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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March 23, 2001

Ashcroft’s war on drugs — In These Times
Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to “reinvigorate” the war on drugs, but “it’s difficult to imagine how Bill Clinton could have been much harsher, short of public executions of drug dealers,” says Steven Wishnia.

A heartbeat away —
This parody site went up during Cheney’s heart scare in early March. With a realistic-looking EKG readout, the site’s administrators claim they have managed to fool at least one news organization into believing they were really monitoring the Vice President’s vitals via satellite. The site’s disclaimer says: “This site is meant as a political and social commentary on the public’s insatiable desire to know everything about anyone at any time.” (Thanks to Lincoln West for the tip.)

Pesticides lace Texas parks — Environmental News Network
The Texas Pesticide Information Network has released a report on the widespread use of chemical pesticides in Texas public parks, and the related risks to children. The report found dangerously high levels of toxins in dozens of parks, with the highest in George W. Bush’s hometown of Midland. While cities in other states have been phasing out chemical pesticide use in parks, a 1993 Texas law prohibits cities from regulating pesticides.

March 22, 2001

Bush coins new word! — Reuters
OK, sure, Bush’s butchering of the English language isn’t as dire as, say, his gutting of environmental laws or reproductive rights protections. But still, when he donates a word to the popular lexicon, we like to take note. Speaking to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Monday, he described some businesses as “Hispanically owned.”

The GOP’s Libertarian problem — National Review
Ralph Nader may have garnered just 2 percent of the vote nationwide, but Democrats are still fuming that he cost Gore the election. What few observers have noted is that the GOP has a third-party nemesis of its own: the Libertarians. In both 1998 and 2000, a Republican Senate candidate lost to a Democrat by a margin much less than the total vote for the Libertarian in the same race. The most recent victim was Slade Gorton of Washington.

Cheney: Give nukes a chance — Reuters
For all the environmentalists who are so het up about carbon dioxide and its reputed role in global warming, Dick Cheney has a solution: “If you want to do something about carbon dioxide emissions, then you ought to build nuclear power plants. They don’t emit any carbon dioxide. They don’t emit greenhouse gases.” Nuclear: the next big thing in clean power.

Bush’s gay adviser — The Advocate
If he were black, critics would call him an Uncle Tom. But 22-year-old Tom Beddingfield claims to be a gay-rights activist, despite the fact he supported a California ballot proposal banning gay marriage. Now he’s rumored to be one of Bush’s top advisers on gay issues.

March 21, 2001

Conservatives think Bush too centrist — Christian Science Monitor
Get this: Even after George W. nominated the most conservative slate of cabinet secretaries since the Reagan Administration, rolled back reproductive freedoms, and proposed federal funding for faith-based organizations, the far-right thinks it might just be time to pressure Shrub because they fear he’s leaning too far to the center.

Hagel’s “reform” exposed — Public Citizen
Watchdog group Public Citizen says GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel’s “compromise” campaign finance bill — for those who think even the watered-down McCain-Feingold is too radical — “is a sham reform because it would keep nearly 60 percent of soft money in the political system and would do nothing to prevent it from being redirected to state parties.”

Demos to give GOP a little of own medicine — Reuters
Using the same law that the GOP used to roll back the Clinton administration’s last-minute ergonomics rules, Congressional Democrats (and a few rogue Republicans) are hoping to overturn Bush’s reinstitution of the “global gag rule,” which prevents federal funds from going to international organizations which perform, counsel, or advocate for abortion.

March 20, 2001

Powell suddenly a peacenik — Washington Post
Colin Powell, who owes his political ascent to his quarterbacking of the deadly bombing of Iraq during the Gulf War, must not have thought his words ironic yesterday when he prevailed upon the warring factions in the Middle East to stop shooting at each other: “[L]eaders have a responsibility to denounce violence, strip it of its legitimacy, stop it.”

Tax talk divides GOP — Roll Call
An aggressive campaign by House Republicans to pass an even bigger tax cut than the $1.6 trillion proposed by President Bush has Senate Republicans nervous. They already have a tough task in mustering enough votes to pass the smaller proposal.

Bush as amateur Greenspan — Boston Globe
We thought Bush learned a lesson in his first week on the job when he talked gloomily about the American economy and — poof! — down went the stock market. But he’s playing a tricky game, says The Globe’s Gene Sperling: in order to sell his tax cut, he needs to convince us that the economy is in bad enough shape to need such a measure. Yet at the same time, he has to keep saying happy, hopeful things about our economic outlook to avoid wholesale panic and a worsening of economic conditions. Bush’s toying with the economy for political gain is irresponsible, Sperling says.

Americans favor McCain’s finance proposal over Bush’s — Hotline Scoop
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that 43 percent of those surveyed said they favor McCain’s proposal for reforming campaign finance rules, while 33 percent said they preferred Bush’s ideas on the subject.

March 19, 2001

Tobacco love — The Gully
Last week, a group of lawmakers introduced the first real bipartisan bill since the Bush regime began. The law would classify nicotine as a drug and bring it under the regulatory control of the FDA. Problem is, it hasn’t a chance of winning the president’s signature because Bush is so heavily indebted to big tobacco, according to The Gully.

Lies, damn lies, and Bush statistics — The American Prospect
In their efforts to drum up support for the Bush tax plan, George W. and his cronies are citing some dubious statistics that simply don’t hold up under scrutiny, says The American Prospect.


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