Dubya and the Cabinet of Horrors

Revolutionary Worker #1086, January 14, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org

The new president, George W. Bush, has announced his candidates for the Cabinet and other top agencies. This band of extreme capitalist gangsters will now run the government and set policy.

The list includes three African Americans, a Japanese-American, a Latino, a Lebanese American and several women--yet it is remarkable how un-diverse this group is. It is a crew spawned by the boardrooms of imperialist corporations, the Pentagon war-machine, and rightwing think tanks.

After eight years under Clinton, where welfare was cut, abortion became harder to get, affirmative action was undermined, and the poor became poorer--now comes a new crew on a mission: to question anything that interferes with profit. A Pentagon general is in charge of foreign policy. Virulent opponents of racial equality are in charge of enforcing affirmative action. Professional opponents of the social net and women's rights are in charge of federal programs. Hitmen for timber, mining and oil capitalists are in charge of public lands and environmental enforcement.

George W. Bush--President-Select

Nicknames: George Dubya Putsch, Shrub, Baby Doc

Previous Crimes: Revolutionary journalist C. Clark Kissinger summed up, "George W. Bush is a smirking frat rat son of a former head of the CIA who went on to become a speculator oil man, and from there went on to be a blood-stained executioner, and now wants to be the ruler of the world." (from the August 1 speech for which Clark is now in prison)

Post selection quote: "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier. Heh, heh, heh. Just so long as I'm the dictator, heh, heh, heh."

The Inner Circle

Dick Cheney--Vice President

In charge of: Overseeing all White House decisions and appointments

Nickname: Mr. Big Time

Previous Crimes: Organized the Gulf War in 1991, as Defense Secretary for President George Bush Sr., causing mass murder and destruction from the air and ending with direct U.S. military domination in the region. Afterward, became a multi-millionaire as head of Halliburton, a major oil industry corporation, by making deals with Middle East governments dependent on U.S. military support.

John Ashcroft--Attorney General

In charge of: Federal law enforcement and prisons, immigration policy, nomination of new judges.

Main Credentials: Flaming Christian-fascist, white racist and fanatic opponent of women's reproductive rights.

Previous Crimes: Former Missouri governor and senator who sponsored constitutional amendments to criminalize abortion (including for rape and incest) and ban post-fertilization contraception like IUDs . Opponent of affirmative action. Frontline supporter of imposing "traditional Christian values" on U.S. society. Leading figure in impeachment of Bill Clinton. Rented his fundraising list to Linda Tripp. Opposed federal employee health insurance covering contraceptives.

Quote: In 1998, Ashcroft told the Southern Partisan magazine, "You've got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern Patriots like Lee, Jackson, and Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda." (Lee, Jackson and Davis led the Confederacy in its war for slavery and white supremacy.)

Quote: "I need to invite God's presence into whatever I'm doing, including the world of politics."

Key Backers: Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, rightwing capitalist Richard Mellon Scaife, and Microsoft Corporation (which gave large campaign contriutions to the man who may now be in charge of anti-trust policy).

Famous achievement: Lost Missouri Senate seat to a dead person, Nov. 2000

Colin Powell--Secretary of State

In charge of: Global geo-politics and diplomacy for U.S. imperialism.

Distinction 1: The man most universally praised within the U.S. ruling class.

Distinction 2: Responsible for even more government killings than Dubya himself.

Previous Crimes: In 1968, while serving as operations officer of the America division, Powell helped cover up the U.S. Army massacre of 300 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in Vietnam. Served on Reagan's national security team and as special military assistant to Defense Secretary during the 1980s, when the White House was orchestrating covert death-squad wars in Central America. Called himself "the chief administration advocate" for the brutal CIA-run Contra forces in Central America. Gave perjured testimony in 1987 to help cover up the Pentagon's role in the Iran/Contra activities. December 1989, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the U.S. invasion of Panama--where hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands seriously injured, including in the "little Hiroshima" firebombing of the poor neighborhood of El Chorrillo in Panama City. Headed the military during the 1991 U.S. invasion of the Persian Gulf, which killed close to 200,000 people during the intense massive bombing of Iraq. Infamous for denying the existence of the Gulf War syndrome that affected so many thousands of his own soldiers.

Major idea: So-called "Powell Doctrine" saying the U.S. should only attack in situations of guaranteed victory, similar to cowardly police "swarm" tactics.

Condoleezza Rice--National Security Adviser

In charge of: Geo-political strategy for the ruling class and tutoring Dubya in geography.

Previous crimes: Expert on Soviet Union at Stanford and rightwing think tanks, served as White House expert on the dismantling of rival imperialist bloc (1989-91) for President Bush Sr.

Little Known Fact: on the board of Chevron oil corporation, has oil tanker named after her.

Donald Rumsfeld--Defense Secretary

In charge of: U.S. military.

Nickname: Sir

Previous Crimes: Leading "cold war hawk" in '70s as President Ford's Defense Secretary. Former CEO of imperialist corporations G.D. Searle and General Instrument Corp. Produced the 1998 "Rumsfeld Report" for Clinton White House endorsing the Reagan-era plan for Star Wars missile system.

Main goals: Pushing forward Star Wars (Meaning: developing first strike capability and dumping 30 years of arms control treaties with Russia). Advocates major arms buildup for Pentagon (which already spends $300 billion a year).

Ministries of Profit and Privatization

Linda Chavez--Labor Secretary

In charge of: Policy for profitable exploitation of the working class, enforcing laws on workplace safety, minimum wage, and anti-discrimination.

Main Credential: Opponent of minimum wage hikes and anti-discrimination laws, wildly supported by organizations of capitalist employers.

Qualification: Does not speak Spanish.

Previous crimes: Notorious rightwing hack columnist in the "cultural wars." A professional opponent of affirmative action, bilingual education and ethnic studies. Former president of "U.S. English" (which promoted ballot initiatives and legislation campaign to prevent the use of any language but English in business and government operations. Spearheaded attacks on affirmative action and other civil rights policies as Reagan's head of Civil Rights Commission.

Revealing: Sits on board of Greyhound Lines, Inc. (which recently broke a major strike) and ABM Industries Inc. (which brutally exploits workers in janitorial services.) Defended the acquittal of NYC police who shot Amadou Diallo 19 times.

Expectation: Defend white supremacy.

Tommy Thompson--Health and Human Services Secretary

In charge of: Wide range of federal social services.

Main Credential: Prominent ruling class opponent of welfare and women's right to choose.

Previous crimes: As Wisconsin governor, pioneered the deep cuts in welfare. Signed most restrictive state abortion law in the country--including life imprisonment for doctors who perform late term abortions. (This law was later overturned in federal court.) Proposed laws pressuring people to marry, known as "state-sponsored shotgun weddings." Instituted a state system of vouchers to undermine and privatize public education.

Revealing praise: Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial (Jan. 2), "Understandably Mr. Clinton is anxious to take the bows on a successful welfare reform. But Mr. Bush's appointments reminds us that it was Mr. Thompson and his fellow Republicans who wrote the script."

Expectation: Reverse legalization of RU-486 morning after pills.

Mel Martinez--Housing Secretary

In charge of: Federal housing policy and public housing.

Qualifications: None.

Dubious distinction: Executive of Florida's Orange County who took Elian Gonzales to Disneyworld and opposed his return to Cuba.

Credentials: Ally of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, liaison to Florida's Cuban exile community.

Rod Paige--Education Secretary

In charge of: Policies for schools receiving federal money.

Qualifications: As Superintendent of Houston schools intensified discipline and focused education on test scores. Stationed police dogs and a SWAT team within schools.

Expectation: Promote voucher system to encourage breakup of public education into private systems segregated by class and race.

Norman Y. Mineta--Transportation Secretary

In charge of: Highways, rail and air infrastructure.

Main credential: Democrat willing to serve Republican President.

Previous Crimes: U.S. army intelligence agent 1950s; point man for high-tech capitalists as congressman from Silicon Valley 1975-95; senior vice president for Lockheed-Martin (major corporate producer of military aircraft and missiles) 1995-99.

Don Evans--Commerce Secretary

In charge of: Arranging international business deals for large Republican contributors.

Main Credentials: Campaign "rainmaker" who built biggest political war chest in history for Dubya.

Previous Crimes: Lifetime Bush confident and fellow Texas oil millionaire.

Quote: "The road the Department of Commerce will travel is clear: The promotion of free enterprise, first in America, and then abroad, will be our first priority, free-flow of capital, free and open competition."

Paul O'Neill--Treasury Secretary

In charge of: Establishing federal fiscal policy.

Previous crimes: Multimillionaire chairman of Alcoa, the imperialist aluminum corporation exploiting workers and resources in 60 countries. Expert in ruthless restructuring. Outspoken opponent of universal health care.

Claim to fame: Protégé of Alan Greenspan.

Goals: Tax cuts for the upper classes. Incremental privatization of Social Security.

Adjustment: To join cabinet had to withdraw his previous support for gasoline conservation measures.

The Toxic Cutting Crew

Gale A. Norton--Interior Secretary

In charge of: Public lands, Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Main backers: Western mining and timber capitalists, rightwing militias.

Mentor: James Watt, Reagan's lunatic, anti-environment Interior Secretary.

Main Credential: Aggressive opposition to preservation of national forests; relentless support for capitalist exploitation of natural resources--especially drilling on Alaskan northern slope

Previous Crimes: As Attorney General of Colorado protected corporations from water and air pollution laws by supporting "self auditing." Opponent of Endangered Species Act. Lawyer for Reagan-era Interior Department responsible for the campaign to drill oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Aggressively defended in federal court Colorado's ballot initiative legalizing discrimination against homosexuals.

Goals: Open federal lands to more mining, oil exploration, and clear-cutting.

Spencer Abraham--Energy Secretary

In charge of: Energy production and research; production of nuclear weapons and weapons grade plutonium.

Nicknames: Mr. SUV, the Senator from Big Auto.

Credentials: Opposes more fuel efficiency. Intends to pump and burn more gas. Big supporter of cross-country transport and central storage of nuclear waste.

Previous crimes: Deputy chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle (1990-92).

Don't talk to him about: Stopping greenhouse gases.

Most remarkable achievement: As Michigan senator three times sponsored bills to abolish the Energy Department he will now head.

Assessment: The official biographical sketch describes Abraham as "a forceful voice for the business community and free enterprise." Friends of the Earth rate his eco-record as "a big fat zero."

Ann Veneman--Agriculture Secretary

In charge of: Agricultural price supports, trade, policy toward monopolization of food production, National Forest Service.

Main Credential: Conservative ideologue closely supported by capitalists in agribusiness, timber and mining.

Previous Crimes: Negotiated treaties favorable to agribusiness for previous Bush government. As a lawyer defended expanded access to federal lands by mining capitalists and off-road vehicles.

Christine Whitman--Environmental Protection Agency

In charge of: Environmental policy and enforcement.

Nickname: Queen of Racial Profiling

Earlier crimes: As Governor of New Jersey covered up the systematic racial profiling by New Jersey state troopers - as over 70 percent of turnpike stops targeted Black and Latino travelers. Caught in the act: posed for photo frisking young Black man.

Credentials: Cut enforcement of New Jersey state environmental laws, abolished the environmental prosecutor's office, and undermined the right-to-know reporting rules for companies that handle toxic chemicals.

Revealing Remarks: When asked about global warming in December, she answered by suggesting that the hole in the ozone layer was closing--proving that she doesn't know anything about global warming or the thinning ozone layer (including that they are not the same problem).

Famous Quote: "There is no such thing as racial profiling." (New York Daily News, May 3, 1998)

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