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Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy Paperback – July 5, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Of all the debates in the scientific arena… there is none in which the White House has cooked the books more than that of global warming," argues Kennedy in this harsh indictment of what he sees as the Bush administration’s assault on the environment and democracy in general. Kennedy’s investigation focuses on the undue influence of industry lobbyists (read Halliburton) on environmental standards and the government’s alleged suppression of nearly a dozen scientific reports on global warming. He maligns Bush appointees like Interior Secretary Gale Norton ("a champion of corporate welfare for three decades") and offers a cogent analysis of Christine Todd Whitman’s departure from the EPA in 2002. Although Kennedy accuses the Bush administration of using a campaign strategy that revolves around "fear-mongering," he uses fear to drive home his own points, noting things like the lethal mercury levels in tuna, pork industry pollution and insufficiently guarded chemical plants. Nevertheless, he competently ties the survival of democracy to sound environmental policy, contending that corporate power—particularly the power wielded by the oil, beef and lumber industries—must never supersede democratic institutions. Kennedy’s argument is strongest when he sticks to the facts and avoids making the kind of angry, sweeping statements that fill the concluding chapter ("Instead of can-do American ingenuity, this is the administration of "can’t do." It has constructed a philosophy of government based on self-interest run riot: It has borrowed $9 trillion from our children and looted our Treasury…"). Whether or not one agrees with these accusations, Kennedy makes a passionate case for more effective environmental controls and wraps it up with a practical vision of a free-market future "in which businesses pay all the costs of bringing their products to market," including the costs of environmental safeguards.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law. A former assistant district attorney for New York City, he is the coauthor of The Riverkeepers: Two Activists Fight to Reclaim Our Environment as a Basic Human Right.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060746882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060746889
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

173 of 198 people found the following review helpful By V. I. Scherb on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. carries on the passionate yet caring politics of his father, who was a one time Attorney General. The son, an environmental lawyer, makes a compelling case for the ways in which corporate interests have sought to deconstruct environmental protections over the last twenty five years. James Watt, Christine Todd Whitman, and Gale Norton--among others--all recieve deservedly harsh criticism, as these supposed stewards of nature continue to manipulate laws, rhetoric, and the truth in order to enrich corporate interests at the expense of the U.S. environment, the health of the American people, and the future of all of us. Many things in Kennedy's book were news to me (who's really behind the deceptively named "wise use" movement, for example). Although Kennedy mostly eschews partisan rhetoric, he compellingly demonstrates what a disaster the Bush administration's policy of "self-policing" has been, and how it has withheld funding in order to strip regulatory agencies of any effective power. Even more frightening, although frighteningly consistent with its policies, is the manner in which the Bush administration has pressured empolyees and scientists, and promoted bogus science in order to distort public debate so that its destructive policies can continue. If you have any concern at all for the environment, for your children, or for truth, you ought to read this book.
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141 of 164 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on August 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When friends and acquaintances ask me why I am so adamantly opposed to the current administration, I seldom mention either the flagrant harm or the danger The Bush White House has visited on both us and the general international scene, nor do I reference the horrifying effects of the ill-conceived and poorly executed "war on terror" so often cited as their worst policy blunder. Instead, I routinely cite the extreme anti-democratic moves that Bush and company have made domestically, most specifically against the environment and in squandering our national heritage by way of natural resources and wildlife in the national forests and heretofore carefully managed and protected wilderness areas. In this regard, this well-written and skillfully argued new book by Robert Kennedy carefully articulates the many ways in which the crony capitalism practiced by the current administration is endangering our environment by entrusting its precious resources and fragile ecosystems to the crony capitalists who support him.

Indeed, Mr. Bush appointed several lawyers representing prominent oil and timber lobbying firms as the top echelon at the Bureau of the Interior, which has the crucial responsibility of overseeing the well-being of our vast federal land holdings domestically. Thus we have wolves in the sheep-house, and they are being encouraged by their former employers to assist in a wholesale ravaging of the national park landscape in the pursuit of profit, so much so that even traditionally conservative groups have turned against this Republican administration in sheer disbelieving horror of what is being done to the nation's wilderness areas in the name of conservation.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Rozsics on September 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I was a kid there was trash on every roadside and tires floating in detergent foam damns on the Potomac River. In Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River actually caught fire. Young people might not appreciate what thirty years of environmental regulation has done to save our country. Unfortunately, many of these young Americans may soon experience a far worse scenario for themselves as Bush and his corporate polluters ransack our country for fun and profit while distracting us with irrelevant talk about swiftboats and flip flops. As this book concisely explains, George W. Bush hasn't flip flopped at all on environmental issues. He has done his best since inauguration day so treat our country like a toilet while his backers bask in tax breaks, subsidies and de-regulation.

This is not a fun read. Turning the pages of this book will reveal horrors in the halls of power that many will find unimaginable. It will also stir the souls of many sleeping patriots who care about our democracy and want to re-establish the rights of our grandchildren to lead healthy lives in this country.

It's time for good Americans to rise up and reclaim our government. I've lived inside the Beltway all of my life (but have traveled to all 48 of the lower states) and I've never seen such a diabolical and destructive regime. As a Washingtonian, I read about these horrific government actions on a daily basis but fear that much of the information contained in this book has been ignored or overlooked by many of my countrymen. Surrounding us with invisible poisons for the singular purpose of maximizing profit is a central component of neo-conservative theory. So is keeping it very quiet.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mark on August 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most important books I have ever read. I believe this work has the potential to be the modern equivalent of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". It captivated, educated and alarmed me.

From beginning to end, the book meticulously documents the devastating U.S environmental policies proposed and executed between January 2001 and May 2004. Though the book focuses primarily on the current administration, its message absolutely transcends party politics. Most books criticizing the George W. Bush administration are long on conjecture and rhetoric, but short on solid facts. I found the opposite with "Crimes Against Nature". RFK Jr. does not resort to weak hyperbolic invectives, but substantiates each charge with specific compelling evidence. Mr. Kennedy documents [in detail] the Bush administration's history of staffing government agencies with lobbyists and shills from the nations most egregious industrial polluters. He chronicles how these polluters have subsequently become the authors of the Bush administration's environmental and energy policies; not only driving, but actually writing policy (verbatim in some cases) to protect themselves, rather than the health and safety of the public or environment. Tracing the extensive unprecedented power large corporations have gained through political cronyism, Kennedy asserts that our very constitutional democracy is perilously close to becoming [in effect] a facade for an oligarchy of self-serving multinational corporations.

Kennedy says the top environmental issue confronting America today is campaign finance reform. Political cronyism underpinned by corporate money is destroying our democratic process, and consequently our environment.
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