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Launch new wars...Overturn abortion rights...Privatize Social Security
Bush's hit list

By Lee Sustar | November 12, 2004 | Page 12

GEORGE W. BUSH is taking aim--from plotting new war abroad, to privatizing Social Security, to ending a woman's right to an abortion. And he won't stop--until he's met with resistance.

"When you win, there's a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress," Bush boasted in a post-election press conference. "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it." On what? "Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."

Bush aides are rushing to leak to the media their most outlandish schemes. One of the favorites--heap new rewards on the rich by abolishing the income tax and substituting a regressive national sales tax.

Social Security is targeted for "partial privatization"--that is, encouraging workers to set aside some money into individual accounts. This would waste an estimated $2 trillion in transition costs, while handing Wall Street control of retirement funds that working people depend on.

Bush also wants to end what he called "frivolous lawsuits"--another gift to corporations that want to be immune from any liability for deaths and damages from faulty products, such as the pain medication Vioxx that was recently withdrawn from the market because of its dangers.

Then there's the push for an intelligence "reform" bill--the creation of a chief superspy who would have authoritarian powers typically found in a police state.

Internationally, Bush's aggressive moves are set to escalate, from the attempt to drown the Iraqi city of Falluja in blood, to the buildup of U.S. military support for Colombia's dirty war against leftist rebels. Israel, already given a free reign by the White House, will have Washington's backing for still more repression against the Palestinian people.

At the same time, Bush vows to impose "spending discipline"--code words for slashing what little remains of the social safety net.

The environment will be sacrificed to Corporate America, with the next administration expected to further undermine clean air standards--and open up Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, if it can manage it. Meanwhile, "several pending actions to open up wild areas of the West to energy development could be made final in the coming weeks," the New York Times reported in a story headlined "GOP Plans to Give Environment Rules a Free-Market Tilt."

Perhaps most explosively, Bush can be expected to reward Christian fundamentalists by appointing federal judges--including Supreme Court justices--who oppose abortion rights. Already, the Christian right is demanding the head of Republican Sen. Arlen Specter--for suggesting that he would oppose Supreme Court nominees who would vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights.

If Bush has a shot at achieving this agenda, it's because the Democrats can't be counted on to offer any real resistance It was Democrats who gave Bush the votes he needed to pass his tax cuts in the Senate--and it was Sen. John Kerry's terrible campaign that let Bush off the hook on Iraq and every other major issue.

But Bush can be stopped--through organizing, protest and struggle. Ten years ago, the so-called Republican Revolution began when the GOP, led by then-Rep. Newt Gingrich, captured both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Yet within a few months, Gingrich was becoming the most despised man in the U.S. Thousands joined protests that exposed his right-wing "Contract with America" as a contract on America--a hit carried out on behalf of Corporate America.

Today, Bush's war in Iraq remains unpopular--and must be the focus of renewed activity. Labor unions, community organizations and others have to build opposition now to defeat any attempt by Bush to steal Social Security. We need to revive the women's movement, too--and send a message that we'll fight for abortion rights without apology, because women must have the right to control their own bodies.

We're not starting from scratch. The hundreds of thousands who joined huge antiwar protests over the last two years--and the millions more who are opposed to Bush's war for oil--can form the basis of a real challenge to Washington's imperial agenda. And the stronger the resistance to Bush on that front, the greater our ability to fight back on other issues as well.

Bush is overconfident--and he's bound to pick one fight too many. We can push him back--and fight for our agenda.

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