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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Political Bigotry

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines a “bigot” as “One obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief or opinion.”

George W. Bush has not turned, overtly at least, his war on Iraq and America’s civil justice system into his religion. But he has folded his “party, belief and opinion” into a relentless pattern of bigotry.

Just about every day, the newspapers report reality that is removed from this President. The massive failure to document his reasons for invading Iraq — an unconstitutional war launched on a platform of fabrications, deceptions and fulminations — continue to be subject to his amnesia.

Inside and outside his Administration, full-blooded American military, intelligence and diplomatic officials have rejected Bush’s assertions that Iraq was tied into Al-Qaeda (and by inference 9/11), that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or was about to and that Iraq’s dilapidated army was a threat to its neighbors such as the vastly more powerful Israel, Turkey and Iran. That the violent situation in Iraq is worsening and the troops are under armed and under equipped are received with denials by all the Presidents men.

Both Bush and Cheney proceed with the war as if these facts should not affect their permanent occupation of Iraq, its oil resources, under a puppet regime, costing our country hundreds of billions of dollars, casualties and further enmity of people who never harmed any Americans.

Here is where the “bigotry” enters the political realm. Bush never listens to anyone who tells him what he doesn’t want to hear. Apropos the book title “Bush’s Brain”, the omnipresent filter, Karl Rove, is Bush’s brain because Bush doesn’t want to give any other “belief or opinion” a chance to make its case.

A brief review of the mistakeless President is in order. Before Bush’s invasion of Iraq, his father’s key advisers, Scowcroft and Baker, in private and publicly in articles, warned against falling into this trap.

Thirteen groups representing millions of Americans — church, veterans, business, labor, peace, intelligence specialists, and other associations–wrote their President asking for a chance to meet and present their knowledge and experience. He boorishly never bothered to send them a letter saying no. They received no response from the White House.

White House reporters rarely get a chance to ask him questions. When they do they fear being cut off in the future and avoid the tough ones. Moreover, after November 2, Bush has initiated a no follow-up question policy, freeing him to indulge in televised evasion without challenge.

Before the Iraq invasion, Bush used to say that he makes decisions “in my gut.” This visceral temperament is not reassuring. Last week, Bush spent much of his time going outside of Washington to cast aspersions on state judges and jurors whom he implies let lawyers bring frivolous suits on behalf of injured and sick people. Apparently, his “gut” tells him that he can say anything he wants, however wild, and proceed on the grounds that judges — most of whom were former business lawyers — are not in control of their courtroom.

Again and again, the White House has refused to document his allegations of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits causing health care costs to spiral and physicians to leave their practices. He has refused to respond to the insurance company’s premium gouging of physicians or to organized medical societies doing very little about the minority of bad, incompetent doctors who cause a large number of malpractice deaths and injuries among defenseless patients.

Not once has he bewailed the deadly toll of 80,000 Americans who lose their lives annually due to medical-hospital malpractice, according to the Harvard School of Public Health study conducted by M.Ds. He has often afforded photo opportunities with physicians but never with victims of medical malpractice, like the woman who received a mastectomy that was supposed to be given to the woman in the next hospital room.

Bush is on a drive to take away legal rights that American who are harmed or cheated have had for decades, including going back to our founding fathers providing for the right of trial by jury not by absentee legislators. His contempt for one of America’s proudest constitutional pillars is unabashed because he is so ignorant.

Bush’s goal is to have Congress usurp the states’ jurisdiction over the laws of personal injury and class actions. He uses phrases like “junk lawsuits”, caps on “non-economic damages” (meaning disability, pain and suffering) and “greedy lawyers” to absolve corporations, like asbestos manufacturers, negligent hospitals and doctors, from full responsibility in courts of law where the evidence can be cross-examined in public, under rights of appeal.

During his traveling week of Presidential jury-tampering, Bush made no mention of curbing corporations’ right to have their full day in court or to cap their damages or to go after their “junk lawsuits” or to excoriated their corporate attorneys who tie up, delay and subject the courts to their tactics of cover-up and attrition.

How many times have you heard Bush say, “The safety of the American people is my top priority?” He says these words when he speaks of terrorism. Not when safety is destroyed by dangerous products, workplaces, environments and health care locations. Millions of Americans die or are seriously injured or sickened from causes that are preventable to which he has paid no regulatory attention for four years.

But Bush’s “gut” does not signal alarms and concerns. Instead his “gut”, and his desire for business campaign contributions, tells his brain to further obstruct the need for the injured, sick and next of kin to secure justice in the courts, which in turn generates deterrence against unsafe practices outside the courts.

That is how “political bigotry” works— “don’t give me the facts, my mind is made up.” Corporate power reigns and the people and children suffer. Interested readers can visit or