Democratic Underground

2001: The Year in Review - Part Three
January 5, 2002
by Smokey Sojac

Part One - January, February, March
Part Two - April, May, June
Part Four - October, November, December


Bush celebrates Independence Day with a visit to the Jefferson Memorial. Tourists are chased away by security personnel, and replaced with hand-picked Republican supporters. Says Bush, "It's an unimaginable honor to be the president during the Fourth of July of this country. It means what these words say, for starters. The great inalienable rights of our country. We're blessed with such values in America. And I-it's-I'm a proud man to be the nation based upon such wonderful values. I can't tell you what it's like to be in Europe, for example, to be talking about the greatness of America. But the true greatness of America are the people." He also limits access to the traditional fireworks show to a handful of invited guests. By contrast, more than 8,000 members of the public came to Bill Clinton's 2000 Independence Day fireworks show.

The International Plan for Cleaner Energy is proposed by the G-8 group of industrial nations (US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, UK). The US is the only one to oppose it.

The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention had been ratified by 144 nations including the United States. This month the US walks out of a London conference to discuss a 1994 protocol designed to strengthen the Convention by providing for on-site inspections. At Geneva in November 2001, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton will state that "the protocol is dead," at the same time accusing Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria of violating the Convention but offering no specific allegations or supporting evidence. In December it will turn out that the Pentagon and the CIA have been doing bioweapons research in violation of the treaty.

Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old office worker for retiring Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, is found dead in the congressman's district office. "It's my understanding that she had prior health problems," says medical examiner Michael Berkland, who adds that there is no sign of trauma. After a delay, Berkland's report labels her death "accidental" due to an undiagnosed heart condition. Klausutis is a member of the Northwest Florida track club and has recently completed an 8K run. Two cops who view the autopsy tell the Northwest Florida Daily News that Klausutis had a fractured skull. It emerges that Berkand, an osteopath, had his license suspended in 1999 after Florida had discovered his Missouri doctor's license had been revoked for unethical conduct and knowingly making a false statement in autopsy reports.

The UN Agreement to Curb the International Flow of Illicit Small Arms is sabotaged in July by the Bush Administration, making the US the only nation to oppose it. The US gun lobby is the largest merchant of small arms in the world.

The spy plane brought down by the Chinese in April is finally flown home in pieces by the Russians.

Eliot Abrams, convicted of lying to Congress to cover up the Reagan Administration funding terrorists in Central America, is chosen director of the National Security Council's office for democracy, human rights and international operations.

James Howard Hatfield is found dead of a drug overdose in mysterious circumstances. Hatfield's biography of Bush, "Fortunate Son," revealed among other things, that Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession in 1972 and sentenced to community service at Houston's Project PULL.

Gaddi Vasquez, a Southern California Edison executive, is Bush's nominee as director of the Peace Corps. Besides SCE, which went belly-up this spring, Vasquez also presided over the Orange County investment debacle which cost residents $1.7 billion. He also has had heart surgery within the past month.

According to Le Figaro and Radio France, Osama Bin Laden receives treatment for his kidney infection at the American Hospital in Dubai. While there he is visited by many members of his family as well as prominent Saudis and Emiratis, and the local CIA man in Dubai. When the story breaks in November, Dr. Terry Callaway, the urologist who treats him, will refuse all comment.

The Navy is asked to pay Deadheart Dick Cheney's $186,000 electric bill at the Vice Presidential residence. Earlier in the year, dismissing talk of energy conservation, he had said, ""If you want to leave all the lights on in your house, you can. But you will pay for it."

American Express announces it will cut 8,000 jobs. Lucent Technologies announces it will cut 20,000 jobs. ABB announces it will cut 12,000 jobs.

Philip Morris officially apologizes for a report in which they advised that the rising death rate among smokers would save taxpayers money, as government would not have to pay medical costs for those dying quickly and young.

The Bush Administration, with assistance from Solicitor General Theodore Olson and Ken Starr, urges the Supreme Court to grant an appeal from Cleveland pro-voucher activists, even though the federal government has played no role in the lawsuit. The vouchers were declared unconstitutional in December, 2000, and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear the case in February.

A fire breaks out after a train derails in a downtown Baltimore tunnel, spewing black smoke and prompting city officials to close all major throughfares through the city. Eight out of the sixty cars on the train contain hazardous material, including hydrochloric acid. Local residents are urged to keep their windows closed and ventilation systems off while the black smoke billows out of the tunnel. Officials are still investigating the cause.

While Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham is defending proposed Bush DOE cuts in conservation programs before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, dedicated Bush supporter Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) implores Secretary Abraham to explain to the Committee "how cutting the energy budget when facing a potential energy crisis isn't dumb." Bartlett explains publicly that he is so fond of this president that he doesn't "want him to look dumb."

On July 14, as part of a test of the proposed anti-missile system, a missile successfully strikes a target drone whose trajectory, speed and time of launch were all known. After first denying it, the Pentagon admits that the target contained a radio beacon guiding the missile to it.

Attorney General John Ashcroft files an amicus curiae brief contradicting the position taken by his Justice Department in United States v. Emerson, then pending before the United States Court of Appeals in New Orleans. His brief is inconsistent with Justice Department policy on the Second Amendment that can be traced back more than 65 years. It omits any reference to the one case in which the Supreme Court actually ruled on the Second Amendment, contains gross factual errors, takes historical material out of context, misquotes sources, and portrays as authoritative cases that have nothing at all to do with the Second Amendment.

The City Council of tiny La Verkin, Utah, declares the town a "UN-free" zone. Any resident who supports the United Nations must file annual reports to the city and post a sign noting his or her support. "This is dumb," says resident Rebecca Beckham. "Why is it any of their business to deal with the United Nations? They should fix the potholes."

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., orders TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition to stop retaliating against several African-American employees who are suing the group on charges of racial bias. In a ruling issued July 30, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina finds that the Coalition had retaliated against the employees who filed the lawsuit by slashing their hours in an effort to drive them off. Urbina orders that the workers be returned to full-time hours.

Russian president Putin says Russia would be willing to discuss changes in the 1972 ABM treaty. Undersecretary of State John Bolton rejects any discussion of changes. Says Bolton, "We will move ahead on our own if need be."

A natural gas well explosion in a remote area of western Texas about 64 miles east of Waco, TX, claims the lives of two workers and injuring five others. About 10 to 12 Halliburton Company workers are in the area when the blowout occurred.

Federal gun buyback programs, which got 20,000 weapons off the street last year, are ended by the Bush administration.

The nude bodies of 13-year-old Bradley Warren, 14-year-old Brandon Warren, and 19-year-old Marnie Warren are found in their home strewn with trash and animal feces in Kenly, NC. Brandon shot his brother and sister before turning the gun on himself. Parents Boyd and Nissa Mae Warren, who had previously been convicted of felony child abuse in 1991, were home-schooling the trio. They face up to 120 days in jail under existing law.

In Nashville, bus driver Willie Huston, who is holding a blind friend's arm and watching his fiancee's purse, is shot to death in parking lot by Lewis Maynard Davidson III, who thinks Huston is gay.

Free-lance journalist Vanessa Leggett is ordered jailed by Attorney General John Ashcroft in a secret trial. An appeal of the ruling in August is opened to the public only after massive outcry. The longest jailed author in US history, she is still in jail at year's end. She has refused to turn over her notes regarding the murder of the wife of a Bush campaign contributor to a Houston grand jury.

The Environmental Protection Agency goes to court to block Clinton-administration rules requiring the cleanup of national rivers.

A sulfuric acid spill at the Motiva oil refinery in Delaware City, DE kills one worker and releases a cloud of toxic gas. An unknown quantity of acid and chemicals used to fight the fire flows over a protective dike around the storage tank and spills into the Delaware River. The state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and U.S. Coast Guard works to contain the spill, which kills more than 1,600 fish.

An arsine release from at a river port of Catoosa, Oklahoma chemical facility sends 138 employees and workers at neighboring facilities to local hospitals. A tank of arsine gas, used in the semiconductor industry, erupts July 11 at the Solkatronic Chemical plant. Workers at Solkatronic and the Air-X-Changers plant next door are affected.

A fire and explosion occurs in the hydroflouric acid alkylation unit at the Ultramar Diamond Shamrock (UDS) refinery in Three Rivers, TX, injuring four people. Hundreds of people are driven from their homes.


Bush takes a month-long vacation after just over six months in office. During those six months, he has spent 42 percent of the time already on vacation, including 54 days at his Texas ranch, 38 days at the presidential retreat at Camp David and four more at his parents' place in Kennebunkport, ME. By contrast, American workers have the fewest vacation days in the industrialized world. During his vacation Middle East violence will skyrocket, and he will do nothing about it.

Egypt and the UN urge the US to implement the Mitchell Commission recommendations. That report, commissioned by President Clinton in October 2000 called for an end to the fighting, the halting of settlement building and the arrests of known Arab terrorists -- all steps intended to precede peace talks. It also called on Israel not to use lethal force against stone throwers. "There's a lot of people in the Middle East who are desirous to get into the Mitchell process. And-but first things first. The-these terrorist acts and, you know, the responses have got to end in order for us to get the framework-the groundwork-not framework, the groundwork to discuss a framework for peace, to lay the-all right," Bush says. "My administration has been calling upon all the leaders in the-in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen."

On August 23, the FBI issues an alert to try and stop Khalid Al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhamzi, who will be two of the September 11 hijackers from entering the US, as they are known associates of Osama Bin Laden. They are already in Los Angeles. The information is not shared with other agencies.

After weeks of hype, Bush announces that he will allow $250 million in Federal funding of stem cell in a bizarre televised speech seemingly delivered from a desk in an empty cow pasture. He limits funding to just 60 stem cell lines, whose patents turn out to be coincidentally controlled by a company with which HHS secretary Tommy Thompson is involved. It later emerges all 60 lines are contaminated with mouse cells.

In conjunction with the stem cell decision, Bush announces the formation of President's Council on Bioethics that will consider scientific and ethical considerations as the research proceeds. It will be chaired by Dr. Leon Kass, who has stated that any thing he finds personally "repugnant" must be immoral.

Bush pays China $35,000 for their costs in downing our spy plane back in April.

The Bush administration successfully pressures the National Industry Liaison Group, a trade association of corporate anti-discrimination officers, to cancel their keynote speaker Alfred Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies. Ross had been planning to spell out the concerted activities of the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society and other right wing groups to turn back the clock on civil rights and attack the concept of diversity.

On August 21, the Fed makes its seventh rate cut of the year.

The House rejects an amendment to raise fuel efficiency standards for cars and sport utility vehicles. Fuel efficiency is at a 20 year low.

Virulent racist and world class idiot Jesse Helms announces he will not run for re-election.

Utah gun nuts erupted in fury when they learn they will not be allowed by the Secret Service to tote their precious firearms into a hall at the state Republican convention where Deadheart Dick Cheney is about to speak. The GOP defuses the controversy by providing storage lockers. At the convention, the delegates pass a resolution calling for the President and Congress to get the U.S. out of the United Nations, three measures calling for school vouchers, and a jury nullification resolution.

White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales says compiling information on discussions White House senior adviser Karl Rove had with representatives of companies in which he held stock would be "extraordinarily burdensome if not impossible." The White House rejects a request from Congress to provide the information. Before being directed to sell his stocks in June because they posed a conflict of interest -- a directive that enabled him to defer capital gains taxes -- Rove met with officials or trade association representatives of at least six companies in which he said he had more than $100,000 worth of stock: Intel, Enron, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Cisco

Interior Secretary Gale Norton names the Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill as a historic landmark. The 145-acre dump has been on the EPA's Agency's Superfund list for 12 years. It has polluted the Fresno groundwater with leaking oil, paint, solvents and other toxics, and generates methane gas that must be burned off. Cleanup will cost the city $23 million to clean up, according to the EPA.

Wealthy pharamacist Robert Courtney is indicted for watering down cancer drugs. He blames a $300,000 pledge to his church, where a fellow parishoner is John Ashcroft. He is denied bail when he is detected trying to shift $5 million in assets to the Cayman Islands.

The Pentagon admits that X-band radar, necessary to make the proposed national missile defense work, is unreliable when rain, snow, hail, sleet or high clouds are present in the atmosphere. Funding for the X-band radar has not been included in the escalating costs of the missile defense system, and no US ally has agreed to allow the US to install an X-band radar on its soil.

Under the Clinton administration, demonstrators protesting the national missile defense faced misdemeanor charges. The Bush administration charges Greenpeace demonstrators with felony charges of "conspiracy to violate a safety zone," carrying a maximum penalty of six years in prison and fines of $250,000. Such harsh treatment is unusual for protests not resulting in violence or the destruction of property.

Cleanup crews discover uranium leaking in a pipe under two West Chicago houses, marking the first discovery of that radioactive substance contamination in the neighborhood. Two houses have to be raised on jacks; this is the first time homes have had to be moved in the nearly decade-long cleanup of the shuttered Kerr-McGee chemical factory. "The homes are closely adjacent to the old factory site, and the uranium was transmitted through an extremely old clay pipe," said Rich Allen, manager of the office of environmental safety in the state's Department of Nuclear Safety. "(The pipe) is so old it's not on the easement maps, and nobody from the 20th century seems to remember it."

The BP Amoco Polymers plant In Augusta, GA is again revamping safety procedures after an operator suffered second-degree burns in a mishap in the Amodel unit - the same unit where an explosion killed three workers earlier this year.

An Oklahoman BP Amoco crude oil pipeline ruptures after being struck by a machine cleaning roadside ditches, sending oil 30 feet into the air and damaging nearby cotton crops with up to 150,000 gallons spilled. The Jackson County Commissioner's Office constructs dikes to help contain the spilled oil.

In Louisiana, about 75 people are evacuated for three days after an ammonia leak blamed on vandals. Ammonia began escaping from two points of a Koch Pipeline Co. line after someone had drilled into a valve, probably to get ammonia to make methamphetamine.

A freight train carrying hazardous materials near Wichita, KS, derails and catches fire after reportedly hitting a backhoe. Three engines and 10 extra-long flat cars of the train go off the tracks. More than 120 residents of the rural area south of Wichita are evacuated as thick black smoke rises from the blaze. Two sheriff's deputies are hospitalized.

The Republican National Committee launches a website to bridge the gender gap and woo women voters. The website is pink with pastel lettering and includes Condoleeza Rice's style and makeup tips, but fails to address the environment, health care, education, workplace equality, day care or other issues.

An instructor at a Minnesota flight school warns the F.B.I. in August of his suspicion that a student, who is later identified as a part of Osama Bin Laden's terror network, might be planning to use a commercial plane loaded with fuel as a weapon. The instructor spells out the terrorist threat posed by the student, Zacarias Moussaoui.

The scheduled release of 68,000 pages of Reagan era documents is delayed yet again by the Enron administration, which says it wants a few more weeks to review them, in violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The papers cover the period when Osama Bin Laden was recruited and trained by the Reagan Administration, as well as the period when arms were being sold secretly in the Middle East to finance the terrorist campaigns of the Contras.

Forensic researchers uncover the remains of 15 people in a former U.S. base used to train the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s. The list of people missing at El Aguacate air base includes 105 Hondurans, 39 Nicaraguans, 28 Salvadorans, five Costa Ricans, four Guatemalans, two U.S. citizens, an Ecuadorean and a Venezuelan.

With little fanfare, Pardongate goes poof. The US attorney's office reports that it has found no wrongdoing and that no indictments are planned. The "scandal" has been a staple of right wing hate radio for months, but now joins Whitewater, Fostergate, Filegate, Lincolnbedroomgate, Chinagate, and other phony scandals in the dustheap of idiocy.

Investigators discover e-mails fixing natural gas prices in California in El Paso Corp.'s computers. Over a year's time, El Paso's conduct was largely responsible for raising natural gas bills by $1 billion and wholesale electricity costs by $2.7 billion, an impact of $3.7 billion.

An ammonia leak at a St. Paul, Minnesota brewing company sent 15 workers to the hospital. Nearby residents were also reportedly sickened near the facility.

Enron CEO Ken Lay threatens US sanctions against India unless India pays Enron $1 billion for electricity from its Dabhol power plant. Indian officials say Enron is charging them nearly twice what other power producers is charging.

A fire breaks out at a three-story brick warehouse operated by JAG Industries, Inc., and Baltimore City Fire officials shut the plant down because the company did not have the proper permits to store and use hazardous chemicals, according to fire spokesman Hector Torres. "We weren't aware that they were operating or had hazardous materials on the premises. Until we actually go through the building and inspect and make sure that everything is the way it should (be) they cannot operate." Torres says. A variety of tablets and capsules are made at the plant, including nutrition supplements for animals and tablets for aquarium water testing.

The EPA under Clinton sued several power plants for adding capacity without following Clean Air Act regulations requiring them to reduce emissions. Bush's EPA drops the suits.

The administration plans to delay a compensation program for workers who contracted illnesses after working on Cold War-era nuclear weapons programs. "The administration is shirking its moral and legal responsibility to a segment of society that is powerless because they're old and sick. It's a total disgrace,'' said Lori Goodman, spokeswoman for Dine CARE, which represents Navajo Indians who worked in the uranium mines.

NASCAR holds a news conference announcing the results of its $1 million six-month investigation into Dale Earnhardt's death in January while trying to cheat in the Daytona 500. Questioning by the press reveals that the doctors issuing the report have not viewed the autopsy photos.

B. John Williams is nominated as chief counsel to the Internal Revenue Service. The Wall Street Journal reveals that while seeking to justify disputed tax credits claimed by his client, Shell Oil Co., Williams and a Shell in-house lawyer used a private investigator to dig up dirt on a crucial government witness. Williams later used the information to suggest the expert might be a crook. The Justice Department eventually determined the allegations to be false, and government lawyers, incensed by the tactics, urged the witness to file a defamation lawsuit, according to court papers. Shell paid a six-figure sum to settle the defamation claim

The Interior Department names J. Steven Griles, a top lobbyist for the oil, gas and coal industries as deputy secretary and William Myers III head of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association as solicitor. Myers had represented the grazing interests in lawsuits against the policies he will now be enforcing.


Bush rushes back from his month long August vacation just in time to take a long Labor Day weekend at Camp David. Only William Henry Harrison has spent less time working as president than George W. at this point in his administration, and Harrison died of pneumonia after his first month in office.

Bush holds a $250,000 private firework show on September 5 for 136 private guests. The public is neither warned nor invited. Startled residents phone police, claming a missile attack is underway. Local radio stations receive dozens of calls asking what kind of idiot would set off fireworks on a school night.

Texas Senator Phil Gramm unexpectedly announces he will not run for re-election. Gramm's wife Wendy is on the Board of Directors of Enron, and while chairwoman of the Commodsity Futures Trading Commission in the waning days of the first Bush administration, she proposed the deregulation rule that created the conglomerate.

19 Saudi and Egyptian terrorists hijack four planes on the morning of September 11. Two are crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center, one is crashed into the Pentagon, which has no anti-aircraft capabilities, and one crashes in Pennsylvania. Although Andrews Air Force Base's fighters are less than 10 miles from the Pentagon, no fighters are scrambled. About three thousand people from all over the world are killed. Most are Americans. Bush, in Florida for a photo-op, reads to elementary school kids even after being informed of the first two crashes. He tells a nationwide television audience that he has checked with the vice president, then disappears for more than 12 hours. He will eventually turn out to be hiding at a nuclear-bomb-proof shelter in Nebraska.

Mouthpiece Ari Fleisher announces there is evidence Air Force One is a terrorist target. Within days, that is revealed as a lie.

Former president Bill Clinton, on a speaking engagement in Australia, races back to New York City to be with daughter Chelsea and is there September 12. City residents greet him warmly on the street. Bush does not go to NYC until Friday, two days after reporters have begun asking when he would go.

In the Midwest, residents run in panic to buy guns and many gas stations immediately raise prices as high as four and five dollars a gallon. A Sikh is shot in Arizona and a Filipino beaten in New Mexico by "patriots" who mistake them for Muslims. A reporter in Seattle, wearing a traditional Muslim scarf to investigate reports of bias, is shoved into the path of a truck.

Published reports say White House staffers begin taking the antibiotic Cipro on the evening of September 11.

In a televised address to Congress on September 12, Bush asks Congress for $20 billion to rebuild New York City. Congress votes him the money, which will mysteriously shrink to $9 billion when he gives it to New York City.

According to OMB director Mitch Daniels, when Bush is reminded after September 11 that he had repeatedly promised to run an overall budget surplus at least as large as the Social Security surplus, except in the event of recession, war or national emergency, he laughs, "Lucky me, I hit the trifecta."

Jerry Falwell tells Pat Robertson on the "700 Club" the attacks are America's fault. "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," Falwell says, before going on to blame the terrorist attacks on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- "all of them who have tried to secularize America."

Phil Gramm announces he opposes Bush Administration efforts to crack down on terrorist money laundering. Because the Senate is controlled by Democrats, he is no longer able to block the measures as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the way he did in 1998 and 1999 when Bill Clinton proposed the same measure. Bush gets his authority to shut down terrorist funds.

Bush announces creation of a Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security and names Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to coordinate efforts to prevent terrorism. The New York Times discovers that Ridge has no budget, no duties and no clear-cut authority over any government agency.

Bush declares a war to end ALL terrorism, which he calls a "crusade," immediately offending our Muslim allies. He apologizes. He effort is titled "Operation Infinite Justice," again offending our Muslim allies. Bush apologizes again. The effort is re-named "Operation Enduring Freedom."

On September 14, the Bush administration asks Pakistan for help in military action against Afghanistan. Pakistan has hundreds of military advisers already in Afghanistan helping the Taliban fight the Northern Alliance.

On September 17, the Fed makes its eighth rate cut of the year.

On September 18, letters containing anthrax are sent from New Jersey to the New York Post, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, and Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The Senate office building is sealed off, and Senate staffers and even Senate guard dogs are tested for anthrax and given precautionary antibiotics. No effort to test or treat postal workers and facilities is made.

The Democratic-controlled Senate stays in session while its office buildings are inspected for anthrax. The GOP-controlled House recesses.

After a high-level briefing, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch tells CNN television he has high level information from the FBI that Osama Bin Laden is behind the unprecedented attacks, greatly annoying Secretary of State Colin Powell and other administration officials. Bin Laden was a Saudi playboy until he was secretly recruited by the Reagan administration to become a terrorist. His brother Salem Bin Laden died in a mysterious plane crash in Texas shortly after his multi-million dollar investment in Bush's Arbusto Oil Co. went busto in the 1980s.

Bush announces a war on terrorism and those countries who harbor terrorists, and announces "If you're not with us, you're against us." Among those who will be explaining this anti-terrorism doctrine around the world are Undersecretary of State Eliot Abrams and UN ambassador John Negroponte, both of whom were involved with the Reagan Admniistration's terrorist campaign in Central America in the 1980s.

On September 20, the ruling Taliban ask Osama Bin Laden to leave Afghanistan.

On September 21, 18 are killed and 650 injured when the AZF petrochemical plant in Toulouse, France explodes. French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin are both on the scene in hours. It is an industrial accident, not terrorism.

On September 22, Steven Aftergood, head of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists, says "We have yet to hear a clear statement of Bin Laden's responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks. What we have heard is innuendo and vague talk of links of an unspecified nature. That is a very fragile foundation for an extended military campaign."

On September 23, Colin Powell tells "Meet the Press" the United States will release evidence it has gathered linking accused terrorist Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, al-Qaida, to the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington that killed thousands. The same day, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice tells Fox's "News Sunday,". "We have very good evidence of links between known Osama Bin Laden al-Qaida operatives and what happened on September 11th."

The GOP controlled House of Representatives authorizes the Bush Administration to pay $582 million of the $2.3 billion the US owes in UN dues. Bush will pay an additional $625 million in October and $834 million in December. The money had been withheld by the GOP in protest over the UN allowing women in poor countries the same right to a legal abortion that US women have.

John Negroponte is sworn in as US ambassador to the UN. Negroponte is a curious choice to carry the message fo the war on terrorism; as Reagan's ambassador to Honduras, he helped fund the right wing terrorism campaign there and hid the information from Congress.

The Washington Post reports that many Bush administration cabinet members have not been asked for input nor consulted for decisions, which are made by low-level aides. Christine Todd Whitman, EPA Administration head, speaks to Bush only about the Scottish terrier Barney, while HUD secretary Mel Martinez has been asked only to lead the prayer at cabinet meetings.

The Bush administration announces that it will change Federal rules regarding nursing homes, reducing the frequency of inspections and lessening or eliminating some penalties for non-compliance. The changes would allow the nursing home operators themselves to report data on "quality indicators" like the number of patients with severe bed sores, dehydration or significant weight loss. It would also allow nursing homes with serious deficiencies to conduct training programs for nurses' aides.

Tommy G. Thompson, the Health and Human Services secretary, confidently tells CBS's "60 Minutes," on September 21, "We're prepared to take care of any contingency, any consequence that develops or any kind of bioterrorism attack."

Republican state senator Kay O'Connor of Kansas announces that women should not have the right to vote. "The 19th Amendment is around because men weren't doing their jobs, and I think that's sad," she says. "I believe the man should be the head of the family. The woman should be the heart of the family."

The Bush administration cuts funds to a crucial joint program with Russia aimed at blocking the spread of bomb material to rogue nations or terrorists. Russia is awash with tons of excess bomb-grade material, much of it in unsafe facilities where it could be stolen. The joint program aimed, among other things, at eliminating 50 tons of Russian weapons-grade plutonium, and improving security at nuclear-weapons facilities. During the campaign, Bush had said that this program was so important that funding should be increased.

Ken Starr joins a legal team trying to head off federal felony charges against Olympic Pipe Line, arising from the pipeline explosion that killed three young people in Bellingham, WA, which occurred when more than 200,000 gallons of gasoline spilled into two creeks in a Bellingham park. Two 10-year-old boys were killed when the spill ignited into a massive fireball. An 18-year-old man was killed when he was overcome by fumes while fishing and drowned. The company had failed to make repairs to problems found in 1996 and 1997 at or near where the pipeline ruptured.

On September 28, Bush orders the National Guard to patrol airports and tells the public it is now safe to fly. The same day, the Pentagon announces that two regional Air Force generals have been given the authority to shoot down civilian airliners they deem a threat.

Journalists Tom Gutting of the Texas City Sun and Dan Guthrie of the Grants Pass OR Daily Courier are fired for criticizing Bush for hiding the day of the attacks.

Fox News viewers watching coverage of the terrorist attack the Friday after the attacks also see a message scrolling across the bottom of their screens -- National Mental Health Assistance: 800-FOR-TRUTH. The phone number connects to a Church of Scientology center in Los Angeles, where members of the cult are manning the phones. Scientology firmly opposes psychiatry, and church members campaign to eliminate psychiatric practices in mental health. Fox News spokesman Robert Zimmerman says the station received an e-mail about the hotline and aired the number without checking it.

Fox News chief Roger Ailes boasts to the NY Times that he can put a dead raccoon on the air and get ratings. He will shortly hire Geraldo Rivera.

Elizabeth Dole of Kansas and Washington, DC, announces plans to run for Jesse Helm's soon-to-be vacant seat in North Carolina. The pundits who howled and shrieked that Hilary Clinton was a carpetbagger during her successful run for the Senate in New York are strangely silent. Dole immediately reverses years of stands on gun control and announces no new gun laws are needed.

The Bush Administration cheerfully announces to the New York Times that it plans to tell leaders in Beijing that it has no objections to them building more nuclear bombs and missiles or to China resuming nuclear bomb tests, in hopes that the Chinese will then turn around and support plans for the Missile Defense boondoggle. China has just 20 missiles, which it has had since the early 1970s. Says Robert Kagan, an authority on China who is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "We're sending little subtle signals that the reason they don't have to fear a missile defense is our acceptance of their effort to overwhelm it, which strikes me as a form of strategic insanity on our part."

The Bush administration announces that it will no longer seek to have Microsoft broken up, as the Federal judge who found them guilty of predatory practices, illegal bundling, and monopoly tactics had ordered. Microsoft responds by announcing even more bundling in its Windows XP version.

Part Four - October, November, December

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