- Summer: Over 300,000 civilians in Kosovo are displaced, and hundreds killed, after fighting between Serbian security forces and ethnic Albanians breaks out. (Ministry of Defence)
- Summer: Energy deregulation first triggers market instability in the Midwest, when a summer heat wave brings price surges, and a number of private energy merchants default on their contracts. A month later, California energy prices spike, and Southern California Edison blames two merchant firms, AES Corporation and Houston Industries, for gaming the system to artificially raise prices. By the winter of 2000-01, Californians will witness energy prices at fifty times normal, and loudly protest the incredible price gouging. Deregulation advocates try to blame the price spikes on environmental laws and on the fact that California has only partially deregulated its energy markets; such explanations were ridiculous and quickly disproven. Instead, the price spikes are directly due to market gaming by Enron and other corporations. On June 18, 2001, FERC, over the objections of Bush administration officials operating at Enron's behest, finally approves limited price caps on California energy, which quickly quiets the tumultuous energy markets. As it turns out, Enron and other energy merchants had indeed been gaming the California markets, using strategies nicknamed "Death Star," "Fat Boy," "Ricochet," and "Get Shorty," which steered huge profits to those companies ripped directly from the pocketbooks of California consumers. Beginning in 2001, the CFTC, newly staffed by Bush appointees with their own connections to private energy industries, is aided by Texas Republican Senator Phil Gramm in implementing a new round of deregulation legislation, allowing Enron to further enlarge its speculation in state energy markets. These new deregulation efforts would allow Enron to "game" California's energy markets, sucking billions from California energy consumers, spiking Enron profits, and forcing California into months of rolling blackouts. (Kevin Phillips)
- Summer: As part of the GOP planning for the 2000 presidential run, Dick Cheney, the former House Republican and now CEO of Halliburton, meets with Texas governor George Bush to tutor Bush on foreign policy, a subject of which he is barely literate. Bush also brings aboard Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice, who served as his father's special advisor on national security and, like Cheney, is a veteran of the oil industry. The nascent Bush presidential campaign hires Rice as a foreign policy "coordinator."
- In December, Bush meets with Rice's fellow Stanford professor George Shultz, the former secretary of state and a Republican eminence grise, to discuss Bush's tutelage in foreign affairs. Cheney also attends, as does Cheney's former political colleague, Paul Wolfowitz, who will become one of Bush's regular tutors. Like Cheney, Wolfowitz is a member of the Project for a New American Century, the neoconservative think tank that advocates America making itself a militarily dominant world empire. Wolfowitz and other PNAC members will take over much of Bush's tutelage, and more pragmatic advisors like his father's close colleague, Brent Scowcroft, will be conspicuously absent, ensuring that Bush will become steeped in the aggressive, unilateralist philosophies espoused by Cheney and the PNAC. In essence, Bush's future war cabinet is coalescing in Austin two years before the elections.
- The foreign policy team expands in the following months to include Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Perle, two co-founders of the PNAC. A few pragmatists, such as Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, are brought in as sops to the more moderate side of Republican foreign policy thinking, though their influence will be minimal. As the presidential campaign heats up and Bush, despite his tutelage, makes one embarrassing foreign policy gaffe after another, Bush deflects criticism of his ignorance by pointing to the experience of his advisors. Soon after Bush's political guru Karl Rove wrecks John McCain's candidacy in February 2000, Bush will ask Cheney to be his vice-presidential candidate, though the campaign will pretend to conduct a candidate "search" -- with Cheney at the head -- and not announce Cheney's selection until much later in the year. (Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein)
- June: The relationship between Taliban leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden has grown strained, and Omar secretly agrees to extradite bin Laden to Saudi Arabia. Before the deal can be completed, the US strikes Afghani targets in August, and Omar reneges on the deal. (CCR)
- June: US intelligence receives warnings that bin Laden is planning attacks on US soil, with a focus on targets in Washington and New York. That same month, Enron closes its offices in Uzbekistan after deciding not to renew its contract with that country. It has proven difficult to get natural gas out of the country; only 10% of Uzbekistan's production is for foreign use. Also, Uzbekistan is alarmed at the direction the Taliban is taking Afghanistan, and refuses to be part of a pipeline project which will benefit that regime. (CCR)
- June: During a Republican fund-raiser, John McCain tells a joke: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." The joke is edited out by most major media outlets in their report of the fund-raiser. (Salon)
- June 3: The UNSCOM Chairman makes a presentation to the UNSC indicating Iraq has declared its uniltateral destruction of 38,000 banned weapons but has, in fact, retained 46,000. The presentation emphasizes the "magnitude" of the banned items Iraq retained: two-thirds of its operational missile force, more than half of its chemical weapons, and all of its biological weapons. The chairman notes "evidence of a systematic, centrally controlled mechanism within Iraq, tasked with concealing material and activity proscribed by Security Council resolutions" and emphasizes that these patterns are particularly important because Iraq is currently demanding lifting of sanctions. Further meetings with Tariq Aziz and other Iraqi officials are less than fruitful. (UN/Iraqwatch/Electric Venom)
James Byrd murdered in Texas; Governor Bush opposes hate crimes bill sparked by the murder
- June 7: James Byrd Jr., a Jasper County, Texas black man walking home after a night of drinking, is murdered by three white men. Two of the white assailants belong to a white supremacist organization; the prosecution in their trial says that the murder is done to bring attention to their group. Byrd is set upon, has his throat cut, and is chained to the back of his assailants' truck; he is dragged three miles down a rough road, which tears his body to pieces. The stunning brutality of the murder attracts worldwide attention, and leads to the proposal of a Texas hate crimes bill mandating stiff penalties for racially motivated violent crimes. Governor George W. Bush not only refuses to attend Byrd's funeral, he opposes any hate crimes legislation. When Byrd's sister tearfully pleads with Bush to sign the bill that will bear her brother's name, Bush curtly refuses. (The jury, unlike the governor, seems determined to send a message that racially inspired violence will not be tolerated; the eleven whites on the jury elect the single black juror as foreman, and sentence Byrd's murderer, white supremacist Billy King, to death. The East Texas community reflects the jury's anger; when the Ku Klux Klan marches through Jasper, most of the crowd of anti-KKK protesters are white.) The Texas House passes the James Byrd Jr. Memorial Hate Crimes Bill anyway, and Bush claims publicly that if the Texas Senate passes it, he will sign it. Behind closed doors, Bush and Senate Republicans work to kill the bill. Writer Molly Ivins calls it the "Let's Not Embarrass the Governor Session." The problem is simple: if Bush wants to run for president with the support of white Christian-right voters, he cannot afford to be associated with such a bill. Apparently Bush and his staff are more balky about the bill because of its implied protection of gays than any racial inferences, though those exist as well. Byrd's sister Louvon Harris says, "If he had his way, he would be standoffish to black America. But since he's running for president, he has to do his campaigning as if he loves all people. But I have my doubts about that. I think it's all a ploy. I'm not in a position to judge anybody's heart, but actions speak louder than words." The bill will not be passed by the Texas Senate during Bush's term; instead, it will pass the legislation after Bush's election to the presidency, and will be signed into law in May 2001 by Governor Rick Perry, Bush's successor. In the 2000 campaign, Bush will take credit for the bill.
- As a sidebar, Governor Bush elates some and horrifies others when he publicly gloats over the fate of the three convicted murderers in October 2000 during a presidential debate: "Guess what's going to happen to them? They're going to be put to death. A jury found them guilty and -- it's going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death." Peter Singer writes, "The words alone do not convey the exultation, almost glee, that appeared on Bush's face when he spoke of the coming execution of the men who had been convicted of murder." In a later debate, an audience member asks Bush why he seems to "overly enjoy" the fact that Texas leads the country in executing prisoners, a claim Bush denies. Yet, it's hard to dismiss the absolute bloodlust that appears on Bush's face when discussing the execution of Byrd's murderers. (Texas NAACP, Trust the People - Dallas,, Guardian, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Peter Singer)
- June 8: General Sani Abacha, dictator of Nigeria, dies, officially of a heart attack. Abacha was a tyrant who ruled Nigeria with an iron fist and embezzled over $3 billion in public funds from Nigeria into private bank accounts in Europe and the Persian Gulf. Abacha will be succeeded by General Abdulsalami Abubaker, even as the democratically elected president of Nigeria, Chief Moshood Abiola, dies of poisoning without ever being allowed to take office. (On July 7, Abiola dies after sipping a glass of tea in the lap of Thomas Pickering, a Clinton administration official who had come to Nigeria to ask Abiola to renounce his presidency as a condition for his release from prison.) Abacha dissolved all democratic institutions early in his tenure as Nigeria's strongman, and compiled a truly horrific human-rights and environmental record, but was always supported by US oil companies such as Chevron and Shell, as well as tacit support from the Clinton administration. (Contemporary African Database, BBC, Bookrags, Amy and David Goodman)
"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor." -- Pat Robertson, speaking of organizers putting rainbow flags up around Orlando to support sexual diversity, Washington Post, 06-10-98, quoted by Brandi Mills (Note that no hurricanes have struck the Orlando area as of January 2007.)
Starr admits leaking information to press to influence investigation
- June 15: Starr admits in an interview with Brill's Content that he has repeatedly leaked information to the media in an attempt to gain public support for his investigation. The next day, Starr lambasts the magazine and says the interview was misinterpreted. (Clinton Impeachment Timeline)
- June 23: At a "Collateral Damage Conference" at the right-libertarian Cato Institute, Dick Cheney tells his audience, "The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States. Occasionally we have to operate where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But, we go where the business is."