A vibrant attack on our very own "Ministry of Peace and Justice"

Feb. 11, 2005, midnight | 19 years, 5 months ago

Story by Janelle Winters

In his book, "Crimes Against Nature," Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. demonstrates that he is the definition of a true patriot. While the Bush administration attempts to evoke patriotism by fighting terrorists, which evidently includes donning flight-suits to announce the end of Middle Eastern "conflicts" and alerting the public about frightening terror-alert colors, Kennedy focuses on a fundamental issue that citizens could actually exert control over: the environment.

By acting as a whistle-blower and calling the government on its destructive environmental policies and violation of key regulations, Kennedy seeks to restore the environment to the American citizens, its rightful owners, so that the country can become America the Beautiful again. Kennedy's frankness and use of solid facts and figures makes any counter-arguments a Bush speechwriter can conjure up seem so utterly ridiculous that it is a book that should be read by all Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike who truly love America - enough to become informed citizens.

The book begins with an explanation of Bush's Texas environmental history and the red flags it should have raised. Kennedy then segues into issues such as public property rights, Bush's presidential "reforms," cost-benefit analysis, junk science and national security.

Kennedy relays facts on each topic with ease, integrating them into the text and providing commentary to make the multitude of names and numbers seem less daunting. From statistics about Bush's governorship in Texas, in which Texas ranked first in cancer-causing pollution, toxic chemical accidents and toxic releases (but 49th in environmental spending) to the consequences of Bush's leniency on regulating coal plants, Kennedy shows rather than tells that Bush's environmental policy is absolutely absurd.

After relaying Bush's gubernatorial history in Texas, Kennedy discusses the changes Bush made to environmental policies and regulations after his election. While a major part of his campaign platform of 2000 was to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the air, Bush quickly abandoned this promise as president and instead replaced scientists and experienced politicians in many of the executive departments, including the EPA, with industry-friendly individuals and panels (or industry tycoons themselves). Kennedy documents millions of dollars of "campaign aid" that the Bush administration has pocketed from these changes and dozens of complaints from renowned scientists citing their frustration with the "junk science" produced by these new officials.

Due to this "reform" of leadership in government agencies, the legislative victories that scores of Americans fought for during Earth Day of 1970 (including the Clean Air and Water Acts, which form the basis of environmental regulation) have been struck down by counter legislation or simply not enforced by the president at all. According to Kennedy, among the new legislation the Bush administration is seeking to pass is the Clear Skies Act, which would allow more mercury (a dangerous neurotoxin that can cause brain damage, especially to prenatal embryos) and other pollutants into the environment, and the Cheney energy bill, which has a provision for drilling on the public lands of national parks.

In discussing these governmental actions, which also include proposals not initially disclosed to the public to allow more arsenic in the water, Kennedy demonstrates that environmental issues are not a problem to put off for the future. As a parent, he attempts to relate to other families by expressing his outright anger at the government for allowing the air to be polluted, causing his children to have asthma attacks. On a similar note, Kennedy contends that American parents should be more aware and concerned that mercury is in fish at such high content that one in six women have unborn children that are at risk for neurological damage.

Furthermore, Kennedy questions general conceptions of the American public such as the assumption that Bush's homeland security budget is creating a safe country. In particular, Kennedy points to the fact that chemical and nuclear plants, which have been cited as potential targets by members of terrorist organizations, are not protected and regulated under Bush's huge homeland security budget - to the point that they fail announced "sabotage" tests (in which two to three people try to break in and cause damage) 50 percent of the time. These plants would be capable of releasing enough radiation to harm even Americans living hundreds of miles away and could render New York City uninhabitable for hundreds of years.

By not being afraid to utilize his free speech guaranteed by the Constitution, Kennedy remarkably challenges the Bush administration's integrity and policy towards the environment with the help of facts that constitute a 40-page bibliography. He utilizes all the influence at his command to educate the public about the government's secrets that are secured under deceptive Orwellian names. Kennedy believes that "if they knew the truth, most Americans would share my fury that this president is allowing his corporate cronies to steal America from our children." Unfortunately, his well-researched book proves that this theft is becoming a reality.

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