Though some may not admit it, Democrats have been largely ineffective in opposing President Bush during the first few months of his administration. One reason for this is the way that Bush has successfully shaped the political debate. In particular, Bush's seemingly innocuous campaign promise to "change the tone" in Washington has proven to be a powerful rhetorical weapon, helping suppress criticism while portraying the President as above the fray.
President Bush announced that he will nominate Linda J. Fisher, a former executive of the Monsanto Company, as well as an official with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Reagan Administration, to be Deputy EPA Administrator. Fisher most recently served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Monsanto, an agricultural biotechnology firm. Fisher served as Chief of Staff for EPA Administrator Lee M. Thomas from 1985 to 1988.
More than 150 Republicans who work as Washington lobbyists helped George Bush during his transition to power. "Coalition for Vehicle Choice lobbyist Diane Steed assisted the Department of Transportation; all-purpose lobbyist Peter Madigan helped set up the U.S. Trade Representative's office; and Jack Abramoff, who represents several Indian tribes, advised the Interior Department.
When Bill Clinton was president, it was an open secret that his government favoured agricultural biotechnology and actively promoted it. But the strength of the genetically modified food lobby in George Bush's new cabinet, and its links with the GM global leader, Monsanto, are greater than anything that came before. The secretaries of defence, health and agriculture, the attorney general and the chairman of the House agriculture committee all have links with the firm or the wider industry.
Latham & Watkins, a top-rank law firm, has announced that the two highest-ranking former United States Department of the Interior officials are joining the firm. Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior, and David J. Hayes, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, are joining the firm's Washington, D.C. office. Secretary Babbitt joins the firm as counsel. Deputy Secretary Hayes is returning to Latham & Watkins as a partner. Hayes was previously a partner with Latham & Watkins from 1990 until he entered the Clinton Administration in March 1997.
The US Army School of the Americas has been the center of a storm of controversy for nearly two decades. Graduates from this training center for the Latin American military have been linked to nearly every major human rights violation that has occurred in Latin America since the schoolis inception 50 years ago. Last year the heat on Congress to stop funding the School of the Americas got so intense that the Pentagon decided to rename it as "the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation." Nothing else, however, has really changed.