Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation

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Who’s Who in the Coup
Acting President/“Vice President”—Dick Cheney

I’m not sure yet where the “compassionate” part of “compassionate conservatism” comes from, but I do know where the conservatism resides. For six terms Dick Cheney was a congressman representing Wyoming, and he had one of the most conservative voting records of all 435 members of Congress. Cheney voted against the Equal Rights Amendment, against funding the Head Start program, against a House resolution calling for South Africa to release Nelson Mandela from prison, and against federal funding for abortions even in cases of rape or incest. And his record doesn’t stop there. Cheney has had his hand in all of the recent Republican administrations, including that of Richard Nixon, when he was deputy White House counsel under Don “Rummy” Rumsfeld. He replaced Rumsfeld as President Ford’s chief of staff. Under George Bush I, Cheney was defense secretary, leading the country in two of the largest military campaigns in recent history: the invasion of Panama and the war against Iraq.

In between Bush regimes, Cheney was CEO of Halliburton Industries, an oil services company that has dealings with repressive governments like Burma and Iraq. During the 2000 campaign, Cheney denied that Halliburton had a business relationship with Saddam Hussein. Then, in June 2001, the Washington Post revealed that in fact two Halliburton subsidiaries were doing business with Iraq. Can you imagine the field day Republicans would have had if they’d ever discovered such a thing about Clinton or Gore? And Alaska isn’t the only place Cheney has suggested we dig up: Halliburton has a major construction deal in the development of Mexico’s Cantarell offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico. When nominated for the vice presidency, Cheney hemmed and hawed about divesting himself of his Halliburton stock. I guess he knew that good times were still to come.
Attorney General—John Ashcroft

The man in charge of overseeing our justice system is a man who has opposed all abortion, even in cases of rape or incest; who is against providing job discrimination protection for homosexuals; who voted to limit the death penalty appeals process (and then oversaw seven executions as governor); and who has been a staunch supporter of out-of-control, over-the-top drug laws. Perhaps this record could explain why he lost his Senate reelection bid against a dead man. For his efforts, however, Ashcroft received substantial donations from AT&T, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Monsanto. The Schering-Plough pharmaceutical company contributed $50,000-perhaps as a thank-you for the bill he had introduced that would have extended the company’s patent on the allergy pill Claritin. (The bill ultimately failed.) All this pharmaceutical funding may also explain why Ashcroft has voted against including prescription drugs under the Medicare program. Another campaign contributor, Microsoft, gave Ashcroft $10,000 through his joint fund raising committee with the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Lucky for them he lost the Senate race, so that he can turn his full attention to running the Justice Department—or, that is, standing back while the software giant, newly freed of the court ruling that would have split the company in two, is allowed to run amok under his watchful eye.

Ashcroft is also to the right (if such a thing is possible) of the National Rifle Association when it comes to gun control. His first pro-gun act as attorney general was to announce that within twenty-four hours of a purchase and background check, all backgroundcheck files on persons who purchase guns will be destroyed by the Justice Department (leaving the government with NO record of who has a gun or what kind of gun they have).
Secretary of the Treasury—Paul O’Neill

This champion of the abolition of corporate taxes served as president and CEO of Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer (and one of the biggest polluters in Texas) before joining the Bush administration. Alcoa no longer has its own Political Action Committee (PAC) but instead does its lobbying through the law firm of Vinson & Elkins. That firm, the third largest contributor to Bush’s campaign, was able to work a loophole into Texas environmental regulations that allowed Alcoa to emit 60,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each year. Alcoa has also been a big contributor to O’Neill’s pockets. O’Neill recently sold off his shares in Alcoa—which make up a large portion of his $62 million in assets—but did so only begrudgingly and very slowly, first watching them rise 30 percent during his time in office. As Treasury chief, O’Neill has said that Social Security and Medicare are not necessary. Perhaps that’s because he receives an annual pension from Alcoa of $926,000.

Secretary of Agriculture—Ann Veneman

Like many in the Bush cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has a long career within Republican administrations. She worked for both Ronald Reagan and Poppy Bush and then served as director of California’s Food and Agriculture Department under Governor Pete Wilson. In California she encouraged policies that have helped giant corporate farms squeeze out family-owned farms—so that now, for example, a mere four companies process 80 percent of American-produced beef. One of the least wealthy of the cabinet members (worth a mere $680,000), Veneman supplemented her income by serving on the board of Calgene—the first company to market genetically engineered foods to stores. Calgene was bought out by Monsanto, the nation’s leading biotech company. Monsanto was then bought by Pharmacia. Monsanto, which gave $12,000 to Bush’s presidential campaign, is trying to block legislation that would require food labels to identify biotech ingredients. Venenian has also served on the International Policy Council on Agriculture, Food and Trade, a group funded by major food manufacturers such as Nestlé and Archer Daniels Midland.

Secretary of Commerce—Don Evans

Before coming to the Bush administration, Evans was chairman and CEO of Tom Brown, Inc., a $1.2 billion oil and gas company. Evans also sat on the board of TMBR/Sharp Drilling. As finance chair for Bush’s campaign, he set a fund-raising record of more than $190 million. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—which controls the country’s coastlines—falls within this oilman’s domain.

Secretary of Defense—Don Rumsfeld

Don Rumsfeld is an old-school Republican hawk. He was White House counsel to Richard Nixon, where he worked alongside Dick Cheney. While serving as President Ford’s secretary of defense and then as Ford’s chief of staff, Rumsfeld was able, almost single-handedly, to kill the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union. He has consistently opposed any arms control, calling the ABM treaty “ancient history” during his 2001 confirmation hearing. A longtime supporter of “Star Wars” defense schemes, Rumsfeld oversaw a 1998 commission that measured the ballistic missile threat to the United States. Rumsfeld, aka Chicken Little, claimed that the United States would feel such threats from rogue nations within five years (half the amount of time the CIA predicted). When not pushing B-1 bombs or MX missiles, Rumsfeld has been CEO of the G. D. Searle pharmaceutical company (now owned by Pharmacia) and General Instrument (now owned by Motorola). Before joining the Bush administration, he sat on several boards, including Kellogg’s, Sears, Allstate, and the Tribune Company (which publishes the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and owns a chain of TV stations, including New York’s Channel 11).

Secretary of Energy—Spencer Abraham

As a senator from Michigan, Abraham had such a strong antienvironment record that the League of Conservation Voters gave him a zero rating. He opposed research into renewable energy, wanted to repeal the federal gas tax, and thought oil drilling in Alaska was a good idea. Perhaps that’s why he voted in 2000 to abolish the department he now leads. Abraham received more from the automotive industry—$ 700,000—than any other candidate. One of the largest contributors was DaimlerChrysler, which is part of the Coalition for Vehicle Choice, a trade group trying to stop an increase in fuel economy standards. This year DaimlerChrysler has plans to introduce a longer-body SUV that gets about 10 miles per gallon. No worries: when he was a senator, Abraham also voted against increasing fuel-efficiency requirements for SUVs.

Secretary of Health and Human Services—Tommy Thompson

The man who will have perhaps the greatest role in dealing with the tobacco industry should have no trouble being objective about policy. After all, just because Thompson served on the advisory board of the Washington Legal Fund as it filed briefs on behalf of those who would promote smoking—or because as governor he received about $72,000 in campaign contributions from Philip Morris, or because Philip Morris paid for several trips abroad that Thompson made to promote free trade—is no reason to think he won’t be able to act impartially on this health issue. Too bad he recently sold his Philip Morris stock for an amount between $15,000 and $50,000—as these should be very good years for Big Tobacco.

Good times ahead for wire hanger manufacturers, too. Tommy T is what they like to call “pro-life,” putting up as many roadblocks to a women’s right to an abortion as possible. As governor of Wisconsin he required women to seek counseling and wait three days before having the procedure.
Secretary of the Interior—Gale Norton

Gate Norton is already following in the footsteps of her mentor and predecessor, James Watt. She started her legal career with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a conservative environmental think tank funded by oil companies and founded by Watt. Working closely with this group, Norton helped the state of Alaska challenge an Interior Department fisheries law. She has declared the Endangered Species Act unconstitutional and written legal opinions against the National Environmental Protection Act. As a lawyer with Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, Norton represented Delta Petroleum and lobbied for NL Industries (formerly known as National Lead) while it defended itself in lawsuits over children’s exposure to lead paint. She was also national chairwoman of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates, a group funded by Ford Motor Company and BP Amoco.

Secretary of Labor—Elaine Chao

Chao has worked primarily in the nonprofit sector, with United Way and the Peace Corps, but has also sat on the boards of Dole Food, Clorox, and health care companies C. R. Bard (who pleaded guilty in the 1990s to manufacturing faulty heart catheters and conducting illegal experiments on the devices) and the behemoth Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). She also sat on the board of Northwest Airlines. She is married to conservative Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Secretary of State—Colin Powell

When not fighting wars, Powell sat on the boards of Gulfstream Aerospace and AOL. Gulfstream makes jets for both Hollywood honchos and foreign governments like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. During his time at AOL the company merged with Time Warner, and Powell’s stock rose in value by $4 million. At the time, Colin’s son, Michael Powell, had been the only Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member who advocated that the AOL/Time Warner merger go through without question. Powell’s son has since been named chairman of the FCC by George W. Bush; part of his job is to oversee the activities of AOL/Time Warner. He will also oversee any regulation of A0L’s monopolistic “instant messaging” technology.

Secretary of Transportation—Norman Y. Mineta

A leftover from the Clinton administration, the only “Democrat” in Bush’s cabinet, Mineta has his own corporate connections. When he was a congressman representing Silicon Valley, he received campaign contributions from Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, Greyhound, Boeing, and Union Pacific. After retiring from the House, he went to work at Lockheed Martin. What better place to park himself now than at the cabinet department that “oversees” all of them?

White House Chief of Staff—Andrew H. Card Jr.

Card was General Motors’s chief lobbyist before leaving to work in the Bush administration. He was also CEO of the now-defunct American Automobile Manufacturers Association, which lobbied against stricter fuel emissions standards and fought over trade issues with Japan. Card testified before Congress on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Lobbying Group against the “Passenger’s Bill of Rights.” He personally contributed $1,000 each to the losing campaigns of John Ashcroft and Spencer Abraham.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget—Mitch Daniels Jr.

Daniels was formerly a senior vice president of Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals. In his present position, Daniels will oversee the drafting of the federal budget, including how much money (if any) will be earmarked for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare patients—a provision Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies are lobbying against. Daniels also owns stock worth between $50,000 and $100,000 in GE, Citigroup, and Merck. The chances of this administration allowing a prescription drug benefit for seniors to pass in the next year are about as good as those of me setting myself on fire in front of a Rite Aid.

National Security Adviser—Condoleezza Rice

For her service on Chevron’s board of directors, Rice had a 130,000-ton oil tanker named after her. She was also a director at Charles Schwab and Transamerica, and has served as an adviser for J. P. Morgan; she also served on Bush the Elder’s National Security team.

Senior Adviser to the President—Karl Rove

A longtime supporter and friend of Bush, Rove was once an adviser to Philip Morris. For five years, while he was an adviser to Governor Bush, the tobacco company paid him $3,000 a month to get his inside opinion on what was happening in the elections and with the candidates. Since Rove took the job at the White House, he has been under constant fire for using his position to further the interests of companies in which he owns stock. Recently Rove was criticized for holding meetings with Intel executives about a prospective merger while at the same time he held Intel stock (part of an overall portfolio valued at between $1 million and $2.5 million). The merger was approved two months after the meetings, and Rove sold his stock a month later.

Shadow Adviser to the President—Kenneth L. Lay

Lay is the head of Enron, the largest electricity trader in the United States and a top contributor to the Bush presidential campaign. Lay has used his close relationship with the President to pressure the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to speed up energy deregulation. Lay has apparently provided Bush with a list of preferred candidates for key commission posts. Thanks in part to the California energy crisis, Enron has quickly grown into a $100 billion company. Bush and Cheney rely on Lay for advice; some administration appointees must first be “interviewed” by Lay before getting the job.

As you can see, friends and neighbors, this is a regime that is intent on lining its pockets—and who won’t leave office without a fight. It is their mission to combine their economic and (newly acquired) political power to rule the country and help their friends get even richer along the way.

These Stupid White Men must be stopped. I have informed Kofi Annan of the various locations where these (mostly) men can be found and apprehended by U.N. troops. Mr. Annan, I beseech you. You have invaded other countries for less grievous offenses. Do not ignore our plight. We plead with you: Save the United States of America! Demand that new, clean elections be held. Give the junta forty-eight hours to agree—and, if they don’t, then treat them to a U.S. Air Force-style laser light show!

How To Stage the Countercoup
We, the people, can start a groundswell that will eventually topple the Bush/Cheney Junta—with a commitment of only a couple of hours a week. Here’s bow:
1. Contact your representatives on a weekly basis, and get three friends to do the same. Senators, members of congress, and other elected officials PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION to the calls, letters, and telegrams they receive. Each day they receive a tally of their constituents’ messages. Take just a few minutes each week, and let your thoughts be known.

The Bush agenda can be brought to a grinding halt by a public outcry—and even a few hundred letters can constitute an outcry. Several Bush policies have already been shelved after public disapproval. IT WORKS! We all whine too much; why not put it to good use? Pick an issue you care about and do the following today:

a. Call 202-224-3121—the U.S. Capitol switchboard. just tell them your zip code, and they’ll transfer you to your representative.

b. Write to: Office of Senator [Name], United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510; or to: Office of Representative [Name], United States House of Representatives, Washington DC, 20515.

c. E-mail: For Senators, go to; for Representatives, go to

d. Send a telegram: call Western Union—1-800-325-6000—or visit their Web site:

2. Dog Bush Wherever He Goes. If you hear Junior’s coming to town, organize a group of friends to protest the event. Remind the media that Bush doesn’t govern by the will of the people. Be loud. Be funny. Signs, street theater, mock trials—show him there’s no safe haven from the Truth.
3. Force the Democrats to do their job. Obviously, the easiest way to counter the coup is to get the “opposition” to fight the good fight. But it won’t be easy: today’s Democrats have little time for those who can’t make their $1,000-a-plate dinners. So here’s how to start a little Democratic behavior modification program:

Take the Pledge. Go to my Web site ( and sign the on-line petition that challenges the Democrats in Congress to stand up to Bush/Cheney and fast—or we’ll work to deny them Congressional leadership next year by running Greens in close races where the Democrat’s just a Republican in a bad suit.

Take over your local Democratic Party. In most counties the local Democratic Party is ran by just a few people, ‘cause most citizens would never think of showing up. Go the next county or town Party meeting, and bring ten friends. In most cases your bunch will constitute a majority. Use the rules and the state party by-laws (which can often be found on the Web) and seize control.
4. YOU must run for office. That’s right—YOU, the person reading this book. It’s the only way things are ever going to change. Unless normal, decent people run for government office, the job is left to rascals. How can we carp about crooked politicians if we won’t do the job ourselves? It’s time for YOU to throw your hat in the ring—and to do it next year. You can run for school board, city council, county treasurer, drain commissioner, city or county clerk, state representative, state senate, state board of education, secretary of state, governor, member of Congress, U.S. Senator, even dogcatcher—or any number of other offices. The one you should definitely run for is precinct delegate. Every precinct in America elects delegates from each party; it may be the lowliest office, but it’s also the foundation on which the whole house of cards is built. Selected delegates attend the national party conventions to nominate the presidential candidates; you should be among them.

And I’m not just saying this—I’m doing it, this year, and getting a dozen friends to run in their precincts too. It requires collecting enough signatures to get your name on the ballot, and qualifications vary. But so few people vote in primaries—and so many precincts end up with no candidates—that often getting elected isn’t much harder than just showing up. So head down to your board of elections or county clerk’s office and pick up some petitions before the deadline passes.

These are only a few of the measures we can take to stage our countercoup. Whether you do it as a Democrat, or a Green, or just one pissed-off citizen, the important thing is to rise up and do it.

Dear George
An Open Letter to “President” George W. Bush
Dear Governor Bush:

You and I—we’re like family.. Our personal connection goes back many years. Neither of us has cared to publicize it, for all the obvious reasons—mostly because no one would believe it. But because of something personal, something the Bush family did, my life was profoundly affected.

Let’s come clean and admit it: it was your cousin Kevin who shot Roger & Me.

At the time I made the movie, I didn’t know that your mother and Kevin’s mother were sisters. I just thought Kevin, whom I’d met when he was shooting his own film at a cross burning in Michigan, was one of those bohemian artist types who lived in Greenwich Village. Kevin had made a great film, Atomic Café, and on a lark I asked him if he would come to Flint, Michigan,

and teach me how to make a movie. To my astonishment he said yes, and so for one week in February of 1987 Kevin Rafferty and Anne Bohlen traipsed around Flint with me, showing me how to work the equipment, giving me invaluable tips on how to make a documentary. Without your cousin’s generosity, I don’t know if Roger & Me would have ever been made.

I remember the day your dad was inaugurated as President. I was editing the film in a ratty old editing room in D.C. and decided to go down to watch him be sworn in on the Capitol steps. How weird it was to see your cousin Kevin, my mentor, sitting next to you up on the dais! I remember also walking down The Mall and seeing the Beach Boys playing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” at a free inaugural concert in honor of your father. Back in the editing room, my friend Ben was on the screen, all choked up about going crazy on the assembly line and singing the same Beach Boys song over scenes of Flint in shreds.

Months later, when the film was released, your dad, the President, ordered a print of Roger & Me sent to Camp David one weekend for the family to watch. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall as you all viewed the havoc and despair that had been visited upon my hometown—thanks, in large part, to the actions of Mr. Reagan and your father. Here’s something I’ve always wanted to know: At the end of the film, as the deputy sheriff was tossing the homeless kids’ presents and Christmas tree out on the curb because they were $150 behind in their rent, were there any tears in the room? Did anyone feel responsible? Or did you all just think, “Nice camerawork, Kev!“?

Well, that was the late eighties. You’d just given up your hard drinking; after being sober for a few years, you were trying to “find yourself’ with Dad’s help—an oil venture here, a baseball team there. It’s been clear to me for some time that you never had any intention of being President yourself. We all stumble into jobs we don’t want at one time or another—who hasn’t done that?

For you, though, it must be different. After all, it’s not just that you don’t want to be there: now that you’re there, you’re surrounded by the same gang of geezers who used to ran the world with Pops. All those men roaming around the White House—Dick, Rummy, Colin—not a single one is a pal of yours! It’s all the old farts Poppy used to have over to the house for a good cigar and vodka as they dreamed up plans to carpet bomb the civilians of Panama.

But you’re one of us—a Boomer, a C student, a partier! What the hell are you doing with that crowd? They’re eating you alive and spitting you out like a bad pork rind.

They probably didn’t tell you that the tax cut they drew up for you to sign was a swindle to take money from the middle class and give it to the super-rich. I know you don’t need the extra money; you’re already set for life, thanks to Grandpappy Prescott Bush and his smart trading with the Nazis before and during World War II. (During the late 1930s and through the 1940s, Prescott Bush, George I’s father and Ws grandfather, was one of seven directors in the Union Banking Corporation, owned by Nazi industrialists. After filtering their money through a Dutch bank, they hid an estimated $3 million in Bush’s bank. As a principal player, it’s unlikely that Bush would have been unaware of the Nazi connection. The government eventually seized the assets and the bank dissolved in 1951, after which Prescott Bush—and his father, Sam Bush—received $1.5 million.)

But all those dudes who gave you a record-breaking $190 million to run your campaign (two-thirds of which came from just over seven hundred individuals!), they want it all back and more. They’re going to hound you like dogs in heat, making sure you do exactly as they say. Your predecessor may have been renting out the Lincoln bedroom to Barbra Streisand, but that ain’t nothin’: before you know it, your pal, Acting President Cheney, will be turning over the keys of the West Wing to the chairmen of AT&T, Enron, and ExxonMobil.

Your critics berate you for taking naps in the middle of the day and ending your workday around 4:30 P.M. You should just tell them you’re starting a new American tradition—lunchtime naps for all, and everybody home by five! Do that, and trust me, you’ll be remembered as our greatest President.

How dare they suggest you’re not getting anything done in office? Not true! I have never seen a new President busier than you. It’s almost as if you think your days as The Man are numbered. With the Senate already gone to the Democrats and the House on its way in 2002—well, hey, look at the bright side, you’ll still have two more years before all those sore winners who voted for Gore give you the boot.

Your list of accomplishments—in just your first few months in office—is brutally impressive.

You have:

• Cut $39 million from federal spending on libraries

• Cut $35 million in funding for advanced pediatric training for doctors

• Cut funding for research into renewable energy sources by 50 percent

• Delayed rules that would reduce “acceptable” levels of arsenic in drinking water

• Cut funding for research into cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks by 28 percent

• Revoked rules strengthening the power of the government to deny contracts to companies that violate federal laws, environmental laws, and workplace safety standards

• Allowed Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to request suggestions for opening up national monuments for foresting, coal mining, and oil and gas drilling

• Broken your campaign promise to invest $100 million per year in rain forest conservation

• Reduced by 86 percent the Community Access Program, which coordinated care for people without health insurance among public hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers

• Nullified a proposal to increase public access to information about the potential ramifications of chemical plant accidents

• Cut funding for the Girls and Boys Clubs of America programs in public housing by $60 million

• Pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement on global warming, ultimately signed by 178 other countries

• Rejected an international accord to enforce the 1972 treaty banning germ warfare

• Cut $200 million from workforce training programs for dislocated workers

• Cut $200 million from the Childcare and Development grant, a program that provides child care to low-income families as they are forced from welfare to work

• Eliminated prescription contraceptive coverage to federal employees (though Viagra is still covered)

• Cut $700 million in funds for public housing repairs

• Cut half a billion dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget

• Overturned workplace ergonomic rules designed to protect workers’ health and safety

• Abandoned your campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, a major contributor to global warming

• Prohibited any federal aid from going to international family planning organizations that provide abortion counseling, referrals, or services with their own funds

• Nominated former mining company executive Dan Lauriski as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health

Appointed Lynn Scarlett, a global warming skeptic and an opponent of stricter standards on air pollution, as Undersecretary of the Interior

• Approved Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s controversial plan to auction off areas close to Florida’s eastern shore for oil and gas development

• Announced your plans to allow oil drilling in Montana’s Lewis and Clark National Forest

• Threatened to shut down the White House AIDS office

• Decided no longer to seek guidance from the American Bar Association on federal judicial appointments

• Denied college financial aid to students convicted of misdemeanor drug charges (though convicted murderers are still eligible for financial aid)

• Allocated only 3 percent of the amount requested by Justice Department lawyers in the government’s continued litigation against tobacco companies

• Pushed through your tax cut, 43 percent of which goes to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans

• Signed a bill making it harder for poor and middle-class Americans to file for bankruptcy, even when facing overwhelming medical bills

• Appointed affirmative action opponent Kay Cole James to direct the Office of Personnel Management

• Cut $15.7 million from programs dealing with child abuse and neglect

• Proposed elimination of the “Reading Is Fundamental” program, which gives free books to poor children

• Pushed for development of “mini-nukes,” designed to attack deeply buried targets—a violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

• Tried to reverse regulation protecting sixty million acres of national forest from logging and road building

• Appointed John Bolton, an opponent of nonproliferation treaties and the United Nations, as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

• Made Monsanto executive Linda Fisher deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

• Nominated Michael McConnell, a leading critic of the separation of church and state, to a federal judgeship

• Nominated civil rights opponent Terrence, Boyle to a federal judgeship

• Canceled the 2004 deadline for auto makers to develop prototype high-mileage cars

• Named John Walters, an ardent opponent of prison drug treatment programs, as drug czar

• Appointed oil and coal lobbyist J. Steven Giles as Deputy Secretary of the Interior

• Named Bennett Raley, who has called for the repeal of the Endangered Species Act, as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science

• Sought the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit filed in the United States against Japan by Asian women forced to work as sex slaves in World War II

• Appointed as solicitor general Ted Olson, your chief lawyer in the Florida voting debacle

• Proposed to ease the permit process for constructing refineries and nuclear and hydroelectric dams, including lowering environmental standards

• Proposed the selling of oil and gas tracts in the Alaska Wildlife Preserve

Whew! I’m tired just typing this list! Where do you get the energy? (It is the naps, isn’t it?)

Of course, a lot of the above is supported by many Democrats (and I’ll have a few words for them later in the book).

But right now, I’m concerned about you. Think back—what was your first act as “President“? You remember: before you would get in the car to ride down Pennsylvania Avenue in your inaugural parade, you insisted someone get a screwdriver and take the D.C. license plates off the limo because they contained the words “Support D.C. Statehood.” Here it is, the biggest day of your life, and you’re pissed at the license plates? You have GOT to relax!

I guess, though, I started worrying about you long before that day. A number of disturbing revelations regarding your behavior surfaced during the campaign. Eventually they went away, but I continue to have concerns about your ability to function on the job. Please don’t take this as prying or moralizing—we’ll leave that to Cheney! It is simply an honest attempt at intervention from a close friend of the family.

Let me be blunt: I’m afraid you may be a threat to our national security.

That may seem a bit strong, but I don’t make this statement lightly. It has nothing to do with our minor disagreements regarding executing innocent people on death row, or how much of Alaska to carve up with oil rigs. And I’m not questioning your patriotism—I’m sure you’d love any country that’s been this good to you.

Rather, it has to do with a number of behaviors many of us who care for you have witnessed over the years. Some of these habits are a little surprising; some you can’t control; and others are, unfortunately, all too common among us Americans.

Because you have your finger on The Button (you know, the one that could blow up the world), and because decisions you make have vast and far-reaching consequences for the stability of said world, I would like to ask you three pointed questions—and I would like you to give me, and the American people, three honest answers:

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