As soon as he takes office, Barack Obama must face a massive and vitally important challenge that hasn’t had much exposure in the media. We hear a lot about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but we don’t hear much about the Bush war on the environment. In his final days as president, Bush has intensified his attacks on that front. He is apparently trying to do as much damage as he can before he leaves office.
I can only conclude that Bush (at right) and Cheney (below) bitterly hate this country – and the rest of mankind. Not content with causing thousands upon thousands of deaths in an unjustified and mishandled war, these two malevolent creatures seem intent on destroying not only mankind but also the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea.
Their rigid opposition to any effort to mitigate global-warming, and their disdain for domestic environmental controls have been hallmarks of their administration. And now, in a mad rush to do as much harm as possible before ending his Reign of Terror, Bush is using executive orders and regulations to circumvent Congress and lay waste the land. He is dismantling pollution safeguards, issuing a raft of mining and logging permits for parks and national forest preserves, and removing threatened species from the endangered animals list. (It was even reported recently that Cheney was at odds with First Lady Laura Bush because she wanted to protect blue sharks from extinction.)
As I write this blog, Bush is implementing long-term logging plans that would level the ancient forests of western Oregon, with their towering trees, rushing rivers and irreplaceable wildlife habitat. And this is just one of more than a thousand presidential decrees he has issued in his presidency. By using a constitutional device known as an “executive order,” he is able to circumvent Congress and leave his dirty footprints all over the national scene.
Presidential executive orders, which have been around since the time of Abraham Lincoln, have the force of law without the consent of Congress, the Supreme Court, or anyone else. They were created to facilitate fast action in a crisis. But no president has used them with such abandon before George Bush. This was the same device he used to whittle away at the United States Constitution and expand his power after the terrorist disaster of Sept. 11, 2001.
Obama is on record as promising to “call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those …. that I feel violate the constitution.” He also plans to undo decrees that threaten the environment. But that will be a tall order. The Bush executive orders are proliferating like dragon’s teeth, and undoing some of them could be a complex and time-consuming legal task.
However, Obama’s transition advisers are already at work. So far, they have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse current White House policies. But the list of Bush executive orders grows longer every day, as he rushes to enact last-minute policies in an effort to extend his toxic legacy.
As President Obama takes the reins of a country on the brink of an economic abyss, he will have his mettle tested as he labors to undo the gratuitous mischief wrought by the malevolent twins of the Darkest Empire in America’s history.