2004-06-04 / Columnists

The Progressive By John Paul Culotta

The Progressive By John Paul Culotta

There are some conservative writers, pundits, and talk radio hosts who contend opponents of the Bush administration polices do not deal with facts, but with distortions of the president’s character, intellectual prowess, and legitimacy. My colleague, The Rockaway Irregula mnr claims there is an "amazing harsh level of rhetoric so often leveled against President Bush." President Bush claims he is a compassionate conservative that will leave no child behind; that tax cuts for the wealthy will result in job growth and that his policies will lead to democracy in the Middle East. The Progressive is going to list some facts that we should consider before casting our vote in November:

•-According to ABC news May 17, 2004 the family of one accused soldier wrote to 14 members of Congress six weeks before regarding "mistreatment of POWs". Some soldiers did object to the treatment at Abu Ghraib, a soldier who is facing desertion charges because he refused to return to Iraq because of the abuses he claims to have seen.

•-According to USA Today May 16, 2004 Chaplain Yee languished in solitary confinement for 76 day and when he meet his legal counsel he was in leg irons. Coast Guard JAG Kevin Barry stated if "they had the goods, they would have prosecuted’. He added, "There apparently was no evidence". Yee was finally charged with adultery. Yee is an American citizen.

•-Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker wrote " In 2003 Rumsfeld’s apparent disregard for the requirements of the Geneva Conventions while carrying out the war on terror had led a group of senior military officers from the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps to pay two surprise visits within five months to Scott Horton who was then chairman of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on International Human Rights." Their "message was that conditions are -The Wall Street Journal on May 19, 2004 reported that Republican sponsored bills made "employer-friendly changes in workplace-safety rules.

•-In April 2004 the administration published regulations to deny overtime pay protections to many US workers.

•-Republicans rejected Democratic proposals that would have extended emergency federal unemployment benefits for our long-term unemployed.

•-The Bush Department of Labor on December 2002 announced that reports on mass layoffs and plant closings would no longer be issued. This announcement was reversed because of Democratic Party opposition.

•-Funding for dislocated workers and job training were reduced because of the Bush administration.

•-"In 2003 the Bush White House dropped steel tariffs on cheap subsidized imports.

•-S.1637 supported by the Bush administration would allow increases in foreign tax deferrals that would allow US corporations to realize tax savings when they shift income or operations abroad.

•-Bush said in June 2001 " We should not let legitimate environmental and labor concerns undermine the capacity of the president to make good free-trade agreements."

•-Bush’s first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, stated that American corporations should pay income or capital gains taxes. According to the historical tables in the fiscal year 2005 federal budget, corporations pay only 7.4 percent of the federal budget.

•--As college tuition prices are soaring, the administration proposed cuts in the Pell Grant college scholarships.

•----health care costs have jumped 39 percent in the last two years.

•-The new Medicare law is a move toward privatization and will steer senior citizens and the disabled to HMOs.

•-The pharmaceutical industry stands to gain $139 billion in profits because of the new Medicare law.

•-"This law also prevents the government from negotiating low drug costs and does nothing to curb prescription costs. It also is a threat to employer-sponsored drug benefits.

•-New York City officials complain that the city is not being given adequate homeland security funds despite being a major target of international terrorists.

•--The price for gasoline is at a record high for American consumers and businesses.

•-According to the Guardian on May 18, 2004 "More than 82% of the jobs created in April were in service industries, including restaurants and retail. The biggest new employers were temp agencies." It goes on to report, "Over the past year, 272,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost." It is no wonder the Bush administration wants to label the making of a Big Mac as a manufacturing job." Another growth industry in this nation is prison security. ‘The number of prison guards has exploded from 270,317 in 2000 to 476,000 in 2002," according to the Guardian article.

•-The BBC reported on May 17, 2004 that "by 2015 a total of 3.4 million previously US-based positions will have relocated overseas."

•-This nation has a $500 billion deficit despite the fact that when Bush was inaugurated the nation had a surplus.

•-The federal government under this administration has cut funding to cities and states because of the tax cuts. The local entities have been forced to raise local taxes.

•-School boards across this nation are complaining because the administration has increased mandates that must be met without increased funding that is often needed,

•-Bush has proposals to privatize Social Security.

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