Saturday, September 23, 2006

George W. Bush

When George W. Bush won the presidential elections the second time around, I, like many of his supporters were extremely happy and relieved. For I truly believed that as the President of the United States and as a world leader, his policies were based on principles that safeguarded humanity irrespective of one’s race, religion, or beliefs, and that we and our families were safe as long as we had a world leader such as President Bush. I admired the President for the way he expressed himself with calmness and the fact that he was a Born-Again Christian, but I had very little knowledge of his policies. After the bombing of Iraq where so many human lives were lost, and after reading numerous books and magazines, which featured the President and his policies, I was horrified and ashamed.

Horrified to find out that some of his policies were unethical and ashamed for my ignorance about them.

Here's what I compiled together from the World Watch issue of March/April 2004, “Ladies, you Have No Choice” by Dan Hinrichsen.

“From the day Bush first sat down in the Oval Office, his decisions in the areas of family planning and population appear to have been guided solely by ideology, with little interest in what is actually happening in developing countries.”

“Here are a few of the actions taken by George W. Bush to reverse U.S. progress in family planning and population.”

Ø Prior to inauguration, selected an anti-choice zealot, John Ashcroft, to be attorney general-providing an early signal of his intention to have the U.S. government decide how women’s bodies are to be used rather than allowing women to make their own choices.

Ø On his first day in office, restored the Reagan-era “gag rule” – withdrawing U.S funding for international family planning.

Ø Three months later, closed the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach.

Ø In his first budget, stripped contraceptive coverage for federal employees.

Ø Began campaign to pack federal courts with judges zealously opposed to birth control and women’s choice.

Ø Selected Patricia Funderburk Ware, an advocate of “abstinence only” education, to lead the Presidential advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Ø Joined with nations practicing extreme suppression of women (basically the “Evil Axis” nations Iraq, Iran, plus Syria, Libya and Sudan) to block UN consensus on sexuality education.

Ø Announced new rules making fetuses eligible for prenatal care-but providing no coverage for pregnant women-thus elevating the fetus to “personhood” while reducing the role of the woman to mere “host” status.

Ø Appointed a Title IX commission aiming to gut the law that provided athletic programs for girls and women. Remember the 1950’s when girls did not play soccer or basketball?

Ø Withheld $34 million in funding for birth control, maternal and child health care, and HIV/AIDS prevention from the United Nations Population Fund.

Ø Rejected the U.S. participation in the women’s rights treaty (Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women), which had been ratified by 170 other nations.

Ø Rejected funding that had been provided by Congress for programs to support women’s health in Afghanistan, where maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world.

Ø Extended the global gag rule to all international family planning programs.

Ronald Green, chairman of the department of religion at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire says- The Bush Administration has made UNFPA a sacrificial lamb for the religious right in America. It’s crass election politics. These groups not only oppose abortion, they are against family planning and reproductive health in general. Their positions……have no basis in reality.

The UNFPA calculates that the loss of $34 million, about 13 percent of its total budget, is having a devastating effect on programs in some of the poorest countries in which the Fund works. In Bangladesh, where close to 70 percent of pregnant women receive no medical care before, during, or after childbirth, programs to train doctors to deal with obstetric emergencies had to be cancelled. In Kenya, where the Fund was working with the Catholic Church to prevent teenagers from contracting the HIV virus, the project had to be shelved when funds dried up. Overall, UNFPA estimates that the loss of U.S funding will result in 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, and more than 81,000 deaths.

Stirling Scruggs reflects- it is sad when one considers that the U.S. was the prime mover in creating UNFPA during the Nixon administration. UNFPA has become just what the U.S. envisioned; the worlds premiere reproductive health and rights organization. But now, that reputation is in jeopardy-not because of misdeeds, but because of misinformation.

To IPPF’s Steve Sinding, UNFPA’s Scruggs, and others who have toiled on the front lines of development, these cutbacks in funding from the world’s richest country are not just numbers, but human faces-like that of the 25-year old woman in the Philippines who died from hemorrhage on her way to a hospital 20 kilometers away because the local clinic didn’t have the training or equipment to stop her from bleeding to death after giving birth to her sixth child in seven years; or the 20 year old college student in Botswana who died from AIDS for lack of a condom; or the adolescent girl from Ethiopia who, forced to give birth at the tender age of 13, ended up suffering from fistula-a condition in which a woman’s rectum, urethra, and vagina are torn apart during childbirth, leaving her incontinent and causing bodily wastes to seep through her vaginal canal and down her legs.

Steve Sinding – We are dealing with real people and their unmet needs, not statistics. These acts are a testament to the Bush administration’s war against women and his overall contempt for their fundamental civil and human rights.”

Water Wastage

Have you considered how much of the water you use for your daily consumption goes to waste?

1 Only about 4 gallons of water each day per person are needed for survival, yet the average American uses between 75 and 100 gallons per day.

2 On certain toilets, it takes 11/2 to 3 gallons (6 to 11 liters) of water to flush a toilet, 30 to 40 gallons (115 to 150 liters) of water to take a bath, and about an equal amount to run a load of laundry in a washer.

3 If you leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, you will use about 10 gallons of water. If you turn the water off while brushing and rinse briefly, you will use about ½ gallon.

4 To produce enough paper for just one Sunday newspaper, 150 gallons of water (568 liters) are needed

(“A Guide to Wellness”, Glencoe, Fifth Edition, M.B. Merki and D. Merki, 1997)

Have you wondered how much water is used to maintain the world’s golf courses?

1 Amount of water used per day, to irrigate
the world’s golf courses ……………………………… 2.5 BILLION GALLONS

Amount of water it would take, per day,
to support 4.7 billion people at the UN
daily minimum ………………………………………...2.5 BILLION GALLONS

2 Amount of water used by one golf course
in Thailand, on average, per day..……………………… 6,500 CUBIC METERS

Amount of water used by 60,000
villagers in Thailand, on average, per day……………….6,500 CUBIC METERS

(World-Watch, March/April 2004)

How safe is Bottled Water

Doctors and health experts advice us to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to sustain a healthy life. Water not only flushes out the toxins within our body but also helps in the efficient functioning of the organs within.

But by drinking bottled water, we may be doing more harm than good to ourselves as well as to the environment we live in.

“Before paying for water, that you can get for free from a drinking fountain, or for vastly less cost from a faucet, consider that bottled water may pose a threat from toxic chemicals that have leached into the water from the plastic. Because leaching can be increased by heat, exercisers who gulp from a water bottle on a hot day may notice a certain plastic taste” (Mindy Pennybacker, The Green Guide).

“Bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) are recyclable (they’re labeled with a 1 in the recycle triangle). Yet of the 14 billion water bottles sold in the United States in 2002 (most made from PET), 90 percent wound up in the trash. Making the bottles from PET means releasing significant amounts of air pollutants. The manufacture of one kilogram of PET (enough to make about 17 1.5 liter bottles) entails the release into air of 40 grams of hydrocarbons, 25 grams of sulfur oxides, 18 grams of carbon monoxide, 20 grams of nitrogen oxides, and 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide. All have direct or indirect effects on climate” (Paul McRandle, The Green Guide)

Did you Know…………..

Here are some amazing facts I came across while reading the January/February 2003 issue of World Watch.

Time it takes to grow 1 inch of soil………………………1000 years

Time it takes to erode and wash away
one-third of the topsoil in the United states……………….40 years

Number of fish caught by a single
Norwegian boat in 1986……………………………………120 MILLION

Number of people in Norway………………………………4 MILLION

Kilograms of toxic chemicals
that would be removed from
the environment each year if
U.S. homeowners reduced their
use of pesticides by 10%……………………………………2 MILLION

Kilograms of toxic chemicals
that would be removed from
the environment each year if
U.S. manufacturing firms reduced
their releases by 10%………………………………………..700 MILLION

Number of pieces of live coral broken
off from reefs (which are habitat to 1 million species)
and purchased by Americans each year……………………..350,000

Number of pieces purchased
by the rest of the world……………………………………….90,000


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