Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
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Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]
07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]
07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]
07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
High Crimes vs. Human Rights
07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]
07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]
07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]
07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]
07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
Obama Frees Bush Historical Records22 January 2009
When authoritarian forces seize control of a government, they typically move first against the public’s access to information, under the theory that a confused populace can be more easily manipulated. They take aim at the radio stations, TV and newspapers.
In the case of George W. Bush in 2001, he also took aim at historical records, giving himself and his family indefinite control over documents covering the 12 years of his father’s terms as President and Vice President.
It was, therefore, significant that one of Barack Obama’s first acts as President was to revoke the Bush Family’s power over that history and to replace it with an easier set of regulations for accessing the records.
Just as George W. Bush upon taking office in January 2001 immediately delayed the scheduled release of documents from the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Obama wasted no time in reversing that policy by signing a new executive order on his first working day in office.
Eight years earlier, George W. Bush initially postponed the document release and then – after the 9/11 attacks – sought to extend the cloak of secrecy over those documents virtually forever.
Bush signed Executive Order 13233 on Nov. 1, 2001, granting the sitting President as well as former Presidents or ex-Vice Presidents – or their heirs – veto power over release of many documents.
In other words, Bush was giving himself and his family effective control over key chapters of 20 years of American history (his father’s eight years as Vice President and four years as President, and his own eight years as President).
Presumably at some point, that power would have passed to George W. Bush’s daughters, Jenna and Barbara, and to their progeny, giving the family a kind of dynastic control over how Americans would understand key events of an important national era.
Self-serving myths could become a substitute for accurate history – all the better to protect the Bush Family’s interests.
In a real-life sense, what Bush’s order did was frustrate the ability of journalists and historians to file Freedom of Information Act requests for even routine information from the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush-41 era.
Information that once was quickly available – like calendars of senior officials – became subject to multiple layers of approvals, stretching out a process from days or weeks to months or to a year or more.
First, the government archivists examined the material to excise any classified or personal information. That essentially was the extent of the old process for opening up routine documents in a brief period of time.
Under the Bush rules, however, even routine documents were referred to designees of both the sitting and former Presidents (or ex-Vice Presidents) for a decision on asserting some privilege. Even if no privilege was asserted, the process was stretched out by months, sometimes more than a year.
And once some routine document finally got released – if the information required a follow-up request to clarify something – the cumbersome process would start all over again.
Anyone with a deadline was either forced to write with limited (and possibly misleading) information or had to forego writing altogether. The delays were an effective means of killing stories that might embarrass the Bush Family.
A Gates Question
Sometimes the stories weren’t just about history either. For instance, I encountered frustrations from Bush’s executive order over the past two years as I sought documents pertaining to the credibility of Bush’s choice for Defense Secretary, Robert Gates.
Gates had been deputy national security adviser under Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, and nailing down Gates’s whereabouts on a specific day in April 1989 would have supported or undermined his credibility in relation to allegations implicating Gates’s in Reagan-Bush-41 era scandals.
So, on Nov. 15, 2006, a week after Gates’s Pentagon nomination, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Gates’s calendars from 1989.
Based on my (pre-Bush-43) experience, I thought the information might be available before Gates’s confirmation hearings in December. However, it took until late March 2007 for the George H.W. Bush Library to send me the calendar entries.
Initially, when I examined the calendar entries, they appeared to support Gates’s claim that he was at work at the White House on the day in question. Still, I checked on a couple of entries that he had listed for public events, and it turned out that he had skipped them.
Because of those discrepancies, it became necessary to check on the non-public events listed on Gates’s calendar, such as meetings with other officials. I filed two additional FOIA requests on April 5, 2007.
The two requests cleared the initial review by the archivists in mid-to-late summer 2007. But then, the requests got hung up in the Bush Family clearance process, requiring approval from representatives of both the senior George Bush and the junior George Bush.
One request wasn’t released until May 2008, more than a year after my FOIA; the second request wasn’t sent out until September 2008, more than a year after the archivists had removed any sensitive information.
The additional information clarified a few points for me but did not conclusively establish Gates’s whereabouts on the day in question. That would have required another follow-up or two, but the interminable delays had left little time before Election 2008.
Assuming that Gates would be out of his senior position by the time any new FOIAs could be processed under Bush’s rules, I decided that it made little sense to continue pursuing this question.
Ironically, President Obama has renewed the timeliness of this Gates credibility question in two ways: first, by keeping him on as Defense Secretary and now, by revoking the Bush Family’s power to delay and obstruct.
In his first full day in office, Obama revived hope that historical records might become available in a reasonable length of time.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on January 22, 2009.