Friday, June 18



Reader J.B. notes that George W. Bush does not share the Catholic Church's position on abortion -- which is a total ban that encompasses birth control. Needless to say, this is not a position shared by many Americans, let alone many Catholics. But that is the official position.

Bush's position is, well, rather hard to pin down. And deliberately so. Check out this selection of his positions on abortion and related issues, and you'll see a politician trying hard to signal to his base that he's against abortion without provoking a negative reaction from more socially liberal swing voters by coming out clearly and strongly on the issue. (Ronald Reagan was the same way.) I spent a few minutes clicking through Bush's campaign Web site, and couldn't actually find any official position on abortion anywhere in it. The main policy areas are given as economy, compassion, health care, education, homeland security, national security, and environment. Look through the "compassion" page, and you'll find stuff on "educating our children" -- hey, doesn't that belong on the "education" page, guys? -- and "fighting poverty at home," but nothing on abortion. (John Kerry lists positions on dozens of issues, including abortion. It's a telling difference in many respects.) So, as far as we know, Bush does not share the Catholic Church's position on abortion. And when it comes to doctrinal issues and litmus tests, it seems to me you don't get to go halfway: Either Bush's position on abortion is one that devout Catholics can support, or it isn't. Bush, of course, is not himself a Catholic. But why is it that conservative Catholic bishops don't ask for Bush to publicly clarify his position, so that all devout Catholics who wish to vote their religious beliefs will know whether or not they can vote for him in good conscience?

Now, Bush is not himself a Catholic. He is a United Methodist. And that faith has a relatively liberal position on abortion:

Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection.

We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life. We call all Christians to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may warrant abortion. We commit our Church to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth.

Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.
So Bush's faith permits abortion under certain circumstances. Does Bush? Once again, we just don't know, and the president appears reluctant to settle the question. It seems to me that if the press is going to write stories questioning whether Kerry is in line with his faith on the issue of abortion, they ought to write stories asking whether Bush is in line with his faith on the issue of abortion. And if he is not -- if, as I suspect, he endorses a more restrictive policy -- then I think it's only fair that the press keep a running watch on his attendance at Methodist services.

Since I know a great many people in the Christian right who support Bush solely on his perceived anti-abortion position, this is a question that needs a definitive answer. Mainstream media, please wake up and do the asking!!!


An Army intelligence officer claims the abuses at Abu Ghraib took place after interrogators came under pressure from Bush administration officials.

In a sworn statement to Army investigators obtained by USA Today, Army Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, the top military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib when abuses occurred, said he was under intense pressure from the White House, Pentagon and CIA last fall to get better information from detainees.

He also said he had worked out a procedure with CIA interrogators to hide five or six inmates from Red Cross inspectors in October, the newspaper reported in Friday editions.

Jordan's statement said he was reminded of the need to improve intelligence "many, many, many times" and the pressure included a visit to the prison by an aide to White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, the paper reported.

More here.

I don't know how any objective person could review recent news disclosures and not conclude that it is the attitude, the modus operandi, and the ideology of BushCo that has driven these terrible events. It does seem bizarre that the military wouldn't forward a shoot-down directive to its fighter pilots from Cheney on Sept. 11, but quickly picked up on Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice's terrorist interrogation philosophies:

But the commission's investigators found that while the shoot-down order had been relayed to the Pentagon, it had not been shared by Norad commanders with fighter pilots then in the skies over New York and Washington.

Their report found that one commander did not pass along the order ''because he was unaware of its ramifications," while two other officers said "they were unsure how pilots would, or should, proceed with this guidance."

I can just see BushCo frothing at the mouth about THAT failure to obey, and I'll bet they gave Gen. Myers an earful. Afterwards, no doubt the chain of command made sure that the will of the administration would be executed in every succeeding aspect of the "war on terra."

Tuesday, June 15


More about Big Coal, Bush and EPA can be found here on Alternet.

Today's EPA hearing may be nothing more than an extension of Bush's re-election effort.

The intention of the hearing is to discuss the new rules for the EPA's interstate air pollution plan. Unfortunately, not only was the method preferred by environmentalists stripped from the rules, but some, like Clean Air Trust's Frank O'Donnell have noted that the proposal has the suspicious tendency to favor large Bush contributors in battleground states.

He notes that the weaker air pollution regulations are especially lucrative for the coal companies that happen to be located in the highly contested states of Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

And, sure enough, all you have to do is follow the money. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the coal industry donated over $3 million to the Republican Party as opposed to the Dems who got less than a half million.

See Silmarill's most recent post on the subject here.


I've written before about Bush's poor performance as a CEO president -- but this week I'm attending my Fortune 250 company's semi-annual leadership forum and am reminded once more just how poorly suited he is to such an appellation.

For instance, during one session with senior management, our Chairman and CEO emphasized how necessary it is to continually review our operating strategy and make adjustments as needed. It is a vital part of our strategy process and a critical element of our success (our stock price has appreciated nearly 700% over the past ten years as opposed to the 140% appreciation of the S&P 500's).

George W. Bush, on the other hand, believes in never doubting, never questioning, never reviewing.

In addition, our CEO pointed out how valuable it is to obtain the services of outside consultants to periodically evaluate those strategies in the context of our competitive environment, economic projections, and global market forces.

The very insular George W. Bush thinks foreign and domestic policy are best formulated by consulting his cronies in a vacuum of other data.

Our Chief Financial Officer stressed that our appeal to the investment community is in great part due to our emphasis on "predictability, consistency, and transparency" (our company leadership mantra) -- i.e., predictability of financial returns, consistency of results, and transparency (openness, trustworthiness) of operations.

The Bush administration, on the other hand, is defined by unpredictability (not changing one's course because circumstances change, but trying to "put one over" and when they're exposed reversing course and pretending that was what was intended all along), inconsistency (extreme conservatism on social issues, swinging to the opposite extreme on economic matters such as spending and deficits); and, far from "transparent," a reputation as the most secretive (and corrupt) government in American history.

We refer to our company culture as an "accountability culture." W has never taken responsibility for anything in his life and evidently has never been held accountable for his actions by anyone else.

He'd never last a day here.

Sunday, June 13

The ties that bind part 2: Bush and "Buck" Harless

For those of you that have not had the opportunity to read what we at nomoreapples have said regarding GW Bush's ties to BIG Coal and Big Energy at large I urge to you to read the previous posts The Bush Mercury Connection, This is a crisis and The ties that bind in order to get up to date on this issue. It is as important as any problem facing our families, friends, and countrymen.

This is the profile of one James "Buck" Harless. There is so much dirt on this vacuum of human decency it’s staggering. He makes the traitor Earl Nye look like a fine upstanding citizen. His list of accomplishments include Elite Bush Fundraiser, Bush Energy Transition Team appointee, poisoning the American people(while paying special attention to West Virginia) among them: children-pregnant women-the elderly and any one else that gets in the way of his bottom line. I hope the devil has a special place in hell for this bastard. Without further ado I give you the man that has murdering the natural world, and those who depend on it, down to an art:

Name: James "Buck" Harless
Appointed To:
Industry Energy & Natural Resources
Employer: International Industries, Inc.
Occupation: Owner
Address: Gilbert, WV
Status for 2000: Raised at least $100,000
Status for 2004: Pioneer
Campaign money from James “Buck” Harless and others in the coal and timber industries casts a huge shadow over West Virginia government. Gov. Cecil Underwood’s predecessor filed lawsuits to collect $12 million that coal companies and their contractors owed the state Workers’ Compensation Fund. Gov. Underwood, who got 12 percent of his war chest from coal interests, borrowed a Harless executive to head his transition team. The ex-coal executive that Underwood named as Employment Programs Commissioner decided to halt any new suits against deadbeat coal interests in ’97. At the time, labor contractors that Harless hired to mine his coal owed the state fund at least $2.6 million. That year, when the state Division of Natural Resources (DNR) sought to assemble a state task force to find a way to acquire spectacular Blackwater Canyon, legislators financed by the timber industry killed the measure before it could even be debated. “Timber baron Buck Harless was one of Governor Underwood’s biggest financial contributors,” noted WV Citizens Action Director Norm Steenstra. “It appears the Senate is unwilling to take any kind of leadership position on this issue for fear of losing Buck Harless’ campaign money.” A West Virginia University (WVU) trustee complained in 2000 that a contractor hired to remove cancer-causing asbestos from a UWV arena had received up to 29 OSHA safety violations since ’94, including “serious” ones such as failing to give workers equipment to prevent asbestos inhalation. “As someone who has a lot of experience with OSHA, that’s not an undue number of violations,” Trustee Harless said. In the same period, Harless’ lumber company settled 24 violations, including 13 “serious” ones.(end exerpt)

Source: Campaign Money Watch

2000 cycle; Minor League Pioneer
2000 cycle; Major League Pioneer
2004 cycle; Major League Pioneer
2004 cycle; Ranger
Of Special Interest
Bush Appointee
Corporate or Campaign Scandal
Corporate Welfare Recipient/Dispenser
White House Sleepover Guest

Profile last updated Nov 20, 2003

Apart from being a Pioneer, coal and timber baron James “Buck” Harless gave $100,000 to the Bush-Cheney Inaugural fund and organized other coal interests to help make Bush the first Republican since 1928 to win West Virginia’s electoral votes (the votes were crucial to Bush’s hair-thin victory). Six months later, West Virginia Coal Association Director William Raney praised members for their efforts and said, “You are already seeing in his actions the payback, if you will, his gratitude for what we did.” Bush appointed Harless’ grandson (James Harless II) to President-Elect Bush’s 2000 Energy Department transition team that shaped the administration’s supply-side energy policy administration. His administration also: reversed its campaign promise to reduce global warming by cutting carbon-dioxide emissions; and eased rules that discouraged coal miners from shearing off mountain tops and dumping the debris in river valleys. “We were looking for friends, and we found one in George W. Bush,” the elder Harless told the Wall Street Journal. After a lawsuit forced the Bush administration to impose some limits on mountaintop removal mining in 2003, West Virginia environmentalist Cindy Rank said,” We never would have agreed to settle the case if we had known the extent to which the administration will go to have politics trump scientific reality.” West Virginia Governor Cecil Underwood, who got 12 percent of his war chest from coal interests, appointed a Harless executive to head his transition team in 1996. The ex-coal executive that Underwood tapped as employment commissioner announced in 1997 that the Underwood administration would not sue any more coal interests for shortchanging the state Workers’ Compensation Fund. Underwood’s predecessor sued coal interests that owed the fund $12 million, including $2.6 million from Harless’ labor contractors. That year timber-financed lawmakers also killed efforts by state environmental officials to acquire spectacular Blackwater Canyon.(end exerpt)

For the love of money.

"King George" has done more than sell off the public health and the public good to the "Buck" Harless' of the world. He has seen fit to further reward this particular cannibal of the American people with various appointments. Case in point: Bush appoints Harless to United States Air Force Academy Board of Visitors Here is the official announcement put out by the White House(Office of the press secretary) Nominations and Appointments

See Buck finance the POTUS election. See the POTUS return the favor.

Vlad Tepes, known more widely as Vlad the Impailer, was the prince of Wallachia in Medievel Europe. He was known for impailing his enemies, which consisted largely of citizens of his own land. In the midst of fields filled with thousands of men, women, and children on stakes, rotting in the sun, and being eaten by birds, Vlad sometimes leisurely had his lunch. By the most authoritative accounts, Vlad was the model for Bram Stokers’ Dracula. I am reminded of him when I think of “Buck” Harless for several reasons. 1) Vlad replenished his treasury by sacking cities in his own country and murdering/robbing the inhabitants. “Buck” adds to his treasury by doing much the same. He makes his money off the destruction of the land of his country and the lives of his countrymen.
2) Vlad tried to buy his way out of Hell by building monasteries in Wallachia. “Buck” is also trying to buy his way out of Hell by
A) funding student athlete programs: “Thanks to Mr. Harless’ generous financial contributions, the Program is able to provide numerous support services to student-athletes. His support of higher education is evident throughout Marshall University and the state of West Virginia.

Mr. Harless generally visits the Program twice a year, once in the fall during the Buck Harless Award ceremony and once in May for the Senior Graduation Brunch.

Gullickson Hall 210, One John Marshall Drive,
Huntington, WV 25755
304-696-6303 (fax) (EE)

B) Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Alum Board Pools Resources

In an effort to raise more dollars for the nurturing of future ministers, a Challenge Grant has been issued to encourage new and increased gifts to the Annual Fund in the 2003-2004 fiscal year. Commitments of $10,000 were sought from a faculty member, an individual a trustee and an alum. Commitments were obtained from Dr. Eugene March, faculty member; Mr. Peter Anderson, trustee, and James “Buck” Harless, a benefactor. In the absence of one single alum donor, the Alum Board of Directors pooled their resources to add $10,000 to the Challenge Grant for the alums. This brings the matching fund total to $40,000.(EE)

C) WVU physics prof gets new WVU teaching award
The award was made possible by Dr. Gene A. Budig, WVU's 17th president, who is now president of baseball's American League. It is named for the wife of James "Buck" Harless, a state coal executive, who was recently appointed a member of the University System Board of Trustees Also see: Intranet: Focus Volume 13, Number 20 -- October 2, 1998: "Teaching Award Established

Harless makes his fortune from the misery of millions and then thinks it’s all just fine so long as he throws the occasional bone to the people whose lives he threatens and destroys. Just like Vlad. I hope they have to share a room in Purgatory.

For more on exactly how and what Harless does to ruin the planet and those who depend on it(everyone) see:
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Here’s an excerpt from the above link: Frequent blackwater spills from these impoundments choke the life out of streams. One "spill" of 306 million gallons that sent sludge up to fifteen feet thick into resident's yards and fouled 75 miles of waterways, has been called the southeast's worst environmental disaster.

A federal judge has twice ruled that most valley fills are illegal under the Clean Water Act (CWA). His first ruling was overturned on a jurisdictional issue, and his second ruling is now under appeal by the Bush administration. In case the appeal doesn't go the way he wants, Bush has rewritten a 25-year-old rule of the CWA, thus legalizing illegal valley fills. The federal judge reminded Bush that only Congress can rewrite the laws of the land. The whole issue is up in the air. Other aspects of MTR are also illegal, but the outlaw coal industry has many politicians, from the local to the national level, in its pocket. Coal companies continue to buy politicians' support, so they can do whatever they want, choking out the democratic political process just as their frequent spills choke the life out of streams.

Bush received millions of dollars from the coal industry during his 2000 election campaign. He made three trips to West Virginia prior to taking up residence in the White House and has made two visits since to promote the re-election of pro-coal Congresswoman, Shelly Moore Capito - who also receives hefty donations from the coal industry. One of Bush's big supporters in West Virginia, James "Buck" Harless (a Bush "Pioneer"), who raised $250,000 for Bush, had a private audience with the President at Bush's ranch. What's more, his grandson, James H. Harless II, was chosen as an energy policy adviser during the White House transition.(EE)

See Dick escape all justice for the many crimes he has committed:
Panel votes to drop big coal firms from lawsuits

Some more need to know info from The Sentinel:

“This decision was a major victory for the coal mining industry and its allies in Congress, who for years have fought against proposals to regulate emissions. During the 1999-2000 election cycle, the coal mining industry contributed more than $3.8 million in soft money, PAC and individual contributions to federal parties and candidates, with the dollars going almost entirely to Republicans. The industry was one Bush's biggest contritubtors, over $114,000 during the election. James "Buck" Harless, the head of International Industries, a West Virginia mining company, also was named as a Bush Pioneer -- a group of individuals credited with raising more than $100,000 for the Bush campaign. In addition to contributions to Bush's regular campaign account, Harless also wrote a $100,000 check to the Bush-Cheney Inaugural Fund last January matching other contributions from the mining industry.
Webguild Sentinel Score Two

Some more NTK info from The Center for Public Integrity

“Among those who stand to benefit from the migration back to coal is James "Buck" Harless, a West Virginia coal and timber baron who served as a Bush Pioneer. Harless also donated $100,000 to the presidential inaugural, and was one of more than thirty energy-industry officials who served on the Bush Transition Energy Advisory Team. According to the Charleston Gazette, Harless played a role in the appointment of Michael Castle to a position created specially for him in the Philadelphia office of the EPA—the regional office whose territory includes West Virginia. Castle, formerly West Virginia's top environmental official, worked as a consultant to the coal industry following his departure from state government and was an owner in several small coal companies."(end exerpt)

In closing I'd like to post part of a story from Graffiti Online - Issue Archive - Underwood's pardons draw criticism that hints at just how untouchable, how protected, and how close to our political leaders this threat to America and Americans really is:

• Mingo County businessman and longtime friend James “Buck” Harless, pardoned for convictions for public intoxication and disturbing the peace. The 81-year-old Harless, one of Underwood’s major donors, was arrested near Gilbert last November.

State Police claimed Harless and a group of local teenagers were drinking beer in the parking lot at the recreation complex Harless built for the town. Officers said the group was playing Ozzy Osbourne’s “Blizzard of Oz” at “ear-splitting volume” through the stereo of Harless’ car, and alleged that when they approached the group, Harless lunged at them and flashed them the “sign of the devil,” with his index and pinky fingers extended.

Harless was arrested after allegedly jumping onto the hood of a trooper’s car and playing a lengthy air-guitar solo, shouting frequently, “I’m doin’ it for you, Randy!” –- an apparent reference to Osbourne’s former guitarist, the late Randy Rhoads. Police also discovered smoking paraphernalia at the scene, including a “bong” shaped like the Grim Reaper, but made no charges when no one in the group claimed it.

Harless never admitted guilt in the incident, but told a judge that he was “only trying to connect with these kids. As Whitney Houston –- or was it George Benson? -– once said, ‘I believe that children are our future’.”

As for allegations that he bought his pardon with a paper bag filled with cash, Harless angrily denied those claims. “I could’ve got a pardon out of Underwood for a fifth of scotch,” he told a reporter. (EE)

Let's not let this guy off the hook. The least that can be done is exposing all his evil to the public, so he can no longer pretend to be a decent human being. If human being he can be called. However, there is one thing he can be called for certain: A TRAITOR.