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.


May 12, 2001

Gone with the wind — Environmental News Network
As Governor of Texas, George W. Bush instated a policy calling for a minimum percentage of in-state production of energy to come from renewable sources, mostly wind power. The policy has since proven to be the most effective of its kind in any state. But apparently Bush isn’t allowing his past successes to get in the way of his new federal energy policy, which calls for massive increases in non-renewable energy production, with few encouragements for the development of renewable sources. (Thanks to Barry Anderberg for the tip.)

New Ag nominee: The whiter, the better — Des Moines Register
Thomas Dorr, President Bush’s nominee for a top Agriculture Department post said in a 1999 speech at Iowa State that three of the state’s counties do well economically because “they have been very nondiverse in their ethnic background and their religious background.” According to the Des Moines Register, which obtained a videotape of Dorr’s comments, the undersecretary of agriculture for rural development — the position for which Dorr has been nominated — is responsible for economic programs in some of the nation’s most impoverished and ethnically diverse rural areas, particularly in the South. (Thanks to Laura Belin for the tip.)

Bush’s corporate cabinet — Opensecrets.org
George W., Bush is the first US president with an MBA. So it shoud be no surprise that he has surrounded himself with friends of business, and not just the oil industry. The Center for Responsive Politics has traced the corporate connections of Bush’s cabinet and advisers, and found almost every industry represented:

Ann Veneman, Agriculture Secretary — Calgene/Monsanto; Pharmacia

Spencer Abraham, Energy Secretary — General Motors; Ford Motor Company; Lear Corp.; DaimlerChrysler

Gale Norton, Interior Secretary — Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber; Delta Petroleum; NL Industries; BP Amoco; Ford Motor Company

Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services — Philip Morris; Amtrak; America Online; Time Warner; General Electric; Merck; Abbott Laboratories

Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary — Northwest Airlines; Clorox; C.R. Bard; HCA-The Healthcare Company; Dole Food; Bank of America

Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor — Chevron; Charles Schwab; Transamerica Corp.

Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary — G.D. Searle/Pharmacia; General Instrument/Motorola; Gulfstream Aerospace; General Dynamics; Tribune Company; Gilead Sciences; Amylin Pharmaceuticals; Sears, Roebuck & Co.; Allstate; Kellogg; Asea Brown Boveri

May 11, 2001

Name the prez — The Nation
The Nation asked its readership to choose from among five unkind, editor-selected nicknames for George W. Bush (gee, we wonder where they got that idea?). The winner: “Governor Bush,” followed by “Spurious George.” Frankly, we prefer our readers’ own choices for what to call the president: “the Wit Nit,” “the Usurper,” “Thief Executive,” “Poppy Seed,” and especially “Dick Cheney.”

No more bush — Ms. Magazine
“I love bush. I hate Bush,” says siliconsalley.com editor Emily Hofstetter. When she heard that Bush had won the presidency, she decided to fight back. She started an email campaign to get people accross the country to shave their nether regions while chanting “no more bush, no more bush …” Says Hofstetter: “Cheers, acceptance, support, and Right on! messages are still coming from all over the world. Men and women are shaving it off. Here we stand, united in our grievances, freshly shorn, with the pelvic regions of ten-year-olds (and a child shall lead them) to prove that we have the power to get rid of it. A protest in its most simple and naked form.”

May 10, 2001

Bush threatened by curse — Christian Broadcasting Network
Pat Robertson and company are urging American Christians to engage in “reaffirming warfare prayer” for Dubya’s safety. They’re worried about the so-called “zero-year curse:” With the exception of Ronald Reagan, who survived an assassination attempt, every president elected in a “zero year” since 1840 has died in office. Supporters say prayer is needed “to cancel prophetic predictions being made by various astrologers and occult ‘oracles’ that ‘the 2000-elect must die.'”

US deports general who could expose ambassador’s dark history — Los Angeles Times
John Negroponte, the administration’s pick as ambassador to the United Nations, is rumored to have been involved in the establishment and training of right-wing death squads in Honduras in the 1980s, when he served as ambassador to the Central American country. The one man perhaps most likely to shed light on Negroponte’s role, however, was summarily deported from the US just three weeks before Negroponte was tapped for the UN post. Honduran Gen. Luis Alonso Discua helped the US form an “intelligence” squad that is believed to have killed more than 100 Hondurans during Negroponte’s tenure there.

May 9, 2001

GOP frets over White House energy policy — Roll Call
Republicans on Capitol Hill are concerned that the White House energy policy does not address short-term problems such as high gasoline prices and rolling blackouts, reports Roll Call — and that frustrated voters will lash out in the 2002 Congressional elections.

Bush bugs Secret Service — US News & World Report
Secret Service agents are none too happy with the current administration, it seems. Bush budget cuts have left the agency short on cash and qualified recruits. And agents have more VIPs to guard than they did under Clinton: Cheney and Bush have large extended families that need close attention (not to mention the occasional boyfriend bail-out).

A bird in the slick is worth two halves in a windmill — TomPaine.com
EPA chief Christie Whitman has offered a surreal explanation for why clean wind power is not a part of the Bush/Cheney energy plan, notes TomPaine’s David Case: windmills kill birds. Should someone tell her that oil slicks kill way more birds, as does air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels?

May 8, 2001

Bush speaks Spanish as well as he speaks English — Seattle Times
President Bush pledged on Cinco de Mayo to deliver all future Saturday radio addresses in both Spanish and English. Which begs the question: Is he any better at Spanish than English? According to one listener, “He’s no orator, either in English or Spanish. It’s sort of like, pobrecito, he’s making a good effort. In some words, he lost some syllables, but otherwise he did fine.” So maybe he’s improving, judging from this exchange between then-candidate Bush and Christopher Matthews last year:

BUSH: “First of all, Cinco de Mayo is not the independence day. That’s dieciseis de Septiembre, and …”
MATTHEWS: “What’s that in English?”
BUSH: “Fifteenth of September.”

“Dieciseis de Septiembre” actually translates to “the 16th of September”.

That special glow — Guardian (UK)
The Bush approach to nukes keeps mutating: First it was new nuclear (or is that “nucular”?) plants for the US, and an anti-nuke missile shield. Now its a threat to slash the little money the US sends Russia to keep its nuclear arsenal and the scientific know-how behind it from falling into the wrong hands. The program is yet another victim of the budget trimming the administration is considering to make room for that big tax cut.