Friday, March 26, 2004

Save the Trees, Cut the Bush


This article states it pretty well. People, please do yourself and this entire country a favor and vote for anyone but Bush come November. He is a scary, scary man and I'm extremely frightened at the prospect of another four years of him in office. Check out his track record, his lies, his hypocrisy. His conservative Christian right-wing agenda. Don't give away your hard-won freedoms this easily.. you're an American, and Americans have a long and amazing history of standing up against oppression. Don't back down; please vote.

The Editor's Letter in the December issue of Vanity Fair was a big eye-opener. I was stunned after reading it the first time, and had to read it again to really absorb the impact of our President's feats. I felt it was imperative that everyone read this information, so I started copying as much as I could to post here. The issue had arrived at my mom's right around my return to the U.S., so I was unable to copy the entire thing before leaving. Here's what I have:


Editor's Letter -- Vanity Fair 12/03
by Graydon Carter

As we near the three-quarter mark in the current president's eventful run, it's probably as good a time as any to assess his achievements to date. There's a lot of ground to cover here, so let's do it scorecard-style.

Ambitious Warrior

* 2 - Number of nations Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office.
* 130 - Approximate number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognized by the U.N.) with a U.S. military presence.
* 10 mill. - Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest.
* $100 bill. - Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to U.S. citizens by the end of the year.
* $13 bill. - Amount other countries have committed toward rebuilding Iraq (much of it loans) as of Oct. 24.
* 104 - Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 (when Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and declared an end to the open conflict) and the middle of October.
* 0 - Number of American combat deaths in Germany following the Nazi Surrender in May 1945.
* 0 - Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed -- presumably to keep the spotlight off fatalities in Iraq.
* 53 - Percentage of Americans who doubt that the Iraq war was worth the cost.

Fiscally Conservative Warrior

* $28 bill. - Amount of proposed cuts to veterans benefits in the congressional Republicans' budget resolution for the fiscal year 2004. (In the end, they cut only $6 billion.)
* $6,000 - Amount of proposed increase -- opposed by Bush -- in benefits to families of soldiers who die in combat. (Thanks to White House pressure, the increase did not pass Congress.)
* 2 - Years that veterans in some parts of the country have to wait for a doctor's appointment; this with a proposed new $250 enrollment fee in their health plan, and increased prescription-drug costs.
* 7 - Number of hospitals Bush's Veterans Administration announced it was closing one day before the President addressed a group of veterans in St. Louis.

Money Manager

* $127 bill. - Amount of U.S. budget surplus in fiscal year 2001, the year Bush became President.
* $374 bill. - Amount of U.S. budget deficit in fiscal year 2003.
* #1 - This year's deficit will be the biggest in U.S. history.
* $290 bill. - Amount of the second-largest U.S. budget deficit (1992, the last full year of the first Bush administration).
* $6.84 quadrillion (yes, quadrillion) - Current national debt.
* $1.58 bill. - Amount on average the national debt increases each day.
* $23,396 - Amount of each U.S. citizen's share of the national debt as of Oct. 21, 2003.
* #1 - Record for most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 mill.) set in 2002.
* 440,257 - Number of bankruptcies filed during the second quarter of 2003, more than in any other quarter in history.
* 3 - Number of consecutive quarters with an increase in personal-bankruptcy filings.
* #1 - Set record for biggest two-year point drop in the history of the stock market during the first half of a presidential term.
* $200 bill. - Approximate aggregate amount of state budget gaps in the past three years, the highest figure since WWII.
* 1.6 - Percentage increase in economic growth since Bush took office, the slowest rate of increase over an equivalent period for any administration in 50 years.

Shy, Retiring Type, Not One to Toot His Own Horn

* 9 - Number of solo press conferences Bush has held since the beginning of his term. (His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33.)
* 1 - Number of executive orders signed by Bush permitting him to single-handedly suppress the release of his presidential papers and those of his three predecessors.

Has Lots of Friends

* $11.5 mill. - Amount of hard money Bush raised through the "Pioneer" program, the controversial fund-raising process created for the 2000 campaign. (Participants pledged to raise at least $100,000 by bundling together checks of up to $1,000 from friends and family. Pioneers were assigned numbers which were included on all checks to enable the campaign to keep track of who raised how much.)
* $113 mill. - Amount of total hard money the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign received, a record.
* $18.5 mill. - Amount raised through the Pioneer Program so far this year.
* $20 mill. - Amount raised through the new "Ranger" program so far this year. (Participants pledge to raise at least $200,000.)
* 212 - Total number of Pioneers identified by the Bush 2000 campaign.
* 524 - Total number of Pioneers later revealed through court documents.
* 61 - Number of Pioneers subsequently named to government posts.
* 19 - Number of Pioneers subsequently appointed as U.S. Ambassadors.
* 2 - Number of Pioneers subsequently appointed to the Cabinet.
* $75 mill. - Approximate amount of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign's pre-convention budget.
* $5.3 mill. - Amount Bush raised this past Sept. 30 toward his re-election campaign, breaking the one-day record he himself set.

This Land Is My Land

* 58 mill. - Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging, and drilling.
* 200 - Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has worked to downgrade or weaken since taking office.
* #1 - Rank of U.S. worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

More Like the French Than He Would Care to Admit

* 28 - Number of vacation days Bush took in August this year, the second-longest vacation of any President in U.S. History. (Recordholder: Richard M. Nixon.)
* 13 - Number of vacation days the average American receives each year.

Loves to Travel (But Not Without a Purpose)

* 65 - Approximate number of fundraisers attended in 2002.
* 0 - Number of trips taken to Afghanistan before waging war against that country.
* 0 - Number of trips to Iraq before waging war against that country.
* 0 - Number of funerals or memorials Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq.

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