home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links / feedback

 

New Print Edition of CounterPunch Available Exclusively to Subscribers: Patrick Cockburn's Eyewitness in Baghdad: Saddam's Stuffed Horse; Inside the Looting of the Iraq National History Museum; the Rise of the Guerrilla War; Jeffrey St. Clair on The Anatomy of a Swindle: How the Bush Administration is Giving Away Public Lands to Its Political Cronies; Scott Handleman on the Return of the Aliens: Why the CIA Was Paranoid About UFOs. Remember, the CounterPunch website is supported exclusively by subscribers to our newsletter. Our worldwide web audience is soaring, with more than 60,000 visitors a day. This is inspiring news, but the work involved also compels us to remind you more urgently than ever to subscribe and/or make a (tax deductible) donation if you can afford it. If you find our site useful please: Subscribe Now!

Or Call Toll Free 1-800-840 3683 or write CounterPunch, PO BOX 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Coming in September
From AK Press



Featuring Essays by: Edward Said, Robert Fisk, Michael Neumann, Shahid Alam, Alexander Cockburn, Uri Avnery, Bill and Kathy Christison and More

Recent Stories

August 8, 2003

Dave Lindorff
Snoops Night Out

 

August 7, 2003

M. Shahid Alam
It the US a "Terrorist Magnet?"

Toni Solo
Neo-liberal Nicaragua: a New Banana Republic

Adam Lebowitz
Hiroshima Commemorated: the View from Japan

Hanan Ashrawi
When the Bully Whines

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
Conscience Takes a Holiday

Jason Leopold
Wolfowitz Lets Slip: Iraq Not Behind 9/11; No Ties to Al-Qaeda

Mike Kimaid
What's the Score?

Elaine Cassel
The Smell of VICTORY: Ashcroft's Latest Stinkbomb

Dardagan, Slobodo and Williams
CounterPunch Exclusive:
20,000 Wounded Iraqi Civilians

 


August 6, 2003

Steve Higgs
Going to Jail for the Cause: It's Not Easy Confronting King Coal

David Krieger
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert Fisk
The Ghosts of Uday and Qusay

Christopher Brauchli
Bush's War on the National Forests

Elaine Cassel
No Fly Lists

Stan Goff
Military Equipment and Pneumonia

Hugh Sansom
An Open Letter to Nicholas Kristof on the Nuking of Japan

August 5, 2003

Uri Avnery
The Prisoner of Ramallah: Arafat at 74

Forrest Hylton
Terrorism and Political Trials: the View from Bolivia

Ray McGovern
"We Cook Estimates to Go"

David Morse
Poindexter's Gambit

Edward Said
Orientallism: 25 Years Later

George W. Bush
My Darn Good Resumé

Hammond Guthrie
It's Incremental, Watson!

Website of the Day
National Prayer Day


August 4, 2003

Bruce K. Gagnon
Another Peace Activist Detained by Airport Cops: My Story

David Lindorff
Fear-Mongering About Social Security

Mark Zepezauer
George F. Will: Descent into Self-Parody

James Plummer
Tracking You Through the Mail

Mickey Z.
Marriage Insecurity from Sharon to Bush

Bruce Jackson
News that Isn't News: How the NYT's Pimps for the White House

August 2 / 3, 2003

Tamara R. Piety
Nike's Full Court Press Breaks Down

Francis Boyle
My Alma Mater, the University of Chicago, is a Moral Cesspool

David Vest
Sons of Paleface: Pictures from Death's Other Side

Neve Gordon
Nightlife in Jerusalem

Uri Avnery
Their Master's Voice:
Bush, Blair and Intelligence Snafus

Robert Fisk
Paternalistic Democracy for Iraq

Jerry Kroth
Israel, Yellowcake and the Media

Noah Leavitt
What's Driving the Liberian Bloodbath: Is the US Obligated to Intervene?

Saul Landau
The Film Industry: Business and Ideology

Ron Jacobs
One Big Prison Yard: the Meaning of George Jackson

Thomas Croft
In the Deep, Deep Rough: Reflections on Augusta

Amadi Ajamu
Def Sham: Russell Simmons New Black Leader?

Poets' Basement
Vega, Witherup, Albert and Fleming

 

August 1, 2003

Joanne Mariner
Stopping Prison Rape

Alex Coolman
Who Moved My Soap: Trivializing Prison Rape

Steve J.B.
Prison Bitch

Stan Goff
Injury and Decorum: The Missing Wounded in Iraq

Wayne Madsen
Europe Unplugs from the Matrix

Robert Fisk
Wolfowitz the Censor

Elaine Cassel
Ashcroft Loses Big in Puerto Rico

Website of the Day
Stop Prisoner Rape

 

 

July 31, 2003

Ray McGovern
The Prostitution of Intelligence

Brian Cloughley
Wolfowitz's Operative Statement

Sheldon Hull
The RIAA's Jihad:
The Devil's Music (Industry)

Elaine Cassel
The Next Time You Crack a Lawyer Joke, Think of These Attorneys

Sheldon Rampton
and John Stauber
True Lies: Propaganda and Bush's Wars

Hammond Guthrie
Speculation Blues

Website of the Day
Army of One?

 

July 30, 2003

David Lindorff
Poindexter the Terror Bookie

Marjorie Cohn
Why Iraq and Afghanistan? It's About the Oil

Elaine Cassel
How Ashcroft Coerces Guilty Pleas in Terror Cases

Zvi Bar'el
The Hidden Costs of the Iraq War

Lisa Walsh Thomas
Killing Mustafa Hussein: Death of a Child, Birth of a Legend?

Sean Carter
Pat Robertson's Prayer Jihad: God, Sodomy and the Supremes

ND Jayaprakash
India and Ariel Sharon

Steve Perry
Bush's Top 40 Lies

Standard Schaefer
Correction about Bloomberg and Outscourcing

Website of the Day
Bring Them Home Now!

Congratulations to CounterPuncher Gilad Atzmon! BBC Names EXILE Top Jazz CD

July 29, 2003

Jeffrey St. Clair
"Journalist Spotted! Journalist Dead!" Guatemala Bleeds; US Press Yawns

Thomas J. Nagy
The Belligerent Dr. Pipes

Kurt Nimmo
Tom Delay Goes to Jerusalem

Chris Floyd
Dead Reckoning: Bush Warriors Sign Off on War Crimes

Robert Fisk
Another Botched Raid; Another Massacre

Jason Leopold
Did Chalabi Help Write Bush's State of the Union Address?

Conn Hallinan
Food Bully: Bush's Biotech Shock and Awe Campaign

Dan Bacher
Sacramento's War on Free Speech

Ray McGovern
Cheney Chicanery

Website of the Day
Julie Hilden Caught on Tape

 

 

Hot Stories

Dardagan, Slobodo and Williams
CounterPunch Exclusive:
20,000 Wounded Iraqi Civilians

Steve J.B.
Prison Bitch

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber
True Lies: the Use of Propaganda in the Iraq War

Wendell Berry
Small Destructions Add Up

CounterPunch Wire
WMD: Who Said What When

Cindy Corrie
A Mother's Day Talk: the Daughter I Can't Hear From

Elaine Cassel
Civil Liberties Watch

Michel Guerrin
Embedded Photographer Says: "I Saw Marines Kill Civilians"

Uzma Aslam Khan
The Unbearably Grim Aftermath of War: What America Says Does Not Go

Paul de Rooij
Arrogant Propaganda

Gore Vidal
The Erosion of the American Dream

Francis Boyle
Impeach Bush: A Draft Resolution

Click Here for More Stories.

 

 

Subscribe Online


Search CounterPunch

 

August 9, 2003

"The White Colin Powell?"

Marc Racicot: Bush's Main Man

By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

When the Florida recount fiasco was in full-throttle, the Bush team called in one of its top fixers to deal with the media and help put the finishing touches on the brusque strategy that helped seal the election. That man was Marc Racicot, the former governor of Montana. Many thought would be rewarded for his efforts with a top post in the Bush White House. Although he was on the short list for both Secretary of the Interior and Attorney General, Racicot ended up in the cushy post as head of the Republican National Committee, where his deft fundraising abilities fattened the RNC vaults with a record $250 million in soft money contributions for the 2002 election cycle.

Racicot didn't just sit on that mountain of cash; he used it like a MOAB bomb on Democrats. He is credited along with Karl Rove of with devising the media strategy that yielded such great triumphs for the Republicans in the 2002 elections.

In early June, Bush tapped Racicot as the chairman of his reelection campaign and already the corporate loot is pouring into the Bush campaign coffers. It was an astute choice. Although his name is hard to pronounce (Ross-Co), Racicot presents a kinder media presence than the other visigoths in the Bush camp. One Republican staffer called him "the white Colin Powell, the only two Bush advisers with any kind of sex appeal."

Racicot, whose hair is as delicately managed as John Kerry's, may look benign next to the frightful visages of Rove and Rumsfeld but he's a ruthless politician who is as far to the right as anyone in the Bush inner circle. Just ask those who know him best: the people of Montana.

Racicot served as governor of Montana from 1994 through 2000, where he slashed taxes, carried water for big timber, deregulated the state's electric utilities and moaned ceaselessly about the oppressive hand of the federal government. Prior to that Racicot served two terms as attorney general for the Big Sky state.

These days Montana's once robust economy is in ruins. The current governor, Racicot's bumbling protégé Judy Martz, gets most the blame for the crisis and lumbers along with an approval rating of 23 percent. But Racicot's savage economic policies laid the foundations for the wreck that now plagues the state: record deficits, bankrupt schools and a senescent economy.

While Racicot slashed services and taxes, he also funneled what little money remained in the Montana treasury into costly projects that benefited political donors. For example, Racicot spent tens of millions of dollars on a new software system for the state government that was supposed to minutely track agency budgets and expenditures. Nearly a decade and $50 million later, the system still doesn't function and the workings of state's budget (now deep in the red) remains as opaque as the rituals of Eleusis.

Although the state of Montana was veering toward bankruptcy, Racicot sank $100 million into the construction of new prisons, which were built by political donors. The problem was that Montana was one of the few states with an overcapacity of prison beds. The prisons went up anyway and despite a slate of harsh new laws passed under Racicot and Martz to lock up more Montanans the new prisons remain underbooked. Now, Montana is desperately looking to rent out its empty cells to other states.

His cavalier approach to the state's health care services was even more disastrous. Racicot pushed through a $400 million scheme to privatize Montana's mental health care system. But less than two years after it was put into place, the new program collapsed, pushing schizophrenics and other patients out onto the streets and off of needed medications. The state is now faced with recreating a system that Racicot destroyed.

When Montana's schools began to falter from the budget squeeze, Racicot offered a quick fix: log off the remaining old growth on state lands and cycle the receipts to the schools. This scheme, dubbed clearcuts for classrooms by local environmentalists, ravaged Montana's forests, but did almost nothing to help the state's beleaguered school system. Using the same rationale, Racicot also began selling off state park and forestlands near urban areas to his corporate cronies for shopping centers, office buildings and subdivisions.

Montana once enjoyed the toughest clean water laws in the country. Racicot dismantled them in 1995 when he signed a bill backed by mining and oil companies which raised limits on the discharge of toxins and carcinogens into Montana's streams, allowed corporations the right to police their own conduct and at the behest of the coal methane producers expanded the luxury to foul groundwater to the very boundaries of polluter's property.

This was followed by Racicot's big gift to the strip-mining lobby. Despite the fact that Montana, which bears the historical scars of the strip-and-run coal companies, is the only state in the nation whose constitution requires the reclamation of all lands disturbed by mining, Racicot signed into a law a measure that exempts open pit mines from any responsibility to restore the mess they make, often contaminated with cyanide and other toxic debris.

But perhaps the biggest fiasco of Racicot's tenure as governor was his role in deregulating Montana's electric utilities, which allowed Montana Power Company to sell off it's generating stations, dams, powerlines and water rights to PPL (Pennsylvania Power and Light). In exchange, Montana ratepayers saw their utility bills soar by more than 50 percent, from one of the lowest in the nation to the highest.

Racicot forged a close friendship with Bush in 1995, when the two men began working together on anti-regulatory initiatives for the Western Governor's Association and the National Governor's Association. The relationship between the two governors proved so cozy that there was speculation in Montana that Bush might pick Racicot as his running mate in the 2000. Ultimately, Cheney picked himself for that position and the golden boy from Montana went to work in the DC office of Bracewell & Patterson, a Houston law firm with close ties to Bush that specializing in advancing the agendas of oil and gas companies.

One of Racicot's chief clients during those tumultuous early days of the Bush administration was in dire need of a well-placed hand: Enron. Even after Racicot was selected to head the RNC, he refused to drop Enron as a client. His efforts to protect Enron during its time of tribulation certainly paid off for the company's executives. While Martha Stewart faces federal charges over a $200,000 stock deal, Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who bilked investors out of billions, enjoy afternoons on the most exclusive golf courses in Houston.

After Racicot became chairman of the RNC he moved his office to the party's headquarters a couple of blocks from the White House. Even though he rarely went into the law office and had no official roster of clients, Racicot continued to pull down a six-figure paycheck from Bracewell & Paterson.

"I have certainly provided advice and counsel to some private people with private business activities that have not been governmentally related," Racicot said. "So I have done some things, but it has been very limited. So as a result of that I have honored the terms of the employment agreement and they were in such a frame of mind that they thought (leading the Republican Party) was something constructive for me to be engaged in and they acquiesced to my involvement."

The new head of the Bush campaign sees no reason to recuse himself from such easy money now.

Jeffrey St. Clair is author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (Common Courage Press) and coeditor, with Alexander Cockburn, of The Politics of Anti-Semitism (AK Press). Both books will be published in October.

Weekend Edition Features for August 2/3, 2003

Tamara R. Piety
Nike's Full Court Press Breaks Down

Francis Boyle
My Alma Mater, the University of Chicago, is a Moral Cesspool

David Vest
Sons of Paleface: Pictures from Death's Other Side

Neve Gordon
Nightlife in Jerusalem

Uri Avnery
Their Master's Voice:
Bush, Blair and Intelligence Snafus

Robert Fisk
Paternalistic Democracy for Iraq

Jerry Kroth
Israel, Yellowcake and the Media

Noah Leavitt
What's Driving the Liberian Bloodbath: Is the US Obligated to Intervene?

Saul Landau
The Film Industry: Business and Ideology

Ron Jacobs
One Big Prison Yard: the Meaning of George Jackson

Thomas Croft
In the Deep, Deep Rough: Reflections on Augusta

Amadi Ajamu
Def Sham: Russell Simmons New Black Leader?

Poets' Basement
Vega, Witherup, Albert and Fleming

 

Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Today Online!

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links /