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.

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May 19, 2001

GSA says White House vandal scandal bogus — Kansas City Star
Remember those rumors that furniture was destroyed, silverware snatched, and trash strewn throughout the White House as the Clinton crew cleared out in January? Well, the General Services Administration says it wasn’t true. The rumors had been spread by unidentified Bush aides in the first weeks of the new administration.

Chomsky calls US ‘rogue superpower’ — BBC World Service
As the Bush Administration sets out to sell its controversial missile-shield project to leery allies, it is using time-tested rhetoric about “rogue states” such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. But in his new book “Rogue States,” Noam Chomsky says it’s the United States that’s the biggest loose cannon on the planet. In this interview with the BBC, Chomsky says the past 40 years of US policy in East Asia — exemplified by covert US involvement in Indonesia and East Timor in the 1960s and ’70s — have earned America the title as “rogue superpower,” more unpredictable and threatening to global stability than China. You read it here first: Christopher Hitchens’ essay “Rogue Nation, U.S.A.”, in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine, says the guiding principle of US foreign policy is “Cause We Say So.”

Flynt wants a piece of Bush — Reuters
Larry Flynt says he’s trying to dig up “dirt” on George W. Bush but finding that officials in Texas are not terribly forthcoming with the king of hard-core porn. “Bush has got a spin machine that looks like Mary Poppins. It is hard to get any information out of Texas. You get very little cooperation,” he told a news conference in Cannes, France. Flynt reportedly expects Bush to seek new limits on the pornography industry.

May 18, 2001

Bush energy plan: Watt joy — Denver Post
James Watt, secretary of the interior during the Reagan administration and “arguably the most anti-environment secretary ever,” according to the Audubon Society, has nothing but praise for the Bush team’s energy plan. “Everything Cheney’s saying, everything the president’s saying — they’re saying exactly what we were saying 20 years ago, precisely. Twenty years later, it sounds like they’ve just dusted off the old work.” Among other things, Watt was an early adherent of the “Wise Use” movement, which discouraged conservation in favor of inexpensive use of public lands by ranchers and energy prospectors. (Thanks to “Blake” for the tip.)

The weather gods must be angry — The Scoop
The Sludge Report, from New Zealand’s The Scoop, has a theory: The climate is angry with the Bush Administration for its cavalier attitude about global warming. The skies opened up in Washington, DC on Dubya’s inauguration day, and now the rain appears to be following both the President and veep Dick Cheney as they unveil their climate-unfriendly energy plan.

Gays pleased with Bush appointees — The Advocate
George W. Bush caused quite a dust-up in 1999 when he said he would not meet with the gay Log Cabin Republicans (he later changed his mind). So it comes as a pleasant surprise to gay groups that the conservative Bush administration quietly hired two openly gay men as key aides in recent months. Wisconsin activist Scott Evertz was named director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (an office Bush briefly considered closing), and corporate executive Stephen E. Herbits has been hired as a consultant by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

May 17, 2001

Bush moderates Cheney’s anti-conservation stance —
Apparently even Vice President Dick Cheney, like everyone else in the West Wing, is subject to having his public remarks “clarified” by his superiors. Days after Cheney dissmissed conservation as a mere “personal virtue,” Bush told reporters that, indeed, conservation would have a role, albeit small, in the administration’s energy policy.

Whitman tries to exorcise civil-rights demons — Environmental News Network
EPA chief Christine Whitman wants to clean up her agency’s image; she has pledged a series of initiatives to clear out a backlog of discrimination complaints, and to train staffers to be more sensitive to race issues. Ironically, Whitman herself is now being sued in connection with a widely publicized 1996 photo in which she was shown frisking a young black drug suspect during a ride-along with Camden, N.J. police. The man, who had already been frisked by police who found no drugs, has charged Whitman with violating his civil rights.

May 16, 2001

Bush’s gun policy full of holes — Violence Policy Center
“Last year, the NRA promised that if George W. Bush won the election, they’d be operating out of the White House. Today’s announcement is just the latest proof that this brazen statement was not an idle boast,” says the Violence Policy Center. President Bush’s new policy on gun violence focuses on prosecution of gun crimes after-the-fact, instead of violence prevention or gun regulation. Bush’s policy, announced the day after the annual Million Mom March, reads like a direct descendant of longstanding NRA proposals, the center notes.

We don’t need no stinkin’ rules — International Herald Tribune
Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove was summarily dismissed from his post last week after he angered GOP leaders by pointing out that several recent pieces of legislation, including the budget and tax cut bills, contained violations of Congressional rules and procedures.

Whitman’s rocky start — Bergen County Record
EPA chief Christie Whitman’s hometown paper takes the measure of her first few months in federal office. There have been plenty of miscues, which some observers say reflect inexperience and a lack of preparation, while others say Whitman’s environmental ideals are simply out of step with the rest of the administration.

May 15, 2001

Joint chiefs of industry — Associated Press
All three of President Bush’s nominees for the top civilian jobs in the military are executives of major multinational corporations, which could easily influence their decisions on awarding defense contracts and other matters. When Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised the potential conflict of interest, all three said they would recuse themselves if their company were in line for a fat Pentagon contract. The nominees for secretary of the Navy and secretary of the Army are both top executives for defense contractors General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman, respectively. The nominee for secretary of the Air Force is an executive with Enron Energy Services, which has had long-standing ties to Bush.

Too many power plants already? — US News & World Report
Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion that the US needs to build one new power plant each week for the next 20 years may seem extreme, says US News & World Report. But if anything, it suggests that Cheney may not quite be aware of the status quo: In light of a recent building boom in the power industry, to meet Cheney’s suggested pace, the industry would actually have to slow construction of new plants. Last year, 158 new plants were built — or more than three per week.

Dubya’s diary — Orange County Weekly
A journal of the prez’s first 100 days: “Cheney’s been joking that with our arrest records, we coulda started a band called the Rolling Blackouts. California has been dark for nearly a month now. Let ’em stew in it for a while, Cheney sez, they didn’t vote for us. See if they buy electric cars now …

“The newspapers finally announced the Florida recount. … Just shrug it off, Colin sez, an’ he’s right…. What’re they gonna do, go presidentize Al Gore when they find him out there, making balloon animals at shopping malls or whatever he’s doin’? That guy sank so fast I think Jimmy Carter’s building a house for him now.”


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