Last week we learned the Bushies lied to us about air quality in
lower Manhattan after September 11. This week the Bushies rolled back the Clean Air Standards.
Maybe they think oxygen deprivation makes people docile.
As explained in the August 16 Mahablog, Bush cronies like the fellas who run First Energy were oppressed by a part of the Clean Air Standards that applies to power
plants, refineries, and factories built before 1970. When the Clean Air Standards were written, Congress did not require that
all old facilities be retrofitted with up-to-date anti-pollution technology. Instead, the standards stipulated that if old
plants, refineries, etc. were renovated -- meaning improvement beyond routine maintenance -- then new technology
would have to be installed.
The Clinton Administration annoyed the energy guys by actually
enforcing this provision. Poor, oppressed First Energy lost a Clinton Administration lawsuit just a week before the Great Blackout, which started with First Energy and spread to a big chunk of the northeast.
In effect, what the Bushies did was redefine "routine maintenance"
so that the older plants can be renovated and kept running nearly indefinitely without updating anti-pollution devices.
First Energy is pleased. A spokesperson for the company said the Bushie rule change will "provide us with the clarity we were looking for in order to understand and maintain our
power plants in the future in accordance with the Clean Air Act."
In other words, we don't have to weasel around the Clean Air Act
any more; we can just plain ignore it.
The George Orwell Award for this week goes to Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio), who said, "Contrary to what opponents try to say, these changes don't exempt anybody from clean-air standards. Instead,
they will lead to cleaner air by making it easier for companies to install more efficient equipment that uses less fuel."
I like this. By the same logic, if we cut taxes, we will increase federal revenue
because it will be easier for rich people to make money. Oh, wait, the Bushies say that, don't they?
Citing the national emergency created by September 11, "President"
Bush says he will cut the pay raises federal workers were to receive in January.
Federal employees covered by the government's general schedule pay system
were to receive a 2.7 percent raise plus an increase based on private-sector wages in the areas where
they work, called "locality pay." Locality pay is intended to close any gaps between public and private salaries for the same
Under the Bush plan, federal employees will get only a
1.5 percent raise and maybe 0.5 percent locality pay.
Bush said, “full statutory civilian pay increases…would interfere with our nation’s ability
to pursue the war on terrorism.” Yes, pissing off public employees
is bound to make us all safer.
The Bushies figure the pay plan will save the taxpayers $11
billion next year.
Along with making us safer by shortchanging rank-and-file employees,
the Bushies also have a grand scheme to let private companies compete for nearly half of the 1.8 million federal jobs. Eventually
the General Accounting Office will be outsourced to India.
OK, I made up the part about India. But don't bet it won't happen.
Last year the Bushies, aided by Republicans in the House and Senate, stripped the collective bargaining rights
of some federal employees at the Justice and Homeland Security departments and for airport screeners. According to the Associated
Press, Defense Department employees may lose theirs as well.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called the
president's move to limit raises "shameful."
Last year, a year in which the same state of emergency existed, the Bush Regime
gave out $1.5 million in bonuses to political appointees,according to Government Executive magazine.The bonuses went to fewer than 500 appointees whose annual salaries averaged
nearly $100,000 in 2002 before the bonuses.
The Clinton Administration had stopped the practice awarding cash bonuses to political appointees. Bush II reinstated it
in his first year in office.
The Dead Zone
Six weeks after "President" Bush promised to fight AIDS in Africa,
the Bushies have cut off funding to a highly regarded AIDS program for African and Asian refugees. Why? Because the Bushies
believe one of the groups involved -- Marie Stopes International -- supports forced abortions in China.
However, say the Bushies, Marie Stopes is in cahoots with
the (gasp!) UN Population Fund, which got its funding cut off last year because the Bushies claimed it supported forced abortion
in China. The Bushies have no evidence this is true, either, and the UN Population Fund says it is working with China to end
the forced abortion policy, but never mind that. They are pro-choice, and they operate in China. That's all the Bushies need
to know; because in Bushieland, only fetuses have a "right to life."
Note to Readers:
Some time in the next few days I'll be moving The Mahablog to a new web host (same domain name, of course). Now, if all goes
well, you won't even notice the change. But if all goes the way things tend to go, there may be an interruption. If that happens,
don't give up! The Mahablog will go on, and it will be someplace.
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the
president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918
The War Prayer
I come from the Throne -- bearing
a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be
your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like
unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.
"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has
he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of
Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered
part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you
in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these
words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into
those pregnant words.
"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also
the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our
hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved
firesides to smite the foe.
"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody
shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown
the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their
little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the
sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of
the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter
pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded
feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset,
& seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor
& glory now & ever, Amen."
(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire
it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."
· · · · · ·
It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense in what he said.