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 30, 2001

Bush tax cuts crippled Texas — The New Republic
The Texas legislature passed massive tax cuts in 1997 and 1999, and now the state is paying the price. The cuts had been proposed by then-Gov. Bush, who justified them by pointing to the state’s budget surplus in the mid-1990s. But just two years after the last tax slash, Texas is looking at a $700 million budget shortfall.

Some in GOP grumbling about Bush’s pro-corporate approach — Reuters
Even some of George W. Bush’s biggest allies on the right are irked at how Bush’s ideology seems to be dictated more by the corporations to which he owes favors than to any conservative ethic.

March 29, 2001

What’s your poison? — New York Times (free registration required)
The Bush administration has decided that public access to information about the hazards of potential accidents at US chemical plants is a threat to national security.

Leave no fetus behind — Bergen County Record
Bush’s budget includes a proposal to slash $200 million from the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which has been instrumental in helping get families off welfare by subsidizing child care costs. What ever happened to “leave no child behind”? Dubya seems less concerned with living, breathing children than he is with fetuses.

Big Oil moves to cash in on the Gulf — Houston Chronicle
The giant petroleum companies are jostling for federal contracts to drill off the Gulf of Mexico coast. The Bush administration is auctioning off 50 percent more oil-drilling tracts in the Gulf than Clinton did last year.

Where’s Al when you need him? — New York Daily News
Mr. “Earth In The Balance” is awful quiet as Bush gets to work dismantling Clinton’Gore era environmental protections, says Richard Cohen.

March 28, 2001

Powell takes more body blows — The Times (UK)
Seems like every time Secretary of State Colin Powell makes a public statement about his preferred approach to public policy, someone at the White House contradicts him. (He probably finds a sympathetic ear in Christie Whitman’s office these days.) The administration has even excused the apparent differences between Powell and the White House by blaming them on “slips of the tongue” by Powell. Now it seems the hawkish Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Powell are poised for battle over a European “rapid-reaction” force, which Rumsfeld fiercely opposes, and of which Powell is cautiously tolerant. According to The Times, “[s]o far Mr Powell appears to be having the worst of the struggle.”

George Magazine ranked Powell the third most-powerful person in Washington — ahead of no. 4, George W. Bush but behind no. 2 Dick Cheney — and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times has said “[Powell] can never be fired. It means Mr. Bush can never allow him to resign in protest over anything.” But one has to wonder how much more Powell will be willing to take. (Thanks to Frank Vukovich of Val d’Or, Quebec for The Times tip.)

Dubya dumps Kyoto — Reuters
George W. has officially rejected the Kyoto global warming treaty, calling it antithetical to US economic interests. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said today, “The president has been unequivocal. He does not support the Kyoto treaty.” Which at least is more honest that the Clinton administration, which pussy-footed around the treaty, never fully committing while still talking a good line on global warming.

Bush abandons women’s office — Boston Globe
The Bush administration quietly closed the White House Office on Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. When asked for explanation, a White House official said the office “expired at the end of President Clinton’s term.” The White House must have learned a lesson when it announced it would close offices on race and AIDS and met with public backlash. Now the administration just axes outreach programs without issuing a press release.

March 27, 2001

Whitman denies Bush defied her — Washington Post/Reuters
Yesterday The Washington Post reported that EPA chief Christine Whitman had lobbied Bush hard to “demonstrate his commitment to cutting greenhouse gasses or risk undermining the United States’ standing among allies around the world.” The Post even uncovered a memo in which Whitman urged Bush to recognize global warming as a crucial international issue. Now Whitman is denying that Bush rejected her advice, or that the president’s actions undermine her credibility as EPA chief, as Sen. Jon Kerry said in the Post.

June Jordan on black rage — The Progressive
The inimitable June Jordan called some of her friends — Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Bernice Johnson Reagon, academic Charles Henry — and asked them what they thought of the 200 presidential election, from the reported disenfranchisement of blacks in the South to the Supreme Court decision that installed Bush in the White House.

March 26, 2001

Dubya’s reactionary tax plan — New York Observer
Nicholas von Hoffman says the Republicans’ tendency to cry “class warfare” when their tax cuts are challenged by the left is meant to spook us with the spectre of Marxism. The irony of someone like Paul O’Neill — who is so rich that he doesn’t have to pay taxes on 90 percent of his wealth — asking for “tax relief” is not lost on von Hoffman.

God’s own IPO —
A raft of top thinkers — including Chris Lehman of the Washington Post — meditate on the meaning behind the message of Bush’s “faith-based initiatives,” taking the discussion beyond the predictable church-state boundary arguments.


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