Bush Tries to Kickstart U.S. Oil Shale Development

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Bush administration finalized regulations to govern the commercial development of oil shale on federal lands on Monday, rebuffing concerns that the rules are premature and ignoring the serious environmental concerns about tapping the resource.

Administration officials said investors keen to unlock the nation’s vast oil shale resources need “rules of the road” even though the technology is still not commercially viable.


The rules, announced by the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, provide the regulatory framework for commercial oil shale development, including royalty rates and lease sizes.


Bush, Sr., reaped huge profits from Native and federal land scams

Bush, Sr., reaped huge profits from Native and federal land scams

President George Bush, Sr., reaped huge profits from Western Shoshone lands and other Native lands, with title transfer scams

Setting fire to California lands led to cheap land transfers
Photo: National Geographic

Here’s excerpts from, “Bush family cleaning up on transfer of public lands to private hands,” by Wayne Madsen of the Online Journal.
“President George H. W. Bush, is reaping windfall profits from the transfer of title of public federal and state lands to private hands. The elder Bush, according to our sources, has a vested financial interest in land title companies that specialize in the transfer of public lands to private interests.
“The land-grabbing scheme primarily involves the transfer of federal lands, including Native American lands and national forest system lands, in the Rocky Mountain West, state lands in Texas, and both federal and state lands in California, Mississippi, and Florida to private entities. The scheme is also at the center of the scandal surrounding jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff who conspired to privatize federal lands and assets around the country to benefit his corporate clients.
“In 2004, under pressure from Abramoff and the White House, Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Jim Gibbons (R-NV) shepherded the passage of the Western Shoshone Distribution Act, which was quickly signed by President George W. Bush. The act settled federal violations of the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863 with the Shoshones and compensated them a mere $135 million for 24 million acres of Shoshone land illegally seized by the federal government in Nevada, California, Utah, and Idaho. The Shoshones cried foul, saying their land is rich in gold reserves. Gibbons, who is now governor of Nevada, instantly moved legislation to privatize the former Shoshone lands. Reid, Gibbons, and Senator John Ensign (R-NV), all received lucrative
cash contributions to their campaigns from Abramoff clients.
“WMR has also learned that the Bush administration ordered a number of California and other Western state forest wildfires purposefully set with the intention of damaging and destroying federal and state forestlands, thus making them ripe for exploitation and sale to private interests.”


Bush Violates Law Protecting Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining

Bush Violates Law Protecting Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining
Mining Claims Put a Stranglehold on Iconic Canyon

By: Environmental Working Group

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2008 – The Bush administration allowed Phoenix-based Neutron Energy to stake 20 new mining claims south of the Grand Canyon on August 7, in violation of an emergency Congressional resolution passed seven weeks earlier that declared off limits to mining activity approximately 1 million acres adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park.

A new Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of records generated by the Interior department’s Bureau of Land Management unearthed evidence of Neutron Energy’s claims, filed in defiance of a Congressional resolution aimed at protecting the Canyon and the Colorado River that flows through it from a surge of uranium mining activity sparked by uranium prices escalating in anticipation of new nuclear power plant construction.

“The Bush administration’s Grand Canyon giveaway is a direct violation of the law,” said EWG Senior Analyst for Public Lands Dusty Horwitt. “This is the environmental equivalent of a subprime mortgage on the nation’s most iconic natural treasure. Mining companies get in cheap today, and the public pays tomorrow for what is certain to be a major environmental disaster.”

EWG alerted the public and Congress to the rush for mining rights around the Grand Canyon in an August 2007 report called Mining Law Threatens Grand Canyon, other Natural Treasures. This week’s updated analysis by EWG shows that as of October 1, 2008, speculators and mining interests have filed 8,568 mining claims in the area protected by the emergency resolution, compared to 110 claims in January 2003.

A satellite map showing the claims is available here: http://www.ewg.org/node/27293

Federal documents also show that the administration has illegally processed or approved requests to explore and drill for uranium on at least seven claims in the protected area after the House Natural Resources Committee resolution, passed June 25. The resolution invoked a rarely-used emergency provision to protect a million-acre expanse around the canyon.

Continue reading

Bush Withholds Salmon Disaster Money As He Pushes For Corporate Bailouts

Bush Withholds Salmon Disaster Money As He Pushes For Corporate Bailouts

By: Dan Bacher

Sept. 22, 2008 – While George W. Bush wants taxpayers to give Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a $700 billion blank check to bail out Wall Street for its reckless speculation and greed, the administration announced last week that it would release only $100 million of the $170 million appropriated to salmon fishermen and businesses impacted by this year’s salmon fishing closure off the California and Oregon coasts and in Central Valley rivers.

Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Mike Thompson (CA-01), along with 10 other members of Congress, wrote to President Bush on September 19 urging him to distribute the full $170 million in disaster aid to fishermen and businesses suffering from the closure of the salmon fishing season on the West Coast caused by the collapse of the Sacramento River fall run chinook salmon population.

“Playing games with the livelihood of fishers across the Pacific Northwest is yet another sign that the Bush Administration has no commitment to protect our valuable river systems, and no interest in helping the fishing communities and economies that rely on them,” the letter stated. “It is also completely unacceptable. We insist that you comply with congressional intent and immediately release the full $170 million in federal disaster aid for Pacific Northwest fishers.”

The other Representatives who signed the letter were Baird, Blumenauer, Capps, Eshoo, Farr, Hooley, Matsui, Woolsey, Wu and George Miller.

“The Bush Administration has once again put politics ahead of people,” said North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). “Because of the Administration’s disastrous policies, Pacific coast fishing families have been devastated. Congress appropriated $170 million in federal disaster relief, but this latest proposal by the Bush Administration to withhold a large portion of these funds shows no regard for hardworking fishing families nor their livelihood.”

“I am absolutely astounded that the Administration is not distributing the full $170 million Congress allocated in the Farm Bill to deal with the salmon disaster,” DeFazio said. “Instead, they are trying to steal $70 million from salmon fishermen and give it to an incompetent defense contractor. The fishing community of Oregon is already suffering because of the flawed Bush policies in the Sacramento River basin. They should not have to suffer again because the President has hired people in Florida who can’t count. We’ve been there before.”

In a news release, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez offered no reason why the other $70 million owed to the fishermen and businesses wasn’t being released immediately.

“The salmon fishery has been a mainstay of the West Coast’s ocean fishing revenues for many years,” said Gutierrez. “This year’s closure left thousands of fishermen and dependent businesses struggling to make ends meet. This disaster aid package of $100 million will help them get back on their feet.”

Brian Gorman, spokesman for NOAA Fisheries, said the remaining $70 million of Congressionally appropriated disaster-relief money “is expected to become available later in the year as the $100 million is spent.”

“The administration requested to transfer $70 million for the Census, but I have no idea if there is support for this in Congress,” Gorman added. “If there is no vote to do otherwise, the funds will remain as originally designated and the disaster relief aid will become available after October 1. I expect all of the money to be distributed.”

He noted that the agency will provide the money in the form of a grant to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. The commission will distribute the money, based on the agreements reached with the states, to fishermen and related businesses affected by this year’s closure of the ocean salmon fishing season off California, Oregon, and Washington.

The governors of all three West Coast states requested a federal disaster declaration as a result of the closures. The declaration, issued by Gutierrez in May, paved the way for Congress to appropriate the $170 million disaster-relief package in July.

The states of Washington, Oregon, and California estimated damages to the fishing industry to total $290 million. The full disaster aid is needed immediately in order that fishermen can make boat payments, insurance payments, mortgage payments, and keep food on the table.

In June, the Office of Management and Budget that puts together the President’s annual budget sent Congress a revised budget request for more funding to carry out the 2010 Census. The White House is requesting $546 million more for the Census, and has proposed using $70 million of the $170 million in salmon disaster money allocated in the Farm Bill, to pay for the cost over-runs, according to DeFazio and Thompson.

The Administration entered into a contract with the Harris Corporation, a Florida defense contractor, to conduct the Census, but the contractor has run into serious cost over-runs amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Congressmen DeFazio and Thompson and 13 other members of Congress sent President Bush a letter at that time that they say was “largely ignored” by the Administration.

The refusal to dispurse the $70 million in salmon aid relief now is particularly outrageous because the Bush and Scharzenegger administrations are largely responsible for the unprecedented fishery collapse. The population of the Sacramento fall run chinook salmon population has declined from over 800,000 in 2002 to less than 60,000 fish this year.

The Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations claim that “ocean conditions” are responsible for the collapse, but all of the available evidence demonstrates that it is water policies that favor agribusiness and corporate water developers over fish, the environment and local communities that caused the dramatic decline. The collapse undoubtedly occurred because of record water exports from the California Delta by the state and federal projects to drainage-impaired land in the San Joaquin Valley during the years this year’s returning salmon were supposed to go to sea. For example, 2005 was a record export year with 6.4 million acre feet of water diverted from the estuary.

It is believed that many salmon never made out of Bay-Delta estuary, but were instead chopped up in the Delta pumps, disoriented and stranded in dead end sloughs because of reverse flows caused by pumping, and deprived of forage. At the same time, the state of California failed to put its hatchery salmon into salt water acclimation pens, as they had done previously, during 2005 and 2006. This resulted in increasing loss of salmon to predators when the stunned salmon were released into San Pablo Bay.

I believe that you can’t fully understand the Central Valley chinook salmon collapse without understanding the dramatic decline of four California Delta pelagic species – delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass and threadfin shad. A team of federal and state scientists have pinpointed water exports as the number one cause of the “Pelagic Organism Decline,” followed by toxic chemicals and invasive species.

As Peter Moyle, prominent U.C. Davis fishery scientists, recently stated, “Overall, blaming ‘ocean conditions’ for salmon declines is a lot like blaming Hurricane Katrina for flooding New Orleans, while ignoring the many human errors that made the disaster inevitable, such as poor construction of levees or destruction of protective salt marshes. The listings of the winter and spring runs of Central Valley Chinook as endangered species were warnings of likely declines on an even larger scale. Continuing on our present course will result in the permanent loss of a valuable and iconic fishery unless we start taking corrective action soon.”

Meawhile, the Bush administration, while trying to steal money allocated to the victims of a fishery collapse engineered by the Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations, wants to soak the taxpayers for another $700 billion for corporate criminals who should be in jail, not receving another handout. That’s on top of $1.1 trillion for other recent bailouts, including A.I.G., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Bear Stearns. Just when you think the Bush regime has sunk to a new low, it will always find a way to reach a lower level of criminality in its policy of “socialism for the rich.”

Note: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the Harris Corporation and the problems with the Census on June 11, 2008. http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=2001.

Editor’s Note: Dan Bacher is an editor for The Fish Sniffer: www.fishniffer.com

Bush Pushes for More Police Power

Bush Pushes for More Police Power

by Nat Hentoff

In his last months, President Bush is working to ensure that his successor will have the greatly expanded power of the executive branch – unprecedented in American history – that Bush instituted after 9/11. His chief enabler in this ever-increasing surveillance of American citizens is Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and ranking minority member Arlen Specter are aware of Mukasey’s plan for new FBI guidelines that could begin national security and criminal investigations of racial and ethnic groups without any evidence of wrongdoing. They have asked Mukasey to delay implementation until Congress can review the changes. Mukasey agreed but wants the expanded surveillance to begin Oct. 1.

Four Democratic senators – with the lamentable absence of their leader, Harry Reid – also have reminded the attorney general of his oath to protect the Constitution. Russ Feingold, Richard Durbin, Edward Kennedy and Sheldon Whitehouse warn not only Mukasey but also the rest of us that the new rules “might permit an innocent American to be subjected to such intrusive surveillance based in part on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities.”

As Lara Jakes Jordan of The Associated Press (Aug. 18) pointed out: “The new policy, law enforcement officials said, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence (including tips from informants) to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.” There would be no evidence of criminal activity.

Such “traits” could include a person’s race or ethnicity.

Michael German, an FBI agent for 16 years and now a policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, warns that if Mukasey goes ahead, he will undermine the restrictions placed on the FBI after the dragnet approach of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO (domestic counter-intelligence program) during the 1950s and 1960s: “… These were corrections originally designed to prevent the type of overreach the FBI engaged in for years.”

Long after those years, I obtained my FBI file through the Freedom of Information Act and found I had been “a person of interest” to COINTELPRO agents even though I was on record as a passionate anti-communist. I was just one of millions of innocent Americans looked into as Hoover promised “an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

Mukasey also has “proposed a new domestic-spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years” (The Washington Post, Aug. 16). State and local police agencies would not be hampered by Fourth Amendment’s requirements that they must search and seize traces of our activities and beliefs only upon “probable cause” that we are, or have been or plan to be, involved in criminal actions. They would need only a suspicion that we somehow are involved in terrorism or are providing “material support” to terrorism. “Material support” can mean sending a check to a charitable organization that, unknown to the giver, provides funds to a group later listed by the government as a terrorist group.

The Fourth Amendment, contrary to Bush and Mukasey, mandates that state and local police and the FBI “particularly describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” before an American can be entered into a database without probable cause of criminal activity.

If Bush and Mukasey succeed, state and local police and the FBI will increase their infiltration into organizations that object to administration policies as well as keep an unsleeping eye on various individuals with suspicious traits.

On Sept. 17, the occasionally independent FBI director, Robert Mueller, will testify at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He will have a patriotic opportunity to insist that Bush and Mukasey return to American citizens our Bill of Rights intact. And he should insist that public hearings be held on Mukasey’s plan.

Meanwhile, I’ve heard nothing from Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain about the Mukasey revisions of the Bill of Rights. Do they care?

Do they remember that Sept. 17 is Constitution Day? Do you?

Pelosi to Bush: It Is Essential That You Speak Out for Human Rights During Visit to China for the Olympics

Pelosi to Bush: It Is Essential That You Speak Out for Human Rights During Visit to China for the Olympics

By: Office of the Speaker of the House

Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the
following letter today to President Bush, ahead of his trip to Beijing
for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, urging him to make human rights and
freedom of the press in China top priorities of his visit.

Below is a text of the letter:

August 1, 2008

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C.

Dear President Bush:

On the eve of your trip to China to attend the 2008 Summer Olympic
Games, the human rights situation in China and Tibet is worsening and
new restrictions are being imposed on international journalists as they
attempt to cover the Olympic Games. I am writing to ask that you make
human rights and freedom of the press top priorities of your visit.

The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the Olympic Games should be
to promote “a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human
dignity.” Sadly, the Chinese government has failed to create an
atmosphere that honors the Olympic traditions of freedom and openness.
In fact, human rights conditions have worsened in the time leading up
to the Olympic games as Chinese authorities have intensified efforts to
detain and imprison people who have publicly spoken out about
conditions in China and Tibet.

In exchange for the privilege of hosting the Olympic Games, the Chinese
government made commitments regarding freedom of the press, human
rights, and the environment. Many of these commitments have been
violated repeatedly and blatantly. Prominent human rights defenders
have been arrested and imprisoned. International and Chinese
journalists have been censored, threatened, and detained. Most
recently, we have learned that international journalists are being
blocked from accessing websites deemed offensive by the Chinese
government. This action is in direct contradiction of Beijing’s
commitment to allow international media free access to cover the
Olympics in China.

The recent dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives
of the Dalai Lama did not result in any progress. Thousands of peaceful
Tibetans still languish in prisons in the aftermath of protests that
began in March. Chinese authorities stepped up their so-called
“patriotic education” campaigns that require Tibetan Buddhists —
regardless of their true thoughts, beliefs, and convictions — to
publicly denounce the Dalai Lama.

On the international front, the Chinese government’s policies of
supporting the genocidal regime in Sudan and the military junta in
Burma run counter to the interests of peace and stability in the world.
It is my hope that you will persuade China to end its support for the
human rights abuses in these countries.

On July 30, the U.S. House of Representatives considered a resolution
calling on the Chinese government to end abuses of human rights, cease
its repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens and end its support for
the governments of Sudan and Burma. The resolution also calls on the
President to make strong statements on human rights and meet with the
families of jailed prisoners of conscience while in Beijing. It passed
by a vote of 419-1.

Your recent meetings with Chinese dissidents at the White House are to
be commended. However, your participation at the opening ceremony of
the Olympics will send a signal to the Chinese people and the
international community that could be misperceived as your approval,
and that of the American people, for the draconian policies of the
Chinese government. Therefore, it is essential that you unambiguously
speak out for human rights and meet with the families of jailed
prisoners of conscience while you are in Beijing.

Thank you for your attention to these concerns.



Speaker of the House

cc: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Your Handy-Dandy Guide To White House Corruption

Your Handy-Dandy Guide To White House Corruption

July 26, 2008 · 1 Comment

Are you confused by the tangled web of criminal indictments, subpoenas and investigations going on against the White House? The hiring and firing of Justice officials, the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, the use of persuasive torture to interrogate and wiretapping? Misleading the country and Congress into going to war? Whewwww. It isn’t easy. Luckily, Slate has an interactive Venn Diagram to help you understand the crimes and who has been implicated in each.

Click pic for Slate's chart.

Click pic for Slate’s chart.

Slate was a goldmine today. Apparently if you want to get into the hearts and minds of our White House political-criminal element you have to… watch 24’s Jack Bauer?

Anyone watching both the White House and Fox saw the correlations between the two. Prior to now, however, I had believed it was the administration which had inspired the television show. Apparently, thats not the only case. Slate has recorded a number of different instances in which White House officials cited the show 24 with the CIA vigilante. Ironic as the excitement of the show is precisely in the lawlessness of it. Here are some excerpts.

…According to British lawyer and writer Philippe Sands, Jack Bauer—played by Kiefer Sutherland—was an inspiration at early “brainstorming meetings” of military officials at Guantanamo in September of 2002. Diane Beaver, the staff judge advocate general who gave legal approval to 18 controversial new interrogation techniques including water-boarding, sexual humiliation, and terrorizing prisoners with dogs, told Sands that Bauer “gave people lots of ideas.”…

…Michael Chertoff, the homeland-security chief, once gushed in a panel discussion on 24 organized by the Heritage Foundation that the show “reflects real life…”

…Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking in Canada last summer, shows a gift for this casual toggling between television and the Constitution. “Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. … He saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Scalia said. “Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?”…

…U.S. interrogators rarely if ever encounter a “ticking time bomb,” someone with detailed information about an imminent terror plot. But according to the Parents’ Television Council (one of several advocacy groups to have declared war on 24), Jack Bauer encounters a “ticking time-bomb” an average of 12 times per season. Given that each season allegedly represents a 24-hour period, Bauer encounters someone who needs torturing 12 times each day!..

…If you’re a fan of 24, you’ll enjoy The Dark Side. There you will meet Mamdouh Habib, an Australian captured in Pakistan, beaten by American interrogators with what he believed to be an “electric cattle prod,” and threatened with rape by dogs. He confessed to all sorts of things that weren’t true. He was released after three years without charges. You’ll also meet Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who experienced pretty much the same story, save that the beatings were with electrical cables. Arar was also released without explanation…