When Kennedy, an attorney and one of the nation’s leading
environmental activists, went on speaking tours to promote
the book, even Republicans were applauding. At the Round Hill
Club in Greenwich, Conn.—a conservative sanctuary that
counts both Bushes as members and where former president George
H.W. Bush’s portrait hangs high in the foyer—Kennedy
reported that he “spoke for an hour…about the way
President Bush is allowing certain corporations to destroy
our country’s most central values. I pulled no punches,
and I got a standing ovation,”said Kennedy.
Kennedy writes that Bush’s assaults began on his first
day in office “when his chief of staff and former General
Motors lobbyist Andrew Card quietly initiated a moratorium
on all recently adopted regulations.” Bush quickly appointed
high government posts to lobbyists, lawyers, and CEOs from
the oil, coal, and mining industries, including Gale Norton,
Jeffrey Holmstead, Spencer Abraham, Condoleezza Rice, and others.
Most shocking was the appointment of the former anti-environmental
governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, as director
of the Environmental Protection Agency. Her EPA pulled the
United States out of the Kyoto Protocol—an international
effort to combat global warming—much to the dismay of
the rest of the world, including already industrialized countries.
Not only do more energy industry CEOs comprise
cabinet than at any other time in history, but Bush appointed
hundreds of anti-environmental judges to the federal bench.
Consequently, environmental laws are being gutted and officials
at the Department
of Energy and the EPA are reinterpreting
regulations to the benefit of Bush administration corporate
clients and campaign donors. Polluting industries, such as
coal mining, are being allowed to strip mountaintops and dump
dangerous waste in the nation’s streams. Kennedy tells
the story of Judy Bonds of Marfork Hallow, W.Va., who was “radicalized” to
the environmental cause after “she saw her 11-year-old
grandson standing in a creek of dead fish poisoned by mining
How do the people responsible feel? Kennedy reports that William
D. Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association,
said to his members during their 2002 convention: “You
did everything you could to elect a Republican president, [and]
you are already seeing in his actions the payback.”
This is just one of many examples Kennedy gives that demonstrates
Bush’s close ties to energy industry moguls. For Kennedy,
however, Crimes is not just about attacks against a republican
administration; it is primarily an attempt to expose policies
destined to destroy the environment our children are going
to inherit. “I am angry both as a citizen and a father,” Kennedy
said. “Sadly, too, few children today can enjoy that
quintessential American experience—going fishing with
Dad and eating their catch.”
The most appalling revelation comes in Kennedy’s details
of the security regulation of the nation’s nuclear power
plants. The administration refuses to establish nuclear plants
as no-fly zones. Federal law does not require power plant owners
to protect against attacks, nor does the government provide
such protection. Al Martinez-Fonts, a Homeland security official,
offers more backward logic from the Bush administration: “September
11 happened, and they were airplanes that rammed into buildings.
And it was no chemical plants that were blown up” (sic).
Consider the consequences if al Quiada had blown up a nuclear
power plant, or if they were to target one in the future.
Crimes will convince even the staunchest of Bush supporters
to think twice. “This book is ultimately about more than
the environment,” writes Kennedy. “It’s about
the corrosive effect of corporate cronyism on free-market capitalism
and democracy—core American values I cherish.” Kennedy
does not rely on partisan rhetoric; rather he asserts factual
documented evidence, leaving readers convinced that the Bush
administration is the puppet regime of rich energy corporations,
and as such, is a danger to Americans and the world.
Crimes Against Nature by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.