Three Dozen Leading Pediatricians Say the Bush Regime is Hurting America's Children

Yahoo: "Three dozen eminent pediatricians and social workers attacked the Bush administration on Wednesday for policies they said leave too many children without health insurance. The doctors, including some well-known authors of manuals for parents and professionals, said they were taking the unusual step because they were worried about the state of U.S. health care. 'The Bush administration's policies are moving us away from effective and longstanding federal commitments that improved the health of children, commitments proudly initiated and supported by previous Republican and Democratic presidents,' reads their statement, signed by 36 child experts. 'If not reversed, these ill-advised tax and budget policies will erode decades of hard-won health gains for children, while still leaving unaddressed such critical problems as child abuse, mental health, and alcohol and other drug abuse."

More Compassionate Conservatism: Mentally Ill Children Warehoused in Jails Awaiting Treatment

A new report from the report by the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee has revealed that thousands of mentally ill children under 18 - some as young as SEVEN -- are being warehoused in jails while awaiting treatment even though innocent of any crime. More outrageous still, many of these children end up trapped in detention centers longer than delinquent offenders who HAVE committed crimes. "Over the six-month period of the study, nearly 15,000 youths spent time in juvenile detention while they waited for mental health help. Nearly 2,000 youths are in detention waiting for mental health services every night, representing about 7 percent of all juveniles being held. -Youths who are waiting for mental health treatment stay in detention facilities longer than other detainees. They average 23.4 days in detention, compared with an average of 17.2 days for all detainees."

Children's Environmental Health Report Card on Bush - Average Grade F

The Children's Environmental Health Network reports: "This evaluation makes clear that, in general, this Administration's track record is toxic to our children, lessening protections for children and missing opportunities to keep toxicants out of our children's environment. Even as this report is being finalized, a number of emerging issues reiterate the overwhelming pattern that children are losing out to other priorities of this Administration. Of the 78 decision points identified in the report, only 16 were found to have a positive impact on children. The remainder, 62, were decisions with a negative impact on children. For many of these decisions, their impact will be felt for years to come. Why has this Administration failed to protect children? Frequently, as this review illustrates, the decisions made on environmental health were marred by science distorted or ignored. "

Defying Bush, Senate Increases Child Care Funds for the Poor

NY Times reports, "Over strenuous objections from the White House, the Senate voted on Tuesday for a significant increase in money to provide child care to welfare recipients and other low-income families. The vote, 78 to 20, expressed broad bipartisan support for a proposal to add $6 billion to child care programs over the next five years, on top of a $1 billion increase that was already included in a sweeping welfare bill. The federal government now earmarks $4.8 billion a year for such child care assistance. The Bush administration objected to the increase in child care money, saying it was not needed. But President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress favor the overall bill, which would renew the 1996 welfare law and impose stricter work requirements on welfare recipients. The bill still faces political and procedural hurdles in the Senate, where Democrats want to add amendments on the minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment benefits and other topics."

Children's Defense Fund to Bush & Pals: Start Investing in Children, NOT Millionaires!

The CDF, whose slogan "No Child Left Behind" was flagrantly stolen, then twisted beyond recognition by Bush, is outraged by the Bush/GOP budget, which is long on welfare to the wealthy and about $120 billion short in help for America's most vulnerable citizens: its children. The budget cuts funding for nearly all domestic programs by $120 billion, including nutrition, housing assistance, and juvenile justice. It also threatens to increase the number of uninsured children with a potential cut of $2.2 billion to Medicaid. It includes no additional child care funding when the need is growing, and it under funds education. "We should be investing in children, not investing in millionaires," CDF's Jim Jones said.

NY Times Peddles Bush Propaganda about Child Poverty in America

The NY Times, as ever, is helping disseminate Bush propaganda. A recent article touts the decrease welfare cases "even in a sluggish economy." Of course, they failed to report the whole truth. The Children's Defense Fund's Deborah Oritz fires back: "Child poverty has increased significantly since 2000. According to the latest data, 12.1 million children live in poverty - 800,000 more than in 2000. Three million single mothers had no work in 2003, and 550,000 children are on waiting lists for child care. 40% of the homeless population is made up of families with children. The situation is also bleak for the working poor...[with] a significant increase in those requesting emergency food assistance: 30% are employed families with children." It should also be added that the decrease in welfare cases reflects termination because of the time constraints now placed on welfare. In short, a decrease in the welfare rolls = an increase in the number of homeless.

How Bush's Tax Giveaways are Harming America's Children

"The Every Child Matters Education Fund has prepared a report entitled 'How Federal Budget Priorities and Tax Cuts Are Harming America's Children.' The report documents the impact recent federal budget and tax polices have had in decreasing investments in state children's programs. We also present our child investment agenda for 2004."

Sick Children Pay the Price for Bush's Tax Giveaways to the Rich

"Children across the country are being cut off from doctors because cash-strapped states are rolling back health insurance for the working poor, a four-month investigation by Gannett News Service has found. 22 states have restricted children's health insurance programs over the past 18 months, and more cuts are possible in 2004 as states face another round of daunting budget deficits... About 270,000 children of low-income, working parents have been barred from health insurance programs in the nine states where estimates are available. Texas and Florida lead the country in the number of low-income children shut out of state health insurance programs. Changes to state children's health insurance programs are expected to hurt immigrant children, especially Hispanics. Hispanic children comprise an estimated 17.7% of all U.S. children but represent approximately 37% of all uninsured children... 'We will certainly have sicker kids because of this,' said Leighton Ku." Impeach Bush Now!

The Kids Are Not All Right

W. David Jenkins III writes: "This dilemma caused a sense of envy towards the Bush gang because when they speak to the 'children' who support them, all they have to do is drag out tiny little flags along with their tired old 'good vs. evil' argument and lie their collective butts off and they're all done - mission accomplished. Those of us parents who choose to raise responsible, thinking adults instead of sheep don't have things so easy. Our children's world has become a very complex and violent place to be and the hardest part is explaining to them that things didn't have to be this way."

300,000 Children Worldwide Still Exploited as Soldiers - Yet Bush Won't Ratify the Convention that Could Prevent This Abuse

A new UN report reveals that tens of thousands of children worldwide are being used as soldiers in more than 40 nations. At least this is the first time that that the annual report named governments and groups who recruit youths under 18 for military combat "This shows the international community is serious, and also that the community is watching," observes UN rep Olara Otunnu. The standards being violated include a number of human rights pacts as well as an amendment to the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child that prohibits the use of children younger than 18 in combat. Bush was the only leader in the developed world to fail to ratify the convention. Now he is creating global instabilities that will guarantee more children will be forced to fight, kill and die - while he stands by and does nothing to prevent it.

America and Somalia are the Only Two Nations that Refuse to Sign the Convention for the Rights of the Child

It should come as no surprise that Pakistan continues to condone child labor. Why? Because its new sponsor, the Bush Administration, condones child labor. This past year (and yes, we mean last year, as in the 21st century!), Bush refused to sign the International Convention for the Rights of the Child which bans, among other abuses, child labor. "The Convention sets norms for what governments should provide for parents and their children -- adequate nutrition, compulsory primary education, adequate health care, safe access to play, art, and culture." Although the Convention was one of the most rapidly ratified conventions ever passed within the world community, only the Somalia and the US refuse to sign on. Apparently, for the 'compassionate conservative' Bush, America can offer nothing better than to leave the world's children behind....and then wonder how they could hate us.

Leaving Our Children Behind

While the Bush administration has promised to "leave no child behind," reality on the ground looks a little different. The facts are staggering. Over 11 million American children live in poverty, 9.2 million have no health insurance, and 3.6 million suffer "worst-case" housing needs. While the US is the world leader in defense expenditures, it ranks only 17th in efforts to lift children out of poverty; while it is number one in health technology, it ranks 23rd in infant mortality. But promises made to children back in the heady presidential campaign days seem long forgotten now. Among other photo-op commitments, the $1 billion Bush guaranteed for abused and neglected kids never materialized (although the administration somehow came up with billions for weaponry and corporate handouts).

Bush to the World's Poor Children: Drop Dead

Geoffrey Lean writes, "Now there is clear evidence that George Bush's environmental policy is indeed a load of crap. For the US is blocking an international plan to halve the number of people, two-fifths of the population of the planet, who have no sanitation. Some 2.4 billion people lack even a bucket for their wastes, and this is one of the main causes of world disease. European and developing nations, meeting in Bali, Indonesia, want the world's leaders to agree to meet this target by 2015. [But this plan] is running into trouble, with the Bush administration, in the words of one top Whitehall source, being 'very, very negative'. More than 2.2 million people - mainly children - die in the Third World every year from diseases caused by lack of sanitation and by dirty drinking water. The United Nations says that 'the incidence of some illnesses and death could drop by as much as 75% if adequate clean water and sanitation were provided." More "kompassionate konservatism"?

Newsweek Caught in Bald-Faced Lie to Hide U.S. Practice of Recruiting Child Soldiers

What do the U.S. and Somalia have in common - besides being run by greedy warlords? They are the only two nations in the WORLD refusing to ratify the Convention for the Rights of Children. The CRC seeks to protect children from exploitation. 250 million kids are now victims of child labor, including exploitation in the sex trade. But Bush and Co. don't like the CRC because: (1) The "compassionate conservatives" in the Christian right are afraid they'll lose the right to discipline (beat? starve? lock up?) their kids as they wish. (2) Bush wants to reserve the right to turn kids as young as 16 into soldiers. Horrible? You bet! But when Newsweek did a story (May 13 issue) on child soldiering, although outrage was expressed at the exploitation of children during war, not a word was mentioned about the U.S.'s stand on CRC or its own practice of child recruitment. And they STILL want us to believe the "liberal media" myth?

March for Childrens' Rights on May 8 in NYC

"So many meetings, so many promises have gone by without decision-makers not having heard or even asked children what they really want and need. This time, we will be loud and clear. Our voices will echo through the streets of New York City and right to the hearts of everyone at the UN Special Session on Children. The March for the Children's Rights is a unique opportunity to raise our voices and concerns for protecting children's rights. Many Presidents and Prime Ministers, heads of the UN agencies, and other world leaders who decide the future of children will be gathering in New York. They will see children and adults from around the world joining their hands and their footsteps marching, and they will hear our voices together calling for real changes, real promises not to be broken."

While Bush Parrots 'Leave No Child Behind' His Administration Puts Sick Kids at Greater Risk

The Food and Drug Administration appears to be caving in to three conservative interest groups who filed suit challenging the legality of the agency’s authority to require pediatric testing of drugs. The pediatric studies rule requires that new drugs used in the medical treatment of children include labeling information on safe pediatric use. The F.D.A. estimates that more than half of the drugs approved every year that are likely to be used in children are not adequately tested or labeled for treating youngsters for ailments such as asthma, depression, epilepsy, severe pain, gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions, and high blood pressure. Children react differently than adults to many drugs because of their immature organs and different metabolic and immune systems. In just one year, the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs lacked pediatric labeling - but were still prescribed more than 5 million times.

Society Will Pay the Price of Cutbacks in Children’s Health Programs

"Congress was quick to jump on Enron's collapse, holding hearings that allowed every committee member to grab the microphone and decry the scandal. But cutbacks to children's health are no less scandalous. Like that undernourished infant whose propensity for heart disease will likely go undetected for decades, the consequences of cutting back on children's health care may not be immediately apparent. In the end, though, society will bear the costs." So write Neal Halfon and Peter Long in the LA Times.

Yet Another Case Study in Why 'Charitable Choice' Is a Rotten Idea

"Forrest Bomar, a retiree with most of his life savings in brokerage accounts, was tired of the market's swings and attracted by the 6.7-percent return offered on investments by the Baptist Foundation of Arizona. Now, the Bomars have lost nearly all of their $236,166 investment in what turned out to be a scam. The "foundation" declared bankruptcy and was shut down by state regulators, and three foundation officials have pleaded guilty to defrauding investors. More than 13,000 people around the country, many of them elderly Baptists, invested some $590 million into the organization, according to state securities regulators. They are warning people to beware of proliferating and increasingly sophisticated investment schemes that play on religious loyalties." Guess how many new scams will spring up now, eager to collect "working capital" from the Bush administration? At least a government agency, with all its failings, is for real.

First Arsenic in our Water, Now RAID in School Lunches! This Evil Idea is Brought to You by Exterminator-in-Chief Tom DeLay

According to the Washington Post, "House Republicans vowed yesterday to eliminate a proposal, which the Senate added to President Bush's education bill, that would require school districts to regularly disclose to parents the use of pesticides on school grounds. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders crafted the measure last month in consultation with representatives of the pest control and chemical industries, school officials and environmentalists. Supporters said it was designed to protect students, teachers and staff from excessive exposure to potentially dangerous pesticides. But Republicans attacked the provision during a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee." First they put arsenic in our water, now they want to put RAID in our kids' school lunches. Who's evil idea is this? Obviously Tom DeLay, whose pre-Congressional career was - you got it! - an EXTERMINATOR.

Worst Child Perps in Nation Wear Suits and Occupy Top Posts in Bush Regime

Jonathan Rowe and Gary Ruskin wrote a kick-ass, must-read-and-pass-on editorial in the 'Boulder Weekly': "Whenever an issue pits kids against corporate agendas and big money in Bush's Washington, it is the kids who lose. And that means pretty much all the time. Corporate leaders in the U.S. are bent on reducing children to free-floating appetites for stuff, and the new crowd in Washington is cheering them on-often because it's the same people. Since the perps wear suits, the administration calls it the American Way." Helping to lay the minefield that will destroy American's children is Bush's new chief of consumer protection at the FTC, J. Howard Beales III. Beales is best known for his scholarly defense of R. J. Reynolds and its infamous "Joe Camel" ad campaign. While Bush repeatedly invokes concern for children (he once referred to kids 11 times in a single speech), his corporate agenda has turned kids into mere pawns and, ultimately, undefended victims.

In Era of Strongest U.S. Economy in History, 1 in 6 American Children Live in Poverty

The high rate of child poverty in the U.S. - the most prosperous nation on Earth - is indefensible. Today, ONE IN SIX American kids live in poverty. Before Clinton took office, the rate was worse - one in five. Now with Shrub at the helm, life for poor children will become more dismal, with families thrown on the mercy of "religious charity." Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) have proposed bills that would make cuts in child poverty a top federal welfare policy priority, offering financial rewards to states that reduce their number of poor children. Meanwhile, in WI, home of Bush's new Sec. of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, while 80% of all welfare families have been pushed from the rolls since 1993, child poverty has been reduced by a mere 7%.

Is Our Children Learning? If Not, then Beat the Crap Out of Them!

This is the 21st century isn't it? Or did Dr. Who come through with a giant Tardis in the night and whisk us all back to the age of Oliver Twist? Because now it seems that Bush and his GOP-stacked Congress want to push through yet another "reform" that will set education and treatment of children back a century or two: the Teacher Liabilaity Act. This law will make it OK for teachers to use physical force against children in states and school districts where corporal punishment is still legal. So now, as an added childhood "joy," kids can dread both endless rounds of tests and possible beatings. What's next Shrub? If they get too many detentions, we just line 'em up on the playground and shoot 'em?

'Choosing the Wealthy over Children': Kennedy, Boxer, and Corzine Release Report Blasting Bush Tax Plan

On May 8, the Institute for America's Future will join Dems. Edward Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and Jon Corzine in releasing a report that shows that Shrubmeister's $555 billion collective wind-fall tax break to the rich minority he's so desperate to brown-nose will literally and figuratively snatch bread from the mouths of the nation's poorest children. Says Roger Hickey of the IAF: "We challenge the President - and any member of the Senate or House planning to vote for his tax cuts to explain how they can claim there is a surplus when millions of children are raised in poverty, lack health care, live in unsafe housing, and attend overcrowded schools that are falling apart." As always, it is the Dems alone who speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves!

The Cruelty of 'Compassionate Conservatism'

Bush's pledge to leave no child behind "doesn't seem to serve as a warning that he would plan to cut child care grants by $200 million, reduce spending on programs dealing with child abuse by $15.7 million or eliminate all the money -- $20 million -- provided by Congress for improved child care and education for preschool children. It did not seem implicit in that statement that he would plan to cut to the bone a $235 million program to train pediatricians and doctors at the nation's children's hospitals." So writes Life editor Jennifer Foote Sweeney in Salon.