NON-PROFIT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM GROUP DOCUMENTS THE WORST FAILURES OF THE LAST EIGHT YEARS
Recently the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit investigative journalism group, set out to document “just how off-track things have gone,” during the reign of King George, the younger. To this end, the group assigned thirteen investigative reporters to the massive task of documenting the worst failures of the last eight years. The result of this was a list of 250 Bush administration failures and screwups, perhaps a record for any American president. Of this list, more than 100 have had a major impact on the lives of ordinary American citizens.
Among the more troubling of these fall under the heading of what the Bush administration and conservatives in general like to refer to as “entitlements,” conservative speak for any program that benefits any group of people or individuals other than themselves and their rich benefactors.
Topping off this list of so-called “entitlements” was the 806,000 American Veterans who had the gall to file disability claims, and then raise hell when these claims fell into an administration black hole where they remain to this day, unprocessed.
The irony here was that most of the men and women who qualified for these payments did so as a result of injuries sustained fighting in George Bush’s ‘war for oil’ in Iraq, a fact which you would think would guarantee them the care and benefits that their situations demanded. You would think…
But the sad fact was that the Bush administration apparently felt no loyalty to these men and women. If they had, this situation never would have existed. Apparently in the administration’s warped way of thinking, the injuries sustained by these brave men and women were their problem, as should be the solution.
This attitude of callous indifference carried over as well to the 760,000 American citizens who had filed Social Security disability claims in recent months, only to find their claims ignored. Here too, as in the case of the Vets, the administration felt no responsibilty to help these people obtain the benefits that were due them. The fact that they were taxpayers, and in most cases had paid into the Social Security system for many years, and desperately needed the money, was apparently meaningless to the administration.
Now there was no rational reason in a rich, educated county like this for either of these situations to exist. No reason that is other than politics and misfuided conservative ideology, which as I mentioned earlier, only believes in financially rewarding the richest among us. Sadly, neither the disabled vets nor those who applied for Social Security benefits were in this select group.
Moving ahead, we come to an area outlined by the Center for Public Integrity that had more to do with money spent foolishly, than that which was withheld, callously. In most of these situations the cash in question made its way to administration supporters and friends in the defense and defense related industries for projects that were either unnecessary, not completed, or which failed to do what they were supposed to when they were completed.
Topping this list was the $12.5 billion taxpayer dollars foolishly squandered on the joint civilian-military weather satellite system, which while it enriched it’s developers and the companies selected to build it, as of this writing is still incomplete and non functioning.
Then there was the $300 billion additional dollars squandered by the Defense Department in recent years, over and above the amount budgeted by Congress, to acquire weapons to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Then of course, who could forget the $4 billion taxpayer dollars already wasted on the National Security Administration computer system, a system which has never operated the way it was designed to do, and will require further expenditures, unless of course the project is abandoned the way the $100 million dollar attempt by the FBI to create a new system of internal information sharing in the wake of 9/11 was.
When the Bush administration wasn’t handing out blank checks to corporate loyalists for harebrained ventures that were either not completed or which failed miserably, it was dismantling laws that their friends in corporate America considered burdensome, even if those laws protected American citizens from harm.
One of the areas to suffer most from this policy was the environment. Now you should know that respect for the environment is right up there with entitlements for conservatives on the list of things they would like to eliminate, as it stands in the way of unchecked profit. For this reason it was not that surprising to see a two-thirds drop-off in the cleanup of toxic waste sites during the Bush years. Nor was it to learn that unchecked pollution is now known to be responsible for on average 20,000 deaths a year while placing as many as 60,000 newborns at risk for pollution related neurological problems.
Additionally, this hands-off attitude toward the corporations and the way that they do business has resulted in over 2.5 million toxic toys being recalled to date, most of them for lead or chemical content higher than is permissable by law. Now in most instances, these products would have been caught prior to distribution, that is if the Bush administration had not done away with most of the product safety inspectors.
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