Fourth Quarter of 2002
Published on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 by the Boston Globe Going Backwards Markey Releases Study Showing Big Drop in EPA Policing by Glen Johnson http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/1001-02.htm (100202a)
WASHINGTON - Enforcement of the nation's environmental laws has fallen precipitously under the Bush administration, US Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Malden, said yesterday. Markey asked Christie Whitman, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to return to much higher enforcement levels seen during the Clinton administration.
A study by Markey's staff showed a huge decline in costs to polluters resulting from EPA enforcement. Using the agency's data, the study found that the total amount of penalties and remedies for EPA administrative actions in the first 14 months of the Bush administration fell 80 percent from the total recovered during the last 131/2 months of the Clinton administration, from $845.1 million to $165.1 million.
The average settlement cost of those EPA administrative actions fell by 63 percent, from $234,000 to $87,000, in the periods examined in the study.
Washingtonpost.com Clinton Warns Bush of Consequences of Attack on Iraq Former President Advises Seeking U.N. Approval Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, October 2, 2002; 4:07 PM
BLACKPOOL, England, Oct. 2--Former president Bill Clinton today warned his successor, President Bush, that he could face "unwelcome consequences" if he launched preemptive military action against Iraq. Addressing the British Labor Party's annual conference here, he sharply criticized the administration's foreign policy while endorsing the goal of compelling Iraq to disarm.
Clinton said that "a preemptive action today, however justified, may come back with unwelcome consequences in the future." And he urged Bush to continue to seek U.N. Security Council approval before sending in U.S. forces. While his tone was generally milder than the attack issued a week ago by former vice president Al Gore, Clinton suggested that the administration's first priority should be to eliminate the al Qaeda terrorist network. "Our most pressing challenge is to finish the job," he said.
http://www.thedailyenron.com/documents/20021009083424-82854.asp (new link: http://www.dukeemployees.com/washington27.shtml (101002a)) See the 6th story down.
Harken Implicated in Enron-like Deals Will SEC Apply 'Martha Standard' to Harken? No wonder SEC Chairman, Harvey Pitt, has stubbornly refused to reopen his agency's 1991 Harken Energy investigation. It seems there are bodies buried there.
This morning we learn - thanks not to the SEC but to old-fashioned investigative work by WSJ reporter Glenn Simpson - that years before Enron discovered it could hide its mounting debt from investors and boost its stock price with phony deals, Harken was already doing so.
CIA in blow to Bush attack plans Julian Borger in Washington Thursday October 10, 2002 The Guardian
President George Bush's attempt to maintain public support for military action against Iraq has taken a fresh blow from an unexpected quarter, with the publication of a letter from the CIA stating that while Saddam Hussein poses little threat to America now, a US invasion could push him into retaliating with chemical or biological weapons. The unusually detailed public statement, in the form of a letter from the CIA director, George Tenet, to Congress, comes at a highly sensitive moment, potentially damaging Mr. Bush's attempt to rally an overwhelming congressional mandate for the use of force against Iraq.
In a chilling excerpt, Mr. Tenet warned that if Saddam was personally threatened he might seize "his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him".
The Politics of Preemption By Sam Parry October 8, 2002
George W. Bushs doctrine of "preemptive war" the elimination of foreign governments he deems a threat to U.S. security interests is quickly developing a domestic corollary. Any politician who questions Bushs strategy can expect to be confronted by a rapid-deployment force of pro-Bush operatives who counterattack using weapons of ridicule and distortion.
In a kind of test run, this army swung onto the offensive immediately after former Vice President Al Gore on Sept. 23 delivered a comprehensive critique of Bushs radical departure from decades of American support for international law. Rather than welcome a vigorous debate on the merits and shortcomings of the so-called "Bush Doctrine," conservative commentators treated Gore and others raising questions as dishonest, unpatriotic and even unhinged.
Published on Thursday, October 10, 2002 by the Guardian/UK The US Must Follow Europe's Lead and Turn Its Back on Oil The rise of hydrogen power makes energy regime change inevitable by Jeremy Rifkin
This week, the world got a glimpse into the future when General Motors unveiled its revolutionary new Hy-wire car at the Paris motor show. GM's automobile is run on hydrogen, the most basic and lightest element in the universe. When burned, it only emits pure water and heat.
The automobile itself is built on a fuel-cell chassis that lasts for 20 years. Customers can snap on any model they want. There is no conventional steering wheel, no pedals, brakes or engine - the car is steered with a joystick. It is a car for the dotcom generation. While GM financed the car, what is particularly interesting is that much of the engineering, design and software were developed in Europe. The GM car marks the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine and the shift from an oil-based civilization to a hydrogen age. Its debut in Europe also speaks to a great change taking place in the way Europe and America view the future.
Published on Thursday, October 10, 2002 by The Nation CIA Intelligence Refutes Bush's War Rhetoric by David Corn
The Washington Post front-page headline read, "Analysts Discount Attack by Iraq." The New York Times said, "CIA Warns That a US Attack May Ignite Terror." But these newspapers could have reasonably announced, "CIA Information Indicates Bush Misleads Public on Threat from Iraq."
Inside The War: Military Affairs-Saudi Arabia's Role in the War on Terrorism, By Joseph Trento This is the second column of Joe Trento's new column for National Security News Service.
Three months into the War on Terrorism, a couple of truths have emerged. The first is that in our anger over our losses, we have been unwilling to face our own complicity-our unwillingness to insist that our allies clean their houses.
President Bush's most inexplicable action has been his ridiculous defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have contributed far more to the anti-American atmosphere in the Islamic World than have Iraq or Iran. The Royal Family and its hangers-on have sweetened the extremist Islamic pot with hundreds of millions of dollars given to organizations that directly support the destruction of the United States. The al-Saud dynasty has been inextricably linked to the extremist Wahabi sect for more than 200 years. The Saudis teach this most extreme version of Islam to their children, and support its export throughout the Islamic world. Americans need to take note that the vast majority of those who attacked America came not from Yemen, Iran, or Afghanistan, but from Saudi Arabia. This was not an accident. These men were educated under the Saudi religious system. Ironically, we defend Saudi Arabia against Iraq, a far more secular state.
Even after the Sept. 11th attacks, Saudi Arabia was reluctant to allow the U.S. military (yes, the same military that saved them in the Gulf War) to use Saudi air bases for the war on terrorism. In the crucial weeks after the Saudi citizens helped kill thousands of Americans, the Royal Family refused to share with the United States bank records and other vitally important information about the murderers. The time for genteel diplomacy has passed. America must take off the gloves and hit the Saudis with the bare-knuckle reality that there is no middle ground in the war on terrorism.
Add to that the fact that Prince Saud al-Faisal was furious at the FBI and Treasury Department's demands to freeze assets of Islamic Cultural and Welfare Groups that are little more than fronts for Osma bin Laden. The prince told the New York Times, "I don't think the intent was to make a list that would be frozen without proof...We have urged on everybody concerned that when you're talking about financial assets and banks and organizations that are dealing with humanitarian affairs, one must be careful not to do damage to institutions unjustly. It behooves us that sound institutions not get harmed by mistaken identities, or that humanitarian organizations that are doing a good service not be tarnished, because God knows that humanitarian efforts are needed direly. We don't want to do damage to these institutions without having the facts."
It is slowly dawning on our Pentagon planners and the American media that ground zero for the war on terrorism is neither Afghanistan nor Iraq, but the Royal Household in Saudi Arabia. In the months since the attacks, more and more evidence has piled up linking the funding of Osama bin Laden's network back home to the rich and spoiled of his motherland. At some point, the American public needs to assess the issue of Saudi Arabia's role in terrorism with a cold, tough eye. The media's job is to ensure that they have the facts to do so. Only in the week after Thanksgiving did the press begin bombarding White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer with serious questions about why the Saudis are exempt from the President's edict concerning states that pay for and harbor terrorists.
The U.S. military, CIA, FBI and National Security Agency have reams of digital evidence demonstrating the funding links to bin Laden. The outrages from the Saudi Royal Family continue to pile up. The fact that the family has flatly refused to freeze the bank accounts of Islamic "cultural and welfare" groups that have funneled money into bin Laden's operations makes Bush's threats to end terrorism seem hollow. The President must stand up to the Saudis. Sadly, that is not what he has been doing. George Bush, who can talk a good game about countries that harbor terrorists, is so cowed by his father's friends in Saudi Arabia that he actually apologized to the Royal Family for media reports about the family's lack of cooperation with United States officials. The Bush family has had long-standing business connections to the al-Saud family.
When CIA Director Bill Casey needed cash to expand our help to the Afghan freedom fighters in order to drive the Soviets to distraction during that war, a helpful George Herbert Walker Bush acted as a go-between with Osama's billionaire father and the former head of Saudi's intelligence service. That is how Osama, then a serious and religious young man, was offered up for service in the CIA cause.
There is a certain irony to the fact that two rich men's sons - once political allies - are now facing off. The President has asked us to make enormous sacrifices for this war. He has seen our men and women in harm's way. We have already lost too many good people. But President Bush is not keeping his end of the bargain. He promised to pursue terrorism where we find it. Well, the FBI, CIA, NSA and Pentagon have found it in Saudi Arabia, and it is time the President face up to the fact that the family friends have betrayed us all.
It is indeed gut check time for the President. He has intelligence sitting on his desk that proves members of the Royal Family have funded the terrorists. He has proof American blood is on the hands of the Royal Household. "If you house a terrorist then you are a terrorist," the President said last November. Now he has to prove he meant what he said. Oil or no oil, President Bush must act.
Joe Trento, is a veteran intelligence and national security reporter, as well as President of the Public Education Center. His latest book is The Secret History of The CIA
(new link: http://www.upmccancercenters.com/news/reuters/pfv/reuters.cfm?id=1000 (101102d))
WHO Raises Smoking Death Toll, Urges Tobacco Treaty Reuters Oct 11 2002 12:27PM
GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization on Friday urged countries to reach a global deal on curbing tobacco use, warning that hundreds of thousands more were dying each year from smoking than previously thought.
The United Nations agency said it had revised its annual death toll for smoking related diseases to 4.9 million people from 4.2 million in part because of better research into cardiovascular disease in developing countries.
"This means our estimate for 10 million deaths a year by 2030 is also probably an underestimate," said Derek Yach, head of non-communicable diseases at WHO.
Based on current trends, tobacco could soon become the leading cause of premature death worldwide, killing more than HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, car accidents, homicide and suicide combined, health activists say.
(new link: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/766475/posts (101402a))
Posted on Thu, Oct. 10, 2002 Graham rips colleagues over Iraq He lashes out after senators reject bid to broaden resolution BY FRANK DAVIES email@example.com
WASHINGTON - Florida's Sen. Bob Graham Wednesday told his colleagues that ''blood is going to be on yourhands'' if action is not taken to foil terrorist attacks in America should the United States invade Iraq.
Graham was speaking in frustration after he tried to change the Iraq resolution, authorizing U.S. force, by focusing attention on Hezbollah and four other terrorist groups. In a rare, impassioned warning, he said they pose a ''more urgent threat'' than Saddam Hussein, based on reports he has seen as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In the Senate, Graham is known for his careful words, but in recent weeks he has been increasingly outspoken about the need for more public information on the threat of terrorist attacks within the United States. He has blamed the intelligence community for holding back on reports about such threats and refusing to declassify them. He has also stressed that any military action against Iraq would inflame the Mideast, increasing the threat of terrorism in the United States.
White House Blocks Deal by Congress on 9/11 Panel By DAVID FIRESTONE
WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 Hours after Congressional Republicans and Democrats announced that they had agreed on the terms of an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House raised fresh objections late today and held off on a final agreement.
If the disagreement is not resolved in the few days before the Congressional session ends, the commission, which some people said would be the government's most comprehensive look at the lessons of the attacks, could be postponed until next year. It is possible that the panel would not be created at all.
Ex-Mideast chief: Iraq not No. 1 priority From News Services Published Oct 11, 2002 IBOK11
The former U.S. military commander for the Middle East said Thursday that at this time he opposes a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, adding that he believes the policy of containing President Saddam Hussein has been working.
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who preceded Army Gen. Tommy Franks as head of Central Command, told a meeting at a Washington think tank that the United States should have higher priorities in the Middle East.
Support for Attacking Iraq Begins to Wane Across the U.S. By Bill Redeker Oct. 14 http://michiganimc.org/newswire/display/506/index.php (101502a)
As the administration prepares for war with Iraq, a new mantra has emerged in the campaign to win the hearts and minds of Americans and, in effect, put Saddam Hussein on notice.
"America speaks with one voice," says President Bush. In Washington, Bush, having been empowered by both houses of Congress to use force, seems to face very little opposition on Iraq.
On the streets of America, nothing could be further from the truth.
Across the nation, in city after city, ABCNEWS found voices of opposition, and many of them were from military towns.
"I am not convinced President Bush has yet made the case," said Miles Harvey, a San Diego retiree. San Diego is home port to the Navy's Pacific Fleet, which directly employs more than 100,000 people.
Misleading the Nation to War By Sam Parry October 15, 2002
George W. Bush made his winning case for a congressional war resolution against Iraq by playing up the nation's lingering fear from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. His argument for preemptive war boiled down to the old adage: "better safe than sorry," better to take out Saddam Hussein now before he gives biological or chemical weapons to terrorists or develops a nuclear bomb.
But what Bush and his aides have left out of their one-sided risk equation is the possibility that the administration's actions may increase the danger to Americans, not reduce or eliminate it. The truncated national debate has barely touched on this other reality that Bushs belligerence might speed up the timetable for terrorist groups getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction, a point acknowledged in a new CIA threat assessment.
Can George W. Bush be trusted as he further heats up the rhetoric on Iraq?
Two days after a horrific bomb blast in Bali, Indonesia, killed over 180 people--including at least two Americans--Bush, appearing at a Republican campaign rally in Michigan, cited the assault as yet another reason for vigorous prosecution of the war on terrorism. But as he rallied the GOP loyalists, he focused less on al Qaeda (which, naturally, is suspected of being associated with the Bali attack) and more on Saddam Hussein. Bush maintained that the Iraqi dictator hopes to deploy al Qaeda as his own "forward army" against the West, that "we need to think about Saddam Hussein using al Qaeda to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind," and that "this is a man who we know has had connections with al Qaeda."
Bush and his administration have offered no proof of any of this. In fact, less than a week before the Michigan event, the CIA had released a letter noting that it had no evidence that Saddam intends to commit terrorism against the United States, absent a US strike against him. (Did the President miss the newspapers that day?)
(new link: http://www.underreported.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=303 (101602b))
Consumer Groups Blame Bush for Large Meat Recalls Mon Oct 14, 2:11 PM ET By Randy Fabi
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer advocates on Monday blamed an "industry-friendly" Bush administration for a series of meat recalls on an unprecedented scale this summer, saying hundreds have fallen ill because Washington eased food safety standards.
9/11 Relatives Push for Commission Wed Oct 16, 7:31 PM ET By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,65895,00.html (100702a)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tearful relatives of Sept. 11 victims urged White House officials Wednesday not to block Congress' plans to create an independent commission to investigate the attacks.
About 10 relatives met on Capitol Hill with lawmakers and two White House officials, Nicholas Calio and Jay Lefkowitz, in an unsuccessful attempt to break a deadlock over the commission.
Lawmakers are looking to create a commission that would go beyond the limited inquiry into intelligence failures that the House and Senate intelligence committees are winding down. The committees hold their final public hearing Thursday, with CIA (news - web sites) Director George Tenet and FBI (news - web sites) Director Robert Mueller expected to respond to criticism of their agencies.
PALAST INVESTIGATION OF FLORIDA VOTE THEFT TO AIR ON PBS, FEATURED AT HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Friday, October 18, 2002 Two films, Counting on Democracy and Unprecedented, premier this month
While the public broadcast network chiefs refused to schedule this important report, WNET (New York), KCET (Los Angeles), KQED (San Francisco) and dozens more are insisting on showing the exposé before the mid-term elections. (See full schedule at http://www.GregPalast.com.) The film will be featured this Sunday at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
Martin Sheen and Greg Palast share "Americas" award
On November 2, Palast will join West Wing star Martin Sheen in Los Angeles where they will share an award from the human rights group Office of the Americas. The group cites Palast's investigations of the coup in Venezuela and World Bank destruction of the Argentine economy reported for Britain's prestigious Guardian newspapers and BBC Television's Newsnight.
Those wishing to attend the Palast-Sheen award ceremony ($100 including dinner, $35 without), contact Office of the Americas at http://officeoftheamericas.org
A second film on the scandal of the vote theft in Florida, UNPRECEDENTED, opens this month in national screenings sponsored by People for the American Way, the NAACP and The Nation. The Robert GreenwaldProduciton includes exclusive footage from Palast's confrontations with Katherine Harris' vote fixers. Palast will join directors Joan Sekler and Richard Perez at the New York opening. For schedules and tickets, go to http://www.Unprecedented.org.
Censored in the USA
California State University's Journalism Department's Project Censored named his Guardian report on President Bush and bin Laden as one of the top five suppressed news stories of 2001.
Published on Wednesday, October 16, 2002 by CommonDreams.org Killing the Political Animal: CIA Psychological Operations and Us by Heather Wokusch A CIA instruction manual entitled "Psychological
Operations in Guerrilla Warfare" provides some clues. Written in the early 1980s (coincidentally, soon after Bush Sr. headed the Agency) the document was part of the US government's crusade to bring down Nicaragua's leftist government, by providing training and weapons to the Contra rebels. Detailing how to gain a community's support through propaganda and selective violence, the manual begins "In effect, the human being should be considered the priority objective in a political war ... Once his mind has been reached, the 'political animal' has been defeated, without necessarily receiving bullets."
The following are quotes from the original psyop textbook, along with contemporary examples-
PSYOP quote: "It is appropriate ... to guide the discussion of a group to cover a number of points and to reach a correct conclusion." The people "should feel it was their free and own decision."
Interesting to note that up until early 2000, military personnel from the Fourth Psychological Operations Group based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina were active at CNN's Atlanta-based headquarters - and left only after public outcry when CNN admitted to employing them. Their presence was perhaps not surprising given former CIA director William Colby's boast that "the Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any major significance in the major media."
Foreigners in the US Army?
A endless war requires an endless supply of cannon fodder; lucky for the military if enough recruits succumb to the sexy hype about weapons and enlist. If they don't though, there's always the Universal Military Training and Service Act (H.R. 3598) which, aiming to bring back the draft, states: "ALL males residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18-22 (must) receive military training for at least 6 months" and imposes additional time on high school dropouts.
Chew on that quote for a second. The high school dropout part is self-explanatory; longer military sentences would effectively be forced on poor kids and minorities, those most likely to drop out of school. The "residing" part is odd though - apparently, even citizens of other countries who happen to live in the US will be obligated to complete military service for Uncle Sam.
Jacqueline Lurch, 9, looks through photos that her father, Ray Lurch, 35, took while serving as an Army helicopter mechanic during the Persian Gulf War. Lurch is among an estimated 100,000 veterans of Operation Desert Storm who developed mysterious health ailments.
By JEANNE MALMGREN, Times Staff Writer © St. Petersburg Times published October 18, 2002
As a new conflict with Iraq looms, local vets suffering from Gulf War syndrome say they hope their country does a better job this time of guarding its troops' health. As the nation slides toward war with Iraq, most of us watch the news nervously, wondering how soon U.S. soldiers might be sent to the Persian Gulf.
Ray Lurch and Wally Heath feel something different, something a bit more personal. Call it mixed feelings. As patriots who have already served their country during wartime, they support President Bush's call to arms. But they hope no soldiers who fight in this war will come home sick, as they did.
"It's horrible what happened to us," said Lurch, 35, who lives in Largo. "I hope (the military) learned some lessons out of that." Heath, 55, of Tampa, agrees. "They'd better have (soldiers) better-protected than we were when we were over there," he said. "They'd better have (soldiers) better-protected than we were when we were over there." WALLY HEATH
"I won't fly the flag until I get an apology from (Desert Storm Commander Norman) Schwarzkopf." RAY LURCH
Lurch and Heath are among an estimated 100,000 veterans of Operation Desert Storm who later developed mysterious gastrointestinal troubles, joint pain, severe rashes, headaches, depression, sleeping difficulties and memory problems. Those ailments, at first dismissed by many government officials as post-traumatic stress disorder, eventually were grouped together under the label Gulf War syndrome. Although hundreds of studies have failed to pinpoint what caused the syndrome, there are theories ranging from nerve gas to vaccines.
Bali Disco Bombing - Another US "Inside Hit." Introducing the "Link" and "Pivot" bombs or Looks like another US Military/Intelligence Black Op by voxfux
It's not hard to find pieces of the puzzle that just don't fit. That's why the dark force spent years obliterating American's critical capability. So that the pieces that just don't fit - don't even get noticed. Here's a piece that doesn't fit. They expect us to believe that the same Islamic Terrorists who supposedly masterminded the Sept. 11th attacks, (Arguably the most significant MILITARY strikes in the history of empires, shaking the very roots of the globe's preeminent empire.) would blunder and bomb the disco containing Australians when a disco full of juicy Americans was just a few doors down the road?
One only has to spend an afternoon on the strip to find out which places are popular with the Americans. Even Islamic terrorists can ask any Kuta vagrant which club has the Americans in it. And absolutely , positively, if Islamic terrorists were behind this attack, they would have gone straight to the discos frequented by Americans only several doors down the street, and bombed them - Absolutely - Positvely.
So voxfux gives this attack, this months award for being, "The Most Suspicious Attack - Looking Most Like Just Another Clandestine US military/Intelligence Attack of the Month" award.
Ed Vulliamy in New York Sunday October 20, 2002 The Observer http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/1020-02.htm (102102a)
President George Bush's own Methodist church has launched a scathing attack on his preparations for war against Iraq, saying they are 'without any justification according to the teachings of Christ'. Jim Winkler, head of social policy for United Methodists, added that all attempts at a 'dialogue' between the President and his own church over the war had fallen on deaf ears at the White House.
Sen. Graham Seeks to Declassify Key 9/11 Data
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham said on Sunday he is seeking to declassify "the most important information" obtained in a congressional probe of the Sept. 11 attacks. http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/10.22C.graham.911.htm (102302a)
The Florida Democrat described the material as a key toward better protecting the United States.
Graham's panel and the House Intelligence Committee have conducted a joint investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks, holding a series of open and closed hearings.
The committees are to issue a draft report by the end of this year, with a final report due in February. In the meantime, they are seeking to declassify much of what they learned.
"Frankly, there is a piece of information which is still classified which I consider to be the most important information that's come to the attention of the joint committee," Graham said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
"We hope that it will be declassified," Graham said. "I think it is an important part of our judgements as to where our greatest threats are and what steps we need to do to protect the American people here at home."
Graham said, "There's been a pattern in which information is provided on a classified basis, and then what is declassified are those sections of the report that are most advantageous to the administration."
PLEASE HELP get the word out on Counting on Democracy. Pass this story along. Find out if the program is being aired in your community, and if not, why not. Local PBS affiliates WGBH and WGBX can be reached at (617) 300-5400. Counting on Democracy will be screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival, in East Hampton, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 20. Tapes are also available for screening in schools and communities. Screenings have been arranged in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey.
IN A TYPICAL understatement, the New York Times called the 2000 vote in Florida the most "flawed and fouled up election in American history." Everyone knows who won, but few realize how many voters lost, or that a whopping 175,000 ballots went uncounted in balloting that turned on 537 votes when the Supreme Court stepped in. Even fewer know about purges from the voter rolls or how the recount in key counties was undermined, if not deliberately delayed, and, in effect, sabotaged.
Counting on Democracy was hailed at the Taos Talking Picture film festival. "This tale of race, political payback, voter fraud and justice deferred could have come out of a Hollywood thriller. But no this is "the story of the 2000 Presidential election in Florida," proclaimed written materials distributed at the screening before an enthusiastic crowd. It was praised in Floridas Palm Beach Post, a paper that knows the story well; and it was licensed by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) for airing on public television.
It turns out PBS has another idea for how to treat the Florida-election issue too. No, not with a competing investigation or an exposé that shares our focus. Oh, no! PBS has opted instead, literally, to treat the issue as a joke, with a satirical show. Counting on Democracy is out; counting on comedy is in.
"Comedian and Saturday Night Live cast member Darrell Hammond and former CNN Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno headline Who Counts? Election Reform in America, to be broadcast on Thursday, October 17, 10 p.m. on PBS.
"Who Counts? will combine original comedy and reporting on the 2000 presidential election with balloting issues in Florida as a key element in looking at election reform today. Darrell Hammond will portray Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and himself
If you have suggestions or comments, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny Schechter is the editor of Mediachannel.org, where this story originally appeared.
Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11America's most controversial novelist calls for an investigation into whether the Bush administration deliberately allowed the terrorist attacks to happen Talk: Gore Vidal on Bush Observer Worldview Terrorism crisis: Observer special By Sunder Katwala Sunday October 27, 2002
America's most controversial writer Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans. Vidal's highly controversial 7000 word polemic titled 'The Enemy Within' - published in the print edition of The Observer today - argues that what he calls a 'Bush Junta' used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a pre-existing agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home.
Vidal writes: 'We still don't know by whom we werestruck that infamous Tuesday, or for what true purpose. But it is fairly plain to many civil libertarians that 9/11 put paid not only to much of our fragile Bill of Rights but also to our once-envied system of government which had taken a mortal blow the previous year when the Supreme Court did a little dance in 5/4 time and replaced a popularly elected President with the oil and gas Bush-Cheney junta.'
Vidal argues that the real motive for the Afghanistan war was to control the gateway to Eurasia and Central Asia's energy riches. He quotes extensively from a 1997 analysis of the region by Zgibniew Brzezinski, formerly national security adviser to President Carter, in support of this theory. But, Vidal argues, US administrations, both Democrat and Republican, were aware that the American public would resist any war in Afghanistan without a truly massive and widely perceived external threat.
Deeper Into the Big Muddy By Robert Parry October 27, 2002
The latest episode of Bush's unintended consequences is North Korea's admission that it is pressing ahead to build nuclear weapons.
Bush's supporters have tried to shift the blame for this unsettling development to President Clinton, by claiming that a 1994 agreement to stop North Koreas nuclear program was too weak. But the evidence now is that North Korea cast aside that agreement this year and sped up its quest for nuclear weapons in direct reaction to Bushs threats and rhetoric.
The collision course with North Korea was set early in the Bush administration. In 2001, shortly after taking office, Bush cut off talks with North Korea and snubbed South Koreas President Kim Dae-Jung over his détente strategy. Kim Dae-Jung, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, found himself humiliated during a state visit to Washington.
After the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington, Bush began counting North Korea as part of his "axis of evil," along with Iraq and Iran. Apparently, Bush's reasoning for putting North Korea into the "axis" was to avoid fingering only Islamic countries. So his speechwriters added North Korea as a kind of politically-correct multiculturalism in reverse.
More substantively, in late 2001, Bush sent to Congress a nuclear posture review, which laid out future U.S. strategy for deploying nuclear weapons. Leaked early this year, the so-called NPR put North Korea on a list of potential targets for U.S. nuclear weapons. In doing that, Bush reversed President Clinton's commitment against targeting non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons. Clinton's idea was that a U.S. promise not to fire nuclear weapons at non-nuclear states would reduce their incentives for joining the nuclear club.
For its part, North Korea issued a press release at the United Nations on Oct. 25, explaining its reasoning. The statement cited both Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric and the administration's decision to target North Korea for a possible preemptive nuclear strike.
"This was a clear declaration of war against the D.P.R.K. as it totally nullified" the 1994 agreement, the North Korean statement read. "Nobody would be so naïve as to think that the D.P.R.K. would sit idle under such a situation. … The D.P.R.K., which values sovereignty more than life, was left with no other proper answer to the U.S. behaving so arrogantly and impertinently."
(new link: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0210/S00178.htm (103002a))
Board was told of risks before Bush stock sale Harken memo went to SEC after probe By Michael Kranish and Beth Healy, Globe Staff,
WASHINGTON - One week before George W. Bush's now-famous sale of stock in Harken Energy Corp. in 1990, Harken was warned by its lawyers that Bush and other members of the troubled oil company's board faced possible insider trading risks if they unloaded their shares.
The warning from Harken's lawyers came in a legal memorandum whose existence has been little noted until now, despite the many years of scrutiny of the Bush transaction. The memo was not received by the Securities and Exchange Commission until the day after the agency decided not to bring insider-trading charges against Bush, documents show.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe, does not say directly whether Bush would face legal problems if he sold his stock. But it does lay out the potential for insider-trading violations by Bush and other members of the Harken board, and its existence raises questions about how thoroughly the SEC investigated Bush's unloading of $848,000 of his Harken stake to a buyer whose name has not been made Public.
The plan engineered by one of the company's largest shareholders, the endowment fund of Harvard University, raised uncertainty about the value of Harken after the breakup. The question is, did Bush sell believing that the stock might soon dip?
''It would certainly have raised a question in the mind of a reasonable investigator,'' said Theresa Gabaldon, a professor at George Washington University and author of the textbook ''Securities Regulation.''
SEC reports on the case make it clear, however, that the memo was written in response to Bush asking Harken executives whether he could sell his shares. Bartlett said he did not believe that Bush had seen the memo, but instead thought that Bush was told about the advice by a company lawyer.
The crucial question is whether Bush was motivated to sell when he did by information he learned at the special meeting of Harken directors on May 17, five weeks before he sold his stock. The meeting was held at a moment of crisis for the company, which was expected to run out of cash within three days, according to internal documents. One Harken memo related to the rights offering says the company had ''no other source of immediate financing'' if the deal was not completed. Indeed, the offering was necessary to get leniency from Harken's two lenders, the former Bank of Boston (now part of FleetBoston Financial) and First City Bank of Texas. The major shareholders, led by Harvard, had to put up financial guarantees to seal the bargain.
Nearly a year would go by before the SEC investigated the transaction, a delay caused in large measure because Bush was late in notifying the agency of his insider sale.
Michael Aguirre, a California securities lawyer who filed the original Freedom of Information request that led to the release of some of the documents, said he is astonished that the SEC did not investigate the rights offering.
''It was something they either overlooked or consciously avoided,'' he said. ''It appears that Mr. Bush had insider information, that he was told that such insider information could be considered material, [and] was given express warnings about what the consequences could be.''
Thus, Aguirre said, it is ''imperative'' that Bush allow the buyer of his stock to be identified because that would clarify whether Bush knew the buyer and conveyed inside information to the buyer.
Michael Kranish can be reached at email@example.com. Beth Healy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 10/30/2002. © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.
JIM TALENT, GOP INTENSIFY DIRTY WAR Republican Smears And Fears in Missouri, Nationwide Intimidation, Fake Polls, Law Breaking, Race Baiting
The latest dispatches from the front on the Republican Party's dirty campaign of 2002 include some of the nastiest reports yet. Some of the worst come from Missouri, where Jim Talent is turning his campaign into a text-book case of Republican smearing and vote suppression. But it's also happening nationwide, especially in the most hotly-contested Senate races. MISSOURI:
Jim Talent's Dirty Campaign: Heavy Suppression, Manipulation Of Black Vote, Twisted Racial Appeals
To try and suppress the black Democratic vote in the neck-and-neck race in Missouri, Republicans have resorted to blatantly racist appeals - not to get whites to vote Republican, but to get blacks not to vote Democratic.
You will recall earlier in the year, when radio ads were launched falsely depicting Social Security as a form of "reverse reparations," imposed by white Democrats on Republicans.
The report then was that the shameless ad had been pulled. But that hasn't stooped Missouri Republicans from carrying on with this brazen racist gambit.
As John B. Judis reports in the current New Republic:
In one radio ad aired on black stations, a grandmother warns her school-age granddaughter, "Baby, there are some real ugly Democrats that have hurt black people and not helped us at all. We have to be smart and make decisions based on what is really right. Not just 'cause somebody told us we owe them our vote." In another ad, aired repeatedly on St. Louis stations, an announcer lists a series of indignities that white Democrats have visited upon blacks:
Did you know that it was a Democratic county executive and prosecutor that said it was OK to shoot down two unarmed black suspects? ... Did you know that under the leadership of Democratic Mayor Francis Slay, the most prominent black ward in the city of St. Louis was eliminated? Did you know that to secure his chances of being reelected, Congressman Dick Gephardt took black voters away from Congressman Lacy Clay? ... Break the habit. Think the vote.
This ad, Judis writes, "isn't just ugly; it's dishonest. It refers to a decision by state and federal authorities not to prosecute two detectives who shot and killed two men whom they were trying to arrest on drug charges. It doesn't mention that the decision was made by local Democratic officials and the Bush administration Justice Department. The ad also misrepresents the redistricting fights in greater St. Louis, failing to note that they pitted black officeholders against one another as well as against white officeholders and that the fights were finally resolved to the satisfaction of everyone except for a single maverick alderwoman. In fact, Gephardt, while giving himself a more Democratic constituency, took no significant votes from Clay. As a result, both men face only nominal opponents this November."
Why we won't get another Democrat in the Whitehouse for a long, long, long time! http://kerrylibrary.invisionzone.com/lofiversion/index.php/t23.html (110102a)
May 11, 2004 | Since defecting from the Republican Party in the latter half of the 1990s and publishing a confessional memoir in 2002, I've discussed my right-wing past with politicians, political activists and strategists, academic scholars, student groups, fellow writers, and hundreds of readers of my book "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative."
EXCLUSIVE EXPOSE IN SALON: JEB BUSH BARS BLACK VOTERS FROM TUESDAY POLL Salon Magazine Friday Nov 1, 2002 Jeb Crow? There they go again. Today's Salon.com exclusive by investigative reporter By Greg Palast: Florida moves to bar 91,000 legal voters mostly Democrats from Tuesday poll
In December 2000, we reported that Florida's use of a faulty and politically questionable list of felons and dead people "scrubbed" from voter rolls -- half of them African-Americans -- may have cost Al Gore the 537-vote margin of victory claimed by George W. Bush in Florida.
Fast-forward two years. There's another close race in Florida. This time, younger brother Jeb is fighting to fend off a challenge from Bill McBride for the governor's race. The Nov. 5 face-off could again come down to thousands, if not hundreds, of votes.
And even though the list has been widely condemned -- the company that created it admits probable errors -- the same voter scrub list, with more than 94,000 names on it, is still in operation in Florida. Moreover, DBT Online, which generated the disastrously flawed list, reports that if it followed strict criteria to eliminate those errors, roughly 3,000 names would remain -- and a whopping 91,000 people would have their voting rights restored.
Conflict of interest for vice president? By David Lazarus Sunday, November 3, 2002
Let's say there's a businessman -- in China, for example-- with stellar public-sector connections. He wins billions of dollars in government contracts for his company. Let's say this businessman becomes a high-ranking government official himself. And let's say the government begins throwing its enemies into prison without trials or access to attorneys.
Would anyone be surprised if the official's former company wins the contract for building all those new prison cells? Probably not. We'd just assume that's how things work in a place like Beijing.
Only this isn't a hypothetical situation, and it's not really about China. We're actually talking about the U.S. government and an American company. And the official in question is none other than Vice President Dick Cheney.
This is slippery stuff. Cheney plays a central role in shaping Washington's response to the Sept. 11 attacks. A company he once ran benefits directly from the government's actions. "You can't get a clearer example of conflict of interest," said Bill Allison, managing editor for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan government watchdog group in Washington, DC. "It's a troubling phenomenon, to say the least."
Bush's Life of Deception By Sam Parry November 4, 2002
The Washington press corps has come grudgingly to the recognition that George W. Bush is "malleable" with the truth, as the Washington Post delicately put it. Pressing for war with Iraq, Bush has been exaggerating his case so much that even CIA analysts are complaining, as a number of newspapers have now reported.
But the underlying reality about Bush's honesty is far worse. Throughout his adult life, Bush has dodged the truth along with personal responsibility for his actions. Indeed, a remarkable feature of his presidency is the gap between Bush's public image as a straight-talking everyman and the behind-the-curtain Bush whose imperial impulse sometimes flashes into public view.
Like a boy emperor convinced of his infallibility, Bush rarely admits errors, fesses up to misstatements or apologizes for inappropriate behavior.
Especially since the Sept. 11 attacks and his soaring "united-we-stand" poll numbers, Bush has behaved as an imperious leader, treating others rudely when he's crossed. In a recent example, at a summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, Bush cut short a press conference with Mexican President Vincente Fox before the Mexican-to-English translation of Foxs last answer was completed.
Upset over Foxs refusal to get behind the Iraq war, the U.S. president glowered during Foxs windup and looked annoyed at the unruliness of the camera crews, the Washington Post reported. The last straw was when a cell phone went off, which infuriates Bush. In a breach of protocol, Bush cut off the translator before Fox's answers could be rendered into English and walked away. [Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2002]
Bush displayed his pique again when he felt frustrated over a legislative dispute on the homeland security bill. In a campaign speech, he declared that the Democratic-controlled Senate "is not interested in the security of the American people" and stuck by that charge although a number of Democratic senators had served their country in war and two, Daniel Inouye and Max Cleland, were maimed in combat. Bush rebuffed calls for an apology.
Bushs self-certainty appears unshaken despite obvious and costly misjudgments, including his failure to heed warnings about the al Qaeda terrorist threat in the first months of his presidency and his rejection of advice that his tax cut would throw the government into deficit. Rather than admit to flaws or reassess situations, Bush digs in his heels (as with the tax cut) or moves to block public disclosure of the full story (as with stopping the proposed independent commission on the Sept. 11 attacks).
While the signs of Bushs imperial presidency have been growing for months, only recently have his tendencies to exaggerate, cover up and lie come into sharper focus for much of the national news media.
For instance, it's now recognized that Bush tried to scare the American people with notions that Iraqi drone aircraft might fly to the United States despite their range of only a few hundred miles. In a national address, he also cited a brief medical stay of an al Qaeda operative in Iraq as proof of an Iraqi-al Qaeda connection, though theres no evidence the Iraqi government even knew of the mans presence.
"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists," Bush said in his Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati. But what Bush left out of his one-sided risk equation was the possibility that his administrations actions may increase the danger to Americans, not reduce or eliminate it.
On the day of Bushs speech, the CIA made that exact point in a letter to Congress. CIA analysts judged the likelihood of Iraq attacking the United States without U.S. provocation as "low" but rising dramatically if the U.S. prepared for a preemptive strike. "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or C.B.W. [chemical or biological warfare] against the United States," wrote CIA director George Tenet. "Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." (See Consortiumnews.com's "Misleading the Nation to War")
Stop the Presses by Eric Alterman Bush Lies, Media Swallows [from the November 25, 2002 issue]
The more things change... Roughly ten years ago, I celebrated the criminal indictment of Elliott Abrams for lying to Congress by writing an Op-Ed in the New York Times on the increasing acceptance of official deception. (I was just starting my dissertation on the topic back then.) The piece got bogged down, however, when an editor refused to allow me even to imply that then-President Bush was also lying to the country. I noted that such reticence made the entire exercise feel a bit absurd. He did not dispute this point but explained that Times policy simply would not allow it. I asked for a compromise. I was offered the following: "Either take it out and a million people will read you tomorrow, or leave it in and send it around to your friends." (It was a better line before e-mail.) Anyway, I took it out, but I think it was the last time I've appeared on that page.
President Bush is a liar. There, I said it, but most of the mainstream media won't. Liberal pundits Michael Kinsley, Paul Krugman and Richard Cohen have addressed the issue on the Op-Ed pages, but almost all news pages and network broadcasts pretend not to notice. In the one significant effort by a national daily to deal with Bush's consistent pattern of mendacity, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank could not bring himself (or was not allowed) to utter the crucial words. Instead, readers were treated to such complicated linguistic circumlocutions as: Bush's statements represented "embroidering key assertions" and were clearly "dubious, if not wrong." The President's "rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy," he has "taken some liberties," "omitted qualifiers" and "simply outpace[d] the facts." But "Bush lied"? Never.
For Immediate Release Nov 1, 2002 Contact: Press Office 202-646-5172 COURT MAKES CRIMINAL REFERRAL ON REPUBLICAN/BUSH ADMINISTRATION THREATS AGAINST JUDICIAL WATCH VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY ORDERED TO TURN OVER ENERGY TASK FORCE DOCUMENTS BY NOVEMBER 29th REJECTS REQUEST FOR STAY PENDING APPEAL
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, reported today that a federal court judge said he would refer allegations of threats against Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Judicial Watch learned through various sources that Republicans and the Bush Administration were improperly investigating Klayman and seeking to have him jailed. Earlier, a Bush Justice Department official had told conservative columnist Robert Novak, in the context of Judicial Watchs lawsuits against the Administration, What are we going to do about this Klayman? As it is criminal to threaten individuals and coerce attorneys in litigation, Judicial Watch asked the judge hearing its case against Vice President Cheneys Energy Task Force, The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, to take legal action. In hearings over the last two days, Judge Sullivan said that he would criminally refer the serious allegations to the U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard for investigation and possible prosecution.
There is a link on this page for the PDF file of the court documents: http://www.judicialwatch.org/printer_2721.shtml
VNS Scraps National Exit Poll Work Tue Nov 5, 6:33 PM ET By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Voter News Service abandoned its state and national exit poll plans for Election Night, saying it could not guarantee the accuracy of the analysis which media organizations use to help explain why people voted as they did.
The decision did not affect VNS' separate operation for counting the actual vote. VNS also hoped to have limited information from the exit poll surveys to give its members guidance in projecting winners for individual races.
Still, it was a major setback for VNS a consortium consisting of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and The Associated Press. VNS had completely rebuilt its system in response to the 2000 election, when television networks twice used its information to make wrong calls in the decisive Florida vote for the presidential election.
(new link: http://www.linkcrusader.com/vote_machines.htm (111202b)) Go somewhere about half way down the page.
That link takes you to the site that which published the following data. Interesteding cooincidence that exit polling vanishes as some inexplicable last minute swings in voter opinions take place. http://www.linkcrusader.com (for interesting takes on recent elections )
Poll by Concord, NH Monitor on Nov. 3 for New
Hampshire Senate Jeanne Shaheen (D) 47% up 1 John E. Sununu (R) 46% "Official Results" Jeanne Shaheen (D) 47% John E. Sununu (R) 51% up 4 that's a 5-point
pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Isn't it amazing
that all six surprises went to the Republicans? Did
they let Hutchison lose Arkansas because he was
dead meat, anyway? Poll by St. Louis Dispatch/Zogby on Nov. 3
for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) 52% up 7 Jim Ryan (R) 45% "Official Results" Rod Blagojevich (D) 43% Jim Ryan (R) 44% up 1 that's an 8-point
pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Minneapolis Star-Tribune Poll on Nov. 3
for Minnesota Senate Walter Mondale (D) 46% up 5 Norm Coleman (R) 41% "Official Results" Norm Coleman (R) 50% Walter Mondale (D) 47% up 3 that's an 8-point
pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Did they let this
one stay close because they knew MN loved
Mondale? Poll by Atlanta Journal Constitution Nov. 1
for Georgia Senate Max Cleland (D) 49% up 5 Saxby Chambliss (R) 44% "Official Results" from the 'Diebold
Electronic Voting Machines' Max Cleland (D) 46% Saxby Chambliss 53% up 7 - that's a 13-point
pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Poll by MSNBC/Zogby on Nov. 3 for Colorado
Senate Tom Strickland (D) 53% up 9 Wayne Allard (R) 44% "Official Results" Tom Strickland (D) 46% Wayne Allard (R) 51% up 5 - that's a 14-point
pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Poll by Atlanta Journal Constitution/WSB-TV
of 800 likely voters on Nov. 1 For Georgia
Governor Roy Barnes (D) 51% up 11 Sonny Perdue (R) 40% "Official Results" from the 'Diebold
Electronic Voting Machines' on Nov. 5 Roy Barnes (D) 46% Sonny Perdue (R) 51% up 5 - that's a 16-point
pro-Bush swing - was it magic?
Poll by Concord, NH Monitor on Nov. 3 for New Hampshire Senate
Jeanne Shaheen (D) 47% up 1
John E. Sununu (R) 46%
Jeanne Shaheen (D) 47%
John E. Sununu (R) 51% up 4 that's a 5-point pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Isn't it amazing that all six surprises went to the Republicans? Did they let Hutchison lose Arkansas because he was dead meat, anyway?
Poll by St. Louis Dispatch/Zogby on Nov. 3 for
Rod Blagojevich (D) 52% up 7
Jim Ryan (R) 45%
Rod Blagojevich (D) 43%
Jim Ryan (R) 44% up 1 that's an 8-point pro-Bush swing - was it magic?
Minneapolis Star-Tribune Poll on Nov. 3 for
Walter Mondale (D) 46% up 5
Norm Coleman (R) 41%
Norm Coleman (R) 50%
Walter Mondale (D) 47% up 3 that's an 8-point pro-Bush swing - was it magic? Did they let this one stay close because they knew MN loved Mondale?
Poll by Atlanta Journal Constitution Nov. 1 for Georgia Senate
Max Cleland (D) 49% up 5
Saxby Chambliss (R) 44%
"Official Results" from the 'Diebold Electronic Voting Machines'
Max Cleland (D) 46%
Saxby Chambliss 53% up 7 - that's a 13-point pro-Bush swing - was it magic?
Poll by MSNBC/Zogby on Nov. 3 for Colorado Senate
Tom Strickland (D) 53% up 9
Wayne Allard (R) 44%
Tom Strickland (D) 46%
Wayne Allard (R) 51% up 5 - that's a 14-point pro-Bush swing - was it magic?
Poll by Atlanta Journal Constitution/WSB-TV of 800 likely voters on Nov. 1 For Georgia Governor
Roy Barnes (D) 51% up 11
Sonny Perdue (R) 40%
"Official Results" from the 'Diebold Electronic Voting Machines' on Nov. 5
Roy Barnes (D) 46%
Sonny Perdue (R) 51% up 5 - that's a 16-point pro-Bush swing - was it magic?
The Desert of the Real By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Tuesday, 12 November 12, 2002
Whispers of vote fraud tremble on the wires - companies like Diebold, who make the new voting machines, whose officers are to a man Republican donors and activists, come under suspicion in the aftermath of such a wrenching reversal.
Simultaneously, though, we must also look to the legislative aftermath of all this. One way or another, we must deal with the conservative freight train of legislation that is ramrodding towards us. A brief look at who will be taking control of the congressional agenda in January proves to be revealing.
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is set to take over the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. From this seat, Hatch will be instrumental in setting the agenda for judicial nominations. Hatch believes homosexuality is contrary to Biblical teachings, voted against same-sex marriage. He believes the McCain-Feingold bill is unconstitutional. He voted against mandating background checks at gun shows, and against mandating the sale of all guns with trigger locks.
Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma will take the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe is in favor of drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reservation. He voted against keeping CAFÉ standards for automobile emissions, in favor of funding to build more roads through forests and fishing habitats, in favor of defunding projects to develop renewable and solar energy. In 1997 he voted against the banning of chemical weapons.
Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma will take the chairmanship of the Budget Committee. Nickles in 2001 voted in favor of restricting the rules regarding personal bankruptcy. He voted against funding to aid minority- and women-owned businesses. He voted in favor of limiting punitive damages awards in product liability cases and like Inhofe voted against the banning of chemical weapons.
Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire will assume the chairmanship of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Gregg voted against spending $448 billion of Bush's massive tax cut on education and debt reduction, but voted in favor of spending $75 million on in-school abstinence programs. He is in favor of allowing prayer in public schools, but against the creation of national education standards.
© : t r u t h o u t 2002
William Rivers Pitt is a teacher from Boston, MA. He is the author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in April 2003 from Pluto Press.
War On Peace: What's Happening And What We Can Do About It. By Heather Wokusch
It started with the November 2000 rigged US presidential election and has just degenerated from there. I've not been alone in watching with horror as our country's government flipped the bird at international treaties designed to protect human rights and the environment, favoring military build-up and big oil instead.
This while much of the country voted via computer systems whose proprietary nature does not permit public scrutiny, and which by definition do not leave much in the way of physical evidence for each vote. The computer glitch in South Florida which almost deleted 103,000 votes text is a case in point; what other votes could have been "lost" at the touch of a button, and to whose benefit?
With a lame-duck Congress, and Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate (plus the Supreme Court), it's clear military spending will skyrocket as domestic social services are slashed and the environment is pillaged. Any previous attempts to rein in corporate scandal and excess will be attacked as un-American (kiss the corporate-fraud targeting Sarbanes-Oxley Act goodbye, for one).
And the US will be subjected to further terrorist attacks - that is, if Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has his way. According to a little-discussed classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by the Defense Science Board, a group of private industry executives advising the Pentagon, new counter-terrorism measures will include "cover and deception" and secret military missions to stimulate terrorists into making attacks, thereby leaving them open to counterattacks by US forces. Plainly put, the so-called "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" text aims to save citizens from terrorist attacks by actively provoking terrorist attacks against citizens. Got that?
Exclusive to American Free Press By Christopher Bollyn
American Free Press has learned of pools of "molten steel" found at the base of the collapsed twin towers weeks after the collapse. Although the energy source for these incredibly hot areas has yet to be explained, New York seismometers recorded huge bursts of energy, which caused unexplained seismic "spikes" at the beginning of each collapse.
These spikes suggest that massive underground explosions may have literally knocked the towers off their foundations, causing them to collapse.
In the basements of the collapsed towers, where the 47 central support columns connected with the bedrock, hot spots of "literally molten steel" were discovered more than a month after the collapse. Such persistent and intense residual heat, 70 feet below the surface, in an oxygen starved environment, could explain how these crucial structural supports failed.
Peter Tully, president of Tully Construction of Flushing, N.Y., told AFP that he saw pools of "literally molten steel" at the World Trade Center.
Tully was contracted after the Sept. 11 tragedy to re move the debris from the site.
Tully called Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Md., for consultation about removing the debris. CDI calls itself "the innovator and global leader in the controlled demolition and implosion of structures."
A little about how the protests around the the vice president's residence went, unreported of course, during the 36 day long "decision" process for the 2000 election. B. Walters interviewing Gore and his family, exceprts:
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/TheNote.html (new link: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/789830/posts (111602))
WALTERS: I'm not sure that people realize that while you were in the residence of the Vice President [during the Florida recount] there were crowds of people outside screaming at you. What was that all about?
AL GORE: Well, this was the Republican response to what was happening during that 36-day period, and they organized busloads of people that came and stood outside the house all day and all night screaming at the top of their lungs.
WALTERS: What, "Get out!"?
TIPPER GORE: Things like that, yes, and, and sometimes … things that we don't want to say on your program, and, some people saw that they were buses from "churches," but it was organized. The one thing that, that they did mainly was reach the bedrooms of our children, and Albert was still in school locally, and trying to study, so we rearranged, you know, they … kids moved to a different part of the house, and I was trying to think of a way that we could kind of laugh about this since obviously it was out of our control, there wasn't anything anybody could do so I got all the boom boxes in the house and … I remember sort of what the government did with Noriega … I thought we'd try that, and I aimed them at, toward, you know, where the crowd … all that was.
WALTERS: The crowd?
TIPPER GORE: … And I put nature sounds on and turned it all the way up. And at least the kids laughed.
KARENNA GORE: Well, when we were in the Vice President's house during the recount, it was it was very intense. And one of the things I remember is that there was a … an organized effort by, I don't know whether it was the RNC or it was … it was right-wing groups, it was definitely Bush-campaign-oriented effort to bus in people to have a sort of siege at the Vice President's house, and, so, they were all lining there, screaming, and it was kind of an assortment of groups. I mean, some of them were anti, um, were anti-abortion groups, and some of them were pro-gun groups, and some of them … they all had their different signs. But they were all screaming, "Get out of Cheney's house," the whole time. And I just remember being there next to my dad, because I went for a run, and I ran back through them, and I was very upset when I came into the house. And my whole attitude was, like, "We've got to fight back harder. And where are our crowds?" And my dad, I'll never forget his response. He said, "We have to do what's best for the country, and it is not good for the country to have this kind of divisiveness. And he was on the phone, really calling off the dogs. There were people who wanted to fan the … the flames of the racial issue and have real unrest. And he was on the phone asking them not to, because of what was best for the country not because of what was best for him politically. And that's really who he is.
WALTERS: Do you remember the crowds outside screaming?
KRISTEN GORE: The crowds that were screaming outside our house, you know, "Get out of Cheney's house." And other things … of that nature, were really upsetting. It was difficult … It was just very … upsetting that someone would … yell those things at us. It felt … we felt sort of like … trapped in this … you know, little house with all these people yelling mean things. It's no fun. You know, whether you're a child of the person who they're directed at, or anyone else. It … it wasn't a good situation.
WALTERS: Were you scared?
KRISTEN GORE: I was scared that the truth was not going to come out. That's what I was.
Extra! Update, October 2002 What a Difference Four Years Makes Why U.N. inspectors left Iraq--then and now
The U.N. orders its weapons inspectors to leave Iraq after the chief inspector reports Baghdad is not fully cooperating with them. -- Sheila MacVicar, ABC World News This Morning, 12/16/98
To bolster its claim, Iraq let reporters see one laboratory U.N. inspectors once visited before they were kicked out four years ago. --John McWethy, ABC World News Tonight, 8/12/02
The Iraq story boiled over last night when the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Richard Butler, said that Iraq had not fully cooperated with inspectors and--as they had promised to do. As a result, the U.N. ordered its inspectors to leave Iraq this morning --Katie Couric, NBC's Today, 12/16/98/
As Washington debates when and how to attack Iraq, a surprise offer from Baghdad. It is ready to talk about re-admitting U.N. weapons inspectors after kicking them out four years ago. --Maurice DuBois, NBC's Saturday Today, 8/3/02
The chief U.N. weapons inspector ordered his monitors to leave Baghdad today after saying that Iraq had once again reneged on its promise to cooperate--a report that renewed the threat of U.S. and British airstrikes. --AP, 12/16/98
Information on Iraq's programs has been spotty since Saddam expelled U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998. --AP, 9/7/02
Immediately after submitting his report on Baghdad's noncompliance, Butler ordered his inspectors to leave Iraq. --Los Angeles Times, 12/17/98
It is not known whether Iraq has rebuilt clandestine nuclear facilities since U.N. inspectors were forced out in 1998, but the report said the regime lacks nuclear material for a bomb and the capability to make weapons. --Los Angeles Times, 9/10/02
The United Nations once again has ordered its weapons inspectors out of Iraq. Today's evacuation follows a new warning from chief weapons inspector Richard Butler accusing Iraq of once again failing to cooperate with the inspectors. The United States and Britain repeatedly have warned that Iraq's failure to cooperate with the inspectors could lead to air strikes. --Bob Edwards, NPR, 12/16/98
If he has secret weapons, he's had four years since he kicked out the inspectors to hide all of them. --Daniel Schorr, NPR, 8/3/02
This is the second time in a month that UNSCOM has pulled out in the face of a possible U.S.-led attack. But this time there may be no turning back. Weapons inspectors packed up their personal belongings and loaded up equipment at U.N. headquarters after a predawn evacuation order. In a matter of hours, they were gone, more than 120 of them headed for a flight to Bahrain. --Jane Arraf, CNN, 12/16/98
What Mr. Bush is being urged to do by many advisers is focus on the simple fact that Saddam Hussein signed a piece of paper at the end of the Persian Gulf War, promising that the United Nations could have unfettered weapons inspections in Iraq. It has now been several years since those inspectors were kicked out. --John King, CNN, 8/18/02
Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov criticized Butler for evacuating inspectors from Iraq Wednesday morning without seeking permission from the Security Council. --USA Today, 12/17/98
Saddam expelled U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998, accusing some of being U.S. spies. --USA Today, 9/4/02
But the most recent irritant was Mr. Butler's quick withdrawal from Iraq on Wednesday of all his inspectors and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iraqi nuclear programs, without Security Council permission. Mr. Butler acted after a telephone call from Peter Burleigh, the American representative to the United Nations, and a discussion with Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had also spoken to Mr. Burleigh. --New York Times, 12/18/98
America's goal should be to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of all unconventional weapons.... To thwart this goal, Baghdad expelled United Nations arms inspectors four years ago. --New York Times editorial, 8/3/02
Butler ordered his inspectors to evacuate Baghdad, in anticipation of a military attack, on Tuesday night--at a time when most members of the Security Council had yet to receive his report. --Washington Post, 12/18/98
Since 1998, when U.N. inspectors were expelled, Iraq has almost certainly been working to build more chemical and biological weapons, --Washington Post editorial, 8/4/02
Butler abruptly pulled all of his inspectors out of Iraq shortly after handing Annan a report yesterday afternoon on Baghdad's continued failure to cooperate with UNSCOM, the agency that searches for Iraq's prohibited weapons of mass destruction. -- Newsday, 12/17/98
The reason Hussein gave was that the U.N. inspectors' work was completed years ago, before he kicked them out in 1998, and they dismantled whatever weapons they found. That's disingenuous. --Newsday editorial, 8/14/02
Sen. Daschle Complains of Threats Wed Nov 20, 5:24 PM ET Add Politics - AP http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/793470/posts (112102)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says threats have increased against him and his family and blames talk show host "Rush Limbaugh and all of the Rush Limbaugh wannabes" for an increasingly negative tone in politics.
"What happens when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life is that people aren't satisfied just to listen," Daschle, D-S.D., told reporters Wednesday. "They want to act because they get emotionally invested. And so, you know, the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically, on our families and on us, in a way that's very disconcerting."
Daschle was the target of an anthrax-contaminatedletter sent to Capitol Hill last year, although he did not mention that incident Wednesday.
He did cite an incident last year when Republicans labeled him an obstructionist. "There was a corresponding, a very significant increase in the number of issues that my family and I had to deal with. And I worry about that," Daschle said.
Daschle, who will be stepping down as majority leader now that Republicans have won back control of the Senate, blamed the problem on the disappearing divide between politics and entertainment.
"If entertainment becomes so much a part of politics and if that entertainment drives an emotional movement in this country among some people who don't know the difference between entertainment and politics, and who are then so energized to go out and hurt somebody, that troubles me about where politics in America is going," Daschle said.
Limbaugh, during his radio show Wednesday, called Daschle's comments "a well-thought-out strategy by the Democrats to counter the influence of this program."
"It's not just against me but it's against you folks, the entire audience," Limbaugh said. "You all now are being characterized as unsophisticated barbarians. You don't know the difference between politics and entertainment.
"This is the continuation of a pattern. Every time the Democrats lose, either elections or a major issue, they blame me, they blame talk radio and they blame you," Limbaugh said.
Published on Friday, November 22, 2002 by the Times/UK US to Set Up 'Big Brother' Citizen Database by Elaine Monaghan and Tim Reid in Washington
THE Bush Administration is developing a computer system to monitor every Americans credit card transactions, phone calls and even borrowed library books in an anti-terrorist measure denounced as the countrys most intrusive domestic spying network so far.
Critics of the Total Information Awareness System, development of which was confirmed yesterday, say it will give the Government unprecedented powers to spy on citizens personal habits. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group, called it "the most sweeping plan to conduct surveillance on the public since at least the 1960's."
"It's probably one of the most significant public profiling proposals in modern US history," he said. "Theres a very fine line between protecting homeland security and building a police state, and we are teetering on that line."
The project is being overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. That is headed by retired Vice-Admiral John Poindexter, the National Security Adviser during the Reagan Administration who was convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran-Contra arms scandal. The convictions were overturned on appeal.
Katie Corrigan, of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the Bill authorized the most intrusive domestic spying network in American history. "For the first time, Americans can be tracked as they engage in mundane activities," Ms Corrigan said. "Its a radical departure from the principle that police can conduct surveillance only when there is evidence of wrongdoing."
The west isn't just losing the fight against terrorism - it is fuelling it across the globe By Seumas Milne Thursday November 21, 2002 The Guardian
This time last year, supporters of George Bush's waron terror were in euphoric mood. As one Taliban stronghold after another fell to the US-backed Northern Alliance, they hailed the advance as a decisive blow to the authors of the September 11 atrocities. The critics and doom-mongers had been confounded, cheerleaders crowed. Kites were flying again, music was playing and women were throwing off their burkas with joyful abandon. As the US president demanded Osama bin Laden "dead or alive", government officials on both sides of the Atlantic whispered that they were less than 48 hours from laying hands on the al-Qaida leader. By destroying the terrorist network's Afghan bases and its Taliban sponsors, supporters of the war argued, the Americans and their friends had ripped the heart out of the beast. Washington would now begin to address Muslim and Arab grievances by fast-tracking the establishment of a Palestinian state. Downing Street even published a rollcall of shame of journalists they claimed had been proved wrong by a hundred days of triumph. And in parliament, Jack Straw ridiculed Labour MPs for suggesting that the US and Britain might still be fighting in Afghanistan 12 months down the line.
One year on, the crowing has long since faded away; reality has sunk in. After six months of multiplying Islamist attacks on US, Australian and European targets, civilian and military - in Tunisia, Pakistan, Kuwait, Russia, Jordan, Yemen, the US and Indonesia - western politicians are having to face the fact that they are losing their war on terror. In Britain, the prime minister has taken to warning of the "painful price" that the country will have to pay to defeat those who are "inimical to all we stand for", while leaks about the risk of chemical or biological attacks have become ever more lurid. After a year of US military operations in Afghanistan and around the world, the CIA director George Tenet had to concede that the threat from al-Qaida and associated jihadist groups was as serious as before September 11. "They've reconstituted, they are coming after us," he said.
In other words, the global US onslaught had been a complete failure - at least as far as dealing with non-state terrorism was concerned. But most galling of all has been the authentication of the latest taped message from Bin Laden himself, promising bloody revenge for the deaths of the innocent in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is an update on the story from February. This is a wild ride, I only printed part of part one. The whole tale brings one to question the official story. One wonders where Mr. Vreeland is now.
(new links: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread35793/pg (112502a)) (http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/092602_vreeland_gnn.html (112502a1)
Sometime around August 11 or 12, Vreeland wrote a set of notes. They listed a number of potential terrorist targets including the Sears Towers, World Trade Center, White House, and Pentagon. The notes also included the phrase, "Let one happen. Stop the rest!!!" [see the notes here] He sealed them in an envelope and handed them to his Canadian jailers. His lawyers, Galati and Paul Slansky, another well-known former Canadian prosecutor, introduced the documents into court that October, arguing that Vreelands life would be in danger if he was sent back to the U.S. The lawyers were harassed with dead cats hung on their porches, and smashed car windows. Galati has since bowed out of the case.
News of Vreelands case spread quickly when alternative 9/11 journalist Mike Ruppert began sending back dramatic dispatches from the courtroom in Toronto. Ruppert called Vreeland a White Knight Talking Backwards," in articles published on his site, copvcia.com, and here on GNN.tv. To Ruppert, Vreeland's story, combined with his lawyers testimony, proved that elements within the U.S. government knew 9/11 was coming and did nothing to stop it.
The story became something of an Internet phenomenon, with thousands of readers around the world tracking every dramatic twist and turn. But just as Vreeland's star began to rise, it came crashing down. His long, colorful list of outstanding warrants in the U.S. was released to the public and the international man of mystery was quickly dismissed as a two-bit con man who had concocted an elaborate yarn to avoid prosecution. Canadian authorities dropped their charges against Vreeland on March 14, 2002, and he was paroled to house arrest to await an extradition hearing.
The Nation's Corn wrote Vreeland, was no spy, he was a flim-flammer, and characterized Ruppert as little more than a web surfer with a vivid imagination.
His case might have slipped off the radar completely, but on March 30, The Nation's Washington correspondent David Corn published an article entitled The 9/11 X-Files." The article lumped Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the French book that claimed a plane didnt hit the Pentagon, and Vreeland supporter Ruppert into the same kook category. Corn claimed their misguided efforts to look for a conspiracy at the top distracted the public from the more important work of analyzing the Bush Administrations real political misdeeds. Corn wrote Vreeland, was no spy, he was a flim-flammer, and characterized Ruppert as little more than a web surfer with a vivid imagination: Ruppert is no journalist. Ruppert fired back, and hundreds of his supporters wrote Corn and The Nation in protest. Corns response was to intensify his attack, publishing "To Protect And To Spin," a scathing profile of Ruppert full of personal details: romantic affairs gone awry among other nadirs.
Vreeland's most vocal critics could be found on Toronto's alternative radio station CKLN. DJs Ron Aninich and Greg Duffel interviewed numerous people associated with Vreeland, including alleged victims of his scams, and the man himself, in the end, concluding he was little more than a common criminal. They also built an exhaustive Vreeland web site listing interviews, articles and every court document they could find on his case. They even composed a Negativland-esque, anti-Vreeland reworking of the disco hit "In the Navy." Partly in response to what he felt were brutal attacks from CKLN, in the spring of 2002, Vreeland developed his own site, www.ltvreeland.com. He posted information about his case, court documents and records of financial transactions involving a former Reagan White House secret operative named Leo Wanta (more on him later). The site is about as organized as a shotgun blast and did little to help his cause.
Then, on May 21, 2002, the plot thickened. A devoted, lifelong-career FBI agent from Minnesota named Coleen Rowley publicly accused FBI director Robert Mueller of hampering crucial investigations into alleged 9/11 conspirators, charging there was a "delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you [Mueller] and others at the highest levels of FBI management." In July, Arizona-based FBI Special Agent Ken Williams wrote the now-famous Phoenix Memo accusing the FBI of ignoring a call to investigate potential terrorists training at flight schools. In the international press, German, Russian and Israeli intelligence were quoted as claiming they had warned the White House that an attack was imminent. More recently, many family members of 9/11 victims have joined the call for answers. Kristin Breitweiser lost her husband Ronald in the World Trade Center. She told Phil Donahue on MSNBC recently, "At this time of year, everyone is asking us what can we do to memorialize, what can we do to memorialize. And you know what? An independent investigation. Lets make sure our husbands, our loved ones did not die in vain."
Could Vreeland be the one U.S. intelligence operative who blew the whistle before the 9/11 tragedy? Or is his story just the Robert Ludlum fantasies of a low-life military con man?
On September 18, Eleanor Hill, the staff director of a
congressional intelligence inquiry into 9/11, testified
that there were no less than twelve separate warnings about
terrorists hijacking planes in the past five years,
including, contrary to the Bush Administrations
previous statements, one that specifically involved crashing
a plane into the World Trade Center.
Kissinger's Back...As 9/11 Truth-Seeker for Bush by Anonymous (new link: http://www.network54.com/Forum/message?forumid=25900&messageid=1038940133 (112802a))
Asking Henry Kissinger to investigate government malfeasance or nonfeasance is akin to asking Slobodan Milosevic to investigate war crimes. Yet George W. Bush has named him to head a supposed independent commission to investigate the nightmarish attacks of September 11, 2001, Hyperbole? Consider the record:
Vietnam. Kissinger participated in a GOP plot toundermine the 1968 Paris peace talks in order to assist Richard Nixon's presidential campaign. As co-architect of Nixon's war in Vietnam, Kissinger oversaw the secret bombing campaign in Cambodia, an arguably illegal operation estimated to have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Bangladesh. In 1971, Pakistani General Yahya Khan, armed with US weaponry, overthrew a democratically-elected government in an action that led to a massive civilian bloodbath. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Kissinger blocked US condemnation of Khan. Instead, he noted Khan's "delicacy and tact."
Chile. In the early 1970s, Kissinger oversaw the CIA's extensive covert campaign that assisted coup-plotters, some of whom eventually overthrew the democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende and installed the murderous military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
East Timor. In 1975, President Gerald Ford and Kissinger, still serving as secretary of state, offered advance approval of Indonesia's brutal invasion of East Timor, which took the lives of tens of thousands of East Timorese. Kissinger is an outright liar on this subject.
Argentina. In 1976, as a fascistic and anti-Semitic military junta was beginning its so-called "dirty war" against supposed subversives--between 9,000 and 30,000 people would be "disappeared" by the military over the next seven years--Argentina's foreign minister met with Kissinger and received what he believed was tacit encouragement for his government's violent efforts. That is, Kissinger was, in a way, enabling torture, kidnapping and murder.
Kissinger is the target of two lawsuits, and judges overseas have sought him for questioning in war-crimes-related legal actions. In the United States, the family of Chilean General Rene Schneider sued Kissinger last year. On September 9, 2001, 60 Minutes aired a segment on the Schneider family's charges against Kissinger. The former secretary of state came across as partly responsible for what is the Chilean equivalent of the JFK assassination.
In another lawsuit, filed earlier this month, eleven Chilean human rights victims--including relatives of people murdered after Pinochet's coup--claimed Kissinger knowingly provided practical assistance and encouragement to the Pinochet regime.
A fellow who has coddled state-sponsored terrorism has been put in charge of this terrorism investigation. A proven liar has been assigned the task of finding the truth.
November 29, 2002 In Media Res By PAUL KRUGMAN
This week Al Gore said the obvious. "The media is kind of weird these days on politics," he told The New York Observer, "and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party."
The reaction from most journalists in the "liberal media" was embarrassed silence. I don't quite understand why, but there are some things that you're not supposed to say, precisely because they're so clearly true.
The political agenda of Fox News, to take the most important example, is hardly obscure. Roger Ailes, the network's chairman, has been advising the Bush administration. Fox's Brit Hume even claimed credit for the midterm election. "It was because of our coverage that it happened," he told Don Imus. "People watch us and take their electoral cues from us. No one should doubt the influence of Fox News in these matters." (This remark may have been tongue in cheek, but imagine the reaction if the Democrats had won and Dan Rather, even jokingly, had later claimed credit.)
But my purpose in today's column is not to bash Fox. I want to address a broader question: Will the economic interests of the media undermine objective news coverage?
For most of the last 50 years, public policy took it for granted that media bias was a potential problem. There were, after all,only three national networks, a limited number of radio licenses and only one or two newspapers in many cities. How could those who controlled major news outlets be deterred from misusing their position?
The answer was a combination of regulation and informal guidelines. The "fairness doctrine" forced broadcast media to give comparable representation to opposing points of view. Restrictions on ownership maintained a diversity of voices. And there was a general expectation that major news outlets would stay above the fray, distinguishing clearly between opinion and news reporting. The system didn't always work, but it did set some limits.
Over the past 15 years, however, much of that system has been dismantled. The fairness doctrine was abolished in 1987. Restrictions on ownership have been steadily loosened, and it seems likely that next year the Federal Communications Commission will abolish many of the restrictions that remain quite possibly even allowing major networks to buy each other. And the informal rule against blatantly partisan reporting has also gone away at least as long as you are partisan in the right direction.
Mark Shields: The business lobby's campaign against McCain Wednesday, November 27, 2002 Posted: 12:29 PM EST (1729 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Creators Syndicate) -- Thanks to Robert Pear and Richard A. Oppel Jr. of The New York Times, we know that the kingpins of America's drug companies held an unpublicized, post-election victory and strategy summit at a private location near Washington's Dulles airport.
After pharmaceutical companies had put more than $30 million into congressional campaigns to elect their friends, the drug chiefs want and expect a friendly Republican-run Congress to kill any profit-threatening price controls on prescription drugs or any liberal scheme to allow citizens to buy cheaper, generic versions of expensive brand-name medicines.
The Republican House promptly showed its gratitude by secretly inserting provisions in the anti-terrorism Homeland Security Bill to allow Eli Lilly to escape liability for any childhood autism linked to its smallpox vaccine and to allow American companies that move their legal address offshore just to avoid paying U.S. taxes to win federal contracts paid for by American taxpayers.
Apparently "drugged" and responsive to the entreaties of the nation's commander-in-chief, who on the eve of the NATO meeting in Prague called asking them to keep the corporate sweetheart deals in the security bill, Senate Republicans were complicit with one exception -- John McCain of Arizona. He condemned such special interest bonanzas for what they are, "war-profiteering," and added, "I don't think it's accidental that pharmaceutical companies contributed $20 million to Republican candidates in the last election."
It is just that kind of blunt truth-telling that has made McCain, rather than any congressional Democrat, the most-feared and loathed nemesis of Washington's K Street business-political axis.
Unable to refute McCain's logic, his enemies followthe example of some Bush operatives in the 2000 primaries -- they try to smear McCain's character. That must have been the objective of the November 21 lead editorial in the Bush White House's favorite newspaper, The Washington Times, which accused McCain of basing his opposition to the special-interest provisions not on any principle, but instead on the House bill's failure to include liability protection for the Argenbright airport security company.
The Times editorial reported a conversation between McCain and House Majority leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, in which McCain threatened to vote against the homeland security bill without Argenbright 's getting special treatment, too.
There is a major problem: This is a big lie. According to Dick Armey's handwritten note to the Arizona maverick, "I had no conversation with you on the homeland defense bill, nor any part thereof, especially the issues of liability limitations to airport screeners."
November 29, 2002 | 11:16 PM
What is innovative about this plan is John Poindexters technological ambition. Disgraced Admiral Now a Super Spy by Joe Conason
Those compassionate conservatives in the Bush White House feel quite strongly that a convicted felon deserves a second chance (unless, of course, he or she is unlucky enough to be executed). How else would they explain their decision to hire Iran-contra mastermind John Poindexter? They have employed him not as a clerk or a chauffeurpositions for which the retired admiral and Navy physicist would be overqualifiedbut to oversee one of the governments most sensitive departments.
Rehabilitation should be societys hope for every nonviolent offendereven if, as in Dr. Poindexters case, said offender escaped a deserved jail sentence thanks to a technicality. (He had lied to Congress and shredded official documents to conceal the Reagan administrations conspiracy to trade arms for hostages and then use the dirty money for covert operations.)
We now know that under the ethical code of the Bush loyalists, lying can be permissible, even admirable, but only if the lies protect a politician from accountability for activities like dealing with a terrorist regime. Lying about the oral endearments of a lovestruck intern would obviously be dishonorable.
The Bush dynasty and the Cuban criminals New book reveals links of two presidents and the governor of Florida with exiled hardliners Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles Monday December 2, 2002 The Guardian
The brother of President George Bush, the Florida governor, Jeb Bush, has been instrumental in securing the release from prison of militant Cuban exiles convicted of terrorist offences, according to a new book. Last year, after September 11, while the justice department announced a sweep of terrorist suspects, Cubans convicted of terrorist offences were being
released from US jails with the consent of the Bush administration, according to the book, Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana, by Ann Louise Bardach, the award-winning investigative journalist who has covered Cuban and Miami politics for the New York Times and Vanity Fair.
The Bush family connections go back to 1984 when Jeb Bush began a close association with Camilo Padreda, a former intelligence officer with the Batista dictatorship overthrown by Fidel Castro.
Most controversially, at the request of Jeb, Mr Bush Sr intervened to release the convicted Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch from prison and then granted him US residency.
According to the justice department in George Bush Sr's administration, Bosch had participated in more than 30 terrorist acts. He was convicted of firing a rocket into a Polish ship which was on passage to Cuba. He was also implicated in the 1976 blowing-up of a Cubana plane flying to Havana from Venezuela in which all 73 civilians on board were killed.
CIA memorandums strongly suggest, according to Bardach's book, that Bosch was one of the conspirators, and quotes the then secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, as writing that the "US government had been planning to suggest Bosch's deportation before Cubana airlines crash took place for his suspected involvement in other terrorist acts and violation of his parole".
Bosch's release, often referred to in the US media as a pardon, was the result of pressure brought by hardline Cubans in Miami, with Jeb Bush serving as their point man. Bosch now lives in Miami and remains unrepentant about his militant activities, according to Bardach.
Other Cuban exiles involved in terrorist acts, Jose Dionisio Suarez and Virgilio Paz Romero, who carried out the 1976 assassination of the Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier in Washington, have also been released by the current Bush administration.
What a free press would ask Dr. Kissinger http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/6848 (120902a)
The Loyal Opposition: Kissinger's No-Press Zone Confronting Dr. K Is Not Part Of The Medias S.O.P.
"Doctor Kissinger, you oversaw a covert -- and arguably illegal -- bombing campaign in Cambodia that killed hundreds of thousands, and you have opposed disclosure of information related to government misdeeds. Is that a liability or asset in your new post as head of the independent 9/11 commission?"
"Secretary Kissinger, when you served in government, you supported the terrorist government of dictator Augusto Pinochet in Chile (after overseeing a CIA plot that tried to overthrow the democratically-elected Salvador Allende). You also were a fan of the fascistic military junta in Argentina. Both regimes kidnapped, tortured and murdered thousands of civilians. The Chileans were even responsible for a terrorist event in Washington in 1976, when one of their agents used a car bomb to kill a former Chilean diplomat and an American colleague. Do you believe that gives you valuable insight into the world of terrorists?"
"As an experienced prevaricator, are you in a better position to ferret out the lies of other government officials?"
When Henry Kissinger hit the media circuit after being named by George W. Bush to oversee an investigation into what went wrong on and before 9/11, he did not encounter any questions like the polite queries above. If Bill Clinton were selected to lead a commission examining teenage delinquency, how many times would he be asked if his Oval Office antics rendered him less-than-suitable for the position?
These personnel decisions, I asserted, were blatant contradictions of Bush's campaign pledge to "restore honor and integrity" to the White House. But former Washington Post heavyweight Lou Cannon pooh-poohed my schoolmarmish view of the world. If everyone who lied to Congress was prohibited from federal employment, he said, there would be no one left to work in government. And Michael Ledeen, a conservative pundit who played a cameo role in the Iran-contra affair, claimed it was foolish to get worked up over "alleged illegalities." (Since when is a guilty plea an "alleged illegality"?)
Kissinger spewed the customary and expectable boilerplate: "We want to make sure when [the investigation is] finished, the American public and the president know all the facts that are available." But sharing all available facts with the public has not been on the Bush-Cheney agenda. For instance, the White House prevented the House and Senate intelligence committees from disclosing information that could have embarrassed Bush. As the inquiry conducted jointly by the committees revealed,
A briefing prepared for senior government officials at the beginning of July 2001 contained the following language: 'Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that UBL [Usama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.'
Deriving and providing answers will mean forcefully challenging a tight-lipped, cover-our-ass White House.
12/09/02b (new link: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/12/37262.shtml (120902b))
A world without oil By ALANNA MITCHELL Saturday, December 7, 2002 Print Edition, Page F7 REYKJAVIK -- The contraption sitting in Bragi
Arnason's chemistry lab doesn't look like much. There's a battered orange desk lamp meant to represent the sun. Next to it, a clear hose runs through an electrolyzer that resembles a science-fair project.
Prof. Arnason turns on the lamp. A few bubbles of gas trickle through the apparatus, eventually sending a dime-store fan spinning gently around. He is triumphant. He has just turned hydrogen into electricity.
"In the second half of this century, this will be the main energy source for mankind," he says, his face beaming. "It's sustainable. It's clean. All you need is water."
Prof. Arnason, who is head of chemistry at the University of Reykjavik, is the visionary behind Iceland's recent declaration that it will become the first country to eradicate oil from its economy. Icelanders figure that by 2030, all of their cars, buses, ships and airplanes will run on hydrogen.
Henry A. Waxman Ranking Member House Judiciary Statement on the Cheney Energy Task Force Monday, 9 December, 2002 By Henry A. Waxman
The decision is another Bush v. Gore. It is a convoluted decision by a Republican judge that gives Bush and Cheney near total immunity from scrutiny. In Bush v. Gore, five Republican justices gave the election to George Bush and Dick Cheney. Today, another Republican judge has decided that, once in office, Bush and Cheney can operate in complete secrecy with no oversight by Congress.
The only good news is that this decision is not the final word. It is inconceivable that the appellate court will uphold the embarrassing reasoning used by the district judge.
Under President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the Administration has developed plans to keep secret files on the activities of all Americans. But at the same time, the Administration wants to keep everything it does from the public. In fact, under today's court ruling, Americans can't even learn the identity of the energy lobbyists who asked for special favors in the White House energy plan.
This is an ominous decision that defies fundamental and traditional American values of open government.
Discussions of politics in the U.S. that does not takeinto account the disproportionate amount of corporation $$$ that flows into GOP coffers (and why it flows there as opposed to Democratic coffers)have no basis in reality. A free press, an engaged media, would run contribution tallies in crawls at the bottom of the TV screen and as sidebars to news stories in legislative battles...Consider this excellent piece from www.tompaine.com...
The Elephant In The Living Room
Ellen S. Miller is publisher of TomPaine.com and former director of the Center for Responsive Politics and Public Campaign.
Money is access. Money is political power. Those who give money get more than good government in return, and documents released this week in the course of the multiple challenges to the new campaign finance law paint a noxious portrait of access, favor seeking, and special treatment given to the very few who contribute big money.
Still, it's breathtaking to see it in black and white. "Let me say how much I enjoyed visiting with you," gushed Edwin Lupberger, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ENTERGY, a member of the Republican's Team 100 at the close of a 1996 letter to Tom DeLay. The letter references an issue of "significant importance" to the gas and electric utility giant -- their desire to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA). "Your help," this donor whose corporation gave $600,000 says, "would be appreciated in urging House Commerce Committee Chair Tom Bliley and Energy & Power Subcommittee Chairman Dan Schaefer, to act on PUHCA repeal legislation this year." The note pressuring DeLay was copied to Haley Barbour, then the Republican Party chairman.
Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb wanted a meeting in 1999 with senior RNC officials before contributing $250,000 to the Republican National Committee.
Published on Friday, December 13, 2002 by the Long Island, NY Newsday Source: List Includes U.S. Firms That Aided Iraqis by Mohamad Bazzi United Nations Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS -- Iraq's 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs lists American companies that provided materials used by Baghdad to develop chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s, according to a senior Iraqi official.
It would bring people's attention to something that the Bush administration would rather forget about: that the United States was a supplier state to Saddam Hussein, even after it became clear that he was producing and using chemical weapons.
The declaration, which was submitted to UN weapons inspectors Saturday, was mandated under a new Security Council resolution that requires Iraq to declare and destroy all of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Iraqi leaders insist they no longer have any such weapons, but the United States and Britain accuse Hussein of continuing with a secret program to develop banned weapons - and have threatened to go to war to disarm Iraq.
A 1994 report by the Senate Banking Committee concluded that "the United States provided the government of Iraq with 'dual-use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs."
This assistance, according to the report, included "chemical warfare-agent precursors; chemical warfare-agent production facility plans and technical drawings; chemical warfare filling equipment; biological warfare-related materials; missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment."
There is dissension within the council over the handling of Iraq's declaration. Under a deal quietly worked out over the weekend, the United States received the sole copy of the dossier and supporting material that was intended for the council. Washington then made duplicates for the four other permanent council members: Britain, France, Russia and China. Blix said the other 10 rotating council members will get edited copies of the dossier by Monday, with any information that could help countries develop weapons of mass destruction excised by UN inspectors.
The 1994 Senate report found that the United States had licensed dozens of companies to export various materials that helped Iraq make mustard gas, VX nerve agent, anthrax and other biological and chemical weapons. The report also said "the same micro-organisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program."
Shipments to Iraq continued even after the United States learned Hussein had used chemical weapons against Iranian troops and Kurdish villagers in northern Iraq in 1988, according to Senate investigators. Copyright © Newsday, Inc.
Campaign Finance Resources 12.13.02 Transcript: Bill Moyers Interviews Senator John McCain
BILL MOYERS: We turn now from money and the American economy to money and American politics. Faithful viewers of NOW know this is one of our favorite subjects. It's also a passion for my guest, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. He's just written a new book ... its called Worth Fighting For.
BILL MOYERS: I have with me some of the documents revealed in those hearings. They confirm everything you've been saying for years now, how the system really works: give us the money and we'll give you the legislation. Do you think your colleagues will begin to listen to you now?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I don't know if they will or not. You know, this is a very addictive system. It's so much easier to raise money in hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars than in one thousand-dollar or two thousand-dollar contributions. But I think they're tired of it. There was recent comments by Senator Zell Miller of Georgia where he said after a period of fund raising he felt like a prostitute after a busy day.
BILL MOYERS: Can a government run by prostitutes and addicts claim to be legitimate?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I don't think so, and I think what happens is that the public interest is not served; the special interests are. We passed a homeland security bill, which was important. The House of Representatives passed it and put some special interests provisions on it. One was, guess who for, a major drug company, who had been huge contribution...contributors in the last campaign.
And let me remind you, recent data shows that the pharmaceutical companies who are the largest single contributors, they spent about $30 million dollars in the last campaign insulating incumbents from a tax for not having passed prescription drug bills for seniors.
So we were able to put in those special interest provisions, but we didn't have time to take care of the unemployed whose benefits will soon run out.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Sure. I've always believed in open government, and that should be part of it, absolutely.
BILL MOYERS: The Non-Partisan Center for Responsive Politics says less than one-tenth of one percent of the country gave 85 percent, almost 85 percent, of all itemized contributions in our recent elections. What does that tell you, Senator?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Well, it tells me that it's huge amounts of money contributed by a handful of Americans that are dictating the legislative agenda here in Congress.
BILL MOYERS: If you were an ordinary citizen do you think you'd have a chance up against that system?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: No. I do not.
BILL MOYERS: It's so clear that both parties have become so corrupted by money that you can't change the system from inside the bordello. I mean, would you consider running for President in the year 2004 as an independent?
© Public Affairs Television. All rights reserved.
(new link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-12-17-iraq-poll_x.htm (121802a))
Poll finds Americans don't believe Bush has made case for war By Associated Press, 12/17/2002 09:20
LOS ANGELES (AP) More than two-thirds of Americans believe the Bush administration has failed to make its case that a war against Iraq is justified, according to a poll by the Los Angeles Times published Tuesday.
Ninety percent of respondents said they don't doubt Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. But without new evidence from U.N. inspectors, 72 percent of respondents, including 60 percent of Republicans, said the president has not provided enough evidence to justify starting a war.
The Times poll, which interviewed 1,305 adults nationwide, was conducted from Thursday to Sunday, in the week after Iraq handed over its massive report on its arsenal to the United Nations. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Support for a possible war appears to be weakening, with 58 percent saying they support a ground attack on Iraq, according to the poll. In an August Times poll, 64 percent said they would support a ground attack. In January, the Times and other polls found support for military action more than 70 percent.
Yet almost three-quarters of Americans support the way Bush is handling the threat of terrorism, and nearly three in five like how he's handling the country's affairs.
Sixty-three percent of those polled said war would be justified only if the United Nations finds a pattern of serious violations by Iraq. Only 22 percent agreed with the administration's position that any error or omission in Iraq's arms declaration is adequate to justify war; 6 percent said it would depend on the nature of the omissions; and 9 percent said they were not sure or declined to reply.
t r u t h o u t.com (new link: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/12.20A.wrp.kean.htm (122002a))
Bush Nominates Himself to Chair 9/11 Investigation By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Thursday, 19 December, 2002 George W. Bush has tapped Thomas Kean to chair the independent investigation into the attacks of September 11th.
There can be no question that Kean's nomination is a quantum improvement over Kissinger. However, it was a curious choice. Kean has been out of politics since 1990, and is a virtual unknown on the national stage. It is clear that he enjoys philanthropic work, but it is also clear that he has strong ties to some heavy hitters in the business community and the petroleum industry. He has virtually no experience in foreign policy, intelligence, or national security matters.
In many ways, this was a non-nomination. Kean does not possess, by dint of experience, the wherewithal to ask the difficult questions that must be pressed if this investigation is to be successful. His is not, and never has been, the kind of boat-rocker that will be necessary to pry the truth from the administration, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and the Department of Defense.
Now, we have Thomas Kane, a man with no training or background in any of the areas necessary to the investigation, a man who does not appear capable of taking on the intelligence community and the administration, much less the five other Republicans who will have veto power over the issuance of subpoenas. It is difficult to imagine Thomas Kean pushing hard for answers to questions like these:
* Why did George W. Bush order the dismantling of the Bin Laden Task Force prior to 9/11?
* Was the Bush administration involved in negotiations with the Taliban prior to 9/11 regarding a pipeline project to be undertaken in Afghanistan by Unocal Petroleum and a consortium of other corporations and nations, including Saudi Arabia?
* Why were fighter interceptors not scrambled after it became clear that commercial aircraft had been hijacked?
* Who made the decision to stop FBI Deputy Director John O'Neill from investigation al Qaeda financial accounts? What did Barbara Bodine, U.S. ambassador to Yemen, have to do with pulling O'Neill off the case?
* Why were the Black Boxes and flight data recorders from the hijacked aircraft never recovered?
* What was Saudi Arabia's involvement with the hijackers and the 9/11 plot?
* Why were pointed warnings received from Israel, Egypt, Germany and Russia, which detailed a plot to hijack aircraft and use them to attack prominent American targets, virtually ignored? Again, why were fighter jets not scrambled since this warning was already in hand?
* What corporations are currently profiting from the War on Terror? In particular, how much does the multinational corporation The Carlyle Group, an entity steeped in petroleum production and weapons sales, stand to make from the conflict?
Published on Sunday, December 22, 2002 by The Sunday Herald America Tore Out 8000 Pages of Iraq Dossier by James Cusick and Felicity Arbuthnot
THE United States edited out more than 8000 crucial pages of Iraq's 11,800-page dossier on weapons, before passing on a sanitized version to the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations security council.
Last week, Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan accepted that it was 'unfortunate' that his organization had allowed the US to take the only complete dossier and edit it. He admitted 'the approach and style were wrong' and Norway, a member of the security council, says it is being treated like a 'second-class country'.
Although Powell called the Iraqi dossier a 'catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions', the non-permanent members of the security council will have no way of testing the US claims for themselves.
A UN source in New York said: 'The questions being asked are valid. What did the US take out? And if weapons inspectors are supposed to be checking against the dossier's content, how can any future claim be verified. In effect the US is saying trust us, and there are many who just will not.'
Current and former UN diplomats are said to be livid at what some have called the 'theft' of the Iraqi document by the US. Hans von Sponeck, the former assistant general secretary of the UN and the UN's humanitarian co- ordinator in Iraq until 2000, said: 'This is an outrageous attempt by the US to mislead.'
Although the five permanent members of the security council -- the US, the UK, France, China and Russia -- have had access to the complete version, there was agreement that the US be allowed to edit the dossier on the ground that its contents were 'risky' in terms of security on weapons proliferation. and women in
©2002 smg sunday newspapers ltd
(new link: http://www.nathannewman.org/log/archives/000647.shtml#000647 (122302b))
December 20, 2002 Frist's Voting Record Environment League of Conservation Voters 107th - 0%, ..... 106th - 0%, ..... 105th - 27%
Voted for drilling in ANWR, against renewable energy, against increased fuel standards for cars (2002) Voted for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, for oil and gas drilling in national monuments and to give the President unilateral power to block agriculture-related environmental regulation (2001)
Voted to subsidize corporate timber cutting in Tongass forests, to allow unlimited mine waste by corporations on public leases, supported cut-rate pricing for oil leases on public land, and voting to exempt all coal mining operations from the Clean Water Act.(1999-2000)
Labor AFL-CIO Rating
Lifetime rating- 3% (2 pro-labor votes out of 64 votes measured since first election in 1995) Voted against workplace ergonomic standards, for school vouchers, against a real patient bill of rights, against prescription drug benefits for all seniors, to restrict the free speech of unions versus other groups on firm premises, against giving collective bargaining rights to police and firemen nationally, for Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. (2001)Voted against refugee status for Central America refugees, for permanent normalized trade status for China without human rights review, for massive cuts in National Labor relations Board funding, to weaken wage standards for federal construction projects, and against minimum wage legislation. (1999-2000)
Civil Rights NAACP Rating 15% (2002)
Voted against sanctions for predatory lending abuses, against a series of NAACP-supported education amendments, against technology centers for poor and minority communities, against expanding higher education grants, to override Home Rule decisions by the District of Columbia, against restoring the right to vote to ex-felons, to decrease voting registration through purging voter rolls, and against increased global AIDS funding. (107th Congress)
National Hispanic Leadership Conference
18% (2001) 25% (2000) 0% (1999)
Voted against bilingual education and a series of supported education funding amendments, against minimum wage increases, against confirming a latino Court of Appeals judge, against federal hate crimes legislation, against legalization of various groups of latino immigrants, and against strong community reinvestment requirements for banks. Leadership Conference for Civil Rights 0% (2001) 43% (2000) 11% (1999)
Voted against predatory lending protections, against community technology centers, to block alternative voting verification methods, against hate crimes legislation, against confirming a Missouri black judge for the Court of Appeals, and for harsh criminal measures against juveniles.
Abortion, National Abortion Rights Action League 0% (2001) 20%
(2000) 0% (1999) National Right to Life Committee 100% (2001) 100% (2000) 100% (1999)
See a range of other ratings for Frist at Project Vote Smart Following the Money:
As for where Frist's money comes from-- having heavily self-financed his own election back in 1994, his reelection in 2000 was heavily indebted to the corporate medical industry. See Open Secrets for his industry support. In fact, Frist in 2000 was a top recipient (#1 to #4 among Senators) from
$260,373 Pharmaceutical/Health Products (#2), $75,707 Pharmaceutical manufacturing (#3), $825,504 Health Professionals (#3),$267,075 Hospitals/Nursing Homes (#4), $32,250 Medical supplies manufacturing & sales (#1)
Village Voice Dec. 25-31,2002 Mondo Washington by James Ridgeway: Bill Frist's Rich, Rewarding Life Physician, Heel Thyself
Bill Frist, senator from Tennessee and heir to resigning majority leader Trent Lott, is a Bush kind of guy. Where Lott brought little to the president's agenda, Frist is Bush's brand of compassionate conservative, a friend of Karl Rove and a key figure in the GOP's November election victory. To top it all off, he's a pivotal player in the single biggest issue facing Congress: the soaring cost of health care.
The Frist family is deeply involved in the medical business. Bill Frist's father, Dr. Thomas Frist, founded the hospital conglomerate HCA, and Tommy Frist, another son, is the former chairman and CEO and still is on the board of directors. In 1994 the business merged with Columbia, creating the nation's largest hospital network.
Life hasn't all been roses for the family Frist. In 1993, federal investigators swept through 19 HCA offices searching for evidence to document charges of overcharging and fraud. Among the accusations was that the network was paying kickbacks to physicians in the Medicare program. Seven years later, the company pled guilty to 14 felonies. Corporate difficulties were compounded by a suit from whistle-blowers who said they received death threats and were ostracized after going public with the allegations. Just last week the Justice Department unexpectedly announced a settlement, with the company paying $631million.
If the whistle-blower deal is finalized, the company will have paid out $1.7 billion to settle various charges and given another $17.5 million to states claiming HCA overcharged their Medicaid programs.
Still, the matter won't end. Things could get uncomfortable for Bill Frist on Capitol Hill, where his Republican colleague Charles Grassleynew head of the Senate Finance Committee and a keen advocate for whistle-blowersalready helped derail an earlier HCA settlement and is looking into the final deal. "Thissettlement can't be a Christmas gift to HCA and a lump of coal for the taxpayers," he said.
Frist opposed legislation banning job discrimination on the basis of sex and said nay to a bill reserving 10 percent of highway contracts for firms owned by womenor minorities. Yet inside the Beltway he is considered extremely likeable, running marathons and contributing his time as a doctor in the poor sections of Washington.
The Rich Have Reason to Rejoice by KELLY CANDAELE & PETER DREIER
Bush and his cronies seem to believe they have a mandate to outdothemselves in rewarding the corporate class that helped bring them to power.
During its first two years in office--from its $1.35 trillion tax cut (including elimination of the inheritance tax), which primarily benefits the wealthiest 2 percent of the population, to its repeal of Clinton-era "ergonomics" standards, affecting more than 100 million workers, that would have forced companies to alter their work stations, redesign their facilities or change their tools and equipment if employees suffered serious work-related injuries from repetitive motions--the Bushies have acted without shame to serve the interests of their friends in corporate board rooms and the very rich.
§ Cut $300 million from the $1.7 billion federal program that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes during the winter--a move that leaves 438,000 families in the cold.
§ Tucked an additional rider into the Homeland Security bill that will allow American companies to win government contracts even if they have moved offshore to evade corporate taxes, while giving the new department a free hand to bypass civil service rules in promoting and firing workers and allowing the President to exempt unionized workers from collective bargaining agreements in the name of "national security."
§ Gave annual bonuses as large as $25,000 to top political appointees (who typically already earn $115,000 to $140,000), while cutting a pay raise, already passed by both houses of Congress, for 1.8 million federal employees. Bush said it would "interfere with our nation's ability to pursue the war on terrorism."
§ Called for as many as 850,000 government jobs--nearly half the federal civilian work force--to be outsourced to private contractors--a move designed to reduce their pay and benefits and eliminate union protections, prompting Bobby Harnage Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, to say that Bush had "declared all-out war on federal employees."
§ Refused to support an extension of unemployment benefits to about 750,000 American families whose benefits would run out three days after Christmas, until pressured by Congressional Democrats a week after front-page headlines announced that the nation's unemployment rate had reached 6 percent (an eight-year high) and that each week an additional 95,000 workers will lose their benefits.
§ Pushed to privatize Social Security by diverting trillions of dollars to stockbrokers, putting the retirement cushion for millions of Americans at risk.
§ Loosened EPA air pollution standards for oil refineries and manufacturing plants, which allows them to modernize their facilities without installing pollution-control equipment.
§ Allowed logging companies to cut down old-growth trees in our nation's forests under the guise of reducing the risk of forest fires.
§ Went to court to stop Congressional watchdogs (along with the Sierra Club) from forcing Vice President Dick Cheney--former CEO of the scandal-plagued energy services company Halliburton--to turn over documents detailing meetings between oil and gas industry lobbyists and executives (including representatives of Enron) and Cheney's energy policy task.
Attack of the Martian Machiavellis on Earth's environment Paul McHugh, Chronicle Outdoors Writer Sunday, December 29, 2002
A former Bush aide got his tail in a sling a few weeks ago by calling the White House cabal a crew of "MayberryMachiavellis."
John DiIulio -- like others who dared launch a dart at the upper management of U.S.A. Inc. -- was bathed immediately by presidential advisers in a mind- control death ray. Reconsidering his remarks (to Esquire magazine), he apologized.
As well he might. DiIulio was wrong. But only about the provenance. That Mayberry folksiness deployed by George W. Bush & Co. is a ruse. Truth is, this set of Machiavellis must come from Mars.
That's the only explanation for their environmental policies. Only an off-worlder, bent on devastating an ecology that supports all human economy, health and civilization would:
-- Gut the 30-year-old Clean Water Act by redefining debris from mountaintop-removal coal mining as "fill" that can be freely dumped in creeks and streams. (More than 560 miles of perennial and intermittent streams have already been lost in Appalachia.)
-- Reverse 25 years of improvement due to the Clean Air Act by allowing old power plants and refineries to shun updating of fume-belching facilities indefinitely. (And trample Republican ideals of local control and states' rights in the process.)
-- Abandon the 26-year-old promotion of wildlife, fish and watershed health in our national forests, sidestep public involvement in management decisions and concoct a bogus scheme to "fight wildfires" by asking timber firms to thin out brush in return for a chance to whack down the last old growth trees. (Completely denuded slopes can't burn, just erode.) -- But wait, there is more, see that article!
(new link: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/12.31C.wh.asbestos.htm (122902b))
White House hushed up asbestos peril affecting millions By Andrew Schneider, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/29/2002
WASHINGTON - Last spring, the Environmental Protection Agency was on the verge of warning millions of Americans that their attics and walls might contain insulation that was contaminated with asbestos.
But at the last minute, the White House intervened. The warning has never been issued.
This is a great article giving quite an overview of The Bush family, from grandpa's profitable association with the NAZI party to the present day shenanigans of his descendants.
The Bush-Saudi Connection By Michelle Mairess Ancestral Voices
In 1920, under a League of Nations mandate, officials from France and Great Britain carved up vast tracts of warlord-dominated territories in Arabia into what they imagined would be nation states devoid of the complex historical, cultural, and tribal realities of the Mideast.
Instead of establishing European-style nation states, the strongest warlords quickly entrenched." (1)
Islamic fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden make their appeals to the nation or community of believers, not to any particular nation state, although the rich and powerful among the Muslims have founded Western-style businesses and formed corporations both inside and outside the boundaries of their native countries. At the same time, the United States trained and armed troops in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.. (2)
With C.I.A. funding, Osama bin Laden imported engineers and equipment from his fathers Saudi construction company to build tunnels for guerrilla training centers and hospitals, and for arms dumps near the Pakistan border. (3)
Salem bin Laden, Osamas brother, has conducted all his American affairs through James Bath, a Houston crony of the Bush family. Baths former business partner Bill White testified in court that Bath had been a liaison for the C.I.A. In 1979 Bath invested $50,000 in Arbusto, George W. Bushs first business venture. Rumor had it that Bath was acting as Salem bin Ladens representative. "In conflicting statements, Bush at first denied ever knowing Bath, then acknowledged his stake in Arbusto and that he was aware Bath represented Saudi interests." (4)
In addition to doing aviation business with Saudi sheiks, Bath was part owner of a Houston bank whose chief stockholder was Ghaith Pharaon, who represented the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI), a criminal global bank with branches in 73 countries. BCCI proceeded to defraud depositors of $10 billion during the 80s, while providing a money laundry conduit for the Medellin drug cartel, Asias major heroin cartel, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A., and Islamist terrorist organizations worldwide. (5)
(1) Jonathan Raban, "Western conceit of nation-building ignores culture and history of Arabia," Seattle Times, November 24, 2002
(2) Michael Parenti, 9-11 Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond (2000) City Lights Books, San Francisco
(3) Laura Secor, "Which Islam?," Boston Daily Globe, December 15, 2002
(4) Wayne Madsen, "Questionable Ties: Tracking bin Laden's money flow leads back to Midland, Texas,"
(5) "The Press on the BCCI-bin Mahfouz-bin Laden Intelligence Nexus, " Boston Herald , December 11, 2001
Eric Leser | New York Correspondent LE MONDE | 24.12.02 | 12h35
Such a mark of distrust with regard to the federal government is without precedent. Town councils of about thirty American cities among which Chicago (Illinois), Tampa (Florida), Berkeley (California), Santa Fe (New Mexico), Flagstaff (Arizona) or Fairbanks (Alaska) voted for resolutions requiring the respect of fundamental freedoms.
And an about sixty other localities should follow in the next weeks, announced the New York Times of December 23.
This step is before any symbolic system. It could at most justify the refusal by the local police forces to cooperate with the federal Office of investigation (FBI) or the immigration department (INS). But it is revealing of a faintness on the means used by the Bush administration to fight the terrorist threat on the American ground.
National Desk | December 23, 2002, Monday
THREATS AND RESPONSES: CIVIL LIBERTIES; Cities Wary of Antiterror Tactics Pass Civil Liberties Resolutions By MICHAEL JANOFSKY (NYT) 1323 words Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 1 , Column 1
LEAD PARAGRAPH - Nearly two dozen cities around the country have passed resolutions urging federal authorities to respect the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism. Efforts to pass similar measures are under way in more than 60 other places.
While the resolutions are largely symbolic, many of them provide some legal justification for local authorities to resist cooperating in the federal war on terrorism when they deem civil liberties and Constitutional rights are being compromised.