December 10, 2001 - The Capital Times: Bush aims to pull a string of fast ones

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 12 December 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: December 10, 2001 - The Capital Times: Bush aims to pull a string of fast ones

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 12:30 pm: Edit Post

Bush aims to pull a string of fast ones

Read and comments on this opinion piece that talks about President Bush's nominee for Peace Corps Director at:

Bush aims to pull a string of fast ones*

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Dave Zweifel: Bush aims to pull a string of fast ones

By Dave Zweifel December 10, 2001

The time has never been more ripe for the Republicans to foist their political agenda on the American people.

Few are watching, after all, and those who are get accused by the likes of John Ashcroft of aiding the enemy.

While the citizenry stays focused on the war on terrorism and the continuing saga over where Osama Bin Laden is hiding today, the administration is tweaking social policy, making crucial appointments and, in some cases, wholesale changes to rules and regulations that have been years in the making.

Just last week, for example, the Bush people notified the pesticide industry that the Environmental Protection Agency will once again accept studies that the pesticide companies have financed to determine application standards on fruits and vegetables. That reverses a policy enacted by the Clinton administration to stop considering those test results because they were frequently questioned as to their ethical and scientific value.

Several scientists pointed out that using the industry-sponsored studies was akin to accepting the conclusions of a Philip Morris study on the health effects of smoking.

But, once again, we find out with this administration that the corporations count for a lot more than the people unless, of course, they happen to be people who give a lot of money; like Gaddi Vasquez, whom Bush has appointed director of the Peace Corps.

Vasquez's appointment, which got a hearing before the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, would have gone completely unnoticed had it not been for a group of former Peace Corps volunteers appalled at his complete lack of credentials for the job.

Some will remember that Vasquez was the Orange County, Calif., supervisor who was forced to resign after plunging the county $1.7 billion in debt because of ill-advised investments during the mid-90s. It appears that the sole qualification of the former cop and longtime pal of former California Republican Gov. Pete Wilson is that he contributed more than $100,000 to Bush and the Republican Party during the past two years.

The volunteers, who are contacting their members of Congress, point out that now, more than ever, the Peace Corps needs a visionary leader, not one who has absolutely no international program experience and, in addition to bankrupting Orange County, is best known for denying services to HIV/AIDS patients there. The AIDS issue, of course, is huge ion the African continent, where many Peace Corps members are working with the people and governments.

The volunteers, who served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, told the Senate committee, "170,000 Peace Corps volunteers have lived and worked in over 135 countries over the past 40 years. In an age of terrorists, these are men and women who have worked for peace. They deserve a director worthy of their efforts."

Wisconsin citizens will be interested in knowing that Sen. Russ Feingold sits on the committee. You can let him know how you feel about this yet another political payoff that's being made while the nation's attention is averted.

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