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Oil profiteering and the "oiligarchy"A Republican and close ally of Senator Trent Lott, Hebert is quite conservative and pro-business, but apparently not enough for Enron chairman Kenneth Lay, who shortly after Bush takes office calls Hebert to tell him that if he doesn't change his position on retail competition in the energy business, he would have Bush replace him on the commission. Molly Ivins writes, "It was a revealing episode. One of the president's corporate sponsors was threatening to fire the chair of the commission that regulated the contributor's business." Apparently Hebert wasn't responsive enough to suit Lay; three months after the phone call, Hebert was fired and replaced by a more Enron-friendly commissioner, Pat Wood. (Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose)
Global warming and the environmentBush called it an environmental land grab even before his election, and said before a debate audience in October 2000 that Clinton and Gore had taken "40 million acres of land out of circulation without consulting local officials.... I just cited an example of the administration just unilaterally acting without any input." Bush's claim is completely false; the Forest Service conducted 600 public hearings on the proposal and catalogued over a million letters from American citizens urging the Service to implement the policy. Later in 2001, when the rule is challenged by industry groups, Bush's Department of Justice refuses to defend the rule in court, calling it insensitive to the needs of timber companies and local interests. It will take the intervention of environmental groups intervening "on behalf of the government" to keep the rule in place. But in June 2003 the administration once again goes on the attack. It will issue a decision that apparently keeps the "Roadless Rule" in place, but with some key footnotes. The millions of acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest will be exempt, opening the forest to timber companies in spite of the fact that Tongass contains 30% of the world's remaining unlogged coastal temperate rain forest. The administration even exempts loggers from filing the required environmental impact statement because there will be "no significant environmental impact." Another footnote allows states to request further relaxations of the rules on roadbuilding and logging in their states' national forests, a policy of especial interest to many Western state governments. (Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Iraq war and occupationCohen has been instructed to focus on the topic of Iraq instead of the usual general briefing. Afterward, as Bob Woodward writes in his April 2004 book Plan of Attack, "Bush and his team went downstairs to the Tank, the secure domain and meeting room for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Two generals briefed them on the state of the no-fly zone enforcement in Iraq. No-fly zone enforcement was dangerous and expensive. Multimillion-dollar jets were put at risk bombing 57mm antiaircraft guns. Hussein had warehouses of them. As a matter of policy, was the Bush administration going to keep poking Hussein in the chest? Was there a national strategy behind this, or was it just a static tit for tat? Lots of acronyms and program names were thrown around -- most of them familiar to Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell, who had spent 35 years in the Army and been chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. President-elect Bush asked some practical questions about how things worked, but he did not offer or hint at his desires. The Joint Chiefs' staff had placed a peppermint at each place. Bush unwrapped his and popped it into his mouth. Later he eyed Cohen's mint and flashed a pantomime query, Do you want that? Cohen signaled no, so Bush reached over and took it. Near the end of the hour-and-a-quarter briefing, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, noticed Bush eyeing his mint, so he passed it over. Cheney listened, but he was tired and closed his eyes, conspicuously nodding off several times. Rumsfeld, who was sitting at a far end of the table, paid close attention, though he kept asking the briefers to please speak up or please speak louder. 'We're off to a great start,' one of the chiefs commented privately to a colleague after the session. 'The vice president fell asleep, and the secretary of defense can't hear.'" Days later, as preparation for Bush's takeover, Clinton and Bush meet for their "exit interview." Clinton gives Bush his list of his top five priorities. At the top of the list was dealing with Osama bin Laden. Clinton also discusses the tensions between Pakistan and India, who are threatening each other with nuclear strikes; the crisis in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine; he discusses North Korea; and he discusses Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Bush reportely shakes Clinton's hand after Clinton wraps up his presentation, and says, "Thanks for your advice, Mr. President, but I think you've got your priorities wrong. I'm putting Saddam at the top of the list." (Washington Post, Buzzflash)
Partisan Bush appointeesAt the end of 2000, rumor had it that Donald Rumsfeld would be named head of the CIA, replacing Clinton appointee George Tenet. But Rumsfeld isn't sure he wants the job. In many ways, the naming of Colin Powell as Secretary of State ensures Rumsfeld's appointment as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld is the champion of the new administration's hawks and neoconservatives, who fear Powell, a far more moderate figure and the only "superstar" in the group, will extend his influence over the Pentagon as well as the State Department. Rumsfeld was briefly considered as national security advisor, but that post had already been promised to former Chevron director Condoleezza Rice, a hawkish expert on the Soviet Union. One of Rumsfeld's first moves is to implement strong civilian control over the Defense Department over the top of the entrenched military bureaucracy. He initiates what becomes known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), an overall transformation of how the military is organized and managed. John Arquilla, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate Schools explains: "Donald Rumsfeld wanted to build a smaller, nimbler and more networked military that could respond swiftly to threats anywhere in the world." But military leaders inside the Pentagon feel attacked, says former Secretary of the Army Thomas White: "All of a sudden the view of the army becomes 'Well, they're stodgy. They're intransigent, and they don't understand. They don't get it, what all this stuff is all about." At first, Rumsfeld is less than successful; the military leadership of the Pentagon considers Rumsfeld pushy, unprofessional, and ignorant of what the military requires, and because of Bush's early and ill-considered tax cuts, and his contentious and adversarial relationship with Powell, Rumsfeld finds himself unable to get the funds he wants for his transformation of the department. Many feel that Rumsfeld will be the first to leave the administration. Instead, Rumsfeld is rescued by 9/11, when, after the attacks, he leads the charge inside the White House to immediately retaliate, not just against Afghanistan, where the al-Qaeda leadership is ensconsced, but against Iraq. (PBS)
Iraq war and occupationa former government official recalls, "Her feeling was that Saddam was a small problem -- chump change -- that we needed to wall him into a corner so we could get on with the big issues: Russia, China, NATO expansion, a new relationship with India, and, down the road, with Africa." However, Bush, with the guidance of Dick Cheney, lards his Defense and State Departments with aggressive, hawkish neoconservatives, many from the think tank Project for a New American Century, who push for an invasion of Iraq virtually from the moment Bush takes the oath of office (see below). After 9/11, these neocons, led by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and with the ear of Vice President Cheney, gain dominance in Bush's foreign policy, pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the adoption of "preemption" as the US's mainstay of its approach towards handling terrorism. (As Deputy Defense Secretary, Wolfowitz will helped Douglas Feith obtain his appointment as Undersecretary for Policy. Feith will then appoint Richard Perle as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board. All three have been repeatedly implicated in illegally providing US military technology and classified information to Israel, and all have advocated the overthrow of the Iraqi government Feith and Rhode recruit David Wurmser, the director of Middle East studies for the American Enterprise Institute, to serve as a Pentagon consultant. He will help create the secret Pentagon intelligence unit involved in developing Iraq intelligence.) Rice herself wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine just before being named to the position that too many US policymakers were "uncomfortable with the notion of power politics, great powers, and power balances," and warns that the "national interest" must not be confused with, or give way to, "humanitarian interests" or the interests of "the international community." Rice seems ready to help take the country in a far different, much more unilateral direction that even Bush I, who, with the guidance of Colin Powell and James Baker, forged the worldwide coalition that fought the Gulf War in 1991. Eric Alterman and Mark Green wonder if Rice "deliberately unlearned the lessons of Bush I diplomacy in order to serve at the behest of his more unilateralist-minded son." (Counterpunch/Global Exchange/Daily Kos, Seymour Hersh, Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Islamist terrorismThe Navy will issue its own report on January 20. As part of the transition between administrations, Clinton's security officials, including director Sandy Berger and counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, meet repeatedly with incoming national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and other senior Bush officials, including Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley. Berger himself attends only one meeting, on the topic of countering terrorism: "I'm coming to this briefing," he says he told Rice, "to underscore how important I think this subject is." Later, alone in his office with Rice, Berger says he told her, "I believe that the Bush administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." Rice will later deny to Time magazine any recollection of the briefing.
Bush's energy policies"The California [energy] crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants." The confusing statement ignores the reality that energy companies such as Enron have been mercilessly gaming the California energy industry for years, causing huge spikes in energy costs at the expense of California energy consumers. Former Enron trader Steve Barth later says, "This was like The Perfect Storm. First our traders were able to buy power for $250 in California, sell it to Arizona for $1,200, then resell it to California for five times that amount." (See the April 17 item below.) (Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose)
George W. Bush"Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment." What that means is anybody's guess. (New York Times/AllHatNoCattle)
Bush's economic policiesThe Bush administration issues its own forecast two weeks later of $3.1 trillion, a figure used to "prove" that Bush's huge tax cuts are affordable and will not cause deficits. However, studies by a wide range of analysts and institutes, including the Concord Coalition, the Brookings Institute, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, show that the $3.1 trillion figure is arrived at by using a number of accounting tricks and fudges, including speculative tax revenues and program cuts that were highly unlikely to occur. It also counts $400 billion in Medicare surplus funds, which are legally off-limits for government programs or tax cuts. The various analyses show that both Bush and Clinton estimates are far too optimistic -- that a projected surplus of $2.0 trillion is more likely, and perhaps even that figure is too high. With this figure, the Bush tax cuts will create immediate deficits (which is exactly what will happen). Bush's figures fail to include funds for his promised military buildup (not to mention the huge expenditures in Afghanistan and Iraq, wars which are already in the planning stages), funds for prescription-drug benefits, funds for Social Security privatization, and other likely expenditures. In total, Bush's figures overestimate the surplus by over a trillion dollars, and underestimate his tax cuts by $500 billion. Bush promotes his tax cuts as "urgent" to prop up the "faltering" economy. What he doesn't mention is that the bulk of his tax cuts do not kick in for several years, providing no economic relief for years and taking effect after the bulk of the surplus may have already disappeared (which, again, proves to be the case). Congressional Democrats will finally force Bush to add an immediate tax rebate of $300 for every single taxpayer and $600 for married couples -- however, this is not a tax rebate, but an advance against 2001 taxes which must be paid back, a detail overlooked by most taxpayers and the mainstream media. The "rebate" makes up less than 5% of the total package. A study by the Economic Policy Institute predicts that the "rebate" will stimulate consumer spending by a paltry 1.3% -- or, as David Corn asks, "could a 0.6 percent tail wag a $10 trillion dog of an economy?" Noted economist Paul Krugman is more pointed, writing, "[The Bush administration] simply waved their hands" and made hundreds of billions of dollars "disappear from the accounting.... This is white-collar crime, pure and simple." (David Corn, Paul Waldman)
Islamist terrorismThe sanctions limit travel by senior Taliban authorities, freeze bin Laden's and the Taliban's assets, order the closure of Ariana Airlines offices abroad, and impose an arms embargo against the Taliban, but not against Northern Alliance forces battling the Taliban. This doesn't stop the illegal trade network the Taliban is secretly running through Ariana. Two companies, Air Cess and Flying Dolphin, take over most of Ariana's traffic. Air Cess is owned by the Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, and Flying Dolphin is owned by the UAE's former ambassador to the US, who is also an associate of Bout. In late 2000, despite UN reports linking Flying Dolphin to arms smuggling, the United Nations gives Flying Dolphin permission to take over Ariana's closed routes, which it does until the new sanctions take effect. Bout's operations are still functioning and he has not been arrested. Ariana is essentially destroyed in the October 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan. (CCR)
Whitewater / Lewinsky and related "scandals"the Office of the Independent Counsel, led by Ken Starr's replacement Robert Ray, officially ends the entire Whitewater-Lewinsky investigation, abandoning the possibility of indicting Clinton for lying under oath and obstructing justice. In return, Clinton admits that he had not been fully truthful about his own actions: "I tried to walk a line between acting lawfully and testifying falsely," Clinton says, "but I now recognize that I did not fully accomplish this goal and that certain of my responses to questions were false." (Marvin Kalb)
George W. BushTens of thousands of protesters line the streets hurling insults and eggs at his motorcade, though the mainstream media largely refuses to report on the protests. "The media coverage of Bush's inauguration focused on the dignified pomp of the occasion," observes presidential historian Fred Greenstein. Enron donates $300,000 for the presidential inauguration ceremonies. Bush begins to rant against Iraq and Saddam Hussein almost from the moment he takes office; Vice President Dick Cheney directs outgoing defense secretary William Cohen to "focus on Iraq" in his briefing of the new president (see above).
Bush family"Treating the Bush presidencies as growing out of a four-generation interaction with the so-called US establishment is, in a word, essential. Likewise, dealing separately with the administration of George H.W. and George W. -- or worse, ignoring commonalities of behavior in office -- is like considering individual planets while ignoring their place within the solar system." Of the incoming administration, Phillips writes, "Most twentieth-century presidents put in office by tight margins sought to be conciliatory to make up for want of a popular mandate. Not the Bush administration. Eschewing any inhibition based on lack of national consent or legitimacy, it governed from the start with an ideological edge. Family credentials and a powerful financial donor network had been the basis of the new president's nominations, and family connections quickly became a fount of federal appointments, including two for children of the five pro-Bush Supreme Court justices: Janet Rehnquist, daughter of the chief justice, became inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, while Eugene Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia, became solicitor of the Department of Labor." Other powerful GOP families profited from the Bush ascension. The Bush campaign helped Elizabeth Dole, wife of Senator Bob Dole, win a Senate seat in North Carolina, a state in which she had not lived for decades. Secretary of State Colin Powell's son Michael became head of the Federal Communications Commission, and would work to further the corporate stranglehold on the US media. The son of Senator Strom Thurmond, Strom Thurmond Jr, was chosen to be US attorney from South Carolina despite the fact that he had graduated from law school a bare three years before and lacked the experience necessary for the post." (Kevin Phillips)
Oil profiteering and the "oiligarchy"Kenneth Lay is one of five Bush Pioneers named to the Energy Department transition team. Three of the five team members, including Lay, are Texans from the energy industry. Vice-President Cheney, a Texan since 1995, is named to head the administration's energy policy task force. (62 of the 63 members of the task force have ties to corporate energy interests.) Patrick Wood, Lay's handpicked chairman of the Texas Public Utilities Commission, is named to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in May 2001, and becomes chairman in August, again sponsored by Lay. Nora Mead Brownell, who had supported Enron's attempts to deregulate Pennsylvania's energy industry, is named to FERC as well. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says later, "[E]nvironmental concerns went virtually unrepresented."
Bush's economic policiesbecause it allows one to, in Phillips' words, "reject government programs and to insist that free will gave everyone equal opportunity to make something of him- or herself. If blacks or welfare mothers did not take advantage of the opportunity or if the rich did too well, these outcomes were individual, not structural. Government, to be helpful, should uphold personal religion and morality." The Southern Baptist Convention abandoned its decades-long support for structural problems of society -- reducing hunger, helping the poor, supporting family farms, aiding welfare families -- in favor of polemics touting personal responsibility and disapproving of abortion, homosexuality, sex in films and television shows, and Bill Clinton's morals. Bush has adopted much of the SBC outlook and woven it into his social and economic policies. In 2001, he will propose legislation abolishing estate and inheritance taxes, cut income tax brackets, attack organized labor, further deregulate the electricity industry, weaken occupational safety oversight, and reverse his promises to cut carbon dioxide emissions in favor of giving polluters more leeway to pump toxins into the environment. Federal deficits will reflect the tax cuts for the rich; dozens of states will be forced to slash educational, health, medical, and law enforcement spending in response to Bush's economic decisions.
Partisan Bush appointeesFeith and Rhode, with neocon David Wurmser, help set up the Pentagon's Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, or Donald Rumsfeld's controversial "B" team of intelligence gatherers, whose focus is finding, or manufacturing, evidence to support regime change in Iraq and Iran, and to "prove" connections that don't exist between such disparate Islamic terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad, groups whose conflicting ideologies and objectives are ignored by the group. The group is one of the key sources of the misinformation later used by Bush officials to "prove" connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Rhode helps Feith "lay down the law about the department's new anti-Iraq, and broadly anti-Arab, orientation," in one instance accosting and haranguing a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no "bartering in the bazaar anymore.... You're going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so." Rhode will be a key player in Rumsfeld's purge of the Defense Department of veteran officials, including a number of generals, who fail to back Rumsfeld's transformation of the Pentagon into a strongly anti-Iraq department. Rhode appeared to be "pulling people out of nooks and crannies of the Defense Intelligence Agency and other places to replace us with," says a former analyst. "They wanted nothing to do with the professional staff. And they wanted us the f*ck out of there." Rhode's and Feith's other source of new personnel is the American Enterprise Institute, a rabidly right-wing outfit with grandiose plans for the "transformation" of the Middle East into an American protectorate. According to Robert Ebel, the former top CIA oil expert, he said that ONA was, in Greg Palast's paraphrasing, "the dream factory that produced the fantasy oil gushers for [Paul] Wolfowitz" and Donald Rumsfeld. It is Rhode who is ultimately responsible for bringing Iraqi exile and convicted criminal Ahmad Chalabi in as the putative leader of the Iraqi "government" planned to replace Saddam Hussein, partly because they believe that once Hussein is ousted and Chalabi is in power, he will sell off Iraq's oil fields to US business interests. Chalabi, who is in reality a mole working for Iranian intelligence, has other plans. (SourceWatch, CCR, Greg Palast)
Partisan Bush appointeesfeaturing five women, two African-Americans, a Hispanic, an Arab-American, an Asian-American, and a Democrat, is hailed as a "model of diversity" by the mainstream media, with the supposedly liberal New York Times leading the charge by favorably comparing the ethnic makeup of the Bush staff to that of his predecessor, Bill Clinton. The fact that Bush's executive branch (a much larger pool of officials) features dramatically fewer women and minorities than Clinton's escapes the media's notice, as does the fact that most of his officials are hard-right reactionaries, with few moderate Republicans represented. Even the National Organization for Women compliments Bush for elevating Condoleezza Rice to the position of National Security Director and former campaign communications director Karen Hughes to the position of White House counsel. (Laura Flanders)
Secrecy of Bush administrationbut Bush invokes a clause in the Presidential Records Act to allow him 30 days to "review" the papers before releasing them. The papers will never be released; in November, Bush will issue an executive order giving him essentially carte blanche in deciding if and when any presidential papers will ever be released. Bush will later move to keep his father's papers secret as well. The 1978 PRA already exempts classified and other "sensitive" documents from being disclosed. Bush's order will declare that not only can a former President assert executive privilege over his papers against the will of the incumbent President (a measure Reagan instituted just before he left office) but that a sitting President could also block the papers of a predecessor, even if that predecessor had approved their release. The implications of this change are breathtaking. "The bottom line is that secrecy prevails in every situation when at least one party wants it," says Mark Rozell, a political science professor at the Catholic University of America and a leading scholar on executive privilege. Veteran political columnist Russell Baker later writes, "The Bush administration, in full Orwellian swing, has dubbed its executive order 'Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act,' as if it were designed to enhance public access. According to White House spokesperson Anne Womack, 'This really didn't change anything.' The order, she says, is 'just about procedure. It doesn't talk about when, how or why.' At the time the order was signed, press secretary Ari Fleischer said it would mandate a 'more orderly process.... As a result of the new law that is now going into effect, and thanks to the executive order that the President will soon issue, more information will be forthcoming.' That remains to be seen. Whereas in the past the White House had to prove that it had a compelling reason to withhold information, Bush's executive order places the burden on researchers and others to prove that they have a compelling need for the information. This effectively eviscerates the Presidential Records Act." One clause of the order even allows a former president to appoint a representative to make the decision to withhold or release their client's records, a clause that leads presidential scholar Anna Nelson to ask, "...Do we want the children, grandchildren and fellow workers [of a former President] to make these decisions? These are public records." "This is a test of Congress to see how much the administration can get away with," says Steve Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. "It is not at all surprising the executive branch would want to operate in secret. The question is, How much will Congress accept?" Many observers feel that the Bush administration is laying the groundwork for an upcoming refusal to release documents that might link Bush officials, and perhaps Bush himself, to the Enron debacle. "secrecy in the Bush Administration is not limited to one or two individuals. It is a guiding philosophy," says Aftergood later in Bush's presidency. "Whether it is the war in Afghanistan or presidential records from two decades ago, the administration wants to control what the public is permitted to know. It is a dramatic shift from the Clinton administration, where there were several agency heads speaking out in favor of greater disclosure, and in which an unprecedented volume of declassified information was released." (Nation)
Clinton administrationThe most controversial pardon may be that of Marc Rich, the financier who in 1983 fled the US to escape charges of tax evasion and doing business with Iran during the hostage crisis. Rich's wife, Denise, is a heavy contributor to the Democratic Party, leading to charges that Clinton's pardon was essentially bought and paid for by Denise Rich. Clinton explains his decision by noting that similar situations were settled in civil, not criminal court, and cites clemency pleas from Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Barak. (Rich currently lives in luxury in Switzerland.) Other controversial decisions include the commutation of convicted cocaine dealer Carlo Anibal Vignali and the pardons of former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros, Clinton's brother Roger, Susan McDougal, former "terrorist" Patty Hearst, and Fife Symington, the former Republican governor of Arizona who resigned in 1997 and faced multiple charges of fraud involving savings and loan dealings. It is interesting to note that the Bush administration's almost paranoid sense of security does not apply to the Rich pardon; for the first time in history, transcripts of private conversations between a US president and a foreign leader are provided to the press when Bush officials leak partial transcripts of conversations between Clinton and Barak over the Rich pardon. Bush refuses to release other portions of the transcripts at the request of Clinton officials who realize that the rest of the conversations between Clinton and Barak show the Rich pardon in a more benign and understandable light. In addition, Bush officials release thousands of selected e-mails from senior Clinton officials in their attempt to smear Clinton over the pardon. Like the carefully selected portions of the Clinton-Barak transcripts, the e-mails are chosen to paint Clinton in the worst possible light. (Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Paul Waldman)
"The Christian community has a golden opportunity to train an army of dedicated teachers who can invade the public school classrooms and use them to influence the nation for Christ." -- evangelist James Kennedy, Center for Reclaiming America
Religious conservativesThey are particularly pleased to see their colleagues named to positions where they could influence, and sometimes direct, the administration's responses to issues like abortion, gay rights, federal aid to religion, women's rights, birth control and family planning, and federal volunteer programs.
Secrecy of Bush administration"With the arrival of Bush Junior in the White House, it was immediately plain that secret intelligence would receive a high status and more money. While the CIA may have been the creation of a Democratic president (Harry Truman), it now seemed to be strongly favored by Republicans, notably conservative Republicans and especially the Bushes. Alarm bells began to ring for those who remembered past CIA excesses and who for years had campaigned for restrictions, oversight, and even abolition. But those sounds were soon drowned out by the deafening roar of 9/11." (Kevin Phillips)
Bush administration's contempt for democracy"President Bush pledged allegiance to what have become the American house rules when, on arriving in Washington in the winter of 2001, he let it be known that he intended to run the government as if it were a business. Three years later it comes as no surprise that the ten-year federal budget projection has changed from a $5.6 trillion surplus to a $4 trillion deficit, or that our splendid little war in Iraq turns out to have been sold to the American public in the manner of a well-promoted but fraudulent stock offering. The man has been true to his word, the corporation of which he deems himself chairman and chief executive officer not unlike the ones formerly owned and operated by his friends and fundraisers at Enron and Arthur Andersen. The administration's economic and military schemes rely on budget analysts who rig their balance sheets with sham transactions (for African uranium), false data (establishing Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda), offshore special-purpose entities (to contain the otherwise invisible weapons of mass destruction).
Conservative media slantWithin a few months, the servility of the media had become so appallingly obvious that the Washington Post editors finally offered an explanation on May 6, 2001. In a long article on the Style section's front page, correspondent John Harris confessed, 'Are the national news media soft on Bush? The instinctive response of any reporter is to deny it. But my rebuttals lately have been wobbly. The truth is, the new president has done things with relative impunity that would have been huge uproars if they had occurred under Clinton. Take it from someone who made a living writing about those uproars.' James Warren, then Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, offered a harsher assessment after the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner turned from satirical roast to presidential love fest. 'It was the perfect example of all the sucking up to Bush that's been going on every day in this town since he was elected,' growled Warren, whose paper endorsed Bush in November 2001. 'We have been effectively emasculated.... So far, we've made a virtue out of his shortcomings.'" Later, more evidence of anti-Gore bias is presented from some of the same right-wing pundits who ripped Gore during the campaign. "[H]e has been disliked all along," writes Post reporter Dana Milbank in August 2002. Hard-line conservative commentator and former Republican representative Joe Scarborough says he was stunned at the treatment Gore received from the media: "I think, in the 2000 election, [the media] were fairly brutal to Al Gore," Scarborough tells fellow pundit Chris Matthews in November 2002. Former Bush White House aide James Pinkerton tells Fox News, "Look, the problem with Gore is, nobody [in the press] really likes him." In August 2002, the strictly nonpartisan ABC News column The Note will express its dismay at the savaging of Gore, after a ferocious attack on Tipper Gore turns out to be completely false. "Al Gore is regularly treated unfairly by the press corps at large," the column observes. "Al Gore might have, like most humans, some flaws, but hasn't this unfair coverage gone on long enough?" (Joe Conason)
"This is not a family that would be taking over the world if they were not in politics. But they're good at becoming president. It's a curious niche."
-- Longtime Bush aide, quoted by Kevin Phillips
"Culture Wars"blocking foreign aid to any family planning clinic that even mentions the word "abortion." As a result, many family planning clinics in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa have closed, resulting in the spread of AIDS and, ironically, an increase in abortions due to unwanted pregnancies. (Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose)
Bush administration's contempt for democracyThe regulations affect areas ranging from health and safety to the environment and industry. The delay, Card says, would "ensure that the president's appointees have the opportunity to review any new or pending regulations." The process expressly precludes input from average citizens. Inviting such comments, agency officials conclude, would be "contrary to the public interest." Almost all of the regulations are overturned, to the benefit of the corporations involved and the detriment of the American citizenry. (US News and World Report)
George W. Bushas well as the first president to be recorded as AWOL from military service, and the first modern candidate to refuse to take a drug test or answer questions about his former drug use. During his campaign, all of his records about his Texas governorship were hidden away in his father's Presidential library and locked away from public access, as are all records of SEC investigations of his former companies and all the minutes of the meetings of the public corporations in which he served as a board member. Some of his achievements will include:
George W. Bushwill describe Bush and his administration as "revolutionary power...a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system." (Buzzflash)