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Page   1 - Duke Energy Employee Advocate

Washington - Page 47

“And so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway.
This is working very well for them.” - Barbara Bush’s spin on Hurricane Katrina victims
"(Greenspan is) one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington." – Sen. Harry Reid

Medicare Malaise

Employee Advocate – – January 16, 2006

The Medicare bill, pushed through Congress by G. W. Bush and the AARP, was never designed to help American citizens. It was designed to enrich corporations and begin the privatization of Medicare. Bush wanted to wreck Social Security also, but the people had already had too much of his meddling. Bush’s “political capital” has been spent and he is now dangerously overdrawn.

First, seniors were subjected to a bewildering number of choices to make. Now they find the new drug plan is broken. Mark McClellan, Medicaid Services administrator, admitted to The Associated Press that Bush’s new drug plan has problems. He claims the problems will be fixed.

Some people cannot be found in the enrollment database. Some are being charged hundreds of dollars more than they owe. States have been forced to help those who cannot get their medications.

National Senior Citizens Law Center Attorney Jeanne Finberg said "We could see the problems coming. We expressed concern, and it was just pooh-poohed. Now, our worst fears have been realized."

Steven Sharfstein, the group’s president, said "Relapse, re-hospitalization and disruption of essential treatment are some of the consequences of the bureaucratic nightmare."

How did such terrible legislation ever get passed? You can “thank” G. W. Bush, the AARP, and Tom Delay.

Not Tom DeLay! Why is his name tied to almost every disaster in the last five years?

Bush wanted corporations to be able to make more money off of seniors. AARP wanted to sell insurance to seniors. Tom DeLay, the hammer, forced the bill through the House. The roll call was in the wee hours of a Saturday morning. When the bill was defeated, DeLay held open the vote, while he coerced fellow Republicans to change their votes and support the bill. To avoid harassment, one Republican even hid in the Democratic cloakroom!

There’s even more skullduggery! Republicans offered $100,000 to Congressman Nick Smith, as a contribution for his son's election campaign, if he would vote for a Medicare prescription drug benefit!

A vote normally takes 20 minutes. DeLay held the Medicare bill vote open for almost three hours, until he could browbeat enough Republican to get the sorry bill passed!

Bad legislation does not come about by accident. A lot of bad lawmakers twist a lot of weak arms to pass shady legislation that will only please lobbyists and enrich corporations.

“Medicare Malaise” is shaping up to be as “successful” as the Iraq war. It too will cost everyone dearly.

Whatever you do, do not let G. W. Bush “fix” Social Security!

The Medicare Bill Joke is on Seniors

Bush Runs, But Cannot Hide

Employee Advocate – – November 21, 2005

G. W. Bush has a long history of running away when things get hot. But it really does not help, because everywhere he goes, there he is. In August, Bush sought to avoid the pressures of Washington by taking another month-long vacation in Texas. How did that work out? Cindy Sheehan showed up near Bush’s home to protest the Iraq war. Supporters and the press followed her to Texas. She asked to meet with Bush, but he laid low. Since Bush would not talk to her, she camped out near Bush’s ranch, drawing more publicity each day.

Bush had to escape the pressure that Cindy Sheehan was putting on him, so he left his vacation early. He went back to Washington to make it appear he was trying to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s many photo ops failed to cover up his bungling of the relief effort.

Barbara Bush tried to “help out” Junior by telling the press “And so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway. This is working very well for them.”

In each new poll, Bush was making new all time lows. He evaded the situation by running, of course, this time to China. Reuters reported that Bush is trying to duck reporters in China.

A reporter asked Bush "Respectfully, sir -- you know we're always respectful -- in your statement this morning with President Hu, you seemed a little off your game, you seemed to hurry through your statement. There was a lack of enthusiasm. Was something bothering you?"

Bush replied "Have you ever heard of jet lag? Well, good. That answers your question."

When the reporter tried to ask a follow up question, Bush said "No you may not" and made a dash for a set of double doors, leading out of the room. Bush was foiled again – the doors were locked.

Bush’s escape failed and he had no choice but to face the reporters again. Bush told the reporters "I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work."

That may be the most honest assessment Bush has ever made of his strategy of running from every difficult situation.

Independence Day 2005

Tom Delay’s Energy Bill Gusher

Employee Advocate – – November 2, 2005

Public Citizen’s comments on Tom Delay and the Energy Bill:

November 1, 2005

Conflict of Interest: DeLay’s Legal Defense Firm Lobbies for Major Corporate Interests on Capitol Hill

Third Quarter Contributions to Legal Defense Fund Show a Gusher from Energy Interests After DeLay Helped Usher Through the Energy Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – That former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) legal defense firm also lobbies Congress on many major issues creates a conflict of interest, Public Citizen said today. The organization called for stiffer House rules and for DeLay to select another law firm.

Public Citizen also released an analysis of the latest contributions to DeLay’s legal defense fund, which found he has raised just over $1.4 million in the last five years, and that individuals and companies in the energy industry contributed $89,000 in the past quarter, during the period that Congress approved the energy bill under DeLay’s leadership. This amount represents 41 percent of the total DeLay has raised from energy interests since July 2000.

DeLay has paid his defense firm, Bracewell-Giuliani (formerly Bracewell Patterson), more than $790,000 since 2000 for defending him against ethics charges, including a criminal indictment for money laundering in Texas state elections. According to information DeLay disclosed in his personal financial disclosure form filed in May 2005, he owed the firm between $100,001 and $250,000 at the end of 2004. DeLay’s financial disclosures also indicate that he owed the firm between $50,001 and $100,000 when he filed his 2002 and 2003 reports.

Bracewell-Giuliani is a registered lobbyist with dozens of clients in Washington, D.C., according to lobbying disclosure records maintained by the Secretary of the Senate. Many of the clients Bracewell-Giuliani lobbies on behalf of have major business before DeLay and the U.S. House of Representatives. “Owing such sums of money to your defense firm while that firm is a major player in the influence- peddling business in Washington is unseemly and a conflict of interest,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “To avoid any appearance of corruption, DeLay should get new legal representation.” Preventing such conflicts of interest is the very purpose of House Rule 25, which prohibits lobbyists from making contributions or loans to an officeholder’s legal defense fund. When a congressman goes substantially into debt to a law firm that is also a lobbyist, there is precisely the same conflict: A lobbyist is financing the officeholder’s legal defense.

DeLay’s cozy relationship with energy lobbyists formed the grounds for his third rebuke from the House ethics committee in October 2004. He had set up a golf outing at The Homestead resort with energy lobbyists who also had business pending before the House, which the ethics committee considered unseemly and which it determined reflected poorly on the House.

Bracewell-Giuliani has lobbied Congress on behalf of several clients that have received favorable treatment from DeLay while the firm also served as DeLay’s defense lawyer. The close nexus between the special interests and legislation sought by a lobbying firm, and the potential for a lobbying firm currying favor with that politician as his legal representative raises an inappropriate appearance of insider influence peddling by the lobbying firm.

Bracewell-Giuliani represents a gamut of energy industry giants with high stakes before Congress. Energy interests that the firm has represented since 2000 include Southern Co., Shell Oil, the Gas Processors Association and the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, according to lobbying disclosure filings. The Council, in turn, is a large coalition of utilities such as FirstEnergy that lobby for pro-industry policies.

Bracewell also employs two leading energy-industry spokespeople, Frank Maisano and Scott Segal. The lobbying firm also has represented the Oxygenated Fuels Association, which is a coalition of manufacturers of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), a fuel additive that is a likely carcinogen and is a known groundwater pollutant. Its manufacturers have lobbied Congress for years for immunity from lawsuits seeking payment for the clean-up of MTBE-contaminated water supplies.

Bracewell-Giuliani received $254,000 from the Oxygenated Fuels Association in 2003 – during which DeLay served as House majority leader – to lobby Congress and federal agencies on “legislation regarding status of MTBE and related issues,” according to lobbying disclosure records. DeLay fought hard for the MTBE manufacturers that year. In November 2003, the energy bill was stalled due to a discrepancy between the House version, which included immunity for MTBE manufacturers, and the Senate version, which did not. President Bush called DeLay and asked him to compromise on the MTBE provision. DeLay, ever faithful to the wishes of the MTBE manufacturers, refused.

“Energy interests got a gusher in the energy bill, and now it appears that they want to keep their best friend in Congress,” said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “House rules should be made absolutely clear: Lobbying firms with business before Congress should be prohibited from serving as legal counsel to members under indictment or under an ethical cloud.”

The giving from corporations and members of Congress helped make this quarter the largest on record for DeLay’s legal defense fund. Of note:

  • Members of Congress contributed at least $73,500 this quarter, bringing their total contributions to the fund to $465,500, or 42 percent of the total raised. The leading congressional contributor was Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who donated the maximum $5,000 from his leadership political action committee (PAC) and $5,000 from his campaign account.

  • Energy industry contributions to DeLay in the past quarter included $30,000 from mining and $28,000 from oil and gas companies. Anthony Alexander, CEO of Ohio-based electric utility First Energy, combined with his wife to give $10,000. Alexander was a “Pioneer” in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, meaning he collected at least $100,000 in contributions for the candidate.

  • Compressor Engineering Corp. of Texas, Compressor affiliate Ceco Pipeline Services Company Inc. and five members of the company’s founding family combined to give $35,000. These included $5,000 from Compressor Engineering Corp., $5,000 from Ceco Pipeline Services Company Inc., and $5,000 each from five Hotze family members.

  • The fund received $25,000 from individuals and entities associated with Kinetic Concepts Inc. These included $5,000 each from Texan Republican James Leinenger and his wife; $5,000 each from Kinetic Concepts CEO Dennert Ware and his wife; and $5,000 from the Kinetic Concepts Inc. PAC. Kinetic Concepts contributed $142,500 to DeLay’s soft money PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority, in 2002. DeLay is currently under indictment for allegedly laundering money into Texas state elections that was distributed from TRMPAC.

A complete analysis of DeLay’s legal defense fund, background on his previous violations of House Rules and the quarterly filing of the fund, is posted on Public Citizen’s Web site at:

Public Misled About Saddam Capture

Employee Advocate – – August 20, 2005

The Bush administration does not seem to be able to leave any fact unaltered. Every detail must be spin doctored to the max. The famous destruction of Saddam’s statue, after the Iraq invasion, turned out to have been orchestrated for public consumption.

The administration’s version of Jessica Lynch's 2003 capture and rescue in Iraq was found to have been twisted to serve the Bush agenda.

Now the Saudi daily al-Medina and United Press International report that an ex-marine has revealed that the public was fed a fictitious version of the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh said the so called “spider hole” was actually an abandoned well and Saddam was not captured in it anyway. He was captured in a house a day earlier that the reported version.

Contrary to the Bush version, Saddam was armed and firing at the US troops, not sitting meekly in a hole.

There are two versions of everything: the Bush version and the truth.

‘Marine of the Year’ in the News

Employee Advocate – – August 15, 2005

The recently chosen "Marine of the Year" is in the headlines, according to The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune and the Associated Press. Daniel Cotnoir, 33, received the title for his service in Iraq.

Did Mr. Cotnoir win another military honor? No. He fired a shotgun into a crowd of people, wounding a 15-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man. He is under $100,000 bond and is to be arraigned today.

Before firing into the crowd, he called police from his apartment to report loud noise at a nightclub.

Shooting people for little or no reason appears to be standard protocol in Iraq. This case is only the tip of the iceberg, as veterans try to adjust to civilian life. If the Marine of the Year opens fire at US citizens, what may the average grunts do?

Even the soldiers who think they have everything under control will eventually have to face their demons when they return home – IF they return. Flashbacks, screaming at night, drug abuse, homelessness, homicides and suicides are what many returning veterans have to look forward to. Some will not return, some will return with fractured bodies, most will return with fractured minds. The mind cannot be subjected to daily torment and not suffer for it. All of this because of a war started for political reasons, based on lie after lie.

Millions of citizens protested the Iraq War, even before it started. These people were right. Their worst suspicions about the war proved to be correct. The war turned out to be even a bigger disaster than many people expected. Who expected the prisoner torture scandal, promoted by G. W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld?

Last year, Mr. Cotnoir was a military mortician. He had to make soldiers, who should not have died, look like they had not been shot or bombed. He told the Eagle-Tribune that the job took a heavy psychological toll.

Mr. Cotnoir said "It's a lot harder to talk about the job now than it was at the time to actually do it. The stories I've gained from my deployment aren't the kind of stories you share."

The American people have matured since the Vietnam War. They no longer blame the soldiers for being in a situation that they did not create and cannot control. But there are people to be blamed: G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove, to name a few.

The war protest in Crawford Texas by Cindy Sheehan is already having an effect. G. W. Bush has refused to speak to her and has left her standing beside the road. But he cannot escape the repercussions of HIS war. He cannot ignore the fact that the majority of American oppose HIS war. The Bush administration has finally admitted that it is lowering its unrealistic expectation in Iraq.

That is as close as this administration has ever come to admitting any mistake.

The Energy Bill Monstrosity

Employee Advocate – – August 2, 2005

Energy CEO’s and politicians are downright giddy over the passage of the energy bill. And why not? Billions of dollars will be funneled from the taxpayers’ pockets into the coffers of energy corporations. This infusion of cash will ensure executives bonuses and corporate political contributions for some time to come.

The bill is to cost $12.3 billion over 10 years – twice what G. W. Bush envisioned. Keep in mind that the official estimates never seem to reflect the total cost. Taxpayers for Common Sense estimated that if all the bill’s programs are funded, the cost will be $81 billion!

What will the American public receive for such a high price? Citizens will receive very little. The system always puts citizens on the paying end and politicians and corporations on the receiving end. Why do so many federal government officials leave Washington and waltz straight into high-paying corporate positions? Hint: They do not get these positions because they held the executives’ feet to the fire!

It works on a state level also. People have been known to leave a position as governor and float right into a corporate boardroom.

Will the price of gasoline now be lower? No. Even the bill backers admit this.

Will automobiles now be more fuel efficient? No. When all is said and done, Bush and Cheney are oilmen. They view oil consumption and oil drilling as a good thing.

Will the bill reduce the dependence on foreign oil? No. Weren’t the Iraqi oil wells going to solve all those problems? They were once going to pay for the cost of the war! If you are not sure who will pay for the war, take a look in the mirror.

This is a very bad bill, but Bush and Cheney wanted it to be even worse! Cheney wanted more pork for corporations and Bush wanted to drill for oil in Alaska.

The bill was never designed to help the citizens. It was designed for corporations, with heavy input from energy corporations. The bill contains many of the bad provisions proposed by Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001. It took this long to get the bill passed because it stunk to high heaven. Energy executives were invited to Washington to present their energy wish list. Apparently little was altered from the corporate wish list to the energy bill.

Cheney fought all attempts to provide the public with the details of the secret energy meetings. Cheney was even sued by the Government Accountability Office for the information, but would not give it up. He fought to keep the data hidden from the public all the way to the Supreme Court!

American citizens have lost jobs, pensions, and health care. Many are in dire need of assistance. But the energy bill showers its largess on those who need it the least – the bloated energy corporations!

Sen. Ron Wyden said “This bill is literally a series of missed opportunities.”

Not only that, but it is a series of direct hits, promoting cronyism and pork barrel politics at its worst.

Cheney Still Clinging to Energy Secrets

Loose Cannon McCain

Employee Advocate – – July 20, 2005

Loose canon Sen. John McCain continues to live up to his reputation. His latest escapade was a cameo appearance in the “skin flick” “Wedding Crashers.”

The Drudge Report stated that McCain, "who once held hearings chastising Hollywood studios for producing R-rated films and marketing them to teens -- is now playing a part in one!"

Jay Leno told Sen. McCain "suddenly you're in a porno movie."

Matt Drudge and Jay Leno referred to the movie as a "boob raunch fest."

World Net Daily quoted Sen. John McCain as explaining away everything with the statement "In Washington, I work with boobs every day."

President Alfred E. Newman

Employee Advocate – – July 12, 2005

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton made a speech in Aspen on Sunday, according to The Aspen Times.

She made a few comments about the current White House dweller: "I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Newman is in charge in Washington." She said that no matter what the issue, G. W. Bush always had a caviler attitude of "What, me worry?"

She went on to mention Bush’s deficit spending, huge tax cuts for the wealthy, endangering U.S. soldiers by not providing proper equipment, and slashing funding for research.

Sen. Clinton said "There has not yet been one net job created in the last four years…There's no overwhelming crisis - we're just slowly being eroded day by day."

Many a truth has been told in jest and Sen. Clinton drew a perfect analogy in comparing G. W. Bush with “Mad” magazine’s Alfred E. Newman. There is one distinction between the two; Alfred E. Newman looks more “presidential.”

Independence Day 2005

Employee Advocate – – July 4, 2005

Independence Day will never seem the same since the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Independence Day always symbolized everything most Americans hold dear. Americans could feel good about the Revolutionary War, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. The motive for the war was pure - to end the tyrannical rule of Britain. The Americans were the good guys and the flag symbolized everything good. America was the hope of the world - a shining example for all oppressed people to emulate.

That has all changed forever. Under G. W. Bush, America has teamed up with its former enemy, Britain, to bully the rest of the world. Britain is well know for using military force to occupy other countries. Now America has joined Britain in attacking other countries for no good reason. Not only that, but the White House has fabricated reasons for attacking and occupying a sovereign nation.

Forget the few other countries that were bit players in the Iraq occupation. Everyone knows who really manufactured the Iraq war – G. W. Bush and Tony Blair. Bush is the main perpetrator; Blair is his lackey.

G. W. Bush has perverted the language. He calls invading and occupying an innocent country “fighting terrorism.” He calls torturing and killing its citizens “spreading freedom.” When American protestors are put in a cage, Bush calls it a “freedom of speech zone.”

When America was attacked on 9/11, G. W. Bush had three priorities.

  1. Finish hearing the pet goat story.

  2. Hide out for a while.

  3. Help the attacker’s relatives get out of the United States.

Bush then pulled military resources from Afghanistan to attack Iraq. His reasons for the attack changed with the wind. Bush and company claimed that they knew that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There were no WMD.

Bush then claimed he was fighting terrorism. But Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attack.

Bush then claimed that he was spreading democracy and freedom. The people of Iraq are much worse off after Bush’s brand of liberation. Uncounted numbers of Iraqis have been killed and wounded. Hospitals have been destroyed. They are not safe inside or outside of their homes. Electricity, water, and gasoline are scarce. Iraqis have been killed at checkpoints for no reason. Their money has been confiscated at checkpoints and no receipt given for it. Some innocent Iraqis have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed by their liberators.

Will the Iraqis have an Independence Day to celebrate? For them it may be a day of mourning. America was once under the rule of King George of Britain. Iraq is now effectively ruled by Little King George of America. Their fledgling government and army keep falling apart. Even the new government security forces have been accused of torturing and killing citizens. Britain's Observer reported that the Iraq government has admitted that some of its new security forces could be resorting to the sort of torture and abuses of detainees seen under Saddam Hussein.

When asked about allegations of death squads and secret torture centers, Laith Kubba, government spokesman, said "These things happen. We know that…At the end of the day, I'm sorry to say that we are living in a society where the culture now accepts these violations...I'm sorry to say the culture of violence has spread."

The only changes for the Iraqi people are the faces of those doing the torturing and killing.

Independence Day will never seem the same.

Bushes Draw Protestors

Employee Advocate – – May 22, 2005

One might think that a college would be delighted to have a sitting president as its commencement speaker. But that all depends on who the president is. Perhaps a scholar could inspire graduates with how hard work and education helped him achieve success. But it was G. W. Bush who spoke at Calvin College on Saturday. You can see the problem.

What could he say – “Other people’s work and money got me where I am today”?

What was the point of having G. W. Bush deliver the speech? Was it to demonstrate that, with enough of daddy’s money, an academically challenged person, bombed out of his mind through school, can obtain a high position?

Was G. W. Bush there because of his achievements while in office? He has given tax cuts to his wealthy cronies. He has lied to Congress and the people to start an illegal war. He has made the United States the most despised nation in the world. He has tried to deny the people use of the legal system. He has tried to legalize corporate theft of employees’ pensions. He has sought to reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits. He has sacrificed the environment on the alter of corporate profits. Was Bush there to challenge the graduates to match his record?

G. W. Bush did mouth a few words, written by someone else. His address was more of a comedy routine. He always tries to joke away his many inadequacies. G. W. Bush is a joke pulled on Calvin College. But not all the students and faculty fell for it. Some faculty members and about 20 percent of graduates and wore buttons and stickers stating: "God is not a Democrat or a Republican." Some did not stand up to applaud when Bush was introduced.

823 people affiliated with Calvin College signed an open letter to Bush, protesting his visit. They paid to have the letter published in Friday's editions of The Grand Rapids Press. The letter stated: "In our view, the policies and actions of your administration, both domestically and internationally over the past four years, violate many deeply held principles of Calvin College."

Over 100 professors and staffers also signed a letter protesting the Bush visit. It was published as a half-page ad in Saturday's Grand Rapids Press.

Meanwhile, as Laura Bush seeks more limelight and photo ops, she is attracting her own protesters. Sunday, Ms. Bush was assailed by a mob of protestors while on a “political fence-mending” tour of the Middle East. At the Dome of the Rock mosque, 40 or 50 protesters surrounded Ms. Bush and shouted: "How dare you come here" and "You don't belong in this mosque." Israeli security guards had to force a pathway for the Bush entourage to escape.

Secret Service agents took Ms. Bush to her next stop by limousine, where she was again heckled by dozens of protestors.

Ms. Bush broke with her Stephford Wife image on Friday and dared to contradict G. W. Bush and publicly question the actions of the Secret Service. She questioned the Secret Service’s keeping G. W. Bush in the dark about the plane that entered the White House air space. She said "Well, sure, I mean, I think he should have been interrupted. But I'm not going to second-guess the Secret Service that were with him."

Evidently she did not understand that second-guessing the Secret Service is exactly what she did. She may not realize that being in the dark is the natural state of G. W. Bush. This is a man who admitted that he doesn’t even read a newspaper.

And, what would G. W. Bush have done if he had been notified of the off course plane? When he was notified that the country was under attack in 2001, he did not seem particularly concerned. He was more interested in hearing a children’s story about a pet goat. He had to be reminded a second time that the United States was under attack before he could tear himself away from the goat story.

Once G. W. Bush broke free of the trance of the pet goat story, he sprang into action. He hid out for a few days. Why should have the Secret Service have troubled G. W. Bush about an off course plane? They knew that Bush needed his full concentration to keep balanced on his bicycle.

Sources: The Detroit News, Associated Press, WNDU-TV, CNN, AFP, and The New York Times .

The Shrug Says it All

Bush Panders Social Security Cuts, Plummets in Polls

Employee Advocate – – April 30, 2005

The G. W. Bush and Duke Energy team is doing everything possible to ensure employees have a miserable retirement future. Duke will cut off some retirees’ medical coverage at age 65. Medicare is all they will have. But Bush has his foot in the door to reduce Medicare benefits through privatization.

Duke Energy reduced pensions with a cash balance plan conversion. Retirees will be dependent more on Social Security, which is already skimpy. G. W. Bush to the rescue: He is traveling the country pandering cuts in Social Security benefits!

It’s the same game as Medicare reform. If Bush can get his foot in the Social Security door, the benefits reductions and privatization schemes will be endless. Bush will say anything, but his goal is the destruction of Medicare and Social Security. The tax cuts for the wealthy were a premeditated attempt to squeeze Medicare and Social Security funding. The cuts provided Bush with an excuse to scream for benefits reductions.

Bush’s latest scheme would cut Social Security benefits for 70 percent of future retirees, according to the Washington Post. The cuts would start with people who earned a mere $25,000! These are the people who have already lost pension benefits due to corporate cash balance conversions.

It is not to difficult to see a pattern: Bush’s assault on the middle class came the day that Republicans in Congress agreed to $10 billion in cuts to Medicaid and to extend tax cuts for the wealthy.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi said "President Bush struck another blow to Americans' wallets last night when he proposed the single biggest cut in Social Security benefits for the middle-class in history."

The Washington Times reported Senator Harry Reid as saying "In recent years, Republicans have taken your Social Security money and used it for handouts to special interests and the wealthiest among us. In his White House press conference, the President said, in effect, that he won't pay the money back. Instead, he would make deep cuts in the benefits seniors worked hard to earn. That's wrong."

Maybe, just maybe, the American people are beginning to catch on to the real Bush agenda – middle class destruction. The more Bush panders Social Security cuts, the more his popularity plummets in the polls. Gallup polls show Bush to have the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in his second term since World War II. Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, Eisenhower, and Truman all had better ratings in the polls.

Bush began his second term on a cocky note, claiming, "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it." Some claim that he has already spent it!

It was a boastful statement for someone who just barley scraped up enough votes to prevail, even with the advantage of being the incumbent. The best thing one can say is Bush did better than in the 2000 election. He would not even be in office if his pals in the Supreme Court had not effectively instated him in the White House. Even then, he arrogantly ruled as if he had a public mandate.

Bush’s reelection bounce turned out to be a dead cat bounce.

Not only is public opinion against Bush’s Social Security cuts, but a majority disapprove of his overall performance. There is disapproval by the majority of Bush’s handling of Iraq, his efforts to stack federal courts, the economy, and energy.

What about weapons of mass destruction? They provided the cover story for attacking and occupying Iraq. The final report of the U.S. investigators found no evidence that such material was moved to Syria for safekeeping before the war. Another big lie laid is to rest.

G. W. Bush did address high energy prices by kissing and holding hands with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, while showing off his blue bonnets in Crawford, Texas. Maybe “kissing up” is not just a figure of speech.

Babbling Bush Dropped Like a Hot Potato

Employee Advocate – – April 29, 2005

G. W. Bush does not give very many press conferences. When he does give one, it is like listening to an endless tape loop. He can only repeat his coached sound bytes, for fear of putting his foot into his mouth.

How sad that when he finally gave a press conference, few networks were willing to subject their viewers to the entire grueling monologue. Bush tries to be entertaining and pass his many disasters off as a joke. But most networks cut him off in mid-sentence and moved on to real entertainment, according to The Drudge Report.

Sergeant was ‘Crazy’ to Report Abuse

Employee Advocate – – April 8, 2005

The Army must have thought that an intelligence sergeant was crazy to report detainee abuse, according to the Washington Post and Army records. His commander accused the sergeant of being delusional and ordered him to undergo psychiatric evaluation in Germany. The whistleblower was shipped off to a shrink, even though a military psychiatrist originally judged the man to be stable.

Repressive governments typically use mental “treatment” as punishment for those who dare tell the politically incorrect truth.

The whistle blower angered his commander in 2003 by asking that the Army save Iraqi detainees from being killed under the brutal interrogations. He provided his commander with specific abuse charges.

The whistleblower said his commander gave "30 seconds to withdraw my request or he was going to send me forcibly to go see a psychiatrist. I told him I was not going to withdraw my request and at that time he confiscated my weapon and informed me he was withdrawing my security clearance and was placing me under 24-hour surveillance."

A witness told investigators that the commander pressured a military doctor to reverse his findings that the whistleblower was sane. He quoted the commander as saying "I don't care what you saw or heard, he is imbalanced, and I want him out of here."

The whistleblower was put in restraints on a stretcher and sent to military hospital in Germany. In Germany, the whistleblower was ruled to be in stable mental health and sent back to the US.

In another case, video footage showed a wounded detainee being kicked in the face and chest in the presents of 10 witnesses. The investigators determined the detainee was not abused.

Company Owned ‘Shrinks’

EPA Sued for Allowing Utilities to Pollute

Employee Advocate – – April 1, 2005

Nine states sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lax mercury emissions standards at power plants, according to the Associated Press. Under the new rule, dirty coal-fired power plants can buy “credits” to pollute even more. Cap-and-trade starts in 2010, but until then, utilities get a free ride on mercury pollution.

New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said "EPA's emissions-trading plan will allow some power plants to actually increase mercury emissions, creating hot spots of mercury deposition and threatening communities. It's an anti-human health position."

New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said "EPA has ignored sound science, the Clean Air Act, and New Hampshire's recommendations on setting strict federal controls for mercury. We have no choice but to seek reversal of this misguided rule."

Attorney General Harvey’s office said that technology exists that will cut mercury pollution 90 percent, but utilities are exempt from using it.

‘Mr. Mercury’

Cheney Still Clinging to Energy Secrets

Cheney Still Clinging to Energy Secrets

Employee Advocate – – March 28, 2005

Little by little, more information becomes available about Dick Cheney’s secret meetings with energy executives. It is becoming more clear why Cheney is so desperate to keep everything hidden from the public. Cheney was head of the energy task force in 2001 and he still has a death grip on the details of the meetings.

Dick Cheney left his Halliburton CEO position to become G. W. Bush’s VP. Cheney has received millions of dollars from Halliburton in cash, stock, and retirement benefits. He still receives deferred income from the company. Halliburton has taken billions of dollars from the government through no-bid contracts in Iraq, awarded by the Bush administration.

The inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will investigate the complaint of an EPA whistleblower, according to the Los Angles Times. It was charged that the Bush administration has distorted scientific facts to shield Halliburton from pollution laws.

The Bush administration is accused of using the EPA to rubberstamp hydraulic fracturing, an oil and gas drilling technique pioneered by Halliburton Co. Hydraulic fracturing pumps liquids under high pressure underground to extract hard-to-reach oil and gas deposits The liquids can include hazardous chemicals, such as, benzene, toluene, naphthalene, trimethylnapthalene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Not all of the hazardous chemicals can be recovered from the ground.

Rep. Mark Udall said "Not only are there important environmental questions at stake, but the credibility of a federal agency is also at risk. The Bush administration should be using sound science to determine whether or not hydraulic fracturing is polluting our water supplies. It shouldn't rig the process to give special treatment to special interests."

The Bush administration is pushing an energy bill that would exempt hydraulic fracturing from federal regulation.

Other EPA employees have complained about the agency's study of hydraulic fracturing in coal bed methane fields.

Weston Wilson, EPA engineer, said "Congress is considering a national energy bill which would allow the oil and gas industry to keep its hydraulic fracturing practices secret. If this bill passes, American citizens will not know if toxic fracturing fluids are injected into their groundwater supply."

Cynthia Bergman, EPA spokesperson, referred to the reviewing panel as "a representative group."

It is true that most of them do represent a certain view. Six of seven panel members work for the energy industry or have worked for the energy industry! reported:

“The EPA's approval of hydraulic fracturing was written into Vice President Dick Cheney's notoriously-secret Energy Task Force report after the agency initially complained that it can be dangerous to public health.

“Rep. Henry Waxman and Mr. Wilson both accuse the EPA of initially concluding that the technique can be dangerous to public health, but then deleting this conclusion after Cheney's office demanded it. Waxman said Cheney's energy task force report "was altered to delete language critical of hydraulic fracturing.”

Cheney the Slob

EPA Charged with Skewing Analysis

EPA Charged with Skewing Analysis

Employee Advocate – – March 9, 2005

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office charged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) slanted the analysis of mercury pollution from power plants to favor the Bush approach, according to The Washington Post. The EPA inspector general has previously charged that their scientists have been under pressure to cater to the industry.

Sen. Patrick Leahy said "The administration is showing a blatant disregard for the health of children, the health of women of childbearing age, but they are also showing a blatant disregard for the law. To not change would be the height of arrogant disregard."

EPA Charged with Rigging Mercury Data

Bush Protects Corporations

Employee Advocate – – February 23, 2005

G. W. Bush signed a bill on Friday to limit class action lawsuits, according to the Associated Press. Bush has been itching to make it more difficult to bring corporations to justice.

A “frivolous” lawsuit to G. W. Bush is anytime a citizen sues a corporation.

Bush said "This bill helps fix the system."

He is right. The “fix” is now in. Corporations will now be able to get by with murder. Speaking of which, Bush now wants to make it more difficult for corporations to be sued for the deaths of employees because of asbestos exposure.

AP reported: “Bush repeatedly described the bill as just a beginning in his drive to place much broader restraints on the American legal system. Next up, he said, should be curbs on asbestos litigation and medical malpractice awards.”

Helen Gonzales, of USAction, said "The House of Representatives joined the Senate in sending a clear message to the nation: The rights of large corporations that take advantage of seniors, low-wage workers and local communities are more important than the rights of average American citizens."

Rep. Ed Markey said "It's the final payback to the tobacco industry, to the asbestos industry, to the oil industry, to the chemical industry at the expense of ordinary families who need to be able go to court to protect their loved ones when their health has been compromised. And these people are saying that your state isn't smart enough, your jurors aren't smart enough."

Asbestos Criminal Indictments

Bush Administration Warned About Propaganda

Employee Advocate – – February 21, 2005

The New York Times reported that the comptroller general issued a blanket warning to federal agencies not to produce newscasts promoting administration policies without clearly revealing that the government is the source.

Ouch! That will put a crimp in G. W. Bush’s style.

Federal agencies have violated federal law by producing various propaganda pieces and passing them off as legitimate news reports. This ploy was used to tout the Medicare law, which was pushed through Congress by G. W. Bush.

In a letter, David M. Walker, the comptroller general, stated: "While agencies generally have the right to disseminate information about their policies and activities, agencies may not use appropriated funds to produce or distribute prepackaged news stories intended to be viewed by television audiences that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials."

The Bush administration also pays commentators to sell its positions to the public. The taxpayers get to foot the bill for their own brainwashing.

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg issued a statement on Friday: "The G.A.O. is sending a clear message to the Bush administration: shut down the propaganda mill. The G.A.O. is simply telling the White House to stop manipulating media, stop paying journalists and be straight with the American people."

One Thousand Lobbyists

EPA Charged with Rigging Mercury Data

Employee Advocate – – February 7, 2005

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the senior management of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was charged with ordering its staff to parrot a predetermined Mercury emissions findings.

This seems to be par for the course under the Bush administration. Who will benefit from the rigged mercury evaluation? Energy companies that operate coal-fired power plants stand to gain from the alleged bogus data.

Who made the charge? The charge was made by none other than the EPA inspector general! Who could possibly be in a better position to spot foul play within the EPA?

How did the EPA inspector general get the goods? Anonymous EPA staff members spilled the beans. Plus, there is hard evidence in the form of e-mail messages. The charge is that scientific analysis by the EPA was "compromised" so the utility industry would get out cheap on cleanup costs.

What’s the big deal about mercury emissions? For one thing, mercury can damage neurological development of fetuses and young children. Mercury concentrations are rising in fish. Corporate political contributions keep getting bigger. Environmental laws keep getting weaker. Everyone pays the price with their health.

Where does most of the mercury pollution originate? According to the EPA, coal-fired power plants are the largest domestic source of mercury emissions in the United States.

The “Clear Skies” legislation may have a environmentally friendly name. But its net effect is to allow more pollution by utilities than the previous legislation.

Bill Becker, executive director of a coalition of state and local air pollution control officials, said: "The I.G.'s findings are troubling, but not unexpected. Nearly every state in the country has issued fish consumption advisories due to mercury-poisoned waters. E.P.A. must comply with the law and require stringent cleanup measures at utilities."

Senator John Kerry said that the charge offered "one of the most disturbing examples I've seen of an administration allowing spin and junk science to endanger the health of our children."

EPA Challenged on Mercury Rule

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