Reagan in the White House

The Hidden Hand of William Casey

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, January 25 1988

In the sweeping grounds of a Virginian mansion, not far from Washington DC, two rich and powerful men took a stroll one Sunday afternoon early in 1985. They walked slowly and spoke quietly; after a while one of them took a piece of paper from his pocket and passed it to his companion. A few more words, and the conversation was over.

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What drives Dole

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, February 1 1988

When Bob Dole and his entourage swept into New Hampshire last week, fresh from their thumping victory in the Iowa caucus, they went first to the state capital, Concord, to address a joint session of the New Hampshire legislature. As he reached the end of his speech, Dole's voice suddenly started to crack with emotion.

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The Bland leading the Blind

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, February 8 1988

Times are hard for Willa Kenoyer. She is running for President in the United States: she has no national organisation, a campaign budget of only $20,000 compared to George Bush's $19 million, one beaten-up old Chevy to transport her to the hustings, and maybe, just maybe, if she is lucky, a chance of winning a grand total of 50,000 votes out of an electorate of 170 million.

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Smoke and mirrors in the tobacco industry

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, February 22 1988

Anyone who knows anything about conspiracies, knows that for the best results the conspirators should meet in a smoke-filled room. This is particularly apt if you consider the case of the tobacco kings.

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Southern politics is up for grabs on Super Tuesday

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, March 7 1988

Super Tuesday is a mess. Politics in the South have always been a mess, but this is a particularly fine one. It is also wonderful to watch, and Super Wednesday promises to bring us the rewarding sight of smooth-suited politicians wiping egg off their faces.

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Iran Contra and other US gems

Scotland on Sunday diary column, March 14 1988

The White House is picking up ominous signals that the Iran
Contra scandal is about to come back to haunt it. Despite the
administration's miraculous recovery from last year's beating and
the complete disappearance of the scandal from the headlines, the
threat of a punishing revival can now be seen in three different
directions.

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Shooting fat cats

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, March 28 1988

At first sight, John A Mulheren Jnr is ripe for the Rogue's
...

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Michael Dukakis - portrait of a perfect American

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, April 1 1988

There are two revealing anecdotes about Michael Dukakis currently working their way along the Washington grapevine. One goes back to the early 1950s when the young Dukakis was a law student at Swarthmore College outside Philadelphia. He found out that the campus barber was refusing to serve any of the few black students at the college, so he took a chair, placed it in the main square of the campus...

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It's easy to be sleazy in Reagan's world

Scotland on Sunday diary column, April 11 1988

President Reagan stands by his friends.

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Worship in the cathedral of wealth

Scotland on Sunday diary column, April 18 1988

From a distance, it is just another traffic jam, walled in by the usual grimy tower blocks. Only when you get closer and you see yourself reflected in the smoked glass windows with the gilt trimmings, and find yourself bumping into pedestrians who are coated in fur from top to tail, catching the scent of Havana cigars and Chanel No 5, only then do you know without doubt that you have finally...

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The dull shall inherit the White House

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, May 9 1988

It's been a super-smug year for the Republicans. The economy is
...

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The US president manipulates the press as the press turn to trivia

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, May 16 1988

Don Regan had a whole lot of fun in his acerbic new memoir, poking Nancy Reagan in the eye with his shock horoscope stories about star-gazing in the White House, but the President's former chief of staff was trying to land an altogether heavier blow and one which missed its target in all the hullabaloo.

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Cocaine and piffle in the world of drugs

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, May 23 1988

This is the story of two kings. The first comes from humble origins, a street kid from New York, whose father died when he was a child, who learned to deal and steal for a living and who dreamed that one day he would be rich and powerful, and who finally found himself a throne as one of the world's wealthiest and most successful criminals, the King of Cocaine.

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Death of the town that sold death

Scotland on Sunday diary column, May 30 1988

They had a little beauty contest in Washington state last year where each contestant had to bring a sample of local produce from her home town. They could bring corn or apples or tourist knick-knacks, whatever they felt symbolised their community. Marcia Cillan, however, brought uranium pellets. Because Marcia comes from Richland - the town that makes bombs for a living.

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The naked truth about Californication

Scotland on Sunday diary column, June 6 1988

There is only one state in America where serious people pay $300 to belong to Mind Gyms. They do this to make sure that the left and right hemispheres of their brains are in perfect balance and, to achieve this end, they wire themselves up to machines called Synchro-Energisers which bombard them with electronic moans and rhythmic flashes for as long as it takes to re-tune their brain waves.

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The terrible secret of Dukakis' running mate

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, July 18 1988

There is a scurrilous but trendy magazine in New York called Spy which runs a regular feature under the title Separated At Birth. They dig out obscure pictures of the rich and famous and match up pairs of apparently unrelated people who turn out to share the same features: former Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger and the French poet Jean Cocteau; the late head of the CIA William Casey and...

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Koch and Bull Story

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, July 25 1988

As Ed Koch, the mayor of New York, left town last week to begin his trip to Europe, he unveiled the big policy decision the city had been waiting for. "I am picking my fights more carefully," he announced. "But I am not avoiding them." The mayor is always in fights.

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The problems of Grey Power

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, August 1 1988

Paradise is wrinkled. It is a place of plenty where the sun always shines and everybody plays all day and there are no problems - and everyone is, well, wrinkly. Paradise is Sun City in the plains of Arizona, a community which is closed to anyone without flaps of turkey flesh around their neck.

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Running an election on dirty tricks

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, August 15 1988

The man most likely to become the next President of the United States, Michael Dukakis, has spent much of the last two weeks denying that he has ever been treated for mental illness. This raises two points.

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Vice President Bush pulls ahead (with or without the unions)

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, September 12 1988

America has come to recognise the many faces of George Bush. He is the benign grandfather and the tough conservative, the brave ex bomber pilot and the smart Yale graduate, the millionaire businessman and the loyal deputy, and, of course, the President's closest pal. But last week, he unexpectedly pulled a new disguise out of his wardrobe.

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Capitalism crosses the final frontier

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, September 19 1988

It was extraordinarily prescient of the producers of Star Trek to send Captain Kirk off to the final frontier in a star ship called Enterprise, for it now transpires that when the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, took his small step for mankind in July 1969 he was also making a giant leap for private enterprise.

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The gunman's lobby

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, September 26 1988

Last week, in Washington DC, two teenage boys were convicted of murdering Kendall Merriweather, aged 17. They had shot Kendall once in the back and then again through the head with a .357 magnum. They did so in broad daylight on a busy street in the nation's capital for a simple reason - they wanted the radio he was carrying, and he did not want to give it to them.

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President Reagan's Wonderful Family

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, October 10 1988

At the Republican Convention in New Orleans this summer, the co-chairman of the Republican National Committee provoked some anxiety by referring to the League of Women Voters as the League of Women Vultures and then caught the attention of a second group of party faithful by hurling crockery at them.

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Power passes to the powerful

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, October 24 1988

Republican hopeful David Karnes stood up at the state fair in Nebraska to launch his campaign for election to the US Senate and effectively smacked himself in the face. "We need fewer farmers at this point in time," he told his audience, which happened to be almost entirely composed of farming families who immediately broke into a chorus of jeering and booing.

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