Vice-President Dick Cheney went to great efforts to cover up his office's involvement by building a stone wall. He knew he and his office was in danger of being exposed, and he was ready to stop at nothing to protect him self and others.

Valerie Plame was called to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in March 2007. You can see and listen to her testimony in video's part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. USA Today published a great article with a great format for the time-line called "Outing an Agent: The Valerie Plame case", which gives brief but significant details including those involved in the outing and the cover up.

Bush made the following comment on July 18, 2005 when the investigation was revealing obvious criminal activity by the White House: "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration" (notice he did not say they would be prosecuted and sent to jail, which is the penalty for committing a crime).

And to think there are those of us who still insist the Bush White House is not above the law.

The Tax Cuts and Trickle-Down Economics

Just as he did when he was governor of Texas, Bush has enjoyed giving tax cuts to corporations and large businesses, and in some cases, to rich & powerful individuals. He and others like him were exposed to a vehicle many years ago which gives the aforementioned more riches while reducing their share of the cost of supporting America. That vehicle is called trickle-down economics. This term has often been substituted with others like "supply-side economics" and "pro-economy economics" in an attempt to remove the stench associated with it. But it all means the same; "play but no pay". Linda Beale of "ataxingmatter" defines it like this; "---- enjoy(ing) enormous state-provided benefits without paying their fair share of the tax burden".

SIDE NOTE: There are plenty of defenders out there who like pointing out who pays the largest share of collected income tax among individuals. But they conveniently ignore what percentage of their gross income (not AGI) is paid in taxes compared to what percentage of gross income the middle incomer pays.

For example, a family of four earning $75,000 per year gross, with average deductions, will pay about 12 percent of their gross income in taxes. So that begs the question of what percentage of gross income does the very wealthy pay (They never report all their income). We will never see that in print because of confidentiality (and secrecy), and they will never tell us. But with all the special tax breaks, special tax laws written just for them, tax loopholes, and tax shelters afforded to this income group (which is inaccessible to the low & middle incomer), you can bet their percentages is considerably less than the guy making $75,000 per year.

In June of 2001, under a Republican controlled Congress, Bush pushed through the first of his tax cuts for those mentioned ("Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001"). But that wasn't enough for Bush & his friends, and since he had such great prior success, he did it again in May of 2003 ("Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003"). Notice the wording in the two bills; "Economic Growth" and "Jobs and Growth"; words to make it sound like he's doing something for working America. But it's nothing more than Trickle-Down Economics. These laws might as well have been named "The Robin Hood Reversal Act of 2001 & 2003".

With rehearsed lies, we were told these tax breaks were needed to "improve the economy and create more jobs". Knowing the resistance he would get for corporations not paying their fair share of taxes, Bush promised us it was only a temporary cut until the economic goal was achieved; and he said the goal would be achieved by 2010, at which time the tax cuts would be allowed to expire. However, in keeping with his personal policy of lying, Bush and his friends want to make them permanent now in spite of the fact that not only have the tax cuts not helped the economy or jobs at all, but the economy and jobs situation has worsened dramatically. So now they are "justifying" it by pointing out that corporations are taxed at a 35% rate. But that's no where near what they actually pay.

With all the special tax laws (written just for corporations), tax shelters, and loop holes in other tax laws, 95% of corporations paid less than 5% of their income in taxes in 2004. A study released in September 2004 showed most companies who did pay taxes paid an average of 17.2% of AGI in taxes, a far cry from the 35% tax rate they claim to be paying. 82 of those companies in this study paid no taxes at all, yet some still received very large tax rebates. (One of the ways companies now get tax rebates is from one of Bush's stipulations in his 2003 tax cut bill which allows companies to go back to previous years and claim the same tax cuts implemented in the 2003 bill.)

The top 25 recipients of the 2001-2003 tax cuts realized increased tax breaks ranging from a low of +22% to a high of +232%. These were companies like GE, Citigroup, ExxonMobil, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch (the latter two are now bankrupt due to greed), and others.

Today about two-thirds of US companies pay no taxes. Much ado was made on this latter report in light of it coming out during the height of the presidential campaign, and it became an issue for a very short time. Many people are trying to skew these facts, but they present no real evidence. The best they can do is "spin" (lie about) the facts.

In 2003 Joel Friedman wrote a report he called The Decline Of Corporate Income Tax Revenues. He points out that in 2003 corporate income tax was "down to historical lows" (as documented above). Corporate revenues represented only 7.4% of all federal taxes paid in 2003. Much of this was due to Bush's tax cuts, and was the lowest since the Reagan era.

These low tax numbers is something the trickle-down economics advocates try to hide. Those same advocates try to tell us it's the small businesses that will suffer if the tax cuts are allowed to expire. But, as Friedman pointed out "corporations, as distinguished from small businesses, are by far the largest beneficiaries of these tax breaks". These advocates like to claim that American corporations have a much higher tax burden than their foreign counterparts. However, Friedman debunks that and so does this GAO report on Tax Liabilities of Foreign and US Corporations. US corporations actually pay fewer taxes than their foreign counterparts.

Trickle-down economics does not work. Sure, the theory says it will, but the theory never becomes reality because corporations just pocket the money. We are told corporations need the tax breaks to invest so more jobs will be created. But those additional jobs never come, as documented above. And any money they invest would be invested anyway with or without tax breaks because it is in their best interest. Without investments the day would come when they would be out of business. So the idea they will just sit on their duffs if they don't get those tax breaks is a bunch of bunk.

There is already too much of a mismatch of corporate power and corporate taxes, and these continued tax breaks just increases their power. Some people claim Ronald Reagan's tax cuts in the 1980's proves trickle-down economics work by pointing out there was an increase in tax revenues after Reagan's tax cuts. However, Bernard Sherman debunks all that in an article he called "Reaganomics: Why Ronald Reagan's 1981 Tax Cut Did Not Cause the 1983 Recovery or Boost Tax Revenues". (In addition, the national debt more than tripled during Reagan's reign.)

For more reasons the tax cuts should be rolled back, go here. And if nothing else convinces you, think about who's going to pay for all of Bush's debt, in great part, because of those tax breaks. (And don't forget the 1 trillion plus dollars we taxpayers just gave Wall Street, and don't give me that crap it was for main street.)

Just so you won't think I forgot about how Bush's tax cuts helped wealthy individuals, you can begin with "The Skewed Benefits Of The Tax Cuts". There are thousands of other sites out there, many which do not "spin" the facts. But the one "spin" I like the most is the one about how us regular folks are going to be "taxed to high-heaven on our inheritance if we let the tax cuts expire". What the spinners don't tell us is if our inheritance is $1 million or less for a single person or $2 million or less for a married couple, we will pay no inheritance even if the tax cuts are allowed to expire. How many working class families do you know that will inherent $2 million or leave $2 million in their estate?

Dan Froomkin said in an article he called "Fat Cats First", "looking back on the wreckage of the Bush era, there is one undeniable bright spot: It's been a very good time to be a fat cat. A consistent result of virtually every major Bush policy, from tax cuts to war, has been to enrich the already wealthy". And this article from January 2007 entitled "Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich" said "families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush's tax cuts".

The bottom line on this is corporations and their political puppets like Bush will not be happy until corporations (and wealthy individuals) are paying no taxes at all, and getting rebates while still "enjoying enormous state-provided benefits". I recall coining a phrase myself many, many years ago: "Corporations will not be happy until 100% of gross revenues stay inside the board room, then they will insist on improving on that (tax rebates)". And there will always be a "Bush" to help them make that happen while the working class continue to finance the country (and now with the bailout of Wall Street, finance them also).

The Economy And Jobs Issue

Since it is so obvious to the working class that we are in the worst recession since the 1930's contributed mightily by Bush's policies, regardless of those who deny it, and that millions of people have lost their job with millions more who can't find work, a lot need not be written on this subject. But since there are those who still claim things are better off under Bush, I give you:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for July 2008 gives a sad picture of our employment situation. It shows we have lost 383,000 jobs in manufacturing alone over the past 12 months, with 35,000 lost in July. 457,000 jobs have been lost in the construction industry over the past two years, with another 400,000 expected to be lost. According to one report, job losses reached their worst level in five years in September of this year, with a net loss of 159,000 jobs in that month alone.

Unemployment has steadily risen over the past year, with 9 straight months of job losses. It was 5.7% for July 2008 (6.1% for August & September), with 8.8 million people out of work. 1.6 million of them lost their jobs during the past year. These numbers do not include those whose unemployment benefits have expired and/or quit looking for work, as we have no effective way of counting them. And since we need to add about 100,000 jobs per month just to keep up with those entering the job market, the problem is even worse than these numbers reflect.

The 5.7% unemployment noted above equals the March 2004 unemployment rate according to this CNN article, but is not the highest under the current administration; that came in June 2003 at 6.3%. The previous highest rate was under George H.W. Bush in June 1992 at 7.8%, although Clinton inherited a 7.3% when he took office in January 1993. (The unemployment rate steadily dropped under the Clinton administration with a slight increase during mid-1995. When Clinton left office the unemployment rate was 3.9%.)

But Ronald Reagan holds the record with 10.8% in the last two months of 1982 (another failed attempt at trickle-down economics); the highest rate since the great depression of the 1930's, a result of the stock market crash in 1929.

However there is a bright side here; for 2005 the top 10% of incomers had a 9% increase in reported income; the top 1% had a 14% increase (note the word "reported". The rich never report all their income). Unfortunately, the bottom 90% had a decrease in income at -0.6%.

In 2006 the list of millionaires in North America grew by 9.2%, with nearly 91% of those in the United States. To top all this off we currently have an inflation rate of 5.2% and rising.

"From 2000 to 2007, worker productivity rose significantly in the United States, but real income fell for middle-class families", so said a CNN Money article quoting a group of economist. Worker productivity rose about 2.5% per year, yet workers took home less pay by $2000 per year. By comparison, from 1989 to 2000 workers pay rose by 10% with productivity growth about half of the 2000 through 2007 rate.

Welcome to George W's & the neo-cons trickle-down economics!

Bush's Spending Spree and The Debt Issue

During George W's first term in office, Federal spending increased at the fastest growing rate in 30 years. Total spending growth increased by 19.7%, but that isn't the bad part of the picture; non-defense discretionary spending growth increased by 25.3% (many other reports put the percentages higher, with this one saying it was 8.2% per year). These percentages are considered "very conservative" numbers. By comparison Bill Clinton's numbers was 4.2% total with only 0.7% discretionary spending during his first term in office.

The increased debt under George W is the largest in US history. When Bush took office the national debt was $5.727 trillion. That figure has risen to nearly $10 trillion, a 72% increase, and does not include the latest Wall Street bailout. The national debt ceiling, which is set by law, had to be increased 7 times under Bush, basically meaning "I want to spend more money, so make it legal for me to do it".

A USA Today article reported in 2006 that federal spending was outstripping economic growth at "a rate unseen in more than half a century". The article said the federal government was spending 20.8 cents of every $1 the economy generates, up from 18.5 cents in 2001. The Federal debt, as a percentage of GDP, grew more under George W (and Bush I & Reagan) than it did under Clinton.

Those "fiscal" conservatives and damn "tax & spend" Democrats! Take a look at these charts and see who the "charge & spend" Party is.

Over the past 4-5 years I have heard many say "debt is good" or "debt doesn't matter" when challenged over the additional debt incurred under the Bush administration (an attempt to justify Keynesian Economics which advocates deficit spending as a part of trickle-down economics). Without fail, these are always people in the current Bush administration and/or their ardent supporters. This is nothing more than an attempt to ignore and make light of the seriousness of the monstrous added debt by the Bush administration. However, when the debt in general is the topic of discussion, those same people are very quick to say "the problem is with our entitlement programs", and "we must get that under control", thus blaming the Democrats.

No doubt our entitlement programs are responsible for a large part of our budget and often abused, but it hasn't been these entitlement programs that has caused the huge increases in debt under the Bush administration, although his multi-billion dollar free gifts to the pharmaceutical and health insurance industry under Medicare Part D (discussed below) contributed mightily to the debt (as did the credit card charges for the Afgahansitan and Iraq wars).

As pointed out above, a vast portion of Bush's increased debt has been from discretionary spending. An article published in February 2004 called Bush's new budget "The most bloated budget ever", and a report by the CATO Institute called Bush "The Mother of All Big Spenders".

These facts are substantiated in a more detailed graph which shows a comparison of eight years under Clinton with eight years under Bush. Clinton added about one and a quarter trillion of debt (one and a quarter trillion too much, I agree) in his eight years when you take into account that policy made by George H.W. Bush is responsible for Clinton's first year in office. By comparison, George W has already added four plus trillion during his two terms, with nearly another trillion that will be spent because of his policies after he's gone. This means under Bush our debt has nearly doubled (not counting the cost of the bailout bill).

For a different comparison, by the end of Clinton's two terms the increased debt had not only leveled off, there was a surplus of $150 billion, although some try to dispute that with their fuzzy math. But according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Global Policy Forum there was a surplus. Even under Democrat Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War the debt stayed flat, (and you can't use just the Iraqi war as an excuse for the huge increases under Bush).

The bottom line is George W. Bush's spending is up 5 times more than Clinton's. And he isn't finished; Bush submitted the biggest budget in history at $3 trillion for FY 2009, which included deficits of about $400 billion for each of the next two years. Already projected now, the deficit for 2008 will reached $490 billion. But all this goes right along with George W's personal historical policy; no problem spending other people's money and putting them in debt.

The United States is bankrupt. The only thing that keeps our government from officially "going out of business" is the belief by our creditors we will some day repay the debt (if not in actual dollars, in some other form). Today the national debt of our country is nearing $10 trillion (not counting what we've "borrowed" from earmarked money such as the Social Security fund, currently estimated to be nearly $2 trillion). This also does not include the corporate bailouts that's estimated to cost the taxpayers up to an additional $2 trillion before its over (some say it could be as high as $2.5 trillion).

If we could end the deficit today and start making payments of $100 billion per year it would take more than one hundred years to pay off our debt, not including interest. And there is not one single person in our government that believes we could afford $100 billion per year even if we could end our deficit today. Therefore, it's safe to assume that once we end our deficit spending, if ever, our descendents will be paying our current debt for 200 years or more. The future doesn't look too bright for us, our children, grandchildren, and their descendents, does it? But what do we care; we're living for today, right?

What else can be said about this topic except, "those damn Democrats with their 'tax & spend' mentality? They've never seen a tax bill they didn't like, right? Why do we put up with them? They're so much worse than decreasing taxes on the wealthy & corporations, increasing taxes on the working class, and huge increased spending, aren't they?"

The Medicare Part D "Sweetheart Deal" For Drug Companies

One of George W's campaign promises was to "fix" Medicare; "we will set it on firm financial ground and make prescription drugs available and affordable for every senior who needs them," Bush said in 2000. So let's take a look at how the "fix" took place relative to Medicare Part D. (In case you are under the age of 65 and/or not familiar with Part D, this is the part that provides prescription drugs for those on Medicare.)

There was no doubt the program needed serious attention, but the Bush version made the old one look extremely desirable for Medicare beneficiaries, and the taxpayer. Bush basically "invited" the drug companies to write the new bill via drug industry puppet, Republican Representative W.J. "Billy" Tauzin of Louisiana.

Tauzin was the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He spearheaded writing the drug bill, with most of the content solicited from the drug and insurance companies. Then he pushed the bill through the Republican controlled Congress, got it passed, and George W. Bush signed it into law on December 8, 2003. Two months later, on February 4, 2004, Tauzin announced his retirement from Congress and shortly thereafter said he would take the job as President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). His salary? $2 million a year.

The bill is formally know as the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which privatized the prescription drug program allowing only private companies to participate. There were many parts of the drug bill that stank of corruption, but none more than the clause known as the "non-interference provision", which legally prohibits the secretary of Health and Human Services from participating in negotiations with drug manufacturers. This means Medicare had to give up their strong negotiating position and have no control over what drug manufacturers charge for prescription drugs. By comparison, the Veterans Administration pays 58% less for drugs on average because they are allowed to negotiate with the drug manufactures. In addition to no negotiations being allowed, the bill expressly prohibits Medicare from directly insuring seniors, and from providing a government-administered prescription drug plan.

To bolster the profits and minimize the cost for those private companies (and increase the cost to the beneficiary), there was another provision in the bill called the "Donut Hole". It is formally known as the "Gap", thus the need for beneficiaries to purchase Gap insurance, if they can find it and afford it (different from "Supplemental Insurance"). This "Gap" stipulates that once a predetermined amount is paid out for drugs each year (with their deductable & co-pay, and what their insurer pays) coverage is suspended until the beneficiary alone reaches a certain amount of out-of-pocket expenses.

For example, for 2008 when the total cost for drugs reach $2,510 the coverage for the beneficiary ends (and by including what the insurer pays toward the $2,510, it is reached sooner than it would if only the beneficiary's portion was counted). Coverage does not begin again until the beneficiary alone has spent an additional $4,050 out of pocket for drugs. However, during the gap period, the beneficiary continues to pay the premiums for the coverage, and, if you are under an "Advantage" plan (covered below) the insurance companies continue to get their premiums from Medicare. And to protect the US drug companies, Tauzin (and Bush) demanded having a provision in the bill that prohibits the importation of cheaper drugs from other countries. This report shows how the "Donut Hole" affected beneficiaries in 2007.

Taxpayers are now paying 30% more today for drugs prescribed to Medicare patients than they are for drugs prescribed to Medicaid patients (Medicaid wasn't included in the new bill). The bill is widely recognized as a $200 billion windfall for the pharmaceutical industry. Reports are calling the bill a boon for drug companies in reference to those windfalls. Many say this was payback and more for the $96 million-plus that health care and drug companies contributed to candidates for public office between 2000 and 2004, in which 71% went to Republicans.

The insurance companies were also singled out for windfall profits. A provision was inserted in the new bill that allowed insurance companies to offer a beneficiary complete medical coverage in lieu of Medicare Part A (hospital care), Part B (doctor & out patient care), and drug coverage. (This was Bush's first step in privatizing Medicare all together.) These plans are known as "Medicare Advantage" plans, and are currently optional for the beneficiary (this will eventually change if allowed).

In a nut shell, the beneficiary signs up with an insurance company for Advantage coverage with premiums ranging from $0 to something less than they are currently paying Medicare in premiums. Medicare also pays the insurance company a premium, thus the reason they offer beneficiaries such low premiums. With Advantage, Medicare is completely out of the picture as far as the beneficiary is concerned and they deal only with the insurance company on everything. With someone who is living strictly on Social Security or a very limited income, these low or no premiums can be very attractive. However, the insurance companies (and their representatives) always conveniently ignore telling the beneficiaries there will be a huge deduction (out-of-pocket expense) for medical care before coverage kicks in, usually in the thousands of dollars. These out-of-pocket deductions far out weigh what the beneficiary was paying in Medicare premiums, with no better coverage.

In many cases there are sever restrictions on what, who, and where medical care is administered and where drugs can be purchased under these Advantage plans. After you realize you have been taken in and spent thousands of dollars of your own money, it takes an "Act of Congress" to revert back to regular Medicare coverage. And regulators warn beneficiaries that during open enrollment each year they should be on the look out for these unscrupulous insurance agents, saying they (the agents) view it as "open season" for preying on older adults.

Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America's Future said "this costly, confusing and corrupt prescription drug plan written by and for the pharmaceutical and insurance companies exemplifies the conservative ideology of governance -- outsource essential government services to corporate cronies and pass the bill on to the taxpayers".

The underhandedness of this bill was magnified even more by the way it was passed and when it was passed. It had reminiscences' of the 2000 Presidential election. The vote took place late at night and took 3 hours; the longest recorded vote in the history of the United States. The bill passed by a very close margin, but only after some Republicans changed their "nay" vote to "present" ("present" automatically means "aye", but gives the voter an out when questioned about it later), and other Republicans were pressured, and in some cases threatened, to change their "nay" votes to "aye".

Within a month of bill-signing by Bush, it was learned the real cost estimates were 25% more than what was quoted during the "selling" of the bill. These actual cost estimates were deliberately hidden by Thomas Scully, chief administrator for Medicare at the time. Scully threatened to fire Medicare's top actuary (statistician who computes insurance risks and premiums), Richard Foster, if the latter revealed that internal cost projections for the bill was higher than the stated $400 billion. This information was exposed after Scully left Medicare, just days of the bill being signed, for a job as a lobbyist for the health care industry.

During the negotiations of this bill the drug industry and HMO's deployed nearly 1000 lobbyists to push the bill through. Special interest spent $141 million and hired 431 lobbyists. They were back and forth between the White House and Congress like a revolving door. The bill is often referred to as "The $80 Billion Medicare Sellout".

About the only good thing that came out of this drug bill was it brought a lot of attention to the relationship between our elected & appointed officials and big business (corruption). Billy Tauzin's new job made a lot of jaws drop. However, as usual, within weeks that became "old news", and no serious attempts have been made to pass laws preventing another "Tauzin" and "Scully" disaster.

In 2007 the Democratic controlled House passed legislation requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers. It passed with 170 Republicans voting against it. Bush said he would veto the bill if it reached his desk.

The "Industry Friendly" Energy Bill

Bush & Cheney had three major pieces of legislation they wanted to enact their first year in office; the tax give-a-ways to corporations, Medicare Part D drug plan bill covered above, and the industry-friendly energy bill. Bush found considerable more resistance to his energy bill than he did his tax cut bill, and never got the bill passed in his first term, primarily because it had a $31 billion price tag (more tax breaks). But with his re-election in 2004 and a stronger Republican majority in the Senate, he got the 1,724 page bill passed in August 2005. Like the tax cuts & Medicare deal, the energy bill was full of goodies for the energy industry, paid for by the taxpayer as usual. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would increase direct spending by $1.6 billion and reduce revenues by $12.3 billion.

The energy industry contributed $115 million to political campaigns from 2001 to 2005, of which 75% went to Republicans. 16 companies spent $70 million lobbying Congress on the bill. This information is contained in a report published by Public Citizens called "The Best Energy Bill Corporations Could Buy". The industry was granted $14.5 billion in incentives, but the bill did not address America's energy problem. The oil & gas industry alone received $6 billion in incentives, $3 billion in tax breaks (the latter being part of a $8.5 billion tax break for all companies), and a bonus; the roll back of several regulatory laws the industry did not like, which killed several lawsuits against the industry for polluting water supplies. One of the major recipients of these roll backs was Cheney's old company, Halliburton.

Take a look at some of what we know about Cheney's Energy Task Force that put the energy bill in motion.

The task force was created by executive order on January 29, 2001; just 14 days after Bush and Cheney took office. A National Energy Policy was presented to Bush just four months later with an official record which said only government officials were part of the task force. Of course, we know now that was a lie (surprise, surprise). Cheney had a revolving door for a whole host of energy executives, energy lobbyist, and industry representatives. A law suit was filed by the General Accounting Office to force the Bush administration to release all relative documents, but Judge John D. Bates, a recent Bush appointee, dismissed the law suit. (Judge Bates appears to be the Bush administration's guardian angel.) Another lawsuit was filed by Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club to force the administration to release all documents relative to the meetings. They won the suit, but a Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the law suit.

Cheney had said he was prepared to invoke executive privilege if the law suit did not go in his favor. It really made one wonder what secrets were so important that Cheney was willing to go that far, but now we know.

For years Cheney denied any energy people were involved in the task force, but White House documents say oil chiefs met with the Cheney task force on several occasions, although these same oil chiefs lied about it before a congressional committee (Republican Senator Ted Stevens{bridge to nowhere} demanded the oil chiefs not be sworn in, thereby circumventing any prosecution for lying under oath). The documents showed that approximately 300 groups and individuals met with the Cheney task force and it named names, affiliations, and date & time of meetings. An article by The New York Times, Behind Closed Doors, gives a good summary of the secrecy behind the task force.

One provision in the energy bill repealed the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), a bill designed to protect consumers. That bill was passed in 1935 in response to corruption and scandals in the utility companies. Before the bill was enacted in 1935, thirty-five utility companies went bankrupt because of their underhanded dealings & greed; since then none have gone bankrupt. But now, with the repeal, the door is open for a rerun of what happened in the early 1900's. This could end up being the worst part of the energy bill as far as consumers are concerned.

The provision was so obscured in the bill it basically went unnoticed, with only "The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (15 U.S.C. 79 et seq.) is repealed". But rest assured the public will pay greatly for those few words. Now your local utility company can be bought out and/or consolidated, eventually making utilities unaffordable for millions of Americans, in addition to removing all protection the consumers had. As it turns out ExxonMobil was heavily involved in getting the act repealed, as was ChevronTexaco, as documented in the hyperlink above; probably a step in preparing for a switch from fossil fuels to alternative fuels and becoming a big player in supplying our energy.

One of the really oddball provisions of this energy bill is the Bush administration included $48 million in tax breaks for Home Depot (what have they got to do with energy?). It also had a clause which lifted the tariffs on Chinese-made ceiling fans made for Home Depot. Maybe that was payback for the $907,950 of "soft money" received by the Republican National Committee from the Home Depot family.

Going all the way back to his first campaign for President, Bush talked up "renewable energy". However, it all seems to have been nothing more than Bush's sleight of hand, having never asked for or supported real legislation for renewable energy. He's still talking it up, this time probably because of the negative impact caused by huge increases in oil prices. But had he followed through on his campaign promises for renewable energy instead of drastically cutting research funds in 2003 and again in 2006, maybe we wouldn't be so dependent on foreign oil now, and oil & gas prices wouldn't be so high. However, that wouldn't have been conducive to the existing energy industry. Or maybe he was just buying time so the existing energy industry could position them selves to be the benefactors of renewable energy.

Scandals Under the Bush Administration

The Enron scandal is widely touted as the "first" scandal under the Bush administration, although it really wasn't. There were many scandals in George W's administration, and many sites can be found attesting to them. The following are just a few.

Corporate Criminals

This issue could take dozens of pages to cover and still not get them all, so I only give you a couple of the dozens of web sites available to consider; "In Bush's America, Corporate Criminals Walk" and "Crime Without Conviction". I and others have said many times there are two sets of standards for similar crimes; one for the traditional criminal and another for the white-collar corporate criminal. Although the latter hyperlink references some corporate crimes before George W's reign, the majority were during Bush's administration with considerable pressure from the White House not to prosecute.

Bush's "Affordable" Housing Plan

This article was written by "Doris" from Des Moines, Iowa in April of 2000. As for its many references to Bush's actions concerning housing in Texas when he was governor, I did not research any of that. However, most of the stuff she writes about his campaign promises and ensuing actions after elected can be mostly substantiated; therefore, I believe with research her claims about his similar actions when he was governor could also be substantiated. With at least one of his appointees to the Texas state housing agency being convicted on bribery, theft, and other charges, it certainly mimics a "president" Bush model. In a nutshell, Doris points out how Bush never kept his campaign promise to make affordable housing available to low income homebuyers, but did set up a program under that guise which made millions of dollars for his cronies.

George W's Veto Record

George W. Bush set a 200 year veto record in 2006. That is to say, a record of not vetoing Congressional legislation. He vetoed only one bill during that time. We must remember that was the period the Republicans controlled Congress under the Bush administration. But since then, in just one and a half years, under a Democratic controlled Congress, he has used his veto pen 11 times.

Some General Insults to America

Interesting Articles Not Included in Post Conclusion

Aren't we all glad George W didn't have sex in the Oval Office? That would have really disgraced the Office of the President of the United States of America.

Although this report is very long, there's tons of information I didn't include that's just as insulting to the Oval Office, the United States of America, and the citizens of America; some even more so. But my objective here was to point out in a somewhat condensed version what has already been reported over the nearly 8 years he's been in office; George W. Bush has been a terrible president for our country, and Dick Cheney prove to the world that the U.S. also produces evil humans. Their record will leave a huge long-lasting black mark on America.

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George W. Bush's Last 90 Days

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Reprint of
Same-Title Post
from January 20, 2009


On December 2, 2008 the Washington Post published an article about President George W. Bush granting an interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News the day before. In the interview Bush was reflecting on his tenure as President. Just prior to the interview with Gibson, Bush said in front of the microphone that one of the most important initiatives of his administration was his program to combat HIV/AIDS. Admittedly, that program was somewhat a success and it just may be Bush's only success that wasn't a partisan or ideology effort.

Bush once said "I really do not feel comfortable in the role of analyzing myself". That is very understandable. Most psychoanalysts will tell you that feeling that way about ones self is a trait of a person who not only knows their personal history is nothing to be proud of, but is also one that would not be considered morally responsible.

Bush leaves office tomorrow, much to the enjoyment of 79% of American citizens. Nearly half of those think he will go down as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history; some are even in his own party. No president has done more to harm the country, just as I reported in my post on George Bush's presidency. But he and his "supervisor", Dick Chaney, haven't gone quietly. They spent their last 90 days furthering their neo-conservative causes, and most of it will come back to haunt our country.

Like many have in the past, President Bush has tried to implement a few policies in an effort to build a positive legacy that he will be remembered by. One such effort was to protect two vast areas of the Pacific Ocean from fishing and mineral exploitation. However, Dick Cheney fought that effort because it would bar energy exploration, something near & dear to Cheney's heart. Laura Bush even admitted that if the area was not protected, it would "burnish the president's record for history". Those two Pacific areas were chosen after Bush backed off from designating two areas closer to home; one off the southeastern coast and one in the Gulf of Mexico. Special interest groups, primarily oil companies, objected, so Bush gave up on those.

One area that Bush knew was going to stick with the general public for years to come was his foreign policy attitude. As such, he started changing his way of thinking on some of his policies in another effort to help his legacy. The results, say many observers, is Bush's policies started resembling Obama's policies. Some of those were his stance toward Iran and North Korea, and he agreed to a "time horizon" for reducing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I particular liked his term "time horizon"; there's no way anyone would ever confuse that with "time line", a term used by Obama for the same objective.

Bush also embarked on a "Farewell Tour" of sorts in early December in an effort to boost his image. Unfortunately, since the country and the next four or five generations will be paying dearly for his failures, his legacy is already established. Of course, the neo-conservative machine will build some sort of monument to him such as a Navy vessel that will be named after him just as they did for his father and Ronald Reagan. But no monument will clean away the stench that goes with the George W. Bush name.

Paul Krugman wrote a piece on his blog he calls "The Monster Years" where he referred to the past fourteen years being dominated by the likes of Bush, Tom Delay, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney. Krugman said "in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was 'shrill'".

Articles & reports that have surfaced on Bush in the past 90 days.

A Quite Windfall For U.S. Banks

'While attention was focused on the bailout debate, the Treasury Department made changes to tax policy'; paraphrased from a Washington Post article. Henry Paulson issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention which gave American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion. With the stroke of his pen, Paulson wiped away a 22-year old tax law designed to prevent banks from sheltering taxes when they merged or allowed them to create a shell company to hide bad assets. The law had always been considered a bad law by banks and corporations, but lawmakers were afraid to repeal it because it would certainly be seen as yet another give-a-way to corporations.

This was an blatant illegal move by treasury, but Paulson will get away clean because lawmakers worry that revoking it will unravel recent bank merges and cause more problems. The law was lifted by Paulson just one day before Wachovia agreed to acquire Citigroup in a government-brokered deal. The ruling will be worth about $25 billion to Wells Fargo, and is estimated to cost taxpayers between $105 billion to $140 billion. Banks went wild on this news, and several mergers resulted. Many lawmakers say this is just a mirror of the way Congress authorized the war in Iraq; slight of hand.

Bush's "Bench" Appointees

Bush appointed 311 federal district and appellate judges. One-third of them were lawyers and/or lobbyist on behalf of the oil, gas and energy industries. A far cry from him what he said in 2001; that he would not impose an ideological litmus test for his appointees. Many of Bush's judges would not allow groups with little or no financial interest to intervene in court proceedings. They felt that anything that wasn't measured in dollars had no place in their courts.

No where else had justice ideology shown its ugly face than in Ohio. Bush's appointed federal courts there have overturned several appellate verdicts when the latter said convictions of criminals were unjust. The federal judges have repeatedly organized full court rehearing's to overturn rulings by panels dominated by Democratic appointees. Laws that are very clear in their understanding are ignored by Bush appointees and other Republican judges. Boyce Martin, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, has complained in dissents, that the new majority takes great pains to "legalize unlawful police conduct" by overlooking it or wishes for the "expansion of police powers beyond what the Constitution allows".

The latest attempt by the Ohio judges to bend the law was when they ruled that states were obligated to check voter registration lists against driver's license databases and supply lists of mismatches to county workers. This was two weeks before the presidential election. Obviously, this was a slap in the face due to the fact that polls were leaning heavily toward Barack Obama. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

Under Bush, OSHA Mired In Inaction

John L. Henshaw (pictured here) was Bush's first appointee to head up OSHA. In his first meeting with career officials in OSHA Henshaw told them that employers were OSHA's real customers, not the nations' workers. Then he spent his first two years withdrawing regulations that were not friendly to employers.

Henshaw's past jobs was with several chemical firms. When he left OSHA in 2006, he was replaced with Edwin G. Foulke Jr., a lawyer and fundraiser for Bush. Foulke had spent years defending companies cited by OSHA for violations. During his tenure his biggest reputation was sleeping during meetings, briefings, and conferences. He even fell asleep during an interview. But he remembered his friends; he paid a lawyer friend nearly $600,000 over a two year period for "consultation".

In 2001 an epidemiologist with OSHA wanted to publish a bulletin that would warn dental technicians of the dangers of grinding fillings that had beryllium alloys in them. One health study said just a single day's exposure could lead to incurable lung disease. But political appointees in the department gave copies of the bulletin to a lobbying firm hired by the beryllium manufactures. The results were a huge watering down of the bulletin before it was issued. Career officials with OSHA said this was very common under the Bush administration, as political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of regulations, and altered many more. Under Bush, OSHA issued 86% less warnings than the previous administration. Robert Harrison, chairman of the occupational health section of the American Public Health Association, said "The legacy of the Bush administration has been one of dismal inaction".

Iraq War

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has criticized Bush for the way he has paid for the Iraqi War. They said Bush has paid for the war through giant emergency spending measures, then borrowing the money to pay for it, instead of going through the normal appropriations request. CSBA said the war is going to cost at least $1 trillion by the end of next year, and could grow as high as $1.7 trillion by 2018.

Guantanamo Bay Detainee

Shortly before they were required to hand over exculpatory evidence to the defense, Justice Department lawyers withdrew allegations that a detainee was connected to a "dirty bomb" plot in the United States. The courts seriously questioned if the allegations were ever true. The detainee had "disappeared" for 3 years while under detention.

In a related story, six other detainees have been held since 2002 who were accused of trying to blow up a US embassy in Sarajevo. In November 2008, when the detainees were scheduled for trial, the government suddenly dropped the charges related to the embassy and many other charges. The remaining charge is that the six were preparing to travel to Afghanistan to fight US forces.

The Senate Armed Services Committee recently issued a report that says top Bush administration officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, are responsible for the harsh treatment in Gitmo, and those decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and other places. The report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being "the authors and chief promoters of harsh interrogation policies that disgraced the nation and undermined US security". Republican John McCain, one of those that released the report, was the biggest critic of the action by the Bush administration.

Labor Department Accused of Straying From Enforcement

Under the Bush administration, the Labor Department has drastically strayed from enforcement of labor laws that require employers to treat workers fairly. The budget has shrunk every year since Bush has been in office. Instead of overseeing employers who may be straying from labor laws, the department has focused on labor unions, becoming aggressive in overseeing those organizations. New rules were put in place that requires more rigorous financial reports from unions. As such, the Bush administration has turned the Labor Department from a force that police's employers to a force that polices unions.

Political Appointees Being Hired As Career Employees

Bush appointees are bypassing regulations which call for new positions to be awarded on a competitive basis, and are being given permanent jobs as career employees. The American Federation of Government Employees is protesting the action. Naturally, with the AFGE being something liking to a union, the Bush administration is ignoring them. But the AFGE is saying that these political appointees are being placed in senior executive positions that they are not qualified for.

One example is appointees getting jobs administering scientific policies without having any scientific training or any background knowledge of science. Todd Harding, age 30, a political appointee at the Energy Department is getting hired by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He will be working on a space-based science using satellites for geostationary and meteorological data. His bachelor's degree is in government and he chaired the Kentucky Federation of College Republicans at Kentucky's Centre College where he got his degree.

Two other political appointees who were involved in controversial environmental decisions were awarded senior civil service jobs.

Democrats Tell White House to Preserve Records

With the reputation the Bush and Cheney offices has for "loosing" emails and records, the Senate Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees formally told the White House to preserve all records produced by the Bush administration, and they expressed particular concerns whether or not Dick Cheney's office will comply with the law. Both are required by federal law to turn over all records. The White House has already "lost" hundreds of thousands of emails, and Congress is concerned they may "loose" more.

You may remember that in 2003 Cheney said his office was not held to the 1978 law that require all records to be turned over to the Archives at the end of the term. Then in 2007 the Democrats threatened to defund the Cheney office if Cheney didn't comply with the law. Cheney reluctantly complied, or at least they think he did. So Cheney tried to find a way around that by having meetings at his personal residence. And in 2006 he told the Secret Service that visitor records for the vice president's personal residence are and shall remain subject to the exclusive ownership, custody and control of the office of the vice president.

The biggest fear Bush & Cheney have is the public will find out about their deliberations and interactions with outside groups. Not that they are worried about prosecution or anything like that (they have too many powerful friends to worry about that), it just that they don't want any confirmation that they have both lied to the public on who they catered too over the past 8 years. The public already knows that, it's just there is no written documentation. The documents could also show that Cheney had a lot of influence over Bush and Bush's policy decisions.

White House Visitors Logs

On January 9, 2009 federal judge Royce C. Lamberth rejected the Bush administration's attempt to keep White House visitors secret. He further declared that the government illegally deleted Secret Service computer records as far back as 2001.

In 2006, after the Jack Abramoff scandal, the White House and the Secret Service secretly signed an agreement that said the White House logs are not open to the public. They felt this agreement was necessary because of an order in 2004 that prohibited the Secret Service from deleting any records on their computers that had been transferred to the White House.

Oil & Gas Drilling

Over the past 8 years there have been 35,000 new drilling permits issued for public lands as a result of Bush policies. Some of these permits were issued on lands deemed "special" because of their beauty or fragility. More drilling rigs are operating inside the United States than in the rest of the world combined.

Bush Rule Changes

When he became President, George Bush immediately reversed almost all of President Bill Clinton's rule changes made during the last few months of Clinton's tenure that had not yet taken effect. There were 254 rules withdrawn or modified to reflect Republican ideology. The Republican-controlled Congress had passed a law in 1996 that allowed them to review and eliminate any Clinton rule they didn't like. On the day of Bush's inauguration, Andrew Card, White House chief of staff issued an order blocking Clinton regulations that hadn't taken effect. There were ninety (90) of them. Learning from his own underhandedness, Bush wanted to get all his rule changes completed and into effect before he left office. A letter was sent out to all agencies that said all requested rules should be in by June 1, 2008 so the rules could be issued by November 1, 2008, thus avoiding the "midnight regulations" run. Unfortunately, for the Bush administration, the law they passed back in 1996 falls under one of my personal quotes; "be careful of the rules you make, you may have to live by them".

During the month of November, Bush approved 61 new regulations on environment, security, social and commercial matters. White House estimates say that these rules economic impact will exceed $1.9 billion annually. Many of these rules will benefit key industries such as oil & gas companies, banks, and farms. Most rules were deliberately left ambiguous in order to give Bush's appointees broad discretion to follow their own policy preferences.

One of the rules from November not quite finished at that time will prohibit Congress from halting logging, mining, and oil & gas extraction on public land. Another will allow federal agencies to proceed with development projects without undergoing independent scientific review under the Endangered Species Act.

Take a look at some of Bush's "successes" during his last 90 days.

  • On December 18, 2008 Bush granted sweeping new protection to health workers who refused to provide care that violated their personal beliefs. The new regulation will cut off funding to any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or any entity that does not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacist, and other employees who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable.
  • On December 2, 2008 Bush finalized the rules that will make it easy for mountaintop mining companies to dump their waste near rivers and streams, something that has been prohibited for 25 years. Just a few days afterwards, although not related to this rule change, the Tennessee Valley Authority accidentally dumped more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge in rivers and drinking water. The sludge contained high levels of arsenic and seven other toxic chemicals ranging up to 300 times higher that what is considered safe for drinking water. Of interesting note, coal ash ponds are subject to less regulation than landfills accepting household trash, even though the industry's own estimates show that ash ponds contain tens of thousands of pounds of toxic heavy metals.
  • In early January, the Bush administration started pushing through a change in the US Forest Service that would make it easier for mountain forests to be converted to housing subdivisions. Mark E. Rey, a former timber lobbyist heads the Forest Service. He's Bush's man who will push the changes through to completion before January 20th. The change will allow Plum Creek Timber Company to pave roads through Forest Service land.
  • In November the Bush administration finalized new air quality rules that will make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas. The majority of the EPA's regional administrators, most who are political appointees, formally criticized the action in writing. Then in December, the EPA suddenly abandoned the attempt to follow through on the Bush initiative. No real explanation was offered, except they were abiding by an order against "midnight regulations". But the real reason was that they probably knew the Obama administration would reverse the rule as soon as he was in office.

The incoming Obama administration knows they will have their hands full trying to erase some of Bush's rules. Their focus will be with the EPA and Interior Department, the two places that Bush's rule changes will have the most devastating effect if not corrected, primarily environmental effects. Obama will need to shore up their budgets; budgets that have been cut under the Bush administration. Frank O'Donnell, who heads Clean Air Watch, said "the Bush administration has cut so many special deals for industry that it could be a Herculean effort reversing them all. The new team is going to have to muck out the regulatory stables".

Some Other Bush "Midnight Regulations" (A few were just attempts)

Bush had a list of about 130 rules he wanted to get completed before he left office. The following are just a few more.

  • End a ban on carrying loaded guns in national parks.
  • A plan that would make it harder for women to get federally funded reproductive health care.
  • A proposal that would change the way Labor Department regulators assesses risk for jobs, especially those that expose workers to chemicals.
  • Drastically reducing disability rights.
  • Tighter controls on Medicaid reimbursements.
  • Extending the rules on how long a truck driver could be on the road.
  • 60 rules were put in place that will make it impossible to sue in state courts for negligence on the part of manufactures.

Good riddance to a terrible President. Unfortunately, the country, our citizens, and, for that matter, many in the entire world, will be paying more than a hundred years for his arrogant, miss-managed, selfish, partisan tenure.