12.25.2005 | Making a list, checking it twice
Lying to the American people. In 2004 ("for years," according to this AFP article) Bush said that in fighting the war on terror, when it came to wiretaps, they were not performed without warrants. He insists today that he is protecting American civil liberties, but suddenly warrants (and the Fourth Amendment) aren't necessary anymore. Charles Krauthammer argued in a Dec. 23 Washington Post Op-Ed that the Supreme Court in a 1972 ruling effectively allowed monitoring of "foreign agents" without a warrant. Yet what he doesn't address is that the monitoring the Bush administration has done is on U.S. citizens. This isn't to say monitoring isn't necessary. But even Bush's defenders have admitted getting a warrant isn't exactly difficult.
Making propaganda. In January 2005, we learned that Bush paid a conservative commentator using taxpayer dollars to spread his conservative "No Child Left Behind" agenda. This came after 2004 revelations that Bush's Department of Health and Human Services also illegaly used taxpayer dollars to fund a public relations campaign promoting the Bush Medicare agenda in an election year.
Waiting to provide aid. In the January 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami, we only raised our amount of aid to stricken countries after we saw other countries surpassing our contribution. With Hurricane Katrina in August, aid came only after we saw unnecessary suffering at the hands of a crippled FEMA in the wake of a Homeland Security reorganization that was supposed to make Americans safer. Say what you want about state and local responsibility; in the past FEMA was there with support.
Still more lying – Bush promised to fire anyone involved in the Valerie Plame scandal. Karl Rove still has his position, and only Scooter Libby resigned after being indicted.
And all this is on top of how America was misled into war in 2003. Another year, another list of misdeeds. Hopefully the Bush administration can turn itself around for the sake of the American people, but from my standpoint it seems high time for new leadership. For the sake of improved checks and balances, I'm hoping for a Democratic majority in at least one house of Congress in 2006. Any change in Washington – from either party – cannot come too soon.