The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.


March 9, 2001

The dark history of UN ambassador pick — In These Times
“As US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, [John] Negroponte abetted and covered up human rights crimes,” charges ITT. “He was a zealous anti-Communist crusader in America’s covert wars against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the FMLN rebels in El Salvador.”

Tom DeLay linked to shadowy group — Roll Call
A group called Americans for Economic Growth launched a scorching radio attack in key district races last fall, accusing Democrats of looting Social Security. Now tax records show the group was funded largely by a PAC with close ties to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay; the PAC, in turn, received a huge influx of money from the National Republican Congressional Committee just before the ads aired. Aides to DeLay deny connections to the group, even though the director of DeLay’s leadership PAC is listed as the registered agent for AEG.

 

March 8, 2001

Cheney irresponsible, suicidal — Arianna Huffington
Dick Cheney’s insistence on returning to work one day after a serious heart procedure is not only bad for his health, it sets a bad example for others in the US who suffer from acute heart disease. Huffington says Cheney’s compulsive workaholism sends a message to citizens that “power and position are more important than life itself.”

And while we’re on the subject … — World Socialist Web Site
What’s the big rush to get Cheney back to work, anyway? The job of vice president, as laid out in the US Constitution, is largely ceremonial. And if we are to believe that it isn’t Cheney but in fact Bush who is really in charge in Washington, couldn’t Cheney have taken a week off?

Bush reigniting Cold War tensions — The Times of London
By refusing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong II to resume missile talks, George W. Bush is endangering a shaky truce between US ally South Korea and its “rogue” neighbor to the north, as well as the US relationship with South Korea itself. One might wonder is Bush is just trying to preserve enough perceived threats abroad to justify his pet missile defense project.

 

March 7, 2001

What the tax cut really costs — The American Prospect
If you had $774 billion — the value of the tax cut Bush has proposed for the wealthiest 1 percent of the US population over the next 10 years — you could: pay two million teachers and/or police officers for a decade; increase spending on class-size reduction efforts by 193 times; fully fund a Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors; triple funding for the earned-income tax credit; double the tax cut for the bottom 80 percent of US wage-earners; quadruple federal housing assistance; double federal spending on mass transit; and much more.

Getting cozy with owing — The New Republic
Each month the Treasury Department releases the Monthly Statement of Public Debt. But the first report under Bush was called the Monthly Statement of Treasury Securities, causing Congressional Democrats to accuse Bush of soft-peddling the federal debt in order to hard-sell his tax cut. It turns out that the name change was initiated by the Clinton administration, but still, according to this piece, it plays directly into the Bush administration’s plan to get the public comfortable with long-term government debt.

Bush budget broaches Arctic drilling — Planet Ark
Little noticed amid all the hoo-haw about the tax cut in George Bush’s budget proposal sent to Congress last week was an entreaty to Congress to begin the process of opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. The guy sure doesn’t waste time.

 

March 6, 2001

The misreporting of the Florida vote — Counterpunch
When The Miami Herald reported that manual recounts in south Florida would not have swung the state into Gore’s column, it was at the very least grossly simplifying the facts, and at worse colluding with the White House to legitimize a man with a shaky claim to the presidency, according to Counterpunch. The Herald, they argue, was extrapolating based on returns from only a handful of counties, and did not account for “overvotes.” The Herald survey also failed to account for the evidence of undercounting of Gore votes or the significant gains for Gore recorded by news organizations’ recounts of other counties.

Larry King out, Clinton in? — San Francisco Chronicle
One of CNN’s founders wants to reinvigorate the ailing network by replacing Larry King with Bill Clinton. Says columnist Tim Goodman, “At this point, we’re lucky he’s not on QVC hawking something tacky … And, frankly, America needs a break from Larry King. ”

Coulter: Women should have guns, but not the vote — Politically Incorrect
Ann Coulter, the political columnist who is the newest darling of the radical right, has a modest proposal: Women should bear arms, but not vote. “The problem with women voting — and your Communists will back me up on this — is that, you know, women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it.” (Thanks to BuzzFlash for the link.)

Bush, Clinton, glass houses, and a handful of stones — St. Petersburg Times
So members of the Clintons’ family used their association with 1600 Pennsylvania to advance their own interests. So what’s new? Neil and Marvin Bush used Bush Sr.’s clout to negotiate multi-million-dollar deals during a tour of Kuwait for their Texas-based businesses. Harken Energy — of which George Jr. owned a hefty chunk — managed to win a contract in the region over Amoco thanks to Dubya’s access to the region’s power elite.

 

March 5, 2001

Bush may have encouraged illegal military votes — Salon
Jake Tapper says the Bush camp may have launched a secretive campaign after election day to get overseas military personnel who were registered to vote in Florida to send in their absentee ballots well after the deadline.

Who were the civilians on the Greenville sub? — KITV News
The 16 civilians on the ill-fated submarine that sank a civilian vessel near Hawaii last month are now known to have been donors to the USS Missouri Restoration Fund, of which George H. W. Bush is honorary chairman. According to the KITV, the civilians were almost all Texans with ties to the energy industry, particularly petroleum.

Idiots, fools please apply — FindLaw
John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, writes: “It strikes me that we are witnessing the creation of a very dangerous precedent. Not only do we seek to destroy presidents while they are in office, but we do so after they leave office as well. The time will come — if it has not already — that only a fool or idiot will seek the highest office in the land.”