by Martin Kettle
Special report: the US elections
George Bush launched the flagship of his domestic agenda for the first year of his presidency yesterday when he sent his plan for billions of dollars of tax cuts to the US Congress.
Mr Bush's $1.6 trillion, (£1,100bn) 10-year tax-cut programme was the centrepiece of his election campaign last year and it is now seen by most Republicans as the key to the party's congressional hopes in midterm elections in November 2002.
Opposition Democrats responded by announcing plans to fight the package, but in terms markedly less confrontational than those they put forward during the election campaign
On June 22, 2000 The Palm Beach Post reported that a computer error by a Boca Raton company mistakenly identified thousands of Floridians -- including 472 in Palm Beach County and 185 from the Treasure Coast -- as felons in Texas and a few other states. No Floridian convicted of a felony can vote unless his voting rights are restored by the Office of Executive Clemency. The Boca Raton company has a $4 million contract with the state Division of
Perhaps it should not be surprising that 50 years after George Orwell coined the terms "doublethink" and "newspeak" they have become central features of the American Presidency. In his inaugural address George W. Bush said, "Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity." Yet his actions in appointing cabinet members representing extreme positions, and the early glimpses of his policy initiatives, make his words seem like a threat directed at those who do not share his point of view. The additional irony, of course, is that he does not have a mandate to govern, having required the intervention of Supreme Court justices with likely personal and political bias, in order to gain office.
While Bush apologists attempt to assure the public that John Ashcroft is a man of principle who will support civil rights laws and other laws of the land, two recent reports contribute to the disturbing picture of the attorney-general designate as someone who on the one hand consorts with the most extreme conservative elements, and on the other is willing to look the other way when faced with wrongdoing by someone to whom he has a personal connection.
As George W. Bush submitted his $1.6 trillion "Goldilocks" tax cut to Congress yesterday, the tactical aspect of the initiative was lost in the ground swell of enthusiasm for lower taxes. Like the Reagan administration before it, the conservative agenda for the tax cut is not anti-recession insurance, as has been touted by various spokespeople from the platforms of popular media, but putting the federal government in a position where every spending initiative must be weighed against balancing the budget.
Two days after the Bush transition team confirmed that their nominee for Secretary of Labor had permitted a woman who was an illegal alien to live in her home, and gave her money, Linda Chavez withdrew her from consideration. News organizations reported that the withdrawal was arranged by Bush advisers after they concluded questions about Chavez's possible violations of immigration laws would not be resolved quickly.
Earlier the Bush team tried to characterize Ms. Chavez actions as charitable, pointing out that the woman had no money or English language skills. Others had characterized it as harboring an illegal alien employee to whom she did not pay even the minimum wage.
In his home state of Missouri, voters elected a dead man rather than vote for John Ashcroft for senator. And the dead man won (former Governor Mel Carnahan, whose wife was appointed by the acting Governor to serve in her husband's place). Unfortunately for opponents of Ashcroft's right-wing positions, losing the Senate race made him available for the Bush cabinet, and Bush appointed him his Attorney-General designate.
by Mark H. Levine, Attorney at Law.
distributed December 14, 2000 by Michael Moore
Q: I'm not a lawyer and I don't understand the recent Supreme Court decision
in Bush v. Gore. Can you explain it to me?
A: Sure. I'm a lawyer. I read it. It says Bush wins, even if Gore got the
Q: But wait a second. The US Supreme Court has to give a reason, right?
Q: So Bush wins because hand-counts are illegal?
A: Oh no. Six of the justices (two-thirds majority) believed the
hand-counts were legal and should be done.
Special report: the US elections
The fix is in, Al Gore is out and it is a bad day for American democracy.
In the end, the supreme court was decisive. The majority's ruling was transparently political. Questions of timeframe and standards in Florida's recounts could have been resolved with goodwill and impartiality. Both were lacking. By its action, the antithesis of jurisprudence, the court is in contempt of the electorate. It may not, in this generation's lifetime, recover its reputation. And American political discourse may never be the same again.
by Michael Moore.
distributed October 11, 2000
As I write this, there are two presidential debates left. I have a suggestion for Jim Lehrer. Don't ask George W. Bush any further questions about social security or prescription drugs or mandatory testing for students and teachers. Just get up out of your moderator's seat and take a copy of a book, any book. Walk over to Governor Bush, hand it to him, and ask him to read.
That's right. Just ask him to read, from anywhere in the book. I have a hunch that he can't read.