A win for our side! The White House ix-nayed the proposed "Office of Strategic Influence" in the Pentagon. That was the lovely notion of having an office of pro-American propaganda, which would spread stories both true and untrue. After all, the Pentagon guys whined, the Taliban told Afghans those nice ready-meals we sent were poisoned, so why couldn't we make up some story about them?
Nobody liked the idea, the White House disowned it entirely, and everybody involved now claims they never, never meant to tell a lie.
And a semi-win for our side! The House passed Shays-Meehan, thus starting down the long road to campaign finance reform. See? Raise enough hell and it makes a difference.
Otherwise, the Administration has been throwing out so many bad ideas, they must be cheaper by the dozen. "Bush Proposing Policy Changes on Toxic Sites: Taxpayers Would Bear Most of the Cleanup Costs." "Bush to Shift Toxic Cleanups to Taxpayers."
The Superfund was founded in 1980 under the slogan, "The polluter pays." The New York Times explained the reason for Bush's policy change: "Chemical and oil companies and other businesses have long complained that the taxes were burdensome." Actually, being poisoned is quite burdensome, too.
Next, the Bushies decided to ship all the country's high-level radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain, Nevada, despite scientists' very real doubts about whether that's a safe place for it. But the problem is not keeping it there, it's getting it there. Now, instead of 131 nuclear plants with dangerous waste, we'll have thousands of trucks and railroad cars rolling around the country full of nuclear waste. Great idea.
Since absolutely no one knows what to do with nuclear waste, you might think the obvious first step would be to not make any more of it. But the Bushies want more nukes, and to this end they are increasing government subsidies for the industry, while simultaneously cutting the budget for research on renewable energy.
Bush was lightening up on polluters in several other ways, which occasioned one of those rare cases of principled resignation. The head of the EPA's Regulatory Task Force, Eric Schaeffer, up and quit in protest against the Administration's effort to undermine tough legal action against dozens of coal-fired power plants that are violating the law. The plants emit millions of tons of pollution that not only cause acid rain, but also account for the deaths of approximately 10,000 people. You might think that would get some attention, but Schaeffer's resignation was a one-day wonder in the press.
How nice to hear from that sweet Trent Lott and Tom DeLay again, who suggested Tom Daschle was unpatriotic when he said it was OK to ask questions (gasp!) about the direction of the war.
"Disgusting," said DeLay in a one-word press release about Daschle's comments. Lott said, "How dare Senator Daschle criticize President Bush while we are fighting our war on terrorism, especially when we have troops in the field?" Gosh, who was that masked man from Mississippi who used to criticize President Clinton in the most vile language while we had troops on the ground in Bosnia and Kosovo? Anyone remember his name?
You may recall that Clinton dispatched a missile to take out a terrorist training camp in August of 1998--missed bin Laden by a couple of hours. Several Republicans then loyally suggested that the attack, retaliation for the bombing of American embassies in Africa, was nothing more than a ploy to take people's minds off Monica Lewinsky. Now that's supporting your President.
Meanwhile, as Senator Robert Byrd inquired, "If we expect to kill every terrorist in the world, that's going to keep us going beyond Doomsday. How long can we afford this?" Strikes me as a perfectly sensible question, and if there's an attack on Bush in it, I missed it.